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The Helpless People Of Thar!

Once again, we are receiving the sad news of deaths of children from the drought-hit areas in Thar. There seems to be a consistent increase to the number of deaths of children despite so many claims from Sindh government of having taken the required steps. The Chief Minister Sindh and other provincial ministers of PPP have rejected all the criticism over this serious issue saying, “Drought is a natural phenomenon”.

It is true that Drought is natural, but it is not like the earth quake of 2005 in Kashmir that took place after decades for which the government was unprepared. In fact, the drought in Thar has been so common that almost after every couple of years, it strikes again. Then, should the Sindh government not be well-prepared to reduce the damages to the people?

Very unfortunately, every time drought takes place in Thar, the residents of Thar have to face the same old problems like scarcity of drinking water, food and basic health facilities. And due to all these, several diseases occur which take hundreds of human lives especially including of children and pregnant women. However, not speaking of providing relief to the drought victims, we hear the news of corruption in the allocated funds and misuse of the available facilities in this respect. Question is, who else should be held responsible for this if not the PPP and its government?

Of course, it is fact that, seeing the drought repeatedly hitting Thar, it is not easy for Sindh government to found and develop a new city with all the basic facilities in order to shift the entire population from Thar permanently as it requires not only much time, but also huge amount of money. However, when we see the PPP leadership and its Sindh government working on the mega project of Zulfiqarabad near Thatta with billions of rupees by acquiring thousands of acres of land, it exposes its priority. More importantly, Zulfiqarabad has no provision for the helpless people of Thar. Unfortunately, the poor people of Thar have been left to the mercy of starvation, diseases and finally the death by their own ruling elite.

Similarly, millions of rupees were spent for Sindh Festival in the name of promoting Sindh`s culture. Not a single planned objective can anyhow be claimed to have been achieved after so huge expenses. Could that money not have been spent in taking pre-emptive measures for the imminent drought in Thar? If spent so, the intensity of problems of people of Thar could definitely be lessened to a reasonable extent. But, no priority was given to the poor people. All these reveal how much care PPP and its Sindh government take of their own people.

Some days ago, PPP representatives were criticizing their political rival MQM of having done nothing for its voters despite being in the coalition government. Consequently, if MQM, in spite of inconsistently having few ministries with the limited authorities, could be expected to do wonders, then what should PPP have done for its own people after having enjoyed absolute power in the province for several decades?

Another aspect of the prevailing situation of famine is that MQM, which has been portrayed as the enemy of Sindh and Sindhis by PPP and other Sindhi nationalists, is busy in relief activities in Thar. Its welfare wing KKF has set up its camps in the drought-affected areas which are not only medically facilitating the people who have suffered from drought-resultant diseases, but are also providing necessary food items as well as drinking water to them.

In contrast to it, the elected representatives of interior Sindh as well as the other landlords have not come up yet, like in the past, to help their own community. We can see donations coming to Thar from the Urban Sindh especially including Karachi, but no such a gesture has ever been displayed from the landlords of Larkana, Nawabshah, Khairpur, Dadu, Badin who have always claimed to be the true guardians of Sindhis.

To tell the truth, foreign or local welfare or charity organizations like KKF, Edhi, Chheepa etc can help the people in Thar to the extent of the resources that they have, but the permanent solution of the problems is in their own hands. They will have to decide now if they should keep replying upon the same selfish landlords who do not realize their difficulties, or they need to bring forward a person who truly represents them so that he can struggle to resolve their decades` long issues. The decision is theirs. May God help Tharis at the earliest!

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