Negligence or inability of public works department to deliver services- masses continue to suffer as the link roads not repaired so far
VoH Report
HUNZA, Karimabad, Hyderabad, Aliabad, August 31: As if it was not enough to face the troubles away from the families, who are already in trouble. A truck driver and cleaner got injuries in a road mishap at Karimabad, Hunza on last Sunday. Karakorum High Way ruined at various points right from the Besham to Khujarab pass during torrential rains and subsequent flooding along different nallahs in the region.

HUNZA, Hyderabad:Broken walls along parrallel link road poses heavy vehicles to threats. VoH Photo
Interestingly, a link road already with bad conditions due to lack of attention on part of public works department, provided a substitute for flow of traffic. Yet, with continuous rains, the walls and intersections at various places weakened gradually. The concerned department took little interest in the matter on pretext of lack of personnel and fuel. Constant flooding in three main nallahs namely, Phroo, Asaha,and Hyderbad Har (nallah) largely inundated KKH, leaving no option for public transport but to use only Aliabad, Karimabad and Ganish link road as alternate route.

HUNZA, Karimabad: A truck carrying goods from Attaabad blockade heading to down city ion last Saturday overturned due to bad road condition. Authorities allowed both heavy and light vehicles without ensuring proper repair of the Aliabad via Karimabad to Ganish link road. Image by Shams
Few days earlier, a fleet of trucks carrying Chinese goods was allowed to use the same route in mid night without considering its condition. Consequently, last truck carrying tyres overturned, leaving two injured and ruined the potato crops under. Concerned department, instead of taking proper measures tried to place responsibility on the owner of the field who had left few stones on one side of the route. Public circles called upon regional government to repair this vital link road to facilitate not only the population along which it passes but also to have an alternative to use in times of necessity.

Relief goods from Chinese government reached Gojal
VoH Report
GOJAL, Khyber, August 31: According to media sources, around 50 trucks loaded with around 3000 tons of relief items donated by Chinese government for Attaabad land slide affectees finally reached first Sost and then Khyber, Gojal on Monday. The goods including edible items and petroleum products were dispatched by Chinese government a week earlier which reached Sost dry port few days ago.
According to the officials that thousands of tons of relief goods would be distributed among the slide affected areas in Upstream to avert food crisis during the closure of Sino-Pakistan border for about next six months in winter. Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah received the Chinese delegation in the form of convoy first at Sost during a special ceremony and then most of them were transferred to Gulmit, tehsil headquarter Gojal. He, on behalf of Gilgit-Baltistan government thanked Chinese government saying her a time-tested friend of Pakistan that helped us whenever it needed. Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fatah Muhammad, Force commander and other government officials were also present on the occasion. Later, Chinese representatives handed over relief goods to the Pakistani officials which is said to be utilized to cope the new challenge in terms of scarcity of petroleum products in the region. Pakistani officials paid gratitude for aid package in hard times.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, GB remain disconnected for a month
VoH Monitor
GILGIT, August 29: The ground links between Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan and various areas in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa continue to remain disconnected for the past one month.
The supplying of medicines and relief items to Madin, Behreen and Kalam was carried on with the help of helicopters due to the clear climate. However, link roads and power supply could not be restored even after the passage of one whole month. Water is still standing in different areas of Nowshehra and Charsadda which are proving to be breeding grounds for many diseases.
Meanwhile, shortage of food and petroleum products has adopted a shape of crises in Gilgit-Baltistan where edibles are being sold at rates 200 percent higher than actual prices.
Courtesy: Geo News

Vulnerable route links take two lives in a mishap on KKH in Dubari nallah, Kohistan; teams busy in search of bodies downstream
VoH Report
CHILAS, Aug. 27: Two persons lost their lives while crossing a makeshift bridge constructed on Karakorum High Way (KKH) on Thursday. According to media reports, Gul-Bahar, 32, resident of Hussainabad, Lower Hunza was traveling from Karachi to Gilgit. After reaching at Dubari, a suburb of Kohistan district, they had to cross a makes shift bridge being used as the only link connecting Gilgit-Baltistan and down cities. Carrying two year old son Noman Ali like other travelers, he tried to cross the makeshift bridge constructed over Dubari nallah in Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa. When Gul Bahar reached in the middle of the bridge, suddenly he lost his balance and fell his son in the terrible stream. He jumped into the stream to save his son, desperately, but in vein as the intensity of water swept the two simultaneously.
Sources told VoH via telephone that the unfortunate wife of Gul Bahar is an under treatment blood cancer patient at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi. Her three Children including Noman, who lost his life in this mishap, were traveling to their home town during summer vacations. Karakorum High Way has now become a highly risky route for travelers following a huge devastation along down to Khyber-Pakhtoon Khwa province as vulnerable bridges built to facilitate as the only land link continue to pose threat to public traveling from and to region.

Policemen among 17 arrested in Gilgit
VoH News Watch
GILGIT, August 27: The police arrested 17 people, including three police, August 26 on charges of involvement in heavy aerial firing and torching three houses in Gilgit August 25, media reported. The Punjab Rangers and the Northern Area Scouts have been called in to maintain law and order, Aaj News reported. The government also issued a shoot-on-sight order, Dawn reported.Two rival groups carried out heavy aerial firing and torched three houses of August 25 near Yadgar Chowk– an area where two people were shot to death a day earlier. Source: Central Asia on Line

Shoot-on-sight order in Gilgit after heavy firing
Monitoring Desk

GILGIT, August 26: A shoot-on-sight order was issued after two rival groups resorted to heavy aerial firing soon after Iftar near Yadgar Chowk here on Wednesday, police said. Two people were gunned down in the same area on Tuesday.

GILGIT: Law enforcement agencies took control of the city following sectranian clashes.
Image by Reuters

Sources said that paramilitary troops and police came to the area only after the shootout subsided. More than 70,000 bullets were fired. Three houses were burnt, but there were no casualties. Gilgit’s assistant commissioner told to a national daily that the situation eased after the administration called in Punjab Rangers and Northern Area scouts.Police sources said that no arrest had been made nor did they register any case. Incidents of firing were also reported from Nagaral, Kashrote, Majini Muhallah and some other parts of the region.
Couresty:Dawn News

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Posted by Shamsuddin Muhammad on Monday

One tragedy after the another but in a different forms both man made and natural one has took the comparatively back ward mountain region of Gilgit-Baltistan into its tyrant claws for more than last two decades. One of them more or less can be traced into current incidents where a man inspirited by his religious beliefs on extreme try to conquer rest of the people through coercion and black mailing is posing human lives to the risk in the area where influence of community is considerably strong. Following huge devastation both in terms of human lives and property losses, now Gilgit, the capital city is struck by miscreants for more than a week. The suspension of land link through Karakorum High way in the wake of torrential rains that washed away bridges in down stream right to Bisham, Thakot and Shattial inflicted fury and served to strengthen financial burden on the backward region. People were in confusion as in case of food crisis and impending starvation the whole population was at stake. Suddenly, an additional dilemma emerged from the ground that compelled every one to think over our inability to learn lesson from the curse God almighty has inflicted for our internal disharmony, injustices, wickedness, lack of tolerance and patience, no respect for humanity, absence of sense of accountability before Lord and support right against wrong. Peace destroyers have embark upon a quest to harm the developing unity among different school of thoughts and hidden hands seems in action with little consideration of country’s law leading poor masses to bewilderment. Despite of expression of concerns from intelligentsia and different social and political circles of mushrooming of prejudices and favoritism on sectarian lines, both political and civil administration took the case with ease. Gradually, certain religious lobbies, both at Global, national and regional level started to bolster agendas to impose their doctrines using coercion. Now the giant came out of bottle which seems beyond control of law enforcement agencies, virtually evident from successive incidents ranging from burning of houses to assassinations at different localities of the city, commercial hub of the region. Local after failure to control the menace, civil administration after a high level meeting with political administration has called army and rangers to impose curfew, bring the social life to grinding halt. According to media reports, door to door search operation is underway and shoot to kill at sight orders were issued by authorities to reduce the enlarging gap between both parties. Culprits have reportedly set many houses on blaze and there were no confirmations that how much human and property loss has occurred during the last three days violence. Sectarianism is not a phenomenon , rather an old wine that continued to appear at different intervals from the Zia’s sponsored first ever clashes in late eighties, a year before withdrawal of USSR from Afghanistan in quest to persecute those against a certain religious doctrine especially Shiates on one hand and to show teeth to China, a socialist parallel emerging power against US. Though, the Zia’s armed campaign ended with failure, yet it succeeded to bow the seeds of disharmony, distrust, abhorrence, extremism and lack of tolerance among different sects in the region. Gilgit-Baltistan is now more susceptible by even a small incident and in a situation where people still are disconnected to down cities, the main supply line from essentials to general items can not afford another menace in terms of to sectarian unrest.
A conscious citizen of this lawless land my think for a while that despite of presence of dozens of law enforcement and intellectual agencies how culprits get succeed to inflict harm to the regional peace? Those in higher ranks of these agencies may give relevant answer. Yet, generally, much more is said in the bottom and every one know what are those. One of the main reasons of nourishment of such an anti social tendencies is that those involved in such nefarious activities were never punished in anti terror courts. Actual culprits found a safe heaven to play their dirty game as their supporters help them to make a subterfuge easily. The intensity of abhorrence among one faith against another strengthened every year as flames of sectarian rift in the beautiful valleys of the region have gone unnoticed. In sum, security of life, irrespective of his or her caste, creed, ideology, religious thought and ethnicity is should be the top priority of the government or in simple of law enforcement agencies. We hope, this time authorities would chalk out a grand strategy to undertake an operation clean up campaign to get the people of the region of the menace of sectarian extremism.


