Thursday, January 18, 2018

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Four Shia Muslims belonging to a social welfare organization (NGO) have gone missing and close-aides believe that they were taken into undeclared and illegal custody and subjected to enforced disappearance.
Those who have gone missing are identified as Amir Changezi, Mukhtar Hussaini, Changez Ali and Imran Ali. They are social workers and working for Noor Welfare Society in Quetta. They are closely related.
Their relatives are also scared of the security agencies hence they are avoiding protest. However, women relatives have raised voice against their enforced disappearance. They have demanded that they should be produced in the court of law for trial if there is any case against them, otherwise they must be released forthwith.

#Pakistan - Imran’s dangerous presser

Democracy here in Pakistan has long been a game of numbers, if not thrones. And never more so than when elections are looming large. Indeed, our politicians often confuse crowd-pulling power with political prowess.
This is as true today as it has ever been. The ruling PMLN has dismissed the joint opposition rally on Lahore’s Mall Road as failing to put people on seats. Which, of course, may not be a bad thing, given that this was held on the same day that the city’s High Court ran ads in the English press banning protests in that part of town. And even though the LHC made an exception in this instance — we would argue that an opposition seeking such special treatment from the judiciary risks allegations of orchestrated political opportunism. Be that as it may, we stand with the opposition parties as they demand justice for the PAT activists who were opened fire on by the Punjab police in the Model Town tragedy. That the Chief Minister is still standing almost four years on is a grave travesty.
Yet where we hesitate in lending our support is to Imran Khan and his so-called explosive press conference. The PTI chief had promised to disclose details about the money laundering trail leading back to the deposed Nawaz Sharif. And he didn’t disappoint. Though even here we are uncomfortable with the presence of former party secretary general Jahangir Tareen, who has been banned for life from the National Assembly over failure to fully disclose his assets. Among Imran’s claims are that Nawaz money-laundered up to Rs 1.74 billion from just one of his private companies; part of an alleged 16-enterprise network. He also implicated elements of the Punjab police. Separate charges were reserved for Shehbaz Sharif. Yet it was only after dishing the dirt that the PTI leader made any mention of providing these details to the NAB and other state institutions for further investigation.
And, for us, herein lies the rub.
For we staunchly believe that Imran’s first priority ought to have been to hand such evidence over to the relevant authorities; including the Supreme Court. But what should not have happened was announcing all this to the media. If this was a vote-of-no-confidence in national institutions — this begs the question as to whether he trusts the latter to oversee the general elections. The answer is most probably not, given that he has not given up his cries of punctured tyres from the last time around. We are not calling for PTI or any of the other opposition parties to collectively boycott the upcoming polls. For this would be tantamount to openly inviting the Army to never return to the barracks. But we do call on the media to snub such spectacles which clearly jeopardise the tenets of free and fair inquiry. After all, the role of the fourth estate should remain one of opposition and impartial checks-and-balances.
Where we do agree with Imran is that the Parliament has brought itself somewhat into disrepute. Particularly, with regard to passing the Election Reforms Bill 2017; which may or may not have been secured with votes-for-cash on the part of all the King’s men. Yet, sadly, we have been here before when then PM Gillani infamously said that his party would make a token fuss before Parliament about the ratcheted up US drone programme before forgetting about it. And, more recently, our lawmakers contested two by-elections on equal footing with the party of a globally proscribed terrorist. Indeed, the latter is set to personally contest the general polls.
Sadly, if our politicians carry on like this — they will end up destroying this country’s long-term democratic health.

PPP would never endorse disrespecting Parliament: Bilawal Bhutto

Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday said that his party would never endorse disrespecting Parliament.
“The #PPP respects Parliament and will always respect Parliament,” Chairman Bilawal said in a tweet.
“Cannot help the behaviour of others but will never endorse disrespecting Parliament,” he added.
Separately, opposition leader also criticized Imran Khan for his offensive remarks about the parliament.
“Imran Khan’s remarks show there is no difference between him and Nawaz Sharif,” he said, adding that the parliament cannot be blamed for a government’s failure.
His remarks came shortly after Imran Khan, speaking at a protest rally jointly staged by opposition groups in Lahore, said he curses the parliament which has allowed a convicted person to become the head of a political party.

#Pakistan - #PPP condemns women polio workers killing; demands immediate arrest of culprits

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari and MNA Mehreen Bhutto have strongly condemned the barbaric killings of two women polio workers in Quetta on Wednesday.
In a statement, the PPP Chairman said that entire nation was in a state of grief over the martyrdom of the innocent polio workers in Balochistan and demanded immediate arrest of the killers.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that nation salutes the health workers engaged in Jehad against the deadly disease and called upon the government for provided fool-proof security to the polio workers in entire country.
In her Tweeter message  Aseefa Bhutto said, “Strongly condemn the attack on #polio workers in #Quetta ! The culprits must be brought to justice. I salute the brave workers who were heinously killed while trying to protect our children.”
In an statement issued by Dr Mehreen Bhutto. general Secretary PPP Ladies Wing strongly condemned women polio workers killing in Quetta and demands immediate arrest of culprits.

