UN goodwill ambassador,Tennis star Aisam ul Haq, back from Gilgit – Baltistan

ISLAMABAD: UNDP goodwill ambassador and tennis player Aisamul Haq Qureshi on his return from a one-day trip to Gilgit-Baltistan said that his visit was ‘an eye-opener’, and added that the government and the media are not projecting the right image of the floods.

On his first visit to the flood-affected regions of Gilgit-Baltistan, Ghizer Valley and Hunza, Qureshi described his whole experience as ‘memorable’,while talking to The Express Tribune .

“I am amused to see the people’s patience, courage and will to get back. If I were to put myself in their place, I do not know what I would have done,” Qureshi said, adding that the trip has made him appreciate life more
than ever.

While criticising the government and the media, Qureshi said that the limelight needs to be put back on the floods situation. “There is no news about the floods anymore and we feel as if the disaster is over. Far from it,” he said.

“We are not acting as a nation; people are always aspiring to move out of Pakistan,” he added.

The tennis player himself has witnessed an unbelievable year. However, he insisted that there is more to life beyond the game. “There is more to life than tennis, this trip has been an eye-opener,” he said.

Qureshi shared that he had aspired to assist the earthquake victims in 2005 and dreamt of making a rehabilitation centre for them, but was unable to get support from the government.

“I do not like to get into politics, but I am more than happy to be a part of the UNDP and reaching out to the flood-stricken people,” he said.

Praising the contribution made by the youth of Pakistan, Qureshi desires to use his status to create awareness through the media and address the international community to keep supporting Pakistan.

Qureshi announced that $10,000 donated by his tennis opponents, the Bryan Brothers, will be used in responding to the huge need for shelter and for the Gilgit housing project.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2010.

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