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Showing posts from October, 2005

Negative fallout of disaster management

Daily Times October 30, 2005
VIEW: Political fallout of relief work —Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi

Unless the presidency and the army bring the civilian political leaders on board, in a couple of months they will face serious problems in dealing with the negative fallout of disaster management

The people and government of Pakistan are striving hard to cope with the earthquake disaster. The military, voluntary groups, political parties, non-government organisations and individuals have by now covered most of the devastated regions in Kashmir and the NWFP. The contribution of friendly countries and voluntary groups from abroad to the rescue and relief work has also been equally significant. They have provided helicopters, equipment, medical teams and hospitals, medicines and trained disaster-relief personnel.

The rescue and relief work over the last three weeks has raised a number of issues which need to be addressed if Pakistan is to enhance its capacity to cope with disasters in the future.

Views on the US aid to Pakistani earthquake victims

Saltlake Tribune
American aid to Pakistan irks hard-liners
By Matti Huuhtanen
The Associated Press
Salt Lake Tribune

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan - The U.S. military has sent helicopters, a field hospital and a construction battalion to earthquake-stricken Pakistan - a gesture that has irritated Islamic hard-liners but may help improve Washington's image in the Muslim world after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
''When they do something against Muslims, we condemn them. Now as they are helping us, we should appreciate them,'' said Yar Mohammed, 48, a farmer in Muzaffarabad, the devastated capital of Pakistan's portion of the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir.
''We are facing hard times, and they are helping us.''
The disaster also has given Pakistan and India a new opening for furthering peace efforts that began early last year, particularly over Kashmir, where the neighbors have fought two wars and where Islamic separatists have fought for…

Give Them Shelter: NYT

New York Times
October 28, 2005
Give Them Shelter
By ALEXANDER SAUNDERS
Garrison, N.Y.

THE earthquake in Pakistan has left millions homeless. Umar Ghuman, Pakistan's minister of foreign investment and a longtime customer of my foundry supply company, has asked me to help find housing for as many of these people as possible before the onset of winter in the next few days.

Tents are not protection enough, and conventional prefabricated houses are neither readily available nor easy to ship. The solution, then, is to think of something less conventional, like the work shed-greenhouse combinations sold at Sam's Club and other retailers. Such sheds - small (882 cubic feet), plastic, weather-tight, insulated and portable - retail for around $2,000. Two hundred thousand of these houses - temporary homes for a million people - would cost less than $400 million.

These sheds come in sections, such that a C5-A military cargo plane could fit hundreds of units on a single flight. The manufacture…

From Indian controlled Kashmir

Image

Pakistan Replays the 'Great Game': Hussain Haqqani

Pakistan Replays the 'Great Game'
Far Eastern Economic Review October 2005

by Husain Haqqani

For over two years, Abdul Latif Hakimi regularly telephoned Pakistani and Western reporters and described himself as the spokesman for Afghanistan's Taliban. He claimed responsibility on behalf of the Taliban for several terrorist attacks. In June, when a MH-47 helicopter was shot down during an antiguerrilla mission in Afghanistan's Kunar province bordering Pakistan, killing all 16 U.S. troops on board, Hakimi reported the incident to the media before U.S. or Afghan officials.
Hakimi's claims were often exaggerated or even totally fabricated. But no one doubted that he was based in Pakistan and that he spoke on behalf of the Taliban.

Hakimi's telephone press conferences and interviews, conducted on satellite and cell phones, offered an embellished version of an emerging ground reality. After being toppled from power in the aftermath of 9/11, the Taliban have reconstituted t…

The Bomb and the Earthquake in Pakistan

The News, October 23, 2005
Capital Suggestion
The Bomb and earthquake relief
Dr Farrukh Saleem

According to the United States Geological Survey, "A major earthquake occurred at 8:50:40 a.m. on Saturday, October 8, 2005. The magnitude 7.6 event has been located in Pakistan."

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was caught sleeping. Our seismologists completely failed to determine the epicentre of the quake and Pakistani authorities were unaware of the real magnitude of the disaster. Our Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, on live TV, assured that the "quake had not caused any major damage." For the following five hours, up until 2 p.m., no one in Islamabad or in Rawalpindi had realised the real gravity of the calamity.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed wasn't hiding the truth; he simply didn't know the truth. Our seismologists failed not because they are untutored but because they have been set up to fail.

The scientific fact is that &quo…

The Bomb and the Earthquake in Pakistan

The News, October 23, 2005
Capital Suggestion
The Bomb and earthquake relief
Dr Farrukh Saleem

According to the United States Geological Survey, "A major earthquake occurred at 8:50:40 a.m. on Saturday, October 8, 2005. The magnitude 7.6 event has been located in Pakistan."

