Iranian president visits Lahore, Karachi on three-day Pakistan visit

Iranian president visits Lahore, Karachi on three-day Pakistan visit
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Chief Minister Punjab Maryam Nawaz (right) meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Lahore, Pakistan on April 23, 2024. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Iranian president visits Lahore, Karachi on three-day Pakistan visit
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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is received by Murad Ali Shah, the Chief Minister of Sindh province upon his arrival in Karachi on April 23, 2024. (Photo courtesy: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
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Updated 23 April 2024

Iranian president visits Lahore, Karachi on three-day Pakistan visit

Iranian president visits Lahore, Karachi on three-day Pakistan visit
  • President Ebrahim Raisi met provincial chief executives, other officials and dignitaries during the visits
  • Raisi arrived in Islamabad on Monday on an official visit as two Muslim neighbors sought to mend ties

KARACHI: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday held meetings with top officials in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province as he arrived in the seaside metropolis of Karachi, following his visit to the eastern city of Lahore during three-day official tour of Pakistan.

Raisi arrived in Islamabad on Monday on a three-day official visit to Pakistan as the two Muslim neighbors sought to mend ties after unprecedented tit-for-tat military strikes earlier this year. The visit also comes as tensions are high in the Middle East after Iran launched airstrikes on Israel a week ago and Israel retaliated with its own attack on Friday.

Upon arrival at the Karachi airport, the Iranian president received a warm welcome from Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. He was subsequently escorted to the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, where he paid homage to the founder of Pakistan. Stringent security measures were in place, with main thoroughfare closed and a public holiday declared in the port city.

Commuters ride past a welcoming billboard displaying an image of the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi along a street in Karachi on April 22, 2024. (AFP)

Later, a reception was hosted in Raisi’s honor at the Sindh Chief Minister’s House, where Governor Tessori conferred upon him an honorary Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) degree in recognition of his contributions to “strengthening bilateral ties between the two nations.”

“It’s a privilege for the University of Karachi to bestow this honorary degree upon the Iranian president,” Tessori was quoted as saying in a press statement.

He emphasized the importance of fostering strong relations among Muslim nations, according to the statement. The governor also invited the Iranian business community to invest in Pakistan, highlighting “the favorable and business-friendly environment within the country.”

Emphasizing the importance of enhancing relations between the two countries, CM Murad Ali Shah assured President Raisi of Sindh’s commitment to strengthening educational, cultural, social and economic ties with Iran.

“Murad Shah concluded by inviting Iranian brothers and sisters to explore investment opportunities in Sindh, emphasizing the region’s safe and attractive investment environment,” read a statement issued by Shah’s office.

Later, a dinner was hosted for President Raisi by the Pakistani business community.

Earlier in the day, Raisi visited the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore and began his trip by visiting the mausoleum of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Pakistan’s national poet, whose literary works in the Persian language have garnered him widespread recognition in Iran.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visits Iqbal's Mausoleum in Lahore and lays a wreath in honor of the renowned poet and philosopher of Pakistan on April 23, 2024. (Government of Pakistan)

He later met top provincial officials, including Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz and Governor Baligh-ur-Rehman. In his meeting with CM Nawaz, the two figures reaffirmed commitment to enhancing cultural exchanges and fostering people-to-people contacts, according to a statement issued from the Punjab CM’s office.

“The Chief Minister explained the measures taken in the province for socio-economic development and expressed a desire for close engagement with Iranian cities and provinces for mutual benefit and prosperity,” it read.

“President Raisi appreciated the rich cultural history of the city of Lahore and expressed admiration for the poet of the East, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, who is revered in Iran as ‘Iqbal-e-Lahori’.”

The Iranian official’s visit is the first by any head of state to Pakistan after the South Asian nation’s February general elections and the formation of a new government headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

On Monday, Raisi held delegation-level meetings in the Pakistani capital as well as one-on-one discussions with the prime minister, president, army chief, chairman senate and speaker national assembly.

He also witnessed the signing of eight MoUs and agreements covering different fields including trade, science technology, agriculture, health, culture, and judicial matters. These include an MoU on the establishment of the Rimdan-Gabd Joint Free/Special Zone; on cooperation between the Ministry of Cooperative Labour and Social Welfare of Iran and the Ministry of Overseas Pakistani and Human Resources Development of Pakistan; on judicial assistance and legal cooperation at the ministry levels; on cooperation for animal hygiene and health; on mutual recognition in the field of quarantine and phytosanitary; and on the promotion of culture and films.

