As many as a six more persons were killed in different areas of the city on Wednesday as violence continued to cause fear and tension among the citizens. According to police and rescue sources, a driver of a school van was gunned down in North Karachi. The incident occurred in sector 5C-2. The driver was identified as 35-year-old Imran. Fortunately, the school children remained safe in the attack. A tortured dead body of a man was found from Malir while his friend was found critically wounded. The sources said both the friends were going to picnic but kidnapped and afterwards tortured. Two more tortured bodies of young men were found near Juna Masjid, Layari and Crown Cinema Mauripur areas. A man was also shot dead in Bhittai Colony, Korangi. On the other hand, at least five people received bullet injuries in different areas of the city. A tortured body of a woman was found from Sirjani area. The deceased was shifted to Abbasi Shaheed hospital for post-mortem. A dead body of a youth was found from Muchar Colony on Maripur road. He was tortured and shot dead by unidentified miscreants.
Sindh witnesses a sudden increase in diarrhoea as at least 3,841 cases of have been reported across the province. According to reports, 11 children have died of diarrhoea this year. Diarrhoea is a symptom of various illnesses and bowel disturbances during which someone passes more frequent, loose and watery stools.
The Ansar Burney Trust International saved life of a Pakistani national Muhammad Waqas, son of Abdul Majeed, resident of Faisalabad, facing death sentence in Kuwait jail as he has been brought back from the gallows with the help and assistance of foreign ministry of Pakistan and Pakistan Embassy. The trust had received an application from the mother of Muhmmad Waqas requesting to help his son who was about to be executed being guilty of a murder. After receiving the appeal from the mother of Waqas, the management directed the manager and in-charge of the trust to make every possible efforts to save the life of a Pakistani national by paying Islamic Qisas to the legal heirs of the deceased. Due to efforts of the trust, death sentence to Muhammad Waqas which was supposed to be executed on Tuesday, 18th of June, was stayed for an indefinite period. The trust is in contact with the legal heirs of deceased and trying to save the life of Pakistani national as the trust is also ready to pay Islamic qisas (blood money) to the bereaved family to save the life of Waqas on humanitarian grounds.
US Consul General Michael Dodman welcomed 45 students from Sindh province who returned after one year study in the United States through the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programme. The YES programme, funded by the US Department of State, provides scholarships for secondary school students aging 15-17 from over 40 countries to study at American high schools and live with the American host families for up to one academic year. At the daylong event, students shared their experiences from the programme and received certificates from the consul general. In his remarks, the consul general highlighted the importance of strengthening people-to-people ties through academic and cultural exchange. “I am excited to welcome back these outstanding students who have spent a year studying at US high schools and living with the American families as part of the YES programme,” he said. “YES students are fantastic ambassadors for Pakistan to the many Americans whose lives they touch.” The YES programme, which celebrated its 10th anniversary, last December, encourages the exchange of ideas, values, and experiences among young people and leads to greater cultural awareness and appreciation. In addition to a full programme of study at a US high school, the YES students participate in extracurricular programmes and enrichment activities such as community service projects and leadership training. The YES students are cultural ambassadors to their American host communities, whose contact with YES students provides them with an opportunity to learn about the rich and vibrant cultures of students’ home countries. Since 2003, the YES programme has provided scholarships to more than 700 Pakistani high school students. For the year 2012-2013, 107 Pakistani students participated in the programme nationwide, which is implemented by the Society for International Education (SIE). Applications are currently being accepted for the 2014-2015 programme through July 30, 2013.
The government of Sindh and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the first Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report for Sindh on Wednesday. The report tracks progress toward the achievement of MDGs at the provincial level and compare progress across districts. The MDGs are a set of eight goals adopted by 189 countries, including Pakistan in 2000, and set to be achieved by 2015. The MDGs provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions. According to the MDG report, Sindh province lags behind on a number of indicators which measure progress towards MDGs. Targets to halve poverty and hunger by 2015 are unlikely to be met. The proportion of children under the age of 5, who are under-weight, was estimated at 40 percent in 2004/2005, 2 percent above the national average and 27 percent above the MDG target of 13 percent. On MDG 2, Achieving Universal Primary Education, the Net Primary Enrollment Ratio (NER) for 2010/11 was 53 percent against the target of 100 percent. The literacy rate is at 59 percent against the target of 88 percent. Targets related to gender parity in primary and secondary education are likely to be achieved in certain districts and at provincial level if the current level of performance is maintained. The MDG 4, reducing child mortality, is unlikely to be achieved in its entirety. The under-5 mortality rate is as high as 100 deaths per 1,000 live births against a target of 52. The proportion of underweight children under 5 years was 43 percent in 2005-06. It is encouraging to note that for the indicator of proportion of children under 5 who suffered from diarrhea in the last 30 days, Sindh recorded a rate of only 12 percent in 2010/11, close to the MDG target of 10 percent.
