According to socialists and trade unionists, current Pakistani government estimates of casualties (40,000) from the 9 October earthquake are far too low. The figure could rise to 100,000 or more. Kashmir is the worst affected area —70 percent of all housing was destroyed by the earthquake. Northern and tribal areas of Pakistan were also badly affected, but are so cut off from the rest of Pakistan no-one knows the scale of the deaths and destruction.
Reports of the appalling gaps in medical, food and other kinds of aid are all too accurate.
The situation is made much worse by the fact that Pakistan’s services have long been under-funded. Firefighting services and health services were already woefully inadequate. In Pakistan, 45% (US $3.5 billion) of the budget goes on defence. And only 1.7% is spent on health!
The government and army have dragged their feet — the generals were reportedly reluctant to provide military helicopters for emergency medical use. And some people are seeking to make super profits out of others’ misery. Transport companies are charging huge prices to ferry people and goods around the devastated country.
The Musharraf regime have not been slow to preach national unity in the face of rising anger directed at them.
Socialists and trade unionists can support the following socialist and labour movement appeals for funds and help. They urgently need our help.
Trade Union Rights Campaign fund
All donations will be acknowledged and regular reports will be sent out explaining how donations are being used.
• Make cheques payable to “TURCP” and send them to Trade Union Rights Campaign Pakistan, PO Box 52135, London E9 5WR, Britain.
• Or alternatively send the money by Bank Transfer to: TURCP, account number: 0574699, sort code: 30-95-03, Lloyds TSB, 797-799 High Road Leytonstone.
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org giving details of the transfer or write to the above address.
All Pakistan Trade Union Federation
Is setting up relief camps to help victims of earth quake and is calling for international solidarity. It has mobilized its members to establish camps in NWFP and Azad Kashmir and affected provinces to help the victims.
Contact: All Pakistan Trade Union Federation, 14 N, Gulberg Industrial Area, Gulberg, Lahore.
UK bank account:
Account holder: Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign.
Reference number: K3414742PAK, Account number: 0005 0005, Sort code: 09 00 00, Swift code: to be provided by your bank.
Bank’s Address, Abbey National Plc, 2 Triton Square, London NW1 3AN
Donations to KTUC bank account.
Account Number: 5807-6
Name of Bank: Muslim Commercial Bank Ltd (0260), Kunjah Road, Gujrat (Pakistan)