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US-backed Saudi strikes in Yemen kill 120 civilians

Thomas Gaist

Saudi war planes killed at least 120 civilians in a series of air strikes in the city of Taiz late Friday night. The strikes destroyed buildings that were serving as workers’ quarters as well as a nearby agricultural facility.
The attack was only the latest instance of mass killing of civilians in the bombing campaign waged by the Saudi-led, US-backed coalition that began in March.
Despite claims from Riyadh that such events are accidental, a growing body of evidence shows that the Saudi air campaign is systematically targeting civilian areas. The war is aimed at terrorizing the Yemeni masses into opposing the Houthi takeover and acceding to the restoration of US-Saudi control over the country through the re-imposition of the puppet government led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
The mass slaughter of civilians has become “the new trend now of the air strikes from the coalition,” a representative from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) told the Associated Press.
“It’s a house, it’s a market, it’s anything,” the MSF representative said, referring to the direct targeting of civilian areas by the Arab coalition.
In May, Saudi military officials declared that the Houthi stronghold of Saada would be considered a “military zone,” i.e. a free-fire area, and ordered leaflets dropped instructing all civilians to leave the city. UN investigators have argued that the Saudi coalition is knowingly targeting “trapped civilians.”
As many as 140 Saudi strikes ripped through areas of Saada on Friday. The strikes intentionally targeted civilian areas where Saudi war planners claim the Houthi insurgents have hidden stores of weapons and ammunition. Further strikes on Friday slammed into residential areas in the coastal town of Mokha.
From all appearances, Saudi pilots have been granted standing authorization to deploy their bombs against civilian areas.
An Amnesty International press release from July 1, titled “Airstrike and weapon analysis shows Saudi Arabia-led forces killed scores of civilians with powerful bombs,” documents the killing of at least 54 civilians by a series of strikes against the cities of Sanaa and Taiz between June 12 and June 16.
In one attack detailed by the report, a 2,000 pound bomb fell directly on a residential suburban home, killing at least 10 civilians.
As a reward for their participation in this bloody air campaign, some 100 Saudi pilots have been offered high-end sports cars.
The humanitarian catastrophe facing the civilian population is now reaching “unprecedented levels,” according to a statement from the International Red Cross on Friday last.

At last 1,700 civilians killed
The punishing Saudi assault has contributed officially to the deaths of at least 1,700 civilians in a matter of months, while devastating Yemen’s infrastructure to the point where some 80 percent of the population lacks reliable access to food and water.
In the aftermath of Friday’s mass civilian deaths, Saudi authorities have called for a five day cease-fire over the weekend, under the pretense of seeking to allow humanitarian aid to enter the country.
There is every reason to believe that the Saudi cease-fire has been called as a tactical manoeuvre, aimed at gaining breathing space for the Saudi coalition to rearm its bombers and recalibrate its ground strategy. Following the pattern of previous “truces” declared by the Saudis, fighting has continued to rage on the ground in the hours leading up to the official start of the ceasefire.
Houthi representatives have already denounced the cease-fire as aimed at preparing for “the beginning of a new war,” according to statements cited by the Associated Press.
The Saudi-led war, which has killed thousands of civilians and produced a social cataclysm, is now morphing into a full blown hybrid ground war along the lines of those fomented by US imperialism in Libya and Syria.
The Arab powers are preparing to launch a new ground offensive, utilizing an array of freshly trained proxy forces assembled in areas along the southern coast recently reconquered from the Houthis.

Pro-Saudi militants
In return for their loyalty, formations of pro-Saudi militants who sided with the Saudi-led coalition and the government-in-exile of Hadi have been outfitted by the Gulf states with hundreds of armoured vehicles.
Hundreds of fighters have already received training at new military training camps established on the outskirts of Aden by “advisers” from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Jordan.
It is no coincidence that such operations bear the imprint of US-orchestrated machinations throughout the region. From the beginning of the war, US military advisers have been helping to orchestrate the bombing campaign from a Joint Planning Cell embedded with the Saudi coalition’s command element.
In the lead-up to the launch of Operation Decisive Storm in March, the Saudi ambassador to the US submitted a list of targets to be vetted by Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan. US Navy vessels have been deployed for months in support of the Saudi blockade of Yemen’s ports.