“The economic and trade volume between Iran and Pakistan is not acceptable at all and we have decided at the first step to increase the trade volume between our two countries to $10 billion,” Raisi said at a joint press conference with Sharif.

The interior ministers of Pakistan and Iran also met on Monday and discussed border management to prevent smuggling and drugs trafficking, and “decided in principle to ban terrorist organizations in their respective countries,” state news wire APP said.

Governor Punjab Muhammad Balighur Rehman (right) shakes hands with the Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Lahore, Pakistan on April 23, 2024. (Government of Pakistan)

“The two sides agreed on a joint plan of action to deal with the menace of terrorism being a common problem, with further improving mutual support and exchange of intelligence information.”

A security agreement regarding this decision would be signed “at the earliest,” APP added.

Pakistan and Iran have had a history of rocky relations despite a number of commercial pacts, with Islamabad being historically closer to Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Their highest profile agreement is a stalled gas supply deal signed in 2010 to build a pipeline from Iran’s South Fars gas field to Pakistan’s southern provinces of Balochistan and Sindh.

Pakistan and Iran are also often at odds over instability on their shared porous border, with both countries routinely trading blame for not rooting out militancy.

Tensions surged in January when Pakistan and Iran exchanged airstrikes, both claiming to target alleged militant hideouts in each other’s countries. Both sides have since then undertaken peace overtures and restored bilateral ties.

Police arrest five in southern Pakistan for chopping off camel’s leg

Police arrest five in southern Pakistan for chopping off camel’s leg
Updated 27 sec ago

Police arrest five in southern Pakistan for chopping off camel’s leg

Police arrest five in southern Pakistan for chopping off camel’s leg
  • Local media widely reported landlord chopped off camel’s leg after it trespassed into his field
  • Proper medical treatment being provided to the camel, says Sanghar lawmaker Shazia Ata Marri 

ISLAMABAD: Police in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province this week arrested five persons for their involvement in chopping off a camel’s leg, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported. 

Local media reports said a landlord in Sanghar district’s Mund Jamrao village allegedly had a camel’s leg chopped off on Friday after the animal trespassed into his field for fodder. 

The owner of the camel, a poor peasant named Soomar Behan, was contacted by police after the episode went viral on social media. However, Behan refused to file charges against the landlord following which police took action. 

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said on Saturday that a case had been registered against the accused for amputating the camel on the state’s behalf, describing it as a “humanely unacceptable” act. 

“He said that the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had taken notice of the incident,” APP said. “Sharjeel said that the five accused had been arrested.”

Sanghar lawmaker Shazia Ata Marri wrote on social media platform X police took action as soon as she learned about the “horrible and painful” incident. 

“While the police is still doing its work, proper medical treatment is being provided to the poor animal,” she wrote on X. 

Section 429 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) states that anyone who kills, poisons, maims, or renders useless any animal of the value of ten rupees or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment of either a term of up to two years or be fined for the offense, or both. 

Eid Al-Adha 2024: Pakistani TV channels to air special programming during three-day holiday

Eid Al-Adha 2024: Pakistani TV channels to air special programming during three-day holiday
Updated 17 min 51 sec ago

Eid Al-Adha 2024: Pakistani TV channels to air special programming during three-day holiday

Eid Al-Adha 2024: Pakistani TV channels to air special programming during three-day holiday
  • Television remains a major source of entertainment despite increase in the number of film productions
  • TV channels will air telefilms on Eid featuring artists like Ahsan Khan, Feroze Khan and Arsalan Naseer

KARACHI: As Muslims around the world prepare to celebrate Eid Al-Adha, marking the culmination of the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah, Pakistani television channels are planning to air some fun content for viewers’ consumption during the three-day holiday announced by the government beginning next week.
Television remains a major source of entertainment for most Pakistanis, especially during Eid and other national holidays, with drama serials and game shows being far more accessible than film productions. This holds true despite the recent increase in the number and special launches of film productions.
Arab News has compiled a list of at least six new telefilms making their way to the small screen to entertain people celebrating Eid.

