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‘Haqeqi Azadi’ movement is largest in Pakistan’s history: Imran

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Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan has said that his so-called “real freedom” movement against the elite capture and for independent foreign policy was the largest in the country’s history after Pakistan Movement.

“No one gives freedom easily. One has to render sacrifices and wage jihad in order to achieve freedom. Those who have occupied this system are exploiting this country,” he said while addressing a ceremony in Islamabad on Thursday.

The former premier, without naming anyone, said those elements who have amassed billions of rupees by occupying the resources of the country will not give freedom easily.

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“This movement for Haqeqi Azadi [real freedom] is the largest movement in the country’s history after our forefathers crated this country through struggle,” he remarked.

Imran, who was ousted from power in April this year through vote of no confidence, said not only an idolatry a ‘shirk’ but bowing before the ‘idol of fear’ was also a sin.

He asked the party members to go door to door and explain to the masses the objective of his “real freedom movement”.

The PTI leader said the imported government has pushed the people into the sea of inflation while rulers were busy amending laws to save themselves from accountability.

Also read: Movement to begin on 24th, says Imran

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“The value of rupee is declining and inflation is rising. They did not come to power to serve masses but to save their loot and rule country at the whims of their foreign masters,” he added.

A day earlier, Imran had announced that his party’s movement for “Haqeeqi Azaadi” – ‘real freedom’ – would begin from September 24 and he sought the participation of the country’s legal fraternity in it.

Addressing the All Pakistan Lawyers Convention in Lahore on Wednesday, the PTI chief highlighted that the country was fast heading towards civil unrest.

He added that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank had already warned of a Sri Lanka-like situation in Pakistan if the country was not pulled out from the current economic quagmire created by the “imported” government.

Imran asked lawyers to promise him that they would take to the streets on his call.

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Tears flow as curtain comes down on Federer’s glittering career

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LONDON:

Roger Federer’s trophy-laden career ended with defeat on Friday, but for once the result hardly mattered as the Swiss maestro headed into retirement with tears in his eyes and cheers ringing in his ears.

With a sellout crowd of 17,500 at London’s O2 Arena willing him on, the 20-time Grand Slam champion returned after more than a year away to play alongside Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard with whom he shared one of tennis’s most captivating rivalries.

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With the clock past midnight, Federer could have sealed victory in the Laver Cup doubles clash when he served at match point in a tense deciding tiebreak, but it was not to be as Americans Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe ripped up the script.

Sock thumped a forehand winner and sealed a 4-6 7-6 11-9 win for Team World. After a brief moment of stunned silence around the packed arena, the crowd rose to salute the 41-year-old Federer, whose elegance, charisma and sportsmanship has graced tennis and transcended sport during a 24-year career.

Federer produced moments of his trademark magic during a fiercely contested duel and kept his emotions in check.

But the tears flowed afterwards as Ellie Goulding sung while a montage of Federer’s feats was projected on the black court.

When he was hugged by wife, Mirka, children Leo, Lenny, Myla and Charlene, and his parents Lynette and Robert, there was hardly a dry eye in the house.

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“We’ll get through this somehow. It’s been a wonderful day. I told the guys I’m happy, not sad,” said Federer, who announced last week that this would be his final event after struggling to overcome a knee injury.

“I enjoyed tying my shoelaces one more time, everything was the last time,” he added. “Playing with Rafa and having all the greats here, all the legends.”

Federer broke down as he thanked his wife.

“She could have stopped me a long, long time ago but she didn’t. She kept me going and allowed me to play, so it’s amazing – thank you,” he said.

Federer’s eagerly anticipated final bow came after British favourite Andy Murray had battled against Australian Alex De Minaur for two and a half hours, but lost.

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Murray’s two Wimbledon titlesmade him a national sporting icon, but the night was all about Federer – a player who resides in the pantheon of sporting greats with the likes of Pele, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali.

Even his practice sessions here have been standing-room-only affairs, and an electric atmosphere greeted him as he walked out into the cavernous arena alongside Nadal just after 10pm.

“I’ve done this thousands of times, but this one feels different. Thank you to everybody who’s coming tonight,” Federer posted on Twitter earlier in the day.

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The crowd included Australian great Laver – the man who inspired Federer to create the team competition being staged in London for the first time.

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Loud cheers accompanied Federer and Nadal, or ‘Fedal’ as they are nicknamed, on to court and The Clash’s London Calling boomed out as they warmed up.

An even bigger roar went up when Federer punched away a volley in the opening game – his first competitive shot since defeat by Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon last year ended his dream of a record-extending ninth title on Centre Court.

During changeovers video screens showed iconic moments of Federer’s career with tributes from Nadal and his mother.

But this was no exhibition match.

American duo Sock and Tiafoe, pantomime villains for the night, tested Federer’s reactions with some lusty blows aimed at the Swiss maestro.

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Federer was equal to pretty much everything, his silky shot-making and nimble footwork on show despite a long time away from the court.

The iconic pair, with a combined age of 77 and 42 Grand Slam titles between them, edged the opening set by breaking Tiafoe’s serve. But the Americans levelled as Federer and Nadal began to fade.

Chants of “Let’s go, Roger, let’s go” resounded around the packed stands in the championship tiebreak as Federer and Nadal clawed their way towards a victory the occasion demanded.

Even the tennis gods could not intervene to allow Federer one last victory, but nothing could take the gloss off a night to celebrate a player who led tennis into a golden era.

“It still feels like a celebration for me and that’s exactly what I hoped for,” said Federer, who scaled unprecedented heights and rewrote the record books. “It’s been a perfect journey and I would do it all over again.”

