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How to save yourself from a heatwave?

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Heatwaves — among the most dangerous of natural hazards — have a significant impact on a nation as not only does the temperature rise, but heat-related deaths also move up. However, they rarely receive adequate attention as the death toll is not always immediately obvious.

In a country that was hit by deadly floods last year and is already vulnerable to climate change, heatwave-like conditions have now begun to grip several parts of the nation and the temperature in some districts is set to rise to 47°C.

The weather authorities have also warned that areas such as Dadu, Jacobabad, Larkana, Sukkur, Nawabshah, Khairpur, and suburbs are expected to witness a maximum temperature ranging between 45°C-47°C under the prevailing climatic conditions.

“May is one of the hottest months in the country and we are expecting very warm conditions in southern parts of the country during the current heat spell,” weatherman Sardar Sarfaraz told The News.

Federal Minister for Climate Change and Environmental Coordination Senator Sherry Rehman had earlier this month advised provincial and local institutions to take necessary precautions to safeguard public health and minimise the impact of extreme weather on vulnerable communities amid the predicted heatwave.

The South Asian Climate Outlook Forum (SASCOF) has also forecast that minimum and maximum temperatures in South Asia, including Pakistan, are expected to remain “above normal”, except in parts of the foothills of the Himalayas.

School students drink watermelon juice amid hot weather in Karachi, on May 15, 2023. — INP
School students drink watermelon juice amid hot weather in Karachi, on May 15, 2023. — INP

Deadly heatwaves killed more than 1,000 in Sindh alone in 2015, with successive weather conditions taking the lives of a number of others.

In light of the warnings, it is crucial for people to know how they can save themselves from this climate catastrophe and if they get caught, what they can do for recovery.

Who is mainly in danger?

Heat-related illness mainly affects infants, children, and older individuals (age 65 and above). Obese and overweight individuals and people with lower immunity — such as those with chronic illnesses and those on medications — are also more prone to getting affected by the heatwave.

Symptoms to look out for?

1. Raised body temperature

2. Muscle cramps

3. Dry, flaky, and hot reddish skin (absence of sweat)

4. Severe headache

5. Dizziness

6. Nausea

7. Confusion

8. Palpitations

9. Rapid breathing

10. Fainting

What should be done if this happens?

1. Call for immediate medical assistance as this is a life-threatening emergency.

2. Spray water on a person or immerse them in cool water.

3. Fan air on the person.

4. Put wet sheets or towels on the person.

Dos of a heatwave

1. Stay hydrated. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, drink plenty of fluids (water, ORS, lemonade, and fresh juices).

2. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-coloured clothing to reflect the sun’s rays and keep you cool.

A boy dives into a water pond as hot weather hits Hyderabad, on May 15, 2023. — INP
A boy dives into a water pond as hot weather hits Hyderabad, on May 15, 2023. — INP

3. Try to remain indoors during the peak temperature part of the day (9am to 4pm).

4. Limit outdoor activity to early morning and later at night when the temperature is cooler.

5. In case outdoor work is unavoidable during hotter parts of the day, try taking a rest between tasks to cool off.

6. Avoid direct sun exposure. The use of umbrellas, hats, and sunglasses could be beneficial.

7. Apply sunscreen (at least SPF 30) to avoid sun damage to the skin as sunburn reduces the body’s ability to maintain its temperature.

8. Gradually acclimatise your body to heat.

Don’ts of a heatwave

1. Don’t leave anyone in an enclosed space (such as parked cars) on warmer days.

2. Don’t drink caffeinated beverages as they increase dehydration.

3. Don’t exercise outdoors during peak sun hours.

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government contests Imran Khan and Qureshi’s exoneration in the cipher case

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On Thursday, the federal government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court contesting the exoneration of former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the well-known cipher case.

Citing procedural and jurisdictional issues, the Ministry of Interior has appealed the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) ruling.

In hearing the cipher case, the High Court allegedly overreached its power, arguing that judges cannot change laws where Parliament has not expressly passed legislation.

Despite receiving government-funded legal representation, the petition emphasized Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s lack of cooperation during the trial, submitting 65 separate motions and neglecting to cross-examine witnesses.

