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Dozens dead in Pakistan as PIA plane plunges into Karachi houses

Islamabad, Pakistan – At least 85 people have been killed after an Airbus A320 passenger airliner cr..

Islamabad, Pakistan – At least 85 people have been killed after an Airbus A320 passenger airliner crashed into a residential neighbourhood while on approach to the airport in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, officials say.

At least two male passengers of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-8303 from the eastern city of Lahore to Karachi survived the crash on Friday, a health ministry spokeswoman told Al Jazeera.

There were at least 91 passengers on board the plane, according to an official passenger manifest shared with Al Jazeera by the officials.

Health ministry spokeswoman Meeran Yousuf told Al Jazeera by telephone that 85 people have died, with 53 bodies kept at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Karachi’s largest government hospital, and 32 at Civil Hospital Karachi, another major state-run hospital.

Yousuf said the two survivors were being treated at the hospitals in Karachi, while 19 bodies have been identified so far.

At least six people who were on the ground when the airliner crashed into houses in the densely populated Model Colony area of Karachi, adjacent to the city’s international airport, were being treated for their injuries, she added.

“Our plane [an Airbus] A320 which was coming from Lahore to Karachi was on final approach,” said PIA chief Arshad Malik in a video message released after the crash.

“The last words we heard from our pilot were that there is a technical problem and he was told on final approach that he has both runways available to him to land on. But the pilot decided that he wanted to go around.”

The plane then rapidly lost altitude and crashed short of the runway into the Model Colony neighbourhood, witnesses told the local media.

Dense plumes of black smoke rose above houses in the narrow streets of the neighbourhood, with television footage showing several houses crushed from the impact of the aircraft.

Parts of the plane, including the emergency exit door, were seen strewn in the streets.

Pakistan: Passenger plane with 107 onboard crashes


Wreckage of the PIA passenger plane crash can be seen in a residential area in Karachi [Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu]


Pakistan’s military said it had deployed helicopters to assess the damage and help ferry the dead and wounded to the hospitals.

An emergency was declared in all of the city’s hospitals, already reeling from a widespread outbreak of the coronavirus, provincial health minister Azra Pechucho told reporters.

“We are doing DNA testing of the dead bodies so that they can be identified and they can be given to their families,” she said.

“We were already in an emergency situation due to COVID, we were already alert … and now we have put the surgical units on alert as well.”

‘Shocked and saddened’

Pakistan resumed limited domestic flight operations last week, after a lengthy suspension due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed more than 1,067 lives in the South Asian nation, according to the government data.

The Airbus A320, operated by Pakistan’s national flag carrier, was due to land in Karachi at 2:45pm local time (09:45 GMT) after an hour and a half in the air after departing Lahore earlier in the day.

In 2016, Pakistan suffered its deadliest recent air crash, when all 47 people on board a PIA Embraeur ATR aircraft were killed when it crashed into a mountain en route from the northern town of Chitral to the capital Islamabad.

In 2010, the country saw its worst air disaster, with all 152 people on board an Air Blue passenger flight killed when the plane crashed into the hills just north of the capital Islamabad.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered an immediate inquiry into Friday’s crash.

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Removal of artwork showing names of murdered women, children draws anger

An artwork depicting names of Australian women and children lost to male violence has been removed from a museum, amid claims it was considered “inappropriate” and “uncomfortable”.

The Lost Petition artwork, listing almost 1000 women and children who have died since 2008, was hung in the Her Place Women’s Museum Australia in East Melbourne for only a week when it was taken down on Wednesday.

Femicide researcher Sherele Moody, who collaborated with artist Dans Bain on the artwork, said the museum had asked to exhibit it.

But when the 30m artwork was hung along the ceiling featuring the names of the murder victims, it drew a reaction.

“While Dans was hanging it, someone came up and said it was really confronting and inappropriate and shouldn’t be there,” Ms Moody said.

“She just brushed it off.

“But then yesterday the museum contacted her and said they were taking it down because it wasn’t appropriate to have it alongside the Emily’s List exhibition there at the moment.”

