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PESHAWAR: At least two police officers were injured, while three terrorists were killed in an exchange of fire between police and terrorists near Chamkani area of Peshawar, in the wee hours of Saturday.

According to police, three terrorists were killed during a raid near grid station of Chamkani area.

Terrorists opened fire on police while the raid was being conducted, as a result two police officers were injured.


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146901_1039862_updates.jpgSecurity forces found two groups of terrorists in Makkah and a third group in Jeddah: state TV

DUBAI: Saudi security forces foiled an attack on the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Makkah on Friday, state television Al-Ekhbariya and Al Arabiya TV reported.

Al Arabiya said security forces had found two groups of terrorists in Makkah and a third group in the city of Jeddah.

The foiled attack targetted worshipers at the mosque, it said.

Neither Al Arabiya nor Al-Ekhbariya gave any further details.


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146900_5080385_updates.jpgAn image of the well wherein the arms cache was hidden. ? Geo News screengrab

KARACHI: Pakistan Rangers Sindh on Friday recovered a sizeable cache of arms and ammunition buries inside a well in Karachi, a spokesman for the paramilitary force said in a statement.

"Rangers received intel about presence of the arms cache inside a well located in Nazimabad no. 3, which was hidden by miscreants affiliated with Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London before the start of Karachi operation," said a Rangers spokesman in the statement.

After burying arms and ammunition, the miscreants had refilled the well with mud, it read.

Upon receiving information, Rangers personnel immediately sprang into action and recovered the cache after digging up the well.

The recovered weapons included an RPG-7 rocket launcher, four RPG-7 shells, four 7mm rifles and four secondary fuses, the statement detailed.

The spokesman further appealed the masses to support law enforcement agencies in preventing terrorism, and immediately inform the paramilitary force about any suspicious activity or persons involved in it.

Citizens can inform Rangers about suspicious activities around them at the nearest check-post, or Rangers helpline 1101.


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146896_9551688_updates.jpgPhoto: FILE

GUJRANWALA: The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on Friday rounded up three suspected terrorists in Gujranwala, a CTD spokesman said, seizing a sizeable quantity of arms and explosives from them.

The suspects were apprehended from a park on GT Road following a tip-off, the spokesman said. 

"They were planning to target sensitive installations in the city," he added.

The suspects, Yousuf Tariq, Samiullah and Mansoor, were affiliated with an outlawed group. They were trained in Afghanistan to carry out terrorist attacks.

A case has been lodged against the suspects and they are being further interrogated.


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KARACHI: A gas cylinder inside a passenger bus exploded in Karachi on Friday, rescue sources said, which left multiple people injured.

The incident took place in Quaidabad area of the megapolis, when the gas cylinder inside a passenger bus exploded with a loud bang, rescue sources said.

Multiple injuries were reported in the wake of the blast, they added.

The wounded persons were shifted to hospital.


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Special intelligence based and search operations have been launched across the country and security has been tightened, said a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The army?s media wing added the operations have been launched in coordination with intelligence and law enforcement agencies.


The announcement by the Army comes after the country was rocked by multiple terror attacks on Friday which claimed at least 36 lives.


The ISPR quoted the army chief as saying that the ?enemy was trying to mar the festive mood of the nation through such cowardly acts?.

Security forces launched a nationwide military operation 'Radd-ul-Fasaad' earlier in February, which includes broad-spectrum security and counter-terrorism operations in Punjab, and continuation of ongoing operations across the country.

The operation includes a countrywide deweaponisation drive and explosive control as additional cardinals of the effort.

The hallmark of this operation is the pursuance of the National Action Plan (NAP).



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WASHINGTON: The memorial of 17-year-old Muslim teen Nabra Hassanen, who was abducted and murdered after leaving a mosque in Virginia, was vandalised on Wednesday morning in Washington DC, reported Fox 5

According to DC Fire department, the memorial on Dupont Memorial Fountain on Connecticut Avenue was set on fire. The fire was later extinguished by fire fighters. 

Jonathon Soloman of South Carolina was arrested in connection with the fire, said DC police. 

The United States Park Police said it did not appear that Soloman was intentionally setting fire to items from Nabra's memorial as he was setting several items from the park on fire. 

