Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sania Mirza: It's my Marriage, not a Political Statement

Breaking News! Even as the media portrayed the upcoming marriage between Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik as a new chapter in Indo-Pak ties, Sania Mirza clarified that she is not here to make any political statement.

Sania termed her to decision to marry Shoaib Malik as a personal one and based on mutual consent. "My marriage has nothing to do with Indo-Pak politics. I am happy as it would be the dream of every girl to get a suitable groom one day", said Sania.

When asked about the enmity between India and Pakistan, Sania said, "This is a happy moment, you should not talk such things while taking sweets. Be happy that we are getting married. We both are happy. Our families are happy. I don't think we can ask for more".

Sania Mirza also made it clear that she will keep playing tennis, once she recovers from her injury. She also said that she and Shoaib will support each other in their respective game.

"Yes, we will settle in Dubai after marriage. But I will keep playing for India and he will Inshallah play for Pakistan", said Sania Mirza.

When asked whom he will support during an India-Pakistan cricket match, Sania said, "I will continue to support India, but I will also support my husband". She revealed that she met Shoaib Mailk six to seven years ago.

Sania Mirza's wedding reception is likely to be held in Hyderabad on April 15. A grand reception will be held in Lahore later.

Sania Mirza Gets Visa to Visit Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and her family have been issued visas to visit Pakistan.
According to reports, Sania Mirza and her family had applied for visas to visit Pakistan and conduct a few ceremonies related to Sania and Malik marriage in April.
Sania, her parents and sisters are expected to visit Lahore for the occasion.
Ensuring a trouble-free event, Pakistani authorities have issued the visas for Sania Mirza’s family without any delay, reported AAJ TV.
Former captain Shoaib Malik announced he will marry Indian tennis star Sania Mirzain April.

Shahdara - A Picnic Point

Previous Sunday we made an program to visit the Shahdara, Near Satra meal (17miles), Islamabad. I must say this is the Place you must visit and enjoy for a whole day.
There is no development yet in the shape of restaurants or any other facility regarding your Lunch. You must take food items with you.

We spent the whole day there swimming and hiking on the hills. The beauty of Shahdara I want to share with you all Please take a look to these pictures.

Symbolic portrayal of illusion & reality

Mohammad Atif Khan’s exhibition opening at Khaas Gallery here on Tuesday showcases a diverse and symbolic portrayal of illusion and reality. 

Like a balancing act of trapeze, the artist plays with depth and surface with his layered digital and block-printed images on transparent sheets and glasses to capture his aesthetic inspiration ‘Opposites Always Attract’. 

Ants — black and hideous as they are — swarm in almost all of his 20 pieces on display along with the cloying sweetness on cupcakes and rice balls, all conveying his critique and narratives of the opposites of life around us. One can find recognisable objects and symbols in his works that convey very simple and obvious meanings, yet they also offer a very harsh and hidden veracity. 

Atif describes his work as a narrative in nature that can lead the viewer to find hidden messages. His images in digital and hand prints of diverse and contrasting environments are juxtaposed in one space, subverting their original contextual meaning and suggesting new messages to weave a balance between the opposites, and the story continues. 

The presence of Fashion Guru Tariq Amin added a lot of glamour to the exhibition. Sharing his views on Atif’s work with ‘The News’, Tariq said, “The artist seems to have a lot of romance in his heart, as he has given an interesting flavour and texture of life around us.” He said the contrasting themes and colours used by the artist reflect a balance between chaos and calm, love and hate that surrounds our life today, and the presence of ants, guns and sweets balance out the chaos in an interesting blend. 

“Some things in Atif’s works I find as very disturbing and I may not be able to live with such harsh reality, but we all are living those realities in our day-to-day life and Atif has presented a beautiful balance of life through his work,” Tariq Amin added. 

A visual artist and an art teacher, Mohammad Atif Khan did four-year Bachelors of Fine Arts with distinction from National College of Arts, Lahore (1993-97), and also one-year diploma course in Fine Arts from Karachi School of Arts (1991-92). His work is also part of several private and public collections in Pakistan, India, USA, EU, Australia, UAE, Jordan, UK, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong. The exhibition would continue at Khaas Art Gallery (House no. 1, Street 2, F-6/3) till April 10. 

LUMS students win ‘Battle of Minds’

Federal Secretary for Petroleum Kamran Lashari has said that youngsters are the future of Pakistan and they should work hard to enhance leadership traits in their personalities to meet all sorts of challenges. 

He stated this at the grand finale of ‘Battle of Minds 2010’, a graduate intake programme run by Pakistan Tobacco Company Limited (PTC) since 2008, aimed at exploring and further building the top talent of Pakistan by providing the candidates with challenging opportunities at the start of their careers. 

An increasing number of students apply every year for the programme to represent their respective universities and to be crowned the ‘Battle of Minds Champion’. The programme offers great learning opportunities for university students and challenges them to apply their leadership capabilities. 

This year, top students from National University of Science & Technology’s (NUST) Business School, NUST College of Electrical & Mechanical Engineering (EME), Lahore University of Modern Sciences (LUMS), University of Engineering & Technology (UET) Lahore, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (GIKI) and Institute of Business Administration (IBA) participated in the competition. 

The grand finale was participated by six teams, comprising four students each, from the six universities. In a daylong competition, the participating graduates gave presentations on selected topics. 

The students from LUMS won the competition while IBA came second, followed by EME at the third position. The top three teams were given prizes by the chief guest and will also be fast tracked through PTC’s challenging recruitment process. 

Later, Deputy Managing Director PTC Mubashir Raza thanked the chief guest and the participants, saying that ‘Battle of Minds’ is aimed to give corporate exposure to the top upcoming talent of Pakistan. 

