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Pakistan

Ignoring the cries of those affected by climate change

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This year, Pakistan has faced the most monstrous climate catastrophe in the country’s history, leaving a third of land mass here under water.

The sheer staggering numbers of people affected by the monsoons and the ensuing floods are increasing by the day, the majority of them women and children. However, climate change is more than just changing temperatures and weather patterns. The estimated number of people affected is comparable to the entire population of Manchester.

The monsoons and floods which have affected coastal regions in Sindh have destroyed precious farmland, homes, livestock, and taken more than 1300 lives, a third of which are children. The problem now is the water left behind by the flood which is proving difficult to remove. It has become a reservoir for mosquitoes and water-borne diseases, further adding to the suffering of those still stuck there.

Since the water has stagnated in cotton and crop farms, that means a looming toll on the major industrial backbone of Pakistan’s economy which is already under pressure from growing inflation.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has estimated that about 80-90 per cent of main crops, such as rice, wheat, sugarcane, and vegetables, have been washed away by the flood, showing how grim the situation truly is. His efforts have been crucial to getting global attention, especially from the IMF and China. During his speech at the Ministerial Meeting in New York earlier this year, the foreign minister had said: “Hunger has no nationality, poverty does not care for the colour of our skin, viruses, bacteria and infections do not recognize borders, rising sea levels, and the threat of climate catastrophe does not recognize ethnicities”.

In his speech, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also held our history of colonialism and international political warfare accountable, a part of history that has left humanitarian crises in its wake. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s endeavours to bring solutions and change as part of climate diplomacy have been a ray of hope for all those people and areas affected.

The IMF has released $1.1 billion in aid, although it is estimated that we might need $20 billion dollars to help the catastrophe affectees return to their normal lives. China has been a quick responder to our situation as well, sending multiple necessary items as emergency humanitarian relief.

Despite the timely help, aid has been slow to reach the affected areas due to multiple factors. First, a lot of the disaster-hit areas are not accessible via land, and many people are stuck without food, aid, and clean drinking water. Second, there is mass migration of people trying to leave the areas subject to extreme weather conditions, floods, and wildfires. Third, the glaciers which provide water for crops and drinking, are melting and receding. The vast extent of global warming and its effects are uncountable.

Houses can be rebuilt, crops can be salvaged, but precious lives cannot be brought back. It is our duty to understand the extent of the devastating effects of climate change, and work to halt the progression if not entirely reverse it. The three main goals in the Paris Agreement include reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, mobilizing funds for those affected by extreme global warming catastrophes, and adapting to climate impacts.

In Pakistan, the city of Jacobabad in the Sindh province experienced temperatures of 51 degrees Celsius in the spring, and is one of the most devastated cities after the floods. Pakistan is responsible for approximately less than one per cent of global greenhouse emissions, so why is it bearing the brunt of the catastrophe? Many demand reparations in the form of monetary aid as well as cancelling debts as part of climate compensation.

The cost of climate catastrophe recovery is calculated to be at around $20 billion. Western countries have a big role in bringing the world’s climate to this stage and they must pay back reparations for all the damage they have caused. They must be held responsible. The poor are not the ones who caused climate change. Our people are not responsible for climate change the way the US, UK, Russia or China are. What may seem a distant effect of global warming to them will fast become a stark reality if we don’t work to stop burning fossil fuels and ignoring the cries of the affected.

The writer is a member of the Sindh Assembly

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Pakistan

Weather to get pleasant as rain expected in Karachi, other cities

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Weather in the country is expected to become pleasant as the Met Office has predicted more rains and relatively decreased temperatures from next week onwards. 

According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), the temperatures are likely to remain below normal across the country next week.

Areas, where wind, dust, thunderstorm and rain is expected, include Balochistan’s Quetta, Zhob, Barkhan, Qilla Saifullah, Qillah Abdullah, Chaman, Pishin, Noshki, Naseerabad, Kalat, Lasbella, Khuzdar and Sibbi; Sindh’s Sukkur, Dadu, Karachi, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Shaheed Benazirabad, Mirpurkhas, Khairpur and Larkana; and Punjab’s Layyah, Bhakkar, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalnagar, Multan, Sahiwal, Khanewal, Okara and Pakpattan on May 28 (evening/night) and 30, the PMD stated.

