Asia Cup 2022: Afghanistan, Pakistan fans brawl at Sharjah stadium after thrilling contest

Afghanistan and Pakistan fans were seen angrily throwing chairs at each other inside the Sharjah stadium after the high-octane Asia Cup clash in UAE on September 7, 2022. (Social Media/ Screengrab)
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Updated 08 September 2022

Asia Cup 2022: Afghanistan, Pakistan fans brawl at Sharjah stadium after thrilling contest

  • Videos of fans throwing chairs at one another went viral on social media
  • Pakistan defeated Afghanistan last night by 1 wicket to qualify for Asia Cup final

ISLAMABAD: Videos showing Afghanistan cricket fans brawling with Pakistanis at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium went viral on Wednesday night after Pakistan snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against Afghanistan in a thrilling Asia Cup contest.

Fast bowler Naseem Shah saved the day for Pakistan by smashing two consecutive sixes in the last over to see Pakistan through to the final. Defeat seemed certain for Pakistan, who had one wicket in hand and required 11 runs off the last over. Pakistan’s victory sent India crashing out of the Asia Cup 2022 and ensured the green shirts had secured a berth in the final of the tournament.

However, things got heated on and off the pitch. First, Pakistani batter Asif Ali indulged in a verbal spat and almost came to blows with Afghanistan’s Fareed Ahmad during the match. The two were separated by Afghanistan cricketers before the confrontation escalated.

As soon as the match was over, videos showed Pakistan and Afghanistan fans in the stadium clashing with one another. In one of the videos, fans of the two teams can be seen throwing chairs at each other, hurling obscenities at the same time.

The incident drew a sharp reaction from former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who blamed Afghanistan cricket fans for the violence and pointed out that this was not the first time that clashes had broken out after a Pakistan-Afghanistan match.

“This is what Afghan fans are doing. This is what they’ve done in the past multiple times,” he wrote on Twitter. “This is a game and its supposed to be played and taken in the right spirit.”

Shafiq Stanikzai, former CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) responded to Akhtar, saying that one “can’t control the emotions of the crowd and such.” He pointed out that Afghanistan cricketers had always shown love and respect to Pakistani legends Inzamam ul Haq, Rashid Latif and others.

Pakistani actor, TV host and singer Fakhr-e-Alam said it was “absolutely lethal” how some of the fans were throwing chairs, disregarding that the chairs could hit women and children in the stands.

Visuals from Tuesday night brought back memories of Pakistan and Afghanistan cricket fans brawling with one other outside the Leeds cricket stadium when Pakistan beat Afghanistan in the 2019 World Cup.

Ties between the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan have remained strained over the past couple of decades due to various political reasons. Tensions between the two countries have resulted in an intense cricketing rivalry over the past couple of years, especially since Afghanistan emerged as a strong cricket side that has performed well in international tournaments.

Pakistan’s Sindh calls for precautions after Nipah virus outbreak in India

Updated 6 sec ago

Pakistan’s Sindh calls for precautions after Nipah virus outbreak in India

  • Nipah virus is a highly contagious zoonotic disease that causes high fever, fatigue
  • In September, two people died after an outbreak of the disease in India

ISLAMABAD: The provincial government of Pakistan’s southern Sindh province on Tuesday issued an advisory warning citizens to take precautionary measures after an outbreak of the Nipah (NiV) virus in neighboring India last month killed two people. 

India’s Kerala state shut schools, offices, and public transport on September 13 after two people were killed by the contagious NiV. To prevent the further spread of the virus, Indian health authorities tested over 700 people on suspicion that they may have come into contact with persons infected with it. 

NiV is a highly contagious zoonotic disease that spreads from animals to humans and in some cases, humans to humans. Pakistan has not reported any cases of the infection so far. 

“While there is currently no outbreak of the Nipah virus in Pakistan, it is it is essential to stay informed and take precautions in view of the recent outbreak situation in India to prevent its spread,” an advisory issued by the Directorate General Health Services in Sindh said. 

