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The Express Tribune Editorial 28 July 2020

Humanitarian gesture


The coronavirus pandemic has affected the entire humanity and it has generated an equally compassionate response from the whole international community. There are, however, some ‘legally sane’ politicians who even now are blaming their adversaries for the pandemic on ‘flimsy’ grounds. They are being treated as ‘legally sane’, but they are not so considered by people, except for those who are benefiting from their toxic mentality. Politics is considered a noble profession practised in the service of humanity. The stray breed of politicians, however, is like the proverbial leopard that can never change its spots.
It is in keeping with the real spirit of the profession of politics that through the consistent efforts of the government of Pakistan and the cooperation of the UAE government that 1,200 Pakistani prisoners have been released from UAE prisons after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Now only 121 prisoners remain in Abu Dhabi jails, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Zulfikar Bukhari, informed recently. He also said an Emirati Businessman, Suhail Galadri, has committed Rs10 million to help with the repatriation of Pakistanis stranded in the UAE. The businessman, the co-chairman of the Galadri Brothers, made the commitment at a meeting with Zulfi Bukhari in the UAE. Since the onset of the coronavirus, around 36,000 Pakistanis working in the UAE have been laid off and are returning home.
The SAPM also met the UAE Minister for Human Resource Development and Emiratisation, Naseer bin Thani, and they explored the possibilities of hiring Pakistanis after the end of the pandemic. He praised the Pakistani diplomatic staff posted to the UAE for their efforts in coronavirus relief operation. He also appreciated the Pakistani diaspora for their contribution to ration distribution, repatriation and funding during the pandemic. Galadri expressed interest in developing Pakistan’s tourist spots. This will create job opportunities for Pakistanis at home. This is how noble souls spread light.


Rain drain


As if a tsunami had hit Karachi on Sunday. Here, there and everywhere, it was just water — on the roads and streets, into the houses and shops, and inside the stranded vehicles. Not just the impoverished and neglected areas of the city, but many upscale ones too were also inundated. People half-submerged in the rainwater was a common sight nearly everywhere in the city, illustrating the extent of the rain misery. The city — at places — looked like a river flowing speedily downstream. Vehicles parked on roads and streets failed to stand their ground and were floating on the gushing water, literally like toys. Several people were also swept away. At least two — a 27-year-old motorcyclist and a boy, 5 — fell into the drains in Orangi and Korangi respectively, only to be retrieved as breathless corpse after hours. There were six more deaths, of electrocution. To add to the woes, the flooded city went powerless too — with many neighbourhoods remaining out of power for as many as 12 hours.
Long gone are the days when Karachiites would relish rains. This heavenly blessing now only brings curse for the citizens of this most modern city of Pakistan. Year after year, we see the country’s financial hub succumb to even small amounts of rain. This third spell of monsoon, for instance, poured just about 20mm to 80mm of rain — as recorded in different parts of the city — but it triggered a hell lot of fury. The first and second spells of the current monsoon season were even less intense, sending down just about 40mm and 60mm rain respectively. For comparison, the Mumbai monsoon fury of July 26, 2005 had unleashed 944 mm rainwater in a single day. The loss of valuable lives and properties to rain-induced flooding in the city every monsoon is not enough for the authorities to focus on how to redress the situation. While the whole civic infrastructure needs to be revamped and repaired, most urgent attention must be paid to the city’s choked drains. Rain, with no drain, is what causes much of the trouble.
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