Tere Naam Ka Tattoo

A poster of the TV show "Tere Naam Ka Tattoo" scheduled for transmission on Pakistani TV channel ARY Digital on Eid Al-Adha 2024 holidays.(Photo courtesy: ARY Digital/Instagram)

Content creator turned actor Arslan Naseer, who is making waves with his character in the ongoing drama ‘Radd,’ and new-age actress Sahar Hashmi will be starring in the Eid special telefilm ‘Tere Naam Ka Tattoo.’
It’s a romantic comedy, according to Naseer, who plays the role of the male protagonist Ahsan.
“He is a hopeless romantic who is in denial of his breakup,” Naseer told Arab News while explaining his character in the production.
Written by Hasan Inam, the telefilm is directed by Muhammad Iftikhar Iffi.
Naseer said it was a story of two individuals going through a rough patch who eventually find comfort in each other after being betrayed by their former love interests.
“Tere Naam Ka Tattoo is a fresh story,” he added. “It’s not our typical Bakra Eid content. It features a fresh onscreen couple and should be fun to watch.”

Pyaar Tou Warh Gaya
The Ahsan Khan and Amar Khan-starrer ‘Pyaar Tou Warh Gaya’ is described as a “very fun, Eid entertainer,” according to Amar.
Amar plays the female lead opposite Khan, who has a double role in the telefilm. He is the husband of the female lead while also disguising as a woman as his second avatar.
Amar plays the role of Khan’s naive wife who wants to know everything. However, she said, she gets puzzled when she learns the truth.
“The audience’s response to the first teaser of the telefilm has been really interesting,” she told Arab News. “Some people are comparing it to ‘dream girl.’“
“Viewers must watch it for fits of laughter this Eid Al-Adha,” she continued, adding the cast included Sidra Niazi, Behroze Sabzwari, and Adnan Jaffer, in addition to herself and Khan.
Written by debutant Shakeel Arsalan, it has been directed by Ali Faizan.

Jodi Ban Gayi

A screengrab from the TV show "Jodi Ban Gayi" scheduled for transmission on Pakistani TV channel Geo TV on Eid Al-Adha 2024 holidays.(Photo courtesy: Har Pal Geo/Instagram)

The Feroze Khan and Sehar Khan-starrer telefilm ‘Jodi Ban Gayi’ will also hit the small screen this Eid Al-Adha. Airing on the first day of Eid, the telefilm offers a fresh pair in never-seen-before characters.
“This is the most exciting aspect of the telefilm,” director Syed Ramish Rizvi said in a conversation with Arab News.
“It’s a romantic comedy that highlights there is no right age for marriage as long the mindset of two individuals align,” he added.
The cast includes Saba Faisal and Mehmood Akhtar in key roles.
“The storytelling and cast are the highlight of the project,” Rizvi said. “Feroze Khan hasn’t done a light-hearted character like this before.”

Tamanna Ki Aarzu

A poster of the TV show "Tamanna Ki Aarzu" scheduled for transmission on Pakistani TV channel ARY Digital on Eid Al-Adha 2024 holidays.(Photo courtesy: ARY Digital/Instagram)

Muneeb Butt and Madiha Imam are coming together for an Eid Al-Adha telefilm, titled ‘Tamanna Ki Aarzu.’
“It’s a 40-minute comedy tele-play that revolves around the theme of property,” Imam told Arab News.
The story, according to her, highlights how women feel insecure in financial terms after their marriage.
Imam plays the role of an unconventional woman who is straightforward and vocal against injustices.
“She is more of a tomboy,” she said.
“It’s a comic, light-hearted play that will make viewers reflect on many things,” Imam continued. “It has a very subliminal, quiet message in it. It also promises a good time with friends and family this Eid Al-Adha.”

Wo Saat Din

A poster of the TV show "Wo Saat Din" scheduled for transmission on Pakistani TV channel Hum TV Pakistan on Eid Al-Adha 2024 holidays.(Photo courtesy: Hum TV Pakistan/Instagram)

The telefilm titled ‘Wo Saat Din,’ starring Usama Khan and Alizeh Shah in lead roles, will hit television screens on the third day of Eid.
It has an ensemble cast including Samina Ahmed and Fazila Qazi while it is written by Saima Akram Chaudhry of ‘Suno Chanda’ fame.
Chaudhry described the story as one in which a woman tries to keep relationships intact.
“There is a budding love story amidst the situation that becomes life-changing for the families involved,” Chaudhry told Arab News.
Khan, who plays the male protagonist in the telefilm, shared it was signature Saima Akram Chaudhry’s family-oriented play.
“Still, it has a unique story which will be entertaining to watch for viewers on Eid Al-Adha,” he said.

