Cultural bonds attract Sikh pilgrims to Peshawar

Cultural bonds attract Sikh pilgrims to Peshawar

PESHAWAR: Sikh yatrees on their visit to the Peshawar Museum on Friday were teary eyed as they looked upon portraits that reminded them of their glorious past and historic connections with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“We consider this land as sacred as Saudi Arabia is for Muslims. I am very happy to be here,” said Navdeep, a pleasant young lady of Indian-origin from California during her first visit to Peshawar. She said that she had got a 15-day visa and wished she could come here again.

“I am not sure about countries but I know for sure that friendship of Muslims and Sikhs is very old one,” she said while answering a question regarding people-to-people contacts to build good relations between countries.

An elderly man Awtaar Singh Jawinda who has been living for the last 42 years in California said around 26 Sikh yatrees were in Pakistan on a 12-day visit. During this visit, they would be going to various temples (Gurdwara) and attending a religious festival too.

They would be observing and celebrating the birthday of Baba Guru Nanak on Nov 15.

“This is the second time that I have come to Pakistan. I am here for the second time because we received love from people here,” said Awtaar Singh, thanking the Tourism Corporation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for hosting a reception and arranging the visit to the historic Peshawar Museum having rare portraits of Sikh rulers.

Mohammad Ali Sayed, manager TCKP, said that Sikh yatrees were visiting Pakistan to attend their religious festival. It was a good opportunity to invite them to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which the Sikh guests happily accepted.

“Such visits strengthen religious connections with other countries and also help in projecting the historic and cultural heritage of this province,” said Mr Sayed who received the yatrees along with senior officials, and presented them bouquets. Secretary tourism Tariq Khan and managing director Mushtaq Khan welcomed the visitors warmly.

“Under the religious tourism initiative, first monks from Sri Lanka and South Korea visited the Buddhist sites here in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and now Sikh yatrees are coming to Peshawar,” said Tariq Khan.

Director Archaeology and Museums of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cultural bonds attract Sikh pilgrims to Peshawar Dr Abdul Samad said that 90 per cent of the Sikh history, including monuments, temples and archaeological sites, was here in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Sikhs have strong cultural and religious links with this area, he said.

The Sikh yatrees, including men and women, looked very impressed with the historic building of Peshawar Museum. They also looked happy at the warm reception and many who were visiting for the first time said they hoped they could easily get visa so they could come every year.

“My uncle has Muslim friends. We feel strong connection with this land. Many Sikh friends breathed their last while still wishing to come to visit our sacred places here in Pakistan,” said Awtaar Singh with tears in his eyes.

Rajesh Singh Tony, a resident of Peshawar, who was also present at the reception, felt happy that Sikh yatrees could come to Peshawar. “Such visits prove to the world that this is a peaceful place and tourists should come here,” he said.

Published in Dawn November 12th, 2016

First-ever paragliding activity held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

First-ever paragliding activity held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

NOWSHERA: The Tourism Corporation of Khyber Pakht­un­khwa (TCKP) organised a paragliding activity in Misri Banda Akora Khattak on Sunday.

This was the first-ever paragliding activity for general public in the province. Twenty people, inclu­ding women, took part in the activity.

Considered a competitive adventure sport, paragliding is one of the most popular recreational activities in the world.

Intending participants attended a ground paragliding training session at the Hayatabad Sports Complex in Peshawar on Saturday.

Both men and women took part in the event
The training session was conducted by professional flight instructors.

Talking to reporters on Sunday, the provincial secretary for tourism said that the TCKP wanted to encourage people, especially youngsters, to participate in such recreational activities.

He said the department had made arrangements for a safe and enjoyable paragliding event.

The TCKP would organise four more sessions for general public on Nov 19-20, Dec 3-4, Dec 16-17 and Dec 30-31.

Benazir, the first female paraglider belonging to the KP, is seen in action on Sunday.­—APP
Benazir, the first female paraglider belonging to the KP, is seen in action on Sunday.­—APP
The registration fee for the activity is Rs3,000 per participant (with two solo flights).

The participants will also be provided transportation, food, first aid kit and some other facilities during the events.

The registration form for the next sessions is available on the TCKP’s website.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2016

US protesters march against Trump presidency for fifth day

US protesters march against Trump presidency for fifth day

Demonstrators in major US cities took to the streets on Sunday for a fifth straight day to protest President-elect Donald Trump, whose campaign manager said President Barack Obama and Democrat Hillary Clinton should do more to support a peaceful transition.

