Mumbai, Karachi press clubs for liberalized media visas


 

KARACHI: The Press Club, Mumbai and Karachi Press Club have welcomed the scheduled meeting between Indian External Affairs Minister, S M Krishna, and Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, to be held in Islamabadon September 7-9, 2012.In a joint statement issued both the prestigious press clubs reiterated their demands of free movement of journalistsbetween two countries in order to promote people-to-people contact and enduring peace in the sub-continent.The press clubs hoped both foreign ministers would give due attention to their demands.

In the meeting both the foreign ministers will review the resumed peace process, which began last year.

I the statement issued the press clubs have demanded of the ministers to liberalize the visa regime for the journalist community and should be made easily available.

It is pertinent to mention that the joint statement issued by Indian and Pakistan’s Foreign Secretaries after their meeting on July 4-5, 2012 had emphasized the need to promote media and sports contacts.

Moreover they also demanded removal of the cap on the number of journalists allowed to function in both the countries as currently only two newspersons from one country are allowed work in the other and vice versa.

The statement also said that more and more journalists from both the countries should not only be encouraged bul also allowed to move easily.

Sale of hard copies of newspapers and periodicals should be allowed to sell in other country, said the joint statement.

Pakistan-Nurses ‘poisoning’: Christians call for inquiry


 

By Our Correspondent

Published: August 1, 2012

PHOTO: EXPRESS/IRFAN ALI

KARACHI: Christian leaders have called for an impartial inquiry into the alleged poisoning of nine nurses at a government-run hospital.

Nine Christian trainee nurses at the Civil Hospital Karachi fell ill Sunday night allegedly after drinking poisoned tea prepared at their hostel. They were claimed to have been deliberately poisoned because of their faith.

Parliamentarian Saleem Khokhar, while speaking to The Express Tribune, called on the government and the police to launch a joint investigation to find out the actual cause of poisoning. While rumours initially floated that the poisoning took place as the nurses were drinking tea when their Muslim colleagues were fasting, Khokhar ruled that out, saying that the incident took place late night when everyone had broken their fast.

Condemning the incident, Christian leader Michael Javed went a step ahead and asked for a judicial investigation.

Claiming that the society has become extremely intolerant and was not allowing the minorities to live in peace, the former MPA requested the chief justice to take suo motu notice of the incident. “The government has turned a blind eye to the persecution of minorities; our girls are being [forcibly] converted and our churches are being attacked,” he lamented. Javed said that it was unfortunate if the nurses were really poisoned because the religious minorities also respect the Muslim faith and refrain from drinks and food in front of them. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s Abdul Hai also expressed concern over the incident. “A large number of nurses are Christians and are [already] subjected to ill-treatment and prejudice,” he added.

Lambasting the incident, the Christian community members also organised a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday.

William Sadiq, the coordinator of a welfare organisation working for minority women, was suspicious of the hospital administration and alleged that they were hiding the real matter. She suspected some other girls in the hostel may have poisoned the students over some rivalry.  “It could even be religious targeting,” said Sadiq. The Christian leaders also shouted slogans outside the Karachi Press Club against the hospital’s administration and the rising religious intolerance.

The Civil hospital medical superintendent, Prof Saeed Quraishy, ruled out the involvement of anyone from the hostel, however. “They made the tea themselves, how can there be someone else involved,” he said.

He added that the hospital has registered a case at the Eidgah Police Station and tea samples have been sent to the Aga Khan University Hospital for toxicology tests. He confirmed that except for one student who is still admitted to the hospital, all ‘poisoned’ nurses were discharged.

According to one of the affected nurses, a colleague had made the tea after 10pm and immediately after drinking the liquor they fell ill. They were taken to the Civil hospital’s emergency and sent back after treatment. But the students developed complications in the morning and had to be taken to the hospital again.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2012.

 

 

In the name of honour: Book explores nature of honour crimes and domestic violence


KARACHI:
The first step in fighting honour crimes is to accept their existence in the society and understand the nature of the crime.

“We need to accept that such crimes exist and that they are more prevalent in certain cultures than others,” said Manisha Gupte, one of the co-editors of the book “Honour and Women’s Rights: South Asian Perspectives” at its launch at the Karachi Press Club on Sunday.

“Honour exists in every society but we need to struggle against the structures of dominance, such as caste and sex, which instigate honour killings.”

The book has been co-edited by Gupte, Ramesh Awasthi and Shraddha Chickerur. It comprises 15 papers by authors from South Asian countries, including Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal, who are either settled in their respective countries or living abroad.

“The most prevalent form of violence against women among South Asian people is domestic violence and the fear of extended families,” said Gupte, who is also the founder of MASUM, an organisation working for the rural women in India since 1987. “Domestic violence and honour killings are interlinked.”

From Pakistan, Akmal Wasim, Faiza Haswary, Nazish Brohi, Afiya Zia and Saima Husain contributed their papers to the book, which was completed over a period of three years.

Discussing the different forms of honour crimes, Gupte said domestic violence also takes place in western cultures.

She clarified that the book has no answers but only offers insight into such crimes.

The National Commission on the Status of Women chairperson, Anis Haroon, said that illiteracy and extremism are the main obstacles which are stalling women’s development in the region.

One of the authors, Afiya Zia, who co-authored a paper with researcher Nazish Brohi on “Agentive defiance to honour codes in Pakistan”, called for focus on the empirical studies conducted by organisations. She crticised them as being flawed, saying that they are entirely based on media reports. “These crimes are not limited to only villages but exist in urban cities as well.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2012.