Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Karachi will not be held hostage anymore, assures Nisar

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar on Wednesday said Karachi will not be held hostage anymore and congratulated the people and the security forces deployed in the metropolis for foiling the attempt to "take the city hostage".

"This was for the first time in 25 years that Karachi was not held hostage."

Nisar was addressing a press conference following his meeting with the Sindh governor.

Nisar on the occasion also appreciated the role played by the media while it was "under attack".

Referring to the earlier diatribe of MQM's chief, in which he had spoken against the state of Pakistan and its armed forces, Nisar said "the speech a day before from a leader of a political party has revealed everything and cleared doubts".

Nisar stated that it is not a battle between urdu-speakers and the state, but some quarters might try to promote the agenda.

"Karachi was always disturbed on the whims of an individual, which resulted in heavy economic losses."

Nisar also said that the British government has been contacted regarding the speech which incited violence in Karachi earlier this week.

"We have asked them to take action according to evidence and we will provide further proof," stated the interior minister.

The federal government has promised its cooperation to maintain peace in Karachi, said Nisar. who flew to the metropolis earlier today for a meeting with Sindh Governor Dr. Ishratul Ibad.

"The peace in Karachi is thanks to the sacrifices of the Rangers and Sindh police. The federal government will work with the provincial government to sustain the peace in Karachi and keep it from deteriorating," said Nisar.

"Pakistan's integrity will not be allowed to be harmed."

"Legal action will be taken against those who take the law into their own hands," said the Sindh governor.

His visit comes just a day after senior Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Farooq Sattar for the first time said that his party should operate from Pakistan alone. Sattar accepted that “there is a problem” and that Hussain’s frequent apologies after incendiary statements is an issue that needs to be resolved.

Sattar's remarks came after he and Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hasan were released from Rangers custody after overnight detention following violent protests in the metropolis allegedly spurred by remarks made by MQM by chief Altaf Hussain.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Thursday, 18 August 2016

National Counter Terrorism Authority receives 8,264 prank calls in 20 days

The National Counter-Terrorism Authority’s (Nacta) helpline received 8,264 prank and irrelevant calls during the first 20 days of July, it was revealed during the department’s meeting on Thursday.

Participants of the meeting were shocked to know that in a country where war on terror is being waged, people are misusing such an important helpline for the sake of fun.

Nacta high-ups were informed during the meeting that cell phone SIMs of 75 frequent spam callers, who have called more than 50 times, will get blocked through the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to discourage such hoax callers.

National Coordinator Nacta, Ihsan Ghani, also made an appeal to the people to not get involved in such practices.

“Irrelevant calls are not only waste of precious resources of the government but it may end up in an irreparable loss of lives who may include members of their own family or friends,” Ghani said.

UN offers to send fact-finding missions to Kashmir

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has offered to send fact-finding missions to both India-held Kashmir (IHK) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), the Foreign Office (FO) spokesman said Thursday.

FO Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said Pakistan was open to the idea of UN high commissioner visiting AJK.

“AJK is an area open to everyone and is frequented by foreign tourists and members of the diplomatic community in Pakistan, including representatives of the United Nations,” Zakaria said.

“The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has been denied access by India to Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, whereas Pakistan has never prevented UN officials from travelling to Azad Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have been running high since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani sparked anti-government protests in IHK, with over 60 people dead in clashes between protesters and Indian authorities.

Indian government troops in IHK have reportedly fired live ammunition, and used pellet guns and tear gas to control anti-government protesters.

The FO spokesperson said “Pakistan cannot accept equating the rampant human rights violations in India-held Kashmir with the situation in AJK.”

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The general and his men

BY now the name of Gen Ziaul Haq has practically become a metaphor for the darkest decade in Pakistan’s history. The patronage of militant groups may have a longer history, preceding the era of the general whose death anniversary just passed a few days ago, but the proportions that it assumed in Ziaul Haq’s time was truly monstrous.

He is remembered for many things: the sinister laws that were passed to solidify his rule, his experiment with ‘managed democracy’ (which too has a longer pedigree but took concrete form in his time), his foreign policy, and the first steps towards economic liberalisation that were undertaken during his time. And of course his death in a plane crash, the biggest mystery of which is the cloak of silence that was dropped on it.

Economically, he tried to reverse the legacy of both his predecessors, by opening up the economy to encourage competition and roll back the nationalisations and halt the growing role of the state in every area of economic life. But his economic policies left the country trapped between a rentier business elite demanding more protections and foreign creditors demanding more openness.

The general was caught between his dreams and reality, eventually losing touch with both. Much the same fate befell Musharraf, although in his case when the time came to choose, he opted to cling to his dreams and jettison his contact with reality. The results are clear to see.

