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‘Overwhelmed’: No end to flooding woes as rains lash Karachi | Pakistan News



Islamabad, Pakistan – At least 13 people have been killed by urban flooding in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, the country’s largest city and its commercial hub, as torrential monsoon rains have left large parts of the metropolis inundated and without electricity, officials said.

Those killed include people who have drowned in their homes, been crushed under collapsing walls or electrocuted by short-circuiting wires, Dr Seemin Jamali, the executive director of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), told Al Jazeera on Friday.

On Thursday, the city received more than 223mm of rain in a 12-hour period, the country’s meteorological department said, the highest seen in a single day since records began. More than 484mm of rain has fallen in August so far, according to the data, more than 10 times the monthly average.

“The havoc that has happened here from the inclement weather and the urban flooding has overwhelmed everyone,” Dr Jamali told Al Jazeera by telephone. “You would be shocked looking at the streets of Karachi. There is no way you can get out in that water.”

Major roads and infrastructure across the city of 22 million people were flooded under several feet of water, with residents unable to reach hospitals and rescue workers deployed to attempt to save those whose homes had been destroyed.

“There was a lady who was in a wheelchair who drowned in the water from her own house, a 56-year-old lady who couldn’t get out of her own house because she was differently-abled,” said Dr Jamali.

As water levels rose, the city’s electricity utility company shut down power to large parts of the metropolis in order to protect citizens from electrocution from malfunctioning wires or other machinery.

Video footage showed roads and walls being washed away by the force of water in several areas, as the city’s drains and sewage channels overflowed from the volume of water.

Motorists abandoned their cars on major roads and were forced to walk, as many vehicles were washed away by the flooding water.

The collapse of infrastructure also affected landline and cellular telephone networks, which began to fail on Thursday as the volume of use rose, residents say.

Since June, at least 106 people have been killed by monsoon flooding across Pakistan, according to the country’s National Disaster Management Authority [Muhammad Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu]

Pakistan’s military established an emergency flood control centre in Karachi to assist victims, with medical camps and emergency food rations being distributed. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) also set up several such centres.

In a statement, the military said it had distributed more than 10,000 meals and begun work to shore up flood control walls along major water channels.

With the regular transport infrastructure inundated, rescuers were deployed by boat in working-class communities to help deliver the aid. Military helicopters flew overhead to survey the damage.

This year has seen record levels of monsoon rains across South Asia, with massive flooding in Bangladesh and India.

Since June, at least 106 people have been killed by monsoon flooding across Pakistan, according to the NDMA.

More rain is forecast for Friday, with the current weather system due to weaken over the weekend, Pakistan’s meteorological department said.

On Thursday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said his government would “be announcing a plan for a permanent solution to the problems caused by floods by cleaning of drainage channels, fixing of the sewage system and resolving the huge challenge of water supply to the people of Karachi”.

Several proposals for revamping the city’s decrepit water drainage infrastructure have been made by national and multilateral development organisations such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank over the last decade, but none have been taken up by the country’s government so far.

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim

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FDC activists win Bank of Uganda pig case by simply keeping quiet




FDC activists Augustine Ojobile and Robert Mayanja

Buganda Road Magistrate’s court has acquitted two opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) activists Augustine Ojobile and Robert Mayanja of common nuisance charges.

FDC deputy chief administrative officer Ojobile and Mayanja have been acquitted by the grade one magistrate Fidelis Otwao on charges stemming from their protest held in November 2018 when they carried pig heads to the central police station (CPS) in Kampala protesting the rot in the Bank of Uganda that had reportedly resulted into the closure of a number of commercial banks in the country for many years.

According to them, corruption at the Central bank had been the sole ingredient for the closure of commercial banks in Uganda over the years because it reportedly mismanaged them and made erroneous decisions that led to their closure.

With fresh pig heads tied around their necks and stinking blood oozing across their white T-shirts, Mayanja and Ojobile walked through the streets of Kampala to the police in a protest that was spearheaded by their pressure group known as the Jobless Youth.

