KARACHI: German software giant German software, SAP, is introducing green solutions, including green ledgers, to cut down carbon footprint in the Middle East and Pakistan region to ensure and foster sustainability, the SAP regional chief said on Thursday.
Based in Walldorf, SAP develops enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations. It ranks among one of the world’s leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendors and publicly traded software companies by revenue.
The German firm collaborates with organizations, governments, and non-government organizations (NGOs) on a global scale to drive sustainability initiatives aimed at raising awareness, sharing best practices, and developing innovative solutions to tackle environmental challenges.
“SAP is doing its due role especially into the sustainability sector. When we talk about the Middle East region and the Pakistan region, we are coming up with clear green solutions, we are coming up with green ledgers, and climate-friendly solutions,” Saquib Ahmad, the SAP managing-director for Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan, told Arab News, on the sidelines of a media roundtable in Karachi.
Ahmad terming climate change was one of the major issues and his organization with global footprint was coming up with solutions that could help and improve lives of the people in Pakistan.
“I think it’s very important to understand that we are working with the Government of Pakistan, we are working with the private sector and trying to make and ensure that such solutions are getting implemented which can help the current climate target that we are looking at currently,” he added.
About the ongoing UN climate conference, COP28, in Dubai, the SAP regional chief said it was a very important factor that the conference was taking place in the region and making it visible “because climate change is hitting this region in a very, very important way.”
“I think we can already see the impacts that has floods, that has bang in Pakistan. We are also seeing overall forest fires. We are talking about overall quality index of the air and all this is impacting Pakistan,” Ahmad said, adding the top SAP leadership was also attending the ongoing COP28.
“We are talking about how this COP28 can help the Pakistan government and the people of Pakistan in better maintaining climate change that is hitting our lives on a day-to-day basis.”
Pakistan last year witnessed one of the deadliest monsoon floods, blamed on climate change, which killed more than 1,700 people, affected nearly 33 million and caused over $30 million losses. In recent years, the South Asian country has also experienced frequent forest fires in its northwestern and southwestern regions.
SAP works with the concept of ‘intelligent enterprise,’ wherein advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and analytics are harnessed to create more sustainable business models, according to the official.
These tools enable the German software giant to improve resource efficiency, reduce energy consumption and make informed decisions that contribute to sustainability.
Ahmad said technology enabled organizations to address gaps in physical infrastructure.
“It connects globally and ensures timely decisions to be implemented across the landscape,” he said. “Pakistan, being a developing economy, stands to gain strong competitiveness in the region through technological prowess, fostering connections and collaboration for positive environmental impact.”
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s election regulator will issue a schedule for the upcoming national elections “in few days,” its top official said on Thursday, as the South Asian country gears up for the February 8 polls.
Elections were originally expected to take place in November after Pakistan’s national and two provincial assemblies were dissolved in August before reaching the end of their tenure. However, Pakistan’s election regulator decided to redraw hundreds of national and provincial constituencies based on a digital census carried out in April before arranging the electoral contest.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) later scheduled the voting process for the last week of January, before announcing Feb. 8 as the final date after consultations with the country’s President Dr. Arif Alvi on the Supreme Court’s instructions.
In his message on Voters Day, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja once again assured the masses that February 8 would be the polling day, dispelling speculation about further delay in the conduct of national elections.
“Election schedule will be issued in few days,” Raja said in a statement. “Polling [for the general election] will be held on February 8, 2024.”
As Pakistan gears up for the general elections, many analysts expect the polls to lead to the South Asian country to some stability after more than a year of political turmoil, following the ouster of ex-prime minister Imran Khan in a parliamentary no-trust vote in April 2022.
The CEC’s statement came a day after Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi said the federal cabinet did not have any “second thoughts” about holding the polls on February 8.
“The thing is, problems of security and the weather will always remain,” Solangi said in an interview. “But in the federal cabinet, there is no doubt, neither is there any worry nor any second thoughts that we would not hold elections on Feb. 8.”
Pakistan has seen a surge in militant attacks in its western regions bordering Afghanistan ever since a fragile truce between Islamabad and the Pakistani Taliban broke down in November 2022.
The Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam Pakistan (JUI-F), a prominent religious party, last month urged the ECP to delay polls till the security situation in the country improved.
Solangi said Pakistan had held elections in the past despite the threat of militancy, when the security situation was far worse.
“Maybe our memories are a bit weak,” he said. “What was the security situation in 2008 and 2013? If we compare it [to now] then it is nothing.
This week, the ECP also issued a directive for satellite television channels, warning them against airing speculative news about a delay in elections.
- Reports suggested Sirajuddin Haqqani was issued Pakistani passport which he used to travel abroad, particularly to Qatar
- Foreign office spokesperson acknowledges Pakistan has received ‘updated list’ of Afghans who are to be repatriated to US
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign office on Thursday exercised caution in its response to media reports about Afghanistan interim interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani’s use of the Pakistani passport for international travel in the past.
Haqqani was issued a Pakistani passport for five years which he used to travel abroad, particularly to Qatar for negotiations with the United States (US) for the Doha Agreement that resulted in the US exit from Afghanistan, Pakistan’s The News and Jang newspapers reported.
The reports, citing interior ministry officials, said these passports were issued from different cities of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Sindh provinces, and Pakistani authorities had arrested two officials in connection with issuance of passport to Haqqani, one of whom had retired from service.
Asked about these reports, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, a spokesperson for the Pakistani foreign office, said she did not have “facts” to respond to the query.
“I have just seen the report in the Jang. I do not have the facts to respond to your question,” she said at a weekly press briefing. “Maybe I will be able to comment on some other occasion when I have more information.”
The name of Sirajuddin Haqqani, Afghanistan’s acting interior minister and the Taliban’s second-in-command, started echoing around the world in 2008 as a young commander of the most-feared Haqqani Network that was executing a series of deadly attacks on US-allied forces in Afghanistan.
The powerful Taliban commander made the headlines in March 2022 after he revealed his face in a rare public appearance in Kabul. He was attending the graduation ceremony of the first batch of police recruits at the National Defense Police Academy in Kabul since the Taliban took over the reins of Afghanistan in August 2021.
The reports about his travel on Pakistani passport come at a time of a series of visits to Pakistan by senior US officials, including Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration Julieta Valls Noyes, Special Representative on Afghanistan Thomas West, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Horst.
These visits are part of ongoing dialogue with the US on a range of issues, including the situation in Afghanistan, according to the Pakistani foreign office.
The US has in the past accused Pakistan of backing the Afghan Taliban and not supporting Washington’s decades-long military campaign in Afghanistan the way the US wanted it to.
The allegations, denied by Islamabad, particularly soured ties between the two countries in 2021, following the hasty US exit from Afghanistan.
’Updated list’ of Afghan nationals to be repatriated to US
During the briefing, the foreign office spokesperson said Pakistan had received an “updated list” of Afghan nationals from the US and Islamabad was in touch with the US embassy for their repatriation to America.
“The meetings which are taking place today and have taken place in recent days are related to, yes, Afghanistan and Afghanistan related matters. There are some other bilateral aspects which may come up under discussion in coming days,” she said.
“With respect to the list that you have referred to, we have received an updated list from the US side and we are in contact with the American Embassy in developing the mechanics for the early repatriation of individuals on those lists to the United States.”
Pakistan has previously chosen to ignore individual calls from Western nations for the repatriation of Afghan nationals. This is the first time Islamabad has acknowledged having received a list of Afghans from a foreign country.
“We have already said that it is important that the process of verification and issuance of visas should be expedited and we hope that this process will be completed at the earliest,” Baloch said.
The development comes months after Islamabad asked all undocumented foreigners, mostly Afghans, to leave the country by Nov. 1, accusing that some of these Afghans had been involved in militant attacks and other offenses in Pakistan. Since the expiry of Nov. 1 deadline, Pakistan has launched a crackdown on all illegal foreigners and has been deporting them to their home countries.
Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have since left the South Asian country as Islamabad brushed aside calls from the United Nations (UN), Western embassies and rights groups to halt the deportations.