Friday, September 23, 2011

Public schools: Landlord humiliates headmistress

Public schools: Landlord humiliates headmistress

Published: September 23, 2011

Beats, abuses her in front of students, staff for stopping him from ‘playing volleyball’ on school premises.


The Loundianwala police on Wednesday arrested a man on the complaint of a government school headmistress for abusing, humiliating and beating her in front of school staff and students.

Sughran Bai, the Government Girls High School Chak 998/9 headmistress, said in her complaint that Khalil Ahmad, a local landlord, had set up an outhouse adjacent to the school.

She said that his workers had placed bull carts and fodder pots in front of the school causing inconvenience for the students and teachers. She said she complained to him about the smell from the hay and cattle waste, but he didn’t bother.

She said he later occupied some of the land on the school premises and started using it was a volley ball court. She said his workers would gather there and disrupt school activities and bother female students.

She said when he did not remove the net despite several requests, she had it removed by school staff.

She told the police that when the landlord came to know about it, he and two of his accomplices gathered the students and the staff on the school ground and beat her up in front of them. She said his two accomplices held her while he repeatedly slapped and kicked her. She said he also abused her and threatened to kill her if she continued to ‘bother him.’

She said he also warned the staff to stay away and threatened them with dire consequences in case they did not.

“I begged him to let me go, but he would not stop hitting me,” she told the police.

She said she told him to seek permission from the Education Department if he wanted to set up a court on the land. She said protecting the students and the school was her responsibility.

Saleem, a staff member, and a witness to the incident, said, “He abused her and hit her.” Later, he said, some of the male staff calmed him down and persuade him to let her go.

Loundianwala police on Wednesday registered a case against Khalil under Sections 452, 345, 346, 186 and 167 of the Pakistan Penal Code on charges of trespass, causing hurt, wrongful confinement and obstructing an official in performance of duty.

Sughran Bibi said that she was being pressured by Khalil’s men to withdraw the complaint. She said she feared for the students and school property.

She appealed to the chief minister and the Police Department to provide security at school and order the removal of the encroachments by the landlord.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2011.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Water wasted due to lack of reservoirs’

‘Water wasted due to lack of reservoirs’

Published: September 23, 2011

105 million acre feet (MAF) of rain and flood water is multiple times the capacity of Tarbela dam. This water could have been harnessed if enough reservoirs had been made. PHOTO: FILE.


The country wasted 105 million acre feet (MAF) of rain and flood water last year that went into Arabian Sea because of lack of water reservoirs and awareness among people, an agricultural expert said.

“This water was many times more than the capacity of Tarbela dam,” said Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Vice Chancellor of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) while speaking at the inaugural ceremony of a project on “Social research to foster effective collaboration and strengthen pro-poor values” here on Thursday.

The event was organised by the university’s Department for Rural Sociology in collaboration with the Agriculture Sector Linkage Programme.

Khan said average milk production in Pakistan was very low at three litres per animal in a day, but added Australian scientists had upgraded the breed of Sahiwal cow which increased milk output.

He stressed the need for increasing milk production by adopting modern techniques which would generate heavy revenue for the country besides improving incomes of farmers.

He called for learning from the experience of Australia, by adopting new technologies to boost production of goods and services, which was a prerequisite for prosperity of the country.

Australian scientist Dr John Spriggs said Pakistan and Australia had inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for undertaking research projects. He said the MoU, covering citrus, dairy and mango production, was being implemented by UAF and Sindh Agriculture University Jamshoro with the assistance of Australia. Poor living standards of rural youth were also part of the project.

Another Australian scientist Dr Santra H Muatafa said the agriculture sector linkage programme would focus on horticulture (mango and citrus) and livestock (dairy), while at the same time address underlying issues of water management and institutional and technical capacity building.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2011.

Capital punishment: Death penalty for murder of wife, daughter

Capital punishment: Death penalty for murder of wife, daughter

Published: September 20, 2011

Iqbal set his wife and 10-year-old daughter on fire in April; he said his wife had cheated on him.


The Anti Terrorist Court (ATC) has sentenced a man to death after he was found guilty of setting his wife and daughter on fire.

The court sentenced accused Ghulam Muhammadabad Christian Chowk resident Nasir Iqbal was found guilty of burning his wife and daughter alive over allegations of her having had illicit relations with a neighbour in the limits of Ghulam Muhammad Abad Police Station.

The incident took place on April 19, 2011 and the prosecution alleged that Iqbal had killed his daughter and wife after accusing the latter of cheating on him.