Ms Moody, a News Corp journalist and founder of the Red Heart Campaign, which aims to end domestic and family violence, said the decision to take it down was “infuriating”.

“Literally what they’re saying, from my perspective, is the stories of women and children lost to violence are not worthy of being seen or heard,” she said.

“These women and children are an inconvenience and inappropriate.

“The murder of women and children is too uncomfortable for them.”

Ms Moody said a museum dedicated to women was the perfect place to display the work.

But the organisation based on celebrating women had now taken down an artwork detailing the greatest social issue facing them.

Families of the victims depicted were “extremely upset” at its removal, as it was a tribute to their memory and highlighted the impact of domestic violence, Ms Moody said.

Her Place museum said the Emily’s List exhibition organisers requested the artist remove the petition from the space, where a new exhibition marking the 25th anniversary of Emily’s List – a network for progressive Labor women in politics – was installed.

“Due to the size and scale of the Lost Petition, there was no alternative space at Her Place Museum to exhibit the artwork,” the museum said.

The Her Place board would reinstall the artwork later in the year, in a move it said the artist agreed on as part of the Her Voice program of Australian Women’s activism.

“The exhibiting of The Lost Petition was at the invitation of Her Place Museum Australia. It is a powerful artwork and that power is reflected in the feedback we have received,” the museum said.

Artist Dans Bain said the decision to remove her artwork made her “uneasy”.

“The fact that this work has been censored speaks to the stigma of male violence against women and children. It is an uncomfortable reality,” she posted on Facebook on Thursday.

“This work lists almost 1000 women and children, every woman and child on the Lost Petition is a loved one and has families that love them. They are not an inconvenience.”

Emily’s List Australia said it had a long term booking at the museum, which as a new facility had competing demands for space.

“Difficult decisions need to be made about how to display significant material in a small public space, during limited run exhibits,” the organisation said.

“The removal of The Lost Petition was temporary to enable installation in a more permanent way … and to ensure other women’s history exhibits move seamlessly in and around it.

“It’s a big, bold piece of art and it deserves showcasing.”

The organisation added protecting women from gendered violence was far from complete and “we are all dedicated to this work”.

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Senator Claire Chandler unable to answer question on who is calling for ban of trans women in single sex sports

A Tasmanian senator pushing for transgender people to be excluded from women’s sport has been unable to name a single sporting organisation in the state who has called for the change.

Under a proposal introduced to parliament earlier this month, senator Claire Chandler wants the Sex Discrimination Act to be amended so it would not be unlawful for a sporting club to ban a person from a team based on their biological sex.

In a sensational grilling on ABC Radio Hobart, Senator Chandler was repeatedly asked to clarify who in particular is calling for the change.

“I’m not going to get into specifics,” she said.

When asked a further three times by host Leon Compton, the senator stood firm.

“What I will say is that I’ve been contacted by parents of girls who have realised how despondent their girls have become competing in sport, in situations where they’re competing against males and feeling like they’re not good enough to be in the game.”

“Is it possible, Claire Chandler, that this isn’t an issue at all; the fact that you can’t name a single group,” Mr Compton quipped back.

“Leon, like I said, I’m not going to get into specifics with you,” she responded.

She added she had been contacted by “sporting administrators” who have been concerned about the legal action that could be taken against them if they do exclude a transgender person from a single-sex sport.

“You look at what is happening with Leah Thomas in the United States, where this trans woman, I should say, swimmer, who’s beating her female counterparts by seven seconds in the pool. That is just madness,” Senator Chandler said.

Senator Chandler’s bill came back into the spotlight after Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed he had encouraged her to pursue it.

“I support it, as Claire knows. I think it’s a terrific Bill and I’ve given her great encouragement,” Mr Morrison told reporters on the hustings in Tasmania.

“Claire is a champion for women’s sport and I think she’s been right to raise these issues in the way that she has. Well done, Claire.”

But it remains to be seen if Mr Morrison’s backing will translate into broader support.

