PM orders inquiry into Met Dept’s ‘failure to predict storm’


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday sought an explanation from Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) over its failure to forecast the severe June 1 thunderstorm that struck Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad.


In a letter issued Friday, the PM ordered the Director General (DG) Met Dr Ghulam Rasool to submit an explanation of the “very serious and culpable neglect of duty” that was the failure to predict the storm which killed at least seven people.

The thunderstorm was visible “even to the naked eye” around 4pm on June 1, the letter said.

“Yet the Meteorological Department failed, despite the modern equipment and technology available to it, to either forecast, or to issue an adequate warning, regarding the impending storm which resulted in the loss of so many precious lives, injuries, and damage to property and installations.”

The latest warning from the department’s website dates from May 16, while there is no archive of previous daily forecasts to confirm whether it detected an oncoming storm.

A regional forecast diagram from the Korean Meteorological Department, available through a partnership between PMD and the World Meteorological Organisation, depicts a oncoming storm crossing the border from the west.

The June 1 storm killed at least seven and injured dozens in Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), causing significant damage to property and infrastructure.