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Pakistan

We need funds, not debts: Shehbaz

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, sensitising the international community on the plight of flood-hit Pakistan, on Tuesday said the country needed additional funding, not debts, to rebuild a resilient and adaptive infrastructure as the financing gap was widening by the day.

“We have to fight and rebuild a resilient and adaptive infrastructure which can only be done through additional funding, not loans and debt… but the gap is widening by the day. It is the duty of the global north to understand our plight,” the prime minister said in his National Statement at the COP27 summit held in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh.

He told the international gathering that climate change-induced catastrophic flooding in Pakistan had impacted 33 million people – the size of three European countries – with more than half being women and children.

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He said that the floods had destroyed over 8,000 kilometres of highways, damaged more than 3,000 kilometers of railway tracks and washed away crops over four million acres.

The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment estimates over US$30 billion in loss and damage, he added.

He said Pakistan suffered the manmade disaster despite less than one per cent contribution to the global carbon footprint.

The premier told the gathering that the flood-hit Pakistan had to import wheat, palm oil, and “very expensive” oil and gas spending around $32 billion.He said the country had also redirected its resources to meet the basic needs of the millions of flood-affected households.

He said Pakistan was spending billions of dollars from its own resources to provide shelter, homes, medical aid, and food package to millions of people.

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“How one can expect us to carry out this gigantic task on our own,” he questioned and thanked the international community for extending support to Pakistan for the relief of the flood survivors.

Highlighting Pakistan’s priorities, the prime minister emphasised prioritising the Global Goal on Adaptation both in terms of financing and timelines. The current financing gap is too high to sustain any real recovery needs of those on the frontlines of climate catastrophe, he added.

Secondly, he said the Loss and Damage needed to be part of the core agenda of COP27 to meet the pressing humanitarian needs of those who were trapped in a crisis of public financing fueled by debt and yet have to fund climate disasters on their own.

Thirdly, Prime Minister Shehbaz called for clearly defining climate finance as new, additional and sustained resources with a transparent mechanism to meet the needs of developing and vulnerable countries with the required speed and scale.

“We have been talking for years. But have failed to even agree on the basics. Pledges made at the Copenhagen COP 15 in 2009 for mobilising $100 billion per annum by 2020 have still not been realised. They need to be enhanced given the increased frequency and intensity of climate extreme events,” he urged.

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He added that the bargain between the North and the South would not work unless there was a transformational shift in the flow of capacities, finances, and technology that reversed the pyramid of climate capital.

“The COP might have a real chance to find common ground toward achieving the objectives of the Convention and the Paris Agreement,” he stated, stressing that “it is now or never”.

“For us, there is indeed no Planet B,” PM Shehbaz concluded.

Meanwhile, Germany would double its funding for the protection of forests to €2 billion through 2025, mostly investing in countries such as Pakistan, Brazil, Ecuador, and Madagascar, the country’s development ministry said on Tuesday.

The announcement came a day after more than 25 countries, including Pakistan, formed a new group called ‘Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership’ at the COP27, which is under way in Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.

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The new group – which also includes Japan, the Republic of Congo, the United Kingdom and others – accounts for roughly 35% of the world’s forests and aims to meet twice a year to track progress.

Speaking at the summit, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Germany would up its investments in international environmental programmes, bringing the total to €6 billion.

Scholz also had a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz on the sidelines of COP27. They discussed matters related to trade, investment, climate change and renewable energy.

The two leaders also reviewed the bilateral relations and considered the possibilities of increasing cooperation. Regional and global issues of mutual interests were also discussed during the meeting.

Expressing his gratitude for the technical training support provided by Germany to Pakistan over the years, Shehbaz stressed the need for exchange of knowledge.

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He was also appreciative of Germany’s support to Pakistan for the grant of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)-Plus status by the European Union.

He also thanked Germany for its assistance in the wake of recent floods.

The prime minister said that regardless of Pakistan’s minimal contribution to the emission of greenhouse gases, the country was being severely impacted by natural disasters resulting from climate change.

Prime Minister Shehbaz emphasised that the COP27 should take bold decisions to deal with the issue of climate change, especially the damage and loss caused by it.

Chancellor Scholz evinced keen interest in Pakistan’s reconstruction and rehabilitation plans in the wake of the devastating floods, and assured the prime minister of Germany’s continued support.
Agencies

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Pakistan

Imran’s right of defence struck out in defamation case

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ISLAMABAD:

Additional District Judge Lahore Chaudhry Muhammad Asif struck out the right of defence of former prime minister since concerned interrogatories of the plaintiff were not submitted on Thursday.

“This court has been left with no option except to strike out the right of defence of the defendant (Imran Khan) in this case due to non-submission of requisite replies by the defendant regarding concerned interrogatories of the plaintiff. So, the right of defence of the defendant is hereby struck out in this case accordingly,” the order stated.

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The court asked the plaintiff to submit a list of witnesses on November 29.

It has been learned that the court has so far conducted 78 hearings of the case.

The order stated that the counsel for the defendant submitted an application for adjournment on the ground that the defendant was going to file a revised petition against the order of the court regarding the dismissal of concerned objections of the defendant.

