Right to fair trial – 22 Jun 2022

IT is scarcely an understatement to say that in Pakistan, the fundamental right to a fair trial, as provided for under Article 2 s 10A of the Constitution, is honoured more in the breach than the observance. On Monday, the Supreme Court rightly observed that the burden is on the bench to ascertain from the `facts and circumstances of the case … whether this indispensable right was afforded or not`. The two-judge bench had taken up a civil appeal by an official in the Frontier Constabulary against the Federal Services Tribunal over the rejection of his plea in November 2018 on grounds of limitation without considering the merits of the case. The plea had been filed by the appellant after repeated and unsuccessful attempts to seek relief through departmental appeals over punitive action taken against him on allegations of misconduct without any show-cause notice or hearing. The apex court ruled that `no decision which is affecting the right of any person should be taken without providing an opportunity of being heard` and that `mere technicalities` should not stand in the way of providing justice.

The right to fair trial is also part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It reads: `Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.` Yet, on several occasions, the state has itself sacrificed this principle at the altar of expediency. One of the more recent and most consequential instances of this was parliament`s action of amending the Army Act and the Constitution to greenlight the setting up of military courts for prosecuting terrorists. That chapter, distinguished by an utter lack of transparency regarding the judicial process, including the denial of right of counsel of choice to the accused, fortunately came to a close in 2019. On an unofficial level, however, the state continues to violate Article 10A not to mention multiple other human rights in every instance of enforced disappearance that takes place.

At the same time, there still exists on the statute books legislation that is intrinsically at odds with the right to fair trial. For instance, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, stipulates an unreasonably short time of seven days for the court to decide each case. Given that the law deals with the most heinous offences, the anti-terrorism courts, in an effort not to appear `soft` on militancy, might possibly have condemned some innocent individuals to death because there was not sufficient time for the accused to mount a robust defence. On the other hand, the glacial speed of the `regular` judicial process, resulting in a massive backlog of civil and criminal cases, also undercuts one of the fundamental prerequisites of fair trialthe right to be tried without undue delay.

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Bulldozing justice – 22 Jun 2022

Amnesty International has said that Indian authorities are “selectively and viciously cracking down on Muslims who dare to speak up … against the discrimination faced by them”. Amnesty is not alone in these sentiments. Pakistan has been consistently raising the issue of Indian brutalities against its Muslim minority population as well as its reign of terror in Occupied Kashmir. A new video released by a senior BJP member, which has gone viral across India, shows police in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh beating Muslims who were protesting against the blasphemous comments made by BJP spokespersons a few weeks back; that this happened after Friday prayers only makes it even worse. Muslim men and boys were violently beaten with batons – all captured on video. Those who reached the police station to protest were also in some cases taken into custody. While police have denied the action, the reality is that India is growing into an increasingly fascist country where no Muslim is safe.

This has been continuing for the past few years in particular since Modi’s India became the very ugly face of what once used to be known as a ‘secular’ country. It has now taken a turn for the worse – one that simply cannot, and should not, be ignored by the world. Indeed, pressure from Muslim countries that had spoken out against the blasphemous comments by the BJP spokespersons did lead to the BJP taking action. But, as many have argued, it was only financial compulsions that led to such reaction. Bulldozers still came for agitating Muslims, and there will no doubt continue to be violence unleashed by Indian security forces in Occupied Kashmir, and Indian police and public in India.

That ‘Shining India’ is no more is a given; what is frightening is how easily Hindutva fascism has found takers across the country – and abroad, specifically among non-resident Indians (NRIs). And, while Pakistan is speaking out in condemnation of these events, that is not enough. There has to be a stop to what is happening. But the question is how this will happen and who will achieve it. Amnesty International’s statement at least indicates the international community is becoming involved in the upsurge of anti-Muslim violence in India. But will this be enough to stop it? There is no sign that the BJP intends to change its policies and for now India continues to become an increasingly hostile state for the Muslims who live in it and form a giant minority within a massive population.

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Are the kids alright? – 22 Jun 2022

Pakistan has the highest growth rate of stunted children at 45% followed by Afghanistan at 41%

I am a hypocrite, a phony and a two-faced crook. From the lap of luxury, right here in my room at the Islamabad Marriott, I will write of a child in rags, a five-year-old boy without shoes, who loiters and plays in hot sand on a seething afternoon somewhere on the outskirts of Sheikhupura. He is skinny as a needle. His dark sunburnt skin hangs loose from his bony frame. He is hungry. He is stunted.