Gen Zia was caught between his dreams and reality, eventually losing touch with both.
Today Zia is dead and nobody in the country, including in the army that he led, is interested in asking who did the dirty deed. Musharraf, on the other hand, has lived to dream of electoral victory on the promise of confronting the Taliban when he cannot even muster the courage to face the court trying him for treason, or even win the Sind Club election let alone a parliamentary one.

The general who wanted to rule forever, and was laying down the architecture of eternal dictatorship in the days following the dissolution of the Junejo government, was scared stiff of a 35-year-old woman whose father he had executed and whose popularity he could do nothing to extinguish. Those who met him in the twilight of his life describe a man who was obsessed with Benazir Bhutto and couldn’t complete a train of thought without mentioning her at least once.

He came to power promising elections, he left promising elections. By May 1988 it was clear that any election would only be won by the PPP since it was the only party capable of fielding a candidate on every seat in the country, and the general’s men took to giving private assurances to all they met that the general’s regime was here for a lot longer than being conveyed in public statements. That is when his plane exploded, precisely at the time when his dream of being in power indefinitely must have seemed closer to him than ever before.

His infamous Eighth Amendment, used by him to dismiss a government elected under his own rules, was subsequently employed to dissolve the PPP government, and also the government of his own protégé, Nawaz Sharif. All components of the general’s rule and his legacy were at loggerheads with each other.

One very interesting dimension of the general’s rule was its impact on the civil service. The rise of Ghulam Ishaq Khan was an emblematic achievement of his rule, drawn by a marriage of convenience. Mr Khan was a man of many shades, skilful at building a network of support for himself within the services, keenly aware of where talent lay, supremely loyal to his own people, but clumsy at his attempts to engineer a political outcome in the great civil contests that began following the general’s death and completely beholden to GHQ for his position.

Who remembers the network of civil servants he pulled into a tight network around him? There was A.G.N. Kazi, the master administrator who held almost every important economic post in the country, V.A. Jaffery, the quiet and temperate technocrat of sorts and so many others. And circling in their midst was the ever present Mahbubul Haq, the thorn in Khan’s side, whom the general had taken a liking to despite Khan’s best efforts. Mahbubul Haq served as finance minister twice, once in 1985 and then in 1988, replacing Wattoo once the Junejo government had been dismissed. But that is another story.

The point is this: this entire network, which continued wielding considerable power so long as their benefactor enjoyed a good rapport with GHQ, was swept away once Khan was gone from the scene following his fatal clash with Nawaz Sharif in 1993.

In politics too, the general opened the door to so many of the same politicians who are today vilified as emblematic of everything that is wrong with civilian rule. Nawaz Sharif first used the power of money and mass advertising campaigns to win in the 1985 election. Who subordinated civil institutions to play the role of dividing up the political space between loyalists and opportunists? Who wanted to create Mehran Bank and for what purpose? Was Jam Sadiq Ali really such a big improvement on Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi in Sindh? Who gave us the IJI and how was it created?

So many questions, all with a direct relevance to our times, all the legacy of the general and his men, who toyed with the country with the wiles of a schoolboy. So many memories to rake up every time this infernal anniversary passes us by. And so many anniversaries in every year.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Man Killed in Islamabad Over a Facebook Comment

You might have heard by now that Former Senate Chairman Mohammad Mian Soomro’s nephew was killed in a gun fight in Islamabad on Monday.

Police officials have reported that the tussle started when one of the involved guys made an offensive comment about a girl on Facebook. That girl happened to be a friend of the other guy who jumped to defend her by calling for a physical fight. Both of the men took it out in a clash, along with their friends, at a Coffee Shop in F-10/3.

The fight started over a Facebook Comment
Police was quick to take action and stopped the fight. Soomro’s Nephew, Malik Fahad, was acting as a mediator between the two groups and successfully resolved the matter at the police station. Both groups agreed to stop fighting.

However, as soon as they left the police station, the fight started again when Raja Arshad group started firing at Fahad Malik’s car. Fahad Malik succumbed to the injuries immediately while his fellow, Tariq Malik was seriously injured. Both received multiple gunshot wounds but Tariq Malik survived the incident. The accused fled the scene are yet to be located and arrested.

Police investigation has revealed that the incident could have been avoided had the police officers at the station searched the cars of both parties for any weapons. Police sources suggest that Islamabad’s Safe City project will come into play as the team behind it has been tasked to identify and trace the car. That information will be used to arrest the alleged murder criminals.

According to police sources, Raja Arshad group has the support of a strong political family. So far, the police have not even filed an FIR and are awaiting a written application from the victims.

This case will reveal the usefulness of the Safe City Project and the cybercrime laws will kick in for the authorities to get additional details regarding the cause of this incident.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Here's a sneak peek at PIA's new uniforms

A new menu, new uniforms, new Premier service; PIA is pulling all stops in its attempt for an image makeover.

