Teacher suspended for ‘humiliating’ student

SARGODHA: A female teacher was suspended for forcing a student to wear a ‘shoe-garland’ after coming to school without uniform shoes in Chak No 120-SB on Saturday. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Education Akhtar Baloch told the media that Elementary School Teacher Asia Batool of Government High School 120-Sb forced a sixth-class student to wear a ‘shoe-garland’ around his neck when he came to school wearing non-uniform shoes. An inquiry was initiated. Upon receiving the final report from the school head, the CEO suspended the teacher. APP

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IG orders action against fake summons, harassment

Citizens advised to report e-mail notices on police helpline.

LAHORE: Punjab Police Inspector General Dr Usman Anwar has ordered action over complaints of fake summons sent to citizens by e-mail to extort money from them.

The order came following reports of fake summons sent to citizens purportedly on behalf of police across Punjab to blackmail them. Taking notice of the reports, the IG announced a crackdown against elements involved in harassing he citizens.

According to sources, the fake notices had been e-mailed to a number of people on the pretext of investigations into cybercrime and other offences. The recipients had then been contacted and bribery sought from them from for suspending or cancelling the notices.

Dr Anwar stated that notice had been taken of the miscreants e-mailing fake summons to citizens in cases of cybercrime. He said no such notices were issued by Punjab Police or the IC through e-mail. Attempts had been made to harass citizens through fake e-mail notices, he added.

He said the citizens should beware of fraudsters and report such instances on the police emergency helpline 15. Strict legal action had been initiated against those who had sent the fake e-mails attributed to Punjab Police, he added. MUSHARRAF SHAH

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Kidnapped toddler rescued within hours

Victim was abducted by two suspects, one of whom was arrested.

OKARA: A kidnapped four-year-old child, who was abducted for a ransom of Rs10 million from Usman Block area, was safely recovered by the police on Saturday and arrested the main accused along with his accomplice.

According to DPO Mansoor Aman, the four-year-old son of Aziz Haseeb, a man close to former provincial minister Mian Yawar Zaman, was forcibly abducted by two unknown suspects. Meanwhile, the abductors also tortured the child’s grandmother.

As soon as the incident was reported, DSP Headquarters Meher Yousaf, DSP Organized Crime Zafar Dogar, SHO Ejaz Bhatti, SHO Fakhar Watto and SHO Rab Nawaz took strict notice of the incident and formed special teams to arrest the abductors. Sensitive agencies and the police’s IT branch also provided assistance.

After twenty-four hours, police teams not only arrested the accused kidnapper, Arshad, but also rescued the kidnapped child safely and reunited him with his parents.

DPO Mansoor Aman told Express Tribune that Arshad had taken the child’s grandmother’s mobile phone with him at the time of the abduction. He kept using another SIM in the phone, which was traced by the police with the help of a locator provided by a sensitive organization. The accused was called by his girlfriend and mother to the pharmacy of Hospital Bazar, from where he was arrested in a dramatic manner.

According to SHO A Division Police Station Ejaz Bhatti, police also arrested one of Arshad’s accomplices and have widened the scope of the investigation. There is also a strong possibility of the woman’s involvement with the accused. Police are investigating in this regard.

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Two killed for honour in Rawalpindi

Accused, identified as Usman Ahmed, remains at large.

RAWALPINDI: In a tragic incident, a man shot his newlywed sister and her father-in-law dead for entering a love marriage against her family’s wishes in the Sohal area, within the jurisdiction of Chontra police station.

According to a spokesperson for the police, the bride’s husband also sustained gunshot injuries during the attack. The unfortunate incident occurred just 25 days after the marriage of the deceased.

The spokesperson also said the accused, identified as Usman Ahmed, remains at large.

Aziz Khalid, who was injured in the shooting, recorded his statement with the police from the hospital. He revealed that on the night of September 22, Usman Ahmed, his brother-in-law, arrived at their residence and invited them to dinner.

