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New Delhi: The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), a body that has acted in defence of press freedom since 1957, released a report that found at least seven journalists had been murdered and 60 booked under anti-terrorism and other laws in 2019, painting a “grim” picture for press freedom in the country.  

According to the report, though both Article 19 of Pakistan’s Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantee press freedom, journalists were still routinely subjected to “strict” forms of physical intimidation and charged under Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, among others.

The report also said “mysterious and unidentified actors pose the biggest threat to press freedom”, including non-state forces and outlawed militant groups. 

The report further added: “Not a single killer or attacker of media persons has been brought to justice.”

Pakistan to import wheat to deal with flour crisis

Pakistan is in the grip of a wheat crisis — supply of which has plummeted and prices have sky-rocketed — putting the Opposition and the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government at loggerheads. People are paying as much as Rs 70 to buy one kg of flour — up by upto Rs 25.

The crisis was going on for the last several months, but aggravated this week after Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered the provincial governments to come down stronger on hoarding and profiteering. The opposition Pakistan Peoples Party has said the PTI is ill-equipped to handle the shortage problem.

While hoarders are one part of the problem, The News International has found the government exported over 6,40,000 tonnes of wheat in 2019. What made things worse was a ban by the Punjab government on inter-movement of wheat. 

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On Monday, Pakistan agreed to import 3,00,000 tonnes of wheat to mitigate the crisis, but the details of where it will come from are unknown. 

Also read: At Lahore ThinkFest, Pakistan science minister Fawad Chaudhry justifies slapping TV anchor

Climbers on way to scale Karakoram peaks

It’s mountain-climbing season in Pakistan and climbers are on their way to Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak and K2 on the Pakistan-China border. These mountains are part of the Karakoram range.

K2, the second highest peak in the world, is considered one of the deadliest mountains on Earth to climb.

Russian mountaineer Denis Urubko, Don Bowie from Canada and former Miss Finland Lotta Hintsa are part of the Broad Peak winter expedition.

The three began their ascent in late December 2019, and have now halted at a spot 6,400 meters above the sea level, where they are waiting for better weather conditions to go ahead. Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak and K2 are over 8,000 meters in height. 

Activist Jalila Haider detained at Lahore airport

Prominent human rights activist and lawyer Jalila Haider was detained at Lahore airport for seven hours Monday.

Haider, who was about to board a flight to London to attend a conference on feminism at the University of Sussex, said she was stopped from taking her flight because of her “anti-state activities”.

After making her wait for 7 hours, the authorities returned her passport and told her to book another flight to the UK.

Last year, Haider made it to the BBC’s list of 100 inspiring and influential women for defending women’s rights. She’s a member of the minority Hazara community, which has faced persecution in Pakistan. In 2018, she had gone on a hunger strike, demanding the government to act on the discrimination faced by the community. 

Also read: Top Pakistani TV channel gets rid of anti-establishment cartoonist with no explanation


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