Triple murder over property shocks Bhakkar

Man kills mother, sister, brother-in-law, dumps bodies in canal.

BHAKKAR: A man allegedly killed his mother, sister and brother-in-law and dumped their bodies in a canal.

The body of suspect’s mother had been recovered while search for the bodies of sister and brother-in-law was on.

The suspect had been arrested. Police said the suspect had allegedly strangled his mother, stabbed his sister and shot his brother-in-law dead.

The motive behind the murders was said to be a dispute over some property.

Police claimed that the suspect, Rana Akram, a resident of Chamni Mohalla, after killing his kin, squeezed their bodies in his car and drove to a canal in Leh district where he dumped those bodies.

The DPO of Bhakkar, Muhammad Naveed Qureshi, took immediate notice of the triple-murder incident within the limits of the City Police Station of Bhakkar. Upon receiving information about the incident, the SP (Investigation), along with the SHO of the City Police Station of Bhakkar, and a police team arrived at the crime scene. A team of forensic experts collected pieces of evidence and sent them to the laboratory.

The City Police Station registered a case against Rana Akram and three unknown suspects on the complaint filed by a brother of Asim (suspect’s brother-in-law).


Under the directives of the DPO of Bhakkar, Muhammad Naveed, police carried out various operations targeting motorcycle and rickshaw robbers.

During those operations, police claimed to have busted five “gangs of robbers” and allegedly recovered 132 motorcycles and two rickshaws from possession of the suspects.

Bhakkar Police team consisting of the Circle Officers, the SHOs and the in charge of the AVLC, Najeebullah, employed a combination of modern technology and traditional methods to dismantle various “gangs” of “motorcycle thieves”.

Following the arrests of the suspects and the recovery of the motorcycles, a ceremony was held at the office of the DPO of Bhakkar during which the stolen vehicles were handed over to their original owners.

People were overjoyed when they got their motorcycles back.

Reiterating the commitment of the police department to public safety, DPO Muhammad Naveed highlighted the importance of motorcycles, particularly for the underprivileged, saying that when their motorcycles or rickshaws were stolen, the victims suffered immensely. By depriving the people of their vehicles, the suspects had put the livelihood of the victims at stake.

Acknowledging the disruption caused by theft, the DPO had given top priority to the task of swift recovery of the stolen bikes. Assuring the people of continued action against the anti-social elements, Muhammad Naveed vowed to bring the suspects to justice.

He also commended all officers and the AVLC team for their role in the successful operation.

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Abducted ninth grader recovered

ABBOTTABAD: The police recovered a kidnapped student and arrested two alleged kidnappers injured after an encounter in Banda Sahib Khan area here on Monday.

The police said the ninth grader was abducted by Nadeem, Kamil Shah and their accomplices at gunpoint from the limits of the Havelian Chowki in Chamhad area on Sunday.

District police officer Umar Tufail took notice of the abduction and ordered the formation of a special team of the police to recover the student and arrest culprits.

The police said their team raided a suspected hideout in Banda Sahib Khan area, exchanged fire with the suspected kidnappers, and recovered the student.

They added that the exchange of fire left kidnappers Nadeem and Kamil Shah injured, while the student was unhurt. Correspondent

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Elections around the corner

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced it will hold elections on February 8, 2024. The ECP is likely to announce the election schedule after the completion of the delimitation process in the first week of December.

People from the working class and other sections of society have many questions regarding the upcoming elections. They want to know if there will be a stable and strong government after the elections or whether we are heading for another hung parliament and a weak government.

It is too early to predict the outcome of the elections. At this stage, it can be safely said that the PML-N seems in an advantageous position compared to the PTI and the PPP. But at this stage, it is difficult to predict how many seats the PML-N is going to win. The situation will become clear in the next few weeks.

Will the elections end political instability and chaos in the country? Will the PTI be allowed to contest elections or be kept out of the electoral process? Will the new government succeed to bring down soaring inflation, high unemployment and rising poverty?