Soloman was charged with vandalism.

Nabra was attacked earlier in June after she and several of her friends walking outside a mosque got into a dispute with a motorist in the community of Sterling.

The teen was reported missing by her friends who scattered during the attack and could not find her afterwards.

Her body was later found dumped in a pond. 

During the search for the missing teen, authorities stopped a motorist "driving suspiciously in the area" and arrested the driver, later identified as Darwin Martinez Torres, 22.

Police obtained a murder warrant that charges Torres for her death

The number of anti-Muslim bias incidents in the United States jumped 57 percent in 2016 to 2,213, up from 1,409 in 2015, the Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group said in a report last month.

While the group had been seeing a rise in anti-Muslim incidents prior to Donald Trump's stunning rise in last year's presidential primaries and November election victory, it said the acceleration in bias incidents was due in part to Trump's focus on militant groups and anti-immigrant rhetoric.



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AMRITSAR: The provincial government of India's Punjab state has announced free education for girls in government schools and colleges from nursery to PhD, reported the India Times.

The chief minster of the Indian state also announced provision of free books, both in hard and soft copies, to students.

He also announced free Wi-Fi services for 13,000 primary schools and all 48 government colleges in the province. 

The Indian publication further added that the literacy rate in Punjab is 75.84 per cent while the national average of literacy in India is 73pc.


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RAWALPINDI: Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) has busted a gang of drug-peddlers involved in smuggling of drugs abroad through Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft, top ANF officials said Friday.

The ANF rounded up 12 suspects from Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi, said DG ANF Major General Musarrat Nawaz at a press conference here.

146874_558715_updates.jpgDG ANF Maj. Gen. Musarrat Nawaz speaks at a press conference in Rawalpindi. ? Geo News screengrab

The suspects included PIA employees and personnel of Airport Security Force (ASF).

The suspects would stash heroine and other drugs in hidden chambers of PIA planes and smuggle it abroad.


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146873_72974_updates.jpgIconic Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar.

Dilip Kumar, the iconic Bollywood actor of his time, once again fell victim to internet rumors about his death late Thursday.

The veteran actor and his wife, Saira Bano, were in utter shock when they received a huge number of phone calls and messages inquiring about Kumar's well-being.

Kumar put an end to all rumours writing on Twitter that "Allah's mercy has been upon us, my health has been much better this Ramazan."

He thanks the ones concerned about his well-being, saying that he was "immensely touched" by the prayers, wishes and greetings from his fans and well-wishers.




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KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek Insaf gained one more veteran politician on Friday when Dr Babar Awan quit Pakistan People?s Party and joined the Imran Khan-led platform.

On the occasion of joining, Awan said that he left the party after 21 years.

?It?s time that I join the real opposition party,? the senator said.

The PPP is rapidly loosing its members to the PTI, as former PPP leaders Firdous Ashiq Awan, Noor Alam Khan and Nazar Gondal also recently joined the party.

Noor Alam Khan, who is a close aide of Asif Zardari, and former federal minister Firdous Ashiq Awan joined PTI on May 23rd and 30 respectively.

Later, Nazar Gondal, who formerly served as a Federal Minister for Capital Administration & Development, joined the PTI on June 6.

The PTI Chairman has welcomed the leaders into the party fold.

At the time of Nazar?s joining, Imran Khan had said that many members of the PML-N wanted to join his party but could not due to fear of reaction.

PTI chief had also said that along with the old PPP members (who are joining the PTI) a new Pakistan would be formed.


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ISLAMABAD: Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Dr Muhammad Arshad said on Friday that the institution has provided all the records which were requested by the Joint Investigation Team, probing the businesses and financial dealings of the Sharif family.

According to the Chairman FBR, the JIT has not hidden anything from the JIT.

The FBR has provided the record of the Sharif family from 1980 to date, he said denying the allegation of concealing records.

?Don?t understand which record we have failed to provide the JIT,? said the chairman.

According to law, the wealth statement needs to be filed every year, said Dr Arshad. ?The JIT demanded wealth statement of the year which wasn't available,? he added.

