MITHI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced an aid package worth Rs1 billion for the people of drought-hit Tharparkar.
The calamity has so far claimed lives of around 100 children. The prime minister visited the area to meet the affected people and oversee the relief work.
During a briefing on the situation in the district, Prime Minister Nawaz stressed that the Sindh government should fix responsibility and punish those found guilty of negligence.
He further asked Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to chalk out a policy to avoid such damage in the future. “We need to find the root cause of the problem and prevent it,” the prime minister said.
Comparing the living conditions of Cholistan with Tharparkar, the prime minister questioned why there was a huge difference in the quality of life in the two deserts despite having identical environment.
While speaking during the briefing, Chief Minister Shah informed the prime minister that distribution of relief goods was fair and transparent.
Shah said teams consisting of local representatives, journalists and respected residents of the area will be formed to oversee relief efforts and ensure fairness.
The chief minister said that the main health-related problem in the area was a lack of female doctors. “We have decided to pay female doctors twice as much salary as they earn in cities and provide them with transport and other facilities,” he said.
He further assured the premier that his government has formed a policy to efficiently handle this issue and prevent it in future.
According to sources, there is a possibility that Sindh Food Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar and Provincial Revenue Minister Makhdoom Jameeluz Zaman may be removed from their positions, Express News reported.
Prime Minister Nawaz took notice of the strict security measures taken to protect him during his visit to Tharparkar.
The security protocol caused trouble to the people of Mithi as access to a local hospital was blocked.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also visited the district hospital in Mithi on Monday, Express News reported.
Accompanied by Sindh Minister for Information and Local Government Sharjeel Inam Memon, Bilawal met with and spoke to patients and their families.
Imran Khan criticises
Criticising the Sindh government for neglecting Tharparkar and focusing on the Sindh Festival, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairperson Imran Khan said that the “feudal mindset operates on gimmicks”.
He was speaking to the media in Lahore.
“Who is responsible for the deaths in Tharparkar? Is anyone going to be punished for it?” he asked.
He held the government responsible for the current state of affairs in the country, particularly terrorism.
The Pakistan Army has established four medical camps at Diplo‚ Chachro‚ Mithi and Nagarpakar to provide healthcare facilities to malnourished and sick children, Radio Pakistan reported on Monday.
Sindh Food Department has so far distributed over eight million kilograms of wheat in Mithi‚ Islamkot‚ Diplo‚ Chachhro and Nagarparkar, while the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Government has sent fifteen truck-loads of food items and medicines to Mithi.
Pakistan Islamic Medical Association has expedited its medical relief activities in Tharparkar by establishing medical camps in Mithi and several villages. The Association has started an ambulance service between Deplo‚ Islam Kot and Mithi to provide emergency services to drought-affected people.
According to Radio Pakistan, The World Food Programme has also offered life-saving medicines to famine-affected people of Tharparkar.
Government officials transferred
Several influential government officials have been able to secure transfers out of Tharparkar district to avoid responsibility of the famine situation, Express News reported Monday evening.
The Sindh government has already issued transfer notifications to this end.