Pakistanis organize hike to demand ‘concrete steps’ for ceasefire in Gaza, aid delivery

Special Pakistanis organize hike to demand ‘concrete steps’ for ceasefire in Gaza, aid delivery
Participants chant slogan as they walk through Margalla Hills trail during “Save Gaza” campaign hike in Islamabad on April 21, 2024. (AN Photo)
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Updated 21 April 2024
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Pakistanis organize hike to demand ‘concrete steps’ for ceasefire in Gaza, aid delivery

Pakistanis organize hike to demand ‘concrete steps’ for ceasefire in Gaza, aid delivery
  • The event, organized by Save Gaza Campaign, was attended by politicians, civil society members, journalists and students
  • Organizers demand Pakistan demarche US envoy for supporting Israel in committing ‘war crimes’ against innocent Palestinians

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: Pakistanis on Sunday organized a hike in the federal capital of Islamabad to reiterate their demands for the government to take “concrete steps” to pressure Israel for a ceasefire in Gaza and the establishment of a humanitarian assistance corridor to the war-torn territory.

The development came as the Palestinian health ministry said at least 34,097 people had been killed during more than six months of Israel’s war on Gaza. Another 76,980 people had been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war began when Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

The hike at Islamabad’s Trail 3 was organized by the Save Gaza Campaign, a civil society movement that advocates for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and attended by a large number of Pakistanis, including politicians, civil society members, journalists and students.

“Today, we have organized this hike through which we want to give this message that we will talk about Gaza,” Humaira Tayyaba, one of the organizers of the event, told Arab News.

“We are hiking to raise awareness about the real issue and to what extent we can go for this issue, so they [Pakistani youth] can know of it through this informal way.”

The organizers said their protests had been entirely peaceful and had drawn the attention of Pakistanis across the country.

“Our campaign, Save Gaza, started on 13th November and we have been continuously organizing peaceful protests,” Tayyaba said. “Our campaign is moving forward with more Pakistani people joining and emotionally connecting with Palestine.”




Mushtaq Ahmed, a former Pakistani senator, speaks ahead of the Save Gaza campaign walk through Margalla Hills trail in Islamabad on April 21, 2024, to demand a "ceasefire" in the Gaza Strip. (AN Photo)

Mushtaq Ahmed, a former Pakistani senator, demanded the Pakistani government raise the issue of Israel’s alleged war crimes against the Palestinians in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“We also demand the government of Pakistan demarche the American ambassador in Pakistan because recently the Americans announced that they are giving $17 billion aid to Israel, which will be used for aircraft, missile technology, tanks and ammunition to kill the innocent Palestinians,” he told Arab News.

Maryam Nazir, media director of the Save Gaza Campaign, said their primary demand was an immediate ceasefire in the besieged territory.

“South Africa is in the International Court of Justice at the Hague for a ceasefire. At least, [Pakistan] should submit a declaration [in the ICJ] of intervention against Israel,” she told Arab News.

Nazir said their efforts would continue and the Pakistani government would have to respond to their demands.

Pakistan does not recognize the state of Israel and maintains its support for an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, based on pre-1967 borders.

The South Asian country has repeatedly raised the issue of Israel’s war on Gaza at the United Nations through its permanent representative, Ambassador Munir Akram.




Children hold posters, saying "Free Palestine," as Mushtaq Ahmed, a former Pakistani senator, speaks ahead of the Save Gaza campaign walk through Margalla Hills trail in Islamabad on April 21, 2024, to demand a "ceasefire" in the Gaza Strip. (AN Photo)

‘Martyrs of Gaza Conference’

In the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, hundreds of people attended a rally, titled ‘Martyrs of Gaza Conference,’ on Sunday to urge the international community to halt Israeli strikes against the Palestinians. The conference was organized by the Pakistan Markazi Muslim League (PMML) party.

“Two hundred days have passed since the Israeli bombardment began in Gaza, while the entire world has become a silent spectator. I urge them to stop Israel from committing genocide against Palestinians,” said Nadeem Awan, the PMML Karachi general secretary.

“We believe that Pakistan, along with other Muslim states, can play a crucial role in raising the voice for Palestine.”

Isaar Babar, a 27-year-old teacher, said he participated in the rally to let the Palestinians know that Pakistanis stood by them.

“As you know, injustice prevails, and we are here to express solidarity with the people of Palestine, so that our brothers and sisters may know that their Pakistani counterparts stand with them,” he said.

Shaista Noor, another attendee, said Pakistanis couldn’t go to Palestine, but they could support Palestinians by boycotting Israeli products and companies that supported the Jewish state.

