Objections to transgender persons law dismissed as `baseless` – 23 Sep 2022

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday formally addressed the controversy brewing over the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, defending the law as being in accordance with the demands of the transgender community.

Separately, a cabinet subcommittee decided to probe allegations of sexual misconduct againstformerNationalAccountability Bureau chief Javed Iqbal.

Addressing a joint press conference with PPP`s QamarZaman Kaira, who serves as adviser to the prime minister on Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, on the Transgender Rights Act, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar dismissed the allegations that the law had opened the doors for homosexuality and that it was against Islamic injunctions, describing these objections as `baseless`.

The law was enacted by parliament in 2018 to provide legal recognition to transgender persons. It enshrines transgender persons` equal rights to education, basic health facilities, the right to af firm their transgender identity on ID cards and passports, as well as the right to vote in and contest elections.

Some religious parties, however, have since been of the opinion that the law gives legal protection to homosexuality.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) recently became a party to acase assailing the law in the Federal Shariat Court (FSC), while Maulana Fazlur Rahman of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl), a key ally of the federal government, has termed the law as `against the teachings of Islam`.

Mr Tarar recalled during the press conference that the bill had been passed by the Senate and the National Assembly in 2018inthepresenceofbothrehgious and political leaders. He noted that all political parties, including the PML-N, PPP, PTI, and others, had accorded their approvaltoitin 2018.

The law minister noted that the JI`s Senator Mushtaq had proposed amendments to the law to prevent its misuse. Mr Tarar conceded that there might be some loopholes in the law and said there could be a possibility that certain sections of it could be misused.

However, the law ministerstressed that transgender persons are also human beings, and the legislation was meant to protect their rights,including inheritance, education, employment, health, and purchase of a property. He further noted that abusingtransgender persons byforcing them to beg had been made punishable under the law.

Mr Tarar said the opinion of the chairman of the Council for Islamic Ideology had been sought with regard to the Transgender Rights Act.

The matter remained under discussion in parliament, he said. The government is also awaiting the outcome of two petitions filed in the FSC and will welcome and implement the court`s directions.

He slammed critics for twisting the matter and claiming that the law was encouraging homosexuality.

He then outlined the various provisions of the law, starting offwith the definition of a transgender person. He contended that `nowhere in the law does it say that any person can be a transgender themselves`.

Mr Kaira echoed Mr Tarar in noting that the law was not new andhad beenpassedin2018.

`There is no need to create a hue and cry over it. These days, social media has become a platform for fake news, and it is being used to create polarisation in the country,` he said.

He said that the categorisation of gender in the law was `if anything, a way forward`.

He further said that he supports Senator Mushtaq`s amendments to the bill. He said one should refrain from disgracing any person in the name of criticism.

Probe against ex-NAB chief Separately, a subcommittee of the federal cabinet headed by Law Minister Tarar decided toconvene an in-camera session to probe the allegations of sexual harassment against the chairman of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, retired Justice Javed Iqbal.

The committee had convened its meeting to deliberate upon issues related to enforced disappearances.

The participants included Mr Tarar, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Minister for Science and Technology Agha Hassan Baloch, Federal Minister Shazia Atta Mari, and retired judges Fazalur Rehman and Zia Pervaiz.

Mr Iqbal appeared before the committee to apprise it of the performance of the commission.

The committee informed the chairman that families of missing persons had expressed dissatisfaction with the commission.

The chairman was subsequently asked to submit a performance report for the past 10 years.Some members of the committee inquired from Mr Iqbal about the allegations that he sexually harassed a woman who had lodged a complaint for the recovery of her loved ones. Mr Iqbal denied the allegations.

However, the committee has decided to proceed with the matter in in-camera proceedings.

It may be mentioned that the issue had recently been highlighted when Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif appeared before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) during the hearing of the missing persons case.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah had pointed out the poor performance of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances and the alleged objectionable conduct of its chairman, adding that the families of missing persons had divulged disturbing details about both the commission and Mr Iqbal.

