Friday, May 30, 2014

Toronto’s Sindhi leaders meet Canadian Minister

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sindhi Community of Toronto held a meeting with Jason Kenney, Federal Minister for Employment, Social Development and Multicultural, together with Tim Hudak, opposition leader of Ontario Legislative Assembly to discuss various issues including visas to spouses, delays in immigration, educational, health, and culture.

The delegation conveyed its grave concerns in relation to the worsening law and order situation in the region and requested the Canadian government to play its due role.

Senior community members, Khair Mohammad Kolachi and Shah Nawaz Shah thanked Canada’s ruling PC Party leader Jason Kenney for his support and further explained the dynamics of the Sindhi community in conjunction with its cultural integration to Canadian society and vibrant role to multiple the plurality of Canada.

The Secretary of the Sindhi Adabi Sangat, a society promoting Sindhi literature in Canada, Zulfiqar Shaikh, highlighted the efforts of the society with respect to literature and culture. He also expressed concern over visa issues that the Sindhi singers and artists are facing, whose presence to the events in Canadian society will promote cultural integration. Spousal and parental visa issues were also brought to light and that family reunion times should be shorter.

The Sindhi Association of North America’s Vice-President, Aijaz Ahmed Kolachi, praised the efforts of Kenney and apprised him of the continued philanthropic and social development activities including education, poverty and disaster relief in Pakistan.

Kolachi stressed the need for CIDA’s mutual co-operation with SANA and Literary Society so as to ensure the proper and transparent allocation of funds to the grassroots level.  He also brought to his attention the role of Central President SANA, Jamil Daaudi, General Secretary, Noornisa Ghanghro, and community donor Aijaz Turk for establishing a school system in Sindh for needy and poor people.

The Executive Council member of SANA Toronto Chapter, Khalida Memon, Rashid Pirzada, Rajesh Rathi and Vishan Lohana, expressed their concerns over intolerance and health issues and deteriorating standards of education in Sindh and other parts of Pakistan.

They also pledged their co-operation with the government of Canada and further added that, such meetings will surely bring a positive result. The both sides agreed upon to explore ways to work together in the sector of education being a best way to enlighten people, address issues of poverty and extremism. 

Federal Minister Jason Kenney praised Aijaz Kolachi for hosting and arranging such a high profiled meeting with the Sindhi community, Literary Society and SANA. He recognized the core issues in Pakistan, especially those of Sindh and ensured his support in future.

In the end, Tim Hudak, Opposition Leader of Ontario, promised to solve the local issues and requested to join hands with him to help formulate and implement his manifesto. The Sindhi Diaspora presented Canadian leaders the gift of Ajraks a symbolic cultural identity of Indus Valley civilization since 5000 years.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bazm-e-Akram honours Syed Abad Ali

Syed Abad Ali Abad, one of the veteran library scientists and an alumnus of the Library & Information Science department of the University of Karachi, was honoured by Bazm-e-Akram in Karachi on May 29.

Having relocated in Toronto, Canada, for the past one decade, Abad Ali is currently on a private visit to his hometown and he will be staying in Karachi until the first week of the next month.

He was thrilled by the warmth of his former colleagues and contemporaries as they shared the memories of their student life besides discussing their latest engagements in scholastic arena.

Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, the driving force behind Bazm-e-Akram, was informed about her popularity and influence in the LIS circles of Canada.

“Many of your worthy students, having settled there over the years, take pride in your accomplishments and keep a track of your professional activities through books, magazines, websites, online journals and blogs. They hold you in very esteem and derive inspiration from you,” Abad Ali told Prof Dr Nasim Fatima.

“The annual visit of the highly respected Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari to Toronto helps in regrouping the LIS professionals in that part of the world, having moved from Pakistan. We miss our homeland on many occasions and we remain eager to be of help or assistance to the LIS community in Pakistan,” he added.

Abad Ali,who brought with a couple of group photographs of a conference of the Pakistan Library Association (PLA) held at Lahore way back in March 1965, expressed the desire to write an article on the event and he was promptly encouraged to go ahead and do it early.

Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, in her brief remarks, welcomed the visiting LIS veteran and hoped that he would continue devoting his energies in the promotion of the profession to inspire the younger generation.

Dr Nasreen Shagufta, Vice President, Bazm-e-Akram, presented a copy of her book ‘Darakhshan Sitaray’ to Abad Ali who not only praised the contents of the book but also praised the author for her regular articles in the Pakistan Library and Information Science (PLISJ), the quarterly publication of the Library Promotion Bureau (LPB).

Besides Prof Dr Nasim Fatima and Dr Nasreen Shagufta, the lively brunch reception hosted in the honour of Abad Ali was attended by quite a few other officials of Bazm-e-Akram which included Dr Amna Khatoon, Syed Ateeb Ahmed, Zain Siddiqui, Azra Qureshi and Syed Khalid Mahmood.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fruit exporters seek VHT Plant installation

By Syed Sajid Aziz
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

While the axe is falling on Pakistan’s fruits’ exports to European Union (EU) due to fruit fly’s threat, the much talked about Vapour Heat Treatment (VHT) Plant has been cleared by the customs department and dumped at the backyard warehouse of Expo Center by Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).

Though the VHT Plant was imported in very dubious circumstances by the previous management of the TDAP, headed by Tariq Puri, about two years back, it however, became ultimate need of the hour as Pakistan’s fruits and vegetables exports remained under threat due to various reasons particularly fruit fly.

While stakeholders have earnestly demanded TDAP’s present leadership to install it immediately at some independent location so that country’s exporters could be able to utilize it and get away from possible threat of ban on their exports as EU has already slapped a ban on Indian mango due to the same reason.

According to the sources among stakeholders the country has to pay a massive amount on VHT Plant’s duties and demurrages and the cost of the machinery import has shot up to several millions. The TDAP has to pay an amount of Rs33 million in demurrages only, they say.

