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Image shows a native woman of Tharparkar with her child.— Photo by Hussain Afzal
Image shows a native woman of Tharparkar with her child.— Photo by Hussain Afzal

KARACHI: The Sindh government rejected an aid offer on Saturday made by its Punjab counterpart for the famine-hit people of Tharparkar, DawnNews quoted sources as saying.

Earlier on Friday, authorities had ordered a probe into the death of 41 children who reportedly died of pneumonia and malnutrition in a stretch of the Thar desert.

Media reports from Mithi, one of the least developed and most remote districts in southern Sindh province, had suggested that more than 100 people had died because of famine and malnutrition.

“It is a very serious matter and we have deputed a senior member of the party and officials to probe into the deaths,” Syed Qaim Ali Shah, the chief minister of Sindh, had told reporters.

The minister also ordered the arrest of senior health officials for neglecting their duties, saying they had failed to move the children to hospitals in the bigger cities.

Shah said the cause of the deaths would be confirmed by the investigation but apparently pneumonia and malnutrition were among the reasons.

The chief minister said the government records showed the death of 41 children but there were fears that the actual number may be higher.

The Thar desert begins around 300 kilometres (200 miles) from Karachi and runs up to the border with India, where it joins the Rajasthan desert.

In 2000, the desert suffered a famine that killed 90 per cent of the livestock, the economic mainstay of the area.

Comments (55) Closed

Imran Ahmed Mar 08, 2014 11:11am

In a civilized country with a smattering of responsible people in provincial assemblies the Sindh Chief Minister would be facing a vote of no confidence, the Food Minister would be immediately fired and would face charges of manslaughter. Steps would be taken to prevent tragic instances of mis governance like this one occurring again.

sabeeh omer Mar 08, 2014 11:12am

Where is all the Pakistan Peoples Party hierarchy? Huddled in their air-conditioned villas! Where is the slogan of ROTI, KAPRA aur MAKAN? Shame on the PPP. Children were dying of want of food and the PPP was busy promoting Bilawal Bhutto on the tune of Sindh Festival singing and dancing on the ruins of Moenjodaro. Who were they trying to fool? If there is a shred of morality in the hearts of the PPP leadership the entire cabinet should resign starting from their incapacitated Chief Minister.

eager beaver Mar 08, 2014 11:30am

What else can you expect from the rural elite-the waderas-of Sindh which is looting the resource of both urban and rural areas of province in the name of 'Shaheed BB" daughter of 'Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto?'

This is the worst government that Sindh has ever seen in its history.

datu Mar 08, 2014 11:34am

Shame on Sindh Govt ..

Youth Mar 08, 2014 11:49am

This shows the arrogance generated out of incompetence & guilt. Punjab is no stranger so what is the problem in accepting their help.

malik Mar 08, 2014 11:56am

PPP & Sindh government are playing politics while people are dying from hunger. Shameful conduct.

N K Ali Mar 08, 2014 12:00pm

@eager beaver: My brother, YOU ARE 101 PERCENT RIGHT. Thanks to our FLAWED constitution that allows parties to rule in areas where they are not elected from. The citizens will help, Inshallah. Salams

eNice Mar 08, 2014 12:03pm

Very bad about peoples Life, what Government in Sindh. Is there any Government in Sindh?

love pakistan Mar 08, 2014 12:10pm

Manslaughter shame on ministry of sindh we are one

Raza Mar 08, 2014 12:11pm

After losing their populer vote in Pakistan and being reduced to a provincial party, I pray and hope that PPP loses the elections in Sind next time and voted out from government for good. This party is a leech sucking the blood of Pakistanis.

Shah Mar 08, 2014 12:17pm

These are Pakistani children and there is no shame in accepting money from a brotherly Pakistani province. But since this would put the PPP government in bad light, they prefer more child deaths then loosing face.

We all knew something really bad is going to happen in Tharparker. But the government was too busy with their festivals.

Parvez Mar 08, 2014 12:22pm

While people die.....politicians play games of one-up-manship.......disgraceful......but expected.

