Saturday, July 11, 2020

Pakistan: Protect religious freedom for Hindus

Pakistan’s authorities must protect the right to freedom of religion and belief for the country’s beleaguered Hindu community, including the construction of temples to exercise that right, Amnesty International said today.
The human rights organization’s call came as authorities in Islamabad capitulated to pressure from a discriminatory campaign mounted by politicians, media outlets and clerics to halt the construction of a rare temple in the Pakistani capital. The boundary wall of the site where the temple is supposed to be constructed has also been torn down by a mob.
“The respect for the right to freedom of religion was promised to Pakistan’s Hindus by the country’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Those who deny a long-marginalized community the right to practise their faith freely not only betray his legacy, but also violate the human rights of religious minorities protected under Pakistan’s constitution and its international human rights obligations,” said Omar Waraich, Head of South Asia at Amnesty International.
 “Pakistan claimed positive global attention last year when it opened the Sikh temple at Kartarpur to pilgrims from India. By caving into hateful pressure, it now threatens to reverse that achievement and deepen the discrimination that Pakistan’s Hindu community faces.”
 The destruction of the Hindu temple site is yet another example of persistent discrimination faced by the Hindu community in Pakistan. In recent years, they have faced increasing marginalization, with individuals facing false accusations of “blasphemy” – a crime that carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan – attacks on temples and shops, and the horrific abduction, forced conversion and forced marriage of hundreds of young Hindu women.
 In 2019, in two separate incidents, mobs attacked Hindu properties and places of worship in the southern Sindh province after allegations of “blasphemy” were made against a Hindu school principal and a Hindu veterinarian.
Every reported act of violence against minorities must be promptly investigated and those responsible must be brought to justice. 
Omar Waraich
 "The Pakistani authorities must clearly and publicly condemn such acts instead of giving into them. Every reported act of violence against minorities must be promptly investigated and those responsible must be brought to justice. A recurrence can only be prevented if adequate measures are taken," said Omar Waraich.
In Pakistan, “blasphemy” allegations are often made on the basis of little or no evidence.  There is overwhelming evidence that the laws violate human rights and have encouraged people to take the law into their own hands. Once a person is accused, they become ensnared in a system that presumes them guilty and fails to protect them against people willing to use violence.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has made repeated commitments to protect Pakistan’s religious minorities. In February 2020, he said: “I want to warn our people that anyone in Pakistan targeting our non-Muslim citizens or their places of worship will be dealt with strictly. Our minorities are equal citizens of the country.”
“Prime Minister Imran Khan must lend his commitments some weight to ensure religious freedom for all and to ensure that Pakistan’s Hindus and other religious minorities are able to practise their faith freely and without fear,” said Omar Waraich.
Background
Hindus constitute Pakistan’s largest non-Muslim minority, estimated at between two and four per cent of the population. They include members of parliament, a former chief justice, military officers, and prominent names in the arts.
 In a landmark speech on religious freedom, Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah said in August 1947: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in the state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

Pakistan's "Commission for Minorities" without the Ahmadis

Pakistan’s conduct towards the Ahmadis and its obsession with religious identity is symptomatic of the radicalization of society that permeates all areas of life and is reflected in the laws of the land, says Mohammad Luqman.

