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Posts from — July 2017

50 MPAs have not spoken a word in Sindh Assembly in three years

By Hafeez Tunioin The Express Tribune, July 31, 2017
KARACHI: Sindh Assembly members spent billions of rupees on various development projects and availed a number of perks and privileges but have little to say during the sessions. The three year progress report of the 168 members revealed that more than 50 have not uttered a single world during the sessions.

MPAs are supposed to represent their people and constituencies but these representatives prefered to stay mum. This poor performance is not only limited to members from the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP); the performance of many members from the opposition benches was also subpar.

According to official records, each MPA earns a salary of more than Rs150,000, along with other benefits, every month and Rs40 million is given to them for development work each year. The report, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, states that PPP MPA Bashir Ahmed Halepoto, who won the election from PS-55 Badin, has not uttered a single word in the assembly. Neither has he asked any questions, nor moved any bills, resolutions, adjournment motions or raised issues confronted by his constituency’s people. He is one of the many backbenchers who regularly attend sessions but do not contribute.

Of 168 members, 95 are from the PPP and 35 of those ruling party members have not spoken during assembly sessions. The report, which compiles data from May 29, 2013 to May 28, 2016, stated that another PPP MPA, Ghulam Abid Khan, who won the last general election from PS-17 Kashmore, is among those do not put forward any pieces of legislation. Sardar Ahmed Chandio from Kamber-Shahdadkot district, Faqirdad Khoso, Masood Araen and Faseh Shah from Shaheed Benazirabad, Ikramullah Dharejo from Ghotki, Makhdoom Rafique Zaman from Matiari and Aziz Jatoi from Larkana are among other PPP lawmakers whose three year performance has been dismal.

“I was busy with constituency matters and have also moved questions that are not on the agenda as yet,” justified Jatoi. Zaman, on the other hand, said there was no need to talk during the session, as the government resolves the issues faced by the people promptly. “The government resolves the issues of the people living in my constituency, however, we take up the issues in parliamentary party meetings if needed,” he said. When asked about legislation, he said, “My support on bills or resolutions is enough. I don’t need to talk about it.”

On the opposition benches, former chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim, who now belongs to Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) and Adil Siddiqui of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) rarely attend sessions. During each session, a member from their party submits a leave application for them giving various reasons for their lack of attendance, which is then accepted by the PPP government. Justifiying his absence, Rahim said he has been feeling unwell lately and feels ‘insecure’ while attending the sessions.

Ghulam Rasool Jatoi of PML-N, who hails from Naushero Feroz district, Waryam Faqir and Khuda Bux Rajar of PML-Functional also had nothing to say during the sessions. Meanwhile, Aijaz Shah Sheerazi Humayoon Khan of PML-N has only asked one question in the last three years.

Women dominate

The performance of two women has outshone all other members in the assembly. Nusrat Seher Abbasi of PML-F and Heer Soho of the MQM have moved more questions and resolutions than anyone else in the Sindh Assembly.

The progress report reveals that Abbasi moved 1,334 questions, 81 resolutions and 46 call attention notices. Soho moved 1,037 questions, 20 short notices and 38 call attentions.

Naila Muneer and Naheed Begum of the MQM moved 261 and 223 questions respectively in the last three years. Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA Seema Zia is one of the most active members in the House and has spoken on a number of issues. She has moved around 64 questions, 16 resolutions and eight call attention notices.

PPP MPA Khairunisa Mughal submitted around 162 questions, 26 resolutions and five call attention notices.

Out of the male members, MPAs Khurrum Sher Zaman of the PTI and Aamir Moen Pirzada of MQM have performed well.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Abbasi said that she has moved more questions than the ones listed but the assembly secretariat has a slow process of scrutinising them and adding them to the agenda. “Our primary job is to make laws and represent people and highlight their issues, but unfortunately, majority of the members are not interested in doing this,” she lamented.

Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani said that the assembly secretariat always provides equal opportunities to all members but women have always outshined the men. “The Sindh Assembly has performed better than all provincial assemblies of Pakistan,” he said referring to a Free and Fair Election Network report.