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was caught sleeping. Our seismologists completely failed to determine the epicentre of the quake and Pakistani authorities were unaware of the real magnitude of the disaster. Our Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, on live TV, assured that the "quake had not caused any major damage." For the following five hours, up until 2 p.m., no one in Islamabad or in Rawalpindi had realised the real gravity of the calamity.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed wasn't hiding the truth; he simply didn't know the truth. Our seismologists failed not because they are untutored but because they have been set up to fail.

The scientific fact is that &quo…

The Bomb and earthquake relief

The News, October 23, 2005
Capital Suggestion
The Bomb and earthquake relief
Dr Farrukh Saleem

According to the United States Geological Survey, "A major earthquake occurred at 8:50:40 a.m. on Saturday, October 8, 2005. The magnitude 7.6 event has been located in Pakistan."

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was caught sleeping. Our seismologists completely failed to determine the epicentre of the quake and Pakistani authorities were unaware of the real magnitude of the disaster. Our Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, on live TV, assured that the "quake had not caused any major damage." For the following five hours, up until 2 p.m., no one in Islamabad or in Rawalpindi had realised the real gravity of the calamity.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed wasn't hiding the truth; he simply didn't know the truth. Our seismologists failed not because they are untutored but because they have been set up to fail.

The scientific fact is that &quo…

Reconstruction after earthquake

Dawn, October 22, 2005
The cost of reconstruction
By Kaiser Bengali


THE October 8 earthquake will be long remembered as a cataclysmic event in Pakistan’s history for a very long time to come. The sweep of death and destruction across a vast swathe of territory from Kashmir to Hazara and Swat and Islamabad is heart-rending. The calamity has affected rich and poor, ministers and ministered, men and women, and old and young indiscriminately. More than a week after the calamity, news and images of the devastation and mangled bodies do not fail to shock. Adding to the trauma are footage of heaps of children’s bodies trapped under the debris of collapsed school buildings.

In the parts of the country that have been so affected, the standard question and discussion among the survivors is who among them is alive and who is not. In the parts of the country that have not been affected, there are many who have lost someone they knew. And not a day passes without coming across someone who has lost som…

Can Musharraf save his citizens?

Slate.com
Getting Things Done
Pakistan's self-help society mobilizes; President Musharraf faces his own crisis.
By Mahnaz Ispahani
Friday, Oct. 14, 2005

Can Musharraf save his citizens?

Disaster relief has at least two faces, humanitarian and political. Both are already visible in Pakistan as the country attempts to recover from last Saturday's earthquake, which, recent estimates suggest, left more than 25,000 dead, 50,000 injured, and 2 million homeless in northern Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The search for survivors has now been called off.

Governments invariably respond tardily to natural disasters, as the reactions to the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina have amply demonstrated, and so it's no surprise that President Pervez Musharraf has faced criticism for his team's inadequate response. Addressing the nation on television on Wednesday—unusually, in Urdu and out of uniform—Musharraf tried to explain the delay: "Roads were blocked, there was no arm…

Points to ponder!

Daily Times, October 22, 2005
SECOND OPINION: Why are the Jews ‘kanjoos’? —Khaled Ahmed’s Review of the Urdu press

Pakistani Jews could be killed the same way a number of Qadianis were killed this month after the Urdu press published offensive Khatm-e-Nabuwwat material against them. The religious leaders who spewed the poison were not named in the FIR

We have a stereotype of the Jew. He is supposed to be mean and miserly. In the past, many nations had the same stereotype till they became civilised. Shakespeare gave English a new idiom about miserliness in a play discussing a cruel Jew. We have another stereotype about the Hindus, which is remarkably similar. Both Hindus and Jews were the underclass that plied commerce when being a warrior carried the badge of honour. Today both Jews and Hindus are on the rise. The warriors are down and out.

According to Prof Adil Najam writing in daily Pakistan (September 21, 2005) a Jewish synagogue in Karachi was destroyed in 1960 to make way for a pl…

Eye-Witness account of "relief operations"

South Asia Tribune, October 15, 2005
Famous TV Journalist says Killer Quake Wiped Out the Kashmir Dream
Special SAT Report

ISLAMABAD, October 16: Not only the entire civil administration and the political leadership of Azad Kashmir had evaporated, the military struggle for liberation of Kashmir has also been buried under the killer earthquake of October 8, a senior TV journalist said after an extensive tour of the affected areas

Dr Shahid Masood, TV personality of Dubai-based ARY One World Network told the South Asia Tribune there was widespread looting and chaos in most of the areas where no relief has arrived and where even the damage to life and property has not been assessed.

