Demanding answers – 19 Jun 2022

THE authorities cannot continue with their ostrich-like behaviour with regard to enforced disappearances. The matter a is too urgent and the violation of fundamental rights too grave for the government to be allowed to get away with its apparent lack of will to do anything to stop it from happening. On Friday, the Islamabad High Court admonished the federal government for not following through on its ruling of May 25 for the recovery of missing persons, and upped the ante by saying it could summon the country`s chief executive to demand an explanation. The IHC had directed the PML-N-led government to serve notices on retired Gen Pervez Musharraf and all successive chief executives for their `undeclared tacit approval of the policy regarding enforced disappearances`. It was incumbent on each of them, said the order, to rebut that view and explain why they should not be charged with high treason. Failing this, the previous and incumbent interior ministers were to appear before the bench, but the court`s ruling fell on deaf ears.

After former Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry several years ago, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah is perhaps the first member of the bench to have so emphatically tried to get to the bottom of the issue of missing people. He has rightly declared that the buck stops with the government and that all state institutions some of them repeatedly accused of perpetrating enforced disappearances are subordinate to it as per the Constitution. The extent of the problem can be gauged from a report prepared by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances and submitted to the IHC, according to which only one-third of 8,463 missing persons have returned home since March 2011 after their whereabouts were traced. The commission has done an abysmal job in holding to account anyone for their involvement in this reprehensible tactic, and it is worth asking why retired justice Javed Iqbal, who resigned under a cloud as DG NAB, is still heading such an important body.

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Enforced disappearance of morality – 19 Jun 2022

You have a choice of images and encounters that you think would illustrate the present state of affairs in Pakistan. For instance, there was that unscheduled, late night press conference on Wednesday when Miftah Ismail and Musadik Malik appeared on our television screens, with glum looks on their faces. This was how the third hike in fuel prices in three weeks was announced.

More extended proceedings that belong in the genre of political circus were staged in Lahore when the annual budget of Punjab was presented not in the provincial assembly but in the auditorium of Aiwan-e-Iqbal. And this was just one episode in a long-running serial – a veritable soap opera – that is yet to be concluded.

For those who look for more dramatic action, there were scenes of police violence against Baloch women and other protesters who were demonstrating outside the Sindh Assembly on Monday in Karachi after two Baloch students of the University of Karachi went missing. It was a surprising display of police brutality, as families of the missing students were dragged.

(Yes, an inquiry was ordered on why excessive force was used against women, and the two students returned home the next day. But this is peripheral to what that scene of Baloch protest against enforced disappearances portrays in the context of the state of this nation and its strategic sense of direction. There is little appreciation of what it means to be a Baloch.)

For those who daily sit before their television sets and wilfully wallow in despair, there is now an endless outburst of anger and grievances over the rising cost of living by whoever is accosted by the TV camera. In Nawabshah, protesting rickshaw drivers set two rickshaws on fire, providing some exciting footage.

These are not pretty sights to look at. Pakistan is, from all perspectives, really in a tight spot. The IMF-dictated tough decisions that are seen to be inevitable are exacting a high price from the less privileged sections of our society.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan and his party have the opportunity to build up their campaign, though the promised long march has not yet been scheduled. A nation-wide protest is set for tonight. The top functionaries of the present coalition government, on their part, blame the previous PTI government I for the present economic difficulties.

But the bottom line is that there is something seriously wrong with Pakistan’s economy and that the situation is bound to get worse in the immediate future. The fall of the rupee is one measure of this dreary prospect. That whiff of good news we received on Friday evening, with Pakistan decisively moving closer to removal from the FATF’s ‘grey list’, may have no bearing on our ongoing economic difficulties.

We can see that our economic mandarins, with all their good intentions, are finding it hard to meet this challenge. This complexity raises one question that has apparently not troubled the minds of our rulers: what is wrong with Pakistani society that it is not able to generate the responses that are necessary to deal effectively with its present difficulties?

At this point, I need to explain that I possess no economic expertise. I am looking at the present situation mainly from a social standpoint. I can think of a number of other countries that would not descend to the lower depths that Pakistan finds itself in because of their national character and their collective sense of moral and intellectual values.

I have read many stories of how citizens, in a spirit of self-sacrifice, would come together in times of wars and calamities to protect their national interest. Pakistan belongs in a very different category – and there is statistical evidence for this moral degradation, the number of taxpayers that we have, for instance. Another rather simplistic thought is that we would not be so poor if there were judicious collection of property tax. A common person’s wisdom would find various ways of austerity to reduce, say, our consumption of energy.