When they declined the invitation, Usman implored Khalid Mehmood, Aziz Khalid’s father, who was later killed in the incident, to join them. The entire family agreed and accompanied Usman. However, upon reaching Bedan stop at approximately 9:45pm, Usman brandished a pistol and declared his intention to take revenge for his sister’s marriage. He opened fire, leading to his sister and her father-in-law’s immediate demise.

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We are causing more than 100% global warming

More than 100% sounds like an unreal alternative fact or does it?

We have all heard the joke that Muammar Gaddafi once got more than 100% votes in an election. People wondered if dead people came out of their graves and voted for their supreme leader? More than 100% sounds like an unreal alternative fact or does it?

Turns out more than 100% is actually quite a reality. Not with Gaddafi’s elections though but in the realm of climate change, it sure is not so much an alternative fact. The math checks out. Actually, we are in it right now. Actually, we are causing it.

Our planet rotates around the sun. The earth has a tilt perpendicular to its orbital plane. The tilt is about 23.5 degrees. It also spins while rotating around its host star. During that spin, it wobbles due to the uneven distribution of mass on earth. It is uneven because the earth is actually not a perfect spherical shape planet. The wobble I am referring to is called the Axial Precession. It is a very slow wobble, like a spinning top. The entire full circular wobble takes about 26 thousand years to complete. If I can explain it in simple words, the wobble resembles a pendulum movement where the earth is the closest to the sun 13,000 years into the wobble and moves away from it during the other 13,000 years.

When the earth moves toward the sun during one leg of the wobble journey, if you will, the seasonality of the earth is quite extreme. The weather is extreme. That is how things were about 12,000 years ago coming right out of the ice age. The warming thawed the ice and paved the way for agriculture in what is usually called the Fertile Crescent. Right now, after 12,000 years, the earth has gone the farthest from the son. The seasonality of our planet is supposed to be not extreme. The earth is supposed to be cooling down mimicking the ice age conditions, which was the climate of the earth before the advent of agriculture.

However, far from cooling down, we know that the earth is warming up. There is extreme weather all around. It is as if the earth had reversed its wobble journey away from the sun and took a U-turn back in the direction of the sun. Extreme seasonality defines the world we inhabit today.

Is there a missing piece of the puzzle that will explain this unusual warming trend or has the earth really taken that U-turn back toward the sun? Well, that was a trick question. I will break it to you: we, humans, are producing and trapping so much heat in the planet that the earth has started warming at a tremendous pace. As I explained above, the earth should be cooling down now in this era of the wobble. Oceans should be receding and more ground appearing. More and more ice should be forming and ever more need for heat would be the focus of the day.

However, we know the reverse is the truth. This clarifies one thing that I have not seen many people pay attention to. Even if the temperature of the earth had remained consistent throughout the last 2 centuries, it would have also meant climate change doing its thing because the temperature should be going down instead of remaining constant. And if you have not been paying attention, the temperature has been consistently increasing since the industrial revolution, which happened about 200 years ago.

In a nutshell, we are burning so much fossil fuel and making so much carbon emissions that not only have we stopped the cooling trend of the earth but we have turned it around and pushed it toward heating up. That is what I meant by more than 100% heating. That is what we humans are capable of. The earth’s head must be spinning faster than its own spin on its axis.

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Woman ‘burnt by in-laws’ dies

LAHORE: A 23-year-old woman, who was burnt at her house a few days ago near Rehri Wala Chowk, Ichhra, died in the hospital on Saturday. The heirs of the woman had alleged that the deceased Faiza was set on fire by her in-laws. The body was shifted to the mortuary by Edhi ambulance.

MAN ELECTROCUTED

A 27-year-old man died due to electrocution near Batapur Chowki Wagah on Saturday. The deceased was identified as Haseeb, a resident of Baba Shah Kamal, Ichhra area. His body was handed over to the heirs. Meanwhile, a 40-year-old man, who was found unconscious in Kot Lakhpat area, died in the hospital on Saturday. The identity of the deceased was yet to be made. The police shifted he body to the morgue.

