Guest contribution-Pakistan’s response to the floods

August 19, 2010

chopper floods(The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the author’s alone. The writer is Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK)

By Wajid Shamsul Hasan

The international media has been asking why there has been a lukewarm response to the massive floods in Pakistan. Various explanations have been offered ranging from a ‘trust deficit’ to a ‘negative perception’ about Pakistan. Such commentaries are not only alarmist but portray Pakistan in bad light.

There is a need to put the record straight that there is no lukewarm response to appeals made domestically or internationally. It is natural that in a calamity of monumental proportions damage assessment takes some time before a comprehensive response is made. The Government of Pakistan has taken measures in accordance with the challenges posed by the floods. Simultaneously, the international response has been quick and robust and it is gathering pace. The panic button on a slow response pushed by some international NGOs was understandable as they must have been overwhelmed by the enormity of the crisis.

Let us look at how the flood situation unfolded in Pakistan. The massive rains which inundated Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province had such a ferocious intensity that it took a while for the government and NGOs to realise how big was the challenge. Subsequently, the remaining parts of the country received abnormal rains which swelled the rivers to dangerous levels. The images on TV screens have not only been scary but have shaken everyone to gear up for action.

Naturally, the immediate concern was to save lives. This was effectively done by the government which is why the casualty rate has been minimal (approximately 1,600) if compared to the Asian Tsunami of 2004 when 230,000 people died while in the 2008 Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar 146,000 people lost their lives. UN officials have admitted that the floods in Pakistan have been worse than the Asian Tsunami. Having learnt lessons in the 2005 earthquake, the armed forces and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) immediately moved to save lives for which the government should be given credit.

The international media is rightly pointing out that the magnitude of Pakistan’s current tragedy is almost more than the mind can take in. As for the damages, a fifth of the country (135000 Sq km) is flooded by torrential monsoon rains; 20 million people have been driven from their homes or otherwise affected; six million children need emergency assistance, such as food and clean water; millions of acres of the country’s best cropland are underwater; thousands of livestock have drowned; medical clinics have been destroyed while cholera and other water-borne diseases are threatening the survivors. These are the immediate challenges which the government has to grapple with. The United Nations has launched an appeal for $460 million for immediate relief.

Looming ahead is the enormous challenge of rebuilding the country’s shattered bridges, roads, structures and agricultural and economic base. The government is determined to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure through its own resources as well as international assistance. Already efforts are afoot to negotiate international assistance through friendly countries and international financial institutions.

As a government we are determined to rebuild the shattered lives of our people come what may. The propaganda against the government regarding a lack of transparency or trust deficit is an attempt to defame democracy and the country’s politicians. Such propaganda is not only misleading but dangerous for the country. Despite being overwhelmed due to the enormity of the situation, the civil and military institutions of the country are busy in providing succour to the affected people.

It is possible that some people may have been deprived of timely assistance, but such deficiencies can always be made up with improved performance. However, given the magnitude of the crisis, the government should be given credit for rising to the challenge. And surely the plight of the people would be addressed once waters recede and a real damage assessment is made. But those elements trying to cast doubts about the efficient use of assistance would be doing a great disservice to a noble cause, especially when foolproof mechanisms are in place for the distribution of aid to the needy. One such example is the Benazir Bhutto Support Programme which reaches out to 3 million poorest of the poor.

Amazingly, doubts about the credibility of the government are cast by those elements in the country that do not represent the people. And internationally, by those who do not want a stable and democratic Pakistan in the region. But this is not the first time we would be grappling with such a crisis as a nation. However, one thing is certain that we will prove the doomsayers wrong and defeat the forces of obscurantism with determination.

Comments

The good High Commissioner has to shill for his country. That’s his job.

But make no mistake about it. There’s definitely a reluctance to donate aid to Pakistan. India, a country viewed by the rest of the world as an emerging economic power, got substantially more aid after the Indian Ocean Tsunami than Pakistan is getting now. What explains that difference?

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive
 

Mr. Yousuf Raza Gilani is true politician. If he accept aid of 5 million dollar ,for the victims of flood in Pakistan, from India than it will be difficult for them to raise the issue of Kashmir. For Kashmir issue to be raised its better that Pakistan should refuse the aid from India and instead raise the issue of Kashmir. This is the right time to highlight kashmir issue.

Posted by intelligentdon | Report as abusive
 

Would Pakistan be willing to seek India’s help in rebuilding Pakistan? We are the immediate neighbor. We will not only help rebuild Pakistan, but also rebuild all the lost trust and respect between the two countries. Will Pakistan take it? If you do, here is the beginning of a new era in history.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@”There is a need to put the record straight that there is no lukewarm response to appeals made domestically or internationally”

Someone should’ve advised Mr. Hasan to check some figures before making that statement. Within 3 weeks of the Haiti easthquake, the total aid collected for that cause (by countries & private charities) exceeded $2 bn. Now compare that with the app. $250 mn collected so far for the Pakistani floods & it’s clear that the world is extremely reluctant to open it’s wallets for this cause. Having said that, I agree with Mr. Hasan, that Pakistan’s civilian govt is unnecessarily being scape-goated for this lack of response. If anyone deserves the balme, it’s Pakistan’s military establishment, which has tarnished that country’s global image by creating & supporting terrorism, over the years.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

“one thing is certain that we will prove the doomsayers wrong and defeat the forces of obscurantism with determination.”

- yes we will. And I appreciate the role of Armed forces in this disaster. They had taken the ownership and are leading the rescue and relief operations. Proud of Pakistan Army.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

“Would Pakistan be willing to seek India’s help in rebuilding Pakistan? We are the immediate neighbor. We will not only help rebuild Pakistan, but also rebuild all the lost trust and respect between the two countries. Will Pakistan take it? If you do, here is the beginning of a new era in history.”

