Silenced voices

THE state suddenly seems to be acting more loyal than the king as far as respect for the judiciary is concerned. The a Monday arrest of Islamabad-based journalist, Asad Ali Toor, by the FIA on the charge of running a `malicious campaign` against the superior judiciary has disturbed media practitioners across the country. Many in Pakistan`s media community had feared that Mr Toor was inviting the ire of powerful forces over his unabashed and often confrontational commentary on alleged state excesses in recent days. His persistent criticism of a Supreme Court decision that denied the PTI the use of its `bat` symbol during the elections has now been used as the premise to detain him. Mr Toor is not the only vocal public figure to have been `silenced through the law` in recent days. A few days before his arrest, anchorperson Imran Riaz was also picked up and later remanded to judicial custody on charges of `corruption`. A sympathiser of the PTI, Mr Riaz appears to have upset certain quarters by continuing his unyielding criticism of the political status quo and the role of unelected elements in shaping it.

It is telling of how little faith the country, in general, places in the legal system that the charges brought against both gentlemen seem immaterial to many. The prevailing perception is that both Mr Toor and Mr Riaz have been `removed` from the picture because they were offending powerful people. This perception has been strengthened by the fact that the respective charges brought against both individuals are vague and seem insufficient to require that they be detained before they have been given a hearing in a court of law. Unfortunately, over the past few years, the Pakistani state has made such a mockery of fundamental rights that the arbitrary deprivation of basic liberties is now considered par for the course. The silencing of critical voices began in earnest during the PTI government and has not let up since then. Though a large part of the mainstream media might have ceded to pressure, the crop of independent commentators on social media sharing their `subversive` thoughts with millions is a fresh headache for oppressive elements. Their goal is obvious: silence all dissent. The judiciary itself did not demand an explanation from Mr Toor. So, why should the FIA burden itself with the task?

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PHP team saves woman’s life

A team of Punjab Highway Patrol (PHP) has saved life of a woman who had jumped to commit suicide in Khanpur canal after a dispute with her husband. The victim identified as Mehwish Habib had a dispute with her husband. On the day of the incident, she was so frustrated that she jumped into Khanpur Canal on Sheikhpura Road. When it came into the notice of Sub Inspector Dildar Ali, he along with team members reached the spot. They jumped into the canal and recovered the victim safely. Mehwish’s mother Azra Bibi and her brother Azeem expressed gratitude to PHP officials.

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Rape cases Plea for striking down law criminalising abortion

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has been requested to strike down the law criminalising abortion to the extent of rape victims.

`The pro-choice is a reality, which is why it is important that women should have access to medical services without any preconceived notions and biases,` says a public interest petition filed by Advocate Aasya Ismail.

The lawyer pleads that pro-choice, the freedom to choose abortion, is a fundamental right.

The lawyer argues that the law in the country criminalises the abortion under sections 338 and 338-B of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) describing it as inten-tionally `causing miscarriage` except in cases where abortion is carried out to save the life of the woman.

The petitioner pleads that the punishment of incarceration is merely flawed to exercise a woman`s right to pro-choice, therefore, the law needs to be revisited.

The lawyer says the right to prochoice, irrespective of their marital status, is not provided in cases of rape, fetus impairment, economical and social pressure, therefore, the protection of women is not available in the law.

The lawyer argues that the healthcare providers need to understand that freedom to abortion is neither against the law nor against religion and all those seeking the right should be treated with respect.She says the Constitution failed to provide any fundamental right to prochoice.

She contends that the impugned sections of the PPC, which addresses the subject of abortion, are vague and silent on the pro-choice. However, she points out that the countries like UK, US, Scotland, Northern Ireland and India enshrined pro-choice and evolved their criminal law.

The lawyer argues that a state cannot set a policy to control women`s bodies, terming it anti-democratic and a violation of fundamental rights.

The petitioner asks the court to decriminalise the abortion under the existing law to grant freedom to abortion as a fundamental right to the women of Pakistan.

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Election 2024 and after

The legitimacy of the incoming government is also questionable, with the international media also raising concerns.

With the 2024 general election over, the nation finds itself embroiled in controversy, reflecting a deeply polarised political landscape. Despite the PTI-backed Independent candidates returning as the majority bloc, it is the PML-N and PPP that have joined forces to form a coalition government at the Centre, hoping to strengthen the sinking economy and tackling the unforeseeable challenges that lie ahead.

