March edition 2018

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Land is Gold

International Women’s Day

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Uber Drivers Given 3 Weeks To Obtain Local Licence The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has elected former prime minister Nawaz Sharif as party’s ‘Quaid for Life’ and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif as the interim president. The Central Working Committee (CWC) of the PML-N met at the Sharif family’s Model Town residence in Lahore. PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq proposed Nawaz Sharif’s elevation as ‘Quaid for Life’, saying, “Mian Nawaz Sharif was, is, and Insha Allah will remain the leader of PML-N.” Maryam Nawaz confirmed the development in a tweet. “Raja Zafarul Haq, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s proposal elicited a resounding approval from the CWC,” she wrote on the twitter. Haq’s proposal, followed by chants of ‘Wazir-e-Azam, Nawaz Sharif’, was endorsed by Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi, who said, “These are the people’s decisions … courts have no right to take this decision … this is our party’s decision.” Shehbaz Sharif was elected unopposed as the acting president of the PML-N after Nawaz Sharif proposed his name. He has been elected for an interim period of 45 days until the general council meeting takes place next month to elect the full-time president. As per the PML-N constitution, the

CWC is to elect an acting party chief within a week of the top seat falling vacant due to any reason. Afterwards, the party’s general council is required to elect the president within 45 days. Soon after the decision was taken, Maryam Nawaz tweeted a picture of her father and uncle embracing each another. “We are Alhamdo Lillah ONE. We stand united. PML-N stands united,” she tweeted. The CWC meeting was held after Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as PMLN president following the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Elections Act, 2017, case. While addressing the session, Nawaz Sharif expressed displeasure over the apex court verdict of his disqualification from the party presidency, terming it a ‘dictatorial decision’. He said such decisions had not been even taken during the tenure of the dictators. “There are no dictators ruling the country at present but the decisions taking place are like the ones made during the dictatorships,” he said. Nawaz was of the view that the verdicts of his disqualification – first from the premiership then from his party’s presidency – were against the people’s will. “People elected me to the power, but there are certain powers that want the opposite to happen,” Nawaz said. “I was elected as prime minister thrice but was not allowed to complete my term,” he added.

Political Sindh CUT In Focus PIECE Page 17

Uber drivers on the company’s office in Sheffield following news that private hire licences acquired in other locations will no longer be transferrable after mid-March. Previously the company allowed an Uber driver to acquire a licence in one region and to operate in another. Now they have been

READ INSIDE Page 22-23

given just three weeks to acquire a licence locally and this may leave 100 people out of work. Uber said it is introducing the changes after feedback from local authorities which said because of the way the app works it makes it hard to regulate the drivers operating in their area.

Shehbaz In The Driving Seat

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Selective Licensing Decision Looms For Sheffield Landlords Sheffield Council’s consultation on selective licensing of landlords in the London Road, Abbeydale Road and Chesterfield Road corridors has closed last week. The plans could see over 1,000 tenants gain extra protections from health hazards as well as better housing conditions if additional regulations are put in place. Landlords have expressed concerns and some claim it would lead to them having to charge more rent.

Rotherham Child Sexual Abuse Victims Exceed 1500 The National Crime Agency has said that Operation Stovewood, the investigation into historic child sexual abuse in Rotherham, has now identified 1,510 victims of which 85 per cent are female. The investigation also reported that 110 suspects have been identified. At a briefing event, senior investigating officer Paul Williamson said his team of 144 officers were working on 34 investigations and engaging with over 260 survivors.

Yorkshire Unemployment Second Highest In The UK New figures show unemployment in Yorkshire and the Humber region has risen by 5,000 and ranks second highest regional rate per head in the UK. According to the Office of National Statistics UK unemployment has increased slightly for the first time in two years. The UK-wide rate of unemployment rose from 4.3% to 4.4% for the three months to the end of December with 1.47 million now classed as out of work.

Cllr Magid prepares for Lord Mayor role Green Party councillor and Deputy Lord Mayor Magid Magid is due to take over in May the largely ceremonial role of Lord Mayor of Sheffield. Magid chaired his first full Council meeting at the Town Hall recently, during which he outlined what his plans for the coming year were and what he aims to achieve. During the meeting, tree campaigners staged a sit-in protest against Amey’s tree felling programme. He has also been in the media spotlight as an undercover fugitive evading secret agents in the Channel 4 reality TV show Hunted.

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TV Licence Fee To Rise Again The annual TV licence fee will rise for the second year in a row, from £147 to £150.50, it has been announced. The Government has decided that the annual cost for BBC programming would go up again, having risen in 2017 for the first time since 2010. It will continue to increase in line with inflation for five years, with the charge applicable to anyone using a traditional TV, computer or any other piece of equipment to watch or record programmes. The announcement comes as the BBC faces

scrutiny over gender pay inequality, with China editor Carrie Gracie having resigned and six male presenters agreeing to a salary cut. Licence fee payers will receive a reminder of the new amount when they next need to renew, with anyone buying or renewing after 1 April made to pay the new higher fee. Anyone who bought a licence on an instalment scheme that started before 1 April will continue to pay £147 until their renewal date, with TV Licensing to remind fee payers due to renew in March to pay on time to avoid the rise.

Council Publishes Budget Proposals this year in addition to the £390 million over the previous seven years. “Whilst we have robust plans in place to address these issues, the position nationally is quite frankly unsustainable into the longer term. “Sometimes the reality of the cuts can get lost in the numbers, but this means reductions in services across the board. “At the same time as we have seen repeated cuts, there are also unprecedented cost pressures on our services due to the national social care crisis. We are being forced to pick up the human cost that austerity is having on our city through increased poverty, and the impacts for children in care. “As a council we will always prioritise the services for those in greatest need but we also have a responsibility to maintain the core services that the people of Sheffield use. From our budget consultation we know that this is what people want to see and we have also been able to invest in infrastructure through our capital proCouncillor Olivia Blake, Deputy Leader of the gramme in flood defences, building new homes Council and Cabinet Member for Finance said: and transforming the city centre through the “We are seeing, across the country, the impact retail quarter.” that continued austerity and increased cuts are The council’s 2018/19 draft budget was dishaving on council services. “Last week this reached a tipping point for one cussed at a Cabinet meeting on 14 February. council which had to stop all spending because The final budget will be approved at a full counthey have fallen over the cliff edge. In Sheffield, cil meeting on 7 March. we have had to bridge another £44 million gap Sheffield City Council has published proposals that will meet the challenge of a £44 million funding gap next year due to rising demand for essential council services and further government austerity cuts. Proposals brought forward to meet the budget gap include £3 million of savings through renegotiations on the Veolia waste contract, an increase to the council tax of 2.99% following the government’s decision to lift the cap from 1.99% and a further increase to the social care precept introduced by the government in 2015. Sheffield council tax payers will see an average £1.10 per week increase to their council tax bills, from April 2018. Next year the council will invest an additional £15 million on services to provide care for adults and children, due to the high increases in demand for these services. However, despite this, these services have still had to make significant savings due to the scale of increases in need for these services in the city.

Campaign For A Smokefree Sheffield A new campaign has been launched to reduce tobacco use in Sheffield. Set up to help smokers, non-smokers, quitters and the whole community work towards a future without tobacco, Smokefree Sheffield brings the city’s tobacco control board and local services together under one umbrella. It has launched a new website – – where users can find out more about these partner organisations and the support, advice and services they provide, including stop smoking support and how we crack down on cheap and illicit tobacco sales in Sheffield’s communities. Greg Fell, Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council, said: “We are passionate about

achieving a future where no-one can remember the last time they knew someone who started smoking.. We are determined to reduce the harm caused by smoking in Sheffield. Children become hooked on cigarettes from a young age and develop lifelong habits. Our goal is to ensure this is a thing of the past.” Smokefree Sheffield’s three-year plan also includes campaigns aimed at tackling public perceptions of the use of e-cigarettes. E–cigarettes are a significantly safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. Sheffield City Council are advising smokers who can not or don’t want to stop smoking, to completely switch to vaping. For more information, visit the Smokefree Sheffield website at

MP Calls For Overturn To Free School Meal Changes Sheffield Central MP, Paul Blomfield, has backed a move to overturn Government changes that would leave over 7,000 children in Sheffield losing their entitlement to free school meals. He has added his name to a ‘Humble Address to Her Majesty’, a procedural move to force a debate and vote on the proposals. Adding his name to the Motion, Mr Blomfield said: “For many children from low-income families across Sheffield, a free school meal may be the only hot food they eat all day. Children cannot focus to learn if they are hungry but the Government

wants to strip thousands of children of their entitlement to free school meals.” “These changes would see children from families on Universal Credit who are earning just £7,400 a year losing out on their free school meal. This directly targets low-income families who are working hard to provide for their children and undermines the principle of making work pay.” “A Labour Government would ensure all primary school children are entitled to a hot, nutritious meal and that no child would have to face a day of school on an empty stomach.”

Strong Performance In Sheffield’s Schools National secondary league tables show that Sheffield schools continue to perform above the national average in GCSEs for the second year in a row. The league tables also highlight an increase in the number of high performing schools in Sheffield with nearly half of all our secondary schools featuring in the well above average and above average categories. Leaping up the tables, Park Academy, Newfield Secondary School and Handsworth Grange Community Sports College were among those that achieved well above on the new progress indicator, compared to the national average. Councillor Jackie Drayton, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families said: “It’s great to see the wonder-

ful progress of our young people and secondary schools improving despite at a time of ongoing changes in the education system and gradings – this is excellent news for the city. “We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Learn Sheffield, schools, students and their families to ensure that educational attainment for all children and young people in Sheffield continues to improve.”

