Hard times not only boost up the morale of a nation but also bring the distressed people closer. Disasters and calamities test the valour and determination of a nation. Wars, earth quakes, floods and famines give birth to a new generation. Since the 9/11 incident, the Pakistani nation has been passing through an endless series of repeated trials and tribulations. For the people of Pakistan, life is no more a bed of roses but they are continuously struggling hard to change this pathetic scenario. In spite of countless hurdles and endless obstructions, it is next to impossible to find even a single person in a state of depression and dejection, here in Pakistan. Be it the terrifying wave of terrorism or the sketch of the new world order drawn by the western authorities, the horrible earth quake of 2005 or the ever worst energy crisis ; the people of Pakistan are always in a state of exemplary fortitude and determination. The recent cruel series of rains and flood is no doubt the toughest trial for every one in Pakistan but you could find no feeling of despair and hopelessness even among those who have lost all they had. ‘Water water every where but not a single drop to drink’; that is the situation the people of Pakistan are facing now-a-days but they know that disasters test the valor and gallantry of a nation. So they are doing their best to prove them an undefeatable nation with all their courage and determination. After handing over the overflowing water to the sea, the rivers would again return to the normal but the consequences would be no doubt very deep rooted and painfully long lasting.
This flood is basically the result of heavy rain fall which started in the northern areas of Pakistan on 27th of July 2010; say different reports released by various NGOs working in the flood affected areas. Continuous raining for 55 hours caused massive destruction, especially the link bridges, communication system, roads, buildings, crop fields, fruit gardens, livestock and electric supply. At this critical juncture these NGOs joined hand together with the Pakistan army and made the situation controllable. More than 2000 people have died and millions of people affected by this ever worst flood in the history of Pakistan. The situation is the most horrible one in the Khyber Pakhtun Khawh province. This province has been the worst victim of terrorism for the last three years and this menace has already damaged the infra structure of this province. Now flood has added more to the troubles of this province. In Malakand, Swat, Buner, Khal Temargara, Saddu, Warai and Khagram, the raging water did not allow the people even to get to the safer places. The chief Minister of KPK is very true in saying that this flood has pushed the province fifty years back.
On the whole the country is facing a situation similar to that in 1947 when the immigrants had nothing to eat or cover them. The role of different NGOs including the Al-Khidmat Foundation, Cheepa Welfare, the Edhi foundation and so many others is really exemplary with reference to the rescue activities. Unfortunately the western media is continuously expressing its concern over the presence of different Islamic NGOs in the flood-affected areas. It is being propagated that such organizations are trying to win the sympathies of these distressed people in the garb of rescue activities. The western media is frightened that these Islamic NGOs would promote a new wave of extremism in these areas. In this painful situation such comments of the western media are adding salt to the injuries.
The Pakistan army is also providing a matchless and marvelous support to the flood affected people. 50,000 troops have been drafted in to help in the rescue operation to. Moreover the Chief of the Army Staff General Kiyani has established Army Relief Fund for the flood affected people in which all officers and the soldiers of the Pakistan army have donated their three days salary. The Chief of the Army Staff General Pervez Kiyani announced in a meeting of the Corps Commanders at General Headquarters Rawalpindi that Army functions on 14th August and 6th September will not be held this year and savings thus accrued will be utilized for relief activities. Expressing his deep sorrow over the loss of precious lives and damages caused to private property and public infrastructure by the unprecedented floods he assured the nation that the Pakistan army would not leave the people alone at this time of distress. He directed the formations to continue reaching out to the stranded people and emphasized that the lack of resources must be overcome through personal sacrifices and smart management.
At present Pakistan is facing the worst challenges of its history. Millions of people displaced, thousands deprived of their lives, countless facing lack of food and shortage of basic commodities. Bridges, road, communication, canal system , trade towers , hotels , visiting spots , oil Pumps , energy power plants, water supply schemes , telephone exchanges, communication towers , police stations , mosques , markets , schools and colleges , local drainage system , fishing farms, timber markets ; the list of damages is endless. But still no one has lost hope. The nation is confident that things would be alright within a short span of time. It has full faith and confidence that through a joint national effort, Pakistan will successfully surmount this challenge.UN reports say that more than 980,000 people have lost their homes and some 1.8 million need food aid .It has appealed for $460 million to help Pakistan get immediate relief but officials of the government of Pakistan say that the country will need billions to rebuild after the waters recede The devastation is so terrific that it is impossible to count for the losses and it is also impossible for a number of governments to address the calamity. The situation calls for a very earnest and sincere help and support from the international community. Without such help and support it will be almost impossible for the government of Pakistan to face the challenges and rebuild the country.
The writer is a Pakistan based analyst on defence and strategic affairs.