Thursday, 24 November, 2022
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Pakistan, Iran to promote ‘Islamic unity’ with art contest weeks after Prophet cartoon row

There was an outcry among Muslims worldwide over the publishing of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in France and Emmanuel Macron’s pledge to fight ‘Islamist separatism’.

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New Delhi: The Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) and the Embassy of Iran in Islamabad Thursday opened registrations for an art competition to promote “Islamic unity” and “solidarity, harmony and unity among Islamic world”. 

Participants are expected to complete their online submissions of a photograph, painting or graphic design by 15 December, according to the PNCA website. The winner will receive PKR 35,000.

The move comes weeks after outcry among Muslims worldwide over the publication of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in France and French President Emmanuel Macron’s subsequent pledge to fight “Islamist separatism”. 

Since September, France has seen a spate of terrorist attacks that began with a knife attack near former Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris after the magazine republished contentious cartoons of Prophet Muhammed. It later saw the beheading of a French teacher for showing caricatures of Prophet Muhammed to his class and then a stabbing attack in Nice.

In February 2019, on the 40th Anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Iran and Pakistan had organised a Calligraphy Exhibition in Islamabad.

Concert in Karachi stopped midway over Covid norms violations

A concert featuring Shamoon Ismail, a 29-year-old Islamabad-based singer known for blending “Punjabi and blues”, held at Avari Towers, Karachi was halted by police midway Saturday night.

According to South Karachi Deputy Commissioner Irshad Sodhar, the action was taken after they received a complaint that Covid-19 norms like social distancing and wearing of face masks were not being followed at the concert. “We will not tolerate violations against any precautions given by the government,” the commissioner tweeted about the incident.

According to Sohaib Lari, who played the bass guitar during the performance, the singer had already performed six songs when the concert was abruptly halted. There is speculation that the event organisers were fined Rs 1 lakh over violation of norms. 

Ismail later posted a story on Instagram to his 78,800 followers saying, “Unexpected end to a great vibe”. In March this year, the well-known singer courted controversy for a racist tweet about the spread of Covid.

Also read: Khadim Rizvi’s blasphemy fire will only intensify. It’s out of Imran Khan govt’s control now

Fishermen against govt plans to develop islands off Arabian Sea coast

Marking World Fisheries Day Saturday, the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) organised an event at Mir Jamot Jetty in the coastal neighbourhood of Ibrahim Hyderi where speakers, including PFF chairman, rejected plans to develop islands off the Arabian Sea.

In October, the Pakistan government took over the twin islands of Bundal and Buddo (locally known as Bhandar and Dingi) off the country’s Arabian Sea coast in the Sindh province through a presidential ordinance with a view to build a megacity that will “surpass Dubai” and attract investment of $50 billion.

The move prompted strong objection from Sindhi activists who claim it will only benefit the wealthy while harming the ecology of the delta.

Among the six million fishermen in the Sindh province, there are fears that they will be deprived of their livelihood. 

Celebrities join advisory board on Kashmir 

On 4 November, Pakistan’s Kashmir Committee Chairman Shehryar Afridi constituted a board of top celebrities in Pakistan to play an advisory role in the Kashmir issue.

The board will advise on measures to preserve the heritage, culture and sports of “Jammu and Kashmir” and its “amalgamation with Pakistan”, Afridi said in a tweet.

Artists who have been invited include actor Humayun Saeed, television personality Saba Qamar, film director Syed Noor, tennis players Aisam ul Haq, former squash player Jahangir Khan and others, according to a Dawn report.

Also read: China has become a major exporter of armed drones, Pakistan is among its 11 customers


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