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UN Backs Syria Ceasefire As Death Toll Tops 500 The UN Security Council has unanimously demanded a 30-day ceasefire in Syria, as new air strikes on the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta took the civilian death toll from seven days of bombing to more than 500. With support from Russia, the Security Council adopted a resolution on the ceasefire to allow for humanitarian aid deliveries and medical evacuations, but the measure did not specify when the truce would go into force beyond saying it should be “without delay.” After the council vote, Syrian warplanes backed by Russian air power launched new raids on a town in Eastern Ghouta, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. At least 127 children are among the 519 dead in the bombing campaign that the regime launched last Sunday on the rebel enclave, just outside Damascus, the British-based monitor said. At least 41 civilians were killed in Saturday’s strikes, including eight children. Russia has denied taking part in the assault.

Dragged-out negotiations: The UN vote was initially expected to be held a few days earlier, but was repeatedly delayed as diplomats were locked in tough negotiations to avoid a veto from Russia, which is militarily supporting President Bashar Al-Assad. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has described Eastern Ghouta as “hell on Earth,” said the ceasefire must be “immediately” implemented. That would allow the Syrian government offensive to continue against Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in Idlib, the last province in Syria outside the control of Damascus. Control of Eastern Ghouta is shared between two main Islamist factions, while Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate is also present. Russia has been pressing for a negotiated withdrawal of rebel fighters and their families like the one that saw the government retake full control of Syria’s second city Aleppo in December 2016. But all three rebel groups have refused. World leaders have expressed outrage at the plight of civilians in Eastern Ghouta.

Millennials Set To Be The Fattest Generation Millennials are set to be the fattest generation of Britons, with 70% dangerously overweight before they hit middle age, research shows. People born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s are set to overtake baby boomers as the age group with the highest proportion of overweight or obese people, according to Cancer Research UK. While half the postwar generation were too heavy by the time they reached 35 to 44, more than seven in 10 millennials will be by 2026-28. That would make them the most overweight age group in British history, Cancer Research said. Prof Linda Bauld, a cancer prevention expert at the

charity, said the projection showed many millennials, despite their reputation for “following seemingly healthy food trends”, needed to improve their eating habits, cut down on junk food and eat more fruit, vegetables and fibre. The trend among millennials is worrying because carrying excess weight as an adult is linked to 13 types of cancer, including breast, bowel and kidney cancer, Cancer Research said. The World Cancer Research Fund said the number of adults and children worldwide at increased risk of the disease because they are obese had risen sharply since 1975.

A SNOWY FOREST A snowy forest A vast chalky boscage The floor is a filled page The vision behind is blocked A seeping bright light has been stopped Gnarled tenuous arms hold on to each other A white bracelet used to cover The sky exhales a hoary mist Blanketing the forest in white, it came from the zephyr as it hissed The trees receive a verdant beard A sign of becoming old, this is what they feared The gelid winter gives the trees a flu The grove begins to sneeze and the leaves parachute The clouds are raining milk It trails on the ground, it shimmers like silk The milk is stirred by the towering trees Aerial wooden spoons coalesce with the ground, swayed by the breeze The trees are cold, so they lean on their friends They begin to warm up, the freezing ambiance ends The white snow helps the trees, as it hides all the wrinkles All along its figure, are wooden ripples. Written By: Shaheryar A. Chishty

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Land Is Gold


Mohammed Mahroof BSc (Hons) MRICS Consultant Mark Jenkinson & Son Land is gold In the last few years there has been a steady increase in enquiries for land whether this is for residential commercial or general. I have talked about it on a number of occasions why owning and developing land is a good idea. Only one need to look into this simple economics’ and you will see that in the world of supply and demand there is an important ingredient supply which will never change. Although in some countries in the Middle East they are reclaiming sea to develop upon. Land is a worldwide issue with the world becoming ever more populated the challenges on land are increasing. I feel the following considerations are a key factor in demand for land: Population trends. It has been argued by many academics and professionals in the field of world population trends that we are living longer, the population of the world is steadily increasing therefore the need for land to house people is almost certainly going to become a key issue. If you look at some of the world’s major cities the price of land over time in real terms has not reduced, and the challenges for emerging economies is going to become ever more challenging.

Agriculture. As the population increases the demand for food is becoming an everlasting challenge, the demand for land to grow food and rear cattle etc is arguably a major issue facing us. The price of agricultural land is reflected in this demand for food. I believe that over time the demand for land for such uses will rise, and therefore the choices we face as to how we use land and become more important, hence the laws of planning.

Economics. It does not need an economist to tellers that supply is finite, although some of you may argue that some countries are reclaiming land from water. Clearly that is expensive and fraught with difficulty. It only strengthens the argument land is an important commodity when some countries are investing in such projects.

Resources. The need for fossil fuels is another key focus for land use throughout the world, we are much more reliant on land or the substructure of land to provide oil, coal, gold, silver, iron ore, chemicals and many other natural products we use in everyday life therefore the need to understand that economics of land become more important

economic changes, we have and will continue to see recessions but ask yourself one question, has our need for land ever really diminished? The answer is almost certainly going to be a cautious no. Controls on land usage through politics and the planning process therefore become terribly important. Therefore before you embark on any land project it is important you are aware of a few fundamental principles of development. I would always advise that you take good professional advice, there is no substitute for this, just at the economics of supply and demand are important, these are backed up by legislation and planning policy so there is not a free for all and land is used in the best possible way not only for today but for future generations. Clearly this has an impact on value; therefore land value is not uniform. As an example land for agricultural use is going to be worth less the land in the city centre for and more importantly so as we go through the development use, every use has a value. 21st century and beyond. In conclusion one can only summarise that land is Services an important and valuable commodity, and I for The need to build infrastructure for our needs one believe demand over time is going to be a is also land intensive, roads, railways, hospitals, major challenge on supply, this is arguably going schools, all our basic facilities we take for granted to see a rise in prices, this may be hard to imagine are built on land. If one looks around our sur- going through these difficult times, but history is roundings and reflects for a few moments our a reflection of our desire for land. The ownership need for land is intense and rising. I was recently of land can be considered in the same context as at asked by someone why is the price of burial gold, silver, diamonds etc, history is a clear witplots rising? The answer again is simple econom- ness of this. ics. Therefore the forward thinking investor/developers are showing signs of return to the market; this By no means have I touched on all the conflict- is cautious optimism, but a good sign. ing challenges and needs for land, but I do hope As ever if you want to contact me please call me I have given you an understanding of the value on (0114)276 0151/078 7901 5095 or through of land and why our need for land is only, in my ILM humble opinion, going to rise, yes we will see

NHS Prescriptions - April 1 Price Rise NHS prescriptions are going up again on 1 April - when you'll have to pay £8.80 to pick up your medication. Thats a 20p increase for each medicine or appliance dispensed.

The increase - the highest ever - has been described as "catastrophic" by the Prescription Charges Coalition, which warned those with long-term illnesses will be the hardest hit.

RHH Offers Stem Cell Storage The Royal Hallamshire Hospital is supporting a new initiative for parents to have their baby’s stem cells from umbilical cord blood stored for their own private use in the future. It’s the second health trust in the north to offer the service to its patients following success with the technique in Leeds.

Manchester Retains Best UK Airport Award Manchester Airport is flying high after being named the UK’s best airport, for a fourth year running, at the Globe Awards hosted by Travel Weekly. Manchester Airport is a global gateway and the largest airport outside London with over 210 destinations served by 70 airlines. Manchester’s long-haul catchment area places around 22 million people and 60% of all UK businesses within a two-hour drive time – it extends north through the Lake District into Scotland; east across Yorkshire and the North East; south

to Birmingham and the Midlands; and west into Merseyside and Wales. The UK’s third largest airport fought off competition from the likes of Heathrow, Liverpool and Birmingham to receive the accolade. The award comes after a magnificent 2017 for Manchester Airport, which saw it smash its alltime passenger record, as 27.8m people passed through the airport in the calendar year. It also saw Manchester Airport announce and launch a wealth of new routes including San Francisco, Muscat and Seattle.

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18 Bellhouse Road, Sheffield, S5 6HL

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2018 #PRESSFORPROGRESS International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The annual International Women's Day (IWD) has taken place for well over a century, with the first March 8 IWD gathering supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom's Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women equality. With the World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away - there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress. And with global activism for women's equality fuelled by move-

ments like #MeToo, #TimesUp and more - there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity. While gender parity won't happen overnight, the good news is that across the world women are making positive gains day by day. Plus, there is a very strong and growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support. So we can't be complacent. Now, more than ever, there's a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. A strong call to #PressforProgress. A strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organisation specific. Make IWD your day! - everyday! “ we cannot all succeed when half of us are held back” malala yousufzai.


Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi, has been named as one of the world’s “five successful women diplomats” by a popular Russian news website, according to a report by Russia’s official news agency. The report, citing the website — — was carried by RIA Novosti, a state-owned domestic Russian-language news agency. Describing Ambassador Lodhi as “one of the most famous female figures in the Muslim world,” noted that she twice served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States. Another important diplomatic assignment she

held was as the High Commissioner to Britain, after an illustrious career in journalism, especially as editor of The News International, one of largest Pakistani English-language newspapers. “” also noted that Dr. Lodhi was the first Pakistani woman to serve as Permanent Representative and chief delegate to the United Nations. In 1994, she was selected by Time magazine as one of a hundred people in the world “the only one from Pakistan” who would help to shape the 21st century. Ambassador Lodhi served on UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Affairs (2001-2005), and is a member of the Advisory Council of the London-based Institute of Strategic Studies. Detailing her career, the Russian website noted that Ambassador Lodhi’s success in journalism set the stage for her diplomatic career. She was first selected by the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to serve as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States. She served in that capacity for three years and was to later return to hold this post for another term.

