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Release missing persons before Eid: Activists



KARACHI: Human rights and labor rights activists today demanded the government to get recovered or released all the missing persons on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr so they could celebrate this occasion with the families.

Addressing a joint press conference at Karachi Press Club the rights activists said that since August 2017 over 154 persons are missing only in Sindh, who were allegedly picked up from various areas of the province. According to data on Sindh Police’s website over 600 people from Sindh are missing.

“The Constitution’s Article 10-A provides every citizen the right to fair trial and due process,” said Zulfiqar Shah, Joint Director of Pakistan Institute of Labor Education and Research (PILER). As human rights activists, we demand the state institutions, federal and Sindh government to release all people in their custody. We demand to produce all people with criminal charges in the courts and provide them opportunity for fair trial, he added.

Shah said PILER had organized a two-day National Conference on Human Rights and Labor Rights in which the leading human rights and labor rights speakers expressed serious concern over the deteriorating conditions of Human Rights and Labor Rights in Pakistan and called upon the Federal and the Provincial Governments to take practical measures to ensure provision and protection of fundamental rights, as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan and committed by the State under various international Conventions, including Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Conventions of International Labor Organisation (ILO).

The Speakers at the conference were also of the view that enforced disappearance and custodial torture are two brutal faces of the denial of the Right to Fair Trial, and represent the failure of the justice system. In Pakistan, there is no law on torture, nor is Enforced Disappearance recognized as a crime.

Shah pointed out that participants expressed their serious concern over the worst condition of fundamental freedoms in Pakistan.

In recent times, the Government of Pakistan’s aggressive approach towards NGOs, laced with prejudice and distrust has resulted in the abrupt closure of NGOs operations, harassment of their staff, malignant propaganda against them and the use of non-state actors to intimidate them.

This is totally against the Right to Association enshrined in the constitution, not to mention ICCPR and other international obligations that Pakistan is a signatory to.

Freedom of Expression is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan. Unfortunately, this right is in regress in Pakistan, reflected in increased censorship, harassment of media persons and outlets, and aggressive laws directed at the media, including internet and cyberspace.

Participants of the conference noted that the European Union (EU) has offered Pakistan trade incentive scheme General Scheme of Preferences (GSP) – Plus, which is a window of opportunity for stronger mechanisms and systems realizing rights. The 27 Conventions in the scheme holistically cover major sections of rights, including human rights, labor rights, human rights for women, environment, and ecology, and governance.

Pakistan has recently been reviewed second time for the status, by the EU. The EU review report released early this year (January 2018) notes gaps in the effective implementation of conventions related to GSP +.

He said the report has particularly noted with a concern the continuation of the policy of capital punishment in the backdrop of a weak justice system, enforced disappearances and custodial torture, in addition to the blasphemy laws, compromise access to justice for the accused.

Senior trade union leader Habibuddin Junaidi underlined the need to undertake serious efforts to remove obstacles in the way of unionization in the country that stands at only one percent of the total labor force.

These obstacles include exclusionary laws, poorly performing institutions, including NIRC and labor judiciary, and a non-serious attitude of the state towards the issue, not to mention employers’ reluctance to support unionization.

It is strongly suggested that tripartite systems, dialogue and revisit of legislation, on top of institutional reforms be undertaken to increase unionization in the country.

Junaidi said the major concerns of conference’s participants were non-implementation of labor rights. Senior labor leader Liaquat Sahi, who is the central leader of State Bank of Pakistan Democratic Workers Union said Supreme Court of Pakistan has recently declared the contract labor as illegal and unconstitutional and ordered to provide regular employment to all employees.

There is worst situation of child labor, modern slavery, deficits in Operational Health and Safety, the absence of labor laws in the agriculture sector, and poor access to social security for workers.

He said  Social Security Coverage must be expanded by focusing on implementing appointment letter provision under Standing Orders, and enhancing outreach to the so-called informal workforce.

Minimum wages need to be consistent with the concept of the living wages, which is equivalent to Rs 30,000, in accordance with the cost of living and inflation in 2018.

