The 8 October marked two years since the Richter 7.6 earthquake that ravaged Pakistani occupied Kashmir and adjacent areas of Indian ‘held’
Last week, Lt-Gen Nadeem Ahmed, deputy chairman of Erra, the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority, told Dawn 'that the reconstruction and rehabilitation programme of the earthquake-affected areas is on track', boasting that
92,000 quake-resistant houses had been completed and another 250,000 were in various stages of completion. He said every family in the affected areas would have a house in six months.
Mr Ahmed said master plans for reconstruction of four severely destroyed cities -- Muzaffarabad, Bagh and Rawalakot in the AJK and Balakot in the NWFP -- had been prepared and were in initial stages of implementation.
Two full years after the disaster, initial stages is good enough for the hundreds of thousands who couldn't manage to squeeze into those 92,000 houses. But not everyopne is as complacent as Lt-Gen Ahmed. In the very same issue of Dawn, Raja Asghar reports,
problems abounded about the reconstruction of the region’s two most devastated towns – the Azad Kashmir’s capital of Muzaffarabad and Balakot in the NWFP.
...Many people in the region blame both military and civilian
Such complaints were more widespread in the quake-ravaged villages but were heard on Sunday also in Muzaffarabad town, where some quake sufferers spoke of bribes ranging from Rs5,000 to Rs10,000 taken by petty officials such as patwaris or other members of local overseeing joint teams to approve payment of compensation.
.. former [Muzaffarabad] mayor Ch
Nor are the problems restricted to Muzaffarabad and Balakot. Khaleeq Kiani reports from Bagh in the
People in the urban areas of Bagh – a district of Azad Kashmir that ranked third in terms of devastation after Muzaffarabad and Balakot – are struggling to survive. The official slogan of “build, back better” seems to be a far cry in this district headquarters of Bagh, named so bec
...A major portion of the town has now been declared a ‘red zone’, but in the absence of a master plan no construction could take place.
The National Engineering Services of Pakistan, which had been awarded the contract about 18 months ago to prepare the master plan, is yet to open its office in Bagh...
Bagh has been divided into four zones -- highly hazardous, hazardous, highly dangerous and moderately dangerous. No part of it falls in the low-danger or safe categories...“The situation remains as it was a year ago,” Dr Atiq [Zahid, a former medical superintendent of the district headquarters hospital] told Dawn on Sunday.
Khwaja Javed Iqbal, chairman of the Anjuman-i-Shehryan, says that residents of Bagh want President Pervez Musharraf to visit Bagh again to see for himself what happened to the promises he had made to the people on his first visit soon after the earthquake. The president had announced that he would convert this challenge into opportunity and said that a new Bagh would emerge from the ashes. “Bagh continues to be in ashes and has in fact turned into filthy debris,” says Mr Iqbal.
The president, General Pervez Musharraf, does not appear to be embarrassed about his complete failure to meet the challenge, exploit the opportunity, or provide desperately needed relief any more than he is about the poverty most of Pakistanis endure or the humiliating bombings his great benefactor, the decider, has been carrying out in Waziristan at a cost of at least 100 madrassa students. Nor is he embarrassed about his attempt to dismiss Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Ch
I bow my head in front of God Almighty for having given me such a great victory.
To put it in perspective, what the media have reported by and large is that he won '252 of 257 votes cast' in the National Assembly and the Senate, seemingly an astounding 98% majority. In reality, those 252 votes comprise just 57% of the sum of 342 members of the Assembly and the 100 Senators. In total, 1,170 national and provincial legislators were entitled to vote, of whom 685, about 59%, voted for Musharraf. Some media are also reporting that he 'ended up with a total of 384 electoral college votes out of 702'. The discrepancy arises bec
When I first got to
I have appealed to the nation towards a conciliatory approach, and I have appealed to the -- first of all, the nation, the people of
After all, it would be insane to protest a military dictator pretending to have won a presidential election, again. In the absence of sanity, however, he refuses to eschew declaring a state of emergency should the Supreme Court rule when it convenes next week that he is ineligible to stand - Article 63 of the Constitution prohibits state employees from standing for office. This is, by the way, the same President General Pervez Musharraf, the same great supporter of media independence, who issued an edict not so many months ago banning live reports of demonstrations, among other things. The same guy who had the studios of Geo TV ransacked. Credit where credit's due - the guy's got balls.
Of course, the General is not alone in his immunity to embarrassment. The only reason the election could take place at all was the deal that he reached with Bhutto. Apparently as a quid pro quo for dropping the well evidenced corruption charges against her, she had agreed that the PPP's members in the National Assembly would abstain, but attend the election session, rendering it quorate. Tariq Ali told Democracy Now! presenter Amy Goodman Wednesday
the second time she came to power, her government was incredibly corrupt, and the military then, when Musharraf came to power, charged her with corruption. The evidence is there; it’s irrefutable. And as part of the deal now, this corruption is being ignored, which is making people incredibly cynical.
Without a thought for W's August demand for a free and fair election, White House National Security Council spokesperson Gordon Johndroe sent felicitations.
As I always say, ‘embarrassing a politician with accusations of hypocrisy is like embarrassing a dog with accusations he licks his own balls’.