Late last month, it was announced that PIA had added three new planes to its fleet, which will be launched on Aug 14th under the banner PIA Premier.

Flight stewardesses of the same exclusive service will get a fashion makeover, dressed in uniforms by Nomi Ansari and a scarf print by Sania Maskatiya. About time too.

In an effort to revamp its doddering antiquated image, a fashion show had been organized in March last year by the authorities at Pakistan International Airlines, showcasing 16 designers’ proposed designs for updated flight crew uniforms. It was planned that the uniforms selected were going to be worn from 14th August 2015 onwards.

The implementation of the designs has been delayed by a year, now to be worn from 14th August of this year. Oh well, we’re used to PIA’s delays.

Strangled Samia to death, former husband confesses

The former husband of Samia Shahid, a British Pakistani woman who died of ‘unnatural causes’ while visiting family here last month, has confessed to killing his ex-wife, sources in Punjab Police revealed.

A police officer part of the investigation team, seeking anonymity, that Shakeel had confessed to strangling Samia to death after drugging her.

Police said Shakeel had killed her after Samia refused to part ways with her second husband, Syed Mukhtar Kazim. The accused went on to say he acted alone and that the deceased’s father, Chaudhry Shahid, did not have anything to do with the murder.

Shakeel was arrested after his interim bail expired. He was then presented in a local court that sent him into police custody on a four-day physical remand.

British police started a probe into Samia Shahid's death after her husband Syed Mukhtar Kazim claimed she was killed while visiting her family in Pakistan because she married someone who was seen as an outsider.

Kazim, a Pakistani national, said he received news his wife Samia, a Bradford resident of Pakistani origin, had died while visiting her relatives in Pandori village near Mangla Dam.

The couple had been living in Dubai since last year, he said.

Kazim said Samia, 28, was urged to come to Pakistan to visit a seriously ill relative and was supposed to return to their home in Dubai.

Instead, he received a call a day earlier that she had died of a heart attack.

IS leader dies in US drone attack

 A leader of the militant Islamic State (IS) group in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been killed in a US drone strike, the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan said on Friday, though the American military said it could not confirm that.

If true, the death of Hafiz Saeed Khan would strike a blow to efforts by IS to expand its control over territory and its jihadi brand into Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It would also mark the second US killing of a prominent militant in the region within months. In May, a US drone killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a strike in Balochistan.

IS this week took credit for an attack on a hospital that killed at least 74 people in Quetta. A Pakistani Taliban faction also claimed responsibility.

Khan has been reported dead before. Last year, Afghan intelligence agents claimed he had been killed, but the report was never confirmed.

On Friday, Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal told Reuters he had seen confirmation from Afghan security forces on Khan’s death.

“I can confirm that ISIS Khurasan [Afghanistan and Pakistan] leader Hafiz Saeed Khan along with his senior commanders and fighters died in a US drone strike on July 26 in Kot district of Afghanistan’s Nangharhar province,” he said.

US military spokesman Col Michael Lawhorn said American forces in Afghanistan “are aware of those reports and we are looking into it” but have not yet confirmed Khan’s death.

Taliban release crew of crashed Pakistani helicopter

Five Pakistanis and a Russian who were captured by the Afghan Taliban after their Punjab government helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan have been released and turned over to Pakistani custody, officials said on Saturday.

The crew “was released in an inter-tribe exchange on the Pakistan-Afghan border (and) arrived in Islamabad today”, foreign ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said in a statement.

All crew members are safe and in good health, the statement added.

The Punjab government Mi-17 chopper made an emergency landing in a Taliban-controlled district of Logar province on Aug 4 while flying to Russia for maintenance and six crew members, including a Russian navigator, were taken hostage by a group of militants believed to be Afghan Taliban.

Both Russian and Pakistani governments have been making efforts for the release of the hostages. The Afghan government also initiated an operation for identification of the captors and rescue of the hostages.

The Foreign Office said earlier this week that the Afghan government was trying to secure their release with the help of elders of the area.

Following the crash, Gen Raheel had immediately called Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan General Nicolson and had asked him to help in the recovery of the helicopter crew.

The army chief also called Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last week and asked him to help in organising a safe and early recovery of the hostages.

Some local Afghan leaders — provincial council chief Dr Abdul Wali Wakil, deputy provincial governor Mohammad Hashim Faizi, governor of Azra district in Logar province Hamidullah Hamid — in media interviews identified the Taliban as the captors.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Mufti Qavi’s name included in Qandeel murder case

Police have included the name of Mufti Abdul Qavi as a suspect in the murder case of model Qandeel Baloch on the request of her father Mohammad Azeem.

City Police Officer Azhar Akram told Dawn on Friday that the Mufti’s name had been made part of the case after Azeem, the complainant, in his statement before the police, suspected the cleric’s possible role in the murder.

