Floods in Pakistan have affected more than 30 million people, which is about 15 per cent of the country’s population. More than a thousand people have lost their lives and millions have been displaced, prompting the government to proclaim a national emergency. This is one of the worst natural calamities in recent times. The harrowing videos and pictures on our television screens and social media show massive devastation, pain, tears, and death spread across the country. Entire villages have been washed away, and there are places that have been fully drenched due to the inundated rain and floods, turning them into islands without any access to the outside world. There are places without electricity, without internet, without phone data, without roads, and without food and help. What Pakistan witnessed in the 2010 floods is not even close to what the country is facing today. A decade later, the country is fully swamped with water. Unfortunately, we the people woke up a little too late to this harsh reality. With every passing day, the death toll increases and so does the destruction.
The national response has been slow, to say the least, but mercifully all governments, federal and provincial, are actively helping the flood victims. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been actively visiting the flood-affected areas and trying to be at the top of his game by showing empathy towards the needy and has categorically said that it is time Pakistanis show unity and keep everything aside to save the flood victims while Chairman PTI Imran Khan will be hosting a telethon for fundraising on Monday. However, Khan has said that the PTI’s movement for Haqeeqi Azadi will continue alongside its flood relief work. PTI held a jalsa in Jehlum for its fight for haqeeqi azadi on August 27. A PTI member took to the stage and said that overseas Pakistanis should not give funds to the flood victims because the present government took away their right to vote. Khan also reiterated that his struggle against thieves will continue whether come what may. Such calamities demand a bipartisan approach from our leaders but well here too we have managed to fail our country. Khan seems pretty adamant that his quest against those he does not approve of will continue, even if there is a flood or war. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that the Opposition can keep playing “jalsa, jalsa” while they will deal with the flood catastrophe.
The question remains: will the politicians be able to let their politics take a backseat for now and show some empathy towards their own citizens? Can’t politics, the numbers game, and the blame game wait? For once, our politicians should look beyond their own personal interests and agendas and stand united. Our politicians must give priority to those millions of people who have been affected by floods. It is time that all Pakistanis must donate wholeheartedly. The people need to be prompt with their help and generosity. We hope that partisan politics is put on hold, and all political leaders fully dedicate their voices and efforts to helping the flood victims. They need to be rescued right now and relief efforts must continue. They will later need to be rehabilitated and relocated. It will take a lot of resources and hard work. We must all come together to help them right now. Our political battles can wait.