Thursday, December 31, 2020

Dadu-Kotri rail infrastructure inspected

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The annual DS Special inspection of the 181-kilometere long single line ML-II track from Dadu to Kotri was carried out by the divisional officers of the Karachi division led by their Divisional Superintendent Arshad Salam Khattak. 

The Pakistan Railways operates 213Up/214Down Moen-jo-Daro Express destined between Kotri and Rohri on this line. 

The track and its right-of-way area were examined from the glass window, in the back, of the last coach during the running train as the process called as window trailing. The entire infrastructure entailing manned as well as unmanned level crossings, bridges, level between rails, conditions of stations and available record at all the stations en route were inspected physically by the visiting officers.

The anomalies that had been pointed out four months ago on August 24 during the inspection conducted by Federal Government Inspector of Railways FGIR had been rectified by the concerned officials and were appreciated by the Divisional Superintendent. 

The paraphernalia available to the level crossings' staff was checked and its operational understanding was judged during the inspection.  

Running test of deputed staff was also conducted that determined their physical ability to cope with any untoward situation. 

As per customary practice, cash prizes were also awarded to the staff members for their sound knowledge and display of masterful skills.

Monday, December 28, 2020

AKU nurses, midwives steal limelight

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Eight Pakistani nurses and midwives have been honoured in the global 2020 100 Outstanding Women Nurses and Midwives. 

All eight nurses and midwives from Pakistan happen to be faculty or alumni at the Aga Khan University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery (SONAM). 

One hundred nurses and midwives from 43 countries have been recognized for their contribution to raising healthcare standards across the globe, especially during these difficult times. These outstanding leaders have been acknowledged by Women in Global Health (WGH), which collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Population Fund, Nursing Now, International Council of Nurses and International Confederation of Midwives on the list. 

The recognition marked the end of the WHO’s yearlong Year of the Nurse and the Midwife 2020 campaign, which recognizes the vital role of nurses and midwives in providing health services and in helping achieve targets under the global sustainable development goals. 

The School’s Dean Dr Rozina Karmaliani has been honoured under the Board and Management category in recognition of her efforts to spearhead improvements in adolescent health, strengthen research capacities and integrate research into education and practice.

Faculty members Yasmin Parpio and Samina Vertejee have been appreciated under the Community Hero category for their services in community health nursing, while Saima Sachwani is recognised for her contributions in developing impactful nursing curriculum under the Human Capital Development category. 

Nurse-midwife Marina Baig has also been lauded for leveraging mobile health technology to improve maternal health outcomes under the Innovation, Science & Health category. 

Three SONAM alumni have also been recognised under the Community Hero category which include Dr Shela Hirani for her efforts to promote, protect and support breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic, Neelam Punjani for her work in improving access to sexual and reproductive health rights and Sadaf Saleem for her contributions to geriatric nursing. 

“It is an honour to be acknowledged by the international public health and nursing fraternity. This year has been particularly challenging for healthcare providers, all of whom have showed incredible commitment in their respective roles in responding to the COVID-19 crisis,” Dean Karmaliani remarked. 

“It’s encouraging to see that our government and healthcare stakeholders in Pakistan were coming together and deliberating on investing in nursing and midwifery education, practice and research. There is no better time than now to acknowledge the critical role of nurses in creating resilient healthcare systems,” she added.

The nominated women represent several hundreds of thousands of nurses and midwives globally who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic and have shown courage and compassion while working in a variety of clinical and community settings and while training and building the skills of healthcare professionals. 

By acknowledging these nursing and midwifery leaders, WGH renews its call to WHO member nations to establish and support strategic leadership positions for nurses and midwives in health facilities, involve them in key decisions, support diversity in recruitment strategies, reduce the gender pay gap and ensure a safe work environment.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Mayar-e-Zindagi launched at KPC

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The Literary Committee of the Karachi Press Club, one of the iconic institutions of the country, organized the launching ceremony of Asma Hassan’s recently published book ‘Mayar-e-Zindagi’ at its own purpose-built auditorium on December 24.

Shariq Vohra, President, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), was the chief guest in the book launch ceremony which was presided over by Jahangir Moghul, Charter President, Rotary Club of Karachi Darakhshan (RCKD). Author Asma Hassan joined the proceedings from Lahore via video link. 

The speakers at the ceremony included Iqbal Saleh Muhammad, Managing Director, Paramount, Books, Khawaja Naveed Ahmed, a former judge of the Sindh High Court, Nasreen Masood, a veteran social worker, Imtiaz Khan Faran, President, KPC and A H Khanzada, Secretary, Literacy Committee, KPC. The ceremony began with the recitation of Holy Quran by Zia-ur-Rahman. 

Iqbal Saleh Muhammad, the first speaker of the evening, highlighted the various aspects of the book and he described it as a worthy publication which could be expected to do well in the market despite the challenging ground realities. 

Being a doyen of publishing and bookselling in Pakistan, he didn’t mince words in sharing that putting together a book was an arduous task and only those having gone through this exercise knew it exactly how tough it was to produce a high quality book like Mayar-e-Zindagi. 

Khawaja Naveed Ahmed, an eminent lawyer, lived upto his reputation of entertaining the audience as he shared his observations about the book in his typically lighter vein. 

He appreciated the contents of the book and he was particularly pleased with the ability of the author to have written crisp and precise chapters, conveying big messages within matter of a few pages which was commendable as the majority of people, in his opinion, were not keen on reading voluminous publications. 

Nasreen Masood, an enthusiastic social worker, who has also penned the foreword to the book, confessed to have become a great fan of the writing of Asma Hassan. 

