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Explosion near subway station in Istanbul injures at least five

World - 3 hours 38 min ago
ISTANBUL: Five people were injured when a pipe bomb exploded on an overpass near an Istanbul metro station on Tuesday, the district mayor said, halting some train operations and heightening security fears in Europe's biggest city. Turkey has been on high alert since more than 100 people were killed by two suicide bombers in...
Categories: News

Parties demand Rangers deployment inside and outside polling stations

National - 4 hours 34 min ago

KARACHI: Over a dozen political parties demanded the federal government and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to deploy army and Rangers personnel inside and outside all polling stations during the local government (LG) elections in Karachi on December 5.

The All Parties Conference (APC) was convened jointly by Qaumi Awami Tehreek (QAT) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP). The meeting was held under the title, ‘We Need a Rigging, Corruption and Terror Free Sindh’, at the house of JUP leader Shah Muhammad Owais Noorani.

“We aren’t against [Pakistan Peoples Party] PPP and [Muttahida Qaumi Movement] MQM, but their policies,” said QAT President Ayaz Latif Palijo. “We aren’t just responsible to our voters [alone] but to [the] future generation, [too].”

Preparations underway: Only 7% of polling stations ‘safe’

Reading the demands of the APC, Palijo said that neither the general elections of 2013 were fair and transparent, nor the government-conducted LG polls of this year in Sindh. He said that the PPP and MQM claimed fake mandate of general elections. LG elections held in different districts of Sindh province should be conducted again, he demanded.

The APC demanded that the militant wing of the MQM should immediately be eliminated so that the people of Karachi can cast their vote freely.

“I believe in heroism and want to become a hero,” said Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, a former PPP leader. He said that he stood firm against the PPP in Badin and won the LG polls. “The ECP should consider why PPP won in other areas [but] not in Badin,” he said. “It was because of deployment of the forces.”

Dr Mirza said that despite the visit of PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in Badin, he wasn’t defeated. “People in Badin supported me.”

Awami National Party (ANP) leader Senator Shahi Syed was of the view that the people of Karachi need freedom to cast votes according to their will. “Fear still prevails in Karachi despite the operation,” he said. He added that instead of elections, we first need a proper operation in the city.

LG elections: Rangers, police to start patrolling from today 15 districts going to polls

“Karachi shouldn’t be handed over to a party,” urged Syed, saying lawmakers from Karachi who are called RAW’s agents sit in assemblies. “They shouldn’t be in assemblies if they work for foreign agencies.”

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Ali Zaidi also criticised the PPP and the MQM, saying that both the parties are involved in pre-poll rigging. “If there is no justice, there is no peace,” he said.

Addressing the political leadership of different parties, Noorani demanded the government to ensure deployment of armed forces in all the polling stations instead of a select few.

The APC was also attended by leaders of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz, Pakistan Muslim League – Functional, PTI, Jamaat-e-Islami, ANP, Muhajir Qaumi Movement – Haqiqi, Jamhoori Watan Party, PPP – Shaheed Bhutto, Sindh National Movement and others.

Most speakers appreciated Mirza’s stance against PPP. “Dr Mirza did a tremendous job,” said PML-N Senator Nehal Hashmi. “PPP wants to give Karachi to MQM,” he alleged. “Deployment of security forces should [also] be inside polling stations, not only outside.”

JI’s senior leader, Mohammad Hussain Mehnati, said “Not 93 per cent but 100 per cent polling stations in Karachi are sensitive.” He said that the ruling provincial government wants to create an environment of fear in Karachi.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd,  2015.


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Categories: News

Short-circuit : Minor killed, two injured in fire

National - 4 hours 34 min ago

A two-and-a-half year-old child died and two of his siblings received burn injuries when a fire broke out inside their home in Federal B Area on Tuesday afternoon.

The fire broke out at their home located on the top floor of Faizan-e-Rehmat Mosque, near Yousuf Plaza, Block 16 in Federal B Area.

