Malaria and diseases spreading fast in flood-hit Pakistan

Malaria and diseases spreading fast in flood-hit Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - The death toll from malaria and other diseases tearing through Pakistan's flood-ravaged regions reached 324, authorities said, and actress Angelina Jolie said she feared many people she had met during visits to flood-hit areas this week would "not make it" if more aid did not arrive. Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods were living in the open. Stagnant floodwaters, spread over hundreds of kilometres, may take two to six months to recede. Already they have led to widespread cases of skin and eye infections, diarrhoea, malaria, typhoid and dengue fever. Hollywood actress and…
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Fear Pakistan flood-borne diseases could get ‘out of control’

Fear Pakistan flood-borne diseases could get ‘out of control’

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - At least nine more people have died from water-borne diseases in flood-hit areas of Pakistan, officials said, as actress Angelina Jolie made a surprise visit to the South Asian nation to meet people affected by the crisis. An intense and long monsoon dumped around three times as much rain on Pakistan than on average in recent weeks, causing major flooding that killed 1,559 people, including 551 children and 318 women, according to the disaster management agency. Officials are warning they now risk losing control of the spread of infections in a dire situation that UNICEF described…
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Pakistan floods’ death toll nears 1,500

Pakistan floods’ death toll nears 1,500

ISLAMABAD, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Pakistan's unprecedented floods, which have submerged huge swathes of the South Asian nation, have killed nearly 1,500 people, data showed on Thursday, as authorities looked to step up relief efforts for millions affected by the disaster. The floods brought by record monsoon rains and glacial melt in northern mountains have hit 33 million of a population of 220 million, sweeping away homes, transport, crops and livestock in damage estimated at $30 billion. The tally of dead stands at 1,486, about 530 children among them, the National Disaster Management Authority said, as it released its first…
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Pakistan races to keep floodwaters out of power station that supplies millions

Pakistan races to keep floodwaters out of power station that supplies millions

DADU, Pakistan, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Authorities in Pakistan are scrambling to protect a vital power station supplying electricity to millions of people against a growing threat of flooding, officials said on Monday, taking steps such as building a dike in front of it. Floods from record monsoon rains and glacial melt in the mountainous north have affected 33 million people and killed almost 1,400, washing away homes, roads, railways, livestock and crops, in damages estimated at $30 billion. Both the government and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres have blamed climate change for the extreme weather that led to the…
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Pakistanis throw up barriers against rising floodwaters; 12 more die

Pakistanis throw up barriers against rising floodwaters; 12 more die

BHAN SYEDABAD, Pakistan, Sept 8 (Reuters) - People were building barriers in some parts of Pakistan on Thursday to hold back rising waters that have engulfed nearly a third of the country after weeks of rain, while officials said 12 more deaths took the toll to 1,355. Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes in a disaster blamed on climate change estimated to have caused losses of about $10 billion, disrupting the lives of nearly 33 million of a population of 220 million. People worked to strengthen an existing dyke as floodwaters threatened the town of Bhan Syedabad…
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Pakistan looks ‘like a sea’ after floods, PM says, as 18 more die

Pakistan looks ‘like a sea’ after floods, PM says, as 18 more die

SEHWAN, Pakistan, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Parts of Pakistan seemed "like a sea", Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Wednesday, after visiting some of the flood-hit areas that cover as much as a third of the South Asian nation, where 18 more deaths took the toll from days of rain to 1,343. As many as 33 million of a population of 220 million have been affected in a disaster blamed on climate change that has left hundreds of thousands homeless and caused losses of at least $10 billion, officials estimate. "You wouldn't believe the scale of destruction there," Sharif told…
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Pakistan struggles to avert danger as floods rise, death toll tops 1,300

Pakistan struggles to avert danger as floods rise, death toll tops 1,300

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Pakistani authorities are struggling to prevent the country's biggest lake bursting its banks and inundating nearby towns after unprecedented flooding, while the disaster management agency on Monday raised its toll of flood deaths by another 24. Record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in Pakistan's northern mountains have brought floods that have affected 33 million people and killed at least 1,314, including 458 children, Pakistan's National Disaster Management Agency said. The floods have followed record-breaking summer temperatures and the government and the United Nations have both blamed climate change for the extreme weather and the devastation…
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South Pakistan braces for yet more flooding as waters flow down from north

