The News International - Karachi

Sep 172015
 
Two dead as driver falls asleep at the wheel
our correspondent
Friday, September 18, 2015
From Print Edition

Karachi

 

Three people, including a minor boy, were killed in two different road accidents on Thursday.

 

Naimat Khan, 25, and Inayatullah, 40, were killed when their loaded Suzuki pick-up collided with a parked truck near the Liaquatabad Bridge. The men were heading to Baldia Town from the New Subzi Mandi and, according to police, the driver, Naimat, fell asleep at the wheel.

 

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments.

Sep 172015
 
Terrorist who trained youths as suicide attackers held

Karachi

 

The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) arrested the Karachi chief of the Tehreek-e-Emirate Islamia Afghanistan on Thursday who was allegedly involved in training suicide bombers.

 

The arrest of Umer Hayat, believed to be an expert in making suicide jackets, came a day after CTD officials captured a suspected financier of terrorists, Sheeba Ahmed.

 

CTD-II SSP Junaid Shaikh told a press conference that police conducted a raid on a hideout in MPR Colony in Orangi Town after receiving a tip-off that some terrorists were hiding there.

 

However, suspects opened fire at the law enforcers, who retaliated against the attack and arrested Hayat. Two other suspects managed to escape.

 

The police also claimed to have seized arms and ammunition, a huge quantity of explosive material and two suicide jackets.

 

During the initial interrogation, Hayat said his outfit hired youngsters from Karachi and trained them before sending them to various TTP wings that used them as suicide bombers.

 

He admitted to training two suicide bombers, Raz Gul and Taj Muhammad, to target the Kamra Airbase; however, they returned unsuccessful due to high security there.

 

He also admitted that he killed a station house officer in Peshawar, an intelligence officer and 15 army soldiers in Afghanistan.

 

SSP Shaikh claimed that Hayat was planning to carry out a terror attack in Karachi on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha.

 

He said intelligence agencies arrested two other suspected terrorists affiliated with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Sher Khan Group in the Sultanabad area.

 

‘Gangster, terrorist’ killed

 

An alleged gangster and a terrorist were gunned down in a shoot-out with the Sindh Rangers on Thursday.

 

Two TT pistols and four hand grenades were recovered from their possession.

 

The Rangers personnel received information that gangsters affiliated with the Uzair Jan Baloch group of Lyari were hiding in a house in Lyari’s Kalakot area.

 

One gangster, Abdullah, was injured in a shoot-out and arms and ammunition were recovered from his possession. He was being taken to the Civil Hospital Karachi in critical condition but he died on the way.

 

The Rangers officials said the deceased was involved in several cases of killings, extortion and kidnapping for ransom cases.

 

In a separate encounter in Manghopir area, Rangers personnel killed a member of a banned organisation said to be involved in incidents of terrorism across the city.

 

Sep 132015
 
Honing confidence and abilities of our future leaders

Karachi

 

Sceptics might describe the three-day Junior Leaders’ Conference to be a giant bubble of goodness and optimism where children feel the world to be their oyster; an unnecessary, the cynics feel, expectation for the tough lessons of real life.

 

But that bubble, punctuated with activities ranging from robotics to the arts, has been created with painstaking care to rouse both, interest and hunger, for learning. That is what may make the JLC just exactly what 13-year-old Arsalan, a resident of Shireen Jinnah Colony, needs to fulfil his aspiration to be a doctor.

 

Frail for his age, the shy boy with large eyes, a student of Class 3, learnt about the conference from his father who works at the School of Leadership, under whose aegis the conference is arranged every year.

 

Last year, Arsalan’s 14-year-old sister attended the conference, but this year’s theme, ‘Art is Life’, was perfect for Arsalan, who is an avid artist. That stood true as the little one excitedly claimed to have learnt much from the different sessions held at the conference.

 

The JLC also seemed to have done wonders for 13-year-old Salik Ahmed’s confidence. “For the most part, what I learnt here were things my mother has been teaching us throughout our lives,” he said.

 

Sheharyar, another participant, is learning the Quran by heart at Darul Uloom Qadria while also taking school lessons privately.

 

“My mother told me to trust myself if I wanted to do anything in life. And that’s about the gist of the JLC. We learn to be ourselves and gain confidence to test our own abilities so we keep growing and can inculcate good values.”

