ISLAMABAD                -               Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, on Friday, urged the federal government to save the country from famine amid the locust attack.

Bilawal warned that if the federal government did not wake up from its slumber against locust attack, it would “wholly be held responsible for the looming famine.”

In a statement, he asked the federal government to immediately implement National Action Plan (NAP) to control the ensuing locust attack in the country.

“Any delay in the implementation of NAP, decided at a meeting between the Federal and Sindh government would mount great danger to the agriculture as well as the economy,” said the PPP Chairperson.

The Food and Agriculture Organization had already warned that locust attack could inflict losses to the tune of Rs600 billion on Pakistani economy if the federal government failed to take timely and full-fledged action as per the NAP.

Bilawal pointed out that a meeting between Federal and Sindh governments had earlier decided the NAP under which at least 12 airplanes were to be hired for aerial spray in Balochistan areas which were the entry point of locust swarms.

 “But the Federal government didn’t hire these airplanes and only one aircraft and three helicopters are being used for operations in Balochistan, which are not sufficient to control the swarms,” he added.

Bilawal pointed out that swathes of locust swarms had entered Kashmore, Larkana, Umerkot and Tharparker areas. These locust swarms had moved into India where the desert was a fertile breeding ground for them before heading back to Sindh, Punjab and even to the parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, he said.

The PPP Chairperson said that it was the key responsibility of Plant Protection Department of the Federal government to conduct aerial spray, while Sindh government had provided pesticides and vehicles for the spray operation.

He said that the Federal Ministry for Food Security was again missing in action as locusts attack crops across Pakistan.

“Last year despite our pleas provinces were left at the mercy of locusts. If the Federal government failed to act this is going to be another disaster in the making,” he added.

Meanwhile, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, the spokesperson to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari strongly condemned the arrest of the leader of PPP North Waziristan Shafqat Dawar and warned the government to keep away from such tactics.

Senator Khokhar said that restlessness would only increase by such actions of the government in North Waziristan. “No one can crush the voice of the youth,” he said.

 

The government, he said, would have to pay heed to their voice. He said that the arrest of a political worker for expressing his opinion was an action peculiar to the mindset of dictators. “Shafqat Dawar is an asset for the party and the party is standing by him,” he contended.

Senator Khokhar demanded release of Shafqat Dawar and said that Peoples Lawyers’ Forum would fight Shafqat Dawar case at every forum. “In the 21st century the voices cannot be silenced using 3 MPO,” Senator Khokhar said.