Pakistan: Inflation dampens Ramadan spirit
15 April 2023 | 4:04 pm
Ramadan this year comes at a hard time for Pakistanis. The Islamic holy month has been overshadowed by rising food inflation, and tightened budgets have made things tougher for Pakistan's poorest.
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The devastating floods which hit Pakistan last year raised the pressure on the government to fight climate change. But many climate activists have faced retaliation from the state for speaking out in the past.
The annual inflation among the 20 nations that use the euro has fallen, but less than expected as food costs surge.
The state media watchdog has banned TV stations from showing speeches by former Prime Minister Imran Khan, accusing him of "leveling baseless allegations."
Opposition leader Imran Khan is demanding fresh polls to steer Pakistan out of a protracted political crisis. But holding general elections is a costly affair, and the South Asian country's coffers are empty.
Since the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan in August 2021, thousands of Afghan families have found refuge in neighbouring Pakistan. Many Afghans decided to flee their country in order for their daughters to have an education, the Taliban having imposed a ban on secondary and higher education for girls. Pakistan does not offer real prospects of integration or employment to refugees.
Food prices contributed to the high inflation rates, increasing even more than fuel prices. The prices of energy products were 19.1% higher year-on-year in February.
Supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan confronted police outside his home in Lahore. Authorities have tried to arrest Khan, who has been entangled in a string of legal cases.
The US Federal Reserve faces a tricky balancing act, as it tries to navigate high inflation and instability in the banking sector. Alexander Yokum, of CFRA Research, says the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank could affect the Fed's next interest rate decision, despite a 6 percent jump in consumer prices.
Lahore's air pollution rose to PM2. 5 levels of 97.4 micrograms per cubic meter from 86.5 in 2021, replacing Bhiwadi in Indiaas the most polluted city globally. Bhiwadi and Delhi were next in the rankings, ,with pollution levels reaching up to 92.7 and 92.6 respectively.
The ruling means Khan can now travel to Islamabad without being detained to face corruption charges. The former cricketer-turned-politician has been holed up in Lahore as his supporters clashed with police.
With the Taliban banning girls from secondary schools and universities, we meet the Afghan families who risked everything by fleeing to neighbouring Pakistan to ensure their daughters receive an education. We also visit the Kenyan village which bans men as it offers a refuge to women and girls facing gender-based violence.
India and Pakistan traditionally have hostile relations, but there is hope on one front, at least. In order to enable the Sikhs from India to make a pilgrimage to one of their holiest shrines, a "peace corridor" has been opened between the two countries.
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