The South Asia Channel

Pakistani Court Orders Climate Law Enforcement; US Reviews Afghan Withdrawal Plans; Modi Dines With Fortune 500 CEOs

Pakistan Pakistani court orders enforcement of climate law On Friday, the Pakistani press reported that the Lahore High Court ruled the government must enforce its climate law in a public interest case brought by Asghar Leghari, a farmer, on Aug. 31. (Dawn). Leghari argued that the government had not met its responsibilities in promoting resilience ...

Pakistani workers prepare solar energy light panels on a road divider in Islamabad on February 2, 2014. The country faces an electricity shortfall of around 4,000 megawatts in the sweltering summer, leading to lengthy blackouts that can make the lives of the population a misery and have strangled economic growth. AFP PHOTO/Aamir QURESHI        (Photo credit should read AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani workers prepare solar energy light panels on a road divider in Islamabad on February 2, 2014. The country faces an electricity shortfall of around 4,000 megawatts in the sweltering summer, leading to lengthy blackouts that can make the lives of the population a misery and have strangled economic growth. AFP PHOTO/Aamir QURESHI (Photo credit should read AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan

Pakistani court orders enforcement of climate law

On Friday, the Pakistani press reported that the Lahore High Court ruled the government must enforce its climate law in a public interest case brought by Asghar Leghari, a farmer, on Aug. 31. (Dawn). Leghari argued that the government had not met its responsibilities in promoting resilience under its 2012 National Climate Policy and Framework. Judge Syed Mansoor Ali Shah noted that climate change “appears the most serious threat faced by Pakistan,” ordering that government officials appear in court to explain the progress made so far. Shah commented: “Climate change is a defining challenge of our time … it is a clarion call for the protection of the fundamental rights of the citizens of Pakistan … like the right to life which includes the right to a healthy and clean environment and right to human dignity.” The High Court judge ordered each ministry and department to establish a focal person to work with the Ministry of Climate Change on implementation.

Pakistan issues $500 million Eurobond

On Friday, Pakistan’s finance ministry announced the issuing of a new 10-year bond of $500 million in the international Euro bond market (ET, Dawn, WSJ). The bond was issued at a coupon rate of 8.25 percent. The issued bond was half of the $1 billion bond expected earlier in the week. The finance ministry pointed to economic troubles in the region including China’s economic downturn to explain the issuing of the bond at $500 million stating: “Under the circumstances, the finance minister with the approval of the prime minister, decided that it would be prudent to restrict the issue to the intended and announced level of $500 million in order to cover the forthcoming maturity in March 2016 of a bond issued in 2006.”

Seven Pakistanis die in Hajj stampede

Seven Pakistanis died in a stampede outside the city of Mecca on Thursday during the Hajj, reports on Friday confirmed (ET). The stampede killed more than 700 people and followed a crane collapse that killed 100 other people. Saudi Arabia says it is still counting the dead from the stampede.

Afghanistan

U.S. reviews possibility of leaving thousands of troops in Afghanistan

U.S. defense officials are reviewing the possibility of leaving thousands of American troops in Afghanistan as well as other options amid growing worries over withdrawal plans, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday (WSJ, Fox). Gen. John Campbell, the top commander in Afghanistan, sent five different recommendations to the Pentagon and NATO headquarters among which was one option of keeping 10,000 American soldiers in the country. A senior administration official commented: “We will continue to work closely with President Ghani, the Afghan government, and our international partners to ensure that Afghan forces have the capabilities and training necessary to preserve the gains made by the Afghans and the international community over the last 13 years.” Under the existing plan the number of American soldiers in Afghanistan would decline to fewer than 1,000 by the end of 2016.

Officials concerned over HIV in Kandahar

On Friday, the Public Health Directorate in Kandahar expressed concern over the number of HIV cases in the province, reporting 61 cases and 17 deaths (TOLO News). Dr. Humayun Mubariz, the head of the HIV department, stated: “We have registered 61 positive cases of HIV/AIDS in Kandahar over the past few years of which 17 have lost their lives. The remaining are in contact with us and are under treatment.” Abdul Qayum Pakhla, the public health director for Kandahar, stated that the directorate is taking steps to fight the health problem.

Six Afghans missing after Hajj stampede

On Friday, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs announced that six Afghans are missing following the stampede during the Hajj on Thursday that killed more than 700 people (Pajhwok).

— David Sterman

India

Bonus Read: “What U.S. Startup Investors Want From India’s Narendra Modi,” by Shefali Anad (WSJ)

Narendra Modi dines with Fortune 500 CEOs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with 47 chief executives of Fortune 500 companies for dinner in New York on Thursday evening in an effort to promote the “Make in India” campaign, a national program aimed at making India a manufacturing hub (Hindu, BBC). The executives included Citibank Chairman Michael O’Neill, MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, Boeing International President Marc Allen, and Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn. Modi is on a five-day visit to the U.S. where he also intends to hold a town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters as well as to meet with leaders from the Silicon Valley. He will address the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development on Friday and the White House confirmed that President Obama will meet with Modi on the sidelines of this summit (India Express).

India celebrates Eid-ul-Azha, 14 pilgrims die at Hajj

On Friday, India celebrates the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Azha, along with the rest of the Muslim world, as it commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son at God’s command (BBC, WSJ). It also marks the completion of the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, where Muslims from all over the world gather for the annual pilgrimage. The Indian foreign ministry has confirmed that due to a stampede during Hajj 14 Indian citizens were killed and 13 were injured. 100,000 Indians are currently believed to be in Mecca participating at the Hajj pilgrimage.

India to increase renewable energy production fivefold by 2020

India’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday said in an interview that his government will confirm plans next week for a fivefold increase in renewable energy production by 2020 (AP). However, he emphasized that developed nations need to step up their climate change efforts rather than countries like India who have far smaller carbon foot prints. Javadekar called poverty “a real polluting factor” and said it would be “just” if the carbon space occupied by the developed nations is freed for the poorer developing countries. Javadekar’s statement comes a day before Prime Minister Modi is set to address United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development in New York this Friday.

— Shuja Malik

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— Edited by Peter Bergen

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

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