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90% of fish consumed in Pakistan is contaminated, says WWF



Approximately 90% of the fish consumed in the country is contaminated, putrefied, and unfit for human consumption, The News reported while citing a World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) official. 

Muhammad Moazzam Khan, WWF’s technical adviser on marine fisheries and former director general of the marine fisheries department, shared the assessment at seminar titled ‘Blue Economy: An Avenue for Development in Pakistan’ held at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs.

Khan insisted that the large percentage of fish sold in shops and on roadside carts were unfit for human consumption. The speakers at the seminar shed light on various aspects of Pakistan’s blue economy, challenges it faces, marine fisheries issues, and the socioeconomic uplift of coastal communities.

“Fish are very delicate protein item and putrefy very quickly if not iced or frozen as soon as possible,” Khan explained. “Fish are usually kept at the room temperature and sometimes at above 40 degree Celsius and vendors sprinkle water on them to make them look fresher and keep them from decaying. But they have already become unfit for consumption, yet people buy and consequently, fall sick.”

He suggested that fish be stored between 0 and 5 degree Celsius to prevent it from rotting. The WWF representative pointed out Pakistan exported around 10 per cent of the produce and the rest was degraded or damaged as most boats lacked proper deep freezers and other facilities to store the catch.

He remarked that export of seafood in terms of volume is increasing, but still we are unable to achieve a large target due to a number of factors, including lack of proper processing facilities and low quality controls.

Khan lamented that fisheries remained a completely unregulated sector in Pakistan as the fleet size had increased tremendously unchecked. According to a survey carried out in 2016, the overall fleet size comprised 11,500 vessels, but now it was estimated to have topped 20,000, which needed to be cut down to 5,000 to 6,000 to preserve the fish resource, he said.

Vice Admiral (retd) Asif Humayun explained why the blue economy was a new frontier for Pakistan. Towards the end, he suggested a way forward to tap the full potential of the sea and marine resources to support the national economy.

He said Pakistan had three commercial ports, and the Port Qasim had emerged as the leading port in the country with an annual profit of over Rs90 billion as it handled 52 per cent of Pakistan’s total cargo.

The retired navy officer said that the Karachi Port Trust had also increased its capacity but its profitability was stagnant due to a huge debt burden and transportation hurdles within Karachi. Gwadar is a port for the future, Humayun said, adding it had a huge potential for transshipment, bunkering, ship repair and other facilities but it handled less than 80,000 tonnes of cargo every year.

The former vice admiral pointed out that the country’s ports were relatively inefficient with their cargo handling being slow, and the tariff was high. He called upon the maritime affairs department to look into these issues and resolve them so the ports could attract more transshipment cargo and transit trade.

After the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, he maintained all Central Asian states had expressed their desire to use Pakistani ports for transit and transshipment of cargo.


Pakistan had about 22,000 registered seafarers while currently about 6,000 personnel regularly sailed in the sea, he said and added that most of those seafarers were employed by foreign ships because Pakistan had only 11 ships.

Comparatively, Filipino seafarers earned forex worth around five billion dollars while Indian over one billion dollars.

Coastal communities

Saeed Baloch, the general secretary of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, lamented that fish used to be a cheap and clean source of protein for the poor coastal communities but it were turning into a luxury item due to rising cost. “Ninety per cent of the fishing boats have become motorised and use fuel. Rising fuel prices have pushed up the cost of fish and related products,” he remarked.

Baloch said the fishing community helped the country earn forex up to 300 to 400 million dollars annually through the export of seafood but it was unable to increase the exports because their own lives weren’t improving.

Talking about obstacles to increasing the volume of fish being produced in Pakistan, he said no comprehensive policy had been devised yet to govern the fisheries sector. Baloch lamented that successive governments devised no policy to improve the lifestyle of fishing communities living in decades-old environment without basic amenities such as potable water and drainage systems. He also discussed the issue of sea pollution due to enormous discharge of untreated effluent into the sea.


4 dead, 12 injured as sucide blast rips through Hangu mosque




  • Incident takes place within parameters of Police Station Doaba. 
  • Two suicide bombers were involved in attack, says Hangu DPO.
  • 12 people, rescued from rubble, shifted to nearby hospital. 

HANGU: A blast ripped through a mosque in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Hangu, local officials confirmed Friday, leaving three dead — including a policeman — and 12 injured.

