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Pakistan’s terrorism policy questioned: by Durdana Najam in the Nation, sept 12, 2017

The writer is a freelance journalist based in Lahore.
The BRICS declaration has put our cards on the table.
We have been told that our two religious organizations, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) though proscribed both by the United Nations and Pakistan, have been fomenting terrorism in the region.The declaration did not name Pakistan, but both organizations had been based in Pakistan, and their leaders, Hafiz Saeed and Azhar Mahmood are living here.The former was put on house arrest following Trump’s election while the latter has been underground in his native town Bahawalpur, running a fleet of Madrassas.LeT, and JeM may had been proscribed, but their organizational structures were never touched, giving them the leeway to resurface with new names. The LeT became Jamaat-ud-Dawa, and the JeM turned into Tehrik-al-Furqan.India has been trying since long to put Masood’s name on the UN list of terrorists, but China vetoed it always.

But now China has also told us that, “It’s time to put our house in order.” The Foreign Minister (FM) of Pakistan Khawaja Asif while talking about the BRICS declaration that has accused Pakistan based militant organizations of pouring oil in the Afghan war, pleaded the architects of the foreign policy in Pakistan to heed the voices emanating from the international corridors.In a clear helplessness, the minister did not give a clear-cut policy of how to go about ‘putting our house in order.’ He was looking somewhere else for the decision to rethink the existing foreign policy model and make it more reliant on diplomacy rather than on the application of covert forces.

It took a bit out of us when Russia and China became accusatory against Pakistan.The government immediately went into a damage control mode, and the FM went to China to get the concession.However, the question is why our friends had been forced to act strangers.Why this shift, when only a few weeks back, on the occasion of Washington’s new policy on Afghanistan, China asked the international community to appreciate Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terrorism.Russia too gave cover to Pakistan against Trump’s naked accusations that Pakistan was harbouring terrorists.What has changed in these two weeks that both China and Russia have joined Indian rant to designate Pakistani based religious organizations source of militancy in the region, especially in Afghanistan.Perhaps the change was in the making, and only we could not see it coming.Or maybe the architects have become immune to such allegations.But in the wake of China’s increasing economic involvement in Pakistan, this warning cannot be taken lightly, and perhaps, as we have been told the time has come to put our house in order.In reality, though, the foreign office had smelled the coffee much earlier.

The meeting of country’s high-ranking military, civil and intelligence officials last year, which will go down in the history of Pakistan, as ‘Dawn Leaks,’ gave out the same message.
No logic can justify the ‘flawed’ decision to leak the talking points of such a sensitive meeting in the press.But one can hardly deny the similarity in the message both Dawn Leaks and the BRICS declaration carried; that the international community is running out of patience with our adventure of nurturing the Jihadi outfits disrupting situations in Afghanistan and Kashmir further.Unfortunately, the message got warped in the manner in which such an important policy issue was made public.

The trust deficit, in the civil-military relations, has only widened because of the policy of retribution, both sides have been adopting to get even with one another. It would have been pragmatic, if the time and effort spent on Panama case, that eventually removed the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, were invested in reassessing the foreign policy to make Pakistan a responsible country.Two wrongs never make a right.The government was wrong to put its military at the centre of the accusation ring – opening it up to India’s aggression that used the opportunity to expose Pakistan further.The military was wrong in denying the reality, and instead of hunting out the enemies it chose to sleep with them and pulled the guns at the government.The story has revisited us, and however nonchalant we may try to pose the reality is that Pakistan is facing isolation.Our sacrifices in the line of terrorism, and our claim to have made headways in clamping the head of this monster are likely to wither unless we decide to get rid of the long held dependency on the covert forces to protect our false fear and insecurities from regional countries.Pakistan can be better saved if shielded by a healthy economy and an honest political leadership.