Meanwhile, rain alongside wind, dust and thunderstorm with a few hailstorms and isolated heavy falls are expected in Kashmir’s Neelum Valley, Muzaffarabad, Poonch, Hattian, Bagh, Haveli, Sudhanoti, Kotli, Bhimber, Mirpur; Gilgit-Baltistan’s Diamir, Astore, Ghizer, Skardu, Hunza, Gilgit, Ghanche and Shigar.

Weather patterns will remain the same also in Chitral, Dir, Swat, Kohistan, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Haripur, Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera, Swabi, Mardan, Bajaur, Kurram, Waziristan, Kohat, Bannu, Tank, Karak, Dera Ismail Khan, Islamabad, Murree, Galliyat, Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Nankana, Mandi Bahauddin, Khushab, Mianwali, Narowal, Sialkot, Kasur, Lahore and Jhelum with occasional gaps.

The meteorological authority added that downpour is expected in some places.

The Met Office has advised concerned authorities to remain alert to avoid any untoward situation during the forecast period owing to the expected dust and wind storm, as it may cause damage to lose structure and standing crops in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh and Kashmir from May 38 to 30.

It has asked farmers to remain cautious, while tourists have been advised to plan their activities accordingly. Meanwhile, the general public has been warned to remain at safer places during the dust storms/wind thunderstorm.

NDMA warns extreme climate events

Earlier this month, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) warned provinces to gear up for extreme climate events including intensive heat waves, extraordinary snow melting, land sliding, flash floods, forest fires and cyclones, The News reported, citing an official letter from the disaster management authority.

The official letter informed all provincial governments of the extraordinary preparations needed to face probable extreme climate events between April and October.

Besides Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Sindh, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) were informed that PMD has forecast higher temperatures in northern regions and along the coastal belt during the period May-July.

Last Sunday, the NDMA also issued an advisory alert to all the federal and provincial departments concerned to ensure disaster preparedness measures after the PMD issued a rain-thunderstorm forecast from May 22-26.

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‘May 9 events are sad, condemnable’: COAS Munir in address to families of martyrs

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  • COAS Gen Asim Munir says such behaviour will not be tolerated. 
  • Says nation will not forgive those who desecrated martyrs’ memorials.
  • Gen Munir also invites Azra — daughter of martyr Sepoy Imran. 

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir on Thursday said that whatever happened May 9 — the day when violent protests gripped the country after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan — was very sad and condemnable.

His comments came during his visit to the Police Lines Headquarters in Islamabad on the occasion of Youm-e-Takreem Shuhada-e-Pakistan (Martyrs Reverence Day) to remember and pay rich tribute to the martyrs who laid their lives while defending the motherland and its people. 

The main event was held at the General Headquarters (GHQ), Rawalpindi with COAS Munir as the chief guest. During the ceremony, rich tributes were paid to the martyrs and prominent personalities laid flowers at the martyrs’ monument.

General Asim Munir addresses the ceremony of Youm-e-Takreem Shuhada-e-Pakistan on Thursday, May 25. 2023. — Geo News
General Asim Munir addresses the ceremony of Youm-e-Takreem Shuhada-e-Pakistan on Thursday, May 25. 2023. — Geo News 

Those who attended the ceremony included former army chief Gen (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa, former chairman joint chiefs of staff committee Gen (retd) Nadeem Raza, Pakistan cricket team captain Babar Azam, Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman and other members of the society.

The army chief was welcomed by the Inspector General of Police (IG) Islamabad Dr Akbar Nasir Khan where he addressed the police officials and families of the martyred policemen and personnel. 

“Such behaviour will not be tolerated,” said the army chief, adding that the nation will not forgive or forget those who desecrated the memorials of martyrs and undermined their dignity. 

Gen Munir said that the Pakistan Army, police and law enforcement agencies are the symbols of the state and the first line of defence that would render sacrifices for the dignity of the country and the people. 

“I want to convey this message to the heirs of those martyred that the people of Pakistan and the Pakistan Army are standing and will continue to do so with the relatives of the martyrs of all law enforcement agencies,” he continued to say. 

Gen Munir also invited the daughter of martyr Sepoy Imran, Azra, whose video condemning the May 9 events went viral. The army chief assured her that the sacrifices of the martyrs will never be forgotten. 

