Acepoint Travel

IQBAL DAY-The vision of Iqbal (1877-1938)

Allama Muhammad Iqbal was a prominent poet, a talented scholar and a impressive philosopher, but, above all else, he was a true visionary. Pakistan was propitious to have him as its ideological founder. It was at the Allahabad session of the Muslim League in 1930 that Iqbal became the first politician to declared the two-nation theory that ultimately led to the creation of Pakistan on August 14, 1947.

PAKISTAN’S ideological journey has reshaped the great poet-philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal into a sponsor of its hardening worldview. Reviewing how he has been ‘reinterpreted’ into an ideological truism is now unsafe because of his state-approved and clerically-backed identity as an orthodox thinker opposed to all modernist revision. At times, secular commentators longing for an identity rollback convey him to the category of ‘orthodox’ while praising Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as the true modernist. There is, however, steady evidence from his life that ignore this orthodox labelling.

The ultimate moment in Iqbal’s relationship with Pakistan came on December 25, 1986; some 48 years after his death. It happened during a national seminar presided over by General Ziaul Haq in Karachi on the birth anniversary of the founder of the state, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The topic of the seminar was, 'What is the Problem Number One of Pakistan?' Present among the invitees was the son of Allama Iqbal, then a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. In his speech on the occasion, Justice Javed explained why his father was opposed to Hudood (Quranic punishments) which Gen Zia had circulated in Pakistan.

The debatable phrasing from the Sixth Lecture in Allama Iqbal’s book, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, was: “The Shariat values (Ahkam) resulting from this application (e.g. rules relating to penalties for crimes) are in a sense specific to that people; and since their convention is not an end in itself they cannot be strictly enforced in the case of future generations.”

The reaction from Gen Zia was dismissive of Allama Iqbal rather than the Hudood he had imposed to gratify his vast hinterland of clerical support. He had gotten into trouble with the clergy when his Federal Shariat Court decided that since stoning to death (Rijm) was not mentioned in the Quran it could not be a Hadd, that is, a punishment in the Penal Code. He had to change the Court to preserve Rijm.

But Iqbal was prophetic: Pakistan has not stoned a single woman to death without being affevted by Rijm being on the statute book, nor has it been able to chop off hands for stealing. More literalist Iran gave up the terrible practice of Rijm in 2014.

Pakistan is disturbed today by the continuing practice of bank interest after the Federal Shariat Court banned it in 1991 as Riba (usury) specifically mentioned in the Quran as also by Aristotle in his Nicomachian Ethic. Islamic banking which actually excludes the taking of Riba does so under a policy of complex self-confessed Heela (subterfuge).

In his publication Ilmul Iqtisad (1904), Iqbal’s first book in Urdu as an introduction to how a modern economy worked, he explained and clearly accepted bank interest as the lifeblood of commerce, knowing that it was considered banned by the clerics and accounted for so few Muslims in India’s commercial sector. He did so by accepting Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s view that “interest-banking was not the same as Riba/usury”.

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Dubai ready on cruise tourism to attract 20 million tourists by 2020

Dubai Tourism is betting big on the cruise tourism which attracted about 625,000 visitors during the previous years , with a target of achieving 20 million tourists annually by 2020.

Number of cruise tourists coming to Dubai has grown by six times from a modest 105,000 visitors during 2006-07 in the last 10 years, officials from Dubai Tourism informed. The cruise tourism registered a powerful growth of 16-18 per cent for last year, while it is expected to maintain the similar growth track with large number of visitors coming from India.

As the number of Indian visitors grew by 25 % last year ,Dubai sees India as an important source country for cruise tourism , and in 2017-18 it is expected to grow by around 30 %. "India is 14th top source countries after top ones such as Germany, Italy, UK and the US. We are confident we will achieve our strategic goal of one million cruise tourists to Dubai by 2020-21 season," said Jamal Humaid Al Falasi( Director, Cruise Tourism, Dubai Tourism).Falasi accompanied by other officials from Dubai Tourism and representatives of cruise liners among others were in Ahmedabad for a road show to stimulate cruise tourism in Dubai.

