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Imran Khan ends long march to ‘avoid bloodshed’

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(Last Updated On: May 28, 2022)
PTI Chairman and Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan on Friday dispelled reports that he had struck a deal in exchange for ending the party’s Azadi March, saying that he did so in order to avoid bloodshed.
 
Speaking at a press conference in Peshawar, he said he would take to the streets again if early elections were not announced. 
 
He regretted how police officials attacked the participants of the march, blaming the government for hand-picking officers to target the PTI.
 
“Our workers asked why we did not stage a sit-in. I am the man who staged a sit-in for 126 days. It was not difficult for me, but by the time I reached I became aware of the extent of the situation […] I knew that day that there would be bloodshed.”
 
Imran said the people were “ready” after seeing the “terrorism” carried out through the police. “Everyone was ready to fight, some of our people were so angered by what they saw,” he said, adding that officials were instructed to brutalise protesters.
 
“The anger at the time, if I had staged a sit-in that day I can guarantee that there would have been bloodshed,” he said, adding that there was a prevailing sense of hatred against police officials.
 
“But the police is also ours, it is not their fault,” the PTI chairman said, blaming the government for issuing the directives. If there was violence then it would only have caused chaos in the country, he said.
 
“Do not think it was our weakness and don’t think that a deal was made. I am hearing strange things that a deal was made with the establishment. I did not make a deal with anyone,” he said, adding that the only motive behind his actions was concern for the country.
 
He also made it clear that the PTI would not negotiate with or accept the “imported government”.
 
“I think of this as a jihad. I will stand up against this as long as I am alive,” he said, reiterating that he only cared about the future of the country.
 
He again stressed his six-day ultimatum to the government for the announcement of early elections. “If they do not clearly announce a date for the elections or for the dissolution of the assemblies, I will take to the streets again. Let me make it clear, this time we will be prepared.”

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19 killed as bus tumbles into ravine in Balochistan, Pakistan

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(Last Updated On: July 3, 2022)

At least 19 passengers were killed and 14 injured when a bus fell into a ravine in the Dhana Sar region of Balochistan on Sunday morning, Pakistani authorities confirmed.

Assistant Commissioner Syed Mehtab Shah told Pakistan’s The Express Tribune that the bus was heading to Quetta from Rawalpindi when it tumbled into the ravine.

“Rainfall and speeding led to the incident,” he stated, adding that two students were  among the deceased.

So far four bodies have been brought to the district headquarters hospital in Zhob and a rescue operation has been launched to recover the remaining bodies, The Express Tribune reported.

“All injured people have been shifted to Zhob hospital,” Shah said.

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Five dead, 44 injured in 6.3-magnitude quake in Iran

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(Last Updated On: July 2, 2022)

Five people were killed and 44 others injured in a magnitude-6.3 earthquake in southern Iran on Saturday.

Iran’s state media reported rescue teams were deployed near the epicentre, Sayeh Khosh village, which is home to around 300 people in Hormozgan province, south of the capital, Tehran.

People went into the streets as aftershocks continued to jolt the area after the early morning quake, which also damaged buildings and infrastructure, AP reported.

The earthquake was felt in many neighboring countries, the report said.

The area has seen several moderate earthquakes in recent weeks. In November, one man died following two magnitude-6.4 and 6.3 earthquakes.

Iran lies on major seismic faults and experiences one earthquake a day on average.

In 2003, a magnitude-6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.

A magnitude-7 earthquake that struck western Iran in 2017 killed more than 600 people and injured more than 9,000.

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Russia kills 21 with missiles near Odessa after abandoning Snake Island

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(Last Updated On: July 1, 2022)

Russia flattened part of an apartment building while residents slept on Friday in missile attacks near Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odessa that killed at least 21 people, hours after Russian troops abandoned a nearby outpost at Snake Island.

Neighbors in the resort village of Serhiivka helped workers comb through the rubble of the nine-storey apartment block, a section of which had been completely destroyed at 1:00 a.m.

Walls and windows of a neighboring, 14-storey apartment block had also been damaged by the blast wave. Nearby holiday camps were also hit, Reuters reported.

Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odessa regional administration, said 21 people had been confirmed killed, including a 12-year-old boy. Authorities said earlier 41 people had been rescued from the apartment building where 152 lived.

The regional governor said the Soviet-era missiles had been fired from the direction of the Black Sea.

The Kremlin denied targeting civilians: “I would like to remind you of the president’s words that the Russian Armed Forces do not work with civilian targets,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

The attack came just four days after Russia struck a crowded shopping mall in central Ukraine killing at least 19 people.

Kyiv says Moscow has dramatically escalated its long-range attacks hitting civilian targets far from the front line in recent days, which Ukraine describes as a war crime. Russia says it has been aiming at military sites.

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