"Naya Pakistan", or new Pakistan was Imran Khan’s 2018 election campaign slogan. As he indicated over and over at the time, he intended to liberate the nation from the corrupt elites and political family clans that had been sucking Pakistan dry like leeches for decades.
The populist electoral pledges for greater justice, tolerance and improved participation stirred the hopes of young voters in particular. In late 2018, Khan won the elections and became prime minister, admittedly with a little help from the powerful "establishment", the military.
Following his induction, he once again declared his intention to doggedly continue the fight against corruption and extremism in society. After almost two years in power, there is little evidence of the promised changes. Recently Khan’s close associates have been embroiled in corruption scandals and Pakistani society is still as intolerant as ever.
"National Commission for Minorities"
The example of the National Commission for Minorities is just one glaring example. In 2014, following a wave of attacks on religious minorities, the constitutional court instructed the government to set up a National Commission for Minorities. The commission’s role is to monitor compliance with the constitutional rights of minorities and advise the cabinet on issues concerning those minorities.
The government recently tasked the Ministry of Religious Affairs with the job of setting up a forum along similar lines, whereupon the Minister for Religious Affairs presented the cabinet with a panel with representatives of all religious minorities – apart from Ahmadi Muslims.
Infographic regarding the killing of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan between 1974 and 2014 (source: Deutsche Welle)
Cast out from the Muslim fold: the Ahmadiyya were declared a non-Muslim minority in 1974, because they regard their founder Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the long-awaited Messiah and as an "ummati nabi", a prophet within Islam. Since 1984, practically all the religious activities of this community have been criminalised: they are not allowed to call themselves Muslims, describe their mosques as mosques, or "to pose as a Muslim". Even the greeting "Assalamu alaikum" can constitute an infringement. And indeed, Ahmadis have ended up in prison for this "offence"
When several cabinet members voiced their displeasure at this omission and demanded that the Ahmadis be assigned representation on the panel, it triggered fierce controversy. Islamist parties, politicians, scholars, government ministers and members of the public unleashed their anger and hatred over the participation of "qadianis" – a pejorative term for Ahmadis – in a government body.
Calls for murder and boycotts circulated on social media and the hashtags "qadianis the world’s worst infidels" and "qadianis the worst traitors" were trending for several days. In a television interview a few days later, the Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said: "Anyone showing sympathy or compassion for qadianis cannot be loyal to Islam and Pakistan."
Khan’s government caved in under the pressure and categorically ruled out any Ahmadi participation in the commission, remarking that the Ahmadiyya question was a "religiously and historically sensitive" matter. This could have been predicted. Imran Khan took his first U-turn in late 2018 shortly after his inauguration. He had appointed a number of renowned experts to his Economic Advisory Council (EAC), among them the world-famous economist and Princeton University professor Atif Mian, an Ahmadi. The IMF ranks Atif Mian among the world’s top 25 economists. The news of Mian’s appointment soon attracted the attention of religious hardliners who demanded his immediate removal. Khan bowed to pressure at the time and forced the economist to stand down from the EAC.
Obsession with religious affiliation
Pakistan’s conduct towards the Ahmadis and its obsession with religious identity is symptomatic of the radicalisation of society that permeates all areas of life and is reflected in the laws of the land.
Firefighters stand in the burnt-out shell of a factory owned by Ahmadis in Jehlum, Pakistan. It was torched, along with an Ahmadi mosque, by an angry mob in November 2015 (photo: Getty Images/AFP)
No to "qadianis": following on from the National Commission for Minorites that was set up in 2014 following a wave of attacks on religious minorities, the Pakistani government recently tasked the Ministry of Religious Affairs to set up a forum for religious minorities. Ahmadi Muslims were the only ones to be excluded from the line-up. Calls to correct this injustice were met with vitriol from Islamist parties, as well as several politicians, scholars, government ministers and the general public
The Ahmadis were declared a non-Muslim minority in 1974, because they regarded their founder Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the long-awaited Messiah and as an ummati nabi, a prophet within Islam. Since 1984, practically all the religious activities of this community have been criminalised, not only by notorious blasphemy laws, but also by what is known as the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX.
For example in criminal proceedings, they are not allowed to call themselves Muslims, describe their mosques as mosques or "to pose as a Muslim" – behave like a Muslim, whatever that is supposed to mean. Therefore, for example, the simple greeting "Assalamu alaikum" (peace be with you) can constitute an infringement. And indeed, Ahmadis have ended up in prison for this "offence".
Despite repeated criticism from the United Nations, HRW, Amnesty International and other human rights organisations, this mediaeval jurisdiction remains in force. Criticism of the legislation can have fatal consequences, as in the case of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab. Taseer had spoken out in defence of Asia Bibi, the Christian woman accused of blasphemy and described blasphemy laws as "kala qanoon" , or "black law". He was shot dead by his own bodyguard in broad daylight. Taseer’s murderer, who has since been hanged, is revered like a saint by a large section of the populace.
The ostracised minority
The Ahmadis are among the most persecuted and ostracised minority in the south Asian nation. In Pakistan, it is easy to put pressure on political opponents and rivals by accusing them of being "qadiani nawaaz", pro-qadiani or worse still, a qadiani themselves. This is all it takes to put the accused on the defensive and force them to evince their "correct" faith as an absolute priority. Even the powerful army chief Bajwa was not spared this treatment. Many shops and bazaars publicly display posters with the words "Qadianis keep out" or "Qadianis should first enter Islam, and then my shop". There are warnings against "qadiani" products such as the popular Shezan mango juice, as though mango juices also follow a religion.
Endemic anti-Ahmadiyya discrimination