PLAQUE TO HONOUR WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE CAMPAIGNERS A new plaque to honour Sheffield women’s suf- been granted and the plaque will be installed on International Women’s Day on March frage movement activists who cam8. The plaque forms part of the paigned for the right vote is to be celebrations to mark 100 years installed at their former shop on since the passing of the RepChapel Walk. Following a camresentation of the Peoples Act paign to honour the women by 2018 which gave women over Sheffield Young People’s Equality 30 and ‘of property’ the right to Group, and a successful crowdvote. funding appeal, approval has now

CELEBRATING THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN PUBLIC LIFE Baroness Manzoor CBE 100 years ago our Parliament building looked much like it does today – but the members of Parliament looked very different. Most noticeably there were no women here because women weren’t allowed to vote or stand for election. The Representation of the People Act and the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act are the laws that changed all of that. These Acts gave the first women the right to vote and stand for election and they received Royal Assent 1918 – 100 years ago this year. As we celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage it is right to remember the heroic campaigns of the women who brought about this change and paved the way for basic equality between men and women. The struggle for votes for women started long before 1918. The first petition was launched in 1832 and brave women from different cultural, social and political backgrounds continued to make their case throughout the 19th century. Progress was slow and the fight continued into the 1900s led by Millicent Fawcett, Head of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. The label ‘suffragettes’ was given to the more extreme campaigners for women’s votes, supported by the Pankhurst family and the Women’s Social and Political Union. Fed up with the lack of progress being made, they took radical action, including chaining themselves to railings and statues and going on hunger strikes, to raise awareness of their campaign. One of the suffragettes central to this mission was the Indian Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, who was often seen distributing suffragette newspapers outside her apartment at Hampton Court. Like other women, she took huge risks

to herself and her loved ones and on one occasion was forcibly ejected from the Parliamentary Estate alongside Emmeline Pankhurst. The suffragettes were prepared to risk their lives to achieve their aims. Representation of women in public life has come a long way since 1918, but progress has not gone far enough. Since 1918, 4,801 men have been elected to Parliament and only 489 women – and of those women – only a small proportion has been from an ethnic minority background. Inspired by the courage of our brave Indian Princess, the campaign to improve ethnic minority representation in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords must go on! I am pleased that the Fawcett Society has launched the #OurTimeNow campaign which aims to break down the barriers of gender inequality throughout 2018 and beyond. I urge women, and particularly ethnic minority women, to get behind this campaign. We must make our voices heard if we want to make a difference to the lives of women in our communities. I put this challenge to you all – the suffragettes did it, and so can we.


The Al-Nisa Awards 2018, founded by Shahida Siddique CEO of Faithstar, are a celebration of the contributions and achievements of Muslim Women in South Yorkshire. The purpose of the awards taking place on 11th March at Arooj Restaurant in Sheffield, is to give Muslim Women in South Yorkshire a platform to raise their profile, act as positive role models in communities and across sectors, as well as honoring their contributions and

achievements in making what South Yorkshire. To empower them to be part of a movement that is changing the narrative in how Muslim Women are perceived and received to #pressforprogress in this the centenary year of women's liberation. The evening will be an opportunity for individuals and organisations to network, collaborate on projects and ideas, inform debate and discuss the issues that matter to Muslim Women in our region.

FIND AN EVENT NEAR YOU Sheffield as always is celebrating International Women’s Day with a whole host of events from 5th to 11th March. Joining the celebrations is easy as numerous community events are planned across the city. SheFest as always covers events citywide for women of all communi-

ties and ethnicities. Pakistani Muslim Centre will lay on it celebrations on Sunday 11th March. This year’s celebrations will be focusing on PMC celebrating its 30th Anniversary and the role it has played in creating equality opportunities.

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Knife Crime Takes Toll On Black Teenagers Knife crime in the UK is taking a toll on young black men, who are disproportionately being stabbed and killed in the capital, official statistics show. According to police figures, knife crime rose by more than a fifth in the UK last year, with a third of the recorded 37,443 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument taking place in London. Black and minority ethnic teenage boys and men were disproportionately affected, as both victims and perpetrators, the city mayor's office revealed. There is a disproportionate number of young black males that are getting stabbed and unfortunately being killed. The gangs do not necessarily follow racial groups, some can be very multicultural, but as a rule the biggest threat to a young black male is indeed a young black male, say the Met Police.

In November, 17-year-old Michael Jonas was stabbed to death in a south London park. Meanwhile, community leaders have pointed to funding drying up for community centres and other social support structures. No investments for the young people, the closure of community centres, lack of support – all affect mental health, leading to depression, anxiety and stress. Last year, budget cuts affected public services such as schools, police forces and local councils across the UK. London mayor, Sadiq Khan, is not responsible for those cuts, but as a high-profile politician in the capital, he is feeling the political heat of the knife crime crisis. Sheffield MP Louise Hague appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire show recently, to discuss how we can tackle knife crime, in the wake of terrible stabbings in Camden in February. Violent crime has shot up across the country, including by a shocking 62% in South Yorkshire, and it's impossible not to attribute much of the rise to the decimation of community policing under the Conservative Government. Labour would invest in an extra 10,000 neighborhood police officers to keep our communities safe.

Times Table Test For Primary School Children Children in primary schools across the UK are to take a new times tables tests which will begin in March as part of trials ahead of a full roll-out over the next two years to check whether eight-and nine- year -olds know their time tables. Nick Gibb, the schools minister, announced the next stage in the government’s primary testing reforms. He claimed the new online multiplication table tests will “help teachers identify those pupils who require extra support”. It is understood that around 290 primaries in England, around 7,250 pupils, are expected to take part in the trials. Two trials have already taken place. The test will last a maximum of five minutes and allow teachers to monitor a child’s progress, the DfE said. The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) described the move as “hugely disappointing”. It says the tests won’t tell teachers and parents anything they don’t already know about their children. Although school results won’t be published, this Government test will be scrutinised by Ofsted when they visit and therefore become even more significant.

“Islamophobia Is Britain’s Bigotry Blindspot” Islamophobia is "widespread" in Britain, a former Tory cabinet minister has said. Baroness Warsi said the situation was "far worse" now than in 2011, when she argued prejudice against Muslims had "passed the dinner-table test". She described Islamophobia as the country's "bigotry blindspot" as she gave evidence to the Commons Home Affairs Committee. The committee held the session to examine the scale and impact of "anti-Muslim sentiment" in the print media. Baroness Warsi said: "There is widespread Islamophobia across Britain and anti-Muslim sentiment and anti-Muslim discrimination. "Specifically with the press, I could spend hours giving you case after case after case." In 2011 Baroness Warsi claimed that prejudice against Muslims had become widely socially acceptable in Britain. Baroness Warsi told the Committee she believed she had "touched a raw nerve" when she made the speech. Assessing the situation seven years on, she said: "I think things are far

worse. She added: "I think Islamophobia is Britain's bigotry blindspot. "I think we still fail to see it in the way that we see other forms of discrimination." Last year there were warnings of an unprecedented anti-Muslim backlash in the wake of terrorist attacks. Police in London recorded a spike in the number of Islamophobic incidents after the London Bridge atrocity in June. Figures obtained by the Press Association indicated hate crimes targeting mosques and other Muslim places of worship across the UK had more than doubled year-on-year. Police forces recorded 110 hate crimes directed at mosques between March and July 2017, up from 47 over the same period in 2016.

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The Race For Metro Mayor Sheffield City Region will elect its first metro mayor in May 2018. Once in place, the metro mayor will have control over the whole Sheffield City Region combined authority area. They will work with existing city leaders to take forward their strategic plan. The Sheffield City Region consists of the following local authorities: Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield, and a total population of around 1,384,900 (2016). The mayoral election is part of the devolution deal agreed by civic leaders in Barnsley, Doncaster, Sheffield and Rotherham with exChancellor George Osborne in 2015 for a host of new powers and £900m in funding over 30 years. But with Doncaster and Barnsley withdrawing from the deal in favour of a ‘One Yorkshire’ devolution proposal last year, as it stands whoever is elected in May will have virtually none of the promised powers. Eighteen out of the 20 council leaders in Yorkshire are now backing a wider Yorkshire deal, with only Sheffield and Rotherham councils not supporting the transfer of powers from Whitehall to a single mayor representing the entire region. Candidates have not been formally announced by the parties but Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis, Sheffield Councillor Ben Curran and former

Sports Minister and Sheffield MP Richard Caborn have all announced their intentions to stand for Labour. All three Labour hopefuls bidding to be the party’s candidate for Sheffield City Region mayor have signalled that the transfer of powers and money from central government could be a stepping stone to a wider Yorkshire devolution deal. Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis, former Minister Richard Caborn and Sheffield city councillor Ben Curran are hoping to win the support of Labour members in South Yorkshire ahead of the election in May. Understanding how the city-region performs on key areas such as productivity and employment will help the new metro mayor to assess what they should prioritise. Below is a summary of the powers the new Sheffield City Region metro mayor will have: -A 30 year investment fund of £900m. -Education & skills: – apprenticeship grant for employers; adult skills budget; post-16 further education system. -Housing & planning: strategic planning; compulsory purchase powers; mayoral development corporations. -Transport: consolidated transport budget; local roads network; bus franchising; smart ticketing.


