Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Experts advise for KCR revival

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Experts on railway affairs have expressed surprise over the steps being taken for revival of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) just with the removal of encroachments and clearance of tracks. 

They have noticed that in the meetings, being held to review ongoing anti-encroachment drive for clearance of tracks, the real issues that would surface once KCR operation started were not being taken into account. 

According to them, 35 years ago there were as many level crossings on the KCR. The population then was almost half of what it is today. All the expansion has been north of Karachi starting from Gulshan-e- Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Johar and all the way to the University of Karachi. 

They have reckoned that if you run trains at 30 minutes interval the level crossings will hardly remain open. And with the present psyche of Karachiites there may be protests and demonstrations at each level crossing. 

They have questioned that how many underpasses and overhead bridges could be expected to be built in the next decade by the Sindh Government which hasn’t met the challenge of keeping Karachi clean? 

The second important issue in this transport matrix is access to the KCR stations. Unless the stations have access to buses and auto-rickshaws or other public vehicles, people will shy away from using train. 

Unfortunately nearly all the stations on the KCR were locked in with encroachments all around. These two factors need to be addressed before running trains on the KCR.
One trial run with the help of Sindh Police and Rangers may be successful but without them the next could be a great mess-up. 

Of course trains from Malir to Karachi City can be run even today. In the past trains from Malir and Landhi were very popular. There were at least 40 commuters on the locomotive alone during the morning rush hour! 

At that time in the early 1970s, a former DTO reminded, these two trains used to take precedence over trains like Khyber Mail and Tezgam! 

With the development of encroachments around the stations on the KCR, in the early 1980s people lost interest in it and those were turned into haven for drug addicts. 

The experts believe that if KCR is to be made a success story it should be elevated from Malir to Wazir Mansion. 

The Sindh government should buy its own lightweight rolling stock from China under CPEC. They can then develop their own workshop at Wazir Mansion or Landhi for maintenance purposes.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Railways chief assures KCR revival in time

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Federal Secretary, Ministry of Railways, and Chairman, Pakistan Railway Board, Sikandar Sultan Jalal visited Karachi and held a meeting reviewing the ten-day ongoing anti-encroachment drive for revival of the Karachi Circular Railway KCR) under the directives of Supreme Court.

The Secretary Railways, in his remarks, stated that he’s regularly receiving progress reports with regard to ongoing ant-encroachment campaign to clear tracks for the KCR. 

He regarded the progress being satisfactory and appreciated the efforts of the teams undertaking the task. 

"Now we are able to submit a positive and implementable report to the SC."' he said and described as commendable the efforts being made and steps taken by Commissioner Karachi, Divisional Superintendent Railways and all team members. 

He pointed out that the KCR was most imperative for the people of this ever sprawling city and everyone involved is making efforts to pave the way for revival of the KCR within the stipulated time frame.

He pointed out that all leases issued by Pakistan Railways would be examined by DS Railway Karachi Division and legal action taken accordingly. 

The leases issued by the likes of Board of Revenue and Katchi Abadis department of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) would also be examined by respective agencies as per law and policy as per SC directives. 

Meanwhile, a 7 Members committee is being constituted with all stakeholder, departments and concerned to carry out basic homework and legal formalities for revive the KCR and to work out a most modern urban transport system on priority basis to meet the commuting needs of the people of this metropolis.

Federal Secretary Railways Sikandar Sultan Jalal lauded the efforts of Sindh government in the entire scenario and the steps taken by the Commissioner Karachi and said the Railways will extend its all cooperation to them to start the KCR project in time. 

The Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shallwani, while welcoming the Federal Secretary Railway briefed him about on-going operation and said everyone involved was working for the accomplishment of this most important task. 

He assured that a positive and comprehensive report will be submitted to SC and measures taken accordingly for revival of KCR by Sindh Government for the people of Karachi.

The meeting was briefed by respective Deputy Commissioners about their progress of operation at their individual levels. 

