Floods reflect typical Sharifs politics


Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
Floods reflect typical Sharifs’ politics

5 hours ago BY Shahab Jafry

See the N league talk its way out of this one Politicians are forgiven for interpreting events in terms of mileage. Democrats, for example, must have secretly cheered at the ’07 recession. Obviously that didn’t mean they liked people suffering as a rule; only near election time when the other party had office. It’s strictly politics. Similarly, politicians leveraging tragedies for political survival may be in bad taste morally, but in an industry run on the principle of ‘art of the possible’, it is accepted. So, as chatter goes, N hated it when the floods came again, because of the harm that would come to the people, of course.

But the N league huddle calculated in terms of survival. How good do the dharnas look now when people are drowning? The government has more important things to take care of than these senseless protests. That, and fly the CM, and his camera crew, along with a couple of PDMA bureaucrats with blank cheques to knee deep areas, and things will be back to normal. But there’s a reason the dj vu didn’t work out well. It turns out the CM repeated this exercise every year; because rains and floods brought disaster every year.

And roads and bridges are fine, but his government has not done much to deal with one of the province’s most chronic problems. So pictures of Shahbaz Sharif sympathising with victims conveyed exactly the opposite message. Journalists learn early that politics also means posturing. A picture is worth a thousand words. At the end of the day, the N league did not do well in terms of damage control.

It didn’t help, of course, that reports soon came out of advance warnings of harsh rains and heavy flooding, but the government did nothing. And suddenly, the initiative N had regained from the dharnas after so much manoeuvring, was lost. Main news was again government incompetence, to the point that hundreds were killed, millions made homeless, and a blow to the economy that is known to knock a couple of percentage points off the GDP, at least. Imran and TuQ might have ended up looking silly, especially after the opposition threw in its lot with N, but their accusations of ineptitude and a senseless government gained currency.

Surely Nawaz didn’t expect crowds in Azad Kashmir to disrupt his address with Go-Nawaz-Go chants. And surely even Imran would not have expected crowds in Sargodha to do the same. So there’s a limit to the extent the party can now parade the brothers.

Surely Nawaz didn’t expect crowds in Azad Kashmir to disrupt his address with Go-Nawaz-Go chants. And surely even Imran would not have expected crowds in Sargodha to do the same. So there’s a limit to the extent the party can now parade the brothers. It’s not even double edged anymore. It’s an unviable gambit. Who, then, will present the message? Hold people’s hands and tell them it’ll be ok. Kh Saad? His debating skills have carried on from university days and he definitely passes the fire-in-the-belly test.

But what’s the minister for railways doing explaining the floods all alone? Ahsan Iqabl with his Vision 2025? He may run out of points after explaining why his strategy is typical N thinking, and it too makes little mention, if any, of dealing with structural problems – like draining floodwater from annual rains – that usually precede infrastructural mega projects – like motorways, flyovers, etc.

They will realise, eventually, that it’ll have to be Kh Asif, the water and power minister. As if dealing with the electricity crisis was not enough for him. He’ll now have to answer for the Sharifs’ non-response to warnings about the floods. Again, and this merits repeating, the failure to move at the right time, or have a priority list that did not entertain massive floods, has cost hundreds of lives, made millions homeless, and hit the economy like the dharnas cannot even if Imran and TuQ pitch in their tents all the way to the next general election.

But there’s another problem. Khwaja sb would do all that and more for the party, but his time is cramped since he’s also the defence minister. Again, typical N league. Second largest party in the country with a heavy mandate government, and all important ministries are still heaped on the close inner circle, in the province and the centre. Now Asif has to deal with Zarb-e-Azb, the power crisis (circular debt and all), and the floods.

If nothing else, the multi-minister does take credit for outdoing so many others who could manage only one of these ministries at a time, and still find it difficult to cope with the work load. Interestingly, since he holds these crucial ministries, Kh Asif would also be one of the few people who can tell the prime minister how his disregard for the disaster is also compromising the anti-terror drive in the long run. We have an enduring tradition where natural disasters give militant organisations, the kind whose friends are on the wrong side of the NW operation, a foot in the door. They have always been at the forefront in terms of relief work. In the old days, and some say still, this trend had to do with the mullahs being military proxies. And since N himself is as much a product of the khakis as the Taliban, putting this sort of two and two together would not be hard even for him.

