PRESIDENT Zardaris statement that Pakistan is financially strong enough to deal with the flood disaster and that the affected people need not worry sounds quite ridiculous in that it attempts to downplay the gravity of the situation. The President didnt clarify whether he had the general people in mind when he was boasting about the countrys financial muscle, or was he talking about the public purse; but in any case his statement is likely to jeopardise efforts to collect funds for relief and rehabilitation work. On the other hand, the UN is calling out loud that the disaster was much bigger than the 2004 tsunami, calling on the international community to rush to Pakistans help. However, if the President is affirmative that the country is wallowing in riches, then the question arises why isnt he spending all that money on the welfare of the people in distress? Why the affected souls have been left alone and why only the NGOs and caring individuals are seen in the forefront of the relief work? His promise made to the people of Thatta, for instance, that he would have brick houses built for them stand no chance of fulfilment given the governments callous indifference so far and the snail pace at which official rescue work has been going on. Equally hollow is his pledge that the government would make arrangements for precautionary measures against floods in future because the centrepiece of flood fighting strategy, the Kalabagh Dam, is not being given a serious thought by the leadership. In line with the official tendency of making light of the situation, Prime Minister Gilani has also said that cooperation between the centre and provinces would be enhanced, which remains a tall order. If a tragedy of horrendous proportions could not unite the leadership what else would? And it was a pity that he was talking about war-footing efforts after a month has passed. In contrast to the role played by the federal set-up, the Punjab governments response to the cry for help has been positive though there is still a lot that needs to be done. However at the end of the day, the differences between the two camps remain a huge impediment in the way of rehabilitation work. While the floods reach the southern parts of the country, the water in many parts of Khyber Pukthunkhwa, has started to recede, some of the displaced people are moving back to the ruins which were once their homes and villages. The leaders confusing stance, their ignorance of the scale of the calamity and above all their cold-blooded disposition for political point-scoring would multiply the suffering of these hapless people.