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42pc Pakistanis without basic sanitation facilities: report

Report in The News, Nov 23, 2017
LAHORE :Pakistan is now the seventh worst country in the world in terms of access to basic sanitation facilities, a new report by an NGO has revealed.
Currently, 42 percent of the total population in the country remains without access to at least basic sanitation.
A staggering 79 million in Pakistan still lack a decent toilet, while 37 percent people have no system for wastewater disposal, which leads to spread of diseases due to contamination of water and contact with human waste.
Calling immediate attention to the situation, the Public Health Engineering Department, supported by Saaf Sehatmand Pakistan Campaign, marked the World Toilet Day here in Lahore. “Despite the severity of the issue, sanitation remains a low priority area in the country. There is an immediate need to shift focus.
The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure that everyone has access to a safely-managed household....... Read more

November 23, 2017   No Comments

Prolonging the standoff: By Niha Dagia in The Express Tribune, Nov 23, 2017

The writer is a practising counselling psychologist and a part-time journalist.
The Faizabad blockade is well into its third consecutive week of paralysing the twin cities, depicting an all too familiar image of a government reluctant to take on the protesters gathered there. In some ways, it is a tale of diminishing writ yet there is a method in this madness.

The government’s hesitation — which arguably is enabling the protesters into blatantly defying the judiciary — may seem out of place, even appalling. Still, it is not surprising as a political mess at this point can prove to be the distraction Nawaz Sharif needs to quietly make his way towards general elections next year. The ruling party may be looking to reiterate its ‘martyrdom’ at the hands of the judiciary, playing the role of a government besieged from all sides.

On November 21, the interior minister took full responsibility for not complying with the Islamabad High Court’s orders to evict pr....... Read more

November 23, 2017   No Comments

Another day, another clash at Faizabad: by Munawer Azeem in daw, Nov 23, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Over a dozen people, including police and Frontier Constabulary personnel, were injured when clashes erupted between protesters and security personnel near Faizabad after a constable was reportedly picked up and manhandled.

Both sides pelted each other with stones and police also resorted to baton charging the demonstrators, police said.

On Wednesday evening, a police constable who had gone to offer prayers at the Masjid Rehmanina in I-8/4 was waylaid while performing ablutions.

He was dragged to the main road, where protesters began to beat him, sources said, adding that security personnel deployed around the spot saw the protesters beating a constable and rushed to his rescue.

The protesters pelted police with stones and police and FC officials retaliated in the same coin.

The situation in and around Faizabad became very tense as a result of the confrontation and a number of demonstrators climbed on top of the container placed on the Isla....... Read more

November 23, 2017   No Comments

Nawaz wants PML-N to go tough on protesters

By Sardar Sikander in The Express Tribune, Nov 23, 2017
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership on Wednesday decided to ‘tame’ the elements in its ranks that have sympathies with the religious group staging a sit-in to press for the resignation of a federal minister over the Khatam-e-Nabuwwat clause controversy.

In this connection, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has barred party leaders from publicly expressing sympathies with the protesters and making any statements in their favour, according to insiders.

The decision was taken after Sharif took stock of a recent statement from his son-in-law, Captain (retd) Safdar, saying he would ‘participate in the sit-in if invited’.

It is also learnt that the Sharif is not happy about PML-N lawmakers not showing up in full strength at the National Assembly session on November 21 to vote against the opposition’s bill seeking to prevent a disqualified person from heading a political party. The ....... Read more

November 23, 2017   No Comments

Faizabad sit-in: SC blames government for not taking timely action

report in Express Tribune, ov 232, 2017
News Desk : The Supreme Court on Thursday blamed the government for not taking timely action to avert the Faizabad sit-in.

The Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior submitted their reports to the bench during the hearing of the notice taken by the Supreme Court on the Faizabad sit-in.

Reading the reports Justice Mushir Alam asked the Attorney General if he had gone through the reports himself.
“The Punjab government was aware of the entire situation,” Justice Mushir Alam said while reading from the report.

Also part of the bench, Justice Qazi Faez Isa remarked that though there were differences the parties should have approached the courts.

“If something is against the Shariah we have a Shariah Court to resolve the matter,” Justice Isa said adding that this sit-in is setting a bad precedent as anyone can bring the city to a standstill to get their demands across.