One will have to wait for election results to get some answers. But political parties through their programmes, manifestos and narratives can answer some of the questions and concerns. People are more concerned how the political leadership will fix the economy and introduce necessary reforms; they want to know how political parties are going to solve their problems and raise their standard of living.

Pakistan needs a strong and stable government to address the fundamental problems faced by the economy; it cannot afford to hold another controversial election. One hopes that the 2024 general elections will bring much-needed political stability in the country. A free, fair and transparent election is needed to end political instability and uncertainty.

Pakistan needs an election which clearly reflects the will of the Pakistani people. Concrete steps and measures should be taken to dispel the impression that election results in Pakistan reflect the will of the powers that be, not the will of the people. Election results must reflect the aspirations and preferences of the general public.

A controversial election like the one in 2018 will not help end political polarization, instability and confrontation. Pakistan not only needs an election but an election that nobody can point a finger at. We need free, fair and transparent elections – without any interference, and without pre-poll rigging, political engineering and manipulation.

This kind of election might help overcome political confrontation and polarization. But if the election results become controversial and the losing party refuses to accept defeat, more confrontation and instability will follow.

Political parties including the PPP and the PTI are already demanding a level playing field. The PTI is complaining that it is not being allowed to organize political activities. Without addressing the concerns and complaints of different political parties, we are heading towards another controversial general election – which is not going to bring political stability in the country.

At present, political parties are gearing up for election campaigns. Meetings are taking place between political leaders to form alliances and make seat adjustments. Political activities at the moment are concentrated around winning the maximum number of electables. ‘Drawing room’ political activities are taking place, and ordinary people have nothing to do with them.

There is no enthusiasm among people regarding the election. No political party has announced its manifesto so far. It seems that leaders are not interested in coming up with solutions to the problems faced by the people of Pakistan.

To generate interest in elections and instil hope in people, leaders need to address the main issues including poverty, inflation and unemployment; they need to fully grasp the gravity of the situation. When one talks to people on the streets, at tea stalls, in marriage halls or in the public transport, many people are openly saying that they are no longer interested in participating in the upcoming elections. Power politics has discouraged many working-class voters. Unprincipled and ideology-less politics has disappointed the big sections of the population.

Political leaders and the ruling elite are not willing to undertake the reforms required to stabilize the economy and improve governance. They are not fully realizing that people are not happy with the economic situation. We have come to a point where a majority of the population has lost the hope that elections will improve their lives and a new government will work for their betterment, bringing improvements in their miserable lives.

There is a general feeling among sections of the population that all mainstream parties are the same and hardly offer anything to the poor. The economic performance and overall governance of the PTI government (44 months) and the PDM coalition government (16 months) in the last five years has disappointed many people. No serious effort was made to reform the police, state structure, criminal justice system and economy. This approach needs to be changed.

The Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) has compared the 2018 manifestos presented by the three mainstream parties – the PML-N, PPP and PTI. The results are shocking. Only 20 per cent of the issues faced by the economy and people were addressed in their manifestos. Twelve per cent of these issues find space in the PML-N manifesto, 7.0 per cent in the PPP manifesto and 1.5 per cent in the PTI’s.

The aim was to evaluate whether these manifestoes have any substance and concrete plan or whether they were packed with hollow promises and sweeping statements, without any homework for the future. This casual approach towards party programmes and manifestos needs to be changed.

The writer is a freelance journalist.

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Where are we on population?

The year 2018 saw a significant moment in the history of population discourse in the country when the then chief justice of Pakistan took suo-motu notice of the high population growth in the country. The outcome of this was a president’s ‘task force’ which together with the Council of Common Interests’ recommendations formulated a national action plan to devise strategies for controlling the rapidly growing population.

