ISLAMABAD – The on-going folk festival of Pakistan, popularly known as “Lok Mela”, organised by Lok Virsa (National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage) here at Shakarparian is immensely contributing to documenting and preserving traditional folk crafts and projecting craftspeople.
Over 500 master artisans from different parts of the country including remote and far flung areas are actively participating in the festival, bringing with them their creativity in arts, crafts and innovation.
Each province and region has brought its own contingent of craftspeople to the festival that practice various folk crafts.
The crafts on display at the festival include block printing, lacquer work, Khussa making, pottery, tie and dye, doll making, camel skin work, bone and ivory work, mirror work, Okaiz sazi, darri weaving, truck art, basketry, wood carving, wood work, papier mache, metal work, Shawl weaving, khes weaving, traditional carpets, blue pottery, Ajrak, wax printing, stone work, pattu weaving and many others.
Being a prime institution dealing with Pakistani culture at federal level, Lok Virsa is cognizant of the need for gender equality which is seen in each event that it holds from time to time, because in this way both male and female practitioners afford equal opportunity of showing their talent and getting due recognition thereof.
In the present festival too, one can see a number of female artisans demonstrating their creativity. The most prominent among them is Farhat Bibi from D. I. Khan practicing lacquer work. Locally, it is called jundri or Jundi ka Kaam, which forms an intrinsic part of three provinces of Pakistan, involves the process of applying layers of Lac in different colours on wood, while the material is rotated on a simple wooden lathe machine. Patterns are etched with the help of thick iron needle on the surface, exposing each colour according to the requirements of traditional patterns. She has been participating in the Lok Virsa’s annual festival for the last 10 years and winning recognition of her talent. Another craftswoman from Sindh, Mst. Pari from Badin, 70 also catches the visitor eye. She is master artisan in traditional darree weaving. She learnt this art from her mother at very early age and is busy in transferring it to the coming generation to ensure continuity of the tradition.
Balochi embroidery artisan Aziz Fatima, 40-year is also equally good. She has carried on this centuries’ old tradition from her mother. She has devoted 28 years of her life to this art. Aziz Fatima stands out not only for her personal excellence but also in her tireless propagation of this ancient art by imparting it to the future generations. Among her apprentices, some of them have reached high professional levels and are practicing their art.
Among male artisans, one can see exquisitely prepared masterpieces at the stall of Sahib Dino Mallah from Sindh. Practicing Khes weaving, he belongs to a remote village Ranipur in Khairpur Mirus. He learnt the art of weaving from his father at an early age and since then, he has given 36 years of his life to keep this centuries’ old traditional craft alive.
Shah Behram, a master craftsman in Taghar (traditional woolen rug) weaving from D.I. Khan is also showcasing excellent display at the festival. His father was also an accomplished master craftsman of Taghar weaving who received pride of performance award in recognition of his talent.
Haji Habib-ur-Rehman is the master artisan in truck art. This colourful, sometimes dazzling, art is not only done on the bodies of trucks but also other vehicles and means of transportation like buses, tankers, mini-buses, rickshaws, tongas and even donkey carts moving on the road throughout the country.
Talking to this scribe, Lok Virsa executive director Khalid Javaid said “Pakistan with its rich and varied heritage has a craft tradition of more than 9,000 years dating back to the Mehergarh civilization in Balochistan, when reveals the earliest evidence for pottery production. The Indus Valley civilization of Mohenjodaro in Sindh and Harappa civilization in Punjab (5,000 B.C.) indicates impressions of woven cloth production from cotton and wool. The dominant historical influence still to be seen in the form, design and colour of Pakistani handicrafts is essentially Islamic, a fusion of Turkish, Arab, Persian and the indigenous Mughal traditions”.
He explained that the crafts represent a valuable material heritage, which forms a tangible part of our historical and contemporary culture. Unlike the west, most traditional crafts in Pakistan are neither a profession nor a hobby, but an essential component of the diverse cultural patterns – a product of the ethnic and communal attitudes and practices. As such, crafts have meanings and definite social context in traditional society.
However, the onslaught of the industrial age is erasing this craft heritage, even in rural areas. But there is a recent trend towards the use of crafts as art objects in urban homes. Historic forms and designs are being revived both by the increasing number of trained craftsmen and by designers for the tourist and export trade.
Pakistan is noted for some of the most varied and beautiful handicrafts of the world. Whether it is the elaborate dress of a bride or a simple household utensil, it is designed and created so artistically that it becomes an object of art. The different regions, towns and cities specialize in their own particular handicrafts. This is why there is so much diversity and variety in the crafts of the country.
The indigenous skills of Pakistan have evolved over centuries through communal practice and therefore constitute the most authentic representation of Pakistan’s traditional art.
The festival will continue with all its colours till Sunday, 15 April 2012 daily between 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.

