Pakistan 8th most vulnerable country to extreme weather patterns — report 

People wade through a flooded residential area following heavy monsoon rains triggered floods in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on August 31, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 26 January 2021
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Pakistan 8th most vulnerable country to extreme weather patterns — report 

  • Germanwatch analyzed data gathered between 2000 and 2019, says Pakistan witnessed 173 extreme weather events and suffered around $3.8 billion in losses as a consequence
  • Officials in Islamabad urge the developed world to meet its financial obligations to help smaller countries with climate adaptation

ISLAMABAD: A German think tank that works on environmental issues in its latest report has described Pakistan as the eighth most vulnerable country to climate change, having witnessed 173 extreme weather events and suffered an estimated loss of $3.8 billion as a consequence between 2000 and 2019.

Germanwatch, in its latest briefing paper, the Global Climate Risk Index 2021, released on Monday, warned that “impacts from extreme-weather events hit the poorest countries hardest as these are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of a hazard, have a lower coping capacity and may need more time to rebuild and recover.” 

The report declared Pakistan as one of the countries that were “recurrently affected” by extreme weather patterns, while government functionaries in Islamabad said the international community should realize the climate threat Pakistan had been facing for the last several decades.




World Map of the Global Climate Risk Index 2000 - 2019. (Courtesy: Germanwatch)

With less than one percent of global carbon emissions, Pakistan has been consistently on the climate risk index and is now part of a unique category of countries — along with Haiti and the Philippines — which have been on the yearly as well as the long-term climate risk index.

“This just amplifies the climate threat that Pakistan faces — not just as a one-off catastrophe but as a continuously amplifying threat,” Malik Amin Aslam, who advises Prime Minister Imran Khan on climate change, told Arab News on Tuesday.

In terms of economic losses of $3.8 billion, Pakistan is ranked third over the last 20-year period. 

“What this means is that our economy is constantly at risk of climate catastrophes,” Aslam said. “This is not just an environmental challenge but an issue impacting our economy, human health, agriculture and ecosystem.” 




The long-term climate risk index. (Courtesy: Germanwatch)

Pakistan’s adaptation needs range between $7 billion and $14 billion per annum, Aslam said, adding that this proved a “realistic estimate” over the last decade with the increasingly adverse impacts of climate change. 

He said the global climate finance infrastructure should make sufficient funds available to Pakistan to help the country “shift toward a low carbon trajectory growth” and meet adaptation requirements. 

Under the 2015 Paris climate deal, wealthier nations are supposed to provide $100 billion every year to help poorer states mitigate temperature rises and adapt to changing climate. However, the recent study said the true amount of funding available to developing countries for climate action was vastly lower. 

Listing the government’s initiatives to deal with the challenge, Aslam said it was investing a large amount for forestry under a ten billion tree "tsunami" project along with shifting 60 percent of the energy mix towards clean renewables and e-mobility transition targeting 30 percent by 2030. 

“All of this is self-financed, and clearly shows the political commitment of our government to overcome the challenge,” he said. 




Men ride a horse-drawn cart on a flooded street during heavy monsoon rains in Lahore on September 4, 2020. (AFP)

However, climate change experts said Pakistan was happy using the “victim syndrome” and had hardly taken any practical measures to adapt to or mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. 

“This is the twentieth reminder to Pakistan that it should improve its climate resilience to protect its people and economy, but unfortunately the least is done so far,” Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, an expert on climate change, told Arab News. 




Pedestrians and motorists cross the main flooded I. I. Chundrigar Road is located in central business district of Karachi on August 28, 2020, after heavy monsoon rains triggered floods. (AFP)

He said Pakistan was seeking financial support from international institutions to deal with climate change, but was not prepared to come out of its comfort zone to formulate long-term adaptation and mitigation strategies at home. 

“We have been using our ranking to play the victim card,” Sheikh added, “and just looking toward the developed world for financial support.”


