Man held for ‘sexually exploiting’ woman – 31 May 2023

Woman raped after being lured in with the promise of marriage

Waris Khan area police arrested a man accused of sexually exploiting a woman under the guise of marriage.

The victim informed the police that Abdul Malik had deceived her by making a promise of marriage and subsequently subjected her to the heinous act of rape. Upon receiving the victim’s complaint, police promptly registered a case and took Abdul Malik into their custody.

The victim has undergone the necessary medical procedures to gather evidence.

SP Rawal, Faisal Salim, expressed determination to build a strong case against the accused, ensuring that justice is served.

He emphasised that the evidence against Abdul Malik is substantial, and appropriate legal action will be taken. Such acts of violence against women are utterly unacceptable and will not be tolerated, he said.

On the same day, police arrested two members of a gang involved in house robberies and recovered four motorcycles and Rs65,000 in cash from their possession on Tuesday.

Police also recovered weapons used in the crime. The arrested accused are the ring leaders of the gang, identified as Usman Khan and Usman Ali. Airport police have registered separate cases against both the accused and opened an investigation.

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Elderly woman stabbed – 31 May 2023

Unidentified suspects murder 70-year-old living alone

Unidentified suspects allegedly broke into a house and stabbed an elderly woman to death with a knife.

Police took the body into custody and started searching for the accused.

Police said 70-year-old Salma Begum lived alone in her house in Afghanabad 1 Street 10.

Unidentified suspects jumped over the wall of the house on Tuesday and stabbed her in the head with a knife. The attack was so severe that the woman died on the spot.

The victim’s neighbours reported the incident to police.

As soon as reports came in, police reached the scene and took the body of the deceased into custody, shifting it to the hospital for a post-mortem.

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Teenager charged with uploading obscene video – 31 May 2023

USB containing explicit clip was allegedly recovered from suspect’s possession

Minchinabad police arrested a teenager for allegedly uploading an obscene video clip on social media.

The suspect was apprehended during a raid conducted by a police team in the Veterinary Hospital area of Minchinabad.

A USB containing an explicit video clip featuring the suspect and an underage girl was allegedly recovered from his possession.

The youth had been charged with Sections 292 and 293 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and booked under the Motion Picture Ordinance 1979.

Further investigation into the matter was underway.

Police sources said that both the suspect and the girl in the video were underage.

To protect their identities, police had deleted the video from the suspect’s social media account.

The authorities are taking the case seriously to ensure the safety and well-being of minors on social media platforms.

Cases involving the misuse of social media and the distribution of explicit content have been on the rise globally, prompting the law-enforcement agencies to take strict action against offenders.

This incident serves as a reminder for individuals, especially minors, to exercise caution and responsibility while using social media platforms to avoid legal consequences.

On Monday, a boy had been arrested in Okara for allegedly creating a graphic poster inviting people to observe the death anniversary of the Indian rapper Sidhu Moose Wala and then uploading the poster on social media.

He was later released after his parents apologised and submitted an affidavit to the police.

According to DSP Mehar Yousaf, the student had been arrested by the B Division Police for posting invitations on social media for observing the death anniversary of the Indian rapper.

The parents of the student gave an affidavit to Fakhar Hayat, the SHO of the B Division Police, saying that their son had mischievously made a graphic poster and uploaded it on social media.

The parents said that their son had realised his mistake and he was ashamed of himself. The boy also offered his apology.

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Brother kills sister ‘for honour’ – 31 May 2023

SUKKUR: A brother shot dead his sister in Khairpur under the shabby tradition of Karo Kari (honour killing). In Mahamood Channa, Khairpur, accused Masood Channa shot dead his 21-year-old sister Mst Azra w/o Imran Channa over illicit relations. The accused surrendered to police with a pistol and confessed his crime over Karo Kari.

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Rape suspect arrested – 31 May 2023

NAROWAL: The Sialkot police on Tuesday arrested a man for raping a class seven student on Feb 2.

The incident occurred when a couple from Hanterpur village was away from home, leaving their children behind. Seizing an opportunity, the suspect entered their residence, held the children at gunpoint and raped the young girl.

An FIR was registered against the suspect at the Moradpur police station.

SHO Mian Razzak launched a relentless pursuit of the suspect, conducting raids at various locations multiple times in their quest for the suspect and finally, after an extensive five-day search operation, the police captured the suspect in Islamabad, bringing an end to his evasion of the law.

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Man held for raping girl – 31 May 2023

OKARA: The police have arrested a man accused of raping a ninthgrade student.

According to the first information report, the teenage girl of Lehrasab Town went to a government school in Renala City on Monday morning.

After a while, her former classmate reportedly met her at the school and asked her to go shopping.

She obtained permission from her class in charge and accompanied the girl to Renala City Bazaar.

