Sunday, September 30, 2012

Gandhara Film Festival debuts in Karachi

Pakistan News & Features Services

The first-ever Gandhara Film Festival, spread over a couple of days, was hosted at the Pakistan American Culture Center (PACC) in Karachi on September 28 and 29. It was the maiden venture of The Creative Brigade. 

The festival continued for more than 12 hours both days with tremendous enthusiasm witnessed among the participants as well as the audience. 

About 20 short and feature length films by amateur film makers while workshops were held on film making and production. 

The workshops were aimed at guiding students and budding film makers in the art of storytelling or broadcast news writing and one that focused on cinematic graphics, which was led by Waleed Umar Thanvi. 

The films recognized at the Gandhara Film Festival 2012, which are to screened again shortly at the PACC were Heer Ranjha (Winner Features Category), Ish Pata (Runner-Up Features Category), Divine Nostalgia (Winner Shorts Category), Displaced-The Forgotten (Runner Up Shorts Category), Story of Revolution (Winner People's Choice Award) and Golden Letters (Runner Up People's Choice Award). 

Syed Talat Hussain, Syed Mohammad Ahmed, Soniya Rehman and Rashid Farooqui comprised the panel of judges in the festival. 

The festival got off to a flying start with the screening of short film Heal. Directed by Mian Adnan Ahmed, it lived up to the reputation of charming the audience and earning positive reviews. On great demand of the people, it was screened a second time despite being against the schedule. 

The audience was encouraged to get to really know the directors and producers whose works they liked and they also enjoyed the freedom to express those works didn’t come to their expectations. 

The concepts and social issues shown were spectacularly bold, refreshing and thought-provoking which could give a lifeline to the Pakistani film industry if the talents of the young and emerging directors and producers were properly utilized.

AMUOBA elects office-bearers for 2012-15

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys Association (AMUOBA), the premier organization of the Alumni of the famous Aligarh Muslim University, held its elections for a term of next three years on September 30. 

Engr Z A Nizami, the AMUOBA’s President in office, had already returned unopposed as no other candidate had submitted nomination paper for this coveted post. 

Mohammad Salman Saleh and Masood Alam were also elected unopposed as Treasurer and Joint Secretary of the Association along with Dr Jaffar Nazir Usmani (Joint Secretary Sports), Ali Zafar Khan Afridi (Joint Secretary Publicity) and Shajar Ali Hashmi (Joint Secretary Academic). 

According to the results, Adil Usman, Cdre (R) Salim A. Siddiqui and Mohammad Yousuf Siddiqui were elected as Vice Presidents while Mukhtar Ahmed Naqvi was elected as new General Secretary, a post which was previously held by Late Zakir Ali Khan for a long time 

The Aliagrhians also elected the 18-member Executive Committee for which 23 candidates were in the field. 

Addressing the General Body on the occasion, Engr Z.A. Nizami, who is also the Chancellor of Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), Karachi, by virtue of him being the President of AMUOBA, remarked that he felt privileged and humbled to fellow members for re-electing him unopposed for yet another term to serve the Association. 

“I will continue to support the vision of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan through advocacy and communication with our stakeholders,” he declared. 

He informed the audience that the SSUET, the first engineering university to be established by AMUOBA in the private sector, today has collaboration with 11 renowned universities of the US and UK. 

In recognition of its high standard of education, the university has been awarded the highest W4 category by Higher Education Commission and 5-star category by the Charter Evaluation Inspection Team. 

On the occasion, the General Secretary-elect, Mukhtar Naqvi, presented the AMUOBA’s annual report, highlighting its activities and performance during the last three years. 

The newly elected office bearers of AMUOBA assured that they will discharge their duties to the entire satisfaction of the organization and its members and work relentlessly to achieve the objectives of the Association and the goals set for the next three years.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Z A Nizami re-elected as AMUOBA President

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Engr Z A Nizami, a renowned educationist, was re-elected as the President of the Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys Association (AMUOBA). He was once again elected unopposed as President of this august body of Aligarhians for yet another three-year term.

Engr Nizami has continued to be the President of the AMUOBA after Khawaja Waheed and Z H Lari headed the body in the 1960s. 

The AMUOBA will be having its fresh elections on September 29 upon the completion of the three-year term of the present office-bearers. 

