Sunday, October 24, 2021

Aziz Memon, doctors commend Rotary Darakhshan for polio efforts

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Chairperson of National PolioPlus Committee, Aziz Memon, and a few eminent doctors have recognized the consistent efforts of Rotary Club of Karachi Darakhshan (RCKD) in spreading awareness about the deadly disease of polio and joining hands in his elimination process. 

RCKD marked the World Polio Day 2021 by organizing a seminar on the subject of polio on October 23 in which the health professionals and senior Rotarians threw light on its various aspects. The session was hosted by the Club’s Polio Chair, Dr Zafar Abbasi. 

Aziz Memon, a former District Governor and now a Trustee of Rotary International, praised RCKD for their resilience in matters relating to polio ever since its charter in 2004, making special mention of the the Club’s Charter President, Jahangir Moghul, also a Past District Governor. 

He noted with satisfaction the fact that no polio case has been reported in Pakistan or Afghanistan, the only two countries of the world where the disease still existed, for the past nine months and no samples were even tested positive during this period. 

“As you all know, the elimination of polio from this part of the world presented huge challenges. Thankfully, with the support of all our stakeholders and fellow Rotarians, we have been able to deliver and now we are so close to accomplishing our cherished goal of eliminating polio from this world for good,” Aziz Memon stated.

Dr Aftab Ahmed, Focal Person for Mass Vaccination at Khaliqdina Hall, highlighted the massive role of Rotary over the years in efforts aimed at polio eradication. Dr Roohi Ilyas, Chairperson, Payam-e-Sehat Foundation, also appreciated Rotary’s commitment and dedication in getting rid of this deadly disease which posed threats to millions of kids. 

Dr Zafar Abbasi, RCKD’s Polio Chair, informed that greater efforts will still be needed during the ‘safe’ period of two years to achieve the ultimate goal of making the region polio free. In his welcome speech, the RCKD President, Syed Khalid Mahmood, recognized the distinguished speakers while the vote of thanks was proposed by Past President, Asim Murtaza Khan. The meeting was invoked by the Club’s Secretary, Awais Moghul.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Pakistan, UK researchers make blood cancer treatment discovery

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
 (Pakistan News & Features Services)

Almost one third people living with an untreatable form of blood cancer can now look forward to the development of new therapies for their disease after researchers discovered a mechanism that makes existing treatments ineffective and how this can be overcome. 

Leukemia is one of the three major types of blood cancer. While most cases of leukemia, including a subtype of the disease, Philadelphia-positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Ph+ALL, are treatable, almost one-third of Ph+ALL patients have become impossible to treat due to developing resistance to current treatments. Until now, the mechanism for this type of resistance has remained unknown. 

A recent study in the Neoplasia journal by faculty at Aga Khan University’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) and Cardiff University has pinpointed a series of cascading chemical reactions or a signaling pathway that, when targeted, can kill, or suppress the growth of resistant leukemic cancerous cells. 

Cells in our body communicate using chemical signals. These chemical signals, which are proteins or other molecules, are meant to facilitate different functions of cells. These signals usually stop after serving their purpose. If they don’t stop, as it happens in some cases, they can cause serious health problems such as cancer. 

“Our study detected a signaling pathway which is switched on and doesn’t switch off in treatment-resistant Philadelphia-positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Ph+ALL,” Dr Afsar Mian, an assistant professor at CRM, remarked adding that blocking this pathway would prevent a protein from activating another protein thereby preventing the development of resistance in cancer cells and ultimately their growth and spread. 

Over the course of his career, he has investigated a number of signaling pathways and his past work and experience led him to partner with a leading researcher in the field, Professor Oliver Ottmann of Cardiff University, United Kingdom, to investigate the AKT/mTOR pathway. In this study, researchers used cell lines from a child and an adult with Ph+ALL. Drug resistance was induced in the child’s sample while the adult’s sample was already resistant to treatment. 

