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India getting unhappier, Pakistan happier: UN’s World Happiness Index



India has steadily slipped in ranking on United Nation’s World Happiness Index.

India ranked 122nd in 2017, and 118th in 2016,  meaning it dropped four places in the 2017 World Happiness Report and fell a further 11 places in the 2018 report to rank a low 133 on the list of 156 countries monitored by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network for its annual ‘joy’ report.

While Indians are apparently getting unhappier by the year, their not-so-well-off neighbours in Pakistan are becoming more joyful, according to the UN ranking.

By comparison, terror-ravaged Pakistan, which was already ‘happier’ than India in the 2017 rankings, is shown as being even happier in the 2018 rankings. It’s on number 75, up five spots from last year.

And it is not just Pakistan. India was behind all its neighbours and the majority of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations, apart from war-ravaged Afghanistan, that stood at 145.

Among the eight SAARC nations, Pakistan was at 75 (as mentioned above), Bhutan at 97, Nepal at 101, Bangladesh at 115 while Sri Lanka was ranked 116. Maldives did not figure in the World Happiness Report.

Even state-controlled China is happier than India.

The World Happiness Report released on Wednesday, March 14 – ahead of the International Day of Happiness on March 20 – put Finland at the top among 156 countries ranked by happiness levels, based on factors such as life expectancy, social support and corruption.

Finland has risen from fifth place last year to oust Norway from the top spot. In fact, Nordic countries have consistently dominated the top 10. This year the top ten are: Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia.

Taking the harsh, dark winters in their stride, Finns said access to nature, safety, childcare, good schools and free healthcare were among the best things about in their country, said media reports quoting people living in Finland.

Sub-Saharan African nations continued to be the least happy in the world. The bottom five included Burundi, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Tanzania, and West Asia’s Yemen. These countries ranked high on ‘dystopia’ as per the UN.

UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s (SDSN) report is based on factors like per capita GDP, social support systems, life expectancy, social freedom, corruption levels and general health.

India underperformed in ‘freedom to make life choices’ and ‘generosity’, according to the index. The 2018 WHR observed Indians were increasingly migrating to other countries. “There were big flows from the Indian sub-continent to the Gulf States,” it stated.

Last year also witnessed the increasing mixing of Indians and Europeans in Latin America. According to WHR, “many male and female Indians enjoy high social status” in these regions.

The United States came in at 18th, down from 14th place last year. Britain was 19th and the United Arab Emirates 20th.

Serious academics have long been calling for more testing about people’s emotional well-being, especially in the United States. In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report recommending that federal statistics and surveys, which normally deal with income, spending, health and housing, include a few extra questions on happiness because it would lead to better policy that affects people’s lives.

One chapter of the 170-page report is dedicated to emerging health problems such as obesity, depression and the opioid crisis, particularly in the United States where the prevalence of all three has grown faster than in most other countries. While its per capita income is on the rise, happiness has been dented by weakening social support, and a perception of increasing government corruption.

For the first time since it was started in 2012, the report, which uses a variety of polling organizations, official figures and research methods, ranked the happiness of foreign-born immigrants in 117 countries. Finland took top honours in that category too, giving the country a statistical double-gold status.

The foreign-born were least happy in Syria, which has been mired in civil war for seven years. “The most striking finding of the report is the remarkable consistency between the happiness of immigrants and the locally born,” said Professor John Helliwell of Canada’s University of British Columbia.

“Although immigrants come from countries with very different levels of happiness, their reported life evaluations converge towards those of other residents in their new countries,” he said. “Those who move to happier countries gain, while those who move to less happy countries lose.”

The United States was 11th in the first index and has never been in the Top 10. To explain its fall to 18th, the report’s authors cited several factors.

While U.S. income per capita has increased markedly over the last half century, happiness has been hit by weakened social support networks, a perceived rise in corruption in government and business and declining confidence in public institutions.

“The U.S. is in the midst of a complex and worsening public health crisis, involving epidemics of obesity, opioid addiction, and major depressive disorder that are all remarkable by global standards,” the report said.

It added that the “sociopolitical system” in the United States produces more income inequality – a major contributing factor to unhappiness – than other countries with comparatively high incomes.

“We obviously have a social crisis in the United States: more inequality, less trust, less confidence in government,” the head of the SDSN, Professor Jeffrey Sachs of New York’s Columbia University, told Reuters as the report was launched at the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

“It’s pretty stark right now. The signs are not good for the U.S. It is getting richer and richer but not getting happier.”

Asked how the current political situation in the United States could affect future happiness reports, Sachs said:

“Time will tell, but I would say that in general that when confidence in government is low, when perceptions of corruption are high, inequality is high and health conditions are worsening … that is not conducive to good feelings.”

There are lessons for India there.

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Balochistan blast: Pakistan alleges India’s involvement in suicide attack, toll rises to 60

Sarfaraz Bugti told media that civil, military and all other institution will jointly strike against the elements involved in the Mastung suicide bombing.



Balochistan blast: Pakistan alleges India’s involvement in suicide attack, toll rises to 60

Pakistan interior minister Sarfaraz Bugti in a shocking claim alleged India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) intelligence agency for the suicide blast in Balochistan. The blast that took place on Friday claimed the lives of nearly 60 people, leaving 60 others injured. The Indian government, on the other hand, is yet to make an official statement on Sarfaraz Bugti’s allegations. 

