Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pigeon Holed: 1 killed, 2 injured during panchayat hearing

Pigeon Holed: 1 killed, 2 injured during panchayat hearing

Published: August 30, 2011


One person was killed after a local panchayat turned violent and one of the parties opened indiscriminate fire. According to police officials, the incident took place on Saturday in the Tandlianwala Sadar Police Station precincts. Police officials said that Chak No 452 GB residents Shahid Iqbal and Zahid Iqbal had complained that notables in their village had been stealing their pigeons.

Upon this complaint, a panchayat was called and both the parties were asked to present their case. During the proceedings panchayat members Waqqas, Jamshed and Husain began abusing Shahid and Zahid. Hussain and Mohsin opened indiscriminate fire and Shahid, Zahid and Aurangzeb sustained serious bullet injures. The men were rushed to the Tandlianwala Teshil Hospital, where Zahid died. Panchayat members overpower Jamshed Iqbal and took him into custody and handed his weapon to the police. District Superintendent Police (DSP) Farooq Gondal reached the spot has taken Iqbal into custody. “A case has been registered. The panchayat was called because the brothers’ pigeons had been stolen but the bigger issue is the firing during a panchayat,” he said. Police have registered a case against the accused under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2011.

Burning questions: The penalty for ‘eve teasing’

Burning questions: The penalty for ‘eve teasing’

Published: August 30, 2011

" My sisters told me that he always made suggestive remarks but a few days ago he sneaked into our house and went into one of their rooms," Suspect Muhammad Tufail


Two men set an old man on fire for teasing the women of their family on Monday.

According to police officials, the accused sprinkled petrol on the old man and set him on fire because he had been ‘teasing’ the women of their house. Police officials said the incident occurred in the Saddar Police precincts. According to Saddar police station house officer Arif Wattoo, Chak 228 resident Sharif Muhammad, 73, was accused of misbehaving with his neighbour’s daughters and wife.

Suspects Muhammad Tufail and Dost Muhammad said that Sharif had been harassing three women of their house for a long while. “My sisters told me that he had always made suggestive remarks but a few days ago he sneaked into our house and went into one of their rooms. They pushed him off and he ran back home,” Dost Muhamamd said. “We will not forget what he did and he deserved what he got,” Muhammad said.

SHO Wattoo said that the accused had tied Muhammad to the bed in his own house and sprinkled petrol over him. “Then they lit the match and by the time rescue officials were called to the spot he was already burned,” the SHO told reporters. Rescue 1122 officials took Sharif to Allied Hospital where he died. “He came to us with third degree burns to most of his body. He was nearly dead when he arrived,” Dr Asghar Shah said.

SHO Wattoo said that police were also investigating reports that the accused had a property dispute with Muhammad Sharif. “The women of the household told us that he had been harassing them for a long time but he crossed the line when he broke into their house,” police said. Police have registered a case against Muhammad Tufail and Dost Muhammad and taken them into custody. Sub Inspector Muhammad Ramzan is investigating the case.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2011.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Kidnapping, murder: Teen ‘killer’ produced before media

Kidnapping, murder: Teen ‘killer’ produced before media

Published: August 28, 2011

The child’s grandfather, Mahmoodul Hasan, said the body bore torture marks.


Police announced on Thursday a teenager responsible for the kidnapping and killing of an eight-year-old child who went missing on August 22 had confessed to the crime.

The mutilated body of the child was recovered from a gunny bag dumped in front of his home in Gobindpura on August 24.

The suspect, 15-year-old Safeer Ali, was arrested by Gulberg police on Saturday. Addressing a press conference, City Police Officer Rae Tahir Hussain said Ali had confessed to killing the child, Ali Haider.

Later, the police produced the suspect before the media where he admitted to having abducted the child. He said he had killed the child because he could not contact the family to demand a ransom.

CPO Hussain earlier said the suspect had told the police that he kidnapped Haider because he belonged to a rich family. “He said he had wanted to ask for Rs15 million ransom,” the CPO said.

The suspect told the police that after he was unable to obtain the family’s telephone numbers, he decided to kill him. Ali is a student of class 9 and had lived in the same street as the child.

