Pakistanis among hundreds of foreign students flee Kyrgyzstan after mob attack

Pakistanis among hundreds of foreign students flee Kyrgyzstan after mob attack
Pakistani nationals, including students, wait for a repatriation flight, as they leave Kyrgyzstan after a mob recently attacked their living quarters, at the airport outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, May 23, 2024. (REUTERS)
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Updated 24 May 2024
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Pakistanis among hundreds of foreign students flee Kyrgyzstan after mob attack

Pakistanis among hundreds of foreign students flee Kyrgyzstan after mob attack
  • Hundreds of Kyrgyz men stormed a hostel in Bishkek on May 17 and attacked foreign students because of an earlier brawl
  • The Pakistani government has arranged extra flights leaving daily from Bishkek and many students are using the opportunity

BISHKEK: Students from Pakistan and other Asian countries are leaving Kyrgyzstan by the hundreds after an angry mob attacked their living quarters this month, although some hope to return when the situation calms down.
Hundreds of Kyrgyz young men stormed a hostel in capital Bishkek in the early hours of May 17 and attacked foreign students there because of a brawl that happened between several Kyrgyz men and foreigners a few days earlier.
Police, although present, were unable to stop the violence.
“They invaded our... hostel and it was a terrifying moment for all of us and it was the worst nightmare,” said Imran Yousaf, a pathologist at the International University Kyrgyzstan.
He said that despite the students’ attempts to barricade entrances and hide, the attackers beat up and assaulted several students including some women.
“We were very much surprised and we were so much mentally traumatized at that time when people came in,” Yousaf said. “I don’t know what kind of provocateur is responsible for that kind of hatred among them.”
The government of Pakistan has arranged extra flights leaving daily from Bishkek and many students are using the opportunity to return home, at least temporarily.
Medical schools of Kyrgyzstan have over the last few decades become popular among aspiring doctors from India, Pakistan and some other Asian and Arab countries, in part thanks to relatively affordable fees and living expenses.
The Kyrgyz government has sought to allay foreign students’ fears and held meetings with their leaders, said Yousaf, who expressed hope that those who are leaving will return in a few months. Police have detained more than a dozen of the suspected attackers.
“The government of Kyrgyzstan has taken beautiful steps,.. our student council was invited to the parliament of Kyrgyzstan, along with the President, there was a one-on-one meeting, and I hope, Inshallah (God willing), with hope in my eyes and logic on my back, that this situation will dampen in the days to come,” Yousaf said.
“I am saying to all my friends, don’t think that Kyrgyzstan is bad,” said another student, Hamza Yasin.


Senior journalist shot dead in northwest Pakistan over Eid holiday

Senior journalist shot dead in northwest Pakistan over Eid holiday
Updated 22 sec ago
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Senior journalist shot dead in northwest Pakistan over Eid holiday

Senior journalist shot dead in northwest Pakistan over Eid holiday
  • Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has been the scene of a number of attacks on police, security forces in recent weeks
  • Islamabad has blamed the surge in violence on militants operating out of neighboring Afghanistan, Kabul denies the allegation

PESHAWAR: Unidentified assailants on Tuesday shot dead a senior journalist, Khalil Jibran, in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, a police official said, in the latest incident of violence in the restive region during the three-day Eid Al-Adha holiday.
The northwestern Pakistani province, which borders Afghanistan, has been the scene of a number of attacks on police, security forces and anti-polio vaccination teams in recent weeks.
Jibran, a former president of the Landi Kotal Press club in KP’s Khyber tribal district, was en route to his home in the district headquarters of Landi Kotal, when he came under attack by the suspects.
“He [Jibran] was coming back from his friend’s hujra [guest room] after dinner when he was killed by unknown assailants,” Daleem Kulachi, Khyber district police chief, told Arab News
“Police found bullet shells of M4 and AK-47 [rifles] at the scene,” he added.
The development came days after the Pakistani Taliban or the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) announced a three-day ceasefire with the government in Islamabad from June 17 till June 19 on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha.
KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur condemned Jibran’s killing and extended his heartfelt sympathies to the deceased’s family, according to his office.
“Police have been asked to take necessary action for immediate arrest of the suspects,” it said.
Journalist bodies have announced a protest against Jibran’s killing across all tribal districts of the province on Thursday.
Separately, three bodies were found in Mir Ali area of North Waziristan tribal district, while a religious party leader, who was injured in a shooting in the South Waziristan district last week, succumbed to his wounds on Tuesday, according to officials. No group claimed responsibility for the killings.
Pakistan has witnessed a spike in militant violence in its two western provinces, KP and Balochistan, since the TTP called off its fragile truce with the government in November 2022.
Islamabad has blamed the surge in violence on militants operating out of neighboring Afghanistan. Kabul denies the allegation and says rising violence in Pakistan is a domestic issue of Islamabad.