In both cases, they found the AKT/mTOR pathway to be responsible for promoting drug resistance and noticed how a specific chemical compound acted as a ‘brake’ on the functioning of the pathway, halting the growth of cancerous cells.

“The first step to discovering a new cancer drug is to know the mechanisms underlying the development, progression and resistance of a specific cancer. We now hope that our research will help us develop more effective and novel targeted treatments,” Dr Afsar Mian stated.

Stem cell researchers at the CRM are already in the process of developing new therapies for Ph+ALL. The contributors to the study included Professor El-Nasir Lalani, founding director of CRM and the Khatija and Mohan Manji Dhrolia Endowed Chair in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, and Usva Zafar and Syed Muhammad Areeb Ahmed, research associates at CRM.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

NLA applauds library professors

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The National Library Association (NLA) paid glowing tributes to the Chairperson of the Library & Information Science department, University of Karachi, Prof Dr Farhat Hussain Khan, and his immediate predecessor, Prof Dr Munira Nasreen, who retired from service just a few months ago. 

Speaking on behalf of the NLA, its Advisor, Syed Khalid Mahmood, in his speech, highlighted the role of library teachers, particularly professors, in producing an able lot of professional librarians, serving various organizations in both public as well as private sectors. 

The NLA Advisor congratulated Prof Dr Munira Nasreen on completing her tenure successfully at the University of Karachi, while he expected Prof Dr Farhat Hussain to earn more laurels for the department with his proactive approach. 

Prof Dr Farhat Hussain, who presided over the ceremony, graciously acknowledged the role of library activists who were supporting the cause of librarianship beyond the call of duty.

“The library professionals carry out their duties by contributing in these kinds of activities but hats off to those few individuals who spare their invaluable time and resources in working for the cause who are not from this profession,” he complimented. 

Prof Dr Munira Nasreen, in her brief speech on the occasion, expressed her delight at the appointment of library teachers at key administrative position in colleges and universities. 

Farheen Educational Society’s department of Library Culture Promotion and Government Degree Girls College, 11-I, North Karachi, jointly organized the ceremony at the college library which was attended by a large number of working librarians. 

The founder of Farheen Educational Society, Ibne Hasan Azeemi, and the College Principal, Farheen Mahmood, also shared their thoughts while NLA Secretary General, Anwar Hussain, and its Treasurer, Nasir Mustafa, were prominent among those present on the occasion. The session was moderated by Sadaf Tabassum, Associate Professor at Urdu department of University of Karachi.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Textbook publishers protest in Islamabad

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Textbook publishers staged a peaceful demonstration in front of the office of the National Curriculum Council (NCC) in Islamabad to press for the protection of their rights. 

“Our biggest demand and question is as to why our rulers and bureaucrats could not get out from the slavery of their British masters? Undoubtedly the most logical reason behind it is that the education system of our country remains in the hands of the British and their slaves,” Fawaz Niaz, President, Textbook Publishers Association (TPA), reckoned. 

“The incorporation of Single National Curriculum (SNC) is a positive step undertaken by the present government. The publishers accepted it in good faith and developed new books in accordance with the guidelines of SNC. But when it came to the UK publishers they refused to accept it and their cronies in the federal government allowed them full freedom,” the TPA President alleged.

“We, the textbook publishers, will not allow injustices with the nation and we will not let them take U-turn. Our objective is to have uniform education system in Pakistan. We will not let the innocent people of the country getting victimized. We will expose the conspiracies being hatched by individuals with vested interests,” Fawaz Niaz asserted. 

He claimed that more than 500 textbook publishers from all over the country took part in the protest opposite the NCC office in Islamabad on October 13.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Shama Munshi’s book launched

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The launching ceremony of book titled Concept of Terrorism in Post Cold War Era, authored by Shama Munshi, was organized by the Professional Youth Foundation of Pakistan (PYFP) at a five-star hotel of Karachi recently. 

