Toddler allegedly raped

Another woman also assaulted by home invaders.

KURIANWALA: A 4 and a half-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted, while a teenager foiled a rape attempt.

The police report states that the accused Zeeshan allegedly lured and sexually assaulted the four-and-a-half-year-old niece of Ghulam Nabi.

When locals gathered in response to the girl’s screams, the accused fled the scene.

Upon realizing the seriousness of the situation, City Police Officer Captain (Rtd) Muhammad Ali Zia ordered SP Saddar Division Shamsul Haq Durrani to immediately arrest the accused and take action. Taking this into consideration, the SP Saddar Division established teams led by SHO Tarkhani, who raided and detained the accused Zeeshan and put him behind bars.

In 216 Rabb, Shah Bahram lured and sexually assaulted Allah Dutta’s daughter when she was home alone at gunpoint. Meanwhile, three accused, including Buta, attempted to rape Abdul Sattar’s daughter in 215 Rabb, but she foiled the attempt.

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Missing girl rescued from captors after 70 days

SAHIWAL: The Pakpattan Saddar police rescued a 12-year-old orphan girl, Fatima, who had been held captive for 70 days by her captors.

Fatima was kidnappe d from Faridpur Dogain and then sold to a brothel in L arkana by her abductors.

The police said the young girl was sold for Rs45,000.

Saddar Station House Officer Abid Ashig said Fatima had been reunited with her mother, Bakhtawar Bibi.

He said on Aug 10, Bakhtawar left Fatima and her niece, Rabia, at home while she went to work. Upon her return, she found that Fatima was missing.

Rabia said Fatima had gone out to see her friends. Bakhtawar learned that her daughter was last seen in a van.

The Saddar police registered a case under section 365 of the Pakistan Penal Code against unidentified kidnappers.

First, her uncle was arrested, and a breakthrough came from mobile data, indicatingthat Fatima contacted a family at a local shrine.

Later, she fell into the hands of a Lahore-based criminal network comprising three women and four men.

This group would frequent visit various shrines and establish contact with girls aged between 12 and 15. After building familiarity, they would lure and abduct the girls.

A police investigation unveiled that Fatima was targeted in a similar manner and then summoned to a location where she was kidnapped.

Initially transported to Multan, she was ultimately sold to a brothel in Larkana.

The police first conducted a raid in Multan, and it led to the recovery of the girl from Larkana.

The police arrested Parveen Bibi, Iram Shahzadi, and her husband, Altaf, along with Shaista and her husband, Altaf Husain.

Munawwar Abbas Multani, who is Parveen Bibi`s husband, is currently evading capture.

The police said the racket was involved in kidnapping of girls from various cities across Pakistan.

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Man kills wife, his cousin `for honour`

SUKKUR: A man allegedly shot dead his wife and cousin in Mian Bakhsh Dasti village within the limits of the Dodapur police station ofGarhiKherotalukain Jacobabad district on Friday.

The suspect, Sanaullah Dasti, fled the area after committing thedouble murder, the police said.

They said Dasti was suspicious about his wife`s close friendship with his cousin, Mumtaz Ali Dasti.

On Friday, he shot dead both of them in the name of honour, the police said.

A hunt was under way for thesuspect, they added.

The police took the man`s body to the Garhi Khero Hospital and that of the woman to the Jacobabad Civil Hospital for postmortem examination. Later, they were handed over to their respective heirs.-Correspondent

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Five women FIA officials challenge seniority list

KARACHl: The Sindh High Court on Friday issued notices to the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) on a petition filed by five female sub-inspectors against a provisional seniority list.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi asked the authorities at the FIA headquarters and provincial office to file comments by Nov 29.

Sabeen Ghouri Nadeem and four other petitioned the SHC and impugned the provisional seniority list issued by FIA on Jan 25 this year.

Their counsel Hasan Mandviwalla contended that the seniority of the petitioners was being calculated from 2010 instead of 2007 unlike their contemporary batchmates.

He further submitted that the impugned seniority list was arbitrarily and issued in contravention of Article 25 of the Constitution.

The lawyer also argued that the petitioners had been left with no alternate remedy other than the constitutional jurisdiction of the SHC and pleaded for equal treatment.

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Overhauling justice

Weak prosecution in trial courts has resulted in acquittal of suspects.

The capital city of Islamabad is currently grappling with a staggering backlog of over 18,000 criminal cases, a situation exacerbated by antiquated laws. As per court statistics, the Sessions Division West of Islamabad is burdened with 9,369 pending criminal cases, while the Sessions Division East faces 8,660 cases, bringing the total pendency to 18,029.

