Thursday, July 24, 2014
ISIL Takfiri militants have demolished the holy shrine of Prophet Yunus in a gruesome act of terrorism in the Iraqi city of Mosul.The ISIL militants “completely destroyed the shrine of Nabi Yunus after telling local families to stay away and closing the roads to a distance of 500 meters from the shrine," AFP quoted an official at the Sunni endowment, which manages Sunni religious affairs in Iraq, as saying on Thursday. The shrine of Prophet Yunus is one of the most well-known shrines in Iraq’s northern city. The prophet is known as Yunus in the holy Quran and as Jonah in the Bible.
The endowment official further noted that the Takfiri militants have already destroyed or damaged 30 shrines, as well as 15 Shia religious sites and mosques in and around the Iraqi city. He listed the shrines of Yahya Ibn al-Qassem, Aoun al-Din and Prophet Daniel as the most important Muslim shrines destroyed or damaged by the ISIL. "But the worst destruction was of Nabi Yunus, which has been turned to dust," the official said. "They first stopped people from praying in it, then fixed explosive charges around and inside it and then blew it up in front of a large gathering of people," AFP quoted a witness who spoke on condition of anonymity. The Takfiri militants have demolished several holy shrines and mosques belonging to Shia and Sunni Muslims in the militancy-riddled regions of Nineveh Province. The ISIL and its associated militant groups are blamed for numerous sacrilegious acts. The terrorist groups have links with Saudi intelligence and are believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.
The crisis in Iraq escalated after the ISIL terrorists took control of Mosul in a lightning advance on June 10, which was followed by the fall of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of the capital.
The Iraqi army, backed by tribal forces and volunteers, has been engaged in heavy fighting with the militants on different fronts and has so far been able to push back militants in several areas, including in Tikrit.
Former Interior Minister and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Rehman Malik said on Thursday that Asif Zardari visit to US was already planned and it should not be seen in negative terms. Talking to media, Malik said that Asif Zardari’s US visit was already planned and it should not be seen in negative terms. He said that few people are afraid with the reception his party leader has got in US. Talking about the current political situation, Malik said that PPP would not be a part of any conspiracy against democracy. “PPP has always been against martial law and supported democracy in the country”, he said. Replying to a question about PAT leader Tahir Ul Qadri, PPP senator said that Pakistan Army is not with Dr. Tahir ul Qadri. Replying to another question, he said that his party would be with Pakistan on August 14th.
The Express Tribune
Pakistan continued its dismal performance in the field of human development as it failed to improve its position on the Human Development Index (HDI) over the past five years. According to the 2014 Human Development Report “Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience,” published on Thursday by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Pakistan remained among the group countries with low human development as it remained on same position as of last year, showing little sign of improvement. Pakistan, which was ranked at 146 out of a total 187 countries on the index, scored 0.537 points on HDI, showed improvement of mere 0.002 points from last year’s score of 0.535. The country showed some improvement in life expectancy at birth as it improved by 0.9 in 2013 to 66.6 from 65.7 in 2012. On the gender inequality index, Pakistan slipped four spots to 127 from last year’s ranking of 123 as it scored 0.563 on the index as opposed to 0.567. The report added that 52 per cent of Pakistanis live in poverty. The HDI’s Multidimensional Poverty Index — an alternative to income-based poverty estimates — shows that the proportion of population living under the multidimensional poverty in Pakistan has increased by almost three per cent in one year.
Meanwhile, people living under multidimensional poverty rate in neighbouring Bangladesh and India has reduced to 47.8 and 51.1 per cent from last year’s count of 57.8 and 53.7 respectively.
The Syrian army Wednesday encountered an offensive launched by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against the headquarters of division 17 in Raqqa province, according to Al-Manar reporter. A Saudi suicide bomber started the offensive, yet the army soldiers detonated his car at a far distance from its target. The Syrian warplanes then began targeting ISIL terrorist gatherings in the city, killing dozens of the group's terrorists. The Syrian army also continued its operations against the militant groups in Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia, Deir Ezzor and Homs, inflicting heavy losses upon them.