Interestingly, since he holds these crucial ministries, Kh Asif would also be one of the few people who can tell the prime minister how his disregard for the disaster is also compromising the anti-terror drive in the long run.

But the lashkars and jaishs were prominent in relief work even after Gen Musharraf outlawed a good many in the early days of the war on terror. The ’05 earthquake, and massive floods every year, saw them reach disaster sites long before the government machinery could even begin mobilising. Even now their workers, especially Jamaatud Dawaa’s and Jaamat-e-Islami’s, are seen rescuing people, providing ambulances, helping with relocations, and taking food and water to places days before official sources are able to reach. There they are within earshot of people they are otherwise unable to reach, especially with the restrictions and the operation.

And since they do a commendable job of helping people in need, especially when the government is just as slow in reacting to the crisis as it was in preparing for it, it is only natural for locals to return the mullahs’ embrace, with gratitude. Of course it would be difficult for the best equipped government to react to such crises immediately and any sort of help is welcome when it comes to the people. But that is exactly why not heeding advance warnings is criminal. The Sharifs have run Punjab long enough to be up to scratch on the floods. That this year, if not before, much of the damage could have been avoided by simply running the government properly, but was not, speaks volumes about the Sharifs’ politics and priorities. Now the huddle, especially Kh Asif, must have figured out that the old approach will not do.

They will have to answer for the floods. The timing could have been better – less opposition pressure, no dharnas, etc – but what are the options now? The CM can suspend half the secretariat, the PM can mobilise all his Khwajas and Chaudhrys, but more will be needed. How quickly things have changed, they must think. Time was not long ago, when the heavy mandate was new, that everything was falling in place. They were all over the assembly, the opposition was divided, and even the military was kept in place. They could poke at Musharraf all they wanted and the boots were unable to react. But then Model Town happened, and it was bungled.

Then the dharnas happened, and they were bungled. Then they had to go to the boots for ‘facilitation’. Forget the Musharraf case now. Then they had to rely on the PPP to stay in office, who remembered memogate, and rubbed it in all the way. And now the floods have happened, and they have been bungled for a long time. Perhaps they’ll count on another national crisis to save them from this one.

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Minister (2k+ posts)
IMRAN khan and PTI are doing a lots of work for flood victims.



Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
PTI's stances are really short sighted. The rigging was there in All elections. The tax debt was there in all elections. The corruption was there in all governments. The floods were there every year regardless of which government was in power. And yet PTI in all its wisdom blames Nawaz Sharif for everything. A man who has been in power for the last 15 months. PTI seems to be suffering from short term memory or just weak political muscle. As in they can't do politics better than this. Sad really. Imran had a lot of potential but he surrounds himself with idiots and he himself does not have the political acumen to do politics. Par sab khair hai, because he is honest. :P


MPA (400+ posts)
PMLN in power for more than two decades. Never worked to build and refurbish infrastructure.
when flood come every year they do photo session with people who escape drowning. I think people deserve this.
Allah wrath is on Pakistani people for electing so morally bankrupt politicians for so long. Why they are not revolting against the system when thy have opportunity in term of IK sit in to get rid of these fu**ers once for all.


Minister (2k+ posts)
Did Modi came to help "someone" against Dharna...............................................Dam daay "chuck daay Phattay" ...........................a new conspiracy theory in air


Minister (2k+ posts)
Does that prove anything, video editing and music song creating. not a big deal for PTI jokers.
If you believe marvi, then you must believe what she said about Imran khan.

[video]https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=350125575154322&set=vb.267686033398277 &type=2&theater[/video]


Prime Minister (20k+ posts)
ahaaan! so what basically you are telling us common people is that ghar sai bhagna is ok and allowed as long as you are not a bhenji type ! really baji maryam??? .... facepalm!
Read my post again carefully...come back then we talk ok!