Rights Watch | 24th July 2020

Rights Watch

Kidnappings on the rise in Karachi

In a briefing to the Sindh cabinet, Sindh police chief Mushtaq Ahmad Mahar revealed that 106 abductions were reported in Karachi in the past six months, of which 20 yet to be recovered. In comparison, only 28 kidnappings were reported in 2019. Most of the kidnapping cases involved lower to middle-income class victims, with abductors demanding anywhere between Rs. 200,000 to Rs. 5 million for release. Of the 86 freed captives, a great majority had been released upon paying the demanded ransom.

Bomb attack in Parachinar

17 people, including a woman and a minor, wheeled to the district headquarters (DHQ) hospital for injuries sustained in a bomb attack in Parachinar’s bustling Turi Bazaar on Thursday, July 23. One critically-wounded civilian has been taken to Peshawar for life-saving treatment.

According to police, the improvised explosive device (IED) was hidden in a fruit cart at the market. Locals staged a protest against the apparent inefficacy of law enforcement in rooting out militancy in the region. This is the second bomb attack in the city this year, following the deadly June 27th attack which claimed 75 lives and wounded 200 others, and the third bomb attack in the Kurram district since May.

PM for improved internet access

Chairing a meeting on Thursday, July 23, Prime Minister Imran Khan noted the importance of internet access, especially in times of the current health emergency. He directed the Universal Service Fund (USF) to ensure the provision of quality and inexpensive internet in schools to prevent academic gaps as well as provide greater opportunities for youth to utilize their potential. The USF is prepped to lay 4,600 km fiber-optic cables to reach 547 union councils this year, especially rural and far-flung regions.

Bill proposed to censor books

The Punjab Assembly passed the Punjab Tahaffuz-e-Bunyad-e-Islam Bill 2020, lauded by Speaker of the Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervaiz, that awards the provincial government with extraordinary powers to monitor and censor published material it deems contrary to the interests of the state or religion. The bill will vest the Directorate General of Public Relations (DGPR) with the authority to survey printing presses, publishers and book retailers, as well as bar printing, importing or publishing any book found to contain objectionable material.