Pakistani Press reacts to Earthquake Relief

An estimated 30, 000 people have died in region where the worst earthquake in a century occured. Similar to reaction of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, the press in Pakistan is beginning to point fingers at the government for slow response.

"The human tragedy this killer earthquake has wrought is, by every reckoning, of colossal dimension," said Pakistan's The Frontier Post. " And the administration was expected to act extraordinarily to cope with this horrendous aftermath. But it has not. It has palpably, flatly failed to rise up to the challenge. Public complaints are increasingly pouring in from all around the affected areas for its inertia and inaction."

"It is the prime responsibility of the government to dispatch rescue teams to the worst affected and inaccessible areas," said Ausaf newspaper. "It should also restore communication systems as soon as possible and provide tents, blankets and food to those affected. Despite numerous announcements by the government, many people are still miserably awaiting help."

Other newspapers such as the Daily Times came to the defense of the government. "TV channels have subjected the government to criticism and unconsciously helped spread the impression that earthquake tragedy was caused by the government simply because rescue work did not begin quickly enough. The truth is that no government anywhere, but particularly in the Third World, can be prepared for large-scale post-disaster management... Fortunately, the government in Islamabad is much better placed financially than past governments to cope with the aftermath of the tragedy."

Khabrain newspaper seeks the Muslims world to step up to the plate with aid. "After the devastating earthquake, other countries have offered aid and co-operation to Pakistan. China said it would send technical experts for rescue work, Turkey said it would send medicines and Britain also offered help. But an active part should be played by the Muslim countries, and particularly Pakistan's own people. The government alone can do nothing to rehabilitate those affected, it is the duty of the entire nation to come forward and take an active part in the relief and rescue efforts."

The Nation would like both Pakistani and Indian politicians to put aside their difference and put the best interest of the victims first. "As the nation attempts to pick up the pieces after this great disaster, nothing is more important than unity. The entire spectrum of civil society, shedding aside all differences, must come forward with maximum effort for the relief operation. Indeed, at this point, whatever help can be managed across the Line of Control [between Indian- and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir], should be given and accepted."


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