Bangladesh court orders Khaleda Zia’s arrest over ‘fake birthday’


Bangladesh court orders Khaleda Zia’s arrest over ‘fake birthday’

A Bangladesh court on Thursday issued an arrest warrant for the country’s opposition leader after she failed to appear for a hearing over the date of her birthday.

The bizarre controversy, which has been raging for more than a decade, centres on the fact that Khaleda Zia celebrates her birthday on August 15, the day Bangladesh’s former leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated.

He was the father of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Zia’s bitter political rival, whose supporters allege that the opposition leader uses a fake birth date.

Many Bangladeshis have no record of their birth dates and millions use fake dates to make them eligible for government jobs with age restrictions.

Magistrate Mazharul Islam delivered the arrest order in a Dhaka court after a pro-government journalist filed a case accusing the two-time prime minister of lying about her birth date.

“The court issued the arrest warrant after she failed to appear in the court over her fake birthday case,” the plaintiff’s lawyer Dulal Mitra told AFP.

Police have now until March 2 to arrest Zia, who has faced two previous warrants in different cases. She is likely to avoid that fate however by surrendering to the court and seeking bail.

Zia’s lawyer Sanaullah Mia confirmed the arrest order, and told AFP he would consult her on how to proceed.

Rahman, who was brutally assassinated along with most members of his family in a military coup, is regarded as a hero of Bangladeshi independence and August 15 is a day of mourning.

The coup leaders appointed Zia’s husband the head of the army and he eventually took power in November that year, leading to 15 years of military rule.

Plaintiff Gazi Jahirul Islam, who is a senior journalist at a local television station, said he had copies of Zia’s personal documents to prove his case.

“Her August 15 birthday is fake. We’ve got copies of her school certificate, her machine readable passport and her marriage document. She had different birthdays in those documents,” Islam told AFP.

“She has been celebrating August 15 as her birthday since 1996 in order to insult supporters of a rival political party who observe the date as the national mourning day.”

The 71-year-old leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) did not publicly celebrate her birthday this year following criticism even by some of her staunchest supporters.

“I don’t know how a birthday can affect someone or how it can defame him or anyone else,” said her lawyer Mia.

Zia also faces at least 30 other charges, mostly related to alleged corruption.

Haque Academy Director Shanul Haque passes away


Haque Academy Director Shanul Haque passes away

Shanul Haque, Director of Haque Academy, was laid to rest at the Gizri Graveyard in Karachi on Thursday. He was 37 years old.

Haque was admitted to a local hospital because of a sudden illness a few days ago, where he passed away on Thursday morning.

The funeral was attended by relatives, neighbours, members of the school staff and administration among others.

Shanul Haque is survived by his wife Saubia Haque and two children. Saubia is the daughter of Syed Tariq Fatemi, the special assistant to the prime minister.

Education legacy
Haque Academy and Mrs Haque’s Nursery cater to students from Pre-Nursery to O levels.

Haque Academy was launched in 2008 as an extension to the nursery which had been established in 1977. The nursery is recognised as one of the leading institutions of early childhood education in Karachi.

The academy is unique in its curriculum that includes a co-curricular modular program by the name of SPARC (Special Programmes Amongst Regular Classes).

Bodies of 10 Karachi airport attackers to be exhumed for DNA tests

Bodies of 10 Karachi airport attackers to be exhumed for DNA tests


KARACHI: A medical team, under the supervision of a judicial officer, will exhume the bodies of 10 attackers of Karachi airport attack case on Nov 22 for identification.

The four-member medical team will collect samples for DNA tests to establish the identity of the killed assailants.

A judicial magistrate (Malir) had directed the health authorities to constitute a medical board since police moved court for the exhumation of the bodies for DNA testing.

Around 10 heavily armed militants stormed Karachi airport in June 2014 and were killed by army commandos and personnel of other security forces during an operation lasting about five hours. They were buried at an Edhi-run cemetery after their identity remained unknown.

A police surgeon in a compliance report placed before the judicial magistrate on Friday said that the medical board headed by Prof Farhat Hussain Mirza, chairman of the forensic medicine department of the Jinnah Sindh Medical University, had been constituted.