Gunmen in #Pakistan kill women on #polio eradication mission

Gunmen in Pakistan shot and killed two women working on a polio eradication campaign on Thursday, the latest in a string of attacks on efforts to protect children from the crippling and sometimes deadly disease.
No group claimed responsibility for the killings in the southwestern city of Quetta but such attacks have in the past been carried out by Islamist militants, who oppose the immunization of children as un-Islamic.
Sakina Bibi, 50, and her 20-year-old daughter, Alizah, were giving immunization drops to children when two gunmen riding on a motorcycle shot them, said police official Naseebullah Khan.
“They died on their way to a hospital,” said Khan.
The women were taking part in an immunization campaign in five districts of Baluchistan province, Khan said. Quetta is the provincial capital.
Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, that suffers from endemic polio, a childhood virus that can cause paralysis or death.
Efforts to eradicate the disease have been undermined by opposition from militants, who say immunization is a foreign ploy to sterilize Muslim children or a cover for Western spies.
In 2015, a suicide bomber killed 15 people outside a vaccination center in Quetta in an attack claimed by the Pakistani Taliban and another militant group, Jundullah.
Suspicion of immunization drives was compounded by the hunt for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, architect of the 2001 attacks on the United States.
A Pakistani doctor has been accused of using a fake vaccination campaign to collect DNA samples that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was believed to have been using to try to track down bin Laden.
Bin Laden was killed in a covert raid by U.S. special forces in 2011 in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, where he had been hiding.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi condemned the Thursday attack and ordered an investigation.
“Polio teams are rendering a huge national service to save our children from the crippling disease. Attack on these dedicated workers, risking their lives for their nation, is an attack on our future,” Abbasi’s office said in a statement.
In another attack on Thursday, unidentified gunmen killed two policemen on patrol in Quetta, police said.
Baluchistan, a strategically important region bordering Iran as well as Afghanistan, is plagued by violence by Sunni Islamist sectarian groups linked to the Taliban, al Qaeda and Islamic State. It also has an indigenous ethnic Baloch insurgency fighting against the central government.

Pakistan - #Pakistan - #JusticeForZainab - Self-righteous anger over Kasur

By Dr Shenila Khoja-Moolji
The horrific rape and murder of an eight-year-old Pakistani girl-child, Zainab, has galvanized all segments of society in Pakistan and the diaspora to publicly condemn violence against girls and women.
There have been rallies where men and women have been protesting the lack of police efforts to catch Zainab’s murderer. On television, anchors have dedicated shows to sexual abuse and child abuse.
Many see Zainab’s murder as an opportunity to discuss otherwise taboo issues. Education activists are calling for revising the school curricula to include information about sexual and child abuse. Others are calling for raising awareness among parents. Politicians and religious leaders have taken to the podium/social media to express their horror. It seems that the nation has awoken from a slumber — citizens are even meting out justice on the streets, beating up men accused of harassing girls and women.
While well-intentioned, these calls responsibilise schools and parents without paying attention to the historic and systemic demeaning of Pakistani women. Rape and murder of girls do not happen in a vacuum. It is an effect of sedimented societal views about the female sex and institutional practices that reproduce male dominance, in every domain of life.
We live in a society that abhors women — we don’t like it when they enter the workplace and make it known through harassment and unequal pay. We ogle them when they are on the streets and even grope them when the opportunity presents itself.
We take away their already minuscule space in the mosques by building mosques without a women’s section. We are threatened when they appear as TV personalities and curse at them on air. We make jokes about rape and use cuss words with ‘mother’ and ‘sister’ in them.
We create a political fuss when a girl with uncovered hair is depicted in a textbook. We pass laws like the Hudood Ordinance. We police what women can wear at universities. We even reprimand female professors for wearing jeans!
We do all this and then wonder why eight-year-old girls get assaulted? Who is responsible for this monstrosity? YOU. You, my dear reader, and I, are complicit in reproducing a system that views women as sub-human. We reinforce male privilege through minor, everyday actions from swear words to advocating for policies that make life unbearable for women.
If we are so angry about what happened to Zainab, then it behooves us to first check ourselves and our views about women and girls. We then have to come out and try to hold societal institutions — from the state and the media to the mosque — accountable for portraying women as less-than-men.
Indeed, in Pakistan, women are not considered as fully human. They are viewed as sex objects available for men’s pleasure, as upholders of familial morality and honour, or as domestic managers who will nurture children. Women who deviate from these pre-assigned roles do not have much breathing room. If men are so mad at Zainab’s murder then let’s see them give up their privilege and make space for women in their professions, on the streets, in media and in politics. Let’s see them pass pro-women laws or just implement the laws already in place. Let’s see them stand up and speak for women when misogynist elements want to push women to the margins every day.
Call me cynical but this sudden righteous anger of politicians, religious reformers, and men at large means nothing if it is just going to devolve into a PR stunt. If we don’t reform our institutions, if we don’t reform ourselves, we cannot be surprised if there are more Zainabs, unfortunately.

