Special prayers offered for victims of 2005 earthquake in PaK
Muzaffarabad, Oct 8: People in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) observed silence for one minute and offered special prayers on Monday for thousands of victims of October 8, 2005 earthquake, amid conflicting claims by government functionaries and civil society activists regarding reconstruction in the affected areas.
In Muzaffarabad, which was worst hit, an alliance of local political and religious parties and civil society organisations staged a sit-in to protest against the “held up” reconstruction process.
However, brushing aside their allegations Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed vowed that the governments in Muzaffarabad and Islamabad were determined to leave no stone unturned to accomplish the task “on a war footing.”
Significantly, it was for the first time in seven years that no federal ruler turned up in Muzaffarabad to attend or carry out any activity to mark the devastating earthquake’s anniversary, although initial official report had suggested that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf would perform groundbreaking of some of the many pending projects in the state capital.
The day dawned with high attendance of people in graveyards where they offered prayers, with tearful eyes, for the souls departed on this day in the most nightmarish conditions.
Exactly at 8:52 am, when the temblor had struck, sirens were sounded and one-minute silence was observed. Prime Minister Majeed and many members of his cabinet visited a monument to the martyrs of earthquake in the University College Ground and laid floral wreath over there. Separately, an MQM delegation, including among others its two PaK ministers and two National Assembly members, also visited the place and laid floral wreaths there.
Premier Majeed also inspected a pictorial exhibition of earthquake arranged in the MLA Hostel by Legislative Assembly’s deputy speaker Shaheen Kausar Dar.
Later, speaking at the day’s main function in Ali Akbar Awan High School, he paid rich tributes to the government, people and the armed forces of Pakistan for extending support in cash and kind to the earthquake survivors, much beyond their resources.
“That was the most testing time of our history… But thanks to Allah we recovered from it with the help of our Pakistani brethren, international community and non-governmental organisations,” he recalled.
“Today the reconstruction process is in speedy progress and hundreds of projects have been completed and hundreds others are in the process of completion,” he said, adding, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Ashraf were providing liberal aid for reconstruction and rehabilitation, notwithstanding financial crisis that had gripped the country.
Majeed termed complaints to the government of Pakistan for scarcity of reconstruction related fund shortage as “unjustified” and said Pakistan had helped the earthquake survivors above and beyond its resources.
However, contrarily, participants and speakers at the sit-in camp, set up in Upper Adda, were rigid with their allegations that the present PPP-led government in Islamabad had shifted Rs 55 billion for reconstruction to other heads for political reasons.
“Time has come to hold the federal government accountable for this shifting. If the funds pledged by the international community for reconstruction in earthquake affected areas are not utilised for the same purpose, we will be justified to raise this issue at any international forum,” said Shaikh Aqeel ur Rehman of Jamaat-e-Islami.
Barrister Iftikhar Gillani, PML-N lawmaker from Muzaffarabad city, alleged that the PPP rulers their handpicked lot in Muzaffarabad were trying to hoodwink the Kashmiris regarding reconstruction process.
“They have committed deception and dishonesty by shelving majority of projects but we will snatch our rights from them," he said.
Zahid Amin, a former chairman of Development Authority Muzaffarabad (DAM), said the reconstruction related authorities did not have money to complete even a handful of projects they had initiated, let alone start the rest which ran into hundreds.
Earlier, on Sunday evening, activists of Muslim Conference had lit candles at same spot to pay homage to earthquake victims.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 8 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 8 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 9 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST
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Muzaffarabad, Oct 8: People in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) observed silence for one minute and offered special prayers on Monday for thousands of victims of October 8, 2005 earthquake, amid conflicting More