The News – LHC bans airing ‘anti-judiciary’ speeches of Nawaz, Maryam

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 16 April 2018. The Lahore High Court (LHC) has banned airing anti-judiciary speeches of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and other PML-N leaders and directed media regulator to decide the matter within 15 days.

A full bench of the LHC comprising Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Atir Mahmood and Justice Shahid Bilal Hassan was hearing the case.

Over a dozen petitions were filed in the LHC, seeking court order to ban contemptuous speeches by PML-N leaders and initiating contempt proceedings against them.

The petitioner appealed the court to direct Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) not to air their speeches as they are speaking against the judiciary since the Panama Paper verdict.

The Tribune – Day after clash, Shiv Sena leader attacked in Phagwara

Ashok Kaura

Phagwara – Panab – India, 14 April 2018. A day after a clash between Dalit youths and activists of several Hindu organisations, the Punjab Shiv Sena vice-president, Rajesh Palta, was allegedly attacked by a group of unidentified people near Balmiki Chowk here on Saturday morning.

When the police reached the spot to rescue him, the attackers pelted them with stones and damaged their vehicle. The situation remained tense since then with shopkeepers opting to keep their establishments shut.

Mohammad Tayab, Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, claimed that the situation was under control, but being monitored. Sandeep Sharma, SSP, said adequate forces had been deployed in the town. The situation here has been tense since the April 2 bandh.

Earlier on Friday night, the town witnessed violence after activists of the Ambedkar Sena (Mool Niwasi) put up two hoardings to name a chowk as Sanvidhaan Chowk with Dr BR Ambedkar’s picture on it. The move was opposed by some Hindu groups which resulted into a clash in which six persons were injured.

The police have booked around 30 unknown persons on the charges of creating ruckus. Six persons, Head Constable Amardeep Singh, Zimmi Karwal, son of Shiv Sena leader Inderjit Karwal, Yaswant, alias Bobby, Jaswinder Kumar, Baljinder, Kulwinder Kumar, who sustained injuries were admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

Bobby was referred to Ludhiana owing to his critical condition.

Meanwhile, the police tried to pacify both communities by holding separate meetings. The police also held a flag march in the town.

Hindu activists accused the civil and police administration of bias and demanded the transfer of SDM, ADC and SP. The Dalits stuck to their stand on renaming Goal Chowk as Samvidhaan Chowk.

Meanwhile, the proposed visit of state BJP chief Shwait Malik to the town was cancelled. The New Delhi-Lahore buses were diverted from Kartarpur and Phillaur. Even vehicular traffic on highway was diverted via link roads.

Mobile internet off, CM calls for peace

Chandigarh: In the wake of a violent clash between two communities in Phagwara, the state government has ordered the suspension of mobile internet services in four districts.

In a press release, the government said mobile internet services had been suspended in Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and SBS Nagar districts as a precautionary measure to check rumour mongering on social media.

Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has appealed to the people to maintain peace and harmony, while warning a stringent action against anyone found disturbing law and order in the state. Captain Amarinder has also directed the police to maintain a tight vigil and crack down on any disruptive elements.

He has asked the police to thoroughly investigate the incident. He announced that the state government would bear the entire expenses for medical treatment of those injured in the clashes.

Leuven NMBS and Gent – Luik (Liège) – Tongeren – Hoepertingen

Leuven NMBS
21 February 2018

EMU to Ottignies

L Train to Mechelen / Sint-Niklaas

16:19 to Brussel / Gent / Brugge / Blankenberge

Gent – Luik (Liège) – Tongeren – Hoepertingen
22 February 2018

Liège Guillemins – Verviers Central – Eupen
The train that took me from Gent to Luik / Liège

Liège Guilleminsthe same train, seen from above

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

WIO News – Religious minorities continue to face violent attacks in Pakistan: Watchdog

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 16 April 2018. Religious minorities in Pakistan like Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Ahmedis and Hazara continue to face violent attacks, a damning report by an independent watchdog Monday said and criticised the state for failing to tackle the issue of their persecution.

The Human Rights Commission at the launch of its annual report, State of Human Rights in 2017 dedicated to the late activist Asma Jahangir says people continue to disappear in Pakistan, sometimes because they criticise the country’s powerful military or because they advocate better relations with neighbouring India.

Jahangir, who was fierce advocate of human rights died in February.

The commission also underscored the rising incidence of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings and the extension of the jurisdiction of military courts.

“False accusations of blasphemy and the ensuing violence, the number of children engaged in labour under hazardous conditions and unabated violence against women remain grim markers of the last year,” the commission said.

“Deaths linked to terrorism may have decreased, but the soft targets’ of religious minorities and law enforcement agencies continue to bear the brunt of violence,” it said.

Journalists and bloggers continue to sustain threats, attacks and abductions, and the blasphemy law serves to coerce people into silence. The people’s right to socio-cultural activities is curtailed by intolerance and extremism, and authorities are lenient for fear of a political backlash, it said.

The 296-page report said, “In a year when freedom of thought, conscience and religion continued to be stifled, incitement to hatred and bigotry increased, and tolerance receded even further, the state remained ineffective in tackling the issue of persecution of minorities and fell far short of its obligations.

There was no abatement in violence against religious minorities, with Christians, Ahmedis, Hazaras, Hindus and Sikhs all coming under attack, it said.

“Little wonder that the numbers of religious minorities are shrinking. At the time of Independence, Pakistan’s religious minority constituted over 20 per cent of the population.

The 1998 census reported that the numbers had declined to a little over three per cent, it said. The report said the migration of Hindus to India “may soon turn into an exodus if the discrimination against them continues”.

While the recent census data has not yet been made public, it is expected that the numbers of religious minorities will show a further decline, the report said.

