Sunday, December 22, 2019
The Independent Election Commission said Ghani earned 50.64% and Abdullah 39.52%.
The US government has kept Pakistan on a special watch list for severe violations of religious freedom. Pakistan for the first time appeared on the list in 2018. This year, Pakistan was retained among the countries that tolerate religious discrimination. The placement on the list for violations of religious freedom can lead to economic sanctions. Other countries sharing space with Pakistan on the list of ‘Countries of Particular Concerns’ are Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Pakistan has already been facing severe actions from the US such as the suspension of military aid and withholding of coalition support funds for ‘Pakistan’s failure to meet US expectations and follow its do more slogans’. Last time, when Pakistan was placed on religious freedom violation list, then-ambassador to the United States Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry seemed clueless about the challenge and asked the US government to clarify about the special watch list and what “severe violations of religious freedom” had prompted Washington to take such an extreme measure. The US State Department, however, did not mention the methodology of its annual practice, undertaken under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. The US states: “These designations underscore the United States’ commitment to protect those who seek to exercise their freedom of religion or belief. We believe that everyone, everywhere, at all times, should have the right to live according to the dictates of their conscience. We will continue to challenge state and non-state entities that seek to infringe upon those fundamental rights and to ensure they are held to account for their actions.” The US list conveniently ignores Indian actions against its religious minorities. But this is the time we had better put our own house in order. Though on the government level, measures have been ensured for the protection of human rights and religious freedoms, at the public level, one can see people are being persecuted and killed for their religious beliefs. Minorities are routinely killed and persecuted. Pakistan needs to ensure religious freedom and that can only be done through beating extremism and terrorism. There is no other way out. https://dailytimes.com.pk/524688/pakistan-on-special-us-watch-list/
Citizens on Sunday complained that a large number of patients at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) had to face several difficulties in accessing health assistance due to routine strikes of doctors and nursing staff.According to them, the administration of the hospital should take notice of the routine absence of doctors and paramedical staff in different sections due to their political activities. They added that many patients who visit here from others parts of the country with different medical complications had to move to private hospitals due to whole day agitation related activities of doctors. “Doctors should raise voice for their genuine demands but they must realize the sufferings of patients at the hospital who faced refusal of treatment due to their strike,” Naseem Alam, a patient at PIMS said. He appealed the doctors to serve the ailing rather than spending time in agitations and protests for political gains.He added that the hospital administration should also realize the problems of incoming patients and attitude of doctors at time of the latter’s protests.Another patient, Saleem Baig said, “During protest few days back some representatives of junior doctors had clearly communicated us to move to any other hospital for early treatment as no doctor will attend them now.” He expressed his reservations over regular feature of protests of doctors at major hospitals of the federal capital and appealed the quarters concerned to make certain laws to discourage this inhuman practice in hospitals. He said patients care should not be given in the hands of those who didn’t know about professional ethics and norms, adding the doctors should not refuse their duties towards patients care. Waseem Khalid, a patient said despite several complaints submitted on increasing incidents of misbehaviour with the patients by trainee doctors, the hospital management was reluctant to take any action on those applications. “Under professional ethics, medical practitioners are bound to avoid any discriminating attitude or exploiting vulnerable situations in the hospital,” Aamir Nazeer, a citizen said. He said under the code of ethics prepared by Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) for medical practitioners, gross negligence in respect of professional duties might lead to suspension or removal from services. Shoaib Kaleem, a patient said, “The junior doctors must ensure that they do not indulge in any untoward incident that negatively impacts directly or indirectly on patient care and that their political activities must never interfere with patients’ treatment at PIMS in any way.” He said they should adopt polite behavior with the patients and guide them properly rather than adopting rough attitude with them. “The PMC is committed to regulate the standards of medical practice, protect the interests of the patients, supervise medical education, and give guidelines on ethical issues,” an official of PMC said while reacting on non-observance of code of ethics by PIMS doctors.He said the code of ethics provided a set of principles, which doctors could use as guidelines in the varying situations, in line with their judgment, experience, knowledge and skills. In case of receiving any complaint regarding negligence, misbehave and malpractice of doctors, the commission takes strict action against medical practitioners, he added. The official advised the citizens to send their complaints against doctors directly to the PMC. When contacted, an official from PIMS said patient care was the top priority of the hospital management and every doctor and member of nursing staff was responsible to fulfill due responsibilities. He said there were clear instructions for all medical practitioners and nursing staff to give best treatment to patients at hospital and there was zero-tolerance policy for any negligence in this regard. https://dailytimes.com.pk/525082/patients-suffer-over-routine-protest-at-pims/
By Amer Malik
In an interview with Dr. Ather Ahmad Saeed.
