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Subject: Kashmir quake anger may hurt Pakistan
Brahma    10/20/2005 8:38:42 AM
MUZAFFARABAD, Oct 12 (Reuters) - The people of Pakistani Kashmir are becoming increasingly angry and alienated over what they see as a feeble government response to the weekend earthquake, a prominent Kashmiri politician said on Wednesday. The 7.6 magnitude earthquake killed more than 20,000 people, most of them in the Pakistani part of the disputed Himalayan region. About 500 people were killed in Indian Kashmir. "The government is not doing anything to provide relief to people," Amanullah Khan, leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) told Reuters in a telephone interview. "People are angry and it is growing more and more every day." Truck loads of relief supplies have been arriving in Muzaffarabad, the devastated capital of Pakistani Kashmir, but roads to outlying areas higher up in the mountains have been swept away by landslides. Many parts of the region have not been reached by rescuers more than four days after the quake struck and in Muzaffarabad, many people angrily denounce the government response to the disaster and say they have received no help. The JKLF wants a united Kashmir, independent of both Pakistan and India, which have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over the Muslim majority region. It used to be involved in an insurgency against Indian rule in its part of Kashmir but now advocates peaceful change. Khan said what was regarded as an inadequate quake relief effort was breeding resentment against the central government. "Definitely people here feel a sense of alienation when they hear that residents of Margala Tower were rescued within 36 hours," he said referring to an Islamabad apartment complex where two blocks collapsed in the quake killing dozens of people. "But in Kashmir, where deaths and destructions are massive, the Pakistani and local governments are unable to reach people even after four days." http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/B373421.htm
 
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Brahma    MUSHARRAF COULD PAY FOR ARMY DELAYS   10/20/2005 8:41:29 AM
Karachi, 12 Oct. (AKI) - The slow reaction of the Pakistan army to Saturday's earthquake in the Kashmir region could have serious repercussions for the government of president Pervez Musharraf, according to Hamid Gul, a retired general and former head of Pakistan's powerful intelligence agency, the ISI. "Once the dust settles, this negligence will cost Musharraf’s government dearly," predicted Gul in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI). Musharraf came to power in a military coup and has failed to deliver on promises to give up his dual role as president and head of the armed forces. "The relief operation started with a delay of three days which intensified the gravity of the crisis," said Gul in a telephone interview from Pakistan's military capital Rawalpindi. "As a result of inefficient management, the Pakistan Army either remained a silent spectator in the absence of orders from higher command or engaged in the rescue of their soldiers affected by the earthquake," he said. According to the retired general and spymaster, Pakistan's poor performance in the relief operations following the quake could alienate Kashmiris. "This kind of negligence can alienate Kashmiris from Pakistan and once the dust of this crisis settles the Musharraf government will be accountable for the loss of human lives due to this negligence," Gul maintained. Some South Asian experts have gone so far as to say that this latest crisis in Pakistan could have a cascading political effect on the geography of the region. Gul didn't agree with this assessment but recalled that there were precedents in Pakistan's 58-year-history since independence. "In former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), the same poor response in a flood relief operation in 1970 caused massive resentment among Pakistan’s Bengali population which finally translated into a mutiny and Pakistan lost one of its parts, which is now Bangladesh," said Gul. "I think Musharraf's government could face massive antagonism after the current crisis,” he added. According to Gul, the real dilemma which has caused serious unrest among Kashmiris is the fact that Pakistan Army was present in large numbers in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and yet it could not be mobilised on time. “We had two brigades stationed in Pakistani Kashmir, one in Jhelum Valley, the other in Neelum Valley. For three days they did not receive orders of any sort from the military high command. They remained silent spectators because the army will never move on its own until it receives an order. This inaction caused a massive resentment among the masses and they yelled slogans against the Pakistan Army. Helicopters were engaged for the rescue operations of their own soldiers who died along the Line of Control as a result of earthquake,” he added. The situation now, five days after the earthquake struck, may be different, but the damage has been done. "Now the Pakistan Army has moved two divisions of the army to the earthquake-hit areas for relief operations but many people remained under the rubble for three days and died as help didn't reach them in time," said Gul. "Even now, hundreds of thousands are living without a roof over their heads. There is an acute shortage of tents. Winter is approaching and in some calamity-hit areas they are reports of snow fall" he said. The death toll could escalate further among the survivors, Gul warned, with the risks of pneumonia and infectious diseases setting in. The former head of Pakistan's intelligence agency, who has visited some of the disaster areas, was critical of the government machinery which he said was non-existent. "Yesterday I was in Rawalakot [in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir] with two trucks full with relief goods. I was surprised to see that there was no government official coordinating. As a result, when relief goods arrive, there's a scuffle for the items" he added. General Hamid Gul maintained that during the initial phase of the crisis, Pakistan was isolated and left in the lurch by countries such as the United States, for whom Pakistan has been the frontline state against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. “It was humiliating that the US announced only 50 million dollars in aid and sent only eight helicopters. Now the US and Europe are more active but it is again in their interests because if the crisis gets worse then their man - that is General Musharraf - would not be able to maintain his power,” Gul asserted. “Traditionally China has always been active in such crises but since we were too much on the side of the US, in this crisis whatever they have done has been half hearted.” Soon after Saturday's quake, China announced 6.2 million dollars in relief goods together with a 50-member expert team to deal with the recue efforts. "We claimed that we took Saudi Arabia in confidence while talking to Israel. However Saudi Arabia publicly rejected this claim and now they have also maintained a di
 
