The devastating recent floods have provided our politicians with an opportunity to shed their differences and old prejudices for a national and noble cause. They need to unite in the face of this great natural calamity and show strong will, determination and commitment. Being a natural phenomenon, the flood could not have been averted or controlled but with combined and concerted efforts, lives and properties of unfortunate victims could have been saved to some extent. We need a consensus now on strategy for distribution of compensations and rehabilitation of the displaced persons in an absolutely fair and transparent way. Prime Minister has made a passionate appeal to the nation for donations to flood relief fund account opened by him. He has also urged upon all political parties to display unity at this critical moment. Nawaz Sharif has also opened a separate flood relief fund and donated a sum of Rs 10 million on behalf of his group. Similarly, some other leaders have also established relief funds and asked people to contribute. But the people are confused about the credibility of these initiatives, fearing a fiasco like the Qarz Uttaro Mulk Sawaro project the former Prime Minister had launched once. There is a perception that instead of forging unity and harmony among masses, the politicians tend to politicize the flood issue in order to enhance their own popularity. That is shameful. This is no time to play politics and complicate problems. One wished the political leaders would rise above the personal and party interests, forge unity and forgive each other for their past behaviour in the interest of developing a consensus to first evaluate the losses to property, livestock and standing crops and, then, begin the process of compensation to the victims which must be distributed in a just and transparent way. -RAJA SHAFAATULLAH, Islamabad, August 10.