Shockingly, weak prosecution in trial courts has resulted in the acquittal of suspects. Of particular concern is the distressing acquittal rate in rape cases, where over 80% of suspects evade punishment due to flawed investigations, weak prosecutions and out-of-court settlements. This is not just a legal and systemic concern but must be considered as a denial of justice to victims. Legal experts have highlighted the detrimental impact of centuries-old laws on investigations, prosecutions and court proceedings. Both the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court have consistently pointed out systemic failures, even in high-profile cases, calling for the urgent need to overhaul laws, optimise human resources and embrace technological advancements. The court’s nod towards virtual courts and the utilisation of information and communication technology signify a potential revolution in the justice system. But the outdated Criminal Procedure Code, framed almost 140 years ago, stands as a barrier to progress and impedes the delivery of justice. This ultimately undermines public trust and erodes confidence in the efficacy of the legal system.

To strengthen Islamabad’s legal system and improve the delivery of justice, Pakistan should embark on a comprehensive reform agenda. Legislative overhauls are crucial, involving a thorough review of existing laws to align them with modern needs. Investing in technology, such as case management systems and virtual courtrooms, can streamline the legal process, enhancing efficiency and transparency. These are viable starting points that can help push serious reforms and expedite pending cases.

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Great expectations

UPON assuming his new position as the top judge of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa has set out at a rapid pace to execute his judicial vision. He called for a fullcourt meeting, constituted a full court to hear a contentious matter, and with the support of his fellow judges, had its proceedings telecast live.

In the meantime, CJP Isa also began consultations with the two senior-most judges after him, in relation to bench formations. Eventually, and subject to certain caveats, the law requiring such consultation was declared lawful.

However, despite the swiftness with which these steps were taken, it may be appropriate to observe that the CJP`s tenure, in fact, begins now. With the full court hearings out of the way, many will be evaluating how the CJP handles the various challenges afflicting the judiciary.

Undoubtedly, the CJP`s seat has always faced challenges, with expectations of straightforward redressal of pressing judicialissues on the one hand,andcallsforjudicialrestraintonthe other.

But what are these pressing issues? There are many, of course, but a few come to mind as particularly urgent.

The first of these relates to the very image of the judiciary itself. On account of the controversial manner in which the Supreme Court has handled matters in the past, there is a perception that the Supreme Court shall always be beholden to the personal likes and dislikes of certain seniorjudges.In essence,the perception is that the ideology and political inclinations of senior judges may influence the business of the Supreme Court in a way that favours a particular outcome, result, or scenario. Such perceived partisan conduct would not only damage the credibility of the judiciary, it would also remove any semblance of impartiality or neutrality in the institution.

Many may recall how cases related to Nawaz Sharif or Imran Khan would coincidently, it seems, find themselves fixed in court and even decided in record time, whereas others were not.

In fact, many have questioned as to what criteria had allowed certain political cases to be fixed and decided first, whilst cases in relation to theconstitutionality of the law relating to DHA Quetta, or the legality of the Army Act trials, amongst others, were not. It is also pertinent to ask about the basis of Aasiya Bibi`s case fixation and decision, whilst similar cases, including that of Junaid Hafeez, are yet to be decided.

The science around case fixation has not been well explained, and it is precisely on account of this that repeated allegations of partisanship have been raised. Therefore, either the method should be disclosed, and thus made more transparent, or if the mechanism itself is flawed, then the processes involved must be overhauled, improved, or replaced in a manner in which they are notbeholden, or seen to be beholden,to any one or another individual.

Secondly, one hopes the chief justice will seekto finally settle the controversy surrounding the mode and method of appointing judges to the Supreme Court. Throughout the appointment process, Justice Isa, as he was then, had championed the formulation of criteria for appointments, and in its absence, for the seniority principle to be followed. With him now at the helm, it is time to finally evolve those criteria, preferably containing multiple factors, and with consultations with all stakeholders, so as to put this issue to rest.

Thirdly, in the context of the ever-tumultuous times we live in, it is evident that cases of political importance will continue to land in the Supreme Court for years, if not decades. In light of this inevitability, it is important to implement a mechanism where such cases could be tackled efficiently whilst also ensuring that the existingbacklog of pending cases is not affected adversely.