“She writers really well and I get touched by his style. She has chosen wonderful topics and she has done justice with them. It’s really great to find her maiden book having created waves and I feel equally proud to have contributed its foreword,” she observed. 

Jahangir Moghul, one of the most prominent social personalities of the country, was equally appreciative of the work of Asma Hassan and he expected its subsequent editions in future. 

“The subjects covered in the book are of immense interest to the readers in general. I will urge Asma Hassan to continue writing such brilliant articles and also consider the possibilities of bringing out new editions with fresh articles on a yearly basis,” he advised. 

Chief guest Shariq Vohra showered author Amra Hassan with praise for having made a sensational debut with Mayar-e-Zindagi, a book he had ordered for immediately after the book was put on sale. 

“Although I am not getting much time these days for fuelling my passion for reading, due to my preoccupations as the KCCI President, Mayar-e-Zindagi is one of the few books I have been able to read recently. Hats off to the team having produced and published such a wonderful book,” he complimented. 

The KPC President, Imtiaz Khan Faran, and the KPC Literary Committee Secretary, A H Khanzada, were also loud and clear in praising Mayar-e-Zindagi for its content and production. 

Author Asma Hassan’s five-minute speech, via video link, was listened with pin drop silence as she mesmerized the audience with her thoughts and selection of words. 

She narrated the story of her dream coming true with the publication and launching of Mayar-e-Zindagi in the most challenging of circumstances with COVID-19 having wreaked havoc. 

Emerging artist Beenish Khan was recognized and praised for her painting published on the title of Mayar-e-Zindagi with Khawaja Naveed Ahmed in particular commending her effort. In was in the fitness of things that he presented her the shield of appreciation on the occasion.

Shields were also presented to the dignitaries and the officials of KPC and RCKD besides the representatives of Jumbo Publishing, who played the pivotal role in publishing the book.

Frontline COVID-19 workers among specialists graduating from AKU

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
A total of 113 residents and fellows, many of whom have played a key role in treating COVID-19 patients during the pandemic, graduated at Aga Khan University’s 25th Postgraduate Medical Education, PGME, ceremony held recently. 

Certificates were awarded to 92 residents and 21 fellows in areas relevant to the treatment of COVID-19 such as anaesthesiology and intensive care, emergency medicine, pulmonary medicine, paediatric infectious diseases and adult infectious diseases.

“This year’s batch of residents and fellows have been on the frontline during a time of unprecedented need. They have honed their skills and advanced their knowledge in the middle of a crisis and now have the experience to treat a range of complex diseases and disorders,” Dr Rizwan Khan, associate dean of PGME at AKU, remarked.

Around the world and in Pakistan, scores of physicians-in-training such as interns, residents and fellows have lost their lives while caring for and treating sick COVID-19 patients. 

“Putting safety at the core of patient care, we learnt how new communicable diseases like COVID-19 are managed and what it is like to be at the forefront as a team,” Dr Waleed Bin Ghaffar, a graduating resident in anaesthesiology and intensive care, added. 

The graduates were also part of various research studies and clinical trials at the University to generate new knowledge to improve the management of COVID-19 as well as other diseases. The hybrid graduation ceremony saw all graduates attend in person, while observing physical distancing, as their relatives attended the event virtually. 

Ten Best Residents awards were given at the ceremony while the Excellence in Research award was also presented to a resident and fellow. Since its inception in 1985, AKU’s PGME programme has graduated 3,574 specialist doctors who have helped raise healthcare standards in Pakistan and abroad. 

Over 60 percent of AKU PGME graduates are working in Pakistan and more than a third of clinical faculty at AKU are graduates of its own PGME programme. All of AKU’s 34 residency programmes are recognised by the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Pakistan. The University also offers advanced training through 35 fellowship programmes to senior physicians.

BMP confident for victory in FPCCI elections as two candidates win unopposed

By Syed Sajid Aziz
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Mian Nasir Hayatt Maggo, the presidential candidate of the Businessmen Panel in the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), for the upcoming annual elections of 2021, has expressed his full confidence over group's victory as they have received overwhelming support from chambers and other trade bodies from all over the country. 

Prior to his statement, the group had already won two seats of vice presidents, Farzana Ali Ahmed from Women’s Chamber and Nasir Khan representing Balochistan Chamber. Both the candidates won the election unopposed. 

The rival panel United Business Group (UBG) was jolted earlier when its four stalwarts including its spokesman and veteran business leader Gulzar Firoz and its presidential candidate Khalid Tawab’s son Ibrahim Tawab were declared illegal and barred from elections. They cannot vote in the elections. 

The BMP is being led by Mian Anjum Nisar, who is also FPCCI President for 2020. The other contestant group is the United Businessmen Group (UBG) led by the veteran S M Muneer. The elections are scheduled to be held on on December 30. 

Nasir Hayat Maggo, highlighting BMP's performance in the year 2020, remarked that the FPCCI President, Mian Anjum Nisar, along with his team of officer bearers, and other leaders of his group had been playing their best possible role from the platform of this apex trade body of the country for the resolution of the issues facing trade and industry , and for getting maximum incentives and facilities for them to boost industrial growth and exports. 

Despite difficult situation emerging after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the industry sustained and the exports witnessed significant increase in 2020. This could be possible due to continued efforts and pursuance by BMP leadership that the government came up with the bailout financial packages for the industry and businesses to absorb the shocks of COVID-19. 

Besides these packages, he added, the BMP struggled to get the power tariff for the industry rationalized, the policy rate (interest) reduced by five percent. Huge financial package for the housing and construction sector was prominent among the government relief lobbied for by BMP leadership, he said. 

He narrated that the BMP leadership had also been very actively engaged with the federal and provincial governments in formulation of the policies on trade and industry including the annual budgets making. 

