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    ISLAMABAD: Five people, including two women, were arrested on the charge of trespassing on the farmhouse of Minister for Science and Technology Senator Azam Swati and beating his guards.

    The arrested slum dwellers were produced in a court on Monday from where they were sent to jail on a judicial remand, the police said.

    The relatives and neighbours of the arrested people staged a protest at the National Press Club on Monday.

    They were carrying placards and chanting slogans against the minister and demanding his removal. They regretted that the slum dwellers, including teenagers, were put behind bars after one of their animals entered the land of the minister.

    They alleged that the guards of the senators confiscated a buffalo and later beat up a boy when he came to take it back. The guards also attacked the boy’s house and beat his family members. The police said that on Oct 26 animals of people from Bajaur, who have established slums on government land by encroaching it, damaged Mr Swati’s farmhouse. The police said the guards deployed at the farmhouse asked the slum dwellers to remove the animals but the latter who were armed with axes and batons beat them and snatched their weapons.

    The police registered the case against the slum dwellers on the complaint of Mr Swati’s son Usman Mr Ali and arrested three of the nominated people on Oct 26 and two on Oct 27.

    The FIR said earlier complaints had been lodged against the slum dwellers with the inspector general of the police (IGP) for allegedly threatening the family of Mr Swati.

    When contacted, Mr Swati told Dawn that the transfer of IGP Jan Mohammad had nothing to do with the case. He said Jan Mohammad was appointed as the IGP Islamabad by the caretaker government before the July 25 general election and a decision had already been made to transfer him.

    There were already a number of complaints against the IGP which were also in the knowledge of the prime minister, he said.

    “People from Afghanistan and tribal areas are residing on encroached land and they brought their animals for grazing in my farmhouse on Oct 26. When the guards asked them to remove the animals they attacked and injured them,” he added.

    The issue was shortly brought under the knowledge of the deputy superintendent of police and the SSP Islamabad and later a complaint was faxed to the IGP as asked by the SSP.

    Mr Swati said the IGP was contacted on his mobile phone after making 38 calls and he promised action on his complaint. The next day, he added, the IGP was approached again to get a follow-up and in response he replied: “No one has talked to you yet?”

    On his attitude, “I lodged complaints with the prime minister, the Senate chairman, leader of the house and the state minister for interior,” the minister added.

    The IGP could not be contacted for comments as his mobile was switched off.

    A senior police officer told Dawn that the family of Mr Swati had produced evidence showing the dwellers of slum attacking and beating the guards after bringing their animals to the farmhouse.

    A medical examination of the guards was conducted and later the FIR was registered, the officer said.

    He said the slum dwellers did not lodge a counter-complaint though they claimed that the guards had beaten them. Besides, no injured person was produced in support of their claim.

    Officials in the police, capital administration and the interior ministry said the decision to transfer the IGP was made weeks ago.

    They said the IGPs Punjab and Sindh appointed before the election had also been removed.

    Published in Dawn, October 30th , 2018


    Minister for Science and Technology Senator Azam Swati. — Photo/FileMinister for Science and Technology Senator Azam Swati. — Photo/File

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    Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday defended the transfer of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Jan Mohammad, claiming that multiple complaints had been lodged against his performance and non-cooperative attitude prior to his transfer.

    Chaudhry, while speaking to the media in Islamabad, said that he could not comment on the veracity of reports that minister Azam Swati had influenced the IGP's transfer.

    Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi had earlier written to Prime Minister Imran Khan that the IGP had failed to take action against the widespread use of drugs in the capital's schools. He also told the premier that bribery was widespread in Islamabad's police stations and check points.

    Afridi had complained that IGP Mohammad did not take his calls and was not cooperating, Chaudhry told the media.

    "[IGs] are answerable to the prime minister and chief minister who are answerable to the public through assemblies," Chaudhry said in his press talk.

    "A narrative is being pushed that if [officers] do not receive phone calls, they will become heroes. This will lead to chaos and anarchy in the country," he said.

    He regretted that the government policies were not being followed in "some matters".

    The information minister questioned the point of electing a prime minister if he couldn't even remove an officer over "legitimate complaints".

    "The prime minister is the chief executive of the country and the chief minister is the chief executive of the province. They have executive powers and they will exercise them."

    He clarified that the government will present its arguments in the Supreme Court and will follow the latter's verdict.

    Last week, IGP Mohammad was posted out from the force and his services were surrendered to the establishment division.

    The officer, who is in Malaysia on ex-Pakistan leave to attend a course, will return on November 5 and hand over the charge to his successor if the government appointed any officer in his place by then.

    Local media reported that Mohammad was removed from his post because he did not receive Minister Swati's phone calls. The news was rubbished by the government's Fake News Buster Twitter account but caught the chief justice's attention, who suspended the IGP's transfer orders.

    Nothing irregular about Bani Gala

    The information minister also rubbished claims that Prime Minister Khan's residence in Islamabad's Bani Gala area was irregular, as it was built with the permission of the area's union council Mora Noor.

    "Now if 30 years later, CDA (Capital Development Authority) has decided to include the area in its jurisdiction, that does not make the houses, that were built according to an older law, illegal," he said and added that the prime minister will pay the regularisation fee.


    Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry talks to media. — DawnNewsTVInformation Minister Fawad Chaudhry talks to media. — DawnNewsTV

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    The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday refused an apology rendered by Aamir Liaquat Hussain's lawyer in an ongoing contempt of court case, ordering the MNA to appear before the bench in person today.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, during today's hearing, lashed out against the televangelist, saying "anyone can speak against the judiciary and insult it".

    The CJP asked if the additional attorney general was present in court as he had to frame the charge sheet against Hussain today. The MNA's lawyer urged the court to accept the apology as the "door to forgiveness never closes".

    The hearing was adjourned for a recess.

    In August, the SC had slapped a contempt of court charge against Hussain while taking up petitions filed by anchorperson Shahzeb Khanzada, Independent Media Corporation (Pvt) Ltd, Mir Ibrahim-ur-Rehman and Najam Aziz Sethi accusing Hussain of flouting the March 28, 2017 restraining order in which he was cautioned to desist from defamatory campaigns and unethical manner of conducting television shows.


    Televangelist and MNA Aamir Liaquat Hussain. — Photo/FileTelevangelist and MNA Aamir Liaquat Hussain. — Photo/File

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    Singer and television host Fakhre Alam — who had been detained at the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport a day earlier for landing with an expired visa — has been cleared to travel ahead after the Russian authorities renewed his visa, Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal tweeted on Tuesday.

