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June 30, 2020

Murad Ali Shah reproves Centre for inaction on locust emergency

Karachi

June 30, 2020

In case of any emergency, be it the locust attacks or the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sindh government will not leave the people of the province alone and will support them.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said this in the Sindh Assembly on Monday as he provided details of his government’s preparations for dealing with the emerging locust crisis in the province.

He informed the House that his government would take every required step, given the availability of fiscal resources, to safeguard the countrymen against emergencies like locusts and the coronavirus epidemic. “For the sake of the country, we will go to any extent,” he

remarked.

He urged the federal government to tackle the emerging locust crisis in the country on an emergency basis and in the most serious manner as the issue was related to food security in the country.

He exhorted the federal government to take care of the citizens as the concerned public would not further tolerate how important national issues were being handled by the Centre.

Shah was of the view that the federal government had handled the issues of sugar, flour, petrol and the recent crisis of locusts to the utter disadvantage of the people of the country.

Referring to a social media post that had earlier gone viral, the CM said a federal minister had stated that they would tackle the locust crisis in the same manner they had handled the coronavirus emergency. “This announcement sent a wave of jubilation among the locusts.”

The CM commented that the federal government had so far failed to fulfil its constitutional responsibilities related to tackling of the emerging countrywide crisis of locusts.

He informed the House that the federal government had a separate ministry for national food security and research and another dedicated agency for plants that must deal with the locust emergency but these institutions were yet to come into action against the emerging problem threatening the food security of Pakistan.

He said the federal authorities had not fulfilled their obligations regarding aerial spray to be conducted against the locust swarms in the province. He added that the Centre had also not lived up to its commitment to provide aircraft for conducting aerial spray against locusts in Sindh.

Shah lamented that the federal government also did not help out the Sindh government for the purchase of aircraft to tackle the locust emergency. He said the Centre had failed to fulfil the National Action Plan it had devised earlier this year to tackle the locust emergency.

The CM also announced that his government would not collect advance income tax on behalf of the federal government as he had asked the provincial excise minister to convey to the Centre the decision of his government to this effect.

He maintained that his government had been compelled to take such a decision after the federal government unilaterally took an adverse decision regarding the levy of the income tax.

The CM said the recent decision of the federal government to increase the prices of petroleum products by 20 to 25 per cent was highly unjust and cruel, and meant only to exploit the people.

Earlier, Shah briefed the assembly about the terror attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) building in Karachi on Monday morning. He said four terrorists had carried out the attack.

Owing to the threat perception about the PSX building, the CM said his government had already deployed the Rapid Response Force of the provincial police there.