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The Last Sortie

28 March, 2006

By Farzana Shah


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The last of US armed forces engaged in the relief effort in the wake of deadly earthquake that struck Pakistan on October 8, 2005, is departing on March 31st. United States had responded promptly and swiftly in our hour of distress and need by establishing a Combined Disaster Relief Centre within 24 hours of the catastrophe.  Arrival of the NATO troops for lending a similar helping hand had, too, invoked unsavoury remarks bordering apprehensions from some political corners that they were here for good and would take over  the AJK for establishing a permanent base there. Such thoughts were fed by them to the naïve till almost the last - till the departure of NATO forces. However, with the departure of the last batch of the US forces all those misplaced fears and propaganda have been quelled.

 

Now that they are leaving, let’s take a look at the work done by them.  An analysis of the systematic relief activities of the US forces would reveal that they helped in all needed areas right from the health related activities to the transportation of the badly needed food and clothing items, shelter and tents, evacuation of casualties and wounded,  training of the relief workers to cope up effectively with the emergencies, etc.

The US mobile medical units in Muzaffarabad and Shinkiari  have done a great job. They provided badly needed  healthcare to local populace and thus saved many a valuable life. Almost all medical facilities had been razed to the ground in these areas. They helped in re-establishing a dozen healthcare units in Shinkiari area by February 4th,  thanks to the US Combined Medical Response Team.  Having accomplished the mission of saving the lives, they have donated over $6 million worth of military medical and construction equipment to the Pakistan authorities to keep the good work going in their absence.

To support the healthcare and alleviate the human suffering in Muzaffarabad area, the United States Military moved on February 16th a 84 bedded, 212th  Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) to Pakistan. The hospital includes a two bed surgical unit, anaesthesia apparatus, ventilators in the Intensive Care Units and wards, and a X-ray plant to provide the state-of-the-art mobile medical facility.

Since October the MASH has treated over 18,000 patients and provided 17,000 vaccinations to 7800 patients. Rear Admiral LeFever Commander U.S. Disaster Assistance Centre Pakistan speaking to journalists at Chaklala Airbase on Earthquake Relief said "This is the last MASH unit in the United States Army. We are excited that this MASH will live on in Pakistan."  He continued, “I speak for all of us in uniform when I say that this is a mission and a memory that none of us will ever forget. We came at the invitation of the Pakistani people and as friends. Through this experience, the historic bonds between our nations are stronger than ever before. It has been the most professionally and personally rewarding tour of my military service."

The United States Navy Mobile Construction Battalion, SEABEES, has handed over 3 bulldozers, 10 heavy dump trucks, and 7 x 100KW generators to Pakistan Army on 13th February 2006 to continue the ‘transition to reconstruction’ phase and beyond.

The venerable CH-47s "Chinooks" have played a significant role in vacating earthquake victims besides transporting relief items in the affected areas.  They have been rightly named the ‘Angels of Mercy’.

According to the statistics collected upto February 4th, 2006 since October 2005, over 4000 sorties had been flown, delivered over 20 million pounds of humanitarian aid, treated nearly 30,000 patients and cleared over 40,000 tons of debris. A no mean achievement by any standards. The Chinook ground crews have trained their Pakistani counterparts how to build swing loads and how to operate the rapid aviation refuelling system. Two portable forward area-refuelling systems have also been transferred to the Pakistani military by them.

US Agency for International Development (USAID) has also been working in the affected areas and still helping Pakistani reconstruction programmes by focusing on health and education through the construction of new schools and healthcare facilities in both NWFP and AJK. USAID is also providing professional training for new and existing health and education personnel and re-establishing systems needed to sustain these facilities.

The overall U.S. commitment to Pakistan for relief and reconstruction is $510 million dollars.  The pledge also includes $300 million for relief and reconstruction from other parts of the US Government -- $100 million in relief and $200 million pledged for reconstruction. In addition $100 million from US private sector contributions are also expected.

There is much to tell about the US and its forces’ help in our hour of trial, now its time for us to thank them as they are departing tomorrow.

After the publication of the blasphemous sketches the atmosphere in Pakistan was not conducive to work for most foreign NGOs and missions, and they could have easily packed up and gone.  No one would have blamed them for doing so. However, they continued with their efforts of saving lives, providing succour to the needy and hope to the desperate. We must not forget their good deeds and must thank them for it.

As Muslims we should not forget that Islam advises us to pay back the goodness (ahsaan) in the same coin. Allah says in Qura’n ,“What is the recompense of goodness, but goodness? Which then, of the favours of your Lord will you deny?”

