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LAHORE: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has said that the federal and provincial agencies should take immediate steps to control the forest fire in the Sherani district of Balochistan.

He expressed these views while presiding over an emergency meeting on the Cypress Forest fire in Sherani held here on Saturday. Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, Federal Ministers Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Maulana Abdul Wasi and Maryam Aurangzeb, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt-Gen Akhtar Nawaz, Corps Commander Quetta, Chief Secretaries of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and relevant federal and provincial secretaries attended the meeting through a video link.

On the occasion, he directed the officials concerned that immediate arrangements should be made for helicopters to control the fire. “Moreover, immediate steps should be taken to provide education and health facilities to the families of those killed in the incident,” he added.

The Prime Minister further said that the task force set up to control the fire and speed up relief operations should ensure necessary steps. While expressing deep sorrow over the loss of three precious lives and injuries due to the fire, he said that unfortunately, the country lacks the resources and expertise to deal with such a situation. However, he hoped that the situation would be brought under control, he added.

He also directed the officials concerned to take steps immediately to protect the forests of Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, and liaison with the federal government should be ensured in this regard. On this occasion, Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo informed the meeting that further steps are being taken to control the situation. “The fire has been largely contained,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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