Nasir Hayatt Maggo is a well-experienced business leader rendering meritorious services for the promotion of trade and industries. 

He resolved that, after his election as president FPCCI, he would make the best and the most effective use of the institution for promoting trade and industry, and local and foreign investment. 

Strongly believing in team work and co-existence, he would ensure maximum participation of the business leaders representing different chambers and associations of the country besides FPCCI in the struggle for economic prosperity and development of the country, along with welfare of the business community.

Railways celebrate Christmas at Karachi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The Karachi Division of the Pakistan Railways celebrated Christmas with its Christian employees and marked the occasion with a cake cutting ceremony organized in the office of Divisional Superintendent. 

The arrangements for celebrations were made on the special directives of the Railways Minister, Azam Khan Swati. 

The DS Karachi, Arshad Salam Khattak, and Bishop Naveed Asif jointly cut the Christmas cake in the presence of Christian employees of the office including divisional officers to give a demonstration of inter-faith harmony. 

The DS Karachi felicitated the Christian community on the occasion of Christmas while the employees thanked him for arranging the ceremony and presented him with bouquet and cake.

Railways retrieve petrol pump's land in post-midnight operation

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
In a major land-retrieval operation, the Pakistan Railways got back the possession of a petrol pump's land in Karachi as the licensee had been declared defaulter for a long time. 

The operation was carried out, after midnight, by the Pakistan Railways police on the orders of the Divisional Superintendent, Karachi, Arshad Salam Khattak, near Drigh Road (Shahrah-e-Faisal), the city's main transport artery. 

The licensee had been a defaulter of millions of rupees and the Railways authorities had repeatedly communicated him for clearance of liabilities or else face department's action. The retrieved petrol pump land was believed to be worth millions of rupees owing to its prime location.

Upon possession of land, the Railways authorities have deputed its police and fenced the entry and exit points. 

The Railway's anti-encroachment and land retrieval operations have been intensified as this was the second major successful operation inside three days.

The initiatives of the Railways authorities to retrieve its lands from the defaulters have been hailed and it's being hoped that they will withstand all pressures from the illegal occupants to continue performing this gigantic task.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Karachi-Mirpurkhas Mehran Express resumed

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Pakistan Railways, in view of the public demand, has resumed the operations of the Karachi-Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas Mehran Express from City Railway station Karachi on December 20. 

Sabir Qaimkhani, a federal lawmaker from NA-226 Hyderabad-II, saw off the passengers of this much-desired public facility. 

During the annual DS Special inspection of Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas section two months ago on October 20, the local citizens had persuaded the Divisional Superintendent Karachi, Arshad Khattak at every station on Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas section requesting him for early resumption of train service as road transport fares had drastically soared in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The 149 Up/150 Dn Mehran Express will have a four-and-half hour total journey period for a distance of approximately 250 kilometers between Karachi City and Mirpurkhas, and vice versa, having eight enroute stoppages at Cantonment station, Drigh Road, Landhi, Jung Shahi, Kotri, Hyderabad, Tando Jam and Tando Allahyar. 

The train comprises nine economy class coaches and a brake van having a cumulative passenger carrying capacity of 734 people. 

The 149 Up departs at 3:55 pm from Karachi City station whereas 150 Down departs at 5 am in the morning from Mirpurkhas.

The resumption of Mehran Express should bring immediate relief to the area people at a time when other modes of transportation are not easily availing these days due to the pandemic related issues.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Rehabilitation of China Creek Bridge in full swing

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The rehabilitation work of China Creek Bridge, located near Karachi Port Trust (KPT) connecting City Station with the port directly, is in full swing these days. 

The direct and the easiest connectivity between the two places is a major facility towards achieving a smooth and sustained platform for freight operations of the Pakistan Railways.
The Divisional Superintendent Railways, Karachi, Arshad Salam Khattak visited the bridge on December 19 and conducted a briefing about the ongoing of repair and rehabilitation work. 

He pointed out that the Railways' freight service could be equated directly with the country's economy. 

"An efficient freight service is an indication of a nation's progressive Railways but its prosperity also" he remarked while interacting with the officers and staff present at site. 

He directed that the bridge be made serviceable at the earliest so that it could be used in full capacity in the freight operation.

Friday, December 4, 2020

‘How to be an Amazing Teacher’ unveils secrets of success

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Caroline Bentley-Davies, an inspector of schools, an adviser and a consultant, attained fame and recognition in the United Kingdom and beyond by having authored ‘How to be an Amazing Teacher’ which explains tips, techniques and tactics for teachers to stand out above the rest and transform into an amazing teacher. 

Paramount Books has done a great service for the people of Pakistan to have the book translated into the national language and its Urdu version ‘Behtereen Ustad Kaisay Banain’ will be reaching out teachers in every nook and corner of the country. 

For many of us during our school experience there was one amazing teacher or two who changed our outlook on life and helped us succeed and whose life lessons we will never forget. What was it that made them such an outstanding teacher and what is it that I can do as a new teacher to replicate this quality? 

Here is an opportunity for those engaged in the noble profession of teaching in Pakistan to learn from an expert, in their own language, to learn on how to improve teaching skills; how to get classroom's behavior to work to your benefit; how to motivate pupils who don't seem to want to learn, and much more. 

These are understood to be the challenges often encountered about by the newly qualified as well as the experienced teachers. Now they have access to the solutions and tips to improve their performance for the larger national interest. 

‘Behtereen Ustad Kaisay Banain’ unveils secrets of body language, presence and classroom charisma. Things like how to unlock the hidden talents of pupils and develop their motivation and engagement through a wealth of innovative teaching techniques. 

