PM, K-P CM pull in opposite directions

As Shehbaz arrives in Nowshera, Mahmood takes flight to Chitral to give solace to flood victims

Our Correspondent August 30, 2022
K-P CM Mahmood Khan gets a briefing on flood relief activities in the province. Photo: express


As the country struggles to cope with overwhelming floods, bitter polarisation and rivalry continued to haunt visits undertaken by those at the helm of affairs even as they met flood-hit people.

Steering clear of each other, leaders of the PML-N-led federal government – who rule the centre – and the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, pulled in different directions during their visits to some of the worst-hit areas of the province.

While Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited Nowshera to review the ongoing rescue and relief activities along with other PDM leaders, K-P Chief Minister Mahmood Khan chose to visit Chitral.

“This is not the time to do politicking. This is time to support the distressed people for rehabilitation of their houses,” the prime minister said during a visit to a camp set up for those affected by the devastating floods.

However, observers said the ‘optics’ reeked of partisan politics which the political leaders refuse to jettison even as waters keep rising, killing hundreds of thousands and displacing thousands. Instead of making joint efforts, the leaders decided to leapfrog each other, turning the entire exercise into their own particularist politics.

The prime minister as well as other local PDM leaders, they noted, promised funds and similar emergency measures as the K-P chief minister while giving solace to the people, apparently indulging in 'virtue signalling'.

During his visit, PM Shehbaz also distributed relief assistance cheques among the flood-stricken people. He urged philanthropists to arrange food, medicine, clothes or cash for the flood victims as a service to humanity as millions of Pakistanis were looking toward them.

Authorities apprised him of the latest flood situation, ongoing rescue and relief operations as well as the facilities being provided to the displaced people at the relief camps.

Flood relief efforts by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) are ongoing in various areas of K-P. At least 10,000 houses have been destroyed, more than 200 people killed and 16 schools damaged, according to a report by the PDMA. At least 959 heads of cattle have also died in various accidents.

On the other hand, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan arrived in Yarkhun, a flood-hit area of Upper Chitral, to review the relief activities and help the victims of the flood.

The chief minister took an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas and was briefed in detail by the concerned officers about the disaster caused by the flood in Yarkhun.

The chief minister met the flood victims and listened to their complaints and demands at various places. Interacting with the victims, he said that the government stands with its people in this difficult time, adding that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has released additional funds to the relief and rehabilitation department for the resettlement of the flood victims.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2022.


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