Pakistan says working on ‘comprehensive policy framework’ to form its first carbon market

Pakistan Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar chairs the second meeting of the Climate Change Council in Islamabad on 20th November, 2023. (Photo courtesy: PMO)
Short Url
Updated 20 November 2023

Pakistan says working on ‘comprehensive policy framework’ to form its first carbon market

  • In a nutshell, carbon markets are trading systems in which carbon credits are sold and bought
  • One tradable credit equals one ton of greenhouse gas reduced, sequestered or avoided

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is drafting a “comprehensive policy framework” for the formation of its first carbon credits market, the prime minister’s office said in a statement on Monday after Premier Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar chaired a meeting of the national Climate Change Council.
Carbon markets are becoming an indispensable tool in the global climate fight, with carbon pricing instruments now covering over 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, generating $53 billion in revenue at the end of 2021, according to the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, a 17 percent increase in revenue from the previous year.
A carbon offset credit is a transferable instrument certified by independent entities or governments, and each credit represents a reduction of one metric ton of carbon dioxide, or an equivalent greenhouse gas.
The credits, to be effective, must represent an environmentally sound project that helps to mitigate climate change, such as preserving a forest that was slated to be cleared, or the building of a clean energy project to eliminate burning of a fossil fuel. After purchasing a credit, a company can “retire” it to claim a reduction in their own greenhouse gas reduction goals.
Setting up a carbon market is part of efforts by Pakistan, one of the country’s worst hit by climate change, to reduce 15 percent green house gasses with the country’s own resources and 35 percent with the support of international grants by 2030.
“Approval to form a committee of experts from the Pakistan Climate Change Council under the Ministry of Climate Change of the Prime Minister,” the PMO said.
“The committee will work to create a comprehensive policy framework for the formation and trading of carbon credits market in Pakistan and to make it more efficient and effective.”
The meeting of the Climate Change Council, according to the PMO, also discussed policy guidelines for trade in carbon markets in Pakistan.
“The meeting was told that a comprehensive policy framework is being made in consultation with all relevant government agencies, NGOs and civil society, which will be implemented soon,” the statement added. “Under this, a strategy is being formed under the supervision of experts in this field to make trading of carbon credits in the carbon markets in Pakistan easy and useful for the country.”
There are broadly two types of carbon markets: compliance and voluntary, according to UNDP.
Compliance markets are created as a result of any national, regional and/or international policy or regulatory requirement. Voluntary carbon markets – national and international – refer to the issuance, buying and selling of carbon credits, on a voluntary basis.
The current supply of voluntary carbon credits comes mostly from private entities that develop carbon projects, or governments that develop programs certified by carbon standards that generate emission reductions and/or removals.
Demand comes from private individuals that want to compensate for their carbon footprints, corporations with corporate sustainability targets, and other actors aiming to trade credits at a higher price to make a profit.

‘Welcome’ sign prompts closure of Afghan-Pakistan crossing

Updated 10 sec ago

‘Welcome’ sign prompts closure of Afghan-Pakistan crossing

  • Development takes place amid increasingly fraught relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan
  • Afghan official says negotiations between both sides are going on to ‘solve this problem’

PESHAWAR: A “Welcome to Pakistan” sign meant to greet travelers from Afghanistan instead caused the shutdown of the busiest crossing between the two nations on Wednesday, as officials on both sides argued over its installation.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have had increasingly fraught relations in recent months, with Islamabad accusing the Taliban government of failing to root out militants staging attacks on Pakistan from Afghan soil — a claim Kabul has denied.

In response to the rising militancy, Islamabad has forced the deportation or voluntary transfer of Afghans it says are living illegally in the country, with more than 400,000 crossing over since October, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

A senior Pakistan border official said the Torkham crossing was closed to vehicles on Wednesday after “the Taliban objected to the installation of a billboard in Pakistani territory saying ‘Welcome to Pakistan’.”

The official, who asked to remain anonymous, told AFP the closure was caused by “Taliban who were unhappy with Pakistan’s deportation policy” and “the installation of the billboard was just an excuse.”

On the Afghan side, Quraishi Badloon from Nangarhar province’s information and culture department confirmed that the closure was because “the Pakistani side wanted to install a welcome signboard.”

He said “tension increased” because it was to be erected on “Afghan soil” and there were suspicions the signage was being used as a guise to open a new gate encroaching across the border.

“Talks are ongoing to solve this problem,” he told AFP.