The tools amazing teachers have mastered to engage disaffected pupils and make the classroom a vibrant and engaging place are also discussed. Practical advice, real life scenarios and expert opinion have been very nicely blended in this book which has the potential to make any teaching career more rewarding and successful. 

“This book is practical, uplifting and immensely reassuring. It reminds us that while brilliant teachers are awe-inspiring to watch, their skills are essentially learned. This book provides a canny mix of advice and opportunities for reflection on the journey towards being an outstanding teacher,” one of the seasoned teachers complimented after reading the book.

“The information in this book jumps off the page from the very beginning, grabs you and never let go. Every chapter is a gem. Each has excitement, ideal, and tools, and what's more, the book 'covers the waterfront' of everything that is key without ever getting bogged down. Read it as soon as you can if you want to appreciate and improve your teaching for maximum benefit,” another veteran professor commented.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Specific inspection of Jungshahi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The Divisional Superintendent of the Pakistan Railways, Karachi, Arshad Islam Khattak, accompanied by other officers, carried out station-specific inspection of the Jungshahi yard. 

The inspection was primarily aimed at reviewing the working of railways' infrastructure in the yard and measuring the preparedness of the deputed staff. 

The DS-led team inspected office record, track condition, viability of traffic level crossing, stability of a bridge, functioning of electrical and mechanical equipment installed with the station limits and alertness of deputed staff for coping with any untoward incident. 

The area people also met Arshad Khattak and requested for stoppage of more trains at passenger trains at Jungshahi. On the occasion they presented the DS with traditional Ajrak and Sindhi topi to mark the Sindh Cultural Day. 

The Divisional Superintendent stated that such station-specific inspections throughout Karachi Division would be made a regular feature to ensure enhanced efficiency.

AKU to launch clinical trial of low-cost ventilators

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The Aga Khan University will launch a clinical trial of a portable, low-cost ventilator that aims to make lifesaving treatment such as assisted breathing available to patients before they reach the hospital. 

Ventilators are currently only available in hospitals even though most patients with critical breathing problems need earlier access to breathing assistance. 

The AKU’s briefcase-sized, battery-operated ventilator is designed to be used in an ambulance to reduce existing delays in receiving care.

“Every moment is vital when you’re struggling to breathe. Most people with severe respiratory issues see their health deteriorate on their way to the hospital and they typically need more breathing assistance than a simple oxygen cylinder can provide,” Saleem Sayani, Director of the AKU’s Technology Innovation Support Centre and Digital Health Resource Centre, remarked. 

Pakistan also has a high burden of respiratory diseases with pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, being two of the top ten leading causes of death, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. People with severe forms of pneumonia, COPD and COVID-19 are among those who require urgent access to ventilation. 

One third of all patients in low and middle income countries require care such as assisted ventilation before reaching the hospital, according to the World Health Organization. Besides those with breathing problems, individuals suffering from head injuries, drug overdoses and heart conditions can also benefit from ventilators in ambulances. 

“Too many precious lives are lost due to a lack of timely and effective ventilation. This innovation aims to bridge the gap in care during transport to the hospital, which is often the period of highest risk for critically ill patients,” Dr Junaid Razzak, Director of AKU’s Center of Excellence for Trauma and Emergencies, stated. 

Early tests show that the prototype ventilator can provide a regular supply of oxygen that can stabilize the health of a high-fidelity patient mannequin mimicking the symptoms of a patient with respiratory issues. 

Clinical trials aim to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the device among patients with chronic breathing problems in ambulances and emergency rooms. The prototype device also has a mobile app that allows doctors at the hospital to manage the ventilator’s settings while the patient is in the ambulance to ensure that s/he reaches the hospital in a stable condition. 

Hospital staff can also access real-time data about the patient’s health through the app enabling them to take appropriate actions before his or her arrival at the emergency room. All the data available on the app in the ambulance is visible to specialists in the hospital. This will enable more efficient triage, diagnosis and treatment for critically ill patients. 

The ventilator’s app also contains an artificial intelligence component that evaluates the patient’s data, assesses the risk to a health and provides suggestions on the next steps to be taken by the ambulance paramedic. 

“The use of low-cost mobile ventilators in ambulances coupled with remote monitoring from the hospital through mobile technologies has the potential to significantly improve patient outcomes and increase chances of survival, particularly in low-resource countries like Pakistan,” Dr Asad Latif, chair of the department of anaesthesiology at AKU’s Medical College, added. 

The objectives of the clinical trial are in line with global efforts under the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 to reduce premature mortality from communicable diseases such as pneumonia and non-communicable diseases such as asthma and COPD. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Happy Birthday Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari!

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari, one of the pioneers in the field of Library & Information Science in Pakistan, is celebrating his 85th birthday on December 2. 

The Founder President of the Library Promotion Bureau (LPB), established in 1966, and the founding Chief Editor of Pakistan Library & Information Science Journal (PLISJ), published quarterly since 1968, Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari has been acclaimed as one of the icons of the profession. 

He also happened to be an ex-chairperson of Department of Library Information Science at the University of Karachi. 

Unlike the last many years when you used to visit his home country Pakistan during winters and his birthday was celebrated with fanfare by his well-wishers in Karachi, he is currently spending quality time with his family in the United States. 

His last public appearance in Pakistan, before departing to the US on November 1, was his participation at the Felicitation Ceremony of Asma Hassan’s Mayar-e-Zindagi, hosted by the LPB on October 28. 

The management of Jumbo Publishing, Jumbo Infomedia and Pakistan News & Features Services has extended greetings to the legendary scholar on his birthday, wishing him long life with immaculate health.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Ayub Khan’s era revisited by foreign expert on Pakistan

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
For the benefit of the masses in Pakistan, Paramount Books has recently published Urdu translation of the acclaimed book The Ayub Khan Era: Politics in Pakistan, 1958-69, authored by Lawrence Ziring, a Western Michigan University political scientist who was regarded as a leading expert on Pakistan. 

