Man kills sister in name of honour – 22 Dec 2022

Suspect slits sibling’s throat with knife

On suspicion of immoral activities, a man killed his sister and escaped, police said.

Police took possession of the body and started raids to arrest the accused.

The deceased was present in her house in Chak No. 191, RB Mulawani, when her brother, Asif Ali, plunged a knife into her throat.

She died on her way to the hospital.

Jhumra police reached the spot and shifted the body to a hospital for postmortem and registered a case under Section 302 of the PPC.

Since January 2022, 23 women have been killed either by their husbands or brothers or fathers or uncles in the name of honour within the limits of 45 police stations of the district.

The number of those killed in the name of honour last year was 28.

In most of the cases, the accused were arrested by the police and sent to jail, while some of the accused are still absconding, and police teams have been formed who are conducting raids.

The police have presented challans of the accused before the courts.

A woman was allegedly strangled by her husband and brother in the name of honour in Khurrianwala in March last year. The suspected murderers tied a rope around the victim’s neck and strangled her.

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, three-year-old Sufyan, two-year-old Faizan and eight-month-old Ghafan.

On the day of the incident, Ali Raza, while going on a business trip with his brother-in-law Khadim Hussain, saw his wife Mahwish with a man named Fazal, a resident of the village.

Ali developed suspicions over his wife after which he and Khadim grabbed Mahwish and put a headscarf and a rope around her neck, strangling her to death. The alleged murderers managed to escape the crime scene. Jaranwala police recovered the body of the deceased and, after the postmortem, handed it over to her mother Kausar Bibi.

The police also registered a case against Ali Raza and Khadim Hussain and started raids to arrest the fugitives.

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Verdict reserved on appeal over Zahir`s sentence in Noor case – 22 Dec 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday reserved verdict on a plea challenging the death sentence of Zahir Jaffer in Noor Mukadam murder case.

The two-member division bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Sardar ljaz Ishaq Khan reserved the verdict after the lawyers completed their arguments.

Jaffer`s lawyer, Usman Khosa, in his argument on the last day of hearing on Wednesday, said one of the reasons for giving the death sentence to his client could be to set an example that there was a lesson for others to not take such a step.

He added that such a punishment was awarded to habitual criminals to create deterrence.

He said there was pressure on Pakistan at an international level to abolish the death penalty, adding that his client was an American citizen and a resident of New Jersey, where there was no concept of capital punishment. He urged the court to take this point into consideration.

Chief Justice Aamer Farooq remarked that abolishing the death penalty was a matter of legislation and only legislators could view this subject, however, he added that Pakistan was an independent country and it had its own law.

The lawyer of the plaintiff, Shaukat Mukadam, said Jameel, Jaffer`s cook, worked during the day and had no role in the crime.

While the court inquired whether any drugs were recovered from the crime scene, Mr Mukadam`s lawyer Babar Hayat said no drug was recovered and the relevant report had been attached with the record.

The court also inquired about Noor`s handbag, which was not part of the record but it was visible in the CCTV footage.

Mr Hayat said only the prosecution could talk about the bag. After the two sides concluded their arguments, the bench reserved its judgement.

The court asked the lawyers to submit written arguments, if they wanted, within seven days.

The trial court in Islamabad had awarded death penalty to Jaffer in February 2022 for killing Noor Mukadam. Her body was found in Jaffer`s residence in F-7 on July 20, 2021.

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Climate, world order and Pakistan – 22 Dec 2022

By Ashraf Jehangir Qazi

By 2050 Pakistan will have at least 350 million people. Its military and elite dominated political paradigm, neo-feudal attitudes, budgetary priorities, economic strategies, and raging climate heat make it impossible to finance a Pakistan Green New Deal.

External financial assistance, even on the most optimistic assumptions, will not cover even a fraction of the cost. Trebling tax revenues, curtailing inessential imports, reducing corruption, providing investment opportunities for human resource and infrastructure building investment, etc can help meet the costs of survival. But resource mobilization for national transformation and climate resilience will require political reform on a scale the prevailing political system will not permit.

