Asim Rafiqui

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An air of desperation and anxiety pervades Pakistan?s northern areas and Kashmir.  The scars of the earthquake are as yet, if ever, to heel and the threat of the winter already approaches.  Suddenly life no longer seems to hold to a familiar pattern, nor the future what had been planned.  30 days after the earthquake disaster entire communities remain cut off from the country, possibly thousands of dead remain buried, medical needs remain unmet and millions are living in camps spread throughout the area.  The tenuousness of the situation exists despite a massive logistics and personnel deployment by the Pakistan Army, international NGOs, private charities and individuals.  A region known for its startling beauty has been left with what Salman Rushdie ?an awful majesty?.  The glorious mountains, the clear streams, the luminescent sky and vivid forests of Northern Pakistan are now mere garlands to a human tragedy, as they stand indifferent, and unaffected by the millions struggling to survive amidst it.<br />