The Urdu book, having been titled ‘Ayub Ka Zamana; Na Qafas Na Ashyana,’ is the study of a decade that completed a cycle, from late 1958 when the army under General Mohammad Ayub Khan took control of Pakistan amidst turmoil and apprehension to early 1969 when Ayub, then a Field Marshal, was finally succumbed to the pressure and passed his authority to General Yahya Khan. 

The book can also be described as an examination of the character of Ayub Khan's rule, of his dreams of a new Pakistan, and of the reasons for his failure to execute the plans. 

It also throws light on the reasons that range from his own errors and inconsistencies in policy and performance to the weight of Pakistan's historic legacies that resisted change. 

The book is divided into two parts. The first part provides a political survey of the events, personalities, and relationships of the Ayub Khan era while the second part links the political events with the various aspects of the traditional political environment in Pakistan like the bureaucratic legacy, the rural power structure, the urban intelligentsia, that actually shape politics and that thus far have been largely unaltered by periodic changes in Pakistan's political elites. 

The author, almost half a century ago, had asserted that Pakistan could not afford another failure in its government. 

Ziring had suggested that the incumbent leaders must not repeat Ayub Khan's errors and they must initiate radical innovations or give way to those who will. 

Born in New York on December 11, 1928, Ziring has been acclaimed as one of the world's leading authorities on South Asia geopolitics, US foreign policy for the region and NATO. 

He had retired from the Western Michigan University in 2004 as professor emeritus of political science and the Arnold E. Schneider professor emeritus of international relations after having served the institution for more than 37 years. 

He was the author or co-author of dozens of books and articles on geopolitical issues, including the 2004 work ‘Pakistan: At the Crosscurrent of History’ which was hailed internationally as a concise, perceptive and lucid history of the young nation. Even after retiring from the university, he had continued his work exploring Pakistan's role in the modern world. 

Having entered college on the GI Bill after serving during the Korean War, he was the first American student to enter the Pakistan Programme at Columbia University and he visited Pakistan regularly starting in 1957. 

He was a founding member and the former president of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and for years, he prepared regular updates and end-of-year reviews on Pakistan for the Encyclopaedia Britannica. He died on July 17, 2015.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Seminar highlights shortage of diabetes specialists in Pakistan

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Pakistan has too few diabetes specialists to treat the nearly 19.4 million people suffering from the disease according to the experts who spoke at a seminar at the Aga Khan University (AKU) held to announce the launch of a six-month certificate course in diabetes that seeks to expand access to the knowledge and skills needed to treat and manage the disease. The course, set to begin from January 2021, will offer the most updated and evidence-based knowledge to manage patients.

The country has only one specialist, also known as an endocrinologist, for every 200,000 diabetes patients, according to Pakistan Endocrine Society. Similar shortfalls in training and awareness of diabetes are present at all levels of our healthcare system, speakers added. 

The current deficits in managing the illness, which has no symptoms, mean that many patients often seek care when they are suffering from advanced complications from the disease. 

The new course is part of collaboration between the University, the British Medical Journal and Royal College of Physicians, London, to help doctors across Pakistan improve their theoretical and practical knowledge of the disease. 

It will include modules covering managing diabetes, its complications, lifestyle and obesity management, inpatient diabetes control and how to handle comorbidities in diabetes. The course is open to all registered healthcare professionals who hold an MBBS degree. 

Diabetes not only reduces the quality of life of patients but also puts them at risk of a range of complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney problems, nerve damage, serious eye problems and even disability. 

A total of 60 percent of non-traumatic lower limb amputations in Pakistan occurred in patients with diabetes. 

“To reduce the burden of complications of diabetes, physicians have to be well-equipped with the knowledge to confidently diagnose the disease and refer for tertiary care in the case of a complication or inability to achieve good control of diabetes,” Professor Najmul Islam, chair, section of endocrinology, department of medicine at AKU, and course director of the diabetes certificate course, remarked. 

The experts at the seminar shared that Pakistan’s healthcare professionals often lack the expertise to manage the disease adding that short courses can bridge the gap and equip clinicians to manage the high burden of diabetes in the country. 

The model of improving knowledge through educational courses for controlling and treating diabetes has proven to be effective worldwide. The studies in United Kingdom have shown that diabetes education in healthcare professionals can help in reducing the amputation rate, a condition that can develop in both type 1 and type 2 patients.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Pak movie widely praised in China

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Pakistani movie ‘Parwaaz Hai Junoon’ has been premiered successfully in China, having earned praise from the Chinese movie lovers.

It’s for first time in the 45 years when a Pakistani film has been screened on Chinese cinema houses. 

The film had attracted a lot of attention in China even before its premiere as leading institutions like Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Beijing University of Technology, Nanjing Agricultural University and Southwest University participated in its promotion. 

According to reports, as many as 57 universities launched online campaigns to advertise the film. In addition, a large number of celebrities spontaneously promoted the film as the Chinese netizens expressed their delight at having watched the movie. 

A delegation of Chinese journalists visited the Capital Cinema, SDDYY, the largest cinema in China with a history of 70 years. 

The head of marketing for SDDYY introduced that Parwaaz Hai Junoon was a military film which succeeded in having aroused a heated discussion among Chinese viewers. 

“Compared to commercial films, this movie may not have as many gimmicks. However, it has profound significance and holds a very important place in the hearts of Chinese audience. In order to support the film industry of Pakistan and pay tribute to Pakistan-China friendship, we increased the layout rate of Parwaaz Hai Junoon,” he added.

