Monday, June 20, 2016

Nawabshah Press Club receives Rs 10 million grant

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Nawabshah Press Club has finally received a grant of Rs 10 million sanctioned as part payment for the reconstruction of the club’s building. 

In this regard the grant chequue was handed over to the President of the Club, Anwar Shaikh, at a ceremony held at the Sindh Chief Minister House, Karachi. 

The cheque was presented by Advisor to Chief Minister for Law, Murtaza Wahab, and MPA Zia-ul-Hasan Lanjar. The Deputy Commissioner Nawabshah, Ghanwar Ali Leghari, and President, Pakistan Peoples Party, Shaheed Benazirabad, Akber Ali Jamali, besides office-bearers and members of the press club’s working committee were also present on the occasion. 

Speaking on the occasion, Zia-ul-Hasan Lanjar appreciated the role of the Nawabshah Press Club towards promoting the democratic causes and hoped that its journey towards strengthening democratic rules will continue with greater zeal and vigour.

He commended the office-bearers of the club for having undertaken the task of building a new premises for the institution.

The President of the club, Anwar Shaikh, thanked the Sindh Government for its support and said that the new building of the Nawabshah Press Club will emerge as a model club of Sindh.

He was of the opinion that the new building of the club will help in facilitating the members in discharging their professional duties.

Later the visiting office-bearers of the Nawabshah Press Club were hosted an Iftar-Dinner at Hotel Avari Towers.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

SSUET signs technical advancement contracts

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), Karachi, has entered into a technological advancement phase with the signing of two agreements, one for the development of state of art website and the other related to the long outstanding requirement for Campus Management System.

"It is just a beginning and process for this technological advancement will continue to bring this university as best among top engineering universities,” the SSUET Chancellor, Jawaid Anwar, declared while speaking at the signing ceremony. 

The agreement for Campus on Cloud was signed between the SSUET Registrar, Syed Sarfraz Ali, and Amir Gilani of Technologist, while the agreement for development of website was signed between Registrar, Syed Sarfraz Ali, and Syed Mohammed Fahad of Bell Cow. 

Besides Chancellor Jawaid Anwar, present at the ceremony were Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Jawaid H. Rizvi, Dean Engineering Dr S M Makhdoomi, chairpersons of various departments, Director Finance, Director Procurement, System Manager Abdul Moid Khan besides representatives of the two companies. 

Chancellor Jawaid Anwar said that today a dream has come true to lead the university towards advance technological campus management and also presenting the brand face of the university.

He appreciated Registrar Syed Sarfraz Ali for opening the door for this purpose through these well conceived agreements. 

He observed that the selection of the products under these two innovative advancements would be par excellence and prove immensely not only for the university itself but more for its students. 

He called upon the two companies to take care of time frame as the process for admissions was due to start by September. 

In his brief remarks, Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Jawaid H. Rizvi said that this advancement should have come much earlier. 

He remarked that the university has committed itself to take care of its students through such innovative technologies and this process will continue under the Chancellor's guidance. 

Registrar Syed Sarfraz Ali in his opening remarks pointed out that achievement of a major milestone was being witnessed for transformation of the SSUET into a modern state of the art university befitting to its name. 

He informed that it was after weeks of marathon deliberations that the two agreements were finally prepared. He hoped that the project will be completed and launched at a soft launching ceremony was being planned at the SSUET on August 14. 

He thanked the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor for having bestowed their full confidence, trust and liberty to negotiate these two major contracts that will reshape the image of this university, named after Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the icon for Muslim education in South Asia. 

Later the representatives of the both the companies briefed the ceremony participants about salient features of the two projects. 

Amir Gilani said that the project of Campus Management will cover the entire life of a student from admission to graduation besides all campus related working, functions and events, adding that his team will start work on the project from next week and first module will be offered by August and the entire project will be ready by September before the admission process commences. 

Replying to a Chancellor's query, he said the project will incorporate all the future requirements and developments. 

Chancellor Jawaid Anwar advised the website developers to design the SSUET's which should be outstanding both scientifically and artistically. 

