Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Sindh President and former Opposition Leader in Sindh, Haleem Adil Sheikh, addressed an important press conference at Insaf House Karachi. PTI leaders Faheem Khan, Jamal Siddiqui, MPA Shabbir Qureshi, Sarbuland Khan, Aftab Jahangir, Arslan Khalid, Agha Arslan, Advcate Zahoor Mehsud, Mansoor shaikh and others were present in press conference.

Mr Sheikh highlighted that over the past 15 years, the Sindh government has received a budget of Rs 12,633 billion, with more than Rs 3,000 billion allocated for 2024-2025, yet there has been no development in Sindh. The people of Sindh lack basic amenities.

Sheikh stated that corruption amounting to Rs 1,650 billion has been recorded through various sources over the past 15 years, including over Rs 850 billion in development budget corruption. He mentioned that during the current fiscal year, the Sindh government’s domestic and foreign debt has reached Rs 1,341 billion, with a 26% increase during 2023-24 and an addition of Rs 325 billion in new loans.

Sheikh criticized the state of Sindh’s forests, which have been destroyed, with 2.8 million acres under encroachment, and no projects to plant trees. While the world is saving forests, the Sindh government is cutting them down.

Regarding education, Sheikh revealed that Rs 1,920 billion has been allocated over 15 years, with Rs 454 billion allocated for 2024-25. Despite this, 6 million children are out of school, with no books or uniforms, and over 12,000 schools closed. More than 26,000 schools lack drinking water, 19,000 schools have no toilets, 31,000 schools are without electricity, 21,900 schools lack boundary walls, 36,000 schools have no playgrounds, and 47,000 schools have no laboratories. He also pointed out the issue of ghost teachers and schools turned into cattle pens or guest houses. Scholarships for deserving children and free textbook distribution are marred by corruption. Sindh’s education standards are the worst in Pakistan, with the education department embroiled in a Rs 3 billion desk scandal.

He noted that from 2008 to 2024, education department projects remain incomplete, including Education City, boarding school schemes, cadet school projects, public school projects, engineering colleges, divisional level girls’ public schools, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Law College in Lyari, Asifa Bhutto Institute of Electronics, Mirpurkhas and Hala medical colleges, and many more. Despite an increase in the number of teachers and the budget, educational standards have not improved. Digital libraries in 48 colleges, transport facilities in rural colleges, and the census scheme for private schools and madrasas remain incomplete.

In healthcare, Sheikh pointed out that Rs 1,144 billion has been allocated over 15 years, with Rs 300 billion for 2024-2025. Yet, hospitals lack ambulances and medicines, functioning more as referral centers. There are no burn wards outside Karachi, an increase in AIDS cases, dog bite incidents without anti-rabies vaccines, and a non-functional health care commission. Quack doctors are rampant, health cards are not issued, and bills passed by the Sindh Assembly remain unenforced. The plan for 41 trauma centers since 2013 remains unfulfilled.

Sheikh also highlighted the shortage of doctors in government hospitals, with many handed over to NGOs like PPHI, IHC, MERF, and HANDS. Upgradation projects for hospitals are inactive, and political transfers and postings plague the health department, he added. There is a rise in Hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and HIV cases in Larkana, with 60 children dead from AIDS. Corruption is rampant in NICVD, with the private sector running 600-800 ambulances in Karachi while government hospitals lack such services.

Regarding law and order, Sheikh noted that Rs 1,260 billion has been spent over 15 years, with Rs 172 billion allocated for 2024-2025. Yet, street crime persists in Karachi, with over 75 citizens killed during robberies this year. The police are politicized, and public safety is compromised.

In local governance, Rs 1,162 billion has been spent with no improvement in roads, sanitation, or drainage systems. Karachi is plagued by garbage, polluted water, stray dogs, and tanker mafia. No new mega projects are included in the 2024-2025 budget for Karachi, which contributes 95% of Sindh’s budget but is neglected by both federal and provincial governments.

Sheikh criticized the industrial sector’s neglect, with industrial projects from 2008 to 2024 inactive. Projects like Mineral City, Agri-Industrial City, and China City have not started, and plans for Dairy Village, Ghotki Industrial Estate, and others remain incomplete.

He proposed that the Sindh budget should include projects for afforestation, Rs500 billion for Karachi’s mega projects, road construction, a 50% salary increase for government employees, activation of industrial zones, modern facilities in schools, issuance of health cards, subsidies for farmers, ensuring agricultural water supply, modern transport facilities, computerized revenue records to reduce corruption, equal job opportunities for rural and urban youth, non-political housing for rain victims, merit-based employment, and depoliticizing the police and ending the police station culture.