Thursday, February 28, 2019

Nawabshah gears up for challenges

By Rashid Zia Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Commissioner Shaheed Benazirabad, Mirza Nasir Ali, chaired an emergency meeting of all the administrative and local government’s divisional and district heads in view of the prevailing situation.

Addressing the meeting held on the advice of the provincial government, the Commissioner informed that a control room has been setup by the provincial government and similar control rooms also established at divisional and district levels with directives to all the departments to cancel the leaves of their employees. 

As such, he said, everyone will have to remain alert to meet any emergency situation and perform their duties as per aspirations of the people and the country. 

He called upon the meeting participants to immediately visit the government buildings, schools and colleges and ensure their utilization when required for emergency purposes. Besides all types of .machineries and facilities available with the departments, should be kept ready.

The Additional Commissioner, Wasim Hamid, informed the meeting that education department has prepared list of scouts and volunteers and step being taken for their training with the cooperation of Civil Defence. 

The Commissioner exhorted the Chamber of Commerce and members of civic business community to ensure stocks of items of daily use like wheat, rice, flour etc. for public use and said there should not be any shortage or profiteerimg. 

The meeting was attended, among others, by Additional Commissioner Shaheed Benazirabad, Mohammed Yusuf Abbasi, Additional Deputy Commissioner Waseem Hamid, Chairman Municipal Committee Nawabshah Azeem Mughal, District Health Officer, Director Schools Secondary and Primary Education, District Incharge Civil Defence and officials of other departments.

Celebration, rallies in Nawabshah

By Rashid Zia Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Shia Ulema Council, the Hindu Punchayat and the Pakhtoon Welfare Society organized separate rallies in Nawabshah to celebrate the downing of India warplanes by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). 

The rally participants chanted slogans against what they described as the hostile actions by the Indian government while the Pakhtoon youth danced on their cultural tunes. 

The Shia Ulema Council took out rally from Imam Bargah Murtazvi while the Hindu Panchayat rally was led by Manoj Kumar who was critical of the policies of the present Indian rulers whom he accused of pursuing extremism and bringing Hindu religion to disrepute.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Karachi University’s LIS faculty visits LPB

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

A seven-member delegation, comprising of the faculty of the Library & Information Science (LIS) department of the University of Karachi, visited the newly developed offices of the Library Promotion Bureau (LPB) housed in the compound of the Liaquat National Library. 

The delegation, led by the Chairperson of the department, Dr Munira Nasreen Ansari, also contained Farhat Hussain, Rafat Parveen Siddiqui, Naveed-e-Sehar, Muhammad Waseem Zia, Rabia Aslam and Rashid Ali. 

Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari, a former chairman of LIS department of the University of Karachi, who had founded the LPB in 1966, warmly welcomed the faculty members to the bureau’s office. 

In his brief welcome address, he urged the faculty members to follow in his footsteps and work beyond the call of duty for the cause of the profession. He advised them to devote their spare time in research and scholastic activities. 

The LPB founder didn’t mince words in pointing out that even the institution which is the home to the bureau (University of Karachi) hasn’t been extending it any worthwhile support which was regrettable. 

Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, also a former chairman of LIS department of the University of Karachi, besides being the central figure of the bureau, hoped that the library professionals will avail the opportunity of sharing their literary contributions in the Adab-o-Kutub Khana, the flagship annual publication of Bazm-e-Akram. 

Speaking on behalf of the faculty, the Chairperson of the LIS department, Dr Munira Nasreen, assured their fullest support for the bureau which had originated from their own Alma Mater. 

The other members of the faculty, paying great respects to their teachers, Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari and Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, also volunteered to play their role in furthering the mission of the bureau.

Monday fever in Pakistan’s largest export industry

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Monday morning sees many workers in Pakistan’s spinning and weaving factories complain of chest pain and shortness of breath. Commonly known as ‘Monday fever’, these symptoms are actually signs of respiratory disease which resurface as employees return to work and become exposed to cotton dust.

Cotton dust is a colourless, odourless, substance that is an unavoidable byproduct of the process that converts raw cotton into yarn or yarn into fabric. 

The exposure to this health hazard causes short-term irritation in the nose, eyes and chest; and long-term damage to the lungs leading to chronic respiratory diseases like bysinossis. 

In a previous study, researchers from Aga Khan University (AKU) found that 90 per cent of textile labourers had little knowledge of the risks posed by cotton dust. 

The same set of researchers are set to partner with 28 textile mills in Karachi’s industrial areas and prominent industry trade bodies on the MultiTex randomised controlled trial. 