#Pakistan - THE abduction, rape and murder of little Zainab - Child protection

Muhammad Ahmad Pansota

THE abduction, rape and murder of little Zainab has not only robbed one family of a child but has also ravaged this country. She was not the first child we failed to protect.
Child abuse, particularly sexual violence, is one of the most pressing social issues facing our nation. Such crimes are tragic reminders of the failure of the state, and call for a complete overhaul of our intent towards child protection.
The majority of the child abuse cases in Pakistan are registered under the Zina Ordinance, 1979, which prohibits all forms of illegal sexual intercourse including rape. The Punjab Suppression of Prostitution Ordinance, 1961, the Sindh Children Act, 1955, and the Punjab Children Ordinance, 1983, all cover some forms of child abuse.
In 1990, Pakistan ratified the UN Conven­tion on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), committing itself to implement the convention’s provisions through harmonised policies, legislation and plans of action, and to report progress to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child every five years.
After revelations of a child pornography ring in Kasur in 2015, 20 people were arrested in connection with the criminal scandal. At the time, only rape and sodomy were punishable under the law. As a result, several new provisions were added to our legislature to strengthen our child protection framework.
Let little Zainab be the last child we fail as a state.
The first amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code in relation to child abuse in 2016 criminalised sexual assault against minors, child pornography and trafficking. Sexual assault is now punishable by up to seven years in prison (previously, only rape was criminalised), and child pornography (previously not included in the law) is punishable by seven years in prison and a fine of Rs700,000.
Prosecution for rape has also benefited from recent amendments. Sections 164(A) and 164(B), inserted into the Code of Criminal Procedure in 2016, enable authorities to obtain and use DNA evidence. Section 161(A) also guarantees a rape victim the right to legal representation.
Despite a complex framework, the legislative tools we have at our disposal have not been utilised effectively, and have thus far failed to deter perpetrators of violence against children. While further specialised legislation is needed, as the situation stands, our biggest failure in protecting our children is not lack of legislation but lack of its enforcement.
The depravity that leads to such crimes occurring, especially considering the circumstances of Zainab’s case, calls for further action. The preamble to the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, introduces the act “to provide for the prevention of terrorism, sectarian violence and for speedy trial of heinous offences”. Based on these goals, it is high time that rape and sexual violence against children were added to Section 6 of the ATA so that it may be prosecuted with the same vigilance given to perpetrators of acts of terror.The DNA profile of all citizens should be included in the Nadra database.
It is also necessary to properly train judicial officials and law-enforcement agencies. According to Human Rights Watch, “Even a well-drafted law is unlikely to achieve its objectives in the absence of a trained and accountable police force, adequately staffed probation departments, judges that are familiar with the applicable domestic law and international standards, and facilities that are designed for the guidance and care of juvenile offenders.”
The juvenile justice system also requires attention.
The age defining a child should be brought up in accordance to what is prescribed internationally. Secondly, there should be equal treatment for children regardless of gender — as for zina crimes, female victims should no longer be punished for an abuse inflicted upon them. Thirdly, there should be stricter punishment against perpetrators of sexual violence against children. And, as per Article 39 of the UNCRC, the government should take all necessary measures to promote the psychological and physical recovery of child victims. Currently, rehabilitative measures are underdeveloped, if not non-existent. There is an urgent need to establish such facilities throughout the country.
There must be an overhaul of the system at every level so that the authorities are not only successful in recovering children, but also in catching and punishing culprits. The crimes against Zainab reflect the absolute failure of the police, expose the lack of foresight in our legislature, and have resulted in the public losing all faith in this government.
If we wait much longer to effect concrete change, we will also lose faith in ourselves. The fate of young Zainab, loving daughter, thoughtful sister, cherished granddaughter, passionate student — human being — should be etched in our collective conscience. Let her be the last child we fail as a state.

