Chaos and Revolution


As published in the Newspost :

This is in response to Ghani Khan’s letter (News Post, Nov 3). He has raised some very important points and I am in complete agreement with him. With this nation being unorganised and hankering for a French – or Iran-style revolution, what we forget is the intellectual revolution that took place in Europe and is called ‘The Age of Enlightenment’. It produced great thinkers like Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, Mikhail Lomonosov, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and many others. These were the men who woke the people up from their slumber, taught them to question and learn while setting the stage for change.
In Pakistan, intellectual freedom is not practised so talking about a revolution is useless. It has become our hobby to put the blame for every mishap on ‘foreign hands’ and people do not look beyond such preposterous theories. Our nation needs to realise that without a change in ourselves, there can be no change in Pakistan. As Marilyn Ferguson said, “The greatest revolution in our generation is that of human beings, who by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Hafsa Khawaja
Lahore

On Musharraf’s ‘Admittance’ Over Kashmir


As published in the ‘NewsPost’ :

“Musharraf has ‘admitted’ in an interview that Pakistan had trained militant groups to fight in Kashmir. What a brainless person he must be to say such a thing at a time when unrest in Kashmir is at its peak. The Indian government already accuses Pakistan of secretly funding the struggle of the Kashmiris. Musharraf’s statement will provide the Indian government another reason to dismiss the uprising in Kashmir as one facilitated by Pakistan rather than heeding the demands of the oppressed people of the Valley.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Hafsa Khawaja
Lahore”

Published in: on October 8, 2010 at 2:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Kashmir Bleeds, Does Anyone Heed?


*Published at Dissident Voice.

Befittingly termed once as ‘Heaven on Earth’, with millions martyred since the past 6 decades, thousands of half-widows, orphans and missing – Kashmir today is a Palestine-in-the-making of Asia.

As the Kashmir intifada continues, anyone keeping a keen eye on the serpentine course of events there is bound to be surprised as to why the coverage and attention of international media does not keep up with the importance and intensity of resistance to the Indian Occupation of the region?

[Read the precise history of the issue under the sub-title of 'Background of the Kashmir Conflict'.]

For the past six decades, Kashmir has hung in the region as a pendulum of conflict between two countries with only one demand of the Kashmiri people, Azadi or freedom from Indian Occuption and their right to self-determination.

It has been tried to stifle this voice of theirs by bullets, lynching, rape, arrests, arson and humiliation which are what solely today’s Kashmiri youth or the ‘Sang-baaz’ (Stonepelters) have grown up knowing as gruesome child-hood memories.

But what needs to be highlighted, is how the international community is turning a deaf ear to the cries of Kashmir today when they are ringing higher than ever.

 Aalaw (Meaning ‘call’ in Kashur), is a site set-up by ordinary Kashmiris to help show the ground-realities there. It has updated the list of killings in Kashmir since 11th June:

“Summer in Kashmir has been drenched in blood which witnessed killing of many civilians, mostly teenagers, allegedly in police and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) action mostly since June.”

113 people have been murdered brutally and one can gage if this is the case for 4 months, what really has been happening in Kashmir for the past 63 years.

 

The atrocities in Kashmir can also be recognized by a data included by Pakistan’s Parliamenatary Committee on Kashmir a few years back :

HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS COMMITTED BY INDIAN TROOPS IN IOK

 
(FROM JANUARY 1989 TO FEBRUARY 2006)

Total Killings                                  90,776
Custodial Killings                            6,817

Civilians Arrested                        111,269

Houses/Shops Destroyed           105,143

Women Widowed                         22,371

Children Orphaned                     106,616

Women Molested                           9,637

(Source: All Parties Hurriyat Conference)

 

After much happening, recently the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon evinced his cognizance of the savagery in Kashmir by hesitatingly issuing a feeble statement (calling an “immediate end to violence” and pleading for “calm and restraint by all concerned”, thus equating the people of Kashmir with their oppressors)expressing concern over the situation there but by knwoingly not addressing India which should be diretly done as expected from the Head of an organization as the United Nations.

It is pertinent to mention here that Kashmiri population are only demanding that they should be given their rights of self determination under the UN Resolution. That leaves one to wonder what the purpose of the UN is if it lacks the will to exert pressure to execute the process defined under its own resolution leave alone stopping tyranny anywhere.

 

This dispute is also viewed as a possible cause of a future ‘nuclear clash’ between India and Pakistan therefore making the conflict a matter of international importance.

One would concur with what Ms.Maria Sultan wrote :

“The liberation movement is often depicted as a ‘terrorist’ militancy instigated primarily by Pakistan.”

It is doubtless that the foreign media, for a long period, has portrayed the freedom struggle of Kashmir wrapped in a dirty glaze of militancy and extremism (which is exactly what the oppressors in the case : India, have shown to be which would be similar to belieiing what Israel has to say about Palestine) showing the people of Kashmir to be terrorists funded by Pakistan which is certainly irrational to say the least.

 

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated at the UN:

“No one any longer can seriously believe … that Pakistan can orchestrate thousands of people…”

This time, the Intifida in Kashmir is not about men only but it involves women and children, armed with stones and sticks, stepping out to defy the curfew or protest.

 

The Sang-Baaz have taken to the streets and have become a single force mirroring the rise of the third Kashmiri generation in resistance to Indian Occupation.

Tariq Ali wrote a brilliant article ‘Not Crushed, Merely Ignored’  in July over the killings in Kashmir, him being in oblivion about them and the Foreign Media hypocrisy over it :

“….As far as I could see, none of the British daily papers or TV news bulletins had covered the stories in Kashmir; after that I rescued two emails from Kashmir informing me of the horrors from my spam box. I was truly shamed. The next day I scoured the press again. Nothing. The only story in the Guardian from the paper’s Delhi correspondent – a full half-page – was headlined: ‘Model’s death brings new claims of dark side to India’s fashion industry’. Accompanying the story was a fetching photograph of the ill-fated woman. The deaths of (at that point) 11 young men between the ages of 15 and 27, shot by Indian security forces in Kashmir, weren’t mentioned.

Later I discovered that a short report had appeared in the New York Times on 28 June and one the day after in the Guardian; there has been no substantial follow-up. When it comes to reporting crimes committed by states considered friendly to the West, atrocity fatigue rapidly kicks in.

An Amnesty International letter to the Indian prime minister in 2008 listed his country’s human rights abuses in Kashmir and called for an independent inquiry, claiming that ‘grave sites are believed to contain the remains of victims of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other abuses which occurred in the context of armed conflict persisting in the state since 1989. The graves of at least 940 persons have reportedly been found in 18 villages in Uri district alone.’

The figures provided by the IPTK are startling. It claims that the Indian military occupation of Kashmir ‘between 1989-2009 has resulted in 70,000+ deaths’. The report disputes claims that these killings are aberrations. On the contrary, they are part of the occupation process, considered as ‘acts of service’, and leading to promotion and financial reward (bounty is paid after claims made by officers are verified). In this dirty and enduring conflict, more than half a million ‘military and paramilitary personnel [more than the number of US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan combined] continue to act with impunity to regulate movement, law and order across Kashmir.”

 

 

M Yusuf Buch, a former adviser to the UN and former Pakistani ambassador wrote an excellent and a must-read piece on Kashmir under the heading of ‘India Fesering Wound In Kashmir’, starting from the beginning of the conflict, India’s reneges and failure to honor its pledges by Nehru, the response of the world to it to the recent-day events there :

[Excerpts;]

“The Kashmir dispute has persisted for more than six decades and, to put it simply, the world has become used to it. Second, the United Nations has been marginalised during the last two decades with the consequence that the Charter is beginning to be looked upon as almost an antique. Third, callousness, if not outright cynicism, has become the reserve fund of diplomacy. A blindness to human reality is reflected in the vocabulary employed when situations of international conflict are talked about. Two adjectives used when an indirect reference (a direct reference, mind you, would be frowned upon by India) is made to Kashmir: the adjectives: ‘historical” and ‘long-standing’. Factually, the adjectives are not wrong. But they come handy because by drawing a curtain over reality, they provide a moral justification for studied inaction.

We might interpose a question or two here. What is ‘historical’ about the young woman who has just been widowed and gang-raped? What is ‘long-standing’ about the elderly man whose only son, his sole support, has been killed? Again, what is ‘long-standing’ about the hordes of unarmed teenagers who are resorting to the practice of pelting the Indian occupation troops with stones in Srinagar and other cities

….. India stations more troops in Kashmir than the United States did or does in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Can this situation be dismissed as ‘historical’ and ‘long-standing’?

If it is being so dismissed at present, the dismissal is aided by the language employed. We are being told of an ‘insurgency’ in Kashmir. The term may not be inaccurate but it promotes a misperception. What is going on in Kashmir is not an insurgency against an authority that was once regarded as legitimate; it is a resistance to alien military occupation.

The uprising in Kashmir has been marked more than once by the entire male population of the cities (excepting only the aged, the sick and children) coming out together in the streets to demonstrate peacefully against India’s military presence in their homeland. Could such a pointer have been mistaken, or would it have been allowed to be mistaken, far less ignored, if it had happened in a Western country?”

It is visible that India has emerged as a vibrant and growing economy in Asia, offering much to the Western countries and this ‘E’ Reason is one of th major causes behind the almost non-existent standpoint on Kashmir of the ‘Superpowers’ and those countries that have claimed to be the torch-bearers of human rights previously. India is a much-needed ally of the USA in South Asia as a counterweight against China, which leaves the sensitive issue to be either vaguely or rarely addressed as to not miff them thus acquiescing with their ‘Atoot Ang’ farce.

Written back in 2005, the article titled ‘The Atoot Ang Farce’ points out :

“India has responded to this uncontrollable situation in three ways: it has isolated the occupied state by denying access to international human rights groups and media; it is perpetrating systematic atrocities in the form of collective punishment, mass killing, mass confinement, inhuman and degrading treatment, torture, starvation, molestation and rape – over 31000 women have been either molested or raped- arson, loot and custodial killings; facts are being distorted and the freedom movement is being propagated as terrorism with support from Pakistan. Indian media has helped its government in camouflaging the reality in Kashmir by churning out lies, fabrications, excuses, blames, abuses and myths.”

If not the International Community, one expects the foreign media to stop its selective coverage and come to show Kashmir as a disputed territory.

In today’s era has become a powerful instrument for sparking awareness in minds all over the world and a catalyst for setting the stage for a change. Its role in covering the diverse incidents of cruelties were vital in making the people and Governments watching them, imbued with the feeling of their moral responsibility to adopt a firm stance on such issues.

Also the Pakistani Media needs to outgrow its immature phase of developing , kicking up an unnecessary rumpus out of every political statement, but help divert the concentration of people towards burning subjects such as that of Kashmir which is as greatly related to Pakistan as it could be. The lack of media coverage from Pakistan’s side on the Kashmir Conflict is facilitating India to brand its oppression and gross human rights violations there as an  ‘internal matter.

Children as young as 8 are being killed in Kashmir, youthful and innocent Kashmiri girls are raped infront of their brothers and fathers yet there is no protest from the world , while when a woman is ordered to be stoned to death on the charges of adultery in Iran – even the First lady of France speaks up. People are not allowed to give blood to their injured or the dying loved ones in hospitals due to curfews. Where is the world on this? All countries that declare themselves to be champions of human rights, equality and freedom? Where are all the activists? Why this silence and bias?

