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Ahmedi worship place burnt down, 30 injured in Faisalabad

At least 30 people, including six belonging to Ahmadiyya community, were injured and Ahmedis’ place of worship was set on fire after a petty dispute was blown out of proportion into a violent clash in Faisalabad’s Ghaseetpura area on the second day of Eid.

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FAISALABAD: At least 30 people, including six belonging to Ahmadiyya community, were injured and Ahmedis’ place of worship was set on fire after a petty dispute was blown out of proportion into a violent clash in Faisalabad’s Ghaseetpura area on the second day of Eid.

According to an FIR registered on behalf of the state at police station concerned, the dispute took place at 7:30pm between a group of youth over a chicken belonging to an Ahmedi ran over by a person from another group.

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After a heated argument, slogans were raised, shots were fired, stones were pelted, and a nearby Ahmedi place of worship was ransacked and set on fire — all in the presence of police officials, reported a media outlet.

According to a tweet shared by Jamaat Ahmadiyya Spokesperson Saleemuddin, a minor altercation between two individuals was “manipulated by mullahs and miscreants” to attack the worship place. The mob, allegedly armed with weapons, ransacked the worship place and set it on fire, the spokesperson claimed on his twitter handle. “As a result of the firing, at least six people got wounded.”

Talking to Pakistan Today, Balochni Police Station SHO [Station House Officer] Zahid Abbas said that the dispute between the two groups was not religious in nature at first.

“Ahmedis had attacked the houses of the other group first over a minor dispute,” he claimed, adding that following the attack the other group gathered outside the Ahmedis’ place of worship and started pelting stones at it. “The first shot was fired from inside the place of worship,” he further claimed.

“The situation was so tense, if the police hadn’t reached the spot on time, there would have been much more loss of lives and properties,” Zahid claimed.

Responding to a question pertaining to the news doing rounds on social media, saying that the houses of Ahmedis were also burned down, Zahid said that no other place was harmed or attacked except for the place of worship.

However, Mian Amer Mehmood, in charge of the community’s press section, alleged that besides the place of worship, a shop belonging to a community member was also attacked.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudary played down the incident, saying it was a clash that had nothing to do with religion as it was ‘personal clash’ between two individuals.

A case has been registered under sections 324 (attempt to commit qatl-i-amd), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc.), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees or upwards), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Also read: Top 10 schools of Pakistan

On May 24, 2018, a similar incident took place in Sialkot when a mob— allegedly comprising members of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TRLY) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)— in connivance with the Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) and police officials had attacked an Ahmedi place of worship.

According to 2017 annual report released by Ahmedi community, at least “77 Ahmedis were booked under discriminatory religious laws in 2017, with nine still in prison “on faith-related allegations”, and four Ahmedis were murdered in hate crimes in Pakistan”. While another report on Pakistani media listed 3,936 news items and 532 editorial pieces from Pakistan’s Urdu-language media that contained “hate propaganda” against the Ahmedi community.

Pakistan News

Independence Day: Sale of Kashmiri flags on the rise

Sale of Kashmiri flags, badges and other decoration items have gained impetus ahead of Independence Day after the federal government had announced to observe August 14 as Kashmir Solidarity Day.

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MUZAFFARABAD, Azad Kashmir/KARACHI, Pakistan: Sale of Kashmiri flags, badges and other decoration items have gained impetus ahead of Independence Day after the federal government had announced to observe August 14 as Kashmir Solidarity Day, ARY News reported on Thursday.

As marking of 73rd Independence Day is right around the corner, the preparations have gained momentum as a huge rush of people were seen at different stalls of Kashmiri flags, national flags buntings, badges, set up by vendors in different areas of Karachi.

READ MORE: Top 10 schools of Pakistan (2018-19)

All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman Ateeq Meer said that people are very enthusiastic and passionate for purchasing celebratory items to mark Independence Day.

It must be noted that government has decided to observe Independence Day; 14 August, as Kashmir Solidarity Day and 15th of this month as Black Day to express harmony and solidarity with Kashmiris in their recent plight caused by the Indian government.

