With the distribution of Watan cards schedule to be concluded in the next few days some, not all by any stretch of the imagination, glitches in what was described as a 'foolproof operation have come to light with, for once, the long finger of moral corruption pointing firmly in the direction of 'ordinary people, rather than government functionaries. Soon after the card scheme, under which approximately 1.5 million flood affected people would receive electronic cards by which they could draw an initial Rs20,000 from banks with a second payment of Rs80,000 scheduled to follow later on, was announced, household servants, both men and women with children in tow, suddenly left their long-term employment in cities such as Karachi and Lahore to rush back to their ancestral villages with their hands outstretched whilst bemoaning the fateful waters that had totally washed away their livelihoods, their homes, livestock and fields. True to say that either family members, even if these were distant cousins twice removed, had lost every single thing they owned in the disastrous floods, and thus needed all the help they could and can get. But surely it was morally wrong of the people residing and working, sometimes for decades, to desert paid employment and secure homes in hope of stealing aid out of a deserving persons mouth? In some instances, families from the Multan area, who hadnt visited relatives there for many years, calmly walked out of their employers homes in Karachi saying that they 'might be back in a month or two so please keep their jobs open The great card rush was on and the very second word trickled back of even a single one of those scoundrels being officially handed a precious Watan card then legions more hopefuls packed their bags and rushed off to join the queue. With, in a large majority of cases, genuinely flood affected people having lost their identity cards along with everything else they owned and with land records having being washed away too, it must have been next to impossible for officialdom, NADRA and other concerned bodies, to faultlessly identify every single person who applied for registration, for new identity cards and for the aid which went/goes with it. Yet, unfortunately, it will probably never be known just how many undeserving people managed to get their hands on something they certainly didnt warrant and it wouldnt come as any surprise to learn, possibly during the next census, that population figures in some areas now include a whole host of unidentifiable ghosts. An associate, who shall remain nameless at this juncture, was heavily involved in distributing relief goods in the interior of Sindh when, to her shock, horror and ultimately disgust, she came face to face with her absent driver, his wife and four children, as they greedily scooped up rations, clothing and household goods donated, through the goodness of their hearts, by Karachi residents trying to assist the displaced and hungry in any way they could. Berating her driver in no uncertain terms, she was so completely disheartened by the entire charade that, upon returning to the city late in the night, she decided that enough was enough and that she wasnt going to try and help anymore as she honestly couldnt tell who was deserving and who was taking things out of sheer greed. I was simply doing what I saw as my duty to fellow human beings, who were suffering heart-wrenching hardship and there stood that cheeky fellow taking whatever he could get his hands on when he left his village over 20 years ago. His leaving my employment unannounced wasnt the problem even though he had worked for my family for 15 years and we had come to rely on him, even to trust him to be honest. It was the sheer wrongness of it all. He has a perfectly good house in Karachi, his wife had work too and his children were going to school, yet he dropped everything, rushed back here on false pretences and, when I challenged him about this, he had the audacity to insist that I must have mistaken him for someone else. Imagine Other morally bankrupt people have amassed fortunes from marketing food aid intended for the flood affected people, some landowners and even feudal lords are suspected to have been involved in this criminal scam and investigations are currently underway to identify the culprits who should face the full wrath of the law if found guilty. The largest percentage of criminally corrupt people to take advantage of the situation and Watan cards in particular, (38,000 fraud cases are reported to have been detected so far) are, however, the undeserving relatives of genuinely flood affected people whose only god, or so it appears, is money which just goes to show exactly how deficient we, as a nation, have become. The writer is a Murree-based columnist.