Shabbir Mar 08, 2014 12:28pm

As per the article, "The minister also ordered the arrest of senior health officials for neglecting their duties, saying they had failed to move the children to hospitals in the bigger cities".

What about the arrest of the responsible minister of that area who had neglected his duties while the famine condition was building up during the last few weeks/months and he was probably busy celebrating the Sindh Festival with his Twitter Commando boss?

Arresting the health officials for failing to move childrens is not only enough, what about people responsible to let the children and people in their constituencies come to this stage of malnutrion.

Khurram Awan Mar 08, 2014 12:45pm

The people of Punjab dont need to ask for the Permission to reach out and help the people on the ground. We dont need the permission of some Feudal lords to tell us what to do.

Also shame on PPP's chairperson Bilawal that he is sitting in Dubai and their party is in power here but they failed to address the issue for months and now many people have died unfortunately.

Digital Divide Mar 08, 2014 12:56pm

Does Chief Minister of Sindh, and for that matter, the relevant minister whose responsibility is to take care of poor natives of Thar has courage to resign from their posts?

Dr Khan Mar 08, 2014 01:05pm

MQM should donate some money from HARD EARNED Bhatta

usman Ulhaq Mar 08, 2014 02:01pm

'Dont worry !! BB zinda ha !!!' :: this statement is yet to come from PPP

love pakistan Mar 08, 2014 02:17pm

@Digital Divide: They are not worried cause they go to sleep with their tummy full with yummy food. Gives me goosebumps thinking Umar RA couldnt sleep thinking what if there is one person going to sleep hungry he would be answerable to the Lord.

Amir Ali Shah Mar 08, 2014 02:27pm

The rubber stamp CM Qaim Ali Shah should have resigned if he had a bit of courage & character. This is the norm in a truly democratic country. Mr. Bilawal please come forward for the aid of your people.

Ishrat salim Mar 08, 2014 03:17pm

@Digital Divide:

There is no word as RESIGN in our dictionary nor in our culture nor we have moral courage to quit under such appalling circumstances where human lives are concerned....Chief Sec Health Sindh is the son in law of CM and CM has made other officials of health dept as scapegoat....

Ishrat salim Mar 08, 2014 03:19pm

@Dr Khan:

Among all political parties MQM were the first to respond.....

Ishrat salim Mar 08, 2014 03:24pm

It is no shame to accept help and assistance from other province....but Sindh govt is making this issue a matter of ego instead of humanitarian....

Oz Mar 08, 2014 03:34pm

Scrap these damn subas. Their administration are counter productive and a burden on the economy of the country. Make local governments and the whole country should be controlled by a central federation. National wealth should not be the wealth of the province - kiya baqwaas or propaganda hay yeh that Punjab helps and Sindh refuses ?? Insaan mar rahay hain iss mulq main !!!!

SYEDA SARA BATOOL Mar 08, 2014 03:47pm

very bad we sindh can accept aid offer of America but rejects aid offer of pakistans province,,,,,we should be together on every hard time instead of beating about the bush.

Youth Mar 08, 2014 04:16pm

@usman Ulhaq: BB zinda hai baqi saray mer jai'n, mayri bala se. Sindh govt is not doing good for the masses

Khalid Mar 08, 2014 04:32pm

I perfectly understand the refusal of the PPP government. If I was running PPP, I would be very scared of this gesture as well. PPP has made beggars out of these people by giving them 1,000 (or is it 2,000!) rupees a month. Accepting help from Punjab would mean accepting the fact that PPP have failed and showing the way to people that it is not only PPP that can give 1000 rupees a month. Punjab can pay them even better !!. Guess who would the people turn to when they are voting in next elections?.

TKhan Mar 08, 2014 04:33pm

The offer of help is refused as the inquiry is under way to find out the real reason of the death of these children.

