How little things matter in relationship – 19 Dec 2022

Small things can often make a big difference in the long run

For as long as there have been couples in love, there have been conflicts in love. Conflicts often lead to more conflicts which lead to more problems in relationships. Anyone who has been in a relationship knows it is pretty much inevitable. So what is it that typically goes wrong where things presumably in a relationship start off pretty well and then something else happens?

When people talk about the problem they have, nobody really knows how to manage it in a way that works successfully. What happens instead is that criticism, contempt, defensiveness and all of these cause much hostility, pain and misunderstanding. Especially during conflicts, people don’t work on how to create positivity in their relationship by expressing appreciation and thanks and asking each other big questions so as to stay in touch. These are some of the issues.

Small things can often make a big difference in the long run. What I mean by small things is recognising when your partner is doing something for your attention or your interest, or realising a deeper need they may have, or learning to respond in a positive way – rather than just ignoring that or turning against them with hostility.

Empathy is also very important in relationships. We have seen that people who really notice what their partner is doing right in a relationship have a much more harmonious relationship than those who don’t notice that. So first of all, there is the need to try and develop the inclination to realise what your partner is doing right rather than just looking for the wrong.

When we hear thank you, we feel appreciated – a kind of warm and loving feeling. We want to do more to get this appreciation. This means creating a cycle to do something right. Your partner says thank you; you appreciate it; you want to do more; you do more that is right. There is more thank you and so on. This serves to lay the foundation of a positive culture within the home.

Unfortunately though, we have a peculiar culture in our society on relationship matters where we expect our partner to be a clone of ourselves. Conversely, it is important to accept your partner as a separate being with different personality traits, lifestyle or preferences and see how their different take on issues enriches the relationship.

Another very important thing is conversation among the couples or rather the lack thereof. According to a study, couples only talk to each other hardly for an hour during a week. And most of the conversation is about checklists. Have you called the plumber? Have you attended the parent-teacher meeting? So what happens after a while is that the married life gets boring, even turning into a tragedy in a number of cases. There is thus the need to grab the first opportunity of catching up with each other to discuss things like how the week went by, what where the highlights and what were the lowlights, making more emotional communication with one another. Without being interrupted by the routine to-do list and keeping up with one another serve as an opportunity to know more and more about each other.

Focusing on one’s own behaviour – and the hows and whys of it – is also a much-needed element in the relationship. This helps one to mend their ways, like manage the anger or avoid undue criticism of the partner, and the stuff.

Expressing ones rightful needs is also very important i.e. telling your partner how they can shine for you. Tell them what you want them to do. Remember, people really care about the rightful needs.

Touch is something that is deeply needed. It’s all but natural, it’s all but human to want cuddling, affection – and romance. This is scientifically proven that touch is not just the warmth, it’s what releases oxytocin – a hormone that plays a role in social bonding. So hugging somebody for, say, 20 seconds serves as healthy dose of this wonderful bonding hormone running through the bodies, making them feel better, warmer and more affectionate. Touch reduces depression and anxiety and creates more bounding and more joy in the relationship. So why not touch?

These are the little things that really matter – much more important than we realise.

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Climate alarm – 19 Dec 2022

As if armed conflict and economic downturn is not enough doom, it is most likely that climate change will be leading to an acceleration in humanitarian crises around the world in 2023. A recent study by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) – ‘Emergency Watchlist 2023’ – has highlighted that the number of people in humanitarian need has skyrocketed in the last decade. The report puts the current number of such people at around 340 million whereas in 2014 the number of people needing humanitarian aid was slightly over 80 million. Climate change has played a significant role in this increase, emerging as the single most impactful factor pushing people into more misery; human emergencies have accelerated around the world, particularly in the 20 worst affected countries including Afghanistan and Haiti. As the IRC report also underscores, the 20 worst countries impacted by climate change contribute just two per cent to global carbon emissions. Despite a large number of deniers of climate change – including in the most developed countries of the world – the role of climate change in accelerating the global humanitarian crisis is undeniable.

In addition to long periods of rain in some regions that bring catastrophic food insecurity especially in countries such as Ethiopia and Somalia, Pakistan has also become a victim of climate change. There is a need to proactively invest much more to prevent climate change – and this investment must come from the industrialized and rich countries. Without some concrete mitigation efforts by the Global North, the countries of the underserved Global South will keep suffering. These countries face an immense danger of food insecurity which is already rife in certain areas. To top it all, growing conflicts are also sparking economic crises across the world. One example is the crisis Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked. Diseases and pandemics like Covid-19 are also posing a constant threat. The coronavirus pandemic may be on the wane, but there is a likelihood of other viruses emerging out of nowhere.

