Pakistan News


The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Monday that six Pakistan Army officials, including two majors, were martyred after a helicopter crashed during a flying mission near Khost in Harnai, Balochistan.
“All six personnel on board, including two pilots, have embraced shahadat,” the military’s media affairs wing said, adding that the incident occurred late last night.
The martyred officials were identified as:
39-year-old Major Khurram Shahzad (pilot), a resident of Attock. He was married with one daughter.
30-year-old Major Muhammad Muneeb Afzal (pilot), a resident of Rawalpindi. He was married with two sons.
44-year-old Subedar Abdul Wahid, a resident of Sabirabad village in Karak. He was married with four children, including three sons and a daughter.
27-year-old Sepoy Muhamad Imran, a resident of Makhdoompur in Khanewal. He was married with two daughters and a son.
30-year-old Naik Jalil, a resident of village Bhutta, Lohara, Teh Kharian in Gujrat district. He was married with two sons.
35-year-old Sepoy Shoaib, a resident of village Khatarphatti PO Syeeda Teh Jhand in Attock district. He was married with one son.
The ISPR has yet to release details about the cause of the crash which comes more than a month after a similar incident occurred in Balochistan.

On August 1, a Pakistan Army helicopter with six people on board, including Commander 12 Corps Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, lost contact with the air traffic control in Balochistan’s Lasbela district.
A day later, the wreckage of the helicopter was found near Musa Goth, with all personnel on board embracing martyrdom. According to the ISPR, the accident occurred due to bad weather.
‘Too many crashes’
Reacting to the news of the latest crash, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that he was deeply grieved. He prayed for the deceased and their family members, adding that the entire nation shared the grief of the bereaved.
President Arif Alvi also expressed grief over the incident and paid tributes to the martyred officials.
An official statement on Twitter said the president prayed for the martyrs and extended condolences to their families.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said he was deeply saddened to hear of the incident, terming it to be “tragic”.
PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry said helicopter flying was getting dangerous, adding that this required “engineering evaluation”.
“Too many crashes […] rest in peace bravehearts. All were too young to die,” he said.
Climate Minister Sherry Rehman offered her condolences over the lives lost in the crash. She also prayed for the families of the martyred officials.
Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo expressed deep grief and sorrow over the helicopter crash. In a statement, he said the entire nation paid rich tribute to those who sacrificed their lives while performing their duties.
“We wish Allah’s mercy upon the soldiers who embraced martyrdom in the accident and extend our heartfelt condolences to the brotherly people of Pakistan,” the Turkish embassy in Islamabad said.