Six years down the road, today we stand at a much worse condition on the population front. Pakistan’s population was 207.68 million as per the Population Census of 2017 increasing at an annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent, today it has crossed the 240 million mark with a whopping 2.55 per cent growth rate according to the results of the census held earlier this year.

Keeping aside the concerns on the census results, let us recall for a moment that population projections for the country have been worrisome with experts warning of severe challenges ahead while the concerned stakeholders have been in deep slumber of ignorance around the matter. This begs the question: what then was the priority of the task force and the CCI approved national action plan when clearly population growth has remained unbridled and has only increased in these six years?

Pakistan is already among the top five most populous countries of the world with a barely staggering economy on the verge of default. With a total fertility rate of 3.6 and women aged 40 and above giving birth to at least five children on average according to the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2017-2018, the growing pressure of an ever-increasing population only adds to the burden.

More specifically, a swelling population size acts as hindrance towards meeting several of our Sustainable Development Goals related to ending poverty (goal 1); ensuring food security (goal 2); reducing maternal, neonatal and under-5 mortality (goal 3); ensuring quality education (goal 4); achieving gender equality (goal 5); ensuring availability of water and sanitation (goal 7); promoting productive employment and decent work (goal 8); and finally it acts as a barrier in the efforts to combating climate change and its impacts (goal 13). Ultimately, the answer to perhaps all our development challenges lies in what is often discarded from the development debate as an exogenous factor – population – which is in reality at the heart of everything.

Population management then serves as the single most important and common area of consideration for the country’s progression towards achieving its development goals. With the ideal family size still hovering around 4 -3.9 for women and 4.3 among men, it becomes imperative that we understand the guiding motives behind such desires. It is perhaps time we started asking the right questions. To begin with, we must probe where this desire for additional births is coming from. In order to do this, an understanding of the fertility intentions, behaviours and preferences of individuals is required.

It is high time we think of fertility choices as not just a personal matter as it is indeed these actions by individuals which when looked at from a broader lens have created a cause for national concern. A preference for sons is something we see on a much regular basis with people continuing to have children until their wish to have a son is fulfilled. It is also not uncommon to see people with large family sizes having more daughters as they continue the childbearing process until their desire for a son is fulfilled.

In this context, son preference not only becomes a driver of fertility but also acts as a roadblock in the implementation of family planning programmes as people often oppose or delay the use of contraceptives as they are trying to fulfill the desire of having a certain number of sons. In light of this, fertility behaviours exhibited by individuals no longer remain just a personal matter when a culture of son preference exists such that the desire for sons is fulfilled at a cost of larger family size which consequently leads to high population growth.

Consequently, this disproportionate preference for boys over girls has a major role to play in our ever-increasing population which has now become a cause for concern at the national level. Therefore, discourses circling around population growth must pay due attention to this strong culture of son preference that exists in our country as it drastically reduces any efforts to slow down population growth. While investing in women’s education is of paramount importance as it is one of the golden tickets to almost all our development laggards, educating the male members of our society about the far-reaching impacts of son preferring behaviours is equally if not more important.

We must also realize that couples and individuals often pursue sons due to the economic benefits that are accrued with them in the form of having a breadwinner for the family and most importantly for their old age security. Here, the role of the state and its concerned authorities comes into play as it is indeed the responsibility of the state to provide security to its citizens. Investments in all these areas should therefore be a top priority of the state and all stakeholders involved in framing the population and health policies of the country.

The national task force on controlling population growth in 2018 set itself a target of lowering the total fertility rate (children born per woman) to 2.8 from 3.6 and population growth rate to 1.5 per cent from 2.4 per cent by the year 2024. While these seemed like a distant but achievable target at that time, with the census results claiming a growth rate of 2.55 per cent and the year 2024 looming around the corner this seems to be yet another instance of failure where our planning and implementation processes did not converge.

