IHC resumes hearing on appeals in Noor murder case – 01 Dec 2022

Counsel says convict Zahir Jaffer was not mentally fit to stand trial

A division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday formally resumed hearing on identical appeals in the Noor Muqqadam murder case. When IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Sardar Ijaz Ishaq Khan took up the appeals for hearing, Usman Khosa, the counsel for Zahir Jaffer — who is in prison on death row after he was found guilty of murdering Noor Muqqadam — said that of the 12 accused, who stood trial in the murder case, only three were convicted while the nine others were acquitted.

He said Jaffer’s mental health was never checked which was against his fundamental rights. He said that the convict filed a plea for a mental examination but it was dismissed. To this, IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq remarked that every judgment has its own background in criminal law. Usman Khosa posed a question if Zahir Jaffer was provided the right to a fair trial.

He said that the trial court gave a copy of the challan to Zahir Jafar but he did not sign it. He said that the trial court reported receiving a medical report from the jail but it (the court) did not specify what was written in the medical report.

He said that Zahir Jafar’s mental condition was never examined at any stage of the trial but the Supreme Court has ruled that if the issue of mental health was detected at any point, a medical examination becomes mandatory. It is a fact that no medical board was established for his medical examination, the counsel for the convict said.

Plaintiff Shaukat Muqqadam’s lawyer Shah Khawar said that the convict had filed a petition seeking mental examination, but his plea was dismissed. The trial court handed down a comprehensive order in this regard, he said. Zahir Jaffer’s lawyer said the plaintiff and his family, as well as the police officers, were present at the scene of the incident before the First Information Report [FIR] was filed according to the cross-examination.

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Man kills self after severing wife’s head – 01 Dec 2022

Couple had been having frequent domestic disputes lately

A man severed his wife’s head with an axe. Later, he went out and jumped himself in front of a train, the Jaffar Express, which had been en route to Quetta from Peshawar.

The incident happened within the limits of the Kasowal Police Station. Manzoor Ahmed, a resident of 117/12-L, a neighboring village of Chichawatani, used to have frequent fights with his wife. He had a daughter and a son, who are both married.

Last night, Manzoor Ahmad killed his wife Jannat Bibi and committed suicide by jumping onto the track near 117 Bara L where the oncoming Jaffar Express crushed him under its wheels.

Kasowal Police Station after taking necessary action shifted the bodies to the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Chichawatani for autopsy. Umar Farooq, the son of the deceased, said in his statement before the police that he had been sleeping in his room when he heard his mother screaming.

He rushed to his parents’ room where he saw his father severing the head of his mother with an axe. Incidents of violence against women are not uncommon in the province. In March last year, a woman was allegedly strangled by her husband and his brother-in-law in the name of honour in Khurrianwala.

The suspected murderers tied a rope around the victim’s neck and strangled her. Police recovered the body and launched an investigation after the postmortem.

According to the police report, 26-year-old Mahwish Bibi, the daughter of Nawshir, a resident of Chak No 534GB, was married to Ali Raza, son of Zulfiqar and a resident of Chak No 448GB, eight years ago.

The couple had three children. On the day of the incident, Ali Raza, while going on a business trip with his brother-in-law, Khadim Hussain, had allegedly seen his wife with a man. Ali developed suspicions over his wife after which he and Khadim grabbed Mahwish and put a headscarf and a rope around her neck and strangled her.

The alleged murderers later escaped. Jaranwala police had recovered the body of the deceased and, after the postmortem, handed it over to her mother Kausar Bibi. The police had also registered a case against Ali Raza and Khadim Hussain. On February 24 last year, a woman was murdered by her father in Shalimar area of Lahore over suspicion of being in a relationship with a man.

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Woman attempts suicide outside cop`s house `for not marrying her` – 01 Dec 2022

CHINIOT: A young woman attempted self-immolation in front of the house of a policeman in Satellite Town here on Tuesday night, alleging he married someone else two days back despite having relationship with her and promising to marry her.

As per police sources, they received a call on 15 helpline by a woman, who introduced herself as Irum Bashir, 30, and said she was going to commit suicide in front of the house of SubInspector (SI) Zille Husnain, presently posted at the District Police Office. On receiving the call, a police team rushed to the SI Husnain`s Satellite Town house, where the woman had already set herself ablaze.

The police team, with the help of some locals, extinguished the fire and shifted the injured woman to the district headquarters hospital for treatment.

