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Today is August 14. It is the day when Pakistan came into being. It is a coincidence that this scribe has to visit a religious institution in Gaddap area. People who have visited this area before must be aware of the fact that this was once famous for its greenery and standing crops. Today these lands have become baron on account of our wrong doings and ill-planning. Our luck is also there that we face such a situation in this regard. There was no river or canal water in the surroundings of this area and now the water level in the soil has also gone down to over 400 feet. Today is the situation that you wont find standing golden crops of wheat, corn, millet, and branches of huge tree which have bent down and touching the ground because of weight of fruits on them. You wont see such scenes, however, you can easily find a number of picnic points, swimming pools, places to sing and dance without any interference and other farms that provide worldly relief. There are farms where one has to pay Rs10,000 or more to spend just one night in so called ‘peace’. Affluent people come here, spend hundreds of thousands of rupees to have fun in the night with music and other anti-social activities. There are people who come here along with the team of musicians and pollute the pious and natural environment with the voices of non-Islamic instruments.

There some farms, so called recreational places, where a nominal entry fee is charged. It is not necessary that only anti-social people visit here. Respectable families also come here to enjoy open air environment. But it was the Independence Day of Pakistan. It was free for all. People coming here had crossed all limits of indecency. Long queues of vehicles particularly the two-wheelers without silencers, adding a lot noise pollution into the environment. Each motorcycle was bearing the injustice of providing pleasure to more than two riders. Most youth on motorbikes carried national flags. They were passing nonsense and filthy remarks to the others particularly the female picnickers. New generation youth riding four-wheelers were playing their cassette or CD players at the highest volume. It was difficult to understand which were the national flags and which were the veils of young girls waving in the air. What a celebration was it. Was it the scene of independence of Pakistan or independence and liberty to do anything without any fear. Such scenes were not confined to Gaddap only but the entire country was in the grip of such anti-social activities. If it was like a ‘feast in the forest’ then the cities were presenting scene of wildlife.

The city of lights from the beaches to Saddar Bazaar up to the mausoleum of the founder of the nation, Quaid-I-Azam Muhammad `Ali Jinnah, and all parks, clubs, hotels etc, were unwillingly inundated with such scenes of independence day celebrations. Bumper-to-bumper traffic was making it difficult to find an easy way to the destination. Vehicles were hitting each other like people enjoy drinks while striking goblets pronouncing ‘chairs’. This situation was giving a feeling as we have really become independent. Doesn’t matter if we have lost one part of our country. We still have Pakistan. And people with big heart do not wring their hands if they lose anything. They do not give up hope. Never feel deprived. But they try to mould themselves in existing situation. They do not allow calamities to interfere in their ‘fun and fair’ activities.

At a time when people were busy with their celebrations, clubs and hotels were full of guests, and millions of rupees were being spent on enjoyment, Pakistan’s two cities, Badin and Thar, at a couple of hundreds miles away from the port city, were hit in the grip of natural calamities. Small children, men, women, and elderly people were looking under open sky for philanthropists and donor agencies to extend them a helping hand, to provide them food and medicines. These two cities were badly hit by the recent rains and floods, which swept hundreds and villages. Floods washed away mosques, houses, schools, medical centers and dispensaries. Wells, the only source of drinking water for the local people were filled with sewage, leaving them with no other option to have potable water. All standing crops of sugarcane and chilies, which are said to be the main crops of these areas, were destroyed. Sugar mills, where local people work and earn bread and butter for their families came to a halt after becoming inundated with flood water and sewage. Machineries became rusted and stocks of sugarcane became rotten.

This situation has rendered the local people jobless for at least one year. Outbreak of epidemics in the aftermath of floods has added more to the people. Innocent children and elderly people are worst affected. Outbreak of diarrhoea, whooping cough, fever, malaria, measles and other such diseases are claiming lives of people who have no access to medical treatment. Women are mourning over the death of their children having their bodies in their hands. While on the other side of the picture, people living in luxurious houses, enjoy heavy downpour. Most of them, during good times, take a pleasure trip to Badin and Thar areas. But when these areas are hit by the natural calamities, nobody bothers to go there witness the plight of people there and extend them financial support. There is an apprehension that after the rains stopped and flood level receded, people think that the calamity is over and people there have started living a normal life. No! The situation is still grim. Latest reports and photographs of the area narrate the misery of the people. Some photographs, which the Dharb-I-Mu'min photographer took on August 14, show pathetic situation. A flood relief team of Al-Rasheed Trust is working day and night in the flood-hit areas providing the people with food items, bedding, drinking water and medicines besides setting up medical camps to deal with emergency cases. The photographer of Dharb-I-Mu'min is also accompanying the Al-Rasheed Trusts flood relief team.

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