Heading for Hunza

Editorial May 25, 2010

The Sharif duo, Nawaz and Shahbaz, have joined the politicians making a bee-line for Hunza. Their visit comes days after the prime minister had visited the village of Altit to call on the 1,300 displaced people housed there and assess their situation. We must hope that the motives of Nawaz and Shahbaz were completely philanthropic. The Punjab chief minister announced Rs 100 million as aid for affected people. Any contribution that can help the 20,000 or so people hit by the flooding must be welcomed. They are desperately in need of help, with larger humanitarian agencies only now moving in to offer relief, following a call by the National Disaster Management Authority.

But for all the goodwill expressed, one cannot help but suspect there is an element of political point- scoring behind the sudden trip by the PML-N chief and his brother and the speeches made there. The trip was scheduled immediately after about 400 people in Altit staged a protest hours after the prime minister’s visit, demanding the announcement of a relief package. The protest was called off after official assurances on this count. It is interesting that the Sharifs directed attention the way of the calamity-hit people only after this event, vociferously demanding that more be done for them. The protest in Altit is inevitable given the sudden crisis faced by people but there are limitations to what authorities can do. After all, the efforts made after the January landslide – to ward off catastrophe and re-open the portion of the Karakorum Highway that remains blocked – failed despite all out efforts by the Frontier Works Organisation. To capitalise on this situation is not entirely kosher. It is important that parties work together and put their plight ahead of any attempt to gain political ground or draw benefit from a situation that has so tragically ruined thousands of lives.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 26th, 2010.


Arshad Alvi | 13 years ago | Reply I appreciate the generosity of Mr Nawaz Sharif that he took all the pain to travel all the way from Lahore to Northern Areas at his personal expenses and has announced a financial help for the people of Hunza affected by the damage caused by landslide / flooding. We must appreciate it as despite the fact that he is not holding any public office and is also out of Government but atill he has paid so much, I believe eleven crores (110 Million rupees) from his own pocket. Well done Muslim League you have proved to be better than the People's Party.
rehan | 13 years ago | Reply Protocol and security also followed one'such' personality;The PM.It would have been also more constructive and soothing for the poor people of Hunza,if the PM had done some earlier homework(or ordered his stooges to do it)and announced some relief package(Be it a pack of lies,aren't there many already?).It takes no Mega Economist to take 4months to calculate simple displacement figures.The lethargy and inactivity which surrounds the present government is also inexcusable!
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