Israeli terrorism continues–> Attack and blockade of humanitarian aid ship SV Estelle en route to Gaza
Israeli has kept its reputation of violating international treaties of human rights and laws regarding international waters. This time it has attacked and blocked another humanitarian aid ship heading for Palestinian territory.
More than 125 countries now accept Palestine as a sovereign state but Israeli aggression against civilians and occupation of Palestinian land is still going on. It seems UN is helpless against Israel as most of the so called big powers and so called civilized governments don’t mind what Israel is doing but in fact support Israel in many of its illegal and barbaric activities.
We condemn Israel for its brutalities against the people of Palestine who accepted them during Ottoman times on their land when whole world and especially Europe was persecuting them.
We salute to the brave and humanity loving people of the SV Estelle ship who came to help the people of Palestine without any prejudice.
According to media reports, more than 300 people have died in Iran’s deadly twin earthquakes. Aid and rescue services from international channels are facing difficulty in reaching to Iran or sending support due to sanctions from USA and UN.
I don’t agree with Iran’s policies of spreading sectarianism across the region or supporting Assad’s brutal regime but I disagree with sanctions affecting civilian populations. These sanctions affect common people who don’t have much control over the policies of their govt. and especially in natural disaster type situations these sanctions are unjust and cruel.
In times like these, people should think beyond political or geo-strategic goals and differences. After all we are all humans and have same red colored blood.
Recently, Transparency International published their Corruption Perception Index in which Pakistan was placed at 34th position. Also in UN Humanitarian Development Index, Pakistan is proudly placed at 125 with Zimbabwe at lowest on 169 and small countries like Srilanka and Maldives in better positions of 99 and 107 than World’s 7th Nuclear Power. Many people especially those with some sort of sympathies with our ruling elite criticize the authenticity of these indexes.
One of the main argument presented against the results is lack of understanding by these institutions about the local conditions and environment. This criticism seems to be valid and genuine because if the analysis is based on real conditions then the results might come out worse.
If we look at the problems a common person faces due to corruption, law and order situation, and incompetent governance then the seriousness of the issues become a bit clear. Reality on the ground is that not only corruption is destroying our so-called national institutions and costing us billions but it has buried a common man straight under.
From cartelization to paying forceful unnecessary taxes, there is no justification of calling the present situation even near satisfactory. High inflation and energy crises are a result of government sponsored cartelization and corrupt privatization without merit. If things are done in transparent way and Rule of Law is established then we can expect some improvement in turbulent economy, if it has not crashed yet.We are already moving around 4 percent GDP growth which is very low as compared to countries like India and China in the same region.
If a common man saves enough money through his hard work, even in this time of government sponsored inflation, and decides to build his house then a new series of hurdles and problems start for him. First one is to go through the government doors for transferring the plots, passing the site plan and other unnecessary approvals which not only cost huge amount of fees but a big amount is taken from his through forceful corruption otherwise his file disappears somewhere in hell.
Once he goes through the process then the process of construction comes, if high prices of construction material due to unjustified sales taxes is not enough then extortion money will surely take a lot juice out of him. All the major government parties and their allied mafias are involved in this game. In case of Karachi, areas are distributed and in each area people are bound to pay this money if they want to make their houses or they want to do business. If someone denies then Shersha Kabari Market incident is not that old to remind us what can happen.
Recent target killing also has some touch of this mafia war for taking more and more area under control. Many times where demarkation of areas is not clear people have to pay extortion to multiple parties. The situation has gone worse after floods, especially in Karachi, not only due to chanting demographics but also due to further slowdown in economy and high inflation.
Cost of doing and initiating business is also a major problem. Not only permits, licensing and quotas are a major problem but red-tapism, corruption, security issues and high electricity are things which in any country can break the backbone of business. Load shedding of 12 hours in a commercial hub like Karachi cannot send a positive message for any investor whether local or international.
The situation is not only resulting in the flight of capital but it has created unemployment issues as well which directly impacts the standard of living. We often demand overseas Pakistanis to bring their money in the country but if we honestly analyse the situation then the demand looks a bit unjust.
At the moment our country is facing worst kind of shameless plutocracy in the name of democracy with mafias and government cronies hammering the life out of our people.
The responsibility also lies on the shoulders of people as they are the ones who chant slogans for these leaders and support either corrupt politicians or dictators.
The real issue is not just that how long this situation can go on but the real issue how long our country can sustain it. We need to come out of this situation otherwise time doesn’t wait for anyone and if worse becomes worst and worst becomes unchangeable then collapse of everything becomes inevitable. So the choice is ours and we are already getting late for the right choices to be made. Instead of cursing institutions for bringing out reports reflecting our dismal performance we need to focus on improving the situation and coming out of this mess.
