The News – Sajid Javid refuses to criticise Boris Johnson for attacking Muslim women

Murtaza Ali Shah

Sajid Javid refuses to criticise Boris Johnson for attacking Muslim women

London – UK, 27 November 2019. British government’s Chancellor Sajid Javid has refused to criticise Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his use of Islamophobic language to describe Muslim women.

Speaking on the campaign trail, British-Pakistani Javid struggled to explain Boris Johnson’s use of words like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers” to describe Muslim women wearing a veil. Johnson described Muslim women in derogative manner a column for The Telegraph newspaper last year.

It follows criticism of the Conservatives by the Muslim Council of Britain, which accused the party of “denial, dismissal and deceit” with regards to Islamophobia on the day that the UK’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis warned Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to tackle anti-Semitism made him unfit to be prime minister.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Javid said the Prime Minister had “explained why he’s used that language” adding the article “was to defend the rights of women, whether Muslim women and others to wear what they like, so he’s explained that and I think he’s given a perfectly valid explanation”.

He added: “Whenever this issue has come about (for) the Conservative Party, no-one has ever credibly suggested that it’s an issue with the leadership of the party, whether that’s the leader of the party of the day or the chancellor or other senior figures, no-one’s suggested that.”

Later, Boris Johnson dismissed criticism by the Muslim Council of Britain of the Conservative Party’s handling of Islamophobia within its ranks.

The Prime Minister told reporters that he did not agree with the claim that his party had approached Islamophobia with “denial, dismissal and deceit”.

He added: “What we do in the Tory Party is when anybody is guilty of any kind of prejudice or discrimination against another group then they’re out first bounce,” he said.

Mr Johnson said his party would hold an inquiry into “all forms of prejudice” starting before the end of the year, despite having previously pledged to hold one specifically on Islamophobia.

In Tuesday’s edition of The Times, Rabbi Mirvis said Labour’s handling of the issue, which has dogged the party under Mr Corbyn’s leadership, was “incompatible” with British values.

Responding, the Labour leader insisted anti-Jewish racism was “vile and wrong” and that the party had a “rapid and effective system” for dealing with complaints.

Mr Corbyn called on the Conservatives to “address the issues of Islamophobia that appear to be a problem within their party”.

In response to the Chief Rabbi’s comments, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said: “As a faith community, we commonly are threatened by Islamophobia. This is an issue that is particularly acute in the Conservative Party, who have approached Islamophobia with denial, dismissal and deceit.

“It is abundantly clear to many Muslims that the Conservative Party tolerate Islamophobia, allow it to fester in society and fail to put in place the measures necessary to root out this type of racism. It is as if the Conservative Party has a blind spot for this type of racism.”

Here is the relevant section of Mr Johnson’s Telegraph column.

“If you tell me that the burka is oppressive, then I am with you. If you say that it is weird and bullying to expect women to cover their faces, then I totally agree, and I would add that I can find no scriptural authority for the practice in the Koran.

I would go further and say that it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes; and I thoroughly dislike any attempt by any, invariably male, government to encourage such demonstrations of “modesty”, notably the extraordinary exhortations of President Ramzan Kadyrov of Chechnya, who has told the men of his country to splat their women with paintballs if they fail to cover their heads.

“If a constituent came to my MP’s surgery with her face obscured, I should feel fully entitled, like Jack Straw, to ask her to remove it so that I could talk to her properly. If a female student turned up at school or at a university lecture looking like a bank robber then ditto: those in authority should be allowed to converse openly with those that they are being asked to instruct.

As for individual businesses or branches of government, they should of course be able to enforce a dress code that enables their employees to interact with customers; and that means human beings must be able to see each other’s faces and read their expressions. It’s how we work.

“All that seems to me to be sensible. But such restrictions are not quite the same as telling a free-born adult woman what she may or may not wear, in a public place, when she is simply minding her own business.”

