KARACHI: Several members of the Sindh Assembly representing various political parties signed a declaration to establish a water caucus in the assembly in order to ensure an allied approach to tackle water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) challenges in Sindh, it has emerged.

The declaration was signed at a seminar on improved water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in Sindh organised by a USAID-supported project for community mobilisation for water governance, health and hygiene being implemented by Health and Nutrition Development Society (HANDS).

MPAs who signed the declaration included Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza, Nusrat Saher Abbasi, Haji Shafi Jamote, Arif Mohsin Bhatti, Dr Mohammed Rafique Banbhan, Faqeerdad Khoso, Dr Khatumal Jeewan, Ghazala Siyal, Jam Madad Ali, Pir Mujeeb ul Haq, engineer Pesumal Ukrani and Sorath Thebo.

It was agreed that the caucus members would take up WASH concerns through institutional structures of the assembly supporting development of legal framework on water and sanitation.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ukrani said that the Sindh government realised basic public needs and had taken many initiatives to ensure provision of clean drinking water to the people.

Jam Madad Ali and Dr Rafique Banbhan, however, criticised the government saying that there were serious gaps in the functioning of municipalities in Sindh and measures were needed for properly maintaining and operating water supply system.

“No water supply system across Sindh is providing clean drinking water. All water bodies have become heavily polluted, threatening fishermen’s livelihood and life,” Haji Shafi Jamote said.

Continued discharge of sewage into the sea had not only declined fish catch, but also affected marine biodiversity and now posed a serious risk to human health.

Former education minister and PPP leader Pir Mazharul Haq said that it was an irony that laws and policies framed by Sindh Assembly were not implemented.

USAID deputy mission director of Sindh and Balochistan Denise A. Herbol highlighted efforts of her organisation in the health sector and said water supply system was being installed in Jacobabad and the project was nearing completion.

“Currently citizens in Jacobabad are getting drinking water through donkey-carts, which is not safe for drinking,” she said.

Director of the Sindh municipal service delivery programme Iftikhar Kaimkhani said that municipal infrastructure was being developed in six select towns affected by 2010 floods with USAID support.

The towns where work was under progress were Jacobabad, Qambar, Shahdadkot, Mehar, Khairpur Nathan Shah and Johi.

Chief executive of HANDS Dr Shaikh Tanveer Ahmed, Mustafa Zaur, Nadeem Wagan, Nasir Panhwar and Waheed Jamali also spoke.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2017

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