Assessment in Sector G-15/3 to be Completed Soon

Islamabad: Chief Commissioner (Islamabad) Tariq Mahmood Pirzada has directed the officials of survey teams and Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) to expedite the assessment of built-up property in Sector G-15/3 so that award for payment of compensation to the affectees could be announced in the shortest possible time, a spokesman for the chief commissioner’s office said on Tuesday. 

The chief commissioner issued orders to this effect while presiding over a meeting, which was held to review the progress of assessment of build-up property in Sector G-15/3. The meeting was attended by Deputy Commissioner (Islamabad) Amer Ali Ahmed, ADC (R) Farasat Ali Khan and officials of the PWD and Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation. 

The participants of the meeting were informed that assessment of built-up property in Sector G-15/3 will be completed in a few days. It will be handed over to the ICT land acquisition collector who will announce award for payment to the affectees within a week. 

Chief Commissioner (Islamabad) Tariq Mahmood Pirzada directed the officials to complete the process on urgent basis so that possession of land could be handed over to the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation. 

ILO to provide training to Pakistani youth

Ministry of Youth Affairs (MoYA) has signed a memorandum of understating (MoU) with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) under which the UN agency will provide international standard training to Pakistani youth in order to equip them with skills needed in the global market, said Federal Minister for Youth Affairs Shahid Hussain Bhutto on Tuesday. 

He was talking to mediapersons at Meet the Press event organised by the National Press Club. The minister said that the UN agency will provide $10 million grant to launch the project. He said that the programme is aimed at reducing the unemployment rate in the country and provide respectable source of income to young population. “The project will prepare a ready source of skilled persons.” Under this project, he said that the ministry will collaborate with the Pakistani embassies across the world and will collect data about the skills needed in different countries. “The training will be designed according to that data,” he said. 

Citing one example from the past, he said that not long ago, the Malaysian government demanded 80,000 nurses from Pakistani government, but the offer was declined because there was no ready source of internationally trained medical staff. He said that opportunities are unlimited, but there is a need to tap them in proper way at the proper time. 

Talking about some other projects, he said that the ministry has signed plan of action with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to establish Youth Activity Centres. These centres will offer facilities needed to engage youth in positive activities. “In the first phase, these centres will be established at Tehsil level and after that the project will be extended to district level,” he added. 

He further said that unemployment is the biggest challenge faced by the youth as annually around 0.8 million boys and girls graduate from colleges and universities and among them, only 0.1 million succeed in getting a job. “The remaining 0.7 million add to ever increasing number of unemployed youth in the country that is leading towards a dangerous situation.” 

Bhutto said that because of the same reason, addressing the issue of unemployment in the best possible way is the biggest priority of the ministry. “It is vital to promote entrepreneurship among youth and equip them with skills needed in international market as such big number of unemployed youth can not be adjusted in public or private sector alone.” 

He said that the ministry also plans to organise job festival in the capital in near future. He said that many other international donor organisations such as World Bank and USAID have shown interest in initiating youth related projects under MoYA umbrella. “In addition to providing assistance in preparing National Volunteerism Policy, the British Council has agreed to conduct English coaching classes in the upcoming Youth Activity Centres.” 

To ensure sustainability of these projects, Bhutto said that the ministry will involve all stakeholders in the process. “To guarantee no change in the projects with change in the government, the ministry will have nominal role in implementation of these projects and will focus more on monitoring and policy making side,” he added. 

Highlighting the ministry’s achievements with regard to National Internship Programme (NIP), Bhutto said that around 56,000 youth has been adjusted in NIP since it re launch in April last year. “Within next week, 10,000 more will be deputed in different public sector departments at provincial and federal level,” he pointed out. 

The federal minister said that at this time, Pakistan has youth exchange programmes only with two countries that are South Korea and China. “To extend this activity, the ministry is in the process of developing same links with other countries including Turkey, Tunis and United Kingdom.” 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hailstorm hits twin cities

An unusual weather phenomenon caused widespread hailstorm in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Monday afternoon. Following duststorm in which the wind velocity touched 96 kilometres per hour in Rawalpindi and 55 kilometres per hour in Islamabad, thick grey clouds swarmed the skies and after a slight spell of drizzle the hailstorm struck. 

Meteorological Office Director Dr. Mohammad Hanif told ‘The News’ that hailstorms in the transitional period between winter and spring is not unusual because of sudden change in temperature. “But the slightly unusual phenomenon was that the hailstorm that struck the twin cities engulfed a vast area.” 

Usually hailstorms in such transitional periods remain confined to small pockets but on Monday it was widespread covering vast areas over Rawalpindi and Islamabad. At many places, the intensity of the hailstorm was unusually high,” he said. 

He said that the prevailing weather system is likely to last over the next 24 hours during which different areas in the upper parts of the country may have some more dust and thunderstorms accompanied by rains and even bursts of hailstorm before it subsides. However, he said that another westerly wave of the same intensity is likely to whip the upper parts of the country by the coming weekend causing almost the same weather pattern, including dust and thunderstorm, followed by rains and hailstorm. 

“The prevailing weather system as well as the one expected to hit the upper parts of the country by the weekend will cause below normal temperatures in the Northern Areas of the country. These below normal temperatures would slow down the snow melting process and we may experience somewhat low water inflow in our water reservoirs,” the director said. 

The dust and thunderstorm, followed by rain and hailstorm, brought the mercury down by a degree or two, especially in the evening. Over the last 24 hours similar weather phenomenon in isolated pockets in Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Hazara and Malakand provided some relief to the people. 

Monday afternoon’s thunderstorm, followed by hailstorm and rain, brought the pollen count down to 1,909 per cubic meter. However, it is still considered to be in high category and those sensitive to these allergens can still get badly affected if exposed without necessary precautions, the director general of the Meteorological Office, Chaudhry Qamar Zaman, told ‘The News’. 

