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Category — Sindh

Rangers plan operation in Karachi, interior Sindh, Balochistan

by Salis bin Perwaiz in The News, Sept 6, 2017
Karachi: In the wake of the September 2 attack on Khawaja Izharul Hassan, the paramilitary Rangers have planned an operation in Karachi, interior Sindh and Balochistan to dismantle the terrorist network involved in the incident.

Sindh Rangers chief Maj Gen Muhammad Saeed chaired a meeting at the Rangers Headquarters on Tuesday to discuss the present law and order situation in Karachi, as well as the recent attacks on police officials and Sindh Assembly opposition leader Hassan.

A spokesman for the paramilitary force said the meeting was attended by IGP AD Khowaja and Addl IGP Sanaullah Abbasi, the provincial chiefs of police and Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) respectively, and other senior officials.

Regarding the September 2 attack the meeting was informed that three terrorists attacked Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leader Hassan at around 7am on his way home. In the attack 35-year-old police constable Moinuddin and teenaged Arsal Kamran were martyred, while ASI Zulfiqar, PC Shakeel and three civilians, namely Kamran, Atif and Abdul Waris, were injured.

Taimuria police station’s police guards present on the scene retaliated and injured one of the terrorists, but they all managed to escape, except one that was caught and beaten up by a mob before he was handed over to the police.

The injured terrorist died before reaching the hospital. He was identified as Hasaan Nazeer, a lab technician at the Dawood University of Engineering & Technology. He was highly educated and had also worked at the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology and the NED University of Engineering & Technology.

The forensic examination of the pistol confiscated from the scene of the crime confirmed that the same weapon was used in earlier attacks on police officials. Considering the evidences collected from the September 2 crime scene, officials of the Rangers, police, CTD and intelligence agencies conducted a joint investigation and achieved successful results.

A raid at a Rufi Rose Petal bungalow near Kaneez Fatima Society on Monday prompted an exchange of gunfire, in which PC Ijaz Panhwar was martyred but terrorist Abdul Kareem Sarwash escaped.

During a thorough search of the bungalow the raiding team seized a laptop, call recording devices, mobile phones and handwritten and printed documents of the banned Ansarul Sharia Pakistan (ASP).

The confiscated material confirmed that Kareem was chief of the ASP and was involved in the recent attacks on police officials across Karachi as well as in the attack on Hassan. The forensic examination of the confiscated weapon found in the raid confirmed that it was used in the recent attacks and that the officials had managed to trace the gang behind the recent attacks.

The Rangers spokesman said the paramilitary force had planned intelligence-based targeted raids across Karachi, interior Sindh and Balochistan to dismantle the terrorist network involved in the incidents.

Meanwhile, a raid was carried out in the Sohrab Goth locality of the metropolis late on Tuesday night in which law enforcers claimed to have arrested an ASP commander.

Students’ security

University of Karachi Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan convened a meeting in which it was decided that KU would coordinate with and seek assistance of law enforcement agencies for the security of students.

However, a spokesman for the university denied news reports that records of KU students were being checked and that the university administration had made it mandatory for every student to submit a clearance certificate from their relevant police station before getting an admission.https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/228003-Rangers-plan-operation-in-Karachi-interior-Sindh-Balochistan

September 6, 2017   No Comments

Assassination bid ‘mastermind’ escapes after gun battle in Karachi

by Imtiaz Ali in Dawn, September 5th, 2017
KARACHI: Two days after the attempt on the life of leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly Khwaja Izhar-ul-Hasan, law enforcers raided the house of the alleged mastermind of the attack on Monday but failed to capture him as he escaped following a fierce gun battle that resulted in the killing of a policeman.

Khwaja Izhar of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan came under an armed attack on Sept 2 as soon as he left a mosque after offering Eid prayers in Karachi’s Buffer Zone locality. He remained unhurt in the incident but one of his police guards and his friend’s son suffered serious bullet wounds and died.

One of the assailants — later identified as Hassaan, a lab technician in the Dawood University of Engineering and Technology (DUET) — was also killed under controversial circumstances.

Late on Sunday night, the militant Ansar-ul-Shariah Pakistan (ASP), in a Twitter message, claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt on “pro-American MQM’s leader khuwaja izhar”.