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Pakistan sends team to investigate cricket scam claims
Monitoring Desk
ISLAMABAD, August 30: Investigators from Pakistan are flying to London to examine allegations that some of its cricketers were involved in a betting scam.
The Federal Investigation Agency team will study claims that two players deliberately bowled no-balls during the final test against England at Lord's.Police have questioned four players.
The three members of the team from the FIA - Pakistan's highest law enforcement agency - will join Scotland Yard officers in investigating claims by The News of the World that it paid cricket agent Mazhar Majeed £150,000 to provide advance details of when three no-balls would be bowled. The paper alleges gamblers could make a fortune out of betting on such an outcome. Mr Majeed, 35, has been released on police bail after being arrested on Saturday on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers.Source:

Breaches made to save Warah at Dadu’s cost
VoH Watch Dog
LARKANA/ DADU, August 29: Six breaches were made in a canal on the border between Shahdadkot and Dadu on Saturday in the presence of elected representatives to save the town of Warah from flooding amid resistance from people living on the Dadu side.

PAKISTAN, Sindh: Submerged villages in Southern province Sindh. Image by: Reuters

Nazeer Ahmed Bughio, an MNA who visited the Dhamraho canal along with Sindh Food Minister Mir Nadir Magsi and MPA Najam Abro, told Dawn that there was no resistance and floodwaters had been provided its ‘natural route’. The cuts had been made between Supro bund and MNV drain near Kando Wah and Garhi villages, he said, adding that the move had allowed the water to run its natural course towards what he described as katcha area.Mr Bughio said had cuts not been made, the mounting pressure and subsequent overflow of water from Naseer Shakh (branch) could have posed a serious threat to Mehar and Khairpur Nathan Shah.
Sources said that more than 40 villages were under water and most of the residents had abandoned their homes. About 20,000 people of Shahdadkot (population 200,000) who had fled the town have returned home. An executive engineer of the irrigation department said that eight breaches had occurred in the Khirthar canal. Dawn News

Pakistani army boosted by floods reaction
Monitoring Desk
PESHAWAR, August, 27: Pakistan's rulers face criticism over the flood crisis, but the army, tarnished by its role in government and by military offensives - has boosted its image. Zarinabad is a small village of a few thousand people, close to Peshawar, in north-west Pakistan.More than three weeks ago, it was swallowed up by floodwater. Within a day, the villagers said, the water rose to a height of more than 15 metres (49ft). Now it has started to recede - but the level is still far too high for the villagers to think about going back to their houses. Instead they are living in tents on a narrow ridge of high ground, overlooking their waterlogged homes.

Men from the village waded back and forth through shoulder-high water, slowly salvaging their belongings, a few at a time. Plates, pots, low wooden beds, even an old sewing machine, all covered in dirty, noxious mud. Since the floods came, they have had tents and a regular supply of clean drinking water and food, they said, provided by a German aid agency. But they had received nothing from the government. As the men gathered, their anger was clear.
'Won't vote' "We always used to vote for the ruling party, the Pakistan People's Party," one man said. "But we haven't had a scrap of help from them. Next time there's an election, we won't vote for them.
There was high praise though for the international agencies and for the army. "The army did a really good job," said another man. The crowd nodded. They went into the water and tried to pull out each and every individual who was stranded in the water ”End Quote Col Ahsan Mahmood Army Service Corps relief camp commander, "They set up three medical camps and they came with helicopters and rescued about 20 people from my village."
A nearby army camp, part of the Army Service Corps, is now also a place of refuge. The army school has been taken over by homeless families, evicted by the floodwater.The cement-floor classrooms had been converted into informal dormitories for women and children.Most of the families had been able to go home, the army officers said, but people whose houses had been destroyed simply had nowhere else to go.The camp commander is Col Ahsan Mahmood.
Asked about the army's rescue and relief work and its impact on their public image, he admitted that the army's reputation, tarnished by recent offensives in South Waziristan, had needed boosting. Nusrat, a teacher in the army school, is now living in her own classroom - another victim of the flood. She says the army's relief work has made a big difference to people's attitudes.

Back to old ways?
Visiting newly flooded areas in Sindh Province in the south of Pakistan - and to the north-west - the general impression on the ground is that much of the public anger about the way this crisis is being handled and aid delivered is targeted at the government.But Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to the US, challenged the idea that the government's image was suffering at the expense of the army.During a brief visit to Islamabad, he said the army was an agent of the government, not in competition with it."It's not the civilian government that has helicopters and boats to be able to come to the rescue," he said. Courtesy: BBC News

Ahmad Faraz’s 2nd death anniversary observed
Monitoring Report
ISLAMABAD, Aug 25 (APP): Second death anniversary of progressive Urdu poet, Ahmed Faraz, considered as one of the greatest modern Urdu poets of the last century was observed on Wednesday and he died in Islamabad on August 25, 2008. Ahmed Faraz, who has been compared with Faiz Ahmed Faiz, holds a unique position as one of the best poets of current times, with a fine but simple style of writing. Ethnically a Hindko speaking Pashtoon, Ahmed Faraz studied Persian and Urdu at Peshawar University, where he later became a lecturer, a private news channel reported.
Ahmad Faraz was born in Kohat, In an interview with Rediff, he recalled how his father once bought clothes for him on Eid. He didn’t like the clothes meant for him, but preferred the ones meant for his elder brother. This led him to write his first couplet:Layen hain sab ke liye kapre sale se (He brought clothes for everybody from the sale) Layen hain hamare liye kambal jail se (For me he brought a blanket from jail) He was once told by his parents to learn mathematics from a class fellow during summer vacation. “I was weak in mathematics and geography. I stilldon’t remember maps and roads”. Coming from a respectable family of Syeds, descendents of “Haji Bahadar” a famous saint of Kohat, he moved to Peshawar with his entire family.Having studied from the renowned Edwards College, Peshawar, Faiz then did his Masters in Urdu and Persian from Peshawar University. During his time in college, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Ali Sardar Jafri were the best progressive poets, who influenced him and became his role models. Outspoken about politics, he went into self-imposed exile during Zia-ul-Haq’s era after he was arrested for reciting certain poems at a mushairacriticizing the military rule. He stayed for in Britain, Canada and Europe for six years before returning to Pakistan, where he was initially appointed Chairman Academy of Letters and later, Chairperson of the Islamabad based National Book Foundation for several years. He has been awarded with numerous national and international awards. He was awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 2004 in recognition of his literary achievements. He returned the award in 2006 after becoming disenchanted with the government and its policies. “My conscious will not forgive me if remained a silent spectator of the sad happenings around us. The least I can do is to let the dictatorship know where it stands in the eyes of the concerned citizens whose fundamental rights have been usurped. I am doing this by returning the Hilal-e-Imtiaz ivil) forthwith and refuse to associate myself in any way with the regime,” a statement issued by the poet. About his recent writings he said: “I now only write when I am forced to from the inside.”

A Couplet of Ahmed Faraz in which he describes about the experiences of his life.

Maintaining a tradition established by his mentor, the revolutionary Faiz Ahmed Faiz, he wrote some of his best poetry during those days in exile.Famous amongst poetry of resistance has been “Mahasara.” Despite his deteriorating health, he was quite active in the Judicial Crisis in 2007. He himself joined the lawyers to protest against the government, and also encouraged his colleagues to do the same. He once came to Glasgow at the invitation of Zia ul Haq Qureshi, a Pakistani businessman and father of human rights campaigner, Robina Qureshi. Mr. Qureshi loved poetry, philosophy and was instrumental in raising the funds to build Glasgow Central Mosque. In July 2008, a rumor was spread that Ahmed Faraz had died in ahospital in Chicago. Faraz’s physician, Tahir Rohail MD who was a childhood friend of Faraz’s son Shibli Faraz, was quick to deny this erroneous report, but it was confirmed that Faraz was exceedingly ill. Faraz’s health continued to deteriorate and he died from kidney failure in a local Islamabad hospital on August 25, 2008. His funeral was carried out on the evening of the 6th, and attended by many admirers and government officials at H-8 Graveyard, Islamabad, Pakistan. Before his death, Faraz made his stand clear against terrorism.