South Pakistan braces for yet more flooding as waters flow down from north

DADU, Pakistan (Reuters) - Southern Pakistan braced for yet more flooding as a surge of water flowed down the Indus river, threatening further devastation in a country already a third inundated, in a growing disaster blamed on climate change. Record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in northern mountains have triggered floods that have killed at least 1,208 people, including 416 children, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Pakistan's meteorological office predicted more rains and flash flooding for the month of September. "Overall, a tendency for normal to above normal precipitation is likely over the country during September," the…
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Cataclysmic floods in Pakistan kill 1,100, including 380 children

Cataclysmic floods in Pakistan kill 1,100, including 380 children

CHARSADDA, Pakistan, (Reuters) - Torrential rains and flooding have submerged a third of Pakistan and killed more than 1,100 people, including 380 children as the United Nations appealed for aid for what it described as an "unprecedented climate catastrophe." Army helicopters plucked stranded families and dropped food packages to inaccessible areas as the historic deluge, triggered by unusually heavy monsoon rains, destroyed homes, businesses, infrastructure and crops, impacting 33 million people, 15% of the 220 million-strong South Asian nation. The country has received nearly 190% more rain than the 30-year average in the quarter through August this year, totalling 390.7…
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Pakistan floods have affected over 30 million people

Pakistan floods have affected over 30 million people

Historic monsoon rains and flooding in Pakistan have affected more than 30 million people over the last few weeks, the country's climate change minister said, calling the situation a "climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions." Pakistan has urged the international community to help with relief efforts as it struggles to cope with the aftermath of torrential rains that have triggered massive floods since last month, killing more than 900 people. "33 million have been affected, in different ways; the final homeless figure is being assessed," Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman told Reuters in a text message. She added that the…
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Pakistan police charge ex-PM Imran Khan under terrorism act

Pakistan police charge ex-PM Imran Khan under terrorism act

ISLAMABAD, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Hundreds of supporters of Pakistan's former prime minister, Imran Khan, gathered on Monday outside his hilltop mansion in the capital, vowing to prevent his arrest on anti-terrorism accusations, officials of his political party said. The move follows a police case filed against Khan on Saturday for threatening government officials in a public speech about the alleged police torture of one of his aides, who faces sedition charges for inciting mutiny in the powerful military. The protesters chanted slogans against the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, which took over after Khan's ouster in a confidence…
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Flash floods kill 550 in Pakistan in heaviest rains in decades

Flash floods kill 550 in Pakistan in heaviest rains in decades

ISLAMABAD, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Flash floods caused by abnormally heavy monsoon rains killed at least 549 people in Pakistan over the past month, with remote communities in the impoverished southwestern province of Balochistan among the hardest hit, a government agency said. Government agencies and the army have set up aid and relief camps in flood-hit regions and were working to help relocate families and provide food and medicine. Aside from the fatalities, the flooding had damaged more than 46,200 houses, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Friday. "We're doing our best to provide for extensive relief and…
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Flooding in Pakistan kills dozens as heavy monsoon rains lash the country

Flooding in Pakistan kills dozens as heavy monsoon rains lash the country

Intense floods killed dozens of people and left hundreds homeless in Pakistan, officials said, as heavy monsoon rains battered the country. In the southern province of Balochistan, 57 people, including women and children, were killed after being swept away in flood waters, according to Ziaullah Langove, the disaster and home affairs advisor to the province's chief minister, adding that eight dams had burst due to the heavy rains. People make their way through a flooded road during heavy monsoon rain in Karachi, Pakistan. EPA-EFE/REHAN KHAN Hundreds more were left homeless after their homes collapsed in the rain and flooding, he…
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Updated: Afghanistan earthquake death toll hits 1,000; toll seen likely to rise

Updated: Afghanistan earthquake death toll hits 1,000; toll seen likely to rise

KABUL, June 22 (Reuters) - The death toll from the earthquake in eastern Afghanistan has hit 1,000, according to a local official in province of Paktika, one of the hardest-hit areas. "1,000 dead, 1,500 injured, and this number might go up, many families have been lost. Injured people have been taken to Kabul and Gardez," Mohammad Amin Hozaifa, information and culture director of Paktika told Reuters. Officially, disaster management officials still put the number of injured at 600.  An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 killed 950 people in Afghanistan early on Wednesday, disaster management officials said, with more than 600 injured and the…
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FATF keeps Pakistan on ‘grey list’

