Thousands join global climate strike in Pakistan

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A group of students hold placards with different slogans about the climate change in Karachi's Frere Hall area on Sept 20, 2019. (AN Photo)
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Hundreds of activists rallied in Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city, on September 20, 2019 as they joined the global climate strike to highlight the issue of changing weather patterns. (AN Photo)
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Youth and members of civil society participated in a climate march in Peshawar on September 20, 2019. (AN Photo)
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"Eco not Ego" reads a poster next to "Winter is Not Coming," a play on the popular catchphrase from the book and TV series, "Game of Thrones," spotted inside the gathering point tent at the Islamabad Press Club on September 20, 2019. (AN Photo)
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This image taken in Islamabad on September 20, 2019 shows a protester carrying a poster that reads "Planet over Profit." The slogan criticizes governments and corporations who have contributed to environmental degradation around the world. (AN Photo)
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This picture taken in Islamabad on September 20, 2019 shows a poster that questions the priorities of many people and institutions. Pakistan is the 8th country in the world that is most vulnerable to catastrophic disasters due to changing weather patterns. (AN Photo)
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Hundreds of activists rallied in Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city, on September 20, 2019 as they joined the global climate strike to highlight the issue of changing weather patterns. (AN Photo)
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Nirmala, a folk singer from Sindh's Tharparkar region, sings a famous poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz at Karachi’s climate march on September 20, 2019. (AN Photo)
Updated 20 September 2019

Thousands join global climate strike in Pakistan

  • The South Asian nation is among the top ten countries most vulnerable to climate change
  • Pakistan only emits one percent of global greenhouse gases every year

ISLAMABAD: Thousands of Pakistanis gathered across the country on Friday to join the worldwide protest demanding action against climate change ahead of a United Nations summit on the subject next week.
Students, civil society activists, officials and people belonging to other walks of life enthusiastically participated in the event.
“Unlike the protesters abroad, we are calling our intervention a march, not a strike, since we are victims of climate change despite our negligible emissions,” Saleem Sheikh, deputy media director at the climate change ministry, told Arab News while referring to the internationally used phrase, global climate strike, for the day of protest.
Tens of thousands of people in other parts of the world poured into the streets of their countries to express concern about the global climate change challenge.
Sheikh said that more than 2,500 events had been planned in 117 countries, including Pakistan, on September 20.
According to officials, Pakistan emits less than one percent of the total annual global greenhouse gases, though it still remains in the top ten countries most vulnerable to climate change.
“Global warming is already causing more droughts, floods, severe storms, wildfires and melting ice across the planet,” Sheikh said, adding that the Earth’s average temperature had gone up by one degree and could continue to go beyond that point unless carbon emissions were drastically reduced.
Pakistan’s Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said in a video message that the country was facing the adverse impact of climate change.
Humayun Khan, who works with the Climate Change Center of the University of Agriculture Peshawar, participated in the march in his city. He told Arab News it was imperative to plant saplings on an emergency basis throughout Pakistan to protect the environment and avoid negative impact of changing weather patterns.
“Various species of saplings need to be planted in order to minimize the worst effects of climate change,” he noted.


Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

Updated 12 January 2020

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

  • Work on foreign minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States being done
  • Pakistan’s strong relations with regional countries has made it an important player

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated on Thursday that the country was going to play its role in restoring peace in the Middle East by working with other international stakeholders in the region.

“Pakistan welcomes de-escalation and wants to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the region. We have seen that indication in United States President [Donald] Trump’s speech and are evaluating its contours,” the country’s foreign office spokesperson, Aisha Farooqui, said in her weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

She said that Pakistan’s geographical position, along with its strong relations with regional countries and the United States, had made it a significant player in the Middle East.

“Pakistan has maintained that war is not the solution to any issue and made it clear that it will not become part of any regional conflict,” she said.

The spokesperson noted that Islamabad had enhanced its efforts to defuse tensions in the region and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had contacted his counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and many other important states in this connection.

“All the international players, including Saudi Arabia, have said that the region cannot afford another war and asked for restraint from both parties [the US and Iran]. It’s a collective objective of all countries to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East,” she said.

Commenting on the foreign minister’s upcoming visit to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the US, she said that “work on these tours has already started and they will take place as soon as dates are finalized with the respective countries.”

“We are very mindful for our brotherly and friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other regional countries. Pakistan and the US also enjoy longstanding relations and have contacts with each other through multiple forums including political and military leadership,” Farooqui said, adding that the foreign office had established a task force to continuously monitor the situation in the Middle East and inform the government about it along with its suggestions on a daily basis.

The spokesperson expressed hope that recent developments in the Middle East would not affect the ongoing Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan hopes that progress made on Afghan peace process will not come to a halt and the world community will not lose its focus as a result of the ongoing tensions in the Middle East,” she said.

Asked about the safety of Pakistani nationals in Iraq, she said the country’s embassy in Baghdad was on the alert to deal with any emergency situation.

“We are concerned about the safety of Pakistani citizens in Iraq and have issued an advisory in this regard. We have also instructed our mission in Baghdad to remain vigilant to deal with any emergency,” Farooqui said.