Despite a big urgency the new leadership of the TDAP is in deep slumber as the Secretary, a junior level officer, has her own priorities. She has looked more interested in foreign trips and some fashions shows than taking the responsibility to safeguard country’s exports.

It is pertinent to note that exports during April and may have dropped significantly, sources said adding that the newly appointed Chief Executive from private sector has proceeded to long vacation after making tall claims of bringing Pakistan’s exports to over $50 billion, while exporters have been left to suffer once again.

Sources said that while VHT Plant remains dumped in warehouse for the last several days and stakeholders are crying for its earliest possible installation as the mango crop is fully ripe and ready for export; the TDAP management has left it on the mercy of vested interests.        

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sharjah set to become centre of $3 trillion Halal market

 By Syed Sajid Aziz
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is to be made center of World Halal Food (WHF) very soon, this was announced on the occasion of establishment of Gulf Halal Centre which was inaugurated by Chairman, Sharjah AWQAF, Sheikh Sagar bin Mohammad Al Qasmi, at Sharjah recently.

The setting up of WHF was a step in fulfilling the vision of Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al Maktoum, to make UAE the center of world Halal Food trade. 

The opening of the cenrre coincided with Sharjah celebrating 2014 as the Islamic cultural capital of the world, and with Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Ruler of Sharjah’s guidance and support to the Islamic world and great Islamic architecture that can be found and seen in all Sharjah government.

The ceremony was held at a local hotel in presence of  VIPs, senior government officials, diplomats, CIPs, business community and media, who witnessed the official launching of Gulf Halal Center (GHC), the pioneering Halal Certification body in the United Arab Emirates, offering  Halal Audit and certification services to Emirati companies, to help them convert to Halal Management System. Sheikh Sagar al Qasmi, declared it as part of the jubilation celebrating Sharjah as the Islamic Cultural Capital of the World 2014.

Chairman of Gulf Halal Center, Saif Mohammad Jasim al Midfa while talking to media said that the Halal market does not only include food products and ingredients but also food service establishments, Pharmaceuticals, Cosmetics, Personal care products, Animal & Poultry feed, Apparel & leather products, hospitality and tourism, banking, finance, Takaful and logistics, which will all be covered by the Gulf Halal Center.

Asad Sajjad, the CEO of Gulf Halal Center gave an eye opening presentation on how the Haram ingredients are used in our everyday use products and emphasized on the importance of Halal Certification as the demand of 1.7 billion Muslim consumers as well as a lot of non-Muslims, who prefer Halal food as its healthy and wholesome (Tayyab). 

Asad said that Halal Certified has emerged as an internationally recognized and established brand that is a big sales booster for the Emirati manufacturers and exporters to enter the 3 trillion dollar plus Global Halal market. Halal Certified removes the non-tariff barriers for many countries as Halal Certified products are able to enter countries with obligatory Halal requirements.

He said that GHC team consists of qualified professionals including Halal technical auditor, Shariah experts and food technologist, experienced in Halal Audit and certification work as per UAE Halal standards for food safety and Shariah, also compliant with OIC-SMIIC Halal standards that are accepted worldwide. 

The GHC also offers Marketing services for Halal Certified products as well as Halal Training and awareness services, for the company employees and management.   

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Europe becomes popular in Pakistan after GSP status: German Consul General

By Syed Sajid Aziz
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

“Europe has become popular among Pakistanis after it has been granted GSP Plus by the European Union (EU) early this year.” 

This was stated by Germany’s Consul General in Karachi Dr Tilo Klinner while addressing the office bearers and members of the Karachi Union of Journalists-D (KUJ) and the Karachi Press Club on May 21. 

“The GSP Plus status is a proof of confidence shown by the European countries on Pakistan, because of which huge foreign investments are coming here in different sectors,” he remarked, adding that in order to fully exploit the GSP Plus, Pakistan should have to comply with the international conventions it signed earlier.

He said that a big potential of Pakistan’s agro products did exist but the Pakistani exporters must adhere to the European quarantine regulations, reminding Germany was already importing Pakistan’s rice and wheat. 

The German Consul General praised the investment policies of the Punjab government due to which a number of foreign investors are being attracted to invest in the province of Punjab. He was of the opinion that Pak-India bilateral trade is not only in the interest of both the neighbouring countries but beneficial to the region as well. 

Dr Kllinner reckoned that the conditions for the working journalists in Pakistan were getting harder day by day and it was the need of the hour to create awareness among the journalists about their safety and protection. 

He agreed to the proposals given by the KUJ to hold training courses and workshops in collaboration with the German Consulate for journalists and initiate journalists exchange programme between the two countries. He said that he would write to the Berlin Press Club to coordinate with the Karachi Press Club. 

He further agreed to facilitate the journalists in teaching German language. Dr Klinner also informed that a large delegation of businessmen from Germany will be visiting Pakistan soon to explore the opportunities for trade and investment. He offered full support to the KPC and the KUJ, committing to encourage and facilitate them in their professional activities.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

SSUET final semester exams from May 26

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The final year’s semester examinations at the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, are scheduled to start from May 26 and will last for about two weeks. 

Teaching in all classes has already been completed on May 16 and the ongoing week has been allowed to students for examination preparations. The arrangements for the semester examination are in full swing and they will be completed by May 23. 

Meanwhile the summer session will start from the middle of June according to the university officials who added that it will be spread over six to seven weeks where after the new session for all batches will start from August 4, soon after Eid-ul-Fitr holidays. 

It may be mentioned here that the university is offering 4 year BS programs in the engineering disciplines of Computer, Bio-Medical, Civil, Electronics, Telecommunication, Bio-Informatics, Architecture and Software Engineering besides Computer Science. 