July 31, 2017   No Comments

The tide turns: edit in Express Tribune, July 31, 2017

Human rights violations have been a trait of Pakistani government and state apparatus, but have been generally kept clandestine by one authoritative force or the other. Previously, if one even averred that certain state actors were implicated in violations like forced disappearances in Balochistan, they could soon thereafter fret over the threat of their own forced disappearance. Now, the tone may be changing. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has recently named Pakistan’s National Commission for Human Rights incompetent in investigating the human rights violations by the state that have continued unchecked and relentless under the commission’s watch. It is refreshing to note that the UN has taken notice of not only the state-sanctioned crimes but also the spineless character of the national watchdog in allowing the breaches to occur.

Articles naming certain Pakistani state actors culpable for illicit activities have been present for some time now, but were quick to be discredited by blind patriots who refused to accept wrongdoing on the part of the military. This was difficult for them to accept since the government’s own human rights committee had nothing to say against the actions. Having a national human rights committee is futile if it cannot work to end violations, which have been so obvious to some, but kept hushed out of fear.

Despite a milestone decision by the Supreme Court on July 28th to disqualify the sitting ‘crime’ minister of Pakistan — the justice system is abhorrent especially for the most basic yet scathing of crimes such as murder and robbery of fundamental human rights. It is iconic and hopeful to see the UN scrutinise our human rights commission and demand check and balance from the Pakistani government. If the commission can fulfill its purpose, only then can there be a better outlook for citizens, of all faiths and cultures, in the country. Until then, the notion of human rights violations is synonymous with Pakistan’s name and its future looks bleak. https://tribune.com.pk/story/1470327/the-tide-turns/

July 31, 2017   No Comments

Pak Scene -Terrorism- July 31, 2017

FC, police apprehend 11 suspects in Quetta operation: report in The News, July 31, 2017
RAWALPINDI: Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan and police conducted operation in Killi Deba, Quetta and apprehended 11 suspects on Sunday.

An Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement issued here said that around 192 various types of weapons along with ammunition were recovered. During the operation medical camps were also established, which provided medical treatment to 2,420 patients of these areas.

In another Intelligence Based Operation (IBO), in general area Killi Segi, Killa Abdullah a wanted suspect was apprehended. Interrogation from suspect is underway. Meanwhile, Operation Raddul Fasaad continues successfully as FC Balochistan Sunday conducted search Operation in Pirkoh, Dera Bugti and dismantled two terrorist camps.

According to an ISPR, around 32 kg explosives, RPG-7, detonators, communication equipment and prepared IEDs were recovered. www.thenews.com.pk/print/220201-FC-police-apprehend-11-suspects-in-Quetta-operation

Relatives protest over ‘extrajudicial’ killing of two young men
Report in Dawn, July 31st, 2017
KARACHI: People on Sunday staged a sit-in on main Sharea Pakistan near Ayesha Manzil against ‘extrajudicial’ killings of two youths, who were gunned down in an ‘encounter’ in Gulistan-i-Jauhar on Saturday, officials said.

The youths identified as Iqbal and Ismail, both stated to be relatives, were shot dead in an ‘encounter’ by the Sharea Faisal police near Jauhar Mor on Saturday evening.

Carrying their coffins on Sunday morning, their relatives, mostly women and children, staged a protest demonstration on main Sharea Pakistan, which links the city with the Superhighway.

Some unidentified people also pelted vehicles with stones and burnt tyres and wooden stuff; resultantly the traffic was suspended on both tracks of the busy artery for considerable period.

The protesters claimed that the youths were gunned down by the police as they did not stop their motorbike on their indication.

The protesters were demanding registration of a case against the police officers concerned over ‘extrajudicial’ killings of the youths.

The police officials who reached the spot told the protesters that the incident did not occur in their jurisdiction, but their concerns would be conveyed to the authorities.

Law enforcers belonging to police and Rangers held talks with the protesters and on their assurances the protesters ended the protest and dispersed peacefully, said Gulberg SP Bashir Ahmed Brohi.