Why would they taint their conscience by a paltry sum of $5 million when 100s of millions are pouring in from other countries? Neither accepting it nor rejecting it would be the better strategy.

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

Seth said:

> Why would they taint their conscience by a paltry sum of $5 million when 100s of millions are pouring in from other countries? Neither accepting it nor rejecting it would be the better strategy.

Don’t be fooled by the “paltry sum”. India’s National Disaster Management Authority reportedly has $500 million in the kitty precisely for emergencies like this. $5 million is just the opening gambit to test the waters. If Pakistan responds graciously this time (unlike in 2005), India will definitely do more, much more. India, as many have pointed out (derisively), is a “soft” state and has an excessively sentimental approach, especially with Pakistan, which the Pakistani establishment has often exploited to India’s disadvantage. But if they show statesmanship for a change, there could be a dramatic turnaround in this region for the first time in six decades.

Unfortunately the odds are against it, I believe. An army that butchered over a million of *their own* nationals is quite capable of letting another 20 million die rather than convert an enemy into a friend. They must be quaking in their boots at the thought of peace breaking out and the Pakistani people not having to put up with their feudal yoke anymore.

The ball is entirely in the court of the Pakistani establishment (puppet-controlled by the military). We are at a very significant crossroads and it is sad that these people are the ones who will decide which way this region of 1.5 billion people will go. There was a Dawn article that quoted an American analyst as saying India had “veto power” over Pakistan’s development (http://bit.ly/cf53T9). Although a provocative statement, it was meant to shame the Pakistani military, since they have always chosen guns over butter and condemned their own people to an inferior existence.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

I saw this op-ed in NY times and it describes the tragedy vividly.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/19/opinio n/19mueenuddin.html

Hope this floods help Pakistan change its destiny for good.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh said:
“India’s National Disaster Management Authority reportedly has $500 million in the kitty precisely for emergencies like this. $5 million is just the opening gambit to test the waters”

No way!! NDMA may have funds but thinking that they would spend all that on Pakistan….well, words fail me here. We’ll see how much money India actually spends. But as Ganesh said, odds are against Pakistan responding to this warm gesture by India any positively.

“it is sad that these people are the ones who will decide which way this region of 1.5 billion people will go”

Disagree. What so ever sinister designs these people may have, as long as India sticks to her secular foundation and focuses on growth and prosperity, they can’t harm 1.2 billions Indian populace much. Things can only improve if Pakistan gives up hostile attitude towards India and takes the olive branch India has been extending for so long. But then, you can dream the same dream only for a limited number of times.

But what is the point of all these talks when Pakistani establishment seem to be more interested in providing cover fire while pushing militants into India to make sure this festive season and common-wealth games don’t go peacefully. New Delhi’s nerves are not at ease and in all likelihood, this festive season is may not be that festive! We’ll soon find out.

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

Thank you to our brother nations Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

Saudi Arabia has donated a further 80 million dollars to flood-hit Pakistan boosting a national campaign collection to 400 million riyals (106.6 million dollars), local press said on Thursday.

An even sweeter gesture from our neighbors/brothers/family in Afghanistan of 1 million dollars.

Posted by mirusmtupsha | Report as abusive
 

Can Indians (with the exception of Ganesh) please go somewhere else to brag about their 500 kazillion dollars emergency fund. Good for you. We get it, you are the richest, move on…

Posted by mirusmtupsha | Report as abusive
 

“Can Indians (with the exception of Ganesh) please go somewhere else to brag about their 500 kazillion dollars emergency fund.”
Posted by mirusmtupsha

NO, we’ll stay here & brag!

Posted by BlackerSabbath | Report as abusive
 

“Can Indians (with the exception of Ganesh) please go somewhere else to brag about their 500 kazillion dollars emergency fund.”

Why? Is Ganesh another ID used by you like tupakshakir and shuquab.bhutto?

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

In this time of need, why can’t you all forget the politics and just for a minute find it in your heart to think of these destitute millions as human beings in need of humanitarian help, instead of the ‘enemy’, real or imaginary.

If you can do that, may God bless you. If you cannot, then don’t. No one is forcing you to help them nor can they do such. But please reserve the insults and accusations directed towards the innocent millions for another day.

Posted by JumperCable | Report as abusive
 

Addendum to previous post:

500 kazillion dollars emergency fund was first mentioned by Ganesh himself! :)

If there was any doubt about your “naabeenaapan” (blindness), this last gem cleared that too! Keep burning in hatred and let us know if you need more kerosene to pour upon yourself.

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

> Why? Is Ganesh another ID used by you like tupakshakir and shuquab.bhutto?

I solemnly affirm that I am a real person :-) . I’m not sure how to prove it, but here are my blogs:

http://golfcharliepapa.blogspot.com/
http://wisdomofganesh.blogspot.com/

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

@KeiThz: The international economy in 2004 was in a different shape and after suffering from the crunch, it is bad shape now. However, the donors are pouring in help with every passing day and hopefully the response will be much greater once the damage assessment is done. 135,000 sq KM of area is huge that has been affected by these floods.

Posted by SZaman88 | Report as abusive
 

mirusmtupsha said:

> An even sweeter gesture from our neighbors/brothers/family in Afghanistan of 1 million dollars.

I’m frankly curious, my friend. This offer of aid is from the government of Afghanistan, not its people. This is from the government of Hamid Karzai, puppet of the US/India and frequent critic of Pakistani interference, no?

Why is this a “sweet gesture” and representing neighbours/brothers/family, while a similar gesture from the government of India is not welcomed the same way?