The medical board will exhume the bodies to obtain samples for DNA testing in the presence of a judicial magistrate on Nov 22 at the Edhi graveyard located in the Mochko police station limits, the report added.

Around 25 people, including personnel of the Airport Security Force, police and Rangers, were killed in the audacious gun-and-explosive attack. Three men are facing trial before an anti-terrorism court for allegedly providing logistic support, funds and weapons to the attackers.

The CTD claimed to have arrested Ishaq, alias Bobby, and Mohammad Asim, alias Ahmed alias Capri, belonging to the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, recently for their alleged involvement in many targeted killing cases, including the murder of renowned Qawwal Amjad Sabri and personnel of the army and police.

A CTD official also said that Bobby’s brother-in-law Ehtesham and his friend Majid, with eight other militants, were killed by law enforcement personnel during the deadly airport attack.

Meanwhile, the administrative judge of the anti-terrorism courts remanded on Friday both the suspected militants in police custody in three more cases, including the murder of seven policemen guarding polio workers.

Police produced Ishaq Bobby and Asim Capri, who have already been in police custody in explosive and illicit weapon cases, before the court to seek their remand in more cases pertaining to the killing of seven policemen in Orangi Town in April this year, murder of two traffic policemen near Ayesha Manzil in May and a triple murder in Zaman Town last year.

The administrative judge handed them over to police on physical remand till Nov 22.

MPA gets bail in ‘anti-state’ CDs case
An anti-terrorism court granted on Friday bail to a provincial lawmaker of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in a case related to alleged distribution of CDs of ‘anti-state’ speeches.

MPA Shiraz Waheed was arrested in August for allegedly circulating CDs, which contained speeches and statements to wage war or attempt or abet to wage war against the country, among the people in Ahsanabad.

The MPA through his lawyer moved the bail application. After hearing arguments from both sides, the ATC-II judge granted bail to him against a surety bond of Rs1 million.

The case was registered under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against Pakistan), 123-A (condemnation of the creation of the state and advocacy of abolition of its sovereignty), 124-A (sedition) and 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 at the SITE Superhighway Industrial Area police station. Around 15 suspects are shown absconders in the case.

MQM-London activists get bail
A judicial magistrate granted on Friday bail to seven activists of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London in a case registered for rioting.

Police arrested the suspects on Nov 16 near Jinnah Ground in Azizabad when they tried to engage in a scuffle with leaders and workers of the MQM-Pakistan when the latter attempted to visit Yadgar-i-Shuhada. They were sent to prison the following day.

The court granted them bail against a surety bond of Rs10,000 each.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2016

Student left bedridden, mute after ‘beating by staff at cadet college’

Student left bedridden, mute after ‘beating by staff at cadet college’


KARACHI: A teenage student was allegedly brutally tortured by staff at the Cadet College Larkana. Muhammad Ahmed, 13-and-a-half years old, has been bed-ridden since August 10, said his distressed father Muhammad Rashid.

Ahmed, who is feeling weak due to nastrogastric tube feeding, lies in a bed with a side-table full of medicines and medical reports at a relative’s place in the Gizri neighbourhood of Karachi.

Video of Chitral schoolteacher beating minor students emerges online

Rashid, himself a primary schoolteacher in Dargah Mashoori Sharif village of Larkana, showed his son’s academic achievements to prove he was a brilliant student.

“My son has made no recovery in more than three months … the torture my son has been subjected to is visible to everyone,” said Rashid. “Since the day of the incident, my son had been on ventilator for 18 days and underwent dialysis 14 times.”

Provincial Education Secretary Fazlullah Pechuho ordered the formation of a medical board to investigate the torture claim. “Corporal punishment by schoolteachers will not be tolerated,” he said, adding that the cadet college was an autonomous body.

Rashid recalled that he had dropped his son off at the college after summer vacations ended on August 6 and visited him the next day. On August 10, he received a call from House Master GM Bhatti, who said his son was having seizures and the administration was planning to rush him to hospital in Larkana.

“I rushed to the college and intercepted the college vehicle before it reached Larkana city,” Rashid recalled crying hysterically with tears rolling down his cheeks.

‘Torturing student’ lands teacher behind bars in Lahore

“My son, wearing school uniform, lay unconscious and bore torture marks on his right foot, back and neck. His eyes and tongue had popped out and his lips and tongue were bloodied,” he said.