Love Hai Mushkil

A poster of the TV show "Love Hai Mushkil" scheduled for transmission on Pakistani TV channel ARY Digital on Eid Al-Adha 2024 holidays.(Photo courtesy: ARY Digital/Instagram)

‘Love Hai Mushkil’ is described as a “fun, Eid special telefilm,” according to the official Instagram handle of the channel airing it on Eid.
It features Ali Rehman Khan and Mah-e-Nur Haider in lead roles, alongside Hina Bayat and Javed Sheikh. Written by Misbah Ali Syed, Love Hai Mushkil is directed by Kashif Saleem.
Going by the teaser, it seems to be a conventional romantic comedy in which hate between the guy and the girl turns into lasting love. The two individuals who constantly fight and express dislike toward one another eventually fall in love.

Pakistan needs major change after reaching ‘lowest point’ says Imad Wasim

Pakistan needs major change after reaching ‘lowest point’ says Imad Wasim
Updated 16 June 2024

Pakistan needs major change after reaching ‘lowest point’ says Imad Wasim

Pakistan needs major change after reaching ‘lowest point’ says Imad Wasim
  • Pakistan, champions in 2009, crashed out of World Cup in group stage after losing to USA, India 
  • Their final game is against Ireland on Sunday with both teams already out of the World Cup 

LAUDERHILL, United States: Pakistan cricket is at its lowest point and needs to make radical changes, all-rounder Imad Wasim said after the team failed to get out of the group stage of the T20 World Cup.

The 2009 champions, beaten finalists two years ago, lost to the USA and India with their sole victory coming against Canada.

Pakistan’s final game is on Sunday against Ireland, which is now a dead rubber with both teams already eliminated.

Asked about the exit, with the USA beating Pakistan to Super Eight qualification, along with India, Wasim said there was no doubt about the level of disappointment.

“This is the lowest point. You can’t go any lower than this. That’s the fact,” he told a press conference.

Asked whether there now needed to be major changes, the 35-year-old left-arm spinner, said it was clear that radical changes were needed.

“It’s not my domain but I think there should be changes and there should be a drastic change so we can move forward,” he said.

Wasim, who came out of a brief retirement for this tournament, said that the change needed to be far-reaching.

“In everything and every aspect. How to take the game on? How to play the game? This is what I believed in and this is why I came back and tried to do things but it didn’t happen,” he added.

After the shock loss to the USA, Pakistan put up a close fight in defeat against India in New York and Wasim said that the context needed to be understood.

“You can also say the wickets are a bit tougher than what you think and any team can beat anyone. You can see Nepal was almost through. So, things can happen but I think the approach, how we play the game, I think we will change that and all of the boys are eager to do that because this defeat hurt us really badly,” he said.

The key change that is needed is in the mental side of the game, added Wasim.

“I’m giving my personal opinion. Don’t make these headlines — it’s all your mindset. What mindset do you want to play the game with? You either play fire with fire, or you play your way.

“So, I personally believe that you should play fire with fire. And even if you lose, you can sit down and say to yourself that on that day we were not good enough,” he said.

“The problem is our team is so good, our players are so good that we are good enough to play any kind of cricket. So you have to get rid of fear of failure mindset.

“In everything — batting, bowling, fielding, you have to get rid of fear of failure mindset. As I said earlier, personnel change doesn’t change anything, just changing the mindset can change a lot of things,” he added.

“We compete with the world’s best teams. Their mindset has changed over time. We used to rule in T20 cricket. I think we have moved back a little now. If you change the mind of the player, you can achieve things beyond your limits. I always believe in this.”

Wasim said he would not make any decision on his future until after Sunday’s game.

“As far as retirement is concerned, there’s a match tomorrow. We’ll play a match and obviously, after that, we’ll think about it and sort out whatever we need to. Because to be honest, a lot of things are going to be sorted out in the Pakistan team. The chairman and the board will sort it out.

“We have given away two games by ourselves. Losing to USA, well, losing is a part of the game, but we shouldn’t have lost to USA. Even against India — we had that game in our hands and we shouldn’t have lost. So, there is no excuse for anything. We are losing matches collectively,” he said.

“After the match against Ireland — we will sit down and talk and then decide. I don’t do anything secretly. I told everyone when I retired last time. If something happens, I will come and tell everyone.”

