[Editorial] Mehdi Shah’s Derogatory Statement Hurt Affectees of Attabad Disaster
March 29, 2010 4 Comments
The statement by the Chief Minister for Gilgit-Baltistan, Syed Mehdi Shah, regarding the disaster affected people of Hunza is highly derogatory and a statement of an ill minded person. Briefing the newly selected Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan, Dr. Shamshad, the immature Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah stated that ‘People of Hunza are Thankless’ because they do not appreciate government for distributing checks to the families of deceased people of Attabad Disaster.
Mehdi Shah, who is the chief of PPP in Gilgit-Baltistan as well as chief Minister, was drunk and dancing surrounded by women in Lahore to celeberate his honeymoon for being elected Chief Minister, while the people of Hunza were mourning the death of 19 people in Attabad Disaster. Mehdi Shah bothered to visit the affected people of Hunza weeks later, only when media has taken up the issue of the absence of Chief Minister from the disaster affected area and his colorful entertainment activities engulfed with women of Lahore, while his countrymen and women were mourning. The absence of Chief Minister during the time of disaster had created several problems as people were not being attended properly by the government machinery for their needs and no-one was there to take decision needed for emergencies. Thanks to the NGOs such as Red Crescent Pakistan, and FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance Programme, who came to help people of the disaster hit areas of Attabad, Sarat, and Salamanabad for immediate care of displaced people.
More than 86 days have passed the IDPs of Attabad are still living in the small rooms of schools where as our younger generations ,the students are forced to continue their studies in the camps. Yes government has paid the checks to the families of deceased people but what about the promises of immediate settlement of those who have lost their all belongings and have become homeless. What about the education for the children of the affected areas, employment of those who have lost their only source of livelihood, health care for children, elderly and women. Does Mr. Mehdi Shah have bothered to ask regarding these issues and does he know how the people who have lost their all belongings are currently living. Worst by worst, does Mehdi Shah has inquired why the goods and food items sent by Punjab Government has been kept in Gilgit city, miles away from Altit, and Gojal, where people affected by the disaster are residing in camps currently? Isn’t it to open ways for corruption by Mehdi Shah’s government even in the aid received for food and shelter items meant for disaster affected people? A very shameful act by Mehdi Shah’s corrupt government.
Since the disaster 25000 people of Upper Hunza (Gojal) are strained and locked in isolation without access to food, medicines, doctors, necessary items for the cultivation of land such as fertilizers and seeds. Thousands of acres of land in Ayeenabad, Shishkat and in Gulmit is submerged in the lake water and it is still continued but no relief has been provided by the government. Initially cosmetic services were being provided such as helicopter services and people were being provided leaking boats from the garbage store of a government agency. The Machinery of FWO (four bulldozers) are working for more than two months without any success to develop spill way for the lake water, against 400 million rupees of contract (Unofficial figures as officially the figures are not been revealed by the government of Pakistan). The contract is being assigned to FWO along with NESPAK the bodies of government of Pakistan, which has no experience of working in similar condition while turning down offer of a Chinese firm which has high skills and experience of working in similar condition. The 400 million contract is again said to be a big whole for corruption of the public money at the cost of the affected people of Attabad disaster. Will Mr. Mehdi Shah inform people of Hunza and Gilgit-Baltistan, what is his share in the chunk of 400 millions?
Mr. Mehdi Shah has irked people of Hunza and Gilgit-Baltistan all over the country. He should publically sought apology from the people Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan and particularly from the people of Attabad, and Gojal for his irresponsible statement. The statement of Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, Syed Mehdi Sahah, has severely hurt the emotions and feelings of people who are already undergoing emotional and psychological stress due to the calamity they have faced at the hand of natural disaster and governments inaction.