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Karachi Twin Island Row: PPP, PTI ministers entangle in ownership tussle

Karachi Twin Island Row: PPP, PTI ministers entangle in an ownership tussle! The enactment of the ordinance triggered strong criticism from the ruling party of Sindh,

President Arif Alvi on August 31 signed the Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA) Ordinance, 2020, to facilitate the Centre to take control of Sindh’s two islands — Bundal and Buddo.

Keeping parliament out of the loop, ordinance was notified the following day.

The decission of the federal government taking control of the Karachi’s two island has met with critisim from Sindh.

The provincial government has asked the centre to “immediately” withdraw the ordinance aimed at taking control of two islands along Karachi’s coast, saying the islands belonged exclusively to the people and the government of Sindh.

However, on Tuesday, senior PTI leader and Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi took on social media  and posted a letter from the provincial government, dated July 6, 2020, in which it had made “available” Bundal Island to the federal government.

Federal Minister,  in his tweet said, “The cat is out of the bag. All can see how hypocritical PPP leadership is. No unconstitutional steps have been taken on Bundal Island. For the record, island’s come under PQA [Port Qasim Authority] coordinates.”

Meanwhile the letter shared by the Ali Zaidi stated that “Change of use of land in the limits of Port Qasim Authority” was issued by the provincial secretary of the land utilisation department. It said the provincial cabinet in response to a request made by the federal government “decided to make the said Island available to federal government”.

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Though, in the letter. there was no name of any island mentioned.

Responding to Ali Zaidi’s calim, Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah in a tweet, demanded answers of the three questions from the Federal Minister.

“Three questions from you … If this land was yours, then why did you ask us for NOC? Where is it written in our reply that we gave you the land? You are only allowed for constructions, for the benefit of the local people, which can be given to any private entity as well,” Mr Shah tweeted.

PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday equated the move taken by the federal govt. with the illegal annexation of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year.

On Tuesday, Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah while taking at the presser said the islands “were, are and will remain the property of Sindh”, adding that the province did not desire any development in which its people were not involved and which was without the Sindh government’s approval.

Saman Siddiqui

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