Religious scholars responsible for spreading message of peace and tolerance: PM Nawaz

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said it is the responsibility of religious scholars to help the state eradicate terrorism from the country.

He was addressing a seminar at Jamia Naeemia, a seminary considered close to the Sharif family.

“In Pakistan and in the world, hate is being spread in the name of Islam,” he said. “It is the responsibility of religious scholars to free the name of Islam from terrorists.”

Nawaz also claimed his government had brought the political leadership, the Army and police together, and that the Pakistan’s fight against terrorism had brought peace in the country for the most part.

“However, terror incidents continue to happen sporadically. We need religious leaders to come together and help the state eliminate terrorism in this final battle,” he added.

Speaking about the chaos spread by what he termed incorrect interpretations of Islam, the PM urged the scholars present to disseminate the “real narrative of peace” through religious seminaries and reject the narratives that preach secular hate and the “distorted concept” of jihad.

“Religious scholars in the past disagreed with each other, but they never incited hatred in their followers’ hearts regarding other sects,” Sharif added.

“We need to ask ourselves if our religious institutions are producing faithful believers or the flag-bearers for different sects. We need to ask if the country is being united or divided in the name of religion,” the PM said.

“The ulema have the mosque’s pulpit as their forum, from where they can be heard all over Pakistan.”

“It is still the most effective way of reaching out to the people of the country. You can spread the message of unity from here and shut the doors of terrorism in the country,” he pleaded.

The prime minister also touched upon the rise of intolerance on the basis of ethnicity and provincial division, stressing that religious leaders should preach tolerance.

“Once again, the Muslim League has to fight the case for Pakistan’s unity,” Sharif said. “In this journey, we need your help. You should refrain from speaking about the differences between religious sects and stand against provincial and regional differences,” he concluded.

Elon Musk promises Australian power woes fix in 100 days

Tesla chief Elon Musk is promising to solve an energy crisis in Australia or his company’s services are free.

A Tesla executive mentioned to the Australian Financial Review that the company would install the batteries needed to prevent ongoing blackouts in South Australia and have the situation fixed within 100 days.

Australia billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes asked Musk on Twitter how serious he was about the bet. Musk replied: “Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?”

Cannon-Brookes enthusiastically accepted the deal and said he’ll work on politics and funding for the project.

In addition to Tesla, Musk also leads NASA contractor SpaceX.

Shadab looks back to the future after training camp call-up

KARACHI: There is an unmistakable aura about Shadab Khan. An extraordinary debut in the 2017 HBL Pakistan Super League has catapulted him on the threshold of international cricket after the teenaged spinner was named among 31 players for the West Indies ODI and T20 series training camp.

Shadab was undoubtedly the find of the PSL Season 2 after impressing many people while playing for dethroned champions Islamabad United for whom he bagged nine wickets in eight matches as well as making useful runs apart from exhibiting his all-round talent with breathtaking fielding.

In an exclusive interview with Dawn on Friday, the 18-year-old from Rawalpindi expressed his delight at being called up for the national camp, which starts from Saturday in Lahore.

“At this point in time I am actually lost for words and just don’t know what to say really. The feeling of joy is uncontrollable because my family is very happy for me,” Shadab said a few hours prior to leaving for Lahore by road. “Almighty Allah has been very kind to me thus far.”

An introvert by nature, Shadab has made rapid strides just a year after emerging as one of the star performers at the ICC Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh. Since then he had toured England and Zimbabwe with Pakistan ‘A’ and grown in stature. At Bulawayo last October in only his third first-class match, Shadab not only picked up nine Zimbabwe ‘A’ wickets but also struck 132 off 161 balls to play a pivotal role in Pakistan ‘A’s eight-wicket win.

Hailing from a family, which settled down in Rawalpindi about nine years after moving from Mianwali where Shadab was born on Oct 4, 1998 and second youngest among five sisters and three brothers, he remains very modest about his development as a cricketer of great promise.

“I’m very lucky to find some wonderful people who became cricketing teachers. Sabih Azhar [head coach of Rawalpindi region] has been my mentor from the day he spotted me from obscurity when I was playing tape-ball cricket in the streets. Whatever I have achieved is mainly because of him,” Shadab revealed.

“And then when I was picked for the Under-19 World Cup, I came across Mohammad Masroor, who was our head coach. He gave me confidence to express myself with without hindrance, as he did the same with all other players in the squad. We reached the semi-finals where we lost to [eventual winners] West Indies.”

When asked what made him take up the game, Shadab said it was after he watched legendary Australian spin wizard Shane Warne play.

“In fact, I was captivated by the way he delivered the ball. I started practicing for hours by imagining as if I was him. Nobody said anything then and I became good enough to bowl in actual matches we played in those days,” he said.

