پلان ایکس نے خواتین کو بااختیار بنانے کے پروگرام کا آغاز کر دیا

 

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پنجاب انفارمیشن ٹیکنالوجی بورڈ نے پلان ایکس کے تعاون سے خواتین کی کاروباری سرگرمیوں میں معاونت اور انکی تربیت کے لئے پروگرام کا آغاز کر دیا ہے۔ اس پروگرام کا بنیادی مقصد خواتین کو قومی ترقیاتی دھارے میں لانا اور انہیں کاروباری سرگرمیوں کے تیار کرنا اور انکی حوصلہ افزائی کرنا ہے۔ اس مقصد کے لئے خواتین کی استعداد کار میں اضافے کے لئے تربیت اور معاونت فراہم کی جائیگی۔ اب جبکہ پلان ایکس کا آغاز ہوئے دو برس گزر چکے ہیں تو اس تربیتی پروگرام میں صرف چار فیصد کمپنیاں ایسی تھیں جنہیں خواتین چلا رہی تھیں۔ پاکستان جہاں کی مجموعی آبادی میں خواتین کو اکثریت حاصل ہے ان اعدادوشمار کو کسی طرح بھی حوصلہ افزا قرار نہیں دیا جا سکتا، جبکہ ملک کی مجموعی لیبر فورس میں خواتین کی شرکت کا تناسب 28 فیصد ہے۔

پلان ایکس کی اس کاوش کا ایک اور مقصد اینٹرپینوئرشپ کے منظرنامے پر خواتین کی کاشوں کا اجاگر کرنا بھی ہے۔ اس حوالے سے پلان ایکس کی جانب سے گزشتہ دنوں جاری کی جانیوالی ایک پریس ریلیز میں کہا گیا ہے کہ ملک میں انٹر پنیوئرشپ اور جدت کے تناظر میں خواتین کی شرکت کو یقینی بنانے اور ان کی تخلیقی صلاحیتوں کو اجاگر کرنے کے لئے پلان ایکس نے پاور وویمن انشیٹو کا آغاز کیا ہے۔

اس پروگرام کے تحت ملک کی صف اول کی یونیورسٹیوں میں زیر تعلیم خواتین کو تربیت، اکیڈمک پارٹنرشپ کے لئے منتخب کیا جائیگا تاکہ خواتین طالبات کو انٹرپینوئرشپ کی جانب نہ صرف راغب کیا جا سکے بلکہ ملک کی مجموعی ورک فورس میں ان کی شمولیت کی حوصلہ افزائی کی جا سکے۔ اس مقصد کے حصول کے لئے پلان ایکس کی ٹیم مختلف یونیورسٹیوں میں سیمنارز کا انعقاد کریگی جس میں خاص طور پر خواتین کے ایسے پروگرامز میں شرکت کے لئے حوصلہ افزائی کی جائیگی۔

اس کے ساتھ ساتھ پلان ایکس خواتین کی جانب سے بنائی جانیوالی کمپنیوں کو اپنے ایکسیلیٹر پروگرام میں شامل کریگا جس کے تحت ان خواتین کی جانب سے بنائی گئی نئی کمپنیوں کو تین ماہ کی بنیادی تربیت فراہم کی جائیگی۔ یہ کمپنیاں بعد ازاں پلان ایکس ایکسسلریشن پروگرام کے لئے درخواستیں بھی دینے کی اہل ہونگی جس کے تحت انہیں پلان ایکس میں مزید چھ ماہ کی تربیت اور تمام تر سہولیات فراہم کی جائیں گی۔

پاور وویمن پروگرام کے لانچ پر پلان ایکس کی ڈائریکٹر حٖفضہ شورش کا کہنا تھا کہ پلان ایکس میں بطور ٹیم یہاں صنفی توازن موجود ہے اور مرد و خواتین کو کام کرنے کے لئے صحت مندانہ ماحول دستیاب ہے اور اس پروگرام کے تحت ہم خواتین کی شمولیت کی حوصلہ افزائی کرینگے۔

حالیہ برسوں میں پاکستان میں خواتین انٹرپینئورشپ نے اتار چڑھاؤ کے باوجود ترقی کی ہے۔ حالیہ برسوں کے دوران بخش فاؤنڈیشن کی شریک بانی فائزہ فرحان کو معروف جریدے فوربز کی انڈر تھرٹی سوشل انٹرپینئوئرز کی فہرست میں شامل کیا گیا اسی طرح گزشتہ برس ملالہ فنڈ کی شریک بانی شازیہ شاہد اور سگھڑ کی بانی خالدہ بروہی کو اسی فہرست میں شامل کیا گیا تھا۔

