Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pakistan remains one of the deadliest countries for aid workers: Report

Pakistan remains one of the deadliest countries in the world for the aid workers with 12 incidents of attacks reported on relief workers reported in the country.
According to data released by the Aid Workers Security Database(AWSD), a project of Humanitarian Outcomes, in 2014 a total of 18 workers were targeted in the country, including a foreign aid worker.
Out of these, eight local workers were killed, four were injured while five others were kidnapped.
The country remains a place where aid workers are targeted with impunity as it accounted for about 6.5 per cent of 190 attacks on the humanitarian workers around the world.
The lone foreign victim, not identified by the report, was injured in an attack defined as ‘bodily assault’ by the organisation.
However, attacks and casualties had fallen from 2013 when 22 workers were killed in 17 incidents, accounting for just 6.3% of a total of 264 attacks world wide that year.
With Pakistan plagued with crippling diseases such as polio, measles which require vaccination, the number of attacks on aid workers is too high.
Afghanistan most perilous country for aid workers
Afghanistan, torn by conflict for more than three decades, kept its place as the most dangerous country for aid workers in 2014, with more than a quarter of all attacks on aid staff around the world taking place there, the consulting group Humanitarian Outcomes said.
Worldwide, there were 190 attacks on humanitarian operations in 2014, a fall of about 30 per cent from the all-time high the year before, the group said in the preview of a report.
In all, 329 aid workers were attacked in 27 countries, of whom 120 were killed, 88 wounded and 121 kidnapped, according to the forthcoming Aid Worker Security Report 2015.
PHOTO COURTESY: Aid Workers Security Database (AAWSD)
“The number of casualties being lower in 2014 than a year before says more about the spike in 2013 than about the conditions for aid workers getting any safer,” Abby Stoddard, one of the report’s authors, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“The number of attacks in 2014 is still higher than in any previous year, but aid agencies have become more risk averse and are changing their mode of operating.”
Stoddard said the numbers were driven by just a few highly insecure conflict environments, with almost 65 per cent of all attacks occurring in just five countries: Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Pakistan.
There were 54 attacks last year on aid workers in Afghanistan, where security has been deteriorating since foreign troops began withdrawing in 2011.
The violence shows little sign of abating in 2015.
Nine Afghan employees of a Czech-backed aid group, People in Need, were shot and killed by unidentified militants in northern Balkh province in June.
In April the bodies of five Afghan aid workers employed by Save the Children were found 39 days after their abduction by the Taliban in the central province of Uruzgan.
The final Aid Worker Security Report 2015 will be published in the autumn.

Pakistan - #PPP wants work on Iran gas project expedited

Welcoming the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, the People’s Party has urged the government to expedite work on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.
“The government should translate the dream of the project initiated by the PPP government into reality,” PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said in a statement. “The nuclear deal opens the doors for the project which can help resolve the lingering and crippling energy crisis in Pakistan.”
The PPP chief said the deal signed in Vienna on Tuesday between Tehran and P5+1 group of countries over Iran’s nuclear programme was an important development that “holds the potential of becoming a game changer in the region”.
“The agreement is a triumph of diplomacy and negotiations over coercion and hostility,” he said.
The $1.25 billion project was conceived in early 90s under which gas is to be piped from Iran’s South Pars gas field to Pakistan-Iran border near Gwadar. The two countries are to build the pipeline in their territories.
The pipeline will start from the Iranian onshore gas processing facility in Assaluyeh and cover a distance of 1,150km to reach the border.
Iran has completed 900km portion of the 56-inch diameter pipeline from Assaluyeh to Iran Shehr. The remaining part is being designed and expected to be built in two years.
The Pakistani portion of the pipeline is to be laid close to the Makran costal highway in Balochistan. It will cover a distance of over 781km to reach the off-take point in Nawabshah.
The PPP leader said that an Iran cooperating with the world had raised the prospects and hopes for peace, stability and development in the region.
The test now was for all sides to uphold their commitments in letter and spirit, he said and expressed the hope that they would do so.
“A great lesson of the deal is that given perseverance, patience and commitment, nations can overcome decades of hostility and move to building structures of peace,” the former president said.
Dialogue and negotiations, not hostility and animosity, were also the way forward for peace, stability and development in South Asia, he added.