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Two held for gang-rape, murder of minor boy – 23 Sep 2022

MUZAFFARGARH: Police on Thursday registered a case and arrested two men who allegedly kidnapped a nine-yearold boy and killed him after gang-rape at Jatoi Tehsil near Jallo Saho Mor.

Reports said Ameer Moavia, a class-H student at a government school, went missing two days back and later he was found murdered in fields.

The medical examination confirmed the boy was raped.

District Police Officer Ahmad Nawaz Shah formed a team which traced suspect Farhan through latest technology and took him into custody. During investigation, Farhan told the police that he along with Waseem kidnapped the boy. He said they killed the boy after gang-rape and threw him in fields.

MEETING: A delegation of Anjuman Tajran Muzaffargarh held a meeting with District Police Officer Ahmed Nawaz Shah at Police Ofhce on Thursday andapprised him of their problems.

The DPO asked the traders to improve the CCTV surveillance which can help control crime to a great extent.

The DPO said: `People involved in business activities are a valuable asset and it is our primary responsibility to provide a peaceful environment and police will ensure maintenance of law and order in society.

He said if any complaint about harassment of a businessperson or trader is received, strict action would be taken without delay and no negligence or laziness would be tolerated.

He asked police officials to meet regularly with the business organisations of the city and provide them with all possible support while improving the security and traffic management issues in major marl(ets through effective supervision.

The DPO told the businessmen that patrolling hours of sensitive areas are being extended along with action plan to prevent street crime.

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Miranda Warning – 23 Sep 2022

EATINGS, rape, sleep deprivation, electric shocks, even waterboarding the Punjab Police is notorious for employing a gamut of torture tactics while `interrogating` suspects.

Individuals in custody inevitably those without money or influence are barely considered human beings, let alone citizens with constitutionally protected rights. As a result, many are left broken in body and spirit after being detained by law enforcement; some succumb to the brutality. In this sordid environment, where violation of the right to due process is routine, the police leadership has introduced a pilot project in Faisalabad district modelled af ter the `Miranda Warning` as practised in the US since 1966. In that country, cops are bound to communicate the Miranda Warning/ Rights to individuals when taking them into custody. These inform the accused person that they have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer self-incriminating questions. The impetus behind adopting the procedure in Faisalabad, according to a senior police official quoted in this paper yesterday, is to address the practice of custodialtorture and deaths.

Faisalabad is certainly an appropriate place to launch such a project.

A study conducted by Yale University and the Justice Project Pakistan on 1,867 medico-legal certificates dated between 2006 and 2012 from the district, confirmed 1,424 allegations of police torture with physical evidence. Yet not a single case, by the time the findings were made public in 2015, had been investigated or the cops responsible prosecuted. This impunity indicates a sociocultural acceptance of torture as a legitimate means of investigating crime. While the move to introduce the practice of Miranda Warning/ Rights constitutes at least an acknowledgment of the rights of people in custody and is a shift in the correct direction, it will likely prove insufficient to tip the scales to any significant degree. Torture is endemic because it stems from a particular mindset shaped by an authoritarian subculture within law enforcement; also, the politics of policing are premised on the institutional weakness of law-enforcement agencies. Perhaps most crucially, torture is yet to be expressly criminalised in Pakistan.

There is no mention of it in the PPC or the CrPC. While the Police Order 2002, under which the Punjab Police functions, does stipulate penalties against police officers who inflict `violence or torture` upon anyone in their custody, there is no definition of torture, which is a critical omission. Lawmakers must step up to make torture unacceptable, with severe repercussions for those who resort to it.

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Special children – 23 Sep 2022

HATS of f to all special children and their parents. I hold them in great admiration, the first for their patience in facing their challenges uncomplainingly, and the second for giving unconditional love and care to their special offspring, seeking absolutely nothing in return.

Hats off also to the United Nations and those members who signed the two international human rights agreements that give special children special rights. They are the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). That would include Pakistan as well which has signed and ratified the two conventions.

