Saturday, January 28, 2017

Urdu Music Video - SAJAN


A fresh threat-alert has been sounded across the Punjab province over intelligence input indicating possible terror strike on a school located in Lahore’s downtown.
The intelligence reports also cautioned that the terrorist group, Tehrik Taliban Sawat, by using child suicide bombers, was planning to target a school in Lahore and other important installations in the province.
Keeping in view the latest threat alert, the home department has issued a letter and asked the law enforcement agencies and all divisional commissioners to ensure foolproof security arrangements in order to avoid any untoward happening. According to documents available with The Nation, the terrorist group is training young boys in Afghanistan to launch suicide bomb attacks in different parts of Pakistan.
“Reportedly, it has emerged that TTS in Afghanistan is training young boys (10 to 12) as suicide bombers at Kunar, Afghanistan, for launching them in various cities of Pakistan,” the letter says. “One such child suicide bomber destined for Lahore was neutralised. (He) revealed that a school building (double-storey) near Abdali Chowk in Lahore was his target.”
All the regional police officers and divisional commissioners are directed to take security measures with special focus on schools, courts, government installations, and residences of senior officers and judges in their respective districts. The security and law enforcement agencies are also asked to launch search operations across the province to hunt down suspected militants.
According to the letter, the district administrations are directed to immediately call the meetings of district intelligence committee, examine the threat level, and take all necessary measures to avoid any untoward incident. Similarly, extreme vigilance should be ensured with massive police deployment to thwart the nefarious designs of anti-Pakistan elements.
Also, special security sweep and combing operations should be launched around important buildings and offices and particularly in Afghan settlements. The most sensitive areas/sites should be given proper security cover and snap-checking must be carried out especially in big cities of the province.
The letter also urges the police and district administrations to ensure close monitoring of the persons linked to proscribed organisations in addition to regular police patrolling in the sensitive and important areas.
“The vulnerability of educational institutions should especially be looked into for ensuring the appropriate security measures.”
Additional police and security personnel may also be deployed where necessary. All security agencies should be involved for timely information to ensure protection of important installations. “Strict and indiscriminate physical search /scanning /checking of all security staff and officials of important organisations at entry points/ gates must be ensured even if (they are) wearing official uniform”.
According to the letter issued by the Punjab Home Department’s provincial intelligence center, strict physical checking of all persons and baggage at must be conducted at the entry points and gates of all important headquarters and establishments.

Pakistan - Capitalism and our education system

Shahzad Karim

A clear evidence of this deteriorating condition of the quality of education in Pakistan is that none of the Pakistani universities falls on the list of top 500 world universities.
It is said that economy affects and influences every aspect of life which is an acknowledged fact. Sometimes, it affects directly and sometimes indirectly. Its direct effect is usually quick and apparent, whereas the indirect effect is slow but profound and more acute. The capitalistic economic system prevailing in the world toady has left its impressions on every aspect of life, and same is the case with education as well round the globe. However, in this article, my focus of attention is the system of education in Pakistan. Capitalism has cast its morbid shadow on all levels of our education from primary to higher education and schools to universities. It has not left any stream of education unaffected. Let us discuss the effects and traces of capitalistic doctrine on different levels of our educational setup i.e. schools, colleges, and universities one by one.

 During the last two decades, we have witnessed a rapid decline in our education system, especially in government sector schools. This decline is mainly because of the ineffective policies of our governments and their lack of interest in the educational affairs of the state.However, it is not only the fault of our governments; we are also equally responsible for this downfall because instead of forcing our governments to realize their responsibilities towards educating our younger generation, we found refuge in private so-called English medium schools which took advantage of the situation and strengthened their roots. The governments also got relaxed since they found the people themselves taking the responsibility of educating their children. So, the governments gradually withdrew their patronage and responsibility and let the people solve their educational affairs themselves. As a result of it, with the passage of time, the private schools grew stronger and developed as an industry. Hence, like other industries of the modern era, they also cultivated a capitalistic culture, and now it has grown so stronger that it has become a highly profitable business that follows all the norms of the business world.

The teachers teaching in these institutions are just like factory workers who are paid for their services, and the students are like a factory product. The major focus of these schools is massive production without caring for the quality of the product they are producing. The status of a teacher has been snatched, and they have been transformed into a commodity whose primary concern is just to satisfy the needs of their owner and follow their instructions blindly. In this regard, both the school administration and parents are equally responsible because they think they pay the teachers for the services they offer to their children and, therefore, they have got every right to exploit the teacher. This process, which emerged in schools almost two decades ago, gradually moved towards the institutions of higher education i.e. colleges and now the government colleges are being replaced by private colleges and academies which are spreading all around like a maze.

