Government slammed for not helping people affected by snowfall, rain in Balochistan

Updated February 14, 2020

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Members says PDMA is not providing compensation or rehabilitating those affected by the weather. — APP/File
Members says PDMA is not providing compensation or rehabilitating those affected by the weather. — APP/File

QUETTA: Opposition parties in the Balochistan Assembly on Thursday criticised the provincial government for its failure to help the people affected by heavy snowfall and rains in the province last month.

Opposition members claimed that the government and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has not provided compensation or took steps for rehabilitation of the people who were rendered homeless as their mud houses had collapsed and washed away in the snowfall and rains.

Leader of the Opposition Sikandar Khan, Advocate, said the Metrological Department had alerted about harsh weather, heavy snowfall and rains in the province, but the PDMA did not make preparations to meet the situation. He said thousands of the people in far-flung areas were still waiting for help.

Mr Khan said the PDMA only restored main highways, but the roads connecting remote areas remained closed for weeks.

The opposition leader also spoke about inflation and corruption in the government departments and said that while the people of Sindh and Punjab had job opportunities in the private sector, the people in Balochistan were deprived of jobs because there were no big industries in the province.

He said the price hike had pushed most of the people in Balochistan below the poverty line, while the federal government had imposed more taxes. “Unfortunately, law and order is being implemented on the poor and weak, but powerful mafia is blatantly violating the law in the province,” he said.

Speaker Qudoos Bizenjo, who was presiding over the session, directed the assembly secretary to ensure presence of the home secretary and PDMA officials during the next session of the assembly.

Taking part in the debate, the parliamentary leader of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal, Malik Naseer Khan Shahwani said 26 districts of the province were affected by snowfall and rains, but the provincial government did nothing to rehabilitate them.

Sana Baloch also of the BNP-M, while inviting attention to the prime minister’s statement about gold wealth of Reko Diq, said every ruler in Pakistan wanted to steal Balochistan’s natural wealth.

“Today, the country’s debt has jumped to 35,000 billion rupees, while the total wealth of Reko Diq is estimated at 77,000 billion rupees,” he claimed.

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2020