There is scarcely any solace, as some people are finding, in the BRICS declaration also bracketing Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan as an equal spoiler of regional peace.Remember, before becoming India’s underbelly the TPP has been part of ours.Their apologists for years had called them ‘the strayed youth.’ Pervez Rashid, Nassir Janjua, and Munawer Saeed are on record saying so.But the problem is that except ourselves we find everyone else against us.Now that the Chief of Army Staff has asked the world to do more, rather than depending on us, we are left but with prayers to see sanity prevail. http://nation.com.pk/columns/12-Sep-2017/pakistan-s-terrorism-policy-questioned

September 12, 2017   No Comments

Hazara killings: edit in Dawn, September 12th, 2017

IN the violence against civilians in the country, the repeated targeting of Hazaras in Balochistan stands out as a particularly grim failure of the state. On Sunday, yet another family of the Shia community was targeted in Kuchlak as they were travelling to Quetta. Four individuals, including a child, were killed in the attack. What followed is also distressingly predictable: the assailants rode off on a motorcycle unimpeded; security forces arrived at the scene after the gunmen had fled; and hasty search operations in the immediate aftermath of the killing failed to lead to the attackers. Meanwhile, the Hazara people have been left to mourn more deaths in a seemingly never-ending descent into fear and terror. To be sure, the vast physical expanse of Balochistan and the sparse population of the province mean that protecting all the people all the time would challenge even the best-resourced, most-committed security forces in the world. But there have been several such incidents in Balochistan; they are clearly linked to a flawed security policy in the region and the failure of the political leadership. The Hazaras, as indeed the general population in Balochistan, will not be safe until the state changes its approach to security in the region.

Yet, delay in long-term changes should not stand in the way of short-term improvements where possible. The enemies of the Hazara people are a relatively narrow band of militants on the militancy spectrum. Among the groups likely to attack the Hazaras, active militants are estimated to be relatively small. So while there is no possibility of physically protecting every Hazara, the state can use its significant intelligence and security apparatuses to identify and progressively shut down groups targeting the community. Further, while the state has pointed repeatedly at external sponsors of militancy being responsible for terrorism in Balochistan, the networks used are invariably local. So is preventing violence against Hazaras not a priority for the state, or are lessons that ought to be learned not being learned because there is little accountability? Finally, the Balochistan government, weak and sidelined as it may be in security matters, needs to take a stand. When it comes to the Hazaras, there has long been a suspicion that the political class is indifferent to their plight. The provincial government needs to demonstrate empathy and concern for all its people. https://www.dawn.com/news/1357041/hazara-killings

September 12, 2017   No Comments

Debt drives kidney harvesting in Punjab’s citrus orchards

Reuters report in The Express Tribune, Sept 12, 2017
KOT MOMIN: The decision to sell her kidney was easy for Ismat Bibi, a housewife in Punjab. With four children to feed, a husband suffering from tuberculosis to look after, and a debt of Rs100,000 to repay, she quickly offered herself up.

The deal seemed simple enough. She would go to a hospital in a nearby city, the organ would be removed and she would get Rs110,000. No one needs two kidneys, Bibi was told by the middle man, her neighbour in the town of Kot Momin, Sargodha district.

Twelve years on, not only have the debts mounted, she is grappling with her husband’s worsening health, a mentally disabled young daughter, and often insufferable abdominal pain due to the removal of her right kidney. Worse still, her son, 15, plans to sell his kidney too.

“I am begging my son not to do this, but he is adamant,” said Bibi, 40, as she sat in her one-roomed mud home in a slum on the outskirts of Kot Momin. “I committed a mistake by selling the kidney, but I had no other option to feed my family.”

Punjab is the country’s most prosperous region, but alongside thriving sectors from farming to textiles, another business is booming – the illegal trade in human organs, say police, activists and victims.

Fuelled by a cycle of poverty and debt, this black market has flourished for years with traffickers preying on the poorest – many of them labourers who have helped the region prosper but have been paid a pittance in return.

And with a shortage of organ donors globally, “transplant tourism” has taken off here with criminal networks, often influential people like doctors and businessmen, using their agents overseas to fly in foreigners needing organs.

