Khawaja Asif, Minister for Water and Power, informed the house that more than 70 per cent of the dead in Karachi were labourers who had died of heat exhaustion and not because of load shedding. This is exactly what I have been pondering over, how would it be possible for a labourer to fast for 16 to 17 hours for 30 days who has to toil outdoors in the scorching sun and heat during the summer months of June and July in places like Thar, Cholistan, Saraiki belt, Libyan desert or for that matter the Saudi Arab desert?

Most of them eke out their livelihood by daily wages and unless they work during the day they cannot feed their families. I am fully aware of the taqwa, sabr, imtehan to endure hardship which the poor do anyway. Is fasting in this heat, for these poor laboureres unbearable, something Islam promises not to be? Please think what this weak emaciated, old and destitute labourer should do? Is the state with its billions and trillions for roads and development not responsible for these poor? Where is the Zakat that is collected from all banks automatically? Can’t our Ministry for Religious Affairs give money from Zakat to these poor in the month of Ramzan so they can fast and also support their family.

COL. RIAZ JAFRI (RETD),

Rawalpindi, June 25.