Relevant or not, let me mention a headline I read on Thursday evening on the BBC World website: “Eight million Australians urged to turn off lights”. Australia’s energy minister has urged households in New South Wales, the state that includes Sydney, to switch off their lights for two hours every evening, if they “have a choice”.

It will be interesting to find the outcome of this appeal. But one can be sure that this idea would not be pooh-poohed by the concerned citizens. I had seen somewhere the figures of how much more fuel was imported in Pakistan when its price was rising. There is also ample evidence of the kind of privileges that the ruling class has allocated for itself. There is certainly some talk about austerity measures. But no radical steps of the kind that the situation necessitates are in the works.

A number of our learned social scientists had seen this coming. They have also been aware of the simple truth that business as usual cannot sustain a broken society. The time has come when the ruling elite is somehow persuaded to draw away from its present suicidal path and allow the Pakistani society to acquire some life-enhancing values and strength of character.

Understanding Pakistani society and energizing it with national purpose, integrity and trust is becoming a near impossible task because of its moral, intellectual and cultural deprivations. Nothing certifies this squalor better than the state of public education from the primary to the university level.

There is so much more that one can say about the devastation that the ruling ideas have brought about in Pakistani society. But to conclude, I have a forbidding thought. You may have read some opinion pieces recently on the phenomenon of how a monster turns against its own creator. The allusion, in a partisan way, is to Imran Khan who was brought into power by powerful stakeholders.

Isn’t the ruling elite another Frankenstein’s monster, turning against the state of Pakistan that had created it?

The writer is a senior journalist. He can be reached at: ghazi_salahuddin@

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Seth Abid`s daughter shot dead `by adopted son` – 19 Jun 2022

LAHORE: The daughter of the late Seth Abid was shot dead allegedly by her adopted son at her Muslim Town house on Saturday.

Farah Mazhar, 64, was living with her young adopted son Fahad and a daughter. She suffered a bullet wound in the stomach and was taken to a nearby hospital by her daughter but could not survive.

The victim was a mother of three adopted children -sons Fareed and Fahad and a daughter -while her husband Mazhar was living in the United States (US). Police shifted the body to morgue for autopsy and registered a murder case on the complaint of Fareed who resides at Defence. The police teams also collected forensic evidence and recovered the murder weapon from the crime scene.

Police took Fahad and two of their servants into custody and started investigation. They also grilled 40-year-old housemaid Razia.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Operations Sohail Chaudhry told Dawn that initial investigation revealed that the younger adopted son of the woman had shot dead her over marriage issue. He said the suspect first told police that his mother had committed suicidebut police found out through evidence that she was killed in a room where the furniture was ransacl(ed and the pistol was missing.

He said police tool( the suspect and their two servants into custody. `The servants revealed that the suspect had shot his mother dead over marriage issue and also distorted the crime scene to give it a suicide colouring and also concealed the pistol under the floor,` he said.

Fareed told the media that his younger brother had killed his mother and he demanded justice.

Iqbal Town SP Dr Amara Shirazi told reporters that police had started investigation from all angles and the weapons recovered from the spot had been sent to forensic lab.

Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz took notice of the murder and sought a report from the Inspector General of Police (IGP). He said the murderer should be apprehended and dealt with the full force of the law and justice should be provided to the relatives of the slain in any case.

In 2006, Seth Abid`s son Seth Hafiz Ayaz Ahmad and five others were gunned down by a security guard at Sattukatla.

-Staff Reporter

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Dua Zehra`s father approaches SC to help get her custody – 19 Jun 2022

KARACHI: The father of Dua Zehra on Saturday approached the Supreme Court against an order of the Sindh High Court for setting the teenager at liberty to decide whom she intended to reside and go along with.

Syed Mehdi Ali Kazmi contended that the SHC in the impugned order, passed on June 8, had placed reliance upon a statement of the girl on oath and report of an ossification test, which showed her age between 16 to 17 years, contrary to credible Nadra and educational documents verifying her age to be about 14.

He further asserted that the SHC in its order has erred by setting the girl at liberty to decide her fate and settling a factual controversy regarding her age.

The petitioner also questioned whether the impugned order has infringed upon the exclusive jurisdiction of the family court to decide the question of age, final custody and guardianship of the girl.

He argued that on June 14, the investigating officer of the case in his report submitted before the trial court had clearly been influenced by the impugned order and sought cancellation of the FIR.

The petitioner submitted that his daughter went missing from their house in Malir on April 16 and a case about her abduction was lodged at the Al-Falah police station.

