Muslim Hands hosts experts conference in commemoration of Mirpur Earthquake 2019

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Altaf Hamid Rao;

MIRPUR (AJK),(Parliament Times): The 1st anniversary of September 24, 2019 massive earthquake of 5.8 magnitude in lake city of Mirpur, Azad Jammu & Kashmir , was Thursday commemorated with the due recommendations, at a conference of the experts comprising seasoned engineers – besides other stake holders, hosted by AJK chapter of the UK-based distinguished NGO – MUSLIM HANDS, to strictly follow the precautionary measures devised by the concerned government functionaries to avert the massive loss of men and material in case of any identical catastrophe in the area in future.

Ex minister for sports, youth and culture Ch. Muhamamd Saeed was the chief guest on this occasion who, while addressing the conference that the incumbent AJK government was taking all out preventive measures to discourage the loss of men and material in case of any catastrophe. Recalled the deadly earthquake that jolted Mirpur city and some adjoining areas on September 24 last year leaving over 50 people dead and at least one thousand injured besides rendering lakhs of local populated shelter less badly damaging the residential and commercial infrastructure.

Ch. Saeed disclosed that legislation for strict implementation of the due building codes was in progress in Azad Jammu Kashmir to totally discourage the human and material loss through the construction of the earthquake-resisted building structure in case of any catastrophe in the future.

Key speakers including Dean Engineering Wing of the Mirpur University of Scient & Technology (MUST) Prof. Dr. Anwar Khitab, Muhammad Suleman Head of Programs MUSLIM HANDS, Ghulam Murtaza Ch., Ex President AJKCCI, Engr. Usman Javed, Structure Engineer, Pakistan Engineering Council, (PEC), Syed Zeashan Ashiq, Project Director, Hariz Riaz Lecturer MUST, Waqas Anwar, Assistant Profressor MUST, Engr. Inam ul Haq Director Works MDHA, Dr. Tahir Mahmood, Head of Coordination Council of Mirpur based NGOs, Sr. Journalist Altaf Hamid Rao, Sardar Idrees Mahmood, Divisional Head Environmental Protection Agency Mirpur Div., Jamshed Rehman from Corporate Sector, Raja Qamar Atta PRO, Muslim Hands and Ms. Aliya Syed, Coordinating Officer Muslim Hands and others emphasized the need of exercising due coordinated efforts by all stake holders comprising their respective input to devise and implement the integrated strategy to dealwith pre and post situation of all kinds of natural catastrophes including the earthquakes of different magnitudes– that were experienced at different times in Mirpur city of AJK, holding the country’s second largest reservoir – Mangla dam in its lap.

Speakers emphasized for conducting 3rd party study under the auspices of the MUSLIM HANDS like independent forum to ascertain the real cause of experiencing of the earthquakes in Mirpur particularly since over past two years.

They also strongly suggested the strict implementation of the basic building codes, raising awareness among the masses about the due methods of construction of the basis structure of their residential and commercial buildings to ensure the earthquake-resisted constructions in Mirpur city and the areas in its outskirts. Experts particularly emphasized for sensitizing the prevailing conditions of the area to devise the way forward to combat the prevailing conditions and apprehensions of diverse nature through the collective role of the stake holders most particularly the concerned authoritative govt. functionaries with prime focus to ensure Zero loss in case of the earthquakes of the intensity of any magnitude.

The august congregation shared inpur on technianl and engineering perspective for way forward including What does technical experts put forth for the future steps ?, What expertise do we have at Mirpur ?, Where are we lacking, ? How can civ8il society and NGOs can contribute effectively with regard to conducting research studies, advocating building codes, developing framework for implementation of the findings of different research studies with the government like department ?

There conference also discussed the social and civil sociery perpective for way forwards, what role NGOs and civil society can further perform, the identified areas of work that civil society and NGOs should focus on, the role of NGOs and civil society’s future work on advocacy, or working more towards building emergency response teams, the role of media, business commu8nity, legal fraternity, academicians and the stake holders of the city.

Former Minister Ch. Muhammad Saeed gave away certificates to the participants of the conference that concluded with the unanimous firms resolve to continue individual and collective role by the stake holders including the concerned govt. functionaries and all segments of the civil society to deal with any eventuality and any hours of trial confronted by the nation and the country.

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