ALARABIYA.NETThe al-Qaeda-Inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq's northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation, the United Nations said on Thursday. The "fatwa" issued by the Sunni Muslim fighters would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq Jacqueline Badcock told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil. "This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed," she said. "This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists," she added. No one was immediately available for comment from Islamic State which has led an offensive through northern and western Iraq.
The Sunni extremists who control large swaths of Iraq recently presented Christians in Mosul with an ultimatum: Convert to Islam, pay a religious tax or die by the sword. The militants gave them until July 19 to comply, and by the deadline hundreds of the city’s remaining Christian families had fled from this cruel choice. The exodus goes far beyond the harm suffered by individual families forced to leave their homes. The brutal crackdown, by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, an offshoot of Al Qaeda known as ISIS, has cleared Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq, of a Christian population that has lived there for two millenniums. These attacks deserve the strongest possible international condemnation and may warrant prosecution as a crime against humanity. Mosul was once among Iraq’s most diverse urban centers, home to Shiites, Shabaks, Turkmen and Yazidis, as well as Assyrian and Chaldean Christians. ISIS wants to create a caliphate that would straddle Iraq and Syria and impose a draconian medieval order based on a harsh interpretation of Shariah. Besides terrorizing the Christians, the group has also killed and kidnapped members of other religious and ethnic minorities since invading Mosul last month. Houses of worship and religious monuments have been destroyed. And, as Human Rights Watch reported, tens of thousands of Turkmen and Shabak families have fled Mosul and surrounding areas. Although ISIS has increased the Christian exodus, it did not initiate it. Since the Americans invaded Iraq in 2003, attacks and purges by other extremist groups have also contributed to the Christian community’s decline. Before the invasion, there were about 1.2 million Christians in the country; the current estimate is no more than 500,000, and that number could shrink to 50,000 in a decade, according to Louis Sako, patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Baghdad. The plight of the Christians, who are among two million Iraqis displaced by sectarian violence, must not be ignored by a world focused on other crises. Over the weekend, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon; Pope Francis; and Patriarch Sako condemned the Islamic State’s actions. Other world leaders must also speak out. Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, promised to provide aid to Christians left homeless, but that is hardly sufficient. They and other minorities need to be able to return to their communities and live in peace. But more than any Iraqi, Mr. Maliki has made worse the sectarian divisions and created an opening for ISIS to gain a foothold. His army is so fractured and weak, it collapsed in the face of the militants’ offensive and has been unable to retake significant territory, including Mosul. Putting a stop to the persecution of Christians and other minorities is just one more reason Iraq’s Parliament needs to choose a new prime minister able to unify the country and lead the military forces to defeat ISIS — as Mr. Maliki is not that person.
The audit process of Afghanistan presidential vote resumed on Thursday morning, almost two days after it was halted to resolve disagreements between the two electoral teams and take further steps to accelerate the audit process. Noor Mohammad Noor, spokesman for the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) said the audit process resumed on Thursday and 80 teams will work in two shifts to audit the votes. Noor further added that further improvements have been made in the audit process. However, he said there are still some disagreements between the observers of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai’s teams. He said the IEC has called on United Nations and the electoral teams to immediate steps to resolve the disagreements regarding the audit procedure and invalidation of votes. According to Noor around 19,619 ballot boxes have been transported in capital Kabul from 19 different provinces. The audit process of presidential vote started a week ago and 1,037 ballot boxes have been audited so far.