India is as much a neighbour to Pakistan as Afghanistan is. And if Pakhtuns in Afghanistan are kin to Pakhtuns in Pakistan, surely Punjabis in India are kin to Punjabis in Pakistan, no?

Why then the difference? Surely religion cannot be the reason!?

We’re all human beings, or at least that’s what us naive internationalists like to believe. Don’t shatter our dreams, my friend.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

> $5 million is just the opening gambit to test the waters. If Pakistan responds graciously this time (unlike in 2005), India will definitely do more, much more.

What did I tell you?

Right after the news that Pakistan had at last agreed to accept Indian aid (http://bit.ly/cYvFlQ), “India’s foreign office Friday welcomed the decision to accept the aid, Press Trust of India reported, adding the government was willing to provide more assistance.”

Dare we hope?

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Somehow I find this whole debate on accepting or rejecting the aid immature. Defensive insecure egoes on both sides.

Its about a human tragedy; not about who gives what to whom, how much and when.

Politicos will play their games, why are we getting sucked into them?

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

@SZaman88

It’s not just the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Look at the response to Haiti. And when that happened the global economy was in even worse shape than today.

Contrary to popular belief, the donors are not pouring in. It’s a select few Western nations that are all but bankrolling Pakistan through this crisis. If it wasn’t for the Anglosphere (UK, US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand), select European countries (like Germany) and now India and Saudi, Pakistan would have major issues right now. Let’s be clear. Donations aren’t pouring in. A few generous nations are virtually carrying Pakistan on their backs.

Equally telling than the official assitance story though, is how few and far between personal donations are. Contrast the outpouring of personal donations for the Haiti Earthquake, or the Asian Tsunami and now this event in Pakistan. And you’ll see what I mean. If you want more proof just look at the trickle of aid this time around compared to the flood of aid from previous disasters in Pakistan.

Consider for example that in the UK, with such a large Pakistani community, they’ve only been able to scrounge up some 10 million pounds to date. Even expat Pakistanis aren’t all that willing to pitch in. That should tell you something.

@Umair

While in any such sitaution the Armed Forces is usually the only entity to have the resources to undertake such operations, I would contend that a huge part of the global reluctance (rom governments and private citizens) to donate is precisely because the PA is involved. With experience showing that previous aid money was squandered or siphoned off for other purposes, I strongly suspect, that most donors wish to find a way to give where the Pakistan Army is unlikely to touch the money (ie through various UN agencies, other international NGOs, or directly to Pakistani aid groups).

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive
 

@Keithz, Prasadgc,

Did I not say this a few weeks back? When Pakistan is in its direst time of need, it will be the all weather enemy India, that will come to help Pakistani’s. This flood has shown just that.

Between the brainwashing and the giving from Indians, let’s hope truth will shine on the Pakistani Psyche. It is thru the tough times, when someone gives help, that one should have the wisdom to differentiate between friend and fow. All weather friend China, with its billions of trade surplus does not even care to send a meager rice bowl to Pakistani, while Indians have graciously offered to do more than the 5 million.

Let’s hope some good comes in relations from all of this misery created for the poor Pakistani’s.

OH…BTW I have donated $100 through the red cross, everybody please donate.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

Looks like, under US pressure, the Pakistani army has given the green light to accept Indian aid but I very much doubt that it will bring about much of a change in the relationship between the two countries. Also, unfortunately, everything is pointing towards further radicalization & a state of anarchy in Pakistan. I sincerely hope I’m wrong on that one but the floods seem to have put Pakistan on a fast-track to where they were headed in the first place.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Here is a recent NY times article that talks about Pak army and the reliance on it by Pak public.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/08/ 20/world/AP-AS-Pakistan-Floods.html?_r=1 &hpw

Pakistan can give Imran Khan a chance to govern. He is a born leader and has great goals. He has the power to unify his country and lead it.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@GaneshPrasad,

It seems that no good deed will go unpunished. Right now the focus should be on the suffering of the Pakistani’s.

But for those here that are not suffering from the floods, not one of you have acted gratefully towards India in anyway, not even a thanks…just more negativity, no words of peace or friendship of anykind.

Sometimes it feels that Pakistani’s just have a need, a desire or any excuse to hate the Indians and eternally demonize Indians to spiritually fulfill themselves. May God bless you in your infinite need to hate the Indian kaffirs and your infinite wisdom to be eternally ungrateful too.

Regardless of these stupid politics, the world should give more to Pakistan and the victims, it is the right thing to do, despite peoples own reservations and perceptions of Pakistan.

As long as the people of Pakistan are being given help, God’s work is being done unto them.

Please give give and give without expectation of anything in return, because it is the right thing to do.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

@Ganesh,

BTW…it is at a time like that if India was such an evil entity and wanted to destroy Pakistan, now would be the time, would it not? But obviously, in reality, that is not the case! India has not been wanting to dismember, nor hurt, nor attack pakistan, I hope that even the desperate situation of this flood is enough to cause some thawing in the hearts of Pakistani’s. Indians have been there to help, not to cause harm to Pakistan, so hopefully the gestures of good will prove that to Pakistani’s.

In the long run, I hope guys like Umair, and Mirza and these other guys realize the error of their ways and the errors of their perceptions towards India, they should finally realize that they are mind slaves of state manufactured propaganda against India.

The evil Indians will continue to inflict mass doses of Aid, help any way that they can.

The world is watching how Pakistani’s react, after they recover, the world wants to see kinship between Indians and Pakistani’s, and that solely lies upon Pakistan to deliver as India is always ready to give more than their fair share for peace.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh:

@I’m frankly curious, my friend. This offer of aid is from the government of Afghanistan, not its people. This is from the government of Hamid Karzai, puppet of the US/India and frequent critic of Pakistani interference, no?”
–I know I am jumping in. But want to tell you that Usmans do do not have the guts to treat issues case by case basis. And we are expecting an honest debate with this man. btw he is not a common Pakistani since he has the ability to influence opinions via his blogs. Sadly he is not alone.