پرویز خٹک کے شہر نوشہرہ میں 2بچیوں کو زیادتی کے بعد قتل کیاگیا

خیبر پختونخوا میں بھی معصوم بچیوں اور بچوں کے اغواء‘ زیادتی اور پھر انہیں موت کی نیند سلانےکے دل ہلا دینے والے متعدد واقعات رونما ہوئے ۔وزیراعلیٰ پرویز خٹک کے اپنےحلقے نوشہر ہ میں ان کی اپنی حکومت کے دور میں دو واقعات رپورٹ ہوئے ہیں جن میں جنسی درندوں نے معصو م بچیوں کو زیادتی کا نشانہ بنایا اور پھر انہیں قتل کردیا ۔وزیر اعلیٰ پرویز خٹک نے واقعات کا نوٹس بھی لیا اور متاثرہ خاندان کیلئے امداد کا بھی اعلان کیا ۔تحریک انصاف کے سربراہ عمران خان نے کسی بھی واقعے کا نوٹس نہیں لیا اور نہ ہی کبھی اس حوالے سے خیبر پختونخوا کی مثالی پولیس سے باز پرس کی ،واقعات کے مطابق 11جولائی 2016ءکو نوشہرہ کے علاقہ امان گڑھ عشور آباد میں پانچ سالہ بچی کو اغواء اور زیادتی کے بعد قتل کردیا گیا ۔مقتولہ بچی سید بادشاہ کی بیٹی تھی جو پڑوسیوں کے گھر برف مانگنے گئی اور واپس نہ آسکی ایک روز بعد اس کی لاش گھر کے قریب خالی پلاٹ سے ملی‘17اپریل 2014ءکو وزیر اعلیٰ پرویز خٹک کے حلقہ تحصیل پبی میں 3سالہ بچی کو زیادتی کے بعد قتل کردیاگیا جس کا وزیر اعلیٰ نے نوٹس لیا اور متاثرہ خاندان کو دو لاکھ روپے امداد بھی دی‘22اگست 2016کو مردان کے علاقے لونڈ خوڑ میں یوٹیلٹی سٹور ملازم لطیف خان کی 6سالہ بیٹی شب نور کو زیادتی کا نشانہ بنا کرموت کے گھاٹ اتار دیا گیا جبکہ مردان کے علاقہ شیر گڑھ میں 9سالہ بچی کو تین نوجوانوں نے زیادتی کا نشانہ بنا کر قتل کردیا ۔30 اکتوبر 2015کو ڈیرہ اسماعیل خان کے علاقے جٹا گائوں میں ایک بچے کو زیادتی کا نشانہ بنانے کے بعد قتل کردیا گیا ۔

