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Getting Things Done: Pakistan’s self-help society mobilizes; President Musharraf faces his own crisis

Author: Mahnaz Ispahani, Former Senior Fellow for South and West Asia
October 14, 2005


Governments invariably respond tardily to natural disasters, as the reactions to the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina have amply demonstrated, and so it’s no surprise that President Pervez Musharraf has faced criticism for his team’s inadequate response. Addressing the nation on television on Wednesday—unusually, in Urdu and out of uniform—Musharraf tried to explain the delay: “Roads were blocked, there was no army, and the administration itself was among the victims.” He blamed a lack of communications and helicopters and suggested that no government could cope readily with such a huge tragedy. Still, the lagging response has left Musharraf open to attacks, such as that mounted by an opponent who noted that the government spends millions on missiles and weapons but has no equipment to cope with a natural calamity.

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