Meanwhile, Karachi-East SSP Irfan Baloch told Dawn that both the deceased were ‘robbers’ killed during exchange of fire with police. There were over two dozen criminal cases registered against one of the deceased at different police stations, the senior police officer revealed.

Mr Baloch said that the deceased had snatched a mobile phone, Rs1,500 and documents from a third-year student of the Ziauddin Medical University, Usman Ali, near the Owais Qarni mosque in Block 10-A in Gulshan-i-Iqbal.

The officer claimed that the snatched mobile phone and other looted goods were recovered from pockets of the deceased in the presence of the robbery victim.

The Sharea Faisal police had registered an FIR (399/2017) against them under Sections 392 (punishment for robbery) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on complaint of the medical student. https://www.dawn.com/news/1348587/relatives-protest-over-extrajudicial-killing-of-two-young-men

July 31, 2017   No Comments

‘Pro-Mumtaz Qadri religious group morphing into militant outfit’

by Zia Ur Rehman in The News, July 31, 2017
Karachi: Casting aspersions on the activities of the Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY), a law enforcement agency has mounted a watch on the group, The News learnt on Sunday.

The TLY is a Barelvi group that was formed to run a campaign to release Mumtaz Qadri, who was convicted and executed for the murder of the then Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.

A senior law enforcement official in Karachi told The News that the group had initially restricted itself to protests and rallies for Qadri’s release. “But after his hanging, the TLY’s subversive activities show that the group has been morphing into a militant outfit.”

The official said the group was recently found involved in attacks on members of rival Deobandi groups and non-Muslim communities, adding that some intelligence agencies were monitoring the activities of the outfit’s active members.

He said that after Qadri’s arrest, a number of Barelvi groups had formed a joint body titled ‘Tehreek-e-Rihai Ghazi Mumtaz Qadri’ for his release, but months after hanging him, several mainstream Barelvi groups abandoned the committee.

Some of its hard-line clerics formed the TLY, and their aggressive stance on blasphemy issues attracted a significant number of like-minded young men to the group, he added. “They are ditching the tag of spiritualism and Sufism. If not kept in check, they could emerge as a lethal and violent militant outfit.”

Sources familiar with the affairs of Barelvi groups agreed with the assessment. They said Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Dr Asif Ashraf Jalali, Pir Afzal Qadri and Pir Irfan Shah Mash’hadi – all of them based in Punjab – are the clerics who have formed the TLY.

A TLY rally had paralysed Islamabad last March, while another of their rallies organised this January on the eve of Taseer’s sixth death anniversary had choked Lahore.

“Successes in these events have provided them with more strength,” said a source, adding that after Punjab, Karachi had become the centre of the outfit’s activities.

Dozens of TLY members had arrived at the Karachi Press Club this January to disrupt a rally of civil society activists protesting for the release of five missing bloggers.

TLY workers pelted stones on civil society activists and chanted slogans asking the police to file blasphemy cases against the missing activists. They also defaced the press club’s boundary walls that were adorned with murals of several progressive civil society activists.

Sources said the Bahar-e Shariat mosque in Bahadurabad and the Habibia mosque in Dhoraji were the TLY’s main headquarters in the metropolis where Mufti Asif Abdullah and Muzaffaf Hussain Shah delivered heated sermons on blasphemy issues and in favour of Qadri. The group is also more active in the areas dominated by Memon communities, they added.

They said that prior to the TLY, the last Barelvi group in Karachi to be placed on the watch list was the Sunni Tehreek in 2002 for the party’s involvement in subversive acts.

Mainstream Barelvi parties, such as the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) and the Dawat-e-Islami, and several Sufi groups have also kept their distance from the TLY, they added.

A JUP leader said: “After the ST, the TLY is another group that would defame the Barelvi community, which has been famous for its Sufism and tolerance.”

