THE YEAR 2005

Posted on 02/01/2006. Filed under: تاریخ |

The year 2005 was a kaleidoscope of events, shifting from exhilarating to heart-wrenching incidents, from drab to vivacious and then vicious in the next instant. All in all a year that has left memories that will not be easy to erase. Here are the highs and lows of a year that will soon be history, writes Maryam Murtaza Sadriwala

There have been more than 900 aftershocks to Pakistan’s devastating October 8, earthquake which killed more than 80,000 people and left about three million homeless. The consequent effects on the political landscape have been both positive and negative effects. The disaster has given Pakistan’s military a raison d’etre, beyond the dispute with India over Kashmir. The earthquake damage to parts of Pakistan has been so devastating that the military will be forced to focus on reconstruction for some time.Pakistan recently announced that it would be delaying the purchase of 75 F-16s from Washington until at least April, a procurement estimated at between $3 billion and $4 billion. Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington commented that at this stage the need was that the money be spent for the earthquake victims.


On May 20, 2005, Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid newspapers The Sun of U.K. and New York Post, printed photos of Saddam Hussein in his jail cell wearing only his underwear. These photos were said to be "provided by American military sources to undermine the Iraqi rebellion." They were officially not authorised, being qualified "a clear violation of D.O.D. directives, and possibly Geneva Convention guidelines for the humane treatment of detained individuals" by Bush’s deputy press secretary Trent Duffy. The US military said that it would "aggressively investigate" how the photographs of Saddam Hussein in captivity were released.

 


This May saw Tony Blair winning a historic third term in government for Labour but with a drastically reduced majority. The result writes a new chapter in British political history, with Margaret Thatcher the only other post-war prime minister to have won three successive general elections. Blair is the only Labour leader to have won three elections in a row.


On July 7, 2005 a series of four suicide bombings struck London’s public transport system during the morning rush hour. At 8:50 a.m. three bombs exploded within 50 seconds of each other on three London underground trains. A fourth bomb exploded in a bus at 9:47 a.m. in Tavistock Square. The bombings led to a severe, day-long disruption of the city’s transport and mobile telecommunications infrastructure. Fifty-six people were killed i the attacks, including the four suspected bombers, with 700 injured. The incident was the deadliest single act of terrorism in the United Kingdom since the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people, and the deadliest bombing in London since the Second World War. The bombings came while the UK was hosting the first full day of the 31st G8 summit, and a day after London was chosen to host the 2012 Summer Olympics.


Academy award-wining actress Angelina Jolie arrived in Pakistan on May 4, 2005, for a four-day visit to focus world attention on the plight of Afghan refugees. The United Nations Goodwill Ambassador saw off a convoy of trucks carrying Afghans home from Pakistan, pushing the total number of those repatriating with help from the UN refugee agency past the 50,000 mark for the year. Later, in November Jolie accompanied by Hollywood hunk, Brad Pitt, while touring the quake-hit areas of Pakistan, appealed for the swift delivery of promised aid. "The pledges that were made need to materialise soon, because as I’m understanding, there are so many wonderful pledges of money that could come in the next few years – but this winter is in the next few weeks," Jolie told a news conference in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad.


True, England were in form but no one would have predicted that the 2005 Ashes this summer would become ‘one of the most exciting matches in living memory.’ The first Test was played at Lord’s and won convincingly by Australia by 239 runs. However, England fought back in the remaining four matches and won them. At the end of the series, Andrew Flintoff was awarded the inaugural Compton-Miller medal and "Man of the Series". The English media dubbed the next English tour to Australia as the quest to retain The Ashes.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince sold a record-breaking 6.9 million copies in the first 24 hours in July 2005. With the release of Half-Blood Prince sales of the first five Harry Potter titles, both hardcover and paperback, have climbed back onto national bestseller lists. The Harry Potter books occupied six out of 10 positions on the Barnes & Noble, Borders and Bookscan bestseller lists, not only continuing to break publishing records in terms of sales, but receiving phenomenal reviews.


