Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Punjab drug reaction kills 2 more; toll at 121

Two more heart patients, after consuming the suspicious medicines, lost their lives Tuesday, pushing the overall death toll to 121 in Punjab.
The string of deaths spurred by the dubious medicines of Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) could not be stemmed, despite all the frenzied efforts by the government of Punjab.
According to sources, Central Drug Laboratory of Karachi declared one of the seven PIC medicines as substandard.
Meanwhile, the investigations under Punjab’s aegis also revealed that some PIC officials are involved in the scam as some deficient medicines were changed without keeping back their records.
Also, the federal government banned the sale of heart medicines manufactured by as many as five pharmaceutical companies.

Obama offers to find woman’s husband a job during Google+ chat


President Obama has pledged not to rest until everyone looking for a job finds one. On Monday, he upped the ante on that promise, volunteering to help a woman find work for her unemployed husband.

Obama was answering questions from so-called ordinary Americans during an online chat that was broadcast on the Google+ Hangout social media site and YouTube when a woman named Jennifer Weddel, of Texas, told him that her husband, an engineer, had been unable to find a position in his chosen field for three years.

Weddel wanted to know Obama’s position on the H1B work visa, which allows employers to sponsor foreigners who offer specialized skills. Obama appeared surprised, asking Weddel what kind of engineer her husband was. He noted that while work for civil engineers might have slowed during the recession, business leaders have told him that there is a shortage of specialized engineers--and therefore, ample job opportunities--in the high-tech field.

“We should get his resume and forward it to the companies telling me they cannot find enough engineers in this field,” Obama suggested

Weddel cut him off to press again on the visa question, before telling Obama that her husband makes semi-conductors.

“If you send me your husband’s resume, I’d be interested in finding out what is happening," Obama said. “That kind of engineer should be able to find something right away. . . . I will follow up on this.”

Obama’s Google+ chat was billed by the White House as his first-ever “virtual interview.” He answered questions submitted through YouTube and from Weddel and four others who had been selected by Google.

The White House said 133,000 questions were submitted following Obama’s State of the Union address last week. Other questions to Obama dealt with foreign aid to Pakistan, small business development and the administration’s use of military drones.

Obama admits to Pakistan drone strikes


Maybe it was one of the worst kept secrets in Washington and Pakistan, but U.S. officials rarely admit publicly to the active use of drones to hunt down Al Qaeda and Taliban in Pakistan. One reason is out of deference to the Pakistan, whose government relents to the drone flights even while publicly condemning it because the Pakistani populace is so against the strikes.

That being said, the president on Monday casually revealed to his Google+ hangout that "a lot of these strikes have been in the FATA, and going after al Qaeda suspects who are up in very tough terrain on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. For us to be able to get them in another way would involve probably a lot more intrusive military actions than the one we're already engaging in." (FATA being the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan where Al Qaeda and many Taliban are ensconced).

Afghan women take up boxing

Women are now boxing in Afghanistan, a country that didn't allow women to compete in sports under Taliban rule.

Afghan police: Man kills wife for giving birth to daughter instead of son

Police in the northern Afghanistan province of Kunduz are looking for a man they say strangled his wife after she bore him a third child that was not a son.

Sher Mohammed, 29, married his 22-year-old wife, Storay, four years ago, police said.

The couple had three daughters, the last of whom was born three months ago, said Khanabad district police chief Sufi Habib.

After the youngest daughter was born, Mohammed blamed his wife for not being able to deliver a boy, Habib said.

"Finally on Saturday, the man, with the help of his mother, first beat the woman and then strangled her to death," the police chief said.

Khanabad is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Kunduz city.

Police arrested the mother, Wali Hazrata, and detained her at the Kunduz city jail. But her son fled.

In a jailhouse interview, Hazrata said her son's wife committed suicide out of guilt.

"My son did not commit the crime," Hazrata said. "... But after three daughters, Storay herself felt guilty and committed suicide."

The report comes weeks after Afghan police said they rescued a 15-year-old girl who was locked up in the basement of her in-laws' house, starved, and had her nails pulled out.

The girl, Sahar Gul, was married off to a 30-year-old man last year. Authorities in northern Baghlan province said the girl reportedly was tortured after she refused to submit to prostitution.

Activists say women continue to suffer in parts of Afghanistan despite overall progress since the fall of the Taliban.

