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Rain Guards of Karachi – The Facts

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KARACHI: The recent rains in Karachi have revealed to us many attitudes of the society. First there is a section of the society who are criticizing the Sindh government as part of their hatred and prejudice of the PPP and have been blaming the PPP for the problems of the city and the choas during rains.

The second category is those who declare encroachments to be the main cause of rains and urban flooding. The third category is those who belong to the PTI and today they seem to be blaming the MQM and the PPP for the problems in Karachi in the recent rains.

Then there is a small section in the media whose job is to point out the problems and it is doing its job well to some extent but despite this there are elements within media and on social media who have been mentally very close to the first and third segment of our society as they too are convinced that the wreak havoc by the rains on us is all because of PPP and the Sindh Government.

This time in Karachi it has rained at a record level again, the accumulation of water during the rains is a natural consequence and it happens all over the world, because the speed at which water flows in drains and waterways is much lower then the actual speed of the rain. If it rains at this speed, it is not possible for water not to accumulate. A 500 mm bottle can’t sustain an amount more than 500 mm and this is case with almost all the drainage systems when they have to tackle 100mm rain.

The recent rains in Karachi are much more than the infrastructure of the city can afford, but despite this, there was no where water present on main roads of city within 3 to 4 hours once rain have stopped. This also happens in Lahore, Sydney, Paris, Peshawar, Mumbai that heavy rains result in urban floods as climate change is a threat which needs univeral cure and no country alone can cope up with it. It is not a reasonable attitude to attribute the failure of a government to a natural disaster, it is a political adventure whose results are not good for the society. It doesn’t even solve the problems, but it does end up in accusations and arguments.

Karachites may have witnessed worst rainfall but again it’s the government and its representative which were there on roads from dawn to dusk to tackle the situation out there. PPP ministers and office bearers remained on roads to help the government machinery with whatever possible help a party can extend. But where has been PTI or President of Pakistan who belongs to the same city, and dozens of PTI MNAs and MPAs who got millions of rupees in funds from federal government but where have these funds been invested?

Critics of the Sindh government are unable to answer that the area of ​​DHA, Clifton and other cantonments in Karachi, including Sharah a Faisal, are not under the control of the Sindh government. And despite this, the Sindh government widened the roads here and installed drainage system there, which resulted in water being pumped out in a few hours today where rainwater used to stand for weeks. An example of this is Sharah e Faisal in Karachi where the Sindh government widened the road and also laid a better drainage system which proved to be very useful during these rains. Though it was mandate of Faisal Cantonment to make these arrangements and this institution is responsible for all the civic work but again it was PPP government which paved the way for widening of sharah a Faisal and installed a drainage system.

 The city of Karachi pays the highest taxes to the country, but which major Nullah or road has the federal government built here till date? This anti-PPP section is also unable to answer us why the area of ​​Karachi where the cantonment and DHA have built residential areas on rivers and Nullahs is not mentioned by them while they blame PPP for not doing enough. Neither they hold them responsible nor even talk of these departments as responsible for making arrangements during rains. Why is the name of the party occupying the lands of this city’s treatment plant not mentioned by these anti PPP elements?

The second category that cites the occupation of rivers and canals as the main reason for urban funding in Karachi, they are true to some extent, but isn’t it true that even in developed countries where there are no encroachment of rivers and canals and no housing schemes on them, they also facing risk of urban flooding.

Because urban funding is more because of climate change. Excessive rainfall is also a factor in climate change. And if it is assumed that urban dwelling on rivers and canals is the only reason for urban funding, then many areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and villages in Balochistan have been submerged in rains where waterways have existed for centuries and someone on a waterway. There are no barriers of any kind. But still they have been facing floods.

The third group that seems to be blaming the PPP and MQM in the recent rains is the PTI. This class has sworn not to tell the truth. A few years ago, this class, on the orders of the Supreme Court, were rejoicing over the award of the contract to clean the drains and rivers of Karachi to the FWO and today it has been saying that drainage and Nullas were not clear and all because PPP is in power. But same party was praising FWO until few months ago.

Last year some PTI MNAs were seen moving with machinery to clean the drains and Nullahs. But the city of Karachi begs the question: if last year they and the FWO had drained and cleaned the drains, where did the garbage from the drains go? One should find out where is the sludge and filth that was taken out by these PTI members and FWO. PTI is all good at making false promises . Karachi did not get even 11 rupees out of the promise made by Imran Khan government to give 1100 billion rupees to Karachi.