Regional partners of US
Washington views the war in Yemen as an opportunity to reshape the regional political order through the development of a new Arab military coalition dominated by its main “regional partners,” in particular Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Gulf monarchies that have been armed to the hilt by the Obama administration.
A new analysis produced by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a leading think thank of the American military-intelligence establishment, makes clear that beyond its immediate role in prosecuting the war against Yemen, the Saudi-led Arab coalition is being developed as an instrument of US regional hegemony.
In the introduction to his “Arab-US Strategic Partnership and the Changing Security Balance in the Gulf,” soon to be published in the form of a 600-page book, Cordesman argues that the Gulf war coalition must emerge as a strategic force capable of a range of interventions beyond Yemen.
“The strategic partnership between Arab Gulf states, and with the US and other outside states, must now evolve to both deal with conventional military threats and a range of new threats including ideological extremists, non-state actors, their state sponsors, and a growing range of forces design ( sic ) to fight asymmetric wars,” Cordesman argues.
Cordesman writes that the main political nemesis of the “Arab-US Strategic Partnership” is the government of Iran. He contends that the Arab states should proceed with an aggressive anti-Iranian line in the region, confident in their military superiority over Tehran.
Figures compiled by the CSIS report show that the Gulf states have vastly outspent Iran on armaments and other military expenditures since 2001 by a total of some $600 billion to $140 billion in spending by Tehran.
At the same time as it pursues the war in Yemen aimed at intensifying pressure on Tehran, the US has initiated a shift aimed at potentially bringing Iran into alignment with its broader strategy in the Middle East through the recently-negotiated agreement on the country’s nuclear programme.
— WSWS

Comment

Thomas Gaist

Saudi war planes killed at least 120 civilians in a series of air strikes in the city of Taiz late Friday night. The strikes destroyed buildings that were serving as workers’ quarters as well as a nearby agricultural facility.
The attack was only the latest instance of mass killing of civilians in the bombing campaign waged by the Saudi-led, US-backed coalition that began in March.
Despite claims from Riyadh that such events are accidental, a growing body of evidence shows that the Saudi air campaign is systematically targeting civilian areas. The war is aimed at terrorizing the Yemeni masses into opposing the Houthi takeover and acceding to the restoration of US-Saudi control over the country through the re-imposition of the puppet government led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
The mass slaughter of civilians has become “the new trend now of the air strikes from the coalition,” a representative from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) told the Associated Press.
“It’s a house, it’s a market, it’s anything,” the MSF representative said, referring to the direct targeting of civilian areas by the Arab coalition.
In May, Saudi military officials declared that the Houthi stronghold of Saada would be considered a “military zone,” i.e. a free-fire area, and ordered leaflets dropped instructing all civilians to leave the city. UN investigators have argued that the Saudi coalition is knowingly targeting “trapped civilians.”
As many as 140 Saudi strikes ripped through areas of Saada on Friday. The strikes intentionally targeted civilian areas where Saudi war planners claim the Houthi insurgents have hidden stores of weapons and ammunition. Further strikes on Friday slammed into residential areas in the coastal town of Mokha.
From all appearances, Saudi pilots have been granted standing authorization to deploy their bombs against civilian areas.
An Amnesty International press release from July 1, titled “Airstrike and weapon analysis shows Saudi Arabia-led forces killed scores of civilians with powerful bombs,” documents the killing of at least 54 civilians by a series of strikes against the cities of Sanaa and Taiz between June 12 and June 16.
In one attack detailed by the report, a 2,000 pound bomb fell directly on a residential suburban home, killing at least 10 civilians.
As a reward for their participation in this bloody air campaign, some 100 Saudi pilots have been offered high-end sports cars.
The humanitarian catastrophe facing the civilian population is now reaching “unprecedented levels,” according to a statement from the International Red Cross on Friday last.

At last 1,700 civilians killed
The punishing Saudi assault has contributed officially to the deaths of at least 1,700 civilians in a matter of months, while devastating Yemen’s infrastructure to the point where some 80 percent of the population lacks reliable access to food and water.
In the aftermath of Friday’s mass civilian deaths, Saudi authorities have called for a five day cease-fire over the weekend, under the pretense of seeking to allow humanitarian aid to enter the country.
There is every reason to believe that the Saudi cease-fire has been called as a tactical manoeuvre, aimed at gaining breathing space for the Saudi coalition to rearm its bombers and recalibrate its ground strategy. Following the pattern of previous “truces” declared by the Saudis, fighting has continued to rage on the ground in the hours leading up to the official start of the ceasefire.
Houthi representatives have already denounced the cease-fire as aimed at preparing for “the beginning of a new war,” according to statements cited by the Associated Press.
The Saudi-led war, which has killed thousands of civilians and produced a social cataclysm, is now morphing into a full blown hybrid ground war along the lines of those fomented by US imperialism in Libya and Syria.
The Arab powers are preparing to launch a new ground offensive, utilizing an array of freshly trained proxy forces assembled in areas along the southern coast recently reconquered from the Houthis.

