Misery Mounts in Drought Hit Thar Desert

THAR has recently been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons. Harsh climatic conditions coupled with a famine-like situation added to the difficulties of the local people, while the Sindh government’s response was found wanting.

A few hundred deaths were reported, mostly of children. According to one figure, around 55pc of these deaths were of newborns. The deaths were attributed to malnourishment, pneumonia and asphyxia.

Perturbed by media reports about the deaths and famine, the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had tasked the DIG Police Hyderabad Range Sanaullah Abbasi to fix official responsibility for the negligence. The report, which discussed the state of Thar’s health facilities in detail, turned out to be an eye-opener, though it was rejected by the Sindh advocate general Abdul Fatah Malik while defending the provincial government before the Sindh High Court, which is seized of identical petitions on the drought.

The report, which is useful for future planning, shows, for example, how red tape had delayed the approval of a key summary.