Media creates hype on Thar issue: Qaim
KARACHI: Denying the allegations of slackness and incompetence on the part of government in dealing with the situation in Tharparkar, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah accused the media of creating hype on the issue.
He claimed that government has taken prompt action in dealing with the drought. “I personally visited village to village and distributed wheat and other necessary items among the drought victims,” he maintained.
Winding up discussion on the situation of Tharparkar on the floor of Sindh Assembly on Tuesday, he said it was the top priority of the Sindh government to ensure fair distribution of edibles among the victims of the drought and some 2,59,000 families were considered to be provided with wheat free of cost.
The chief minister said the situation in Tharparkar was a natural disaster and was beyond human capacity to pre-empt or prevent it but it was in the capacity of human to lessen the grievances of the affected populous and Sindh government was carrying out that obligation with all due respect. He, however, said unfortunately the media had over-played the situation of Tharparkar.
He said wheat was given to all the victims of drought and government was carrying out relief work at all the locations affected by the drought.
Refuting the media reports about deaths, Qaim said one million children die before reaching at the age of 5 across the world of which 200,000 deaths were reported only in Pakistan. Average 600 deaths of children were being reported in Pakistan but only Tharparkar was taken in focus. Deaths in Tharparkar had also been reported in past years while there was no famine or drought. Today, Tharparkar was being exposed to drought due to lack of rains while the people of Tharparkar also lacked required awareness about meeting the challenges, he added.
Sindh Information and Local Government Minister Sharjeel Memon while repudiating the reports about release of funds from the federal government, said the federal government had so far not released even a single penny in favour of drought-affected people of Tharparkar. He said all previous governments had ignored Tharparkar with respect to necessary development and facilitations.
Taking part in the discussion, he said the issues of Tharparkar had deliberately been rendered as an entirely sensitive issue. Sindh government had felicitated the Prime Minister over his visit to the area and for his announcement of releasing Rs1 billion for relief and rehabilitation of the drought-affected populous of Tharparkar but sadly not a single penny was received as yet.
However, after the situation was made public, a tactful maneuver was applied by pushing the Director General of Benazir Income Support Programme to get released a sum of Rs50 million. The sum would be distributed among the drought-affected populaces of Tharparkar within two days but still people of Tharparkar did not get even a single penny from that announced money for relief and rehabilitation.
Memon said the fact was that all previous government had deliberately ignored Tharparkar but Sindh government was taking all due care of the people of Tharparkar and would not leave them at the mercy of the nature.
Leader of the opposition in Sindh Assembly Faisal Sabzwari said the opposition did not believe in political point scoring and assured full support to government in its positive efforts.
The opposition members who took part in the discussion included Khurram Sher Zaman of PTI, Punjomal Bheel, Ashfaq Mangi, Khawaja Izharul Hassan and Sardar Ahmed of MQM, Irfanullah Marwat and Eijaz Shah Sherazi of PML-N, Nandkumar and Jam Madad Ali of PML-F raised questions over the performance of Sindh government. They said why the chief minister visited Tharparkar six times if the situation was not grave. They said government should formulate short-term and long-term policies to ameliorate the lot of Thari people.
The treasury members Khatomal, Mahesh Kumar Mallani, Dost Ali Rahimoon, Ali Mardan Shah defended the government tooth and nail through figures.
The discussion was a lackluster affair for most of the treasury members. The House which was called in order by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani at 11:30 noon carried out the question-hour of information department. The session was adjourned till Friday morning.