FATF keeps Pakistan on ‘grey list’

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A global dirty money watchdog said it was keeping Pakistan on its "grey list" of countries under increased monitoring but said it might be removed after an on-site visit to verify its progress on tackling terrorism financing. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), set up by the G7 group of advanced economies to protect the global financial system, said Pakistan had substantially completed its two action plans, covering 34 items, as part of a bid to get off the list on which it has been since 2018. But FATF said an on-site visit was warranted to verify that reforms…
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Pakistan, India reel under intense heat wave

Pakistan, India reel under intense heat wave

PESHAWAR, Pakistan/AHMEDABAD,India (Reuters) - Pakistan issued a heat warning after the hottest March in 61 years while in parts of neighbouring India schools were shut and streets deserted as an intense heave wave showed no signs of abating. Pakistan's Federal Minister for Climate Change, Sherry Rehman, urged the federal and provincial governments to take precautionary measures to manage the intense heat wave, which touched highs of 47 degrees Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in parts of the country. "South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan are faced with what has been a record-breaking heatwave. It started in early April and continues to leave the people…
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Pakistan’s parliament votes in Sharif as prime minister

Pakistan’s parliament votes in Sharif as prime minister

Pakistan's parliament on Monday elected Shehbaz Sharif prime minister after a week-long constitutional crisis that climaxed on Sunday when his predecessor Imran Khan lost a no-confidence vote. Shehbaz, 70, who has a reputation domestically as an effective administrator more than as a politician, is the younger brother of three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Analysts say Shehbaz, unlike Nawaz, enjoys amicable relations with Pakistan's military, which traditionally controls foreign and defence policy in the nuclear-armed nation of 220 million people The younger Sharif emerged as the leader of a united opposition to topple Khan, a former cricket star who has claimed that…
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Shehbaz Sharif submits nomination for prime minister to Pakistani parliament

Shehbaz Sharif submits nomination for prime minister to Pakistani parliament

ISLAMABAD, April 10 (Reuters) - Opposition politician Shehbaz Sharif submitted his nomination to be Pakistan's next prime minister to the legislature on Sunday, his party said, after incumbent Imran Khan lost a no-confidence vote in parliament after nearly four years in power.  The younger brother of three-times prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz, 70, has led a bid by the opposition in parliament to topple former cricket star Khan, and he is widely expected to replace him following a vote on Monday. The chief of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had handed in his nomination papers, Marriyum Aurangzeb, a spokeswoman for the party…
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UPDATED: Fresh elections in Pakistan to be held in 90 days

UPDATED: Fresh elections in Pakistan to be held in 90 days

ISLAMABAD, April 3 (Reuters) - Fresh elections in Pakistan will be held in 90 days, State Minister for Information Farrukh Habib said on Sunday. Habib made the announcement in a tweet, although a final decision will come from the president of Pakistan and the election commission. Prime Minister Imran Khan has advised President Arif Alvi to dissolve parliament after the deputy speaker blocked a move to remove him.  Imran Khan survived a move to oust him as Pakistan's prime minister on Sunday, getting a reprieve when the deputy speaker of parliament blocked a no-confidence motion as unconstitutional. But Khan's fate…
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UPDATED: India says it accidentally fired missile into Pakistan

UPDATED: India says it accidentally fired missile into Pakistan

NEW DELHI, March 11 (Reuters) - India said on Friday it accidentally fired a missile into Pakistan because of a "technical malfunction" during routine maintenance. "On 9 March 2022, in the course of a routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile," the government said in a statement. "It is learnt that the missile landed in an area of Pakistan. While the incident is deeply regrettable, it is also a matter of relief that there has been no loss of life due to the accident." Pakistan on Friday warned New Delhi of "unpleasant consequences" over what it…
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At least 56 killed in suicide bombing at Shi’ite mosque in Pakistan

At least 56 killed in suicide bombing at Shi’ite mosque in Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) -A suicide bombing at a Shi'ite Muslim mosque during Friday prayers in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar killed at least 56 people and injured nearly 200, police and hospital officials said. An armed man who arrived near the mosque on a motorcycle opened fire when he was stopped by police, before forcing his way into a crowded hall and detonated his suicide vest, senior police official Haroon Rasheed said. The attacker first shot at the police guards at the mosque's entrance, killing one of them, he said. "The armed man entered the mosque and started firing…
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Attacks on Pakistan army bases kill four soldiers, 15 insurgents