Pro-Saudi militants
In return for their loyalty, formations of pro-Saudi militants who sided with the Saudi-led coalition and the government-in-exile of Hadi have been outfitted by the Gulf states with hundreds of armoured vehicles.
Hundreds of fighters have already received training at new military training camps established on the outskirts of Aden by “advisers” from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Jordan.
It is no coincidence that such operations bear the imprint of US-orchestrated machinations throughout the region. From the beginning of the war, US military advisers have been helping to orchestrate the bombing campaign from a Joint Planning Cell embedded with the Saudi coalition’s command element.
In the lead-up to the launch of Operation Decisive Storm in March, the Saudi ambassador to the US submitted a list of targets to be vetted by Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan. US Navy vessels have been deployed for months in support of the Saudi blockade of Yemen’s ports.

Regional partners of US
Washington views the war in Yemen as an opportunity to reshape the regional political order through the development of a new Arab military coalition dominated by its main “regional partners,” in particular Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Gulf monarchies that have been armed to the hilt by the Obama administration.
A new analysis produced by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a leading think thank of the American military-intelligence establishment, makes clear that beyond its immediate role in prosecuting the war against Yemen, the Saudi-led Arab coalition is being developed as an instrument of US regional hegemony.
In the introduction to his “Arab-US Strategic Partnership and the Changing Security Balance in the Gulf,” soon to be published in the form of a 600-page book, Cordesman argues that the Gulf war coalition must emerge as a strategic force capable of a range of interventions beyond Yemen.
“The strategic partnership between Arab Gulf states, and with the US and other outside states, must now evolve to both deal with conventional military threats and a range of new threats including ideological extremists, non-state actors, their state sponsors, and a growing range of forces design ( sic ) to fight asymmetric wars,” Cordesman argues.
Cordesman writes that the main political nemesis of the “Arab-US Strategic Partnership” is the government of Iran. He contends that the Arab states should proceed with an aggressive anti-Iranian line in the region, confident in their military superiority over Tehran.
Figures compiled by the CSIS report show that the Gulf states have vastly outspent Iran on armaments and other military expenditures since 2001 by a total of some $600 billion to $140 billion in spending by Tehran.
At the same time as it pursues the war in Yemen aimed at intensifying pressure on Tehran, the US has initiated a shift aimed at potentially bringing Iran into alignment with its broader strategy in the Middle East through the recently-negotiated agreement on the country’s nuclear programme.
— WSWS


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UPFA’s negative election campaign will not win votes

Jehan Perera in Colombo

The nascent rejuvenation of institutions since the change of government was demonstrated in an unexpected manner with the apprehension of a white van.  These vehicles have obtained a notoriety that peaked during the last years of the war with the LTTE.  The circumstances under which this particular white van came to light had all the classic features that made the white van an object of fear and intimidation during the previous decade.  It had false number plates. It had army personnel in it.  t was being driven in a manner that caused the policemen on duty to decide to stop it, and the occupants had behaved in a sufficiently suspicious manner to prompt the police to thereafter search the vehicle.  This led them to find a pistol that belonged to none of the occupants of the van.
During the previous decade there were constant reports of the existence of white vans and their possible connection with the security forces of the state, but this was strenuously denied by them as well as by government leaders of that time.  But although there was no official confirmation of their existence, and only repeated denials, the accounts of the white vans and their doings by those who claimed that their family members or colleagues had been taken away in them became a legend.  They were much like ghosts that so many are afraid of, but which most have never seen.  But we have heard so many stories of ghosts that many of us cannot help but believe they must indeed exist.
This time around, however, seven months into the new good governance programme of the new government the white van was caught beyond doubt.  Now we can be sure that it exists, and not only one but possibly a large number of them.   The fact that the policemen on duty felt themselves to be sufficiently empowered to stop a white van, question its occupants and publicise the event is something new.  It is a new and welcome development.    According to media reports, and police statements following the detention of the vehicle, the army personnel apprehended in it have denied that they were on any underground mission.  They have said that they were on a routine journey, and the pistol that was found in it belonged to their commanding officer.