Rashid said a doctor at the hospital referred his son to Karachi. “Now questions are being raised on the mental health of my son … If this was true, how did he manage to get admission in the cadet college?”

The distressed father said Ahmed excelled in his studies in Class VII at the same institution and won various quiz and spelling competitions. “He was a brilliant and hardworking student.”

He said the school administration should come clean and answer who had made his son’s life miserable. “I have already spent all my savings on my mother’s treatment who is a cancer patient … I appeal to people who had helped Malala Yousafzai to help my son,” Rashid said.

Rashid called for the sacking of the college principal, Lt-Col (retd) Iftikhar Hussain Baloch. “Until this is done, justice will not be served,” he said.

The school administration was tight-lipped on the issue. When approached, House Master GM Bhatti refused to comment and instead referred The Express Tribune to the principal. The principal, however, could not be reached despite repeated attempts.

Taking notice of the incident, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah ordered the province’s health minister to bear all medical expenses for Ahmed and send him to the US for treatment, if need be. He added that strict action would be taken against any teacher found guilty of hurting Ahmed.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2016.

Behind bars: FIA arrests three agents, recovers illegal passports

Behind bars: FIA arrests three agents, recovers illegal passports

SIALKOT: A team of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), led by senior officials on Friday raided the regional passport office in Narowal. During the raid, FIA team arrested three agents identified as Yousaf, Zaheer Ahmed and Abdul Ghafur. FIA Divisional Deputy Director Khalid Anees said, “The FIA also recovered several illegal passports, challans, tokens and data forms from the possession of the suspects.” FIA has sent the accused behind the bars after registering separate cases against them.

Previous raids

Earlier in 2016, the FIA carried out two raids and arrested three travel agents involved in human smuggling and seized 118 passports, CNICs and fake documents.

The first raid was carried out at a recruitment office located at Chandni Chowk and arrested two persons involved in human smuggling. The arrested persons were identified as Izhar Hussain and Khaliq Khan. Besides, the FIA also recovered 64 passports.

The FIA claimed the arrested travel agents used to smuggle people to Dubai and Saudi Arabia after charging them large sums of money.

In a similar crackdown by the FIA, a human smuggler was arrested from a commercial building located near Chandni Chowk. As many as 54 passports and other documents were also recovered during the raid.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2016.

Police register fraud case after 14 years

Police register fraud case after 14 years

LAHORE: The efficiency of the police was laid bare on Friday after an elderly man approached the court for his bail order in an FIR registered against him for a crime he allegedly committed 14 years ago.

Haji Akram, 85, arrived with his sons at the court of additional district and sessions judge Abdur Rehman Muhammad Arif where he was granted pre-arrest bail against a surety of Rs100,000.

Presenting his arguments, counsel for the accused Advocate Muhammad Qasim said the police department’s competency was astonishing since the FIR was registered against his client 14 years later over fraud accusations.

He said the police did not discuss what offence his client had committed however, according to 420 PPC, the offence was bail able. He requested the court to grant him bail.

After that the investigation officer (IO) of the case called out to the complainant party but no one turned up before the court, hence the court granted Akram bail.

According to the FIR registered by Abadullah at Masti Gate police under section 420 PPC against Haji Akram, the accused ran a cloth business in Azam Cloth Market and borrowed cloth from a new shop he established for his son.

The accused continued to pay for the cloth until the dues went up to Rs1.6 million, when he stopped his payments saying his business was not doing well and later shut down his shop and disappeared. When asked to pay the rest of the amount, the suspect threatened Abadullah with death.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Masti Gate SHO Muhammad Amjad said the complainant had filed an application in the office of police high-ups and the complaint was marked to his police station upon which they called both parties. “It is everyone’s right to register FIR against the accused party, and the time frame does not matter,” he added.

Complainant Abadullah said the police and accused were both prolonging the matter and he was forced to submit the complaint to the DIG office that his FIR was not being registered.

He said his FIR was not registered since 2002, he tried to get it registered six months ago. He said that accused party was also prolonging the matter by saying they would pay but had not until now.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2016.

