CM Sindh surfaces as 500 perish in blistering heat

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Tuesday, 23 June 2015 18:22

KARACHI: In his first speech addressing the heatwave that has claimed over 500 lives in his province, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah made a surprising decision directing schools, colleges and government offices Tuesday to close as an apparent means to alleviate the suffering of those afflicted by extreme weather.

"We are closing offices, schools and colleges not just in Karachi but throughout Sindh," Shah said in the Sindh Assembly today. "Offices that offer essential services like hospitals will remain open."

Over the weekend, the top man of the Sindh province was in Larkana on a two-day visit for the birth anniversary of Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) late chairperson Benazir Bhutto. Shah returned to Karachi Monday and issued a late night directive to the managing director at the Karachi water board to ensure supply and distribution free of charge in areas where there is a water deficit this Ramazan.

Shah also ordered all provincial administration departments against switching on air conditioners in offices till 11 AM and vowed that strict action will be taken against those who fail to comply.

During the assembly session, however, the minister was not entirely informed about the progress made by provincial authorities assisting those affected by extreme weather.

"I want to inform you that a disaster management [system] already exists, not just for rains and storms but for such situations as well... they must have done their work. Non-government organisations must have also done their work," the chief minister said, adding that he was away for two days and is not equipped with the latest emergency relief information.

He said that his government in the past has published emergency hotline numbers in newspapers, and can do so again.

"There have been deaths before, during everyone's time,” he said, not naming any political party. “Whose names should I take? I don't want to get into a controversy," Shah said in the assembly.

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