The Association of Private Universities & Institutes (APUI) Wednesday demanded of the federal government to withdraw the proposed taxes in budget 2013-14 on education sector. The demand was made at the Karachi Press Club by Prof Dr Abdul Wahab, President Muhammad Ali Jinnah University. He was flanked by Prof Dr Peerzada Qasim, Vice Chancellor Ziauddin University, and Kahlid Amin, Vice President of the APUI. They academicians said the association met on June 12 to discuss the recent budgetary proposals impacting the education sector. The proposals include among other things certain tax measures announced in the budget for universities, teachers and researchers which are as under: It has been proposed that advance tax be withdrawn at the rate of 5 percent on fee where it is above Rs 200,000 to be collected by educational institutions at the time of receipt of fee from the person paying the fee. This proposal will, in fact, lead to the immediate increase in the tuition fees of students in the private sector. It has been proposed in the budget that the tax rebate of 75 percent which was allowed for teachers, researchers and scholars be withdrawn. This proposal will equally affect all the teachers of both public and private sector universities/institutes. It will increase the financial burden on teachers and it will also discourage research activities, demotivate and cause anxiety among the teachers. As per the schedule of Income Tax Ordinance, any income of any university or other educational institutions which was not for the purpose of profit was exempted from taxation. This tax exemption for the universities/educational institutions which are not for profit has been proposed to be withdrawn thereby badly affecting their development projects. Some 5 percent tax has been levied on commercial and industrial electricity consumer for utilising above 1,000 units. The above points will have the following widespread impact: Increase in students fees by 25 to 35 percent; brain drain of qualified teachers, researchers, professionals from Pakistan; reduced access to quality education in Pakistan; restricted growth of educational and research institutions It is the constitutional responsibility of the state to provide education to its citizens. Private sector institutions of higher learning are, in fact, sharing this responsibility of the government by educating approximately one third of the total enrolment in higher education. It is pertinent to note that private sector universities do not receive any grant from the federal or provincial governments. These universities are funding their operational and developmental expenses through their own resources. The government needs to take necessary steps to encourage institutions to provide education to students which otherwise the government is bound to provide. The above proposals if implemented will make institutions financially un-viable and the sponsors will be compelled to scale down or ultimately close these institutions. Private universities share responsibilities of the federal government by incurring significant investment and establishing high class institutions for advanced learning. The above proposals will severely affect financial viability of private sector universities. Hence, in the light of above discussion, it is requested that the government should consider withdrawal of the above-mentioned proposals. The APUI also appealed to the prime minister and the federal minister to withdraw the taxes as they would generate only Rs 3 billion but will have a significant and detrimental impact on the middle and lower-middle class who will find it financially more difficult to educate their children.
All Pakistan Secretariat Union’s employees on Wednesday announced to call off a strike after a meeting with Planning and Development Federal Minister Ahsen Iqbal. Union President Chaudhry Muhammad Hussain thanked the government over a 10 percent salary increase and demanded that all legitimate demands of the employees be fulfilled. He presented a demands list which included uniform salaries for all employees in similar pay scales, pension increases, allowance mergers in basic pay, financial benefits on the basis of higher education, computer allowance for stenographers and private secretaries, restoration of move over and selection grades and promotional opportunities for class-4 employees especially drivers. The minister appreciated the union’s decision of the union to call off the strike. He explained that the nation’s exchequer was in dire straits, while they could give a 50 percent increase in salaries by printing money to gain political mileage but it would devalue the rupee, making salary raises futile. He explained that the last government committed this blunder, which led to the masses voting them out in these elections. Moreover, he pointed to Pakistan’s dismal fiscal deficit which has crosses the 8.8 percent mark, thus making it harder for the government to comply with all of the union’s demands. Iqbal added that giving back to the country was as important as asking for one’s rights. He maintained that secretariat employees should work with more dedication for their capacity building through workshops and training courses.