“I had been looking forward to this film and it didn't disappoint me. It proves the capabilities of the Pakistani film industry and gives the Chinese viewers a wide exposure to the Pakistani culture. The introduction of this film before the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan is of great significance to the friendship between the two countries,” an a film lover remarked after watching Parwaaz Hai Junoon. 

Francaise Film, a famous film critic, evaluated that the quality and industrialization of the film was amazing, the portrayal of the characters was vivid and easier to resonate with the audience.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Pakistan committed for CPEC projects’ timely completion

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Prime Minister Imran Khan has declared that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a transformational project and reiterated Pakistan’s strong commitment for timely completion of the CPEC projects. 

The Prime Minister expressed these views when he met the newly appointed Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Rong, at Islamabad on November 11.

“The Prime Minister congratulated the Ambassador on his appointment and extended best wishes for a fruitful term,” the statement issued by PM Office noted. 

The premier also accentuated the significance of special economic zones (SEZs), relocation of industry, and improved productivity in agriculture sector. 

The Chinese envoy on the occasion expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Imran Khan and reassured China’s support in completion of CPEC projects and enhancement in industrialization and agricultural sector in Pakistan.

Monday, November 9, 2020

China to import Pakistani cherries next year

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The first consignment of Pakistani cherries is expected to arrive in China next year, Li Wei, business representative of Huazhilong International Trading Private Ltd. Pakistan, disclosed. 

The Pakistani cherries are really good, nice sweetness and quality, Wei said in an interview with the China Economic Net television (CEN) in Beijing. 

He was speaking at the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) being held in Shanghai. 

In the past the Pakistani cherries could not be imported due to lack of cold chain management, market information system, packaging and processing facilities. 

In this regard, Li Wei added that China can provide technical assistance to manage orchards, while Pakistan can provide work force so that both sides can achieve win-win cooperation. China, he disclosed, was willing to help Pakistan develop cold chain technology. 

Li Wei reckoned that there was big business opportunity for the export of agricultural products from Pakistan to China.

Partnership among physicians, nurses crucial to introduce Advanced Practice Nursing

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Introducing advanced practice nursing, particularly in countries with fragile healthcare systems, will be crucial to meeting the ever-increasing needs of patients and improving health outcomes said experts at a two-day virtual conference organized by the Aga Khan University Schools of Nursing and Midwifery in Pakistan and East Africa. 

The current COVID-19 pandemic has placed nurses in the spotlight and revealed the need for nursing expertise and experience as never before. In 2020, the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, governments and healthcare institutions are being called on to support, empower and advance the nursing profession. 

Advanced practice nursing, APN, is one of the most efficient ways of delivering high-quality, affordable and patient-focused care, accessible especially to those vulnerable groups and populations living in the remotest communities where other healthcare professionals may not reach. 

However, developing policies and strategies to support the transition process in order to integrate the APN model into the fabric of healthcare systems in Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda might be challenging and it will require collaborative efforts. 

Dr Rozina Karmaliani and Dr Eunice Ndirangu, Deans of the Schools in Pakistan and East Africa respectively, talked about the support required from the nursing regulatory bodies and government legislatures to build, develop and sustain the role of APNs.

“The government is working on important regulatory reforms for nursing. An important initiative that we will be taking is to improve the quality of nursing education at the graduate level that will consequently lead to better trained nurses from whom APNs will be developed in the future,” Dr Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, remarked. 

He also highlighted the importance of a multidisciplinary partnership and collaboration amongst healthcare professionals, especially between physicians and nurses, to take this model forward. 

Afshan Nazly, President of the Pakistan Nursing Council, also present at the session, reinforced the need for cooperation and noted that embracing the APN model will be far easier if nurses and physicians work as allies, and if concentrated efforts are made to enhance the capacity and competency of nurses.

“The current Pakistan Nursing Council Act needs amendment and it should include the advanced practice nurses to make this model viable in the country,” she added. 

Global nursing leaders and APN experts from the United States, Canada and Kenya shared their experiences of pioneering this role in their respective regions and in the developing world, and the associated challenges and measures to mitigate issues. 

Chief Guest, Dr Afaf Meleis, Professor of Nursing and Sociology and Dean Emerita, University of Pennsylvania drew on her considerable years of nursing.

“From my own experience in leading APN programmes and witnessing APNs in action in different parts of the world, I want to offer you three principles vital in planning and effective utilization of APNs in healthcare: Integration of a collaborative healthcare model, of evidence-based training for APNs, of clarity of role and competencies for smooth functioning; the potential of Innovation and problem-solving skills in advanced nursing practice and Influence and impact that APNs can create in health outcomes.” Dr Maria W. O’Rourke, Clinical Professor of Nursing at the University of California San Francisco, the keynote speaker identified and shared an APN implementation framework from a more universal perspective.

“Health and illness are a complex, multifaceted experiences and to meet those needs, we need people with specialised knowledge, skills and especially, the ones who are accessible in both rural and urban settings,” Dr O’Rourke elaborated.

The University Hospital’s leadership, including Dean Medical College Dr Adil Haider and Interim CEO, AKUH, Shagufta Hassan supported this initiative and shared willingness to facilitate the integration of APNs at the AKUH. 

Dr Elissa Ladd from the International Council of Nursing’s Advanced Practice Nursing Network pointed out that hundreds of millions of people around the world are able to access quality, safe and affordable healthcare services as nurses make the largest group of healthcare providers, particularly in the primary care setting. 

“In this context, it is not surprising that an investment made on the nursing workforce can yield significant improvement in patient care outcomes,” she added. 

