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Heatwaves, rains, floods: Climate change is here and Pakistan needs to act now

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Climate-induced migration is a harsh reality that Pakistan faces. Not everyone will be able to go back to their original place of residence after the waters recede, in fact, that place may not exist anymore.

Social media is awash with horrifying images of the havoc monsoon rains that have wreaked on a wide swathe of Pakistan.

People living in low-lying areas, in the path of hill torrents, or on poorly made embankments are awash in the misery of floods brought in the wake of the monsoon spell.

However, if we remove the date from the posts, and newspaper and television reports, the realisation would dawn that we have seen such images many times in the past.

Repeatedly, there have been glacial lake outburst floods in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan, which rarely make it into the headlines.

Hill torrents raging down their beds, streams and rivers bursting their banks and sweeping away whatever comes in their way in Balochistan, leading to massive damage and loss of lives and livestock are a familiar feature whenever there are torrential rains. These have been alternating with the other extreme of drought, to which this region is also prone.

Sindh suffers from too little, and then too much water. This year, like a previous couple of years, the monsoon has been punishing and relentless.

Its towns and cities are inundated and there seems to be no end to the misery of the people because the water levels are not subsiding. The provincial capital, Karachi, has taken a battering due to unprecedented rains that have broken all previous records.

While parts of Punjab suffered from what is still being called a ‘pre-monsoon’ spell, with heavy rain and hail storms in March which flattened standing crops. And all of the above came on the heels of a severe heat spell that impacted all parts of the country, even the northern glacial valleys, which experienced temperatures in excess of 30 degrees centigrade.

What is causing the extreme weather events in Pakistan?

Well, this is what climate scientists and meteorological experts have been warning about for years now.

The unpredictability, frequency, and ferocity of weather events are one of the manifestations of climate change. Rising sea surface temperatures mean more moisture uptake by the weather systems, which then drop them over the land in unprecedented volumes. Our systems are just not geared to cope with even half that volume.

Hence, we see the flooded streets and overflowing drains in the cities.

Nature manifests its wrath at the obstructions put in its way by humans by reclaiming the river and stream beds, and slopes stripped barren off the soil binding tree cover by bringing down boulders and debris in the hill tracts and alongside the river banks.

Former director general of Pakistan’s Meteorological Department, Dr Qamaruzzaman Chaudhury, has said that the erratic nature of the precipitation and extreme events are a clear indication of the impacts of climate change.

This is why Pakistan must focus on ‘Climate Proofing’ its infrastructure and systems against the shocks of nature. That is the only way to cope since there is little way of mitigation that we can do.

Could the damage have been minimized?

Yes. As Arif Goheer, a scientist at the Islamabad-based Global Change Impacts Studies Center points out that the warning had been sounded way back in April by the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum.

The outlook was developed by climate experts from eight South Asian countries, as well as international experts doing climate modelling.

Heatwaves, rains, floods: Climate change is here and Pakistan needs to act now

The map clearly shows the extent and the intensity predicted. The period being cited is June to September, which means more is yet to come.

Usually, in Pakistan, the monsoon commences in August. This year June and July have been debilitating. On the basis of this information, Pakistan’s own Meteorological Department put out the Monsoon Outlook on June 7.

But were the municipal services ready? No.

Were the disaster ‘management’ bodies ready? No.

Were the communication departments of the provinces, responsible for roads and bridges, ready? No.

We are seeing the same reactive response that we have seen in the wake of natural disasters before, therefore rescue and relief. While rehabilitation is still a long way off.

Why were the vulnerable areas not mapped? Why were rescue parties not posted before bridges collapsed and roads were washed away?

Thankfully Pakistan has community organizations and philanthropic organisations, which have morphed into disaster management organisations that always swing into action when disaster strikes.

These organisations rely on the large-heartedness of fellow Pakistanis. But instead of them acting as supplementing the efforts of the government agencies, they assume the role of the primary relief providers.

Climate change is not something in the future. It is here and now.

Knee jerk actions like rescue and relief, which are the need of the hour, will not suffice.

Climate-induced migration is a harsh reality that Pakistan faces. Not everyone will be able to go back to their original place of residence after the waters recede, in fact, that place may not exist anymore. Or may have been stripped of all the resources that allowed them to make a living there.

An infrastructure audit needs to be done.

We are a data deficient country. But if there is one thing that climate change needs to change is the ad hoc approach to dealing with disasters like the present rains.

We need to map out vulnerable ecosystems, people and biodiversity in those regions and see how to shore up the coping mechanisms.

