Missing In Action

by Eric Roberts 

Pay within the National Health Service has been cut from between 8% and 12% since 2010!
Coincidentally from the same time the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats took it upon themselves (they have no mandate from the British people) to butcher the NHS and sell the carcass on to the highest bidder, who, nine times out of ten, have been wealthy donors to, and, supporters of,  you've guessed it, the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Parties!
60% of staff within the NHS will not get a pay increase in 2014! The 'lucky' 40% who do, will get 1% (non consolidated) with not so much strings attached, but River Mersey ferry docking ropes attached!

Case of Emergency Disaster Management for Karachi

by: Bilquis Rehman
General Manager, ICR & Advocacy Department

“Staff of the emergency medical team should be technically equipped and trained to save the lives, to do the most for the most”, said Dr. Samad Billoo, at a seminar on ‘Management of Medical Emergencies in Karachi - An Expert Opinion’, organized by HANDS Pakistan and HANDS International, on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at Movenpick Hotel. Mr. Roshan Shaikh, Secretary Relief and Rehabilitation, Government of Sindh, was the chief guest at the event.

The seminar was organized to focus on the expert opinion from Dr. Samad Billoo, on existing practices and challenges involved in medical emergencies as part of daily occurrences across the country, Karachi being prone to natural and manmade calamities, is badly suffering due to lack of learning, sharing, regulations and systems. He highlighted the importance of understanding “Structured Response Methodologies” for disaster and emergencies. Dr. Shaikh Tanveer Ahmed, Chief Executive, HANDS, gave the welcome address and presented HANDS approach on emergency relief to the audience.

In this regard, the key stakeholders of Karachi medical emergencies were invited to present their medical emergencies approaches. Mr. Salman Shah, DG Provincial Disaster Management Auhtority, Sindh, Ms. Joan Dodman, USAID Health Specialist, Prof. Saeed Qureshi from Civil Hospital, Dr. Junaid Razaque from Aman Foundation, Mr. Ubaid Hashmi from Al-Mustafa Trust, Mr. M. Ramzan Chhipa from Chhipa Welfare Association, Dr. M. Shahid from Indus Hospital, Dr. Seemi from Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation and Mr. Abdul Aziz from Al-Khidmat Welfare Society shared their strengths, weaknesses, posed challenges, and gave recommendations.

Dr. Billoo briefed the audience on technically equipped and trained appointed staff to work in emergencies. According to him the inability to mitigate the disaster on the day one occurs is failure of planning. “‘It will never happen to us’ is not an acceptable excuse for the absence of adequate planning”, he remarked.

 Dr. Billoo pointed out that during an emergency there should be a major incident plan in place for every EMS provider (ambulance service), each hospital that accepts emergencies, high risk venues, such as sports stadiums and concert halls and a regional, provincial and national plan for the coordination of resources on a wider scale.

Dr. Ghaffar Billoo, Chairman HANDS, thanked the audience and urged to gather up for the needs of Karachi and overall humanity.

Dr. Billoo has over 23 years’ experience in the Emergency Medical Services field and currently working for‘The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)’ in London, a consecutive award winning organization by the UK government.

Absolute power in the Middle East is beneficial to the West

by Farooq Sumar

Monarchies, particularly the absolute kind are anathema to most of us, but political realism induces their acceptance even in this day and age. The muted and symbolic ones, mostly in the European Union, are a matter for the countries where they exist to see the cost-benefit ratio of their emotional needs. Our concern is with the absolute Monarchies, most of them exist in the Muslim Middle East, that adversely impact the fundamental rights of their people, the migrants that work for them and their actions in global politics that affect the region as well as the rest of us.

The Middle East’s present political and geographical map was carved by the British and French after defeating the Ottoman Empire in World War 1, according to the Sykes—Picot Agreement of 1916. Its aims were to dismantle the Ottoman Empire, divide Turkey, strip it and abolish the Caliphate and eradicate as much of its Islamic zeal as possible; In order to weaken Islam artificial countries were formed in the Middle East bereft of logical borders but with future possibilities of discord and each one was given a “King” or a “Ruler” dependent and firmly allied to its master’s interests, or a direct Mandate as in Syria and Palestine. Since the Crusades this was the only opportunity to tame the Muslim world and it could not be wasted. The British and French performed a thorough job that pays dividends even today for the Western alliance.

Pay! We Are Worth It!

Let us be very clear: A dispute is looming within the National Health Service over pay!

After pay freezes and real time pay cuts, the way this government has treated the Pay Review Body (PRB) is disgraceful and unacceptable.

Bearing in mind that the PRB recommendation of 1% was not a King’s ransom, the action of the Government is doubly deplorable.

I hate to say it but brace yourself for industrial action within the UK Ambulance Services!
Last week’s UNISON Health Conference in Brighton was full of angry delegates. Delegates who are health professionals throughout the NHS, Delegates who hold responsible positions at all levels, Delegates who love their jobs and care for patients.

How any Government or Health Secretary can push these people to breaking point is beyond me. But push them they have!

Health professionals calling for strike is a warning not to be ignored.

UNISON Head of Health, Christina McAnea, sent a letter to the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, a week or so ago, telling him to step back from the brink!. I have never, ever, read such a strong letter and message to any Secretary of State.