He said that the weather over the next 24 hours would remain mainly dry in most parts of the country. “While the upper parts of the country, including Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Peshawar, Hazara and Malakand will receive more dust-thunderstorm and showers, the central and southern parts of the country are likely to remain dry with temperatures rising over the next few days,” he said. 

In the Monday afternoon dust-thunderstorm followed by rain and hailstorm, Rawalpindi received 16mm of rain, Islamabad received 6mm, Chitral 19mm, Drosh 9mm, Pattan 5mm, Abbottabad and Murree 4mm. 

JF-17 Thunder in operation during ‘High Mark-2010’

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) exercise ‘High Mark-2010’ was seeing the rapid operationalisation of the locally-made JF-17 Thunder aircraft on Monday, says a press release. The fighter was regularly being employed by the Blue Force to engage the Redland surface mock targets with high degree of accuracy. A variety of air-to-surface weapons were being delivered by the JF-17 Thunder fighter during ‘High Mark-2010.’

Lok Virsa launches website with latest info on activities

The Lok Virsa (National Institute of Folk & Traditional Heritage) launched its official website http://www.lokvirsa.org.pk here on Monday.

The launching ceremony was performed by Mr Terje Thodsen, development counsellor at the Royal Norwegian Embassy, and Senior Adviser International Affairs Riksantikvaran (Norwegian Directorate of Cultural Heritage, Oslo) Ms Inger Anne Heldal, by clicking a computer key.

The website provides up-to-date information on Lok Virsa’s activities, programmes and functions as well as its products, including books, CDs, DVDs, cassettes, cultural documentaries, documented dramas and full-length feature films produced by Lok Virsa, including ‘Akhri Geet’ and ‘Rohi Dhoop Jali’. 

The website also provides a virtual tour of the Heritage Museum at Shakarparian with information on almost all creative three-dimensional cultural displays, spreading over an area of 60,000 square feet.

In his opening remarks, Lok Virsa Executive Director Khalid Javaid explained the salient features of the website which would make public access easy to all activities and products of Lok Virsa. “The website provides information on history, creation, structure and functioning of Lok Virsa as a representative cultural body in the capital city, having a legal statutory status,” he said.

On the occasion, Khalid Javed thanked the Royal Norwegian Government and its embassy in Islamabad for their generous support to revive most of Lok Virsa’s important programmes and activities which were threatened to be closed due to financial constraints. 

He appreciated the role of the visiting Norwegian delegates Ms Inger Anne Heldal, Ms Inger Jensen and Ms Anne Moberg for supporting Lok Virsa’s activities and functions for the calendar year 2010 under the Joint Institutional Cooperation Programme between Pakistan and Norway.

On a query about the maintenance and updating of the website, the executive director said that Lok Virsa has recently created a full-fledged Public Relations (PR) Section, which is handling special visits, special programmes, protocol and all public related matters in a smooth and efficient manner. “Special arrangement has also been made under the PR Section to ensure that the Lok Virsa website is maintained and updated on a day-to-day basis,” he added.

In their remarks, the Norwegian diplomats highly lauded the efforts of Lok Virsa and its management for bringing about such a vibrant website. They termed it informative, interactive, dynamic and a milestone achievement on the part of Lok Virsa. 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Golden Jubilee Events - A visual journey through Pakistan

A group exhibition marking the Pakistan Day celebrations is on at Jharoka Art Gallery. Titled ‘Journey Through Pakistan’, the display of 35 landscape paintings by 20 artists presents to the art connoisseurs a wonderful aesthetic illustration of rich natural heritage and lifestyle from different corners of the country.

True to the title, the exhibition takes one on a vibrant visual journey, showcasing the people, places and the beautiful landscapes of Pakistan. The artists have worked in different mediums, from oil and watercolours to acrylic, displaying their unique skill and style through their brush, palette and knife, using diverse creative techniques.
The group of artist displaying their works at the exhibition includes Mughees Raiz, M Arshad, MH Bokhari, AQ Arif, Raja Najam-ul-Hassan, Nahida Raza, Arif Khan, Altaf Ahmed, H Gul, Munawar Hussain, Aleem Khan, Imran Ali, Ahmed Habib, Nafeesa Kausar, Shahzad Kausar, Kausar Mughal, and Meraj Mohammad. All the artists have painted their areas in a unique sense of belonging. 

Imran Ali, Aleem Khan and Meraj Mohammad belong to Quetta city and one can see the colours and typical mountains of Balochistan in their landscapes. Arif Khan, Altaf Ahmed, M Gul, Munawar Hussain, Ejaz Khan, Riffat Khattak and Nahida Raza as the residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have depicted local scenarios like roads, autumn trees, Faisal Mosque, evergreen Nathia Gali and other natural corners of the area. 
Mughees uses his unique hues and subdued colours to paint his fascination with River Ravi. M Arshad has painted Chaanga Maanga in autumn, while Chakwal finds a fascinating portrayal in the works of Najmi, Shahzad Kausar, Kausar Mughal and Nafeesa Kausar, who are inspired by their area. M Bokhari and AQ Arif are influenced by Karachi Port and the old city of Hyderabad. 
The exhibition would continue at Jharoka Art Gallery (House no. 8, Street 28, Sector F-8/1) till April 3. 


The commuters of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad wished they had been living in either NWFP or Sindh province where stop-to-stop fare is Rs8 and maximum fare is Rs15 for the last distance.

After braving police baton-charge, shelling, teargas and bullets we are still paying Rs12 stop-to-stop and Rs25 for the last distance, say the commuters adding people including innocent students badly injured and faced police torture after registering FIR under Section 7 ATA. They have strongly rejected the decrease of Re1 in fare and demanded of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary for taking action against high and unjust transport fares on local routes.

All authorities are aware of the reality that around 80 per cent public transport is plying on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), but they are charging fares on diesel rates.

