Archive for the ‘natural disaster’ tag
These politicians have no idea how to solve the problems of the
country. Moreover, these secular democrats have no popular
domestic support and are dependent upon the patronage of their
By MUHAMMAD ASIM
The current monsoon rains have brought devastation on a massive scale to Pakistan. In this time of crisis the President, Asif Ali Zardari, is nowhere to be found in the country. He is in Europe, bestriding the great capitals of Paris and London supposedly dealing with Pakistan’s foreign affairs. To say that this visit given the natural disaster striking Pakistan right now and with the comments made by the British Prime Minister David Cameron in India recently is contentious is an understatement.
The whole world it would seem is condemning this trip, seeing it as a sign of utter callousness. In the UK, a group of politicians of Pakistani origin have refused to meet with Zardari, saying he should be in Pakistan at a calamitous time as this. Every media outlet is blasting Zardari for leaving the country at such a perilous time. The Sunday Times has condemned Zardari for wearing designer suits, jeans and wandering around Knightsbridge with his daughter as if he is on a shopping trip while the country is facing a huge catastrophe, saying it is clearly a regime that doesn’t know how to look after the people. He has become a laughing stock as people note how he is more concerned about anointing his son at a Birmingham rally and launching his career in politics than looking after the country, where according to UN estimates at least 1,600 people have died and 14 million people have been affected by the devastating monsoon floods, at the enormous expense of the Pakistani government.
If this were not bad enough, Zardari is flying in to a politically humiliating situation after David Cameron’s insulting remarks about Pakistan’s commitment to the ‘War on Terror’. Cameron, by saying Pakistan was “looking both ways” and “exporting terror to the world” whilst standing in front of an audience in New Delhi, could not have been more insulting to the Pakistani people unless he were to use profanities or insult Islam itself. The glee on the faces of the Indian audience was all too apparent as he made those remarks to rapturous applause; with India clearly realising it was the victor in this diplomatic battle. Yet what was the response of the Pakistani government to this? A weak and humiliated response from a humiliated regime.
Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the UK High Commissioner, has spoken of ‘hurt feelings’ and said maybe it is Cameron’s ‘inexperience’ which led him to issue such remarks. Zardari whilst in Paris said, “The war against terrorism must unite us and not oppose us. I will explain face to face that it is my country that is paying the highest price in human life for this war.” David Cameron meanwhile has not backed down from these statements, saying that he wanted to do some ‘plain talking’ and ‘say it as it is’. Why do our politicians not have the backbone to do ‘plain talking’?
Pakistan indeed is looking both ways on the ‘War on Terror’ whilst the UK is looking one way, that is something all the Pakistani people can agree with. However, it is not in the way the British PM may think. It is in fact Britain along with America and her allies that are exporting terrorism globally with the colonial invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and it is Pakistan where the people, despite the successive regime’s of Musharraf and Zardari selling out and acting against he wishes of the people, are opposed to helping kill and occupy the people and land of Afghanistan. It is the Pakistani people, soldiers and civilians, who have been butchered due to this conflict instigated by the likes of David Cameron and have lost their lives for the sake of Western colonial adventures.
This is the thanks Pakistan gets for effectively going to war against its own people in numerous operations in Bajaur, Waziristan and Swat and for giving permission to American drones to kill thousands of civilians in FATA. None of the democratic parties in Pakistan are highlighting these points. At most, people such as Nawaz Sharif were cynically calling for Zardari to cancel his trip to the UK, knowing that the real purpose of the visit was to launch the political career of Zardari Junior. All this is on top of the rampant inflation, power outages and near economic collapse of the country.
It is abundantly clear that the so called democrats of Pakistan are totally clueless as to how to look after the affairs of the people. Whether it is external military aggression, a diplomatic slur, a natural disaster or providing a working infrastructure for the people none of these politicians have a single clue as to how to help the people. When Musharraf was in power these very same people said the problem was dictatorship, and that democracy was needed to solve the problems of the nation. They were deaf, dumb and blind to any other suggestion. Now they have their democracy, yet what have they done?
Is the disregard of Zardari for the plight of the common man due to a lack of democracy in the country? If this were a dictatorship then one could simply blame Zardari and say the man is rotten. However, Pakistan is a democracy and as such it is not just Zardari who is at fault. Where are the other political parties and ‘democratic’ institutions and ‘rights’ groups holding the government to account? Where are the great ‘checks and balances’ of democracy? Is the impotence of the democratic parties in issuing a robust rebuttal to Cameron’s remarks or their inability to effectively contribute to disaster management of the floods due to the fact that they have not had elections or are not able to sit in Parliament? Where is our judiciary in holding these people to account?
