Former Sindh chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim has requested the formation of a judicial commission by the Supreme Court to uncover the causes of the drought in Thar and to record statements from those affected in the region. Rahim has also submitted an application to become party to a suo motu case regarding the drought.
On Wednesday, Rahim’s counsel Hashmat Habib asked for a judicial commission to probe allegations of bad governance, corruption, discrimination and abuse of authority by the provincial government, which is accused of failing to take precautionary measures to curb the effects of the annual drought.
The petitioner stated that ‘due to the carelessness of the government, the drought was not declared in time and wheat was not supplied in a timely way by the relief department’.
Additionally, the petition claims that ‘drought was declared in December (and) due to corruption and other reasons of transportation, wheat supply was not started until February 2013’.
“There are complaints that affectees are being given relief amounts after an illegal deduction of Rs1,000, which is a criminal act,” Rahim claimed. He said that ‘unbiased’ officials are required in order to ensure transparency in the relief process and the monitoring of funds. “An effective scheme and transparency is possible only by issuing Watan Cards to each NIC-holder, irrespective of their political affiliation,” Rahim said.
Rahim’s application stated that flour mills in the region owned by PPP MPAs are supplying wheat at the cost of Rs1,800 per 40kg, whereas the actual price is Rs1,100 per 40kg.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2014.
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