Attacks on Pakistan army bases kill four soldiers, 15 insurgents

ISLAMABAD, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Pakistan's army successfully repulsed night-time attacks on two southwestern bases that killed four soldiers and 15 insurgents, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad said on Thursday. A clearance operation is underway in the province of Balochistan, the minister added in a recorded video statement. An ethnic separatist group, the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), has claimed responsibility for the attacks. (Reporting by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Clarence Fernandez) Photo - Pakistani security officials on a road in Quetta, Balochistan, Pakistan. EPA-EFE/FAYYAZ AHMAD
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Pakistan records most daily COVID cases since pandemic began

Pakistan records most daily COVID cases since pandemic began

KARACHI, Pakistan, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Pakistan reported on Friday over 7,000 COVID-19 cases in a single day, its highest daily number of infections since the pandemic began, as the south Asian nation imposes new restrictions to curb the fast-spreading Omicron variant. At least 7,678 cases in the past 24 hours pushed the positivity ratio to 12.93%, the highest ever in the last two years, 23 deaths were also reported in the last 24 hours, according to data from the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC), which is overseeing the pandemic response. Karachi, the country’s largest city, recorded its highest ever…
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Deadly weather traps hundreds of drivers in Pakistan

Deadly weather traps hundreds of drivers in Pakistan

At least 21 people have died after heavy snow trapped them in their vehicles in northern Pakistan. As many as 1,000 vehicles became stranded as would-be tourists reportedly rushed to view the winter snowfall in the hilltop town of Murree. A policeman, his wife and their six children, as well as another family-of-five, are among the dead, according to local emergency services Rescue 1122. The military says it has rescued more than 300 people stranded by the snow. An army spokesperson added that military engineers and troops had also started to clear roads leading to Murree. Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid…
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Pakistan sees most COVID-19 cases in two months, concern about Omicron

Pakistan sees most COVID-19 cases in two months, concern about Omicron

KARACHI, Pakistan, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Pakistan reported on Monday more than 700 COVID-19 cases in a single day, its highest tally in two months, as authorities warned of a fifth wave of infections and made preparations to try to contain the fast-spreading Omicron variant. At least 708 cases in the past 24 hours pushed the positivity ratio to 1.55%, the highest since Oct. 24, according to data from the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC), which is overseeing the pandemic response. “There is clear evidence now of a beginning of another COVID wave which has been expected for the last…
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Pakistan may have first Omicron case

Pakistan may have first Omicron case

KARACHI, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Authorities in Pakistan are investigating the first possible case of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in the South Asian nation, a provincial health ministry official told Reuters on Thursday. The health ministry spokesperson in the southern province of Sindh said the infection was found in an unvaccinated patient being treated at a private hospital in Pakistan's most populous city of Karachi. The official initially said contact tracing was underway and the patient had travelled abroad, but later Sindh authorities said they were uncertain of the person's travel history. Pakistan's National Institute of Health (NIH) later…
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UPDATED: At least 20 killed in earthquake in southern Pakistan

UPDATED: At least 20 killed in earthquake in southern Pakistan

At least 20 people were killed and about 300 injured on Thursday when a 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck southern Pakistan in the early hours as many of the victims were asleep, the Disaster Management Authority said. Rescue workers said most of those killed were women and children. The earthquake struck at the relatively shallow depth of 20 km (12 miles) with an epicentre 102 km (62 miles) east of the city of Quetta, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said. More than 100 mud houses collapsed and many buildings were damaged. Television footage showed buildings with gaping cracks, caved in roofs…
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Pakistan to ban public sector, education, malls, air travel for unvaccinated

Pakistan to ban public sector, education, malls, air travel for unvaccinated

Pakistan will ban air travel for anyone without a COVID-19 vaccine certificate from Aug.1 and will require all public sector workers to get vaccinated by Aug. 31, the government announced on Thursday along with a host of other restrictions. From Aug. 1, unvaccinated people will no longer be allowed to enter government offices, schools, restaurants and shopping malls, said Asad Umar, who heads National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), a military-run body that oversees the pandemic response, at a joint news conference with the health minister in Islamabad. Teachers and students above 18, public transport and retail staff will also…
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Two activists killed in tightly fought vote in Pakistan’s Kashmir

