Stories about flood

The sound of a million voices

This Eidul Fitr, some colleagues and I decided to spend the day at a relief camp in Makli, Thatta. Though it sounds terrible given the sufferings of millions around us, the decision to part with the delicious food, deserts, social gatherings and lastly Eidi was a tough one. Nevertheless, having kept only a few fasts during the month of Ramazan, the opportunity to redeem myself seemed too good to pass by. Upon entering the camp, the magnitude of the tragedy that had hit our nation began to sink in. The task at hand was evident and after discussing the most ...

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A building for Bhutto: A monumental mistake

Is our leadership foolish or do they simply enjoy poking the nation every now and then? A monument for Benazir would have been a good idea, had there been no floods! As the millions affected by the flood await help and support, our leaders have been going around gathering funds from around the globe. While the initial aid received will help the government support the affected people on an emergency basis, billions of dollars are required to get Pakistan up and running. While we receive international money and continue to ask for more, there was an urgent need to pay our ...

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Flood zones: A breeding ground for terrorism

In Pakistan, no matter how bad the situation is, no matter how hopeless the facts, things can always get worse. So while the recent incidents of terrorism in Lahore and Quetta added much pain to an already heartbreaking situation, they were not really surprising. With the Armed Forces and most of the administrative machinery busy catering to the millions rendered homeless and penniless, the terrorists have had ample chance to regroup and recharge. Even though some of the flood hit areas in the tribal belt were home to the TTP and other mainstream terrorist groups including the Haqqani Group, terrorists ...

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A disaster commission that is sure to fail

As the popular Pakistani saying goes ‘If you don’t want anything done, set up a commission to do it.’ I would not be surprised if it turned out that this very saying was the ‘hidden’ agenda behind Nawaz Sharif’s brainwave of setting up an authority to ensure that the incoming aid was actually spent to help the flood victims. Keeping in tune to the renewed vows of ‘walking together’ in these chaotic conditions, the Prime Minister announced the setting up of the National Oversight Disaster Management Council (NODMC) to ensure transparency in distribution of aid for flood victims. The council will ...

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A media man in a relief camp

They say guilt is absent when an act is justified. Today I felt guilty because I could not justify sipping branded bottled water as our car moved some kilometers beyond Khan Garh. People from this fertile land were without any kind of drinking water as we were asked to halt by army personnel on the roadside. Thanks to cable TV, these apparently uneducated folk have a good idea of what the electronic media can do these days. They tell me to talk about them. All they want me to do is talk about them. They want me to tell the world that they lost everything. They want us to know that ...

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Bursting the ex-patriate bubble

Over the past week having endured the endless hate rants against President Zardari followed by an even more nauseatingly futile rant on the plight of the country’s poor and marginalised by the Pakistani diaspora, I was inspired if not irked into embarking on a bit of a rant myself. At the outset let me clarify, that this is not piece in defence of the President nor a piece attacking those amongst us who constitute the intellectual cream of the nation and are now residing in greener pastures abroad; sipping their Starbucks, flaunting their Gucci’s and uploading pictures of all their ...

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Will the political elite please stand up?

While the world’s rich dole out money to help Pakistan’s flood victims, our own rich political elite have refuse to budge. By now we should have seen members of the ruling elite buying tents, building shelters and providing gallons of clean drinking water to the homeless millions. But in every flooded district of the country, all you will find are Pakistani civilians and military volunteers – not politicians. This is a lesson for the Pakistani nation. Compare the generous response to a nation wide campaign in Saudi Arabia to raise funds for the victims of floods to the reaction of the Pakistani elite: What ...

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How to feel when you have lost everything

It’s hard to resume normal life after coming back from the flood zone. Vivid images of victims haunt me as the human toll begins to stack. Lately, I’ve been asked to explain what the situation in Khairpur is like and what individuals can do to help. First, allow me to explain a few Sindhi terms which have forcefully made their way into vernacular and will feature prominently in any discourse about floods in upper Sindh. Boodh: Sindhi term for the floods. Ironically, some people, Masi Aqeela leading them, still believe that at the end of the day floods are a ...

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Shoe throwing and the need for maturity

It was a matter of shame when a shoe was allegedly thrown at the President of Pakistan in Britain. Yet, in some twisted way, many people felt proud of what happened. No, I do not support President Zardari, but I respect the position of the President of Pakistan. Before jumping to conclusions, please read on. A recent wave of negative propaganda against President Zardari is rather disturbing from a national perspective.  Institutions form the government structure, not individuals. Asif Zardari, Yousaf Gilani, and Iftikhar Chaudhry are temporary, but the structure they represent will last. People in power have always ...

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As I head to the flood zone

I have fallen in love with Pakistan once again. Anyone heading from Lahore towards Multan across the lush agricultural heartland would. Bollywood tunes sung by popular Pakistani artists are playing in the bus and remind me of the great talent this country possesses in every field. You cannot but agree with the Prime Minister that manpower is the biggest asset of the country. This manpower however, is crying at the moment. The mighty Indus has brought nothing but destruction for them this year. Monsoon rains that usually last one month or so have come down in just about a week. Result? One in ...

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