UNITED NATIONS: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif made a passionate appeal to the world on Friday to undo the ‘climate injustice’ done to countries like Pakistan that make little contribution to global warming and yet face its worst consequences.
In his debut speech at the UN General Assembly, the prime minister also offered an olive branch to India, saying peace in the neighbourhood was necessary for progress and stability in the region.
“Why are my people paying the price of such high global warming through no fault of their own?” Mr Sharif asked.
“Nature has unleashed her fury on Pakistan without looking at our carbon footprint, which is next to nothing. Our actions did not contribute to this.”
Mr Sharif also talked about regional issues, like the Kashmir dispute and Afghanistan, but he remained focused on the sufferings caused by this year’s unprecedented rains and floods.
“As I stand here today to tell the story of my country, Pakistan, my heart and mind have not been able to leave home. No words can describe the shock we are living through or how the face of the country lies transformed,” he said.
Offers olive branch to India, says peace in neighbourhood necessary for progress, stability; makes impassioned plea for assistance
He said he came to the UN to “explain first hand” the scale and magnitude of this climate catastrophe that has pushed one-third of the country under water in a super storm that no one has seen in living memory.
“For 40 days and 40 nights a flood of biblical proportions poured down on us, smashing centuries of weather records, challenging everything we knew about disaster, and how to manage it,” the prime minister said.
“Even today, huge swathes of the country are still under water, submerged in an ocean of human suffering. In this ground zero of climate change, 33 million people, including women and children, are now at high risk from health hazards, with 650,000 women giving birth in makeshift tarpaulins.”
The prime minister said Pakistan had never seen a more stark and devastating example of the impact of Global Warming. “Life in Pakistan has changed forever.
People in Pakistan ask why, why has this happened to them? When global warming rips apart whole families and an entire country at this ferocious speed, it is time to ask why, and time to ask not what can be done but what MUST be done,” said Mr Sharif while explaining how this calamity had affected hearts and minds in Pakistan.
“The undeniable and inconvenient truth is that this calamity has not been triggered by anything we have done,” he explained. “Our glaciers are melting fast, our forests are burning, and our heatwaves have crossed 53 degrees Celsius, making us the hottest place on the planet.”
The prime minister explained that this year’s deluge was not a solitary incident. “Now, we live through an unprecedented monster monsoon. It is literally a monsoon on steroids, as the UN secretary general described it most befittingly. One thing is very clear: what happened in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan,” he warned.
Referring to another recent statement by the UN secretary general, Mr Sharif said that hotspots like Pakistan fall in the list of 10 most climate-vulnerable countries, but emit less than one per cent of the greenhouse gasses that are burning the planet.
“It is, therefore, entirely reasonable to expect some approximation of justice for this loss and damage, not to mention building back better with resilience.”
Thanking the UN secretary general for visiting the flood-affected areas and those nations which sent help and their representatives to Pakistan, the prime minister said: “Clearly, the time for talk about actions has passed.”
The prime minister also expressed the fear that once flood subsides, people may forget the victims. “So my real worry is about the next stage of this challenge. When the cameras leave, and the story just shifts away to conflicts like the Ukraine, my question is, will we be left alone, to cope with a crisis we did not create?”
Mr Sharif said Pakistan’s urgent priority was to ensure rapid economic growth and lift millions out of destitution and hunger. “We look for peace with all our neighbours, including India. Sustainable peace and stability in South Asia, however, remains contingent upon a just and lasting solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” he said, urging India to end this longstanding dispute by giving the inalienable right of self-determination to the people of held Kashmir.
The prime minister said Pakistan would also like to see an Afghanistan which was at peace with itself and the world, and “which respects and nurtures all its citizens, without regard to gender, ethnicity and religion”.


UNITED NATIONS: “Pakistan is drowning, not only in floodwater but in debt” too, said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif urged the international community on Tuesday to stay engaged with the country as it deals with this huge humanitarian crisis.
Pakistan and France, meanwhile, agreed to identify ways and means to support efforts to tackle the challenge caused by the floods and Paris offered to host an international conference before the end of the year to help Islamabad rebuild in a climate-resilient manner.
“I recently saw it with my own eyes in Pakistan — where one-third of the country is submerged by a ‘monsoon on steroids’,” said the UN chief during a forceful address to world leaders gathered for the opening day of the General Assembly’s high-level debate.
Mr Guterres repeated the appeal he first made during his recent visit to Pakistan where he urged lenders to consider debt reduction to help those nations that were facing a possible economic collapse. “Creditors should consider debt reduction mechanisms such as debt-climate adaptation swaps,” he said again at the UNGA. “These could have saved lives and livelihoods in Pakistan, which is drowning not only in floodwater, but in debt.”
The UN chief urged the lenders to set up “an effective mechanism of debt relief for developing countries, including middle-income countries, in debt distress”.
This is the first UNGA session attended physically by world leaders after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also at the welcome reception hosted by Mr Guterres, Prime Minister Sharif interacted with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, held bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron, President of Spain Pedro Sanchez Perez-Castejon, Chancellor of Austria Karl Nehammer and President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi.
Besides, Mr Sharif expressed gratitude to Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas for sending the response and rescue team for the flood-affected people of Pakistan.
He also highlighted the need for helping out developing economies in a series of tweets. He was scheduled to address the Global Food Security Summit, but could not due to other engagements. In his tweets, he said he had come to the UNGA to “tell Pakistan’s story to the world, a story of deep anguish and pain arising out of a massive human tragedy caused by floods”.
French help
According to a joint statement, issued after PM Sharif’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the UNGA, the premier apprised President Macron of the devastation caused by the climate-induced floods across Pakistan, expressed gratitude to France for sending timely assistance of tents, water pumps and a team of doctors and nurses, and hoped that the country would continue to contribute in the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase.
The premier also thanked France for its support for GSP+ scheme, noting that it served to enhance trade and economic ties with EU as well as France.