Dr Masood returned to Islamabad on Friday after a five-day tour during which he walked more than 50 kilometers on foot, reaching Muzaffarabad, Balakot and Chakothi and saw the devastation, recording it on his camera before any relief parties could reach there.

Dr Masood’s in-depth coverage of the destruction from M…

Management of a Disaster

Dawn, October 16, 2005
Management of a disaster
By Kunwar Idris

THE Pakistan army has come to occupy the centre-stage in the country’s politics and administration. The politicians and the civil servants may accept or resent this situation, as they varyingly do, but are compelled to take a role subordinate to the soldiers, or quit if they don’t.

That is in times normal. In the havoc wrought by the earthquake they are hardly seen playing any role at all. The distressed people must be wondering who would have done, whatever little is being done for them, if the soldiers were not there. The people cannot be faulted for carrying this impression. A sad but hard fact to be recognized is that army is the only effective and disciplined institution left in the country today. All others stand diminished or subverted.

This is recognition of a fact — and not a tribute, but an indictment. The army’s repeated interventions in civil affairs on the pretext of rooting out corruption or restoring law arid or…

A World Turned Upside Down: WSJ

Wall Street Journal
A World Turned Upside Down
By RUSSELL SEITZ
October 12, 2005; Page A16

When Kipling was a cub reporter in Lahore, the area struck by Saturday's earthquake was a blank on the map separating British India from the "Independent Khanates of Chinese Turkistan." Washington scarcely cared if the Victorian Empire needed a weapon of mass destruction called the Maxim gun to deter hotheads along the Northwest Frontier, for it was a long way from anywhere. Now America's concerns are more ecumenical and acute: Pakistan's 1998 bomb test conjoined the world's three great monotheistic religions in a nuclear trinity (to say nothing of the polytheistic Hindus nearby, with their own nuclear saga).

There's no predicting the outcome when a natural disaster strikes an inexperienced nuclear state bordering two others. The aftershocks may loosen Pakistan's postcolonial grip on its wild and woolly Northern Areas, or shake its fragile truce with India in long-p…

Help Pakistan in the wake of Earthquake

To help victims of the devastating earthquake in Pakistan on October 8, please contribute generously. For donations please click
http://www.developpakistan.org

Eathquake Tragedy and Response

Daily Times, October 11, 2005
EDITORIAL: In the aftermath of tragedy, honour and fortitude

As we feared in yesterday’s editorial (“Getting the right perspective on the earthquake”), the death toll in the earthquake that hit Pakistan’s north on Sunday has risen to 40,000. But information from many remote areas is still sketchy. This means that it will take weeks for the last count to come in and the final figure of fatalities could go even higher. This makes the disaster the worst tragedy in Pakistan’s 58-year history. Indeed, in terms of the devastation it has wrought, it exceeds other recent quake disasters in the region. Therefore the government’s announcement of a three-day mourning period has simply expressed what all of us are feeling at this point.

But the tragedy has also brought out the best in the nation. Across the country people have risen to the challenge and started contributing to relief efforts. Long queues could be seen outside the Edhi Centres at various places and this…

Karzai in Crisis

Daily Times, October 10, 2005
COMMENT: It takes two hands to clap —Ahmed Rashid

Karzai faced bigger problems in 2001, but had always sided with the public’s desire for change, reform, and an end to past abuses. Now, after four years and little change in their lives, people are becoming frustrated. Karzai seems to be acting against the people’s wishes by retaining warlords, refusing to allow parties, or carrying out accountability

On October 3, a crowd of a least 5,000 Afghans gathered in Kabul to protest the murder of a prominent parliamentary candidate and demanded the resignation of powerful warlord General Atta Mohammed, a provincial governor. Just a few days earlier, Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali, one of President Hamid Karzai’s closest aides — highly respected for his honesty and desire for radical reforms — resigned, in what his friends say is a mood of “anger and frustration”.

Karzai faces challenges both from the Afghan people and from elites within his own government. Clea…

In the midst of a triangle

Dawn, October 9, 2005
In the midst of a triangle
By Dr Zhang Li

This book is a collection of 16 papers read by government policy-makers, politicians and scholars from various countries including Pakistan at a seminar held by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute in collaboration with the Hanns Seidel Foundation on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute earlier this year

Dr Zhang Li writes about China’s policy in South Asia and how it can play a pivotal role in the resolution of the Kashmir issue

The Kashmir dispute has haunted Pakistan and India for more than five decades. China has long been relevant to Kashmir geographically, historically and strategically. Beijing has serious concerns about this area especially the lndo-Pakistan confrontation centred on it during the last few years as a result of the known geo-political developments. Generally speaking, China’s view on Kashmir has much to do with its evolving relations with India and Pakistan, two major South Asian powers.

As is widely known, C…