    "Pleased to confirm that visa [has been] granted to Fakhre Alam by authorities of Russian Federation today in the morning," Dr Faisal said in his tweet and added that Pakistan's ambassador to Russia had "remained in touch with Fakhar-e-Alam throughout his stay" at Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport.

    He also thanked the Russian authorities for their cooperation.

    Alam also tweeted to confirm that his visa had been renewed and thanked the government, media, Russian authorities and well wishers.

    "I continue to fly my flag to complete the first ever Pakistani circumnavigation," he said in a series of tweets.

    Earlier this month, Alam had set off on a journey, that he named "Mission Parwaaz", to travel around the world in 28 days to "become the first Pakistani in the history of the world to do so".

    However, the trip suffered a setback yesterday when he was detained at a Russian airport for landing with an expired visa. The incident came to the Foreign Office's notice after actor Faysal Quraishi posted a message on Alam's behalf, where he had appealed the Pakistani government to help him.


    Fakhre Alam. — Photo/FileFakhre Alam. — Photo/File

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    RAWALPINDI: The federal government has decided to contact the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), asking it to issue a red warrant against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain in connection with the murder of senior party leader Imran Farooq, in a bid to bring the United Kingdom-based leader back to Pakistan.

    Sources said on Monday that the Federal Investigation Agency had been directed to write an application to the Interpol headquarters in Lyon (France) for issuance of the red warrant against Mr Hussain.

    An official of the FIA said that the agency would soon start the process for submitting the application to Interpol. However, he added, the process might take some time.

    The FIA official said that it would be up to Interpol officials to decide whether or not a red warrant against the MQM founder could be issued.

    According to him, in such cases Interpol usually examines if they are politically and religiously motivated or related to military. He said the FIA made a similar request about Mr Hussain to Interpol in June 2017, but that was rejected by it.

    The sources said the FIA would submit the challan in the Imran Farooq murder case which was being investigated by a joint investigation team along with the application to be submitted to Interpol.

    MQM senior leader Imran Farooq, who had developed differences with Mr Hussain, was killed outside his house in London in September 2010.

    The FIA registered a case against Mr Hussain and other MQM leaders in connection with the Imran Farooq murder case in 2015 and launched an investigation.

    Mr Farooq had lived in London in self-imposed exile from 1999 till his murder in 2010. Three suspects have been arrested by police in connection with the Imran Farooq murder and they have been charged with the murder, abetment and hatching a conspiracy to kill. They are being tried in an anti-terrorism court.

    Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2018


    Govt to request issuance of red warrants for MQM founder in connection with Imran Farooq's murder. — Photo/FileGovt to request issuance of red warrants for MQM founder in connection with Imran Farooq's murder. — Photo/File

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    A woman shot her husband dead in Punjab's Sheikhupura district, allegedly in reaction to being routinely abused by him, police said on Tuesday.

    Police have taken the woman into custody. She has 'confessed' to killing her husband, 70-year-old Asghar alias Kalu.

    A case has been registered.

    The deceased had married a total of eight times. Two of his wives had passed away, Station House Office Latif Gujjar of Housing Colony Police Station told DawnNewsTV. The man had been living with his six wives and 17 children in a single house in Alif Town.

    The suspect told reporters at the police station that she was married to Asghar around 15 years ago and they had two children.

    "My husband used to beat me up and torture me," she said, adding that he last assaulted her 2 days ago.

    Read: ‘Every second woman suffers domestic violence in Pakistan’

    When Asghar came home around midnight on Monday, she laced the juice she served to him with intoxicants, the woman said.

    "[I] shot him at 5 in the morning, which led to his death," she said.

    SHO Gujjar said police discovered the man's body at the house. "The woman was present at the scene of the crime and confessed to killing him," he said.

    The man was shot in the head, the SHO said. The pistol used for the killing was also recovered.


    The suspect says she laced her husband's drink with drugs before opening fire on him in the early hours of Tuesday. — FileThe suspect says she laced her husband's drink with drugs before opening fire on him in the early hours of Tuesday. — File

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    The Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing on Tuesday said it had arrested a man in Rawalpindi found involved in harassing and blackmailing women on social media.

    "The accused used to threaten three sisters to have illicit relations with him or he would doctor their photographs and upload them on social media", according to FIA officials.

    A team headed by Deputy Director Mehmoodul Hasan arrested the accused on the complaint of the three women.

    Also read:A 7-step guide for Pakistani victims of hacking and blackmail

    In March this year, a magistrate in Lahore had sentenced a man to six years in prison and imposed a fine of Rs0.7 million for harassing and blackmailing a woman online.

    The convict was also ordered to pay Rs1 million in compensation to the victim.


    In this file photo, a woman browses a phone. According to the Digital Rights Foundation, people face most harassment on Facebook.In this file photo, a woman browses a phone. According to the Digital Rights Foundation, people face most harassment on Facebook.

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    The Supreme Court will announce its judgement on a 2014 appeal filed by Asia Bibi, a Christian woman condemned to death on blasphemy charges, on Tuesday.

    According to a supplementary cause list issued by the SC, the verdict will be announced by a special bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar at 9am. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel will be other members of the three-judge bench.

    The apex court had reserved its ruling on Bibi's final legal appeal against execution (Asia Bibi v. The State, etc) on October 8.

    See: What you need to know about Asia Bibi's trial

    While reserving the verdict after an hours-long hearing, the top court had restrained both electronic and print media from discussing or commenting on the matter till the final judgement.

    Allegations against Asia Bibi

    Asia Bibi was convicted for blasphemy under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code for allegedly defaming Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). The offence carries the mandatory death penalty under Pakistani law.

    The allegations against Bibi are that she made three “defamatory and sarcastic” statements about the Holy Prophet on June 14, 2009 during an argument with three Muslim women while the four of them were picking fruit in a field.

    The prosecution had claimed that Bibi “admitted” making these statements at a “public gathering” on June 19, 2009 "while asking for forgiveness".

    A trial court had convicted Bibi for blasphemy in November 2010 and sentenced her to death. The Lahore High Court (LHC) had upheld her conviction and confirmed her death sentence in October 2014.

    The Supreme Court had admitted her appeal for hearing in July 2015.

    Case history

    The allegations against Asia Bibi date back to June 2009, when she was labouring in a field and a row broke out with some Muslim women she was working with.

    She was asked to fetch water, but the Muslim women objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl.

    The women later went to a local cleric and accused Bibi of blasphemy against the Holy Prophet, a charge punishable by death under legislation that rights groups say is routinely abused to settle personal vendettas.