160 HEAD CONSTABLES PROMOTED

Around 160 head constables were promoted to the rank of ASI and seven ASIs to the rank of SI. SSP Operations Sohaib Ashraf pinned badges of the rank on the shoulders of officers promoted to the rank of ASI and SI. The badges were pinned in a ceremony held at Police Lines Qila Gujar Singh on Saturday. Sohaib Ashraf congratulated the promoted officers on behalf of the CCPO.

ROAD ACCIDENTS 

At least twelve persons were killed and 1,158 others injured in 1,083 road accidents in all 37 districts of Punjab during the last 24 hours.

Out of these, 615 people with serious injuries were shifted to different hospitals, while 543 victims with minor injuries were treated at the site thus reducing the burden of hospitals. Furthermore, the analysis showed that 582 drivers, 52 underage drivers, 151 pedestrians, and 437 passengers were among the victims. The statistics show that 283 accidents were reported in Lahore which affected 289 persons placing the provincial capital at top of the list followed by 72 in Faisalabad with 75 victims and Multan with 54 accidents and 51 victims. According to the data, 959 motorbikes, 71 rickshaws, 97 cars, 21 vans, 13 buses, 21 trucks and 99 other types of vehicles and carts were involved in the accidents.

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Votes for women

Democracy in Pakistan has mostly been precariously placed at an edge – barely lifting off before its pulled down by interventions, direct or indirect. While ‘jalsas’ may be huge and impressive, vote turnout has hardly ever been what it should be in a country that has been striving for democracy and whose people – despite all odds – have steadfastly stood by the democratic process, flawed though it may be. A smaller number of registered voters in the country has remained a big challenge for parties. But things have taken a turn – and thankfully in the right direction – over the years. According to the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) latest statistics, more than 21 million voters have been added to the electoral rolls, bringing the total to 126,980,272. One remarkable feature has been the addition of around 11.74 million women to the voters list. This figure is heartening more so when we compare it to the number of newly registered male voters – 9.28 million. The gender gap that was at 11 million in the 2018 general elections has now dropped down to 10 million, signalling a positive shift in the country.

Despite the positive shift, much more needs to be done. Women’s participation in political activity has a lot of space for improvement. Most women do not attend political gatherings out of fear of harassment and name-calling. Others prefer staying at home because participating in political activities is still a taboo in different parts of the country. Also, when women are out, they are more vulnerable to people’s scrutiny. There are still areas in the country where women are actively prohibited from voting – something the ECP and the governing structures have taken note of over the years. In these areas, local authorities such as the District Election Commissions need to take up the responsibility of making sure that women do turn out to vote without any intimidation from local elders or patriarchs. In the past, some political parties have also vouched in unison in some conservative constituencies not to allow women to vote. Barring women from voting is a sign of a larger malice in a society that is essentially misogynist and where women do not receive the due share in even their inherited properties. If anyone discourages women from voting, that person or party does great harm to their constituencies, families, and society at large.

Encouragingly, the updated election law now requires women’s votes to be 10 per cent of total votes in any constituency for the election to be valid. This has allowed more women to exercise their right and have a louder say in the political matters of their country. The rise of social media networking sites and women’s access to such apps has also played a big role in creating a drive among young women voters. Women make 49 per cent of the country’s total population, and each time they have been given this liberty, and right, they have taken part enthusiastically in balloting and even put themselves up as candidates. It’s 2023 – ideally we ought not to be having this conversation. One half of the country being actively discouraged from politics lies at the root of many problems facing the country. Pakistan is already on a regressive path; the fact that more women are registered as voters is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise bleak democratic picture.