“The govt and pro....... Read more

November 23, 2017   No Comments

Madaris must be regulated: edit in Daily Times, Nov 23, 2017

The balance of power in this country has shifted so far in the clerics’ favour that it seems they can get away with anything. A recent investigation by the Associated Press has found that sexual abuse is rampant in seminaries across Pakistan. The investigation — based on police documents, interviews with victims, their families, former and serving ministers, aid groups and state officials — finds that the problem isn’t restricted to a specific area. It is a countrywide phenomenon.According to the investigation, there have been 359 cases of sexual abuse registered against clerics in the past 10 years. However, rights’ activists interviewed for the report term this figure as just the ‘tip of the iceberg’. They say, and rightly so, that the taboo surrounding sexual crimes in Pakistan prevents people from approaching the police with their complaints.There are around 35,000 madaris in Pakistan out of which a large number operate without registration. It is usually the poorest....... Read more

November 23, 2017   No Comments

Army major martyred in clash with militants in DI Khan

Report in The News, Nov 23, 2017
DERA ISMAIL KHAN: A major of the Pakistan Army was martyred in an operation against terrorists in the Kulachi area on Wednesday.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) through a statement said security forces launched the operation on the basis of information about the presence of militants in the area. 28-year-old Major Ishaq embraced martyrdom in the exchange of fire with militants, it said, adding, the officer hailed from the Khushab district in Punjab and left behind a widow and a one-year-old son.
Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa attended the funeral prayer of the martyred officer in Dera Ismail Khan. The sources said that the forces launched a search operation in the area after the incident. However, there was no word about any arrest being made. The pictures of the late Major Ishaq with his infant child went viral after the news of his martyrdom broke out. There were reports that Major Ishaq led the ....... Read more

November 23, 2017   No Comments

Govt set to send 95 cases to military courts

By Zafar Bhutta in The Express Tribune, November 23, 2017
ISLAMABAD: After Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had drawn the attention of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to slowing down of transfer of cases to military courts, the government is set to send 95 fresh terrorism-related cases to special courts for trial.

Gen Qamar had written a demi-official (DO) letter to explain the issue prior to it being referred officially, drawing the attention of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to the lack of terrorism-related cases being transferred to military courts.

He informed the prime minister that the government had not forwarded any cases to the military courts since January this year.
As per procedure, all cases require the federal government’s approval before transfer to the military courts. Hence, the defence ministry could not send these cases to the courts directly.

The government had to determine the age because in August last year, the Peshawar....... Read more

November 23, 2017   No Comments

Shiv Mandir restored battling affluent Hindus powerless against Auqaf

by Sanjay Mathrani in Daily Times, Nov 23, 2017
The writer hails frorm Hyderabad, Sindh
Hyderabad has kept a separate image through many ways. Whether we talk about the past or the present, it has executed numerous efforts for the preservation of old buildings.

Before partition, the city was home to hundreds of Hindu families known as “Sindhi Hindus.”

The imprints of the Hindu community are still visible in the city’s architecture.

The sacred and religious places of that time built by affluent Hindu residents still exist, though, not in the same form as they once were. These include temples and houses.

According to some people, the Hussainabad Bhutto Park in the market was once green and lush and magnificently breathtaking with waves of the Indus River touching it and breathing life into it. Unfortunately, today it has been reduced to ruins, losing all of its beauty and attraction.

Usually I pass through the narrow streets of the ....... Read more

November 23, 2017   No Comments

State failure & extremism: By Rasul Bakhsh Rais in The Express Tribune, Nov 22, 2017.

The writer is a professor of political science at LUMS, Lahore.
There are many pathologies and symptoms of state failure in Pakistan among which failure to counter religious extremism is the most obvious one. The monster of religious extremism — intolerance of other sects in Islam and religious beliefs and acts of targeted violence against minorities — has been in the making for decades. While the extremist groups, leaders and movements have been on the rise and creating greater public and social space for themselves, the state institutions and the ruling groups have been surrendering their power and shirking their responsibility to protect security of life and freedom of citizens. The narrative of state failure in Pakistan — an intellectual taboo some decades back — is for real now. Failure to recognise the state failure and do something about it is bound to further weaken the state and make society more vulnerable to attacks from the religious extremists.

There i....... Read more

November 22, 2017   No Comments