Gulberg police said the body of the child was found by a passerby in front of his home early on August 24 morning, two days after he had gone missing. The body had been disposed in a gunny bag.

The child’s grandfather, Mahmoodul Hasan, said the body bore torture marks. He said it appeared that the body had been burnt before putting it in the bag.

A post mortem examination at Allied Hospital on Friday confirmed that the child was tortured before death. The autopsy report stated that Ali was choked to death and body burnt afterwards. The autopsy was carried out by Dr Raja Khurram.

Gulberg police said a woman arrested during raids in the area had led them to the suspect.

They said bloodied clothes of the child were found from her house. On interrogation, the police said, the woman revealed the suspect’s whereabouts in Kot Momin.

Safeer and five others believed to have assisted him in the crime were arrested from Kot Momin by a police team headed by Gulberg deputy superintendent of police Chaudhary Ashiq Jatt and Gulberg police station house officer Ahmad Muneeb Shah. Three of the five accomplices have been identified as Hafiz Zubair, Abdullah and Yasir.

Police said they had registered a case against the suspects on charges of kidnapping-for-ransom and murder. The suspects would be produced before a judge on Monday and physical remand requested, they added.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.

Good managers needed to enhance production

Agriculture challenges: Good managers needed to enhance production

Published: August 29, 2011

For growth in the sector, entrepreneurs should not be ignored and provided technical as well as financial support in the form of loans at low mark-up, he said.

FAISALABAD: The greatest challenge faced by the agricultural sector in Pakistan lies in management systems, observed a special committee of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS).

The PAS has formed a committee of agricultural experts to put together a white paper on challenges faced by the agricultural sector of Pakistan.

“A crisp, comprehensive document providing clear guidelines needs to be prepared, given the importance of agriculture to the national economy,” observed the committee in its first meeting.

“We are preparing a report with special emphasis on management issues and prepare workable proposal for radical changes in the sector,” said Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Vice Chancellor University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) and convener of the PAS agricultural committee, while talking to The Express Tribune.

Post 18th Amendment, where agriculture has been devolved to provinces, the management systems at provincial levels need to be strengthened, Khan said.

For growth in the sector, entrepreneurs should not be ignored and provided technical as well as financial support in the form of loans at low mark-up, he said.

He also emphasised on the need for agricultural education and research, revision of syllabi for agricultural education and developing market-oriented human resource.

Digitisation of land records needs to be undertaken on a priority basis to protect poor farmers from the highhandedness of patwaris (land-record officials), he said.

We would also take consumers on board and incorporate their viewpoint in the report, he added. The target group for this report is small farmers, Khan said, adding that transferring knowledge to them is essential to bridge the technological gap. The PAS committee adopted a strategy to suggest measures for improvement in the livestock and aquaculture sectors, regulations for standardisation of the market and productivity of the agricultural sector, ensuring provision of quality seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, new tractors and loans and value addition of the agricultural produce.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Shamsul Islam Naz: Administration hit by officers’ transfer: Manipula...

Shamsul Islam Naz: Administration hit by officers’ transfer: Manipula...: Administration hit by officers’ transfer: Manipulation alleged

By Shamsul Islam Naz
FAISALABAD, Feb 2: The City District Government ...

Administration hit by officers’ transfer: Manipulation alleged

Administration hit by officers’ transfer: Manipulation alleged

By Shamsul Islam Naz

FAISALABAD, Feb 2: The City District Government Faisalabad has yet to overcome the teething troubles due to which people have been facing a great deal of inconvenience.

The Lyallpur Town Administration is in a particularly difficult situation in the wake of ‘manipulation’ of transfers by the tehsil municipal officer and the four town officers during the last one month.

The Lyallpur Town and three other towns — Jinnah, Iqbal and Madina — emerged after widening up of the tehsil municipal administrations of Saddar and city and the creation of the City District Government before the local elections of 2005.

As many as 38 union councils, including 16 of the rural areas, have been made part of the Lyallpur Town having a population of 717,710, including 310,617 in rural areas.

