Pakistan’s glaciers are melting at faster rate, says Ministry

A view of the growing Khurdopin glacier, in the Shimshal Valley in Gilgit-Baltistan, in the north of Pakistan, on October 18, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 27 May 2018

Pakistan’s glaciers are melting at faster rate, says Ministry

  • More and more glacial lakes are forming in remote mountain valleys in Gilgi-Baltistan because of warming temperatures.

ISLAMABAD: Surging temperatures in Pakistan’s northern areas are causing formation of bigger glacial lakes in the Gilgit-Baltistan region and Chitral district, which are aggravating socio-economic and environmental woes of the mountainous communities, the Climate Change Ministry said on Sunday.

“The country’s northern region is home to over 5,000 glaciers and many of them are melting at a much faster rate because of soaring average temperatures in the mountainous valleys,” Mohammad Saleem, spokesperson for the Climate Change Ministry and environmental educationist, told Arab News.
He added that all-out efforts are under way to mitigate the woes.
“More and more glacial lakes are forming in remote mountain valleys in Gilgi-Baltistan and Chitral district because of warming temperatures. These pose serious risks to the lives and livelihoods of the climate-vulnerable communities,” Saleem said.
“In 2010 there were about 2,400 glacier lakes in Pakistan’s north. Presently, there are over 3,000 glacial lakes, 52 of them in the north on the verge of outburst any time,” he explained.
According to the Ministry of Climate Change, the government, along with its partners, is working on different projects to enhance the food security of the mountain communities in the country’s northern regions and to reduce flood-related hazards caused by deforestation, landslides, land erosion and inefficient water use.
“At least 65,000 women would get training in home gardening, 240 water-efficient farming technologies would be set up and 35,000 hectares of land will be reforested to alleviate the devastating impacts of glacial lake outburst floods,” Saleem highlighted.


Philippines begins termination of US deal

Earlier, Duterte said he would give the US a month to restore Dela Rosa’s visa. (AP)
Updated 8 min 4 sec ago

Philippines begins termination of US deal

  • The move comes after Washington canceled the visa of President Duterte's ally

MANILA: The Philippines has started the process of terminating the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which allows the deployment of US forces to the country to conduct military exercises, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced on Friday.
The move comes one day after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to do away with the agreement if the US did not reinstate the visa of his political ally and former police chief, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa.
Although in a speech on Thursday night the president said he would give the US one month to restore Dela Rosa’s visa before terminating the VFA, Panelo told reporters the process had already begun.
“The President feels that we cannot sit down and watch idly,” he said, adding he had relayed the matter to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin.
Locsin, in a Twitter post on Friday, confirmed he had called Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana “to start the process of terminating the VFA.”
Lorenzana, in a statement on Friday evening, said that he would discuss with the president “the various scenarios concerning the possible termination of the VFA, and what future actions may be undertaken by the Department of National Defense (DND) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) regarding this matter.”
The defense chief said he could understand why the president was angered by the cancellation of Dela Rosa’s visa, over alleged extrajudicial killings in connection with the government’s anti-drug war.
“It is a direct affront to (the president) being the architect of the drug war upon his assumption of office,” the defense chief said.
He noted that Duterte ordered Dela Rosa when he was installed as police chief in 2016 to launch the drug war, and promised to back him. “He is just being true to his promise,” Lorenzana stressed.
Dela Rosa himself said details surrounding the revocation of his US visa remain unclear to him. He added that it “might be related” to the anti-drug war.
The Philippines Department of Justice said it was studying the “proper procedure to terminate the VFA.”
Responses from Philippine lawmakers have been mixed.
“In the absence of a Philippines Supreme Court ruling on the president’s power to unilaterally break a treaty or bilateral agreement like the VFA, without the consent of a 2/3 supermajority vote of the members of the senate, the president can do that without the senate’s approval or consent,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan said the VFA termination would work in favor of China, and so did not come as a surprise.
According to Lorenzana: “The termination of the VFA may be unilaterally initiated by the Philippines, and it is well within the right of the government to do so if it determines that the agreement no longer redounds to our national interest.
“Such a termination does not need the approval of the Philippine Congress. All that is required is that a notice of termination be served to the US government. The termination shall take effect 180 days after the date of the notice,” the defense chief stressed.