 

“I have gained a lot of confidence to talk to other people. My parents are really friendly with me but I was still shy in front of others.”

 

A student of Class 4 at the Hoor Bhai Hajiani School near Civil Hospital Karachi, Laiba Tariq, also concurred with the other participants. “In my school there is just a field where we play whatever we want,” she said, “Here, though, we had lots of fun combined with a lot of learning.”

 

Sep 132015
 
Rangers gun down two gangsters
our correspondent
Monday, September 14, 2015
From Print Edition

Karachi

 

The paramilitary force personnel gunned down two alleged gangsters in an encounter, during the wee hours of Saturday.

 

A spokesman for the force said the Rangers had conducted a targeted operation in Lyari Town on a hideout, located near Adam tea store, of the gang-war criminals.

 

The gangsters were said to have opened indiscriminate fire on the Rangers personnel, however, two of the suspects were shot dead in retaliatory fire while others managed to escape.

 

The killed gangsters were identified as Adnan Baloch and Sajid alias Ganga; both were allegedly associated with the Uzair Baloch group operating in Old Golimar.

 

The suspects were wanted for having carried out several target killings, kidnappings for ransom and other vicious crimes, the spokesman further claimed. Weapons were also recovered from their possession. Further investigations are underway.

 

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments.

Sep 132015
 
Rumours about friction, doubts over MQM chiefs political future baseless

Karachi

 

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement staged a rally from Liaquatabad No 10 to the Mazar-e-Quaid on Sunday to protest against the “extra-judicial killings” and “enforced disappearance” of its activists.

 

Hundreds, including women, children and the elderly, participated in the rally to support the party’s stance that Rangers were killing its innocent activists under the garb of the crackdown against criminals in Karachi.

 

MQM chief Altaf Hussain on the official website of the party, had appealed to “women, elderly people, children and sisters to participate in the rally to prove that ‘like [in the] past, you still support your brother and son Altaf Hussain”.

 

The party activists and supporters participating in the rally shouted slogans against the law-enforcement agencies and the rulers for “pushing the people of Karachi against the wall”.

 

MQM’s Amin-ul-Haq said Rangers had created hurdles to stop the participants of the rally from reaching the Mazar-e-Quaid, but many of them managed to reach there.

 

“This massive rally proves that all speculations about frictions developing within the party and doubts over the political future of Altaf Hussain are baseless,” said Haq.

 

“The MQM will remain a formidable political entity in urban Sindh and cannot be eliminated.”

 

Ashraf Hasan, a participant of the rally who had arrived from Malir, said they had gathered to express their support for the party chief and to convey the message that the minus-Altaf Hussain conspiracy will be foiled.

 

A day earlier, the MQM had mourned the death of its four activists, who it claimed were taken away by Rangers a few months ago and then murdered in custody.

 

The paramilitary force, however, had said the four men were target killers and killed in a shootout in a slum in Sohrab Goth on Thursday.

 

A party insider told The News that Rangers, by forcibly opening shops belonging to the Pakhtun and Punjabi communities, were dividing the city on ethnic lines.

 

Inquiry

 

The MQM central coordination committee has decided to form an inquiry committee to investigate the allegations that some party activists arrested during the last two years were involved in sectarian violence.

 

At a meeting presided over by the party’s senior deputy convener Nadeem Nusrat, it was decided that the body would comprise of impartial people and its findings would be made public upon conclusion.

 

The members of the coordination committee unanimously agreed that the MQM would not defend any person affiliated with the party found involved in sectarian violence. They instructed officials representing the party on TV talk shows to promote sectarian harmony and refrain from passing remarks based on speculations.

 

They also resolved continue to the party’s “zero-tolerance” policy for anti-social elements, criminals and terrorists.

 

Sep 132015
 
Kaptaan fails to claim any wickets in northern Sindh trip

Karachi

 

In a bid to loosen the Pakistan People’s Party’s firm grip on Sindh in the upcoming local government elections, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan visited the northern districts of the province where the first phase of the polls is scheduled, but political analysts describe his trip as unsuccessful, saying that the “Kaptaan” was unable to achieve the desired results.

 

In the first phase, the polls will conducted in Khairpur, Sukkur, Ghotki, Larkana, Shikarpur, Qamber Shahdadkot, Jacobabad and Kashmore on October 31.