The trial will assess the effectiveness of four convenient, low-cost measures in reducing cotton dust levels in the sector which employs 40 per cent of Pakistan’s industrial workforce. 

The initiatives include the provision of free, disposable face masks to workers, training sessions and refresher courses for both managers and employees on health and safety, and the formation of workplace committees tasked with implementing safety procedures. 

The study will see researchers evaluate whether these initiatives can reduce the presence of the harmful substance in the workplace and the extent to which these interventions are improving the health of the workforce. 

“Respiratory illnesses are one of the leading causes of death in Pakistan. This study has the potential to protect textile workers from a chronic disease and to raise awareness of the need for robust occupational health and safety programmes. Moreover, since the research is being done in partnership with mills and trade bodies we anticipate that findings will be quickly implemented by industry,” the WHO National Professional Officer, Shehzad Alam, remarked. 

The study’s objectives are in line with the Sustainable Development Goals which call for targeted efforts to reduce the burden of chronic respiratory disease (Goal 3.4.1) and to promote safe and secure workplace environments (Goal 8.8). 

“Our study brings together employees and managers to achieve a common good. We hope to demonstrate how such collaborations can boost employee health while delivering important secondary benefits in the form of productivity improvements, compliance with global health and safety protocols and industrial growth,” Dr Asaad Nafees, an assistant professor in community health sciences at AKU., added. 

 MultiTex has been funded by a grant from the UK’s Wellcome Trust which supports innovative ideas to improve health. The trial is being conducted in partnership with the Towel Manufacturers Association and talks are ongoing with other trade bodies. Co-investigators on the study include faculty from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Senator Imamuddin Shouqeen fetes Nawabshah journalists

By Rashid Zia Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Former President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, and the Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari remain eager for the continued the fast development of Sindh, having directed PPP's elected representatives to expand the pace of ongoing projects. 

This was stated by PPP Senator Malik Imamuddin Shouqeen while congratulating newly elected office-bearers of the Nawabshah Union of Journalists (NUJ). 

He observed that the fruits of development programmes would soon start reaching the doorsteps of the masses. 

The Senator remarked that as per law, 65% of the oil and gas output from Sindh was to be utilized by Sindh while the remaining 35% was to be used by other provinces with Sindh to be having first right for utilization of energy sources produced in the province. 

"Serving the poor people of Sindh is the motto of PPP,” he said adding that merit would be the sole criterion for employment to jobless youth. 

He stated that besides members of Malik Community, he was keen to see that all communities living in Sindh prosper with special focus on our youth who were the real assets. 

He said that their capabilities would be explored for development and prosperity of Sindh and country as a whole. 

On the occasion President Nawabshah Union of Journalists, Muhammad Anwar Shaikh thanked the guest of honour Senator Imamuddin Shouqeen, Malik Iqbal Bhatti, Abdul Wahab and others. 

The Senator garlanded the NUJ President, Anwar Shaikh, and the General Secretary Arshad Ali Shaikh, Vice President Muhammad Arshad Munir, Joint Secretary Muhammad Aslam Azmi, Coordination Secretary Malik Muhammad Shafique and other elected office-bearers and wished them every success in the discharge of their professional responsibilities.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Beautification campaign launched in Karachi Central

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Chairman of the District Municipal Corporation (DMC) Central, Rehan Hashmi, accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner, Central, Farhan Ghani, carried out visits of the various parts of the district and expressed satisfaction over the sanitary conditions and state of cleanliness.

During the visit, Rehan Hashmi and Farhan Ghani launched the beautification programme by planting a sapling at the Water Pump roundabout in Federal-B-Area. 

Speaking on the occasion, the DMC Chairman remarked that directives have been issued to demolish the self made garbage dumping places and encroachments wherever existed and plant trees there. 

He pointed out that at the Water Pump roundabout, a self created truck stand was established which has since been removed and now colorful flowery plants planted which has beautified the area besides overcoming traffic jamming here. 

The DMC Chairman looked deeply involved in making District Central a model district with the available resources side by side through private-public participation with focus on upgradation of parks and playgrounds so as to make positive and healthy activities to the youth and the people at large near their home.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

HESCO nabs power thieves

By Rashid Zia Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Three illegal electric transformers were recovered during a search operation carried out by a team of Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) against electric defaulters in Lakhat area near left bank of River Indus. 

The team led by Superintendent Engineer Malik Imtiaz conducted the raid near Pir Noor Shah Feeder where two transformers were located hidden in bushes while one illegal transformer was mounted on an electric pole. 