Surprising development
There are also some other interesting facts that have emerged from the investigation into the white van.  It appears that it was previously operated by the LTTE and there were over 600 such vehicles that had been taken over by the army in the aftermath of the defeat of the LTTE.  But instead of registering these vehicles with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, they were given numbers of their own.  These revelations suggest that a deep national security interest is at stake.  It appears that the police investigation will not go much further, and even if they do it will not reach the public, as national security interests will be said to be at risk.  National security interests have been so overwhelming for so long, that no government is likely to put it to second place in the interests of ensuring transparency and accountability. 
In these circumstances, the most surprising development is the allegation by members of the former UPFA government that the presence of the white van highlights the danger posed to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.  The members of the former government who make this accusation are those who were most vociferous in denying the existence of white vans during their period of governance.  When families of victims complained about the fate of their loved ones at the hands of the white vans, they were accused of being members of the LTTE or sympathisers who were trying to discredit the government.  When journalists were bundled into them and assaulted inside them, they were ridiculed and left to fend for themselves. Human rights activists who took up the cause of the victims of white vans were described as traitors.
It is ironic that now members of the former government during whose period the white vans had their heyday are now claiming that the white van is coming after them.   It is believed that this is to generate sympathy for the former president and to show him as a person whose life is under threat.  It is also believed that it is an attempt to preserve for the former president his full security in the face of a legal challenge by his political opponents to strip him of the level of security that comes with being a former president, as he is now also a contestant for a seat in parliament.  For purposes of elections, a level playing field requires that all contestants are given similar amounts of security.  But a case can now be made that a former president who is being stalked by a white van is entitled to more.

New slogans
However this resort by members of the former government to accuse a section of the armed forces to come after their leader is not likely to impress the voters.  On the contrary they will probably see in it a willingness to say anything that will give them a political advantage.  This is due to the fact that they are unable to find more positive issues to take on the government.  Another issue that the UPFA is trying to capitalise on is the Central Bank bond issue and the controversy around it.    But even on this issue the members of the former government will face an uphill task.  The charges of corruption and abuse of power against them are of much more huge and widespread dimensions.  Due to the fact that the new government has been in office for less than 7 months, it will be difficult to gloss over their own deficiencies of the past decade by pointing the deficiencies of the new government.  
Reports from the ground indicate that the UPFA’s voter base is on the retreat.  President Maithripala Sirisena’s speech to the nation in which he made plain his opposition to former president Rajapaksa’s nomination has caused re-thinking amongst its voter base.  It has also made party activists discouraged as they are aware of the groundswell of popular expectations regarding anti-corruption and good governance.  The former president and his supporters have been trying to bring back the issue of nationalism, their victory over the LTTE and future threats to the unity of the country to the forefront.  But the contradictions of holding to this position six years after the end of the war have become manifest with the recent white van episode and the approach taken by senior members of the UPFA to it.  The UPFA requires a positive election campaign rather than a negative one.
The forthcoming general election is a pivotal one for Sri Lanka.  It is an opportunity to define the path our country will take.  This path should be one that all ethnic and religious groups can take together as one people.  During the past decade the UPFA specialized in coming out with slogans that claimed we were “one people, one nation.”  But the manner in which the former government treated the ethnic and religious minorities led them to desert its camp in droves.  The UPFA has still to come out with its election manifesto.  Whether they can come up with a manifesto that has a vision in it for a new Sri Lanka, for all of its people, and be able to motivate the voters to believe in it, is a challenge they need to measure up to if the people are to deem them worthy of forming the next government.