The 2005 civil unrest in France and neighbouring countries resulted in a series of riots and other forms of violent clashes between thousands of youths from poor suburbs and the French Police. The riots began on 27 October 2005 in the banlieues of Paris and peaked on the night of November 7, affecting 274 communes. On 17 November, the French police declared a return to a normal situation throughout France, saying that the 98 vehicles torched the previous night corresponded to the usual average. According to the official count, 8,973 vehicles were torched during the 20 nights of rioting, with 2,888 arrests, and 126 police injured. Protesters told The Associated Press the unrest was an expression of frustration with high unemployment and police harassment and brutality in the areas. While a majority of the youths committing the acts are Muslim, and of African or North African origin, local residents say that second-generation Portuguese immigrants and even some children of native French have taken part.


June 14 was a happy day for Micheal Jackson fans as a California jury exonerated the pop icon of the child molestation, conspiracy and alcohol charges that could have sent him to prison for nearly 20 years. The jury deliberated about 32 hours throughout the course of seven days before reaching its decision.


Hurricane Katrina was the first Category 5 hurricane of the Atlantic 2005 season. On August 29, its storm surge breached the levee system that protected New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. Most of the city was subsequently flooded mainly by water from the lake, damaging the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama, and causing Katrina to become the most destructive and costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States, and likely the deadliest since 1928.The sheer physical size of Katrina caused devastation far from the eye of the hurricane. It was possibly the largest hurricane of its strength ever recorded. The question of demographics has been raised in the media as news video and photographs showed primarily black citizens stranded in New Orleans where 67.9 per cent of the population is black. Within the city itself, the poorest tended to live in the lowest parts that are most vulnerable to flooding. Black organizations vented their wrath accusing that the response was slow because those most affected were poor. Hurricane Rita was the second Category 5 hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. This hurricane is on record as being the strongest measured hurricane to ever have entered the Gulf of Mexico.


Pope John Paul II, the charismatic pontiff who led the world’s one billion Catholics for 26 years, breathed his last on Saturday April 2, 2005, in his private apartment in Vatican City, at the ripe age of 84. Archbishop Leonardo Sandri asked for a few moments of silence as he announced the death to the thousands of faithful who had congregated in St. Peter’s Square. People in the crowd bowed their heads to pray, some of them in tears.


It was the 15th of August when 8,500 Israeli, received notice that they must leave their settlements, as part of Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. The withdrawal from Gaza ended 38 years of brutal Israeli occupation of the Strip.


Prince Charles, in formal morning wear and Camilla Parker Bowles, a matching chiffon dress topped with a matching straw and lace hat with feather details, were married on April 8 in a modest civil ceremony at the 17th century Guildhall. The second marriage for each was blessed by the Church of England as the royals knelt beneath the soaring arches of the Gothic St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle as Charles’ sons, William and Harry, and Parker Bowles’ ex-husband, Andrew, looked on. The wedding capped a decades-long love affair that endured the prince’s first marriage to Princess Diana and constant tabloid scrutiny. The nuptials had to be postponed so Charles could attend Friday’s funeral of Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.


The assassination of Rafik Hariri, former Lebanese prime minister, on Valentines Day (February 14) this year, was a virtual propaganda bonanza for Israel and the United States and has resulted in nearly unanimous finger pointing at Syria. Harari had recently joined the opposition to the pro-Damascus government that Syria has installed in Beirut and asked that Syria withdraw their troops from Lebanon.

 


Angela Merkel, the leader of the Conservative Christian Democratic party, was sworn in as Germany’s new Chancellor in November 2005, becoming the first woman and the first from former East Germany. Mrs Merkel made history only after weeks of intense negotiations that led to a grand coalition with her chief rivals, the Social Democrats of the departing Chancellor Schroeder. A pastor’s daughter, who became a physicist, Merkel grew up in East Germany, experiencing deprivation that is so much a part of a socialist state. Armed with a Doctorate in physics, she speaks near-pefect English and fluent Russian. She is married to a Berlin Chemistry professor who is camera shy.


