SC reserves judgment on Asia Bibi’s appeal against death sentence

ISLAMABAD: ICMD, Oct 8, 2018 The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its judgment on the appeal of Asia Bibi against her conviction and death sentence under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). A three-judge special bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel heard the appeal of the Christian mother of four, who in 2010 became the first woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan's blasphemy law. Reserving its verdict, the special bench directed the media to not discuss the case. As the hearing began, Asia Bibi's lawyer Saiful Mulook told the bench that the incident took place on June 14, 2009, and its case was registered on June 19. A case was filed against Bibi by an Imam in Katanwala village who alleged that Bibi had confessed to committing blasphemy, the lawyer said. To this, Justice Nisar asked Bibi’s lawyer, "Are these things on record?" However, Mulook told the bench that the Imam (prayer leader) himself was not a witness to the incident. “There are also contradictions regarding how the notice of the incident was taken and the complainant has said the decision to register an FIR against Bibi was taken amid a group of people,” he added. Further, Mulook said, “Permission was not taken from the district coordination officer (DCO) or the district police officer (DPO) to register the FIR." He added that the Imam in the FIR said that the villagers had not attempted to beat up Bibi. To this, Justice Khosa remarked, “From your statements we have gathered that the Imam himself did not witness the incident as it happened and no blasphemous words were said in his presence.” Justice Nisar then added, “As per the prayer leader's statement, a panchayat was held in a house and 1,000 people had gathered for it." “The FIR states that Bibi was a Christian preacher, was she really?” the chief justice asked. Mulook responded in the negative and said, “She was never a preacher.” After hearing the arguments, the top court reserved its judgment on Bibi's appeal. The chief justice also directed news channels to not discuss the case. The allegations against Bibi date back to June 2009, when she was labouring in a field and a row broke out with some Muslim women who alleged that she committed blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Bibi was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death in 2010, despite her advocates maintaining her innocence and insisting the accusers held grudges against her.

On April 21, 2018, the first official World Creativity and Innovation Day (#WCID) will be celebrated

The creative economy –which includes audiovisual products, design, new media, performing arts, publishing and visual arts– is a highly trans formative sector of the world economy in terms of income generation, job creation and export earnings. Culture is an essential component of sustainable development and represents a source of identity, innovation and creativity for the individual and community. At the same time, creativity and culture have a significant non-monetary value that contributes to inclusive social development, to dialogue and understanding between peoples. Cultural and creative industries should be part of economic growth strategies, according to the UNESCO report on culture and sustainable development. These industries are among the most dynamic sectors in the world economy, generating $2.25 billion in revenue and 29.5 million jobs worldwide. In that spirit, countries are harnessing the potential of high-growth areas of the market for economic returns and poverty alleviation.

Missing varsity girl found strangled after assault

ICMD, March 29, 2018 The body of a girl who had gone missing earlier this week was found in a canal on Wednesday. According to a doctor at the hospital where autopsy was conducted, she was subjected to rape and violence before being strangled to death. The victim was a student of English literature at the Government College University, Faisalabad. Ali, the girl`s father, told the media on Thursday that his daughter had left the university after attending her classes, but did not return home. `I and my relatives got worried and launched a search for her, but to no avail. I then approached Gulberg police for registration of a case, but the SHO not only refused to entertain my application but also used objectionable language. `I then sought assistance from City Police Officer Athar Ismail. But the CPO neither bothered to take action against the SHO nor ensured registration of a case,` Ali said, overcome with emotion while recalling his helplessness. The girl`s father quoted eyewitnesses as saying they had seen some people bundling her into a car near the university. Ali said he suspected some university students` involvement in the crime. Her class fellows remembered her as an intelligent, simple and reserved person. They said police could have saved the victim by tracing her mobile phone location and call data, besides using footage of the CCTV camera installed on roads leading to the university. A senior police officer said on Thursday a murder case had been initially registered against unidentified persons by police on the complaint of a police volunteer. Claiming that the culprits would be `nabbed soon`, he said police would investigate why the case was not registered by Gulberg police when the father approached them. The CPO has suspended the Gulberg SHO over the delay in registration of the case. A departmental probe into the incident has also been initiated against him. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has sought a report on the matter. The CPO has formed two teams to trace and arrest the culprits. – Courtesy Dawn