PTI, JI blame Sindh govt for people’s miseries in lockdown

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Volunteers of a charity organisation prepare ration bags in an FB Area warehouse on Monday to be distributed among deserving people.—Shakil Adil/ White Star
Volunteers of a charity organisation prepare ration bags in an FB Area warehouse on Monday to be distributed among deserving people.—Shakil Adil/ White Star

KARACHI: Opposition parties in Sindh on Monday expressed their concern over the situation in the wake of the 15-day lockdown imposed by the Sindh government, saying the provincial authorities’ failure to manage the system was making daily life miserable for a large number of people across the province.

Speaking at a press conference, Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) expressed serious concerns over the fast-changing situation in the province where according to him the government had failed to implement its strategy it had devised to keep regular life unaffected.

“Now after one week of the lockdown, the situation is fast changing and hundreds of thousands of people are suffering from hunger and grinding poverty,” said Mr Naqvi.

‘The challenge of providing rations, food to the poor cannot be met by charities and NGOs alone’

Accompanied by his party’s parliamentary leader Haleem Adil Sheikh, he said: “The provincial government only tried to keep things good in news and headlines but failed to make it practically on the ground. A large number of people are without food and daily household things waiting for the promised ration and assistance from the provincial government.”

Mr Sheikh said that the government had announced Rs3,000 each for deserving persons, which could never help any individual or family to run their kitchen. But still, he said, the promised amount was not disbursed among the poor.

“The Sindh government announced the lockdown without any preparation only to score points. We assured our support and every help to meet the challenge but we were never invited in any of the meetings. If the Sindh government’s failure continues in this pandemic, it can lead to serious issues in the province including law and order situation. The CM and his team must wake up before it’s too late,” he added.

The Jamaat-i-Islami also echoed the same concern and demanded that the government coordinate with its institutions in a better way as the challenge to feed the poor segment of society during the lockdown could not be met by welfare and non-government organisations alone.

“The situation is not good,” JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rahman told a press conference at the party’s Idara Noor-i-Haq headquarters. “We from the platform of Al-Khidmat are providing best possible assistance to poor people. We have so far provided ration to more than 13,000 families and cooked food to over 37,000 families. But the challenge is much bigger than the capacity of any private institution or organisation.”

He said there was a serious lack of planning and political will from the government and it had intensified the crisis.

On one hand the crisis had emerged due to the lockdown and on the other, the government had failed to control prices of essential items, he added.

“Who’s responsible for all such exploitation and profiteering? Who should be questioned if the prices of flour, sugar and rice have gone up manifold during the days of the lockdown? The PPP government must realise that it has to do things practically instead of making mere announcements,” he said.

Meanwhile, chief of the Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal Sindh region Hunaid Lakhani, who also belongs to the PTI, demanded a review on the lockdown decision, saying the restriction was only making life of poor people miserable as the authorities had not been able to keep the situation under control.

“The Sindh government should review its decision,” said Mr Lakhani. “The mismanagement and unplanned decisions are making lives of hundreds of thousands of daily wage earners and poor people miserable. A large number people cannot afford the lockdown restrictions. Similarly, the measures which were announced earlier are not being implemented showing weakness of governance.”

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2020