Thar famine: Bilawal Bhutto, your incompetence is unpardonable

Published: March 10, 2014

My good Lord, Bilalwal, while you celebrated our history, our future was embracing death.

Dear lord Bilawal,

The recent calamity that has hit the Thar Desert is nothing less than heart-wrenching. As I pen these words, thousands stand precariously at the cusp of death.

However, the purpose of this write-up is not to vent my sentiments but to bring to your Lordship’s attention the truth of his existence and the seemingly obvious realities that hitherto remain unrealised.

My lord, your people are starving and at moments like these true leaders stand amongst their people. You ought to be here; not thousands of miles away in the plush cosiness of your foreign apartments. That’s not the Quaid-e-Awam’s legacy; that’s not ‘Bhuttoism’ – in fact, it is the very anti-thesis of ‘Bhuttosim’.

It is plain disdain and utter disregard for the lives of ordinary men and women.

But perhaps, you find more magnetism in your father’s ways. Perhaps, mixing with uncouth, sweaty, stinking, ordinary ‘proles’ is behaviour unbecoming of a feudal lord of your stature.

By posting those seemingly solicitous tweets who are you trying to fool?

You won’t have the answer but I do; nobody but yourself.

The most shameful dimension of the whole affair is that even when children are drifting towards death, petty politics is being played.

Why was Punjab government’s offer to help snubbed?

Those responsible for the crisis – a Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) and his brothers – are still untouched.

My Lord, if you could look beyond politics, beyond personal gain, you would find that the dying children of Thar demand justice; you would hear their cries. If you could break those barricades and look those sick, starving weaklings in the eyes, you would know the life of a serf is not worthless, after all.

Your party is a scourge and an albatross to the development of Sindh. Its ranks are filled with the vilest of feudals that feed on the blood of their serfs. Its cabinet is nothing but a conclave of dunderheads. Its Chief Minister (CM) is someone who didn’t have an inkling – and he has the gall to admit it – of the plight of Tharians until journalists started raving about the crisis.

So much for good governance.

My Lord, you pride yourself on the colours and richness of your culture and history. Indeed, I do as well. But is this the time for gaieties? A time when we desperately cling to the fringes of integrity, when Pakistan is faced with an existential crisis, when our national coffers are empty and when terrorists stand at our doorstep?

Just to inform you, since I’m sure no one else will, my good Lord, while you were feasting your eyes on those deft dances with the sinuous, almost-surreal movements of the dancers, somewhere someone’s bleary, weak eyes were drooping for good.

While music filled your ears, someone’s cries of anguish went unheard, unattended.

While you celebrated our history, our future was embracing death.

While you were busy revelling, the children of Thar were battling fatality.

But you know something, lord Bilawal?

Those children probably deserved to starve, to die and to be lynched. After all, they had committed the ugliest of crimes – poverty. Indeed, poverty is a reprehensible, repugnant crime. Tharians deserved to die for they had reposed trust in you and your party; they themselves had voted for death.

They deserved to die for they deserved better than the worthless lives they would have lived.

It is for these reasons and a million others that I am happy for those infants; at least in death they will find liberation from the fetters of servitude to those earthly gods – your toadies – whom their forebears have served for aeons. At least in the intoxication of death, they have found solace and are safe from the destitution that your minions – the feudals – have ordained for their less-fortunate surviving counterparts.

Your education and outlook may afford you the air of someone with an enlightened mind but it is as evident as the sun above, that in effect you are nothing but a product of the same hideous, feudal mindset; you benefit from the same system.

Your lordship, you and your clique of hangers-on have presided over carnage.

Your incompetence is unpardonable.

And to echo Samuel Beckett’s immortal words in Waiting for Godot,

“They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then its night once more.”

My lord Bilawal, fear the day…

Your lordship’s lackey,

Amir Hamza

Shabeeh Hussain

Amir Hamza

A medic by force, a writer by choice. A student at the Aga Khan University, Karachi.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Adnan Fareed

    Well Put bro. I am disgusted with the stark reality and shameful statements and acts put up by Sindh government.

    Not to forget MQM, Ohh i forget that they only own Karachi,Hyderabad & vicinity.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    I detest the argument that Bilawal “wasted billions on dance and music while people of Tharparkar died”. Be advised that when this tweeter spends a fortune on her sister’s valeema and I will be standing outside her lavish shaadi-hall screaming, “What about the penniless AIDS victims of Mandi Bahawudin?!”

    I know everything in the world is more important than to you than arts and culture, but please, oh please, can we finally forgive Bilawal for trying to promote them?