“Faith-based violence in the name of religion continues unabated and the government has failed miserably to protect minority members against attacks and discrimination. Extremist forces bent on creating an exclusive Islamic identity for Pakistan appear to have been given a free hand,” the report said.

“A few hundred fanatics held the capital and the garrison cities hostage for 23 days in Faizabad, Islamabad in November this year until their demands were accepted. In ceding to the demands of the violent demonstrators, the state has virtually given blanket licence to fundamentalism and militancy in the name of religion, it said.

With a population of around seven million, Hindus form the largest religious minority in Pakistan.

“Concentrated mainly in Sindh, Hindus continue to live an uneasy existence. Their perceived association with India has made life for them tougher than other religious minorities in Pakistan.

According to their representatives, the greatest issue of concern to the community is that of forced conversions, the majority of these involving young women, the report said.

“In most cases the girls, many of whom are minors, are abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and then married to Muslim men, the report said.

Pakistan ranked fourth on the Christian support group Open Doors World Watch List 2017 of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, it said.

“Violent persecution of Christians is a common occurrence in Pakistan. Christians are targets for murder, bombings, abduction of women, rape, forced conversions, and eviction from home and country. Fake cases under blasphemy laws are regularly used to terrorise Christians,” it said.

Sikhs are a small religious minority in Pakistan. According to the last census, there are around 7,000 registered Sikhs living in Pakistan, mainly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, including the semi-autonomous tribal region that shares a border with Afghanistan.

“The Sikh leadership complains that rough and usually inaccurate estimates are made about their exact number.

The Sikh community has also been subjected to continued discrimination and violence from extremists over the years because of their religious affiliation, but they are generally better treated by government agencies as compared to other religious minorities.

Persecution of religious minorities and targeted sects within Islam force people like the Hazaras to seek asylum in European countries. A signicantly large number of Ahmadis has migrated to Europe and lives in exile, it said.

Dawn – Gunmen open fire at Justice Ijazul Ahsan’s Lahore residence in two separate incidents

Haseeb Bhatti & Rana Bilal

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 15 April 2018. Unknown gunmen opened fire at the residence of Justice Ijazul Ahsan in Lahore’s Model Town in two separate incidents only hours apart, DawnNewsTV reported on Sunday.

No casualties were reported in the attacks, one of which took place around 10:45pm on Saturday and the other at 9:10am on Sunday.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar visited the residence of Justice Ahsan and called the Punjab inspector general to probe the incidents. The chief justice is said to be overseeing the situation himself.

Justice Ahsan was part of the five-member bench that delivered the verdict in the high-profile Panamagate case last year, which led to the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, the then prime minister.

He has been appointed as the monitoring judge to supervise and monitor the implementation of the Panamagate case verdict and is currently overseeing the ongoing proceedings by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and accountability courts against the Sharif family members and Ishaq Dar.

He was also part of the three-member bench hearing 17 petitions against the controversial Elections Act 2017. The bench had ruled that an individual disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot serve as head of a political party, leading to Nawaz Sharif losing his position as the chief of PML-N.

CM orders ‘immediate arrests’

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the incident as well and ordered immediate arrests of the attackers. He also asked the Punjab inspector general (IG) to submit a report on the incident.

The personal secretary to Sharif, however, was refused a meeting with the Supreme Court judge by the SC administration.

Security personnel, including Rangers, have been deployed outside the residence of the judge.

“This is a highly condemnable incident. We are trying our best to arrest the attackers and a thorough investigation is underway,” Punjab government spokesman Malik Ahmad Khan told DawnNewsTV. He said that additional security has been provided to the Supreme Court judge.

According to reports by security forces, spent bullet casing of a 9mm pistol was found near the main gate of Justice Ahsan’s residence last night while another was found near kitchen window in the morning.

Forensic experts visited the residence twice and gathered evidence, including CCTV footage of the security camera.
Bar associations, politicians condemn incident

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) condemned the firing incidents and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.

SCBA President Pir Kaleem Khursheed announced a strike and a boycott of court proceedings on Monday. “We will not allow efforts to pressurise the judiciary be successful,” he said, adding that a lawyer’s convention would be called to decide on the future course of action.

“Lawyers of the whole country are standing with the Supreme Court judges,” SCBA Secretary Safdar Tarar said in a statement, while LHCBA President Anwarul Haq said the lawyers were soldiers of the SC judges.

PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari termed the attacks alarming and called for a judicial probe.

PTI chief Imran Khan also “strongly condemned” the incidents, claiming that they were “tactics to pressurise senior judiciary”.

Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Khursheed Shah, Chaudhry Shujaat and Pervez Ilahi also condemned the incident, demanding an investigation into the matter as well as provision of adequate security to SC judges.

CJP requests lawyers to call off strike

Justice Saqib Nisar has appealed to all bar councils to call off the strike scheduled for tomorrow.

He requested the legal fraternity to “attend the courts tomorrow for sake of dispensation of justice to litigants whose cases are already fixed for hearing tomorrow in different courts”, read a statement issued by the apex court.

“Litigant parties will come from far-flung areas to attend courts therefore strike will not only suffer routine court proceedings but also hurt the expectations of people,” the chief justice was quoted as saying.

Law career

After completing his LLB from Punjab University Law College, Justice Ahsan completed his postgraduate studies from Cornell University, New York.

He was elevated to the bench in 2009 and was confirmed as a judge of the Lahore High Court in 2011.

Justice Ahsan has served as inspection judge for Kasur, Gujranwala and Lahore Districts. In 2015, he was appointed as the chief justice of Lahore High Court and elevated to the SC in June 2016.