For the orphans and staff of Pakistan Sweet Home orphanage, a visit from the federal minister for religious affairs, Khursheed Ahmed Shah, on Saturday came as a joyous occasion. Shah went around to different sections of the orphanage and announced that he would give 25 employees permanent jobs and provide a Suzuki Hi-roof and a bus for the children.
According to the Sukkur Baitul Maal district officer, Shabbir Memon, the Pakistan Sweet Home orphanage, which was established in August 2011, was initiated by Benazir Bhutto after an attack on her convoy in 2007 which left many Pakistan Peoples Party workers dead. She wanted the workers’ orphans to be provided shelter and receive quality education, said Memon.
The orphanage has a capacity to house 100 boys, between the ages of four to six, who are looked after by guardians, Memon said. The boys are from different districts including, Sukkur, Shikarpur, Kandhkot, Jacobabad, Ghotki and Khairpur, said Memon. Besides lodging and boarding, these children are being given quality education at Public School Sukkur, Memon said.
Most of the boys living at the orphanage have lost their fathers either to floods or tribal feuds.
Talking about the recent NA-151 elections in Multan, Shah expressed displeasure over what he called ‘hype’ created by the media. Shah said that the PPP alone had defeated three political parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf and therefore the media should realise that the PPP is still popular among the masses. Shah said that the PML-N is in power in the Punjab but despite that the PPP won a seat in Multan, which clearly speaks to its popularity.
“The people’s court is the one after Allah’s court and people have announced their verdict in favour of the PPP,” said Shah, responding to a question about the prime minister filing his statement on July 25 in connection with writing a letter to the Swiss authorities.
Ever since coming to power, the PPP government has been facing challenges of terrorism, floods and torrential rains, but despite all this, we have managed to keep the prices of daily commodities under control, said Shah. The price of flour has been brought down to Rs30 per kilogramme from Rs40 and the price of sugar, which had gone up to Rs105 per kilogramme has been brought to Rs55 per kilogramme. Similarly, fuel prices have also been slashed to Rs85 per litre from Rs105. Today there is no shortage of food items in the country, he claimed.
The energy crisis has proved a setback for the country’s economy but Shah was optimistic that this phase will be over soon. Criticising the past governments he said, “They stopped work on the Thar Coal Project, which was started by the PPP government and as a result, the country is facing an energy crisis.” He said that in 1995, the population was 110 million and today it had reached 190 million, but the past governments have failed to develop the infrastructure because of this increase in population.
The present government has added 3,600 mega watts in the national grid and 1,000 mega watts more will be added by the end of this year, said Shah. According to him, government has initiated many power projects which will minimise load shedding to two to three hours a day by 2013-2014. By 2017 not only load shedding will be eliminated, but people will also get cheap electricity, said Shah. He said that a young man from Sindh will perform an experiment of running an automobile on water in Islamabad. “Now we will produce electricity through water, wind and solar energy, which will not only be cheaper, but attract foreign investment,” said Shah
Thar Coal project
“We can create more than 100,000 jobs by putting the Thar Coal Project on a fast track,” said Shah. More than 200,000 people will get jobs with the development of Keti Bunder. Painting a colourful picture of Sindh’s future, Shah said that with the development of Thar Coal Project and Keti Bunder, Sindh will get extra revenue between Rs200billion to 250billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2012.