Three-day Shandur Polo festival – Chitral Wines


Gilgit: Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Sunday attended the ongoing Shandur Polo festival and said it is the result of the sacrifices made by the nation and the armed forces that today people are able to breathe peacefully.

Addressing the festival participants, the army chief said that the Shandur festival sends a clear message to terrorists that Pakistanis will continue with their traditions without fear.

“I assure you that noose is tightening around terrorists and their facilitators,” he said, adding that the mission against terrorists will continue nationwide to sustain peace.

Gen. Raheel Sharif also said that the day is not far when Pakistan becomes a symbol of education, development, peace and prosperity.

The COAS added that the Shandur festival is a positive step towards promotion of tourism in the country, and that organisers of the event deserve praise for their initiative.

A three-day Shandur Polo festival kicked off on Friday attracting a large number of local and international visitors who arrived to watch this unusual game at the highest Polo ground of the world.

Nestled amid the Hindukush Mountains the Shandur polo ground is situated at a height of 12500 feet above sea level.

A camp village will be set up till July 31 at the venue where tourists and locals will reside and take part in activities like paragliding, traditional dance and songs.

Polo which originated in the region is considered an expensive sport as it is played on horseback with players hitting a ball with a mallet.

Polo teams from Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral will participate in the event. The final match will be played on Sunday.

The inaugural match will be played between Laspoor and Ghizar teams.

The Shandur polo festival has been organized after a three-year hiatus.

Happy Imamat Day To All Ismaili Muslims

Imamat Day is celebrated by Ismailis to mark the anniversary of the day that their present (or Hazar) Imam succeeded his predecessor to become the Imam of the Time.

His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Ismailis, having succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan III on July 11, 1957.His Imamat Day is therefore observed annually on July 11.

For the Ismailis, the recognition of the Imam of the Time is central to their faith and belief. Imamat Day therefore, provides occasion to reinforce this recognition and to express gratitude to the Imam, who, in keeping with the centuries-old tradition of leadership, provides guidance in matters of faith and works to improve the quality and security of their lives.It is also a day for Ismailis to reaffirm their spiritual allegiance to the Imam and renew their commitment to the ethics of their Ismaili faith.

Today is the 59th Anniversary of the Imamat of Prince Karim Aga Khan IV. Since he has become Imam of the Ismaili Muslims in 1957 Prince Karim has devoted his resources in terms of time, money and interest unprecedentedly for the development of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. Through Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) he has contributed enoumously for the socio-economic development of the people on the area particularly in the areas of Health, Education, Rural Development and Cultural Heritage.

We salute his leadership and untiring efforts to develop Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral and send our best felicitation to His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan and all Ismaili around the world!!!

Abdul Sattar Edhi a Legendary Hero

Abdul Sattar Edhi Passed Away In Karachi We Missed Another Legend of Pakistan

A big loss to nation happened on the 3rd day of Eid in Pakistan when I got a news that Abdul Sattar Edhi passed away in Karachi. There are many views, grief ways about the Abdul Satar Eidi just after seconds of his death but the first tribute given by Fahmida Iqbal Khan on my follower list by saying that “You are living epitome of humanity. She also explained that nation cannot pay you back for anything good happened to you for them.

Truly saddened to hear of Edhi Sahab’s passing. He was a noble soul & a great Pakistani. He gave the first big donation to SKMT 26 years ago

With legendary Edhi sahib passing away not only Pakistan but the world will mourn the loss of a great human being.May he rest in peace-Ameen

Of course, we knew this day was coming but how do you prepare for this kind of immeasurable loss? There is no one like you, sb.

Abdul Sattar Edhi Passed Away In Karachi

The ultimate salute to Edhi Sahab a legend of Pakistan. A social media activities Komal Shahid was also my follower list who expressed her tears by saying that “we lost something irreplaceable today can’t describe it in words. After the death, the 6 minutes DAWN news got in action and publish a story of his death in a well mannered way to pay a tribute the personality.

There’d be no one else like you because you have created a “Generation Edhi” in Pakistan, “we” are all ““.

Abdul Sattar Edhi Passed Away

Abdul Sattar Edhi passes away in Karachi at the age of 92 and today is the Friday night-another traditional night of blessings according to Islamic views. The kidney failure from 2013 was not the only reason for the personality to get panic but he was much aware of the humanitarian activities in Karachi.

