Sindh ill-prepared as flood threat looms large: Haleem


Karachi: Sindh province faces a grave danger of inundation due to heavy monsoon rains and flood in the river Indus, but the provincial government marred with corruption and bad governance is ill-prepared for these perils, said Pakistan Muslim League (PML) Sindh chapter president Haleem Adil Sheikh here Wednesday.

Addressing an emergency press conference at his party secretariat, he said it is an open secret that the credible world institutions had already warned of speedy melting of glaciers due to the phenomenon of global warming, but the government of Pakistan, as well as, the provincial governments did not pay any heeds towards this serious issue concerning lives with millions of Pakistanis.

He said despite a warning by the Met Office 15 days ago, no preventive steps were taken. He said Chitral during last two days has braved immense destruction due to the flash floods. He said half of Chitral went inundated but neither the chief minister visited the area or helicopters sent for rescue work.

He said the Nawaz League has already reached Gilgit-Baltistan, where there is no electricity for one week after heavy losses due to rains and floods. He said saving the Pak Army no one came there for rescue and rehabilitation work. He reminded that the army chief had appealed for rescue and rehabilitation activities in Gilgit-Baltistan.

He regretted that in Sindh the rulers just neglected the pre-flood warning. The bureaucracy in Sindh is reporting that all is well, but if the torrential rains water coming down from the Koh e Suleman hills added to flood water it would pose a serious threat. He said the irrigation department of Sindh is still sitting crossed fingers and no preventive steps in the province are being taken. He said the funds of Rs100million for the contingency plan are present only on paper, while huge funds of Rs56billion to strengthen the embankments of the river and canals have already gone into the pockets of corrupt rulers.

Sheikh said Tori Embankment, KK Embankment, Sheink Embankment and Aqil-Agani Embankment are too weak and vulnerable. The PMDA is only concerned with buying new helicopters to earn commission and kickbacks, while the provincial relief department has no vision and ability to serve the people of Sindh in time of emergencies. He said the PDMA has yet to summon a meeting of main departments and it has yet to earmark places for setting up of relief camps.

He suggested that the rulers should focus on the emergent threat of rains and flooding. The district administration should be made free from the protocol duties and additional staff should be deputed for the protocol of rulers.

The PML leader said the rulers every year leave the people hapless to brave floods. Recently more 400 villages and 40 bridges have been damaged due to the rains and flash floods in Chitral. He said the rulers remained out of the country during this tragedy and only the institution of army remained alert.

Haleem Adil Sheikh said the flood has already entered Sindh and more than 100 villages of Katcha area badly affected, particularly in Ghotki region. After ravaging Layyah, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh and other areas, the flood is targeting Sindh. It is feared that if the flood water remained there in the Katcha area more than 1.5million people would be affected. He said the rain torrents of Balochistan hilly areas are yet another threat for Sindh

He harshly criticized the irrigation department of Sindh, saying it is involved in corruption of billions of rupees. He demanded of the government to show seriousness and take emergency based steps to save the people of Sindh from the losses of anticipated heavy monsoon rains and floods.