Comment

Jehan Perera in Colombo

The nascent rejuvenation of institutions since the change of government was demonstrated in an unexpected manner with the apprehension of a white van.  These vehicles have obtained a notoriety that peaked during the last years of the war with the LTTE.  The circumstances under which this particular white van came to light had all the classic features that made the white van an object of fear and intimidation during the previous decade.  It had false number plates. It had army personnel in it.  t was being driven in a manner that caused the policemen on duty to decide to stop it, and the occupants had behaved in a sufficiently suspicious manner to prompt the police to thereafter search the vehicle.  This led them to find a pistol that belonged to none of the occupants of the van.
During the previous decade there were constant reports of the existence of white vans and their possible connection with the security forces of the state, but this was strenuously denied by them as well as by government leaders of that time.  But although there was no official confirmation of their existence, and only repeated denials, the accounts of the white vans and their doings by those who claimed that their family members or colleagues had been taken away in them became a legend.  They were much like ghosts that so many are afraid of, but which most have never seen.  But we have heard so many stories of ghosts that many of us cannot help but believe they must indeed exist.
This time around, however, seven months into the new good governance programme of the new government the white van was caught beyond doubt.  Now we can be sure that it exists, and not only one but possibly a large number of them.   The fact that the policemen on duty felt themselves to be sufficiently empowered to stop a white van, question its occupants and publicise the event is something new.  It is a new and welcome development.    According to media reports, and police statements following the detention of the vehicle, the army personnel apprehended in it have denied that they were on any underground mission.  They have said that they were on a routine journey, and the pistol that was found in it belonged to their commanding officer.

Surprising development
There are also some other interesting facts that have emerged from the investigation into the white van.  It appears that it was previously operated by the LTTE and there were over 600 such vehicles that had been taken over by the army in the aftermath of the defeat of the LTTE.  But instead of registering these vehicles with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, they were given numbers of their own.  These revelations suggest that a deep national security interest is at stake.  It appears that the police investigation will not go much further, and even if they do it will not reach the public, as national security interests will be said to be at risk.  National security interests have been so overwhelming for so long, that no government is likely to put it to second place in the interests of ensuring transparency and accountability. 
In these circumstances, the most surprising development is the allegation by members of the former UPFA government that the presence of the white van highlights the danger posed to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.  The members of the former government who make this accusation are those who were most vociferous in denying the existence of white vans during their period of governance.  When families of victims complained about the fate of their loved ones at the hands of the white vans, they were accused of being members of the LTTE or sympathisers who were trying to discredit the government.  When journalists were bundled into them and assaulted inside them, they were ridiculed and left to fend for themselves. Human rights activists who took up the cause of the victims of white vans were described as traitors.
It is ironic that now members of the former government during whose period the white vans had their heyday are now claiming that the white van is coming after them.   It is believed that this is to generate sympathy for the former president and to show him as a person whose life is under threat.  It is also believed that it is an attempt to preserve for the former president his full security in the face of a legal challenge by his political opponents to strip him of the level of security that comes with being a former president, as he is now also a contestant for a seat in parliament.  For purposes of elections, a level playing field requires that all contestants are given similar amounts of security.  But a case can now be made that a former president who is being stalked by a white van is entitled to more.

New slogans
However this resort by members of the former government to accuse a section of the armed forces to come after their leader is not likely to impress the voters.  On the contrary they will probably see in it a willingness to say anything that will give them a political advantage.  This is due to the fact that they are unable to find more positive issues to take on the government.  Another issue that the UPFA is trying to capitalise on is the Central Bank bond issue and the controversy around it.    But even on this issue the members of the former government will face an uphill task.  The charges of corruption and abuse of power against them are of much more huge and widespread dimensions.  Due to the fact that the new government has been in office for less than 7 months, it will be difficult to gloss over their own deficiencies of the past decade by pointing the deficiencies of the new government.  
Reports from the ground indicate that the UPFA’s voter base is on the retreat.  President Maithripala Sirisena’s speech to the nation in which he made plain his opposition to former president Rajapaksa’s nomination has caused re-thinking amongst its voter base.  It has also made party activists discouraged as they are aware of the groundswell of popular expectations regarding anti-corruption and good governance.  The former president and his supporters have been trying to bring back the issue of nationalism, their victory over the LTTE and future threats to the unity of the country to the forefront.  But the contradictions of holding to this position six years after the end of the war have become manifest with the recent white van episode and the approach taken by senior members of the UPFA to it.  The UPFA requires a positive election campaign rather than a negative one.
The forthcoming general election is a pivotal one for Sri Lanka.  It is an opportunity to define the path our country will take.  This path should be one that all ethnic and religious groups can take together as one people.  During the past decade the UPFA specialized in coming out with slogans that claimed we were “one people, one nation.”  But the manner in which the former government treated the ethnic and religious minorities led them to desert its camp in droves.  The UPFA has still to come out with its election manifesto.  Whether they can come up with a manifesto that has a vision in it for a new Sri Lanka, for all of its people, and be able to motivate the voters to believe in it, is a challenge they need to measure up to if the people are to deem them worthy of forming the next government.