 

Even Indian Civil Society Members have protested against the open genocide in Kashmir. Where is the Pakistani Civil Society? And it should be remembered that Kashmiris are against the Indian Government, not the people, who are in a state of amnesia regarding the promises their revered PM Nehru had made over Kashmir which they failed to fulfill. Mere rhetoric will not do, both Governments need to set Kashmir as a top priority as there can be no peace in Asia along with the establishment of its presence between the two nations, without this quagmire being solved in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiris.

 

KASHMIR BLEEDS, DOES ANYONE HEED?

 

- Hafsa Khawaja

Why Aisam Is The Real Winner


So Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi is the name being uttered about by almost every Pakistani these days. Though he has been playing since an early age all on his own without any financial support from the Government or other authorities and has tennis in his genes (having his maternal grandfather, Khawaja Iftikhar was the All-India champion before partition and his mother Nousheen Ihtesham had won the national women title for 10 years and also represented Pakistan in Fed Cup.) – but him becoming the first Pakistani in history to reach any Grand Slam event Final brought him to the light and attention he deserved long ago.

And though he and his partners lost both US Open Mixed Doubles’ Final and Mens’ Double Final to, Aisam turned out to be a hero. After him and his partner Rohan Bopanna were beaten by the Bryan Brother, he delivered a speech which was concise yet was, in short the voice of 180 million Pakistanis:

 

“Every time I come here, I feel there’s a very wrong perception of Pakistan as a terrorist country. I just want to say we are a friendly, caring and peace-loving country and we want peace as much as you all. God bless us all.”

 

 

 

As New York Daily News writes:

“As a Muslim from Pakistan playing in the U.S. Open doubles final, he said New York needed his words the most, as post-9/11 counsel. So the 30-year-old grabbed the microphone and addressed the estimated 15,000 at Arthur Ashe Stadium – probably the biggest crowd to watch a Grand Slam doubles final – and made sure the moment wasn’t lost.

Prize money and rankings were never a motivating factor, Qureshi said, only good news for his flood-stricken countrymen and a platform to express his message of American misunderstanding.

He also defended the decision to build a mosque near the World Trade Center site.

“For me, as a Muslim, that’s what makes America the greatest country in the world – freedom of religion, freedom of speech,” Qureshi said.

“If the mosque is built, I think it’s a huge gesture to all the Muslim community out there in the world. I would really appreciate it.”

Qureshi said he’s been stopped at airport immigration “every time” in New York – three hours at a time – including after his latest flight for the Open. And on the eve of the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, he wanted to defend his country’s masses.

“There are extremists in every religion, but just because of them you cannot judge the whole country as a terrorist nation. I just wanted to get this message across as a Pakistani.”

These simple yet bold words were spoken by him, made the hearts of Pakistanis swell with pride and joy for not only was their true representation done but they were lit up in a time crowded with despondency as the cricket-crazy nation feels ‘betrayed’ with their three top cricketers being embroiled in a shameful spot-fixing scandal and being immersed in floods while trying to fight internal cancers.

Also him, voicing his opinion about the Mosque being built near Ground Zero and his rational reasoning behind why he thinks that way, displays his level of maturity and political awareness.

The message he conveyed was one that hasn’t been given out by many of our so-called leaders and diplomats. He chose the moment to defend his country on American soil with billions, probably, as international audience all over the world. It was a silent declaration of his pure patriotism and love for Pakistan.

Years back in the World Super Junior Championships, he beat Andy Roddick and while Roddick was noticed bythe authorities in his country (despite his defeat) to polish, sponsor and prepare for bigger events , our player was ignored so this event provides us the chance to realize who we should honour and value as national heroes rather than the brazen-faced who lack a conscience when putting a price to their country’s pride.

 Aisam had been playing for ages yet he was never appreciated or encouraged as those in cricket. He made the flag of Pakistan flutter on the courts in a time when we are in an abyss of dim and darkness. He may have not won the matches but he surely won the respect, admiration, support, regardful ness and above all, the hearts and minds of the Pakistani nation.

Pakistan and the world need people like Aisam to bring people together and heal the world with their thoughts of peace.

Aisam, we are proud of you!

Surely you are the winner!

 

- Hafsa Khawaja

The International Community Needs To DO MORE For Pakistan!


Since Pakistan’s involvement in the ‘War on Terror’, terrorism in the country has taken a large leap. It is the single most country that has heavily paid the price for the war through the deaths of thousands of civilians, stagnancy of its economy and by almost becoming a pariah in the world. Yet, on every visit of a high-ranking US or UK diplomat and official to the country, we are told to ‘Do more’ in the fight against extremism.

Besides being beset with economic, social and political problems and instability, today the country is faced with a challenge that it can not cope with without the world: the most destructive floods in its history.

Described by United Nations as the greatest humanitarian crisis in recent history with the number of people suffering possibly to exceed the combined total in three recent megadisasters – the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.”

Leaving 20 million affected, the floods have ravaged Pakistan from the core.

To much surprise, donations from other countries especially those who consider Pakistan as ‘friends’ or allies are ‘trickling in’ rather than having deluged us in this time of need, which they should have. International aid has not kept up compared to the Haiti Earthquake and the 2004 Tsunami.

About $7bn was pledged within a month of the tsunami that struck Asia in December 2004 and according to Oxfam, within the first 10 days after the Haitian earthquake, donors had committed $742m and pledged a further $920m. For Pakistan, the figures over the same period were $45m and $91m..

Pakistan has so far received aid-committment of 984.52 Million USD from International Community and commitment does not signify it being delivered or donated, it has been merely pledged.

The figures of a few of the donations for the Tsunami can be known as :

“ Nations all over the world provided over US$7 billion in aid for damaged regions, with the governments of Australia pledging US$819.9 million (including a US$760.6-million aid package for Indonesia), Germany offering US$660 million, Japan offering US$500 million, Canada offering US$343 million, Norway and the Netherlands offering both US$183 million, the United States offering US$35 million initially (increased to US$350 million), and the World Bank offering US$250 million. Also Italy offered US$ 95 million, increased later to US$ 113 million of which US$ 42 million was donated by the population using the SMS system.”

And for Haiti :

  Haiti aid pledged by country

 

Country/organization Funding, committed and uncommitted, $ $ per person  % of total
Others 639,381,379    26.40
Private (individuals & organizations) 593,639,219   24.51
United States 466,879,506 1.484 19.27
Canada 130,733,775 3.894  5.40
World Bank (emergency grant) 82,107,356   3.39
Japan 70,744,798 0.556                2.92
Saudi Arabia 50,000,000 1.944 2.06
Spain 47,664,745 1.061 1.97
European Commission 43,290,043   1.79
France 33,844,153 0.543 1.40
United Kingdom 33,070,138 0.537               1.37
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) 27,976,462   1.16
Norway 25,298,044 5.257 1.04
Sweden 25,039,684 2.707 1.03
Germany 21,645,022 0.263 0.89
Brazil 16,884,782 0.087 0.70
Denmark 16,288,032 2.978 0.67
Australia 13,489,209 0.634 0.56
China 10,813,535 0.008 0.45
UN & agencies 10,000,000   0.41
Italy 9,302,037 0.155 0.38
Switzerland 8,932,039 1.180 0.37
Finland 8,005,607 1.503 0.33
Russian Federation 5,700,000 0.040 0.24
Netherlands 5,050,504 0.304 0.21
India 5,000,000 0.004 0.21
United Arab Emirates 3,209,113 0.698 0.13
Ghana 3,000,000 0.126 0.12
Ireland 2,886,002 0.639 0.12
Donors not specified 2,219,169   0.09
Indonesia 1,700,000 0.007 0.07
Czech Republic 1,154,401 0.111 0.05
Belgium 1,151,876 0.108 0.05
Poland 1,089,466 0.029 0.04
New Zealand 1,000,000 0.234 0.04
Morocco 1,000,000 0.031 0.04
Guyana 1,000,000 1.312 0.04
Estonia 1,000,000 0.746 0.04
Luxembourg 722,900 1.487 0.03
Greece 290,000 0.026 0.01
Inter-American Development Bank 200,000   0.01
South Africa 134,904 0.003 0.01
WORLD TOTAL 2,422,202,996 0.35 100

 

For Pakistan’s floods, such are the contributions.

 [The above picture illustrates the donations for Pakistan's floods]

Richard Holbrooke, the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, had said: “The people of Pakistan will see that when the crisis hits, it’s not the Chinese. It’s not the Iranians. It’s not other countries. It’s not the EU It’s the US that always leads.”

But in contrast to his statement the The Guardian writes of how Saudi Arabia has overtaken the US as the largest donor to Pakistan’s flood relief effort.

Despite being engaged in relief activities for its own flood-wrecked areas, as always China has so far provided 120 million yuan (17.5 million USD) worth of humanitarian supplies to Pakistan in three batches.  It initially announced that it would provide emergency aid worth 10 million yuan (approx. US$ 1.48 million) to help the flood-victims. The People’s Liberation Army donated another 10 million yuan to Pakistan. The Chinese Red Cross has also given US $50,000 in cash to Pakistan. And this is only to write a few of what it has done for the flood-hit.

Iran on the other hand :

Iran had committed over 400 tonnes of relief goods; out of which 330 tonnes had already been delivered by the Iranian transport aircrafts as of 24th August 2010. These goods included tents, floorings, clothes, canned food, bread and medical supplies. Iranian red crescent society has also been on the ground along with Pakistan Red Crescent Society as a part of its ongoing relief operation inside Pakistan to more than 100,000 flood vicitms.  Iran has also offered to setup field hospitals and community centers for flood victims in Pakistan. In response to UN’s appeal for help at New York, Iran committed US $10 million towards the flood relief. In addition to this fund, Imam Khomeini Relief Committee was directed to collect private donations from Iranians and donate it to Pakistani government. Iranian interior minister also visited Pakistan as the head of a humanitarian mission assessing the needs of Pakistani people in order to facilitate the distribution of Iranian aid to Pakistan.  Iranian interior minister during a meeting with Pakistani interior minister informed the latter that Iran is the third largest donor nation in terms of delivered aid.  

“The UN appealed for $460m to cover the first 90 days of the emergency. It said today that half the target had been reached, but warned that it was able to reach less than a quarter of the 6 million people in urgent need for food and clean drinking water. The cost of providing clean water alone is about $2m a day.”

At Philanthropy, it has been surveyed on what the attitude of people towards such events depends on such as :

“Randy Strash, strategy director for emergency response at World Vision, said that donors tend to focus more on how many people have died rather than how many people are in need of aid. The United Nations has estimated that 20 million flood victims may need help; an estimated 1,600 have died.

The death toll, said Mr. Strash, “represents for many their barometer of how bad a disaster is.”

While countless died in the Haiti Earthquake, one must remember that those suffering and struggling to sruvive in Pakistan exceed the numbers of those who died in the previous catastrophe and they need to be immediately helped.

 

The difference between the two disasters in Haiti and Pakistani have already been compared in all aspects but the glaring dissimilarities are mentioned as :

[The picture below illustrates the total donations to Haiti for its earthquake]

Number of sheltherless people:

In Haiti: 1.8 million

In Pakistan: 6 million

_________________________________________________________________________________________

International pledges 2 weeks after flash appeal as percent of total appeal:

For Haiti : 82% of the required

For Pakistan : only 57%.

