12th anniversary of devastating 2005 earthquake observed in PaK

Recalling that dreadful day, the acting premier said that earthquake was a massive tragedy but the survivors returned to a normal life in a short span of time, showing remarkable bravery and resilience.

TARIQ NAQASH
Muzaffarabad, Publish Date: Oct 9 2017 12:50AM | Updated Date: Oct 9 2017 12:50AM
12th anniversary of devastating 2005 earthquake observed in PaKFile Photo

Prayer meetings and protest demonstrations went hand in hand across Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) on Sunday, as the region observed 12th anniversary of the devastating 2005 earthquake amid criticism of “unfulfilled” promises by the authorities in Muzaffarabad and Islamabad.

The main ceremony to remember those killed in the worst disaster was held here in KH Khurshid stadium under the aegis of State Disaster Management Authority, with acting Prime Minister Raja Nisar Ahmed Khan as chief guest.

A police contingent presented salute, after the acting premier laid floral wreath on a monument to the deceased.Hundreds of survivors from the worst hit old part of the PaK capital had spent their first night after being struck by the disaster under the open sky in the same ground, which was later converted into a tent village for a long time.

Recalling that dreadful day, the acting premier said that earthquake was a massive tragedy but the survivors returned to a normal life in a short span of time, showing remarkable bravery and resilience. 

Khan maintained that though the infrastructure loss was colossal, a lot had been regained in almost all sectors.

According to officials, of the total 7835 projects in all sectors 5393 have been completed at a cost of Rs 166 billion.While work on another 1533 projects – 700 in education sector - is under progress, 909 projects – 600 in education sector – are yet to be initiated due to unavailability of funds, they say, adding, Rs 39 billion are required to complete the pending projects in next two years.

As the official function was in progress, hardly 300 yards away a group of civil society activists staged an unusual demonstration by placing a mock coffin of “governments and its departments” at Upper Adda. 

Led by Faisal Jamil Kashmiri, an activist known for his satirical writings in social and local mainstream media, the demonstrators twice offered “funeral prayers” of the coffin.

Kashmiri told reporters that even though local and foreign experts had suggested relocation of some 6000 families of quake survivors to satellite towns to prevent casualties in the event of any similar calamity in future, “successive governments had failed to act upon that advice.”

At about 11am, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) also held a separate function at the KH Khurshid stadium to mark quake anniversary.

Speaking on the occasion, PPP regional chief Chaudhry Latif Akbar lambasted the PaK government for its “failure to seek funds for reconstruction from its parent government in Islamabad over the past one year.”

Activists of SLF, the student wing of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, also staged a sit-in in front of press club from 9am to 3pm to protest against “embezzlement of funds donated by the international community for rehabilitation and reconstruction in quake hit areas.”

“The world came in rushing with generous aid but all those funds were not channelled into the affected areas,” alleged senior JKLF leader Sardar Anwar Khan on the occasion.

“We call upon the authorities concerned to complete the pending projects without further delay or else we will launch protest movement across the state as well as many other parts of the world,” he warned.