Police restrained from harassing Dua`s in-laws – 11 Jun 2022

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Friday restrained police from causing any harassment to the inlaws of Syeda Dua Zohra Kazmi, the Karachi girl who contracted marriage against the will of her family.

Earlier, SSP Investigation Imran Kishwar produced the girl and her husband, Zaheer Ahmad, before the court.

Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh disposed of the petition in the light of the recovery and production of the couple before the court.

The judge also directed the police not to cause any harassment to the petitioners.

Ms Kazmi`s mother in-law Noor Munir and brother-inlaw Shabbir Ahmad had filed the petition. The petitioners through a counsel pleadedthat they had no knowledge about the whereabouts of the couple but the police had been harassing them.

On June 8, the police had produced the couple before the Sindh High Court that observed that the girl was free to decide where she wanted to go.

The family of Kazmi had initially allege d that she had been abducted from Karachi, however, the girl later appeared in Lahore and approached the court for protection.

In a previous litigation, Zohra Kazmi alleged before the court thatherfatherhad been forcing her to marry her cousin against her will.

She said her parents used to beat her on refusal to marry the boy of their choice.

-Staff Reporter

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Woman allegedly set on fire by son dies – 11 Jun 2022

RAWALPINDI: An elderly woman, who was set on fire along with her husband allegedly by their enraged son on Thursday, died in Holy Family Hospital on Friday.

Riffat Bibi, who was in her 60s, was badly burnt with her husband Shabbir Ahmad, after their son doused themin netrol and set them alight in AshrafColony, Dhamial.

Riffat was a mother of five and sustained 80 to 85pc burns. She died on Friday morning, Ahsan Shahzad, her younger son, said.

He said his mother was laid to rest in a local graveyard after sunset, adding that she did not talk to him when she was shifted to the hospital.Ahsan Shahzad, 32, lodged an first information report (FIR) with police, stating that he had been residing on the second floor of his house while his parents and elder brother, Mohammad Wasim, were living on the ground floor.

He said upon hearing screams, he rushed downstairs and saw his elder brother, Wasim, running out.

He said when he entered his parents` room, he found his father Shabbir Ahmad, a retired government employee, and mother Rif f at in flames.Upon seeing this, he quickly grabbed blankets and quilts to put the fire out.

`I tried my best to put out the fire but they were badly burnt,` he said.

L ater, the Rescue 1122 crew reached the spot and shifted the victims to Holy Family Hospital (HFH).

He said his brother had gotten into an argument with his parents following which his wife had also left the house. The suspect was arrested by police and sent to judicial jail on Friday.

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Baby girl recovered, two women held – 11 Jun 2022

MUZAFFARGARH: Police recovered the infant girl who was abducted from the Children Complex, Multan, and arrested two women kidnappers.

The CCTV footage showed two women taking away one-year-old Ishal Fatima f rom the Children Complex two days back.

Af ter the incident, the additional IG police South Punjab took notice and on his directions, the CIA police with the ChehlikPolice Station took a joint action. They recovered the baby girl from the squatters situated opposite the Nishtar Hospital.

Police arrested both the women suspects who were identified as Alisha and Shameen.

The additional IGP awarded commendatory appreciation and Rs5,000 cash prizes to Chehlik SHO Imran Gul and Shaukat of the CIA for recovering the girl. Correspondent

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Woman burnt to death by in-laws in Haripur: police – 11 Jun 2022

HARIPUR: A woman was burnt to death allegedly by her husband and in-laws in Jati Pind village in the limits of the Saddar police station, officials said here on Friday.

They quoted the woman’s parents as accusing her husband and in-laws of setting her alight.

They said a woman aged 25 was brought to the trauma centre on Thursday evening with 100 per cent burn injuries, where the doctors pronounced her dead.

Officials said deceased woman’s husband had informed the police that she had committed suicide by dousing her with petrol and setting her on fire. However, the woman’s father, a resident of Mohallah Kheewa in Khalabat Township, contested the claim, saying his daughter had been continuously complaining about her husband’s and in-laws’ violent attitude towards her since her marriage a couple of years ago.