The three children were present inside the house when the fire broke out. The neighbours immediately rushed to the site after they saw smoke coming out of the house.

Five killed as fire engulfs makeshift huts in Karachi

By the time firefighters reached the site, two-and-half-year-old Omar had died due to severe burn injuries. Omar’s twin brother, Abu Bakar, and his four-year-old sister, Rumaisa, were also severely injured.

The body and the injured were taken to the Burns Ward of the Civil Hospital.

Residents of the area said that the father of the children, Zulfiqar, and his wife were at work when the fire broke out. Yousuf Plaza SHO said that it is being speculated that the fire was caused by a short-circuit.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd,  2015.

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Categories: News

Blame game: Federal govt ignoring Sindh, says Khursheed Shah

National - 4 hours 34 min ago

SUKKUR: Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, has accused the federal government of ignoring Sindh and said that not a single mega-project has been initiated in the province.

This he said while talking to the media after laying the foundation stone of a 459-kilowatt solar project for operating tube wells in Patni near Rohri, on Tuesday.

Shah believes that the deserts and the sunshine that Sindh has been blessed with can be used for generating power. However, no solar projects have been initiated in the province by the federal government, he said. Shah claimed that the government’s vision is confined to the metro bus project only, for which they pay Rs2 billion subsidy every year.

Raising voices: Govt should present four budgets in a year, says Khursheed Shah

Referring to the increasing prices of commodities, Shah said that instead of providing some breathing space, the government has crushed the masses under the weight of inflation. He expressed concern that the government has increased the rates of basic commodities and tax on petroleum products from 17 per cent to 50 per cent. Government has borrowed loans from international agencies, he said adding that he has tabled an adjournment motion in the national assembly, saying that the government should present four budgets in a year.

Speaking about the government’s plans of ending power crisis by 2018, Shah said that by looking at the position of Nandipur and other power projects, achieving the target seemed impossible. He claimed that the prime minister did not reply to any of his letters and therefore he will produce those letters before the parliament.

Referring to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Shah said that they do not want a new Pakistan and added that Quaid-e-Azam’s Pakistan is better for everyone. He further said that change does not come by constructing hospitals, but rather one has to do much more for the welfare of the masses.

Earlier, while talking to the media at his residence on Monday night, Shah strongly criticised the federal government for presenting a mini-budget of Rs40 billion. Referring to good governance, he said that reshuffle in the Sindh cabinet is part of it. Replying to a question about Nabil Gabol’s rejoining Pakistan Peoples Party, Shah said that the party will soon make a decision about it.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd,  2015.

The post Blame game: Federal govt ignoring Sindh, says Khursheed Shah appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: News

CM distributes 39 vans among special education schools

National - 4 hours 35 min ago

KARACHI: Thirty nine vans were distributed among special education schools in Sindh by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on Monday. He announced that 100 computers will also be provided to these schools.

He was addressing the distribution ceremony of school vans at the CM House on Tuesday. Shah also distributed uniforms, school bags, notebooks, wheel chairs, hearing aids, white canes, child chairs and 50 sports kits among the special children.

Speaking at the ceremony, the CM said that of the 100 computers, two will be given to each special education school in the province. He asked the management to establish an institutional link with public and private organisations, to avail job opportunities for the skilled and talented disabled people. Shah urged the public to come forward and help the Sindh government in its programmes for the welfare of special children and disabled persons.

CM urges newly reshuffled ministers to serve people selflessly

Shah said that the provincial government was encouraging and upgrading these schools with the aim to educate and develop the skills of the special children. He added that there are 2,600 special children registered with a total of 50 special education schools in Sindh, but there still many who are yet to be enrolled. Shah directed the relevant officers to extend their help and services for the welfare of the special children.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd,  2015.

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Categories: News

Court seeks Amir Khan’s comments on appeal against bail

National - 4 hours 35 min ago

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered on Tuesday the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader, Amir Khan, to file comments on an application filed by the Rangers authorities challenging the release of his bail.

Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto, who heads the bench, fixed the next hearing for December 21.