The conference demanded the provincial governments fix the minimum wage in accordance with the living wages of any given year.

Those who also spoke on the occasion included Mahnaz Rahman, Resident Director of Aurat Foundation and Shaikh Manzoor. 

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PM Imran Khan arrives in Karachi!



KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Karachi today on a day-long visit in order to review the Metropolis’ political situation and ongoing development projects. 

Here the PM was received at the airport by Governor Sindh Imran Ismail and other PTI leaders.  Later he held a one-on-one meeting with the Governor at Governor House.

In the backdrop of the ongoing anti-encroachment drive, the members of the business community (including those affected) are seeing him today.

KARACHI: A delegation of officials and stockbrokers of Pakistan Stock Market Exchange, led by its Chairman Sulaiman Mehdi, called  PM and discussed matters apropos economy. 


PM maintained that the government was committed to promote and protect businesses. He held that vast opportunities of investment are available in Pakistan. According to him, foreign investors are expressing interest to invest in various sectors of the economy.  He said that his government’s approach towards business and investment was different and steps were being taken to bring stability in the market. When delegation informed him about the issues faced by the PSX and brokers. PM approved most of their suggestions.  The PM and the delegation agreed to stop illegal transactions and expand the tax base.  Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) delegation (comprised of prominent industrialists Siraj Qasim Teli, Tahir Khaliq, Haroon Agar, Shamim Firpo, and Junaid Ismail Makda) also called on the PM. 

Relevant I: Prime Minister Imran Khan said today that the government had come up with a positive mindset to protect and promote the business and investment besides bringing stability in the market. In a meeting with a delegation of the office bearers and brokers of Pakistan Stock Market Exchange headed by Suleman Mehdi, the Prime Minister said he had arrived here to seek their suggestions for the betterment of the national economy. He said the foreign investors were investing their capital in the country because there existed a huge potential for investment. The delegation felicitated the Prime Minister on assumption of the office and lauded the efforts by government’s economic team for economic stability. The delegation apprised the Prime Minister on various matters regarding the stock market and put forward the proposals for financial stability most of which were accepted by the Prime Minister. The delegation assured that they would extend all-out support to the government for its financial policies. During the meeting, they agreed to widen the tax base, promotion of IT in the stock market and curb the issue of illegal payments. The meeting was also attended by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Water Resources Minister Faisal Vawda, Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi, IT Minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, State Minister Hammad Azhar, PM’s Adviser Dr Ishrat Hussain and Special Assistants to PM Naeemul Haq and Iftikhar Durrani.

Relevant II: Prime Minister Imran Khan today reiterated his resolve to steer the country out of the difficult times and maintained that the country was not deficient in anything, the only thing; it needed was an investor-friendly environment.  He said the government had fully focused on bridging the gap between imports and exports and assured that there would be no difficulty in running a business. The Prime Minister was talking to delegations of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) and prominent businessmen, PM Office media wing in a press release said.  The Prime Minister told the delegation that he had come to listen to their issues and find an immediate solution. The unemployment issue could be overcome by imparting skills to the youth, he added. He said the government wanted uniform development of the whole country and eradication of poverty. Pakistan would progress when the environment for business and investment was conducive, he added. The Prime Minister also expressed the resolve to root out corruption. The delegation presented different suggestions and apprised the Prime Minister about their issues, over which the Prime Minister issued prompt directions.

Relevant III) Prime Minister Imran Khan said today the government would eradicate unemployment through the expansion of industries and would cap the gap between imports and exports. He was talking to a delegation of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) that called on him, PM Office media wing in a press release said.  The Prime Minister urged the industrialists to give further suggestions for the promotion of industry.  Under previous proposals by the industrialists and businessmen, the revenue and policy wings of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) were separated, so that effective planning and its implementation could be ensured. The delegation included prominent industrialists Siraj Qasim Teli, Tahir Khaliq, Haroon Agar, Shamim Firpo, Junaid Ismail Makda and others. Finance Minister Asad Umar, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Water Resources Minister Faisal Vawda, Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi, IT Minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, State Minister Hammad Azhar, PM’s Adviser Dr Ishrat Hussain and Special Assistants to PM Naeemul Haq and Iftikhar Durrani were also present during the meeting. The delegation apprised the Prime Minister about different issues of industries in Karachi and made certain suggestions for the expansion of the industry.  The issues of gas supply to industry, controlling power theft, increase in exports and small and medium enterprises also came under discussion. The Prime Minister told the delegation that instructions had already been passed by the cabinet regarding the provision of complete protection to the poor during the anti-encroachment drive.

