ISLAMABAD: At least 15 people were killed and 26 others injured in rain-related incidents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the last four days, the disaster management authority said on Thursday, as floods hit various parts of Pakistan’s north.
Dozens of houses were damaged in the province, especially in Dera Ismail Khan, Hazara and Malakand divisions after heavy rains caused flash floods in the region.
“During the last four days, rains and flash floods killed 15, injured 26. Twenty-one houses were partially damaged while four houses were completely damaged,” the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said in a statement.
In Gilgit-Baltistan, tourists and locals have been stranded for the second conscutive day after landslides closed for traffic parts of the Karakoram Highway from Tata Pani to Lal Pari areas in Diamer district, blocking access to villages.
Pakistan’s met office warned on Sunday that strong monsoon currents were likely to penetrate upper parts of the country throughout the week, causing torrential rains, and urban flooding in Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore, Kasur, Faisalabad, Peshawar and Nowshera during the period.
The meterological department also warned torrential rains might trigger landslides in the vulnerable areas of Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa.
46 Afghan soldiers seek refuge in Pakistan after losing border military posts
Hundreds of Afghan soldiers and civil officials have fled to neighbouring Tajikistan, Iran and Pakistan in recent weeks
Taliban has escalated offensive since US announced it would withdraw troops by September, ending 20-year military presence
Updated 26 July 2021
Forty-six Afghan soldiers sought refuge in Pakistan after losing control of military positions across the border following advances by Taliban insurgents, Pakistan’s army said on Monday.
Hundreds of Afghan army soldiers and civil officials have fled to neighboring Tajikistan, Iran and Pakistan in recent weeks after Taliban offensives in border areas.
The Afghan military commander requested refuge at the border crossing in Chitral in the north, the Pakistan army said in a statement, adding the soldiers were given safe passage into Pakistan on Sunday night after clearance from Afghan authorities.
“Afghan soldiers have been provided food, shelter and necessary medical care as per established military norms,” the statement said.
The move comes at a time of poor relations between the neighbors. Afghanistan recalled its diplomats from Pakistan after the brief kidnapping of the Afghan ambassador’s daughter in Islamabad earlier in the month.
Afghan officials did not respond to a request for comment.
The Taliban has escalated its offensive since the United States announced in April that it would withdraw its troops by September, ending a 20-year foreign military presence.
Washington has said it will continue to carry out air strikes to support Afghan forces facing insurgent attacks.
Afghan government and Taliban negotiators have met in Qatar’s capital, Doha, in recent weeks, although diplomats say there have been few signs of substantive progress since peace talks began in September.
Reeling from battlefield losses, Afghanistan’s military is overhauling its war strategy against the Taliban to concentrate forces around critical areas such as Kabul and other cities, border crossings and vital infrastructure, Afghan and US officials have said.
The Pakistan army said the soldiers who sought refuge will be returned to Afghanistan after due process, as had taken place in the case of another batch of 35 soldiers earlier in July.
Allen was killed after being hit by an avalanche while attempting a new route on the mountain over the weekend
Allen’s death comes week after South Korea’s Kim Hong-bin was killed in a fall descending from nearby Broad Peak
Updated 26 July 2021
ISLAMABAD: Scottish climber Rick Allen has died while attempting to summit Pakistan’s K2, his expedition team said, the latest death on the world’s second-highest peak.
Allen was killed after being hit by an avalanche while attempting a new route on the mountain over the weekend. His body was recovered on Sunday evening.
“After consulting with his family and friends, the legend will be buried this morning under the foot of Mighty K2,” Karakorum Expeditions wrote on Facebook Monday.
A charity that Allen was raising money for during the climb also confirmed his death.
“Rick died doing what he loved the most and lived his life with the courage of his convictions,” tweeted Partners Relief & Development, adding that two other climbers on the expedition survived the avalanche.
Allen’s death comes a week after South Korea’s Kim Hong-bin was killed after falling into a crevasse while descending from the nearby Broad Peak.
With Pakistan’s borders open and few other places to go due to the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s summer climbing season is attracting a large number of alpinists.
The summer season follows history being made in northern Pakistan as a team of Nepali climbers became the first to summit K2 in the winter.
But at least five other climbers died on K2’s slopes while a sixth went missing during an ascent on a nearby peak.
Known as “the savage mountain,” K2 has harsh conditions — winds can blow at more than 200 kilometers per hour (124 miles per hour) and temperatures can drop to minus 60 degrees Celsius (minus 76 Fahrenheit).
