Four-day Trip from Kashmir to Karachi

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By S.A Haidri,

It was a sunny holiday when I woke up in my city Muzaffarabad capital of Azad Kashmir (AK) and packed my luggage for a three day training followed by an award ceremony organized under aegis of Centre of Excellence Journalism (CEJ) Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi (Khi).
A person usually dreams to have a lavish journey and I was being facilitated in the similar way when my journey began from to New Islamabad International Airport till dusk of the same day, however, journey on the airline was fine.
It was about midnight when we (I along with another friend from the same city) landed in Khi and a driver was waiting for us, with a little conversation to the driver I acquired while watching yellow number plated vehicles on the road, he (the driver) said that Karachi was fine few months before but nowadays it is becoming again unsafe, “I wish it wouldn’t become that Karachi again” he prayed.
After reaching IBA Aman tower, it was a great experience, Earlier, I have experienced some of the luxuries residencies in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore but one must experience the significant environment at IBA Aman tower.
First day of Humanitarian Workshop consisted of four main segments, Lead Trainer Miss Mahim Maher gave a brief introduction elaborating ICRC objective for the workshop is to increase the quantity and quality of humanitarian reporting, Mahem is an experienced journalists having more than 20 years’ experience in different media organizations and outlets.
The definition that I nurtured in the introduction was that “any reporting that highlights human sufferings in case of any emergency, disaster and crisis is humanitarian reporting”.
Director CEJ Kamal Siddiqui delivered a lecture on Media ethics and I realized that a Journalist is always an Observer, not a participant in any kind of circumstances.
He further elaborated the ethics that a journalist should always act independent besides seeking truth and to report it, however, a journalist should also endeavor to minimize harm and should be accountable and transparent in his reporting.
Spokesperson of ICRC Pakistan Najam Abbasi in his session explained the collaboration and trust between humanitarian organizations and local media, he also highlighted the similar goals of humanitarian organizations and media persons.
Moreover, Najam also apprised the participants about pros and cons of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in addition of suggestions that by avoiding competition between NGOs and working with great honesty and transparency, humanitarian organization including other NGOs can be enhanced for the welfare of humanity.
Guest Speaker of first Day Dr, Shiraz Sheikh of Karachi’s Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre presented a survey about happenings and interaction of masses with medical officers in case of any emergency, he explained that how journalists should interact with medical professionals during crisis.
He also briefed about verbal and physical violence being faced by the medical officers in different medical centers and leads to more catastrophic situations.
I was little bit late on second day, workshop was opened by a guest speaker and lawyer of ICRC Sahar Haroon about Internaational Humanitarian Laws (IHL), protections that journalists need to be aware of, for themselves besides masses, one of the interesting thing in her lecture was to understand the story behind the story.
She also apprised vis-à-vis armed conflicts and consideration of laws in these circumstances, “all parties must respect and ensure respect for IHL” her words to remember.
Second day session with Mahem Mahir was more interesting than first, she conducted an exercise of pitching news and evaluating them according to news worthy in addition of humanitarian aspect. In her next session of the same day she told the participants about tech tools that can be used during reporting, a journo especially an investigative journalists must adopt these kind of tech tools like Snapchat and quick video editing tools etc.
I was astonished to see when she revealed a survey that around 21,949 stories, only 74 articles were either of women or having attribution of women which was alarming as women role in media both subjective and objective was far less than one can imagine.
Anwar ul Haque, another guest speaker of IBA on Geographic Information System (GIS) and mapping system, showed the journalists the use of mapping tools via smartphones while reporting. He also explained the use of GeoDa, QGIS, Google Earth Pro, ggmap for R reporting purposes, moreover, in case of any crisis, Google crisis map can also be a useful tool for journalism purposes.
Third day was started with the lecture of Dr. Sarosh, Professor, Civil Engineering and Architecture, NED University of Engineering Karachi. He explained the causes of earthquakes, amalgamation of tectonic plates, I personally found him a superb scientist whose way of explanation was commendable.
He emphasized that journalists in their reporting should must consider intensity of earthquake while reporting any earthquake besides its magnitude. “Hazards and Vulnerability cannot be kept apart” his words which I still remember, in addition of “we can forecast earthquake but not predict earthquake” he stated.
Dr Sarosh Lodhi had been involved for the preparation of Earthquake Model for Middle East entails five years of hard work, he is one of the contributor in making of building codes of Pakistan.
He was very much concerned about substandard construction of buildings in Pakistan which are nevertheless the destructive weapons and journalists should apprise the masses about the value of uniform construction.
Another guest speaker, Farooq Malik (Logistician at ICRC) updated the participants about humanitarian logistics and supply chain management. He also apprised about the logistic phases in humanitarian crisis, interesting thing in his lecture was to know that while Pakistan is situated on tectonic plates according to Sarosh Lodhi research, however, geographical location of Pakistan is worthy for logistic support to adjacent countries, CPEC is one of the great example of it.
Yasin Kamran, communication team leader showed a documentary which truly enlightened the value of ICRC and its work, his admirable words were since the beginning of human beings, war is a truth and in result people suffers.
Fourth day was remarkable bagging an award ceremony conducted by CEJ IBA in which some of the well-known journalists form Pakistan who did noteworthy reporting on humanitarian issues were present and honored by best humanitarian reporting awards. Chief Guest of the event was Advisor to CM Sindh Barrister Murtaza Wahab, Head of ICRC Reto Stocker and other renowned persons also attended the ceremonial.
Finally on Friday, after having a significant trip with lavish foods hosted by some of our friends including Farooq and Asif, our flight was at midday, then the journey from Karachi to Kashmir was like travelling hot to cold.
Karachi is one of the largest city around the globe and the business hub of Pakistan, government besides administration must endeavor for the betterment of traffic system in addition of sewage systems, thanks to ICRC and CEJ-IBA for making it an important and praiseworthy trip for a journalist living in far-flung areas like Kashmir

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