    In 2011, former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who spoke out in support of Bibi, was gunned down in broad daylight in Islamabad. His assassin Mumtaz Qadri was executed in 2016 after the court found him guilty of murder.

    Bibi's supporters maintain her innocence and insist it was a personal dispute, and the Vatican has called for her release.

    The top court had last taken up the appeal in October 2016, but had to adjourn the matter without hearing after one of the judges recused himself from the SC bench.

    Successive appeals had been rejected.

    If the bench eventually upholds Bibi's conviction, her only recourse will be a direct appeal to the president for clemency.

    If that fails, she could become the first person in Pakistan to be executed for blasphemy.


    Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, accused of blasphemy in June 2009 and sentenced to death a year later. ─ Reuters/FileAsia Bibi, a Christian woman, accused of blasphemy in June 2009 and sentenced to death a year later. ─ Reuters/File

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    A sessions court in Peshawar on Tuesday handed a total of 105 years in prison to a private school's principal on charges of child abuse, pornography, rape, blackmail and maintaining illicit relations.

    The convict, Attaullah Marwat, was also fined Rs1.4 million in addition to the jail terms. The sentences were handed down by Sessions Judge Younis Khan.

    The accused, who is the private school’s owner, was arrested after the Hayatabad police station registered a case against him on July 14, 2017, on the complaint of a boy student, who had accused him of sexually exploiting schoolchildren, including girls, and filming them with secret cameras installed on campus.

    Read: Were you silent about sexual abuse in your childhood? You're not alone

    A trial court had framed charges against him on eight counts under the Pakistan Penal Code, including Section 354-A (stripping a woman of her clothes), 376 (punishment for rape), 377-B (sexual abuse of child), 489-C (counterfeit currency), 497 (adultery) and 509 (sexual harassment), and Sections 48 (child pornography), 50 (seducing a child) and 53 (sexual abuse) of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Act, 2010.

    He was found guilty of all charges and handed various jail sentences under each section — resulting in a total prison term of 105 years.

    As many as 25 direct and indirect victims of Marwat had their statements recorded before police against the convict, however, it is believed that a majority of his victims had not come forward.

    One of the charges against the convict was that he had forced, persuaded, coerced and enticed female students under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activities and exposed their bodies, and was involved in explicit sexual conduct and abuse of minor schoolgirls.

    Marwat was also charged with forcing, coercing and persuading female students of his school to engage in sexual activities and capturing those acts on his mobile phones and secret cameras installed in different parts of the school and storing them in USBs.

    The convict had allegedly "on multiple occasions and habitually" enticed and compelled multiple women of different ages to have illicit relations with him inside the school.

    He was also charged with sexually assaulting multiple women after coercing them with death threats.

    Following his arrest last year, the accused had recorded his confessional statement before a judicial magistrate on July 19, 2017, wherein he had admitted only that he used to bring women from outside to the school for the purpose of adultery.

    He had said it was his "hobby" to make videos of his sexual activities.

    He had also admitted that 26 such videos, which he had recorded, were stored in his personal computer.

    The issue had surfaced after a student of the said school (name withheld) had told the police that the accused was involved in sexual exploitation of students and teachers.

    He had alleged that Marwat had sexually exploited students, teachers and some women from outside the school but nobody had the courage to disclose or report the matter.

    The complainant had alleged that the principal had also showed him several objectionable videos, which he had recorded secretly through cameras, and also invited him to get involved in such acts.

    In the first information report of the case, the police had said that when they raided the school, the accused tried to conceal his two cell phones, which allegedly had several objectionable videos involving schoolboys.

    It added that the accused used three rooms of his school for the illegal activities.

    The police had recovered memory cards and USBs and saw several videos showing the principal sexually exploiting students, including girls, in different parts of his school.


    The convict, Attaullah Marwat. — Photo by authorThe convict, Attaullah Marwat. — Photo by author

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    A senior officer of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police was shot injured in a mugging incident on Sunday, DawnNewsTV reported on Tuesday.

    SSP Operations Javed Iqbal, in a brief chat with the media personnel, confirmed that Additional Inspector General (AIG) Khalid Abbas was the victim of a mugging incident in Pishtakhara area of the city.

    The first information report (FIR) of the incident narrates that the AIG was on his way back home when he was mugged at gunpoint within the jurisdiction of Pishtakhara police station.

    The AIG reported that he had Rs20,000 on him, whereas, his wife was carrying Rs30,000 — both of which the muggers took away.

    The FIR further states that the AIG was also fired at, and that he received a bullet wound on his left foot.

    Last week it was reported that an official of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police has gone missing from the Ramna neighbourhood of Islamabad.

    Khan's family members have expressed the fear that he may have been abducted.

    Meanwhile, the head of Peshawar city police said the missing SP had been on a short leave, and had travelled to Islamabad in connection with personal matters.

    Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Qazi Jamilur Rehman confirmed that the police were unable to contact SP Khan as his number was switched off.

    "It would be premature to comment on his disappearance, although [we] are in constant touch with Islamabad police to know the facts," he said.


    A file photo of a KP policeman.A file photo of a KP policeman.

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    The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday upheld its Abbottabad circuit bench's decision to suspend the three-year jail terms handed to 25 people in the Mashal Khan lynching case.

    On February 7 this year, a Haripur Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) had ruled on the 2017 lynching and murder of Mashal Khan, and handed the shooter — Imran Ali — two death sentences, five persons multiple terms of life imprisonment, and 25 others jail sentences.

    On February 27, the PHC's Abbottabad circuit bench had suspended the multi-year sentences handed to the 25 — against which the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government and Mashal's family had filed review petitions.

    Under PHC Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth's stewardship, a two-member bench of the court today, in a brief order, set aside the petitions against the suspension of the sentences

    Mashal Khan, 23, a student of Mass Communications at Mardan's Abdul Wali Khan University, was beaten and shot to death on April 13, 2017 by his fellow students after he was falsely accused of blasphemy.

    The lynching took place within the premises of the university and was caught on video, which later circulated widely on social media.

    The horrific incident had shocked the nation and sparked a debate over the misuse of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.


    Mashal Khan was murdered in 2017. — FileMashal Khan was murdered in 2017. — File

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    President Arif Alvi and his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to further strengthen mutual cooperation between the two "brotherly countries", in a one-on-one meeting on Tuesday, Radio Pakistan reported.

    The two leaders met during President Alvi's three-day trip to Turkey, and agreed to intensify cooperation in order to deepen bilateral ties in all fields.