In all this, there is a need for enhanced financing of humanitarian aid – since, as of November 2022, the world is in a global deficit of over $27 billion. There has to be a proportionate response from all the donors so that communities that get a direct impact of climate change are able to access the services they need to survive. For countries such as Pakistan there is the challenge of rebuilding and recovery efforts for millions of internally displaced people. Around the world, there are nearly 100 million people who have found themselves forced to flee their homes as opposed to 60 million in 2014. Since it is pretty much a given now that the developing world is likely to see a surge in acute hunger, rich and developed countries need to drastically cut their emissions. Unless they enhance their efforts to compensate low-income countries, the miseries of people will keep surging in 2023 and much beyond. A recent Oxfam report had also revealed that acute hunger had risen 123 per cent over the past six years in the ten most-affected nations. All this calls for drastic measures to take place urgently.

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Climate risk analysis – 19 Dec 2022

With COP27 in the books, Pakistan has witnessed a ray of light, a chance to turn adversity into opportunity. This can be a 210 million euros opportunity that the flood-stricken South Asian nation can leverage to ‘shield’ itself from extreme climate events.

The ‘Global Shield against Climate Risks’ initiative launched by the G7 and the Vulnerable 20 (V20) countries has identified Pakistan as one of the ‘Pathfinder Countries’, providing it an opportunity to access pre-arranged disaster financing for climate-induced disasters.

Such an opportunity can prove to be a lifeline for a country like Pakistan which is currently facing an extreme liquidity crunch in the wake of the recent catastrophic floods. The inability to secure requisite financing for its rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts has led to an ineffective response to the worst calamity in the country’s history.

The sheer scale of destruction is best reflected in the recently published Post Disaster Needs Assessment, carried out by the government of Pakistan and international development agencies. As per the official figures, Pakistan’s cash-strapped economy is currently facing a $14.9 billion reconstruction & rehabilitation challenge, equating to more than 1.5 times the country’s overall development expenditure of $10 billion. It is pertinent to mention that this figure only exhibits the costs associated with reconstructing the damaged infrastructure in the ‘vulnerable pre-flooding state’.

However, the science of Post Disaster Reconstruction & Rehabilitation emphasizes incorporating ‘Building Back Better’ principles that require the reconstructed infrastructure to be significantly more resilient than the one it replaces. Considering Pakistan’s climate vulnerability, undertaking such a ‘Flood-resilient Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Process’ would cost an additional $1.3 billion thus inflating the overall rehabilitation and reconstruction costs to $16.2 billion.

The situation has left Pakistan’s policymakers searching for answers as to how the other countries, especially the developed world of the Global North, respond to the financial implications of extreme climate events. After all, no country is immune to the adverse impacts of climate change in today’s world. The answer to this question lies in having effective ‘Country-level Climate/Disaster Risk Financing Mechanisms’ in place that enable these countries to access large amounts of financial reserves in case of a cataclysmic climate-induced disaster.

An effective climate/disaster risk financing mechanism generally comprises a three-layered approach that involves: ‘risk retention’ where “less severe economic losses” are financed through ad-hoc budgetary reallocations and contingency funds. Then there’s ‘risk transfer’ where “moderately severe economic losses” are financed through risk transfer solutions such as risk insurance or the issuance of catastrophe bonds. Third is ‘residual risk mitigation’ where “highly severe economic losses” that are beyond the financial capacity of a country are financed through international humanitarian assistance.

The problem with Pakistan’s traditional risk financing approach is that it solely relies on ‘risk retention’ and ‘residual risk mitigation’ measures while neglecting the most critical step of ‘risk transfer’ altogether.

This situation leaves the country with essentially two unviable options to respond to the economic repercussions of natural calamities: 1) bear the financial costs through the government’s existing resources (which are non-existent considering Pakistan’s current economic outlook); or 2) rely on international humanitarian assistance by making flash appeals in case the financial impact is beyond the government’s capacity (Pakistan, in addition to the initially secured $132.7 million, has so far received only 21 per cent – $174.8 million – against an international flash appeal of $816 million)

The situation calls for policymakers’ immediate attention towards the climate risk transfer solutions that can be best employed in Pakistan’s geographical, meteorological, and economical context. So far, Pakistan does not have a Climate Risk Financing Strategy and National Adaptation Plan at the national level, which has left the government clueless about covering the reconstruction and rehabilitation costs of this climate emergency.