– Also on : http://blogs.aaj.tv/2010/11/shameless-plutocracy-and-turbulent-economy/
Rise as the time calls for it and help your brothers in these hard moments. Recent floods are one of the worst disasters in the history. UN has said that the magnitude of damage by recent floods in Pakistan is equivalent to combine effect of 2004 Tsunami, 2005 South Asia Earthquake and 2010 Haiti Earthquake.
Help people in need in whatever way you can. This Ramadan and Indepnedence Day of Pakistan can make us united and strong if we stand in front of this challenge with courage and honor. Its time for us to rise as a nation and build our character without relying much on foreign aid.
The items which can be sent in the areas considering the conditions there are Dry Fruits, Milk, Water, Biscuits, Medicine, Blankets, Tents, Juices and other items which can easily be consumed and disposed off.
PAKISTAN: Top 10 natural disasters since 1935 – IRIN
Source : http://infocrats.org/mag/2010/08/economy/pakistan-top-10-natural-disasters-since-1935-irin/ , IRIN (Humanitarian News and Analysis) – A Project of UN Office
LAHORE, 10 August 2010 (IRIN) – According to the National Disaster Management Authority, the current floods in Pakistan constitute the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. The 10 worst natural disasters in Pakistan in the last 75 years are:
1935 Quetta earthquake: A 7.7 Richter scale earthquake virtually levelled the city of Quetta in the eastern province of Balochistan, then part of British India. Some 60,000 people were killed in one of the deadliest earthquakes to hit South Asia. The epicentre was 4km southwest of the town of Ali Jaan, some 153km from Quetta.
1945 Balochistan earthquake: A 7.8 Richter Scale earthquake hit southwestern Balochistan on 28 November 1945. The epicentre was 98km southwest of the town of Pasni. Apart from massive damage to property, the quake led to a 40-foot tsunami causing the deaths of over 4,000 people.
1950 floods: Monsoon rain in 1950 killed an estimated 2,900 people across the country. Punjab Province, including the city of Lahore, was among the worst hit when the River Ravi flooded. Flooding also affected parts of the southern province of Sindh. Over 100,000 homes were destroyed, leaving around 900,000 people homeless.
1970 East Pakistan cyclone: The Bhola tropical cyclone struck the territory of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) on 12 November 1970. It was the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded and is rated as one of the worst natural disasters in modern times. Up to 500,000 lost their lives, primarily as a result of the storm surge that flooded much of the low-lying islands of the Ganges Delta. The cyclone also gave rise to unrest which contributed to a civil war and the formation in 1971 of the independent state of Bangladesh.
1974 Kohistan (also known as Hunza) earthquake: A 6.2 Richter Scale quake hit Kohistan and surrounding areas including parts of Swat, Hunza and Kashmir in northern Pakistan and also the Hazara and Swat districts of the then North West Frontier Province on 28 December 1974. About 5,300 people were killed, 17,000 injured and 97,000 affected. Landslides and rockfalls contributed to the damage. Most of the destruction was centred around the village of Pattan, around 160km north of Islamabad, and in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
2000 drought: At least 1.2 million people in Balochistan were affected by drought, and over 100 died, mostly because of dehydration, according to the government. Millions of animals perished. One of the worst-affected areas was the town of Nushki, close to the border with Afghanistan. The drought lasted over 10 months.
2005 Kashmir quake: A 7.6-Richter scale quake struck the Kashmir region on the India-Pakistan border and parts of northwestern Pakistan on 8 October 2005. According to official figures, at least 73,000 people were killed and more than 3.3 million made homeless. The worst affected areas included Neelum Valley and Bagh District in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Mansehra Division. A massive international relief effort was launched. Work continues today to rebuild damaged infrastructure.
2007 Cyclone Yemyin: At least 380 people were killed in Balochistan, 250 in Sindh and 100 in NWFP as a result of flash floods triggered by Cyclone Yemyin, which struck coastal areas in early July 2007. Some 350,000 people were displaced, 1.5 million affected and more than two million livestock perished.
2010 Hunza Lake disaster: A landslide in January 2010 in Attabad village in Hunza-nagar District in the far north of the country killed 20 people and led to around 40 houses sliding into the Hunza river. Debris from the landslide caused the river to dam, leading to the formation of a large lake which threatened to flood downstream areas. Some 20,000 were forced to leave their homes by June.
2010 floods: The toll so far: 1,600 deaths; over six million affected. Pakistan has sought international help to cope with the catastrophe. Despite mass evacuations, there are fears the death toll will rise as flooding reaches the southern province of Sindh and the risk of water-borne disease outbreaks increases in many areas.