I must add my very strong reservations here. On both occasions, when the two instruments were signed it was a PPP government that was in of fice and that took the initiative though its implementation record on this score has been dismal. It doesn`t absolve other parties who neglect the duties the conventions impose on all signatories. In such matters, it is the state that becomes accountable and it is shameful that children are the most neglected section of our population, irrespective of which party is in power.

To the great distress and disappointment of the parents of special children and their compatriots, these conventions have never provided the relief they were expected to.

Both conventions make special mention of the special child. Thus Article 23 of the convention on child rights states that all children with mental or physical disability will enjoy the right to full participation in the life of their community. It makes it mandatory for states to extend assistance to those who care for special children and their parents in order to facilitate the children`s access to their rights and so that their dignity is not violated.

The CRPD, too, recognises the need to adjust to the needs of special children as they grow physically. It speaks about adapting facilities to the physical needs of a growing child. Hence demanding more from our government is not unreasonable. It is the responsibility of the state to observe the commitments it had made by virtue of signing and ratifying human rights instruments.

There is a diverse variety of disabilities that are found in children all over the world and medical science has yet to discover the reasons for many of them. Hence it is not even possible to adopt preventive measures.

Broadly, disabilities can be classified into two groups. Some special children can be helped somewhat by being provided training and guidance to become self-reliant in fulfilling their own personal needs so that they are not totally dependent on others. Butthere are others whose disorders are so serious that they are beyond such assistance.

They are utterly dependent on their carers who are generally their parents with limited means. It is the families of special children in the second category who need support financial and in terms of f acilities.

I personally know of parents with special children who suffer both financially and emotionally. I feel that this negligence on the part of the government is simply unforgivable. The victims of this official callousness and neglect are invariably the innocent young ones who do not have a voice and are thus doubly handicapped.

Take the case of Mahira (not her real name), the daughter of a friend of modest means, who suffers from microcephaly issues that have not allowed her brain to develop normally. As a result, she is mentally challenged. On account of autonomic neuropathy, her body functions are alsoaffected. Her sweat glands do not work and she has no pain sensation in her extremities. Her self-hitting disorder over which she has no control is another challenge. Mah-ira needs constant supervision while she is awake, and she needs an air-conditioned environment if her body temperature is to be regulated.

Those who have cared for such children will understand how agonising it can be to have a special child suffering from such symptoms. The emotional stress the parents live with is bad enough. On top of that, for Mahira`s family, the electricity bill itself has become a big issue as the KE jacks up electricity charges regularly.

How can those managing the country help in such cases? In many ways. A programme on the pattern of the BISP and Ehsaas could be started to provide some financial support for such children. In cases where special facilities such as electricity/ gas are needed, concessions can be earmarked on utility bills for families of special children. All this is not difficult to organise since Nadra has a column for people with disabilities that should be able to identif y special children.

There is also a need to create public awareness about special children. It is not God`s wrath being visited on parents for past sins. This is a message that must be delivered to all sections of society. www.zubeidamustafa.com

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Extreme heat – 23 Sep 2022

Extreme heat killed Tule Lake in the northeast corner of Siskiyou County in northern California. “The story of Tule Lake is one of loss. Farmers in the area are idling croplands. Workers are moving out. This once wetland for millions of migrating birds is a lonelier area.”

The death of Tule Lake resurrects the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Bad agricultural practices triggered violent drought and dust storms. Those bad practices in agriculture, industry, transportation, forests, fishing, and war, have made the Dust Bowl permanent the world over. We are witnessing the spread of a monoculture of ecocide and death. Warming the entire planet has gigantic consequences. Extreme heat is simply the tip of a melting iceberg.