In the second quarter of last year, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) registered 1,026 cases of violence against women. In 2010, 2,700 cases were recorded.

In December, gunmen attacked and sprayed an Afghan family with acid in their home after the father rejected a man's bid to marry his teenage daughter.

In another case, a 21-year-old, identified only as Gulnaz for her own protection, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after she reported that her cousin's husband had raped her.

Her plight attracted international attention when it came out that she had agreed to marry her attacker to gain her freedom and legitimize a daughter conceived in the attack. She was eventually freed, following the president's intervention.

Horia Mosadiq, a London-based Afghan researcher for the rights group Amnesty International, said that the abuse inflicted on Storay Mohammed is not an isolated instance.

"Generally the human rights situation, and particularly women's rights, is deteriorating," she told CNN. "I am in constant contact with women's rights groups across the country, and they say they are seeing an increase in violence."

This is in part because the Afghan government does little to implement or enforce the laws that protect women's rights, she said.

She also sees it as a consequence of women across the country gaining greater awareness of their rights, which is leading both to a backlash from men and to more cases of violence being reported.

On top of that, the Afghan government's move toward peace and reconciliation talks with the Taliban has led many people to think that the current oppression of women will simply continue as it is, Mosadiq said.

"We need to make sure that we protect the women -- it's so important that women's rights in Afghanistan are non-negotiable," she said.

The alleged involvement of Storay Mohammed's mother-in-law in her abuse is not unusual, Mosadiq added, as women often play a role in violence against other women within the family, as do husbands, fathers and brothers.

And there is a heavy cultural pressure to bear sons, who are viewed as the breadwinners, she said, with the birth of a daughter seen as a burden rather than something to celebrate.

If the situation of Afghan women is to improve, Mosadiq said, a strong political will is needed at the government level, backed up by strong pressure from the international community.

"Where (the international community) puts so much pressure and focus on a military solution, they should also think about the protection of the Afghan people and Afghan women," she said.

‘Afghans at risk of infection with new HIV strain’

Frequent travels, past displacement and current repatriation of millions of Afghans have put the Afghan population at risk of infection with novel, possibly drug-resistant strains of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and treatment for such infections may prove challenging for the development of effective vaccines and antiretroviral therapies, a recent study shows.

The study, Patterns of HIV infection among native and refugee Afghans, was aimed at characterising and comparing the HIV epidemics prevailing among the Afghan refugees in Pakistan and the native Afghans in Kabul.

It was conducted by the Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Aga Khan University (AKU); Department of Microbiology, Dow University of Health Sciences, and Nursing and Midwifery, Aga Khan University Programme, Kabul. It was published in a research journal, AIDS.

According to the study, transmigration of infected populations may result in transmission of new HIV-1 variants into the host population. Besides, intermixing of the pre-existing and newly transmitted HIV variant may give rise to novel circulating recombinant forms and subtypes.

“The intermixing of diverse HIV variants among Afghans may give rise to seeding of infections with rare HIV strains, which may pose a serious challenge for the treatment and control of infection,” the research says.

Referring to previous researchers, the study states that a six per cent prevalence of HIV among Afghan refugees in Pakistan has been observed with drug use being a common high-risk behaviour.

Samples for the research in Pakistan were obtained from patients attending antenatal clinics and free health camps organised by the Infection Control Society in Karachi. After initial screening of 556 samples, 29 HIV positive samples from the Afghan refugees in Pakistan and 11 from natives in Kabul were included in the study.

Use of inhaled and injected drugs, having multiple sex partners, homosexuality, contact with sex workers and travel abroad were reported as the high-risk behaviours among Afghan refugees.

The study also reveals associations between the study population of Afghan natives and refugees and identifies high-risk groups in Pakistan and Iran — another country where Afghan refugees are settled in large numbers.

Concentrated epidemics
The latest study is part of a series of research efforts on the prevalence of serious communicable diseases among the Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

Earlier, the AKU, the DUHS with the University of Karachi collaborated to produce a study, Concentrated epidemics of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C among Afghan refugees. It was published in Journal of Infection in 2010.

The study found a high presence of HIV, hepatitis B and C viruses in Afghan refugees as compared to the general population in Pakistan.

Blood samples were collected from 556 people, including 34.7 per cent aged between 20 and 29 years. About 73.7 per cent of the sample comprised men. Eleven people were found to be HIV-positive, 164 were infected with hepatitis C and 30 with hepatitis B. Twenty people were found to be co-infected with hepatitis C and HIV, 19 had hepatitis C and hepatitis B whereas two individuals carried all three viruses.

