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Delay in mosquito nets’ import from India risks health of flood affectees

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  • Govt decides to import 62,00,000 mosquito nets from India.
  • Ministry awaits NOC from cabinet division for said import.
  • Around 41,000 malaria cases surface from flood relief camps.

ISLAMABAD: The purchase of mosquito nets from India has gotten difficult, officials said, as the National Ministry Of Health requires a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Cabinet Division.

Officials said that the delay in getting the NOC has increased apprehension as it was decided that the 6.2 million nets imported from India were meant to be sent to the flood-affected areas in Sindh and Punjab.

Authorities have shared that purchase of the mosquito nets from India will be done through the Global Fund, while the Ministry of Commerce has already issued the NOC.

As per the authorities, it will take around six to eight months to import mosquito nets from any country other than India, while local manufacturers can also produce good quality nets.

Meanwhile, the delay in the provision of mosquito nets has put the lives and well-being of people — particularly of those among Sindh’s flood-affected population — in jeopardy as over 300,000 people have suffered from malaria in the province this year, while 50 people have lost their lives.

According to the provincial health department, more than 364,000 people have fallen victim to the disease in Karachi from January till date which includes women, children, and the elderly affected.

Around 41,000 cases surfaced from relief camps for flood affectees, as per the health department. In 2022, malaria tests of over 2,534,000 were done across the province among which the most number of cases — approximately 51,341 — surfaced from Thatta, while 50,205 cases were reported in Larkana.

At least 8,752 malaria cases from all of Karachi’s districts were reported in 2022, while the least number of cases — around 2,052 — were registered in Sanghar. 

Meanwhile, there is a clear difference between the number of deaths due to malaria in Karachi reported by the health department and those by the director of general health.

According to the provincial health department’s report, 23 have died due to malaria in Sindh, while the DG health reported 30 deaths in district Dadu alone. On the other hand, an increase in cases of malaria and dengue is expected in the province due to the winter season.

Last month, a report published by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) stated that as many as eight million people in flood-hit areas need medical assistance as diseases continue to spread unabated.

The UN agency’s 100-day report mentioned that about 13.5 million people are in need of protection services while the floods have impacted the education of 3.5 million children. 

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Explanation: The increase in inflation in the United States would cause electricity costs in Pakistan to rise.

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Electricity contracts between Independent Power Plants (IPPs) and the federal government not only involve capacity costs, but also have a significant impact on the economy and the financial well-being of the population. These contracts are closely linked to the inflation rate and the value of the US dollar.

Startling disclosures have emerged regarding the exorbitant electricity tariffs in Pakistan. The Council of Economic and Energy Journalists Sage, representing the institute, provided a briefing to leading journalists in Karachi.

According to the information provided, the electricity rate component in Pakistan experienced a 253 percent increase from 2019 to 2024 as a result of inflation in America.

The data presented in the briefing indicates that the capacity charges in Pakistan were Rs3.26 per unit in 2019 and climbed to Rs10.34 per unit in 2024.

The capacity charges imposed on the public incorporate the effects of both US inflation and domestic inflation.

Due to the rise in the country’s interest rate, the interest payment for energy has climbed by 343% during a span of four years. Over the course of four years, the working capital of IPPs caused a 716 percent increase in the cost of power per unit.

The electricity rate has increased by 12 to 20 percent, with 70 percent of the charges being capacity charges.

SDPI experts recommended the government to adopt a centralised tariff policy rather than a universal electricity tariff strategy.

The power generation capacity amounts to 23,000 megawatts.

As a result of the increase in solar power generation in the country, the capacity charges will have an additional adverse impact on the residents.

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Business

Significant surge in the price of gold in Pakistan

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On Friday, the price of gold in Pakistan continued to increase.

According to the All-Pakistan Gems and Jewellers Sarafa Association, the price of 24-karat gold per tola has risen by Rs2,200, reaching Rs249,000.

The price of 10-gram 24-karat gold increased by Rs1,886, reaching a total of Rs213,477. On Thursday, the cost of 10 grammes of 22-karat gold was Rs195,687.

The global gold market likewise had a rising trajectory. As per APGJSA, the worldwide rate was $2,404 per ounce, showing a decline of $24 during the course of the trading day.

The local market witnessed constant silver prices at Rs2,900 per tola.

Market observers attribute the increase in gold prices to other variables, such as volatility in the global market, currency exchange rates, and economic conditions. The ongoing surge in gold prices is likely to impact investment choices and consumer behaviour in the near future.

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Court ruling: PTI to overtake all other parties in the National Assembly

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Eight independents and 84 Sunni Alliance members mean that the PTI will likely have 92 legislators in the National Assembly, according to sources.

PTI’s strength in the Lower House is expected to surge to 114 members if it regains the 22 reserved seats it previously lost.

As for the PML-N, they have 108 members in the National Assembly; PPP has 68; MQM has 21; JUI-F has 8; PML-Q has 5; and IPP has 4.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on the distribution of reserved seats, the 77 extra seats meant for women and minorities were taken away from the PML-N, PPP, MQM, and JUI.

The electoral commission had on May 13 suspended the 77 Sunni Ittehad Council reserved seats on directives from the Supreme Court. 22 National Assembly seats and 55 provincial assembly seats are among the contested seats.

There are eleven seats from Punjab and eight from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the National Assembly that are up for debate among women. The suspended seats also include three seats that are designated for minorities. In the National Assembly, the PPP received five seats, the JUI received three, and the PML-N received fourteen of the 22 heavily contested seats.

There are no longer any allocated seats for minorities or women in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, with 21 seats for women. In addition to the JUI-F, the PML-N was allotted seven seats, the PPP seven, and the ANP one.

The Supreme Court’s decision has suspended the three minority seats and the 24 reserved seats for women in the Punjab Assembly. The PML-N received 23, the PPP received 2, the PML-Q received 1, and the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party received 1 in Punjab.

There are now no longer any designated seats in the Sindh Assembly for women and minorities. MQM was allotted one reserved seat out of these, and the PPP two.

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