TV Journalist says Killer Quake Wiped Out the Kashmir Dream
October 16: Not only the entire civil administration and the political
leadership of Azad Kashmir had evaporated, the military struggle
for liberation of Kashmir has also been buried under the killer
earthquake of October 8, a senior TV journalist said after an
extensive tour of the affected areas.
Shahid Masood, TV personality of Dubai-based ARY One World Network
told the South Asia Tribune there was widespread looting
and chaos in most of the areas where no relief has arrived and
where even the damage to life and property has not been assessed.
Masood returned to Islamabad on Friday after a five-day tour during
which he walked more than 50 kilometers on foot, reaching Muzaffarabad,
Balakot and Chakothi and saw the devastation, recording it on
his camera before any relief parties could reach there.
Masood’s in-depth coverage of the destruction from Muzaffarabad
was one of the prime factors which brought a sleeping Islamabad
and its ruling classes into action as he was the first TV person
to point out that the October 8 quake was not just about a fallen
apartment building in Islamabad but about death and misery to
thousands more wiped out in remote areas.
Masood was particularly critical of those Government spokesmen,
including the Minister of Information Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, who
had attacked the first reports of ARY and denied that any vast
devastation had taken place. "They started attacking me by
name while denying everything. Look where they stand now, shameless."
ARY channel interviewed several victims of the quake in Muzaffarabad
and other badly hit areas while pointed questions thrown by Dr
Masood at ill informed and shameless Government ministers and
spokesmen brought home the fact that Islamabad was caught napping
and mourning the Margalla Complex when an entire humanity has
been wiped out in Hazara and Kashmir.
his interview to the South Asia Tribune Dr Masood said
the pathetic fact was that the political leadership and the ruling
elite of Kashmir had disappeared from the scene and most of the
Azad Kashmir cabinet ministers were enjoying normal life in government
rest houses and AJK House in Islamabad.
there was any civilian administration nor the Army had declared
some kind of a military rule for the emergency with the result
that a free for all had ensued with every one trying desperately
to survive. “It was the day after a nuclear bomb blast,
or even worse.”
could not see even one Kashmiri militant on the spot providing
even verbal consolation to the hopeless and devastated victims.
From Mujahid-e-Awal (the title given to Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan)
to all the Mujahideen belonging to the socalled Liberation Struggle,
no one was in sight,” he said.
failure of the political leadership, Dr. Masood said, was stark
but the performance of the Pakistan Armed Forces was only slightly
better as they were on the spot but they had no clue how to coordinate
a relief effort required to be colossal in scale and monumental
could see that the Chief Secretary of Azad Kashmir, wearing a
suit and tie even in such terrible conditions, was running helter
skelter to get a handle on the situation, but in vain. All his
officers, his police and his infra-structure had been buried under
the rubble,” Dr. Masood said.
Masood said the tragedy of Kashmir will continue to unfold for
days and weeks as all of those thousands who have lost their family
and friends would try to find the remains and bodies of their
loved ones and failing that would turn their anger on someone,
most probably the Government of the day.
the extensive tour of the badly hit areas, the senior journalist
said the Government will have to do a much better job to rehabilitate
the affected people if a political fallout was to be avoided.
Masood will be presenting a series of programs on his extensive
visit to Kashmir in the coming days.