Malaysian Sikh bikers ride to Pakistan for cancer awareness

Chosen by the National Cancer Society Malaysia, 17 Sikh members of the Santana Riderz Malaysia Club will set out to cover 16,000 kilometers to raise funds for pediatric cancer. The ride coincides with the birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism and concludes in the city of his birth, Nankana Sahib, Pakistan. Picture taken on April 26, 2018 (Photo Courtesy: Santana Riderz Malaysia Club Instagram)
Updated 21 September 2019

Malaysian Sikh bikers ride to Pakistan for cancer awareness

  • The ride coincides with the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism and ends in his birthplace, Nankana Sahib, in Pakistan
  • Santana Riderz want to raise awareness about pediatric cancer, generate funds to combat the disease

ISLAMABAD: A Malaysian motorcycle club, Santana Riderz, has decided to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer by planning a biking expedition to Pakistan in which its members will ride through a number of countries, said the association’s top official on Friday.
The 17 riders belong to the Sikh community and hope to conclude their journey in Pakistan’s eastern town of Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of the founder of their religion, Guru Nanak, whose 550th birth anniversary will be celebrated in November this year.
Pakistan’s Punjab province holds tremendous historic significance for Sikhism. Not only does it have the community’s holiest religious shrine but was also part of its empire in the early half of the 19th century and was governed by one of its most illustrious rulers, Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
The Sikh riders have embarked on their venture in collaboration with the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NSCM) and will cruise the roads of Thailand, Myanmar and India before finishing their trip in Pakistan.
According to details, six of them will kick off the run from Malaysia while others will ride into formation as the journey continues. The group will cover 16,000 kilometers in almost 40 days, and each rider will spend about Rs350,000 to meet their fuel, food and accommodation expenses.
46-year-old Jaspal Singh, who serves as president of the motorcycle club, maintains it is the largest bike ride of its kind since it aims to raise funds for children fighting cancer.
“Santana Riderz Malaysia Club is an organization that reaches out to help anyone in their means,” he told Arab News. “We are united by a common goal: To save and improve lives, especially young ones.”
“In Malaysia, the NCSM has always kept its door open to people who want to do voluntary work,” he added. “Children shouldn’t feel sick or lose their hair. They shouldn’t have to face long term effects like hearing loss or the ability to ever walk. These are some of the driving factors that compelled us to connect with the NCSM.”
Under the theme “Sarbat Da Bhala” – or “blessings for everyone” – funds raised through the ride will go to children and their families, regardless of race or creed. According to Singh, this was also one reason why the NCSM chose the club’s charitable ride.
Established in 1979, Santana Riderz has 46 members. The non-profit has been an active philanthropic force in Malaysia since it has previously organized a number of initiatives to help communities across that country by raising money on wheels.
On coming to Pakistan, Singh said a few of his group members had traveled to the country before, but “a journey to a place of such significance” was always worth repeating.
“Just like anyone who has faith in God, going to a place of sanctuary is most satisfying to the soul and mind. This sanctuary is a sacred place for us, set apart from the profane, ordinary world,” he added. “This kind of phenomenon is beyond emotional and indescribable. We have gratitude and feel most connected to God.”

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

Updated 12 January 2020

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

  • Work on foreign minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States being done
  • Pakistan’s strong relations with regional countries has made it an important player

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated on Thursday that the country was going to play its role in restoring peace in the Middle East by working with other international stakeholders in the region.

“Pakistan welcomes de-escalation and wants to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the region. We have seen that indication in United States President [Donald] Trump’s speech and are evaluating its contours,” the country’s foreign office spokesperson, Aisha Farooqui, said in her weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

She said that Pakistan’s geographical position, along with its strong relations with regional countries and the United States, had made it a significant player in the Middle East.

“Pakistan has maintained that war is not the solution to any issue and made it clear that it will not become part of any regional conflict,” she said.

The spokesperson noted that Islamabad had enhanced its efforts to defuse tensions in the region and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had contacted his counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and many other important states in this connection.

“All the international players, including Saudi Arabia, have said that the region cannot afford another war and asked for restraint from both parties [the US and Iran]. It’s a collective objective of all countries to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East,” she said.

Commenting on the foreign minister’s upcoming visit to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the US, she said that “work on these tours has already started and they will take place as soon as dates are finalized with the respective countries.”

“We are very mindful for our brotherly and friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other regional countries. Pakistan and the US also enjoy longstanding relations and have contacts with each other through multiple forums including political and military leadership,” Farooqui said, adding that the foreign office had established a task force to continuously monitor the situation in the Middle East and inform the government about it along with its suggestions on a daily basis.

The spokesperson expressed hope that recent developments in the Middle East would not affect the ongoing Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan hopes that progress made on Afghan peace process will not come to a halt and the world community will not lose its focus as a result of the ongoing tensions in the Middle East,” she said.

Asked about the safety of Pakistani nationals in Iraq, she said the country’s embassy in Baghdad was on the alert to deal with any emergency situation.

“We are concerned about the safety of Pakistani citizens in Iraq and have issued an advisory in this regard. We have also instructed our mission in Baghdad to remain vigilant to deal with any emergency,” Farooqui said.