The advisory said fruit bats are “natural reservoirs” of NiV and based on available data in South Asia, almost all NiV outbreaks have occurred in winter to spring seasons (December to May).

The disease can spread through direct contact between humans and infected animals such as bats and pigs or their bodily fluids, it said. It can also spread via direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected animals and close contact with a person infected with NiV or his/her bodily fluids.

“Symptoms may appear from 4 to 14 days,” the advisory said, adding that a person infected with NiV may experience high fever, muscle pain, headache, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, respiratory issues, and seizures. 

The advisory warned citizens against traveling to places where there is an outbreak of the disease and urged them to wash hands frequently with soap and water, and avoid meeting infected persons. 

“If you or someone you know exhibits symptoms of NiV infection, such as fever, headache, and respiratory issues, seek immediate medical attention,” the advisory said. 

“Early diagnosis and treatment are essential.”

The advisory said suspected or confirmed cases of NiV should be isolated and monitored, adding that it is essential for authorities to trace persons who may have potentially come into contact with the infected person. 

It also called on authorities to screen passengers at airports to know whether they carry the virus or not. 

Pakistan sets Nov. 1 deadline for ‘illegal immigrants’ to leave

Updated 43 min 45 sec ago

Pakistan sets Nov. 1 deadline for ‘illegal immigrants’ to leave

  • Interior minister says 14 of 24 suicide bombings in Pakistan this year carried out by Afghans
  • Police last month launched crackdown against those living in Pakistan without legal documents

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan announced on Tuesday “illegal immigrants” had until November 1 to leave the country or face being deported, with the interior minister saying 14 of 24 suicide bombings in the South Asian nation this year were carried out by Afghans.
Officials say hundreds of thousands of Afghans have traveled to Pakistan since foreign forces left Afghanistan and the Taliban took over Kabul in 2021. Even before then, Pakistan hosted some 1.5 million registered refugees, one of the largest such populations in the world, according to the United Nations refugee agency. More than a million others are estimated to live in Pakistan unregistered.
Grappling with an economic crisis of its own and a sharp rise in terror attacks, Pakistan’s government is increasingly anxious about the number of Afghans in the country.
Police last month launched a crackdown against those they say are living in Pakistan without legal documents, arresting hundreds of Afghans.
“Illegal citizens, illegal immigrants that are staying in Pakistan via illegal means, we have given them a deadline of November 1,” Interior Minister Sarfaraz Bugti told reporters at a briefing after a meeting chaired by the prime minister.
The meeting was held days after suicide bombers separately hit two mosques last week in Mastung and Hangu, killing 65 people.
“They [illegal immigrants] should return to their respective countries by November 1 voluntarily and if they don’t, the state’s law enforcement, whether they be provincial governments or federal government institutions, we will deport them via this enforcement.”
Bugti said after Nov. 1, foreign nationals would not be allowed to enter Pakistan without passports or a valid entry visa, and from Oct. 10 to 31, the government would allow only those Afghan nationals to enter Pakistan who possessed a computerized e-Tazkira (electronic identity card).
The minister said the government had formed a task force that would from Nov. 1 confiscate properties and businesses run by illegal migrants that were not part of Pakistan’s tax net. He said businesses jointly operated and properties that illegal immigrants owned with Pakistani citizens would also be confiscated.
“Any Pakistani who is involved in this facilitation would be punished according to Pakistan’s law,” Bugti added.
The interior ministry would also set up a web portal and a helpline on which citizens would be able to inform the government about illegal immigrants, identity cards, and activities such as hoarding and smuggling.
“From January till now, there have been 14 suicide bombings [in Pakistan]. Of those 24, 14 suicide bombings were carried out by Afghan nationals. They were Afghans who attacked us,” Bugti said, naming a number of recent attacks in which he said Afghans had been found to be involved.
The Director (Repatriation) Afghan Commissionerate, Fazal Rabi, told Arab News provincial governments would collect data of all undocumented and illegal immigrants in their respective territories and prepare a proper transportation plan to take them to the borders for deportation.
“Under the law, the police and other law enforcement agencies can arrest and deport any foreigner living in Pakistan without a valid visa or valid registration in case of Afghans,” he said, adding that the registration cards of some Afghan refugees expired in June this year and they should be allowed “a grace time till renewal of their cards.” 
In a crackdown against ‘illegally residing foreigners,’ Islamabad police said it had so far arrested 451 people and registered 65 cases.
“This is an ongoing operation against all those living in Pakistan illegally without any valid visa and documents including Afghans without any discrimination,” Islamabad police spokesperson Taqi Jawad told Arab News.
“It is imperative to follow Pakistani laws to live in Pakistan,” he said. “This is a cognizable offense to provide job, shelter or extend any illegal assistance to illegally residing foreigners in Pakistan.” 
Islamabad blames the surge in militant attacks on the Pakistani Taliban, saying that they have become increasingly emboldened with the Taliban in power and have launched attacks against Pakistan from Afghan soil.
Afghanistan says it does not allow its soil to be used by militants.
The TTP has especially stepped up its attacks on Pakistan since November last year when it unilaterally called off a tenuous peace deal that had been brokered by Kabul.
The Pakistani Taliban, responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks in Pakistan since the group’s formation in 2007, have denied responsibility for Friday’s two blasts. No other group has claimed responsibility either.
“After Mastung blast, we are working on a multi-pronged strategy. We have to get the Afghans out. We have to enforce the law and [have] zero tolerance for lawlessness,” interior secretary Aftab Durrani told Arab News, referring to one of the attacks last week in which 60 people were killed in southwest Pakistan.
“We have to target militant groups. We have to target the political parties’ militant wings and basically our theme is hardening the state, hardening the writ of the state as this is not a soft state. We are a tough state. And we can take any action.”