Even the permafrost is thawing. A recent study warned of a colossal release of frozen carbon dioxide. The arctic permafrost is full of carbon dioxide:

“Arctic permafrost stores nearly 1,700 billion metric tons of frozen and thawing carbon. Anthropogenic warming threatens to release an unknown quantity of this carbon to the atmosphere… Abrupt thaw… could emit a substantial amount of carbon to the atmosphere rapidly (days to years), mobilizing the deep legacy carbon sequestered in [the Arctic] Yedoma. Carbon dioxide emissions are proportionally larger than other greenhouse gas emissions in the Arctic… Increasingly frequent wildfires in the Arctic will also lead to a notable but unpredictable carbon flux…”

Extreme heat is part of this slow but steady disintegration. It has been showing up in prominent ways – for decades.

Extreme heat visited California in 2020, right when the pandemic was shutting down the state and the country. Reporters for the Los Angeles Times painted Southern California in colors of orange, glowing ember, and smoldering purple:

“For more than three weeks in 2020, back-to-back heat waves settled over the Southwest, claiming dozens of lives and leaving tens of millions of people sweltering in triple-digit temperatures. The days brought suffering and the nights offered little relief. On maps of the record heat, Southern California glowed like an ember, its normally temperate coast shaded orange, its inland cities and desert towns a deep, smoldering purple.”

The state of California, however, has ignored the dangers and deaths from intense heat. “Each year, extreme heat kills more Americans than any other climate-fueled hazard, including hurricanes, floods and wildfires, but it gets far less attention because it kills so quietly,” reported the Los Angeles Times in 2020.

Thinking about anything extreme is unpleasant. War, fires, tornadoes, floods, and other disasters are faces of extreme reality. Extreme heat is part of that reality. Human mind avoids such confrontations. But climate chaos is increasing those tragic confrontations.

I remember the days of extreme heat I lived through in the last several years. A wave of searing daily temperature of about 110 to 112 degrees Fahrenheit warned me to stay inside my air-conditioned home.

Air conditioners, however, are not the answer for fighting extreme heat. They are machines that break down. They rely on Earth-harming chemicals to cool the air. They are powered by electricity largely produced by fossil fuels. They have a “very real and harmful impact on the planet.”

Air conditioners or not, extreme heat is here to stay. It happened with intense ferocity in 2020 and 2021 and in early September 2022. It was difficult being outside. I rushed to the college library at eight in the morning. But returning home around one in the afternoon was a struggle. The very warm air and hot Sun engulfed me like hot water in the swimming pool, making breathing uncomfortable, nay dangerous. This climate warning lasted about two weeks.

“As is the case for many of California’s biggest climate challenges – think of wildfires and the drought – extreme heat is likely to become a permanent fixture of life, and communities are scrambling to adapt.”

But how can one adapt to danger verging on death? The temperatures of extreme heat next year and after are certain to be higher than 112 degrees Fahrenheit.

California can fight climate chaos with green farming and public transportation

Belatedly, Governor Newsom of California said, “California is taking aggressive action to combat the climate crisis and build resilience in our most vulnerable communities, including a comprehensive strategy to protect Californians from extreme heat. With lives and livelihoods on the line, we cannot afford to delay.”

But I don’t see anything “aggressive” in California in fighting climate chaos. Agribusiness as usual gulps down 80 percent of our scarce drinking water for producing crops for countless chicken, hogs, and cattle on the menu. Animal farms slaughter millions of these sick animals every year for Californians addicted to meat. These animal farms, and the rest of industrialized agriculture, however, are gigantic factories of greenhouse gases warming the planet and boosting extreme heat.

Another source of extreme heat is your beloved automobile, which Newsom ignores. Waves of large petroleum-powered cars clog our streets and poison our air as if we still lived in the 1960s. Why is Governor Newsom not acting against so obvious a threat and harm? He could order car manufacturers to immediately stop producing these dangerous machines. He can also order them to stop selling them in California.

Alternatives exist. Electric cars, small electric cars. We should not allow the development of large electric cars (sports utility vehicles). But, above all, Newsom needs to fund public transportation: buses, trams, crisscrossing towns and cities, and trains and bullet trains. In fact, if he wants to make a difference, spend his political capital in rebuilding public transportation – and make it free.

The only time I rode a bullet train was in my last visit to China in 2019. Why is the bullet train in China but not in California/America? Are the Chinese better with advanced technology or care more about the public good than Americans? Can Newsom answer this question?

