February 2020




The Newspaper’s Correspondent March 01, 2020

KASUR: Five labourers were burnt alive on Saturday, while at least eight others suffered injuries when the boiler of a paper mills exploded on Multan Road near Jamber village, in the limits of Phoolnagar Saddar police station.

According to locals, panic gripped the Century Paper Mills and its adjacent localities on Saturday morning when the boiler of the mills exploded with a bang. As a result, a major portion of the mills near the boiler was completely destroyed.

The explosion was so loud that, initially the locals took it for a bomb blast.

Rescue 1122 personnel, including fire fighters, who were called to the spot, with the help of mills workers, retrieved the bodies of the dead labourers and the injured ones from the rubble.

Those who died in the explosion were identified as Arif, Nabeel, Maratab Ali, Danish and Ajmal, while the injured included Maqbool, Irfan, Riaz, Adnan and Maqbool.

The injured labourers were initially rushed to Phoolnagar Trauma Centre, from where they were referred to the Jinnah Hospital, Lahore, because of their critical condition.

Rescue 1122 fire fighters put out the fire after making efforts for several hours.

Locals said that following the explosion, the mills administration immediately locked the gates and did not let anyone enter the premises, including local media persons.

A heavy police contingent also reached the mills and started investigations.

Later, on the complaint of a policeman, Muhammad Yousaf, of Phoolnagar Saddar police, a case was registered against the mills administration under Section 322 of the Pakistan Penal Code, without any person being nominated in the FIR.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2020




Amin Ahmed Updated February 19, 2020

ISLAMABAD: While female labour force participation in both Pakistan and India is below 30 per cent (half of the global average), the two neighbouring countries seem to be heading in different directions, with Delhi recording an average decrease of one per cent and Islamabad witnessing 2pc rise in female labour force participation in recent decades.

These findings were part of an International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) study titled “Women in the Labour Force: The Role of Fiscal Policies”.

According to the IMF staff report, women in most countries do not have same opportunities as men have to participate in economic activities. Although the gender gap in labour force participation has declined substantially over the past 30 years, average female labour force participation remains well below the male rate.

Increased female labour force participation and stable male labour force participation led to a seven percentage point decline in the global gender gap in labour force participation, which fell to 20 percentage points in 2018. On an average, only 60pc of 15- to 64-year-old women were in the labour force in 2018, compared with 80pc of men. However, in 21 countries, including India, Pakistan and Egypt, female labour force participation was below 30pc.

IMF report finds overall decline in gender gap, but women’s participation is still far less than men’s as they do not get same opportunities

Female labour force participation varied widely across countries, from 15pc in Algeria and Jordan to 86pc in Iceland. This reflects historical differences in economic and social structures that have affected women’s economic opportunities.

Countries also differ greatly in the growth of female labour force participation since 1990. Globally, about one-quarter of countries experienced declining female labour force participation, with countries such as India and Sri Lanka facing an average annual decrease of one per cent between 1990 and 2018, whereas Pakistan, Peru and Spain experienced average annual increase of 2pc.

“The average female labour force participation rate across countries is still 20 percentage points lower than the male rate, and gender gaps in wages and access to education persist,” the report says.

Many countries have adopted fiscal policy measures to promote gender equality since the mid-1980s, it mentions. Countries use tax and expenditure policies to address gender inequality and the advancement of women in areas such as education and economic empowerment.

As of 2018, at least 80 countries have used gender-responsive fiscal policy interventions to reduce gender inequality.

Women’s economic empowerment is key to growth both through the direct impact of the size of the labour force on output and productivity and through higher domestic demand. Greater participation of women in the labour force also brings greater diversity that can foster new ideas for production and management, boosting aggregate productivity. A wide range of country and regional case studies provide further support for the positive relationship between female labour force participation and growth.

The IMF findings confirm that the gender-responsive fiscal policies can support female labour force participation and have important macroeconomic and distributional effects. The analysis highlights the key channels through which policies impact women’s participation in the paid workforce, economic growth, income inequality and poverty, rather than considering trade-offs among the different measures and ranking them.

The impact and transmission channels of different fiscal interventions depend on both the design of the measures and a country’s features, such as its level of development, labour market and economy structures, education gaps between men and women, and the degree of discrimination against women’s economic empowerment.

