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Just dogs, stray dogs

The dogs had to be killed. They were ruining the image of Karachi — a clean and safe city where the garbage is lifted every day, and the roads are carpeted

Just dogs, stray dogs

There has been outrage over the killing of hundreds of stray dogs in Karachi and images of their dead carcasses have made it to a number of international media outlets.

One is at a loss at this outrage.

These dogs have been a source of many problems. Thousands of people are bitten and have to get injections. Their population is growing. It is said the humane thing to do is gather them up somehow, or provide shelter, etc.

Humane is for humans.

Don’t these people know that the resources of the province are used for far more important things?

Inhe kutton ki pari hai.

What is the alternative? Redirect human resources from government departments? Do they think that these departments are overstaffed with political appointments made to oblige supporters? Do they think these staffers are redundant and effectively serve no purpose, some of them not even reporting for duty and still being paid? Do they think this human resource consists of ghost employees that don’t actually exist but we pay for them from the exchequer any way? Just check what international audit agencies have to say about our efficiently run and staffed public sector enterprises. Especially PIA.

What’s next?

Divert funds to make shelters? For animals? How can we divert funds away from the hundreds of shelters the government runs itself for the homeless? The abused women and children who have nowhere to go? And those struggling with drug addiction? Stray human beings, some might call them. Where will these people go if not to the government? And what about the generous langarkhanas run by the government across the country to feed the poor? What will happen to them?

The government’s job is to take care of human beings, not animals.

In addition to shelter and food, the Sindh government makes sure that it also provides great health services to the people. Basic health units are functioning with great efficiency across the province as are hospitals with necessary equipment and doctors, especially in areas such as Thar. Valuable funds are given here to save hundreds of lives — of mothers in childbirth, of infants after and during birth. Just check what the World Bank says about our infant mortality rates. And just check what a recent report on Thar has to say about this matter — pages and pages dedicated to our empathy and attention.

And what of our education sector? Can these critics not see how efficiently the schooling system is run? How funds are utilised efficiently and transparently here? How ghost schools, ghost teachers are avoided through well-funded projects and cross-checks? Funds are utilised to ensure that all schools have basic things such as toilets and boundary walls. And, of course, teachers who are regular in attendance. Just Google what non-government organisations such as Alif Ailan have to say about the situation in Sindh.

Funds and human resource cannot be diverted. In fact, we need more funds to improve the system. Budget utilisation has been near perfect in Sindh, year after year. Planning and expenditure, perfectly synced. The extra funds can come from foreign donors, who are lining up. Take for example the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), which is begging the Sindh government to take their money and manage it by itself. Programme after programme is being offered; the government is just not taking it because things are running well so far. And we believe in trade, not aid, as Sindh’s ruling party’s chief once said: We don’t have space in the cabinet for matters such as animal rights either. We have a small cabinet, occupied by only those who are absolutely necessary for the running of the province, especially our new sports minister.

The dogs had to be killed. They were ruining the image of Karachi — a clean and safe city where the garbage is lifted every day, and the roads are carpeted.

In fact, there are stories about another country, where people are picked up and often killed without trial. The bodies of some are simply dumped by the roadside, and others are shown to have been downed in ‘encounters’ with brave law enforcers. At least in our case these are just dogs. Stray dogs.

Perhaps the private sector can do something about it. There’s a story about a country, where the situation was so bad, apparently, that a philanthropist set up his own ambulance service for the public. An ambulance service! What kind of administration cannot provide something as basic as that? Perhaps if the Sindh government continues killing animals in this manner, and piling up their carcasses and pictures make their way across the country and the world, perhaps someone will step forward.

But that was a service for human beings.

Inhe kutton ki pari hai. 

Gibran Peshimam

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