The SSUET is also offering Ph.D and Master studies in various engineering disciplines under its continuing education program.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Latest PLISJ issue arrives with greater content

Pakistan News & Features Services

The April-June 2014 issue (Volume 45, Number 2) of the Pakistan Library and Information Science Journal (PLISJ), a quarterly publication of the Library Promotion Bureau (LPB), Karachi, has arrived with more content and pages than previous editions.

The latest issue of the PLISJ is spread over no less than 116 pages which includes 28 pages of Urdu content. The cover of the quarterly journal looks graceful in blue while the publication of photographs of its team members as well as the contributors in four-colour has made the cover pages even more attractive. 

As usual the LPB President, Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari, who is also the Chief Editor of the PLISJ, has penned another thought-provoking editorial in which he has touched on the history of the institution he has founded and run with incredible passion for quite a few decades now.

“We have completed 44 years of the PLISJ. We have been striving hard during these years to encourage our professional friends to publish their research work in the journal. Our main objective has been to reduce dependence on foreign literature. Besides the PLISJ, we have published 67 books on LIS out of which 54 are in stock,” he noted. 

“In the PLISJ we are presenting lovely articles of our elite professionals on important topics. All the articles are interesting, inspiring and stimulating. We hope our readers will derive benefit of all these and will give their feedback as their opinions and views matter greatly to us,” he added.

The articles having been published in the latest issue of PLISJ include Non-Agricultural needs of rural Pakistanis (Dr Mumtaz Anwar and Mohammad Asif Naved), Social impact of internet (Dr Rubina Bhatti, Mah-e-Bushra and Tariq Mahmood Chauhan), Training programmes for LIS Professionals (Dr Haroon Idrees and Arif Khan), Applicability of Lotka’s law to Pakistani LIS authors (Dr Khalid Mahmood and Dr Mirza Naseer), Student-teacher relationship and its impact on academic integrity (Mohammad Shahid Soraya, Dr Aamir Hashmi and Saira Hanif Soraya), Development of health sciences libraries and medical librarianship in Pakistan (Ikram-ul-Haq and Midarullah) and Encyclopedias in Urdu language published from Pakistan (Rafat Parveen Siddiqui). 

The Urdu section has been edited by Dr Nasreen Shagufta and there are contributions from Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, Dr Mumtaz Anwar, Syed Ateeb Ahmed, Dr Amna Khatoon, Mian Mohammad Saeed, Azra Qureshi and Dr Arifa Iftikhar.

Monday, May 19, 2014

More than 25 countries to participate in POGEE 2014

By Syed Sajid Aziz
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

The 12th International Exhibition for the Energy Industry-POGEE-2014 is scheduled to be held from May 28 to 30 at Expo Centre, Lahore. The exhibition is geared up for an extensive display of technological advancement and innovative services and is attracting a good number of visitors from cities like Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Muzzafargarh, Shaikhupura, Multan, Lahore and Karachi. 

More than 200 companies from around 25 countries will be participating in the show including with a majority from China, Germany, Iran, India, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, UAE, UK, USA, Ukraine, Malaysia, Egypt, Australia, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Thailand and Turkey. 

The exhibition provides an opportunity to bring together the international business professionals and the leading local industry players to exchange their technical and business expertise to acquaint the local industry with the latest developments in the energy sector. 

POGEE-2014 will also be featuring a highly focused Conference program that is aimed at bringing South Asia’s Energy Industry into the limelight. The POGEE Conference offers an excellent platform for exchange of views & information to the highly targeted audience from Oil, Gas and Energy Industry. 

The international conference will commence on May 29 and will be based on the theme “Empowering Pakistan’s Energy Future: Innovation and Investment”. Ms Saniya Awais, Managing Director, Punjab Power Development Board (PPDB) will grace the POGEE Conference as the special guest. 

The first session of the Conference will have participation of eminent speakers from Board of Investment (BOI), Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB), Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), GE and NSR Group China. 

Adding further value to the conference, an exclusive panel discussion on “Exploring Prospects for Coal Based Power Generation” will be conducted by Dr. Muhammad Bilal Khan, National University of Science and Technology (NUST). 

The panelists include Shamasudin Shaikh, CEO, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company, Zubair Shafi Ghauri, Chief Marketing Manager, Pakistan Railways, Dr M. Ashraf Moten, Chief Chemist, Coal and Energy Development Department, Underground Coal Gasification Project, and Prof. Dr. Shahid Munir, Director, Centre for Coal Technology, University of Punjab. 

POGEE will be an ideal platform to display the latest in technology, equipment and machinery as well as allied services, while providing investors with a definite outlook of the regional energy industry and an opportunity to meet their prospective counterparts and business partners. 

This globally recognized platform anticipates that participation of each individual brings benefit and success in their businesses and enables the country to move a step forward towards its economic growth.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SSUET’s tribute to Maulana Hasrat Mohani

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Glowing tributes were paid to the eminent freedom fighter, Maulana Hasrat Mohani, at a seminar organized by the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, on May 14. 

The speakers on the occasion, who included renowned poet and scholar Sehar Ansari, noted scholar Dr Waqar Ahmed Rizvi and research scholar Khawaja Razi Haider, shed light on the life and achievements of the great poet and freedom fighter. 

The Chancellor of the SSUET, Engr Mohammed Adil Usman, who chaired the seminar, observed that Maulana Hasrat Mohani always led a simple life, free of wants, which re-strengthened his character and infused in him a spirit to live up to his convictions and support the cause of truthfulness. 

He brought awakening among the Muslims of South Asia through sheer dint of his dynamism and steered them to achieve their cherished goal, the Chancellor pointed out that Hasrat Mohani played a significant role along with Quaid-e-Azam and actively participated in the movement started by the Quaid for political emancipation of Indian Muslims and to achieve a dignified and peaceful place for them in the socio-economic structure of India. 

Engr Adil Usman remarked that Hasrat Mohani is acknowledged as the founder of modern poetry who concentrated mainly on the sincerity of thought and simplicity of sentiments and diction. 

