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Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan congratulate Pakistani Hindus on Diwali

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Karachi: Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif became the first head of the government to attend a Diwali function, organised by Hindus in Karachi on Wednesday.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan speaking on Thursday at a public gathering organised by the party to celebrate Diwali in Umerkot, pledged to protect Pakistani Hindus in the country and said they will not be left alone like Muslims marginalised by Shiv Sena in India.

“Under a PTI government, a new Pakistan will emerge where police will not be used to harass anyone, justice will prevail and equal rights of provinces will be ensured,” Imran reportedly said.

Similar words were echoed by Nawaz Sharif, who called for all Muslims to accept Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis and other minorities living in the country as equals and pointed out that they had all participated in the building of Pakistan.

The prime minister also called on the Hindu community to invite him more to their festivals and urged all to take part and attend such occasions as it propagates unity. 

An editorial “Embracing diversity” in the News International suggested that the speech “goes far beyond a simple address on a holy occasion”.

“For one it acts to mainstream minority groups in the country and draw them into the social fabric of a divided nation.”

The editorial from News International went on to say that the next logical step from this point would be to ensure that those who commit crimes against minority groups are penalised under the law for their offences. “The fact that they have in the past too often escaped scot-free can only encourage such atrocities. In the name of religion, villages have been burnt, people beaten to death and women abducted.”

While welcoming his message, the daily observed that in Pakistan, “to succeed, PM Nawaz will need to go beyond attending functions or sharing in ceremonies”.

(IANS)

 

 

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Delhi’s Air Quality Leads To Ban On Trucks And Construction

The measures include a ban on industries using coal and biomass, brick kilns, construction activities and entry of trucks into Delhi.

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India, air pollution, WHO, diwali, Pollution, Delhi, egypt, air quality
A man walks in front of the India Gate shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India. VOA

With no improvement in the air quality of Delhi-NCR even three days after Diwali, the environment authority on Saturday extended the ban on the entry of trucks, construction and polluting industries.

The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on Saturday ordered the Delhi government to extend the ban which was imposed on November 2.

Pollution, Delhi, egypt, air quality
As pollution levels spike, Delhi and its satellite towns are enveloped in a haze of smog. VOA

The restrictions imposed till November 10 were extended to November 12, by when there will be an improvement in the air quality of Delhi-NCR, as forecast by pollution monitoring agencies.

The restrictions were imposed by the EPCA under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

Delhi’s air quality started deteriorating a day after Diwali to “severe-plus” or “emergency” due to fireworks and weather conditions like wind speed and dipping mercury, leading to lower dispersion rate of pollutants. The Air Quality Index (AQI) on Saturday was 401 or “severe”.

India, air pollution, WHO, diwali, Pollution, Delhi, egypt, air quality
A bird flies past the Humayun’s Tomb shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India. VOA

“The CPCB-headed task force has informed EPCA that given the prevailing adverse conditions, the following measures will remain until November 12, when it will further review the situation and inform us,” said EPCA Chairman Bhure Lal, in a letter to Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, the Delhi Environment Secretary and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee.

Also Read: Delhi’s Pollution Brings Down The Diwali High

The measures include a ban on industries using coal and biomass, brick kilns, construction activities and entry of trucks into Delhi. The restrictions exclude power plants and waste to energy plants. (IANS)