#Pakistan - #JusticeForZainab - #Kasur - Saving our Zainabs

Mohsin Raza Malik
Countless Pakistanis are currently in a state of shock and grief on account of horrific rape and gruesome murder of minor girl Zainab in the Punjab’s city of Kasur. Last week, this unspeakable incident just sparked country-wide protests and condemnation. Making things worse, the local police in Kasur also killed two protestors while resorting to straight firing to disperse angry people who have gathered to demand justice for Zainab. There have been reported 12 similar rape-cum-murder cases in Kasur during a year or so. On the basis of DNA reports, the investigators have also confirmed that same culprit is involved in at least 8 of these cases. Regretfully, the local police and administration have not been so responsive to these sensitive incidents. So, it was only the misfortune of little Zainab that brought this series of appalling incidents into the limelight.
At present, the rage of the people in the country is essentially directed towards the callous and heartless killer of Zainab. Therefore, most of the demands made by the people just look confined to award ‘exemplary punishment’ to him. Many people are making suggestions to publically hang him. No doubt, the perpetrator should be awarded the harshest punishment provided under the law of the land. However, it can only be made possible once the police nab him. So far, the investigators are just clueless about the culprit. In fact, the menace of child sex abuse in Pakistan is growing day by day. Numerous predators are freely roaming in the country to attack minor girls like Zainab. Therefore, Zainab case must not be viewed and analyzed in an isolated fashion. Indeed, we must precisely comprehend the gravity of this situation. We should worry about all minor girls in the country. Certainly, we will have to save our girls from these beasts.
In addition to prescribing a harsh punishment for Zainab’s murderer, there should also be some serious endeavours to prevent similar incidents in Pakistan in the future. For this purpose, both the state and the society are required to play their respective institutional role diligently. It is the primary duty of the state to provide security to its subjects. Similarly, the police are the civil organisation which is responsible to protect the lives, property and honour of the citizens in any state. Unfortunately, the state and quality of policing in Pakistan is anything but satisfactory. The recent Kasur episode has badly exposed the dilapidated state of our entire policing regime. Our policing system has miserably failed in preventing and solving crimes.
Aimed at effectively preventing and efficiently solving crimes, there should be introduced a new policing regime in the country. Replacing one and a half century old Police Act, 1861, the Police Order 2002 was introduced to improve the general state of policing by making the police a ‘professional, service-oriented and answerable’ organisation. Under this law, in the form of public safety commissions at the national, provincial and district levels, various statutory regulatory bodies were devised to regulate policing, and exercise some control over police officials in the interest of general public. Owing to lack of political will, and non-existence of local bodies institutions, these public safety commissions could not ever be constituted.
Ignoring the structural aspect of the police organisation, the Police Order, 2002 only introduced some functional changes in the policing system. It didn’t focus on matters relating to recruitment, training and capacity-building of the police. Therefore, it was merely an old-wine-in-new-bottle sort of case. The very concept of community policing has never been attempted to introduce in Pakistan. The ‘Neighborhood Watch’ is an important component of this system whereby the ordinary members of the community are encouraged to keep an eye on each other’s activities in their locality as way of preventing crimes. The assistance of thousands of recently-elected local bodies representatives across the country can also be sought to efficiently execute the proposed policing system in Pakistan
A number of important elements of community policing can be traced in the colonial-era Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898. This law requires ordinary persons to give information of certain offences to the police. Under this law, a village-headman and watchman were appointed in each village across the Indian subcontinent to prevent crimes in the large empire with a rural society. In fact, the institution of village-headman was very crucial. He was supposed to keep an eye on strangers, robbers, outlaws and criminals in the village. He was also bound to inform the police about certain crimes and any suspicious activity in the area.
Mass surveillance or public surveillance is an effective tool to prevent and solve crimes in the contemporary world. Similarly, video surveillance is an important component of mass surveillance whereby a number of Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) cameras are installed at identified public places to monitor and record the activities of people. This surveillance system has been found very helpful in preventing and combating crimes like terrorism, robbery, street crimes, motor vehicle theft, child pornography, and child sex abuse etc. The United Kingdom is called a ‘surveillance state’ on account of having a massive video surveillance system. Besides around 500,000 CCTV cameras in Greater London alone, currently there have been dotted more than four million high-definition cameras in the UK. This video surveillance system has gone a long way in preventing crimes in the UK.
At the moment, the Joint Investigation Team in Zainab case is primarily relying on some low-resolution video footages, recorded through certain privately-owned CCTV cameras installed in Kasur, to identify and nab the mysterious killer of this minor girl. The law enforcing agencies have also issued some sketches of the alleged culprit on the basis of these footages. CM Punjab Shehbaz Sharif has now announced the installation of video surveillance cameras in Kasur in line with the cameras installed in Lahore under the so-called Safe City Project. Had the government installed some video surveillance cameras in Kasur, they would have prevented or avoided this series of ghastly incidents in the city. Or at least, the law enforcers would have secured some better quality video footages to identify the perpetrator.
In 2016, The Punjab Safe City Act was promulgated to “ensure safety and security of the people in major cities of the Punjab” through a “command, control and communications (IC3) system”. However, so far, Punjab Government hasn’t felt the need to extend the scope of operations of the Punjab Safe City Authority beyond the provincial capital. Unfortunately, Punjab government doesn’t consider it appropriate to spend money to save people in other cities in the province. Indeed, the government needs to revisit and revamp its public priorities. It will have to decide whether the monetary resources of the taxpayers should be spent to protect common citizens, or to offer lavish perks and privileges to government ministers and senior bureaucrats, or to run expensive intra-city rapid mass transit projects.
Though Punjab government has badly failed to perform its primary duty to prevent a series of rape-cum-murder cases in Kasur, yet its Institutional response to solve Zainab case is rather satisfactory. A Join Investigation Team (JIT), comprising senior officials from various investigative and intelligence agencies, is actively investigating this case to nab the perpetrator. Therefore, the opposition political parties should refrain from politicising this important case for their selfish political objectives. This case signifies a grave and the ugliest malady present within our body politic. As I am writing these lines, another rape-cum-murder case involving a four-year-old girl in Mardan area of KP province has also been reported. Certainly, this case is equally worrisome and condemnable.
A proactive national response is desirable to protect all minor girls like Zainab. We really need to introduce an efficient policing regime in the country. Similarly, we will also have to overhaul our criminal justice system. So, we should endavour to transform our boiling emotions and desperate rage over Zainab case into a positive synergy to evolve a better legal and social order to save our numerous Zainabs from the depraved beasts across the country.

#Pakistan - #PPP will never endorse disrespecting Parliament: Bilawal Bhutto

Following the harsh language used by those addressing the joint opposition rally in Lahore on Wednesday, Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari distanced his party and made it clear that the "PPP respects Parliament and will always do so". 
During the protest Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and Awami Muslim League chairman Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed cursed the parliament for allowing ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif to become head of his party. 
Bilawal Bhutto Tweeted: "The #PPP respects Parliament and will always respect Parliament. Cannot help the behaviour of others but will never endorse disrespecting Parliament."

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What Pakistan's Decision to Pull Out of a Mega Dam Project Tells Us About the Future of CPEC