Excerpted: ‘Extreme Heat’.

Courtesy: Counterpunch.org

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Compelling businesses to safeguard human rights – 23 Sep 2022

Consumers in Pakistan should exercise their purchasing power to nudge businesses to respect human rights & environment

Businesses, big and small, are primarily motivated by the desire to maximise profits for entrepreneurs and for their shareholders. While higher tiers of management are well rewarded for efficiency and the ability to deliver profits, workers who are vital to the production of goods and provision of services don’t get to enjoy the fruit of their labour.

While labour gets paid modest wages generally, labour exploitation is rife in lower rungs of the supply chain, such as in the informal sector where much of the economic activity takes place in poorer countries like Pakistan. The informal sector provides employment and skill building opportunities to millions of Pakistanis. Yet, ensuring worker rights in a sector which is neither documented nor regulated is very elusive.

In fact, protecting labour rights, ensuring occupational health and safety, and preventing gender discrimination remain a challenge even within the formal sector. In addition to providing taxes, the formal sector is meant to be regulated to ensure that workers are treated fairly, and increasingly to alleviate environmental degradation. However, the inspection mechanisms in a country like ours leave much to be desired. Provincial labour departments are unable to ensure compliance with existing laws. Labour inspections are also infrequent and often superficial.

Corruption, inefficiency and the lack of adequate resources within the labour department, and the public sector more generally, is only one side of the problem. The other aspect of this problem, which gets even lesser attention, is the desperation of cash-starved countries to entice local and international manufacturers to invest in the economy, which often occurs by allowing regulatory mechanisms to remain lax instead of making them more vigilant.

In countries where the informal sector comprises a major proportion of the economy, labour rights need to be extended to all workers, not just those in the formal sector. There is an intrinsic connection between the formal and informal sector. In the garment industry, for example, the need to respect workers’ rights should not end at the factory gate. Basic labour and human rights need to be extended to the cotton fields where poor sharecroppers and daily waged agri-workers toil to produce cotton used by factories to make garments. Dyeing and many other processes of garment production are also subcontracted to the informal sector where there is no regulation. The same is true for many other industries which produce goods by the joint efforts of workers in the formal and informal sectors.

International agencies like the WTO, the World Bank, and the UN system need to increase pressure on multinational corporations to ensure labour and environmental standards in their supply chains or else the so-called race to the ‘bottom of the barrel’ will continue amongst poor countries desperate to attract FDI.

With assistance from UNDP, Pakistan has recently formulated an action plan on business and human rights. This plan will have to contend with complex ground realities and evolve over time to prevent human rights violations resulting from varied business activities. Taking adequate remedial measures in cases where such violations are found will be a major challenge as well. Civil society and the media can help operationalise this ambitious action plan by creating awareness about it, and by highlighting instances where violations are found.

The public at large has a vital role to play in holding businesses accountable for respecting the basic rights of their workers, and for paying heed to the environment. Ordinary customers in Pakistan also need to know they can exert vital influence on businesses — by exercising their purchasing power by rewarding or penalising businesses based on their evident treatment of workers or due to their environmental record. This sort of consumer pressure has compelled businesses to become more labour friendly and sustainable in the West, and it is high time that consumers became savvy enough to compel businesses to do the same in countries like our own.

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COP27: looking into prevalent climate disparity among nations – 23 Sep 2022

Pakistan has received 2.87% more rainfall than the average with more than 33 million people stand affected

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ underpinning words delivered at the Glasgow Conference of Parties (COP26) were enchanting: “Young people know it [global climate change], every country sees it, small and developing states and the other vulnerable ones live it.”

The last sentence underscores the overall climate discourse today. Around 197 countries participated in the COP26 and most of them ‘updated’ their pledges to fund the developing countries.

The imperative aspect of all climate conferences, initiated in 1994, has been the pledge made at COP15 in 2009 by the world leaders — to aid the developing countries to cope with climate change impacts. The wealthiest nations pledged to dole out aid to the poorer countries, taking it 100-billion-dollar mark from 2020 onwards.

