Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pakistani journalist shot, critically injured during riot

Pakistani journalist shot, critically injured during riot

A Shi'ite cleric speaks to protesters after clashes between religious sects in Karachi November 27. (Reuters)
A Shi'ite cleric speaks to protesters after clashes between religious sects in Karachi November 27. (Reuters)

New York, November 28, 2011--Authorities in Karachi should take stronger measures to protect reporters covering violent incidents, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today after a journalist was critically injured in crossfire on Sunday.

Ahsan Kohati, senior correspondent for the private Waqt television station, was hit in the chest by a bullet while reporting at the scene of rioting in the Numaish Chowrangi area of the city on Sunday, according to Mazhar Abbas, former secretary-general of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, and local news reports. Kohati is being treated in the intensive care unit at a local hospital, Abbas told CPJ.

Three members of a banned militant group, who had taken part in a protest against a Saturday attack by NATO helicopters on a military checkpoint in Mohmand agency, sparked mob violence when they shot and killed two Shia Muslim volunteers at a religious event, according to the news reports. Kohati was injured when paramilitary forces fired on the rioters, local newspaper The Nation reported.

"The government should make every effort to train its military and paramilitary organizations in protocols which will minimize the danger to journalists and other bystanders as civil strife escalates in Pakistan," said Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia program coordinator. "We join Ahsan Kohati's family, friends and colleagues in wishing him a quick and full recovery. And while we wait for authorities in Karachi to investigate this shooting, journalists' organizations and media houses should step up their efforts at ensuring their staff have full protective gear and the necessary safety training to cover Pakistan's increasing violence."

CPJ has repeatedly highlighted the dangers to journalists in Pakistan as well as President Asif Ali Zardari's failure to combat an entrenched culture of impunity. November 23 was the International Day to End Impunity. Seven journalists have been killed in Pakistan for their work this year, and 41 since 1992. Only the 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl has been investigated and prosecuted, according to CPJ research.

CPJ honored The News reporter Umar Cheema with an International Press Freedom Award in New York on November 22. "We have lost many colleagues in a culture of impunity. Nevertheless there is no let-up in our resilience," Cheema said in accepting the award. The day after his recognition, his colleague Mohammad Malick of The Newsreceived anonymous threats in relation to his reporting on a political scandal

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Global peace — countries need women as leaders

Global peace — countries need women as leaders

The Terrorland Report
A woman is a peace-maker and man is worrier by nature, and our world needs independent female leaders today.

THE photo of this woman – uneducated and poor (probably from the deserts of the Subcontinent) but blessed with a kind heart – is being circulated on the Facebook. What The Terrorland could not say in its series of posts on women leaders in the conservative regions of Pakistan (Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan), this single photo has said it all!

The kind heart not makes a woman a better mother only but also proves her a better leader. Therefore, our warring countries need women as real and independent leaders to make peace in our polarized world.

After the assassination of former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan is lacking real and independent women leaders on the political stage today. Those women, who speak their mind freely, are victimized by the draconian secret agencies (read ISI and MI), and are forced to resign from active politics.

Pakistan’s militarized and Talibanized society discourages women's active role outside the house. Indeed, we have some women in the armed forces, but they are just cosmetic to deceive the world! Traditionally, themilitary establishment uses women as a strategic card to play its dirty games.

Today, there is not a single female general in the armed forces, and not a single judge in the apex courts of Pakistan. It's a national dilemma at human level, and a major reason behind our suffering. But the ruling class and pillars of the state are happy in the absence of women leaders.

What a shame!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pakistani Journalist Explains 'Painful Decision' To Apply For Asylum In U.S.


Pakistani Journalist Explains 'Painful Decision' To Apply For Asylum In U.S.

November 18, 2011
A Pakistani journalist of Baluchi origin has described how the disappearances and deaths of colleagues back home prompted him to make the "painful" decision to apply for political asylum in the United States, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

Malik Siraj Akbar was granted political asylum in the United States earlier this month while on a fellowship at Arizona State University.

Malik Siraj Akbar
​​Malik told RFE/RL on November 17 that he decided to apply for asylum after he began receiving information from his native province of Baluchistan in western Pakistan that many of his friends and colleagues had disappeared and were later found dead with gunshot wounds.