Mohammad Fahed assured that the website will fully relate to modern parameters along with Sir Syed's legacy.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Paan and gutka common forms of smokeless tobacco in Pakistan

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

People of the South Asian origin are responsible for more than three quarters of all smokeless tobacco, chewing and sniffing tobacco, gutka, naswar, betel quid or paan, and tobacco gum, consumption worldwide.

The researchers, including Dr Javaid A Khan, Dr Mohammad Irfan and Dr Maryam Hassan from the Aga Khan University (AKU), Karachi, have recently designed an intervention to support South Asians in quitting smokeless tobacco and then evaluated its feasibility in Pakistan and the UK. 

The intervention activities included raising awareness of the harms of smokeless tobacco use and benefits of quitting, boosting users’ motivation and self-efficacy, and developing strategies to manage their triggers, withdrawal symptoms, and relapse should that occur. 

The users were receptive to health messages but most reported smokeless tobacco reduction rather than complete cessation. 

The researchers found that betel quid or paan and gutka were the common forms of smokeless tobacco used in Pakistan. They also noticed that Pakistani people were more smokeless tobacco dependent than those in the UK. 

“We developed a theory-based intervention for this study, which now needs to be evaluated in an effectiveness trial,” Dr Javaid Khan, Professor of Medicine, Aga Khan University and one of the authors, remarked. 

Other researchers included Kamran Siddiqi, Omara Dogar, Cath Jackson and Nancy O’Neill from University of York; Rukhsana Rashid from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Ian Kellar from University of Leeds; Furqan Ahmed from Cameos Consultants; and Heather Thomson from Leeds City Council.

SSUET budget for 2016-17 passed

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), Karachi, has passed its budget for the financial year 2016-17.

The budget, passed in a meeting of Board of Governors, was chaired by Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Jawaid H. Rizvi, brought in its folds two gladdening news for the university’s employees and staff. 

The Board approved the revision of pay scales, an issue which was pending for the last many years, and also announced the launch of health insurance for the employees. 

The approval of these two benefits was the fulfillment of commitment made by Chancellor Jawaid Anwar in his very first speech made after having assumed the office. 

Chancellor Jawaid Anwar had announced to work for upgradation of the university to highest levels under a well conceived planning. 

The board also gave go ahead for purchase of additional lab equipment and carrying out various development schemes. 

Funds were also approved for award of scholarships, Faculty development/new campus, financial incentives to Faculty for carrying out research projects. 

Allocation has also been made for the SSUET’s Research Innovative and Commercialization Centre, which has now been made fully functional under Dr Rabia Inam.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

KHA astroturf's foundation stone laid

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sindh Chief Secretary, Mohammad Siddiq Memon, along with the Chancellor of the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, Jawaid Anwar, unveiled the foundation stone of the sports complex project of the Karachi Hockey Association (KHA), located just opposite the SSUET campus. 

The complex will have a hockey ground with astroturf besides a swimming pool and a multi-purpose hall as suggested by Chancellor Jawaid Anwar and approved by the Chief Secretary. 

Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, CS Siddiq Memon observed that upon the directive of the Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, the allocation for sports promotion in Sindh has been increased in the budget from Rs one to two billion.

He pointed out that the Sindh Government, besides laying astroturfs, was carrying out construction of sports complexes throughout the province and at present 38 sports-related schemes were under implementation with KHA’s Sports Complex opposite SSUET a part of the same. 

He informed that the schemes have been completed in Sukkur, Larkana and Mirpurkhas where astroturfs was laid. On the special directive of the Chief Minister 54 more projects were being initiated and funds allocated thereof in the budget 2016, he informed adding that objective was to make all out efforts to provide sports facilities to the youth of Sindh. 

He declared that Karachi Hockey Association (KHA) will be given a grant of Rs 30 lacs this year. Addressing the ceremony, the SSUET Chancellor, Jawaid Anwar thanked the Chief Secretary with whose efforts development of the hockey ground had started and it was a welcome initiative that an astroturf will be laid there.

He underlined the necessity of having a swimming pool and a multi-purpose hall in this under construction complex and pointed out that there are a large number of universities, colleges and schools around this ground whose students would be able to benefit from the facilities of this project. 

He congratulated the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and particularly the Karachi Hockey Association (KHA) for making outstanding efforts for the promotion of hockey. 

