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The Famine In Thar And The Blame Game



Ever Since the  news of  Famine and Deaths of  Children due to malnutrition  was broken  on  News TV Channels  as  well as in Print  Media  about  extreme  Drought  in  Tharparkar District ,the  Government of  Sindh seems to be  between the  Devil and  Deep sea  and  resorted to blame game within  the  Government and Party by targeting  Makhdoom Family  and Bureaucracy   . The  Exchange of  hard words   between the   Makhdoom  Amin Fahim and  Chief  Minister  Syed  Qaim Ali Shah has  heralded  the  secret that  how  unorganized  the PPP is  internally!  and How inefficient the  Government of  Sindh is !

The  Media has  widened  the  Gap  and  brought forth the  facts  that  How  the  vested  interests  of these  politicians  are  dear  to them than those of   famine  hit  children and  people of  Thar  who are dying  of  malnutrition and  hunger . This  selfishness and negligence on the part of  the rulers  of  Sindh has  created  a sense of  deprivation  among the  people  of  Thar  who are  left  at mercy of  bureaucrats who has been entrusted with the responsibility of distribution of the wheat and  other food  supplements along with providing basic Health facilities to hunger stricken  children,  presenting the   African countries  scenario where tears drop  like  rain while  looking at the scenes of  starvation  ,echoing the  voice   of the  negligence  by the elected  Democratic Governments of  Sindh and Pakistan.

harparkar  district  is  a deserted  district where  rain  water is   regarded  as  the  only resource for cultivation and  drinking purposes as  people  store them  in  small  ponds  called  khohi  .  There  are  some  wells   for  water  but the  water  table  is  so deeper  that  it makes  it almost  impossible  to  take the  water out of  the  wells  for  daily  drinking , food  preparation and  washing purposes  . Tharis  pray  for  rains  so that  it may grow  abundant  grass for  their  livestock  as well as  for  Sowing  crops   for  livelihood  .

As per  the  report  of  the then Deputy Commissioner of Tharparkar , sent on 17th December 2013  in which he  clearly apprised  the  Sindh Govt  regarding the chances  of  famine like  situation due  to  extreme  shortage of  Food  items  on account of   lesser  rains as compared to normal rain in the monsoon season. Even the Met Office had reported the shortage of Rainfall. Ironically ,Both  Report were not  taken seriously and apparently  the  ghost of  drought  came  out of the  bottle and  engulfed  the  whole  District  .

As  a result ,more than 200 Children including men and women  lost  their  lives  in quest of  seeking  food  but  deprived  of  their  due right by the  Government and local  bureaucracy by not providing  them with  the wheat  they had  in food storage. They preferred to feed pests than distributing it among the people. The  innocent  children aged between 2 to 10 years as well as  grownups  left  struggling  for their  life  to get  a  morsel of  meal  due to corrupt and   lethargic  government  who had turned  a  deaf  ear  towards  them ,  leaving  them  die of  hunger  .

This  extreme  negligence  made  us  put  our  heads down in shame  in a province  which is  rich in natural resources  but paralyzed  in  service  delivery. Instead  of  quitting the  Government , the  Chief Minister and  Information  Minister were addressing  press conference  with  jolly mood  and  admitted  the  negligence that  it had been caused owing  to their massive negligence . Their  confession in such  a manner , in the presence of Media, was  a  slap on the faces  of  residents of  Sindh and  equivalent to putting  salt  on the  wounds of  suffering tharis whose  shoulders  were  taking the  dead bodies  of  affected children who had  not even seen the  world         ,went in the  cruel  hands  of  death  and  slept  in the  eternal sleep  with  the  kindness of lethargic and inefficient Sindh  Government  who were  awakened  by the  media  and  sue motto  notice by the Apex Court   after the  Letter of  Former  Chief Justice  to  Sitting  Chief Justice of  Pakistan  his  Excellency  Tasaduq  Jillani  for taking notice of  casualties as result of Famine and Drought  .

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The said  press conference  had  yet another controversial statement  which  was really  blood  boiling and embarrassing when  they were  blaming  Media  of  creating hype  regarding  the  situation and  presenting exaggerated  Figures. They termed the facts and figures as overstated, unauthentic and false. The Media was the first one to unfold this misery and miserable condition of the Children clamoring for food. Instead of thanking them, they blamed media of misrepresentation of facts and figures. Where as  Chief Justice while  hearing the  sue motto case  said  that  if the  media  had  not reported  the situation , the  death toll might have  crossed  thousands and  we  had  not been aware  about the  situation . He also questioned the report made by health department that the said deaths were caused due to pneumonia.

ime  Minister  of  Pakistan also took notice  of  the  malnutrition and  famine in Thar and  directed  the  Officers and  Ministers  to  visit the  famine  hit areas  of  Thar and provide  relief to the  People  of  Pakistan in the  hour of  their  need . He  also made  exemplary  statement  in presence  of  Chief Minister and PPP  Chairman  Bilawal Bhutto Zardari by refusing food  by saying that the  people of my homeland  are  dying of hunger  and  you are  spending money lavishly  upon my fest  . This  was enough  for  the  lethargic and  inefficient Government of  Sindh who left their  people  on the mercy of  death and let them die of  hunger due to their  carelessness  .

