Dec 312016
 
Bangladesh MP Manjurul Islam shot dead at home

Manjurul Islam, an MP for the governing Awami League, was shot several times by three men in Gaibandha district, police say. He later died in hospital and the identities of his assailants, who reportedly fled by motorbike, remain unknown. Protests have been held in the local area following the killing. Prof Bimal Chandra Roy of Rangpur Medical College Hospital told BBC Bengali that the MP had …

Dec 312016
 
U.S. judge blocks transgender, abortion-related Obamacare protections

A federal judge in Texas on Saturday issued a court order barring enforcement of an Obama administration policy seeking to extend anti-discrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act to transgender health and abortion-related services. The decision sides with Texas, seven other states and three Christian-affiliated healthcare groups challenging a rule that, according to the judge, …

Dec 312016
 
Burundi Environment Minister assassinated: police

Burundi’s Environment Minister was shot dead in the capital Bujumbura early on Sunday, police said, the first assassination of its kind since the country was plunged into political turmoil in 2015. Emmanuel Niyonkuru, 54, the country’s water, environment and planning minister, was killed shortly after midnight, according to a tweet sent by police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye. The murder, the first …

Dec 312016
 
North Korea's Kim says close to test launch of ICBM

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Sunday that the country was close to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). “Research and development of cutting edge arms equipment is actively progressing and ICBM rocket test launch preparation is in its last stage,” Kim said during a televised speech. North Korea tested ballistic missiles at an unprecedented rate during 2016, …

Dec 312016
 
Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh Vow Never to Return to Myanmar

Authorities in Dhaka have demanded that Myanmar repatriate tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who crossed the border to escape what they say is persecution, and are now living illegally in Bangladesh. Myanmar says it will accept a small fraction of the refugee population now in Bangladesh, but the Rohingya themselves say they are unwilling to go back to Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Refugee community leaders are appealing to “Rohingya-friendly” countries to take them in. Ko Ko Linn, a Rohingya community leader in Bangladesh, told VOA that conditions in Myanmar had become unlivable, particularly in recent weeks, and “they do not want to return to this anti-Rohingya Myanmar.” ‘Unlivable’ situation Linn, an executive member of the Arakan Rohingya National Organization, said, “The Myanmar government and the country’s Buddhist-majority society have turned extremely hostile against the Rohingya Muslims, turning the country into a hell for them.” An Amnesty International report last month accused Myanmar security forces of being responsible for unlawful killings, multiple rapes and the burning down of houses and entire villages in a “campaign of violence against Rohingya people that may amount to crimes against humanity.” The Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh called in Myanmar’s ambassador Thursday to complain about the refugees and to demand an early return of all Rohingya migrants to Myanmar. Kamrul Ahsan, Bangladesh’s Bilateral and Consular Secretary, told Ambassador Myo Myint Than there is “deep concern at the continued influx of Muslims” from Myanmar. A Foreign Ministry statement in Dhaka said Ahsan asked “the Myanmar government to [Read More…]

Dec 312016
 
Escaping violence

Pakistan is ranked among the most dangerous and unsafe countries on the basis of prevalent social, cultural and tribal customs that are harmful to women. The country has the highest rates of dowry murder, so-called honour killings and early marriages. Acid attacks, child and forced marriages, physical abuse are some of the most common form of violence against women. Women in rural areas are usually victims of this violence. Pakistan is a developing country and women living in the country’s rural areas are usually illiterate, they don’t know their rights and can’t speak out against injustice. Victims have a limited ability to escape from violent situations. It is estimated that 70 to 90 percent of women in Pakistan have suffered some form of abuse. Each year, thousands of women’s death are linked with domestic violence. Protection is the basic right of the people, but it is unfortunate that Pakistan has become a country where a large number of women are not safe. These issues should be addressed without any delay. The concerned authorities should make an effort to provide the basic human rights to the people. Muhammad Umar Islamabad

Dec 312016
 
Wheel of death

Motorcyclists in Chitral often go berserk while performing dangerous stunts like one wheeling. In violation of the traffic rules, riders perform stunts such as one wheeling on busy roads. This goes on right under the supervision of the traffic police. Over two hundred people – mostly young-aged – have died in overspeeding-related accidents. This calls for a strict crackdown against one-wheeling. Such stints must be discouraged at all levels. Heavy financial penalties should be imposed on  violators of traffic rules. The police must ensure a smooth flow of traffic on roads. Khalid Pervaiz Raza Chitral

Dec 312016
 
Unpleasant sight

Satellite town, Rawalpindi is portraying an unpleasant sight of open sewers and drainage. The sewerage system of the area is very poor. Rapid expansion of the nearby market has added more to the misery. Restaurants are being opened up with negligence in cleanliness. These food outlets throw leftover food items into the drains affecting the sewerage system. This clogs the drains creating overflowing sewers. Open sewers, running around all the houses, have created a nuisance for pedestrians. The condition of streets is no better. Uncovered gutters have become trashcans for the neighbourhood. Residents dump their garbage in the gutters. When it rains, the polluted water from the gutters overflows and makes stagnant pools on the streets. Already containing hazardous materials, these pools harbour more microbes which are the cause of the contamination of environment resulting in water and air borne diseases. This situation cannot be entirely blamed on the irresponsible attitude of the municipal corporation since people are equally accountable for it because of their insensibility and indifference. It should be the priority of concerned officials to construct a proper sewerage system and establish more treatment plants in order to improve the condition of the area. Education and awareness is the ultimate answer to a lot of social problems. People should be told that it is their national duty to keep the country clean. Zarah Javed Rawalpindi

Dec 312016
 
Fear of the future

The Public Service Commission of Azad Kashmir advertised various posts of AC, ASP and SO in 2011, but the commission could not conduct the examination until 2015. The written examination for these posts was conducted and in May 2015 the result was announced. The qualified candidates started receiving the interview calls July 2015. While the interviews were being conducted, a general election was held in AJK. The moment the new government came into power, the commission’s work started getting questioned. A writ was filed in the high court and the whole process of interview was halted. By that time 34 candidates were selected on various posts. However after two months, the Supreme Court declared that the whole process stood null and void and directed the commission to re-conduct a paper of précis and composition. Although it sounded unfair to successful candidates, they did take the re-examination. Almost the same candidates who had qualified for the exam again were issued the interview call letters. The whole process was repeated again only to meet its ill-fate of getting halted. All successful candidates are in a state of confusion. They are uncertain what the future will unfold. They have been waiting for these posts since 2011. The concerned authorities and the government are requested to think about the future of the country’s young talent. A lot of these people don’t have multiple options since they come either from the middle or lower strata of our society. Khurram Iqbal Lahore

Dec 312016
 
Education reforms

Modern education system provides ample opportunities for some students, but also confines them within the boundaries of only textbooks. The concept of education in today’s world has been wrongly concluded as only bookish knowledge. Students are only taught to read and learn from their syllabi books. They are told to attain high marks, get admitted to top colleges and become disciplined without any focus on moral values or different phases of life. Very little attention is given towards students’ personality-building. Today’s education system should learn from the ancient education system where gurus played a crucial role in the holistic and all-round development of children. The concept of education needs to be widened beyond the limits of books and schools so that students can gain more insight in life and discover new truths about our world. Owais Ghaffar Karachi