Anonymous Pakistani walks into Turkish embassy in US, donates $30 million for quake survivors

Aerial photo showing the destruction in Kahramanmaras, southern Turkey, on February 8, 2023. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 12 February 2023

Anonymous Pakistani walks into Turkish embassy in US, donates $30 million for quake survivors

  • Rescue workers still scour through flattened neighborhoods as death toll tops 28,000 
  • Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif says he is deeply moved by this ‘glorious act of philanthropy’

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani national living in the United States has anonymously donated $30 million for the survivors of this week’s massive earthquake in Turkiye and Syria, Turkish journalists said on Saturday, with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif praising the “glorious act.” 

Tens of thousands of rescue workers are still scouring through flattened neighborhoods in Turkiye and Syria as the death toll from Monday’s 7.8-maginitude earthquake has risen above 28,000. The freezing weather has deepened the misery of millions now in desperate need of aid. 

In Turkiye’s gourmet capital Gaziantep city, restaurants are working hard among tens of thousands of volunteers to help and feed families, while aid has been slow to arrive in Syria, where years of conflict have ravaged the health care system and parts of the country remain under the control of rebels. 

Amid this, an anonymous Pakistani walked into the Turkish embassy in Washington DC and donated $30 million for the earthquake-affected people in the two countries. 

“A Pakistani businessman alone contributed 30 million dollars to the Turkiye aid campaign launched in America,” Mustafa Tanyeri, editor-in-chief of The Election Post, said on Twitter, citing Turkiye’s ambassador to Washington Murat Mercan. 

Yousuf Erim, who works with Turkish broadcaster TRT World, confirmed it in a video shared on Twitter. 

“Individuals, a Pakistani businessman walked into the Turkish embassy in the United States and anonymously donated $30 million by himself,” Erim said. “We don’t know who he is. His identity has not been revealed.” 

PM Sharif said he was “deeply moved” by the example and showered his praise on the anonymous Pakistani national. 

“Deeply moved by the example of an anonymous Pakistani who walked into Turkish embassy in the US & donated $30 million for earthquake victims in Türkiye & Syria,” Sharif said on Twitter. 

“These are such glorious acts of philanthropy that enable humanity to triumph over the seemingly insurmountable odds.” 

Indian woman, who married Pakistani Facebook friend, returns to bring children back to Pakistan — husband 

Updated 14 sec ago

Indian woman, who married Pakistani Facebook friend, returns to bring children back to Pakistan — husband 

  • Anju, who later changed her name to Fatima, married an Upper Dir resident Nasrullah in July after traveling to Pakistan 
  • The woman has 15-year-old daughter and four-year-old son in India, where she faces a divorce case by her first husband 

Peshawar: A 34-year-old Indian woman, who traveled to Pakistan and married her Facebook friend in the northwestern Upper Dir district in July, returned to India this week to bring her two children from India to Pakistan, her Pakistani husband said on Friday. 

The woman, Anju, converted to Islam and changed her name to Fatima before getting married to Nasrullah, her Pakistani Facebook friend, on July 25. The couple made headlines in both countries at the time of their wedding. 

However, Fatima this week returned to her home country via the Wagah border crossing between Pakistan and India, with her husband saying she would return to Pakistan within a few months. 

“Anju has gone to India to bring her two children to Pakistan and to face a divorce case filed by her first husband,” Nasrullah told Arab News, adding the case could not be decided in her absence. 

Fatima has a 15-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son who live in India, according her husband. 

The woman traveled to Pakistan on a one-month visa that expired in August, but she continued to live with her husband in Pakistan. The 34-year-old decided to return to India after multiple visa rejections by Pakistani authorities and to “resolve her family issues.” 

Nasrullah said he wanted the Pakistani and Indian governments to help his wife bring her children to Pakistan. 

Late last month, the couple was seen visiting historic places in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore in videos shared on social media. 

“It is my last day in Pakistan and my journey since I came here has been very good,” Fatima said in one of the videos. “Every day is spent well here.” 

She praised the Pakistani people for the respect they gave her and their hospitality. 

Following their court marriage in July, the couple had received widespread love and respect from Pakistanis, with multiple Pakistani commercial enterprises announcing generous gifts for them. 