________________________________________________________________________________

Donation per affected person received after 2 weeks of flash appeal  :

Haiti : US $ 157.16

Pakistan : US $ 15.24

 ________________________________________________________________________________

Reconstruction Pledges:

 For Pakistan : (Aug. 22) World Bank US $ 0.9 billion Asia Development Bank US $ 2.0 billion (loans)

 For Haiti : (March 31) Donors pledge US $ 9.9 billion of which US $ 5.3 billion is pledged over 2 years (requested US $3.9 billion).

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Pakistan is a country much dependent on it s agriculture which roughly contributes 22% to GDP and employs 45% manpower.   

 

In an article at ‘Time’, the alarming predicaments that Pakistan will have to deal with are written about :

“World Bank president Robert Zoellick said the floods had destroyed crops worth around $1 billion. By conservative Pakistani estimates, the figure is at least double.

Pakistan’s economy was already fragile, dependent on a $11.3 billion support package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Before the floods, the country was struggling to meet the fiscal-discipline requirements of the package.

Pakistan has a bloated public sector, a narrow tax base and a chronic balance-of-payments problem. “Now, it alters all the calculations, all the projections, all the scenarios,” Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Pakistan’s Finance Minister, tells TIME. “It is still too early to assess the full impact of the disaster, but the damage is colossal, it’s still unfolding. It will run into billions and billions of dollars.” And according to figures collected by the government of Pakistan — a fraction of what’s needed. “

The money and aid that has already been donated by countries and people is only for the immediate relief of the 20 million people affected by flooding and it is yet to be estimated what the rehabiliation of the displaced people (which might take 5 years in view of the experts) and rebuilding of the infrastructure (which has been set back decades) will cost in the second round of flood relief programmes.

The damage upon the country’s economy is worth $43 billion it has been told by the Government.

Founder and Chairperson of Pakistan Youth Alliance, Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi rightly points out in his blog :

“Pakistan has a been a frontline-ally in the war against terrorism and has borne more damage than anyone else, of civilian/military casaulties and financial losses due to security situation. And we kept on hearing “DO MORE” from International community, like 30000 dead Pakistanis (including top-notch Generals, politicians, religious figures) werent enough. I urge the International Community to DO MORE. To DO-MORE, this time not for your interests in the region or your-cold wars with other super-powers, DO MORE for humanity.”

It is time that all proclaimed friends of Pakistan to actually do something for the nation that has undergone much in its 63-year old history and yet helped many. From being a young nation yet advocating the cases of liberation Libya, Northern Ireland, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Indonesia while championing the Arab cause of Palestine through the eloquence of it first Foreign Minister Sir Zafarulla Khan to facilitating many in its own land including the Afghan refugees, Kurds who escaped Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, Iranians that left their land post-revolution while providing diplomatic passports to the members of the Algerian government in exile fighting for their country and so on.

Just a day before, it was part of the new how Ban Ki-Moon is concerned about the response from countries for donations to Pakistan are becoming sluggish and have virtually stopped.

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY : WAKE UP AND DO MORE FOR PAKISTAN!

- Hafsa Khawaja

‘We Are The World’ For Haiti? Not For Pakistan?


When earthquake hit Haiti this January 2010, the world rose in unison to help the victims of the deadly shake with many nations generously chipping in to donate for the people and governments munificently sending billions of dollars of aid and displatching relief teams to the country.

But today, when Pakistan has been hit by the most devastating floods in its history, which have been termed as “the greatest humanitarian crisis in recent history with the number of people suffering possibly to exceed the combined total in three recent megadisasters – the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake” by the UN, it seems that the world has started to suffer from a ‘donor fatigue’ or has intentionally closed its eyes and ears to the cries and pleas of the flood-hit Pakistanis.

 

While it is true, that the number of people killed in the Haitian Earthquake were more than those killed in the floods but according to statistics and figures available it can be known that around 20 million have been affected, thousands injured or left homeless with their families separated from them, over 722,000 houses damaged or destroyed, 70,000 children at a risk of dying of malnutritioon and around 6 million can lose their lives in the second expected wave of death likely to be caused by a combination of lack of clean water, food shortages and water-borne and vector-borne diseases.

It has become apparent that those in other countries seem to ignore the current state of people in Pakistan considering the type of image that is portrayed of the country by much of the Western media – of a terrorist and barbaric nation that only breeds intolerance and extremism despite the fact that it is the single most nation that has bore the brunt of terrorism the most.

But some like Liz Borkowski have come to realize that the catastrophe is not being met with the appropriate response as it should. She has written a post on why the floods here are not receiving as much aid and attention as Haiti. Writing as :

“The UN has requested $459 million for emergency relief and has received or gotten commitments for 35% of that. The majority of that has come from the US and UK governments reports Nathaniel Gronewold of Greenwire.  Aid agencies report that responses from individual US donors have been slow, though.

On the list of possible factors behind the lag in individual US donations, Gronewold starts with “public opinion of Pakistan” and cites a June CNN poll showing “78 percent of Americans hold mostly unfavorable views of Pakistan.” I’d like to think people can hold an unfavorable opinion of a country but still be willing to help its citizens get food and water after a natural disaster; maybe when it comes to donations, though, decisions aren’t entirely rational.

I expect the slow pace of donations is mostly a function of less media coverage (compared to the Haiti earthquake). It’s not like the major news organizations are failing to cover Pakistan’s disaster at all, but so far I don’t think I’ve seen many stories about individual families’ struggles – and those are the pieces that spur donations. ” 

One UN assessment in the province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) found: “37% of women in households surveyed were consuming less food than men, while 50% of households reported having no food for an entire day.”

The UN asked for $460 million to fund an emergency response. So far, donors have contributed or pledged $148 million, or 32% of the total.   The top donors are the United States ($75,621,599), the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund ($26,595,962) The United Kingdom ( $40,235,085 ) Denmark ( 26,595,962 ) and Private individuals and organzations ($10,510,184).

 After visiting flood-ravaged areas of Pakistan, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “In the past I have visited the scenes of many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this.”

Approximately, 1/5 th of Pakistan is under water. 

Elizabeth Ferris at ReliefWeb has prepared an excellent analysis and report on the comparison between the Haiti Earthquake and Pakistan Floods, compiling a data as follows:

Haitian earthquake Pakistan flooding
Date of disaster 12 Jan 2010First OCHA Situation Report: January 12 Late July 2010 (First reports of flash floods in Baluchistan on July 23, floods in KPK starting around July 26/27)First OCHA Situation Report: July 29
National population 2009   10.2 million 166.1 millionii
Deaths   220,500iii 1,539iv
Injured   Over 300.000v 2,055vi
Displaced Est. 1.8 million (1.3 within Port-au-Prince, 500.000 leaving Port-au-Prince) vii Est. 6 million in need of shelter(August 23)
Total affected/as percentage of total national population 3 million (29.4 %)ix 17.2 millionx (10.35 %)
       

 

Houses destroyed/damaged    105.000/208.000xi 1,226,678 (August 23)xii
Schools destroyed/damaged    1,300xiii 7,820xiv
Hospitals destroyed/damaged    50xv 200xvi
Original UN Flash appeal launched     15 January: xviiUS $ 575 million  11 August: xviiiUS $ 460 million
International pledges 2 weeks after flash appeal as percent of total appeal     82 %xix   57 %xx
Flash appeal funded 100 %  16 February (35 Days)xxiOn Feb 18 revised Humanitarian Appeal is launched requesting US $ 1.4 billion for 1 year (includes the $575 Million of the flash appeal)
US pledges    US $ 211.6 millionxxii (part of the extended 1.4 billion US $ appeal)   US $ 150 millionxxiii (August 23)
Appeal by International Federation of the Red Cross/Crescent Society      US $ 103 million US $ 74 million
Number of tents/plastic sheets distributed 3 weeks after     10,545/11,390 (February 3)xxiv 109,500/72,200 (August 23)xxv
% of displaced receiving tents/tarpaulins (after three weeks)      1.2 % 3.0 %
Donation per affected person received after 2 weeks of flash appeal      US $ 157.16 US $ 15.24
Role of US military Deployed 22,000 troops,58 aircrafts,15 ships;oversaw airport operations,

rehabilitated the harbor,

distributed aid, hospital ship

15 helicopters,as of August 24 the U.S. military had delivered 1.5 million pounds of relief supplies and food,and helicopters had rescued or transported about 6,500 people.xxvi
Health concerns  Traumatic injuries,including crushing Injuries,high needs for surgery, infections Water-borne illnesses (diarrhea, cholera),skin-disease,acute respiratory disease
Protection concerns Trafficking of children;gender-based violence in camps,generalized insecurity Early reports of separated families, a few landmine victims,discrimination against lower castes,women-headed households
Shelter concerns Land tenure issues, rubble clearance Land markers washed away by floods, mud removal
       

 

Political concerns Interrupted Haitian election timetable,governance questions and relief effort; Potential strengthening of fundamentalist groups,destabilization and delegitimization of government
Economic concerns 70 % of Haiti’s GDP is generated in the Port-au-Prince area which has been most heavily impacted by the disaster, massive destruction of infrastructure Massive destruction of infrastructure, 3.2 million hectares of standing crops have so far been damaged or lost;widespread loss of livestock
Logistics Destroyed airport, harbor, roads.Generally bad infrastructure;Particular logistics difficulties in Port-au-Prince and surroundings Destroyed roads, bridges;some areas only accessible by helicopter;20% of the country flooded
Total GDP 2009 xxvii    US $ 6.5 billion US $ 166.5 billion
GDP per capita 2009 nominal    $733 $1,017
Estimated Damage    US$ 7.8 billionxxix Est. US $ 15 billionxxx
Estimated Damage as percentage of GDP    119 % 9 %
Reconstruction Pledges March 31 – Donors pledge US $ 9.9 billion of which US $ 5.3 billion is pledged over 2 years (requested US $3.9 billion). Aug. 22 – World Bank US $ 0.9 billion Asia Development Bank US $ 2.0 billion (loans)
Corruption Perception Index 2009 (out of 180)    160 139
HDI 2009xxxii (out of 182)    149 141
Media stories 10 days after the disaster xxxiii Well over 3,000 stories in both print and broadcast media respectively by day 10 and by day 20      320 broadcast news stories and 730 print news stories
Top 10 donors (pledges) Venezuela US$ 2.417 mInter-American Development Bank US$2.000 m

USA US$ 1.152 m

European CommissionUS$ 567m

IMF US$ 436 m

Spain US$ 427 m

World Bank US $ 399 m

Canada US $ 387 m

InterAction members

US $ 322 m

(Donor’s Conference) xxxiv

USA US $161.9 mSaudi Arabia US $114.4 m

UK US $108 m

European Commission US $93.5 m

Private Donors US $84.2 m

Germany US $32 m

Australia US $31.8 m

CERF US $26.6 m

Norway US$ 14.8 m

Japan US$ 14.4 m

(Flash Appeal) xxxv

 

 So why this difference? When over eighty international artists collaborated for the song ‘We Are The World’ for Haiti, why have not international celebrities other than a few (George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, Ashton Kutcher) and sportsmen spoken about or rallied for the distressed and hopeless people of Pakistan who now neither have nothing to look back to nor a future to look to until people help them? If Haiti was poor, it should be remembered that Pakistan too is a developing country with rsising poverty and inflation. Does there not even a speck of sympathy and empathy reside in our hearts anymore? Why such slim coverage of this catalysm that has struck a nation already struck by many jolts?

