Democratic inaction – 14 Nov 2022

Pakistan’s economy will only reach its true potential if we put our house in order. There is considerable room for improvement in our economy if we can get our priorities right. For example, the economy could see substantial growth if the country did not devote so much money to state security. Our economic policies have their roots in politics. Unfortunately, most people do not pay any attention to economic policy, the protests and accusation dramas are what keeps their attention.

As a result, there is little to no accountability for bad economic policymaking, the same failed policies keep getting recycled by different governments. Ultimately, it is the public that unwittingly pays the price.

Attiya Fatima


Read more

Critical thinking – 14 Nov 2022

This refers to the article, ‘Reasons for rationality’ (Nov 10) by Kamila Hyat. The writer has rightly pointed out that Pakistanis love conspiracy theories and do not try to uncover the truth. Many years ago, the news broke that some politicians had stashed $200 million in Swiss bank accounts. This figure was not true, and many media outlets, including these pages, tried to inform people about it. But Pakistanis refuse to listen to anyone. The figure was used by the PTI for its political gains. In 2018, Barrister Shahzad Akbar, who was serving as the PM’s adviser on accountability under the PTI government, claimed that the figure was exaggerated.

Many people still believe that some politicians are responsible for stashing such a large number of money in Swiss bank accounts. The writer is on point when she says that we need to be rational and promote critical thinking.

Lamha Iqbal


Read more

Mothers urged to breastfeed infants to develop immunity – 14 Nov 2022

LAHORE: Postgraduate Medical Institute (PGMI) Principal Prof Dr Al-Fareed Zafar has said that there is no food and tonic better than mother’s milk for the health and physical development of newborns.

“Mothers should breastfeed their infants for at least 6 months to develop immunity and they can protect against seasonal influences, pneumonia, respiratory disease, flu and chest infection,” he said while addressing the participants in a seminar on Pneumonia diseases at Lahore General Hospital. Prof Muhammad Shahid, Prof Faheem Afzal, Prof Ashraf Sultan, Prof Muhammad Tariq Bhatti and Prof Tahir Siddique gave detailed information about the symptoms and treatment of pneumonia, while Dr Muhammad Iqbal, Dr Masood Sheikh, medical students, Nusrat Tahira, Samira Bano, Sarwat Latif and others were present on this occasion.

Medical experts said that according to the WHO, every year 26 lac children in the world lose their lives due to pneumonia.

Prof Al-Fareed Zafar said that pneumonia is a disease of the lungs and respiratory system that affects lungs, the patient feel difficulty in breathing, high fever, chest infection, vomiting and drowsiness. Congestion and tremors are among the symptoms of pneumonia. Pneumonia can occur at any age, but physically weak people and children should take special precautions in the winter season so that they are protected from this disease.

He added that especially in winter season, the healthcare of newborn children is the 100pc responsibility of parents and they should make sure to follow precautionary measures because these innocent children cannot even change their sides in the bed on their own.

Prof Faheem Afzal and Prof Muhammad Shahid said that the majority of children are deprived of other basic necessities in Pakistan due to lack of awareness about diseases, economic conditions and other reasons, as well as lack of resources they are deprived of basic necessities including healthy diets during the winter season. Such children get colds and flu easily which turn into pneumonia every year and due to which thousands of children do not reach the age of one year and they die due to pneumonia.

Read more

COP-27: China walks the talk on climate change – 14 Nov 2022

The dream of a prosperous, peaceful, harmonious and beautiful world cannot be achieved without healthy environment and stable climate. Unfortunately, humans did not learn from history and continued with breaking the laws of nature which resulted in climate change, now an existential threat.

Regrettably, world is still debating and has limited interest in taking any practical steps. Developed countries, which are responsible for climate change, are not ready to lead climate fight. Rather, they are trying to avoid historical responsibility by putting efforts to shift the burden on developing countries by adopting a stepwise strategy.

First, they trapped NGOs and think tanks (TTs) from developing world to assist them in shifting the burden to developing countries. They used them to shame their own governments. They compelled their governments to take responsibility for countering climate change, especially in mitigating its effects.

Countries, under the pressure of their NGOs and TTs, had to come up with ambitious targets to lower the carbon emissions without any assistance from developed countries. In this way, developed countries achieved the first victory against the historical responsibility argument by spending few hundred millions on NGOs and TTs.