"The conflict has been going on for eight or nine years now. Many human rights activists, journalists and democracy fighters in Baluchistan have been under pressure all this time. But in the last 15 months, the situation became even worse," Malik said.

"Many Baluchi journalists disappeared and were subsequently found dead. Nobody was held accountable for that, and therefore there is every reason to suggest that the government was involved in the abductions and killings."

Malik added that Baluchistan was currently not a safe place "where a person can pursue the career of journalist." He said the government in Pakistan tried to depict professional journalists in Baluchistan as enemies and criminals, although they simply try to perform their job in an unbiased and fair way.

Malik also said that "unfortunately, not all the stories and ordeals faced by journalists and human rights activists in Baluchistan get out to the outside world," although international human rights watchdogs and the Committee to Protect Journalists have been trying to inform the international community about the situation there.

Malik used to work as the editor of "The Baloch Hal," Baluchistan's first online English-language newspaper, which was often critical of the Pakistani government. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority banned "The Baloch Hal" one year ago.

Read more in Pashto here

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bullet-riddled body of journalist found in Khuzdar

Bullet-riddled body of journalist found in Khuzdar

QUETTA: A bullet-riddled body of a young journalist was found in Khuzdar, about 300-kilometre south of Quetta on Saturday morning. The victim was identified as Javed Naseer Rind who worked as a senior sub-editor at local daily in Mastung. Khuzdar police recovered the body near Ghazgi Chowk and shifted it to District Headquarters Hospital Khuzdar. The officers found a slip from the body in which his name was stated as Javed Rind. According to doctors, the body had bullet wound in head and multiple marks of torture. Rind was abducted on September 10 near his resident in Mehmoodabad area of Hub Town in Lasbela District. The relatives filed an FIR at Hub Police Station about the kidnapping of Rind soon after the incident. The Balochistan Union of Journalists has condemned the kidnapping and killing of Rind and demanded government constitute a high level committee to probe the incident. mohammad zafar

Pakistan 10th on list of deadliest places for journalists: Report

Pakistan 10th on list of deadliest places for journalists: Report

Published: June 13, 2011

Source: CPJ.ORG

In a report titled ‘Getting Away With Murder’, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ranked Pakistan as the 10th most dangerous country in the world for journalists.

The 2011 CPJ impunity index “spotlights countries where journalists are slain and killers go free”.

Topping the list is Iraq, with 92 unsolved journalists’ murder cases. Pakistan is ranked number 10, followed by Bangladesh, Brazil and India.

The index calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population.

“The findings of the 2011 Impunity Index lay bare the stark choices that governments face: Either address the issue of violence against journalists head-on or see murders continue and self-censorship spread,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “

First published in 2008, CPJ’s annual Impunity Index identifies countries where journalists are murdered regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes.

For this latest index, CPJ examined journalist murders that occurred between January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2010, and that remain unsolved. Only the 13 nations with five or more unsolved cases are included on the index. Cases are considered unsolved when no convictions have been obtained.

Last month, 40-year-old journalist Saleem Shahzad was found dead two days after he vanished after leaving home in Islamabad to appear on a television talk show. His body was found days after he published article about links between rogue elements of the navy and al Qaeda.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik confirmed that a police investigation had been ordered and promised a reward of nearly $30,000.

But reporters and press groups say previous enquiries into the killings of journalists have not been made public and said they expected little this time.

Reporters Without Borders says that 16 journalists have now been killed since the start of 2010 in Pakistan, which it ranks 151st out of 178 countries in its press freedom index.

Missing persons: Young journalist found dead in Khuzdar

Missing persons: Young journalist found dead in Khuzdar

Published: November 6, 2011

Javed Naseer Rind was a senior sub editor at a local daily Tawar, a pro-nationalist newspaper.


Javed Naseer Rind’s name was added to the list of more than 10 journalists whose bodies have been found tortured and dumped in Balochistan.

Said to be in his mid-twenties, Rind’s bullet-riddled body was found dumped in Khuzdar, about 300 kilometers south of Quetta, on Saturday morning. He was a senior sub editor at a local daily Tawar, a pro-nationalist newspaper.