The candidates for the posts of Honorary Treasurer, Honorary Joint Secretary, Honorary Joint Secretaries (Sports, Publicity and Academic) have already returned unopposed with Masood Alam, Dr Jaffar Nazir Usmani, Ali Zafar Khan Afridi and Shajar Ali Hashmi, respectively having been elected to these posts without any opposition. 

The contest on September 29 will be for the offices of Vice-Presidents for which five candidates are in the field and Honorary General Secretary with two candidates as the contestants.

For the election of 18-member Executive Committee, now there are 23 candidates left in the contest after withdrawal of intending nominees on September 26. 

Engr Z.A. Nizami is the Chancellor of the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), Karachi, since its establishment in 1993 by virtue of his being the President of the AMUOBA. 

The SSUET was the first engineering university to be established in the private sector and starting with a few hundred students initially in four engineering disciplines then, it today has about 5500 students in six engineering disciplines of Computer Engineering, Electronics, Civil, Telecommunication, Bio-Medical besides Computer Science. 

Besides the SSUET, the AMUOBA is also running Aligarh Institute of Technology (AIT) which has about a thousand students on roll.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Aziz Memon highlights cross-border lessons in saving lives

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi  
(Pakistan News and Features Services)

Aziz Memon, Chairman of Rotary International’s PolioPlus Committee, has expressed the eagerness to learn from India’s success in eradicating polio from Pakistan, one of three nations still registering indigenous transmission of wild poliovirus. 

“India have not recorded a single case of polio since January 13, 2011, a fact acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO). Their success in the eradication of polio, serves as a beacon of hope for the nations like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria who are still struggling to control polio,” Aziz Memon, having served as the Governor of Rotary International’s District 3270 covering Afghanistan and Pakistan, remarked in an interview with the PNFS in Karachi on September 25. 

“Pakistan could imbibe invaluable lessons from its neighbour about eradicating polio. This is vitally important because Pakistan had experienced the world’s largest nationwide outbreak of polio in 2011 with 198 reported cases,” he added. 

“As of June 8, 2012, Pakistan had reported 21 cases of wild poliovirus, compared to 52 cases during the same period in 2011. Insurgency and security-related dangers don’t allow our national polio programme to consistently reach children in certain areas of FATA. Also the sub-optimal management of the programme at the sub-district level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan has seen inconsistent polio campaigns, with many children being missed during immunisation drives,” the Rotary official regretted. 

‘In order to overcome the challenges, Rotary International has undertaken vigorous efforts in promoting the Polio Eradication Campaign in Pakistan, just as it did in India. Along with its partners, UNICEF and WHO, Rotary’s PolioPlus Committee in Pakistan has been overseeing eradication efforts. Pakistan has emulated India by roping in celebrity ambassadors to advance the cause of polio eradication and the most popular cricketer of the country, Shahid Afridi, is a part of the Polio Eradication Campaign,” Aziz Memon noted. 

“We have also adopted best-practice modules from India like the identification of high-risk blocks, roping in religious leaders from different sects in door-to-door campaigns, conducting health camps to augment abysmal healthcare services, and producing social mobilisation materials for Information, Education and Communication on Polio. During NIDs (National Immunisation Days) and SNIDs (Sub-National Immunisation Days), Rotary Clubs in Pakistan work alongside government health workers during immunisation drives and also collaborate with multinational companies to boost awareness levels,” he added.

“The Rotary Clubs in Pakistan have been more proactive and persist with polio camps, walks and workshops that drive awareness and eradication efforts. Pakistan PolioPlus Committee has installed billboards in high-risk districts for national campaigns, with some billboards being permanent. As per the government’s request, an additional 45,000 vaccine carriers have been made to ensure quality of activities don’t suffer,” he disclosed. 

“The Pakistani authorities are firmly committed to implementing eradication efforts to ensure polio spikes within its borders are curbed. To facilitate the success of its anti-polio initiatives, we sought India’s support in this drive. Apart from the exchange of delegations between the two nations, Pakistan’s serious intent is also evident from the fact that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is personally involved in the campaign against polio,” Aziz Memon explained. 