SE Malik Imtiaz told reporters that these three transformers were being used in running as many as twelve tube wells to irrigate hundreds of acres of land, wheat grinders besides supplying power to hundreds of houses. 

He said that an application was submitted to Qazi Ahmed Police for registration of FIR against the culprits. 

He disclosed that the raiding team faced resistance from local area people during operation against power thieves, adding that a departmental action has also been initiated against HESCO staff found involved in conniving with power thieves some of whom were also transferred from the area.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Asif Zardari’s sudden visit to Nawabshah

By Rashid Zia Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Asif Ali Zardari, a former President of Pakistan and a member of the National Assembly from Nawabshah, undertook a sudden and unplanned visit of his home city the other day. 

He could not hide his displeasure over the deteriorating conditions of the city and urged for improvement in the various sectors to bring about relief for the inhabitants of Nawabshah. 

Without informing the local administration and avoiding protocol, Asif Ali Zardari accompanied by only personal staff, went around various city areas and bazaars. 

His sudden visit awakened the officials of Municipal Committee, Public Health and other government departments. 

Soon after his departure, Deputy Commissioner immediately convened a meeting of district departments to launch anti mosquito, anti encroachment, anti-pye dog campaign, activate sewerage and water supply projects and renewed street lights and speedy disposal of waste and garbage. 

Additional Commissioner Shaheed Benazirabad Muhammad Yousuf Abbasi, ADC Waseem Hamid, AC Nawabshah Nabeel Sindhu, AC Sakrand Saleem Jatoi, Deputy Director Local Government Abdul Sattar Rathore, Chief Municipal Officer, Town Committee officers Daulatpur, Qazi Ahmed, Sakrand Shahpur Jahania, Bucheri, Bandhi and other related officials attended the meeting.

Journalists’ bodies seek restoration of jobs

By Rashid Zia Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (Dastoor) under the auspices of the Nawabshah Union of Journalists (NUJ), staged a protest demonstration against termination of journalists from media houses and deductions in salaries. 

The demonstration led by Central Assistant Secretary PFUJ (D) Shoaib Khan was held at Sheraz Chowk and participated, among others, by President, Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ), Tariq Abul Hassan, Secretary, Karachi Press Club (KPC), Hanif Akbar, President, Hyderabad Union of Journalists (HUJ) Abdul Hafeez Abid, General Secretary Tajamul Hussain, President, NUJ, Muhammad Anwar Shaikh, General Secretary Arshad Ali Shaikh and others. 

Addressing the protesters, the PFUJ leaders described the terminations of journalists as a conspiracy and said such media crises never surfaced earlier even during the martial law regimes. 

The speakers said that more than two thousand media workers have been removed from jobs and those working in media houses were facing deductions in salaries. 

They remarked that the journalists community would now protest all out against channels and newspapers for their genuine rights while the unions would continue their protests at the offices of media houses till the last worker was restored.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari regrets lack of support from library professionals

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari, one of the founding fathers of library and information science in Pakistan, has voiced his concern once more at the lack of support of fellow professionals to the cause of the profession itself.

“Local reference publications are usually purchased by librarians for their reference services as well as for their clientele. Our professional librarians have not been purchasing the reference books of the profession even for their own libraries. However, a few foreign libraries have been purchasing our books on a regular basis,” the Founder President of the Library Promotion Bureau (LPB) and the Founding Chief Editor of the Pakistan Library and Information Science Journal (PLISJ), observed in the editorial of the latest issue of the quarterly journal. 

“The LPB, founded in 1966, has published more than 70 books on the subject of Library and Information Science on self help basis. Despite the unfavourable attitude of fellow librarians and LIS faculties, we have continued publishing books as far as our monetary situation permitted,” Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari remarked. 

“We had started publishing our quarterly journal (PLISJ) in 1968 for our professional researchers, LIS faculties and students. By the Grace of God, a huge number of scholars have contributed their research papers which were published in the journal, recognized by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and also indexed by EBSCO,” he added. 

In his editorial, Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari has also advised the worthy subscribers of the PLISJ to renew their subscriptions for the 2019 at the earliest since the quarterly journal was being published under extreme financial stress.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Ex-Education Minister condoles Khalid Shah’s death

Pakistan News & Features Services

Pir Mazharul Haq, a former Minister Education of Sindh, visited All Private Schools Management Association Sindh (APSMAS) headquarters, housed in Karachi’s bustling area of Nazimabad, to condole the death of the Association’s Founder Chairman, Syed Khalid Shah. 

Upon his arrival, the veteran politician was welcomed by Syed Tariq Shah, the current central chairman of the Association, who is also a son of Syed Khalid Shah. 

