Stop political point-scoring and perform, please!!!

By: Salim Bokhari      Published: 04:44 PM, 3 Sep, 2020
Stop political point-scoring and perform, please!!!
Soldiers install a water pump to remove water from a flooded residential area following heavy monsoon rains triggered floods in Karachi.–AFP (File photo)

At a time when the opposition is making a hectic effort to hold an all-parties conference, the federal government is bent upon un-settling the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) led government in Sindh, from Asif Zardari to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and from him to Murad Ali Shah do not spare a moment to unleash severe criticism against Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government for failing to keep their promises or to do anything good to the public at large. In this battle for no ends, their performance is largely compromised.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, his Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) ministers, advisers, its Karachi MNAs and MPAs, and dozens of spokespersons have been engaged to prove that PPP’s top leadership is corrupt and incompetent to deliver goods. The federal lot is supported by its ally Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) that is making frantic efforts to regain their past authority mainly in Karachi and other urban cities.

This was as in the wake of this political hype that a 6-men committee was formed comprising of three members from PTI and three from PPP. But much before it could meet and formulate some plans to handle the worsening situation; it ran into snags and generated controversy.

People are suffering urban flooding as a result of unprecedented torrential rains in major cities of Sindh Province including Karachi, Hyderabad, and Sukkur while River Indus and Monsoon seasonal waterways have devastated villages as well as standing crops making the life of small farmers miserable. In Punjab destruction of heavy rains and urban flooding is no less by any standard.

Lahore, at times, has been as bad as Karachi with rainwater flowing like streams on main city’s roads and underpasses while parks and low-lying areas were like ponds and lakes. In Punjab, there is no evidence of anticipatory actions taken by local administrations despite even though the Metrological Office had in time predicted more than average monsoon rains across the country.

As is said ‘better late than never’, it is time for the respective provincial governments to wake up and make emergency efforts to save people from further devastation of floods. There is an urgent requirement to strengthen banks of rivers and canals to avoid breaches that could cause unaffordable damage to villages and standing crops. There is also a need to launch rescue operations in areas where people have been rendered homeless or have been restricted due to heavy rainwater around them.

The Prime Minister was not in a hurry to announce his visit to Karachi to express solidarity with the suffering people of the City of Lights and was taking his time. It was only after the leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and President of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N), Shahbaz Sharif travelled to Karachi and visited those affected areas from where he contested the 2018 elections in particular and other affected areas of the city in general.

Surprisingly, Governor Punjab, Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar led a delegation to Karachi with a relief package for affected citizens. He distributed ration packs in some areas of the provincial capital while pledging further relief package for other parts of the province. The Governor has persuaded philanthropists of Lahore to join the efforts while many more have also volunteered to join this effort. Ch Sarwar is an established champion of charitable works. Earlier, when he was Governor of Punjab during the PML-N regime, he undertook a major project of installing clean-water plants in Lahore and other parts of the province. This was grudged by PML-N leadership fearing that he may gain popularity by his public-service initiatives.

If one analyses the situation in comparative terms, Imran Khan-led Federal Government has failed to implement their leader's vision of providing relief to the common man simply because they preferred to win their chief political battle of words rather than delivering on governance. Be it inside the parliament or out in the open answer to every question asked about their deliverance was the past rulers were dacoits and looters.

No point naming the names, but PTI leaders like Sheharyar Afridi, Murad Saeed, Faisal Vawda, Ali Zaidi, Fawad Chaudhry, and of course Firdous Ashiq Awan besides many other federal ministers remain busy bad-mouthing about their political foes mainly Sharifs and Zardaris. For example, Sheharyar Afridi is known for his utterances on narcotics case against Rana Sanaullah saying: “Main nay Jaan Allah ko Daini hay”, I have seen with my own eyes the video of hash recovery from his vehicle. He also pledged that the said video would be submitted to the court when the trial begins that never happened.

Murad Saeed is mainly responsible for ruining the atmosphere inside the parliament using foul language consistently forcing the Opposition to stage frequent walk-outs. Similarly, in television talk shows, he would repeat his venomous arguments. How can people forget Faisal Vawda who acted like a champion when he brought the military boot to a television talk show besides announcing Imran Khan the greatest leader of all times.

Similarly, Ali Zaidi led the battle against the PPP’s Sindh government alongside Imran Ismail (now Governor) and leading the PTI’s television talk shows team. Fawad Chaudhry would also be remembered for telling journalists and technical staff of print media to start packing up because, after a couple of years, there would be no newspapers.  Another great achievement on his part is to stop releasing advertisements to print and electronic media which are life-line for the survival of these institutions not in Pakistan alone but across the world.

Great Firdous Ashiq Awan who was borrowed from Pakistan People’s Party championed the cause of gaging the national media by introducing a motion to establish media tribunals to sort out the hostile media men who refused to submit to the ruling elite.

There is no doubt that the PPP Government in Sindh has also failed to deliver goods even though the party was being led by young Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of the late prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.

Be that the ruling PTI in the Centre or the leading Opposition parties including PML-N and the PPP, they must shun their differences for the sake of the masses and play their due role inside and outside the Parliament so that the much-desired dream of providing relief to the common man could be translated into reality. They must act fast before it is too late and the democratic and parliamentary systems are sent packing by the power that be.