Torture victim moves court against harassment on social media – 24 Feb 2023

Daughter, wife of industrialist named in plea

A medical student, who was allegedly kidnapped, tortured and filmed by the family of an industrialist, has submitted applications to the court and police officers to take action against two women over what she called ‘character assassination’ and harassment on social media.

Khadija Ghafoor, a resident of Sargodha Road, submitted her application to the police, the court and commissioner Faisalabad through her lawyer Rana Muhammad Sikandar Hayat Bhatti.

It was stated in the application that she was a medical student and registered cases in Police Station Women and Police Station Cyber Crime Wing Circle, which are being heard in the court of Additional and Sessions Judge Rana Saeed.

The application further stated that Sheikh Danish and the other accused were very influential people and have political influence in Faisalabad district.

Anna Ali Sheikh, daughter of Sheikh Danish and Zara Shakur threatened to kill her over not reconciling the case and took to social media. Police officers are investigating the matter.

In August of last year, video footage of Khadija being tortured by Sheikh Danish and his family went viral on social media.

Allegedly, Danish and five other suspects kidnapped and tortured Khadija. Police took action against the six suspects after the footage spread like wildfire on social media.

In the harrowing visuals, Sheikh Danish, who runs a lucrative textile business, can be seen mercilessly thrashing Khadija and hurling verbal abuse at their residence in the upscale Paradise Valley neighbourhood.

Danish and his daughter, along with other members of the household, cut Khadija’s hair and even made her lick their shoes, all while recording the abuse and humiliation.

Meanwhile, Khadija’s lawyer Aftab Bajwa stated before the court during a hearing earlier this month that due to Khadija’s “refusal” to reconcile with Danish, the administration of the University on Sargodha Road did not issue her roll number slip for her final year exam.

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Man stabbed to death for ‘honour’ – 24 Feb 2023

LAHORE: A man was fatally stabbed with a sharp-edged knife in what is believed to to an incident related to honour killing in Batapur area on Thursday. The victim, identified as Muhammad Azam and his brother-in-law Muhammad Kaleem reportedly were returning home from work. As they reached near Khera Bridge at Batapur, the suspects identifeid as Shan Maseeh, Danial Maseeh, Sikandar Maseeh, Fazal Maseeh and Shehroz Maseeh, all residents of Alia Town, Lahore, intercepted and attacked Azam with knives. The victim suffered multiple wound in his stomach and back. He was taken to a hospital for treatment but could not survive. Father of the victim has said that Muhammad Qasim had married to the daughter of Muhammad Yousaf. They had clashed earlier also and they had registered complaints against them. Azam’s father continued that his son had contracted marriage with the daughter of a suspect and they had developed grudge against him. OUR CORRESPONDENT

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Health worker `assaulted` in Khanpur – 24 Feb 2023

HARIPUR: A health worker has accused a van driver and his unknown accomplice of raping her in Khanpur, police said here on Thursday.

SHO Khanpur police station Chanzeb Tanoli quoted the victim as saying that she was 19 and serving as a health worker in Taxila.

On Thursday, she got onto a Suzuki van from Taxila to reach her village Shahpur.

She was alone in the van and asked the driver to get him some water to drink who returned after ten minutes and gave her a glass of water.

She lost senses after drinking the water, the victim told police, adding that when she regained con-sciousness she was in a hotel room near Khanpur dam where the same driver, later identified as Adil, and his unknown friend raped her.

The alleged rapists, according to the complainant, later took her to another place in Haripur city from where she somehow managedtoneeandreachedthe Khanpur police station.

The police took the victim to the THQ Hospital Khanpurfor medical examination and as per preliminary medical findings the rape was confirmed, said the SHO, adding that driver Adil had been arrested while his co-accused was still at large. Correspondent

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Triple murder over family feud – 24 Feb 2023

SARGODHA: Three members of a family were killed and another was injured by their opponent over a family dispute on Wednesday in the neighbourhood of Hussainabad, Sahiwal.

According to police, three gunmen, Heera Sohail, Nasir Abbas, and Muhammad Ashraf, shot at and killed lawyer Iqbal`s brother and mother, Mudasar Umar and Manzooran Bibi, and his brother-in-law, Nadeem Abbas, and injured Agha Preim. The suspects fled.

Investigations SP Anam Faryal and forensic experts visited the scene while the bodies were shifted to the mortuary for a postmortem examination. The injured was hospitalized in precarious condition.