He said when a complainant pointed his finger at anybody, police were bound to investigate him under the law.

The CPO said police could arrest the Mufti when sufficient evidence against him was available.

Meanwhile, Cantonment SP Saifullah Khan Khattak said that the Mufti’s pictures with Qandeel Baloch had apparently led to her murder and police were probing this aspect as well.

Reacting, Mufti Qavi termed the police move unjustified. “When main suspect Waseem, Qandeel’s brother, had confessed to killing his sister and also disclosed the name of the other suspect, police’s insistence to drag me into the case is unfair.”

Qandeel Baloch was found dead in her house on July 16. She had apparently been killed by her brother for allegedly bringing disgrace to the family.

Waseem, who had earlier claimed that he was the lone killer, disclosed the name of his cousin Haq Nawaz as a co-suspect after the polygraph test.

Sardar Zafar Ahmed Khan, the counsel for the suspect, however claimed that all the arrested suspects, including Waseem, were innocent. He said Waseem did not confess to killing his sister before the magistrate while recording his statement under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

“Similarly, the police do not have direct evidence of the murder and have only circumstantial evidence which is not sufficient to prove the arrested accused criminal,” he said.

COAS expresses dismay over slow NAP execution

As the military launched its first combing operations in Punjab targeting the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan’s splinter group Jamaatul Ahrar, Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif publicly vented frustration on Friday over the government’s poor progress on the National Action Plan against terrorism. He said the military’s gains during Operation Zarb-i-Azb were being lost.

“The National Action Plan is central to achievements of our objectives and its lack of progress is affecting the consolidation phase of Operation Zarb-i-Azb,” he said at a special security meeting at the General Headquarters. The meeting was attended by Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, 10 Corps Commander Lt Gen Malik Zafar Iqbal and principal staff officers.

The army chief’s blunt criticism, which came a day after civilian and military leaders held two-day deliberations on NAP’s sluggish performance, reflected the disappointment within the armed forces over the government’s response to their reservations over the plan’s implementation.

Hundreds ignore hit-and-run victim dying on New Delhi road

A stream of cars, motorcycles and pedestrians passed by an injured man struck by a delivery truck on a New Delhi street, leaving him to die, news reports said Friday.

Closed-circuit TV footage showed the man being hit by the small truck at 5:40am Wednesday as he walked along the side of the road.

The man, who reports say was working two jobs to support a family living elsewhere in India, could be seen flying through the air and landing in the gutter.

The truck driver got out of his vehicle but drove away after glancing at the man he had injured.

One man who did stop at the scene, a bicycle rickshaw driver, ignored the victim but stole his mobile phone, which was lying beside him in the gutter.

He lay there for nearly 30 minutes before a friend happened to go past and alerted police. They did not arrive on the scene for more than 40 minutes.

Arrested US national is not a spy, confirms Nisar

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan confirmed on Friday that Matthew Barrett, the blacklisted US national who was deported in 2011, is not a spy and the same has been confirmed by a joint investigation team (JIT) report.

"The JIT report has confirmed that Matthew Barrett is not a spy," said the interior minister during a press conference.

Nisar also stated that Barrett will be deported with in the next two or three days.

"We will deport him (Barrett) in the next two or three days keeping the JIT report's findings in view."

Nisar stated he has asked for a report from the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) regarding the lapse in security witnessed in Barrett's case. He further added the FIA has been instructed to ensure such a security lapse does not occur again in the future.

Elaborating on Barrett's arrest, Nisar said the official who cleared him has been arrested and will be prosecuted under law, while the official who caught him has been rewarded and given a letter of appreciation from the interior minister.

Rs70,000 for a stolen baby- Kidnapping gang busted in Peshawar

A kidnapping gang involved in the abduction of newborn babies from maternity homes and hospitals in Peshawar was busted by police on Friday. Six gang members were arrested.

Senior Superintendent Police Operations Abbas Majeed Marwat said that government hospital staff, including nurses, doctors, lady health visitors, and others were all involved in the abductions.

Police raided a house in the Dabgari area of the provincial capital after receiving intelligence about the gang and arrested a woman named Wajiha who was involved in the abductions.

The woman led police to five other members of the gang who were also taken into custody.

The gang confessed to selling nine newborn babies at prices ranging from Rs70,000 to Rs300,000.

In recent weeks, the issue of child abductions in the country has come to the forefront, with reports of several such incidents coming from Punjab.

Take a look: Punjab CM orders polygraph tests of recovered children

In a recent report presented by Punjab Police to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, it was claimed that by July this year, 767 children in Punjab alone had gone missing and 722 of them had been recovered or had returned to their homes. Some 45 children have not been recovered.

The Punjab government has as a result developed a website aimed at assisting the rescue of missing children across the province.

