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We will sacrifice our life for Kashmir’s freedom,says Hafiz Saeed

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JuD chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed on Friday led a march in Islamabad and his outfit across several cities praising Pathankot attackers, ranting on the Kashmir issue, showing defiance in the face of India asking Pakistan to “rein in” the terror group.“Syed Salahuddin is a great well-wisher of Pakistan. He has taken Pakistan out of trouble by accepting the responsibility of Pathankot air base attack. Pakistan should be thankful to him,” said the founder leader of banned Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Saeed warned India that if “war” in Kashmir further prolonged, it would have to pay a heavy price for it.

India yesterday asked Pakistan to “rein in” the JuD chief, voicing grave concern over his activities after the Mumbai terror attack mastermind warned of more Pathankot-style attacks.

The JuD chief said, “On the occasion of Kashmir Day, I want more intensity in the freedom struggle. Every child in Pakistan is ready to sacrifice his life for Kashmir’s freedom.”

“Our Constitution also demands us to support Kashmiris in their freedom struggle,” he added.

Saeed asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to sever relations with India and said that there should be no relations with it “till Kashmir is freed”.

The UN declared JuD a terror organisation and also individually designated Saeed as a terrorist in December 2008.

The US has already put a $10 million bounty on his head.

Saeed, who orchestrated the November, 2008, Mumbai terror attack in which 166 persons were killed, roams around freely in Pakistan despite being a designated terrorist and has made many anti-India remarks and speeches.

Saeed said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should not “sacrifice” Kashmir for the sake of trade with India.

“The rulers have no right to put the Kashmir issue on backburner and hold talks with India on other issues like trade,” he said.

“I give guarantee that Kashmir will be freed the day the Prime Minister, Army Chief, all political parties and Kashmiri organisations are on same page on the issue,” he said.

Earlier, addressing a rally, Saeed had said, “800,000 Indian troops are committing genocide on Kashmiris. Don’t they have a right to carry out Pathankot-style attacks for their defence?…You have only seen one attack on Pathankot. Matters could easily escalate.”

Every year February 5 is observed as ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to pledge support for the people of Kashmir.

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UK PM still showing COVID-19 symptoms: Downing Street

Meanwhile, the government’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, is also continuing to self-isolate and has not given an update on his condition, Metro newspaper reported.

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Boris Johnson

London, April 3 : UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was still showing symptoms of coronavirus the day before his seven-day quarantine period was supposed to end, Downing Street has confirmed.

The Prime Minister set aside a week to self-isolate on march 27 in accordance with public health advice and has been leading the government via video conference from hs residence at 10, Downing Street, reports the London-based Metro newspaper.

Asked at a media briefing whether Johnson planned to leave on Friday, a spokesperson said: “We’re following the guidelines from Public Health England (PHE) and from the chief medical officer which state that you need to self-isolate for a period of seven days, so no change in that.”/

The spokesperson described Johnson’s symptoms as “mild”.

Meanwhile, the government’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, is also continuing to self-isolate and has not given an update on his condition, Metro newspaper reported.

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock left quarantine on Thursday after seven days and gave a press conference setting out a five-point plan to ramp up testing to 100,000 a day.

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UN: Mass spread of COVID-19 in Global South will impact the world

UN officials say every resource must be mobilised to prevent a ‘wildfire’ of cases in fragile states and refugee camps.

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Antonio Guterres

Coronavirus has upended lives and workplaces around the world, with more than a third of the globe under lockdown.

At the United Nations headquarters in New York, where about 10,000 people usually work, a skeleton staff of a few hundred are on site, ensuring the world body’s vital operations continue – such as peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads fast, the UN is critically concerned about those most vulnerable, especially refugees and people trapped in conflict situations.

The UN has launched a $2bn global humanitarian appeal to assist fragile states and those most vulnerable.

It says prevention and suppression of the virus must be a priority for leaders of all countries.

Leading UN officials have also called for all conflicts to cease and warring parties to focus their efforts on tackling the coronavirus.

To discuss the global efforts against COVID-19 and the risks facing the world’s most vulnerable populations, Talk to Al Jazeera speaks to Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general; Mark Lowcock, the under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs; and Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

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Coronavirus pandemic to render 18.5mn jobless in Pak

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pakistan coronavirus

Islamabad, April 3 : The Pakistan government has estimated that 12.3 million to 18.5 million people in the country will lose their jobs and the economy will sustain massive losses in just three months due to “moderate to severe shocks from the coronavirus outbreak”, it was reported on Friday.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Planning in a meeting discussed the preliminary estimates, which are based on information received from various government entities and initial research conducted by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, reports The Express Tribune.

Initial estimates have showed that in case of limited restrictions, about 1.4 million jobs will be lost, which are equal to 2.2 per cent of Pakistan’s employed workforce.

In a moderate scenario where private offices and most shops are closed, but essential shops were open, the government has estimated that 12.3 million people would become jobless.

“On employment, we can assess that under moderate restrictions employment loss could be up to 12 million, around 20 per cent of the employed labour force,” Jahanzeb Khan, the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission told The Express Tribune.

In case of a complete shutdown, the government has assessed that 18.53 million people or 30 per cent of the labour force will be unemployed.

In monetary terms, the loss of wages will translate into 561 billion Pakistani rupees for three months alone.

The Ministry also assessed losses at 1.2 trillion Pakistani rupees in a limited lockdown scenario, 1.96 trillion in moderate and 2.5 trillion in case of complete restrictions on movement, which symbolises a curfew-like situation.

“It is widely believed that the impact of the virus and severity of lockdowns on the overall economy may have a severe impact on the economic performance parameters,” Khan added.

The government also expected a sharp slowdown in trade activities.

“On the trade side, there is an expected sharp slowdown in imports from 35 per cent up to 60 per cent, depending upon the severity of the crisis,” Khan told The Express Tribune.

Pakistan has so far reported 2,441 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 35 deaths.

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