Cold wave persists as torrential rains, snowfall continue nationwide
QUETTA/KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: The government of Balochistan has declared a state of emergency after torrential rains and snowfall continued across the province. An emergency control room has been established and the holidays of municipal staff have been canceled to remove snow and rainwater from the streets.
Quetta witnessed more snowfall which blanketed the city. Many people were overjoyed and thronged to various tourist locations. The town of Chaman near the Afghan border saw heavy snowfall. The Khojak Pass which connects Qila Abdullah with Chaman was blocked after more than one foot of snow.
The hill station of Fort Munro in district Dera Ghazi Khan saw snowfall after more than eight years, which shattered the four decade old record. Rain and snowfall also took place in Skardu, Gilgit, Swat, South Waziristan and other mountainous areas.
In Sindh, heavy downpour lashed several cities including Sukkur, Jacobabad and Shikarpur. This caused power blackouts in several areas. Trains were delayed as passengers waited for hours braving the cold weather. The Sukkur Express departed from Karachi after a delay of more than seven hours.
Intermittent rain was seen across Karachi on Saturday. Five people were reported killed in rain-related incidents, as power blackouts continued and several roads were submerged with rainwater. The city saw clear skies on Sunday but the cold wave persists in the city.
The private schools in Karachi have demanded to increase winter vacation due to the persistent cold spell. Schools were reopened on January 4, but various schools have witnessed low attendance as many students have fallen ill. The Private Schools Management Association (PASMA) has complained that parents would protest if winter vacations are not extended.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department has said that an active westerly wave is affecting Balochistan and Sindh and is expected to grip upper parts of the country. It said that the current wave is likely to continue until Wednesday, while rain thunderstorm with snowfall is expected at a number of places in Balochistan and scattered places in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.