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Govt extends 10 days for receiving Hajj applications

The minister stated that both regular and sponsor schemes are extending the duration.

Published by Noor Fatima



Islamabad: The federal government Monday decided to extend 10 days for receiving Hajj applications.

Talking to the media in Islamabad, Religious Affairs Minister Aneeq Ahmed said that the date for submission of Hajj applications under the government scheme has been extended.

He stated that both regular and sponsor schemes are extending the duration. Despite the low-cost package compared to last year, the reason for less number of applications is the lack of affordability for the people.

Earlier, in the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee, the officials of the Ministry of Religious Affairs said that the Hajj expenses have been reduced by Rs100,000.

Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said that efforts to provide more relief to the pilgrims are underway. A sub-committee has also been set up to meet the caretaker prime minister.

On the other hand, the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs also approved a unanimous resolution to stop atrocities in Gaza.

Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, chairman of the committee, stated that it is necessary to prosecute Israel and its supporters for war crimes. He also demanded that Israel and its supporters be punished by the International Court of Justice.

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Poor Things stars Emma Stone as a horny Frankenstein’s monster coming of age

Stone reunites with The Favourite director Yorgos Lanthimos for a lovable movie from one of our prickliest filmmakers.

Published by Web Desk



Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos is famous for making strange and chilly movies: 2016’s eerie dramedy The Lobster; 2018’s The Favourite, a cynical comedy; movies about power games and humans hurting each other and brutal, unforgiving worlds, shot through with jarring visual non sequiturs (the lobster race in the royal bedchambers in The Favourite haunts me).

Poor Things, Lanthimos’s latest film, is a different story. It’s less vicious than his other work, more tender and approachable. It has plenty of the bizarre visual flair Lanthimos cut his teeth on, from his signature extreme wide angles up to and including a bulldog with the head of a duck frolicking through a grand living room. Yet Poor Things, based on a 1992 novel by Alasdair Gray, is joyous in its weirdness, joyous in its exploration and celebration of its strange, strange world. This movie is incredibly fun to watch.

Mostly that’s because of Emma Stone, reuniting here with Lanthimos after she was Oscar-nominated for her work in The Favourite. In Poor Things, Stone is doing some of the best work of her career as Bella Baxter, a grown woman with the brain (literally) of an infant.

This is a very physical, very grounded performance. Stone has a terrific walk: just a touch of Frankenstein jerkiness showing as Bella tries to control limbs she isn’t used to, head always on a swivel as she tries to take in more and more of the ever-fascinating brand new world. Faced with something she doesn’t care for, she glares her giant eyes up from under dyed-black beetled brows and then, usually, punches it. “Bluh,” she says gleefully, if the thing in question bleeds.

Bella lives with her guardian, Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe, gently avuncular). She calls him God. Godwin is an experimental surgeon working at the very limits of steampunk 19th-century science, and he himself is the product of endless sadistic science experiments at his father’s hands. Bella likes him to crawl into her bed at night, but he assures his worried assistant that there’s nothing untoward going on there. For one thing, he’s impotent after his father’s experiments. For another thing, he considers Bella to be his daughter.

Godwin celebrates Bella’s natural curiosity, but only up to a point. He’s delighted to help her refine her speech and her movements, and he lets her experiment with him in his laboratory, as long as she is only cutting up corpses rather than living bodies. He even brings her a suitor, sweet Max (Ramy Youssef, in puppy dog mode).

Godwin will not, however, let Bella leave his home, a fantastical menagerie populated with his various experiments, which Lanthimos shoots in moody black and white. When Bella inevitably rebels enough to leave God behind and see the world, the screen blooms into hyper-saturated color, all the blues removed, so that Bella becomes Dorothy walking into a gilded Oz.

Bella runs away to see the world with the help of the rakish Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo, enjoying himself), a lawyer with a well-oiled mustache and a permanent sneer. Duncan finds Bella’s naivete and hunger for the world intoxicating, while she is won over by his willingness to help her discover sex. (Max chastely declines when Bella proposes they rub their genitals together.) “Why do people not do this all the time?” she demands of Duncan, post-coital and mystified.