I apologize for “negatively amplifying” what you want to say sweetly in a diplomatic.
________________________________________ ____

G-W:

@BTW…it is at a time like that if India was such an evil entity and wanted to destroy Pakistan, now would be the time, would it not?”

Global Watcher: No no. Pakistan is a nuclear-stan so that is the reason Indian cowards cannot do anything. Plus Indians also know that 1 Pakistani = 10 Indians, so with the given populations that shifts the advantage in Pakistan’s favor. Add “Sati” practice and Dalits in India and the slums and the poverty and million Hindu Gods including one each of other religions, it makes it impossible for India to destroy Pakistan. India wants to do the damage but is helpless in this situation. They are trying from the front and backyard already. Inch’allah Pakistan Army has made sure Indians do not do any misadventure like they did in dark cold night of 1965 by invading Pakistan. All Pakistani kids know that you “idiot” Indians do not know. Pakistan Army/ISI is super-duper stealth operator that even Pakistan Airforce is left guessing when the invasion of India will happen. But that is not a disadvantage, becos PA knows that Pak airforce has the ability to be up on its feet and “rule the skies” and get into “dogfights” with Indian planes flown by “coward Indian drunk pilots”. have you not seen the evidence of PA/ISI combine ops in the form of how long the “Mughal dynasties ruled over India”.

India Zindabad.

@In the long run, I hope guys like Umair, and Mirza and these other guys realize the error of their ways and the errors of their perceptions towards India, they should finally realize that they are mind slaves of state manufactured propaganda against India.”
—No not these guys. Their next generation might. One generation has to do a good job of kicking ass of their parents who taught them wrong. Inch’allah this is in the best interest of Pakistan.

@The world is watching how Pakistani’s react, after they recover, the world wants to see kinship between Indians and Pakistani’s, and that solely lies upon Pakistan to deliver as India is always ready to give more than their fair share for peace.”

—Actually the world is worried about economy–the money in their pockets and how would they be doing when they retire. They say to hell with Pakistanis for sure and Indians may be if economy kicks back in. The next qn they ask is ‘BTW where are India and Pakistan on the map?”.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

G-W said:

> India has not been wanting to dismember, nor hurt, nor attack pakistan

That’s right, paranoia is one thing, but even the most suspicious should realise that in today’s world, a country can’t just walk over another without consequences. Even if India had evil designs on Pakistan (which it doesn’t), and even if Pakistan was completely defenceless (which it isn’t), there is nothing India can practically do to Pakistan. The way the world works today practically guarantees it.

Pakistanis don’t have to trust India, they just have to trust the current world order.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Also, while I can’t obviously speak for all Indians, I believe that Indians are not interested in destroying or breaking up Pakistan. Indians want a Pakistan that is strong, prosperous, democratic — and friendly.

How nice that would be!

Unfortunately, the feeling is not often reciprocated. A strong and prosperous India is unfortunately viewed as a threat in Pakistan, even though it is anything but. There is really no threat from India, only opportunity. Drop the hatred and grab the opportunity, guys.

With the changing world order and Pakistan’s own weakening position, it is unrealistic to expect to “cut India down to size” or wait for India to break up. Neither is going to happen. India is only going to get bigger and stronger. On its current trajectory, Pakistan is only going to struggle. From a zero-sum viewpoint, things look bleak for Pakistan. But it doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game!

There is a simple way out. Take the peace offer from India to formalise the LoC as the border and normalise relations. Turn off support to the jihadist terrorists. Lift your own country out of its problems by enlisting India as a willing partner. Kashmir will be sorted out in due course to the satisfaction of all parties when relations are relaxed. It will be a win-win situation for everyone in South Asia. What could be better than that?

It is irrational fear of India that stands in the way. Maybe in another five years, when the reality of the widening gap between the two countries stares people in the face, there may be a reluctant acknowledgement of the foolishness of this hostile approach. I guess India is patient enough to wait for good sense to prevail. Time is on India’s side.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHitxy93C Tc

Tum tanha nahi pyaro
hum sath tumhare hein
tum hosla mat haro
hum sath tumhare hein

In most areas, people stuck on ground in high flood waters were waving to overflying Army aviation helicopters for rescue. Army units unloading boats and inflatable rafts from their trucks, reaching to cut off communities, air dropping food and water supplies. People being airlifted and evacuated to safety both by Army aviation helicopters as well as C-130s, Navy personnel assisting people in Sindh and elsewhere. In a way this tragedy has once again unified all Pakistanis, from Punjab to Sindh, Kashmir, Kyhber to Baluchistan everyone has been affected. No wonder the Armed forces has touched everyone’s hearts once again. Be it collecting and distributing relief goods, rescue operations or medical camps.
On aid money from India, it was the courage of Zulfiqar Bhutto who stated Pakistan could eat grass and rebound from a defeat in 1971 war. This corrupt government which uses the name of Bhutto could have told India that we will eat grass but help our people. However, aid from India is welcome and we accept with great respect. And pray that India and Indians never suffer a natural calamity, but if they ever do, Pakistan must reciprocate. Here i think a new chapter should begin to help each other in times of such crises.