They drew attention towards many important aspects to operation and revival of KCR. 

They reaffirmed of their determination for attainment of result oriented targets. 

The DS Railways, Syed Mazhar Ali Shah, and DIG Operation PR, Azhar Rasheed Khan, also briefed the visiting Secretary about steps taken and progress achieved so far during the operation. They hoped that the encroachments removed would not be allowed to resurface. 

Earlier Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shallwani met the Federal Secretary and discussed important KCR related issues and its revival under SC directives. He reiterated his proposal for a trial run of a train on KCR route.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Encroachment drive to facilitate KCR reviewed

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The progress of ongoing operation against illegal encroachment for restoration of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) track on Supreme Court's order was reviewed at a meeting chaired by Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shalwani.

Appreciating the efforts of all concerned who chalked out a coordinated and comprehensive strategy to clear the track within 50/50 feet of KCR, the Commissioner called for continuation of anti encroachment drive till, he said the targets set were achieved. 

He referred to the steps taken so far including meetings with railway authorities on May 14, visit of KCR on May 18 for review of track situation besides a visit of Railway Minister and Chief Secretary Sindh jointly on May 20 in this regard in order to chalk out further strategy and implementation of SC directive. 

"We are continuing the work and clear the track with ongoing momentum for revival of KCR and thus playing our individual role comprehensively,” the Commissioner said, asserting that we would be able to give the gift of KCR to the Karachiites within the stipulated time frame. 

It was noted that the operation and its monitoring along with patrolling of areas cleared was continuing by the respective agencies who were submitting progress report thereof on regular basis.

The Commissioner said that that before submitting a comprehensive report to SC would be asked to have a trial run of the train on KCR system to oversee the future aspects and impact on ground realities. 

In this regard the Sindh government and respective departments would be approached to take up the matter with the federal government and the Ministry for trial run on 20-KM track on an experimental basis. 

The Commissioner directed all the Deputy Commissioners to initiate an operation beyond 50/50 110/120 feet to check future encroachments of any sort within their jurisdictions and secure the same permanently against human settlements and buildings. 

On the occasion, the Divisional Superintendent, Railway, Syed Mazhar Ali Shah, also briefed about the progress made for a secured track and operation carried by respective DCs with the support of Railway police, anti encroachment cell and said a daily progress report is sent to Commissioner accordingly. 

He assured that policy guidelines of ministry will be fully followed if the Sindh government did approach the federal government and the Ministry for trial train-run before June 9. 

DIG Operation, PR, Azhar Rasheed Khan informed that Railway Police, with the support of the Administration were working as per strategy devised for revival of KCR under SC directives and it will be ensured that encroachments does not resurface.  

Municipal Commissioner KMC, Dr Saif-ur-Rahman, while appreciating the efforts of all concerned said that as per SC direction all legalities and modalities involved were being fully ensured as per targets set. 

The Deputy Commissioners of Karachi East and Karachi West also briefed about daily progress of operation launched since May 15 and said that clearance of entire track from encroachments will be ensured as per law and rules including serving of legal notices to encroachers and unauthorized persons and human settlements. 

The Additional Deputy Commissioner Central informed that a 9-day operation was to be launched in the district as per strategy to bulldoze the human settlements without any resistance. 

Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani pointed out that before submitting the comprehensive report to SC, on June 9, concrete steps were being taken to revive the KCR with collective and coordinated efforts by all concerned under a proper strategy and mechanism.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

YPO Global Pulse Survey confirms customer always right

Pakistan News & Features Services

New YPO Global Pulse Survey has found out that customers were the primary inspiration for business innovation around the world.

The Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), the premier global leadership organization for more than 27,000 chief executives, conducted a survey of its members in over 130 countries to get their latest thoughts on innovation and its implications for the future of their businesses. 

The YPO’s 2019 Global Pulse Innovation Survey, conducted between April 29 and May 6 with more than 1,600 chief executive respondents, confirmed that the majority of global business leaders (57%) felt an urgent need to innovate now. 