When they were atSaddar Bazaar, the prime suspect with an unidentified accomplice abducted the girl, pushed her into a car and drove to Awan Town and raped her.

Upon her cries for help, witnesses of the incident contacted the police helpline (15). Her father also arrived at the scene, but the suspects fled.

On the girl`s father report, the Renala City police registered a case under Section 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code against three individuals, including the former classmate.

The key suspect was arrested within a few hours.

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Woman shot dead at bus stop – 31 May 2023

LAHORE: Unidentified gunmen allegedly shot dead a woman at busiest Qartaba Chowk here on Tuesday night.

The police arrived at the site on being alerted and shifted the body to the city morgue for an autopsy.

A police official said the woman was identified as Murat Masih and the identity of the alleged killers and motive behindher murder was unknown.

About the incident, he said, two persons riding a motorbike opened fire on the woman who was waitingforabusontheroad.

He said the police were trying to trace her family to get an application to register a case against the alleged killers.

THIEVES: Two thieves were captured while three others escaped when they were caught red-handed attemptingto steal valuables from the fire-damaged building of the Pace shopping mall in Gulberg.

The administration reported that a group of five thieves were fleeing after stealing various items, including copper wire.

The captured suspects were subsequently handed over to the police, who are currently investigating the matter.

The mall was reduced to ashes during a massive fire in March last year.

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Sessions judge killed during house robbery – 31 May 2023

RAWALPINDI: A sessions judge of Azad Jammu and Kashmir judiciary was gunned down during a house robbery in Bahria Town Phase Vlll here on Tuesday.

Police said one of the robbers was arrested after he was injured from the firing of his accomplices.

Zafar Ishaq, a resident of Chaklala Scheme Ill, lodged an FIR with the Rawat police stating that his brother Sardar Amjad Ishaq was performing duty at Muzaffarabad High Court.

The complainant said since his brother was not feeling well, he had gone to his house to inquire about his health. The two brothers were sitting in a room when they heard screaming from the TV lounge at about 2:30am.

He said as they came out of the room, they found their nephew Ahmed held hostage by three robbers. One of their accomplices was guarding at the door and their fifth accomplice was standing outside their room.

Mr Zafar said in the FIR that the robbers threatened to kill the inmates if cash and gold jewellery were not handed over to them. He said as his brother tried to free his son, he was shot by one of the three robbers who were holding him.

He said the robbers also fired at Ahmad, however, he narrowly escaped. A bullet fired by one of the robbers hit his own accomplice who had shot Amjad.

Seeing the situation, the four robbers escaped, leaving their injured accomplice behind.

The body was later shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital for postmortem.

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Parenthood and the state – 31 May 2023

The story is all too familiar in Pakistan; for far too long, we have witnessed the various manifestations of the unfair choices working parents are subjected to in the face of relentless socio-economic pressures. Whereas child birth brings with it unquantifiable joy, skewed expectations and pressures can make it an overwhelming experience. For women particularly, the bargain can be brutal, as childbirth brings with it the painful realization that the very ethos of our workplaces makes their careers and ambitions discardable commodities. However, there are days we are reminded of the monumental role the state can play in navigating the arduous terrain of parenthood. On May 15, 2023 three historic bills that seek to effectively respond to the contemporary realities of parenthood were passed by parliament in a joint sitting.

The bills are monumental for ensuring fair and sustainable employment for both men and women. According to the bill regarding maternity and paternity leaves for parents, women are entitled to paid maternity leave of: 180 days (six months) on first birth; 120 days (four months) on second birth; and 90 days (three months) on the third birth.

Male employees will be entitled to paid paternity leave of: 30 days (one month) a total of three times during service.

As per the bill, the maternity/paternity leave policy will be applicable to both public and private establishments in the federal capital territory of Islamabad. Whereas implementation comes under the purview of the executive, the bills mention explicit penalties for non-compliance. Employers who do not comply face up to six months of imprisonment and/or a fine of Rs100,000.

Similarly, the bill concerning daycare centres requires all government and private establishments which have at least 70 employees, to provide daycare facilities, in light of more women entering the workforce. Non compliance can be punishable by a fine of Rs100,000 and/or up to six months in prison. Lastly, the bill pertaining to paramedics in schools requires all public and private schools, with an enrolment of over 30 students to have trained paramedical staff who can provide immediate medical assistance and administer first aid to the students.

Senator Quratulain Marri, the architect behind these landmark bills, holds a special affinity for legislation around various social issues. Like numerous Pakistanis, she has witnessed close friends and family face a myriad of hard choices and anxieties while starting or expanding their families. A time which should otherwise be momentous and joyous, she says, becomes riddled with financial worries and societal burdens.