Remember how Tamanjit Singh, MP for Slough, attacked Boris Johnson for the same reason
Man in Blue

PM Imran Khan’s message for Narendra Modi: Justice leads to peace – Injustice breeds anarchy

Faizan Bangash & Sher Ali Khalti

Kartarpur – Panjab – Pakistan, 10 November 2019. With the opening of Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan, the Sikh community in India has been provided easy and direct access to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Devji.

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, situated in Kartarpur (Shakargarh, Narowal), is the second holiest place for the Sikh community.

While inaugurating the Kartarpur Corridor here on Saturday, Prime Minister Imran Khan termed it a gift for the Sikh community all-over the world, especially those living in India, from the people and Government of Pakistan. He welcomed thousands of Sikh pilgrims from India in Pakistan and urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue.

Urging his Indian counterpart to give justice to Kashmiris, PM Imran said prosperity in South Asia region was only possible if Kashmir issue was resolved. “It’s just a beginning; let’s hope the relationship between India and Pakistan becomes like it should have been,” added the PM. The premier said Narendra Modi must know that justice brings peace and hatred causes chaos in a society.

He said a leader was the one who brings people together and doesn’t divide them to get their votes through spread of hatred. “When I was elected as the prime minister, I told (Narendra) Modi our biggest problem is poverty.

I told him that if we open our borders, mutual trade will eliminate poverty,” Imran Khan said while addressing the people of both countries at Kartarpur Corridor. He called upon Indian premier to give justice to the people of occupied Kashmir.

Imran said, “Eight million people in occupied Kashmir are being treated like animals. They have been brought under forcible rule of 900,000 Indians troops.” He warned Modi to end injustice as such decisions bring chaos.

He urged the Indian premier to give justice to the people of occupied Kashmir and liberate the Subcontinent. He said the problem of occupied Kashmir had gone beyond a dispute over territory and became a human rights issue.

Once justice was done to Kashmiris and their right to self-determination was given to them, situation of the entire region would improve. “Look at Germany and France, both countries fought wars and killed thousands. Today, their borders are open and trade has brought progress to the region.”

Imran Khan said that justice was only reflected in society of human beings and urged the Indian PM to rid the region of the dispute of Kashmir. The PM also recalled the role of great African statesman Nelson Mandela for playing the role of a leader for his country and uniting the people.

Appreciating the teachings of Baba Guru Nanak Devji in his speech, he said: “There is humanity in the philosophy of Guru Nanak. Humanity is what separates human beings from animals. Our God also talks about humanity and our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent as a blessing for all mankind.”

The PM congratulated the government officials and ministers over swift and on-time completion of the Kartarpur Corridor project. He said, “I learnt a year ago about the value of Kartarpur Sahib. This is the Madina for the Sikhs of the world.”

He said that the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) and other departments and ministries concerned worked diligently and completed the project in just 10 months. He said he did not know fully how efficient and capable his government was.

Addressing the ceremony, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said it was a historic moment for Sikhs. “Imran Khan has created history with Kartarpur Corridor; Kartarpur has been opened for Sikhs from all over the world,” he added.

The foreign minister congratulated the Sikh all over the world on opening of the Kartarpur Corridor and welcomed the Sikh pilgrims present at their holy site. He said, “The doors of Kartarpur Sahib are open for the Sikh community.”

The foreign minister said “we need to see today who was sowing the seeds of hatred in the region”. He congratulated Prime Minister Imran Khan on the opening of the historic corridor.

Qureshi said, “09 November was also the day when the Berlin Wall fell, which changed the map of Europe”.

The foreign minister said, “If the Kartarpur Corridor can open, then the LoC’s temporary closure can also be ended.”

He said that the way the doors of Kartarpur have been opened, the doors of Srinagar’s Jama mosque should also be opened so that Muslims could pray the Friday prayers there.

Even Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also forced to thank Prime Minister Imran Khan over opening of the Kartarpur Corridor. Speaking at an event, Modi said Prime Minister Imran had understood the emotions of the Indian people. “I would like to thank the prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, for understanding the sentiments of the people of India,” he said.

He said that it had become easier for Sikh pilgrims to go to Guru Nanak’s Gurdwara because of the corridor. “I would like to thank the authorities in Pakistan who helped create this corridor in a short span of time,” he said.