Where did they look to find inspiration to innovate? Their customers. 

The survey was conducted by the YPO via an online questionnaire with a representative probability sample of 1,661 YPO members. 

The sample included members in 105 countries and representing 34 industry sectors. Nearly half of global business leaders cited customers as their top source of innovation inspiration (48%) with employees (36%) ranking second. Consultants (10%) and think tanks (7%) lag far behind in the minds of respondents. 

The importance of keeping this key constituency happy was a focal point with nearly one in five respondents citing customer experience as their primary business area most needing innovation now. This ranked ahead of products, data/business intelligence and technology. 

According to additional YPO Global Pulse findings, location, geographic location, industry, company size and length of job tenure greatly inform business leaders’ opinions and go-forward innovation action plans. 

The YPO 2019 Global Pulse Innovation Survey followed on the heels of the YPO Innovation Week. Occurring last week, the YPO Innovation Week connected influential entrepreneurs, innovators and thought leaders to exchange ideas about inspiration, breakthroughs and transformation through signature and digital events around the world. 

The YPO members harness the knowledge, influence and trust of the world’s most influential and innovative business leaders to inspire business, personal, family and community impact. 

The YPO member-run companies, diversified among industries and types of businesses, employ more than 22 million people globally and generate USD9 trillion in annual revenues.

Monday, May 20, 2019

PLISJ low-keyed in Golden Jubilee year

Pakistan News & Features Services

Academically and theoretically, the Pakistan Library and Information Science Journal (PLISJ), a quarterly publication of the Library Promotion Bureau (LPB), Karachi, is going strong and the April-June 2019 issue (Volume 50, Number 2) has come out in time once more.

But it’s little surprising to find the Golden Jubilee year issues of the iconic publication being presented in the identical traditional package instead of using some animation to mark the historic occasion.

It’s not often when magazines or journals complete half a century of its journey. It’s an achievement of sorts and it merited celebration of some kind to promote its own cherished goals. 

The LPB, which had come into being in 1966, had organized a Golden Jubilee function at a university in 2016 rather gracefully but the same landmark of its proud publication, the PLISJ, has not merited the same kind of attention yet. 

The publication of special issues of the PLISJ to commemorate its Golden Jubilee year (2019) could have been an option if the idea of holding another ceremony was not in the plans. 

The PLISJ Chief Editor, Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari, who is also the Founder President of the LPB, and the Deputy Chief Editor, Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, are the backbone and the pillars of both the entities and their joint efforts have earned recognition for the PLISJ over the years as being one of the leading research journals of the country which has also been hailed abroad by the library professionals.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Adab-o-Kutub Khana-12 arrives

Pakistan News & Features Services

The 12th edition of Adab-o-Kutub Khana, the flagship annual publication of Bazm-e-Akram, a literary and social forum of the library scientists, named after Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari, has seen the light of the day in the first half of 2019.

Having been published annually since its re-launch in 2011, Adab-o-Kutub Khana had rewrote its history by having brought out a couple of editions during the calendar year of 2018.  

The publication of 12th edition of Adab-o-Kutub Khana within the first half of the year of 2019 could mean the arrival of yet another edition before the year end. 

The Chief Editor of Adab-o-Kutub Khana, Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, one of the most charismatic personalities of library and information science in Pakistan, has continued working with missionary zeal to engage fellow professionals into literary activities. 

She has been proactive over the years to further strengthen and enliven the forum of Bazm-e-Akram besides ensuring the regular publication of Adab-o-Kutub Khana against all odds. 

A former Chairperson of the Department of Library and Information Science at the University of Karachi, she has demonstrated iron will to overcome the various challenges from both inside and outside the librarians’ community. 

Her perseverance and steadfastness have been the prime reasons in the generation of high quality content in abundance for Adab-o-Kutub Khana which allowed her to bring two editions last year, instead of one, and the same could happen once more this year.