PM visits Pakistan Pavilion at COP28 in Dubai, appreciates experts for efforts to mitigate climate risks

Updated 01 December 2023

PM visits Pakistan Pavilion at COP28 in Dubai, appreciates experts for efforts to mitigate climate risks

  • Development comes ahead of PM Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar’s address with the World Climate Action Summit on Saturday
  • He will present Pakistan’s ‘vision for change,’ advocate for shared commitments to mitigating climate risks, Islamabad says

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Friday visited his country’s pavilion at the venue of United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference, or COP 28, in Dubai, his office said, adding the caretaker premier appreciated efforts of Pakistani experts for the mitigation of climate-related risks. 

The Pakistan prime minister arrived in Dubai this week to attend the World Climate Action Summit during the 28th UN Conference of Parties, which is running from November 30 till December 12 and looks to address some of the most-pressing issues related to what experts say is a rapidly accelerating climate crisis. 

Pakistan, one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change, has set up its own pavilion at the conference venue and will use the conference to remind wealthy countries of their “crucial” responsibility in supporting climate-vulnerable nations and the need for “equity and justice” in global climate policies, according to the Pakistani planning ministry. 

During his visit to the Pakistan Pavilion at COP 28, PM Kakar met with Pakistani climate experts, who briefed him on various initiatives to deal with the looming climate crisis, Kakar’s office said in a statement. 

“The Prime Minister was briefed on the efforts being made by Pakistan with regard to the negotiations and facilitation in operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund,” it said. 

“The Prime Minister was also briefed on the ‘Living Indus Initiative’ which is designed to rehabilitate the health of the Indus Basin in Pakistan through climate-resilient approaches and nature-based solutions.” 

Nearly 200 nations agreed on Thursday to launch a fund to support countries hit by global warming, in a historic moment at the start of UN climate talks in the oil-rich UAE. The formal establishment of the loss and damage fund, long sought by climate-vulnerable nations, provided an early win at COP28, where sharp divisions over the phasing out of fossil fuels were immediately apparent. 

The momentous occasion followed Pakistan’s crucial role at COP27 in Egypt, where, as the chair of the G77 and China group, it advocated for the establishment of the fund. 

PM Kakar’s visit to his country’s pavilion came a day ahead of his address at the World Climate Action Summit where he would present Pakistan’s “vision for climate change,” according to the Pakistani foreign office. 

“He will address the summit tomorrow, where he will present Pakistan’s vision for climate change, advocating for common commitments in mitigation, adaptation, climate finance, and the loss and damage fund,” the foreign office said on Friday. 

“He will also emphasize equity and global cooperation for climate resilience. At COP28, Pakistan aims to collaborate with developing countries, for the operationalization of the ‘loss and damage’ fund, a meaningful outcome from the Global Stock Take, and the fulfillment of the long-overdue goal of mobilizing $100 billion annually in climate finance.” 

Pakistan headline inflation rises 29.2% year-on-year on back of gas price hike 

Updated 01 December 2023

Pakistan headline inflation rises 29.2% year-on-year on back of gas price hike 

  • Prices went up by 2.7 percent in November as compared to a 1 percent increase in the month before 
  • Analysts say increase in inflation figures for November is ‘in line with expectations’ after gas price hike 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s consumer price index (CPI) jumped 29.2 percent in November on a year-on-year basis, the country’s statistics bureau said on Friday, with analysts attributing monthly increase in prices to a recent hike in gas tariff. 

The headline inflation was recorded at 26.8 percent in October and 23.8 percent in November last year, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). 

Prices went up by 2.7 percent in November as compared to a 1 percent increase in the month before and a rise of 0.8 percent in November 2022. 

Financial analysts say the increase in inflation figures for the month of November was “in line with the expectations” after the gas price hike. 

“The inflation for the month of November is in line with the expectations. The major impact has come from the gas tariff hike,” Samiullah Tariq, a director at the Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company, to Arab News. 

“Going forward we hope that the inflation would ease off.” 

In late October, Pakistan announced a sharp increase in the price of natural gas for most households and industries ahead of the cash-strapped country’s first review of a $3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout it entered in July. 

While the government did not increase the tariff for the protected category (57 percent of the domestic consumers), it increased the fixed monthly charge from Rs10 to Rs400 for this category. 