UNITED NATIONS: The high-level debate at the 77th session of the UN Gen­eral Assembly (UNGA) began in New York on Monday with Pakistan telling the world how climate change, pandemics and conflicts were reversing progress and widening inequalities around the globe.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar represented Pakistan at the inaugural session of the high-level debate ahead of Prime Minis­ter Shehbaz Sharif’s arrival in New York on Monday evening.
The PM will address the General Assembly on Sept 23.
Hina Rabbani Khar was the first to speak — at the Transforming Education Summit 2022 — where she read a statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, as Pakistan currently heads this key UN lobby.
“Millions are held back from learning and living a life of dignity and empowerment,” she told the world leaders attending the summit.
“Education is at a crossroads. Covid-19, conflict, poverty, climate change, natural disasters and gender inequality are reversing progress and widening inequalities.”
The foreign minister, however, represented Pakistan at the OIC Contact Group at the UN, which met on Monday to consider “an alarming rise” in Islamophobia in the West.
“What is most worrisome is that Islamophobia continues to find strong resonance in political spheres in Europe,” he warned. “This is leading to the institutionalisation of Islamophobia through new legislations and policies.”
“Today, one of the worst manifestations of such Islamophobia is in Hindutva-inspired India,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari said. “Driven by the ideology of hate against Muslims, the ruling BJP-RSS regime is executing its century-old plan to obliterate India’s Islamic legacy.”
Last year, the UN General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution, introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC, designating March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.
Ms Khar told the session on education that even before the Covid-19 pandemic, over half of the world’s children and youth were either out of school or in school and not learning. During the pandemic, more than 1.6 billion children and youth – nearly the entire world’s population – had their education disrupted, she added.
“Unfortunately, post-pandemic conditions have worsened these inequalities in many geographical regions,” she said.
The foreign minister also met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the 77th UNGA Session in New York on Monday.
This was their fourth meeting since the foreign minister assumed office in April 2022.
During the meeting, the two sides had a comprehensive exchange of views on the entire spectrum of bilateral partnership and multilateral cooperation, including at the United Nations.
Pakistan has also arranged a week-long (Sept 19-25) exhibition at the secretariat lobby of the UN headquarters in New York to share the devastation caused by recent floods with the rest of the world.
The exhibition – “A Climate Carnage” – displays the sights of the disasters that struck Pakistan this summer “as a vivid manifestation of the losses caused by climate change”, said a statement issued by the country’s permanent mission at the UN.


WASHINGTON: Foreign Minister and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari landed in the US capital on Sunday morning, boarded a car and hit the road to New York, the Pakistan Embassy said.
Embassy officials said this detour happened because the foreign minister, who was coming from Samarkand, missed his direct flight to New York.
But PPP workers in New York, and Washington, received an email from their local leaders three days ago, saying that “because of some last-minute changes in his plans, the party chairman will now go directly to Washington, before coming to New York”.
The email caused wild speculations among PPP supporters, and in the Pakistani American community in general, some of whom claimed that the foreign minister met “someone important” in Washington. Who, they do not say, but most of them insist that he indeed met someone.
But diplomats at the Pakistan Embassy and the country’s Permanent Mission at the United Nations rejected such speculations as “nothing more than political gossip”. One diplomat pointed out that the foreign minister is already coming to Washington on Sept 25 on a three-day visit and would hold a series of meetings with senior US officials.
“So, it does not make much of a sense for him to stopover in Washington for a brief meeting before moving on to New York,” one of the diplomats said.
But those who insist on seeing more than what meets the eye, claim that this meeting was “part of an effort to arrange a face-to-face meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and US President Joe Biden”.
Pakistan has been trying for such a meeting since 2019, when former prime minister Imran Khan met the then US president Donald Trump at the White House and again at the United Nations.
Pakistani diplomats, however, say that there’s no summit meeting on the card and that schedules are made at a lower level, by the embassies.
The prime minister, who was in London on Sunday, is expected in New York on Sept 19 to attend the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.


