Islamabad administration invites beggars, trans people to join campaign to ban plastic

In this photo taken on 19th August, 2019, Hammad Shamimi, senior joint secretary, Climate Change, distributes fabric bags under Clean and Green Pakistan campaign in Islamabad. Image Credit: APP
Updated 23 August 2019
0

Islamabad administration invites beggars, trans people to join campaign to ban plastic

  • Deputy commissioner proposes that marginalized groups sell paper and fabric bags instead of begging on the streets
  • Local government banned the manufacture, sale and distribution of plastic carrier bags last week

ISLAMABAD: The deputy commissioner of Pakistan’s federal capital has invited beggars and transgender persons to sell paper and fabric bags instead of seeking alms around the city, thus helping the Ministry of Climate Change implement its decision to ban plastic bags.
The Islamabad local government banned the manufacture, sale, and distribution of plastic carrier bags last week, on the country’s independence day, as part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “Clean, Green Pakistan” campaign.
The new ban follows a three-month-long campaign to raise awareness about the environmental hazards of plastic bags, which can kill wildlife, block drainage systems, collect in waterways and cause other environmental and health problems.
“We have invited transgender people and beggars to sell paper bags – or any type of biodegradable shopping bags – in the city,” Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat, Islamabad’s deputy commissioner, told Arab News on Friday. “We will neither charge them rental or license fee nor impose a fine on them. They can also set up makeshift stalls after informing us at a location of their choice.”
Shafqaat is spearheading the awareness campaign against plastic bags in Islamabad and said involving beggars and transgender persons in the administration’s campaign against plastic would also help them earn a decent living.
“Our local administration’s new policy has widely been welcomed by the public,” the official said. “This is because our aim is also to help these marginalized segments and make them contribute toward a clean and green country.”
Pakistan is on its way to becoming the 128th country in the world that will end the use of non-biodegradable material made from various types of polymers that are harmful to the environment. It is ranked number seven on the index of climate change.
In an interview to Arab News just days before the ban came into effect, State Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said: “We want Pakistan to be plastic-free because it is a burden on our environment.”
She also added that Pakistan wanted to demonstrate to the world that it was “contributing to green initiatives.”


Pakistan’s government and people condemn attacks on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 15 September 2019
0

Pakistan’s government and people condemn attacks on Saudi oil facilities

  • High level members of political parties call on world community to stand with Saudi Arabia during attacks on its sovereignty
  • Pakistan’s has strong people-to-people ties with Saudi Arabia, with public sentiment one of shock and horror

ISLAMABAD: Sentiment and support for Saudi Arabia remained high in Pakistan, a day after attacks on two Saudi oil facilities in the kingdom’s Eastern province caused widespread fear and damage, and which official statements in Pakistan described as acts of sabotage.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Chairman, Raja Zafarul Haq, told Arab News on Saturday that the country was ready to safeguard Saudi Arabia’s security and sovereignty.
“Pakistan is ready to take any step for the safety and security of the Kingdom,” he said and added that countries who “claim to be friends of Saudi Arabia should stand by it” to stop such attacks on its sovereignty. 
Latif Khosa, former governor of Punjab province and a central leader of Pakistan Peoples Party, shared the same views, and urged world powers to come out in support of Saudi Arabia.
“World powers should support Saudis against such militant groups,” he said.
In Pakistan, a Muslim majority country of 208 million people with close political and people-to-people ties with Saudi Arabia, the sentiment from the general public was one of shock and horror. 
“We condemn the attack on Saudi Arabia,” said 38-year-old Asif Ali, a technician. “It’s our holy land and must be defended by the entire Muslim Ummah at all costs.”
“This attack is highly condemnable. The Saudi oil company must be protected and the world community should help eliminate such militants,” a telecom professional, Ammar Hyder, 40, told Arab News.
The country’s foreign ministry said in an official statement on Saturday that the country “reiterates its full support and solidarity with the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against any threat to its security and territorial integrity.”