AMARC and Pakistan Press Foundation Appeal for Setting up Community Radio in Flood Affected Areas in Pakistan
Press Release ISLAMABAD, August 25: The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) and the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) appeal to the Government of Pakistan and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to allow setting up of emergency community radio stations in areas that have suffered from the current floods in Pakistan. We call upon all concerned agencies in Pakistan to be flexible and responsive to proposals for the establishment of community based broadcasting mechanisms so that any Information gap that exists among the affected people is fulfilled and relief operations are made highly effective. AMARC offers its knowledge an d expert cy broadcasting mechanisms, gathered from working around the world in similar situations of natural disasters. The important role of community radio in times of natural disaster for aiding relief operations as well as for supporting rehabilitation and rebuilding has been proven many times over. The recent examples of the positive power of community radio was seen in the earthquakes of Haiti and Chile where AMARC played an important role in facilitating the setting up of emergency broadcasting stations. It was not so long ago that community radios were brought to the forefront of the efforts to provide relief andrehabilitate those affected by the tsunami and floods in Indonesia. AMARC and PPF highly appreciate the valuable work being carried out by radio stations in the flood affected areas. There is a need to complement theses efforts by bridging the gaps of information at the very local levels and among displaced peoples. Th is can b setting up emergency community radio stations. AMARC, PPF and all other AMARC members in Pakistan offer sincere condolences to the amilies of those that have perished in the floods in Pakistan. We offer our solidarity and prayers to those that have suffered huge emotional and material losses and extend our support to those that are engaged in helping the affected. AMARC is an international non-governmental organization serving the community radio movement in over 110 countries, and advocating for the right to communicate at the international, national, local and neighbourhood levels. The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) is an independent, non-profit organization that carries out media development activities such as the training of journalists, the promotion of standards of journalism, and the defence of the rights of media to free expression. The organization also promotes greater awareness of social and development issues through media. PPF is also involved in developing the capacities of FM radio stations to produce news and current affairs programmes so that citizens, both rural and urban are kept aware of developments that affect their lives. Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

UNPO calls for Direct Relief Funds for Gilgit-Baltistan
By: B.Rehman
Monitoring Report
KATHMANDU, Chenai, August 25: The secular Awami National Party (ANP) led Government of Khyber Pakhtunkwa and the nationalist organizations of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan have issued separate appeals to the international community for assisting them to meet the tremendous loss of lives and economic damages suffered by them due to the current floods in Pakistan. Their direct appeals to the international community were triggered off by their fears that the bulk of the assistance amounting to US $ 800 million pledged by the international community at the special session of the UN General Assembly on August 19,2010, would be utilized by the Pakistan Government to assist the flood victims in Punjab and Sindh to the detriment of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkwa, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan. There are already indications of discrimination against the people of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.
While the Federal Government in Islamabad has been liberally issuing visas to volunteers of Western humanitarian relief organizations to do flood relief work in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunwa, severe restrictions have been imposed on the issue of visas to foreign relief workers wanting to work in Balochistan and Gilgit- Baltistan. The presence of a large number of foreign relief workers on the ound will ensure that an independent estimate of the damages suffered by the people and the assistance required by them will reach Western Governments and audiences so that they can ensure that the needs of these areas are not ignored by the Federal Government. In the absence of independent foreign humanitarian workers in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, the international community will not be able to correctly assess their requirements and assist them.
While there is some understanding in the international community of the need to monitor the utilization of the aid being given to ensure that all the affected areas get their due share, no proper mechanism has een laid down for this purpose. The Western preoccupation has been on three pre-requisites. Firstly, to ensure that there is no corruption in the handling of the aid amounts. Secondly, to prevent the flow of any part of the assistance into the coffers of the terrorist organizations. And, thirdly, to pay adequate attention to the needs of Khyber Pakhtunkwa and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which constitute the Pashtun belt, in the hope of thereby weaning the local people away from Al Qaeda and the Afghan and Pakistani Talibans. Aware of the interest of the West in assisting the affected people of the Pashtun belt, the Federal Government has so far not imposed any curbs on foreign humanitarian workers enjoying the confidence of their Governments going to these areas. Despite this favourable attention to the Pashtun areas from the West---particularly from the US--- there are strong fears even in Khyber Pakhtunkwa that the Federal Government might divert the bulk of the assistance to Punjab and Sindh. It is for this reason that the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkwa has made a direct appeal to the international community to take note of its requirement and to directly assist the people of the State. The “Dawn” of Karachi wrote on August 21: “It is the first time after the adoption of the 18th Amendment that a provincial government totally bypassed the Federal government in seeking direct foreign assistance. The move so exposed differences between the centre and the province over the rehabilitation lans.”As part of this exercise to seek direct assistance from the international community over the head of the Federal Government, the ANP-led Government of the province convened on August 20 a conference at Peshawar attended by representatives of many foreign diplomatic missions in Islamabad and non-Governmental humanitarian relief organizations. The “Dawn” has quoted Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the provincial Information Minister, as saying as follows: “It is our prerogative as the 18th Amendment has given us constitutional powers to undertake this initiative.” The paper has quoted another ANP representative, who has not been named, as saying: “The provincial government has been pushing federal authorities to hold this conference immediately, but they appeared reluctant.” Taking advantage of the interest of the West in assisting the Pashtun victims, the Government of the province has directly contacted the representatives of the Western Governments and non-governmental organizations and sought relief and reconstruction assistance worth US $ three billion. The affected people of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan find themselves ignored by the international community. The Western non-governmental workers have been kept away from these areas by the Federal Government. Since the Balochs and the people of Gilgit- Baltistan, who are largely Shias, have kept away from Al Qaeda and its affiliates, their plight has not evoked much interest in the international community. In a direct appeal to the international community, Mr.Abdul Hamid Khan of the Balawaristan National Front of Gilgit-Baltistan has stated as follows: “ 52 people have died and 160 rendered homeless in The village Qamrah of occupied Gilgit Baltistan region, and 22 have died, 40 rendered homeless in village Talas, 45 died and 70 injured in Giyes of Diamar. Similarly, in Talas 22 people were killed and 40 houses estroyed while in Hotoo, Rondu, Darel, Tangir, Botogah, Khinar, Thor, Hoodoor,Babusar, Gini, Hunza, Nagir, Chhamoogardh Colony of Konodas and Skarkooi, Gilgit, Ghowadi Baltistan, Yasen, Gulaper, Isshqaman, Damas, Ginday, Sandhi, Hondoor, Dahrkoot, Mastuj, Booni, Garam Chashma, Yarkhoon in Chitral, and Koli and Pattan in Kohistan over 500 people have lost their lives whereas, more than half a million have become homeless and nearly 50,000 families have completely lost everything, including land, shelter, livestock and all means of iving". The Army, which maintains an iron hold over Balochistan despite the supposed presence of an elected Government there, has seen to it that Balochistan would not be a beneficiary of the assistance funds and that the real extent of the damages in Balochistan would not be known to the outside world. It thus wants to punish the Balochs for waging their freedom struggle. Source:Guardian Sri lanka

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Posted by Shamsuddin Muhammad on Friday

Impact of unemployment, adverse financial circumstances, poverty, social injustices-A man died of suicide attempt
VoH Report
HUNZA,Nasirabad, Aug 24: A man has reported died of suicide attempt yesterday night in Nasirabad.

HUNZA, Nasirabad: The body of deceased is kept on ground in front of people before burial. Image by: Shams

According to the details, a man named as Shamsher , 38 son of Dudal Baig resident of Nasirabad, indigenoulsy called Hindi committed suicide for an unknown reason by opening fire by a 30 bore pistol in his upper torso at 10:00 P.M on Monday in Nasirabad Hindi, lower Hunza limits. A local told Voice of Hunza that his father, a witness of the incident tried to stop him but he showed him gun and threaten to shot dead and immediately he opened fire on himself through a pistol gun. A local police person reached the spot and asked the family not to move the body till the police not arrive and take the body into custody to ascertain the reason of attempt. Interestingly, police could arrive at 9:00 A.M, around 11 hours later of the death of man. Police took the the body to civil hospital and after formal procedures brought to his ancestral town. The 38 years decease Shamsher, according to locals and his family was facing adverse financial circumstance, subsequent poverty and he left four sons and two daughters and wife behind. He was buried among hundreds in the ancestral graveyard in the afternoon.

Terror revisits Gilgit city, three died several inured; curfew imposed, pillion riding prohibited, law enforcement agencies strats door to door search opeation in trouble localities
VoH Report
GILGIT, August 24: Gilgit, the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan is currently under the wave of terror. According to the media reports, region was hardly able manage to get out of hurdles inflicted by floods that destroyed links for three weeks, fresh wave of sectarian violence has posed lives of common man on stake. Unknown assailants reportedly killed two persons in Khomer locality and one sustain injuries, plunging city into fear and uncertainties. Law enforcement agencies including army have been called in to control situation. Pillion riding is prohibited and curfew has been imposed to avert any further mishap and restore law and order situation in violence hit areas like Kashrote, Khomer, and Nagheral in the city.
An intense gun battle that ensued between the two sides following an attack on a vehicle at Yadgar Chowk the whole city fell into hand of culprits for many hours on Wednesday too. Following a high level meeting, presided by Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah, authorities decided to impose curfew and issued shoot to kill at sight door to door search operations in the city.
In spite of vigilance of law enforcement agencies, successive incident at different vicinities have increased anxiety of citizens who have been confined to their residences during curfew. Humanitarian organizations have demanded of government to give ease for few hours to public to allow them to buy the necessities of life.