The sources say the woman, a resident of Allama Iqbal Town, Lahore, had reached Chiniot on Tuesday nightand went straight to the house of SI Husnain, where she attempted suicide.

They say that before taking the extreme step, Irum also uploaded a `suicide note` on social media, in which she alleged Husnain developed relations with her a couple of years back, pledging he would marry her. She said the SI had also taken some gold ornaments from her which were still in his possession.

On being informed of the incident, District Police Officer Imran Malik reached the DHQ Hospital, where he inquired after the burnt woman and met her relatives assuring them of legalactioninthisregard.

The DPO also deputed two policewomen for Irum`s security and care and directed the hospital medical superintendent to ensure best possible treatment of her burns. However, later on, the woman was shif ted to the Allied Hospital, Faisalabad, in a critical condition.

The DPO also removed SI Husnain from his office and closed him toPolice Lines, ordering an inquiry into the allegations levelled against him in Irum`s `suicide note`.

In the note, she wrote, `I came to Chiniot many times to request [Husnain] to fulfil his promise [of marrying her] but to no avail. Instead, he threatened me with dire consequences whenever I reminded him of his promise to marry me.

She also wrote that though `PTI Chairman Imran Khan is a good person, but her Punjab government and police officials like Husnain were defaming him by indulging in wrongdoings` `I left my pleadings to Allah and going to commit suicide and Zille will be responsible for all that,` she added.

The SI Hasnain, talking to the media, admitted that he had `friendship` with Irum for many years, but denied other allegations. He alleged that Irum had been mentally torturing him by frequently calling him on his mobile phone and also made calls to some of his colleagues. He said he had blocl(ed her number before his wedding two days ago.

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Girl `sexually assaulted`, killed in Attock – 01 Dec 2022

TAXILA: A minor girl was allegedly raped, strangled to death and then thrown into a mini dam in the Ahamdal village in the limits of Pindigheb police station on Wednesday, police sources said.

Police said a woman went to nearby mini dam along with her two-year-old daughter to fetch water where the girl mysterious went missing.

While confirming the gloomy incident, Sub divisional Police officer Pindigheb circle DSP Aslam Dogar said that the family belonged to Kurram Agency of Khyber Pakhtukhwa and settled in the town and was working as agriculture laborer.

He said preliminary autopsy report has confirmed that the girl was sexually assaulted before brutally murdered.

He further added that eight suspects were taken into custody on the complaint of the family and the heinous crime investigation unit (HlU) of the circle police is interrogating them.

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Disturbing details of Malir family murder emerge – 01 Dec 2022

KARACHI: Police on Wednesday launched an investigation into the gruesome murder of a woman and her three minor daughters by her husband in Malir and recorded the suspect`s initial statement.

The suspect, Fawwad, who was a salesman by profession, also attempted suicide after murdering his wife and daughters inside his rented home in Shamsi Society.

The victims were laid to rest at a local graveyard in Azeempura.

Coffins of the four Huma, 40, and her three daughters Neha, 16; Fatima, 12; and Nimra, 10 were brought to their maternal home in Shah Faisal Colony for their last rites.quarrelling with him.

He claimed that he ate a meal with his three daughters, during which his wife kept quarrelling with him.

His elder daughter started weeping saying that they (the three daughters) were upset due to daily fights of their mother and father. After the meal, two daughters went to sleep, the suspect added.

The suspect said that he was under stress because he had taken a loan and his creditors were demanding their money back, while he was also upset over frequent fights with his wife.

`In a fit of anger,` he claimed to have first killed his elder daughter, who was weeping, with a knife and later killed his two little daughters in their sleep. After this, he claimed, he also killed his wife.

Following the gruesome 1(illings, he sent pictures of his slain family members to his `investors` and informed them that he had `ended everything` and now he was going to take his own life as well.

He attempted suicide by cutting his neck with the same knife as well. However, he survived and is under treatment at hospital.

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Deadly air – 01 Dec 2022

Out of the 7 million who die of air pollution worldwide, 4.2 million die from exposure to air pollution and smog

Low-income developing countries around the world have always suffered from the problem of pollution. The onset of climate change has aggravated the effects to an extent that it is severely affecting and jeopardising human health. A recent WHO report states that 9 out of 10 people in low- and middle-income countries breathe air that exceeds guideline limits for pollutants. Figures are alarming and out of the 7 million people who die of air pollution worldwide, 4.2 million die from exposure to air pollution and smog.