The Conference also passed an Emergency Motion from the Health Service Group Executive (HSEG) calling for a sustained campaign and strike ballots. It put in position a strategy to involve all members and all parts of the Health Service.

I spoke in the debate on behalf of the Executive.

We are guardians of the NHS. This pay ‘offer’ is divisive, not only in the workplace but also across the UK. It is being treated differently within the devolved nations
We know that a gauntlet has been thrown down. We pick it up or we walk the other way! UNISON will pick it up on behalf of our members, patients and the NHS.

If we had been able to negotiate with the London Ambulance Service who knows what would have happened.

We couldn't, we didn't, we haven’t!

We are part of a national union and part of national pay bargaining, albeit with the PRB as a conduit (for now!).

We know this is not the fault of LAS management and our dispute is not with the LAS; but because of the disgraceful attitude if this Government towards public sector staff, particularly health staff, we are all dragged into any dispute and action that emerges.

Our dispute will be radical and not reckless. No baby will be thrown out of the bathtub!

Support your Union. Support the NHS. Support NHS Ambulance Services.

Eric Roberts

Branch Secretary, LAS UNISON

US and Israel rule the Middle East

The US has a rather murky history of enforcing its will through covert actions, sometime by waging war on its opponents and against those who do not agree to protect American vested interests
It is difficult to trust or believe in western journalists and analysts when it comes to the question of protecting western vested interests. There are a very few exceptions who try to be objective and even fewer who understand the various psyches of the east. The large majority is biased and a great number are western propagandists. We have seen their role time and again all over the world. In the past it used to be muted and subtle, but now it is brazen and downright insulting the sensibilities as well as the intelligence of our people. Power has the ability of expanding one's ego and denting the faculties.

Our interests must be paramount

Pakistan’s policy making capabilities have always displayed a lack of foresight, a dearth of planning, and a result of reactive thinking rather than a well thought out strategic approach that accounts for the possible repercussions also. Besides this the accommodation of foreign influences and pressures leaves little room to pursue national interests.

The weak and unprincipled governments that our non-system keeps throwing up therefore rule with a bundle of contradictions that create chaos, mismanagement and failures which keep aggravating the miseries of the people and enriching the ruling classes.

Justice, Not Prayer, Is The First Obligation of a Muslim 

by: Asghar Bukhari

Apolitical practicing Muslims claim that the first and highest priority of a Muslim has always been the rituals they perform and the great ethical causes of the world are of secondary importance.

Although I usually stay clear of theological debates, I am drawn to this particular argument, because of the damage it has done to the revolutionary message of Islam and how today this argument is used to undermine any political awakening of the Muslims.

Muslims are taught to spend their lives on the impossible task of perfecting themselves through ritualistic worship and never wake up to the true cause of Islam.

This theological concept was implanted in the minds of our religious leadership by those who unjustly ruled us. They feared that the ethics of Islam would undermine their authority. So they allowed Muslims to pray — just as long as they were silent on injustice. Over time that is exactly what we did.

Are rituals the first and most important thing a Muslim should do? Was perfecting ones rituals our mission on this earth? Or did ethics take precedence? Perhaps history could give us an insight and an answer to this troublesome argument about priorities.

The Muslim story that could get you killed

by: Asghar Bukhari

I am going to tell you a tale of two stories’ and one of them could get you killed.
The first is the story of Western political elites. Their story is about Islam. They tell you that Islam (or if they can’t be honest ‘ Islamism’), is a threat to the world, that this medieval religion is violent and barbaric, a faith that leads to violence and one that the West must take action against in order to defend itself. It is a story that inevitably leads to a clash of civilizations.

It is repeated in newspapers & news channels in the Western World every single day in various subtle ways and as a result white westerners believe it.

Muslims also tell a story, and it also involves Islam. This is the one that could get you killed. They tell a story of an American Empire pushed by Israel and its lobby and old European hatreds into yet another war against Muslims. In their story the West had been waging wars to uphold their manufactured borders across the Muslim world that allowed them to control and dominate the region and kept that order & maintained it by propping up ruthless dictators. The resulting deaths and broken lives now measured in their millions.


It must be said at the outset that this is no scholarly dissertation for academic appraisal nor does it aspire to qualify for theological approval. It is simply the attempt of a layman to understand and share that understanding with others.

During the thousands of years of Man’s existence numerous civilisations have come and gone. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) tells us that one hundred and twenty four thousand Prophets were sent, presumably therefore as many religions came and except for a small number remaining till today all the rest vanished. All species face death and disappear. Innovations, discoveries, technologies have always come only to become obsolete with time. It tells us that change and evolution are probably the most essential dynamics in the Divine scheme of things.

However there are constants too, for the believer God is an absolute constant. The Sun, Moon and various planets have been there for millions of years. What about the search for knowledge and truth? Have they not been a constant endeavour of mankind? Evil and good have existed since Adam. The need for security and a competitive spirit has been part of our nature. The capacity to love and the desire to kill coexist in humans just as the aspiration for freedom and the instinct to subjugate are ever present. Power and piety have always had their disciples. Extremists and moderates have for ever battled for ascendancy.