As authorities fail, Pakistan’s flood victims wait for divine help!

PESHAWAR – This picture shows five men who were caught in a flooded river in the Kohistan area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and were swept away after waiting for rescue for hours.–Photo courtesy social media

ISLAMABAD —As floods continue to cause devastation of an immeasurable size in Pakistan, the affected people are waiting for the divine help.

Videos of the death and destruction caused by the floods are all over the Pakistani social media, but the federal and provincial authorities have failed to come up with a coordinated plan to deal with the situation.

Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and parts of Punjab have been badly affected by the floods after unprecedented monsoon rains in these regions. According to estimates, floods have killed at least 900 people, displaced around 364,000 people and affected approximately 33 million people.

Several days after floods began wreaking havoc, leaders of Pakistan’s mainstream political parties have started aerial visits to the flood-affected areas.

Shehbaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan

For Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, dealing with the situation arising out of the devastating floods was the last thing on his agenda.

After an aerial visit to some flood-hit areas in Sindh along with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Saturday, Sharif took to Twitter to share what he saw: “The magnitude of the calamity is bigger than estimated.”

So the Mr Prime Minister has realised the magnitude of the calamity only after floods have already swept away half of Pakistan.

Shehbaz wrote on Twitter, “Visiting flood affected areas & meeting people. The magnitude of the calamity is bigger than estimated. Times demand that we come together as one nation in support of our people facing this calamity. Let us rise above our differences & stand by our people who need us today.

“As part of efforts to mobilize all resources, I met Islamabad-based ambassadors, high commissioners & senior members of diplomatic corps today to sensitize them about scale of human tragedy. EAD & NDMA briefed the meeting about the current status of the challenge & response.

“The ongoing rain spell has caused devastation across the country. The losses, though yet to be documented, are comparable to flash floods of 2010. Grateful to the international community for their sympathies, condolences & pledges of support. Together we will build back better.

“We have reached out to donors, friendly countries & international financial institutions for assistance to respond to the scale of flood calamity. I will be meeting Islamabad-based ambassadors & high commissioners tomorrow to apprise them of nature of challenge & need for help.”

Whatever the Pakistani prime minister is doing right now should have been done much earlier.

Imran Khan, Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)

Imran Khan is one of the most popular and powerful political leaders in Pakistan right now, but he has been reluctant until now to extend help to flood victims or call for donations for them. Maybe he was thinking his engagement in the flood relief work will compromise his party’s anti-government movement, which is currently in full swing.

On Saturday, Khan took to Twitter to announce, “Our senior ldrshp met & we decided I wld do international telethon to raise funds for flood affectees on Monday night. Imran Tigers will be activated to volunteer for relief work. A comm under Sania Nishtar wiĺl be set up to identify & coordinate funds allocation based on needs.”

“Let me make clear that our movement for Haqeeqi Azadi will continue alongside our flood relief work,” he concluded.

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So, Khan’s decision to collect donations for the flood victims has come too late keeping in view the damage that has already been done.

Rana Sanaullah Khan, Interior Minister of Pakistan

Rana Sanaullah Khan wields a considerable power in the federal government led by Shehbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Finally, he is generous enough to allow deployment of the armed forces in the flood-hit areas on the request of the provincial governments. Let’s hope there’s something still left for the armed forces to save from the floods.

Rana Sanaullah wrote on Twitter on Friday, “All the provincial governments had sent the requisition to deploy Armed forces under article 245, which has been approved by the interior ministry. The army personnel are being stationed to lend a hand to the civilian authorities in relief activities in the flood-ravaged areas.”

The point is, why the prime minister, the opposition leader and the interior minister have woken up now? Why not earlier when the flood warnings were issued?

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