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United States of America – Human Rights Champion?

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KARACHI: The United States, who branded himself as the world’s human rights defender, has always pursued hegemonism, unilateralism and interventionism. The country frequently uses force, resulting in a large number of civilian casualties. It has become the biggest obstacle and destroyer of the sound development of the international human rights cause.


The cost
Since the 21st century, the United States has launched a series of global foreign military operations in the name of anti-terrorism, resulting in nearly one million deaths. The website of USA Today reported on Feb. 25, 2021 that the so-called anti-terrorism war launched by the United States in the past 20 years has claimed the lives of more than 929,000 people, according to the “costs of war” study by Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs of Brown University. The 20-year U.S. military operations in Afghanistan have killed 174,000 people, including more than 30,000 civilians, and injured more than 60,000 people.

The ongoing war and instability have made nearly a third of the Afghan population refugees. A total of 3.5 million Afghans have been displaced by the conflict, and nearly 23 million face extreme hunger, including 3.2 million children under the age of five. When the United States withdrew its troops from Afghanistan, it immediately froze billions of dollars in foreign exchange reserves at the Afghan central Bank, causing the Afghan economy to be on the brink of collapse and making life worse for the people.

According to an assessment by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program which was released November 2021, only 5 percent of Afghans receive enough food on a daily basis. Since 2016, 40 percent of airstrike casualties have been kids. In one infamous incident, US and Afghan forces attacked a Doctors Without Borders hospital, destroying its main building and killing forty-two patients and staff, even though they’d been given its GPS coordinates beforehand and hospital personnel had alerted the US military while they were being attacked.

It was as unambiguous a war crime as you can find, which is presumably why Washington put the kibosh on any independent investigation, no matter the contradictory and evolving explanations offered. Eventually, both Afghan forces and the US military publicly agreed they had committed the atrocity on purpose, supposedly because the Taliban had used the hospital as a perch from which to attack them.

The business
The New York Times reported that U.S. national defense contractors were the real winners in the “war on terror” and that the United States’ 20 years in Afghanistan “really built not a country but more than 500 military bases and the personal wealth of those who supplied them.” Only about 12 percent of the reconstruction aid the United States provided from 2020 to 2021 actually went to the Afghan government, with most of the rest going to American companies like Lewis Berger.


The future
26TH August, 2022, on the eve of US withdraw from Afgaistan, thirteen U.S. service members are killed and at least eighteen are injured in an attack at a checkpoint outside the Kabul airport, where thousands of people are being evacuated. They are the first U.S. service members killed in action in Afghanistan since February 2020. At least 170 Afghans are also killed.

The Islamic State in Khorasan claims responsibility, and several days after, the United States launches an air strike targeting a suspected plotter from the group. However, the Pentagon later admits that the strike was a “mistake” and killed ten civilians, including seven children.
This is a microcosm of the legacy left by the United States to Afghanistan. What are other elements left there? Terrorism, poverty, chaos, disorder, death, to name a few..

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Sindh Solid Waste Management Board starts paying for garbage disposal in Pak Rupees

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KARACHI: With an aim to lower the financial burden on the provincial exchequer, the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) started to pay private companies contracted for garbage disposal in the city in local currency instead of US dollars.

In this regard, Managing Director SSWMB Syed Imtiaz Ali Shah held a meeting with representatives of the private firms responsible for disposal of garbage in the city and apprised them of the decisions made by the steering committee of the Board.

The meeting deliberated upon the new plan of garbage disposal in the city before the expiry of the contracts made with private firms for solid waste management on district West, Malir, Keamari and East.

It was informed in the meeting that the negotiation with the contracting firms for payment in local currency had already been started.

The representatives of the private firms working in district Malir, West and Keamari informed the meeting that the verification of the staff and vehicles had been completed through a third party, while the verification was still going on in district East.

The managing-director directed the officials concerned to take steps to further improve efficiency in the new operational plan.

He asked the officials to make union committee-wise operational plan, containing complete details of daily waste volume, transport, machinery, staff and all resources to further improve the door-to-door waste collection services.

He also directed the private companies to pay the salaries of their respective staff on time. Mr Shah said that the operational plan should also include training of the staff, the strategy of separate collection of waste and date of people who picked garbage illegally.

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SBCA launches crackdown against illegal structures in Karachi

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KARACHI: The Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) has initiated massive crackdown against illegal constructions in different parts of the city, resulting in demolition of numerous buildings, marriage halls etc.

In a recent operation against illegal constructions in Karachi’s district Central, SBCA officials also came under firing, however, SBCA officials proceeded with the operation and demolished the fourth floor of the targeted building.

Director General of SBCA Abdul Rasheed Solangi has instructed the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Central to apprehend the culprits immediately and file a case against those involved in the firing.

Abdul Rasheed Solangi emphasized the need for fearless enforcement actions against illegal constructions and commended the SBCA staff for their dedication and honesty. He assured them of full support in facing any challenges during their duties.

Abdul Rasheed Solangi along with the demolition squad has bulldozed more than four buildings in areas including Essa Nagri, Paposh Nagar, and Gulberg. Moreover, over 13 illegal portions have been demolished in areas including Saddar Town, Jamshed Town, Gulberg, and Gulshan-e-Iqbal.

Director General of SBCA Abdul Rasheed Solangi is personally supervising the crackdown against illegal constructions. The provincial government is committed to cleansing Karachi from all forms of illegal constructions, the DG adds.

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Sindh CS, British Deputy High Commissioner vow to strengthen bilateral relations, work for environmental challenges

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KARACHI: British Deputy High Commissioner Sarah Mooney met with Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah at the Sindh Secretariat on Wednesday to discuss enhancing bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

During the meeting, Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah briefed the British Deputy High Commissioner on the ongoing efforts in infrastructure development, water supply, sewage, and governance in Sindh. He stated that the Sindh government is actively working on improving water supply, sewage, and road infrastructure to accommodate Karachi’s growing population.

“Pakistan, although only contributing less than 1 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions, is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change.” Said CS Sindh

He highlighted that Pakistan incurred a loss of $32 billion from the 2022 floods and is vulnerable to future environmental risks, underscoring the urgent need for proactive measures to mitigate such disasters.

Furthermore, he expressed concerns about the adverse effects of environmental changes on the River Indus. Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah informed that the federal-level Living Indus project has been initiated, after consultation with environmental experts, stakeholders, and provincial governments. He expressed a desire for technical assistance from the British government to address environmental changes.

Syed Asif Hyder Shah also mentioned investment opportunities in energy, investment, and agriculture sectors in Sindh for British investors. British Deputy High Commissioner Sarah Mooney expressed interest in collaborating on the Living Indus project and other projects related to environment. Chief Secretary Sindh presented traditional souvenir to the British Deputy High Commissioner.

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