اسی طرح سال رواں میں ایک بزنس کانفرنس کے موقع پر پاکستان اور امریکہ نے ایک مشترکہ ایکشن پلان پر دستخط کئے تھے جس کے تحت خواتین انٹرپینوئرشپ کی حوصلہ افزائی کی جائے گی تاکہ انہیں معاشی خود انحصار یمیسر آ سکے۔

Child marriage is a misinterpreted and cruel practice that reeks of ignorance

She shut the book and jumped around with blissful glee. Cinderella was her favourite character and she had gotten married too.

Mother had given her the news only yesterday. On her next birthday, she would be a bride, just like Cinderella. Cinderella’s wedding dress was white and puffy with beautiful flowers sown on it. So would be hers. Cinderella’s dainty shoes sparkled brightly. So will hers. Hundreds of people in fancy dresses attended Cinderella’s wedding. Her own wedding was to be attended by almost the entire village too. Food and drink will flow and everyone would look upon her as she will enter in her sparkling gown. Just like it happened in Cinderella!

The only difference is, Cinderella was not made a bride when she was 12. But for girls between the ages of 12 and 17 in Egypt, it is a frequented practice. Hence, the above described account depicts the true mind-set of each child bride that ties the knot in Egypt. Years have not yet touched their innocent dispositions. Their faculties are pure, their hearts bright and their sensibilities are not yet open to vulnerable exposure. In short, they are only children being tied together in marriages that are too big for their breeches. Such is the example of the 12-year-old Omar and the 11-year-old Gharam who were engaged in a lavish ceremony near Cairo.

Before questions are raised regarding the age of marriage envisaged by Islam and how puberty is put forth as a reasonable pretext for marriages, let us make a few things crystal clear. Islam has favoured early marriages in order to save the collective society from illicit relations, adultery and many such vices. But it has favoured ‘early’ marriages. Not ‘child’ marriages. Before someone starts giving examples of young marriages from different eras of Islamic history, let us also take a moment to ponder how drastically different were the ethos of those societies. Those were eras of precocious children who were capable of handling the affairs of not only their households, but of the entire state and empire that they were entrusted with.

Not only Muslim history, but European history also holds examples of rulers like Julius Caesar who was extremely young (by today’s standards) to take up the reins of the entire Roman Empire. But as man has evolved, so have his standards, his ethics and his values. While the behavioural sciences have advanced in theories on how to bring up children, they have also made our children more dependent. Technology and gadgets haven’t helped either. By spoon-feeding our children, we have raised a generation that is not mature enough to support or even survive early marriages, let alone the custom of child marriages prevalent in Egypt and other countries.

These marriages represent a culture of societal pressure and control that attempts to pre-empt and counter any decision making process on part of the bride and the groom. As even in the 21st century, ‘love’ marriages remain taboo for conservative societies, parents in such situations feel that they will encounter less resistance if they marry off their children while they are immature and impressionable. Some like Omar’s father in this case argue that,

“We have to protect them in their early years before they reach the age of deviation.”

Is it the only way to do so? No one denies the importance of raising kids according to certain moral standards. But is it wise to hand them such humongous responsibilities? Childhood being the most endearing and precious time of a person’s life, being deprived of it by marrying them and burdening them with obligations is sheer cruelty. What makes it even crueller is the fact that at this stage, due to their innocence and naivete, they do not realise what a marriage could bring at this time. Consummating their marriage and having their own children, while they are still pre-teens, becomes an ethical nightmare.

How can they be wise parents if they themselves are immature and inexperienced in life, not to mention their education is disrupted? Barbie dolls are replaced with crying infants being nursed by little girls who are physically fragile and mentally juvenile. But it would be unfair to say that only girls feel the brunt of this antiquated and brutal practice. Boys are affected adversely too. They become mentally stressed out from the responsibilities thrust upon them and the premature flair for physical intimacy drives them towards unhealthy and illicit activities.

Islam teaches us certain guidelines for conducting our affairs, but it also invites us towards Ijma and Qiyas, which are tools of intellectual cognition and derivations. Thus, there is a need for proper research regarding these matters in light of religion and circumstances to guide the normal public as to when and how marriages be conducted in an Islamic society.

