“We have enough helicopters. The United States brought in their helicopters and more will come. We are well-equipped now. Helicopters are crucial in first three and four days. Even now they are crucial. But we have enough now,” Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told a press conference in Islamabad.[No need for Indian helicopters: Pak PM]
That was the Prime Minister turning down an Indian offer to send helicopters. But the truth is that they don’t have enough helicopters and that has prevented rescuers from reaching many villages. Eight American helicopters have joined the search and 40 more were promised. 34 Pakistani military and civilian helicopters are also involved, but that is not enough according to the Army Spokesman. The UN says that Pakistan needs 50 more helicopters.
There are obvious risks for letting Indian helicopters into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. What if they find out all the militant camp sites and decide to “help” people there.
Muzaffarabad and the Manshera district of NWFP, which were at the epicentre of the quake, have also been for many years the epicentre for international jihadi terrorism. The Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, both members of Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front, had their jihadi training infrastructure in Manshera district, particularly in Balakot, which is reported to have been totally destroyed by the quake. In the beginning of this year, the Al Qaeda too had shifted one of its training camps from the Waziristan area of the Federally-administered Tribal Areas to Manshera. There were also unconfirmed reports that bin Laden had taken up residence in Manshera district. The LET and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, which are also members of the IIF, had their training infrastructure in Muzaffarabad. The United Jihad Council headed by Syed Salahuddin of the Hizbul Mujahideen, an indigenous Kashmiri terrorist organisation with no known links to the Al Qaeda or the IIF, was also operating from Muzaffarabad.[Quake in Pakistan: The sequel]
The Pakistani Govt. would let those Kashmiris, the same people for whom they are fighting the proxy war, die than help them.
Update: As soon as the earthquake struck, I was wondering, who would be the first to blame America for this natural disaster. Seems like Arundhathi Roy has competition. Hugo Chavez, entertaining as always proposed his theory of natural disasters which put the blame on “world global capitalist model”, whatever that means. Tariq Ali is more down to earth. He blamed America for not sending more helicopters from Afghanistan. At the same time Tariq Ali does not wonder why the offer from India was not taken up by Pakistani authorities? Did the victims insist that they be rescued only in American helicopters?