Iqbal’s self-reliance idea need of the hour: CM – 09 Nov 2022

LAHORE: Punjab CM Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has said that the people of Punjab salute the greatness of Allama Muhammad Iqbal as he fulfilled his duty of guiding the Muslims.

In his message, the CM said that Iqbal guided the nation towards its destination under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam and gave a thought-provoking message to the youth through his poetry, the CM added. He said that Allama Iqbal encouraged the youth to live like a ‘shaheen’ while his message of self-reliance is a great favour for the nation. Practicing the philosophy of self-reliance is the best way to express love to Allama Iqbal. Meanwhile, CM cut the cake, along with the Sikhs and religious minority members at a ceremony held at his office to mark the birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak. He said that Rs three million have been allocated for the welfare of the Sikh community.

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Change for the better – 09 Nov 2022

Pakistan is a country that has a plague-like problem of abusing women, including everything from domestic violence to child marriage.

Only recently, the former wife of a much-celebrated actor came out and tweeted about having been subjected to physical and psychological violence during her marriage. She allegedly suffered blunt injuries to her arms, back, and chest – as described in a medical report. The actor denied these allegations but the medical report was clear, showing that even in an economically well-off position, the situation is not too different from the rest.

Domestic violence is rampant in many households in Pakistan. The government had launched a helpline for domestic abuse victims, and reasserted its commitment to ending abuse and protecting women but unfortunately legislative, policy and institutional measures still remain widely unimplemented. According to an estimate, approximately 70-90 per cent of Pakistani women are subjected to domestic violence.

Various forms of domestic violence in the country include physical, emotional, and mental abuse – such as honour killing or ‘karo kari’, spousal abuse like marital rape, acid attacks and being tortured by family members. Spousal abuse is socially rarely considered a crime unless it takes an extreme form of murder which could range from driving a woman to suicide or engineering an accident. According to the Global Database on Violence Against Women, Pakistan ranks as the second worst country when it comes to gender inequality, which includes health and survival, in which Pakistan ranks 143rd.

Another recent case which sparked nationwide outrage was the murder of Noor Mukkadam, and it was very obvious from the details that the murderer Zahir Jaffer fully expected to get away with his crime. Initially, even after such clear brutality, the accused looked for excuses such as lack of proper state of mind. Finally, after being convicted, he was sentenced to death and his co-conspirators sentenced to jail. Getting away with gender violence such as murder is not hard in Pakistan. More than 470 cases of honour killings were reported to police in 2021, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). As the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women approaches, Pakistan’s gender violence issues remain unabated and undeterred through its systematic incapability to deal with it.

Rape is another issue that is unchecked in Pakistan, with many victims being children. As many as 1,170 cases of child sexual abuse, 803 cases of abduction, 212 cases of missing children, and 26 cases of child marriages were reported across the country in the first half of 2022. According to another report, two women are raped every hour in Pakistan, meanwhile the conviction rate remains a shocking 0.2 per cent.

In 2022, about 1,301 cases of sexual violence against women were heard across 44 courts in Pakistan, but only four per cent of the cases went to trial. The media reported about 350 cases in 2022. In 2020, the UNDP ranked Pakistan top among 75 countries with an anti-women bias in courts. Just a few days ago, a minor 8-9-year-old girl was gang raped in Karachi’s Clifton area after being abducted from outside a mall. She was a flood victim belonging to Shikarpur. The persons remain unidentified and so far the police have not been able to arrest them.

According to data by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, around 1,957 incidents of honour killings were reported over the past four years. Around one-fifth of the world’s honour killings are committed in Pakistan (1,000 out of the 5,000 per year total), where the death of the victim is viewed as a way to restore the reputation and honour of the family. Despite legal reforms it still remains a widely committed act. Due to ours being a patriarchal society, male family members are prompted by these ideologies and societal pressure to attack any female family member who may have brought ‘dishonour’ on the family.

Pakistan being ranked so low on the gender inequality index is not a coincidence. Violence against women is ingrained in our society and protected by the weak laws that govern it. The horrifyingly high number of cases of violence demands a change. All of our government institutes and social agencies must be involved to bring about this change in our society once and for all.

The writer is a member of the Sindh Assembly.

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Deaths of disparity – 09 Nov 2022

Medication is a legal right of the people and, therefore, the government has an obligation to provide medicines and good health care facilities to the people. However, in our country, there are great disparities in terms of the health facilities available to people depending on the area in which they live. Most of the good hospitals, clinics and drugstores are found in the urban areas, while the rural areas often have substandard facilities or are deprived of them altogether. This results in many unnecessary deaths, which could have easily been avoided had the patients been living in an urban area.