Eminent speakers from different walks of life, which included the popular figure of Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, praised the research and content in the book and considered it relevant to the present period. 

Quite a few defence analysts, political and international relations experts, besides former ambassadors, ex-servicemen, senior journalists and business leaders, were in attendance during the impressive ceremony. They complimented author Shama Munshi for writing on such a critical subject. 

The author also proudly displayed the acknowledgement for the book she had received from Chief of the Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa. 

While presenting vote of thanks, Shama Munshi expressed her gratitude to all the distinguished speakers for having shared their thoughts on the book with the audience. The dignitaries were gifted copies of the book by the author in the closing stages of the ceremony.

Significant changes to accountability law

By Tanzeel Rauf Farooqui
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The performance of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has affected all branches of the state; the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The affairs of the legislature, lawmaking, has been subject to a constant disruption due to the lack of trust in the NAB and demands of adopting amendments to curtail it before any other course of legislative business, the executive has been unable to function as the bureaucracy fears that the wide and its arbitrary powers will engulf them based on the duties that are discharged without any malice, and the judiciary has also been affected as numerous litigation has been instituted against I which includes decisions being passed by the superior judiciary questioning the modus operandi of the NAB. 

Therefore, it is not a surprise that reaching a consensus on what is to be done regarding the same seems to be utterly difficult, if not impossible, between the treasury and opposition benches. Adding fuel to fire, the performance of the NAB has caused a lack of trust for all. The government complains that the bureaucracy does not function, whereas the bureaucracy points towards the wide and arbitrary powers that have been bestowed to it which have been allegedly ‘misused’ at the expense of the public officeholders. The opposition alleges that they have been subject to brutal punishment under the garb of accountability by the government ‘backed’ NAB whose performance has been criticized by the judiciary in infamous cases. 

In an attempt to restore the confidence of all, the government has taken another initiative to amend the existing law, with the introduction of the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021. However, the response tendered by the opposition for the same, and the mode of lawmaking adopted by the government depicts that this attempt may, once more, not achieve the purpose, if that was the case. 

 A bare perusal of the Amending Ordinance reveals the intention through which the government has introduced the same. Amending Section 4 of the original law, the government has decided to exclude certain matters, which include the affairs of the federal and provincial cabinets and the sub-committees, Council of Common Interests, National Economic Council and its Executive Committee, National Finance Commission, Development Working Parties at the Federal, Provincial and Departmental levels and the State Bank of Pakistan. 

Further, jurisdiction of the NAB over transactions, persons or entities that are not directly or indirectly connected to a holder of the public office have also been attempted to be curtailed. The same had been a concern of many businessmen and women and was inevitably steering the economy to a crisis due to lack of investments. Moreover, the same Section 4 has also excluded procedural lapses, where there is no connection between the said lapse and any monetary or material benefit or gain being accrued that the recipient was not entitled to receive. This aspect of the amendment was aimed at the bureaucracy as the functions of the government on every level had been virtually withheld due to the fear of initiation of criminal proceedings by the NAB over discharging of duties. 

What is to be noted that now, for any action taken by the NAB regarding procedural lapses by bureaucrats, establishing that monetary or material benefit has been gained by the bureaucrat, directly or indirectly, in lieu of the alleged ill-act will need to be presented by the NAB, a mammoth of a standard to attain, if applied in letter and spirit. The same standard has also been introduced for advice, opinion or report which had been given in course of duty by a bureaucrat. 

Furthermore, the amendment has also directed that all the pending inquiries, investigations, trials or proceedings, instituted under the original ordinance that fall under the relevant clauses of the amended Section 4 shall be transferred to the concerned authorities, departments and courts under the respective laws, a measure which is long overdue as authorities such as the Anti-Corruption Establishment, the Federal Board of Revenue and the Federal Investigation Agency have been present before the creation of the NAB. The changes introduced by the government by amendments to Section 4 of the original accountability law, if applied and construed strictly to the amended ordinance, will be widely welcomed by businessmen and women and the bureaucracy alike, as pending cases will have to meet the newly introduced standard and any new action taken by the NAB will also be subject to the same standard, a standard which cannot easily be discharged in a criminal matter before a court of law. 

