New Delhi: In a week when rapid political developments in Pakistan captured the world’s attention, even amid Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said hailed Muskan Khan – the student from Karnataka who became famous for her pro-hijab demonstration in February – for “challenging a crowd of Hindu polytheists with defiant slogans Takbir [God is the Greatest]“, also made the headlines.
Inflation and unemployment issues also remained front and center, but Hollywood star Bruce Willis’ diagnosis of aphasia prompted a priority health prescription.
ThePrint brings you a summary of this week’s headlines in Urdu newspapers.
Al-Qaeda and the hijab
Al-Qaeda global terror group leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s unsolicited take on the ongoing hijab row in Karnataka was front-paged by both Roznama Rashtriya Sahara and Siasat.
Referring to 2020 reports of Zawahiri’s death, Sahara April 7 wrote that the new video is proof that the leader of al-Qaeda is still alive. The newspaper wrote that in the video, Zawahiri praised Karnataka’s daughter Muskan Khan for responding with a shout of “Allah hu Akbar” in the face of harassment for her hijab by a crowd.
One day later, Siasat wrote that Zawahiri’s video caused tensions to rise – even as Muskan’s family moved away from it, Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said there were invisible hands behind it the video.
In an April 5 front-page report, Siasat also wrote that “Karnataka is the laboratory of the new Hindutva, after halal meat there is now opposition to loudspeakers in mosques”.
The newspaper wrote that Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Raj Thackeray’s call to ban loudspeakers in mosques in the state had received support, and also reported on plans by Hindutva groups in the Karnataka to play bhajans during azaan (Islamic call to prayer).
Read also: ‘Oppressed Muslims in Hindu Democracy’: Al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri denounces hijab, praises Muskan
A look at Pakistan
The turmoil and constitutional tussle in neighboring Pakistan dominated the headlines for much of the week.
On April 4, Siasat and Sahara published front-page stories about the decision of the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Qasim Suri, to reject the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan. April 8 Inquilab reported on the front page of the decision of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, which declared Suri’s decision unconstitutional and reinstated the National Assembly, which was dissolved by the country’s president.
Siasat, in his April 4 op-ed, drew parallels to Imran’s former life as a World Cup-winning cricket captain, saying he would contest to the last ball. While all eyes will be on the verdict of the courts, he said, the opposition in Pakistan has run out of options and may have to avoid the add-and-subtract policy (jod-tod) and get ready to face the people.
In an April 7 editorial, Inquilab wrote that he would have been in line with Imran Khan’s promise of a different kind of politics, to acknowledge that he would not get the support of adequate members and stand down alone. The newspaper also wrote that the repeated failure of democratic processes in this country should be analyzed by experts and politicians.
Sri Lankan crisis
In an article published on April 4, Sahara wrote that the Sri Lankan government had banned social media in the country to stem the tide of anti-government rhetoric and rallies. Sri Lanka is currently facing a severe economic crisis which has led to violent protests.
April 6, Siasat published a front-page report on the escalating crisis in Sri Lanka, while the government led by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa temporarily closed its embassies in Australia, Norway and Iraq. Demonstrations outside the prime minister’s residence in Colombo continued, the newspaper reports, despite heavy rain, while police used tear gas to break up the rally.
On the same day, an editorial published in Sahara said the Sri Lankan economic crisis holds lessons for India. The newspaper wrote that the situation in India today was very similar to that in Sri Lanka – just as the ruling political party in Sri Lanka promised free concessions in its election manifesto and fulfilled it by borrowing, so did even for India.
Many Indian states are on the verge of collapse due to these gratuitous operations, the newspaper said. Not only are state coffers empty, but their economies are weighed down by heavy debt. Sahara said the situation has led several senior officials in the country to warn the government that unless these free welfare programs are stopped, these states will become as impoverished as Sri Lanka.
These officials also met with Prime Minister Modi, he said, and during a four-hour meeting some officials openly expressed their reservations about the states’ popular plans. He wrote that officials said the free programs offered to the public were inconvenient and that these programs did not last long.
Economics and inflation issues
On April 5, Inquilab published a front-page report on the meeting of officials chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which officers warned him that if the current wave of social protection programs continues, some states could face a future like Sri Lanka.
In a box, the newspaper contained a statement by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who, while criticizing the continued rise in fuel prices, called it “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Booty Yojana”.
In its editorial published the same day, the newspaper writes that while the Indian government invites foreign investors to do business in the country, and also succeeds to some extent, it has failed to prevent Indians from leaving the country. In the right environment, the same people, who often go out looking for jobs, might even become investors themselves, according to the newspaper.
In another April 2 editorial entitled “Inflation: how much and for how long?” the newspaper quoted ITC CMD Sanjiv Puri to say that the need of the hour is government investments to increase job opportunities.
On April 4, the two Inquilab and Siasat reported on the front page of the continued rise in fuel prices. In its April 4 editorial, Siasat noted that fuel prices had been increased for the thirteenth time and that the government “continues on the path of stealing from the people”.
The newspaper writes that the occasional protests by opposition parties do not seem to have the support of the common man, so these parties should strive to make people aware of their right to protest, and people take to the streets. without being afraid of the government. Or else, writes the newspaper, they would struggle to get two meals a day. The same day, Sahara reported that India’s unemployment rate has fallen.
Bruce Willis’ battle with aphasia
Hollywood superstar Bruce Willis’ announcement that he would be retiring after being diagnosed with aphasia has prompted Inquilab to publish an editorial on April 3 in which the newspaper advised people to take care of their health.
Quoting a 2015 article by The Lancetin which the newspaper claimed that worldwide only 5% of people could be called healthy, the article wrote that it is important for people to become aware in the early stages of a disease, rather than letting it control them .
(Editing by Poulomi Banerjee)
Read also: What is aphasia, the disorder that forced action star Bruce Willis into retirement