Meesha Shafi does not have confidence in judge hearing defamation case

ICMD, May 4, 2019: Singer Meesha Shafi on Saturday filed an application with the session judge expressing no confidence in the additional district judge, who is hearing the defamation case filed by Ali Zafar. Shafi's legal team has alleged that Additional District Judge Shakeel Ahmad is exhibiting prejudice during the hearing and requested that the case, consequently, be transferred to another court. Judge Ahmad "has shown a clear and obvious bias in favour of the plaintiff which is apparent from the mode and manner in which he has so far conducted the proceedings", the petition reads according to a report. While the singer's legal team claimed that this bias was apparent since the hearings for the case started approximately six months ago, his bias "has been confirmed after the serious impropriety displayed by him on 27th April 2019 during the cross examination of the first witness of the plaintiff by counsels for the defendant". "The defendant does not have any confidence that the learned judge will be able to impartially and fairly proceeding in the case and hence desires to transfer her above-mentioned case to any other court of competent jurisdiction." The petition noted that the judge had "advised the witnesses not to give long answers as he may contradict himself or he may prejudice his own stance". The judge also did not allow in court records an objection by Zafar's team and a protest by Shafi's team and further refused to let a paper detailing witnesses' position in the studio into the evidence. It was the same judge who had imposed a fine worth Rs10,000 for the "non-appearance" of Shafi's team, which had requested an adjournment as a relative of one of the team's members had passed away. Also, in one of the court statements, the judge, instead of giving legal reasons, wrote that "the allegation levelled by one of them, the defendant, is bizarre to say the least”

UN designates JeM chief Masood Azhar as global terrorist

ICMD, May 1, 2019 The United Nations on Wednesday designated Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist after China lifted its hold on a proposal to blacklist him under the Security Council’s Sanctions Committee. China removed its hold on the proposal, which was moved by France, U.K. and the U.S. in the Security Council’s 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee in February just days after the terror attack against Indians security forces in Pulwama allegedly carried out by JeM. China on Tuesday hinted at ‘progress’ on designation of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar by the United Nations’ 1267 Sanctions Committee, as the United States called for resolving the contentious matter. Senior Pakistani officials had disclosed that China could lift its technical hold leading to Azhar’s designation Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, speaking at a media briefing in Beijing, said: “We support the listing issue being settled within the 1267 committee through dialogue and consultation and I believe this is the consensus of most members. Second, the relevant consultations are going on within the committee and have achieved some progress. Third, I believe, with the joint efforts of all parties, this issue can be properly resolved.” India has been seeking Azhar’s listing since 2016, but the latest push came after the February 14 Pulwama attack on the Central Reserve Police Force in India-held Kashmir, which was claimed by the JeM. The Indian resolution was backed by UNSC permanent members the US, the United Kingdom and France. China halted the process by applying technical hold for the fourth time. However this time, the US, the UK and France, in a change of tactics, plan to table a resolution in the Security Council. As Chinese spokesman Geng noted that the matter needed to be settled within 1267 Committee, Beijing has remained averse to dealing with the issue in the UNSC, where proceedings are public as compared to the sanctions committee, which operates under secrecy. Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, while talking to journalists at the US Embassy in Islamabad, said: “We would encourage the parties to move forward with the designation (of Azhar). It reaffirms the centrality of UN and UN role in designating terrorists.” She noted: “We believe designation process should be technical in nature, even assessment of evidence and countries moving forward to ensure that UN process works and works well and the international community is able to take corrective action against any terrorist, whoever they are, wherever they are located.” -- MD

PTI's Karachi gathering turns out to be a full-scale brawl between two factions

KARACHI: ICR, April 28, 2019 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s public gathering in Karachi to commemorate its 23rd founding day turned out to be a full-scale brawl between two factions forcing organizers to stop the press from covering the event. The gathering which was organized in Gulshan-e-Iqbal’s Mangal Bazar ground came to halt after the warring groups shouted at each other pelting stones and finally landed into a physical fight. One group succeeded in stopping Haleem Adil Shaikh, party’s acting president of Sindh chapter from addressing the gathering. Prominent leaders find it fit to remain away from the stage and later left the gathering unattended. Younger workers were seen in sheer disappointment saying the party is nothing but a group of undisciplined people. Interestingly enough, PTI’s Karachi leadership chose a small ground for the event, believing that they would not be able to attract a big crowd on the Foundation Day. “We are worried about the incompetence of the PTI leadership in Karachi. No one is sincere with the party… everyone is running after a designation or a post,” said a young PTI worker, adding that the party had failed to bring about a real change in society.