A few hours later, intelligence officials along with a heavy contingent of police carried out a targeted raid on Monday morning in Rufi Rose Petals Bungalows — one of the many housing societies in Karachi’s Scheme-33 area near the Superhighway — to arrest a suspected militant but met stiff resistance from him.

As the militant fired indiscriminately, one intelligence official and two policemen sustained bullet wounds and one of them, identified as Constable Aijaz, died.

Malir SSP Rao Anwar said that the militant managed to escape. He identified the suspect as Abdul Karim Sarosh Siddiqui, who he said is linked with the ASP.

“He is the mastermind of the attack on Khwaja Izhar,” clai­med SSP Anwar while talking to Dawn. He said that Siddiqui fired at law enforcers with 9mm and TT pistols and the spent bullet casings collected from the scene were sent for a forensic analysis to ascertain whether the same weapons had been used in any previous attack.

According to him, Siddiqui was a student of Karachi University’s Applied Physics Department in 2011. His father was a retired professor of the same university. He was taken into custody for questioning, the SSP said.

Controversy surrounding ‘assassin’ killing : Earlier on Saturday, assailants clad in police uniforms fired at Khwaja Izhar as soon as he emerged from a mosque. He survived the attack, but his guards — Constable Moin, assistant sub-inspector Zulfiqar, Constable Shakeel — area residents Kamran, his son Arsal and Shaikh Abdul Waris sustained bullet wounds. Moin and 13-year-old Arsal died on the spot.

Khwaja Izhar’s guards returned fire but it was still unclear whether their bullets hit any of the assailants.

Initially, police claimed that the law enforcers chased the fleeing suspects and managed to kill one of them. However, footage made from CCTV cameras and cellphones showed charged people beating up one of the suspects after catching him. It was unclear as to how the suspect ended up dead.

Sindh Home Minister Sohail Siyal ordered DIG-South Azad Khan to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances leading to the death of the attacker.

The DIG told Dawn on Monday that the inquiry was still under way as the police were waiting for the final medico-legal report.

He, however, said that the suspect, identified as Hassaan, got injured during an exchange of fire with the police but it was also true that he was subjected to a hiding by a mob.

A senior police officer said that Hassaan was an educated person and worked as a lab technician in the DUET, an engineering university in Karachi.

He belonged to an educated family and his father had a PhD from a university in Islamabad, the official added.

A 9mm pistol was also seized from deceased Hassaan.

Two police officers, who wished not to be named, told Dawn that the 9mm pistol was sent to the forensic lab which confirmed that the same weapon was used in the targeted killings of four policemen in SITE in June and the assassination of a DSP-Traffic and his constable driver in Azizabad in August.

They said that both the attacks were claimed by the ASP, which threw pamphlets on the scenes of crime.

CM promises more security
Also on Monday, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah visited the residence of Opposition Leader Khwaja Izhar to express solidarity with him

He told reporters later that his government had given ample security to MQM leaders and other important personalities and would provide them more security if needed.

“The attack on Izahr-ul-Hasan was an attempt to create fear and insecurity in the city but Almighty Allah kept him safe,” he said.

He said that the planning of the attack “must have been made out of this city and may be out this country”.

He said he would conduct a security audit and verification of students of each and every educational institution to ascertain if they were breeding terrorists. “It is quite painful to see the highly educated persons involved in terrorism,” he said.

Later, the CM went to the residence of the father of victim boy Arsal and offered condolence. He assured him that the killers of his son would be brought to book.https://www.dawn.com/news/1355681/assassination-bid-mastermind-escapes-after-gun-battle-in-karachi

September 5, 2017   No Comments

Attack on Khawaja Izhar attempt to create unrest in Karachi: Sindh IGP

Report in The Express Tribune online, September 3, 2017
News Desk: The attempt on Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan’s life was a conspiracy to push Karachi into the flames of unrest, Sindh police chief AD Khawaja said on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters in Karachi, IGP Khawaja said the investigation into the attack was yielding positive results but more time was needed for a thorough probe.

Izhar escaped an attempt on his life in Buffer Zone on Saturday. He was returning from Eid prayers when some men ambushed his vehicle. A policeman and a child was martyred in the attack. One of the assailants was also shot dead.

The Sindh police chief said after the MQM had split, the leaders of Pakistan faction had been warned of the dangers it might face. He added that speculating on who was behind the attack would, however, just hamper the investigation.