LONDON: As speculation around the appointment of the next army chief grows, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters in London on Sunday that the appointment “should not be politicised as it hurts the institution”.
Mr Asif is in London acco­mpanying Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is in the United Kingdom to attend the state funeral of the Queen on Monday (today), upon the invitation of the UK government.
PM Sharif, according to media reports, paid a visit to elder brother and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and the two discussed several issues, including the time of general elections as well as a possible change of PTI-PML-Q coalition government in Punjab.
The Sharifs agreed that despite being under pressure, the PDM government would complete its constitutional term and the next general election “should be held at the stipulated time”.
The meeting deliberated on removing the Punjab government, led by the opposition PTI and PML-Q, and considered the name of Hamza Shehbaz, among other candidates, for the post of chief minister. The matter of important appoi­nt­ments due in November also came under discussion.
Shehbaz, Nawaz discuss change in Punjab govt; agree to hold polls on ‘stipulated’ time
The Sharifs had a three-hour meeting at Hussain Nawaz’s office in Stanhope House. The meeting, the brothers’ second in London since Mr Shehbaz became PM, was also attended by former finance minister Ishaq Dar and Mr Shehbaz’s son Suleman.
According to reports, Khawaja Asif and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb did not participate in the meeting.
In response to a question, Khawaja Asif said: “It will be unfortunate if the army chief’s appointment is politicised by the opposition.
“But it doesn’t matter. As an institution, the army has its own sanctity (taqaddus), as does the process to appoint a new chief. It should not become the subject of debate because it hurts the institution.”
He further said: “The chief’s loyalty is with his country and then his institution. Army chiefs are not affiliated with any politician. His position and personality should not be made controversial”.
Mr Asif’s remarks were a veiled reference to the controversy stirred by the remarks recently made by PTI Chairman Imran Khan, who in an interview had hit out at the ruling coalition by claiming they want to appoint ‘their favourite’ as chief to ‘save themselves from corruption cases’.
Editorial: Chief concern
His remarks were construed by the military as ‘defamatory’ and as an attempt to undermine the army’s leadership.
“I appeal to all politicians and the media to stop making this into a discussion. Like in the past, two or three weeks prior to the appointment the process starts, and the chief is appointed,” he said.
Relief for flood survivors
Talking to reporters, the prime minister said friendly countries were extending assistance for the flood victims, adds APP.
He said relief goods were being brought by aeroplanes, trains and ships, adding that people of Pakistan were also giving donations and the federal and provincial governments were performing their roles in relief and rehabilitation of the flood-hit people.
The coalition government had allocated Rs70 billion and was giving Rs25,000 each to the affected families through the Benazir Income Support Progra­mme, he said.
Mr Sharif said the government was providing clean water, food, tents and other essential items to the flood victims through national and provincial disaster management authorities.