The implementation of this part of the amendment is key to the revival of the economy, efficient functioning of the government and clearing of mistrust due to the unfettered powers of the NAB, which has been the concern of, directly or indirectly, all the citizens of Pakistan. Amendment in Section 5 have altered the definition of certain wordings of the accountability ordinance, most notably the change in the definition of the word ‘assets’, which has now been widened to include the property owned, controlled or belonging to the accused, directly or indirectly, or benami properties which are held in the name of the spouse, relatives or associate or any other person, whether inside Pakistan or abroad, which the accused cannot reasonably and lawfully account for. 

The widening of the definition of assets will allow more assets to be taken into consideration by the NAB, however how the same is proved to be connected to any accused, beyond reasonable doubt, still remains to be seen. The lack of the accountability courts had been cited as one of the reasons as to why there was slow progress of the trials, which remained pending for years. 

By adding Section 5A to the 2001 ordinance, the President has been empowered to establish as many accountability courts as needed throughout the country, with the consultation of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Additionally, the pool through which a judge of the accountability court may be selected has been widened to include persons who have been judges of the High Court or acted in the same capacity, judges at the level of District or Additional District Judge or judges of a Special Court or Member Judicial of tribunals, however, the said persons shall be required to be under the age of sixty-eight (68) at the time of their appointment. 

The increase of the pool of candidates allows a greater choice of persons that may be appointed in the accountability court and the same should not only speed up the process but shall further allow capable persons to be appointed to the accountability courts. However, what is interesting is that the government has virtually granted the status of a judge of the High Court to judges of Accountability courts, as they will be entitled to draw pay and allowances of the judge of the High Court. 

This is another important aspect to consider as with the clear intent of the government of forming more courts, the judges that will be appointed on the said courts will draw much greater remunerations, which all will have to be paid by a government that is taking loans for payment of installments of other loans. 

The extension of the incumbent chairman of the NAB can be stated to be the central issue of current political deadlock between the government and opposition, where it had been argued by the opposition that under the original law, the chairman cannot be granted an extension due to the ‘non-extendable’ wording of the post in the original law. In order to overcome this hurdle, the government has scrapped the non-extendable wording through substitution of Section 6 of the original ordinance with the amended version, thereby allowing extension in the term of office a Chairman, following the same procedure for appointing a chairman. 

The procedure of the removal of the chairman has been amended to be the same procedure that is adopted for the removal of a Judge of the Supreme Court, making the removal of the chairman much more difficult. The amended ordinance has empowered the President to appoint the Chairman, after consultation by the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader and if no consensus has been reached, the matter of the appointment of the chairman NAB is to be sent to a Parliamentary Committee that will be formed for the purpose of the same and until the said committee is not able to decide upon the mandate given to it. 

In the event of expiration of the tenure of the outgoing chairman, the incumbent shall continue to act in the same capacity until a successor is appointed. This issue had been at the center of the argument between the treasury and opposition benches, however, the government, by the promulgation of an Ordinance rather than an Act, can be seen to be adamant on their position. 

Overall performance of the NAB had reflected as poor, and the cases having been filed had been severely questioned by the superior judiciary in several decisions. What can be said to be an effort of ensuring that the taxpayers' money is not wasted and the rights of the accused that were once seen to be non-existent due to the modus operandi of the NAB have been attempted to be restored by the amendment to Section 8 of the 2001 Ordinance. 

