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Islam prohibits terrorism, bloodshed: Sheikh Saad

MINA (INP): Sheikh Saad bin Nasir has said that Islam prohibits terrorism, violence and bloodshed.

He was delivering sermon to Hajj pilgrims at Masjid-e-Nimra in Arafat where more than two million Muslim pilgrims from across the world performed Waqoof-e-Arafat, the main ritual of Hajj in the holy land of Islam.

Sheikh Nasir, a prominent Saudi Arabian religious cleric, urged Muslims to practice teachings of Islam in their lives, and refrain from misdeeds.

He urged Muslims to avoid injustice and snatching rights of people. “Oh believers, save yourselves from nationalism, ethnicism and grouping. Islam prohibits terrorism, violence and bloodshed,” the Sheikh said.

He called upon media of the Muslim world to play role for the unity of Muslim Ummah. “The peace and tranquility of mind can only be found through the religion,” he said. The Sheikh, in his sermon, also prayed for the Muslims of Palestine and freedom of Bait-ul-Muqadda, the first qibla of Muslims.

In first phase of Hajj, the pilgrims spent a day and following night (Wednesday) in Mina — a tent city near Makkah, and later started moving to towards mount Arafat where the main pillar of Hajj pilgrimage, Waqoof-e-Arafat, was perfomed. Waqoof (stay) in Arafat is performed from Zuhar to sunset on the 9th of Zil-Hajj of Islamic year.

The main action in Wuquf is not to pray lots of Nafils but to just stand facing the Baitul Haram (Sacred House) asking Allah for forgiveness while recognizing Him as our Lord. The holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “Al Hajju Arafah,” means ‘standing in Arafat’ is the Hajj.

After Waqoof, the pilgrims offered Zohar and Asar prayers jointly at Arafat and moved towards Muzdalafa where they would perform remaining two prayers, Maghrib and Isha, together. All Hajj pilgrims will stay whole night in Muzdalfa and continue worships for forgiveness and pleasing God, the almighty.

They would perform Fajar prayer on morning of 10th Zil-Hajj in Muzdalfa and then return to Mina for following act of Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S), Rami, stoning the big Satan.

After stoning the Satan, Hajj pilgrims will shave off heads or trim hairs, to the prescribed level, and then would get off the Ahrams, Hajj cloths, at completion of Hajj rituals. Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Adha and sacrifice Halal animals of their choices every year, after completion of Hajj proceedings.

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam that must be performed at least once in lifetime by all Muslims capable of making the expensive and difficult journey. It is religious obligation equally applicable to Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims.

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Shadab Khan joins Heat for Big Bash

BRISBANE (Agencies): After impressive stints in the Pakistan Super League and the ongoing Caribbean Premier League, Pakistan’s 18-year-old legspinner Shadab Khan has signed with the Brisbane Heat for the seventh season of the Big Bash League, starting December 19.

Shadab replaces West Indies legspinner Samuel Badree, who took 14 wickets in 13 matches for the Heat, at an economy rate of 6.42, between 2015 and 2017. Shadab joins his CPL team-mate from Trinbago Knight Riders – Brendon McCullum – as the franchise’s second overseas player.

Shadab has had a highly productive year in which he has also won the Champions Trophy with Pakistan. He made his T20 international debut in the Caribbean in March, claiming 3 for 7 in four overs for a Man-of-the-Match performance. He followed it with 4 for 14 in the next match, and helped Pakistan defend 132. In all, Shadab picked up 10 wickets for 75 runs in the four-match series against West Indies and was named the Player of the Series too.

His variations, which include a deceptive googly, resurfaced in the CPL, where he grabbed 10 wickets in six matches at an economy rate of 6.08. “He is one of the most dynamic young spinners in the game and will fit nicely into the style of play that we want to employ this summer,” Heat coach Daniel Vettori said of Shadab.”I know Brendon has been highly impressed with him as a team-mate in the CPL and we’re looking forward to working with him when he arrives.”

Shadab is Heat’s 12th confirmed signing, which means six other spots are still open. The side will be without Chris Lynn for most of the season, after the batsman underwent surgery for a third shoulder injury in less than two years. Heat will open their campaign against Melbourne Stars on December 20.

Brisbane Heat squad: Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Jason Floros, Sam Heazlett, Shadab Khan, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Lalor, Chris Lynn, Brendon McCullum, James Peirson, Alex Ross, Mitchell Swepson.

