Pakistani actors, cricketers, musicians and social media influencers are dialling the world for aid. Many have swapped selfies and promotional posts for footage of floods wreaking havoc across large swathes of the country. However, a few have also been called out for providing only lip service and regurgitating television footage.
A third of Pakistan is under water in a ‘climate catastrophe’, which has seen the death toll rise to over 1,000. Around 20 million people are reported to be homeless due to unprecedented rains and floods.
Just tweeting isn’t enough
Celebrities have been using footage from TV channels to reach out to their fans urging them to open their hearts and wallets to those in need. Popular producer/actor Humayun Saeed appealed to the government to take appropriate steps to curb displacement and asked his fans to do their bit.
Extremely distressing situation all across Pakistan following rain & floods. I appeal to the government to please take urgent action & provide all necessary relief to our displaced brothers & sisters.All of us too must extend our support to the flood victims in every possible way
— Humayun Saeed (@iamhumayunsaeed) August 26, 2022
In response, many of his followers asked him to contribute first. Some questioned the purpose of the tweets while others suggested he donate some of the money he earned from his films.
only tweeting for what ?? when the showbiz ppl will contribute ??
— 🇵🇰 Qazi Rizwan 🇦🇪 (@HMRizwan66) August 26, 2022
Bhai jo film sy pasay kmaye ha wo donate kr do ye khud ja k madad kro
— Muhammad Kashifmeraj (@Muhkashifmeraj) August 26, 2022
Saeed wasn’t the only celebrity to be called out. When popular actor Mahira Khan sought public support through a retweet of Alkhidmat Foundation Pakistan’s post, she was criticised for not having done enough, if anything at all, for flood relief.
Mahira you say about flood was truth but the people are in flooding area if you able to help of them you do
— Rehan Nasir (@RehanNa36068673) August 28, 2022
Cricketer Shaheen Afridi also took to Twitter to summon public support for flood relief and was met with scathing criticism.
Aap loog puri team aur staff Bhala 1 maah ki tankhwah na lein aur woh ee sab ka sab donate kar dein to umeed karta ho. K acha Bhala logon ka faida ho jaye. Ghareeb awam bexhari lakhon nhe balk Kuch hazar mein bhe Khush Reh ly ge. Bura laga ho to maaf karna !!!
— AaqIb Zafar (@aaqib_zafar) August 25, 2022
Sir logo k help kren tweet sy kam nh chalega TM log sirf tweet karty hun
— Meer Adeel Khan (@MeerAdeelKhan2) August 25, 2022
Player's should also come up with some relief fund for affected people. Allah have blessed u people with so much
— Tahir Lone (@LoneTahir123) August 25, 2022
Also read: ‘Trade with India would be opened if need be’, says Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail
Celebrities engaging in service
But there are some celebrities and political leaders who have already started pledging funds and are actively involved on the ground. Author Mohsin Hamid has pledged the entry fee for his masterclass towards flood relief victims. He has tied up with Indus Relief 2022, an organisation launched by Fatima Bhutto and her brother Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The proceeds from the masterclass with the Moth Smoke writer will go to helping people affected in upper Sindh.
Singer Hadiqa Kiani has started Vaseela-E-Raah, through which she and her team will dispatch food, clothes and other basic necessities.
Her Instagram is now dedicated to raising awareness around the floods and the relief her team is able to provide those affected by the calamity.
Waseem Badami, a TV anchor, hosted a segment on ARY News and invited Syed Zafar Abbas Jafri, the owner of JDC Foundation, an NGO, and film and TV actor Fahad Mustafa. The trio discussed the wreckage caused by the flood to generate awareness. They also insisted that people and actors come forward for help and donate as much as they could.
سیلاب متاثرین کی صورتحال 💔💔💔 pic.twitter.com/Q04wGaPM94
— Waseem Badami (@WaseemBadami) August 24, 2022
Politicians stand up too
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief and former Prime Minister Imran Khan ran a three-hour telethon and was able to successfully raise Rs 5 billion for flood relief.
I want to thank the people of Pakistan, especially our Overseas Pakistanis, for donating so generously last night. In the three hours of our Telethon we had pledges of Rs. 5 billion.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 30, 2022
He was joined by Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa CM Mahmood Khan, celebrities Hamza Ali Abbasi and Khalil ur Rehman Qamar, and boxer Amir Khan.
Pakistan is also being aided by allies and well-wishers internationally as they receive financial aid from across the world. Turkey and the UAE have been providing tents, food, and other necessities. The United Nations allocated $3 million. India is also considering extending aid to Pakistan.
(Edited by Prashant)