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How to protect children

Sexual violence is a heinous crime and a serious human rights violation. A report by the NGO, Sahil, reveals that from January to June 2023, a total of 2,227 cases of child sexual abuse and 53 cases of child pornography were reported across Pakistan.

About 12 children on average were subjected to sexual abuse every day during the period. Further, according to information revealed by the National Police Bureau (NPB), the total number of sexual violence cases registered in the country from 2019 till 2021 stands at 11,160.

The state is responsible for adopting protective mechanisms to combat sexual violence offences and prevent the recurrence of such heinous crimes by convicted or habitual offenders. Therefore, the recent notification (on September 13) of the Anti-Rape (Sex Offenders Register) Rules 2023 under the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Act 2021 by the Ministry of Law and Justice (MoLJ) is a step in the right direction.

A sex offenders register (SOR) is a mechanism used by several countries to monitor the activities of people convicted of sexual offences against children and adults. Here are some recommendations that can increase their effectiveness in tackling sexual offences.

The SOR is mandated under Section 24 of the Anti-Rape Act, which states that: “The National Data-Base and Registration Authority (NADRA) shall prepare a register of sex offenders.’’

The definition for a ‘sex offender’ is stipulated under Section 2(h) of the Anti-Rape Act as any person convicted under Sections 292A (exposure to seduction), 292B (child pornography), 292C (punishment for child pornography), 371A (selling person for purposes of prostitution), 371B (buying person for purposes of prostitution), 375 (rape), 375A (gang rape), 376 (punishment for rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 377A (sexual abuse), 377B (punishment for sexual abuse) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) 1860 or Sections 21 (offences against the modesty of a natural person and minor) and 22 (child pornography) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016.

Even though the list is comprehensive, it is not clear if the SOR will include the details of those convicted for the offence of attempt or abetting a sexual violence offence.

Further, Section 2(h) does not include Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 354A (assault or use of criminal force to woman and stripping her of her clothes). It also does not cover kidnapping or abduction of children or make references to the Trafficking in Persons Act 2018.

In Australia, for example, the Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Act 2005 covers trafficking in children “whether intentionally or reckless’’ as to whether the child will be used to provide sexual services.

Turning to the SOR Rules, it is a brief document containing 17 rules and 4 (A-D) forms spanning across 14 pages.

According to Rule 3 (3), the SOR will be maintained by NADRA in electronic form and will not be accessed without express authorization as prescribed in the rules. The institution has been given the responsibility for the “storage, protection, retention and destruction of the data in compliance with instructions issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice developed in consultation with the National Police Bureau and NADRA’’.

Further, Rule 4 provides guidelines on the information stored in the SOR. It includes: given name and surname, alias, father’s name, date of birth, gender, recent photograph, nationality, computerized national identity card number, POR card number or alien card number, passport number, FIR number with police station and district in which it was registered, fingerprints, history of DNA profiling, identifying marks, permanent and temporary address, specific offences for which the offender was convicted, conviction order duly certified by the court, acquittal order duly certified by the court, category of offender, description of the modus operandi of the offence and previous and current status of employment.

However, the rules do not include information regarding the address of the convicted person’s place of employment or the type of employment, if the employment requires the care of children or vulnerable persons, landline or mobile telephone details, or information regarding the public places (such as parks, shops) he/she frequently visits, and details of any username for any online social networks. These are important details to keep children and vulnerable persons safe.

According to Rule 5(1), when an accused is convicted for a sexual offence, the special prosecutor appointed in the special court under the Anti- Rape Act, convicting the accused, will submit the completed Form A (provided in the rules) to the NPB for verification. The NBP will then submit the information received to NADRA electronically through the prescribed application programming interface for storage of data in the SOR.

Rule 5(3) requires that the entry into the SOR be made as early as possible but not later than 15 days of a person being convicted of a sex offence.