    Also, I notice how “Bilawal” is being used almost synonymously with “Sindh government” in the piece. Bilawal enjoys a very powerful political position (which he’s clearly misusing in this case), but he is not the omnipotent emperor of Sindh. Even he has limitations.Recommend

  • Mardan wala

    Mr. Hamza ! Thank you so much for writing this.
    Hope Baby Bhutto reads your excellent article.
    You hit it out of the ball park !Recommend

  • ABK

    All i can say that ET sometimes do allow publishing garbage in its blogsRecommend

  • JMT1234

    The writer of this article and his sister are not publicly elected officials. They dont go around saying “vote for us, hum aapko rowti kapra owr makaan deyngeh” (BBZ urdu accent), and then loot the publics tax money. Theres a major difference.Recommend

  • Farhan

    The MQM is not in government. Recommend

  • Kublai

    Detest?..Valeema?..Shadi Hall?..Aids..?..Powerful?
    You are a very very confused person. The shadi will be
    under guard of an Army brigade. More than likely it will be
    abroad, say in Paris. A Chateau comes to mind. There
    goes your chance of standing outside and gawking, screaming.
    Baby Bhutto wants to be identified with Sindh. He is the
    face of Sindh. He cultivates it. The Sindh Festival was his
    coming out party. His cotillion. Therefore, Baby Bhutto will
    be used for any and all reasons. Totally accountable. Stakeholder.
    To the nth. degree. And yes, he is powerful,due to Papa being
    ex president. And $1.8 billion. But has no charisma, no machismo,
    no quick wit,..noneRecommend

  • ManiK

    Normally your arguments are quite decent, but this one is beyond ridiculous. This writer is not a publicly elected official, using public funds. Bilawal is the defacto emperor of Sindh. If he and his family can take credit for PPP accomplishments, they can definitely take the blame as wellRecommend

  • ManiK

    Mr. Hamza, this is so well written, I wish I could have written this myself.Recommend

  • sonia

    We have all heard God proclaim: they are blind,dumb and deaf ! they wont listen .
    And did we expect anything from the provincial and national government??? You are absolutely right in saying that our nation is responsible for our own devastation. We robb or we elect murderes!!!! We are Paksitanis .This is our deam country !!!
    excellent piece of writing !Recommend

  • A*

    Its the tax payers money that was spent on the festival, not saying he wont spend tax payers money on his sisters valima either. Its sad people still come out and defend this administration that is PPP from qaim ali shah to bilawal bhutto. Recommend

  • sonia sohail

    We have all heard God proclaim: they are blind,deaf and dumb, they will never understand. And did we expect anything from the Provincial and National governments?? you are right in saying that the Pakistani Nation is responsible for their own devastation.
    An excellent piece of writing. Good work!Recommend

  • Ammar

    With That much stunning performance by PPP…I hope that the people of Sindh can now understand who is their real enemy…

    PPP has given nothing to Sindh/Pk except Hatred towards other Pk citizens…

    Hopefully people will not select them for the next term…but i bet they WILL…:(Recommend

  • Faiza Adeel

    I so wanted to tweet something to the Bilawal about the Thar Issue, but could not find words, thank you for writing this I will post this link to him now!Recommend

  • mian seemabullah

    I wish,one day,the people of our country find true leadership…..!!!Recommend

  • Reader

    sometimes I feel like Bilawal is just a burger who was unjustly given fame in his dynasty, and God is he exploiting it!!, this is high time he did something worthwhile for people who follow him!Recommend

  • reader

    thanks heaven for that…Recommend

  • Waseem Sarwar

    With all the deserved bashing of Sindh government, one shouldn’t forgot what happened in Lahore few days back when a mother killed her kids due to poverty. Can’t we just stop wasting our money on flag waving records and cultural fairs and start to feed our poor? I know there isn’t much publicity involved in it but still, give this a try.Recommend

  • Mani

    You are living in fool’s paradise if you think Sindh Festival promoted culture.Recommend

  • Parvez

    In a news item I read that the CM ( of BBZ’s party ) on his visit to Mithi ( Thar ) had dinner – fried fish, koftas, biryani, malhi kebabs, chicken tikka, rotis and all the trimmings……..and yes children were dying of hunger in Thar. Can you shame the shameless ?Recommend

  • Ali S

    The PPP (and particularly Qaim Ali Shah) and its jiyala culture in rural Sindh is to blame for this mess, Bilawal doesn’t have any real power in the PPP anyway – he’s just a cosmetic distraction used by the PPP (and himself) to bank upon the Bhutto name. Jiyala-ism is really an incurable, deadly disease.