He further maintained that they came to know through social media that Dua had allegedly contracted marriage with Zaheer Ahmed, a resident of Lahore.

The petitioner pleaded that leave to appeal against the impugned SHC order be granted.

Besides setting the girl at liberty to decide her fate, the SHC in its June 8 order had also observedthat it cannot determine factual dispute about age as it may affect and prejudice the interest of any of the parties, but said the aggrieved parties may approach the trial court to contest and agitate the same.

While impleading the province of Sindh through home secretary, provincial police officer, senior superintendent of police (East), Al-Falah SHO and IO of the case as respondents in the civil petition, the petitioner contended that the SHC division bench deposed of his petition without considering, inter alia, the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code 1898, Pakistan Penal Code 1860 and Guardians and Wards Act 1890 and set the girl at liberty instead of committing her to lawful guardianship of her parents.

He further submitted that the ossification test was carried out by a single doctor instead of a medical board and the petitioner, being aggrieved by the impropriety of the test, assailed the same before the provincial health secretary soliciting formation of a medical board to conduct the test afresh as per established practice. The office of health secretary passed direction that the request of the petitioner be `put up urgent as per law.

The petitioner asserted that the mother and brother of alleged husband of Dua Zehra had also filed a writ petition before the Lahore High Court which had disposed of the same on June 10, after placing reliance upon the impugned SHC order.

The petitioner argued that on June 17, he had also written a letter to the Sindh police chief for reinvestigation of the case through a superior ofncer not below the rank of superintendent of police as he contended that currently, his daughter was in the illegal confinement of alleged abductor/husband and was faced with perpetual sexual abuse under the garb of child marriage.

He alleged that the Sindh High Court through the impugned order has defeated the parameters of the Guardians and Wards Act 1890 and that he has no alternative remedy to get custody of the teenage girl except for the apex court.

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Three held over boy`s death in Abbottabad – 19 Jun 2022

ABBOTTABAD: Police have arrested three persons on the charges of firing in the air during a wedding ceremony in which a child was killed here on June 12.

The police also recovered three pistols from their possessions. The bridegroom and his father have already beenarrestedin the case.

Sources said that Hasher Javed, a student of prep class, was killed dur-ing firing in the air at the wedding ceremony of the son of one Afsar Khan in Kagian area on June 12.

A case was registered under sec-tion 322 in Nara police station, while DPO Sajjad Khan took notice of the incident and ordered the local police to ensure immediate arrest of the accused.

The Nara policearrested the accused Habib, a resident of Hari Khetar, Naseer and Bilal and recovered three pistols from their possession.

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Another rape case reported – 19 Jun 2022

TAXILA: A former watchman of a school was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Domail area of Jand in the limits of Bassal police station.

Sher Khan reported to police that his nephew was playing outside his house when the suspect asked him to take his food items to his house. When he reached there, the accused overpowered him and allegedly molested him.

Later, Bassal police arrested the accused after registration of a case against him. There has been an alarming increase in child abuse cases in Attock during the last few weeks.

Recently, the police failed to resolve the rape and killing of a 10-year-old girl in Faqeerabad area in the limits of Attock Saddar Police station.

The Hazro police have also failed to resolve the blind murder and rape of 16-years-old Hashir Ali, a student of grade 10 and resident of Rehmo village went missing under mysterious circumstances on May 12 and later his assaulted body was found near Jinnah Park on May 13.

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Man sets woman ablaze after rape bid – 19 Jun 2022

TOBA TEK SINGH: A man allegedly set ablaze a married woman after falling to rape her at Faisalabad`s Chak 257-RB, Mazhabiwala, on Saturday, leaving the victim critically injured.

Police say 46-year-old married woman `H` was alone at her house when a neighbour Kashif (25) barged in and attempted to rape her. As she offered resistance, the suspect doused her with petrol and set her ablaze. As a result, the woman suffered severe burns.

Alarmed by her cries, some locals intervened and extinguished the flames.

They also overpowered the suspect, and called police.

Soon a team of Roshanwala police station reached the village and took the suspect in custody.

The woman was rushed to the Allied Hospital, Faisalabad, where she was admitted to surgical intensive care unit for treat-ment.

As per doctors, the woman suffered 70 percent burns and will be shifted to the hospital`s burns unit as soon as her condition improves.

Meanwhile, Punjab Police Inspector General (IG) Rao Sardar Ali Khan, taking serious notice of the incident, directed Faisalabad Regional Police Officer (RPO) to submit a report to him.