Second, developed countries started pitching private sector as alternative to public spending. They presented the same private companies, which are responsible for climate change, as a solution. Now, efforts have been consolidated in the form of Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero. With the launch of alliance, developed countries achieved two objectives: they paved a way for shifting of focus from public to private finance; they created business opportunities for the climate culprits.

Third, developed countries are trying to make China a scapegoat for their inactions. It has become normal for Western leaders to criticise China, and are trying to compel it to shoulder Western burden, so that they can continue their free-ride.

China is fully committed to fighting climate change and contributing at the global level. As President Xi said, “We will never again seek economic growth at the cost of environment”. For that purpose, he introduced the grand vision of ecological civilisation to steer China on the way of green development and fight back climate change. It is unique model which talks about harmony between human and environment.

The good thing is that China is not restricting itself to rhetoric but taking practical steps. First, it put efforts to enhance the forest cover of country, which increased from 10.6% in 1976 to 24% in 2022 (1.15 million km2). Further, during the last decade China turned 34.7 million hectares of land into forest and contributed ¼ to new forest cover of world.

Second, China has adopted new philosophy of development which revolves around green growth and innovation. 14th Five-Year was formulated to pave the way to achieve the goals of new philosophy of development, especially high-quality development. The plan set targets to lower carbon emission intensity by 18% and energy intensity by 13.5% till 2025. Simultaneously, circular economy will be promoted to achieve the goals of sustainable use of resources. Recycling industry will also be encouraged to achieve the volume of $773 billion. China also pledged through NDC that it will be working to install 1200 Gigawatt of wind and solar energy. Further, 25% of needs of national consumption will be met through renewable energy till 2030.

Third, China is assisting world in combating challenges of climate change without comprising on the development needs of developing countries. It has launched numerous programmes and initiatives to work with global community. It launched Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to assist world in achieving goals of development.

Now, China is turning BRI into green initiative. President Xi launched numerous initiatives at the forum of BRI, including BRI Green Coalition Council, Green Development Coalition, Silk Road Environment Programme, GSREP, Big Data Platform, BRETETC, etc. Data shows green investment under BRI increased from 19.60% in 2014 to 58.12% in 2020.

China launched Six-100 programmes and Global Development Initiative to help the developing world. Climate change is one of key areas in these initiatives which are specially designed to meet the expectations of developing countries.

President Xi also launched Kunming Biodiversity Fund ($233 million) at COP-15. AIIB is another initiative which is providing financing support for the Green Development. Moreover, China, through South-South cooperation, is providing technology like drones, micro-satellites and meteorological mobile stations etc. to developing countries.

Third, China is playing a positive role at UNFCCC and helped the world in finalising Paris Climate Change Agreement. China, through GDI, is putting efforts to speed up implementation of SDGs.

In conclusion, we can infer that China is walking the talk on climate change.

China is following the philosophy of President Xi Jinping which emphasises balance of ambitions. As he said, “There is need to create a balance between the ambitions of GHG emission reduction and living needs of people.

Read more

Pollutants endangering wildlife, biodiversity – 14 Nov 2022

Restaurants, food chains continue to discharge sewage into protected national park

Sewage and other waste of restaurants and food chains continue to pollute the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP), threatening the entire ecosystem including the wildlife.

The garbage and sewage waste of restaurants and food chains have been posing a serious risk to wildlife and biodiversity in the protected area.

Different hotels and recreational spots established in the national park, with their number mounting with each passing day are gradually eating up the beauty of the area as the local administration has failed to put in place a mechanism to regulate these outlets and dispose of waste properly.

Forming the foothill of the Himalayan mountain range and sprawling over 17,000-hectare land, the Margalla Hills National Park is rich in wildlife and ecology and is home to the endangered common Asian leopards, barking deer, wolves, pangolin, kalij pheasants and flora and fauna that are indigenous and unique in existence. It is also one of the attractive tourist spots and a source of amusement for the federal capital residents of its zigzagging road leading to Pir Sohawa and beyond, walking tracks, tall pines and small brooks.

But, rapid urbanisation in the federal capital and areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa adjoining the national park have stirred competition for development.