“Concerted and sustained efforts on the part of all stakeholders, public and private entities, partnerships and the public, for polio to be finally eradicated from Pakistan are essential because a failure to do so will leave open the perennial threat of wild poliovirus making a surreptitious comeback in other geographies too; that is something Pakistan, and the world, can ill afford at this crucial juncture,” he warned.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Two-hour daily closure of major airports until December

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi  
(Pakistan News and Features Services)

The airports at Karachi, Islamabad and Peshawar are being closed for two hours daily and the closure will continue until end of December 2012 by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The Gilgit Airport will be closed during day light timings for eight and a half hours; from 9:30 am till 6:00 PM and now only one flight may operate between Islamabad-Gilgit and that too during early morning hours. 

The weather may again disturb the single flight. According to airport sources, initially the CAA had issued a notice to all the airlines that it would close airports to de-rubber the runways until September 15, 2012. 

Therefore all the airlines operating Hajj flights prepared their departure schedule from these major after the second week of September. 

However, without consulting the airlines the CAA has extended the closure of airports until last week of December 2012 which has created a complete disruption of flight schedules for not only the national flag carrier but also other local and foreign airlines who are complaining about it. 

Sources said that in case the government does not intervene and asks CAA to defer the cleaning of runways until the Hajj operation is over by end November the closure of airports may seriously affect the arrival of post Hajj flights.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

PIA facilitating Hajj pilgrims with utmost care

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News and Features Services)

National carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has so far airlifted 14,840 intending Hajj pilgrims by 34 direct flights to Jeddah. 

The Managing Director PIA, Mohammad Junaid Yunus, since the first Hajj flight left from Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore, Quetta and Karachi, is personally supervising to ensure that Hajj flights operated as per schedule. 

According to the airline spokesman, PIA is carrying out its Hajj operation through its own fleet, without compromising the domestic and international schedule which is being maintained according to the expected time of departures (ETD) and arrivals (ETA). 

Besides, maintaining the schedule of daily eight hajj flights from federal and provincial capitals, PIA is also ensuring its regular 125 flight departures and arrivals for an estimated 13 to 14 thousand international and domestic passengers on daily basis. 

According to PIA, so far four Hajj flights from Karachi have carried 2012 intending pilgrims; eight flights from Lahore carried 4024; nine flights from Islamabad carried 4527; nine flights from Peshawar carried 2961 and four flights from Quetta carried 1316 to Jeddah. 

However, quoting technical reasons, PIA said that to ensure safety of the aircraft and passengers and to make journey comfortable, there were some delays in the departure of regular flights which were allowed to depart as soon as the engineers confirmed the aircraft safety. 

As regards the Hajj flights, so far, only one from Peshawar suffered 27 minute delay due to passenger's scrutiny and narcotic checking at the airport on September 20.

PIA Engineering is also maintaining fitness of 32 aircraft out of fleet of 38 for safe air travel while five planes are under major maintenance due to Bird hits at Lahore and Karachi needing new engines. 

One ATR 42-500 that skidded off the main runway few days back due to torrential rains in Lahore is also undergoing repairs. 

The spokesman added that PIA's 204 pre-Hajj flight departures to Jeddah and four direct flights to Madinah-tul-Munawwara will continue till October 20. This year PIA is expected to carry over 95,000 pilgrims through Hajj and regular flights.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

SSUET holds Poster Presentation 2012

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

The Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, organized a poster presentation displaying a number of innovative research projects, designed and produced by the students of the Computer Engineering Department.

The students made a visually pleasing presentation with combined text and graphics that kept the visitors spellbound. Their creativity and imagination was greatly admired.

Inaugurating the exhibition, Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Syed Jawaid Hasan Rizvi observed that the scientific and technical information at such forums facilitates rapid communication of scientific ideas through poster presentations.

Appreciating the innovative skills of students he reckoned that poster presentation represented a well-designed, eye-catching, and engaging display of research and scientific information and conveys the results of research activities to promote scientific achievements of the presenters 

The Vice Chancellor gave assurance to the students that the university will provide all possible financial help and support to them to complete their projects and make them commercially viable. 

The projects on display included Automated Web & Mobile Based Trading System, Image Processing for Visually Impaired, Shop Pro via Smart Phone, Disaster Management System, MIS for Welfare Organization, Remote Appointment System for Health & Care, Map Generators with Location Awareness for Windows Mobile, Media Neuron and Intelligent Parking Management System.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tariq Naseer’s debut album Ijazat making waves

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

Tariq Naseer’s debut album Ijazat, comprising of soft geets and ghazals, has started making waves and it was been widely hailed in the cultural community of Karachi in particular where the vocalist is based.

