By Flora Xavier

A visit to the Charsadda Camp

PNA’s recent Disaster Relief operation carried out by our newly created humanitarian front the Pakistan Nationalist Association Relief Group has turned out to be a huge disaster in the history of all our Relief Operations. My visit to our Charsadda camp only found desperate people trying to get all the help they could while our volunteers tried to record each and every single transaction to make sure none of the funds and supplies delivered went unaccounted. The fear was corruption and in this fear we forgot our task was to deliver aid.

None of the members seemed to know what they were doing. Our leaders made it clear that the objective instead of helping people was to discourage corruption. The focus was so heavy on recording every single transaction that aid was barely being delivered and the camp remained closed half the time. I understand that we are worried about fraud and mismanagement and want none of our limited resources to be misused but to do this do we have to cross every limit? The purpose of relief operations is to save lives and provide immediate assistance to those people who need it. Instead what I saw in Charsadda shocked me. The members and volunteers, all with no past experience of humanitarian work and with little idea of what to do next were struggling with books and trying to make sure everything was recorded instead of completing the basic task. Helping the people.

The situation was made worse by Zerab Salamat’s threats. Zerab Salamat the leader of the Pakistan Nationalist Association purposely came to the Charsadda camp and delivered many of the supplies and money personally. A simple lecture on responsibility and about how to organize the aid effort would have been enough. After all he had this kind of experience himself as an aid organizer and could have improved the organizations own effort.

Rather than doing that he threatened the workers with very colourful consequences if the records had anything missing and if any of the goods went unaccounted. Unfortunately soon after delivering this threat he left without trying to manage the aid effort. He left a new rule. Even when a single bag of food, blankets, medicine and other basic goods was delivered the recording of what had just taken place had to be seen by four people. Therefore our camps already consisting of few people all who knew nothing of how to organize such an effort, needed four people working on books and records continuously rather than concentrate on the aid effort and coordination over what supplies had been delivered already and what we had left.

Obviously the result was simple. The more experienced volunteers left to work for other more experienced and well known organizations such as the Unicef, Red Cross, TCF and Edhi foundation as the hard headed and inexperienced ones tried to record everything. By the 10th of September all three of our camps had been closed and no aid is being delivered anymore. Most of the funds that went to the Relief Group and the supplies that were bought with those funds have now been passed on to other well known organizations for their own aid efforts. There has even been some wastage of foodstuff that got soaked in floodwater in the journey and we have delivered less aid than we planned under the Relief Group. At the Charsadda camp when members realised that they were no good with this kind of effort and it was going nowhere they finally handed over all the money and the supplies to members of the Al Ansar foundation to deliver instead of the PNA Relief Group.

There is a lesson to be learned here. In the future until we have a proper Relief organization that is capable of handling relief operations with members who have some kind of experience in delivering aid members of the Nationalist Organizations and especially the Pakistan Nationalist Association are advised to donate only through well known charities and aid organizations. It’s necessary to make sure that the funds collected are not used in any other way than for the aid effort but it is also necessary to give the funds to organizations that are capable of managing disaster relief efforts.

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By Feroz Nabi

The Pakistan Nationalist Association’s Relief Group which has recently been created, for the first time for any disaster in Pakistan is now directly sending aid to the flood affected regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Namely Charsadda, Nowshera, Peshawar, Mingora and Mardan. The rest of the donations will be given to other organizations such as the Red Crescent because this is the first time the Relief Group will ever be arranging anything like this.

There will be a fundraiser in all our major cities in Pakistan on the 20th of August which has been well promoted and the first group of members from the Relief Group will hopefully go to Charsadda and Peshawar nearby areas to help the people in need on the 21st. This is a late response but the Relief Group was only recently organized and created.

Foreign Chapters

A fundraiser is being organized for the 22nd of August for the victims of the floods in Pakistan for the Pakistan Nationalist Association’s, Canada, USA, Saudi Arabia, UAE and UK Chapters. In the same way a fundraiser is being organized in Italy, Norway and France on the 24th of August and many members have already joined public Pakistani organizations in Italy to help in the aid effort. Australia is hosting a large fundraising event on the 27th of August. The foreign chapters with much fewer members but members with much more money for Pakistan provide donations that are very badly needed in this time. We have absolute trust in the community because these same donations have helped run the Pakistan Nationalist Association and its thought process for all this time.

The Relief Group

The Relief Group is a new organization and it is created by Lord Zerab Salamat himself and operates from the city of Karachi. It is a recent venture but a new beginning for Nationalism. The Relief Groups only action till now has been of providing free food aid to a poorer segment of society in Karachi and that has been a very small operation to no more than 50 people who are provided with basic items such as flour, salt, sugar and milk every week.

Please understand that this appeal for donations does not mean we are demanding that the donations be given only to the Pakistan Nationalist Association Relief Group but will also understand if the donations go to a local NGO with a good reputation for relief work and without any embezzlement of funds.

Also the Relief Group is still new and its capabilities will be tested for the first time in reality. There is still more that the organization needs in management so if there is anyone who is good at managing people they should make contact with the organization immediately.

The Relief Group has a very solid system of checks and balances. Every transaction will be recorded and the way the money is spent will be watched very efficiently. The Nationalists have always been enemies of corruption trying our level best to punish people who have spread it and we will make sure that it is especially not allowed in the Relief Group. Four witnesses and two others will be present along with documents when money is involved and at least two people must be there to record every single transaction in order to avoid errors and corruption. This process will continue even when the food, blankets, tents and other aid is being handed over to keep a check.

The Pakistan Nationalist Association’s Canada Chapter is hosting a fundraiser for the victims of Pakistan’s worst flooding. Even though there are a limited number of members in the country it is necessary in a time of crisis for all of us to contribute and share the grief of our people. The funds will be given to an organization such as the TCF. This fundraiser will be hosted on the 22nd of August and members can invite anyone along if they wish. The location of the fundraiser will be decided in the coming days.

Please do everything you can to contribute and help people who have lost everything in this disaster. Every minor contribution, even a single paisa counts. We all have a part to play. We can choose to ignore the screams and difficulties of our people or contribute something positive to ease their pain.