Pakistan's "Commission for Minorities" without the Ahmadis

Pakistan’s conduct towards the Ahmadis and its obsession with religious identity is symptomatic of the radicalisation of society that permeates all areas of life and is reflected in the laws of the land, says Mohammad Luqman
"Naya Pakistan", or new Pakistan was Imran Khan’s 2018 election campaign slogan. As he indicated over and over at the time, he intended to liberate the nation from the corrupt elites and political family clans that had been sucking Pakistan dry like leeches for decades.
The populist electoral pledges for greater justice, tolerance and improved participation stirred the hopes of young voters in particular. In late 2018, Khan won the elections and became prime minister, admittedly with a little help from the powerful "establishment", the military.
Following his induction, he once again declared his intention to doggedly continue the fight against corruption and extremism in society. After almost two years in power, there is little evidence of the promised changes. Recently Khan’s close associates have been embroiled in corruption scandals and Pakistani society is still as intolerant as ever.
"National Commission for Minorities"
The example of the National Commission for Minorities is just one glaring example. In 2014, following a wave of attacks on religious minorities, the constitutional court instructed the government to set up a National Commission for Minorities. The commission’s role is to monitor compliance with the constitutional rights of minorities and advise the cabinet on issues concerning those minorities.
The government recently tasked the Ministry of Religious Affairs with the job of setting up a forum along similar lines, whereupon the Minister for Religious Affairs presented the cabinet with a panel with representatives of all religious minorities – apart from Ahmadi Muslims.
Infographic regarding the killing of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan between 1974 and 2014 (source: Deutsche Welle)
Cast out from the Muslim fold: the Ahmadiyya were declared a non-Muslim minority in 1974, because they regard their founder Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the long-awaited Messiah and as an "ummati nabi", a prophet within Islam. Since 1984, practically all the religious activities of this community have been criminalised: they are not allowed to call themselves Muslims, describe their mosques as mosques, or "to pose as a Muslim". Even the greeting "Assalamu alaikum" can constitute an infringement. And indeed, Ahmadis have ended up in prison for this "offence"
When several cabinet members voiced their displeasure at this omission and demanded that the Ahmadis be assigned representation on the panel, it triggered fierce controversy. Islamist parties, politicians, scholars, government ministers and members of the public unleashed their anger and hatred over the participation of "qadianis" – a pejorative term for Ahmadis – in a government body.
Calls for murder and boycotts circulated on social media and the hashtags "qadianis the world’s worst infidels" and "qadianis the worst traitors" were trending for several days. In a television interview a few days later, the Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said: "Anyone showing sympathy or compassion for qadianis cannot be loyal to Islam and Pakistan."
Khan’s government caved in under the pressure and categorically ruled out any Ahmadi participation in the commission, remarking that the Ahmadiyya question was a "religiously and historically sensitive" matter. This could have been predicted. Imran Khan took his first U-turn in late 2018 shortly after his inauguration. He had appointed a number of renowned experts to his Economic Advisory Council (EAC), among them the world-famous economist and Princeton University professor Atif Mian, an Ahmadi. The IMF ranks Atif Mian among the world’s top 25 economists. The news of Mian’s appointment soon attracted the attention of religious hardliners who demanded his immediate removal. Khan bowed to pressure at the time and forced the economist to stand down from the EAC.
Obsession with religious affiliation
Pakistan’s conduct towards the Ahmadis and its obsession with religious identity is symptomatic of the radicalisation of society that permeates all areas of life and is reflected in the laws of the land.
Firefighters stand in the burnt-out shell of a factory owned by Ahmadis in Jehlum, Pakistan. It was torched, along with an Ahmadi mosque, by an angry mob in November 2015 (photo: Getty Images/AFP)
No to "qadianis": following on from the National Commission for Minorites that was set up in 2014 following a wave of attacks on religious minorities, the Pakistani government recently tasked the Ministry of Religious Affairs to set up a forum for religious minorities. Ahmadi Muslims were the only ones to be excluded from the line-up. Calls to correct this injustice were met with vitriol from Islamist parties, as well as several politicians, scholars, government ministers and the general public
The Ahmadis were declared a non-Muslim minority in 1974, because they regarded their founder Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the long-awaited Messiah and as an ummati nabi, a prophet within Islam. Since 1984, practically all the religious activities of this community have been criminalised, not only by notorious blasphemy laws, but also by what is known as the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX.
For example in criminal proceedings, they are not allowed to call themselves Muslims, describe their mosques as mosques or "to pose as a Muslim" – behave like a Muslim, whatever that is supposed to mean. Therefore, for example, the simple greeting "Assalamu alaikum" (peace be with you) can constitute an infringement. And indeed, Ahmadis have ended up in prison for this "offence".
Despite repeated criticism from the United Nations, HRW, Amnesty International and other human rights organisations, this mediaeval jurisdiction remains in force. Criticism of the legislation can have fatal consequences, as in the case of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab. Taseer had spoken out in defence of Asia Bibi, the Christian woman accused of blasphemy and described blasphemy laws as "kala qanoon" , or "black law". He was shot dead by his own bodyguard in broad daylight. Taseer’s murderer, who has since been hanged, is revered like a saint by a large section of the populace.
The ostracised minority
The Ahmadis are among the most persecuted and ostracised minority in the south Asian nation. In Pakistan, it is easy to put pressure on political opponents and rivals by accusing them of being "qadiani nawaaz", pro-qadiani or worse still, a qadiani themselves. This is all it takes to put the accused on the defensive and force them to evince their "correct" faith as an absolute priority. Even the powerful army chief Bajwa was not spared this treatment. Many shops and bazaars publicly display posters with the words "Qadianis keep out" or "Qadianis should first enter Islam, and then my shop". There are warnings against "qadiani" products such as the popular Shezan mango juice, as though mango juices also follow a religion.

Daily calls issued by scholars such as "qadiani wajib ul qatal hen" (the Qadianis must be punished by death) pass by without any legal action. When in the year 2010, after two devastating terror attacks on Ahmadi mosques with more than 80 deaths, the prime minister at the time Nawaz Sharif addressed the marginalised minority as "our brethren", he was lambasted by the mullahs, who said that "qadianias" could never be the brethren of Muslims. A judge at the Supreme Court in Islamabad recently demanded that Ahmadis should add the suffix "qadiani" or "mirzai" to their names to make them more easily identifiable. In Pakistan, you don’t get more outcast than this.
Meanwhile, the blatant smear campaign continues across social media, with all manner of politicians and scholars talking about the minority in endless television talk shows. But we never hear from the Ahmadi Muslims themselves. No mainstream television channel or newspaper ever asks them for their point of view. And in any case, Ahmadi publications have been officially banned for years. Any discussion on an equal footing is impossible and as a consequence, the discourse is dominated by the unilateral anti-Ahmadiyya narrative.
The Ahmadis are nothing but spectators in a drama in which they have already been accused, convicted and punished, without anyone ever listening to their side of the story..

Pakistan Church condemns violence, discrimination against minorities

The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference (PCBC) releases a statement following the death of a Christian after a brutal attack.
By Vatican News
The Catholic Church of Pakistan has denounced the religious intolerance and discrimination against the country’s minorities that continue even amid the hardships of Covid-19 and its restrictions. 
The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference (PCBC) raised its concern in a statement, a copy of which was sent to the Vatican’s Fides news agency.

Nadeem Joseph and family

The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference (PCBC) particularly condemned the brutal attack by Muslims on June 4 on Nadeem Joseph, after his family recently moved to a house he bought in Peshawar’s TV colony, whose residents did not want non-Muslims as their neighbours. 
Nadeem’s wife said the residents threatened her family and created problems to force them to leave.  Since they refused, the Muslims brutalized her husband, dragged him into the street and shot him. 
The woman's mother and brother went out to rescue Nadeem and one of the bullets hit the mother in the shoulder.  Nadeem died of injuries in hospital on June 29, after he was operated for the fifth time.  “My mother and brother are still recovering from their wounds,” Nadeem’s wife said.

