Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Music Video - Calvin Harris - Dua Lipa - One Kiss

Video Report - #CNN reporter barred from #EPA event speaks out

Video - Police use tear gas, protesters throw stones as anti-Macron rally turns violent in Paris

Video - Interview: Hilary Barry meets Hillary Clinton to talk Jacinda ,New Zealand and Trump

Opioids crisis - Rudy Giuliani won deal for OxyContin maker to continue sales of drug behind opioid deaths

By Chris McGreal
The US government secured a criminal conviction against Purdue Pharma in the mid-2000s but failed to curb sales of the drug after Giuliani reached a deal to avoid a bar on Purdue doing business.
The US government missed the opportunity to curb sales of the drug that kickstarted the opioid epidemic when it secured the only criminal conviction against the maker of OxyContin a decade ago.
Purdue Pharma hired Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York mayor and now Donald Trump’s lawyer, to head off a federal investigation in the mid-2000s into the company’s marketing of the powerful prescription painkiller at the centre of an epidemic estimated to have claimed at least 300,000 lives.
While Giuliani was not able to prevent the criminal conviction over Purdue’s fraudulent claims for OxyContin’s safety and effectiveness, he was able to reach a deal to avoid a bar on Purdue doing business with the federal government which would have killed a large part of the multibillion-dollar market for the drug.
The former New York mayor also secured an agreement that greatly restricted further prosecution of the pharmaceutical company and kept its senior executives out of prison.
The US attorney who led the investigation, John Brownlee, has defended the compromise but also expressed surprise that Purdue did not face stronger action from federal regulators and further criminal investigation given its central role in the rise of the epidemic.
Connecticut-based Purdue is now facing a wave of civil lawsuits as New York, Texas and five other states have joined a growing number actions against the company. But Brownlee was the first, and so far only, prosecutor to secure a criminal conviction against the drug maker.
Brownlee launched his investigation shortly after being appointed US attorney for the western district of Virginia as the region struggled with escalating overdoses and deaths from opioids in the early 2000s. When he looked at the source of the epidemic he found OxyContin, a drug several times more powerful than any other prescription painkiller on the market at the time.