July 31, 2017   No Comments

Senior TTP commander Daud Khan ‘switches loyalty’ to Daesh

by Tahir Khan in Daily Times, July 31st , 2017.
ISLAMABAD: Haji Daud Mehsud, a senior leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, has declared allegiance to Daesh or the Islamic State that could be seen as a serious setback for the TTP and a boost for IS-Khorasan (IS-K) region just two weeks after the US airstrikes killed the IS-K leader Abu Sayed in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province.

Daud, who belongs to Haibat Khel tribe in South Waziristan, has served as the Karachi TTP chief. Tribal journalists who are aware of the TTP affairs say he is the first senior Mehsud within the Taliban to join Daesh. He was one of the few trusted men of the TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone strike in Miranshah in November 2013.

Hakeemullah group had appointed Daud as the Karachi chief, where he had previously served in the Sindh Police Department, according to a TTP source.

A militant source said that Daud’s differences with another top leader Khan Said Sajna surfaced even when Hakeemullah was alive and he could have parted ways with the TTP as Sajna has rejoined the TTP and Daud was uncomfortable with Sajna.

Sources say Sajna is currently the TTP’s deputy chief, replacing Sheikh Khalid Haqqani. Splinter Mehsud factions had been involved in infighting after Hakeemullah’s death that had reportedly claimed the lives of dozens of militants.

Several militants, who are considered confidants of Daud, have confirmed to the tribal journalists that Daud has joined Daesh and that he has moved to the group’s controlled areas in Afghanistan along with his family. A militant leader told Daily Times the TTP leader has declared allegiance to Daesh; however, neither Daud, nor Daesh has confirmed the decision. He said the confirmation could come if Daud is given any responsibility.

Sources close to Daesh say militant groups have now adopted a policy to keep the identity of the newly appointed leaders over security concerns. They also try to give senior positions to those who are not well known to keep their identity secret in view of the killing of three Daesh chiefs in Afghanistan in US drone strikes in one year.

Abdul Haseeb Logari, successor of Hafiz Saeed Khan, was killed in a drone strike in Nangarhar in May, while Hafiz Saeed Khan was eliminated along with several top leaders in July last year also in Nangarhar. Saeed Khan, who belonged to Orakzai Agency, was the central council member of the TTP until he and several other commanders declared allegiance to Daesh in 2014.

Some Taliban leaders had opposed Daud appointment as the TTP’s Karachi chief because of his police background, but Hakeemullah had rejected objections. This had created differences between Hakeemullah and Waliur Rehman.

Daud was among the close confidants of Hakeemullah and would financially help some Taliban leaders that had made him popular among the Taliban in a short period, according to correspondents in the tribal areas. There had once been rumours about his death but they were false. Sources say Daesh had also invited other TTP members, especially militants linked to Hakeemullah faction, but it did not work. Some close friends of Daud did not support his decision but he ignored opposition to his decision, they said.

July 31, 2017   No Comments

Use carrot and stick in ties with Pakistan, US Senate urges Trump: Report

Report in Dawn, July 31st, 2017
WASHINGTON: The US Senate is urging the Trump administration to use a combination of sanction threats and offers of a long-term partnership to persuade Pakistan to stop “supporting Afghan insurgents”.

An amendment to the US National Defence Authorisation Act 2018 also suggests strictly conditioning further US military, economic and governance assistance programmes for Afghanistan upon measurable progress in achieving the benchmarks for implementing necessary institutional reforms, especially those related to anti-corruption, financial transparency and the rule of law.

Senator John McCain, who moved the amendment, chairs the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, and his legislative moves often get through Congress.

The section on Pakistan wants the US administration to “pursue an integrated civil-military strategy” that would achieve Washington’s strategic objectives by “imposing graduated diplomatic, military and economic costs on Pakistan as long as it continues to provide support and sanctuary to terrorist and insurgent groups, including the Taliban and the Haqqani network”.

To achieve this target, the amendment suggests “simultaneously outlining the potential benefits of a long-term US-Pakistan strategic partnership that could result from the cessation by Pakistan of support for all terrorist and insurgent groups and constructive role in bringing about a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan”.