Relevant IV) Prime Minister Imran Khan said today that ease of doing business was among the top priorities of his government and it always welcomed the private sector for undertaking public welfare and investment promotion ventures. He was talking to a delegation of Overseas Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry that called on him, PM Office media wing in a press release said. The prime minister observed that technology companies could support the government in different sectors. With the use of IT, innovation and improvement in service delivery could be made in various sectors including education, health, and governance. The work in this regard had already been started, he added. During the meeting, matters related to one-window facilitation, digitization of services and tax, for the promotion of investment and businesses were also discussed. The delegation comprised Irfan Wahab, CEO Telenor Pakistan / President OICCI, Shazia Syed, chairperson & CEO Unilever Pakistan / Vice President OICCI, Ghias-ud-Din Khan, CEO Engro Pakistan, Sarim Sheikh, CEO General Electric Pakistan, Helmut von Struve, MD Siemens Pakistan, Shehzad G Dada, CEO Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan, Anis Ahmed, MD Abbott Labs. Ltd, Ghazanfar Ali, CEO IBM Pakistan, and Abid Zaidi, CEO Microsoft Pakistan.

KARACHI: PM meets FPCCI delegation.


KARACHI: PM seen meeting PTI MNAs Sindh Chapter.





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Explosion near Karachi’s Perfume Chowk, 6 hurt (TEXT AND VIDEO)



KARACHI: Six people got injured as a result of a cracker explosion carried out at Mehfil-e-Milad arranged by MQM-P (sans official permission) near Perfume Chowk here in the Gulistan-e-Jauhar area late night

Wounded are being shifted to nearby medical facilities. According to details, while MQM-P’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui was present on the stage at the event, Sindh Assembly’s former opposition leader Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hassan was sitting on the front row with the audience.

A worker of MQM-P’s communication department is reportedly among the injured. Convener and members of Rabita Committee are said to have remained unhurt. As expected there was a stampede after the explosion but that did not cause any casualty. Windowpane glasses of nearby buildings were shattered while many motorcycles were also partially damaged. The area has been cordoned off as an investigation is being carried out. 

Sources privy to had earlier insinuated that the explosive was hidden in a plant pot near the stage. Whereas, SSP East Capt (R) Ghulam Azfar Mahessar later informed that a cracker was thrown at the participants of the Mehfil-e-Milad, by unidentified motorcyclists, parts of which had been recovered from the scene of the crime by BDU.  

However, it later transpired that a 250-300 gram planted IED was detonated by means of a remote-control device. 


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PFUJ President GM Jamali and others attend Shafiuddin Ashraf’s funeral!



PFUJ President GM Jamali

KARACHI: PFUJ President G. M. Jamali, KUJ President Hasan Abbas, Senior journalist Mazhar Abbas, Secretary General APNEC Shakeel Amin Kanga and a large number of journalists and representatives of various organizations attended the funeral prayers of  Shafiuddin Ashraf here today at Rahmania Mosque, Buffer Zone. 

Later the burial took place at Model Colony graveyard. Shafiuddin Ashraf was chairman APNEC and General Secretary of the Dawn Employee’s Union.

PFUJ President G.M. Jamali, eulogizing the services of Shafiuddin Ashraf has said that his contribution in the field of journalism would be remembered. Conveying his deepest sympathy to the grieving family he prayed for the departed soul. 


A relevant piece published earlier: 

PFUJ President GM Jamali condoles sad demise of Shafiuddin Ashraf

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