Major risk factors associated with these infections were drug abuse, transmigration and unsafe sexual behaviour.

Citing another study comparing the risk behaviours of Afghans and Pakistanis, the report states that Afghans are more likely than Pakistanis to have injected drugs, used opiate, as their first illicit drug, report needle-sharing, or have a drug user in their family.

“Compared to the Pakistanis, Afghans have been reported to have lower awareness of HIV/AIDS. We observed a high prevalence of HIV (5.93pc); very participants, however, admitted to having multiple sex partners or contact with sex workers,” the study states.

A statistical analysis reveals a strong correlation between travel to Afghanistan and infections with all three viruses, says the study, adding that previously Pakistanis, who had travelled abroad and overseas contract workers, especially in the UAE countries, had been identified as a potential source of concentrated HIV epidemics in Pakistan.

Measures required
Another study carried out by the AKU in collaboration with the DUHS recommended a number of measures to control infections among displaced Afghans.

The study, Communicable disease among displaced Afghans: refugee without shelter, published in a research journal, Nature Microbiology, in 2009, stated that although refugees were afflicted by diseases to which non-refugee population was also exposed, the concentration of the refugees, their compromised health and healthcare standards, their low awareness of health-related issues and their vulnerable status meant that refugee populations were reservoirs of infectious disease.

“Screening of communicable diseases and the provision of clean water, sanitation and health care will help to detect, prevent and cure infectious disease. It is equally important to improve the level of literacy and awareness in the refugee communities, with special attention towards women.”

The study found that hasty repatriation protocols, which were negligent of the infection and carrier burden among repatriates, would expose the Afghan population to the risk of communicable diseases, jeopardising the lives of both returning and resident Afghans.

Germany returns two millennia old Afghan sculpture

Germany this week returned an ancient pre-Islamic sculpture looted during Afghanistan's civil war, giving hope to Kabul's cultural mavens that the rest of its stolen treasures will also make their way home.

Eight figures, one missing a torso and others without noses, make up the 30-cm high (12 inches) limestone antiquity from the second century AD, a reminder of Afghanistan's rich classical past as a confluence of cultures on the crossroads of Asia.

Faces turned to their left, they are believed to be audience members watching Buddha on his throne in the ancient kingdom of Gandhara, which stretched across part of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Foreign Ministry said.

"This is a masterpiece ... I am optimistic that in the future we will get the other artefacts back," said Omara Khan Massoudi, the director of Afghanistan's National Museum, which housed the sculpture before it was stolen.

Afghanistan's embassy in Berlin has been investigating who owned the sculpture since it appeared in Munich a year ago. It was flown to Kabul earlier this week.

As warlords battled for control of Kabul in the early 1990s following the Soviet exit, fighters pillaged around 70 percent of the museum's antiquities, or around 70,000 pieces, selling the choicest artefacts on the black market.

Massoudi, whose museum was also heavily shelled in the war, is working to get them back. "This is our responsibility... According to our laws, they must be returned to Afghanistan," he told Reuters.

Afghanistan's looted treasures have appeared across Europe, the United States and Japan. Kabul might see twenty ivories currently held in the British Museum return sometime this year, Massoudi said.

An agreement with UNESCO, the UN's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, and global police Interpol to recover stolen gems is proving successful: he said over 8,000 artefacts have returned since 2007, including a fifth century wooden Buddha. Tens of thousands are still missing however.

Endemic corruption, poverty and insecurity after thirty years of conflict mean even new discoveries do not reach cultural authorities.

Ancient Jewish scrolls, which Massoudi confirmed were recently smuggled out, are currently being kept by private dealers in London.

Most of those that have been recovered and are in Afghanistan are under lock and key until larger spaces are built with the top-notch security systems museums in the West have.

Ten million dollars have been committed, half from the United States, for a new museum with such features and climate control, to be built next door to the old one over the next three to four years.

"It is my dream to have such museums across Afghanistan," Massoudi said.

Afghan Officials Consider Own Talks With Taliban

The New York Times

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January 30, 2012
Afghan Officials Consider Own Talks With Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan — Concerned that it is being left out of potential peace talks between the United States and the Taliban, the Afghan government is pushing to open its own direct negotiations with the insurgent group in Saudi Arabia, Afghan officials said on Monday.

