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NEWS 17

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 07, 2014

Pakistani man challenges Christian Divorce Act in court LAHORE: A Pakistani man on Friday challenged the nearly 150-year-old Christian Divorce Act in a court so that he could separate from his wife without accusing her of adultery. Ameen Masih, who filed a petition in the Lahore high court, said, "I want separation but owing to complications in the Christian Divorce Act of 1869, I have no other option but to level an allegation of adultery against her. "I am not living happily with my wife over the past two years as I do not enjoy good relations with my inlaws." He said: "With pain I have to admit that I accused my wife of

adultery, which she never committed, in order to divorce her." Masih said divorces under the act had been tarnishing the image of innocent Christian women. The act enacted during the British Raj has legal lacuna that should be done away with, he said. Section 10 of the act should be declared ultra vires and in contravention of the Constitution, he added. "Only provision of divorce abridges the fundamental rights of Christians," he said. Masih asked the court to strike down the impugned section of the act so that Christian men could divorce their wives in a "dignified way".

Relatives of missing Baloch looking to UN as last ray of hope

Participants of the long march sit outside the National Press Club.

ISLAMABAD: After exhausting their years-long efforts, the relatives of the Baloch missing persons are now looking to the United Nations (UN) as the last ray of hope for the recovery of their near and dear ones. Mama Qadeer Baloch, who led the long march of the missing persons’ relatives to Islamabad from Quetta via Karachi, told a press conference on Saturday that they had lost hope in parliament, Supreme Court and other state institutions. The participants - 14 men, nine women and three children - started the long march from Quetta on October 27, 2013. The first phase, a 730-kilometre long march, ended in Karachi on November 23 and the second phase began in mid-December. “It was not easy to travel around 3,000 kilometres but the participants were determined to reach Islamabad and submit their demand to the UN,” said the 60-year-old Baloch rights activist outside the National Press Club (NPC). Mr Baloch claimed that he had come to Islamabad on the request of UN officials, adding: “We will submit our demand to the UN on Monday. “On our way to Islamabad, agencies threatened us. In Renala Khurd, a truck ran over the participants of the long march, leaving two of them, including a woman, injured. We handed over the driver to the police but he was released.” He said the marchers stayed in Renala Khurd for one week unsuccessfully trying to get a case registered against the driver but later decided to continue the journey. “In Gujranwala, we were stopped by the police and told to go back,” he said. Mr Baloch added that even on Friday night they were threatened by the agencies in Islamabad. “We were instructed to go back but we changed our residence and shifted to a building near the UN office,” he said. Mr Qadeer claimed that he was in

contact with the UN, adding: “The future of Balochistan has been decided and soon the people will know about it.” He also said the issue of the Baloch missing persons would also be decided within two months. “The government of Pakistan, parliamentarians and the Supreme Court are helpless in front of the agencies due to which the number of enforced disappearances is increasing.” He claimed that 19,200 persons had gone missing in Balochistan and bodies of another 2,200 had been recovered. The operation in Dera Bugti is still going on and on Saturday 19 persons were killed there,” he said. In reply to questions, Mr Qadeer said he was not getting any support from outside the country. Awami National Party (ANP) leader Bushra Gohar, who had come to receive the participants of the long mach, said the government should not ignore the protesters. “The government of Punjab has been making world records. The relatives of the missing persons have also made a record which will not be ignored by the international community. Parliament should listen to them,” she said. Farzana Majeed, one of the participants, said they had contacted politicians of Balochistan but they were helpless in recovering the missing persons. Farah Azeem Shah, a former member of the Balochistan Assembly, while talking to Dawn said she had come to show solidarity with the people of Balochistan. Afzal Butt, the president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), said it was the responsibility of the state to recover the missing persons. “Only those can understand the pain of the relatives of missing persons who have also lost their loved ones,” he said. Earlier, when the marchers reached the NPC, security guards closed its gates and did not allow them to enter the premises. The marchers chanted slogans against the management of the press club. However, the NPC management said the press conference of the long march participants was not scheduled.

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 07, 2014

LAHORE: A vendor preparing and selling traditional sweet ice-balls to the students outside a girls college.

Punjab breaks world record of waving national flag LAHORE: Sixty thousand people broke the world record of waving national flag at the National Hockey Stadium on Saturday. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also took part in the world record and waived the national flag for more than seven minutes along with other participants. Ambassadors of 14 countries watched the event. The chief minister also inaugurated the Punjab Youth Festival 2014. Speaking on the occasion, he congratulated the nation on setting the world record, saying the youth festival was promoting a soft image of the country. He said participation of foreign diplomats in the festival was a proof that Pakistan had no relationship with extremism and its people believed in tolerance. The chief minister was given a standing ovation when he reached the stadium. A display of fireworks was also arranged while the players also presented march past. An Indian contingent of players especially participated in the ceremony. Punjab Minister for Education and Sports Rana Mashhood, members of the national and provincial assemblies and people from various walks of life were present. Earlier, a 70-member sports contingent from Indian Punjab reached Lahore via Wagah to take part in the youth festival. Talking to reporters, Bhopinder Singh, head of the delegation, said his players could beat Pakistani players in all sports, however, their first priority was to win hearts of the people. Mr Singh said the way his delegation was accorded a warm welcome had proved the hospitality of Pakistani

Sixty thousand people broke the world record of waving national flag at the National Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

Punjab. He said the medium of sports always promoted love and he expressed hope the visit would help the people of across the border to forget bitter memories. Punjab Assembly member Madeeha Rana, who welcomed the Indian players, said that Pakistani Punjab had sent a kabaddi team to India last year and now they had come here. Madeeha further said that such kind of bilateral sports activities would help promote friendship between the two countries. Sundeep Singh, a member of the Indian Punjab’s kabaddi team, said he was happy as it was his first visit to Pakistan. He also said the sports ties could prove vital to bring the two countries closer. Anwar Rani, a member of the visiting women kabaddi team, said she was expecting a very tough competition against Pakistani rivals. The Indo-Pak Punjab Games will start from March 3.

Pakistani man challenges Christian Divorce Act in court

LAHORE: A young vendor arranging and displaying strawberries to attract the customers.

SHIKARPUR: An anti-terrorism court in Shikapur on Saturday convicted six men of murdering young television reporter Wali Babar, handing out death sentences to two and life imprisonment to four others. The landmark case marks the first time anyone has been convicted for killing a Pakistani journalist. Wali Babar, a 28-year-old journalist who worked for television channel Geo news, was shot dead on Jan 13, 2011 as he left his workplace in Karachi. In April 2011, the police arrested five men — Faisal Mehmood, Mohammed Ali Rizvi, Mohammad Shahrukh Khan, Syed Tahir Naveed Shah and Mohammed Shakeel — for the alleged involvement in the journalist’s murder. Two of the accused were sentenced to death in absentia today as they were never caught. One man, Mohammed Shakeel, was acquitted while the remaining four were sentenced to life in prison. Six witnesses, a lawyer and two policemen linked to the case have previously been murdered. Initially the case was being tried by an anti-terrorism court in Karachi. However, at the request of the Sindh government to transfer the trial from the metropolis in view of threats to the lives of case investigators, witnesses and prosecution lawyers, SHC Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar had ordered the transfer of the case to the KashmoreKandhkot district ATC for hearing at the Shikarpur District Prison.

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