The event also commemorated SONAM’s 40 years in Pakistan and 20 years in East Africa. Six APN competency-building workshops were offered online and attended by nurses and midwives from Afghanistan, Canada, Kenya, Pakistan, Tanzania, UAE, Uganda, USA and the UK.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Work on KCR on track: Minister

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The Federal Minister for Railways, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, has declared that the much publicized commercial project of Tijori Heights, located in Karachi’s bustling area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal, had been built on Railways' land and people must refrain from any investment in it or cooperating with the builders. 

He made the announcement during a press conference at his camp office in Karachi adding that the unauthorized construction on the project had been put to halt by the railways' authorities.

"As many as 14 kilometers of the 30 kilometers of the KCR loop line, from City to Orangi stations, have been made clear and serviceable whereas further can be proceeded only after construction of flyovers/underpasses by the Sindh government,” the Railways' minister disclosed while highlighting the desperate need of civil works by the provincial government in the green line area in Nazimabad. 

The minister stated that 15 out of 40 coaches for the KCR revival project had been fully rehabilitated and the remaining 25 would be made functional in due course of time. He also indicated the floating of CPEC-based ML-1 project any time soon. 

While commenting about privatization of freight and passenger trains the minister stated that the private sector had given marvellous output during the last few weeks that might lead to complete privatization of freight operation in the near future. 

He concluded by expressing his desire for a smooth Karachi to Jalalabad freight corridor that would revolutionize the entire freight business of the country.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Nong Rong assumes ambassadorial duties

By Masood Sattar Khan 
  (Pakistan News & Features Services)
The new Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Rong, has assumed his responsibilities and met with senior government officials in Islamabad on November 2. 

During a meeting with the Foreign Secretary, Sohail Mahmood, Ambassador Nong Rong reaffirmed the strong commitment of his country to Pakistan-China all-weather strategic cooperative partnership. 

The Foreign Secretary hoped that projects under the China Pakistan economic Corridor (CPEC) would be completed on fast-track. 

Ambassador Nong Rong also presented a copy of his credentials to Zahoor Hassan, Director General of the Protocol Department at Foreign Ministry. 

"It is a great honour to be the ambassador at a critical moment in future development of China-Pakistan relations,” the ambassador remarked.

Turkey adheres to one-China principle

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
China has denied it that pressured the Turkish government to remove Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's tweet that showed Taiwan's banner among those who gave a helping hand to earthquake-struck Turkey. 

Erdogan had posted a series of tweets, which included the flags of aid-givers to Turkey. The country was hit by a magnitude-7 earthquake last week. 

"Many thanks from the Republic of Turkey to all friendly nations and international organizations for their good wishes and statements of support, following the earthquake in Izmir," the Turkish President was quoted as saying. 

Taiwan's flag was found on the initial version of Erdogan's tweet, which was first found to have been deleted on Sunday. In a new version of the tweet, there was no Taiwan banner. 

“It is a fact recognized by the international community that Taiwan is not a country,” Wang Jianmin, a Taiwan affairs expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, stated. 

Turkey has diplomatic ties with China, so deleting the tweet with the Taiwan flag showed its adherence to the one-China principle

Sunday, November 1, 2020

LPB founder leaves for USA finally

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The Founder President of the Library Promotion Bureau (LPB), Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari, has left for the United States of America (USA) after an extended stay of nearly a year in Pakistan on November 1. 

According to details, the LPB founder, who had originally arrived for five-month visit of his home country last November, could not return at the designated time which was in the last week of March this year as flights to USA had been suspended due to the outbreak of the pandemic. 

Although life generally had come to standstill in most parts of the world, including Pakistan, with lockdowns and social distancing becoming norms due to coronavirus (COVID-19) since the mid of March, it went to the credit of Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari to have worked passionately from home all along. 

As lockdown restrictions were relaxed after a few months, he resumed visiting the record office of LPB, a pioneering non-governmental organization in the field of education and research. He ensured the timely publication of the Pakistan Library & Information Science Journal (PLISJ) although the delivery of the quarterly magazine to its members and subscribers was affected for some time due to postal issues. 

He continued coming to the LPB office, housed in the complex of Liaquat Memorial Library, Karachi, regularly and he last spoke during the felicitation ceremony for Jumbo Publishing’s new book ‘Mayar-e-Zindagi’ on October 28. 

As in the past, Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, Chief Editor, Adab Wa Kutub Khana, will now be spearheading the bureau’s activities from Pakistan in the absence of its founder and leader. 

The first lady chairperson of the Library and Information Science department at the University of Karachi, Prof Dr Nasim Fatima has been chiefly responsible for setting up and operating what has become a tastefully decorated record office of the LPB.

China confident to lift impoverished rural population by 2020 end

By Masood Sattar Khan 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
China is confident to lift impoverished rural population out of poverty by the end of this year thus achieving the UN's Sustain Development Goal on poverty eradication ten years ahead of schedule. 

The spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Wenbin, has informed a media briefing in Beijing that China was committed to contributing to the global cause of poverty reduction and helping developing countries achieve poverty eradication. 

The spokesperson also urged the international community to strengthen solidarity and cooperation to ensure no country is left behind in the global poverty alleviation cause. 

In the last six years over 2.92 million registered impoverished people lifted off poverty in NW Xinjiang.

Friday, October 30, 2020

SHRC orders to reinstate employees

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The Sindh Human Rights Commission (SHRC), headed by Justice (Rtd) Majida Razvi, has ordered M/s Al-Ghazi Tractors Ltd to reinstate its two employees to their original cadres as their resignations were obtained illegally under duress and in violation of laws. 

The HR Commission issued the order on petitions filed by Muhammed Jahan Zaib and Ms Iffat Khan charging the company of obtaining their resignations under duress and later terminating their services during COVID-19 pandemic. 

