Would Ansar Abbasi drown the nation to spite Zardari?

Sep 16th, 2011 | By | Category: The News

The News (Jang Group)As floods continue to devastate the lives of countless people, we knew it was only a matter of time before someone decided to use the disaster to score political points. During last year’s floods, it was a popular media line to claim that flood relief would have been greater if only the world did not believe the government was so corrupt. Even then, no evidence was presented to support this claim, rather it was only stated so often that it was assumed to be true. This year, Ansar Abbasi is too impatient to wait for any final numbers, instead declaring that the president has damaged fundraising efforts as they are only beginning.

Writing for The News (Jang Group), Abbasi claims that “the regime’s image and perception of being one of the most corrupt governments in the world, is likely to scare away international donors and world capitals from paying cash and offering the assistance that Pakistan requires for the devastating floods that have hit Sindh”. His evidence? He doesn’t have any. It is yet another prediction only.

In echoes of the way he exploited flood victims last year to score political points against the president, Ansar Abbasi predicts that government funds will not raise substantial funds to help flood affectees. Since none of the banks would respond to Abbasi’s questions of how much has been raised since only two days, the Jang Group political operative reporter turns to his famous anonymous sources who assure him that the government’s reputation will damage relief efforts.

Meanwhile, in the real world, China has answered President Zardari’s call for assistance by announcing $4.7 million in relief to flood victims. Iran is donating $100 million to help flood affectees, and the United States has already sent on Monday food and medical aid targeted at 350,000 people.

At the very least, Abbasi’s article is a heartless exploitation of a national tragedy to promote a political agenda. At worst, articles such as this can become self-fulfilling prophecies, turning away donors because they are told by reporters like Abbasi that they should not bother donating to relief efforts. Instead of exploiting a national tragedy to score cheap political points, would it not be better for Ansar Abbasi and Jang Group to use their media resources to help raise awareness and relief funds to help restore the lives and livelihoods of flood victims? Or does their hatred for Asif Zardari run so deep that they would drown the nation to spite him?

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