Medical experts say that continuous exposure to smog significantly increases chances of premature death due to respiratory and heart-related illnesses. Such exposure is also detrimental to pregnant women and infants. Unfortunately, a major portion of the population is vulnerable, with smog becoming so prevalent, particularly in Lahore, that scientists are calling it a fifth season. In and around the months of November, AQI index of air in Lahore rises dangerously high to about 500 — a level that causes respiratory difficulties even for otherwise healthy individuals. To add to this, industrial cities such as Karachi are neither able to regulate toxic pollutants being released by factories while roads have seen an increase in the number of vehicles. All this further adds to the depreciating air quality.

But why isn’t such an alarming situation prompting adequate action? The problem is that Pakistan is used to reactionary response. But since the effect on human health takes time, sometimes years to develop, the government does not consider this as a problem.

Regulation is key to mitigate the issue. The Sindh government should be tasked to control carbon emissions from industries and the transport sector. The number of cars and ramshackle vehicles on roads also requires regulations. In Punjab, the government must reform the agriculture sector and find better alternatives for crop burning.

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Gruesome murders – 01 Dec 2022

In Pakistan acts of domestic violence are considered a family matter, especially by the police

In yet another gruesome instance of violence against women, a husband allegedly slaughtered his wife and three daughters in Karachi’s Shamsi Society before turning the kitchen knife on himself. Miraculously, the suspect himself survived and was taken to JMPC with severe life-threatening wounds, with doctors opining low chances of survival. According to subsequent medical examinations, the victims were neither drugged nor sexually assaulted and only the wife showed marks of resistance on both her hands. During the investigation, the in-laws claimed that there had been friction between the couple for some time but nothing so serious to have caused such an incident.

The act is a stark reminder of how dangerous the environment in Pakistan has become for women. It comes almost a week after the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women during which the UN released a report on femicide stating that 5 women or girls were killed every hour by someone in their own family. Unfortunately, in Pakistan acts of domestic violence are considered a family matter, especially by the police. Lack of response and action has created a trend of domestic aggression and outburst that is carried out by males with impunity. However, such an incident is far from a random act as such outbursts are usually triggered after much repressed anger, frustration or resentment. Such instances must primarily be investigated from a psychological perspective i.e. finding out motive, intention, triggers and prevailing mental health of the perpetrator before legal action is taken. Prima facie it looks like the kerfuffle between the couple aggravated to a deadly level. Perhaps the husband was struggling to make ends meet, which could be suggestive of why he killed his daughters before also trying to commit suicide.

Much hope in understanding the case lies in whether the husband is able to recover. Determining the mental state of the perpetrator will help immensely at mitigating and dealing with such acts in the future.

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Ban on polythene bags flouted – 01 Dec 2022

Despite its pollution woes, Punjab has failed to curtail dependency on plastic

Given the province’s struggles with controlling pollution, one would imagine that a province wide polythene bag is strictly enforced but that is not the case in Punjab, where consumers and retailers both cannot seem to end their reliance on plastic shopping bags.

Back in August of 2020, the Lahore High Court imposed a complete ban on the use of plastic bags in the province; however, two years later the Punjab government has failed to implement the orders, even in Lahore, which has struggled with a pollution problem over the past few decades. Since the orders have not been implemented, according to officials of the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC), which is responsible for the city’s sanitation, all small and large sewage drains are constantly clogged due to plastic bag waste.

“Tons of plastic bags and plastic waste are removed from the drains every week but to no avail,” an official of the LWMC said, adding that Lahore’s plastic usage problem was severe. However, it takes two to tango and it does not seem like retailers and consumers, in Lahore, support the ban either.

Abdul Rahman, a vegetable and fruit retailer in Gulberg, when quizzed as to why he was using plastic bags despite the ban, said that his customers rarely brought bags of their own, so he had little choice. “For the ban to work, customers should carry their own reusable or cloth bags but no one makes that effort,” Rahman remarked. Ayesha Munir, who was busy running errands in the same market, was of the view that bringing a bag from home felt like an uphill task.

“It is also challenging to wash the fabric bag over and over.” Munir suggested that just like bigger departmental stores and bakeries, small retailers should also give their own fabric bags and just charge extra money for them. “If this is implemented by all retailers, then no one will use plastic bags,” she opined.