The Nangarhar governor’s office also said the welcome sign caused the closure.

Each side blamed the other for closing the border to vehicles, though it remained open to pedestrians.

This year the Torkham crossing — equidistant between Islamabad and Kabul — has been frequently shut, with tensions sometimes spilling over into armed clashes between border guards across the frontier.

Many of those leaving Pakistan for Afghanistan since Islamabad announced the migrant crackdown left through the Torkham crossing, a vital waypoint for trade between the countries.

No government in Kabul has ever recognized the colonial-era demarcation between Afghanistan and Pakistan, leading to a long history of border disputes.

Pakistan says Gaza war ‘alarming sign of apathy of the world’

Updated 11 min 12 sec ago

Pakistan says Gaza war ‘alarming sign of apathy of the world’

  • Israeli warplanes are bombarding targets across Gaza in one of the heaviest phases of fighting in two months
  • Gaza health ministry has confirmed over 15,800 dead and thousands missing, feared buried beneath rubble

ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi said on Wednesday the ongoing war in Gaza was an “alarming sign of the apathy of the world,” adding that the modern world needed an approach based on “love, empathy, and forgiveness.”

Israeli warplanes bombarded targets across the densely populated coastal territory on Wednesday in one of the heaviest phases of fighting in the two months since Israel began its military campaign in Gaza in October. Palestinian medics said hospitals were overflowing with the dead and wounded, many of them women and children, and supplies were running out. Hundreds of thousands of displaced people driven out of the north were seeking shelter in the dwindling number of places designated as safe areas by Israel. Gaza’s health ministry has confirmed over 15,800 dead and thousands missing, feared buried beneath the rubble, since the war began.

After largely gaining control of northern Gaza, Israeli troops and tanks pushed further south and encircled Khan Younis in the south after a week-long truce collapsed last week. 

“The civilized world today has forgotten the principles of morality and is witnessing the prevalence of wars waged by powerful against weaker segments,” Alvi said while addressing the inaugural session of the Islamabad Conclave 2023, themed, ‘Pakistan in a Changing World’ organized by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).

“The situation in Gaza is an alarming sign of the apathy of the world which could not stop the massacre of innocent people including women and children.”

The president regretted that the “gruesome images” coming out of Gaza had failed to “awaken the world’s conscience.”

“The current world urgently requires an approach centered on love, empathy, and forgiveness,” he added.

Pakistan’s Special Representative to Afghanistan, Ambassador Asif Durrani, said the conflict between Hamas, which rules Gaza, and Israel had diverted global attention from war-torn Afghanistan, where over 95 percent of the population was living below the poverty line.

“For instance, humanitarian assistance promised last year was close to $4.2 billion and only one part of that has been committed and has actually been materialized,” Durrani said in his address at the conference.

Yara Mourad, Assistant Director of AUB Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, said the war by Israel had jeopardized growing stability in the Middle East.

“Following the reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the establishment of relationships between the Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates with Qatar, this conflict, the most severe since Naqba [1948], has placed the region in greater danger than ever before,” she said.

Pakistan skipper Shan Masood hits century in Australia warm-up

Updated 06 December 2023

Pakistan skipper Shan Masood hits century in Australia warm-up

  • Masood steer Pakistan to 324-6 at stumps on the opening day of the four-day fixture
  • Pakistan will face Australia in three Tests, in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, from Dec. 14

SYDNEY: New Pakistan skipper Shan Masood hit an unbeaten 156 on Wednesday in a warm-up match in Canberra ahead of their three-Test series against Australia.
After winning the toss and opting to bat against a Prime Minister’s XI, he came to the crease when opener Imam-ul-Haq was dismissed for nine.
Masood batted for the rest of the day, smashing 13 fours and a six to steer Pakistan to 324-6 at stumps on the opening day of the four-day fixture.
Sarfaraz Ahmed made 41 and star batter Babar Azam, who stood down as captain in all formats of the game after their disastrous one-day World Cup, hit 40.
Australia’s bowlers labored on a flat pitch at Manuka Oval with speedster Jordan Buckingham the pick with 3-63.
All-rounder Cameron Green, who has been sidelined from the Test side by Mitchell Marsh, did not turn his arm.
It proved a long day in the field for aspiring Australian Test openers Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw, who are vying to replace David Warner when he retires from the longer format after the Pakistan series.
The visitors meet Australia in three Tests — in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney — from December 14.