There is no official data on the number of people who have sold their kidneys in the country, but some officials estimate that there could be at least 1,000 victims every year. Babar Nawaz Khan, chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights, says Pakistan is a hot spot for organ trafficking, but adds authorities are now cracking down.

“Until last year, Pakistan was the main hub of this trade,” Khan added. “According to some estimates, 85% of all organ trafficking cases were reported in Pakistan a few years back, but thank God, we are no longer in the top 10.”

Oranges, lemons and kidneys

Punjab is home to over 110 million people, around half of the country’s population. Not only is it the country’s breadbasket – producing almost 60% of all agricultural output – it is also the most industrialised. Fertile fields of green rice paddy, golden wheat and white cotton blooms are commonplace, alongside factories producing everything from textiles and cement to cricket bats and surgical equipment.

Punjab’s economy made up over 50% of the country’s gross domestic product in 2016 and the poverty rate here is just over 20% – the lowest among all its provinces. But much of this prosperity is built off the backs of thousands of workers, who have for decades been exploited by feudal landlords, building contractors, brick kiln and factory owners who pay them as little as Rs500 daily, say campaigners. Many borrow from their employers at interest rates as high as 60%. Before long, they are trapped in a cycle of debt.

In Kot Momin – known as the country’s ‘citrus region’ due to its lush orchards of juicy oranges, mandarins, lemons and limes – hundreds have sold their kidneys. “I have applications from around 250 people, who have sold their kidneys and who are now seeking government help,” said Zafar Iqbal, a social activist and victim of organ trafficking.

“They want authorities to provide jobs to them or their kids, as they can no longer do jobs like construction work.” Iqbal, 45, sold his kidney in 2003. His brother had died and he needed the money to look after his brother’s wife and children as well as fund for the weddings of his two sisters. “We are small fries. We can’t confront these powerful people,” he said, as he served tea to customers at his run-down stall in Kot Momin’s main market.

The dusty town is surrounded by rows of citrus trees, interspersed with state-of-the-art fruit processing factories which export the world-famous orange, known as kinnow, to Europe and the United States. Mohammad Zaheer, a worker at a sprawling orchard on the outskirts of Kot Momin, said he earns a daily wage of Rs500. But he receives less than half after deductions made for a Rs95,000 loan he took from his employer.

“I sold my kidney five years ago to pay for my younger sister’s marriage,” said 43-year-old Zaheer. “She got married, but my ordeal did not end and I had to borrow money from my employer to feed my six children.”

‘Transplant tourism’

Pakistan outlawed the commercial trade in human organs in 2010, imposing a jail term of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of Rs1 million for doctors, middlemen, recipients and donors. The law permits donors to give their organs to recipients who are relatives and for altruistic purposes, but bans the sale of human organs to foreigners. But low wages and poor implementation of the law has hampered efforts to curb rising cases of organ trafficking.

Recipients from countries such as Britain, Saudi Arabia and South Africa travel to Lahore or Karachi where they are operated on in private clinics in residential areas or houses with makeshift operating theatres in basements.

A kidney is sold to foreigners for between Rs4 million to Rs10 million, but the donor gets less than 10% of that, say police officials. In July, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) raided a private clinic in an upscale neighbourhood of Lahore, and arrested 14 people, including two Omani nationals suspected to be potential recipients.

Police admit the trafficking networks are difficult to break. They involve several players – from doctors, nurses and paramedics to hospital owners and businessmen – and many are influential and with political connections. But authorities say they plan to strengthen the law by giving more power to the regulatory authority in charge of transplantations, upping surveillance at hospitals, and imposing stricter punishments.

“We are determined to clamp down this illegal trade,” Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar told Reuters. “We are consulting all stakeholders to tighten laws to curb this inhumane business,” she added. These words however mean little to the victims who are left often still in debt and with health problems due to a lack of healthcare after their organs were removed.

