When Pakistan needs the world

…… Shikeb Ali ……

There was a time when the world calls out Pakistan to do and do more for war against terrorism, and Pakistan replied to the world by  sweeping out Taliban from its tribal areas and assured the stability in the areas like SWAT and Malakand Division.

Now, when more than 25% area of Pakistan has been inundated by floodwater, more than 1500 people have been killed and an alarming figure of 25 million people have been stranded by devastating teh worst floods wreaked by monsoon rains and both figures are expected to rise in the coming days. Hundreds of villages, roads, bridges and millions of hectares of crops have been washed away by the ongoing deluge. This is the time when Pakistan needs the world the most, to fight and recover from this slow tsunami.

Pakistan signals to SOS, but here the international response to Pakistan’s flood emergency has been sluggish and ungenerous compared with the relief efforts after that were seen after previous disasters, like Haiti, earthquake where more than $2 billion were raised by international community.

According to Dr Marie Lall, Pakistan expert at the Royal Institute of International Affairs says: "I think there is donor fatigue all around. The [2004] Indian Ocean tsunami, the Burmese Cyclone [Nargis, 2008], the [2005] Pakistan earthquake, and [this year’s] Haiti earthquake. It is getting too much; we are in a recession and people are short of money.”

According to Oxfam figures quoted by The Guardian, in the first 10 days after the Haiti earthquake, donors had promised $742m and pledged a further $920m. For Pakistan, the figures over the same period were $45m and $91m. It is estimated that Pakistan needs $460 million immediately, and till now, just $125 million have been donated. An old friend of Pakistan, the Saudi Arabia alone has raised $105 million, made the pledge following criticism that Muslim countries were not giving enough to victims of the disaster.

There are a lot of other obstacles which are preventing the donors among them the corruption is the largest, as Pakistan has had a bad reputation about its prime leaders, as most of them are battling with corruption cases & accusations and even some of them have been imprisoned for more then 10years over corruption charges.

"Dr Marie Lall says: People in Pakistan are skeptical that the government may be transparent. But they are giving to philanthropic organisations. In the UK, it is generally believed people are skeptical of [non-governmental organisations’] overheads and costs. They don’t know which are transparent and reliable, even though local organisations such as TCF [The Citizens’ Foundation] are doing an incredible job.”

I think Pakistan will need more $500m for helping its homeless and starving people, this is not just a figure which will be able to fix all things, we have to do a lot more than just asking the world for the help.We need to take action. Sitting and watching the TV news reports and feeling sorry for them is not going to save lives.


Shikeb AliShikeb Ali, professionally a web designer at Jang group of Companies, but he keeps a good eye on current affairs, with his artistic activities on the web. You can follow him on twitter and join him on facebook.

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