@Keith:
” A few generous nations are virtually carrying Pakistan on their backs. ”

-Truly? and that is after Pakistan being a long term US ally. Acting as a bulwark against the Soviet Union, facing intimidation in those years of cold war. Much of eastern Europe owes its freedom to Pakistan and Afghanistan defeating the Soviets. Fact is Pakistan has faced sanctions, isolation, and gained nothing from such an alliance. Do not brag about those few gracious nations, we are certainly grateful for every dollar donated by Anglosphere. We are a proud nation, ours is a strategically important muslim nation, a nuclear power, 180 million strong, well trained armed forces, looking to live with dignity, part of the Muslim world. Ok, you have issues with extremists groups in this region, Pakistan is dealing with the problem. This should be enough. Pakistan’s diaspora, Pakistanis in general will come together and with resilience turn this crisis into an opportunity to build stronger and better.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

@ Keith
” I would contend that a huge part of the global reluctance (rom governments and private citizens) to donate is precisely because the PA is involved. With experience showing that previous aid money was squandered or siphoned off for other purposes, I strongly suspect, that most donors wish to find a way to give where the Pakistan Army is unlikely to touch the money.”

-Pakistan Army deals in a different currency not the Euro, pound or dollar. They deal in toil, sweat and blood give everything for the nation. When the terrified children and women reached their roofs of homes submerged in flood waters. By that time Zardari had taken off for his holiday in France and UK visiting museums.
While those people seeing the Army helicopters gave them a hope they are not alone, someone is with them. The images in the YouTube link I posted above bring tears in my eyes. I dont care what the outside world thinks about Pakistan Armed forces, but I can certainly convey the sentiments of most Pakistani public, when Army jawans reach flood striken areas, peoples eyes flicker with hope. When corrupt officials of this government reach the same people, they are pelted with stones.
GHQ is still the winner!

PS: By all means donate through Mr 10% but remember this time his commission would be 20%. Let me check how many billion thanks, hugs, pat on the shoulders, salutes the Army will recieve. In such a disaster, its first rescue then relief. Your $100 means nothing to a drowned person, it may however be of use to someone rescued by an Army chopper. In this time you would have relied more on the Army, instead again a vicious campaign against Pakistan Army.
Next when you have any problem in the Arctic, dont blame Pakistan Army and ISI.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Zardari in UK, France holiday.
Qureshi and Haqqani in suits, dining with Hillary in Washington.
Gen. Kayani in chopper over flooded villages.
Army Corps of engineers repairing roads, bridges restoring communication.
Medical corps setting up medical camps.
Navy personnel rescuing.
Air Force C-130 transport squadrons in aeromedical evacuations.

Give me a break! The world doesnt want to donate because of Pakistan Army? Ok channel it though the thugs, democracy will certainly thrive in Pakistan.

Once again, though stretched to the breaking point, but professionals they are, the armed forces are engaged in counterinsurgency operations in west, maintain a conventional force posture on the east, carry out rescue and relief operations in the left, right and center.

And still donations are low because of the Army. Give me a break!
If anything, the commitment to its people, the integrity, resolve, professionalism and a nation building role of Pakistan Army should give more incent to the donors to donate for rebuilding purposes.
Is anyone, any Pakistani or Indian on this blog willing to list any positive steps of Prime Minister Gilani’s government taken during this flood crisis?

With all due respects to Mr. Wajid Shamsul Hasan, sir you were kissing the forehead of Asifa when she landed in UK, many Asifa’s in Pakistan were trapped on their roofs of homes looking for someone to rescue them. Sadly for you it were the Army choppers and their crews who hugged them.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

What a stark contrast, Asifa steps out of Pakistan Air Force plane in London and is greeted by High commisioner.
Terrified girls in flooded areas back home board a Pakistan Army Aviation helicopter, hugged by a crew member.

So Asifa gets Royal princess treatment because she is the President’s daughter, but the government doesnt care of the average citizen. And who are the backers of this corrupt government? Do we need a bloody revolution in Pakistan?
I just cant stand the images of one pack of food supplies being handed over and 20 people vying for it. If this government doesnt put its act together, May Allah save Pakistan. A few more years of Zardari in office, and we are doomed.

And surprisingly, the donations are low because of the Army. hmmmmmm. interesting.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh:
“There is a simple way out. Take the peace offer from India to formalise the LoC as the border and normalise relations. Turn off support to the jihadist terrorists. Lift your own country out of its problems by enlisting India as a willing partner. Kashmir will be sorted out in due course to the satisfaction of all parties when relations are relaxed. It will be a win-win situation for everyone in South Asia. What could be better than that?”

-Sorry Sir, Pakistan is a nuclear power. Our status is such that we cannot live as a second class state subservient to India. India has a clout sure, its economy will grow its a BRIC nation.
Pakistan is the Goldman Sachs N11 nation, Next 11 to follow through. An emerging economy.
You might think you have a couple of extra SU-30 squadrons, an aircraft carrier, plenty of success in economy. And that a few floods and bomb blasts in Pakistan, a weak economy and you think you can write us off. Not just yet. We demand a just solution to Kashmir, withdrawal from Siachin, denuclearize South Asia, balance of power, normal relations, just water solution.

However, whatever I state, must not offend anyone who have generously donated, who remembered Pakistanis in distress in thoughts and prayers of yours, certainly you have a vision for better Indo-Pak relations. I share it too, but we want it to be an honourable and dignified relationship.
And as a gesture of goodwill, lot of people in Pakistan will be grateful of the Indian response to donate for flood victims.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

@Ganesh

One more thing, Japan took a nuclear strike by US and was devastated. It rebounded and made a come back and today stands as an economic super power.

Who knows? maybe Pakistan could be tommorow’s Japan. I always say this is a resilient nation, floods, earthquake, civil war, spate of violent terrorist attacks, but Pakistan comes back from the brink every time. Often mistaken as a failed state, in reality this is not a failed state, rather a state of failures.
Once we start to get things right, I can assure we will ascend pretty rapidly. We have the capability, our time may not yet arrived.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

How can the High Comm of Pakistan compare tsunami with the present flood in Pakistan? Until 2006, there was no record of tsunami (official) in India. So when it struck Indian ocean, within an hour, the coastal towns of the regions were completely destroyed. The speed at which the waves struck coastal lines, the people didn’t get much time to respond. And countries around epicenter didn’t get much time to inform the people too.