NCJP – "violation of human rights"

A joint statement by NCJP chairman, Archbishop Joseph Arshad Bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, national director Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf and executive director Cecil Chaudhry, called on law enforcement agencies to do everything possible to bring the culprit to justice.  Calling it a "clear violation of human rights" the NCJP said it is "an act against the law that cannot go unpunished".  
Police arrested several members of Salman Khan's family who are said to be behind the murder.
The NCJP urged protection for the family of Nadeem that is in difficulty and in danger of reprisal. “My children and I have lived in fear since that day," Nadedem’s wife said.

Intolerance and discrimination continue

The Commission of Pakistan’s Catholic bishops expressed regret that society has grown intolerant and life has become more difficult for members of minority communities.
Noting that many cases go unreported, the NCJP said, “religious minorities continue to face discrimination as part of their daily lives."  As examples, it cited the denial of food aid and relief material to non-Muslims during the lockdown and the lack of adequate safety equipment to health workers fighting the pandemic.   
The Commission also pointed to the recent episode in Islamabad in which some extremist Muslims stopped the building of a Hindu temple.  Fr. Yousaf noted the incident reflects the lack of acceptance of religious minorities who have been part of the country.  He said such acts go against Article 20 of the Constitution, which allows religious minorities the freedom to profess their faith and manage their own religious institutions. “The government must work to safeguard the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan enshrined in our Constitution," the NCJP statement said.

Friday, July 10, 2020

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Opinion: Americans Must Know if Their President Is a Crook

By Bob Bauer
The public’s interest in access to Donald Trump’s or any president’s tax filings depends on strong reform legislation from Congress.
When Richard Nixon declared, “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook,” we often forget that he wasn’t talking about Watergate. He was speaking about compliance with tax law. The public had a “right to know,” in this case, what was in his returns and if he had followed the law.
The Supreme Court’s decisions on Thursday in the Trump tax cases vindicated important principles about presidential accountability under the rule of law. A 7-to-2 majority rejected the president’s claim of immunity from compliance with a state criminal subpoena, and the court also turned down his argument that state prosecutors and Congress should have to meet demanding standards to obtain a president’s personal financial information.
But these cases left very much in doubt when the president will have to provide his tax returns, and it is clear that the public will not see them any time soon, if ever.
President Trump has severely damaged the “norm” or practice that presidents have followed since the Carter administration in voluntarily releasing their returns. Some future presidential candidates and presidents may revive the norm, but others may decline, especially if they conclude that there is no real electoral penalty. Those presidents who refuse disclosure now have the ability to contest in court the specific avenues that Congress, or prosecutors, have tried to use in Mr. Trump’s case to obtain the returns.
The American public’s own interest in dependable, timely access to this or any president’s tax filings depends on strong reform legislation from Congress. Legislation, not more and seemingly endless litigation, is the only answer to the gap in transparency about a president’s financial affairs and potential conflicts of interest.
But a president’s disclosure of returns is not just a transparency practice that meets with general public favor and press interest. Releasing returns is vitally important in all presidencies in supplying information not available through a president’s other financial reporting obligation under the Ethics in Government Act. Unlike that act’s reporting by broad categories of income, assets and liabilities, tax returns reveal a lot more and in great detail, like all sources of income, deductions taken, details about foreign business dealings and the existence of offshore accounts.
The ball is in Congress’s court — if not in this session, then in the next. In looking at legal reform of the presidency in the wake of President Trump, Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard professor and assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, and I have come up with a bipartisan plan for the release of presidential tax returns and related information, as well as mechanisms for enforcement.
First, all presidential candidates and presidents (and vice presidents) release their tax returns for each filing year while a candidate or, if elected, for each year in office. The obligation should fall on all presidential candidates who are the nominees of major parties or independent or third-party candidates who qualified for enough state ballots for the general election to garner, in theory, a majority in the Electoral College.
Second, this disclosure requirement should also apply to immediate family members of the president and vice president who serve in the Executive Office of the president, or at departments and agencies. For purposes of conflict of interest policy, the interests of family members should be imputed to the president if he or she assigns them White House or executive branch responsibilities.
Third, while not often discussed in the current tax return controversies, it has been Internal Revenue Policy for decades to conduct a mandatory annual audit of presidential returns. A reform law should mandate that, once the I.R.S. has completed these audits, it release them to the public.
Fourth, the Office of Government Ethics, which administers the Ethics in Government Act financial filing requirements for the executive branch, should have the responsibility of managing tax return disclosure law. It would work with the president and vice president (and candidates subject to the requirement) to ensure that it has received a completed filing for public release and it should be authorized to consult with the I.R.S. for this purpose. The law should also provide that if a president balks, then the Joint Committee on Taxation should be authorized to demand the returns from the Treasury secretary and, if necessary, to sue for enforcement in federal court.
A reform along these lines is consistent with the Constitution. Courts have long upheld personal financial disclosure requirements imposed on public officials. The Supreme Court has noted that presidents’ privacy rights are strongest when asserted “in matters of personal life unrelated to any acts done by them in their official capacity.” The vast powers that president wield, including their administration of the tax laws, leave little doubt about the relevance of their personal tax affairs to their official duties and to the objective of deterring corruption. The disclosure norm that Mr. Trump disregarded spoke powerfully to the public interest in this tax information.
Moreover, this history refutes any suggestion, rooted in a concern for the separation of powers, that tax return disclosure interferes with presidents’ performance of his or her constitutionally assigned functions. It is true that Trump’s refusal to release his personal tax returns incited a battle that has proved costly to his presidency. But the fault for the damage done lies in Mr. Trump’s rejection of the longstanding transparency norm. As the historian Arthur Schlesinger wisely suggested years ago, a “strong presidency” is one conducted “within an equally strong system of accountability.” Mr. Trump has fought this accountability and has not made the presidency stronger in doing so.
Although the Trump tax cases addressed complex constitutional issues, they are defined in the public mind and debate by something simpler: the struggle over access to his tax returns.
And, on that question, only Congress can do by legislative reform what is required to protect an interest in this information that is deeply implicated in but still separate from Congress’s or a prosecutor’s: the interest of the public.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/10/opinion/trump-taxes-supreme-court.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