One suggestion that may merit consideration, although not foolproof, involves constituting a formal bench in the Supreme Court that is dedicated solely to constitutional issues. Such a bench, to whatever extent possible, if at all, may be fixed in composition and be permanent in tenure. In doing this, it would perhaps be possible to free up the remaining judges to tackle the backlog ofcases pendingin the apexcourt.

Such a bench should not be person-specific, but rather designation-specific, ie, it should be composed of a certain number of judges in terms of their ranking in seniority and expertise in the Supreme Court, and if needed, may also include additional judges in view of gender inclusivity.

Other than the above, it cannot be emphasised enough that in these polarising times the CJP should be a uniting force for the judiciary as opposed to a dividing one. Irrespective of dissent in judgements or differing opinions, the CJP must be seen to be fair, equitable, and transparent in his dealings within, with no preferences in terms of one or the other. The divisions of the past require healing, and only a compassionate and understanding CJP can close the chasm.

In relation to this, I could perhaps speak of how doing all this would create a legacy for the incumbent CJP. But, to be frank, by the time a judge becomes the top judge, legacies in most cases have already been made. Those final years don`t do much for the creation of a legacy, but can certainly be the undoing of one.

On account of this, I feel that all incoming chief justices should be least concerned about the legacies they may leave, and more concerned about preserving the legacies they already have.

And if they are able to wield responsibly the powers and responsibilities that come with the office of the chief justice of Pakistan, then, in any case, it will become the stuff of legends, not that of legacy. • The wnter is a lawyer based in Karachi X (formerly Twitter): @basilnabi

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The three phases of elections

Although a firm date for the 12th general election in the country has not yet been fixed by the Election Commission of Pakistan, its announcement that the next general election will be held in the last week of January 2024 is meant to allay some fears.

The electoral process in Pakistan is divided into three distinctive phases: Pre-Election, Election-Day and Post-Election. These three phases are critical to understand not just for political parties and candidates who have to actively engage in these phases, but equally so for media, analysts and the general public. Understanding these phases also helps to accurately determine fairness of a general election.

A classification of these three phases means that the pre-election phase begins soon after the completion of the term of an assembly (national or provincial), or its premature dissolution (as witnessed in the case of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies in 2023). The legal definition of the pre-election phase begins with the notification of the election programme and its schedule where the Election Commission is empowered to ensure fairness. However, a broader definition of the pre-election phase is applicable in the case of Pakistan where a distinctive set of actors and influencers begin to have an impact on the electoral process much before the announcement of election schedule.

The pre-election phase, therefore, includes the process of appointment and functioning of neutral caretaker governments, the role and independence of the ECP, a non-partisan and independent judiciary, and a free and independent media. Unfair use of public resources and/or development funds to benefit a party or contestant also falls in this phase. Assessment of the pre-election phase requires a keen study to ascertain measures that might have been put in place to skew the level-playing in favour of or against any political party or candidate. Pakistan’s electoral history shows that management of the pre-election phase has had the strongest impact on fairness of elections in Pakistan.

Election-Day mainly includes management of the process of voting. An essential component of Election-Day is also counting of votes, tabulation and compilation of votes and transmission of results. With largescale constitutional and legal reforms in strengthening the ECP, election-day management has vastly improved in Pakistan with a relatively low impact on the overall fairness of elections.

The post-election phase includes consolidation and announcement of final election results, oath of elected legislators and the process of formation of governments in the centre and in the provinces. Pakistan has witnessed that management of the post-election phase has previously resulted in denying popular public mandate in the formation of elected governments and coalition governments.

The history of Pakistan’s general elections is counted from 1970 when our first election was held though its results tore apart the country geographically. Subsequent general elections were held in 1977, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2008, 2013 and 2018. The latest general election, which was due to be held by October 2023, has been significantly delayed.

An objective exercise to measure prospects of a free and fair 12th general election in Pakistan cannot be completed without analysing the fairness of each of Pakistan’s previous elections. The opposite of a free and fair election equates to a rigged election where certain activities and actions violate the constitution and laws of Pakistan.

A ‘rigging test’ was first employed by Pakistan’s leading public scholar Dr Ijaz Shafi Gilani, as written and compiled for PILDAT, to analyze the fairness of the first eight general elections based on the three phases: pre-election, Election-Day and post-election. This crucial analysis has since guided PILDAT’s evaluation of electoral fairness of subsequent general elections.