“But when Sabih bhai took me under wings, he advised me to make minor adjustments. I used to rush up the crease, but Sabih bhai told to relax by slowing the bowling action and this change has given confidence because I’m more assured than before. Otherwise, I’m my own coach! And unlike Warne, I see myself as an all-rounder, batting or bowling. I’m a great admirer of [Australian skipper] Steve Smith. He was someone I met in a Dubai hotel lift briefly during the PSL.”

Shadab didn’t play the opening PSL match for Islamabad and did not take any wicket in the first three games he played. But thereafter he made such an impact that everybody took notice as Misbah-ul-Haq, who skippered Shadab on his List ‘A’ debut during the Pakistan Cup last year, encouraged and backed him to the hilt.

“I was nervous at the start for obvious reasons — presence of so many stars whom I hardly knew before. But Misbah bhai told me to calm down and simply enjoy the limelight. Wasim Akram and Dean Jones were tremendous help. Brad Haddin, Shane Watson and Sam Billings were also very supportive both on and off the field and get over my nervousness,” Shadab remarked.

“The sort of international exposure PSL provided me was just awesome. Watching the routine ethics of these international players spurred me to emulate them. My father, who works in Dubai, also inspired me when he came to see some of the matches.

“Among the wickets I took in the PSL, I thoroughly enjoyed dismissing the Akmal brothers [Kamran and Umar] and Babar Azam. I had Umar out with a googly of which he had no clue at all after feeding him with a couple of leg-breaks. I told Misbah about my plan beforehand that ‘Insha’Allah I get his wicket with a googly’ and the captain backed me. Regardless of what people say, I found Misbah an ideal captain for a leggie because he backs you to the hilt.”

About his future goals, Shadab remains optimistic. “I have left my education incomplete after doing Matric and would at least like to have a degree. Both my brothers are now working as engineers but I love to be a good student as well as a good enough cricketer.”

India moves Tipu Sultan’s armoury to lay rail track

MYSORE: Dozens of workers are using cranes and jacks to shove and push a 1,000-tonne, 18th century armoury to make way for a new rail track in a southern Indian state.

The armoury was one of the ten structures built to store gunpowder and weapons by warrior king Tipu Sultan who ruled the kingdom of Mysore between 1782 and 1799.

Workers are in process of lifting the 225-year-old brick and lime mortar monument and moving it nearly 130 metres from the original spot near Mysore city in Karnataka state.

The monument is expected to be safely relocated by the weekend, authorities said.

The semi-buried structure at Srirangapatna town was put on steel beams on Monday and moved using hydraulic push rams after experts said it was obstructing construction of a key rail link between Mysore and capital Bangalore.

“We could not alter the line as there were more important monuments in the vicinity where the tracks are being laid,” Ravi Chandra, a senior railway official, told a local newspaper.

Sultan’s kingdom included parts of present day states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu in southern India.

The powerful ruler was killed in the fourth Anglo-Mysore war in 1799 after defeating the British East India Company in previous battles.

He is credited with developing an indigenous rocket known as Mysorean rocket, a prototype of British Congreve rockets that was used in the Napoleonic wars.

Xi calls for ‘great wall of iron’ to safeguard restive Xinjiang

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called for a “great wall of iron” to safeguard the restive western region of Xinjiang after a top official said Islamist separatists pose the “most prominent” challenge to the country’s stability.

Xi made the comments at a meeting of Xinjiang’s lawmakers on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, marking his first ever visit to the regional delegation since taking office.

Beijing has long said it faces a determined campaign by a group known as the East Turkestan Independence Movement, or ETIM, in Xinjiang, where hundreds of people have been killed in recent years in attacks and unrest between mostly Muslim ethnic Uighurs and the majority Han Chinese.

“(ETIM) is the most prominent challenge to China’s social stability, economic development and national security,” Cheng Guoping, State Commissioner for counter-terrorism and security, was quoted as saying by the China Daily newspaper.

The comments come about a week after a video purportedly by the militant Islamic State group surfaced showing Uighurs training in Iraq, vowing to plant their flag in China and saying that blood will “flow in rivers”.

“Just as one loves one’s own eyes, one must love ethnic unity; just as one takes one’s own livelihood seriously, one must take ethnic unity seriously,” Xi told the delegation, according to the state broadcaster.

The daily evening news showed Xi meeting delegates in traditional Uighur dress, with one individual presenting him with a photo of a Uighur family whose relative once met Mao Zedong, the founder of modern China.

“I’m too excited. In 1958 old Kuerban met Chairman Mao in Beijing and now I’m meeting Chairman Xi,” he said in heavily accented Mandarin.

China is worried that Uighurs have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for militant groups there, having travelled illegally via Southeast Asia and Turkey.

Rights groups say the unrest in Xinjiang is more a reaction to repressive government policies, and experts have questioned whether ETIM exists as a cohesive militant group. China denies there is any repression in Xinjiang.

Cheng told the China Daily that China should “closely check in on whether Afghanistan is becoming another paradise for extremist and terrorist groups. Such a major development may pose a serious challenge to the security of our northwestern border”.