Almost all the major functions like municipal waste management, environment, health, garden and engineering, town planning and infrastructure development have been assigned to the CDGF with the abolition of the TMAs in consonance with the Local Government Ordinance of 2005.

The local government assumed the functions immediately after its formal functioning, but the expenses of petroleum of vehicles and their maintenance, bills of electricity and other expenses were to be borne by the Lyallpur Town — the ‘mother town’.

Trouble started in the town when nazim-elect Rana Zahid Mahmood announced that he would not allow any of the functionaries of his town to indulge in any malpractice or receive commissions from contractors or ask daily-wagers to do work other than official. The nazim launched a vigorous campaign against commercial area encroachments and removed huge publicity boards from the city areas, which blocked the way of ‘bribery’ for the town employees.

Rana Zahid also established a secret network for monitoring the town officials and to restrain them from receiving bribes from the public by pressuring them on one pretext or the other.

All senior functionaries of the Local Government Department deputed in the Lyallpur Town, who were mainly responsible for streamlining the functioning of the town in planning, finance, taxation, engineering and civic development, got themselves transferred in the last one month, leaving the town in the lurch.

Town Municipal Officer Salahuddin has been transferred from the Lyallpur Town and posted as joint registrar of the Cooperative Societies Punjab just a couple of days ago.

It is pertinent to mention that the transfers had been sought immediately after the town Administration had announced that it would present the budget for the six months of 2006.

Mujeebuz Zaman Sahmi, Town Officer Finance, was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Department for his alleged involvement in corruption and abuse of power. Ali Imran and Rana Naseem, town officers of planning and coordination, and infrastructure and services, respectively, have been posted in the city district government. While Naeemullah Warraich, town officer (regulations), has been given a post in Lahore.

The town nazim confirmed that all the four town officers and the TMO had been transferred and no replacement had been made.

Meanwhile, District Coordination Officer Azam Suleman Khan is learnt to have sent a message to the Local Government and Rural Development provincial secretary to urgently appoint the officers or at least give additional charge to the district officers to run day-to-day affairs of the town and save it from absolute disorder.

Acid victims: Family burnt while asleep

Acid victims: Family burnt while asleep

Published: August 27, 2011

" There was also a marriage proposal that went awry. Shazia was betrothed to someone in their family but there were issues over dowry," Shazia’s mother


Five accused threw acid on a woman and her three children in Busti Husnani in the Garh Maharaja Police precincts on Friday.

According to police officials, Basti Husainia 18-Hazari resident Aslam’s wife Shazia and accused Ghulam Abbas, Arif Saeed and their unknown accomplices had a longstanding feud. On Friday morning, Abbas and Saeed jumped the boundary wall and broke into Shazia’s house. The two men threw acid on Arif’s wife Shazia, four-month-old son Sohail, five-year-old Aun and seven-year-old Nighat Bibi while they were still asleep and fled the scene.

Shazia and her children were asleep when the incident occurred and neighbours heard their screams. “We found them all burned but the men had escaped. We immediately took them to the hospital but doctors do not think they will survive,” said Shazia’s neighbour Faiz Hameed.

Doctors at 18-Hazari Hospital said that the four injured had sustained severe burns on their faces, necks, heads, hands and abdomen. “We have estimated the burns at over 70 percent for all of the victims and they have been admitted to the burn unit. We are doing all we can,” said Dr Ahmed Raza.

Shazia’s family told reporters that they had a longstanding land dispute with the accused’s family. “There was also a marriage proposal situation that went awry. Shazia was initially betrothed to one of them men in the family but there was a squabble over dowry,” her mother told reporters.

Police officials have registered a case on the report of Shazia and her neighbours. A case has been filed against Arif, Ghula, Abbas, Saeed and their two accomplices but no arrest has been made so far. “We have filed a case and are searching for the accused but so far we have no leads,” said Inspector Malik Ghulam Hussain. Hussain said that a case had been filed under Section 324, 304, 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2011.

