HYDERABAD: The Sindh High Court’s (SHC) Hyderabad circuit bench on Tuesday expressed anger over delay in drainage of stagnant rainwater from Khairpur Nathan (K.N.) Shah town and showed displeasure over the absence Dadu Deputy Commissioner (DC) Murtaza Shah from the hearing.

The division bench, comprising Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro and Justice Amjad Ali Sahtio, asked K.N. Shah Assistant Commissioner (AC) Sonu Khan Chandio to contact the Dadu DC and tell him the court wanted him to give a timeframe for draining out water from K.N. Shah failing which the DC would be got arrested through the SSP. The court adjourned the matter to Oct 4.

The court was hearing a set of identical petitions on the issue of drainage of rain and floodwaters from different districts of Sindh.

K. N. Shah AC Chandio had appeared on behalf of the Dadu DC.

The DC was supposed to attend the hearing in person as a contempt of court notice was issued to him besides others on a plea filed by Altaf Sachal Awan, petitioner and lawyer from K.N. Shah taluka.

“How can you make compliance of the orders when you have not even read the court’s previous orders?” asked Justice Kalhoro while addressing the K. N. Shah AC.

The AC Chandio had informed the court that the DC was present in Dadu as the prime minister was likely to visit the district. “The PM is coming on a tour for a photo session and the DC is present there,” remarked Justice Kalhoro.

“We need to know what kind of medicines are provided to the people affected by rains. How much funds are released and how many relief camps set up [in Dadu],” asked Justice Kalhoro.

Justice Kalhoro was also critical of the photos presented by the AC, showing his selfies during the rescue work. “We acknowledge and appreciate your efforts shown in the pictures. But it appears you are having picnic in the area as these selfies suggest. Have you provided these life jackets to the people being ferried in boats? At least we have not seen common people travelling in boats with life jackets,” the judge said.

The court told the AC that he should have hired services of a photographer for taking his photos during the rescue work. “Your selfies suggest you were having fun,” he said.

He said the SHC wanted to know what was the strategy for draining out rainwater. “You guys are waiting for water to recede. What is your plan to drain out water from K. N. Shah?” the court asked the AC who remained speechless throughout the proceedings.

The court said: “We will ask the SSP to take the DC into custody. He must explain the time when the water is going to be drained out from K. N. Shah?”

The judge told the AC to contact the Dadu DC on phone and ask him to come to the court within an hour to explain a timeframe before the court.

The contempt plea was filed against Dadu DC Murtaza Shah, Sindh Health DG Dr Mohammad Juman Bahoto, Dadu district health officer Dr Ahmed Ali Samejo and K,N. Shah taluka hospital medical superintendent Dr Sikandar Naich. They were put on notice for Sept 27.

The court had ordered on Sept 21 that the alleged contemnors, the DC and Dadu DHO would appear in person before the court.

The applicant requested the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the contemnors for violation of the Sept 13 orders, directing installation of de-watering machines in K.N. Shah, carrying out anti-mosquito sprays and establishing medical camps in flood-hit areas of Dadu district.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2022

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