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Kashmir growers fear for their fruit in pilgrimage traffic jams

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  • Hundreds of thousands of people come through IOJK to visit shrine in Himalayan cave for Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage.
  • Security is tighter after Indian police claimed last week they had uncovered plot to attack pilgrims.
  • Fruit-laden trucks were stranded as security forces held up traffic to check for threats.

SRINAGAR: Fruit growers in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) said on Monday they were facing huge losses as truck-loads of apples, pears and other produce got caught up in traffic jams caused by a security crackdown during an annual Hindu pilgrimage.

Hundreds of thousands of people come through the region to visit a shrine in a Himalayan cave for the Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage.

Numbers are even higher this year, as the event was shut down in 2021 during the pandemic — and security is tighter after police claimed last week they had uncovered a plot to attack pilgrims.

Fruit-laden trucks were stranded as security forces held up traffic to check for threats, Bashir Ahmad Basheer, from the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers and Dealers Union, told Reuters.

“Freshly harvested plums, peaches, pears and apples need to be transported outside Kashmir or else they may rot in this heat and we will face heavy losses,” he said.

An Indian forces official Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, acknowledged there was a problem and said the Indian government was working on plans to ease traffic.

“Trucks will only be stopped when pilgrims travel on the highway and trucks loaded with perishables won’t face any inconvenience,” he told reporters.

Indian soldiers carrying automatic assault rifles and wearing flak jackets have been out guarding roads since the Hindu pilgrimage began in the Muslim-majority region in June.

“Pilgrims are our guests but our trucks should not be stopped,” orchard owner Ghulam Mohammad Malik told Reuters.

He said farmers and traders would together face losses of 30 million Indian rupees ($380,000) per day if congestion did not ease.

Fruit cultivation is the backbone of Kashmir’s economy, and gives work to about 3 million people, according to the growers union.

During the pilgrimage, Hindus cross glaciers and waterlogged trails to reach the mountain cave which contains an ice stalagmite that is considered a physical manifestation of a Hindu god, Lord Shiva.

The cave is covered in snow for most of the year, but authorities let pilgrims visit it for 45 days over the summer as rising temperatures clear the passes.

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52 districts in Pakistan have 52 cases of the polio virus.

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Nine kids have also contracted the debilitating illness in the first seven months of the infection.

Environment samples from Dadu, Hyderabad, Karachi South, Karachi Central, Karachi West, Quetta, Loralai, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad, according to a polio program official, found WPV1.

With 52 regions having reported cases of the virus this year, the official confirmed.

In order for parents nationwide to take the polio vaccination, he said, “it is crucial that they comprehend the ongoing threat that this virus poses to their children’s health and make sure to welcome vaccinators.”

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A glimpse of Sania Mirza’s relaxed moments

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After a hiatus following her most recent Hajj trip, former Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza returned to Instagram.

The 37-year-old has a large global fan base, and those followers are quite curious to discover what daily errands Mirza runs.

Though she had been away from social media on her trip to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj last month, it had been a while since she had disclosed specifics about her time spent with friends and family.

Mirza was pictured chilling out with family and friends in her most recent Instagram image.

With a caption that read “Unrolling the B-roll,” the athlete shared images of herself, her gorgeous kid, Izhaan Mirza Malik, and pals, along with a few inane but artistically pleasing shots that showcased the star’s passion for the arts.

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Federal Cabinet once again postpones decision on PTI suspension and Article 6 action against Imran and Alvi

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The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ban decision was postponed by the federal cabinet on Wednesday once more.

Announcing this to the attendees of the meeting was Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Here in the Prime Minister’s Office, the cabinet finally convened after being postponed twice. Article 6 proceedings against PTI founder Imran Khan, former National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Suri, and former president Dr. Arif Alvi could not be decided upon at the meeting.

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