Pakistan deploys advanced warship for regional maritime security, port protection

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Pakistan deploys advanced warship for regional maritime security, port protection

  • PNS Yarmook is equipped with latest weapons and equipment, capable of dealing with multifaceted threats
  • It will also be used for ‘naval diplomacy’ during its deployment period and visit various ports around the region

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has deployed a warship for regional maritime security and to protect commercial vessels arriving at its ports, according to a statement released by the military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), on Friday.
The development comes as the country plans to upgrade its southern port facilities to strengthen its economy by bolstering trade with countries worldwide.
Pakistan has also offered the landlocked Central Asian states access to its harbor in Karachi while aiming to increase its capacity for handling incoming and outgoing cargo.
“The Pakistan Navy has deployed the warship PNS Yarmook on a regional maritime security patrol in the Indian Ocean,” the ISPR said in a statement. “Equipped with modern helicopters, PNS Yarmook will ensure the safety of commercial vessels arriving at and departing from Pakistani ports.”
The statement said the warship would participate in joint operations and exercises with friendly countries in addition to its own operations.
PNS Yarmook will also be part of “naval diplomacy” and visit various regional ports during its deployment.
“This ship is equipped with the latest weapons and equipment, capable of dealing with multifaceted threats and conducting extensive maritime operations,” the ISPR continued.
“Pakistan Navy warships regularly perform duties on regional maritime security patrols,” it added.


Pakistan announces $250 million investment by Abu Dhabi Ports over 10 years in Karachi

Updated 19 July 2024
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Pakistan announces $250 million investment by Abu Dhabi Ports over 10 years in Karachi

  • Senior company delegation briefs PM Sharif on plans to upgrade the container terminal facility
  • The improved infrastructure will help the docking of ships carrying up to 120,000 tons of cargo

ISLAMABAD: Abu Dhabi Ports Pakistan will invest $250 million in the country over a period of ten years, an official statement announced Friday, as it plans to build an advanced port facility in the country’s seaside metropolis of Karachi.
Last year in May, the leading maritime and logistics provider based in the United Arab Emirates, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Karachi Port Trust to construct a premier transshipment hub in the city.
The Pakistani officials expressed hope at the time that the UAE company would help transform Karachi Port into a world-class maritime facility.
“Abu Dhabi Ports Pakistan will invest $250 million in Karachi Port over the next ten years,” said an official statement released after a high-level delegation of the company called upon Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
“A state-of-the-art, fully-equipped multipurpose terminal, being constructed with an investment of $130 million, will be completed in the next two years,” it added while quoting from a briefing given by the delegation members.
The statement said the company wanted to improve container terminal facilities at the Karachi Port by installing automated gates, an additional 200 meters of berth extension and crane rail tracks.
“The construction of new infrastructure at the terminal will allow the docking of ships carrying up to 120,000 tons of cargo, thereby increasing economic activities at the port,” it continued.
The prime minister hoped digital technology and modern machinery would improve the management of goods and containers at the port.
He also directed the authorities to improve the container system to minimize the clearance time.
“The agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports aims at transparency, increased efficiency, and improved port operations,” he was quoted as saying.
He assured the UAE company of his government’s full support regarding the implementation of Pakistan’s agreement with it to maximize its benefits.
The prime minister also instructed railway officials to provide freight wagons and necessary rolling stock to make the project operational and enhance cargo transportation from the terminal.


US calls for media safety following journalist’s killing in Pakistan’s northwest

Updated 19 July 2024
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US calls for media safety following journalist’s killing in Pakistan’s northwest

  • Malik Hassan Zaib was fatally shot by unknown gunmen on motorbike in KP’s Nowshera city
  • State Department says journalists should be allowed to carry out their duties worldwide

ISLAMABAD: The US State Department on Thursday emphasized the importance of journalist safety worldwide while commenting on the killing of a Pakistani reporter in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province by unidentified gunmen last week.
Malik Hassan Zaib, who was fatally shot by unknown people on a motorbike in KP’s Nowshera city, was the eighth journalist to be killed in Pakistan in the ongoing year.
His assassination was condemned by press freedom organizations that maintained it highlighted the increasing dangers faced by journalists in the South Asian state.
Asked about the development during the State Department media briefing, the principal deputy spokesperson, Vedant Patel, said it was vital for journalists to be able to carry out their responsibilities anywhere in the world.
“Journalists need to be protected and they need to be allowed to do their jobs, whether that be the United States, whether that be Pakistan, whether that be in the Gaza Strip,” he said. “That is something that we feel strongly, and it’s something that is deeply personal to the Secretary [Antony Blinken].”
“It’s obviously personal to us and this team having – spending most of our days engaging with you all,” he continued. “But simply put, journalists need to be protected and need to be able to do their jobs.”
The Pakistani correspondent’s death also prompted New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists to urge the Pakistani authorities to deal with the “horrifying wave of violence” against the media.
It also asked the government to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice.
“The continued impunity for those who attack journalists is creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in Pakistan, which prevents the practice of free and independent journalism,” it added.