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PSA lifts ban on international tournaments in Pakistan

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Professional Squash Association (PSA) has confirmed that it has sanctioned two PSA world tour events in Pakistan in December, after lifting a ban imposed in February 2017 which prevented the country from hosting international events due to security concerns.

“The decision to impose the ban on Pakistan was made after extensive consultation with Sport Risk in relation to security issues but the PSA is now satisfied that there are no immediate security concerns,” stated the press release from Pakistan Squash Federation.

Out of the two events to be held in Islamabad, one will be a men’s tournament having $50,000 prize money, while the other will be a women’s tournament with $25,000 prize amount.

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Army comes to rescue as heavy downpours start drowning Karachi houses

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Jawans of Pakistan Army kicked off rescue operations in seaside Pakistan metropolis of Karachi after the provincial and city governments failed to provide relief amid urban-flood in several parts of the city.

Several parts of the city were left inundated and various nullahs overflowed after rain lashed across the metropolis. According to a statement from the ISPR, Karachi city administration had asked for assistance from Pakistan Army.

Heavy downpour lashed Karachi for the second straight day as major road and low-lying areas were inundated and the life in the metropolitan city almost thrown out of gear.

At least 12 people including four children were killed in rain-related incidents in the city.

According to details, North Nazimabad, F.B Area, Gulistan-e-Johar, Gulshan–e-Ibqal, Shah Faisal Colony, MA Jinnah Road, II Chandrigar Road, North Karachi, Shadman Town, Guslshan-e-Hadeed, Shah Latif Town, Malir and other areas received heavy rain. There was thin attendance in offices whereas school and colleges remain closed due to fear of flooding.

Meanwhile, many areas of Karachi plunged into darkness as dozens of K-Electric feeders tripped due to heavy rain which started on Wednesday.

Heavy rains wreaked havoc in Karachi leaving five and several others critically injured as a result of electrocution in the early hours of Thursday.

A number of vehicles have also reportedly broken down on city streets because of water gathering due to inefficient drainage systems.

Hyderabad, Hub and Thatta and other parts of interior Sindh are also experiencing heavy rains, which are expected to continue until Friday, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department.

The Sindh government on Tuesday issued a weather warning, in which it has directed all district disaster management authorities, commissioners and deputy commissioners to ensure that all precautionary measures are taken to avoid any untoward situation as well adopt an effective response mechanism, including issuing an early warning for flash floods.

The direction, through a “most urgent” letter, was issued in connection with a weather warning issued by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD). The PMD had intimated, “A strong monsoon weather system from India is heading towards Sindh and is likely to enter south-east Sindh on Tuesday evening.”

A day earlier, the Pakistan meteorological department – the national weather forecasting centre – predicted widespread rain and thunderstorm associated with gusty winds in lower Sindh, including the seaside metropolis of Karachi, from tomorrow till Friday.

Met-Office informed that strong monsoon currents are likely to continue penetrating in southern parts of the country, while moderate currents are also expected to enter upper parts and Kashmir from Tuesday to Friday.

Under the influence of this weather system, the advisory Met office Karachi issued here on Monday stated, widespread rain/thunderstorm associated with gusty winds (isolated heavy to very heavy falls) is expected in lower Sindh (Mirpurkhas, Hyderabad, Karachi divisions) and at scattered places in Sukkur, Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad, Kalat, Quetta, Sibbi, Zhob and Naseerabad divisions from Wednesday to Friday.

“Rain-thunderstorm is also expected at scattered places in Bahawalpur, Multan, D.G. Khan and Sahiwal divisions, while at isolated places in Hazara, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Sargodha and Lahore divisions, Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir on Wednesday/Thursday,” it further reads.

According to met office rain-thunderstorm is expected at scattered places in Hazara, Malakand, Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, D.I. Khan, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and Lahore divisions, Islamabad, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir during Friday and Saturday.

 

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Verdict in Benazir Murder Case Disappointing, Unacceptable, says Bilawal

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Chairman Pakistan People’s Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, on Thursday said that the anti-terrorism court’s verdict in Benazir Bhutto Murder Case was “disappointing and unacceptable” and that his party will “explore legal options.”

In his reaction to the ATC decision handed down earlier on Thursday afternoon, Chairman PPP and son of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto said that “the release of terrorists was not only unjust but also dangerous”.

“[The] SMBB case decision is disappointing & unacceptable. [The] release of terrorists [is] not only unjust but also dangerous. PPP will explore legal options,” Chairman PPP tweeted.

Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, elder daughter of the former prime minister said that former military dictator General (R) Pervez Musharraf had ordered to wash the crime scene and lock the doors trapping SMBB vehicle inside, so he should be arrested. Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari, the youngest of the siblings, said that “they were still awaiting justice”.

“10 years later and we still await justice. Abettors punished but those truly guilty of my mother’s murder roam free,” she said in a tweet on micro blogging social media website, adding there will be no justice till Pervez Musharraf answers for his crimes.

Human Rights Campaigner and Former Pakistan Director Human Rights watch, Ali Dayan Hasan, said that it was both shocking & bizarre that self-confessed murderers of Benazir Bhutto are acquitted after a decade-long trial.

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Rawalpindi announced the verdict on Thursday, acquitting five Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) suspects and announcing 17-year imprisonment for two police officials.

The ATC also declared retired Gen Pervez Musharraf an absconder in the case. Benazir was killed in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on Dec 27, 2007 when Musharraf was president.

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Petrol price goes up by Rs2 per litre

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Federal government on Thursday decided to increase the price of petrol by Rs 2 per litre. The new price will come into effect from September 1.

Ministry of Finance gave formal approval to the recommendations forwarded by Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA). Petrol will now be sold at Rs. 71.50/litre after approval of Rs2/litre rise.

However, against the recommendations of to increase the price of diesel, kerosene oil and light diesel the federal government has decided to retain the prices of these products.

According to OGRA’s summary, it was recommended to increase high speed diesel price by 70 paisa to Rs 78.10 from present level of Rs 77.40. An increase of Rs 2.24 per liter was recommended for motor gasoline while the price of petrol was recommended to touch Rs 71.80 from Rs 69.56 per liter.

Similarly, it was advised to hike the price of kerosene and light diesel oil prices by Rs 15 and Rs 12 per liter to Rs 59 and Rs 56 per liter respectively.

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Mahtab chairs meeting to discuss airports security

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to PM on Aviation Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan chaired a high level meeting regarding the security and vigilance matters of airports and Pakistan International Airlines here in Aviation Division on Thursday.

The meeting was attended by Secretary Aviation, Irfan Ilahi and other concerned officials of Aviation division and PIA.

The meeting reviewed the security situation and vigilance of airports and discussed various issues and measures for improving the performance of these departments.

The issues and problems which are faced with during the vigilance also came under discussion. The participants of meeting discussed in detail the security and vigilance process and reviewed the progress on implementation of the previous decisions and also determined the future course of action in this regard. The meeting was also briefed about the ongoing security measures and vigilance of airports. It was decided in the meeting that expeditious steps would be taken to ensure the foolproof security.

Addressing the meeting, Aviation Adviser Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan said that every possible endeavor would be made to ensure foolproof security of airports and strict vigilance adding that provision of facilities would be made sure at any cost. Sardar Mahtab also ordered to further strengthen the security measures and directed to work on technological lines and intelligence in this regard. In order to facilitate the passengers and to redress their complaints, he directed to further improve their performance.

He directed the concerned officials that security staff and officers should work with commitment and no laxity would be tolerated in this regard. He firmly said that strict action would be taken against those people who are not performing their duties in a responsible manner. “Security department serves like eyes and ears and we need to make it standardize and up to the mark department by utilizing all possible resources and technology”, he further added.

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Interior Minister directs relief, rescue operation in rain-hit Karachi areas

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has directed DG Rangers, Sindh to utilise all resources in the rescue and relief operation in flood affected areas hit by torrential rain in Karachi.

Interior Minister during a telephonic conversation directed DG Rangers to set up relief camps to secure the affectees and assist the civil administration.

“In this time of crisis, federal government stands shoulder to shoulder with the citizens of Karachi,” Ahsan Iqbal said. Interior Minister also observed that natural calamities were disasters and collective efforts were required in such situation.

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Benazir murder case: Five accused acquitted, two former policemen sentenced, Musharraf declared absconder

F.P. Report

RAWALPINDI: The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Thursday announced its verdict in the murder case of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto after almost ten years.

The verdict announced by ATC Judge Asghar Khan at Adiala Jail cleared five accused in the case, sentenced two former police officials and declared former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf as an absconder.

