Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Pakistan's Polio - Sixth case reported in Peshawar

The number of polio cases in the country reached 27 with a poliovirus case confirmed in Peshawar on Monday. According to officials at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad, the case was confirmed from Mera Kachori, on the outskirts of the city.
Eighteen-month-old Abu Bakar was diagnosed with polio –the onset of paralysis recorded on June 9. NIH officials said the sample had been collected and sent to the federal capital which later confirmed the diagnosis.
This is the sixth case reported from Peshawar; the total number of cases in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has reached 11.

English translation of sacred Islamic names and words forbidden by Pakistani government

People have been banned by the Pakistani government from translating Islamic Arabic names and words into English. 

According to reports, on June 4 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved a summary prohibiting English translation of Islamic terms like Allah, Masjid, Sala’at and Rasool, into English as God, Mosque, Prayer and Prophet.

The decision from the prime minister comes in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. And although the the decision has been welcomed by Islamic leaders, CLAAS-UK director Nasir Saeed has raised his apprehensions and said that it is difficult to predict what kind of impact it will have on Pakistani society. 

He added: "Keeping in view the present situation of the country where extremism, fundamentalism and hatred against Christians and other religious minorities is on the rise, therefore there is a possibility that this policy could have a negative impact, especially on the lives of non-Muslims who are already suffering because of the government's discriminatory policies against them. 

"There is also the chance that people will misuse this provision if they consider any translation of any word offensive or insulting to any Islamic word.

"Is it a coincidence that this announcement was made just one day before the anniversary of General Zia's 1977 coup which saw the elected prime minster thrown out, and then in an attempt to Islamise the country and its laws, push the country into further darkness. 

"It is not surprising the policy has come from Mian Nawaz Sharif, as he is the prodigy of Zia."

Pakistan's Shia Genocide - More 3 Shia Muslims shot martyred in Quetta

At least three Shia Muslims were shot martyred while two others were injured when takfiri terrorsits of Sipah-e-Sahaba aka Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat (ASWJ) opened fire at them early Monday morning in Quetta, The Shia Post reports.
The martyrs and injured belonged to the Shia Hazara community.
The miscreants riding a motorcycle targeted the victims on Joint Road near passport office of the provincial capital. Meanwhile the injured were shifted to Civil Hospital, Quetta for medical treatment.
On July 1, at least three Shia Muslims Nadir Hussain s/o Gulzar Hussain, Asad Ali s/o Zulfiqar Ali, Ali Waris s/o Liaquat Ali were also shot martyred on Quetta’s Sirki Road.
On June 7, at least five people belonging to the said community were gunned down on Quetta’s Circular Road area near Meezan Chowk.


Pakistan - July 5, 1977 - Volatile lessons

PPP observed the anniversary of the July 5, 1977 military coup that overthrew Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's government as a black day. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto made it crystal clear that Pakistan cannot afford a dictorial, extremist mindset anymore. He pointed out that Zia’s gift to the nation was terrorism and religious fanaticism. History is witness to the terror campaigns carried out during the dictator’s time. His convoluted version of Islam introduced and made compulsory in school, university and college education curricula has resulted in the mushrooming of the false consciousness permeating society today. And instead of moving towards a progressive democracy, Pakistan appeared a backward state professing a psychotic frame of mind. At the same time, Bilawal has applauded the efforts of today’s army adamantly fighting that very monster of terrorism and eradicating the menace.

At a Lahore commemorative function, PPP’s Punjab President Manzoor Wattoo stressed the need for restoration of student unions. The decades old ban has produced on the one hand, depriving students of the nursery of democratic politics that the unions were, and on the other, opened the door wide for party-affiliated student organisations to use muscle power and violence to impose their will on the student community. By now, decades on, this trend is firmly entrenched in educational institutions. Elected student unions would encourage constructive peaceful debate, replacing the language of weapons with the weapon of language. The restoration of elected students bodies would not only be in line with today's democratic ethos, it could be the best tool to turn the page on violent student politics and restore the progressive role of youth in our society. No one can be under any illusion that this will be an easy task. The Augean stables of violent party-affiliated student groups will need prolonged cleansing. If the law is applied fairly and without discrimination to criminal violence and intimidation that rules the roost on campuses today, that could open up the path to a restoration of peaceful democratic student unions replacing the present virtual battlefields our campuses have been reduced to because of vested interests, political expediency, and sinister agendas of control through force. Sttudents should be allowed to exercise their right of voting peacefully during colleges/universities student union elections as the first step in educating them in the politics of democracy.

Pakistan - Educational Aid

As Norway gears up to host the Oslo Summit on Education for Development, two important Pakistani personalities are set to make an appearance; the Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, and the Nobel Peace Prize winner and youth activist, Malala Yousufzai. At the summit, Malala is expected to urge world leaders to live up to their international commitments towards education; guaranteeing twelve years of universal fee-free primary and secondary education. The effort requires an estimated sum of $340 billion per year; and Malala is expected to call on world leaders to make up for the shortfall, which stands at $39 billion — equivalent to just eight days of global military spending. While the Prime Minister will attend the summit and may even contribute to the dialogue, implementing the measures required by it is a separate matter. Military spending has bloomed while the education policy remains crippled by slivers of the budget that are allocated to it.

As the Prime Minister is about to leave, reports on the operation and efficacy of another highly touted educational enterprise – the so called Kerry-Luger-Bresnen agreement – have also emerged. Since 2009, despite the provision of billions of dollars worth of aid to government departments, NGOs and schools, education has seen mixed growth. Local and foreign scholarship plans bloom yet establishing quality schools still remains a challenge; showing that pure money – even $7.5 billion – is not enough on its own. The usual suspects claim the disruption; bureaucratic red tape, petty embezzlement, administrative lethargy and institutional clash have caused immeasurable delay. Despite the bill being approved in 2009, the first school under it was not built till 2014, yet the Metro projects steam forward a lightning speed. The difference in performance is not down to funds or ability; it is because education is a lost narrative. Apart from token claims of an ‘educational emergency’ the government has done nothing meaningful to gear the government machinery towards this project; it has built no narrative and has created no pressure on the relevant authorities.

This fact is even more embarrassing that Malala, a globally renowned education activist is a Pakistani. Apart from a customary congratulation at her winning the Nobel, Nawaz Sharif has not contacted her. Here lies the golden opportunity to finally build that narrative, to put the money we have to good use. Nawaz must give Malala’s ideas space to function, and in turn fuel education reform.

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