پنجاب کے پسماندہ سمجھے جانے والے ضلع راجن کے رہائشی جنید حفیظ نے میٹرک میں ٹاپ کرنے کے بعد ایف ایس سی پری میڈیکل میں ڈیرہ غازی خان بورڈ میں پہلی پوزیشن لے کر گولڈ میڈل حاصل کیا۔
انہوں نے میڈیکل انٹری ٹیسٹ میں پنجاب بھر میں پہلی پوزیشن حاصل کی، یہی وجہ تھی کہ انہیں صوبے کے سب سے بڑے کنگ ایڈورڈ میڈیکل کالج لاہورمیں رول نمبر ون دیا گیا۔
دو سال میڈیکل میں ٹاپ کرتے رہے۔ اس کے بعد انھوں نے میڈیکل کا شعبہ چھوڑ کر والدین کی اجازت سے بہاؤالدین زکریا یونیورسٹی ملتان میں شعبہ انگریزی سے ایم اے انگلش کرنے کے لیے داخلہ لے لیا اور ایم اے انگلش لٹریچر میں بھی ٹاپر رہے۔ اسی لیے انہیں شعبے میں وزٹنگ لیکچرار مقررکر دیا گیا تھا۔
جلد ہی قابلیت کی بنیاد پروہ لیکچرار بن گئے۔ انہیں امریکہ نے مقابلہ کا امتحان پہلی پوزیشن سے پاس کرنے پر فلم میکنگ کی تربیت کی ایک سالہ سکالر شپ بھی دی۔
جنید کے دوستوں کا دعویٰ ہے کہ اس دوران ان کا ایک مذہبی و سیاسی جماعت سے تعلق رکھنے والے پروفیسرز اور ایک طلبہ گروپ سے جھگڑا ہو گیا، جس کے بعد ان پر الزام لگا کہ وہ توہین مذہب پر مبنی ایک خفیہ فیس بک پیج چلاتے ہیں۔
جب ان کے خلاف مظاہرے شدت اختیار کر گئے اور ان کو جان سے مارنے کی دھکیاں ملنے لگیں تو پولیس نے انہیں لاہور سے 13مارچ، 2013 کو
By Shah Meer Baloch and Hannah Ellis-Petersen
Amnesty calls verdict in Junaid Hafeez’s trial a ‘vile and gross miscarriage of justice’.
A Pakistani university lecturer has been sentenced to death for blasphemy in a case that his family and human rights groups have decried as a gross miscarriage of justice.
Junaid Hafeez, a lecturer at the Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) in the central Pakistani city of Multan, had been accused of running a secret Facebook group and having insulted the prophet Muhammad and the Qur’an in 2013.He was also accused of hosting Qaisra Shahraz, a famous British novelist of Pakistani origin, as a guest speaker and sharing blasphemous remarks against Islam during a lecture .Hafeez was a US Fulbright scholar in 2009 and holds a masters from Jackson State University where he majored in US literature, photography and theatre. A US religious freedom commission placed his name on its list of global victims in December.
The blasphemy trial had been one of the most contentious in Pakistan, running for more than six years with various delays and seven different judges brought in. Hafeez’s former lawyer, Rashid Rehman, who had been threatened in court by religious leaders and other lawyers for taking on the case, was shot and killed in his office in 2014. Hafeez has since been kept in solitary confinement and the trial was held behind closed doors in a high-security prison in Multan.
“The prosecution, the witnesses and trial could not prove any of the allegations,” said Hafeez’s lawyer. “Hafeez was so happy when I met him on Wednesday night and everyone was sure that he would be acquitted.”
He alleged that during the trial that the prosecutor had not presented concrete evidence against Hafeez but had instead warned the judge that he was “against Islam” and that in Pakistan the case was “sensitive”. “It was the point I realised they were just using the religious card, which was immoral and unethical precedent in the court,” he said.In a statement released by Hafeez’s family, they said the murder of his previous lawyer in 2014 and the failure to bring anyone to justice for the killing meant that “the prospect of Hafeez getting a fair trial came into question”.They accused the courts of ignoring the lack of evidence and instead succumbing to outside threats in the verdict. “The failure to apprehend those who shot his lawyer Rehman dead signalled impunity for other would-be vigilantes,” said the family. “Could any judge in such circumstances take the risk of doing justice? Those who could were transferred from the district or brought under pressure by groups of lawyers operating as a mafia.”Hafeez’s younger brother, Jawad, said the family “were not expecting this verdict as the case was an open case where nothing was proved against my brother. The judge has given this decision under fear while ignoring all arguments and facts”.
Activists, politicians and journalists are often fearful of talking about the inflammatory issue of blasphemy in Pakistan, where even unproven accusations of insulting Islam can spark lynchings and assassination attempts, but there has been widespread anger at the verdict.
IA Rehman, a prominent human rights activist and former general secretary of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), said: “The verdict is brutal and unjust. He has been in prison for six years for no reason. It is an open fact that trial courts in Pakistan rarely acquit accused in blasphemy cases.
“It is very deadly to comment on blasphemy related cases even in Pakistan. His lawyer was killed for following up the case. This has multiplied the fear in the country over such cases.”
Rabia Mehmood, a South Asia researcher at Amnesty International tweeted: “This is a vile and gross miscarriage of justice.”
A senior official who requested anonymity, said that before the verdict Hafeez’s lawyer was asked not to come to the prison because officials feared a mob attack if he was acquitted. They had also devised plans for Hafeez’s safe removal if any tense situation arose.
“Everyone was confident that he will be released today. This unfortunately did not happen,” he said.
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws came under global scrutiny last year after the supreme court acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy and held on death row for eight years. It was a landmark ruling that vindicated rights groups’ concerns about the conduct of blasphemy cases.
According to the Centre for Social Justice, a Pakistani advocacy group, at least 1,472 people were charged under blasphemy provisions between 1987 and 2016. There have been no executions, but at least 17 people convicted of blasphemy are on death row, and many others are serving life sentences for related offences.
The Financial Action Task Force has sent 150 questions to Pakistan, seeking some clarifications, updates and most importantly actions taken against the madrassas belonging to the proscribed outfits.