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Beef eaters can go to Pakistan: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

  • Published in National
New Delhi: Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Thursday justified ban on cow slaughter and asked all those who want to eat beef to go to Pakistan.

"It is not about loss or profit... it is an issue of faith and belief. It is a sensitive issue for the Hindus," Naqvi said at 'Manthan' conclave organised by TV channel Aaj Tak.

"Those who are dying without eating beef, can go to Pakistan or Arab countries or any other part of world where it is available," he said.

"Even Muslims are against it..." he contended.

Naqvi was countered by AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi who asked whether the central government would impose blanket ban on beef across India, especially in states like Goa, Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala where a large number of people eat this kind of meat.

On the issue of backwardness among Muslims, Naqvi said the Narendra Modi government was taking steps to eradicate poverty among the minorities.

"It is a fact that Muslims have remained away from development. Various social security schemes started by our government would help Muslims in a big way," he added.


India may host Pak series in December

  • Published in Cricket
New Delhi: The India-Pakistan cricket series, scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December, might after all be held in India.

According to sources in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is not averse to sending its team to India if the circumstances don't allow the series to be played in the UAE.

And, as if to lend credibility to the talk of India hosting the series, PCB's official broadcaster TEN Sports - which won the five-year deal in April along with Pakistan TV for a reported $150 million - said on Wednesday that it would have no objection if the series was moved out of the UAE.

If Pakistan eventually tours India, the two boards will have to thrash out a formula to share revenue - an option that former BCCI president N. Srinivasan had declined a few years ago when PCB wanted to host its 'home' series in India.

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, who spent four days in India seeking clearance for the series, is believed to have discussed this option among the several issues that were taken up during his meetings with BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, secretary Anurag Thakur, and Union Minister Arun Jaitley, among others.

"They [PCB] are ready to play in India, if that is what would be required. He [Khan] gave hints towards that during his meetings with us," the BCCI source told Mail Today.

It is PCB's turn to host India, but due to political reasons and opposition to its broadcaster, it may not be able to stage the matches. No high-ranking team has toured Pakistan since the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March 2009.

Since then, the PCB has opted to play all its 'home' series in the UAE. Now, India are scheduled to play two Tests, five One-day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals in December. But there is still uncertainty all around about India travelling to the UAE, where the first leg of the IPL was successfully staged last year.

During his stay in India, Khan had exuded confidence of getting the government green signal for the series.

Thakur, however, said on Wednesday that the government has still not cleared the tour.

"Met the president of the Pakistan Cricket Board in Delhi today [Wednesday]. We discussed some issues. Dialogue has just started, much needs to be decided upon. After the two boards finalise the dates and the venues, we'll go to the government for permission," Thakur was quoted as saying by ANI.

The alternate arrangement of India hosting the series would mean that the BCCI and the PCB will have to work out a revenue-sharing formula to the satisfaction of both parties. Also, a broadcaster will need to be chosen. BCCI's official broadcaster is STAR Sports.

BCCI has objection to PCB's official broadcaster TEN Sports, owned by Zee, which is apparently planning a global cricket event, rivalling the ICC.

But on Wednesday TEN Sports said that it would not have any objection if the series was held in India.


Dawood is in Pakistan, will get him at any cost: Rajnath Singh

  • Published in National
New Delhi: Days after the government was left red faced over the location of fugitive terrorist Dawood Ibrahim, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said India had credible information of the underworld don's presence in Pakistan and would bring him back "no matter what."

"If we have to pursue Pakistan or put pressure on Pakistan, we will get Dawood Ibrahim," Singh said in the Lok Sabha.

The government was left embarrassed last week when Union Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said in a written reply that the location of Dawood Ibrahim, India's most wanted terrorist, was not known to the government and, once he is located, his extradition process will be initiated.

"The subject (Dawood) has not been located so far. Extradition process with regard to Dawood Ibrahim would be initiated once the subject is located," Chaudhary had said.

The statement from the Chaudhary stirred controversy with Opposition targeting the government.

