Wednesday, 18 May, 2022
HomeGo To PakistanGrand Pashtun rally kicks off, demands freedom and release of missing persons

Grand Pashtun rally kicks off, demands freedom and release of missing persons

Text Size:

Here’s what’s happening across the border: Pakistan to consider decriminalising consensual sex on UN’s suggestion, and bad healthcare conditions continue to pose a challenge.

PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen heads Pashtun rally, demands freedom 

The Pashtun community kicked off a massive rally Sunday in Peshawar under the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), demanding the release of missing persons as well as basic human rights. They chanted the slogan ‘da sang azadi da (what kind of freedom is this)’, which is the movement’s rallying cry. “The movement’s leaders claim that in the past decade, 32,000 Pashtuns have gone missing from Fata,” a report in The Dawn said.

PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen addressed thousands of participants from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), including the families of missing persons. “In Karachi, money is taken in return for bodies. Even Genghis Khan did not take money after killing people,” said Pashteen.

He also accused Pakistani politicians of condoning violence in the FATA region. “After Rao Anwar [the former SSP of Malir, accused of the extrajudicial murder of local model Naqeebullah Mehsud], it is now the turn of Ehsanullah Ehsan [former TTP leader],” he said, demanding that the erstwhile TTP spokesperson be held accountable.

After Ehsanullah, we will bring [former president] Musharraf to the courts,” Pashteen added.

The protesters were largely mobilised through social media, pamphlets and PTM workers creating awareness about the movement among local communities.

“We will go to every village until our demands are met,” Pashteen announced.

Pakistan ‘notes’ UN’s recommendation to decriminalise non-marital consensual sex 

Pakistan officially noted a recommendation to repeal laws barring adultery and non-marital consensual sex, made at the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR). ‘Noted’ means the country will consider this recommendation and take a final decision on either accepting or rejecting it at a later time, the Tribune quoted officials as saying.

Among hundreds of other recommendations from the UPR, the UN also suggested ensuring punishment for all perpetrators of violence against people accused of adultery and non-marital consensual sex, and those who may call for such violence, including members and leaders of jirgas.

“Pakistan adopted the third cycle of UPR last month. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will issue the official document in coming days,” an official working with the ministry of human rights told the Tribune, Pakistan.

These suggestions to Pakistan were first given by Canada and then Czech Republic in 2017. The UPR was introduced by the United Nations general assembly in 2006 to conduct a periodic review of human rights records of all UN member states.

Islamabad International Airport to finally take off this month 

After years of delays and political bottlenecks, Pakistan’s first greenfield airport in Islamabad is all set to operate for international and domestic flights from 20 April. It will be the biggest airport in the country in terms of landing and passenger-handling facilities, the Tribune reported.

The airport is located 20 km from Zero Point, Islamabad, and over 25 km from Saddar, Rawalpindi. It is in the shape of the letter ‘Y’ and has been built to suit international standards.

The Islamabad International Airport (IIA) will handle almost all flights in the country now, and also serve as the primary base of the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). The airport will host 15 million passengers annually, and then increase its capacity to 25 million annual passengers after expansion.

Healthcare worsening in Punjab, while protests continue

Protests by different healthcare bodies to curb the unstable conditions of public sector hospitals continue in Pakistan, even as the healthcare system deteriorates. The protests in Punjab started at the beginning of the year.

A police report also showed that as many as 300 protests were held on Mall Road, Punjab, last year by doctors, paramedical staff, nurses, health workers, nutritionists and staffers of basic health units from various healthcare institutions.

According to Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) president Dr Izhar Ahmed Chaudhry, the cause of the crumbling healthcare system is government’s “bad planning”.  He addressed the issue at a seminar on World Health Day. “The worst collateral damage of this system is that the people are more interested to go to quacks, hakeems and homoeopathic doctors as they cannot afford proper medical healthcare facilities,” Chaudhry said.

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular