KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf vice president and Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh said on Monday that the rulers of Sindh were responsible for the theft of irrigation water, and the water share of the tail-end growers was being given to influential landlords.

Speaking at a press conference on the Sindh Assembly premises, he said that from 2008 to 2014 the Sindh chief minister used his special powers and allowed 8,330 direct connections from canals, “stealing” the water share of small farmers to benefit landlords of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

He alleged that the tail-end growers did not get their water share, as the water was illegally given to the henchmen and favourites of the Zardari family.

He alleged that Ali Hassan Zardari, Ghulam Qadir Marri, Malik Asad Sikandar, Kamal Chang, Manzoor Wassan and others got water through illegal connections. He said the rulers in Sindh had created an artificial water shortage. He said the wadera ministers and advisers were involved in the water theft.

Deplores worsening law and order situation in the province

Mr Sheikh said the rulers had wreaked havoc on old villages. He said they were accusing the federal government of making lands of Sindh barren. He said water was being given to Karachi as the PPP people had hydrants to sell water. He said the K-IV project had become a ‘white elephant’ and the PPP by changing its design had complicated that scheme.

He said an honest non-political grower in Sindh could not get water for his lands, while blue-eyed boys of the government had obtained direct connections from canals.

He said the representative of Sindh was present in Irsa and water was distributed on the basis of availability. He said funds for canal lining and embankments went into the pockets of the corruption mafia and “every year we face floods”.

He said all provinces were given water as per their respective share. He said in the cotton season Sindh was given more water.

Bilawal criticised

He said Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari could not become a Bashir Khan Qureshi or Benazir Bhutto. He said Bilawal could not become even a Rasool Bux Palejo. He said in the past the PPP was a national-level party and today it was just a provincial party.

Law and order

He said a day earlier 10 men in Sindh were murdered. He said their buffaloes were stolen and it was the duty of the police to recover them, but the police did not discharge their duties and when those villagers went to find their rustled cattle, they were killed by bandits. He said the next day seven murders were reported in Shikarpur. He said in four months 63 people were kidnapped and 15 were still in captivity of kidnappers.

He said kidnapping for ransom was on the rise in Sindh. He said that today bandits were so powerful that they shared their pictures on social media. They had no fear because they gave a share of the booty to officers and ministers. He said that shares even went to Chief Minister House. Haleem Sheikh said that after the police in Sindh were politicised no one feared police uniform.

He said the inspector general of police should have set up a camp office in the katcha area, but he did not even go to his own office. He said that after Kaleem Imam, the PPP itself had been running the Sindh police.

He said Rs756 billion was spent on law and order in the province. He said the crime graph was also rising in Karachi. He said that 48,703 cases were reported in 2019, and in 2020 the number rose significantly.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2021

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