The proposed legislation emphasises the need for intensifying US regional diplomatic efforts, working through flexible frameworks for regional dialogue together with Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, India, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and other nations. Such efforts should aim to promote political reconciliation in Afghanistan by advancing regional cooperation on issues such as border security, intelligence sharing, counternarcotics, transportation and trade, says the amendment which was moved in the Senate on Friday, but its text was released on Saturday.

The move requires the US government to work with governments in the greater South Asian region to reduce mistrust and build confidence among regional states.

Sense of Congress: The Senate amendment 609 to NDAA-2018 includes a sense of Congress, requiring the administration to deny, disrupt, degrade and destroy the ability of terrorist groups to conduct attacks against the US, its allies and its core interests. The amendment also allows it to prevent the Taliban from using force to overthrow the Afghan government and reduce the Taliban’s control of the Afghan population.

The proposed legislation calls for strengthening the Afghan security forces and provides authorisation for using US forces to target militants of the Haqqani network, the Taliban and others.

The amendment asks the US president to ensure that the Secretary of Defence, the Secretary of State and US military commanders have all the necessary means based on political and security conditions on the ground in Afghanistan and unconstrained by arbitrary timelines, to carry out an integrated civil-military strategy in the war-torn country.

On July 14, the US House of Representatives adopted three legislative amendments seeking tougher conditions for reimbursement of defence funding to Pakistan.

The amendments require Pakistan to make satisfactory progress in the fight against terrorism if it wants to continue receiving the US assistance. Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher and Ted Poe, who moved the three amendments, have also sponsored a resolution that seeks to declare the country a state sponsor of terrorism.

Through a separate resolution, they are seeking to remove Pakistan from the list of major non-Nato allies, a designation that confers a variety of military and financial advantages that otherwise are not obtainable to non-Nato countries. Pakistan became a major non-Nato ally in 2004.

Last week, the Pentagon informed Pakistan that it would not make the remaining military reimbursements for the fiscal year 2016 because Defence Secretary Jim Mattis cannot certify that Islamabad had taken sufficient action against the Haqqani network.

The decision will immediately affect a reimbursement of about $50 million, as Congress had already reprogrammed $300m. Pakistan had already received $550m of the $900m reimbursement the country was authorised in 2016.

Pakistan is authorised to receive up to $900m of reimbursements in the current fiscal year. “Pakistan still has time to take action against the Haqqani network in order to influence the secretary’s certification decision in FY17,” the Pentagon said.https://www.dawn.com/news/1348732/use-carrot-and-stick-in-ties-with-pakistan-us-senate-urges-trump

July 31, 2017   No Comments

Resurgence of MMA: by Zia Ur Rehman in The News on Sunday (TNS) July 30, 2017

(The writer works with The News as Senior Reporter in Karachi)
As part of its preparation for the upcoming general polls scheduled next year, the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), one of the largest Islamist parties, has been making efforts to unite the religious parties representing different sects and revive the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). This was a six-party electoral alliance of six religious parties, formed for the 2002 general polls.

To reach out to the leaders of component parties of the MMA to discuss the restoration of the electoral alliance that scored major electoral victories in 2002, the JUI-F has formed a committee, headed by its central leader and Senate’s Deputy Chairman, Maulana Abdul Haidri. It has met Maulana Samiul Haq, head of the JUI-S, Liaquat Baloch, the Jamaat-e-Islami’s central secretary general, Allama Sajid Ali Naqvi, head of the Tehreek-e-Islami Pakistan, Professor Sajid Mir, head of the Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Hafiz Ibtisam, head of Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Pir Ijaz Hashmi and Pir Mahfooz Shah Mashadi, leaders of the two factions of the Jamiat-e Ulema Pakistan (JUP), in recent days.

Maulana Amjad Khan, the JUI-F’s central deputy secretary general, says the mainstream religious parties have agreed to revive the MMA. “After organising the successful centenary celebration of the party in Peshawar in April, the party’s central shura had decided to start preparations for the upcoming polls, and for forging an electoral alliance. Religious parties which were part of the MMA are our priority,” Khan tells TNS.

Khan says the main objective is to unite the now divided vote bank of religio-political parties and the alliance will show better results than 2002.