Ghazl - Sabko Maloom Hai Main Sharabi Nahin - By Pankaj Udhas

Music Video - Chaar Botal Vodka - . Yo Yo Honey Singh, Sunny Leone

Music Video - GAL BAN GAY - YOYO Honey Singh

Music Video - Dil Chori - Yo Yo - Honey Singh

Music Video - Lokan do do yaar banaye - Afshan Zebi

Video - #PPP leaders addressing a press conference in Islamabad

Newborn deaths in Pakistan

Asad Ali

A GLOBAL assessment published by Unicef in February highlighted that a baby born in Pakistan is 50 times more likely to die in its first month than a baby born in Iceland, Japan or Singapore. One newborn out of every 22 in Pakistan dies within the first month, meaning 46 out of 1,000 newborn babies die within the first month of their life.
In contrast, India, which has similar sociocultural factors to those existing here, has a corresponding newborn mortality rate of 25 per 1,000 newborns. According to the report, Pakistan’s survival rate of newborns is ostensibly worse than many countries having compromised economies as well as weaker health infrastructure.
A critical factor responsible for the high newborn deaths is the poor state of maternal health and nutrition, especially during pregnancy. Pakistan’s stunting rate (ie children shorter than normal for that age) which is an indicator of chronic undernutrition, is one of the highest in the world. Girls who are malnourished as children grow up and become pregnant, not having received any dietary rehabilitation to correct this deficit.
This then leads to adverse consequences for the pregnant mother, newborn baby as well as a household’s overall well-being. Limited resources due to widespread poverty, combined with a lack of understanding that pregnant women need nutritious diets along with micronutrients leads to poor weight gain of pregnant women. Thus, malnourished women give birth to babies who are small and weak — increasing their likelihood of dying in the face of otherwise minor illnesses.
Interventions to reduce newborn deaths include those focusing on the nutritional health of girls and women.
The second key factor responsible for the high neonatal deaths is the poor provision of available obstetric care. Delivering in a health facility is generally considered safer as compared to delivering at home. However, according to the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS) of 2012-13, at least half of the births in our country are at home. Only 52pc of our births are assisted births, with the help of a skilled birth attendant, while the rest are not supervised by any trained person. The ability to care for the newborn is very limited in the home settings, with no access to immediate life-saving obstetrical procedures, otherwise provided at good health facilities. Examples of such critical services include obstetrical surgical interventions to safeguard both maternal and foetal lives as well as provision for subsequent neonatal resuscitation.
There are also major challenges within the healthcare facilities that provide obstetric care in Pakistan. Most of the private-sector obstetric facilities are concentrated in urban areas, and operate on a business model that prefers high volume of low-complexity cases. They do not invest adequately in the infrastructure and personnel to deal with labour complications and advanced neonatal care. In case of any last-minute complications related to the mother or the baby, they bank on referring the case to public-sector facilities. However, very few public-sector facilities are capable of dealing with these complicated cases, and those able to are overburdened by the magnitude and complexity of urgent cases coming their way, both from the private sector and failed attempts at assisted or otherwise unsupervised home-based deliveries.
While these two factors are critically important, they still do not explain why Pakistan’s newborn mortality rate would be higher than any of the other countries listed in the top 10 of Unicef’s list. Especially puzzling is the fact that this report comes at a time when other indicators like rates of institutional delivery, skilled birth attendance and Caesarean section have progressively improved, particularly in Punjab and KP as shown by recent provincial health surveys. Unicef estimates seem to be based largely on the findings and trends of both the 2006 and 2012-13 PDHS, and there are some fundamental differences in these two surveys with how a baby’s death has been defined and classified. We clearly need more robust data to make better-informed estimates of the number and causes of newborn deaths, ideally with district-level specificity.
There are probably additional factors in Pakistan that need scientific exploration such as cousin marriages which increases the risk of genetic disorders in subsequent generations. According to the 2012-13 PDHS, half of all marriages in Pakistan occur between first cousins. The burden of genetic disorders due to cousin marriages and its impact on the overall newborn and maternal mortality burden is currently unknown in Pakistan.
Moving forward, it seems that other than conducting research regularly, interventions most likely to reduce newborn deaths in Pakistan include those focusing both on the general and nutritional health of girls and women. It is important that this be done across the board to make certain that no female child is left behind. This can be done by ensuring that during her infancy a female child is not malnourished, during adolescence every girl is provided adequate nutritional resources for herself as well as to cope with the added requirements of pregnancy so that she gets adequate diet for two, and after childbirth so she is able to provide adequate nutrition and immunity to the newborn via breast milk. All deliveries should be in the presence of a skilled birth attendant. The health facilities need to be upgraded, with networks and services being brought closer to the people, rather than expecting people to bring the delivering woman in obstructed labour or a sick newborn all the way to the tertiary care public sector facilities of large urban areas.

Prevention, prompt diagnosis and correct treatment of illnesses in newborns are equally important, and must be given due importance in parallel to efforts focusing on women’s health. Although the government bears the primary responsibility for public health, the developmental sector, the academic institutions and civil society also need to prioritise this issue of women and girls health. Ignoring girl and women’s health any further literally threatens the future of our very nation.

Shoot the messenger: Pakistan authorities disrupt newspaper distribution after report on Sharif's 26/11 comments

The action led by Pakistan's military began after the newspaper published the interview of Nawaz Sharif. 

Pakistan’s oldest newspaper, Dawn, is facing the heat after publishing an interview of ousted PM Nawaz Sharif in which he all but accepted that Pakistani ‘non-state actors’ were involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an international body keeping track of the state of independent journalism, claimed that distribution of Dawn was being disrupted in much of the country since the publication of the interview.
The interview which appeared on May 12 has reportedly displeased Pakistan military. RSF says that the blocking began on May 15. The distribution of the English daily is “disrupted in most of Baluchistan province, in many cities in Sindh province and in all military cantonments,” it said.
Apparently, the Press Council of Pakistan has also notified Dawn’s editor that the newspaper breached the ethical code of practice by publishing content that "may bring into contempt Pakistan or its people or tends to undermine its sovereignty or integrity as an independent country".
RSF, in a statement, said, “The unwarranted blocking of the distribution of one of the main independent newspapers has yet again shown that the military is determined to maintain their grip on access to news and information in Pakistan.”
“It is clear that the military high command does not want to allow a democratic debate in the months preceding a general election. We call on the authorities to stop interfering in the dissemination of independent media and to restore distribution of Dawn throughout Pakistan.”
Nawaz Sharif, in the interview, had questioned Pakistan’s inability to complete the trial against 26/11 attack mastermind. “Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?” he had said.
The comment was lapped up by Indian media as an acceptance of Pakistani role in the terrorist attack. In Pakistan, his comment was criticised by all quarters. PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi accused the Indian media of giving the issue “a different hue”.
Dawn was founded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1941 in New Delhi. Though it started as the mouthpiece of Muslim League, after the division of British India, it became the leading voice in English Language journalism in Pakistan.