“He said that the child didn’t look anything like him and that she had an affair with his neighbour,” said advocate Muazzam Rashid. “The girl was ten years old but when he suspected his wife of cheating on him, he also alleged that the child wasn’t his,” he added.

Iqbal’s wife Sobia and daughter Kashfa, 10, were set on fire by Iqbal in their home. “He locked them in a room and sprinkled gasoline all over and lit a match,” said Iqbal’s neighbour Haroon Khalid. The accused was arrested by Ghulam Muhammadabad Police and his challan was submitted before ATC judge Raja Muhammad Arshad in Court No.1.

After recording the evidence and hearing witness testimonies, the court announced on Monday, that Nasir Iqbal was guilty of killing his wife and daughter and would face the death penalty.

Iqbal admitted to spraying petrol on his wife and daughter and then locking them in a room and setting the place on fire.

Sobia and Kashfa both perished in the fire and hospital officials stated that they had sustained over 80 per cent burns to their entire bodies in the autopsy report submitted with the court.

Iqbal has been given a death sentence on four counts and the court has also imposed a fine of Rs200,000.

The court ordered that if the accused failed to pay the fine within the stipulated deadlines he would undergo an additional year of rigorous punishment. Sobia’s mother and sisters were present in the court during the sentencing and recorded statements against Iqbal.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2011.

Dengue: PM promises support for Punjab govt

Dengue: PM promises support for Punjab govt

Published: September 20, 2011

With dengue on the rise in Punjab, a child in Lahore gets his Complete Blood Count test. PHOTO: MEHMOOD QURESHI/ EXPRESS

LAHORE: As the number of dengue patients in Punjab rose to a staggering 6,666 people in Punjab, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani assured the Punjab government of the federal government’s cooperation in combating the widely spreading virus.

The reassurance of support on Monday came in the wake of increasing bickering between the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz over the epidemic plaguing the province, with each side blaming the other for inefficiencies.

The PM made the statement at a health conference convened by himself and attended by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosa , health secretaries from all four provinces, and various health experts on Monday.

While health had become a provincial subject after the passage of the 18th amendment, the federal government would continue to support provinces on the subject, Gilani said at the conference.

The premier also visited Sheikh Zayed Hospital to review arrangements for free treatment of dengue patients.

Lahore: the most affected

Meanwhile, the dengue virus continued to spread on Monday and two more people died of the virus in Lahore, bringing the death toll to 38.

A report by the health department stated that out of 6,666 patients, a total of 6,126 belong to Lahore. In the last 24 hours, 205 new dengue patients have been reported in Punjab out of which 173 belonged to Lahore. Currently, 515 dengue patients are under treatment in different hospitals while 6,462 patients have so far been cured and discharged, the report stated.

Dengue, beyond Lahore

Over 50 cases of dengue and four deaths have been reported in the Hazara region over the last three weeks. In light of the epidemic, the Haripur Doctors Association met in Abbottabad to review the situation. It expressed its concern over delay in the second phase of fog spray in different parts of Hazara and stressed its immediate need.

In Faisalabad, 73 patients are still under treatment with 34 new cases reported on Monday evening. The spread of disease is occuring despite hectic efforts made by the health department including free treatment and spray campaigns. District Coordination Officer Nasim Sadiq claimed that the campaign to eradicate the virus was in full swing- yet hospitals remained crowded with people complaining of dengue.

Looking at long-term solutions

In addition to the immediate measures being used to address the epidemic, the Punjab government plans to establish a permanent research cell for carrying out research on how to exterminate the dengue virus, Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif said on Monday. The cell will work directly under CM’s supervision.

The CM said that the scope of the programme for controlling the dengue virus was being extended to the whole province. Medicines and equipment were being imported on an emergency basis to eliminate the virus, he added.


Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2011.

Punjab to set up industrial park in Rahim Yar Khan

Punjab to set up industrial park in Rahim Yar Khan

Published: September 21, 2011

Industrial park, being established on N-5 Sadiqabad road opposite to Data Steel Mill, will be completed in three years.

FAISALABAD: The Punjab government has approved construction of an industrial park in Rahim Yar Khan to cater to increasing needs of textile and food products.

According to officials, the industrial park, being established on N-5 Sadiqabad road opposite to Data Steel Mill, will be completed in three years.

Officials revealed that the Punjab Industrial Estates Development and Management Company (PIEDMC) had been given the task for setting up a chain of industrial estates in the province and the first such industrial estate was being set up in Rahim Yar Khan, which is situated at the junction of three provinces.

Land for the park, spread over 456 acres, has cost Rs240 million and more than 300 medium and large industrial units will be set up, creating about 20,000 job opportunities.

