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Bilawal urges centre to impose agriculture emergency on Sindh.

Byline: Qamaruddin Shaikh

MIRPURKHAS -- Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has urged the federal government to impose agriculture emergency on Sindh where torrential rain has destroyed 80 per cent of standing crops, release complete share of Sindh in NFC award and announce a special package for flood victims of Mirpurkhas division.

Speaking at a press conference held here on Wednesday, he said that the provincial government could not handle the aftermath of natural disaster in Mirpurkhas division without support of federal government. There was no ban on National Disaster Management Authority to extend its services to other disaster-hit areas in the province besides Karachi, he said.

He said sarcastically that the NDMA had not yet been able to see the plight of flood victims in the division.

He said that the LBOD's overtopping during rains was an old and chronic issue. It had caused devastation in agriculture sector several times and deprived a large population of their houses. The provincial government needed funds for repairs of weak banks of the LBOD and other drains, he said.

He said that Mirpurkhas division was the worst affected by the natural disaster as it had rendered millions of people homeless and forced them to take shelter in tents on roadsides along with their cattle.

He said that he had directed the chief minister to make a comprehensive plan for repair and reinforcement of weak dykes of the LBOD and other drains to save people and their properties from natural disasters in future.

He urged the prime minister to begin relief operation in Sindh and appealed to media to highlight the plight of flood victims of Mirpurkhas to draw attention of the federal government and international NGOs.

About conviction of his father, Bilawal regretted that former president Asif Ali Zardari was being dragged into 'false' cases, including cases of Toshakhana and illegal bank accounts, and declared the conviction a joke.

He demanded an end to political victimisation of PPP leaders and said that no journalist could ask the prime minister how he amassed properties in foreign countries before declaring his assets. If there was rule of law in the country then a joint investigation team be formed against the prime minister for probe into his foreign properties, he said.

He claimed that federal government stepped up political victimisation of opposition parties after they called a multiparty conference. It showed how 'terrified' the government was of the opposition, he said.

In answer to a question he said that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi used to frequently visit Mirpurkhas during election to get votes and donations from his followers but he did not take the trouble now to visit them during their difficult hour.

He urged philanthropists and NGOs to supplement Sindh government's efforts to help flood-affected people in the division.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, provincial ministers Hari Ram Kishori Lal, Sohail Anwar Siyal, MNAs Shamim Ara Panhwar and Mir Munawwar Ali Khan Talpur, MPA Syed Zulfikar Ali Shah and party leaders were also present at the press conference.

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Author:Qamaruddin Shaikh
Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Sep 10, 2020
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