In September, the Rangers authorities had challenged the release of the  MQM’s Rabita Committee member, Khan, two months after an anti-terrorism court (ATC) granted him bail in a case relating to instigating terrorism and harbouring criminals.

MQM appoints Nadeem Nusrat as acting convener of Rabita Committee

Khan was taken into custody during a pre-dawn raid at the MQM headquarters, Nine Zero, on March 11 by the Rangers. After spending three months in ‘preventive detention’ of the Rangers, he was granted bail by the ATC-II on June 29. The court, however, restrained him from leaving the country without seeking prior permission from it.

Two months on, the paramilitary force has challenged the ATC’s release order in the Sindh High Court, claiming that the trial court’s order was ‘one-sided’, thus liable to be set aside. On Tuesday, Advocate Shaukat Hayat filed the power of attorney on behalf of Khan and requested for time to file comments on behalf of his client.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd,  2015.

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Categories: News

SHC restricts DUHS VC’s authority till Dec 14

National - 4 hours 35 min ago

One of the country’s major private medical universities, the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), continues to face administrative crises, as the Sindh High Court (SHC) restrained its acting vice-chancellor from taking major decisions regarding the varsity’s affairs till December 14.

A division bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, also issued notices to the varsity’s registrar, the health secretary and the DUHS vice-chancellor Professor Masood Hameed Khan to file their comments on yet another petition challenging his appointment. The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), which had challenged Dr Shaikh’s appointment, had moved the court against Khan’s appointment.

Second time in a month: SHC suspends governor’s notification of vice-chancellor’s appointment

The association’s lawyer, Haider Waheed, said that the petitioner had earlier filed a petition challenging the appointment of the respondent (Khan) as vice-chancellor of the varsity for the third term since it was in violation of the provisions of Dow University of Health Science Act, 2004. Waheed pointed out that Khan had once again been posted as acting vice-chancellor which is illegal and in violation of the court’s order.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd,  2015.

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Categories: News

Among the clouds: MQM’s symbol flies high above Karachi

National - 4 hours 36 min ago

KARACHI: For a change, the atmosphere at a Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) event was calm and no one spoke about workers being arrested or raids by law enforcers. For a change, the grim faces were replaced by cheerful ones, as party workers, activists and supporters watched their election symbol soar high among the clouds.

At the party’s Patang Mela on Tuesday, kites in hues of white, red and green soared across the clear skies amid cheers by enthusiastic women. The activity was part of its campaign for the upcoming local government elections on Saturday.

Organised by the party across the over 200 union councils and committees of the city, the largest congregation of kite-flying was held at the Jinnah Ground near Nine Zero. Kite-flying is a traditional and popular sport among the MQM’s ranks, with the party’s own election symbol being a kite.

Poetics of politics: Maybe it rhymes but where’s the reason?

“We are people from the lower and middle classes and have flown kites since we were young. Each of our workers as well as lawmakers knows how to cut kites and fly them,” said a cheerful MPA Muhammad Hussain.

At the ground, which was well-stocked with food, face-painting stalls and entertainment rides for the younger children, spirited men, women and even young boys were seen trying a hand at kite-flying as they spoke about politics. Zulfiqar Ahmed, a worker, had brought his nephews and sons. “We want to cut the strings of PTI and Jamaat,” he said.

Women and children were not far behind. Areej Fatima said they had realised how the lack of a local government system had adversely affected their area. “I will vote for the MQM. Only they work for the people.” Getting hold of a kite, she taught her young daughters how to make it soar into the air.

Party leader Waseem Akhtar, who is contesting for the chairman position in the local government elections and is unofficially tipped as a favorite for the city’s next mayor, distributed kites, their string and badges to excited men and women. Later, he flew a kite which fluttered high in the sky.  “The kite is an old symbol of the party. It is high and above everything. InshaAllah we will win on December 5.”

With plenty of children around, the deadly thread, manja, was not available for kite-flying, and the kites were flown by a non-lethal white string, known as saddi.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd,  2015.

