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Brotherhood without parallel

Syrus Sajjad Qazi

Every year on March 23, Pakistan Day is commemorated with great reverence in Pakistan and in dozens of countries around the globe by Pakistani expatriate communities. On this day in 1940, the idea of a separate homeland was formally adopted by the representatives of Muslims of the subcontinent as their ultimate political goal.

This idea was rooted in the distinct historical, religious and cultural identity of Muslims of the subcontinent, and was first articulated as a political ideal by great poet-philosopher Alla-ma Muhammad Iqbal in 1930. However, March 23, 1940 signaled the political rejuvenation of the freedom movement by Muslims in South Asia that culminated in the creation of Pakistan on Aug. 14, 1947, under the charismatic leadership of Q-uaid-e-Azam (the Great Le-ader) Muhammad Ali Jinn-ah.

The ideas, ideals and influences that inspired Pakistan’s birth were inextricably intertwined not only with the historical events unfolding in South Asia, but also with developments elsewhere during the beginning of the 20th century, particularly in Turkey. Iqbal, whose intellectual and philosophical legacy left a lasting impact on the history of South Asia and continues to connect Pakistan and Turkey to this day, looked toward Anatolia for spiritual guidance, including from the great mystic poet Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, whom he called his great master. He was an ardent admirer of the historical intellectual and cultural achievements of the people of Turkey, and passionately followed the ebb and flow of the political situation in the country in the beginning of the 20th century. Some of his greatest poetic masterpieces were inspired by political events taking place in Turkey.

This sentiment was not only confined to the political or intellectual elite in South Asia, but seeped down to the common folks in the towns and villages who viewed themselves as connected with the political upheavals thousands of miles away, based on a sense of common cultural and religious identity with the people of Turkey.

This sentiment motivated thousands of Muslims in South Asia – both rich and poor – to donate their belongings in support of their Turkish brothers and sisters, during the war of occupation by colonial aggressors. The revolutionary spirit of that age was epitomized by hundreds of South Asian Muslims like Abdur Rehman Peshawari who abandoned their homes to spend the rest of their lives for the defense of the Turkish people and their land. These events in the two regions helped crystallize the amorphous political ideas of universal solidarity, sense of unique historical identity, anti-colonial resistance and a desire for political revival into a concrete conception of Muslim nationalism in South Asia culminating in the creation of Pakistan several decades later.

This great tradition of mutual love and admiration was bequeathed to the newly independent Pakistan at its independence and continues to dwell in the hearts of the two countries to this day. In the annals of diplomacy and people-to-people relations, Pakistan and Turkey enjoy a relationship that has no parallels. The history of modern diplomatic relations between the two countries is a testimony to the inviolable bonds between them, and the people and governments of both have time and again proved that they stand by one another in the most challenging of times. After the heinous coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, the people and government of Pakistan were among the first to express unwavering support against any attempt to undermine Turkey’s peace and stability.

Both houses of Pakistan’s parliament passed unanimous resolutions to express their solidarity and a Parliamentary Solidarity Delegation with representatives from all political parties visited Turkey to pay tribute to the martyrs. Dozens of rallies were held across Pakistan in support of Turkey.

Pakistan and Turkey also share a remarkable convergence of interests and perspectives on issues of regional and international importance. Both countries face the scourge of terrorism and have made tremendous sacrifices in the fight against this menace. Sadly, there is little international recognition of these sacrifices. Turkey and Pakistan are also home to the two largest refugee populations in the world. They continue to shoulder this onerous humanitarian responsibility with their own resources and in the absence of a meaningful response from the international community.

The rising tide of Isla-mophobia, religious discrimination and hate crimes aga-inst Muslims around the gl-obe is also a matter of grave concern for the two countries. With millions of expatriates abroad and many experiencing this alarming phenomenon, the two countries share the resolve to take common initiatives to address the iss-ue. In the bilateral sphere, the countries are taking strides to transform their historic and unparalleled ties into an ever-stronger strategic relationship in the economic, cultural and military spheres.

While the fraternal bonds between the two countries are perennial, this sense of overwhelming affinity is felt all the most profoundly in the month of March owing to certain seminal events in the histories of the two countries that shaped their futures and resonate to this day in their common consciousness.

The strong sentiment of pride and jubilation among the Turkish people on the great victory at the Battle of Çanakkale on March 18 resonates beyond the country’s borders and is shared equally by the people of Pakistan. Likewise, the commemorative celebrations of March 23 are deeply steeped in the sense of historical undercurrents that bind the political consciousness in the two countries.

It is with deep sense of pride that noted Turkish academician and former parliamentarian Prof. Dr. Oya Akgönenç has been awarded “Tamgha-e-Imtiaz” by the President of Pakistan in recognition of her services for further promoting Pakistan-Turkey relations.