Amid differences, Pakistan’s ruling party vows to win over major ally’s support on budget

Amid differences, Pakistan’s ruling party vows to win over major ally’s support on budget
Updated 48 min 6 sec ago

Amid differences, Pakistan’s ruling party vows to win over major ally’s support on budget

Amid differences, Pakistan’s ruling party vows to win over major ally’s support on budget
  • Pakistan Peoples Party, a key government ally, has accused ruling party of ignoring its budget recommendations
  • Will consider PPP’s recommendations “favorably” and try to include them in the budget before voting, says official 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ruling party this week vowed it would win over the support of its major coalition partner, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on the federal budget before voting on it takes place, despite differences between the two over the key document. 
Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb unveiled the much-awaited Rs18.877 trillion ($67.76 billion) federal budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 on Wednesday in parliament. The tax-heavy budget is expected to play a pivotal role in Pakistan’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a fresh financial assistance program with the global lender. 
The PPP is a major coalition ally of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party. A day before the budget was presented, the PPP accused the government of ignoring its recommendations for the annual document. The party initially announced it would boycott the budget session but later, a handful of its leaders attended it. 
“We are a major coalition partner of the government but they completely ignored us in the pre-budget consultations and meetings,” PPP lawmaker Sehar Kamran told Arab News. 
“Shehbaz Sharif’s government wants to use us as a rubber stamp in parliament to pass the budget but we won’t do it if our reservations are not addressed.”
Kamran said the government has proposed a tax-heavy budget without consulting the PPP, adding that there were also disagreements between the two parties over the distribution of development funds and various projects related to Pakistan’s provinces.
The PPP, which voted Sharif into power after the contentious national election in February, is not part of the federal government but has its government in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province. Sharif’s government needs PPP’s votes to pass the budget in parliament. 
“If the government needs our votes in parliament to pass the budget, then it will have to listen to us first to address our grievances,” she said. 
Aqeel Malik, a government spokesperson, admitted the “real issues” between the PPP and the PML-N were related to the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for provinces. 
However, he said the government cannot take all of the PPP’s suggestions into consideration regarding provinces where the party was not in government, such as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab. 
“In Sindh, we have consulted them there and there is absolutely no issue with regards to this,” Malik told Arab News, emphasizing that the government held meetings with the PPP leadership before finalizing the budget.
He said this was the reason why a few PPP leaders had attended the budget session symbolically. 
“We have had meaningful consultation with them,” Malik explained. “We have taken them on board and we consulted them.”
The government is committed to resolving the PPP’s issues regarding the budget, Malik said, hoping the party would “come around” once voting takes place. 
“If there is any tweaking in the budget with regards to their suggestions or recommendations, we will certainly consider them favorably and will try to include them before the voting takes place,” he said.
PM Sharif’s coordinator, Rana Ihsan Afzal, confirmed the government was ready to address the PPP’s reservations on the budget before it is voted upon. 
“We are engaging with them [the PPP] thoroughly,” Afzal told Arab News.
As per media reports, the general debate on the budget will begin on June 20 while voting on it is expected to take place on June 24. 

Arafat sermon projected to reach 1 billion listeners worldwide

Arafat sermon projected to reach 1 billion listeners worldwide
Updated 16 June 2024

Arafat sermon projected to reach 1 billion listeners worldwide

Arafat sermon projected to reach 1 billion listeners worldwide
  • Sermon delivered on Saturday at Namira Mosque was translated live into 20 languages 
  • Translated sermons promote peace, coexistence, and deeper understanding of Islam

ARAFAT, Makkah: The Arafat sermon delivered on Saturday at Namira Mosque in Makkah was projected to reach a staggering one billion listeners worldwide, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The sermon was translated live into 20 languages as part of the groundbreaking initiative launched by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman's in 2018. Non-simultaneous translations into 17 languages were further made.

Spearheaded by the Presidency of Religious Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, the project serves as a cornerstone in spreading the message of moderation and centrism espoused by the holy sites, SPA said.

"The translated sermons promote peace, coexistence, and a deeper understanding of Islam — a religion built on mercy, tolerance, and peaceful living," the report said.

When the project was first launched in 2018, translations were offered in only five languages.  Its reach has continued to grow each year. Sermons are translated into an increasing number of languages and broadcast on various platforms, including digital platforms, FM radio, and Islamic television channels.

"These efforts demonstrate the Kingdom’s unwavering commitment to serving Islam and the global Muslim community," the report said, adding that the initiative "exemplifies Saudi Arabia’s dedication to serving the Two Holy Mosques and their pilgrims. It further reflects the leadership’s commitment to promoting global peace and the values of tolerance and moderation," said the report.

"Having surpassed 200 million listeners in 2020, the project fulfills the Kingdom’s sacred responsibility of caring for the Two Holy Mosques and their visitors. By translating the Arafat sermon, they effectively share the message of these holy sites with the entire Muslim world," it further said.