Police have registered an FIR of the attack under the Anti-Terrorism Act, according to Express News. Taimooria police station SHO Jamal Laghari filed the case under Section 302, 324 and 353 of the act, which deal with murder, attempt to murder and encounter with police.

More cell phone footage of the aftermath of the gun attack has surfaced which shows people thrashing one of the suspects while police were nowhere in sight and the target killer had been shot in the head. After the video emerged, Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal took notice and ordered a report into the incident.

According to the CTD, three attackers on as many motorcycles ambushed Izhar’s car. His police guard fired back and gunned down one of them.

The dead shooter has been identified as Hassaan, who was an engineer. Police have detained his father and other family members.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1497608/attack-khawaja-izhar-attempt-create-unrest-karachi-sindh-igp/

September 4, 2017   No Comments

MQM-P’s Khawaja Izhar escapes assassination bid in Karachi

By Faraz Khan in The Express Tribune, September 2, 2017
KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan on Saturday escaped an assassination attempt in which two people, including a policeman, were killed and many others injured.

According to Express News, the leader of the opposition in Sindh Assembly was going home after offering Eidul Azhar prayers when two suspected attackers ambushed his vehicle in Bufferzone area of the metropolis.

While Khawaja Izhar remained unharmed in the incident, an attacker was killed during the retaliatory fire by one of the guards of the MQM-P lawmaker.

The bodies and the injured have been shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital whereas law enforcers have recovered as many as 27 bullet casings of 9mm pistol, SSP Central Pir Muhammad Shah said. Shah said the attackers came in police uniforms so they were able to pass through various check points unhindered.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Sindh IG Allah Dino Khwaja said one of the attackers was killed during an exchange of fire with the police near Taimooria.

MQM leader Farooq Sattar condemned the shooting and criticised federal and provincial governments for not providing adequate security to opposition politicians despite threats from banned sectarian militant outfits.

“I strongly condemn this attack on Khawaja Izharul Hassan,” Farooq said. “My party colleagues and myself are facing threats from banned sectarian militant outfits and other organisations but federal and provincial governments have failed to provide us adequate security.”

Farooq Sattar said that three attackers were at the corner of the street of Izhar’s house and had covered their faces with helmets. He, alongwith Izhar and other party members, visited the home of the boy who was killed in the attack to pay condolences.

Nadeem Nusrat condemned involving MQM-London in an attack on Izhar without proper investigations.

Stressing that the Sindh government was aware of its duties, Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal expressed his dismay on blaming the government for insufficient security.

The home minister announced that the Sindh government will give Rs 10 million in compensation to the martyred police officer’s family. He added that the family of the deceased will continue to receive salary until the date of his retirement and assured them to induct two men from their household into the Sindh police. He further added that the government would bear all costs of the treatment of those injured.

Meanwhile, another party leader Faisal Sabzwari confirmed the assassination attempt on Khawaja Izhar, saying the suspects were wearing police uniforms. https://tribune.com.pk/story/1497241/mqm-ps-khawaja-izhar-escapes-assassination-bid-karachi/

September 4, 2017   No Comments

Mind of a killer: edit in Dawn, September 1st, 2017

THE JIT report of Mufti Shakir’s interrogation in Karachi’s Central Prison in March 2014 offers a chilling insight into the mindset of a violent extremist, while the events that followed illustrate the terrible failings of our criminal justice system. Mufti Shakir was arrested on suspicion of having masterminded the bombing that had killed Sindh’s counterterrorism chief Chaudhry Aslam in January that year. During his interrogation — which included the confession that he had also murdered 10 policemen and an army soldier — Mufti Shakir claimed he had offered to undertake the suicide mission against SP Aslam himself. However, a Lashkar-i-Jhangvi accomplice dissuaded him, saying that as a ‘religious scholar’ his skills as a preacher were too important to be sacrificed. So Mufti Shakir, says the JIT report, mentally prepared a 25-year-old named Naimatullah over the course of a week for the task. The success of the operation was a huge morale booster for the many extremist groups fighting the state and, conversely, a major setback for law-enforcement authorities.