The Panama case JIT had alleged that certain state institutions are tampering records and creating impediments in its work, besides threatening some members of the team.

The JIT in one of its reports had alleged the FBR of non-provision of records.


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146861_2211417_updates.jpgZuckerberg has his first iftar dinner with Somali refugees- Photo: Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg observed his first iftar dinner with a group of Somali refugees in Minneapolis, the Facebook founder said in a post on the social media site.

?As a refugee, you often don't get to choose which country you end up in. When I asked one man, who had spent 26 years in a refugee camp, whether America now felt like home, he gave a simple and profound answer: ?Home is where you are free to do what you want. Yes, this feels like home,?? the post read.

Zuckerberg has won some praise for emphasising on the need for using technology to battle poverty, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and acknowledging that the tech industry has a diversity problem. He has also criticised Trump?s efforts to curb immigration and entry of refugees in the United States.

?There are few places in the world he felt comfortable to be who he is: the country he was born, and our country that values freedom,? Zuckerberg said in the Facebook post.

?What a beautiful tribute to America. Thanks to my hosts for being so gracious at the very end of Ramadan. I left impressed by your strength and resilience to build a new life in an unfamiliar place, and you are a powerful reminder of why this country is so great,? he concluded.


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LONDON: The British van driver who mowed down Muslim worshippers near a London's Finsbury Park mosque this week was charged Friday with terrorism-related murder and attempted murder, officials said.

Darren Osborne, 47, will appear before magistrates in central London later Friday in relation to the charges, police and prosecutors said.

One man died in the incident early Monday near Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, and another 11 people were injured.

Makram Ali, 51, died from multiple injuries following Monday´s attack.

He had collapsed with a leg problem and was being attended to by fellow worshippers leaving late-night Ramadan prayers at the mosque when the hired van careered into them.

Ali came to Britain from Bangladesh when he was 10. He was married with four daughters and two sons, and had two grandchildren.

His family has said they were "devastated" by his death. "Our father was a quiet, gentle man," they said in a statement.

The attack was the fourth in Britain in three months, killing a total of 36 people and injuring around 200.

The three previous attacks were all militant-linked.


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A six-year-old girl in India was killed for soiling the bed, reported India Times.

According to the police, Rabi, was killed by her mother's lover whom they were living with. The police added Rabi and her mother Parul were living with the latter's lover Saurabh.

On Monday night, Rabi urinated on the bed. When Saurabh got to know he got enraged, banging the six-year-old's head against a wall due to which she fell unconscious.

However, after a while, he took Rabi to the hospital where the doctors pronounced her as brought dead.

Hospital staff informed the police about the incident. Subsequently, Saurabh was arrested and a murder case registered against him.

Parul had separated with her husband three years ago, after which she along with Rabi started living with Saurabh, said the police. 


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MOSCOW: Two Russian warships and a submarine in the Mediterranean have fired missiles at Daesh targets in Syria, the defence ministry said Friday.

It said that Turkish and Israeli military "were informed in a timely manner of the missile launches through communication channels," but it did not mention the United States.

Russia has suspended its communication channel with the US on military operations in Syria after a US jet shot down a Syrian warplane on Sunday, with Moscow accusing Washington of failing to issue a warning.

The defence ministry said that Russia´s Admiral Essen and Admiral Grigorovich warships and the Krasnodar submarine fired six Kalibr missiles at command centres and weapons stores in Syria´s Hama region.

"As a result of the surprise mass missile strike, command points were destroyed and also large stores of weapons and ammunition of the IS terrorists in the area of Aqirbat in the Hama province," it said.

The ministry added that Russian planes then carried out aerial strikes that "destroyed the remainder of the Daesh fighters and their facilities."

The ministry released video footage of missiles being fired from underwater by the submarine and from the ships as well as aerial footage of the missiles striking two-storey buildings in what appeared to be semi-desert areas.

The most recent such strikes from ships and submarines were announced by the ministry on May 31, aimed at targets around Palmyra.

The defence ministry said Friday that Daesh fighters have been moving forces into Hama province this week under cover of night and using large buildings there as command points and weapons stores.

It said the fighters were trying to move out from Raqqa towards Palmyra.


