Tag Archives: South Asia

There is no proper climate change policy in Pakistan, experts conclude

There is no proper climate change policy in Pakistan, say experts. Policies are made here to get funding from international donors. 

“Climate change is a threat multiplier. There are other more critical threats but climate will multiply their impact,” said HEC chairman Dr Tariq Banuri on Friday. He was speaking at the inauguration session of a two-day conference on climate change — An Existential Challenge for Pakistan — organised by PIIA. “It is real, it is here and we caused it though we are quite sure that we also know how to fix it, but only if we cooperate,” said Dr Banuri, adding that the window for acting was short and closing fast. “There will be pain, nevertheless, we have to adapt. We also have to learn to prosper in a world defined by climate change,” he said. Bringing up the four horsemen and their horses of the Book of Revelation who symbolise the evils to come at the end of the world such as conquest, war, famine and death, he said that over the years things such as the industrial revolution, the manufacturing of pesticides, introduction of vaccines, etc, have pretty much warded off threats of famine, death, etc as more people today die of obesity than hunger and the incidence of premature deaths was also on the way out.

“But if we think that we have pushed back the four [horsemen] of the apocalypse, just know that climate change is bringing them back in,” he said. He also said that the government here was not serious about doing anything for climate change. “So there is really no such thing as climate policy here. No one knows what is happening as the policies here are not made to solve issues, they are made to see how to get funding from international donors,” he said. Prof Dr Noman Ahmed, the dean of the faculty of architecture at the NED University, started his presentation on ‘Citizens’ Concerns about Climate Change’ with a little story about him going to Lea Market for his research and casually asking a labourer there about the heatwave and its repercussions on people like him. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate Change, Discussion, Karachi, Pakistan, Policymaking

PIIA Conference on Climate Change

There is more glacial ice in Pakistan than anywhere on Earth but the glaciers are melting and Pakistan is considered to be the seventh most vulnerable country in the world in respect of climate change …

The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs is holding a Conference on Climate Change: An Existential Challenge for Pakistan on 3 and 4 May 2019. The full programme is available below. The agenda of the conference is divided into technical and non-technical sessions. Scholars and specialists from concerned organizations will discuss the life threatening challenges faced by Pakistan in detail. Across the world, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms have put an end to the long running debate on whether or not climate change is real. World leaders, climate experts, industrialists, and concerned citizens have realized that climate change is life threatening. Developing countries which are the least responsible for emitting greenhouse gases are caught in its trap. Overall, climate change is a challenge to Pakistan which is considered the seventh most vulnerable country.

It is faced with water shortages, melting glaciers, droughts, floods, sea-intrusion and heat waves which have substantially altered the pattern of life in both rural and urban areas. With a rapidly growing population, climate change is also threatening food security, along with agriculture ― the backbone of our economy ― in the arid and semi-arid regions. Considered as a non-traditional security threat, climate change poses a risk to peace and security of the country. Experts estimate that since the 1960s, the mean temperature in Pakistan have risen by 0.35°C at a steady average rate of 0.07°C per decade. There is an expected increase in temperature between 1.4°C and 3.7°C by the end of the 2060s. Droughts are estimated to occur every 16 years.

There is more glacial ice in Pakistan than anywhere on Earth but the glaciers are melting and over the last more than 30 years the snowline has receded by over 1.1 kilometers. By 2050, sea water intrusion will result in the loss of 0.79% of the Indus Delta population while 2.73% of the Delta area will be potentially lost. The energy sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Pakistan started off as a water rich country but 72 years later it is one of the most water stressed countries of the world.

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Filed under Climate Change, Discussion, Pakistan, Pakistan Horizon, Water

Foreign forces are to blame for Afghan conflict: Rustam Shah Mohmand

Former Ambassador to Afghanistan urges Pakistan to shift focus away from India.“The India-centric approach will have to be reviewed because it doesn’t deliver much” he said. Watch Video

PIIA recently held a talk on the Afghan conflict and this is Peerzada Salman’s news report of our event from Dawn. He said there is only one reason for the Afghan conflict: foreign forces. And if Pakistan and Afghanistan are to have good relations for a lasting peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan has to review its India-centric policy. This was the point that Rustam Shah Mohmand, former ambassador of Pakistan to Afghanistan, gave significant emphasis to during his talk titled The Afghanistan conflict: emerging dynamics and impact on Pakistan at The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) on Wednesday evening. Mr Mohmand said what he was about to say might not be liked by some people. He then gave a robust historic perspective on the Afghan issue by asserting that most conflicts in the world were unnecessary, underlining that the country faced British imperialism in the 19th century, Russian invasion in the 20th century and US invasion in the 21st century.

