[Opinion] Attabad Disaster: A litmus test for political leadership

Words: Muhammad Pannah

The Attabad disaster and its aftermath have changed the socio-economic outlook of Hunza and will definitely have a long-lasting impact on the future political scenario of the valley. The delays in the release of water from the lake and uncertainties in the opening of KKH have created frustration and panic among the local community. The incident has brought the local economy to a standstill. About 90% of the population was making their livelihood out of potato but due to the prevailing uncertainties the people have not cultivated potato this year. The parents will remain unable to finance the education of their children which is the second highest expenditures after household consumptions. The irregular and risky transportation through boats have further increased the miseries of the community in general and the patients, women, elders and children in particular.

In such situation, it is further depressing that the political leaderships, vowing to be with the community during every difficult time, are enjoying the luxuries of life in Islamabad, Karachi, Gilgit and other cities. More than 115 days passed since the disaster but only few of them have visited their home towns. Those who lost the election are far away, not playing the due role of opposition candidates, helping in settlement of the IDPs and developing pressure on the government to speed-up the pace of work on excavation of the debris.

It is here to mention that Mr Kamail Jan and Noor Muhammad, during early days of the incident, have visited their disaster-hit constituency with some relief items but the remaining even not bothered to do so.

This scenario has developed frustration among the youth against the political leadership of Hunza and they have started increasing their issues and voices through their own platforms. It is further depressing for the people that rather than leading the youth towards highlighting the real issues many of our so called leaders also tried to exploit the situation for their own interests.

The self-interest driven leadership has pushed our society towards chaos and frustration. It is now time to analyze the role of every one and play their role in developing real leadership who can lead us in all such crisis.

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  1. Dear brother Pannah,

    Attabad landslide has been called by experts as a statistical 200 year landslide. The sheer size of landslide is very large. I think the major fault in my opinion is NDMA who did not in intial days consult international landslide experts and quickly drain the lake ( breach the dam) before huge volume of water built up. We now have a serious problem as 12 KM long lake has developed and when the dam over-topping–more likely dam breach takes place in May-June a huge wave of flood which may be as high as 60 meters will come down. We pray to Allah that there is minimum loss of life and damage.
    FOCUS has done wonderful work in the area in helping the people with relief goods and setting up warning systems in High risk villages and also teching villagers in evacuation plans. Local government has cooperated. New Home Sec who is Chairman of GB-DMA is a good cooperative person and cares for the people.
    Polititians may have let us down, but in these difficult times, let us work and cooperate with the NGOs who are doing good work like FOCUS and local administration and GB-DMA.
    Let politician come for vote next time, we will tell them “all izzz not well”

  2. Dear Pana and other Readers
    You are right ! but the question here is not that what the leaders have done and how they have done it? It simply their capacity and understanding and of the situation. That is what they are capable to act and nothing, they cant cross their limit.
    But the real question which is how big is our understanding of a society and how much we are flexible toward it. It is us who take them as leaders, we call them leaders and rely on what they do for us.
    Next how they become leaders? Well for them it’s just like a walk from the kitchen to the living room, in minute something came to their mind and they take all the matter in their hands and call them self OUR Leaders, that is all simple rule must have a small care and should be a bold man, no need of any vision or target or understanding of the situation or the people. Just become they leader.
    Why? Because we do not have proper system to make leadership, to evaluate them, to check them, to measure their decision, in fact they are all leader form themselves. No one in the history of the area was ever questioned or said anything, If you or anyone know any incident where people questioned him and he answered them and things went on other directions. Or changed.
    But the most important thing is “US” the mass the people the power, WE DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR ourselves. We never have time to be serious, only ready to give few moments, the moment which we have for leisure. We take it as we are unable to do or take it serious so we do not have time means proper time. Just words that is what we have to give to our self to our FUTURE.
    History the best picture, Political or Social or religious leaders (Imamati Institutions) people who came up or were brought by kin’s and friends, were actually never according to the portfolio of the required job. It is just selection for pried or other immediate desires.
    Like most of the people selected are never by the people but amazingly by them, get one morning and become a leader, because for them the spelling of leader is LADDER.
    In Simple words we never had a leader by the people, or in other words we don’t lack leadership but we don’t have any leader.
    And for us, we don’t have time for action for our self, but love to talk sitting with a cup of tea.

  3. Mr. Panah has rightly written that our leaders are unaware of its responsiblities either they are sitting in opposition or in government. You are right that our Ex-Chief Exective has naver bouthered to come to the effected people this was their support he won the election for six times.
    Well this is our youth and people who are always relying on such leaders and group or parties like PML and PPP. They instead of giving us our rights are been following the method of divide and rule.
    So what can we do if we dont see our future in these parties. Mr. Nazeer has rightly said that we are the one who are giving them the opportunities and later we are balming them for for not acting effectively.
    We see our future in our youth they are analizing observing and reading the situation very well the leaders of our country can no more make us fool. Inshallah one day we will get equal representation and citizenship like other citizens of the country.

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