‘Sindh’s depts, institutions failed Mehran Town factory victims’

PTI MPAs demand fair probe, condemn negligence of SBCA, labour, local govt depts


Our Correspondent August 30, 2021
Haleem Adil Shaikh. PHOTO: Haleem Adil Shaikh

KARACHI:

Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh reit-erated on Sunday the demand for a fair and transparent probe into the horrific Mehran Town factory fire, which left at least 16 labourers dead and several others injured.

Addressing a press conference at the Sindh Assembly building, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawmaker said that the blaze was blatant evi-dence of corruption and inefficiency in  the  Pakistan  Peoples Party-led  Sindh government.

None  of  the  relevant  ministries  and departments, including the labour department, local government department, Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and district municipal  authorities,  regulated  the  industrial  units  mushrooming  in  residential areas without fulfilling legal requirements and safety guide-lines, censured Haleem, who was flanked by PTI lawmakers Firdous Shamim  Naqvi  and  Haji  Muzafar  Shujrah.There  are  certain  procedural  re-quirements  for  establishing  an  industrial unit, which include ap-provals,  no-objection  certificates  (NOCs) and supervision by the rel-evant  authorities,  said  Haleem,  adding  that  all  the  legal  require-ments  appeared  lacking  in  the  Mehran Town factory and even the Supreme Court's guidelines in this regard were not followed.

The opposition leader demanded that a fair and transparent inquiry of  the  incident  be  conducted  and  Sindh  Chief  Minister  Syed  Murad  Ali Shah, Sindh Local Government Minister   Nasir   Hussain   Shah,   Labour  Minister  Saeed  Ghani  and  Advisor  to  CM  on  Law  Murataza  Wahab,  along  with  the  heads  of  the  relevant  regulatory  bodies  be  interrogated  for  their  negligence  and  apparently  corrupt  practices.  He reiterated that it was the onus of the Sindh government to protect the  lives  of  citizens  by  ensuring  compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

'PDM rejected'Expressing   his   views   on   the   Pakistan  Democratic  Movement's  public   gathering   in   Karachi,   Haleem said that the Pakistani na-tion had rejected PDM's narrative. The opposition alliance is worried that  people  are  not  attending  their  rallies so they bring students from madrassas to fill the seats, alleged Haleem,  adding  that  this  was  against political and ethical values.

By  bringing  students  to  PDM's  public   gatherings,   the   Jamiat   Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F)was jeopardising the life and well-being of children sent to madrassas to  acquire  a  religious  education,  claimed  Haleem.  Do  not  expose  under-age  students,  who  are  not  even vaccinated, to the coronavirus, he added.

Censuring  JUI-F  for  their  double  standards  regarding  participation  of  women  in  political  activities,  Sheikh  said  that  PDM  President  Maulana  Fazlur  Rehman  could  hold  meetings,  press  conferences  and public gatherings with Pakistan Muslim  League-Nawaz  (PML-N)  stalwart  Maryam  Nawaz  but  is  against  women's  participation  in  the PDM's public gatherings.

Pakistani    women    -    from    Mohtarma   Fatima   Jinnah   to   Shaheed Benazir Bhutto - have al-ways  played  an  important  role  in  politics  and  political  movements  of Pakistan, Haleem noted, adding that that about half of the country's population could not be denied their fundamental right of participation in political activities.

Moving on to the PPP, which broke away  from  the  opposition  alliance  last  April,  Haleem  said  that  the  Sindh government appears to believe that Covid-19 only targets schools and businesses but cannot infect people at political gatherings and rallies.

He    took    exception    to    PPP    Chairperson Bilawal Zardari's criti-cism of the PTI-led federal govern-ment and urged the PPP leadership to  show  their  performance  and  achievements for their 13-year rule in Sindh. "The PPP's achievements include  deaths  of  Thar's  children  due to malnutrition, water scarcity, dilapidated  roads  and  infrastruc-ture,  heaps  of  garbage,  sewerage  ponds, closed schools, insufficient health services, and roaming dogs.

"'Plight of Sindh's people'Meanwhile,   former   opposition   leader  in  Sindh  Assembly  and  PTI  MPA  Firdous  Shamim  Naqvi  held  the PPP-led provincial government responsible for the plight of Sindh's people.  In  the  past  13  years,  the  number  of  schools  has  decreased  and  the  number  of  teachers  hired  are   173,000   though   there   are   300,000 positions, he said, adding that 4.5 million children were out of schools.

Naqvi claimed that the provincial government  stood  as  an  obstacle  in  the  issuance  of  health  cards  to  Sindh's  people.  He  alleged  that  other provinces benefited from bet-ter medical facilities.

He  further  accused  the  PPP  government of hindering employment opportunities and progress by block-ing  the  controversial  Bundal  and  Bhandar island development proj-ects  floated  by  the  PTI  government  in the Centre.

He recalled that in 2009, the Japan International  Cooperation  Agency  (JICA) had identified seven lines of mass  transit  in  Karachi  and  said  that thus far only one of them - the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Green Line project - is near completion thanks to the federal government.

The provincial government could not start work on the Red Line (BRT) in three years while the Blue Line BRT was embroiled in corruption, said  Naqvi,  adding  that  the  Malir  Expressway  is  also  delayed  due  to  repeated changes in design.

He  added  that  the  Sindh  government  was  not  convening  a  meeting of the Provincial Finance Commission and was delaying local government  elections  citing  con-cerns over the 2017 population cen-sus while contesting by-elections.

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