#MeToo - Pakistan confronts its Me Too movement — and backlash

Naila Inayat
This is Pakistan’s Me Too moment.
A handful of Pakistani women recently went public to accuse famous actor and musician Ali Zafar of sexually harassing and abusing them. Their announcement grabbed headlines, prompted outrage and sparked the Me Too movement in conservative Pakistan.
The women’s remarkable statements — followed by similar claims in politics and business sectors — are a sea change in this highly traditional Islamic country where female honor killings, child brides and polygamy are commonplace. In Pakistan, women receive only a portion of an inheritance that males get.
"I think in any society it is difficult for women to come forward,” said Nighat Dad, director of the Digital Rights Foundation and an activist for women's rights. “The Me Too movement has organically come with women coming forward against powerful men, be it Ali Zafar or a CEO of a tech start-up, to finally hold men accountable for their behavior.”
Victims of sexual abuse and harassment have long suffered in silence in Pakistan, where shame is placed on the woman and not the perpetrator. Most women never report the incidents, but those who do come forward often face shame or questions about their morality.
Pakistani pop singer Meesha Shafi, who accused Zafar of sexually harassing her on multiple occasions, is challenging that tradition.
“Today I am breaking this culture of silence and I hope that by doing that I am setting an example for young women in my country to do the same,” Shafi wrote on Twitter last month. “We only have our voices and the time has come to use them.”
Zafar denied the claims and demanded that Shafi delete the allegation online and issue an apology, or he would file a $9 million defamation suit against her.
“I am deeply aware and in support of the global Me Too movement and what it stands for,” Zafar said in a statement. “I am the father of a young girl and a young boy, a husband to a wife and a son to a mother. I have nothing to hide. Silence is absolutely not an option.”
Shafi has refused to take down her tweets. Her attorney denied she defamed Zafar. Days after the public dispute erupted, more women came forward against Zafar, who has been compared to Hollywood producer and accused abuser Harvey Weinstein in the Pakistani news media. Leena Ghani, a makeup artist based in London, said Zafar had repeatedly “crossed boundaries” with her. “His behavior displays a clear lack of respect for women,” Ghani said on Twitter. “Inappropriate contact, groping, sexual comments should not fall in the gray area between humor and indecency.” Humna Raza, a blogger from Lahore, accused Zafar of groping her when she asked to take a selfie with him. Another woman, Noor Sehar, a Karachi marketing executive, accused Zafar of sexual misconduct at a party. Such allegations are not isolated. Khalid Bajwa, chief executive of local music streaming company Patari, stepped down from his post last month following sexual harassment allegations. While many have supported the Pakistani singer for bravely speaking out, others questioned Shafi's accusations.
“I just don’t see any truth in these allegations,” said film actress Resham, who uses a single name for her career. “Ali cannot do such a thing. How can he harass a woman and she doesn’t slap him back, hit him with a shoe, push him away or complain to his wife?”
Shafi also has been shamed on social media after she went public. "The backlash that Meesha has faced, the misogynistic attitudes that she has had to confront also sends women a message that there is still a cost to coming forward,” said Dad, the women's rights activist. Others defended her.
“Meesha is a superstar who is really successful and earns as much as the male stars in this country,” said actor and model Iffat Omar in an Instagram post. “So why would she do this if she was not hurt? Many people are claiming that she is doing this for fame or money. She already has more than enough of both.”
Still, many women are afraid to come forward because of possible repercussions.
For example, lawmaker Ayesha Gulali of the mainstream Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insafpolitical party, recently accused her party’s leader, Imran Khan, of sending her lewd text messages. She was hit with backlash both online and from her party. Party leaders tried but failed to kick her out of the party and expel her from Parliament.
Also, broadcast journalists Tanzeela Mazhar and Yashfeen Jamal pursued a sexual harassment case against the director of current affairs at Pakistan Television, Agha Masood Shorish, they stirred up a storm of criticism before he was eventually fired. “When I raised my voice, people responded with (degrading) comments about women, our character and personal lives,” Mazhar said.
Still, Shafi encouraged other women to come forward with this answer on Twitter: “It’s only scary till you say it!”