Meanwhile, the US is exacerbating the global crisis. It precludes the emergence of a world order that can collectively address the challenges of climate warming and its several lethal consequences. It has, instead, prioritized the elimination of Putin’s Russia as a potential rival power and the unravelling of the Sino-Russian strategic partnership. This would leave China to face the might of the US alone. It also relegates the climate challenge to the back burner.

Putin made a fatal mistake in Ukraine. He may not lose the war but his regime could be undermined. China will resist the absorption of Russia into the American sphere of influence. Russian public opinion prefers being an independent strategic partner of China instead of becoming a subordinate of the US. Accordingly, the Ukraine-Russia war has been transformed by the US into a US-Russia war on Ukrainian soil at the expense of the Ukrainian people. Ukraine borders Russia and lies on the historic invasion path to Russia. The US decision to make it a de-facto Nato member state raises the risks of nuclear confrontation and conflict. This could strike midnight on the DDC.

The US has designated China as its number one enemy. It is hostile towards the BRI and, accordingly, also dislikes CPEC. It is dangerously encouraging Taiwanese independence which according to international law, acknowledged by the US, is an integral part of China. But through its policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’, the US threatens China in its own backyard, and through its Quad strategy in the Asia-Pacific region. China knows the US will resist its emergence as a global power and is, in turn, developing its own global diplomatic and financial influence.

The US is also determined to ensure – if necessary through conflict with Iran – that Israel remains the sole nuclear power in the Middle East. This will ensure continued regional instability with all its implications for terrorism. However, there are super profits to be made from an endless war on terrorism.

Iran supports the creation of a nuclear weapons free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East which would remove any nuclear threat to Israel. But Israel and the US prefer to maintain Israel’s nuclear monopoly. This represents a nuclear threat to the region. Iran’s determination to protect itself against such a threat is seen as nuclear provocation. US demands – vis-a-vis the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – exemplify the situation. Iran has been in complete compliance with the JCPOA in contrast to the US and yet the US insists on Iran making further concessions in return for the US rejoining the JCPOA. Iranians may have reservations about their regime but they will not accept nuclear blackmail.

The overwhelming majority of Americans are decent and peace-loving but have little say in or reliable information about policies made by the ruling 0.01 per cent. Nevertheless, after allowing their rulers to bring the whole world to the brink of destruction only they in cooperation with the rest of the world can save themselves and the world.

As for Afghanistan, we should be the best of friends for the Afghan people, especially given the state of our relations with India. The attack on our Kabul mission is a new low point in our relations with Afghanistan which is now ruled by our erstwhile favourites who no longer like or trust us. The rest of Afghanistan does not like us either for having imposed the Taliban on them. We have no friends in Afghanistan today.

Our Kashmir policy has become posturing largely empty of realistic content. The Kashmiris are only too aware of this, hence the independence option gaining ground. Meanwhile, the unstable India-Pakistan stalemate is exacerbated by the US partiality. As a result of American indulgence of the Modi government, Kashmir remains a nuclear flashpoint between two nuclear powers that no longer discuss nuclear risk reduction measures.

Nevertheless, our position on Kashmir is in conformity with the UN Charter, UN resolutions, international humanitarian and human rights law, and the wishes of the majority of the Kashmiri people. India’s position and actions are in violation of all these. The Kashmir dispute, however, cannot be settled through conflict of any kind. After India’s illegal annexation of Occupied Kashmir on August 5, 2019 and the intensification of its brutal repression the prospect of meaningful dialogue has been put on hold. Track II conversations, however, should continue although they currently contribute little or nothing towards progress on Kashmir because of India’s obduracy.

The US, moreover, does not want Pakistan to rock the boat over Kashmir and, for that matter, neither does China. The US and other Western countries have from time to time conveyed their concerns over the human rights situation in Occupied Kashmir and major human rights organizations have been much more critical. Nevertheless, the contrast between the West’s preoccupation with Ukraine and its relative indifference towards Kashmir is obvious. The award of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to an anti-Putin Russian human rights activist – ignoring the life-long sacrifices of Kashmiri freedom fighter and peace activist, Yasin Malik – is a case in point. The US refusal to designate India as a country of special concern with regard to religious discrimination is another.