PTI has dozens of MPAs and MNAs from Karachi. Dozens of PTI MNA in Karachi were seen only on Twitter and facebook during the rain in karachi, while people from other parties were definitely seen helping the citizens on the streets.

Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Labour Minister Saeed Ghani, Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon and Administrator KMC Barrister Murtaza Wahab themselves were seen inspecting drainage arrangements on the streets of Karachi all day instead of being in their respective constituencies.

Syed Nasir Hussain Shah and Sharjeel Inam Memon were on the streets of Karachi despite threats of flooding in their own constituencies. This shows a lot about characte of PPP when it comes to services for Karachi.

I would also talk about media bias PPP face. As there are a few members of the media who have been seen blaming the PPP for the problem karachites have to face during rains. I ask these gentlemen why are they reluctant to mention the names of those who destroyed Karachi’s Master Plan by allowing massive commercialization in the city?

How is the PPP responsible for Karachi’s problems when Karachi has always given mandate to anti PPP elements? How many times has this city mandated the PPP since 1970? Didn’t those who got the mandate occupy the parks, drains and water treatment plants of Karachi then how PPP alone is responsible ? Were plots not commercialized during Jamaat-e-Islami tenure ?Has MQM not been in power with PTI for 4 years?

Blaming PPP or any other party is not the way out in fact Karachi is below sea level. It is a natural process for us to have difficulty getting rainwater to the sea.

Karachi’s Nullahs and rivers are not able to withstand more than 50 mm of rain.

Karachi needs a better drainage system, but isn’t it a fact that more than half of Karachi’s population will have to demolish their houses for this system? Still name an area in Karachi where the Sindh government has jurisdiction and the rain water stayed their for even 12  hours?

If a city like Paris is not safe from urban flooding, how can Karachi can manage it when its below the sea level. By politicizing rain and natural disasters, we can increase our vote bank, but if the government belongs to anyone and it rains so much, it is not possible to avoid urban flooding. The Sindh government is taking every step for the development of Karachi within its resources. Where there are federally controlled areas in Karachi, 99% development work has been done by the Sindh government. One example is Sharah a Faisal and the other is Cant Station Road. But what did the previous federal government and those enjoying the federal government do to avoid urban flooding in the city? How many water storms were constructed by PTI government? How many water pathways were given funds ? Name any ? They have given billions of rupees funds to their MNA but where have they spent this all money ? Why not a single federal funded project for managing rain water was constructed?

Again we must not do politics of rains and floods as these natural disasters are not in any one’s control and then the problem of flooding in  is not only due to overflowing Nullahs and drainage systems, but  overburdened drainage, increased population and unregulated construction, buildings constructed without paying any heed to the natural topography and hydro-geomorphology all results in urban flooding. Once again we need to go for making another industrial city somewhere between Karachi and Jamshoro and President Asif Ali Zardari always wanted Zulfiqarabad there so that population and other such issues can be tackled and risk of natural disasters is avoided.

The writer is currently working as Coordinator to Minister for Local Government and Public Health Engineering Department, Government of Sindh. He can be reached at email tariqkhattak786@gmail.com. Twitter @Tarikkhattak

Sindh

Sindh Food Authority inks MoAs with ICCBS to ensure safe, hygienic, healthy food

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KARACHI: Sindh Food Authority (SFA), Government of Sindh, has signed two Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi.

Sindh Food Authority signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Halal Certification Testing and Research Services (HCTRS) and the Industrial Analytical Center (IAC), ICCBS, University of Karachi.

This MoA aims to create a long-term framework of collaboration, cooperation, and development of a strong linkage between SFA and the research centers of the ICCBS for the testing of food products, which is in the interest of both institutions.

The SFA Director General Agha Fakhar Hussain and Prof. Dr. Farzana Shaheen, the Director of the ICCBS, University of Karachi, signed the agreement in a meeting held at the HEJ, Research Institute of Chemistry, University of Karachi on Friday evening.

Among others who attended the meeting were officials from SFA Prof. Dr. Asad Sayyed, Dr. Naveed Bhutto, Dr. Seema, Danish Arshad, and officials from ICCBS, including Prof. Dr. Abid Ali, Prof. Dr. Syed Ghulam Musharraf, Prof. Dr. Shabana Simjee, Prof. Dr. Asmat Salim, Dr. Imran Malik, Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan, Dr. Shakil Ahmed, Jawaid Riaz, and others.

