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This is apropos a Business Recorder ope-ed "A tale of two islands" carried by the newspaper on Wednesday. The writer, M. Ziauddin, has pointed out in the beginning of his article that "the details of the two-island (Bundal and Buddo) controversy have been discussed in the national media so exhaustively over the last one week that one can, without having to build a context, call for immediate withdrawal of the Presidential Ordinance in question. Then alone one can have a saner debate on the pros and cons of turning the two islands into an investment guzzling real estate project and at what cost to the environment and the human beings living on these islands."

While largely agreeing to the writer's viewpoint, I, however, want to bring under discussion two key points that in my view are critical to the entire debate on the future of the twin islands. Firstly, the federal government must engage some highly independent and competent experts on environment or environmentalists to have a comprehensive environmental assessment. It must take the required steps in light of experts' report to mitigate or eliminate likely adverse effects. Secondly, it must take the Sindh government on board in accordance with the letter and spirit of the 18th Constitutional Amendment to inject greater transparency into its mega investment endeavor.

Shahid Siddiqui (Karachi)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020