Expressing his heartfelt condolences at the untimely and tragic death of Syed Khalid Shah, the former Sindh Senior Minister recalled his monumental services for the cause of education.

Syed Tariq Shah thanked Pir Mazharul Haq for the generosity and vowed to continue the policies of his father to accomplish the gigantic task of improving the standard of education. 

The APSMAS Chairman was pleased to be guided by Pir Mazharul Haq in the matters relating to private schools. 

It may be recalled that Syed Khalid Shah, who was one of the most respected educational personalities of the country, had passed away in a road accident last year while travelling to Islamabad by car when it crashed near the town of Bhakkar.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Hurdles and solutions to K-IV mega project

By Salman Chandio
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The biggest issue of Karachi nowadays remains the substantial shortage of water. In order to overcome this shortage, a critical project in name of K-IV had been taken up three years ago which is creeping so slow that people of Karachi are losing their hope day by day and they are now even afraid of riots due to water crisis.

Similar conditions were witnessed in 1998 in District West and the area had to given under the control of Pakistan Army and Pakistan Ranger along with all the Water Tanker Service who managed equitable distribution in the tanks of mosques and community places which allowed people to fetch in fixed timings as per schedule in a discipline which was beyond civil authorities, specifically with the limited KW&SB management resources. 

The KW&SB's K-IV (Phase-I ) project has been jointly managed by the provincial and federal governments and was planned to provide 650 million gallons of water daily to Karachi in three phases, but 260 MGD so far its first stage is yet to be completed. Its feasibility report was prepared in 2007 and PC-I was developed by the consultant the same year with a project cost of Rs 28 billion which was duly approved by P&D department of the Government of Sindh. 

It was also approved by the Government of Pakistan in 2011, with the project cost being Rs 25 billion. The year wise funding was also released by the provincial and federal governments to the KW&SB Project.

The total length of the Phase 1 of the project is 120 km, of which approximately 92 km is open canal, 10 km are siphons, and approximately 8 km are RCC conduits. 

The project envisages two Bulk Pump Stations each capable of pumping 260 million gallons per day, and three filtration plants- one of 130 MGD and two of 65 MGD capacity and power Connection for all Pump Houses. 

The K-IV canal runs along the Kheerthar mountain range which posed substantial construction challenges. 

The contract was divided into two packages, one of civil works and other of Electrical/Mechanical works (Pump Houses and Filter Plants) and was allotted to the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) as contractor.

Later on, while start of work the design of both packages could not be designed by designated Consultant and as yet same design, route/levels have not been got vetted from third party under objections and not finalized. 

The two years’ time of completion was given to FWO ending in December 2018. This time has now been extended up to December 2020. 

The contractor was delayed due to defective feasibility report route and PC-I based on that was also found defective when consultant and contractor reached on ground. Hence considerable delay in review of route and finalization/vetting same from third party has yet not been finalized. The work has been held up so for.

Accordingly, construction cost also is gradually increasing high up to Rs 75 billion as learnt. 

While start of work the design of both packages could not be designed by designated consultant and as yet same design, route/levels have not been got vetted from third party under objections and not finalized. 

Water is being extracted from Keenjhar Lake through three water canals and each canal for each phase. 

The project (Phase-I) initially targeted to be completed in mid 2017 but extended to December 2018. It is now is reported to be delayed for more than two years and end in December 2020. The great tragedy of this project is that it started with ill- planning, right from its inception of feasibility study and PC-I stages. Very little or no planning was done for pumping stations, power generation units and filter plants to bring the water to required height.

The actual ground condition was not highlighted in PC-I which was merely reflected position from Google. Extra massive work then was required at site including twelve bridges, eighteen pedestrian culverts in Canal's way and the staff colony. 

The augmentation work to connect the Canal/Filter plants with existing transmission water trunk main system duly ignored also needs to be laid because of the Canal/Filter plants would be 50 Kilometers distance away from it, was conspicuously absent in planning which resulted in cost overruns from Rs 25 billion to Rs 75 billion with a portal of further cost escalation. 

Further, the conditions of ground reveal that this route adopted for Canal etc is technically proved to be costly and rather total y not feasible to waste further money as there is no chance of success. How the route would change? Because they understand that the present route is correct and water will reach at their destination positively in two years. 

They may not understand how the present route will not be supported. Kindly be advised to concerned authorities who make decision positively. Their contention and technical approach is proved wrong. 

