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Power breakdown hits Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan

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Here’s what’s happening across the border: The Tarbela power plant breaks down, causing Chashma nuclear power plants to trip as well, and the US diplomat that killed a Pakistani citizen was let go.

Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa face blackout as Tarbela power plant breaks down

Most of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is facing a blackout due to a technical fault at the Tarbela power plant early Wednesday. The breakdown also lead to all four Chashma nuclear power plants to trip as well.

Lahore, Bahawalpul and a few other cities in Punjab, as well as Peshawar, Swat and Lakki Marwat in KP have been majorly affected by the power outage.

The secretary of power division has reached the power plant along with a team of technicians to investigate the matter and measures are being taken to fix the problem. However, no timeline has been given for when the repairs will be made.

Pakistan lets US diplomat that killed a motorcyclist leave country

American defence attache Colonel Joseph, who killed a Pakistani motorcyclist with his car in Islamabad last month, was allowed to leave the country after a settlement was reached between the US and Pakistan governments.

Joseph was barred from leaving Pakistan and according to the Pakistan foreign ministry, the country demanded that the US waive his diplomatic immunity so he could face a criminal trial, but it was refused. The Trump administration instead imposed restrictions on the movement of Pakistani diplomats stationed in the US. Pakistan had then imposed ‘reciprocal’ restrictions on American diplomats as a tit-for-tat.

According to sources of the Express Tribune, the American authorities have now reassured the Pakistan officials about their willingness to maintain good relationship between the two countries. The Trump administration has reportedly also sped up their efforts to address Pakistan’s reservations on the diplomatic front, with some high level officials due to visit the country soon.

Digital attacks against human rights defenders in Pakistan

Human rights defenders in Pakistan are becoming prey to cyber crime and surveillance as reported in a detailed study released by Amnesty International Tuesday.

The social media accounts of activists are getting hacked and their computers and mobile phones are being infected with spyware. “We uncovered an elaborate network of attackers who are using sophisticated and sinister methods to target human rights activists. Attackers use cleverly designed fake profiles to lure activists and then attack their electronic devices with spyware, exposing them to surveillance and fraud and even compromising their physical safety,” Sherif Elsayed-Ali, director of Global Issues at Amnesty International was quoted saying by the Dawn.

According to the four-month long investigation, the attackers hide their identity behind fake social media accounts like Facebook and Google login pages, which trick their victims into revealing their passwords. The people being targeted for such attacks include journalists, bloggers, peaceful protesters and other mainstays of civil society. Amnesty also noted that these activists were being subjected to threats, intimidation, violent attacks and enforced disappearances.

“The Pakistani authorities must immediately order an independent and effective investigation into these attacks, and ensure that human rights defenders are protected both online and off,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali.

Yousaf Saleem to become Pakistan’s first visually impaired judge

Yousaf Saleem, a lawyer from Lahore who was earlier denied the position of a civil judge due to his disability, will now be the first visually impaired judge of Pakistan on chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar’s recommendation.

Saleem, son of a charted accountant, is currently working as an assistant director in a department of Punjab government. He had topped the written test for the civil judge position and was one of the 21 candidates to pass the exam out of 300. However, due to his disability he was denied the position in the interview round. The chief justice of Pakistan then asked the chief justice of the Lahore High Court (LHC) to review Saleem’s case, arguing that he was qualified to be a judge despite his visual impairment.

Saleem received a letter of by LHC that read, “You are hereby informed that the Hon’ble Examination Committee for Recruitment of District Judiciary and Lahore High Court Establishment has recommended you for appointment as Civil Judge-cum-Magistrate.”

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