The Sahiwal Tehsil Bar Association stayed away from courts and demanded the immediate arrest of the suspects, while the Sargodha Bar Association condemned the triple murder and announced a strike on Friday. The IG took notice of the brutal triple murder and sought a report from the regional police officer. Correspondent

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Love-marriage couple killed – 24 Feb 2023

LAHORE: A woman and her husband were shot dead on Thursday, allegedly by her brother for contracting a love marriage in Multan.

The police said Afsana, 28, with her minor daughter and husband Waqas, 30, from Lodhran went to meet her mother Irshad Bibi in Shah Rukh-i-Alam Colony to settle the dispute when Afsana`s brother Irfan shot at and injured her and her husband and fled. They were taken to a nearby hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

The Shah Rukn-i-Alam police registered a murder case against Irfan and his mother, Irshad Bibi, on the complaint of Waqas`s father, Khadim Hussain.

He claimed Waqas married Afsana against her family`s wishes one and a half years ago. A false kidnapping case was filed against him.

He alleged that his son`s in-laws called the couple to settle the case and killed them.

South Punjab Additional IG Maqsoodul Hassan took notice of the double murder case and directed the city police officer to arrest the suspects and submit the report. The police later arrested Irfan and also recovered the pistol from his custody and started the investigation.

Staff Reporter

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Injured child`s mother seeks financial assistance from US embassy – 24 Feb 2023

ISLAMABAD: The mother of an eight-year-old girl approached the United States (US) embassy in Pakistan seeking financial assistance for her child who is now unable to walk due to injuries she sustained in a road accident, involving a US embassy vehicle three years ago.

She sought assistance from the embassy as the child Manahil Shakeel was injured as a result of an accident after two vehicles crashed into each other, one owned by the embassy and driven by a local driver.

A woman died and five others were injured, including the four-member family of Shakeel Ahmed. The road accident took place on Margalla Road near Faisal Avenue when the US Embassy vehicle and another car collided with another coming from the other direction. The accident took place due to the reckless and careless driving of the local driver of the embassy, according to the first information report(FIR).

Talking to Dawn, the mother said that she was seeking medical assistance from the embassy on humanitarian grounds, as now it is difficult for the family to bear expenses of the treatment.

In a letter addressed to the US ambassador in Islamabad, the mother stated that treatment of her and her family, who sustained injuries in the road accident still continues. After long treatment, the doctor concerned declared that her daughter will not be able to stand or walk again due to serious fracture on her backbone, it added.

She stated that her husband is an employee of a private company and cannot afford the medical expenses of her and her daughter, the letter stated, adding that now it was very difficult for the family to continue the treatment of her and Manahil.

A case over the accident was registered at Margalla police station, the letter stated, adding that after that she along with her family forgave the driver and closed the case.

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Woman killed in `crossfire` between drug peddlers, police – 24 Feb 2023

RAWALPINDI: A woman was killed allegedly in crossfire between a police party and drug peddlers in Bagga Sheikhan area of Rawat on Thursday.

After the killing of the woman, her heirs and a large number of villagers staged a protest.

Police said that the incident happened when a police pany set out for a raid on drug peddlers wanted by police with a previous history of involvement in drug dealing. The drug peddlers opened fire on police team which left a woman injured and subsequently she died.

Police claim that besides the killing of the woman, a police van was also set on fire by the drug peddlers.

Syed Khalid Hamdani, the city police officer (CPO) directed SSP Operations Mohammad Amir Khan Niaz to inquire into the matter and arrest the persons involved.

The incident is being investigated, a case has been registered and the suspects will be arrested, police said.

Meanwhile, to create deterrence among kite flyers, police contingents carried out a flag march in the garrison city as SHOs, Elite Force commandos, Traffic police and Dolphin Squad participated in the march.

A police spokesman said that the aim of carrying out the flag march was to express police determination to strictly enforce the government`s ban on kite selling, flying and firing in Rawalpindi.

The police flag march started from Police Lines Headquaders, and moved on to Jhanda Chichi, Amar Chowk, Kutchery Chowk, Marir Hasan, Liaquat Bagh, Committee Chowk, Chandni Chowk, Rahmanabad, Shamsabad, Faizabad back to Murree Road and Rawal Road. From PAF Chowk, Noor Khan Base, Rehmanabad fly over and Amar Chowk, and returned to Police Lines Headquarters.