Aitzaz Shah, Sher Zaman, Abdul Rasheed, Rafaqat Hussain and Hasnain Gul, who were indicted by the ATC in November 2008, were cleared of all charges. The five accused had been charged for killing, hatching criminal conspiracy to kill, abetting the perpetrators, using illegal explosive material and spreading terrorism on Dec 27, 2007 when 22 people, including the former premier, were killed in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh, when she was leaving after holding an election rally.

Saud Aziz, who was the police chief in Rawalpindi at the time of Bhutto’s assassination, and former Rawal Town SP Khurram Shahzad, were sentenced to 17 years each and ordered to pay a fine of Rs0.5 million each.

The two former police officials had earlier been granted bail and were present in court at the time of the verdict being announced. According to the verdict, the former policemen had been awarded 10 years in prison under Section 119 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and seven years under Section 201 of the PPC.

The verdict also declared Musharraf an absconder in the case, ordering the seizure of his property.

The statements of 67 witnesses out of 141 were recorded during the course of proceedings, while the rest were termed unimportant.

Special Prosecutor Federal Investigation Agency Khawaja Mohammad Imtiaz spoke to media after the verdict. He said that two to three concrete reasons for sheer concern were there, first of all there was a security lapse and the crime scene was washed only hours after the incident.

Imtiaz said that the crime scene was washed after merely an hour in order to wipe out evidence and the area wasn’t cordoned off as per the standard procedure worldwide.

He said that after filing of a case, the body is always sent for post-mortem, but former Rawalpindi CPO Saud Aziz acted as a facilitator to the perpetrators of the attack by denying the post-mortem and keeping the body in custody for seven hours.

 

Three shots fired with the intention to kill and a blast afterwards merit an FIR registration and post-mortem, he said.

Special Prosecutor FIA said that he would consult the higher ups following the verdict and present recommendations for further measures.

More than 300 hearings have been held of the case, while over the course of time six judges have been changed and seven challans submitted in the trial that began on February 29, 2008.

The court had reserved its verdict on Wednesday after the counsels of the suspects completed their arguments.

Bhutto, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chief and two-time former prime minister, was assassinated in a suicide attack at an election campaign rally inRawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on December 27, 2007.

An FIR over the incident was registered on behalf of the state following which the murder trial of five suspects began in February of 2008. However, once PPP won the 2008 elections, the investigation was handed over to the FIA.

During Wednesday’s hearing, FIA public prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar said then PPP leader Babar Awan was in Bhutto’s backup vehicle, which was under the control of party leader Farhatullah Babar. He added that when the investigation was handed over to the FIA, the vehicle was recovered from Zardari House,Islamabad.

Mark Seigel says Benazir threatened by Musharraf before her return to Pakistan

He said then president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s appearance before the court was excused as he had threats against his life from Al Qaeda.

On Tuesday, suspects Hussain Gul and Rafaqat’s legal counsel Jawad Khalid told the court the statements received from his clients hold Musharraf, among others, responsible for the crime.

He also claimed that there is no solid proof against his clients. There is a conflict between investigating officers’ statements and the weapons recovered from the scene of the crime, he added.

“This raises suspicion,” he remarked, adding that the court should show mercy towards the innocent.

“The real culprits are not being punished for the crime,” the counsel claimed.

FIA prosecutor Khawaja Asif accepted that there is no record of the suspects in the DNA report.

The truth is that Bhutto was targeted for deviating from US policy, said Khalid, adding that there were no explosives in the suicide jacket that the suspects had submitted for DNA testing. Moreover, the suspect’s DNA report has not been submitted to the court.

On the other hand, the lawyer of Aziz and Shehzad said that nobody can stop a suicide attacker but it can be investigated who facilitated the attacker.

The statements of those injured in the attack have yet to be recorded and the post mortem of the bodies was not done, the lawyer pointed out.

From the three SIMs which were seized, two were not registered in any citizen’s name while the third SIM’s ownership was not investigated, the court was informed.

Former president Pervez Musharraf was also a suspect in the case, who remained absconding since the beginning. A separate case was filed against his continuous absence, the trial for which is yet to begin.

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Pentagon admits more soldiers in Afghanistan comparing to Obama administration

F.P. Report

WASHINGTON: Pentagon officials has said that more than 11,000 US soldiers are currently doing their duties in Afghanistan and that figure in previously more that it was stated.

This said by the Pentagon officials in a news conference and it added that in the President Obama administration there were 8400 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan which were increased to 11000 now.

Earlier, Secretary Defense Mattis said that he will not take decision of sending more troops to US till the complete counting if US troops on Afghan soil.