The ‘Global Shield’ initiative aims to address these basic policy-level challenges by supporting Pakistan in formulating it’s first-ever Climate Risk Financing Strategy and National Adaptation Plan. These strategies/plans will subsequently form the basis of effective risk transfer solutions that Pakistan can access to reduce its fiscal vulnerability to extreme climate events in the future. In addition, the initiative aims to improve Pakistan’s climate risk analysis and expand its social security systems so that those affected can better cope with climate shocks.

While Pakistan’s pathway to achieving fiscal resilience to climate-induced disasters through the much-welcomed ‘Global Shield’ seems to be quite uncomplicated on paper, it might unravel differently in reality. Its success hinges on how swiftly and effectively Pakistan comes up with a long-term Climate Risk Financing Strategy and a National Adaptation Plan. If it fails to do so, it would continue being a ‘climate vulnerable economy’ that keeps appealing for international aid every time a disaster strikes.

The writer is a climate finance specialist at the Climate Resourcing Coordination Center, Islamabad.

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Woman creates ruckus at police station – 19 Dec 2022

Abducted girl’s mother attempts suicide over alleged police non-cooperation

On non-cooperation in the case of daughter’s abduction, mother of the abducted girl tried to commit suicide by butting her head against a glass window in one of the offices of the police station.

Police registered a case and arrested the woman.

According to the police report, Zainab Fatima had been allegedly kidnapped on December 10. A case was registered with the Ghulam Mohammadabad Police Station.

Due to alleged non-cooperation by the police in this case, Bindia Malik, the mother of the kidnapped girl, stormed into the SHO’s room, using very vulgar language.

When the SHO tried to explain the matter to her, Bindia Malik got angrier and banged her head into the glass window of the office, breaking the glass.

When one of the police constables sitting in the room tried to stop her from hurting herself, she grabbed the constable’s shirt and tried to tear it apart.

The police later called a woman constable, Firdous, who had Bindia Malik locked up behind bars.

According to SHO Khawaja Imran Mannan, Zainab Fatima, the daughter of Bindia Malik, had gone to the district magistrate’s court where she had her statement recorded.

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Man kills ex-wife in her second husband`s house – 19 Dec 2022

TOBA TEK SINGH: A man allegedly killed his former wife after forcibly entering the house of her second husband in Zafarabad locality of Jhang on Sunday.

Complainant Allah Ditta informed Jhang city police that his wife Samreen Bibi (30) had got divorce from Waris Ali, her first husband, through court some three year ago and later marriedhim.

Allah Ditta said that on Sunday, Waris forcibly entered his house when he was not there and attacked Samreen with a chopper, leaving her dead on the spot.

Police registered a case against the suspect andstarted conducting raids to arrest him.

TWO DIE: A young man and a woman died, while two children were injured critically when their car rammed into a tractor-trolley loaded with sugarcane on Samundri-Rajana Road, Faisalabad, on Saturday night near Chak 210-GB, Khidderwala.

Rescue 1122 officials say the accident occurred when the car driver, Ahsan Anwar (20) could not see a tractor-trolley going ahead on the road and rammed into the vehicle.

As a result, the driver, Ahsan Anwar (20) and Nasira Bibi (48) died, while the deceased woman`s sons -Ismail (10) and Ibrahim (5)-were critically injured.

The injured children wererushedtoMureedwalaRural Health Centre, where doctors referred themtothe AlliedHospital, Faisalabad. The bodies were handed over to the family of the deceased.

SHOT DEAD: Robbers shot dead a man for offering resistance during a house robbery in Faisalabad early on Sunday.According to Ghulam Muhammad Abad police, three robbers forced their entry into the house of Muhammad Hussain at Chak 79-7B, Narwala Road, near Kaleem Shaheed Park.

As the robbers started collecting cash and valuables, Hussain offered resistance.

At this, one of the robbers shot at and injured Hussain critically.

Following the firing, the robbersnedthescene.The injured man was shifted to the Allied Hospital, Faisalabad, where he succumbed to his injuries.

INJURED: A man and his daughter and daughterin-law were injured critically when their van collided with a trailer parked in the rest area on M-4motorway on Sunday near Shorkotinterchange.

As per Rescue 1122 officials, three members of the family were going to Faisalabad from Multan when due to poor visibility caused by heavy fog their van collided with the parl(ed trailer.

As a result, the car occupants identiñed as Noor Ahmad (60), his daughter Naila Perveen (17) and daughter-in-law Fauzia Bibi (30), were crit-ically injured.

They were admitted to the Shorkot THQ hospital for treatment.

UREA BAGS SEIZED: A Faisalabad agriculture department team seized on Sunday 1,200 bags of urea fertilizer allegedly hoarded for black marketing.

Agriculture DeputyDirector Khalid Mahmood said that on a tip-off his team raided a godown owned by a fertilizer dealer, Iftikhar Ahmad, at Pansra, and seized 1,200 bags ofureahoarded there.