The price of gas was set at Rs2,100/mmbtu for export process industry, Rs2,400/mmbtu for export captive industry, Rs2,200/mmbtu for non-export process industry, Rs2,500/mmbtu for non-export captive industry, and Rs3,600/mmbtu for the CNG sector. 

In November, Pakistan cleared the first review of the nine-month standby arrangement, paving the way for Islamabad to receive a second tranche of around $700 million from the lender. 

Among the food items that recorded highest increase in November prices were tomatoes (60.42 percent), potatoes (14.92 percent), tea (12.95 percent), onions (12.32 percent), dry fruits (7.91 percent), fish (7.75 percent), eggs (7.15 percent) and fresh vegetables (4.47 percent), according to the PBS. 

Non-food items whose prices recorded the highest increased included gas charges (280.55 percent), woolen readymade garments (8.16 percent), dental services (5.19 percent), transport services (5.11 percent) and solid fuel (3.52 percent). 

Pakistan Cricket Board appoints ex-cricketers Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal consultants to chief selector

Updated 01 December 2023

Pakistan Cricket Board appoints ex-cricketers Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal consultants to chief selector

  • The development comes amid a reshuffle in Pakistan national team and the management 
  • It began amid Pakistan’s poor show during the 50-over World Cup tournament last month 

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday said it had appointed former cricketers Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal and Rao Iftikhar Anjum consultants to Chief Selector Wahab Riaz, amid a reshuffle in the national side and the board’s management. 

The reshuffle began amid Pakistan's poor show at the World Cup that saw the national side crashing out of the showpiece tournament even before the semi-final stage.

Former fast bowler Wahab Riaz was appointed Pakistan’s chief selector last month, after Inzamam-ul-Haq stepped down in October following allegations of a conflict of interests. 

On Friday, the PCB confirmed the appointment of Akmal, Anjum and Butt as consultant members to Riaz.

“The three have assumed their responsibilities in the selection panel with immediate effect. Their first assignment as consultant members to the chief selector includes the upcoming five-match T20I series against New Zealand, set to commence on 12 January 2024 following the conclusion of the Test tour to Australia,” the PCB said in a statement.

“When not engaged in selection duties, the consultant members may be assigned additional tasks such as conducting skills camps.”

Pakistan finished fifth in the 10-team World Cup tournament that culminated last month, with Australia lifting the trophy for a record sixth time.

Babar Azam resigned from the captaincy in all formats and Shan Masood was made test captain. Shaheen Afridi was appointed as skipper of T20 side while former captain Mohammad Hafeez was named as team director, who will also be the head coach of the team on the twin tours of Australia and New Zealand.

The PCB last month also appointed former international players Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal as bowling coaches for the national team.

Pakistan gunmen kill policeman guarding polio vaccination team 

Updated 01 December 2023

Pakistan gunmen kill policeman guarding polio vaccination team 

  • The incident occurred in a tribal border region that was once a haven for Taliban militants 
  • Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan are only two countries where polio remains endemic 

PESHAWAR: A Pakistani policeman was killed when militants attacked a polio vaccination team on Friday, police said, the latest casualty in the country’s long campaign against the crippling disease. 

Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan are the only two countries where polio remains endemic and vaccination teams are frequently targeted by militants. 

The latest incident occurred in Malik Din Khel, part of the former tribal border region that was once a haven for Taliban militants. 

“Two gunmen riding a motorbike opened fire on policemen guarding a two-member polio vaccination team,” district police chief Saleem Khan Kulachi told AFP. 

“One policeman died at the scene while another sustained a minor injury,” he said. 

One of the gunmen was shot dead by police. 

Local police official Zahir Ahmed Afridi also confirmed the details, adding that the health care workers were unhurt. 

Pakistan initiated a week-long nationwide polio vaccination campaign on Monday, with the goal of inoculating more than 44 million children across much of the country. 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but Islamist militants, including the Pakistani Taliban, have killed scores of polio vaccination workers and their security escorts in the past. 

Islamist opposition to inoculation grew after the US Central Intelligence Agency organized a fake vaccination drive to help track down Al-Qaeda’s former leader Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad. 

Pakistan has reported five cases of polio this year, while 20 were reported last year, according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.