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#Pakistan overtakes Italy to become 11th worst-affected country from #Covid-19

Pakistan has overtaken Italy when it comes to the number of Covid-19 cases reported in the country, becoming the 11th worst-affected country by the pandemic, data from the John Hopkins University revealed on Friday.
According to the NCOC, the number of positive cases in the country jumped to 243,599 after 2,751 cases were reported on Thursday. On the other hand, Italy’s positive cases stand at 242,363 as per data from the university’s resource center.
Pakistan reported 75 deaths over the past 24 hours, taking the nation’s Covid-19 death toll past the 5,000 mark. According to the NCOC, currently, the total number of people who have succumbed to the virus stand at 5,058.
The rising death toll has also resulted in Pakistan overtaking China — the epicentre of the virus — in the number of deaths. Pakistan has also become the 18th worst-hit country by the coronavirus in terms of fatality.
The NCOC’s report shared that the total number of active Covid-19 cases in Pakistan stand at 89,449, with 149,092 people recovering so far.
The breakdown, as per the reports, stated that Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) currently has 1485 cases, Balochistan 11,099 cases, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) reported 1,619, Islamabad 13,829 cases, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) 29,406 cases, Punjab 85,261 cases and Sindh is the worst affected province with 100,900 cases of the virus.
https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2020/07/10/pakistan-overtakes-italy-to-become-11th-worst-affected-country-from-covid-19/

Deadly crash, fake pilots expose #Pakistan’s broken airline

For decades Pakistan International Airlines Corp stood for a resurgent post-colonial nation, flying the flag from New York to Tokyo. Now the airline is struggling to recover from a fatal crash, years of losses, a collapse in global air travel and the stunning revelation that almost a third of the nation’s pilots obtained fake licenses.
That latest admission, from Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, tipped the airline from crisis to full-blown catastrophe. Khan didn’t say whether the pilots of the crashed Airbus SE jet, who were discussing the coronavirus when they retracted the landing gear just before touching down in Karachi, were among those who held dubious licences. But his announcement came on the same evening that investigators held the cockpit crew responsible for the accident.
Investigations into at least three major crashes in Pakistan in the past decade found the pilots were either at fault or didn’t follow guidelines. Khan said that 262 of over 850 pilots in Pakistan had fake qualifications and many didn’t even sit the exams themselves.
“I’m not shocked by this,” said Nasrullah Khan Afridi, President of Pakistan Airlines Cabin Crew Association. “In our culture, unfortunately, there is so much wrongdoing among politicians and others that everyone is looking for a short cut. Everyone with dubious records, including the regulator which issues pilot licences, should be punished.”
The shock is reverberating beyond Pakistan, which is not the only country in Asia to have reported problems in the past over the certification of pilots as a slew of new budget carriers competed to sign up cockpit crews. In the past few years, India and some nations in Southeast Asia have also come under scrutiny for cases of exaggerated flight hours or simulator time.
“This is not just a PIA or Pakistan only issue, it is widespread in India, Indonesia and also the Philippines,” said Mohan Ranganathan, an aviation safety consultant and former pilot based in the southern Indian city of Chennai. In 2011-12, several hundred pilots working for airlines in India were found to have fake certificates, he said. “A similar charade takes place from flying schools in Indonesia, Philippines etc. They collect the full fees from trainees but actual flying is done only on paper.”
Arun Kumar, head of India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, said the country has no cases of pilots with fake documents, even for those who qualified overseas. “All documents are duly checked and verified,” he said. “We have a robust system in place.”
Adita Irawati, a spokeswoman for Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry, said the country has never uncovered any abuse of documentation similar to what was found in Pakistan, and Indonesia has a mechanism in place to prevent such practices.Representatives for the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines did not immediately respond to requests for comment. As of Dec 13, almost half of the flying schools in Philippines were inactive, with about a dozen of them either facing stop orders or having their licences revoked or denied, data from the regulator showed.The deluge of disasters at PIA has galvanized the government to speed up reform of the industry in Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered the nation’s Civil Aviation Authority to fast track further actions for the nation’s airlines, and the authority itself, including cutting jobs.
Pakistan dismissed 28 pilots with suspicious licences, information minister Shibli Faraz said Tuesday. The probe is ongoing.
“It takes a lot of courage to come out and say our industry is broken,” said Faaiz Amir, a former Air Vice Marshal who investigated a 2012 crash of a Bhoja Air flight near Islamabad. “The system needs to be revamped. Civil aviation needs to be restructured and reorganised.”
They have their work cut out. PIA is the most likely airline in the world to fail in the absence of a bailout as Covid-19 cuts demand for air travel, according to a Bloomberg News analysis. The carrier has one of the highest staff-to-planes ratios, after successive governments shied away from major payroll cuts on concern they would spark labour unrest. The fake pilots disclosure prompted the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to ban airlines from Pakistan flying to its member states, and recommend other carriers not use pilots with Pakistani credentials for flights to the EU.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said it was “assessing the situation.”
Even without the latest round of catastrophes, the airline was struggling from high costs and increased competition from rivals such as Emirates, a carrier it ironically helped establish in 1985. PIA hasn’t made a profit in 15 years and liabilities amounted to $3.8 billion at the end of last year. It has some 14,000 employees for a fleet of only about 30 planes.
After years of propping up the carrier with cash bailouts -- the latest was 3.2 billion rupees ($19 million) last month for PIA to pay interest payments -- the government has promised to carry out measures including job cuts and the sale of non-core assets.
“It’s a belated, welcome and decisive realization,” said A.A.H. Soomro, managing director at Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Securities. “The conoravirus-induced travel decline coupled with plunging tax revenues have motivated the government to fix bleeding public sector entities.”
PIA traces its roots to 1946 when Orient Airways flew in the then-undivided India. After partition it was one of the first in Asia to begin a regular service to London and in the heady days of expansion in the 1960’s and 70’s was considered a model for new national airlines in other parts of the region.With prestige and growth came mismanagement and losses as the airline became a source of foreign revenue and a conduit for jobs and contracts at home. PIA is managed by either generalist bureaucrats, or military officers, or both, fostering a bureaucratic and unaccountable system, according to Mosharraf Zaidi, a senior fellow at Islamabad-based think tank, Tabadlab.The state of the nation’s aviation industry began to be reflected in its accident record. In 2010, an Airblue flight slammed into a rain-soaked hillside near Islamabad, killing 152, an incident also blamed on pilot error. Two years later, the nation suffered another major disaster when a Bhoja Air Boeing 737-200 carrying 118 passengers and 9 crew members crashed on approach at the capital. In both cases, the official reports identified pilot errors.
The recent PIA disaster was the first fatal plane crash for the airline since 47 people were killed in an ATR-42 in 2016.
Amid calls for reform and a change of government, the airline has had six chief executive officers in five years. The current administration says current CEO Arshad Mahmood Malik, a Vice Chief of Air Staff in the nation’s air force who was appointed in October 2018, is trying to restore the airline.
“The tragic recent crashes are a lingering legacy of past mismanagement and corruption that is in the process of being cleared up,”said Shireen Mazari, the minister for human rights in Khan’s cabinet and a close aide to the Prime Minister. Malik is taking steps such as “ferreting out pilots, engineers and others with fake licences and qualifications, implementing a modern cost-efficient reservation system, and returning to service costly planes that had been cannibalised for parts,” she said.
Other actions include selling or monetising non-core assets, built up over the years when the company was a conduit for national prestige. Its prime asset, the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, which was previously valued at $1 billion, may be turned primarily into an office tower with retail space on the ground floor.
But with no flights to Europe and possibly to other countries as aviation authorities weigh the concern about the training of its staff, the core airline itself may need substantial government support to survive.
Ali Wahab, Head of Debt Capital Markets at Sharjah Islamic Bank, said the minister’s revelation has put its future in jeopardy. “When an airline will not fly and has no revenue, how will it repay its debts?”
https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1948036/deadly-crash-fake-pilots-expose-pakistans-broken-airline