“The Pakistan Army will always stand with you in every difficulty,” he said, adding that all the martyrs of the country are a source of pride.

COAS promises to stand with children of martyrs

The army chief also met the school students and children of martyrs present on the occasion. He said that the Pakistan Army was the heir of all children of martyrs. Thanks to the eternal sacrifices of the martyrs, army’s relationship with them was ideal and eternal, he added.

COAS General Asim Munir meets school students and children of martyrs on Thursday, May 25. 2023. — Geo News
COAS General Asim Munir meets school students and children of martyrs on Thursday, May 25. 2023. — Geo News

He pledged on behalf of the armed forces that the army would stand on their side always.

“A strong army is the guarantor of a country’s security and unity,” he maintained.

President Alvi, PM Shehbaz express pride over martyrs’ valiance

In his message, President Arif Alvi said that the entire nation is proud of its valiant martyrs who displayed the spirit of patriotism and fearlessness in testing times throughout history.

“The nation owes to the heroism and sacrifices offered by the jawans (soldiers) and officers of our armed forces, including Pakistan Army, rangers, air force, navy, police, and other security institutions that made Pakistan’s defence impregnable,” a press release issued by President Secretariat Press Wing stated.

The president acknowledged the armed forces’ services for crushing the menace of terrorism and assisting fellow countrymen during natural calamities and pandemics.

“Let us pledge on this day that we will never forget our valiant martyrs and reiterate our commitment to always honour them and express our undying love for these brave sons and daughters of the nation,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, PM Shehbaz Sharif urged the people, especially the children, to visit monuments and graves of martyrs and shower flowers on them as a sign of affection and respect. He said Pakistan should show the world that it is a nation that holds its martyrs in veneration and affection.

He said that martyrs’ reverence day is being observed to pay glowing tribute to the heroes and express unflinching solidarity with their families.

In a detailed tweet, the prime minister regretted and condemned the May 9 violence and desecration of martyrs’ monuments, saying that the incidents gave the enemy a reason to celebrate.

“Our nation knows how to protect the honour of their martyrs. […] Today we revive and reiterate our pledge to uphold the honour and respect of our Shuhada. The essence of Pakistan’s existence lies in the spiritual covenant between its people and the martyrs,” PM wrote on Twitter.

Moreover, the chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, tri-services services chiefs, retired services officers and representatives of civil society also paid tributes to martyrs of Pakistan, a statement released by Inter-Services Public Relations said.

They said the sacrifices of the martyrs are eternal and will continue to inspire future generations of countrymen.

“These sacrifices will never be forgotten, irrespective of vicious propaganda by the enemies of Pakistan,” it added.

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Two soldiers among four martyred in N Waziristan suicide blast

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  • Suicide bomber intended to target a public gathering, says ISPR.
  • “Soldiers sacrifice their lives to save numerous innocent lives.”
  • Forces determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism, it adds.

RAWALPINDI: Two soldiers were among four people who embraced martyrdom in a suicide explosion in North Waziristan, confirmed the military’s media wing on Wednesday.

A vehicle-borne suicide bomber exploded himself in the general area of Datta Khel and resultantly two soldiers, Naik Said Ullah Shah, 33, and Sepoy Jawad Khan, 31, a policeman and an innocent civilian were martyred, a statement from Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

The military’s media wing said: “The suicide bomber intended to target a public gathering but swift response by the security forces personnel prevented a major catastrophe as the soldiers immediately intercepted the suicide bomber vehicle on suspicion, sacrificing their lives to save numerous innocent lives.”

Security forces and law enforcement agencies are determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism and such sacrifices of our brave soldiers and innocent citizens further strengthen our resolve, read the statement. 

Six terrorists killed in S Waziristan 

Earlier today, the security forces killed six terrorists during an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in South Waziristan. 

A statement from the ISPR said the operation was conducted on the basis of the “reported presence of terrorists” in the general area of Kot Azam.

“During the conduct of operation, intense fire exchange occurred between security forces and terrorists, resulting in killing of 6 terrorists,” read the statement.

The military’s media wing said that weapons and ammunition were also recovered from the killed terrorists. The ISPR said that the militants were involved in terrorist activities against security forces, extortion and targeted killing of innocent citizens.

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