I have just returned from Sakura, the five-star hotel’s Japanese restaurant, where I had sushi, tempura and red snapper followed by a scrumptious portion of French pralines. As you can tell, I’m not any hypocrite; I’m a US-educated hypocrite with refined manners and good taste. I wear Ralph Lauren and Boss. It serves well to conceal my phony interior. I studied Kant, Shakespeare and Dostoevsky. I completed my master’s thesis on human glioblastoma cells at a research hospital deep in the heart of Texas. Oh yes, all my ex’s live in Texas. But most importantly, I can speak English fluently.

Back to the boy in Sheikhupura. He is not the only stunted child in the town. Pakistan has the highest growth rate of stunted children at 45% followed by Afghanistan at 41% (PubMed, 2020). Poor maternal nutrition, unhygienic living conditions, contaminated drinking water, malnutrition, undernutrition, poor sanitation, lack of education and absence of government-supported community-driven interventions, all contribute to the problem. As a Unicef study stresses, stunting is not only a physical impairment, it adversely affects mental and cognitive functions. To make matters worse, 23 million children aged 5 to 16 do not attend school. For Pakistan, it’s a national emergency. Our children are our future.

It has been shown that there is a vital link between nutritional status, human capital and economic standing. Eradicating poverty and malnutrition and improving health and education will eventually lead to a more robust human capital capable of increased innovation and productivity.

Due to recent economic meltdown, Pakistan has become a living hell. But whose Pakistan? There is Pakistan of those who drive Land Cruisers and Range Rovers and live in luxurious mansions and sprawling bungalows. They send their children abroad for studies. According to World Inequality Database, the top 10% in Pakistan have a share of 43% of national income. In the other Pakistan, children as young as 10 work in factories and brick kilns all day long. They are employed in cotton harvesting, carpet weaving, coal mining, forced begging, sexual exploitation.

Can you hear anyone asking: are the kids alright?

In the 1990s, I felt proud as a Pakistani when I found out that we accounted for 75% of world production of footballs (soccer balls). But who was stitching the footballs? Children between the ages of 5 and 14. Whose children? Yours? Mine? They are also hired as domestic help. The homeowners treat them worse than their pets. On a tragic day in November 2019, a 16-year-old maid was beaten to death for demanding to get paid. In January 2014, a 10-year-old boy servant in Lahore was accused of stealing. His punishment? He was mauled to death after his hands and feet were tied with rope. Unfortunately, these demonic atrocities are more rampant in our society than we would like to admit.

I am back in Nadia Café for the afternoon High Tea. I’m enjoying my second cup of tea. Yes, a second cup. After all, I’m a two-faced crook.

Now, back to the 5-year-old hungry boy. The very skinny boy. The boy with no shoes, no cap. He hasn’t eaten anything since yesterday. He is not loitering or playing any longer. He is holding his empty stomach. His tearful eyes are now chasing every passerby. Does anyone even know he’s there? He is begging for a freaking roti for God’s sake!

Can you hear Ibne Insha asking: ye bacha kis ka bacha hai?

This child. This dark-skinned sickly child.

This child with no toys.

This stunted child. Whose child is this?

This child is mine.

This child is yours.

Ye bacha sub ka bacha hai.

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PR pensioner `attempts suicide` over delay in dues` payment – 22 Jun 2022

LAHORE: A railways pensioner, who had not been given GP fund for the last six months, attempted suicide on Tuesday by jumping from the third storey of PR Headquarters building.

A retired grade-4 employee of the Pakistan Railway, Robin, had been visiting the accounts department to get his GP fund which was not given to him for the last six months.

The pensioner was not getting any response from authorities and he jumped from the third floor of the building. Resultantly, his legs were broken. He was shifted to Services Hospital in a critical condition.

The retired employee went to the railway officers who were allegedly sitting on his file.

The railways are currently facing a financial crunch and many of its retired employees are not receiving pension on time.

However, a PR spokesperson said neither Robin attempted suicide nor had he any altercation with the accounts department official.

He said Robin was not feeling well and he fell down from the building after becoming unconscious.

Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique took notice of the incident and also called the Service Hospital medical superintendent to provide better facilities to the employee.

He also constituted a three-member team to probe the matter and submit a report to him.

According to a report, Pakistan Railways pension bill reached Rs38 billion and the government was not able to clear the entire amount.-Staff Reporter

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Clash over property dispute leaves one dead in Surjani – 22 Jun 2022

KARACHI: A man was shot dead and five others were wounded when two groups clashed with each other over a property dispute in Surjani Town on Tuesday, according to police.

Surjani SHO Haji Sanaullah said that Chandios and Brohis had an old dispute over plots in Dilmirad Goth, which turned violent on Tuesday.