If given credence, the account confirms in several ways what is thus far known about the ‘traditional’ path to militancy for many in the ’90s: poverty, a madressah education with a lack of any substantial formal schooling, and a family with equally hard-line religious beliefs. To this country’s enduring misfortune, there were at the time numerous jihadi outfits that young men with extremist mindsets could join and where their inclination to violence would be nurtured and given an outlet. Having worked his way through several of them, Mufti Shakir joined the TTP in 2012. As a ‘commander’ he proceeded to radicalise the next generation of recruits — such as the young man who was cannon fodder in the elimination of SP Aslam. With his violent past and clear potential for further mayhem, not to mention the findings of the JIT report, it can scarcely be comprehended how this high-level militant managed to get bail. The abject failure by investigative authorities to build a prosecutable case against him has had deadly consequences. It is believed that having fled to Afghanistan where he is running a training camp for militants, Mufti Shakir has since dispatched operatives to target police officials in Karachi. The confluence of single-minded militants and a criminal justice system whose weaknesses defy belief amounts to a scenario in which it will be near impossible for Pakistan to win its battle against terrorism. https://www.dawn.com/news/1355189/mind-of-a-killer

September 1, 2017   No Comments

Confessions of TTP’s Mufti Shakir reveal dark underbelly of militancy in Karachi

by Imtiaz Ali in Dawn, August 31st, 2017
KARACHI: Mohammad Shakir­ullah alias Mufti Shakir, who was arrested over charges of killing policemen and carrying out the suicide attack on CID SP Chaudhry Aslam in 2014, was released on bail and subsequently fled to Afghanistan and is now running an active training camp for militants, it emerged on Wednesday.

During interrogation by a joint investigation team (JIT) inside the Karachi Central Prison in March 2014, he had confessed to having killed, along with his accomplices, 10 policemen and an army soldier.

The JIT report reviewed by Dawn revealed that he (Mufti Shakir) had once presented himself for the suicide attack on SP Chaudhry Aslam but was prevented from doing so.

The report further said that Shakir had submitted fake documents in order to get bail.

It said Shakir was born in 1981 in the SITE area and was raised among six brothers and nine sisters. He received primary education from the KMC school there but later studied at three famous seminaries of Karachi where he memorised Quran by heart and completed a course for religious scholars in 2009. In the same year, he established a seminary in SITE and became its principal. The seminary was sealed recently.

Road to militancy

The JIT report disclosed that Shakir joined a militant outfit, Harkatul Mujahideen, when he was studying in a famous seminary in 1996. When differences erupted in the group and Jaish-i-Mohammad emerged in 2000, he abandoned it.

However, in 2012, he joined outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (Khyber Agency) on persuasion of the outfit’s then Karachi chief.

He received militancy training in Mansehra in 1999 and bomb making in Khyber Agency in 2012 and carried out three bomb blasts on an experimental basis there.

Criminal history

Shakir told the JIT members that in July 2012 he had received a ‘chit’ amounting to Rs10,000 as fine imposed by the TTP (KA) on him. The TTP (KA) in its chit had said they were imposing the fine on him because two of his brothers had links with CID personnel and advised him to stay away from them.

He further told the JIT members that subsequently he along with his mother and two brothers visited the Khyber Agency where he met TTP (KA) chief and rejected the charges.

After staying there for 40 days, he returned to Karachi where he started working for TTP (KA) and formed a cell which comprised 10 persons, four of whom were killed later.

He had also ‘confessed’ to having killed, along with his accomplices, 10 policemen and an army soldier from 2013 till his arrest in early 2014. During this period, he along with his accomplices carried out around 20-25 attacks, including grenade attacks, on police vans.

The victims were identified as army soldier Imran, CID head moharir, police constables namely Mohammed Anwar, Mohammed Sher, Pervez Akhtar, Shahzad Raza, Rajab Ali, Rashid, Amir, Shabbir, Waqar and Fazl Amin. All law enforcers were gunned down in the SITE area in 2013.

In the same year, he had also attacked a police van outside a factory along with his accomplices Fazl Rehman and Abdullah alias Mukhtar (both killed later on).

Suicide attack on Chaudhry Aslam

Shakir radicalised a seminary student, Naeemullah, 25, who carried out the suicide attack on SP Aslam on January 9, 2014. The alleged suicide bomber was a son of a religious scholar who ran a seminary in the Pirabad area.

