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Perspectives

NGO Vs Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic changing the world faster than ever, people will lose their job & livelihood motley...
11 Jul 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic changing the world faster than ever, people will lose their job & livelihood motley daily-wage earner due to pandemic shutdown, economy might not back on track for years, poor people already living on the margins.

Karachi city the main economic hub of Pakistan provides maximum revenue collection, always in front line in helping the others irrespective of class / culture / ethnic origin either by donations / Zakat / food / Sadqa / Kharat / eid-gifts etc. both in cash or In-kind in any disaster situation especially in the holy month of Ramazan. Karachi community based various charity organizations, philanthropists, various NGOs, industrialists have a vast network of ambulances / hospitals / dispensaries / laboratories / Free meals are always available almost round the clock. The famous free institutions of Karachi are SIUT, Indus Hospital, Edhi, Chippa, Saylani, Alamgir welfare Trust, Bantva & Kutayana Memon hospitals & The Citizen foundation etc., they all non-profit welfare organizations serving poor & needy for many years without any support from the provincial or federal government. Karachi generates maximum collection of Zakat & donation in Ramazan anywhere in the world, overseas Pakistanis also contributes in Karachi based NGOs, because the trust they had in them.

Karachi model of charity now been followed in cities of Pakistan, no doubt Abdul Sattar Edhi was the first Pakistani philanthropist, ascetic, and humanitarian born in Bantva (Gujrat, India) in 1928, he started his mission establishing a small free charitable dispensary at Mithadar, Karachi in 1951, Edhi Foundation now running the world’s largest voluntary Ambulances network, homeless shelters, graveyards, mortuaries, rehabilitation centers, orphanages, educational & missing persons services, maternity, old people & destitute homes, Air Ambulance and emergency highways projects across Pakistan.

Government has decided to pay cash Rs.12000 each household only for four months to support poor/needy/unemployed in this Covid-19 lockdown. What will happen after four months! One-time relief is just not enough. In my humble opinion this is not the right strategy on the long run, cash in hand is always looks good but government must come up with long-term comprehensive plan, hard cash distribution is not the permanent solution for unemployment, poverty, crippling economy, health & education. Interest-Free loans recently announced by State Bank for the small traders is certainly good incentive both for short & long term. Sadly its routine in our country any railway accident, Air crash, or building collapse first thing government announce is the cash award to the each grieved family, without investigating the cause or lapses in the system, no accountability what so ever, not firing the concerned person!. In Pakistan none of the railway or avation minister tenders resignation despite poor track record of serious accidents. It is wise to help the family by employing someone from grieved family, free education or shelter etc. We are very lucky here that fatality rate in this covoid-19 pandemic is much less than China, Europe, south America or USA.

Government failed miserably in handling the Zakat & Baitul Mal funds, Rs.3.67bn irregularities been reported to Supreme Court. Government must involve/engage local NGOs to deliver the needs of poor in every spectrum of life, NGOs & charitable organizations are much more experienced and more geared to deliver poor people than any bureaucrats sitting in Islamabad secretariat, certainly this will ease the burden on bureaucracy and certanly speed up the delivery process at the grass root level i.e. Aurat foundation, Rural support programs, Orangi Charitable Trust, HANDS (Health & Nutrition development society) & many others as mentioned earlier. Edhi’s legacy will carry on; this is the beauty of well-established NGO.

Currently local bodies’ elections are long overdue, certainly not on the priority list by any political party. Elected local counselor is the ideal person to get involved in such pandemic crises to identify the needy person or family in his catchment area, he will be able to deliver door to door helping the needy family his or her locality rather elected MNA or MPN! I did’t see any MNA or MPA has visited his constituency or helped any patient suffered from Covid-19 pandemic!. They are too afraid or least concerned, because election is still far away.

One thing which we have never discussed are the street baggers, suddenly we see more baggers during lockdown from nowhere, we usually see them around Ramzan or Eid time, these professional Chronic baggers came from various parts of the country, taking the advantage of handsome charity / Zakat and disappear after Eid or any crises.

INGOs (International NGO) are usually based in Islamabad, they are funded & controlled by western countries i.e. European Union, UK, USA and Japan etc. they usually funds the various projects on education, health, teaching/training, and social/community networking i.e. Oxfam, WWF, US Aid, SOS children villages, The Fred Hollows & Agha Khan Foundation etc., they all operate with very strict SOPs, well planned feasibility report of the project & comprehensive audit. After the US seals attack on Osama Bin Laden house in Abbottabad, many INGO were closed down by the government because of security fear on main land. That was a big setback on various projects & many INGO were asked to leave.

NDMA is a federal authority formed in 2005 during Pervez Musharaf tenure when the earthquake struck in the northern area, usually a serving military General is the chairman. NDMA helps government in any natural disaster; they act by helping in as coordination, Implementation, monitoring, contingency plan for disaster management. They also coordinate with local NGO & INGOs provide the excellent logistic support because of close association with the army i.e establishing the field hospital at Expo-Centre is good example. So far China, Japan & Singapore gave us the support in-kind i.e Masks, testing kits, PPEs, & ventilators etc. to the Pakistani government (NDMA).

The new fruitless debate on 18th Amendment has come up in this crises because of rift between Federal & Sindh government over the utilization of funds, will this solve the problems of a common man in this country!, very difficult to answer. Currently politicians have no solution/remedy for a common man; our politicians & bureaucracy love to see people standing in long queues in hot & humid weather for collecting rations, money, petrol, filling CNG, paying utility bills etc. There is no fallacy in saying this that people in this country are helping each other either by Cash or In-Kind in the name of religion or humanity, no doubt Zakat / Sadqua / Kharait / donation by the people in Pakistan especially Karachi … is one the major helping hand especially in the holy month of Ramzan, they will keep on doing this in any crises situation, this is how Pakistan is surviving.

Author Image

Prof.Dr TariqAziz

Prof.Dr TariqAziz   FRCS, DO, FRCOphth Past-President OSP Karachi. 2015 - 2017.