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Better law and order, but human rights indicators remain alarming in Pakistan, new report points out

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Better law and order, but human rights indicators remain alarming in Pakistan, new report points out

Posted on 02 April 2016 by PakBee Team - Total hits: 223

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ISLAMABAD: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Friday issued its annual report saying that four journalists were killed during one year while 1,100 women were murdered in the name of honour during this period.

The human rights indicators remained alarming in the country but the overall law and order situation significantly improved in 2015 as there were 31 percent less suicide attacks and 40 percent decrease in death of people as a result of violence. The anti-state violence dropped below 2008 levels, when incidents of terrorism had started escalating.

The statistics were made part of the ‘State of Human Rights in 2015’ launched by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Friday. The report says though Balochistan witnessed the highest militant attacks in 2015 as compared to other parts of the country, there was an overall 41 percent decline in militant activities in Balochistan as compared to the year 2014.  In Khyber Pakhtukhwa, the decline was 75 percent.

In terms of number, the report says that a total 706 militant attacks took place in 2015, in which 1,325 people were killed. There were 18 suicide attacks reported in Pakistan during 2015.

While presenting the report, HRCP Co-chairperson Kamran Arif said that the Punjab reported 382,932 cases of crime in 2015, 6,622 less than 389,554 cases in 2014. Sindh saw a 42 percent reduction in the number of murders in 2015 as compared to 2014. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan witnessed 10 and one percent surge respectively in total crime in 2015 as compared to 2014.

Jails, prisoners and missing persons

About jails, prisoners and disappearances, the report states that 65 prisoners died in the country’s prisons, 419 persons were awarded the death penalty, 327 death penalty convicts were hanged, making Pakistan one of the highest executing states in the world. Besides that, 1,390 cases of enforced disappearances remained pending with the commission of inquiry. The HRCP data suggested that least 151 cases of disappearances were reported in Balochistan between January and November 2015.

Free thought

In its section on freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the report shares that 58 incidents of sectarian violence were reported from across Pakistan, 22 individuals were booked on the charges of blasphemy including 15 Muslims, four Christians and three Ahmadis.

About the freedom of expression, the report mentions that four journalists and a media worker were killed and assaults were made on many more which made Pakistan live with the dubious status of being ‘a dangerous place for journalists.’ It says that Pemra’s new code of conduct allowed auditing of live content of television channels and restrictions on live broadcasts. The report says that introduction of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill, if passed, poses serious threats to freedom of expression in cyberspace.

Talking about the freedom of assembly, the report says that Sindh and Punjab accounted for 71 per cent of all protests in Pakistan.

‘Worst’ passport in the world

With regard to freedom of movement, the report says that 65,000 names were removed from the Exit Control List including of Baloch activists Farzana Majeed and Mama Qadeer. Pakistan’s passport ranked one of the worst in the world to travel with; sharing a place with Somalia as the third worst passport in terms of travel restrictions.

Local government and laws

It says that federal parliament made 20 laws in 2015 and the president promulgated 12 ordinances. The provincial legislatures adopted 120 laws. With 40 laws enacted, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had the highest legislative output, followed by Sindh (32), Punjab (31) and Balochistan (17).

It states that 2015 saw 324 people, most with no links to terrorism, being put to death. Another 8,000 prisoners stayed on death row.

The report termed local government elections a positive development and says that the gap between the number of male and female voters increased roughly by 68,000 over the past two and half years whereas more than 11.5million eligible voters remained unregistered.

It says that women remained poorly represented in the federal and the provincial cabinets and minority communities in Balochsitan, Sindh and Punjab were deprived of the right to vote for their own candidates directly.

Women and violence

About women, the document reports that a range of legislative changes took place at the provincial level to strengthen rights of women. During 2015, as monitored by HRCP, 939 women became victims of sexual violence, 279 of domestic violence. 143 women were attacked with acid or were set on fire. 833 women were kidnapped. Despite the volume of cases, the rate of prosecution remained fairly low. 777 women committed or tried to commit suicide.

The HRCP database recorded 987 cases of honour crimes in 2015 with 1096 female victims and 88 male victims out of which at least 170 were minors. It says that lifting of moratorium on death penalty brought 47 women prisoners in line for executions, with most having no recourse to legal aid.

25 million children out of school

About children, it says that a total of 3,768 child abuse cases occurred during this year. On the other hand, Pakistan saw an 80 per cent reduction in polio cases to 54 from 306 cases last year. Several bills on child protection remained pending.