An age passes. RIP Abdus Sattar Edhi. A modern day saint.

One can say that Abdul Sattar Edhi may get the intention towards the humanitarian services more than his health since diagnosis. The Best way to explain his service towards the humanity was his last example made by leader and legend himself. According to Fatimah Manshad FKM, a popular activist for Tahir Ul Qadri Edhi Sahib Donated his body parts.

Abdul Sattar Edhi

There may be no another way to express personality as compared to such denotation he made on the bed of death.  There are many persons praying for the Edhi Sahib after his death and saying that ” May God bless him with the neighborhood of Prophet (PBUH)”
Abdul Sattar Edhi A National Hero
This is what can a nation give to its legend because Abdul Sattar Edhi Passed Away In Karachi We Missed Another Legend of Pakistan.

Happy Eid Mubarak

Court upholds life sentence for Baba Jan

Court upholds life sentence for Baba Jan

On June 9, the Supreme Appellate Court (SAC) in Gilgit-Baltistan upheld the life sentence of Baba Jan, the popular leader of the leftwing Awami Workers Party (AWP) from Hunza valley, and 11 of his comrades. An anti-terrorism court (ATC) had earlier found them guilty of ransacking a police station and damaging government property during political riots at Aliabad in 2011.

The decision comes days before a local by-election he planned to contest, amid an international campaign calling for his freedom. A large number of people who disagree with Baba Jan’s political ideology also believe the allegations made against him are false and politically motivated.

A three-member bench of SAC – consisting of Chief Justice Rana Muhammad Shamim, Justice Javed Iqbal and Justice Shahbaz Khan – upheld the ATC verdict by two judges to one, with Justice Shahbaz Khan deciding in favor of the political activists.

“I cannot comment on the decision, but we were not expecting this,” said Advocate Nazir, one of the lawyers pleading Baba Jan’s case.

Baba Jan will not be able to contest the elections

The ATC had said in its verdict that the prosecution was able to prove that the 12 accused men were “guilty of vandalizing property, attacking public servants, and ransacking arms and ammunitions from the police station”. Each of the convicts were also fined Rs 100,000 by the court.

“We strongly condemn the decision. It was politically motivated,” said Farzana Bari, civil rights activist and a member of the AWP. “It is an attempt by his political rivals to move Baba Jan out of their way.” She said it conveyed a stern message to the people of the area, that “the politics of Baba Jan, who speaks for the rights of locals, is not acceptable in the region”.

Hailing from the Nasirbad town in Hunza valley, Baba Jan is a leading figure of the AWP, which was formed in 2012 following the merger of Labour Party, Workers Party and Awami Party.

On January 2, 2010, a massive landslide killed around 20 people and blocked the flow of Hunza River for almost five months, turning Attabad village into a lake. Baba Jan organized the displaced people to lobby the government for compensation and rehabilitation.

On August 11, 2011 a large number of Attabad victims took to the streets. Police tried to disperse the protesters at Aliabad, where the convoy then chief minister Mehdi Shah was on its way on the highway. When the protesters resisted, police began using teargas. Then, two protesters – Sherullah Baig and his son Afzal Baig – were shot dead. The killings led to riots in Hunza valley. In Aliabad, a police station was ransacked and government buildings were looted. Police registered a case against the rioters and arrested around one hundred people. All but 17 of them were released.

According to AWP spokesman Farooq Tariq, “Those who agreed to join PML-N were freed.”

In September 2014, an ATC declared five of them innocent, and sentenced the remaining 12 – including Baba Jan – to life imprisonment. A judicial probe was also carried out, but its report was not made public.

After the SAC decision, the local leadership of the AWP called a press conference and vowed to renew their struggle for the release of Baba Jan and 11 other people. The PPP and the PML-N had been blaming each other for the riots, they said, and that was proof that Baba Jan is innocent. On June 12, AWP activists gathered at Nasirabad in solidarity with Baba Jan.

Baba Jan had contested the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly elections from behind the bars in 2015. He was the runner up in the GBLA-6 constituency, which was won by now-governor Mir Ghazanfar Ali, who belongs to the PML-N.

