Flashpoint – January 22, 2020

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What’s Happening?

 The news stories today report on Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP)’s role in a controversy surrounding a Pakistan film, outcome an alleged abduction and forced conversion case and the reality of a viral video claiming to show persecution of Hindus in Pakistan. Op-eds discuss US response to Pakistan’s performance on FATF recommendations, detention of rights activist Jalila Haider and the state’s role in protecting lives and property of its citizens.

Today’s News Stories

TLP controversy defers release of Pakistani film ‘Zindagi Tamasha’

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has postponed the release of feature film Zindagi Tamasha across the country, citing its potential to create unrest within the religious segments of society. The film, written by Nirmal Bano and directed by Sarmat Khoosat, was set to release on Jan 24. However, on Tuesday, the Sindh and Punjab governments moved to block the film’s release in the respective provinces after the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) announced protests against the film. Meanwhile, the Central Film Censor Board has decided to approach the Council of Islamic Ideology for critically reviewing feature film Zindagi Tamasha, said Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan

Read more in Dawn, The News, Express Tribune, Daily Jang

 Hindu girl suspected of forced conversion testifies before court

A Hindu girl, Mehak Kumari  from Jacobabad who her family reported to be abducted and forced converted has testified before the court that she converted to Islam and married a Muslim man of her own will. Mehak Kumari, now renamed Aleeza told the first Civil Judge and Judicial Magistrate Court that she wanted to go with her husand Ali Raza Solangi instead of her parents. The Judge Imtiaz Lakheer referred the matter to the Session Court, where the girl’s father Vijay Kumar pleaded that her daughter is a minor and should be reunited with her parents.

Read more in Daily Jang

 Viral video ‘showing’ persecution of Hindus in Pakistan filmed in Jodhpur, India

A viral video shared thousands of time on social media platforms in India as evidence of the persecution of Hindus in Pakistan found out to be fake. The video that shows two men beating a women and kidnapping a minor girl was portrayed as ‘evidence’ of persecution, abduction and forced marriages of Hindu girls in Pakistan’s Sindh province. However, a fact check by AFP revealed that the video was actually from Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. AFP said, “A reverse image search on Google using keyframes from the video found this video published on the YouTube channel of Indian Hindi-language newspaper Rajasthan Patrika on September 24, 2017.”

Read more in Express Tribune


Rights activist’s detention

In this editorial piece, Dawn censures the recent detention of rights activist Jalila Haider at Lahore Airport by the FIA. It says the humiliating treatment of the activist is inexplicable who asks for nothing more than what the constitution of the country guarantees. As per Dawn, Jalila Haider is the first female lawyer from Balochistan’s Hazara community, who came to public attention when she went on a hunger strike in 2018 to protest against the targeted killings of Hazaras in Quetta. The editorial says she was also named among the BBC’s list of 100 most inspiring and influential women around the world in 2019, and perversely, her achievements seem to have kindled the suspicions of ever-sensitive state functionaries. The newspaper questions how is raising a voice for those who have been denied their rights is a subversive activity? The newspaper calls for ending illegal detentions and taking action against those who detained Jalila to Pakistan’s global humiliation.

Read more in Dawn

A shameless surrender

An editorial piece in The Nation expresses its disappointment on the government’s surrender to extremist outfit Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan after it decide to halt the release of a Pakistani film ‘Zindgi Tamasha’ after protest and threats to the director of the film by the rightwing party. The Nation says the government surrendered to the TLP without a fight just days after the courts had given an exemplary punishment to 86 members of the extremist faction. It says the government instead of investigating and arresting the perpetrators of a clear crime of blackmail, decided to halt the release of the film for “reconsideration”. Why reconsider when the film has already been approved by all censor boards in Pakistan? The newspaper objects to the decision to send the film already cleared by the censor board to the CII where TLP will also have representation. CII has no mandate to review the film, The Nation argues, the government should stand with the decision of the censor board, it urges.

Read more in The Nation

US satisfied over Pakistan’s action on FATF goals

This editorial piece in Daily Nawaiwaqt says the United States’ Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells has expressed satisfaction on Pakistan’s measures to curb money laundering and terror financing in line with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The newspaper says Pakistan has successfully addressed all the issues that were highlighted by the US, that is why the US delegation expressed its satisfaction. The newspaper says Pakistan is helping the US with the Afghan peace process, now it is the US’ turn to return the favour. It says the US should play its role for resolution of Kashmir dispute.

Read more in Daily Nawaiwaqt

State is responsible for citizens’ safety

Another editorial piece in Daily Nawaiwaqt says the state is responsible for protecting the life and property of every citizen. The editorial says, the Islamabad High Court has expressed its displeasure on the government’s non-seriousness with regards to implementation of a report by Supreme Court commission on 2014 terrorist attack at the Islamabad Kachehri, where 11 people died including a judge. During the hearing of the case regarding implementation of the Supreme Court commission report, it was brought to the attention of the judge Athar Minallah that the government has not released the required funds. The judges in his remarks said that the state is responsible for protecting the citizens. If the government didn’t comply, then contempt of court case can be initiated against the concerned officials.

Read more in Daily Nawaiwaqt

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