ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court, declaring the Sindh government responsible for the Thar situation, has said that had the media not highlighted the issue, it would have been swept under the carpet.
Two-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Tasadduq Hussain Jilani, heard the case on Monday. A total of 67 deaths of infants and children occurred in Tharparkar in the last three months, stated a report submitted by the Sindh chief secretary in the Supreme Court during the hearing of the Tharparkar suo motu notice case. However, the death toll reported by the media was above 200.
The official report stated 26 infants and children died in December, 18 in January and 23 in February. “Most of these deaths were caused by pneumonia, sepsis, birth asphyxia and very few from malnutrition. Sepsis is mainly due to use of unhygienic methods of delivery used by midwives and untrained local women,” the report stated further.
During the proceedings, the Sindh advocate general told the court that children in Tharparkar died due to cold.
Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh remarked: “You are blaming them for not getting treatment whereas proper medical facilities are not available there.”
The chief justice remarked the Sindh government was responsible for whatever happened in the Tharparkar district.
Answering a question, Advocated General Fateh Malik told the court that two children expired in the last two days. He said in view of the gravity of the situation, the provincial cabinet held meeting in Mithi district.
Justice Azmat said the Sindh government came into action when 60 children had lost their life. He remarked the administration should have taken action immediately after the death of one child.
Justice Azmat Saeed said people in the district did not need the prime minister or the chief minister, but they needed food.
“We should bow our heads out of shame over what is happening there,” Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani said about the situation in Tharparkar.
The court sought a detailed report from the Sindh government about the total number of deaths caused by drought and causes of a famine-like situation in Tharparkar. It also directed the provincial government to fix the responsibility and adjourned the hearing till March 17.