Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What the Floods Revealed in Sindh : Politics, Progress, Governance.

As I wrote the article on the Drug/ Wadera nexus that is destroying Sindh, the floods that washed almost half the area in Sindh and especially the same areas that I mentioned were notorious for poppy cultivation, so many truths about life  in Sindh are coming to light. Some issues I will discuss here.
The areas of Dadu, Shahdadkot, Khairpur Nathan Shah, Jacobabad, are notorious for the dacoities and kidnappings if you are travelling by road. Almost all these areas are no go if you travel without armed escort or local wadera or overlords' cover. The only way to reach or do anything in these areas is by contact with the local overlord or Wadera who also is usually the elected politician. Almost all the people who get elected to seats in provincial and national assemblies are sons, daughters and wives of these overlords. The entire area is owned by these people and the cities are mere extensions of their jaagirs as became clear in the  massive flooding of the entire town of Khairpur Naathan Shah. The elected representative who goes by the name of Imran Leghari and who is supposedly the son of some Zafar Leghari , a supposedly respectable PPP stalwart of yesteryears, came on Sindh television and other Sindhi channels again & again complaining that his town was drowning and the administration was doing nothing and all his crops and lands were drowned. The fact of the matter is that these so called elected representatives, the jaagirdaars and Waderas of Sindh were enjoying almost Pharoahnic power  of Biblical proportions where they not only enjoyed enormous crop wealth but also all the money from taxpayers plus all the development funds plus the various mafia businesses and drug/ poppy cultivation businesses that were the new wave of making enormous money in Sindh.I must add to this the businesses of kidnapping, car thefts and other smuggling like human smuggling.
 All the Kaccha land was bieng ocupied by these drug mafia, who are not foreignours but waderas of the same areas.  I hav efrequently visited the "Bela" areas and Kaccha areas in the past for medical and social work so I am well aware of the demographics and the geography.
What had Mr. Imran Leghari, though young in his years done to devise any plan for protection, evacuation, logistics and preparedness of Khirpur Nathan Shah residents in case any disaster fell upon its residents? What had he planned in case a fire engulfed the market? What had he planned in case an epidemic hit the area? Nothing. He is just talking non-sense blaming other people for these woes. All his concious life he has just been acting like a Prince himself, illiterate, unkind, lording over his subjects. All this has become apparent in total lack of relief and rescue when an entire city which has so much businessmen in its fold was drowned helplessly overnight. This kind of lethargic behaviour is apparent in all towns of Sindh where local communities like business community, agricultural community etc have no citizens development or rotary clubs. All over Sindh there is little or no community behaviour of philanthrophic oversight and citizen participation. The vestiges of local governments which would have cultivated some grassroots participation were abolished by the Wadera/ Elitist/ Politician nexus. This is not negative criticism. This is a fact.
While the Thori bund breaches were taking their toll on other lands the waters re- routed their wrath and like God's wrath they hit this town. Had Mr. Imran Zafar Leghari, the crowned prince alias 'Elected Representative' of Khairpur Nathan Shah had truely and informedly, uncorruptly worked, planned for his people, he would have not appeared so helpless like a poor Sindhi Karo-Karid woman and said that oh the administration failed and we were only helped by army and maybe some by Zulfikar Mirza. There are still several thousands who are sitting shelterless, foodless, helpless, in scorching heat and dust in open areas in Sindh because they are poor. There are still several thousands of the "Riyaya" of these lordly 'Princes" who are helpless, naked and hungry in the parched lands of Sindh, and who do not have "relations" with these waderas and fuedals , who do not have three houses, one in Karachi, one in Hyderabad and one in native town, and who do not have 50 lakh, blackened windowed, air conditioned cars for comfortable travel, frequent raping of underage  girls inside these vehicles ,even in Defence areas of Karachi,(as most of their Karachi houses are in Defence), frequent carrying of murdered people in these vehicles as they are never, ever checked, especially with a party flag displayed.
The thiefs and dacoits are very active looting the flood affectees, their properties and whatever is left in their homes. The Sindh television anchor Mr Manzoor asked as to how they were so active with boats whereas the evacuation was so slow and limited. The answer is simple. The dacoits and theives with boats were always there . They are residing in Sindh towns, Bela and Kaccha areas. They are supported by the local overlords and they are ignored by the administaration and police. By the way the police is insufficient in numbers, corrupt and its lower staff behaves like servants of the local powerful.The non-Sindhi officers who are posted get transferred after a short term on the whims of the local fuedal.
Majority of these so called elected representatives are riding on the backs of the fame of the now dead leaders and are using their names to show or legitimise their claim to power through ballot. Due to complete lack of choice and also illiteracy and poverty, the masses in Sindh have no way of knowing who else to elect. The tragedy is that these younger lot instead of educating themselves , coming down from their occupied 'thrones' and understanding the political economy of a modern state and politics, are whiling away time. The state of Pakistan is bieng termed a "failed state" not becuase it means to finish off its existence but to bring about improvement on its indices on governance, development, corruption, social sectors and justice.
To survive in the modern world the state's apparatus has to be competitive in its thinking, educated and aware in modern statecraft, world politics and the challenges of economy locally and of the world. Unless the people who are aware enough of modern statecraft, economic and political issues are governing Pakistan , we can never come out of this swamp like situation we are in. It is high time that the Pakistan Peoples Party and other political parties in Sindh (and I am specifically addressing the Nationalist parties as they are worst in their political behaviour and obligations to the peopel) understand this fact.[The in-humanitarian behaviour of the so-called Nationalist parties and Sindh Nationalist Party (Mumtaz Bhutto) was seen as they made the flood affectees stay in non-government camps and the people were neither registered and have to suffer because the govt. aid apparatus does not operate there and whatever little help they can get will not be given to them].
The era of dynastic politics is over. It has to be over. If the younger Bhuttos have to think to compete in governance they have to understand that in order to exist on the map, Pakistan, especially Sindh has to come out of "Lordly" politicians and devolve power to the grass roots and they have to find support from eductaed, informed, proactive, honest, middle classes. I think they do exist in Sindh. I am sure that they exist in Sindh. The Sindhi politician has to undergo a major behaviour change for the better and ultimately best or else perish.

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