Hampered flood relief | The Express Tribune

In times of humanitarian crisis, it is expected that people put their interests and differences aside to work selflessly for the greater good of humanity. It is unfortunate that there are many Pakistanis out there who do not believe it is their moral obligation to do so, and instead wait for such opportunities to take advantage of. The same has been witnessed by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) who have expressed alarm over slow rehabilitation of flood-affected communities in northern Sindh and increased instances of gender-based violence.

A high-profile fact finding mission has concluded, with no surprise, that a high level of political and feudal influence over state institutions has impeded relief work as thousands of families that lost everything during last year’s floods are still waiting on assistance and aid. Houses, schools and infrastructure was ravaged, severely affecting education and health over the year, and yet concerned officials have little planned to restore and rehabilitate communities. Instead, corruption of aid and funding remains rampant, filling up the wrong pockets. What is even more deplorable is that the mission found at least 300 cases of kidnapping for ransom in Ghotki alone, while Kandhkot and Jacobabad saw a high rise in honour killings of underage girls, married women and even elderly women. Even when hit with a severe crisis, social problems have not taken a back seat and justice for victims remains elusive.

Considering the grave human rights violations taking place in flood-affected regions, relief efforts and government services must be disseminated under a watchful eye. Heads must roll and officials must be penalised for sheer negligence and ignorance. That said, dismantling the influence of the powerful and changing the mindset of the masses is a battle that Pakistan is losing badly. Only radical intervention through reformation and development can change the tide.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2023.

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