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A key plank in Britain’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda is set to become law

A key plank in Britain’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda is set to become law

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A key plank in Britain's plan to send migrants to Rwanda is set to become law

A key plank in the British government’s plan to send some asylum-seekers on a one-way trip to Rwanda is expected to become law this week, but opponents plan new legal challenges that could keep deportation flights grounded.

A bill aimed at overcoming a U.K. Supreme Court block on sending migrants to Rwanda is due to pass Parliament after the government overcomes efforts to water it down in the House of Lords.

The Rwanda plan is key to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ’s pledge to “stop the boats” bringing unauthorized migrants to the U.K., and Sunak has repeatedly said the long-delayed first flights will take off by June.

“This week Parliament has the opportunity to pass a bill that will save lives of those being exploited by people-smuggling gangs,” Sunak’s spokesman, Dave Pares, said Monday. “It is clear we cannot continue with the status quo … now is the time to change the equation.”

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It has been two years since Britain and Rwanda signed a deal that would see migrants who cross the English Channel in small boats sent to the East African country, where they would remain permanently. The plan has been challenged in the courts, and no one has yet been sent to Rwanda under an agreement that has cost the U.K. at least 370 million pounds ($470 million).

In November, the U.K. Supreme Court ruled that the Rwanda plan was illegal because the nation wasn’t a safe destination for asylum-seekers. For decades, human rights groups and governments have documented alleged repression of dissent by Rwanda’s government both inside the country and abroad, as well as serious restrictions on internet freedom, assembly and expression.

In response to the ruling, Britain and Rwanda signed a treaty pledging to strengthen protections for migrants. Sunak’s government argues the treaty allows it to pass a law declaring Rwanda a safe destination.

The Safety of Rwanda Bill pronounces the country safe, making it harder for migrants to challenge deportation and allows the British government to ignore injunctions from the European Court of Human Rights that forbid removals.

Human rights groups, refugee charities, senior Church of England clerics and many legal experts have criticized the legislation. In February a parliamentary rights watchdog said the Rwanda plan is “ fundamentally incompatible ” with the U.K.’s human rights obligations.

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The Safety of Rwanda Bill has been approved by the House of Commons, where Sunak’s Conservatives have a majority, only for members of Parliament’s unelected upper chamber, the House of Lords, to insert a series of amendments designed to water down the legislation and ensure it complies with international law.

The Commons rejected the changes last month, but the Lords refused to back down. The Commons is expected to send the unmodified bill back to the Lords late Monday in a process known as parliamentary ping pong. The back-and-forth could continue for several days, but ultimately, the elected Commons can overrule the unelected Lords.

“When a government devises and wants to implement a policy which is clear and precise in terms of its objectives, the Lords shouldn’t stand in its way,” Conservative lawmaker John Hayes told the BBC. “And I think in the end the Lords will give way on this because they recognize that balance.”

Once the bill becomes law, it could be weeks before any flights to Rwanda take off, as people chosen for deportation are likely to lodge legal appeals.

Just under 30,000 people arrived in Britain in small boats in 2023, and Sunak has made reducing that number a key issue ahead of an election due later this year. Some 6,000 people have made the journey so far in 2024, up from the same period last year, including 534 in 10 boats on Sunday.

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The opposition Labour Party, which leads in opinion polls, opposes the Rwanda plan, arguing it won’t work, and says it would work with other European countries to tackle people-smuggling gangs.

The Times of London reported Monday that the U.K. government had approached other countries, including Costa Rica, Armenia, Ivory Coast and Botswana, about making similar deals if the Rwanda plan proves successful. The government said only that Britain is “continuing to work with a range of international partners to tackle global illegal migration challenges.” 

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Musadik Malik emphasises adoption of environment-friendly technology for sustainable development

Musadik Malik emphasises adoption of environment-friendly technology for sustainable development

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Musadik Malik emphasises adoption of environment-friendly technology for sustainable development

 Federal Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik underscores the need for embracing environment-friendly technology to ensure sustainable development in Pakistan. 

In a recent address at a ceremony held in Islamabad, Minister Malik highlighted the pressing issue of environmental instability, noting that despite a purported zero carbon footprint, Pakistan was grappling with the adverse effects of climate change. 

He pointed to alarming indicators such as rising global temperatures and increased incidents of extreme weather events, including flash floods in Sindh that have devastated numerous villages, exacerbating food insecurity in the region. 

Acknowledging the dual challenge of environmental and economic instability, Minister Malik stressed the imperative for concerted action to address these issues. 

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He revealed that Pakistan’s total exports stand at $30 billion, with energy exports comprising a significant portion at $20 billion. 

To confront these challenges head-on, Minister Malik announced plans to ramp up petroleum products production, citing its critical role in ensuring energy security and fostering economic growth. 

He outlined various policies aimed at facilitating this increase, including incentivising consortiums for small companies and fostering cooperation with international stakeholders.

Underlining the centrality of energy security to economic development, Minister Malik reiterated the importance of adopting environment-friendly technologies to meet the nation’s energy demands sustainably.

He emphasised the utilisation of national resources as a key strategy in this endeavour.

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Islamabad police register case of armed assault on PTI leader Raoof Hasan

Islamabad police register case of armed assault on PTI leader Raoof Hasan

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Islamabad police register case of armed assault on PTI leader Raoof Hasan

A day after unidentified transgender persons armed with blades wounded PTI leader Raoof Hasan in an attack in Islamabad, police on Wednesday registered a case of the assault. 

The case registered against unidentified transgender persons at the Aabpara police station includes sections related to the charges of attempted murder and death threats. 

According to the first information report (FIR), Raoof Hasan was heading to a parking lot after participating in a TV talk show when he was ambushed by three transgender-like persons. 

The FIR details that these attackers tried to cut his throat with a sharp-edged tool. Hasan suffered a cut in the face when he stepped back in a bid to protect himself, it adds. 

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In the FIR, Raoof Hasan alleged that a similar attack was attempted on him two days back in Islamabad’s Blue Area. 

The PTI information secretary was attacked on Tuesday afternoon by some unidentified transgender persons with a blade in Islamabad’s G-7 area. He suffered a cut in the face.

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JAP urges Punjab governor to return defamation bill unapproved

JAP urges Punjab governor to return defamation bill unapproved

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JAP urges Punjab governor to return defamation bill unapproved

The Judicial Activism Panel has penned a letter to Punjab Governor Sardar Salim Haider Khan, vehemently urging him not to approve the controversial Punjab Defamation Bill 2024 recently passed by the Punjab Assembly. 

The letter, authored by the Judicial Activism Panel, highlighted grave concerns over the Defamation Bill, asserting that its passage by the Punjab Assembly contradicts the principles outlined in Article 19 of the constitution. 

According to the panel, the enforcement of this bill poses a significant threat to the freedom of speech, a fundamental right guaranteed to every citizen. 

The panel argued that the implementation of the Defamation Bill would severely restrict the public’s access to vital information, serving as a formidable obstacle to the citizens’ right to information. 

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They emphasised that the bill, if enacted, would curtail the freedom of speech, thereby violating the fundamental right of the citizens.

Expressing apprehension, the letter said the law could potentially be exploited to serve political interests, further undermining the democratic principles upon which the nation is built.

In their fervent plea to Governor Sardar Salim Haider Khan, the Judicial Activism Panel demanded that he refrain from approving the bill and instead return it to the Punjab Assembly without his endorsement.

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