One pig head had a placard bearing the name of the former and late BOU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and the other of his former deputy Louis Kasekende.

The protest at CPS came a few days after another that was staged at the Central bank where two piglets were dumped bearing the name of Juma Kisaame (a Muslim), the former managing director of DFCU bank. 

As a result, the duo was arrested and taken to Buganda Road court on charges of common nuisance and the prosecution adduced evidence from five witnesses who included police officers and Muslims who were reportedly angered by the protest.

According to the witnesses, the actions of Mayanja and Ojobile were annoying to the people whose names were mentioned and tagged on pig heads, and the smell that was coming out of the fresh pig heads was most likely to result in injury to a considerable number of the public by affecting their health, and the protest affected businesses since some shops allegedly had to close to see what was happening outside due to their commotion.

But when Mayanja and Ojobile were asked to defend themselves over the allegations, the duo that didn’t have legal representation chose to keep quiet as their defense and let the court make its decision based on what the prosecution witnesses had testified to.

In a judgement read today Friday by Otwao, he indicated that the evidence from the prosecution witnesses is wanting because none of the people alleged to have been annoyed by the actions of the activists testified in the case or recorded a statement with police.

According to Otwao, the testimonies were based on what the witnesses were feeling as individuals and that there were no abusive statements on the pig heads that the prosecution had indicated which would cause annoyance, save for putting the names of people only. 

As such, the court has ruled that such testimonies cannot be relied on to convict a person because the prosecution has failed to prove that there was common injury, danger to the public or destruction of property.

Consequently, the magistrate has acquitted the duo and directed that each of them starts the process to seek a refund of the Shs 500,000 that each had paid to be released on bail.

The activists have welcomed the ruling saying that the court has recognized that the citizens have a right to protest peacefully.

The pig protests have been commonly used by activists who subscribe to this group known as the Jobless Brotherhood which has since rebranded to the “Alternative”.

In 2016, their members including Luta Ferdinand who is now facing trial in the court-martial on different charges, and Joseph Lukwago were arrested for dumping piglets at parliament protesting the Shs 200 million given to each MP for buying personal cars.

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Saudi Arabia executes 81 people in a single day | Death Penalty News




The death penalty applied for a range of charges in the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom’s modern history.

Saudi Arabia has executed 81 men over the past 24 hours, including seven Yemenis and one Syrian national, on charges including “allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations” and holding “deviant beliefs”, state news agency Saudi Press Agency said, in the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom in its modern history.

The number dwarfed the 67 executions reported in the kingdom in 2021 and the 27 in 2020.

“These individuals … were convicted of various crimes including murdering innocent men, women and children,” SPA said on Saturday, citing a statement from the interior ministry.

“Crimes committed by these individuals also include pledging allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations, such as ISIS [ISIL], al-Qaeda and the Houthis,” it added.

Some travelled to conflict zones to join “terrorist organisations”, according to the SPA.

“The accused were provided with the right to an attorney and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process,” it said.

“The kingdom will continue to take a strict and unwavering stance against terrorism and extremist ideologies that threaten the stability of the entire world,” the report added.

The men included 37 Saudi nationals who were found guilty in a single case for attempting to assassinate security officers and targeting police stations and convoys, the report added.

Saudi Arabia’s last mass execution was in January 2016, when the kingdom executed 47 people, including a prominent opposition Shia leader who had rallied demonstrations in the kingdom.

In 2019, the kingdom beheaded 37 Saudi citizens, most of them minority Shia, in a mass execution across the country for alleged “terrorism”-related crimes.

Saudi Arabia’s human rights records have been under increasing scrutiny from rights groups and Western allies since the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

It has faced strong criticism of its restrictive laws on political and religious expression, and the implementation of the death penalty, including for defendants arrested when they were minors.

Saudi Arabia denies accusations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security according to its laws.

SPA said the accused were provided with the right to a lawyer and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process.

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Nigerian student in Ukraine: 'Mummy we keep hearing bombs'




Hauwa’s son Suleiman is a Nigerian student in Sumy – she says the family are fearful and anxious.

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