Floods, Sufferings & our Politicians

Our country has been facing one of the worse times lately. As if the political turmoil wasn’t enough for the unrest, the natural disaster further worsened the condition of the country. Pakistan’s lands have been washed away by the deadly floods recently- Starting all the way from Azad Kashmir to Southern Punjab and Sindh.

The other day I read an article where the ground situation of the flood-hit Srinagar (the main city of Indian-held Kashmir) was narrated. As I read about the sufferings of the people (enough to make one shed tears), I wondered how the flash floods change the lives of the people who are directly affected by those floods. Houses submerged, all valuables drowned, lives shattered; not to mention the human lives that are lost. Every year we witness similar situation in our country and then we come up with the relief operations to counter the damage. Little do we the people sitting in the urban cities get to know about the sufferings of the people (mostly villagers) who are hit by these deadly floods. How they get stranded in their own homes waiting on the rooftops to be rescued? How they keep waiting for food, for water so that they can at least survive and not die out of thirst and hunger? How they feel about losing their sources of earnings – the cattle and the ready crops. How it feels to have lost one’s home, place of shelter, and how long it would take to have all those essentials back in their lives which had been washed away? Undoubtedly, only the victims can understand.

Just to imagine their sufferings can make any considerate human being feel all depressed and grieved but I wonder how stony our leaders are who keep witnessing the same situation every year and can never devise a strategy to at least try to avoid such things from happening in the future. Maybe they let it happen deliberately to secure their vote banks by providing relief aid to the victims later in pursuit of their attempt to please the victims.

Floods are a reality. There is nothing new in it. Our so-called rulers cannot find a reason to get away with giving lame excuses every time. Even the current government which has come into power the 3rd time had the audacity to tell the flood victims that it did not know that the floods were coming so soon. How could the Prime Minister not know of the upcoming threats his country was about to face? Maybe he was too busy with the idiotic Joint Parliament sessions and maligning the defense institution of the country; or maybe he was more concerned about the ‘Mango Diplomacy’ as part of his foreign policy with the neighbors that he could not take out time to worry about the fast-approaching catastrophe.

Some elements only blame the flood waters released by India as the main reason of the floods that wreak havoc in Pakistan. Even if we buy that narrative, is that enough for us to just sit and not find any solution to the problem? The flood waters coming from India may not stop; more so, when we don’t find a way out to tackle the issue. How can we expect that neighbor to be kind towards us who sends us a dead body of an innocent (Sanaullah) in return for a declared terrorist’s (Sarbajit Singh) dead body? How can we expect any good from those who murder an innocent villager who mistakenly crosses the LoC soon after we send back a happy soldier of India who enters Pakistan through Chenab River?

No we cannot expect any mercy. All we can expect is release of flood waters in return for our gift of Mangoes – and that too without any prior notification. In such a situation, if Mr. Siraj-ul-Haq tells the people of Pakistan that it is the government’s negligence that has led the country towards this flood disaster, then my question to him is:

“Why didn’t JI then support PTI’s stance on Nawaz Sharif’s resignation and why were you hypocrite enough to support the so-called democracy?”

Alas! Pakistan has so far failed in getting rid of these status quo parties who could never bring real prosperity in the country. The poor people of Pakistan keep suffering every year and our politicians could never have a consensus on building dams for the country; that too when every person knows how badly we need to build ones in order to avoid any further deterioration in the future.

In such a scenario, I can only recall how once a political figure on a TV show mentioned that some of our politicians are even paid to just keep opposing the construction of KalaBagh dam. It may or may not be true, but then, an ordinary Pakistani like me would definitely raise this simple question:

Why can’t we find the solutions to our recurring problems and still let the status quo political parties rule the country over and over again?

PS: This article originally appeared in Magnate Magazine. Link: http://www.magnate.com.pk/floods-sufferings-politicians-lessons-learnt/

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