The lack of adequate paid maternity leave leads numerous women to opt out of the workforce or take prolonged breaks, which eventually hampers their future career prospects, and has far reaching consequences for the economy. Even where maternity leave is provided, it is followed by the abject lack of daycare facilities, which leaves new mothers disgruntled and may affect productivity. For those who cannot rely on families or paid helpers for child care, the workday seems bleak. Consequently, the financial expectations from fathers are no less worrisome, who are unable to adequately participate in the child’s early months, leading to unbalanced familial relationships.

The benefits of employers acknowledging and responding to the needs of parents are enormous. There is overwhelming evidence to support the numerous positive outcomes of female workforce participation, both to the workplace, and to the economy and society at large. Pakistan’s current female labour force participation stands at around 22 per cent, which is one of the lowest in South Asia and globally. This is a lost opportunity in terms of productivity and economic growth.

The State Bank of Pakistan has recently estimated that reducing the gap in female labour force participation can generate 19.3 million jobs and can boost GDP by almost 23 per cent. Similar figures have been presented by the World Bank and the ILO. In a recent report, the World Bank has emphasized the need to remove barriers that limit women’s workforce participation and recognise the potential of this massive untapped reservoir. Per Najy Benhassine, World Bank country director for Pakistan, “Women in Pakistan have made progress in educational attainment, but this accumulated human capital is underused because of constraints they face to participate in the labour force.”

These bills go to the root of the problem; they remove the impossible and unfair constraints women are subjected to which become the primary reason for their exit from the workplace. The choice between a satisfying career and a fulfilling family life lies at the very heart of the patriarchal bargain. Very few women are able to convince their families that they can balance both responsibilities, and unfortunately the way workplaces are structured makes failure almost inevitable. Hence, the system sets women up for failure, depriving society of financially empowered women and the economy of additional growth and productivity.

It is also well documented how workplaces negatively view female employees who choose to get married or start families during their employment tenures. Numerous women choose to conceal the news of their weddings and pregnancies from their employers due to the fear of negative stereotyping. Meanwhile, workplaces are known to try and evade responsibility under such circumstances which skews the balance against working mothers. The state must act responsibly and enact legislation which enables workplaces to become fairer places of employment for both men and women.

Many of these constraints are interconnected and require targeted state interventions, such as these bills, to address them. The gendered cultural norms that seek to limit women’s workforce participation also place the entirety of financial burdens on fathers. New fathers are expected to resume work, unfazed, soon after the birth of their children, whereas new mothers are to forget the world outside their homes. Several studies suggest the importance of the early close relationship between a father and child which has long term implications. It is important to recognize the role of both parents in the childcare process as a necessary step towards healthier family structures. It is positive to see the state recognize this.

It is equally important to note that bills pertaining to such sensitive issues undergo vigorous debate which often last for several months. Oftentimes, external audiences are unaware of the dedication and consistency the passage of bills, especially those as monumental as these, requires. Senator Marri credits the leadership of the PPP, especially Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, for always standing behind such initiatives and lending credence to them.

Legislation such as these three recent bills also reaffirms the PPP’s commitment to women’s economic empowerment, which was integral to the PPP Manifesto in 2018. Furthermore, it will also assist in the mainstreaming of women in public life. Previously, the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2010 was another milestone achieved under the PPP-led government. Senator Marri is also hopeful that the Sindh government will follow the precedent set and pass these bills in the provincial assembly too.

In order to respond to the mounting challenges faced by contemporary families, the state must change its outlook and respond according to these new realities. With higher educational attainment of women, we must find ways to translate this potential into increased economic opportunities and sustainable employment for women. Just as change in social realities is the law of life, responding to such changes is the life of law.

As women increasingly join the workforce and break the proverbial glass ceiling, the law too must yield to these changes and affirm that women need not choose between their career and their homes. While women’s dreams have often been shattered by patriarchy and other pressures, such legislation is a significant step towards preserving such dreams and keeping the flickering flame of hope alive.

The writer is a women’s rights activist and political worker for the Pakistan People’s Party, currently holding the office of deputy information secretary for PPP Central Punjab. She tweets @NayabGJan

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A state of many cases – 31 May 2023

‘Never a dull moment’ is a cliche, even more so for Pakistani politics. How could we have a dull moment when there is a steady stream of cases and audio/video leaks? The sad reality is that these moments are not amusing or entertaining, as many on social media tend to project.

Pakistan has a long history of registering cases against political opponents. From the controversial Public and Representative Office (Disqualification) Act (Proda) 1949, misusing laws against opposition leaders and parties became a common practice. The Liaquat Ali Khan government was the first one to embark on a journey of maligning and targeting all those who dared to differ with government decisions and policies. Later, in 1951, a baseless Rawalpindi conspiracy case targeted left-wing and progressive activists and intellectuals in the country.

