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Climate extremes in 2022, such as Pakistani floods, call for more action: UN

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  • Need to cut greenhouse gases underscored in report.
  • WMO chief stresses on need to enhance preparedness.
  • Report states Pakistan experienced soaring heat in March and April.

From extreme floods — like those in Pakistan — to heat and drought, weather and climate-related disasters have affected millions and cost billions this year, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) — a Geneva-based UN agency — said Friday, describing the “tell-tale signs and impacts” of intensified climate change.

The clear need to do much more to cut greenhouse gas emissions was again underscored throughout events in 2022, said the agency, advocating for strengthened climate change adaptation, including universal access to early warnings.

“This year, we have faced several dramatic weather disasters which claimed far too many lives and livelihoods and undermined health, food, energy and water security, and infrastructure”, WMO chief Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

Record-breaking rain in July and August led to extensive flooding in Pakistan, which affected 33 million people claiming 1,700 lives and displacing 7.9 million people.

“One-third of Pakistan was flooded, with major economic losses and human casualties,” Taalas said.

According to WMO, global temperature figures for 2022 will be released in mid-January, but the past eight years are on track to be the eight warmest on record.

While the persistence of a cooling La Niña event, now in its third year, means that 2022 will not be the warmest year on record, its cooling impact will be short-lived and not reverse the long-term warming trend caused by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

Moreover, this will be the tenth successive year that temperatures have reached at least 1°C above pre-industrial levels — likely to breach the 1.5°C limits of the Paris Agreement.

Early warnings, increasing investment in the basic global observing system and building resilience to extreme weather and climate will be among WMO priorities in 2023 — the year that the WMO community celebrates its 150th anniversary.

Internally displaced people wade through floodwaters to return home after heavy monsoon rains in Dadu district, Sindh province on September 7, 2022. Record monsoon rains have caused devastating floods across Pakistan since June, killing more than 1,200 people and leaving almost a third of the country under water, affecting the lives of 33 million. — AFP
Internally displaced people wade through floodwaters to return home after heavy monsoon rains in Dadu district, Sindh province on September 7, 2022. Record monsoon rains have caused devastating floods across Pakistan since June, killing more than 1,200 people and leaving almost a third of the country under water, affecting the lives of 33 million. — AFP

“There is a need to enhance preparedness for such extreme events and to ensure that we meet the UN target of Early Warnings for All in the next five years”, said the top WMO official.

WMO will also promote a new way of monitoring the sinks and sources of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide by using the ground-based Global Atmosphere Watch, satellite and assimilation modelling, which allows a better understanding of how key greenhouse gases behave in the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases are just one climate indicator used to observe levels. The sea levels, which have doubled since 1993; ocean heat content; and acidification are also at recorded highs.

The past two-and-a-half years alone account for 10% of overall sea level rise since satellite measurements started nearly 30 years ago, said WMO’s provisional State of the Global Climate in 2022 report.

And 2022 took an exceptionally heavy toll on glaciers in the European Alps, with initial indications of record-shattering melt.

The Greenland ice sheet lost mass for the 26th consecutive year and it rained — rather than snowed — on the summit for the first time in September.

Although 2022 did not break global temperature records, it topped many national heat records throughout the world.

India and Pakistan experienced soaring heat in March and April. China had the most extensive and long-lasting heatwave since national records began and the second-driest summer on record. Parts of the northern hemisphere were exceptionally hot and dry.

A large area centred around the central-northern part of Argentina, as well as in southern Bolivia, central Chile, and most of Paraguay and Uruguay experienced record-breaking temperatures during two consecutive heatwaves in late November and early December 2022.

“Record-breaking heatwaves have been observed in China, Europe, and North and South America”, the WMO chief added. “The long-lasting drought in the Horn of Africa threatens a humanitarian catastrophe.

While large parts of Europe sweltered in repeated episodes of extreme heat, the United Kingdom hit a new national record in July, when the temperature topped more than 40°C for the very first time.