The Punjab Information Technology Board’s initiative, Missing Children Recovery, has a database with details of children who have been rescued by the provincial government with cooperation of Child Protection and Welfare Bureau.

The problem with Pakistan’s ‘martyrdom’ culture

A nation is bound to run short on tears when terrorist attacks occur, more or less, as a continuum, and not sporadic moments of horror.

J.T. MacCurdy — a Canadian psychologist — carried out a study concerning the psychological health of Londoners at the time of relentless bombings by the German Luftwaffe.

The bombings were expectedly traumatic for people who personally witnessed and barely survived the attacks. On the other hand, the “remote misses” — that is, people who heard the sirens and the explosions, but survived each time by a very safe distance — developed a false sense of invincibility.

To their minds, these tragedies were indigenous to some uniquely unfortunate quarters of Britain, rather than catastrophes that could literally happen to anyone.

We, the “remote misses” of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, may never be able to comprehend the emotions of those who’ve had their loved ones inexplicably ripped away from them.

And we make up for our ignorance, by projecting our own sense of national pride and invincibility upon the bereaved.

A new brand of opium
We portray our “wattan ki maaen”, or nation’s mothers, as iron-women stripped of maternal instinct, taking great pride in raising lambs for slaughter in the interest of some vaguely-defined national agenda; rather than ordinary human beings, like us, who strive to raise well-fed children destined to outlive their parents.

People say I should be proud because my son is a martyr. Would any mother willingly trade places with me so she could feel this ‘pride’?

Farahnaz, mother of student Uzair Ahmed killed in the APS attack.
This is important, because if we don’t assuage the nation’s outrage with salutes and glorious titles, we may be at risk of musing out loud about how our appointed protectors — those we’ve vested such high hopes in — have failed us.

Widows and orphans make sense of their loved ones’ senseless departures, by permitting themselves to believe that these deaths, somehow, served a bigger purpose. And we’re happy to encourage this ideation, because the alternative provokes inconsolable anger and protest.

The result is a state-sponsored shahadat culture; a new brand of opium for the masses.

This is a culture where scars are worn with pride, and few questions are asked about the political policies that enable these injuries. Why would we? It’s an honour to have them.

We're not jawans. We're civilians in grief. We'd rather be assured that we're safe, than be told that we're brave.
The recent attack on Quetta, matched with our proximity to the Independence Day, has provided ample opportunity to showcase this culture.

From the latest tribute by Coke Studio to beloved classics on the radio, we’re once more beset by the same old dirges passed off as national songs.

And this time, this military language doesn’t apply to soldiers patrolling our borders; it applies to ordinary civilians enjoying an evening out in the park, and little children waiting for recess at school.

We're all foot soldiers now; and we're being taught to steel ourselves accordingly.

The establishment appears to be embracing extremism and terrorism as an inevitability, and training her citizens to adapt to a new hostile climate, as any brave jawan would.

But we're not jawans. We're civilians in grief.

We'd rather be assured that we're safe, than be told that we're brave.

We'd rather celebrate our longevity, than our ability to tolerate the stench of death all around us.

Barrett got visa because mission in US ‘failed to update blacklist

Even as an initial inquiry into the issuing of a visa to Matthew Craig Barrett — a US citizen on a no-entry list — has determined that the failure to update the list caused the mistake, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has decided to summon and question a diplomat then posted in the US for issuing the visa to him, according to sources.

The Pakistan Consulate in Houston issued a four-year multiple visa to Barrett, although his name was on the so-called blacklist, which identifies people who are not allowed to enter Pakistan.

Vice Consul Saadia Altaf Qazi and Consul General Afzal Mahmood Mirza were the two officials who were tasked with authorising visas when the consulate had issued the visa. Qazi, who is to be questioned over the episode, has since left Houston, Texas.

Barrett was put on the no-entry list in 2011 after police in Pakistan charged him under Section 123 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which defines the charge as “concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war”.

Barrett received the visa on June 22 and was required to enter the country not before June 30. Last week, law enforcement officials picked him up from a guesthouse in Islamabad for entering the country despite the ban.

According to the sources, investigators at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad looked into several possibilities, such as the consulate’s failure to update the list. Another possibility was that of manipulation of the lower staff, that is, bribing of a staff member to get a visa without consulting the list.

The initial inquiry, however, has shown that the consulate staff failed to update its list of persons not allowed to enter Pakistan and that’s why they issued a visa to Barrett, according to the sources.

Officer summoned
Saadia Altaf Qazi — then the vice consul at the mission in Houston and currently in Manila — has been informed through the Foreign Office that she should reach Islamabad as soon as possible.

According to the sources, she is likely to arrive in the capital next week. She has been asked to bring the relevant record.

She will be asked how the record of those blacklisted and declared persona non-grata is maintained, and why and how the record of the blacklisted persons was overlooked before the visa was issued.