The complainant told the police that her daughter’s husband and his other family members used to beat her, and on the evening of Thursday, they again beat her up. In a bid to erase the torture marks on her body, they set her on fire, he alleged.

On the complaint of the victim’s father, the doctors at the trauma centre conducted autopsy on the body. The autopsy report was awaited.

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Man kills his two brothers over property – 11 Jun 2022

LAHORE:A man murdered his two brothers over a property dispute at Mohni Road in the Data Darbar area on Friday.

On the day of the incident, Mukhtar, the accused person, exchanged harsh words with his brothers – Sarfraz, 60 and Altaf 65. The suspect Mukhtar after the brief altercation opened firing at them and the victims died on the spot. The suspect surrendered before the police. Police arrested him and removed the bodies to morgue.

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Three women killed over domestic disputes – 11 Jun 2022

Separately, three others allegedly raped in Chak Jhumra

Three women were killed allegedly by their respective husbands over what the police said domestic disputes.

Mazhar Abbas, a resident of Street No. 4 in Mohalla Warispura, lodged a complaint with the Saddar Police Station in which he alleged that his sister, Fakhra Kulsoom, had been shot dead by her husband, Imran Zahid.

Abbas told the police that his sister had married Imran Zahid 13 years ago, and they had four children.

However, they were far from being a happily married couple. They frequently fought over one matter or the other, said the complainant. Abbas told the police that when his sister could take no more, she decided to separate from her husband and returned to her parent’s house two days ago.

Soon after, her husband Zahid Imran, along with Irfan Hussain and Shaheen Kausar, persuaded her to return to her family, and Fakhra gave in for the sake of her children and went back to her husband’s house. Abbas claimed in his complaint that her sister was shot dead by her husband Imran Zahid at four o’clock in the morning.

In another case, complainant Gulzar Ahmed, a resident of 497 GB, lodged a complaint with the police saying that his 27-year-old daughter, Nasira Bibi, and her husband Mujahid Iqbal had conflicts in their marital life resulting in her daughter leaving her husband’s house and returning to his house nine days ago.

Later, the accused Mujahid Iqbal came with the dignitaries of the area and signed on a stamp paper that he would now on take care of his daughter and that she would have no more complaints in future.

However, Mujahid Iqbal did not lived up to his promise and tortured his daughter when they went back to their house and killed her by tying a noose around her neck and locked her body up in a room and escaped. “When we were informed about it, we climbed over the wall and saw inside the house that my daughter was lying dead,” the complainant told the police. Police handed over the body to her heirs after postmortem and started raids for the accused.

In yet another incident of a similar nature, a Sahiwal resident Abdul Ghafoor lodged a complaint with the police, alleging that his son-in-law Asif, along with his brothers Murtaza and Mustafa, poisoned his daughter Zahran Bibi. She was rushed to a hospital where she died. Police registered a case against the accused.

Meanwhile, three women were raped in Chak Jhumra in separate incidents. Police were conducting raids for the accused after registering cases.

According to the police report, Waqar Ahmed, a resident of Canal Park, has taken a stand in the case registered with the Madina Town Police Station that the victim had been working in his house for over a year and was lured by accused Liaqat Ali who later allegedly raped her.

Accused Liaqat Ali was a close relative of the victim.

In a separate case, accused Amjad Ali barged into the house of the victim, a widow, and raped her at gunpoint, police said. Accused Sifarish, who had come to fetch clothes for sewing from the house of Zahoor Ahmed, a resident of Bhatti Colony area of the Saddar police station, found his daughter Nimrah alone in the house and raped her, police said.

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Updated laws – 11 Jun 2022

A joint session of parliament has passed the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the National Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which President Alvi has returned after refusing to sign them. The bills will again be presented to President Alvi but will become law if he does not give his approval within 10 days. A joint session was called for this very reason – get the bills passed despite an uncooperative president.

It was already quite clear that the new government would amend both the electoral reforms passed by the PTI government and the NAB laws. The entire coalition had been saying this even before they came to power. When the Senate approved these bills a few weeks ago, three PPP senators had refrained from voting as they had reservations about the proposed amendments and were of the view that the election reforms should have been broader while the NAB amendments should have addressed the grievances of the public at large as well. During the PTI government’s tenure, we had seen how consistently the government had used bulldozing tactics to get legislation through, mainly resorting to ordinances. One hopes the current government chooses deliberate, thoughtful law-making over rushed-up legislation and also pays heed to members within its own ranks on the accountability amendments.