Sura Ar-Rehman)

We have to thank our guests for their help without indulging into politics as that is something to be left to the political players only. We as ordinary Pakistanis thank you US forces for your help.

Adieu friends and Bon Voyage Angles of Mercy.

 

End.

Reader Comments:

Rescue Sortie vs Collateral Bomb Sortie

World governs by specific rule.NASA space entry governs
By rule. Religion and democracy Rule Sortie has a rule.

This allied using two rules same time. Iraq invasion had
Thousands of sorties and collateral bombing dropping
millions pounds of bomb dropping leading to WMD
Invasion sanctions and continued death and destruction.

By rule of thumb Creation Evolution and UN Resolution
Without passport rule using C o m b a t term flavour giving
10,000 Nuke bomb black mailer intrusion expansions edge
and benefit .This is incompatible while you glorify rescue
sortie evolution which may not be true representation.

What does not work in democracy Rescue on massive scale
Will not work any where.in fact US BUSH Blair despair
Reflect they need help and finance in their illicit habit in
Waste with spoiled habit with illicit immigrant corruption
murder looting mafia gangway. Looting within USA got
mixed up within Sortie kind and Quality stressed.

Quran and Islam is filtration system. Make intention for
Which side you and nation want to be in? Which side Bush
Blair wants to be in? To purify, to get rid of illicit sorties
Rule of immigration rule of good Democracy bill Rule of
Passport entry , rule of invitation for rescue sortie ,rule
Of eviction by peaceful approach ,rule of decency
Be adopted .One must discard corruption, evil and all
Those rich affluent attached to evil.Prophet said come
Back after 1 month .HE FIRST CORRECTED OWN
BAD HABIT THEN gave hadith as Nabi's saying.
(to avoid double standard)

Hadith/hadiis if you confront evil do it with hand
Jointly by legislation by prayer panchayet by court
Until no more evil or discrepancies and double law double
Standard give benefits to a selective few evil.


benz m Ispahani, India - 30 March, 2006

Re: Last sortie.

Keep Bush and Blair aside with their trident pal.Let us
look at the others who placed
themselves to help and went all the way to perform their duty as humans.We should give
those rescue workers credit no matter where they came from.

Khalid Rahim, Canada - 31 March, 2006

Adieu friends

"Adieu friends and Bon Voyage Angles of Mercy".

By the time you reach home, Pak trained "angels of death and hatred" will be there to kill you.

Chan, United Kingdom - 01 April, 2006

This is in response to Chan, its a petty that people like chan can never let any moment to create hatred among peopel.
Its a petty chan that u even did not let to exploite the grattitude the Author has paid to the US forces for help and you tried to add your hatered as Indian.
Please have a heart and try to think positivley and let gives the author some credit for higlighting the efforts and help they had offred the quake victims.
Ms Shah we thank you for paying gratitude to our forces.
You are the first one who had thanked us without any biase.
And shame on peopel like Chan who create hatered.


Adam, New Zealand - 03 April, 2006

very good article

Hello madam Jana Shah. Madam I would like to give you a compliment. You write very good and think positive. When I go thru the article, I find it hard to say which line doesn't say about inner beauty of article. Such a nice thinking for US is almost impossible to find in any muslim country. I guess if Mr Bush will go through your article, he will certainly say "Pakistan also need nuclear energy like India". The beauty of your article is, you tried to say even if so called enemy of Islam, US, can do good with Pakistan then why not Pakistan and other Muslim countries would also think the same for US. I guess if other news papers of Muslim countries will also publish this type of articles, I'm very scared. Who knows when these religious and power competitions will destroy the whole world.

I find your article such a nicely written,

s tiwari, Hungary - 03 April, 2006

A.A

I appreciate you for writing such a beautiful article. Keep it up and Allah give strenthg and power to write such article particularly from this backward privince.

Peshawar dated 04-04-2006.

NASEER UD DIN, Pakistan - 04 April, 2006

I am having a big laugh

shame on me? for what? for telling the truth !

shame on people like Ms Shah who let pass no opportunity to spread hatred against India. In her earlier article she was spreading hatred against INdia and US for the nuke deal and suggesting Pak should go and hide in lap of China (the most untrustworthy country on the planet). should my thoughts be tuned to the whims of the author. hundred words of hatred cannot be undone by one word of appreciation.

Chan, United Kingdom - 06 April, 2006

America is a terrorist country



American terrorists only came to Pakistan for public relation and not to save lives. America is a terrorist country and we dont want these evil terrorists here. America can take its aid and AIDS both to some other country. We dont want it because it is laced with the blood of the muslims all over the world.



Ayaz
London



ayaz, United Arab Emirates - 09 May, 2006

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