By our orthodox beliefs, we have made our lives more difficult by brandishing the so-called iron fist of Islam at anyone who dares to question our practices. Child marriage is a misinterpreted and cruel practice that reeks of ignorance. It must be eradicated because every child has the right towards a robust childhood before he or she becomes burdened with the affairs of adulthood. Let your children, be children first and then parents, when the right time

 

Trafficked widow escaped prostitution through help of fellow captive

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Dubai Criminal Court was told that Uzbek national M A, 35, a mother of two,
lived in cramped conditions with her mother and brother when a neighbour
offered her the position.
“She [the neighbour] called on March 7 this year and told me that I will be
paid US$500 a month for child caring and cleaning the house as well,” said
the victim.
After receiving the offer, M A went to meet the neighbour, S, to arrange her
travel to Dubai.
When she arrived for the meeting, S was nowhere to be found. In her place
was a man who offered to help.
“A man identified as B, that S had told me about, came and offered to buy
my ticket and issue my visa then send me to a woman he knows in Dubai
who would help me find a job,” said M A. “Then, I would pay him back from
my salary.”
The money she owed would be paid to her employer in Dubai before being
transferred to B, the court heard.
M A stayed in the city, where she met B, for a further 12 days, until her visa
and ticket were ready for collection. During that time, her expenses were
paid for by B.
On March 19 this year, M A landed at Dubai International Airport and was
picked up by her compatriot, 44-year-old E A.
From there, the duo travelled to a flat in Sharjah, after which M A allegedly
had her passport seized and was told she had to repay US$10,000 in
expenses.
“I told her that B told me it was only US$3000,” said M A.
The court heard that E A then told the victim she had to work as a
prostitute.
“I refused but I got frightened when she said she would send me to a gang
who would lock me up and give me away for sex seekers for the cheapest
prices,” said M A.
M A told the court she was taken to a flat in Dubai where she met other
women from her home country, all of whom had sex with men in exchange
for Dh20.
For over a week, M A gave her captors excuses for not going out to seek
customers. On her first day outside the flat, looking for men, she was able
to escape with the help of one of a prostitute.

http://www.thenational.ae/uae/courts/trafficked-widow-escaped-prostitution-through-help-of-fellow-captive-dubai-court-told

Gang-rape victim dies nine days after self immolation attempt

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A 22-year-old alleged gang-rape victim succumbed to her injuries after a self-immolation  attempt  in Dera Ghazi Khan, a private news channel reported on Monday.

According to the report, the victim set herself on fire nine days ago when her alleged rapists were not arrested by the police.

She was taken to a hospital in a critical condition where she succumbed to her burn injuries today.

Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif had taken notice of the incident over the girl’s attempted self immolation and had ordered immediate arrest of the culprits.

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2014/09/08/national/gang-rape-victim-dies-nine-days-after-self-immolation-attempt/

‘Rape’ victim’s family rejects court verdict

By Malik Tahseen Raza

Surge in road accidents involving mostly motorcyclists

By Faiza Ilyas

 
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.— File photo

KARACHI: Sixteen-year-old Rameez has been on a ventilator in an intensive care unit at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre’s neurosurgery ward for the past four days. The teenager along with his cousin was brought to hospital following a head-on collision of their motorbike with a car on the National Highway while they were on their way to Keenjhar Lake.

Both teenagers, who were riding the two-wheeler without helmets, received severe head and limb injuries in the accident.

“Sameer has regained consciousness after a brain surgery but doctors are not hopeful about Rameez’s condition. We are praying for a miracle,” said his uncle Fareed (names have been changed on the family’s request).

Once a bright schoolboy, Rameez is now ‘brain dead’, according to doctors who sought the family’s permission to turn off the ventilator but faced resistance.

“There is no sign in the body indicating that he would ever regain consciousness. Although we have made this clear to his family members, they insist that we continue to support him with the ventilator,” said head of the JPMC neurosurgery department Dr S. Raza Khairat.

The hospital, he said, was a public sector health facility with limited resources where patients received ventilator facility free of cost but it was not so in the private sector where patients had to bear medical expenses.

Last month there were 80 deaths at the neurosurgery ward. Of them, 65 were from severe brain injuries and 15 to 20 others from secondary complications. Most victims aged between 14 and 28 years.