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146851_8056006_updates.jpgPakistan's High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit -Photo: File

Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit has said that Pakistan is not begging for talks with India and long-lasting peace cannot be achieved in South Asia without solving the Kashmir dispute in accordance with wishes of its people.

Abdul Basit, in an exclusive interview with Rising Kashmir, said that Jammu and Kashmir was the basic and core dispute with India.

One day Pakistan and India would have to come on the negotiation table as without dialogue, the two countries could not resolve their problems, he said.

When asked how the deadlock in talks can be broken, he said, "The present stalemate between the two countries would be over sooner or later as without dialogue we cannot solve our problems.?

The high commissioner added that it is pleasing to note that the two countries have a framework for comprehensive bilateral dialogue.

When Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Pakistan in December 2015, both the countries agreed and signed on this framework, he said.

Emphasising that Islamabad does not believe in wasting time in talks for the sake of talks, Basit said that Pakistan wanted talks on substantive issues, specifically on Kashmir.

"We consider Kashmir issue as the basic and core dispute between Pakistan and Indiaand it should be resolved by taking into account the wishes of Kashmiri people.

He said without solving the Kashmir dispute, durable peace between the two countries as well as in South Asia could not be established.

Replying to a question, the Pakistani envoy said the two countries had wasted 70 years in wars and bitterness and "the time has now come that we should search for peace.

We need to decide whether we would like to continue with status quo or want to make a new beginning in our ties.

He said the situation in Kashmir was alarming and ?reinforces the argument that there should be a dialogue and by using force one cannot solve any problem?.

When told that India says Islamabad is not addressing the concerns about "cross-border terrorism" for resumption of dialogue process, Basit said, "There should be no condition for dialogue.

Our position is very clear that there can be no talk with pre-conditions. Talks should be with open mind and it should be done in a sincere and cordial atmosphere, he said.

Basit said that many rounds of talks were held between Pakistan and India during 2004 to 2008 and those talks brought some good results.

"It is not fair to put condition for talks. Whenever talks were held, it brought results," he said.

When asked whether domestic compulsions are coming in Pakistan's way of improving relations with India, Basit said, "The foreign policy is basically extension of domestic policies and you cannot separate it. However, I must say, there is a national consensus in Pakistan for improving ties with India. I can say that Pakistani nation has come of age or became mature enough as nobody wants to bedevil relations with India.?

The high commissioner emphasised that Pakistan does not want to live in perpetual hostility with India but that does not mean ?we are begging for talks?. ?Pakistan is positive and constructive, but it takes two to tango.?


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LAHORE: The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) on Friday in yet another raid sealed two sweetmeat units in the city for using substandard food colour in sweetmeats.

The units were found to be using low quality ingredients and food colour. Eighteen tonnes of unhygienic sweetmeat and 21 tonnes of raw material were also seized from the units.

Led by DG Punjab Noor-ul-Amin Mengal, a number of sweatmeat units have been sealed across the province for using inferior quality and substandard products.

Mengal said that 400 tonnes of substandard sweetmeat and 300 cakes have been seized and a fine of Rs100 million has been levied on a renowned sweatmeat unit.

Nine units have been sealed in Lahore, while the PFA has sealed six units each in Multan and Rawalpindi. The authority conducted raids and sealed eight units in Faisalabad and seven in Gujranwala.

?All units were selling cheap, unhealthy, cancer-causing food colour and chemicals,? Mengal told Geo News.

Up till now 36 units have been sealed across the province and fines of Rs1.9 million have been levied.

Yesterday, the PFA sealed two sweetmeat production units in Lahore and Rawalpindi.

Nearly 240 kilogrammes of ready-to-sell sweetmeat and 400 kilogrammes of inferior quality ingredients were disposed off, said Mengal.


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146844_287177_updates.jpgThe fishermen tried to rescue to fish but to no avail as the fish soon died. Photo: Geo News screen grab 

KARACHI: A needle fish was found stuck in a plastic cup from Karachi?s coast, according to World Wide Fund for Nature- Pakistan spokesperson on Friday.

The fishermen tried to rescue to fish but to no avail as the fish soon died.