“I have the option of either feeding my children or buying medicine for myself,” said brick kiln worker Sarfraz Ahmed, 30, pulling up his shirt to show a thin brown scar on the left side of his abdomen. “I have opted to feed my kids.” https://tribune.com.pk/story/1503479/debt-drives-kidney-harvesting-punjabs-citrus-orchards/

September 12, 2017   No Comments

Pak Media- gagging- Edits, Sept 12, 2017

Gagging the press: edit in Daily Times, September 12th 2017.
This government is set to go down in history as the first to have completed its democratic tenure. This should, in theory, be cause for celebration here in Pakistan. Yet not so for the country’s media.

During the last four years, the electronic media has been under fire, facing severe retribution for daring to broadcast any news deemed to tarnish the image of our boys in khaki. Indeed, bloggers critical of state action have been rounded up, accused and, in some cases, tortured on the grounds of being anti-Pakistan. This is to say nothing of the cyber crime laws that seek to gag freedoms of expression in the personal sphere.

None of this is good news for Pakistan’s long-term democratic health. Yet instead of administering a good dose of media freedom as a much needed antidote — the ruling party has gone the other way. Meaning that it stands accused of gagging the press, a move that the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has already warned against.

At the heart of the latest controversy is the Pakistan Print Media Regulatory Authority (PPMRA) Ordinance 2017. That this has been drawn up by the government — despite initial faltering attempts at back tracking — without building the necessary consensus from media bodies is alarming. And it smacks of a government lacking sufficient confidence in the democratic process it claims to represent. Not to mention those who comprise society’s fourth pillar. Put another way, it suggests a wilful tilt towards autocracy’s embrace.

Copies of the PPMRA Ordinance have found their way to journalist unions nationwide. Among the contentious points is: making it mandatory for publishers to renew licences on yearly basis or else face having declaration of newspapers and periodicals cancelled at will. There is also talk of having the Press Council of Pakistan disbanded. This, of course, is the forum that hears complaints lodged by the journalist community.

We stand with the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and the Council of Newspaper Editors (CPNE), both of whom have lambasted the government for its secrecy in this regard. It is inconceivable that a democratic nation would envisage sending to Parliament any bill aimed at changing the fundamental way in which the press operates without taking the lead from the media itself.

Elsewhere the government is no doubt patting itself on the back at the current statistics coming out of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA). The latter has noted a marked drop in terrorist incidents in Pakistan for this current year. Yet in the words of a certain famous country singer: that don’t impress us much. For what is gagging the press if not state sanctioned terrorism? No matter how much Marriyum Aurangzeb doth protest.http://dailytimes.com.pk/editorial/12-Sep-17/gagging-the-press

In this day and age: edit in Pakistan Today, Sept 12, 2017
The private sector ending the monopoly of the state over print and electronic media, the country has witnessed an efflorescence of newspapers and TV channels. The newspapers as well as private TV networks have contributed to the growth of political and social consciousness. The print media has made reading interesting by adding coloured pictures, cartoons and news items with inputs. While the race to be the first to report has at times led to howlers, it has nevertheless contributed to the lifting of the curtain on bad performance and exposure of scams. Newspaper columns have brought discussions on constitutional issues so far confined to the legal community to the common man contributing to a better understanding of the ongoing debates. In the midst of this comes the report of an attempt to undo what has been achieved through great sacrifices by the journalist community and courageous media houses.
It appears that the exposure of those in authority have embarrassed the sacred cows that want them to be seen as totally flawless. The evidence suggests that the draft of a law to chain the media was to be enacted as an Ordinance in haste. It was to be taken up by the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) as item eighth on the agenda of its sitting on Monday.
In the wake of strongly worded condemnations from media persons, politicians and rights activists, Marriyum Aurangzeb initially denied any knowledge of the author of the draft and promised an enquiry. If the ignorance is genuine, it would indicate she is devoting most of her time these days to activities other than those related to her job. It appears that there are individuals who want to put the media in chains. The least one expects from the information minister is that she would find where this draft emanated from all of a sudden and at whose behest. The inquiry that she promised to order should be conducted swiftly and its findings made public.https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/09/12/in-this-day-and-age/

 

Media under threat : edit in The Express Tribune, September 12, 2017
Successive governments have had an uneasy relationship with the media in all its formats, and as those formats proliferate and gain in power and reach so expands governmental unease. The desire to regulate the media conflicts directly with a growing public awareness of, and hunger for, basic freedoms of speech. Today there are reports that the information minister is going to order an inquiry into the drafting of an ordinance that further seeks to curtail the operations and scope of the print media.

