Monday, October 17, 2005

State and Earthquake Relief Effort

The earthquake disaster is expected to grow with the arrival of winters, if government does not take any substantial measures for the earthquake victims. Snowfall has already been reported from some affected areas. Situation is getting worse with the passage of time due to weather conditions. According to General Musharraf, the death toll is likely to rise beyond 38,000 (

"When we go into these villages of the Neelum and Jhelum river valleys, I am reasonably sure it is going to rise," said General Musharraf. The expression that "they" have not reached the villages of Neelum and Jhelum by now gives a very clear impression of the efforts of government.

I am highly impressed by the concern of the general population of Pakistan for the earthquake victims. They have donated generously for the relief efforts. I heard one of my elders mention that such mobilization of people was last seen in 1969, resulting in the resignation of Ayub Khan. However, the role of state has been highly disappointing through out in the last eight or nine days. I do not wish to start blaming at the present but it is truly very frustrating.

With one million organized men under his control, General Musharraf, who also calls himself the President of Pakistan, has not been able to manage the aid collected by the civilians after enormous labor. Army, at present, is the only institution that has the information, means, and resources to deal with the problem of distribution in the affected area in a appropraite manner. No NGO or a political party is in a position as effective as that of army. Yet, there are villages and towns that are not yet touched by the army men. I do not intend to say that army present in the affected areas is not doing anything. But look at their quantity. If General Musharraf had sent around 50-75% of the army on the second day after earthquake, situation might have been different. At least, relief workers in the affected areas would not have asked their counter-parts in the unaffected areas to stop sending aid.

It is inspiring to see that small groups of volunteers have started visiting the earthquake hit areas, knowing that they might not be able to make significant difference. They are obviously not organized as such and lack proper resources and information to deal with the problems. It is the trustless attitude of the people towards the army, that they are undertaking the relief efforts in their own hands.

Comrades, civilians have played and are playing their part in collecting relief goods in a commendable way. The part played by the state is contributing towards the misery of earthquake victims that make them believe that the rest of Pakistan does not care.

General Musharraf should mobilize the army on war scale to deal with the earthquake disaster. That might justify the portion of budget spent on defense each year. The arrival of winters is going to be highly dangerous for those who have no shelter. If something significant is not done immediately, then Musharraf is correct in his "reasonable" analysis that the death toll is going to increase. Isn't this earthquake a loud enough noise to make the deaf hear?

This earthquake is a lesson for the general population of Pakistan. The interests of state are significantly different from that of people. It's a matter of time alone, when the people will rise to over-throw these unconcerned rulers to govern themselves through a people's government.

In Solidarity!


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Sharique said...

"General Musharraf should mobilize the army on war scale to deal with the earthquake disaster"

I agree, i believe the rulers, have let us down once again, as theve always done.

It is time, that we replace the current system, and in my opinion, the best solution is the revival of Khilafat.

Umer A. Chaudhry said...

I agree with you that the dicatorial regime is no good to the people of Pakistan.

But, I base my solution on scientific analysis of history. So, my proposed solution is clearly that of Socialism.

I have also said in the end of my article: "a matter of time alone, when the people will rise to over-throw these unconcerned rulers to govern themselves through a people's government."

Khilafat was just an episode of history and does not address the problems that the poor masses of today (the workers and the peasants) are facing. So, Khilafat is just another system of government, not a solution.

In Solidarity!