Load-shedding triggers protest across the district Badin

Scores of citizens, including men and their children, staged several protest demonstrations against no supply of power (electricity) from a long of previous two week even during from starts of holy month Ramzan till filling this report, prolonged and unscheduled load-shedding in various parts of the city of Badin.
The residents of the different parts of city including Seerani road, Ward no: 05, Shahi Bazar, Shah Latif road, Bilawal Park, Post office area, Army sugar Mills road Badin, Kachhi Mohla, Gujrati Mohla, Kazia Canal, Khatti Mohla and others areasled the protests for immediate supply of power and minimize the load-shedding during the holy month of Ramzan.
Enraged people haling of different areas city led by Ayaz Rahimon, Nadeem Abbasi, Rizwan Zaur, Ram Chand, Ghulam Sarwar Shaikh, Nazir Udhejo, Ali Akbar Udhejo, Dhani Bux, Ahsan Memon and others gathered at outside of Badin Press Club on Monday and shouted slogans against the federal and provincial governments for their people negligence policy and failing to take any action against WAPDA officials.
The protesters alleged the politicians of district and HESCO officials of not taking measures to address the issue. On the others hand, Govt of Sindh has announced heat-stroke for the week long span of time and advised to the people to avoid going out of the shelters from dawn to dusk amid to protect them from upsets of heat-stroke.
The people of Badin facing extreme heat and load-shedding and dearth of the water adding that unannounced load-shedding had made their lives miserable. The regretted that HESCO officials did not even bother to attend phone calls of the citizens let to resolve the complaints.
Adding the protesters demanded the water and power ministry to take immediate notice of the situation and bring an end of unscheduled load-shedding and stressed that government to take strict action against those officers who do not pay heed to the complaints of the citizens.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Pashto Music - Saqi | Ajmal Khattak | Sardar Ali Takkar | ساقي | اجمل خټک | سردارعلي ټکر

Who should mothers hold responsible for their death in Balochistan?

By: Yousaf Ajab Baloch
Khair Bibi, 26, breathed her last, when she was struggling to give birth to her second child. Her family members claim that she was thrice taken to District Head Quarter (DHQ), but she was given no treatment. She was brought from Kapoto, a village some 35 kilo meter away from Kalat city. Her family members allege that staff at Gynecology Ward did not admit her and sent her back behaving rudely. 
Fortunately, her parents lived in Kalat city so she was taken there. Her husband, a poor former, told the Balochistan Point that she could live if she were admitted at hospital for the delivery case with a reasonable response, adding that  he  had no money otherwise  he  would have taken  his  wife to a private hospital in Quetta.  
Shoaib Ahmed, one of the cousins of deceased female, who was requested to accompany them when she was brought to hospital, told that he did not think his cousin died a natural death but she was killed prematurely for want of medical care. “The staff was unwilling to meet us and admit patient at Gynecology Ward. Firstly, they pretended absence of `doctors and other staff as well as of no electricity or light.” Shoaib told.
“Thrice she was taken to hospital with in eight hours but not even for a single time her blood pressure was checked and last time she was threatened that she would go under surgery if brought again.”  Shoaib lamented.
Shoaib added: “There was no light facility even we had to bring a torch from our home, even then she was sent back home, where she had her last breaths.” However, denying the allegations, Dr. Gansham, the Medical Superintendent (MS) at DHQ Kalat, told Balochistan point that there was no negligence of doctors in death of the female; she died of self-medication.
Dr Gansham Das admitted absence of   facilities and resources in hospital. “We have no facility or alternate in case of load shedding which causes suffering for patients. Because the installed solar energy system worth 6 million for hospital has become of no use in less than a year due to the poor quality supplies for the project.” he told the Balochistan Point.
Kalat city is the districts headquarter of the Kalat, roughly located in the center of Balochistan   with the population of more than 300000 where 80.79 % of the population lives in rural areas.
District Head Quarters (DHQ) hospital confronts significant shortage of clinical staff besides other basic facilities. According to the MS DHQ, out of 44 sanctioned posts of doctors and other medical staff members, more than 30 lay vacant. Currently we have only two lady medical officers but no gynecologists which is very alarming, he adds.   