The report is classified; and the real reason of the death was that these kids were drowned in the swimming pools of there homes. There is no shortage of water, the Governor of Sindh along with Prince Balawal Bhotto or is he a Zardari; personally visited these areas while sipping on chilled bottles of Evian Water or was it Nestle. Hence no aid or help is needed. Case closed!

Masoud Mar 08, 2014 04:57pm

Sindh CM should resign. What type of an administration he is running when the CM himself thanked the media of breaking the news of children death in Tharparkar. The sindh cabinet has no machinery of its own to know what is going on in Sindh.

Atif Mar 08, 2014 05:04pm

Ego is killing us. It will take us to a new low. Shame on Sind government.

Imran Siddiqui Mar 08, 2014 05:48pm

Sindh govt has money for the stupid festival but no money for the poor of Sindh.

usman civil 01-08-2013 Mar 08, 2014 07:25pm

@Atif: You are right

iftekharhussain Mar 08, 2014 08:34pm

If there is any government which is the most corrput in this region, it is the Sindh government. Their politicians have eaten up everything Pakistan has, whatever is left is hunger and poverty.

Bilal Hassan Mar 08, 2014 09:27pm

That is sad, apathetic attitude of Sindh government towards their people is really a matter of ignominy for the people in high echelons of Sindh government. Then denying the aid offer from a brotherly neighboring province is even bad. Sindhi officials must care for the poverty stricken people rather being egocentric about that issue.

G.Nabi Mar 08, 2014 09:40pm

A senile chief minister Qaim & his cronies ruling the province, children dying of malnutrition , at the same time Sindh government and Bilawal Zardari spending millions on show pieces like revival of Sindhi culture, a carnival held at ancient ruins of Mohanjidaro.- No questions asked.

Guest64 Mar 08, 2014 10:28pm

Yah , why we proud sindhi accept any thing from these idiots of punjab , our big and caring leader Mr Asif Ali Zardari , is bringing all his swiss , french , spanish and UK , money to feed our proud and dead children with gold made spoons and silver cups to drink the water from our great sindh river which our great leader is abiut to turn it into the river of honey ......

Ramesh Manghirmalani Mar 08, 2014 10:33pm

Sindhi Government is run by uneducated people

Logicaldude Mar 08, 2014 10:52pm

All Sindh government is good for is excuses and coverups. They eliminated local governments to grab more powers for themselves and more corruption opportunities. Remember when floods hits there was no one to help the villages that went under water. Remember Mehran bank the failed enterprise of Sindh government, well now they have a new bank called Sindh bank. Let us see how long it lasts. The violence and lawlessness goes on unabated in cities and villages of Sindh. Newsflash: Sharmila Farooqui loses her official automobile. Throw PPP out of Sindh government, or lose your province to thugs and thieves.

malick Mar 08, 2014 11:26pm

Punjab aid is politics. Punjabies need aid Punjan is not giving , this is the question. Punjab should migrate these families in punjab and give aid, no one stop punjab. I am retired person. I am from Punjab, Sialkot, for the last 25 years no one is giving my pension, I have written much, Sheeeeer family is not helping me to get my pension, How can I vote them?

TKhan Mar 09, 2014 12:07am

@Ishrat salim:

Oh Really?

khalida Mar 09, 2014 12:35am

Pakistan will be destroyed if we cannot unite. We are too vulnerable to division and conquest if we don't stand together. Let us hold together before it is too late.

Kashif Memon Mar 09, 2014 12:44am

"Reason" for filling their owns "coffers" from assistance of volunteers, philanthropist and other N-G-O stakeholders from different sectors, in-order to thwart the indulgence of federal govt. Might be they (Fed govt)become more vigilant on their intentions. How they provide the amenities to victims.

Shahid Mar 09, 2014 03:30am

Once the infrastructure for genuinely free, fair and rigging-free elections is established in Sindh, and voter confidentiality is ensured, I doubt we will ever see the supposedly clean-sweeps PPP has been making in interior Sindh since time immemorial. Several Hindu friends from Sindh have told me that their families are eager to vote for PTI but too afraid to do so because of fear of repercussions and also a resignation to the fact that PPP candidates would end up being winners anyway.

