Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders and members of Sindh cabinet, the Chief Minister’s adviser for information Moula Bux Chandio and Sindh food minister Nasir Hussain Shah were stepping out of a cabinet meeting when a throng of journalists caught up with them.
One of the reporters queried Nasir Shah, “Sir, would you like to comment on the reports about children dying due to starvation in Thar?
“In early January, there was reported 45 such deaths; and now there is report from Civil Hospital Mithi that 32 died in a span of 11 days.”
A visibly flustered Nasir Shah retorted there was no famine-like situation anywhere in Thar nor was any food starvation case registered, adding, “There are other reasons for the number of minors’ deaths in Thar. You know the literacy level in those areas, thus there is a lack of awareness about handling of neonates and mothers and of course there is delayed arrival of the ailing child to a medical facility.”
The reporter trying to believe his ears, said, “Sir, how many times, your party has ruled this province, and on whom do you blame the literacy issue?”
The minister regurgitates his form response, “We cannot allow anyone to insult the honor of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and our Shaheed Bibi. Sindh belongs to People’s Party. Jiye Bhutto!”
“Sir, but at one stage, the death toll came to 32 in a span of 11 days!”
“Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had constituted a committee comprising of Chandio Sahib and myself to look into the situation in Thar. We will be meeting in due course to set up a committee. Meanwhile, we are consulting with our Leader, Asif Zardari Sahib, about the procedure. We have to examine the financial implications because so many aspects are involved. Zardari Sahib is extremely mindful of the final financial outcome of any project. You know, he has so many financial commitments worldwide.”
“Sir, do you know that the power generator installed at Mithi’s civil hospital is out of order, which is making life difficult for children who are kept in the incubators during load shedding.”
“This is the first time, I am hearing of this. The medical facilities available at the Civil Hospital in Mithi are far better than medical centers in other districts.
“Don’t worry; we will set up another committee to look into these issues too. May be we can call up tenders for incubators and seek Asif Sahib’s clearance to purchase them.
“I tell you that the media is always trying to defame People’s Party. For example, a hue and cry was raised over the Dec. 23, 2015 death of a 10-month old girl died at the door of Karachi’s Civil Hospital.
“It was alleged that after her father was denied entry by protocol staff due to the arrival of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who was there to inaugurate the newly built Benazir Bhutto Trauma Center.
“Some media have no sense of shame. Our Chairman was there to honor her Shaheed mother and accusations were hurled at us. Who is dearer to us, our Chairman, the only son of our Shaheed Bibi, and grandson of our Shaheed Bhutto Sahib or some unknown infant?
“For your information, Dr. Said Ahmed Qureishi, the hospital’s Medical Superintendent has made it clear that the trouble faced by citizens is not due to presence of eminent personalities. It is mainly due to encroachments around the hospital that restricts the mobility of the people, including, patients visiting the hospital.”
“But Sir, isn’t Sindh being run by your Party?”
“Of course! Do you want our Chief Minister to stand and control traffic at the gate? Are you from Imran Khan’s party? A few days ago, they were asking our honorable Qaim Ali Shah to seal manhole covers. Ha ha ha … does their Imran Khan go about sealing manhole covers in KP? Imran Khan is too busy building cancer hospitals!”
“Do you know that when the baby’s father told us that he had always voted for PPP, we gave him not one but two government jobs! What more do you want to give him for a ten month old baby girl? And didn’t our Chairman visit his house? Imagine, the Chairman himself visiting a ramshackle house in Lyari! Our Chairman living in Bilawal House and who has lived in palaces and mansions across the world visiting a small house in Lyari!
“And I hope you have heard what our education minister, Nisar Khuhro has said that he was grieved if someone has died but ‘Bilawal’s security is more important’.
‘Bilawal, who always has security concerns, is dearest to us and let me assure that whatever we did it was in the better interest of the country. As the country’s well being is linked to the security of our Chairman and his sisters and the Zardari family at large.
“I am sure you know that if someone’s time of death has come, young or old, no one can stop, not even Chairman Bilawal. Yes, we have not tried supplicating when draping blankets of roses over the graves of our Shaheed Bhutto Sahib and Shaheed Bibi. May be we should do it the next time something like this happens. Jiye Bhutto!”