On May 27, in the date-growing desert town of Turbat in Baluchistan province, the temperature reached 128.3 degrees — the hottest ever reported in Pakistan.
What followed was a month of intense heat and humidity nationwide coinciding with Ramadan, the Muslim period of fasting and prayer that ended Sunday. Every day, millions of sweltering Pakistanis struggled to forgo food and water from sunrise to sunset, then roused themselves before dawn to wash, pray, cook and eat.
The Ramadan ordeal has brought into sharp relief the chronic water and power shortages plaguing this arid, Muslim-majority country of 180 million. In cities, families had to fill jugs and bottles from public taps at 3 a.m. In villages, long daily electrical outages stopped fans from whirring and tube wells from pumping water to irrigate parched fields.