The death toll from recent floods, which are estimated to have affected around 33 million people, crossed 1,500 on Friday amid reports of water levels receding in Sindh, where floodwaters and hill torrents have converged after wreaking havoc elsewhere in the country.
According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 22 flood-related deaths were reported over the last 24 hours. Since June 14, 1,508 people have died.
In its daily situation report, the NDMA also said nine individuals were injured in flood-related incidents during the last 24 hours, taking the total to 12,758.
Recent floods, brought by record monsoon rains and glacial melt in northern mountains, have also swept away homes, vehicles, crops and livestock in damage estimated at $30 billion.
The government and the United Nations have blamed climate change for the surging waters in the wake of record-breaking summer temperatures, with Pakistan receiving 391mm of rain, or nearly 190 per cent more than the 30-year average, in July and August. That climbed to 466pc for Sindh, one of the worst-affected areas.
Water levels ‘dropping’ in Sindh
On Friday, there were signs of life returning to normal in parts of the province as water levels continued to recede.
Dadu Deputy Commissioner (DC) Murtaza Ali Shah told Dawn.com that the level of floodwater had dropped by approximately two feet at various spots, including the ring bund, in the district’s Mehar city.
He said there was still eight to night-feet-high water in the city’s adjoining areas, but the level was continuously reducing. And “markets in the city have started opening partially,” he added.
Dadu Assistant Commissioner Mohsin Sheikh told Dawn.com that the residents of Mehar, who had shifted to safer locations in the wake of floods, had started returning after the drop in water levels.
Moreover, DC Shah said water levels had also dropped by the same measure in Khairpur Nathan Shah.
Separately, PPP MPA Pir Mujeebul Haq, who was elected from Dadu’s PS-74 constituency, told Dawn.com that the water level in the Main Nara Valley Drain had dropped by two feet.
In Johi, MNA Rafique Jamali, elected from Dadu’s NA-235 constituency, said the water level was around eight to nine feet high in the city and that the water level was dropping at the city’s ring bund. He said markets had started opening partially in Johi.
PPP MNA Sikandar Ali Rahoupoto, who has been elected from Jamshoro’s NA-233 constituency, estimated that the water was standing up to eight to nine feet in Bhan Syedabad and adjoining areas after the levels dropped by around two feet.
“Bhan Syedebad has partially opened,” he said.
According to the official in charge of the irrigation cell for Manchhar Lake, Sher Mohammad Mallah, the water level in Manchhar Lake — which has been one of the main threats province reeling from floods — was recorded at 121.5-foot reduced level on Friday morning.
The Flood Forecasting Division website showed that the River Indus was witnessing a medium-level flood on Friday afternoon.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been made homeless by flooding in the southern Sindh province, with many sleeping by the side of elevated highways to protect themselves from the water.
“We have been buying tents from all the manufacturers available in Pakistan,” Sindh’s chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said in a statement on Thursday.
Still, one-third of the homeless in Sindh don’t even have a tent to protect them from the elements, he said.
Over the last few weeks, authorities have built barriers to keep the flood waters out of key structures such as power stations and homes, while farmers who stayed to try and save their cattle have faced a new threat as fodder has begun to run out.
‘Situation beyond bleak’
Meanwhile, the authorities set up a “tent village” at a 500-kilowatt grid station in Dadu to house families and individuals displaced by floods.
According to the grid station’s superintendent engineer, Zulfiqar Solangi, 100 tents have been put up at the site so far, and 900 more are being set up.
Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir also confirmed the setting up of the tent village, saying that the Pakistan Army and officials from other departments had worked together to raise a protective dyke to protect the grid station from floodwaters.
“The 500-kilowatt grid station supplies electricity to the [entire] country, which is why it was important to protect it,” he said.
Hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced in Sindh are in dire need of support in terms of food, shelter, clean drinking water, toilets, and medicines.
Many have been sleeping in the open by the side of elevated highways.
“I have been in flood-affected areas for the past two days. The situation for families is beyond bleak, and the stories I heard paint a desperate picture,” said Abdullah Fadil, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund representative in Pakistan, after visiting the flooded areas.
“All of us on the ground see malnourished children battling diarrhoea and malaria, dengue fever, and many with painful skin conditions,” he said in a statement.
He said a lot of the mothers were anaemic and malnourished themselves, and with very low-weight babies, being exhausted or ill and unable to breastfeed.
Millions of families are now living with little more than rags to protect themselves from the scorching sun as temperatures in some areas pass 40 degrees Celsius, Fadil said.

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