Saudi Civil Defense steps up safety plan for Hajj 2019

The meeting, chaired by Maj. Khalid bin Abdulkarim Al-Awdah, assistant director of Civil Defense in Makkah, highlighted efforts to implement medical evacuation plans. (SPA)
Updated 04 August 2019
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Saudi Civil Defense steps up safety plan for Hajj 2019

  • Medical evacuation plans have been put in place for the holy sites, the Holy Mosque and the surrounding squares during the Hajj
  • Around 200,000 Pakistani pilgrims will be performing Hajj this year

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia has put in place special medical evacuation plans for Hajj 2019 with emergency paramedical and medical teams positioned at the holy sites, the Holy Mosque and the surrounding squares during Hajj, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Teams involved in the implementation of medical evacuation plan and dealing with emergencies during the Hajj season held a meeting on Saturday to coordinate their work to maintain pilgrim safety, the SPA reported.
The meeting, chaired by Maj. Khalid bin Abdulkarim Al-Awdah, assistant director of Civil Defense in Makkah, highlighted efforts to enforce the medical evacuation plans especially during the peak days of Tarwiyah, Arafah, Eid Al-Adha, and Tashreeq.
The meeting also discussed procedures to support medical evacuation with ambulatory and medical teams provided by the health affairs authority in Makkah during Arafah, positioned in the vicinity of Namirah Mosque and Mount Arafat.
Participants were briefed on the level of readiness of the medical evacuation points at the holy sites’ train stations, as well as the medical evacuation teams on the train route and ways of dealing with obstacles that hinder implementing medical evacuation. 


Blasphemy accusation in Pakistan sparks ransacking of Hindu temple, school

Updated 16 September 2019

Blasphemy accusation in Pakistan sparks ransacking of Hindu temple, school

  • The violence erupted in the southern province of Sindh after a student accused the Hindu principal of blasphemy

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: A crowd in Pakistan ransacked a school and Hindu temple after a Hindu principal was accused of blasphemy, police said on Monday, the latest case to raise concern about the fate of religious minorities in the predominantly Muslim country.
The violence erupted in the southern province of Sindh after a student accused the Hindu principal of blasphemy in comments about the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. The enraged crowd ransacked the school and damaged a nearby temple, a district police chief said.
The principal had been taken into protective custody and police were investigating both the alleged blasphemy and the rioters, he added.
“It seems the principal had not done anything intentionally,” the district police chief, Furrukh Ali, told Reuters.
Insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan, which is about 95 percent Muslim and has among the harshest blasphemy laws in the world.
No executions for blasphemy have been carried out in Pakistan but enraged mobs sometimes kill people accused of it.
Rights groups say the blasphemy law is often exploited by religious hard-liners as well as ordinary Pakistanis to settle scores.
The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the weekend violence, footage of which was recorded in a video and circulated on social media. It called on authorities should take prompt action.
“The video ... is chilling: mob violence against a member of a religious minority is barbaric, unacceptable,” the commission said in a post on Twitter.
Hindus make up about 1.6 percent of Pakistan’s population of 208 million, the majority of whom are Sunni Muslims.
In January, the Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of a Christian women who spent years on death row after being convicted of blasphemy in a case that had drawn alarm from religious and human rights advocates.
In March, Pakistan’s government sacked a provincial minister for making offensive comments about Hindus as tension between Pakistan and Hindu-majority neighbor India ran high after a militant attack in the Indian-controlled portion of the contested Kashmir region.