The amendment introduces the rendering of advice by the Prosecutor General and Special Prosecutor in order to ensure that the rights and interests of the accused are protected. The chairman NAB shall also share the investigation report to the Prosecutor General and seek concurrence for the commencement or continuation of prosecution. Once again, the manner in which the text is interpreted is of prime consideration as seeking concurrence may be interpreted as seeking an agreement of the Prosecutor General, and in the absence of the same, cases may not be commenced or continued to be prosecuted by the NAB, therefore the way that the amending ordinance applied by the NAB and more importantly, interpreted by the judiciary will need to be observed. 

Another matter which was always the center of debate for cases falling under the Accountability Ordinance of 2001 was that there was no provision of grant of bail to the accused. The superior judiciary of Pakistan, upholding the Constitution of 1973 and ensuring that the rights of the accused are protected, granted bail in the past utilizing the extraordinary jurisdiction that was granted to it by the Constitution. The right of bail has been recognized in jurisdictions world over to be a right of the accused, and the superior judiciary sought to enforce the same for accused arrayed in cases by the NAB. 

The draconian nature of the original ordinance, which effectively resulted in an economic crisis, has made the government realize through actual experience that inclusion of bail is a need and has amended Section 9 by granting the powers for bail to the Accountability Court. However, in adding the same, the government has also made it a requirement that the surety amount of the said bail shall be fixed to be no less than the charge that a person is facing by the NAB. The inclusion of these wordings are pivotal as the government has not accounted for, or does not want to account for, the fact that the NAB had been argued to accuse persons based on financial charges that, at times, have had no quantum. 

The disqualification from the provision of finance facilities under Section 15 has been omitted by the amending ordinance, thereby allowing those convicted for offences falling under Section 9 to still be able to apply for financial facilities. The intention for doing the same has been met with criticism by the opposition and is seen as a tactic by the government to protect certain classes of individuals. As important as speedy trials are, the perception that legal proceedings are actually leading to justice also needs to be maintained. 

If the confidence on the judicial system as a whole is lost, and it is a presupposed thought that speedy trials will evidently result in what can be stated to be an equivalent to a miscarriage of justice, then the entire purpose behind the creation of a watchdog to uphold the rule of law goes in vain. Therefore, placing a six (6) month limit, without adequate measures being taken to ensure confidence, will result in more harm then benefit, and the same is a point to ponder upon for the government. 

Allowing audio and/or video evidence through modern devices can be viewed to be a commendable effort by the government, however, it needs to be ensured that the standards requiring the same evidence, especially in cases of criminal nature, must be met by the government at the end, as the court will require the government to facilitate recording of such evidence, therefore the instant attempt might need to be reconsidered by the government. 

The chairman has been allowed powers to withdraw in part or whole, with consultation with the Prosecutor General, a reference which the NAB is yet to file before the court, or one which is already being adjudicated upon before the courts. Insertion of Section 33F therefore bestows the power of withdrawal of a reference and restricts legal action or claim being initiated against not only the NAB and its officials, but also against the federal, provincial and local governments. 

Whether the instant ouster clause will stand in the eyes of the law will have to be seen through the interpretation given to the same by the courts. It must be reconsidered that in the presence of authorities such as the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Anti-Corruption Establishment, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and even the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to name a few, why is there a need for the NAB especially when it has been the centre of controversy since its inception. Whatever the outcome may be, between all of this, the real sufferers will be those who genuinely raised concerns against the vague jurisdiction of the NAB and the entire economic arena of Pakistan. 

As many political leaders, primarily from the opposition used to state, the economy and the NAB cannot function together, and it seems that the government is beginning to realize the same, but still has a long way to go. Till then, we can only hope that the withering state of the country, from virtually non-existent lawmaking to the bureaucracy unwilling and hesitant to function and the bare minimum investments from the business sector, maybe stabilized somehow. Hope is what one needs, and is only what many actually have, however, hope in absence of genuine actions from the legislature, unfortunately, only projects continuance of the status quo that is at the expense of the state in its entirety.

Monday, October 11, 2021

New book highlights approaches to improve teaching, learning

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

A collection on teaching teachers titled ‘Signature Pedagogies of Teacher Education in Pakistan’ has been launched on World Teachers’ Day by the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development. 