Could The UK Ban Male Infant Circumcision? Iceland’s government has proposed a new law to ban circumcision for non-medical reasons. Could the UK follow suit, and if so, what are the implications for human rights? If the Icelandic law passes, anyone guilty of “removing part or all of [a child’s] sexual organs” other than for medical reasons could face up to six years in prison. The proposal is the first of its kind in Europe and would prohibit, among other things, male circumcision for religious reasons. Advocates of the new law say that it is necessary to protect children’s rights and have made comparisons with female genital mutilation (FGM), which is already outlawed in most European countries. However, religious leaders have called it an attack on religious freedom. Male circumcision is important to both Judaism and Islam, and leaders from both religions have strongly criticised the proposed ban. Representatives from both religions say the procedure is only carried out by highly trained and regulated practitioners. It is wrong to equate the practice with FGM as there is no long-term negative impact on the child, unlike FGM which is known to cause serious medical complications. YouGov recently conducted a poll which showed that 62% of Brits would support a ban on infant circumcision in the UK. Only 13% would oppose such a measure, with 25% remaining undecided. London recorded the highest rates of opposition, versus the Mid-

lands and Wales which had the least. NHS advice on male circumcision is that “the risks associated with circumcisions when carried out by qualified and experienced doctors are small.” Although support for a ban appears to be strong, the large number of undecided voters suggests that the debate (in the UK at least) is still in its infancy. However, this could change if the ban proposed in Iceland is passed into law. There is very little clarity as to how religious circumcision is to be treated under the Human Rights Convention. The practice clearly engages the right to manifest one’s religious beliefs, as guaranteed by Article 9 of the Human Rights Convention, and possibly the right to a private and family life in Article 8. However, these rights are qualified and may be restricted in certain circumstances. In particular, proponents of a ban on infant circumcision argue that it is necessary to ensure the protection of the rights of children. Although there is no ‘right to protection of one’s bodily integrity’ in the Human Rights Convention, it has been suggested that such a right might be expressed via Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) or Article 5 (the right to liberty and security). There are no clear answers at the moment, but if the ban in Iceland becomes law a challenge under the Human Rights Convention may not be far behind.

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World’s Richest Cities Revealed Boston, Calgary, Perth and Macau – all associated with material wealth – have failed to make this list of the 15 richest cities in the world, compiled by market research firm New World Wealth. The data gathered by the researchers reflects the total amount of private wealth held by all the individuals living in each of the cities on the list. Unlike traditional ratings, this top 15 is not based on Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but reflects analysis that covers all assets, such as property, cash, equities and business interests, excluding liabilities. Government funds are included. According to New World Wealth, wealth is

a measure that differs from a GDP indicator, which is another common metric used to gauge economic power. The research firm revealed that Houston, Geneva, Osaka, Seoul, Shenzhen, Melbourne, Zurich and Dallas had just missed out on the top 15. The top 15 cities globally hold $24 trillion in wealth. Thats about 11% of the world’s total wealth, for those keeping count. London, with $2,700billion of wealth, is home to the 6th largest stock exchange in the world and one of the highest concentrations of high net worth individuals (HNWI). In 2012, the country experienced its first major HNWI net outflow in recent memory.

The Clock Is Ticking On Water

The world is on the brink of a man-made disaster – one without water. In January 2015, the World Economic Forum ranked ‘water crisis as the number 1 global risk based on impact to society as a measure of devastation’. In the past few weeks, ‘Day Zero’ has been doing the rounds – a day when taps are expected to run dry in Cape Town, South Africa. The reason for the alarm is simple: the city’s water supply is dangerously close to running dry.’ And this is not Cape Town’s story alone. Jordan may be the first country in the world which could soon run out of water but may not be the last deprived of this necessity. With world population increasing, water demand is expected to soar, no surprises there. According to the United Nations World Water Development Report 2017 (UNWWDR), ‘water demand is predicted to increase significantly over the coming decades. In addition to the agricultural sector, which is responsible for 70% of water abstractions worldwide, large increases in water demand are predicted for industry and energy production. Accelerated urbanisation and the expansion of municipal water supply and sanitation systems also

contribute to the rising demand.’ According to NASA, 21 out of the world’s 37 aquifers or water saving accounts, as water resource scientists refer to them as, are already moving past their tipping points because of increased usage. Three of nature’s water savings accounts are situated in the Middle East, the border between Pakistan and India and the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa. In the coming decades, accelerated urbanisation will have a massive impact on wastewater production. ‘By 2030, global demand for energy and water is expected to grow by 40% and 50%, respectively (UN-Habitat, 2016). Most of this growth will be in cities, which will require new approaches to wastewater management. At the same time, wastewater management may also provide some of the answers to other challenges, including food production and industrial development. The outcome of climate change, in variations of ‘water cycle dynamics’, is ever more prominent with drier years being more drier and wetter years not being as wet with many of the world’s megacities at the risk of facing a water shortage. Even in current times ‘two-thirds of the world’s population currently lives in areas that experience water scarcity for at least one month a year. According to a 2012 US Intelligence report, “The use of water as a weapon or to further terrorist objectives also will become more likely beyond 10 years.” With climate change resulting in more frequent droughts and floods, the necessity for alternative sources to keep the water supply in check are a need of the second which will have significant socio-economic and environmental consequences. Any more delays and the crisis will only aggravate.

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Political Sindh In Focus Enforced Disappearances And The Extrajudicial Killings Of Sindhi Political Activists At The Hands Of Security Agencies Of Pakistan “Sindh is a province in south-eastern Pakistan with a population of approximately 47 million people, according to the provisional results of the 2017 Population Census – up from 35 million people in 1998. The territory enjoyed territorial autonomy under British rule and had historically been recognized as a separate political entity. Since it joined Pakistan during the Pakistani-Indian separation, the Sindhi people have experienced not only a loss of provincial autonomy but also threats to its distinct culture and language. For decades, Pakistani authorities have systematically oppressed activists who voice concerns over human rights violations”. Enforced disappearance has been the long-standing issue in Sindh province since Sain GM Syed parted his ways from the Pakistani-manufactured politics of discrimination, racialism and abhorrence against the Sindhi nation. In 1972 Sain GM Syed went with the slogan “free Sindh” leading to struggle for the right of self-determination and paving the way for the Sindhudesh. The movement of free Sindh continued unabated, though it had fluctuated during the military regimes in power, and the pro-establishment governments in Pakistan. Pakistan’s military establishment detested Sindhi movement for the new land, for this reason it begun to adopt ruthless policy of abducting, arresting, and torturing the political activists of Jeay Sindh Mahaz. Sain GM Syed himself had been behind the bars most of his life [remained in jail for 30 years], but he left no stone unturned to unite the Sindhi nation for the greater cause of freedom. After the death of Syed, the nationalist’s political groups joined hand together in 1995. Pakistan military disliked the unity of Sindhi political groups to work together. Inter-services intelligence strived every nerve to dismantle the unity of Sindhi political activism through coward means like abducting political activists, torturing them to death, or threatening them to see the far-reaching consequences if they supported national cause for Sindhudesh. In 2011 we lost the brave sons of Sindh like Sirai Qurban Khuhawar, Abdul Jabbar Alias Rooplo, and Noorullah Tunio were burnt to death. Bashir Khan Qureshi faced the wrath of security agencies of Pakistan when he began his journey towards freedom in terms of ‘freedom march’ on 23rd of March 2012, I was also the participant of the rally. He was poisoned to death on 7th of

April 2012. In the successive years many Sindhi political activists were forcibly disappeared. In 2014 Maqsood Qureshi, the brother of Shaheed Bashir Qureshi, was burnt to death because he had to lead the rally ‘freedom march’ towards Karachi expected to be held on 23rd March 2014. He wanted to keep the ligancy of his brother and other martyred Sindhi nationalist. The security agencies of Pakistan have been involved in atrocious crime against the Sindhi nationalists. The year 2017 turned out to be a very terrible time for the political workers of JSQM, and JSMM and many other nationalist’s groups. It seemed as if Pakistani security agencies have been licenced to forcibly disappear, persecute people, or commit extrajudicial killings of Sindhi people with impunity. The human rights law is violated unrelentingly at the hands of agencies. According to the international convention for the Protection of All persons from Enforced Disappearances, “no one should be subjected to enforced disappearance and that no exceptional circumstance such as a public emergency could be invoked to justify the crime”. Though Supreme court of Pakistan had taken choreographic measures to bring the culprits to book but failed to put pressure on security agencies to recover the people so far gone missing. However, security forces are working under the power of military establishment, ISI, MI, the courts are titular entities and are unable to pressurise them. Though “Pakistan is also bound to rules against enforced disappearances under national law. Article 9 of Pakistan’s Constitution provides that “no person shall be deprived of life or liberty save by law”. Accordingly, constitutional laws protect people from kidnapping, illegal detention, enforced abduction or any other form of restraint and confinement. In contrast to this, the security agencies of Pakistan venture out to continue their heinous crime of abducting and extrajudicial killings of political and human rights activists of Sindh. According to the latest report on enforced disappearances, though official number vary depending on the varied sources, stands total of 14,000 outstanding cases in Baluchistan. Federal and provincial governments deny these figures. Rather their unwitty claims show 54 cases in Baluchistan, and 16 people missing in Sindh provinces, [Whereas] “the National Crisis Management Cell of the Interior Ministry later put the number of individuals who have gone missing in the last three years at 69, [on the other hand] a source in the Sindh High Courts claims that the real number is closer to 200. The Pakistani Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, established in 2010, had located 982 missing persons by 2016, failing to solve 1,273 other cases, including that of Mr. Fayaz Dahri. It should be noted that these numbers are not accurate due to the nature of the crime; many instances go unreported for fear of repercussions for the victims or for those who report their disappearance. Additionally, attempts by family members to report a disappearance

Bollywood Leading Lady Of 80s And 90s, Dies At 54

Sridevi, Bollywood’s leading lady of the 1980s and 90s who redefined stardom for actresses in India, has died at age 54. The actress was described as the first female superstar in India’s male-dominated film industry. She used one name, like many leading ladies of her generation, and was known for her comic timing and her

dancing skills, a great asset in the songand-dance melodramas that are a staple of mainstream Indian cinema. Sridevi died in Dubai due to drowning. She had been in Dubai to attend a wedding in her extended family. Sridevi began acting as a child in regional cinema in India’s south and made her debut in Hindi-language Bollywood films in the late 1970s. Her most famous films included Mr. India, in which she played a reporter, and Chandni, where she played a woman choosing between two men who loved her. She played dual roles of a woman and her daughter in Lamhe, or Moments in 1991. She stopped acting for several years after her marriage to film producer Boney Kapoor but made a well-received comeback in 2012 with English Vinglish, about a middle-aged woman learning English. She is survived by her husband and two daughters.

