Stories about disaster

Which of these giant teams will not make it to the Premier League top four?

Imagine hiring, arguably, the best football coach on the planet and instead of handing him a Champions League berth as a welcome gift, you saddle him with an unwanted distraction of a tournament that is the Europa League. Well, that’s precisely what Manchester City is close to doing to Pep Guardiola, following their failure to beat Arsenal in Manuel Pellegrini’s final home game in charge. But the worst part, this isn’t even the worst case scenario. This nightmarish situation of finishing outside the top four and failing to qualify for the Champions League could reach gargantuan proportions because it is ...

Read Full Post

Indian-occupied Kashmir under Omar Abdullah: Six years of disaster

In Kashmir, politics has always been a game of possibilities, and it remains so even today. So long as the ‘core issue’ remains unattended, neither any change in the political leadership – in mainland India, in Pakistan or in Kashmir – nor any economic package or assistance really makes a difference. And today’s politically-motivated relief camps stand in the row. Deep inside their hearts, all political parties know the extent of their political acceptance. No politician, howsoever articulate and famous, has won an election in Kashmir unless the subtlety of his election campaign encompassed decisive elements of the freedom narrative. So the rules ...

Read Full Post

After 67 year, we are still unprepared for rain

When it rains in Pakistan, the words of Ardeshir Cowasjee seem very pertinent: “Gutter tou bana nahi saktay, atom bomb banatay hain”. (They cannot even make a gutter but are making atom bombs). Rain, a blessing of nature (or should I say curse in disguise), has wreaked havoc in parts of Punjab and Kashmir. It has not only cost lives and casualties, but also led to the spread of water-borne diseases. These torrential rains have flooded areas where lands have been cleared, people have been displaced and livestock has been harmed. One wonders then whether authorities, such as the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Water and Sanitation ...

Read Full Post

Imran Khan, Tahirul Qadri and Sheikh Rasheed: Recipe for disaster?

In January 2013, Dr Tahirul Qadri, author of a renowned fatwa against terrorism, held Pakistan’s capital hostage for several days while making a categorical litany of demands that had to be met within 15 minutes by the government “or else”. It was a four-day-long drama but the crowd of 25,000-60,000 remained remarkably peaceful. A similar carnival is coming to town again. This time not only does it feature Dr Qadri and his followers, but the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Shiekh Rasheed and the Jamaat-e-Islaami’s (JI) alliance as well. It’s a peculiar bunch but that is often what makes the carnival more appealing – one ...

Read Full Post

The Baldia Town factory fire was not pre-meditated murder!

Is it a crime that someone in Pakistan generates Rs2 billion in annual revenues? If this said person pays taxes worth Rs20 million per year, why is he implicated under section 302, which is premeditated murder, if his factory faces an accident? Is it fair that a person providing direct employment to 1,200 workers, translating into 1,200 families, whose factory suffers from an unanticipated fire, is sent to jail along with his gatekeeper, accountant and senior staff? Who benefits from the fact that the owners are in jail today? And what happens to the 900 workers who are depending on finances from ...

Read Full Post

How Sandy took Pakistan by storm

Superstorm Sandy could be the second most damaging natural disaster ever in the US’s history in terms of economic loss. Losses estimated by experts have soared up to $20 billion and another $50 billion will be required to revive economic activity in the worst-hit states. The reaction of Pakistanis to superstorm Sandy was mixed. Pakistan had been abuzz with text messages describing the hurricane as nature’s revenge on America for disposing Osama bin Laden’s body in the ocean and some stated that it was the result of the film “Innocence of Muslims”. Many took to social media to describe just ...

Read Full Post

Only in Pakistan: In love with life at a refugee camp!

The floods that strike parts of Pakistan every other year displace many communities, economically handicap several others and leave a burning wound in the shape of puddles, dead livestock and broken up pieces of what used to be roofs, doors or a mirror. The people that decide to move away become refugees in some other part of the country. The mere mention of the word ‘refugee’ immediately suggests helplessness, strife and UN sponsored tents. Disaster changes their lives for the worse, and most refugees become reliant on the government and the aid of certain NGOs in a struggle to begin their ...

Read Full Post

How disasters should be dealt with

Modern techniques and equipment cannot avert either natural or man-made disasters but surely use of available resources, comprehensive planning, and effective training to agencies handling calamities can reduce the consequences. Apportioning responsibility for the Bhoja Air crash will be a lengthy process as it requires advanced technology and equipment to ascertain the causes of the incident. Likewise, Pakistan does not have a culture which requires the authorities to share information or findings of such disasters. Examples from history further reinforce this: East Pakistan debacle, Kargil adventure and the July 2010 Airblue crash in which 152 people lost their lives. Now, ...

Read Full Post

The disservice of forgetting

With school beginning in August, one plucky senior decided to send a farewell note to the new A-level final year class. He talked about how everything that would happen in the last year of school – petty rivalries, exams, and college applications both in and out of Pakistan – were completely pointless. There was no need to lose sleep over them. This much was standard high school speech protocol, except that he learnt all of this on the first day back to school, which was directly preceded by the AirBlue crash. It’s hard, he figured, to worry about those sorts of ...

Read Full Post

One year after the floods

A year has passed since the worst disaster in Pakistan’s history. Last year’s floods caused by monsoon rains, submerged close to a fifth of the country’s total area underwater, directly affected about 20 million people, destroyed livestock, crop, property and infrastructure with a death toll of nearly 2000. The total economic damage was estimated to be close to 43 Billion U.S dollars and the occurrence was termed by the UN Secretary-General as one of the worst disasters he had ever seen. Before Pakistan was called the world’s most ‘dangerous’ country by the western media (after the May 2nd incident), it ...

Read Full Post