His poetic contribution paints true and dignified sentiments of love and portrays multifarious phases of human passions, he said adding that Hasrat Mohani was a true product of his time and his verses are full of revolutionary thoughts and reflective of aspirations of a person whose life was not soothing.

Renowned poet and writer, Professor Sehar Ansari, highlighted the qualities of Hasrat Mohani, crediting him for having introduced the modern form of ghazal which portrayed true picture of the society and experiences of real human life. 

Noted scholar Prof Dr Waqar Ahmed Rizvi added that Hasrat Mohani transformed ghazal on modern lines. His poetic works touches upon variety of subjects with vision and can be described meaningful and unique for reflecting the political atmosphere of that time. 

On the occasion, research scholar Khwaja Razi Haider shed light on the life and achievements of Hasrat Mohani with special reference to his poetic contribution.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

FTO orders FBR to refund decided cases of exporters’ claim

By Syed Sajid Aziz
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), Abdur Rauf Chaudhry, has ordered the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to refund and clear all such refund claims to the exporters that have been decided. 

While addressing the members of Lasbela Chamber of Commerce and Industry on May 13, the FTO announced that, in order to facilitate the exporters, he by himself would approach the FBR to make payments of already settled refund claims within the specified time limit. 

He declared that he will also instruct the FBR to arrange the publishing of Customs’ daily list of Import and Export through Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL) in order to facilitate the business community and to promote the transparency in the international business transactions. 

Responding to a question he noticed that the demand of Tool Tax twice at Karachi Northern Bypass which tantamount to double taxation would be addressed in accordance with law in the larger public interest. The FTO also assured to monitor the expenses being made by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) from export development surcharge meant for the promotion of export trade in accordance with relevant legal provisions but grossly misused. 

In his welcome address, President LCCI, Ismail Suttar said that the institution of FTO has risen to the expectations of those about one million Pakistanis who had fallen prey to official apathy, incompetence and maladministration. 

It is the satisfaction for all concerned that this institution has disposed of about 70,000 cases by the end of 2013 which is really quite appreciative and an exemplary performance for other public institutions. The FTO Office is also watching the pending cases of sales tax refund claims amounting to more than Rs 97 billion and the issues relating to this matter. 

In our opinion the reduction of the rate of sales tax and income tax, as has been suggested by the business community, will not only reduce the complaints against the tax collecting agencies but also will broaden the tax-base in the country. 

Regarding the matter that when your FTO decides any case against the FBR, who file an appeal with the Office of the President of Pakistan and this takes quite a long time to be decided and thus the significance of your justified judgment goes in vain. 

This has been a general conception amongst the business community. Earlier Advisor to FTO Office, Quetta, Mr. Justice (R) Muhammad Nadir Khan, Advisor to FTO Regional Office, Karachi, Manzoor Ahmed Kureshi and President, Lasbela Chamber, Ismail Suttar highly appreciated the office of FTO, which is a last resort for the aggrieved members of the business community to get relief. 

He said that it’s quite encouraging that majority of members of Lasbela Chamber have no issues pertaining to taxation because of the efficiency of commissionrate of Inland Revenue, Hub and the Collectorate of Customs at Gaddani. 

However he invited the attention of the FTO towards the problems of general nature like delay in issuing the Refund Cheques by FBR, the matters of expenses made from the fund of export development surcharge.

Dr. Muhammad Aslam, former President LCCI, appreciated the visit of FTO along with his colleagues to the Lasbela Chamber.

He also appreciated the business community that always plays the role of economic engine to ensure the continuation of economic activities and growth. 

The Collector of Customs, Gaddani, Syed Tanvir Ahmed, Additional Commissioner Inland Revenue, Hub, Abdur Rehman Khilji, former President LCCI, Dr Muhammad Aslam and Chairman LCCI Taxation Committee, Iqbal Ismail also spoke on the occasion.

Old farmer sings to express solidarity with Communist Party

By Masood Sattar Khan in Beijing
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Surrounded with sky-touching mountains, an aged farmer living in newly constructed homes for old people sang marshal songs with his melody voice saying Aiyalei. Here comes the sun shining as red ball and the sunlight turning the soil warmer.

The third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee brought hope for the revitalization and development of Gannan Soviet area with blowing spring breeze. People admired of President Xi work to carry forward Chinese dream. 

These were the sentiments of a 72-year old Lin Shangliu while singing folk songs to express his sentiments and joy for the ruling party led by Chairman Xi, while I met him. He lives at the newly constructed Glorious Nursing Home for Elders in Chayuan Township. 

Lin lived in Datang Group, Kongmu Village, Chayuan Township, where his family was enjoying welfare facilities offered by the government in five ways; food, clothing, medical care, housing and burial expenses. The previous 200 year-old former house lacked all amenities. He and his wife didn’t have any child but lived with 101 year-old mother. 

In 2008, the three persons moved to the nursing home depending on government funds. Now monthly, each of them can get 30 Yuan of living allowance and 55 Yuan of new rural social insurance. In addition, the old mother gets 300 Yuan of old age benefits and 130 Yuan of martyr’s children allowance every month. Lin also does odd jobs like picking up fresh tea leaves from fields to earn some money.

“Life here is much better than before. We don’t need to worry about livelihood, the living rooms are spacious and bright, the furniture and TV are also available, the food and dishes here are sumptuous. Even though when I am in bed, I remember the kindness of the CPC party and President Xi,” Lin roared. 

The Glorious Nursing Home for Elders was set up in August 1976, covers an area of 3,333 square meters with gross area of 1,542 square meters. Before 2012, there were only 37 old people living here because the space was not enough to meet the facilities such as dining room, washing room, activity and health care centre. 

In April 2012, an expansion project was launched with the objective of expanding living conditions of glorious home. It was first phase of the expansion project launched as part of implementation of poverty alleviation and development of Chayuan Township. 