The Prime  Minister announced  One  Billion aid package and also  directed the  NDMA for  Assessment and taking initiative for   the  relief of  the people  . The initiatives taken by the worthy PM are appreciable and timely. Because by these initiatives, the precious lives of innocent children may be saved from malnutrition and hunger.  The Sindh Government only announced 10 Crore initially and two Lac each for each affected family. On the other hand, the  Real Estate  Business  Tycoon, Malik Riaz  might have  won the hearts  of   the poor  tharis  by announcing   20 Crore  for the  relief of  the children and people,  and  5  Lac  each for the families whose children had  died of famine . Comparing the  aid  package  of  the  Sindh Government , it appears that it may be  lesser  amount to meet the  ever growing  needs  of  the  famine  hit  Tharparkar  since  such a meager amount was insufficient  for the people who are  facing hardships due to acute shortage  of  Drinking water and  wheat  to feed  their  bellies  and poor children .

Bravo! to Army Chief  Raheel Sharif  who immediately  ordered  the  corps  Commander  Sindh to visit  Thar  to  provide  Relief and Health facilities  to the  ailing children and  provide  food  to the  families  . The  army has, on number of  occasions , helped  their  suffering countrymen in disasters: be it rain , Floods or  Famine like  situation besides  guarding the  frontiers  of  the  Country , letting us  have  a  peaceful sleep at night .  The Army Medical Core  is  helping  tharis  in treatment of their children and army personnel  are providing the  food  items at   the same  time  with  the  utmost spirit of  Service to  nation in the hour  of  their  need .

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On the one hand,  PPP Leadership is  at loggerheads and blaming  each other for  failure to provide  timely  help  , bad  Governance and  Policy Making , on  the  Other hand,  each  day  saddens  the  people of  Pakistan particularly those of  Sindh  with death news of  Children in the  areas  of  Chhachhro , Nangar Parker  , Mithi  , Diplo ,Islamkot ,Dahli  and other  areas  which are  severely hit  by worst famine and  people  are  compelled  to  move to the  areas  of  where abundant  water and food items are  available  . The  Food scarcity situation has  hit the  livestock and  the  beauty of  Thar  the Peacocks as well  which are  dying of  hunger  along with  Cattle .  So far ,the  aid  is also limited  to urban areas  as  rural  areas  yet to get the aid  package  that is why the famine is  causing more  Deaths of  Children each passing day .

In this  situation  ,  the elected legislators of Sindh have  never turned  back to  get the  first hand  information of   the   difficulties  and  Needs  of  Tharparkar . If their problems   have been solved before, No such situation may have appeared or somewhat would have been less aggravated and alarming as it is now days. You  cannot  blame only the local  civil  servants of  negligence  but the  resignations  be  demanded  from  all the legislators  who hail  from Tharparkar  who had  not  spent  a  penny  in their  constituencies for development and improvement of infrastructure along with the  ministers of   , Revenue , food , relief, finance and  Health  , the Secretaries  and  Chief Executive of  Province  ,  the Chief Minster  to resign  from their  positions  as they have completely failed  their duties  . The  Cases  of  deaths of  the  children registered  against those who are responsible  for  alarming  situation now a days  . At the  same time  , Government  should immediately requisition  National  as well  as  PA  Session  to discuss  this tragedy  and  initiate  high level inquiries  against those  whose  negligence  caused  the  loss  of  precious lives  of  Children  at behest  of   inefficient and careless Government.

reover  , a  national  level  emergency  meeting may be  called  to discuss  the  possible , quick and lasting solution  for  the  Famine in Thar by taking  Federal as well as Provincial  Governments  on board and  engaging  WFP , WHO , UNICEF and  other  Donors and  Development  organizations of  International  and National origin to initiate  relief  work and  monitor  the aid distribution and  provision of  modern health  facilities  by  upgrading the  DHQs and  THQs  as well as  RHC’s ,BHU’s and  GD’s  . Had the  decision of  handing  over  the  BHU’s to PPHI by Sindh Government   taken earlier , the maximum number of lives innocent Children might have saved   and the suffering  community may  have been provided  with the  Primary Health services  in their  villages  and  towns.  The  INGO’s  ,  NGO’s along with  UN agencies and  government  functionaries  must join hands  to  identify the  most affected  areas  and  start the  aid  work  in those  areas  so that the  maximum number of  lives could be saved  from falling prey to deaths  due to  severe famine  which has already engulfed  Coal  rich Tharparkar  and a sustainable policy of Development be made to avert future Disasters and famine like situation in Thar as well as  other drought hit areas of  the  country .

