Friday Oct 23, 2020
The federal government is ready to make the amendments that the Sindh government wants in the Pakistan Island Development Authority Ordinance, said Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan on Thursday.
Speaking to the media outside the Sindh High Court (SHC) after appearing before a bench hearing a plea about the ordinance, the attorney general said the issue cannot be solved by the judiciary.
He added that if there is development on the islands, it will benefit the people of Sindh.
“I assure the people of Sindh that their rights will not be violated,” said the government’s top lawyer. He added that the problems related to ownership of the island can be resolved between the provincial and federal governments.
Earlier during the hearing, Javed also assured the SHC bench that development work will not begin until the problems related to the islands are not solved.
The attorney general also told the court that fishermen and mangroves will not be harmed by the development work planned for the islands.
“There is no doubt that the islands belong to the people of Sindh. The ordinance is not a final decision, it can be amended,” the attorney general told the bench hearing the case. He added that the federal government will begin the development work on the advice of the Sindh government.
Meanwhile, activist Jibran Nasir told the court that the development work that will be carried out on the islands will harm the mangroves and is "illegal".
“There is a danger of tsunami if the mangroves finish,” Nasir told the bench, explaining that the mangrove trees will be cut down if work begins on the islands.
Meanwhile, Assistant Advocate General of Sindh barrister Shehryar Mehar told the court that the provincial assembly has passed a resolution against the ordinance in the Sindh assembly. He also told the court that the provincial government was not consulted on the islands.
The court after hearing all sides, postponed the hearing of the case till November 13.
The government on August 31 promulgated the Pakistan Islands Development Authority ordinance to establish a body to develop and manage the islands in the internal and territorial waters of Pakistan.
According to a report by The News, the authority is being created to “initiate and maintain a continuous process of reclamation and urban planning and identify immovable properties and projects suitable for the development of schemes within the internal and territorial waters of Pakistan.”
The Bundal and Buddo islands, on the Arabian Sea and off the coast of Karachi, will be the initial focus of the authority, the publication said.
As news of the ordinance began to spread, there was outrage among certain sections in Sindh. The ordinance has already been rejected by the provincial government.
Environmentalists have also come out strongly on social media alleging that developing the islands would add to environmental degradation and damage fisheries and the mangroves.