In East Africa, rainfall has been below average throughout four consecutive wet seasons — the longest in 40 years — triggering a major humanitarian crisis affecting millions of people, devastating agriculture, and killing livestock, especially in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

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Pakistan

Terrorist who martyred two ISI officials in Khanewal gunned down in IBO

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  • Terrorist was at large after killing security officials.
  • Security forces conduct joint operation to nab militant.
  • Niazi succumbs to injuries after being injured in fire exchange.

A terrorist who martyred Naveed Sadiq and Nasir Hussain — the director and inspector of the Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI) Counter-Terrorism Wing — was gunned down by law enforcement agencies on Monday in an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) Kurram Agency.

The slain terrorist, identified as Umar Niazi, was at large after he martyred the two ISI officials on January 3.

The security agencies arrested the terrorist with serious injuries following an exchange of fire. Niazi succumbed to his injuries after a while.

Intelligence agencies nabbed the terrorist before he could slip into Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, the terrorist martyred ISI officials Sadiq and Hussain when they were at a local hotel in Khanewal, Punjab.

Sadiq, meanwhile, was martyred in Khanewal at a time when he was on a mission to take down the network of a banned outfit operating from Afghanistan.

South Punjab Additional Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Sahabzada Shahzad Sultan said the perpetrators were on a motorcycle.

Both officials were posthumously awarded the Hilal-e-Shujaat and Tamgha-e-Shujaat.

Sadiq, who headed the ISI’s CTD wing, was awarded the Sitara-e-Shujaat on March 23, 2021, in recognition of his bravery and courage against anti-national elements.

He joined the police force as a sub-inspector in 2002. After appearing for a high-level exam in 2009, he was appointed to the ISI, the premier intelligence agency, as the assistant director.

During his tenure, the spy agency official exposed key networks of banned outfits. After months of efforts, he gained access to the high command of Daesh. He also neutralised the terrorists after raiding and finding their ambush site in Faisalabad.

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Pakistan

Islamabad court decides to indict Imran Khan in Toshakhana case

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ISLAMABAD: A local court in Islamabad has decided to indict Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case.

The court has set February 7 as the date for the indictment of the PTI chairman. 

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Pakistan

Blast in Balochistan’s Kachhi leaves one injured

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  • Blast takes place in Kachhi district.
  • Police say explosives were placed on roadside.
  • Balochistan under constant terror attacks recently.

In yet another terror incident in the restive province of Balochistan, at least one person was injured after an explosion took place in the Kachhi district of the province, police said on Monday. 

The police told media persons that the explosives were placed on a roadside.

Balochistan has been under constant terror attacks recently with several incidents taking place in the province. 

Bolan incident

Recently, at least 18 people were injured after a remote-control bomb detonated on a railway track in Bolan, forcing the train’s engine and seven carriages off the track.

Railway authorities said that the injured had been shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Sibi.

The Jaffer Express train was travelling from Machh to Sibi, when the blast occurred, local authorities said.

“A relief train was dispatched from Sibi to rescue passengers of the train and bring them to Sibi safely. Passengers on the Jaffer Express coming from Peshawar to Machh were stopped at Sibi and are now being brought to Quetta via buses,” they added.

According to Deputy Commissioner Kachhi Agha Samiullah, the blast was carried out by a remote-control device.

On the other hand, the carriages of the derailed train are being lifted from the railway track.

Terror attacks

In the annual report issued by the Centre for Research & Security Studies (CRSS), Balochistan suffered from 110 attacks last year, becoming the second most vulnerable province in the country.

Over 250 people lost their lives in terrorist attacks and counter-attacks, whereas over 200 sustained serious injuries in the province.

The last month of the year witnessed over two dozen attacks in quick succession, and that became one-fourth of the total fatalities that occurred in Balochistan, a province which has just 6% of the country’s population.

According to reports, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Baloch Nationalist Army (BNA), the terrorist organisations, are mainly involved in terror incidents in the area-wise largest province of the country. In Balochistan, at least 14 major attacks took place mostly on security forces targets.

Security forces remained the primary target of terrorist attacks in the province.

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