US bans Pakistan's PIA over pilot licence scandal

The United States has banned Pakistan International Airlines from operating chartered flights to the country, the airline said, after it announced nearly 150 pilots would be grounded over fake or dubious licences.
It follows a similar move by European Union aviation regulators to bar the state-run carrier for six months.
PIA said in a statement that the Federal Aviation Authority in the US had revoked approval for the airline due to "recent events identified by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority that are of serious concern to aviation safety".
Pakistan's aviation minister revealed in June that a government review had found around 260 of the country's 860 active pilots hold fake licenses or cheated on exams.
PIA at the time said it would immediately ground about a third of its 434 pilots, just weeks after one of its planes crashed in Karachi killing 98 people -- an accident blamed on pilot error.
So far 17 pilots have been fired in the first phase of its investigation, a PIA spokesman told AFP.
The airline had suspended its commercial operations to the US in 2017 after booking financial losses on the route.
But in April the US Department of Transport granted it special permission to operate chartered flights for one year, largely to bring back stranded Pakistanis during the coronavirus lockdown.
Until the 1970s, Pakistan's largest airline was considered a top regional carrier but its reputation plummeted amid chronic mismanagement, frequent cancellations and financial struggles.

#Pakistan - #PPP - Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condoles the death of Dr. Faisal due to Covid-19

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has paid rich tributes to Shaheed Dr. Faisal who succumbed to the Covid-19 and was performing his duty in Abbottabad’s government hospital.
Chairman Bilawal expressed deep grief and sorrow over the demise of Dr. Faisal and expressed his solidarity with the family.
Dr. Faisal was one of the doctors appointed through contract, who waited months for their salaries from the PTI government. Chairman Bilawal said that the lives of doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff are in jeopardy under the control of the selected government. Alongside the fact that our health staff is contracting Covid-19, the challenge of the government’s criminal approach is also facing us, he stated.
The incompetent government has become a nursery of the Covid-19 due to its anti-people policies. The sacrifices of doctors and paramedical staff will not go in vain, the nation will always remember their determination and efforts, he concluded.
چیئرمین پاکستان پیپلزپارٹی بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے ایبٹ آباد کے سرکاری ہسپتال میں کورونا وائرس کے باعث شہید ہونے والے ڈاکٹر فیصل کو خراج عقیدت پیش کرتے ہوئے کہا ہے کہ ڈاکٹر فیصل شہید کورونا وباءکے شکار انسانوں کی جانیں بچاتے ہوئے اپنی جان قربان کر دی۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ ڈاکٹر فیصل بھی کنٹریکٹ بھرتی کئے گئے تھے اور ان ڈاکٹروں میں سے ایک تھے جو کئی مہینوں سے پی ٹی آئی حکومت سے تنخواہ ملنے کے منتظر تھے۔ بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا کہ سلیکٹڈ حکمرانوں کے زیر کنٹرول صوبوں میں طبی عملے کی جانوں کو داﺅ پر لگا دیا گیا ہے۔ مذکورہ صوبوں میں طبی عملے کو کورونا کے ساتھ ساتھ حکومت کی مجرمانہ پالیسی کا چیلنج بھی درپیش ہے۔ بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا کہ نااہل حکومت عوام دشمن پالیسیوں کے ذریعے کورونا وائرس کی نرسری بن گئی ہے۔ چیئرمین پیپلزپارٹی نے ڈاکٹر فیصل کی شہادت پر ان کے خاندان سے یکجہتی اور افسوس کا اظہار کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ ڈاکٹروں اور طبی عملے کی قربانیاں رائیگا نہیں جائیں گے۔ قوم ان کے جذبے اور کاوشوں کو ہمیشہ قدر کی نگاہ سے دیکھے گی۔