The national flag will fly half-mast on 15th of this month. A notification to this effect has been issued by the Ministry of Interior.

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Pakistan News

Maryam’s interview “stopped forcefully:” Nadeem Malik

An interview of Maryam Nawaz Sharif, a vice president of the PML-N, was “forcefully” taken off air soon after it was run, it was reported on Thursday.

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Maryam Nawaz

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: An interview of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif was taken off air forcefully seconds after it started.

“Just came to know Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s interview has been stopped forcefully just [a] few minutes after it started live,” tweeted show host Nadeem Malik.

Hum News, the channel on which the interview was aired for a few brief moments, released a statement shortly after the incident, saying: “Hum News believes in a free and responsible media. Protecting freedom of expression is one of our core values. At the same time, we stand for the respect and dignity of [the] judiciary in line with our ethical values and the Constitution.”

The development comes days after AbbTakk TV24 News, and Capital TV all had their broadcasts cut after screening a press conference by Maryam Nawaz.

Authorities say the three channels were unavailable due to “technical issues”, but Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a global media watchdog, described the outage as an act of “brazen censorship”.

It slammed the local authorities over the removal of three television channels from the country’s airwaves, saying the move was “indicative of disturbing dictatorial tendencies” as pressure mounts on journalists in Pakistan.

READ MORE: Arrest me if you want to, I won’t run away like your master Musharraf: Hamid Mir

Maryam is the daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — who is currently behind bars for corruption — and a recent press conference she hosted featured a judge reportedly claiming he had been blackmailed into convicting the former premier.

The move came as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s administration vowed to block any media coverage and interviews of politicians “who are convicts and under trial”.

Earlier this month, Geo News TV abruptly took an interview with former president Asif Ali Zardari off air shortly after it began.

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Several dead and dozens injured in Pakistan train collision

A collision between a passenger train and a stationary freight train near the central town of Rahim Yar Khan in Pakistan has killed at least 10 people, with more than 70 others injured, according to police and hospital officials.

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RAHIM YAR KHAN, Pakistan: A collision between a passenger train and a stationary freight train near the central town of Rahim Yar Khan in Pakistan has killed at least 10 people, with more than 70 others injured, according to police and hospital officials.

The incident on Thursday took place at the Walhar railway station, located about 35km south of Rahim Yar Khan.

“The Akbar Express [passenger train] going from Bahawalpur to Quetta hit a freight train that was parked there at 7.40am,” a local police official told Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to media.

Senior police official Umar Salamat told local media the collision took place because the passenger train was diverted onto the incorrect track at the station, hitting the parked freight train.

Rescue operations were under way at the collision site, with workers using equipment to get to some of those trapped in the train wreckage, local media reported.

The injured were taken to a nearby government hospital and to a more advanced facility in Rahim Yar Khan, hospital officials said.

Nine of the dead were taken to the government hospital, with more than 60 people injured in the wreck also treated there, Liaquat Chohan, a senior hospital official, told Al Jazeera.

“The injuries were of multiple types – many had fractures, others had bleeding wounds. Some were crushed under objects,” he said.

At least one dead body was also taken to the Sheikh Zayed hospital in Rahim Yar Khan, where 11 of those wounded in the accident were being treated, hospital official Ilyas Ahmer told Al Jazeera.

“One person’s leg was cut off [in the collision], and another is having serious chest surgery,” he said.

‘Emergency steps’

Pakistan’s aging railway network carries both passengers and goods across the country, but suffers periodic derailments and other accidents due to aging infrastructure.

A major Chinese investment in the country is seeking to upgrade the main railway line that connects the length of the country, raising speeds and safety standards.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his condolences for those who were killed and injured, and ordered Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad to speed up work on the country’s rail infrastructure.

“Have asked Railways Minister to take emergency steps to counter decades of neglect of railway infrastructure & ensure safety standards,” Khan tweeted after the accident.

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