Urgent help needed for people of flood-destroyed Sibi, Balochistan

Flood affected villagers move to safer areas. Photo courtesy IDSP

On July 21, heavy rainfall in district Sibi and nearby mountains resulted in heavy floods in River Talli, destroying the safety dam of village Union Council Talli, District Sibi. Over 80 have died, and more than 150 are still missing. Over 57,000 people have been affected in Sibi, Lehri, Barkhan.The floods have damaged 90% of the houses, over 50% livestock and agriculture.
According to the district agriculture and revenue departments these floods have broken the past records of 1978 which also resulted in huge destruction.
A team from Dr. Quratulain Bakhteari’s well-regarded organisation in Balochistan, the Institute for Development Studies and Practices (IDSP) recently visited the affected villages and met with the people there. Dr Bakhteari has sent out an appeal urgently seeking the following items: Food    Water     Tents

Please contact: Alam Baloch / Safdar Hussain
IDSP – Sibi Campus,  Near Radio Station, Luni Road, Sibi, Balochistan.
Telephone: office +92-833-500192  Mobiles: +92-331-8392503, +92-333-7801886

IDSP-Pakistan, Pakistan [IDSP-PAKISTAN]. H.No. 7-A, Al-Mashraq Street, Arbab Karam Khan Road Quetta, Pakistan. T. +92.81.2471776, 2470243 F. +92.81.2447285. idsp@idsp.org.pk

Hem Chandra Pandey and “Role of Journalists in Undeclared Emergency”

The cold blooded murder of freelance journalist, Hem Chandra Pandey, on July 2 in an armed ‘encounter’ in Andhra Pradesh in which police eliminated a leader of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), has caused widespread outrage. See IFJ’s press release here, and UNESCO’s condemnation here. Below, open invitation for a seminar on “Role of Journalists in Undeclared Emergency”, July 20, in New Delhi Continue reading

‘What good is a dead body if you can’t see the person alive?’

Published in Hardnews, India and The News on Sunday, Pakistan


What good is a dead body if you can’t see the person alive?

Beena Sarwar

India-Pakistan relations have Nazo Reshi vacillating between hope and despair. Hailing from Srinagar, she is married to a Pakistani and lives in Islamabad. “Every time I apply for a visa for Jammu and Kashmir it is a marathon,” she wrote in an email to Aman ki Asha, the peace initiative of the Jang Group of Pakistan where I work and the Times of India Group.

“The intricacies of the visa application keep increasing. Nobody realises the plight of women like me who are divided from their families, often from villages all over India and Pakistan. Continue reading

Competitor to militant Islam: Daata’s langar closed for first time in 927 years…

Langar at Daata Darbar

The horrific suicide bombings which claimed over 40 lives on Thursday night at the shrine of the revered sufi poet Hazrat Daata Ganj Baksh, the patron saint of Lahore, are a gory reminder of the urgent need for all concerned to join forces against ‘terror’.

A little over a year ago, after the attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore in March 2009, Siddharth Varadarajan urged India and Pakistan to forget the conspiracies and acknowledge that they face the same threat – ‘Lahore attack shows urgency of joint action on terror‘.

Rehman Baba's shrine damaged in the attack of March 2009

He suggested that “Cricket is the most visible icon of secular Pakistan, and perhaps the only competitor militant Islam faces in its struggle to tame the wayward Pakistani mind”. My response was that there is another, even more deep-rooted competitor that militant Islam faces – the deep-rooted, widespread adherence to Sufi Islam and values, superstition, taweez dhaga etc. “I fear (hope hope hope I am wrong) a major attack on any urs taking place at any of the major shrines any time soon,” I wrote at the time.

Two days later Hazrat Baba Rehman’s shrine outside Peshawar was attacked, thankfully without any casualties. Continue reading

Peace Hankies Chain & QBR at Wagha border – and Milne Do

Posted to beena-issues yahoogroup yesterday:

Pakistani and Indian schoolchildren at the white line marking the border. The Pakistanis were about to pass the banner signed by 1900 kids from Abbottabad to their Indian counterparts. And oh look! Someone's actually standing ON the line!! Photo: Beena Sarwar

Aman ki Asha, Milne Do, Peace Hankies Chain & the Queens’ Baton Relay… Much has happened since my last post, the Aman ki Asha Milne Do curtain raiser. The foreign secretaries met in Islamabad and so did the Home Ministers. We had a senior reporter give each of them a set of our Milne Do campaign — editorial, my curtain raiser, op-ed articles by Vazira Fazeela and Manvendra Singh, the Aman ki Asha page of June 23, and the TOI page of June 24, plus the ads we’ve run since last week focusing on the main issues (city specific visas, police reporting, same entry/exit points, no tourist visas etc). Continue reading

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