There was no such serious issue of dearth of staff and resources but there were flaws in management and lack of sincerity

One of the staff members at DHQ told this scribe on condition of anonymity that there was no such serious issue of dearth of staff and resources but there were flaws in management and lack of sincerity. “Currently there are 6 Medical Officer, 2 Lady medical Officers, 4 staff nurses 3 Lady Health Visitors (LHVs) and more than 5 Midwives even than people suffer so it is just because of the failure of management. Despite utilization of more than 20 million annual budgets for medicine people suffer.” The staff member added.
District Health Officer Dr. Naseem Langove indicates lack of staff at DHQ as cause of issues in service delivery. “The doctors are appointed but they are soon transferred having support from politicians and bureaucracy and here the lack of doctors and other staff creates problems for the common people.
No enough accommodation facility also creates issues for doctors. Some normal patients may be referred to Quetta but the serious patients at gynecology ward and emergency sometimes perish due to non-availability of staff and resources. 
Khair Bibi is one the examples among thousands of suffering mothers who lose their lives during pregnancy and childbirth-related issues. One of UN Population Fund (UNFPA) recent reports states that a woman dies from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications every 20 minutes in Pakistan, however, in Balochistan the Mother Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) are higher as compared to the other provinces. The report states: “Majority of Balochistan’s eight million inhabitants have only limited access to adequate health care; the situation is far worse.” It may be mentioned that the population is crossed over 12 million as per 2017 census.  
Among different factors, the health experts mark above mentioned problems’ persistence as a result of no gynecologists, female health workers at hospitals in far-flung areas of Balochistan since most of the doctors prefer working in Quetta or big cities in Balochistan. Even most of the doctors and LHVs refuse to serve in remote areas of Balochistan.
In the recent years country based Maternal Mortality rate (MMR) was recorded at 260 per 100,000 live births, whereas, it is the worst-hit area when it comes to MMR, CMR, and health-related indicators in Balochistan. Keeping in view Balochistan’s MMR and female reproductive health demographics the experts have already expressed that it could only compete with war-torn Somalia – with MMR of 1000 and Liberia with MMR 770 per 100,000 live births.
The poverty, no enough health services and untrained staff always keep mothers health at risk since the pregnancies are always serious and complicated which can only be tackled if required health facilities are provided and trained staff including gynecologists are appointed. Besides this mothers need to be educated on the complexity of pregnancy and basic medical requirements.
In order to control MMR, Balochistan government claims to have provided gynecologist, anesthesiologist and pediatrician to most of the districts headquarter hospitals across the province. Three nursing colleges in Khuzdar, Turbat and Loralai districts are said to   equip professional health workers to fulfill the needs for maternal health; however, the increased maternal mortality proves no tangible development in Balochistan.  
Former senator and chairperson of PPHI Balochistan Board of Directors (BoD), Rubina Irfan has showed her concerns over the death of discussed female in Kalat. She called on Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kalat, MS DHQ and questioned the role of district management including the district representatives.

It is not called progress when there are no doctors, medicine and even no light in case of power shortage at a hospital

Talking to the Balochistan Point Rubina Irfan said that she had discussed the miserable condition of DHQ mainly maternity care ward at DHQ Kalat with secretary Health and Minister Health to pay attention towards them. She surprised at the role and tall claims of development in Kalat’s health and education sector by the MNA and MPA of the area. “I see misuse of wealth in district Kalat but no development. It is not called progress when there are no doctors, medicine and even no light in case of power shortage at a hospital.” She added.
 Rubina Irfan stressed on dire need of well functional and equipped hospitals not only in Kalat but also in all districts of Balochistan to provide healthcare facilities to the populations, especially to those who come from far-flung areas with a hope to be treated.        