With the exception of the elections in 1970, 1977 and 2013, each of the other general elections in Pakistan have suffered from a high level of pre-election rigging to defeat the will of the citizens of Pakistan. This has meant that interference and manipulation of the pre-electoral process has had a decisive impact on the outcome of elections at the national level to determine who wins or loses majority of seats, forms and runs (or fails to form and run) the government.

Excluding the 1977 General Election which witnessed a high level of Election-Day rigging, every other general election had a low level of election-day rigging. Low level of rigging is defined where violation of the principles of level playing field occurs but does not significantly impact the electoral process. This classification deteriorated in the 2018 General Election where major issues were encountered in compilation of votes and transmission of results.

The general elections of 1970, 1985 and 2002 were marred by a high level of post-election rigging also through fracturing, altering and denying of clear popular mandate in formation of elected governments. This was of course inapplicable in the case of the 1977 General Election where both the incumbent PPP government and the opposition lost to the military. The 1988 and 1990 general elections witnessed moderate post-poll rigging which meant that, while its impact was not decisive, it sufficiently influenced the direction of the popularly intended outcome.

Pakistan’s journey towards consolidation of democracy has been anything but smooth. Pakistan’s electoral history offers key clues to this transition which began and continues with a quest for democratic governance under the rule of law. Each of these electoral exercises has witnessed many watershed moments spanning over fifty years with deep imprints on state and society.

Despite misgivings on the timing of the general election and absence of a fixed date for the 12th general election, Pakistan has entered the pre-election phase. How free and fair the next general election will be depends on the neutrality of the caretaker governments, role of the ECP, judiciary, and a free from coercion independent media fully able to objectively utilize and provide available mediums to every political party and candidate to reach voters.

The writer is an analyst working in the field of politics, democratic governance, legislative development and rule of law.

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Women`s work and growth

TWENTY-THREE per cent of women aged 15-plus are in the formal labour market. Much has been made of this statistic. It`s certainly among the lowest in the world. And it underscores the potential GDP being lost because of our sub-optimal labour force participation rates.

Yet, it does not adequately capture the real state of the labour market for women in Pakistan.

Women`s work is hard to enumerate, particularly in a society that counts them as secondary workers. For instance, harvesting depends crucially on women workers. There has also been a steady and steep feminisation of the agriculture sector.

We know that women are typically un-remunerated in family businesses and on family farms.

And un-remunerated work, especially agricultural work, is not adequately captured in official labour statistics.

Similarly, estimates show that 78pc of all nonagricultural informal work is done by women.

Informal work, particularly that which is taking place out of the home, is, again, often not counted. Clearly then, women are much more involved in our productive economy than what our statistics reveal.

The undercounting of women`s work owes to several interconnected factors. Women, who are usually the ones working from home, don`t see their own work as employment and so do not report it. Enumerators, seeing women at home during work hours, regardless of what they might be doing, mark them as unemployed in surveys. Survey design and work categories may be too biased to capture formal or regular work, and may leave out other types of productive activities that are often, predominantly, undertaken by women workers. Underpinning these factors in societies with strict gender orders like ours is the idea that women`s domain lies in the reproductive sphere, whereas men`s is in the productive sphere, leading to hesitancy, even a feeling of shame on the part of some family members to report women`s work. This results in massive underreporting.

But there is gradual recognition of the deficiencies in both general survey designs and enumerator training. Recent years have also seen the deployment of specific surveys, such as thePunjab Home-based and Domestic Workers Survey or the Time-Use Survey to capture various aspects of women`s daily activities as well as their work in different labour markets.

Similarly, the 2019 Sindh Women Agricultural Workers` Act officially recognises the contributions made by such workers and contains explicit provisions for remunerating their work. There have also been similar bills recognising and protecting home-based and domestic workers. As we move towards greater recognition and enumeration of women`s work the question remains, why does this matter? After all, women are already working, why do we need to ensure that we`re counting this appropriately? Improved records of various categories of women`s work would be reflected in GDP accounting, pushing growth figures upward.

Besides, categorising and counting previously unrecognised work makes these categories of work visible. They also provide recourse to workers engaged in these types of activities when their state-recognised rights are violated. All this positively affects the empowering potential of such work. However, nothing is realised if statistical recognition does not translate into legal action which in turn does not manifest in implementation.

