Here are the top 10 headline-making events & controversies in Pakistan in 2015:
Ayyan Ali ‘finally’ caught
Supermodel Ayyan Ali was arrested at Benazir International Airport on March 14, 2015 by Airport Security Force officials for attempting to smuggle undeclared sum of US $506,800 abroad. She was held moments ago boarding a Dubai-bound flight.
The model spent 122 days in detention before finally getting a bail. Former governor Punjab Sardar Latif Khosa was appointed her counsel in the case.
Kasur child abuse scandal
The shocking child abuse scandal in Kasur unearthed in August jolted the whole nation. The scale of the Kasur scandal was horrific — 400 videos of some 280 children who were forced to have sex while being filmed.
The tapes that were made were then used to blackmail the parents of the victims into keeping quiet and into giving money to the paedophilia ring. It was revealed that the tapes were also being sold to locals in the town for Rs 50 and even were being sold to paedophile websites overseas.
Modi’s surprise visit to Pakistan on Christmas Day
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise “goodwill” visit to arch-rival Pakistan on December 25, with the first such trip in a decade seen as a step towards normalising ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Modi, who announced the trip via Twitter while in Kabul, met in Lahore with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, who was celebrating his birthday and the wedding of a grand-daughter, for a two-and-a-half hour visit seen by analysts as a positive step.
Altaf’s detention in London sends Karachi into lockdown mode
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain was detained on April 14 in London on suspicion of money-laundering as thousands of people in his home city of Karachi staged a sit-in calling for his release.
A spokesman for the British High Commission had said that the UK’s consulate in Karachi has been temporarily closed down. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the issue of Hussain’s arrest was of an extremely sensitive nature, adding that the government would take all legal angles into account.
Deadly bus attack in Safoora Goth leaves 47 dead
Barbaric armed assailants stopped a bus carrying the members of Ismaili community in Safoora Goth, Karachi on noon of May 13 and sprayed it with bullets from both sides, killing over three dozen passengers and leaving many injured. The pamphlets of the Islamic State (IS) militant group — Daesh in Urdu — were also found at the crime scene.
The horrific attack drew condemnation from across the world. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also announced a day of mourning the very next day.
Imran, Reham begin new life, separately!
They could have been great professionals in their respective fields, but in a life-long relationship, they came out as apples and oranges.
Yes, they are Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and TV journalist Reham who parted ways after ten months of their marriage. The announcement in this connection was made on October 30. The couple had entered a wedlock on January 8, 2015. Their Nikkah ceremony (marital contract) had taken place at Bani Gala.
Rangers raid Nine Zero
What was never expected in case of Karachi actually happened on March 11. Heavy contingent of Rangers raided the MQM headquarters Nine Zero, rounding up dozens of party workers and seizing arms and amunitions of different calibre.
The raid prompted strong reaction from party supporters in the area and the MQM also called for a city-wide strike. However, the story dominated both print and electronic media for at least three days.
Bad days of Dr Asim Hussain begin with arrest
Former petroleum minister and a close aide of Asif Ali Zardari, Dr Asim Hussain had beginning of his bad days in store in mid of this year. He was arrested by law enforcement agencies on August 26 in mired of corruption charges. On November 26, Dr. Asim was accused of harboring and providing medical treatment to militants and criminals at his hospital in Karachi.
According to the police report filed against him, he confessed during investigation that his two hospitals treated militants, criminals belonging to Karachi’s notorious gangs and the key political party, accused by authorities of political corruption and violence.
T2F Director Sabeen Mahmud shot dead
The director of The Second Floor (T2F) — a non-governmental organisation –, Sabeen Mahmud, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Karachi on April 24.
Her killing evoked a heated debate on social media as well in the TV talk shows. Rumblings over killers being the establishment-backed elements to silence Sabeen from speaking on sensitive issues, the military public affairs wing chief, DG ISPR, even issued a rare such statement denying allegations targeting the powerful institution. He also promised an inquiry into the incident.
Sabeen had left T2F after attending a talk on Balochistan: ‘Unsilencing Balochistan Take 2: In Conversation with Mama Qadeer, Farzana Baloch & Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur.’ when gunmen targeted her.
MQM under fire for Baldia factory fire
The Baldia Town factory inferno case took a dramatic turn on Feb 7 when a report by Rangers in the Sindh High Court claimed that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement was behind the deadly fire that claimed the lives of at least 258 factory workers.
The report cited the arrested MQM worker revealing that a “well-known party high official” had demanded Rs200 million as Bhatta (extortion money) from Ali Enterprises owners in Aug 2012. When denied the extortion, MQM men set the factory on fire.
Saulat Mirza shakes MQM with startling revelations
Death row convict Saulat Mirza in a video which surfaced hours before his execution on March 19 revealed that he was being used as political pawn.
Visibly distraught and being awarded death penalty for killing KESC Managing Director Shahid Hamid, his driver and a guard on July 5, 1997, in Karachi, Mirza opened up about his past, crimes and threats days before his execution and accepted that he was a member of MQM.
“I was brainwashed, used and disposed off like a tissue paper.” His statements raised torrent of questions against the MQM and a long discussion ensued in the media whether the party really cared for its key activists in catch-22 situations.
Zardari roars at Army, never to roar again!
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari on June 16 gave a hard-hitting speech, where he lashed out at the military establishment for overstepping its domain.
He left the country after firing a broadside at army. Soon after he left the country, PPP continued to plunge in turmoil in the wake of corruption cases against it.