Pakistan forms committee to identify businesses supporting Israel as religious party calls off sit-in

Updated 19 July 2024
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Pakistan forms committee to identify businesses supporting Israel as religious party calls off sit-in

  • TLP supporters staged a pro-Palestine sit-in at Faizabad Interchange connecting Rawalpindi and Islamabad last Saturday
  • They asked the government to declare Israeli PM ‘a terrorist’ and send more food and medical supplies to Gaza Strip

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has announced the formation of a committee to identify companies financially supporting Israel’s war in Gaza and recommend banning their products, according to a close aide to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday.
Rana Sanaullah, the PM’s political adviser, shared the decision after negotiating an end to a sit-in by the religious group Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), which was demanding an official ban on such products and increased food and medical assistance to Palestinians.
The TLP, which also asked the government to declare Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a terrorist,” called off its week-long sit-in after reaching an agreement with the government, as shared by the information ministry.
“Israel has emerged as a terrorist state and Netanyahu has committed war crimes,” Sanaullah said in a news conference in Islamabad after the TLP agreement. “Pakistan’s prime minister has condemned this in strong words during the Shanghai conference and Pakistan government will continue to condemn this on every forum, using all the possible steps to help Palestinian Muslims.”
“We have also agreed on and will follow it with details that not just Israel, but all the products related to them or those companies who, in any way, directly or indirectly, are involved in this cruelty or assisting that country [Israel] and its forces in any form, will be boycotted and use of their products will be banned,” he continued. “We have formed a committee in this regard, and we will go in detail to find out the companies that might be linked to Israel and if we may be using their products and because of that these forces who are involved in this cruelty are being helped financially.”
Many people in Pakistan have called for a boycott of foreign companies suspected of supporting Israel since the beginning of the war in Gaza.
Social media campaigns and public figures have also voiced support for such a boycott, urging consumers to choose alternative products.
Israel’s has so far claimed at least 39,000 lives, many of them women and children. The casualties have sparked anger and protests worldwide, including in Pakistan, where the country’s civil society and political factions have consistently led pro-Palestine rallies.
The TLP set up its protest camp last Saturday at a busy traffic juncture, the Faizabad Interchange, connecting Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Known for its hard-line stance on blasphemy laws, the party also staged similar sit-ins at the same spot in the past, significantly disrupting the flow of traffic between the two cities.


Pakistani minister announces plan to bear prisoner repatriation expenses from Sri Lanka

Updated 19 July 2024
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Pakistani minister announces plan to bear prisoner repatriation expenses from Sri Lanka

  • Abdul Aleem Khan’s decision will bring back more than 40 Pakistani prisoners to the country from Sri Lankan jails
  • According to the interior ministry, their release was delayed due to difficulties in meeting the required expenses

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Communication Abdul Aleem Khan has promised to bear the repatriation expenses of Pakistani prisoners in Sri Lankan jails, said an official statement on Friday, making it possible for them to return to their home country by removing a major obstacle.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka agreed to take immediate steps to ensure the return of 43 prisoners in a meeting held between the Sri Lankan High Commissioner, Admiral (r) Ravindra Chandra, and Federal Interior Minister, Mohsin Naqvi, in May.
However, their release had been delayed due to the financial issues.
“Federal Minister for Communications Abdul Aleem Khan has announced to bear all expenses for the repatriation of Pakistani prisoners stranded in Sri Lanka for years,” the interior ministry said in a statement. “These prisoners will now be able to return home soon after completing the necessary procedures.”
The interior minister expressed his gratitude to Khan for taking interest in the matter, applauding his gesture which he said would be “a breath of fresh air for the prisoners and their families.”
According to Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), nearly 14,000 Pakistani citizens are languishing in prisons across the world.
JPP, a local advocacy group, represents vulnerable Pakistan prisoners at home and abroad.