http://pakobserver.net/The Pakistan Air Force planes after a relative pause of couple of days, resumed strikes on the militant’s positions in Shawal Tehsil of North Waziristan agency killing at least 20 insurgents including fugitives on Wednesday as the operation Zarb-e-Azb progressed on the 39th day. The security forces also sized an ammunition manufacturing factory bedsides recovering huge cache of arms and ammo, scores of IEDs and foreign currency. The security forces led by the Pakistan Army, it may be recalled had initiated grand operation Zerb-e-Azb, named after the sword of Prophet Mohammad (SAW) on June 15 in Degan area in Tehsil Datta Khel of NWA killing over hundred militants. The PAF air machines have since then been pounding the militant’s hideouts in the agency killing more than 500 alleged terrorists till date besides destroying over 100 militant’s hide outs though the independent sources apprehend some civilians have also fallen prey to the incessant bombings as the incidents of collateral damages have started surfacing. “At least 20 terrorists were killed as Pakistan Air Force fighter jets on Wednesday again pounded 4 suspected hideouts of militants in Tehsil Shawal of North Waziristan Agency” Military sources said adding in continuation of security forces operation Zarb-e-Azb, terrorists’ sanctuaries located near the Pak-Afghan border in Tehsil Shawal were targeted by jet fighters and 4 of them were completely destroyed. While the killed terrorists could not be identified immediately, as operation in the area was still underway, the independent sources apprehended that collateral damage may be on the rise amid reports of killing of at least 30 women and children in last week’s blitz in the same Shawal area. “As many as 4 isolated terrorist hideouts were destroyed early morning Wednesday through aerial strikes in Shawal valley , killing 20 local and foreign terrorists”. The Inter Service Public Relations communiqué to media said adding clearance of Mir Ali was progressing smoothly. It said a local ammo manufacturing factory has been recovered. Huge cache of arms and ammo, scores of IEDs and foreign currency were also recovered from Mir Ali Bazar. Meanwhile technical disposal and clearance of recovered IEDs and explosive in Miranshah is in progress. The ISPR release said 142866 ration packs and 20000 special Eid gift packages including clothes for ladies, toys and sports items for children have been distributed among IDPs so far as distribution of more Eid gift packages was also in progress.
By Zahir Shah
Militants used Miranshah internet cafés to spread propaganda and to co-ordinate terror attacks, but troops have shut down many of the outlets as they work to eradicate the militancy in North Waziristan, officials say. The on-going military operation in North Waziristan has dealt militant propaganda efforts a serious blow. Militants have long taken advantage of email and social media sites to claim responsibility for their terror attacks and to spread other propaganda messages, but such conversation has come to an abrupt halt in the wake of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which was launched in June.
Troops have shut down scores of public call offices (PCOs) and internet cafés that were once part of the militants' communications network and have confiscated a slew of communications devices that the Taliban used in their efforts. Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif visited Miranshah, the front line of the operation, July 8 and saw the militants' former operation centres. He toured shuttered internet cafés that militants had used to post propaganda on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and blogs. They also served as production houses for jihadist audio-visual materials and as a communications network. The Sherinzada Jihadyar PCO and internet café in Miranshah's main bazaar was one of the main communications points for militants and it has been shuttered, officials said, adding that the Taliban also used the café to communicate with their families and to extort money. Foreign militants among those using the sites Uzbek visitors sat for hours in the local internet cafés, Khan Wazir, a local shopkeeper, said. "I don't know what they were doing there, but they were regular visitors," he said. "They had huge phones with large screens, laptops and some strange boxes and tapes when they used to come here in the bazaar." An array of militants from different ethnic backgrounds – speaking Punjabi, various Pashtun dialects and foreign tongues like Uzbek, Tajik and Arabic – frequented the cafés, one PCO operator in Miranshah said, speaking on condition of anonymity for safety reasons. "I can't say to which group they might have been linked, but all of them called themselves mujahideen, and we never questioned them," he said. Miranshah: headquarters for violence Miranshah, more than just an outlet for spreading propaganda, has been called the epicentre for local and foreign operators who were doing everything from planning to carrying out attacks, Maj. Gen. Zafarullah Khan, General Officer Commanding of North Waziristan Agency and commander in charge of the operation, said. Miranshah's main bazaar had an "al-Qaeda shop" run by al-Qaeda militants that sold information on how to build improvised explosive devices (IEDs), as well as technology to enhance the effectiveness of IEDs and the range of communications devices. Troops have seized a large quantity of printed materials, walkie-talkies, computers and colour printers, he said.
