Man commits suicide in Haripur farmhouse – 29 Dec 2022

HARIPUR: A man committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree in the farmhouse of a local landlord, police said here on Wednesday.

They said that Rafaqat, 45, a resident of Chamiyari village, was serving at the farmhouse of Rehman Gul, a local landlord of Hamlet Colony Ghazi.

On Tuesday evening, the landlord and local people spotted his dead body hanging from a tree and informed police.

Ghazi police shifted the body to tehsil headquarters hospital for autopsy.

Police and hospital sources said that preliminary investigation suggested that the man had committed suicide.

WATER CHARGES: The tehsil municipal administration here on Wednesday revised the water charges that were enhanced during the month of October.

According to a notification issued from the office of tehsil municipal officerhereonWednesday,theincrease in the monthly water charges for domestic and commercial consumerswas withdrawn following Haripur tehsil council unanimously adopted a resolution during its session held on September 15, 2022.

The TMA had increased the monthly water charges from Rs150 to Rs300 for domestic consumers while fee for commercial consumers was also enhanced by100 per cent. The decision had drawn resentment from the chairmen and councillors of the neighbourhood councils. They staged protests against it.

Earlier, the chairman Haripur tehsil council, Samiullah Khan, had clarified that the decision about increase in water rates was made months before his taking over as chairman and the provincial government had endorsed the increase owing to the financial crisis faced by TMA.

He said that it was the prerogative of the provincial government to reverse the decision.

Meanwhile, the downward revision of water fee by TMA was lauded by the chairmen and councillors. Correspondent

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Newly-wed couple asphyxiated by gas – 29 Dec 2022

LAHORE: A newly-wed couple reportedly found dead in a room of the house in Mustafa Town area early on Wednesday.

Identified as Sahriq Ali, the young man had married Hamna two days back and the initial police inquiries suggested that they died of suffocation due to the gas leakage in the room.

A police official said the family of the boy told the investigators that the couple had gone to their room for sleep late on Tuesday. He said when the parents of the boy knocked the room on Wednesday early morning, no one responded.

On noticing some gas smell coming out of the room, they unlocked the door and found both of them dead.

The experts inquired into the matter after examining all the aspects, the police official said adding that, apparently, there is no offence involved in the incident and bodies have been handed over to the family after completing legal formalities.

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Journalist among three shot dead in Attock – 29 Dec 2022

TAXILA: A chief editor of a local newspaper, his gunman and driver were shot dead near Marri village in the limits of Attock police station on Wednesday, police said.

According to family sources, chief editor of a local newspaper Arshad Jaffari was going to his of fice along with his driver, Akhter Nawaz, and gunman, Nazam Khan, after meeting with the district police officer Attock, sharing details with him about the threats he was receiving.

When he reached near Marri, four armed men came in a car and opened fire.

The assailants managed to escape from the scene.

Rescue 1122 shif ted the bodies to the District Headquarters Hospital for autopsy.

On getting information, District Police Officer Fazal Hamid reached the crime scene and monitored the investigation and evidence collection. He also constituted various teams to arrest the culprits.

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Young woman shot in DHA – 29 Dec 2022

KARACHl: A young woman was shot at and wounded by armed robbers over resistance in Defence Housing Authority on Wednesday, police said.

SSP-South Syed Asad Raza said that Maneesha Khalid, 20, was waiting for a bus on Khayaban-i-Ittehad and using her cell phone when armed muggers arrived there and demanded her phone.

As she refused, the robbers fired at her and rode away. She suffered a single bullet wound in the leg. She then called her employer, who took her in his car to a hospital, he added.

`We are still investigating the incident as there were no eyewitnesses,` the SSP said.-Staff Reporter

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Unrest in coastal belt – 29 Dec 2022

Locals blame the government for adopting tactics that come to further burden their woes

Unrest coupled with violence in Gwadar is quite unnerving. The killing of a police constable at the hands of Haq Do Tehreek activists is highly condemnable, and hints at deep-rooted frustration. While the locals have been protesting for their due rights in Gwadar as well as other coastal regions of Pasni, Jewani and Ormara, the flaring up of violence is disappointing. The locals in the restive and desolate province are rightly protesting for their logical demands such as an end to illegal trawling, undue harassment at checkpoints and for opening up the international frontier for trade with Iran. Though the authorities say most of the demands have been met, the locals beg to differ and blame the government for adopting tactics that come to further burden their woes.