Also read: ‘No objections’ to Imran’s helicopter landing at Parade Ground: GHQ

“From the perusal of record, it reveals that various reasonable opportunities have been provided to defendant to submit the requisite replies to concerned interrogatories of the plaintiff but the defendant has not done the needful,” it stated.

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“Vide previous order dated 17.11.2022, one more opportunity was granted to the defendant in this regard with the clarification that in case of submission of requisite replies from the defendant’s side regarding concerned interrogatories of the plaintiff on the next date, the right of defence of the defendant shall be struck out. No lawful justification exits for the grant of further adjournment,” it added.

The court rejected the adjournment plea of Imran’s counsel.

According to details, the defamation suit states that Imran started uttering false and malicious statements against the plaintiff (Shehbaz) that the latter offered Rs10 billion to the former through a common friend in exchange of withdrawing the case of Panama Papers pending before the Supreme Court (SC).

Also read: President Alvi in Lahore to consult Imran over COAS appointment

​​​It pleads that the baseless and defamatory statements by the defendant widely circulated by media lowered the integrity of the plaintiff and caused him extreme mental torture, agony and anxiety. The court has been requested to issue a decree for recovery of Rs 10 billion as compensation for the publication of defamatory content in favour of the plaintiff.

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In his written statement, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief states that one of his friends told him that someone known to him and also the Sharif family approached him with an offer to pay billions of rupees if he could convince him to stop pursuing the Panama Papers case.

Imran says that he disclosed the incident for the consumption of the public at large and in the interest of the public good does not constitute any defamation.





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Pakistan to send armed helicopter unit to UN peacekeeping mission

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UNITED NATIONS:

Pakistan and Bangladesh will each be sending an armed helicopter unit to the UN peacekeeping operations in Mali, which faces serious problems as several countries have withdrawn or announced plans to pull out their personnel, a UN spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Spokesman Farhan Haq said that India will supply a utility helicopter unit to the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, and all three are expected to be deployed by March next year.

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“These provide much-needed support to our forces and are critical for early warning and rapid response to protect civilians,” the spokesman told reporters at the regular noon briefing at the UN headquarters in New York.

“The UN continues to discuss with member states the deployment of new assets and plans to fill longer-standing gaps in addition to those resulting from recent announcements” of withdrawals, he said.

Set up in 2013, MINUSMA has 17,622 personnel helping the Malian government combat terrorists operating in the country.

MINUSMA is one of the deadliest operations having claimed the lives of 292 peacekeepers.

France completed its withdrawal earlier this year and it was followed by Egypt in August.

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Germany said that it was withdrawing its personnel, who numbered 595 in the latest UN roster, from MINUSMA by May next year.

Also read: Who is country’s new army chief Asim Munir?

Britain is also pulling out its 249 personnel.

Ivory Coast also said that it would discontinue the participation of its personnel, who numbered 898, in MINUSMA when the current deployment ends because of a separate dispute with the Mali government over the arrest of its soldiers who went there on a mission unconnected to the UN.

Despite the dangerous nature of the Minusma, Pakistani military doctors serving in Mopti, a town in the fifth administrative region of Mali. have continued to serve, earning praise for their work. They operate a state-of-the-art hospital staffed with 75 medical personnel, including 10 women and 65 men, according to the UN.

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The hospital operates 24 hours a day, every day, and they are always on alert. All specialities are covered, from pharmacy to gynaecology. However, its main purpose is to perform life-saving and urgent surgery when peacekeepers are injured, it was pointed out.





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Imran urges ‘all Pakistanis to participate’ in PTI long march

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Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday urged all Pakistanis to participate in his party’s much-hyped long march on Saturday (Nov26) in what appears to be his final showdown with the incumbent government to force it to announce early election date.

“Dear Pakistanis, I want all of you to participate in our haqeeqi long march in Pindi at 1pm on Saturday,” he said in a short video statement.

Imran, who was removed from power through a vote of no confidence in April, said that only a nation which has justice in it will get real freedom. “When there is justice, there are rights. When there are rights, a nation is free. Only an independent nation is prosperous,” he went on to say.

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Read more: Interior ministry warns PTI of threats, urges postponing Pindi march

The former premier said that the nation will not stay silent until it gets real freedom. “I am coming for you despite my [health] condition and all of you need to come to Pindi for me,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, senior PTI leader Asad Umar presided over a meeting regarding the party’s preparation for the long march in Rawalpindi. Senior PTI leadership including Umar Ayub, Shibli Faraz, Ali Nawaz and others participated in the meeting.

The meeting discussed the overall preparations for the long march in Rawalpindi. The security plan, long march route and other significant matters came under discussion during the meeting.

The meeting was briefed that a caravan had left from Karachi for Rawalpindi whereas two others were ready to begin their journey to the garrison city from Quetta and Gilgit-Baltistan.

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A briefing was also given in the meeting regarding the accommodation of the participants.

Issues regarding the provision of all basic needs including food and accommodation to the participants of the march were also discussed in the meeting.

“The nation is fully united and eager to achieve real freedom,” Umar said, adding that the party would welcome caravans from all over Pakistan in Rawalpindi.

“The captain [Imran Khan] will lead the ocean of people in Rawalpindi on November 26,” he further said.





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