“We can boycott Israeli products. We can boycott products that help Israel in one way or another,” she added.


Pakistan to face England in opening T20I clash at Headingley ahead of World Cup

Pakistan to face England in opening T20I clash at Headingley ahead of World Cup
Updated 22 May 2024
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Pakistan to face England in opening T20I clash at Headingley ahead of World Cup

Pakistan to face England in opening T20I clash at Headingley ahead of World Cup
  • Skipper Babar Azam expresses confidence Pakistan will carry the winning momentum from the Ireland series
  • England dominate the T20I rivalry with 19 wins to Pakistan’s nine triumphs, with one game ended as a no-result

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan men’s cricket team will take on England in the first of the four-match T20I series at Headingley today, Wednesday, in what is expected to be an exciting match ahead of next month’s World Cup.
The last T20I meeting between Pakistan and England took place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022. England edged past Pakistan by five wickets in the close encounter with Sam Curran earning the Player of the Final award for his figures of three for 12.
A full-strength Pakistan cricket team is expected to take the field at Headingley on Wednesday at the back of a 2-1 series win against Ireland in Dublin last week. Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi snapped up the Player of the Match awards in the two victories.
Pakistan men’s white-ball head coach Gary Kirsten also joined the side on 19 May for the first assignment of his two-year tenure.
“I am confident that Pakistan will carry the winning momentum from the Ireland series into the England T20Is. Our 2-1 victory in Dublin showcased the brilliance of our batters and bowlers, while also providing us with learnings as we aim to work on our areas of improvement,” said Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, the most successful captain in T20Is with 46 wins.
“We’ve had productive training sessions at Headingley and with head coach Gary Kirsten linking up with the squad, we are focused on fine-tuning our strategies and combinations for the four T20Is against England and T20 World Cup,” he added.
England dominate the T20I rivalry with 19 wins to Pakistan’s nine triumphs, while one game ended as a no-result. England were the winners of the previous bilateral series against Pakistan, clinching the seven T20Is played in Lahore and Karachi 4-3.
Series schedule:
22 May – v England, 1st T20I, Leeds
25 May – v England, 2nd T20I, Birmingham
28 May – v England 3rd T20I, Cardiff
30 May – v England, 4th T20I, The Oval


PM Sharif to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi

PM Sharif to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi
Updated 22 May 2024
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PM Sharif to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi

PM Sharif to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi
  • The incident occurred when the Iranian president was flying to Tabriz amid dense fog causing poor visibility
  • The Pakistani prime minister will meet the Iranian supreme leader, acting president to offer his condolences

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is scheduled to travel to Iran today, Wednesday, to offer his condolences after President Dr. Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian lost their lives in a helicopter crash in East Azerbaijan Province on May 19.
The incident occurred after the Iranian president attended the inauguration of a joint hydropower project on the Aras River, which forms part of the border with Azerbaijan, in a ceremony with his counterpart Ilham Aliyev.
His helicopter crashed while he was on his way back to Tabriz with a seven-member entourage amid dense fog, causing poor visibility.
The Pakistani prime minister paid tribute to the Iranian president and foreign minister during the recent cabinet meeting. The Iranian officials arrived in Islamabad and visited other Pakistani cities last month and vowed to enhance bilateral trade between the two countries.
“Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif will visit the Islamic Republic of Iran today to offer condolences at the sad demise of President Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian,” the foreign office announced in a statement.
“The Prime Minister will call on the Supreme Leader, His Eminence, Ayatollah Imam Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and meet Acting President of Iran, Dr. Mohammad Mokhber, to convey condolences on behalf of the people and Government of Pakistan,” it added.
Sharif will be accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar and other senior cabinet ministers.
According to media outlets, Raisi’s funeral will be held on Thursday.
Tens of thousands of Iranians in Tabriz on Tuesday mourned their president and other Iranian officials who died in the crash, walking behind the vehicle carrying their coffins.


Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence

Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence
Updated 6 min 55 sec ago
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Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence

Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence
  • Ishaq Dar flew to Bishkek with the Kyrgyz foreign minister after their meeting on the sidelines of SCO conference in Astana
  • Pakistan continues to evacuate students even as the top officials of the two countries hold meetings to sort things out

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar arrived in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, on Tuesday to address concerns of young nationals of his country enrolled in various educational institutions of the Central Asian state who were targeted by mob violence last week.
The violence began in Bishkek on Friday night after videos of a brawl between Kyrgyz and Egyptian students went viral on social media, prompting groups of local residents to target university hostels and private lodgings of international students, including those from Pakistan.
According to official figures, about 10,000 Pakistani students are enrolled in Kyrgyzstan, with nearly 6,000 in Bishkek. The frenzied violence forced them to confine themselves for several hours in their rooms without food and drinking water, with many of them making evacuation requests online.
Dar, who is also the foreign minister of Pakistan, held a meeting with his Kyrgyz counterpart in Kazakhstan on the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers.
“Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has arrived in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic for a working visit,” Pakistan’s foreign office announced in a statement on Tuesday. “He was invited to visit the Kyrgyz Republic by Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Zheenbek Kulubaev after their meeting yesterday in Astana, Kazakhstan on the sidelines of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers. The two Ministers traveled together from Astana to Bishkek.”