A research and Development think tank namely Institute of Disaster management and Food Security be established with the task to prepare research studies and reports on the possible disasters and nutrition related studies.  In this  way , an organized  emergency relief work  could  be  materialized  on  the  recommendations and  research studies for  lasting  solutions to  climate  changes  and natural disasters .

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Navigating the Storm: ASEAN’s Playbook for Small States in US-China Tensions




In the fast-paced arena of international relations, the dynamics between major powers can often resemble a high-stakes game of chess. The ongoing tensions between the United States and China have sent ripples across the globe, with smaller states caught in the crossfire. However, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has emerged as a beacon of strategic finesse, showcasing how small and medium-sized powers can adeptly navigate the turbulent waters of big-power rivalry. In this article, we delve into the ASEAN playbook, exploring the shrewd balancing, hedging, and consolidation that have allowed these nations to carve out their path amidst the geopolitical storm.

The Balancing Act: Shrewd Diplomacy in Action

ASEAN’s approach to US-China tensions has been nothing short of a diplomatic tightrope walk. Balancing between two economic giants and military powers requires finesse and agility. One key aspect of ASEAN’s strategy is its commitment to maintaining a neutral stance, refusing to be drawn into an overt alliance with either side.

Within this context, the South China Sea dispute stands out as a prime example. As tensions escalated between the US and China over territorial claims, ASEAN managed to navigate the tricky waters by fostering a Code of Conduct framework. This diplomatic initiative aims to promote peaceful dialogue and prevent the region from becoming a flashpoint for broader conflicts.

Hedging Bets: Diversifying Alliances for Security

ASEAN’s playbook extends beyond neutrality to strategic hedging. Small states cannot afford to put all their eggs in one basket, and ASEAN nations understand this well. Diversifying alliances helps mitigate risks and ensures a degree of flexibility in navigating the volatile US-China relationship.

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Recent developments have seen ASEAN strengthening ties with other regional players, such as Japan and India. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a testament to the region’s commitment to economic cooperation, providing ASEAN nations with alternative avenues for growth beyond dependence on any single major power.

Consolidation of Regional Identity: Strength in Unity

While navigating the US-China tensions, ASEAN has also demonstrated the strength that comes from unity. Consolidating a regional identity has allowed these nations to negotiate with major powers from a position of collective strength. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the East Asia Summit (EAS) provide platforms for dialogue, fostering understanding and cooperation among member states.

ASEAN’s success in consolidating its regional identity has been further evident in its ability to mediate conflicts within the bloc itself. The resolution of the Cambodia-Thailand border dispute and the peaceful transition in Myanmar showcase the effectiveness of a united front in managing internal challenges amid external pressures.

Economic Pragmatism: Navigating Trade Winds

As the trade winds between the US and China continue to blow, ASEAN nations find themselves strategically placed to weather the storm. The region’s economic pragmatism has allowed it to harness the opportunities presented by both powers while minimizing potential risks.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has seen significant investments in ASEAN infrastructure projects, providing much-needed economic impetus. Simultaneously, ASEAN nations have deepened economic ties with the US through trade agreements, demonstrating their ability to leverage their geopolitical position for economic gain.

Challenges and Contingencies: Adapting to a Shifting Landscape

While ASEAN’s playbook has proven effective thus far, it’s essential to recognize the challenges that lie ahead. The evolving nature of US-China relations and the potential for increased competition may require ASEAN to adapt its strategies continually.

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The rise of non-traditional security threats, such as cyber warfare and pandemics, also presents new challenges. ASEAN must stay nimble in addressing these issues, fostering regional cooperation to build resilience against emerging threats that transcend traditional power rivalries.

Conclusion: Lessons for the Global Stage

As the world watches the intricate dance between the United States and China, ASEAN stands as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of small and medium-sized powers. The playbook crafted by these nations, rooted in shrewd balancing, strategic hedging, consolidation of regional identity, and economic pragmatism, offers valuable lessons for the global stage.

In an era where power dynamics are in constant flux, the ability to navigate big power rivalry requires more than sheer size and military might. It demands astute diplomacy, economic acumen, and a commitment to regional cooperation. ASEAN’s journey provides a blueprint for small states seeking not only to survive but to thrive in the face of geopolitical uncertainty. As the world looks ahead, the ASEAN playbook serves as a guide for others to chart their course through the storm of US-China tensions.

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