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Armed forces fully committed to safeguarding Pakistan, says air chief

Armed forces fully committed to safeguarding Pakistan, says air chief

Posted on 19 January 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 13

Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman has said that the armed forces are fully committed to safeguarding the country, said Radio Pakistan.

Delivering a lecture on “Leadership, Education and Society Development” at Rawalpindi Medical University in Rawalpindi, the air chief said Pakistani nation and the armed forces fought the war against terrorists with supreme courage and determination.

He termed the indigenously produced JF-17 Thunder a symbol of national pride. The PAF would continue its journey of indigenization to further improve its defence capabilities, he added.

The PAF has been at the forefront in the war against terrorism.

Last year, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman had said that the Pakistan air force could shoot down any drone which violates the country’s airspace.

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Exclusive: Lahore woman sets new precedent as female bike captain

Exclusive: Lahore woman sets new precedent as female bike captain

Posted on 19 January 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 33

Pakistan now has female bike captains as a part of Careem’s women empowerment scheme. These women are Pakistan’s first female bike captains. Riffat Shehraz shines as one of the first few who have taken on this task in Lahore.

These women stand as symbols to the world that women are capable of doing anything they put their mind to.

In an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune, Riffat said that she is glad to have gotten a platform to bring out the best of her passion.
“I have been driving the bike since I was 12 years old and I was passionate about riding the bike,” she said.

Riffat believes that bike riding services aren’t restricted to gender or by gender. “If you are scared, the fear will lead you nowhere. Today, if you are going to be scared, then tomorrow you will not be able to do anything.” She believes that women are capable of achieving a lot more than they are given the opportunity to.

Amid rising tensions on security issues for women and children, Riffat says that she would have never made the effort of visiting places that she does now because of her passengers. She says that this experience also shaped her confidence greatly.

“I am also a female and I also want to take rides at the 11th hour but I know that I have to wake up early and start my day therefore at 10 pm, I take my last ride,” she said of her daily routine. She wakes up at 9 am to initiate her day.

However, Riffat doesn’t have to comply with a set number of rides, “I can take as many as I want to, sometimes I take them till 9 pm and sometimes it’s 10 pm but I don’t want to say no to anyone ever. I try my best to make my passengers happy.”

Riffat believes she is lucky as she didn’t have to face any major issue regarding her passengers. “Everyone respects me,” she said, adding that neither male nor female passengers caused her any hassle.

“I feel, if you respect men, then they respect you in return too, all my rides so far with the males have been very nice and ended on cordial terms,” she narrated.

“I have gone as far as Thokar Niaz Baig, a place I have never visited, so the commuting and distance is not an issue for me at all. It is sometimes from Wapda Town or Model Town that I go to faraway places,” she said.

Riffat is a source of pride with all that she has achieved. She also is a proud part of Careem as that is the platform that encouraged her to pursue this.

In November 2015, the company had announced that they will start hiring female captain drivers.

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One killed, six injured in Karachi grenade attack

One killed, six injured in Karachi grenade attack

Posted on 18 January 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 34

KARACHI: At least one person was killed and six others were wounded when unidentified armed men hurled a hand grenade at a cloth market in Kharadar area of Karachi on Thursday.

Police and Rangers reached the site of the attack near Akhwan Masjid Kharadar and the victims were rushed to the Civil Hospital.

The injured were identified as Muhammad Ismail (39), Waqas (30), Abdul Sattar (65), Babu (35), Abdul Aziz (70) and Usama (25). The identity of the dead, almost 70 to 75 years of age, is yet to be ascertained, said police.

Police officials suspect the involvement of a Lyari gang behind the attack who hurled the grenade after the shopkeepers refused to pay extortion money.

Home Minister and IGP Sindh have taken notice of the incident and sought a report from District City SSP.

In April last year, at least six security officials, as well as civilians were injured in two separate grenade attacks along the Torkham crossing of the Pak-Afghan border.

In September of last year, at least seven people were wounded when motorcyclists hurled a hand grenade near the residence of Lyari kingpin Uzair Baloch.

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Bangladesh involved in sabotaging SAARC summit scheduled to be held in Pakistan, says Khawaja Asif

Bangladesh involved in sabotaging SAARC summit scheduled to be held in Pakistan, says Khawaja Asif

Posted on 18 January 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 37

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has said that Bangladesh was involved in sabotaging a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Conference (SAARC) head of states conference in Pakistan, Express News reports.