Citrus park in Bhalwal

The Punjab government has also decided to establish a citrus park at Bhalwal, Sargodha to facilitate exporters of citrus fruits. According to sources, the park, spread over an area of 400 acres, will be constructed on Motorway (M-2) near Bhera Interchange.

Bhalwal area is full of orchards of kinnow and other citrus fruits which are exported after processing and polishing.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2011.

Desecration: ‘Magician’ held for alleged Quran burning

Desecration: ‘Magician’ held for alleged Quran burning

Published: September 22, 2011

Akram went to a graveyard where he started chanting what he claimed were “magic words” over a script of the Holy Quran.


Mureedwala police have arrested a man on charges of burning the Holy Quran and registered a case against him under Pakistan Penal Code Section 295-B.

Akram, 45, is known in his area as the “magic master.”

On Tuesday, Akram and his client went to a graveyard where he started chanting what he claimed were “magic words” over a script of the Holy Quran. He then allegedly set the holy book on fire.

His clients responded violently and protested against Akram’s action. A number of people who were passing by the area also assembled at the scene and severely thrashed Akram, accusing him of desecrating the Quran. Someone from the crowd also informed the police who arrested Akram from the spot. A police case was registered against Akram on the complaint of villager Muhammad Sarfraz. Akram has been presented before the area’s judicial magistrate who sent him on a 14-day judicial remand and adjourned hearing for two weeks.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2011.

Acid attacks: Payback - 6 witnesses for accused attacked with acid

Acid attacks: Payback - 6 witnesses for accused attacked with acid

Published: September 22, 2011

" We had asked both parties to record their statements for the court but the women’s relatives attacked the other side," SHO Munir Ahmad.


Six people were sprayed with acid by their rivals on Wednesday afternoon. According to police officials, the group was travelling in a van and sustained severe burns when four people from a rival group sprayed chemical acid on them after intercepting the wagon near Aminpur Bangla.

According to police officials, ten people had hired a wagon from Diyalgarh headed for the Nawan Police Station in Lahore where they were scheduled to record statements as witnesses in favour of three accused including Umar Hayat, who along with his two accomplicessprayed acid on his wife Nabila, sisters-in-law Shakila Munir and Razia, mother-in-law Riaz Bibi and Nazia, the wife of his brother-in-law over a domestic dispute last week.

A case was also registered with the Nawan Lahore Police Station on the complaint of Munir Ahmad, against accused Umar Hayat and his two accomplices under Sections 324 and 336 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) but the accused are still at large.

Today, both the parties were summoned by the Investigation Officer and Nawan Lahore Police Station House Officer (SHO) Ch Abdul Majeed for investigation of the case. “We had asked both parties to present their statements and record them for the court but the accused and his family were attacked by the women’s relatives,” he said. The passengers in the wagon were headed to record their statements before the investigation officer in favour of the accused. “They were going to present evidence in favour of Umar Hayat and would have tried to prove that he had been wrongly implicated in the acid throwing case against his wife and her family,” the SHO said.

Police officials said that when the wagon reached near Aminpur Bangla on Faisalabad-Narwala Road, nearly 22 kilometres from Lahore it was intercepted by four people from the complainant Munir’s group. “Munir’s men stopped the wagon and sprayed acid on the passengers as revenge for what happened to the women of their family. The driver, conductor and four other passengers sustained serious injuries,” the SHO said.

Rescue 112 teams rushed to the spot and provided medical aid to the victims. Four of the burn victims were shifted to nearby hospitals in Aminpur Bangla, while two of the injured were shifted to Allied Hospital in Faisalabad. The doctors said that Naveed and Jaafar sustained serious burns to their face and their eyes have been permanently damaged. “They are in critical condition. Some have sustained over 70 per cent third degree burns and we are doing everything we can,” Dr Javed said.

SHO Police Station Sandal Bar Mazhar Hussain said that the police had recorded statements of the injured and a case would be registered on the receipt of a formal complaint.

Umar Hayat and his two friends allegedly threw acid on his wife and five other women of her family last week. According to police officials, Chak No132-GB Dijkot resident Umar Hayat attacked his wife Nabila and five women of her family after she refused to return home with him after a quarrel. Nabila came to her parents’ house saying that she feared for her life and refused to leave with Hayat when he came to take her back.

Umar also attacked five women of Nabila’s family, who refused to let him take her from their house near Nawan Lahore police station. “She refused to return with him.

She kept, saying that he beat her and that she did not want to put her life in danger”, a neighbour Manzoor said. The victims sustained serious injuries to their face and bodies. Shakila Munir is still under intensive care in the Allied Hospital Faisalabad.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2011.