Gilani gives Rs 50 million for flood affected of Gilgit Baltistan
Monitoring Report
GILGIT, August 23: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Monday handed over a cheque of Rs 50 million to the Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan for the urgent purchase of food, medicine and relief goods for the flood affected people.The Prime Minister who is here on a day long visit to meet the people who have been displaced and affected by the recent heavy rains assured that the government would do all within its means to help the people. He handed over cheque of Rs 50 million to the Chief Minister for acquisition of urgent goods. Gilani was briefed at the airport about the devastation and urgent requirements of the area.Prime Minister Gilani also directed that 10 mobile medical units including male and female staff and Lady Health Visitors would be dispatched to the area. Besides, Gilani said, a field hospital with necessary equipment would also be rushed to the area.
Gilani when informed that the area had only ten days more of wheat left, assured that the government would ensure supply of wheat to the area. Accompanied by Ministers of Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Law Babar Awan, Communications Arbab Alamgir Khan and Chairman Pakistan Baitul Maal Zamurrad Khan, Gilani later went to visit Ganche and Diamir, to see for himself the devastation. Prime Minister Gilani met Chief Operating Manager of World Health Organisation Dr Altaf Musani while on his way to Gilgit from Islamabad, and assured that the organisation would do all to counter any epidemic in the flood affected areas, The Nation Reports.

Gilani assures federal govt’s support to GB
Monitoring desk
HUNDAR VILLAGE, Ghizer, Aug 23 (APP): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani had an aerial view of the flood affected areas of District Ghizer in Gilgit Baltistan on Monday and extended full support of the federal government to the rain and flood affected people.Gilani visited the Hundar village in District Ghizer and paid his respects at the grave of Lalak Jan Shaheed by laying a wreath.He was accompanied by Ministers of Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Law Babar Awan and Communications Arbab Alamgir Khan, and Chairman of Pakistan Baitul Maal Zamurrad Khan. He later went around a medical relief camp set up for flood affected people of Ghizer by District Support Unit in coordination with Peoples Primary Health Care Initiative (PPHI). Addressing a gathering, Prime Minister Gilani assured rebuilding and reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure, including roads, bridges, schools and other facilities. He said the people of Ghizer always supported the political philosophy and policies of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto and said the government would not leave them alone in this hour of trial. The Prime Minister said he had come to express solidarity with the people affected by floods and share their grief at this difficult time. He accepted all demands of the displaced people and directed the authorities not to dislodge them from the relief camps and schools and make some alternate arrangements for the students of this school. Gilani said he was aware of the food availability problem in the area and had given money to the Chief Minister so that he might get essential food supplies. The Prime Minister also talked to some children and women and listened to their problems. Chief Minister Mehdi Shah hailed Gilani as a leader following the foot prints of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto and visiting far flung areas to address the problems of people. He said Ghizer was a stronghold of PPP and can be termed as Larkana of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Two boats collided near Gulmit following a rift between boat operators
VoH Report
HUNZA, GOJAL, Gulmit, Aug 21: Two boats collided in the mid of 325 feet deep Attaabad landslide spawned lake near Gulmit on Thursday morning. According to the details, operators of two boats fought over the travel charges from Upstream to barrier in the early morning.

HUNZA, GOJAL, Gulmit: The two boats that collided with each other following a rift between its operators are being brought to Gulmit Police station for endangering lives of dozens of people on board. Photo by: Shams

Two hours later, the rift among both resulted into collision of boats coming from opposite directions. Nasir Ahmed, a resident of Gulmit told VoH that when the boats came in closed to Gulmit, the tehsil headquarter of Gojal, Upper Hunza; one of the operator brought his boat suddenly in front of other heading towards barrier, exchanged hot words immediately, collided into another and those on deck fell on the its floor. Fortunately, neither of the boat overturned in the incident. Annoyed travelers tried to teach lesson to the operators. Yet, elders on the occasion intervened and both the operators were handed over to police after filing an FIR for jeopardizing lives of people on board.
Locals have blamed local administration for taking huge amounts from boat owners and operators who let them loose to misbehave overcharge travelers. They have demanded of authorities to take action against some of the personnel of local administration filling their pockets through unfair means.

Loss of Innocence: Children of Gilgit Suffer most due to Natural Calamities
Monitoring Report
Gilgit,August 17:Lost,sick or orphaned, children are the worst affected by a series of natural disasters to rock Gilgit Baltistan in recent times. Living in squalid camps, with hunger and disease and no proper education,the survival of many youngsters hangs in the balance. Courtesy: Live Leak

Vulnerable patients in Gilgit-Baltistan

BY: Dr.Emma Varley
VoH Watch

GILGIT, August 16: In the early afternoon of August 11 in the Labour Room at the Family wing of Gilgit Town’s District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ), Gilgit-Baltistan’s only tertiary-level referral hospital, a Lady Health Visitor (LHV) doubled-up in pain from stomach cramps while waiting to help deliver ‘Shaista’. The frightened young mother, expecting her first child, had been brought by her family to deliver at the DHQ from Shikyot, a 35-minute drive from Gilgit Town. Following the birth of a healthy baby girl, a Senior LHV stitched ‘Shaista’s’ episiotomy wound under the weak light of a cell phone held by a trainee midwife. Without electricity or overhead fans, the room was darkened and stifling; two small curtained windows were open to catch what was only a light summer breeze.
Many of the DHQ’s Family Wing staff complained that, due to contaminated drinking water, they are falling ill with dysentery. They added that, as a result of a total lack of in-town electricity and running water, they are also unable to clean the Labour Room or adequately sterilize surgical instruments. The Labour Room’s one small autoclave is now non-operational so, between patients, the DHQ’s Lady Health Visitors resort to bathing instruments in a sterilising solution of Biodine. Attending staff attempt to offset the potential for postpartum infections by living prescriptions for antibiotics to every patient. However, in light of high regional rates of Hepatitis, the risks facing delivering mothers and attending staff at the under-equipped DHQ are now significantly amplified. Because no generator is available to supply power to the Family Wing’s Operation Theater, delivery patients are being shifted by the hospital’s one working ambulance to the DHQ’s primary Operation Theater, a short drive down the road from the Family Wing. Women arriving at the hospital during the overnight shift are being delivered by candle-light.
In the ante-natal and postpartum suites adjacent to the Labour Room, flies circled over beds covered by soiled and wrinkled sheets. Without water or power, the beds had not been changed in over a week. In between patients on what turned out to be an unusually busy day, the Labour Room staff spoke emotionally about the challenges they face while handling numerous complicated delivery cases over extended shifts in the total absence of basic necessities. Given nearly non-existent supplies of diesel and petrol and a shortage of public transportation, they also shared the difficulties they experience trying to reach the DHQ from in-town mohallas and the villages surrounding Gilgit’s outskirts. Some also personally recounted the troubles posed by the recent crisis. Speaking to me from a patient’s bedside in the postpartum recovery room, a dayah (midwife), her eyes red from exhaustion, recounted how her family has recently lost most of their agricultural fields to a surge of floodwater in Nomal, a village above the Hunza River a short drive to the north of Gilgit.
Following the start of rains yet again today, the situation at the DHQ continues to deteriorate. With Gilgit-Baltistan’s maternal Mortality ratio (MMR) already hovering somewhere between 250 and 600 per 100,000 live births – among the highest in Pakistan – one can only imagine how many women will lose their life to pregnancy or childbirth complications during these trying days. In the meantime, with the Karakoram Highway still blocked, the supplies necessary to ensure safe deliveries at the DHQ are quickly disappearing. The pressures placed on this hospital by the needs of an estimated 1.5 million residents – especially at a time when floods and landslides are directly and indirectly affecting hundreds of thousands throughout Gilgit-Baltistan – are profound. As of August 13, methergine (to prevent postpartum hemorrhage), ldomet (to treat hypertensive patients), buscopan (an antispasmodic), socigone (a painkiller), dextrose IVs and injectible antibiotics are not currently available and are urgently needed. Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan’s Family Health Hospital which, after the DHQ, boasts the highest regional OB-GYN outpatient attendance rates, has closed as a result of acute supply shortages. And the Aga Khan Health Service’s Gilgit Medical Center, which had shifted from its original riverside location to the Family Health Hospital building in May due to the
impending threat posed by the Attabad dam, has also shut down. The only remaining maternity hospitals are the DHQ, which continues to suffer from no power and water, and the fully-operational Combined Military Hospital (CMH), where patient access is limited due to the comparatively high cost of its services. On a day ordinarily marked by festivities, and with streets free of traffic, this increasingly silent city demonstrated no signs of Jashn-e-Azadi celebrations. The flags and banners characteristic of previous years’ events were not to be seen.

