Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has claimed that his government is completely capable in dealing with providing rehabilitation and limiting the destruction caused by the recent earthquake. He said that every effort will be made to help the people in distress and bring them back to life, except taking foreign aid. In a statement given by a senior government official, we are apparently still ‘calculating our losses’ to see if we need it.

Offers for help started pouring in from around the world soon after the Monday’s earthquake. The United Nations led the way by offering help in providing relief to the victims, making it clear in a statement that the world body would support the ongoing relief effort and mobilise any support, if requested.

Rescuers fear that several hundred children sleeping outside on the Kalash Valley’s freezing slopes may die from exposure if they do not reach them soon with food, blankets and emergency shelter. Mass burial ceremonies are being conducted as officials warned that the death toll could spike as entire communities remain inaccessible amid freezing winter conditions. In other remote areas residents – including children and the elderly - were helping with relief work, many of them digging through piles of rubble for survivors. Why are we still thinking we can do this on our own?

Whatever the agenda, whether it is to appear to be the opposite of General Musharraf, who in 2005 took in as much aid as he could, or whether this is about national ego, the priority should have been maximising help to the victims. If we can do it all ourselves, we could save our resources for the IDP crisis, or the landslide victims, or for a number of things, and use the foreign aid for the earthquake victims. But leadership in Pakistan is not famous for it its farsightedness.

The total death toll stands at 343 with at least 260 people killed in Pakistan and around 83 in Afghanistan. More than 2,000 people were injured. Winter is here, and a fake sense of positivity created by the government is costing lives.