The 2017-18 season Dubai Cruise starts from October 25 th with the arrival of cruise ship Seabourn Encore. More recently, Dubai Cruise also reported that P&O Cruises would be home porting in Dubai for the first time during the 2018-19 season.

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Finger prints made compulsory for Umrah pilgrims

Before proceeding for the holy journey , all the Umrah pilgrims from Pakistan will be fingerprinted from next month, sources in Ministry of Religious Affairs disclose to The Nation on Monday.The travelers would also be charged a fee for the process, the amount of which has not been decided so far.

The move has been seen by Travel Agents Association of Pakistan (TAAP) with distress and its office bearers have given a wakeup call to their members against the decision. They said the decision will not only put the security of the country at stake but also double the miseries of the pilgrims .

A former senior office-bearer of the TAAP, said the firm supposed to operate for fingerprint was Dubai based and one of its directors was an Indian national so Pakistan cannot share the data of its citizens with such firm. He said that after their protest the decision was suspended by the authorities but now after two years it was being implemented again.

In this regard Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Islamabad has issued a letter to Ministry of Religious Affairs Islamabad and Haj and Umrah Travel Agencies .According to the letter, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh has directed to activate the Biometric Registration for all visas, including those for Haj and Umrah. For this purpose “VFS/Tasheel” company has been assigned to work beside travel agencies of Haj and Umrah.

Etimad Pakistan will control the processing of visa applications for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Every person who requiring a visa to enter KSA from Pakistan (whether for Haj, Umrah, business, work or any other purpose) will have to come to Etimad Visa Service Centers (VSC) in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta to provide biometrics data which is now a mandatory part of their visa application.

Currently there are 6 centres in Pakistan: two in Karachi and one each in Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta. These centres will collectively process more than 1.2million visa applications per year. But TAAP statistics shows that last year 1.5 millions pilgrims visited Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah and 1.85 lacs performed Haj.

TAAP is not perfect currently since its last election in Lahore was challenged in Lahore High Court but even then some office-bearers are trying to organize the members to react over the issue.

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Nokia established new tech to help Umrah and Hajj pilgrims better navigate their journey

Finnish telecom gear maker Nokia said that it has established its Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) platform for Zain Saudi Arabia for the delivery of smart applications to subscribers in the vicinity of Mecca. The deployment will allow the telco to navigate the crowds and guarantee the best mobile experience during the Umrah and Hajj pilgrimage.

The gear maker said that busy events can create challenges for operators as many people attempt to access the mobile network simultaneously. With millions making the Umrah and Hajj pilgrimage each year, this challenge is upraised.

Following the successful trial during the last Hajj, both the companies deployed the platform together with Edge Video Orchestration over the network using both macro and small cell base stations to amplify the experience for the telco's subscribers.

The Nokia MEC allows applications to be hosted closer to the edge of the network and therefore closer to subscribers, to effectively use network resources and open up new opportunities for the delivery of compelling, tailored services in high-traffic locations, the gear vendor said in a statement.

By integrating MEC with Edge Video Orchestration, video feeds can be efficiently broadcast to multiple subscribers' devices simultaneously with millisecond latency. Massive data processing is performed by deploying the Nokia AirFrame Data Center technology.

" Umrah and Hajj is the most important events in the region and we pride ourselves on offering outstanding services to the pilgrims. In keeping with our commitment to offer the best possible services to our subscribers, we have invested in modernizing our network in the Hajj area. The deployment of the Nokia MEC platform and two smart Hajj applications on this network is yet another milestone in our evolution toward building smart cities in the kingdom," Sultan AlDeghaither, Chief Technology Officer of Zain Saudi Arabia, said in a statement.

During the Umrah and Hajj, subscribers are able to download and use 2 site-specific applications over the MEC-enabled network. The Zain People Finder helps them to easily navigate the crowds and locate and meet up with friends and family. More than that, the Live Hajj application allows them to view video streams from the Al Rahmah Mountain in Arafat and the Jamarat area, to identify the best and calm time of day to perform the 'flinging of the pebbles' ritual.

"By moving processing capabilities closer to people and their devices, the Nokia MEC telco cloud platform has great potential to be used for smart city deployments and will enable operators like Zain to launch compelling new services for consumers and enterprises," Ali Al Jitawi, head of the Zain Saudi Arabia Customer Team at Nokia, said in a joint statement.