Dr.Emma Varley is a Killam Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Bioethics (Dalhousie University) and a visiting professor, Dept of Humanities & Social Sciences (LUMS).
Source: Dawn

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The whole of the country in general and Gilgit-Baltistan is said to be passed through another critical phase. Continual torrential rains, floods coupled with constant landsliding has brought widespread devastation across the country. Land links with numerous far flung places like that of Baltistan, Ghizer, Dimer and Astore district still not restored and it is hard to ascertain exactly the magnitude of loss inflicted by the sudden disaster. According to the media reports dozens of both residential and cattle houses have been ruined,killed more than 80 people and dozens are reportedly said missing while devastated floods have rendered hundreds of people homeless throughout Gilgit-Baltistan region. Rescue operations reinforced with army, police and local volunteers has affected following land sliding and expected flooding. Washing away of bridges and land properties in various district has served to create fear and anxiety among the masses. Virtually, except few cities and towns, wicked waves of torrential rains have destroyed the country right from Gilgit-Baltistan in the North to Tattah in the South and Kharan in the South-West.
Heavy rain pour coupled with ligthning, flesh floods have inflicted devastation across low lying areas along Indus and its tributeries in Khyber Pakhtoonkhawa, Punjab, Sindh,Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK as well, innundating hundreds of villages, damaged thousands of property, killing around 1500 people and leaving aroung 1.2 million homeless accumulately. The situation continues to worsen as various areas of central, Western and Southern province, Tendoilahiyar, Dera Ghazi Khan, for instance, remained disconnected from rest of country for more than two days and rescue teams have reportedly failed to reach numerous affected areas in the Interior Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa. Indus and its tributaries coming out of Hamalaya, Karakorum and Hindukush and flow along Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and finally enter into Pakistan wrecked havoc in downstream.Global community fulfilling its pledges provided a substantial amount of around 400 million dollars as aid package to devastated Pakistan. TV channels broadcast ed continuously people stuck within huge flowing of floods along their families waiting for rescue for hours hopelessly; few reports claimed that many people lost their lives of bites of snakes in running water. Federal government, after an embarrassment among world community over taking case with ease that relied on armed forces alone, declared emergency after intensity of flooding approached further areas.Global community, according to media reports pledged to give aid of around 400 million dollars to straggle to deal with the new challenges posed across the country. Yet, according to UN sources, even the quarter of the aid announced earlier not reached so far.
The people of both the down cities, towns and villages and country side areas like that of Gilgit-Baltistan, an area frequently hit by natural disasters recently is also a great sufferer. The main bridges at Bisham, Thakot and Shitial have washed away by flesh flood and according to experts, their renewal would take at least three week. The disconnection of land route link has not only hampered physical movement of the travellers but also of goods especially the essentials. The prices of essentials have further sky rocketed and lack of petroleum products including LPG have brought the life of people to drifting still in the region.
A direct impact of dependency of communities of the mountain communities on downstream as well as from Chinese boarder as the last hope can be ascertain from crucial situation emerged out of scarcity of petroleum products can be observed at Attabad blockade site where people have to wait for dozen of hours for only government run boat. While other existing private boats employed to shift trade goods on backdrop of suspension of supply from Chinese boarder halted their movement and refusing shifting commuters on general travel charges.
We would like to insist authorities in the region particularly to ensure availability of essentials including petroleum products to get poor out of the trouble waters at any cost.It can be suggested, instead of consuming fuel over unnecessary movement of vehicles of government officials,a usual case in the region to make arrangements for ambulances and vehicles reserved to shift Wheat, floor and other essentials keeping little chances for black marketing of fuel by government officials and employees secretly. Lack of life saving drugs in case of emergency is even in main hospitals in Hunza-Nagar and other district is another issue less discussed. Sheer dependency of strategic border areas including Gilgit-Baltisan and Tribal regions on other provinces for food and other essentials with no alternative source is another matter of concern for conscious people. As a large portion of crops have destroyed by torrential rains, left a question mark of the state's ability to cater the needs of the people in days to come. Many fear, Storm of high prices would hit with every next month for not only because of devastation but also of continual raise in per unit consumption of energy by power generation companies including government own PEPCO. Per unit increase on energy will serve to put a new burden on already suppressed middle and lower class in the country as it would indirectly increase cost of production which producers used to transfer on consumers. And if it happens, there is little chance of socio-economic progress as every third person would confine to deem to accomplish mere his basic needs of life.
Keeping in view, one after another disaster across the region,we would urge, Gilgit-Baltistan government vide local administration to remain all departments on alert to control any outward situation posed by continuous earth shocks being felt at various of the region especially in hill sides of Hunza-Nagar district to take disaster prevention measures instead of trumpeting and shifting responsibilities to others if any worse happen.


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IMF assesses financing for flood-hit Pakistan
Monitoring Report
WASHINGTON, Aug 24 (APP): The International Monetary Fund meeting with Pakistani government officials here to evaluate the economic impact of still unfolding flooding disaster and to discuss ways in which the Fund can help in recovery, officials said here Tuesday.Masood Ahmed, Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, described the flooding devastation that has left millions homeless as a human catastrophe that is still evolving.He said in an interview that the economic costs would be very significant and added the Fund would be looking at as to how it can provide financial support during the crisis including the possibility of providing financing through an emergency instrument for natural disasters.
Discussions this week with Pakistani officials will examine implications for the budget and longer term growth targets and how the IMF can help Pakistan as part of an ongoing $11 billion loan program. The program began in late 2008 and loan installments are subject to a review by the IMF of Pakistan’s economic policies and performance, including the government’s budget deficit and making public finances more sustainable. The Fund will also discuss with Pakistani officials the need for emergency assistance. Pakistani Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh is due to attend talks with the IMF on August 25. Asked in an interview if the Fund expects to provide emergency financing to Pakistan, Ahmed replied:“We will be looking at how we, the IMF, can provide financial support during this difficult period. We already have a program in place and we also have the possibility of providing financing through an emergency instrument for natural disasters, and we’ll be discussing both of those with the visiting delegation.”
The unprecedented monsoon flooding, now almost one-month old, is having a major impact on the economy of Pakistan, he stated.

New wave of flood on way to Gandakha in Balochistan, 15 villages submerged
VoH Monioring Desk

By: Baqir Ali
BALOCHISTAN, August 23: Devastations due to the flood continues along the length and breadth of the country. New wave of flood inundates the Gandakha area of Balochistan. Approximately, 60 feet of sand was swept away by the flood into the sea at Aqillo Bank. High level of flood is reported in Kotri barrage.
According to the details, 15 villages were deluged due to the breach in the safety bank at Shikarpur in district Rajanpur. People are trying to seal the breach on their own. Houses have been razed down. The flood tide, meandering through different courses is falling into River Chenab near Sher Sultan. Fatal diseases have reached epidemic levels in affected areas. Flood pressure is mounting on the embankments in Shahdadkot. The flood tide is reaching Khot Chakiyani. Due to the flash flood in Aqilo bank, 60 feet of mud washed away into the sea.
DCO Qamber Yaseen has issued warning to the residence of Shahdadkot and asked them to evacuate the city. In Thatta, flood pressure has escalated at the banks of Menarki Bank, Surjani, Sondayaliyan. The flood tide is swiftly reaching its final destination in Arabian Sea. The land route of Jacobabad still remained cut-off on the tenth day. The embankments on Sindh River and Daudhor Bridge at Nawabshah have been under pressure since three days. Water level is swelling in Manchar Jheel. After the flood in Gandakha, water level is menacingly rising in Derullah Yar and Jan Jamali. Rescue operation is going on in Gandakha to bring people to safety patches. The affectees are being shifted to Magsi Jheel and other areas. The floodwater could not be drawn out from Derullah on the tenth day. Source: Daily Messenger, Pakistan

UN official attacks international response to Pakistan floods crisis
Monitoring desk
ISLAMABAD, Aug.21: A senior United Nations official has criticised the "quite xtraordinary" lack of international support for Pakistan in its struggle to deal with devastating floods. Louis-George Arsenault, the director of emergency services for Unicef, said the flooding was the biggest humanitarian crisis in decades.
"One of the major challenges that we have, which is quite extraordinary, is the lack of level of support from the international community," he was quoted as saying by the Guardian."Right now, our level of needs in terms of funding is huge compared to what we've been receiving - even though this is the largest, by far, humanitarian crisis we've seen in decades." His comments came as the International Monetary Fund prepared to meet Pakistani officials in Washington to hold talks about measures to stave off an economic crisis in the aftermath of the devastation.
The UK Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), the umbrella organisation for aid agencies, will also renew its appeal for help, which has already prompted £24m in donations. Tens of thousands of people are trying to flee the latest flood surge in southern Pakistan, three weeks after huge monsoon rainfall hit the country. About 1,600 people are thought to have died and an estimated 20 million have been affected by the disaster. The World Health Organisation has warned that diseases are spreading, with hundreds of hospitals and clinics damaged or destroyed, The Nation reported.

