Farooq Hameed Khan The UN Secretary Generals remark that Pakistan has an image problem, reflected the lack of trust and confidence of the international community in the incumbent democratically elected government. Never before has a head of the UN spoke so lowly about Pakistan and never before have the people of Pakistan suffered because of the failing worldwide credibility of a corrupt and incompetent leadership. While the world acknowledged the devastation caused by the worst ever floods in Pakistans history, more than the combined effect of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami and the 2005 Northern Areas earthquake, the international flood relief efforts are still no way closer to the post-earthquake airlift. The NDMA head in a recent interview on a private TV channel confirmed that while Islamabad airbase received on the average over two dozen foreign aid flights daily during the international air bridge to support our earthquake relief efforts, there have been only three to four such relief flights daily during the current floods. Even the NATO air bridge promised directly for Jacobabad / Sibi has yet to materialise. The speed of response of the international community in the earthquake crisis could be judged by the fact that the first British specialist rescue team was on site, rescuing the survivors in the rubble of Islamabads Margalla Towers within 48 hours of the earthquake. While many foreign medical teams with their field hospitals, including those from as far as Cuba as well as expatriate Pakistanis, moved into the earthquake affected zones, such an urgency is nowhere to be seen in the flood-affected areas. Despite repeated appeals by the UN, including a special session by the UN general Assembly, that was also addressed by our Foreign Minister, the world community has committed no more than $800 million. Such a weak international response is least surprising when within the country the Prime Ministers Relief Fund so far attracted only around Rs 1.75 billion from 170 million people. Will the nation be also informed about the cash donations to the National Assembly Speakers Relief Fund? But why complain about the lack of enthusiasm of our foreign friends, when our own top multi-billionaires announced donations of only a few million rupees for the flood victims. Those who looted and plundered the nations wealth, gobbled billions in bank loans, evaded taxes, skinned the masses in sugar and wheat scams and own castles, estates, luxury penthouses and ranches the world over, did not show the heart to care for their distressed countrymen. Hollywood star Angelina Jolie grasped the enormity of the disaster more than our leaders and donated $100,000 (Rs 8.5 million), outclassing even President Zardaris reported contribution of five million rupees. Why would Pakistanis trust the army, private welfare NGOs, organizations and even banned religious groups with their cash and kind donations instead of government relief funds or Baitul Maal? Because they the fear that their contributions will not reach the real victims and instead land up in the pockets or houses of corrupt government functionaries. Why has the proposed 'Clean Commission, comprising men of known integrity and repute been scuttled? Because the idea of honest personalities transparently managing the cash aid inflow, seemed simply unacceptable for whom the flood disaster presents yet another opportunity of a lifetime. This trust deficit between the leaders and the led has its roots in past democratic eras and memories of several deceptive schemes come alive at this time. The powerful and the influential transfer their funds abroad and buy properties there, while the poor country needs foreign exchange and the poor people lack basic needs of subsistence. If 20 million Pakistanis lost their lifelong earnings and possessions in the floods, the leadership, too, must sacrifice their extravagant lifestyles and share the pains and sorrows of the new entrants to the poverty club. The Prime Minister should show courage and seize this moment to make history. Hopefully Mr Gilani will implement his vow and auction his wardrobe of designer suits, but the nation expects him to do much more. He must slash the budgets of President and PM Houses by half and declare them as 'one dish zones; cut the army of ministers and advisors to no more than 20; reduce the perks and privileges of parliamentarians by 50 percent; ban foreign joyrides at taxpayers expense, recover the politically motivated bank loans written off during the last few years and stop wasteful expenditures in the name of protocol and security. Ministers must be made to pay even for the tea served in the Cabinet meetings. That the floods once again exposed the selfish character of landlords and jagirdars was evident in the brutal manner they stabbed their peasants and haris in the back. Who would hold accountable those politicians and waderas in South Punjab and Sindh, who reportedly conspired against their rivals and their own poor electorate by manipulating breaches in critical embankments and bunds to save their own estates, farmlands and fish farms? No wonder the army had to intervene and take over the physical control of bunds and barrages to stop these breaches of trust. It is most unlikely that these feudals will ever be prosecuted and brought to justice by their own governments in power in Sindh and Punjab. Will the Honourable Chief Justice take suo moto notice of this criminal act? When it comes to foreign aid, nothing could have been more humiliating for the Pakistani nation, than the governments acceptance of a paltry $5 million aid offer from India. The acceptance of this offer from a neighbour that spares no opportunity to strike at the countrys integrity, only rubbed salt on the wounds of the drowning Pakistanis and shattered the nations self respect. The floods leave in their wake a few questions. Will those who opposed Kalabagh Dam and suffered the Indus ravages, have a change of heart? Have the Sindh and Pakhtunistan cards been swept into the Arabian sea? Is the party over for the feudals and exploiters? Would Pakistanis have fared so badly had Benazir Bhutto been alive today? Will a new Pakistan emerge? As the floodwaters recede, the real challenges are only just beginning to emerge. With dozens dying daily due to epidemics and starvation; with 3.5 million children at the risk of deadly diseases and with thousands of shelterless pregnant women awaiting medical care under the scorching heat, Pakistanis will still endure the catastrophe as always. But another furious storm, a social and political upheaval, more devastating than all the Katrinas and Tsunamis may be building up. Is the change that Pakistanis so desperately await, inevitable? The writer is a retired Brigadier. Email: fhkhan54@gmail.com