#Pakistan - Coal mines or death traps

23 workers were killed in Marwar and Sorange recently. Such accidents present an urgent need to ensure safety measures.
The most recent accident took place on May 5 when more than 23 workers were killed in two separate incidents due to explosions inside coal mines in Marwar and Sorange. Officials of Mines department told TNS that the coal mine workers were working 3,000 feet below the surface of the earth when the blasts took place, blocking the exit. According to the inquiry report, accumulation of methane, an inflammable gas, caused the explosions after they got ignited by sparks in the mines. The inquiry on the spot suggested that the incidents were due to gross negligence, as the owners of the coal mine companies did not follow safety measures.
Chief Inspector Mines Iftikhar Ahmed claims that coal mine accidents occur due to labourers’ negligence. According to the data of the provincial mines department 50 to 70 coal mine workers die annually due to mining accidents.
The Labour Union of Mines holds coal companies responsible for such tragic incidents. They allege that safety measures are not taken at most coal mines in the province. They demand that the government take action against mine owners who do not provide necessary safety equipment and do not follow safety rules and regulations.
Chaman Khan, a coal mine worker told TNS there is no concept of safety equipment in the mine which caused the death of 23 mine workers. 
Coal mining in Balochistan commenced during the early 20th century when coal extracted from the province was used in brick kilns in Punjab, Sindh and NWFP; to meet the requirements of many power houses; and fulfill the needs of the North-Western Railways, now called Pakistan Railways.
The market was vast, and the labour was cheap and abundant, so the industry flourished. Some of the prominent fields included Sorange, Degari, Mach, Khost and Shahrig. Here, coal miners earned their bread and butter while the mine owners minted their fortunes.
Nobody bothered to plan ahead or streamline coal production to meet the challenges the future might present. Balochistan’s government took it upon itself to allot the coal sites without considering whether the allottee was serious about mining and whether he had the capital to purchase standard equipment and technical back up for safety in the mines.
“We have just nine inspectors to visit 5,000 mines in Balochistan. It means that one mine can be inspected only once in two to three years,” says Chief Inspector Coal Mining Balochistan.
Mostly, coal mining is carried out by private contractors who abide by the 1923 Coal Mine Act. There are more than 5,000 coal mines in Balochistan and over 50,000 mine workers, yielding 300 tonnes of coal annually. The coal field of Mach and Sorange produce 100,000 tonnes of coal annually. The coal field of Dukki and Harnai provide 140,000 tonnes coal. Over 60,000 tonnes of coal is produced from other coal fields of Balochistan. However, there are many unregistered coal mines that are out of bounds for officials of the Inspectorate of Mines. The Balochistan Mines and Minerals Department collects Rs2.5 billion from taxes and royalty.
The apathy of provincial government departments in charge of implementing mining laws badly affected the modern development of coal mining. Consequently, most of the mines were just narrow holes without ventilation or trolley system to bring out the coal.
An ILO report in the mid 1990s said that the casualties of coal miners in Balochistan is the highest in the world. 29.9 coal mine workers are killed while excavating one million tonnes of coal. The report further said that most fatalities in coal mines are due to poor equipment, and the non-existence or poor maintenance of working standards.
In case of casualty, the workers were once paid a mere Rs30,000 as compensation by mine owners, which has now increased to Rs200,000. The government has enhanced the amount of compensation up to Rs5 lac. “The amount of compensation must be increased,” demands Bakhat Nawab, the president of Central Mines Federation, urging the government to ensure safety measures in Balochistan’s coal mines.
“We have to face numerous problems while working in the coal mines without ventilation and other safety measures. Most of the time we have to work without helmets,” says Omer Gul, a coal mine worker from Swat. The miners follow layers of coal and when the layers break, they abandon the site and begin digging in another direction. Without surveys and technical support many deposits are abandoned before proper exploitation.
Coal miners wait for the recovery of their colleagues in Quetta. Courtesy: Jamal Taraqai/EPA
Coal miners wait for the recovery of their colleagues in Quetta. Courtesy: Jamal Taraqai/EPA
The government seems oblivious of the gravity of the situation. Coal mining is primarily done by digging tunnels and then creating makeshift support structures to hold the roof steady. The moment the miner enters the coal mine he is in danger. A slight mistake in roof timbering and rock-bolting can cost him his life.
These aspects of mining are taken very seriously in most countries. There are rules and regulations, mining codes and strict inspections of methods used for minimising the dangers. “We have just nine inspectors to visit some 5,000 mines in the province. It simply means that one mine can be inspected only once in two to three years,” says Iftikhar Ahmed, Chief Inspector Coal Mining Balochistan.
Despite growing unemployment in the country, the number of coal mine workers is on rise. The majority of these coal miners are ethnic Pashtuns. Since most of the coal mines are situated in Balochistan and Sindh, these workers come to earn a living far away from their homes in rural Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Expressing his concern, Nawab, of the Central Mines Federation says, “Coal mine workers excavate thousands of feet below the earth. The availability of clean drinking water and presence of doctors near Balochistan’s mining areas is a mere dream for them,” he deplores. “The mine owners and the provincial government does not care to address their problems.”
The Coal Labour Union is also concerned about the increasing number of fatal accidents in Balochistan’s coal mines. A member of the union told TNS that mine owners do not make necessary safety arrangements at coal mines in interior Balochistan but the member adds that the Mines Department is also to blame for this lack of security.
Miners risk their life and limbs in mining operations. Not enough resources are made available to install a strong anti-roof collapse system; mechanical and grouted bolting mechanisms; fibrous concrete cribs; and pressure sensors for measuring loads on pillars and the rest.
Mining, in general, is dangerous and coal mining, the largest and oldest industry of Balochistan, even more so. Most accidents occur 1,500 to 5,000 feet below the surface. The inherent dangers of mining are made deadlier by the terrible working conditions, and the poor security and monitoring arrangements for mining work. It would indeed be a remarkable if the province improves the working conditions in the industry since coal mining is the only indigenous industry of the province.