In recent years, under the garb of promoting tourism, 17 restaurants and 20 shops have been constructed at six different locations namely Damn-e-Koh Viewpoint, Damn-e-Koh Road, Saidpur Village, Pir Sohawa, Mandla and Nurpur (Lohay Dandi Track).

These restaurants and dozens of shops do not have waste disposal systems and they discharge the sewage into Margalla Hills forest, its vicinity or the water courses within the park.

“Many of these restaurants were established without any Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and their unmanaged anthropogenic intervention was damaging the environment,” said, Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB)Chairperson Rina Saeed Khan.

“Especially, two side-by-side lavish settlements at Pir Sohawa, were the main source of polluting Margalla forest and springs.” “The natural area being polluted by La Motana, Wild Mild and Das Pardes restaurants is conspicuous as their catchment area below had heaps of garbage and swathes of polluted water mingling with freshwater bodies,” Rina Saeed said.

She said after concerted efforts and litigation, the IWMB had been successful to get a landmark verdict against the restaurants from Islamabad High Court (IHC).

“The IHC had directed to stop further encroachments to protect the national park also declaring the construction of buildings and leases granted to hotels and other commercial and food outlets within the protected area as in violation of the respective CDA and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ordinances. “We had approached the CDA for implementation of the decision but they ignored it,” she said.

“The apex court granted a stay order to Monal restaurant against the IHC verdict. Now, as the matter is with the apex court, we are waiting for the decision to proceed further,” Rina Saeed said.

She also said that floodlights installed by Monal Restaurant were distracting the nocturnal animals and other species forcing them to give up their habitats. “Moreover, traffic jams and honking of vehicles was also restricting crossover for species, already fearing extinction.”

When contacted, the CDA spokesperson said that environmental protection was not their responsibility. “We owe the responsibility of maintaining roads, parking areas and their cleanliness. The protection of wildlife, habitat and walking tracks is the responsibility of the Pak-EPA.

Even if one agrees with the argument of CDA, the authority cannot deny possessing the powers to grant a no-objection certificate for the construction of settlements in its jurisdiction including the national park. It has allowed these hotels to carry out businesses in the national park and the protected area.

Meanwhile, an official of the Pak-EPA said that the agency did not issue NOCs to any entity for construction within the national park jurisdiction. “The land belonged to the CDA and it is responsible for protecting it.” “On our part, we have already moved against La Montana and Gloria Jeans and these cases are pending before the Environmental Protection Tribunal in the federal capital,” the official said.

“The IWMB had identified over a dozen illegal restaurants and shops built in the Margalla Hills National Park and the EPA has issued notices to them.”

The official said it was not a matter of Margalla Hills alone but of our whole nation. “We cannot deprive our coming generation of achieving sustainable development goals through ill-planned practices.” We realize it or not, the National Park has gained international attraction after declaring some of its portions as “leopard preserve zones”, he said.

“Protection of natural assets like wildlife, habitat and flora and fauna is our shared responsibility and the departments concerned cannot shy away simply by passing the buck.”

Additional input from APP

Read more

Tubewells in Kohat areas to be solarised – 14 Nov 2022

KOHAT: The government will solarise 40 tubewells annually in the rain-fed areas of Lachi and Gumbat tehsils on public-private partnership to enable the farmers to grow crops and earn their livelihood.

The project would work on the basis of 80 per cent investment by the government and 20 per cent by the farmers.

Talking to this correspondent here on Sunday, Ittefaq Welfare Organisation chairman Esar Bangash said that Engineer Hazratullah had told a meeting that the project also included the installation cost.

According to an official statement, the problem of scarcity of water for irrigation and other purposes would be resolved after completion of the project. It said the income of the farmers would also increase by cultivation of crops.

WORKSHOP: Senior cardiologists have stressed the use of research-based medicines and cardiac catheterisation by doctors for treatment of patients to pre-empt heart attacks.

A statement issued here on Sunday said a team of cardiologists at a workshop called for a cardiac catheterisation laboratory (cath lab) to locate narrowing or blockades in blood vessels and measure oxygen levels in parts of the heart, and see how well the heart pumps blood.

District consultant Abdul Sami welcomed the members at the one-day workshop held at KDA teaching hospital for specialists.