 

I urge everyone to raise awareness about the flood-wrecked families in Pakistan and the need for the world to show their compassion and donate, for those in Pakistan are equally human and their lives equally important as those in other parts of the world.

 

RISE FOR HUMANITY.

 

- Hafsa Khawaja

Mob Insanity or Justice? Save Pakistan From Itself!


 The basic structure of a society consists of laws and their regard which help to make it civilized. A society where the people take the law and process of justice into their own hands is in plain words : Chaotic and barbaric.

 

On August 19th, a video surfaced of two brothers Hafiz Mugheez Sajjad and Muneeb Sajjad being mercilessly beaten by batons to death by villagers in front of area police and a mass gathering in Sialkot. Their bodies were then hanged upside down with poles and then paraded in the back of a tractor trolley around the city which is known as ‘Shehr-e-Iqbal’.

 

Both brothers Mughees who was 19 and Muneeb who was 17, were Hafiz-e-Quran. It is being said that :

“At the early morning of 15th August 2010, the two brothers set of on their motorbike to play a cricket match. whilst on their journey, were distracted by a group of people who were looking for robbers who open fired on two people. The two brothers were wrongly accused of robbery, and without a fair trial, the police let angry mob of people kill the two innocent brothers.

They were murdered ruthlessly during the holy month of Ramadan. At the time of their death, both brothers were fasting whilst beaten to death viciously.”

Dawn News writes :

“On the the very day newspapers reported the Sialkot double-murder, they also carried a news item about the awarding of the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz to the DIG Gujranwala, Zulfiqar Cheema, for “maintaining law and order”. The police officer, in whose jurisdiction Sialkot also falls, appears to do his job in a manner that is condemnable.

Meanwhile, SHO police, alleged mastermind of killing of two brothers, has fled away and is still at large, police sources said.”

  
This is not a case first of its nature in Pakistan, mob justice has been a routine practice especially in our country. Many incidents as such emerge from time to time. From catching alleged robbers and burning them, to killing non-Muslims on account of ‘blasphemy’  to stripping the sister by a family of whose girl the woman’s brother fled with.

When the general public, mostly which is uneducated begins to to play judge and executioner, it is time that the Government and Judiciary wake up.

 

One is left shocked and appalled after viewing the gruesome video leaving one wondering as why none of those who were present at the time of this incident including the eight policemen did not stop the barbarians committing this crime? Not one in the many who witnessed this spoke a word of protest! This clearly evinces the crumple down of our society’s moral framework and the virtual absence of the rule of law.


People are giving mixed reasons as to why the two brothers were battered to death ; while some say they were involved in crime, others say it was a petty rivalry.

However, even if they were (as alleged) guilty of committing a crime they should have been brought to the courts. No civilized society of the world or sane human would do what had been done to them.

Pakistanis proudly procalim to be a Muslim nation, yet what recenlt happened clashes with the saying of Propeht Muhammad (PBUH) :

“Whoever of you sees wrong being committed, let him rectify it with his hand, if he is unable, then with his tongue, and if he us unable, then with his heart, and this is the weakest of faith — or in another version: beyond this there is not a single mustard seed’s weight of faith (iman).”

Those who silently watched the teenagers being dragged into the mouth of death are equally blameworthy and censurable for the bestiality for them being  acquiescent to the cruelty.


Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has already taken Suo Moto Notice of the savagery and summoned the police officials while in the same vein Interior Minister Rehman Malik has also ordered an investigation while vowing to hang the culprits in the same place.

Indeed, those who had played a part in this should be dealt the same way.

As Islam says “An eye for an eye.”

The videos uploaded of the gore happening shows the faces of those who killed the boys as identifable and with the aforementioned commencements, the whole nation expects the matter to be solved and those behind it to be strictly and severely retributed rather letting the reality of this brutality to fade out .

The culture of sheer mob madness churned with naked atrociousness, masked under the name of ‘Mob Justice’ must be completely spurned by the iron hand of justice.

 

 After 63 years, this is what we have come to as a nation? Devoid of even a smidgen of compassion, humaity and conscience! Neither are we a civilized society nor a we a nation worth following. This is not the Pakistan Jinnah and Iqbal has thought of. Majority of Pakistanis believe and talk of Pakistan needing a revolution but revolution means change which we only deserve after evolving from being such animals into humans that reform the society. What we have today is what we are worthy of because the heart of this nation is rotten. With such occurences that slightly expose the ugly face of our society, one must say Allah has still been very kind to us as a nation.

 

I would only quote what Iqbal had once beautifully written :

 

“Ya Rab Dil-e-Muslim Ko, Woh Zinda Tamana De,

Jo Qulb Ko Garma De, Jo Roh Ko Tarpa De”

May heart bleeds for them,

May the soul of the brothers rest in eternal peace!

And Allah save Pakistan from itself!

- Hafsa Khawaja

How YOU Can Help The Flood-Hit Pakistanis! [ Living In Other Countries or In Pakistan ]


Pakistan has been hit by the most devastating ever floods leaving thousands killed, millions displaced with 650,000 homes being washed away, countless missing and most living under open skies with no access to even the basic necessities.

“And the worst floods to hit the region in 80 years could get worse, as it is only midway through monsoon season.”

It is said to be the biggest catastrophe in our country’s history.

 

There are many ways to donate for these victims by those living abroad and in Pakistan, following are some organisations who are earnestly working to deliver aid and relief supplies BY HAND to the affectees:

Organisations In Pakistan:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 Pakistan Youth Alliance:

PYA is already known for its phenomenal work globally and has is immensely popular amongst the people for its credibility [FM91, Geo Tv, Express TV, PCB, Stylo Shoes, AMSA-Pak & many more have donated them trucks of relief goods]. They have teamed up with the affected people who are now rescuing others and providing them relief supplies, they have already been to Nowshera for this purpose along with Rajanpur, Multan and other areas.

Donations can be sent through ;

Bank Account # 871-0
Branch Code : 0281
Swift Code : BP UN PK KA XXX
Bank of Punjab,Troops Welfare Center, GT Road, Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.             

Or :

PYA Chairperson Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi can be messaged to know the separate ways to donate for the flood-victims through PYA based on where one resides.

Also ;               

Updates of their work for flood-relief and other ways to donate to them, for those in other parts of the world are available on their Facebook page.                                                                                                                                              

 

                         

Talat Hussein and Kashif Abbasi’s Journalists’ Fund :

Redoubtable journalists and prominent Tv anchors Kashif Abbassi of ARY and Talat Hussein of AAJ Tv have set up their own fund for the flood-victims.

For donations :

Title of Account: Syed Talat Hussain/ Kashif Abbasi
Account No: 0516616341000689
Bank: Muslim Commercial Bank
Branch: Stock Exchange Branch, Blue Area, Islamabad
Branch Code: 1390
Swift Code: MUCBPKKAA

For further information:
Tel: +92-51-111010010
SMS: +92-347-5023842, +92-301–5473521

Site : http://www.aaj.tv/donations/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 

Customs Health Care Society:

As of September, the main problem is to provide shelter to the homeless people. C.H.C.S has taken the lead (and started the first ever 200 single room (14 X 16 Feet) with a rest-roomproject in Noshehra). One house costs only Rs. 1 Lac = 1150 US$.

Donate atleast one home to the shelterless families.

 

For donating :

Account Number : 5448-9 

Bank Code : NBPAPKKa.02L – 1887

National Bank of Pakistan,

Moon Market,

Allama Iqbal Town Branch,

Lahore. 

All donations to the society are exempt from payment of income tax as notified by FBR vide letter No: I & E/145/1082 dated 21.05.2007.

 

Dr. Asif mahmood Jah, President of the Customs Health Care Society can be reached at :
449-Jahanzeb Block,

Allama Iqbal Town,

Lahore,

Pakistan .

Phone: 092 – 042 – 3784 7008,

               092 – 042 – 3783 1655
Cell:       092 – 0333 – 424 2691

E-mail:    asifjahjah@yahoo.com

                                                                                                                                            

 RT and FFE (Students’ Team):
 
A team of students have also started organized and successful flood-relief deliveries to different places. They are in need of several items for the victims, volunteers and funds and can be reached at :
                                                                                                                                                                                              
Saad Bin Shahid : +92-343-5788-966 
Facebook : www.facebook.com/sbs.vor
E-mail :  get.1991@yahoo.com
Usman Bahi : +92 – 332 551 – 337 – 6
                                                                                                                                                                                                   
To transfer funds please note the following bank account details:

Donations through bank ;

TITL AC : Muhammad Usman Khan
Allied bank, Westridge 3, Allahabad road,
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

AC # 01-200-1322-9
Branch code # 0755

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Al-Khidmat Foundation :              

http://al-khidmatfoundation.org/donate-here.php              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

TCF Relief:

 http://www.thecitizensfoundation.org/floodrelief.html      

                                                                                                                                                                

‘Let Us Build Pakistan': 

LUBP members will be personally going to the flood-hit provinces to deliver aid.

They need funds, volunteers and donations. Help them to save lives by donating.
They can be reached at :

farhadjarral@criticalppp.com
+923333405175
+923332354290

Donations to LUBP are through Western Union:

Farhad Ahmed Jarral : CNIC: 42501-6964334-9
Gujranwala Branch Western Union.
[A consignment number will be given after you donate the money which should be messaged to Farhad Jarral]

 

 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 Pakistan Youth :
 
They are aiming to collect funds and donations as part of their helping campaign for the flood-victims.
 
They can be contacted at:
info@pakistaniyouth.com
0331-2019387
                                                                                                                                                                                           
Address: 104-C,
                   4th Floor,
                   Main Khayaban-e-Ittehad,
                   Phase II ext,
                   DHA, 
                   Karachi,
                   Pakistan.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

 
Edhi Foundation:

 
They can be easily contacted for donations by those living in Pakistan and those in other countries through  http://www.edhifoundation.com/contact.asp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

For UAE :

 

Pakistan Association Dubai:

Contact : Anas: 04-3373632, 3377678;

Inayat Rahman: 050-6317131;

Ayub Afridi: 050-4545106;

Khayal Zaman Aurakzai: 050-6287655;

Ghazi Marjan Aurakzai: 050-6469910;

___________________________________________________________________________________________

The list below contains the DIRECT DONATION LINKS for the flood victims of these international organisations:         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

UNHCR:

http://www.unrefugees.org.au/emergencies/pakistan/

                          

Oxfam [ All Countries ] :

https://secure.oxfamamerica.org/site/Donation2?df_id=4660&4660.donation=form1&JServSessionIdr004=1c376kssr2.app227a

                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oxfam [ Only for USA, Europe and U.S.A ] :

https://www.oxfam.org.uk/donate/pakistan-floods/index.php

                                                                                                                                                                                              

Oxfam [ Australia ] :

https://www.oxfam.org.au/donate/current-appeals/pakistan-floods-appeal

                                                                                                                                                                                            

Oxfam [ Germany ] :

https://www.oxfam.de/spenden/form/1

 

Save The Children [ New Zealand ] :

 
https://secure.savethechildren.org/01/web_e_pakistan_flood_10?source=hp_fb_pak10 

 

Global Giving :

http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/redr-pakistan/
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

 Relief International :

 
https://ri.org/APF/donate.php

         

Islamic Relief U.S.A :

 
https://www.islamicreliefusa.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=203

                                                                                                                                                                                    International Rescue Committee [ For U.S.A ] :

 
https://www.theirc.org/donate/help-rescue-lives-pakistan

                                                                                                                                                                                          

Canadian Red Cross :

 
https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/donate.aspx?EventID=57138&LangPref=en-CA

                                                                                                                                                                                      

Islamic Help [ U.K ] :

 
You can make a cheque/postal order made payable to ‘Islamic Help’ and send it to:
Islamic Help 19 Ombersley Road Balsall Heath Birmingham B12 8UR
Please do not send cash in the post and please do not forget to write your name and address on a piece of paper.

