Karachi: Nine people, including infants, died today from malnutrition in a drought-hit remote Sindh province district, home to thousands of minority Hindus in Pakistan.
The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the Sindh province has come under scathing attack as hundreds of people have died this year as a result of the drought.
There are conflicting figures over the number of people who have died this year in Tharparkar district. While local doctors say the figure is over 500, the government puts the figure at around 400.
"It is a bad situation and each day people are dying because of lack of nutrition including clean drinking water and adequate medical facilities," a local doctor who works in the area with a NGO told PTI.
He said in the last three months itself over 100 infants had died from malnutrition.
"The government had sent medical supplies, water and food to the area but most of it was not utilised by local government officials for unknown reasons," the doctor said.
Opposition parties and even members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz which rules in the centre have questioned the commitment and policies of the Sindh government in dealing with the situation in Tharparkar.
While the media keeps on highlighting the issue everyday with deaths reported on a daily basis, the ruling PPP insists the media and opposition parties are running a propaganda against them and telling half truths.
"No one wants to listen to the truth, no one wants to listen to the development the PPP government has carried out in the area in the last seven years. They are just content blaming us for everything although everyone knows Thar has never been a easy place to govern," senior PPP leader Shehla Reza said.
Six deaths were reported from tehsil Chhachhro and three more infant died in Hayat Halepoto village, reports said.
"Basically these deaths are occuring from malnutrition, pneumonia and diarrhoea," the doctor said.
A medical practitioner said the district lacked basic health and hygiene education and that early marriages, births through unskilled attendants and lack of proper medical facilities were causing weakness in children.
In a recently released report by the District Health Department in Umerkot, it emerged that 85 people have died in Umerkot out of which 61 were infants.
The death toll in 2014 is reported to be above 470.
Tharparkar is spread over 22,000 square kilometres, with a population of about 1.5 million people.
At an average, every third year is a drought.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah last week dismissed allegations of slackness, negligence and incompetence on part of the provincial government in meeting the challenge of the Tharparkar drought and said it had realised the situation in November and started taking measures to meet the situation.