Additional deputy commissioner Bashir Ahmed was chief guest at the event attended by medical superintendents of the KDA and Liaquat memorial hospitals and others.

On this occasion, Dr Nasir said work on cath lab was in the final stages.

Read more

FC man martyred in attack from across border Chaman crossing closed – 14 Nov 2022

QUETTA: One Frontier Corps personnel was martyred and two got injured in firing from the Afghan side at the Chaman border.

After the firing incident, gunfire was exchanged between Taliban forces and the Pakistani military at the Spin Boldak-Chaman crossing, resulting in chaos among passers-by.

The clash took place early on Sunday and resulted in the closure of the border crossing, according to officials from each country. Thousands of people travel though the crossing daily, making it a main trading point.

Later a flag meeting took place between the authorities of both the countries and it was announced that the crossing will remain closed till the culprits of the firing are not handed over to Pakistan.Afghan authorities say the attacker were in guise of Taliban and an operation has been launched to look for him.

Read more

Drug addict murders father with heated frying pan – 14 Nov 2022

KARACHI: A mason was killed after his drug addict son hit him on the head with a heated frying pan, said an official of the Ittehad Town police station on Sunday, adding that the assailant fled after the incident.

The murder was committed at a house located in the Kashmiri Mahalla area of Baldia Town. The victim was identified as 55-year-old Muhammad Umar, son of Muhammad Priyo. He was a father of five children.

Police said that Ali Raza, the victim’s eldest son, said in his initial statement that he works at a shop in the Kharadar cloth market and his father was a mason.

He said he was not present at home at the time of the incident and his mother informed him on the phone that his younger brother Ahmad Raza, alias Joji, had hit their father on the head with a frying pan that he heated on the stove. She said Ahmad Raza also hit the victim on different parts of his body with the pan.

After receiving the information, Ali Raza immediately reached home and found his father lying in a pool of blood.

The victim was taken to a private hospital in Baldia Town, but the doctors there only gave him first aid and referred him to the Dr Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, where he breathed his last.

Ali Raza said his brother had also tried to kill their mother with a knife but she had run out of the house. He said his brother takes all kinds of drugs, including heroin, adding that their father never refused to give him money, so he does not understand why his brother had killed their father.

Read more

Three arrested for firing – 14 Nov 2022

LAHORE: Batapur Police claimed to have arrested three suspects for resorting to firing in the air on Sunday. The arrested suspects were identified as Sher Ali, Kifayat Ullah and Tassawar. The suspects had resorted to firing in the air and posted videos on social media.

Police arrested the suspects, registered a case and recovered two automatic rifles, pistol and bullets from their custody.

VAULABLES BURNT: Valuables reduced to ashes in an incident of fire in a house in Gujjar Colony on Sunday. Reportedly, the fire broke out due to a short circuit in room of a house situated near graveyard Chandrai Road.

The fire-fighters reached the spot on information and extinguished the fire. No loss of life or injury was reported in the incident.

ACCIDENTS: Around 13 people died, whereas 1,242 were injured in 1,197 road traffic crashes in all 37 districts of Punjab during the last 24 hours. Out of this, 648 people were seriously injured who were shifted to different hospitals. Whereas, 594 minor injured victims were treated at the incident site.

Read more

Expat among two killed in Islamabad – 14 Nov 2022

The deceased was said to be returning from Dubai where he worked, the police said

At least two persons were shot dead on Islamabad-Peshawer Motorway within the jurisdiction of Wah Cantt police station on Sunday over old enmity.

According to the police, Nadeem Khan, a resident of Kohat told the police that he and his maternal cousin were on their way home after receiving his elder brother from Islamabad Airport when armed assailants opened fire on them.

Before that, he said, they had picked up an unidentified person along with the deceased on the latter’s request who just before approaching the Brahma Interchange asked the driver to pull over. He said once the driver stopped the vehicle, armed men including Fazal Rahim, Fayodin, Fazal Islam and Mohammad Noor got out of their car and opened gunfire on Israr and driver Gohar Shamim, killing them on the spot while the complainant escaped the bullets. The assailants fled the scene after committing the crime.

The taxi driver was said to be hired for the trip while the unknown man onboard also fled with the attackers. The deceased was said to be returning from Dubai where he worked, the police said.

Read more