In the ward, Rameez and his cousin are not the only ones who had common nature of accident. There are at least two more cases in which patients received injuries, including head injury, while riding a motorbike without crash helmets.

“Cases of injuries involving teenagers riding motorbikes have increased over the years. More than 70pc deaths at our ward are caused by preventable injuries, as motorcyclists can protect their head with the helmet,” Dr Khairat explained.

While the family of Rameez was still pinning hopes on the lost case, they could have prevented the accident by ensuring that he wear a helmet while riding motorbikes, he added.

Most of the head injury cases involving motorbikes are related to youngsters aged between 15 and 25, according to the head of the neurosurgery department.

12,056 accidents in six months

Within a period of six months, at least 12,056 road accidents have been reported at five hospitals namely the JPMC, Aga Khan University Hospital, Civil Hospital Karachi, Liaquat National Hospital and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

In these accidents, 528 people died, while there were 11,551 minor and 2,960 serious injuries reported from January to June 2014, according to the Road Traffic Injury Research and Prevention Centre which has been functioning at the JPMC.

Thirteen per cent people involved in the accidents were less than 15 years, while 36pc others were between 16 and 25 years.

“Rider/pillion rider group constitutes the highest number of road casualties, covering more than 63pc of the total casualty data followed by pedestrians (20pc).

“Only three per cent of people involved in motorbike accidents were wearing helmets. There were 234 fatal cases,” stated the data collected by the centre. (The data on helmet use was based on 9,382 casualty cases)

From the year 2007 to 2013, there has been an increase in road accidents involving rider/pillion rider. The number of fatal accidents involving motorbikes has also increased from 325 in 2007 to 551 in 2013, while 234 fatal cases have already been reported during the first half of the year.

Similarly, the ratio of fatal and serious cases has increased from 3,048 in 2007 to 4,242 in 2013.

“Fatal injuries often involve head injuries and 80 to 85pc of these injuries are related to youngsters who are not wearing helmets. Motorbike riders are the ones frequently found violating traffic signals that lead to accidents,” said Irfan Saleem Bhatti working as a road accident investigation officer at the centre.

Traffic police, however, denied that fatal road accidents especially those involving motorbikes had increased over the years. They said that in fact the cases had dropped.

“I don’t have relevant data with me right now but fatal cases have reduced. This has happened due to collaborative efforts including public awareness campaigns, correcting engineering faults on the roads and promoting use of helmets,” said SSP Traffic West Dr Qamar Rizvi, a spokesperson of the traffic police department.

Asked about the department’s sources of data collection, the officer said: “Our staff and the police department provide us with information. We don’t get the data directly from hospitals but that reaches us through the police from medico-legal officers at hospitals,” he explained.

Why protect the brain

“The brain is located in a closed, rigid cavity. Many parts of the brain are responsible for different functions and all human activities are controlled by the brain. Hence, it is important to protect the brain especially when someone is riding a motorbike,” said Dr Khairat.

Pre-hospital management and transportation, he said, was crucial in case of a brain injury. “The first hour is the golden hour, because proper patient management can save a life. If the patient’s airway gets blocked for any reason, for example vomiting or bleeding, the patient can die,” he pointed out.

In case of other injuries, he said, one usually got time to act but serious head injuries were often fatal. “You can’t wear a bullet-proof jacket to avoid a chest injury but you can wear a crash helmet to protect your brain,” he said.

Experts recommend the use of good quality helmets, as those made of poor material could break down in accidents causing injury to the brain. “People should buy fibreglass crash helmets that are a bit expensive but carry the warranty that they are unbreakable. They should also see that its strap is of good quality and can’t be easily broken. The third tip to buy a good quality helmet is to purchase it from a proper shop instead of a roadside stall,” said Tanveer Bukhari, a local manufacturer of helmets, who has been working with the centre to promote helmet use.

Rise in motorbike sales

According to media reports, the sale of motorcycles is on the rise in the city and over half a million motorcycles have been brought on roads over the past five years. “Since 2009, the excise and taxation department of Sindh has registered 1.342 million new motorbikes. More than half of them are meant for Karachi, as the rest were registered in other districts of the province,” a report stated.

With an increase in local production and subsequent drop in prices, two-wheelers, according to the report, have become a preferred mode of transport for people who have suffered the most amid the fast deteriorating public transport system.

