Imran Khan calls for nationwide ‘freedom’ protests
Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan called for nationwide “freedom” protests on Sunday, after his brief arrest and detention last week triggered deadly unrest.
The one-time cricket superstar, who has been tied up in dozens of legal cases since being ousted from power in April last year, was freed on bail on Friday after his detention was declared unlawful by the Supreme Court.
Enraged by the arrest, supporters set fire to government buildings, blocked roads and damaged property belonging to the military, which they blame for Khan’s downfall, AFP reported.
“Freedom does not come easily. You have to snatch it. You have to sacrifice for it,” he said in an address broadcast on YouTube Saturday night.
He called for supporters to hold protests “at the end of your streets and villages” across the country on Sunday evening for one hour.
After five days of tumult across Pakistan, Sunday morning was quiet, but Khan has also pledged to return to campaigning on Wednesday for immediate elections.
For months, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party leader has waged a campaign of defiance against the military.
His arrest on Tuesday came just hours after he was rebuked for claiming senior officials were involved in an assassination attempt against him last year.
Pakistan’s powerful military has directly ruled the country off and on for nearly half of its 75-year history, and continues to wield power over the political system, AFP reported.
“The army chief’s actions have made our military bad. It is because of him, not because of me,” Khan said from his home in Lahore, although it was unclear whether he meant the serving chief, or his predecessor, whom Khan held responsible for his ouster.
He previously told reporters that “one man, the army chief” was behind his arrest.
But Khan distanced himself from the attacks against the military’s installations at the protests, denying his party workers were involved and calling for an independent investigation into the violence.
The army, which denies the accusations made by Khan, on Saturday warned against attempts to create “misperceptions” against the institution.
At least nine people died in the unrest last week, police and hospitals have said.
Hundreds of police officers were injured and more than 4,000 people detained, mostly in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, according to authorities.
At least 10 senior PTI leaders have been arrested since the protests began, one of Khan’s lawyers said.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the head of a shaky coalition, on Saturday warned that those involved in “facilitating, abetting and perpetrating” the violence should be arrested within 72 hours.
“Those who demonstrated anti-state behavior will be arrested and tried in anti-terrorist courts,” he said during a visit to Lahore.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has repeatedly vowed that police will re-arrest Khan, who remains wildly popular ahead of elections due in October, AFP reported.
The Islamabad High Court ruled that Khan should be given protection from arrest until Monday.
Pakistan, Russia launch direct shipping service
Pakistan and Russia have launched a direct shipping service, for their first time in their bilateral trade history, which Islamabad and Moscow hope will boost trade ties between the two countries.
On Saturday, following an inauguration ceremony, a cargo ship carrying 36,000 tons of goods left Karachi port for St Petersburg. The ship is expected to arrive in the Russian port city in 18 days.
Later this week, a tanker carrying Russian crude oil is expected to reach Karachi.
Pakistan’s minister of state for petroleum and energy, Musaddik Malik, told the media that this is the first direct shipping line between the two countries.
“We want to make it clear Pakistan is not in anyone’s camp. We try to do trade with the USA, we are told we are in the USA camp. We do business with China, we are told we have aligned with China. The truth is we are only doing what is in the interest of Pakistan,” Malik said.
“We are only trying to get cheap oil for our energy needs from Russia,” he said.
Over 3,600 boxes of silkworms distributed to Herat farmers this year
Herat Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock says more than 3,500 boxes of silkworms have been distributed to farmers this year in Zinda Jan, Injil, Guzara and Pashtun Zarghun districts of the province.
This directorate has said that 80 percent of silk work is done in Zinda Jan district.
“We were able to grow about 3,600 boxes with the help of institutions, about 80 percent of which we have grown in Zinda Jan district,” said Khalil Ahmad, general director of Herat agriculture directorate.
“About 20 percent of silkworms have been grown in Injil, Guzara and Pashtun Zarghun districts, which has had good results and the financial status of the farmers has improved.”
The local officials said most work in the silk industry is done by women.
“Almost 60 percent of the silk industry is done by women,” said Ahmad Shah Qawami, head of the silk workers’ union for Zinda Jan district.
This year, the families who are engaged in raising silkworms hope to have good production, now that the silk season is over and many are working to separate the silk thread.
However, the farmers are not satisfied with this year’s market conditions.
“The silk market is weak this year, it was good last year, it was very advanced,” said a silk worker.
The silk industry in Herat has a history dating back 600 years, and many families have preserved this ancient profession.
Silkworms usually feed on the leaves of mulberry trees, which grow in these regions. The industry also provides a livelihood to hundreds of men and women in the area.
Two die of Congo fever in Balkh Central Hospital
Two patients died of Congo fever in Abu Ali Sinai Balkhi Hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif city, health officials said.
Reports of an outbreak of Congo fever have been recorded in a number of provinces in the north of the country.
Najibullah Tawana, head of public health of Balkh, announced the death of two people in the meeting of sectorial coordination to prevent and reduce diseases between humans and animals in the province.
“Last week, 10 cases of Congo disease were confirmed in Faryab and Jawzjan and [patients were] transferred to Abu Ali Sina Balkhi seminary hospital, but two of them have died,” said Tawana.
Meanwhile, Mawolavi Mohammad Nasim Abid, the deputy mayor of Mazar-e-Sharif, said that they monitor the cleanliness and compliance of butchers every day, and that animals are slaughtered in slaughterhouses built by this department.
According to him; standard facilities have been established for the slaughter of chickens to prevent the spread of various diseases.
Mawolavi Zabihullah Noorani, the head of Balkh culture and information, also asked the media to inform the people about the prevention of this disease and inform them about the harm of this deadly disease.
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