SUKKUR: Frustrated by prolonged lockdown and Sindh government’s failure to feed starving daily-wagers, workers and supporters of ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) broke out of enforced isolation and took to the streets in Jacobabad, Ghotki, Kandhkot, Kashmore and Rohri towns flaunting rules of social distancing.

The enraged workers in a large rally taken out in Rohri raised slogans against the party leaders and accused them of giving away ration bags — meant for the daily-wagers rendered temporarily jobless by the lockdown — to their favourites and relatives who fared relatively well during the closure.

Flaunting the social distancing rules, the protesters marched shoulder to shoulder in the streets of Rohri and condemned PPP stalwarts’ ‘indifference’ to their plight.

They told media persons that even after 17 days of the lockdown no party leader had bothered to enquire about their conditions and provide them ration or financial aid.

They said that not a single ration bag had been provided thus far by any Sindh government functionary or wealthy party leaders to any poor family.

They were more frustrated at provincial minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah and MNA Nauman Islam Shaikh for whom they had voted in election and said the two had never bothered to visit their constituency and take care of the voters who had sent them to assemblies.

“We want food for the starving families not lectures,” remarked the protestors who were led by PPP activists Zeeshan Ahmed Bhutto, Barkat Bhutto, Abdul Ghani Channa, Fida Hussain, Irfan Thaheem and others.

They said that they watched Nasir Shah and party MNAs only on TV screens delivering speeches and debating with opponents but they no longer saw them in the constituency.

They said that lockdown had deprived people, especially daily-wagers, of their legitimate sources of income, for the past 17 days. The poor were the worst hit and citizens had become so helpless they could not beg nor borrow from anybody to feed their families, they said.

The protesters warned if Nasir Shah or Nauman Islam did not come to their rescue, they would stage a sit-in in front of the Sukkur Press Club.

In Jacobabad, Kandhkot-Kashmore districts and Khangarh in Ghotki, hundreds of daily-wagers protested against the government and raised slogans against the chief minister and local elected representatives.

They said that they watched their leaders adorning TV screens and making tall claims about how deftly they were coping with the situation but in reality they did nothing for the starving families.

They said that in Ghotki Mahar sardars and other influential persons had billions but they had not offered any financial support or ration to the needy from their own resources. They were only offering lip service and issuing hollow appeals to the Sindh government to release funds, they said.

In Jacobabad, angry protesters raised slogans against PPP leader Ejaz Jakhrani and his brothers who, they said, were billionaires but they refused to spend even a penny from their pockets to help the needy.

They said that MNAs and MPAs, who had deep pockets, massive funds at their disposal, fat salaries, perks and other benefits, had no empathy for the people who had sent them to assemblies. They did not bother to take care of their poor voters in their time of need, they said.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2020