Pakistan’s prime minister and chief of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party, Mian Nawaz Sharif, while attending a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif at his Jati Umra residence, said that his party, the PML-N, would support all flood victims at this difficult time. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the PML-N would not leave a single flood-affected person alone at this difficult time.
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said that the government was committed to using all its available resources to provide relief to the flood-affected people and that vital items like food and medicine were being provided by boat to those stranded in the worst-affected areas.
According to a senior official of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 1.5 million people have been affected by the floods across Pakistan. The official added that 350 relief camps have been set up in the affected provinces – Punjab, Sindh and parts of Balochistan. However, the NDMA official added that NDMA is ‘fully prepared’. Meanwhile, media reports suggest that in 2010, more than 20 million people were affected in similar floods and, t0 date, several thousand people are still awaiting relief.
The government seems serious about tackling the problem of the flood-affected people as the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has already visited the flood affected areas in Sindh, with Sindh’s Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, while Punjab’s Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has visited some flood-affected areas of his province Punjab. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said, “all-out resources are being utilized for the relief and rehabilitation of flood victims.”
The PML-N Facebook posting on August 25, 2013 also confirms that PM Nawaz Sharif is working towards helping the flood victims. PML-N’s Facebook entry states: “Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said that the Federal Government would not spare any effort to provide relief to the flood victims and rehabilitate them as early as possible. He was speaking in a briefing at Shank Bund after taking an aerial view of the flood hit areas of Ghotki district. The Prime Minister was briefed by the authorities concerned regarding the flood situation, losses and the steps taken for the rescue and relief of the affected people…”
With no one from the PPP available for comment on the floods in Sindh on August 5, 20013, Benazir Bhutto’s younger daughter Aseefa Bhutto Zardari’s tweet hints at how much the party is focused on the floods. She Tweeted: @AseefaBZ: “With natural disasters we must all come together and do what we can to help our communities. #Floods #Pakistan”
The words of the government and its allies on paper seem quite true, but members of non-government organizations are, as usual, skeptical of the government’s resolve to actually do anything about it, especially since the PPP was unable to handle the floods during its tenure. Meanwhile, according to a press release on the ISPR website, the army has set up camps in various cities where items are also collected for the earthquake victims.
The Pakistan Red Crescent Society has helped the flood-affected areas in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and have provided 1,060 families with rescue services, medical aid and relief supplies. Speaking to Truth Tracker, the Pakistan Red Crescent Society said that they would give data and information but after waiting for several days, they failed to provide any data. HRCP could not provide any information about work being done for the flood-affected people, adding they had no data regarding government presence or campaigns to work for the flood-affected, nor did they know of any teams dispatched to these areas.
Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif’s statement that ‘PML-N will not leave any victim alone’ is false.