In a case of the left hand not appearing to be aware of what the right hand is up to the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Marriyum Aurangzeb, has disavowed any knowledge of a proposed ordinance drafted by the Pakistan Print Media Regulatory Authority (PPMRA) that was due to be taken up by the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) which is the national print media regulatory body. The draft ordinance seeks to impose a set of restrictions and penalties on print media organisations that do not conform to the new rules. Members of the Press Council are saying that they will not allow the item which is 8th on the agenda to be discussed.

The minister claims to be in the dark about all this and that the letters that were issued in her name relating to the ordinance were issued by officials without her permission and that those officials ‘would be proceeded against’ for ‘going behind her back’. She claimed to be a supporter of press freedoms; but it is difficult to believe that an ordinance such as this could have reached such an advanced state of maturity without her knowledge. That a certain dynamic tension exists between the fourth estate and the executive is inevitable in any state. The draft ordinance seeks to dissolve the PCP, an institution created by parliament and is a direct infringement of basic freedoms. Ministers making doubtful statements can expect to be questioned, and ministers making contradictory statements the more so. Strike down the draft ordinance. https://tribune.com.pk/story/1503609/media-under-threat/

 

September 12, 2017   No Comments

Pak Govt abandons draft of anti-press law amid uproar

by Kalbe Ali in Dawn, September 12th, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Amid pressure from media and civil society, the government on Monday abandoned the idea of promulgating the Pakistan Print Media Regulatory Authority (PPMRA) Ordinance 2017, ordering strict action against three officers for unilaterally moving ahead with the proposal.

The repressive stipulations of the draft law aimed to regulate the print media by making it mandatory for newspapers to seek annual renewal of their licences and sought to give authorities power to raid media houses at will.

The draft was on the agenda of the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP), which was scheduled to meet on Monday. But the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting intervened in the matter, requesting PCP Chairman Dr Salahuddin Mengal to drop the item from the agenda of the council’s 15th general meeting.

Later, a detailed office order was issued by Information Secretary Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera, which stated that PCP chairman Salauddin Mengal informed the secretary that the development of a draft PPMRA 2017 was initiated following a meeting with the information minister on March 3, 2017.

“However, there are no formal minutes of the meeting or instructions of the minister of state available on record in this regard,” the order stated.

According to the communiqué, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb “categorically denied having given any such instructions”.

As a result, two information service officers — Internal Publicity Wing Director General Nasir Jamal and External Publicity Wing Director Tahir Hasan — have been made officers on special duty (OSD), while Internal Publicity Wing Assistant Director Saadullah Mahar has been suspended with immediate effect.

External Publicity Wing DG Shafqat Jalil has been appointed inquiry officer to conduct a fact-finding inquiry in the matter and fix responsibility. He has been asked to submit a report within three days.

Meanwhile, the PCP held its 15th general meeting, where it unanimously resolved to disapprove the proposed PPMRA 2017 ordinance, welcoming the government’s decision to withdraw the proposed draft.

Following the meeting, PCP council members from the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) and Council of Newspaper Editors (CPNE) held a press conference.

APNS senior vice president Kazi Asad Abid said that a representative of their body met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who had assured journalists that this draft was not in line with the government’s policy, nor could the ruling party think of enacting such legislation.

Condemnation

The draft continued to be lambasted by the opposition and human rights groups on Monday.

In a statement, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed strong reservations over the proposed draft that “is apparently aimed at gagging the print media”, vowing to “vigorously resist any such attempt”.