The situation has worsened to such an extent that the government itself has tried many times and is still thinking of privatising the colleges as well. So now the government’s support might be withdrawn from the colleges also. Its ultimate end is that after some years, the government owned colleges will also show a similarly deserted picture as is the case with the government run schools all over the country. The universities also are not far behind in this race, and the situation is not much different with them. The universities, which are considered to be the seats of higher education promoting intellect, wisdom, creativity and innovation, unfortunately, have also fallen prey to the existing capitalistic philosophy which has made education business.Nowadays, a major concern of the universities is to earn maximum capital. To fulfil this purpose along with their regular programs they launch multiple evening, weekend, and distance education programs without bringing into consideration their limited resources in terms of well-qualified faculty, space, equipment, physical infrastructure, and other educational resources. Similarly, the universities, which are considered to be the place for research and higher education, have opened their doors for multiple graduation level programs like BA/BS (Hons.) which are also being run in various colleges simultaneously. We also find a bulk of private universities which even do not have proper campuses and resources to cater to the needs of the students. Most of them are established in small buildings without proper facilities but are still getting thousands in the form of fees.

They are taking advantage of the situation by offering various market-based programs. Students especially those with lower grades have no other option except getting admission in such institutions, making education a thriving business. The bleak outcome of this situation is neither in favor of learners, nor teachers and not even the society as a whole. The only one who is getting maximum benefit out of it is the owner of the institution for whom education is nothing except a profitable business. The teachers are paid not only very low salaries but are also exploited by appointing them on a contract basis without offering any other benefits.

The fear of unemployment further adds insult to the injury and increases the possibility of teachers’ exploitation. Moreover, novice, inexperienced teachers with lower salaries are preferred over the well qualified and trained teachers. Such prevailing practices are severely affecting the quality of education in our country. A clear evidence of this deteriorating condition of the quality of education in Pakistan is that none of the Pakistani universities falls on the list of top 500 world universities. The need of the hour is that all stakeholders i.e. the ministry of education, HEC, experienced educationists, institutional owners/heads, teachers organizations and the students should realize the seriousness of the issue and try to develop such a mechanism as can help all of us in promoting better educational setup having minimal capitalistic traces in it.This is the only way which can lead to the promotion of a better educational culture in our country.

Iran may cancel $7bn gas pipeline deal with Pakistan: Reports


Iran could cancel the gas pipeline project with Pakistan due to concerns about construction work, National Gas Company Head Hamid Reza Araqi said on Saturday.
Hamid Reza said that Iran is faced with three options, either to continue with the pipeline, restart negotiations to reassess the project or call it off.
He also asked Pakistan for the swift completion of the project on its side. The “peace pipeline” deal consists of import of 22 million cubic meters per day of gas by Pakistan and was signed during former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s tenure.
Pakistan was supposed to start gas import in early months of 2015, but work has not been started on the Pakistan side.
Iran has also failed to finish the IGAT7 project which was to transit South Pars field’s gas to the borders with Pakistan.
Pakistani politicians have repeatedly stated the country’s seriousness to complete the project, while stating that sanctions by the United Nations and the US on Iran slowed the whole process down.
The 7 billion dollar gas project has faced repeated delays since its inception.