The ongoing protests have an ordeal to tell. While Balochistan is the seat of CPEC activities, it is remorseful that the locals feel neglected and segregated from the big-ticket projects. This impression has to be undone, and the poor people who are striving for better economic opportunities must be taken onboard. An introspection into the revulsion going on in the southern belt of the province with shores on the Arabian Sea suggests that there is a tug of war between the provincial and federal governments over the subjects in their respective domain. And this red-tapism comes at the cost of locals’ socio-economic plight.

This is why Balochistan Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove was apt as he said that many of the demands of the agitators do not fall in his purview, as they pertain to federation. But again the point is why exhibit such a lethargy and obliviousness to the affairs of social mobility, which have literally degenerated the society into parochial tendencies. Baloch are in need of being heard, and their grievances addressed on a war-footing basis. It is a pity that most of the demands primarily of the fishermen community pertain to basic civic amenities, and the right to enjoy unhindered access to sea catch. They are not asking for heavens.

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Climate migration – 29 Dec 2022

The International Day of Migration is observed every year on December 18 to create mass awareness about the challenges and rights of migrants. The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families was adopted on December 18, 1990 by the United Nations General Assembly.

The UNGA declared December 18 as International Migrants Day on December 4, 2000 keeping in view the increasing trend of migration all over the world due to political, economic, and environmental reasons.

Climate change and environmental conditions have become important factors for migrations all over the globe. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report 2022, “Over the next 30 years, 143 million people are likely to be uprooted by rising seas, drought, searing temperatures, and other climate catastrophes. Normally people migrate within their countries of residence to climate-resilient towns to have safe habitats and sustain means of income”.

Pakistan is also declared among the top ten countries most affected by climate-led disasters. The report ‘Costs of Climate Inaction: Displacement and Distress Migration’ published in 2020 mentions that more than 18 million people in the South Asian region were climate migrants. It also predicted that almost 63 million people will be displaced in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka if Global Warming remains to increase at the current rate. Pakistan alone is expected to have around two million climate migrants by 2050. The recent floods in Pakistan are the most devastating calamity that displaced nearly eight million people, as per the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Report.

Many reasons lead to climate migration. First of all, people migrate from areas at risk of being hit by climate disasters to protect their lives. The second reason for climate migration is the lack of opportunities to earn a living or the constant loss in earnings due to extreme weather conditions. Such climatic patterns push people to abandon their previous source of income and force them into a new business or profession. An example would be unprecedented rains or floods damaging the agriculture sector and compelling farmers to find alternative means of earning.

Many areas hit by climate disasters are also prone to food insecurity which also becomes a reason for climate migration. Another reason that compels people to choose the path of climate migration is health issues. Many diseases like pneumonia, diarrheal, and skin problems take birth due to extreme weather conditions and floods.

Climate migration also leads to several challenges for migrants and displaced persons. First of all, they need shelter to resettle in a new environment. New places and environments sometimes produce adjustment and acceptance issues due to differences in culture and ethnic background. Migrants adopt new businesses and jobs which becomes a challenge for migrants to excel in new fields. Moreover, new businesses and professions are always at risk of failure.

The education of children in migrant families is another challenge. They lack enough resources to afford the education of their children after displacement. If somehow, they manage to send their children to educational institutions, it also becomes a challenge for the children to adjust, make new friends and grasp the speed of learning.

There are also possibilities of increasing crime rates among migrants if they fail to find appropriate opportunities to earn income for their families. Criminal gangs also target migrants for illegal businesses like human trafficking and drugs. Women migrants become vulnerable to gender-based crimes like abduction and rape. The lack of economic opportunities and adjustment problems of migrants leads to many psychological problems. The cases of domestic violence among migrant families have become a common phenomenon.

Several steps can be taken to overcome the challenges faced by climate migrants. First of all, governments all over the world should make research-based climate migration strategies to make it systematic. Governments can introduce schemes to provide financial support to climate migrants. Arrangements should be made to provide counselling services to climate migrants to help them find out which jobs and businesses are more successful in that new place.

