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At UN women’s summit, Pakistan reports progress in ensuring social protection for it’s citizens



UN warns of spoiling food reserves in Yemen as millions face starvation

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan recognizes social protection as a fundamental right and is making “significant strides” to ensure its realization for citizens, Khawar Mumtaz, leader of the Pakistani delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), said Friday.

“Social protection is a human right and the welfare of all citizens in all stages of life is essential,” she told activists, diplomats, and academics attending what is also called the ‘women activists’ summit’.

The annual meeting of the Commission, which dates back to 1947, has brought to the UN more than 9,000 representatives from civil society organizations. It will conclude on March 22.

This year Pakistan organized a record four side-events dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women that Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said were part of “our diplomatic activism.”

In her remarks, Khawar Mumtaz, who is the chairperson of the National Commission of Women, said a good social protection policy is inclusive in all its diversity to social protection system for women and girls”.

“Feminization of inequality persists and the eradication of these inequalities in all its forms and dimensions is an indispensable requirement of women’s social security, economic empowerment and sustainable development.”

In this regard, Ms Mumtaz described as “apt and timely” the the priority theme for this year’s session “Social Protection Systems, Access to Public Services and Sustainable Infrastructure for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of the Women and Girls”.

“Social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure are closely interlinked with policy and legislative framework to ensure delivery of social security,” she said.

Pakistan’s Vision 2025, Ms Mumtaz said, prioritizes social protection through institutional restructuring; policies and fiscal reforms; women employment in public and private sector; and women’s political participation.

“Social safety net programmes are an ongoing activity to reach to the poor and disadvantaged groups,” she said.

Benazir Income Support Programme or BISP, Pakistan’s main social safety net programme, was being implemented by focusing on poor women as recipients of un-conditional cash transfer with an immediate objective to protect the poorest families from the negative effects of the economic shocks and inflation, she said. It is now reaches out to over five million poorest households of the country, and through this initiative one million girls are additionally enabled enrollment in schools.

“The main focus of this scheme is to mitigate the negative impacts of economic and food crises, inflation and reduce vulnerabilities for women through unconditional cash transfers,” Ms. Mumtaz said.

The National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) of Pakistan, she said, was aimed to patronage chronically destitute households, provide protection against inauspicious shocks and encourage investments in human and physical capital.

Besides, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Zakat, Employees Old Age Benefits Institution, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, she said, manifested the governments’ commitments for marginal segment of the society.
Since women were concentrated in the informal sector, rural support programmes like “Women Employment Scheme” help in poverty alleviation and mainstreaming women into economic and social development activity, the Pakistani chief delegate said.

“These initiatives are in line with dream of making Pakistan a welfare state by investing in developing human capital,” Ms. Mumtaz said, as she highlighted the commitment of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as well as human rights activist Asma Jahangir to the cause of women.

“Pakistan stands ready and committed to earnestly work with members of the international community towards a future where ‘no one is left behind’ in the pursuit of self-fulfillment and prosperity,” she added.


High treason case: Court seeks assistance in recording Musharraf’s statement through video link



ISLAMABAD: The special court constituted to hear the high treason case against former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf sought assistance to record his statement through video link or a commission.

A three-member bench, headed by Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar, heard the case on Tuesday. The bench accepted the credentials of Salman Safdar as Musharraf’s counsel. The court directed a questionnaire to be drawn up for Musharraf.

The defense counsel opposed recording the former military ruler’s statement through video link or a commission. “Pervez Musharraf is ailing. His statement can’t be recorded in his absence here through video link,” counsel Salman maintained. “His presence is mandatory.”

He also said the statements of eight witnesses were recorded in his absence. But, the court rejected the point and said the statements were recorded in his presence.

The prosecution’s counsel, however, said the former president doesn’t want to record his statement. “The course of law can’t be hindered. Hence, the court should proceed with the trial of the high treason case,” he said.

The court adjourned the hearing till March 28. It wants to determine whether or not Musharraf can record his statement via video link within the parameters set by the law.

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Pakistan and India to hold talks over Kartarpur corridor



LAHORE: Delegations of Pakistan and India will meet to discuss the technicalities of building the Kartarpur corridor for the facilitation of the Sikh pilgrims.

The second meeting between the teams will be held at Kartarpur Zero Line today (Tuesday). India has even given GPS coordinates for Zero Point.

An 18-member Foreign Office team, headed by Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, went to India for talks on the details of the Kartarpur Corridor on March 14. Both sides held expert-level discussions between technical experts on the alignment and other details of the corridor, he said. The meeting between Pakistan and India on the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor was very positive and both sides have agreed to work towards opening the corridor soon.

Speaking at the Wagah Border after returning from India, Dr Faisal said that they have “agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalizing the Kartarpur Corridor”.

The corridor is meant to provide Sikh pilgrims access to the Sri Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara. The visa-free corridor is between the gurdwara in Pakistan and the Indian town of Dera Baba Nanak, which is around six kilometres away.

The corridor is expected to be opened this year, ahead of the celebrations for Guru Baba Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.

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Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur get 10-day protective bail in fake accounts case



KARACHI: The Sindh High Court granted on Tuesday former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur 10-day protective bail in the mega money laundering case. 

They have been ordered to submit Rs1 million each as surety bonds. The PPP leaders appeared in court on Tuesday.

They said that the FIA didn’t name them in the case.

Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur said that they want to appear in accountability court but fear arrest.

They had asked for a stay order on the Supreme Court’s decision to shift the case to Islamabad. The court said that it will make a decision on that after hearing NAB’s stance.

The PPP co-chairperson was also granted 10-day protective bail in the Park Lane Estate Company.

The Supreme Court had formed an investigation team to probe the fake accounts case. The team submitted a report in which it named 172 people, including former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister MNA Faryal Talpur and son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Sindh Excise Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla, former Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah, former Sindh home minister Sohail Anwar Siyal, Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Sheikh and Ali Nawaz Mehar, a former minister of state for industries.

On January 7, the Supreme Court sent the fake accounts case to NAB and told it to wrap up the investigation in two months. The court had earlier said that the references should be filed in Rawalpindi, not Karachi.

The matter was taken up by the court over the delay in a 2015 Federal Investigation Agency probe into money laundering via fake bank accounts.

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