UNOCHA reports 15.4 mln affected, around 1600 dead
Monitoring Desk
ISLAMABAD, Aug 22 (APP): United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has quoted the official affected figure at 15.4 million with 1600, according to its recent update.“The Government continues to report 15.4 million people as having been directly affected by the floods. The latest death toll stands at 1,497, with 2,054 people confirmed as injured and just under one million houses are reported as damaged or destroyed,” the update mentioned.A range of assessments to establish the degree to which affected populations are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance are ongoing, including WFP-led Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) assessments in Sindh province.
As the present update covers period till August 20, next update of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is expected for August 23.“Multi-Cluster Rapid Needs Assessment Mechanism” (MCRAM) teams will move into the field early next week to carry out assessments based on an expanded questionnaire. Initial MCRAM assessments were completed in four districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Evacuations have been reported from low-lying areas of Hyderabad as the second wave of flooding moves towards the south of the province. Large parts of Jacobabad district in upper Sindh are still underwater. The Meteorological Department reports that flood levels at Kotri barrage are “high” and rising, and has warned that high tides may exacerbate the effects of the floodwaters as they move towards the Arabian Sea.
Satellite imagery shows floodwaters from the Indus reaching into Balochistan province, where the number of people in need of assistance continues to grow. UNHCR has reported that provincial government has established and is managing five camps in the province, in Quetta, Sibi, Dera Murad Jamali, Dhader and Noutal. The majority of the flood-affected population in Balochistan is reported to have been displaced from neighbouring Sindh.
In Punjab, floodwaters in Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh and D.G. Khan districts - amongst the worst-affected in the province - are now reported to be receding.The update further stated that level of funding has improved and 55% of requirements set out in the Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan (PIFERP) are now covered - but with the emergency continuing to unfold in Sindh and Balochistan, significantly more donor support is needed.The OCHA is to mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the response has been quicker to
scale up, gaps are still significant. As agreed with the provincial authorities, the humanitarian community is focusing its efforts on the 8 most severely affected districts; Nowsherra and Charsadda, D.I. Khan, Tank, Swat, Upper Dir, Shangla and Kohistan. Road access continues to be a challenge in the province.
Improved information on the impact of floods in Gilgit-Baltistan is now being received but accessing the region is still only possible by air due to damaged roads. There continues to be a need to significantly scale up the response across all affected areas, and in particular in Punjab and Sindh.
Though funding levels are now improving in key sectors, the continuing threat of flooding in many areas and the manner in which affected populations are spread across a vast area persist as major operational challenges. More than 160,000 km are reported to be affected by the floods and most clusters will need to revise initial planning figures upwards as the emergency continues to unfold, the update stated.

Aid begins to flow to flood-ravaged Pakistan By: Emmanuel Duparcq, Agence France-Presse
VoH News Watch
SLAMABAD, August 20:Foreign aid began flowing Wednesday to the 20 million victims of Pakistan's catastrophic floods, but many remained without food or shelter as Islamabad responded slowly to their needs. Weather forecasts signaled some respite was due with monsoon systems weakening after three weeks of torrential rains brought devastating floods that left at least 1,400 people dead in the country's worst natural disaster.
The floods have wiped out villages, farmland and infrastructure and OCHA, the UN's aid coordination body, said Wednesday that more than 650,000 homeless families remained without basic shelter. The United Nations last week launched an immediate appeal for 460 million dollars, and said Wednesday that funding had reached 54.5 percent of this target, though that included pledges that were yet to turn into cash.
Zamir Akram, Pakistan's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said the country had received more immediate multilateral relief aid through the UN and direct bilateral aid totalling about 301 million dollars (235 million euros). World Bank has also agreed to lend Islamabad 900 million dollars, warning that the disaster's impact on the economy was expected to be "huge" and take years to put right. Nations ranging from Afghanistan and Turkey to the United States and Saudi Arabia have pledged millions in cash and relief as the UN warned more money was needed to stave off a "second wave of death" from disease and food shortages.
Britain, which is emerging from a diplomatic row with Pakistan, branded the aid effort "lamentable" and charities said Pakistan was suffering from an "image deficit" partly because of perceived links to terror.The European Union announced Wednesday that it would provide an additional 30 million euros (39 million dollars) in emergency relief assistance to Pakistan, bringing its total aid to 70 million euros. The nuclear-armed country is on the frontline of the US-led fight against Al-Qaeda, where the military is locked in battle with Taliban in the northwest on the border with Afghanistan.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has also warned that the disaster could play into the hands of insurgents-Abs-Cbn News

Pakistan seeks greater international support
Zardari tells UN chief flood challenge is too huge for any govt or party to undertake on its own
VoH News Watch

ISLAMABAD, August 16:
President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday called upon the entire world to support millions of people affected by floods in Pakistan, asking them to listen to the voice of the UN for more support to the country. While thanking Ban Ki-moon for his visit to Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari said the UN secretary general would be the spokesman for the people of the Pakistan to mobilise international support.“We are passing through testing times, but we will get our people out of this difficult situation,” he said. Defending the government’s response to the flood disaster, Zardari said the military, navy, police and all other public institutions were out to rescue and provide relief to the flood victims. “The media must understand the magnitude of the disaster,” he suggested. Zardari said that the challenge was too huge for any government or party to undertake on its own and added that it could be faced only with the rigorous efforts of the people of Pakistan, the Pakistani community living abroad and the support and assistance of the international community and donor agencies. The president informed the UN secretary general that the government was vigorously working for an early completion of damage and need assessment, so that all available resources could be mobilised in a more efficient manner to undertake reconstruction and rehabilitation. Ban expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives and destruction of infrastructure and property in the floods. He said that UN would stand by the government and people of Pakistan in these critical times. Ban pledged continued support and assistance of the UN for the humanitarian relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims. “In the past I have visited scenes of many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this. Approximately 20 million people have been affected and thousands of towns and villages have simply been washed away. This has been a heart-wrenching day for me and for my delegation”, he said. Ban pledged to speed up international aid for as many as 20 million people hit by the floods, warning that the “heart-wrenching” disaster was far from over. Courtesy: Daily Times, Agencies

Boy becomes Pak Army soldier for a day

Monitoring Report

KARACHI, August 16: Fifteen-year-old Abdul Basit made history when he became a Pakistan Army soldier for a day on the occasion of the 63rd Independence Day on Saturday. The blood cancer patient had expressed his desire to Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an Inter Services Public Relations release said. Kayani allowed the boy to become a soldier for a day and spend time in a unit on the Independence Day. Basit put on the uniform and reported to a unit of the Punjab Regiment at Malir Cantt where he was warmly welcomed. After a day’s work with officers and other soldiers of his unit, Basit said his dream to join the army had come true and he cherished every minute spent with the men. app

News round up
Heavy rain fall,floods inflict heavy loss of lives and properties
VoH Monitoring
PUNJAB, Khyber Pakhtoon Khaw, Sindh, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, AJK: Hundreds of villagers, towns and cities have been beadly affected following a contineul heavy rain fall across Pakistan. According to media sources, following news round up was reported initially.

1.Devastation in Punjab
Water has inundated major portions of Mianwali. Currently, about 800,000 cusecs of water is passing through the area causing flooding in several districts. More than 60 villages have been affected by torrential rain and floods in Dera Ghazi Khan and link bridges have collapsed. 600,000 cusecs of water has passed through Layyah whereas water continues to rise in the area, forcing hundreds of families to move.River Indus is in full flood and the army has dynamited four dykes along the Jinnah Hydropower Project to protect it from the force of the water. Flood water is passing through Taunsa as army teams evacuate people to safer locations.

2. Nature unleashes fury in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa
At least 408 people have been killed so far in three days of flash floods and landslides unleashed by torrential monsoon rains in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa alone, with a nationwide tally topping the 500-mark.
“The lives of around 50,000 people in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are at risk,” says Provincial Disaster Management Authority director-general Shakeel Qadir Khan, adding that there is an urgent need for at least 45,000 tents.
Authorities warn that the death toll could rise further. “Many areas are inaccessible and we don’t know how many have died there,” an official said. All development projects in the province have been ordered to be halted by the government until the emergency situation persists. More than 30kms of the Silk Route have been washed away. Most of the hospitals were non-functional and the injured in most cases had nowhere to go to seek treatment. In owshera, for example, 25 people were found stranded on top of a submerged hospital.
Peshawar city too has been submerged, with water entering the city from all sides. At least 23 people have been confirmed dead in the provincial capital. On the outskirts of the city, 2500 shanty houses were destroyed. In Kohat, at least 19 people died and 8 received serious injuries.
Despite the precarious condition, the provincial government has instructed security personnel to remain present at sensitive locations and carry out their duties as there was still a threat of terrorism in the province. The government has appealed to the international community for help. The government says around 17 helicopters are in the area undertaking relief activities. An American embassy spokesperson said it had provided seven helicopters to the government, of which five are operating in Swat and two in Nowshera. According to K-P information minister, 150 people are missing, and that floods washed away 200 km of main roads and link roads. “At least 600,000 people have been affected and the number was likely to go up as water levels continue to rise in rivers in Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsada,” the minister said.
Swat, Shangla and Peshawar were cut off from the rest of country as roads and highways were submerged in water, he said.

