ISLAMABAD : Asif Ali Zardari, former president and co-chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), on Wednesday directed the Sindh government to carry out a survey about industrial units in Karachi, which are using hazardous chemicals. Expressing grief and shock over the drowning of over a dozen people in a drain filled with toxic effluent from a local mill in Dera Ismail Khan the other day, he demanded stern action against the responsible.
for criminal negligence resulting in human tragedy and also compensation to the victims.
According to reports some unsuspecting local people wading through the drain on way back to their homes after harvesting fell unconscious and died screaming for help due to poisonous effluent discharged from the industrial unit without treatment.
Zardari's spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the former president expressing profound shock and grief over the loss of precious human lives of daily wage earners has called for thorough investigation in the matter and taking of measures to avert such a tragedy in future. The death of women and children in the tragedy has added to the poignancy of the disaster and it is the duty of the government to rehabilitate the devastated families, he quoted the former president as saying.
The criminal neglect of environmental aspects by allowing the discharge of untreated toxic effluent into the river through an open drain needs to be investigated and the responsibility must be fixed, Zardari said.
The former president said that Pakistan is obligated under relevant international covenants and protocols to abide by the environmental and safety standards. A gross deviation from the internationally recognised practices can invoke censure and penalties on the country and adversely affect trade with other countries, he said.
Zardari also directed the party workers to reach out to the victim families in DI Khan and assist them in their hour of distress. He also demanded that adequate compensation be paid and measures taken for the rehabilitation of the bereaved families.
The former president said that the DI Khan tragedy should serve as an eye opener to the general approach of the governments and national industry towards environmental issues and the threat posed to human lives by criminally neglecting these issues.
The spokesperson said that in this context the former president also directed the provincial government of Sindh to carry out a survey of how many industrial units in the Karachi metropolis using hazardous chemicals actually treat their wastewater and take appropriate remedial measures in case of inadequacies.