In the 2002 general polls, the MMA formed the government in KP alone and joined the coalition government with the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) in Balochistan. The alliance won most of the National Assembly seats from FATA and managed to win a number of seats from Karachi and Hyderabad in Sindh.

Analysts believe the success of the MMA can be attributed to the region’s geopolitical significance and military-civilian relations. Nazish Brohi, a political scientist who has authored The MMA Offensive: Three years in power, 2003-2005 says that the MMA victory in KP and Balochistan happened in the context of a democratic hiatus with a military ruler endorsing them as a legitimate representative, the opposition being in exile, and immediate panic after the US bombardment in neighbouring Afghanistan. “It was a complete triangulation for them.”

However, she believes, it is a changed scenario now where religio-political rightwing as a whole is frantically trying to keep itself relevant. “But the problem for their relevance was not much about democratic relevance; it is more about their relevance to the establishment and it is now diminished,” Brohi tells TNS.

The committee members also met the leaders of the proscribed Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) at the latter’s headquarters in Lahore. But the JUI-F leader says that the JuD does not take part in parliamentary politics and meeting with its leaders was to highlight the Indian government’s atrocities in Kashmir.

The committee did not consult violent sect-based religious groups, such as the proscribed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, the Pakistan Sunni Tehreek and the Majlis-e-Wahdat-e Muslimeen, to include them in the electoral alliance. However, sources say, after forming a proper organisational structure of the MMA, the alliance leadership will decide about their inclusion.

However, sources familiar with the developments say there are differences between the two key religious parties — the JUI-F and the JI — over the allotment of tickets in KP. In 2013, all religious parties agreed to revive the MMA but because of the JI’s pressure to allot them 50 per cent seats in the KP, the alliance was formed minus the JI.

According to a JI leader, the JUI-F manipulates the MMA in decision-making and sometimes its leaders in KP and Balochistan exhibit rigid attitudes towards their allies in the alliance. “The JI is the country’s most powerful and influential religious party and the JUI-F treats it like the JUI-S or JUP,” a JI leader, requesting anonymity, tells TNS. He says that even in the 2002 general polls, the JUI-F did not award any ticket to the JI from Balochistan from the “winning seats”.

A section of analysts are of view that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s top leaders requested the JUI-F to revive the MMA to give tough time to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in KP and Punjab.

Analysts also believe that the MMA had a long term radicalising influence on the KP. “While the concrete steps they took were short-lived and overturned later, for example, the prohibition of singing and dancing at Dabgari area of Peshawar, the environment they created by harassing and evicting musicians from there, raiding music gatherings and threatening to throw singers in the Kabul River created the context under which the militants then bombed DVD shops and targeted and killed musicians and performers,” says Brohi.

She says the MMA government paved the way for the Taliban takeover in Swat and has gotten away with it.http://tns.thenews.com.pk/resurgence-mma/#.WX2yHOlLfIU


July 30, 2017   No Comments

Rights Transgressions: edit in The Nation, July 30, 2017

With questions of political and economic uncertainty on the horizon, issues related to human rights often get sidelined in the country.This has not gone unnoticed in the international community – a committee of the United Nations recently pointed out that the Pakistani state has to address a large number of failings on the human rights front.From abductions by state institutions to increasing the tempo of executions through the death penalty, the Pakistani government has not done enough to protect the rights of its citizens; in fact, on many occasions, it has colluded in the marginalisation.

The UN’s dissatisfaction with the state of human rights in Pakistan is to be expected.The protection of human rights has not been one of the priorities of the current government.
But perhaps the UN committee’s findings lay bare the lack of human rights in explicit terms – pinning the blame on laws that do not adequately address rights, the inability to dispense justice to victims and the willing participation of state institutions in torture, enforced disappearances and a number of other transgressions imply that the problem is all-encompassing.The laws that need to be passed to guarantee human rights often aren’t, even when they are implementation is a problem and finally, the institutions that are sworn to protect not only fail in their duties but also add significantly to the problem.