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No school for tent city children – 09 Nov 2022

Future of 1,000 kids is at stake as schooling slid down priority list

In the midst of a crowd of people, eight-year-old Gulzar Channa was busy drawing a tent on a sheet of paper at a relief camp off Northern Bypass Karachi. For the last three months, he has been living with his parents in the tent city comprising 800 families following the flood ravaged their area in Warah Tehsil of Kamber Shahdadkot district.

He has passion for getting education, but unfortunately his dream is Turing sour as there is no one to help these forsaken people.

“I was studying in Class III when floods washed away our school and village. I want to get education, but there is no school or teacher except for Moulvi sb who teaches us the Holy Quran,” he said, adding that when he insisted, his father got some color pencils, copies and books for him to continue his education.

During the visit to the relief camp named as “Gulshan-e-Syed”, a huge number of children were sitting idle in the tent city located near Umer Brohi Goth.

According to the residents, some officials had visited them a month ago soon after the Sindh education minister’s announcement to set up tent schools in the relief camps of Sindh, but after the survey no one came back to them.

“Our area is still inundated. Almost all crops and houses are damaged. We will go back wherenver water recedes and land becomes ready for cultivation,” Din Mohammad Khoso of KN Shah who lives in the camp said, adding that the future of their children is at stake as they have given up education after the floods.

“We were told that all facilities will be provided to us at the camp. Neither we have drinking water, nor any health facilities. Many women have had their deliveries in this camp,” he said, adding that the people living in the camp go to Sabzi Mandi off M-9 and other areas and work as daily wagers to run their kitchen.

The camp had two makeshift mosques but no school. “Most of the people are extremely poor. How can they afford teachers or tutor salaries. The government and non-governmental organizations should come forward for this cause,” Nadir Hussain, a local activist who occasionally provides food and other necessary stuff to them, said.

The camp falls in UC Songal, sub-division Manghopir. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Mohammad Hassan Taluka Education Officer (TEO) (primary) Gadap Town, said that they had conducted the survey and submitted the report to higher authorities about the number of families, especially children.

“We have counted around 1,000 children among the 800 families living in the camp. They belong to different flood affected districts of Sindh,” he said, adding that 400 to 500 children are between 3 year to 12 years of age.

Talking about his recommendation, he said, “I recommend to the director school, government of Sindh, to establish a “tent city school” in the camp with water, sanitation and electricity arrangement. It’s now up to higher authorities to decide about it,” he remarked.

As the winter approaches, the people have started fearing how they will survive in the tents without proper clothes and blankets. “There are 98 pregnant women in this camp with 12 disabled persons and 150 orphan children,” said Shah Mohammad Channa, who with the help of some philanthropists has started capacity building of women providing them sewing machines.

“We have started this initiative on the advice of a friend living in Chicago, USA who financially helped us. We are selecting some skilled women who will be provided raw material for sewing, so that they can earn some money,” he said, adding that unskilled girls or women will also be trained in stitching and sewing.

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‘Sindh eyes 6-7% economic growth’ – 09 Nov 2022

CM says poverty level will come down; 0.6m jobs will be crated on yearly basis

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the economy of the province has remained under stress which could be assessed from the fact that the poverty ratio has been recorded at 43 per cent with 75.5 per cent in the rural areas.

“My government’s strategy is to grow the economy at the rate of 6-7 per cent, so that over 600,000 jobs could be created every year to bring the poverty graph down, but the strategy has been affected by the floods 0f 2010, 2011, COVID-19 pandemic, and the floods of 2022,” he said while addressing the 35 ASPs including nine females at the 49th Specialised Training Programme/25th Initial Command Course at the CM House.

Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, Commandant National Police Academy AD Khwaja, IG Police Ghulam Nabi Memon, Chairman P&D Hassan Naqvi, Home Secretary Saeed Mangnijo, and PSCM Fayaz Jatoi were also present on the occasion.

Shah said that Sindh was the country’s most urbanised province with Karachi; its capital city being the country’s major financial and trade hub. He added that like the national economic situation, Sindh’s economy has remained under stress for various reasons.

He said that Public Expenditure and Productive Investments were expected to be the major drivers of growth in the province and the country.

Shah said that the recent floods have wreaked havoc on all sectors of the province.

He said that his government, despite natural calamities and other issues, has prioritised the development portfolio such as improving outcome-based human development, social protection and poverty reduction, urban development with a focus on Karachi and other urban centres, launching water and sanitation schemes, improving connectivity and adopting integrated agriculture and water approach.

Talking about governance effectiveness, the chief minister said that his government has undertaken significant reforms to improve the overall ease of doing business environment in the province as its Ease of Doing Business Rankings improved from 128 to 108.

