New Delhi: A group of women polio workers from the Hayatabad Union Council in Peshawar, staged a protest against harassment by senior officers Saturday. The polio workers alleged that officials called them for meetings at any time and threatened them with removal if they did not oblige.
The protestors also submitted a written application against the officers responsible.
The workers highlighted how several women had lost their jobs because they refused to entertain the demands of seniors and many suffered from mental stress due to the rude behaviour of the officers.
The workers urged the health minister of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa district, Taimur Khan Jhagra, to take note of the situation or threatened to boycott the entire polio campaign.
According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Pakistan is the only country with consistent barriers preventing vaccination and the eradication of polio, which are linked to religious extremism and harassment of polio workers.
Polio workers are often harassed, and even killed in some cases, due to the narrative that vaccination is a western agenda forced upon Pakistan.
Local carpet industry in Pakistan adversely affected by pandemic
Pakistan’s hand-made carpet industry is in shambles due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The carpet industry in Pakistan’s northwestern province — the areas of Peshawar and across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — has been badly hit by the economic downturn of the past year and close to 17 large and small carpet factories have closed down, putting over 200 artisans out of work.
According to Hassan Khan, an Afghan businessman associated with Peshawar’s carpet industry for the past 40 years, the few remaining skilled weavers in the region are now finding other means of work amid the economic slowdown.
“Much of this is owed to Covid-19, which has put so many people across so many sectors in straitened circumstances. Our handmade carpets once sold like hot cake across western markets. But in the last eight months, with travel bans and falling economies, we’ve barely sold a carpet locally let alone in foreign markets,” he said.
The carpet industry in Peshawar is mainly driven by highly-skilled migrant Afghan workers, who came to Pakistan during the refugee movement in the late 1970s. Now, the sector has recorded a drastic fall in business. Carpets that were being sold for $150 (around Rs 11,000) some eight months ago are now being sold for as low as $50 dollars (Rs 3,700), according to Khan.
Pak regulatory body issues notice to Google, Wikipedia for ‘sacrilegious content’
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) — the country’s telecommunication regulatory body — has issued notices to Google Inc. and Wikipedia for “disseminating sacrilegious content” through the platforms.
Press Release: PTA issues Notices to Google Inc. and Wikipedia on account of disseminating sacrilegious content through the platforms. pic.twitter.com/AhG9PHCJS1
— PTA (@PTAofficialpk) December 25, 2020
The authority said it has received complaints regarding misleading search results associated with “Present Khalifa of Islam” and an unauthentic version of the Holy Quran uploaded by the Ahmadiyya Community on Google Play Store.
PTA said that the matter is of a very serious nature, and thus it has approached Google Inc with directions to immediately remove the “unlawful” content.
It added that in case the platforms remain non-compliant, PTA shall be constrained to initiate further action under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (PECA) and Rules 2020.
Seven deer die mysteriously in zoo
Seven spotted deer (Chital) mysteriously died in Bahawalpur zoo in the Punjab province of Pakistan Friday. According to eyewitness accounts, the deer collapsed while having their food and died soon after.
The zoo curator said they provided first-aid to the deers after their condition worsened, but seven out of 22 deers died. Spotted deer (Chital) are a rare species.
Wildlife Bahawalpur Division Deputy Director Rai Zahid Ali told a leading daily that it was premature to say anything about the cause of deer casualties but the “possibility of mischief could not be ruled out”.
He added that a three-member committee had been formed to probe the incident. Wildlife societies in Pakistan have condemned the action and have demanded action against those responsible.
This comes a day after an African giraffe worth $10 million died in a Peshawar zoo under mysterious circumstances.
The Islamabad High Court had earlier compared the condition of Pakistan’s zoos with concentration camps. The high court had also scolded the government for depriving two Himalayan bears of their natural habitat in the Margazhar zoo in Islamabad. The zoo also housed Kaavan — who was termed as world’s loneliest elephant — and was sent to Cambodia on 1 December after spending 35 years in the zoo.
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