The purpose of the flag march was to express the determination of Rawalpindi police against kite flying, firing and other criminal elements, said the spokesman.

Mahmood Hamdani said that special teams consisting of more than 1,300 officers have been formed to prevent kite flying, selling and firing. Staff Reporter

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Suo motu hearing – 24 Feb 2023

The Supreme Court is seized with an existential issue of parliamentary democracy

The Supreme Court is seized with an existential issue of parliamentary democracy. A nine-member bench of the apex court is hearing a suo motu case as to who has the constitutional authority to announce the date for elections to a provincial assembly. Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, while invoking the discretion, also wants to resolve as to how and when the constitutional responsibility to call in elections should be discharged, and what are the responsibilities and duties of the federation and the province with regard to the holding of general election. Quite a pertinent task, as the top court goes on to address the apparent lack of clarity on the matter, intuitively paving the way for constitutional superiority. What necessitated this exigency is the inability of the provincial governors of Punjab and K-P and the Election Commission to come up with dates for elections, forcing the President to announce it in his proclamation.

While the hearing will resume today, there are some arguments that are setting in impediments. First, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail has come up with reservations over invoking of suo motu jurisdiction; second, Justice Athar Minallah has questioned the very validity of provincial legislatures’ dissolution; and third, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah has gone on to seek restoration of provincial assemblies if they were dissolved without lawful writ. Likewise, to hamper the smooth functioning of the bench, the Pakistan Bar Council has raised concerns over the non-inclusion of puisne judges, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood in the bench. How this is responded to by the chief justice solely depends on his lawful domain. So is the case with another honourable judge who has been voluntarily asked to recuse on political assumptions.

The fact is that elections in Punjab and K-P are due within 90 days of their respective assemblies’ dissolution. The constitution is clear and categorical on it, and the February 10 order of the Lahore High Court testifies to it. The apex court while dilating in its judicial review will surely come to embolden the spirit of the Constitution, and address executive lacunas in all certainty.

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Barkhan case – 24 Feb 2023

The bodies of three persons, pulled out from a well in the Barkhan district of Balochistan, have thus far raised more questions than answers. There is still uncertainty surrounding the identity of the victims, the circumstances surrounding their deaths, the culpability of the accused, and the involvement of others, including the accused’s son. On one thing, though, some history is instructive: the minister accused in the Barkhan case, Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran, was found to have held at least seven people captive in a private jail back in 2014; the held included women and children. At the time, police had filed charges against the minister, his son and others for orchestrating the kidnapping and torture of three police officers. That one could still be a minister after the 2014 happenings speaks volumes as to how little sway the law holds over powerful men in Pakistan. For what it’s worth, Khetran denies the latest accusations against him, as he did in 2014, terming them as a political conspiracy to ruin his reputation and remove him from power.

The Barkhan killings are not the first such case. The institution of the ‘private jail’ has remained a challenge for years, carefully protected by the powerful and cloaked under layers of customary subservience to a system that thrives on depriving a whole layer of society its innate rights. We also need to look at the full spectrum of unlawful or extra-judicial imprisonment and unequal power relations and their implications for justice and rule of law. Even urban areas are no stranger to extrajudicial prisons – years of reports of political parties’ militant wings hosting torture cells and running a parallel-shadow justice system can provide testiomny to that. Urban sprawl has also seen real-estate businesses and corporations trample all over the rights of farmers and residents of small town and villages – expropriating their land, stealing their water and driving them from their homes, often with the implicit permission and, in certain cases, active support of the state authorities. Then there is the spectre of unlawful detentions and torture at the hands of police and other law-enforcement agencies, not least in Balochistan.

What has transpired in Barkhan – and other such private jails in tribal or feudal settings – is then part of a larger system based on the principle of might makes right. Whether it is a powerful sardar locking up innocent people or real-estate barons driving poor farmers of their land, individuals, businesses and institutions with great wealth, access and influence at their disposal can easily trample down ordinary citizens of modest means. The whole point of a justice system is to ensure that those with power do not become a law unto themselves. That there are standards that apply to all regardless of their position in the social hierarchy, that those on the lower rungs cannot simply be victimized – and that the powerful can and must be held to account. Preventing a repeat of the events at Barkhan requires standing up for the rights of the powerless regardless of the identity and affiliation of the alleged perpetrators.

