Web Letters | The Nation

On the verge of sectarian violence

Pakistan is on the verge of sectarian conflict. Yesterday’s blasts are heinous and certainly condemnable. This nation should beware of the fact that Pakistan is being pushed towards sectarian conflicts to create ill feelings, hatred and vengefulness toward fellow citizens. Pakistan has several enemies who will benefit most, and be satisfied to the fullest, if the country suffers sever sectarian and ethnic conflicts. There are no sectarian conflicts in Pakistan as of now, but the sentiment is being tactically triggered to add another trouble to this region. The series of blasts that occurred lately attest to this notion: the attack on the worship places of the Ahmadis, the Data Darbaar attack and now the blasts targeting the Shia community in Pakistan. Though the igniting of this sort of violence is plotted by foreign agencies, yet the heartbreaking fact is that it is the people of this very country who are used like pawns to materialize such dreadful aims. It is the responsibility of the Muslim citizens of this country to prevent the enemy from achieving their goal and causing disunity among Muslims.

Uneza Hamid

University of the Punjab, PAKISTAN

Sep 1 2010 - 1:54pm

Disaster aid

Politics are irrelevant when disasters strike. I couldn't care less about the reasons people get aid during a disaster, as long as the aid gets to people who need it. I have been in the military, and I know what it can do. The same skills that deliver supplies to the battlefield can deliver aid in a disaster. The Air Force can drop in supplies by parachute from cargo aircraft. Helicopters do not need much room to land and deliver supplies.

The military services are used to the chaos of the the battlefield, and the chaos of disaster presents similar problems. The military has engineering units that build bridges and roads. It also has some of the finest doctors in the world who deal with casualties on a daily basis, and who won't leave their patients because of security threats. Combat units have medics who can give shots and emergency medical aid. I have had various jobs in communications in the Army, working in fixed sites and mobile operations. Even in 1965, the Signal Corp could have prepositioned communications equipment in New Orleans before Katrina hit that could have been up and running shortly after the storm passed.

I started school in New Orleans, and, naturally, was glued to the TV during Katrina. I about had a fit when "Brownie" told Bush that he was waiting on a contract from a private company to take care of the bodies floating around the city. I strongly suggested that my elected representative get the army involved in relief work for the above-stated reasons. While it was probably already in the works, General Honeré showed up the next day to get a handle on the situation.

Some years back, I read a biography of the former head of naval intelligence in WWII. As a language officer learning Japanese in the 1920s, he was in Japan when a major earthquake occurred. He immediately pitched in to give aid to the people around him. Other naval officers did the same thing wherever they were located. They were naturally under surveillance, and the Japanese police were astonished at how these officers got to work without orders.

My basic point is that it doesn't matter why the job gets done, as long as the job gets done!

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Aug 28 2010 - 2:00pm