By Dr Syed Alam Shah

are hindered by the authorities”. There is lot more to discuss the issues of enforced disappearance, extrajudicial killings and torturing of the political workers of Jeay Sindh, however, it is onus on me to depict the list of people already killed by Security agencies of Pakistan, or abducted, still in their custody, or released after being tortured by them. Though this list should not be considered final, because there are still more cases to be enlisted as the families of victims are threatened by security agencies, so they are kept mumbling on atrocities committed against them. List of political workers of JSMM, JSQM and various other Sindhi nationalist political parties killed by the security agencies of Pakistan, is give below. Bashir Khan Qureshi, Jabbar Kehar, Muzaffar Hussain Bhutto, Dewan Prem Chandio, Afzal Panhwar Sobal Dahar and Yameen Chachar, Zamin Shah, Sajjad Murkhand and Amir Khuhawar Zakir Bozdar, Murtaza Chandio,Waqar Chandio, Faquir Najeeb Qureshi, Asif Bhutto, Muzaffar Bhutto. Sanullah Bhatti, Sahab Khan Ghoto, Maqsood Khan Qureshi, Salman Waqar Dawach and Jamil Baber, Munir Choliani, Anees Soomro, Fateh Dahri, Saleem Panhwer, Jani Bhatti, Saleem Panhwar Shakeel Khoharo ( Sayed Paryal Shah and his brother Zamin Shah, Roshan Brohi, Barkat Chandio Waheed Lashari, Sarwech Pirzado, Allah Wadhayo Mahar, Fahim Bhutto, Karim Memon, Wajid Langah, Fahim Bhutto, Karim Memon, Manzoor Ahmed Channa, Raja Dahir Bhambhro, Bachal Bhambhro, Haneef Zoar, Ashiq Mugheri Zakir Bozdar Ustad M.Rahimon. These political activists of Jeay Sindh Mutahida Mahaz and Jeay Sindh Qumi Mahaz have been killed by the security agencies. Whereas the list given blow demonstrates the names of political workers forcibly disappeared, most victims are still missing or being tortured in the custody of security agencies of Pakistan. Updated List of Sindhi human rights and political activists abducted by the security agencies of Pakistan. Qadir Bux Zoar, Shams Mirani, Nangar Channa, Shoukat Rind, Rajib Panhwar, Dur Muhammad Siyal, Ali Abbas Sanghroo Haji Abid Sanghroo Anwar Ali Sanghroo Ghulam Murtaza Sanghroo Nago Sanghroo Javed Mandhro Ahmed Qambharni Rafiq @ Munir Mallah Akram Bajkani Nawab Bajkani Zubair Dahani Haroon Panhwar Qurban Khokhar Shoukat Bahooto Hajan Brohi Khadim Bahooto Muhammad Khan Bhutto Abdul Rasheed Chachar Zulfiqar Kachhi, Mangharam Oad, Matiari Matiari Khalid Sangharoo Sadam Sangharoo Abdul Rasool Sangharoo , Altaf Jakhar Khuda Bux Ayaz Unar Mehbood Peerzado Qurban Ali (Azad) Jarwar Muhammad Siddiqui joyo Jabal Jonenjo Rafiq Shar Zegham Ghuriyani Irfan Ghuriyani Farhan Ghuriyani Shafi Muhammad Sand Ghulam Abbas, Bahadur Badal Nohani, Hyder Shah Mehran Lashari hushihal Bholo Samara Umarkot Javed Halepoto Baboo Halepoto Shabeer Halepoto Javed Soomro Babloo Khokhar Taimoot Halepoto Najaf Leghari Zulfiqar Sajjad Imran Khushk Gul

33,800 Mobile Phone Messages A Year The average Briton receives 33,800 mobile phone messages and alerts a year, a survey suggests. Mobile phone users receive 427% more messages and notifications than they did 10 years ago and send 278% more messages than they did in 2008, the poll for Virgin Mobile found. Britons now spend the equivalent of almost 22 full 24-hour days on average checking their messages, an average of more than 26 minutes every day. The survey found that the average UK adult receives 93 messages or notifications from social apps every day, the equivalent of 33,802 notifications a year. But those aged between 18 and 24 have almost three times more messages to manage, receiving on average 239 messages and alerts a day or 87,300 a year. The study found a contributing factor behind the surge in messages is the boom in group chats on platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook. On average, Britons are members of six chat groups, although a small minority (2%) are members of 50 groups or more, rising to 7% of those aged 18 to 24. One in four adults say they check a WhatsApp message instantly, with this increasing to almost one in three 18 to 24-year-olds.

Rind Faiz Rind, Waheed Bughio Achar Mari Mahar Ali Samo Abdul Hafeez Masood Shah Amjad Soomro Waheed Gulan Rind Faiz Muhammad Bughio Azeem Abro Jafar Chandio Masroor A Panhwar Mehboob Chandio Shahid Jonejo Shuaib Punhal Sario Inaamullah Abbasi Bilawal Chandio Gulsher Tagar Syed Sikander Ali Shah, Muhammad Khan Vighio Asif Buledi Saif Jatio Nadeem Ahmed Kolachi Mehran Chandio Nadeem Ahmed Kolachi Bahadur Himayati, Sayad Sajjad Shah, Mumtaz Soomro, Dildar Jonejo, Imam Muhammadani, Arbelo Behan, Khuda Bux Behan, Irfan Peerzado, Mukhtiar Almani, Insaf Dayo, Murtaza Solangi, Ali Ahmed Bughio, Aziz Ahmed Gurgaze, Ghulam Raza Jarwar, Shadi Khan Soomro, Asghar Brohi, Murtaza Jonejo, Muhammad Ayoob Kandhro, Sabir Hussain Chandio, Waqar Channa, Faqeer Aijaz Gaho, Hidayat Lohar, Khadim Arijo, Hamid Arisar, Aijaz Tanio, Khadim Hussain Arejo, Hoshu Qambharni, Bux Ali Mugheri, Mir Sikandar Chandio, Liaquat Channa, Fayaz Dahiri, Hyder Khoso, Sunny Kakepoto, Naveed Ali Arain, Azizullah, Furqan Aalam, Aziz Muddasir kakepoto, Nadeem Siyal, Nadir, Mujeeb Choliyani, Amir, Zahid Adeeb Bararro, Taib, Abdul Maaz Gaznavi, Afroz, Ahmed Saqib, Abdul Bari, Inam Hafeez, Muhammad Noor, Abdullah, Adnan, Suhail Raza Bhatti, Meraj-u-Din, Shamsher, Allah Warayo, Qari Aslam, Qari Akber, Qari Nazeer, Qari Ishfaq, Talha, Maaz, Mohsin, Suhbat Khoso Fazeela Sarki, Mohan Menghwar, Naveed Shah, Imran Jokhio. It is on onus on the international world today to put pressure on Pakistan to: “ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and enact national legislation to support the implementation of the obligations. It is imperative to investigate all cases of enforced disappearance that are currently pending. Make publicly available and continuously update the record of all detentions and arrests, including all people now in custody, while also openly acknowledging the fates of the victims. Along with providing that public information, authorities should identify the perpetrators and follow through on the prosecution. The laws that give a broad mandate to the police forces to arrest and detain suspects without clearly defined charges, such as the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997, should be revised to limit their scope. In line with upholding the national and international law, the government should encourage and enable the courts to enforce the right to habeas corpus and due process. It is essential to follow the 2013 recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, as well as the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances on its mission to Pakistan (26 February 2013).”

Rotherham Boxer To Get Chance In The Limelight Upcoming super lightweight boxer Atif Shafiq of Rotherham is set for a chance to make his name with a fight on the undercard before the forthcoming Kell Brook v Sergey Rabchenko confrontation on 3 March.

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After the Holy Quran, the ‘Masnavi’ by Maulana Rumi is probably the most widely read book. Our culture is rich with anecdotes that contain invaluable advice on manners and morals. Let’s examine one such story through a free rendering of the translation by Reynold A Nicholson. This is the story of Muhammad Khwarizmshah who conquered the city of Sabzawar. The city was known as a refuge for the wicked and Khwarizmshah’s troops eventually defeated them. The city’s inhabitants soon prostrated themselves before him saying: “Whatever you request by way of tribute or present, we will pay it at every fixed time”. Khwarizmshah replied that he would not save their lives unless they brought Abu Bakr to him. “Unless you bring me from your city one whose name is Abu Bakr, O people who have forsaken righteousness, I will mow you down like corn and will accept neither tribute nor blandishments.” The people offered him many sacks of gold and said: “Do not demand an Abu Bakr from a city like this. How should there be an Abu Bakr in Sabzawar or a dry sod in the river?”.