Pakistan’s current political scenario is much more chaotic than in the past, primarily due to the ECP’s inability to conduct a fair election and guarantee transparency in its outcome. The legitimacy of the incoming government is also questionable, with the international media also raising concerns. Major powers, like the US and the UK, have raised suspicion, casting a shadow over the coalition government until allegations of election rigging are addressed. The judiciary can still play a crucial role in resolving rigging disputes by impartially examining evidence in the light of electoral laws and constitutional principles.

The incoming federal government is in for serious challenges demanding immediate attention. For instance, questions abound concerning Pakistan’s debt obligations in the coming years, monthly borrowing trends, performance of the Pakistan Stock Exchange, timeline for the next IMF review, impact of political instability on foreign investment, and severity of the security landscape. These issues are critical vis a vis charting a course towards economic revitalisation and stability. Economic experts see a challenging landscape for Pakistan, as a recent central bank report highlights an imminent debt servicing predicament, with external debt obligations amounting to $24 billion due by June 2024. Additionally, projections from the Institute of Peace indicate repayment of a staggering $77.5 billion in external debt, mostly domestic, by 2026. Experts also see a historic budget deficit at 7.6 per cent, translating to Rs8.2 trillion shortfall, necessitating additional borrowing beyond initial projections for June of this year. Inflation surged to 28.3 per cent in January 2024, with the IMF signalling the urgent need for substantial external financial support.

Additionally, reforms are needed to enhance operational efficiency across various sectors, including privatising loss-making state-owned enterprises. Tackling inflation and fortifying the nation’s security framework also top the agenda.

Besides the fiscal issues, terrorism remains a formidable challenge. Remember 750 terrorist attacks were recorded last year, culminating in 1,524 fatalities — the highest death toll since 2007. Also, the high number of out-of-school children and poverty rate are worrisome and require immediate attention. These challenges underscore the urgency for the incoming government to prioritise political stability to address these issues.

The PMLN-led federal government, with its fragmented mandate, will struggle to rein in strong provincial administrations grappling with political and financial challenges. A foreseeable discord between the federation and provinces might affect consensus on vital issues including the NFC Award, irrigation water, as well as provincial subjects such as healthcare, education, properties, lands and mineral resources.

Another challenge is maintaining bilateral relations with neighbouring countries. Managing relations with India, Iran and Afghanistan poses a significant challenge, given the US strategic interests in the region. The new government will be required to make bold policy decisions to strike a balance in its relations with China and the US alongside regaining importance in the Islamic bloc. IMF scrutiny of Chinese loans also remains a concern.

In conclusion, while Pakistan grapples with internal and external challenges, it must navigate a complex geopolitical landscape with foresight and strategic acumen to ensure that its national interests are safeguarded amidst shifting global dynamics.

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Domestic workers

The Employers Federation of Pakistan have noted ensuring safe working conditions for domestic workers.

Workers’ rights groups have been calling on federal and provincial authorities to strengthen and reinforce laws pertaining to domestic workers. While labour conditions in Pakistan in general are often subpar, due to a combination of lack of enforcement from the state and low investment from industry, the situation is even more pronounced for domestic workers, who may be deprived of their rights to leave, fair working hours, and health and safety.

Meanwhile, the fact that it would be almost impossible to do wellness checks on every single household with domestic workers leads to a situation where none are checked until it is too late and domestic workers have already fallen victim to the working conditions or to a serious crime at the hands of their employers. The lack of inspections also means there is no practical way to stop child labour — despite cases of abuses regularly occurring, the practice remains common.

Even among employers who offer better working conditions, wages are often an issue, as employers may place an unfairly high value on room and board to offer wages that are too low for the employees to sustain their families, especially in the cases of migrant workers. The new code of conduct recently launched by civil society and rights activists aims to address low wages, poor working conditions, harassment and various forms of abuse by setting up or strengthening the legal framework needed to achieve these goals.

The Employers Federation of Pakistan and other groups have also noted that ensuring safe working conditions for domestic workers is a way to increase women’s participation in the workforce, as many women are unable to work in formal sectors either due to lack of education and training, or social factors. This also underlines how, despite being part of the ‘informal’ sector, domestic work can be critical to pulling families out of poverty, as it offers opportunities to do honest work for honest pay for women who have few other options to earn money to help support their families.

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A fund for the vulnerable

During COP28 in the UAE, the signatories of the 2015 Paris Agreement achieved a consensus on the operationalization of new funding arrangements, including a Loss and Damage Fund.