"Apart from personal attacks and threats, the Badami Bagh incident in Lahore and the church bombing in Peshawar have led to an increase in migration of Christians. Unemployment and lack of security are making them leave," former parliamentarian Michael Javed said. The report said 40-year-old Aslam Masih, a sweeper at the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation is another Christian who has moved to Thailand. "Last December, when a PMT crashed down near his house in Taiser Town, plunging the Christian colony into darkness, his decision was made. "We had no light, no gas, no water. We had no better jobs. We were living like animals," he said speaking from Thailand over the phone. A pastor, Moazzam, who had helped several Christians move to Thailand, was contacted and paid Rs 100,000 to arrange for the travel of six family members of Aslam, for their visas, their tickets and their documentations, the report said. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan chairperson Zohra Yusuf said that the state has failed to stand up for minorities. "It is unfortunate and sad that the minorities are leaving the country as they are being persecuted." On the other hand, former parliamentarian and minority representative Michael Javed feels that incidents of Christians leaving the country are not being given importance. "When Hindu families were leaving Pakistan, everyone was raising the issue. But why are they silent over our migration? Are we not also citizens of the country?", he said.
Takfiri terrorists of ASWJ-SSP shot martyred a Shia lawyer Mubarak Raza Kazmi in Karachi, who was son-in-law of renowned Shia Scholar Allama Talib Johari. Mubarak Raza Kazmi, a Shia lawyer was on his way to house from office when Yazidi takfiri nasbi terrorists of outlawed Sipah-e-Sahaba made him target in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Block 13-D. He was martyred on the spot. Marty’s body was first taken to Jinnah Hospital for postmortem and then shifted to Imam Bargah Shohda-e-Karbala.
A Shia security guard was martyred and two persons were injured on Wednesday during an armed attack on a cash van in Karachi. According to police, the incident took place in Jahangirabad near Rizvia Society where four armed robbers on two motorbikes intercepted cash van of a private security company. They were believed to be notorious takfiri terrorists. Officials said the gunmen fired shots on the van in an attempt to stop it. However, they failed to loot the cash after the security guards returned fire. One of the guards received bullets in his abdomen and died on the spot whereas a brief crossfire between guards and bandits left two passersby injured. The martyr was identified as Hasnain Abbas.
Takfiri terrorists of outlawed Sipah-e-Sahaba shot martyred a Shia woman and injured his husband in another incident of ongoing Shia genocide in Karachi Huma Hussain, aged-37, embraced martyrdom and Bilal Hussain was seriously injured after takfiri terrorists of banned SSP opened fire upon them in Karimabad. Reports had it that their son Zeeshan and daughter were also injured.
A Shia tailor master Ghulam Sakhi was shot martyred in Manghopir area of Karachi, after the terrorists of banned Sipah-e-Sahaba attacked in his shop.
A Shia Muslim Syed Akhtar Abbas Kazmi Shah was shot martyred by pro-Taliban terrorists of Sipah-e-Sahaba in Dera Ismail Khan Martyr Akhtar Hussain was attacked at Darban Road area. Martyr belongs to Syed family of Kotla Syedan area, who have already 26 martyrs in a family relatives.
Former premier Yousuf Raza Gillani has said that loadshedding crisis has damaged our government and now it would drown Pakistan Muslim League N government as well. Talking to media in Multan on death anniversary of former governor Punjab Sajjad Hussain Qureshi, he said that Imran Khan has democratic right to protest. However it would not be milestone to bring people on the road that are already engulfed in many problems. Yousuf Raza Gillani said that the party participation in PTI’s Independence March will be decided by Pakistan People Party PPP Co Chairman Asif Ali Zardari . Former premier further added that we have to win the hearts of the Internally Displaced People, adding that his government had resettled IDP’s in their homes in just 90 days.http://abbtakk.tv/
He urged Federal Government to help Kyber Pakhtunkhwa KPK provincial government for the rehabilitation of IDPs.