Loss of livelihoods

On the other hand, Senior Vice President of Pakistan Plastic Manufacturing Association, Raja Umar Nawaz, believes that an end to plastic bags means the loss of livelihood for many. “At present there are around 8,000 small and big units across Punjab which manufacture polythene bags.

Nearly 1 million people are employed in them. A complete ban means that these families will lose their bread and butter,” said Nawaz. When asked about the negative impact on the environment, Nawaz said that it was not just plastic bags that were causing pollution but other factors as well, which the government had failed to control. “The Sindh government has reduced the thickness of polythene bags to 40 microns.

Apart from this, oxo-biodegradable has been declared as a mandatory component in the production of plastic bags and they have put a blanket ban on production of small size bags,” informed Nawaz, adding that these were practical ways to reduce the environmental hazard from plastic bags instead of an outright ban. However, Punjab’s Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is not sold on the idea of using oxo-biodegradable material in the production of plastic bags.

According to the EPA’s Director, Naseem-ur-Rehman, the department has been researching oxo-biodegradable materials for several years, but has yet to come to a conclusion on whether the material is beneficial or harmful to human health.

The officials further said that it is not clear yet whether the use of oxo-biodegradable material will help the plastic dissolve quickly and absorb into the soil. “Furthermore, it must also be ascertained as to what material will be decomposed in the soil and whether its elements will become part of the crops and food. If any authentic study report comes out in this regard, the EPA will allow its use,” Rehman explained while talking to The Express Tribune.

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Save the reef – 01 Dec 2022

As the UN warns that one of Unesco’s World Heritage Sites is in danger, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, due to climate change, the Australian authorities are fighting to avoid the ‘danger’ warning. World Heritage Sites are usually places that attract a huge amount of tourist attention and are given the rating built on natural beauty or historical significance. The warning that the Reef was being destroyed by climate change including the warming of the oceans first came in 2010 and in 2021 the UN had warned that the Reef was in danger. However, it avoided placing it in a position where it was removed from the list of heritage sites on insistence from the Australian government. The reality though is that a warming of oceans combined with factors such as agricultural pollution have badly damaged the stretch of coral and other growths on the ocean floor, which attract tourists to the place. According to Australian scientists, 91 per cent of the corals making up the coral reef have been damaged, and much of it has been bleached or has lost the startling colours which brought it so much attention.

The situation of the Great Barrier Reef is just further indication of how far we are destroying our planet and its natural wonders. According to Australian marine authorities, the Reef gives jobs to around 60,000 people and generates $4 billion a year for the country. This makes it a hugely significant site for the country and indeed for the world. The news that it is in so much danger and has already been damaged to a great extent is alarming. It is therefore essential that work begin to save the Reef. If this is not possible, then the Great Barrier Reef deserves to be preserved in some way and efforts made to save all that remains of some of our great natural wonders around the world. This needs to be made a priority and Unesco’s warning about the danger to the Reef taken very seriously. If it is not accepted as a warning, then the world is in danger of losing other heritage sites and places of natural beauty which attract people everywhere around the globe.

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Exploiting climate diplomacy – 01 Dec 2022

IN recent years, climate diplomacy has become important for countries like Pakistan that are surrounded by a challenging security environment and changing climate. As recently observed at the 27th climate summit held in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, it has helped Pakistan re-engage with the world community, project its gentler image, leverage its soft power, develop a business case for the country, and broker a global consensus to support climate-vulnerable countries. Are there any lessons that Pakistan can bring home to South Asia? Climate diplomacy has over the years evolved its own characteristics that are not always witnessed in traditional diplomacy. The latter has traditionally hinged on secrecy, suspicion and surprise. It is often marked by win-lose relationships that were typically prisoner to zero-sum calculations. Further, traditional diplomacy is built on Intelligence (with a capital `I`), technology, weapon systems and military strategy, supported by a combination of covert and overt actions, etc. In pursuit of stable relationships, crisis management techniques are employed for predictability in relations and system stability.

Climate diplomacy, on the other hand, is evolving in its scope and complexity. It has evolved into a distinct branch of diplomacy that defies several precepts of traditional diplomacy. It seeks regional cooperation by embracing all nontraditional threats to security. In fact, regional cooperation paves the way for addressing nontraditional threats by applying the evolving principles of climate diplomacy. Or to put it differently, nontraditional security threats enable regional cooperation that was seldom the case with traditional security. In the climate change context, traditional responses can be counterproductive. Nontraditional responses can help regional cooperation nourish.