“The victim was shot in the head and the bullet had passed through the skull. The body bore multiple marks of brutal torture,” doctors at the District Headquarters Hospital, Khuzdar said.

The Khuzdar police recovered Rind’s body near Ghazgi Chowk and shifted it to the hospital. The officers found a slip from the body in which the man was identified as Javed Naseer Rind.

Rind was abducted on September 10 near his residence in the Mehmoodabad area of Hub Town, which shares a border with Karachi. His relatives had filed an FIR about the kidnapping at the Hub police station, but did not accuse anyone for the incident.

The Balochistan Union of Journalists (BUJ) has condemned Rind’s kidnapping and murder and has demanded that the government constitute a high-level committee to probe the incident. “On several occasions journalists demanded Rind’s safe release but it fell on deaf ears,” a press release issued by the BUJ said.

It further said that over 10 journalists were killed in Balochistan this year and no investigations had been carried out.

Journalists had also raised the issue regarding Rind’s disappearance at the South Asia Free Media Association (Safma) conference in Islamabad last month, expressing fear that he would be found dead.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2011.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Raging Rally: 8 injured in clash with police

Raging Rally: 8 injured in clash with police

Published: November 6, 2011


A total of eight people, including five police officials, sustained multiple injuries in a clash between police and infuriated mob at Faisalabad.

According to eyewitnesses, the protesters were rallying against the police’s failure in protecting their lives and property. The police resorted to baton charging the crowd. The crowd then began to damage dozens of police and civilian vehicles and also pelted stones at the police.

Five police officials, including station house officer (SHO) Saeed Anwar, an assistant sub-inspector and three constables were injured as a result.

Hundreds of the villagers moved to main Faisalabad-Sammundri Road near Dijkot and blocked it for several hours following the incident and burned tyres. A heavy police contingent reached at the spot and tried to disperse the demonstrators after negotiating.

Locals alleged that robbery incidents had become increasingly common and the police were not doing enough to address the situation. “In most cases they don’t catch the accused because police are involved in the robberies,” said a protester, Majid.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 201

Boys will be boys: Driving the point home

Boys will be boys: Driving the point home

Published: November 6, 2011

464 vehicles impounded in crackdown against underage driving.


Traffic police impounded over 464 vehicles in the first week of the crackdown against underage driving.

Officials said that over 464 vehicles including 363 motorcycles, 46 cars, 46 rickshaws and 10 trucks were fined and their drivers were fined. “We have impounded the vehicles and dozens of parents have come to the police officials to protest,” said a traffic official. “Underage driving is so common that we need to impound vehicles and impose fines to make the point that it needs to be stopped,” said traffic official Muhammad Arif. “I have booked drivers as young as ten years old,” he said.

Traffic officials said that in the first week of the operation they had impounded 264 vehicles. “We now know that we will need to take much stricter measures because underage driving is far too common. In some cases, drivers who were of age didn’t have a licence,” they added.

Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Sardar Muhammad Asif Khan told reporters on Friday that the campaign against underage drivers would continue in the district till the end of the year. “District traffic police have been directed to fine all violators and keep an eye out for underage drivers in every locality,” he said. “We also plan to distribute pamphlets regarding the risks of underage driving in high schools,” he said. The CTO asked the parents of the underage drivers to refrain from handing over their vehicles to unlicenced teenagers. “It isn’t just irresponsible but these parents seem to overlook that they are endangering the lives of other commuters,” he said. “They are the ones to blame for not refusing their children. If we arrest their boys and impound their cars that is a small price. They should be grateful that we have caught these kids before they crashed these cars,” he said. The CTO said that the traffic police would also check and arrest pillion riding during the Eid holidays. “One wheeling is strictly forbidden and we will closely monitor it during Eid,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2011.

Faisalabad bullying case: Boy killed classmate over ‘homophobic slur’

Faisalabad bullying case: Boy killed classmate over ‘homophobic slur’

Published: November 6, 2011

Rizwan Ahmed has been sent to juvenile jail on a 14-day judicial remand for beating Ahsan to death.