Two activists killed in tightly fought vote in Pakistan’s Kashmir

Two political activists were killed in an exchange of fire between supporters of two major Pakistani parties on Sunday during a tight race to elect the regional assembly in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the police said. Supporters of the ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) party of Prime Minister Imran Khan and opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP) clashed in one constituency, leading to the deaths, police officer Mohammad Shabir told Reuters by phone. It was not immediately clear which party they backed. Four soldiers in a rapid response team involved in securing the poll also died when their vehicle plunged into a ravine in…
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Afghan Taliban seize border crossing with Pakistan in major advance

Afghan Taliban seize border crossing with Pakistan in major advance

Taliban fighters in Afghanistan said on Wednesday they had taken control of one of the main border crossings with Pakistan, perhaps the most strategic objective they have captured so far in a rapid advance across the country as U.S. forces pull out. A Pakistani official said fighters had taken down the Afghan government flag from atop the Friendship Gate at the border crossing between the Pakistani town of Chaman and the Afghan town of Wesh. The crossing, south of Afghanistan's main southern city Kandahar, is the landlocked country's second busiest entry point and the main link between its vast southwest and…
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UPDATED: Pakistani train collision leaves 41 dead, more than 100 wounded

UPDATED: Pakistani train collision leaves 41 dead, more than 100 wounded

At least 41 people are dead and more than 100 wounded after two trains collided in southern Pakistan on Monday, the state-owned railway said. Rescue teams shifted the injured to nearby hospitals, where the number of dead was expected to rise, as many were in critical condition, Syed Ijazul Hassan, spokesperson for Pakistan Railways, told dpa. Bodies of the victims of trains accident are shifted to a mortuary of a hospital in Ghotki district, Sindh province, Pakistan, 07 June 2021. EPA-EFE/WAQAR HUSSEIN The crash occurred in the early morning in the southern province of Sindh, when the Millat Express, coming…
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Pakistan to slash international flights by 80% to curb COVID-19

Pakistan to slash international flights by 80% to curb COVID-19

Pakistan will reduce the number of international flights into and out of its airports by 80% to help curb rising COVID-19 cases, the government said. The restrictions will come into effect on May 5 and will run to May 20, Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement, though it did not specify which flights or destinations would be affected by the measure. The controls will be reviewed on May 18, the government said in a statement endorsed by the National Command Operation Center (NCOC), which oversees Pakistan's response to the pandemic. The restrictions will be applied to chartered and…
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Car bombing at hotel in Pakistan kills 4, wounds 11

Car bombing at hotel in Pakistan kills 4, wounds 11

A car bomb blast late on Wednesday ripped through a luxury hotel's parking area in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, killing four people and wounding 11, officials said. China's ambassador to Pakistan was staying at the hotel, but was not there when the bomb exploded, said Pakistan's interior Minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad. Provincial Home Minister Ziaullah Lango said the envoy was fine. "An explosion has rocked the parking area of the Serena Hotel," police official Nasir Malik told Reuters, saying 11 people had been wounded. An official at a local civil hospital, Waseem Baig, said four people had died,…
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Pakistan blocks social media apps temporarily on security grounds – officials

Pakistan blocks social media apps temporarily on security grounds – officials

ISLAMABAD, April 16 (Reuters) - Pakistan temporarily blocked Facebook, Twitter and several other social media apps on security grounds on Friday amid a crackdown against a violent Islamist group, officials said. "In order to maintain public order and safety, access to certain social media applications has been restricted temporarily," a senior telecommunications authority official told Reuters, without specifying which social media. The interior ministry said in a statement the block would last until 1500 local time (1000 GMT) and applied to YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram and Tiktok. Pakistan said this week it had banned the Islamist group Tehrik-i-Labaik Pakistan…
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Young Pakistanis rush to purchase Russian vaccine as private sales open

Young Pakistanis rush to purchase Russian vaccine as private sales open

Thousands of Pakistanis rushed to get inoculated in the first round of commercial sales of COVID-19 vaccines that began over the weekend, with vaccination sites in the southern city of Karachi saying on Sunday they had already sold out. Pakistan is currently offering free vaccines to frontline healthcare workers and people over the age of 50, but the drive has thus far been slow, and last month the country allowed commercial imports by the private sector for the general public. The first round saw the commercial sale of the two-shot Russian Sputnik V to the general public for about 12,000…
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Photo Story – Bombing in Pakistan

