At least 45 people lost their lives and more than 250 were left injured after a mini cyclone ravaged Peshawar and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). The cyclone was described by the Meteorological Department as the third worst in Pakistan’s history. Women and children made up the majority of the victims as torrential rains battered Pesahwar, Mardan, Nowshera and other cities of the province. Roofs caved in and walls collapsed due to the storms deadly force. An emergency was declared at all local hospitals in the province. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved a package of Rs500,000 for the family of each deceased person and Rs50,000 for each person injured. Two army battalions have also been deployed in the affected areas to assist in rescue and relief work.
The response of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the ruling party in KPK was lax and rather surprising. PTI Chief Imran Khan took to microblogging website Twitter to express his view but the PTI chief was more occupied with the affairs of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) than the tragedy in Pesahwar, and directed his fury at former PCB Chief Najam Sethi. KPK Chief Minister Pervez Khattak visited the Lady Reading hospital in Peshawar to check the facilities being provided to the injured, almost twenty-four hours after the storm hit Peshawar. The Chief Minister expressed his annoyance at the media and claimed that media is sensationalizing the incident. Khattak also claimed his presence at the hospital wasn’t required as he is not a doctor. Antics like talking about cricket and claims such as the Chief Minister’s of not being a doctor when the province your party rules has just suffered a disaster indicates to the apathy towards the woes of the common man.
PTI leaders must realize that they have failed to deliver on the very promises they made standing atop the container in D-Chowk.