It was the morning of 8th October, 2005 (4th Ramadan, 1427) when Amaan 4, was taken to school for admission by his mother. Amaan’s father was killed two years before in tribal clashes in North West Frontier Province of this Land of the Pure. Government had recently announced free primary education with daily stipends of Rs. 10 per child. Shazia 26, Aman’s mother, thought to send his child to the school not with the vision of his education but for the sake of Rs. 10 which she was paid for her child. She could, at least, give her child a small quantity of milk with bread in the morning as a breakfast.
After her husband’s death, Shazia had to leave the house of her father in law as she proved a curse for their family. Her father also died after two months, he was a mechanic. Shazia was left alone with a rented house with her two-year old son and a mother ( alive on medicines). She also died after a year.
“Mother, what is school?” – Little Amaan asked anxiously.
“Where children learn, beta” – Shazia answered with love.
“Why children need to learn mother?”
“Because when they grow up, they will become doctors.. engineers” – She answered while combing his hair.
“But I want to become a driver like Aslam’s Father”
“But you have to go to school for becoming a driver” – She answered and kissed him on his cheek.
“Assalam o Alaikm Shazia, are my cloths ready?” – A neighborhood lady came and asked Shazia for her cloths. Shazia started sewing after her father’s death.
“Yes they are ready; I just have to stitch buttons. Can you come in the evening after Iftaar, I am taking Amaan to admit in the school” She answered politely.
“Yes off course” She left and loved Amaan.
“Oh its 8:45 am; Lets go Amaan, we have to be there in five minutes before classes start”. She took him walked to the nearby primary school in Balakot town of NWFP.
“Madam, he is my son. His name is Amaan; Amaan say Salaam to Madam”. She asked Amaan. They reached school in three minutes and went into headmistress office.
“Assalam o Alaikum” said Amaan.
It was the last ‘normal tone’ of voice heard. Angels heard shouts and cries afterwards.
Pakistan was struck by its worst natural disaster in nearly 35 years on 8:52 am, October 8, 2005, when an earthquake shattered Azad Kashmir and parts of the North-West Frontier Province. In a spur of the moment, thousands of people were killed, a greater number injured and over half a million homes destroyed. Earthquake was measured 7.2 on a rector scale.
Rehabilitation of quack-hit victims doesn’t seem to have an end till today. The report for the year 2005-2006 was submitted by Auditor General of Pakistan to the National Assembly on 9th April, 2008 which says “1255 non-meritorial people were paid Rs. 95,000,000 (Nine Crore Fifty Lac rupees) on the account of “Housing Cash Grant” (Does this make sense??), many people were even paid thrice on a same NIC copy. 220 is the number of vacancies created without prior orders from official authority means Earth quack Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA). Army engineering were paid Rs. 50,000,000 (Five Crore rupees) to arrange training workshops in quack-hit areas; among them accounts of Rs. 37,500,000 (Three Crore Seventy Five Lac rupees) were not provided. ERRA also spent Rs. 31,500,000 (Three Crore Fifteen Lac Rupees) on purchasing vehicles illegally. Chairman ERRA and other higher authorities also spent three times more than their fixed expenditure for mobile phones (Are they rehabilitating themselves??). This is not all, opposite to the rules and regulations of ERRA, staff (mostly higher positions) were paid Rs. 6,250,000 (Sixty Two Lac Fity Thousand Rupees) as an Award (Award… for what??)”.
On April 11, 2008, same newspaper published news of Deputy Chairman ERRA, text follows:
“ISLAMABAD, April 11: Deputy Chairman Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (Erra) Lt-Gen Nadeem Ahmed has promised comprehensive rehabilitation of the persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the quake-affected areas.”
Please note the word of ‘comprehensive rehabilitation’ and again read the above report of Auditor General of Pakistan for the year 2005-2006.
Hundreds were buried in debris, Shazia and her five year old son Amaan, were only examples. Cities turned into ghost-towns. Thousands of people lost their homes. Thousands were injured. But who cares??
A last pledge: Auditor General of Pakistan should also inform Parliament about the total money collected through funds.