The investigators would also like to know if the “recommendation” from someone had made the issuance of the visa possible, and in such a case the identity of that person.

At the same time, the FIA has been investigating how the systems at the Islamabad airport failed recently and how its own immigration desk cleared Barrett for entry into the capital.

Barrett claims that the Supreme Court had acquitted him in both the cases lodged against him in 2011.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Cyber crime bill passed by NA: 13 reasons Pakistanis should be worried

The National Assembly (NA) passed the controversial Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB) 2015 on Thursday after the Senate's unanimous adoption of the bill – with 50 amendments – earlier in July.

The bill will be signed into law by President Mamnoon Hussain. (Full text of the bill below)

IT Minister Anusha Rehman: "Criticism regarding the bill is baseless as proposed amendments have been included. Non-governmental organisations and civil society representatives are opposing the bill due to a certain agenda."

MQM MNA Ali Raza Abidi: "The government was under pressure to pass this bill using any force necessary."

PPP MNA Naveed Qamar: "The bill will be misused by authorities and government departments."

The 'draconian' bill has been heavily criticised by the IT industry, civil society organisations and rights activists for curbing human rights and giving overreaching powers to law enforcement agencies.

Focus of criticism
Critics say the bill is too harsh, with punishments that do not fit crimes

The bill's language leaves it open to abuse by LEAs, agencies, the government

Recommendations of stakeholders were ignored in the formulation of the law

It restricts freedom of expression and access to information

The offences are too numerous, overlap with other existing laws

The wording of the bill leaves many clauses open to interpretation

The bill specifically can be misused to target journalists’ sources and whistleblowers

Criteria for surveillance is even more open-ended than in the Fair Trial Act 2013

Mechanisms for implementation are missing from this bill

The bill has introduced clauses on cyberterrorism, which is not the subject of the bill

The authority designated under the new law should have been independent of the executive

The authority has been given sweeping powers to blocking and destroy online material, without a court order

It does not adequately differentiate cyber crime from cyber terrorism and cyber warfare

Salient features of the new bill
Up to three years imprisonment, Rs1 million fine or both for unauthorised access to critical infrastructure information system or data

The government may cooperate with any foreign government, foreign or international agency, organisation or 24x7 network for investigation or proceedings relating to an offence or for collecting evidence

The government may forward any information to any foreign government, 24x7 network, foreign or international agency or organisation any information obtained from its own investigation if the disclosure assists their investigations

Up to seven years, Rs10 million fine or both for interference with critical infrastructure information system or data with dishonest intention

Up to seven years, Rs10 million fine or both for glorification of an offence relating to terrorism, any person convicted of a crime relating to terrorism or proscribed individuals or groups. Glorification is explained as “depiction of any form of praise or celebration in a desirable manner”

Up to six months imprisonment, Rs50 thousand or both for producing, making, generating, adapting, exporting, supplying, offering to supply or importing a device for use in an offence

Up to three years imprisonment, Rs5 million fine or both for obtaining, selling, possessing, transmitting or using another person’s identity information without authorisation

If your identity information is used without authorisation, you may apply to the authorities to secure, destroy or prevent transmission of your information

Legendary batsman Hanif Mohammad dies at 81

Cricketing legend Hanif Mohammad died at the Aga Khan Hospital here on Thursday, a hospital spokesman confirmed.

The 81-year-old, who was suffering from lung cancer for which he underwent surgery in London in 2013, was shifted to the ventilator a couple of days ago after his health deteriorated.

Earlier today, reports of the cricketer's passing away had surfaced after his son, Shoaib Mohammad, was 'misinformed' by doctors about his father's death.

Shoaib Mohammad told reporters that his father's heartbeat was faint and the family mistakenly believed that he had passed away but that he is still breathing and on the ventilator.

Hanif was admitted to the Aga Khan Hospital three weeks ago after he faced breathing problems, son Shoaib Mohammad told on Jul 31.

The Little Master's namaz-e-janazah will be offered on Friday at Masjid-e-Noumani, Al-Hilal Society Karachi, Shoaib informed DawnNews.

'He was a fighter'
Shezar Mohammad, Hanif's grandson, while talking to DawnNews said: "My granddad was a fighter. The way he fought for his life today proves that. He loved me the most and used to sit hours with me so I could play computer games. He was my best friend."

The man with nerves of steel
Born on Dec 21, 1934, in Junagarh, the 'Little Master' played 55 Test matches for Pakistan between 1952 and 1969, averaging a fine 43.98 comprising twelve hundreds.

The right-handed batsman was one of the country's early cricketers who played an integral role in Pakistan achieving Test status.

Pakistan was granted Test status after the team rode on Hanif's invaluable 64 runs at the top-order to win a four-day first class contest against Marylebone Cricket Club, chasing down a daunting 288-run target at the Karachi Gymkhana cricket ground.