13 children test positive for HIV in Larkana

LARKANA: ICMD, April 24, 2019 Thirteen children were tested positive for human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) in Larkana's Ratodero district, in-charge of the HIV Aids Control Programme said yesterday. According to the in-charge, the blood samples of 16 children have been sent to a laboratory for further tests. “Sixteen of the thirteen children have tested positive for HIV. The children are between the ages of four months and eight years,” Dr Abdul Hafeez said. He further said, "The parents will also be tested of those children who tested positive." Larkana continues to top the list of districts most affected by HIV in Sindh with the number of AIDS patients in Larkana rising to more than 2,500. AIDS claimed a million lives in 2016, almost half the 2005 toll that marked the peak of the deadly epidemic, according to a UN report published on July 20, 2017. Experts warned, however, that much of the progress can be undone by growing resistance to HIV drugs. Unless something is done, drug-resistant virus strains may infect an extra 105,000 people and kill 135,000 over the next five years, and boost treatment costs by $650 million (560 million euros), said the World Health Organization (WHO). The report said AIDS-related deaths have fallen from 1.9 million in 2005 to one million in 2016, adding that "for the first time the scales have tipped." The year 2016 saw 1.8 million new infections, almost half the record number of some 3.5 million in 1997, said UNAIDS. In total, 76.1 million people have been infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, since the epidemic started in the 1980s. Some 35 million have died. As yet, there is no HIV vaccine or cure, and infected people rely on lifelong anti-retroviral therapy to stop the virus replicating. Without treatment, HIV-infected people go on to develop AIDS, a syndrome that weakens the immune system and leaves the body exposed to opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis, and some types of cancer. Treatment carries side effects and is costly, but allows infected people to be healthier for longer. -- ICR/MD

24th death anniversary of Saeen G.M Syed being observed today

ICR, April 24, 2019 24th death anniversary of Saeen G.M Syed is being observed today. The followers of Syed have arranged various programs in the province. His home town Sann has been decorated with his party's flags and banners to commemorate him. A large number of people from various districts arrived at Sann a day before his anniversary. The Sindh United Party (SUP) headed by his grandson Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah had special arrangements for the day after the party leaders laid floral wreath on Syed's grave on the bank of the Indus River. The SUP also organized a Sindhi-Urdu poetic sitting attended by many prominent Urdu and Sindhi poets such as Rahat Saeed, Dr. Javed Manzoor, Ghulam Ali Wafa, Naseem Nazish, Hujaba Abbasi, Safdar Insha, Asghar Khan, Azeem Hyder, and others. Besides SUP, other groups of nationalists like JSQM, JST, JSQM (A) have planned their programs. Who was G.M Syed? Ghulam Murtaza Syed called as G.M Syed (17 January 1904 – 25 April 1995) was a prominent Sindhi politician, who is infamously known for his scholarly work, passing only constitutional resolution in favor of the establishment of Pakistan from British Sindh Assembly (which is now Sindh Assembly) in 1943, proposing ideological groundwork for separate Sindhi identity and laying the foundations of Sindhudesh movement. He is regarded as one of the founding fathers of modern Sindhi nationalism. G.M Syed started his political career at the age of 16 when he organized Khilafat Conference at his hometown, Sann, on 17 March 1920. He was first to become a political prisoner after the creation of Pakistan in 1948. He restated the political implementation of Sufi ideologies proposing peaceful religious coexistence, secularism, Sindhi nationalism and laid the basis for Sindhudesh Movement. He spent approximately thirty years of his life in imprisonment and house arrests for opposing the anti-Sindh policies. He was entitled as the prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International in 1995. He died during his house arrest in Karachi on 26 April 1995.

PTI reposes unconditional trust in CM Buzdar

ICMD, April 23, 2019 The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) parliamentary party has reposed its complete trust in the leadership of Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar. The meeting of the parliamentary party was held under the chair of Buzdar on Monday at 90-Shehra-e-Quaid-i-Azam, Lahore. The assembly members expressed their full confidence in the leadership of Buzdar by standing on their seats. Various members said they were with Buzdar, adding that they were the lieutenants of Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Punjab CM, and added that they would be standing by Buzdar in the journey of public service. Addressing the meeting, the CM said he considered his post a special benevolence of Almighty Allah. He said Khan and provincial lawmakers had elected him as the chief minister and added that the post was meant for public service. “Record legislation has been made in a short span of time in the Punjab Assembly and I pay tribute to all of you for taking part in the legislation process,” he said. - DT

