Tuesday January 18, 2022

Survivors of 2005 earthquake protest on 16th anniversary

October 09, 2021

MANSEHRA: The survivors of the 2005 devastating earthquake on Friday observed the 16th anniversary of the tragedy amid protests to demand the allotment of plots at the New Balakot City housing project.

“We want the army chief and Chief justice of Pakistan to intervene and complete the New Balakot City project as the successive governments have failed to develop and allot plots to the affectees,” Maulana Qazi Khalilur Rehman, the prayer leader of the central mosque, told a protest rally taken out to mark the 16th anniversary of the earthquake in Balakot.

The rally, which was taken out from the central mosque, assembled outside the Madani plaza at the central bazaar after marching through the Barelvi and Kaghan roads. Holding banners and placards, the protesters raised slogans in support of their demands and against the federal and provincial government. “Sixteen years have passed since this devastating earthquake but the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) has yet to rebuild the schools, health and other infrastructures,” Khalilur Rehman said.

Speaking on the occasion, Mian Ashraf said that ERRA had announced to retrieve the land of the housing project either encroached or grabbed by the locals till October 20 and resume its development. “If the ERRA failed to resume the execution of this mega housing project within a stipulated period, we will hold a protest outside the provincial assembly building in Peshawar,” he added. The traders also observed the shutter down strike to mark the day and took part in rallies. Events were also held at various places in Balakot in connection with the tragedy.

Earlier in the day, the people including schoolchildren assembled at the mass graves of 65 students in the Government Higher Secondary School, Balakot, and prayed for the departed souls. They also held Quran Khawani and offered Fateha for the departed souls.