Terrorists Wear A Human Mask In PoK
10 November 2005
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: One cannot say for sure how many survivors of the October 8 temblor in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) will survive the impending onslaught of the freezing winter to get, if at all, rehabilitated in the near future. But there are sure signs that banned terrorist and charity organizations are taking full advantage of the alleged lethargic and inefficient Government relief operations to rehabilitate themselves. Doubting Thomases cannot be blamed if they suspect that a section of the Army-ISI is intentionally leaving the field open to these organizations to undo the ban on them. Incidentally, the relief operations are under the command of Generals. The civilian administration of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is practically out of it. No wonder, President of the ruling Muslim League Choudhury Shujjat Hussain did not think it necessary to rush back home after the earthquake. Thousands of people from Muzaffarabad in PoK to Swat in the Frontier Province, trapped under the rubble of quake-smitten buildings, were allowed to die as lost cases. Reports say there are still debris under which corpses continue to rot. In Chinari, 45 km from Muzaffarabad, wailing parents go round and round a collapsed school building under which their children are buried. When they repeatedly complained of the Army's inaction, the angry Army unit wound up its relief operations there. This may be an indication that the Army may abandon those whom it cannot help now that the winter is arriving. It has asked people to come down to camps in plains if they want to escape the winter fury. But it considers it none of its business how these people carry their injured relatives on non-existent roads blocked by huge boulders to these camps. However, General Musharraf is satisfied with the Army's work. He made this statement when the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) demanded that the Army's delay in starting relief operations should be proved by an inquiry committee. There are signs that the enthusiasm the people of Pakistan showed after the quake, is warning. In one affected area, a worker of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa said the number of relief-laden trucks from within Pakistan had come down from 20 to two a day. The suffering of the people of PoK will continue for an indefinite time. Naturally, people's enthusiasm to help cannot continue indefinitely. It is the Government, which will have to draw up emergency plans to rehabilitate the people. It is doubtful if such a plan is forthcoming until after the spring of 2006. General Musharraf has made it clear that he will not draw upon the defence budget for this purpose. In the meantime, Kashmiris who had gone to PoK want to return to this side of the LoC where they say they have ancestral property and relations. They feel they are not treated as equals of the PoK people. They are discriminated against in the distribution of relief. They don't want to be a burden on the PoK people. The international community too, is showing lukewarm concern about the plight of the quake-affected people. At a meeting, called by the United Nations on October 27 to assess the assistance requirement of these people, a total of 550 million dollars was pledged by countries who attended it. But only 15 to 16 million dollars were collected. The disappointed head of the UN relief operations in Pakistan warned that if the money didn't come quick his unit would not be able to fly helicopters to areas where even today 5 lakh people were struggling without relief. There were 20 lakh shelterless people who faced death in the coming winter if they were not given relief in time. Children will be worst affected. The aid giving countries feel that they cannot divert funds to Pakistan from other pressing areas like Iraq, Afghanistan, West Asia and Africa. On the other hand, General Musharraf's statement that the Defence budget would not be cut to divert funds to quake -affected areas because of country's security has been criticised by the people. Pakistan owes billions of rupees to PoK as royalty from the Mangla Dam every year. PoK is denied this royality. However, General Musharraf, the United States and Western countries are alarmed by the increasing popularity in PoK of banned terrorist organizations who were first to reach the quake-affected people with relief. Obviously to reduce their influence, General Musharraf has announced setting up of a youth force to work in the affected areas. The US has flown in 1000 NATO Army men to help in the relief work. Most of these men are engineers and doctors. India has pledged 25 million dollars for the relief and reconstruction work in addition to three relief consignments and the money it is going to spend on PoK people who will visit its relief camps on the LoC on five places. Banned terrorist organizations like Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba and Islamic charity groups like Al Rashid Trust, Al Akhtar Trust and Ummah Tamir-e-Nau are getting themselves rehabilitated by providing relief. Chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa Hafiz Mohammad Syed says that training in terrorist camps has helped terrorists to reach affected people on top of the mountains. It may be noted here that Lashkar-e-Toiba is the military wing of Jamaat-ud-Dawa. He also said that this organization had so far served the people with gun. Now it is helping them with shovels. The Musharraf Government is happy with their work. It is really intriguing from where these banned organizations are getting their funds and relief goods. There is no dearth of complaints of looting of relief goods by unidentified people. There are also complaints that Army units grabbed relief goods. According to a story published in the Daily Nation of London, a Colonel of Pakistan Army named Asif has sold 400 tents to desperate people at the rate of Rs. 5,500- a tent. It is nobody's secret that a section of the Army-ISI is the main supporter of terrorists in Kashmir. It will certainly like the 13,526 Sq. Km 'Azad' Kashmir to fast return as the base camp for global terrorism in the name of freedom struggle in Kashmir.