About 50 percent plastic is found in garbage which is dumped in sea near Clifton, according to WWF representative.

The polluted Arabian Sea has become a nuisance for not just humans but also marine life. One in three marine animals are killed across the world due to marine pollution, pointed out the spokesperson.

Needlefish generally swim near the coast and are known for their thin streamlined bodies and needle-like beaks. Generally, they have a lifespan of about eight years and some are capable for growing more than a metre in length. 


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146838_8260928_updates.jpgTurkey and Qatar have a long history of being on the same side of regional conflicts and developments. Photo: AP

Turkey rejected a call from four Arab states on Friday to shut down its military base in Qatar, saying the base was a guarantor of security in the Gulf and demands for its closure represented interference in its ties with Doha.

Defense Minister Fikri Isik told Turkish broadcaster NTV that he had not yet seen a request for the closure of the base, but made clear Ankara had no plans to review a 2014 agreement with Qatar which led to it being set up.

He was speaking after an official from one of the four Arab states boycotting Qatar over alleged support for terrorism said they had sent Doha a list of 13 demands including closing down the military installation.

"If there is such a demand, it will mean interference in bilateral ties," Isik said, suggesting instead that Turkey might continue to bolster its presence in Qatar.

Five armored vehicles and 23 military personnel arrived in Doha on Thursday in a deployment Turkey's armed forces said was part of a military training and cooperation deal. Some 88 Turkish soldiers were already in Qatar, according to the Hurriyet newspaper.

The newspaper said a joint exercise by Turkish and Qatari forces was expected following the Islamic Eid al-Fitr holiday which starts on Sunday, and the number of Turkish soldiers sent to the Gulf state could eventually reach 1,000. An air force contingent was also envisaged, it said.

"The strengthening of the Turkish base would be a positive step in terms of the Gulf's security," Isik said. "Re-evaluating the base agreement with Qatar is not on our agenda."

Turkey, which has long tried to play the role of regional mediator, is also wary of upsetting its other allies in the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, and Isik said Ankara had hoped that tensions over Qatar could be resolved without a crisis.

Isik said Turkey's presence in Qatar should be seen as a benefit for the whole Gulf. "The base in Qatar is both a Turkish base and one that will preserve the security of Qatar and the region," he said.

Turkey's military support for Qatar has been matched by stepped up commercial links.

Customs and Trade Minister Bulent Tufenkci said Turkish exports to Qatar have tripled since the four Arab countries began boycotting the Gulf state earlier this month.

"Since June 5 exports to Qatar have amounted to $32.5 million. Of this $12.5 million is food. This figure is three times the normal level," Tufenkci told reporters at a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner on Thursday evening.

Turkey has sent more than 100 cargo planes of supplies to Qatar but Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has said it was not sustainable to maintain supplies through an air lift.


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After the doppelgangers of Virat Kohli and Ranveer Singh, Pakistan has got another one.

Omer Khalil who is a resident of Rawalpindi, Pakistan is all over the internet as he bears an uncanny resemblance to the Canadian singer Justin Bieber.

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Khalil who is not only aware of the resemblance but is also enjoying the fame he is receiving due to his remarkably similar features with Canadian singing sensation.

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While speaking to an Indian website, Khalil said, ?It was my friends who were the first to notice the similarity. It was only a matter of time till others too began pointing out the same thing.?

Khalil has been posting his pictures and photographs of Justin to showcase the similarities that he shares with the sensation.

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146839_5825692_updates.jpgChinese Foreign Ministry's Spokesperson Gen Shuang

BEIJING: Terming Pakistan as important country in South Asia, China asked the international community to acknowledge and support the counter-terrorism efforts made by Pakistan on the basis of respecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"Pakistan is on the forefront of the global fight against terrorism," said Chinese Foreign Ministry's Spokesperson Gen Shuang during a press briefing on Thursday.

Pakistan has been firmly opposing terrorism and has made important sacrifices and contributions to fighting terrorism and maintaining regional security and stability, he added. 

When his attention was drawn about a media report regarding the US administration considerations of beginning a policy review of relations towards Pakistan mainly because of the current security situation in Afghanistan, he said, we have noted the relevant reports.