It is time the concerned stakeholders realized the implications such inaction and laidback approach towards population and health policies play in retarding the overall development prospects of the country. In a previous article I wrote for The News (‘Era of global boiling’, August 14, 2023), I explained how population management serves as a common denominator in almost all our development issues.

The recurrent climate challenges we are witnessing in the form of extreme temperatures and heat waves, urban and flash floods and the ongoing smog emergency all have their roots embedded in the population management of Pakistan. And just like managing any other problem in order to deal with it we ought to identify the root cause – in this case, the focus must be shifted towards where and why the demand for these additional births is coming? This I believe would not only help direct our efforts and resources towards the right areas of policy intervention but is also likely to bear fruitful results.

The writer is an associate researcher at the Lahore School of Economics. She can be reached at:

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Man booked for wife`s murder in DHA held

KARACHI: Police on Monday arrested a man for allegedly murdering his wife at their apartment on Sunday, officials said.

Quratul Ain aka Aini Bugti, 22, was found shot dead in her apartment and her husband claimed that she committed suicide.

DIG-South Syed Asad Raza said that the police arrested victim`s husband Abrar Bugti and registered a murder case against him on the complaint of the deceased`s father.

SSP (Investigation) Dr Farrukh Raza said that investigation was underway and they were looking into the case from various angles.

He said complainant Zubairuddin Khan, a software consultant, told the police that Abrar used to threaten him as he wanted to marry his daughter. The suspect later prepared a fake nikahnama in October and on its basis, got custody of his daughter through a court.

He also blamed him for beating his daughter.

Police Surgeon Summaiya Syed said the autopsy of the young girl was carried out at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre on Sunday, which showed a gunshot wound to her head. Besides, there were bruises on the body.

According to the contents of the FIR, the suspect Abrar had submitted a fake Nikahnama in the court on Oct 12 and took away the girl on October 30, 2023.

Out of breath

PICTURE yourself residing in a lavish mansion, boasting a multiple-digit price tag, in the heart of the city`s most exclusive neighbourhood. Despite the opulence, the very essence of life for you and your family is being gradually eroded; your lifespan is curtailed by several precious years, and the once pristine quality of life tainted by the persistent spectre of asthma, throat infections, and itchy eyes. Moreover, there is an ever-present apprehension, a gnawing fear that cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, and respiratory issues may be just around the corner, casting a shadow over your otherwise luxurious abode. That is how the issue of air quality has hit Pakistan`s cities.

This paradoxical reality, the contradiction between affluence and the compromised quality of life is the top odd feature of life in Pakistan.

While Lahore and Delhi have been in a fierce competition, not just this week but throughout the past month, to claim the top two spots on the Air Quality Index for the world`s worst air quality, Karachi hasn`t been far behind. Ironically, the air quality woes extend beyond these cities, as Islamabad and Rawalpindi have also surpassed dangerous levels. Last week, Islamabad recorded an AQI of 154, and Rawalpindireached 180 both falling into the `unhealthy` category (151-200).

The competitive streak persists among other cities as well, with Attock at 143, Jhelum and Chakwal at 159. Even the usually pristine hill station of Murree saw its AQI rise to 104, surpassing the `moderate`level.

In response to the escalating air pollution, the Punjab government recently declared a `health emergency` and implemented a smart lockdown in seven districts: Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, and Narowal. These areas had reportedly witnessed the highest recorded AQI levels.

The onset of winter exacerbates air pollution, leading to smog that disrupts traffic and work life. Typically, the smog season extend s from the beginning of November to the end of February a third of the year.

This adversely affects the 48 million-strong population residing in bustling business and industrial hubs, resulting in economic losses, hindering education, and disrupting travel and transportation.

Rapid urbanisation in the region forecasts that almost half of Pakistan`s population will reside in cities by 2025, heightening concerns over air pollution. Failing to address this issue immediately could expose over 120m people to harmful air quality, causing significant economic and social repercussions. The urgency to control air pollution is evident in the dire consequences it poses, emphasising the needfor preventive measures to protect the wellbeing of the projected urban population.

