Salute to Sanjiv Bhatt

A poem by Prof. Badri Raina in New Delhi, honouring Sanjiv Bhatt, the IPS officer (Gujarat Intelligence) “who spilled the beans on Modi, revealing how at the meeting of Feb.,27, 2002 Modi had instructed the police to let the Hindus vent their anger; you can imagine what travails he is facing, having now even written an open letter to Modi on the subject of the riots.”

Sanjiv Bhatt’s response to Badri Raina: “Thank you very much for writing to me. Your poem has truly humbled me and further strengthened my resolve to ensure that Gujarat Riots of 2002 is never repeated anywhere in this country.”

Thank you Sanjiv Bhatt. We need officers like you in Pakistan also. There are some mob violence murders disguised as ‘religious riots’ that could do with some whistle-blowing too. Here’s the poem: Continue reading

Princeton Seminar Series: “Reporting South Asia”

Princeton University, series of talks about media in South Asia: a series that I kick off on Thursday Sept 29th at noon with Pakistani journalists – Standing tall, against all odds. Details for the rest of the series here, including other speakers later on: Zahid Hussain, journalist and senior editor, Newsline (Oct 13); Imran Aslam, president GEO Television, (Oct 27); Pankaj Mishra, novelist and essayist, London (Nov 10); Christophe Jaffrelot, Centre d’etudes et de recherches internationales (CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS) (Nov 17); and Steve Coll, journalist and president, New America Foundation (Dec 1)

Pakistan floods: Want to help?

Dr Geet Chainani in the field: NEED food, medicines, water, tents

Pakistan was still reeling from the devastating floods of last year when fresh disaster struck.

The situation is worse than reported,” messaged the journalist and activist Aslam Khwaja, back in Karachi after a recent five-day visit to six rain-hit districts of Sindh. Many others working in the affected areas have relayed similar obervations as they scramble to renew their efforts.

Young Doctors Assocation volunteer at Mirpurkhas relief camp: URGENTLY NEED MEDICINES

8.1 million people are homeless, with less than a quarter of them (approx 0.71 million) accommodated in about 3,000 makeshift relief camps set up by the Sindh Government. Conditions are appalling, with severe shortage of food, water and medical supplies. Some 370 people have died, hundreds more injured, and some 6.1 million acres of land and 1.5 million houses underwater or severely damaged, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan. The estimated loss to the cotton crop is estimated at a staggering Rs 75 billion.

YOU CAN HELP by sending money and relief goods to the organization of your choice. The most urgent needs are: tents, food, clean water, medicine. Continue reading

General observations about Pakistan floods

Some general observations from the floods of 2010, which are sadly relevant again:

  • People affected by the floods (last year as well as now) were already among the poorest begin with although they do include some well-off farmers and trades-people too, in areas where there was already little access to education and healthcare.
  • The relief camps set up last year brought an unexpected silver lining in the opportunity to many flood affected people who had access to a doctor or a teacher – for the FIRST time in their lives – at the relief camps. This indicates the level of underdevelopment in Pakistan, the huge percentage of the population that lacks access to healthcare and education. Continue reading

Sindh floods – update and appeal from Sadiqa Salahuddin, IRC

Khairpur, Sept 2011. Photo courtesy: The News

For those looking for credible organisations to contribute to or work with, here’s information about Indus Resource Centre’s flood relief work in Sindh, based on an email update from Sadiqa Salahuddin, the well known educationist who runs IRC. They have been working with girls’ education in the Khairpur area of Sindh for many years; Sadiqa Apa is also a very dear friend (IRC contact details are at the end of this post). The most urgent need is for dry food – basic essentials for ten days for a family of six cost around Rs 3,000 (details below). During the Eid holidays, she spent six days in Khairpur and then in Hyderabad while her colleagues assessed the situation in Khairpur and Mirpurkhas districts. Immediately after Eid, she went to Badin (which was then accessible by road from Karachi). She writes: Continue reading

The Kidnapping of Another Baloch Journalist | Baloch Hal editorial

Since the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority has blocked the website Baloch Hal in Pakistan, here’s Malik Siraj Akbar’s editorial that Pakistanis should have access to:

The Kidnapping of Another Baloch Journalist

Javid Naseer Rind, the former Deputy Editor of Daily Tawar, a leading anti-government Balochnewspaper published in Urdu language, was kidnapped on Saturday by unidentified people. Friends and family members of Mr. Rind, who is a widely respectednewspaper columnist and a reporter, have raised fingers at the state intelligence agencies for whisking him away. He was picked up in Laseba District of Balochistan along with another relative of his Abdul Samad Baloch. Since then the whereabouts of the Baloch journalist are unknown. Continue reading

Activists protest detention of Baba Jan, fear torture | Gilgit-Baltistan

Baba Jan speaking at a demonstration for the flood-affected earlier this year

Farooq Tariq of the Labour Party Pakistan has sent an urgent email appeal to protest the detention of LPP federal committee member Baba Jan who had surrendered himself before an anti-terrorist court in Gilgit last week. He “has been taken out of jail in Gilgit and now the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is torturing him on the name of investigation,” fears LPP. The judge had sent Baba Jan to prison on judicial remand instead of physical remand to the police. “He was dragged out of jail yesterday by the intelligence agencies,” alleges the alert.

Continue reading

Sindh Flood Appeal – Indus Foundation Trust

Sindh. And much of Balochistan. Submerged.

From Sherry Rehman, The Indus Foundation Trust: Sindh Flood Appeal (Scroll down for donation options and details):

Dear All,

We are thankful to all the donors who had supported IFT during 2010 Flood relief activites.

Again, the Indus Foundation Trust is taking subsistence survival packs to various locations in Sindh. Floods caused by heavy monsoon rains have devastated communities in the Sindh provinces. Continue reading

Personal Political: The tragedy of Karachi

Holding up a 'I <3 KHI' t-shirt at Itwar Bazar, July 2011. Photo: Beena Sarwar

My column for Hardnews India — written on Aug 25, 2011 (although much has happened since, this provides a context and an overview of the Karachi situation).

Personal Political: The tragedy of Karachi

Beena Sarwar

“Will it be possible to write about the tragedy of Karachi…?” asked my editor.

Possible, yes. Easy, no. In two words: turf wars. But behind that is a long, complex history, bound up in money, crime, politics, power and greed. Continue reading

Floods in Sindh: Please help PMA to help the affected

Children in Badin amidst rising flood waters. Image courtesy: Newsline

Urgent appeal from the Pakistan Medical Association:

The recent and continuing rain crisis has caused extensive disruption in upper and Lower Sindh lashing through Sukkur, Rohri, Pannu Aqil, Gotki, Mirpur Mathelo, Daharki, Khairpur, Thul, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Kandhkot, Shikarpur, Khanpur, Garhi Yasin, and Naushero feroz.

The ongoing torrential rains have affected 27 tehsils, more than 9,000 villages, 2.5 million acres of land and more than two million people, 85 casualties. More than 0.5 million houses have been damaged due to flash floods and downpours.

PMA has started relief and medical support in Badin,TMK, Mirpurkhas and Nawabshah. We need dry food supplies, tents, clean drinking water or water treatment tablets, medicines, powdered milk, clothes and other miscellaneous items of daily need would be useful.

Please donate items, or give a cheque in favour of “PMA” – send to: PMA House, Garden Road, Karachi, Pakistan; Phone (+92-21)-3223-1534 and (+92-21) 21-3225-1159

Dr Samrina Hashmi
President PMA Sindh

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