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Pakistan summons Indian envoy over Samjhauta Express disruption

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Islamabad: Pakistan summoned a senior Indian diplomat on Friday to convey concern over cancellation of a cross-border train service, authorities said.

The Delhi-bound Samjhauta Express, carrying both Indian and Pakistani passengers, was called back from the Wagah border on Thursday after Indian authorities informed Pakistani officials of farmers protest on the Indian side of the border.

The Indian farmers were holding a demonstration to demand compensation for destruction of their cotton crop, according to reports.

The train, which carried 193 Pakistani and Indian nationals, will depart for Delhi on Monday, said Pakistan Railways spokerman Rauf Tahir.

“Acting Deputy High Commissioner of India Raghuram was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to express concern over the cancellation of operation of Samjhauta Express,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The cancellation caused inconvenience to more than 200 passengers from Pakistan and India,” a foreign ministry statement quoted Mohammad Faisal, the Director General South Asia, as telling the Indian diplomat.

Pakistani authorities issued special certificates to allow the Indian nationals, whose visas to visit Pakistan were expired, to extend their stay in the country till Monday.

“The Government of Pakistan has taken all necessary steps to accommodate the stranded Indian passengers, who were not permitted to cross the border,” the foreign ministry added.

A deadly bomb attack on the Samjhauta Express in February 2007 on the Indian side of the border killed 68 people, including 42 Pakistanis.

Pakistan has been demanding punishment to those involved in the terrorist attack blamed on extremist Hindus.

 

(IANS)

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Women of Pakistan Protest Against Workplace Harassment, Child Marriage

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded "the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country"

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Following this, a National Security Committee was also held to discuss Sharif's
Pakistan Flag, wikimedia commons

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, women took to the streets across Pakistan on Friday to protest against sexual harassment in the workplace, child marriage ‘honour killings, wage inequalities and limited political representation.

Organisers hope that the “aurat march” (women’s march) and “aurat azadi march” (women’s liberation march) will draw attention to the struggle for reproductive, economic, and social justice across in Pakistan, reports the Guardian.

The first “Aurat March” was held last year in Karachi; this time, the rally has been extended to more cities, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Larkana and Hyderabad.

The aim is to reach ordinary women in factories, homes and offices, says Nighat Dad, an “aurat march” organiser in Lahore.

“We want an organic movement by women demanding equal access to justice and ending discrimination of all kinds.”

Speakers at the Lahore march ranged from a woman fighting to reform marriage laws to the women who worked on the landmark Punjab Domestic Workers’ Act — a legislation that outlaws child labour in homes and provides maternity benefits to workers.

Another activist, Leena Ghani, noted that Pakistani women have a history of taking to the streets, famously during military dictator Zia ul-Haq’s martial law in the 1980s.

Krishna Kumari works in her office in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Feb. 12, 2018. VOA

While Pakistan has made major strides towards gender equality, poorer, marginalised women and transgender citizens continue to struggle, Ghani added.

Designer Shehzil Malik created a series of striking posters for the “aurat march” that counter typical representations of Pakistani women as docile and subservient.

Women are also protesting against discriminatory policies in universities, where male and female students are afforded different levels of freedom, the Guardian said.

A Pakistani university recently caused a furore on social media by banning women from wearing skinny jeans and sleeveless shirts.

Also Read- Originality is a Dichotomous Terminology, Says Megastar Amitabh Bachchan

In his message on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed his government’s commitment to providing women a safe environment so that they could contribute to the country’s development, Dawn news reported.

“We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring women a secure and enabling environment to play their rightful role in our nation’s development.”

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded “the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country”. (IANS)