On the eve of Pakistan Day today, we are truly grateful for the participation of the Turkish Armed Forces’ T-129 ATAK helicopters that will participate in the fly-past ceremony at Pakistan Day Parade in Islamabad. Our heartfelt thanks to the Government of Turkey for its unique gesture to light the Bosphorus bridges in the colors of Pakistani flag on the eve of March 23. These are but a few illustrations among many that characterize this unique relationship, with many more to come on our joint journey through time as friends and brothers.

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Snail pace refugee repatriation

Lack of political will and policy of appeasement of the leadership of Baluchistan based ethnic political party has affected the repatriation process of Afghan Refugees from Pakistan. The federal government has extended the stay period of Afghan Refugees till 30th June of this year. The repatriation process has been resumed from 1st March which is going with a snail pace as 10-12 families of Afghan Refugees return to Afghanistan from Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. The number of Afghan Refugees who return from Baluchistan to the country of their origin may be less as the leadership of PkMAP openly opposes their return. If the repatriation process does not gain sufficient momentum then the deadline for the stay of Afghan Refugees has to be extended for the next 10-20 years to send back 2.7 million refugees.

In December, a senior official of Chief Commissioner Afghan Refugees made a happy announcement about the preparation of comprehensive repatriation plan but it went to the backburner due to the complacency of the Ministry of SAFRON. In January, Afghan Ambassador Umar Zakhelwal categorically told Jirga of Afghan Refugee elders to direct the Afghan nationals to make preparations for homeward journey. In a lighter vein, he said if Afghan Refugees can convert barren lands in Pakistan into fertile areas blooming with flowers and greenery then they can reconstruct their motherland to make it prosperous. It is the Ministry of SAFRON which has not even started the spadework for chalking out this plan. Surprisingly, Federal Minister, Abdul Qadar Balch in his meeting with the Deputy Secretary of State Nancy Izoo Jakson in January urged the United States to work out a plan for the repatriation of Afghan Refugees. It was a skewed logic for giving this task to a country other the one hosting the Afghan National. It is the prime responsibility of the Ministry of SAFRON to prepare a framework for the refugee repatriation in consultation with the UNHCR and ask the international community for funding it. The United States can the most encourage the Afghan government to create conducive environment for the return of Afghan Nationals.

The presence of millions Afghans has adversely affected the inland security of Pakistan. The terrorists of different banned outfits enter Pakistan from Afghanistan, get morphed with Afghan Refugees and easily succeed in carrying out terrorist activities in Pakistan. The Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa had referred to this aspect of terrorism problem in his speech at a security conference in Germany. Apart from the national security issues due to the presence of Afghan Refugees, they are a big burden on the scarce resource of the country. The federal government takes a unilateral decision of giving extension for the stay of Afghan Refugees without taking on board the provincial governments and important agencies of the state. Decisions that have a direct bearing on the national security have to be taken in consultation with all stakeholders. The repatriation plan of Afghan Refugees needs preparation without further delay and should not be made hostage to vested interest.

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IS gunman kills 2 in French Supermarket

Monitoring Desk

PARIS: At least two people were killed after gunman opened fire in the supermarket in Southwestern France and on Friday.

According to reports, the gunman taken hostages and the attack that has rattled nerves in a country that has been the site of several terrorist attacks in recent years.

The armed man claimed to be acting on behalf of the Islamic State group, although his connection to the militant group was unclear.

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe told media that one police officer was injured in the incident however he is out of danger.

French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said in a Twitter post Friday afternoon that the hostage taker had been killed by the police, but he then quickly deleted the post.

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Imran Khan terms PML-N’s performance worst than PPP

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI), Imran Khan has said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government destroyed the country economy by taking record loans from the international banks.

ImranKhan said this while talking to media persons on Thursday. He tagged that the PML-N performance worst than previous Zardari led PPP government.

Imran Khan claimed that federal government borrowed loans worth Rs10000 billion in four years and adding that consumers will pay an additional Rs9 on every liter of petrol from now onwards.

PTI Chief said that the burden was shifted on masses because of ineligibility of government and rampant corruption.

Imports had soared to $54 billion while citing concerns over depleting forex reserves and the numbers of tax filers stood at 2.1 million ten years ago, at present, it is roughly 1.25 million, Khan lamented.

Khan also took a jibe at former Finance Minister and held him accountable for the current situation of country’s economy.




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Pervez Musharaf to return next month: PAI

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Secretary General of Pakistan Awami Ittehad (PAI), Iqbal Dar has said that former president Pervez Musharraf will return to Pakistan next month.

Dar said this while addressing to a press conference on Thursday. He said that after the constuation with the party members, later the party will announce the date of Musharaf arrival and the city where Mr Musharraf would land.

He added that we need to support the judiciary and armed forces and adding that political parties should sign an agreement to decide how the country would be run in the future.

He suggested to avoid the confrontation with the institutions and also claimed that some politicians were giving a wrong message and impression about the country by leveling allegations of corruption against each other.