Regarded as the most compact batsman in the world during his playing days, Hanif could bowl with both arms. He also kept stumps at the competitive level at various occasions.

Hanif, a man with nerves of steel often weathered storms with his immaculate technique when Pakistan's batting line-ups collapsed.
His phenomenal 16-hour-long 337 against West Indies at Bridgetown – which saved Pakistan from imminent defeat – will be always be alive in history books. It remains the longest innings in Test history and was the longest in all first-class cricket for over 40 years.

It was also the only Test match instance of a triple century in a team’s second innings until it was equaled by New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum against India in 2014.

In 1958-59, Hanif surpassed Sir Don Bradman’s record for the highest individual first-class innings. Hanif made 499 before being run out attempting his five hundredth run. This mark stood for more than 35 years before being surpassed by Brian Lara in 1994.

In all, Hanif made 55 first-class centuries and finished with a strong career average of 52.32.

Hanif was named as Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1968. In January 2009, Hanif, along with two other Pakistani players (Imran Khan and Javed Miandad) were part of the inaugural batch of 55 inductees into the ICC’s Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Intensify combing and targeted operations, orders Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif

Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif on Tuesday has directed corps commanders and intelligence outfits to further intensify combing and targeted operations with the aim to eliminate terrorists and sleepers cells.

The army chief was addressing the Corps Commanders Conference at General Headquarters attended by all corps commanders and principal staff officers.

“The cowardly terror attack on Pakistan’s judiciary, carried out in a hospital, is an attempt to undermine the successes of Operation Zarb-i-Azb,” said the army chief at the forum.

General Raheel added that by adopting a national approach, the armed forces would not allow anyone to reverse the gains made in the fight against terrorism.

All commanders were also directed to provide all necessary assistance to provincial law-enforcement agencies in capacity building, training and planning to further improve effectiveness in counter-terrorism operations.

The forum also expressed its deepest sympathies with grieved families and injured of Quetta blast.

Participants of the conference were given detailed briefings on ongoing military operations and the overall external and internal security situation in the country with particular reference to the counter terrorism domain.

The high-level huddle by military officials was held a day after the carnage in Quetta, which killed 70 people.

A suicide bomber targeted the emergency services ward at Quetta’s Civil Hospital.

The Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a splinter group of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the militant Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack.

PM should sack officers of intelligence agencies if they fail to trace Quetta attack perpetrators: Achakzai

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai on Tuesday demanded from the prime minister to sack officers from the security and intelligence agencies if they fail to trace out the elements involved in the deadly Quetta attack.

Nawaz Sharif should sack the concerned officers of the intelligence and security agencies if they are unable to trace-out the executors and masterminds of the attack in Quetta within a specified time,” said Achakzai while taking part in the National Assembly debate on Monday’s blast.

The PkMAP chief termed the Quetta attack an intelligence failure and demanded to fix the responsibility of the blast.

He asked the premier to "act as the real chief executive and take bold decisions".

“Nawaz Sharif is chief executive of the country. He must order the security and intelligence agencies to hold an inquiry into the Quetta attack,” said Achakzai.

Achakzai alleged that intelligence agencies are busy in gathering information about the activities of politicians while terrorists are free to move anywhere.

'Avoid fighting proxy wars of others'
The PkMAP chief said during the debate in the National Assembly that Pakistan should avoid fighting proxy wars of others on its soil.

Achakzai was of the view that the government should look into the failure of its own departments instead of blaming India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for terrorists attack in the country.

Other members of the NA from both the treasury and opposition benches also questioned the efficiency and performance of intelligence agencies.

Members of the house said terrorists are carrying out attacks in all parts of the country while the security agencies have failed in their duty.

Carnage in Quetta
At least 70 people were killed and over 100 injured after a suicide bomber struck the emergency ward of Quetta's Civil Hospital, where scores of people had gathered to mourn the death of Balochistan Bar Association (BBA) president Bilal Anwar Kasi in a gun attack earlier in the day.

Witnesses present at the hospital at the time of the attack recall complete chaos at the site, with bodies lying on the ground amidst pools of blood and debris.

