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Six more killed as destructive rains intensify Balochistan’s woes

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  • Death toll reaches 182 in Balochistan.
  • Several villages submerged in water.
  • Floods wash away three dams.

QUETTA: The ongoing monsoon rains continued to wreak havoc in Balochistan, with flash-floods in Qila Abdullah and several other areas killing as many as six people and inundating a number of villages overnight.

According to Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), Balochistan, the number of rain-related deaths has reached 182 in the province and several villages have been submerged in floodwaters.

Three dams have washed away and many link roads have been destroyed in Qila Abdullah.

The train service between Chaman and Quetta has also been affected due to floodwater in the area, while scores of cattle head have perished and crops and orchards ruined.

Children wade across at a flood-affected town called Gandawah in Jhal Magsi district, southwestern province of Balochistan, Pakistan on August 2, 2022. — AFP
Children wade across at a flood-affected town called Gandawah in Jhal Magsi district, southwestern province of Balochistan, Pakistan on August 2, 2022. — AFP

The traffic between Quetta and Karachi was also suspended as the linking highway had been damaged in different areas of the Lasbela district.

CM’s concern

According to Commissioner Kalat Division Dawood Khilji, the recently established alternate route at the Landa area of Uthal on the National Highway was washed away by flood on Friday.

He appealed to the public to avoid travelling on the Quetta-Karachi highway.

The PDMA rescue teams are present in the area and are providing rescue services to people stranded in flood-hit areas, the official said.

A local resident takes belongings from his damaged mud house at a flood-affected town called Gandawah in Jhal Magsi district, southwestern province of Balochistan, Pakistan on August 2, 2022. — AFP
A local resident takes belongings from his damaged mud house at a flood-affected town called Gandawah in Jhal Magsi district, southwestern province of Balochistan, Pakistan on August 2, 2022. — AFP 

Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Qadoos Bizenjo expressed his grave concern over massive damage to Qila Abdullah, Chaman, Lasbela, and Muslim Bagh due to heavy rains.

He contacted the public representatives and district administration officials of the flood-ravaged areas directing them to visit the affected areas and provide all possible help to the affectees.

Affectees seek help

Despite the passage of more than a month, the government has not yet been able to provide relief to the people affected by floods as bureaucratic hurdles come in the way.

Flood affectees have accused the administration of treating them in a derogatory fashion during the distribution of rations by asking for original computerised national identity cards (CNICs).

The officials are reportedly seeking the CNICs for verification purposes, but the affectees have stated that they lost everything when their homes were flooded.

Local residents receive relief supplies near their damaged houses at a flood-affected town called Gandawah in Jhal Magsi district, southwestern province of Balochistan, Pakistan on August 2, 2022. — AFP
Local residents receive relief supplies near their damaged houses at a flood-affected town called Gandawah in Jhal Magsi district, southwestern province of Balochistan, Pakistan on August 2, 2022. — AFP

“Ration comes for us but they ask for CNICs. We did have some cards but not for everyone. How can a family of 10 survive on one card’s ration?” one of the victims from Lasbela told Geo News.

The victim appealed to the administration to resolve this issue, adding that if they feel they are lying, they can survey their homes to determine the number of people in a household.

“We are standing here for ration. We have not received anything [but] they are pushing us out. We can talk to the tehsildar when we go inside,” another victim told Geo News.

Vigorous monsoon activity in coming days

The woes of Balochistan are far from ending as the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has forecast more rains not only in the province, but also in Sindh and South Punjab.

The Met Office, in a statement, said that depression has developed in Arabian Sea which is likely to move towards the west along the Makran coast. 

Due to this weather system, monsoon currents are continuously penetrating in southern parts of the country. Another low pressure (LPA) is likely to approach Sindh on 16th August. 

Under the influence of this weather system, widespread rain-wind/thundershowers — with scattered heavy to very heavy falls — are expected in Sindh and Balochistan from August 16-18 with occasional gaps.

Soldiers of Pakistan army rescue people from the flood-affected Rajanpur district, in the Punjab province of Pakistan, on August 2, 2022. — AFP
Soldiers of Pakistan army rescue people from the flood-affected Rajanpur district, in the Punjab province of Pakistan, on August 2, 2022. — AFP

It warned that flash flooding is expected in Qilla Saifullah, Loralai, Barkhan, Kohlu, Mosa Khel, Sherani, Sibbi, Bolan, Kalat, Khuzdar, and Lasbella, Awaran, Turbat, Panjgur, Pasni, Jiwani, Ormara, Gwadar from August 14-18.

