Pakistani pilgrims transition from Arafat to Muzdalifah, marking key rituals of Hajj journey

Pakistani pilgrims transition from Arafat to Muzdalifah, marking key rituals of Hajj journey
Muslim pilgrims use umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun as they gather outside Nimrah Mosque during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, June 15, 2024. (REUTERS)
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Updated 15 June 2024
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Pakistani pilgrims transition from Arafat to Muzdalifah, marking key rituals of Hajj journey

Pakistani pilgrims transition from Arafat to Muzdalifah, marking key rituals of Hajj journey
  • Pilgrims attended the annual Hajj sermon in Arafat where they were urged to pray for people of Palestine
  • After spending the night in Muzdalifah, pilgrims will perform symbolic stoning of the devil in the morning

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani pilgrims began moving to Muzdalifah on Saturday evening after spending the day in Arafat, where they had gathered in the morning to attend the annual Hajj sermon and engage in prayers and self-reflection, as confirmed by the country’s Ministry of Religious Affairs.
The Day of Arafat holds tremendous significance as it commemorates the moment more than 1,400 years ago when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered his Farewell Sermon, calling for unity, equality and justice among Muslims.
After spending a reflective night under the starry sky in Muzdalifah, pilgrims will move to Mina in the morning to perform the symbolic stoning of the devil at Jamarat, an act signifying the rejection of evil.
“After completing the standing at Arafat, all Pakistani government Hajj pilgrims, along with other pilgrims, set off toward Muzdalifah,” the ministry said in a statement. “The Pakistani pilgrims departed for Muzdalifah under the guidance of their sector representatives.”
“The pilgrims seemed satisfied with the arrangements made by the Saudi authorities, and they continued to congratulate each other happily after completing their stay in Arafat,” the statement added.
Earlier, pilgrims from across the world attended the Hajj sermon delivered by one of the prayer leaders of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Sheikh Maher bin Hamad Al-Muaiqly, who urged them to pray for the Palestinians who had been “harmed and hurt by their enemy.”
He noted the people of Palestine had been deprived of “food, medicine and clothing.”
Asked about their Hajj experience, Pakistani pilgrims said they were fortunate to be in Arafat to perform one of the greatest rituals in Islam.
“The experience in Mina and Arafat has remained very good,” Ilyas Kabir from DG Khan said in a video circulated by the ministry. “It is a great blessing to have the opportunity to perform Hajj. I urge the pilgrims to be patient.”
An elderly woman in a wheelchair, who said she had been performing Hajj with her son, informed that she had been praying for the entire Muslim world.
“I pray for all Muslims,” she said. “Good wishes, good intentions, especially for Palestine. May there be peace and tranquility. May Allah grant them freedom.”
The stoning ritual at Jamarat in the morning will be followed by the traditional animal sacrifice, leading to Eid Al-Adha celebrations across the world.
With input from AP


Pakistan announces new measures to improve cricket team performance after World Cup debacle

Pakistan announces new measures to improve cricket team performance after World Cup debacle
Updated 17 sec ago
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Pakistan announces new measures to improve cricket team performance after World Cup debacle

Pakistan announces new measures to improve cricket team performance after World Cup debacle
  • 2009 champions lost to tournament debutants United States before crashing out in group stage of 20-team tournament
  • Last week PCB sacked selectors Wahab Riaz and Abdul Razzaq following team’s disappointing T20 World Cup campaign 

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Cricket Board on Monday announced new measures aimed at improving the national team’s performance, including making South Africa’s Gary Kirsten and Australian Jason Gillespie a part of the selection committee. 

Earlier this year, Pakistan fell to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 biggest upset when the United States, a tier-two member of the game, beat the 2009 champions via Super Over. Defeat by arch-rivals India then left Babar Azam’s side with a mountain to climb to advance to the Super Eight round, which it did not qualify for. 

“Gary Kirsten and Jason Gillespie have been included in the selection committee,” the Pakistan Cricket Board said in a statement. “Every player will have to undergo a fitness test every 3 months. The player will have to play domestic cricket. The selection committee will finalize the procedure for playing domestic cricket.”

The handout said the period of the central contract would be one year and it would be reviewed every year on the basis of the performance and financials of players. 