Pakistan PM says Imran Khan free to contest upcoming general elections in February

Updated 06 December 2023

Pakistan PM says Imran Khan free to contest upcoming general elections in February

  • Khan has been disqualified from holding public office on charges of corruption, though he has appealed the verdict
  • Kakar says no evidence of ‘state coercion’ against PTI leaders who went ‘underground’ after May 9 to avoid arrests

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has said the country’s former premier Imran Khan does not face legal obstacles to contest the upcoming general elections and is likely to participate in them next year in February.

Khan, who has been in jail since August 5 following a conviction in a case involving the illegal sale of state gifts, faces several other cases which he deems “politically motivated” to exclude him from politics.

While his three-year sentence was suspended by the Islamabad High Court, he remains incarcerated on charges of leaking state secrets by revealing the contents of a confidential diplomatic cable which he says proves US involvement in toppling his administration, a claim consistently refuted by American officials.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party alleges a crackdown against its leaders as “pre-poll rigging,” but Kakar, in an exclusive interview with Independent Urdu published Wednesday, dismissed any “state coercion” against political parties.

“His party and up till now, he himself faces no legal restrictions that would keep him from contesting the elections. So, until the schedule is announced or something unforeseen happens which we are not aware of yet, during this conversation, then I can’t say anything. Till today, he is in the position of contesting, and he will contest.”

“There is no legal restriction on him [Khan] or his party that is keeping them away from the political or election process,” the prime minister said. “Until the [election] schedule is announced or something unforeseen happens which we are not aware of at the time of this conversation, then I can’t say anything. Until today, he is in the position of contesting [the polls], and he will contest.”

Khan has been disqualified from holding public office after he was found guilty of corrupt practices in the case in which he was given a three-year sentence. His legal team has appealed the verdict, though the final decision remains pending in the matter.

The former prime minister’s party has also complained about the “disappearance” of its leaders since the violent protests of May 9 when people holding PTI flags targeted government buildings and military installations after Khan was briefly arrested on graft charges.

When asked about the claims, Kakar said these leaders were actually going “underground” on their own to avoid arrests.

Many of them, he added, ultimately decided to quit PTI or politics altogether.

The prime minister described it as their personal decision while pointing out there was no evidence of “state coercion” in all those cases.

Hollywood icons ignite excitement at Red Sea Film Festival in support of Pakistani cinema

Updated 06 December 2023

Hollywood icons ignite excitement at Red Sea Film Festival in support of Pakistani cinema

  • The surprise appearance of Will Smith and Johnny Depp to endorse ‘Umro Ayyar: A New Beginning’ left people ecstatic
  • Ayyar is a famous character from a classical Urdu literary work comprising epic tales, widely read by people in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Hollywood superstars Will Smith and Johnny Depp stole the spotlight at the prestigious Red Sea International Film Festival with a surprise appearance on Tuesday to support the Pakistani film, “Umro Ayyar: A New Beginning.”

The two renowned icons of the American film industry enjoy an extensive fan following worldwide, including in Pakistan, which left the viewers excited about Pakistani film production with their presence.

The Red Sea Festival, set against the picturesque backdrop of Saudi Arabia’s seaside city, Jeddah, serves as a global platform for filmmakers to celebrate and showcase diverse cinematic creations from around the world.

Smith and Depp posed with Umro Ayyar’s executive producer, Huma Jamil Babar, and interacted with the public.

“How exciting it is,” exclaimed a Pakistani journalist, Afshan Younus, who shared a video of Smith getting a locket from Babar. “Hollywood meets Pakistani cinema in style!”

Another social media user, Nazish Alavi, called the cross-cultural support by the Hollywood actors a “big moment” for her.

“Watching Hollywood superstar Will Smith wearing #UmroAyyarANewBeginning pendant and The Johnny Depp supporting a Pakistani movie is such a big moment for me,” she said. “Best of luck to @TheUMROAYYAR.”

Umro Ayyar is one of the most famous characters from the legendary “Dastan-e-Amir Hamza,” a classical Urdu literary work comprising epic tales, widely read by many in Pakistan.

Speaking to Arab News in May, lead actor Sanam Saeed mentioned that Ayyar’s character was being adapted for the screen in a “new-age way” and receiving a “revamp” for modern times.

“Dastan-e-Amir Hamza” is the Urdu version of the Persian folklore written by Ghalib Lakhnavi in 1855, featuring a collection of stories about magic, adventure, and intrigue.

The film “Umro Ayyar” is an attempt to reimagine the story for a new generation of Pakistani and global audiences.