About a month ago, Pakistan withdrew its request to include the $14-billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project citing strict monetary conditions on Beijing’s part as being against the country’s national interests. The fact that an energy-starved country like Pakistan has pulled out of a dam project that it has not been able to complete on its own for years is significant.
While the exclusion of a single major project doesn’t mean that the whole infrastructure scheme between the two countries is in danger, observers warn that Beijing’s strict monetary conditions have landed the future of Pakistan’s whole economy in a tight spot.  The whole process of Chinese-funded projects has not been transparent. There are alarming reports about the levels of debt these secret dealings will impose on Pakistan.
Michael Kugelman, the deputy director of the South Asia program at the Woodrow Wilson Center, believes that there is a growing realization among the policymakers in Islamabad that the long-term financial implications of a number of deals made under the CPEC are troubling for the country. “The debt repayment terms are not transparent and are difficult for outside analysts to access, but what seems clear is that Pakistan has put itself in a position where it will need to put very large amounts of money into debt servicing in the coming years. For an economy as fragile as Pakistan’s, that’s an undesirable and perhaps evens an untenable proposition,” says Kugelman.
Apparently, the government in Pakistan is not interested in making the details of such dealings public, for it might generate serious controversy about how agreed upom financial terms are likely to pose a threat to Pakistan’s sovereignty in the long run. Practically, Islamabad’s emerging economic model is becoming dependent on China. However, at the same time, the country doesn’t have any other viable economic plans to revive its choked economy and domestic financial base. Over the last few years, Pakistan approached economic collapse on several occasions with China offering life-saving support to the country’s economy.
If Beijing continues to push with its aggressive monetary conditions, it’s likely that in the coming years, Islamabad may cancel more projects which do not bode well for the overall commercial viability of the project. “A one-off incident of Pakistan backing away is not so serious, but if we start to see multiple cases of Pakistan walking away, then the very viability of CPEC could come into question. Given the astronomical level of importance that Pakistan and China have placed in CPEC, any suggestion that the project may not see itself through is cause for alarm,” suggests Kugelman.
It’s unlikely that China will make any trade or monetary concessions to Pakistan that involve Beijing losing financial benefits with such mega infrastructure deals. China has aggressively pushed Pakistan toward accepting conditions that offer the former more leverage than the latter. The evidence in this regard is overwhelming: Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping, Mir Hasil Bizenjo, recently advised the Senate that 91 percent of revenues generated by Gwadar port as part of CPEC will flow out to China, with Beijing virtually controlling all projects. Moreover, there are indications that the project is not likely to produce as many jobs for local Pakistanis as previously anticipated.
Clearly, there are signs that both countries have developed differences over the issue of who stands to benefit strategically from the project in the long run. Seth Oldmixon, a public affairs consultant and the founder of Liberty South Asia, contends that concerns in Islamabad’s ruling circles in this respect are acutely serious: “There appears to be a realization among Pakistani decision makers that many of the deals are lopsided to the point of being exploitative.” Kugelman agrees: “The fact that Pakistan has backed away from several projects — coupled with the fact that China has itself backed away from a few projects — is significant in that it highlights that for all the heady talk and soaring rhetoric about CPEC and its successes, there are some significant constraints that need to be worked out.”
There have also been other difficulties. The Chinese are worried about the presence of a number of jihadist groups in Pakistan. Secretly, China has been pushing Pakistan to take action against Islamist groups rising influence in the country which can directly pose a threat to Beijing’s regional economic plans and financial investments in Pakistan. While Beijing has long aided Islamabad’s position at the United Nations (UN) by blocking moves against a number of anti-India militant leaders, now that China is a direct stakeholder in Pakistan’s security, it’s reviewing its vocal support.
During the recent BRICS summit, China, in an unprecedented shift from its previous policy of taking up strategic dialogues with Pakistan behind closed doors, agreed with the rest of the member states in issuing a joint statement, stating that a number of militant groups allegedly based in Pakistan remain a “regional security concern.” The groups comprised the ones that target India’s interests in the region. If Pakistan’s newly adopted policy of Jihadist mainstreaming goes parallel with a continued reduction in terror attacks in Pakistan – especially on CPEC route – the Chinese projects and these radical Islamist groups might coexist. However, if there is any surge in violence, Beijing will use its financial clout to arm-twist the Pakistani establishment.
As Raza Rumi, a Pakistani writer, journalist and a public policy specialist argues:
The issue of territorial disputes in Pakistan is another reason that China remains reluctant from making weighty financial commitments to some of the major projects. The fact that the Daimer-Bhasha dam is being constructed in a region that is a disputed territory between India and Pakistan is a factor that cannot be denied.
He further adds that “China is cautious because it doesn’t want to annoy India with whom it has billions of dollars worth contracts.”
However, so far, both states have avoided public confrontation over the surging problems under CPEC which, with all its due constraints, has strategic significance for both countries. “While CPEC and the relationship with China are considered too sensitive to be broadly criticized like the Pak-U.S. relationship, there are increasing signs of frustration among Pakistani officials,” says Oldmixon. “I imagine that China and Pakistan will work out arrangements that ensure a critical mass of projects to be carried out in their entirety. There’s too much at stake for both countries for it to be any other way,” adds Kugelman.
All of this points toward the conclusion that beyond bilateral rhetorical flourishes, there remain some critical monetary, security, and capacity issues that can hamper the future of the CPEC. Certainly, growing frustrations on Pakistani side raise doubts as to whether the project will ever be concluded without leaving the country in profound debt. It remains to be seen how far can China go with its tough conditions, for there is a deepening urgency in Islamabad about saying “No” to Beijing’s habit of finding its wont with all deals that certainly undermine Pakistan’s interests.

#Pakistan - #JusticeForZainab - #Kasur: Unanswered questions

Kasur might not be the only hotspot. There could be others. But probably we are waiting for more tragedies before we start looking
The way the Kasur tragedy has been turned into a political brawl is appalling. Those who want to settle political scores are only pushing for symbolic solutions, which in no way will make millions of other children safe. Such gimmicks in fact will only divert attention from real issues.
The story of Zainab’s rape and ruthless murder is not about Punjab but about Pakistan. This is not about negligence on the part of a police officer or a political party but the failure of state machinery. The incident is one of many, unveiling the vulnerability of our law and order system and state capability. Are we even fit to keep our children safe? Looking closely at the media reports, any concerned citizen would have many unanswered questions. These questions pertain to the context of the crime, specifics of this particular case and about the horrifying statistics and government response so far.
Seemingly, Zainab’s murder was not an isolated incident and was the 12th such case of child sexual abuse reported within a 2-kilometre radius in the past 12 months. Besides geographical proximity, other similarities in these cases include use of under-construction houses, crimes occurring between 4pm and 9pm, and rape or sodomy of children before killing them. The forensic reports confirm the same DNA in at least six of the cases and the police are trying to match the DNA profile with those of scores of arrested suspects.
One thing is clear that the area was definitely a hotspot for such crimes with the possibility of a serial criminal in play. However, all these horrifying details are brought to public notice, only after Zainab’s murder. Why had a high-profile investigation not been launched earlier? Why was this massive DNA matching exercise not initiated before? Is it only because this case became a social media sensation or because the police mishandled the protesters, killing two of them?
The infamous child pornography scandal exposed in 2015 also provided a valid context for why this string of crimes should have rung a bell in the quarters concerned much earlier. At least there could have been better coverage of CCTV cameras or an attempt to identify key suspects over the last one year. But there was no such response.
Data collected by Sahil — an independent NGO — shows 129 cases of child assault in Kasur reported in 2017, including 34 abductions, 23 rapes, 19 sodomy cases, 17 attempted rapes and 10 abductions with rapes or gang-rapes. During the last three years, on average there have been two reported cases of child sexual abuse every three days in Kasur.
Interestingly, the website of the District Police Officer Kasur highlights crimes like vehicle theft, narcotics and cattle rustling but remains conspicuously silent about child sexual abuse. Even the safety tips given on the website say nothing on the subject.
Another issue relates to specifics of this particular incident. Zainab was kidnapped on Thursday, January 4th. The FIR was registered on January 5th, while the poor child’s body was found on January 9th. An eight-year-old girl missing, even if not abducted, would be extremely vulnerable. Initial few hours of action after a child goes missing are of critical importance. How did the investigation proceed during the five days between the abduction and discovery of body is yet to be disclosed. Why was there a delay of one day before the FIR was registered?
Furthermore, the CCTV footage clearly shows the poor girl willingly walking with the culprit. This is not unusual as 70% or more of child abuse crimes are done either by acquaintances or strangers-turned-acquaintances. This should have narrowed down the periphery of investigation.
Even more shockingly, while the footage showed the man with a beard, the sketch issued was without one. Although the accused could have gotten rid of the beard, the police should have issued both sketches. Media reports also highlighted inaccuracies in the sketch. Sahil’s aggregate data shows that about 11 children were sexually abused everyday in the country in 2016, while a child was murdered after sexual abuse every 3-4 days. Only 78% of these cases were registered with the police and there were 142 such cases where the police refused to register an FIR. The data relies on media reports and NGOs’ own work for such statistics. Imagine the scale and number of incidents not reported in the media and possible underreporting. Unfortunately, there is no counter-estimate or reported data by the government.
The numbers are horrendous and the scale and seriousness of this issue has been severely understated. Many countries have national registry of child offenders that are made public so that parents keep their children safe. But in Pakistan, the state has not been able to accurately report on the issue, let alone provide a response. Even in a few reported cases where perpetrators are found, convictions are rare.
Nevertheless, the state needs to answer why Zainab had to be brutally murdered to elicit a serious response. Kasur might not be the only hotspot. There could be others. But probably we are waiting for more tragedies before we start looking.

#Pakistan - #Mardan - Bilawal condemns brutal murders of minor girls

Chairman, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Wednesday condemned the rape and murder of a four-year-old girl in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Mardan district.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, he said that the rape and murder of the little girl was a heinous crime and stressed that culprits should be brought to justice.
Bilawal said that innocent girls in Kasur and Mardan were being subjected to inhuman and worst atrocities.
He demanded immediate arrest of the culprits involved in those incidents.

