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Express Tribune:

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice and heartwarming melodies intoxicated the audience at a much-awaited fund raiser Tuesday night, with die hard fans singing along and swaying to the music…

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi, president PYA, in his address to the guests gave a heart-felt and dedicated message. He added, “We are here to raise funds, but despite that, we’ve had politicians and bureaucrats asking us for favours to let them in for free. We have taken a lot from this country, but now it is time to give something back.”

The News:

The purpose of this event was to initiate school renovation drive. As per UN, 10,000 schools were destroyed by floods. Top politicians, businessmen, diplomats and celebrities were in attendance as Rahat mesmerised the audience with his melodious tunes. Mahesh Bhatt turned up with Indian delegation to grace the occasion..

Pakistan Youth Alliance Chairperson Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi delivered a speech, which made the audience emotional, he said “pointing at ‘decision-makers’ of our society who were seeking free passes for a charity concert, is this the example elders of our society are setting for our future generations? We have been harassed by politicians and bureaucrats for obliging them in a charity concert. We have taken a lot from this country, lets try to give something back now!”

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First Published on Dawn.com

A series of eyewitness accounts from volunteers at relief camps:

At IDP Camp in Charsadda

 

The Pakistan Youth Alliance (PYA) made simultaneous deliveries on August 14 to Nowshera, Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur with 31 volunteers in three teams with eight trucks of relief goods.

Nowshera (Datta Kaka Sahib)

This time we went to a remote area of the district after passing through the devastation caused by the the floods. The water seemed to have receded since we were there last, but in its wake it has left behind lives of many who are now uncertain about their future.

On our agenda was delivering supplies to about 160 families at a camp set up in ‘Datta Kaka Sahib.’ Once we arrived, our group leader briefed us on how the operations would work. We were, however, not briefed about what to do if we were attacked like our fellow PYA team members were in Rajanpur. I guess it was best we kept that out of our minds. At the camp aid workers, with their official jackets, were seen who helped effectively distribute aid to the affectees.

We had with us different items such as flour, rice, oil, etc. according to the requirements of that particular camp. The list was made by our local contact in whom we trusted. Our team also had a list of 160 families that were to be given the goods. Each person was passed through a process of verification before he/she was given any help to ensure it was being given to the right person. I believe we did a good job and gave it our very best. However, one must always accept that 10-15 per cent of the aid may not end up in the hands of the intended recipients.

During the process, I took a short walk outside the camp to talk to the people and gauge how their lives had changed. What I heard were unconfirmed reports of a alleged ‘sex-for-food scam.’ I was also told that prices of everything had sky-rocketed and there seemed very little hope for any reconstruction in the future.

Yet, amidst all this chaos, I remain an optimist. No, a prisoner of hope would be more appropriate as Desmond Tutu once said. Pakistanis have weathered many disasters and calamities and we have never yielded, nor shall we this time. We will get through this, we always have – Pakistan Zindabad!

Ahmed Hasan, a volunteer for Pakistan Youth Alliance, contributed for Dawn.com

Muzaffargarh (Alipur)

The second team embarked on the journey towards Rohela Wali but had to stay at Ghazanfargarh due to a road blockade. These areas of south Punjab have been worst-hit by the floods and what we saw here was unprecedented. Many IDPs were living alongside main roads and news of them attacking relief-convoys were heard. It was raining heavily and our dedicated volunteers decided to move on despite of warnings from local administration and Army.

On the way, during our stay at Ghazanfargarh we met Ghayur, a local who studies at Punjab University. He was extremely agitated with the government’s response to the disaster in his region. “In order to protect certain areas, the local authorities blocked the water which resulted in smaller towns being drowned completely,” he said.

Our final destination was Mehmood Kot camp at Alipur, but reaching there seemed impossible as flood water was now on the roads. We had to stop our convoy and walk through three to four feet of water to assess the situation on the other side. Our drivers and truck owners refused to go forward in the flood; we even requested some army personnel deputed in the region to help us deliver our relief aid but they advised us to go back as flood-warning was severe.