The Met asked fishermen to remain more cautious from August 16-18. It also asked travellers and tourists to remain more cautious during the forecast period.

“All concerned authorities are advised to remain alert and to take necessary precautionary measures during the forecast period,” the meteorological department said.

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Explanation: The increase in inflation in the United States would cause electricity costs in Pakistan to rise.

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Electricity contracts between Independent Power Plants (IPPs) and the federal government not only involve capacity costs, but also have a significant impact on the economy and the financial well-being of the population. These contracts are closely linked to the inflation rate and the value of the US dollar.

Startling disclosures have emerged regarding the exorbitant electricity tariffs in Pakistan. The Council of Economic and Energy Journalists Sage, representing the institute, provided a briefing to leading journalists in Karachi.

According to the information provided, the electricity rate component in Pakistan experienced a 253 percent increase from 2019 to 2024 as a result of inflation in America.

The data presented in the briefing indicates that the capacity charges in Pakistan were Rs3.26 per unit in 2019 and climbed to Rs10.34 per unit in 2024.

The capacity charges imposed on the public incorporate the effects of both US inflation and domestic inflation.

Due to the rise in the country’s interest rate, the interest payment for energy has climbed by 343% during a span of four years. Over the course of four years, the working capital of IPPs caused a 716 percent increase in the cost of power per unit.

The electricity rate has increased by 12 to 20 percent, with 70 percent of the charges being capacity charges.

SDPI experts recommended the government to adopt a centralised tariff policy rather than a universal electricity tariff strategy.

The power generation capacity amounts to 23,000 megawatts.

As a result of the increase in solar power generation in the country, the capacity charges will have an additional adverse impact on the residents.

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Business

Significant surge in the price of gold in Pakistan

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On Friday, the price of gold in Pakistan continued to increase.

According to the All-Pakistan Gems and Jewellers Sarafa Association, the price of 24-karat gold per tola has risen by Rs2,200, reaching Rs249,000.

The price of 10-gram 24-karat gold increased by Rs1,886, reaching a total of Rs213,477. On Thursday, the cost of 10 grammes of 22-karat gold was Rs195,687.

The global gold market likewise had a rising trajectory. As per APGJSA, the worldwide rate was $2,404 per ounce, showing a decline of $24 during the course of the trading day.

The local market witnessed constant silver prices at Rs2,900 per tola.

Market observers attribute the increase in gold prices to other variables, such as volatility in the global market, currency exchange rates, and economic conditions. The ongoing surge in gold prices is likely to impact investment choices and consumer behaviour in the near future.

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Court ruling: PTI to overtake all other parties in the National Assembly

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Eight independents and 84 Sunni Alliance members mean that the PTI will likely have 92 legislators in the National Assembly, according to sources.

PTI’s strength in the Lower House is expected to surge to 114 members if it regains the 22 reserved seats it previously lost.

As for the PML-N, they have 108 members in the National Assembly; PPP has 68; MQM has 21; JUI-F has 8; PML-Q has 5; and IPP has 4.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on the distribution of reserved seats, the 77 extra seats meant for women and minorities were taken away from the PML-N, PPP, MQM, and JUI.

The electoral commission had on May 13 suspended the 77 Sunni Ittehad Council reserved seats on directives from the Supreme Court. 22 National Assembly seats and 55 provincial assembly seats are among the contested seats.

There are eleven seats from Punjab and eight from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the National Assembly that are up for debate among women. The suspended seats also include three seats that are designated for minorities. In the National Assembly, the PPP received five seats, the JUI received three, and the PML-N received fourteen of the 22 heavily contested seats.

There are no longer any allocated seats for minorities or women in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, with 21 seats for women. In addition to the JUI-F, the PML-N was allotted seven seats, the PPP seven, and the ANP one.

The Supreme Court’s decision has suspended the three minority seats and the 24 reserved seats for women in the Punjab Assembly. The PML-N received 23, the PPP received 2, the PML-Q received 1, and the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party received 1 in Punjab.

There are now no longer any designated seats in the Sindh Assembly for women and minorities. MQM was allotted one reserved seat out of these, and the PPP two.

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