#Pakistan's Rapists - Asma, four, 'raped, strangled to death' in #Mardan

A four-year-old girl was raped before being strangled to death in northwest Pakistan, a district mayor and doctors have said.
The body of the victim, who is being named as Asma, was found in a sugarcane field on Sunday in the Jandarpar Gujjar Garhi district of Mardan city, a day after she went missing.
"I have seen the autopsy report of Asma and it clearly says that she was raped before being strangled to death," district mayor Himayatullah Mayar told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.
"She comes from a very poor family, her father is a labour worker in Saudi Arabia. Asma was just playing outside of her house when she was kidnapped."
Doctors also told local media that the child had been raped.
Police confirmed that the child died of asphyxiation and were investigating the claim of rape.
"According to the forensic report, the girl was subjected to violence," district police officer Mian Saeed told local media. "However, we cannot confirm if she was raped or not until we get the complete report."
The incident comes as the country reels from the recent rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab Ansari, a case which ignited widespread protests and stirred uneasy conversations about the sexual abuse of children in a country where the issue is taboo.
Zainab's body was discovered in a heap of rubbish last week in the northeastern city of Kasur. She had disappeared on January 4 after leaving her house to go to a tuition centre.
Protests calling for justice in various parts of Kasur turned violent, resulting in at least two deaths and several injuries.
Local TV footage showed police officers shooting at protesters to disperse crowds. In 2017, at least 12 similar incidents were reported in the Kasur district alone, local media reported.
In the first half of 2017, more than 1,750 cases of child abuse were reported across Pakistan, according to Sahil, a non-governmental organisation that works on the issue of child sexual abuse and exploitation.
Of the cases in the first six months of last year, 65 percent took place in Pakistan's Punjab province.

#Pakistan - Minor girl’s rape and murder in #Mardan: rulers’ criminal silence is not forgivable: Bilawal

Lashing out at the PML-N and PTI, Chairman Pakistan People Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condemned the murder of a minor girl in Mardan and remarked that silence of both provincial governments over recent incidents of rape and murder is unforgivable.
Bilawal Bhutto in his condemnation message regarding rape and murder of the three minor girls in Mardan demanded speed arrest of the culprits.
He said that PPP will not remain mum over these incidents at any cost and will go to the last extent for justice. He said that both provincial governments will have to take stern steps to avoid these kinds of incidents.
It is pertinent to mention here that a three-year-old girl, found dead in Mardan 's Gujar Garhi area Monday morning, was murdered after being raped, according to Mardan District Nazim Himayatullah Mayar.
The district Nazim said that he has seen the postmortem report and it clearly states that the minor was raped.
However, DPO Mardan Mian Saeed negated the claims and said that the girl was strangled to death. He pointed out that the post-mortem report does not point towards rape .
Before this, two innocent girls were killed after rape in the area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak's constituency.

Video - Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressing workers at Rahuki Badin

اس ملک کو جاتی امرا سے خطرہ ہے،آصف زرداری

سابق صدر اور پاکستان پیپلز پارٹی کے شریک چیئرمین آصف علی زرداری کہتے ہیں کہ اس ملک کو خطرہ اور کسی سے نہیں صرف جاتی امرا ہے۔
لاہور میں پاکستان عوامی تحریک کے تحت ہونے والے متحدہ اپوزیشن کے احتجاجی جلسے سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے انہوں نے مزید کہا کہ ملک کو خطرہ کسی اور سے نہیں جاتی امرا کے شیخ مجیب الرحمان سے ہے، یہ مودی کا یار سمجھتا ہے جو ملک کے ساتھ کرنا چاہے کرے ہم ہرگز ایسا نہیں ہونے دیں گے، اس کی سوچ گریٹر پنجاب بنانے کی ہے اور اس نے کہ دیا کہ مجھے شیخ مجیب الرحمان بنایا جا رہا ہے۔
آصف زرداری کا کہنا ہے کہ ہم نے ہمیشہ پاکستان کی بات کی ،ہمیشہ پاکستان کھپے کہا ہے،ہوا تو پیپلزپارٹی کے ساتھ ہے، ہوا تو قادری صاحب کے ساتھ ہے، میاں صاحب آپ کے ساتھ ابھی ہوا کیا ہے؟
 انہوں نے کہا کہ ملک پر اتنا وزن ڈال دیا گیا ہے، یہ چاہتے ہیں کہ ملک کمزور ہوجائے، بلوچستان کو میں نے دعا ضرور دی تھی، دعا اور دوا دینا ہم سیاسی لوگوں کا کام ہے۔
سابق صدر نے مزید کہا کہ سیاست کریں گے لیکن ملک کے خلاف سیاست نہیں ہوتی،میں جب چاہوں ان کو نکال سکتا ہوں مجھے انہیں نکالنے میں کوئی دیر نہیں لگے گی۔
انہوں نے مزید کہا کہ میں پاکستان کے مستقبل کا سوچتا ہوں،ہماری آنے والی نسلوں نے اس ملک میں رہنا ہے،یہ جہاں جائیں گے وہاں جاتی امرا بنالیں گے۔
آصف زرداری کا یہ بھی کہنا ہے کہ انہیں کسی کی پروا ہ نہیں انہیں صرف جاتی امرا کی پرواہ ہے، ہم انصاف لے کر رہیں گے۔

Video Report - Aitzaz Ahsan speech in Mall road protest Lahore

Video Report - PPPP President Asif Ali Zardari addressing All Parties protest in Lahore

Video Report - Qamar Zaman Kaira Speech At PAT Protest Lahore 17 January 2018 @MediaCellPPP