The teaching profession depends on research, on a foundation of evidence-based efforts to understand the effectiveness of student learning, teaching and academic practice. 

This book provides insights into planning and applying new repertoires of teaching in classrooms with adult learners, while demonstrating how these pedagogies meet international standards of teaching within the local context. It aims to prepare teachers and teacher educators as future leaders of change in their respective schools and communities, change makers who empower their students through interactive and independent modes of teaching. 

“Each chapter in the book addresses the significance and applicability of selected pedagogy, its impact on student learning as well as its influence on policy in the current scenario of education in Pakistan,” Dr Ayesha Bashiruddin, co-editor and former AKU faculty, disclosed. 

“Through this book, we hope to share the ‘localized’ models adopted and implemented by IED faculty over the past three decades, with the wider higher education community in Pakistan and the developing world,” she added. 

“Using the appropriate pedagogies ensures that teachers put into practice teaching techniques, instructional materials and learning strategies in a manner that contributes significantly to improved student learning outcomes. We hope this book will promote communal discourse in teacher education to foster better ways of learning and teaching,” Dr Nusrat Rizvi, co-editor and assistant professor at AKU, said.

AKU, Duke University collaborate to train next generation of leaders in non-communicable disease research

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

To address the critical gap in the response to the non-communicable disease (NCD) epidemic, the Aga Khan University (AKU), in partnership with Duke University, has designed a comprehensive, integrated, multi-disciplinary training programme to train the next generation of leaders in NCD research. 

This programme, focused on cardio-cerebrovascular diseases and their shared risk factors, was awarded a research training grant by the U.S. National Institutes of Health for $1.2 million over five years. This grant will be administered by the NIH’s Fogarty International Centre. 

The epidemic of NCD presents an extraordinary crisis for the world. Over three quarters of all NCD related deaths and 82 per cent of premature NCD related deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) like Pakistan, where locally relevant and high-quality data is scarce. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), almost 50 per cent of deaths in Pakistan are from NCDs, creating barriers to development goals including poverty reduction, human security, economic stability and health equity. The most prevalent are cardiovascular diseases and an area this research programme will focus on. 

There is a pressing need to develop a cohort of trained researchers who can contribute to the understanding of disease prevalence and risk factors as well as develop and test safe, effective, and low-cost solutions. 

“This grant brings together research and intellectual expertise from two major institutions across the world with the shared vision of enhancing research capacity to tackle non-communicable diseases in Pakistan. This can be achieved as we keep equity and data drivenness at the core of our strategy. I look forward to working with our team at AKU and my long term colleagues at Duke to fulfill the goals of this AKUPI-NCD programme,” Dr Zainab Samad, Ibn-e-Sina endowed professor and chair of the Department of Medicine at the AKU, project director and contact principal investigator (PI) of this project, remarked. 

The training programme leverages AKU and the Institute for Global Health and Development’s extensive development network platform and infrastructure at its flagship site in Pakistan. The aim is to build sustainable research capacity, and develop a pool of Pakistani experts in cardio-cerebrovascular disease surveillance and implementation science who will provide the vision and leadership necessary to produce high-quality research of relevance to tackle NCDs in Pakistan and other LMICs. 

This is in line with the Fogarty International Center’s mission of supporting and facilitating global health research conducted by U.S. and international investigators, building partnerships between health research institutions in the U.S. and abroad, and training the next generation of scientists to address global health needs. 

“This award is another milestone signaling the incredibly valuable collaboration between our mutual institutions. We are excited to join this effort as meaningful collaborators, researchers, and mentors. I am humbled to have the opportunity to lead collaborators from Duke University to assist Dr Samad and her team to deliver on this important goal, and anticipate much success that will lead to improved health and lives saved,” Dr Gerard Bloomfield, associate professor with tenure, Department of Medicine and the Global Health Institute at Duke University, and one of the PI’s on this project, observed. 