Khwarizmshah ignored the gold and said: “O you infidels, unless you bring me an Abu Bakr as an offering, your entreaties are of no avail. I am not an innocent that I should be struck dumb by gold and silver. Unless you prostrate yourself in humble submission to God, you will not escape your punishment”. The inhabitants then dispatched emissaries to inquire as to where an Abu Bakr could be found in such a depraved city. After searching for three days and three nights, they found an emaciated Abu Bakr. He was a traveller who, on account of his illness, had remained in a corner of a ruin in a state of utter exhaustion. When the emissaries saw him, they cried: “Arise! The sultan has demanded your presence. You will be the one to save the city from slaughter”. He replied: “If I was able to walk, or any other means of travel, I would have gone on my way to my own destination a long time ago. Why then would I remain in this abode of my enemies? I would rather have pushed on to the city of my friends”. The emissaries brought a bier and lifted Abu Bakr onto it so he could be taken to Khwarizmshah. In this parable, Sabzawar represents this world and mankind is good for nothing. The inhabitants of Sabzawar should find a person who has

Eye Scan Could Predict Heart Disease smoke. From this, the software is then able to predict how likely they are to suffer from heart issues. The technology has been built in collaboration with Verily, the health tech subsidiary of Google’s parent firm Alphabet. Using scans of the eye to build a more general health picture has been used in medical research before – the amount of blood vessels that can be seen via microscopic scans of the back of the eye make it a sound location to gain an insight into the body’s general health. Artificial intelligence and machine learning being used to improve medical treatment, particularly around diagnosis or ailment identification, are becoming steadily more common. Last year an algorithm that could identify skin cancer was unAn original image of the interior rear of the eye (left) and a veiled by researchers at second where Google’s algorithm has highlighted blood Stanford university. vessels in green to predict blood pressure (Google/Verily)

Eye scans processed by machine learning could be used to spot early signs of heart disease, according to the research. Scientists at Google have discovered a new way to assess someone’s risk of developing heart disease – a scan of a patient’s eye that uses machine learning to predict their chances of being affected. The technology takes data gathered from the eye scan, such as a patient’s age, gender, blood pressure and whether or not they

Gene Causing Diabetes Researchers have identified a new gene that is thought to be critical in the regulation of insulin — the key hormone in diabetes — from a family with both high and low blood sugar conditions. Besides Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, nearly 1-2 per cent of cases of the blood sugar condition is due to impairment in a gene called MAFA, that can impair production of insulin and also cause insulinomas — insulinproducing tumours in pancreas, the study showed. Insulinomas tumours are typically caused by low blood sugar levels, in contrast to diabetes which leads to high blood sugar levels. The study, published in the journal PNAS,

also observed that males were more prone to developing diabetes, while insulinomas were more commonly found in females, but the reasons behind this difference are as yet unknown. This is the first time a defect in MAFA gene has been linked with a disease. The resultant mutant protein was found to be abnormally stable, having a longer life in the cell, and therefore significantly more abundant in the beta cells than its normal version. For the study, the team examined the unique case of a family where several individuals suffered from diabetes, while other members developed insulinomas in their pancreas.

a pure heart. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) has said: “God does not pay attention to your outward form; therefore seek out the owner of the perfect heart”. God says: “I see you as the owner of the heart, not as he who prostrates himself in prayer and the giver of charities alone”. If you give priority to your own needs, you have abandoned the search for “the real heart”. The owner of the real heart becomes a six-faced mirror through which God looks out in six directions. Whoever dwells in the world of six directions, God sees him as the owner of the real heart. God rejects or accepts – He is the lone authority. God lays His gift on the palm of his hand and dispenses it to those who are the objects of His mercy. His bounty is unqualified and unconditional and perfect. If you bring a hundred sacks of gold, God will say: “Win the heart of a saint and approach Me through him. If the saint is pleased with you, I am pleased; if he is averse to you, I am averse. I do not regard you, I regard that real heart; bring it to me as a gift”. The real heart is the originator of all creatures. A person who knows the difference between the real heart and his skin is truly blessed. But it is not possible to find such a heart in Sab-

zawar. You will say: “O king! There is no better heart than this in Sabzawar”. God will answer: “Is this a graveyard that you should bring me a dead heart?” Go bring the heart that is kingly upon which the security of Sabzawar’s existence is derived. There is a hereditary enmity between that heart and the wicked nature of Sabzawar. The heart is like a falcon while this world is the city of the crow. And if a human being behaves with mildness, he is seeking an advantage for himself by conciliating the owner of the real heart. He doesn’t do this with sincerity but in order to avoid admonition. For this carrion-seeking crow knows a thousand tricks. If the saints accept his hypocrisy, he is saved. We must seek the owner of the real heart and become congeners of the heart. But someone whose hypocrisy pleases you is merely your saint, not a representative of God. We must renounce our wicked nature to allow the spiritual scent to become a part of us. Our minds have become corrupted by sensual indulgence and have lost their ability to recognise the spiritual scent. Email:

UK Unveils Extremist Content Blocking Tool The British government has unveiled a tool that can accurately detect extremist content and block it from being viewed. Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the media that she would not rule out forcing technology companies to use it by law. The tool was made as a way to demonstrate that the government’s demand for a clampdown on extremist activity was not unreasonable, Rudd said. “It’s a very convincing example of the fact that you can have the information you need to make sure this material doesn’t go online in the first place,” she told the media. Thousands of hours of content posted by the Islamic State (IS) terror group was run past the tool, in order to “train” it to automatically spot extremist material. The government provided £600,000 of public funds

towards the creation of the tool by an artificial intelligence company based in London. According to ASI Data Science, the software is capable of detecting 94 per cent of IS’s online activity, with an accuracy of 99.995 per cent. The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, launched last year, brings together several governments including the US and UK, and major internet firms like Facebook, Google, Twitter and others. However, the bigger challenge is predicting which parts of the internet the terrorists will use next. The Home Office estimates that between July and the end of 2017, extremist material appeared in almost 150 web services that had not been used for such propaganda before.

Benefits Of Sesame Seeds Sesame seeds have health benefits — while the antioxidant properties present in the seeds help in antiageing, the rich omega fatty acids content triggers hair growth, say experts. * It promotes glowing skin and helps in healing skin. Sesame seeds help the skin remain warm and moist. They are rich in anti-inflammatory properties that are vital in healing redness and other facial skin issues by getting rid of pathogens and other agents causing skin infections. Mix one tablespoon olive oil and two tablespoons of powdered sesame seeds. Apply this mixture on your face after dampening it. Follow the same exercise once or twice a week. * Benefits of sesame are not only for skin, but also for hair. It is said to trigger hair growth by nourishing the roots with its rich omega fatty acids content. It also helps in moisturising the scalp and improves blood circulation to rejuvenate hair follicles. Add two teaspoons of sesame oil to 2-3 drops of rosemary essential oil and one tablespoon of aloe vera gel. Apply this mixture on your scalp and massage gently with circular motions for twice or thrice a week and rinse your hair with a chemical-free shampoo and

conditioner. * They contain the highest amount of oil contents as compared to any other seed which is healthy to consume. It helps in removing the dental plaque and boosts our oral health. * Sesame seeds enhance our digestive health by relieving constipation. * It is also beneficial for people who are under radiation treatments for cancer. * The components of sesame seeds, like magnesium, helps in maintaining the level of insulin and glucose and reduces the chances of diabetes. The rich magnesium content is also ideal to reduce hypertension. * Sesame seeds also contain antiaging properties which nourish the hair and avoid the hair greying. * It also reduces the inflammation in joints, bones and muscles. But remember not to consume the excessive amount of sesame seeds because too much of anything is not good for our health. * With the presence of natural antioxidants and natural SPF, sesame keeps the skin protected from the sun’s UV rays as well as protects it from free radicals. Sesame has been traditionally used in several therapies worldwide for these properties.

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THE FUNCTION OF THE KIDNEY The function of the kidney Kidneys are a pair of bean shaped organs, each about 1015cm long. Some are born with one kidney and still can proceed with a healthy life style and in rare cases people are born with three kidneys and likewise remain healthy. The main job is to cleanse the blood of toxins and transform the waste into urine. The bladder stores the urine which flows from the kidneys to the bladder through two thin tubes of muscle called ureters. When the bladder reaches its capacity, signals are sent to the brain to alert that micturition may occur. Urine flows out of the body through a tube called the urethra, located at the bottom of the bladder. Your body takes nutrients from food and uses them to maintain all bodily functions including energy and self-repair. After the body has taken what it needs from the food then all that is left is waste products, these are left behind in the blood and the bowel. The waste products are left in the form of urine. The urinary system removes a type of waste called urea from your blood. Urea is produced when foods containing protein, such as meat, poultry, and certain vegetables, are broken down in the body. Urea is carried in the blood stream to the kidneys.

The kidneys are vital in keeping the body functioning because they keep the composition of the blood stable, as they firstly prevent build up of toxic wastes and extra fluid build-up, in addition to this they make hormones that help regulate blood pressure, make

red blood cells and make bones stay strong. The kidney is not just a singular filter in fact it is made up of millions of filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron filters a small amount of blood. Each nephron filter consists of other filters known as the glomerulus and a tubule. The process of filtration is a two stepprocess, the glomerulus release fluid and waste products pass through it, however it prevents blood cells and large molecules, mostly proteins from passing. The filtered fluid then passes through the tubule, which sends needed minerals back to the bloodstream and removes wastes. The remains are called the urine. At times the kidneys could begin to deteriorate in terms of health and there are certain diseases or conditions people may come across. One common disease is urolithiasis, which is the formation of stony concretions made of minerals and salts within in the bladder or the urinary tract, also known as a kidney stone. Passing kidney stones can be quite painful, but the stones don’t usually cause permanent damage. The solid concretions, are most likely to form if you don’t drink enough fluids, after the formation of a kidney stone, your body will attempt to pass it out when you go to the toilet, in the urine. So, you want to ensure that you keep your body hydrated so your urine is kept diluted to prevent waste products forming into kidney stones.