The PAI is a coalition of 23 political and religious parties led by the former president.



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Military parade marks 78th Pakistan Day celebrations

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The 78th Pakistan Day was celebrated with an impressive military parade in Shakarparian ground of Islamabad on Friday.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena was the guest of honor at the event.

President Mamnoon Hussain was received by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi after which he inspected the military parade.

Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, then led a fly-past, followed by several other squadrons of the Pakistan Air Force as a salute to the head of the state.

In his speech, President Mamnoon Hussain praised the country’s people and armed forces for their resolve.

Later, the armed forces began the parade, saluting the chief guests as they passed by. They included various units and formations of the armed forces.

Armed forces of Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Jordan also participated in the military parade.

PAF fighter jets conducted fly-pasts with breath-taking maneuvers, wowing the audience.

In the end, commandos from the tri-services conducted a para-drop with exemplary skills after which a national song was performed.

Defense Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan Safron Minister Abdul Qadir Khan and the heads of all three armed forces of the country including army, navy and air force as well as the joint chiefs’ chairperson were present at the parade.

An award ceremony is also on the agenda for later in the day, to be held at Aiwan-e-Sadar, where the president will be conferring awards to various personalities on their contribution to different fields.

The day dawned with 31- and 21-gun salutes in the federal and provincial capitals, respectively, while the national flag was hoisted atop government buildings and departments.

Several buildings, including the Lahore Railway Station, WAPDA House, and the Provincial Assembly building, would be decorated with lights and colorful buntings to mark the day.

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Afghan, US Forces target Daesh in North of Afghanistan

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Commander of US Forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson has said US and Afghan forces targeted the Daesh stronghold in North of Afghanistan.

He said that the Afghan and US Special Operators disrupted Daesh capacity to terrorize the people in northern Afghanistan.

General Nicholson said this is in a statement which he issued on Friday. He added the terrorist organization were terrifying the local people by using foreign fighters and now the US forces had destroyed their capacity which they were using against the people.

Earlier on 28 January, Afghan forces captured Khitab Aka, Daesh’s head facilitator of foreign fighters in Jawzjan. Less than two months later, on Mar. 16, a US airstrike killed Aka’s replacements, Daesh commanders Omair and Abu Samaya, as the duo met in Sar-e Pul province, US Forces-Afghanistan Headquarters said in a statement on Thursday.

Nicholson claimed that Daesh fighters were in southern Nangarhar and most of the valleys have been liberated from IS-K: the populations returning, the kids going back into school.”

He added that there will be no safe haven for any terrorist group in Afghanistan as we are continues to hunt them across the country.

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CJP Saqib Nisar rejects speculations of judicial martial law in Pakistan

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice, Mian Saqib Nisar has rejected the speculation of judicial martial law in the country and adding that there is no space in the constitution for such rule.

Chief Justice said this while addressing a Pakistan Day event in Lahore on Friday. He said that no space for judicial martial law in the country constitution and dismissed any possibility of judicial martial law from the outside and inside.

CJP comments come after calls from political leaders for judicial intervention with regards to the caretaker government setup before the general elections.

Though, CJP stressed that anything considered above the Constitution will not be tolerated and adding that judiciary will not allow anyone to derail the democracy in Pakistan.

CJP also assured that the accountability will not be held on the basis of a person’s status.

He also highlighted the need to unite as a nation and said it’s the only way independence and freedom can be safeguarded.

Further, the chief justice said, “The country should be run in accordance with law and Constitution.”


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Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif likely to reunite in ‘Bang Bang’ sequel

Monitoring Desk

MUMBAI: Super Hero of Bollywood Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif worked together for two films so far including Bang Bang and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and their chemistry was appreciated by the audience.

Now the reports suggest that the makers of Bang Bang are now keen on making the sequel of the film. The makers have apparently narrowed down on a script and are apparently keen on casting the duo for the same.

Hrithik and Katrina both busy with their films Super 30 and Zero respectively.







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Team Zalmi arrive in Karachi for PSL final

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Peshawar Zalmi players and officials reached Karachi on Thursday night for the final of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2018 against Islamabad United which is scheduled to be played on 25 March.

Peshawar Zalmi convincingly beat Quetta Gladiators and Karachi knockout game on March 20 to qualify for the finals.

Darren Sammy led the Peshawar Zalmi and comprising of both local and foreign players departed from Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport for Karachi.

While talking to news channel, Darren Sammy requested the people of Karachi to express their support to his team by wearing yellow shirts.

Ibitisam Sheikh, Taimur Sultan, Umaid Asif and Khalid Usman will arrive in Karachi on the next flight.

English spinner Liam Dawson, West Indian opener Andre Fletcher at Lahore airport

Earlier, the players shared pictures on social media ahead of their departure.

Peshawar Zalmi will play Islamabad United in the final at National Stadium, Karachi on Sunday, March 25.