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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Saturday dispelled the impression that his government was not in favour of Bhasha dam. He stressed that the issues relating to storage of water must be resolved.

However, he said, “we have to see how much water is available in our system.”

The chief minister was speaking to the media after inaugurating Centre of Autism Rehabilitation and Training (C-ART) in Gulistan-i-Jauhar on Saturday.

“The Sindh government has no objection to the construction of Bhasha dam,” he categorically stated and stressed the need for finding ways to store water.

Mr Shah conceded that street crime in Karachi was on the increase and this was drawing wide criticism.

South Asia’s biggest public sector autism centre inaugurated

“Actually, this [surge in street crime] was observed during the caretaker dispensation ... and now we are (working on) curbing it,” he said.

Earlier, addressing the ceremony for the inauguration of C-ART, the chief minister said autism or disability was, to him, not a disease but a problem which parents and the society must learn to handle with love and care, and address it relying on medical treatment.

The CM pointed out that the newly appointed provincial police chief was about to assume his charge. A sustainable strategy to eliminate street crime would be chalked out in consultation with the new inspector general of police, he said.

Regarding the National Action Plan (NAP), Mr Shah said its implementation was in progress. The targeted operation carried out in the city had produced good results, he said. “Now we are going to divert it towards those involved in street crime, drug mafia and land-grabbers,” he added.

Speaking about public welfare, the CM said that poor families were being provided houses under the Benazir Bhutto Housing Cell.

“This programme was continuing for many years and a large number of people have already benefited from it.”

He said establishing institutions itself was a big task but the real issue was finding dedicated and devoted professionals to run them in public interest and make these institutions genuine.

The chief minister advised the management of the new medical facility to establish its satellite centres elsewhere in the province. He pointed out that the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) had its eight satellite centres in different districts of Sindh.

“Today we have established the C-ART and we have found dedicated persons like Dr Nabila Soomro and her associates to make it one of the best institutions in South Asia,” he said. He noted that it was the biggest public sector autism rehabilitation centre in South Asia.

Mr Shah said that C-ART would be of great benefit for the parents who could not afford private treatment of their children.

Mr Shah said there were over 60 million people with autism across the world. Many Third World countries in Africa and Asia, including Pakistan, did not even have access to public services for treatment of the disorder.

It was in 2016-17 when Sindh allocated Rs71.7 million for the establishment of C-ART in a three-storey building built with 38 rooms over three acres in Gulistan-i-Jauhar.

It has the capacity of enrolling 300 children in a session.

Earlier, the chief minister unveiled the plaque to inaugurate the centre.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2018