 

Khan visited Sukkur, Ghotki, Shikarpur and Kashmore on September 2 and 3.

 

“Imran Khan’s North Sindh visit saw tremendous response,” tweeted Arif Alvi, the PTI provincial organiser, on September 3.

 

“All of Shikarpur came out to see Imran. Hordes of people. Then all along the way to Kashmore. In every village hundreds came out on the road,” he wrote in his next tweet.

 

At party gatherings organised in many towns, Khan criticised the PPP and the the Muttahida Qaumi Movement leaderships for their narrow-minded ethnic politics, poor governance and the law and order problems in the province.

 

Zulfiqar Halepoto, the PTI Sindh deputy information secretary, said his party was the only option for Sindhis for bringing about socio-economic development in the rural parts of the province.

 

“Imran and the PTI are clear when it comes to the main concerns of Sindh including the province’s control over its natural resources, its territorial safety and unbiased development,” Halepoto told The News.

 

PTI leaders in northern Sindh said the party was planning to organise several visits of Khan to their areas during the campaign for the local government polls.

 

“Many well-known and clean political figures joined the PTI during Imran’s visit,” said a party leader in Sukkur.

 

“We have been contacted by many politicians, but the party is accepting them after properly scrutinising their background to ensure that they weren’t involved in corruption in the past,” he added. However, political analysts said the party was unable to bring any well-known politicians into the party’s fold.

 

“Only disgruntled parliamentarians of the PPP including Mian Abdul Khaliq alias Mian Mithu, Sardar Muhammad Khan Lund, Pappu Khan Chachar and others met Imran but they haven’t announced joining the party yet,” said a journalist in Shikarpur.

 

The PTI has faced heavy criticism, both from inside and outside, especially from the Hindu community, when Khan met Mithu, who is believed to be playing an instrumental role in the forced conversion of Hindu girls, and invited him to join the party. But the party leadership claimed that Khan had only visited him to offer his condolences.

 

A section of political analysts also believe that Khan was mainly focusing on taking on board influential landlords, who could guarantee electoral success, instead of organising the party in the districts.

 

Journalists who covered Khan’s trip said there was some hope for the PTI in northern Sindh, the PPP’s stronghold, but as the party lacked a proper organisational set-up there, it was unable to make its chief’s gatherings there successful.

 

“Unlike Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi, we did not see a huge public participation and fervour in Imran’s rallies in northern Sindh,” said a journalist.

 

He also maintained that the PTI was unable to find strong candidates, who could pose a challenge to the PPP.

 

“It’s not necessary to find powerful tribal chieftains for winning the local bodies polls. A new political leader with clean background and a proper organisational set-up in a district can help the party to win,” the journalist added.

 

Ishak Soomro, a political analyst, said Khan visited northern Sindh after meeting a delegation of the province’s intellectuals and civil society activists at his residence in Bani Gala. However, Soomro added, the PTI, instead of organising the party on the grass-roots level by engaging new and young political activists, had been trying to recruit influential landlords without taking their reputation in their constituencies into consideration.

 

“After the failure of Imran’s visit, the high hopes that the PTI can replace the PPP in Sindh have ended with great disappointment,” he said.

 

“Whether it’s Imran or Nawaz Sharif, Sindhi people don’t accept any outsider and the PPP keeps exploiting these sentiments and has been winning elections in the province since the 1970s.”

 

A PTI leader in Sukkur, who is dissatisfied with his provincial leadership, said Karachi-based leaders, who were not even properly aware of their areas, had “hijacked” the party in the province and instead of consulting local leaders, were directly recruiting corrupt politicians at their residences in the city.

 

“The PTI has been following in the footsteps of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and focusing on Punjab, where there the majority of the National Assembly seats are,” he added.

 

The PTI had secured one National Assembly seat and three Sindh Assembly seats in Karachi in the 2013general elections. Its candidates in the rest of the province were unable to bag any constituency.

 

Analysts said the PPP might win the majority of seats in rural Sindh as there was no strong alliance against it.

 

“We expect many PPP candidates to be elected unopposed as rival parties, including the PTI, are finding it difficult to find candidates to field against them,” Soomro said.

