terror in delhi 10/29
Friday, November 11, 2005
  Reuters: Irrelevant editorializing redux
As we noted here, there is more editorializing from Reuters on the post-quake opening of LoC. Our attempt at deconstructing this. Reuters Zeeshan Haider writes:
India said the crossing into Pakistan's hard-hit Neelum Valley, which it earlier said would open on Thursday, had been put off until Saturday because the Pakistani army had not finished work on a border bridge. But a Pakistani spokesman said his side was ready and frustration was growing with Indian "rigidity" over the border crossings.
Before blaming India for the delay, did Mr. Haider verify if things are hunky-dory on the Pakistani side. Nope. We have captured the gruesome treatment of the Pakistani police towards the earthquake survivors here and here.
Although two border crossings have opened, there have been only symbolic exchanges of relief goods and no civilians have yet been able to cross as paperwork that Pakistan says India is demanding for people to travel has yet to be completed.
Apparently for him 22 trucks of relief aid from India is symbolic.
The United Nations wants to see the ceasefire line opened to allow for movement of trucks it says could save thousands of lives in remote communities on the Pakistani side, but the two sides have yet to agree to this. "We are ready at Titwal. Our bridge is ready," said Pakistani military spokesman, Major-General Shaukat Sultan, referring to the crossing from the Indian village of Titwal into the Neelum valley.
Even the UN says it needs relief trucks and the Pakistani army says that it does not need any relief aid across the border. People need to be fed, clothed and treated for illness wherever they are. What is the need for people-to-people contact at this dire hour?
"I think the people are frustrated. The purpose was not really to exchange goods, the purpose wasn't symbolic. We don't want to get into this symbolism," he said. Sultan said there was an abundance of aid on the Pakistani side. The main point of the openings was to allow people to cross to meet and ensure families on the other side were all right.
India has already donated tons of medicines and vaccines. If there is really a abundance of aid in the Pakistani side, why are people falling sick of diarrhoea, cholera?
Funds are also running short while acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea, dysentery and tetanus, are spreading. A World Health Organization (WHO) official said 200 cases of acute watery diarrhoea had been diagnosed at one of many tent camps in Muzaffarabad, the ruined capital of Pakistani Kashmir. "It is a situation we need to be concerned about," said the WHO official, Rachel Lavy. "These spontaneous camps which have spread all around the city are not ideally managed or set up, so it is almost inevitable that diarrhoea will develop."
But then the Pakistani authorities even refuse that such an epidemic exist.
Health Minister Mohammad Naseer Khan denied reports cholera had broken out and said there had been no outbreaks of any other epidemic. There was also no shortage of medicines, he said.
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