Prof Dr Nasim Fatima deserves the accolades for having sustained Bazm-e-Akram and Adab-o-Kutub Khana in the most challenging of circumstances. 

She had revived both Bazm-e-Akram as well as Adab-o-Kutub Khana in 2011 and there has been no looking back since then. 

Adab-o-Kutub Khana-12, as usual, contains high class ingredients of prose, fiction and poetry and this is a kind of publication no library within the country could afford to miss out.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Policymakers commemorate breakthrough year for nursing, midwifery

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The government of Pakistan has designated 2019 as the year of nursing and is working to enhance the role and voices of nurses and midwives in health policymaking, in recognition of the vital part they play in promoting universal healthcare and in defending women’s rights, the speakers at Aga Khan University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery (SONAM) observed.

The school brought together policymakers, senior academics and nursing leaders at an event to celebrate International Nurses Day and the International Day of the Midwife. 

In a message submitted ahead of the event, Sindh Minister for Health and Population Dr Azra Pechuho said: “The government is taking necessary steps to recognize nurses as equal partners in the healthcare system.” 

The provincial minister noted that nurses and midwives are already playing their part in providing quality healthcare to communities across the country and called on stakeholders to encourage and facilitate efforts to deepen their impact on the healthcare system.

The learned speakers at the event discussed the launch of new initiatives following President Dr Arif Alvi’s declaration and in light of Pakistan joining the global Nursing Now initiative. 

In his keynote speech, Shabbir Hussain, Director General Nursing for Sindh, highlighted the crucial partnership between nursing schools, hospitals and regulatory bodies in Pakistan in raising the image, status and role of nurses. 

“Nursing is emerging as one of the best professions in the healthcare sector and we are collectively making efforts to improve working conditions for our nurses and midwives to ensure that they can continue to provide quality healthcare services,” he said. 

The speakers also noted that besides encouraging investment in the nursing workforce and recruiting more nurses into leadership roles, the focus has to shift to research, capacity building and the implementation of best-practice. 

Dr David Arthur, Dean of AKU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, reckoned that nurses now have a variety of career opportunities open to them. “Today’s nurses are seen as educators, researchers and counsellors in addition to working in different healthcare settings. They are also seeking specialization within nursing in various clinical areas, which further highlights their roles as front-line caregivers and strong patient advocates in all areas within a healthcare facility,” he remarked. 

Nurses have come a long way over the past few decades, are in a variety of leadership positions in the clinical and academic spheres, and stand ready to support the government’s efforts to achieve targets under the UN sustainable development goals, added Laila Cassum, a senior instructor at SONAM. 

The speeches were followed by a panel discussion on the challenges nurses and midwives face in public and private healthcare institutions. 

The panelists highlighted the need to increase the proportion of the healthcare budget allocated to the profession and called for more steps to recognize the contribution of nurses and midwives. 

Practicing nurses and midwives, students and nursing leaders from educational and healthcare institutions across Sindh were present at the event.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Commissioner mobilizes resources for Rabies-free Karachi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shalwani, held a meeting with Dr Nasim Salahuddin, Head of Department of Infectious Diseases and a member of WHO Expert committee for Rabies and Rabies-free Karachi.

They discussed the dog bite cases, awareness among community and general public through their mobilization and their involvement at grass root level. 

Dr Nasim and his delegation members briefed the Commissioner about their organization s activities and its role in creating awareness at the community level. 

They informed about their ongoing mobilization campaign for the last 10 years towards dog bites cases, training of workers, potentialities of the community besides other things. 

The Commissioner appreciated the efforts of the organization and assured them of administration's cooperation and assistance at community level besides required coordination by allied agencies to further push up their campaign.

