It is the death season for hapless Pakistanis; call it mass murder, massacre or genocide, whatever you may like. As the devastation caused by floods worsen their lives in rural areas, those living in urban centers are no safe either. Taliban are at work to inflict maximum damages and killing as many innocent Pakistanis as they could in one strike. Irony is that these beasts not only kill in the name of God, they proudly claim the responsibility for this heinous crime. Taliban are busy in killing people in congested urban areas where it takes less effort for more killings.
Their brother-in-faith, those protectors of status quo in the rural areas, the big land-owners, are busy killing innocent people and destroying their means of livelihood through diverting massive floods from the natural course where their ill-gotten and grabbed properties are located to unsuspecting innocent people whose only utility is to till their lands and vote for them every five years. The core business of both the groups is the same, power. One is trying to grab power through killing whereas the other is trying to retain power through the very same means. As the disastrous floods recede in Pakistan, something new is rising: suspicions and rumors that powerful officials and landowners used their influence to divert water away from their property and inundate the villages and fields of millions of poor Pakistanis. Associated Press has reported that these rumors have spread like wildfire across the waterlogged countryside, further outraging many flood victims already upset at the government’s failure to provide enough food, clean water and shelter.
One of the risks is that Islamist militants could seize on growing anger to increase support for their war against the state. Even before the floods, many Pakistanis harbored a deep mistrust toward their government and the landowning elite. “The politicians and the rich and powerful just sacrificed the people,” said 30-year-old farmer Mohammed Yousuf, who lost his home and 11 cattle last month when floodwaters surging down the Indus River swept across southern Sindh province. The floods, which were triggered by extremely heavy monsoon rains in the northwest at the end of July, have killed more than 1,600 people across Pakistan and affected some 17 million others. At its peak, the flood covered one-fifth of the country — an area larger than England.
Many people suspect powerful Pakistanis were able to manipulate the flow of water by influencing which levees were breached. Levees are tall dirt and rock embankments meant to prevent a river from overflowing and can be intentionally breached using explosives or heavy machinery. It was impossible to verify the validity of the different accusations, but it was clear that many of the allegations were being leveled at the powerful by the largely powerless.
Outrage has been especially pronounced in northern Sindh where hundreds of thousands of people — including Yousuf — watched floods swamp their fields and destroy their homes as the lands of a federal minister on the opposite side of the Indus remained dry. Many of these flood victims are convinced Labor Minister Khursheed Shah pushed the government to deliberately breach a levee upriver to save his property. The water that surged through the Tori Bund levee inundated dozens of villages and towns west of the river, an area that is more densely populated than the eastern side, where Shah’s lands are located.
“Khursheed Shah is a tyrant!” shouted Masood Ahmed, a 25-year-old vegetable vendor in Karampur, a town near the western bank of the Indus that was entirely surrounded by water. “He is the enemy of humanity!” The labor minister denied any wrongdoing and Sindh Irrigation Minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo has said Tori Bund was not breached by the government but ruptured when water flowing down the Indus surged unexpectedly.
Residents said they were unprepared for the sudden influx of water because they had assumed authorities would breach the Ali Wuhan levee on the eastern bank just as they had done when floods threatened the area in 1976 — a move they accused Shah of opposing. “I had to choose between saving my family or my cattle,” said Shafi Mohammed, 30, sitting beneath a makeshift shelter beside a road near Karampur. He rescued his wife and six children but lost his home, most of his possessions and two of his five water buffalo.
Noor Mohammad Baloch, an engineer and former chairman of Pakistan’s Indus River System Authority, supported the government’s explanation of the Tori Bund breach and said it reduced the water pressure enough so that the Ali Wuhan levee could remain intact. But flood victims dismissed the explanation and demanded an independent investigation. There was more controversy as high water headed farther west. Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, a former prime minister, criticized members of the Sindh government for breaching a levee to divert water toward Balochistan, Pakistan’s poorest province. The decision saved the city of Jacobabad, with about 300,000 residents, and a nearby air base under the use of Americans, but it swamped homes and fields of 1 million people in Balochistan.
On the other hand, Taliban is responsible for Monday’s suicide blast which targeted a police station in northwest Pakistan, a spokesman for the group told CNN. Ihsan Ullah Ihsan, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban said Tuesday it was responsible for the blast and that U.S. forces as well as Pakistani law enforcement agencies were enemies of the Taliban. At least 17 people were killed and 40 wounded in the attack Monday, which was the latest in a series of suicide attacks in the country in less than a week. The explosion took place in Lakki Marwat district in the North West Frontier Province. Police say nine of the deceased were policemen, and eight were civilians. Jameel Khan, a senior police official in the district, told CNN a suicide bomber in an explosive-laden vehicle hit a police building.
On Friday, at least 73 people were killed and 206 people wounded in a suicide attack in southwestern Pakistan