The two groups resorted to firing and as a result, Akram Jumma, 22, was killed and five others sustained bullet wounds.

Some of the wounded persons were identified as Nawaz Azeem, 42, Mohammed Irfan, 25 and Ibrahim Ismail, 38.

The police rushed to the spot and managed to prevent the situation fromdeteriorating further, claimed the officer.

The dead and injured were shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

Water tanker kills policeman A fast-moving water tanker hit a mobile van and killed a policeman in Gulshan-i-Iqbal on early Tuesday morning.

The Aziz Bhatti police said that a police mobile was patrolling on main University Road near Baitul Mukurram Masjid when a recklessly driven water tanker coming from behind hit the police mobile. The incidentoccurred ataroundO320 hours.

As a result, one policeman, identified as Usama, died on the spot.

The body was shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for med-ico-legal formalities.

The police arrested the errant driver and impounded the tanker.

Varsity student dies in accident A student of Hamdard University was killed and another injured in an accident on Northern Bypass on Tuesday, rescue services said.

An Edhi Foundation spokesperson said that both the students were travelling in a car, which went out of the driver`s control and fell in a ditch near Umer Goth.

As a result, Iqra Waheed, 20, died while Izan Sabir, 22, suf fered injuries.

On the insistence of university students, the wounded was taken to a private hospital on Superhighway for treatment while the body was shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

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Minor girl used as shield during street brawl hit by bullet – 22 Jun 2022

OKARA: A minor girl suffered a bullet injury on Tuesday when a callous man used her as shield when he was shot at during a street brawl at Haveli L akha.

As per the first information report (FIR), the complainant, Rashid said his five-year-old daughter Ayesha was playing in the street near his house at Haveli Lakkha when two armed men of the same locality Fayyaz and Asif had a scuffle.

He said during the brawl, Asif took out a pistol and pointed it at Fayyaz, who picked the minor girl, using her as a shield.Meanwhile, he said, Asif allegedly shot at Fayyaz, and the bullet hit Ayesha in her belly, leaving her severely injured. When locals came out out of their houses, hearing the gunshot the both armed men fled away.

The minor was rushed by somelocals tohospitalin critical condition, where she was being treated for her bullet injury. On the report of Rashid,HaveliLakkhapolice registered a case under sections 324 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Police claimed to have arrested Fayyaz on the direction of District Police Officer Hasan Iqbal.

They said they were lookingforthe othersuspect.

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SHO, four cops suspended over kidnapping for ransom – 22 Jun 2022

The station house officer (SHO) of the New Karachi Industrial Area police station was suspended on Tuesday over his alleged involvement in kidnapping of a minor boy for ransom.

The SHO was also demoted besides suspension. Four other cops of the same police station were also suspended and given the punishment of quarter guard. A departmental inquiry has also been initiated against all of them.

SHO Iftikhar Arain was suspended and demoted by Additional IGP Karachi Javed Alam Odho. He has been ordered to report to the police headquarters’ black company, where cops with tainted record are placed.

According to findings of the initial inquiry, the four subordinates of the SHO had kidnapped a minor boy on orders of a man, Amir Shah, the SHO’s accomplice. The cops also demanded ransom against the boy’s release.

Separately, police have registered a kidnapping case of an 11-year-old boy, Momin, who went missing under mysterious circumstances about 12 days ago in Lines Area. The case was registered at the Brigade police station.

The parents of the missing boy accused the police of not taking the case seriously and appealed to the higher authorities to take action for the immediate recovery of the boy. Meanwhile, a suspected criminal was killed in the Nagan Chowrangi area by a police squad deployed for the security of a judge.

Police said the incident took place when two suspects riding a motorcycle were robbing a man when they saw the police squad and opened fire on them in an attempt to flee under the cover of fire.

In retaliation, the cops fired back, killing one of the suspects. The other suspect, however, managed to escape. The killed suspect was identified as Haq Nawaz. A case has been registered and investigations are under way.

Surjani Town clash

A young man was shot dead and three others injured during a clash between two groups in Surjani Town. Two groups clashed over a disputed plot in Dil Murad Goth within the Surjani Town police’s jurisdiction. As a result of the clash, a youth, Akran, 22, son of Jumma, was killed and three others injured.

The casualties were shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. Police said the two groups had a dispute over a plot. Initially, they had a bitter exchange words, following which they attacked each other with rods. Police added that some of the attackers also used arms, resulting in the death. A case has been registered and investigations are under way.