“Imran Khan has made history,” said Navjot Singh Sidhu at the inaugural ceremony of Kartarpur Corridor. He termed it an ointment on the wounds of people who witnessed bloodshed during the Partition.

He called Imran Khan the ‘king of hearts’. He said Alexander the Great had won hearts of people because of fear, while Imran Khan won hearts of people by promoting peace.

He thanked Imran Khan for taking a bold step. He said for the first time in the history, boundaries between the two countries have been dismantled. “No one can deny the contribution of Imran Khan,” said Sidhu and sent Munna Bhai MBBS’s hug for Modi.

He demanded opening of borders so that people could have their breakfast in India, their lunch in Lahore and then return to their homes in India after completing their trade and business tasks.

Former Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister of Indian Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh, Bollywood actor and Indian parliamentarian Sunny Deol, Panjab CM Sardar Usman Buzdar, Panjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar and other noted figures were also present on the occasion.

Sikh Yatris from different cities of India including Amristsar, Ambala, Patiala, Jalandhar, Gurdaspur, Chandigarh, Delhi as well as from different nations like Canada, USA, France, England, Sweden were present at the inauguration ceremony.

While expressing their views, Yatris unanimously hailed the project and expressed the hope that further relaxation would also be given to them so that they could visit Panjab as per their will.

Besides, the Sikh community members from Pakistan including former MPA Ramesh Singh Arora, sitting MPA Mahender Pal Singh and others also lauded the role of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in successful completion of the project.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noorul Haq Qadri also addressed the ceremony.

He said the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor was the greatest message of peace after the Partition in 1947. He said the prime minister had fulfilled his commitment to provide access to Sikh community to visit their holy shrines.

He said while being in Baghdad, Baba Guru Nanak used to visit the shrine of Imam Musa Kazim daily which gave a message of harmony as he had devoted his life for peace and harmony.

The Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Harpreet Singh said by opening of Kartarpur Corridor, the 70-year old demand of Sikhs had been fulfilled for what they were thankful to both the governments.

The News – CCTV Video of Amir Masih lends credence to torture claims

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 08 September 2019. A CCTV footage has lent credence to claims that Amir Masih was subjected to torture by the Lahore police officials.

According to the family of the deceased, Masih, a gardener by profession, had appeared before North Cantt police last week to prove his innocence against the charges of theft levelled against him by his employer, but the police detained him and subjected him to severe torture which claimed his life.

Police had reportedly shifted him to a private hospital four days later for multiple injuries inflicted on him. The video purports to show policeman and Amir Masih in front of the hospital where he was brought on a motorcycle.

The footage shows policemen in plainclothes kicking the victim as he falls to the ground before being dragged into the medical facility. According to the video timestamp, an hour later the victim is seen on wheel-chair outside the hospital entrance and being taken away in a car.

The postmortem report also confirmed torture on Amir’s hands, back and arms. His ribs were also broken, the report stated. On 04 September, the police registered a case against six police officials over the death of a suspect in police custody.

Incharge Investigation Nasir Baig, T/ASI Zeeshan and four constables were nominated in the FIR registered against them under sections 302, 342 and 34 PPC.

Masih is a common Christian surname in India and Pakistan
Man in Blue

The News – Indian Supreme Court issues notice to Modi government

New Delhi – India, 29 August 2019. The Indian Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the federal government on all petitions challenging the revocation of Article 370 in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK).

The Indian Supreme Court held a preliminary hearing on 14 petitions, which relate to Article 370 and the subsequent lockdown in the region, Wednesday and said five judges will start a regular hearing in October.

“If notice is issued, it will have cross-border repercussions. It will be misused,” the solicitor general was quoted as saying.

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogi and two other judges rejected the government’s opposition to a notice on the issue as this may be cited by Pakistan at the United Nations.

Attorney-General K K Venugopal said he and another law officer were representing the government before the court. “We know what to do, we have passed the order, we are not going to change,” the judges were quoted as saying in media reports.

While hearing a petition by Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin, which demands an end to communications restrictions in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK), the top court issued another notice to the government and asked for a detailed response within a week.