Mass awareness should be created to accept and support climate migrants in the new environment regardless of their ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Law-enforcement agencies should be more vigilant in areas where migrants reside to prevent hate and other crimes and maintain security.

The writer is a graduate of University of Oxford in Public Policy. She tweets @zilehumma_1.

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TTP`s mentors – 29 Dec 2022

WITH the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan back in the killing business with renewed ferocity, it is time we took a look at its ideological moorings. In a nutshell, like the communist parties of yore, the TTP`s aim is the destruction of the existing order (run by infidels, as defined by it)an idea instilled into the TTP brains by mentors opposed to the very concept of a nation state.

Osama bin Laden never headed the TTP formally. He couldn`t, because the name Pakistan was there. But the Al Qaeda chief and the man who succeeded him, Ayman alZawahiri, had a lasting impression on TTP philosophy. Both were indifferent to the interests of non-Arab states, regarded such Muslim countries as Iran and Turkey their enemies, and never cared about Central Asian states, except as a recruitment ground.

While opposition to the nation state idea doesn`t necessarily zoom in on Pakistan, the tragedy was that both OBL and al-Zawahiri had little love for Pakistan even though this country was their operational base. This selfishness betrayed a harsh reality: their political philosophy evolved in statelessness.

OBL was a pariah in Saudi Arabia, and alZawahiri an Egyptian fugitive who faced execution in his country. Both chose to work in Pakistan because of the respect they enjoyed from the people simply because they were Arab. Their base was the Af-Pak region, and they didn`t know and didn`t care to know what and where the Durand Line was. They moved freely on both sides and found the 2,400-kilometre long mountainous sanctuary and the tribal people`s hospitality ideal for pursuingtheirinternational`Islamic`agenda, though this `Islamic` fervour had an Arab bias. More regretfully, al-Zawahiri had an anti-Pakistan tilt from the very beginning, and OBL did nothing to discourage it.

OBL`s own speeches on Pakistani soil reflected a worldview that didn`t take into consideration Pakistan`s concerns. In many speeches, he spoke passionately about Palestine and talked also about Chechnya and the Rohingya, but hardly made any reference to Kashmir. I would be happy if some reader were to correct me.

Al-Zawahiri, on the contrary, actively pursued his anti-Pakistan agenda. His specialty was organising anti-government coups, working on potential collaborators in the armed forces of Egypt and other Arab countries, and having several nationalities. On one of his fake passports, he even visited the US on a fund-raising campaign.

In Pakistan, his most criminal act was the bombing of the Egyptian embassy in 1995, even though Osama didn`t believe Al Qaeda should annoy Pakistan. Al-Zawahiri was also involved in the Lal Masjid uprising in Islamabad, and was in contact with AbdulRashid and Abdul Aziz, the men who had turned the mosque into an arsenal and brainwashed and trained `commandos` who often raided Islamabad`s shops and confiscated `obscene` magazines. It is also alleged alZawahiri had a role in Benazir Bhutto`s assassination. He became Al Qaeda chief after Osama bin Laden was 1(illed in an American raid.

In his monumental book, Descent into Chaos, Ahmed Rashid gives a chilling account of Afghan Taliban`s inroads into Pakistan when Hamid Karzai was the ruler, and says things which Pakistan must know could be replicated if the now defunct Fata were to be handed over to the TTP. Afghan Taliban and fighters from other Muslim countries, writes Rashid, `worked in Pakistan`s Fata region, helping train a new generation of Taliban and Pakistani extremists in the arts of bomb making and fund-raising. […] In 2007 many of these militants were to fight alongside the Pakistani Taliban as they extended their writ across the North-West Frontier Province`.

With Al Qaeda`s help, the Taliban estab-lished a `lethal cottage industry` manufacturing improvised explosive devices in tribal households. Soon, says Rashid, `the Taliban would be using the same IEDs against Pakistani forces`. More gruesome, by 2006, they had executed 120tribal leaders who had disagreed with them; by 2008 more than 4,000 Uzbek fighters were active in what then was Fata and were pushing for the Talibanisation of the entire NWFP.

