Tallat Azim As one of the biggest natural calamities ever to have been faced by mankind keeps unfolding its layers, fresh situations emerge from it on an ongoing basis. It is now clearly evident that wherever the blighted unwashed millions stood in 1947, they still remain rooted there. While the floods may not have left them so unwashed any more, the unfortunate affected populace has nothing to show for any visible progress that they made in the last 63 years. The images you see are of people who could easily be living in the previous century or even before that. They have nothing in common with the IT revolution, the MNCs, with the Cineplexs, with LUMS and IBA grads, or with any of the trappings of modern city life as we know it. While there is a limited class who has done well and for whom Pakistan has been the promised paradise, the bulk of our people have not benefited much from the dream of Pakistan, due to corrupt and incompetent governments. In the aftermath of this disaster these fellow citizens may slide even further back from where they stood when the country was created. Perhaps, nothing less than a disaster of this magnitude was needed to begin anew. The recent shove has thrown everything out of the national cupboard where every shelf was an unbelievable mess. Maybe we can also use this opportunity to re-prioritise, sort, discard, mend, label and clean before putting our stuff back on the shelves with re-prioritising being the key word as we redo the inventory. The inequality in our society must be addressed directly. The bounties of this land must not be the right of only those who form the ruling elite. When the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister in waiting jointly disclosed their idea of a clean oversight commission to collect, asses and disburse the relief funds, it was so welcomed by the majority. It is a deep-rooted desire within most ordinary Pakistanis to be able to believe in the people who lead them. Time and again, their trust on different people and parties has yielded no results. There is only that much that the people can do on a self-help basis, (as they were seen to be doing valiantly in Swat with the chair lift operations to connect places to one another). Despite a public commitment to the commission, the PM has not been able to take it off the ground and, like the evolving flood situation; the idea of the commission too seems to develop fresh aspects on a daily basis. The fear that the commission, if it delivers, may actually be asked to take over and put things in place seems to be the afterthought. A government that has to rely on people outside itself to convince people that their donations will be in safe hands needs to do a serious rethink of its image. Grand gestures of serious change in philosophy, an about-turn of no small proportions towards general welfare and a clear vision are the only things which can do some damage control in fixing this rather sodden image unfortunately. It will also keep them from constantly looking over their shoulders to see if the army was getting ready to take over again. If the response from the government is not up to expectations in this huge crisis, it is actually anybodys guess as to who will fill the vacuum. The militant extremists whose welfare bodies are on ground doing organised relief work or the military whose role keeps expanding, as relief and reconstruction work gears up. Or perhaps, even some sort of a national government who has the tacit support of the establishment. As days pass by, I keep thinking to myself that someone, somewhere, must be preparing a list of names for such an eventuality. And to amuse myself, I too, am developing a wish list of people I want to see pushing this country out of the quagmire it finds itself in. Because it is not that we do not have capable and honest people amidst us. It is just that they do not seem to fit into the established mould of governance. The time for all established moulds to be sma-shed is here and now. Because the consequences of not being able to rise to the occasion are too awful to contemplate. Postscript: Newsweek magazine has done a first-ever best country special issue. The question that they asked to establish the best 100 countries in the world was: If you were born today which country would provide you the very best opportunity to live a healthy, safe, reasonably prosperous and upwardly mobile life? Countries were judged in five categories of national well-being, education, health, quality of life, economic competitiveness and political environment. I am hoping that a Pakistani born today, if we set our house in order, will not want to leave home when he is 25 years old in search of these five core categories. Unlike our present 25 years old who have no such luck, going by the story of the mob fury that killed two innocent boys in Sialkot a few days ago on suspicions of being robbers. The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: tallatazim@yahoo.com