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GNN Cameraman tortured for covering by-elections in Gujrat

Reporter Aurangzeb Malik says that some masked men took GNN reporters and cameraman into illegal custody, tortured them and shifted them to some unknown places.

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Gujrat: GNN TV journalists and cameraman were subjected to violence during coverage of the by-elections in Gujrat on Sunday.

Some officials ‘wearing masks’ took Cameraman Raees Dilawar into illegal abduction and subjected him to torture during the custody.

The camera was also damaged.  

"The journalists of our team have been severely tortured," said GNN Reporter Aurangzeb Malik. He said that some masked men took them into custody and shifted them to some unknown place. 

Raees Dilawar was kept in the illegal detention for more than an hour and was barred from performing his official duty.  After efforts of the senior journalists, the cameraman free. However, the correspondents who were there for the coverage of the by-elections are yet to be recovered.

“This is Banana Repubic. There is no law. But we will raise voice for the rights of the journalists,” said Arshad Ansari while talking to the GNN TV. He said that the journalists were facing many challenges. He said they are united for the freedom of press.

Rana Azeem, another journalist, said that the journalists’ were taken into custody on the directions of the provincial government.

“Whoever is behind the illegal abduction must be brought to justice,” said Rana Azeem while talking to GNN TV. He stated that the journalists were abducted for the coverage of the elections.

“ We were there for the coverage. We did not go to Occupied Kashmir. No one has right to torture our colleagues,” said Rana Azeem.

He stated that they would approach the relevant court to get justice for what was done to the journalists.

Arshad Ansari said that he was not much hopeful that such incidents would stop in the future. He said that Gujrat’s incident was quite surprising as many journalists were abducted and subjected to violence.

“Strict action is needed to stop such actions,” said Ansari.

The Lahore Press Club president said that at least they [the relevant authorities] should draw a line so such incidents could not take place.

“92 Cameraman and journalists were abducted and tortured. The similar fate was faced by the GNN cameraman and reporters,” he added.

Arshad Ansari said that the reporters and cameramen were there to perform their duties.

“We will not let anyone compromise freedom of press. There are many other GNN workers who have been detained and kept at some unknown places. The government must take action for the recovery of the 92 reporters and cameraman, and for the recovery of the GNN reporter and cameraman,” he added.

To a question whether the government powerful to uncover those people who were covering their faces while abducting the GNN and 92 journalists, Arshad Ansari said that the government is powerful to uncover such people who are behind abduction of the journalists.

“We have many options if the action is not taken. What wrong these journalists have committed? Tell us,” he asked while addressing the government authorities.

The Gujrat incident, he said, is  serious matter.

He vowed to continued his struggle for the recovery of the abducted journalists, and demanded FIR in this regard.

 

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Sports

Third T20I: Pakistan set 179-run target for New Zealand

Despite losing four wickets, Pakistan managed to accumulate 178 runs after New Zealand won the toss and opted to bowl first at Rawalpindi cricket Stadium.

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Rawalpindi: In the third T20I match held at Rawalpindi Stadium on Sunday, Pakistan set a target of 179 runs for New Zealand to chase. Shadab Khan showcased an impressive performance, contributing 41 runs from 20 balls, steering his team to a formidable position. Skipper Babar Azam, scoring 37 runs off 29 balls, departed early in the innings.

Although the situation became tense for Pakistan, Shadab Khan and later Saim Ayub stabilized the innings, ensuring their team's progress.

Despite losing four wickets, Pakistan managed to accumulate 178 runs after New Zealand won the toss and opted to bowl first, strategically aiming for a victory.

With Pakistan leading the five-match series 1-0.

Squads:

Pakistan: Babar Azam (capt), Saim Ayub, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Muhammad Irfan Niazi, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed

New Zealand: Tim Robinson, Tim Seifert (wk), Mark Chapman, Dean Foxcroft, Cole McConchie, James Neesham, Michael Bracewell (capt), Jacob Duffy, Ish Sodhi, Zak Foulkes, Will O'Rourke

 

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Business

FED increase on cigarette a must to check rising consumption

The country, according to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) yearbooks, has lost Rs 567 billion revenue during the last seven years.

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Islamabad:  Snowballing economic burden in terms of public health and economic costs due to rising cigarette consumption has prompted health experts to demand implementation of World Bank’s recommendation for increase in Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cigarettes.

“Increasing FED on cigarettes will check the steady rise in consumption and ensure a healthier future for Pakistan’s youth,” said Amjad Qamar, Director Center for Research and Dialogue (CRD).

 Qamar said that Pakistan is one of the largest tobacco-consuming countries and low prices of cigarettes was the major contributor in the respect. “Cigarettes are more affordable in Pakistan than the rest of the region,” he said.

Taxation policies of the successive governments have failed to generate revenue as well as to curb the alarmingly high smoking rate due to policies that are often manipulated by industry giants, particularly the multinational companies.

The country, according to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) yearbooks, has lost Rs 567 billion revenue during the last seven years.

On the other hand, a study conducted by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) pointed out that the cost of smoking-related diseases and deaths was Rs 615.07 billion ($3.85 billion) in 2019, amounting to 1.6% of the GDP.

Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Director, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) referred to World Banks report titled 'Pakistan Development Update,' and said that a significant revenue gain of 0.4 percent of GDP (PKR 505.26 Billion) could be achieved by applying the current rate on premium cigarettes (Rs. 16.50 per cigarette) to standard cigarettes as well.

The report underscores the potential for economic and health benefits through this measure.

Imran added that aligning cigarette taxation with the World Bank's recommendation is a crucial step toward safeguarding the health and well-being of Pakistan's children.

Higher excise duty on cigarettes not only deters smoking but also generates much-needed revenue for essential public services, he said.

Earlier, International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also recommended Pakistan to overhaul tax machinery and to tax non-essential items including cigarettes to boost revenue and improve public health.

The global lender has recommended the government to introduce single tier tax structure alongside a significant increase in taxes on tobacco products.

According to the IMF's Technical Assistance Report titled "Pakistan Tax Policy Diagnostic and Reform Options," released in February, the consumption of cigarettes in Pakistan has witnessed a notable decline of 20-25 percent following substantial hikes in taxes on tobacco products.

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