Pakistan News

As cruel as it sounds, the poultry sector’s demand and supply dynamics dictate fields of dying chicks. While the price of a day-old-chick (DOC) had gone as high as Rs42 at one point, higher costs of raising chickens amid limited demand mean that there are no buyers. And the chicks are left in fields to fend for themselves.

Poultry prices depend on a number of factors that fluctuate throughout the year. Comparatively unrelated events such as school holidays and mango season can decrease demand and hence bring the price of broiler chickens down.

“During the school year, eggs form an integral part of children’s lunch boxes, which is a reason why demand drops during the summer break,” says Khalil Sattar, chairman of the Pakistan Poultry Association and founder of K&N. “People opt to divert their household incomes towards mangos during the mango season, which is another factor driving down poultry demand. Similarly, beef haleem is a substitute for chicken-based food during Muharrum. On the other hand, the wedding season sees an upswing in preference for chicken thus prices rise.”

Only 5pc of total broiler chickens are processed for further value addition

Basic economic theory dictates costs impact the availability of supply. Repeated bouts of devaluation and a levy on sales tax on various costs associated with raising chickens have made taking the DOCs to farms prohibitively expensive. In the last two months, DOCs have not been in the farms, asserts Mr Sattar.

A 50-kilogram bag of chicken feed costs Rs3,250. Plus, there are electricity bills, vaccination and medical costs and so on, which make raising chicks to chickens unviable financially.

While the costs have not significantly impacted prices as yet, consumers should brace themselves for an increase in coming months. Since the chicks won’t grow up to be chickens, there will be a decrease in supply that will drive the price up.

“Due to the various factors impacting the price, it is hard to gauge how the price will go up but the increase will be more than Rs10 per kg.” The chain reaction should take about two months to result in an appreciable price increase.

Soya bean

The 2018 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on Pakistan predicted that the import of oilseeds would exceed that of edible oil for the first time in 2017-18.

The poultry industry’s rising inclusion of soya bean meal in its feed rations was cited as a major reason for this change with oilseed imports projected at a record 3.7 million tonnes, of which soya beans were expected to account for 2.5m tonnes.

The USDA 2019 update clarifies that the Department of Plant Protection and Quarantine revised the sanitary and phytosanitary standards, which prevented the expected increase from materialising. However, imports of soya bean seeds alone are expected to reach 2m tonnes during 2018-19.

Demand, led by poultry and livestock sectors, is expected to grow to 2.5m tonnes in 2019-20. While palm oil still leads the edible oil imports at 2.8m tonnes in 2018, the exponential increase in soya bean seed consumption in the last few years has made it an import bill staple.

Soya bean meal was mostly imported from India till 2013, according to International Trade Centre’s data. Since then, the import mix has shifted from meal to seeds with imports of soya rising from $6.5m in 2014 to nearly a billion dollars in 2018.

Despite being an oilseed, soya bean’s oil content is limited to about 17 per cent. Therefore, it is not viable for it to be imported for edible oil purposes alone. Soya bean is crushed to obtain vegetable protein in the form of meal to cater to the poultry feed sector.

Mr Sattar contends that the poultry sector alone is not solely responsible for the rapid rise in soya bean imports since corn and canola also provide protein to chickens. However, the USDA report suggests, “The crushing industry is improving the quality of soya meal it produces, transitioning from prior experience with rapeseed and sunflower. Additionally, end-users such as the poultry industry have increased their vertical integration, taking control of the process of meal production.”

Together these factors have led to the import of soya bean seed becoming an integral part of the poultry sector, amounting to about 30-35pc of the cost of chicken.

This leaves the poultry sector vulnerable, among other factors, to devaluation and international oilseed price dynamics. For example, the China-US trade war resulted in a surplus of soya been seed available in the market, which drove its price down and was able to offset some of the effects of devaluation.

Value addition

With 1.04 billion broiler birds, Pakistan is the 11th largest producer in the world. However, only 5pc of total broiler chickens are processed for further value addition, such as nuggets. The rest is sold in its raw form either in the corner butcher shops or packaged by chains such as K&N.

