KARACHI, Sept 23: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has distributed compensation cheques among the heirs of the victims of the Baldia Town garment factory fire tragedy.
Over 250 workers lost their lives in the worst-ever industrial disaster in the country.
A ceremony was held at the Chief Minister’s House on Saturday in which the PM gave cheques for Rs400,000 each for the dead and Rs100,000 each for the injured of the fire incident.
CM Syed Qaim Ali Shah also gave cheques for Rs300,000 each for those who lost their lives and Rs50,000 each to the injured.
The PM directed the federal labour and manpower ministry to give Rs500,000 each to the heirs of the workers killed in the inferno.
On a request of Pakistan People’s Party MNA Faryal Talpur, Malik Riaz of Bahria Town had also donated Rs200,000 each for the deceased.
The total financial support so far given to the victims’ families amounted to Rs900,000 each. While Rs500,000 each would be given from the federal labour and manpower minister as per directives of the prime minister.
Sindh governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, Punjab governor Sardar Lateef Khosa, federal ministers Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah and Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Sindh Assembly speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro and deputy speaker Shehla Raza, provincial ministers, parliamentarians and families of the deceased and the injured were present.
Addressing the families of the Baldia factory fire victims, the PM expressed his deep grief over the fire incident. “I find it very difficult to condole with the grieving families who have lost their dear ones in the fire incident,” he said.
He said the amount being given to them by the federal and provincial governments could not be the price of their dear ones but some assistance to the heirs to manage their daily life matters.
He said that the federal government would also give financial support to the families of those killed in the fire incident in a factory in Lahore on the same day the Balida Town tragedy occurred.
Later, the PM and the Sindh CM distributed compensation cheques among the heirs of the deceased and the injured of the fire incident.
The Sindh governor and the CM and the Punjab governor also spoke on the occasion.They assured all kind of cooperation and support to the victim families.
The Sindh governor and the CM said that the SITE Association of Industry had assured them that all the workers of the factory would be absorbed, besides contributing a good amount of money for the heirs of the deceased and the injured.
The governor said that the SIE association had informed him that a similar kind of garments factory would be set up by them where all unemployed workers would be given jobs.
The Punjab governor offered admissions to the children of the deceased in schools and universities of his province.
Speaking on the occasion, the PM announced that the government would fight on all diplomatic fronts to stop the evil forces in the world from all kinds of anti-Islam actions like the recent blasphemous film.
He reiterated his demand from the United Nations and other international organisations to come up with an effective legislation against all kinds of anti-Islam acts which harm co-existence and harmony among the followers of different religions.
“We would go to the UN and OIC and get a law passed to stop anti-Islam activities including blasphemy forever,” he remarked.
He said the Muslims had respect and reverence for all messengers (Prophets) of God and other religions in the world. “We expect that followers of other religions would reciprocate in the same way.”
He asserted that it would not be wise to go on strike or protest daily as this would harm our own country and create serious problems for the people.
“It is time to wage a diplomatic war with full sincerity and commitment till the international community is convinced to take concrete action including due legislation against all kinds of anti-Islam activities that provoke the sentiments of the Ummah,” he said.
He said that President Asif Zardari would raise the blasphemy issue in his address in the UN General Assembly after two days.
The president would convey sentiments and the views of people of Pakistan who were seriously hurt by such acts of hatred and disrespect for Islam, he added.
He said the United States ambassador in Islamabad was summoned by the Foreign Office and a strong protest was lodged with him over the blasphemous film made by a US citizen.
He said that the government had already closed Youtube within the country and demanded of the US government to remove the sacrilegious material from the network for religious harmony.
He said that for the first time in the country’s history, a day was declared at the government level to show love and respect for Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). But, miscreants distorted this nationwide peaceful protest and resorted to violence leading to loss of life and property in various cities of the country, he regretted.
“This would certainly have pleased the enemies of Islam and our country,” he said, adding: “Yesterday’s reaction has sent negative message to the world and weakened our country’s position on this very serious issue of blasphemy”.
He appealed to the ulema to stress for peaceful protests as it would not be justified to play with the people’s life or property in the name of love for Islam.
Rehabilitation steps for flood-hit people
The PM also held a meeting with Governor Ibad at the Governor’s House soon after his arrival in the metropolis on Saturday and reviewed arrangements made for the flood-hit people in certain parts of the province.
The meeting was also attended by the Punjab governor, the Sindh CM and Federal Minister for Climate Change Rana Muhammad Farooq.
The PM said that all-out efforts would be made for the rehabilitation of the rain-affected people and timely assistance would be ensured to them.
He said that the heavy rains had also caused a considerable damage in the southern Punjab and the affected people were being extended assistance by the government.
The PM appreciated the resilience of the people in braving the natural calamity.
He also expressed sorrow and grief at the loss of lives and property during unfortunate incidents in Karachi and other parts of the country on Friday.—APP