The government spent 3.8 million yuan in total and earmarked another area of 2000 square meters to build 3 large size complexes, in which dormitories, kitchens, dining rooms, entertainment halls, fitness centers and other facilities are included. After expansion, the nursing home will have 70 housing rooms to accommodate further 95 elderly peoples. 

The project, which people all around the township highly praised, has greatly improved the living conditions for the elderly and now they do not have fear how to spend their life after retirement. Furthermore, it plays an exceptional role in the social life of these. 

Left behind children in Ming’en New Village 
“My dear, where are you contacting me on line?” 
“Mum, I’m at the remote video-chat-room now. How are you and father? ” 
“We are all fine! How are you all in home? How is your grandmother?” 
“Well, she is OK. She does all of the housework and I also learn to do a little.” 
“Great! You should help her and take care of younger brother. And how’s your study? Have you progressed?” 

These were the conversation between 14 year-old Deng Luping a Grade 6 student while chatting with her parents at the remote video-chat room set up for the those children who were working out of their villages for earning livelihood. 

Deng’s parents working in one of the Chinese industrial hub, the Guangdong Province. There were quite a few other small children, busy chatting on video camera at the remote video-chat-room in Ming’en New Village.

The local government officials collect all the information of parents and children having established information data. Through the communication platform, the parents can chat with their children once a week on Saturday or Sunday for unlimited time. Most of the parents ask children about their studies and life at hometown as they cultivate children a habit for positive view and also check their homework and examinations preparations, just like face to face.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

SSUET seminar highlights role of NAB

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Corruption was described as fundamental cause of our deteriorating economic condition and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was assigned with the task of eliminating corruption through a comprehensive approach of Awareness, Prevention and Enforcement. 

This was stated by Rabia Abdul Rahman, a NAB Investigation Officer, while speaking at a seminar organized by Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, about awareness and prevention against corruption. 

She clarified that there was misconception and ignorance about fact that NAB was not delivering effectively. The impression is not true as the very aim of the Bureau was to demonstrate itself as an effective and transparent anti-corruption agency and meet the challenges thereof. 

“It is striving for achievement of assigned goal as part of national duty. To achieve this purpose capacity building training exercises were regularly conducted to improve and enhance the expertise of the NAB officers,” she stated. 

Rabia Rahman informed that the NAB had recovered around Rs 258 billion so far and nearly 1770 persons convicted for their involvement in corruption. She described the NAB as a modern, dynamic anti-corruption agency that follows a policy of fair, impartial and across the board accountability. 

Cases are inquired/investigated by NAB on pure merit and do not bear any special preferences or prejudices of political victimization against any individual, she added. 

Appreciating the role of media to create awareness among the people about corruption, Rabia Rahman said it’s necessary to eliminate corruption of any sort from the society to save yourself and others from the destructive menace. 

The seminar, organized by SSUET’s Quality Enhancement Cell, was followed by a question-answer session and the NAB Officers Qamar Abbasi and Rabia Rahman responded to issues raised by the students and others.

Vice-Chancellor speaks about SSUET’s phenomenal growth

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Vice-Chancellor, Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, Dr Jawaid H Rizvi, has described the institution as the greatest project yet sponsored by the Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys’ Association (AMUOBA) who established it in 1994 in the domain of engineering education. 

“It was really a manifestation of their patriotism and concern for nation building, and the Aligarhian spirit,” he said in an interview. The start, he recalled, was modest with the annual budget of only Rs. 17.22 million, which over the time reached the level of Rs 861.50 million in the year 2013-2014, emphasizing that the admission policy of the University was based on the philosophy of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. 

“We do not believe in restrictions in admission based on cast, creed or domicile. The admissions are given purely on merit and do not have any reservations or quotas,” he asserted. 

“The students, right from the mountains of the North West of Pakistan to the shores of Sindh and Balochistan, are getting benefits from the SSUET,” the Vice-Chancellor pointed out. This year, he informed, the university received 4679 applicants for 1600 seats with the result that it could not accommodate even some very good students, who had met the criteria of admission. 

He said that the enrollment in the university has already crossed 6,500 after it started with 222 students in 1994 and have produced more than 11,000 graduates since 1998. “In our first convocation in 1998, 197 students were awarded BS degrees while at the 2014 convocation over 1300 received their bachelors and masters degrees in six disciplines,” he stated. 

Dr Jawaid Rizvi opined that knowledge is expanding at tremendous pace and new areas of study in Engineering and related fields are emerging. This has given rise to the need for new disciplines in the Universities. The introduction of these disciplines is essential to keep pace with main stream of knowledge and compete in this knowledge based world. 

The SSUET, he observed, was fully alive to this scenario and has added three new disciplines Software Engineering, Bioinformatics and Architecture this year. 

“The university presently has nine disciplines in its BS Programme, while the MS Programme is in six disciplines while Ph.D. Programme was being offered in Computer and Electronic Engineering disciplines exclusively for faculty members. We take pride in the quality of our labs, which meet international standards,” he reckoned. 

About the SSUET’s library, the Vice-Chancellor said, it has over 90,000 books. The distinctive role of the library is in the maintenance of a Book Bank. The book bank provides textbooks to the students for a full semester. This is a special facility introduced by Sir Syed University to save students from the expenditure on text books. The library contributes to Research journals and magazines that help the researchers and innovators in the university. 

Dr Jawaid Rizvi reiterated that the university has a policy, which ensures that capable students are not deprived of education due to weak financial position. The scheme of scholarships and financial assistance provides help to the deserving students, who have financial problems. In the current budget, an amount of Rs 56.05 million has been allocated for scholarships and financial assistance to the students. 

He said that the university has a career planning department, which helps the graduates seeking jobs and also addresses their problems as well as arranging internships for students. The SSUET also has an active sports department which organizes teams for participation in various competitions. 