The renewal of TTP activity is marked by brutality, as seen by the recent beheading of two people for their purported spying for the security forces. Clearly, the most unfortunate phenomenon at present is the mysterious if not duplicitous behaviour of the Kabul regime. Ignoring the recent exchange of artil1ery fire across the border, the Kabul regime has not come clean on its policy towards terrorist groups operating from its soil. In fact, it is obvious that the TTP`s logistics base in the former Fata cannot sustain its current level of militancy and that it has no choice but to have safe havens in Afghanistan.

Pakistan`s greatest asset is the tribal people`s abhorrence of TTP killers. Islamabad thus has to build on the people`s sentiments rather than expect meaningful cooperation from the ungrateful Kabul regime. • The writer is Dawn`s Extemal Ombudsman and an author.

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Senseless death – 29 Dec 2022

CONSIDERING the unrelenting crime wave that has engulfed Karachi, law enforcers are understandably under a lot of public pressure to crack down on criminals. However, as the senseless death of a young man in the city on Tuesday has shown, overzealous and trigger-happy policemen need better training to ensure that no lives of innocent citizens are lost as they try and fight crime. As reported, Amir Hussain was shot by members of a police squad after he failed to stop when the cops signalled to him to pull over during snap-checking. The policemen gave chase and shot him twice as he tried to make his way into a Gulistan-i-Jauhar apartment complex. Senior police officials have admitted that a grave mistake was committed, and an innocent man was killed. This deplorable incident revives memories of the Amal Umer case; the 10-year-old child was killed in similar circumstances in 2018, when the vehicle in which she was travelling got caught in the crossfire between police and criminals. In that tragedy, too, it was a policeman’s bullet that took the young girl’s life.

The sad fact is that armed, violent criminals stalk the city without fear, and neutralising them is a major challenge for the police. However, strategies need to be devised to ensure that while fighting crime in congested urban environments like Karachi, no innocent individual is gunned down, and no collateral deaths occur in shootouts between police and criminals. The latest killing should spur the Sindh police to enforce within their ranks the rule that unarmed individuals must not be shot at. And if the police feel a fleeing unarmed individual truly presents a threat, they can use non-lethal methods to subdue them, such as tasers. The fact is that Karachi needs a better-trained, better-equipped police team that can intelligently fight crime without putting innocent citizens’ lives at risk, and that lethal force is resorted to only in matters of self-defence, or when the threat to public safety is obvious.

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Monuments of maladaptation – 29 Dec 2022

CAN we plan to reduce the cost of climate change to our people and economy? The loss and damage caused by the floods this summer have shal(en the foundation of our economic planning. We have learnt that the monsoon has changed its pattern: it has become more unpredictable in terms of rainfall timing, location, and quantity. In 2022, we learnt that non-Indus floods can be more destructive than riverine floods. The year 2023 provides us an opportunity to rewrite our flood manuals and policy documents to redefine the basis of our development planning.

In 2022, we learnt about three climate threats that can recur at any time, but not in the same order. First, the threshold of unusually high rainfall has changed. The previous averages are not reliable planning tools for flood preparedness.

Second, the era of compound extreme weather events has begun, where two or more climate disasters can coincide or spur on each other. Third, except for cash disbursement through the Benazir Income Support Programme and despite some heroic efforts, Pakistan`s disaster preparedness model has failed, primarily because it does not have its feet on the ground at the district or subdistrict levels.

It has also failed to provide community-based early warning systems, land-use planning and land-use change, human settlement mapping, climate-smart construction standards, designs and materials for both public and private sector infrastructure, storm-water management and equally worse, post-disaster rehabilitation, resettlement and humanitarian assistance. A climate-resilient infrastructure would have saved us most of the $19,191 million lost on account of housing, agriculture and livestock, and an additional $9,599m on account of public sector infrastructure. The war chest was unable to respond to the crisis without skimming from ongoing development projects, making the country even more vulnerable.