India and Pakistan on track for cricket gold-medal showdown at Asian Games

Updated 03 October 2023

India and Pakistan on track for cricket gold-medal showdown at Asian Games

  • Match between Pakistan and India will be influential as Olympic Committee ponders cricket being added to 2028 Los Angeles Olympics
  • The final on Saturday could be overshadowed by the start of the Cricket World Cup in India, which opens on Thursday

HANGZHOU, China: India and Pakistan moved closer to a potential Asian Games showdown for the gold medal in cricket after picking up victories on Tuesday in the quarterfinals.
Any match between Pakistan and India draws a massive television audience and will be influential as the International Olympic Committee ponders cricket being added to the program for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
The final on Saturday, however, could be overshadowed by the start of the Cricket World Cup in India, which opens on Thursday.
The IOC has given no clear timetable when a decision about cricket will be made.
Cricket appeared in the Olympics for the only time at the 1900 Paris Games.
India managed a 23-run victory over Nepal on Tuesday. Yashasvi Jaiswal scored a century from 49 deliveries to help India reach 202-4 from its allotted 20 overs after winning the toss and electing to bat.
“I’m really proud and really happy and grateful,” Jaiwsal said of getting the century. “It was a great feeling. It’s a proud moment whenever you represent your country, especially India. I’m just so glad and happy to represent India and proud of myself for going out there to express myself and my game.”
Nepal was restricted to 179-9 in reply, with Avesh Khan and Ravi Bishnoi each taking three wickets for India.
Pakistan put up a 68-run victory over Hong Kong in another quarterfinal match. Pakistan reached 160-10 and Hong Kong was limited to 92-10.


Everywhere you look, China dominates. China won nine of 12 medals in canoe sprint, which wrapped up on Tuesday. This is typical of the way the Asian Games host finds athletes to excel across a vast array of Olympic sports.
Canoe sprint athletes were also primed after appearing in the sport’s world championships in August in Duisburg, Germany, which served as the main qualification event for next year’s Paris Olympics.
“All four of us are very happy because we have been working hard for a long time,” said Zhang Dong, a member of the winning 500-meter men’s kayak four team.
“Including qualifying for the Olympics at the world championships, I really feel it’s not easy,” Zhang added. “We have already been preparing for two years, just to qualify for the Olympics, and to win the gold medal at this Asian Games, I’m so happy.”