He condemned Israeli aggression on Palestinians and stressed Muslim World should be united to help Palestinians and end the Israelis atrocities.
Mob blocks GT Road in Daroghawala, burns tyres, damages equipment*Helpless staffers take to their heels to save lives
Stricken by unannounced and prolonged outages of electricity, consumers blocked GT Road in Daroghawala and threw traffic out of gear for quite some time by burning used tyres besides attacking a complaint office of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) on Wednesday. Chanting anti-government slogans, a large number of Batapur residents formed a mob that stormed LESCO complaint office and wrecked computers and other devices as helpless LESCO officials took to their heels in order to save their lives. The protestors blocked the road completely by burning used tyres, disrupting vehicular traffic for quite some time. A police contingent called out by the administration tried to pacify the protesters but in vain. Later, police reinforcements were sent in to control the situation. Citizens are already enduring massive electricity outages in the holy month of Ramazan. With increase in use of air-conditioners in humid and muggy weather, complaints of overloading and tripping of transformers have also increased. Last week, a transformer of 220 KV Bund Road Grid Station was damaged due to overloading that landed the residents in huge trouble. Electricity was though supplied to the area through alternative transformer, the installation of new transformer of 250 MVA capacity took nine days to complete. With the installation of new transformer by NTDC engineers, electricity supply to 132/11 KV grid stations of Gulshan Ravi, Qartaba, Saidpur, Alama Iqbal Town and Johar Town started with full capacity. The capacity of 220 Kv grid station will also meet the future needs of the said area. It will reduce line losses, improve voltage profile and help in un-interrupted supply of electricity to the consumers. Separately, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) delivered 31.084 billion units of hydel electricity to the National Grid during 2013-14 fiscal as compared to 29.560 billion units in 2012-13, registering an increase of 1.524 billion units. The increased hydel contribution was made possible due to efficient operation and maintenance of hydel power stations, availability of more water in reservoirs and generation from recently completed projects, including the raised Mangla Dam in particular. Wapda spokesman Rana Abid said in a statement that this additional contribution of cheap hydel electricity by WAPDA helped the government save Rs 24.38 billion of the national exchequer, which otherwise would have been incurred on generating equivalent quantum of electricity from expensive imported oil. He said that WAPDA billed Central Power Purchasing Agency (CCPA) for its hydel generation during 2013-14 at an average cost of Rs 1.50 per unit whereas per unit average generation cost from imported furnace oil was Rs 16. The government charges consumers at Rs 11.50 per unit on average. According to generation data for 2013-14, Tarbela Dam, the largest hydel power station in the country, generated 15.138 billion units during 2013-14 as compared to 14.755 billion units in 2012-13 and Mangla, after completion of raised component, generated 5.725 billion units against 4.576 billion units produced in 2012-13. The remaining quantum of electricity was generated by other hydel power stations during 2013-14. It is pertinent to mention that hydel power generation capacity of WAPDA stands at about 7,000 MW of electricity – about one-thirds of the total installed capacity in the country. Hydel is the cheapest, cleanest and environment-friendly source of power generation. Pakistan’s energy mix is heavily tilted in favour of expensive sources of power generation. The phased induction of low-cost hydel electricity will not only improve its ratio in the energy mix but would also lower tariff and provide relief to the consumers.
