A feat on feet: From Karachi to Kingdom ... with banner of peace

Updated 02 October 2013
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A feat on feet: From Karachi to Kingdom ... with banner of peace

Kharlzada Kasrat, a Pakistani man who entered the Kingdom on foot from Pakistan, embarked on a walk for peace from Karachi to Makkah on June 7 and arrived in the Kingdom through the Jordanian border on Monday.
Kasrat, who twice staged the longest peace walks in the world, was provided with a medical team and security escorts by Saudi authorities upon his arrival into the Kingdom. He walked through Iran, Iraq and Jordan. The total distance from Karachi to Makkah is 6,387 km by foot.
Speaking with Arab News, he said he had chosen Makkah as his final destination given its spiritual significance. He said he was congratulated by residents in Tabuk in large numbers. He said he was touched with the warm welcome and hospitality of Saudis when he crossed into border.
“The purpose of my visit is to promote peace on the basis of humanity, as Islam preaches. Pakistani tribes that were previously known for their hospitality are now branded as terrorists and are being subject to persecution,” said Kasrat.
“I sold my personal items to embark on the walk as I lack financial resources.”
Kasrat said: “I am thankful to Saudi authorities and I hope they will provide me with accommodation.”
He said he had walked 1,301 km in Pakistan, 2,640 km in Iran, 600 km in Iraq and 800 km in Jordan before reaching the Kingdom.
Kharlzada has recalled his harrowing experience in the Iraqi desert, where he walked a 100-km stretch that was completely deserted.
He also said that militants in Baluchistan in Pakistan attempted to kidnap him. He said he slept at a check post in Tabuk upon arrival, then left Tabuk hoping to reach Madinah on Sept. 20 and Makkah on Oct. 1. Kharlzada is walking on average 50 km per day.
It took him two days to reach Tabuk from the border.


Rwanda’s rhino population grows, tourists expected to increase

Updated 25 June 2019
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Rwanda’s rhino population grows, tourists expected to increase

  • There are only about 1,000 black rhinos left in the wild, Jes Gruner, the Akagera National Park manager, said
  • In 2017 tourism earned Rwanda $437 million

KIGALI: Rhino keepers who successfully delivered five endangered black rhinos to Rwanda spent months hugging and coddling them inside their transport boxes to prepare them for the journey, a rhino handler said as the animals were freed on Monday.
The two male and three female eastern black rhinoceroses were flown from Safari Park Dour Kralove zoo in the Czech Republic, where they had been getting to know each other after arriving from separate European parks.
“The preparation process took several months. It started in autumn last year when two animals were brought here from Denmark and England. They started to bond, which always takes weeks because black rhinos are very alert and nervous animals,” said rhino handler Jaromir Sejnoha from the Dvur Kralove Safari Park.
“In the final phase (of preparations) the rhino is trained to stay inside the box for several minutes. We feed them and hug them in there, so they aren’t scared of the box and become accustomed to it, and so on the day of transportation they don’t get nervous and the whole transportation goes smoothly.”
There are only about 1,000 black rhinos left in the wild, Jes Gruner, the Akagera National Park manager, said. The new arrivals mean Rwanda is home to 25 of them.
Tourism is a key foreign exchange earner in the East African nation, home to mountain gorillas and the so-called “Big Five” African game animals — lions, rhinos, elephants, buffalo, and leopard.
“Every year our tourism numbers are going up and bringing these rhinos I am sure will help,” Gruner said.
The park received 44,000 visitors who generated over $2 million last year, Gruner said.
In 2017 tourism earned Rwanda $437 million. Clare Akamanzi, chief executive of the Rwanda Development Board, said 2018 numbers were not yet ready due to a change of methodology.
The push for tourist dollars in not without controversy. The government’s 2018 deal to pay British football club Arsenal £30 million ($38 million) to have “Visit Rwanda” emblazoned on the team’s jersey was criticized by politicians in some donor nations who questioned whether it was a good use of money by a government still heavily dependent on foreign aid.