“The technical procedure for issuance of NOCs for playing leagues will be laid down and NOCs will be issued to the players who meet the procedure,” the PCB said. 

Chairman PCB Mohsin Naqvi said that there would be “no compromise on discipline.”

“There will be a zero tolerance policy against players who violate discipline,” Naqvi, who is also the country’s interior minister, was quoted as saying by the PCB. “There should be unity and agreement within the team. Grouping players will not be tolerated. Management should take strict action on grouping.”

Naqvi has also asked Kirsten and Gillespie to submit a plan to upgrade high performance centers and build new ones in Islamabad and Peshawar and improve the quality of coaches’ training.

Last week, the PCB sacked selectors Wahab Riaz and Abdul Razzaq following the team’s disappointing T20 World Cup campaign in June.
 


Seven civilians injured as militants attack army cantonment in northwest Pakistan — police

Seven civilians injured as militants attack army cantonment in northwest Pakistan — police
Updated 15 July 2024
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Seven civilians injured as militants attack army cantonment in northwest Pakistan — police

Seven civilians injured as militants attack army cantonment in northwest Pakistan — police
  • Sprawling military facility in Bannu mainly houses offices of the military and homes of security forces
  • In statement shared with media, Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group, a Pakistani Taliban faction, claims responsibility 

PESHAWAR: Security forces foiled an attack by militants near the outer wall of a military cantonment in northwestern Pakistan early Monday, wounding seven civilians, police said, amid a surge in such assaults in recent months. 

The attack took place in Bannu city in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan. The province has witnessed a surge in militant attacks in recent years.

“Terrorists mounted the attack on the Cantt at around 5:00 am, which was repulsed by the security forces,” Ziauddin Ahmed, the district police officer (DPO) for southern Bannu district, told Arab News. “As per initial information, seven civilians were wounded in the attack.”

He said a clearance operation was still ongoing and any casualties, including of soldiers, could only be confirmed after its conclusion. He added that sporadic gunfire could still be heard near the Bannu Cantt. 

Locals said militants had tried to force their way into the Cantt and had detonated an explosive-laden vehicle on the road between the supply depot and the outer wall of the cantonment. 

AP reported, quoting police, that a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle and at least one of his accomplices exploded his vest near the outer wall of Bannu Cantt, wounding eight civilians and damaging nearby homes.

Policeman Tahir Khan told AP security forces quickly responded to the “coordinated attack” and foiled an attempt by the insurgents to enter the sprawling military facility which mainly houses offices of the military and homes of security forces. He also said army helicopters and ground forces were still reaching the area to track more militants.

In a statement shared with media, the Jaish-e-Fursan (Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group), a Pakistani Taliban or TTP faction, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Islamabad blames an ongoing surge in militant attacks on neighboring Afghanistan, saying TTP leaders have taken refuge there and run camps to train insurgents to launch attacks inside Pakistan.

The Afghan Taliban rulers in Kabul say rising violence in Pakistan is a domestic issue for Islamabad and it does not allow militants to operate on its territory.


Eight civilians wounded in 2 coordinated suicide attacks near military facility in northwest Pakistan

Eight civilians wounded in 2 coordinated suicide attacks near military facility in northwest Pakistan
Updated 15 July 2024
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Eight civilians wounded in 2 coordinated suicide attacks near military facility in northwest Pakistan

Eight civilians wounded in 2 coordinated suicide attacks near military facility in northwest Pakistan
  • Police say security forces foiled an attempt by insurgents to enter sprawling military facility in the city of Bannu 
  • Northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan has witnessed surge in militant attacks in recent years

PESHAWAR, Pakistan: A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle and at least one of his accomplices exploded his vest near the outer wall of a military facility in northwestern Pakistan early Monday, wounding eight civilians and damaging nearby homes, a local police official said.

Tahir Khan said security forces quickly responded to the “coordinated attack” and foiled an attempt by the insurgents to enter the sprawling military facility in the city of Bannu which mainly houses offices of the military and homes of security forces. He also said army helicopters and ground forces were still reaching the area to track more militants.

Local authorities said several soldiers were also wounded in the attacks.

There was no immediate comment from the government or military.