    President Alvi shared his "satisfaction" over increasing Turkish investments in Pakistan, adding that he hoped Turkish investors would continue to take advantage of investment opportunities in Pakistan, Radio Pakistan reported.

    President Dr Arif Alvi stressed the early conclusion of bilateral Free Trade Agreement and increasing bilateral trade between both countries, the report said.

    During the meeting in Istanbul, Erdogan congratulated President Alvi for winning the election and expressed hope that Pak-Turkey ties would grow under the new leadership, the report added.

    According to Radio Pakistan, the Pakistani president invited Erdogan to visit Pakistan and thanked him for the "warm welcome" to Turkey.

    While in Turkey, President Alvi attended a reception on the 95th Republic Day of Turkey which was hosted by Erdogan in the honour of visiting heads of state and governments, the report added.

    On Monday, President Arif Alvi also attended the inauguration of the Istanbul Grand International Airport .

    Speaking to reporters before leaving for Turkey, the president said Ankara is an important friend for Islamabad and has always supported it on all issues, including Kashmir.

    "People of Turkey are our friends and brothers, we have been together since the Khilafat movement. I also appreciate Turkey's struggle for democracy," he added.


    President Dr Arif Alvi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at inauguration of the Istanbul Grand International Airport on Monday. — Photo courtesy of Arif Alvi TwitterPresident Dr Arif Alvi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at inauguration of the Istanbul Grand International Airport on Monday. — Photo courtesy of Arif Alvi Twitter

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    Chaudhry Mehmood Akhtar, a former judge of the Lahore High Court (LHC), was shot dead in the jurisdiction of Jatli police station in Chakwal on Tuesday.

    Police said the former LHC judge was on his way back to Chakwal from his native town. When he reached Tarkawal Mor near Jatli, some unidentified armed attackers opened fire on his car.

    As a result, Akhtar died on the spot while his niece Sajjida received bullet injuries.

    Upon receiving information of the incident, the Rescue-1122 team rushed to the scene and shifted the body to Tehsil Headquarters Hospital, Gujjar Khan, while the injured was shifted to District Headquarters Hospital, Chakwal.

    The Rawalpindi police chief took notice of the incident and formed two teams to probe the murder which will be headed by Station House Officer (SHO) Mandra and SHO Jatli, respectively.

    Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry expressed regret and condemned the killing of the former judge. He provided assurances that those behind the murder will be brought to justice soon.

    Meanwhile, the Pakistan Bar Council also condemned the incident, which "raises questions on the blatant failure of security and law enforcement agencies".

    "For such an incident to occur on such a busy thoroughfare is a failure of law enforcement agencies," members of the council said.

    The council's vice chairman called on the authorities to take concrete measures and bring improvements to the security provided to citizens.

    "The suspects must be arrested immediately," he asserted.


    Chaudhry Mehmood Akhtar speaking to the media. —DawnNewsTVChaudhry Mehmood Akhtar speaking to the media. —DawnNewsTV

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    The Supreme Court will today announce its judgement on a 2014 appeal filed by Asia Bibi, a Christian woman condemned to death on blasphemy charges.

    According to a supplementary cause list issued by the SC on Monday, the verdict will be announced by a special bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar at 9am. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel will be the other members of the three-judge bench.

    The apex court had reserved its ruling on Bibi's final legal appeal against execution (Asia Bibi v. The State, etc) on October 8. The appeal challenges the Lahore High Court’s October 2014 verdict of upholding a trial court’s November 2010 decision of sentencing Bibi to death for committing blasphemy.

    See: What you need to know about Asia Bibi's trial

    While reserving the verdict after an hours-long hearing, the top court had restrained both electronic and print media from discussing or commenting on the matter till the final judgement.

    Allegations against Asia Bibi

    Asia Bibi was convicted for blasphemy under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code for allegedly defaming Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). The offence carries the mandatory death penalty under Pakistani law.

    The allegations against Bibi are that she made three “defamatory and sarcastic” statements about the Holy Prophet on June 14, 2009 during an argument with three Muslim women while the four of them were picking fruit in a field in Sheikhupura.

    She was asked to fetch water, but the Muslim women objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl.

    The women later went to a local cleric and accused Bibi of blasphemy against the Holy Prophet, a charge punishable by death under legislation that rights groups say is routinely abused to settle personal vendettas.

    Arguments on appeal

    During the hearing of Bibi's appeal on Oct 8, the prosecution side, represented by Additional Prosecutor for Punjab Chaudhry Zubair, and Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry from the complainant side had supported each other by arguing that the accused had not denied committing blasphemy or presence of the accused as well as the witnesses at the place of occurrence. Besides, they said, the allegation of a quarrel before the incident in which Bibi was first insulted for being a Christian had also not been proved.

    Advocate Saiful Malook, appearing on behalf of Bibi, had argued that the prosecution’s case was replete with infirmities and subsequent improvements and, therefore, the benefit of the doubt should be given to the accused and the entire investigation be declared illegal and unwarranted.

    Meanwhile, Chief Justice Nisar had observed that committing blasphemy was the most appalling and spiteful offence, and not only “our laws but the fundamentals of our religion also place strict standards of proof to prove the crime”.

    Case history

    The prosecution had claimed that Bibi “admitted” making the blasphemous statements at a “public gathering” on June 19, 2009 "while asking for forgiveness".

    A trial court convicted Bibi for blasphemy in November 2010 and sentenced her to death. The Lahore High Court (LHC) had upheld her conviction and confirmed her death sentence in October 2014.

    She had then challenged the LHC verdict in the Supreme Court, which stayed her execution in July 2015 and admitted her appeal for hearing.

    The top court had first taken up the appeal in October 2016, but had to adjourn the matter without hearing after one of the judges recused himself from the SC bench. Two years later, the appeal was heard earlier this month and the CJP Nisar-led bench reserved its verdict.

    Bibi's supporters maintain her innocence and insist it was a personal dispute, and the Vatican has called for her release.

    In 2011, former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who spoke out in support of Bibi, was gunned down in broad daylight in Islamabad. His assassin Mumtaz Qadri was executed in 2016 after the court found him guilty of murder.

    If the SC bench upholds Bibi's conviction, her only recourse will be a direct appeal to the president for clemency.

    If that fails, she could become the first person in Pakistan to be executed for blasphemy.


    Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, accused of blasphemy in June 2009 and sentenced to death a year later. ─ Reuters/FileAsia Bibi, a Christian woman, accused of blasphemy in June 2009 and sentenced to death a year later. ─ Reuters/File

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    The family of Asia Bibi is waiting anxiously for the Supreme Court to announce her appeal in a case that has been ongoing for over eight years.

    Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, has been on death row since 2010. She was accused of committing blasphemy in 2009. A trial court had found her guilty of the crime and awarded her the death sentence. The Lahore High Court (LHC) upheld the sentence.

    In 2011, former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who spoke out in support of Bibi, was gunned down in broad daylight in Islamabad. His assassin Mumtaz Qadri was executed earlier in 2016 after the court found him guilty of murder.

    The lawyers of Bibi have approached the SC as a last resort, seeking repeal of her sentence.

    A special three-member SC bench on Monday reserved its judgement on Bibi's appeal. No date has been announced by the court for when the verdict will be announced.

    In October 2016, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) released Questions and Answers about the Asia Bibi case.

    The Q&A explains the allegations against Bibi and describes her blasphemy trial and appeal before the LHC.

    What are the allegations against Asia Bibi and when was she convicted?

    Asia Bibi was convicted for blasphemy under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code for allegedly defaming Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The offence carries mandatory death penalty under Pakistani law.

    The allegations against Asia Bibi are that she made three “defamatory and sarcastic” statements about the Prophet (PBUH) on June 14, 2009, during an argument with three Muslim women while the four of them were picking fruit in a field.

    Read more: The untold story of Pakistan’s blasphemy law

    The prosecution also claims Asia Bibi “admitted” making these statements at a “public gathering” on June 19, 2009 and asked for forgiveness.

    A trial court convicted Asia Bibi for blasphemy in November 2010 and sentenced her to death. The Lahore High Court (LHC) upheld her conviction and confirmed her death sentence in October 2014.

    The Supreme Court (SC) admitted her appeal in July 2015. The first hearing of the appeal before the SC was scheduled to take place on October 13, 2016.

    What was the evidence in support of the allegations against Asia Bibi?

    The prosecution presented seven witnesses to support the allegations of blasphemy against Asia bibi.

    Two eyewitnesses, Mafia Bibi and Asma Bibi, claimed they heard Asia Bibi make the allegedly blasphemous remarks, and later “admit” to making the statements during a “public gathering” a few days later.

    Other witnesses included the complainant Qari Muhammad Salaam, a local cleric, who claimed he heard about the alleged blasphemous statements from Mafia and Asma and got a criminal complaint for blasphemy registered with the police; three police officers who registered and investigated the case; and a local resident, Muhammad Afzal, who alleged he heard Asia Bibi admit to making “blasphemous remarks” and seek pardon at the “public gathering”.

    What was Asia Bibi’s defence?

    Asia Bibi stated she had a “quarrel” with Mafia and Asma on June 14, 2009, over their refusal to drink water brought for them by Asia Bibi because she was Christian.

    She claimed “some hot words were exchanged” during the argument, after which Mafia and Asma, alongside Qari Muhammad Salaam and his wife (who taught Asma and Mafia the Quran), fabricated the blasphemy case against her.

    Asia Bibi also stated that she had “great respect and honour for the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Holy Quran” and never made the alleged blasphemous remarks.

    What are some of the problems with Asia Bibi’s conviction?

    In its judgment in Asia Bibi’s case, the LHC conceded “the defence has not defended its case with the required seriousness…”

    Yet, despite acknowledging possible violations of the right of a fair trial, particularly the right to an adequate defense, the court went on to uphold Asia Bibi’s conviction and death sentence.

    Further, the trial court used Asia Bibi’s statement as an admission of guilt, finding that the “hot words” exchanged between her and “the Muslim ladies” were “switched into a religious matter”, and concluding that the “hot words” must have been “nothing other than the blasphemy”.

    Curiously, however, the trial court rejected the notion that the altercation over water was a possible motive for the prosecution eyewitnesses to falsely implicate Asia Bibi for blasphemy.

    The LHC too did not probe further into Asia Bibi’s statement, and held that there was no possible “ill will” between the eyewitnesses and the accused for them to fabricate the blasphemy allegations.

    Both courts also disregarded discrepancies in the accounts of the witnesses regarding the “public gathering” where Asia Bibi allegedly “admitted” her guilt.

    These discrepancies included significant differences in the number of people allegedly present at the “public gathering” (ranging from 100 to 2,000 in the different testimonies); how Asia Bibi was brought to the “public hearing”, and how long the “hearing” lasted.

    The courts also failed to apply “tazkia-tul-shahood” (inquiry undertaken by the court to establish the credibility of witnesses), without which defendants cannot be convicted or punished in hadh (capital punishment) cases for certain offences under Pakistani law.

    During the entire course of the proceedings, neither court considered which of the three statements attributed to Asia Bibi were “blasphemous” and why, or what was the “reasonable person” standard in the interpretation of section 295-C to meet the threshold of blasphemy.

    Additionally, both courts did not consider whether Asia Bibi possessed the requisite criminal intent to commit the crime of blasphemy, despite the Federal Shariat Court’s ruling that blasphemy is an “intentional or reckless wrong”.

    The prosecution’s failure to prove all elements of the offence, including the requisite intent to defame Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) calls into question the convictions by the trial court and LHC.

    How does the application of blasphemy laws violate Pakistan’s human rights obligations?

    The application of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws has been denounced for a variety of reasons.

    Last year, the Supreme Court of Pakistan held that individuals accused of blasphemy “suffer beyond proportion or repair” in the absence of adequate safeguards against misapplication or misuse of such blasphemy laws.

    Confirming the SC’s findings, ICJ’s 2015 study on the implementation of blasphemy laws in Pakistan found that more than 80 per cent of convictions by trial courts are overturned on appeal, very often because appellate courts find evidence and complaints fabricated based on “personal or political vendettas”.

    The ICJ further found the following systematic and widespread fair trial violations in the application of the blasphemy laws, which also apply in Asia Bibi’s case:

    • Intimidation and harassment of judges and lawyers that impede on the independence of the judiciary and the right to a defense;

    • Demonstrable bias and prejudice against defendants by judges during the course of blasphemy proceedings and in judgments;

    • Violations of the right to effective assistance of counsel;

    • Rejection of bail and prolonged pretrial detention;

    • Incompetent investigation and prosecution that do not meet due diligence requirements under the law;

    • The prosecution and detention of people living with mental disabilities;

    • Inhumane conditions of detention and imprisonment, including prolonged solitary confinement; and

    • Vaguely defined offences that undermine the rule of law because they leave the door open to selective prosecution and interpretation.