Although India’s frustrations in Occupied Kashmir continue, it has been assured Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence does not extend across the LOC. Pakistan’s de-facto acceptance of the prevailing status quo – vehemently denied in public policy statements – is known to every Kashmiri on both sides of the LOC.

While there is no need to hurry towards any structured dialogue with India in the absence of any real improvement in the situation in Occupied Kashmir or any willingness on the part of India to consider principled compromise solutions, there is the need to engage with it in the context of the climate and nuclear imperatives. Neither India nor Pakistan can effectively address such challenges without engaging with each other.

A Saarc Climate Summit could pave the way towards informal discussions on bilateral issues that obstruct critical regional cooperation on climate and other issues. With India these could include exchanges on Kashmir, nuclear doctrines and avoiding mishaps, reducing hostile narratives, confidence and security building measures, etc. Musharraf’s four point proposal could be revisited whenever India is ready.

Currently, Indians and Pakistanis know little about each other except in terms of negative narratives and stereotypes. How to address this situation is a matter of public education and political leadership. Until recently, this was not considered a priority. But climate awareness should make it clear that both countries share a common fate.

China has been the jewel in Pakistan’s strategy. Its economy will soon be several times larger than that of the US. While relations with the US and China are not mutually exclusive, the view that Pakistan has to maintain a ‘balance’ in its relations with them is flawed.

The US’s strategic partner in South Asia and the Indian Ocean is India, not Pakistan. It opposes BRI and CPEC which have enormous potential for Pakistan. It sees Pakistan’s internal political mess as a strategic card to keep Pakistan in line through interventions and sanctions. China does not leverage its relations with Pakistan in this manner. It is the principal contributor to Pakistan’s conventional deterrent capability. It has a strategic interest in Pakistan’s independent viability.

And yet because of Pakistan’s failing state syndrome this critical relationship is at a crossroads. Xinjiang is a challenge but the Foreign Office has managed it competently and maintained the confidence of China. Politicians with little knowledge, strong opinions and a range of exploitable vulnerabilities are a different matter. The ‘security establishment’ is closest to China but feels the pressure of the US. The Chinese have, accordingly, intimated they are not fated to be eternal enemies of India and have no plans to go to war with India although they see it as a hostile and dangerous rival.

We should partner China in the war against terrorism instead of the US which has actually exacerbated terrorist violence in Afghanistan and the region through its arrogant, brutal and short-sighted policies. Accordingly, the bilateral China-Pakistan relationship should complement and reinforce the emerging trilateral China-Russia-Iran relationship within the context of the BRI, the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement (SCO) and climate cooperation.

In conclusion, I believe renowned think tanks like the PIIA, Karachi should begin charting in specific detail an integrated set of survival, development and external strategies that the people of Pakistan will need to discuss, elaborate, amend and adopt to avert fatal tipping points.

Allama Iqbal’s call to the people is more valid than ever: Az Khaabi-e-Giraan Khez!


The writer is a formerambassador to the US, Indiaand China and head of UN

missions in Iraq and Sudan.


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Return of terror – 22 Dec 2022

For all the efforts made over the past years, things seem to have returned to a previous situation. This conflict included a war against terror fought by Pakistan during which many lives were sacrificed. There was also the National Action Plan which was worked out between all political parties and the military after the 2014 APS horrendous attack.

Since August last year, there has been a distinct increase in terrorist incidents notably in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the former tribal belt. This coincides with the establishment of a Taliban government in Afghanistan, with all its assaults on the rights of women in particular. And recently the TTP announced it was ending the ceasefire with the government although such a ceasefire never really existed in practice. The new moves, however, do suggest that terrorism is back in full force and is already causing immense damage, both to law and order and to political development.

