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Pakistan: Breaking the silence on deaths due famine and malnutrition in Tharparkar, Sindh, PILER, PFF file law suit on behalf of victims and survivors

12 March 2014

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Judicial officers of Tharparkar asked to monitor relief work
Tahir Siddiqui

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed the district judicial officers of Tharparkar to inspect and monitor the ongoing relief work and collate information on the death toll due to famine and outbreak of epidemics in the drought-hit part of the province.

A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar gave this direction while hearing a constitutional petition seeking measures to deal with the Tharparkar tragedy that has claimed over 200 lives so far.

The bench directed the district and sessions judge of Tharparkar to either directly or through other judicial officers inspect/watch the ongoing relief work and collect data regarding the number of deaths so far caused by epidemics or food shortage.It further ordered: “The judicial officers seized of the task shall also, as far as possible, watch the ongoing relief work by various government agencies, more particularly, the food supply, medicine supply, remedial and preventive measures towards health and securing life of the inhabitants.”

The bench also asked the judicial officials to visit hospitals, health centres and relief camps in the area.

It directed the respective judges to submit their reports by the next hearing, issued notices to the all the respondents, the advocate general for Sindh and the deputy attorney general and put off the matter to March 18.

The petition was filed by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum and Javed Iqbal Burki, who impleaded the secretary of establishment division, ministry of national food security and research, interior minister, director general of the Federal Investigating Agency, Sindh chief secretary, local government secretary, provincial revenue and relief secretary, health secretary, secretary of ministry of national regulations and services, and federal and provincial chief of the National Disaster Management Authority as respondents.

The petitioners, represented by Advocates Faisal Siddiqui and Muhammad Vawda, submitted that more than 200 people, including women and children, died in Tharparkar as a direct result of, inter-alia, famine, malnutrition, disease and criminal negligence of the official respondents.
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