In education, with 25 million children out of school and literacy rate still hovering around 58 per cent Pakistan continued to face grave difficulties in education. Only 0.42 per cent of the GDP was spent on health and healthcare in Pakistan was administered mainly by the private sector, which accounted for 70 to 80 per cent of all outpatient visits. Around 19 per cent of the population and 30 per cent of the children under the age of five were malnourished.  Life expectancy at birth was 59 years and infant mortality rate 95 per thousand.

There were only 1,142 hospitals, 5,499 dispensaries, 5,438 basic health units, 671 maternity and child health centers with only 175,223 doctors, 90,276 nurses and 118,041 hospital beds for a population of around 190 million. Pakistan was ranked sixth amongst 22 high disease burden countries of the world. Incidence of TB stood at 231/100,000 population and prevalence of about 300 cases per 100,000 people.

Adding to that, more than 20million people in Pakistan, around 10 per cent of the population, suffered from neurological problems and disorders. There were approximately 4,000 licensed pharmacies in Pakistan, but as many as 100,000 illegal merchants also sold medicines. Total population of persons with disability (PWDs) was 5.035 million.

The report also includes a section on environment and says that Pakistan remained as one of the top ten countries threatened by climate change.

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Government increases price of petrol, diesel for April

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Government increases price of petrol, diesel for April

Posted on 02 April 2016 by PakBee Team - Total hits: 251

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ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday increased the prices of petroleum products for the month of April. The price of petrol has been increased by Rs.1.50 and the price of diesel has been increased by Rs.1.40. The change will be effective from the 1st of April 2016.

Speaking to the host of Geo News’ program Capital Talk, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that while the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) had proposed a hike of Rs3.09 in the price of petrol, the government has increased it by just Rs1.50 a litre.

He added, that only the price of petrol and diesel has being increased and no change is being made in the rates of other petroleum products.

After the raise of Rs1.50 a litre, the new price of petrol will be Rs64.47 while the price of diesel has been pushed up to Rs72.52 with a raise of Rs1.40 a litre.

Dar said OGRA in its summary had asked for Rs5.64 raise in per litre rate of kerosene oil but it has been kept unchanged because it is used by people belonging to low-income group.

The prices of High Octane Blending Component (HOBC), light diesel and kerosene oil will remain unchanged for the month of April at Rs72.68, 37.97 and 43.25 a litre.

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Pakistan seeks Iran’s help to investigate RAW agent’s activities

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Pakistan seeks Iran’s help to investigate RAW agent’s activities

Posted on 31 March 2016 by PakBee Team - Total hits: 213

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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government has written a letter to Tehran asking for their help in investigating the activities of Kulbhushan Yadav, a serving agent of Indian spy agency RAW arrested from Balochistan.

In the letter written by the Interior Ministry, Pakistan requests the Iranian government to help them investigate other RAW agents operating in the region as well and calls on Tehran to arrest and hand over Indian RAW Sub Inspector Rakesh alias Rizwan, who is known to be a key RAW operative assisting Kulbhushan Yadav.

Sub inspector Rakesh is also working undercover as a businessman dealing in jewelry and is known to be present in Iran, says the letter.

According to a copy of the letter available with Geo News, Pakistan has requested the “proactive support of the brotherly Iranian government” for the immediate arrest and handing over of RAW Sub Inspector Rakesh alias Rizwan for interrogation in Pakistan, verifying the activities of captured RAW officer Kulbhushan Yadav during his stay along with record of visits to Iran, and the records of people that the Indian RAW officers have been interacting with and purpose of their interaction and business

The Pakistani Interior Ministry has also asked the Iranian government to share details of RAW networks on Iranian soil.

Earlier, the Iranian Embassy in response to Yadav’s presence on its soil had said that the two countries had always enjoyed brotherly relations but some elements were bent on sabotaging them. “Iran wants a stable Pakistan. Iran has never felt danger from Pakistan at its border,” a statement from the Iranian Embassy said.

Kulbhushan Yadav was arrested by a intelligence agencies in Balochistan last week and he was later shifted to Islamabad for investigation.

During preliminary investigations, the undercover Indian agent had revealed that his main agenda was to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through propaganda and to create disharmony among the Baloch nationalist political parties.

In a video confession that military spokesman Gen Asim Bajwa played during a press conference, Yadav said: “I am still a serving officer in the Indian Navy and will be due for retirement in 2022.”

