There are times when I am gripped with the notion that our ‘national test tube’ should be washed clean of the unspeakable stuff that it has accumulated over the years. I am referring to the gaggle of politicians that have plagued us (and continue to do so) with false promises, lies, corrupt practices and total dereliction of duty towards the public. My latest surge of anger has been triggered by what is happening in Sindh. This troubled province is ‘blessed’ with a Chief Minister who remains ‘happy’ in (blissfully) ignoring the catastrophe that is even now taking its toll in Thar. It also sports a Minister (who is the mouthpiece of the provincial government), so bent on being loyal that he has forsaken his obligation to the voters that put him where he is. Then there is a long line of other portfolio holders, legislators and Party Leaders, who appear to have forgotten that there is a power in the Universe higher and bigger than anything or anyone, who will hold everyone accountable for lapses in providing good governance to those in need.

Already, with the blood of dying infants on their manicured hands, the provincial government functionaries have removed any remaining doubt as to their ineptness and lack of moral capacity for governing the people of Pakistan. I make this statement with a heavy heart as the foundations of the Pakistan People’s Party were laid solidly by its charismatic founder and made even sturdier by his illustrious daughter. What turned this once popular political force into what it is now, can only be introspected and diagnosed by those who helped Mr. Bhutto build it.

The recent conflagration at the timber market in Karachi is a case study in official apathy. The only silver lining in the cloud, has been the announcement of substantial compensation by a big name in the Land Development and Housing Industry. Viewed by many in a negative light, I am forced to admit that whenever and wherever calamity has struck paralyzing government authorities, it is this individual, who has opened his coffers to the ones affected – and to me, such men are heroes in their own right.

The Karachi fire was followed by another incident in Lahore’s congested shopping area known as Anarkali, which took more than a dozen precious lives. The reasons cited for both the Karachi and Lahore blazes were short-circuiting, while fatalities in the latter are being attributed to a single entry and exit point.

It is a foregone conclusion that the root cause of both tragedies and similar ones likely to occur in the future, will be traced back to a system that is rotten from head to toe. This will include staff of the corrupt department that approves the blue prints of commercial and residential structures. It will indict building inspectors, who are required to inspect buildings during construction and after completion. It will put into the dock, the Electric Supply Companies and their staff for approving substandard wiring or even illegal connectivity. While responsibility for the ‘murder’ of innocent people should be shared by all of the above, the bulk of the blame must be apportioned to the owners of these buildings, who in their bid to make money (or save money), cut corners and grease palms and they do so with full cognizance that the structures they are putting up are potential death traps. I am yearning for the day, when someone sitting in the Chief Minister or Prime Minister’s chair will string up the chain of individuals who make such tragedies happen - but where will we find such a person.

 The writer is a freelance columnist.