Shehbaz refuses to inaugurate ‘substandard’ flood relief dashboard

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PM Shehbaz

Asks officials to make it ‘world-class’; Expresses dissatisfaction over panel

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday issued a rebuke and expressed visible frustration after finding inadequacies in a dashboard built to monitor flood relief assistance, pointing out that it lacked real-time updates and was not of international standards.

The prime minister left federal ministers Ahsan Iqbal, Aminul Haque, Marriyum Aurangzeb and Tariq Bashir Cheema red-faced as he refused to inaugurate the event and remained seated as he outlined his primary objection with the dashboard, designed by the IT ministry, saying that it was not being updated in real-time.

“If real-time information doesn’t arrive in this then it’s of no use. Then we are wasting each other’s time. I’m not going to inaugurate this today,” he said when informed that data from the meteorological department was not yet integrated with the dashboard.

“This should be trashed,” he said, calling it a “joke”. “I’m not negating your effort but this is not the dashboard we all imagined. This is a stationary thing in which you fill in figures.”

The prime minister mentioned a different dashboard that monitors dengue hotspots and said it provided “active information” and was based on a “proper structure”.

At one point, Ahsan Iqbal tried to placate the premier by reasoning that the information on the portal could not be displayed in real-time because it was dependent on information from the provincial disaster management authorities.

However, Shehbaz cut the minister midway, “but sir […] you will find out who is providing the information and who is not […] at best, this can be called a static dashboard.”

“But still, dashboards are a work in progress […],” Iqbal, once again, tried to pacify the prime minister. “They have developed a tool in a short time but as we go on more data will be uploaded.”

But Shehbaz Sharif was adamant that the dashboard couldn’t meet international standards and failed to show the colossal damage suffered during the floods.

“This (flood dashboard) is not something the nation or I want. It lacks in many ways [and] it is deficient to our requirement,” the prime minister said as he reprimanded the officials concerned.

 

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