In advanced economies, removing tax provisions that discriminate against secondary earners would have a very significant positive impact on female labour force participation for economic growth, at no fiscal cost in the long run. The measure would also increase the progressivity of the tax system, with a positive impact on both inequality and poverty.

However, this measure could potentially have a negative impact on some married, single-earner households. Subsidising childcare and providing paid maternity leave would boost economic activity supported by an expansion of female labour force participation, mostly among women with low and moderate skills.

In low-income countries, investing in education and in infrastructure projects that have higher return for women, such as for safe water, would have the largest economic and social payoffs while boosting female labour productivity. While investing in education is important for shaping future labour force productivity, financial support to less privileged women in the labour force can help reduce poverty in the meantime.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2020



PPI February 21, 2020

KARACHI: The Sindh government and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have agreed to launch two different projects for improvement of livelihood and well-being of women home-based workers and establishment of a maternal and child health centre at Liaquat University Hospital, Jamshoro, worth Rs4.16 billion.

JICA would also provide technical and engineering solution to traffic congestion in Karachi.

This decision was taken in a meeting between Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah and JICA president Shinichi Kitaoka. Japan’s Consul General at Karachi Toshikazu Isomura, Hiroo Tanaka and JICA’s senior executives Shone Hara, Nobuhiro Kawatani also attended the meeting.

The CM said that his government had submitted a concept paper of the project ‘Improvement of Livelihood and Well-being of Female Home-based Workers’. The concept paper was approved in the larger interest of women workers and, therefore, he wanted the project to be started this year.

The JICA president agreed to start the project this year and complete it in 2023. The overall size of the project has been estimated at Rs541.086 million of which JICA’s share would be Rs435.729m.

The remaining amount would be provided by the Sindh government.

The project is about improving the livelihood skills and managerial abilities of workers and mainstreaming them in formal labour market.

Another project which came under discussion was the establishment of maternal and child health centre at Liaquat University Jamshoro. The cost of the project would be Rs3,623.040m of which JICA’s share would come to Rs181.152m and the rest of the major amount would be provided by the provincial government.

The project approved in the meeting would be started this year and be completed within two years by 2022.

The CM told JICA’s delegation that the issues of traffic congestion in Karachi were on the increase day by day. Widening of roads and construction of flyovers and underpasses had served little to resolve the issue, he added.

He said better traffic engineering was the only solution to resolve the issue. The JICA president assured the CM that his experts would provide traffic engineering solution for the city. He added that his team would survey roads and conduct a study so that a solid solution could be given.

Planning and Development Chairman Mohammad Waseem would coordinate with JICA team for starting the survey and study.

The JICA delegation also held out assurance to support the urban transport development.

The meeting also reviewed the progress of JICA-sponsored projects.

Mr Waseem while briefing the meeting said that sustainable livestock development in rural areas of Sindh was launched in 2013 for Rs910m with Rs227.06m Sindh government’s share.

The project is aimed at increasing rural farmers’ income and assets in the province through increasing milk and meat production. The project would complete at the end of 2020.

The Sindh government with the assistance of JICA upgraded a 70-bedded children’s hospital in North Karachi to 200 beds. The project was started in 2012 and was completed in 2015 at a cost of Rs1,137.061m in which the Sindh government share was Rs227.061m while JICA provided Rs910m.

Mr Waseem told the meeting that the hospital was functional and providing healthcare services to the children of the area. The visiting team expressed satisfaction over the project.

The education department had launched a project to upgrade girls’ elementary schools to primary schools in rural areas of the province for Rs2,076.98m in which JICA shared Rs1,667.96m whereas the Sindh government gave Rs409.02m.

The meeting was told that the project was started in 2013 and was completed in 2013.

Under the project, 54 primary schools have been upgraded in northern and southern districts of the province. Of these 54 schools, 29 have been upgraded in six

southern districts and 25 schools in northern districts.

Describing JICA as one of the best development partners of the Sindh government, the CM presented a shield, ajraks and Sindhi caps to the visiting guests.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2020




Nasir Iqbal Updated February 05, 2020

ISLAMABAD: A former additional district and sessions judge who was convicted of physically abusing a child domestic worker has approached the Supreme Court seeking a review of its Jan 10 verdict that upheld that sufficient evidence existed the warrant an enhancement of his sentence.

