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Pakistan needs billions for flood recovery, UN urges

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  • Over $16 billion is needed to help Pakistan recover from floods.
  • Previous appeal for $816 million resulted in less than half amount.
  • To meet needs, PM and UN secretary-general will host international conference.

GENEVA: More than $16 billion is needed to help Pakistan recover from devastating floods that submerged a third of the country last year, and to better resist the impact of climate change, the United Nations said Thursday.

In a bid to meet the towering needs, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will host an international conference in Geneva next week.

The one-day event will gather high-level representatives from dozens of countries, including several heads of state and government, who have yet to be named.

While not strictly a pledging conference, UN and Pakistani representatives said Thursday that it aimed to mobilise support as the country deals rebuilds after the massive floods that left more than 1,700 people dead and affected over 30 million others.

“The needs are around $16.3 billion,” Knut Ostby, the UN Development Programme’s representative in Pakistan, told reporters.

Speaking by video from Islamabad, Syed Haider Shah, who heads the UN division in Pakistan’s foreign ministry, said his country hoped to cover half that amount through its own “domestic resources”.

“For the rest, we are looking at the donor support,” he said.

“This is a pivotal moment for the global communities to stand with the people of Pakistan,” said Khalil Hashmi, the country’s UN envoy in Geneva, while stressing that the conference would be the beginning of a multiyear process”.

A previous appeal for $816 million to help the victims of Pakistan’s cataclysmic monsoon floods has so far resulted in less than half that amount.

Yet the situation remains dire months after the monsoon rains ended, with flood waters still not receded in some parts of southern Pakistan.

Millions of people remain displaced, and while many have begun returning home, Ostby noted that they were returning to damaged or destroyed homes and mud-covered fields that cannot be planted.

The number of people facing food insecurity had doubled to 14.6 million, he said.

In Geneva, Pakistan is due to present a document laying out a wide-ranging strategy aimed at a climate-resilient recovery and reconstruction.

Pakistan, with the world’s fifth-largest population, is responsible for just 0.8% of global greenhouse emissions but is also one the most vulnerable countries to extreme weather caused by climate change.

“What is unique about this conference is that it is both mobilising support for the immediate response to the disaster… but it also comes at a time where the world is realising that this is a global issue,” Ostby said.

“It has to be tackled with global solidarity.”

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The PML-N is rushing to outlaw PTI and is asking President Zardari’s approval.

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The government on Friday decided to engage with its ally, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), in an attempt to lessen the strain brought on by the ruling of the supreme court to award reserved seats to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the negative reaction it received after declaring the PTI was banned.

Specifics state that President Asif Ali Zardari will also be present at the consultative meeting with the leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) on the subject.

Participants in the meeting, which would see the Attorney General brief them on the various legal elements of the cases, included PML-N leaders Ishaq Dar, Azam Tarar, Atta Tarar, Irfan Qadir, Ahad Cheema, and Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.

Ayyar Bokhari, Sherry Rehman, and Farooq H. Naek would be attending the meeting on behalf of the PPP.

The PML-N leaders, according to sources, would also have faith in the PPP leadership when it came to using Article 6 to remove three of the PTI’s most important leaders.

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Interior Minister Visits Mardan, Praising KP Police’s Insurgency Efforts

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On a visit to Takht Bhai, Mardan, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi offered the bereaved family of martyred constable Omar Nabi his deepest sympathies and condolences.

The interior minister praised the bravery and sacrifices made by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police in their conversation with the family of the policeman who was killed in action.

In addition to denouncing the terrorist attack on the police checkpoint in Takht Bhai, Mohsin Naqvi prayed for the quick healing of the two injured constables.

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The Punjab government’s “Roshan Gharana Program” would provide solar panels on easy installment plans.

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A program called “Roshan Gharana” has been developed by the Punjab government in response to the rising cost of electricity. Under this program, customers who use up to 500 units of electricity throughout the province would receive solar panels upon easy setup.

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