Hillary Clinton has finally stepped in and said what we have all been saying for the past two weeks or so. That the politicians must put an end to point-scoring over the floods. Sadly, no political entity is really noticeable in the problematic areas, though they are there in the media. Frequent helicopter trips, aerial views and insincere political rhetoric is not helping those in need. Is it not a revelation that stalwarts like Asfandyar Wali, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, Mehmood Achakzai, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and so many others have not visited their constituencies even once?
The provinces are inadvertently happy as the floods have given them a perfect excuse to cover up their budgetary shortcomings. As per a notification all development work in the Punjab has come to a standstill. What development if one may dare inquire? Is it not an open secret that cheques issued by the Punjab government to various contractors have been dishonoured over the last three months.
Despite strong support from the UN at the highest level the international community is still reluctant to come forward with monetary aid. Even Senator John Kerry, otherwise a very good friend of Pakistan, has merely hinted at reallocating the funds from the Kerry-Lugar Bill. China, a long-time friend, is silent over the tragedy and so far nothing visible has been sent across.
So who are Pakistan’s real friends and heroes at the moment? It’s just been left to the people of Pakistan to come forward and chip in with whatever they have. The Express Helpline Trust has been fortunate from the outset. A lot of commitments have been made, though sadly some were not honoured. Yet, a large number of corporations and individuals have come forward to become partners with the Trust. Punjab Rangers have come forward to help in a big way. Not only will they be escorting consignments to areas where truck looting has become common, they have also donated life-saving medicines worth almost Rs20 million. Likewise Zahid Mirza of Bank Alfalah has donated medicines that could help the victims in this hour of need. HBL must be mentioned as their staff worked overtime on August 13 (a Friday) to help us initiate an account for the Trust. If it was not for their personal efforts the entire thing would have been delayed by many days and those days could have meant the difference between life and death for so many waiting for us to come every day. Also film star Resham has donated food for almost 5,000 people.
However, the most gratifying response so far has been the support from Shafiqur Rahman and his friends. They are all disabled or physically challenged individuals. Yet they had the courage and the commitment to raise almost 1,200 kilogrammes of essential food items for the flood victims. I salute them all.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2010.
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