A seventh-grade student was sent to a juvenile jail in Faisalabad on Saturday after confessing to the fatal beating of his classmate. Rizwan Ahmad, 12, admitted to the crime, saying he did it in response to homophobic slurs uttered against him.

Judicial Magistrate Chiniot Sheikh Maqsood Ahmad has sent Rizwan to Borstal Jail Faisalabad on a 14-day judicial remand on the charge of killing Muhammad Ahsan on Friday.

According to reports, Ahsan was continuously bullied by Rizwan and his uncle Zafar, who also happened to be the physical training instructor of their school, the Government High School in Chiniot district.

According to Ahsan’s father Sarfraz, his son was a bright student and was admired by his fellow students and teachers. He added that, out of envy, Rizwan repeatedly tortured Ahsan, in connivance with his uncle. Zafar would often reprimand and bully Ahsan on arbitrary pretexts in school, Sarfraz had alleged.

Rizwan, on the contrary, claimed he was subjected to verbal abuse at the hands of Ahsan, which ‘built up resentment and caused depression’. Investigation Officer (IO) sub inspector Yar Muhammad told to the court that Rizwan claimed the deceased would often utter derogatory remarks implying he was a homosexual in front of his classmates.

“Because I was good looking and the pretty one, out of jealousy, Ahsan used to call me ‘gay’,” the officer quoted Rizwan as saying in a recorded statement. Recalling Friday’s incident, Rizwan said, that Ahsan once again abused him and as a result “out of sheer frustration I punched his face and kicked his stomach repeatedly, and might have hit him in his private parts which caused his death”.

The officer further told the court that PT teacher Zafar’s role in the murder is yet to be determined and evidence, in this regard, is being collected. Zafar is said to have escaped soon after the incident on Friday.

Cause of death

A preliminary investigation report was submitted before the court, which stated that “the cause of death is yet to be determined as no visible injuries have been found on the body of the deceased”.

Dr Khalid Mahmood Wala, who conducted the postmortem, told The Express Tribune that no visible signs of injuries were found on the body, except a minor wound on the genitals.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2011.

Delivering bad news: Newborn dies at midwife’s hand

Delivering bad news: Newborn dies at midwife’s hand

Published: November 6, 2011

Parents blame dai for breaking baby’s spine during delivery, police have registered a case.


A newborn died during delivery due to the alleged negligence of a midwife on Friday.

According to health officials, the Dai (midwife) was responsible for the child’s death.

“She broke the baby’s spine. We told the mother to bring him to a hospital but she insisted on going to a local clinic,” said Allied Hospital’s Dr Mubarak Ali.

According to police officials, Chak No 279-RB resident Zareena Bibi and Muhammad Yousuf said that Rubina Bibi had approached them a few hours before Zareena’s delivery.

“She told me that going to the hospital would cost us a lot of money and that she had successfully delivered dozens of children,” Zareena told police. She said that a doctor, who runs a clinic in the area, had recommended the midwife. Zareena said that she was about to go to Allied Hospital for delivery when Dai Rubina Bibi told them that the baby should be born in a familiar place, such as the clinic. Muhammad Yousuf told police officials that he and his family on Rubina’s advice took Zareena to the clinic for her delivery. Zareena said that during the delivery Rubina pulled at the baby hard – enough to break its spine. “The child was’nt crying. We knew the moment he was delivered that he was dead and the other doctors moved out of the room,” she said.

Doctors at Allied Hospital examined the body of the baby and said that the infant’s neck was broken. “This woman obviously did not know what she was doing and used excessive force,” Dr Ali said.

Yousaf and his family placed the baby’s body outside the clinic and protested for several hours. Yousuf also registered a case with Ghulam Muhammadabad Police against Rubina and the clinic in-charge, Dr Zafar.

“Rubina managed to flee the scene while we were protesting,” Yousuf told police officials.

“She took Rs20,000 from us for the delivery and said that if we went to the hospital it would cost us lacs of rupees,” Yousuf said in his statement.

Investigation in-charge Assistant Sub Inspector Rana Daud said that he had registered a case against the accused and that a team was searching for her whereabouts.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2011.