The only cure for grief is action. G. H. Lewes The political leadership in Pakistan has often refused to learn any lesson from history. Thus, it is not at all surprising that no one seems to be moved by the current situation in Pakistan. As if the war against terrorism was not enough, the unprecedented floods have put Pakistans economy under tremendous pressure. According to reports, it may take a long time before the country can recover from the present mess. In addition, the response from the international community has surely been slow, as it has failed to provide the immediate relief aid that could help Pakistan to overcome the present crisis caused by the devastating floods. This is mainly due to the countrys image deficit, which is the result of an incompetent and inefficient government as well as several state institutions. All this, at the end of the day, will without doubt hurt only the people of Pakistan - nearly 20 million of them whose lives have been destroyed. Had such a crisis taken place in any other nation, its political leadership would have immediately united and made serious efforts to resolve the catastrophy. But in Pakistan, unfortunately, instead of creating harmony or developing a national consensus which would help to overcome the menace, the political leaders have chosen to snipe against one another that has shifted the focus from this critical issue to other minor issues. For example, MQM Chief Altaf Hussain, instead of suggesting a remedy for the flood victims, has chosen to call upon patriotic generals to save the nation which may have dangerous consequences not only for the country, but also for the institution of democracy. Furthermore, the provinces and the federal government seem to be at loggerheads on the distribution of funds much needed to help alleviate the sufferings of the flood affectees. Hence, it is no one surprise that various conspiracy theories are being circulated predicting the demise of the elected government soon. At the same time, some analyst are also projecting the Pakistani security forces as a parallel entity to the government, since the civil government has failed to deliver while the army has successfully filled in the gap and is indeed doing a tremendous job in the flood affected areas across the country. But all these conspiracy theories are extra-constitutional and should not be supported by those who believe in the rule of law and the institution of democracy. However, one can say with certainty that in case the government and the state institutions fail to discharge their duties in a transparent way, then there is every likelihood that the theories of doom that are in circulation may have a chance to succeed. Needless to say, the burden to save democracy in the country and provide relief to the affectees not only falls on the shoulders of the government, but also on the civil society, especially all those who respect the will of the people. For this, it is necessary to speed up the relief and rehabilitation efforts. In fact, an appropriate system should be evolved as quickly as possible in order to facilitate the people to go back to their homes. But if one is to believe what is appearing on the news channels, then the situation seems to be hopeless not only for the flood victims, but also for the future of democracy in Pakistan. According to reports, the government is working for the relief of the affectees; however, the process is at a much slower pace than what is actually desired to overcome this calamity. The political leadership must realise that they will gain little from the photo sessions or by projecting themselves in the media. That they are certainly not doing much to help the hapless people of Pakistan. In fact, in the long run this could prove to be counterproductive because early assessments have indicated that it will take several years before the victims are completely rehabilitated. The second most important point that the political leaders must realise is that instead of sniping against one another or propounding fancy ideas, they should diligently concentrate on helping the people in the disaster zones. The politicians must remember that in case they fail to do their duty, they will be providing a valid justification for military intervention. And although it is never in the interest of the country, yet it may be welcomed by the people simply for the reason that the democratic set up failed to provide them with the assistance that is expected from the government, both federal and provincial. In the same vein, the government must also ensure that all the state institutions should work properly, so that democracy does not suffer. Besides this, while it is necessary for the media to keep a vigilant watch over the institutions working for relief and rehabilitation, it should refrain from distorting the real picture. One hopes that the political leadership of this country, as well as the media, will behave responsibly, so that the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts can be carried out smoothly, properly and without any hindrance. Finally, it must also be understood that the damage is so colossal that even if it had happened in a rich and developed country like the US, it would have taken their economy several years back before it recovered from such a devastating hit. But the main question is: whether anybody, especially our leaders, are listening and in fact learning from history? This, however, comes naturally only if those who are concerned bother to listen attentively to the cries of the people, and thus make sure that no serious mistakes are made during the long journey that each and every Pakistani will have to undertake, if our nation is to emerge out of the present crisis. The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: