Sindh CM’s adviser lashes out at ex-CEO of Thar mining firm

Karachi – Sindh Chief Minister's Adviser on Information Murtaza Wahab on Thursday lashed out at former CEO of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) Shamsuddin Ahmed Shaikh, terming the latter’s allegations against the Sindh government “unfortunate, uncalled for and contrary to reality”.

Shaikh has said that he resigned from SECMC in utter frustration over the “callous” attitude of Thar lawmakers and Sindh government functionaries towards welfare and development projects for the drought-hit desert dwellers.

Responding to Shaikh’s allegations, Wahab claimed that the Sindh government, in addition to being the largest equity partner in SECMC, has also provided back up for the sovereign guarantee of $700 million for the mining project and developed key infrastructure in the region.

“What better support can the [Sindh] government provide [than] by giving the joint venture the necessary enabling environment as well as a sovereign guarantee to step in for the project completion," the adviser said.

Wahab said the SECMC was an ideal example of a public-private partnership model that looks to unlock the energy potential of the country.

“Needless to say that Thar coal project is of national and strategic importance. The Sindh government remains a dedicated and able sponsor in this transformational programme," he maintained.

“We won’t be surprised if Shaikh ends up joining the other ex-employee of Engro in a federal government’s advisory council,” Wahab said, hinting towards the incumbent Finance Minister Asad Umar who has previously served as the CEO of Engro Corporation before joining the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

“It seems that Shaikh has found an exciting career opportunity whose first requirement is to bash his former employers, the Sindh government,” Wahab said.

Meanwhile, the Engro Corporation has distanced itself from the allegations levelled by the former SECMC CEO against the Sindh government, terming them as “his personal views”.

Shaikh resigned just a month before the scheduled inauguration of the power plant he worked on for eight years.

Under his watch, the company achieved almost all its goals and met the targets vis-a-vis extraction of coal, installation of two 330MW power units at Thar coal project’s block-II near Islamkot and the completion of work five months ahead of schedule.

"I tendered my resignation well ahead of time because I was shattered to see the total indifference of the rulers towards their commitments made with the local people living near the Thar coalfield to provide them the basic amenities of life," Shaikh had told Dawn on Wednesday.

He alleged that most of the lawmakers from Thar were totally "incompetent" and too timid to raise the actual issues being faced by the desert region at the appropriate forums.

He said Tharis — both those living in the coalfield area and the rest of the district — needed sustainable policies to mitigate their unending suffering caused by recurring droughts, "instead of hollow slogans and fake promises".

Shaikh alleged that hardly any lawmaker from Thar was committed to providing relief to the local residents through the Thar coal projects by placing the facts and figures before the top brass of the ruling PPP and high-ups in the Sindh government.

"Monitoring Desk"

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