Products that compete directly with the local butcher will impact national food chains more since they have to pay taxes that their informal counterparts can evade. If there was a higher demand for processed poultry products, some of the increase in the chicken price could be cushioned by higher margins.

Fast food chains may hike up their prices too as the various cost factors decrease the available supply. While beef products for international chains are mostly imported due to a lack of an organised livestock sector, many opt for locally produced chicken products as formal standardised outlets for poultry are present in the country.

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, July 22nd, 2019

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa issued flood alerts after India released water into River Sutlej and Alchi dam. — AFP/File

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa issued flood alerts after India released water into River Sutlej and Alchi dam.

PDMA Punjab on Monday issued a flood alert due to rising water levels in River Sutlej after India released water into the river. Additionally, the PDMA KP director general on Sunday said that India had opened the outlets of Alchi dam "without preschedule" which, he said could lead to a flooding situation in River Indus.

According to the PDMA Punjab, flood water between the range of 125,000 and 175,000 cusecs is expected to reach Ganda Singh Wala at 11am today.

A dispatch has been issued to the relevant agencies asking them to ensure that all protective measures are taken.

The disaster management authority said that the flood alert had been issued in order to avoid the loss of lives and properties.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (Met) has also issued a flood/weather advisory. According to the department, "very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall has been observed over the upper and lower catchments of Rivers Sutlej, Beas and Ravi during the last 72 hours".

Flood evacuation and sensitisation efforts underway by the Kasur district administration. — Photo by Muhammad Taimoor
Flood evacuation and sensitisation efforts underway by the Kasur district administration. — Photo by Muhammad Taimoor

 

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has summoned an emergency meeting to discuss the flood alert for River Sutlej. During the meeting, the situation will be discussed in detail including a focus on steps taken for relief work and the security arrangements made.

According to the CM Office, various officials including the provincial disaster management minister, provincial irrigation minister, a senior member of the Federal Board of Revenue, the inspector general of police, administrative officers and officials from relief organisations will participate in the meeting. Deputy commissioners and commissioners from various areas including Sahiwal, Multan and Bahawalpur will also participate through a video link.

Meanwhile, the PDMA KP director general on Sunday wrote a letter to various provincial deputy commissioners with an alert regarding India opening the water outlet of Alchi dam.

As per the dispatch, the water would take 12 hours to reach Tarbela dam and around 15-18 hours to reach Dera Ismail Khan.

"The damming authorities at Tarbela have been instructed by [National Disaster Management Authority] NDMA to regulate the inflow and water discharge so as to overcome a flooding situation."

He directed the deputy commissioner's to restrict boating and swimming activities, adding that the catchment area near the Indus River should be monitored in order to deal with any untoward situation.

Relations between Pakistan and India have been strained since India stripped Kashmiris of the special autonomy they had for seven decades through a rushed presidential order on August 5. Following this, Pakistan resolved to downgrade diplomatic relations with New Delhi and suspended all bilateral trade.

Flood alert for New Delhi

According to Indian media reports, a flood alert has been issued for New Delhi.

India Today reported that the Delhi government issued a red-alert for the low-lying areas of the city. The report added that people living in the areas were asked to move to safer places as the water level in Yamuna River was expected to rise and "cross the danger mark" today.

Additionally, NDTV reported casualties in various parts of India in rain related incidents. At least 24 people were killed while nine others were injured in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. The death toll in Karnataka rose to 76 while three individuals were killed in Punjab after the roof of a house collapsed.

Members call both countries to resolve issue through talks in accordance with UN charter amid New Delhi’s resistance. — AFP/File

UNITED NATIONS: For the first time since 1965, the UN Security Council (UNSC) held a meeting exclusively on occupied Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, nullifying India’s claim that this was an internal matter.

Although the council did not agree on a statement, China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun summed up the discussions, expressing serious concern over the situation.

“The UNSC members are concerned about the human rights situation there and they (want) the parties concerned to refrain from taking any unilateral action that might further aggravate the tension there since the situation is already very tense and very dangerous,” he said.

Pakistan’s Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said the meeting brought the Kashmir dispute back to the world’s most influential panel and also highlighted the atrocities Indian troops were committing in the occupied territory.

