Pakistani opposition party supporters arrested after clashes with police at accountability office

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Opposition supporters of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) scuffle with policemen during a protest against the arrest of Maryam Nawaz in Lahore on Aug. 9, 2019. (AFP/File)
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Policemen detain opposition supporters of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) during a clash on the court hearing of Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif, in Lahore on Aug. 11, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 12 August 2020

Pakistani opposition party supporters arrested after clashes with police at accountability office

  • Nawaz says police pelted her car with stones, party supporters injured
  • Punjab government says PMLN supporters started the clashes, resolves to take action

ISLAMABAD: Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said her car was pelted with stones by police on Tuesday outside the office of the anti-graft watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Clashes broke out between the police and supporters of Nawaz’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) party when she arrived at the NAB office for proceedings in a case related to the “illegal” acquisition of land in Lahore city’s Raiwind area.
Television footage showed men in plain clothes throwing stones at law enforcers, who were seen beating PMLN workers with batons, and launching water cannons and tear gas. A video posted on twitter by a government spokesperson and carried by news channels showed cars, purportedly a part of Nawaz’s caravan, laden with bags full of stones.
In a video posted on Twitter, Nawaz said police threw stones at her car, cracking the windshield.
“I strongly condemn police shelling, use of tear gas and lathi charge [beating] on peaceful party workers who came to show solidarity with me,” she tweeted.
NAB postponed the day’s proceedings due to the clashes and accused Nawaz’s party of deliberately sabotaging the hearing. The watchdog said Maryam had been summoned in a “personal capacity” to record her statement but “she displayed hooliganism in an organized manner through PML-N workers by pelting stones and creating disorder.”
The government of Punjab province said PMLN workers started the clash and vowed to take action against those involved. Speaking to a local TV channel, Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat said PML-N party workers threw stones at police first to put pressure on the anti-graft watchdog.
Nawaz said the purpose of summoning her to the NAB office was to “hurt me.”
“For the first time I saw stoning by police,” she said in an address to the crowd. “If you do not have the courage, you should have thought it through before calling me here. After calling me, you turn to shelling and pelting stones on innocent PML-N workers. If I did not have a bulletproof car, think of how much damage would have been caused.”
The PMLN has said at least 50 party workers have been arrested after the clashes.

Urdu comic book 'Little Master' to help Pakistani children fight COVID-19 misinformation

Updated 19 September 2020

Urdu comic book 'Little Master' to help Pakistani children fight COVID-19 misinformation

  • The book tells the story of a young boy from Karachi's Lyari, who is learning about the virus to help others
  • 'Little Master' is illustrated by Umair Najeeb Khan, the creator of Pakistan’s first superhero comic book series 'Paak-Legion'

RAWALPINDI: "Little Master," an Urdu-language comic book, is going to be released on Monday to guide Pakistani children how to stay safe amid the coronavirus pandemic and cope with COVID-19 misinformation.
Published by Mehrdar Art & Production (MAP), the book tells the story of Ahmed, a young boy from Karachi's Lyari area, who is trying to learn about the coronavirus to help keep others safe, regardless of their community background.
"Comics are a great way to tell a story positively and are really useful in countering misinformation,” Muhammad Faheem, documentary filmmaker and MAP founder, told Arab News on Saturday.

The cover of "Little Master," an Urdu-language comic book to help Pakistani children cope with COVID-19 misinformation. (Photo courtesy of Muhammad Faheem via AN)

The efforts have been funded by MAP itself and through government and private support. To illustrate "Little Master," Faheem asked for help Umair Najeeb Khan, the creator of Pakistan’s first superhero comic book series "Paak-Legion."
Thousands of copies of "Little Master" will be distributed at schools in underprivileged areas such as Lyari, where misinformation has led to blame games and community tensions that affected virus response. Some narratives even questioned the very existence of the virus and necessity to follow any precautions against it.

Umair Najeeb Khan is working on an illustration for the "Little Master" comic book in Islamabad on Sept. 19, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Umair Najeeb Khan via AN)

In May, Faheem rolled out "Hum Sab Saath, Corona ki Kilaaf" ("All of Us Together Against the Coronavirus"), a campaign through posters, social media and talks by community leaders to address the situation.
"It got to the point where relief efforts in these areas were being compromised because people were questioning who deserved help," Faheem said. "We needed to address not only the severity of what was going on but educate the citizens of these areas on what was real information to help combat the fake news and rising bigotry."
The comic book is a follow up to these efforts.
"When kids read our comics, we hope they will learn more about the pandemic and how it is a collective effort that we all have to join together, regardless of our backgrounds."