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Saudi Hajj-Umrah Ministry Opens Doors for Pilgrimage Planners’ Permit Applications

Hajj and Umrah ministry of Saudi Arabia  announced that it is fully ready and open to receive applications for organizing agencies and embassies to obtain permits on organizing voyages or offering services to future Umrah performers- reported Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The ministry also announced ongoing arrangements for digital services in keep with the country’s national transformation plan “Kingdom Vision 2030.” The service would provide facilitated access to the largest number of Muslims throughout the Islamic world to perform Umrah and visit the Kaaba.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the ministry called upon companies and institutions to visit the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s website in order to complete requirements of the permits.

This initiative came within framework of the ministry’s accomplishment to develop and provide services for the pilgrims, Umrah performers and visitors.

Umrah is a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, performed by Muslims that can be undertaken at any time of the year, in contrast to the Hajj which is exclusive to a single season each year.
Also Read : best-trip-ever-umrah


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Airlines Sidestep Electronics Ban, Offer Passengers Free In-Flight Laptops and Wi-Fi !!!

After a new U.S. Department of Homeland Security rule went into effect March 23, prohibiting travelers on selected flights from Middle Eastern and North African airports from bringing electronics bigger than a cellphone into the aircraft cabin, several airlines have come up with creative ways to work around it. Qatar Airways is the latest to come up with a clever plan: The Doha-based airline will offer passengers a laptop loan service.

The complimentary PC laptops will be available to business class passengers traveling on all U.S.-bound flights from the affected airports starting next week. The airline will also offer one hour of free Wi-Fi for all passengers, a special $5 Wi-Fi package to stay connected for the duration of the flight, and a service at the gate for all passengers, where any prohibited electronics will be collected before boarding and securely packaged, tagged, loaded as check-in baggage, and returned upon arrival to the U.S.

“We truly appreciate the importance of being able to work onboard our aircraft, and that is why I have insisted on offering only the best possible solution for our customers,” Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said in an email statement. “Providing this laptop loan service, we can ensure that our passengers on flights to the U.S. can continue to work while on board.”

Qatar Airways is just the latest airline to find a way around the inconvenient ban. Emirates's president told Bloomberg on March 29 that the Dubai-based airline was exploring the idea of offering approved laptops to passengers and, along with Turkish Airlines, lets passengers check their electronics at the gate using secure padded cases. Etihad revealed similar plans: The Abu Dhabi-based airline will provide first and business class passengers on all flights to the U.S. loaner iPads and free Wi-Fi starting April 2.

Royal Jordanian Airlines went straight cheeky after the new ban was announced. Last week, the airline tweeted a list of  12 things to do on a 12-hour flight with no laptop or tablet. Some suggestions included "analyze the meaning of life" and "engage in primitive dialogue from the pre-internet era."

We’re sure to see even more clever ways around the ban, which was rolled out by the U.S. The U.S. ban affects flights out of airports in Amman, Jordan; Cairo, Egypt; Istanbul, Turkey; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; and Doha, Qatar. The U.K. followed with its own version of the ban, but didn’t target Persian Gulf transportation hubs. As of now, no U.S. airline is affected, but companies such as British Airways and easyJet were hit by restrictions after the U.K. enacted its own prohibition.

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Umrah season extended by one month


Saudi Arabia’s Hajj and Umrah Ministry has extended Umrah season by one month in order to give more opportunities to Muslims to perform the ritual.

Under the extension, Umrah season will end on Shawwal 15 (July 10) instead of Ramadan 15 (June 10), the ministry said in a note dispatched to all Saudi companies and establishments involved in providing services related to Umrah.

Muslim pilgrims often perform Umrah during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, because the month is associated with pious and charitable activities.

Umrah and Haj seasons are regulated by authorities to ensure that the holy sites and hotels in Makkah and Madinah are able to accommodate the millions of visitors.

According to official figures, the Saudi authorities last year issued 6.4 million visas to Muslims to perform Umrah.

The figure was seven per cent higher than in 2015 when slightly less than six million visas were issued.

