3 days of heavy monsoon rains kill 58 people across Pakistan

A woman carries sack of wheat and household goods while she wades through a flooded area of Dadu, a district in the Pakistan's southern Sindh province, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 10 August 2020

3 days of heavy monsoon rains kill 58 people across Pakistan

  • Rains also partially damaged about 100 homes and caused a breach in a main flooded canal
  • In some parts rescuers with the army’s help are still trying to evacuate people from flood-hit villages

KARACHI: Three days of heavy monsoon rains triggering flash floods killed at least 58 people in various parts of Pakistan, as troops with boats rushed Sunday to evacuate people from flood-affected districts in the country’s southern Sindh and southwestern Baluchistan provinces.
Every year, many cities in Pakistan struggle to cope with the annual monsoon deluge, drawing criticism about poor planning. The monsoon season runs from July through September, during which swelling rivers cause damage to crops and infrastructure.




Pakistani army soldiers evacuate villagers from a flooded areas of Dadu, a district in Pakistan's southern Sindh province, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. (AP) 

According to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, 19 people were killed in rain-related incidents in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, 12 in southern Sindh province, eight in Punjab province and 10 in the country’s scenic northern Gligit Baltistan region in the past three days.
Rains also partially damaged about 100 homes and caused a breach in a flooded main canal, inundating villages in Sindh province. In a statement, the military said troops used boats to rescue stranded people and move them to safety. It said a medical camp was also established and food was being provided to the rescued people.




Commuters make their way along a flooded street after heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on August 7, 2020. (AFP)

Heavy rains also lashed many districts in the southwestern Baluchistan province, killing eight people, damaging homes and inundating many villages in the district of Jhal Magsi, according to Saleem Zakir, spokesman for provincial disaster management authority. He said rescuers with the army’s help were still trying to evacuate people from the district’s flood-hit villages.
He said floods damaged a bridge and a gas pipeline and destroyed coastal roads on the Arabian Sea, severing links to the port of Gwadar, part of China’s multi-billion dollar one-road project linking south and Central Asia to China.
According to local media reports, hundreds of people moved to nearby hills when the floodwaters entered their villages in remote areas of Baluchistan, and the military used helicopters and boats to move them to safer places. Authorities were dispatching tents and food for the flood-affected people.
Heavy rainfall began last week and continued Sunday, flooding streets even in the eastern city of Lahore. It especially disrupted normal life last week in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh province and Pakistan’s commercial hub, where sewage flooded most of the streets, prompting Prime Minister Imran Khan to order the army to assist authorities in handling the situation.
According to the Meteorological Department, heavy rains are expected to continue next week.
In Pakistan and neighboring India, deadly floods occur regularly during the monsoon season. 


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.