The petition, moved by advocate Raja Rizwan Abbasi on behalf of Raja Khurram Ali Khan, seeks to set aside a Jan 10 verdict authored by Justice Yahya Afridi.

Exercising jurisdiction under Article 187 of the Constitution, the judgement issued notices against Khan and his spouse Maheen Zafar to explain why their sentences for the commission of the offence punishable under section 328-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) should not be enhanced to serve justice.

PPC section 328-A deals with the offence relating to cruelty to a child. Its provisions suggest that the sentence should not be less than a year and may be extended to three years if the offender wilfully assaults, mistreats, neglects, abandons or carries out an act of omission or commission that has the potential to harm or injure a child by causing physical or psychological injury to the child.

Khan and Zafar were convicted of physical abuse of a child employed as a domestic worker in their home. They are serving their sentences in Central Jail Adiala.

Petition claims Jan 10 verdict suffers from manifest defects and was in conflict with natural justice

The SC took notice of this case, known as the Tayyaba case, after it was highlighted in the media when it was reported that the victim’s family had reached a settlement in January 2017 with the offenders. The court had observed that no agreement could be reached in matters relating to fundamental rights.

On Dec 28, 2016, a complaint was made to the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau office in Rawalpindi about the mistreatment of the victim, who had been working in the home of the former judge in I-8/1 for a couple of years.

The media had reported that the victim was beaten and her hands burned, but the matter was settled based on an agreement between her employers and her parents.

In his review petition before the SC, Khan has pleaded that its Jan 10 verdict suffers from manifest defects and prima facie was in conflict with natural justice. The petition said the court had overlooked questions of fact and law while passing the verdict in question.

One of the main contentions raised by the petitioner in the first round of hearing was that a genuine and legitimate compromise was reached between the two parties wherein the guardian of the child appeared before a trial court and recorded their statements and compounded the offence.

The petition argued that by virtue of section 338 of the PPC read with section 345 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the compounding of the offence cannot be declined except in section 311 of the PPC, which is only applicable in the case of murder.

The petition also cited Quranic verses and said that things which are not prohibited are deemed to be permitted and when the PPC does not prohibit the compounding of the offence the compromise was to be adhered to by the trial court or the appellate court.

At the time of the appeal, the review petition contended, the entire case becomes open and the SC can rectify any error in the proceedings or judgement passed, but unfortunately the entire judgement was silent on the compounding of the offence.

The petition stated that the statement of private witnesses was not sufficient to prove anything against the petitioner and that the most important witness, the child, had stated that there was no torture, neglect or failure on the part of the petitioner’s party.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2020



By ​ Our Correspondent Published: February 7, 2020

LAHORE: Provincial Minister of Commerce and Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal has said that loans of Rs300 million will be distributed among skilled workers across the province and a mobile application ‘Dastkar’ has been launched to make the process transparent.

He expressed these views during the inauguration ceremony of the scheme at Alhamra Hall. He said that under this scheme, on behalf of the Punjab Small Industries Corporation, loans on easy terms would be given to skilled workers for the revival of the cottage industry.

Through this app, the applicant will be informed about the process of obtaining a loan and repayment process.

While addressing the ceremony, the provincial minister said that the Punjab government had launched the loan scheme for the revival of the cottage industry in 36 districts of the province.

“This scheme will be a milestone in poverty alleviation and will be an important step towards the country’s economic development and prosperity,” said the minister. He further said that the government would market and promote the finished products on a website.

He maintained that under this scheme, the grace period for repaying the loans was four months for women and three months for



The Newspaper’s Staff Reporter February 09, 2020

RAWALPINDI: During a three-day drive to ensure implementation of labour laws, the labour department booked 50 owners of hotels and restaurants.

The department has launched the campaign to ensure minimum wages are paid to labourers and in this connection it initiated legal action against 50 hotels and restaurants owners and submitted 10 cases in courts.

Giving details, Director Labour Rawalpindi Division, Fazal Hussain told newsmen that teams of labour officers had been constituted to examine the implementation of labour laws especially relating to provision of minimum wages to the workers.

He said hotels and restaurant owners were bound to follow the rules and regulations and laws and they could be penalized for violating them. He asked owners to take care of their employees and did not violate the rules relating to wages.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2020