Three-time Olympic medalist Olga Zabelinskaya of Uzbekistan won the women’s time trial in 24 minutes, 35.99 seconds. Zabelinskaya was a silver medalist at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and won two bronze medals at the 2012 London Games.
The silver medal in the 20-kilometer race went to Eri Yonamine of Japan, who was 59.60 seconds behind. Rinata Sultanova of Kazakstan took bronze.
Alexey Lutsenko of Kazakhstan won the men’s race in 48:05.75. Xue Ming and China took silver and Vincent Lau Wan Yau of Hong Kong won bronze.

Khan’s party tells Pakistan regulator enforced disappearances being used as ‘pre-poll rigging’ tactic

Updated 03 October 2023

Khan’s party tells Pakistan regulator enforced disappearances being used as ‘pre-poll rigging’ tactic

  • Khan has openly accused the military and intelligence agencies of trying to destroy his political party
  • Army and government deny crackdown, say only Khan supporters involved in violence being punished

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of former Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday and called for action against enforced disappearances that it said were being used as an “orchestrated pre-poll rigging campaign” against the party.

Khan, who is serving a three-year jail sentence in a corruption case, has openly accused the powerful military and intelligence agencies of trying to destroy his political party, and said ongoing legal cases against him were a ploy to keep him out of the next general election likely in January. The conviction in the corruption case has effectively barred him from running for public office. 

A bruising year-long standoff between Khan, Pakistan’s most popular leader according to polls, and the army came to a head when military buildings and property were ransacked in May by Khan supporters after he was briefly arrested in a separate land graft case. After the violent protests, thousands of Khan supporters were arrested, the PTI says, and scores of its members, including the ex-premier’s closest aides, abandoned the PTI over what is widely believed to be pressure from the state.

The military and the previous government of PM Shehbaz Sharif, which was ruling during the May protests, have denied a crackdown against the PTI and said only those who were involved in the violence would be punished. The caretaker administration of PM Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has said the PTI would get a “level playing field” in the next elections.

“I wanted to bring to your attention perhaps the most serious of all the violations of the law and the Constitution happening right now as part of an orchestrated pre-poll election rigging campaign against PTI, the issue of enforced disappearances,” the PTI’s letter to the chief election commission said.

“The impunity with which individuals linked to PTI are being illegally arrested and disappeared, is perhaps the most blatant and open form of pre-poll rigging happening in the country. Even more than that, it is an exceptionally serious violation of Pakistan’s system of law and justice of the sort that has not been seen before, certainly not in recent history.”

The letter listed six PTI senior members as “victims” of a campaign of enforced disappearances, namely Sadaqat Ali Abbasi, former PTI MNA, missing since September 1, Usman Dar, a former adviser to Khan, missing since September 10, Abdul Kareem Khan, a PTI ticket holder from Lahore, missing since September 19, Awais Younus, PTI Lahore Secretary Information, missing since September 19, Farrukh Habib, a former minister of state, missing since September 27 and Sheikh Rasheed, a key Khan aide, missing since September 17.

The PTI said the disappearances were in violation of several articles of the Constitution of Pakistan, including Article 9 (security of a person), Article 10 (safeguards against arrest and detention under which anyone detained in custody must be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours), Article 10A (right to fair trial) and Article 14 (inviolability of dignity of a person and which protects the privacy of homes and bans any form of torture in custody), as well as the constitutionally guaranteed right of life.

The statement reminded the administration of PM Kakar that the caretaker’s primary responsibility was to hold free and fair elections and “be impartial to every person and political party.”

The PTI said the disappearances also contravened Pakistan’s commitments on several international covenants and treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), as well as the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED), which is obligatory upon Pakistan under customary international law principles.

The letter named many pro-Khan journalists who had been arrested and later released, and members of former PM Khan’s staff and young volunteers who had disappeared for various lengths of time.

