Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sri Lanka commemorates the 5th anniversary of deadly tsunami

ColomboPage News Desk.

Sri Lanka today paid tribute to the thousands of people died from the devastating tsunami that hit the island on the Boxing Day of 2004.

The country observed a two-minute silence from 9:25 to 9:27 a.m. today to remember the more than 40,000 people died in the catastrophic tsunami five years ago which also destroyed over 130,000 houses and rendered nearly a million homeless.
Today is also marked as the National Safety Day. A ceremony was held this morning at the Kurunegala Provincial Council Auditorium under the patronage of Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka to mark the day.
Later in the day the Sri Lanka Disaster Management Centre will hold a tsunami preparedness drill at 3.00 p.m. in 10 districts.
Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message to mark the National Safety Day said the day is recognized to educate and sensitize the public about disasters, disaster mitigation, prevention, and early warning which will help them respond properly and strongly to disasters such as a tsunami.
The 2004 tsunami caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake under the Indian Ocean near the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra affected 13 districts in Sri Lanka on a bright sunny morning taking the beach goers, tourists, fishermen, and residents near the shore without a warning.
Ministry of Disaster Management says all the victimized families have been provided with homes now, 5 years after the disaster. The government has constructed over 130,000 houses with the financial and material support from foreign countries and many non governmental organizations, the Ministry said.
The government says it has provided all necessary facilities to the tsunami hit families to restart their livelihoods. All disaster hit hotels and schools have been reconstructed and functioning at present, the authorities say.
The Ministry recently installed a multi-million dollar early warning system along the country's beaches. The Disaster Management Center (DMC) of Sri Lanka held its first natural disaster drill in July this year. Sri Lanka also took part in the tsunami exercise organized by the UNESCO in October to test the tsunami warning system.
Foriegn news
Father of pakistan's 133rd birth anniversary celebrated

The 133rd birth anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was celebrated across the country on Friday with the pledge to make the country a true democratic and welfare state.

The day started with special prayers in mosques for prosperity and progress of the country. The main function was held in Karachi where a smartly turned out contingent of cadets from Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul took over the guard duty at the Quaid’s mausoleum.

This was followed by the laying of floral wreaths by representatives of the three armed services. President Asif Ali Zardari visited the mazar, laid a floral wreath and paid homage to the Founder of Pakistan. The President was accompanied by Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan.
Pakistan Media tour -Part 1

A group of journalists from Sri Lanka were afforded opportunity to visit Pakistan. The opportunity was provided by the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo.And sponserd the tour by Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) . Editor of SRI LANKA TODAY( ) Sumith Mayadunne participated in the visit.

This was a step in strengthening the friendship between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This article is the first in a series of articles on the visit to Pakistan.


By Sumith Maydunne

Present Pakistan land has a long history which runs for Indu Valley civilization.
But, at that time the land was known as India. The Mohanjodaro and Harappa era which we read in the history had created the above civilization thousand and thousands years ago.

Then, Pakistan was not a separate country. In 1947, when Pakistan was identified and recognized as a separate country, the above said land which had a great civilization was passed to new country Pakistan.

Sindu River is the closest natural gift for the Indu Velley civilization. It floats over 1600Kms and joins the Arabian Sea in Karachi in the southern part of Pakistan allowing the expansion of that civilization.

Great and Historic land

Sri Lankan media team got a chance to visit this great and historic land recently and the tour had been organized by the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo and host by Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) . The media team was provided opportunity to visit the major important places of the county and study on those places. This is the first of a series of articles written on the tour.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah who was a lawyer by profession is the founder activist to have a separate county named Pakistan in the world map. gratefully remember his name.

It was 1858; the British rulers took Indian region under their .
Supported and led by Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and a group was leading the campaign against British rulers to receive the independence for India.

Birth of Pakistan
Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru represented the India’s Congress Party and Ali Jinnah represented the India’s Muslim League. The Muslim league which asked the same recognition for the Muslims in India later developed the idea to an Interdependence regime for Indian Muslims.

Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru represented the India’s Congress Party and Ali Jinnah represented the India’s Muslim League. The Muslim league which asked the same recognition for the Muslims in India later developed the idea to an Interdependence regime for Indian Muslims.

Later Jinnah requested for a separate land for the muslims of India.

