ISLAMABAD: Karam Chand from Mithi shocked the participants of a conference when he related his three children’s death due to malnutrition.

Mr Chand was specially brought to the National Conference on the State of Nutrition in Pakistan organised by a non-governmental organisation, Save The Children, at a local hotel in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Karam Chand’s 28-year-old wife was also present there but she did not say a single word.

“Since 2007, my three children have died for want of food. The only child who has survived the drought is four-year-old,” he said.

“I run a mobile phone shop and earn around Rs200 per day. I did not enjoy my childhood and never smiled because I hardly got food. I wanted to bring smile on the faces of my children but unfortunately I failed to do so,” he said.

“The desert has not received rain for almost three years which has aggravated problems for the people there. Each day we hear that children died of malnutrition,” he said.

“The wealth of people of Tharparkar is their animals but because of dry season a number of animals have died. Government should do something otherwise we will not be able to survive,” he said.

Mr Chand said he had never gone out of his city throughout his life. A representative of Child Rights Movement told him that he can take him to Islamabad to tell his story to people.

“I just want to request the government, media and other stakeholders to rescue people and animal in Tharparkar otherwise more people and animals will die,” he said.

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said that he was aware of the fact that Pakistan was facing malnutrition crisis.

“The government has been facing a number of challenges. Although Tharparkar is responsibility of provincial government but federal government is also doing effort to resolve the issue,” he said.

He said that civil society should come forward and tell solutions because problems could not be solved by only pointing them out.

“Pakistan is one of those countries which produce more food as compared to their requirements. By 2025 issue of malnutrition would be completely resolved,” he said.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan also addressed the conference.

Published in Dawn, December 25th, 2014

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