Following several nights of unrest, crowds of people marched in parks in New York City, San Francisco and Oakland, California, according to social media.

A few thousand joined a march at the south end of Manhattan’s Central Park, beginning at a Trump property on Columbus Circle and walking toward the real estate mogul’s skyscraper headquarters less than a mile away.

They chanted: “Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcomed here,” and held signs such as “White silence = violence” and “Don’t mourn, organize.” One protester said demonstrators were reclaiming what the American flag he was holding stood for.

Protesters carrying signs walk along a sidewalk and in the street during a protest in downtown Santa Ana, Calif.— AP
Protesters carrying signs walk along a sidewalk and in the street during a protest in downtown Santa Ana, Calif.— AP
“The flag means freedom of speech, freedom of religion, equal protection under the law and other values like diversity, respecting differences, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press,” said Daniel Hayman, 31, of Seattle, who was in New York for work.

“We’re trying to reclaim the flag and push forward those values.”

Thousands in several cities have demonstrated since the results from Tuesday’s election showed Trump, a Republican, lost the popular tally but secured enough votes in the 538-member Electoral College to win the presidency, surprising the world.

Largely peaceful demonstrators in urban areas have said Trump threatens their civil and human rights.

They have decried Trump’s often inflammatory campaign rhetoric about illegal immigrants, Muslims and women, as well as allegations, which he denies, that the former reality TV star sexually abused women.

Dozens have been arrested, including 71 in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday night, according to police, and a handful of police injured.

‘Let’s make waves’
In San Francisco on Sunday, about 1,000 people marched through Golden Gate Park toward a beach where they chanted: “Let’s make waves.” They held signs such as “I resist racism” and “Down with the Trumps.”

Across the bay in Oakland, thousands of protesters joined a festival-like atmosphere, holding peace signs and blowing soap bubbles in the sunshine. Many had brought their children, aiming to hold hands around the 5.5-km circumference of Lake Merritt in a popular urban park.

Civil rights groups have monitored violence against US minorities since Trump’s win, citing reports of attacks on women in Islamic head scarves, of racist graffiti and of bullying of immigrant children. They have called on Trump to denounce the attacks.

Trump said he was ‘so saddened’ to hear of instances of violence by some of his supporters against minorities, according to a transcript released on Sunday of an interview with the CBS program ’60 Minutes.’

‘This man is our president’
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, said on Fox News on Sunday that she was sure many of the protesters were paid professionals, although she offered no proof.

Suggesting a double standard, Conway said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that if Clinton had won the election and Trump supporters had protested, “people would be freaking out that his supporters were not accepting election results”.

“It’s time really for President Obama and Secretary Clinton to say to these protesters: ‘This man is our president,’” she said.

Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan told CNN on Sunday that protests were protected by the First Amendment as long as they were peaceful.

Neither Obama nor Clinton has called for an end to the protests. Obama told Trump at the White House on Thursday that he was going to help Trump succeed, “because if you succeed, then the country succeeds”.

Clinton told supporters at a New York hotel on Wednesday: “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

Trump on Sunday attacked the New York Times for coverage he said was “very poor and highly inaccurate”.

“The @nytimes sent a letter to their subscribers apologizing for their BAD coverage of me. I wonder if it will change – doubt it?” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The newspaper published a letter in Sunday’s editions from publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Dean Baquet, not apologising, but thanking readers for their loyalty and asking how news outlets underestimated Trump’s support.

The Times plans to “hold power to account, impartially and unflinchingly” during the Trump presidency, they wrote.

source The Express Tribune news

Bangladesh buys two submarines from China

Bangladesh buys two submarines from China

Bangladesh took delivery on Monday of its first submarines, bought from China, as it seeks to boost its naval power in the Bay of Bengal.

Bangladesh paid a reported $203 million for the two submarines, a deal that reflects the country’s growing economic and defence ties with Beijing.

Armed forces spokeswoman Taposhi Rabeya said they would become part of the country’s naval fleet at the beginning of next year.

“This is the first ever addition of submarines in Bangladesh defence force,” she told AFP.

