Dr Ijaz Ahsan All of a sudden the incumbent PPP-led government needs men with an impeccable record of integrity and credibility to handle the flood relief efforts and at the same time to generate more funds for the flood-affectees. But the question is: Why? Well, it is like this: successive generations of rulers looted, plundered, patronised dacoits and murderers. With the passage of time, although they had lost all credibility at home and abroad, yet they were so busy in their loot and rapine that they could not care less. Everything was hunky-dory, until one fine morning a deluge of biblical proportions destroyed or damaged every standing structure in one-fifth of the country, and billions needed for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction. The rulers issued impassioned appeals. Subsequently the top man went abroad, as he said that his visit was necessary since the flooding would receive more international attention, rather than him staying at home, and asking for financial help. So while the top man was abroad, he asked for financial help. But no one was listening; no one was willing to give a penny, as they all knew that all the relief aid would simply disappear. At home, the donations deposited in the Prime Ministers relief fund were such a pittance that it was really embarrassing. To deal with this situation, PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and suggested that an independent flood relief commission comprising of persons of unimpeachable integrity, including Justice Bhagwandas, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Abdul Sattar Edhi, be constituted. The proposal was so eminently suitable that the Prime Minister let it be known on the same day. It seems that he had not taken into account what the big boss might feel about it. Perhaps, he might not want curbs to be placed on the way the government spent the money, because then all of it would be consumed for the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the flood victims, leaving nothing for the government to play around with - if you know what I mean. You see, what is the use of being in the government, if you cannot spend money the way you want? As the days are stretching into weeks, it seems that the commission will not be constituted. If it is not set up as announced by Prime Minister Gilani, in a joint press conference with Mian Nawaz, he will have pie on the face, but that is his problem; if he wants to serve on the same salary well and good, otherwise who cares? Edhi Sahib has already opted out, as according to him the government will use the independent panel to cover its sins of omission and commission, and he is absolutely right. Anyway, if the government is serious in setting up the commission, at least the following should be assured:  The commission should be free to collect the donations and spend it as they deem fit.  The appointments in the commission should be the prerogative of the commission; they should be free to appoint whoever they want from the private sector or ask for someone from the government. They should not be forced to work with person recommended by the government.  A sub-office of the commission should be set up in every flood-affected district, or at least division and all relief work should be carried out under the direction of that office.  The commission should set up its website and give all the details of income and expenditure as it accrues. Such a commission would help greatly in attracting donations and assistance from Pakistan and abroad, making relief efforts possible for millions of affectees both human and livestock. However, I am probably barking up the wrong tree; if the past is any guide such an independent commission has few chances of being set up. This will be a litmus test of the governments mindset on the matter. If the PPP-led government wants to restore its credibility and work sincerely for those still trapped in the floodwaters, they will have to set up a fully-empowered commission. Otherwise, the chances are dim Nevertheless, this will definitely mean that the incumbent leadership is ready to sacrifice the astronomical rums of money that could be collected through the commission - funds that could feed the hungry, save lives, build infrastructure - and all in order to protect its system, where the money will simply run through the fingers of the officials and their likes. Moreover, now that a commission has been proposed by the leaders of both the largest parties PPP and PML-N, in case it is not set up it will be obvious who is blocking it. It is a pity that there are no persons in the PPP who can coerce the big boss to set up this much needed organisation. Hence, in this situation, the government may lose its remaining credibility and Pakistan may not be able to receive funds, especially from the international community. However, it seems that no one is bothered. In the meantime, someone who has visited DG Khan has described how surprisingly the air link to that city is intact and the banks and ATM machines are functioning. Schools are closed but the students are serving the flood-affectees who are lodged there. The army is repairing the bridges swept away, as many trucks carrying food and items of daily use are waiting. And as soon as the bridges are repaired, they will enter the city and end the state of siege. Postscript: While the government has been dilly-dallying, Imran Khan and a major newspaper group have gone and done it. They have snatched the initiative from the government. They have set up the Imran Khan Relief Fund. Now people have a credible alternative to the governments appeal, and will hopefully donate generously. Maybe, it is for the better. In the advanced countries, private philanthropic organisations launch appeals and do the needful; this is our first step in that direction. So it seems that all is not lost. The writer is a former principal of the King Edward Medical College and former president of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Pakistan.