After three hours, the water level receded and we could now move forward. Around 250 families were anxiously waiting for food items we promised to bring to them on August 14. We finally managed to distribute the items only after cross-checking the ID cards to make sure it was going to the right person. IDPs at the camp also complained of mismanagement by local authorities and narrated stories of personal favours being given to particular group of people for political benefits

Areas of Kot Addu, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan and Rajanpur have been severely affected by the flood and what we saw here, wasn’t comparable to what we witnessed in Khyber Pukhtunkwa. During our deliveries to Pukhtunkhua and south Punjab, we have felt the need of a central agency for coordinating relief efforts with individuals and organisations. At the moment, we are assessing the need of the areas ourselves as well as managing the logistics. Security is also an issue in certain areas where people, desperate for supplies, are attacking aid convoys. I was with the Rajanpur-bound convoy and 50 odd men attacked  the truck of supplies. Only the government, with its manpower and logistics, can set up such emergency cells in flood-hit areas.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi is the founder of Pakistan Youth Alliance, who tweets @Ali_Abbas_Zaidi and is available on facebook as Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi. He can also be reached at damanwiddaplan@hotmail.com

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My interview with the BBC regarding Pakistan floods and relief work bring done and how can it managed in a better way:

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Friday, December 26, 2008
by Our correspondent

Islamabad

A large number of participants at a peace rally organised by Pakistan Youth Alliance here at F-9 Park pledged to shed the last drop of blood for their motherland if need arises and uphold the vision of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal to make sincere efforts towards transforming their vision into reality.

The peace rally was organised to protest against Pakistan’s airspace violations and local killings. People from different segments of society also joined the rally to express their solidarity with the youth. The participants raised slogans against Pakistan’s air space violation by India and condemned Pakistan government’s response as a ‘cowardly act’. They were also holding banners against US drone attacks over the Frontier region, demanding immediate stoppage of such aggression. The rally urged the government to take a bolder stance when it comes to the matter of national sovereignty.

Youth participants with green painted faces, holding the national flag, raised slogans as a show of unity and strength with vows that if time comes, the youth of Pakistan would remain united and ready to offer any sacrifice to protect the sovereignty of their motherland. Chanting their motto ‘Together We Will and Together We Must’, the participants belonging to the Alliance expressed their strong determination to stand up against injustices and help build a better Pakistan.

Under the title ‘Tulu-e-Seher Baqi Hai’, a discussion was also held with panellists Air Marshal Masood Akhtar, Basit Subhani, Zahid Hamid, and Ali Abbas of the Alliance. Introducing Pakistan Youth Alliance and its aim and objectives, Ali Abbas, Chairperson of the Alliance, said that it’s high time the youth of this country raise their voices. He said the Alliance is working for the betterment of the youth segment of society and provides them a platform to raise their voices as a show of unity and strength of the nation.

Link: http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=153961

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Dear All,

A very warm Eid Mubarak to everyone. May Lord Forgive us, Purify us, accept our fasting and prayers, Elevate Us, Inspire Us and Envelope Us with his Noor.

May the light of our faith show us the way and lead us together on the
path of peace and social harmony. May Lord guide us to steer the destiny of this nation and strenghten our love for our homeland and make us worthy enough to ” LIVE THE CHANGE ” and inspire youngsters around the globe to take an active part in Pakistan’s re-birth.

P Y A tried its humble best to share the joy of Eid with Orphans & Special Children this Ramadan. The effort still goes on, look at the pictures of two different events in Islamabad & Lahore:

Eid Shopping Spree & Iftar with Orphans – http://pya.org.pk/gallery/category/25-orphans.html

Iftar & Eid Gifts for Special Children –
http://pya.org.pk/gallery/category/26-special.html

We also plan to watch an animated movie with orphans on 26th September ( @ Cinepax Rawalpindi – Madagascar from 10-11 30 AM – Passes Available on the spot ) – http://pya.org.pk/news/pya-islamabad/65-ms.html

Remember us in your prayers,

Pakistan Youth Alliance
LIVING THE C H A N G E SINCE 2007!
http://pya.org.pk/

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Also, become a fan of P Y A on facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pakistan-Youth-Alliance/125954437061

Join us on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/AlyAbbasZaidi

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