Why are Zardari, Gilani, Sharif or any other so called big shot of Pakistani politics unable to articulate a coherent defence of the country or a response to the floods to help the people? Why has this and previous governments, dictatorial and democratic, not invested in early warning systems and strategic stores of medicines, food, water, tents and other supplies in robust warehouses across the country? Why are they not able to build contingency plans as part of disaster management for an event that is not unlikely given that the sub-continent has been famous for its monsoon rains for centuries?
How can our leaders afford lavish overseas trips with visits to 5* hotels and restaurants in Paris and London but are begging for aid from the whole world to feed the common man? Why are the politicians sitting comfortably in their sumptuous mansions whilst the people have lost their homes, their livestock and their property, have no food or clean water and are now being faced with the spectre of cholera and other disease? What is the point of these secular democrats when all they know how to do is beg everyone in the world, be they charities, banks or governments, for money and even then loot whatever is given?
The answer is simple; these people have no idea as to how to solve the problems of the country. Moreover, these secular democrats have no popular domestic support and are dependent upon the patronage of their Western masters. The democratic system, being secular in origin and thus dependent upon the will of the rulers to shape it however they desire, has institutionalised and legitimised the criminal actions, neglect and policies of these rulers via laws such as the NRO and rules that grant sitting rulers immunity from prosecution. The secularists have failed to lead Pakistan to any semblance of progress. Military dictatorship has failed. Democracy has failed. It is time for an alternative. There is only one alternative, and that is Islamic rule.
Umar bin Khattab (ra), the second Khalifa, when faced with a devastating famine in Arabian Peninsula during his rule, mobilised his state machinery and ordered his governors from as far as Egypt and Syria to send supplies. In addition, he personally took part in the relief effort, cooking food for the hungry people who were flooding in to Medina every night and vowed not to eat anything other than bread and oil until items like butter and meat were available for all people to purchase in the market. As the famine lifted, he provided the people with rations to take with them back home and exempted them from paying Zakat for that year and the next.
Only the Khilafat, based upon Shariah derived from the Quran of Allah (swt) and the ahadith of Muhammad (saw), would hold every man rich or poor, ruler or ruled equal. This is in contrast to secular man made principles which protect the corrupt elite and crush the common man. Only the Khilafat can safeguard the honour and dignity of the people from foreign military or diplomatic attacks, as the Khalifa would be obliged by the Shariah to act and not like the dictators and democrats today who live to serve foreign masters at the expense of their own people. It is only the Khalifa, who would derive his authority from Islam and not Western capitals, who would be determined to rush to the aid of the people in their hour of need as he would fear the accountability of Allah (swt) more than visiting Knightsbridge for shopping, buying houses around the world or stashing away the wealth of the people in secret offshore bank accounts.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal released an op-ed by President Asif Ali Zardari defending his Europe tour, a trip that garnered tremendous criticism and even resulted in shoes being lobbed in his direction.
Yes, shoes. Nice throwback to Bush in Iraq in 2008, don’t you think?
In the article “written” by Zardari, he noted,
As the floods hit the country, I faced a dilemma as head of state. I could stay in Pakistan and support the prime minister in our response to the floods, or I could continue with a scheduled visit abroad. I chose to use my travels to mobilize foreign assistance—money, supplies, food, tents, medical care, engineers, clean water and medicine—for our people. Some have criticized my decision, saying it represented aloofness, but I felt that I had to choose substance over symbolism.
To an extent, I agree with the-aide-writing-as-Zardari. If he had stayed in Pakistan instead of jetting off to Europe, would that have made an enormous difference to the government’s response, or lack thereof, to the floods? Probably not.
He went on to add,
I might have benefited personally from the political symbolism of being in the country at the time of natural disaster. But hungry people can’t eat symbols. The situation demanded action, and I acted to mobilize the world.
Mister President, I agree with fellow bloggers that media attention on your trip has been overblown and took away from the much more serious issues at hand. But I am not sure a Europe jaunt was the necessary step in “mobilizing the world.” Couldn’t a phone call have sufficed? Skype? A few smiley faces and lol’s can go a long way these days.
But regardless of our feelings toward Zardari’s trip, the series of developments prior to and upon his return are even more frustrating. After the GEO and ARYtelevision networks aired the shoe-hurling incident against Zardari, the two stations’ signals were reportedly “blacked out” in parts of Sindh. Geo’s managing director Azhar Abbas told CNN, “Activists of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party are threatening cable operators to take Geo off the air as well as cut cables of operators in Karachi and interior Sindh.” Copies of the Jang group’s daily Urdu newspaper, the Daily Jang, were also set on fire, and when a group of PPP activists surrounded Geo’s building Tuesday, “law enforcement groups did nothing to stop them.”
While the threat of media groups is a dangerous phenomenon, it is also exacerbated by these outlets’ responses, which sensationalize reports and further this cycle. All the while, the attention that should be dedicated to the 14 million affected by the floods in Pakistan is diverted to far less important things. So shame on you. Shame on all of you.