Programmes to mark 2005 earthquake anniversary held in AJK

Updated October 09, 2019

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BALAKOT: Students of a government-run school attend class in an open area on Tuesday. The building of the school was destroyed in the 2005 earthquake and has not been reconstructed yet.—Online
BALAKOT: Students of a government-run school attend class in an open area on Tuesday. The building of the school was destroyed in the 2005 earthquake and has not been reconstructed yet.—Online

MUZAFFARABAD: People in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) held sombre ceremonies on Tuesday to mark the 14th anniversary of the devastating 2005 earthquake as “national resilience day”.

The main, though brief, ceremony was held here in K.H. Khurshid Football Stadium where a monument to the martyrs of the region’s worst ever natural disaster has been built.

AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, cabinet members Barrister Iftikhar Ali Gillani, Ahmed Raza Qadri, Sardar Farooq Sikandar and disgruntled Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Dr Farooq Sattar were prominent among the attendees at the ceremony.

At about 8.52am, sirens were sounded and a one-minute silence was observed, following which wreaths were laid at the memorial by the AJK premier and the MQM-P leader, separately.

Talking to reporters on the occasion, Mr Haider expressed his profound gratitude to the Pakistani nation, government and armed forces for their invaluable support for the victims of 2005 earthquake.

He said many projects were still pending due to unavailability of funds and the central government had been told that the AJK government couldn’t complete those projects due to its limited development budget.

The AJK premier pointed out that since AJK sat on active fault lines, strict implementation of building codes was a must to avert similar losses in future.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Sattar maintained that the people of Pakistan in general and of Karachi in particular stood by their Kashmiri brethren.

Earlier, Zahid Abbasi, head of the AJK State Reha­bilitation and Recons­tru­ction Agency, told reporters that reconstruction programme had been hit by resource constraints since 2010.

This year, Mr Abbasi said, 104 projects, 90 of them in the education sector, had been completed despite irregular cash flow.

In Mirpur, which was struck by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake on Sept 24, two condolence references were held in Nakka and Sumwal Sharif villages under the aegis of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

NDMA chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal, Edhi Foundation chief Faisal Edhi and Mirpur divisional commissioner Chaudhry Mohammad Tayyab were prominent among the attendees.

Lt Gen Afzal said that previously the NDMA had held functions in the federal capital to mark Oct 8 as national resilience day but this year it had decided to observe this day in Mirpur to share the grief and pain of the victims and survivors of Sept 24 earthquake as well as of the worst ever 2005 disaster.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2019