It is significant that the Loss and Damage Fund’s agreed framework acknowledges the disproportionate impact of climate change on women and children while recognizing their sheer vulnerability. The agreement emphasizes prioritized measures to safeguard their rights and wellbeing in the face of climate-induced losses. It also underscores the need for targeted support, including access to resources – education, healthcare and resilience-building.

Not only does it emphasize the importance of gender-responsive and child-centric approaches but also outlines key strategies to empower women and enhance the adaptive capacity of children in communities affected by climate-induced disasters.

The inclusion of women and children in the Loss and Damage Fund signifies a crucial step towards addressing the intersectional impacts of climate change. This recognition acknowledges that women and children bear the worst brunt of climate-induced disasters due to their existing social, economic, and cultural vulnerabilities, as well as their marginalization in decision-making processes. By specifically acknowledging this reality, the agreement commits to promoting gender-responsive approaches within climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.

Likewise, it recognizes the unique vulnerabilities of children in the face of climate-induced disasters. It acknowledges that children are particularly susceptible to a plethora of associated risks such as displacements, disruptions to education and healthcare, heightened risks of food insecurity, and psychosocial trauma.

The agreement’s focus on children and women is commendable as it aims to protect their rights, wellbeing, and future prospects. This entails investing in systems that prioritize children for essential services to alleviate the enduring effects of trauma induced by climate change.

It is quite evident that the impact of emergencies is disproportionately felt by women, girls and children with special abilities. During the floods of 2022, more than 650,000 pregnant and lactating women were among the millions of individuals severely impacted. The affected women lacked access to essential healthcare services and the support required for childbirth and newborn care.

The unprecedented magnitude of the climate event led to a total halt in the healthcare system. The provinces of Sindh and Balochistan were significantly impacted, with a majority of their health facilities being destroyed. Furthermore, at least 25,993 schools experienced damage or were entirely demolished. The substantial deterioration of roads and communication networks additionally impeded access to medical and educational facilities.

Since the catastrophe, I have frequently visited the places. My most recent visit was last week where I met the affected – men, women, youth, and children. It was again a poignant experience as I listened to their harrowing stories. The ordeal has not ceased for them; the profound suffering remains pervasive. The feelings of despair and hopelessness persistently confront wherever one goes. Children still languish in gloomy circumstances, forced to live in crumbled homes with no essential amenities in their reach such as clean water, health and sanitation. There is hardly any livelihood available to the affected families to sustain themselves and provide for their children.

It is heart-wrenching to witness women and children, including girls and boys, with pallid expressions, severely malnourished, and infants showing ubiquitous signs of stunted growth. The enormity of the devastation has been such that it has crumbled almost the entire government system related to health, water, sanitation, and education, with little to no progress made towards their restoration or functionality. It is because the restoration requires gigantic financial resources needed for life to return to a level even below normal. The federal and provincial governments as well as civil society have made tremendous efforts but the scale of the catastrophe necessitates financial investments.

Impoverished communities which bear minimal responsibility for instigating climate rage look towards those nations that are primarily responsible for bringing the monster to their doorstep. The unmerited predicament warrants assistance to be provided consistently and promptly. Global commitments made in Geneva in January 2023 by the world’s ‘haves’, even if fully realized, would fall significantly short in scale when compared to the substantial requirements needed to tackle the formidable challenges.

It is now imperative for the countries to intensify efforts and expedite progress on the strong commitments made in the agreement document with the following words: “Given the urgent and immediate need for new, additional, predictable and adequate financial resources to assist developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in responding to economic and non-economic loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including extreme weather events and slow onset events, especially in the context of ongoing and ex post (including rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction) action.”

Data by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) from 2016-2020 shows that loans accounted for 72 per cent of international climate finance. As the proportion of non-concessional finance is growing, multilateral, bilateral, and regional financial institutions need to leverage their climate funds as grants instead of loans to support local-led adaptation (LLA) and mitigation initiatives.

These efforts are vital for minimizing and recovering from losses and damages caused by climate events. Rightfully spotlighting the vicious spiral of debt, the UNDP calls for adaptive social protection and a ‘debt-poverty pause’ to redirect debt repayments towards critical social expenditures.