“Unless these people are released, and the law enforcement agencies, and any other agencies involved
are reprimanded to immediately desist from such practices, I am afraid that no question exists of the
upcoming elections being even remotely free or fair,” the statement, which was signed by the party’s secretary general, said.

“We hope that you will treat this matter with the urgency and seriousness it deserves, note what is happening, and discharge your duty in passing immediate and clear instructions to the government to produce these people, and to immediately desist from such activities in the future.”

Condition of Pakistan’s Madhubala elephant ‘worsens every day’ as she awaits relocation — Four Paws

Updated 03 October 2023

Condition of Pakistan’s Madhubala elephant ‘worsens every day’ as she awaits relocation — Four Paws

  • Animal charity says ready to relocate elephant but needs official invitation, Karachi Zoo says ready to sign MoU for relocation 
  • Madhubala’s long-time companions 17-year-old Noor Jehan had multiple illnesses and passed away in April at Karachi Zoo

KARACHI: The global animal welfare organization, Four Paws, has warned that the condition of an ailing elephant at Karachi Zoo was deteriorating daily and Pakistani authorities had halted communication regarding plans to relocate her to a new and more species-appropriate sanctuary.

Madhubala, one of only three captive elephants alive in Pakistan, was brought to the South Asian country with three other elephants from Tanzania in 2009. One of her long-time companions, 17-year-old Noor Jehan, had multiple illnesses and passed away in April at Karachi Zoo in a case that caught global attention and put the spotlight on the treatment of zoo animals in Pakistan. 

In 2020, Four Paws relocated Kaavan — an elephant dubbed the world’s loneliest — to Cambodia from Islamabad.

In August, the mayor of Karachi, Murtaza Wahab, gave the go-ahead to Four Paws to relocate Madhubala to a new sanctuary at Karachi’s Safari Park in the city. But she remained at a small enclosure at the Karachi Zoo, where her mental condition, Four Paws said, “worsens every day.”

“Despite the efforts undertaken by global animal welfare organization Four Paws, officials in Karachi still have not signed the Memorandum of Understanding. This is a precondition for the substantial overhaul of her new home in Karachi Safari Park and ultimately her relocation,” the animal rights group said a statement emailed to Arab News on Tuesday. 

The plans for the reconstruction of her new enclosure were handed over to officials more than a month ago, Four Paws said, but since then communication has stopped.

Madhubala’s new home will be substantially bigger than her present one, making it species-appropriate as it will include a pool, enrichments and proper care management.

Iqbal Nawaz, a senior director at Karachi Zoo, said there were no hurdles in signing the MoU for the elephant’s relocation.

“An MoU can be signed once the Four Paws team arrives in Karachi. There is no hurdle on our part, we want the relocation of the elephant,” Nawaz said.

He disputed claims that she was in a bad state:

“The condition of the elephant is also good. She is healthy.”

Mission leader of the Four Paws expert team, Dr. Amir Khalil, said that the welfare organization was ready to relocate the animal but needed an official invitation.

“We are more than ready to finally proceed with our plans for the relocation of Madhubala. What we need is a formal confirmation and an invitation by the Mayor of Karachi, Murtaza Wahab, so our team of experts can travel back to Pakistan as soon as possible,” Khalil said. 

“After what happened to her beloved Noor Jehan, we cannot allow exposing Madhubala to any potential health risk. We need to act now by assisting the reconstruction efforts of her new home and starting to train Madhubala for the big moving day.”
Four Paws said the death of Noor Jehan, as well as being in solitary confinement since this tragic incident, had “taken a strong toll on the mental condition of Madhubala.”

In April 2023, after the death of Noor Jehan, the Karachi administration constituted a taskforce on wildlife in captivity, zoos and the Safari Park in Karachi. The body consists of representatives from relevant local and provincial authorities, including Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and international and local NGOs and animal welfare activists.

The taskforce is empowered to take decisions regarding Karachi’s elephants. During a visit in April, Four Paws clearly stated their willingness to support the relocation of Madhubala, but only if it was done to a species-appropriate place, run by an independent body from the local authorities. 

KMC officials did not respond to requests for comment for this story.