Independence Day festivities toned down amid floods
VoH Monitor
ISLAMABAD, August 15: Pakistan toned down its usually festive Independence Day celebrations Saturday amid a flooding disaster that has displaced millions of its citizens, damaged its economy and undermined its political stability at a time when the US needs its steadfast cooperation against extremism.

Pakistani flood survivors sit on a tractor trolley as they navigate through flood waters in Karampur on August 14, 2010. – AFP

Officials canceled the colorful, fireworks-heavy ceremony normally held at midnight Aug. 14, the anniversary of Pakistan's creation and independence from Britain in 1947. But Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani participated in a flag-raising in the morning, and TV channels broadcast stories about the South Asian country's early years. Government leaders were expected to spend much of the day visiting flood victims amid warnings that more surges may be on the way, threatening cities and towns along main rivers. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also is expected to visit sometime soon, possibly over the weekend.
The floods have disrupted the lives of 14 million people - 8 per cent of the population. Triggered by unusually heavy monsoon rains, the floods have torn through the country from its mountainous northwest, destroying hundreds of thousands of homes and an estimated 1.7 million acres (nearly 700,000 hectares) of farmland.
In southern Pakistan, the River Indus is now more than 15 miles (25 kilometers) wide at some points - 25 times wider than during normal monsoon seasons. Many flood victims are living in muddy camps or overcrowded government buildings, while thousands more are sleeping in the open next to their cows, goats and whatever possessions they managed to drag with them. Late Friday, officials ordered the evacuation of all people left in the major city of Jacobabad in southern Sindh province.
The UN has appealed for $460 million to help Pakistan get immediate relief, but officials have said the country will need billions to rebuild after the waters recede. Dawn News

Govt to divert development funds for flood relief:Gilani
PM says Finance Ministry asked to devise a mechanism for ensuring transparency in utilisation of flood assistance
VoH News Watch
JAFFARABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday said that the government would utilise development funds to help the flood-affected people. “The federal and provincial governments will have to change their priorities and focus on flood destruction,” he said, while addressing a gathering of flood victims at Sohbatpur district in Jaffarabad. In a bid to allay concerns of foreign donors, the PM announced that the government was devising a new mechanism for ensuring that international aid would be utilised in a transparent manner. He said the task of devising such a mechanism had been assigned to the Finance Ministry that would develop a website containing all the requisite information.
Gilani said the finance minister had been directed to display foreign aid data on government websites. “The federal government will provide all details of how foreign aid is being utilised on its citizens,” he said. He appealed to the international community to help Pakistan deal with the worst-ever floods in the country’s history. “Flash floods have caused large-scale devastation and the Pakistani government alone can not tackle the tragedy until international community comes forward to assist it. Although we are utilising all available resources to rescue and help the flood-affected people, friendly governments will also have to play their role,” he said.
He said that the Council of Common Interests would meet soon to allow the four chief ministers, the federal cabinet and other stakeholders to review the situation caused by the floods. He also appealed to overseas Pakistanis to come forward to help the flood-affected people. On the occasion, the PM gave a cheque of Rs 50 million to Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam Khan Raisani to help the flood-affected people.AFP/Daily Times

Floods continue to wreak havoc; Muzaffargarh largely deserted as people evacuate city after flood warning; Cracks develop in dykes along Indus River near Sukkur
PESHAWAR/LAHORE, Aug 12: Devastating floods rendered thousands of more people homeless, as heavy rains lashed parts of the country on Tuesday and flood-affected people continued to search for safety and relief goods.In Punjab, Muzaffargarh city looked largely deserted after large numbers of people left following flood warnings the previous evening. Many men, however, stayed behind to guard homes and businesses.

This picture taken on August 9, 2010 show a broken bridge in the flood-affected area of Kallam valley on August 9, 2010. The United Nations said today that massive floods in Pakistan had affected 13.8 million people and eclipsed the scale of the devastating 2004 tsunami, as anger mounted among survivors. The Pakistani government and UN officials have appealed for more urgent relief efforts to cope with the country’s worst ever floods, with Asif Ali Zardari due to return home after a heavily criticised European tour. – AFP Photo

Head Kalu Bund collapsed in Muzaffargarh, submerging Adda Baseera, Chowk Qureshi, Ahsanpur, Bhattapur and many other villages. The residents of Multan and nearby cities are facing an acute shortage of petroleum products after the closure of the Pak-Arab refinery. All CNG stations also remained closed in Muzaffargarh on Tuesday. Petrol was being sold at Rs 300 per litre. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, rescue and relief flights resumed in Swat and its adjoining areas, as visibility improved. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), at least 23 helicopters of Pakistan Army were busy with the relief efforts in Swat, Kalam, Bahrain, Maidan, Dir, Chakdara and Dera Ismail Khan -AFP

Pakistan floods threaten to bring food crisis

VoH Monitoring

Justify FullISLAMABAD, Aug.04: Parts of northwest Pakistan inundated by the worst floods in 80 years face life-threatening food shortages, a United Nations aid agency said on Wednesday. That scenario would create a new crisis for politically-fragile President Asif Ali Zardari, in a country where civilian governments have a poor history of managing crises, leaving the powerful military to step in.World Food Programme (WFP) spokesman Amjad Jamal said the organisations’ workers were urgently trying to reach flood areas in the northwest cut off from food supplies, which a UN aid agency said devastated the lives of over 3 million people.

Flood victims raise their hands to collect relief supplies from the Army in Nowshera, located in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province August 4, 2010. Parts of northwest Pakistan inundated by the worst floods in 80 years face life-threatening food shortages, creating another crisis for the politically fragile president and a government perceived as inept. – Reuters Photo
Flood victims raise their hands to collect relief supplies from the Army in Nowshera, located in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province August 4, 2010. Parts of northwest Pakistan inundated by the worst floods in 80 years face life-threatening food shortages, creating another crisis for the politically fragile president and a government perceived as inept. – Reuters Photo
Before the floods hit, a million people were already forced from their homes in the Pakistani northwest because of fighting between the army and Taliban militants. If the floods deepen the problem, it could set back government efforts to get the people back home in a bid to help stabilise nuclear-armed US ally Pakistan. “We have sent a request to the government and we are getting six helicopters from them and we will be doing air drops to the areas which are cut off,” Jamal told Reuters in a telephone interview.Dawn

1,300 dead, thousands cry for help;
KP govt seeks help from WHO, waives off all provincial taxes in flood-hit districts;says 28,000 people rescued so far
Monitoring Desk
PESHAWAR: The death toll from devastating floods in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has risen to 1,300, followed by the outbreak of waterborne disease that have added to the misery of the people affected by the flood.
A Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) official told Daily Times on Sunday that unofficial death report had risen to 1,300. He said the number of deaths confirmed so far had reached 730 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said 690 people had been killed in Charsadda, Nowshera, Peshawar, Mardan and Swabi. He said that 115 people were still missing since the torrential rains and flood hit the province. Locals said thousands people were stranded in Nowshera and water level was gradually decreasing.
According to unofficial reports, the death toll in the worst hit districts of Swat and Shangla had reached 434 – Swat 244 and Shangla 190. The Pakistan Army is operating at full stretch continuously in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and had so far rescued over 28,000 people trapped in floodwater and moved them to safer places-Daily Times

Posted by Shamsuddin Muhammad on Monday


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Discerning social Change in Gilgit-Baltistan

Discerning social Change in Gilgit-Baltistan
Reflecting socio-economic, administrative and cultural impulses in regional periphery

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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.