Rajnath Singh said in Lok Sabha today that Pakistan had failed to take any action or track down Dawood even after "all documents and proof of his presence there had been given and India would leave no stone unturned to bring Dawood back to India."


Australia doesn’t want to take sides on Kashmir: Foreign Minister

  • Published in World
Australia: on Wednesday said it does not want to take sides on disputes like Kashmir issue and asked India and Pakistan to bilaterally resolve their differences through peaceful means.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who arrived here on a two-day official visit to discuss issues of mutual interest and strengthen relationship, met Pakistan’s adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security, Sartaj Aziz.

She said Australia does not want to take sides on disputes like Kashmir between Pakistan and India, and the two sides should “resolve their disputes bilaterally” through peaceful means.

When asked about Australian-India civil nuclear cooperation, she said her country was a power house and wanted to export energy to the world. She said currently both Australia and India are negotiating the deal.

She, however, said her country will extend the facility to India under strict controls.

Bishop highlighted importance of ties with Pakistan and pledged to provide USD 24 million in financial assistance, including USD 10 million for the rehabilitation of people displaced due to military operations.

She said Australia would closely cooperate with Pakistan to counter extremism and militancy.

She announced to hold a summit on counter-terrorism in June.

Aziz said Pakistan wanted to improve trade and economic ties with Australia.

He said Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to visit Australia later this year to further improve relations.

Radio Pakistan reported that Pakistan asked Australia to provide greater market access to its products in the Australian market.

Earlier, on her arrival Bishop said, “My visit and meeting with Pakistani leaders is aimed at discussing the growing strength of our bilateral partnership and important regional and international issues.”

She will also meet Prime Minister Sharif to discuss political relations and also hold talks with army chief General Raheel Sharif on security and defence cooperation.

Bishop would address a forum on women empowerment and gender equality. She will visit Lahore tomorrow and meet Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif.

She is also scheduled to inaugurate a project funded by the Australian government.

According to Foreign Office, Pakistan and Australia will explore the possibilities of further strengthening the existing ties, especially in trade, investment, agriculture, education, sports and defence.

Will quit if I'm a burden: Afridi

  • Published in Cricket
Karachi: Shahid Afridi has said he is ready to retire from international cricket the day he feels he is a burden on the team.

Afridi, 35, announced retirement from one-day Internationals after the World Cup while he had quit Test cricket in 2010. He recently announced that he was only going to continue playing T20 cricket and focus on building a strong squad for next year's World T20 Cup in India.

"The fact is that the senior players are letting down the team. We can't expect to win much with our current poor form. I want to lead from the front, and if I feel that I'm going to be a burden, then I will quit the format well before next year's ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup in India," said Afridi.

"Pakistan cricket is going through a tough phase. If the seniors don't contribute then the problems would only increase. We need to experiment with youngsters and form a potent combination before the World Twenty20, but for that we need the support of the established players," he added.

Pakistan suffered a 0-3 drubbing at the hands of Bangladesh in three-match ODI series before losing the lone T20 International game against the same opponents.

Out of four T20 games since October, Afridi-led Pakistan have lost three.


Indian family on a religious trip to Pakistan goes missing

  • Published in National
New Delhi: Pakistani authorities are trying to trace an Indian family, including two minor children, which went missing in Pakistan earlier this month. The government of India has taken up the matter with Pakistan, Punjab Police sources said on Friday.

The family, which hailed from Sandhawala village in Faridkot district, 260 km from Chandigarh, had gone to Pakistani with a 'jatha' (group) of Sikh pilgrims for Baisakhi celebrations.

While the rest of the 1,718 pilgrims returned, the Sikh family comprising Sunil Singh, 38, his wife Sunita, 27, and children Umer Singh, 10 and daughter Huma Kaur, 9, did not return. Members of the 'jatha' told police that the family was last seen at the Panja Sahib shrine near Rawalpindi on April 12.