In last meeting with transporters Commissioner Rawalpindi Division Capt (r) Zahid Saeed admitted that fare ratio in Punjab as compared to NWFP and Sindh is far higher. He also admitted that around 80 per cent public service transport was operating on CNG. He also mentioned that in NWFP stop-to-stop fare is Rs8 and Rs15 for last distance and in Sindh stop-to-stop fare is Rs10 and Rs20 for the last distance.

District Regional Transport Authority (DRTA) Secretary Syed Asad Raza Kazmi also admitted in meeting that around 80 per cent public service transport is plying on CNG. He recorded his statement before Commissioner and MPs that majority of public transport was on CNG and public complaint him against the higher fares.

MNA Muhammad Hanif Abbasi and MNA Shakil Awan also admitted the fact that local transporters are charging high fares as compared to other provinces. They had admitted that around 80 per cent public service transport was plying on CNG but charging fare on diesel rates. They had insisted that remaining 20 per cent transporters should fix CNG kits in their vehicles.

On February 9 last, Punjab Transport Authority (PTA) chairman had issued notification of raising public service transport stop-to-stop fare to Rs13 against Rs10 and Rs27 against Rs20 for the last distance. The public had rejected the notification of PTA and demanded withdrawal of the increased fare. The poor commuters finally came on roads for protest demonstrations against the government decision. Police also used its might injuring several protestors. Police registered cases against 46 protestors and imposed Section 7 ATA according to terrorism act in which majority of protestors were students.

The government had seen the whole drama with closed eyes. A week back local administration with the consultation of transporters cut down Rs1 from increased fares. They also cut down Rs2 on some stops and Rs3 as well. But public was not satisfied on the decrease demanding Rs10 stop-to-stop and Rs20 fare for the last distance. 

Muhammad Hasan, a student, told ‘The News’ that government has stopped the opportunity of getting education because parents could not afford high transport fares. How they could get education by paying unaffordable transport fares. Old fares Rs10 stop-to-stop and Rs20 for last distance were already unaffordable, he said.

He said that the student community pins hope on Chief Justice of Pakistan to come to their rescue as the government after getting the votes from the public has nothing to do with their problems at least for the five years.

Noureen Bashir, a workingwoman said that peoples of other countries are provided relief while in Pakistan government sucks the last drop of blood of the majority poor in form of high transport fares. How a poor man could afford Rs60-70 per day for transport fares. The Supreme Court is the only institution that could deliver to the poor masses, therefore the apex court should act now. 

A number of students of different institutions were of the view that the Chief Justice of Pakistan should direct the government to fix transport fares as per consumption of CNG and not the diesel, which is hardly used by the transporters. They said it is a big treachery with the public by the representative of the people sitting in the parliament.

Workshop on UK-Pakistan Protocol on children will Held Tomorrow

Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Judge of Supreme Court, on Monday will inaugurate a three-day workshop entitled ‘UK-Pakistan Protocol on Children Matters’ at Federal Judicial Academy.

Rt. Lord Justice Thorpe, UK Liaison Judge, will also speak on the occasion and Director General of the Academy, will give an overview of the workshop, its aims and objectives. Twenty-five judicial officers from across the country and AJK will participate in the workshop. 

Hashim Abro, spokesman of the FJA, said noted speakers of three sessions of the first day include Rt. Lord Justice Mathew who will speak about “UK-Pakistan Protocol and the legal system in the UK”, Anne Marie Hutchison, OBE, Dawson Cornwell Solicitors, will present “UK-Case studies and Reunites’ research into the operation of the UK/Pakistan Protocol”, Majid Bashir, advocate High Court, will present “introduction and overview of the Protocol.” 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Drop in pollen count is only temporary, expert warns

The free Pollen Allergy Relief Camp established by the chief commissioner of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) started off on Friday with over 100 patients being examined within the first two hours. Patients started reaching the camp, as early as 7 a.m., hoping to obtain free and effective medications.

Although pollen counts were relatively low on Thursday and Friday, patients still visited the camp to get medications well in time before resurgence of pollen allergy. The counts recorded yesterday — less than 5,000 pollens of paper mulberry per cubic metre — were at an all-time low for this time of the year.

Dr. Osman Yusuf, the chief consultant to the camp, explained that since there has been a noticeable climate change this year, therefore paper mulberry trees were predicted to pollinate erratically. While patients heaved a sigh of relief that the counts have fallen, Dr. Osman warned that this drop may be only temporary. The pollens need proper rainfall and temperature to mature. 

The Pakistan Meteorological Department has forecast rain for Friday night and Monday. If it does rain, as predicted, then pollens will begin to rise 2 to 3 days after receiving strong sunshine. So there is a danger of a rise in paper mulberry pollen counts in the last days of March, and early April. Dr. Osman also feared a third peak of paper mulberry in mid-April. This peak, he suspected, would be in the cooler northern sectors of Islamabad, like F-6, F-7 and E-7.

While talking to this scribe about the types of patients visiting the camp, Dr. Osman said that the majority of the patients does not comprise victims from pollen allergy but of chronic allergies, asthma or Coronary Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a chronic inflammation of the lungs caused by cigarette smoke. 

While most of the medicines being provided at the camp are donations, Dr. Osman noted with concern that some people who promise large sums of money or donations to gain media attention, do not actually fulfill their commitment. One leading chemist of Islamabad promised to donate Rs100,000 but in fact contributed much less, and sent over-invoiced bills to show that he had made the stated donation. Two leadings chemists, Shaheen Chemists and Waheed Medicos, are the only ones to have donated 700 inhalers to the camp, and have lived up to their commitment. The Allergy and Asthma Institute, Pakistan, has donated spacer devices, literature, printed material and back-up supplies to the camp. Various other pharmaceutical agencies have donated all types of medicines which are being provided to the patients. Another private sector hospital promised to provide doctors and a large donation to the camp, but these are still awaited.

Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, director of ICT, is taking keen interest in the camp and is continuously coordinating with Dr. Osman, Dr. Amirzada, DHO and Shafiq Khan, camp coordinator. The doctors who are working non-stop, even beyond the camp timings, to accommodate maximum patients include Dr. Faizullah Talpur, Dr. Fawad Khalid Khan, Dr. Tawaf Gul Orakzai, Dr. Tahira Aziz, Dr. Zartaja Tawaf and Dr. Mansoor. Each of these doctors has been specially trained in management of severe pollen asthma and allergy. 

The camp management had decided to change the timings of the camp so that patients are saved from excessive exposure to pollens; however, since this change was not well-publicised, patients faced slight difficulty in the morning on Friday, but the matter was sorted out through the timely intervention of director ICT. It has now been decided that this year, the camp timings will remain from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m., but in future, will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., so that patients can return indoors before the pollen counts rise.

Dr. Osman also advised that if the pollen counts remained low this year, and if the CDA remained ineffective in removing the notorious paper mulberry trees, the pollen counts in spring 2011, will be much higher than the current year. 

Golden Jubilee Events - Pakistan’s Internal Dynamics

The speakers at a seminar here on Thursday said that Pakistan must act fervently against the use of violence and the phenomenon of religiosity, which ultimately harbours intolerant postures towards other people. 

The seminar titled ‘Pakistan’s Internal Dynamics’ was second in a series of talks to celebrate Pakistan Day, organised by the NUST Business School. The purpose of this seminar was to rejuvenate the younger generation, about the ideology of Pakistan. Former information minister Javed Jabbar, ex-interior secretary Syed Kamal Shah were the guest speakers while Federal Minister for Science & Technology Azam Khan Swati was the chief guest. 

Speaking on the occasion, Javed Jabbar, highlighted the state of healthcare, miss-governance, partisanship, inflation, law and order, extremism and disparities in education as the major sources of concern for Pakistan. . He said that there is a democratic disconnect between the masses and the government and that this gap needs to be plugged.

He said, “Pakistan, now, also has a robust judiciary, which should be able to provide much needed relief to the masses.” Syed Kamal Shah in his remarks said that the strength of any society essentially emanates from the internal dynamics of that society and that the internal strength of a society ultimately leads to its prominence on the global scene. 

He said that the systemic challenge, which Pakistan faces today, is the outcome of the interplay between four factors. The challenges, he said, comprised of blowback from Pakistan’s protracted cold war engagement like drugs, guns and refugees, poor governance and postponed decisions, prolonged political instability, and a dangerous and a volatile neighbourhood. 

He highlighted that extremism and terrorism are not synonymous and that addressing the two would need a totally different strategy. Talking about the major factors affecting internal security, he listed the political instability of 90s, poverty and illiteracy, lack of good governance, politicisation and consequent deprivation of law enforcement and judiciary and sectarianism, injustice and an uneven distribution of wealth, the economic meltdown, unemployment and the ethnic problems in Karachi and Baluchistan as the domestic factors. 

On suggesting a way forward, Kamal Shah advised that capabilities must be improved and national capacities strengthened to pursue terrorists and prevent terrorist activities.

In his concluding remarks, Federal Minister Azam Swati said that absence of rule of law, political leadership and justice are the root-cause of Pakistan’s multi-dimensional problems that we face today. He said that his generation had disappointed the nation, as it had promoted corruption and nepotism in the country, but he said that he had all the hopes pinned to the younger generation because of their attitudes against corruption. Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan, Director General and Dean of NUST Business School presented the welcome address.

Golden Jubilee Events - BUSINESS IDEAS & JOB EXPO 2010

Motivating youth to experiment with unexplored avenues of entrepreneurship and academics, the two-day Business Ideas & Job Expo 2010 organised by Jang Media Group and Tehzeeb Pakistan concluded here on Friday. 

Youth visited the venue in large numbers on the second day to learn about the changing market trends. They visited every stall enthusiastically and inquired about the opportunities available and qualifications required in the market. The additional feature of ‘Business Ideas’ this year successfully gave new dimension to the young minds looking for profitable career opportunities. 

“I think I should start my career with my own business,” said Saleem Ijaz, a student of MBA last semester. Sharing his experience of the exhibition, another student Sharjeel Ahmed said that he has learned many good things about how to start a new business. “There are unlimited business opportunities available around and in this time of recession in job market, the youth should seriously consider this option,” he said adding one consultant said to him that every recession opens up new business avenues. 

Sales Manger Tehzeeb Arif Waseem told ‘The News’ that he has given more than 50 power point presentations to youth about the new business ideas. He said that their organisation has a list of 1,000 culture friendly business ideas suitable to Pakistan’s political and economic situation. “Soon we will display them on our website www.tehzeeb-pakistan.org. “To start up with, we gave presentations on five innovative ideas related to auto industry,” he mentioned. 

Talking about the most liked ideas, Arif said that many young visitors expressed keen interest in Carvertising. “It is a new form of advertising in which consumers wrap their cars in ads for cash,” he said pointing out that car owners can earn a good amount of money by making their car a marketing tool for big companies. 

“To start this expenditure less business, consumers should contact the marketing departments of any organisation,” he said while advising his customers not to approach wrong persons in an organisation. “Approaching the right person in very important to succeed as a business person.” He said that another idea that received good response was to start a business of safety controls for cars in order to protect them from theft. “In developed world, such tools are common mainly for parental monitoring of cars. “Teen drivers are more likely to speed and less likely to wear seat belts. This safety issue gave rise to this idea that proved to be a big success in western markets,” he said. 

