By Saleem Bukhari
On the 27th of Ramadan 2015, the first flash flood struck the adjacent land tracts of Bomborat over-brimming in the downstream of the beautiful valley. It happened to be the opening of the recent devastating flash flood series in district Chitral.
The flash floods, periodically hit each and every village of the same district. People of Chitral either affected directly or indirectly: some villages in the upper Chitral have been completely effaced, other disconnected on account of washing away of the roads and bridges, while the whole town Chitral faces water crisis along with the destruction of houses and agricultural lands in Muldeh, Zargarandeh, Jughoor Oorgoch, Balach etc but water supply lines are no more in working conditions to provide water to the people, animals and agricultural lands.
Unfortunately, there is no more immediate mechanism with the government to handle such an emergency situation and save both the people and their assets. Community awareness about the immanent disasters and management of such disasters is also lacking. When the catastrophic floods hit our villages’ people got panicky and could not do anything to tackle this immediate situation.
At this hour of trial, philanthropic organizations and individuals along with the Pak-Army and Chitral scouts extended their helping hands to reach out to the affectees and helped them out according to their ways and means. The non-governmental organizations and individuals have been trying their level best to make for the shortcomings of the government resources. In the present situation, the relief organizations, especially Al-Khidmat foundation, Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and organizations of AKDN work shoulder to shoulder with Pak-Army to provide immediate relief to the affected people.
The scope of this disastrous flood widened day by day and it became virtually difficult for the relief agents to cover all the areas with their resources. Even some of the army helicopters turned dysfunctional during this relief operation. Access to the far flung areas was crossing the Rubicon at the earliest time because of the destroyed bridges and roads. However, Army jawans and volunteers of the organizations did their level best to reach out to the affected areas. Volunteers of Al-Khidmat reached Reshun first by removing the obstacles and carrying relief goods on their backs. They managed to reach Muxgol with their reliefs goods loaded in the army helicopters. As a compensation for the destroyed bridges in Kuraagh and Muxgoal, chair lifts were installed as an immediate transport arrangement. Villages of Mulkhow were provided with food stuff, tents, water supply pipe lines by Al-Khidmat foundation and such relief goods were also given away to the affectees of Bomburat and Romboor valleys, loaded on donkeys, as roads have been completely destroyed by the last flash.
As everyone in Chitral town is affected, availability of safe drinking water to the inhabitants of Chitral town and other adjacent villages was a major problem. Water tankers of Al-Khidmat carried water to the doors of the villagers on daily basis. Services of the individuals whose water tankers carried water to the villagers were also observed and appreciated by the public. All these worthy acts of charity whether from individuals and organizations may need worldly praise and publicity from human perspectives but their true reward lies with their creator which does not need any publicity.
However, it is most unfortunate to undermine the benevolent services of the organizations and malign them through ones’ malicious writing and propaganda, which reflects their skeptical and cynical approach to the situation very precisely. Few malevolent individuals who may have personal grudges with al-Khidmat on political or ideological grounds cannot throw dust into the eyes of the general public to bar them from seeing the reality on ground.
A politician-cum-journalist may see through his color spectacles the visibly manifest services of Al-Khidmat volunteers to be a battle of banners but the public can see through their naked eyes the selfless succor of the organization as a foremost relief agent and can also observe the callous attitude of the workers of PTI who proved no more than mere spectators in this times of tribulation. The decoration of banners has helped its volunteers to wake up at this time of need and help out their distressed brethren. Such political figures could have joined the ranks of the philanthropist individuals like Prince Amirul Hassanat alias Shahzada Gul along with others. Shahzada Gul himself carried water tankers in his vehicles and provided water regularly to the needy community. Their reward is with Allah and political point scoring is just an illusion. But the services of Shahzada Gul are really praiseworthy and the public truly appreciates his sincere services.
A journalist, while sitting in a far-off city, can spit venom against his self-created opponents and relief organizations i.e. Al-Khidmat and FIF. His inveterate criticism definitely smacks his bias against these organizations. The yellow journalism of journalists like him on the observations of his colored glasses will affect nothing. The best judges are the flood affectees and all the public of Chitral.
Being a man in the street and having no affiliation with any political party, I am personally an aggrieved one and have been passing through this terrible situation and can both see and feel the relief operations but as Chitrali we must recognize the services of the organizations and should be thankful to all who rendered their services at this time of adversity. I extended my words of appreciations to all the benevolent organizations and individuals along with the jawans of Pak-Army. Their sincere efforts and relief services can be seen practically in the affected areas. Appreciation of the services whether rendered by organizations like Al-Khidmat or Focus needs cultural loftiness and magnanimity of heart and head without which spirits of pluralism and true norms of democracy cannot be cultivated and promoted.
Inside journalism beyond journalists
By Saleem Bukhari