The post Among the clouds: MQM’s symbol flies high above Karachi appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: News

In Karachi West, few women challenge male hegemony at the grassroots

National - 4 hours 36 min ago

In Pakistan’s predominantly patriarchal society, the stove is generally associated with the kitchen. On the streets of Karachi’s Mawach Goth, however, it has become a symbol of change.

It is the election symbol of a woman, Shaheena, who is vying for one of the six seats for members of the district council from Karachi West.

The district houses the second largest rural population after district Malir, which has 32 district council’s seats.

Instead of spending her days in the kitchen, Shaheena has taken her stove to the streets of Union Council 2, where she is campaigning for the upcoming local bodies election scheduled for December 5. She is the only female contestant vying for district council membership.

Women empowerment for securing sustainable alternative livelihoods

There are few female contestants who have dared to challenge the prevalent social taboos. Fareeda is among these resolute few and will contest for the general councillor’s seat from Bhutta Village in Keamari. Riffat Khatoon, another female candidate from district West, is also in the run for the general councillor’s seat. Fielded by the Jamaat-e-Islami, Khatoon is contesting from Chishti Nagar, falling within Union Council-2.

In the busy streets of the Sector 15 in Korangi, yet another female candidate is preparing to challenge the vote bank of the male contestants. Aleemun Nisa is vying for the general councillor’s seat as an independent candidate from Ward No 4.

These four brave women, like many others, are novices when it comes to politics. But they have dared to take the plunge.

Politically diverse

District West comprises four former towns – part of Keamari, Orangi, Baldia and SITE. All have their own political dynamics, according to journalist and political analyst, Ziaur Rehman.

The district has pockets dominated by different ethnic groups such as the Urdu- and Pashto-speaking population as well as those loyal to political parties such as the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam – Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), he explained.

In what was formerly Keamari Town, the contest is mainly between the PTI and the Pakistan Peoples Party. In Orangi and Baldia, where the Urdu-speaking population is in majority, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is competing with the two-party alliance of JI and PTI.

Breaking stereotypes: IIUI holds seminar on women empowerment

In Pakhtoon-dominated SITE Town, the competition is between the two-party alliance of JI and PTI and the tri-partite alliance of Awami National Party, PPP and JUI-F.

Overall statistics

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) records, district West has the highest number of candidates across the city. The district comprises 52 constituencies that stretch from the Keamari to Quaidabad and Ibrahim Hydery to Surjani. Initially, 2,004 nomination forms were filed, of which 1,971 were accepted by the ECP.

Following the rejections and withdrawals, a total of 1,412 candidates have been qualified to contest for the six seats of chairman, as many seats of vice-chairman, 24 seats of general councilors and six district members from six union councils. Besides, they will also contest for the 46 seats of chairman, as many for vice-chairman and 184 seats of general councilors in 46 union committees.

Elected unopposed

Thirteen candidates have been elected unopposed on general councillor’s seats in seven union councils. Moreover, the chairman and vice-chairman in Ward No 20 of UC-20 have been elected unopposed. All of these candidates belong to the MQM, except one general councilor from UC-41, who contested independently.

Second-largest vote bank

All the political, religious and nationalist parties have set their eyes on district West, which also houses the second largest vote bank in the metropolis.

There are total of 1,530,579 registered voters, of whom 930,369 are male and 600,210 are female. To facilitate the voters, the election authorities will set up 947 polling stations across the district – 375 for males, 340 for females and 232 combined. ECP officials told The Express Tribune that there will be 947 presiding officers, 3,336 assistant presiding officers and 3,156 polling officers. Apart from this, 340 Naib Qasid will be deployed at female polling stations.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd,  2015.

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Categories: News

Let’s empower every child: A child on the streets lives an average life of 30 year

National - 4 hours 36 min ago

KARACHI: According to a recent study, a street child who has been addicted to drugs lives an average life of a maximum 30 years.

