KARACHI: Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif on Friday said that no one should object if the government of Pakistan punished the arsonists of May 9 as per law, the way the United States had done to its citizens for storming the Capitol building on January 6, 2021.
“Today, in the city of Quaid, we all are ashamed of what happened on May 9 in Lahore. Justice requires to punish the perpetrators like the rioters of the Capitol building on January 6, 2021. If that punishment was legal, then no one should object if we do so under our law for the desecration of our martyrs,” the PM said.
Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of K-IV water supply project here, the PM said the politics of political chaos culminated on May 9 in the form of the desecration of the nation’s martyrs, Ghazis and security installations. He said the strings of the May 9 riots were attached to abroad and that the desecration of martyrs and installations on the instigation of Imran Khan was the darkest chapter in the nation’s history.
Recalling his recent interaction with the family members of martyrs, the PM said their dear ones had rendered sacrifices for the country but the arsonists desecrated their monuments. The prime minister said the person who always blamed others for plunders had resorted to arsons when arrested on charges of corruption. “What kind of politics is this,” he questioned and said no political leader in the past ever instigated an attack on Jinnah House or military installations, despite having faced many difficulties.
He said the leaders of MQM and PPP – both representing Sindh – gave a message of national unity which was a must for national development. He said the coalition government coped with huge challenges through collective wisdom, including floods, inflation, IMF and also the nefarious designs of chaotic politics which culminated on the darkest day of May 9. Committing to revive Pakistan’s lost grandeur, the prime minister lamented the unnecessary delay in the K-IV project that was meant to provide drinking water to millions of the Karachi people.
Prime Minister Shehbaz asked the relevant ministries to provide uninterrupted funding to ensure project’s completion without further delay. He said the project was “most important” for him because the people of Quaid’s city, were deprived of the drinking water, despite it being a city with the highest revenue generation and taxation. The prime minister assured that he would put the project at top priority in the upcoming budget and provide maximum funds for its early completion.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the prime minister was keenly focusing the development of Sindh, particularly Karachi. He said the two major political parties of Karachi voted for the prime minister and his government enjoyed a “super majority” in Sindh. He said the people of Sindh also pinned hopes on the prime minister for the resolution of their issues. Bilawal said K-IV project faced immense delay and that Karachi needed “Shehbaz Speed” for the resolution of its issues.
Regarding the floods, the foreign minister said concerted efforts were needed for the rehabilitation of the people in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, South Punjab and other areas, including the metropolises. He said around 52 percent of Sindh’s educational infrastructure had been damaged by the floods impacting the education of around 47 percent population. Bilawal Bhutto said the leaders of the PPP, MQM and other parties also faced jails and other hardships but they always stood for democracy, without resorting to violence.
Minister for Water Resources Syed Khursheed Shah said the project was of utmost importance to meet Karachi’s water needs. He said the first phase would provide 260 million gallons of water to the city. He also requested the prime minister to announce the K-5 project as the K-4 would be insufficient to cope with future needs. Shah said due to the government’s efforts and dedication, the country would neither default nor its economy would destabilize.
Minister for Maritime Affairs Faisal Sabzwari said the K-IV project was also part of the agreement between the MQM and the ruling coalition. He said unnecessary delay in the project led to a huge increase in the cost. He said the whole province including Sindh chief minister had serious reservations about the census. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said starting from 2002, the project was used to be an example of ill-planning and had faced immense delay.
The project would accumulatively cost around Rs200 billion which could have been around Rs100 billion had it been started timely. He said storage of Keenjhar Lake would have to be enhanced as the Irrigation Department has already proposed a project for the water body’s expansion. He urged the federal government to ensure the provision of funds for the timely completion of the project.
Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori said under the leadership of prime minister and Foreign Minister Bilawal, the project was moving ahead. He said for the first time, the federal and provincial governments were on the same page to execute the much-delayed project. He said the May 9-like incidents had united the nation and thwarted the designs of the miscreants. In his address, WAPDA Chairman Engr Lt Gen Sajjad Ghani (Retd) said K-IV water project would supply 650 million gallons of water to Karachi. The first phase would provide 260 million gallons and 390 million gallons to be supplied in the second phase.
He said under the project, a 111-kilometer-long pipeline would be laid from Keenjhar Lake to Karachi. The first phase would cost Rs126 billion as Rs33 billion had already been spent on the project. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Water Resources Minister Syed Khursheed Shah, Maritime Affairs Minister Faisal Sabzwari, Syed Qaim Ali Shah and others were also present.
No one should object if rioters punished: PM