He added that a dedicated ‘Doing Business Reforms Unit’ has been housed in the Investment Department to steer the business-friendly regulatory reforms along with a Sindh Enterprise Development Fund to mobilise resources for Small & Medium Enterprises.

Shah said that the Sindh government has been working to create dedicated special economic zones as models to foster investment and industrial growth through ‘Special Economic Zones Management Company (SEZMC)’.

He added that his government was working with the World Bank on the ‘Pakistan Regulatory Modernisation Initiative’ to simplify regulations for businesses in the province.

The CM said that the COVID-19 pandemic hit the entire globe with many still trying to recover from its impact. “Pakistan was touted as countries with one of the best responses to the pandemic with timely measures spanning across lockdowns, social protection, and proactive public health communications,” he said and added that his government took several initiatives such as creating a dedicated fund, repurposing development portfolio, and public health communication which demonstrated how effective governance could yield desirable results and outcomes.

Talking about Public Private Partnerships, the chief minister said that his government has undertaken significant reforms to leverage ‘public-private partnerships across the infrastructure, production, and social sectors to improve service delivery.

Shah said that the Sindh government has introduced several reforms to improve its tax collection, particularly the devolved ‘Sales Tax on Services’ through Sindh Revenue Board.

He added that the quantum of STS has increased manifold after the devolution from Rs16 billion in 2010 to Rs155 billion in 2021.

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IT companies striving to tap into new frontiers – 09 Nov 2022

Plan to offer services in areas of NFTs, metaverse and Web3

Pakistani companies are endeavouring to offer services in new areas of the internet such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), metaverse and Web3. Systems Limited (SYS), an IT export company, in a recent corporate briefing apprised participants that it had constituted a research team of highly skilled professionals to explore opportunities in NFTs, metaverse and Web3.

“They are exploring these new areas that have opened up recently,” JS Global ICT analyst Waqas Ghani Kukaswadia told The Express Tribune. “SYS through the provision of training to IT experts and non-IT graduates is playing an active role in the development of an ecosystem. The group plans to leverage on a young, tech-savvy population,” he added. “An NFT is a digital asset that binds ownership to a unique item, like a piece of art, real estate, music or movie,” explained SI Global Solutions CEO Noman Ahmed Said.

“NFTs are heralded as collectibles and can be bought and sold over the internet. They primarily serve as a digital evidence of possession of a specific object. NFTs are built on blockchain technology, which is the same technology behind cryptocurrencies and guarantees the uniqueness of each asset. It’s also incredibly difficult to change or counterfeit NFTs because of the way they’re built,” he added. SYS recently announced its financial results for first nine months of calendar year 2022, wherein the company posted a consolidated profit of Rs5.116 billion, up 97% year-on-year.

In the third quarter alone, the company posted a revenue growth of 118% year-on-year, whereas in dollar terms, the revenue grew 60%. Around 750 new IT professionals joined SYS during the nine months, bringing the total number of employees to 6,024. In addition, the average annual revenue contribution per employee stood at $30,000. “Metaverse, on the other hand, is a term that is often synonymous in any discussion involving NFTs.

Metaverse alludes to a technological future, which is dubbed Web3,” said Ahmed. Metaverse is widely regarded as the internet’s next frontier, with the IT industry and other technology giants seeing this as an opportunity for major economic and financial turnovers, he noted. “It is thus incredibly promising to see local institutions exploring and expanding their operations in these fields. Pakistan definitely has cause for celebration in the tech sector but the infrastructure and technology required to house and manage an operation of this nature is something I fear Pakistan lacks, which will consequently restrict imports,”

Ahmed pointed out. NFTs can broaden the reach of metaverse to be employed as a currency that could be used to buy and sell virtual items and get exclusive access. NFTs, like usernames and wallet addresses, are becoming the underlying technology to secure assets in metaverse, he commented.

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Moot urges parents to educate daughters – 09 Nov 2022

LARKANA: Speakers at a seminar on girls’ education said that a people who educated their girls would have educated mothers, who would in turn be instrumental in creating an entire nation of educated citizens.

They were speaking at the seminar titled “Importance and issues of girl’s education” held in I.B. Khuhro High School under the aegis of Sindh Education Foundation on Monday evening.

Ali Akbar Jagirani, regional ombudsman of Larkana who presided over the programme, said that the programme about importance of girl’s education had been launched to create awareness among people and it was being monitored by his office.

He said that a female was no less important in any way than her male counterpart in society, hence, education for both was necessary because a civilised society required equal role of both sections of the population to achieve development and prosperity.