“We have a separate Forum; known as Brigadier (R) Qamar-us-Salam Khan, Literary Art and Culture Forum. It manages the cultural activities in the University and the Forum prepares students to take part in different competitions of debates, Qirat and Declamation. The students from the University have won First Prizes in many Competitions held at national and local levels,” the Vice-Chancellor said. 

The university has also facilities exclusively for female students and staff that provide opportunities to them to maintain our national traditions during studies and work in a co-educational institution. The girls have separate common rooms and a canteen to which entry is allowed only to the girls. Some events are organized for the girls to bring to light their special talents in cultural activities. 

Dr Jawaid Rizvi said that the university has continued to make steady progress to achieve its goals during this year. “We have not only overcome a financial crisis by strictly controlling our expenditure and overheads but also started the construction of E-Block with Basement and ground plus four floors in its first phase, scheduled for completion by September 2014,” he disclosed. 

He paid glowing tributes to the SSUET’s first Chancellor and founder, Engr Z A Nizami, who had passed away a few days after last year’s convocation, having devoted all his life for the university and despite his failing health, continued to work till the end. 

“He had remained the Chancellor of the university since the establishment of the university. We are all missing him today. The new Block-E has been named after the founder of the University as Z A Nizami Block. We pray Almighty Allah to rest his soul in eternal peace,” Dr Jawaid Rizvi concluded.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Xi Jinping’s economic policies change destiny of poor farmers

By Masood Sattar Khan in Beijing
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Where there is a will there is a way, it was true with a poor farmer who never dreamt that one day he his son owns a small garment factory and they all will enjoy a happy life from poverty under one room, but it all possible due to President Xi Jinping economic reforms policies directed towards poverty elevation for the down trodden people living in remote areas. 

Rekindling his tale to this scribe, Yang Xuesheng said that his hometown was located in the third group of Gaishang Village, Butou Township. The whole family comprising of six members lived in two-room dilapidated home, where life was miserable as he also used to store stock of food and other sundries there. 

In 2012, benefiting from the policies of the dangerous old adobes reforming, Yang Xuesheng started to build a new house in Ming’en New village with the support of local leadership. In Chinese language “Ming’en” means keeping the kindness in mind and gratitude. 

Living in a new cemented house, a delighted Yang said now not only every member of family his has separate room. His son and daughter-in-law who used to work in Guangdong Province returned and opened a small-scale apparel factory in our new house. 

In one of the rooms, his son has installed six stitching machines and with the support of his wife and other workers, he has roaring business now. By working at their home, they can both make money and take care of their children and the elders. 

“Life of our family is improving steadily,” Yang’s son said. "I had never dreamed of living in such a beautiful house, thanks to the welfare policy of our Party of CPC, and especial thanks to party Chairman Xi Jinping’s deep concern towards the poor quality of living in former soviet area in Ganzhou,” he remarked. 

Talking about the life now, Yang Xuesheng feels so grateful, adding that the new house is spacious and looks beautiful. It’s convenient for peoples’ living here as there is abundance of potable tap water and uninterrupted power-supply that is essential to run the small stitching factory. 

There are also many solar street lights lighting at night, so that people can dance at the community centres, the same way people live in developed cities. In order to express his special gratitude to the welfare policies of the Party, at the end of 2013, Yang Xuesheng submitted an application to the local Party organization, trying his best to move closer to the Party and to devote himself for the Party. 

After the State Council announced a number of proposals on Supporting Revitalization and Development of Gannan and other Former Central Soviet Areas, this county considered the rehabilitations and reconstructions of dilapidated houses in the countryside as the most beneficial peoples’ livelihood project. 

Ming’en new village is now exploring a new way to integrate urban and rural integration. Meanwhile the village focuses on improving the complement of essential public services. All are aimed at constructing a place that is suitable to live and work, and that makes people feel happy, thanks to President Xi, he remarked.

Monday, May 5, 2014

2nd edition of Made in Pakistan to be held in September

By Syed Sajid Aziz
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The 2nd Edition of “Made in Pakistan” exhibition is scheduled to be held in Mumbai from August 31 to September 5, 2014. This was announced by the Chairman Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), Arshad Aziz, during a press conference at PRGMEA House in Karachi on May 3. 

He disclosed said that following overwhelming response from the Pakistan exhibitors and Indian buyers at the 1st Edition of MIPEM 2014 held from April 3-7, 2014 at World Trade Centre, Mumbai, PRGMEA in collaboration with Evecon they have scheduled to hold the 2nd edition of ‘Made in Pakistan Expo Mumbai’ from August 31- September 5, 2014 at the World Trade Centre Mumbai, India. 

Arshad Aziz said that Pakistani exhibitors made an estimated sale of Rs400 million in just five days. He said that as many as Rs200 million’s contract were also signed by the exhibitors while one of the brand “Khaadi” is negotiating to open up its outlet in Mumbai while some spice manufacturers has decided to appoint its dealer due to massive demand of Pakistani spices in India. 

He revealed that the no untoward incident was happened and everything sailed on smoothly, adding that the 2nd Edition of MIPEM 2014 (from 31st August to 5th September 2014) will help Pakistani products in fetching world’s largest consumer markets. 

It will introduce high quality Pakistani products infused with rich culture to Indian business community and people at large and at the same time provide top Pakistani enterprises with a platform to meet Indian authorities and discuss trade-related issues. 

The main feature of the event and my thrust would be on arranging meetings of our exhibitors with their Indian counterparts so that they could procure long-term export orders especially for the readymade garments and other fabrics that’s why the PRGMEA has initiated this venture and is trying to establish this event as a regular feature in India. 

He said that India remained a lucrative market for Pakistani garments and textile made-ups. Maximum B2C and B2B meetings between the Pakistani exhibitors and manufacturers with Indian buyers would be arranged, so that Pakistani exhibitors could avail maxim benefit of the event. He said that the event is being organized in collaboration with EVECON at Mumbai’s World Trade Centre. 

