News / Asia

Insurgents Hinder Pakistani Quake Relief Efforts

Pakistani volunteers load tents and other relief supplies into a truck to send it for earthquake-affected areas of the Baluchistan province, in Karachi, Pakistan, Sept. 28, 2013.
Pakistani volunteers load tents and other relief supplies into a truck to send it for earthquake-affected areas of the Baluchistan province, in Karachi, Pakistan, Sept. 28, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
Authorities in Pakistan said there is no let up in insurgent attacks on troops performing relief work in an earthquake-stricken region of southwestern Baluchistan province, despite calls for peace. The violence has so far killed at least six soldiers, but officials say it has not disrupted relief operations.
Pakistani troops and paramilitary soldiers have been mainly carried out relief activities around the worst-hit Awaran district, where last week’s powerful earthquake was centered.
Rescue officials and doctors say the calamity left more than 400 dead. Many more wounded are in hospitals. Authorities estimate some 300,000 people, mostly women and children, are homeless and need urgent help.
Security fears have prevented the United Nations and other foreign aid agencies from directly assisting the relief work because the disaster zone is a stronghold of ethnic Baluch insurgents.
National leaders, including the provincial chief minister, Abdul Malik Baluch, are calling on the militants to cease fire to allow uninterrupted relief activities.

In some areas, victims reportedly refuse aid from Pakistani troops, fearing a militant backlash.
Chief Minister Baluch said in an interview with VOA that insurgents have ignored their appeals but he vows to bring emergency assistance to quake victims. “We should not be afraid [of militant attacks] because this government is committed to give the basic facilities and we are providing food, tents and communication systems to the earthquake-affected area,” he said.
Since relief activities began more than a week ago, insurgents have frequently targeted troops carrying rations for earthquake victims. The violence has so far left six soldiers dead.
Baluch said a secure environment has to be in place before reconstruction starts to protect victims from the harsh winter. But he said Pakistan will need international assistance to undertake that task. “No doubt we have no sufficient resources and we are appealing to international community, especially the United Nations, just to help us because there is a very large scale of destruction of houses, round about 25,000 houses are destroyed, and we cannot construct these areas [on our own].”
Baluchistan is Pakistan’s largest but least populous province and rich in natural resources. The separatist insurgency dates back to the country’s founding, prompting federal authorities to maintain a large military presence in the impoverished region.

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Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 05, 2013 2:27 PM
Seems somebody member of al shabaab, hakanni network, al qaida, taliban or another unnamed islamist fanatic is on duty today; doesn't like truths about the axis of evil exposed. But someone must say something about it. Evil must be exposed in order to fight it, whether voa likes it or not. EVIL THRIVES WHEN MEN REFUSE TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST IT. Evil must not be condoned, and if VOA sides with those who carry out terrorist attacks on innocent people by not exposing them through readers' expository contributions, then VOA itself becomes part of the ACCESS OF TERROR.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 05, 2013 8:47 AM
Every time and everywhere one goes, all one hears is terrorist do this, terrorists do that. Seems the fear of the terrorists is now a new beginning of wisdom. But when you ask who the terrorists are, no one seems to know indepth. Yet they are human beings, mostly from islamic leaning, and demand things which seem impossible in the world of today, like asking everyone in the region of their cordon to convert to islam. More appalling is the fact that muslims who give terrorism teeth think they deceive the rest of humanity by claiming the terrorists are not muslim or that they are not speaking for islam. Yet when one speaks to average one of them on the street, the retort of violence makes one wonder if one has not spoken to the terrorist already. These terrorists are taught in mosques if we refrain from saying they are radicalized there because we are afraid to say so, so that we do not ignite riots by so doing. That is not all. They are known by people who make them elusive by refusing to expose them. Most importantly, they are armed by people, countries and arms-manufacturing/sales firms. These know where the arms they sell go to, and so it is absolutely wrong for state monitoring agencies to say they do not know where the terrorists arms come from. What is the benefit of globalization if things like this continue to endanger lives everywhere without control. But the most blamable reason why terrorism seems not to abet is the treatment of wars with kid gloves as if they are Hollywood scripts and scenes for MP3 play station. First we see superpowers that struggled to outdo themselves in seeking cheap popularity. This saw the face of conflict and combat change from its grim meaning to child’s play so that combatants mingle with civilians to pretend that all is well when the opposite is the case. By this stupid approach war on terror has been made difficult to win, and much more lives of combatants have been lost than necessary. This is not helped by enemies of peace in the world who operate from civil societies in Europe and America claiming war-weariness in the face of intimidating terrorist insurgency. This has led to inconclusive wars on terror campaign in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such has led to the fear of another failure to take down other countries who are known to sponsor terrorism 24/7; countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. In the days when America stood its ground to battle terrorism, such countries as Syria, Libya and Turkey piped low and threw in with majority of civil states. Today the reverse is the case. Terror-sponsors are being wooed as though begging them will bring the desired solution. But rather than bring solution, it will ensure total disintegration of civilization to be replaced by Islamism. That is the goal of jihad. And every muslim contributes to it, supports it, and anticipates it as the ultimate goal of islam. Some can argue there was no terrorism before Iraq and Afghanistan, but there was 9/11, wonder what led to it. If there are no state sponsors of terrorism, people will become bolder to expose terrorists, and terrorism will gradually die out. But if the only superpower bows to terror, then more states will grow teeth and join terror sponsorship – for it is a muslim’s tithe, contribution to JIHAD – the holy war, and propagation of islam.

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