Karachi’s ranking improves in world crime index

ICMD, April 23, 2019 Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Asif Ghafoor on Monday lauded the sacrifices of security forces and civil administration for improving the situation of law and order in Karachi, which dropped to 70th place in the world crime index. In 2014, it was ranked 6th. In a tweet, the ISPR DG shared Karachi’s ranking in the world crime index from 2012 to 2019. “Karachi at one point in time (2014) was 6th in World Crime Index. Alhamdulillah, today it’s at 70th with many first world cities behind. Credit to team of Civil Administration & Security Forces esp Int, Police & Sindh Rangers. Also to the citizens of Karachi. More stability IA,” he tweeted. The comparison marks a big achievement as Karachi stood at number six in 2014, which gradually turned better the following years, finally making it to 70th position. -- DT

Work on legislation for Sir Cowasji Jahangir Institute begins

KARACHI: ICR, April 20, 2019: Sindh government constituted a committee to prepare draft legislation for an independent and autonomous Sir Cowasji Jahangir Institute of Psychiatry Hyderabad, affiliated with LUMS Jamshoro. The committee includes Vice Chancellor LUMHS Jamshoro, Senator Dr. Katim Khawaja, Secretary Works and Services Department, MS, SIR Cowasji Jahangir Institute of Psychiatry Hyderabad, Pro Dr. Haroon, Member, Sir Cowasji Jahangir Institute of Psychiatry Hyderabad, Aijaz Khanzada Health Department, Dr. Jamil Junejo, Assistant Prof Sir Cowasji Jahangir Institute of Psychiatry Hyderabad, Pro Dr. Moin Ahmed Ansari, Sir Cowasji Jahangir Institute of Psychiatry Hyderabad, Dr. Murtaza Dayo Registrar LUNHS Jamshoro and any co-opted member. The committee will prepare a draft legislation for an independent and autonomous Sir Cowasji Jahangir Institute of Psychiatry Hyderabad and furnish the feasibility report with complete codal formalities within 2 months, says a notification issued by Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah. Sir Cowasji Jahangir Institute of Psychiatry Hyderabad is a trust property established in 1865 as a lunatic asylum by a Parsi philanthropist to help mentally challenged people of Sindh and other parts. Dr. Jamil Junejo, an Assistant Professor of the institute wrote in a letter in Dawn published on Marah 24, 2019 as under: The Sindh government has never made an effort to improve this facility and turn it into a modern mental health institution of international standard. This institution has a vital role to play in promoting mental health and treating mental illnesses. Globally incidence of mental illnesses is increasing. I want to highlight some decisions taken by the Sindh health department which go against this hospital’s interests. In 2004 the then health secretary allotted a 4,125 square yard plot from the institute’s land for the construction of the College of Physicians and Surgeons’ regional office. In 2009 Extended Programme on Immunisation cold chain divisional store Hyderabad was allowed ‘temporary’ permission to function in the dining hall meant for the institute’s patients and it is still here. An international NGO signed an agreement with the Sindh government to take care of patients at the institute in lieu of being allowed to build a 60-bed ward. After a few years, this NGO handed over this project to another NGO without the Sindh government’s consent. Of late the health department signed an MOU to hand over to the federal government’s narcotics control force the first floor of a newly constructed OPD block which includes four wards, four storerooms, and five toilets to set up a detoxification unit for drug addicts. This same service is already being provided by the institute. This institute is the only hope for the mentally ill. Decisions regarding its property and assets in favor of others should be rescinded immediately. On the behalf of Pakistan Psychiatric Society, I appeal to Sindh chief minister and health authorities to look into the institute’s affairs.

Shamsuddin Shaikh appointed Chairman PMDC

ICMD, April 20, 2019 Shamsuddin A. Shaikh has been appointed as Chairman Board of Directors of Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC). Mr. Shaikh had recently started a new position as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at national Resources Limited. PMDC is an autonomous corporation under the administrative control of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Government of Pakistan. It was established in 1974 with an authorized capital of Rs.1,000 million to expand and help mineral development activities in the country. It is involved in exploration and evaluation of economic mineral deposits, preparation of techno-economic feasibility reports, mining and marketing. PMDC is operating 4 Coal Mines, 4 Salt Mines/quarries and a silica sand quarry. PMDC shares 17% of the coal and 58% of the total salt production in the country. The government has 100 percent equity shares in the company and it has the right to nominate all the Directors on the BoD of the companies commensurate to the ratio of the equity as provided under section 184 (2) of the Companies Act, 2017. Mr. Shaikh earned a huge prestige as CEO Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) and achieved one of the most difficult tasks in Pakistan—the open-pit mining of coal in Thar. Coal mining and two coal-fired power projects are successfully in operation near Islamakot. He quit his job a few months before official commissioning of the projects. (Courtesy ER)