Bangladesh has been expanding its defence capabilities in recent years, building a new airbase close to neighbouring Myanmar, opening several new military cantonments across the country and adding new frigates to its naval fleet.

In 2013 the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signed a billion-dollar deal with Russia to buy fighter training jets, helicopters and anti-tank missiles.

Hasina announced the plan to purchase two submarines the same year as part of her government’s move to build a modern navy to defend the resource-rich Bay of Bengal.

A UN tribunal has settled Bangladesh’s long-standing maritime border disputes with neighbours Myanmar and India, paving the way for Dhaka to invite bids from multinational firms to explore for oil in the Bay.

Bangladesh officials say that has ensured the country’s sovereignty over 111,631 square kilometres of sea, an area nearly equal to its landmass.

Xi Jinping last month became the first Chinese president in 30 years to visit Bangladesh, which has historically been more closely allied to rival regional power India.

Hazara varsity teacher arrested for defrauding colleagues

Hazara varsity teacher arrested for defrauding colleagues

MANSEHRA: Police have arrested a professor of Hazara University for defrauding his colleagues in the name of allotment of plots at a non-existence colony.

Police said that Prof Fazal Akbar with the help of his accomplice Prof Khan Afsar deprived employees of Hazara University of Rs280 million.

“We arrested the suspect, who fraudulently received money from professors and teaching staff of Hazara University to allot them plots in a colony, which did not exist.

He had disappeared at time of allotments of plots earlier this year,” DSP Zulfiqar Khan Jadoon told journalists here on Sunday.

Prof Arshad Siddique has lodged FIR against the suspects.

He told police that Prof Fazal Akbar, a resident of Mardan, and his accomplice Prof Khan Afsar received the amount from scores of their colleagues for establishment of a professors’ colony at bypass road in Mansehra but both disappeared after receiving the money.

Prof Siddique said that he along with other colleagues made several attempts for recovery of their money but could not succeed.

He said that that they were told by land revenue department that nobody had acquired land for establishment of such colony in the district.

Police raided the residences of both the suspects and arrested Prof Fazal Akabr while Prof Khan Afsar managed to flee.

Mr Jadoon said that they got one-day physical remand of the suspect from court. Also in the day, police arrested a group of robbers and recovered stolen items from them. The arrested persons were identified as Fisal Ayub, Mohammad Umar and Usman.

Mr Jadoon said that the group was involved in robberies at the houses of Dr Mohammad Tipu and a businessman Mohammad Saleem.

BALAKOT: The action committee of survivors of Balakot has said that it would not allow machinery to move from their city to Kaghan valley for construction of Suki Kanari hydropower project if New Balakot city housing project is not completed before it.

Mian Mohammad Ashraf, the president of action committee, told journalists that 11 years had passed but more than 5,000 survivor families were still living in small makeshift shelters in miserable condition.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2016

vedio – Police manhandle disabled persons in Quetta

vedio – Police manhandle disabled persons in Quetta


Police officials on Monday reportedly manhandled and dragged disabled persons to clear the route for a government official during a protest demonstration in the Hockey Chowk area of Quetta.

The disabled persons were demanding the provincial government to ensure implementation of disabled persons quota in government services and were also demanding a special package for them.

“Four to five of our colleagues were injured by the police,” said Izatullah, the head of voice for disabled person in Balochistan.

-Photo by author
-Photo by author
He added the police dragged him on the road to clear the route for a senior government official.

Another protester, Asmatullah, said they were tortured without any justification.

The disabled persons have been protesting for five months to press the authorities for acceptance of their demands.

The district administration, after receiving news of the scuffle between police officials and the disabled persons, held dialogue with the aggrieved party.

Deputy Commissioner Abdul Wahid Kakar held negotioans with the disabled persons after which the protests was called off.

March to main Srinagar mosque foiled

March to main Srinagar mosque foiled

MUZAFFARABAD: Indian authorities disallowed weekly prayers at Srinagar’s historical Jamia Masjid for the 18th consecutive week on Friday by imposing strict restrictions in various parts of the city, reports said.

A call for a march to the grand mosque, located in Nowhatta area in downtown Srinagar, had been given by the resistance leaders, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, to mark the Youm-i-Istaqlal.

However, the authorities imposed curfew and other restrictions in Srinagar and other towns to stop people from marching to the mosque. They also sealed the mosque, disallowing people to offer Friday prayers there.