“It’s the 24th day of (the) blackout. Even a doctor speaking to the media was whisked away,” said Vrinda Grover, arguing on behalf of the petitioner. The bench ordered the government to inform the court about the media restrictions imposed in IHK.

The bench, on another petition, refused a request from the federal government to appoint an interlocutor for IHK. The court allowed Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and a Kashmiri student who wanted to meet his parents to visit IHK, and asked both to file a report when they return.

The Indian and IHK administration were asked by the Supreme Court to respond in seven days after a petition sought directions for restoration of all modes of communication so that the media can function freely in the region.

Meanwhile, at least 66 Pakistani and international rights groups have endorsed a statement condemning the internet and communications blackout in IHK.

According to a Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) press release, some 66 human rights, digital rights, women rights, and feminist groups have supported a statement condemning the communications blackout in the occupied valley.

The statement called out the Indian government for its blatant violation of the right to freedom of expression, access to information, movement and peaceful gatherings under a blanket network and internet shutdown in IHK since the evening of 04 August.

It was highlighted that the right to access communication networks is an important part for exercising democratic and fundamental rights, which the people of IHK have been denied.

The statement condemned the ambiguous application of community guidelines and content regulation by social media companies such as Twitter, silencing criticism of the Indian government.

“We recognise that the current situation is not an aberration, it is rather part of a systematic effort by the BJP-led government to silence and exclude dissent from the region; the current internet and network shutdown is part of a larger pattern of regular shutdowns in the disputed region; in 2019 alone, 51 internet shutdowns have been imposed in IHK,” the statement read.

The statement was endorsed by organisations such as Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell (AGHS), and the Digital Rights Foundation, as well as collectives such as Aurat March (Lahore and Karachi), the Women’s Action Forum (Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Hyderabad), Women Democratic Front, Aurat Foundation, Aurat Haq, Girls at Dhabas, and War Against Rape (WAR), Lahore.

It was also endorsed by Joint Action Committee (JAC), Freedom Network, Media Matters for Democracy, Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights, and Pakistan Press Foundation. International organisations such as Freedom Forum Nepal, NetBlocks, Internet Sans Frontières (Internet Without Borders), and Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) also endorsed the statement.

The News – Police book four Hindus for insulting Sikh gurus

Peshawar – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Pakistan, 25 August 2019. The police have registered a case against a pandit and three other members of the Hindu community for using insulting remarks against the gurus of the Sikh religion.

One Balbir Singh approached the Hashtnagri Police Station in Peshawar to complain that Pandit Sheonath Sharma along with Suraj Kumar, Ram Prakash and Keol Nath Sharma had used insulting remarks for the gurus of the Sikh community on their social media pages.

He said this angered members of the Sikh community and they asked the police to take action against the accused. On the complaint of Balbir Singh, the police lodged the case against the four accused.

The News – Horrific details of how India suppressing protests in occupied Kashmir

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 21 August 2019. Rafiq Shagu’s wife died shortly after Friday prayers in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) when tear gas smashed through a window in their home and filled the room.

Now, with Indian authorities denying their troops have caused any civilian deaths while enforcing a lockdown of more than two weeks in the Himalayan region, he is facing what may be a futile quest to hold those responsible to account.

“They (the police) are not ready to take responsibility for the death. We want answers but I don’t know where to seek justice,” Shagu said.

In an interview with AFP, Shagu recalled the horrific events of the August 9 afternoon when he said his wife, Fehmeeda, was teaching her two children at their home in Srinagar, the largest city of occupied Kashmir.

Shagu said there had been small clashes between government forces and protesters nearby, then police started firing tear gas and pepper shells into residential houses.

The clashes occurred four days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government stripped occupied Kashmir of its autonomy, with tens of thousands of extra troops deployed there ahead of the announcement to stop residents from protesting.

“We couldn’t see each other in the room as the smoke was so dense. There were three huge thuds when the canisters burst,” Shagu said.

“We somehow removed the children from the room and as she tried to run out amid the chaos, she fell. By the time we moved her out of the room she was unconscious and frothing.”