Egyptians topped the list in 2016 with 1,303,067 visas, a 17 per cent increase compared to 2015 figures.

Pakistanis came second with 991,337 visas, up by 287,024 in the previous year, and Indonesians were third with 699,612 visas, a 7.2 per cent increase compared to 2015.

The overall figures do not include nationals from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, who do not require visas to enter Saudi Arabia.

The GCC, established in 1981, is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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The joint armed services parade on 77th Pakistan Day


The joint armed services parade on Thursday was held near Shakarparian in Islamabad on account of 77th Pakistan Day.
President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Asad Lodhi, Naval Chief Admiral Zakaullah, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee Zubair Mehmood Hayat were present in the services parade.Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman guide the flypast of the Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy aviation followed by recitation of verses from the Holy Quran.Mechanized columns of various distinguished services of the country exhibited inventory of highly sophisticated and modern weaponry and arsenal.

Special attractions of the parade this year was participation of Peoples Liberation Army China's Tri Services, Saudi Special Force's contingents and Turkish Jannisary Military band.

Civil organizations also showed their presence at the parade by showing floats depicting developments achieved by the country, besides the regional culture and heritage.

The 77th Pakistan Day is being celebrated on Thursday with traditional passion and enthusiasm.

A wonderful show of fireworks lit up the sky above Minar-e-Pakistan as the clock struck midnight.

The day dawned with 31 gun salute in the Federal Capital, and 21 gun salute in the provincial capitals

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This is the best airports in the world …


First of all, the best airports in the world is Singapore's Shangi.
Its the fifth consecutive year Shangi airport preserves the first place in the award for the airport in the list of global Sky tracks.Shangi airport is the one of the best and most environment-friendly airports in Singapore.Greenery everywhere.This is where Singapore's largest indoor garden. The main terminal building is in ball-shaped. It spacious malls, is running Steakhouse restorents with tasty foods in different countries. The airport's main attraction is the 40-meter-high eddy located in the middle.
They arranged three passenger terminals and modern facilities.24 hours blockbuster sports movies and theaters Roof Top, two terminals which are displayed the coolest swimming pool and Butterfly Gardens for free.The fourth terminal will start operation in the second half of this year. Installation is pretty raindrop dancing Main Hall. It also has a children's spacious park. Passengers in front of the metro station enable inside
Most of the ten best airports in the world

1.Shangi Airport,Singapore
2.Tokyo's international airport 
3.Incheon International Airport, South Korea 
4.Munich airport, Germany
5.Hong Kong International Airport
6.Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar 
7.Sentair Chubu Nagoya airport, Japan 
8. Zurich airport, Switzerland
9.London Heathrow airport
10. Frankfurt airport, Germany.

Hamad airport,Qatar is the only airport placed in first of ten from GCC. South Korean Incheon InternationalAirport was ranked second last year. However, the two steps up to the Tokyo International Airport, the second this year.
Qatar Hamad airport has secured the sixth position last year, was tenth up to four degrees.
2015-Hamad airport to the 22-th position. Frankfurt airport, Germany's top ten for the first time

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PML-N trying to convert Lahore into a no-go area, says PPP’s Chairman Bilawal

"Murder of PPP leader Babar Sohail Butt and the attack on Shaukat Basra are a part of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s plan to convert Lahore into a no-go area"- said Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
After conducting interviews for candidates of Pakistan Peoples Party Lahore district’s posts at the Bilawal House in Lahore on Tuesday, the PPP chairman said that his party will win the next general elections from Lahore and central Punjab.
He said that Lahore enjoys a special status in the PPP, as the party saw its successful take-off from the historic city and praised the sacrifices of the party workers from Lahore.Bilawal said that the new party office-bearers were being elected after a consultative process involving all team of the party.
He said, “From Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, the PPP leadership has always given importance to Jiyalas and this tradition is here to stay.”
The PPP chairman also urged the youth of Punjab to rise up and play their role in throwing away Takht-e-Jati Umra (Prime Minister’s Residence) and pave way for a proud Pakistan.
The meeting was also managed by former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed, PPP Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira, Nadeem Afzal Chan and Mustafa Nawaz.

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