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Capital Watch by Munawar Naqvi 25-12-2023

Returns Sitara-e-Imtiaz in protest over violence against Baloch marchers

Author and journalist Mohammed Hanif has announced Saturday to return Sitara-e-Imtiaz, the third-highest civilian award of Pakistan, back to the State in protest over the violence meted out to Baloch marchers, during the week.
Reacting to a video of a Baloch girl pleading with the authorities for the “right to live”, Hanif lambasted the authorities for mistreatment of the Baloch protesters saying he was ashamed to witness a new generation being denied basic dignity.
“In protest, returning my Sitara-e-Imtiaz, given to me by a state that continues to abduct and torture Baloch citizens. Journalists of my generation have seen @SammiBaluch and @MahrangBaloch_ grow up in protest camps. Ashamed to witness a new generation being denied basic dignity,” Hanif wrote on his X account.
Hanif – a journalist, novelist, and playwright known for his famous work “A Case of Exploding Mangoes” – was honoured with the third-highest civilian award in Pakistan back in 2018.
His remarks come after marchers (led by women) protesting against enforced disappearances of Baloch men, under the banner of Baloch Yakjehti Council (BYC), reached Islamabad and were subsequently subjected to baton-charge and mass arrests by the Islamabad Police.
The crackdown triggered widespread condemnations from human rights bodies and political parties.

Sirajul Haq commends Tehran’s support for the Palestinian Muslims

Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Sirajul Haq has appreciated Tehran’s support for Palestinian Muslims, hoping leaders in the Muslim world would adopt a similar strong stance in solidarity with the people of Gaza, who are resisting the atrocities of Israeli forces.
He was talking to Iranian Ambassador Reza Amiri Moghaddam who called on him during the week and discussed Pakistan-Iran relations, regional situation and matters of mutual interests. JI Foreign Affairs Director Asif Luqman Qazi was also present in the meeting.
Sirajul Haq emphasized that the positive relations between Pakistan and Iran bring benefits to both nations, stressing the need for the two Muslim neighbors to enhance economic ties for regional prosperity and development.
He identified the presence of US forces in different regions as a primary cause of instability and security deterioration. He criticized Washington’s unethical and illegal support for Israel, attributing it to the killing and genocide carried out by Tel Aviv forces in Gaza. Despite global demonstrations and calls for a ceasefire by the UN, Israeli forces continued their violent actions in Gaza, resulting in the deaths of thousands, including children and women. He lamented the world’s inability to stop these atrocities.
Moghaddam expressed that Pak-Iran relations are based on mutual respect and Muslim brotherhood. He commended JI’s role in supporting Palestinians, viewing the party’s efforts positively. He also appreciated Haq’s role in promoting sectarian harmony.

ASEAN BBQ Day’s festivities foster the sense of prosperity

The ASEAN countries recently came together to celebrate a vibrant BBQ Day, fostering camaraderie among the ASEAN communities. The event was graciously hosted, during the week, by the esteemed High Commissioner of Malaysia, Azhar Mazlan, who also serves as the Chairman of the Islamabad ASEAN Committee.
As the event unfolded, High Commissioner Azhar Mazlan extended a warm welcome to the guests, emphasizing the significance of the day in strengthening the bonds between the diverse ASEAN communities present. His opening remarks highlighted the cultural richness and shared values that unite the ASEAN nations.
The BBQ Day provided a unique platform for cultural exchange, where attendees had the opportunity to engage in lively conversations, savor delicious cuisine, and appreciate the diverse traditions represented within the ASEAN region. The festivities were a testament to the spirit of unity and cooperation that defines the relationship among the ASEAN countries in Islamabad.
In his capacity as the Chairman, High Commissioner Azhar Mazlan expressed his gratitude for the collaborative efforts that made the event a success, underscoring the importance of such gatherings in promoting mutual understanding and friendship among the ASEAN nations.
Overall, the BBQ Day served as a delightful occasion for the ASEAN communities to come together, fostering a sense of community and shared identity in the heart of Islamabad.
The ASEAN member countries have collaboratively established vibrant food stalls showcasing a delectable array of culinary delights and cherished traditional delicacies. These stalls were not just about nourishment; they offer a sensory journey through the rich tapestry of flavors, aromas, and textures that define the diverse culinary heritage of the region.
From the sizzling street food to the aromatic spices of, each stall beckons visitors with mouth-watering creations that embody the essence of ASEAN’s gastronomic diversity. The communal atmosphere surrounding these stalls fostered cultural exchange, inviting people to connect over shared meals and discover the unique stories behind each dish.