A large part of this grant will include research training that leverages digital information technology, with an opportunity to work with AKU’s research incubator CITRIC’s Health Data Science Center. From AKU, Dr Ayesha Almas and Dr Ayesha Kamal are multi-principal investigators on this grant. The programme brings together faculty, research expertise and resources from both these entities directly enhancing Pakistan’s research capabilities and ensuring a comprehensive national response to NCDs.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Nawabshah Press Club elections held

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Anwar Shaikh group registered a sweeping win in the Nawabshah Press Club (NPC) elections held after the exit of journalists serving in Sindh Government as teachers. 

Their exit could become possible following a prolonged legal battle waged by a group of journalists whose command in the NPC was overthrown by the opposing group with the help of government teachers also serving as journalists. 

In the NPC elections, the Anwar Shaikh Panel won all the seats of office-bearers and Executive Committee with majority of votes. 

The election was conducted by a committee headed by Assistant Commissioner, Abdul Qadeer Gujjar, with Zulfikar Aziz Memon, Farooq Viyani, Arshad Munir and Akram Shahzad as members. 

According to the results, Musharraf Ali Bhatti was elected as President, Ismail Domki as Senior Vice-President, Abdul Khaliq Malik as Vice-President, Rizwan Thebo as General Secretary, Abdul Latif Khaskheli as Joint Secretary-1, Habibullah, Joint Secretary-II, and Rashid Zia Qureshi as Treasurer. The members elected on Executive Committee included Anwar Shaikh, Syed Atif Hussain Zaidi, Fida Hussain Chandio, Bakhsh Ali Jamali, Khalid Farooqi, Aslam Azmi, Azhar Munir and Arshad Shaikh.

Munawar Opel’s autobiography published

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Former bureaucrat Munawar Opel’s autobiography, appropriately titled ‘A Silent Tirade of an Unassuming Officer’ has been published and it’s being hailed as a worthy resource material. 

As summarized by the author, the book is a compilation of events based on sound memories during his 40 years of service as a civil servant. The 340-page hardbound book gives an insight into quite a few unreported or lesser known facts. 

“As I always thought of myself as a servant of the state, not the government my career went through several ups and downs, some embarrassing periods as I was not owned by them, neither by some of the colleagues and others. I drifted afloat because I treated my service as a platform to deliver, serve diligently and with humanity. I was proud and sure as Nature was with me,” Munawar Opel reckoned. 

“The events in the book reflected, what really happened so much so, I was shocked myself having a sharp and gifted memory drums. There were no archives of documents, diaries or notes. All events, unbelievably, came to me in waves after waves, when I decided to ink it a couple of years ago,” he added. 

Munawar Opel had graduated from DJ Science College, Karachi, while he did his Masters in International Relations from the University of Karachi. He also did Masters in Development Administration from the Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, in 1985. 

He had started his professional career by joining the Sindh Information Department as an officer in 1974. After a brief stint in the Intelligence Bureau, he passed the CSS exams to become a part of the District Management Group. 

It was the beginning of a long sojourn as he went from strength to strength to be recognized as one of the most efficient civil servants. Serving and spearheading many organizations, he progressed to the ultimate BPS-22 cadre before finally retiring from the government service in April 2013.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Khawaja Naveed’s reported judgements published in book form

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Having completed about five decades in the legal profession, Barrister Khawaja Naveed Ahmed, an ex-Judge of the High Court of Sindh, has been admired for his judicial acumen and proficiency.. The 596-page book titled ‘Reported Judgements of Barrister Khawaja Naveed Ahmed’ having just hit the market is another feather in his cap.

“Despite my hectic schedule as a lawyer, I have managed to squeeze in some ‘extracurricular activities’ in my life which in one way or the other supplemented my professional life,” Barrister Khawaja Naveed observed while talking to PNFS on October 5.