Photo Story – Bombing in Pakistan

Pakistani security officials inspect the scene of a bomb blast near the Afghan border, in Chaman, Pakistan, 23 March 2021. At least three people were killed and 13 injured when a bomb planted near at prison, exploded in Chaman. VIA EPA-EFE/AKHTAR GULFAM
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India and Pakistan suffer new COVID-19 surge

India and Pakistan suffer new COVID-19 surge

India and Pakistan reported a big jump in new coronavirus infections on Thursday, driven by a resurgence in cases in their richest states. While authorities in India have mainly blamed crowding and an overall reluctance to wear masks for its spike, Pakistan says the UK variant of the virus found in the country could also be a factor. Maharashtra state, home to India's commercial capital Mumbai, reported 23,179 of the country's 35,871 new cases in the past 24 hours, and the fast-spreading contagion in major industrial areas raised risks of companies' production being disrupted. With the worst rise in infections…
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Pakistani PM wins vote of confidence amidst opposition protest, boycott

Pakistani PM wins vote of confidence amidst opposition protest, boycott

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan won a vote of confidence from parliament on Saturday in a session marked by opposition boycott and protest. Khan was able to secure 178 votes, against the 172 required to win confidence, the speaker of the house announced. Khan had himself volunteered to seek parliament's confidence after the government’s finance minister lost a high-profile Senate seat election earlier in the week. (Reporting by Gibran Peshimam; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)
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Two white tiger cubs in Pakistan likely died of COVID

Two white tiger cubs in Pakistan likely died of COVID

Two 11-week-old white tiger cubs that died in a Pakistani zoo last month appear to have died of COVID-19, officials said. The cubs died in the Lahore Zoo on Jan. 30, four days after beginning treatment for what officials thought was feline panleukopenia virus, a disease that zoo officials said is common in Pakistan and targets cats’ immune system. But an autopsy found the cubs’ lungs were badly damaged and they were suffering from severe infection, with pathologists concluding they died from COVID-19. Although no PCR test for the new coronavirus was conducted, zoo deputy director Kiran Saleem told Reuters…
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Photo Story: Cold winter weather grips Peshawar

Photo Story: Cold winter weather grips Peshawar

Children warm themselves around a fire to beat the cold weather at a road side in Peshawar, Pakistan.  Reports state that many cities in Pakistan are experiencing unusual cold weather conditions during which regular daytime temperatures fall around five degree Celsius in wide parts of the country. Via EPA-EFE/BILAWAL ARBAB
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Photo Story: First Polio Vaccination Campaign 2021 in Pakistan

Photo Story: First Polio Vaccination Campaign 2021 in Pakistan

A health worker administers polio vaccine to children during a polio vaccination door-to-door campaign in Peshawar, Pakistan, 11 January 2021.A five-day national polio immunisation drive will start on 11 January to vaccinate over 40 million children under the age of five across Pakistan. Around 285,000 polio frontline workers will visit parents and caregivers at their doorstep, adhering to strict COVID-19 precautionary measures and protocols while vaccinating children. These measures will include wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, and maintaining a safe distance during the vaccination. EPA-EFE/BILAWAL ARBAB
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Pakistan plunged into darkness as national power grid breaks down

Pakistan plunged into darkness as national power grid breaks down

A breakdown in Pakistan's national power grid plunged the country into darkness on Saturday night, officials said. "A countrywide blackout has been caused by a sudden plunge in the frequency in the power transmission system," Pakistan's Power Minister Omar Ayub Khan said on Twitter. He said efforts were underway to determine the reasons behind the situation, and asked people across the country to remain calm. Major cities, including Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, were among those affected. Mr Khan later said that power had been restored in some regions, including the city of Peshawar. He added that an investigation was under…
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Pakistan accuses India of funding disinformation campaign in EU

Pakistan accuses India of funding disinformation campaign in EU

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan accused arch-rival India of funding a long running disinformation campaign against it on Friday and said it would raise the matter in global forums. In making its claim that India attempted to manipulate international bodies through fake news websites and organisations, Pakistan's foreign minister cited a report by European non-government organisation EU Disinfo Lab. The report highlighted a network of hundreds of fake media outlets and organisations that it said have pushed a pro-India agenda in the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) bodies to discredit the country's rivals, in particular Pakistan. EU DisinfoLab did…
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France demands Pakistan rectifies Macron Nazi jibe