He announced that after the astroturf was laid there, the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology will organize an inaugural match between the SSUET’s hockey players, Olympians and Internationals.

He declared that the university will first hold an All Karachi Hockey Tournament on this ground and will provide a good number of students to benefit from this ground. 

He extended all out cooperation of the university towards the promotion of hockey. 

Earlier the General Secretary, KHA, Farooq Khan, thanked the Chief Secretary Siddiq Memon, Sports Secretary, Mohammed Rashid, and Chief Engineer, Aslam Maher, for their contribution in the development of sports complex and laying of astroturf which would provide an opportunity for the youngsters to play hockey . 

The Senior Vice-President, KHA, Aijazuddin, described the project of sports complex and astroturf as a gift from Sindh Government and the youth should take maximum advantage of the same so that new talent could emerge. 

The ceremony was largely attended, among others, by, Anwar Ali, Advisor to Vice-Chancellor, Registrar Syed Sarfraz Ali, besides Olympians Saleem Sherwani, Qamar Ibrahim, Sameer Hussain and Internationals Jan Mohammed, Mohammed Ali and Mubbashir Mkhtar who is also the Director Sports of the SSUET.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Capacity building of Sindh health officials

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Aga Khan University (AKU) in partnership with the Department of Health, Government of Sindh, and John Snow Inc is hosting a ceremony to recognize and review ongoing efforts into capacity building of government health managers in Sindh.

The Sindh Health Department’s district and provincial managers who have successfully completed standalone graduate courses in health sector reform and quality management, as part of an initiative to build capacity to improve the health delivery system in the province, will also receive transcripts and certificates at the ceremony. 

This is the first time government managers have been able to study while continuing to work in the Health Department. 

The programme, offered every weekend, is a blend of theory and practice, and targets working professionals who wish to enhance their academic knowledge and leadership skills. 

So far, Sindh is the only province that has invested in a formal MoU for capacity building of health managers and has a tripartite agreement between the Government of Sindh, John Snow Inc and AKU.

School students discuss issues with Ombudsman

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Foundation for Research and Human development (FRHD), in collaboration with Action Aid, arranged a prospect for children’s councils comprising of young activist from government schools to meet and have one-on-one discussion with Provincial Ombudsman, Sindh, Asad Ashraf Malik. 

The meeting with Ombudsman was held at the Sindh Secretariat in Karachi with the primary objective of providing an opportunity to children for discussing education-related issues that negatively impede with their academics and integrate vulnerable children with education. 

The students discussed the issues bothering them face to face with the Mohtasib who promised to take immediate notice in order to rectify the problems. 

The three key problems that the students were able to highlight among others were the mismanagement and corruption of School Management Committee (SMC) fund in government schools, students being deprived of their right to free course books by the government and the high rate of student dropout at Class VIII because of their financial inability of affording the examination board fee for matriculation examination. 

The member students of Children’s Councils proposed recommendations those are directly link with the inclusion of vulnerable children in education system and quality education. It included ensuring implementation of Sindh Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act-2013, in its true letter and spirit, specifically Section 10, constituting committees, as provided under the Ombudsman’s Act, to monitor the working of government schools specially posting of teaching staff besides forming committees to ensure imparting formal and informal education to the Juvenile with the view to rehabilitate the Juveniles. 

They further sought providing access to and support quality professional learning for school staff, constituting committee for making recommendations to the Government of Sindh for legislation regarding the employment of Children Act in view of Act promulgated by the Federal Government in the year 1991 and increasing the SMC fund related to education and create a committee for monitoring the holistic dispersion and utilization of the fund. 

The Executive Director of the Foundation for Research and Human Development (FRHD), Nazra Jahan, acknowledged that education was the most essential ingredient for the development of a nation. 

“It is a universal fact that nations who have reached the heights of the development and prosperity have done it by using education and information as a tool to do it. The students, being the major stakeholder of education system, can serve as an asset to improvise the education tools. And implementation of Article 25-A is the guarantee to eradicate poverty from Pakistan,” the FRHD official reckoned. 

The Sindh Mohtasib arranged for a 20-minute presentation during which children were briefed about Children Complaint Office (CCO) and the precise way through which they can file complaints in line with the mandate of Ombudsmen.