Courtesy: GeoTV , >> ZemTv
The soul of the ‘Land of the Pure’
By Robert Grenier
It is the sheer scale of the devastation that leaves one speechless. As one surveys the overhead photos of vast lowland plains inundated with swirling brown water or stares at the upland images of mighty torrents washing away roads, bridges, entire villages, it is the utter scope of the disaster which almost defies comprehension, which far outstrips the power of words to convey.
Only the flint-hearted could be left unmoved by this. The heart aches for Pakistan.
But it is only in the photos of the people that one begins to grasp the full dimension of what is happening and, through that prism, to gain a glimpse into the soul of the Land of the Pure.
One hears the stories of building frustration, of bitter complaints against a government so often indifferent in the best of times, and simply unequal to the challenge in these, the worst of times.
But this is not what I see in the photographs, in the images of entire families clinging to trucks to gain higher ground, of people stranded on roof-tops or on the raised strips of highways, of those isolated and forlorn, reaching for a bottle of clean water or a packet of sodden food dropped from a helicopter.
In these images one looks in vain for signs of hysteria, or for righteous indignation. What one sees instead is what one always sees in Pakistanis – endurance: Simple, often noble, endurance.
I have lived some years among Pakistanis. I cannot claim to have done them much good. Instead, my preoccupations have been those which animate the game of nations. I have served a great power which hunts its enemies, pursues its interests, and tries to meet what it sees as its responsibilities in distant places, far from home. I make no apology for this; neither do I expect great credit.
But one cannot travel among the Pakistanis, as I have been privileged to do, without developing a great admiration for their decency and their dignity….
Read more >> Aljazeera
Robert Grenier was the CIA’s chief of station in Islamabad, Pakistan, from 1999 to 2002. He was also the director of the CIA’s counter-terrorism centre.
Letter to Editor From Sukkur
I am surprised no anchor person or any media person has yet interviewed or focused over the present secretary irrigation, Sindh, who is posted as secretary since last eight years despite his retirement continued to remain on the post for three consecutive contracts.
Obviously on the basis of being a good pay master to higher authorities. He may be asked as how much funds he has so far utilized for so called maintenance of the river banks of sindh.
Actually it is the non maintenance (maintenance on papers only for utilization of funds worth millions per year) which is basic and root cause of such huge scale devastation e.g. breakage/ leakage of river banks on various places. It is strange that the government has so far taken no action against him, obviously for his capacity to bribe the higher authorities from the share of billions of rupees of funds which he has earned in his tenure of about 40 yrs in irrigation department being an engineer/technical person with extra ordinary maneuvering qualities. It is suggested that he be brought on media and questioned about utilization of funds for maintenance of river banks. And his efficiency to remain on the job continuously for 3 contracts.
I wonder why every anchor person calls the retired secretary and other retired engineers and has so far ignored the present secretary. The Irrigation Secretary Sindh has been serving/plundering this department since last 40 years. Ministers and governments change but he remains on the seat continuously. Even PPP, MNA complained about his corruption on the floor of national assembly but failed to arise any action against the blue eyed boy.
August 19, 2010
Courtesy: The Capital Post
The politics of relief: Aliens in their own land
The government and local clerics refused to shelter around 500 flood-affected families belonging to the Ahmadiya community in South Punjab’s relief camps. Not only that, the government also did not send relief goods to the flood-hit areas belonging to the Ahmadiya community, The Express Tribune has learnt during a visit to the devastated Punjab districts of Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur.
Read more >> The Express Tribune
All disasters have political implications and mismanaging one comes at a very high price for an elected government. While some in the west are even predicting the crumbling of the democratic set-up in Pakistan, a more likely outcome could be the de-politicisation of the people and disillusionment with the political forces. With their eyes on the river beyond, the leadership must get its act together; they have to catch up, and fast.
Political leaders must take charge of shaping the narrative of this disaster and the recovery from it. They must articulate clearly and consistently that the gods are not in the business of unleashing havoc on innocent people and whole societies are not punished for the misdeeds of a few.
It may sound like a cliché but the late Munir Niazi’s words ring truer today than ever before:
“Ik aur darya ka samna tha Munir mujh ko,
Mein aik darya kay paar utra to mein ne dekha.”
The translation of the above verse cannot fully capture all its connotations but the gist obviously remains that a bigger river is looking us in the eye when we land across the flooded rivers. The magnitude of the present disaster is such that all statements about the river beyond will remain understatements and every estimate an underestimate. What might not be an understatement though is that, without a cogent political leadership, a major slide backwards is inevitable for Pakistan.
Read mmore >> Daily Times