President spends busy day monitoring flood relief work

Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari today formally launched the Special Flood Control Room in Bilawal House Karachi by spending hours ‘monitoring the flood monitors’ through an elaborate network of monitoring stations and video conferencing facilities set up in all flood affected districts of the province and the Chief Minister’s house in Karachi all manned twenty four hours a day and seven days a week.

Briefing media persons about the meetings in Bilawal House today Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that the President also issued several on the spot instructions to remove bottlenecks, ensure smooth operation of the relief measures and provide special relief in special cases.

Elected representative of the area and district administration officials in the district monitoring rooms gave an overview of the relief measures undertaken, the difficulties encountered and the special needs of the area, he said.

The President said that he will stay in Karachi for as long as it takes to personally supervise the flood monitors. “I will carry out surprise checks anywhere and at anytime during the day and night through the use of this modern technology to see what is going on where”, Farhatullah Babar quoted the President as saying’.

Farhatullah Babar said that the President also directed Chairman NADRA to make special ‘Pakistan Cards’ on the pattern of ‘Watan Cards’ for registering the flood victims and displaced persons in Sindh in a transparent manner to receive assistance in cash, food and kind.

NADRA was directed to work round the clock to register all the victims for transparent delivery of relief and rehabilitation aid to the victims, he said.

During video conferencing with the elected representatives from Badin including Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza, the MPAs and district officials the President said that the government will declare Badin as the most affected district of Sindh so as to focus on the relief and rehabilitation and for the drainage of the stagnant rain water.

On the recommendations of the elected representatives the President said that he will advise the government to consider giving special relief to the farmers in the repayment of agricultural loans in view of the widespread losses suffered by them.

Mirpurkhas was the next district visited by the President through video conferencing during which he was briefed by Pir Aftab Jilani MNA, the local MPAs and district officials. The President directed that special arrangements be made for providing seed to the farmers.

The President then turned towards the Chief Minister who was sitting in a similar control room in the CM House and directed him to take note of the special points made by the representatives of each district for prompt redressal.

Later the President also held a series of motivational meetings with NGOs, members of the civil society, leading sportsmen and artists urging them to devise special programs to motivate people augment the government’s flood relief efforts.

The motivational meetings were also attended by Chief Minister Sind Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, provincial ministers, some MNAS, MPAS and senior federal and provincial government officials.

Addressing the country’s leading sportsmen, artists, NGOs and members of civil society the President described the recent floods as ‘huge challenge’ and said that it was also an opportunity “to bring out the latent best in every individual and every segment of the society”. He said that the UN had launched an international appeal for assistance to Pakistan but basically it is the government and the people of Pakistan who have to rise to the challenge and alleviate the sufferings of the people.

The President said that Pakistan had witnessed many calamities in the recent past including earthquake, displaced persons from Swat and Malakand, the last year’s floods besides being the victim of militancy. Nothing, however, will shake our resolve to overcome all these problems, the President said.

The President said that he had called the Pakistani Ambassador in China Masood Khan to Karachi and asked him to seek Chinese assistance in arranging tents for temporary shelter to the flood victims. Ambassador Masood Khan had arrived from Beijing and attended today’s meetings in Bilawal House, Farhatullah Babar said.

Members of the civil society, the NGOs, leading sportsmen and artists attending the meeting all assured the President of their support in the fighting the vagaries of floods and promised to hold special events to motivate people in collectively fighting the flood ravages.

Today the President also met Governor Balochistan Nawab Zulfikar Magsi and discussed the overall situation in the province. Sindh Provincial Minister Nadir Magsi was also present at the meeting. The President also hosted lunch for governor Balochistan.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326