Waseem Mar 09, 2014 05:19am

It is not matter of ego or anything else. Lets try to understand folks: A government at any level accepts external aid when it doesn't have enough resource to meet the catastrophe. Do you think that Sind government doesn't have enough money, food or manpower to feed this district? No, it is the matter of only poor governance and negligence of state machinery that so many people died and nobody noticed? In this area all of the governments in Pakistan have more or less same record. On the other hand, by offering financial aid Mr. Sharif tried to play a political card and sent a message that only Sharifs can take care of all the country. If younger Sharif has some solution of incompetency or negligence then first he should apply it first in his own province, then send to his elder for central government brother and then export it to somewhere else. DISCLAIMER: I belong to Punjab and never voted to PPP.

Jalbani Baloch Mar 09, 2014 10:06am

The Govt. of Sindh, which has miserably failed in its own province, has no moral right to turn down the relief offered by the Govt. of Punjab. By this act, the Sindh Govt. wants to prove that it has capacity and resources that it can cope with this pathetic situation, which is nothing less than deceiving itself and the people of Sindh. I appeal to the the Govt. of Punjab that it should work the Federal Govt. and channel its support for the famine affected people of Sindh. These generous and humanitarian relief acts should be beyond the political considerations, and only aim at elevating the pangs and operations of famine affected people of Sindh

Rn Mar 09, 2014 01:25pm

I read another news Sindh denied any aid was rejected as Punjab didn't offer any. Not sure what to believe.

Ishrar Mar 09, 2014 01:50pm

@Rn: Where is the link to the news?

Rashad Mar 09, 2014 11:24pm

@iftekharhussain: They both are the same. I find no distinction between the current setup and the previous one. I miss Gen. Musharraf. He was right when he predicted during his resignation speech that only God can save Pakistan!

Rashad Mar 09, 2014 11:27pm

@Raza: All parties in Pakistan are reduced to province only parties. MQM is Karachi only, PPP is Sind only, and PML N is Punjab only. We don't have single party which can unite the people of Pakistan! I'm scared to even imagine where this will lead us to eventually!

Khanm Mar 10, 2014 01:23pm

The Sindh government rejected an aid offer on Saturday made by its Punjab counterpart for the famine-hit people of Tharparkar, It does not mention anywhere in the report as to why the aid was rejected...It is the merit of Print media to impart good news only, and to conceal the truth. What is really behind not accepting the aid is anyone guess

Muhammed Ali Mar 10, 2014 05:17pm

Figures of 5 arab rupees spent on the culture event in Sindh have been bandied about, if this is true then it just goes to show how out of touch these leaders are, they dance while the masses starve.. when will the public open their eyes and votes for change?

Talat H. Mar 10, 2014 07:39pm

Please tell us why the relief was turned down.

malick Mar 10, 2014 08:59pm

Accept aid, but do not let enter PMLN in your province and administration.

Dr Khan ko jawab Mar 11, 2014 03:32am

@Dr Khan: No one will accept their blood money.

yaseen Mar 11, 2014 01:07pm

Look at our state and our country... where do we stand. If just do simple maths for our Thar District only I can assure you this entire district with a population of approx. a million can be turned around with the best of the best facilities.

Our entire country is absolutely missing a master plan that uplift each Tehsil, District and so on into a revenue generation center with first fulfilling their own need and then later on contributing a portion of income to Federal Government to finance national institutions such as Army, Airlines, Railways, etc.

All it require an implementation plan of all existing laws, that are absolutely of world standards, that will for sure guarantee a self financed, self reliance Thar District.

A population density of 50 / square km is absolutely nothing for a state to turn it around into a Tourism Industry, Livestock Industry, Handicrafts and what talent and resources are hidden or will vanish in such a drought all over again.

I feel sorry and feel burdened by the fact that despite the will I can only wish to be that change agent.

Youth Mar 11, 2014 09:38pm

Change the Sindh CM, he is too old for the job.