The Election Commission had made its 37 reservations public about the amendments passed by the PTI government, and it was also not ready for the i-voting mechanism for overseas Pakistanis. There was misinformation that the right to vote had been taken away from overseas voters but as has been confirmed also by the Islamabad High Court the voting rights of overseas Pakistanis remain intact. On the NAB law, there is of course controversy that these amendments have been passed to give a clean chit to the ongoing cases against the coalition partners but we have seen the judiciary itself questioning the arbitrary powers of NAB in the past and how the anti-graft body had been used as a tool for political victimization. That said, the way laws have been passed in the past few years need a rethink. If parliament is only to be used as a soap box for pretty – or fiery – speeches, then where will the business of law-making, which requires debate, take place?

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Unbridled social media: threat to democracy – 11 Jun 2022

A county like Pakistan must keep itself safe from the harms of social media through regulatory reforms

Media, the fourth pillar of a democratic state, is supposed to promote democratic values and focus on the dissemination of authentic and unbiased information regarding the policies and initiatives of the government to enable people to make informed choices. Over time, technological advancement has brought a revolution in the means of communication at the global level. Once the information was disseminated through the newspaper; then came the digital media, including television and radio; and now social media is serving as principal tool for cascading news and information. Social media — featuring huge-impact platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc — is playing a key role in perception building. According to an estimate, more than half of the world now uses social media; even a developing country like Pakistan has 54% of internet users and the number is continuously increasing.

In the contemporary world, social media provide an opportunity for people to obtain information, express their thoughts and contribute to democratic processes. Alongside that, there is room for distorting information, promoting false stories and facilitating political manipulation — with an aim to paddle particular narratives like against democracy or the state. If social media is not managed through laws, it will lose its utility and wreak havoc on the world of information. A case in point is the Arab Spring in the Middle East and Africa wherein Twitter and Facebook were largely used to spread anti-state narratives. This is why social media is now largely considered a threat to democracy.

Among the negatively flourishing social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and Google have turned into powerful enablers of vast disinformation campaigns. Twitter and Facebook have not only become powerful but also dangerous political mediums. Also, fewer efforts are available on their part in building honest and straightforward content moderation to control hate speech and disinformation on their platform against state, institutions and individuals. Social media also plays a key role in making a hero from zero and vice versa. The current social media trends, led by PTI followers, is an example in the context. YouTube and Twitter, in particular, are being used to project ex-PM Imran Khan as a saviour and portray the sitting government in a bad light.

According to an international report, about 2,100 Twitter accounts are involved in a social media propaganda campaign against Pakistan Army. As a consequence, on 12 April, 2022 at the 79th Formation Commanders’ Conference, ISPR released a statement “the recent propaganda campaign by some quarters is to malign the Pakistan Army and create division between the institution and society. The national security of Pakistan is sacrosanct. Pakistan Army has always stood by the state institutions to guard it and always will, without any compromise.” It shows how Twitter and Facebook are being used to spread negativity and widen the gap between state and institution.

In the same vein, India is also utilising the power of social media in spreading the anti-Muslim hate speech. The incident of Basti Hazarat Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi was observed as the top-most anti-Muslim trend on Twitter. Under the BJP-led Modi government, Muslims are presented as the most detestable entity of India. On the one hand, Muslims have been deprived of their basic rights; a ban on the hijab, restriction on cow meat, and a ban on fruit vendors are a few recent examples of India’s discriminatory policies. On the other hand, India is trending as an incredible and democratic state. The reality of India, however, remains that it is an autocratic state that is promoting Hindutva ideology through hate speech on social media.

Having said that, a county like Pakistan must keep itself safe from the harms of social media through regulatory reforms. A regulated social media would be manageable as it is in the European Union, which has laws and policies to tackle many of the social media risks to democracy through strong data protection rules and devising new legislative proposals on digital services. Else, unregulated social media is bound to promote polarisation in society and produce political intolerance among the masses which is a threat to the democratic norms and stability of the state.

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