#DAWN.COM - #Pakistan’s oldest newspaper blocked from sale in 'military crackdown'

By Ben Farmer

Pakistan’s authorities are accused of blocking a leading newspaper from sale after it angered the military with comments from an ousted PM suggesting Pakistani militants were behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said the block on the country’s oldest paper was the latest example of Pakistan’s military trying to tame the media ahead of July’s general election.

The country’s most popular television channel, Geo TV, was temporarily taken off air across much of the country at the end of March under pressure to stop favourable coverage of Mr Sharif and end criticism of the military.
Dawn’s interview with Mr Sharif earlier this month caused a political storm and he faced widespread condemnation after saying the militants had crossed the border from Pakistan before killing 166.
The former premier approached what is seen as a red line in the country by touching on criticism of Pakistan's armed forces, especially their alleged use of proxies in India.
“Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me.
“Why can't we complete the trial?" he said, referring to stalled court cases against several suspects.
Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba is accused of masterminding the attacks. India has long alleged "official agencies" in Pakistan were involved, but Islamabad denies the charge.
Dawn’s circulation has been curbed across large parts of the country since May 15, RSF said.
It said: “The unwarranted blocking of the distribution of one of the main independent newspapers has yet again shown that the military are determined to maintain their grip on access to news and information in Pakistan.
“It is clear that the military high command does not want to allow a democratic debate in the months preceding a general election.”
Pakistan's army called a meeting of the National Security Council after Mr Sharif’s comments, announcing the body of military chiefs and cabinet ministers “unanimously rejected the allegations and condemned the fallacious assertions".

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari takes notice of manhandling of protesters, including women outside Karachi Press Club

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has taken notice of manhandling of protesters, including women outside Karachi Press Club and asked Sindh government to ensure that peaceful protests are not dealt with use of force.

In a statement, the PPP Chairman said that holding peaceful protests or sit-ins without disturbing the law and order was democratic right of each and every citizen hence it should be protected.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari further said that PPP believes in human rights, rule of law and right of peaceful assembly for everyone adding that the administration should be directed to uphold and respect citizens basic rights.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

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#India - #Pakistan Rangers seeks ceasefire along border - Tells BSF incessant firing is causing damage to civilians.

The Pakistan Rangers called up its counterpart, Border Security Force (BSF), to seek a halt to the firing and shelling along the International Border in Jammu.
A commander of Pakistan Rangers phoned a BSF officer on Saturday night and urged that Pakistan’s forward posts not be targeted as the incessant firing was causing damage to civilians.
The BSF released a 19-second thermal-imaging footage that showed the destruction of a Pakistani post across the border. A BSF officer refused to reveal the location, but said it was destroyed in the past few days. “Our officer told Pakistan Rangers that we were only responding to the unprovoked firing from across the border. We did not fire first,” he said.
Two BSF soldiers were killed in the latest round of unprovoked firing in Jammu last week. The BSF said the current spell of cross-border firing was expected as the harvest season was over. A senior official said this was the “third spell” of heavy firing from across the border this year; the first two occurred in January. The firing also coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the State on Saturday.

Ex-Pakistani Prime Minister Puts Pakistani Military And China On The Spot – Analysis

