Original Articles

COVID19 and Opportunistic philanthropy



Since it’s outbreak in Pakistan, many people have received scores of whatsapp messages asking for donations.

The range of opportunists runs from the secular humanist to hardcore Jamaatiyas. Sunnis and Shias. Lahoris and Karachites. Wahhabi Atheists to hardcore nationalists.

All of them want funds to polish their charity brands and exploit misery during the COVID19 pandemic. The most popular tactic is a heart rending and selectively spurious account of government failure which requires immediate food ration boxes. Multiple Bank accounts of organizations and individuals are provided along with wiring details.

This is just nauseating. We have seen the limits of this type of activity. Recently, a charity organisation was (unwittingly ?) part of a PTI effort to detail the Sindh government’s quarantine efforts in Sukkur.

The choice is very simple. The only effective way is to pool one’s efforts with the government. And this could be at any level. All those in government who are taking precautions and actions in this time of crisis should be supported. There are already some private organizations that are working with the Sindh PPP government that has been the most proactive and effective in this crisis.

It is simply a matter of scale, outreach and accountability. Governments are supposed to do this at the Federal, Provincial and Local levels. Supporting their efforts shows that one is more concerned about the issue as opposed to personal image building.

Please share your stories, dear reader, about these opportunists. In 2010, Imran Khan Niazi and Mir Shakeel ur Rahman ran a similar scam to collect funds and resources for Flood relief victims.

Aside from photo opportunities and some bombastic (and often ludicrous numbers), little was actually done by Niazi.