“The draft… has shocked civil society and advocates of freedom of expression not just because of its contents but also the manner in which it made its appearance and by a complete lack of engaging with the stakeholders,” the commission deplored.

“The federal information minister has said that she had nothing to do with the proposed draft and the parliamentarians have also been kept in the dark. It is imperative to understand where this draft emanated from all of a sudden and at whose behest,” it said.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) also raised the issue, with Senator Farhatullah Babar asking for an inquiry into how the draft was “secretly drafted in the darkness of the night, behind the back of parliament and stakeholders to stifle newspapers through unprecedented coercive measures”.

Speaking on a point of public importance in the Senate, he termed the proposed PPMRA Ordinance a throwback to the notorious 1963 Press and Pu­blications Ordinance of the Ayub era.

“Marriyum Aurangzeb is an honorable person and maybe she’s telling the truth. But one thing is undeniable; someone in the ministry has used her name to secretly [put forward] a sinister anti-press ordinance”, he said.

In a separate statement, Senator Sherry Rehman also voiced her opposition to the PPMRA draft, saying: “It is rather alarming that such a draconian law can even see the day of light under a democratically elected government in the 21st century. Freedom of press and information are major pillars for consolidated democracy”.

“The government must publicly renounce any possibility that the anti-democratic PPMRA Ordinance will become law,” she concluded.

Meanwhile, the PFUJ in a statement expressed satisfaction over the government’s announcement about withdrawal of the proposed draft law. It, however, demanded that the forces behind this conspiracy should be exposed.https://www.dawn.com/news/1357120/govt-abandons-draft-of-anti-press-law-amid-uproar

September 12, 2017   No Comments

Enough of jirga injustice : edit in Daily Times, September 12th 2017

A teenage couple was reportedly murdered by family members ‘for violating the Pashtun code of honour’ on the orders of a jirga. The horrific incident did not take place in a tribal area but in Karachi — the largest city of Pakistan.

There doesn’t seem to be an end to violence in the name of ‘family honour’. Cases of honour-based crimes continue to be reported from across the country.

Pakistan’s Parliament had approved an anti-‘honour’ killing bill last year that promised mandatory prison term of 25 years to perpetrators. But it remains to be seen if the law can act as an effective deterrent.

The perpetrators of such crimes are mostly supported by family heads or elders of tribes — enabling them to conveniently get away with their heinous acts. Some provisions of laws allow heir of victims to legally pardon the accused.

Couples entering marriage on their own accord are threatened by people from the influential groups of their areas, who think a woman’s act of marrying the man of her choice brings dishonour to the community.

While capacity building of police and tougher legislation can ensure an improved conviction rate in cases of ‘honour’ killings, groups that challenge the writ of the state by issuing murder decrees need to be dealt with an iron fist. Enough of parallel justice systems — and perpetuation of social injustice because of that.

Jirgas in Pakistan are known for issuing decrees of killing, forced marriage and even rape.

In July, a jirga in Multan had ordered rape of a woman as a punishment for her brother’s act of raping another woman. But this time it’s not a remote town or village. The jirga murder happened in the largest urban centre of Pakistan, and it shows that the mindset is thriving in urban areas as well. Those who justify ‘honour’ killing do so in the name of religion. Therefore, religious clerics also need to come forward and clearly state that Islam does not condone such heinous practices. It is about time a counter narrative to the flawed concept of ‘honour’ is introduced in order to stop violence in its name.http://dailytimes.com.pk/editorial/12-Sep-17/enough-of-jirga-injustice.

September 12, 2017   No Comments

ASI filmed beating helpless woman on court premises

Report in Dawn, September 12th, 2017
SIALKOT: A police official was filmed beating a woman on Monday on the Daska judicial complex premises.

The footage, which went viral on social media sites and was broadcast by TV channels, shows Satrah police station’s Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Sarwar Dogar repeatedly slapping the woman, identified as Zakia Bibi, in the presence of several onlookers.