The report revealed that Shakir had developed ties with one militant linked with banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ) who in December 2013 asked him to provide a suicide bomber for carrying out the attack on SP Aslam.

Initially, Shakir indicated his desire to carry out the attack but the LJ militant told him that he was a “religious scholar” and his preaching skills “were needed more.”

Therefore, another person was prepared for the attack.

Shakir mentally prepared Naeemullah and motivated him at his home for seven to eight days continuously.

During this period, Naeemullah told Shakir that he belonged to TTP (Swat) and without approval of his group’s chief, he could not carry out the terror act. However, Mufti Shakir motivated him that SP Aslam was such an “important target” that the consent of the emir (chief) was not needed, according to the JIT report.www.dawn.com/news/1354971/confessions-of-ttps-mufti-shakir-reveal-dark-underbelly-of-militancy-in-karachi

August 31, 2017   No Comments

Sindh govt rejects initial census results: by Azeem Samar in The News, Aug 29, 2017

KARACHI: While rejecting the recently-announced preliminary results of the 6th Population and Housing Census in the country, the Sindh government has said that the federal government has conspired by deliberately showing the population of Sindh province “lesser in number”. Other parties in Sindh also expressed their reservations.

The federal government, however, rejected the objections raised by the provincial government of Sindh, saying the whole process of the Sixth Population and Housing Census was conducted in a transparent manner. It said it did not manipulate the results.

In a policy statement issued here on Monday, Sindh’s Senior Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said that the Sindh government had decided to hold an All Parties Conference (APC) on the recently-announced preliminary results of the 6th population census held earlier in the year.

While talking to the media, Khuhro, who is also the ruling PPP Sindh President, said the federal government, under a wilful plan, had shown the population of Sindh as “less than the actual” and termed it the federal government’s conspiracy against Sindh. He suspected that the federal government had done so to deny Sindh its rightful increase in the share of the Federal Divisible Pool. He said the Sindh government had expressed its reservations during the census drive but the federal government failed to address those. In view of these reservations, Khuhro said the Sindh government had demanded that every household be given a photostat copy of the “filled out census form” as a valid proof of counting of their family, but the federal government did not pay any heed. He charged the federal government of keeping the census results confidential for an unduly long period due to mala fide intentions against the province and its government.

Nisar Khuhro said an APC would be convened after contacting all the political parties of the province on the issue. The Sindh senior minister said that Sindh would not withdraw from its constitutional rights come what may, as the provincial government had resolved to safeguard the rights of the people.

Separately talking to newsmen, Sindh Industries and Commerce Minister Manzoor Hussain Wassan, who is also PPP Sindh Senior Vice President, said that courts would be moved against the wrongful results of the census and if the need arose, PPP would also take to the streets. He said any confrontation in the country due to the census results would give undue advantage to inimical elements outside. He said the Federation of Pakistan would have strengthened if the census results had been compiled transparently.

He said both urban and rural population figures of Sindh had been doctored to show lesser population than actual despite the province receiving most of the migrants from other parts of the country. He said the population of Punjab had been shown to be muchcensus had shown population of Sindh being over 47.88 million as compared to Punjab’s population of over 110 million. The census results show Sindh to be the most urbanized province where 52.02 per cent population lives in urban areas. The initial results of the census shows Karachi’s population being over 16.51 million, while in 1998 census the city’s population stood at 84,39,659. The Muttahida Quami Movement Pakistan has already rejected initial results of census terming them a mockery with the people living in cities of the province.https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/226749-Sindh-govt-rejects-initial-census-results

August 29, 2017   No Comments

50 million at risk of arsenic poisoning in Pakistan: study

Report in Dawn, August 24, 2017
Some 50 million people are at risk of arsenic poisoning from contaminated groundwater in Pakistan’s Indus Valley, far more than previously thought, according to a new study.

Pakistan is aware of the growing problem, with arsenic levels rising in some areas as people increasingly and indiscriminately draw from the country’s underground aquifers, said Lubna Bukhari, who heads the government’s Council for Research in Water Resources.

“It’s a real concern,” she said. “Because of lack of rules and regulations, people have exploited the groundwater brutally, and it is driving up arsenic levels.”

The authors of the study developed a map highlighting areas of likely contamination based on water quality data from nearly 1,200 groundwater pumps tested from 2013 to 2015, and accounting for geological factors including surface slope and soil contents.

