KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that his government was not against the construction of Bhasha Dam and issues of storage of water must be resolved.
This he said while talking to media just after inaugurating the first ever Center of Autism Rehabilitation & Training (C-ART) at Gulistan-e-Jauhar. On the occasion Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, Secretary Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Abbas Baloch, Professor Dr Nabila Soomro and others were present.
The chief minister said that the provincial government has no objection on the construction of Bhasha Dam. There is need of storage of water but “we have to see how much water is available in our system,” he said.
Replying to a question, he said that street crime has increased in Karachi and it has invited wide criticism. “Actually, this problem [street crime] increased during the caretaker government and now we are curbing it,” he said and added the IG police is joining and we would formulate a vigorous strategy to eliminate street crime and make the overall restored law and order sustainable,” he vowed.
He said that National Action Plan (NAP) was in progress and the targeted operation launched in the city has produced best results and now “we are going to divert it towards the street criminals, drug mafia and land grabbers,” he said.
To another question, Murad Ali Shah said that the poor people were being given houses under Benazir Bhutto Housing Cell. “This programme was going on from the last many years and a large number of homeless people have been gives houses,” he said.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of Center of Autism Rehabilitation & Training (C-ART), Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that to him Autism or disability was not a disease but it was a problem which the parents and the society have to understand to handle lovingly, medically and carefully. “It is our responsibility to support our children who are differently able,” he said.
He said that it was a big problem to establish institutions but the problem is to find dedicated and devoted professionals to run them in the public interest and make them genuine institutions. “Today we have established C-ART and we have found some dedicated persons like Dr Nabila Soomro and others to make this institution one of the best in South Asia,” he said and proudly said that it was the biggest C-Art institution in public sector in South Asia.
He pointed that through different presentations he has found that more people of administration were working in C-Art than the trainers or experts. “We have to increase the strength of trainers and teaching staff to make it a professional institution,” he said and added that he was ready to provide funds whatever the C-Art administration needs but “I want to see the actual results and genuine rehabilitation,” he said.
The chief minister urged C-Art administration to establish its satellite centers in others parts of the province. “There is dire need of such rehabilitation and training centers all over Sindh,” he said and gave the example of NICVD and said it has about eight satellite centers in different districts of the province.
Murad Shah said that the C-ART would cater to the needs of the children whose parents could not afford the fee of private institutions.
The chief minister said that he was working hard for the education and training of every segment of the society. “We are also improving our schools working for special children,” he said.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication as well as by unique strengths and differences.
The chief minister said that there are over 60 million people with autism across the world of which many third world countries in Africa and Asia, including Pakistan, do not even have access to any public services. “The situation is definitely alarming,” he said and added in a country like Pakistan, where reasonable education remains a dream even for an average person, affording rehabilitation services an autistic child remains something like a big challenge.
Shah in 2016-17 had allocated Rs71.7 million to establish a Centre of Autism Rehabilitation and Training Sindh (C-Arts) in a three-story building with 38 room rooms establishing over an area of three acres at Gulistan-e-Jauhar. It is first ever center in the public sector and the biggest in South Asia. It has the capacity to enroll 300 children in a session and it would cater to the needs of the autism children whose parents cannot afford private institutes’ fees.
The Autism Centre has been completed and ready to facilitate Children and their families.
Earlier, the chief minister unveiled the plaque to inaugurate the newly constructed center. When he arrived at the center special children sung a song to welcome him.