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Pakistan

Truth must come out

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From the cradle to the grave we are instructed by society to speak truth. Yet the practice carries more penalties than speaking an outright lie does.

Faheem Ahmad Profile Faheem Ahmad

A controversial skill, then, to be truthful. If ever we decide to stand by the truth, then we are asked to consider the doctrine of (particular) necessity, self-made social norms and even national security. The majority among us refuse to engage with such complications and instead take either to keeping silent or even lying. This social duplicity has kept us back as a people and as a country.

I have no qualms in saying that this social conditioning, this belief that one cannot disagree with obsolete traditions and norms, with your elders, with those who hold senior positions to you and with state policies is absolutely wrong. Had this been wrong then would our religious figures, our revolutionary leaders, our reformists have brought about the change that they did?

I do not say that in our disagreement we let go of our manners when talking to our elders or that we do not consider the state when giving an honest opinion. But I do insist that we realize that there is a difference between loyalty and slavery. Speaking the truth, listening to the truth and self-accountability does not harm us, belief in black and white narratives does. Suppressing facts leads to the promotion of distortion. In simple words, a point comes when it is becomes difficult to differentiate between a truth and a lie. From that point onwards, social chaos is always close by.

Restricting the truth also leads to an atmosphere of suppression, one that has the potential to turn into lava. There is nothing more painful than observing injustice but not being able to comment on it or write about it. The anger turns into resentment and eventually anger. When young people are asked to perform this impossible task, they turn their resentment towards the state. Lets hope such a point does not arise in the country or else our system will collapse and we will have to build, from scratch, a new one.

For those who are paying attention, the clues point towards our society marching towards this threshold. From our political class, to our religious leaders, to the analysts who appear on TV daily, almost all have abandoned the truth in favor of advantageous versions of facts. Where else can this road go, on which are being marched, but towards a society full of cruelty and barbarism?

There is a faction that believes this system will keep on moving ahead despite this glaring threat. History is not their forte or else they would know how misplaced their belief is. This system can be changed and will be changed, the road to that change has been determined since eternity. It is simply, holding high the banners of truth even when all else around you degenerates into misinformation. If we wish to change the luck of this country than we must follow this path, stopping for nothing till we have achieved our goal.

Yes, there are many obstacles ahead. But if we are being asked to put on blindfolds, our hands are being bound to stop them from putting truth on paper, and our tongues are being locked up, then we have been left with no choice. Freedom does not come without sacrifice.

 

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Regional

Eid al-Adha: Pakistan railways to run three special trains

Pakistan Railways announced on Saturday that three special train services would be run on the occasion of Eid ul Azha.

Published by Mehak Javed

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Lahore: In a bid to facilitate the passengers, Pakistan Railways has announced to run three special trains on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha on multiple routes. 

The spokesperson of Pakistan railways said that the first Eid special train will leave from Quetta to Peshawar on Friday at 10 am. 

The second special train will leave Karachi for Lahore on Friday, while the third Eid special train from Lahore to Karachi on July 13. 

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Pakistan

Saad Rafique briefs PM Shehbaz on reforms

During the meeting, the political situation in the country was discussed.

Published by Mehak Javed

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Lahore: Minister for Railways and Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafiq Saturday called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and apprised him over the reforms process in railways and aviation sectors.

During the meeting, the political situation in the country was discussed.

The prime minister was further apprised that implementation of COVID-19 related Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were being ensured during travelling in railways and airlines and especially on the occasion of Eid.

Earlier in tha day, Pakistan Railways has announced to run three special trains on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha on multiple routes to facilitate passengers. 

The spokesperson of Pakistan railways said that the first Eid special train will leave from Quetta to Peshawar on Friday at 10 am. 

The second special train will leave Karachi for Lahore on Friday, while the third Eid special train from Lahore to Karachi on July 13. 

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Sports

US basketball star goes on trial in Russia on drug charges

Brittney Griner was formally told at this first hearing that she was charged with intentionally importing narcotics into Russia

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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US basketball star Brittney Griner went on trial in a court on the outskirts of Moscow on Friday to hear drug charges that could see her serve up to 10 years in a Russian jail.

Griner, 31, was formally told at this first hearing that she was charged with intentionally importing narcotics into Russia. She spoke to say she understood the charges. The judge set the next hearing for July 7.

Griner, who has played regularly in Russia as well as in the U.S. Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), was arrested at a Moscow airport in February, allegedly with vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.

The case takes place against a backdrop of high tension between Moscow and Washington over the conflict in Ukraine. U.S. officials say Griner has been detained wrongfully.

Griner arrived at Khimki City Court, near Sheremetyevo Airport, in handcuffs shortly after noon (0900 GMT), wearing a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt and sneakers without laces.

Three employees of the U.S. embassy, including deputy chief of mission Elizabeth Rood, were present in the courtroom. Griner sat in the defendant's cage with a plastic bag of cookies and a bottle of mineral water.

Griner told a Reuters reporter she was finding detention hard because she could not speak Russian, and that she was unable to keep up her fitness because she could do only general exercises such as stretching.

Her lawyers declined to say how she planned to plead.

'TOUGH LADY'

"She is a bit worried because she has the trial and the sentencing in the close future. But she is a tough lady. I think that she will manage," lawyer Alexander Boykov said after the hearing.

Rood said the United States was working very hard to bring Griner home: "She asked me to convey that she is in good spirits and is keeping up the faith."

Asked about the case, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied it was politically motivated. 
 
"I can only operate with known facts, and the facts indicate that the eminent athlete was detained with illegal drugs that contained narcotic substances. There are articles in Russian legislation that provide for punishment for such crimes," he told reporters. "Only the court can pass a verdict."

U.S. officials and numerous athletes have called for the release of Griner - or "BG" as she is known to basketball fans.

Some have expressed concerns that Moscow could use the two-time Olympic gold medallist to negotiate the release of a high-profile Russian in U.S. custody.

Griner, a centre for the Phoenix Mercury, had played for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the Russian Women's Basketball Premier League to boost her income during the WNBA off-season, like several other U.S. players.

Some have left the Russian league since Griner's detention and Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, while the WNBA regular season kicked off in May.

Reached by email on Friday, the WNBA said it did not have an immediate statement.

Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, told CNN in an interview on Thursday that she hoped for a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, saying: "I would love for him to tell me he cares."

"The rhetoric and the actions don't match," she said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that he had "no higher priority" than bringing home Griner and other "wrongfully detained Americans."

"We won't stop working until they are reunited with their loved ones," he said.

U.S. Representative Colin Allred, a Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee who has met with State Department staff handling Griner's case, told CNN it was important for Griner's supporters to continue public pleas for her release.

"At one point the best thing to do was to try to keep this out of the headlines," he said. "Now we are at the point where outside political pressure, outside global pressure... hoping that every single kind of pressure can help."

The U.S. government has warned citizens against travelling to Russia in light of the "potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials".

SOURCE: REUTERS

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