The foreign minster was responding to the questions of National Assembly (NA) members on Thursday about relations with Bangladesh.

Asif told the assembly that Islamabad has been making efforts for the normalization of relations with Dhaka.
“Pakistan does not desire any tension in relations with regional countries, including Bangladesh,” he said, according to Radio Pakistan.

“Bangladesh is not implementing the tripartite agreement of 1974 and over the last few years several capital punishments have been executed in connection with the 1971 war,” Asif told the lawmakers.

According to the minister, Pakistan has consistently urged government of Bangladesh to uphold its commitment as per the tripartite agreement.

“Pakistan desires to move ahead but the other side will also have to reciprocate to our efforts,” he stressed.

The foreign minister said the sixth round of the bilateral political consultations with Bangladesh is expected to take place in the first half of this year in Dhaka.

He expressed the confidence that this would provide an opportunity to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries.

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Meet Sindh’s millionaire beggars

Meet Sindh’s millionaire beggars

Posted on 17 January 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 33

LARKANA/KARACHI: As the rice harvest season is in full swing in upper Sindh where farmers are busy reaping the rewards of their yearlong labour, wealthy beggars have begun arriving in hoardes on motorcycles, cars and even mini-jeeps.

Every day these paradoxically wealthy beggars visit different villages and beg farmers and landowners for harvested grain. There are two kinds of people who visit these areas every year to beg – some come with requests for help while others call themselves ‘Syeds’ and ask for contributions. This practice is not confined to a particular caste or religion – Muslims, non-Muslims and people from various tribes and communities have made this their source of income.

Rahib Shah, a 75 year old man who lives in Larkana city, used to visit villages on foot and collect harvested grains. He now has purchased a mini-jeep and travels with three ‘helpers’ to help him collect the rice and transport it to a storage facility he built in the area. “What can we do? He calls himself a Syed so we give him [donations] in the name of the descendants of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) who laid down their lives for our religion,” explained Mohammad Panah, a resident of Boohar village in Larkana. Rahib is not the only one to operate in the area – dozens of others wander around in the winter season to beg.
Shankar, 57, a scheduled caste Hindu who started begging when he was a teenager, now owns a three-storey building in Bagri Muhalla, Larkana in which he has rented out five shops. He and his wife travel around during harvesting season on a motorcycle and ask farmers for grains.

“He is the richest person in his entire family, but has not given up his habit of begging,” said Rizwan Ahmed, a local resident. “The couple embarks on their journey and spends the entire day wandering from village to village before coming home at sunset.” Ahmed added that they have built storage units where they store the harvested grain and later sell it. Begging is, however, a crime and Section 7 (1) of the Vagrancy Act 1958 says, “The police, without an order from a magistrate and without a warrant, can arrest and search any person who appears to him to be a vagrant.” The Sindh Children Act, 1955 also bans children beggars. “Under this law a maximum punishment for children begging forcibly or willingly is one year with a fine,” said Iqbal Detho, a civil society activist who has worked on this issue extensively. According to sociologists, however, there are a number of factors behind begging.

“There are organised gangs of beggars while others are forced to beg because of land fragmentation, poverty and a lack of resources to earn a livelihood,” said Detho. “In towns and cities, begging has turned into an organised business. Some gangs deploy their members in specific locations that are leased out for a specific time,” he explained. “There was a time when people in rural areas used to spare a share of their crop yield for Syeds, but this trend is fading away with each passing day. No popular gadi or Syed family follows the trend anymore because they are now [involved in politics] and have become rich,” he said. Detho added that some splinter groups and other Syeds still follow the tradition. According to him, donkey carts and horse carriages were the earlier modes of transport but recently they have started travelling in motorised vehicles.

Hasan Manghanhar, a beggar who lives in Larkana city, said that begging is a profession they have inherited from their forefathers. “Four of us [family members] go out to beg and bring back a sum that is enough to run our kitchen,” he said, adding that begging is not as easy as others think it to be.

“People don’t give money unless you know the way to get it out of them,” he explained, adding that even beggars have to work hard to meet their targets. “I prefer to stay in the city and earn hardly Rs500 to Rs1,000 per day,” said Manghanhar, adding that many of his relatives have become millionaires from begging yet they still beg. “Once you start, it is difficult to give up this profession,” he said.

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