“By 2002, I commenced intelligence operations. In 2003, I established a small business in Chabahar in Iran. As I was able to achieve undetected existence and visits to Karachi in 2003 and 2004 and, having done some basic assignments within India for RAW, I was picked up by RAW in 2013,” he added.

His confession came as the Indian government denied he was a serving Navy officer, claiming Yadav had taken premature retirement from service and had nothing to do with the Indian government.

According to documents available with Geo News, Yadev joined the Indian National Defence Academy in 1987. He has a wife and two daughters who live with his father Sudhir in Mumbai.

in the video shown to the media by the ISPR, Yadav can be seen admitting that he is an active officer of the Indian Navy and was working in Pakistan at the behest of RAW.

Yadav confessed that he launched a covert operation against Pakistan from the Iranian port of Chahbahar, for which he used to take instructions from RAW’s joint secretary Anil Gupta.

The detained Indian spy also admitted that RAW had been funding the Baloch separatists for the Balochistan insurgency.

“I am still a serving officer in the Indian Navy and will be due for retirement in 2022,” said Yadav.

“By 2002, I commenced intelligence operations. In 2003, I established a small business in Chabahar in Iran. As I was able to achieve undetected existence and visits to Karachi in 2003 and 2004 and, having done some basic assignments within India for RAW, I was picked up by RAW in 2013,” he added.

The Indian spy said that he had been directing various activities in Karachi and Balochistan at the behest of RAW since 2013. He also confessed of playing a role in deteriorating law and order situation of Karachi.

“These activities have been of anti-national or terrorist nature which resulted in the killing and wounding of Pakistani citizens.”

The capture of the RAW agent is the latest evidence of Islamabad’s claim that the neighbouring country is actively trying to destabilize Pakistan.

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FIR registered against unknown men for assaulting Junaid Jamshed

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FIR registered against unknown men for assaulting Junaid Jamshed

Posted on 30 March 2016 by PakBee Team - Total hits: 735

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ISLAMABAD: Former singer turned televangelist Junaid Jamshed has registered a case against eight unknown men for assaulting him at the Benazir International Airport.

According to his statement, “Seven to eight men attacked me at the airport. I don’t know them personally but I can identify if they come in front of me. Police and airport security protected me and took me home.”

The former vocalist of the band Vital Signs received kicks and blows by a small group of men just as he was leaving the airport on Saturday.

The group chanted slogans against Jamshed before beating him up. A security official came to his rescue and led him back to the safety of the arrival lounge at the airport.

A video of the incident that became viral on social media showed Jamshed asking the crowd to talk to him instead of resorting to violence.

Provoked by his fellows by chants of “Maaro, maaro! (beat him, beat him!)”, a man could be seen chasing Jamshed and kicking him before the former pop singer disappeared into the arrival lounge.

 

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Lahore suicide bomber identified

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Lahore suicide bomber identified

Posted on 29 March 2016 by PakBee Team - Total hits: 234

LAHORE: Investigation for the Lahore Attack took a new turn as police said that the identity card found from the location of the blast did not belong to the suicide bomber. Instead, they suspect Salahuddin Khorasani, a member of a banned outfit, carried out the suicide bombing.

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Initial investigation of the blast at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, which killed 72 on Sunday, had led the police to believe that a man named Muhammad Yousuf from Muzafargarh, whose identity card was found at the crime scene, was the suicide bomber. Law enforcers had arrested three of his brothers and raided a seminary where he was a teacher.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that the bomber was in fact Salahuddin Khurasani from the Jamat ul Ahrar group, a breakaway faction of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorist organisation.

With the help of eye witnesses, police sketched a picture of the suicide bomber. Salahuddin Khurasani has an olive complexion, a large nose, a short beard, and thick hair. He is beleived to be between the age of 20 to 25 years.

The paramilitary has launched a crackdown against terrorists in Punjab after the deadly bombing, . According to a press statement by DG ISPR Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, intelligence agencies with Army and Rangers carried out five operations in Lahore, Faisalabad, and Multan since the attack in the busy Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in the Punjab capital.

Sources confirmed that the anti-terror crackdown was launched on the orders of the Army chief and will commence with operations in southern Punjab, long believed to be a hotbed of religious extremism and militancy.

The sources added that troops from the Army and Rangers will take part in the crackdown, and that the military’s Corps Commander in Lahore will be regularly apprised of the progress of the operation.

In an address to the nation late on Monday, the Prime Minister vowed to bring justice for the victims of the blast. “Terrorists should know failure is their fate,” he said.

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