Don’t clash with state, Pakistan’s PM Khan warns protesters

Don’t clash with state, Pakistan’s PM Khan warns protesters
Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the nation on television. (File photo, courtesy PM's Office)
Updated 01 November 2018

Don’t clash with state, Pakistan’s PM Khan warns protesters

Don’t clash with state, Pakistan’s PM Khan warns protesters
  • A small segment of society is inciting masses, PM Khan said
  • TLP supporters are protesting against the apex court verdict to free Christian woman

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday, warned protesters not take the law into their own hands. “I appeal to these elements ... do not clash with the state.”
He said the apex court verdict that Christian woman Asia Bibi, who was in jail on blasphemy charges but won her appeal against the death sentence, was according to the constitution.
The prime minister added that a small segment of society is inciting the masses for their own political purposes.
“Let me make it clear to you ... the state will fulfil its duty and protect people’s lives and properties,” he said. “I appeal to you ... do not take the state to a level where it has no option but to initiate action.” 
Khan said that the language being used against the Supreme Court judges who announced the verdict and against  Army Chief General Qammar Javed Bajwa was unbearable.
“Saying that the judges of the Supreme Court are ‘Wajib ul Qatl’ (liable to be killed) and that the army chief is a ‘non-Muslim,’ and calling for a revolt against the chief justice and army chief ... This is unacceptable,” the PM said.
The central leader of the far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan party (TLP), Afzal Qadri, issued a decree against the judges who released Asia.
Supporters of Khadim Hussain Rizvi, a hard-line cleric and chief of the TLP, are demonstrating against the verdict, holding sit-in protests in Karachi, Lahore, Multan and leading protest rallies in Islamabad and other cities. Clashes between the protesters and police have been reported.
The area known as Red Zone in Islamabad, where the Supreme Court, Parliament and other important building are located, has been sealed off to keep protesters away from the court.
Bibi was the first woman in the country who had been given the death sentence for blasphemy.
The three-member bench headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Saqib Nisar reversed two lower-court verdicts against Bibi and said she would be set free if she is not wanted in relation to any other case.


Afghan refugee helping war widows escape poverty cycle

Afghan refugee helping war widows escape poverty cycle
Updated 53 min 50 sec ago

Afghan refugee helping war widows escape poverty cycle

Afghan refugee helping war widows escape poverty cycle

KABUL: When Hanan Habibzai became a refugee in 2008, he left Afghanistan with a sense of responsibility toward all those left behind, especially widows and orphaned children.
As he made the UK his new home and managed to establish himself, Habibzai founded Helping Orphans in 2016, a charity that gives vocational training and literacy courses to women and children.
Helping Orphans estimates that there are as many as 3.5 million widows and 2.6 million orphans in Afghanistan today. Often uneducated, the women face few options if their husbands die, while children end up working out of necessity and never receive an education.
“What will happen to these children when they grow up? Their parents are taken away and they are left alone in poverty and hardship, and they have never been in school,” Habibzai told Arab News.
“What can we expect from these children when they grow and take control of their communities except problems? So, I established this charity to help vulnerable children and orphans join school. These are the exact reasons as to why I established Helping Orphans.”
As his family was displaced by the Afghan-Soviet war of the 1980s, Habibzai knows from his own experience what hunger and poverty mean. The situation in the country has become even worse now, he said, after the US-led invasion to oust the Taliban in 2001.
Before he left Afghanistan, Habibzai worked as a journalist, traveling across the country’s provinces, witnessing hopelessness and despair.
“Within the Afghan poverty-stricken and war-torn nation, I see displaced families, a refugee going through many difficulties, a 10-year-old orphan becoming responsible for feeding his family, or a woman who has lost her husband and now has to look after her children while she has nothing,” he said.

FASTFACT

Helping Orphans estimates that there are as many as 3.5 million widows and 2.6 million orphans in Afghanistan today. Often uneducated, the women face few options if their husbands die, while children end up working out of necessity and never receive an education.

“Today I live in the UK. I have everything here. My family and I have three full meals a day. But back in Afghanistan, there are many people who do not even have a single meal a day and are facing severe poverty and hardship.”
The latest survey by the UN indicates that 18 million people in Afghanistan — half of the country’s population — are in need of emergency aid.
In the beginning, through donations from individuals, Helping Orphans provided direct relief in the form of food and cash, but in June last year Habibzai realized that more sustainable efforts were needed.
In Kabul, the charity now enrolls children in school while their mothers take part in three-month courses to become tailors, allowing them to be self-reliant. About 20 women have completed the first training courses. One of them is Shamila, who lost her husband, a commando soldier, and was left alone with a young son about two years ago.
“The world had come to an end for me with the death of his father when my child wept,” she told Arab News.
“I joined the workshop of the charity, learned tailoring and it has been a big change both mentally and financially,” she added. “I am a tailor at home now. I earn money this way and have been able to stand on my feet.”
The charity is now planning to open more courses and teach other professions, like hairdressing, to help women provide for themselves.
“We want the aid to have a long-term impact on the lives of people, so beneficiaries can learn a profession,” said Helping Orphans Director Abdul Fatah Tayeb.
“We want them to learn how to fish rather than giving them a fish. The fundamental goal is to make people self-sufficient.”