In this handout photograph, taken and released by Pakistan’s foreign ministry, Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar (L) shakes hands with Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister Kulubaev Zheenbek Moldokanovich in Bishkek on May 22, 2024. (Photo courtesy: MOFA)

“In Bishkek, the Deputy Prime Minister will discuss with the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister the concerns of Pakistani nationals in the Kyrgyz Republic, including the recent issues faced by Pakistani students,” it added.
Five Pakistani nationals were injured in last week’s violence. Four of them were released after receiving first aid. However, one student was hospitalized due to more serious injuries.
Dar also met with the student who remains under treatment among his other official engagements.
Pakistan has so far repatriated over 1,000 students from Bishkek after the mob violence via various flights. The evacuation process continues even as officials of the two countries try to sort things out.
The most recent flight carrying about 170 Pakistani students arrived in Multan on Wednesday morning.

In this handout photograph, taken and released by Pakistan International Airlines, officials from Pakistan's national airline welcome students arriving from Bishkek via a special PIA flight at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore on May 21, 2024, days after mobs in Kyrgyz capital attacked foreign students following a brawl with migrants. (Photo courtesy: PIA)

 


President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody

President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody
Updated 21 May 2024
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President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody

President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody
  • Pervaiz Elahi was arrested on June 1 in a case relating to alleged illegal appointments in Punjab Assembly
  • His party says the anti-corruption watchdog failed to prove Elahi had accepted any money against recruitment

ISLAMABAD: Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, president of former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, was released from prison on Tuesday after the Lahore High Court granted him bail in a case relating to alleged illegal appointments, the PTI said.
Elahi was arrested on June 1, 2023 after being accused of getting results of the testing service changed to have the candidates of his choice appointed in the Punjab provincial assembly.
Justice Sultan Tanvir of the Lahore High Court accepted his bail petition while presiding over a hearing of the case on Tuesday and ordered his release.
“The anti-corruption body filed the case after a delay of two years,” the PTI said in a statement. “Anti-corruption body failed to prove that Mr. Elahi had accepted any money against recruitment or his involvement in the recruitment procedure.”
Elahi has twice served as the chief minister of Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province and dissolved the provincial assembly in January 2023 on Khan’s instructions, in a bid to force early nationwide elections.
His arrest on June 1 came amid a crackdown on Khan’s PTI party after violent clashes and attacks on government and military installations over Khan’s brief arrest in May 9.
Khan, who was ousted in a parliamentary no-trust vote in April, has been in jail since last August and convicted in multiple cases. Arguably Pakistan’s most popular politician, Khan says all cases against him are politically motivated to keep him out of politics.


Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave

Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave
Updated 21 May 2024
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Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave

Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave
  • The Pakistan Meteorological Department said temperatures are expected to hit as high as 50°Celsius in parts of rural Sindh
  • Extreme heat in Pakistan is often coupled by deficit in power supply, with some areas experiencing 15-hour daily loadshedding

KARACHI: Over 1,000 camps have been set up across Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh in anticipation of a severe heatwave, disaster management officials said Tuesday.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department said temperatures are expected to hit as high as 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of rural Sindh.
“These camps have been set up to provide relief to affected people, and to help reduce instances of heatstroke and other heat-related diseases,” Ajay Kumar assistant director of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) told AFP.
“They are also equipped with places of rest, water and glucose to give to people as and when these are needed,” he added.
The heatwave will affect much of the country, building over the next week.
Extreme heat in Pakistan is often coupled by deficit in power supply, with some areas experiencing up to 15 hours a day of loadshedding, according to local media.
Pakistan increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events, which scientists have linked to climate change.
Schools in the province have already postponed annual examinations scheduled for this week, including in the mega port city of Karachi, home to more than 20 million people.
PDMA Chief Meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz said that “women who spend most of their time in the kitchen and in the fields in rural areas are the hardest hit.”
The heatwave also raises concern about the survival of livestock, Kumar added.