The respondents, the Commission’s written order said, had clearly violated the law of Sindh COVID-19 Relief Ordinance 2020 and Sindh Terms of Employment (Standing Order) Act 2015 in the due course which also leads to violation of fundamental rights of the petitioners as they were not given the opportunity to be heard. 

The SHRC ordered that the two petitioners be also compensated financially for the time they stayed away from their jobs due to unlawful act of the respondent. The order further said that strict disciplinary action may be taken against the officers responsible for duress and harassment against the employees of AGTL. 

The Commission observed that the allegations leveled in the present cases clearly indicate the intention of the respondent as both the petitioners were shown two letters, one resignation and other termination and they had no choice but to choose one. 

It noted that knowing the general psyche of the employees that resignation was generally preferred over termination the respondent played with it and succeeded in obtaining the expected result. 

“Therefore it can be said that the resignations were obtained under force and as such are illegal and null and void,” it was ruled.

China’s new ambassador to present credentials next week

By Masood Sattar Khan 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The newly designated Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Rong, is scheduled to meet President Dr Arif Alvi next week to present his credentials and deliver an important message from President Xi Jinping. 

The first non-career diplomat for Pakistan for 40 years, Nong Rong assumed his assignment in Islamabad last week and had important meetings with senior top officers, including that of the Foreign Office. 

He has brought a special message of goodwill of Chinese President Xi Jinping for the government and people of Pakistan that he would deliver to the President Dr Arif Alvi. 

Ambassador Nong Rong has been dealing in foreign trade and economic affairs for the past three decades besides in various capacities. He, however, was never associated with the Chinese Foreign Office but he’s known to be having tremendous skill of negotiating and comprehending trade and economic matters. 

Nong Rong, 53, belongs to the remote southern Chinese autonomous region of Guangxi Zhuang which is located near Vietnam’s border. 

The diplomatic sources said that Nong Rong would provide much needed impetus to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship gigantic Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), connecting China with the whole world through new highways and routes. He is regarded among close aides of current Chinese leadership.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Author Asma Hasan showered with praise in Mayar-e-Zindagi’s felicitation ceremony

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Library Promotion Bureau (LPB), one of the pioneering non-governmental organizations of the country engaged in the field of education and research, befittingly hosted felicitation ceremony for Jumbo Publishing’s new book ‘Mayar-e-Zindagi’ at its record office, housed in Liaquat Memorial Library, Karachi, on October 28. 

Having been branded as ‘Dream Book by Dream Team’ the LPB event brought to light the various aspects of the book, authored by the Lahore-based Asma Hassan, as three eminent scholars generously praised the publication for its unique content and excellent production. 

Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari, Founder President, LPB, and a former chairperson of the Library and Information Science department at the University of Karachi, described ‘Mayar-e-Zindagi’ as a multi-faceted book which covered the different aspects of life and it possessed all the ingredients to the keep the readers engrossed. 

“It’s really fascinating to go through the various chapters which are precise and to the point. It’s a kind of a family book which could be read by all members regardless of their age. I will strongly recommend this publication to everyone who is fond of books because there’s a lot to learn from it besides obtaining pleasure of reading,” the living legend of library science complimented. 

Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, Chief Editor, Adab Wa Kutub Khana, and also the first lady chairperson of the Library and Information Science department at the University of Karachi, reckoned that Asma Hassan has done a service to the nation by bringing out such a wonderful book in the national language on the subject of sociology. 

“Asma Hassan represents the younger generation of writers and it’s very heartening to note that she has chosen to share her thoughts in Urdu which will allow the book to be read by the masses of the country. It’s also very encouraging to discover that she has penned her thoughts in very candid manner,” Prof Dr Nasim Fatima noted. 

Dr Amna Khatoon, Lecturer, Allama Iqbal Open University, and Editor, Pakistan Library & Information Science Journal (PLISJ), was equally impressed with high quality of production of book which will facilitate the readers in their quest for knowledge.

“While Asma Hassan’s articles illustrate wisdom and motivation, another major factor in making the book handy and useful is its neat printing which will not irritate the bookworms. Another plus point is the selection of optimum font size which makes the book reader friendly,” she noted. 

Having contributed foreword to the book, renowned social worker, Nasreen Masood, who was also the guest of honour in the ceremony, showered Asma Hassan with praise for starting her career as an author with a bang. 

“It’s not often that authors are able to earn this kind of reception and recognition in their first book but Asma Hassan has really done a marvelous work and she thoroughly deserves all this attention,” Nasreen Masood complimented. 

Addressing the ceremony via video link from Lahore, author Asma Hassan expressed her gratitude to the worthy speakers for lauding her book and boosting her spirits. 
“Although I have been passionate about writing since childhood, the publication of my first book ‘Mayar-e-Zindagi’ was certainly the fulfillment my most cherished dream in life yet. But I had never dreamed to be praised by such learned scholars. I am simply overwhelmed by the appreciation and I don’t have adequate words to reciprocate,” she observed. 

“Inspired by the success of my first book, I will continue improving my writing skills and I will try my best to author many more books in future aimed at serving the people,” Asma Hassan added. 

In his closing remarks, Syed Khalid Mahmood, on behalf of Jumbo Publishing, congratulated Asma Hassan for writing such wonderful and inspirational articles during the ongoing pandemic which were put together in book form and titled ‘Mayar-e-Zindagi’ which is now being promoted as Dream Book by Dream Team. 

He also thanked Library Promotion Bureau for having organized the ceremony which was a testimonial to the book of being high in quality and value. 

Published just a month ago, ‘Mayar-e-Zindagi’ has been widely hailed for its catchy name, the lively painting from emerging artist Beenish Khalid on the cover page, and the absorbing content between covers. The superbly printed hardbound book is being sold at a retail price of Rs 495 in Pakistan.