“The voice of the Kashmiri people resonated in the chambers of the world’s highest diplomatic forum today,” she said. “The whole world is discussing the occupied state. This is an international dispute.”

Members call both countries to resolve issue through talks in accordance with UN charter amid New Delhi’s resistance

The factor that motivated the world body to re-focus on Kashmir after more than 50 years was highlighted by Russian envoy to UN Dmitry Polyanskiy. “Very much concerned. We hope to avoid it,” said the Russian diplomat when asked by a journalist outside the meeting room if Russia was concerned the dispute could escalate into a larger conflict between India and Pakistan.

Ambassador Zhang also underlined this factor in his remarks to the media, warning that India’s move to amend Kashmir’s constitutional status was “causing tensions in the region, China is deeply concerned and opposes any unilateral decisions”.

The Chinese envoy pointed out that “India’s action has also challenged China’s sovereign interests and violated bilateral agreement”.

He added that China believes “the status of Kashmir is still undecided” and “calls upon the relevant parties to exercise restraint.”

Ambassador Lodhi, speaking after the meeting, said that Pakistan’s efforts to seek justice for the people of held Kashmir will continue and “will only end when justice is done to the people of Jammu and Kashmir”.

“The people may be locked up, their voices may not be heard in their own land, but their voices were heard today at the UN and will always be heard because Pakistan will stand by them and extend full support,” she declared. “This is the first, not the last step.”

As the closed-door meeting began, two UN officials — Assistant Secretary General Oscar Taranco and Lt Gen Carlos Loitey — briefed the members of the Security Council on the situation in Kashmir and on activities of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan.

Various diplomats briefing journalists on the proceedings of the closed-door meeting said that UNSC members urged India and Pakistan to refrain from actions that would exacerbate tensions in the region.

The members reaffirmed relevant Council resolutions on the issue, vindicating Pakistan’s position that the UNSC resolutions that call for a plebiscite in the disputed territory should be implemented.

The members called on India and Pakistan to avoid actions that would escalate the situation along the Line of Control.

The members urged India and Pakistan to settle the dispute through peaceful manner, including through direct dialogue, based on related bilateral agreements in accordance with the UN Charter.

The reference to the UN Charter endorses the demand of the Kashmiri people that India should be held responsible for continuously violating their basic human rights.

The members agreed to follow the situation closely.

“We stand ready for a peaceful settlement of the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir,” said the Pakistani envoy while appreciating UNSC’s interest in the dispute.

China too expressed concern on the Indian clampdown in Kashmir, telling the UNSC members that situation in the disputed region was “serious and dangerous” and India’s “invalid, unilateral practices” had created this situation.

“The situation is already very tense and dangerous right now there [in India-held Kashmir],” Mr Zhang said. “India has violated bilateral agreement to keep peace in the border areas. It is obvious the constitutional amendment by India has changed the status quo in Kashmir.”

He reminded India that the UN secretary general had also urged New Delhi to “refrain from any unilateral step which is dangerous” and to follow the UN Charter.

“We are grateful for the 15 members of UNSC. We are ready for a peaceful settlement of J&K. It nullifies the Indian claim that J&K is an internal matter of India,” said Ambassador Lodhi.

After India revoked J&K’s special status on Aug 5 and announced the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, Pakistan approached the UN Security Council against New Delhi’s “illegal” action that also violated relevant UN resolutions”.

Pakistan requested a closed-door meeting. The consultative meeting, however, did not call for another meeting to review the situation in Kashmir. The meeting also did not issue a joint statement, as expected.

India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin presented the UNSC proceedings as the vindication of New Delhi’s position that Kashmir and other issues with Pakistan could only be discussed in a bilateral setup.

“We are consistent in all our positions that all issues will be resolved bilaterally and peacefully,” he said. “We stand ready to continue our efforts towards peaceful resolution of all issues in an atmosphere free of violence.”

Despite India’s unilateral action on Kashmir, Mr Akbaruddin said: “We are committed to the Simla agreement. It is now for Pakistan to stop terrorism and start talks,” he added.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2019

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi telephoned his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to apprise him of heightened tensions between Pakistan and India after the latter revoked autonomous status of the occupied territory through a presidential order. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Russia on Wednesday asked Pakistan to bilaterally resolve its dispute with India over Occupied Kashmir.