Further, regional cooperation and nontraditional threats are rarely entirely domestic or inter-state.

Climate issues spill over from national to regional to international boundaries.

As chair of the Group of 77 plus China, the climate summit provided Pakistan an opportunity to lead a grouping of 134 countries, including formal sub-groups like the 46 Least Developed Countries, and the 40 Small Island Developing Countries.

Pakistan also engaged with many overlapping groups such as the 58-country Climate Vulnerability Forum, 46 African countries, and V-20, an allianceof the 20 most vulnerable countries including neighbours Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

As chair of the G-77 plus China, Pakistan brought on the table the world`s largest economies and emitters, the US, EU, China and India. This was a remarkable feat for a country that otherwise follows an India-centric foreign policy and has relegated other global engagements to the secondary level since the 1992 Rio Summit when, coincidentally, Pakistan was chairing G-77 plus China under the able chairmanship of Jamsheed Marker.

Pakistan`s experience of conducting climate diplomacy has provided it with exposure to new, innovative approaches for conducting regional climate diplomacy.

Climate diplomacy has evolved, as was witnessed in various climate and other multilateral environmental agreements by eschewing zero-sum calculations and by building win-win options.

Most importantly, climate diplomacy is driven by faith in prolonged engagement in complex processes, always supported by the latest scientific knowledge available to all in the open space of the knowledge marketplace. It has found innovative ways of reaching out to diverse stakeholders including CSOs, universities, the private sector, entrepreneurs, women, children, indigenous people and others, and used their creativity to avoid deadlocks in negotiations.

A set of new nontraditional threats to security have emerged in South Asia that redefine the IndiaPakistan relationship. Regional cooperation and its scope are at a crossroads, while we are still struggling with the resolution of the Kashmir dispute and arbitrary interpretations of the Indus Waters Treaty. The list of nontraditional security threats is steadily unfolding. Presently, it is topped by fluctuations in river flows, the air quality that has engulfed both Delhi and Lahore, in addition to the changing patterns of monsoon and rainfall trends, and cloudbursts causing cross-border flash floods.

The long-term trends of seawater intrusion, tropical storms, droughts and desertification, epidemics and pandemics, and transborder migration and regional refugees are the new issues that demand space on our bilateral agenda. The frequency of climate-induced disasters has made the border trade of fruit, vegetables and some commodities more of a climate risk management subject ratherthan a simple political issue. The acuteness of these issues will aggravate as the global temperature increases further towards 1.5 degrees Celsius and beyond.

The UN Security Council has since 2007 begun to accept that climate change poses a threat to international peace and security. It has accepted several nontraditional threats that are rooted in disputes over water, ecosystems and environmental issues such as the Lake Chad Basin crisis, women`s vulnerability in conflicts, human traf ficking, etc in UNSC resolutions 2348, 1325, and 2331. The UNSC sees climate crisis adding new dimensions to conflicts such as the Sudan war in Darfur (since 2003), the Somali civil war (2009), insurgency in Nigeria (2009), Syria`s civil war (2011) and the Mali conflict (2012). In fact, public unrest following flooding in Thailand and Myanmar in 2011 and 2017 was attributed to climate change. No credible studies exist to link unrest in Afghanistan and Balochistan with prolonged droughts.

Given the widespread monsoon disruptions that have begun to occur, as evident in Pakistan`s floods this year, it is in the ultimate strategic interest of both Pakistan and India to agree to do their utmost to halt global temperature change at 1.5°C. Pakistan needs to engage with both India and China, the world`s second and third largest emitters, bilaterally and as a group leading to COP28 in Dubai next year.

Going forward, the momentum created at Sharm El Sheikh cannot be maintained with the present weak institutional capacities. A clear strategic understanding needs to be strengthened in `wholeof-government` particularly in the climate, foreign, planning, finance and sectoral ministries. This is a window of opportunity for Pakistan to put in place institutional mechanisms to engage India and other neighbours in climate diplomacy.

The global discourse on carbon markets and trading, carbon capture and sequestration, shif t towards non-combustion engine vehicles and long-lasting batteries, phasing out of coal and fossil fuels, blue and green hydrogen energy clearly indicates that climate diplomacy has moved beyond the narrow confines of UNFCC processes. To quote:`It`s [about] the economy, stupid!` s The writer is an expert on climate change and development.

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