He said Fehmeeda was taken to hospital on a motorcycle where doctors were unable to revive her.

The medical report seen by AFP said she “had inhaled toxic gas from a tear gas shell” and that a possible cause of death was a “toxic lung injury”.

No deaths

Indian authorities have sought to block any news coming out of occupied Kashmir since imposing the lockdown.

Aside from deploying the extra troops, they cut off telephones, mobile phones and the internet – though some landlines have now been restored.

Authorities say there is no credible proof that anyone has died in occupied Kashmir as a result of the lockdown, and only that eight people have been injured.

But multiple hospital sources told AFP at least 100 people had been hurt, some of them by firearm injuries.

Others were treated at home, fearing that they may be arrested if they visit hospitals, people who had been hit by pellets told AFP.

Unaccounted deaths

AFP also spoke with relatives of two other people died due to violence from the security forces.

One of the reported victims was Usiab Ahmad, 15, who drowned on August 5.

His family said Ahmad was near his home when police used live ammunition and tear gas shells and chased protesters towards the river bank where the student drowned.

“His body was taken out after five hours from the water and his funeral was attacked by police,” one of Ahmad’s relatives who could not be identified for security reasons told AFP.

“They tried to snatch away the body because they feared more protests,” he said.

Another alleged victim, Mohammad Ayub Khan was standing outside his home in downtown Srinagar on Saturday when police fired tear gas canisters to break up a small group of stone-throwing protesters, according to multiple family members and neighbours.

Two shells fell in front of the 62-year-old timber trader, immediately causing him to collapse on the road and froth from the mouth.

The father of three daughters was declared dead at the hospital but police forcibly took over his body.

Just 10 family members were allowed for the funeral and burial that took place under police watch in the dead of night.

“The police officer threatened us that he will throw the body into the river if we talk to media or try to make a procession,” Shabir Ahmed Khan, his younger brother told AFP.

“We were escorted by four police vans to the graveyard,” he said.

Khan’s family has visited the hospital multiple times for a death certificate but doctors told them police had instructed them not to issue it.

“His death will probably not even get recorded by the government but for us he is a martyr,” Khan said.

“His death is another example of India’s brutality.”

The News – Thousands defy Modi’s lockdown in Kashmir

London – UK, 11 August 2019. Scores of people were martyred and injured when Indian troops and police used brute force against thousands of protesters in Srinagar, the Kashmir Media Service reported on Saturday.

Defying a stringent curfew, thousands of people including women, children and elderly persons gathered in the Soura area of Srinagar and protested against New Delhi’s action of abrogating the special status of the occupied territory.

A police officer confirmed that there were around 10.000 people at the protest in Soura. The protesters raised high-pitched slogans like “We want freedom”, “Go India go back” and “Indian Constitution unacceptable”.

Indian troops and police pushed back the demonstrators at Aiwa Bridge by firing bullets, pellets and teargas shells resulting in injuries to many people. Some women and children even jumped into the river when the police used teargas and pellets against the protesters at the Aiwa bridge.

Moreover, the BBC correspondent, Geeta Pandey, who travelled for two days around occupied Kashmir, has painted a grim picture during her visit. She wrote that Khanyar is the heart of Srinagar city but to get there, they passed through half a dozen road blocks

She said, “As we come across yet another barricade, I get out of my car to take some photos. A few men emerge from a laneway to complain about living under what to many feels like a siege. “This is extreme thuggery on the authorities’ part,” says an elderly member of the group.”

A police officer, who requested anonymity since he is not authorised to speak to the media, said that political detentions in the wake of the Modi government’s decision to revoke Kashmir’s special rights were continuing. “Over 500 people are now arrested since Sunday,” he said, including former chief ministers, ministers, lawmakers and leaders and workers from political parties and separatist groups.

On the other hand, Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties with India and suspended trade in anger at its latest move.

While the communication blackout in the occupied Kashmir territory is continued on the 6th consecutive day on Saturday, as the authorities have kept the internet and telephone links snapped and imposed strict restrictions on media.

