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Collective efforts needed to avoid Sialkot-like tragedies: Pakistani Minister for Religious Affairs

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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Religious Affairs Dr Noorul Haq Qadri on Saturday said collective efforts were needed by all segments of society, including media and religious leaders, to prevent tragedies like the lynching of a Sri Lankan factory manager in Sialkot.

The Minister called for promotion of interfaith harmony to counter internal and external conspiracies against Pakistan.

He was speaking as chief guest along with Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari at a Christmas party organised by the National Press Club (NPC).

The event was attended by a large number of members of the Christian community. A 50-pound Christmas cake was also cut at the event and gifts were distributed among children.

Dr Qadri said Christmas was the day of happiness for all but the real happiness of the day can be attained when we abide by the preaching of Hazrat Isa (Jesus Christ).

“Prophets spread teachings of love and forgiveness,” the minister said and added: “The Sialkot tragedy has to be condemned at all levels.”He said those who tortured and killed Priyantha Kumara in the name of faith had not done any service but violated the principals of Islam.

Dr Mazari said Muslims, Christian and other minorities will have to work together for the stability of Pakistan and the rise of the country’s global prestige.She said human rights, religious tolerance and brotherhood were common among all religions. She slammed religious extremism and called for tolerance in the society.

Afzal Butt, former PFUJ president, said religious teachings have to be visible in practice by the followers.”This is a beautiful tradition of love and coherence that we have established in the NCP,” Mr Butt said.He said it was the 17th Christmas celebrations at the NPC and as per the tradition Christian and other non-Muslim journalists participated in the events.NPC President Shakeel Anjum and Secretary General Anwar Raza said the tradition should be taken as an example by other collective bodies.

They said members of the Hindu and Sikh communities had been offered by the NPC to celebrate Holi and Besakhi at the NPC along with Muslim and non-Muslim members of the club and their families.Senator Talha Mehmood, Pakistan Hindu Council Chairman Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, CDA Trade Union General Secretary Chaudhry Yasin, Pastor Ansar Bhatti, social activist Albert David and others attended the event.

The Dawn



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Now, CEB plans to ‘rationalise’ tariff

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By Ifham Nizam

Plans are afoot to ‘rationalise’ the electricity tariff shortly, Ceylon Electricity Board Chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando said, adding that the 52-year-old system should be changed for the betterment of the electricity consumer.

CEB Chief told The Island the CEB tariffs need to be changed to better reflect the use and the income level of the consumer. Ferdinando added that he had already briefed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on it.

Ferdinanado said that right now waste and corruption on CEB’s part had also been added to the consumers’ bill.

He said the CEB had received 1500 MT of fuel yesterday and would receive another shipment soon. However, thort-term power interruptions would continue in several areas until the operations at the Kelanitissa Power Station returns to normal.

“The power interruptions are an annoyance and we are looking for solutions. We too want to provide an uninterrupted power supply to our customers. Our hydro-power generation capacity is low as water levels in reservoirs are receding,” he said.

CEB’s Systems Control Department officials said that power outages might be experienced for one and a half hours due to problems at the Kelanitissa thermal plant complex.

CEB Media Spokesman, Additional General Manager Andrew Navamani said that the national grid had lost 282 MW due to the issues at Kelanitissa thermal plant. He said the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation had informed the CEB that necessary stocks of fuel for Kelanitissa power plant would be provided by yesterday night.

However, it would take several hours to start the generators, he said.

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Ranil calls on MPs to think anew to find solutions to problems engulfing country

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By Saman Indrajith

Traditional politics did not have solutions to problems and the MPs should think anew to find solutions, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.

Participating in the adjournment debate on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s policy statement, the UNP leader said: We have come to the end of politics. If we go by the words of Francis Fukuyama, it is a question of the end of politics. But that does not mean the end of parliament. We in parliament must think afresh. We must have the strength of finding a new way. We must discuss on bringing about long-term policies which could provide us with a new framework to find solutions for the problems of the people. Thereafter we can go for elections and ask people to decide who or which party could do better. Japan did so. Great Britain is doing so. India and Canada do the same. Why cannot we do it here? If we have common consensus here, we can plan to go for a new era. We must understand this reality.

“The President has commenced this new session at a time when the country is faced with the biggest economic and political crisis in 34 years. In his statement he mentioned only the foreign reserve crisis. The economic crisis we are facing is far more critical than that. We created a middle class with open economic policies. With the collapse of the open economy, the middle class too will collapse. There are a handful of companies and individuals who could earn profits while the entire economy is collapsing. We must decide whether we’ll perish or unite to work out a plan to survive,” Wickremesinghe said.

“We have come to the end of traditional politics. We may shout at each other and go out to shout slogans. None of them will be able to help us find solutions. The problems at hand cannot be solved without a policy framework and strong middle-term plan. What we are facing today is the end of traditional politics,” he said.

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Chandrika says Sirisena should be thrown out of SLFP

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Former President Maithripala Sirisena should be thrown out of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) for making it a junior partner of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said on Wednesday night after appearing before the Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry (SPCoI) appointed to implement the recommendations of the final report of the PCoI into alleged Political Victimisation.

Both Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had destroyed the SLFP, she alleged.

The former President said that she had urged Sirisena not to join the SLPP as that would mark the end of the SLFP.

“I repeatedly told him this and in response Sirisena removed me from the party’s Central Committee and stripped me of my organiser’s post.

Now, Sirisena is saying the same things I said about the SLPP. Even during the war, I managed to get the economy up and running. Look at it now, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,” she said.

Bandaranaike was also critical of the SPCoI, stating that she had not been summoned before the PCoI on Political Victimisation for her to respond to any allegations against her.

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