Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Sunday expressed hope that the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres after visiting the flood-affected areas will call upon the international community to lend a helping hand to Pakistan as it battles devastation after unprecedented floods.
Speaking to the media after a visit to Mazar-e-Quaid on the country’s founder’s 74th death anniversary, CM Shah said that the UN secretary-general (UNSG) personally witnessed the destruction caused by rain-induced floods in Pakistan, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan, and in the upcoming UN session the humanitarian crisis will be discussed.
“I am sure the international community would help us to face the situation and rehabilitate the affected people,” he stated.
The chief minister expressed disbelief as he said he had never seen such a catastrophe. “More than 1.5 million people have been displaced, of them over 600,000 shifted to camps,” he said and added that he requested the UNSG for the assistance of tents and medicines.
CM Shah said that he has released the budget allocated for the purchase of medicines so that flood-affected people facing different ailments could be treated properly.
Responding to a question, the minister said that standing crops worth Rs50 billion have been washed away. “I have discussed with the UN secretary-general that we would have to offer an agricultural package, otherwise the grower would not be able to sow Rabi crops,” he said and added he was trying to dewater agricultural lands so that Rabi crops could be planted by the first week of December.
According to the Sindh chief minister, his government is trying to prepare at least 75 per cent of agricultural lands for the wheat crop. “We have lost our standing paddy and cotton crops in this Kharif and would not be able to afford to lose Rabi crops,” he added.
The chief minister also deplored the indecent and inhuman statements that were issued to the flood-affected people who have come to Karachi.
“Karachi is part of the province, and we are making arrangements to shift them to the camps and will look after them,” he said adding that the displaced persons were “in pain, and their dispossessions [in the flood] demand that each and every one of us, according to our status and position, should help in their rehabilitation”.
CM Shah also admitted that energy providers, including K-Electric, Hesco, and Sepco, have failed to deliver. “I am sorry to say that our power distribution companies, particularly the Hesco and Sepco had no contingency plan to continue power supply at least to the pumping stations involved in pumping out rainwater from the towns and cities,” he said.
The CM paid his tribute to Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Lauding the founding father’s leadership, the chief minister said that it was through his efforts that a separate homeland for Muslims of the subcontinent was carved out of India.
“It is our utmost responsibility to make this country a cradle of peace and home of a strong nation.”
After laying a floral wreath and offering fateha (prayer), CM Shah recorded his impressions in the visitors’ book opened to observe the 74th death anniversary of the father of the nation. He was accompanied by his cabinet members, Saeed Ghani, Shahla Raza, Advisor Rasool Bux Chandio, and others.
“We won this country with his struggle; therefore, it becomes our responsibility to save, protect this nation and empower it to prosper,” he said.