Now the responsibility fixation and re-route also depends upon authorities whether they feel their present route is okay and then should own failure or take full responsibility if water would not be reaching to city even from 50 KM away as per existing route and God forbid that all expenditures upon completion go in drain and on other side the civil war to start among citizens on shortage of water and population of city would have been doubled than 2006 when K-III was commissioned. 

They should now reaffirm to continue upon failure-route taken up as per private agenda Alternatively they may switch back and re route as per scope as was decided by GOS in approved PC-II. 

As decided by GOS in PC-II the storage would be ensured from Haleji and Hadero lakes to eliminate shortage in winter every year during four months in winter season when Indus River is dry and in future to experience more shortage in Indus. 

Secondly water will reach to nearby City and close inter connections with existing transmission system instead of connecting from 50 KMs away and expenditure of Rs 28 billion proposed would be saved. 

Thirdly the single stage Bulk Pumping will do it possible instead Double Stage Bulk Pumping about Rs 30 cores per each stage as electric bill would be saving for long life by adopting single Bulk Pumping as in K- I, II, III as yet. 

The original route based upon Single Stage Pumping with ensured supply of water direct to city on gravity basis at Rs 30 billion instead now 75 billion and expected to shoot upto Rs 100 billion or even Rs 200 billions but this route was changed by private agenda of consultants with wasted interests and without any intimation/approval the change of scope of PC-II approved by GOS. 

There shall be change of route in place of existing private agenda failure route to save expenditures, to ensure Single Bulk Pump House instead of Double Pumping House, to ensure possibility to bring water nearest to city instead 50 KMs away from city which requires Rs. 28 billion proposed and the utilization of Haleji and Hadero lakes for Storage of water during four months of winter season in addition to Keenjhar Lake. 

**The writer is former Managing Director of Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB)

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Anwar Shaikh elected NUJ President

By Rashid Zia Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Muhammad Anwar Shaikh (Geo News) and Muhammad Arshad Shaikh  (Dawn News)  were elected as  President and General Secretary of the Nawabshah Union of Journalists (Dastoor), PFUJ chapter held under the supervision of President Nawabshah Press Club Muhammad Aslam Munir. 

The other office-bearers elected were Muhammad Arshad Munir Vice President, Muhammad Aslam Azmi ,Joint Secretary, Ziaur Rehman Treasurer and Muhammad Shafique Malik Coordination Secretary. 

Speaking on the occasion, President Muhammad Anwar Shaikh and General Secretary Muhammad Arshad Shaikh assured that all out  efforts would be made to resolve the basic issues of the journalists and for their welfare from the platform of PFUJ. 

The Central President of the Pakistan Union of Journalists Haji Nawaz Raza, General Secretary Suhail Afzal, President Karachi Union of Journalists Tariq Abul Hassan, General Secretary Hamidur Rehman, President Hyderabad Union of Journalists Abdul Hafeez Abid and General Secretary Tajjamul Hussain congratulated the newly elected office-bearers of Nawabshah Union of Journalists.

National Tourism Coordination Board’s formation approved

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

The federal government has approved the formation of a 25-member National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB) for the promotion of tourism in the country.

The decision was taken during the meeting of the Tourism Task Force, chaired by Prime Minister, Imran Khan, held in Islamabad on February 4. 

It’s aimed at promoting tourism, enhancing coordination between federation and provinces, formulating provincial regulatory framework, and highlighting other objectives including the promotion of the country’s tourism at an international level. 

The 25-member NTCB would comprise representatives from federal ministries, provincial departments and people from the private sector tourism industry. 

The meeting was attended by Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination, Dr Fehmida Mirza, Special Assistant to PM, Iftikhar Durrani, PM’s Advisor on Overseas Pakistanis, Zulfiqar Bukhari, provincial ministers and members of the task force. 

It was also decided that the Pakistan Tourism Development Coordination (PTDC) would be restructured and Rs 200 billion properties of PTDC would be transferred to the provinces. The PTDC would serve as the NTCB secretariat. 

The meeting further decided to constitute special working groups on religious tourism, adventure tourism, cultural, historic and archaeological tourism, Trans-Himalaya Jeep Rally Group, infrastructure and facilitation, regulatory and policy reforms, investment and tourism branding. 

The Prime Minister was briefed about the progress achieved in the area of tourism so far and was informed that work on the creation of 20 new tourism sites in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was also in progress. 

He was also briefed about the progress on turning Bala Hissar Fort in Peshawar into a tourism site. 

The Prime Minister, emphasizing on the need for eco-tourism to be given special attention, directed that Bala Hissar Fort should be converted into a centre of tourist activities, adding that arrangement for the commercial use of 800 and 157 rest houses in Punjab and KP should be finalized as soon as possible.