The latest of these outrages has been the seize of a CTD police station in Bannu, where personnel were held hostage for nearly 24 hours or more as ‘negotiations’ continued. Since August last year, according to reports in the media, there have been countless terrorist attacks at the very least in KP and the former Fata areas which now form a part of that province – with police and law-enforcement personnel as well as civilians having lost their lives. While it is difficult to establish the full facts, the reality is that the people of the former Fata areas and of various parts of KP now live once again under a cloud of fear.

We saw protests staged in Swat and other areas over the threat to girls’ education and other human rights abuses in that area, in many ways mirroring what is happening in Afghanistan. Swat has been essentially free of militant actions since 2009 when the military defeated the militants after a long and vicious battle that led to a further culture of brutality and violence in that area. For now, the people in Swat and other places face a much more direct threat and it is quite obvious from the latest attacks including the one in Lakki Marwat on Sunday, which killed four policemen and injured an equal number of others, that terrorist violence is once again on the rise.

There are allegations that the Afghan Taliban’s rise has led to the TTP gaining confidence, and perhaps even some help/safe havens, though of course in the murky world of terrorism, it is difficult to ascertain who is backing whom and how alliances have formed and broken. The presence of the Islamic State or Daesh in the area adds to the complications and the question of who precisely is responsible for what kind of action and what factions in Pakistan they may be affiliated with or linked to.

The National Action Plan, with its broad charter of actions intended to stop terrorism, has never really been put into effect with the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacts) never coming into full operation as an agency to battle terrorism. This is a major loss to Pakistan, with many having held out hopes that the National Action Plan would eventually deal with terror and that the APS attack of 2014, with the sight of small children being carried to their funerals moving the nation into a temporary act of mass grief. But even that incident, it appeared, did not move authorities to take action to ensure such an attack never occurred again.

There are also serious political implications to what is happening. There have been threats made to politicians known to oppose the Taliban in KP, with Aimal Wali Khan, the son of the current ANP leader, being the most prominent among these. Aimal Wali Khan is a key politician in KP and the threats made to him, as well as to other leaders of the party, render it still less able to carry out political functions. The threat of terrorism has meant that such leaders of have been forced to build huge barriers in front of their houses and end the casual political gatherings which had taken place in these locations since the days of Bacha Khan, the man who began the movement which resulted in the formation of first NAP and then the ANP.

Of course, the ANP has not kept to the vision of Bacha Khan but it does remain a left-of-centre party, which deserves a place on the political landscape of a country which is devoid of a differentiation in ideology and thinking. The fact that its leaders, even at the regional and divisional levels, now fear holding rallies or going out to the public means that the party is less able to organize or carry forward its political mission. In other words, it has been strangulated to a point its blood supply is cut off and it has been left essentially helpless. So many of its leaders have been killed, and others threatened to a point where they no longer feel safe in taking on the political role that should be their right.

The question, of course, is what the government is doing to deal with this situation. In the first place, all politicians and all political activists deserve the right to organize, to associate, to assemble, and to put forward their views in a peaceful fashion as laid down by the constitution. This is no longer possible at least in KP and arguably in other parts of the country, notably Balochistan. At the same time, the police deserve protection as well and at the moment they are left totally exposed to the gunmen with little means in place to offer them the help and protection they require to escape the might of the militants who carry automatic guns and seem able to sweep on random police posts in remote areas as and when they choose.

Essentially, we are falling back to the kind of situation that existed before the war on terror and the actions initiated in 2009 when Asif Ali Zardari was the president of the country. We quite clearly need a new charter to battle terrorism and also the political will to declare it unacceptable and unlawful. At the moment that will is too weak and there have also been insinuations from some part of the political realm that the TTP is a force that may be worth talking to and taking into the mainstream. This should be unacceptable to any Pakistani who wishes to see a safer country and a place where all views are acceptable, civilians are safe, and girls are able to go to school.

We see before us what has happened so quickly to Afghanistan as it descends back into an age of darkness, essentially as a result of US mismanagement in that region of the world. We must do everything we can to prevent Pakistan falling into a similar situation and take united measures including all political parties to battle terror before it overtakes us.