To have the bill introduced to the upper house, Senator Chandler had to do so as a private members bill, meaning she did not have support of the wider cabinet to put it on the agenda.

“If it was such a great bill, why isn‘t it endorsed by the cabinet?” Mr Compton pressed repeatedly.

“I’ve had a number of conversations with the Prime Minister obviously and with my colleagues about this issue. And look, if it’s something that the cabinet wants to consider, then that is obviously a matter for them,” Senator Chandler retorted.

With only three days left in the parliamentary sitting calendar, it is unlikely the Bill will pass, or even make it to the lower house, before the election.

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Liberal MP Bridget Archer told Scott Morrison would decide if she could attend Grace Tame speech

Child sex abuse survivor and Liberal MP Bridget Archer was told the decision on whether or not she could attend a speech by Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins was “up to the Prime Minister.”

The confusion was blamed last night on a communication breakdown between the Whip’s office and the Prime Minister’s office.

The PMO insists it instructed the whips this morning to seek pairs from Labor for those Government MPs wanting to attend Wednesday’s National Press Club address.

That didn’t happen with Ms Archer told at 3pm it was “up to the PM” before she was finally told she could go after 7pm when news.com.au contacted the PMO.

In a major speech to be delivered at the national press club on Wednesday, the former Australian of the Year will speak out on tackling child sex abuse in Australia.

Tasmanian MP Bridget Archer secured a last-minute ticket to the sold out event on Tuesday, but her request to attend the event was not immediately granted.

Liberal colleagues claim she was told by party whip Bert Van Manem that it was “up to the PM.”

Despite Labor’s offer to allow her to leave Parliament despite the tight numbers on the floor of the House of Representatives, confusion reigned about whether she could attend.

After news.com.au contacted the Prime Minister’s office at 7:05 pm on Tuesday night, Ms Archer’s office then got a call 5 minutes later confirming she was cleared to attend.

The outspoken MP earlier declared she planned to cross the floor and vote against the Morrison Government’s religious freedom laws because they were in breach of Tasmanian anti-discrimination laws.

She told Parliament she was “horrified” that proposed amendments excluded children that identified as transgender.

“After so much progress how did we get back to a place where we ignore the harm we place on children when we tell them they are ‘other’, ‘less than’ and do not deserve rights and protections afforded to others – I fear it may risk lives,” Ms Archer said.

Labor’s manager of government business Tony Burke took to Twitter on Tuesday to insist there was no barrier from Labor MPs on Ms Archer or other MPs attending.

“If requests come in for the Press Club we will accommodate the same as we did for March4Justice,’’ he said.

“The government’s claim that we are meant to offer pairs that they haven’t requested is weird. And wrong.”

Last year, Ms Archer told news.com.au she burst into tears after she was taken to the Prime Minister’s office to discuss her decision to cross the floor on another matter despite repeatedly telling his staff she wanted to delay the discussion.

While Scott Morrison described the talks as “friendly”, Ms Archer said she was ambushed by the meeting and had earlier asked to delay it.

“I didn’t feel like I was being marched to the principal’s office. I just felt a little disappointed that it happened when I had expressed to the Prime Minister’s office that I would have preferred, that my preference was not at that time,” she told news.com.au.

“And I had said in the text messages to the Prime Minister’s office that I didn’t want to have the meeting, before the meeting.

“They sent me a message saying he wanted to see me at 12.15pm. I said I am not ready. I need a break.

“It was a big thing. It was just the emotion of the moment.”

Ms Archer is a child sexual assault survivor who voted with independent MP Helen Haines to suspend standing orders to establish an anti-corruption commission.

“I have found this year incredibly difficult, personally because of my own history as a child sexual abuse survivor,” she said.

“It has been difficult for me to sit with discipline in unity with all this going on around me and it has hurt me. It has hurt me.

“But I am not weak. I’m telling you that I don’t think that some of these things are the right way forward.

“That language being used yesterday about drones and warm bodies. That’s what I said to him. That I am not a drone.”

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