Met department warns rains this week may flood Pakistan’s financial hub of Karachi

Commuters cross a flooded street after heavy monsoon rains in the Pakistan's port city of Karachi on July 27, 2020. (AFP/File)
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Updated 03 August 2020

Met department warns rains this week may flood Pakistan’s financial hub of Karachi

  • Rains battered Karachi last month, killing ten and turning the city’s streets into rivers of trash
  • PM Khan has called in the National Disaster Management Authority and army to clean up the city

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Meteorological Department on Monday issued a flood warning for Karachi and Hyderabad during a spell of downpours expected from Thursday to Saturday this week.
Rains last month battered Pakistan’s port city and financial hub of Karachi, killing ten and turning even the poshest areas into rivers of trash and leading Prime Minister Imran Khan to call in the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the army to clean up the city in the aftermath of the downpours. 
The Met department said a low pressure system from the Bay of Bengal would approach Sindh province on Thursday, causing “strong monsoon currents ... to penetrate Sindh, south Punjab and eastern Balochistan from Thursday (evening/night) to Saturday.”
“Heavy downpour may generate urban flooding in Karachi and Hyderabad and flash flooding in hill torrents of Khuzdar on Friday/Saturday,” the statement said. “All concerned authorities are advised to remain alert during the period.” 
The department added that widespread rain and thundershowers were also expected in the cities of Thatta, Badin, Tharparkar, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Tando Allah Yar, Matiari, Tando Muhammad Khan, Jamshoro, Dadu and Shaheed Benazirabad during this period.
Scattered rain and thundershowers would hit Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Khairpur, Sukkur, Larkana, Kambarshahdad Kot, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Ghotki, Jaffarabad, Jhalmagsi, Khuzdar, Lasbela and Awaran on Friday and Saturday, the statement said.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah visited many areas of Karachi on Monday to review work on the cleaning the the city’s storm-water drains and animal waste after the Eid Al-Adha festival. 
On Sunday, NDMA Chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal had said work on cleaning major storm-water drains in Karachi would begin from Monday.


Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

Updated 18 September 2020

Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

  • Under the plan, the government will set up 12 markets along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier
  • Prime minister approves setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by February next year

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has decided to set up markets along its borders with neighboring Afghanistan and Iran to boost trade opportunities, foster peace and check smuggling, the commerce ministry said on Friday.
Main crossing point into Pakistan for both goods and people from Iran and Afghan also serve as major smuggling routes.
“The border markets will help create job opportunities and establish a peaceful relationship with the neighboring countries,” Aisha Humera Moriani, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, told Arab News.
Under the plan, the government is establishing 18 markets: 12 along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier.
In a meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as a pilot project, to be functional by February next year.
Moriani said the markets would contribute to local development and help the government address “smuggling and boost legal trade across the border.”
Pakistan is fencing its borders with Afghanistan and Iran to check cross-border militancy, illegal movement of people and smuggling, which is a major source of income for people living along border towns and villages.
Sardar Shoukat Popalzai, President Balochistan Economic Forum, said the government should have built “common markets” along the Afghanistan and Iran borders with the mutual consent of the neighboring governments to maximize benefits for people on both sides of the borders.
“The government has not released a feasibility report, if there is any, of these markets as to how are they going to help the local population,” he told Arab News.
Popalzai said Balochistan border areas were sparsely populated and establishment of a few shopping terminals would “hardly make any difference in the lives of the people.”
He said cross-border smuggling was a major source of income for people living in the frontier areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, so “this requires a lot more effort than mere setting up of markets to check this undocumented economy.”
Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government should establish cold storages and warehouses in the border markets to boost the export of perishable and other items to the neighboring countries.
“The taxation system on the exports and imports of different items through the land routes should be well defined to encourage businessmen and locals to boost the legal trade with Afghanistan and Iran,” he said.