Bank: You can put money directly in their bank account
Name: Islamic Help
Bank: HSBC

Account No: 41687425

Sort Code: 40-42-12

If you are in a country other than the UK, you can go into any bank in the world and quote the following International Bank Account:

 
Number (IBAN) and Branch Identifier Code (BIC)
IBAN: GB 72 MIDL 404212 41687425
BIC: MIDL GB 2155 G


                                                                                                                                                                                              

 Muslim Hands :

http://www.muslimhands.org/en/gb/appeals/pakistan_flood_crisis/

Muslim Aid [ England ] :

 
Send a cheque or postal order made payable to ‘Muslim Aid’, together with a note of your name and address to:

Muslim Aid, P O Box 3, London, E1 1WP
Donate directly to their bank account:
Name of the Muslim Aid Bank: LLOYDS TSB
Address of the Muslim Aid Bank:
LLOYDSTSB BANK PLC
HIGHBURY CORNER
31 HOLLOWAY CORNER
LONDON N7 8JU
SWIFT/BIC/CODE (OUTSIDE UK): LOYDGB 21180

To donate in pound Sterling £:

Name of the account: MUSLIM AID-DONATION AC
Sort code: 30-94-21
Account number: 01436818
Iban (outside UK): GB25 LOYD 3094 2101 436818

To donate in Euros:
 
Name of the account: MUSLIM AID- EURO AC
Sort code: 30-94-21
Account number: 86151365
Iban (outside UK): GB42 LOYD 3094 2186 151365

To donate in Dollars $:

Name of the account: MUSLIM AID-DOLLAR AC
Sort code: 30-94-21
Account number: 12044226
Iban (outside UK): GB75 LOYD 3094 2112 044226

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

For Other Countries :

This post at Chowrangi provides a great deal of information of organisations that can be donated to for the flood-victims for many countries.

 

Donation Camps in Pakistan :

 
1. Pehla Qadam, has setup a camp in cooperation with rotaract club of Karsaz at the Royal Rodale club on Main Khayaban-e-Sehar DHA Phase VI Karachi.

The camp is located right next to the reception of Royal Rodale.

2. Pakistan Peoples Party, Insaf Student Federation and Tehrik e Minhaj ul Quran have setup their camps at Regal Chowk, Lahore.

 Things identified by the National Disaster Management Authrority that are direly needed to be donated:

 

As Kashif Aziz writes :

“Besides sending cash through below mentioned charity organizations, you can support by providing following commodities. Please do not donate old/expired stuff. Make sure edible items are hygienic and properly packed.

•  Clothing: Clothes of various sizes, Beddings, Shoes
•  Utensils: Jerricans (large plastic cans that hold 20 liters of water or other liquids), Crockry
•  Toiletries: Tissues, Soaps, Dettol (antibacterial cleaners), Towels
•  Food: Rice, Sugar, Flour (Atta), Onions, Potatoes, Cooking oil, Tea, Milk (tetra packs or powder
•  Safe drinking water, Cooked Food.  
                                                                                                                                                                                     

Medicines:

 
1. Water purification tablets.
2. Life saving drugs.
3. Vaccines for malaria, cholera, typhoid, influenza.
4. Pain killers including strong ones like morphine derivatives, tremadol, pethadine, kinz .
5. Antibiotics e.g. Tetnus, Amoxil, Gentamycin.
6. IV Cannulas
7. IV Drip sets
8. IV drips: Normal Saline, Ringerlactate.
9. Local anesthetics (injections)
10. Cotton bandages, cotton.
11. Surgical instruments: e.g. needle holders, forceps, and tweezers.
12. Surgical Materials : Skin staples.”
 

                                                                                                                                                                                               

Food Items That Can Be Given At Camps:

• Rice
• Wheat
• Lentils
• Biscuits
                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

Liquids:

• Mineral Water,
•  Milk Carton (With one month expiry left)
• Juice Cartons (With one month expiry left)

 

First Aid:

• Band Aids
• Dettol
• Pain Killers (Panadol, Ponston)
• Nimcol
• Thermometers
•  Cotton
•  Vicks
                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

Other Items:

• Sleeping Bags
• Foldable Matresses
• Blankets
• Pillows
• Sweaters
• Shawls
• Coats
• Sanitary Napkins for Women
• Pampers for Infants
                                                                                                                                                                                                         

To Donate Goods :

PIA is making deliveries of goods to Pakistan from almost all over the world. To donate any of the above, they can be contacted at :

http://www.piac.com.pk/Flood_Relief/ERP.htm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Text To Help :

 
If not anything, people in Pakistan can donate Rs.10 to the victims by texting ‘D’ to 2471 as part of Express Media’s initiative.

Text “PUKAAR” to 4361 to donate to Imran Khan’s  flood relief efforts. 

People in USA can text ‘SWAT’ to 50555 to donate $10 .

Canadian wireless subscribers:  Text “REDCROSS” to 30333 to donate $10 to the Canadian Red Cross.

___________________________________________________________________________

Please remember, The death toll is rising by the day, these people need YOUR donations and help! Today it is them, tomorrow it can be us.
And those abroad, a little of your money means big here, please donate!

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THIS!

 

 

 

 
These Pakistanis await your aid !

Regards,
Hafsa Khawaja.

Uncoverings Of The Flood : Balochistan Govt’s Inaction : Are We Nurturing The Deprivation In Balochis?


As posted on LUBP :

“Balochistan has a history of bearing the brunt of feudalism, the chameleionic political scenario and  the extreme natural calamities of flooding and drought, both which blow the remaing normalcy of life there into smithereens.
Latterly, Southern Pakistan has been hit by a wave of torrential rains that have affected the lives of about 50,000 in parts of the province and yet dismayingly the response of the Provincial Government has been nothing more than apathetic :

Tens of thousands of people have been left marooned, countless killed and numerous missing and others rendered homeless as almost six districts of Eastern Balochistan have been struck by wild onrush rains and most villages, towns and districts have either submerged into the flood water or been completely bashed out by them but the people in these zones are yet to be approached by rescue teams or vacated to safer places.

 

Hundreds of people are either stranded, trapped or living under open skies with no access to relief or even the basic necessities of food that they need for survival. These local people have contested the claims of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of dispatching relief or food supplies to them, refuting them while waiting for the Federal Government to announce any substantial financial assistance for them, those who lost their lives or those who lost their entire belongings, food stock, household goods and valuables in flash floods.

Most of the province has been cut-off from the rest of the country as a result of the explicit damage and destruction of its communication system and the vehicular transport system which links it with the cities around and other human settlements has been suspended or immobilized.

There is also a marked threat of outbreak of epidemics in the flood affected regions as there is a lack of food, clean water and medication leave alone substantial medicine and medical staff which are even unapproachable for easily-treatable cases of snake-bites that have been reported from villages but could not be treated as the rescue teams have not arrived or are short of medical articles such as snake-bite serum.

 

The Wazirabad village of Bakhtiarabad in Lehri Tehsil is the worst-affected area and such is the situation there that dead bodies are decaying for nothing is available for neither the funeral nor the people to bury them.

 
 
Over 57,000 people have been affected in Sibi, Lehri, Barkhan.The floods have damaged 90% of the houses, over 50% livestock and agriculture.
And according to the district agriculture and revenue departments these floods have broken the past records of 1978.

 

“In Tambo Tehsil of Nasirabad, more than 30,000 people have been made homeless while crops have been completely washed-out in the canal-irrigated area.

Around 0.2 million people had been affected by floods in six districts of Balochistan where rescue and relief work had been slow and inadequate. Roads, power transmission lines and railway tracks have been destroyed in the district.

Despite the massive destruction, relief work had not started in Tambo tehsil.”

This cataclysm was and is a testing time for both the Balochistan Government and other governmental organs which constitute the body of the provincial government and it is discernible now that there has been a miscarriage from the provincial government’s side in fulfilling their responsibilities.

The Balochistan Health Directorate has failed to discharge medicines to the flood-hit areas and even the districts where emergency has been declared, which has led to some deaths.

The Provincial Government’s response to this cataclysmic inundation has been slow, impassive and lackadaisical.

July to September, are the defined monsoon months of Pakistan and Balochistan has a history of ruinous floods which occurred numerous times including in 70’s, 80’s and the 90’s. One of the main tasks of the management, administration and government are to plan, co-ordinate, manage and ensure the implementation of their decisions.

When it is a well-known fact that the province is at a constant threat of floods in the Monsoon season, why did not the provincial government pre-plan a strategy before the rains to prevent the huge damage that has been inflicted now?

  

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had already been predicting strong rainstorms around Pakistan before the floods and still is issuing statements that show the rains are expected to continue along the border areas of western Pakistan.

Now that the officials of the provincial government are reiterating about their involvement in the efforts to help the people but state that the deluge is hindering their completion, why hadn’t they formulated a programme for the prevention of flood damage before-hand?

 

The transport authorities should have prepared alternative routes for the people and the rescue teams to use in case of the areas which were bound to be affected and the transport system there to be washed away too.

Three years before, another flood had occurred, during the reign of President Musharraf and  the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had revealed that of the 80,000 homes destroyed in the disaster, nearly 60,000 were in Balochistan alone, where some 15 districts were badly or severely affected and the loss was estimated at Rs.10 bn.

At that time, the Musharraf Government was censured and denounced for its listless reaction to the disaster and yet today, under a democratically-elected government: the people of Balochistan face the same stagnant situations that they had previously faced.

 

The response to flooding in the region hasn’t kept pace with the severity of the humanitarian emergency.

The Provincial Government should have devised a plan before Monsoon in coordination with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and The Pakistan Meteorological Department to asses the nature of the rains, the threats they posed to the province and an aerial survey should have been conducted in search of higher areas in Balochistan where camps could have been established and the people could have been moved there with their belongings.

Now that the rains have swept the province, both the Provincial and Federal Government should work-out a project or course of action for the immediate rehabilitation of the people on an emergency basis with huge relief supplies of medicines, goods, blankets, tents, food and other facilities that the Balochis direly need.

Balochistan may make up 48% of the total land of Pakistan but its clustered population has the most surging feeling of deprivation and alienation whose roots aren’t a puzzle to trace considering the policy response to their pleas and predicaments which is nothing more than lip-service or cold and half-hearted efforts such as of today when the region has been shook by a crisis.

We must realize that that the sense of divestiture, virtual separation, disparity and deprivation that the Balochis have today and which many believe are being exploited by foreign elements, has been nurtured by our very own ignorance and misinterpretations of their dilemmas, needs and aspirations.