Juxtaposed to the ostensible despair and despondency, there exists a glimmer of hope in the eyes of youth and children. Hidden within their conversation is an idea of fundamental perseverance, poised to withstand challenges and strengthen their resilience. The challenge is never greater than the determination to conquer it.

As committed, the Fund needs to engage governments to establish country-level consultative forums to communicate with and involve the groups most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in the design, development, and implementation of the activities financed by the Fund. It is necessary for the government to develop a national framework on loss and damage for the purpose of pre-positioning.

There is also a need for targeted support and interventions, as well as tailored stratagems to build adaptive capacity, strengthen social safety nets, and promote sustainable livelihoods. By addressing the root causes of vulnerability, such as poverty and gender inequality, governments – federal and provincial – need to enhance the resilience of women and children by prioritizing their needs and rights.

This involves guaranteeing the participation of women, youth, and children in the planning and decision-making processes aimed at providing them with access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. Empowering the most vulnerable individuals has been empirically demonstrated to not only increase their resilience to climate change but also foster more inclusive and sustainable development trajectories.

The writer is a climate governance expert who works for global development organizations in the fields of research, advisory, policy analysis, and legislative reforms. He tweets/posts @razashafqat

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A nation of angry people

Anger, unfortunately, is deeply entrenched in Pakistan. In its worst form, it surfaced in the crowded Ichhra Bazaar last week when a young woman wearing a shirt with some Arabic text walked through the bazaar with her husband.

Initially, two men objected to her clothes. Later, an entire mob gathered outside the shop she was in and alleged that verses of the Holy Quran were inscribed on the shirt. This of course was untrue; the words written on the shirt simply meant ‘beautiful’ or ‘good’ in Arabic.

It is worth mentioning that putting text on clothes is a fashion trend these days. Fortunately, the young woman was rescued by some people in the shopping area and later by a female ASP who took her into protective custody. However, the young woman was forced to make an apology at the police station in front of cameras and surrounded by clerics although she had made no mistake and committed no offence, which could be held against her or would have angered any sane person.

The problem is that we have lost rationality. We have seen this happen before in the cases of Salmaan Taseer and Mashal Khan and in other cases where members of minority communities were burnt alive. We also see it in the case of university teacher Junaid Hafiz who has been in a Multan jail for 11 years now, facing blasphemy charges; he is in solitary confinement.

Junaid had returned to teaching in his country from overseas and was regarded as an extremely competent educator. His lawyer was murdered for taking on his case some years ago. And even after this, the young man remains in prison as do thousands of others, including those who are not mentally fit, who have been accused of blasphemy.

The terrible Ichhra incident and other similar ones show that the men making the accusation simply wanted publicity or a chance to stir up some kind of frenzy. The mob that gathered simply wanted what has come to be seen as ‘entertainment’ in our country.

Apparently humiliating or killing people is a form of ‘fun’ in a nation that seems to have lost all sense of connection with what is good and what is bad in the land and how we should be treating people.

We should try to decipher from where so much hatred arises and how voice is expressed in these ways. The young woman was forced to turn to the religious standing of her family to defend herself. She should not have been required to do so. And anger, it seems, has been created simply because there is very little else for people to do, and too many zealots or so-called zealots wish to gain publicity for themselves or for other members of their group. It was fortunate that in this case, two men who were watching the action stepped in. Credit goes to them and to the ASP.

The concerned ASP is being viciously targeted on Twitter, leaving behind less and less hope about the future of Pakistan and its people as we go from one insane act to the other. However, it is important to understand all that has happened in the nation over the last few decades in order to find a better path for the future for us.

A nation living with so much anger cannot live a healthy or productive life. Instead, we should be encouraging people to go out and work for the sake of communities so badly in need of help. There are plenty of them in the country. They include people displaced by floods or those who are being chased out of the country for reasons connected with geopolitics. It is on these issues and so many others like them that we need to take a stand.

Once again Pakistan has gone viral around the world with journals and newspapers as well as social media everywhere picking up the now-viral video and projecting it further.

Once again we have come across as a nation of people unable to control their emotions and unable to move forward towards any direction that constitutes good sense and respect for the law. Quite evidently if any person is believed to have committed a crime under the law of the land, s/he can be brought before a police station and then taken to court.

But the most important message of all is that we need to get our youth organized in other activities. There is a lot they can do. They can work to improve facilities in both urban centres and rural outbacks where roads need to be built and schools put right. They can also be encouraged to take up activities such as learning how to operate tech given that this will become more and more important in the coming years. Even participation in sport, with the discipline and dedication attached to this, can be very important.