Driving Laws That Are Changing In 2018 There were many changes to the laws governing driving last year in Britain. Penalties for speeding and using a mobile phone in the driving seat increased while vehicle taxation also changed. And there are plenty more changes coming this year. Changes to the MOT are coming in making it harder for diesel cars to pass it. There will be new fines for misusing the motorways, tax increases for diesel car owners, learners will be allowed on the motorways and young drivers may be banned from the roads at night. MOT SHAKE-UP Tougher emissions tests will be brought in this year for all diesel cars which will effectively make it harder for them to pass an MOT. In another shake-up all cars tested from May will be now be rated in three categories: Dangerous, Major and Minor. Any cars which are rated Major or Dangerous will automatically fail. Cars with Minor defects will be allowed to pass and the faults will be recorded. Any vehicle that has a diesel particulate filter (DPF) that looks as if it's been removed or tampered with will not pass unless there is proof it has been done so for filter cleaning. Any car that has been fitted with a DPF that gives out "visible smoke of any colour" during tests will get a Major fault and also automatically fail. Under the new criteria, steering is also to be looked at. A steering box leaking oil would get a Minor fault but if the oil was dripping badly it would be pushed up to Major and fail. The new rules come into force on May 20, 2018. FINES FOR MISUSING MOTORWAYS Drivers could get new fines for breaching rules on motorways. Highways England is using cameras on smart motorways to catch people misusing the hard shoulder - which can be opened as a fourth lane to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion and closed if an accident takes place. New roadside cameras are already being tested but expected to be introduced from March, according to a leaked document from the agency. Highways England is reportedly concerned that drivers are ignoring signs that say the fourth lane is closed - and has already issued 80,000 warning letters to motorists who have broken the laws since 2016.

in line with the passenger’s shoulders. In addition, all children below 15 months old must now travel in a backwards-facing car seat. All children must use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first. Children over 12 or more than 135cm tall must wear a seatbelt. The law states LEARNER DRIVERS ALLOWED ON MOTORWAYS that children of all ages should not travel in the Learner drivers will be allowed on motorways front of the car unless no other seat is available because it is far safer, but it is not illegal to do so. before they pass their test. They will have to be accompanied by an approved instructor and in a car fitted with dual And don't forget the driving test has changed. controls - meaning both the student and in- In December 2017, the driving test changed structor have their own brake and clutch pedals. dramatically with a number of features being dropped and some new ones added. The pass mark has stayed the same - no more A TAX HIKE FOR DIESEL CARS A tax increase for newly registered diesel cars is than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangercoming into force on April 1. The first-year Ve- ous faults will get you a pass. hicle Excise Duty (VED) is going up by one band. The overall time of the driving test won’t This means a Ford Fiesta would see a one-off in- change, it will still be around 40 minutes. Most crease of £20 while other cars could be hit by a importantly, there’s no financial impact - the driving test cost will also stay the same. tax of up to £500. The changes apply to those vehicles that do not The previous ten minutes of independent drivmeet the Euro 6 engine requirements under the ing was increased to 20 minutes using a sat-nav new Real Driving Emissions (RDE). But there is OR traffic signs. The examiner will decide if road no new diesel car on sale that meets the stand- signs or sat-nav will be used for this part of the ard, so they will currently all be subject to a tax test. You might have spotted that in the previous secincrease. tion - the sat-nav was introduced to the driving YOUNG DRIVERS COULD BE BANNED FROM test. The equipment is provided and set by the examiner and all will use a standardised TomTHE ROADS AT NIGHT A new 'Graduated Driving Licence' is being pro- Tom Start 52 model. Four in five people doing posed to make it safer for young people on the their driving test will be asked to use the sat-nav. roads. The changes, which would apply to 17 Previously you would have been asked to demto 24-year-olds, could see them being banned onstrate one of four manoeuvres on your driving test. But in the new test, the ‘reverse around from driving after dark . Figures show drivers in that age bracket are in- a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvre will volved in a quarter of all crashes on UK roads no longer be tested - although the DVSA say you should still be taught them by your instructor. that lead to death or serious injuries. The new system may also restrict the engine size That means you’ll be tested on one of the folallowed for new drivers in the hope it may stop lowing three manoeuvres: parallel park at the "boy racers" out revving their engines on the side of the road; park in a bay - either driving nation's roads. A second test after passing this in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out; pull up on the right-hand side of the road, probationary period could even be added. reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic. The ‘show me’ and ‘tell me’ questions about car CHILDREN’S CAR SEATS Rules around child car seat safety have changes safety changed slightly. You are still asked the ‘tell me’ question at the start of the test but the significantly. You can now no longer buy new backless boost- ‘show me’ question is asked during the test - for er seats for children weighing less than 22kg, or example, demonstrating you know how to use shorter than 125cm, with high back seats fea- the windscreen wipers. turing guides to lower the level of the seatbelt It is understood a new punishment of a fixed penalty charges of £100 and three penalty points could be introduced for those who break the rules. Sections of the M1, M4, M5, M6 and M42 have been converted to smart motorways.

Mr Shumile J. Chishty

The Most Corrupt Countries In The World The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) - a list of the world's most and least corrupt countries - for 2017 has just been released and it's not looking good. The index by Transparency International, which ranks 180 countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, uses a score of zero to 100. The closer the score is to 100, the better a job the country is doing at preventing corruption, while a score below 50 suggests that a country has a serious problem. New Zealand tops the index, while the Nordic nations - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - shine. But, disturbingly, two-thirds of countries scored below 50, with an average score of 43. And it doesn't look like the situation will improve anytime soon. The majority of countries are moving slowly in their efforts to stop corruption. In the last six years, many have made little to no progress. Some countries have significantly improved their score - including Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and the United Kingdom - while others declined, including Syria, Yemen and Australia. Unsurprisingly, the countries with the lowest protections for press and NGOs (non-governmental organisations) also tend to have the worst rates of corruption. Almost all journalists killed since 2012 were killed in corrupt countries. The CPI, one of the best-known measures of corruption, takes data from a range of institutions, but predominantly considers surveys of business people from across the globe. Transparency International, said: “No activist or reporter should have to fear for their lives when speaking out against corruption. Given current crackdowns on both civil society and the media worldwide, we need to do more to protect those who speak up”. Obviously, we should take this ranking with a pinch of salt. The index generally measures the perception of corruption, so might no represent actual corruption. Plus, it is impossible to number properly compare the complexities and differing struggles between countries.

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Saudi Arabia Building The World’s Tallest Skyscraper At 2,717 feet, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai reigns as the tallest tower in the world. But by 2020, a new skyscraper may claim that title. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is building a high-rise that will stretch 3,280 feet into the sky. Called the Jeddah Tower, the building will serve as the centerpiece for a larger redevelopment called the Jeddah Economic City. The tower is under construction in Jeddah, a port city in Saudi Arabia. The design will feature a pointy summit and over 200 floors. Inside, it will have restaurants, hotel rooms, apartments, and a shopping mall. Essentially, the tower may serve as a mini-city. The building's 157th floor will have the world's tallest observation deck. For perspective, the deck will rise 55 stories higher than the one at Manhattan's Freedom Tower. The Jeddah Tower will cost Jeddah Economic Company and Alinma Investment — the two groups financing the project — roughly $2.2 billion.

Formerly called the Kingdom Tower, the Jeddah Tower will stretch around 563 feet taller then the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. As of February 2018, 60 floors are complete. In Basra, Iraq, architecture firm AMBS has proposed another skyscraper, called the Bride, that would be even taller than the Jeddah Tower. However, there are no definite plans to build it. Kingdom Holding Company, the development firm behind Jeddah Economic City, is billing it as a city of the future. Designed by HOK Architects, the city will host energy efficient homes, shops, a transit system, and offices. The city's construction will cost approximately $20 billion, stretch over two square miles, and open as early as 2026. The project is one of several ready-made cities that Saudi Arabia is building. The developers hope that Jeddah Economic City will attract "investors, tourists, as well as business opportunities that will break global records, becoming the first of its kind in city life."

