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Legalizing Abortion: Argentina votes today!

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Legalizing Abortion

BUENOS AIRES: Lawmakers in Pope Francis’ native Argentina vote Wednesday on legalizing abortion, which if passed, would make it the most populous country in South America to allow women to terminate pregnancies.

The debate has divided Argentinian society. Though it has shed some of its traditionalism by pioneering the legalization of gay marriage in Latin America, it remains strongly influenced by the Catholic Church.

The Chamber of Deputies is deeply divided over the issue and after weeks of bitter debate, the result of Wednesday night’s vote is far from certain. Of the Chamber’s 257 deputies, 109 are expected to vote in favor of the bill, 117 against, with the remaining 29 undecided lawmakers casting the decisive votes in the lower house.

“Today we see an almost a neck-and-neck vote, with a slight advantage for those against the bill,” said Martin Maquieyra of President Mauricio Macri’s ruling Cambiemos party, who will vote against. Pro- and anti-abortion groups have called for demonstrations outside Congress today. 

As in most Latin American countries, abortion is illegal in Argentina, except in cases of rape or when the life or health of the woman is at risk. The new bill would decriminalize abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, and even afterward in cases where the fetus suffers from conditions not compatible with life outside the womb.

A piece published earlier: Experts here have concluded that more than two million babies die annually in the womb here in Pakistan. According to renowned gynecologist Dr. Sadia Ahsan Pal: “Unfortunately these are not backstreet abortions, these are numbers shared by Pakistan Demographic Health Survey and majority of them are married couples.” Answering to a query regarding family planning and societal outlaws, Dr. Sadia maintained that the ratio of contraceptive availability is merely 35% here. As a result, more and more duos opt for abortions. The President of National Committee of Mother and Child Health, Dr. Sadiqa Jaffrey explained that communal, moral and financial concerns are considered the basic triggers that pose severe threat to the life of expected ladies: “Women are not allowed to visit alone to the doctor, sometimes they don’t find transport and at other times they lack the financial means to travel.” As per the estimates, 300 out of 100,000 pregnant females have lost their lives owing to post hemorrhoid blooding, fits, and hypertension because of surplus and unintentional pregnancies. In this regard, senior gynecologist Professor Shabeen Naz held: “And last but not the least we should also advocate doctors and paramedics as well about advanced techniques of family planning because 80 percent deliveries have been done by midwives or local maternity centers in the country.” Experts here have further stressed that the administration should initiate more programs apropos family planning at once. Or else, the state of affairs will be poorer in the forthcoming years. (Published on 27th of October, 2016)

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UN peacekeeping chief to visit Pakistan

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MANHATTAN: UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix will visit Pakistan and three other South Asian nations to thank troop-contributors for their service and to update them on the ongoing reforms to strengthen the world body’s flagship activity.
Lacroix will visit Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and Pakistan from June 23 to July 3. He will visit Dhaka, Bangladesh, following which he will travel to Kathmandu. He will then travel to New Delhi, before concluding his trip to the region with a visit to Islamabad.
A note issued to correspondents Friday said that troops and police from these four countries together make up close to one-third of some 91,000 uniformed personnel across 14 UN peacekeeping operations.
The purpose of Lacroix’s visit is to “thank the four countries for their service and sacrifice in the name of peace, as well as to update on the ongoing reforms in the UN peace and security reform area, and specifically the UN Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative to make peacekeeping more focused, safer and stronger,” the note said.
The A4P initiative centers on three areas: refocusing peacekeeping with realistic expectations; making peacekeeping missions stronger and safer; and mobilizing greater support for political solutions and for well-structured, well-equipped, well-trained forces.
While in the region, Lacroix will meet with senior officials from all four countries, including government, military, and police officials.
Pakistan is one of largest contributors of uniformed personnel to UN Peacekeeping. It currently contributes nearly 6,000 military and police personnel to the UN peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Western Sahara.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has lauded Pakistan’s contribution to peacekeeping missions and paid tribute to those who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
Pakistan also hosts one of UN’s oldest missions — the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), which monitors the ceasefire line in the disputed state of Kashmir.
The group, established in 1949 to monitor the ceasefire line in Kashmir, is composed of 44 military observers and 23 international civilian personnel.

 

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Pakistan expresses concerns over humanitarian crisis in Yemen!

