No matter what the PPP government in Sindh claims to do for the people of Thar, the death toll over the past three years continues to rise. One can only assume that the government is inherently incompetent or extremely corrupt to not be able to put Rs 10.3 billion to some constructive use in Thar. This question was raised by the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights as well, on Wednesday.

The figures just do not add up; over 4.1 billion was released to distribute wheat bags, not counting the additional millions spent to transport and distribute the copious amounts of wheat, which is strange, considering the people continue to starve.

The PPP government continues to hold true to its reputation of being extremely corrupt, yet stealing money earmarked for aid is a new low altogether. While nothing is proven as of yet, the amount spent should have delivered some tangible results in Thar. Malnutrition and dehydration continue to be the worst killers in the region, even with the government’s supposed improvement of healthcare facilities. Out of the 5 billion spent on water schemes, a large portion has been spent on the construction of reverse-osmosis plants. 700 were promised, but only 432 have been installed. The most troubling fact however, is that 70 of them have already become non-functional. Something is clearly not right.

One of the biggest factors to take into consideration is that the handing out food and water free of cost only helps in the short run. Making long term projects for clean drinking water and providing better healthcare is the only way to avert the deaths of the hundreds of children that are losing their lives in Thar. Using stop-gap measures has clearly not gotten us anywhere, and is not likely to alleviate the sufferings of the people of Thar. The Sindh government has managed to ignore the crisis due to the area’s isolation and the lack of media coverage, but the whole country is watching now. An investigation must be launched into the usage of funds, and those responsible for any misdeeds must be punished. Real work needs to begin on improving the torrid standards of living in Thar. The provincial government, meanwhile, should really look inwards and look to do something about its indifference.