British rulers had to work on the request and the area where majority of Muslims lived in India was named as Pakistan.The area included present Pakistan and Bangladesh. The date was August 14, 1947. India was given independence a day after Pakistan was given separate administration powers on August 15, 1947.

Distinguished Leader
As we earlier mentioned it was Muhammad Ali Jinnah who is the founder of Pakistan. Without his efforts, there would not be a Pakistan on the world map today.

Pakistani citizens even today after 63 years of independence gratefully remember his name. They consider that founder of the nation should be respected from tradition to tradition.

The fact is proven by the Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s memorial in Karachi where Pakistan’s commercial city. His remains are there and the place has bean named as Quaid -i-Azam Mauso-Leum. People respect it as a national asset and daily meritorious activities are conducted under the supervision of relevant appointed officials.

As Pakistan was setup, Ali Jinnah was appointed as the first Governor General of the country. From that date, he had spent all his time to have a meaningful independence for the Pakistan people. But unfortunately, he died with T. B after a year of independence in the country. Ali Jinnah who was born as an Indian on December 25th, 1876, died on September 11, 1948 as a Pakistan citizen. (Picture: Alli Jinnah with Mahathma Ghandi)

He was named the as the Founder of Pakistan and the Father of the Nation. Pakistani citizens treat him as their Great Leader. In their language (Urdu) they say “Quaid-i-Azam” which means the Great leader. Even after 63 years of his demise, Pakistani citizens still treat him.

While Indonesia became the world’s most Muslim populated country, Pakistan is the second largest Muslim populated country.

Highst respect and care
Sri Lankan media team’s tour begins at the memorial erupted for the commemoration of the Pakistan Great Leader Ali Jinnah. The memorial has been set up on a small hill in Karachi in a place where considered as the heart of Karachi town. The place is maintained with highest respect and care.

Karachi is very famous for this memorial as it has been nicely erupted and preserved. Although the Karachi town has also been invaded by the urbanization, this memorial has been maintained adding an extra interesting to the town. Anyway, the memorial is 10 kilometers far from the busy town of Karachi. It is a peaceful area. Being at a high ground it can be viewed from very far. Islamic culture is well displayed in this area.

The memorial which has bean built using white marbles is 75 feet tall. The length is 75 feet. Great leader Ali Jinnah’s remains lie here. The decorations here sometimes are donations from other countries. A beautiful chandelier /Fascinating lamps inside have been donated by the Chinese government.

The Pakistan citizens who come to visit the place engage in a small pray, keeping their hands on their chests. The memorial is a multistory creation and guests are allowed to come and respect the great leader being in the top floor.

Tri-forces salutation to the memorial takes place all 24 hours. Forces personal have been kept in four sides and salutation teams are changed in every four hours. This special salutation process takes pace from the date of memorial was erupted there. First four months of the year, salutation is conducted by the Pakistan Army, next four months by the Air force and next four is by the Navy are conducted.

Twenty four hour salutation on Quaid-i-Azam Mausoleam

The significance is whatever the regime in power in Pakistan; all the governments have allowed and facilitated the tradition of Salutation to the memorial of Ali Jinnah. They have taught other world that Political parties have nothing to do when they are to respect a national leader. This message is conveyed to the entire world in this fashion.

This historic creation has been designed by architect Yayiha Merchan. The construction works have begun in 1966 and the memorial has been completed on June 1971.
The project manager Major S Arther Mir speaking to the Sri Lankan journalists said that the king of Iran; H.E. Shah graced the opening ceremony. He also said that strengthening the relationship of both counties he donated precious tiles from Iran to fix in the walls of the memorial.
(Picture:Left Side-Major Arther Mir speaking to the Media team)

The place is also used to hold several national festivals. Among them, Pakistan National day, Independence Day, Great Leader’s birth anniversary and death anniversary.
Further Pakistan citizens also respect Ali Jinnah’s younger sister as the Mother of the Nation. Her birth and death anniversaries are also held here.

The memorial is situated in an area of 61 acre land. The museum in the memorial has Ali Jinnah’s some used dresses, vehicle and number of equipments used by him.

Ali Jinnah’s memorial is one of the major places which foreigners never forget to visit. Though he died over 63 years ago, still he lives in the hearts of Pakistan people. We felt that the respect which the Pakistan people offered to him will remain in the future too.

Merry Crismas

Christmas and New Year wishes for peace and joy.