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The Express Tribune Editorial 20 June 2020

Shooting at hospital


A man shot and wounded a doctor at the National Institute of Cardio-Vascular Diseases (NICVD) in Karachi late on Thursday night. A day earlier, the alleged assailant was reportedly refused treatment by another doctor at the hospital. The attacker worked for Counter-Terrorism Department, and had been suffering from a chest problem and fever for the past several days, according to a senior CTD official. He visited the NICVD on Wednesday to get sleeping pills prescribed as he complained that he had been unable to sleep for the past three days. The doctor advised him to avoid sleeping pills, saying consumption of sleep-inducing medicines was harmful to health. Upon this the attacker, named Kamran, left the place disappointed. He returned to the hospital the following night and asked for the doctor who had refused to prescribe him sleeping pills. Upon not finding that doctor, he entered the emergency room of the hospital and fired at another doctor with a pistol injuring him in both legs. The police have registered a case.
The senior CTD official says the detained cop had been unwell for the past several days and had been coping with mental health issues. In his statement to the police, the attacker said on Wednesday he visited the hospital upon feeling uneasy. He claimed that at the hospital the doctor ignored him and asked the patient standing behind him to move ahead of him, saying he felt let down by the doctor’s attitude. The shooting incident at the hospital exclusively meant for the treatment of heart patients raises important questions about security of physicians, patients, their attendants and all those working there. How a man carrying a firearm managed to enter the hospital where patients need an atmosphere of utmost calm. A man entering the hospital premises with a pistol exposes a serious lapse of security. Before this shooting incident, several cases of violence and rowdyism have occurred at government hospitals. The situation calls for immediate remedial measures.


Convictions at last


An anti-terrorism court has formally named MQM founder Altaf Hussain as the man who ordered the Sept 2010 murder of Dr Imran Farooq. A founder MQM member, Farooq was killed in a knife attack in London by Syed Mohsin Ali and Kashif Kamran (absconding) while Khalid Shamim and Moazzam Ali facilitated the two in the murder, agreed the court on Thursday and sentenced the three arrested convicts to life imprisonment and fines. The judge noted that the trial proceedings “proved that Altaf Hussain ordered the killing of Dr Imran Farooq”.
The judgment also calls on the governments of Pakistan and UK to track down and arrest Altaf Hussain, Iftikhar Hussain, Mohammad Anwar, and Kashif Kamran, bringing them before a court of law. The ruling says the murder was designed “to intimidate and overawe the public in general and workers of MQM in particular so that in future no one can raise voice against Altaf Hussain”. This is backed up by Farooq’s notes, which suggest he believed that he may be killed on the pretext of trying to take charge of the party, and the confession of Shamim, who assigned the other two men to stab Farooq.
The British High Commission called it a “ground-breaking piece of collaboration” between Islamabad and London. Indeed, the trial had been on hold for ages because of the initial hurdles in evidence sharing. This was because Britain was unwilling to share evidence that might lead to death sentences for the accused. Many nations similarly bar deportation of suspects who would face a more severe penalty in a foreign court than the one given by domestic ones, or when the foreign crime is not a crime in the local jurisdiction. Pakistan had to agree to limit the maximum penalty to life imprisonment to get evidence sharing rolling.
The MQM founder already faces a separate terrorism case in Britain relating to an incendiary speech. Pakistan being open to such cooperation may open the door for him and dozens of other absconders to eventually face punishment in the land they have terrorised for so many years.


India at UNSC


India’s unopposed election to the United Nations Security Council does raise a big question mark on the performance of Pakistan’s foreign ministry. India’s election to a principal organ of the world body as one of its 10 non-permanent members for a two-year term comes at a time when New Delhi’s reign of terror in occupied Kashmir is at its peak; and Modi and Co is trying every barbaric tactic — like the incessant lockdown of the whole valley — to coerce innocent Kashmiris into accepting its illegitimate rule, being imposed through Articles 370 and 35A.
For a seat from the Asia-Pacific region, India was voted for by 184 countries out of the 192 that participated in the election — something which shows an overwhelming global support for the country, and which is akin to an overwhelming global opposition to Pakistan’s stance that India does not qualify for the prestigious UNSC seat in view of its grave human rights violation in Kashmir and its disregard towards the UNSC resolutions themselves that call for a plebiscite for the Kashmiris to determine their fate themselves.
India’s election by a big margin — especially with no-one opposing — is indeed an example of Pakistan’s poor diplomacy. While the result ensures that India will now share the table with China — just days after the two disputed their Himalayan border, trading blame for a brawl that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead — it is particularly significant for Pakistan which faces several diplomatic challenges from its archrival at the United Nations.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, our foreign minister, however, does not agree. He says that if India has friends at the UNSC, so does Pakistan. “Our friends are present there permanently and if India wants to scheme against us after getting elected, then we can have their [schemes] blocked via our friends,” he said during a recent TV interview.
Let alone the opposition, one of Qureshi’s own party colleagues is not ready to accept his defence. Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari says that India’s election as UNSC’s non-permanent member gives its oppressive tactics against Kashmiri civilians as well as its illegitimate actions against Pakistan, China, and Nepal a ‘quasi political legitimacy’. This also poses a question that flies in the face of the UN charter.
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