Wednesday, 10 August, 2022
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Pakistani news channel Geo TV goes off air but govt says we didn’t pull the plug

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Here’s what’s happening across the border: Rickshaws might become extinct in Lahore soon and measles claims lives of 4 kids in Swat.

Geo TV goes off air in parts of Pakistan

A leading Pakistani news channel, Geo TV, has been taken off the air in many areas across the country. However, state minister for information and broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb has denied the government’s involvement in issuing any directives for the suspension of the channel’s transmission.

Aurangzeb said that Geo News’ suspension was in violation of PEMRA rules, and the government had initiated action against cable networks and operators found involved in the matter.

Interior minister Ahsan Iqbal tweeted Sunday, “It is a shame & we will take notice. If it was wrong for a political party to do so in Karachi some time back, how can it be right for anyone else? Only PEMRA has the legal sanction to do so. Pakistan can’t be a pariah state for freedom of expression.”

Rickshaws on the verge of extinction in Lahore

There are around 90,000 privately-run rickshaws in Lahore, which face the threat of extinction due to a rise in ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Careem.

The city with a population of 11 million has been using rickshaws since the late 19th century when they were introduced by Chinese traders to transport goods. They soon garnered a monopoly over Lahore’s transport system and held firm until 2016, when Uber and Careem rolled out their services in Pakistan.

Before ride-sharing services were introduced, a rickshaw driver would earn around Rs 1,500 per day, working from 9 am to 12 pm. Now, one can only manage to take home Rs 1,000 even after working for 13 hours on a good day.

“If you had to travel, and the choice was between an air-conditioned car or a small open carriage, which would you choose…how do we even compete?” a rickshaw driver was quoted as saying by GEO news.

Measles kills four children in Swat

Measles, a contagious, viral disease, has been reported in Bahrain Tehsil of Swat and claimed the lives of four children, while affecting 13 others.

According to Bahrain Nazim (chief) Habibullah, the cause for the outbreak was the failure in carrying out vaccination in the area by the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) teams.

The 13 children diagnosed are currently admitted to Saidu Sharif Hospital, but the hospital allegedly lacks the appropriate treatment facilities for measles-affected children.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf no longer migration hubs

In the past four years, the number of Pakistanis leaving for better job prospects in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf has fallen by 4 lakh, a recent survey revealed.

Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the UAE came to be known as the employment hubs for Pakistanis, but the trend is now fading. According to the Bureau of Immigration and Overseas Employment, in 2015, 5.22 lakh Pakistanis left for these countries in search of jobs, but this number came down to 1 lakh in 2017.

Analysts have suggested the cause of this decline in immigration to be increased taxation in these countries along with the introduction of strict laws.

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