ISLAMABAD While smaller political parties mobilising their activists and supporters for relief work, the PPP and PML-N are expending their energies on political rhetoric and using state resources on trips to flood-affected areas.
The only effort made by the two major parties was the announcement of setting up a `credible national body comprising men of integrity` to ensure transparency in the collection, management and distribution of relief funds among the affected people.
But the setting up of the commission is not in sight and its modules are yet to be finalised.
PML-N spokesman Ahsan Iqbal said his party was very much in the field and Mr Sharif had called a meeting of party leaders on Wednesday to launch a countrywide flood relief campaign.
The meeting has been called almost two weeks after the first wave of devastation hit the country.
Mr Iqbal said the meeting would decide a policy for deeper penetration and broader relief efforts. “More goods have been sent to Muzafarghar and relief work will expedite after water recedes.”
None of the two major political parties has so far mobilised their workers and resources for relief and rehabilitation work.
Observes say that any mass mobilisation in social welfare by the PPP and PML-N may not be possible in the near future.
“Since the hierarchy in these mainstream parties is not disciplined, it is not easy for them to gather workers for any social work,” said Ahmed Bilal, executive director of PILDAT. He said the power of the two parties lay in fielding strong candidates more likely to win.
“Compared to the PPP and PML-N, parties like the MQM and Jamaat-i-Islami have a much better success record of social welfare work,” he said, adding “MQM is based in urban Sindh, but only because of its organised structure it can contribute to social welfare in different parts as well.”
PML-N leader Siddiqul Farooq said that floods had caused more devastation than the 2005 earthquake. He said that instead of making individual efforts, party workers are extending support to the Punjab government.
“This is not the time for making headlines. Our party is extending support to the federal government and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he said.
Political analysts said that the efforts made by the PML-N and PPP in the 2005 quake relief operation were because they wanted to have their presence felt in the country when General Musharraf was in power and leaders of the two parties were abroad.
Social workers have also criticised the key parties which are to come up with practical plans steps for the support of the poor masses in their constituencies.
“The rich, landlords and politically strong families in Muzaffarghar, D.I. Khan, D.G. Khan, Sindh and elsewhere have enough resources to contribute to relief measures,” said Sarwar Bari of Pattan, an NGO.
Minister of State for Finance and Economy Hina Rabbani Khar rejected the allegations and said “Everybody is answerable to God and people. I do not think it is needed to show what we are doing.”