The district administration has allegedly sur­rendered before the elected representatives of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and started distribution of ration bags after collecting the lists of their favourites.

Sources said that Muttahida Qaumi Move­ment-Pakistan (MQM-P) had opposed the distribution of ration bags by the district administration as only the PPP workers and office-bearers were receiving the bags.

Talking to The Nation here on Monday, a large number of people living in urban areas of the district accused the district adminis­tration of distributing the ration bags in the outskirts of the city, mostly villages, where PPP voters were mostly residing.

MQM-P district Mirpurkhas in-charge Khushi Muhammad Mughal, talking to this scribe, alleged that seniors of the district ad­ministration had with them the lists of blue-eyed boys of PPP, in whom they distributed ration.

In order to prove his point, he said that the district administration did not include representatives of the MQM-P in the commit­tees formed to oversee ration distribution. He strongly condemned the ‘discriminatory’ attitude of the Sindh government, and de­manded the Sindh chief minister to take im­mediate notice of the situation and order im­partial inquiry into it so that not only those involved could be brought to justice but the equal distribution of ration bags could also be ensured. Members of the opposition and nationalist parties in Tando Muhammad Khan have criticised the Sindh government’s decision to distribute ration among those af­fected by the lockdown through local leaders of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

It is reminded here that the provincial government has formed relief committees at the union council level to provide basic commodities, including food items, to the deprived people. It is generally believed that these committees are distributing food items among the PPP supporters only.

Along with this, merely 150 ration bags have been given to each relief committee to distribute these in its respective union com­mittee, the average population of which is around 40,000. The reason behind the for­mation of the COVID-19 relief committees was to distribute ration bags among the needy persons at the union committee and ward level. The DCs were to supervise and monitor the distribution of the ration, ac­cording to a notification issued on March 26 by the Sindh chief secretary.

The notification also provided the mecha­nism for the composition of the relief com­mittees at the union committee level. Ac­cording to the notification, a representative of the relevant Deputy Commissioner would be the relief committee’s convener while its other members would include the union com­mittee chairman or ward councilor, chairman of the local zakat committee in the locality, a representative of a prominent NGO, a notable of the locality, and a notable women activist or women councilor.

The notification said that the relief com­mittee will “identify daily wage earners, la­bourers, street hawkers and the poor seg­ment of society” residing in the respective union committee and distribute ration bags among them. The notification also asked the relief committee members to ensure social distancing in order to limit the spread of coronavirus. Talking this correspondent, Pir Ahmed Saeed Jan Sirhandi Chairman Union Council, blamed that there is no transpar­ency seen in the distribution of relief items to the poor masses, Likewise, PTI’s Deputy Secretary Hassan Khan Pathan, and a large number of social and nationalists activists have complained that the Deputy Commis­sioner have nominated many local leaders of the ruling PPP as the relief committee conve­ners who have been distributing rations only among the PPP supporters.

Almost all the chairmen of the Zakat com­mittees have been appointed by the PPP who are the members of the relief committees as per the notification. Moreover, many Jiyalas have also filled the slots for NGO workers, notables of the area and women activists.

Some of the union council chairman, and representative of Saath Filaahi Tanzeem (SFT) Papu Baloch and others protested in-front of the Assistant Commissioners’ office and expressed concern over the distribution mechanism of the free rations. “We demand that the government engage genuine com­munity leaders in the distribution of the free rations among the residents.