There has been a great deal of advocacy work around workers` rights. In fact, the passage of several of the acts and bills I`ve mentioned owes to the work of these groups. These same groups have also spread awareness about workers` rights enshrined in various labour laws and newer bills. Conversations with women workers who have been working with these advocacy groups reveal a greater understanding of their rights both as workers and citizens. The women that I talked to who had been working with HomeNet knew how to approach officials and get their problems, regarding public goods and services in their homes and within the community, solved. They were also more aware of the various social protection schemes. Women who had worked with Mumkin Alliance knew about the CNIC`s pivotal role and their right as a citizen to get this issued. Undoubtedly, all these are positive changes. But how does this link upwith Pakistan`s growth potential? There are synergies between the specific rights I mention above and livelihoods. The CNIC for instance, is central to accessing a range of services across sectors, including the financial sector that has a direct impact on earning potentials. In fact, most employers ask for identification in the form of a CNIC.

In the same vein, the extent and quality of public goods and services within the community directly affects income generation particularly for those whose businesses are based out of their home. Besides, women`s work has been shown to affect their status. As recognition of their work spreads and their standing within the household and community improves, women`s ability to negotiate for essential services for themselves as well as others also rises. This creates multiplier effects leading to greater growth for the economy.

Yet, there are major caveats to what I list above. The most crucial is the scale of the impact.

The types of work that women in our economy usually engage in, recorded or not, are pretty low on the productivity spectrum. In fact, a World Bank study on Pakistan`s productivity released a few months ago details how we have been left behind countries whose economy was at par with ours in the 1990s. While there are several reasons underlying these productivity differences, human capital levels and the nature of work remain key.

Given our macroeconomic situation and our persistent balance-of-payments crises, we need a major and simultaneous overhaul in any number of markets crucially so when it comes to human capital and the labour market. It was an NRSP (National Rural Support Programme) field operative working in Balochistan who highlighted for me the tremendous business acumen of the young women in the community and the need to integrate them in better paying occupations. We need to boost women`s trainings and capacity development and involve women in higher value-added chains. Only then will we truly see women`s work accelerate growth. • The wnter is chair of economics at Lums.

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No headway in boy`s rape, murder case

KARACHI: Police on Friday made no progress in the rape and murder of a six-year-old boy, whose body was found in a desolated place near Port Qasim.

Doctors had confirmed that the boy was also subjected to criminal assault before being killed.

The Sukkan police had found the boy`s body, wrapped in a bedspread, dumped in a dried up drain near the bridge close to the Port Qasim. The body was shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre to ascertain the cause of death.

Area SHO Zubair Nawaz said medicolegal officer Dr Rajendar Kumar confirmed that the boy was murdered after criminal assault.

The police have registered an FIR on behalf of the state under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 377 (rape), 201 (Causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code against unknown suspects.

The officer hinted at the possibility that the boy was assaulted and killed somewhere and later on his body was thrown near Port Qasim.

Despite passing two days, the identification of the boy could not be made so far as no one had approached the police.-Staff Reporter

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Rape attempt by rickshaw driver

KASUR: The driver of a school rickshaw allegedly attempted rape of a five-year-old child in the precincts of A-Division Police Station on Friday.

The suspect took the boy to a deserted place after picking from a private school. The father of the child reported the matter to police after the boy complained to his mother regarding the assault.

According to SHO Asif Khan, both the suspect and the child were from the same locality. He said the suspect was arrested but released as both the parties compounded in a non-compoundable caseunder sections 377 and 511 of PPC.

In several cases of sexual assault against the children that brought Kasur in the spotlight in the past, the suspects were released either through intervention of the influential people or mutual reconciliation. It has been suggested that police should be the complainant in such cases.

Inaseparatecase,residents of Kamal Chishti Mor locality captured an alleged child kidnapper and tortured him before handing him over to the Saddar police.

The suspect had picked two-year-old girl,identified as Kiran, when the locals saw him. When the suspect could not satisfy the people regarding his relationship with the child, they beat him black and blue. Later, police were called who arrested the suspect.

NAWAZ: Former PML-N MNA Rana Muhammad Hayat claimed that Deputy Commissioner Arshad Bhatti had offered him to arrange buses and vans for Nawaz Sharif`s rally at Minar-i-Pakistan but he (Hayat) rejected the offer.

A video went viral on Friday in which the former MNA was address-ing the party workers and villagers, asking them to ensure their presence at Minar-iPakistan on Saturday (today).

DC Bhatti, however, denied the allegations and told Dawn that he could not even imagine making the offer.

This is not for the first time that DC Bhatti faced allegations of showing a soft corner for the PML-N.

Some days back, Chaudhry Manzoor of the PPP along with other activists of political parties had accused the DC of favouring the PML-N parliamentarians. Correspondent

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