The science-academia-government departments’ nexus needs to be built and strengthened if we are to get out of the reactive mode.


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President Asif Zardari emphasizes the importance of offering assistance to the impoverished and middle-income groups in the federal budget.

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President Asif Ali Zardari has emphasized the importance of offering assistance to the impoverished and middle-income individuals in the forthcoming federal budget for the fiscal year 2024-25.

President Asif Ali Zardari expressed these remarks during in a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The conference was attended by Ahsan Iqbal, the Federal Minister for Planning and Special Initiatives.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday to request complete support from him and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for the next budget approval.

The President pledged to offer complete cooperation in attaining the objectives for the economic and developmental advancement of the nation.

Additionally, please peruse: Overview of the 2024-25 Budget

Both parties engaged in a discussion over the current economic state of the country. In addition, they deliberated on factors regarding the provision of assistance to the general people in the forthcoming budget.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also briefed the president about his recent visit to China. Leaders of nations and governments also deliberated on the development initiatives outlined in the forthcoming budget.

President Asif Ali Zardari emphasized to the Prime Minister the importance of offering assistance to the impoverished and middle-class individuals in the forthcoming federal budget.

The government is set to unveil a budget of Rs. 18 trillion.

It is important to mention that the government is prepared to deliver a federal budget above Rs18,500 billion today (Wednesday).

The government has allotted a sum of Rs2,100 billion for defense expenditures and Rs9,700 billion for interest payments on reserved loans. An allocation of Rs. 1500 billion has been made for development projects.

The budget allocates 253 billion rupees for the energy sector, 827 billion rupees for infrastructure, 800 billion rupees for energy sector subsidy, 206 billion rupees for water resources, and 279 billion rupees for transport and communication. The budget has a GDP growth target of 3.6 percent.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will collect taxes amounting to Rs. 12,970 billion.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been assigned a tax collection target of 12,970 billion rupees for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) would need to generate an additional revenue of 3,720 billion rupees, with 3,452 billion rupees coming from direct taxes and 267 billion rupees from customs duties, in comparison to the current financial year.

The Inland Revenue’s tax revenue is projected to reach 11,379 billion rupees, with direct taxes accounting for 5,512 billion rupees and income tax contributing 5,454 billion rupees.

The income tax volume has set an extra objective of 1773 billion rupees, bringing the total aim to 2500 billion rupees.

Conversely, the parliamentary party of PPP convened a meeting led by former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. During the meeting, assembly members voiced their apprehensions about the budget and stated that the terms upon which Shehbaz supported the government have yet to be fulfilled.

PPP leader Syed Khurshid Shah expressed his lack of knowledge on the specific details of the budget, as well as the agreements with the IMF and China, during a conversation with the media. In the past, the opposition was consulted, while an ally is not consulted.

The government is presenting a growth-oriented budget today, which amounts to Rs18,900 billion.

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The Prime Minister expressed deep sorrow at the demise of the Vice President of Malawi in an aviation accident.

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif conveyed his profound sorrow on the demise of Vice President Saulos Chilima of Malawi in a sad aviation accident.

The prime minister sent his support to the government and citizens of Malawi during this difficult time and offered his condolences to the grieving family.

Saulos Chilima perished in an aviation accident, alongside nine other individuals, as declared by the nation’s President Lazarus Chakwera in a national speech.

The airplane became untraceable after it was unable to successfully touch down at the Mzuzu International Airport, located around 380 kilometers north of the capital city, Lilongwe. Chakwera has announced that the plane wreckage has been found.

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The court authorizes court reporting through the use of the IHC and grants permission to the media.

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The court has authorized the media to report on court proceedings, with adherence to the guidelines specified in a Supreme Court ruling.

The Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued a written ruling granting approval for the plea to delay the hearing of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and instructed that the matter be scheduled for a hearing in the first week of July.

The ruling is a result of petitions submitted by the Islamabad High Court Journalist Association, press association, and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), which contested the PEMRA announcement.

On May 24th, the IHC sent notifications to PEMRA and the information secretary after receiving a petition that questioned the authority’s prohibition on publishing judicial proceedings. The court issued an injunction preventing PEMRA from imposing any disciplinary measures on television channels based on the present notification.

The court has also issued a notice regarding a miscellaneous petition that seeks to completely halt the PEMRA notification. This lawsuit exemplifies the ongoing legal dispute regarding the control of media coverage of court proceedings and the delicate balance between media freedom and the integrity of the judiciary.

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