Pakistan is fifth largest recipient of KSRelief humanitarian assistance — report

1 / 2
In this January 23, 2019 photo, a young schoolgirl drinks water from a hand pump, surrounded by other students. More than 350 drinking water projects have been completed by KSRelief across Pakistan in recent years. (Photo Courtesy: KSRelief)
2 / 2
Updated 04 September 2019

Pakistan is fifth largest recipient of KSRelief humanitarian assistance — report

  • The aid agency has given Pakistan $117.6 million in humanitarian and development aid since 2005
  • KSRelief has one of the largest development aid budgets in the world and is active in 44 countries

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is the fifth-largest recipient of aid from the Saudi-based international aid agency, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), and has received $117.6 million in aid since 2005 according to a report published by the organization. 
With one of the largest humanitarian aid budgets in the world, KSRelief has been working in 44 countries, and after Yemen, Palestine, Syria and Somalia, Pakistan is the biggest beneficiary of the organization’s aid money and humanitarian operations.
KSRelief has completed 84 projects in Pakistan in the fields of education, health care, water, sanitation, hygiene, emergency camps and community support that have cost roughly $100 million in the last 14 years, the report said. It has also completed 22 food security projects in the country during the same period.
“We have joined hands together with our Pakistani brothers by working with them in times of need and will keep on doing so in the future as well,” Dr. Khalid Mohammed Alothmani, Director for KSRelief Pakistan, told Arab News in an interview last week.
The organization has spent nearly $68 million solely on emergency disaster relief efforts in Pakistan, mainly in areas devastated by natural calamities.
But apart from relief efforts, KSRelief’s aid to Pakistan has also focused on education and school infrastructure in mostly rural establishments across the country, at a cost of $7.8 million and benefitting an estimated 13,000 students.
“KSRelief gave us furniture for 700 students,” said Ghulam Yaseen, principal of Government Middle School Village Gujji in Layyah district of southern Punjab, while talking to Arab News via telephone. 
“They constructed a new building, and none of the schools in our district has such infrastructure. Before the completion of this project...our students used to sit under the sky,” he said.




In this June 26, 2019 picture, a doctor takes notes with a patient. KSRelief has built several healthcare facilities across Pakistan, especially in rural areas. (Photo Courtesy: KSRelief)

Aid has also been given for health care, water, sanitation and hygiene improvement- projects estimated to benefit as many as 900,000 people, according to the KSRelief report.
“Our basic health unit lacked important medical equipment and beds,” said Dr. Rabia Bibi who manages a health care facility in a remote village of Dera Ghazi Khan in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province.
“In 2017, KSRelief gave us new equipment, including ultrasound, X-ray and ECG machines...12 beds for patients, operation lights, oxygen cylinders, and other necessary equipment.”
“We were only catering to a few patients due to a lack of facilities,” Bibi said, but added that only a few serious cases were now referred to the bigger city hospitals and most were treated in-house.
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have enjoyed historically strong ties and Riyadh has played a vital role in recent years in rebuilding and relief efforts inside Pakistan after natural calamities.
In the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake in northern Pakistan and Kashmir, where an estimated 90,000 people lost their lives and 3.5 million were rendered homeless, the Saudi government provided a grant of $10 million. 
After the 2010-11 floods, where a reported 20 million people were directly affected, the government gave a $170 million grant.


'No food left in the sea': Pakistani fishermen fearful as Chinese trawlers dock at Karachi port 

Updated 19 October 2020

'No food left in the sea': Pakistani fishermen fearful as Chinese trawlers dock at Karachi port 

  • Fisherfolk forum says government plan to allow Chinese to carry out deep-sea fishing in territorial waters could render millions jobless 
  • Federal government says bottom trawling will not be allowed under new fishing policy