Peace stability and economic development in Pakistan serves the interest of regional countries and people, he added.

Responding to a question about the Chinese foreign minister's alleged visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said, both Pakistan and Afghanistan are China's neighbours and China has friendly relations with the two countries as well as close high level exchanges.

"If we have any information regarding the visit, we will release it in due course of time," he shared.

The spokesperson remarked that China sincerely hopes that Pakistan and Afghanistan can enhance their communication so as to deepen mutual trust and improve relations.

"They should also work together to improve and ensure regional peace and stability and China would like to play a constructive role towards that end," he added.

While brushing aside a question that China has offered Pakistan to build a dam in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and integrate it with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said the CPEC is a new cooperation framework for the two countries to achieve a long term development.

He said this corridor will not only promote common and bilateral development of the two countries but also contribute the development and prosperity of the region.

"We know that there are some concerns about this corridor but we keep stressing that this economic corridor is just an economic initiative for cooperation and it targets no third country and does not connect with any sovereign disputes," he added.

Shuang hoped that the disputes between India and Pakistan will be resolved properly through consultations and negotiations.

Regarding a question about an update on the two Chinese nationals kidnapped and reportedly killed in Pakistan, he said the Chinese government attaches high importance to this case, adding, "We are still coordinating with the Pakistani side to verify the situation.


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146835_1543586_updates.jpg"International brands are making a smart move by moving into the home of the Arab woman with kaftans and abayas," designer Aiisha Ramadan told AFP
 

DUBAI: From Dolce & Gabbana to Michael Kors, major brands are catering to lucrative Gulf markets during the holy month of Ramazan, which is earning its own slot on the global fashion calendar.

With Muslim spending on clothing on the rise, mainstream labels are courting the dirham, dinar and riyal in a region home to some of the world's biggest buyers of fashion.

High-end and fast-fashion brands in the United States, Europe and Asia have made an aggressive push to break into the Gulf, where demand for "modest wear" is skyrocketing, fuelled in part by the rise of social media influencers and Muslim lifestyle and beauty vloggers.

Holidays have long been high seasons for retailers around the world and Ramazan, a month of fasting from dawn to sunset aimed at reflection and modesty, is no longer the exception.

The market for the abaya, a long, loose robe worn over clothes, in particular peaks during the holy month, according to Dubai-based designer Aiisha Ramadan, as women strive to avoid outfit repeats at all costs.

But while attention to clientele interested in modest wear has been a long time coming, some say the move has brought the good, the bad and the offensive to shelves across the Gulf.

'Ramazan ready'

Muslim spending worldwide on clothing and shoes is projected to reach $500 billion (449 billion euros) by 2019, according to Tamara Hostal, the head of fashion marketing at design school ESMOD Dubai.

Ramazan has turned into a de facto micro-season in the Middle East, with fashion brands releasing capsule collections exclusive to the region through May and June.

DKNY launched a Middle East-exclusive Ramazan line in 2014, and other labels have since jumped on the bandwagon: Dolce & Gabbana, CH Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, Mango, Uniqlo and Nike, among others.

Dolce & Gabbana filmed a widely publicised 2016 campaign for their abaya robe and hijab headscarf lines entirely in Dubai -- where the need to be "Ramazan ready" is turning into a commercial, cultural and complex phenomenon.

Instagram is flooded with #ootd (outfit of the day) posts and the pages of Vogue Arabia filled with how to curate a wardrobe of festive, and generally modest, attire.

'Respect our culture'

Most popular in Ramazan are evening dresses, particularly in bright colours, for the iftar meal to break the fast. Like the long abaya robe, the maxi dress also provides designers with a versatile canvas for a diverse clientele.

Aiisha Ramadan, who has dressed American singers Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera and Zendaya, is both a creator and wearer of abayas and maxis.

"International brands are making a smart move by moving into the home of the Arab woman with kaftans and abayas," Ramadan said at her atelier in the UAE emirate of Sharjah.

"There are so many options. You have the ready-to-wear, which draws in clients looking for a casual, everyday wardrobe.

