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Pakistan cannot prosper as long as Karachi remains hostage to strikes: Nawaz Sharif

13 June, 2015

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KARACHI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday said Pakistan cannot prosper as long as Karachi remains hostage to strikes, shutdowns, and wheel-jams.

“Karachi shuts down even if a fly dies here. This is counterproductive to the economy of the country,” the prime minister told exports awards distribution ceremony of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI).

He said that stricke calls in Karachi were given on minor issues. “We cannot afford strikes. I have directed Governor Sindh Dr Isharatul Ebad not to allow anyone to bring life and business in Karachi to a standstill every other day,” he said.

Media reports said that the prime minister directed Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to take action against those involved in patronising extortionists in Karachi.

In a brief meeting with Sindh CM at the Karachi airport, Nawaz directed Shah to bring to task ‘influential’ political figures involved in crimes in the city.

The directives come a day after a shocking report based on DG Rangers briefing to the Sindh Apex Committee revealed that more than Rs 230 billion were being generated annually in Karachi through extortion and other illegal means. “In Karachi, none other than the top political leaders are godfathering extortionists, land grabbers, smugglers, gangsters, militants, water-tanker mafia, etc,” the report had said. In his address to the inauguration ceremony of Hub Oil Refinery, Nawaz said Karachi operation will continue until the last criminal or terrorist is eliminated. He said that the arrested insurgents should be brought to justice not within months but weeks.

He said that miscreants behind Safoora carnage have been caught and it is hoped that the courts would bring them to justice as soon as possible.

Nawaz said that terrorists do not deserve to be dealt with softness or leniency. “The Karachi operation started in September 2013 and is still ongoing. We intend to continue until we eradicate terrorism from our country,” he said.

Nawaz said that the Thar coal would be used for power generation instead of depending on the imported commodity. The coal for some power plants would be imported for short time till Thar fields started production at commercial level, he added.

The prime minister assured the business community that his government wanted maximum participation of the private sector in economic and development activities.

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