Floods in Pakistan are nothing new but the government still acts like they are. This year, our most prolific and leaders are missing, but we are told that they are watching the carnage from aboard and are indeed very worried.

This penchant for travelling when things get tough at home is alarming. In 2010, when we faced large-scale damage from floods for the first time, President Zardari was in Paris. With nothing learnt in the past five years, the current government is showing the same lapse in responsibility and relief efforts. Nawaz Sharif is in the eye of storm since his Ufa meeting with Narendra Modi and now his extended Eid vacation in Saudi Arabia has brought him severe criticism and rightly so. Shahbaz Sharif has also extended his stay in London, without giving any solid reason.

The people we do see on the ground are the corp commanders and soldiers, who are trying their best to manage the disaster. The Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif has been very visible in national media for his activities, like spending time with the families of martyrs of Army Public School in Peshawar, visiting flooded areas and joining the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in their Eid festivities. They have yet again taken over a job that successive governments have failed to complete, or even start. In times of trouble it has been the army that has served the people.

The same goes for religious charities that are now banned from collecting zakat and fitrana. This plan to cut terrorist funding will not work if the government allows such organisations to fill the vacuum it has itself created by its lack of attention to poverty and disaster. The people do not trust government institutions to give them their money. Jamat-ud Dawa’s welfare wing, Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, has been distributing food and other basic necessities. It is highly organised, making sure help reaches the victims in a timely manner. People willingly give them zakat, despite their extremist tendencies.

Just the fact that the elected leader is standing with his people in times of crises does wonders for morale and trust. It is all very well to criticise the army for crossing lines and becoming political, but they are always there to help, no matter what the crises is - and that is how the masses see them. With no planning, no warnings and the Prime Minister and Chief Minister nowhere to be seen, it is disaster as usual for the civilian government.