Why have we forgotten the flood devastation and misery?

Pakistan can turn this adversity into an opportunity, but only after corrupt elements are punished.


Marvi Memon December 28, 2010

The miseries caused by the flood earlier this year are far from over. When one travels to areas like Khairpur Nathan Shah in Sindh where the water still stands, it makes one realise that the devastation and misery brought on by the worst floods in our history is far from over. On Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary, I visited these areas to check whether life had returned to even a semblance of normalcy, but all I saw was ruin and wreckage and continued suffering. And I thought, what kind of a tribute is being paid to the ‘leader of democracy’ next door in Larkana, whilst her ‘maroora’ (people) continued to suffer at the hands of incompetent and corrupt leaders?

The cobwebs on the trees made the entire landscape look haunted; the tents sprawled on the sides of the embankment (which had been put up against the floodwaters) and the teeming crowd were all a testimony to the sufferings caused by this disaster. All I could think of was how to help these people and how those responsible for their misery should be held accountable. Those who had diverted the bunds and those who had mismanaged flood monitoring and the relief, rescue and rehabilitation effort should have been held accountable for their misdeeds. The methodology for accountability at the executive and the parliament level has failed because it didn’t happen? However, after I submitted a petition to the Supreme Court, an independent commission has been established by the chief justice for which I am most grateful. There are many expectations of justice from this commission.

Some of the questions which the commission needs to probe in its extensive travels all over Pakistan are as follows:

1. How were funds for maintenance of irrigation works prior to the flood spent? What kind of corrupt practices were witnessed then and who were the culprits? 2. When flood warnings had been given who was responsible for poor relief, rescue and rehabilitation efforts? 3. Who was responsible for the illegal diversion of the floodwater and, if cuts were made in bunds, was there due justification for doing so? 4. Who was responsible for the miseries of people in and outside relief camps? 5. How were the millions of dollars of foreign aid spent? 6. What is the exact damage to infrastructure and to humans, including loss of life, and how much compensation has been paid, and to whom? 7. Were all assets, airbases and other facilities used optimally for relief and rescue and rehabilitation work?

Whilst speaking to my maroora at Khairpur Nathan Shah, some basic issues crept up. The promises of blankets for winter, free seeds, Watan cards, bank agriculture loan write-offs, bill write-offs and free rehabilitated houses remain unfulfilled for most. These had perhaps been given to those who were politically associated with the ruling party but, by and large, there were complaints of irregularities.

The process of fixing irrigation works damages has not even started. The breaches are still unplugged. In most places, the water was still standing instead of being pumped out. The sights I saw make, in essence, Pakistan's agricultural recovery look like a distant dream. Yet I had hope as I walked through the crowds. My hope was that through making individuals accountable for the damages, some forward movement on rebuilding in the flood-hit areas would be possible. Pakistan can take advantage of this adversity and turn it into an opportunity, but only after corrupt elements are punished.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2010.

COMMENTS (13)

Humanity | 10 years ago | Reply Ms. Marvi, please tell us what you have done as a member of the parliament for the flood victims in specific and the public in general. The public demands a performance review of the servants that make to the highest place of public service. Please rate your performance as: 1 - Exceeds expectations beyond the call of duty 2 - Consistently meets expectation with occasioal effort to go the extra mile 3 - Satisfactory output for a 9-5 work ethics 4 - Inconsistent performance; should be put on notice 4 - Poor performance; must be let go
Sonia | 10 years ago | Reply Look who is talking. I think PML Q has a lot in its own baggage before being critical about others.
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