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Gen Bajwa instructs army formations to render all possible support to flood-stricken people

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  • Gen Bajwa briefs forum on flood situation in country.
  • Appreciates ongoing relief efforts,
  • Directs formations to maintain operational readiness and efforts to counter-terrorism.

RAWALPINDI: The 250th Corps Commanders’ Conference was held on Thursday during which Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa briefed the forum on external and internal security situations with particular focus on the flood situation in the country, a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

The conference was held at the General Head Quarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and was presided over by Gen Bajwa. 

During the conference, ongoing relief operations being undertaken by army formations were discussed.

The participants undertook a comprehensive overview of the flood situation and ongoing relief and rescue operations by the army.

Expressing deep sorrow over the loss of precious lives and extensive damage to infrastructure due to unprecedented rains and floods, the forum resolved to spare no efforts for mitigating the sufferings of flood affectees.

Gen Bajwa appreciated the ongoing relief efforts and directed Army Formations to render all possible support to the people affected by floods. “Every single affected individual must be reached to bring comfort in this hour of distress,” he stressed.

The army chief also directed the formations to maintain operational readiness and underscored the need for efforts to counter terrorism, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to continue.

Pakistan seeks assistance

Minister of Climate Change Sherry Rehman, during a press conference in Islamabad, called the world community to provide assistance to the flood-stricken people in Pakistan. 

Rehman said that the flood directly affected about 30 million people, adding that the country has been hit by unprecedented rainfall in this monsoon season. “The country received 241% more rains during this month,” she said. 

Talking about the data of all provinces, the minister said that Sindh received 784% of rainfall, Balochistan 496%, Gilgit Baltistan 172%, Punjab 56%, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 33%. 

She continued to say that the rains have taken over 900 lives and called the data alarming as the situation is worsening every day. 

Appreciating the efforts being taken by the government, Rehman said that the government is making efforts to provide relief assistance. 

Pakistan

KU teachers boycott classes from today over financial, administrative crisis

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  • Strike to continue until teacher’s body decides otherwise.
  • KUTS secretary says budget not approved for past 4 years. 
  • Teachers’ strike in evening programme ongoing since Sept 14.

KARACHI: The Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) will go on strike for an indefinite period of time starting from Friday (today) in protest over the non-payment of dues for over a year. 

Speaking to The News, KUTS Secretary Dr Faizan-ul-Hassan Naqvi said that the strike will continue for an unspecified period over the financial and administrative crises until the teacher’s body decides otherwise.

Naqvi added that the KU’s budget had not been approved for the past four years, which had affected the academic and research work at the university.

“The teachers in the evening programme have not been paid their arrears for the past one-and-a-half years, while the permanent faculty members are yet to receive the increment announced in the provincial government’s budget four months ago,” he said. 

“The visiting faculty are being hired at a rate of Rs600 per lecture, which after deduction is reduced to Rs480. Even this is not being paid.”

Moreover, the KU’s structure and facilities were in a dilapidated condition suggesting mismanagement of the administration, Naqvi asserted and lamented that students were moving towards private universities because of these problems in the public sector.

Earlier in the day, the KUTS convened a general body meeting at the art auditorium, which passed a resolution to boycott all academic activities at the varsity until further notice. 

It also endorsed the teachers’ strike in the evening programme ongoing since September 14. The meeting demanded that the Sindh governor and the chief minister take notice of the crises and form a commission to investigate their causes.

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Geneva flood pledges: Pakistan receives only $1.48bn of $10.9bn

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  • Only $780m disbursed in project financing as of Sep 2023.
  • Govt receives roughly $700m in oil and commodity financing.
  • Saudi Arabia so far disbursed $600 million as an oil facility.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has, to date, received only $1.48 billion in funding from both multilateral and bilateral creditors as part of the Geneva pledges totaling $10.9 billion designated for the reconstruction of areas affected by devastating floods last year, The News reported on Wednesday.

The progress of project financing, however, has been alarmingly slow, with just $780 million disbursed as of September 2023. Pakistan endured severe flooding in the previous fiscal year, resulting in extensive human and financial hardships, but there was hope for rehabilitation, as donors committed $10.9 billion in the form of loans to support the reconstruction endeavors.

Islamabad, too, has successfully obtained approximately $700 million in oil and commodity financing. Nevertheless, it is an undeniable fact that the distribution of project loans has remained frustratingly sluggish, necessitating swift action from all federal and provincial agencies responsible for pulling off flood-related projects in their respective regions. Therefore, accelerating these efforts is imperative.

“The caretaker prime minister has also taken notice of this slow disbursement of committed pledges as the project loan acceleration depends upon the executing agencies’ ability to implement the projects on a fast-track basis,” a top official of the government confided to The News here on Tuesday.

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) had committed $3.6 billion on account of commodity financing, out of which $1.1 billion was planned to be disbursed on an annual basis over a year. Out of $3.6 billion, there was a planned disbursement of $300 million, which was underway during the current fiscal year.

However, the remaining $3.3 billion was still problematic because it was syndicated financing, which the IsDB planned to secure from other commercial banks. So far, there are indications that its interest rate might exceed and fall into a range of over 10%.

However, the oil-exporting giants argued before the government that if they secured local funding, it would be on the much higher side, keeping in view the higher interest rates in the domestic market.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has so far disbursed $600 million as an oil facility out of total financing committed for commodities and oil financing. The government has heavily relied on the disbursements of project loans from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. From the World Bank loans, there are projects going to be executed in Sindh and Balochistan for the construction of housing and agriculture sectors.

The premier is expected to chair an important meeting to review progress on donor-funded projects for flood-affected areas after his return from abroad, as one of such important meetings got postponed last week before his recent departure to the USA.

The implementation of flood-affected area projects needs acceleration in order to materialise maximum disbursements from the pledged loans, but without improving bottlenecks at execution levels, this wish will remain just a pipe dream.

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Parts of Karachi receive light to moderate rain

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The weather in Karachi turned pleasant as different areas of the city witnessed intermittent showers on Wednesday. 

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had predicted rain with wind and thunderstorm in the metropolis today afternoon and evening. 

Several areas of the port city including Quaidabad, Landhi, Korangi and Sohrab Goth received light to moderate rain. Other areas including Orangi Town, Surjani, Nazimabad, Shershah, Old City Area, Clifton, Garden, and Saddar also received light showers. 

According to the Met Office, Karachi is expected to remain cloudy for the next 24 hours. Moreover, the lowest temperature recorded in the city was 29.5°C. 

Different areas in the city will likely receive heavy rain as more thunderclouds may form in the northeast in the evening, said a weather analyst.

The analyst added that there is a good chance of rain in the eastern and southern parts of the city with a possibility of more rain in Malir, Landhi, Gulshan-e-Hadid, Gulshan-e-Maymar, Port Qasim and other areas. 

A day earlier, the PMD said that rain coupled with dust thunderstorms is expected to hit Karachi today with occasional gaps, adding that monsoon currents of moderate intensity are continuing to penetrate Sindh.

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