آصف زرداری اور بلاول بھٹو سے مولانا فضل الرحمان کی ملاقات

سابق صدر آصف علی زرداری اور چیئرمین پی پی پی بلاول بھٹو زرداری سے مولانا فضل الرحمان کی بلاول ہائوس کراچی میں ڈیڑھ گھنٹے تک ملاقات۔
مولانا فضل الرحمان نے سابق صدر آصف علی زرداری کی صحت سے متعلق خیریت دریافت کی۔
سابق صدر آصف علی زرداری اور چیئرمین پی پی پی بلاول بھٹو زرداری کی مولانا فضل الرحمان سے اہم سیاسی امور پر گفتگو ہوئی۔
پاکستان پیپلزپارٹی اور جمعیت علمائے اسلام کا ملکی سالمیت اور بقا کی خاطر سیاسی امور میں ساتھ چلنے پر اتفاق کیا گیا ۔
سابق صدر آصف علی زرداری، چیئرمین پی پی پی بلاول بھٹو زرداری اور مولانا فضل الرحمان نے این ایف سی ایوارڈ پر غیرلچکدار مؤقف اپنانے پر اتفاق کیا۔
آصف علی زرداری، چیئرمین پی پی پی بلاول بھٹو زرداری اور مولانا فضل الرحمان نے18ویں آئینی ترمیم پر بھی غیرلچکدار مؤقف اپنانے پر اتفاق برقرار رکھا ۔
شریک چیئرمین پیپلز پارٹی آصف زرداری نے کہا کہ عوام دشمن بجٹ اور این ایف سی ایوارڈ سے متعلق کوئی سمجھوتہ نہیں ہوگا۔
آصف علی زرداری نے کہا کہ  میں نے پہلے ہی کہہ دیا تھا کہ عمران خان حکومت چلانے کے اہل نہیں ہیں ۔
انہوں نے کہا کہ  گزشتہ برس میں نے ٹِڈی دَل کے حملوں سے متعلق پارلیمان میں حکومت کو خبردار کیا تھا، حکومت نے اپنی ضد اور انا کی وجہ سے ٹِڈی دَل کے حملوں سے متعلق میرے خدشات کو سنجیدہ نہیں لیا۔
آصف علی زرداری نے کہا کہ  اگر ٹِڈی دَل کے حملوں کی فوری روک تھام نہ کی گئی تو ملک میں خوراک کا بحران پیدا ہوجائے گا۔
انہوں نے کہا کہ  عوام امید کی نظروں سے ملک کی اپوزیشن جماعتوں کی جانب دیکھ رہے ہیں کہ وہ سلیکٹڈ حکومت سے انہیں نجات دلائیں۔
سابق صدر آصف علی زرداری نے کہا کہ  کورونا وائرس کے بحران کے دنوں میں عمران خان کی نااہلی کھل کر سامنے آچکی ہے۔
 بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا کہ  پاکستان اور عمران خان ساتھ ساتھ نہیں چل سکتے،  عمران خان کے دورِحکومت میں ملک میں سب سے زیادہ کرپشن میں اضافہ ہوا۔
چیئرمین پیپلز پارٹی نے کہا کہ عمران خان نیب کو استعمال کرکے اپوزیشن جماعتوں کے سیاست دانوں سے انتقام لے رہے ہیں۔
انہوں نے کہا کہ دوسال ہوگئے ہیں، عمران خان نے کوئی ایک ایسا کام نہیں کیا جو عوامی مفاد میں ہو۔
بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا کہ  ملک کی تمام اپوزیشن جماعتیں سلیکٹڈ حکومت کے خلاف ایک پیچ پر ہیں۔
سابق صدر آصف علی زرداری اور چیئرمین پی پی پی بلاول بھٹو زرداری کے نکات سے مولانا فضل الرحمان نے  اتفاق کیا۔
فضل الر حمان نے کہا کہ  پی ٹی آئی حکومت نے ملکی معیشت کو دیوار سے لگادیا ہے،  پاکستان کی تاریخ میں کبھی معیشت کی منفی شرح نمو نہیں ہوئی۔
انہوں نے کہا کہ  اگر معیشت کو بچانا ہے تو سب نے ملک کر سلیکٹڈ حکمرانوں کا مقابلہ کرنا ہوگا۔
https://samachar.pk/

Thursday, July 9, 2020

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#Pakistan - Opposition Leader And Bilawal Bhutto Agree To Call APC

Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif has agreed to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s anti-government APC proposal.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif has telephoned PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto.
During the conversation, the two leaders discussed the convening of the All Parties Conference (APC) and the points under consideration.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari inquired about the health of Shehbaz Sharif and also expressed goodwill while Shehbaz Sharif expressed good wishes for the health of former President Asif Ali Zardari.
Sources said that after contacts with other opposition parties, it has been agreed to announce the date of APC.
It may be recalled that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari wanted APC before or immediately after the budget but due to lack of positive response from PML-N, holding of APC had come to a standstill.
The PPP had expressed reservations about the PML-N in a meeting held two days ago. After these reservations, Shehbaz Sharif today responded to Bilawal’s proposal several weeks later.
Earlier, Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had mobilized to convene an all-party conference of the opposition.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has sent a message to the leadership of PML-N and proposed to call APC soon.
Regarding the APC feeding, Bilawal Bhutto has contacted a League leader in which it was said that Shehbaz Sharif should take the initiative as the Leader of the Opposition.

