Balochistan’s flood-induced misery on Senate’s radar

Upper house mulls mechanisms to expedite relief efforts for the victims.


Zahid Gishkori October 17, 2012

ISLAMABAD:


Seemingly opting for a ‘later than sooner’ approach, Senators on Tuesday finally decided to take up the debate regarding the millions left marooned by the floods in Balochistan – some seven weeks after flash floods wreaked havoc in the province.


The crux of the debate in the upper house was to ascertain a mechanism “to expedite relief efforts for the flood victims” in Balochistan. Lawmakers also demanded the formation of a ‘powerful committee’ to take up the issue on an immediate basis.

Around 250,000 people are living on roads in Jaffarabad, Nasirabad and Jhal Magsi, Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo of National Party informed the house. “They [flood victims] are living like animals — not as human beings,” said Bizenjo, who recently visited the flood-hit areas of the province.

Earlier, Senate Deputy Chairman Sabir Ali Baloch suspended the whole business to kick off the debate on an adjournment motion moved by Leader of Opposition Senator Ishaq Dar to discuss flood-related issues of Balochistan. Bizenjo called for immediate assistance of the United Nations and other international donor agencies to avert the humanitarian crisis in the making in these regions.

“If you [the government] don’t call for the UN and other international donors for help, you will lose 50,000 people (due to hunger),” he warned.

Suddenly, the temperature of the Senate proceedings rose when Senator Rubina Irfan, also from Balochistan, said: “I [reject] the relief package for flood victims… It’s nothing but a photo session.”

Senator M Hamza of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) demanded the formation of a committee for raising funds for the natural disasters’ victims while Senator Ghulam Ali of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) offered subsidised food items for the flood-stricken people.

Senator Kalsoom Parveen of the Balochistan National Party (BNP) informed the House that waterborne diseases were causing several deaths in the flood-affected areas. She urged the government to ensure health facilities in local health care centres as an immediate remedy. The house will continue the debate on floods in Balochistan today (Wednesday) and the Senate chairman is most likely to pass a ruling to form a committee to tackle the issue.

Question and answer session

The Senate witnessed two back-to-back walkouts due to the absence of relevant ministers during the questions and answers session.

The PML-N and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) staged a walkout as their written queries remained unanswered during the course of the proceedings. PML-N members staged a token walkout over the absence of the ministers whose questions were on the agenda while MQM members also staged a token walkout over the issue of heavy taxes by the government on overseas telephone calls.

Regarding the absence of ministers, Senate Deputy Chairman Baloch passed the ruling that the prime minister must take notice of this. Leader of the House Jahangir Badar informed the upper house that he will convey their concerns to the premier. “If they [ministers] cannot attend queries then [they should] leave their jobs. [I shall] put [this] before the premier,” Badar said.

edited by Musab Memon

Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2012. 

COMMENTS (5)

Ishrat salim | 9 years ago | Reply

@huzaifa:

It is the responsibility of the state and the govt to take are of their citizens as per constitution and on humanitarian ground all of us are morally responsible to take care of our brothers....

huzaifa | 9 years ago | Reply

@ishrat salim: My dear! shouldn't the hairbiyar and brahamdagh descend from their heavenly aspens covered abodes in europe to look after their earthlings in despair?????

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