However, what is important to highlight is that requests for access to the SOR (through the district public prosecutor) can only be made ‘’for the purpose of investigation and prosecution’’ according to Rule 6. Similarly, according to Rule 7 (2), “The data shall only be stored in the sex offenders register for the specific purpose of investigation and prosecution of sex offences.’’

Rule 7(3) also states that “all authorities with access to and applying for the release of data on the sex offenders registry shall only process it for the stated purpose.’’

According to the 2023 ‘Cruel Numbers’ report by Sahil, 51 offences of child sexual abuse were committed by neighbours, 17 by schoolteachers, 15 by religious teachers, eight by shopkeepers, two by drivers and one by a school guard.

While the data on offenders should not be available publicly, it must be released to employers (such as schools, daycare centres, hospitals) with the aim to protect children and vulnerable persons. In the UK, for example, the police can tell parents, carers and guardians if someone has a record for child sexual abuse under the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme (CSODS). The scheme is also known as Sarah’s Law, after 8-year-old Sarah Payne who was murdered in 2000 by a convicted sex offender.

Similarly, in New Zealand, the Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Government Agency Registration) Act 2016 is applicable. While access to the register is not available to the public, the police may release information to an affected person (parent, teacher, or regular caregiver of the child) if it is believed that the registered offender poses a threat to the life, welfare, or sexual safety of children.

According to Rule 9(2), the convicted offenders in the SOR will be categorized in three categories: A, B and C. The notification will depend on the years of imprisonment that the offender has been punished with.

According to Rule 10, upon release from prison, the sex offender will notify the officer-in-charge of the police station where the offender resides within a period of three days of release from prison. The officer-in-charge of the police station will submit the completed Form B to the district police officer for onward submission to NADRA through the NPB for updating the SOR. This process shall be completed within 15 days, per Rule 10(2).

According to Rule 11, all offenders on the SOR must notify their details every six months to the police station of the area in which they reside.

Rule 13 requires the offenders on the SOR to notify their concerned police station not less than seven days in advance of any intended domestic travel and within 30 days in advance of any international travel.

According to Rule 16, “if a successful appeal is filed after the conviction, which results in an acquittal, the previous conviction record will be omitted from the sex offender register’’. The conviction order will be omitted from the SOR upon the death of the offender, as per Rule 16(2). However, the rules do not provide details on the procedure which will be followed where an appeal against the conviction is pending in the courts.

It is important to outline that the SOR does not provide the procedure for registering the conviction of a citizen in a jurisdiction outside of Pakistan or the procedure of registration that will be followed upon the deportation of a citizen convicted of a sexual offence.

Finally, under Rule 17, the special committee has been given the responsibility to oversee the implementation of the SOR Rules. Overall, the notification of the rules is an excellent effort by the Ministry of Law and Justice for the protection of children and vulnerable persons.

The writer is a barrister. She tweets/posts @RidaT95 and can be reached at: ridaatahir@gmail.com

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Missing justice

I ONCE read somewhere that there are a handful of languages that have words to describe a parent whose child dies. There`s `vilomah` in Sanskrit but the word means `against natural order` because it is against nature for a parent to bury a child. Yet innumerable people experience the death of their child to disease, disasters, maybe even negligence, their own or institutional.

Imagine then what it`s like to not know whether your child is alive or dead. This is what some mothers in Bangladesh wondered all their lives after their young children were forcibly taken from them in the 1970s, according to a searing exposé in a three-part audio series by The Guardian.

Reporters Thaslima Begum and Rosie Swash uncovered a scandal whose impact can be felt five decades on. Mothers, likely too poor, enrolled their children in what they thought was a boarding shelter for their schooling and care, only to discover a few days later that their children were gone. Many of those children were adopted by families abroad but without their parents` knowledge, let alone consent.