 

Sep 132015
 
Pakistan all set for some Halla Gulla on Eid-ul-Azha

Karachi

 

“I am a pure Pakistani,” and after a meaningful pause he continued, “If Japanese cars are used worldwide, that doesn’t mean that Japan can’t use it.” The joint laughter kicked off the event on a pleasant note.

 

This was said by renowned singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan on Sunday in a meet-the-press and music launch of the upcoming movie, “Halla Gulla”.

 

The veteran singer said, “I am here to support Pakistani cinema. The way Karachi is serving the cinema should be followed in other cities of the country.”

 

The movie under the banner of Geo Films is scheduled to be released on Eid-ul-Azha.

 

The director of the movie, Kamran Akbar Khan, said the uniqueness of the movie was that since the revival of the Pakistani cinema, it was the first time young actors who were talented and had proven their mettle in the dramas but with no prior film experience were given the opportunity to showcase their talent on a bigger medium.

 

“We found countless challenges, but we trusted on the fresh faces and we are certain that it would pay off,” he said. “Unlike the growing trend of basing the films on star power, we pursued with the talent of our youth.”

 

He further said the classic family entertainer film had five songs composed by the music director Sahir Ali Bagga.

 

On the occasion, Sheikh Amjad Rasheed, the chairman of the IMGC Global and Distribution Club, said given the effort being put into our cinema, Pakistani films would outdo the Indian cinema in the near future. He too expressed his confidence in the film.

 

The lead actor, Asim Mehmood, also paid his gratitude to the cast and singers, especially mentioning Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for supporting Pakistani cinema.

 

Muneeb Butt, another actor, requested people to the movie a chance.

 

Veteran artist Hina Rizvi said the country had immense potential of youth that needed to be highlighted and promoted.

 

Amidst cheers, a clip of song videos and trailer was shown to the press. However arguably the pinnacle of the presser was when Rahat and Afshaan Fawad sang a bit of their widely anticipated song, “Surror Dey”.

 

Muhammad Naeem, 25, who joined the event after hearing Rahat’s singing told The News, “My entire family is Rahat’s fan; the movie looks promising abd most probably we will be watching the first show.”

 

The film cast is as follows: Javed Sheikh, Ismail Tara, Ghazala Javed, Asim Mehmood, Muneeb, Sidra Batool, Ashraf Khan, Zara Gul, Jasmeen, Adil Wadia, Maryam Ansari, Hina Rizvi, Hunain Maniar and Bilal Yousufzai.

 

Sep 082015
 
SHC removes Mama Qadeer, Farzanas names from ECL
Jamal Khurshid
Wednesday, September 09, 2015
From Print Edition

Karachi

 

The Sindh High Court set aside on Tuesday the interior ministry’s memorandum about placing the names of Baloch activists Mama Abdul Qadeer and Farzana Majeed in the exit control list and allowed them to travel abroad.

 

The order came on a petition filed by Qadeer, the vice chairman of the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons and its secretary, Majeed, against placing their names in the ECL.

 

The petitioners submitted that they were protesting against the “enforced disappearance” of missing Baloch people and had staged protest camps outside the Karachi Press Club. The petitioner’s counsel, Wazeer Hussain Khoso, submitted that Jalil Reki, Qadeer’s son, was detained by the law enforcement agencies and later his body was found in Mand, Balochistan whereas Majeed’s brother, Zakir, was missing for the last six or seven years.

 

The counsel submitted that petitioners were invited by the Sindh Academic and Cultural Society of North America to attend a conference on March 4 but they were restrained from travelling abroad on the ground that their names were in exit control list.

 

The federal law officer submitted in his comments that the names of the petitioners were placed in the ECL because of their involvement in anti-state activities.

 

An SHC division bench, headed by Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh, observed that the government had failed to justify the restriction imposed on the petitioners to travel abroad and struck down the interior ministry’s memorandum.

 

Detention cases

 

Separately, the high court also issued notices to the IGP, the Rangers DG, the home secretary and others on petitions against the illegal detention of citizens allegedly by the law enforcement agencies.

 

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments.

Sep 072015
 
Education in Sindh: a lost ship in dire need of a map

Province’s free and fair education law useless until its Rules of Business are prepared

Karachi

If free and fair education is the Fountain of Youth, then Sindh might as well be described as the Black Pearl, aimlessly sailing towards it without directions or a map.