The talks would be separate from efforts by the United States to begin negotiations with the Taliban in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, where the Taliban is opening an office, the officials said.

It was not clear whether the effort to start parallel talks would succeed or amount to nothing more than an attempt by President Hamid Karzai to regain momentum after feeling sidelined by the American efforts to help open the Qatar office.

“We don’t know the exact timing, but that is something that is being discussed within the government and with the Taliban,” said a senior Afghan official in Kabul who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk publicly about the deliberations.

Mr. Karzai’s office in Kabul would not comment on the possibility of talks in Saudi Arabia.

Afghanistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Said Ahmad Omarkhail, said, “The Saudi government is willing to help us in resolving the problems with the Taliban.” Afghanistan had made preparations for talks with Taliban officials in Riyadh, Mr. Omarkhail said, but he made it clear that he had not been told that any meetings were scheduled.

Another Afghan official in Kabul said on Monday that the Taliban preferred Saudi Arabia as a location for talks and that Afghan government officials, including Mr. Karzai, would meet with Taliban representatives there “soon.”

For any talks to be held in Riyadh, the Afghan government would need the agreement of the Saudi government. But senior Western and United States officials doubt the Saudis would want to become involved in open-ended peace talks that have no guarantee of succeeding.

It is also not clear whether the United States would welcome two tracks of talks, especially if it is excluded from one track, though American officials have said often that any negotiations would ultimately have to be “Afghan to Afghan.”

“Our goal is to work ourselves out of a job here,” the State Department’s spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said in Washington on Monday. “Our goal is to get Afghans talking to Afghans to get a process of reconciliation that is among Afghans.”

She declined to discuss the negotiations in detail, but said the question of opening a Taliban office in Qatar was still not decided. The Taliban have yet to say definitively that they intend to engage in any talks. In the past they have insisted that any talks be with the Americans only, and not the Afghan government, which they reject as a “puppet regime.”

However, on Monday a Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, did not deny that there was a plan for talks in Saudi Arabia. “Our stand is silence regarding an ongoing peace dialogue at the moment,” he said.

If there are talks, the role of Pakistan, Afghanistan’s neighbor, remains undecided. Afghan and some Taliban officials have told the United States that they do not want Pakistan to have a full seat at the table. For its part, Pakistan’s military would much prefer Saudi mediation in peace talks. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have strong ties dating to the 1980s, when the Soviets occupied Afghanistan and Riyadh pumped billions of dollars in aid to Afghan rebel groups based in northern Pakistan, and supported a conservative tilt in Pakistani society whose effects endure.

“Our favorites are the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates,” said Tanveer Ahmed Khan, a retired Pakistani diplomat and political commentator. “When it comes to Qatar, there have always been reservations.”

The Taliban, however, may be less keen on Saudi involvement. One of the insurgents’ early demands to American officials was that negotiations not take place in Saudi Arabia, a former Obama administration official said.

“The Taliban specifically wanted the office” in Doha, the capital of Qatar, “because they didn’t want to be under the thumb of the Pakistanis,” said the official.

Analysts said the push for a Saudi office, which was first reported by the BBC, was being driven by Mr. Karzai, who fears being sidelined in American-led talks.

“This is related to Karzai’s frustration and fears,” said Shamila N. Chaudhary, a senior fellow at the New American Foundation, a nonprofit policy group in Washington. “He thinks the Americans are going to hang him out to dry, and that a deal with the Taliban is going to lead to his ouster.

“His talking about the Saudi angle is just a reminder to everyone that he is still relevant to the process,” Ms. Chaudhary said.

Pakistan’s foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, is scheduled to arrive in Kabul on Wednesday, in a bid to heal relations between the two neighbors that collapsed in acrimony last year after the assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, Mr. Karzai’s main envoy to the Taliban.

For weeks, Afghan officials have been fuming over the American efforts to allow the Taliban to open an office in Qatar. At first they said they preferred that discussions take place in Saudi Arabia or Turkey, but this month, after the Taliban accepted the American initiative, Mr. Karzai reluctantly agreed to Qatar.

Several former Taliban officials said that some Taliban negotiators had already begun meeting with American officials in Qatar, to discuss preliminary trust-building measures, including a possible prisoner transfer. As the preliminary talks have progressed, Afghan officials have said they feared a “secret deal” between the United States and the Taliban.