Bibi Haseenar has fleeting memories of her early childhood in Bangladesh but clear memories of being on a plane to the Netherlands in 1976, aged four small and malnourished for her age, according to The Guardian with her brother, and no idea what was happening. `They tied me to the seat with a rope because I could not be calmed. Iwasn`t allowed to go to my brother in the rows ahead; I just felt so alone,` she told the newspaper. She was then adopted by a Dutch family first separately and then reunited with her brother because she was inconsolable without him. She grew up thinking her mother, Samina, did not want her only to learn so many years later that her mother never stopped looking.

While Haseenar would learn the truth in 2017 about herforced adoption through a documentary, and would reunite with her elder brother Kader and family in Dhaka as an adult, her mother had died a decade earlier. Kader, who was 16 when his siblings were taken from them, says `fighting the system for so long took its toll on [my mother]`. He also says `in the process of losing my siblings, I lost my mother too`.

Almost every culture has a variation of a saying that does not wish a child`s death on anyone and I can`t imagine what Samina and other mothers endured, not knowing where their children were, going everywhere in their search and being threatened by the powerful institutions to shut up. Many organisations and governments have been investigating this boarding school scandal but the damage to families cannotbereversed.These forced abductions aren`t unique to Bangladesh. Parents too poor to care for their children following the devastating American war in Vietnam, were reportedly hoodwinked into giving their children up; they didn`t understand they would lose contact with their children. The same happened in Cambodia in the late 1990s as reported by a filmmaker who found many of the 1,000 children adopted and sent abroad were not orphans.

There are innumerable stories of illegal adoptions from developing countries but I`m talking about Bangladesh because we have yet to understand the scale of damage that took place prior to its independence and our role in it. There are so many unopened wounds around Partition and then Bangladesh`s independence that must be examined and somehow healed, though I don`t know how someone can heal from trauma and violence. Academics and historians will have answers on how nationshave addressed their collective past traumas.

Bangladesh, like the aforementioned countries ravaged by war, witnessed heavy floods which destroyed crops three years after its independence. An estimated 1.5 million died in one of the worst famines in modern history.Poor parents thought they were placing their children in temporary care when that was not the case. You don`t need to be a parent to imagine what it feels like not to know what happened to your child.

What does retribution look like? Using DNA kits and social media, adoptees in the Netherlands have been able to find relatives in Bangladesh but is that justice? Haseenar has filed a complaint against the Dutch government about her forced adoption and awaits a decision. It may help prevent future tragedies.

I wonder if there are lessons for parents whose children have been forcibly disappeared in Pakistan. The protests, governments` inquiries, a 2022 court ruling blaming the state for enforced disappearances don`t seem to yield results. It is perhaps one of the most contentious issues in the country. I hope when the Supreme Court takes up the case, we will see a live transmission of the proceedings. Families deserve answers. We must wish justice for them.

The wnter researches newsroom culture in Pakistan.

X (formerly Twitter): @LedeingLady

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Two rape suspects killed in encounter

BAHAWALNAGAR: Two outlaws who had allegedly gang-raped a woman during a robbery in Haroonabad were killed in an encounter` with police in the jurisdiction of the McLeod Ganj police on Saturday, while their as many accomplices managed to escape.

According to an FIR, four outlaws, including Amjad Iqbal and Azam, were spotted in the jurisdiction of McLeod Ganj police in the wee hours of Saturday. Police rushed to the spot and surrounded the criminals.

However, the armed men who were on two motorcycles started firing on the police party which was retaliated.

After about 10-minute shootout, the police found Amjad and Azam dead while their accomplices managed to escape. A senior police official, requesting anonymity, told Dawn the criminals killed in the encounter had robbed the house of an overseas Pakistani in Chak 25/3R, Haroonabad, about two weeks ago and gang-raped his wife.

He claimed the gang was involved in many cases of theft and robbery across the district, and during the robbery, they also misbehaved with women.

The DPO`s spokesperson confirmed that the robbers were involved in rape during the robbery in Haroonabad and a case had been registered against them. He said raids were being conducted to nab their absconding accomplices.

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