Martin Kobler
German ambassador to Pakistan | @KoblerinPAK/ Twitter
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Here’s what’s happening across the border: Former footballer hits back over moral policing, and media criticism for Imran Khan coverage.

Mango parties, Margalla walks & Peshawar dreams, German envoy lives it up in #NayaPakistan

From the Urdu bazaar in Lahore to a walk in the Margalla Hills outside Islamabad (where he was ticked off by a conscientious citizen for using plastic water bottles), to having himself shaved by his ‘friend Mehran’ in Peshawar, to attending mango parties, Germany’s ambassador to Pakistan Martin Kobler, is obviously having a blast.

Some would say that’s what ambassadors are expected to do. Others would like to call it work. Perhaps it’s the white man’s burden to tell us, again, how lovely and beautiful it is to live in the Third World.

Now we all know that Pakistan’s people are probably among the warmest and friendliest in the world, and what’s more, Imran Khan is in the hot seat of Naya Pakistan. Perhaps we will now see Kobler pick up a cricket bat and learn a new way of conducting diplomacy.

The crotchety and quarrelsome would ask if it’s right for ambassadors from powerful western nations to normalise soft coups? If Kobler has a conscience, he would answer that question. At any rate, it’s nice to be surrounded by several layers of security in a tough country and have a video guy follow you, airbrushing the dark and squalid corners and making it all look like Disneyland.

Wallowing in the ‘aangan’ of the Sethi mansion in Peshawar and climbing into a pre-WW 2 fire truck? Time for tourism to get a new honest name.

Former footballer hits back after Karachi women’s team faces moral policing

In her opinion in news daily Dawn, Maryam Hassan, former goalkeeper of Karachi United (KU) women’s team, clapped back at the moral policing the team faced on social media.

A picture of the KU women’s football team was posted on Instagram on 19 June. Having been shared widely since, the photo received several obnoxious comments on the girls’ attire. For wearing shorts, the women team members were condemned and called ‘un-Islamic’, with some even calling the women ‘porn stars’.

Hassan, who is now a doctor, talked about her own experience in the football team and cited her encounters with patriarchy a few years back. She recalled how football was her respite from the stress of medical school but her parents were only concerned about how it made her complexion dark due to the tan. When she fractured her ring finger while playing, she was told that “no one would want to marry a girl with a broken ring finger since the groom would not have a finger to put a ring on.”

“While playing, we do not see ourselves as the sole example of how women should dress. We just choose what’s most comfortable for us to play in,” Hassan wrote.

For those policing the football team, Hassan even created a ‘cheatsheet’ of things they can think about instead — how hard the girls worked, how football helped them become better functioning members of society, and how football enhanced their career or academic opportunities.

Media Watch criticizes journalists for sharing ‘carefully cropped’ Imran Khan video

Pakistan Media Watch, a collective of former journalists, criticised a host of news anchors and websites for sharing a ‘carefully cropped’ video of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan with his colleagues on social media, claiming that he was traveling across Peshawar Tuesday without any security or protocols.

The anchors didn’t mention that there were at least ‘seven’ protocol cars accompanying Khan, said Pakistan Media Watch.

The video, uploaded by PTI’s official Twitter handle, mentioned how Khan and another party member were moving on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa roads like ‘ordinary citizens’.

Journalists like Hamid Mir and Aniqa Nisar, and producer of Din News and columnist Razi Tahir tweeted the same video, admiring Khan’s decision to ride without a convoy.

However, some Twitter users then shared videos from other angles and called out the anchors for sharing fake news.

Pakistan push for protecting endangered vultures

The Pakistan government has issued restrictions on vet’s drugs — diclofenac, aceclofenac and ketoprofen — in a bid to save critically-endangered vultures, reported The Telegraph.

The protection of vultures will be in interest of public health as the treated carcasses consumed by rodents has lead to spread of diseases among the human population.

Consumption of livestock treated with these drugs has lead to poisoning in vultures, as a result of which 95 per cent of the bird’s population has declined since mid-1990s. The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for cattle are still used by vets despite the imposed ban on them.

Officials in the Sindh province have ensured the restriction on the use of the drugs in the region. Further, The Pakistan Vulture Restoration Project (PVRP) will further conduct spot checks at vet clinics to ensure the banned drugs aren’t used.

Areas in Sindh have been declared ‘vulture safe zones’ which are home to some of the last white backed and long billed species of the bird.

Balochistan presiding officers kidnapped on election day

A returning officer (RO) from Balochistan’s Washuk told the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Thursday that two presiding officers from the district were allegedly kidnapped on 25 July (election day), reported Dawn.

The RO said the results of the polling stations of the two officers could not be included in the final count of constituency PB-41 due to the alleged abduction.

ECP took up the issue after losing candidate Mir Mujeebur Rehman Mohammad Hasani drew the attention of the election body to the fact that the results of polling stations number 44 and 45 were missing from the final vote count.

The presiding officer of polling station 44 in Washuk district of Balochistan told ECP that he was abducted on 25 July. “Several masked men came and took me with them and after several hours I was handed Form 45,” said.

Quoting the two presiding officers, the RO said that they didn’t compile the results of their polling stations but were forced to submit the results compiled by their abductors.

Pakistan to recruit 60,000 troops to curtail movement along Afghanistan border

In order to curtail the movement of militants along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Pakistan is going to recruit 60,000 soldiers, The News reported.

Quoting a Bloomberg report, the news daily reported that 40 per cent of the recruitment is already done and rest will be completed over two years.

The official also added that nearly 13 per cent of the fencing at the Pak-Afghan border is completed. The 2,343-km long border, with 235 crossing points, is considered to be porous and is used by drug traffickers and militants, said the report.


Contributors: Alind Chauhan, Anagha Deshpande, Manisha Mondal, Prateek Gupta , Priyamvada Grover, Rupanwita Bhattacherjee, and  Soniya Agarwal 

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