Plane crash blame game intensifies as PTI accuses PPP govt of poor response

Published May 28, 2020
Leaders of the Tehreek-i-Insaf Haleem Adil Sheikh  and Firdous Shamim Naqvi speak at the press conference on Wednesday.—PPI
Leaders of the Tehreek-i-Insaf Haleem Adil Sheikh and Firdous Shamim Naqvi speak at the press conference on Wednesday.—PPI

KARACHI: The blame game between the provincial and federal governments that started over the lockdown strategy to contain the spread of coronavirus has now extended to the affairs of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) after the recent plane crash as key provincial leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf blamed the PPP-led Sindh government for poor post-disaster mismanagement and held the PPP responsible for the collapse of the national carrier.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sindh ministers Nasir Shah and Saeed Ghani held a press conference and came down hard on the PTI government as well as PIA chief executive officer against the backdrop of May 22 plane crash.

On Wednesday, Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi and PTI’s parliamentary party leader came up with a tit-for-tat press conference on the campus of a private university, questioning the performance of the PPP government in Sindh amid the coronavirus pandemic and the relief and rescue operation following the plane crash.

‘Ministers came only for photo sessions’

“When the plane crashed there was not a single ambulance of the provincial government and not a single official to deal with the incident,” said Mr Naqvi. “Has there even [been] a single government hospital equipped with a cold-storage facility to place at least 200 bodies at one time? Two major airplane crashes were witnessed in the PPP governments. The former rulers destroyed the PIA by recruiting more than 4,500 surplus staff and now they blame the federal government for every crisis.”

He said the PIA was suffering Rs35 billion annual losses at a time when the PPP was ruling in the centre and in Sindh. In the government of PML-N the accumulated estimated loss of the PIA was Rs500bn, he said.

Opposition leader Naqvi holds PPP responsible for PIA collapse as it hired over 4,500 surplus staff

He also criticised Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani for commenting on every issue “pretending himself to be an expert” of all fields.

Haleem Adil Sheikh said that there were no disaster management department of the Sindh government at the site of the crash.

He claimed the PTI workers and volunteers were there for rescue and relief with other organisations and the provincial ministers came hours after the incident only for “photo sessions”.

“We are in contact with the PIA and the insurance company. We would ensure that the bereaved families are paid Rs5 million [each],” he said. “We are even launching a campaign for the children of Lyari. The Sindh government misleads the people and pretends itself to be the only sympathiser of Sindh but it never comes up with answers about dog bites and non-availability of clean drinking water in the province.”

He alleged that the Sindh government had locked mosques and Imambargahs in the name of the lockdown but kept liquor stores open.

Sindh’s education graph declining

Hunaid Lakhani, the Sindh chief of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, said that the PPP leaders were lying to the people and ruled the province on a misleading agenda.

That’s why, he added, Sindh was the only province where education graph was coming down constantly.

“Due to poor performance of the Sindh government, Pakistan stands in the rank of countries like Somalia,” he said, adding “the ministers of Sindh government themselves confess that there are more than over 100,000 ghost teachers in Sindh. I humbly advise the Sindh government to hold one press conference about its own system, including recruitments, promotions and admissions.”

He said that the mismanagement and unplanned decisions of the Sindh government made lives of hundreds of thousands of daily wage earners and poor people miserable.

He said the measures announced at the time of the lockdown were not implemented and it showed weak governance.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2020

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