Saudi policeman shot dead

Saudi policeman shot dead


RIYADH: A Saudi policeman was shot dead Saturday in the kingdom’s Shia-populated east, the interior ministry said.

The officer was hit by gunfire from “an unknown source” as he got out of his car in a neighbourhood northwest of the city of Dammam, said a ministry spokesperson quoted by the official SPA news agency. He was part of a unit assigned with guarding public installations.

Gunmen kill two Saudi police

Authorities have launched an investigation into the attack, the latest in a series against officers in Shia areas of the oil-rich east of the kingdom, the spokesperson added.

It is the third attack of its kind in Dammam during the past two months. The Shia minority in Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia has long complained of discrimination.

Gunmen kill 2 policemen in Saudi Eastern Province

There has been sporadic unrest since the suppression of a Shia-led uprising in neighbouring Bahrain sparked a wave of protests in 2011. Saudi security forces have also come under attack by Sunni extremists linked to al Qaeda or the Islamic State group.

Donald Trump looms large over future of climate action

Donald Trump looms large over future of climate action

MARRAKESH, MOROCCO,: From across the Atlantic, Donald Trump eclipsed a UN conference which fought valiantly in Marrakesh to preserve momentum on curtailing climate change amid fears the mogul will fragment the global effort and starve it of cash.

World leaders, CEOs, negotiators and activists at the two-week meeting, which closed Friday, were clearly unsettled by the pending White House takeover of Trump, who has vowed to withdraw the US from a hard-won global agreement on climate change.

Analysts say a US exit would make it harder to achieve the 196-nation pact’s goals to limit planet warming, and likely result in a shortfall of billions of dollars promised to help developing countries fight against climate change and cope with its impacts.

“The biggest impact, I think, is on financing… the US federal government’s commitment to continue to finance clean energy,” Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists told AFP.

Trump looking at fast ways to quit global climate deal

“The thing that people seem to be most concerned about is: will the US fulfil the remaining $2.5 billion of the $3 billion pledge President Obama made to the Green Climate Fund (GCF)?”

The fund supports projects to make the shift away from greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels to renewable sources.

Trump, who has described climate change as a “hoax”, remained mum for the duration of the conference on whether he will execute his pre-election threats.

Amid the uncertainty, delegates to the 22nd UN climate conference put on a brave face.

Heads of state and cabinet ministers attending a “high-level segment” from Tuesday to Thursday this week reaffirmed their countries’ determination to push ahead, with or without Washington.

But no-one could ignore the elephant in the room.

“The process has taken a huge hit following the US election results,” said climate activist Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid, which represents the interests of poor countries at the UN negotiations.

“There is a lot of uncertainty about what’s going to happen next.”

Trump’s election has recalled the shock of 2001, when George W Bush refused to ratify the Paris Agreement’s predecessor, the Kyoto Protocol.

In rare move, China criticises Trump plan to exit climate change pact

His action was a major blow to the global effort to rein in planet warming that scientists warn threaten the human way of life.

Washington was instrumental in negotiating the structure and contents of both agreements, striking tough bargains which made for often combative negotiations.

Many fear that after years of trust-building, a US retreat may revive old enmities between rich and developing nations at the UN process, possibly unleashing more withdrawals.

“Certainly, it could embolden some of the least progressive actors,” said climate diplomacy expert Liz Gallagher of the E3G think-tank.

A handful of countries, including major emitters India and Saudi Arabia, needed serious convincing to get on board with the Paris Agreement.

Finance for climate aid is a particularly hot-button issue, with developing nations putting pressure on rich countries to ramp up contributions and deliver on what they have promised.

The US provided $2.7 billion in international climate finance in 2014, according to the Washington-based World Resources Institute.

It pledged last year to double finance for developing country adaptation projects — from $400 million in 2014 — for shoring up defences against climate change harms.

Of the $3 billion pledged for the GCF, $500 million has been delivered so far.

Washington also pays a big chunk of the operating budget of the UN climate body, under whose umbrella the Paris Agreement was negotiated.

Another concern, analysts say, is the core target enshrined in the Paris Agreement: to halt global warming “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial era levels.

Scientists fear the worst under a Trump presidency

If the US does not achieve it’s own pledge of cutting emissions by 26-28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025, the collective goal will move further out of reach.