SAFMA Central Secretariat’s clarification on a TV Show by Dr Shahid at Express TV

SAFMA Central Secretariat’s clarification on a TV Show by Dr Shahid at Express TV

This is with reference to a recent debate between Mr Zaid Hamid and Ms Marvi Sirmed that we are constrained to issue the following clarification on behalf of SAFMA:

a) The debate in the Shahid Nama of Express TV was against some professional ethics as the “accused” (SAFMA) was not represented in the said program despite the facts that the whole debated was focused on SAFMA. This is unfortunate and against professional ethics that despite SAFMA’s caution against hurling of malicious and defamatory allegations by one Mr Zaid Hamid in the absence of SAFMA representative, some allegations of highly grave nature were hurled by the same accuser whom we have issued a legal notice.

b) Whatever Mr Hamid said against SAFMA was atrocious and unfounded and is libel.

c) On the other hand, despite her clarification that she is not a member of SAFMA, whatever Ms Marvi Sirmed had said is being wrongly treated as if they were SAFMA’s views. She had neither any right to represent SAFMA nor had any brief from SAFMA to defend or represent SAFMA. Ms Marvi Sirmed is entitled to have her views as Mr Hamid. This is utterly wrong to say that SAFMA or Mr Sirmed Manzoor sent Ms Marvi to the debate while it has so many senior journalists to defend itself and will do so for which it is quite capable of doing at any forum and at any level.

d) A lot of debate is going on in various kinds of media on SAFMA, We welcome difference of opinion and its diversity. But can neither indulge in mud slinging nor take it lying down. We have been advised by our senior colleagues to firmly keep on the legal course against defamation that we have taken and not to give much importance to the accusers. In this regard whatever is being expressed by even various SAFMA members in their individual columns/comments are their personal views they are entitled to have.

e) SAFMA both at the national and regional levels have journalists from various backgrounds and viewpoints, including hawks and doves pro or against this party/ideology or the other. In Pakistan and India we have both doves and hawks who agree to have talks. In Bangladesh we have journalists from both the contending parties and groups of journalists’ bodies. In Sir Lanka we have both Sinhala and Tamil journalists. Same is true about Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Afghanistan.

f) SAFMA has focused on two issues: a) Media its freedom and development; b) Conflict resolution, peace and regional cooperation while strengthening the SAARC process. SAFMA and its affiliates, such as South Asia Media Commission, have been in the forefront of the struggle for media freedom and will remain steadfast whatever the price. SAFMA is for peaceful settlement of all bilateral disputes, including Kashmir and various border disputes between other countries of the region, water and trade issues between the member countries of SAARC. Indeed SAFMA National Chapters do and must represent their views on various national issues, they are not bound to follow the viewpoint of their governments if they are not conducive to peace. SAFMA has often been caught in the crossfire of the wars of various agencies and conflicting nationalistic rhetoric and have been accused of being an agent of this agency or that. But we are proud to claim that we are agent of none other than the larger interests of our people and the cause of peace and a free media that we are firmly committed to. All our audits of accounts are available for anyone interested in our sources of revenues.

g) On various issues facing Pakistan, our SAFMA National chapter is strongly committed to a prosperous, strong, peaceful, democratic and federal Pakistan, even though its members are entitled to have their respective views.

h) At the regional level SAFMA has played a significant role in building confidence between Pakistan and India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, India and Bangladesh and Bhutan and Nepal, etc. SAFMA is the only body in the region which undertook exchange of journalists across the LoC and helped evolve a consensus on travel documents across the LOC which resulted in people to people contacts and trade between the divided Kashmir. SAFMA recognizes differences between the two neighbors and is consistent in supporting peaceful means to resolve all differences between the two countries. (At his personal level the Secretary General is determined to help bring peace in the subcontinent regardless of opposition from various quarters in the two countries. He is also committed to the right to self-determination of all the people, including Kashmiris which also includes Azadi from both not acceptable to India and Pakistan.

i) Lastly SAFMA office bearers do not need any certification from any one for their patriotism and love for their motherland. They will remain steadfast against extremism, jingoism, terrorism and can’t be pressurized by anyone however powerful. Notions of Peace, Progress and Democracy will continue to be the motivating emblems in our efforts for a better South Asia and a democratic Pakistan.

Imtiaz Alam,

Secretary General,

South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shamsul Islam Naz: In the media jungle, who’s the lion?