So close to death: NGO captain recounts sea rescue involving Pakistani, other migrants

So close to death: NGO captain recounts sea rescue involving Pakistani, other migrants
Updated 59 min 5 sec ago
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So close to death: NGO captain recounts sea rescue involving Pakistani, other migrants

So close to death: NGO captain recounts sea rescue involving Pakistani, other migrants
  • One boat with 51 survivors, 10 bodies was intercepted about 90km south of the island of Lampedusa, Italy
  • Another was spotted about 200 kilometers east of the southern Italian region of Calabria, rescuers said

ROME: Saving migrants from one of the shipwrecks that have left dozens dead or missing off Italy’s shores involved walking through bodies to find barely alive survivors, the NGO captain involved in one of the rescues said on Tuesday.
One boat with 51 survivors and 10 bodies was intercepted about 90 kilometers (56 miles) south of the island of Lampedusa, while another was spotted about 200 kilometers east of the southern Italian region of Calabria.
Eleven survivors from the second shipwreck and the body of a woman were taken ashore on Monday, and aid groups said 64 people, including 26 children, were unaccounted for. The Italian coast guard recovered three more bodies at sea on Tuesday.
Captain Ingo Werth of German aid group RESQSHIP, which operates the “Nadir” boat, led the first rescue in the early hours of Monday, picking up the 51 survivors from a “totally overcrowded wooden boat,” he told Reuters.
Before leaving, his team inspected the lower deck and found what seemed to be about a dozen bodies. A medical officer then said, “There’s a guy who’s breathing, he makes some noise, I hear some noise.”
Wearing gas masks, crew members went below to pick up the man and take him to safety. Another survivor was found in a second inspection, but getting him out was more complicated for the captain and a nurse who went with him.
“The (migrants’) boat was almost capsizing and so it was a potential grave (for rescuers),” said Werth.
The captain and the nurse left the hold with the bodies to return above deck, and managed to save the man below by pulling him through a hole made above his head using an axe and a hammer.
“There was that much life left in both of them,” Werth said about the survivors, using a hand gesture to signify they were close to death. He said the body temperature on one was below 32 degrees.
The pair has been airlifted to a hospital in Palermo and are recovering, he added.
The two shipwrecks have confirmed the central Mediterranean’s reputation as one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes. According to UN data, more than 23,500 migrants have died or gone missing in its waters since 2014.
According to RESQSHIP, the migrants picked up south of Lampedusa had set off from the Libyan port of Zuwarah and spent two days at sea. They told rescuers half of the passengers were from Bangladesh, with others from Pakistan, Syria and Egypt.
The migrants from the other shipwreck off Calabria set sail from Turkiye, spent eight days at sea, and came from Iran, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, according to statements from UN agencies and the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) charity.
Survivors are “very confused” and don’t know “who among their relatives is alive or dead at sea. Entire families have been destroyed. Some have lost a wife, a child, a husband, a friend or a grandchild,” MSF staffer Cecilia Momi said.


4.7-magnitude earthquake jolts Islamabad, parts of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province

4.7-magnitude earthquake jolts Islamabad, parts of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province
Updated 19 June 2024
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4.7-magnitude earthquake jolts Islamabad, parts of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province

4.7-magnitude earthquake jolts Islamabad, parts of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province
  • Tremors were felt in Peshawar, Swat, Malakand, Dir and other areas at 4:17am
  • However, no loss of life or property was reported in the wake of the earthquake

ISLAMABAD: A 4.7 magnitude earthquake jolted the Pakistani capital of Islamabad and parts of the country’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistani state media reported on Wednesday.
Tremors were felt in various areas, including Peshawar, Swat, Malakand, North Waziristan, Parachinar, Lower Dir, Hangu, Charsadda and Swabi, at around 4:17am Pakistan time.
“The center of earthquake was region of South-East Afghanistan and depth was 98 kilometers,” the state-run Radio Pakistan broadcaster reported, citing the National Seismic Monitoring Center in Islamabad.
However, no loss of life or property was reported in its wake.
Earlier this month, an earthquake of 3.2 magnitude jolted parts of the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi.
Its epicenter lied 15 kilometers northeast of the city at a depth of 22 kilometers, according to the National Seismic Monitoring Center.


