On Either Side, Punjab is Punjab

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In Pakistan's flood-ravaged Punjab province, roads are impassable.

One-fifth of Pakistan is under water.

900,000 people are now homeless.

Up to 20 million are impacted – more than the number of people affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake combined.

As many of you know, Pakistan has recently been devastated by floods. The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, recently visited Pakistan and described the flooding as the worst disaster he has ever witnessed.The UN says six million people desperately need emergency aid but most still have not received it. Tens of thousands of villages remain under water. There are growing health concerns for those surviving without proper shelter, food or clean drinking water leading to a potential public health “catastrophe”. And all of this is still occurring almost three weeks after the country’s worst natural disaster began.

The numbers are staggering – almost unbelievable. Given the magnitude of this disaster, one would expect to see an outcry of sympathy for the victims from the global community. Then why does is seem that the world has become complacent when coming to the aid of this region? Perhaps the region’s geographical/symbolic proximity to the “war on terror”? Perhaps we’re suffering from selective giving?

An interesting article in the Christian Science Monitor discusses how even many Pakistani-Americans say they are reluctant to donate to Pakistan flood relief efforts because they think their money will only line the pockets of a government they see as corrupt. Whether the corruption allegations hold any truth or not, the perception that money would be wasted may be one reason contributions for flood victims are way down. BBC World Service breaks down the impact of current aid,

The money pledged so far to help survivors in Pakistan is $95,604,766, – although two thirds of that is in the form of “unconfimed pledges” that, if history is any guide, are likely to go unfulfilled. That equates to $6.82 per survivor. In contrast, after the tsuanmi, $3,348,000,000 was committed for five million survivors – which works out at $669.60 for each of them.There are now concerns that because of the lukewarm international response, organisations with links to terror groups – including the Taliban – are stepping in to fill the gap. [link]

The instability of an already unstable region is not good news for Pakistan and it’s not good news for the global community.

In a report earlier this year, the Pentagon warned that new weather patterns may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.

For Pakistan, which is already the epicenter of the US war on terrorism, the unusual monsoon rains and massive flooding have created the potential for further weakening of the countrys fragile democracy. Both President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have been seen as inept in their response, while the head of armed forces, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, has tried to show the strength of the military in leading the country through this crisis. The armed forces have ruled Pakistan for most of its 63 years as a nation.

In addition, militant Muslim groups in the fragile northwest, where the worst flooding has occurred, are distributing their own aid and using the crisis to turn traumatized refugees against the government and the US. Civilians in that largely lawless region are already resentful of the US for its drone attacks that have killed civilians.

All of this has the potential to bolster the Taliban and Al Qaeda in both Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, making it harder for the US to pacify these nations which have been launching pads for global terror attacks. [link]

While the situation may drop off the media’s agenda, and thus off our agenda, it is clear that help is still needed. So i ask you, since tomorrow (August 19th 2010) is World Humanitarian Day, how will you help?

Read: How to help.


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19 Responses to “On Either Side, Punjab is Punjab”

  1. RajinderSinghVirk says:

    Many of us have already sent cash releif for pakistan & victims of leh thru,thru various relief orgs. like red cross.The slow pace of getting the supplies to leh & nw pakistan is due to the rugged terrain & lack of infrastructure.Of course there is donor fatigue,and lot of aid money for pak earthquake money has found it way in Zardari & Gilani's accounts,but that's no reason not to help the victims.Natural disasters like these bring out the best & the worst in human beings.

  2. RajinderSinghVirk says:

    Many of us have already sent cash releif for pakistan & victims of leh thru,thru various relief orgs. like red cross.The slow pace of getting the supplies to leh & nw pakistan is due to the rugged terrain & lack of infrastructure.Of course there is donor fatigue,and lot of aid money for pak earthquake money has found it way in Zardari & Gilani's accounts,but that's no reason not to help the victims.Natural disasters like these bring out the best & the worst in human beings.