Shafiq Ahmed, programme manager at DevCon, shared these statistics at an awareness programme for street children. The event was organised by DevCon, Child Rights Movement (CRM) and Commune Artist Colony to empower of street children and make them realise their importance in the society. Working under the slogan ‘Let’s empower every child’, DevCon has reached out to street children who beg, sell things and sleep on roadsides.

Explaining how they started the programme, Ahmed said that they deal with and help three kinds of street children – orphans, those who have families but have left their homes for some reason and those who come to the streets due to financial crisis.

Int’l Peace Day: Street children present tableau

According to a rough estimate, there are more than 0.25 million orphan children who sleep on footpaths in Karachi, said Ahmed. Initially, the project was started for children of five areas – Jahangir Park, Hyperstar, Sea View, Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s mazar and Cantt Station. “We sent our teams to these places and asked them to observe what these kids were doing,” explained Ahmed. “Some were selling books, some were begging while some were clicking pictures to earn money at Sea View.”

After the first phase of the programme, DevCon has succeeded in enrolling at least 13 children in schools. “The number is small but the will is high and it shows that we can make more enrollments in the coming years,” said Ahmed.

Talking about the reason for supporting this cause and helping with the resources and venue, Yousuf Bashir Qureshi from Commune Artist Colony said, “If we do not work for street children now, it will affect us some day.”

There is no reason to not support this cause but the majority of the people don’t because these street children are not harming them, he said. “People will start thinking and working when they get hurt and face the problem.”

The way forward: Even with laws, child rights not being upheld, lament activists

Theatre for street children

Six local theatre artists under the banner, ‘Sujaat Jaan’, presented the dark side of the picture to the street children on the issues and problems they face in their daily lives. The play revolved around a boy who does not have a house to live and has nothing to eat, while people around him always beat him and treat him badly. A group of people realise the importance of his life and hand him over to a shelter home where he studies and transforms into a responsible citizen of the country.

A resident of Korangi, 15-year-old Muhammad Aqib has the same story, where due to lack of money he used to beg and collect trash to earn bread and butter for his family of 11 people. “One day I was near Cantt Station when the DevCon programme director met me and asked me what I do and what I want to do in the future,” he said. Today, Aqib works at a shop and also has some basic education. “I am happy that I did not end up like others. I am earning money and learning, too.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd,  2015.

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Categories: News

Wasting away: Seven years on, heart facility still waiting for doctor to open its doors

National - 4 hours 37 min ago

Each time the Sindh government is questioned about the miserable state of the public health sector, it manages to come up with a barrage of excuses starting from the lack of funds to non-serious staff. It is ironic then that the very same government has completely ignored a state-of-the-art facility, established by the Fauji Fertilizer Company (FFC), in Civil Hospital Mirpur Mathelo.

The Rs17 million facility was funded and handed over to the health department around seven years ago. It has been non-functional since. The only obstacle in the operations of this state-of-the-art facility is the lack of a cardiologist – a position the health department has been unable to fill in all this time.

A few miles away, the cardiology ward at the Taluka Hospital Ghotki fares no better. Former Sindh chief minister Ali Mohammad Mahar, during his tenure in 2002, had established this particular facility after his father, former MPA Haji Ali Anwar Mahar, had died of a heart attack in 1995. The late MPA had not been able to get timely medical attention. Though this facility still exists in the taluka hospital, there is no cardiologist to attend to the heart patients.

Necessary repairs: Health dept finally releases funds

On the contrary, a doctor from People’s Primary Health Initiative used to attend to patients but as there were no requisite facilities in the ward, the doctor could only perform an ECG to confirm if the person was suffering from a heart attack. As a result, patients who suffered heart attacks were either rushed to hospitals in Sukkur or Rahim Yar Khan. Most breathed their last on the way.

In 2008, FFC came forward to put the people of this district out of their misery and established the state-of-the-art cardiology ward in the premises of the Civil Hospital Mirpur Mathelo. The aim was to provide immediate medical care to heart patients, but the apathetic attitude of the government and the management of the hospital has resulted in the closure of the facility since the last seven years.

