The 2010 Flooding Disaster in Pakistan
September 30, 2011
The catastrophic flooding in Pakistan in 2010 laid bare the multiplicity of fault lines that beleaguer the country as perhaps no other single event in its history. Not only did the flooding threaten the life and livelihoods of well over 20 million citizens, it exposed once again the gravity and complexity of unsolved governance issues in this 60-year-old nation, issues that are inextricably linked to the overall stability of the region and of the world.
Since the massive flooding of July/August 2010, political observers have pondered the impact of the disaster on the future of the country. What consequences would the flooding have on long-standing governance and security dilemmas in Pakistan? And, more specifically, would the disaster recovery process narrow or broaden opportunities for building democracy and political stabilization in this chronically unsteady nation?
The goal of this paper is to outline the main problem set that is conferred by the flooding disaster as relates to on-going, and until this point unsuccessful, efforts to localize political legitimacy in the country. In the process, it will consider whether there is any chance that the flooding disaster might set a new tone for building governance in Pakistan, one that moves from a longstanding narrative of widespread corruption and perceived lack of legitimacy to a more balanced story of state-society interface.