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06 Dec 2012 description
report Voice of America

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — More than 1.6 million Afghan refugees registered in Pakistan are due to be repatriated by the end of the year. With just three weeks to go, however, a recent United Nations survey found that roughly 80 percent have no intention of returning to Afghanistan.

According to the U.N. survey, most Afghan families living in Pakistan feel Afghanistan is just not safe enough to go back home. Others cited the inability to earn a living and the lack of anywhere to live in their native country.

29 Nov 2012 description
report Voice of America

Sharon Behn

ISLAMABAD AND KARACHI, PAKISTAN — In addition to economic challenges and insurgent violence, analysts say Pakistan is facing a growing drug problem that is likely to worsen after international troops leave neighboring Afghanistan, the world's leading opium producer. The opium and derivatives come to Pakistan from neighboring Afghanistan.

In Pakistan, the number of people addicted to heroin and other opiates, like these in Karachi, are on the rise.

03 Sep 2012 description
report Voice of America

Vidushi Sinha September 03, 2012

The three countries where polio is still endemic - Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan - are conducting aggressive immunization campaigns to vaccinate more children against the disease. Experts say with India now polio-free and the total number of cases at the lowest level ever, this is an opportunity to change history and irradicate the disease entirely. To reinforce that commitment, many world leaders will be meeting in New York this month.

03 Aug 2012 description
report Voice of America

Bangkok — Drought in the United States and India is leading to higher food prices and has some experts warning Asia Pacific countries to step up investment in agriculture. Asia’s shifting dietary habits require greater imports and are raising fears over future food vulnerability.

Across the globe there is an increased focus on the challenge of producing enough food as the global population is predicted to reach nine billion by 2050. Scientists said food output must rise by 70 percent to meet demand.

25 Jul 2012 description
report Voice of America

The World Food Program says a funding shortfall has forced the U.N. agency to cut aid to thousands of people in Pakistan, including those fleeing violence in the northwest.

WFP spokesman Amjad Jamal told VOA Urdu Service Wednesday that the agency needs $70 million to sustain its humanitarian programs in Pakistan for the next six months.

23 Jun 2012 description
report Voice of America

Gunmen riding on motorcycles have shot and killed eight people at a business in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta.

Pakistani police say another person was wounded in the attack on a laundry facility Saturday in a busy area of Quetta, the capital of restive Baluchistan province bordering Afghanistan and Iran.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

20 Jun 2012 description
report Voice of America

Sharon Behn

ISLAMABAD - One out of every four refugees in the world is from Afghanistan, and 95 percent of them live either in Iran or Pakistan. Afghan refugees are scheduled to lose their legal residency at the end of the year, but many are not ready to return.

There are more Afghan refugees than any other nationality in the world. Many live in camps or slums on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital.

Doctor Mohamed Nazar came here from Afghanistan almost 18 years ago.

11 Jun 2012 description
report Voice of America

Pakistani officials say a bomb blast struck a bus Monday in restive Baluchistan province, killing at least three passengers and injuring 30.

Local media report the bomb was affixed to a motor bike and detonated by remote control.

Oil-and-gas-rich Baluchistan has been in the grip of a regional insurgency for years as separatist militants fight for more autonomy and greater control over natural resources.

The province bordering Iran and Afghanistan also is home to pro-Taliban militants.

17 May 2012 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul

May 17, 2012

ISLAMABAD -- Afghanistan is urging authorities in neighboring Pakistan to abandon plans to expel tens of thousands of unregistered Afghan migrants from the country.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates there are currently 1.7 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan, but local officials say tens of thousands of others are residing in the country illegally.

11 Apr 2012 description
report Voice of America

International aid agencies say Pakistan’s counter-insurgency operations in a northwestern tribal district have forced thousands of families to flee the region. United Nations officials are warning that the number of internally displaced persons is growing by the day, and they say more funds are needed from international donors to help those affected.

Pakistani security forces have frequently conducted major operations to try and secure the country’s porous western border with Afghanistan, a known hub of Taliban and al-Qaida fighters.

01 Apr 2012 description
report Voice of America

A 24-hour span of violence and killings has shut down Pakistan's largest city.