Air quality deterioration results from various sources, including industrial emissions, vehicle exhaust, fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, agricultural practices, waste burning, and natural events.

Population density in urban areas exacerbates emissions. In Lahore, external air pollution from Jalandhar in Indian Punjab contributes, while Karachi faces complex sources, including vehicular emissions and unsafe construction practices. The absence of an efficient public transport system increases vehicle numbers and emissions.

Fossil fuel burning produces harmful byproducts like nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

Despite being a coastal city with marine ecosystems, Karachi should ideally be free from air pollution due to its potential for `blue carbon` carbon sequestration through mangroves. The high carbon sequestration potential of the mangroves highlights their importance not only for thehealth of the coastal ecosystem but also in the global context of climate change mitigation. Protecting and restoring mangrove ecosystems can contribute signifi-cantly to efforts aimed at reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

Planting mangroves not only purifies the air but also generates carbon credits.

An average mature mangrove tree can sequester 22-30 kilogrammes of carbon dioxide yearly. For example, 600,000 mangroves planted at the Clifton Urban Forest in August 2022 can fetch $225,000 per year, starting from year 2024. It is time to bring creeks, sub-creeks, and beaches across Karachi under mangrove cover. Apart from the revenue aspect, these mangroves will purify the city`s air and create resilience against cyclones and tsunamis in addition to producing food for fish, shrimp and aquatic birds like flamingos. Pakistan stands at a crucial juncture, requiring bold decisions and a paradigm shift from a real estatebased shallow economy to embrace innovative opportunities such as blue carbon and beach tourism. • The wn~ter is an expert on climate change and development and founder of Clifton Urban Forest.

miohar Twitter: masoodlohar

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`Little` tragedies

SOMETIMES, it is the small stories those that, at first glance, seem almost inconsequential in the larger scheme of things that end up completely unsettling one`s conscience. There was one such story in this paper yesterday about a Rawalpindi father who returned home from work on Saturday evening looking forward to being greeted by his three children two girls and a boy, aged from seven to two but who found their lifeless bodies in a trunk instead. It appears that the little ones had climbed inside during one of their games and inadvertently locked themselves in. The mother was at work when this ghastly accident happened. One shudders to contemplate what suffering the little souls must have endured as they waited for help.

Can one blame the parents for this tragedy? It hardly seems fair. It has become impossible for the vast majority of households in this country to survive on a single wage. The father was a bike rider most bike riders struggle even for minimum wage.

It is not difficult to imagine why the children`s mother decided to chip in. Not everyone has access to a family support network to ask for help babysitting their children. Our politicians and policymakers love to talk about increasing women`s participation in the workforce, but what about creating the conditions that will enable them to do so without putting their children`s lives and well-being at stake? With more women entering the workforce due to economic compulsions, it is incumbent upon policymakers and civil society to recognise the risks they are undertaking and suggest solutions to alleviate them. For example, large organisations may be incentivised with tax benefits for providing monitored childcare services, while government schools can offer extended hours to keep children under their supervision for longer. It should be unacceptable for us as a nation that working parents have to entrust their children to fate because there are few other choices available.

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Incomplete victories

IN a recent interaction, someone commented that none of the political parties had any plans to fix the economy. This is a common refrain; many of us democratically aligned as well as those who think elections will provide no solution feel the civilians are simply not prepared or equippedforgovernance.

Idealistic people expect better from the politicians they support but feel the latter never appear serious about governance or have a clue about the economy. So goes the commonly held belief. Not entirely wrong, but it is worth considering what the world or politics looks like from the perspective of the political parties and their leaders.

The election cycle itself is not one dependent on clear paths forward, policy options and manifestos, as textbooks may argue. Here, in this land, elections are about maqboolivat (popularity) and quboolivat (acceptance). Manifestos and policies are part of elections in societies with a degree of normalcy, which is hardly the description of affairs at home.