Fundamentalist vigilantes have once again taken to their old practice of forcing women to stay at home and remind them that if they ever have to venture out, it should not be without a male relative. This group of psychopaths typically hibernates throughout the year and suddenly becomes active when Eid arrives, using it as a convenient occasion. It is horrific that a religious decree, if one exists, that women cannot step out of their homes without a male relative, could be enforced through the use of criminal force. Four masked men at Sariab Road, Quetta threw acid on four women who were shopping on Monday. In another such incident on Tuesday, another group (or the same?) threw acid on two more women in Mastung. The apparent lack of security in the markets on the occasion of Eid shopping made the task of these criminal misogynists easy, as was their escape. The message is loud and clear: The authorities are not even awake to the need for handling a phenomenon that is not new and has a recurring pattern. Fortunately the targeted women’s injuries seem minor, but such incidents leave a lasting effect on the victims and society at large. We have by now thousands of women in this country whose lives have been made hell by this heinous crime of acid throwing. Parliament in 2011 unanimously passed The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010, which recommends 14 years to life imprisonment and fines of up to Rs one million for such crimes. Though we do find the odd case where the perpetrators have been caught and incarcerated, this does not by any stretch of the imagination make for a dedicated effort to bring such crimes to an end, especially when they are perpetrated by the extremists or religious fanatics. Balochistan, inflicted by a nationalist insurgency on the one hand, is increasingly in the throes of extremist and sectarian violence too. Incidents of throwing acid on women have been happening for the last three years and not even a single person responsible has been caught. This reduces the law referred to above to not even worth the paper it is written on. There is a dire need to overcome our myriad security lapses. Allowing opportunities to the culprits to carry on their nefarious activities with impunity is sending the wrong message about the state being in deep inertia when it comes to protecting citizens in general from terrorism, and women in particular from these fanatical misogynist forces dedicated to reducing them to faceless (literally) non-entities.
The Baloch National Voice (BNV) in a statement on Wednesday strongly condemned the ‘cowardice act of’ acid attacks on women in Quetta and Mastung areas of Balochistan. The BNV said that Baloch are a tolerant nation but their enemy [Pakistan] is uncivilised and it is breaking all international war convents and laws. “Pakistan is using the name of Islam to counter Baloch freedom struggle through its criminal death squads. These military death squads and Pakistani intelligence agencies are involved in abduction and kill & dump of innocent Baloch civilian,” the BNV said. The BNV said that Pakistan used similar tactics to counter the independence movement of Bangladeshi people in 70s; they brutally killed thousands of Bengali women and children. The BNV said: “Today Pakistan is using similar mediums to counter Baloch independence movement because due to growing popularity of Baloch freedom movement Pakistan has realised its defeat.” According to the BNV statement, the participation of Baloch women in struggle for independence of Balochistan has psychologically defeated Pakistan that is why the state has now started acid attacks on Baloch women in an effort to stop them from taking active part in freedom struggle. The BNV made to make it clear to Pakistani army and state that after its defeat against Bangladesh in 70s; today pro-Pakistani religious fanatics are being punished for collaborating with Pakistan. “In an independent Balochistan also the Pakistani military criminals and their death squads will be brought in justice for their crimes against humanity in Balochistan,” BNV said. The Baloch national Voice demanded from the international community to morally and legally support the Baloch freedom struggle because today Baloch are facing Pakistan’s religious extremists. They said in future Pakistan will use its religious assets to destroy world peace. The BNV said: “Pakistan extremist radical groups are threatening and attacking educated Baloch women and girls and if the international community ignored such crimes of state and did not support Baloch, tomorrow they will regret on their silence because Pakistan plans to expand its fanatical intentions in every country of world.”