They determined some 88 million people were living in high-risk areas.

Given that about 60-70 percent of the population relies on groundwater, they calculated that roughly 50 million maybe even 60 million were potentially affected. That’s equal to at least a third of the 150 million already estimated by the World Health Organization to be drinking, cooking and farming with arsenic-laced water worldwide.

“This is an alarmingly high number, which demonstrates the urgent need to test all drinking water wells in the Indus Plain,” with hotspots around the densely populated cities of Lahore and Hyderabad, said the study’s lead author, Joel Podgorski, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, known as Eawag.

The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

The high-risk area mapped out in the study broadly covers the middle and lower reaches of the Indus River and its tributaries, before they empty into the Arabian Sea.

Scientists had expected this area might be affected. Similar geographical areas along the Ganges River in neighbouring India and Brahmaputra in Bangladesh also contain pockets of arsenic contamination.

Normally, that arsenic would stay in the ground. But in the last few decades, South Asian countries concerned with pathogen-infused surface water have been pumping enormous volumes of groundwater, causing the water tables to drop drastically and tapping into new water pockets tainted by the colourless, odourless toxin.

The WHO considers arsenic concentrations above 10 micrograms per litre to be dangerous. Pakistan’s guideline is five times that, and many of its wells test much higher.

Arsenic is naturally occurring and kills human cells causing skin lesions, organ damage, heart disease and cancer. There is no cure for arsenic poisoning.

“This study is important because it draws attention to an overlooked yet solvable problem of vast magnitude affecting the health of millions of villagers,” said geochemist Alexander van Geen of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who was not involved in the study.

He said the patterns it identifies are broadly consistent with data he and other researchers have collected from some 10,000 well tests in the region.

One of those researchers, Abida Farooqui, assistant professor of environmental sciences at Islamabad’s Quaid-e-Azam University, said the new study’s sample size may be too small to draw clear conclusions.

“The study revealed very important and an emerging problem of arsenic in the country,” Farooqui said. But “only 1,193 samples have been used to predict the situation in the whole Indus Valley, which is unrealistic.”

In any case, no map can tell villagers whether a specific well is contaminated. Arsenic concentration varies widely from pump to pump, and the only way to know for certain is to test each one.

Shallow wells are less likely to be tainted. Deeper ones, such as those run by the government’s Drinking Water Filtration sites, may be more at risk.

This makes the problem especially acute for thousands of city-dwellers who have no access to clean water and rely on what the government supplies. At one Islamabad neighbourhood filtration site on Wednesday, resident Ali Hasan said the struggle was real.

“It’s the government’s job to provide us with clean drinking water, but everywhere we have to travel to find clean water,” Hasan said while filling a large plastic jug to take home to his neighbourhood.

A survey submitted to Pakistan’s parliament last year suggested nearly 80 percent of water sources in 2,807 villages across 24 districts were contaminated with bacteria or other pollutants, to levels that were unsafe to drink.

Now, “the presence of arsenic in drinking water is becoming a widespread health problem,” said Luis Rodrguez-Lado, a chemist with the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain who was not involved in the study. Yet “there is a general lack of information” about which areas in Asia are most at risk.

For Pakistan, Bukhari said, the problem is now urgent. Her department is already working with the United Nations Children’s Fund to provide cheap anti-arsenic water filters to poor villagers in the worst-affected areas.

“We should immediately discourage the indiscriminate ground water exploitation,” she said, noting that even city-dwellers with municipal water access were digging tube wells “to have a lavish supply of water.” But the country also needs to test countless tube wells and identify which have tapped into arsenic, possibly determining which depths might be safer, she said.

If researchers can find a depth at which “there is no arsenic, we can dig wells that stop before the water is contaminated,” Bukhari said.https://www.dawn.com/news/1353482/50-million-at-risk-of-arsenic-poisoning-in-pakistan-study

August 24, 2017   No Comments

Scores of JSQM, JSM activists quit nationalist politics

Report in Dawn, August 23rd, 2017
BADIN: In what is being seen as an expression of sheer disappointment by activists against their respective leadership, scores of members of the mainstream Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) and its Arisar faction as well as the Jeay Sindh Mahaz (JSM) in this district on Tuesday announced their decision to part ways with their respective party/group.