A year of Hollywood break-ups and hookups: 2005 has marked a record number of couples calling it quits. Quite appropriately, the year started off with the dream couple, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston breaking Cupid’s heart as they announced their break-up. However, both seemed to bounce back quickly as Pitt went on to his "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" lady, Angelina Jolie, amid rumours that they were involved prior to Brad’s marital break up, and Aniston got cozy with her leading man from "The Break Up," Vince Vaughn.


The story of Sonia Naz is heart breaking. A 23-year-old mother of two, Naz, whose husband, Asim Yousaf, had been missing "in police custody" since October 2004, decided to make a desperate attempt to meet the prime minister and plead for help by entering the National Assembly. For her offence she was incarcerated in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail for four days on the orders of the National Assembly Speaker despite confirmations that she had acted in complete ignorance. After the police confiscated her car and Rs.10,000 cash that she was carrying, Sonia Naz was released on bail. Then on 30th August in a news breaking story Sonia Naz disclosed that when she returned home, after her release from jail, she was kidnapped by the police who held her illegally for 15 days. The irony, however, is that the husband for whom this brave ill-treated woman walked through fire, has now shunned his wife due to the rumours tainting her reputation. Talk about justice!.


Australia was stunned and humiliated beyond belief as it lost to the poorest cousin of the cricket family, Bangladesh. Its five-wicket, tri-series loss sparked pandemonium at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, wild celebration in Dhaka and humiliation across Australia. Bangladesh’s win is one of cricket’s biggest upsets, possibly rivalling the Test that created the Ashes, when Australia beat England at The Oval in 1882, and Australia’s loss to Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup.


On the lush green courts of Wimbledon, world number one Roger Federer produced a near-perfect performance to beat Andy Roddick and complete a hat-trick of Wimbledon titles. The 23-year-old joined the likes of Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg as the only players to win three in a row in the tournament. Federer cruised to a complete and comprehensive victory in one hour 41 minutes. On the women’s side, Venus Williams became Wimbledon champion for the third time with an epic win over Lindsay Davenport in the longest-ever women’s final.


Dr Mahmoud Abbas commonly known as Abu Mazen, took office as President (Ra’ees) of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on January 15, 2005. With his main contender, Marwan Bargouti, dropping out of the race, Abbas’s election was virtually ensured, and on January 9 Abbas was elected with 62 per cent of the vote as the new president of the Palestinian Authority.


At least three people were killed and 15 others wounded after a car bomb struck a food eatery outlet in Karachi, near PIDC. Police said the blast ripped through the front of the fast food joint and burned several vehicles. The bomb exploded in a crowded business area near two luxury hotels at 0840 during rush hour.


Manisha Koirala made quite a few hearts race when she visited Pakistan on the invitation of a television channel to help raise funds for the victims of the earthquake that devastated the Northern Areas of Pakistan on October 8.


India was united in its praise for Sachin Tendulkar after the batsman stroked his way to a world record-breaking 35th test century off the last ball of the opening day of the second test against Sri Lanka in New Delhi to break Sunil Gavaskar’s 19-year-old record.


In a first step towards granting women full political rights,Kuwaiti lawmakers allowed women to vote and run in local council elections.


On September 7, Hosni Mubarak was elected President of Egypt for a fifth term that will see him in office for six more years. For the first time in Egypt’s history other candidates were allowed to take part in elections in which Ayman Nur, who was his closest rival, is now in jail.


"With all sorrow and sadness, the royal court in the name of his highness Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz and all members of the family announce the death of the servant of the two holy mosques, King Fahd bin Abdel Aziz," Minister of Information Iyad bin Amin Madani announced on state television. King Fahad died early on 01 August (Monday) at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, where he was admitted on 27 May for unspecified medical tests. Saudi Arabia King Fahd had been frail since suffering a debilitating stroke in 1995 and had delegated the running of the kingdom to his half brother, Crown Prince Abdullah who is now king.


Egyptians elected a new parliament in an election that saw more candidates than ever running, making it one of the most hotly contested polls in Egypt for over half a century. More than 5,000 vied for 444 seats in parliament.