The IG also directed the RPO to take a stern action against the arrested suspect as per the law if he was found guilty.

He also ordered Faisalabad city police officer (CPO) to personally supervise the investigation into the case after contacting the victim and her family.

The suspect, however, claimed that an unidentified man set the woman ablaze and he had entered the house to help her. The police are investigating the matter.

ARRESTED: Toba Tek Singh city police claimedto have arrested on Saturday head of an interdistrict robbers gang and recovered Rs4.9 million cash, a mini-truck and a car from him.

A police official told the media that the suspect, Ilyas Khan of Dera Ghazi Khan, was not only involved in a number of robberies, but also ran a ring that purchased stolen and snatched vehicles.

He added that two of the gang members had recently been killed in encounter after being hit by the bullets allegedly fired by their own accomplices who had attacked police to free him. He said another gang member, Sayyam Waryam, had also recently been arrested.

The arrested suspect is also wanted by police of Multan, Layyah, Jhang, Sargodha, Mianwali, Khushab and Dera Ghazi Khan, the official claimed.

DPO Rana Shoaib Mahmood has announced prizes and certificates for the police team that arrested the suspect.

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Woman killed in Oghi over water issue – 19 Jun 2022

MANSEHRA: A man killed a woman outside her house after exchange of harsh words over filling of water cans in Chitta Batta area of Oghi on Saturday.

Mehrina Bibi had gone to fetch water from a supply scheme outside her house, but a neighbour Mohammad Shakeel didn`t allow her to fill her cans and instead exchanged harsh words with her.

Shakeel allegedly strangled her on the spot. Police have registered a case against him under section 302 of CrPC.

According to eyewitnesses there was an acute shortage of water in the area.

The water crisis has deepened across the district, as fountains, streams and hand pumps and even water supply schemes in most parts of the district have dried up because of the prolonged dry spell.

Mansehra, Oghi, Balakot, Darband and Baffa-Pakhal tehsils have been witnessing acute shortage of water for the last one month.

`We have warned the tehsil municipal administration to ensure the supply from the newly-sunk well for Channia and its suburbs, one Nazakat Ali said. He said that TMA had spent a big amount of funds on the scheme, but it was yet to be made functional.

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55-year-old woman raped – 19 Jun 2022

LAHORE : A 55-year-old woman was raped by a suspect in Sanda on Saturday. The victim reportedly was going to see her daughter in the morning when the suspect in a street in Sanda on finding an opportunity raped her. Police have arrested a suspect identified as Toti Gujjar in the case and also registered a case. Police said that they were investigating the matter further.

Fire breaks out in plaza: An incident of fire was reported in a plaza situated on main Boulevard Gulberg opposite Hafeez Centre on Saturday. Reportedly, the fire broke out due to short circuit. Nearby people tried to control it and alerted Rescue 1122. Fire fighters reached the spot on information and extinguished fire. No loss of life or injury was reported in the incident. However, the fire created panic in the people around. Few months back, huge fire in Hafeez Centre and Pace Shopping Centre had gutted hundreds of shops.

Man dies in road accident: A 39-year-old man has died in a road accident in Kahna on Saturday. The victim identified as Imran was riding a bike and when he reached near LDA Road, his bike rammed into a truck. As a result, he received serious injuries that claimed his life on the spot. A police team removed the body to morgue for autopsy and were investigating the matter further.

Worker dies due to heart seizure: A 40-year-old worker has died reportedly due to heart seizure in an under construction building in Defence B on Saturday. Reportedly, the victim was busy in work when he suddenly lost consciousness and fell fainted. The victim died before he could be moved to hospital for treatment. An Edhi Ambulance removed his body to morgue for autopsy. His identity was yet to be ascertained. Police said that they were investigating the matter further.

Female student slapped at PU: A student Saturday allegedly slapped his female classmate over an issue at New Campus of University of the Punjab. The incident prompted a protest by some students of Social Work department of the varsity.

Police later registered an FIR against the student. According to an official of the varsity, the accused ran away after slapping his classmate. He said the varsity administration would take strict disciplinary action against the student.

Stern action ordered: IIG Punjab Rao Sardar Ali Khan has taken notice of the incident of attempted rape and setting a woman on fire in the area of Roshanwala Faisalabad police station and demanded a report of the incident from RPO Faisalabad.

IG Punjab orders stern legal action against detained accused. He directed CPO Faisalabad to investigate all aspects of the incident under his supervision. He directed that the supervisory officers should keep close contact with the victim and should not spare any effort in providing justice.

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