3. Sitution in Sindh
The “super flood” warning from the upcountry has created fear and anxiety among the people living in Katcha areas of Sindh. Government officials speak of the possibility of water breaching the protective bunds. Following the threat district administrations have been put on high alert. They have been directed to relocate people from the Katcha areas to the camps
set up in schools and dispensaries. According to the warning, 9 lakh cusec of water may hit Sindh on August 3 near Guddu.
Chief Engineer Sukkur Barrage Mohammed Haroon Memon said they had given a 48-hour ultimatum on Thursday to people living over there to evacuate the places. “We are now going to send vehicles to take the people to relief camps,” he said.
Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry warned that the monsoon was still not over and next 10 days might be critical.

4. Balochistan
The monsoon in Balochistan has killed 25 people over the past few days, senior officer of the disaster management authority Ataullah Khan told AFP in Quetta on Friday. Flash floods have affected eight districts, he said, adding that around 275,000 people have been affected and more than 15,000 houses have been destroyed.
Around 1,000 villages are inundated in Naseerabad district, rendering over 25,000 families homeless. The entire communication system has been disrupted, and the whole population left marooned in unprecedented floods in Sibi and Kachhi plains. The people lost their entire belongings, including food stock and household articles.
Commissioner Sher Khan Bazai told the media that standing crops on over 100,000 acres in a single district had been destroyed.

At least 11 people died on Friday, three of them girls, in various parts of Gilgit-Baltistan as torrential rains continue to wreck havoc in Gilgit-Baltistan, senior government officials said. Four bridges have also been swept away by the rising flood in various parts of the region, isolating them from the rest of the region.

6. AJK
In Azad Jammu and Kashmir, another 33 people were killed and more than 55 injured Thursday as dozens of houses collapsed due to heavy rains, said AJK Prime Minister Sardar Atique Ahmed. The army said it had sent boats to rescue stranded people and army engineers were attempting to open roads and divert the waters from key routes. Coutesy: Express Tribune, Pakistan

Govt to divert development funds for flood relief: Gilani
News Watch
SOHBATPUR, August: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said on Thursday that the government would divert funds from development projects to the relief of flood affected people. He also announced summoning of a meeting of the Council of Common Interests to discuss the situation arising out of the floods. Gilani who arrived by a C-130 aircraft at Jacobabad, later landed at a narrow strip of recently built road surrounded by feets of flood water in Sohbatpur, district Jafferabad in Balochistan. He was briefed by Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani about the extent of damage caused by the floods.
He said there had been heavy damage in the two districts and he would seek the support of federal government to help cope with it. He also sought queries from the people and their representatives in the national and provincial assemblies about their immediate needs. He also sought their suggestions on how best to tackle with the situation. Gilani assured that the government had mobilised all resources to provide relief to the millions and said that with the help of people, armed forces, local and international aid agencies the difficult situation would be tackled.
Gilani said,”the people of Pakistan have the resilience to overcome any challenge. Though it is the worst natural calamity in 80 years due to its widespread impact, they will face it with courage”. Gilani attired in a Shalwar suit sat on the ground alongwith children, men and women and enquired about the relief goods that were reaching them. He said in 1947 the nation stood as one for creation of a country and again they needed unity to fight this calamity. He also expressed his deep condolences over the heavy loss of life and property. He announced payment of Rs 50 million to Balochistan as immediate assistance for the flood affected people. He said roads were cut off and there was no way to despatch the 100 truckloads taking 1000 tons food aid for the people. The Prime Minister said the government would review budgetary allocations in the wake of devastating floods. Gilani said the Finance Minister has been tasked to evolve a mechanism to ensure transparency in aid disbursement, Aaj tv channel reported.

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Valleys with invaluable natural beauty
Gift of Nature

Click to read unheard regional stories

Click to read unheard regional stories

Mission Statement & Weekly VoH Publishing team

Voice of Voiceless

The blog aims to disseminate the accurate regional information without consideration of race, color, ethnicity, religion and ideology to the valuable readers across the globe. We promise to abide with the moral and professional ethics of citizen journalism through this medium of communication. The voiceless masses of this one of the most beautiful places on earth, situated in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan experience hard times due to continuous natural and man made disasters which have left them at surviving stage. Shortly speaking, in a short span of time, Hunza valley has embraces a steady socio-economic and ecological development making it self an authentic book to read about or take a model for rest of far flung valleys bordering Chines Sinkiang province in the extreme north of the country. The haphazard material development in this comparatively small area has also served to create various socio-economic and ethical problems which ultimately served to shake the fabrics of very roots and foundations of culture and civility among dwellers. On geo-political front, analysts find a very little say of a common man in the major decisions related to regional socio-economic development, violation of meritocracy by mafias in political parties, pressure groups which safe guard their own interests, a unbridled bureaucracy, corrupt regimes that patronizing nepotism or favoritism and who wield powers in Gilgit, the main hub and capital of Gilgit-Baltistan. Rapid increase in expenditures ranging from general commodity price hikes to transportation has left no option or time for people to think on other issues.
The so called Economic-Recession, unequal distribution of wealth, concentration of opportunities towards certain beings, lack of social responsiveness and transparency in government sector and no check and balance on private sector has brought its ugly implication in terms of high unemployment, depression among the youngsters, anxiety and hatred towards system of governance.
We vow to bring fore the issues of common man at grass root level, strive to highlight irregularities in government sector and flaws in public policy and finance in a democratic way. We shall continue to give our opinion on issues of importance and determine to prove a viable platform to have a positive role for public welfare, inter-communal harmony, integrity and social justice.
Amid such a situation when even the survival of country is on stake and is defamed due to continual terrorist incidents throughout the our county, we may pray for a peaceful and prosperous future of the nation. May Lord save the peaceful Gilgit-Baltistan region from the evil designs of devils in human form.

The blog has been developed and upgrading by the efforts of the following dedicated volunteers.

Board of Editors
Editor: Shamsuddin Muhammad

Co-editor: Inam Karim

Reporting Team
Karachi: Sartaj Karim

Hunza: Naeem Hamoon

Gilgit: Aslam Shah


Islamabad: Ikramullah Baig

Voice of the voiceless!

The blog is a venture with exclusive news updates, unbiased analysis and opinion on historical, cultural, ecological, socio-economic, geopolitical and administrative issues and events occurring in country in general and the region particular. It would serve as a portfolio of credible information retained first hand from own and secondary reliable electronic and print media sources and aspire to become a powerful voice for a common man. We are committed to adhere with the professional ethics of citizen journalism, a new trend to shackle the chains of excessive curb over dissemination of reality either for any cause in the name of so-called sensor, with maximum possible accuracy and least deviation while delivering information to show the real side of picture of events so that our valuable readers will have an alternative portal to know what developments are going on various levels, particularly backward areas like that of Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan, Azad Jamu and Kahsmir, Tribal areas etc., across the country. One can easily discern a great social change in terms of attitudes, perceptions both in individual and society; values and reaction to the variables in daily life patterns among the dwellers of the comparatively backwards areas like Gilgit-Baltistan, a deprived region of its fundamental rights for more than six decades of its liberation from colonial yolk. In a quest to voice over issues of vital importance, keeping closer to circle of concern, Hunza, a name famous for its beauty and rich cultural heritage has been selected to represent as a case to further the cause and issues of the rest of the region. Virtually, the region especially Hunza-Nagar retained a rapid development with a short span of time after remaining isolated for centuries to out side world. The blog also aims focus largely to identify core areas from on bottom or grass root level to the top. Keeping due consideration of inter-religious harmony, tolerance, respecting pluralism, diversity, mutual respect, democracy, equal opportunity and other aspects of human rights and professional values of journalism, the blog will serve as a binding force and medium of voice of the voiceless people of the area with reference to Gilgit-Baltistan region.