Ousted Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif kicked up a storm when he earlier this month seemingly admitted that Pakistan had supported militants who attacked multiple targets in Mumbai in 2008, killing 166 people.
Mr. Sharif’s admission, which he has since tried to walk back, put a finger on Pakistan’s controversial policy of selective support of militant groups at a sensitive time. Pakistan is gearing up for elections that would secure its third consecutive handover of civilian political power.
Mr. Sharif’s remarks, moreover, stirred up a hornet’s nest because Pakistan is likely to next month be put on a watch list by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global financial watchdog that monitors the funding of political violence and money laundering worldwide.
The remarks also put China in a difficult position. China has been pressuring Pakistan to crack down on militants, particularly in the troubled province of Balochistan, the crown jewel in its Belt and Road-related $50 billion plus infrastructure investment in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Yet, at the same time, China has at Pakistan’s behest prevented the United Nations Security Council from declaring Masood Azhar, believed to have been responsible for an attack in 2016 on India’s Pathankot Air Force Station, as a globally designated terrorist.
The militants, dressed in Indian military uniforms fought a 14-hour battle against Indian security forces that only ended when the last attacker was killed. Mr. Azhar was briefly detained after the attack and has since gone underground.
Mr. Sharif’s made his remarks as China was building up its military infrastructure in Pakistan. The build-up is occurring against the backdrop of Pakistan risking being involuntarily sucked into potential attempts to destabilize Iran if Saudi Arabia/and or the United States were to use Balochistan as a staging ground.
In line with a standard practice in Pakistan that has repeatedly seen groups that are outlawed resurrecting themselves under new names, Lashkar-e-Taibe (LeT), the banned group believed to be responsible for the Mumbai attacks, and Jamaat-ud-Dawa, widely believed to be an LeT front, are rebranding under a new name and as a political party, Milli Muslim League, that would compete in the forthcoming election.
The League is headed by Hafez Saaed, a former LeT leader, who was last year released from house arrest despite having been declared a designated global terrorist by the Security Council and the US Treasury, which put a $10 billion bounty on his head. China vetoed Mr. Saeed’s designation by the UN prior to the Mumbai attacks.
Activists, even though the party was last month designated by the US Treasury, are likely to run as independents in the election if the government maintains its rejection of the party’s registration.
So are operatives of Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat, a front for Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, a banned, virulently anti-Shiite group that long enjoyed support from Saudi Arabia and operates multiple militant madrassas or religious seminaries in Balochistan that have witnessed an injection of funds from the kingdom in the last two years.
“Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial? It’s absolutely unacceptable. This is exactly what we are struggling for. President Putin has said it. President Xi has said it. We could have already been at seven per cent growth (in GDP), but we are not,” Mr. Sharif said, referring to stalled Mumbai attacks-related trials in a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court.
Taking Mr. Sharif’s comments a step further, prominent journalist and author Ahmed Rashid asserted that “the deep state of Pakistan is supporting the banned outfits as it has done in the past. This game should be stopped, and the government should show its commitment and sincerity in disarming these groups and not to allow them to enter into politics.”
Former Pakistani strongman General Pervez Musharraf, in an apparent manifestation of links between the circles close to the military and hardliners, said prior to the designation by the US announced that he was discussing an alliance with Mr. Saeed’s league.
Speaking on Pakistani television, Mr. Musharraf pronounced himself “the greatest supporter of LeT… Because I have always been in favour of action in Kashmir and I have always been in favour of pressuring the Indian army in Kashmir,” Mr. Musharraf said.
Pakistan’s military and intelligence service are believed to favour integration of militants into the political process as a way of reducing violence and militancy in a country in which religious ultra-conservatism and intolerance has been woven into the fabric of branches of the state and significant segments of society.
Critics charge that integration is likely to fail in Pakistan. “Incorporating radical Islamist movements into formal political systems may have some benefits in theory… But the structural limitations in some Muslim countries with prominent radical groups make it unlikely that these groups will adopt such reforms, at least not anytime soon… While Islamabad wants to combat jihadist insurgents in Pakistan, it also wants to maintain influence over groups that are engaged in India and Afghanistan,” said Kamran Bokhari, a well-known scholar of violent extremism.
Citing the example of a militant Egyptian group that formed a political party to participate in elections, Mr. Bokhari argued that “though such groups remain opposed to democracy in theory, they are willing to participate in electoral politics to enhance their influence over the state. Extremist groups thus become incorporated into existing institutions and try to push radical changes from within the system.”
Chinese ambiguity about Pakistani policy goes beyond shielding Mr. Azhar from being designated. A Chinese-Pakistani draft plan last year identified as risks to CPEC “Pakistani politics, such as competing parties, religion, tribes, terrorists, and Western intervention” as well as security. “The security situation is the worst in recent years,” the plan said.
Security has since improved substantially in significant parts of Pakistan. The question, however, is whether integration of militants into the political process would stabilize Pakistani politics in the absence of a concerted effort to counter mounting ultra-conservative religious fervour in the country. It may be too early to judge, but so far the answer has to be no.