He said the urea bags were meant for sale to the farmers on government`s fixed price.

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Man kills vendor, takes his own children hostage in a bid to escape – 19 Dec 2022

LAHORE: A man shot a vendor dead following an exchange of harsh words with him and later took his own children hostage in a bid to escape, that was thwarted by police in Mughalpura on Sunday.

According to police, Umer Daraz, a fruit and vegetable vendor, had an altercation with a customer, Shahid, over the prices.

The customer got enraged and pulled out a gun, shot the vendor dead on the spot and fled away.

Mughalpura police arriving at the scene, shifted the body to the morgue for an autopsy and registered the case.

The police later raided the house of the suspect who was hiding with his children in the basement.

On seeing the police, the suspect pulled out his gun again and took his own children hostage, threatening to kill them if he was not allowed to escape, the police said.

A heavy police contingent was called to the scene that managed to neutralise the suspect after rescuing the children who were taken hostage by their own father.

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Woman, children abducted – 19 Dec 2022

TAXILA: A woman and her two children were abducted by unknown persons in the jurisdiction of Taxila police station on Sunday.

Mohammad Rafeeq reported to police that his wife along with his two sons Aabid (7) and Ghulam Mustafa (11) was going to a seminary when they were abducted.

Separately, Wah Saddar police booked a man for molesting a seven-year-old boy and sent him behind bars.

The victim`s father has reported to police that the suspect took his son to his house where he molested him.

Police registered a case against him after a medical examination confirmed the assault.

Separately, the same police arrested a man wanted in a case of burglary in which he was also shot and a woman was injured.

The suspect, along with his two companions, during the robbery, injured the woman and escaped.

Police raided his hideout and arrested him.

His two accomplices were already arrested and sent behind bars.

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Missing teenage boy found hanged – 19 Dec 2022

ISLAMABAD: A 15-year-old boy was found murdered in the limits of Industrial Area police on Sunday.

The body was hanging from a tree near Shifa International Hospital at H-8.

Gul Afghan, in the First Information Report (FIR), stated that his nephew went missing on Saturday night. On Sunday, some people spotted his body and informed the police.

A police official said the body was shifted to Polyclinic for autopsy and to ascertain the cause of the boy’s death.

Meanwhile, Koral police apprehended 12 criminals including drug peddlers and suspects involved in possessing illegal weapons, a police spokesman said.

In another development, the capital police initiated a crackdown against professional beggars and their handlers.

The spokesman said professional beggars and their handlers spread nuisance among citizens at signals, markets and residential areas.

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Home secy earns judges` ire for detention of five acquitted of Perween murder – 19 Dec 2022

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has observed that the provincial home secretary had failed to apply his independent mind sufficiently to the material produced by the police for the 90-day detention under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance, 1960 of the five men acquitted in the murder case of rights activist Perween Rahman.

The SHC also noted that the Sindh government had yet to approach the apex court to get impugned the acquittal order while the complainant was believed to have filed an appeal against only one of the five exonerated persons before the apex court.

It said the police had acted in a mala fide way in their overzealousness to appease the public and media without giving sufficient weight to the liberty of the petitioner and four others.

The whole exercise leading up to the issuance of the order was a colourful exercise of authority by the executive as no reasonable person, based on the material which was placed before the home secretary, could have been satisfied of thenecessity of issuing the detention order, it added Led by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha, a two-judge bench made such observations while issuing over the weekend the detailed judgement of its Dec 12 short order that struck down the detention order issued by the provincial authorities and held the same to be illegal and issued without lawful authority.

The detailed order also noted that the Sindh government used all means possible to detain the acquitted persons under the MPO or other preventive detention law on spurious grounds.

Such tactics had already been deployed and exposed by the SHC in the cases of Abdul Hameed Bugti, acquitted in the PIDC car bombing, and Ahmed Omar Shaikh, exonerated in the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl, where all mala fide and devious efforts were made by the Sindh government to ensure that the acquitted persons remained behind the bars, it added.

The bench said that in its letter to the IGP, the SSP-West described the acquitted persons as hardened criminals despite the fact that they did not have any criminal record exceptfor the present case and there was no material available to the SSP and his letter was based on presumptions and assumptions alone.

It also noted that the so-called intelligence report had not even been prepared by anindependent body like the Intelligence Bureau or ISI, while the IGP had a conflict of interest in relying onsuch report.

`In fact, prior to issuing the order, no report from any other organisation/body was considered by the SSP-West, IGP or the home secretary,` it added.

