HYDERABAD: Thardeep Rural Development Program (TRDP) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Allahnawaz Samoo said nutrition has long been one of the core issues faced in desert region of Thar and that sincere efforts were needed to tackle the problems. Samoo said malnutrition alone, in recent few years, claimed lives of thousands of Thari children, adding that there was a need to invite international organisations to visit drought-hit areas of Thar and other parts of Sindh to provide aid and assistance.He said malnutrition was not only a technical issue but a political one in Sindh too because people in the province don’t get due share of what they grow. He said that it was a matter of concern that agriculture in Sindh had been corporatised and that such issues had never been priority of governments. Dr Samoo urged people to highlight the issues facing the arid zones of the province as well as other parts of the country to create awareness about importance of nutrition, which according to him, was the core issue.“We are committed to resolve such issues. We must demand concerned political parties and individuals to make effective policies to tackle such issues.” Malnutrition contributes to around 45% of under-five deaths in Pakistan. The current malnutrition in Pakistan has been estimated to cost the economy 3% of GDP per year, while the situation in Thar is far worse.Project Manager SUNCCSA Pak, Nutrition International Aliya Habib shared that the core purpose to engage media practitioners with the alarming situation was to gather the grass-root data and facts about the flow of information. She said that malnutrition doesn’t mean that the lack and absence of energy is the only reason behind that but the overflow of energy is also considered as malnutrition. The indicators of this problem are low birth weight, under weight and micro-nutrient deficiencies.In rural areas, there is a dire need to educate and aware women about the way of feeding and food concerns, she added. “To overcome malnutrition, breastfeeding is necessary. The first 1000 days between pregnancy and a child’s 2nd birthday sets the life-long foundation for human capital and adequate nutrition.”Right activist Kirshan Sharma said that Thar was declared a drought-hit area due to insufficient rainfall but the government, instead of addressing other main issues, was only focused on distribution of wheat bags among Tharis.“Initiatives and steps taken by government should be monitored, as their established and allocated stuff should be come in check and balance.”Journalists, civil society members and right activists actively participated in the seminar and shared their views along with their experiences and exposures.