Ministers and officials holding talks on airports in Sindh. Image Credit: Supplied

Karachi: The federal and Sindh governments have agreed to mutually work to make fully operational three airports in the province.

The agreement to this effect was reached as Federal Minister for Aviation and Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique, held talks with Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, at CM House in Karachi.

Director-General of Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Khaqan Murtaza, was present along with the officials of the federal and provincial governments.

During the talks, the Ali Shah raised the issue of making operational the airports in Sehwan Sharif, Hyderabad, and Thar in Sindh.

The aviation minister told the meeting that he had been briefed that encroachments were the main cause behind the delay in making functional the Hyderabad airport.

Sindh Information and Transport Minister, Sharjeel Inam Memon, who belongs to Hyderabad, assured the meeting that the issue of encroachments could be sorted out soon.

The meeting decided to constitute a technical committee to survey the three airports for making recommendations to the government.

Ali Shah underlined the importance of Mai Bakhtawar Airport built in Thar as it had been mainly built to facilitate the extraction of coal in the desert area for power production.

He said the airfield in Thar was being used for operations of the charter aircraft as the same facility could easily be used for commercial flight operations.

Later talking to journalists, the aviation minister said the government would upgrade the Sukkur airport in the province for operations of the international flights.

CAA claims the ownership of land

He said the government would make efforts to ensure that Hyderabad Airport became functional again in the shortest possible time for domestic flights.

The meeting also decided to form a committee comprising both federal and Sindh governments’ officials to amicably resolve the dispute pertaining to 80 acres of land near Karachi Airport.

The CAA claims the ownership of the land.

The Sindh government intends to use the disputed land for building a bus terminal for the under-construction Red Line section of the Bus Rapid Transit Service in the city.

The aviation minster also assured Ali Shah that Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, would shortly visit China as the agenda for the talks with the Chinese authorities includes the inclusion of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project in the regime of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

He hoped that talks between China and Pakistan would formally approve the proposal to build the KCR under the CPEC regime as earlier initially agreed by the Chinese authorities in 2017. The 43km-long KCR will be built as an urban rail mass transit system in the city.