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Gunned down Canadian cardiologist remembered as a selfless humanitarian

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A Canadian cardiologist shot dead in Pakistan was remembered Wednesday as a selfless humanitarian who was “murdered because of his faith,” with mourners making impassioned calls for Ottawa to better pressure the South Asian country on religious freedoms.

Dr. Mehdi Ali Qamar, a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect, had just returned to his birth country to do volunteer work at a hospital when he was gunned down by assailants in front of his wife and two-year-old son on May 26. They were visiting his parents’ graves.

At a funeral service in Vaughan, outside Toronto, Qamar’s nephew Nasir Chaudhary read a family statement that remembered the heart doctor as a “real servant of humanity” who cared for all, regardless of their beliefs.

“He possessed a strong sense of service to humanity. His compassion knew no bounds,” Chaudhary said to a solemn crowd.

“The only comfort we find in his passing is that he gave his life doing something he loved: helping others.”

A dual citizen who had lived in Ohio for the last decade, Qamar’s open casket was draped in both Canadian and American flags as a ring of mourners wearing traditional black-and-white scarves stood silently around it.

Relatives spoke of Qamar as a positive, generous man who was always cracking jokes and penning poems. A niece recalled one such piece, written to honour her brother after his sudden death.

Speakers mourned Qamar, 51, not only for the loss of his life, but as what they see as another sectarian killing of members of their religious group, who in Pakistan have long been the target of Islamic extremists, accused of blasphemy and are not officially recognized as Muslims.

“Dr. Mehdi Ali Qamar was murdered because of his faith,” said Lal Khan Malik, president Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, a group representing Ahmadis.

He said Qamar’s death was the “direct result of the state-sponsored extremism that is practiced in Pakistan,” and called on the Harper government to pressure the South Asian country to end what he called the persecution of Ahmadis.

“As loyal citizens of Canada, we ask the government of Canada to urge the Pakistan government to stand up to extremists and promote freedom of religion.”

He noted that last year Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the same Ahmadiyya mosque hall where Qamar was remembered to name the first ambassador to the Office of Religious Freedom, meant to spread religious tolerance abroad. Malik said Qamar’s killing tragically underscores the importance of the initiative.

“I did not think I would be standing here a year from that day burying one of my community members to demonstrate the critical need and work of that office.”

He said the Qamar’s slaying was part of a “pattern” that has seen 137 other Ahmadis killed in Pakistan over the last four years.

Federal, provincial and local politicians were in attendance, as were officials from the U.S. consulate in Toronto along with friends and family stateside.

Local Liberal MP Judy Sgro said the Harper government must get tough with Pakistan to act against extremism targeting minorities, saying options such as trade sanctions should be on the table. “We must not let him die in vain,” she said of Qamar.

Speaking next to her on a panel at the service, Conservative MP and government representative Chungsen Leung called on Pakistan to “stop the persecution of Ahmadis.”

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Kanhaiya is an aberration, nationalists don’t accept it: Rajiv Pratap Rudy

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Kolkata: Describing Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar as an “aberration”, union minister and BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Sunday said such an aberration will not be accepted at the cost of nationalism.

Interacting with media persons on the sidelines of a party event here, Rudy ridiculed the Left parties for using the media and universities to turn Kanhaiya Kumar — who was jailed on sedition charges but recently granted interim bail — into a “momentary hero”.

Using the media, universities and NGOs, the Leftists sided with anti-national sloganeers and managed to turn Kanhaiya into a hero for the time being, but the people of the country are aware of Leftists’ intentions, he said.

“Kanhaiya is an aberration and the nationalism and nationalists will not allow this aberration to be part of the country’s polity,” said Rudy.

Commenting on the demand for change in the sedition laws, Rudy said those who are clamouring intolerance were anti-nationals.

“Nationalism cannot be compromised at any cost and it cannot be brought to on par with the debate of intolerance. When people are talking of breaking the country, when people are raising slogans against the country, this debate of intolerance is nothing but anti-nationalism,” said the union Minister of state for skill development and parliamentary affairs.

“It is for the court to decide whether a change needs in the sedition laws, but there cannot be any compromise when your actions are seditious,” he said.

Addressing a seminar of the party’s state intellectual cell, Rudy said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the only political party in the country whose ideals are not personality-based.

“The chief character of almost all the parties, be it south India or the east, be it the Samajwadi Party or the Congress, their ideals are based on a certain personality, but the BJP’s soul is country, nationalism,” he said.

Enumerating the various developmental schemes undertaken by Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, Rudy called upon the party’s intellectual cell to endeavour for bringing the BJP in power in West Bengal.

(IANS)

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One dead, two hurt on Scorsese film set

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Taipei:  One person died and two others were injured Thursday while preparing to film the movie “Silence”, the latest project of US filmmaker Martin Scorsese, in Taiwan, regional authorities reported.

According to the Taipei City Construction Management Office, the accident took place at the city’s Culture and Movie Centre when temporary wooden scaffolding fell on three Taiwanese workers.

The victims, between 40 and 50 years of age, were immediately transferred to a nearby hospital where one was declared dead on arrival after cardio-pulmonary resuscitation proved fruitless, a spokesperson from the construction office told the press.

Scorsese is in Taiwan to prepare for shooting scenes for the historical drama.

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Akshay-Twinkle Complete 14 Years Of Marriage

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Akshay-Twinkle Complete 14 Years Of Marriage

Akshay-Twinkle Complete 14 Years Of Marriage

Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna completed 14 years of marriage On January 17th.

The two tied the knot on January 17, 2001. Akshay posted a cutesy picture of him and Twinkle, giving it an adorable caption that read, “After 14 years of listening to the same old jokes of @mrsfunnybones I still wait to hear more ! #happyanniversary.” Twinkle is known as Mrs Funny Bones after the popular pen name under which writes her blogs for The Times of India. Here’s wishing the lovely couple a happy anniversary and many more years of togetherness.

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