The suicide bomb attack targeted a procession which gathered to celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday near the Madina Masjid at a place called Mastung. The blast tore through the mosque in the southern province of Balochistan after the bomber denoted his explosive near a police vehicle where the people gathered for the procession. 

Sarfaraz Bugti told media at Quetta that civil, military and all other institution will jointly strike against the elements involved in the Mastung suicide bombing. Without providing much details or evidence, the Pakistan minister claimed that RAW is involved in the suicide attack.

Wasim Baig, the spokesman for Balochistan’s health department, asserted that seven more people had died in hospital since Friday, which had caused the rise in the death toll. He added that more patients remained in critical condition.

In addition, a second attack on Friday at a mosque in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had killed nearly five people. Police on Saturday lodged a report to initiate an investigation, mentioning that they had sent DNA from the suicide bomb attacker to be analysed.

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for either attack. A surge in terror attacks in Pakistan’s western provinces has cast a shadow on preparations and public campaigning in the run-up to January’s general elections, but until now the attacks had mostly targeted security forces.

The Pakistani Taliban (TTP), which is responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks in Pakistan since the group’s formation in 2007, denied responsibility for Friday’s blasts. On Saturday, a statement from the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) said that an FIR with murder charges and terrorism offences has been registered against an unidentified attacker. 

The caretaker government of Balochistan announced three days of mourning in the wake of the attack.

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Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Mahmood Qureshi held guilty in cipher case

The PTI leaders’ trial has been requested by the FIA, and it is expected that they would be sentenced in accordance with the law.



Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi were found guilty on Saturday by Pakistan’s top investigating agency in the cypher case, a case involving the alleged exposure of state secrets.

The charge sheet against Khan, the Tehreek-e-Insaf party chairman, and Qureshi, who are both presently being held in custody on judicial remand, was submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to a special court set up under the Official Secrets Act, according to the Pakistan Observer website.

Imran Khan, 70, was detained last month following the filing of a complaint against him for allegedly breaking the Official Secrets Act by revealing a covert diplomatic cable (cypher) issued by the nation’s embassy in Washington last year in March.

The PTI leaders’ trial has been requested by the FIA, and it is expected that they would be sentenced in accordance with the law.

The vice chairman of PTI is 75-year-old Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Asad Umar, the former general secretary of the PTI, is not on the FIA’s list of suspects, but former principal secretary Azam Khan has been portrayed as a key witness in the FIA’s case against Imran Khan, according to GeoTV, a well-known news outlet. The challan also contains Azam Khan’s statement recorded under sections 161 and 164.

The speeches by Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Imran Khan from March 27 are also included in the FIA’s attachment.

The Pakistan Observer further noted that the FIA had provided the court with a list of 28 witnesses in addition to the charge sheet. According to the report, the list of witnesses includes names such as current foreign secretary Asad Majid, previous foreign secretary Sohail Mahmood, and additional foreign secretary Faisal Niaz Tirmizi.

Imran Khan had been imprisoned on remand three times earlier on September 26. Along with Qureshi, his judicial remand was initially extended until September 13 and then again until September 26.

The former PM was transferred from Attock prison to the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi on the same day, one day after the Islamabad High Court instructed authorities to do so.

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Pakistan: 34 killed, 130 injured after blast near mosque in Balochistan

City Station House Officer (SHO) Mohammad Javed Lehri asserted that the explosion was a suicide blast



Pakistan: 34 killed, 130 injured after blast near mosque in Balochistan

In a tragic incident, nearly 34 people were killed and more than 130 people were injured in a suicide blast near a mosque in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province on Friday, according to reports. The incident took place when people were gathering for a rally to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. Reports state that the explosion occurred near Madina Mosque in the Mastung district.

Mastung’s Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Nawaz Gashkori, who was on duty for the rally, was among the deceased. The explosion took place when hundreds of people were gathering to mark Eid Miladun Nabi, the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad.

Speaking about the matter, City Station House Officer (SHO) Mohammad Javed Lehri asserted that the explosion was a suicide blast and that the bomber exploded when he himself was standing next to DSP’s car. Mohammad Javed Lehri further affirmed that the wounded are being shifted to a medical facility for immediate treatment while an emergency has been imposed in the hospitals.

Local media reports quoted Dr Saeed Mirwani, who is the chief executive officer of Shaheed Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Raisani Memorial Hospital as saying that nearly 34 people were killed and more than 130 people were injured in the blast in Balochistan. Some of the injured are in critical condition, as per reports.

Balochistan interim Information Minister Jan Achakzai stated that rescue teams have been dispatched to Mastung. He further added that the critically injured persons are being transferred to Quetta and that an emergency has been implemented in all the hospitals.

Jan Achakzai underlined that the enemy wants to destroy religious tolerance and peace in Balochistan with foreign blessings. He added that the explosion was unbearable.

He also affirmed that caretaker Chief Minister Ali Mardan Domki has directed concerned authorities to arrest those responsible for the blast. In addition, interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti strongly condemned the blast.

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