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Pakistan Saturday expressed its concerns over the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and urged all parties to return to the negotiation table as only a political settlement could ensure lasting peace in the country.
Addressing the Meeting of the Information Ministers of the Coalition Countries for the Support of Legitimacy in Yemen here, Shafqat Jalil, Additional Secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting who led the Pakistani delegation in the meeting, said Pakistan supported all peace efforts in Yemen and looked forward to an early cessation of hostilities in the country and its return to peace and tranquility.
The meeting was attended by Minister of Culture and Information of Saudi Arabia Dr. Awad bin Saleh Al-Awad and information ministers and delegates from the member countries of the coalition.
Shafqat Jalil told the meeting that Pakistan desired de-escalation of the ongoing crisis and an early commencement of negotiation among the rival factions, to restore peace in the country.
“Pakistan calls for the unconditional restoration of the legitimate government of President Abdurabuh Mansour Hadi and withdrawal of rebel forces from territories seized by them, including Sana’a,” he said.
He said the resolution passed by Pakistan’s parliament on April 10, 2015, endorsed these principles and strengthened the hands of the government for playing a positive and constructive role.
He said despite four years of war, peace in Yemen still remained elusive in spite of tireless efforts of the international community.
“The ongoing war in Yemen poses a serious threat to peace and stability of the entire region and, therefore, calls for our immediate attention,” he remarked.
He said the role of non-state factors in Yemen conflict was of particular concern for all regional countries and their unremitting attacks on civilian population and sensitive targets in Saudi Arabia were viewed as a threat to the entire Muslim world.
He said Pakistan was concerned and seized with the humanitarian situation in Yemen, which called for more concerted efforts at the global level to alleviate the sufferings of the Yemeni people.
Shafqat Jalil said Pakistan welcomed and appreciated the generous efforts of the international community, including those of the UN and OIC to help the Yemeni people through the provision of much-needed humanitarian aid.
Pakistan also contributed US$ 1 million worth of food assistance to Yemen last year; he recalled and lauded the Saudi initiative of providing relief to the war victims in Yemen.
Pakistan also appreciated the contribution of King Salman Relief and Humanitarian Aid Centre and Saudi for various humanitarian projects in the country since 2015, including its contribution to the UNICEF.

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Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud is the new TTP Leader

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KUNAR: The banned militant outfit TTP’s Shura Council has today disclosed the name of their new chief, 40-year-old Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud.

Noor Wali Mehsud will be their Amir after Mullah Fazlullah, who was droned to death on 14th June (2018) in Kunar Province (close to Pakistan border) like two of his predecessors. 

Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud who had got his Islamic edification at a number of seminaries in Pakistan had penned the details of planning the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud. 

Death of Mullah Fazlullah: 

Hours after COAS Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa left Kabul for Pakistan*, US armed forces carried out a drone attack here on Wednesday 13th June at 9 am local time, killing (Fazal Hayat, commonly known as) Mullah Fazlullah or Maulana Radio.**

Mullah Fazlullah was made the TTP chief when his predecessor Hakimullah Mehsud was droned to death in North Waziristan by US forces on 1st of November 2013. It is pertinent to mention here that Fazlullah was the first non-Mehsud*** to head TTP. 

Graves of Maulana Radio and his associates!

Afghan defense ministry spokesman proclaimed: “I confirm that Mullah Fazlullah, leader of the Pakistani Taliban, has been killed in a joint air operation – with the US – in the border area of Marawera district of Kunar province.”Confirming the death of Mullah Fazlullah, TTP said that Afghan intelligence service (National Directorate of Security/Riyāsat-e Amniyat-e Milli – NDS) provided information facilitating the drone attack. It is yet to be ascertained who got the head money of $5million****.

A spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan told:  “US forces conducted a counterterrorism strike June 13 in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization.”

According to sources while 3,739 were killed in 2012 by armed groups including TTP, the number came down to 748 deaths in 2017. Pakistan Military claims to have killed over 4000 TTP fighters.

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* So far Pakistan and Afghanistan have held seven meetings on Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Stability (APAPPS – formed following the deadly attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel that also claimed life of Afghan envoy to Pakistan) during 2018. In one such meetings Afghanistan has been asked by Pakistan to hand over 43 militants including Fazal Hayat.

* *Fazal Hayat/Fazlullah was called Maulana Radio as he also used to transmit broadcasts of his sermons on a clandestine local FM radio channel. 

***Mehsud is a tribe mostly based in South Waziristan Agency (in Pakistan).

****US designated him a global terrorist and put a bounty of $5 million.

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