Despite this, the developing countries have witnessed world powers drifting away from the promise, compounding the climate woes in developing countries.

Take Pakistan for instance. Despite being a meager contributor — just one per cent — to the global GHG emissions, Pakistan stands highly susceptible to climate change impacts. The recent monsoon has wreaked havoc across the country which has received 2.87% more rainfall than the average. More than 33 million people stand affected while nearly 1,500 have been killed and as many more injured.

Though Pakistan has submitted its renewed nationally determined contribution (NDC) document, showing a resolve to convert its 30% transportation into electrical as part of a policy to shift to clean energy and cutting off its 60% dependence on fossil fuel on way to adopting renewable energy resources. This Pakistan intends to achieve in 30 years. However, bridging the determined intension and the practical shift seems to be a distant reality since the country is going through serious economic hardships, compounded by extreme weather events that have inflicted a huge economic loss on the country estimated locally at $40 billion.

Now that the road to COP27 is set, there are two parts of the problem to delve into in order to ensure that vulnerable countries achieve maximum immunity against climate-related catastrophes. First, the wealthiest nations must fulfil their financing pledge made at COP15. Once the financial aid starts flowing in, the second task would be to stick to a formula of using half the funds for mitigation and half for climate adaptation. This is one of the integral and crucial aspects of financial support earmarked during COP15 in 2009.

Unfortunately, this balance has not been maintained; and 75% funds aim at mitigation plans while merely 25% for climate adaptation. Developing countries like Pakistan need to increase spending on climate adaptation given the fact that rapid shift to renewable energy remains a Herculean task and might take decades since the country stands at economic crossroads. On the other hand, climate adaptation plans might be cost-effective and can be implemented more reliably and efficiently than the former.

The COP26 remains an integral part of the climate change discourse that vividly highlights the climate communication gap between the developed and developing nations. The Third World countries have been hanging between the climate effects and lack of awareness about the looming threats of the rapidly changing climate. A report released by the Yale Programme on Climate Change Communication in 2015 revealed perplexing results. According to the study, 65% adults in developing countries were unaware of the climate change; and a few people, in general, were aware of it compared to 90% of those living in developed countries.

The COP27 must adhere to commitments made to finance developing countries. And once the developing countries have a hand on it, they have to make sure half the funds are spent on climate adaption along with ensuring that climate change education makes inroads into the education systems of the all developing countries, as bridging the climate communication gap is also crucial to achieve climate mitigation and adaptation goals.

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Why is climate change so devastating for us … – 23 Sep 2022

Forests over large areas with their own ecological impact disrupt weather patterns in their formation

But, not so for India? Give it a thought. They too are impacted by the same phenomenon in the same region and in the same period. Monsoons in fact make their way into Pakistan a month later than their advent in India — officially mid-June. And what we get and where we get in terms of the rainfall is greatly dependent on a large weather pattern which originates in Indian Rajasthan and the adjoining Pakistani region of Sindh and South Punjab but only after Monsoons have dispensed most of their load in India and if they still have some juice left in them. Usually, only a strong enough wave will make it to the western reaches of Pakistan. (Monsoons rain far more heavily in eastern parts of Pakistan than say Rawalpindi and rarely in Peshawar). Essentially the kicker of the pattern though is how deep is the Low in Rajasthan.

There is lot more to it for those who need to know more in how the Frontal Lows from the west augment the disturbance or how the very high altitude inter-tropical convergence zone interacts with the Polar mass. But leave that to the experts. For most of us this year all possible patterns intermingled to give us the deluge that we could count as a boon if we knew how to manage and control the impact or bane if we remain at the mercy of nature without the understanding or wherewithal to handle the floods we are reeling under. We though must view it from the angle of climate change and how may its adversity be mitigated.

