What English novelist, Charles Dickens, wrote in his classic A Tale of Two Cities some 150 years back is squarely similar to the situation evolving in Pakistan today. The novel depicts plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution. It says:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period……”.
Pakistan today is reeling under the vortex of unprecedented fury of waters. Floods of biblical nature are mercilessly washing away homes, hearths and hopes of our people from mighty mountains in the North to peaceful plains in the South. The roaring and raging waters are showing no signs of retreat and clemency. More than two million people are living in the make-shift camps or under open skies, crying for morsels, drinking water and medicines. Roads, bridges, buildings and irrigation system have been completely destroyed pushing Pakistan to some thirty years back. Crops have been washed away and Pakistan might face in coming days a situation of acute food shortage which may cause people to become violent.
As a nation, it is the best of time to do soul-searching; it is the best of time to come of petty politics of parochialism; it is the best of time to decide to harness and tame the unruly forces of nature; it is the best of time to come out of dam(n) politics and do something serious to conserve waters for regulated use for irrigation and energy generation. And it is the best of time to ponder and wonder whom we had been sending in the past to the corridors of powers!
The irate waves of floods have reportedly destroyed the government records particularly of revenue department. The situation can precipitate land grabbing, illegal demarcation of lands and misuse of power by patwaris of revenue department. Loot, litigation and family feuds resulting out of this situation has the potential to become nightmare for the civil administration and for already overly burdened judiciary. The nation may not wriggle out of this enigmatic situation centuries down the down as the civil litigation goes over generations. The floods after playing havoc with lives, lands, infra-structure and crops will leave us in eerie situations where we will dissipate our time, energies and resources in endless and fruitless legal battles. 

The situation is seriously grim. But for a nation, it can be the best of time to throw away the record keeping practices of stone-age and take 180 degree shift and go virtual, dis-empowering the minions of revenue department whose powers coupled with illiteracy of peasantry breeds corruption in the society. It is the best of time to castrate the system that knows only one language, a language of bribe. It is the best of time to maintain land records online for the entire country. It is the best of time to rise like Phoenix out of the ashes of destruction, devastation and despair the nature has put our nation into. As Charles Dickens says, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….”, so is in Pakistan!
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