This message was given to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi when he telephoned his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to apprise him of heightened tensions between Pakistan and India after the latter revoked autonomous status of the occupied territory through a presidential order. Mr Qureshi’s outreach was part of the diplomatic efforts aimed at garnering support at the United Nations Security Council, whose president has been requested by Pakistan to convene an emergency session for deliberating on the escalation in the situation after the Indian move.

Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council. Although there has lately been improvement in relations between Moscow and Islamabad because of regional developments, Russia still remains a strong Indian ally and had supported Indian position after it annexed Occupied Kashmir last week.

According to a statement issued by the Russian foreign ministry, Mr Lavrov, during the conversation, “emphasised the need to de-escalate tensions and to have no alternative to resolving differences between Pakistan and India on a bilateral basis by political and diplomatic means”.

The Russian foreign ministry further noted that its envoy at the UN would be guided by “this consistent position” and will “adhere to it” when the discussion on the Pakistani letter to the Security Council starts.

Indian diplomat summoned to FO to receive protest over ceasefire violation along LoC

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office said in a statement that Mr Qureshi told Mr Lavrov that “Indian actions entailed grave risks for peace and security.” The foreign minister alerted Mr Lavrov about the possibility of a ‘false flag’ operation by India in Occupied Kashmir for implicating Pakistan. Such an incident, if it happened, would “further endanger peace and security in the region”, Mr Qureshi warned.

He also reminded the Russian FM of the situation in held Kashmir that has been under a curfew the for last 10 days with restrictions placed on communications. The Kashmiris, he said, were now facing “intensified repression” at the hands of security forces.

“The two leaders agreed to continue to work together for peace and stability in the region,” the FO said.

Indian diplomat

Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia was summoned to the Foreign Office to receive a protest over a ceasefire violation incident at the Line of Control (LoC) on Aug 13 in which a civilian was martyred. The violation occurred in Hot Spring Sector in which Sarfaraz Ahmad, son of Riaz Ahmad (38), resident of Laychayal village, lost his life.

“The deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws. The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation,” the FO said.

Letter to UNSC chief

The text of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s letter to the United Nations Security Council president, released by the FO on Wednesday, reveals Mr Qureshi has not only raised the issue of deployment of additional troops in Occupied Kashmir and escalation of violations of the 2003 ceasefire understanding along the LoC, but has also noted that the false propaganda in India’s controlled media claiming that terrorists are ready to enter Occupied Kashmir indicates India’s intentions.

“There is.... a clear and present danger that India will provoke another conflict with Pakistan to divert attention from its recent actions in occupied Jammu & Kashmir,” the letter reads.

The FM has called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council under the agenda of ‘India-Pakistan question’ to consider the situation arising from the recent aggressive actions by India.

Iftikhar A. Khan from Islamabad also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses Azad Jammu and Kashmir's legislative assembly on the occasion of Pakistan's Independence Day, in Muzaffarabad, on Wednesday. — AP

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday once again questioned the international community's silence on Indian-occupied Kashmir and warned that should ethnic cleansing of Muslims take place in the region, there would be severe repercussions in the Muslim world.

The premier's message came as the curfew and communications blackout imposed by New Delhi in occupied Kashmir entered its 12th day. Thursday (August 15) is also India's Independence Day, which is being observed as a black day across Pakistan to protest the brutalities and human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir.

Read: 'RSS ideology of Hindu supremacy will lead to suppression of Muslims in India and to targeting of Pakistan'

"In IoK, 12 days of curfew, presence of extra troops in an already heavily militarised occupied territory, sending in of RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] goons, complete communication blackout — with the example of Modi's earlier ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Gujarat," wrote the premier on his Twitter account, the display picture of which was a plain black image.

"Will [the] world silently witness another Srebrenica-type massacre and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in IoK?" he asked. "I want to warn the international community if it allows this to happen, it will have severe repercussions and reactions in the Muslim world, setting off radicalisation and cycles of violence."