Bannu is in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan. The province has witnessed a surge in militant attacks in recent years. 

In January 2023 militants killed at least 101 people, mostly police officers, when a suicide bomber disguised as a policeman attacked a mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but the suspicion is likely to fall on the Pakistani Taliban who have stepped up attacks on security forces across the country in recent months.

Pakistani Taliban — who are known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP — are a separate group but an ally of the Afghan Taliban. TTP has stepped up its attacks on security forces since the Afghan Taliban seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in 2021.


Pakistan’s Madinah Hajj directorate holds preplanning meeting for next year’s pilgrimage

Pakistan’s Madinah Hajj directorate holds preplanning meeting for next year’s pilgrimage
Updated 15 July 2024
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Pakistan’s Madinah Hajj directorate holds preplanning meeting for next year’s pilgrimage

Pakistan’s Madinah Hajj directorate holds preplanning meeting for next year’s pilgrimage
  • Authorities reiterate commitment to “leveraging technology for better management and service delivery” 
  • At least 160,000 Pakistanis attended this year’s annual Hajj pilgrimage, which ran from June 14-19

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Hajj directorate in the Saudi city of Madinah held a meeting to preplan for a “smooth and comfortable” pilgrimage for Pakistanis next year with a focus on accommodation, transport, health care and other needs of pilgrims, the ministry of religious affairs said on Monday.

At least 160,000 Pakistanis attended this year’s annual Hajj pilgrimage, which ran from June 14-19. 

“The primary agenda of the meeting was to devise strategies to enhance the facilities and services provided to Pakistani pilgrims during the upcoming Hajj,” the ministry’s statement said. 

“The importance of proactive planning and coordination to ensure that all pilgrims have a comfortable and spiritually fulfilling experience.”

Issues raised during the meeting included improvement of accommodation, transportation and health care services as well as training and support through digitalization.

Syed Mushahid Hussain Khalid, Director General (Research & Reference), highlighted the religious affair ministry’s commitment to “leveraging technology for better management and service delivery” during Hajj 2025.

The fifth pillar of Islam, the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah is mandatory once in a lifetime for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it and is the most significant manifestation of Islamic faith and unity. Eid Al-Adha, one of Islam’s two main festivals, marks the climax of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, when Muslims slaughter animals to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim, or Abraham, to sacrifice his son on God’s command.


Pakistani scooter brand, Chinese startup reach agreement to introduce solar e-bikes

Pakistani scooter brand, Chinese startup reach agreement to introduce solar e-bikes
Updated 15 July 2024
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Pakistani scooter brand, Chinese startup reach agreement to introduce solar e-bikes

Pakistani scooter brand, Chinese startup reach agreement to introduce solar e-bikes
  • Preliminary cooperation deal reached between Pakistan’s Road Kind, China’s AGAO Solar Mobility
  • Pakistan has set ambitious goal of running 30 percent of its vehicles on electricity by 2030

ISLAMABAD: Road King, a leading electric scooter brand in Pakistan, and AGAO Solar Mobility, a China-based startup specializing in solar-powered scooters, have reached a preliminary agreement to introduce eco-friendly solar e-bikes in Pakistan, APP reported on Monday.

Solar scooters are equipped with solar panels that convert solar energy into electrical energy for storage and are used to drive the scooter’s electric motor. They are best for short-distance travel and produce zero carbon emissions.

“The Chinese company expressed its willingness to provide Road King with technical support, product optimization, and marketing assistance for solar e-bikes,” APP reported on a meeting between executives of the two companies. “The goal is to jointly create high-quality transportation products that meet local market needs.”

“We will actively promote cooperation with the Chinese side and introduce solar e-bikes to the Pakistani market, stated the delegation from Road King,” APP said, quoting the Chinese firm, which said the environmental friendliness and high-efficiency performance of solar e-bikes “perfectly” aligned with Pakistan’s current demand for green transportation.

Pakistan has set an ambitious target to generate 60 percent of its energy from clean and renewable energy sources by 2030. The goal is part of a broader strategy to transition toward sustainable energy, which includes a significant push for solar and wind power development.

Additionally, Pakistan plans to have 30 percent of its vehicles running on electricity by 2030, aligning with global environmental targets and efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.