Here is a simpler explanation: if you have ever lived on the Prairies — vast open grasslands without a tree in between for miles — you would notice a pattern of repeated Tornadoes which slice through miles of land and cause severe damage to crops, lives and infrastructure. The American mid-West, home to a long, never-ending stretch of a prairie, is one such area where the Tornadoes are most frequent and devastate large swathes. Its origin is in a very local low pressure on the surface which builds in intensity as it travels on land since nothing is in its way to disrupt its formation. With no developed structures, buildings as in cities — population centres are sparse and spread out — and not a tree or a hill in between for miles at end the phenomenon only picks up more speed, laterally and circularly within it, reaching hundreds of miles per hour with the consequence of widespread destruction in its path. It finally fizzles out when it is spent with ground friction or against physical installations which will act to break up its structure. Stopping or disrupting the cycle of formation of such weather patterns is the first intervention which human genius can and should make to avoid large scale devastation.

Forests over large areas with their own ecological impact disrupt weather patterns in their formation and leave their own neutralising effect when a phenomenon moves to gain momentum and intensity. Heat lows that are common in hotter regions can be tempered by such green developments. Pakistan has the highest deforestation rate in the world. Since 1947 forest cover has reduced from 33 per cent to just 5 per cent and continues to reduce at the rate of 1-2 per cent every year with the increase in population. Without a planned mitigation with a well-anticipated replacement strategy denudation can only spell bigger disasters including the loss of topsoil which is blown away. In comparison India retains a forest cover over 22 per cent of its land.

So while the Monsoon pattern over India this year was exactly the same, rather sharper because it must travel across India to make it to Pakistan, the augmentation factors were far less in India than they were in Pakistan. This will always remain true whenever extreme weather patterns take shape since mitigation that India inherently and so consciously has kept in place will save it against the severity of extreme climate and its destructive effect. Pakistan in comparison has only paid abysmal attention and lacks the mechanisms for mitigation against increasing phenomenon of extreme weather. It may still be time to make amends. Forthwith, we must plant trees in billions over large dedicated swathes to save our future generations from the plight of extremes in climate change if we indeed hope to survive as a civilisation.

Onto another mitigation and control strategy. The entire South Asian region is home to two of the world’s largest river systems and the largest collection of glaciers outside of the polar regions. These provide one of the biggest stocks of fresh-water supply to feed the billions that live on both sides of the Himalayas and the Karakorams, two of the world’s longest and highest mountain ranges. The Indus and the Brahmaputra, both originating in the Himalayas and traversing through Tibet, India and Pakistan, and Tibet, China, India and Bangladesh respectively get their supply from those glaciers. When the temperatures are hotter the glaciers melt faster and become the source of added water in the rivers. Compounded by seasonal rains, especially when they are heavy because of climatic change and extreme weather the deluge becomes impossible to manage. It spills beyond the capacity of most waterways and become the floods which destroy habitation, flora and fauna. Deprivation, poverty and inaccessibility to means to survive become rampant and disease takes over. Biblical accounts mention of entire civilisations being washed away by monstrous floods.

Brahmaputra has series of large dams built on it by China, India and Bangladesh. India has built numerous small and big dams on the Indus and Indus tributaries, Chenab and Jhelum even though it flows in a much longer trajectory in Pakistan. We have sadly been sitting by idly making noise which was mostly misplaced and rhetorical. As a consequence Pakistan’s live storage capacity which was 16.26 million acre feet is now reduced to around 13 MAF only which caters to only 30 days of water supply for the entire nation. India has a carryover capacity for 170 days in comparison and Egypt 700 days. What was a 5000 cubic meter per capita water availability in 1947 is now below 900 thrusting us into water scarce nations; a nightmare for an agriculture-based economy. We can store only 10 per cent of the water that comes our way in the rivers. The rest is lost to the sea or wasted away in frivolous consumption.

Dams store water and provide electricity. These also control, manage and channelise water in the courses that Pakistan was lucky to inherit from the British. The largest canal-based irrigation system in Punjab and the rest of the country is live storage which remains unused through efficient utilisation by channelising excess water as was available this year. More dams and more canals would double this capacity but has remained unattended in policy prioritisation for their long gestation periods. Politicians instead prefer areas sourcing instant political return. India in comparison was saved the wrath because of better conception and understanding of the phenomena and its levers of control and management.