In Karachi, a civil rights worker campaigning as an independent during the recent election was able to hold a highly successful football tournament for young people in his constituency. Such examples need to be emulated everywhere across the country. Such events give an opportunity to young people to express energy and emotion in a form that doesn’t do so much damage to others or humiliate them in any way.

We need to create such opportunities at every level. At the same time, we need to try and see why the present mindset exists. This has quite obviously been created over some decades, most notably since the 1980s. There is a need for far more tolerance, far more understanding of each other and far less resort to violence.

Pakistan, after all, is the only country in the world which has laws against so many persons and so many categories of citizens and uses them in violent form. This must be stopped; we need to find ways in which people can use their time in a more fruitful fashion and not wait to sensationalize any incident which falls along their path of life on a day-to-day basis.

For this purpose, we need to re-examine our education system. Education after all is not just about learning letters or numerals. It should also be about creative thinking and giving people the right to argue over issues – sensibly and without violence – while learning to accept the views of others.

Creating such an environment has now become essential. If we do not work towards it, more incidents, such as the Ichhra Bazaar one, will take place and hurt more people across the country as they go about their daily lives. This cannot (and must not) be tolerated, and we must act immediately to stop such events from taking place every few weeks, as is currently the case.

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

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Striving in uncertainty

PAKISTAN`S youth dominated the discourse on the Feb 8 general elections and has stayed at the centre of the debate preand post-ballot counts. Some analysts attribute the poll upset to the new voters.

However, rhetoric often outstrips tangible solutions when it comes to Gen Z driving national development. As a result, the millennials find themselves marginalised in the grand scheme of growth plans, struggling for recognition and space to contribute meaningfully.

The young in this country are often considered to be one of the greatest national assets, but how do we channel this energy and developthisresource tobringprosperity to our struggling nation of 240 million? This question mostly remains unanswered.

Some propose vocational training, while others think providing employment opportunities should be the priority. Successive governments in the past two decades have come up with programmes like the Prime Minister`s Laptop Scheme, E-Rozgar, Ehsaas Scholarship Pakistan, Prime Minister`s Youth Business & Agriculture Loan Scheme, Prime Minister`s Youth Skill Development Programme, etc.

But despite such initiatives, Pakistan has not witnessed a significant growth in national productivity. Where is the magic then? Let`s look at our neighbour, India (yes, let`s compete outside the cricket ground and battlefield). From 2003 to 2016, India was busy establishing 1,000 colleges annually, ie, on an average three colleges a day, or one every eight hours! American higher education institutes are at least considered to be among the top, if not the best, places for creativity and advancement. The US has led with the unicorns (start-ups valued at over $1 billion) for many years, owing to its top-quality higher education, robust venture capital ecosystem, entrepreneurial culture, and strong innovation hubs.

In 2023 alone, India sent a total of 131,338 young men and women to American colleges and universities on F-1 student visas, while Pakistan managed to send only 3,353 students in the same year. F-1 visas issued to Pakistanis account for less than one per cent of all F-1 visas, whereas for Indians, the figure is roughly 30pc. The result at the highest level? The heads of two of the world`s top five tech companies Microsoft and Google came to the US after completing their undergraduate studies in India.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft`s executive chairman and CEO, completed his Bachelor`s degree in electrical engineering fromtheManipalInstitute ofTechnologyin Karnataka before coming to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and subsequentlyjoined the Windows-maker in 1992. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet and Google, graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, with a B.Tech degree, and went on to complete a Master`s degree from Stanford University. Following a short spell at McKinsey & Co, a management consulting firm, Pichai joined Google in 2004.

Most American schools require standardised tests for admission in undergraduate and graduate programmes. Last year, 137,884 Indian college graduates took the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), compared to 3,485 Pakistani graduate school applicants who took the test in 2023. Similarly, a large number of Indian students take the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT) compared to a relatively small number of Pakistani test-takers.

The Higher Education Commission recognises close to 350 universities and degree-awarding institutions across Pak-istan, with an enrolment of close to 1m students and virtually no public university schedules for graduate school admissions in the US. Single-digit private academic institutions do have some awareness series tohelp their graduates secure admissions in American higher education institutes. Most of the HEC`s study-abroad programmes are flawed in design and are not bringing the intellectual capital that could drive the knowledge economy at home.