Unlike the world’s highest peak Mount Everest, which has been scaled by thousands of climbers young and old, K2 is much less traveled.
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on the Middle East, Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, on Monday welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision to resume the Umrah pilgrimage for international visitors, halted earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Saudi media, the Kingdom has decided to resume International Umrah from the first of the Islamic month of Muharram, likely to fall on August 10 this year.
“We welcome the decision of resumption Umran for foreign pilgrims and whatever mechanism Saudi government will devise, Pakistan will follow that,” Ashrafi told Arab News. “Pakistani ministry of religious affairs and [Saudi] Ministry of Hajj and Umrah have contacts and if there will be any issues, both will coordinate on that.”
Media reports suggested COVID-19 vaccinations would be mandatory for all pilgrims.
Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis would visit Saudi Arabia every year, mainly for Umrah and Hajj, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Umrah is a pilgrimage which can be undertaken at any time of the year, in contrast to Hajj, which has specific dates according to the Islamic lunar calendar.
Saudi Arabia closed its borders last February to foreign Umrah pilgrims, and in March stopped its own citizens and residents from taking part. Last July, it allowed a limited number of domestic pilgrims to perform the Hajj. This year too, Saudi Arabia restricted the annual Hajj pilgrimage to its own citizens and residents for the second year running in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Four Pakistani soldiers die in road accident in Azad Kashmir
The soldiers were in the semi-autonomous region to police local parliamentary polls
Their vehicle plunged down a ravine off a curvy mountain road in Azad Kashmir
Updated 26 July 2021
ISLAMABAD: Four Pakistani soldiers died on Sunday when their vehicle plunged down a ravine off a curvy mountain road in Azad Kashmir, the part of the disputed Himalayan region administered by Pakistan, the military said in a statement.
The soldiers were in the semi-autonomous region to police its local parliamentary polls, it added. Another three soldiers and the driver were injured in the accident.
Violence has marred the voting, with local administration officials saying two supporters of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party were shot and killed at a polling station.
The shooting involved supporters of the rival Pakistan People’s Party, once led by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in 2007 as she campaigned.
Pakistan and neighbor India each control part of the former princely state of Kashmir. Both countries claim a united Kashmir as their own. They have fought two wars over Kashmir and have come close to another on more than one occasion.
Hundreds light candles in Pakistan for murdered ex-diplomat’s daughter
Noor Mukadam was killed and beheaded last week by suspect Zahir Jaffer at his house in Islamabad
Protests and candlelight vigils held in major Pakistani cities, including Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan
Updated 26 July 2021
SABAH BANO MALIK
ISLAMABAD: Protests and candlelight vigils were held on Sunday in major Pakistani cities, including Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Multan, over last week’s killing of 27-year-old Noor Mukadam, the daughter of former Pakistani Ambassador to South Korea, Shaukat Mukadam.
Mukadam was allegedly killed and beheaded on Tuesday night, the eve of Eid Al-Adha, by suspect Zahir Jaffer at his house in Islamabad’s posh F-7/4 sector. Jaffer, his parents and two members of their household staff have been arrested in connection with the murder.
The protest in Islamabad on Sunday was organized by the Women’s Democratic Front (WDF) and the women’s rights organization, the Aurat Azadi March, with hundreds of demonstrators gathering in solidarity over violence against women in Pakistan.
“We demand an end to state impunity against patriarchal violence,” Ismat Shahjahan, WDF president, said, addressing protesters. “We want a complete overhaul in the very structures of the state and society that are contributing to femicide in Pakistan.”
Last week, Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed “my absolute condemnation of the recent violence and brutality against women.”
“This has no place in our society, lives, religion or culture,” he said. “We must work harder and do more for prevention & for justice.”
“For Saima, for Quratulain, for Noor,” he added, naming two other recent women murder victims.
I cannot express strongly enough my absolute condemnation of the recent violence and brutality against women. This has no place in our society, lives, religion or culture. We must work harder and do more for prevention & for justice.
A candlelight vigil in Islamabad’s Swiss Avenue Park followed Sunday evening’s protest. Similar vigils have also been held in Canada and Ireland where Mukadam spent many years growing up.
Renowned rights activist Tahira Abdullah addressed the crowd at the vigil, standing beside the Mukadam family and leading chants of “Justice for Noor.”
Ali Khan, a resident of Islamabad who attended the vigil with his family, said he had come out as part of “a drive for justice.”
“We need to show our support,” he said, “and we need our numbers to show we will not rest [until justice].”