“We knew before the election that it was going to take additional actions by the next administration to meet the target,” said Meyer.

“It’s not very likely in my mind that Mr Trump would take additional actions.”

All agree that if Trump acts on his threat, states, cities and businesses in the US and elsewhere will have to pick up the slack.

On Wednesday, more than 360 major companies called in an open letter for a “continuation of low-carbon policies” and investment in a renewable energy economy.

And representatives from the states of Vermont, Washington State and California — the 7th largest economy in the world — stressed they were committed to renewables for the long haul.

“As states we are doing the job,” said Deborah Markowitz of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.

Many in Marrakesh stressed that market forces, not politics, may be what ultimately guarantees a low-carbon future.

“If in the worst case the United States were to withdraw its leadership, the biggest losers will be the people of the United States,” Erik Sondheim, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, told AFP.

“All those new, remarkable fascinating jobs will go to other places.”

Militants kill three Indian soldiers in Assam

Militants kill three Indian soldiers in Assam

GUWAHATI, INDIA: Heavily armed militants ambushed an army convoy on Saturday, killing three soldiers and injuring four others in India’s restive northeastern state of Assam, police said.

The two-vehicle convoy was on its way to the oil refinery town of Digboi in Tinsukia district when it came under attack from the rebels, a senior police officer told AFP.

Indian forces kill six suspected militants in Assam

“The area is extremely dense and dark because of thick foliage. The army jawans (soldiers) in the vehicle came under heavy gunfire,” Mukesh Agrawal said. “Three soldiers have died and four others are injured.”

Local media reports said the militants used weapons including rocket propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles in the attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but police suspected the ambush was likely carried out by rebels belonging to a splinter group of the separatist outfit ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom).

The ULFA is one of the several groups fighting for independent homelands for their tribal followers in the tea and oil-rich region of Assam.

Attack on Indian army camp in Baramulla kills one

In 2011, the ULFA announced it would join peace talks with the Indian government in a move to end a 33-year-old rebellion. A faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) militant group also agreed to a ceasefire with New Delhi.

Since then, elements of both groups which oppose the peace overtures have carried out bomb and grenade attacks in the state, according to police officials.

In August six gunmen from the NDFB opened fire on a busy market, killing 15 people and wounding several others. More than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have lost their lives to the insurgency in Assam during the past two decades.

Clinton finally opens up about how she felt after election loss

Clinton finally opens up about how she felt after election loss


Defeated Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called on Wednesday for a renewed fight for a more-inclusive United States despite disappointment over an election loss that laid bare national divisions.

In her first public remarks since conceding to Republican Donald Trump last week, Clinton said that many Americans were asking whether his victory meant the United States was still the country they thought it was.

Unpredictable’ Trump foreign policy leaves world guessing

“The divisions laid bare by this election run deep, but please listen to me when I say this. America is worth it, our children are worth it,” she said at a Children Defense Fund event honoring scholarship winners.

“Believe in our country, fight for our values and never, ever give up.”

Although Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman called the nonprofit advocacy group’s event “a love-in for Hillary Rodham Clinton,” the former first lady said it had not been easy for her to attend.

“There have been times this past week when all I wanted to do was just to curl up with a good book or our dogs, and never leave the house again,” said Clinton, whose ties to the Children Defense Fund date back to her work there as a young law student.

Clinton, a former secretary of state, won the popular vote but lost the crucial electoral college tally to Trump, a New York real estate magnate who has taken a hard line on immigration and has opposed accepting Syrian refugees.

Obama on farewell tour to Europe fearful of ‘Trump effect’

“I know many of you are deeply disappointed by the results of the election. I am too, more than I can ever express,” Clinton said.

“But as I said last week, our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love, and building an America that is hopeful, inclusive and big hearted.”

She said that help for children backed by Republicans and Democrats was a hopeful sign of both parties working together. The federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, for example, now covers 8 million children and its creation had relied on bipartisan support, Clinton said.

Trump vows to immediately deport up to three million immigrants

“For the sake of our children, and our families and our country, I ask you to stay engaged, stay engaged on every level,” Clinton said.

She added, “I am as sure of this as anything I have ever known. America is still the greatest country in the world, it is still the place where anyone can beat the odds.”