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SHC outraged at govt’s failure to provide relief

Judge says everyone knows relief items meant for flood victims are being kept at out-houses, bungalows and go-downs of feudal lords

A Sindh High Court (SHC) bench on Wednesday expressed anger and resentment over the government’s failure to provide relief to flood victims.

A division bench, comprising Justice Zafar Ahmed Rajput and Justice Shamsuddin Abbasi, heard petitions filed by flood victims through their lawyers, including Shabbir Shar, over the government machinery’s failure to provide relief to the affected people.

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The Sukkur commissioner, Sukkur Barrage chief engineer and officers from other districts appeared in court. “How much tent cities have been set up for flood victims on the court’s order?” bench questioned the officials.

“Tent cities have been established in some areas,” the officials replied. “They are talking rubbish, no help is being offered by the government… people are dying,” counsel for the petitioners Ghulam Shabbir Shar said. “Despite the court’s restraining order, they are administering cuts to canals,” the senior lawyer said. “This situation has emerged due to encroaching and blocking natural routes of the water flows,” he lamented.

“Are you servants of people or ministers, MNAs and MPAs,” Justice Zafar Rajput questioned the officials. “Don’t deem yourself, servants of ministers, MNAs and MPAs,” Justice Rajput said. “Everyone knew where the relief items for flood victims are going from government offices. Relief items are being kept at out-houses, bungalows and go-downs of waderas (feudal lords),” he said. “No one cares about humanity. Do you want to kill these people?” Justice Rajput questioned sternly. “People are sitting at roadsides and become victims of accidents. Do you want these people to die in road mishaps and [because of] snakebite,” he questioned. “Human lives are precious, save them. When MNAs and MPAs will be part of the rehabilitation committees, they will seek their personal benefit,” the bench observed.

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“All highways of Sindh have been under water and movement has become impossible,” Nisar Bhanbhro advocate said. “People are dying with hunger as Rs10 biscuit pack is impossible to get even for Rs50,” he said. “Food items are unavailable,” he further said.

The court expressed annoyance over the absence of the deputy commissioner of Khairpur, which is the most affected district in Sindh. The bench ordered the Khairpur DC to appear immediately and adjourned the hearing for an hour.

Sukkur Barrage Chief Engineer, replying to a question of Justice Zafar Rajput about the drainage of rainwater, said that water could be drained out via Rohri Canal to Indus River. “The water level will drop in the river within the next three days. The rainwater from Khairpur, Naushahro Feroze, Shaheed Benazirabad and Matiari districts will be drained out,” he said.

The court also ordered all possible help to the flood victims and setting up maximum tent cities. It also ordered officials to meet food and medical needs of the flood victims. The court also summoned a report from the rehabilitation committees monitored by civil judges and adjourned further hearing of the case until September 14.

Meanwhile, the Larkana circuit bench of the Sindh High Court ordered deputy commissioners of Larkana division to constitute citizen committees and establish tent cities in all talukas of the division, and asked the officers concerned to ensure that no miscreant breached dykes of any saline water and sewage drain or any other water channel. The bench comprising Justices Naimatullah Phulpoto and Khadim Hussain Tunio passed the order on a petition filed by two advocates, Rafiq Ahmed K Abro and Sarfraz Khan Jatoi, seeking tents, food and medicines for the flood victims.

The court said that citizen committees should also be formed in the talukas of Mehar and Khairpur Nathan Shah, and all the committees should be headed by civil judges.



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