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Green resilience – 24 Feb 2023

Pakistan has successfully conducted an international donor conference in Geneva with the support of the UN and convinced the world to support flood victims in Pakistan. This conference has helped Pakistan collect around $10 billion for rehabilitation of flood victims and reconstruction of properties damaged in last year’s floods.

After pledging to the international community to provide financial assistance for flood-affected people, Pakistan should now focus on the local business community, especially targeting businesses damaging the environment and contributing to global warming. The government of Pakistan can convene a ‘national resilience conference’ inviting representatives from the business community who are directly or indirectly involved in carbon emissions, and are the reason for accelerating climate change and environmental degradation like oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) companies, housing societies, mine owners, transport companies, etc.

According to the report ‘CO2 Emission from Pakistan’s Energy Sector 2021’ – published by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) – Nepra has reported that the country’s energy sector has introduced the necessary shift. The report says that “in 2019-20, the sectoral contribution shifted to 35 per cent for gas; 26 per cent, for oil, 8 per cent, hydro, 15 per cent for coal, 3.5 per cent nuclear and one per cent for LPG, while LNG and renewable energy contributed 11 per cent and one per cent, respectively.”

According to information shared by the minister of energy in the Senate in 2020, “50 companies – including 15 local and 35 foreign – are working in Pakistan to explore and produce oil and other natural resources.” The consumption of fossil fuels is a major cause of carbon emissions. Similarly, the real-estate and development sectors mushroomed rapidly in the last two decades.

Every day a large number of new housing societies are being launched and huge amounts are spent on their publicity advertisements to multiply profits. Not only do such development projects occupy huge lands and clear green areas, they also reduce the country’s forest cover. This reduction is making Pakistan more vulnerable to climate-change disasters. Similarly, the industrial sector is another source of producing huge carbon emissions and causes many environmental disasters in the form of wastes.

Agriculture and livestock also produce greenhouse gases (GHG). The mining sector also has huge negative environmental impacts like deforestation, erosion, contamination and alteration of soil features, contamination of local streams and wetlands, and an increase in noise levels, and dust in the air. Similarly, the transportation network in Pakistan is also a source of pollution and has huge earnings as well.

A ‘national resilience conference’ will raise awareness among the business community about the issue of climate change and environmental challenges in Pakistan. It is also important to apprise them about the negative impacts of their businesses on the environment, leading to many catastrophes faced by Pakistan. All big companies contribute to social causes under their corporate social responsibility (CSR). The business community should be communicated effectively to play their part to invest in the 4RF strategy. (Resilience, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Recovery).

The government can establish a ‘green fund’ at the national level. The business community can be given options to either invest in green projects or contribute to a ‘national green fund’. Those interested in giving donations can deposit a mutually agreed amount in the national green fund on a yearly basis. The government can utilize this amount for different projects of clean energy, forest conservation, mass awareness, etc. The government can also allocate various projects to different business communities for implementation under their corporate social responsibility (CSR) on a short- and long-term basis. Under short-term goals, different projects related to rehabilitation and reconstruction for flood victims can be assigned.

Under long-term goals, various green projects can be allocated to profit makers. A fixed amount to invest in green projects or donations to the national green fund can be linked to some percentage of annual profit of these businesses after mutual consensus. Companies/industries involved in the business of carbon fuels can be allocated the responsibility to convert different residential areas and government offices to solar energy. Owners of housing colonies can be assigned the task to collaborate in the forestry sector and support in increasing the forest cover as a permanent assignment. They can be allotted various regions and roadside areas to grow trees.

Moreover, they can also contribute to developing climate-resilient infrastructure in their colonies. Similarly, mine owners can be asked to support in the training of communities that are more vulnerable to climate-led disasters. They can also contribute to projects related to the mainstreaming of gender in climate change to ensure inclusivity. Landlords and those associated with the livestock sector can be asked to provide research grants and scholarships to students in the fields of climate change and environmental studies to support disadvantaged students. Moreover, they can also contribute to provide electric vehicle public transport and install charging points with the support of national institutions.

Climate change is a collective problem that requires collective efforts at all levels to mitigate and adapt to it. But, those responsible for proliferating climate change disasters at the national and international levels due to their unsustainable businesses are accountable and must compensate.

The writer is a graduate of University of Oxford in Public Policy. She tweets @zilehumma_1

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