Category Archives: disaster

Pakistan has to make a choice

Bilal Qureshi

For my mental health, I never watch Pakistani television, be it state run or the so-called ‘private’ channels.  And if I am forced for whatever reason to put up with it for an hour or so, it is, and I am not exaggerating here, the most painful experience; an experience I find difficult to explain in language that is utterly unacceptable in any civilised society.

Personally, I am convinced that as soon as the media became independent in Pakistan, it has been a race to the bottom by these anchors and other personalities on T.V.  And except for one or perhaps two voices of reason, majority of the talk show hosts in Pakistan are narrow minded, one dimensional,  Zardari hating, Osama worshiping, illiterate gangsters who are determined to destroy logical and analytical thinking in Pakistan by constantly airing pro-Taliban and anti American views.

This madness has to stop.

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Filed under disaster, Media

Support the ‘Karachi Relief Trust’

I just got this update from Beena Sarwar who has apprised us of the fantastic work being done by a group of motivated citizens in Karachi. This is a credible organisation with the right approach. It should be generously supported. Raza Rumi
Karachi Relief Trust is a disaster management organization, originally started by a group of individuals (many of whom I know personally) to help those affected by the cyclone in Balochistan & Sindh, in 2007. Their website

is Karachi Relief Trust http://www.karachirelief.org/ & they are now doing stellar work towards helping those affected by the worst floods in living memory get back on their feet. Among their most significant contributions at this point are the pioneer water filteration units they’re introducing – EPA certified, 99.9% effective (at removing viruses, bacteria and parasites) Family Instant Microbial Purifiers – KRT will deploy 50,000 purifiers to provide up to 10 million liters of purified drinking water per day – http://www.karachirelief.org/pakpani.htm Continue reading

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Pakistan: Being Untrustworthy in a Humanitarian Crisis?

Zubair Faisal Abbasi

International development organizations recently conveyed us a message that government in Pakistan is untrustworthy and therefore humanitarian aid in desirable quantity is hard to arrange. Many of us accepted the argument and starting divulging additional reasons on international donors being right in avoiding a direly needed bout of foreign assistance. We should try to be critical about such claims which primarily blame the victim.

Let us say, you call us untrustworthy and therefore you refuse to pour money into our kitty so that we fight against the unprecedented calamity on our own. You call our state institutions untrustworthy slipping into the coffin of a failed state. You call us untrustworthy because we got a ‘bigger cheque’ from the USA and refused the Communists. Had we accepted the smaller cheque and fought the imposed war against you then what we were supposed to be? Traitors? But we accepted the cheque and remained trustworthy till the time cheap gun fodder was needed. The transaction was simple and persuasive. We, the untrustworthy, joined the most ‘truthful’ arrangements like SEATO/CENTO and remained most aligned nation outside the NATO and fought as frontline state – we remained trustworthy. Now once the war-machine appears to be tired, exhausted, and needs oiling then we become untrustworthy, corrupt, and extortionists. In fact, we were trustworthy for the expansion of military-industrial complex and now when we need humanitarian assistance we are untrustworthy. Continue reading

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Pakistan’s misery is just starting

This is an insightful piece by The Australian which avoids the usual stereotyping and tries to delve deeper into the Pakistani disaster. PTH views have also been quoted – glad to note that we are being heard – Indeed, the Pakistanis and the world must wake up. Raza Rumi

BEFORE US senator John Kerry flew to Pakistan, he told reporters he hoped to help the world understand that the disaster was not just about floods. Continue reading

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Filed under disaster, North-West Frontier Province, Pak Tea House, Pakistan

How Mistrust of the Government is Hurting Pakistani People and Why Should We Trust

By Raza Habib

Going through the national and international media, one keeps on getting the impression that despite the staggering magnitude of the havoc inflicted by the flood, the response, both domestic as well as international, could at best be termed as sluggish. Given the fact that a huge area is still inundated and catastrophe in the form of widespread disease is looming, the response apparently shows a nonchalant behavior. Internationally almost every famous website and newspaper is pointing towards apathy of the international donations. But the buck does not stop at the international response as unfortunately the domestic response is also mirroring it.

So what could be the reason for this kind of response . The spirit which was seen the earthquake relief in 2005 is not being repeated at the international as well as domestic level.