According to Kashmir Media Service, the Indian government had snapped television, telephone and internet links to prevent demonstrations against its decision of revoking Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

India had revoked Article 370 on Monday. Before that, the occupation authorities had clamped an unprecedented communications blackout on the territory and arrested many political leaders.

Meanwhile, the Indian authorities continue to clamp curfew and other restrictions across occupied Kashmir by converting it into a military garrison and a big concentration camp by deploying Indian troops and police personnel in every nook and corner of the territory.

With Internet services and telephone lines snapped across occupied Kashmir, there is no contact of the external world with the residents of the territory.

Local newspaper even failed to update their online editions since the night of August 04. Majority of newspapers could also not be printed during all these days due to curfew and other restrictions.

Almost all Hurriyat leaders, including Syed Ali Gilani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, have been put under house arrest or in jails.

Seventy of the arrested Hurriyat leaders and activists have been shifted from Srinagar to a jail in Agra city of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Mian Abdul Qayoom, President of the High Court Bar Association, and Mubin Shah, an office-bearer of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce are among those shifted outside the Kashmir valley.

Over 560 political leaders and workers including even pro-India politicians like Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Engineer Abdur Rasheed and Sajjad Lone, have been detained.

Due to severe blockade, the people of the Kashmir valley are facing severe shortage of essential commodities including baby food and life-saving medicines.

Meanwhile, students belonging to Indian Held (IHK) on Saturday staged a protest demonstration in New Delhi against the scrapping of Article 370 and asked the Indian authorities to lift the restrictions imposed on the held territory.

According to Kashmir Media Service (KMS), the protesters carried placards inscribed with and covered their mouths with black ribbons during protest held at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

Dozens of students from Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and other educational institutions in New Delhi as well as professionals took part in the protest.

The protesters also demanded ensuring safety of students and professionals from the territory putting up in New Delhi and other Indian cities.

While, Kashmiri Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik’s wife Meshal Malik Saturday said the Indian government was dragging the Kashmir issue toward a nuclear war with its neighbouring country and the United Nations Security Council should immediately take action against the Indian aggression.

Talking to a private news channel, she said Kashmiris had been deprived of basic needs due to curfew while many of them were critically ill and could not reach hospitals. She said that during the ongoing protest in Srinagar, the Indian troops opened fire on the protestors and medical treatment was not provided to the injured.

In the meanwhile, hundreds of Pakistanis and Kashmiris staged a protest in Birmingham against the abrogation of special status of Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) on Saturday.

The protest demonstration was organised by Tehreek-e-Kashmir (TeK) United Kingdom (UK). As per details, besides others ladies, children and even people with disabilities participated in the anti-India protest in front of Indian Consulate Birmingham. Protesters were shouting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, reported foreign media.

On the occasion while addressing the protesters TeK UK President Raja Fahim Kayani said that British people will not rest until Kashmir is liberated and genocide perpetrators are punished. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed over recent decades in a ‘dirty war’ waged by Hindutva forces to quell legitimate self-determination movement in IOK, he said.

Kayani further said that by doing this, Indian government has officially announced that Kashmir is no longer a disputed territory and will be merged with India. This will mean an end to the 70 years of struggle for the right of self-determination by the Kashmiri people (which is backed by UN Security Council resolutions).

Meanwhile, the Muslim Council of Britain on Saturday urged UK government to demand a halt to the inflammatory actions by India as they continue to lay siege on Kashmir and curtail further the rights of its people, says a press release.

Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “As a member of the UN Security Council, with a stated desire to uphold the rules-based international system, it is imperative that our government make its voice heard. British Muslims, many of whom have family ties to the region, expect our government to uphold our values, the rule of law and human rights.

“We echo the calls of British Members of Parliament calling for action on the matter. We do not want to see yet another senseless conflict over Kashmir, which will have repercussions elsewhere. We urge all parties to play their part in pursuing peace. The UK has a historic role and duty to press for peace in Kashmir,” the press release added.