"Then you have the haute couture abayas, which attract the client looking to stand out," said Ramadan, herself wearing a deep pink kaftan and a gold necklace with Arabic calligraphy.

"As long as it respects our culture, it´s a beautiful thing."

'Eid' collection

The three-day Eid-ul-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramazan is an occasion to go all-out for style-savvy, and image-conscious, Arab customers, and some designers are releasing separate lines for the occasion.

US-Venezuelan designer Carolina Herrera in May unveiled a Ramadan line exclusively for the Gulf, featuring four styles of abayas with her trademark polka dot and bow motifs.

The house´s ready-couture line is separately releasing a Fall/Winter collection exclusive to the region in preparation for Eid -- likely to fall early next week -- with "long dresses in black, red lace and mimosa yellow that can be buttoned up or down for every woman".

"This is a novel market. We are still collecting feedback on our first collection, but generally, the client here won´t pay for simple or what would be seen as plain designs," said Dania Fakhry, regional marketing manager for retailer CH Carolina Herrera.

"They appreciate design, even if it´s not for them. If they like it, they buy it".

'Drop the hem and voila'

But the trend has its critics among some industry insiders who stand at the crossroads of identity and international marketing.

In gold and silver Dior sunglasses on a warm Dubai evening, one of the region's social media influencers -- an observant Muslim and self-professed "fashion victim" -- spoke out against "the commercialisation without understanding" of her culture.

"You can't just slap a pair of sleeves on a collection and drop the hem and voila, a collection for Ramazan," she said dismissively, requesting anonymity for professional reasons.

"Frankly, it's just offensive."

But others hold that cultural and religious traditions inevitably spill beyond their origins.

"The abaya started as a tradition, as a form of modesty," said Aiisha Ramadan.

"Culturally, it´s moved beyond religion, and beyond plain black in terms of design," she added.

"I think it´s just a matter of time before we see women in the West incorporating abayas into their wardrobes."


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Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has sent his best wishes to the national women?s cricket team ahead of the ICC Women?s World Cup 2017, scheduled to begin from Saturday, June 24.

In a video message shared by the ICC, the Champions Trophy-winning captain wished best of luck to the Girls in Green and gave some valuable advice.

?Keep things simple, be positive and give a good fight out on the field. If you play with a positive mind and good intentions, your destination will be clear,? he said.

Pakistan women?s team, led by Sana Mir, plays its first game of the 2017 World Cup against South Africa on Sunday, June 25.

Pakistan Women defeated West Indies Women by 5 wickets in their first warm-up match, but lost to Australia Women by 8 wickets in their second warm-up game on Thursday.


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146829_6831000_updates.jpgRepublican Congressman Ted Poe and Democratic lawmaker Rick Nolan introduced the bill. Photo: AP/file

WASHINGTON: A bipartisan bill seeking to revoke Pakistan?s status as a major non-NATO-ally (MNNA) was moved by two US Congressmen in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

Republican Congressman Ted Poe and Democratic lawmaker Rick Nolan introduced the bill, HR 3000.

Pakistan was granted MNNA status in 2004 under President Bush to assist the United States in combating Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

?Pakistan must be held accountable for the American blood on its hands,? claimed Poe, who currently serves as chairman of the subcommittee on terrorism, non-proliferation and trade.

?For years, Pakistan has acted as a Benedict Arnold ally of the United States. From harbouring Osama bin Laden to backing the Taliban, Pakistan has stubbornly refused to go after, in any meaningful way, terrorists that actively seek to harm opposing ideologies,? he alleged.

?We must make a clean break with Pakistan, but at the very least, we should stop providing them the eligibility to obtain our own sophisticated weaponry in an expedited process granting them a privileged status reserved for our closest allies.?

?Time and time again, Pakistan has taken advantage of America?s goodwill and demonstrated that they are no friend and ally of the United States,? Nolan stated.

Nolan insisted that such a measure was necessary to create a safer world for Americans to live in.

Under MNNA, a country is eligible for priority delivery of defence materials, an expedited arms sale process and a US loan guarantee programme, which backs up loans issued by private banks to finance arms exports.

It can also stockpile US military hardware, participate in defence research and development programmes and be sold more sophisticated weaponry.