Asma Jahangir: Pakistan Human Rights Champion Dies Prominent Pakistani human rights activist and lawyer Asma Jahangir has died at the age of 66. She reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken to hospital, where she later died. The pro-democracy activist championed women's rights throughout her career. She was imprisoned in 1983 and put under house arrest in 2007. Five years ago, leaked documents suggested that some intelligence officers had planned to kill her. Ms Jahangir called for an inquiry at the time, demanding the government "find the forces who wanted to silence" her. More recently she spoke out against BBC Persian journalists being put on trial in Iran, as part of her role as UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi led tributes to Ms Jahangir, saying her death was a great loss for the legal fraternity, and praying for her and her family. Punjab state chief Shehbaz Sharif tweeted that he was "deeply saddened" at the news. Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai called Ms Jahangir a "saviour of democracy and human rights". In her career, Ms Jahangir was a staunch defender of human rights and women's rights, and a pro-democracy activist, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She worked closely with her sister Hina Jilani on many of her endeavours. In 2014 Ms Jahangir told AFP news agency she had seen changes in the perception of human rights in Pakistan. "There was a time that human rights was not even an issue in this coun-

try," she said. "Then prisoners' rights became an issue." "Women's rights was thought of as a Western concept. Now people do talk about women's rights." Asma Jahangir's career: Trained as a lawyer and worked in Pakistan's Supreme Court from age 30 A critic of the military establishment Jailed in 1983 for pro-democracy activities Put under house arrest in 2007 for opposing military leader's removal of Supreme Court chief justice Co-founder of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and of the first free legal aid centre in Pakistan Co-founder of the Women's Action Forum, set up to oppose law that reduced a woman's testimony in court to half that of a man's The first female leader of Pakistan's Supreme Court bar association Winner of several awards including the Unesco/ Bilbao prize for the promotion of a culture of human rights and the French Legion of Honour Served as UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion and on human rights in Iran

WSC Delegation Attended The Seminar On ‘Freedom Of Expression And Of Press Pakistani Held Kashmir’ Organized By UKPNP In Leeds Reported by Munir Abro A seminar on Freedom of Expression and Press in Pakistani occupied Kashmir was held at Chapel Allerton Methodist church hall town Leeds organized by the UKPNP. Mr Shaukat Kashmiri, Fabian Hamilton, Shadow minister for the disarmament, spoke to the audience. World Sindhi congress also sent its delegation to the conference. Dr Hidayat Bhutto [WSC organizer for UK and Europe] and Dr Syed Alam Shah [member of organizing committee for UK and Europe] represented the World Sindhi Congress there. The conference was held to demonstrate how freedom of thought and expression and that of press is denied to the people of Pakistani held Kashmir. The freedom of expression and thinking is the fundamental rights of every person. No one can curb the freedom of others by imposing restrictions on them what to think or express in political societies today. The generalist and anchors persons cannot be restrained to express themselves by putting truth prior to any biases or fabrications, they speak truth and defend truth by depicting accurate facts and figures. Meanwhile, Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri said, “dictatorships and despotic rules cannot tactically restrain the freedom of people for a long time, nor do states and countries govern the minds but hearts of people, states are obliged to ensure the freedom of expression for the people of land, and also abolish the black laws, or the laws that violate the freedom”. Fabian Hamilton, shadow minister for the disarmament, spoke to the audience, he said, “All British Kashmiris say, they are not Pakistanis, they are not Indian, they are Kashmiris”, “we love Pakistan, we love India, but we love Freedom too. And we will have our free Kashmir”. Fariya Ateeq said, “Freedom of expression is a fundamental right, [but] whether we have that right or

not, unfortunately we are deprived of that right, and there are few tactics by state and [its] secret agencies to censure our opinion and thoughts.” Mr Gullam Hussain said, “it was very important issue [people of Pakistani held Kashmir are denied the freedom of expression, thought and press], that needs to be resolved as soon as possible’’. Dr Hidayat Bhutto said, “we have come here [to support] our Kashmiri friends, and show our solidarity [with them], that freedom of expression and press is basic right, should be given to every person, and nation”, “ we Sindhis are also occupied, our oppressor and occupier is same, and when occupier is supressing us, then we have to be united”, “hundreds of our political activists have been forcibly disappeared, still they are missing, and their families are wandering everywhere to find out their loved ones. Pakistan [security forces], not only have committed crime against Kashimir people but also against Sindhi and Baloch people, we are here to show our solidarity, and how united we are to show our strength because more united we stand and divided we fall, so we are with you the [political workers] of UKPNP and we support you by standing with you. Dr Syed Alam Shah said, “human freedom is the essence of human being, one cannot exist if he is politically dead. As Sartre believed that ‘I am condemned to be free’ and I am in bad-faith when I accept that I am not free, and for Heidegger, freedom is the gateway towards authenticity of ones’ [political] self, if one denies that he is not free, he falls prey to the inauthentic mode of his being in the [political] world. This is how we must defend our freedom, because we express ourselves through natural cum political freedom, we live because we are free, we die if we are not free. We must strengthen our sense of freedom and inculcate the values of freedom in the minds of our new generation to will and stand for equal

basic liberties and stand against political deter- tinue till the time we really have to see ourselves minism being imposed on free people of Lands. in our free Land”. Indeed, freedom defends justice, and justice is the primordial constituent of democratic societies, as Hazrat Ali says ‘societies can exist without God but not without justice’, so standing for freedom means defending justice and rule of law. This is how constitutional democracies have developed in the world today. When we talk about Pakistan, we are really confused to determine what kind of socio-political system is there to regulate the political basis of society, whether it is democratic or Saudanized Islamic society or militarized Pakistan being run by the Army chief or the team of core-commanders. The country where Prime Ministers are subject to the dictates of Army men, how could it defend the freedom of speech and expression for the common men in general and people of smaller provinces like Sindh and Dr Syed Alam Shah with Fabian Hamilton, Balochistan in particular.” “I never heard and Gullam Hussain people of Kashmir struggling for the right of self-determination, today I hear them when I am here to attend the conference that they want to liberate their land from the iron-fisted rule of militarized Pakistan. Today, the amnesty international decries intensifying crackdown on freedom of expression in Pakistan, it demonstrates that the enforced disappearances in country remains a wide-spread problem, as journalists, human rights defenders and internet bloggers are immediate subjects facing the wrath of state”. Dr Syed Alam Shah further said, “we will never give up our struggle to peacefully stand for the justice and rule of law, and our struggle for the right of self-determination would con-

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Voting Rights Of Overseas Pakistanis The Chief Justice of Pakistan has expressed appreciation and support for the efforts made by NADRA and the Election Commission of Pakistan towards the development of a system that would allow overseas Pakistanis to vote in Pakistani general elections. It is not clear whether this will involve coming to the Pakistan Embassy in London or the nearest consulate to exercise this right, but if that is the case, it could make it a very expensive business given travel costs in the UK. There are other countries that allow their citizens living abroad the right to vote. Britain does so but only for a limited period of 15 years after the person has left the UK to reside abroad. Canada does so for a much shorter period of five years after which a Canadian expat is no longer allowed to vote. Both these arrangements clearly imply that in order to be allowed to vote, citizenship is not enough. A British citizen living abroad for more than 15 years and a Canadian living abroad for more than five years would not lose his or her citizenship of Britain or Canada, but would not have the right to vote. This suspension of the right to vote is, again, not a permanent ban for life. If a British citizen returns to the UK after a stay of more than 15 years abroad, he or she would be entitled to get back on the electoral register and therefore be able to vote. What this implies is the fact that more important than citizenship is a direct connection with the country of origin which Britain believes cannot be maintained after an absence of 15 years and Canada, rather more strictly, believes is lost after just five years. Pakistan expats in the UK, for the most part, have been living for much longer than even 15 years. There are some Pakistani families into their fifth and even sixth generation in the UK, with many

never having ever seen Pakistan. In addition to this, Pakistani citizenship laws are not very definite. When one applies for the citizenship of another country, his or her Pakistani citizenship stands more or less infinitely. There is no prescribed period after which someone loses their Pakistani citizenship without reclaiming it. The concept of automatic lapse of citizenship does not exist in the case of Pakistan and citizenship automatically devolves from a father to his children and, by implication, to their children. So theoretically, our great-grandchildren, 20 generations later, would still be eligible for Pakistani citizenship and consequently to vote in Pakistani elections. That is something the authorities in Pakistan may not have considered. But what is of much greater importance is the issue of unity of expat Pakistanis living abroad. There is nothing more divisive than Pakistani politics and it may already be said that perhaps no single issue divides Pakistanis living in the UK more than a very unhealthy importation of Pakistani politics. Thus we have UK branches of most of the Pakistani political parties strutting around and showing their importance when, in fact and deed, they should have none because nothing of what they do impacts in any way on our lives here in the UK. These differences would multiply manifold when there is something on the line – votes. This preoccupation with Pakistani politics, already much more of a passion than it should be with many Pakistani expats – is, of course, bound to diminish as time goes on and a third or fourth generation of Pakistani expats comes up which is bound to have much less interest in Pakistani politics when the prospect of selling and buying of votes would be-

come a very real one. But worst of all, the chance of an increasing division along Pakistani political lines and, at least in the short term, the prospect of increasing interest in Pakistani politics, would shift the focus of the community from British politics where it should be; for here is where the future of this community lies. If our representation in British politics is not increased manifold, our prospects here will not improve and thus British politics is of far greater importance to us than Pakistani politics. The grant of voting rights to Pakistani expats in Britain will not serve that end. There is a huge argument about integration of Pakistani communities which have settled abroad in western countries and that argument will not be furthered by this arrangement and, in so far, will not be helpful for them. Of course, it is different in some countries, say of the Middle East, where Pakistani expats are not granted citizenship, where there is little or no local politics allowed and none in which expats are allowed to participate. These expats, since they are never granted citizenship, are obviously look-

ing to return to Pakistan one day and therefore a case may be made out for them to vote in elections in Pakistan. But for the vast majority of Pakistanis settled in the UK, USA or Western Europe, return to Pakistan is no longer an option, mainly for cultural reasons. Their children have been brought up in such a vastly different atmosphere, where the Urdu language is barely known to them, that they could not function if they were to return to Pakistan. It is difficult to see why people, who have no intention to ever return to Pakistan on a permanent basis, should be allowed to vote in Pakistani elections – and that must be the argument why they are not allowed to hold public office in Pakistan either. The possession of mere citizenship is not enough; there has to be a clear and demonstrable personal interest in Pakistan and this demonstration of personal interest has to go beyond watching Pakistani TV stations and supporting the Pakistan cricket team. Shahed Sadullah


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