In his talk, the SFA Director-General praised the efforts made by the ICCBS administration to make this agreement possible in the interest of Sindh province. He also praised the industrial support and national services of the International Center (ICCBS).

He said the authority’s goal was to guarantee that the people of Sindh were fed in a safe, hygienic, and healthy manner by standards.

I want to have strong relations between SFA and the ICCBS, University of Karachi, he said, adding that SFA is trying to make all possible efforts to provide better food items to the people of Sindh.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Farzana Shaheen congratulated the officials of the SFA and ICCBS on the signing of the agreement. She hoped that this agreement would further strengthen the University’s HCTRS and IAC in the province.

Halal Testing Laboratory works to standardize and uplift the high-quality standard of nutrition & hygiene in Halal-certified food & other products by international export quality standards, she said.

Talking about IAC, the director said that IAC was doing their best to meet customer’s testing requirements with integrity, reliability, accuracy, precision of data, and timeliness of reports to achieve customer satisfaction and define specifications in compliance with ISO/IEC Laboratory Accreditation System and ISO 9001Quality Management System.

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DG Sindh Food Authority Agha Fakhar disburses certificates

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KARACHI: Director General of the Sindh Food Authority Agha Fakhar Hussain distributed certificates among the participants at the HEJ, University of Karachi.

The certificates were given away to the participants of the highly prestigious Training Programme over Halal Food and Meat Detection Methods Training and Inter-laboratory Comparison for Organisation of Islamic cooperation (OIC) countries (2022-SMIC-006) held at Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in hybrid format on October 23, 2023. The certificate were signed by the SMIIC General Secretary.  

Prof. Dr. Syed Ghulam Musharraf (Tamgha-e- Imtiaz) and Prof. Dr. Farzana Sheen attended the event.

The SMIIC (Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries) is an intergovernmental and one of the 17 affiliated organizations of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation). Its primary focus is on standardization and metrology technical elements.

Pakistani candidates participated through online sessions. The participants were selected through a detailed procedure and tests.

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Sindh Food Authority appoints Dr Rashida Irtifaq as its Ambassador

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KARACHI: The Sindh Food Authority (SFA) is to appoint prominent educationist Professor Dr Rashida Irtifaq Ali as Honorary Senior Food Safety and Hygiene Ambassador.

In light of this significant appointment, a ceremony has been scheduled for January 9, 2024 at Jinnah Auditorium Dr AQ Khan Institute of Bio-Technology and Genetic Engineering, University of Karachi.

Caretaker Chief Minister Sindh Justice (R) Maqbool Baqar, Secretary Food, Government of Sindh and other dignitaries will attend the event to support the vision of the Sindh Food Authority.

Professor Dr Rashida Irtifaq Ali has been an integral part of Karachi University for the past fifty years where she not only fulfilled her teaching responsibilities but also played a pivotal role in establishing the Department of Food Sciences and Technology.

At the age of 85, Dr Rashida Ali continues to serve in academia and the industry, demonstrating an unparalleled commitment to education.

While talking to Sindhnews, Sindh Food Authority’s Director General Agha Fakhar Hussain said that the food authority had recognized contributions of Professor Dr Rashida Irtifaq by appointing her as the Honorary Senior Food Safety and Hygiene Ambassador, a position that reflects her expertise and dedication to the field.

The appointment of Dr Rashida Irtifaq will not only acknowledge her achievements but will also provide an opportunity to raise awareness among university students about the principles of health preservation related to food consumption.

In the event, Dr Rashida Irtifaq will also be presented with a shield by the Sindh Food Authority as a token of appreciation for her outstanding contributions, says Agha Fakhar.

The Sindh Food Authority was established in April 2018 under the SFA Act 2016 and the Authority has been established Under Section-3 (1) of the Act ibid with the mandate to provide safe, hygienic and health food to the people of Sindh, he adds.

The Authority is performing its functions accordingly as per the Sindh Food Authority Act 2016 but the major hurdle is the lack of awareness among general masses and food handlers at large, regarding the food safety and hygiene principles.

The authority’s mandate to provide safe, healthy and hygienic food to the people of Sindh can not only be achieved witht eh coercive measures but it requires general awareness campaign among the masses and food handlers and the issue demands the participation of all segments of the society, the DG concluded.

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