Memorial of 8th October


I can still remember those horrible Draconian moments which engulfed thousands of my people on this day. It still leaves me trembling when the 8th Oct recalls me back to hair-raising Earthquake smashing into Pakistan in 2005.

My heart beats aloud; Oh my God, it was all scary!

Many called it God’s fury; some feared as if they are going to witness doomsday; while remaining were wordless.

It was precisely 08:50:38pm according to Pakistan Standard Time when the electronic media (both nationally and internationally) started to flash about this incident but all of them had yet to confirm the loss. Though, the earthquake was recorded in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on a rector scale of 7.6 but this information was not pretty sufficient to estimate the loss.

I was also flipping news channels to track the updates but the media reporting efficiency was seriously missing that day. It should not be assumed here that the media did not want to cover this dreadful incident but the fact was that they were simply unable to access those sites due to broken roads and could hardly find any vital signs of life even in the vicinities of quaked areas.

But finally, when media succeeded to prevail over the situation through military and non-military assistance, and started to air documentaries of the “flesh and blood” of the victims, it was completely making us horror-struck, much more than we usually feel while watching Hollywood horror movies. This was more or less an emotion of those watching TVs.

But what about those who were in physical contact with those death zones and were helpless to surrender before horrendous death-quake? What about those innocent children who had yet to know the meaning of life? What about those newly-wed couples who had yet to live a life? What about those who had yet to share many things on their return to home?  And what about those unfortunate survivors who could see their dear ones’ organs scattered around them and were capturing their breaths to assemble dare they needed to bury ‘those’ organs? How really could they feel and breathe in those moments? Awfully, my pen is not too mightier to jot their expressions.

But yes, what I can author here is the brutality that we demonstrated in the nick of time of that incident. Apart from some reported humanitarian efforts, many took it an opportunistic moment either for political gains or monetary benefits. Since the death toll was figured in thousands, the textile industry in Pakistan behaved inhumanely when it raised the rates dramatically high for coffins. The camp-makers were also not behind in this money-winning race. The religious organizations started to abduct young survivors in order to recruit them in their militias. The political parties were fighting over the political scoring. The fund-raising camps established in various metropolitan areas of the country could not demonstrate transparency in funding flow mechanisms. In a nutshell, the beasts of prey disguised the humans at that time to gulp the flesh of humanity.

This earthquake, as pretended by many, was the first natural disaster with such magnitude ever occurred in Pakistan since 1947. This remains the common defense so far by many of the government and non-government organizations institutionalized for disaster management. Admittedly, the loss of human life was irrecoverable but we could have rebuilt infrastructure at least. But who cares about those dreams the victims might have seen for their children’s education and health!

I’m writing this memorial in the midst of recently recurred Flood which will leave more damaging imprints on our collective memory. The emergency efforts for the flood victims were observed in the wee hours and could not come up with an integration model. I’m right to assume that we have not learnt from past.

Observing this day in the memory of those whose dead-bodies were literally encashed may render a symbolic funeral but we really need to announce this day officially as Broken Day of Pakistan because I strongly believe that this day has broken dreams of many.

My heart truly feels for the victims and my mind keeps my vibrating!




  1. henna amin says

    This article of yours reflects your objectivity and honesty as a writer.You speak not as a jingoist,but as a human being who is sensitive to the sufferings of mankind. Keep it up!

    • WaqasMasood says

      It’s my honor to be observed so keenly by a learned lady from Occupied Kashmir. Your feedback is always a source of motivation for me.

  2. Hannah Kaljam Ali says

    Heart felt in so many ways… thanks Waqas it was written in the only way that the experience could have been felt.


    Dear Waqas

    I vaguely remember the devastating earthquake that hit Pakistan in 2005.
    Thank you for highlighting the story once again, it has certainly refreshed
    my memory and that of many others reading this.

    Indeed it should be recognized has ”THE BROKEN DAY OF PAKISTAN”.
    I agree with you on this, ”your pen is not mightier to jot down their
    expressions”, but you certainly managed to awaken the raw emotions
    of that tragic day.
    You have reminded us of those precious souls who have perished but
    will NEVER be forgotten.

    • WaqasMasood says

      I’m really chuffed to see your insightful comments. Thanks for taking interest in Pakistan and your generous appreciation.

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