  3. harinder says:

    People of Indian Punjab must give 1 week their salaries to our suffering betherens in Pakistani Punjab.

    May Allah protect them from further harm.

  4. harinder says:

    People of Indian Punjab must give 1 week their salaries to our suffering betherens in Pakistani Punjab.

    May Allah protect them from further harm.

  5. […] you help?Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=31944 http://thelangarhall.com/punjab/on-e…jab/#more-6412 . __________________ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਮੂੰ […]

  6. Aman Singh says:

    Bik,

    My response to you is: Nishkam Seva. If you don't know what it means, look it up.

    Its one thing to say that Indian Punjabis also affected by flooding shouldn't have to give away one week's salary (which is understandable), but your Kafir remark pulls it in another direction. The religion of anyone suffering from any calamity should not be considered by a true Sikh.

    Chardi Kala

  7. Aman Singh says:

    Bik,

    My response to you is: Nishkam Seva. If you don't know what it means, look it up.

    Its one thing to say that Indian Punjabis also affected by flooding shouldn't have to give away one week's salary (which is understandable), but your Kafir remark pulls it in another direction. The religion of anyone suffering from any calamity should not be considered by a true Sikh.

    Chardi Kala

  8. @nihang says:

    Contribution should come on behalf of a community organisation such as a Gurdwara committee or Sikh Coalition so that people Pakistani people realise that Sikhs stand with them in this hour of need. Things are in a mess right now and contributions must only be made to reputed NGOs. Must avoid giving to Pak Govt. directly.

  9. @nihang says:

    Contribution should come on behalf of a community organisation such as a Gurdwara committee or Sikh Coalition so that people Pakistani people realise that Sikhs stand with them in this hour of need. Things are in a mess right now and contributions must only be made to reputed NGOs. Must avoid giving to Pak Govt. directly.

  10. Bik says:

    Unlike the liberals on here, the Pakistan govt doesn't consider both Punjabs to be the same as due top their construction of an embankment in Sulemanke the waters of the Satluj have now flooded East Punjab causing whole villages in Ferozpur to the inundated. I doubt any of the liberal nutjobs on here even know (or care) about what the Pakistan govt has done.

  11. Bik says:

    Unlike the liberals on here, the Pakistan govt doesn't consider both Punjabs to be the same as due top their construction of an embankment in Sulemanke the waters of the Satluj have now flooded East Punjab causing whole villages in Ferozpur to the inundated. I doubt any of the liberal nutjobs on here even know (or care) about what the Pakistan govt has done.

  12. bacha singh says:

    The tone of you prose is full of anger and is quite unwelcome here. Do we have historical reason to dislike them? Perhaps. But in the end of the day, they are innocent people suffering and asking for help. If anyone is in a position where they can help prevent further suffering, they should. If you cannot live in peace with your neighbour, you cannot live in peace. Focus on the future, not the past.

  13. bacha singh says:

    The tone of you prose is full of anger and is quite unwelcome here. Do we have historical reason to dislike them? Perhaps. But in the end of the day, they are innocent people suffering and asking for help. If anyone is in a position where they can help prevent further suffering, they should. If you cannot live in peace with your neighbour, you cannot live in peace. Focus on the future, not the past.

  14. Jaswant Singh says:

    [Deleted by Admin – please read our policy, we don't tolerate hate speech]

  15. Jaswant Singh says:

    [Deleted by Admin – please read our policy, we don’t tolerate hate speech]

  16. We are working in pakistan since 2005 earthquake. For more details about our releif work in pakistan
    see: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/

    For Pakistan NWFP/FATA IDP Disaster Relief see: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/pak/

    For flood releif in pakistan see:
    http://www.unitedsikhs.org/pak_floods/

  17. We are working in pakistan since 2005 earthquake. For more details about our releif work in pakistan
    see: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/

    For Pakistan NWFP/FATA IDP Disaster Relief see: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/pak/

    For flood releif in pakistan see:
    http://www.unitedsikhs.org/pak_floods/

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