Pakistan Floods: How should we respond?
It is nearly three weeks since Monsoon rains hurled down on Pakistan, sending the year’s rainfall in a mere 36 hours.
The state machinery has been slow and unresponsive. President Zardari prioritised his tour of Europe over dealing with the disaster. In fact the Zardari regime refused to designate this a ‘disaster’!
Muslim in the West have responded and have mobilised money, clothes and basic medication for the Muslims in Pakistan. In this holy month, this is a great action and one that will bring great reward.
However, we cannot leave matters at this basic level – how can the general public raise money, when Pakistan’s leadership is dining in five star restaurants? In fact, the complete state machinery has been been held back due to the negligence of the leadership. Individual charity cannot reach the people if the government is not willing to distribute it.
In southern Pakistan, angry flood survivors blocked a main road in Sindh province to protest against the slow delivery of aid and demanded more action from the authorities. One of the protesters, Mohammad Laiq, said in a BBC interview the government had to do more to help people.
“There seems to be no government here since the floods. We lost our children, our livestock, we could hardly save ourselves – though we have come here but we are getting nothing. Where is the government? What do we do? Where do we go? We have to tell the government and it is the responsibility of the government to do whatever is possible.” In eastern Balochistan, at least one district centre and three major towns have been inundated following a government decision to divert the thrust of the flood in the Indus river away from Jacobabad, a major town in the north-west of Sindh province, and the nearby Pakistan Air Force base.
Muslims in the West have been generous and have responded, but our actions must include the following:
1. Provide charity and ensure that the charity reaches the people and is not diverted into government funds.
2. With the aid that we send back, we should also send a message to our friends and families that the leadership of Pakistan is bankrupt and is only interested in it’s own interests. We are in a position to make our views widespread and ensure that this point is not lost.
3. Muslims in Pakistan must aid the work for Khilafah; a just system that puts the interests of the people before it’s own interests. The Islamic leader, the Khalifah, would ensure that the state responds adequately by removing the financial, military and propaganda support for America and instead divert these resources to dealing with this crisis.