Army to retaliate if attacked during quake relief activity
01 October, 2013
RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Army on Monday said there would be security challenges during the rehabilitation activity in the earthquake-hit areas of Balochistan but relief, rescue and rehabilitation work would continue and warned that if the army troops were attacked, they would retaliate strongly.
"Yes, there will be security challenges during the upcoming rehabilitation activity but we will continue our work in the calamity-hit areas of the Balochistan province," Maj Gen Asim Bajwa, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), told a questioner during a briefing here.
The army spokesman, at the same time, made it clear that there was no presence of the army troops in Awaran and other affected areas prior to the start of relief and rescue activities following the September 24 earthquake. "There was not a single soldier in these areas prior to the start of relief and rescue operation after the earthquake," he said adding that the army was totally focused on the relief and rescue work.
Responding to another question, Gen Bajwa maintained that army troops would retaliate strongly if a relief convoy, workers or personnel of security forces were attacked by the miscreants. He said one should remember that the army troops would retaliate in their self-defence if they were fired at. "If a relief convoy is attacked, the army will have to take action," he said.
He clarified that the 2,000 personnel of army and FC who are busy in the area in relief work, were also providing security to relief workers in the wake of attacks on helicopters carrying senior army officers and convoy of relief goods. Four FC men and three others were injured in attacks of miscreants.
The director general of ISPR told the newsmen that immediate relief goods had been made available to the whole of the population affected by the earthquake while detailed distribution was in progress jointly by army, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMA).
A total of 14 helicopters besides C-130 aircraft are busy in relief and so far 207 tons of food packets ad 5,310 tents had been provided to the affected people.Giving figures of losses, General Bajwa said that there were confirmed reports of 476 deaths while 20,000 to 25,000 houses had been damaged in the two earthquakes of September 24 and 28.
He said relief goods were being collected from Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi before they were taken to Quetta from where they were carried through helicopters for drop in the affected areas. "After air dropping, relief goods are collected and distributed among the people there," he said.