He recalled that in the past, Made in Pakistan shows have been quite successful amongst the residents of Mumbai and the visitors’ turnout was enormous, estimated to be 18,000 to 20,000 footsteps daily, and the exhibitors returned satisfied to breakeven the expenditure the exhibitors will be allowed to spot sale.

Efforts to boost Pak-US trade to continue: Dodman

By Syed Sajid Aziz
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Consul General of the United States of America (USA) in Karachi, Michael Dodman, pointed out that his country was actively working on education, energy and health sectors in Pakistan and the focus is on capacity building rather than short term remedies. 

Talking to a delegation of Pakistan American Trade Expo 2014 at his office the diplomat said that USA would like to continue its support to foster the economy of Pakistan. The delegation comprised the Chief Executive Officer, Hasan Jalil, Resident Director, Naveed Anjum, and Director Marketing, Obaidullah Nadeem. 

“USA will do her all out efforts for providing full support to Pakistani businessmen for further improving the exports from Pakistan to USA,” adding that his country also desired an increase in its exports to Pakistan. He vowed to support the initiatives that help promote trade and investment relations between Pakistan and USA. 

Dodman appreciated the idea of the Pakistan American Trade Expo (PATE) 2014, which aims at bringing the business communities of the two countries together and provide a platform that, highlights tremendous opportunities for investment and bilateral trade expansion. 

The Consul General hoped that the event would be very successful and contribute to further strengthening the two-way trade. He assured of his full support and cooperation for the Expo 2014. 

Hasan Jalil, on the occasion, appreciated the Consul General’s support to the event and said that the PATE was striving to make the Expo 2014 a permanent platform to encourage a robust expansion in the bilateral trade and investment opportunities through discussion, exhibition and meetings between the entrepreneurs.

Pakistan to hold mango festival, single country exhibition in Malaysia

By Syed Sajid Aziz
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Pakistan High Commissioner to Malaysia, Syed Hasan Raza, has announced to promote Pakistan’s exports in Malaysia in a broader way and assist the business community to hold single country exhibition in Kuala Lumpur. 

Speaking at a seminar at FPCCI with the collaboration of Halal Association of Pakistan the other day, Hasan Raza also announced that Mango and Orange Festivals would also be held in Malaysia in order to promote Pakistan’s fruits’ export into Malaysia. 

The seminar was also addressed by the Chief Executive, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), S.M. Muneer and Kazi Asad Abid, Chairman Halal Products and Services Association of Pakistan (HPSAP). 

The High Commissioner highlighted the potential of fruits and vegetables, readymade garments and Halal products as his focus sectors. He also informed the initiatives he has taken for the promotion of Pakistan imports to Malaysia. 

S M Muneer, Chief Executive TDAP welcoming the High Commissioner appreciated his detailed presentation and informed the audience saying that he recently held a meeting with the Minister of Commerce and highlighted the importance of Pakistani foreign missions in promotion of exports. 

He said that he has taken up this matter with the ministry and a list would be updated of Pakistani foreign consulates / embassies officials which are not performing their duties as per the role assigned to them for the promotion of Pakistani exports. 

Kazi Asad Abid, Chairman HPSAP, recognized that Ambassador Hasan Raza has visited the FPCCI and Pakistan-Malaysia Business Council on the initiative of Founder and Senior Vice Chairman of Halal Association Asad Sajjad. 

He said that business community is well aware that for the last several years about the importance of halal branding and harmonization of standards, making efforts to bring Pakistan on the global map of Halal trade. 

He added that Ambassador Hasan Raza had also initiated and helped us organized the first Halal Trade delegation to Malaysia, under the leadership of then foreign minister. The delegation had literally opened Pakistan’s halal products export with Malaysia as most of the delegation members are now regular exporters to Malaysia. 

Kazi Asad Abid remarked that business community is very happy that Mr. Hasan Raza is now posted in Malaysia as the Ambassador and we are sure that he will do his best efforts to identify and create opportunities for our exporters to increase Pakistan’s exports to Malaysia for the Halal certified Food and non-food products. 

Appreciating the appointment of S M Muneer as the CE of TDAP, Kazi Asad assured the audience that HAP will organize similar lectures on regular basis, especially for the markets which are still not open for Pakistan, and would make efforts to resolve the issues and difficulties faced by the exporters under the dynamic leadership of S M Muneer, who hailed from the private sector and would be there for the promotion of exports.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

China exposes Japanese massacre to foreign media

By Masood Sattar Khan in Beijing
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The horrifying massacre at the hands of Japanese carried out on innocent Chinese and using various tools to kill mass scale men, women and children were revealed to a group of foreign correspondents who visited Changchun and Harbin cities located in northeast of China recently. 

On the outskirts of Harbin, the Japanese Imperial forces established notorious Unit 731, the clandestine facilities comprising gas chambers, biological units, insinuators and special room where living human organs were chopped off mercilessly through saw and knives for medical research before throwing the bodies in burning chamber, Professor Jin Chengmin, Curator of the Museum of War Crime Evidence by Japanese Army Unit 731, said. 

Unit 731 was a top-secret biological and chemical warfare research base established in Harbin in 1935: the nerve center of Japan's biological warfare in China and Southeast Asia during WWII, according to Prof. Jin having 25-year research experience under his belt. 

He said that the retreating Japanese invaders blew up the base and infrastructure including hug housing, boiler units and other facilities when the Soviet Union army took Harbin in 1945. 

Early in the 20th century, the Japanese militarists flagrantly flouted the international convention, and clandestinely plotted a biological and chemical warfare in an attempt to realize the political ambition of dominating Asia and ultimately ruling the world. 

