Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf PTI Vice President and Sindh Assembly Opposition Leader Haleem Adil Sheikh accused provincial rulers of stealing irrigation water. He alleged that the share of tail-end growers was being handed to influential landlords.
Haleem told a press conference that the Sindh chief minister, from 2008 to 2014, used his special powers to allow 8,330 direct connections from canals, thus diverting the share of small farmers to PPP men. He stressed tail-end growers were deprived of their due share which was given to "the henchmen and favourites" of the Zardari family.
He alleged Ali Hassan Zardari, Ghulam Qadir Marri, Malik Asad Sikandar, Kamal Chang, Manzoor Wassan and others received water through these illegal connections. He said Sindh's rulers had created an artificial water shortage.
Haleem said the ruling party had wreaked havoc in old villages of Sindh. He said the K-IV water project had become a white elephant and PPP further complicated it by changing the design. The PTI man continued that an honest, nonpolitically affiliated grower could not get water for his lands in Sindh. "Meanwhile, the favourites of the government have direct connections to the canals."
The opposition leader slammed the Sindh regime for falsely accusing the federal government of turning the province's lands barren. He said a representative of Sindh was present in the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) and water was distributed on the basis of availability.
He said funds for canal lining and embankments went into the corruption mafia's pockets and that was the reason people faced floods in the province on an annual basis. Haleem asserted all provinces were given their due share of water.
"In the cotton season, Sindh is given more water".
The PTI vice president took a jibe at PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and said the latter could not be compared with great political figures like Benazir. He claimed that PPP had gone from a national force to a provincial-level party under Bilawal's leadership.
Talking about crime, Haleem pointed to the recent incident in which 10 people were killed. He said the police did not perform their duties in helping the victims to recover their stolen buffaloes and chickens.
"These people were killed by bandits when they went to find their animals," the opposition leader stated. Further elaborating on the deteriorating security situation, Haleem said seven murders were reported from Shikarpur the next day.
He quoted that 63 people had been kidnapped and 15 were still in captivity. The PTI leader stated that kidnapping for ransom was on the rise in Sindh, while bandits had become so powerful that they could share pictures on social media. "There is no fear because they give a share of the booty to officers and ministers. The share even goes to the Chief Minister House." He said Rs756 billion were spent on law and order in Sindh.
"Crime is also rising in Karachi," Haleem pointed out. He said Karachi 48,703 cases were reported in 2019 and that number rose significantly in 2020.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2021.