There are basically two reasons for that. Firstly and perhaps more importantly is the loss of credibility of the State, particularly the government, nationally as well as internationally. This is a serious issue and is hampering the process of donations and aid accumulation. Consequently the people of Pakistan are suffering. Second issue is that the world is still underestimating the damage due to this calamity.

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Filed under disaster, Pakistan

Friends of flood devastated Pakistan should wake up

Far from perfect and with all its weaknesses, the democratic process is delivering. Pakistan cannot afford to give space to extremists and lose the war against extremism, … This is time for international community and liberal democratic Pakistanis to wake up

Ahmad Nadeem Gehla

Political leadership in Pakistan,  is generally considered to be corrupt and inefficient. Although, perception is not entirely baseless, same is widely fed to public by establishment friendly intellectuals in electronic and print media. With democratic collation government in Islamabad, we have witnessed a new trend in political culture. Since, terrorism has become an unwanted curse, we have to live with, Minister for Interior Rehman Malik and brave leader of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Mian Iftikhar made their presence felt, at incidents of terrorism and while facing media to gather popular support against extremists. Former Mayor of Karachi Mustafa Kamal and Chief Minister Punjab, Mian Shahbaz Sharif have actively been approaching the effected families in terrorism incident and cases of natural calamities.

The critics of culture of  political activism, claim it to be an ‘eye wash’ and cover-up for government  inefficacy and lack of planning and same  can not be entirely brushed away. At the same time one must remember that government can not function effectively in absence of functional and efficient institutions. Thanks to dictatorships, institutions of state are broken, inefficient or even altogether absent . Political activism is becoming intense in presence of hostile media. For sake of adding ‘spice’, anchorpersons of TV talk show  would gather political opponents and make them accuse each other of being responsible for everything ranging from climate change to natural disasters. Although some groups sympathetic to extremists have been using same medium and approach to confuse public but has not been able to create a space for their violent ideology in masses.

War of words turned in to a competition between Minister for Law, Babar Awan and Present Chief Justice of Punjab Khawja Muhammad Sharif making visits of Bar Associations. Although some sections of media accused this activity as ‘trading’ of lawyers sympathies’, fact remains that many Bar Associations were first time able to get basic amenities like public wash-rooms. Even Mian Nawaz Sharif had to call the terrorism victims of Ahmadi community as ‘brother Pakistani’s’ inviting criticism of extremist groups in order to to counter the visits of Governor Taseer and Rehman Maliks. The current floods has turned this ‘political activism’  in to a positive competition. Mr Nawaz Sharif accused President of leaving the country at time of natural disaster while touring flood victims which fuelled the presence of  Prime Minister and his party leaders in effected areas.

On direction of their leadership, the members of Parliament, never accessible to their voters in past, are participating in rescue and relief efforts. President faced sharp criticism for his overseas visit while his daughter Bakhtawar Bhutto, was quick to launched a donation campaign, attracting a huge response from youth, collecting rupees five million in first hour of its launch. The major political parties are trying to reach more areas in order to earn a favourable public image.  It would be premature to judge their sincerity and effectiveness but at the same, this is a beginning of new culture which can only grow in democratic environment. Those doing photo sessions, would ultimately be eliminated in next polls and those making a sincere effort would be rewarded duly by people. Continue reading

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Filed under disaster, Pakistan, Politics, public policy, south asia, Taliban, Terrorism

Drowning Today, Parched Tomorrow

Courtesty New York Times

This is one of the most informed articles on the water issue as well as the floods.  Time is of the essence.   Not just Pakistan but the entire world is at stake.-YLH

By STEVEN SOLOMON
Published: August 15, 2010
  •  the images of the monsoon floods that are now devastating Pakistan, the country is actually on the verge of a critical shortage of fresh water. And water scarcity is not only a worry for Pakistan’s population — it is a threat to America’s national security as well.

Given the rapid melting of the Himalayan glaciers that feed the Indus River — a possible contributor to the current floods — and growing tensions with upriver archenemy India about use of the river’s tributaries, it’s unlikely that Pakistani food production will long keep pace with the growing population.

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Filed under disaster, Pakistan, Pakistan-India Peace Process, USA, war