The writer is a freelance columnist and former newspaper editor. She can be reached at:

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Beyond reach – 22 Dec 2022

IT was an incongruous sight: a security guard aimed his gun at every visitor who had come to hear Malala Yousafzai speak. It was a gun that had interrupted her education in Swat 10 years ago, and that shot her to the Nobel Peace Prize.

On Dec 15, Malala participated in a panel discussion at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums). The topic was `Building Higher Education Institutions for the 21st Century`, organised by the Oxford Pakistan Programme (OPP). Accompanied by her husband and parents, Malala entered the packed auditorium to an ovation. She is smaller and more petite than one expected and dressed, like any 25-year-old Pakistani married woman of her age, demurely in a shalwar-kameez and chiffon dupatta.

She was half the age of the other panellists Prof Stephen Blyth (principal, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford), Dr Nick Brown (principal, Linacre College, Oxford), and Prof Faisal Bari (dean, Lums School of Education) and one quarter the age of Syed Babar Ali, founder of Lums. Nevertheless, she proved that even among elderly intellectuals she could hold her own.

The vice chancellor, Lums, set the tone by offering two stark options: education or cat astrophe. He distilled Lums`s experience into three components: access to education, relevance of curriculum and the benefits of collaboration.

Dr Talha Pirzada of OPP spoke of the paucity of Pakistanis studying in science at international universities, the imperative behind the OPP initiative which seeks a higher percentage of Pakistanis entering Oxford.

The discussion that ensued reached levels of erudition unheard of here. Prof Blyth drew from his previous experience at Harvard University where he managed an endowment fund of over $50 billion. He disabused the myth that Harvard admitted only the elite who could afford its high fees now $70,000 per annum. Its new policy is `pay, or we pay`, ie if a deserving student cannot afford the fee, Harvard awards a full scholarship. In fact, fees constitute only five per cent of Harvard`s annual budget the rest comes from its endowment income.

For Dr Nick Brown of Linacre College, higher education was not a privilege available only, as statistics had shown, to the top 10pc of the population. It is a basic human right. He echoed the remonstrance of the Labour prime minister Harold Wilson who asl(ed: `Why am I the only Wilson in 14 generations of my family to be able to enter university?` Dr Faisal Bari lamented that out of 100 million Pakistani students, only 6pc reach the university stage. The remaining 94pc drop out. The problem is graver at the postgradu-ate level. For a population of 220m, Pakistan has only 220 universities offering variable standards of learning and facilities for research. (India has 5,288, Indonesia 2,595, China 2,565, Iran only 46).

Syed Babar Ali has been one of the pioneers promoting education, first with the Ali Institute of Education (established to train teachers) and then with Lums. He spoke feelingly about Lums`s National Outreach Programme (NOP), under which about 7,000 talented students are identified at schools across the country. Then, 500 of them are brought to Lums`s campus where, after attending a boot camp, they compete for regular admission. The 100 or so who do gain admission are given full scholarships.

Another initiative has been to get experienced retirees to mentor NOP students.

The role of national governments in higher education evoked a robust response. In Pakistan, regrettably, the short-sighted Higher Education Commission cannot distinguish private sector wheat from public sector chaff.

Malala predictably emphasised the impor-tance of educating the girl child. The audience was keen to know about the operation of her Malala Fund. She explained that its focus was on secondary education. The fund has a presence in nine countries.

Her concerns were forchildren travelling to school (transport and safety), and within school curriculum, adequacy of teachers, and at home the support offered by parents.

Although she did not mention specific numbers, those familiar with the Malala Fund`s latest financials know that her fund has liquid current assets of $32.8m. During the year ended March 31, 2021, the fund received $28.9m, and incurred $17.9m for programme services (including $12.3m for grants made) and another $3.2m for supporting services.

Of the two joint recipients of the 2014 Peace Prize Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi Malala has received unprecedented recognition and support internationally. In India, Satyarthi and his team at Bachpan Bachao Andolan (founded by him in 1980), have liberated unobtrusively more than 90,000 children from child labour, slavery and trafficking. His simple credo? `A child is meant to learn, not earn.

God ever optimistic creates children to learn. Man puts useful education beyond their reach.• The writer is an author.

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