The decision to mark India’s independence day as black day was taken at the National Security Commit­tee meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran, last week in the wake of the Indian move to revoke Art­icle 370 that gave occupied Kashmir an autonomous status and to split the held Valley into two territories.

Pakistan has strongly condemned India’s move to annex occupied Kashmir and the imposition of an unprecedented security lockdown in the area.

A day earlier, the premier celebrated Pakistan's Independence Day in Azad Jammu and Kashmir to express solidarity with Kashmiris on the Indian-ocucpied side. In a speech in its legislative assembly, he had warned India against any attack on AJK to divert attention from its human rights violations in the Himalayan region.

“Since the Kashmiris are equally battle-hardened and they also do not fear death, Modi should not harbour any illusion,” he said. “You [India] can no more keep the valiant Kashmiris enslaved.”

The prime minister drew parallels between Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party and India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its parent organisation RSS.

Read more: 'Every brick will be countered with a stone,' PM Imran warns Modi against action in AJK

Raising concerns about India's lockdown in occupied Kashmir, he said: "We are all fearful about what we will find out once the curfew is lifted in occupied Kashmir. What are they attempting to do?

The prime minister, during his addressm twice pledged to take up the responsibility of raising voice of the Kashmiris at every forum of the world: “I will be the ambassador of your cause across the globe.”

Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has expressed solidarity with the people of occupied Kashmir on Pakistan's Independence Day. — INP/File

Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday expressed solidarity with people of Indian-occupied Kashmir, saying Pakistan will always stand by Kashmiris to counter India's "hegemonic ambitions" the way it has in the past.

"There can never be a compromise on #Kashmir," Gen Bajwa said in his Independence Day message to the nation, according to a tweet by the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

“Reality of #Kashmir was neither changed by an illegal piece of paper in 1947 nor will any other do it now or in future," he added, rejecting India's withdrawal of special status for occupied Kashmir.

Gen Bajwa said the Pakistan Army is "fully alive to the sanctity of Jammu & Kashmir" and will remain prepared to perform its part in line with its national duty for the cause of Kashmir.

 

"We shall stand in the face of tyranny, regardless of the cost," the chief of army staff vowed.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan had conveyed a similar message, saying Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a "strategic blunder" by downgrading occupied Kashmir’s status through the revocation of Article 370.

He also warned Modi that any action by India in Pakistan would be countered with a stronger response.

"This is my message to you: you take action and every brick will be countered with a stone," the premier told his Indian counterpart while addressing a special session of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly.

Corps Commanders meeting was held at GHQ in Rawalpindi to discuss India's decision to revoke Article 370. — Photo courtesy DG ISPR's official Twitter account

The military leadership "fully supported the government's rejections of Indian actions regarding Kashmir" and is "prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfil our obligations [to the Kashmiri people]," Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said on Tuesday after the conclusion of a Corps Commanders meeting in Rawalpindi.

"Pakistan never recognised the sham Indian efforts to legalise its occupation of Jammu & Kashmir through article 370 or 35-A decades ago, efforts which have now been revoked by India itself," Ghafoor said in a series of tweets from his official account.

 

"Pakistan Army firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end. We are prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfil our obligations in this regard,” the DG ISPR quoted Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as saying.

 

The meeting was held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi to discuss India's decision to revoke Article 370 of its constitution, stripping occupied Kashmir of its special status.

Revoking occupied Kashmir's special status

Yesterday, India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party stripped Kashmiris of the special autonomy they had for seven decades through a rushed presidential order. An indefinite curfew — that has entered its second day — was imposed in occupied Kashmir and elected leaders were put under house arrest.

By repealing Article 370 of the constitution, people from the rest of India will now have the right to acquire property in occupied Kashmir and settle there permanently. Kashmiris as well as critics of India’s Hindu nationalist-led government see the move as an attempt to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers.

Furthermore, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, who is also president of the BJP, moved a bill to bifurcate the state into two union territories — one, Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and the other, Ladakh — to be directly ruled by New Delhi.

Pakistan had strongly condemned the move and vowed to "exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps" taken by India. A joint parliamentary session was summoned by President Arif Alvi so that the political leadership can devise future strategy with regards to occupied Kashmir.

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