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Peshawar resident remanded over sister-in-law`s murder – 20 Sep 2022

PESHAWAR: A local court on Monday remanded a man suspected of killing his sister-in-law to three-day police custody.

Samiullah was arrested on Sunday night on charges of murdering his sisterin-law, Sumera, 25, on Sept 14, for refusing to marry his brother.

Sumera`s decomposed body was found from Jani Khawar area of Badhbher on Sept 16, sparking a protest in the area.The police presented the suspect before judicial magistrate Sanaullah, seeking his physical custody for further investigation into the case.

On Friday, residents of Badhbher had closed the Kohat Road for several hours in protest against the murder, and demanded arrest of the killer(s) after the body was found.

Separately, addressing a press conference at the Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines, SSP operations Kashif Aftab Abbasi said that the suspect wanted his sister-in-law to marry his younger brother, Hamza Khan. However, the woman rejected the proposal, he said, adding the man murdered her to avenge the refusal.

Mr Abbasi said that the suspect had picked up the woman from a seminary, where she taught, and taken her to Jani Khawar, where he opened fire on her, and later strangulated her.

Besides, he said that the suspect had also tortured the woman.

DSP Abbasi said that the suspect was identified from the CCTV foot-age picking up the woman from her madrassah. The vehicle was borrowed by him from another local on the pretext of taking f amily members to somewhere.

He said the police also used geo-fencing to arrest the suspect.

He said that the man had hidden the body in the bushes in a deserted area, which was discovered about two days later.-Bureau report

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Court orders fresh probe into DHA high-rise death case – 20 Sep 2022

KARACHI: A judicial magistrate has returned the interim charge sheet in a case pertainingtothe death of a man who fell from a high-rise building in Defence Housing Authority.

The court directed the SSP-Investigation to appoint a `diligent police officer` not below the rank of DSP to carry out `further investigation` into the incident.

Six friends Syed Muhammad Ammar, Usman Ahmed, Owais, Uzair Ahmed, Ahmed Jamil and Syed Faaz have been booked and arrested over the alleged death of their 26-year-old friend, Adil Masood Khan, on July 31.

Last week, the investigating officer, Abdul Rahim, filed a charge sheet before Judicial Magistrate (South) Mazhar Ali recommending all the detained suspects to be tried for allegedly committing manslaughter of the victim as punishable under Section 322 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Announcing its decision on the charge sheet, the court observed that the IO did not properly investigate the case and, therefore, it needed to be investigated further.

The magistrate pointed out that prosecution witness Syed Tahir Hussain Zaidi, who is the administrative head of the residential project in DHA, in his statement recorded to the police stated that he upon checking the CCTV footage found out that the deceased fell from the building, but, the IO failed to collect the footage from him.

`IO did not even bother to mention the name of PW [prosecution witness] Syed Tahir Hussain Zaidi in the list of calendar witnesses in the charge sheet. It would not be out of place to mention here that the security system of the project must be above standard and there must be CCTV cameras covering each corner of the building but IO has collected only CCTV footage of entrance and exit of the accused persons,` added the magistrate.

`The IO didn`t bother to collect footage of other CCTV cameras covering the place of incident from different angles,` the court said.

The magistrate said that the deceased had allegedly fallen from the 17th floor but the IO failed to mention whether there was any obstruction between the said floor and the ground where he fell as he had received an injury on the right thigh. `The entire case file is silent in respect of the posture, in which the dead body was found by the police, which is material fact of the case. Besides, the IO had not mentioned the height of the balcony,` the court added. The magistrate directed the SSP to appoint a diligent police of ficer to carry out `further investigation` into the incident and submit the investigation report.

A case was registered under Sections 322 (manslaughter) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Darakhshan police station on the complaint of the victim`s sister Varda Masood.

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