The Obama administration hopes the negotiation process will unfold in three phases — exploratory, confidence-building and political, according to a former administration official who could not speak for attribution because he was not authorized to discuss the talks. The administration considers that first phase to be now drawing to a close.

The exact details of the Taliban “office” in Doha are still being hammered out — where it would be located, for instance, and what format any talks would take. Qatari security services are expected to have a major role in watching over Taliban negotiators, particularly any who may be released from the American detention center at Guantánamo Bay.

“If the detainee transfer goes ahead, and they are sent over there, then they would be heavily monitored. It would probably be a form of house arrest,” said the former Obama official.

The administration’s goal is to establish the Doha office by the time of a NATO summit meeting scheduled to take place in Chicago this May.

UN survey finds Afghan police still corrupt, but improving


Expanding the Afghan police and army is NATO's key plan to turn over security by the end of 2014.
A U.N. survey has found that more than half of Afghans polled see the national police as corrupt, though their overall reputation is improving.
The survey released Tuesday indicates only 20 percent of those surveyed think police are ready to keep order without international troops. Less than a quarter wanted the NATO military force to leave immediately.
Expanding the Afghan police and army is key to NATO s plans to turn over security by the end of 2014. But problems persist, including corruption and illiteracy.
Still, the percentage of people calling the Afghan police corrupt dropped by seven points from last year in the annual survey.
NATO says trends are moving in the right direction. The survey of more than 7,000 Afghans had a margin of error of 1.6 percentage points.

Pakistan will be 'force multiplier' in China's rise

Pakistan and China are finding new "comfort zones" to consolidate their ties, President Asif Ali Zardari has said, declaring that Islamabad will be a "force multiplier" in China's emergence as the world's largest economy.

The future direction for the two countries will be to look at the world together where they could produce and support new global demand, the Pakistan President said in an interview to the Chinese official media. "China is becoming new Japan. It is becoming the largest economy in the world in future," he said. While it becomes "the world's largest economy, its friends will be part of that rise," Mr Zardari told People's Daily Online in a recent interview carried today.

China is currently the second largest economy after the US.

"Pakistan and China are finding new comfort zones. We can see more collaboration between both. The reason for them to evolve together has become greater. We both need each other.
I find that Pakistan will be the force multiplier for the growth of China," he said.

Peace in Afghanistan critical for Pakistan


Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Tuesday that peace in Afghanistan was critical for the peace and security in Pakistan, and said that it does not want any political settlement in Afghanistan that would destabilise Pakistan.

Talking to Afghan Senate delegation on Tuesday afternoon, Gilani reiterated that Pakistan would continue to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process that would not cause instability in Pakistan.

The prime minister said that both Afghanistan and Pakistan are victims of terrorism and they should get united to fight against the common enemy.

A delegation of Afghan Senators, led by Fazal-e-Hadi Muslimyar, called on the prime minister and emphasised the need of exchange of parliamentary delegations to further strengthen the brotherly relations between the people of the two countries.

The prime minister said that the exchange visits of parliamentarians were essential to enhance bilateral relations, and Pakistan had always made consistent and sincere efforts to improve relations with Afghanistan.

Gilani recalled that Pakistan extended full cooperation to the Afghan team that visited Islamabad with regard to the investigation of Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani’s assassination.

He further said that Pakistan was committed to complete the construction of Torkham-Jalalabad Road.

Pakistan is offering 2000 fully funded scholarships to the Afghan students and has agreed to enhance the number of scholarships on the request of the leader of the Afghan delegation, the prime minister assured.

Earlier, Chairman Senate Farooq H Naik, while addressing the members of the Afghan delegation, said that Pakistan attached much importance to its relations with Afghanistan because both the countries share a common religion, culture, history and geographical proximity.

Leader of Afghan delegation Fazal-e-Hadi Muslimyar, in his speech, highlighted the commonalities between the people of the two countries spread over the centuries adding that this had brought them together to strive for the common destiny of peace and prosperity.