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Brahma    Musharraf admits slow army response   10/20/2005 8:44:02 AM
Tents, blankets and other badly needed supplies have begun flowing to hard-hit towns in the earthquake-stricken zone of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, but the army has yet to reach many isolated villages. Pakistan's President, Pervez Musharraf, faced criticism and warnings of political trouble while expressing regret for delays in relief efforts, while the United Nations warned that as many as 2 million people have been left homeless and face hunger and disease as the Himalayan winter looms. General Musharraf acknowledged the slowness of the relief effort in a live television address on Wednesday night, but said landslides had cut roads to many of the worst-hit areas and "any country" would have faced similar problems. He said the army had reopened key roads and was moving quickly to aid survivors, opening field hospitals and dispatching search teams to remote areas. On Wednesday relief convoys wound along twisting mountain roads past rockslides and knots of desperate, hungry survivors, many of whom had walked out of their ruined villages after spending a fourth night in the cold. Helicopters that had been temporarily grounded by rain and hailstorms resumed shuttling supplies and evacuating injured victims of Saturday's quake. Advertisement AdvertisementThe official toll stands at 23,000 dead and 51,000 injured in Pakistan, and 1200 fatalities across the border in India. The United Nations, however, estimates the death toll at 30,000, and other estimates run much higher. Aid reaching the earthquake zone so far has focused on several larger towns such as Balakot and Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir, which was mostly destroyed. But even there, the slowness of the supply operation was provoking anger. In Muzaffarabad on Wednesday, survivors mobbed a relief convoy in a scramble for bottled water, blankets and biscuits, beating its drivers and forcing them to retreat to an army camp. The situation was more desperate for survivors in remote villages, many of which are hidden high on the sides of forested mountains and have yet to receive outside help. "The Government is not doing anything to provide relief to people," said Amanullah Khan, a prominent Kashmiri politician who favours independence from both India and Pakistan. "People are angry and it is growing more and more every day." In justifying his 1999 coup, General Musharraf has repeatedly touted the army as Pakistan's most competent and incorruptible institution, arguments he reiterated late last year when he broke an earlier public pledge to step down as army chief of staff and govern as a civilian. The army's disorganised response to the disaster, some analysts said, could provide an opening for hard-line Islamic political parties and their associated social welfare groups, which have quickly swung into action. During a three-hour drive on Wednesday, a reporter travelling towards Islamabad from the badly damaged town of Rawalakot in Kashmir saw few military vehicles, and none that appeared to be carrying relief supplies. But the same road was crowded with private relief convoys, many belonging to the social service arm of Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan's largest and best-organised Islamic party. http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/musharraf-admits-slow-army-response/2005/10/13/1128796653439.html?oneclick=true
 
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trustedsourceofinfo    Diabolical as usual!!   12/3/2005 12:56:17 AM
You Pakis never cease to amaze-do you? On one hand you hold a donor's conference to beg for every cent needed for rebuilding Pakistan KAshmir which is approx $5.2B and on the other hand you'll be spending $2.4B on luxury apartments and a HQ for the Pakistani Army? ""Saad Rafiq said the GHQ would be the world’s largest military headquarters, costing $2.4 billion and spreading over an area of 2,450 acres of land. It would include 400 bungalows and 14,750 luxury apartments."" PML-N rejects Mirwaiz’s united Kashmir proposal By our correspondent ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has categorically rejected "United States of Kashmir" proposal floated by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq. "The united Kashmir slogan is a conspiracy against Pakistan’s stance," said Senior Vice-President of PML-N Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Mushahidullah Khan and Khawaja Saad Rafiq, while addressing a news conference here on Friday. Saad Rafiq said the present rulers took a wrong course on the Kashmir issue. On the contrary India did not move even an inch from its stance. They termed construction of the GHQ in Islamabad a burden on the national economy and sheer wastage of the national exchequer and demanded of the government to cancel the project forthwith. Saad Rafiq said the GHQ would be the world’s largest military headquarters, costing $2.4 billion and spreading over an area of 2,450 acres of land. It would include 400 bungalows and 14,750 luxury apartments. He appealed to the military leadership to be compassionate towards the nation and national kitty and not make the army’s position more controversial. "The Army generals instead of squandering away such huge amount should utilise it for defence purposes," he added. Responding to a question, he said the PML-N has always been supportive of Kalabagh dam, adding that Nawaz Sharif abandoned this project when he noticed that all federating units were not agreed upon it. He said Kalabagh dam was not more important than unity. He said feasibility survey of all the dams should be conducted in the wake of October 8 earthquake and report in this respect be presented in the National Assembly for debate. The PML-N leaders said the issue of Kalabagh dam should be debated in the National Assembly and Senate and lawyer community, journalists, labourers and leaders of public opinion should be taken into confidence. He maintained that all major projects like Kalabagh dam should be initiated after developing consensus among the provinces.
 
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