Here, it seems as if all our main players are deeply flawed characters stuck like García Marquez`s patriarch in a state of isolation and paranoia.

Try and walk a few steps in the shoes of Nawaz Sharif or Imran Khan.

For the former, chances are his days and nights might be consumed by what the immediate future may hold for him despite the laadla (favourite) tag. Will he contest the election? Will the eligibility stand or will the disqualification? What if the powers that be prefer his younger brother, as everyone in the country is whispering? What if he wins the election for the party, only to be deprived of the major slot at the last moment? Does his brother know of this plan, while proclaiming the party`s prime minister is Nawaz Sharif? How many of his own party men (and women) are aware of this last-minute switcheroo? Even if these hushed whispers do not consumehim, he is perhaps wondering about the election, the party`s weak position in its stronghold of Punjab and what an electoral victory would look like without any external help.

His nemesis, on the other hand, is perhaps struggling similarly, though the challenges appear to be different. A man who has survived an attack and was obsessed with the idea of another one, if the manner in which he appeared in the courts in the months before his arrest is any indication. For him, it was a battle for survival, literally.

And if he has been able to get over the idea of a threat to his life, he would be obsessed with winning the next election, despite heading the most popular party in the country and the crackdown on its people. Would he ever be released? Would his party be allowed to take part in the election? Will those who contest the election with his party`s ticket stay loyal to him or would they switch sides? Who would be the next to turn on him and blame him for May 9 or corruption? Asif Ali Zardari would perhaps not be far away. This is the second election in a row where the country is awash with rumours of plans to limit the PPP`s victory in Sindh. And despite their assertions to the contrary, the party and its leader are bound to be worried and trying for a deal.

In this battle of desires and survival, plans for economic revival must await the first battle the battle of being.

Where would the economy find space in this? It is akin to expecting a daily wager to have a savings plan.

In Islamabad, stories of politicians` disinterest in the economy abound. In one such account, excited men went to visit one of these beleaguered men, offered to join hands with him and then asked about the plans for the economy. He said, he would get back to them, once he makes it to the other side, the side where survival is no longeratstake.Theyreturned disappointed,butinthe accountofthatshortinteractionthereisso much to understand about our politics, if one is interested.

In these mediaeval jousts which pass for politics and democracy in Pakistan, the fighting never ends. E specially for the politicians but neither for the others including the bureaucracy which gets caught up in the maelstrom.

But the battles don`t end with the election cycle either. Seldom have those who won an election, difficult or easy, been able to focus on governance. Instead, the time in power is spent simply fighting to stay in power. There is little energy left for the people and their problems.

At times it reminds one of the all-consuming fight the Mughal heirs had to take part in, once the reigning emperor grew old and weak. A fight to death would ensure who would be the victor among the various heirs; and his victory would not be complete till all his rivals would be killed or rendered useless. Only then would the empire and the rule be secure. But the kingdom in Islamabad is never secure, for no victory here is ever complete and neither is any defeat. The challenges never end. And this consumes all the energies which should have been spent on the people`s welfare.

This perhaps is our greatest crisis, rather than assuming it is our politicians` inherently corrupt nature or obsession with accountability of the other. For the civilians, especially, this is once again linked to this constant state of besiegement and battle. And this is a state of affairs inherently contradictory to the demands of running a modern economy. It is not possible to carry both these worlds along.

Postscript: Consider that in Pakistan, politics is once again being analysed through phrases once made popular in the times of Bhutto. Our misfortune is that 50 years later, we think our choices are the ones that once faced Bhutto and Zia.m The wnter is a joumalist.

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Conversations on climate change

Various climate-modelling studies for Pakistan outline a trajectory of more frequent and extreme weather events.