Polio Immunization Campaign kicked off 5.7m children to be vaccinated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The three days national immunization campaign started here on Monday in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas wherein 5.7 million children in KP and nine lakh in FATA would be vaccinated in the first drive this year, an official said.Jan Baz Afridi, Deputy Director, Expended Programme on Immunization (EPI), KP told media the campaign will continue till February 1, 2012. As many as 17,000 teams have been formed to administer the vaccine to all children up to the age of five. The teams would operate across the province and would be supported by paramedics and Lady Health Workers. To reach out every child, volunteers, associated with NGOs have also been engaged in the campaign.The vaccines have already been distributed among the teams. He said the teams have been advised to revisit the concerned children and provide them with fresh dosage of the vaccine to protect children against the cripple disease.He urged parents to cooperate with teams and provide drops to children with an objective to protect them from the fatal virus.”The vaccine is the same that has been used in most of the world to eradicate polio including Saudi Arabia and Indonesia,” he maintained. He said UN agencies, partners, donor governments, private sector and foundations have extended all possible support to ensure that the necessary resources are available for making the country polio free destination.Mr Afridi said the government and development partners are putting all efforts to make Pakistan a polio-free country and sought support of general public and local communities. Polio free Pakistan was the dream of Shaheed Jamhuriyat, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed.The official said the government will get support of parliamentarians, media persons and ulema for success of this campaign. Its main focus is administering anti polio drops to children living in high risk areas. He said polio vaccine used in the country is safe and effective and is produced internationally while World Health Organization (WHO) has approved its quality.

Karachi’s parks are for the people, not the ‘ghairat brigade'

The Express Tribune

Hand holding and sitting close to each other in a park should not be judged, said an official from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation. “It is not obscene.”

His remarks come at a time when four non-governmental organisations are suing a television channel for a programme in which a host ran around a park trying to ‘expose’ the ‘immorality’ of the couples sitting there. The ‘witch hunt’ was steamrolled by public indignation that this kind of policing had no place in parks, which serve as a respite for the residents of Karachi, a city that is bursting at its seams.

“If we start going around checking up on people like this, then the first ban would be put on a man and his wife,” said the director general of the city parks, Liaquat Ali Khan, referring to the close contact necessitated by sitting on a motorcycle. He stressed that couples were free to use Karachi’s parks and did not have to declare or justify the status of their relationship to anyone. The security guards have been told not to harass anyone.

The KMC official gave the example of Dubai where there was a mosque but anyone could also go to a night club if they wanted. “If it is a matter of right and wrong, then let the people decide,” he said.

There are 1,500 public parks in Karachi, some of which charge an entry fee. Safari Park, Hill Park and Quaid-e-Azam’s mazaar’s grounds are some of the most popular places for young couples, including those from lower middleclass families who may not have the luxury of their own spaces at home. “Attempts to raise the entry fee at the parks have failed repeatedly,” he said. “Some people who come here only have Rs5 or Rs10 to spare after they pay for their bus fare.”

Last month, 27-year-old AA took his girlfriend GH to a park on his motorcycle. “From the gate all the way to the bench, everyone was staring,” he said. “The security guards, the gardener – even men who were there with their families were staring at us.” He added that going somewhere else was out of the question. While talking to The Express Tribune, he said that he had thought of renting a beach hut for Rs1,000 but it would only create more problems. He said that couples went to restaurants to eat and liked to relax and have a romantic time under the shade of a tree in a park.

“There are no rules which can dictate how someone should behave in a park,” said Sindh High Court Advocate Shaukat Sheikh while talking to The Express Tribune. “The KMC and cantonment boards have made their own code of conduct for some parks but officials claim that they do not dictate the way people are supposed to behave.” According to the advocate, a couple of years ago some people were arrested and penalised for objectionable behaviour.

The additional inspector-general of Karachi, Akhtar Hussain Gorchani, said that he would not defend the conduct of policemen who harassed couples to make money. He added that he was shocked at this sort of behaviour and would prefer the force to focus on catching criminals.

Three more die of PIC drugs, death toll reaches 117

Three more patients died due to PIC medicines in different hospitals of Lahore and toll hits 117.In General Hospital 50-year-old Allah Dita, in Services Hospital 51-year-old Mumtaz Bibi and and in Mayo Hospital 55-year-old Hajrah have lost their live after using spurious medicines of PIC. Death toll of PIC free drugs has reached 117 now.
According to additional secretary health Punjab 779 patients are under treatment in different hospitals affected from reaction of medicines.
It is pertinent to mention here that PIC has provided free medicine to at least 42,000 patients during last 45 days. At least 115 have died, while hundreds are being treated in different hospitals.