Pakistan’s Hamza Ali Abbasi praises Saudi Arabia for smooth management of Hajj

Pakistani film and TV actor, Hamza Ali Abbasi, applauded Saudi authorities for their flawless management of Hajj pilgrimage involving more than two million people. ( Video grab courtesy: Center for International Communication, KSA Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Updated 13 August 2019
0

Pakistan’s Hamza Ali Abbasi praises Saudi Arabia for smooth management of Hajj

  • Currently in the Kingdom to perform his pilgrimage, Abbasi says he is stunned by the scale of the religious ritual
  • In a video released by the Saudi Center for International Communication, he urges all Muslims to undertake the spiritual journey at least once

LAHORE: Pakistani film and television actor, Hamza Ali Abbasi, applauded Saudi authorities for their flawless management of Hajj pilgrimage involving more than two million people.
Abbasi, who is currently in Saudi Arabia to perform the annual Muslim ritual, said in a video released by the Kingdom’s Center for International Communication on Monday that he was stunned by the sheer magnitude of the event.
“You can’t help but imagine what kind of logistical nightmare it would be,” he smiled, “but it goes very smoothly … It goes so seamlessly that you don’t realize what kind of a mammoth effort goes behind it.”
Abbasi noted that he was pleasantly surprised by the degree of “inclusiveness” during Hajj, adding that he had seen “people from literally every country on the face of this planet, united under this one creed that there is only one God.”
The Pakistani actor is not just a known face in his own country but has also developed significant fan following in the Kingdom after his film “Parwaaz Hai Junoon” was commercially released in Saudi Arabia last year. Spotting him in the crowd in his bright white ihram, many fellow pilgrims requested to take pictures with him.
Abbasi is also among the 200,000 Pakistani pilgrims who decided to undertake their spiritual journey to Islam’s holiest cities of Makkah and Madinah this year. In the video, he urged Muslims everywhere to at least “come here once.”
“You cannot begin to imagine the [spiritual] experience,” he said. “You have to be here in personal to experience each and every bit of [this journey].”


Jammu and Kashmir: A disputed state under siege 

Updated 22 August 2019
0

Jammu and Kashmir: A disputed state under siege 

  • New Delhi fears protests if communication is restored and presence of troops scaled down in Kashmir
  • There is widespread anger and resentment among the people of the disputed region

SRINAGAR: It’s been more than two weeks since Indian administered Kashmir has been facing a security lockdown and prohibitory order. 
Markets in major parts of the Muslim majority region of Jammu and Kashmir are shut amid a communication blackout. 
Kashmiris have been barred from using any form of technology to communicate and denied even a basic phone call.
New Delhi’s decision on August 5 to abrogate two articles of the Indian constitution, Article 370 and 35-A, that gave the disputed state a special autonomous status under the Indian union has brought the Kashmir valley to a standstill.
The Modi administration has imposed strict prohibitor orders, reinforcing parliamentary troops to man each and every nook and corner of the valley.
The administration governing the Kashmiri districts relaxed the prohibitory order on August 19, allowing schools to reopen. It also restored some telephone landlines.
However, protests in some parts of Srinagar and Kashmiri towns forced the government to reimpose the communication ban. 
The schools remain empty days after reopening. 
People are gripped in fear. Uncertainty looms. Reports suggest that grieved communities have resorted to civil disobedience by keeping markets shuttered down and not sending their children to school.
There is widespread anger and resentment among the people. Majority of the Kashmiris feel let down by the government’s decision to strike down the special status passing a rush decree to annex their state without holding a plebiscite.
They say that their identity has been attacked and it’s not possible to live under abject humiliation.
Modi’s government fears large scale protests and resistance if communication is fully restored and the presence of troops is scaled down. 
If violence erupts, New Delhi fears that it stands to lose its political narrative domestically and internationally.
Jammu and Kashmir remains on edge. A disputed state divided between, India and Pakistan but fully claimed by both is under siege on New Delhi’s orders which has violated the UN charter.
It remains to be seen how long the Indian paramilitary forces will be able to contain the growing anger and angst among the local populace of the Muslim-majority region under Indian rule.