Thursday Jul 30, 2020
RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: The Pakistan Army has been called to help the local administration in managing and dealing with the urban flooding crisis, its media wing said in a statement issued Thursday.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the "Army [was] called to assist civil administration for managing the urban flooding situation in Karachi".
Sources had earlier informed Geo News that a decision has been made to provide assistance in relief activities in Karachi following Prime Minister Imran Khan's orders a day earlier to send the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to Karachi.
Sources added that the government also sought the Pakistan Army's services for the cleaning of Karachi. An emergency approval from the Cabinet was obtained through a circulation in this regard.
PM Imran had said Wednesday the PTI-led federal government would not abandon the people of Karachi at a time when the city is grappling with the dual challenges of coronavirus and the aftermath of the recent heavy rains.
Speaking in a meeting with Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, the premier said the Centre would take all possible measures for the resolution of the Karachiites' hardships. Science and technology minister Fawad Chaudhry was also present during the talks.
Ismail briefed the premier in detail about the situation created in the wake of recent torrential rains in Karachi.
PM Imran also directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to present a detailed review-report about the situation of rainwater nullahs in Karachi.
Meanwhile, after meeting the governor, the premier said he had asked NDMA Chairperson Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal to visit Karachi and review the situation.
"I have asked the NDMA Chairman to go to Karachi immediately and start the clean up in the aftermath of the rain," he said.
The premier said that he had also asked the Pakistan Army to assist the administration in cleaning up the city.
A day prior, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had summoned officials from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and Mayor's Office and expressed its indignation over negligence following the heavy rains in the city that caused drains to overflow and loss of lives and property.
The SHC was hearing a petition related to the drain and sewerage system of the city’s Central district, where Justice Khadim Hussain Shaikh had questioned the authorities' performance in the city.
"It is a tragedy that no one has the realisation of [the stranded water problem]. Karachi drowned [during the torrential rainstorms] due to illegal encroachments and lack of proper garbage disposal," the judge had said.
"Every institution blames the other one when it comes to taking responsibility,” he had added.
—Additional reporting by Ayaz Akbar Yousufzai in Islamabad