Very quickly, such weapons were used in battlefield, making the Japanese militarists the most vicious, fascist, war criminal in human history, the journalists were told. 

The Manchurian unit 731, which was entrenched in Ping Fang district, Harbine for 13 years was the nerve-centre of the Japanese militarists in executing the plot. Not only they conducted big scale germ weapons research, tests and production here, but also they used healthy human to conduct germ tests. At least 3000 people were cruelly terminated in the laboratories from 1939 to 1945. 

During the whole germ-warfare, at least 300,000 people were slaughtered or maimed. Forgetting about the history could mean betrayal. By exposing the criminal past of the Unit 731 China wants to preserve the fact in order to warn future generation. 

Let the history usher in peaceful, civilized and progress human society, and prevent recurrence of the historical tragedy. Earlier in Changchun, the capital and the largest city of Jilin province Mu Zhanyi the curator of the Jilin Provincial Achieve briefed the journalists and shown archives comprising photos, letters and telephonic conversations of the Japanese soldiers.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Legendary poet Shaikh Ayaz remembered in Toronto

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Shaikh Ayaz, a revolutionary and legendary poet was commended and highlighted at a literary gathering jointly organized by the Sindhi Adabi Sangat Canada and the Writers Forum. 

Intellectuals and writers of Sindhi, Urdu, Punjabi and Baluchi languages came together to share and discuss the works of South Asia’s intellectual giant Shaikh Ayaz who contributed his works in Sindhi, Urdu, English and other languages, and is considered an icon of Sindhi literature after Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, whose poetry and message of resistance against tyranny and dictatorships continues to resonate around the world. 

Yousuf Shaheen, a legendary Sindhi intellectual, poet, writer and journalist in his address on the occasion from Pakistan through skype recited Shaikh Ayaz’s poetry.

He said that Shaikh Ayaz was a brave poet and writer who not only boosted the morale of progressive political struggles but also inspired other writers and intellectuals to become part of these movements meant for country’s true independence from tyranny. 

Moonis Ayaz Shaikh, a respected Pakistani intellectual and son of Shaikh Ayaz also participated in the event through Skype along with his wife Sheeba Tabassum and shared the principles of Shaikh Ayaz’s philosophy. He congratulated the organizers for carrying the flag of Shaikh Ayaz’s message beyond the seven seas. 

Moonis said that Shaikh Ayaz was a true son of soil who loved his nation and his land and also dreamt for the freedom and bright future of poor peasants and labourers and his struggle will continue until the tyranny and persecution is abolished. 

Nuzhat Siddiqui, a Director and former President of the Writers Forum, opened the program and presented a detailed introduction and commentary on Shaikh Ayaz and his struggle in a thoughtful way which was lauded by all. She said that though Shaikh Ayaz is no more with us physically but his presence is felt whenever a dictator comes up to deprive us from our rights. 

“We are fortunate to learn form a great poet and great revolutionary whose message of peace continues to win the hearts” she added. 

Participating from Canada, Sindhi Adabi Sangat Canada’s Secretary Zulfiqar Shaikh came up with an audio visual presentation and commented on major themes of Shaikh Ayaz under the topic ‘Shaikh Ayaz, a legend, a revolutionary poet.’ 

The presentation also included the heart rendering narration of poetry in Shaikh Ayaz’s own voice as well as sung by renowned artists Jiji Zarina Baloch, Shafi Faqeer and others. Zulfiqar said that the soil of Sindh is not only fertile and rich with hidden resources but also rich with the characters like Shaikh Ayaz, Shah Latif, Sachal Sarmast, Ustad Bokhari and many more who set examples of resistance and selflessness. 

He said that when Shaikh Ayaz was alive, some people considered his presences as second birth of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai and many deemed him even greater than Bhittai, though some people also opposed him. Zulfiqar offered his sincere thanks to the Writers Forum and especially to Abid Jaffery and Munir Pervaiz who invited them to celebrate the day of a world legend belonging to Sindh, Pakistan. 

Representing the Canadian youth, Yasser Pervaiz commented that Shaikh Ayaz’s message is not limited to Sindhi, Urdu, or other languages of South Asia, but carries a universal resonance that moves all to work against tyranny and repression. 

He also shared English translations of three of Shaikh Ayaz’s major poems in a very passionate way. Preetam Luhano who is a poet and also the joint secretary of Sindhi Adabi Sangat presented his article titled, “Shaikh Ayaz a continuity of Sindhi Literature” and presented several important examples from Shaikh Ayaz poetry. 

Writer, columnist and editor of Ameeq magazine, Khair Mohammed Kolachi , brought the samples of Shaikh Ayaz’s prose to the attention of the audience, and advised that Shaikh Ayaz has the same command of the word, punch, and force in his prose that is the spirit of his poetry. 

He said that Shaikh Ayaz sahib though was a Sindhi by birth but always fought beyond the differences of religion and languages, and became the voice of oppressed people of subcontinent. Munir Pervaiz Saami, the Secretary of the Writers Forum moderated the program by reciting representative poems of Shaikh Ayaz. 

On this occasion the senior members of Canada’s Sindhi intellectual community, Prof Ghulam Akbar Kazi. Syed Shahnawaz Shah and Shamim Junejo, lovingly presented the gift of Sindhi Ajraks to Abid Jafri, Nuzhat Siddiqui, and Munir Saami as a sign of respect. 

An exhibition of Shaikh Ayaz’s books was also arranged at the event. Many observers commented that this was among the finest literary events in Canada’s South Asian diaspora. On this occasion 21 copies from Shaikh Ayaz’s Books “Sahiwal Jail ji Diary”, and collection of article published on Shaikh Ayaz in Books under the titles, “Fikr e Ayaz”, and “Zikr e Ayaz” were presented to the guests as a gift from the Writers Forum. These books have been edited by Asif Farrukhi and Shah Muhammad Pirzada, and published by Maktab e Daniyal.