BBC journalist writes of the dead, but doesn’t forget the living
KARACHI: The local and international media hang around dead people, ask how they died, how many died and why. But with the book, Sellab ki Diary (Diary of a Flood), BBC journalist Wusatullah Khan has written on the living and how they survive.
These were the introductory remarks by author Mohammad Hanif, himself a BBC man, at the book’s launch at the Arts Council on Saturday. The diary is a combination of Khan’s reports written during the flood of 2010 and 2011.
Khan joined the BBC in 1991 but after a few years, he told his editor in London that he wanted to go to Pakistan. The editor had asked him what he would do there, to which Khan replied that he would travel its length and breadth and would go wherever a disaster took place. The flood updates were written in Urdu and were reproduced by a daily Urdu newspaper. The compilation has been published by the Pakistan Study Centre of the Karachi University. The centre’s Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed read a few and contacted Khan when he was in Dera Ismail Khan. “When I asked him how long would the dairy, he said he had to go through the flood-affected areas all over Pakistan before we could compile it,” he told the audience.
For Dr Ahmed the work was unique because Khan has not only written about the death and pain of people but he has also given the history, culture, languages and customs of the areas he visited.
Khan said that he spent 70 days on the road in a journey that started from Karachi and went to Skardu — 4,500 kilometres. “I would travel all the day and at night I would write the diary and sleep only for three hours,” he said. Khan would be troubled that he would get to sleep at a hotel, while there were displaced people sleeping under the open sky. “Every area had its own flood. The flood of Loralai is different from that of Nowshehra and Layyah,” he remarked.
The flood of 2010 taught people one thing Â– that the government was nothing, they had to do everything on their own.
Source: The Express Tribune