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Friday, April 19, 2024

Rainwater causes heavy losses in Lahore exacerbating problems for PML-N

News Analysis |

Although the Water and Sanitation Agency, Lahore (WASA) has declared a rain emergency in Lahore, yet the destruction of rainwater is massive and irreplaceable. According to latest media reports, at least 15 people have died due to rain-related incidents across the city. Rescue officials and police confirmed the death toll, saying most deaths were caused by electrocution and homes caving in.

The former government party did not offer any solid response on the formation of sinkholes in Lahore or on other destruction in the city so far.

This was the heaviest rain in Lahore since 1980, officials say. The thunderous monsoon rain, which was recorded at over 280 millimeters (mm), continued to lash Lahore for more than 12 hours.

Destruction caused by rainwater brought some residents to join small demonstrations against local authorities. The matter became more serious when citizens saw a sinkhole — 20 feet deep and 200ft wide — appeared on the Mall Road, in front of the General Post Office (GPO), with another one of 50ft appearing at some distance.

Read more: Lahore rainfall smashes records leaving sinkholes behind

The former Chief Minister of Punjab always claimed of transforming Lahore into Paris. But the rain has exposed the emptiness of political slogans. Natural disasters are not always controllable but poor management and criminal negligence at the part of administration and political elite makes them torrential and more destructive.

Material used for building bridges and roads in Lahore was of low quality, critics argue. The sinkhole in-front of the GPO is a confirmation of what the critics of the previous government have been saying.

Moreover, at political front, the rain has made it difficult for the low-spirited PML-N to win from Lahore in the general elections on 25th July.

Journalist Salman Masood tweeted about the effects the rain-related incidents can have on Pakistan’s upcoming general elections: “Rain causing craters and holes in Lahore’s otherwise spanking new looking roads couldn’t have come at a worse time for PML-N in terms of election perception. The potholes are both literal and figurative.”

The former State Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar also spoke up against the previous government in Punjab. He too to Twitter and wrote: “Development of PMLN in Lahore badly exposed. Billions of rupees spent by @CMShehbaz on Advertisements/Billboards but none spent on a proper drainage system for the Paris of Pakistan! #TajurbaExposed”

Read more: Water scarcity in Pakistan

It might have been easy for the PML-N to control the situation, had they been in power. There is a neutral caretaker chief minister who is not going to favor anyone. This is alarming for the PML-N.

The destruction of rainwater in Lahore do have a political aspect and it is likely to be the major cause of PML-N’s defeat in many constituencies in the city. The former government party did not offer any solid response on the formation of sinkholes in Lahore or on other destruction in the city so far.