He has been demonstrating his singing talents for quite a few years but Ijazat happens to be his maiden album and going by the appreciation it has getting this is likely to be the first of the many to come in future. 

Gori Tera Chalna is the opening song which is followed by Tumhein Janan Ijazat, Umran Guzar Laiyan, Kisi Ke Ghum Mein, Bandh Loon Hath Pe, Jab Se Toota Hai, Kabhi Khwab Mein, Hum Tum, Tere Bina Maa and Ek Baat Adhuri. 

The music of Ijazat has been composed by Irfan Samoo while it was recorded by Arsalan and Shafiq and mixed by Ashfaq Ahmed at Shadab Studio. The CD cover has been designed by the famous artist, Mansoor Zuberi.

“This album would not have been possible without the help, support and motivation by Shahid Malik, Ashfaq Ahmed, Mahmood Kausar and Irfan Samoo. They all provided me with the expertise I didn’t possess,” the most and unassuming Tariq Naseer acknowledged. 

He has also made a special mention of his friends Nadeeem Farooq, Adnan Sabri, Intisar Burney, Shahid Shaikh and Saleem Sharif besides his colleagues in the Karachi City Owners Welfare Association, of which he himself is the Secretary General. 

Tariq Naseer, working as Director at the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), has dedicated the song Maa of Ijazat to his beloved mother, whose prayers and support played the key role in his success. The versatile youngster has not forgotten his better half either besides praising his children, Ali and Rabia, for their constant encouragement.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

PEC postpones dinner to mourn Karachi fire tragedy

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

The Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) has expressed profound grief and sorrow over the massive destruction caused by inferno at the garment factory resulting in a major loss of human lives.

The PEC Chairman, Syed Abdul Qadir Shah, stated that the heart of every Pakistani was bleeding and every eye was full of tears over this tragedy. 

He remarked that no amount of money can compensate for lives lost and neither the dear and near ones could come back. 

“But it is high time for every Pakistani to pray to Allah to rest the departed souls in eternal peace and grant fortitude to bereaved families to bear the irreparable loss. The PEC fully stands by the grieved families on this gruesome occasion,” Abdul Qadir Shah observed.

He said that for the future the engineering aspects of all such premises should be thoroughly scrutinized and no industrial unit, not fulfilling the engineering requirements, should be permitted to establish itself. 

Abdul Qadir Shah announced the postponement of PEC's annual dinner which was due to be held on September 14 at the Beach Luxury Hotel in Karachi.
Meanwhile the death toll from a garment factory at Karachi's Hub River Road rose to 289, many of whom perished because they were unable to escape building that lacked emergency exits and basic safety equipment such as alarms and sprinklers. 

The deadly blaze, having erupted on the night of September 11, was one of the worst industrial accidents in Pakistan's 65-year history.

Karachi Division earns huge revenue for Railways in crunch situation

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

 Despite acute resource constraints, the Karachi Division of Pakistan Railways operated as many as 25 goods trains during August 2012 which earned revenue of Rs 82.294 million to the cash-strapped organization.

Besides this, a special campaign was launched under special directives of the government to transport Furnace oil for Lal Pir and Muzaffargarh Power Houses to avoid looming power shortage. 

“Despite all odds, the campaign continued for 40 days during which the railway operated 50 oil specials as a result of which some 1800 tank wagons carried 35,580 tons of oil which kept the power houses functional and helped overcome ever increasing load shedding,” Divisional Superintendent, Anzar Ismail Rizvi, revealed in an interview on September 13. 

He claimed that the Karachi Division can operate up to 10 freight trains daily provided the locomotives were made available for the same, adding this can put the Railways back to its financial track.

On an average, he pointed out that the Division earned freight revenue of Rs 577.847 million with a daily average of Rs 2.110 to Rs 4.705 million per day from January to August in 2012. 

The DS further stated that the during these months, the freight earning stood at Rs 65.415 million in January 2012, Rs 88.250 million in Feb., Rs 66.990 million in March, Rs 52.995 million in April, Rs 76.526 million in May, Rs 29.107 million in June, Rs 136.432 million in July and Rs 62.132 million in August. 