The jatha of pilgrims had left for Pakistan by train on April 11 and returned after a 10-day trip. It is the first incident of its kind in Pakistan, The Express Tribune newspaper of Pakistan reported.

The Evacuee Trust Property Board in Pakistan - a government body responsible for arranging accommodation and security for Sikh pilgrims, confirmed that the family of four was missing, the newspaper said.

The missing family, coming from a poor rural background, had gone as part of a group of 384 pilgrims who were taken to Pakistan by the Bhai Mardana Yaadgar Kirtan Darbar Society of Ferozepur.

Society president Harpal Singh Bhullar said the passports, other documents and some belongings of the family were found in a room in Gurdwara Dehra Sahib in Pakistan.

Punjab Police, which sent its teams to Sadhanwala village near Ferozepur and to Rajasthan (from where Sunil Singh and his family had come eight years ago), said that the entire matter was being investigated.

"Our teams are probing the matter," Ferozepur Deputy Inspector General AS Chahal said.

Sunil used to work as a labourer with farmers in Sadhanwala village. His wife also did labour work while their children studied in a government school. The family lived in a two-room dharamsala given to them by the village panchayat.

Police investigation reveal that Sunil arrived in the village around eight years back claiming he was the son of one Gian Singh who had eloped with a girl from the village over four decades back. Sunil expressed his wish to settle down in the village after coming from Rajasthan, village headman Harjit Singh said.

Sadhanwala village is located close to army areas, close to the India-Pakistan international border, and intelligence agencies and police are taking the matter quite seriously.

"The issue has been brought to the notice of the ministry of home affairs," Amritsar-rural police chief Jasdeep Singh said.


Pakistani human rights activist Sabeen Mahmud shot dead

  • Published in World
Islamabad: Gunmen shot dead a Pakistani human rights activist on Friday after she hosted a talk on the politics of Baluchistan province, where security forces are fighting a separatist insurgency, police and associates said.

Sabeen Mahmud was leaving her Karachi restaurant, where she also holds exhibitions and talks, when the gunman attacked her in her car. Her mother, who was with her, was wounded, police said.

"Two gunmen on a motorcycle shot her. She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead," senior police official Tariq Dharejo said, adding police were investigating the killing.

Mahmud had just hosted a seminar called "Unsilencing Baluchistan", focusing on the disappearance of political activists in the southwestern province.

The talk was originally due to be held early this month at a university in Lahore but authorities blocked it, media reported at the time.

Rights activists accuse the security forces of carrying out extra-judicial killings of separatists in the province. Hundreds of people have disappeared and later been found dead in recent years. The security forces deny any role in the killings.

The army has vowed to end the Baluchistan insurgency being waged by separatists who say their province's mineral and gas resources are unfairly exploited by Pakistan's richer provinces.


'Lucia': The First Kannada Movie Screened In Pakistan

  • Published in Entertainment
Pawan Kumar's Lucia was recently screened in Pakistan. Yes, Lucia is the first Kannada movie to be screened in Pakistan. Director Pawan Kumar is on a high! Lucia was released in 2013, the movie starred Sathish Neenasam and Sruthi Hariharan in the lead roles. The different concept of psychological thriller in the story has already thrilled the audience in the global level.

The overwhelming response of the Lucia, has fetched the Best Film Audience Choice award at London Indian Film Festival on 20 July 2013. Lucia has also been remade in Tamil as Enakkul Oruvan. The movie starred Siddarth and Deepa Sannidhi as lead roles. Now, according to the latest reports, Lucia was recently screened in Karachi. The movie was released on Friday, April 17 and the Lucia has garnered positive response from the people of Pakistan too. The happy director speaking to the leading daily has said, " All screenings outside India have been through invitations. We never applied anywhere. Word spread slowly over the last two years about the movie".

Pawan Kumar continued to tell, "A number of Indie filmmakers wrote to me on Facebook. It was one such FB connection from Pakistan that initiated the screening to that neighbouring country. They asked for a screening of the film and even offered money. But I was more than happy to get the film screened there than the money it would bring us."

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