PaK SHUTS ON 5TH ANNIVERSARY
BY TARIQ NAQASH
Muzaffarabad, Oct 8: A crippling shutter down strike was observed in the Pakistan administered Kashmir capital on the fifth anniversary of 2005 earthquake on Friday, with people from different walks of life, including those with disabilities, staging rallies and demonstrations to condemn alleged delay in reconstruction, embezzlement of funds meant for the purpose and apathy of the authorities towards their plight.
The shops and business centres in almost all parts of Muzaffarabad remained shut on the call of Markazi Anjuman Taajran, an alliance of various bodies of traders. However, in some areas a few shops were opened by the members of a rival forum of traders whose leaders had taken a pro-government stance after a meeting with Prime Minister Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan.
The protesting traders who were carrying black flags, banners and placards, assembled in Upper Adda from where they paraded through the main old city. The rally culminated at Bank Road where charged speeches were delivered by Khawaja Abdus Samad, Pervez Iqbal Banday, Gohar Kashmiri, Ahmed Shah Bukhari and other leaders.
Taking strong exception to official claims, they said practically no tangible work had been done in the urban areas.
The roads have become death traps, sewerage and water supply systems are in a pathetic condition but every year we hear false promises by one after the other government functionary, they added.
They also lamented that the traders had not been compensated or given any incentive over the past 5-years although they had suffered worst financial losses.
The quake survivors want to know where they money meant for reconstruction had been diverted and why the process was not being expedited, they said.
Separately, hundreds of people, including women, assembled outside PaK University’s City Campus under the aegis of Tehreek-e-Tameer-e-Nau, a coalition of civil society activists, for an onward journey to Islamabad to participate in a demonstration outside the Parliament House along with other protestors from Bagh and Rawalakot.
“The purpose of our demonstration is to draw the attention of parliamentarians towards the concerns and plight of quake survivors,” said TTN president Shaukat Ganai advocate while organizing the vehicles.
In the afternoon, dozens of disabled men and women staged a demonstration along with their attendants at the Bank Road against the alleged apathy of governments towards their rehabilitation. The demonstration ended at the press club.
Many of them told this reporter that Lt-Gen Nadeem Ahmed, the then Erra’s deputy chief, had publicly pledged that Erra would build 750 houses for disabled persons at a 38-kanal piece of land, being acquired on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad.
“Even, some of us were given symbolic keys of the proposed houses by Gen Nadeem at a function but five years on, there is no such facility,” said wheel chair bound Ali Muhammad Butt.
“Ever since we were relieved from different hospitals, there is no institution to take care of us,” said Ruqayya, 22, of Muzaffarabad.
Khawaja Farooq Ahmed, a former PaK minister who was also present on the occasion, regretted that ERRA had launched a Rs 742.41 million project to provide “comprehensive rehabilitation services” to persons with disabilities but practically it had turned out to be a fiasco.
At a function here, the PaK premier laid foundation stone of some projects under the ‘urban development programme’ and reiterated the government’s “resolve to execute all projects envisaged for the quake affected areas.”
Lastupdate on : Fri, 8 Oct 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 8 Oct 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 9 Oct 2010 00:00:00 IST
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