CLIMATE change expert Dr Muhammad Tahir Khan
CLIMATE change expert Dr Muhammad Tahir Khan

With all eyes on the UAE, where world leaders have gathered for the COP28 summit, Dawn is speaking to experts to answer pressing, everyday questions that are on people’s minds about climate change-related issues.

Today, Dr Muhammad Tahir Khan, a climate change expert, explains what makes Balochistan vulnerable to natural calamities and how these events are reshaping the province’s geography.

Balochistan has been witnessing the effects of climate change since the late 1990s. Now, the threat has metastasised, and people are on the receiving end. In recent years, the impact was quite distinct in the form of torrential rains and floods that wreaked havoc in the entire province. It was an emergency-like situation, worse than any other province due to Balochistan’s diverse geographical position and huge land mass.

How has climate change impacted Balochistan? How has the threat of climate change diversified in Balochistan?

In Balochistan, the threat of climate change has diversified in the sense that from 2015 to 2018, when I was in Balochistan, it was a critical time in terms of climate change in the province. Geographically, Balochistan is almost half of the country. Its northern parts received heavy snow and torrential rains, while in the central and eastern regions, floods have wreaked havoc over and over again. As for the Makran and Rakhshan divisions, there is a threat of drought. Over the last two decades, the impacts of climate change have continued to worsen.

Have steps been taken to cope with the threat of climate change in Balochistan?

The authorities never had a proper mechanism to cope with the situation in the past, nor do they have now. In some places, residents have migrated due to the worsening climate change. For instance, in the drought-hit parts of the province, people don’t have water for themselves and for their livestock. So, they are compelled to leave their homes for a better place. In many regions, including the drought-hit areas, there are many tube wells extracting water through solar power. But the sad reality, which people are unaware of, is that the water table has depleted due to this extraction. The underground water level has decreased to over 1,200 feet. But, as it seems, no lessons are being learnt.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Spirit of ’74
26 Feb, 2024

Spirit of ’74

FOR three days in 1974, starting Feb 22, Lahore witnessed an epochal meeting of 38 Muslim nations as it hosted the...
Silence strategy
Updated 26 Feb, 2024

Silence strategy

Attempts at internet censorship only serve to tarnish Pakistan’s image globally and betray the democratic principles the country purports to uphold.
Nepra’s reluctance
26 Feb, 2024

Nepra’s reluctance

WHAT is the point in having a regulator that does not punish the entities it oversees for misconduct and...
Pipeline progress
25 Feb, 2024

Pipeline progress

THE outgoing caretaker government has decided to move forward with the much-delayed Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline...
Engaging the Taliban
25 Feb, 2024

Engaging the Taliban

DEALING with the Taliban — Afghanistan’s de facto rulers — continues to present a diplomatic dilemma for the...
Burden or opportunity?
Updated 25 Feb, 2024

Burden or opportunity?

Maryam Nawaz is embarking on a journey of challenges and opportunities.