As foreign aid pours in, it sways the Pearl here or there. The wind changes the direction of the ship, at times even swaying it farther away from its destination of providing free education to all children in the province.

Though Sindh’s was the first ship in the country to have set sail towards the Fountain of Youth with the enactment of the Free and Fair Education Act in 2013, in the absence of clear directions – the Rules of Business for this legislation – the ship seems to have lost its way.

The Rules of Business of any legislation provide the procedure and guidelines for making a law operational and enable it to be institutionalised by the state machinery.

“You need Rules of Business to translate legislation into official procedures,” explained Barrister Zahid Jamil, a senior lawyer.

“Though the rules have little use for the public, without them a law might as well be useless because it can’t be made operational without clear guidelines about its implementation.”

In fact, it is not just Sindh, but other provinces of the country too have been unable to come up with the Rules of Business for their respective free and fair education laws passed after the passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment in 2010.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s is the ship trailing farthest behind as it remains without a right to education law even after five years of the enactment of Article 25-A in the Constitution.

Pearl’s (re)awakening

The senior crewmembers of the Pearl seem to have begun realising how far they have strayed from their destination.

But before they can go on and make the Free and Fair Education Act, 2013 operational, they need to take stock of the landscape and make sure that the Pearl is up for the tough journey ahead.

“There was just too much to do with a new scandal every other day to work on the Rules of Business,” remarked a senior official in the education and literacy department on the condition of anonymity. “To be honest, the process just got delayed on account of bureaucratic red-tapism,” the official added.

“There is an acute shortage of qualified staff. A lot of officials who are part of the department aren’t qualified enough while others aren’t willing to come here and deal with the mammoth issues plaguing the education sector because of its tarnished reputation.”

However, the education secretary Dr Fazlullah Pechuho recently set up a committee of stakeholders and foreign donors to sit down and devise the much-needed Rules of Business for the free and fair education law.

“The committee will begin working this week. It includes members of educational research and advocacy groups and representatives of international donors who have pledged their monetary support,” Dr Pechuho said.

Last year, the department came up with a five-year plan in the Sindh Education Sector Plan (SESP) 2014 which provided guidelines about achieving education-related goals at an estimated overall cost of Rs940 billion.

The plan was to take the policies outlined in the SESP and work with all the stakeholders, especially the local ones, to improve the declining enrolment rates and gather dynamic data for the resolution of the existing problems.

Another aspect of the plan was to make arrangements for early learning for children between three and five years so that they could assimilate better in the school environment.

In January this year, the Sindh School Education Standards and Curriculum Act 2015 was passed by the provincial assembly.

Ironically, the Rules of Business for this law are almost ready and just need to be notified while those of the Free and Fair Education Act 2013 have yet to be worked upon.

Sep 072015
 
Prime witness in Sabeen Mahmud murder case killed
Salis bin Perwaiz
Tuesday, September 08, 2015
From Print Edition

Karachi

 

The prime witness in the Sabeen Mahmud murder case was gunned down in Sector-C of Bhittai Colony near Korangi Crossing on Monday night.

 

Police constable Ghulam Abbas, 48, who worked as a driver with the deputy director of the Anti-Corruption Establishment, was attacked outside a mosque near his house.

 

The constable worked part-time as T2F director Sabeen Mahmud’s driver

 

Quaidabad sub-divisional police officer Rao Mohammad Iqbal said two men visited Abbas’ house and when they were told that the constable had gone to a nearby mosque for prayers, they went after him and shot him.

 

The constable was taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre where he succumbed to his injuries. He had suffered bullet wounds to his chest.

 

Counter-terrorism department official Raja Umer Khattab said the constable was the prime witness in the T2F director’s murder case and had identified the main suspect, Saad Aziz, as the attacker.

 

The official said the same men had visited the constable’s house two days ago, but he was not there. He added that Abbas was sitting in the backseat of Mahmud’s car when she was attacked.

 

“The security of other witnesses in the case has become a concern now,” Khattab said.

 

“We request the government to chalk out a system for the protection of witnesses,” he added

 

The official said the trial of Mahmud’s murder case was almost over and the suspects were on the verge of being convicted but the prime witnesses had been killed. “The constable had witnessed the entire attack.”

 

Khattab suspected that al Qaeda Indian Subcontinent could be behind the attack.

 

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments.

Get Adobe Flash player