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 ISLAMABAD DIARY

Pakistan is again in deep flood

Jonaid Iqbal

Pakistan is again in deep flood for the fifth time since 2010, and floods continue to wreak havoc in the country. And there is more danger to come as the Met offices give fresh warning of further torrential rains. Willy- nilly, officials have set themselves to prepare for further challenges in response to Prime Minister’s stricture that no one should seem to be lacking in providing all help to affected people and cattle.
The Disaster Management authorities at centre and provinces have also buckled up to the task of relevant information to people in low lying areas for protection against flood waters and how to deal with emergency situations. 
For all that, south Sindh province is also gearing up to cope with expected rushing water to drown low lying areas. Met office has warned that Indus River might be in high floods at Tausa barrage where flood water is likely to rise in a few days.
Right now Chitral area is badly hit after intermittent continued seven day torrential rains.
Though Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could not make it to Chitral due to bad weather, but he issued instruction to National Disaster Management Authorities to quickly provide relief to affected people.
KPK (old NWFP) government has also allocated Rs 100 million for rehabilitation of road network, Rs. 30 million for supply of drinking water as well as Rs.10 million for repair and recovery of irrigation channels.
As usual, the Army has responded much quicker. COAS Gen. Raheel Sharif directed relevant troops to help the afflicted people. So we find a number of army rescue teams reaching Chitral to care for flood sufferers, and that on Tuesday, army rescue and relief team has fed 450 people and provided blankets to them. Two helicopters have also been spared for rescue operations.
In fact, all corps headquarters are monitoring the flood situation in their areas and have made due arrangement to cope with awkward situations.
As reported in this columns a few weeks back, the federal Minister for Climate had warned relevant authorities about imminent floods and even set up a task force to prepare for mitigating the danger. However, it seems no one was prepared to meet the challenge.
Climate Minister Senator Mashahidullah Khan has again issued a statement expressing sympathy with the aggrieved families.
Might one suggest that ministers and government officials are motivated to take up national challenges in time, and be as prepared to handle the task as international Scouts movement wants each one to be prepared and get down to work, instead of making speeches and wasting time in fulminating on talk shows.
Email: spectator1pk@gmail.com

Comment

Jonaid Iqbal

Pakistan is again in deep flood for the fifth time since 2010, and floods continue to wreak havoc in the country. And there is more danger to come as the Met offices give fresh warning of further torrential rains. Willy- nilly, officials have set themselves to prepare for further challenges in response to Prime Minister’s stricture that no one should seem to be lacking in providing all help to affected people and cattle.
The Disaster Management authorities at centre and provinces have also buckled up to the task of relevant information to people in low lying areas for protection against flood waters and how to deal with emergency situations. 
For all that, south Sindh province is also gearing up to cope with expected rushing water to drown low lying areas. Met office has warned that Indus River might be in high floods at Tausa barrage where flood water is likely to rise in a few days.
Right now Chitral area is badly hit after intermittent continued seven day torrential rains.
Though Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could not make it to Chitral due to bad weather, but he issued instruction to National Disaster Management Authorities to quickly provide relief to affected people.
KPK (old NWFP) government has also allocated Rs 100 million for rehabilitation of road network, Rs. 30 million for supply of drinking water as well as Rs.10 million for repair and recovery of irrigation channels.
As usual, the Army has responded much quicker. COAS Gen. Raheel Sharif directed relevant troops to help the afflicted people. So we find a number of army rescue teams reaching Chitral to care for flood sufferers, and that on Tuesday, army rescue and relief team has fed 450 people and provided blankets to them. Two helicopters have also been spared for rescue operations.
In fact, all corps headquarters are monitoring the flood situation in their areas and have made due arrangement to cope with awkward situations.
As reported in this columns a few weeks back, the federal Minister for Climate had warned relevant authorities about imminent floods and even set up a task force to prepare for mitigating the danger. However, it seems no one was prepared to meet the challenge.
Climate Minister Senator Mashahidullah Khan has again issued a statement expressing sympathy with the aggrieved families.
Might one suggest that ministers and government officials are motivated to take up national challenges in time, and be as prepared to handle the task as international Scouts movement wants each one to be prepared and get down to work, instead of making speeches and wasting time in fulminating on talk shows.
Email: spectator1pk@gmail.com


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