He immediately has established a Task Force headed by Additional Commissioner–II, Ghulam Murtaza Memon, and consisting of respective Assistant Commissioners/Revenue officers, respective agencies and Rabies free Karachi representatives to make efforts for achieving desired civil society mobilization, awareness and hold training sessions in the community with regard to pre and post treatment of dog bites cases, mass dog vaccination, animal birth control, field operation, through workshops, seminars and awareness on social media as well as other media to achieve the targets. 

He said that the organization and the Commissioner Office will work together after a mutual agreement and signing of a MoU draft of which will be submitted by them to be vetted by the Sindh Government's Law department which will be taken on board for further expansion of operation. 

The Commissioner Karachi directed the DMCs that in order to train and involve the staff of allied agencies to spare and train the sanitary workers and others staff in cooperation with the organization. It was informed that during the period 2009 to 2018 some 112 cases of dog bites were treated at Indus Hospital and Jinnah Hospital free of cost.

Price control drive in full swing in Karachi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

 All the deputy commissioners, on the directives of Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shalwani, have started price control drive taking stern action against the profiteers.

The deputy commissioners have formed special teams comprising of assistant commissioners and mukhtarkars to use their magisterial powers against profiteers, while the DCs were personally supervising the anti-profiteering drive. 

Meanwhile the Commissioner has advised the deputy commissioners not only to monitor the campaign but also review the performance of the teams formed by them and submit report there to the commissioner office for review of individual performance. 

The performance of Market Committee formed to fix the rates of fruits and vegetable in the morning at Sabzi Mandi on daily basis during the holy month was also reviewed. 

In this regard the Additional Commissioner Karachi-1, Ahmed Ali Qureshi, visited Sabzi Mondi early morning to monitor the process of fixation of prices of fruits and vegetables and later submitted his report to the Commissioner with his comments for improvement in the performance. 

The Commissioner asked the Market Committee to ensure that the prices fruits and vegetable are reasonably fixed during the holy month and transparency should be maintained with the objective to provide the relief to people.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

High-level meeting moves for price control, traffic streamlining in Ramazan

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sindh Minister for Agriculture and Supply and Prices, Muhammad Ismail Rahoo, alongwith Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shalwani, held a high level joint meeting regarding control price check of essential commodities and other goods items during holy month of Ramzaan at the Commissioner office on May 2. 

The Deputy Commissioners, Salahuddin (Karachi South), Ali Ahmed Siddiqui (Karachi East), Zahid Memon (Karachi West) and Javed Abbasi (Karachi Malir) attended the meeting along with Abbas Memon (ADC Karachi Korangi) and other senior officers of the Bureau of Supply and Prices and related departments. 

The Sindh Minister pointed out that the painting and distribution of price lists was the responsibility of Market Committee but all FCs and the Bureau of Supply were their support to MC during the holy month, they all should work together for maximum relief are being provided to common people through distribution, display and awareness of general public at all big markets, super marts, and other shops. 

He stated that media will also be taken on board for maximum publicize price lists monitoring and inspections of all sites where complaints of any sort regarding high and non affordable things will be dealt with heavy fines and resolve the grievances of common people. 

The Minister has directed that officers concerned should regular visits and monitor the issues of prices etc in holy month balance the supply and demand if the goods according to schedule prices for maximum relief shown to people by the government and its functionaries. 

Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shalwani, thanked the Minister Agriculture for holding such important meeting over prices in holy month with respective departments and agencies to provide relief at grassroots level. 

He said that control rooms have already been setup in all DC offices and, through his liaison office, approached all concerned and monitor the activities in the holy month. 

He has also sought details of all departments concerned and agencies steps and progress of implementation prior to the holy month, having directed traffic police to take steps for smooth flow of traffic during Iftar time in particular. 

He further directed the all DCs to provide relief to general public in order to maintain sanctity of holy month as compared to the past. 

Traffic police informed that more than 1,000 personnel at seven centres would be deployed to streamline traffic's flow in the city during the holy month while additional water will be made available for people by the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB) and 22,700 gallon water will be at disposal on requisition of all DCs and others to cater the needs. 