Pakistan - A woman’s dress is never an invitation for sexual assault

Uzma Kiani

The state needs to work on educating the society on the concept of consent.
Your female family members’ outfits do not provoke you. Hence, this argument does not hold up anymore that a women’s dress incites men into sexually assault. Or that women should cover themselves ‘properly’, while going out or even when they are staying home – if not, they are ‘asking for’ trouble.
You never allow your mental frames to revisit ideas that are instilled into your mind through either religious doctrine or cultural concepts.
It is simply horrifying to put the responsibly of sexual violence on women’s attire rather than the perpetrators of this appalling crime. The notion represents women (including your mother, sister and daughter) as something along the following lines:-
“I am a woman and I came out wearing this dress with the intention to be sexually attacked.”
Those, either on ethical or religious grounds, favoring this argument are actually aiding the misconception that women themselves incite men to assault. And that women’s clothing is responsible, if men get out of control.
The society continues to rigidly hold women and girls responsible for sexual crimes against them. As a result, such a mindset is disarming women against following their natural likes and dislikes. It also chains them from liberation and emancipation in other walks of life.
Anyone who advocates the idea that women should be restricted to home, due to the fear of sexual violence, is fueling sexist attitudes and aiding violence against women.
Educational institutions i.e. schools, colleges, universities, madrassas, and mosques as well as state institutions, including the parliament, should underline the idea of consent in all forms of education. This is pivotal to curb sexual violence and to defy the misconception that men get out of control when they see girls and women roaming or working around in any particular kind of clothing.
It is damaging for the women who are working to meet both ends. This is particularly harmful for single mothers and girls who don’t have male counterparts to feed them.
This notion, or any variation thereof, forms myths and misconceptions about sexual violence. These are manmade set patterns of thought, restricted in boxes of culture, concepts, notions, and values that favor the culprit and shackle the victim, i.e. women, in order to keep them under control.
There is another reason behind such discriminatory mindset: the absence of notions that liberate women in our society. There are thinking patterns and mindset that limit your feelings and behavior, one way or the other. Such thought process should be discouraged. And as stated above, religious and social bodies need to work on consent education.
Most importantly, women should help other women in building up moral courage. We need to stand together and be one another’s strength.

Music - Aur is Dil Mein Kya Rakha Hai - Sanjay Dutt - Farah - Imaandar

Pakistan - All four missing activists including Salman Haider return home

All four Pakistani human rights activist who went missing a few days ago returned home here on Saturday morning.
Salman Haider, a university professor went missing on January 6 from Islamabad while bloggers Ahmed Waqas Goraya and Asim Saeed went missing on January 4 from Lahore.
Another activist and blogger, Ahmed Raza Naseer disappeared on January 7 from Nankana Sahib city of Punjab.
They all returned to their homes on Saturday morning, according to Abb Takk news.
The families of Waqas Goraya and Salman Haider have not confirmed their return. Salman’s family confirmed his return.
According to an Islamabad-based journalist, Salman Haider returned home but was in custody of the Islamabad police.

Missing Pakistani activist Salman Haider 'recovered' in capital

Pakistani poet and activist Salman Haider who went missing from the capital Islamabad earlier this month, just days after four other human rights campaigners disappeared, has been found, local media reported on Saturday.
The five missing liberal activists, some of whom have posted blogs criticizing the political influence of the military and speaking up for the rights of religious minorities, had each gone missing separately since Jan. 4.
Police sources told Geo News channel that Haider, who disappeared on Jan. 6, was found late on Friday night.

Pakistan - Historic day in Sindh, First non-Muslim presided Sindh Assembly session


 Pakistan Peoples Party has rejected an increase in salaries of the chief minister, provincial ministers and advisers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and described the decision as a violation of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf manifesto.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting of his party here on Friday, PPP provincial president Engineer Mohammad Humayun Khan said that PTI had claimed to bring an end to luxurious buildings under use of ministers and promote poor employees, but it failed to materialise its commitment.
He said that Chief Minister Pervez Khattak himself increased the salaries by 400 per cent which was a clear message to the nation that PTI was never different from rest of the political parties in the country.
The employees of various departments, he said, were crying for promotions and increase in salaries and many others for reinstatement, but the provincial government was least bothered to pay them any heed while the rulers increased their perks and privileges without any hesitation.
Describes it a violation of PTI manifesto
The PPP leader also criticised the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders for using their potential to protect Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Panamagate case, saying that the nation was aware of the actual situation.
He asked the prime minister to step down and avoid making speeches against corruption as this would bring a bad name to the country.
Besides the provincial office-bearers, Faisal Karim Kundi, Akhunzada Chattan, Rahim Dad Khan, Senator Khanzada Khan, Sardar Ali Khan, Azam Afridi, Barrister Masood Kausar, Begum Shehzada Suleman and Ahmed Hussain Shah also participated in the meeting.
About the proposed visit of party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the provincial president said that the visit would be scheduled after his return from abroad. He said that the divisional and district level office-bearers would be appointed with the approval of Mr Bilawal as he himself would interview the applicants in Peshawar.
Through a unanimous resolution the meeting urged the federal government to declare merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the earliest. The participants vowed to step up efforts for the party reorganisation in the province.