Planning for an
The rains and floods since June of this year have created real havoc all over the country and it is all because of the phenomenon of climate change that is confronting the world today. Unfortunately, Pakistan is located in a region that is one of the globe’s most affected in terms of climate change. Everything is moving towards extremes – rain and snow falls, summer and winter temperatures, wind speeds and sea currents, etc.
However, it is amazing that climate change has yet not found a position of priority in a country like Pakistan and it still finds itself mired in issues of political hegemony, change in army leadership, bureaucratic bungling and judicial dilemmas. The devastation from the rains and subsequent flooding all over the country is unprecedented. Again, all it boils down to is the gulf between the haves and have-nots. The powerful are playing their usual game – of diverting the waters to their own advantage. Or, when required, they are ready to move to other safe locations around the world and are least bothered about what happens to their country or their countrymen.
The present destruction will create a hole of some 200 billion rupees in the national exchequer. Can Pakistan’s economy, already cash-strapped, bear this extra burden? Standing crops of cotton, wheat, rice and maize have been totally destroyed while further food supplies will be severely affected. Livestock has already been drowned and there is no possibility of obtaining fruit, vegetables and clean drinking water for the nation’s present and future needs.
The pity is that while other nations learn lessons and plan for the future, Pakistan sweeps such issues as destruction from climate change under the carpet and carries on with everything else that it considers important. It celebrated 75 years of its existence just recently. But while celebrating the diamond jubilee, the Pakistani people and their leaders did not seem to pay much attention to what had the nation achieved in that period except the country’s dismemberment in less than 50 years. It seems to have carried on regardless though there have always been murmurings of similar tragedies waiting to happen in other parts of the country.
It is a given that climate change is here to stay and Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable nations. Yet, besides the usual lip service and reacting to immediate problems, not much is being done to plan for climate turbulence in the long-run. There is a female federal minister in charge of the climate change ministry and nothing in the shape of a concrete counter-plan has emerged from her office so far. The entire nation, it seems, is in a state of apathy and no one seems to realize that since this is a phenomenon that will occur every year, what it needs is serious, mature, long-term handling and not merely day-today fire-fighting.
Syed Jawaid Iqbal
President & Editor in Chief