Mr Mohmand said there were many theories about the 9/11 incident (who carried out the attacks and whether any Afghan was involved) that made the US invade Afghanistan. In 2001, the attack was launched and seven or eight months later President Bush announced that Afghanistan had been liberated, and “the liberation continues”. During the invasion unspeakable crimes against humanity were perpetrated. Taliban supporters were arrested, and 3,000 people (mostly innocent) were choked to death in containers. More than 200,000 civilians had been killed, villages decimated and markets blown up chasing invisible and visible enemy. Mr Mohmand asked: “What has the war delivered?” Ninety per cent of Afghanistan’s GDP comes from either foreign funding or spending by coalition forces inside the country. Domestic revenue is five to seven per cent of the GDP. Malnutrition in children is 39pc and unemployment is 45pc. Continue reading

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Filed under Al Qaeda, Balochistan, China, Disarmament, Discussion, India, ISIS, Pakistan, Pakistan Horizon, Politics, Taliban

FATF: Where does Pakistan stand?

The Pakistani delegation in Paris received messages that India had asked other member states to put Pakistan on the blacklist.

Pakistan made a high-level political promise earlier in 2018 to work closely with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and APG to improve its Anti-Money Laundering/Combating Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) policies and to cater to its strategic counter terrorist financing-related weaknesses. Steps were taken in order to operationalize the combined database for its currencies enunciation regime, as acknowledged by the FATF at a meeting earlier this February. The statement however concluded that Pakistan needed to meet the expectations of the action plan by May 2019 in order to be de-listed from the FATF’s ‘grey list’. Pakistani officials were surprised as they had been under the impression that the FATF had been appreciative of the steps that had been taken place in January as per requirement by the FATF and AML/CFT. Pakistan needs to address its geopolitical ‘deficiencies’ to be able to qualify for a de-listing.

Some of these ‘deficiencies’ include the understanding of the threat posed by terrorist groups like the Jaish-e-Muhammad and Falah-i-Insaniyat and that ‘authorities are identifying cash couriers and enforcing controls on illicit movement of currency.’ Further demotion from the ‘grey-list’ could hinder Pakistan’s foreign investment and deter the access to international markets as Pakistan is already deeply infested in a financial crisis. India pressed Pakistan to make public the measures taken against terrorist organizations to which Pakistan replied saying that it was up to them whether or not to publicize actions taken against these groups and that it would not kneel down to pressure from India. A country being labeled a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ should not be an instrument used in order to halt terrorist activity; it is a very burdensome label to put upon a state struggling to save its own citizens from the threat terrorist organizations have posed for decades. Continue reading

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‘China sees CPEC as a way of creating free market’ says leading specialist

South Asia expert from Oxford University thinks that CPEC will have a positive effect on Pakistan but certainly not a transformative one. 

As reported recently in the New York Times, Trump’s isolation of Pakistan means that China will play an even greater role in our country’s future. In addition to economic development, it is now the case that the previously peaceful objectives of CPEC are duly shifting towards military cooperation involving “defense-related projects, including a secret plan to build new fighter jets.” It is possible to attack the Chinese-Pakistani partnership and label Pakistan a “guinea pig” for Chinese experiments, but the expansion of ties will also empower Pakistan against the increasing menace posed by mad Modi and his acolytes. The showcasing of Chinese military technology will be accompanied by Pakistan playing a key civilian and military role in China’s Beidou satellite navigation system, a prime part of the Belt and Road Plan considered to be the “information Silk Road”, which Beijing hopes to sell to all Belt and Road countries. In these rather interesting times, Professor Matthew McCartney, and specialist in development in South Asia, addressed the members of the PIIA on 31 March 2019. News reports are available below. Watch video