 

As Benazir Bhutto herself wrote in ‘Daughter of the East’ about East Pakistan:

“From revenues of more than thirty-one billion rupees from East Pakistan’s exports, the minority in West Pakistan had built roads, schools, universities and hospitals for themselves, but had developed little in the East. The army, the largest employer in our poor country, drew 90% of its forces from West Pakistan. 80% of the government jobs were filled by people from the West. No wonder they felt excluded and exploited.”

Although there are differences in Balochistan and East Pakistan, the last line of her writing fits perfectly into the picture of Balochistan today.

 

About 46% of the gas in our country is obtained from Sui in Balochistan. Majority of Pakistanis talk about developing the resources in Balochistan (Thar, Reko Diq etc) and letting the country benefit from them, but have we wondered or ever thought of developing Balochistan itself and equipping the Balochis educationally, politically and socially?

‘Aghaz-e-Huqooq-e-Balochistan’ is indeed a laudable step by the Government but it needs to be implemented. We need to grant them their basic rights and shun being lax in responding to their calls in times of help.

The population of Balochistan forms only 5% to 7% of Pakistan’s total population and it feasible enough to deliver its people the right to education, shelter and all other basic necessities that they rightfully deserve and the Government needs to prioritize the strive for removing the deep-seated feelings of resentment and making the Balochis realize that they are not children of a lesser God but as much vital for Pakistan’s future and as much part of the flesh and soul of this country as those in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”

- Hafsa Khawaja

Mineral and Energy Resources : The Key To A New Pakistan?


As posted on ‘Let Us Build Pakistan’ :

“Recently, it surfaced that significant deposits of natural gas reserves in the heart of Kohat city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were discovered by the state-run Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL).

As published in Dawn News:

”According to a statement issued by the company on Friday, the discovery was made during exploration of Shekhan well-1 which produced 15 million cubic feet of gas (MMCFD) through 32/64 inch choke size at wellhead flowing at a remarkable pressure of 2,500psi. ”

Last year, (OGDCL) had uncovered new reserves of oil and gas in Hyderabad. At least 15.4 cubic feet gas and 165 barrel oil per day can be produced from the well.

It is no hidden fact that Pakistan is a region blessed munificently by nature with a plentitude of natural resources proving British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli’s quote of calling India (United India which once Pakistan was part of) as ‘the brightest jewel in Her Majesty’s Crown’.

The province of Balochistan is enviably rich in this regard, many surveys have identified the geological conditions for the existence of antinomy and gold in the Punjgore and Kharan district but the larger focus this post will direct towards are the new zones and districts where such minerals have been found, projects promulgated for them and their utilization.

Reko Diq, a small town in Chagai District, Balochistan, in the view of development expert Syed Fazl-e-Haider, contains under its sands some 12.3 million tons of copper and 20.9 million ounces of gold. The copper-gold deposits at there are believed to be even bigger than those of Sarcheshmeh in Iran and Escondida in Chile.

But the Reko Diq copper and gold mine contracts awarded to foreign investors have come under threat in recent months as the provincial government has threatened to cancel the mining rights awarded to a consortium led by the Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold Corporation and the Chilean mining company Antofagasta. The Prime Minister has personally intervened in this issue and it is hoped that he would convince the provincial government of the vital importance of foreign firms in exploring and developing these resources for no local firm has the huge amount such as $3 Billion required for the process.

And the launching of the ‘Reko Dik Copper-gold project’ is expected to produce 0.3 million tons of copper annually through indigenous physical and human capabilities.

The Thar coal field containing 175 billion tons of good quality lignite, can be used for power generation and gasification.

The Duddar lead-zinc deposits in Balochistan being developed by Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) have come into production to produce 100,000 tons of zinc concentrates and 33,000 tons of lead concentrates for export.

Two visionary leaders of Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto had deep-rooted interest and plans for the development of the natural resources of Pakistan.

As a Minister of Fuel, Power and Natural Resources, ZAB signed a path breaking agreement for exploration of oil and gas with   Russia in 1960.  He set up a Gas and Mineral Development Corporation in 1961 and Pakistan’s first refinery in  1962 at Karachi.
While his daughter Benazir Bhutto had began the Saindak-Copper and Gold Project while successfully achieving and announcing the country’s first National Mineral Development Policy in 1995 :
 NATIONAL MINERAL POLICY

Unfortunately, it could not be fully implemented at the provincial level owing to a host of reasons like delays in setting up the Mineral Investment Facilitation Authority and the ever-changing political situation.

As the Geological Survey conducted in Pakistan states:

“The country’s more than 6,00,000 sq.kms of outcrops area demonstrates varied geological potential for metallic / non-metallic mineral deposits.“

 

In the recent past, exploration by government agencies as well as by multinational and international mining companies presents ample evidence of the occurrences of sizeable minerals deposits which could be developed and utilized using an appropriate institutional and regulatory framework which the National Mineral Policy of 1995 clearly provides.

Currently about 52 minerals are under exploitation although on small scale. The major production is of coal, rock salt and other industrial and construction minerals. The current contribution of mineral sector to the GDB is about 0.5% and likely to increase considerably on the development and commercial exploitation of Saindak & Reco Diq copper deposits, Duddar Zinc lead, Thar coal and Gemstone deposits.

Mining for these minerals and inviting corporations and companies, both national and international to develop these resources, will certainly be a welcome step in paving the way for generating revenue that can be invested in healthcare and education or used in any other way, beneficial for the well-being of the people of Pakistan.

Pakistan has accepted Chinese assistance to conduct a comprehensive scientific geological survey of Pakistan, which will be helpful in exploring oil, gas and mineral reserves. According to a newspaper, the Defence Ministry has supported the proposal to involve Chinese Geological Survey (CGS) for geosciences co-operation.

According to Pakistan’s High Commission to Kaula Lumpur, data released by Pakistan’s Board of Investment indicated that the biggest Malaysian investment was made in financial sector with US$ 194.33 million followed by Oil and Gas Exploration US$ 14.26 million.

As a developing country and with a growing population, one of the most important resources of Pakistan after its mineral wealth is its human resources. Exploration, mining and utilisation of these abundant minerals may require a huge amount of captial but human labour is paramount for these three stage so carrying out these tasks would also contribute in increasing employment for the people of the areas where they are being conducted thus reducing a percent of unemployment rate.

The stumbling blocks that lay as the constraints with the mineral sector and are expected of the Government to remove are financial restraints, lack of technical knowledge, institutional mismanagement, lack of experts and low priority given to mineral extraction.

The financial difficulties can be solved by handing over exploration and extraction projects to foreign companies or by negotiating joint ventures between them and local companies.

Just as Pakistan’s President has reiterated on various international levels of the country’s demand and requirement for ‘Trade not aid’, it is tantamount that Pakistan’s allies and countries with which it shares strong relations such as the economic giant China or UAE are called for to help Pakistan by providing more of technological assistance or technological aid which will resolve the proposed perplexity of lack of technical assistance.

Institutional mismanagement can be avoided by ensuring the appointment of deft and adroit officers with the appropriate knowledge and experience on merit, who should be checked to insure that the set goals are being met in one of the many organizations formed for propounding facile solutions for the advancement of the mineral sector such as ;

1. Geological Survey of Pakistan – Founded in the year 1947 for the investigation and mapping of mineral deposits.

2. Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation –Established in the year 1974 for the exploration and marketing of all minerals.

3. Resource Development Corporation –Organized also in 1974 to investigate and develop copper mines at Saindak.

4. Gemstone Corporation of Pakistan – Created in 1979 to develop gemstone resources.

While experts of this field can be hired to aid the work of the aforementioned organizations.
Pakistan’s non-metallic and metallic resources are bountiful and even 5% of them are extracted and developed, Pakistan’s economy can take a leap in growth  : METALLIC AND NON-METALLIC RESOURCES IN PAKISTAN

Putting Pakistan’s anticipated deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, zinc, lead, limestone, rock-salt, chromite, marble, China-clay, celestite, gypsum, magnesite, sulphur, bauxite, gold, oil, gas and coal (all non-metallic, metallic and energy resources) to use by exploiting and extracting them can help to purge the country out of many a crisis and become the sound base for many industries and the availability of minerals will lessen the burden of imports and improve the balance of payment position.

Plus, this PPP Government already has the advantage of a Mineral Policy which may have been made 15 years ago but is excellent in every regard to be followed even today, (though it should be revised and updated in accordance with the new layer of information and requirements that have emerged), for it touches upon all aspects related to the exploration, extraction and development of the resources and presents a complete strategy and plan for the purpose of the development of the Mineral Sector.

With such a capacity for growth in this sector, it is disappointing that its contribution to the GDP is about 0.5%.

Pakistan can undoubtedly use its capacity it for the betterment of the economy and development of the country itself. It is of time, that the Government not only realizes the potential in and resources of Balochistan and other provinces but also steps forward to utilize and develop them for the existence of these resources are equal to none if not developed but if they are, they will be the key to a new era in the history of Pakistan.

- Hafsa Khawaja

Shandur Polo Festival and Swat’s Aman Mela


Shandur Polo Tournament  is an annual festival arranged every July at the Shandur Pass in the northern areas of Pakistan where rival teams from Chitral and Gilgit play. This area has hosted this game since the past 800 years.  Playing polo on the Shandur Top is popularly known as ‘Playing Polo On The Roof Of The World’ for it is reported to be as the highest polo ground in the world, where the Hindukush, Pamir and Karakoram ranges meet.

Its history dates back to the 1920s when the ruler of Moskuj, the Hindukush highland between Chitral and Gilgit, was told by his Mir, or king, to promote integration within his realm through a polo tournament between the best players. It is also said that :

“Historically the game goes back many centuries when the local Mehtars , Mirs and Rajas were patrons of polo and it was played, not only for pleasure, but for celebratory and commemorative occasions. The Mehtar of Chitral would send a message to his relatives the Rajas of Ghizar , Yasin and Ishkuman and word would travel far down the valleys to Punial Gilgit and Chilas where the challenge would be taken up. But despite being dubbed ‘the game of kings’, in the Northern Areas, it is not an elitist sport, often played in village square on sorry nags or even on bicycles.”

The world famous Shandur pass is about 3738 meter an above sea level and lies midway between Chitral and Gilgit.

The festival begins on the 7th of July with the feet of the traditional dancers thumping to the beat of the drummers which is the formal signification of the opening of the Tournament in a colour-splashed ceremony.

Then starts a polo match between Laspur Team, which is a village near Shandur in Chitral, and the Ghizer Team from Gilgit. During the course of the tournament A, B, C and D teams of Chitral and Gilgit battle it out on the polo field. Each team has six members with 2-4 reserve players incase of injury etc. The match duration is usually one hour. It is divided into two halves, with a 10 minutes interval.

During intervals the locals enthrall the audiences with traditional and cultural performances. The game decided in favor of the team scoring nine goals. The final is held on 9th July. There are no umpires and there are no holds barred. There are no rules!

The absence of rules not only casts dashes of thrill, excitement and unpredictability to the course of the game but often results into the players or horses getting injured, due to the ferocity and rigourness of it all.

There are no hotels so the people who come to visit camp out in the tented villages while bazaars are organized near them to showcase and sell local handicrafts.