    The ICJ opposes the criminalisation of the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and religion or belief in Pakistan in the shape of the blasphemy laws and considers them a flagrant violation of Pakistan’s international human rights obligations, including its obligations to respect the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; freedom of expression; and equal treatment before the law.

    Furthermore, mandatory death sentence — including under 295-C of the Penal Code — violates Pakistan’s obligations to respect the rights to life, to a fair trial, and to prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, said ICJ.


    Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, has been on death row since 2010. — FileAsia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, has been on death row since 2010. — File

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    The Supreme Court is set to announce its judgement on a 2015 appeal filed by Asia Bibi, a Christian woman condemned to death on blasphemy charges.

    According to a supplementary cause list issued by the SC on Monday, the verdict was scheduled to be announced by a special bench at 9am. The bench comprises Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel.

    The apex court had reserved its ruling on Bibi's final legal appeal against execution (Asia Bibi v. The State, etc) on October 8. The appeal challenges the Lahore High Court’s October 2014 verdict of upholding a trial court’s November 2010 decision of sentencing Bibi to death for committing blasphemy.

    See: What you need to know about Asia Bibi's trial

    While reserving the verdict after an hours-long hearing, the top court had restrained both electronic and print media from discussing or commenting on the matter till the final judgement.

    High security

    The federal capital was put on high alert on Tuesday night. Extra contingent of police and law enforcement agencies have been deployed in the capital. Sources in the administration told Dawn that Rangers and Frontier Constabulary had been called as part of measures to step up security in Islamabad. Security of the Judges Enclave and the Diplomatic Enclave has been handed over to Rangers.

    The sources said security personnel had been asked to guard the Red Zone as it houses sensitive installations, including the Supreme Court.

    The decision to take stringent security measures was made after a number of meetings held to thrash out a strategy to deal with any unforeseen situation after the verdict.

    According to the sources, when some senior police officers met officials of the apex court, the law enforcers were asked to adopt security measures for the Supreme Court and other key points.

    About 300 police personnel, along with paramilitary units, are guarding the SC building, adjacent to Parliament House on Constitution Avenue.

    Allegations against Asia Bibi

    Asia Bibi was convicted for blasphemy under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code for allegedly defaming Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). The offence carries the mandatory death penalty under Pakistani law.

    The allegations against Bibi are that she made three “defamatory and sarcastic” statements about the Holy Prophet on June 14, 2009 during an argument with three Muslim women while the four of them were picking fruit in a field in Sheikhupura.

    She was asked to fetch water, but the Muslim women objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl.

    The women later went to a local cleric and accused Bibi of blasphemy against the Holy Prophet, a charge punishable by death under legislation that rights groups say is routinely abused to settle personal vendettas.

    Arguments on appeal

    During the hearing of Bibi's appeal on Oct 8, the prosecution side, represented by Additional Prosecutor for Punjab Chaudhry Zubair, and Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry from the complainant side had supported each other by arguing that the accused had not denied committing blasphemy or presence of the accused as well as the witnesses at the place of occurrence. Besides, they said, the allegation of a quarrel before the incident in which Bibi was first insulted for being a Christian had also not been proved.

    Advocate Saiful Malook, appearing on behalf of Bibi, had argued that the prosecution’s case was replete with infirmities and subsequent improvements and, therefore, the benefit of the doubt should be given to the accused and the entire investigation be declared illegal and unwarranted.

    Meanwhile, Chief Justice Nisar had observed that committing blasphemy was the most appalling and spiteful offence, and not only “our laws but the fundamentals of our religion also place strict standards of proof to prove the crime”.

    Case history

    The prosecution had claimed that Bibi “admitted” making the blasphemous statements at a “public gathering” on June 19, 2009 "while asking for forgiveness".

    A trial court convicted Bibi for blasphemy in November 2010 and sentenced her to death. The Lahore High Court (LHC) had upheld her conviction and confirmed her death sentence in October 2014.

    She had then challenged the LHC verdict in the Supreme Court, which stayed her execution in July 2015 and admitted her appeal for hearing.

    The top court had first taken up the appeal in October 2016, but had to adjourn the matter without hearing after one of the judges recused himself from the SC bench. Two years later, the appeal was heard earlier this month and the CJP Nisar-led bench reserved its verdict.

    Bibi's supporters maintain her innocence and insist it was a personal dispute, and the Vatican has called for her release.

    In 2011, former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who spoke out in support of Bibi, was gunned down in broad daylight in Islamabad. His assassin Mumtaz Qadri was executed in 2016 after the court found him guilty of murder.

    If the SC bench upholds Bibi's conviction, her only recourse will be a direct appeal to the president for clemency.

    If that fails, she could become the first person in Pakistan to be executed for blasphemy.


    Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, accused of blasphemy in June 2009 and sentenced to death a year later. ─ Reuters/FileAsia Bibi, a Christian woman, accused of blasphemy in June 2009 and sentenced to death a year later. ─ Reuters/File

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    ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday dropped hints that he may lead a campaign to raise awareness about the alarming rate of population growth in the country and ordered the government to convene a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) within 10 days for formulating a policy on arresting the population bomb.

    The chief justice, who was heading a three-judge Supreme Court bench, also gave a clear indication of arranging a seminar on population growth, similar to the one recently held on the SC premises on the looming water crisis.

    Experts from all over the country will be invited to the population seminar.

    The Supreme Court had taken suo motu notice the alarming rate of population growth in the country.

    Top judge asks govt to call CCI session in 10 days to formulate policy for arresting population growth

    During the hearing, Additional Attorney General Nayyar Abbas Rizvi furnished a report prepared by a task force constituted on the orders of the apex court. The task force was headed by Dr Fida Muhammad Khan, formerly of the Federal Shariat Court, and included, among others, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Dr Attiya Inayat Ullah and Dr Sania Nishtar.

    The terms of reference of the task force were to identify short- and long-term actions and cost-effective strategies for accelerating family planning programme at the national, provincial and district levels and to come up with strategies for engaging policy-makers and other stakeholders for increased ownership and investment in the family planning and reproductive health.

    The report, which will be placed before the CCI after the review of the apex court, has expressed concern that Pakistan’s population will double over the next 30 years and is projected to increase to 285 million by 2030.

    Currently, Pakistan has become the sixth most populous country in the world with a population of 207 million growing at an intercensal rate of 2.4 per cent per annum between 1998 and 2017.

    The task force has asked the government to reduce the population growth rate, lower total fertility rate and increase contraceptive prevalence rate.

    The report states that in Pakistan the total expenditure of human (as a percentage of the gross domestic product) has remained stagnant.