The AWP had announced that Baba Jan would contest the by-polls scheduled on May 28.  On April 30, the returning officer rejected his nomination papers on the grounds of his conviction. Four days later, a court accepted an appeal by Baba Jan’s lawyer against the rejection. But days prior to the election, the SAC ordered postponing the by-polls for three weeks. According to local media, the decision was made to “first complete the hearing of pending criminal cases against Baba Jan”.

The SAC verdict means Baba Jan will not be able to contest the elections, Advocate Nazir said. “However, we have submitted a review petition.”

For political analyst Amir Hussain, that means a missed opportunity “to show the world that we respect dissenting views expressed through the ballot”.

According to veteran journalist Abdul Jabbar Nasir – who says he strongly disagrees with the politics and the ideology of Baba Jan – “the decision was not fair”, especially when the by-polls were approaching.

But he also criticized the AWP for not pleading the case of its workers in a strong way. “The party supports Baba Jan for political reasons, but it did not even bother to hire some leading legal experts of the country for the case,” he said.

The AWP has announced countrywide protests, calling for the judicial probe of the Aliabad incident to be made public, and a review of Baba Jan and his comrades’ conviction. Source

Kalash girl says she chose to convert to Islam – This is what Usually Happens In Pakistan

PESHAWAR: The dispute over the conversion to Islam of a Kalash girl was resolved on Friday as the 14-year-old recorded her statement before a judicial magistrate saying she converted out of free will, a government official confirmed.

Kalash students attend a class at a school in the Brun village of Bumboret valley. ─ AFP

On Thursday, the girl’s decision to convert sparked a clash between the Kalash tribe and members of the Muslim community in the Bamburate Valley of Chitral district, forcing police to use teargas to disperse the mobs. The dispute started apparently because the girl backtracked on her conversion, and the Muslim community accused the Kalash tribe of forcing her to do so.

Deputy Commissioner Chitral Usama Waraich along with his staff reached the valley on Friday and convened a jirga of elders from both sides.

Waraich told DawnNews that the jirga thoroughly discussed the issue and both sides agreed that the girl’s statement will be final and they will accept her will. He said that the administration shifted the girl to Chitral town and presented her before a judicial magistrate.

The girl recorded her statement before the magistrate, “saying she was not forced by any community to convert to Islam,” said the deputy commissioner.

He said the girl’s family and the Kalash community accepted her statement.

“It is now up to the girl whether she lives with her Kalash family or the Muslim community,” he said.

Usama said that the district administration and police are investigating causes of the clash and have registered a First Information Report.

A villager earlier told Dawn newspaper by phone from Chitral that the girl converted to Islam on Wednesday “under the guidance” of a local Muslim, left her home and decided to stay with the man’s family in the same village.

But Luke Rehmat, a Kalash activist, said the girl, a student of class IX, had a change of heart on Thursday, saying that she had made a mistake in converting to Islam and returned to her home.

Following this, he told Dawn, a group of villagers started marching on the Kalash quarter of Bamburate village. They alleged that the girl’s relatives had forcibly taken her away from the Muslim home and compelled her to go back on her conversion.

The Kalash activist also claimed that the villagers attacked a Kalash house with stones and sticks.

Reports said the Kalash community elders and the girl’s family were of the view that the teenager was lured and forced to change her religion.

About 3,000 Kalash live in Bamburate, Birir and Rambur Valleys — all in southern Chitral. Increasingly their youth are converting to Islam, prompting activists to campaign to preserve the traditions of the ancient, diminishing tribe.

Chitral, a northern district of Khyber-Pukhtunkwa province, has long attracted tourists for its beauty. Source

Diana Baig of Hunza, life as Pakistan’s cricket and football star

— AFP or licensors

The talented 20-year-old plays for Pakistan’s national team in both cricket and football.

LAHORE: Diana Baig shifts restlessly in her seat, checking her watch every few seconds at an awards ceremony after leading her cricket team to victory.

Soon she has to play a football match at another venue, and time is ticking.

Baig is no stranger to the pressure. The talented 20-year-old plays for Pakistan’s national team in both cricket and football, representing the country as one of the “Girls in Green” at the recent World Twenty20 tournament in India in between practicing her penalty shoot-out skills.