KARACHI: A pressure group that represents Pakistani fishermen has said a government plan to allow Chinese companies to carry out deep-sea fishing in the country’s territorial waters could threaten the survival of at least three million people who depend on the sea for livelihood.
Last month, 12 Chinese deep-sea trawlers docked at the port of Karachi, unleashing fear among local fishermen who say commercial fishing vessels and bottom-trawling would deplete fish stocks in the exclusive federal sea zones off the Sindh and Balochistan provinces. 
Bottom trawling - dragging nets across the sea floor to scoop up fish - stirs up the sediment lying on the seabed, displaces or harms some marine species, causes pollutants to mix into plankton and move into the food chain and creates harmful algae blooms or oxygen-deficient dead zones.
The coastal line of Sindh and Balochistan is 1,050 km long, Mohammad Ali Shah, Chairman Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, told Arab News last week, saying around three million fishermen relied on the sea to survive. 
A new fishing policy is expected but yet to be revealed by the government, he said. 
“The deep-sea trawler policy has not yet been approved but before that they [China] have brought these trawlers,” Shah said, calling the arrival of the Chinese vessels at Karachi port last month ‘illegal.’ 

In this undated photo, fishing vessels of Fujian Fishery Company move from the Gwadar port towards Karachi, Pakistan (Photo courtesy: Fishermen Cooperatives Society)

In 2018, the government enacted a deep-sea fishing licensing policy that both fishermen's representative bodies and provincial government bodies opposed, calling it a constitutional violation and an encroachment on the livelihoods of fishermen in the coastal provinces.
Fears about foreign fishing companies eating up local communities are not new.
For years, fishermen in the southwestern city of Gwadar in Balochistan province - a flagship of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor - have protested against foreign trawlers. 
Tensions first began to mount when the Fisheries Department disclosed its plan to issue licenses to various foreign fishing vessels to operate in an exclusive economic zone in 2016.
But last week, the federal minister for maritime affairs, Ali Haider Zaidi, told Arab News the country’s new deep-sea fishing policy would not allow Chinese trawlers to engage in unregulated deep-sea fishing. Bottom trawling, he said, would be banned under the new policy.
“Importing boats is not illegal,” he said. “How you use them has to be regulated.”
Pakistan divides its sea into three zones, where zone-3 (from 20 to 200 nautical miles) is controlled by the federal government. Up to 12 nautical miles (zone-1) is the domain of the provinces Sindh and Balochistan and between 12 to 20 nautical miles the sea is declared a buffer zone. 

Fishermen remove fish from a net at the Clifton beach in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Oct. 6, 2020. (AFP/File)

Local fishermen are not allowed to fish in zone-3 and foreign fishing vessels are not permitted to fish in the other two zones under the existing policy.
The Fishermen's Cooperative Society (FCS), which issued the permit to the Chinese trawlers, said the Chinese fishing vessels would not use the destructive bottom trawling method and instead help ‘upgrade’ Pakistan’s fishing industry and export.
Official figures put the annual value of Pakistan’s fish exports at roughly $450 million.
“Bringing Chinese trawlers for deep sea fishing is in line with the government’s deep-sea fishing policy and aimed at upgrading and modernizing fishing, besides providing job opportunities to local fishermen,” Abdul Berr, Chairman of the Fishermen's Cooperative Society, told Arab News.
“Around 3,500 fishermen will get employment opportunities with the arrival of the world’s latest fishing boats and modern small boats,” Berr said. 
He added: “First, 70 percent of the staff at trawlers and processing facilities will be local. There will be no fishing in provincial territorial waters. The trawlers will bring all their catch to Karachi where it will be processed in factories and then exported.”
Small local fishermen would receive modern fiber boats on ‘easy instalments,’ Berr said, a step towards replacing their obsolete boats.
But Sindh’s minister for livestock and fisheries, Abdul Bari Pitafi, said the mega fishing ships would wipe out sea-life, even if they were only operating in the federal government’s zone-3.
“We will...also oppose its [trawlers’] operations in zone-3 because they will just wipe out sea-life including the fish’s seed,” Pitafi told Arab News.
In 2016, a survey carried out by the Food and Agriculture Organisation revealed that more than 72 percent of the fish stock in Pakistan’s coastal areas had already declined.
“One trawler does a catch that is equal to a catch by 100 of our fishing boats,” Younus Khaskheli, a fisherman, said. “And their fishing net is the most dangerous one, because it hunts thousands of tons of fish.” 
Tens of thousands of fishing boats are registered in Pakistan, he said, with fishermen from Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and even Bangladesh fishing in these waters.
“Our sea stock will end; the country will lose the income of billions and our fishermen will become jobless,” Khaskheli said. “There won’t be any food left in the sea.”