IN PAKISTAN, millions of the world’s poorest people are desperately battling to survive the aftermath of torrential rain. Up to 13 million are affected.
Whole villages have been swept away by floods that cannot be diverted because money for even the most basic infrastructure is instead put into the hands of the military.
The government is failing to provide even minimal relief to those whose houses and livelihoods have been washed away.
An airbase outside Jacobadad, which could have been used to save lives, is instead being used by the US military.
Since joining the war on terror with the US, the Pakistani military has launched daily mortar bomb attacks on its own villages along the Afghan border. Some 30,000 Pakistanis, mostly civilians, have been killed in an attempt to “drive out terrorists” and clear threats to the US supply line that runs from the port of Karachi to Afghanistan.
Many villages are completely cut off from help as the roads that connect their towns have been destroyed in the war.
There are dire shortages of clean water, food and plastic sheets for shelters.
And, while the West has been able to supply the Pakistani military with seemingly unending credit, humanitarian aid has been less than forthcoming. Pakistan receives more than $1 billion a year from the US for its help combating “militants”. But, the US government only managed to lift its initial pledge for disaster relief in the country from $10 million to $25 million.
The people of Pakistan are beginning to protest about the lack of response to the disaster. Crowds attacked the motorcade of Britian’s development minister in Islamabad.
Analysts expect protests to grow as flooding spreads from the north to devastate farms in the Punjab and Sind in the south.
As the Pakistani elite abandons millions of its poorest people to poverty, pestilence and disease, the US has every reason to worry that those who are suffering will turn against its client state.
Socialist Worker UK