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د آشنا تلویزیون د پنجشنبې خپرونه د ۲۰۲۰ د جولای نهمه - چنګاښ ۱۹ - Video - Pashto News

خیبر پښتونخوا: حکومت لاهم د کم عمرۍ واده مخنیوی بل نه دی منظور کړی

خیبر پښتونخوا کې لا هم د ماشومانو نجونو ودولو په اړه په ۱۹۲۹ز کال کې جوړ شوی قانون عملي دی


د خیبر پښتونخوا د ښځو حقونو حکومتي کمېشن د پروګرامونو مشره وايي، د ماشومانو نجونو ودولو مخنیوي بل د خیبر پښتونخوا په اسمبلۍ کې د ۲۰۱۴م کال وروسته وخت په وخت وړاندې شوی دی خو لا هم نه دی منظور شوی.

له مشال راډيو سره په خبرو کې امنه درانۍ وایي، د بل پر مسوده لا هم خبرې روانې دي او له دغې وروسته به صوبایي اسمبلۍ ته د منظورۍ لپاره وړاندې کېږي.
"که دا بل منظور شي، نو د ۱۸ز کالو د کم عمره ماشومې نجلۍ د ودولو په تور کې یو تن له یوه تر درېوو کالو پورې سزا کېدای شي او دا شان د یو لک روپو تر دریو لکو روپو پورې جرمانه پرې هم لګېدای شي، خو دا په هغه وخت کې پر جج پورې ده چې هغه څومره سزا ورکوي. د دې بل د مسودې په جوړولو کې زیات کار د صوبې د ماشومانې د حقونو د خوندي ساتلو کمېشن کړی او د ټولو قانوني خبرو خیال پکې ساتل شوی دې او د دیني علماو نظر پرې هم اخېستل شوی دی.
په خیبر پښتونخوا کې لا هم د ماشومانو نجونو ودولو په اړه په ۱۹۲۹ز کال کې جوړ شوی قانون عملي دی.
په دغه قانون کې د یوې جینۍ د واده د عمر حد ۱۶ کاله دی. او د دغه قانون ترمخه ۱۶ کالو د کم عمره ماشومې ودولو په تور کې یو تن ته تر یوې میاشتې د بند سزا کېدای شي او جرمانه یې یو زر روپۍ ده.
د ماشومانو حقونو پوه ارشد محمد وایي، په پاکستان کې اوس هم د کم عمره نجونو ودولو رواج دې:
"په پاکستان کې اوس هم په یوشمېر سیمو کې وړې نجونه ودول یوه عامه خبره ده، د ۱۵ز کالو تر ۱۸ز کالو په عمرونو کې د جینکو د ودولو شرح زیاته ده او دا هغه یوه مهمه وجه ده چې په پاکستان کې د ماشومانو د زیږېدو پر وخت د میندو د مړینې شرح هم زیاته ده."
په سوات کې د ۱۰ جینکو یوه ډله د (( ګرلز یوناییټډ فار هیومن رايټس)) په نوم په سیمه کې د ماشومانو جینکو په زوره د ودولو خلاف کور په کور د پوهې پېدا کولو لپاره کمپېن کوي.
د دغه ډلې مشرې حدیقه بشیر د جولای پر نهمه نېټه له مشال راډیو سره په خبرو کې وویل اوس خلک رو رو په دې پوهېږي چې باید یوه جینۍ په ماشوموالي کې واده نه کړل شي خو لا هم په دې اړه ډېر کار ته ضرورت دی:
"په لومړیو ورځو کې چې کله به موږ خلکو ته وویل چې خپلې وړې لوڼه مه ودوۍ نو زموږ د خبرو مخالفت به کېدو چې پکې به ښځې هم وې، دوی به ویل واده خو ډېر ښه شی دې، او باید زر وشي، خو اوس دومره فرق راغلی چې دوی زموږ خبرو ته غوږ ږدي او زما په فکر یو ډېر لږ بدلون راغلی."
د خیبر پښتونخوا د واکمن تحریک انصاف پاکستان ګوند د صوبايي اسمبلۍ او د ماشومانو د حقونو خوندي ساتلو د کمېټۍ یوه غړې عایشه بانو د جولای پر نهمه مشال راډیو ته وویل حکومت یې کوښښ کوي چې دغه بل زر تر زره منظور کړي.
په ۲۰۱۹ز کال کې موږ دا بل وړاندې کړ، بیا کابینه کې پرې یو څو کسانو دا اعتراض وکړ چې باید دا بل د اسلامي تعلیماتو مطابق جوړ کړل شي او په دې نور بحث هم وشي چې دا مسله نوره روښانه کړل شي."
بلخوا په سند صوبه کې د ماشومانو د ودونو خلاف قانون په ۲۰۱۴ز کال کې منظور شوی او پکې د هلک او جینۍ دواړو لپاره د واده د عمر حد ۱۸ کال ښودل شوی.
د پاکستان په نورو سیمو کې د انګرېزانو د دور په ۱۹۲۹ز کال کې جوړ شوی د ماشومانو د ودونو په اړه قانون لا هم عملي دې، چې د ماشومانو د حقونو ادارې یې په اړه وایي دغه قانون د ماشومانو جینکو او هلکانو د ودونو په مخنیوي کې ناکامه دی.