France demands Pakistan rectifies Macron Nazi jibe

France's foreign ministry has demanded Pakistan authorities withdraw comments made by one of its ministers that President Emmanuel Macon was treating Muslims like Nazis had treated Jews in World War 2.  The comments posted on Twitter by Pakistan's Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari on Saturday came as part of a clash between Pakistan and France over the publication of images of the Prophet Mohammad by a French magazine. The images have sparked anger and protests in the Muslim world, especially in Pakistan. "Macron is doing to Muslims what the Nazis did to the Jews - Muslim children will…
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Indian and Pakistani troops exchange fire, at least 15 dead

Indian and Pakistani troops exchange fire, at least 15 dead

At least 10 civilians and five security personnel were killed in cross-border shelling between India and Pakistan on Friday, in one of this year's deadliest days along the heavily militarised frontier separating the nuclear-armed rivals, officials said. Indian officials said the barrage of mortars and other weapons along several parts of the Line of Control - the de-facto border - began after Indian troops foiled an infiltration attempt from Pakistan in northern Kashmir. Pakistan's military said in a statement it had responded to unprovoked and indiscriminate firing by the Indian army. Indian officials said six civilians, three soldiers and a…
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School explosion rocks Pakistani city of Peshawar

School explosion rocks Pakistani city of Peshawar

An explosion at a religious school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar has killed at least seven people and wounded 70 others, many of them children, police officials say. The blast occurred at the Speen Jamaat mosque, which also serves as a religious school for local children, at 8:30am local time (3:30 GMT) on Tuesday, a police official told Al Jazeera. “It was not a suicide attack, there were explosives that had been kept in a bag there,” he said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
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Pakistani renowned scholar killed in Karachi

Pakistani renowned scholar killed in Karachi

The targeted killing of noted religious scholar and administrator of Jamia Farooqia, Karachi, Maulana Dr Adil Khan, along with his driver has sent shockwaves across the city as the authorities concerned have become wary about law and order situation. Gulf Times reports that sixty-year-old Dr Adil Khan was the son of renowned religious scholar Maulana Saleemullah Khan who assumed responsibilities as the administrator of Jamia Farooqia after the death of his father. Dr Adil Khan was assassinated by unidentified motorcycle riders who opened fire on him when he stopped in Shah Faisal Colony area of the city to do some…
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Pakistan blocks social media app TikTok

Pakistan blocks social media app TikTok

Pakistan’s telecom regulator blocked TikTok on Friday for failing to filter out “immoral and indecent” content, another blow to the social media app that has come under increasing scrutiny as its popularity has surged across the globe. The ban comes in view of “complaints from different segments of the society against immoral and indecent content on the video sharing application,” said the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). The PTA said it would review its ban subject to a satisfactory mechanism by TikTok to moderate unlawful content. TikTok said it was “committed to following the law in markets where the app is…
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Pakistan blocks five dating apps including Tinder and Grindr

Pakistan blocks five dating apps including Tinder and Grindr

Pakistan announced it has blocked Tinder, Grindr and three other dating apps for not adhering to local laws, its latest move to curb online platforms deemed to be disseminating “immoral content”. Pakistan, the second largest Muslim-majority country in the world after Indonesia, is an Islamic nation where extra-marital relationships and homosexuality are illegal. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority said it has sent notices to the management of the five apps, “keeping in view the negative effects of immoral/indecent content streaming.” PTA said the notices issued to Tinder, Grindr, Tagged, Skout and SayHi sought the removal of “dating services” and moderation of…
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Pakistani foreign minister tests positive for COVID-19

Pakistani foreign minister tests positive for COVID-19

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday he had tested positive for COVID-19, days after holding high-profile meetings including one with U.S. special representative on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad in Islamabad. “This afternoon I felt a slight fever and immediately quarantined myself at home,” Qureshi said on Twitter. He said he felt healthy and would carry on his duties from home. In the last few days, Qureshi has had contact with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in parliament and in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Qureshi also met Khalilzad on Wednesday when the U.S. special representative travelled to Pakistan…
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UPDATED: Gunmen attack Pakistani stock exchange, seven killed

UPDATED: Gunmen attack Pakistani stock exchange, seven killed

  Four gunmen attacked the Pakistani Stock Exchange building in the city of Karachi on Monday but security forces soon killed them all, police said. Three other people were also killed, the military said. The gunmen attacked the building, which is in a high security zone that also houses the head offices of many private banks, with grenades and guns, Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon told Reuters. "Four attackers have been killed, they had come in a silver Corolla car," Memon said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Pakistan has long been plagued by Islamist militant violence but…
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Pakistani PM Imran Khan criticised after calling Osama Bin Laden a ‘martyr’