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Biographer calls for revival of Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan

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KARACHI:

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah envisioned a democratic, inclusive and progressive nation-state in which women and minorities would have equal rights, said Yasser Latif Hamdani, the author of ‘Jinnah: A life’, at a talk at the Quaid-i-Azam House Museum, on Friday.

The talk, titled ‘Jinnah and the Idea of a Modern Nation State’, was organised by the Quaid-i-Azam Museum Institute of Nation Building. ‘Jinnah: A life’ is a very well-researched biography where arguments and analyses are backed by data from multiple sources.

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Hamdani lamented that unfortunately, today the country is nowhere near the idea of modern state that the founder of the nation had envisioned. “I attempt to wake the people up to that idea through my book,” he said.

“I was at the Sindh High Court this morning, arguing a case on the behalf of a Hindu citizen who said he not only has to declare on his national identity card that he is a Hindu but non-Muslim as well,” he said.

“By forcing a citizen to make this negative declaration, you are telling him that you are somehow a second-class citizen, whereas Muslims are given supremacy,” he pointed out. “This is something that, I think, completely contrary to the vision of the protector-general of minorities that Jinnah called himself.”

Hamdani said that two kinds of words are used globally: secularity and secularism. “Secularity is simply impartiality of the state to various faiths, while secularism is the deliberate elimination of religion from the public sphere,” he explained.

“I argue in my book that Jinnah’s idea of a secular state was in perfect consonance, and not in contradiction with Islam. His idea of the state was a very plural, democratic, and modernist idea,” said Hamdani.

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According to the author, what Jinnah stood for was that any person with merit should be able to become the head of the state irrespective of his or her faith or beliefs.

“In Jinnah’s famous August 11, 1947 speech, there are certain things that are well-known like ‘you are free to go to your temples, mosques or any other place of worship in Pakistan’ and ‘you may belong to any caste or creed as it has nothing to do with the business of the state’, but there are other lines that are swept under the rug. Those are even clearer in spelling out what kind of polity he [Jinnah] wanted,” Hamdani pointed out.

“For example, Jinnah says ‘in the due course of time, Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims’. He says it not in a religious sense for that is the personal faith of an individual but as citizens of one state,” he said.

According to Hamdani, in that speech, Jinnah had further said that we are starting in the days where there is no discrimination or distinction between one caste or creed and another. Unfortunately, the author added, today’s Pakistan is not how it had started in the days of Jinnah as there are discriminations today and the fact that the president and the prime minister of Pakistan cannot be non-Muslims goes against what Jinnah had preached. He opined that it was not religion that created Pakistan but it was the question of a major community’s legitimate grievance against the rising Hindu majority. It was the question of how Muslims actually ensured their survival in post-Independence India, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2022.

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EU asks Pakistan to tackle human rights challenges

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ISLAMABAD:

Members of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) called on the Pakistan government to undertake timely reforms and legislative changes on human rights issues and translate them into concrete improvements.

During a visit to Pakistan from September 19-21, a DROI delegation, led by Maria Arena, from Belgium, and comprising Peter van Dalen of The Netherlands and Petras Austrevicius of Lithuania, also urged the government to prevent any misuse of the blasphemy laws.

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According to a statement, the visit was the final round of the European Union (EU) monitoring of Pakistan’s preferential trade access to the EU market under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences-Plus (GSP+) for 2014-2033 and its application to the next GSP system.

According to the statement, the delegation met with the ministers for human rights and law, members of the National Commission on Human Rights, parliamentarians, civil society organisations, women rights activists and the media.

“In these discussions, they talked about the criminal justice system, torture and the death penalty, economic and social rights, prevention of domestic violence, and the freedoms of religion and belief and the freedom of expression both online and offline,” the statement said.

The MEPs “called for determined and structured action, including the swift adoption of laws against torture and enforced disappearances, steps to substantially reduce the number of crimes carrying the death penalty and to apply the new procedures for mercy petitions”.

The delegation raised the need for preventing the misuse of blasphemy laws, by applying safeguards against false accusations and called for the implementation of laws to protect journalists, and eliminate obstacles to the work of civil society organisations and media.

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The statement further said that Pakistani senators committed to sending a joint letter to the Supreme Court judges, requesting the apex court system, particularly at lower levels, to speed up its processing of the blasphemy cases.

In the meetings, the MEPs focused on human rights situation against the backdrop of the final round of EU monitoring of Pakistan’s preferential trade access under the GSP+ scheme and its preparations for an application to the next GSP system to be determined in 2024, the EU said.

The EU is Pakistan’s most important export market and as a major GSP+ country, Pakistan has committed to ratifying 27 international conventions on human rights, labour rights, sustainable development and good governance.

“Significant progress and renewed commitment to genuinely change the situation on the ground are essential for Pakistan to succeed in its application process for post-2023 GSP+,” said Maria Arena, the head of the delegation.

“Our visit allowed us to get an overall picture of the challenges faced by Pakistan when it comes to human rights. The European Parliament is working hard to adapt the scheme’s human rights requirements and how beneficiary countries and the EU cooperate.”

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Alongside the meetings, the MEPs also visited an Afghan refugee community in Kheshgi in Nowshera District, which was affected by the flooding, talking to residents about their livelihood and challenges.

During their visit, the MEPs were briefed on Pakistan’s emergency response, relief activities and its vulnerability to climate disasters. The MEPs underlined that the international community must increase its efforts to help the countries impacted by climate change.



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