Najam Sethi
Najam Sethi | @najamsethi
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Here’s what’s happening across the border: Human rights minister angry as niqab-wearing girl not allowed entry in Lahore school; Pak Air Force hit by developing cyber attack.

Najam Sethi to start new political analysis show

Najam Sethi, the well-known Pakistani journalist, writer, publisher of a weekly magazine and books (Vanguard) is back to television after a stint as the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board.  He is now promoting his new show, Aap Kay Saath, on Pakistan’s AAP TV. The promo, out late Monday evening, is definitely over the top even for the unabashedly unselfconscious Sethi, who in his rich and hoary past as a student activist took on the military establishment over its (mis)doings in Balochistan and elsewhere.

He has remained acerbic even in middle age, although it is his wife Jugnu Mohsin who took the plunge into electoral politics, winning every booth in her Assembly constituency in the heart of South Punjab. Meanwhile, Sethi’s passion for cricket took him to head the Pakistan Cricket Board during the Nawaz Sharif years. Unsurprisingly, he was bowled out of the PCB when Imran Khan took over Pakistan. So Sethi has returned to TV.

Human rights minister condemns case of niqab-wearing girl not allowed entry to Lahore school

Pakistan’s human rights minister Shireen Mazari has asked Punjab province’s education minister to look into the matter of a girl who was denied entry into the premises of Lahore Grammar School because she was wearing a niqab, reported The News International.

Mazari took cognisance of the case when a Twitter user Tuesday posted that engineering student Farwa Munir was invited to an event at the school but was not allowed to enter because she wore a niqab.

The minister responded to the user’s tweet by calling the episode ‘shameful’ and declaring that she will “defend everyone’s right to choose to wear it” even though she does not wear it herself.

Pak Air Force targeted in cyber attack

Pakistan Air Force has become the target of a new cyber-attack rife with malware, allegedly at the behest of a “state-sponsored actor” in the Middle East region, reported Dark Reading, a cyber-security news siteThe attack the author says has repercussions for governments and organisations even beyond Pakistan’s borders but is also being directly directed at Pakistan’s military.

This developing theory, an act of espionage, has been identified and named ‘Operation Shaheen’ by researchers from Cylance, a software company based in the US that claims that this is a year-long ongoing campaign against the country. Shaheen is a species of the falcon birds which Pakistan Air Force uses it as its symbol.

According to Kevin Livelli, director of threat intelligence at Cylance and a co-author of three integrated comprehensive reports on the operation, Shaheen is often cited in fraudulent emails that are used for launching the attacks.

The company has named the threat actor as “White Company,” which uses obscure methods to conceal the presence of the malware embedded.

Missing police officer’s body found in Afghanistan, bloodied body indicates torture

The body of SP Tahir Khan Dawar, the head of the Peshawar police rural circle, was found at Nangarhar province in Afghanistan Tuesday, reported Dawn. He had gone missing on 26 October.

While the body is yet to arrive from Pakistan, pictures of a man in a maroon shirt and black pants, identified as Tahir Khan, have gone viral on social media. A crumpled note that mentions Wilayat Khorasan, the nomenclature the Islamic State (IS) militant organisation uses to refer to the Pak-Afghan region, was found with the body.

Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi refused to comment over the police official’s alleged death in the neighbouring country and termed the incident as being “sensitive”. He termed the photograph as being fake news and said that they could have been photoshopped.

On the other hand, the Inspector General (IG) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Salahuddin Mehsud, said talks were under way with the Afghanistan government and news on the officer’s death could only be officially clarified when they have all the information.

CPJ expressed concern over detention of Pak journalist Nasrullah Chaudhry

After multiple journalists came out in support of detained journalist Nasrullah Chaudhry, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has extended its support to him.

Steven Butler, Asia Program Coordinator at CPJ, tweeted a statement, which said that the “intimidating process” started by the Pakistani police against Chaudhry must be stopped.

This comes after Chaudhry was sent to two-day physical remand by an anti-terrorism country in Karachi, for allegedly possessing anti-state and hate literature.

Nasrullah Khan Chaudhry, a journalist associated with the Urdu language daily Nai Baat, had his residence raided by police on Friday night.

Sociologist explores the fun side of Pak’s Lyari town

Feminist sociologist Nida Kirmani in her article in Dawn has analysed the myriad ways through which women even in conflict zones or prone to violence defy barriers and still manage to have ‘fun’ by citing the example of Pakistan’s Lyari region.

Kirmani confesses that in her past six years of research in Lyari she has come across media reports that have mainly highlighted only the conflict side of the region. But the writer notes that when she stepped out to explore the ‘fun’ side of town, she found several instances when women and girls made use of “every possible opportunity to enjoy themselves” in spite of restrictions in their way.

She gives an example of how having a Facebook account for middle-class young women is an anomaly and not is accepted by their families but says she’s come across women who have managed to secretively have accounts so that they can meet new friends and also search for “prospective romantic interests”.

The sociologist also mentions that there have been spaces created in the region that allow women to have a cultural life. Two girls’ boxing clubs and a girls café called Lyari Girls’ Café organise periodical events for women in Kalri, a small village in Punjab that she says is conservative.

Kirmani reminds her readers that though the two decades of conflict, which have haunted Lyari cannot be sidelined, but painting a picture of it only as a conflict-ridden region presents mainly a “partial picture”.

(With inputs from Jyoti Malhotra)

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