Physicists say the energy of tsunami wave was so powerful that, even if we have enough precaution, we cannot stop the destruction. Whereas, flood through rain can be monitored, measured and could have informed the people to move to safer place. Probably that could be the reason why the death toll was much less compared to the destruction of home and agricultural land.

What we see in Pakistan is the utter failure of the government and, even, the military of Pakistan to protect people of Pakistan from these flood waters.

WHen tsunami struck Indian Ocean in 2006, India was one of the victims. Even then, it extended great support to Sri Lanka and Indonasia within hours, before the aid from developed countries arrived. I was amazed the speed at which the helps reached other affected place.

Coming back to the flood in Pakistan and aid to Pakistan, I was appalled to see the response from Pakistan’s best friend China. So far, China offered 1.5 million dollars! Considering the fact that China as the richest nation, the amount of aid is even less than what I provide to any homeless person.

What did China do when the flood struck Pakistan? It immediately brought the Chinese workers from Pakistan to China. There is no hue or cry from the people of Pakistan nor from the govt of Pakistan for any help by China. Compare this situation with that in 2006 tsunami? Who helped Sri Lanka and Indonasia? Another victim India. I am still looking for an answer to this big puzzle, why China is YET to offer substantial amount of aid to its friend Pakistan, when Pakistan is desperately looking for all sort of aid.

Umairpk wrote:
Much of eastern Europe owes its freedom to Pakistan and Afghanistan defeating the Soviets. Fact is Pakistan has faced sanctions, isolation, and gained nothing from such an alliance. Do not brag about those few gracious nations, we are certainly grateful for every dollar donated by Anglosphere. We are a proud nation, ours is a strategically important muslim nation, a nuclear power, 180 million strong, well trained armed forces, looking to live with dignity, part of the Muslim world.

Ohh Really? So what do you imply? Do you want these Eastern European nations to be subservient of Pakistan or donate to Pakistan for helping to destroy Soviet Union? Whose theory is that, Mr Umairpk? This is what you were taught by your military educators? USSR destroyed just because it thought that it was a great country and wanted to match up with its arch enemy USA. Russia was and is a great country. But communists in USSR wanted to prove that USSR is better in the world so that, it can solve all the problems of the poor world. Communists thought that communism is the only solution to the world.

What the leaders of former USSR thought about USSR is similar to the thoughts of people and military of Pakistan. They are thinking that one day they will be superior to India. You can only hurt India to some extent, thanks to their political leaders. If India had had very strategic forwarding looking leaders, India would have reached to the position what China is now. So I do not think Pakistan can win over India, and whether it has left any proud.

Posted by JackDen | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk said:

> maybe Pakistan could be tommorow’s Japan.

That has always been my fervent hope. May the next assault on India from Pakistani territory be high-quality, reasonably-priced goods for the Indian market. Let Indian manufacturers compete with these goods for Indians’ business. Everyone will be the winner.

If you notice, I never mention aircraft carriers or Sukhoi squadrons. You’re fighting last century’s war, I’m afraid.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh

I have a task for you, please find out how many divisions, mechanized infantry units and formation Indian Army have? And out of those 33 atleast 24 are stationed on the border with Pakistan.

Let me tell you a secret. Pakistan Army considers itself as guardians of Pakistan. Based on assessments, strategic calculations, bulk of India’s conventional military is facing Pakistan. We lost East Pakistan, we have nothing more to loose. Not an inch, keep that in mind for ever.

Maybe someday the GHQ changes its strategic calculus, and the Kamra airbase instead of upgrading Mirage fighter jets, starts production of consumer electronics. And Ordnance factories in Taxila and Wah swap production of tanks, and guns with automobiles. Then go for free trade agreement etc and commerce. That seems to be far away. It will take some more time for India to realize it cannot subdue Pakistan. Once India realizes and move away its military from Pakistan border, I would say Pakistan Army will lower its guard as well. Till then, bear with us.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

@Umairpk
“maybe Pakistan could be tommorow’s Japan”

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a dream that Indians have been hoping to come true for decades. What better than to have a neighbour like Japan. If Pakistan is next Japan then obviously India is to benefit most from it. Let there be competition on grounds as which country produces better wheat, which country produces better rice, which country has best engineers, which country has most successful businessman ad so on instead of competing on bloody nukes and jet fighters. No one wants these nukes except just the corrupt politicians on both sides.

I am personally very glad to see that common people of Pakistan also have the same dream…FREE TRADE.

May the dream come true soon. Amen!!

But my friend (I am obliged to u for at least dreaming such a great future), remember that the fire of hatred burning on fuel of religion, and that too on both sides, has not been put out since 60 years…60 bloody long years is enough to frustrate both sides. I hope better sense prevails and we see a better tomorrow….voh subah kabhi to aayegi…

Posted by 007XXX | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk said:

> I have a task for you, please find out how many divisions, mechanized infantry units and formation Indian Army have?

I have a better task for all of us. Please find out how many divisions we have mobilised for the war against poverty. As I’ve been hinting (obliquely and not so obliquely), the fixation on this military zero-sum game is costing both our people dearly. What you’re talking about is last century’s war. This century’s war is the war on poverty, illiteracy and disease. But you don’t seem to see it.

Tears come to your eyes when you see people hit by floods and being rescued with much heroics by the army. Well, tears come to my eyes to think that these people should all be enjoying Scandinavian or Swiss standards of living instead of having to take refuge in tents and dry their meagre supplies of grain in the sun.