    The Health Vision 2016-25 acknowledges the high burden of disease caused by increased population and need to narrow the gap, yet it does not offer any tangible policy or programmatic intervention to address these challenges, specially to reduce mother and infant mortality rates and dissociating women from resorting to induced abortions, thus diluting the common benefits of family health and well-being.

    The task force says the recent national nutrition survey has noted that approximately 60pc of women and children in the country are malnourished. Many Pakistani children are faced with long-term nutritional deprivation due to poverty, balanced food insecurity, poor health services, illnesses linked to hygiene such as diarrhea, and improper feeding practices.

    About 44pc of Pakistani children suffer from stunting, indicating chronic malnutrition with greater regional inequalities. The fast-growing population coupled with prospects of adverse climate change, environment degradation, deforestation and depletion of water resources are putting Pakistan in water stress situation.

    The proportion of children who suffer from wasting (15pc) indicates acute malnutrition that exceeds the international emergency threshold.

    A fifth of pregnant women and children under five have severe vitamin-A deficiency, and 62pc of children under five are anemic, the report regrets, adding that only 38pc of children are exclusively breastfed that too only for the first six months of life.

    The nutritional inadequacies in Pakistan hinder the development of the intellectual faculties of schoolgoing children and young adults consigned to such diets and are likely to perpetuate intergenerational inequalities of opportunity to achieve their aspirations for desired income and comfortable living.

    The report fears that such a high level of population growth is unsustainable and has already eaten into the modest gains made in terms of socio-economic development.

    The rapidly growing population has direct negative implications for adverse climate change, environment degradation, deforestation and above all the decline in water availability per capita, putting Pakistan in water stress situation, the task force says.

    The situation will exacerbate food security and threaten the county’s sustainable development prospects, it warns.

    Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2018


    Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar. — Photo/FileChief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar. — Photo/File

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    LAHORE: The stage is set for annual election (2018-19) of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) being held on Wednesday (today) with candidates of two main rival groups - Independent and Professional - vying for the top office of president.

    Both opponent candidates for the presidential slot – Amanullah Kanrani and Ali Ahmad Kurd - hail from Balochistan province as per rotation policy.

    Mr Kurd was a prominent figure of the 2007 lawyers’ movement for the restoration of deposed judiciary and democracy in the country. He is contesting the election of SCBA for the second time as he has already served the bar as its president in 2008.

    PML-N Lawyers Forum supports Ali Ahmad Kurd for SCBA head

    However, he had contested his previous election from the platform of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Hamid Khan-led Professional group. This time, Kurd has been fielded by Independent group formed by late Asma Jahangir. After the death of Ms Jahangir early this year, Ahsan Bhoon and Azam Nazir Tarar are formally heading the group now.

    Previously, Mr Kurd has also been vice the chairman of Pakistan Bar Council, top regulatory body of the lawyers.

    Among lawyers’ wings of political parties, PML-N Lawyers Forum is backing Mr Kurd while Insaf Lawyers Forum of PTI, Peoples Lawyers Forum of PPP and Islamic Lawyers Front of Jamat-i-Islami are supporting Mr Kanrani. Reformers Group, formed by removed judges of PCO regime, has also thrown its weight behind Mr Kanrani. LHC former judge Syed Shabbar Raza Rizvi heads this group.

    Mr Kanrani is also vying for the president’s slot for the second time as he had lost his previous election to Kamran Murtaza in 2013.

    Shamimur Rehman Malik of Professional group and Azmatullah Chaudhry of Independent group are contesting for the slot of secretary. PML-N lawyers’ forum is divided on the secretary’s slot as many of its members have been canvassing for Mr Malik.

    Insiders claim that the Independent group put its efforts to win slot of secretary more than the president.

    Eight candidates are vying for four seats of vice presidents -- one each from four provinces. Kamran Ali Malik and Tayyab Nasir Jafri are from Punjab, Naseebullah Achakzai and Syed Saleem Akhter from Balochistan, Khaleeq Ahmad and Salahuddin Khan Gandapur from Sindh while Khalid Anwar Afridi and Khan Afzal Khan from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    For one slot of additional secretary, Ahsan Hameed Lilla, Javed Masood Tahir and Kazi Sheharyar Iqbal are in the field. Ali Ahmad Khan Rana and Mehmood Ahmad Sheikh are contesting for the slot of finance secretary.

    As many as 3,047 members would exercise their right to vote in the polling to be held in all the four provinces. Lahore station has maximum number of voters that is 1,291 while 203 in Multan, 89 in Bahawalpur, 484 in Islamabad/Rawalpindi, 504 in Sindh province, 280 in KP and 196 in Balochistan. Chairman election board Chaudhry Afrasiab would conduct the polling from 9am to 5pm.

    Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2018


    Former advocate general Amanullah Kanrani. — Photo courtesy: NDU.edu.pkFormer advocate general Amanullah Kanrani. — Photo courtesy: NDU.edu.pk

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    ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Tuesday that his party would stand by journalists and continue to struggle against the injustices being committed by the government.

    “Whatever your economic policy, it is the responsibility of the government to provide financial security to the public by ensuring jobs for them,” he said while talking to the media during his visit to a protest camp set up by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ)-Afzal Butt group outside Parliament House.

    Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that as an opposition party the PPP would continue to raise its voice against “non-serious and unjust” policies of the government.

    Says govt involved in ‘economic murder’ of media workers; MQM team also visits protest camp

    “We request you to support us,” he urged media personnel. “Your issues are our issues — all your issues are our issues. Whenever there has been injustice with media persons, the PPP has stood with them,” he said, reca­lling his mother Benazir Bhutto’s frequent visits to press clubs and interaction with journalists.

    Whenever they faced censorship, Benazir Bhutto extended support to the media, he said. Now the media was facing censorship as well as financial woes, he added.

    “The government must provide relief to the people because they [the leadership of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf] have made tall promises of generating 10 million jobs. Not only media persons, but people belonging to other professions have also started suffering due to flawed policies of the government,” the PPP chairman said. “Wherever we go, we meet people protesting against the government.”

    He said that even government employees were protesting against the policies of the new government.

    “The government does not have to take any major step [to raise funds to provide relief to the people] as they are taking foreign loans. They have even presented a budget but they fail whenever it is a matter of relief for the general public.

    “There are various options and several ways [to provide relief to people] but… the government has no intention of taking care of the working and middle classes and protect their interests,” Mr Bilawal-Bhutto said.

    He added: “The finance minister only issues statements that he wants to seek input from the opposition [on different issues] but he does not even meet us. They are doing only what they want to do.”

