'Profoundly grieved' for people of Kashmir, Pakistani PM tells nation on Independence Day

Vendors arrange their merchandise next to Azad Kashmir flags on a roadside stall in Rawalpindi on Aug. 4, 2020, ahead of Pakistan's 74th anniversary of independence from British rule. (AFP/File)
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Updated 14 August 2020

'Profoundly grieved' for people of Kashmir, Pakistani PM tells nation on Independence Day

  • Pakistan marks 73 years of independence, celebrating the end of British colonial rule in 1947
  • We will continue to raise our voice for Kashmiris at all available forums, PM tells nation

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday the nation remembered and “profoundly grieved” for the people of disputed Kashmir as it celebrated its 74th Independence day.
The Himalayan region has been at the heart of tensions between Hindu-majority India and Muslim Pakistan for decades, the cause of two of the three wars between the nuclear-armed neighbors. Both countries claim the region in full, but each rules only in part.
On August 5, 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi split the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two federally controlled territories and took away its special privileges.
New Delhi flooded troops into the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, where insurgents have fought since the 1990s. India detained thousands, imposed harsh movement restrictions and forced a communications blackout, which has largely remained to date. 
As independence day celebrations kicked off in Pakistan, Khan said “our hearts are profoundly grieved by the sufferings of our brethren … who are facing military siege since past one year.”
“We stand firmly behind our Kashmiri brethren in their struggle for their right to self-determination,” the PM said in a series of tweets. “We will continue to raise voice of the helpless Kashmiris at all available forums … I am confident that the struggle and resilience of brave Kashmiris will culminate into their inalienable right of self-determination.”
In a message to the nation, President Dr. Arif Alvi also assured the people of Kashmir that “Pakistan will continue to support them in their just struggle for their right to self-determination as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council resolutions.”
Meanwhile, flag hoisting ceremonies and special events were held at public and private offices across the country.


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."