Most shops and businesses in Karachi closed Saturday, after gangs of gunmen shot and killed 14 people in a spree that started Friday and continued through the overnight hours.

The leader of one of the city's biggest political parties, Waseem Ahmed with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, placed the blame on the government.

20 Mar 2012 description
report Voice of America

Last month, India recorded a milestone in its effort to eradicate polio when it marked one year without any new infections. During the same year, Pakistan recorded 180 new polio cases, the most of any country. Pakistani authorities say national pride is now at stake for polio eradication and they are hoping to overcome years of setbacks from natural disasters, misinformation and war.

Polio vaccination

24 Feb 2012 description
report Voice of America

Lisa Schlein | Geneva

India recently celebrated a year of being polio-free. This is a remarkable achievement in a country that until recently was recognized as the world’s epicenter of polio. India’s momentous accomplishment is boosting prospects of polio becoming only the second disease after smallpox to have been eradicated. To ensure that it remains polio-free, India is holding a second round of National Immunization Days. Between February 19 and 25, vaccinators aim to immunize 172 million children against polio.

06 Feb 2012 description
report Voice of America

The World Trade Organization has approved a European Union waiver on duties for 75 Pakistani products in a plan aimed at helping Pakistan recover from devastating floods in 2010.

The waiver, announced Wednesday, affects many of Pakistan's most important export products, including textiles. It covers 27 percent of Pakistan's exports to the EU.

Competing textile exporters such as Bangladesh originally opposed the plan. But they dropped their objections after the European Union agreed to use tariff rate quotas on 20 products.

31 Jan 2012 description
report Voice of America

Pakistani officials say at least 50 people have been killed in fighting between the military and Taliban in the country's northwest.

Officials said Tuesday's clashes erupted when dozens of militants attacked a security post in the Kurram tribal region, near the Afghan border. The military responded by sending in helicopter gunships to the Jogi area for support.

At least 10 Pakistani soldiers and 40 militants were killed. The fighting broke out a week after six Pakistani troops were killed while trying to take control of Jogi.

08 Nov 2011 description
report Voice of America

Suspected militants have destroyed another girls school in northwestern Pakistan.

Officials say assailants blew up the school in the Mardan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa late Monday.

Provincial Education Minister Sardar Hussain Babak told VOA last month that some 1,200 schools have been destroyed in Pakistan's northwestern region in the last few years.

The Taliban is active in parts of the region and frequently targets schools as part of its ban on girls' education.

10 Oct 2011 description
report Voice of America

Lisa Schlein | Geneva

A senior official from the World Food Program warns floods in Pakistan will continue to wreak havoc on the population if disaster prevention strategies are not enacted.

The World Food Program’s executive director for operations, Ramiro Lopez da Silva, says regions such as Sindh province are suffering from years of neglect and lack of development. He says this makes them particularly vulnerable to natural disasters.

“When you visit these areas like I did, you get a bit of a sense of despair from these populations,” he said.

26 Aug 2011 description
report Voice of America

Pakistani officials say massive floods triggered by torrential rain have killed at least 42 people in the country's northwest.

The officials say at least 20 other people are missing due to the flooding in the mountainous Kohistan District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

In an interview with VOA's Radio Deewa, a member of parliament, Mehboobullah Jan, said as many as 90,000 people are trapped by high water in the flood-hit region.

22 Aug 2011 description
report Voice of America

Pakistani officials say ongoing violence in Karachi has killed at least 17 people since Saturday, prompting the country's army chief to say the military is ready to restore peace if the government asks for help.

Authorities Sunday said the latest victims of criminal and ethnic violence in the Pakistani commercial capital include two children killed in a gunbattle between drug gangs. They said other victims' bodies were found dumped in the streets with bullet wounds and signs of torture.

19 Aug 2011 description
report Voice of America

Officials say a suicide bomber has struck a mosque in northwest Pakistan, killing at least 40 people.

The attack occurred as more than 300 people packed into the mosque for Friday prayers in Jamrud, the main town in the Khyber tribal region.

Authorities say more than 100 people were wounded in the blast.

No one claimed responsibility for Friday's attack that took place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

But the Pakistani Taliban has carried out similar attacks in retaliation for the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in May.