On Monday 10th March, Reuters, the BBC and other media outlets reported that dozens of children in the Tharparkar area of Pakistan's Sindh province have died in the past few months due to malnutrition and other illnesses resulting from a severe drought that has caused a famine. Local media put the death toll of children in the region over the last 3 months at around 140. The drought is estimated to have affected 900,000 people with thousands suffering from malnutrition. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif travelled to the area on Monday, pledging $10 million in aid and mouthing the empty promise, "The people will soon be able to return to their homes and prosperity will come to these areas."
Successive incompetent secular leaderships of Pakistan have turned natural disasters into humanitarian crises. The impact of this dry period in the Thar district of Sindh upon the lives of its people has been compounded by generations of failed capitalist economic policies, inadequate management of resources, insufficient investment in agriculture, and poor distribution of wealth in Pakistan by corrupt, self-serving governments and rulers – democracies and dictatorships alike. Severe poverty alongside a scarcity of proper health facilities in the region created the conditions that exacerbated the problem. In addition, delay in delivering aid to the affected area has been attributed in part to the failure of local authorities to pay transporters for their services for years. District administrators accept that Rs 60 million arrears are owed to the transporters. More importantly, this current human catastrophe is one that could have been averted with adequate preparations and preventative measures if the country were governed by rulers of foresight and vision who sincerely cared for their people. Responsibility for the deaths of these children therefore lies squarely on the hands of past and present secular regimes and systems that have acquired a portfolio of disastrous management of natural disasters. Additionally, it is a matter of criminal negligence that after months of drought and dozens of deaths, it is only now that Pakistan's ruling elite have realized the seriousness of the crisis. Should not the affected areas have been crowded immediately with state bodies providing help and aid to the people? Rather, the Ummah today is blighted with rulers who dine on the most expensive and finest of foods and enjoy lavish lives in the lap of luxury while the children of the Ummah starve. Furthermore, it is an absolute travesty that in a country whose principle natural resources are arable land and water, and which is one of the world's largest producers of wheat, rice, milk, sugarcane, and chickpea that its people should be suffering from poverty and malnutrition.
It is only the Khilafah that can protect the precious lives of the children of Sindh and the whole Muslim world. The Indian subcontinent under Islamic rule was an agricultural powerhouse, producing 25% of the world's GDP – due to the sound Islamic economic system and agricultural policies. Such was the Khilafah's wealth that it was able to aid other nations afflicted by disasters, as in the 19th century when the Uthmani Khilafah sent three huge ships full of food to Ireland during its great famine. It is the Khilafah State alone, implementing the Islamic laws completely and comprehensively which will truly realize the vision of prosperity for this Ummah, irrigating and managing its lands effectively and utilising the immense resources of the Muslim world for the benefit of the whole Ummah rather than allowing it to be hoarded or privatised into the hands of a few wealthy elite. It is this state which will be ruled by sincere leaders who embody a mentality of great responsibility towards their people, of the likes of the second Khalifah Umar bin Al-Khattab (ra) who when Arabia was hit by a famine in the year of the Ashes ordered his governor Amr bin al-Aas in Egypt to send food to Arabia through a canal between the Nile River and the Red Sea, saying, " ... If you desire that the price of food in Medina be like the prices in Egypt, dig a river and build canals. So Umar wrote to him, "I will and I shall hasten in it." However the people of Egypt objected that it will collapse the economy of Egypt and ruin it. Umar responded in writing, "Do so and hasten, Allah may destroy Egypt in the building and the re-construction of the Medina"... Thus was the prices in the Medina were as the prices in Egypt, and Egypt increased in prosperity, and the people of the Medina did not witness another incident like that of the Year of the Ashes." During the famine, when his own health deteriorated, he was asked to take care of his health. He replied, "If I don't taste suffering, how can I know the suffering of others?" This is the outstanding leadership that the children of Sindh deserve.
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Member of the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir
Friday, 13 Jumada I 1435 AH
Issue No : 1435 AH /023