In the words of Justice (Rtd) Irfan Qadir, former Attorney General Pakistan, Khawaja Naveed’s legal career spanning around five decades provided him with rare opportunity of making his mark both at the bench and the bar. 

According to him ‘Reported Judgments of Barrister Khawaja Naveed Ahmed’ bears ample testimony to his struggle in life acumen and clarity of thought on complex legal issues and undoubtedly this book would be useful guide for litigants, lawyers, jurists and academicians of the country.

It was in October 1974 when Khawaja Naveed had started his career as an apprentice advocate under the tutelage of Barrister Hassanally A Rehman, who was one of the leading lawyers on criminal side of law of his time. Since 1979, more than 100 competent and accomplished juniors and associates worked with him while some of those juniors rose to the heights of legal profession and became big names in their own right. 

He himself held top lucrative posts when he was in the fast lane of his profession as a leading criminal lawyer of Karachi and appointed as Advocate General Sindh in October 2007 and almost a month later he was elevated as the Judge of High Court of Sindh on November 3, 2007. He was entrusted with the responsibility of Chairman of Human Rights Committee for five years and also elected Senior Vice-President of Supreme Court Bar Association in 2007-08. 

The Supreme Court Bench of 14 Judges appointed him as President of the SC Bar Association for one and a half year when the presidential election was challenged by Munir Malik in Supreme Court. 

According to Barrister Khawaja Naveed he has touched upon almost every subject of law while deciding the cases brought before him as Judge of SHC and hoped that readers of his book, especially lawyers would find them interesting and beneficial. 

As a lawyer, he conducted landmark cases which have been reported in the book, especially when he was engaged by the accused of high profile August 22 firing case at the MQM camps in which 22 people were murdered which dragged for as long as 11 years.

In between, Shah Bunder case in in which Murtaza Bhutto and many other were accused and later in September 1996 Murtaza Bhutto was murdered. As Murtaza Bhutto case was being heard, he became part of defence team of another politically high-voltage case of PIA plane hijacking which led to General Pervez Musharraf’s rise to the power. Another accomplishment for him pertained to Daniel Pearl murder case. 

His television show ‘Khawaja Naveed Ki Adalat’ became a household name and it ran successfully for five years. It was an educational programme in which legal matters were explained to viewers. In the most terrific Tarannum murder case and red hair beauty case, he was the only lawyer whose story, released by APP, was published in leading English daily Dawn’s back page and showed Khawaja Naveed coming out of court after declaration of judgement. 

He has been writing columns and articles for some of the leading newspapers including Daily Ummat, Express and Jang for many years. He is the only lawyer in Pakistan having been invited as keynote speaker by the Harvard Law School in 2012 where he gave a 45-minute speech. His thought-provoking and entertaining speech, during the launch of Asma Hassan's book 'Mayar-e-Zindagi' at Karachi Press Club last December, had captivated the audience. 

Possessing jolly nature, Barrister Khawaja Naveed gained more popularity, as during hearing of cases he used to make people laugh by making witty but relevant remarks about the facts of the cases. 

“As I am about to complete five decades in this profession, I still feel that my career is not yet finished and I have miles to go,” he concluded.

Friday, October 1, 2021

NSA visits ESUP

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The National Security Advisor, Dr Moeed Yusuf, was the guest of honour in the meeting of the English Speaking Union of Pakistan (ESUP), held at a hotel of Karachi recently. 

In his address, he talked about the various challenges and issues concerning the national security. 

Aziz Memon, President, ESUP, presented him a plaque to the chief guest of the evening. Senior Vice President (Kalim Farooqi), Secretary General (Majyd Aziz), Vice President (Tariq Ikram) and Honorary Treasurer (Husain Basrai) were the other senior officials of the ESUP present on the occasion. 

In his welcome speech, the ESUP President, Aziz Memon, briefly threw light on the accomplishments of the organization, before inviting the NSA to share his thoughts with the audience.