Firing incidents

Five more people were wounded in various firing incidents in the city on Tuesday. Separately, a 27-year-old man, Umer, son of Pir Buksh, was wounded in a firing incident in Gadap Town. He was moved to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. Police said the incident took place over a personal enmity.

In another firing incident, Muzaffar Ali was injured during a clash in Mianwali Colony within the limits of the Pirabad police station. He was shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. A private company’s security guard, Qasim Hussain, was injured after he accidentally discharged his gun in Surjani Town. He was shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

A 35-year-old man, Atif Siddiqui, was shot and wounded for offering resistance during a mugging bid in the Model Colony area. He was rushed to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. In another firing incident, a seven-year-old boy, Khan Gul, was injured after being hit by a stray bullet in Orangi Town. He was shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

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Woman, man found dead – 22 Jun 2022

BATKHELA: A woman and a man were killed in an apparent honour-related incident in the Kam Agrah area in Malakand district on Tuesday. One Bacha Gul told police that the family of his son, Jaffar Khan, resided in a separate house. He said since his son was a soldier and was away on duty, he used to deliver milk at his house after fajr prayers. On Tuesday, he said, he found the body of his daughter-in-law and a youth, Waqar, when he reached there to deliver the milk. The bodies were handed over to the relatives after the postmortem and the case was registered against unidentified killers.

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Five committees formed to prevent child abuse, rape cases in Punjab – 22 Jun 2022

LAHORE:Home Minister Atta Ullah Tarar presided over a meeting here Tuesday to curb the rising incidents of child abuse and rape cases. The meeting was attended by parliamentarians, representatives of civil society and police officers and lawyers.

The home minister expressed concern over the rising number of rape cases. Atta Ullah Tarar declared a state of emergency across the province in response to the rising incidence of rape. He said that instructions had also been issued to form five committees to prevent such cases. The committees would consist of parliamentarians, representatives of civil society, police officers and lawyers and these committees would make detailed recommendations to prevent such incidents.

In light of these recommendations, the government would pass new laws as well as strictly enforce existing laws. “The increase in such incidents over the last few years is a matter of grave concern,” he added. He said that instructions had been issued to the Prosecution Department to provide details of such cases within 48 hours and all the commissioners and administrative officers have been directed to visit such unsafe areas.

He said that awareness campaign was the need of the hour to prevent such incidents and civil society, the media and parents must play their role in preventing such incidents. The minister said that special training would have to be provided to the children and parents in this regard. He said that all persons had to fulfill their responsibility to prevent such incidents so that safe and peaceful environment could be provided for future generations.

Officers assigned duties to curb dengue: Provincial Minister Khawaja Salman Rafique presided over an important meeting of the Provincial Dengue Monitoring Committee at the Civil Secretariat and assigned responsibilities to the departmental secretaries to control dengue.

Salman Rafique and Chief Secretary Punjab Kamran Ali Afzal took a detailed look at the dengue situation in the province during the meeting. All the Commissioners and ECs, including Health Secretary Ali Jan Khan, apprised the Provincial Minister and Chief Secretary of the details of the dengue situation.

Provincial Minister Khawaja Salman and Chief Secretary Punjab directed that strict action would be taken on the violation of Dengue SOPs. PIC: Khawaja Salman Rafique and Health Secretary Ali Jan Khan Tuesday visited the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC). The minister and the secretary inspected different wards and medical facilities for the patients at the PIC.

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Two held for hurling death threats at elderly man – 22 Jun 2022

Arrested criminals who had fled abroad were wanted for murder cases

The police arrested the son and grandson of an elderly man for giving death threats to him on Tuesday.

A police spokesman said that an elderly man filed an application with Dhamial Police Station that his wife, daughter-in-law, son Munir and grandson Mujtaba threatened to kidnap and kill him. He added that they wanted to grab his land.

Police, after registering an FIR with Dhamial Police Station, arrested Munir and Mujtaba. SP Saddar appreciated the police team and said that violence against elderly people especially parents and grandparents would not be tolerated. The accused do not deserve any concession, and legal action will be taken against them without any discrimination, he added.

Meanwhile, the police after tireless efforts arrested two most wanted criminals from abroad who were involved in different murder cases.

The arrested criminals who had fled abroad were identified as Waqas and Nadeem wanted in murder cases registered in New Town and Sadiqabad Police Stations.

According to Rawalpindi police spokesman, a police investigation team under the supervision of SSP Investigation Ghazanfar Ali Shah worked tirelessly to trace the accused and arrest them in the UAE, adding that under his supervision Sub-Inspector Muzaffar Iqbal, Head Constable Bilal Qamar and Jahangir Khan went to UAE to arrest the accused.

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