The exhibition not only provided a platform to youth to interact with big companies, but it also provided an opportunity for many business organisations to introduce their brand in the market. “Although we are new in the market, but the response was overwhelming,” said Shabir Ahmed, sales boy at a stall offering gent’s wear. As many as 40 stalls of different companies and academic institutions were set up on the occasion. The stalls of big organisation received hundreds of CVs containing information about the aspiring candidates. Some conducted on the spot interviews. Even the stallholders of small business groups displaying their products for sale also received CVs of students looking for experience opportunities. Students were of the opinion that more such exhibition should be organised for youth that feels is directionless and clueless in the present insecure political and economic conditions. “Such events should also be arranged within universities and colleges so that maximum students can benefit from such positive activity,” suggested Shela Saeed, a student of Masters in Social Studies. 

Adding colour to the overall environment were the stalls set up by businesswomen. The delicately designed gold plated jewellery and trendy dresses displayed on these stalls remained the focus of attention for visitors. “Many girls and boys approached us to ask about the prospects of such business,” said Noreen Faiza, a jewellery designer. She said that innovation is the key to be successful in the jewellery and garments business. “The Pakistani products have excellent market aboard,” said Faiza adding that her products are sold as hot cakes in the Europe and United States. 

A young dress designer, Sana Malik, said that combination of quality and marketing skills guarantee the success of a business. She said that despite high competition in this business, there are plenty of unexplored areas yet to be discovered. She urged young and educated girls to try their luck in garments business. 

Golden Jubilee Events - FAST University Seminar

Pakistan is the third largest rice exporter and fifth largest textile producer of the world yet it has lost the pace of development which it had up to 1991, said the former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Dr. Ishrat Husain, while addressing students at a seminar on ‘Pakistan’s economy and strategies to improve it’.

The seminar was organised on Friday by FAST University in which speakers dwelled on social, economic and technical dimensions of the issue. During his address, Dr. Ishrat Husain said that lack of political continuity has not allowed Pakistan’s economy to flourish at a pace, which was required. “Every new government discontinues even useful policies of the previous government due to their own priorities,” he said.

He said that India and China have attained present economic strength due to the continuity of policies. “Economic progress is a slow and steady progress like a marathon race which requires continuity in order to give fruitful results,” he said.

He advised students to participate vigorously in the glowing global need of the economy, which is required by the world. “A skilled manpower can contribute a lot in the development of an economy. Reduction of fiscal deficit and strict monetary policy to minimise inflation is the need of the hour,” he added.

Dr Ishrat stressed on the need for female education while referring to an example of Vietnam where initially female population did not contribute much in the development of the country, but later on proved to be an important segment contributing towards the overall development of the country. “Nowadays Pakistan’s exports range is approximately round 19 to 20 billion dollars and Vietnam’s exports have reached up to 46 billion dollars,” he added.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Prime Minister Gillani Inaugurates Service Road Project in Islamabad

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Thursday formally inaugurated the widening of the existing seven-kilometre Service Road (West) along Islamabad Expressway to ensure smooth flow of traffic. 

The existing Service Road (West) is 20 feet wide and proving insufficient for the load of traffic passing through this part. The CDA decided to add another four feet of road in addition to eight-foot shoulders on this stretch to help ease the flow of traffic on the expressway. The total project cost is around Rs201.90 million and its scheduled time of completion is June 6, 2010. 

Speaking on the occasion, the prime minister said that such steps by the CDA would bring a lot of relief to the people who have to travel through this road up and down daily. It would also take off a lot of traffic load from the Islamabad Expressway, which being the VVIP Route linking the federal capital with the Islamabad International Airport, is restricted for normal flow of traffic because of VVIP movements. 

“This is yet another essential project that the CDA is taking up and in the wake of the fact that recently the authority has accomplished quite a few projects, which were stuck up for a long time, such as the award of possession letters to the people who were allotted plots in Sector D-12 back in 1988 as well as the balloting of the remaining plots in Sector I-16, in addition to a number of other public welfare project initiated by the CDA, which are near completion now,” the prime minister said. 

“I am pleased with the efforts being made by the CDA for the comfort and relief of the residents of not only those living in developed sectors of the federal capital but the ones inhibiting the rural areas of Islamabad Capital Territory, especially in Zone-IV. The water supply project besides many other being launched by the authority are appreciable steps,” he said. He urged the CDA chairman to re-visit the master plan and make necessary amendments to make the city more beautiful and provide a maximum of sporting, entertainment and cultural attractions for the residents of the federal capital as well as those visiting this beautiful city. 

Earlier, CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi briefed the prime minister on the project being undertaken to ease the flow of traffic on Islamabad Expressway through construction of the Service Road. He also mentioned completion of a number of other projects recently carried out by the CDA. 

Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf, Leader of the House in the Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Information Technology Sardar Lateef Khosa, a number of MPs and CDA board members and officials attended the function.

Golden Jubilee Events - Rebuilding Democratic Pakistan Exhibition

A commemorative exhibition titled ‘Rebuilding Democratic Pakistan: Promise, Policy, Performance’ inaugurated by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani at the National Art Gallery here on Thursday mirrors the visual reality of the PPP government’s success story.

The exhibition marks the celebration of the successful completion of two years of the incumbent government.

Displaying about 200 photographs, posters and graphics, the thematic show offers a diverse repertoire of selected audio-visual record, focusing on the struggle for the restoration of democracy and the transition towards the democratic system.

Starting from the return of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in 2007 till present, the images on display also showcase various steps taken by the PPP government to take Pakistan forward on the path of progress, peace and pluralism. Divided in different categories with descriptive illustrations, the images on display show different phases of the transition towards democracy.

Organised by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in collaboration with the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) and National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore, the images displayed at the exhibition cover various initiatives taken by the people’s government. Speaking to the distinguished guests, Prime Minister Gilani described the exhibition as “offering a rainbow of colours to showcase the distances covered by the PPP government since the assassination of its leader Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.”