    He lambasted the PTI government policies, saying the “flag-bearers of change” had already dropped an ‘inflation bomb’ on the people in the form of a “mini-budget” and were now involved in “economic murder of journalists and media workers”.

    He said that the PPP had long-standing relations with the journalist fraternity. “Whenever there has been any injustice in this country, the PPP and the journalists have launched a joint struggle against it whether it was the martial law of General Zia or the military regime of Gen Pervaiz Musharraf,” he added.

    MQM visit

    A delegation of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), including MNA Iqbal Muhammad Khan, also visited the protest camp and expressed solidarity with the journalists.

    Speaking on the occasion, Afzal Butt, the president of his own faction of the PFUJ, said the objective of the protest was to voice the grievances of the journalist fraternity and not to launch any movement against the government.

    He asked the government to intervene and stop “large-scale downsizing” in media houses, which had badly affected the families of the journalists and media workers.

    Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2018


    PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. PPP chairman. — Photo/FilePPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. PPP chairman. — Photo/File

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    KARACHI: Exonerating an accused from the charges of extortion and terrorism, an antiterrorism court has directed the Karachi police chief to take a stern action against five officials of the Iqbal Market police station for registering fake criminal cases and making false testimonies against him.

    The accused Asif, alias Choona, was charged with hurling life threats and collecting protection money from a resident of Orangi Town.

    The ATC-XII judge, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, pronounced his judgement, which was reserved earlier after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.

    The judge advised the Additional IG of Karachi Range to take action against the policemen, who were witnesses in the case, for being instrumental in managing the FIR against the accused.

    The City police chief was also told to ensure “such type of police officials are not posted for operational and investigational duties, as they are mark of stigma upon the police force.

    “It is the duty of the police to help/protect the public instead of involving them in false cases,” observed the court, asking the AIG Karachi to ensure proper inquiries were initiated against the police officials, who were witnesses of the prosecution, and a stern action be initiated and a compliance report in this regard be submitted to the court within 30 days.

    According to the prosecution, complainant Muhammad Khalil-ur-Rehman alleged in an First Information Report (FIR) that a boy, Asif, alias Choona, had been harassing him for the last two years by hurling life threats and demanding Rs200,000 protection money and he paid him Rs10,000 to save his life.

    It further alleged that on Aug 25, 2017 the accused armed with an unlicensed pistol visited the complainant’s house once again and threatened him to arrange Rs100,000 protection money before Eidul Azha or face dire consequences.

    The police claimed to have detained Asif on Aug 31, 2017 and allegedly recovered an unlicensed pistol from him. He was booked in two separate cases registered against him under Sections 385 (putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extortion), 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt), 506-B (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and Section 23(I)-A of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013.

    During the trial, the accused recorded his statement under Section 342 of the criminal procedure code, denying the incident and the recoveries claimed by the prosecution. He alleged that the cases and the recoveries were managed by the police.

    According a report issued by the police’s crime record office, the detained accused was involved in a case registered by the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA), but he was later acquitted of the charges.

    The accused alleged that the police officials had made false testimonies against him on the instigation of the complainant, who had enmity with him. However, he failed to produce any evidence in his defence and pleaded for justice.

    During the trial, the prosecution’s witness, first investigating officer of the case, Inspector Rooh-ul-Ameen, deposed that he took the complainant and his son Muhammad Khalid to the place of the incident, prepared the sketch and obtained their signatures on it.

    During the cross-examination, the complainant testified that he had filed complaints against the present accused twice, but gave contradictory names of the persons, who had written those applications, as he had not written the applications by himself.

    He also voluntarily deposed that he had enmity with Asif, who had allegedly got registered false criminal cases of extortion and police encounter against his son. But, he failed to produce any witness of payment and extortion money against the present accused.

    Therefore, the court did not consider his testimony observing that the complainant did not appear to be trustworthy since he had made serious dents in the story of the prosecution, thus his evidence was liable to be thrown away.

    The court also found contradictions in the testimony of the second prosecution witness, Muhammad Khalid, who is the son of the complainant, for changing his statement before the court from his initial statement given to the police.

    The fourth prosecution witness, Assistant Sub-Inspector Munir Ahmed, deposed that he was posted at the Iqbal Market police station on the day of the incident and had registered the FIR of the incident after receiving complaint from the complainant. But, he failed to mention the time of entry of the complaint in the Roznamcha (daily log book) at the police station and time of registration of the FIR.

    Fifth prosecution witness, Assistant Sub-Inspector Ashique Ali Panhwar, deposed that he was on patrol duty along with two police constables Nek Muhammad and Muhammad Bux on Aug 31, 2017 when they arrested two suspicious persons Atif and Kashif and prepared the memo of their arrest in the presence of both constables.

    He testified that Asif first mentioned his name wrongly as Atif and during interrogation he disclosed to have a pistol in his possession, adding that on the information obtained from him the weapon was recovered from his bedroom in the presence of both the constables.

    The judge noted that the signatures of the witnesses in the memo of arrest of the accused and his re-arrest in the memo of weapon recovery were different from each other and ASI Ashique Ali Panhwar was stating falsely in the evidence before the court.

    The court found the memos to be managed ones and that the PW Panhwar was in the habit of making different types of signatures, which showed his “character was not trustworthy”. Thus, his evidence was not considered.

    The court also noted that ASI Panhwar had failed to show any cogent reason in the documents for arrest of Asif over suspicion and release of another person Kashif, thus did not appreciate testimony of the sixth witness PC Nek Muhammad.

    The court also declared the evidence of the seventh prosecution witness, Sub-Inspector Zahid Hussain Unar, the second IO of the case, unreliable. The witnessed had deposed that he was posted at the Toori Bangash police post of the Iqbal Market police station, when he was assigned the investigation of the case.

    SI Unar failed to produce any evidence to prove that he had produced the detained man for remand before the judicial magistrate concerned, who had verbally instructed the IO to keep custody of the Asif at any police station other than the PS Iqbal Market since he apprehended that he would be implicated in more criminal cases if kept at the Iqbal Market police station.

    He also failed to produce any record of arrival and departure at the PS Pakistan Bazaar, where Asif was kept alternatively.

    The court noted that the prosecution witness, Inspector Syed Rooh-ul-Ameen, tried to protect the complainant by deposing that the detained man was blackmailing him (complainant) to implicate his son in false cases, but failed to produce any document to prove such allegation.

    Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2018


    “Such type of police officials are mark of stigma upon the police force,“Such type of police officials are mark of stigma upon the police force," the judge says.— Reuters/File

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