The government’s lack of control over intelligence and law enforcement agencies for instance, is a glaring failure on its part – citizens are picked up, tortured and killed for charges unexplained, all under the guise of national security.False accusations and lynchings through the blasphemy law are on the rise and press freedom is consistently clamped down upon through overt and subtle threats to journalists.

The standard argument in defence of state-sponsored human rights abuses is always that the protection of national security trumps human rights.But while it is important to remember that Pakistan is a country fraught with turmoil, and certain steps of the government perceived to be harsh have been deemed necessary there have been too many occasions where the state has gone too far, or not far enough.Even if we take the security situation into account, there must be some measure of accountability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies; at the very least, all of them should be answerable to the government, which is not the case currently.Beyond that, the state is expected to make more of an effort towards safeguarding rights – laws such as the draconian cybercrime law has exacerbated the issue of rights instead of protecting them (which was the state intention).
There is a need to focus on one of the most important aspects of governance – the protection of basic and inalienable rights.http://nation.com.pk/editorials/30-Jul-2017/rights-transgressions

July 30, 2017   No Comments

NAP in K-P: 155 terrorists killed or arrested since 2015

By Riaz Ahmed in The Express Tribune, July 30, 2017
PESHAWABy Riaz Ahmed in The Express Tribune, July 30, 2017
PESHAWAR: Around 155 militants – against whom the government had announced head money – have either been arrested or killed across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) since the adoption of the National Action Plan (NAP) in 2015.

In total, 1,373 militants have been arrested so far in the province, a total 8,02,516 houses have been searched and 29,887 FIRs have been registered for non-submission of tenant information report (TIF).

By the same token, 3,981 FIRs have been lodged against hotel administration for non-verification of guests before providing rooms to them.

Law enforcement agencies conducted 33,134 search and strike operations and detained 1,50,900 suspects. As much as 1,612 kilograms of high explosives and 42,752 arms were also recovered during these operations.

The document obtained by The Express Tribune shows that 5,730 FIRs have been registered over misuse of loudspeakers and 5,989 people have been arrested so far under these FIRs. Some 1,592 items comprising ‘hate material’ were seized and 324 accused were arrested and put behind the bars.

A province-wide crackdown was conducted against those Afghan refugees who were staying illegally in the country and 34,649 were arrested in this connection. They were produced in courts and deported.

Around 5,401 fourth schedulers were checked across the province. The largest number of fourth schedulers has been in Swat followed by Peshawar and other districts.

A large-scale crackdown was also conducted against people with fake Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) and 2,183 were booked by police. The law enforcement agencies (LEAs) also booked 950 people who verified and attested the CNIC documents of Afghan refugees.

Around 210 touts were also arrested from various parts of the province and booked for facilitating the process of obtaining fake CINCs for Afghan refugees.

Around 1,56,129 snap-checking points were established additionally in which 3,29,799 suspects were held and 22,841 arms were recovered from their possession along with 32 kilograms of explosives.

During this period, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) successfully traced 914 terrorism cases and their challan were submitted in the courts.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a police official said there was considerable decrease in the number of terrorist attacks across K-P and the country but terrorism still posed a serious threat.

“They [terrorists] are mostly based across the border in Afghanistan and are staging attacks inside K-P and other parts of the country, including Fata. Much more efforts are still required to eliminate them,” he said, adding that search and strike operations were still going on to put pressure on them.https://tribune.com.pk/story/1469905/nap-k-p-155-terrorists-killed-arrested-since-2015/

July 30, 2017   Comments Off on NAP in K-P: 155 terrorists killed or arrested since 2015

Four killed in Panjgur blast : report in the News, July 30, 2017

ISLAMABAD: At least four people were killed and five injured when an explosion occurred in Panjgur on Saturday. According to Levies officials, the administration has summoned a technical team to determine the nature of the blast, a private news channel reported.

The explosion took place in Chedgi, an area situated at a distance of 70 kilometers from Panjgur. Chedgi is a sensitive area, situated near the Pakistan-Iran border. –APP

July 30, 2017   No Comments