Pakistan sets up emergency camps, says India releases water into Sutlej

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In this file photo, volunteers rescue flood affected people with a boat in Pakistan on Aug. 1, 2015. (AFP)
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Authorities have set up emergency camps to evacuate people from low-lying areas after India released more than 204,000 cusecs of water into the Sutlej river without any prior warning. (File/ Reuters)
Updated 22 August 2019

Pakistan sets up emergency camps, says India releases water into Sutlej

  • Flood warnings issued for six districts in Punjab province
  • Increase in water levels poses a threat to low-lying areas, officials say

ISLAMABAD: Authorities have set up emergency camps to evacuate people from low-lying areas after India released more than 204,000 cusecs of water into the Sutlej river without any prior warning, Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Tuesday.
The NDMA further advised districts located along the bank of the Sutlej river to take necessary precautions.
“Relevant district administrations, rescue teams and Pakistan’s army personnel are fully ready to tackle any emergency situation,” Brig. Mukhtar Ahmed, NDMA spokesman said in a statement released on Tuesday.
He added that the water level in the Ganda Singh Wala village, located in the Kasur district, was around 17.80 feet, with 37,640 cusecs of water inundating the area on Tuesday.
A day earlier while talking to Arab News, Ahmed had said that the water levels in the area were continuously rising.
“We have alerted Punjab’s provincial government and relevant district administrations to deal with the situation,” he said, adding that six districts in Punjab, namely Kasur, Okara, Pakpattan, Lodhran, Vehari and Bahawalpur, “can be affected.”
On Monday, Faisal Vawda, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Water Resources expressed concern after India released the water without any warning.
“Government has deep concern on the overall attitude of India toward the implementation of the Indus Treaty…As per which, India is obliged to provide the information of extraordinary floods,” Vawda said in a statement.
According to the NDMA, the additional water is expected to enter Pakistan today and tomorrow.
Official data provided by the NDMA shows that 220 people have been killed and 163 others injured in rain-related incidents in Pakistan since July this year, even as Pakistan continues to deal with flash floods and landslides during the monsoon season which usually runs from July to September.


Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

Updated 14 November 2019

Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

  • New skills-based system to be launched from next month
  • Will include India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Starting next month, Saudi Arabia will introduce a new skilled foreign manpower program that will eventually include Pakistan, a senior official at the Saudi labor ministry said this week. 

Nayef Al-Omair, head of the vocational examination program at the Ministry of Labor, said on Tuesday in Riyadh that the ministry was categorizing the tasks and the structure of some professions for visa-issuing purposes.

Under the new policy, visas would be issued only after skill tests and the previous system would be gradually phased out. 

The new scheme would be optional for one year starting December 2019 after which it would become compulsory, Al-Omair said. The new program would first be applied to manpower recruited from India due to its large size in the Saudi market.

Eventually, the program will cover seven countries, including India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Workers belonging to these states constitute 95 percent of professional manpower in the Kingdom’s local market.

Saudi Arabia is home to around 2.6 million Pakistani expats those have been a vital source of foreign remittances.

Last year the country received $21.8 billion in remittances out of which $5 billion were remitted by Pakistani nationals working in Kingdom.

According to the Pakistani ministry of finance, there was a major decline in manpower export to Saudi Arabia where only 100,910 emigrants proceeded for employment in 2018 as compared to 2017, a drop of 42,453 emigrants.

However, Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari, special assistant to the Pakistani prime minister on overseas Pakistanis, said in an interview earlier this month that Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase the share of the Pakistani labor force in the multi-billion dollar New Taif City development.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have formed working groups to develop procedures for this transfer of manpower. Pakistani groups will visit the Kingdom in the coming months to finalize arrangements.