Pakistan

On October 3, US authorities warned US citizens travelling in Western Europe that there was an increased threat from Islamist terrorism. The same day, British authorities cautioned their citizens travelling in France or Germany. France, for its part, issued a warning for French nationals visiting Britain. The nature of the supposed terrorist threat was unspecified. The media breathlessly speculated about planned “Mumbai-style” attacks.
US relations with Pakistan have deteriorated as the US continues to extend its war in neighbouring Afghanistan across the border. The US blames the use of sanctuaries in Pakistan by insurgents for the failure of the US-led occupation of Afghanistan to achieve its aims. Pakistan closed its border with Afghanistan after the September 30 shooting of three Pakistani soldiers by US soldiers in a helicopter. The US soldiers had crossed the border looking for insurgents.
Pakistan blocked a vital supply route for US-led troops in Afghanistan on September 30. The move was in apparent retaliation for an alleged cross-border NATO helicopter strike that killed three Pakistani frontier troops, The British Morning Star said that day. The blockade appeared to be a big escalation in tensions between Pakistan and the United States. A permanent stoppage of supply lorries would place huge strains on NATO and damage the already faltering counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan.
A multi-party conference in Lahore on August 29 has launched a campaign to cancel Pakistan's crippling foreign debt and to organise mass rallies in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. The first rally took place on September 2 in Islamabad. The Labour Relief Campaign, in association with Oxfam Pakistan, called the conference to discuss the issue of debt repayment in the post-flood scenario. It was chaired by Aman Kariaper and Ammar Ali Jan. Senator Hasil Bezinjo vowed to take the issue to Pakistan’s Senate and present a resolution to demand that government refuse to pay the foreign debt.
The world of international cricket has been rocked by allegations of a betting scandal involving players in Pakistan’s national cricket team. British tabloid News of the World published allegations that Pakistan players had bowled “no-balls” at an exact moment in the game in return for money from bookmakers. The scandal has also raised speculation of Pakistan players being involved in match-fixing on behalf of bookmakers. Three Pakistani players have been suspended from international cricket and charged by the International Cricket Council over their alleged role in the scandal.
I have been a fan of many sports for a very long time. I have especially followed the game of cricket for more than 50 years and I have to confess to having spent more time watching, listening and reading about it than almost any other topic.
The following statement was released on August 20 by the Labour Party Pakistan (Karachi) and Pakistan’s National Trade Union Federation. See Laborpakistan.org for more information. * * * The recent floods represent the worst disaster in Pakistan’s history. The country has been devastated from the northern areas to its southern tip.
With floods caused by the heaviest ever recorded rainfall sweep down the Indus River toward the Arabian Sea, a fifth of Pakistan was under water by late August. More than 16,000 people have been killed and 20 million displaced. The death toll is likely to rise due to hunger and disease. Food insecurity and malnutrition were endemic in Pakistan before the catastrophe. On August 25, the United Nations reported 120,000 cases of suspected dengue fever and malaria and more than 600,000 cases of acute diarrhoea. The outlook for farmers who have lost all means of livelihood is grim.
If you are not at least a little bit scared about the Russian heatwave or the huge floods in Pakistan, then you really should be. Extreme and dangerous weather events will be far more common in a warmer world. These devastating fires and floods are a taste of our future climate — unless we can force a political breakthrough on climate change and cut greenhouse gas emissions sharply. The disasters of the past few weeks sound an unmistakable warning: we’ve emitted so many greenhouse gases already that we are losing a safe climate.
By August 12, more than 20 million people had been affected by the floods in Pakistan. Waters remained at dangerous levels in several parts of the country, with more torrential rains forecast by the weather department. This has been one of the most devastating floods in world history. The UN has once again appealed for donations for Pakistan. But the international response has been slow.
During the last three decades, Afghan people have had to leave their homeland due to civil war and foreign invasions. They began to live in camps set up for them near Peshawar. During the recent floods in the province of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa, the refugee camps in Charsada and Nowsherhra have been completely washed away. The Azakhel refugee camp that housed more than 3000 people has been annihilated by the floods.
On July 29, 250,000 power loom workers in Faisalabad, Pakistan’s third largest city, won a 17% pay increase after a nine day strike. Authorities also agreed to release four unionists arrested during the dispute. The authorities’ backdown came after a march of more than 25,000 striking workers. Thousands of workers rallied throughout the strike, despite the Punjab government banning public gatherings on July 19.