Dawn learned the ASI had brought Saania Akhtar, the daughter-in-law of Zakia, to produce her before Civil Judge Waqas Hashmi. Saania was reportedly rescued by police from her captors after three months of abduction.

Zakia told Dawn the police official was teasing Saania and when she confronted him, the official humiliated her in front of the public. She alleged the police were keeping Saania at the all-male police station. She said her daughter-in-law had been kidnapped three months ago, and now instead of arresting the kidnappers, the police were harassing them in the case.

Police, however, said Zakia along with some other women, tried to get Saania free and beat the officials. District Police Officer Dr Abid Khan ordered a probe into the matter.
www.dawn.com/news/1357078/asi-filmed-beating-helpless-woman-on-court-premises

September 12, 2017   No Comments

NCHR calls for report on killing of Christian teenager

report in The News, Sept 12, 2017
Islamabad: National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) Chairman Justice (retd) Ali Nawaz Chowhan on Monday expressed great concern over lynching of Christian school boy in Vihari allegedly byfellow students.

In a statement issued by the NCHR, the chairperson said that school is a place of learning and such incidents don’t bode well for society. He reiterated that the NCHR will protect and promote human rights of all minorities without any discrimination and condemns such act of violence not only at school but everywhere. “Minorities are equal as other citizens of Pakistan; they enjoy all rights without any discrimination,” said the statement.

He said that the act shows poor administration of the school which is alarming. “It shows that school administration is not performing its functions faithfully. It need to be addressed as soon as possible,” mentions the statement.

Chairman Justice (retd) Ali Nawaz Chowhan called for a detailed report from the District Police Officer Vihari under Section 9 of the National Commission for Human Rights Act, 2012 over the killing of Christian boy.https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/229348-NCHR-calls-for-report-on-killing-of-Christian-teenager

September 12, 2017   No Comments

CTD to profile student organisations: By Amit Majeed in The News, Sept 12, 2017

Karachi: Amid the emergence of students’ links with terrorism, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) has decided to carry out profiling of university students associated with various student organisations and to establish its network at several big universities of Sindh.

It has been decided that the CTD will ask small varsities to nominate their representatives to work with its officials to prevent students from turning extremists. The move comes in the wake of an attack on Khawaja Izharul Hassan, opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly, on the first holiday of Eidul Azha on September 2.

Hassaan, who was shot dead in an encounter with police when he was trying to escape after making the assassination attempt on Khawaja Izharul Hassan, was a graduate of the NED University of Engineering and Technology.

The anti-terrorism police force is said to have taken this initiative after investigators discovered that militant outfit Ansar-ul-Shariah Pakistan (ASP) central leader Abdul Kareem Sarosh Siddiqui and Balochistan University of Information Technology and Management Science professor Dr Mushtaq had been students of the University of Karachi’s Department of Applied Physics and the Department of Botany respectively.

Two others arrested members, Engineer Talha Ansari and ASP spokesman Dr Abdullah Hashmi, also got their higher education from a reputable university in Karachi. Talking to The News last week, the CTD’s Transnational Terrorists Intelligence Group’s (TTIG) incharge, Raja Umer Khattab, confirmed that the department had planned to carry out profiling of students of varsities associated with various students’ unions.

Giving the rationale behind this move, he said the security agencies were taking on terrorists associated with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, whose members were mostly uneducated or not much educated.

“Now, we are facing terrorists who are highly educated, and to deal with graduate terrorists we have to keep an eye on the affairs of universities from where they got their degrees,” he added.

“As per the plan, the CTD is going to profile varsity undergraduates associated with students’ unions and to establish a CTD network in big varsities,” Khattab said. “The CTD would ask small higher educational institutes to nominate their representatives to work with the CTD for keeping a check on suspected elements inside the campus.”

Karachi University Teachers Society President Dr Shakil Farooqi said: The KU’s name come in the limelight whenever we talk about educated terrorists despite the fact that the varsity has had a wing of paramilitary Rangers inside the campus for the last 32 years.”

However, Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan said: “The name of KU comes in the limelight when anyone talks about educated people as the varsity annually is producing 20,000 graduates for the market.”

He added that he along with the VCs of 10 other universities attended a CTD seminar in April this year. During the seminar, CTD officials discussed stories of terrorists who were holding higher education degrees from different universities, “but I kept my lips tight”, Prof Khan said.

“In the end of the seminar, I went to the CTD’s TTIG’s incharge, Raja Umer Khattab, and told him that I am VC KU.” “Khattab gave me a smile and said he along with his team would visit the KU and discuss our security issues, but then he did not visit us,” he said.

“A few days ago, they arrived in the university following a revelation that one of ASP terrorists was enrolled in the KU’s Department of Applied Physics and we have decided many things,” Prof Khan maintained.

“Now, I am looking forward to the CTD’s visit and I assure you that I am ready to work with them to figure out suspects, but one thing is clear that I will not become part of a witch hunt. “The security agencies believe that there are cells of terrorist organisations inside the campus, and if it is so, then it is their duty to go after them.

“The terrorists have their cells everywhere in the society and they have cells in the KU too, but what I can do is to facilitate them [CTD officials] in locating the terrorist cells without harassing students.”

Talking about the role of the paramilitary Rangers, the vice chancellor said the Rangers also took responsibility for whatever was going on the campus and they were conscious that they would also be held accountable if anything went wrong there as they had been “here for more than three decades”.

He added that the KU administration was working with the Rangers, and the varsity would help them to catch anyone involved in terrorism-related activities.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/229259-CTD-to-profile-student-organisations

September 12, 2017   No Comments

KP police declare several areas most sensitive for Muharram

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police on Monday declared Peshawar, Hangu, Kohat and Dera Ismail Khan the most sensitive districts for the upcoming Muharram.

The declaration was made in a police statement, which was issued after a meeting held here at the central police office in connection with Muharram security.

Provincial police chief Salahuddin Khan chaired the meeting, which was attended by additional IGPs headquarters, Special Branch, Operations, CCPO, DIG CTD and all RPOs.

The police chief was briefed about the security plan for Muharram in their respective areas.

The police chief directed the police high-ups to ensure live electronic monitoring of all Muharram processions and carry out detailed checking for the people’s entry to imambargahs and processions.

He said the police would do their duty as a frontline force and that no loopholes would be allowed in the security arrangements.

Mr Salahuddin asked participants to take effective and foolproof security measures for sectarian harmony during Muharram.

He ordered the live electronic monitoring of all processions and said the procession routes and venues should be cleared by a joint team of all departments concerned.

The police chief said no new route of processions would be allowed and FIRs would be registered instantly against rules violators.

He asked participants to review security arrangements by visiting the spot in uniform and organise snap checking across districts with special emphasis on motorcycles with fake number plates and without number plates.

They were also told to deploy police on hilltops and rooftops in sensitive areas and plugging of all streets leading to imambargahs and processions and carrying out procession routes.

He asked officials to carry out checking at macro level and check each and every thing and make video recording of all mourning processions, strictly discourage provocative speeches and provocative literature.

The participants were directed to brief the personnel in detail about their duties and motivate them to perform its duty in a professional manner and wear full protective gear.

The police chief asked police high-ups to hold meeting with all other relevant civil departments a day earlier of procession and ensure their part of job done for Muharram.

The participants were directed to ban the people from standing on rooftops of the houses on processions routes and check particulars of all tenants living on the procession route and in close proximity of procession routes and imambargahs.

The police chief also directed officials to remain in constant contact with other security and intelligence agencies.

Mr Salahuddin said he would visit all sensitive districts to review Muharram security measures and take detailed briefing from the relevant DPOs about security arrangements.

He said security arrangements adopted for Muharram would be checked through Special Branch and in case of any lapse, the relevant DPOs would be held responsible for it.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1357179/peshawar-di-khan-hangu-kohat-most-sensitive-for-muharram

September 12, 2017   No Comments