Once on the continent, however, Bella does what girls do in Europe and discovers philosophy. Her mind thus expanded, she looks askance on her lover’s myopia. “My heart has become dim towards your swearing, weepy person,” she informs Duncan. Surviving Europe without Duncan will require Bella to dabble in both socialism and sex work, which she does with a good will.

The allegory here is straightforward: Bella is infantilized Victorian femininity, a grown woman pushed by controlling men into living her life like a child. She finds redemption by taking control of her fate, body, and mind for herself.

The reason the allegory works, though, is how vividly we see Bella’s radiant newborn mind embrace all that life has to offer her: sex, food, music, travel. She seems to watch her own life with the fierce scientific detachment she must have learned from her God. Faced with a choice, it’s generally clear to Bella what the wise thing to do is. That’s the option she usually ignores. She goes for the interesting pathway instead.

Bella’s impulse to do the interesting thing leads her, in the final act of Poor Things, to investigate the life her body led before her child mind was implanted inside of it. This act is the weakest of the film by far, the point where the allegory becomes clunky rather than clever, the action takes a turn for the dull, and Bella more or less stops developing. It’s hard to avoid the sense that the movie could have ended twenty minutes earlier and be all the better for it.

Still, it is always joyful to watch Bella navigate her world: gorging on sugar pastries, swishing her hips in an avant-garde ballet of sorts, discussing the intricacies of consent with her johns. (Holly Waddington’s witty costumes are an especial pleasure, with their enormous ruffled collars framing Bella’s neck like a glam version of Frankenstein’s bolts.) Bella is an enormously lovable character, a fitting heart for this lovable movie from one of our prickliest directors.

Poor Things will be released in theaters on December 8, 2023.

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Pakistan rejects judgment announced by Indian SC on status of IIOJK

Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani says the judicial endorsement of India's unilateral and illegal actions of 5 August 2019 is a travesty of justice, based on distorted historical and legal arguments.

Published by Hussnain Bhutta



Islamabad: Pakistan on Monday categorically rejected the judgment announced by the Supreme Court of India on the status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad on Thursday, Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani said the judicial endorsement of India's unilateral and illegal actions of 5 August 2019 is a travesty of justice, based on distorted historical and legal arguments.

He said India cannot abdicate its international obligations on the pretext of domestic legislations and judicial verdicts. Its plans to annex IIOJK are bound to fail.

The Foreign Minister said the Indian Supreme Court's verdict fails to recognize the internationally-recognized disputed nature of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. It further fails to cater to the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, who have already rejected India's illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019. The judgment is yet another manifestation of the pliant judiciary under India's ruling dispensation.

Jalil Abbas Jilani said the restoration of statehood, conduct of State Assembly elections or similar steps cannot serve as a substitute to the grant of the right to self-determination to the Kashmiri people.

He said the judgment cannot distract the international community's attention from the gross and systematic human rights violations being perpetrated in IIOJK.

The Foreign Minister said India's unilateral and illegal measures since 5 August 2019 have been aimed at changing the demographic structure and political landscape of the IIOJK, in flagrant violation of international law and the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, especially Resolution 122 of 1957. They remain a matter of grave concern for Pakistan as their ultimate goal is to convert the Kashmiris into a disempowered community in their own land. These measures must be rescinded to create an environment for peace and dialogue.

He said Pakistan will continue to extend its full political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of IIOJK for realization of their inalienable right to self-determination.

The Foreign Minister said Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally-recognized dispute, which remains on the agenda of the UN Security Council for over seven decades.

He said the final disposition of Jammu and Kashmir is to be made in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions and as per aspirations of the Kashmiri people. India has no right to make unilateral decisions on the status of this disputed territory against the will of the Kashmiri people and Pakistan.

The Minister said Pakistan does not acknowledge the supremacy of the Indian Constitution over Jammu and Kashmir. Any process, subservient to the Indian Constitution, carries no legal significance.

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