Earlier, the prime minister took round of the exhibition and appreciated the work done by the PNCA, NCA and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

In his welcome note, Minister of State for Information Syed Sumsam Ali Bukhari introduced the exhibition as ‘a chronicle of various steps taken by the people’s government’. He said the exhibition not only highlights the key features of the governance in Pakistan and the manifesto of Pakistan People’s Party but also reflects the vision of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and the Charter of Democracy.

People from various walks of life visited the exhibition and took keen interest in the photographic display. Books on Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and souvenirs were also put on display.

Pollen Camp Starts - 400 patients seek treatment and medical advice on first day

The Free Pollen Allergy Camp organised by Chief Commissioner (Islamabad) Tariq Mahmood Pirzada took off to a booming start. Around 400 patients thronged the camp from not only Rawalpindi and Islamabad, but adjacent areas as well. 

Although the counts of the notorious allergy causing pollens of paper mulberry trees fell to 7,387 in H-8, 1,850 in G-7, 1,292 in F-8, 2,379 in E-8, which is an all-time low for this time of the year, still patients came to the camp in large numbers in search of quality treatment and medicines. 

All patients were provided free medicines including inhalers and counselling on proper measures for avoidance of pollen exposure.

The camp was officially inaugurated by Deputy Commissioner Amer Ali Ahmed and ICT Director Rana Akbar Hayat. The camp in-charge, Dr. Amizada Khan (district health officer, Islamabad), and the camp coordinator, Shafiq Khan (drug inspector of the ICT), remained on their toes to ensure proper supply and availability of medicines. Dr. Osman Yusuf, the consultant to the camp, remained present for about two hours, examining difficult-to-treat and chronic cases. 

Hakeem Rizwan Malik, former head of the National Tibb Council, and renowned researcher on homeopathy of Islami Dawakhana, presented his latest research of an extract prepared for immediate relief of asthma symptoms, just by smelling the extract. Hakeem Rizwan has provided free medicines of tibb (hikmat) system of treatment from his own resources, and is also arranging qualified ‘hakeems’ to sit in the camp, and provide treatment to patients, who prefer this form of treatment.

Homeopathic practitioner Dr. Nasir has also arranged free homeopathic medicines and homeo practitioners to provide relief to chronic allergy sufferers.People from all walks of life visited the camp, and expressed satisfaction over the care and medications provided to them. They pointed out that the camp should have started earlier. 

Shakeel Anjum adds: Addressing the participants of the camp, Deputy Commissioner Amer Ali Ahmed said that the capital administration will provide maximum relief to allergy patients at the Free Pollen Allergy Relief Camp and all medicines will be provided free of cost to them. 

“Holding of Free Pollen Allergy Relief Camp in the city and providing maximum treatment facilities to allergy patients free of cost during the peak allergy season is a great service.” The camp will continue for two weeks and its timings will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Golden Jubilee Events - A tribute to Pakistan’s cultural heritage

A well-conceived and aesthetically strong exhibition featuring the works of three talented artists opens at Nomad’s Saidpur Village branch here today (Thursday).

The unusual exhibition offers sepia-toned pyrographic art by A I Qureshi and Mubashir Iqbal and exquisite slate carvings-ranging from life-size pieces to smaller wall hangings and trays — all inscribed with traditional motifs and symbols by M Ilyas and team.

Qureshi focuses on the Royal Hunt series from insight into the Mughal period, using colour experimentally in traditional pyrography, an ancient technique of burning on wood with a scalding iron tool. His eight artworks are maturely handled and present historical references and images that are imaginatively presented.

Mubashir presents 17 traditional sepia-toned pyrographic paintings reflecting cultural and historic subjects including the old traditional bazaars and streets of Peshawar, Lahore’s various gates, and streets in the old city of Rawalpindi. Also included are stone carvings and historical images of Alexander and the gladiators from Rome, all inspired by the history and majesty of those periods.

Ilyas, the slate-engraver who has inherited the tradition from his fore-fathers, learnt the craft from his maternal grandfather when he was an observant young boy. The slate stones are made from boulders carefully prized out of the Gangar mountains, the extraction being a difficult and laborious task. The engravers struggle arduously to keep the tradition alive as a profession and Ilyas involves his family members in engraving the precious slate — a stone that stands up to various temperatures.

The life-size engraved stones are of exceptional beauty and variety, carved with care on both sides with varying shades of natural colours of grey and undertones of iron ore and copper. All the engraved patterns are from traditional jewellery and local motifs from the area of Sirikot, a village in Haripur in the district of Hazara, NWFP.

Various other products like trays, lamps and other crafts support the exhibition, which reflects Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage. To carry this tradition forward, it is crucial to support the slate engravers so that this process of creating livelihoods through an exquisite art form keeps the craft alive.

The exhibition will remain open until April 15.

Folk singers attract large crowd

An enthralling concert was organised on the premises of National Art Gallery in which singers belonging to all four provinces of Pakistan infused the spirit of patriotism among the audience.

The event was organised by the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, to mark Pakistan Day in which famous singers, including Shaukat Ali, Shahida Minni, Shafqat Ali Khan, Raga Boys, Mashooq Sultan, Mai Dhai, Saira Tahir, Bashir Baloch, Farzana Bahar and Bashir Lohar performed.

The 400-seat hall of the facility proved insufficient to accommodate the swarming crowd with many sitting on its stairs and floor, but still there were dozens who could not be accommodated in the jam-packed hall. The administration of NAG took an immediate step to control the sea of people and shifted dozens to the open-air theatre at the back of NAG. The singers performed alternately at both venues.

A famous song by Shaukat Ali ‘Jag Utha Hai Sara Watan’ sent a wave of enthusiasm among the audience, who thoroughly appreciated the song by continuously clapping and singing along with the performer. Besides that, his other songs included ‘Jugni’, ‘Mahiya’ and ‘Kyun Door Door Rahnday Ho’. The folk songs by Mai Dhai and Mashooq Sultan spellbound the audiences, as they danced on Pushto songs and famous songs of Thar.