Can you spare a thought as to why we are in the current situation? Wouldn’t you like the alternative reality I’m suggesting? Well, the power is within you as much as in any ordinary person. But you need courage to break from this very convenient tit-for-tat way of thinking.

I would really like to see some courageous statements from you, statements that are powerful enough to give us hope that our people can indeed be as rich as the richest in the world. You seem to be helplessly caught up in an old way of thinking that has only brought stagnation. The next 63 years are probably going to be just as pointless as the last.

I’m disappointed.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh:

Sure, Scandinavian countries have a high standard of living, and sure Indians and Pakistanis deserve that. But you also must accept India’s military spending, arms race costs both Pakistan and India in the long run. Those resources can be better spend on education and healthcare. Why did India detonate nuclear devices? probably because of China. But as a result of that, Pakistan responded with its own nuclear tests. I am sure Pakistan is also looking at India’s economic success, and I hope we plan and prepare to imitate that success. I can tell you will find great entrepreneurial skill in Pakistani people. If the resolve is there, anything is possible. With an improved relationship with India, Pakistan must be able to move away from military focus to economic focus.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Open border, Visa free travel, single currency, free trade. The possibilities are endless, but the hurdles are enormous. Like it said, a journey of thousand miles starts with a single step. Pakistan will have to heavily clamp down and wipe out every single terrorist group, cleanse every inch of its territory. India will have to arrive on a just resolution of Kashmir dispute. Until this happens, dreams will remain dreams.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk,

At a time like this, nations have to make clear decisions on how the future course should so that the current situation does not repeat itself. Your country leaned towards the US in the early days of cold war and the CIA simply chopped off all the branches that would have helped democracy take root. Now your nation only has the trunk in the middle, namely your military. It is no wonder most Pakistanis like you cling on to the trunk as there are no branches that have grown to support you. You might be resilient and motivated as a people. With that resilience, you can climb up the trunk as high as you can. But without branches, the tree that has become Pakistan has no capability to grow right. Your country has has the same resilient and motivated people all these 63 years and nothing has materialized out of that. What gives you the hope that suddenly your resilience will now help become the next Japan? To become Japan, one needs strong culture that relies on pacifism, ethics, deep traditions that express themselves in terms of excellence and quality. The nuclear blasts in Nagasaki and Hiroshima woke the Japanese up and they were changed forever. And Japanese are just one monolithic culture having the same traditions, language and outlook. Your country has not washed off all radical Islam. It is still out there, mired in tribal systems that act like animals fighting for a piece of meat. They all can fight well. But fighting is not going to help in making progress. Fighting and snatching makes things easier to get than earn them the hard way. Your nation’s overall culture is martial in nature. It has evolved like this for more than a thousand years. The Samurai traditions in Japan were based on martial systems too. However, things have become deadlier now. Samurais did not used machine guns and bombs. They were disciplined warriors. They all bowed to their emperor. There is nothing like that in Pakistan. There are many warring factions with different loyalties. With economy is weak, these groups tear away from each other and start fighting each other. You might have cities like Lahore and Rawalpindi where life is very different. But these factions have begun to reach into the hinterlands of elite Pakistan. My view is that your pride alone is not enough to carry your nation through. Have you people seriously thought about how you will bring your nation back to normalcy? It is always easier to fight or criticize a system than run it. As I see it, India has only given you a very flimsy sense of unity. India as the enemy is badly needed to keep the various factions and fractions in Pakistan to stay united. These floods should have made you realize that India is not a monster as it is being made out to be. I am interested in seeing how the current generation of Pakistanis are going to make it a real nation first. Only after making a nation can one think of progress. I don’t think it has become one yet. Is there any thoughts floating around on how to start on a new path from ground zero?

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

“Open border, Visa free travel, single currency, free trade. The possibilities are endless, but the hurdles are enormous. Like it said, a journey of thousand miles starts with a single step. Pakistan will have to heavily clamp down and wipe out every single terrorist group, cleanse every inch of its territory. India will have to arrive on a just resolution of Kashmir dispute. Until this happens, dreams will remain dreams.”

–>Umair, if it means peace, prosperity for all in SE asia, are you willing to drop ambitions of Sunni Empire Ummah Expansion? are you willing to stop militant warfare against India?

If you are, there is no reason you and I cannot be staying at each other’s house in Islamabad and Delhi Golfing on the weekends together.

This type of free trade and openess terrfies you Punjabi’s. You feel that it will destroy the Punjabi Raj in Islamabad and possibly take the wind out of the Sunni Expansion sails. Please confirm that.

India is not seeking to affirm Hinduism on Muslims, nor are we seeking to convert, nor do we want enmity hatred, war or bad feelings, just to live peacefully.

To have all of these, are you Punjabi’s willing to stop empire and militantism? Simple question, please answer it simply.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

@”maybe Pakistan could be tommorow’s Japan”
Posted by Umairpk

You certainly can! I believe that humans can become whatever they want to, if they apply themselves & make the right choices. You can become the next Japan but for that you’ll have to transform your nation just like the japanese did after world war 2. After losing the war & getting nuked, the japanese took a complete U-turn, abandoned their imperialistic & militaristic mindset & became obsessed with economic prosperity by adopting a progressive mindset. They formed close alliances with the countries, who were their enemies during the world war & the closest being with the country which had nuked them. They understood that the only way to move forward, is to forget the past. So, if Pakistan has to emulate the success of Japan, pakistanis would also have to abandon the militaristic mindset, forget the past & work towards economic prosperity. You will have to wipe all sorts of terrorism from your soil, educate your masses & move towards moderation & tolerance. This also means that your army will have to give up it’s policy of “confrontation with India” & “challenging India”. If you do all these things, you can work towards becoming the next Japan but if you stay on your current course of belligerence & confrontation with India, you’re more likely to become a talibanized version of North Korea rather than Japan. So, the choice is entirely your’s.