For his part, the FFC spokesperson, Colonel Amin, told The Express Tribune that the establishment of the cardiology ward in the civil hospital was a gift to the residents of district Ghotki and aimed to provide the best available treatment to patients with heart diseases. He said that the company had spent Rs17 million on it and installed all the necessary equipment to make it a state-of-the-art facility. “We have done our job and now it’s up to the government to arrange cardiologists to run the facility,” said Colonel Amin.

Minister directs hospitals to remove political parties’ offices

Despite repeated attempts, the medical superintendent of Civil Hospital Mirpur Mathelo was not available for comments. He, however, replied to a text message some days later, claiming that the ward functions in the morning and evening to provide out-patient checkup facilities. The MS said that two doctors, who have diplomas in cardiology, check patients at both times of the day. He added, however, that they did not have a medical officer to start the in-patient facility.

The superintendent’s claims were, however, refuted by a Mirpur Mathelo-based journalist, who alleged that the facility remained locked most of the time and patients suffering from heart ailments must go to Sukkur or Rahim Yar Khan for treatment. Meanwhile, health secretary, Dr Saeed Ahmed Mangnejo, expressed ignorance about the absence of a cardiologist in hospital, reasoning that the matter had not been brought into his knowledge. However, the bureaucrat promised to look into the matter and resolve the issue.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd,  2015.

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Categories: News

Indonesia says faulty part, crew action factors in AirAsia crash

Asia - 4 hours 47 min ago

By Kanupriya Kapoor and Fergus Jensen JAKARTA (Reuters) - Problems with a glitch-prone rudder component and the way pilots tried to respond were major factors in the crash of an Indonesian AirAsia jet last year that killed all 162 on board, investigators said on Tuesday. The Airbus A320 crashed into the Java Sea on Dec. 28, less than halfway into a two-hour flight from Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore. In their first public report, Indonesian investigators did not pinpoint a single underlying reason why flight QZ8501 disappeared from radar, but laid out a sequence involving the faulty component, maintenance and crew actions.

Categories: News

Sri Lanka to start up special court on alleged war crimes

South Asia - 5 hours 57 min ago
COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka will set up a special court in the next few weeks to examine alleged war crimes committed in the final phase of its 26-year conflict with Tamil rebels, a top official in charge of reconciliation said on Tuesday.
Categories: News

Chicago police superintendent reportedly asked to resign over officer’s murder charge

World - 6 hours 15 min ago
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired his police superintendent on Tuesday after it took 13 months to charge a white police...
Categories: News

Pakistani couple jailed in Germany for ‘honour killing’

National - 6 hours 31 min ago

BERLIN: A German court Tuesday sentenced a Pakistan-born couple to life in jail for the “honour killing” of their 19-year-old daughter, who had had sex before marriage.

The 52-year-old father was found guilty of strangling the teenager to death, and the 41-year-old mother was also jailed, as an accessory to murder, by the regional court in the western city of Darmstadt.

The deeply conservative Muslim parents had killed their daughter, Lareeb Khan, in January because she had been in a pre-marital sexual relationship, the court was told.

Pakistani man strangles daughter to death in Germany

According to Mail Online, Asadullah Khan, 51, said he believed his daughter had brought ‘dishonour’ to the family by being in a relationship with a boy he did not approve of.

He said he wanted Lareeb to have an arranged marriage as he and his wife had done.

Khan’s wife, Shazia, said her daughter had stayed away from the family home for several nights in a row and had stopped wearing her headscarf.

The defence had sought a lesser sentence of manslaughter. The couple will be able to apply for parole after 15 years.

The post Pakistani couple jailed in Germany for ‘honour killing’ appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: News

Setting the record straight

National - 6 hours 33 min ago

KARACHI: Akbar Ahmed, in his recent article, “Leghari and the making of Jinnah”, published in The Express Tribune on November 11, gives the impression that he was solely responsible for the making of the movie Jinnah. What he fails to mention is that I was the producer, director and co-writer of the film. Over the years, he has consistently misrepresented his role and has deliberately excluded me from newspaper articles, interviews, TV shows and important screenings. He has gone as far as advertising the film publicly as “Akbar Ahmed’s Jinnah”, a possessory title that is only ever accorded to a director.