Literary stalwarts such as Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sajjad Zaheer, Hasan Abidi and many others faced years of imprisonment. In 1959, the martial-law regime of Gen Ayub Khan enacted the Elective Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) to disqualify a large number of politicians from carrying out electoral activities for eight years – until December 31, 1966. Most of these top-notch leaders could reenter the political arena in 1967. This was a blatant mockery of law by a dictator who claimed to introduce ‘basic democracy’ in the country and in the process demolished the entire political spectrum.

In 1971, the Awami League emerged as the largest political party with enough seats to form the government. Gen Yahya Khan refused to hand over power to the elected representatives and initiated a devastating military action. He registered cases against the entire leadership of the Awami league and arrested Mujibur Rehman, who was the most popular leader of the country at that time. Gen Yahya Khan imposed a ban based on those cases on the party that had just won elections. Those cases and the accompanying military action caused a lot of harm to the country.

In the mid-1970s, prime minister ZA Bhutto used cases against a major progressive and secular political party that Wali Khan was leading. Bhutto used the Hyderabad conspiracy case to target the opposition and imprisoned the entire leadership of the National Awami Party (NAP), dissolved that party and confiscated all its assets. The judicial tribunal (Hyderabad tribunal) prosecuted opposition politicians on the charges of treason and acting against the ideology of Pakistan. The case could never conclude, and the arrested leaders remained in prison for years without proof.

Consequently, when Bhutto himself became a target of such cases, there were hardly any political parties who could support him in his battle against state institutions. Gen Zia used his state machinery to persecute dozens of political leaders and hundreds of activists. Most of those cases were false and ill-intentioned, targeting anyone who had any democratic aspirations and was vocal about it. This was the period when Begum Nusrat Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto endured long detentions; they did not have access to proper medical treatment, and state machinery was up in arms against them, but they remained steadfast.

The martial-law regime implicated thousands of political workers in false cases, sentenced them to flogging and lashes, imprisonments, and even hangings. These cases left an indelible mark on the polity or the political system of the country.

In 1988, after an 11-year-long dark night, Benazir Bhutto assumed charge as the youngest and the first woman prime minister of any Muslim country. There were spin doctors who worked against her, churning out allegations of corruption, sedition, and even treason.

When she hosted Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, her opponents declared her a security threat. Nawaz Sharif was at the forefront of this nefarious campaign, with the likes of General Hameed Gul supporting him wholeheartedly. When president Ghulam Ishaq Khan removed prime minister Benazir Bhutto, he could not have done it without the support from the then army chief General Aslam Beg. As soon as she lost power, the new government initiated cases against her and other PPP leaders. Nawaz Sharif hounded Benazir Bhutto, and in turn she did nearly the same when she returned to power in 1993.

The entire decade of the 1990s saw hundreds of cases against political opponents initiated by the sitting governments to target the opposition. Most of these cases did nothing but weaken the democratic foundations of the system that never saw any stability. When Gen Pervez Musharraf’s commanders staged a military coup in 1999, there was once again a long list of cases that the PML-N faced, apart from the cases that the PPP was facing that the Nawaz Sharif government had registered against them. But then on BB’s initiative, Nawaz Sharif agreed to sign the marvelous document called the Charter of Democracy in 2006.

After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, when the PPP came to power once again, president Asif Ali Zardari avoided repeating the mistakes of the 1990s. He tried his best to accommodate the opposition and did not initiate any cases that could harm his relations with the PML-N.

The 2008-2018 decade established the judiciary as an active player in nearly all major decisions that the successive governments of the PPP and the PML-N were trying to make. From Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to Justices Saqib Nisar, Asif Saeed Khosa, Gulzar Ahmed, and the present judiciary – all stretched themselves too much out of their designated domains. They delivered verdicts that were not entirely in accordance with the established judicial practices of keeping their hands clean. From removing former PM Yusuf Raza Gilani to targeting Nawaz Sharif on dubious charges, there is a litany of substandard decisions and observations.

Traditionally there have been three centres of power in the country: the GHQ, the judiciary, and parliament. In his almost four-year-long tenure, Imran Khan had the distinction of enjoying almost unconditional support. All the cases the Imran Khan government initiated against the opposition smacked of fascist tendencies in the PTI leadership that is now facing the music.

All said and done, the current government must not initiate any false cases against the opposition. There should be solid proof of involvement in any criminal activity before an accused is put behind bars. Of course, those who themselves have been highly intolerant against the opposition are now begging for mercy and calling for a ‘democratic dialogue’ that they never initiated while in power. Culprits and miscreants must face cases and get sentences, but in this process it should be ensured that there is no miscarriage of justice.

The writer holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham, UK. He tweets @NaazirMahmood and can be reached at:

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