The year 2022 was a watershed in the history of climate change in Pakistan. The compound impact of heatwaves and glacial outbursts washed away infrastructure, making Gilgit-Baltistan a new flooding hotspot in the country. Instead of following their traditional route, rainclouds visited upper Sindh directly from Indian Gujrat and Rajasthan.We learnt that non-riverine floods could result in the worst deluge in living memory over a vast stretch of Sindh. We found that the rains that had started in the coastal regions, causing urban flooding in Karachi, could be sucked inland by droughthit regions. Not only was havoc wreaked on communities, robbing the province of its infrastructure, but the floodwaters crossed Koh-i Suleman into southern Punjab and the Kirthar range to destroy crops, housing and infrastructure. We found that a cloudburst upstream of Nowshera in KP could cause riverine floods while the Mangla and Tarbela dams were not filled and most of Punjab had not recorded heavy rains or floods along the Indus. All this while, Pakistan was planning an investment of more than Rs800 billion under the National Flood Protection Plan-IV that was conceived after the 2010 riverine floods.

Some climate experts and policymakers want us to believe that since Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries, nothing can be done and we are doomed to live in a permanent state of insecurity, visited by frequent disasters. Instead of pinning hopes on international finance or new borrowing, or hiding behind limited fiscal space, Pakistan needs to treat climate change and development as two sides of the same coin. All development projects and investments can promote adaptation by challenging some old practices.

In general, democracies enable us to empower communities for disaster-risk planning and climate resilience. In Pakistan, despite the transition to democracy, policymaking has continued to be centralised and top-down. All decisions are made at the federal or provincial levels. Local governments are still not trusted or mandated to undertake community-led development or their adaptation plans.

Their functions have been taken over by members of the provincial and national assemblies, whereby the governments approve the projects of their favourite members.

Most of these schemes reflect elite capture and aren`t connected to each other or to national/provincial priorities. They are rarely a part of any local or zonal development planning, but often reflect non-transparent and wasteful transactions at all stages of project approval, procurement and till the completion certificate. These are often leftincomplete for years after a change of government.

This sad practice was initiated by Gen Ziaul Haq, who used this magic wand to control members of parliament elected on a non-party basis. All successive PPP, PML-N and PTI governments have continued to buy loyalties with these `development` schemes. This model of investments in local infrastructure is totally random and counterproductive.

Far from contributing to adaptation, they have added to climate maladaptation in both rural and urban Pakistan.

The top-down policy planning cannot deliver climate resilience at the community level. Successive political governments since the early 1990s have failed to democratise policy planning and resource allocations. Investments in maladaptive infrastructure locks our future to climate risks and disasters. No number of cash disbursements, international lending or financing can substitute revising PC-1s and other policy planning documents, manuals and procurement and construction standards.

Finally, far from leading on mega projects, the Planning Commission has reduced its role to managing local-level schemes and projects. No wonder, it has a throw-forward of at least 1,260 unfinished public-sector development projects with an estimated price tag of Rs6.2 trillion. The result? Rather than build resilience, it has littered the country with monuments of maladaptation, adding to unsustainable, unsafe housing and other infrastructure. As apparent in the floods, many public sector projects have become hazardous.

Since there are no guiding documents available to the Planning Commission to climate-proof its portfolio, a moratorium on public sector development programmes is in order to undertal(e two actions: i) adopt tools to measure the level of adaptation and mitigation benefits of each public sector project, irrespective of its size or sector, and ii) undertake climate audits of all pending 1,260 projects valued at Rs6.2tr to ensure they contribute to climate adaptation and mitigation and not to climate loss and damage. In 2022, Pakistan was the poster child of climate change impact. Putting our house in order can make us a global climate champion. • The writer is an expert on climate change and development.

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Body of minor girl found – 28 Dec 2022

RAWALPINDI: The dead body of an 8-year-old missing girl who went missing from Choki Mohalla area in the jurisdiction of Ratta Amral police station was found after eight days. Police said that the little girl went missing on December 19, 2022 and was found yesterday by the garbage pickers who saw her body under the Ratta Bridge inside the drain and informed the police. Sources revealed that her body was taken to the hospital to perform a post-mortem after which she was handed over to her heirs. Her father named Atif Maseeh said that he had filed a complaint at the police station when he could not find her daughter. OUR CORRESPONDENT

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