Prices lists will be displayed by all social, print and electronic media on daily basis for awareness of general public.

National Quit Smoking Day on 1st Ramazan

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

The various health professionals’ organizations have voiced their concerns on the hazards of smoking cigarettes, which reportedly bring out the death of 166,000 people every year in Pakistan, on the eve of the National Quit Smoking Day to be observed on the upcoming first day of Ramazan. 

They have thrown light on the devastating tobacco epidemic rampant in the country and emphasized that the holy month of Ramadan provided a golden opportunity for people to quit smoking. 

“Cigarettes are killers that travel in packs. Tobacco consumption is the leading preventable cause of death, causing seven million deaths per year worldwide. Moreover, this death toll is expected to rise to 10 million per year by the year 2025 if the tobacco epidemic continues uncurbed. The horrifying impact of tobacco use in Pakistan is made apparent by the fact that smoking killed 166,000 Pakistanis in 2018 alone,” they warned. 

Prof Javaid Khan of the Aga Khan University (AKU) and Chair of the National Alliance for Tobacco Control, speaking at the Karachi Press Club, informed that every year, 1st Ramazan is commemorated all over the Muslim World as Quit Tobacco Day. 

“Ramazan presents a unique opportunity for Muslims to adopt a healthy lifestyle and quit tobacco use. Each puff of tobacco smoke is made up of thousands of chemicals, including at least 70 known to cause cancer. Tobacco kills half of those who use it, with its victims dying, on average, 15 to 20 years prematurely,” he stated. 

Prof Javaid Khan also urged religious scholars of the country to use this holy month to disseminate information to the public about the hazards associated with tobacco use. 

Dr Qaisar Sajjad, Head and Neck Surgeon and Secretary General, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), added that smokeless tobacco in the form of Gutka, Naswar and manipuri was responsible for 90% of head and neck cancers in the country. 

Advising the government to increase the taxation on tobacco products, he regretted the delay in introduction of Sin Tax on cigarettes as announced by the Health Minister last year.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

ZAB E-Fest 2019 unfolds creativity, innovation

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

ZAB E-Fest 2019, an annual inter-university engineering competition, organized jointly by the faculties of computer sciences and mechatronics engineering of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), Karachi, was inaugurated by Engr Muhammed Shafique, Vice-Chairman (Sindh), Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).

Speaking on the occasion, Engr Shafique appreciated that students from different universities from all over Karachi who were participating in this project competition. 

“In this modern age of technology advancement, challenges for engineering education were growing at the same pace,” the chief guest pointed out and added that the students needed to equip themselves with the latest and up-to-date technological knowledge, skills and hands on experience. 

He said it was inspiring for the students that their projects will be evaluated by the industry and academic professionals.

According to him bridging the gap between industry and academia was the need of the present time as both segments desired to fill the gap by exchanging the ideas and experience among each other. 

He hoped that the projects displayed in this event will be very eye-catching for the people either to solve their problems or to improve their systems 

He appreciated the efforts of SZABIST in providing superior and high quality education to the students with more progressive, state of the art and value added methods. 

Earlier, Dr Altaf Mukati, Vice-President Academics presented the welcome address and highlighting the objectives of ZAB E-Fest 2019 project exhibition.

On the occasion, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, President, SZABIST presented souvenir to chief guest, Engr Muhammed Shafique. 

Among others, the event was attended by Prof Dr Imran Amin, head of computer science department, members of the faculty and a large number of students. 

ZAB E-Fest has been launched with the cherished goals to inspire, motivate and produce a change. It endeavors to provide a platform for the youth to showcase their talents and skills in fierce competitions, displaying cutting edge technology and presenting it deliberately from all over.

With an aim to reach the goal of an ideal world and to provide know how and innovation of technology to everyone, each year the organizers take up initiatives that inspire dedicated and hardworking participant from all ages and walks of life, to come together and put their idea into reality.