Month: June 2009

We can change our fortune the way we won the final

Azhar Aslam and Shaista Kazmi So how did we do it? Was it sheer luck? Hardly any one would agree. Was it faith only? Some would argue for that. Was it the sheer talent of Afridi, Akmal, Razzaq and Gul? Many would vouch for that. As I write this, my mother has come and sat next to me and stated: ‘wasey kamala he hey jaisey Allah nein Dilshan ko out kiya!’. I won’t say I rest my case with my mother (at least not on one this occasion). Since I prayed too and said Allah O Akbar to myself just before we won. And it was a great sight to see them all bow to Almighty in the home of consumerist capitalist neo-imperialism.. The best thing was the manner it was won. With eight wickets intact, and eight balls to spare! What makes this even more memorable is that Pakistanis beat South Africans in the semi-final. Hence they beat both pre final favourites. So how did we do it? In brief, we won because we …

Update Swabi Camp

With every passing day the situation of the IDPs living in the camps is getting worse. The weather is getting warmer day by day  making it more and more miserable and affecting the health of the people  badly. The most vulnerable group are children and women (specifically the women who are pregnant). They are suffering the most and need urgent attention. The average number of people visiting the medical camps has increased significantly, according to the medical assistant, Salma, working in the population welfare department.  She has told us that nearly fifty patients visit their camp daily, out of which 10 are women who are pregnant. She told us that due to insufficient nutrition they are weak and developing complications According to Salma there is no doctor available in the Population welfare department’s camp to see the patients. When we asked her that how do they treat the serious patients she answered that they refer them to the other medical camps serving in the colony.  Unfortunately these camps are hardly any better.  The other depressing …

A Dismal Performance

Dawn Editorial THE Economic Survey of Pakistan 2008-09 tells us that the economy is crumbling, even if it hasn’t collapsed fully. We all understand that. Like previous such documents, this year’s survey also tells us about the huge gap between the tall budgetary targets our planners set each year and what they actually achieve. What do they hope to gain by making unrealistic claims? We remain in the middle of a huge economic crisis and yet don’t know who to blame for it: the global recession, economic mismanagement of the previous government under Gen Pervez Musharraf or the deteriorating security environment. The government argues that all three factors have contributed to the country’s economic slide. True. But it must also acknowledge its failure to take timely action to stop the decline, which did complicate the situation. Like many previous years, the government has missed almost all the targets for the outgoing fiscal: growth has slowed down, tax revenue collection is feared to fall far short of the target, private investment is down, inflation is yet …

My visit to Swabi: Red Crescent & UNHCR Camps Colony

Sawabi is one of those cities where a large number of IDPs have taken shelter after fleeing from the restive areas. International organizations, local NGOs and government institutions have gathered there to perform the relief activities after the huge displacement occurred as a consequence of the military operation in Swat. There are complaints from IDPs that situation is much worse than other relief camps that are mainly managed by local government authorities. As a part of our assessment about the plight of IDPs we decided to visit Sawabi where both UNHCR and RED CROSS are running the relief camps for the IDPs. It took me almost one hour and 45 minutes to reach Sawabi from Rawalpindi . The camps are situated at a distance of 3 kilometers from Sawabi interchange on the motorway. The camp colonies on the both sides of road accommodate approximately 20,000 displaced people. When I stepped out of the cab (especially hired for the purpose), barefooted children welcomed us, asking for chocolates and ice creams. It was a very hot day …

A tragedy of errors and Cover-ups – By The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) is convinced that the cost of the insurgency in the Malakand Division has been increased manifold by the shortsightedness and indecisiveness of the non-representative institutions and their policy of appeasing the militants and cohorting with them. While the ongoing military operation had become unavoidable, it was not adopted as a measure of the last resort. Further, the plight of the internally displaced people has been aggravated by lack of planning and coordination by the agencies concerned, and the methods of evacuation of towns/villages and the arrangements for the stranded people have left much to be desired.  Based on reports by HRCP activists in the Malakand Division and other parts of NWFP/Pakhtunkhwa, visits to IDP camps by its activists and senior board members, and talks with many displaced people and several Nazims and public figures, the commission has released the following statement on the situation, its conclusions and recommendations:

Changing the way we have been By Ayaz Amir

( Comment by Awaam :  So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly arise and make them miserable—-Aldous Huxley ) The stakes couldn’t be higher nor the opportunity hidden in this hour of seeming distress more promising. Provided we don’t prove exceptionally unlucky once more — or exceptionally stupid — the crisis in which we find ourselves is an opportunity to change the face of Pakistan, change our direction and our established modes of thinking and make up for all the lost years — years lost to mediocre leadership, both civil and military. It is not us who have created this moment of opportunity. Indeed it lay not in our power to do so. It has come our way through a combination of factors: America’s presence in Afghanistan; the growing Taliban threat within Pakistan; and Barack Obama as US president. It is Obama’s approach to Afghanistan which has enhanced Pakistan’s importance — whether Pakistan’s inept leadership understands this or not. Crucial to any American success in Afghanistan — anything that …