Shamsul Islam Naz: In the media jungle, who’s the lion?: In the media jungle, who’s the lion? Hassan Shehzad
August 11, 2011 ISLAMABAD: At Chandni Chowk i...

In the media jungle, who’s the lion?

In the media jungle, who’s the lion?
Hassan Shehzad
August 11, 2011
ISLAMABAD: At Chandni Chowk in Rawalpindi, two burger stalls are set up parallel to one another. Both are strung with self-same banners reading ‘Asli Mamoo Burger’ (Real Mamoo Burger), presumably to help visitors locate easily what is what and what not is what.

But it is bound to confuse them more than anything else. Such was the situation at a seminar on the ‘Monotony of Media Opinion’ the other day when the chief guest, a star reporter plus editor of a top notch English language daily, declared: “A journalist is a reporter.” This, in the presence of some people from the editorial desks.

The incident was followed by a TV talk show conducted by an anchor who is rated the highest more often than not. Many anchors were invited in the programme, one of them being a reporter and famous for his uncompromising questioning about malpractices and woes of journalists, though his programme now has been put off air.

In the middle of the programme, he told another non-reporter anchor, wearing a triumphant smile on his face, “A reporter is, everybody knows, the real lion of jungle while all others are lions of zoo.”

These are not two odd cases. This psychology is rooted deep in media circles. You will see reporters staking a claim to every, that is any position in the media organisations, whether it fits them or not. In this chauvinism, they sometimes do more harm. You always need a right man for the right job to run an organisation.

Astonishing is the fact that non-reporters make for dominant part of journalists, however bluntly somebody may write them off. These non-reporters write less and decide more. They decide who should go where and which story should be treated in what manner. They decide the presentation of the stuff and the timing for picking up or dropping off an issue. In most cases, they even have to correct script of reporters. They set the agenda of media to be followed by reporters. They are editors, directors and researchers. And they are backstreet players.

The problem is more social than professional. Animals with strong incisors like lions eat others out, some of which put up stiff resistance and protect their domain. Strong incisors in media’s case is moving in the beat. But this strength is not to be applied everywhere, not least when it comes to managing media matters.

As a man needs a judge to settle a dispute, reporters need editors to take decisions on their work. If the former starts taking over role of the latter, it means objectivity and requirements for balance are compromised.

Since reporters are involved deeply, sometimes personally, in the stories, they mean to err if they replace editors until and unless they maintain a sheer sense of objectivity, which is rare.

It has been witnessed that front and back pages of the newspapers that have reporters posted as editors are always bustling with stories and readers fumble for any readable stuff on inside pages. It is because the reporter-editors lack the ability to decide distribution of material as for them, front and back are the only pages that matter and every story off these pages goes waste. They are prone to forget that ‘facts are precious, opinion is free’ and cross the line between opinion and fact with ease, which is why you see lots of opinions on their favourite front-back, not to speak of other news pages.

An editor is unfit for reporting as much as a reporter for editing provided that they get extensive training. So, it can be safely concluded that those who have written ‘requiem for copy editors’ are mistaken to some extent, though any cost-cutting measures are welcome in media industry nowadays.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Halal exports: UAF inks deal for exploring new avenues

Halal exports: UAF inks deal for exploring new avenues

Published: June 8, 2011

Thai and Pakistani food research institutes sign MoU.


The Halal Science Center of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand and National Institute of Food Science and Technology at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for exploring new avenues in the field of halal food science, through academic and personnel development programmes.

Thailand is currently the world’s sixth largest exporter of halal food, accounting for US $5 billion in international trade and responsible for providing food to 1.8 billion Muslims in over 157 nations, according to associate professor Dr Winai Dahlan.

As a large Islamic nation with strong agricultural capabilities, Pakistan is eager to become a player in halal food exports with a focus on Middle Eastern markets. Recently, Thailand was successful in using the knowledge of halal science as a selling point in marketing clean, high-quality halal food products internationally.

While Pakistan is aiming to become a global centre of halal food trade, the country still represents a high-potential market for the Thai halal food industry, due to its population, active consumption and strong interest in high-quality products.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2011.