For Pakistan to come out of its current (and future) financial crisis, it needs to logically invest in top-quality higher education by fielding our young in the global grounds of innovation and knowledge. Some Pakistanis mostly US business school graduates are working hard to help fellow Pakistani men and women navigate their academic and professional journeys to the US. Their initiative, Sarzameen Pakistan, is being run and managed by volunteers at a very small scale. However, a larger programme to increase the number of Pakistani students in universities in the US, and hence the number of professionals in the American market, would provide a strong foundation for the nation to prepare for future crises and global challenges.• Nadeem Hussain is a policy researcher and strategist. Tabarak Rehman is a financial analyst.

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Minor girl dies after swing hits her in park

LAHORE: The Gulshan-i-Iqbal police have registered a criminal case against a contractor and a project director of the Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park after a swing struck a minor girl, resulting in her death due to profound head injuries.

The deceased was identified as one-year-old Meerab Muzaffar.

There are also reports that girl’s mother Sobat Muzaffar sustained injuries in the incident and is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital.

According to the FIR filed by Sobat’s cousin Faizan, the incident occurred on Feb 25 when she was visiting the park along with her daughter and other family members.

He said the contractor of the Zip Line swing, Jamshed, was operating it carelessly despite being aware that many families were present there.

Suddenly, he said, the swing hit Meerab’s head, causing multiple head injuries. When her mother rushed to her, she also got injured, he added. Both were later taken to a hospital where Meerab succumbed to her injuries.

Faizan declared it a criminal negligence on the part of both project director Imran and contractor Jamshed, which led to the death of the minor girl and injuries to her mother.

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Criminal record of underage drivers sought

The court awaits the comprehensive report to address these concerns effectively.

LAHORE: Justice Ali Zia Bajwa of the Lahore High Court (LHC) has instructed the law officer to present a detailed report by March 5 regarding the status of criminal records, particularly concerning requests for the removal of names from the records of underage drivers and those acquitted in other cases.

As the proceedings began, the law officer sought an adjournment, citing the previous focus of the caretaker government on the matter, which has now concluded. However, Justice Bajwa referenced statements from the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) IT, who claimed that names were being excluded from criminal records.

Advocate Rabia Bajwa, representing the petitioners, expressed concern that police officials may not be taking the issue seriously.

In response, Justice Bajwa suggested that petitioners should also submit applications directly to the criminal record office.

The petitioners’ counsels argued that innocent individuals often face false accusations, leading to their names being included in criminal records.

Despite being acquitted, their names remain, causing significant problems, especially for student minors. They urged the court to instruct police authorities to remove their names from the records.

The ongoing issue has resulted in difficulties for individuals seeking opportunities abroad for work or education.

The court awaits the comprehensive report to address these concerns effectively.

Meanwhile, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Tuesday extended judicial remand of Afnan, an underage driver involved in a car accident that resulted in the tragic death of six family members in Defence, for another 13 days.

Earlier, the police produced the accused before ATC Judge Arshad Javed and requested to extend his judicial remand. The police submitted that the challan (Charge-Sheet) was in final stage of the preparations and it would be filed soon after removing prosecution’s objections.

At this, the court extended the judicial remand of the teenage driver for another 13 days and ordered for producing him on March 11. Defence C police had registered a case against Afnan which revolves around charges of recklessly crashing his high-speed car into another vehicle, resulting in the tragic loss of six lives in DHA Phase 7.

Police investigations indicate that Afnan had harassed the victims, following them for a considerable distance before the fatal collision.

Crash survivor and the driver of the targeted car Hasnain and his father had noticed Afnan’s ‘inappropriate behaviour’ and attempted to stop him from misbehaving and following them. The suspect had been tailing the family’s car from Y block, harassing them along the way.

Hasnain informed the police that he had admonished Afnan, urging him to cease his misconduct. However, Afnan responded with verbal abuse and threats against the victims.

The impact caused the victims’ vehicle to overturn multiple times, eventually coming to rest about 70 feet away from the accident point.

DIG Imran Kishwar suspended Sub Inspector Murtaza and Investigations Officer Umar for negligence in the case.

The investigations, now including sections related to terrorism and murder, were reassigned to DSP Kahna. A video interview featuring Afnan surfaced, providing his perspective on the incident. Afnan, a grade eight student, claimed to have been driving for over a year, having learned from his cousins.

He recounted the night of the incident, stating that his father initially prohibited him from leaving in the car but eventually relented.

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