The incident took place within the parametres of Police Station Doaba during the Friday sermon — a time when scores of believers are gathered at a mosque for their weekly prayer. 

Hangu District Police Officer Nisar Ahmed said 30-40 people were under the rubble — as the mosque’s roof caved in — and an operation was underway to rescue them.

Ahmed said two suicide bombers were involved in the attack — one targeted the gate of the police station, and the other blew himself up inside the mosque.

The 12 people, rescued from the rubble, have been shifted to a nearby hospital, he said.

Caretaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Azam Khan, taking notice, directed officials to enforce an emergency in all hospitals of the city as he sought a report on the blast from law enforcers.

The police officials said that two militants tried entering the police station and started firing at the gate. They added that one of the terrorists was killed at the gate by the police in retaliatory fire.

Moreover, two policemen were also injured during the firing, officials of the law enforcement agency said, adding that the other militant blew himself up inside the mosque.

The timely action by the police resulted in fewer casualties following the blast, they added. 

This was the second terror attack to hit Pakistan in a single day as earlier today, a suicide blast in Balochistan’s Mastung district killed at least 35 people including a police officer while injuring over 45.

The explosion took place near the mosque where people were gathering to mark Eid Miladun Nabi — the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

For the past year now, Pakistan has been gripped by a spate of terror attacks, with Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa particularly being under the radar of militants targeting security forces and civilians to deteriorate peace.

Security forces, however, continue to conduct operations against terrorists to eliminate terrorism from the country in its resolve to strengthen the sacrifices of its soldiers.

Earlier this month, a report compiled by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) stated a sharp increase recorded in militant attacks across the country in the month of August with 99 terror incidents reported.

This, according to the report, was the highest number recorded in any single month since November 2014. These attacks have resulted in 112 deaths and 87 injuries, mostly targeting security forces personnel and civilians.

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One-month deadline for illegal foreign nationals to be announced soon




  • Major countrywide crackdown to be launched by LEAs.
  • Around 1.1 million Afghan refugees illegally reside in Pakistan.
  • Surge in street crime in capital linked with illegal Afghans.

ISLAMABAD: The government will soon announce a one-month deadline for all illegal foreign immigrants, including Afghans, to leave the country or face the music.

After the one-month deadline, a major countrywide crackdown will be launched by the law-enforcement agencies to identify and deport such illegal immigrants, the vast majority of whom are said to be Afghans.

Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti will announce the policy in a few days time, an informed source said. 

The decision at the highest level has already been taken not to let Pakistan become a haven for illegal immigrants, many of whom are not only involved in criminal activities but are also part of the smuggling mafia, the source added.

It is said the authorities have already arrested many illegal Afghan immigrants who were doing illegal dollar trade at the cost of the country’s economy. A large number of such illegal foreign nationals are also doing different businesses in several major cities including the federal capital. The surge in street crime in Islamabad is also linked with the influx of illegal Afghans.

There are said to be around 1.1 million Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan illegally. 

It is said as many as 400,000 Afghans entered Pakistan illegally since the return of the Afghan Taliban to Afghanistan in August 2021. There are another 700,000 Afghans identified who have been living in the country illegally.

Media reports suggest that 1.1 million Afghan refugees neither possess any visa nor any valid documents, allowing them to stay in the country. Most of these illegal refugees were involved in anti-state and criminal activities.

Therefore, they would be sent back at the earliest, said a report, adding the Afghan Taliban government was also informed about Pakistan’s decision.

Islamabad has hosted millions of refugees for decades, and at one point five million Afghan refugees were residing in Pakistan. 

Some estimates suggest there are still close to four million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan. However, the count of individuals possessing valid refugee cards, as per official records, is considerably lower.

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HEC announces Commonwealth Scholarships for masters, PhD




In a positive development for students, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has announced Commonwealth Scholarships for masters and PhD programmes for the year 2023. 

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC) provides the UK government’s Commonwealth scholarship scheme led by international development objectives. 

The CSC has funded over 30,000 individuals to study in the UK and gain skills, acquire knowledge, and build networks to tackle global development challenges

Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) students can apply for the scholarships till October 17 (Tuesday) on the CSC portal.

The HEC’s website said that 26 nominations are available for masters, 30 for PhD and 10 for teaching faculty PhD.

Applicants are advised to visit the links to apply for the masters, PhD and teaching faculty (PhD) scholarships. 

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