At least 10 youths suffered injuries at the hands of security personnel across the India-held Valley.

According to residents of Nowhatta, nobody was allowed to proceed to the historical mosque, which was built by Sultan Sikandar, the father of Zainul Aabideen (popularly known as Budshah), between 1389 and 1420.

Continuous siege of the mosque since July 8 has evoked widespread condemnation from various quarters.

The Mirwaiz, who was placed under house arrest on Thursday, tried to defy the curbs and march towards the mosque, where he used to deliver sermons, but was whisked away by police.

Talking to reporters outside his Nigeen residence before his detention, the Mirwaiz said the anti-Muslim regime had once again barred Muslims from offering Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid and other main mosques across held Kashmir.

“Religious rights are under assault in Kashmir and the subjugated people of Kashmir know that it is being done to inflict collective punishment upon them,” he said.

Quoting a police official, Srinagar-based Current News Service (CNS) said that curfew had been imposed in seven areas of the city to “maintain law and order”.

Police locked the Hyderpora residence of Syed Ali Geelani from outside when he tried to march towards the historical mosque.

The chief of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, Yasin Malik, had been shifted to the Central Jail, Srinagar, on Thursday evening after his arrest from his Maisuma residence in the city.

The CNS reported that despite the restrictions, people took to the streets in various parts of Srinagar, Badgam, Ganderbal, Bara­mulla, Bandipora, Kupwara, Islamabad, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and other areas and tried to carry out the planned march.

Published in Dawn November 12th, 2016

Nat Geo famed ‘Afghan girl’ Sharbat Gula to travel to India

Nat Geo famed ‘Afghan girl’ Sharbat Gula to travel to India

Days after a controversial departure from Pakistan, it emerged that National Geographic’s famous ‘Afghan Girl’ Sharbat Gula will be travelling to India for medical treatment.

Shaida Abdali, Afghanistan’s ambassador to India, said on Twitter, “The Iconic Afghan Sharbat Gula will soon be in India for medical treatment free of cost.”

Dr Shaida Abdali @ShaidaAbdali
The Iconic Afghan Sharbat Gula will soon be in India for medical treatment free of cost – Thank you India for being a true friend! @MEAIndia
12:21 AM – 12 Nov 2016
96 96 Retweets 113 113 likes
According to her lawyer, Gula, who’s in her 40s, suffers from Hepatitis C. She is now scheduled to travel to Bangalore to receive treatment, according to Afghan news agency Khaama Press.

Sharbat Gula was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Oct 26 from her house in Peshawar’s Nauthia area for alleged forgery of a Pakistani Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC).

A day after her arrest, the United Nations High Commissioner distanced itself from Sharbat Gula, claiming that she was not a registered refugee.

She pleaded guilty to all charges against her and was sentenced to 15 days in jail and a fine of Rs110,000 by a special anti-corruption and immigration court. Following the sentence, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government offered to stop her deportation from the country but she refused to stay in Pakistan.

The Afghan president last week personally welcomed her upon her arrival in Afghanistan, offering her a furnished apartment after she was deported by Pakistan.

“The woman who stands next to me became an iconic figure representing Afghan deprivation, Afghan hope and Afghan aspirations,” Ghani said. “All of us are inspired by her courage and determination.”

‘Mona Lisa of the Afghan war’
Sharbat Bibi became famously known as the ‘Afghan Girl’ when National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry captured her photograph at the Nasir Bagh refugee camp situated on the edge of Peshawar in 1984.

She was for years an unnamed celebrity after the image of her as a teenage Afghan refugee was featured on the magazine’s cover in June 1985, her striking green eyes peering out from a headscarf with a mixture of ferocity and pain.

That photo has been likened to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Her image became a symbol of Afghanistan’s suffering during the 1980s Soviet occupation and US-backed mujahideen insurgency against it.

She remained anonymous for years after her first photo made her an icon around the world. In 2001, National Geographic sent McCurry back to find the girl in the photo.

After Sharbat’s family granted her permission to meet with the man who photographed her 17 years ago, McCurry knew immediately, even after so many years, that he had found her again.

“Her eyes are as haunting now as they were then,” he had said.