From Dawn: “Eight years ago when I had entered the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies at the University of Oxford, the focus there was on India but today our focus is truly on South Asia where the study on India is not possible without knowing about Pakistan,” said Professor Dr Matthew McCartney at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs on Saturday. Dr McCartney, who teaches political economy and human development of South Asia at Oxford University, was speaking on the subject of ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Sustainable Economic Growth and Industrial Policy in Contemporary Pakistan’ Continue reading

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‘Afghan refugees’ born in Pakistan are excluded from Pakistani citizenship

Properly understood, the important right to citizenship is the right to have other rights such as the right to reside in one’s country of residence and to consular protection. Having been prime minister for just six months, Imran Khan has inexplicably made some rather grandiose plans regarding how his shambolic government plans to illegally hand out Pakistani citizenship to millions of so-called “Afghan refugees” in Pakistan who simply have no right to remain in the country, let alone be granted the right to citizenship. In other words, Imran Khan’s so-called “new Pakistan” has already abdicated its own citizens’ rights by irresponsibly putting our country’s enemies before the rights of its own citizens. His recent statement that “Afghans whose children have been raised and born in Pakistan will be granted citizenship inshallah (God willing) because this is the established practice in countries around the world” is highly misleading and inaccurate. All this is entirely unacceptable and blatantly breaches Imran Khan’s campaign promise that Pakistan is for Pakistanis and that he will put Pakistan’s interests first above all else.

First of all, Pakistan does not participate in the Refugee Convention 1951 and so our country has no obligation whatsoever to give asylum to those arguing that they are fleeing persecution and cannot avail the protection of their home state. Yet the figures show that Pakistan has been hosting the world’s largest refugee population. Most of these persons are Afghan and some 2.7 million of them are present on Pakistani soil and 60 per cent of them were born in Pakistan and 1.5 million Afghans will benefit from the government’s new policy. Others include 400,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and also several hundred thousand Bengalis from Bangladesh. Pakistan is said to be the only country in all of Asia to grant “unconditional” jus soli citizenship to those born within its borders under the Citizenship Act 1951. However, a close reading of the 1951 Act and Afghan law itself shows that in reality Afghans born in Pakistan have no legal right to Pakistani citizenship and are excluded from possessing it.  Continue reading

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Filed under Accountability, Afghanistan, Discussion, Immigration, Migration, Pakistan, Partition, Politics, Refugees, Rohingya

Climate Refugees: A Looming Threat

It is imperative that there should be a context-specific approach to the looming threat and uncertainty created by the legal lacuna regarding climate refugees.

Despite the nonsensical denials of the Trump presidency, climate change is a factual consequence of  industrialization and technological advancement. Apart from Trump, denials on this issue that prevail among some states, especially the ones who are most responsible for releasing greenhouse gases (GHGs). Millions of people are displaced from their homes as a consequence. Rising temperatures, droughts, floods, desertification, tropical cyclones, glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) and other natural disasters have disrupted the livelihood of many communities. Such events testify to the effects of changing climate. The climate displacement projected by World Bank (143 million by 2050) and other institutions varies in numbers but it is significant. The non-applicability of the Refugee Convention 1951 to climate refugees (or environmental refugees) has kept these persons outside the scope of the assistance provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and other relevant organizations; and it has placed them at higher risk when faced with such disasters.

What is more worrying is that, some countries facing this problem have not even developed a migration policy. The Refugee Convention 1951 was drafted after the Second World War and only covers refugees fleeing persecution on the basis of the five convention reasons, i.e. race, religion, nationality, membership of a political ground and/or political opinion. Overall a threat is looming on the international plane and the situation presents a threat to existing order and it has a complicated history. Climate refugees (also called ‘environmental migrants’) mostly migrate inside the country and travel at short distances from their areas seeking a chance of rehabilitation. However, their decision to migrate depends on the scale and nature of the disaster. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate Change, Discussion, Economy, Ethnic cleansing, Immigration, Pakistan Horizon, Politics, Refugees, Rohingya