Apart from the Tournament, Shandur is wrapped in an exotic atmosphere. Nestled in the bosom of the grandeur of nature which has lavished it with spectacular scenery of looming mountains, green plains and a huge crystalline azure clear lake laying comfortably stretched-out behind the back of the used polo ground, creating the ambiance of feel of replete tranquility and serenity, thrusting people into a seemingly another portal of the world away from the hustle-bustle of cities. Shandur in a single word, is exquisite.
The Tournament also provides the visitors an insight into the lives of the people of the region, their indwelling lifestyle, heritage, culture and customs.

Hindukush Trails, an Offical Sponsor of the event has mentioned that each year the following events are scheduled.

  • Traditional dancing & singing and sitar music
  • Para Gliding
  • Rafting in the Shandur Lake
  • Wild mountain polo , horse races and at times Buz Kashi
  • Traditional tug of war

Shandur Polo Festival is all set to begin from the 7TH to the 9TH of July. This year, 2010, it has been dedicated to the Martrys of Uniform of the successful operations conducted against terrorism in Pakistan.

On the other hand, in Swat a festival which is first in its history is happening :

The ‘Aman Mela’ is a 20-day long national peace festival started in Swat on June 29th to celebrate the return of normalcy in the valley.

It has been set up in the same Grassy Ground where last year thousands of Taliban militants had assembled to hear Sufi Muhammad of the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM ) declare all institutions of the country un-Islamic and even democracy as unacceptably ‘un-Islamic’, where he also reasserted with audacity, his goal of bringing ‘their’ Shariat Rule all over Pakistan. This was the address that prompted the Government to decide an Operation in Swat against the militants.

Today, the festival which is being held by the Provincial Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PRRSA) in collaboration with the Pakistan Army,  it is the site of rejoicing people, music and dance scenes, circus and all those activities that they were never allowed to carry out .

The fair will continue till July 18. Over 1,000 shops have been set up by industrialists and traders for tourists and the local population.

A photo exhibition, car rally, paragliding competitions were held on the first day of the festival.

According to a post on the Express Tribune:

The purpose of the event is to bring back the tourists to the Swat following an end to the Taliban control as a result of the military operation last year. It is also aimed at erasing the bitter memories of the people and removing fear of the militants from their hearts.

The site was beautifully illuminated and decorated with welcoming banners, buntings and fluttering Pakistan flag.

The Pakistan Army had put on display the pictures of the valley representing its newfound life, under the title “Swat smiles again.” People streamed into the Grassy Ground in the evening with everyone wearing a toothy smile.”

Since Pakistan’s involvement in the ‘War on Terror’, it has been under the glare of the international media which has best0wed upon it the unpleasant label of ‘World’s Most Dangerous Country'; but what miffs the people of Pakistan is the one-sided coverage that is given to the country.

While every single beheading in Swat was shown by all leading foreign channels, understandbly so keeping in view Pakistan’s role in the WoT, none bothered to show the Aman Mela which was held in celebration of the cleansing of terrorists from the place.

All that the UK’s Telegraph could report about the marvellous Shandur Polo was a flasity terming it as a ‘Brutal Pakistani Polo Festival ‘ which was cancelled. How could such a credible site report such a canard that Polo Festival as cancelled when it was completed as planned and the Team of Shandur were declared champions?

This report caused vexation in many Pakistanis for it ruffled their feathers, passing off the stupendous event as ‘brutal’. In what way, is the Festival brutal? Why is every event or person in relevance to Pakistan deemed or told as barbaric?
Just because the sport is not played on the lines of the rules in the West, it certainly can not be characterized as brutal. Must it be for those who fail to possess the regal qualities of endurance and vigour as that of the participating Pakistanis players of our festival as surely Polo at Shandur is not just for ordinary polo players but it is a Game of Kings which are crowned every year at it.

The international media certainly needs to shed its fabric of bias and give equal coverage to both shades of events in Pakistan.

- Hafsa Khawaja

O’ Pakistani : A Call For 23rd March


 

Passed have seven decades,
Since the foundations of your land were laid,
On the 23rd of March,
In Manto Park,
The voices of Muslims were finally hearkened,
Put forward was a genuine intreperation,
Of Sir Syed’s thoughts,
Chaudhri Rehmat’s words,
And Iqbal’s dream,
As a path to a cherished destination,
Jinnah spoke, firm and tall,
Infront of struggle’s iron walls,
Demanded what belonged to us!

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                            

So what holds you back O’ Pakistani today?
Which shackles touch your skin?
Which ropes tie your tongue?
What blinds your eyes?
To save Jinnah’s burning Pakistan?
                                                                                                                                                                                                    

 

What blocks the sound in your ears?
Of your soil’s screams,
Screaming to be heard by her sons,
Once which was given to you as Iqbal’s dream,
Why do you sit and watch?
When devils savour your motherland’s flesh?
On her face when ramble conspirators in cahoots?

 
                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 

Where were you?
When trampled was her dignity under marching boots?
In anarchy’s dump when she begins to drown,
Or in rains of terror, she is left to stand,
To foreign lands why do you run?
Evading to lend her a hand or be of a service to her?
                                                                                                                                                                                                         

You ask what Pakistan has given you,
Have you ever asked youself what you have given her?
Why do you desert and abandon your own destiny?
Your future, the land of your posterity?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      

What would Jinnah and Iqbal say?
For walking corprses did they so much envisage?
As to those whose eyes towards realities and brutalities are shut,
The face of change truly shuns,
How long for a saviour will you wait?
When you are the saviour of your own fate!
When what seemed impossible,
Through ails and illnesses,
Quaid-e-Azam achieved,
He stood and bestowed..
For us what the King had decreed,
A sky above your head,
The ground beneath your feet,

                                                                                                                                                                                                          

So,
What holds you back today O’ Pakistani?
To save for what leaders fought daringly against the wave of time,
Every foe’s try,
The Minar-e-Pakistan is still seen,
But seldom contain,
The passion that surged in the hearts and reigned,
Of those 70 years before, who once crowded Manto Park’s ground,
So let nothing hold you back O’ Pakistani !
To conquer what Jinnah had spoken of on this day,
Pakistan!
To conquer your own destiny!

                                                                                                                      

- Hafsa Khawaja

Its Not The Players, Its The Boards Stupid !


Since the arrival of 2010, Pakistan’s hockey and cricket teams have been sliding down a string of defeats. Our Cricket team’s Tour of Australia and our Hockey Team’s performance in the Hockey World Cup, both were indeed disasters. Not only did the shock the nation but crushed their hopes.We must wake up to the fact that there are many factors that contribute to the performances of our teams other than the players. Alot of debate has been going on to determine the reasons for such defeats and most of the time, the players of both teams are blamed and held more responsible than the the Boards who have contributed much to the failure than the players, PHF and PCB.

The PCB has recently stinged the major players of the Cricket Team with bans and fines as ‘punishments’ for the defeats on the Tour of Australia and PHF has sacked the management of the hockey team with the entire Hockey Team tendering their reisgnations after their performance at the World Cup.

While one already knows the situation and state of PCB currently, it is no surprise that PHF is also in a reflecting condition of the cricket board. Qasim Zia, President of the PHF was appointed at this position by the PM through a usual case of bringing relatives and politics in the stream of sports. Asif Bajwa, the Secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, is highly reputed to have come into PHF through his links with an MNA from Sialkot of the ruling party. Bajwa seems to lack the vision to purge the national sport of the country out of its current decline and so far, nothing remarkable from his side has emerged to revive hockey except rumours of his ill-management. It is evident that the state of inertia still persisted in our hockey after the elevation of both Zia and Bajwa to these posts, it is also quite evident that they lack direction, skills and leadership qualities to head the PHF. and should have long resigned after the failures of our Hockey Team.

Shahid Ali Khan, a former Olympian and though a hard-working coach of our team was previously a goal-keeper which is quite a restricted role in the game of hockey. Mr.Khan can not be blamed for a goal-keeper can not have the acumen to coach and that too when the state of the team is already deplorable. Can we expect Salman Akbar, our current goal-keeper to coach the future hockey team of Pakistan? Certainly not.

Our Hockey Players, many of who were playing for a long time, were also decided to be awarded the Central Contracts THIS year, and to get it straight, no player plays to his full potential without the assurance of money to be granted to him to support himself and the deserved respect.

Coming to our cricket board and its famed management that has no such qualifications to be in the management of a sport that is the heart-beat of its nation. The PCB Chairman, Ejaz Butt who played 8 tests in his time from 1959 to 1962 was appointed as the Chairman by President Asif Ali Zardari who is the Patron of Chief of our cricket board [Pakistan is the only country where the President is the Chief of a sports board] on account of his relations with Defence Minister, Ahmed Mukhtar. Butt is neither efficient nor is he capable of running PCB. He seems to have absolutely no knowledge about the game and how to handle the players and the management itself is maladroit.

People like Tauqeer Dar and Abdul Qadir are running private academies for the game of hockey and cricket respectively.
Dar who hails from a family of fine hockey players runs his own ‘Dar Hockey Academy’ in Lahore where any youth can join free of cost and he provides them with all the hockey equipment himself. Coaches are always there to instruct the boys.
Last year, Pakistan’s U1-9 Hockey Team won a Cup of a mega tournament and that team consisted of players who were part of Tauqeer Dar’s academy.

Abdul Qadir also runs his own academy for cricket for youngsters and is a strong critic of those who run the PCB currently.

Both Abdul Qadir and Tauqeer Dar are doing more than just a commendable job for the future of cricket and the latter for the revival of hockey and in producing players that shall take the game to its glorious heights again but as long as the official boards of these games, PHF and PCB are run on the basis of nepotism and politics, the conditions of both hockey and cricket will remain stagnant and exacerbate because that is the result when players are mismanaged and handled by people who lack in skills and knowledge.

It should be realized by now, that to save sports in Pakistan, politics shall be thrown out of it and each appointment should be on the basis of merit.

- Hafsa Khawaja

PCB Shifting Blame To Save Face?


After Pakistan Cricket Team’s Tour of Australia which began this year and was indeed a debacle, an inquiry was ordered into the causes of the defeats on Tour of Australia which was lead by a committee and sent a number of punishments for certain players to the PCB.
Yesterday, they accepted the those punishments :
*One year ban on Shoaib Malik and Rana Naveed and a 2 Million fine on both of them for unacceptable behaviour.
*LIFE BAN on Muhammad Yousaf and Younis Khan for their infighting that affected the team [according to the PCB].
* Fine of 2 million on the Akmal brothers for indiscipline.
*Fine of 3 million on Shahid Afridi dor the ball-tampering incident.

I fail to understand the reason, that where was the PCB Management when the Tour was ON-GOING and so much was brewing in the team? They were supposed to control and warn the players right on spot if they were getting out of hand. Why were the Akmal brothers and Shoaib and Rana not sent back from the Tour if they were indeed involved in behaviours that were unacceptable? If so was the case with Shoaib Malik, why was he made the Captain of the one T20 Match against Australia?
Younis Khan was not even part of squad that were beaten brutally by the Australian Team. Why has such a harsh ban been imposed on him?

The reason that the PCB stated for the life ban on Younis and Yousaf is their infighting that affected the team, if such is the basis of imposing a life ban, then what about the rivalry and disputes between Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram and Imran Khan and Miandad in their times?

