KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said on Monday that the Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) was being formed.

Speaking at the launch of a four-day anti-polio campaign at Government Hospital Ibrahim Hyderi, a fishermen village located on outskirts of the city, he said,

“I received a PFC file on Sunday evening in this regard, which I will sign to ensure that the necessary funds could be released to the local bodies. This despite the fact that the provincial government has already provided them enough funds,” he said and added that the issue of local councils, particularly of the union councils and district councils, had to do with their bank accounts.

“Once they open their accounts, the problem of transferring funds to them would be resolved,” he added.

He also said that the chairmen of the educational boards would be appointed by search committees.

Replying to a question, the CM said that everyone had the right to protest, but nobody had the right to take law in his hands. “People’s party believes in democratic norms and respect them,” he said.

The event was also attended by Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro and Shahnaz Wazir Ali.

Murad further said that he was committed to eradicating polio from the province and had given ownership to the campaign. He informed that as per the target, 8.3 million children of under-five-years of age, including 2.2 million in Karachi, would be administered polio drops. The CM deplored that 15 polio cases had been reported in the country this year, out of which five were reported in Sindh.

Giving details of the polio cases reported in the province, he said one was reported in Karachi, one from Jacobabad, one from Sajawal and two from Shikarpur. “But we are committed to controlling the disease in the first phase and eradicating it in the second phase by launching extensive campaigns and taking necessary measures,” he expressed the resolve. He also urged the parents to get their children vaccinated.

Replying to a question, Murad brushed aside the impression that expired polio vaccines were being used.

He expressed displeasure over the reports that heroin and other narcotics were openly sold in Ibrahim Hyderi, Rerhi and Lath Basti. “I would not allow such kind of trade of narcotics, including gutka, manpuri and other such drugs and they have been banned,” he said, and directed the SSP present there to crackdown on the racket.

Meanwhile, while presiding over a meeting on health services at the CM House, the chief minister directed the health department to provide dengue kits to people in Tharparkar and Karachi so that the disease could be diagnosed and cured in time.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Health Dr Sikandar Mendhro, Secretary Health Usman Chachar and other senior officers of the health department.

Briefing the CM, Secretary Health Usman Chachar said that 1713 cases of dengue had been reported in the province, out of which 1510 cases were reported in Karachi with three deaths, 68 in Hyderabad and 84 in Tharparkar.

Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mendhro informed that 88 cases had been reported in Thar, out of which 84 patients were treated in Hyderabad and sent back home. “Only four patients in stable condition are in LMC Hyderabad,” he added.

The health minister further told the meeting that Dengue Control Programme Manager Dr Masood Solanagi had taken the samples of water from different areas of Karachi, including from zoo, and found millions of dengue seedlings in them.

“Chemical was poured in the tanks to kill these germs, and now these reservoirs of water are safe to some extent,” he elaborated.

The secretary health told the chief minister that the programme administration had purchased 17000 kits and had started distributing these in the affected areas.

Murad directed the health department to take necessary measure to provide timely treatment to the dengue patients and also issued directives to the commissioners and local bodies for extensive fumigation in Karachi, Hyderabad and Thar. Furthermore, taking serious notice of the spread of AIDS in Larkana, the CM directed the health department to activate the Sindh Aids Control Programme team.

The secretary health told the chief minister that there were around 1500 cases of AIDS in Larkana.

He dispelled the impression that the recent increase in cases was due to dialysis machines.

Presenting an inquiry report conducted on the instructions of the chief minister, the secretary said AIDS had spread in Larkana due to illegal blood banks and laboratories.

“The team has raided a number of blood banks and laboratories, and sealed some of them,” he added.

On this the chief minister directed the health department to start crackdown against illegal blood banks and labs all over Sindh.