Anyone who has spent time in the UK will know that a favoured topic of ‘light’ conversation for Brits revolves around what is happening with the weather. We love to discuss it; usually about rain. But as the effects of climate change begin to make themselves more keenly felt, ‘normal’ weather is becoming harder to understand and a topic of more serious concern. I have learnt from my first four months in Pakistan, that this is also the case here.

Earlier this month, I visited Gilgit-Baltistan, where abnormal weather was the most frequently raised topic of conversation. I gladly engaged. Conversation, after all, generates ideas; ideas generate plans; and plans provide outcomes. Nothing about what is happening globally with the weather is ‘normal’. Last year the UK recorded its highest-ever temperature of 40.3°C/104.54°F, with a heatwave tragically resulting in almost 3,000 excess deaths. This however pales in comparison with what occurred in Pakistan, when a lack of rain early in the year led to temperatures often exceeding 50°C/122°F across the country resulting in widespread crop failure, triggering food security concerns. This dire situation was rapidly followed by excessive monsoon rain, which submerged one third of the country, affecting 33 million people.

The future looks bleak. Various climate-modelling studies for Pakistan outline a trajectory of more frequent and extreme weather events. The International Food Policy Research Institute believes that by 2030, some 40 million Pakistanis will be pushed into food insecurity due to rising temperatures. Climate change effects have the potential to slow down Pakistan’s overall growth by as much as 18-20% per year by 2050, reducing the country’s ability to recover from crises. The warning lights everywhere are no longer blinking amber but are permanently on red.

The tragedy is that whilst Pakistan has done very little to contribute to the drivers of climate change, contributing less than 1% of the world’s annual emissions, it is the 8th most climate vulnerable country in the world. Pakistan can however do more to build its own climate resilience. By which I mean to increase the ability to recover from, or to mitigate vulnerability to, climate-related shocks. This is a major priority of the UK’s work in Pakistan, with the federal and provincial governments, and will be for the foreseeable future following a decision to more than double our investment in climate finance and climate resilience and adaptation.

Already we are expanding our climate focussed programmes and assistance and I am delighted to outline that we have just started phase two of our Climate Finance Accelerator Programme. This will see eight innovative Pakistan-based projects receive technical support to help them find private investment to tackle climate-related issues. The UK will also now be working with the Global System for Mobile Communications to expand on an AI-based ‘Early Warning Forest Fire Detection System’ to cover more forested areas of the Federal Capital Territory as well as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to minimise the risk of forest fires, safeguarding lives, livelihoods and Pakistan’s bio-diversity.

Alongside this climate resilience work, the UK will make its voice heard to influence international global environmental outcomes that will benefit Pakistan. In the UAE at COP28, the UK will be tirelessly advocating to ensure that this COP delivers an outcome that puts the world on track to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5°C, by halving global emissions by 2030. This will not be easy. Right now, with terrible conflicts occurring around the world, in the Middle East, to Ukraine and places such as Sudan and the Sahel in Africa, the international focus on climate change is being tested. Given the sheer scale of human suffering occurring this can only be expected.

However, with COP28 just round the corner, and with time not on our side, it is essential that conversations on climate change continue. This week the UK’s Pakistan Network (our offices in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore) will be marking the 75th Birthday of His Majesty King Charles III — a lifelong advocate for environmental sustainability and conservation. We will be using the occasion to openly discuss some of the climate-related challenges that lie ahead, and how the UK and Pakistan can work together to tackle them. From how to build on Pakistan’s negotiating success at COP27, regarding the establishment of a ‘Loss and Damage fund’, and make it more substantive in responding for the most climate vulnerable countries. To Pakistan expanding coastal protection and safeguarding it’s marine economy worth $400 million a year in exports, by working more closely with the Commonwealth’s Blue Charter and joining the Sustainable Blue Economy Action Group.

As I mentioned at the start of this conversation; conversation generates ideas; ideas generate plans; plans provide outcomes. And Pakistan, the UK — and the world — urgently need positive climate outcomes.

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