Articles of the year 2005

The After Shocks
Published on September 01st, 2005

The tragedy that struck the Northern areas brought with it large contributions sent by sympathetic people from all over the world. With all the death and destruction ugly rumours started circulating of various sorts. These were possibly more disturbing than the earthquake after shocks. Looting that reportedly took place in the Margalla towers that were standing but had been evacuated by the owners fearing more shocks, were cleaned out, even the window Acs were removed..All this happened in full view of the TV cameras which were concentrating on the search for victims still buried in the rubble. Attempts at child snatching by men pretending to be relatives of the poor orphaned children, were thwarted mostly by luck, but one shudders to think at what the flesh peddlers would have done with their 'loot'. Now that the army is in complete control it must ensure that these criminals should be caught and punished severely and quickly. There is a need for retribution and swift for the Nation will not tolerate such acts which bring shame on all of us. Especially when we were so proud of the National Spirit that was displayed in the giving from people of all walks of life. It seems that there are gangs that are extremely well organized and will succeed unless the army acts strongly on the PM's directives stopping any 'adoptions.' And exposing the ugly face of some sections in the criminal elements. These must be eradicated from amongst us.

Also the huge amounts of money that are pouring into country raise other concerns. Primarily it seems that there is only one body that has a distribution system in place for the handing out relief goods -----and that is Sattar Edhi. The Political parties stand completely exposed. They may be able to collect funds or hides, to be used for political ends, but not to distribute relief goods…. Only Edhi does have such a system in place. The Red Crescent itself does not even have such a system—in Pakistan, whatever it has is pathetically inadequate. And so it is not surprising that most of the considerable amounts of monies that are donated into charities go unaccounted for and probably into great misuse. An example would be the charities that are diverted into the militants in the cause of Jihad, where our poor are more desperately in its need. Also the unknown depth of the Government Relief funds into which funds disappear never to heard from. The President Ayub Khan flood relief fund—The East Pakistan Flood relief fund—and many others of which there was no reckoning.. a truly bottomless pit, into which the monies were paid in never to surface again, and one hears, are still being carried on the State Bank Books. The Zakat monies could do with some looking into.

Most Government bodies have lost their credibility, and the politicians had even less credibility to start with. For instance till today we have no idea of the utilizations of the funds collected by the PPP or the PML , or the JI for that matter. I would like to suggest that some citizens from the private sector be placed on the various boards to monitor the placement of these funds into deserving hands. Surely we have people like Imran Khan, Edhi himself who are above financial reproach and could be made to serve on these panels. The President must act now to make these appointments, as he already has a list of persons eminently qualified to serve in this capacity, persons such as Dr. Hoodbhoy, someone I have never met but one whose reputation here and abroad is above reproach. I am sure there are many others who would be willing to serve as the watchdogs over these funds that are dissipated by inefficient and or corrupt civil servants.

This service is as important as the collection of Charity. The distribution of these funds cannot now be untended. These have come from the people of Pakistan and to the people they must go…. But wisely.