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WHEN Kamran Shafi laments in his comment “Mind-boggling hard- heartedness” (Aug 3) that President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minster Yousuf Raza Gilani should have been with the flood-devastated people of the country instead of touring foreign capitals or holding election campaigns, he has certainly expected too much.

It seems that he has overestimated the leadership that is now in the seat of power. They are definitely unlike Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, who had indissoluble sympathy with the masses. The present leadership has amply proved that no such bond existed between them and the masses like the erstwhile leadership.

I recall the days when during the devastating 1976 floods, the head of every party and Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto did not keep away from the flood-ravaged people even for a single moment.

During the entire phase the flood water was passing, he remained worried about the situation. Once he was seen in a remote kacha area of Thatta and on another in knee-deep waters of some submerged village, sympathising with the distressed families.

I still recall the day when the super flood carrying more than 1.0 million cusec water passed the Lloyd Barrage Sukkur. At that very moment, the resolute and fearless Mr Bhutto accompanied by Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi and the chief engineer was standing right on the middle of the bridge looking downwards at the waters of the flood flowing downstream towards its final destination: the Arabian Sea.

After the floods, under Mr Bhutto's orders, the embankments on both sides of the Indus River were not only strengthened but also raised substantially. For that simple reason alone, the flood waters did not play havoc for many, many years.

Unfortunately, after the removal of Mr Bhutto, no government, including four PPP led-regimes (the fourth one is in power), paid any attention to the maintenance of river embankments. It is a pity that leaders of the stature of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto are no more amongst us to lead us and to lessen our suffering!

ALI AHMED QURESHI

Dadu