Mukhtar Mai was in New York on the evening of November 2, 2005 as one of the recipients of this year’s Glamour Woman of the Year award, standing amongst winners such as the former Irish president and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour and Hollywood stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Goldie Hawn.Mukhtar Mai came on stage with Amna Buttar, president of Asian-American Network Against Abuse (ANAA), who acted as her translator. She spoke with her now familiar soft-spoken voice as she appealed for an end to "oppression with education." She, herself, has started a new fund organised by ANAA for the rehabilitation and support for victims of violence.


India’s opposition leader L K Advani claimed he would resign as president of his BJP party but later took back his resignation. The controversy all began when Advani offered to step down after he described Pakistan’s founder, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah as "secular", during the course of his visit to Pakistan this year, causing a furore in India. Advani had been upset that the party has not backed him and taken a position on his comments in Pakistan.


Born on November 15th 1986, Sania Mirza has caught the eye this year taking the women’s tennis scene by storm. Her first appearance in the international arena was when she represented India at the World Junior Championship in 1999 held at Jakarta, Indonesia. Sania Mirza created history when she reached the third round of Australian Open 2005. She became the first Indian to achieve the feat. Sania Mirza has also been honoured with the prestigious Arjuna award by the Indian government. The year 2005 has seen her to embody a number of aspects of modernity, freedom and rationality — the very opposite of the stereotypes that Indian Muslims are straitjacketed into.


Miss Iceland, Unnur Birna Vilhjalmsdottir, a part-time police officer who wants to be a lawyer, was crowned the surprise winner of Miss World 2005 on December 10. Miss Philippines, Carlene Aguillar had been the bookmaker’s favourite. The 21-year-old daughter of former Miss Iceleand 1983, beat out a field of 102 beauties from around the world. The green-eyed brunette will serve as a goodwill ambassador and charity fundraiser for children’s causes throughout the next year.


In the January 30, 2005 Legislative elections, the Iraqi people chose representatives for the newly-formed 275-member Iraqi National Assembly. The voting represented the first general election since the United States-led 2003 invasion of Iraq, and marked an important step in the transition of turning control of the country over from US occupation forces to the Iraqis themselves. Up to 15 million Iraqis were electing 275 members of the first full-term parliament since Saddam Hussein’s ouster from among 7,655 candidates running on 996 tickets, representing Shiite, Sunni, Kurdish, Turkomen and sectarian interests across a wide political spectrum.


In the last 36 years, since the establishment of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), it was perhaps the first time that Muslim leaders in the third extraordinary OIC summit in Mekkah on December 8 addressed loudly and comprehensively the basic issues confronting the Muslim Ummah.In a joint communiqu and a 10-year action plan the Muslim leaders called for better education, faster economic development, more trade, promoting religious moderation, and strengthening rights of Muslim women. For the first time heads of Muslim states called for a joint action against any foreign threats that jeopardise the security of any member Muslim state, openly rejected any unilateral sanctions against any member state and resolution was demanded on Kashmir, Turkish-Cypriot imbroglio through the United Nations along with the Palestine issue.


Films and filmmakers from over 30 countries took part in the three-day 5th KaraFilm Festival which was inaugurated on December1. The festival showcased more than 150 films, including 39 documentaries and 75 short films. The festival has not only established itself as a premier international happening in Pakistan, it has also built up its credibility as one of repute in the region and beyond.


One of this year’s biggest – and most surprising – partnerships came when Tom Cruise was seen smooching Katie Holmes, who is 16 years his junior. At first it seemed like quite the publicity stunt, since Holmes had just broken off her engagement with Chris Klein, but its for real. After tying the knot in a top secret Caribbean wedding, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck announced they are soon to have a baby girl.


April 7 was a historic day when the first bus in 57 years plied on the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar Road. A batch of 50 passengers crossed the Line of Control into both sides of Kashmir on the inaugural bus service amidst tears of joy, ending nearly six decades of separation. Kashmiri leaders welcomed the bus link, but also emphasized that this should not be allowed to deflect attention from the need of a just and durable Kashmir solution.


Pakistan won the Test and ODI series against England who had arrived here, a firebrand team, after winning the Ashes against Australia. Declared the top team by ICB, with the highest points, England left Pakistan not too happy with themselves.

 

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