When Akbar asked me to write the screenplay, I suggested we involve Farrukh Dhondy, a British-Indian writer who was a Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 Television in the UK. Akbar agreed on the condition that Farrukh would not be given a co-writer credit as his Indian origin might create controversy in Pakistan. It was, therefore, decided that Farrukh’s contribution would not be disclosed. Akbar asked me if he could have the co-writing credit instead and I went along with it, not realising at the time how he was usurping Farrukh’s credit.

In 2000, I began legal proceedings against Akbar’s company for outstanding fees and for publicly misrepresenting his role in the film. When my case came up for hearing in a UK High Court, the judge decided in my favour and ordered him to pay the monies due with interest and legal costs, payments that were never made, with Akbar’s company going into liquidation. Subsequently, the Jinnah movie remained in limbo for many years until the liquidator decided to hold a blind auction for the rights in 2009. I put in a successful bid and I now hold the world rights to the film. I have restored it, made a digital master, and intend to re-release it all over the world.

Jamil Dehlavi

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd,  2015.

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The post Setting the record straight appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: News

Less of a taboo

National - 6 hours 36 min ago

ISLAMABAD: This is apropos the editorial appearing in this newspaper on November 27, titled, “The sky’s the limit”. The heart-wrenching martyrdom of the brave Marium Mukhtiar is a loss for the whole nation. It was not until 2006 that the Pakistan Air Force started enrolling women as fighter pilots. Seven women broke into the country’s most exclusive club that had been closed to them for six decades. Female participation in the workforce is seen less as a taboo now. Previously, with Pakistan being a patriarchal society and with family pressures against working in the traditionally male-dominated field of the air force, women were not welcome into this highly prestigious field.

Over the last decade, attitudes towards working women have improved and now, about 316 women work in the air force. However, most female soldiers in the world, including Pakistani women, are still barred from ground combat. In reality, most girls in our society don’t even think of doing such a thing like flying an aircraft. Ms Mukhtiar went against all odds and proved her passion. She, too, faced family pressures of working with male counterparts, but her will kept her firm on her stance. She died creating a difference. Her martyrdom is an inspiration for women who don’t even know their rights. Women should opt for careers and being financially independent as that is one way to empower themselves. The spark in Ms Mukhtiar’s mother’s eyes when she said she was proud of her daughter, is the biggest gift a daughter can give.

I, being a daughter and proud Pakistani citizen, salute Ms Mukhtiar for her courage and services. I pray for her co-pilot, Squadron Leader Saqib Abbasi, to get well soon. I also request the government to reward her with an appropriate award. May her soul rest in peace.

Abeer Shahzadi

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd,  2015.

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The post Less of a taboo appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: News

NATO agrees to keep troops in Afghanistan, seeks army funding

South Asia - 6 hours 38 min ago
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The NATO allies decided on Tuesday to hold alliance troop levels in Afghanistan steady at about 12,000 next year and launched a campaign to fund the 350,000 Afghan forces it hopes can some day secure the country against Taliban militants.
Categories: News

Our political culture

National - 6 hours 38 min ago

RAWALPINDI: If it is true that the local government system empowers common people to solve their issues at the grassroots level, it basically implies that local bodies form the basis of a political system. However, if one looks around, we see a clear picture of nepotism and dynastic politics in the selection of our representatives.

We prefer to vote on the basis of biradari rather than on the ability of the candidate to represent us effectively at the local level. So, how can we expect and demand an end to dynastic politics at the national level?

Syed Ali Zaidi

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd,  2015.

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The post Our political culture appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: News

German court declares Auschwitz suspect fit for trial

World - 6 hours 42 min ago
A German appeals court has reversed a lower court's decision that a 95-year-old former SS sergeant who served as a medic in...
Categories: News