@”Open border, Visa free travel, single currency, free trade. The possibilities are endless, but the hurdles are enormous. Like it said, a journey of thousand miles starts with a single step. Pakistan will have to heavily clamp down and wipe out every single terrorist group, cleanse every inch of its territory.”

The problem is that you are not consistent with your statements & thoughts. You’re saying this now but a couple of days later you’ll be back to square one with your old mantra of India being enemy #1 & Pakistan should challenge India in every way etc etc.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@Umair,
“Pakistan will have to heavily clamp down and wipe out every single terrorist group, cleanse every inch of its territory. India will have to arrive on a just resolution of Kashmir dispute.”

Great comment! Don’t think there is any if and but about Pakistani eradicating terrorists from its soil.

Now the K-issue (fair warning, just one cup of morning tea here):

1) What is a just resolution in your thought? Does every party is willing to accept a win-win for everyone or somebody must loose to achieve this just solution?

2) Will the separate nation involve land from Pak-occupied Kashmir?

3) Will you Umair drop the slogan of “Kashmir banega Pakistan” for the sake of this just resolution?

4) What about India giving freedom to Kashmir valley such that the new nation is still surrounded by Indian territory. Pakistan gets to “keep” Azad Kashmir? Will that be acceptable to Pakistanis & Kashmiris. If you think about it, Kashmir is going to be land-locked anyways so why not create a separate land joining few cities and India still maintaining border with Pakistan & China. This should cover the security fears of Indian establishment, Kashmir becomes a free country yet remains part of India. Pakistan should be happy because it gets to keep Azad Kashmir and Kashmiri Muslims get the freedom Pakistan is backing.

Peace.

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

@KPSingh:
I didn’t meant to equate Pakistan and Japan literally, Japan is an Island nation while Pakistan sits at the crossroads of South and Central Asia. The geopolitics are different, we don’t need to adopt japanese cultural values, probably following an Islamic version of honesty and hardwork could do. Above that, I meant that Pakistan must get there slowly and gradually, not a giant leap forward to be like Japan. It would be a transformation process, but the change would be radical. Currently by nature the society in Pakistan could be conservative in nature, specially the tribal culture. In the tribes, elders resolve dispute through jirga(meeting) system. It is about the social fabric, family values are strong. This is much better than western society, with social ills, divorce broken family and children raised by single parents etc. Lastly there is no Ground Zero, dont create an impression as if Pakistan is destroyed, pretty much everything remains intact.

@G-W
Sunni expansion empire? Not quite so. Infact Pakistan had been a bulwark against Soviet expansion in the 80s and a western allies. Many eastern block european nations that are today part of EU owe their freedom to Pakistan. Millitant war against India? Well India started first, look it up. Mukti Bahni insurgents in East Pakistan. But still my perspective is Pakistan must avoid conflict. Let bygones be bygones. You must come out of this Punjabi phobia, believe me Pashtuns here are so hardcore fighters, they might just lynch you. Punjabis are still way sensible and cool minded.

@Mortal
The geopolitics of Pakistan and Japan are very different. US keeps a base in Okinawa and has agreement if China North korea atttack Japan, US will protect it. In Pakistan, a Majority muslim nation US troops can not be stationed. US cannot guarantee our long-term security. In case of any eventual situation, Pakistan will have to keep a strong economy (Japense model) along with a strong military/nuclear presence. We are already moderate and tolerant, last elections moderate parties (ruling Peoples party) and opposition Muslim League won most seats in parliament. Religious parties just won only few handful. Similarly, Army with full public support if fighting millitant terror groups in tribal areas.
Good Luck all!

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

*Army with full public support IS fighting millitant terror groups in tribal areas.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

@Seth:
1) What is a just resolution in your thought? Does every party is willing to accept a win-win for everyone or somebody must loose to achieve this just solution?

Answer: My though doesnt really matter, I am not Kashmiri but have been to Azad Kashmir and spent holidays there and have family friends. The Kashmiri friends I have, have strong feelings of attachment with Pakistan. Don’t know Indian side of Kashmir, a win-win situation could be some sort of autonomy to Kashmir. I never believe India should handover entire Kashmir on platter. Compromise is needed by Pakistan too.

2) Will the separate nation involve land from Pak-occupied Kashmir?
Answer:If Pakistan and India let go the parts of Kashmir, make LOC irrelevant and Kashmir be an autonomous region with visa free travel by both Indian and Pakistani people. I dont see why there should be a reason not to try this.

3) Will you Umair drop the slogan of “Kashmir banega Pakistan” for the sake of this just resolution?
Answer: YES. It is a sentimental slogan only, if India is willing to come to the party we will drop any slogan you want us to drop. But then sincerity is needed, no point if we end up where we began.

4) What about India giving freedom to Kashmir valley such that the new nation is still surrounded by Indian territory. Pakistan gets to “keep” Azad Kashmir?
Answer: I didnt understand this one, what do you mean by ‘kashmir valley still surrounded by Indian territory’. Bottom line is Kashmir has become a festering wound, much like a cancer where you have to amputate the organ which is creating the problem otherwise the whole body is affected. We need to address the Kashmir dispute, a part of it is in Pakistan control, a muslim majority state it has linkages with Pakistan. Left unaddressed it has created greater animosity since last 60 years. Once we resolve this, other opportunities and avenues will open up.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

I believe Umair has made some very reasonable comments and Indians should engage constructively on these points. Thanks, all.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

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