“If this trend continues, there will only be chaos and congestion on roads and life will become more stressful and risky. Increasing environmental pollution and green house emissions are all linked to this issue. There are no two opinions that Karachi desperately needs a rapid transit system that might be linked to other modes of transport like the circular railway,” believed urban planner Farhan Anwar who heads Sustainable Initiatives.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1130297/surge-in-road-accidents-involving-mostly-motorcyclists

Pakistan: Impunity Marks Global Day for Disappeared

 
Government Fails to Provide Facts, Justice, and Reparations to Victims

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(London) – On the eve of the annual International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch urge Pakistan’s government to stop the deplorable practice of state agencies abducting hundreds of people throughout the country without providing information about their fate or whereabouts.

Despite clear rulings from the Pakistan Supreme Court in 2013 demanding justice for victims of enforced disappearances, as well as recommendations from the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances in 2012, the Pakistan government has done little to meet its obligations under international law and the Pakistan Constitution to prevent enforced disappearances. 

The government has failed to establish the facts about the fate and whereabouts of victims when disappearances occur, has failed to bring perpetrators to justice, and has failed to provide reparations to victims, including the families of the disappeared, the three leading rights organizations said. 

Instead, the government has responded by passing the Protection of Pakistan Act, 2014, which facilitates enforced disappearances by retrospectively legitimizing detention at undisclosed locations and providing immunity to all state agents acting in ‘good faith.’ These steps perpetuate a troubling culture of impunity in Pakistan, casting grave doubts on the government’s seriousness about ensuring justice and protecting human rights.

Enforced disappearances—most often of men and boys—occur regularly throughout Pakistan, including Balochistan and north-western Pakistan, as well as in Punjab and Sindh provinces.

Balochistan is of particular concern because of a pattern of enforced disappearances targeting political activists, human rights defenders, journalists, and lawyers. Disappeared people are often found dead, their bodies bearing bullet wounds and marks of torture.

Earlier this year, eyewitnesses reported that Zahid Baloch, a human rights defender and chairperson of Baloch Student Organization-Azad, was abducted at gunpoint in Quetta, capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, allegedly by personnel of the Frontier Corps, a state security force widely implicated in enforced disappearances in the province. Despite widespread protests and appeals for his release from relatives and human rights groups, the authorities have failed to adequately investigate his abduction, determine his fate or whereabouts, and bring those responsible to justice.

In the weeks leading up to Pakistan’s Independence Day, 14 August, dozens of ethnic Baloch were arbitrarily arrested in the New Kahan area of Quetta, and Turbat and Kharan districts. At present, the fate or whereabouts of all of these people remain unknown.

Hundreds of men and boys, especially individuals associated with the Muttahida Quami Movement political party and ethnic Pashtuns accused of being associated with the Taliban, have been subjected to enforced disappearance in the city of Karachi over the last two years. Several members of ethnic Sindhi nationalist groups have also allegedly been subjected to enforced disappearance in the province of Sindh in the same period. In north-west Pakistan, the armed forces allegedly continue to subject men and boys to enforced disappearances in areas where they are carrying out counter-insurgency operations against the Taliban.

The few investigations carried out by the Pakistani authorities have been hampered by their refusal or inability to adequately investigate state security forces and intelligence services implicated in enforced disappearances.

The ICJ, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch urge the Pakistani government to take the following steps as a matter of urgency to affirm its commitment to end enforced disappearances and meet its obligations under international human rights law:
 

  1. Ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and implement its provisions in law, policy and practice, and in particular include a new and separate crime of enforced disappearances in the penal code;
     
  1. Carry out a thorough review and, as necessary, amend all security legislation, in particular the Protection of Pakistan Act, 2014, and the Actions (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulations, 2011, to ensure its compatibility with international human rights law and standards;
     
  2. Ensure that all persons held in secret or arbitrary detention are immediately released, or charged for a cognizable crime by civilian courts following international fair trial standards, and are detained in official places of detention and in conditions that fully respect their human rights;
     
  3. Ensure that prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations are carried out into all allegations of enforced disappearance; perpetrators, including those with command or superior responsibility. Perpetrators should be brought to justice before independent and impartial civilian courts, consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Victims, including the families of the disappeared, should have access to effective remedies and receive adequate reparations.

http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/08/29/pakistan-impunity-marks-global-day-disappeared