“It was an honour to be selected for the T20 squad,” she says, in between glances at her watch.

She did not make the starting team, but being at the tournament — even from the sidelines — was “very encouraging for me — it gave me new life, a new energy”.

Pakistani national cricket and football player Diana Baig gestures as she speaks during an interview in Lahore. — AFP
Pakistani national cricket and football player Diana Baig gestures as she speaks during an interview in Lahore. — AFP

The 20-year-old grew up playing street cricket and football with other children in the magnificent Hunza Valley, their makeshift arenas ringed by some of the world’s tallest mountains in Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan.

The fact that she was a girl did not matter, she says: Baig belongs to the Ismaili sect of Shia Islam, who are followers of the Aga Khan — infamous in conservative Pakistan for their moderate views.

That largely freed her from the restrictions placed on other, more conservative women in the Muslim country, where her gender is battling for greater freedom.

From the streets, Baig began playing in community events and for local teams, and by 2010 she was leading the newly-formed Gilgit-Baltistan women’s team.

Two years later, she was selected for Pakistan’s A side, and then as a reserve player for the 2013 World Cup.

In 2015 she finally won her first international cap, playing for Pakistan against Bangladesh.

Diana Baig runs to field the ball during a domestic cricket championship match in Islamabad. — AFP
Diana Baig runs to field the ball during a domestic cricket championship match in Islamabad. — AFP

But Baig says she had her moments of despair along the way.

“A time came when I could not see my future bright like this,” she admits.

Being selected for the A side changed all that. “After that, I started to work hard.”

Accidental football star

Her journey to the forefront of Pakistani women’s football was even more dramatic.

In cricket-obsessed Pakistan, football — especially women’s football — finds itself largely unable to compete in the popularity stakes.

But while playing cricket in Islamabad in 2010, Baig tried out for the Gilgit-Baltistan football team on a whim after friends told her they needed players.

She made the team and, to her disbelief, in 2014 was selected to play for Pakistan at the SAFF Championships in Bahrain.

She has been a member of the starting 11 as a defender ever since, she says, unable to hide her excitement.

Diana Baig takes part in a football training session at a ground in Lahore. — AFP
Diana Baig takes part in a football training session at a ground in Lahore. — AFP

Baig has had to fight harder for her cricket career.

Unlike in men’s cricket, Pakistan’s women’s players are not contracted and are selected on a match by match basis from lower-ranked teams, such as the several hundred playing at the provincial level.

That means that there were times when Baig was in — and times when she was out.

Fighting to keep her place was complicated by the fact that — again, unlike the men — Pakistan’s women have no regular facilities or practice time, meaning Baig was forced to rely on training with her university team to keep up to international standard.

But her selection for the World T20 meant the hard work on the playing fields at the Lahore College for Women University had paid off.

“It is because of this college, this ground, because regular practice is very important,” she says.

Diana Baig shares a light moment with her colleagues at a football club in Lahore. — AFP
Diana Baig shares a light moment with her colleagues at a football club in Lahore. — AFP

Having it all

Now Baig is fighting to maintain a crucial balance between her sporting dreams and an education. “It becomes very hard,” she says.

“I try to start from football… I play football in the morning, then our cricket training starts around 11 or 12 noon and continues until 3:00 pm or 4:00 pm.”

After that, she says, she heads to her university hostel for food and drink.

“I start studying during the night, continuing until late.”

Diana Baig spends quality time with her friends. — AFP
Diana Baig spends quality time with her friends. — AFP

Women’s cricket is growing in popularity in Pakistan, she says, with corporations such as mobile companies increasingly arranging sports events.

The women’s team received unprecedented support from Pakistani fans disillusioned by the men’s dismal performance during the World T20 in India, with the hashtag #GirlsinGreen trending.

With cricket taking up more and more time, her studies — she is on a full scholarship at the university, where she is in her first semester of a health and physical education degree — are suffering, Baig admits.

“But one has to manage it.”

Though determined, she knows that one day she will have to choose.

When asked which path she will take, she laughed.

“You know, in Asia, there is more charm in cricket,” she says, acknowledging her playing for the football team is the harder road. Dawn

Diana Baig delivers the ball during a domestic cricket championship match in Islamabad. — AFP


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