Minister for States and Frontier Region (SAFRON) Lt General (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch informed the lawmakers on Friday that death toll had crossed 400 in Awaran district of Balochistan as insurgents continue to obstruct relief efforts in the quake-stricken zone.
Qadir, who rushed to Balochistan on the instruction of the Prime Minister soon after the calamity hit six districts of the province, said more than 600 people were injured when the 7.7-magnitude quake pounded the region.
“Nobody is ready to see Balochistan’s wounds,” he observed while criticising the Sindh government for its sluggish response to help out Balochistan.
The calamity has left over a hundred thousand people homeless in some 11 villages razed to the ground, he informed the House.
Three battalions of Pakistan Army have already reached the quake zone where Frontier Constabulary started relief operation, the minister told the lawmakers.
The minister who had rushed to Awaran revealed, “We heard firing while landing in one of the areas. We thought our convoy may be the target, but it could not be established,” Baloch told the house.
Mashkay, the epicentre of quake, is considered to be stronghold of the militant group—Allah Nazar. But the minister emphasised that the military is only conducting relief operation rather than an operation against insurgents. “Locals demand relief through Army only,” he said.
The FC and army will provide security to rescue teams, he also appealed to national and international agencies to come up for assistance of quake survivors.
Resolution against child abuse
Before Speaker Ayaz Sadiq prorogued the fifth session of the National Assembly on Friday, the House adopted two resolutions and a motion of thanks to express gratitude to the immediate past President Asif Zardari for his fifth address to the Parliament’s joint session.
The NA strongly condemned the recent horrific acts of molestation of children as young as four to five years recently and demanded speedy trial of the culprits. “We call upon the government to provide protection and care and maintain strict privacy of both the children and families in these cases,” reads the resolution which was unanimously passed.
The resolution called for procedural changes to redress weaknesses of investigation and prosecution.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2013.