Maybe because Yawar Saeed, with whom Younis had problems as a manager in his stint as the Captain, was part of the Inquiry Committee and wanted to settle personal scores?

Shahid Afridi was already given a Two T20 Match Ban by the ICC for the ball-biting incident as a punishment for ball-tampering and again the people in PCB and the Standing Committee on Sports in the NA demanded more punishment for him, when it is already known that a man can not be twice punished.

Jamshed Dasti, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Sports in the NAis a staunch critic of the PCB Chairman, Ejaz Butt whom he considers to be inept. This is equivalent to the pot calling the kettle black. Dasti himself was reputed to be a drug-seller and has no qualifications that make him worthy of his current position like Butt, both were made merely on the basis of nepotism and ‘links’ to the Presidency.
The entire PCB is marred with nepotism, maladroitness and failure. It is not that the Board is brimming with people of noble intentions and great adeptness.
Such bans have only been imposed by the PCB only to save their own face [and that too only a month before the T20 World Cup starting on this 30th of April] and have shifted the debris of the blame on the players, they should have long resigned after the Tour of Australia and it is time that they accept their inefficiency and go back to their homes.

- Hafsa Khawaja

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 4:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Chain That Shackles Us – Poverty, Inflation and Child-Labour


We as Pakistanis have developed the habit of being unappreciative and ungrateful to what we have around us. Humans, as we are, are ravenous beasts wnating ever more. Recently, I heard a couple of young people I know whine and complain about not going to a posh restaurant where they wanted to dine but instead were going to a restaurant of equivalent standards. This made me ponder, have we ever seen what lies around us?

According to information available with WFP, the number of food insecure people in Pakistan has increased from 35 million to 45 million during and after the 3-F (food, finance & fuel) crises.

Also Pakistan ranks fifth among countries having the highest number of hungry people (to an estimate), with women and children among the worst affected.

A recent incident clearly paints the picture of desperation that has developed between people : in Karachi, women were killed due to a stampede as they all tried to acquire bags of flour.

The inflation rate in Pakistan was 13.68 percent in January of 2010. Inflation rate refers to a general rise in prices measured against a standard level of purchasing power.

In our country, around 85 per cent of the population lives on income less than two dollars a day and food costs are more than 50 per cent of the monthly expenses. And a surge in food prices has adversely impacted the food security situation in the country, resulting in poor children being deprived of the right of education just for the cause of working to do menial jobs at tender ages to help their families meet their ends.

According to a newspaper:

“Many wealthy Pakistanis employ children as servants, often to help with their own youngsters, a relatively common practice that Pakistani law does not prohibit. Slight and shadowy figures at the edges of birthday parties and nights out in fancy restaurants, these young servants, who rarely earn more than $50 a month, form a growing portion of Pakistan’s domestic labor force.
It was raw need that brought Shazia into the house of Chaudhry Naeem, a prominent lawyer who lives in a wealthy neighborhood in this leafy city in eastern Pakistan.
She received $8 a month to wash his floors, his cars and his toilets, her mother said, money that went toward paying off a family debt”

Inflation and poverty has lead to one of the most serious issues of child labour in Pakistan. As known to all, our population in the rural areas due to their lack of education and understanding, increase the number of children in their households as to strenghthen their man-power and with the envisagement that they’d be helped by their very children to facilitate them in times of need and by working.

Such was the case of Shazia Masih, a thirteen year old girl who worked as a maid for Former President of Lahore Bar Association and was tortured to death in Lahore. The girl worked for a mere amount of money for her family, that many in Pakistan would squander in a day.

The Senate was recently informed of 3.3 million children in Pakistan as child-labourers.
A report was published in 2009 :

“In Pakistan children aged 5-14 are above 40 million. During the last year (2008), the
Federal Bureau of Statistics released the results of its survey funded by ILO’s
IPEC (International Program on the Elimination of Child Labour). The findings
were that 3.8 million children age group of 5-14 years are working in Pakistan
out of total 40 million children in this age group; fifty percent of these
economically active children are in age group of 5 to 9 years. Even out of these
3.8 million economically active children, 2.7 million were claimed to be working
in the agriculture sector. Two million and four hundred thousand (73%) of them
were said to be boys.”

Child labour is also associated with physical, mental and moral exploitation of children. Not only is the child-hood of these children crushed and drained away but their mental growth is also stunted. These children when once, start working for their ‘Sahabs’ or ‘Bajis’, are blatantly mistreated and remain underprivileged of their rights. They are often beaten up as ‘punishments’ for little mistakes that these children might commit such as stealing. And why wouldn’t they?

*A child as defined by UNICEF is anyone under the age of 18.

When these children see us, of their very own age group and yet living a luxurious life and more fortunate, they start buliding grievance and grudges inside them that can be stated as a reason for the rise in crimes of murder, robbery that these youths later commit.

Though child labour is an entirely different issue in itself, my intention behing writing this is that the next time one of us begins to gripe about a meal not cooked of our choice, be thankful and remember the many children in Pakistan who sleep without a shelter each day, with hunger pangs resting in their stomachs and no hope for a better future.
Look around yourselves and aim for a change by working in your own capacity to put an end to the suffering of those who are victims of such atrocities or impoverished in any shade for every one of these issues are inter-linked and if we don’t break this chain, no one will.

- Hafsa Khawaja

The Burqa and Burqini Threat


 

 

So the French Parliament finally passed the law against the burqa, igniting many controversies and anger from the Muslim community. France is home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority but the sight of fully-veiled women remains rare. Only 1,900 women wear a niqab, 90 percent of them under 40, according to interior ministry estimates.President Nicolas Sarkozy set the tone in June when he declared the burqa “not welcome” in France.
 
The French government is concerned over the burqa as they believe it is threatening their ‘values’. The point lies, isn’t France supposed to be secular? Tolerant of all religions and the people who follow the prescribed practises of their faith?
 
Even some Muslims second them,  they acknowledge the Quran preaches modesty, but they believe that it doesn’t say that you have to cover your face. This is not a requirement of Islam or the Quran according to them, also believing that the burqa is giving birth to radical Islam.                   

                                                                                                                                         
How can one determine whether all women who wear it are forced to wear it?
Though it can not be denied that many women are forced or dictated by their husbands or men of their house and their society to wear the burqa but every woman who wears a burqa anywhere in the world can certainly not be classified as one being oppressed to wear it. Muslim women do have the free will to decide what they want and alot of women who wear the abaya, burqa or niqab, wear it on the basis of their free will.                                                                                         

                                                      
The second point given by those Muslims in regard of their support for the ban is that the Quran preaches modesty but it isn’t in the Quran or Islam to cover the face or wear the burqa. One of the major reasons that they feel the burqa should not be considered related to religion is that it is not among the 5 pillars of Islam. This is absolutely absurd.. The 5 pillars of Islam are indeed an integral part of a Muslim’s life but so are Hadith and Sunnah. Why are Muslims  forbidden from committing adultery or ordered to help the destitue ? These may not be part of the pillars of Islam but part of the Quran.                                                                                                                                       

Islam may not preach the covering of the face but as there are 72 sects in Islam so are there numerous schools of thought in it. Each follows practices and traditions that they have derived from their interpretation of the Quran. Some consider the burqa as a necessity and entwined with the sacredness and sacrosanctity of religion.
Such sects and schools of thought can not be ignored in any country.

Wearing a burqa does not mean that one promotes radical Islam or the ‘Islam’ of the militants. This is sheer bias and discrimination.
How is France threatened by the burqa which is worn by a mere 1,900 women of the Muslim majority that resides there.

Columnist Masooda Bano once wrote an article in ‘The News’ that how would we feel if French women came around our streets and roads wearing mini-skirts, wouldn’t we ban them from this? For it will destroy our culture. This made me muse but after alot of pondering, I came to the conclusion that mini-skirts are fashion accessories not associated with religion as in the case of the burqa, which is considered a symbol of religious holiness.

Leaving alone the ungraspable problem of France with the burqa, it has already banned the hijab from being worn in schools etc in 2004. In regard of that the Human Rights Watch stated that the law is “an unwarranted infringement on the right to religious practice”.

Exactly what threat or fear does the wearing of hijab cause?
The leader of Sarkozy’s right-wing party in parliament, Jean-Francois Cope, has already presented draft legislation that would make it illegal for anyone to cover their faces in public on security grounds.

The Netherlands and Austria are considering a ban on the full veil, while Denmark said it would limit the use in public of the burka and niqab although stopping short of an outright ban.

The question is not only about the burqa but religious tolerance. It’s about all other forms of practices that are associated with religion. The veil exists both in Christianity and Judaism. Is that a ‘threat’ to French ‘values’ too? Will they be banned too?

Ironically, freedom of religion was one of the 17 points in the ‘Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen’ demanded and formed after the French Revolution stated as:

4. Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.

5. Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society. Nothing may be prevented which is not forbidden by law, and no one may be forced to do anything not provided for by law.

10. No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.”

As in Point no. 4,  any action which does not harm anyone is free to be practised by anyone. So on what grounds of harm or threat is the hijab or burqa?

Point no.10 is the most significant for the arguments in favour of the hijab and burqa, that no one shall be shackled on the basis of their religion in case it does not disturb public order.

It should be known to France, that the burqa is not a tradition or merely a culture but part of the religious culture of the second largest religion of this world, Islam. Religion is a matter of paramount importance, respect and sacredness.  And Islam is not just a religion but a way of life.

Freedom of religion is also enshrined in the French Constitution. The question arises? Where is the implementation of this?

 One can not force someone to draw a veil and neither can someone force someone to abandon it.

 

Moreover, France also seems to disrelish the ‘Burqini‘ , wearing which seems in no manner as threatening, an act of defiance or transgression of French values. It is a mere dress that Muslim women chose to wear to preserve and maintain their circle of decency that they must. 

“It was described as the perfect solution for Muslim women who want to swim but are uncomfortable about “revealing” bathing suits.”

The afore-mentioned lines are the only reason behind the Burqini. In what way does it affront the French? Why are those who wear it, disgracefully thrown out of pools or reprimanded?

Isn’t it usual for a person to have his reservations, aversions or opinions about certain things? If indeed some women do not wish to wear the Bikni or expose their faces and head by wearing the Burqa and Hijab to guard and follow their Islamic values, why is it deemed anomalous and shunned?

 

 

Had it not been for Islam being associated with these two dresses, one is left to think if the Burqa and Burqini had been show-cased at the Paris Fashion Week as an adornment for beautification or style , would they have still been banned or become the vogue? It is without any doubt, that this ban is a strangulation of freedom and an instrument for alienation.

 

France must remember that any proposed ‘liberation’  (that they base these bans on : stating that they are ‘liberating’ Muslim women ) can never be imposed on people. It is an oppression in its own right.

 

The French banned the burqa, the Swiss the minarets. It is even reported that some countries are musing over banning halal food.  These countries claim to be the torch-bearers of tolerance, human rights and freedom and development but what we see from the mind-set of their Governments is the portrayal of narrow-mindedness, hypocrisy and arrant ignorance of the basic rights of humans and disrespect for cultural and religious diversitywhich has sprung from their misunderstanding and wrong interpretation of Islam. Not only are they closing in on a peaceful practise but displaying discrimination and prejudice against a religion and the Muslims community. It is a shame and an out-right example of the growing Islamophobia in European nations.

- Hafsa Khawaja

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,296 other followers