In southern Punjab with no protocol

Published: August 21, 2010
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The writer hosts “Kal Tak” on Express News 
javed.chaudhry@tribune.com.pk

The writer hosts “Kal Tak” on Express News javed.chaudhry@tribune.com.pk

The city of Bhong is 20 minutes away from Rahimyar Khan. We were a few hundred feet above the land and the noise from the helicopter engines was very loud. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif looked out and with great sorrow and a deep sigh said, “Look at the devastation. It’s simply mindboggling. How many years  will you need to rehabilitate these fields, farm houses, villages and houses?”

He was here the very next day after the flood came. “By then the town of Bhong was under water, people had taken refuge on trees, mounds and roofs of houses. Land links, power supply and telephones were suspended; even the famous Bhong Mosque was inundated.” He and his team started the supply of food, clothes, water and tents to people by helicopters and boats. “I haven’t seen destruction on such a large scale in my life… these are the most horrifying days I have ever had. If I had to go to Lahore for an official engagement that could not be avoided, I would but then I would return to southern Punjab for relief work within half an hour.”

Shabaz Sharif said that he personally supplied food to people, crossing the Indus and Chenab rivers dozens of times. “Without this, I would not have grasped the situation properly.”

After an aerial tour of Bhong, we landed in Sadiqabad. The local administration had set up a ‘fake camp’, situated near the helipad to ensure that the chief minister’s visit was ‘successful’. But when he declared that he wanted to go to another camp, there was chaos in the administration.

We proceeded to the second camp. As we arrived there, people encircled the chief minister and started raising slogans in his favour. In the beginning this all looked artificial and it seemed as if a kind of a live play was being staged by the administration. But after a close look and individual meetings with people I realised that people were speaking their hearts and baring their souls to the chief minister. People were being provided food, clothing articles, tents and medicines at the camp. I saw a mechanical tandoor with a capacity to produce a thousand loaves of bread an  hour.

The camps are alright and well-managed; however, I saw a lack of cleanliness there. Flies and dust were everywhere. The health secretary is present in the area and is working day and night. But these flies are out of control and could give rise to a serious epidemic. The chief minister and the health secretary should look in to this matter and prevent this from happening.

We returned throwing food packets on our way in Mehmood Kot. I did not see any protocol or any DC or DPO anywhere. “Why?” I asked and the chief minister replied with a smile: “I have told my administration in southern Punjab to work in their respective areas, and that if any officer came to receive me leaving his work, he should consider his service terminated.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2010.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Rehan
    Aug 22, 2010 - 3:02AM

    Nice to see the initial ‘sadness’ turning into a ‘smile’when he has an answer which has a smell of self aggrandizement(is the spelling right?).So the ‘sadness’ was a good bumper to absorb embarrasing questions.Politicians are BEST at their job!Recommend

  • Softimage
    Aug 22, 2010 - 4:31AM

    Mr. Javed chaudhary please only today i have read an artical by Mr. Hassan Askari that the PPP and PML(N) both started to moblize there efforts after a pause of 3 weeks and instead of making things they have started to fight with each other on the AID which is to come in $. The depressing episode of the two innocent kids is thr reality which is showing what the Punjab Govt. is really doing in Punjab. The SHO has been given a chance to flee this is the reality i would like to advice Mr. Javed Chaudhary to please give us the correct picture of the dituation. Recommend

  • Taimoor Hassan
    Aug 22, 2010 - 5:05AM

    I dont know Mr Javed Choudhry what you have tried to hi-lite here. Dont you think You have just credited CM in flood by flood politics. Recommend

  • mussarat ahmedzeb swat
    Aug 22, 2010 - 9:38AM

    Javed choudry if the Sharif,s get power in federal your luck will change.Keep up your good analysis.Recommend

  • Aug 22, 2010 - 11:18AM

    Rest assured, Javed Chaudhary sahab, you’ll be well rewarded for this article.Recommend

  • Aug 22, 2010 - 12:19PM

    Javed Job well done, expect becoming director of PTV when PMLN will be in power in center. Just for your information we all know the realities Punjab is facing whether it’s law and order, terrorism, minority killings or flood victims reliefRecommend

  • parvez
    Aug 22, 2010 - 1:48PM

    Mr. Chaudry you were a TV anchor I liked to watch and now in one moment of weakness you have ruined your image.
    I love the saying ” Credibility is like virginity, once lost its gone forever.”Recommend

  • hafeez
    Aug 22, 2010 - 4:58PM

    you always write for sharifs. but please keep it only upto reactionary urdu media and KALtal. dont distort facts and malign the reality here. Recommend

  • Aug 22, 2010 - 7:46PM

    Embedded journalism at its best Recommend

  • Salman
    Aug 22, 2010 - 8:44PM

    We are not in a habbit of appreciating good things. Mr. Chaudhry keep it up.. i agree with your commentsRecommend

  • Marvi Sirmed
    Aug 22, 2010 - 9:40PM

    Dear Mr. Javed Chaudhry, Can you please let us know what exactly you want to say here?I mean I really appreciate your effort at English language, and your boldness of expression in the sense that even at the risk of sounding a sycophant, you went ahead with not only writing this piece bu getting it published as well. Moreover, you deserve special accolade to have used melodramatic expressions and scene setting in your bid to please your boss . . . Ooops, I mean, the CM. But dear Chaudhry sahib, will you kindly disclose for public consumption as to what purpose these pearls of wisdom actually achieving? Do you want to say Punjab govt has done whatever best it could do? Or that the only job left for the CM and Health Minister is to take care of the flies? You are a ideologue of your own kind Chaudhry Saab, and I firmly believe that you very clearly know what you are doing. Let me also say, you are serving yourself quite well. But actually, not that well! See, the world does not end at your nose. Have a good day janaab! Recommend

  • Hamid
    Aug 23, 2010 - 1:29AM

    I think you should not reconsider to all of those who can not see who has been working day and night for the flood victims, which of course none other than CM of Punjab. Way to go CM don’t worry Javaid some people will not be able to understand the difference between the right and wrong they will just speak out of there political affiliations regardless. Recommend

  • Aug 23, 2010 - 11:50AM

    well said Marvi, i hope Chaudhry sahab is reading our comments so that he realizes now it’s not that easy to fool people, i was also surprised that he mentioned only flies are left for Punjab govt to take care rest has been governed by his boss i.e Mr.CM. hypocrisy at its bestRecommend

  • MI
    Aug 23, 2010 - 3:27PM

    Just a remindwr to Javed Chaudhary that the same CM put a drama a few days before when Punjab government asked every tv channel to play one minute movie to show the CM was riding a motorbike. Kindly stop fooling people in such a cheap way.Recommend

  • Samee khan
    Aug 23, 2010 - 5:51PM

    well Mr choudry i think you wrote the truth basically our people are not in habit of reading and listening of good and encouraging news neither our politicians are that much fourth coming like shahbaz sharif who is a good administrator, that is why they doubt your reporting style but as it is said that seeing is believing , so if you have seen it with your own eyes then we got to believe it, so don,t get disturb with these remarks and keep on doing your job. A job well done. Recommend

  • Raza shafique
    Oct 6, 2010 - 6:46AM

    no all of you commenter are wrong and behave like a child. you just have to use your head that can any columnist not appreciate a political leader for his good work. this is mind set that anchor or columnist should always argue with political leader. people like u wants something masala in politics.
    Javed chaudry is the man of vast thinking. just try to understand his idea that how much struggle done by Mr shehbaz sharif. this is just the point.Recommend

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