National Geographic made a short documentary about her life and dubbed her the ‘Mona Lisa of Afghan war’.

source The Express Tribune news

Chinese ship, trade convoy reach Gwadar port

Chinese ship, trade convoy reach Gwadar port

GWADAR: The first trade convoy carrying Chinese goods for export through the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and a Chinese ship arrived at the port here on Friday.

Official sources confirmed the anchoring of the ship at the port and said another vessel was expected to arrive within 24 hours.

The second trade convoy was scheduled to reach here on Saturday (today).

The goods will be exported to countries in the Middle East and Africa.

A ceremony marking the opening of trade activities through the corridor will be held on Sunday, which will attended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri and ambassadors of 15 countries.

Meanwhile, the Gwadar Yakjehti Council took out a procession in support of the CPEC.

Speaking at the Gwadar Press Club, the organisers of the procession termed the CPEC a game-changer for the region, especially Balochistan, as it would bring about progress and prosperity.

They said the elements opposing the CPEC were not well-wishers of the people of Gwadar.

“We are happy that Gwadar is at the centre of the CPEC because this will remove poverty and create jobs for the local people,” one of the speakers said.

The speakers praised the role of the Pakistan Army and said the corridor could not have been completed without the support of the armed forces.

They added that the council would always try to protect the rights of people of Gwadar.

Published in Dawn November 12th, 2016

Audi software can distort emissions in tests, VW says

Audi software can distort emissions in tests, VW says

Audi cars with automatic transmissions have technology capable of distorting emissions when they are tested, Volkswagen said, as its luxury flagship is battling allegations over a reported discovery of a new cheat software device.

Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper said a week ago that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) had this summer discovered cheating software in an older Audi model, which is unrelated to the device that triggered last year’s diesel emissions test-cheating scandal at parent VW.

The software in CARB’s discovery lowered carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by detecting whether a car’s steering wheel was turned as it would be when driving on a road and was used in diesel and petrol models in Europe for years, Bild had said.

Fuel Leaks: VW, Audi recall 334,000 vehicles

“Adaptive shift programs can lead to incorrect and non-reproducible results” when the cars are tested, VW said by email on Sunday in response to an article published in Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Saturday.

If the software that controlled the automatic transmissions of certain Audi models detected testing conditions, the cars shifted more rapidly and in a way that would lower emissions of CO2 as well as nitric oxides, Sueddeutsche Zeitung said, citing a confidential VW document.

“Audi has explained the technical backgrounds of adaptive shift programs to the Federal Motor Vehicle Authority KBA and has made available technical information,” VW said, adding there will be more talks with the KBA, which has been commissioned by the German government to investigate the reported irregularities at Audi.

Audi favours electric cars, services in new strategy: sources

So-called adaptive transmission control is intended to provide better performance by improving fuel economy and reducing shifting frequency, experts say.

“In normal use, these adaptive systems support the driver by adjusting the gear-shifting points to best adapt to each driving situation,” VW said.

Earlier on Sunday, Bild reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had opened an investigation into Audi over the latest reported software discovery and next week will hear senior VW group engineers, without elaborating.

VW and Audi declined comment on Sunday, as had EPA spokesman Nick Conger on Saturday.

But two people briefed on the matter said the US government is asking questions about it and whether it constitutes a defeat device in gasoline-powered vehicles.

The EPA and CARB are currently focused on reaching agreement with VW on how to resolve 85,000 3.0 liter 2009-2015 diesel Audi, Porsche, and VW vehicles that emit up to nine times legally allowable pollution levels ahead of a Nov. 30 court hearing in San Francisco.

VW’s Audi step up efforts to offer more digital services

VW submitted proposed fixes for larger Porsche, Audi and VW diesel vehicles earlier this year and has been in intensive discussions with US and California regulators.

There are also talks ongoing between VW and lawyers for the owners in an effort to reach agreement on how much compensation owners may get. Owners of 2.0 liter polluting vehicles received $5,100 to $10,000 in compensation – in addition to a buyback offer.

At least two class-action lawsuits have been filed against Audi in the US over the issue. One lawsuit says the CARB has “determined that Audi had also surreptitiously installed a gearing related defeat device in the Class Vehicles. The defeat device was used to circumvent the class vehicles’ emission control systems that exist to comply with Clean Air Act emissions standards.”

CARB has declined to confirm it is investigating, but both it and EPA have said they have stepped up the review of vehicles in the wake of VW’s diesel cheating.