Indian businessman installs hand pumps in poverty-stricken Pakistan district

Dubai: Unfazed by the recent Indo-Pak tensions, a Dubai-based Indian businessman has installed over 60 hand pumps in a poverty-stricken district of Pakistan’s south-eastern Sindh province, according to a media report.

Joginder Singh Salaria set up nearly 62 water pumps in Tharparkar district with the help of local social workers after knowing the plight of the area through social media. He also sent bags of grains to the community.

Salaria, who has been a UAE-resident since 1993 and runs a transport business said he reached out to social workers in Pakistan via social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube, established contacts with them and funded the entire operation.

“While India-Pakistan tensions were high following the Pulwama incident, we were installing hand pumps in these poor villages,” Joginder Singh Salaria, who launched the Pehal Charitable Trust, was quoted as saying by the Khaleej Times.

Tension between India and Pakistan were at an all-time high after 40 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on February 14 when a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) attacked their bus in Pulwama district.

India responded by launching air strikes across the LoC and destroyed terror camps in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The philanthropist said he spent weeks and months researching the plight of people in Tharparkar and a lot of it was done through social media.

Bheal Khangar, a social worker, coordinated with Salaria for the entire project.

“There are very few roads in the villages. The nearest hospital is 50km away, and people need to walk 25km to reach the main road. Schools are also very bad in those areas. Most children can’t go to school due to lack of opportunities, lack of easy access to school and lack of schools,” he said.

The Khaleej Times quoted a United National Development Programme report as saying that the Tharparkar district has some of the lowest social and development indicators in Sindh province and across Pakistan with poverty head count of 87 per cent.

Over the past decade, high levels of deprivation have resulted in a steady increase in the multi-dimensional poverty head count in the district, the report said.