Pakistan sets up emergency camps, says India releases water into Sutlej

1 / 2
In this file photo, volunteers rescue flood affected people with a boat in Pakistan on Aug. 1, 2015. (AFP)
2 / 2
Authorities have set up emergency camps to evacuate people from low-lying areas after India released more than 204,000 cusecs of water into the Sutlej river without any prior warning. (File/ Reuters)
Updated 22 August 2019

Pakistan sets up emergency camps, says India releases water into Sutlej

  • Flood warnings issued for six districts in Punjab province
  • Increase in water levels poses a threat to low-lying areas, officials say

ISLAMABAD: Authorities have set up emergency camps to evacuate people from low-lying areas after India released more than 204,000 cusecs of water into the Sutlej river without any prior warning, Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Tuesday.
The NDMA further advised districts located along the bank of the Sutlej river to take necessary precautions.
“Relevant district administrations, rescue teams and Pakistan’s army personnel are fully ready to tackle any emergency situation,” Brig. Mukhtar Ahmed, NDMA spokesman said in a statement released on Tuesday.
He added that the water level in the Ganda Singh Wala village, located in the Kasur district, was around 17.80 feet, with 37,640 cusecs of water inundating the area on Tuesday.
A day earlier while talking to Arab News, Ahmed had said that the water levels in the area were continuously rising.
“We have alerted Punjab’s provincial government and relevant district administrations to deal with the situation,” he said, adding that six districts in Punjab, namely Kasur, Okara, Pakpattan, Lodhran, Vehari and Bahawalpur, “can be affected.”
On Monday, Faisal Vawda, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Water Resources expressed concern after India released the water without any warning.
“Government has deep concern on the overall attitude of India toward the implementation of the Indus Treaty…As per which, India is obliged to provide the information of extraordinary floods,” Vawda said in a statement.
According to the NDMA, the additional water is expected to enter Pakistan today and tomorrow.
Official data provided by the NDMA shows that 220 people have been killed and 163 others injured in rain-related incidents in Pakistan since July this year, even as Pakistan continues to deal with flash floods and landslides during the monsoon season which usually runs from July to September.


Editor of Pakistan’s English daily says 'orchestrated campaign' against newspaper

Updated 08 December 2019

Editor of Pakistan’s English daily says 'orchestrated campaign' against newspaper

  • Two angry protests in a week broke out against daily Dawn for identifying London bridge attacker to be of Pakistani origin
  • “The government has nothing to do with these protests:” PTI senate leader

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: Following charged protests outside the office of Pakistan’s independent English language daily in Islamabad, the paper’s editor said the demonstrations seemed like an “orchestrated campaign” to force the paper into self-censorship.
On Friday, dozens of angry protesters besieged the Dawn newspaper’s bureau in the capital, chanting slogans against the editor and staff and setting fire to copies of the paper. This followed a similar demonstration earlier on Tuesday, where protesters demanded that editor Zaffar Abbas and publisher Hameed Haroon be hanged for reporting that the London Bridge attacker, who stabbed two people to death last week, was of “Pakistani origin.” 
“We have no way to identify the protesters but to us it looks like an orchestrated campaign against Dawn,” editor Zaffar Abbas told Arab News on Saturday.
“Everyone has a right to disagree with Dawn’s journalism, and even to protest against us. But calling us anti-state, making demands that we be hanged, burning our effigies, amounts to incitement to violence. This should immediately stop,” he said and urged the authorities and government ministers to show some tolerance toward critical journalism.
Abbas said a few of the government’s ministers and senior officials had expressed their anger toward Dawn — some publicly and others through messages. 
“We were accused of writing something anti-state, as according to them, the attacker had nothing to do with Pakistan,” Abbas said, and added that Dawn tried to explain that nowhere in its news report had it suggested the attacker was radicalized in Pakistan or that Pakistan had anything to do with the attack.
“We also tried to explain to them that even in the past we had referred to people like the London Mayor Sadiq Khan or boxer Aamir Khan as of Pakistani origin, although they were born in Britain and are UK nationals,” Abbas said. 
After that, he said, suddenly the protest demonstrations began.
“In the larger context this can be seen as yet another attempt to silence Dawn, and force it into self-censorship-- something that we have tried to resist so far,” Abbas said.
But government officials denied that the protests were planned.
“The government has nothing to do with these protests. Why would the government do it? If anything happens which is not liked by the people, they come out to protest. This happens everywhere in the world, even in western countries,” said PTI senator Shibli Faraz, leader of the house in Pakistan’s senate.
“Newspapers sometimes write something which offends certain segments of society, so it is natural they will come out to protest. But again, I would say the protest should be peaceful,” Faraz said, adding that newspapers should be careful and accountable.
“Journalism is about reporting responsibly and correctly and they (journalists) should be accountable and responsible for what they write. We should also consider our country’s interests,” Faraz said.
Earlier, Human Rights minister Shireen Mazari wrote in a Twitter post: “I disagree often with @dawn_com’s line but I strongly condemn violence & threats by protesters outside Dawn’s offices.”
PM’s special assistant for information and broadcasting, Firdous Ashiq Awan, could not be reached for comment till the filing of this report.
Friday’s protest outside Dawn’s bureau came a day after journalists and rights’ activists rallied in support of the paper and criticized an earlier anti-newspaper protest.
On Saturday, the body of 28 year old London Bridge attacker, Usman Khan, was laid to rest in his ancestral village in Pakistan’s Azad Kashmir.
“All I can say is that after the latest development where the body of the London attacker was brought here and buried in an AJK village, this sinister campaign against Dawn should stop,” Abbas said.
“Prime Minister Imran yesterday said he fully supports media freedom. We expect the prime minister to intervene in the matter, and in the light of the latest development, take measures to stop calls for violence,” he said.
“Democracy can only flourish if there is a free and critical media. Without a vibrant and free press, there can be no democracy.”