‘They have crushed our voices’, Kashmiris on not being allowed to pray

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A Kashmiri boy displays a placard from a window at a protest site after Friday prayers during restrictions, after scrapping of the special constitutional status for Kashmir by the Indian government, in Srinagar, August 23, 2019. (REUTERS)
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A Kashmiri woman shows hands messages at protest after Friday prayers during restrictions after the Indian government scrapped the special constitutional status for Kashmir, in SrinagarAugust 16, 2019. ( Reuters)
Updated 27 August 2019
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‘They have crushed our voices’, Kashmiris on not being allowed to pray

  • More than 3,000 people have been arrested from different parts of the valley, media reports
  • Most of the big mosques have been shutdown to avoid people amassing for a large congregation

SRINAGAR, Kashmir: A strange silence engulfs Kashmir valley three weeks after the abrogation of the Article 370 that ensured a special autonomous status for Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian union.
This is the silence enforced by the fear of the gun after arrests of a large number of politicians, activists, lawyers, businessmen, and commoners.
“I have been summoned at least four times by the Indian troops and harassed, barring me from offering my prayers. I requested them, explaining that no one indulges in agitation in this area...” Hafiz Altaf Ahmed Shah, an imam at the local mosque told Arab News.
Media reports suggest that more than 3,000 people have been arrested from different parts of the valley and put in special detention centers in the semi-autonomous state or outside.
For those spared or lucky to avoid arrest, a lurking danger looms if they resist – be it a cleric or a professor, male or female, exercising restraint is the only option left.
In Srinagar and outside, most of the big mosques have been shutdown to avoid people amassing for a large congregation – a potential recipe for resistance.
“Our three story mosque is usually at full capacity but today, only 10 to 12 people offered Friday prayers because of the curfew,” Shah said.
Small and medium-sized mosques are under constant vigil. The clerics of these mosques have been ordered to lie low and not lead prayers in their mosques.
“We are being subjected to injustice by the Indian government and the world is aware. But no one is speaking on these issues. They have shut down our communication. They have silenced and crushed our voices,” Shah said.
Watch this exclusive video by Arab News to get a sense of what’s happening in the area.


Pakistan’s government and people condemn attacks on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 57 min 17 sec ago
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Pakistan’s government and people condemn attacks on Saudi oil facilities

  • High level members of political parties call on world community to stand with Saudi Arabia during attacks on its sovereignty
  • Pakistan’s has strong people-to-people ties with Saudi Arabia, with public sentiment one of shock and horror

ISLAMABAD: Sentiment and support for Saudi Arabia remained high in Pakistan, a day after attacks on two Saudi oil facilities in the kingdom’s Eastern province caused widespread fear and damage, and which official statements in Pakistan described as acts of sabotage.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Chairman, Raja Zafarul Haq, told Arab News on Saturday that the country was ready to safeguard Saudi Arabia’s security and sovereignty.
“Pakistan is ready to take any step for the safety and security of the Kingdom,” he said and added that countries who “claim to be friends of Saudi Arabia should stand by it” to stop such attacks on its sovereignty. 
Latif Khosa, former governor of Punjab province and a central leader of Pakistan Peoples Party, shared the same views, and urged world powers to come out in support of Saudi Arabia.
“World powers should support Saudis against such militant groups,” he said.
In Pakistan, a Muslim majority country of 208 million people with close political and people-to-people ties with Saudi Arabia, the sentiment from the general public was one of shock and horror. 
“We condemn the attack on Saudi Arabia,” said 38-year-old Asif Ali, a technician. “It’s our holy land and must be defended by the entire Muslim Ummah at all costs.”
“This attack is highly condemnable. The Saudi oil company must be protected and the world community should help eliminate such militants,” a telecom professional, Ammar Hyder, 40, told Arab News.
The country’s foreign ministry said in an official statement on Saturday that the country “reiterates its full support and solidarity with the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against any threat to its security and territorial integrity.”