KARACHI: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has clarified that there is no ban on ongoing development projects in Sindh, including the construction of two million houses for flood-affected families and the installation of solar panels on 2.1 million homes to address electricity shortages and high bills.
In a letter addressed to the Sindh Chief Secretary, the ECP emphasized that projects funded by the World Bank and approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) are not subject to any restrictions.
This clarification comes in response to recent concerns raised regarding the freeze on development funds by the ECP.
The letter, signed by ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan, stated that there is no ban on the Sindh Solar Energy Project, which was approved on 14 November 2018, by Ecnec.
“There is no ban on the Sindh Flood Emergency Housing Reconstruction Project, which was approved by the Ecnec in January 2023, and under these projects, multiple activities are currently being carried out in phases,” it stated.
Furthermore, the ECP highlighted that foreign-funded projects from organizations such as the World Bank, USAID, and various development partners, including Multilateral Banks like ADB and AllB, are not subject to any bans, provided they have received proper approvals.
The ECP’s decision to freeze development funds in Sindh had recently drawn criticism from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which called it illegal, unconstitutional, and detrimental to the welfare of the people.
PPP urged the ECP to unfreeze funds allocated for vital projects, including the Peoples Housing Scheme and the solar panel initiative.
Besides, the solar panel project aims to provide relief to low-income families by addressing load-shedding issues and reducing electricity bills, while the housing project focuses on rebuilding two million houses lost in floods.
PPP leader Senator Taj Haider expressed disappointment with the ECP’s decision, highlighting that during discussions on amending Section 230 of the Election Act, 2017, the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms had agreed that caretaker governments should not interfere with ongoing development projects in Sindh.
Despite these challenges, the projects for housing reconstruction and solar energy in Sindh continue to move forward.