The bench said the word `satisfaction` was used in the MPO and as such the home secretary must be satisfied that based on the material placed before him, the other consequences referred to in the order might flow.

`In our view that standard must be high as no person can be lightly deprived of his right to life and liberty, especially if they have already spent nine years in jail and have been acquitted by the appellate court and at the time of issuing the order, the government of Sindh had not even lodged an appeal against the acquittal before the Supreme Court and had even not done so by the date of this hearing being over three weeks after the acquittal judgment,` it added.

Imran Swati, one of the acquitted persons, through his lawyer had petitioned the SHC to get impugned the Dec 1 detention order issued by the home department on the recommendation of IGP for the detention of all Eve men for a period of three months.

Ms Rahman, a renowned social worker and former head of the Orangi Pilot Project, was gunned down near her office on Manghopir Road on March 13, 2013.

On Nov 21, the same bench had exonerated Eve appellants after overturning their conviction handed down by the trial court in Ms Rahman murder case.

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What happens when you dissolve an assembly? – 18 Dec 2022

PTI Chairman Imran Khan has announced the dissolution of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies as a tactic to put pressure on the government and the powerful quarters to force a general election in the country.

A general election would mean that elections are held to both the National Assembly as well as the four provincial assemblies simultaneously as defined in Article 224 of the constitution. However, as usual, it seems that Mr Khan and his party have not thought things through – not only in political terms, but also constitutional and legal terms, which is what we look at in this piece.

When the governor dissolves an assembly under Article 105 (3) of the constitution, s/he must appoint a date, not later than ninety days from the date of dissolution, for the holding of a general election to that assembly. This means that the elections will be held to that assembly alone, and not to the others, which would continue working until their terms expire or they are dissolved sooner.

Article 224 (2) cements this position by providing that when the National Assembly or a provincial assembly is dissolved, a general election to the dissolved assembly shall be held within a period of ninety days after the dissolution, and the results of the election shall be declared not later than fourteen days after the conclusion of the polls.

Even when the governor does dissolve the provincial assembly, his/her powers are only ceremonial in nature. The dissolution of the provincial assembly in Article 112 provides that the governor must dissolve the assembly but only if advised by the chief minister. In any event if s/he does not comply with the constitutional directive, the assembly is automatically dissolved after the expiration of forty-eight hours from such advice by the chief minister.

Let us not doubt the intentions of Chief Minister Punjab Pervez Elahi, who many claim will not tender such advice, and assume for one second that both the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief ministers will follow Mr Khan’s instructions and tender such advice to the governor, even then there are two further legal troubles that Mr Khan and his party will face, other than of course the fact that the rest of the assemblies will complete their tenure and Mr Khan will have to wait till expiration of the tenure of the current National Assembly before he can hope to wear the prime minister’s sherwani.

As per Article 224 (1A) on dissolution of the provincial assemblies, the governor must appoint a caretaker cabinet in consultation with the chief minister and the leader of the opposition in the outgoing provincial assembly. What this means is that the election to the two assemblies within 90 days as iterated above will be held under caretaker chief ministers, but the federal government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his cabinet will remain intact.

One can safely assume that with its historic narrative of ‘dhandli’, this will not be a position acceptable to the PTI. Nevertheless, without considering this fact it seems Mr Khan is prepared to order the two chief ministers to dissolve the assemblies. Let’s be prepared for season two of the ‘dhandli’ narrative.

The legal infirmities in the dissolution policy do not end at having elections for the two assemblies under the current federal government but in fact extend further. The respective governors are to appoint the caretaker chief ministers (who in turn will appoint their own cabinets) in consultation with the outgoing chief ministers and the leaders of the opposition.

The government and the opposition however are currently at possibly their worst working relationship and it is a real possibility that they would not agree to consensus candidates, as is evident from our constitutional history ever since such provisions were inserted in the constitution by the 18th Amendment, twelve years ago.

The constitution provides a solution, but not one that Mr Khan or his party would like. In case the chief minister and the leader of the opposition cannot agree, their nominations must within three days of the dissolution of the assembly be forwarded to a committee to be then immediately constituted by the speaker of the provincial assembly, comprising membership on parity between the outgoing members of the assembly from government and opposition.

However, in case the committee also comes to a stalemate, the names of the nominees shall be referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan for a final decision within two days. With his constant diatribe against the Election Commission of Pakistan in general and the chief election commissioner in particular, how will Mr Khan and his party accept a caretaker chief minister appointed by the Election Commission?

It seems, once again, as with the dissolution and the subsequent mass resignations from the National Assembly, the PTI strategy is not well thought out.

The writer is a Karachi-based barrister practising constitutional and administrative law.

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