Scorching & Stinking Sindh

The picture of today’s Sindh looks like this. The roadsides and markets are dotted with tea shops called hotels. Men and children sit on hotel benches for several hours or even the whole day, watching Indian movie after movie. The majority of schools in rural areas are closed. Government schools and colleges in towns and cities have thin attendance of children and teachers. Lady and gentleman doctors run their clinics, while a few new MBBS doctors sit for a few hours in government hospitals, speaking to poor patients with arrogance and insult. Only a few pills can be found in these hospitals.

Government offices of different departments operate from private dens (bungalows), visited only by agents or well-connected individuals to get official work done, bringing good fortune to many stakeholders (the officer, the agent, and the political patron who appointed the officer). Heavily taxed common people are left to cruel market forces, with substandard, adulterated, and counterfeit daily use items sold at higher than actual market prices. The police, like almost all other departments, collect and pay monthly shares to their patrons, encouraging crime. When public and media pressure forces police to arrest criminals, the phones of concerned officers never stop ringing until the criminals are released by influential individuals connected to the ruling party.

Public services have completely collapsed over the last two decades. Long hours of power breakdowns, natural gas load shedding, non-availability of drinking water, and occasional supply of sewage-mixed water are common. Roads are broken, streets (mostly unpaved) overflow with sewage water, and heaps of garbage, including entrails of slaughtered animals, chickens, and fish, litter the roads and streets. Excrement flows and lays on the streets, hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land are cleared for agriculture and real estate use, making the soil of Sindh stinking and scorching.

Those supposed to take notice and spur departments into action are said to be beneficiaries of this degradation. They live in another world, with spacious palaces, gardens, fragrance, mineral water, and all luxuries of life, afforded by the ruin of the masses. Recently, a favorite of the present ruling setup attempted to rival Indian business tycoon Ambani by holding a two-month gala marriage celebration for his son, allegedly spending two billion on the ceremony. The recent statement of BBZ asking ministers to improve performance seems like nothing but hot air.



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