Speaking at a press conference at the Badin Press Club, as many as 37 activists, including some senior district-level leaders, said they had decided to resign from the membership of their respective party/group and work for the solidarity of the country.

Syed Ali Haider Shah, the Badin district chief of the JSQM (led by Sannan Qureshi), was prominent among the activists present at the press conference. He said that he and the 36 other activists had got fed up with the way their leaders were handling party affairs.

“There is no scope for nationalist parties/groups and nationalist politics in Sindh under the given situation,” he said.
Some other JSQM and JSM activists were of the view that their respective leaderships had failed to protect and guide them on what to do in the prevailing conditions.

A couple of JSQM activists said the party could not hold the death anniversary of its leader, Bashir Khan Qureshi. The leadership remained underground off and on leaving its followers in the lurch, they added.

Since the launch of the recent crackdown on nationalist groups having separatist views, 87 activists have quit JSQM and JSM.

A close aide to the late G.M. Syed, Ustad Mohammad Rahimoon, who also served as the convener of the proscribed Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) was the first to publicly announce his decision to do away with nationalist politics after he was allegedly kept in detention for several months before being released a few weeks ago by law enforcers.

Rahimoon was allegedly taken away from his house in Kario Ghanwar town earlier this year. www.dawn.com/news/1353240/scores-of-jsqm-jsm-activists-quit-nationalist-politics

August 23, 2017   No Comments

IGP told to submit two-year record of missing persons’ cases, recovery of bodies

report in Dawn, August 23rd, 2017
HYDERABAD: A division bench of the Sindh High Court’s Hyderabad circuit on Monday directed the inspector general of police to file a report mentioning details of missing persons or the bodies found within the last two years.

The bench comprising Justice Salahuddin Panhwar and Justice Fahim Ahmed Siddiqui passed the order while hearing a constitutional petition of a man whose father was allegedly picked up by a joint team of police and CIA along with five other persons on June 16, 2014.

Maazullah’s son Hassan Shah had filed a constitutional petition through advocate Aslam Pervez seeking recovery of his father. According to him, plainclothes personnel from the Hatri police station under the supervision of the official in-charge of CIA in Hyderabad, Aslam Langha, had picked up his father as well as five other persons on June 16, 2014. He stated that three of the detained persons were let off and another two were freed 45 days later but his father was unaccounted for since being picked up.

He said police did not disclose his whereabouts. He said he and his relatives filed an application with the police but in vain. He further stated that his father was carrying a mobile phone when he was picked up, adding that some unknown person had attended the calls made by their relatives on this number.

In an earlier hearing, the court had constituted a joint investigation team (JIT). On Monday, the JIT submitted its report through Additional Advocate General Allah Bachayo Soomro. However, the bench expressed its dissatisfaction over the report and directed the Hyderabad SSP, who prepared the report, to appear in person and submit complete details regarding the mobile number of the missing person, proceedings of the geo-fencing and efforts taken by the police as these were not attached with the JIT report.

JIT’s findings: The seven-member JIT in its report excluded factors of kidnapping for ransom, kidnapping due to personal enmity and enforced disappearance. It held three sessions — on March 21, May 18 and June 6, 2017 — and concluded that the person had “gone missing on his own”. It stated that there was no eyewitness or any incriminating clue pointing towards the offence of abduction or enforced disappearance.

It is not evident that the missing person had affiliation with any political, ethnic or religious group, it said.

It further stated that the complainant/relatives did not level allegations against any particular person for abduction. Therefore, culprits remained unknown in this case. Almost three years have passed since he had gone missing but no call for ransom was made. No enmity factor in any manner had surfaced to establish that Maazullah was abducted.

The petitioner replied in the affirmative when the JIT asked him if he had approached the police concerned for the registration of an FIR. He was advised to get the case registered against those who raided his house and took away persons from his family, according to the report.

The JIT directed the SHO concerned to get a missing advertisement published in newspapers and also use the electronic media besides making every possible effort to find a clue to Maazullah by checking with intelligence agencies, prisons and acquaintances etc.

After going through the report, the court observed that “every opinion of an investigation team must always base on some cogent reasons and mere conclusion that ‘missing person went their own’ prima facie will not equate with reasons”.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1353241/igp-told-to-submit-two-year-record-of-missing-persons-cases-recovery-of-bodies

August 23, 2017   No Comments