The News – Heavy rain turns roads into rivulets in Lahore

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 26 July 2019. Heavy rain inundated most of the provincial metropolis areas here Thursday while Met office predicted more devastating rains during the next 48 hours. The rain which started early morning brought city life to a standstill while hundreds of Lesco feeders went out of order.

Rainwater remained on city roads for many hours despite the fact all the hierarchy of civic bodies such as Wasa, LDA and district administration remained on toes. The rain inundated all major roads, residential and commercial localities, playgrounds, stadiums, graveyards, bus stands and public parks. Wasa officials said 131mm rain was recorded at Tajpura scheme.

Over 400 feeders of Lesco were closed down due to the continuous rain depriving more than 40 percent of the city population of electricity. As there was no electricity in half of the city localities, residents faced serious problems in getting drinking water because they were unable to operate their motors while many tube-wells remained silent.

Wasa Managing Director Syed Zahid Aziz said that until Thursday evening most of the 22 sore points, including Laxmi Chowk, Haji Camp, Firdos Market, Kashmir Road, GPO, Sheranwala Gate, Aik Moriya Pull, Mozang, Qartaba Chowk, Lawrence Road and Ichhra were cleared.

A large number of roads looked like mini canals and remained inundated in ankle-deep stagnant rainwater which caused serious inconvenience to road users besides causing traffic blockage at major crossings across the city. The underpass of Farooq Gunj, Misri Shah was filled with rainwater and several vehicles remained stuck in it.

The rainwater also affected majority of graveyards, including Miani Sahib, Mian Mir Sahib, Township, Samsani (Johar Town), Township, Faisal Town adjacent to Kottha Pind and Pind Rajputan graveyards.

Over 131mm rainfall was recorded at Tajpura, 110mm at Chowk Nakhuda, 108mm at Pani Wala Talab, 93mm at Laxmi Chowk, 83.5mm at Farrukhabad, 80.4mm at airport, 64mm at Gulshan-e-Ravi, 56.5mm at Samanabad, 51.6mm at Jail Road, 49mm at Allama Iqbal Town, 40mm at Johar Town and 32mm at Gulberg.

The rainwater also caused a big crater in a green belt opposite the busy crossing of Shadiwal, Johar Town. The crater was more than 25 feet deep and four to five feet wide. Wasa Deputy Managing Director Aslam Khan Niazi visited the site and directed staff to place diversion on road.

Rainwater entered homes in many areas such as Mozang, Bhatti Gate, Pani Wala Talab, Azam Cloth Market, Johar Town, Alhamd Colony, Allama Iqbal Town, Nisbat Road, Gowalmandi, Bagh Munshi Ladha, Ravi Road, low-lying areas on Circular Road, Ichhra, Shama Road, Fazlia Colony, Shah Jamal, Shadman, Model Town, Faisal Town and Township.

Traffic at Qartaba Chowk and The Mall near Punjab University slowed down. Rainwater on the Ferozepur Road near Qainchi and Kalima Chowk caused traffic jams.

Meanwhile, Met officials said seasonal low lay over north Balochistan. Strong monsoon currents from Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal are penetrating upper parts of the country and likely to spread central and southern parts during next 36 to 48 hours.

They predicted that widespread rains/wind-thunderstorm is expected in Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Hazara, Malakand, Peshawar, Mardan Divisions, Islamabad and Kashmir, while at scattered places in Kohat, Bannu, DI Khan, Zhob, Kalat, Sibbi, Naseerabad, DG Khan, Multan, Sahiwal, Bahawalpur Divisions and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Heavy to very heavy falls are also expected at scattered places in Malakand, Hazara, Peshawar, Mardan, Kohat, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Lahore Divisions, Islamabad and Kashmir.

Rainfall was also reported at several cities, including Islamabad (Saidpur 158, Z/P 123, Golra 66, Bokra 32, AP 11), Rawalpindi (Shamsabad 116, Chaklala 93), Narowal 89, Jhelum 65, Sialkot (A/P 50, City 43), Gujranwala 42, Gujrat 40, Mangla 29, Murree 27, Kasur 13, Mandi Bahauddin, Hafizabad 10, Chakwal 08, Attock 03, Muzaffarabad (City 127, A/P 28), Garhi Dupatta 31, Kotli 24, Rawalakot 10, Kakul 89, Parachinar 30, Balakot 23, Malam Jabba 14, Dir 06, Saidu Sharif 02 and Karachi 01.