All artistes performed live on stage, with musicians in the orchestra wonderfully playing instruments including the keyboard, ‘tabla’, ‘dholak’, ‘rubab’, drums and harmonium. The audiences also performed folk dances on various folk songs while the youngsters on the occasion performed ‘bhangra’ on national songs. On the occasion, the PNCA presented a special award to singer Mashooq Sultan from NWFP in recognition of her contribution to the promotion of folk songs.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Soan River bridge to be inaugurated today

The Capital Development Authority is all set to inaugurate Soan River Bridge Rehabilitation Project and Service Road West of the Islamabad Expressway today (Thursday), says a press release.

CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, while presiding over a meeting to review the arrangements for the inauguration, said that the rehabilitation of the western side of the Bridge of Soan River on the Islamabad Expressway has been completed at a cost of Rs181 million. The project would facilitate the flow of traffic on the Islamabad Expressway.

About half a kilometre long bridge with the width of 13 meter has been completed in a record period of five months. The bridge has been provided with 9.4 meter wide carriage way and 1.8 meters walkway on each side. The project would not only facilitate the adjacent areas but also the people visiting the federal capital.

The chairman giving the details of the Service Road West Project said that the widening and rehabilitation of the Service Road West along Islamabad Expressway from Faizabad to Karal Chowk is being completed at a cost of Rs200 million. This road having a length of 7 kilometre would be completed by June 2010. The completion of the Service Road West would substantially decrease the traffic burden on Islamabad Expressway and facilitate the population living on the western side of the Expressway along the Service Road. In the first phase of the project 3.5 kilometre road would be rehabilitated from Khanna Bridge to Karal Chowk whereas the second phase of the project includes construction of 3.5 kilometre concrete road from Khanna Bridge to Dhoke Kalakhan.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Protest hits twin cities against transport fares hike

Updated at: 1226 PST,  Friday, March 19, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The violent protest against hike in public transport fares in Islamabad was continued on Friday as protesters at Bara Kaho burnt tyres and closed Murree and Saddar roads.

The roadblocks caused traffic jam in capital city as angry protesters chanted slogans against the authorities and hurled stones on police and vehicles. Heavy police contingents were reached at the scene and carried out tear gas shelling to disperse the protestors.

Fresh protests erupted when transporters charged increased fares on Friday morning despite reports of restoration of old fares on Thursday.

Bloodiest Strike against Public Transport High charges in Islamabad

Friday, March 19, 2010


A young boy was seriously wounded alongside 21 others, including seven cops of the Islamabad Police, in a protest demonstration against increase in public transport fares in Bhara Kahu here on Thursday.

Students of various colleges of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, living in Bhara Kahu and its adjoining areas, told ‘The News’ that they had planned a peaceful protest against increase in transport fares, as their parents were unable to give them Rs100 daily for transportation.

According to them, they blocked the main Murree Road to register their protest and demanded review of the fare list. When a group of protesters intercepted some public service vehicles (PSVs), their drivers and conductors started arguing with students, which resulted in a brawl.

Eyewitnesses claimed that students got provoked and enraged over the administrative mismanagement when Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) Ali Abbas and Assistant Commissioner Asim Ayub humiliated them. “The situation could have been controlled easily and angry students could have been cooled down by better management, but the attitude of the ADC (G) worsened the situation,” witnesses said.

The angry protesters started pelting stones on wagons and buses, and broke the windowpanes of dozens of public service vehicles, witnesses told ‘The News.’ They added that students stopped a number of public service vehicles and snatched keys from their drivers.

The local police called extra force to tackle the situation and tried to clear the road, but angry students started pelting stones on them. Consequently police resorted to baton-charge and hurled tear gas on the orders of the ADC (G), which later culminated in firing.

Resultantly, 21-year-old Mehfeez, son of Abdur Rashid, a first year student of the Islamabad College, Shamsabad, received a bullet in his chest. He was shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in critical condition. Moreover, Shahzad Town Circle SDP Farhat Kazmi was wounded along with seven police personnel during stone-pelting.

The protest, which started at about 12:30 p.m., continued till late evening. Police arrested dozens of protesters but most of them were released on the orders of the deputy commissioner. Traffic between Murree-Azad Kashmir and Rawalpindi-Islamabad remained choked for more than six hours. However, police tried to manage traffic by diverting it to different link roads.

Following orders from Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has ordered an inquiry into the incident and appointed the deputy commissioner to submit a report within 72 hours.

Deputy Commissioner (Islamabad) Aamer Ali Ahmad, when contacted by ‘The News,’ said that the administrative officers would be punished according to the law if they were found guilty of provoking students. He said that he would complete the inquiry within two days, adding that the statements of the ADC (G) and AC as well as witnesses claiming the mismanagement of the administration would be recorded to ascertain the facts.

PIMS spokesman Dr. Waseem Khawaja, when contacted by ‘The News,’ said Mehfeez, the wounded student, sustained a bullet injury, but now he was stable and out of danger.

Meanwhile, Leader of the House in the Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari condemned the incident and asked the Islamabad chief commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the incident. The chief commissioner assured Bokhari that the people responsible for the situation would be dealt with sternly.

The situation remained tense till late evening and the protesting groups continued attacking police with stones from different sides. The scattered youth blocked Murree Road at different points, but police remained silent.

Deputy Commissioner (Islamabad) Aamer Ali Ahmad said that despite having force, they would not use it. He said that all issues have been settled, but some people were creating law and order situation. He said that the chief commissioner has cancelled the fare list and ordered its revision as per public wishes.

Meanwhile, negotiations between the deputy commissioner and the agitating students continued till filing of this report.