The petition contended that in order for a retrial to satisfy legal standards, the High Court should have ignored important evidence that was given during the trial. It requests that the appeals contesting the IHC’s June 3 acquittal be given a hearing date by the Supreme Court.

Case history

The cipher issue concerns a supposed diplomatic document that disappeared from Imran Khan’s custody. The cipher allegedly contained threats from the US to remove Khan from office, according to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Shah Mehmood Qureshi and several aides, including Asad Umar, are named in the First Information Report (FIR) submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in accordance with Section 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act.

The then-foreign secretary received a diplomatic cipher from Washington on March 7, 2022, according to the FIR. The lawsuit claims that by manipulating the data for their own benefit, Khan and Qureshi put the safety of the country at risk. It alleges that on March 28, 2022, Khan secretly met at his Bani Gala home and gave his Principal Secretary, Muhammad Azam Khan, instructions to change the content of the cipher to his advantage, jeopardizing national security.

The document asserts that Khan still has custody of the cipher, jeopardizing Pakistan’s encrypted messaging systems and possibly helping foreign forces, which would be detrimental to the nation. A complaint has been filed by the FIA’s Anti-Terrorism Wing against Khan, Qureshi, and other individuals for improper use of state secrets and unapproved possession of the cipher.

Acquittal by the Islamabad High Court

In the cipher case, on June 3, the IHC cleared Khan and Qureshi when Justice Aamir Farooq issued a succinct ruling in their favor. Their sentences were appealed in the case, which has since been a source of political and legal controversy, leading to their acquittal.

This acquittal and the ongoing legal and political struggles surrounding the cipher case are highlighted by the government’s subsequent move to contest it.

With potentially huge ramifications for the parties involved and the larger political scene, the Supreme Court’s decision over whether to hear the appeal will be keenly scrutinized.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urges political stability in order to accelerate economic expansion.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former prime minister, emphasized on Thursday how important political stability is to Pakistan’s economic development and how the nation cannot prosper without it.

His concern was that export growth had not progressed, and he emphasized that stability in the current climate is vital to draw investments and carry out the necessary reforms.

In his criticism of the tax system, Abbasi brought up the erratic nature of tax laws and the transient nature of the most recent tax slab implementation. Insisting that difficult choices are unavoidable for economic recovery, he emphasized the necessity of designing a tax system that is equitable and does not burden the people.

Furthermore, arguing that the effectiveness of organizations like the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is essential for economic governance and transparency, Abbasi urged for changes within these and other organizations.

Abbasi, in his discussion of more comprehensive fiscal plans, suggested that the National Finance Commission (NFC) award be reviewed again and that power distribution companies (DISCOs) be decentralized to the provinces.

In order to reduce inefficiencies and corruption at the provincial level, he recommended looking into ways to share the cost of defense spending and decentralize the management of energy resources.

In closing, Abbasi emphasized that Pakistan’s economic trajectory will stay stagnant unless comprehensive changes are implemented immediately. To move the nation towards sustainable progress, he urged policymakers to give stability and structural reforms first priority.

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Through in-app QR payments, Zindigi and SBP streamline transactions involving sacrificial animals.

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With its in-app QR code payment system based on Raast, Zindigi—powered by JS Bank—has elevated the convenience of cashless payments for the procurement of sacrificial animals to a whole new level for Eid ul Adha.

This program uses QR code payments to streamline transactions for sacrificed animals for the general public and traders. It is a component of the State Bank of Pakistan’s Raast quick payment service.

This feature enables users of Zindigi and users of any digital banking apps or wallets to safely and easily make payments at certain cattle markets throughout Pakistan using Zindigi QR. The consumer must scan the QR code of the livestock merchant and pay the transaction amount in order to complete the payment.

In order to further financial inclusion and digital innovation in Pakistan’s developing economy, Zindigi and the State Bank of Pakistan have partnered. Both organizations are committed to improving the efficiency and accessibility of financial services, especially on holidays such as Eid ul Adha, by utilizing the most recent developments in fintech.

One of the most important steps toward promoting financial inclusion and economic empowerment at the local level is the integration of livestock markets into the digital economy. Farmers and retailers may take charge of their financial operations and help realize the larger goal of an inclusive digital Pakistan by adopting digital payments.

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