Thursday’s maximum temperature was recorded at Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad and Dalbandin where mercury reached 46°C while in Lahore, it was 30°C and minimum was 24.5°C.

On the other hand, DC Lahore, Commissioner Lahore and other senior officials of district administration monitored the rain and post-rain situation in the city. Deputy Commissioner Saleha Saeed had directed all staff to remain present in their offices as well as in the field. She paid surprise visit to various points and supervised dewatering process.

Meanwhile, Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Director General, Muhammad Usman Moazzam, supervised the post-rain operation for disposal of water from various areas.

The director general visited Laxmi Chowk, Shimla Hill, Kashmir Road and other low-lying areas for monitoring the arrangements made by Wasa. He directed the staff concerned for ensuring optimum utilisation of the available machinery for quick drainage of rainwater.

He directed the officials concerned for keeping close coordination with Met office for the discharge operation simultaneously with the start of drizzle.

Briefing the LDA director general about the measures taken by Wasa for quick disposal of rainwater, Wasa Managing Director Syed Zahid Aziz told that all the 117 drainage, pumping and lift stations were functioning to their full capacity besides the 44 sucker vehicles and 91 de-watering sets installed at sensitive points in the city.

He said that post-rain operation was being carried out smoothly. A central monitoring cell has also been established at the head office of Wasa for close coordination with field formation and the 25 complaint centres had been set up in the city which were working round-the-clock.

The News – International Sikh convention in City on 31 August 2019

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 16 July 2019. The Religious Tourism and Heritage Committee headed by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has announced holding International Sikh Convention here on 31 August, while Federal Interior Minister Brigadier (r) Ijaz Shah has been made permanent member of the committee.

This was announced in a meeting of religious tourism and heritage committee chaired by the governor at Governor’s House on Monday.

Federal Minister for Education and Culture Shafqat Mehmood, Religious Affairs Minister Syed Saeed-ul-Hassan Shah, Punjab Minister for Tourism Raja Yasir Humayun, Evacuee Trust Property Board chairman, Lahore Division Commissioner and relevant officers from Kartarpur and Nankana Sahib attended the meeting.

The governor will visit Nankana Sahib after Kartarpur and a strategy has been finalised vis-à-vis arrangements in Nankana and Kartarpur regarding 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak. The meeting was briefed about arrangements made so far for birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak and Kartarpur Corridor.

The committee decided to launch awareness campaign for making the birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak memorable and ensuring maximum participation of the Sikh community, including that of India. It was also decided in the meeting that the convention would be held at Governor House, Lahore in which the Sikh yatrees from USA, UK, Canada and India would participate.

The meeting decided that the governor would meet Federal Interior Minister Brigadier (r) Ijaz Shah for ensuring maximum visas for Sikh yatrees coming for celebration of Baba Guru Nanak birth anniversary. Addressing the meeting, the governor expressed hope that the government would be able to generate $4-5 billion from tourism the way they were working on it. He said the steps would be ensured for visa facilitation and other matters of Sikh yatrees.

He expressed pleasure over headway in talks over Kartarpur Corridor and said, “we want that India should also complete its work in a speedy manner on Kartarpur Corridor.”

The News – Sikhs Yatris return to India

Our Correspondent

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 07 July 2019. Some 440 Sikhs Yatris returned to India on Saturday after celebrating birthday ceremonies of Ranjeet Singh here.

Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Secretary Tariq Wazir Khansaw saw the Sikh Yatris off and presented them gifts.

The Yatris’ leader said they were going back with pleasant memories. Gurdwaras of Sikh were secure in Pakistan. Sikhs would never forget the respect and love shown by Pakistanis, said the Sikh leader while speaking at Railway Station.

The message of love and peace will be spread in India after reaching there, he said. Another Sikh leader said Pakistan was Sikhs’ second home.