Festivities continue as Pakistanis mark Eid Al-Adha for third and final day

Festivities continue as Pakistanis mark Eid Al-Adha for third and final day
Updated 19 June 2024
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Festivities continue as Pakistanis mark Eid Al-Adha for third and final day

Festivities continue as Pakistanis mark Eid Al-Adha for third and final day
  • People continue to visit relatives to convey Eid greetings and share elaborate meals
  • Recreational spots and beaches witness rush as Pakistanis celebrate final day of Eid

ISLAMABAD: People in Pakistan and other countries on Wednesday continued sacrificing animals and taking part in festivities as they marked the third day and final of Eid Al-Adha. 
Muslims celebrate three-day Eid Al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, by slaughtering animals such as cattle and goats and sharing their meat among family and friends and the poor. It commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, on God’s command.
In Pakistan, Eid Al-Adha, one of the two most important festivals on the Islamic calendar, began on Monday with special prayers for the well-being of the Muslim world, particularly Palestine and Kashmir.
On Wednesday, Pakistanis continued to visit each other to exchange Eid greetings and share elaborate meals to celebrate the joyous occasion, the state-run Radio Pakistan broadcaster reported.
“The distribution of meat also continues among each other particularly to deserving people,” the report read.
“Picnic and recreational spots are observing unusual rush due to children.”
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif conveyed Eid greetings to countrymen and several other leaders of the Muslim world on Eid Al-Adha as his government announced a three-day holiday on the joyous occasion.
Over six million animals valued at approximately Rs531 billion ($1.9 billion) were sacrificed during the three-day Eid festival in 2023, according to tanners association.
As many, if not more, animals are expected to be sacrificed this year.


Small businesses boom ahead of Eid Al-Adha, invigorating local commerce

Small businesses boom ahead of Eid Al-Adha, invigorating local commerce
Updated 19 June 2024
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Small businesses boom ahead of Eid Al-Adha, invigorating local commerce

Small businesses boom ahead of Eid Al-Adha, invigorating local commerce
  • Allied businesses like animal fodder, knives and wooden blocks thrive in weeks before Eid
  • Boom in Eid side businesses also creates seasonal employment opportunities in Pakistan

KARACHI: While Eid Al-Adha generates billions of rupees through the sale and purchase of sacrificial animals, allied businesses like animal fodder sellers and knife makers also thrive in Pakistan, traders said, underscoring the religious festival’s impact on livelihoods and local commerce.
Last year Pakistanis sacrificed over six million animals worth around Rs531 billion ($1.9 billion) over Eid, according to the Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA).
“Eid offers employment opportunities to thousands of people across the city,” said Syed Amjad Ali, an animal feed seller who had set up his stall in the Burns Road area of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and commercial hub.
Indeed, a variety of animal feeds go up on sale at stalls around the city, ranging from bales of hay to more nutrient-rich feeds, while the prices of animal fodder typically increase in the run-up to Eid due to high demand. Sellers capitalize on the opportunity to earn additional income while it is also convenient for members of the public to find things like feed, knives and wooden blocks at makeshift stalls set up in their neighborhoods rather than traveling far to purchase them.
“It is easier for people living in the neighborhood, even a child can come and buy the feed,” said Ali, who set up his stall two weeks before Eid. ” In this area there will be about 8-10 stalls and 6-8 people are working at each stall.”
Another business that thrives ahead of Eid is that of butchering tools, most importantly knives and cleavers. Retailers report a “significant boost” in sales before the holiday, when markets and shops across Pakistan stock up on knife varieties. 
“We have been doing this for 50 years, since my grandfather’s time. Every year, when the moon of Bakra Eid (Dhul-Hijjah) is sighted, we set up this stall to facilitate consumers,” said seller Muhammad Sarfraz, whose customers include families as well as amateur and professional butchers. 
Sarfraz also sells related materials like skewers, grills, stands and various types of pans. 
Sales of wooden blocks on which butchers cut up meat after slaughtering the animals also see a boom ahead of Eid.
“People come to buy wooden meat cutting blocks from our saw machine,” vendor Paras Khan said, adding that his business picked up pace two months before Eid. 
Meanwhile, the boom in Eid side businesses also creates seasonal employment opportunities.
“This is the system of Allah,” Muhammad Siddique, a resident of Karachi’s Saddar area, said as he bought feed for his two cows, “where livelihood is created for many people including transporters, feed sellers, and decorative material sellers for animals.”
“I have bought two goats and have come to buy ropes for them,” said Yousaf Gul Ahmed, a young child standing at a stall. “I have bought two good goats.”