On the Passenger side, Anzar Rizvi said, the Division earned revenue of Rs 1960.650 million during January-August 2012 with a daily average ranging from Rs 6.623 to Rs 8.948 million. According to the DS the Railways earned revenue of R 205.300 million in January, 229.700 million in February, 276.800 million in March, 268.455 million in April, 250.200 million in May, 268 million in June, 242.900 million in July and 219.300 million in August 2012. 

He recalled that keeping aside the resource limitations the Railways operated two Ed special trains on August 6 and 17 and earned revenue of Rs 205 million during the period from August 14 to 24 from current reservation alone.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Aziz Memon’s election as President set to take ESUP to another level

Jumbo Editorial Team

Aziz Memon, one of the luminaries of the business world, who has also distinguished himself in the field of community service, is all set to bring the English Speaking Union of Pakistan to life following his unanimous election to the post of President recently.

“We have to do some restructuring to create more awareness about our activities. We need to mobilize our resources to be more visible in the civil society. Ours is a historic body and we are proud of our heritage.,” Aziz Memon, having a proven track record in working at a fast pace and delivering against the heaviest of odds, observed in a brief statement after being elected to the coveted position of President, ESUP.

“I consider it a great honour to be elected as the President of this august body of which I have been a part of for a couple of decades now. I am grateful to the worthy leaders of the ESUP to have chosen me for this top slot. My predecessors have performed a nice job and I will leave no stone unturned in raising the bar,” the newly elected ESUP President, known for making things happen, vowed.

Aziz Memon, who was conferred Pride of Performance Award by the President of Pakistan in 2011, has succeeded Barrister Shahida Jamil as the President of the ESUP which was previously led by the likes of Lt. Gen. Attiq-ur-Rehman, Chief Justice A R Cornelius, Ahmed E H Jaffer, Major Gen Nawabzada Mohammad Sher Ali Khan Pataudi, Ahmed Amjad Ali, and Justice Sajjad Ahmed Jan.

It may be recalled that Aziz Memon had set many records of sorts during his tenure as Governor of Rotary International’s District 3270 covering Pakistan and Afghanistan, in 2007-2008. 

Having held numerous other positions at various levels during a remarkable career, he has been the Chairman of Rotary’s National Polio Plus Committee for the past couple of years. 

Aziz Memon, who is Chairman of the Kings Group, a conglomerate of five companies, is expected to take the English Speaking Union of Pakistan (ESUP), founded in 1961 with the objective to develop friendship and goodwill between the English-Speaking people of Pakistan and other countries, to another level with his proactive approach.

The English Speaking Union (ESU), an educational charity, was founded in 1918 on the initiative of an English writer and journalist, Sir Evelyn Wrench.

It was established by Royal Charter with Her Majesty The Queen as Patron and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh as President. 

During its long history, the ESU has played an important part in fostering cultural links between people of different nationalities. 

The mission of the ESU is to promote international understanding and human achievement through the English language. 

The centre of all these activities is the international Headquarters at Dartmouth House in London, which not only manages the international programmes but also provides advice and support for ESU, both nationally and internationally.

Thousands of ESU members all over the world are able to share their ideas and culture through the ESU global network.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sir Syed University taking initiatives to develop research methodology

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

“The strategically planned research does have positive impact on socio economic aspects of the lives of people as well as on the physical environment,” Prof Dr Javed Hassan Rizvi, Vice-Chancellor, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, SSUET, remarked while chairing a meeting with the Ph.D faculty of the university on September 1.

“The outcome and findings of the research can be achieved through presentations at scientific and professional conferences and meetings, publishing research and professional journals and magazines,” he stressed. 

Reviewing the SSUET’s research development activities, the Vice-Chancellor was of the view that research activity enhances quality of education and such an approach will can be of immense benefit for the career of PhD students. 

“It is imperative for the university to conduct research and explore possibilities for utilization of innovative research for industry development,” he emphasized.
It was proposed in the meeting that sufficient funds be allocated as incentive for the faculty members to promote research culture at the campus. 

The meeting also discussed organizing symposium and seminars on various topics to promote research-friendly environment at the campus. 

The Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), under the dynamic leadership of its Chancellor, Engr Z A Nizami, has been promoting research-oriented activities and encouraging its students and faculty to be a part of it.