Terming the Punjab budget atrocious and anti-wage earners, the All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA) on Wednesday announced to stage shrouds wrapped sit-in outside the Punjab Assembly on June 25. According to reports, the APCA staging a protest demonstration in front of the Punjab Assembly rejected the paltry 10 percent increase in the salaries of government employees. APCA Punjab President Haji Muhammad Irshad and APCA Lahore president, Mohammad Younus Bhatti in their address to the protestors demanded an increase in the salaries by 50 percent failing which the clerks would stage shrouds wrapped sit-in on June 25.
The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday issued a notice to the Punjab government for June 26 on a petition challenging the appointment of Ahad Cheema as Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director general. Justice Shahzada Mazhar issued notice on a petition filed by Khurram Hafeez. Earlier, the petitioner's counsel submitted before the court that Cheema was a junior officer but he had been appointed as DG LDA which was a post of Grade 20.
Family members of a man who was allegedly gunned down in a fake police encounter on Monday, protested against the police by blocking Sagian Road for several hours on Tuesday. According to the police, Mazhar (24), a resident of Bund Road, was gunned down by the police upon his confrontation with the police when they signaled him to halt at a police check post in Nawab Town. The man fired shots at the police, injuring one constable, the police said. However, Mazhar’s father Ali Ahmed claims that his son was not a robber and worked at a printing press. He said that he was returning from a wedding late on Sunday when the police ‘unjustly’ killed him. During the protest, he demanded of the chief minister to take notice of the incident. Later, the protestors called off their demonstration when SP Jahanzaib along with other police officials assured them of initiating a judicial enquiry into the case.
Two more children died due to measles on Tuesday in the province. A seven month infant named Kaswa from Sargodha who was being treated in the Children’s Hospital lost her life, while one more child died in Allied Hospital in Faisalabad. According to media reports, the number of measles infected children is on the rise, and the government has failed to control the situation. Approximately 18,195 cases of measles have surfaced and 160 have lost their lives so far. Further, At least nine more measles affected children have been brought to NishtarHospital in Multan. However, the Extended Plan for Immunization (EMI) Focal Person Dr Younas claimed that there was a fifty percent decrease in registered cases. He said that some days back the ratio of measles cases in hospitals was 50 to 80 cases daily which after an intensive drive decreased them from 20 to40 cases a day. It will further come down with the passage of time as measles vaccine starts developing immunization after three weeks of its administration, he claimed. During the anti-measles drive from April 29 to May 5, around 250,000 children from six months to 10 years of age were administered measles vaccination. He said that anti-measles vaccination was carried out by 900 injectors at fixed points. This facility was also provided in all government hospitals of Lahore. Dr Younas said that an epidemic control room had also been established at EDO Health Office.
Rescue officials allegedly made way with Rs 8 million after shifting two robbery victims to the MayoHospital on Tuesday. Saleem and Ahsan were intercepted by robbers at Rehbar Bus Stop in Nawankot when they were returning after exchanging money amounting to Rs 24 million from a money exchanger near the city’s Duty Free Shop. The robbers fired shots at the men, killing Saleem and injuring Ahsan. The robbers fled after taking some of the money. Rescue 1122 shifted the men to the hospital where the victims claimed that Rs 8 million had gone missing from their bag. CIA DSP Riaz Shah investigated the matter and recovered the money from the Rescue 1122’s ambulance and arrested three Rescue officials including the ambulance’s driver. One of the rescue officials have been identified as Sidique. Further investigations are underway.
As many as 14 people were injured including 12 children when a manhole blew up in a katchi abadi by the Sherpao Bridge on Tuesday. According to locals, the blast occurred when someone threw a burning cigarette in the manhole which was filled up with gas from an underground leaking pipeline. The injured were shifted to a nearby hospital by Rescue 1122. The doctors have stated the condition of two children to be critical.