The attack was claimed by Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan splinter group Jamaatul Ahrar and the militant Islamic State group, but Balochistan Chief Minster Sanaullah Zehri hinted at the involvement of Indian spy agency RAW.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

سول اسپتال کوئٹہ میں خودکش دھماکے سے 40 افراد جاں بحق، 35 سے زائد زخمی

 سول اسپتال میں دھماکے اور فائرنگ کے نتیجے میں میڈیا کے نمائندوں اور وکلا سمیت 40 افراد جاں بحق جب کہ 35 سے 
زائد زخمی ہوگئے۔
کوئٹہ کے سول اسپتال کی ایمرجنسی کے مرکزی دروازے پر اس وقت دھماکا ہوا جب ٹارگٹ کلنگ میں جاں بحق ہونے والے بلوچستان ہائی کورٹ بار کے صدر بلال انور کاسی کی لاش لائی گئی تھی اور اس وقت وہاں وکلا ، میڈیا کے نمائندے اور اہم سرکاری شخصیات بھی موجود تھیں۔ دھماکے کے فوری بعد شدید فائرنگ کا سلسلہ شروع ہوگیا۔ جس کے نتیجے میں اسپتال
میں بھگدڑ مچ گئی۔
اسپتال ذرائع نے دھماکے کے نتیجے میں 40 افراد کے جاں بحق ہونے کی تصدیق کردی ہے جن میں بلوچستان بار کے سابق صدر تاج محمد کاکڑ  سمیت کئی صحافی اور وکلا بھی شامل ہیں جب کہ 35 افراد زخمی ہیں ، زخمیوں کو سی ایم ایچ منتقل کردیا گیا ہے جہاں کئی زخمیوں کی حالت تشویش ناک ہے۔
دوسری جانب واقعے کے بعد مشتعل افراد نے احتجاج کرتے ہوئے اسپتال کے مختلف شعبوں میں گھس کر توڑ پھوڑ کی جس کے نتیجے میں طبی سہولیات کی فراہمی کا سامان اور دیگر دفتری سامان کا نقصان ہوا ہے جس کی مالیت لاکھوں روپے ہے۔
واقعے کے بعد سیکیورٹی فورسز نے علاقے کو گھیرے میں لے لیا ہے جب کہ دھماکے کی جگہ سے شوہد اکٹھے کرنے کے بعد تفتیش شروع کردی گئی ہے۔ ۔ پولیس کا کہنا ہے کہ سول اسپتال میں کیا گیا دھماکا خود کش تھا اور اس میں 15 سے 20 کلو گرام دھماکا خیز مواد استعمال کیا گیا تھا۔
وزیراعلیٰ بلوچستان ثنا اللہ زہری  نے واقعے کی مذمت کرتے ہوئے کہا ہے کہ دہشت گردی کا واقعہ بزدلانہ واقعہ ہے ،ملوث افراد کو معاف نہیں کیا جائے گا۔
وزیراعظم نواز شریف نے واقعے کی سخت مذمت کرتے ہوئے کہا ہے کہ بلوچستان میں عوام ، فورسز اور پولیس کی بے پناہ قربانیوں کے بعد امن بحال ہوا، کسی کو بلوچستان کا امن تباہ کرنے کی اجازت نہیں دیں گے۔
گورنر سندھ ڈاکٹر عشرت العباد خان نے سول اسپتال کوئٹہ میں دہشت گردوں کے حملہ میں انسانی جانوں کے ضیاع پر گہرے دکھ اور افسوس کا اظہار کرتے ہوئے کہا ہے کہ دہشت گردی کے خلاف پوری قوم متحد ہے، دہشت گرد اس طرح کی کاروائیوں سے قوم کو ڈرا نہیں سکتے۔
دوسری جانب واقعے کے بعد پاکستان بار کونسل نےملک گیر یوم سوگ کا اعلان کردیا جس کے بعد ملک بھر میں وکلا برادری نے عدالتی کارروائیوں کا بائیکاٹ کردیا۔

Minhal's Olympics journey ends on day one, swimmer Haris Bandey also falls out

Pakistan shooter Minhal Sohail on Saturday failed to qualify for the main round of 10 metre Rifle Shooting event during the ongoing Rio Olympics.

Needing to secure a spot in top eight to progress, Minhal secured 28th rank among 51 shooters.

However, what may come as a sole respite is the fact that the Pakistan Navy shooter managed more points than her Indian counterparts, who secured 34th and 47th ranks.

Swimmer Haris Bandey became the second Pakistani athlete to fall out of the Rio Olympics 2016 as he finished on the last position competing against 49 swimmers in the Men's 400 metre freestyle category.

Haris took 4 minutes and 33 seconds to reach the finish point as he took on swimmers from Cayman Islands and Andorra in Heat 1.

Karachi-based 21-year-old Minhal Sohail is the first ever Pakistani woman to qualify for the 10 Metre Air Rifle Category for the Olympics.

She started her career in 2012. Since then she has participated in various events worldwide and won many accolades.

Minhal, who secured the place in Olympics squad on quota, had won the 10-metre Air Rifle event in the ongoing National Shooting Championship at PNS Karsaz.

The two shooters, part of the small Pakistani contingent, participating at the Rio Olympics have the military to thank for much of their training.

Minhal got her start in shooting at a Navy summer camp in her hometown of Karachi and has since participated in numerous Asian championships.

“It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in Olympics,” she had said.


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