As Levies Break to Benefit Elite, Diplomat Calls for Probe, Alpine
September 3 -- In Pakistan there are reports of “powerful
people” directing the destruction of levies on the other side of
the Indus River from their properties, so that poor people's lands
rather than their own are flooded. At the UN in New York on Friday,
Inner City Press asked Pakistan's Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon
about the charges. Video here,
from Minute 38:52.
acknowledged the incidents, which he said had been broadcast on Geo
and Arch TV. Inner City Press asked, Will they be investigated?
“the Pakistan government” told him that the levy hadn't been
maintained for 15 years -- “true,” he said -- and that it fell
down of its own accord. “I have nothing to say about that,” he
added, he was merely passing it on to the Press. He said the fact
that this explanation had been “proffered” to him indicted an
said he is
“running three camps” while his sister is running five. He spoke
about his grandfather, and about his brother Hamid Haroon, coming off
as somehow larger than the current Pakistani government. He spoke
alongside University of Illinois Professor Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson
of Mahatma Gandhi.
accepting India's government's help only through the UN was not
Floods in Pakistan, direction by and investigation
of elites not shown
At the end of the press conference, Haroon was
asked if Pakistan will give diplomatic recognition to Kosovo, as
Honduras did today. Haroon said that might be being discussed back in
Islamabad. To the UN in New York, we are told Haroon has been
extended for another year as Ambassador.
mentioned that the September 19 meeting of the Friends of
Democratic Pakistan will be run by UN envoy Jean Maurice Ripert,
whose coordination he previously -- and accurately, most say --
portrayed as superfluous. When the floods hit, Ripert was and stayed
on vacation. And after the General
Assembly session on Pakistan,
outside of which Ripert refused to speak to the Press, we're told
went on vacation again, hiking in the Alps...
* * *
on Pakistan, Blockade and Starvation of South Waziristan
Apple Crop Rots
20 -- As the Pakistan floods meeting limped into a
slow second day in the UN General Assembly in New York, in the
country's South Waziristan district the apple crop, now until
military blockade, threatened to rot.
the UN, the U.S. and others to praise Pakistan's government, few
wanted to speak of the plight of those in the FATA or tribal areas.
official way in or out of South Waziristan, sources on the
ground tell Inner City Press, is as part of infrequent military
convoys on two roads. The crops grown in the district now cannot be
exported, not unlike the roses once grown in Gaza.
subject to deadly drone strikes by the United States. On August
19, Inner City Press asked
Richard Holbrooke about the area, and he
said it was too far away to comment on, that John Kerry was there.
Kerry spoke on August 20, alongside President Asif Ali Zardari, about
the danger of “militants” promoting their cause after the floods.
those living in South Wazirstan, who no longer have livelihoods, due
to the US supported Pakistani blockade? Shouldn't the UN, whether
Special Envoy Jean Maurice Ripert or otherwise, be advocating for
GA, Inner City Press and others repeatedly asked Jean Maurice
Ripert to come and speak on microphone, as Richard Holbrooke and the
foreign ministers of Canada and Pakistan.
excuse to refuse
the request was that Ban Ki-moon was in the GA and should be the one
to speak to the Press. Later, a UN communications official told Inner
City Press that Ripert's pretext for not doing his job was spurious.
Ripert speech, headache, apples rotting in Waziristan not shown
Ban did not,
while the UN's humanitarian
coordinator for Pakistan did, albeit making the absurd claim that
every inch of Pakistan is in the full control of the government.
wondering, where in the UN system is the equivalent for South
Waziristan of John Ging in Gaza? If the purpose of these meetings is,
as claimed, the plight of civilians in Pakistan, why is the slow
starvation and increasing isolation of those in Pakistan's tribal
area being met with so much silence, including at the UN?
Update of 1:35 p.m.
-- at the UN noon briefing of August 20, Inner City Press asked UN
acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about access to Waziristan, and the
availability of Jean Maurice Ripert -- video here
from Minute 7:52, and watch this site.
* * *
Dodges Drone Questions, Qureshi Says UN Lacks
Capacity, UK & Canada Spin on Cameron & Council
19 -- Richard Holbrooke, speaking to the Press
outside the UN General Assembly's meeting on Pakistan floods,
declined to answer a question about US drone strikes in North
City Press asked about the UN's statement that it
is blocked from accessing areas where security operations are
underway by the Pakistani military, such as North Waziristan. If the
UN cannot enter, who will aid be delivered?
“We are too far
in New York from those flooded tribal areas,” Holbrooke answered,
adding the Senator John Kerry is there, and USAID's Rajiv Shah is
headed there on Sunday along with two members of Holbrooke's team.
the US drones
fired into North Waziristan are controlled from as far away as New
York, if not further.
asked Pakistan's Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi
why his country bars the UN and its international staff from parts of
the country, as UN humanitarian coordinator Martin Mogwanja conceded
earlier on Thursday.
Qureshi finessed his answer that the UN doesn't
really have capacity.
Holbrooke and UN's Ban previously: drones and
UN lack of capacity not shown
areas, he said, the National Disaster
Management Authority does a better job.
State for International Development Andrew Mitchell, just back from
Pakistan, told Inner City Press that his many meetings with General
Nadeem of the NDMA” left him assured that aid will reach its
asked about UK Prime Minister David Cameron's assertion that Pakistan
exports terrorism, and whether as alleged by Pakistan authorities
this undercut contributions to the flooding crisis.
emphasized how well Cameron's meeting since the comments had gone
with Zardari. But Zardari's extended European trip after the flooding
began has caused its own problems in Pakistan.
Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon came to the UN, but not with any
new pledge. Inner City Press asked if this reflects Canada's longer
term strategy, and how it might impact on Canada's desire for a seat
on the UN Security Council, for which it is competing against
Portugal and Germany.
that his country's plan includes
longer term reconstruction, and said the Security Council campaign is
going well. We will have more on this.
the GA's session of speeches noted that Denmark is
still trying to make up for the cartoon controversy, and the UAE's
royal family has uses part of the Punjab for hunting. Interest,