The idea of creation of this blog came into my mind during a visit after spending few years of career at Karachi, capital of Southern province to the region. While traveling from south pole of the country to north, I experienced many new changes nearly in all aspects of life explicit in urban areas and implicit in rural belts: people have opted to modern technology, availed faster means of communication; task centered behavior, selfishness, following short-cuts, chase of wealth and more opportunities in their career and many more that made their lives much more easier but crazier than before. Nevertheless, the scene suddenly turned bit dim when I entered the region of Gilgit-Baltistan. I could not believe my eyes that this was the Gilgit I saw four years ago. Many things, except the faces were utterly unchanged formats primitive outlook. The Chinese bridge that linked Danyore and Gilgit and a main source of transportation was no more. Few people told me that few journalists have lost their lives in lethal road accident due to lack of arrangements on part of concerned authority to avoid the incident. Karakorum High Way (KKH), one of the highest truck able route and so-called eighth wonder in the world is under construction and many places portray nothing but a passage through a rough stony pasture. It took nearly twenty four hours from Rawalpindi to reach after an exhaustive journey to Hunza, my home town, compared to nineteen hours in past. The scenario seemed worse in Hunza, my home town which remained unchanged for last four years except a drastic decline in standard of living of more than fifty percent of the population. One may think that people have replaced muddy homes with cement ones but that are not the real yardstick of measurement of both mental and material development. Infrastructure, fixtures, telecommunication systems were largely depreciated to their estimated life coupled with inappropriate number of personnel required in educational, administrative and health institutions. The so-called economic meltdown that started from American giant Leman soon took the world into its tyrant claws, shaking many stable economies of the world including the rural areas of developing states- a big example of negligence and subjugation by the rulers of respective countries where people live not above the level of animals. Apart from the allegations on policy makers of industrialized nations having economic interest only, the poor, irrational, incompetent, self-centered and corrupt leadership in Pakistan like other third world countries where immature economies spends it larger portion of budget expenditure on defense could not resist the negative consequences of economic crisis in terms of high rate of unemployment, recession, right or down sizing, price hikes, violation of consumer rights and so on. Hunza-Nagar, like other parts of Gilgit-Baltistan was no exception. The smiling faces that greeted us once warmly few years ago turned unhappy for the crisis brought its ugly implication on the daily life pattern of an individual thus sucking down the unique attributes of population: courtesy, generosity and hospitality. Having a so-called high rate of literacy in the country unfortunately, the region is facing many problems ranging from health to drinking water and energy sector. To many, it was because of lack of geo-political awareness and excessive tendency towards NGO culture where people little bother to beg their rights from the states besides emphasis on duties. Historical chronicles vindicate that the region remained in isolation for many centuries due to a specific location and lack of access to out side world. Many dynasties ruled the area that hardly accepted change in a traditionally sophisticated feudal based society. The wheel of transition continued to move and finally the area got librated through a mutiny with the help of indigenous population from the clutches of Dogra subjugation. Later, the area was affiliated with Pakistan vide a secret treaty called Karachi Treatise as defacto part, unconditionally. Gilgit-Baltistan region got on real terms an impetus to grow from zero level with the visit of three icons of development: Aga Khan, President Ayub Khan and Z.A.Bhutto- a historic event of its nature with long standing implications on live of the people of the region.The area could hardly observed any impulse for more than half dozen years of affiliation with Pakistan when Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan (3rd) first time introduced Diamond Jubilee Schools network during mid fifties in the region. A real phase of development gain impetus when Shah Karim Alhusaini, Aga Khan (fourth) stepped in the region, a population with miserable conditions in 1960. He initiated many new projects in different aspect of life, strengthening the existing educational network under the umbrella of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) for the betterment and uplift standard of living of masses lived under poverty line. Aga Khan Development Network in collaboration with donor agencies, with a view to bring social change from grass roots level, initiated rural support programme and other services for less-privileged societies in the region. In simple words, initial projects were stretched to new areas under AKDN umbrella ranging from self-entrepreneurship to planning and building services. These development programmes served a catalyst for a common man who, earlier was confine to a certain limit where facilities and perks were confined to a specific creed, definitely a big change in society led to process of decline of so-called nobility. By, 1974, Z.A.Bhutto, chief of Pakistan Peoples Party and his cabinet undertook a disintegrated country following the fall of Dhaka, albeit eliminating princely status of numerous states gave them democratic structures, initiated socio-economic, political and administrative reforms in civil services cadres under 1973 constitution of Pakistan. These reforms opened a path for further reforms in tribal and affiliated princely states, mostly in mountain regions. Elders assert, by 1976, when Bhutto abolished the princely status of the units and replaced the princely flag with that of the country declared region formally its de-fecto part. The new development allowed for the first time a limited right of franchise and representation in a parallel council governed from capital. He in collaboration with international donor agencies like UNICEF and World Food Programme helped ensure provision of basic necessities like food to indigenous population still in poor conditions. He gave word to poor and enables to build his destiny. The facility fell a prey of Zia-ul-Haq who abolished the programme to benefit his favorite breed. He altered such programmes to facilitate Mujahideen busy fighting Afghan war against Soviet invasion on behalf of American assistance. By, 1988, before the withdrawal of USSR, Zia regime played a dirty game: as an integral strategy to get parallel success, he supported a breed of militants to eliminate all those against his faith in Gilgit-Baltistan. Unfortunately, the indigenous people could not understand his nefarious designs under the veil of religion that had to sustain his regime using divide and rule tactic and nothing to do with public welfare fell a prey of communal discord. Thousands of innocent people were brutally killed without a reason from both sides and this in turn sowed the seeds of sectarianism thus introducing a Kalashnikov culture in this region. On country’s political front, frequent interventions of military in politics in the wake of undemocratic moves of leadership, double standard attitude of bureaucracy and excessive influence of establishment forces harmed political evolution during last sixty two years of country's history. A finest dictatorship is considered worse than a worse democracy for it largely overlook the opinion of masses. The undemocratic regimes since 1952 onwards in general and during dictators’ regimes left people with no option but to support immature, corrupt and unable leadership confined to their self interests coupled with narrow vision. On global front, with the withdrawal of USSR from Afghanistan, American administration started to shift its strategy of dependency and support for Pakistan especially that to check movement and expansion of communist philosophy, an anxiety among the then US policy planners. Political front once again passed through a new change in 1999 when military took over in October 1999. Numerous Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), both national and international rapport delivered remarkable work since 1990s to 2004 in many sectors like education, health, cultural preservation, design and building.

History repeated itself, but in a new form under different circumstances after cold war, when terrorists attacked twin towers of World Trade Centre, an icon of prestige and glory of America killing thousands of innocent people as a response to US policies inviting a fresh hostility between US and Islamist groups or in other words initiated an open conflict between two countering forces. To some, hidden forces worked behind the incident: Muslims thought it was a Judaist elements while to Europe and US a strike of Islamist elements; even the then Bush administration alleged Islamist groups behind this nefarious act to initiate an open armed struggle to defy its policies and interests. The September 11 incident served a cause to create sufferings for the Muslim communities residing in America and Europe. Being a sponsoring source of Jihadist elements, Pakistan was in real trouble as it was asked either ally the US or ready to go into stone age. Consequently, Pervez Musharraf took U-turn in state policy against billions of dollars as assistance. Once again, US dependency on Pakistan after Afghan war, in an endless war against an invisible enemy in terms of Osama started, leading farmer to think to gain control over natural resources in Afghanistan and Central Asian states. As a state, Pakistan endured many hardships, mostly from inside elements, Majority of our political leadership, for instance is largely nurtured under the aegis of military establishments and always ready to achieve their own interest lest it comes to compromise on national matters, evident from the successive overthrowing of representative regimes. They could not deliver any remarkable to uplift the standard of living of a common man except false promises. It was the Musharraf regime which can be given credit for many reasons: allowed a national government to complete its five year tenure, introduced local government systems for dicentralization of power though a move to by pass the then political and administrative forces like his predecessors military dictators to bolster one man show. Apart from few of blunders in terms of killing of Akbar Bugti, subjugation of judiciary, appointment of army on service and retired personnel in institutions offering higher education, other key positions in major public organiztions and using force as a decisive force instead of dialogue his regime can be recalled for many things during last eight years. He was the first who put hand on non-state actors, brought changes in status of deprived regions like Gilgit-Baltistan bringing reforms and took initiatives to improve education and health facilities. He gave us an International University, increased woman representation, empowered Northern Light Infantry, established N.A scouts and notified Hunza-Nagar district and many more. Yet, at the same time on mass level, despite many accomplishments, it failed to address the real issues of poor. Giant fishes got most and poor further got depressed as the regime greatly revolved around the interests of Chaurdhries and lords. December 2007, shall be remembered a black day when Benazir Bhutto, a female leader of international repute was assassinated at the same place where one of the most famous Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan as killed. Country fell into chaos and observed an extreme internal and internal threat to her existence second time after 1971. Good heaven, the situation soon normalized. With the dawn of democracy, based on Benazir Bhutto's sacrifice has brought a hope of change of image of the country in global economy. PPP led contemporary government has given a new Self Governance Reforms Package 2009 ahead of poles to empower the assembly to legislate on various subjects not allowed in past and choose their own Chief Minister unanimously with the consent of Prime Minister, the head of set up-a good initiative after Z.A Bhutto's compassions for the region. The package has opened a door for more autonomy resembles to that of Azad Kashmir. Though, there are many flaws in the package yet, it will serve to reduce feeling of deprivation among the masses.

There is another side of the picture that the poor performance in many of the departments in government sector during last two years has raised many questions in our mind regarding its capability to cope the challenges that the country faces internally and externally. Public welfare, security from internal and external aggressions and provision of basic necessities to the citizens is the fundamental responsibilities of modern states. Yet, more focus on external threats under security syndrome has left the country nothing but to expend on defense-thus neglecting other sectors like education, strategic personnel planning, health, trade and industry and exploitation of natural resources to strengthen our economy. As for as the private sector especially the NGOs are concerned, the are now confine to reporting to get funds, roam and measure the length of roads in their luxury vehicles. Now it depends on flow of events that will decide the future course of history.

Shamsuddin Muhammad,

Author and Editor,



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About Me

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Hyderabad,, IslamicRepublic of Pakistan, Pakistan
I am social person with a tendency towards learning knowledge that will balance the material world and the hereafter, a legacy obtained from the family. I earned my MA (General History with specialization in Modern History) and M.A.S (Master of Administrative siences with speciliazation in HRM) both from University of Karachi in 2005 and 2007 respectively, am fond of social work and public welfare. The blog focuses on social change caused by socio- economic and geo-political impulse in the country in general and the region particular.