Prof Mukhtiar Ahmed Samo, writer and founder of Knowledge Centre, said that women could prove their mettle in all spheres of life if educated and trained properly, otherwise, the society would be deprived of their talent and potential.

He said that society, home and government had to be streamlined to ensure quality girls’ education. It was not only out of the home that girls faced challenges and harassment but even in many households their male members opposed their girls’ education, he said, adding that the government must provide ample facilities for the provision of education to girls if it was serious to meet targets of female education.

Prof Abdul Waheed Chandio, director of Private Schools Management, said that it was a misconception to believe that education was aimed at achievement of government service. “We have to make people understand that education is not meant for creating servants but producing well educated and trained citizens who could play a positive role in society,” he said.

The main purpose of education was reformation of society and girls’ education ensured well educated and trained females who could contribute effectively to the progress and wellbeing of society, he said.

Ahmed Ali Soomro, assistant commissioner, said that women and men were like two hands. “If the simple function of clapping cannot be done with one hand then how can societies achieve development by completely ignoring female section of population,” he said, urging parents to send their girls to schools.

Mushtaque Soomro, regional director of Sindh Education Foundation Larkana, said that SEF had been endeavouring hard to make available educational facilities in backward areas and focusing on promotion of girls’ education.

The speakers discussed in detail the issues of general inequality in education, out of school children, dropout challenges, dearth of secondary schools for girls, distance to schools, lack of amenities, lack of availability of female teachers and poverty.

Dr Rehana, Ms Anam Shaikh, principal of ZABTech Larkana, Izhar Khokhar, Mohammad Saleh Khuhro and Junaid Dehar also spoke at the programme.

Students also delivered speeches and staged tableaus which highlighted issues being faced by girls in acquisition of education.

A science exhibition was also held on the sidelines of the seminar in which models depicting different concepts of science were put on display.

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Woman dies in car accident – 09 Nov 2022

LAHORE: A 24-year-old woman, identified as Maryam, a resident of Sahiwal, was killed and the driver injured when a speeding car rammed into a pole in the limits of Kahna police on Tuesday.

Police said that the woman along with her husband was on her way in a car and the accident happened due to high speed. Rivals kill man: A 45-year-old man, identified as Shabir, was killed and his nephew was injured by their opponents in Nishtar Colony police area on Tuesday.

The injured nephew identified as Safdar, 17 was admitted to a local hospital. Shabir and his nephew were going to the court when their opponents opened fire, as a result Shabir was killed and Safdar sustained a wound to his arm.

Robber arrested: Dolphin Squad arrested a robber, who shot and injured a citizen on resistance during a robbery in Mughalpura police area on Tuesday. Two robbers injured a citizen Faqeer Hussain while looting money at gun point and rode away. The Dolphin Squad intercepted them near Beijing Underpass and arrested a robber while his accomplice managed to escape. Police recovered a pistol from the robber and handed over him to Mughalpura police.

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SHC issues notices regarding billboards, hoardings – 09 Nov 2022

Hearing was held before a two-member bench headed by Justice Irfan Saadat Khan on the request to become a party

Sindh High Court has issued notices to Ministry of Interior, Government of Sindh, Director Military Land, all Cantonments, KMC, DMCs and others on the request to become parties regarding billboards and hoardings.

A hearing was held before a two-member bench headed by Justice Irfan Saadat Khan on the request to become a party related to billboards and hoardings.

Barrister Farhan Ali Shah, counsel for the petitioner private company, submitted that our company’s agreement with KMC is in accordance with the rules and by-laws. These rules and by-laws were framed after the 2019 orders of the Supreme Court. In the orders of 2019, the Supreme Court had said, “While rules are made, the convenience of the people and environmental protection should be taken into account.”

Barrister Farhan mentioned, “My client has pedestrian bridges, if advertisements are placed there by taking into consideration the public convenience and safety, will those be demolished as well?”

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Students protest closure of Waziristan college – 09 Nov 2022

Girls who passed their matric exam can’t study further due to the non-availability of a college

Girl students of Government Girls Degree College Wana, Lower Waziristan tribal district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) on Tuesday staged a protest demonstration, demanding the opening of the degree college which is closed for the past two years.

The protesters demanded of the district administration and provincial government to take notice of the large number of staff drawing salaries without performing their duty and said that those girls who passed their matric exam can’t study further due to the non-availability of a college.

They said that there were hundreds of girls who were interested in higher education but could not follow their dream due to the closure of college without any valid reason.

They alleged that the district administration and provincial government was equally responsible in this regard and they were denying local girls their birth right.

These girl students said that extremism could only be contained by educating local youth but the provincial government and the education department had a different agenda instead.

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