The restive province of Balochistan is always in the news for the wrong reasons. This time it’s the acid attacks on women by masked savages. Last Monday, miscreants sprayed acid on the faces of four women outside a shopping center in outskirts of Quetta. Less than 24 hours had passed and two more girls were attacked with Acid in Mastung district of Balochistan. Both the incidents of barbarity took place outside shopping centers. These brutal acts are condemnable in strongest possible words and the perpetrators can’t be called humans.No organization has claimed responsibility so far for the acid attacks but it’s obvious that who is behind them. The same forces of darkness that forced the closure of girl’s schools in Panjgur are behind acid throwing attacks. The sinister minds behind these attacks want to terrify Baloch women so that they don’t dare coming out of their homes for education, protests and for anything that threatens the status quo in Balochistan. Since the inception of Pakistan, Religious extremism has been used to oppress the people of smaller provinces and this acid throwing episode is mere extension of that policy. It must be noted that attacking women is a concept alien to Baloch society. Even in the most violent tribal feuds women are untouched. It means that those behind the acid attacks on women in Balochistan are indoctrinated by an ideology that has found its way from another region. In 2010, two women were attacked with acid in Dalbandin town of Balochistan. No headway was made in that case and the culprits are at large. If any meaningful action had been taken against them than at least there could have been some hope that the perpetrators of recent acid attacks would also be apprehended. Human rights organizations and liberal society at large is indifferent to the plight of women in Balochistan, in the wake of acid attacks. Human rights organization justifiably supported the cause of Malala and vehemently condemned the flogging of innocent women at the hands of Taliban of Swat in 2009. However the issue of acid throwing on women in Balochistan is equally important if not more than the two aforementioned issues. Still no significant voice has been raised by any human rights organization so far. Tehmina Durrani has been vocal against Acid attacks on women in Balochistan in recent years. Similarly, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy made an Academy award winning documentary on acid attack victims. Sadly nothing is heard from them on serial acid attacks in Balochistan so far. When it comes to Balochistan even the biggest champions of human rights, democracy and social welfare go into hibernation. It’s futile to hope anything from such people and organization their human rights activism is for their vested interests only. Balochistan government is synonymous with failure these days. Dr. Malik Baloch, the chief Minister of Balochistan, is the epitome of a failed political leader. Notwithstanding his several claims that schools will be opened in Panjgur, nothing changed on the ground. Dr. Malik has issued a customary statement of condemnation against acid attacks and that’s it. One should not hope anything more than that from him and his incompetent cabinet. The women in Balochistan are thus at the mercy of savages who will stoop low to any depths to pursue their sinister agenda. There is no light at the end of the tunnel and Balochistan as a society is gradually being plunged into an abyss by the some people who are supposed to protect it.
Workers and supporters of the Balochistan National Party staged a demonstration in the Bolan Medical College Hospital on Wednesday to protest against recent incidents of acid attacks on women in Quetta and Mastung. Six victims of the incidents, two teenage sisters among them, are under treatment in the burns ward of the hospital. A large number of BNP activists gathered in the hospital and staged a demonstration outside the burns ward, raising slogans against religious extremists believed to be responsible for the attacks. The party’s Information Secretary, Agha Hasan, said such incidents had never happened in Balochistan in the past and that the “barbarian” act was against Baloch traditions and norms. He said that extremist groups were free to implement their agenda (in the province) and no action had ever been taken against them. The BNP leader criticised the government for its failure to protect the life and dignity of people, and urged it to ensure arrest of the perpetrators of the “inhuman” crime.
The right to public space for women in many parts of Pakistan is a tenuous one, fraught with insecurity, and constantly under pressure from conservative elements. On Monday and Tuesday, two incidents in Balochistan have served to once again underscore this reality. In the first one, masked men entered a jewellery shop in Quetta and sprayed acid from syringes on four women patrons. In the second incident, two teenage sisters shopping at a bazaar in Mastung were attacked in an identical manner. Although mercifully it appears that the injuries sustained by those targeted are not of a very severe nature, the message that has been sent out is loud, clear and terrifying: women, if they choose to venture independently into the public domain, are fair game. Cases of acid attack There have been three earlier attacks employing the same modus operandi in the province in the last few years, in Dalbandin, Kalat and Quetta. The targets in all of them were women — sometimes no more than girls — out in public, without a male chaperone. Those attacked in Kalat, significantly, were a group of teachers and students.
The perpetrators are not difficult to gauge; in fact, after the Dalbandin attack an obscure religious group had claimed responsibility, warning women to stay away from public places if they were not accompanied by male members of the family. However, no one has been held to account, a fact that has undoubtedly emboldened regressive elements who feel no fear in carrying out brazen attacks on women in broad daylight even in a small town like Mastung where, if the state did its duty by its citizens, it would be difficult for the assailants to slip away. Balochistan has been steadily radicalised over the years, and a plethora of shadowy, extremist religious groups increasingly exercise their malign influence over society, diligently seeking to restrict women’s agency, and deprive them of their rights. By turning a blind eye to their activities, the state imperils the hard-won rights of women elsewhere in Pakistan as well.