    This may not be a popular opinion, but the only real hope for urban Sindh (rural Sindh is a gone case at this point) is MQM – they can get things done if given the reins and have proven themselves more capable in the four years they were in power compared to what PPP has done in its 30-odd years.Recommend

  • Warraich

    tbf to MQM, they are quite competent when it comes to these sorts of matters. My family comes from innermost Punjab (Gujranwala), i know for a fact, that if MQM had some role in govt, they would have dispatched their people immediately to go and help out. No one can deny that. That said, im not a fan of the party in general.Recommend

  • ovais

    every time i pray i pray to Allah to never make Bilalwal Prime minister and take qaim ali shah away.Recommend

  • ovais

    This is the only blog that was not garbishRecommend

  • Necromancer

    MQM were the first to point out and dispatched goods before the Sindh government……………..Pray to your LORD for forgiveness and stop defending him for everythingRecommend

  • Anwaar

    i kinda like u and your opinions but buddy this time you lost my respect…..Recommend

  • Anwaar

    for those who keep saying that these people elected PPP and must now face consequences should understand that the elections in rural areas are conducted even worse than urban.,… people are illiterate, they just vote for their sardar or saeen of that area (who practically belongs to a political party)…. they are uneducated have no knowledge regarding their voting rights….Recommend

  • Fahd Abbasy

    these ignorant politicians and their kith and kin will rubbish such eye openers as opposition funded. nice work bro

    on NS recent visit to thar accompanied by BB these fools r more happy on win of democracy

    Up democracy! RT "@imranPmlN: @BBhuttoZardari it called real democracy #PMLN #PPP"— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) March 10, 2014


  • Shah

    no doubt natural disaster is a painful test of God, i myself am a victim of flood 2010, Pakistan has faced thess tests again and again, more then rest of the world, Thar drought is one of them that we are witnessing since long, but I wonder why so much noise (instead of practical help) this time? is it because of the recent “Thar Coal” work? an easy way to occupy the natural resources!!! just asking…Recommend

  • Sane

    Bilawal Zardari must grow up better and celebrate youth festival in much better than ever.Recommend

  • Junaid

    Surely, ET, there is no shortage of quality material to publish.

    Dear Author, take a deep breath and try to write with something with actual substance. This is just a misinformed, unabashedly biased and immature rant.

    Grave errors were committed in the handling of this crisis. This is undeniable. However, these issues are dealt with by the government and other elected officials. I fail to see what Bilawal has to do with it?Recommend

  • unbelievable

    Authors expectation of Bilawal aren’t realistic – remember the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.Recommend

  • sid

    So what it isn’t an excuse! They poke their nose In every other matter then why not this one too. Recommend

  • sobia khurram

    Thank you Hamza for writing in English for otherwise Bilawal would be just as illiterate as those poor Tharians.Recommend

  • Arsalan

    This all discussion is of no use. We, the people are the ones who voted for them and now criticizing them for what they always meant to do. This is what we always do instead of learning from our mistakes. Voting for PPP was a mistake in the past but this time again, we just are so good in laying waste to ourselves. Change is the word everyone seems to have been obsessed with, but always finds it suitable for others. Recommend

  • ali zaidi

    mr junaid…..could you please explain what is biased or misinformed in this piece?

    what Bilawal has to do with it? he is the chairman of the party ….he is the most powerful man in sindh…like the author rightly points out all others in the party are merely his minions. he and zardari decide what happens and what doesnt? also the authors claims that sindh festivals timings wasnt right< why isnt bilawal in pak when people are dying, the truth about ppp… can you label them as rants? they are statements dripping with truthRecommend

  • Faraz Talat

    This is not a defense of PPP. I doubt anybody here has criticized the Sindh government more harshly than I have.

    I just don’t find it fair to pin it all on Bilawal personally, as if he alone can snap his fingers and make everything go away. He deserves part of the blame, not the whole of it.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    As I said, everything is more important than spending money on arts and culture.

    Why spend money on city beautification projects and planting flowers along roads when “omg omg! ppl r dyings in Thar, u guys!!”

    Not everything needs to be an either/or case. EITHER you spend money on cultural events OR you spend it on natural crises.Recommend

  • Parvez

    He is the head of his party, the sooner he learns that in fact the ‘ buck stops at him ‘ the better it will be for us.
    This is a learning experience for him, don’t dilute it.Recommend

  • Parvez

    It was not the spending of money, it was the AMOUNT of money spent and the opulence of the event in contrast to the abject poverty and destitution in the province that rankled.Recommend

  • Sane

    Dear Moderator,

    You edited my comments just to make it otherwise. Fine editing.Recommend

  • Erum

    I read about Rahul Gandhi how he is motivating the youth and wish the same spirit was amongst our future leadersRecommend

  • NinkyDesire

    talata, you got smoked.Recommend

  • chukru

    I am not a Pakistani. I am a human being & a mother. Please don’t wait for any minister or government… something….make unions for them and give them food. Dear minister, terrorists killed 100 but You are killing thousands. Please give them food & water…. Otherwise U are worse than HitlerRecommend