Pakistani PM Imran Khan criticised after calling Osama Bin Laden a ‘martyr’

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has come under fire from opposition MPs after telling parliament that the US "martyred" Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was killed in 2011 when US special forces raided his hideout in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. Pakistan was not informed in advance. "I will never forget how we Pakistanis were embarrassed when the Americans came into Abbottabad and killed Osama Bin Laden, martyred him," Khan said. Khan used the word "shaheed" - a reverential Arabic term for a martyr of Islam. Opposition leader and former Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif…
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Pakistan International Airlines to ground pilots for ‘dubious’ licences

Pakistan International Airlines to ground pilots for ‘dubious’ licences

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will be grounding nearly 150 out of its 426 pilots, amid an inquiry that they hold "dubious" licences, a company spokesman said. The decision comes at a time when an initial inquiry into a PIA plane crash was presented before the parliament by the country's aviation minister, who also highlighted irregularities at the national carrier. A PIA Airbus A320 crashed on May 22 in the southern city of Karachi, killing all but two of those aboard. Via Reuters
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Emirates suspends flights from Pakistan after passengers test positive for coronavirus

Emirates suspends flights from Pakistan after passengers test positive for coronavirus

Emirates, one of the world's biggest long-haul airlines, has suspended flights from Pakistan after passengers tested positive for coronavirus in Hong Kong, it said on Wednesday. The Dubai state carrier, which is operating limited services due to the coronavirus pandemic, said the temporary suspension was effective June 24. "We are co-ordinating closely with the various authorities and will review and implement any required additional measures to satisfy all parties before we resume services from Pakistan," a spokeswoman told Reuters. The airline will continue to operate flights to Pakistan, she said. The rate of COVID-19 cases has been rising fast in…
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Pakistan air crash probe shows pilots distracted by coronavirus worry

Pakistan air crash probe shows pilots distracted by coronavirus worry

The pilots of a Pakistan airliner that crashed last month, killing 97 people, were distracted as they talked about the coronavirus pandemic throughout the flight before an abortive landing bid, an initial inquiry report showed on Wednesday. Presenting the report in parliament, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said both the pilots and officials at air traffic control did not follow set procedures, leading to the crash. The pilots were not “focused” because of the coronavirus pandemic, he added, though the aircraft had no technical fault. “Unfortunately...the discussion throughout was about corona,” Khan said, referring to exchanges between the pilot and…
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Coronavirus spreading in Pakistan at one of the fastest rates in the world

Coronavirus spreading in Pakistan at one of the fastest rates in the world

The coronavirus is spreading in Pakistan at one of the fastest rates in the world, and overwhelmed hospitals are turning away patients, the Associated Press reports. But the government is pushing ahead with opening up the country, trying to salvage a near-collapsed economy where millions have already slid into poverty from pandemic restrictions. Further complicating the dilemma, as the government pins its main hope for stemming the virus rampage on social distancing and masks, many in the public ignore calls to use them. Millions crowd markets and mosques. Hard-line clerics tell followers to trust that faith will protect them. Many…
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After easing of lockdown, Pakistan’s COVID-19 cases surge

After easing of lockdown, Pakistan’s COVID-19 cases surge

Four weeks ago, with its most important festival coming up and millions of people facing starvation as economic activity dwindled, Pakistan lifted a two-month-long coronavirus lockdown. Prime Minister Imran Khan has said despite rising infections and deaths, the country would need to learn to “live with” the virus to avert pushing tens of millions living on daily wages into destitution. Now, a Reuters review of government data shows over 20,000 cases of the virus were identified in the three weeks before the lockdown was lifted, and more than double that figure were identified in the three weeks since. To be…
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Photo Story: Pakistan facing devastating locust swarms

Photo Story: Pakistan facing devastating locust swarms

Locusts are seen on the outskirts of Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan province, Pakistan. According to country's food and agriculture authorities, a second wave of desert locust swarms is waiting to attack farmlands across the country this summer. The swarms are posing potentially serious food security crisis in parts of Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab, covering almost 38pc of the country's total area. Via EPA-EFE/JAMAL TARAQAI
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