LAHORE – Foreign students, enrolled in various departments of the historic Punjab University (PU), are depressed due to the hooliganism at the varsity and they are facing serious security threats while most of them have demanded of the Punjab government to set up a police check post on the permanent bases in the hostel area, Pakistan Today learnt on Sunday. According to the foreigners, they had raised their voice on the issue of security several times, especially when torture and firing incidents happen at the varsity and now when the teachers themselves were facing security threats, they were also unsure about their security. Foreign students said government of Punjab should understand the sensitivity of the matters and added that students’ opinion about the academic standard of the Pakistani universities had changed due to the failure of the government to provide security. A large number of foreign students, especially females are enrolled in different departments of PU. It is pertinent to mention here that some days ago, firing incident took place at the PU Registrar DR Raas Massod’s home and before this fire was also opened at the home of PU member syndicate’s Professor Dr Shokat Ali home while last month some students also took PU faculty member Dr Munawar Sabir hostage at his home. Illegal activities especially firing on the teachers’ homes, torturing students for intermingling and incidents of robberies and thefts had disturbed the stakeholders of the varsity but this situation had now disheartened the foreigners

who were now demanding that a police check post be setup for their security. Earlier, PU ASA had also demanded that a police post be setup inside the university. Foreign students, who belong to African countries, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia and other parts are enrolled in the various departments of the varsity including pharmacy, social sciences and engineering disciplines and residing at the PU Hostel 2 that is situated in a location that is the hub of various types of plights and illegal activities. “We fail to understand why the CM is not taking an action against the miscreants who have taken the entire university hostage,” a student from Saudi Arabia, asking not to be named, said, adding “I think rangers should be deployed because the police is just not enough to control these hooligans.” Another student said, “We move around the varsity all day and we feel very secure. The hero of these people is Osama Bin Laden and they distribute pamphlets related to other militants also.” “They held an essay competition on Osama bin Laden also, but no action was taken against them,” he said. “Government needs to understand how the university is being run. Our families are living in this university and we have to fear for their life every single day of our life here,” a senior professor said. “Militants are living in the hostels and they are the ones deciding the rules here. If no action is taken against them, we fear that their hold on the varsity will only increase,” a female faculty member said.

LAHORE – Senator Pervaiz Rashid has claimed that transparency and merit have been ensured in the purchase and distribution of laptops, in accordance with the policy of Punjab government.

Addressing a press conference regarding distribution of laptops here Sunday, he said that laptops were being given to the students in recognition of their talent so that they could play their due role in the development of the country after acquiring latest knowledge. Special Assistant to Chief Minister Zaeem Hussain Qadri, Chairman Planning & Development, Secretary Higher Education, Chairman Punjab Information Technology, Secretary Information and other senior officers were also present on the occasion.

Pervaiz Rasheed said that PML-N government took a number of steps for polishing the talent of youth in its first tenure and now laptops were being given to the talented students purely on merit basis. He said that IT labs were set up earlier at cost of Rs 5 billion in schools of the province so that the students of backward areas could have access to the latest knowledge.

He said that project of purchase of laptops had been earmarked in the current fiscal budget and transparency has been ensured in its distribution.  He said that Punjab government has completed all formalities in the procurement and through open competition lowest bidding firm was selected for purchase of laptops. He said that the total cost of laptops was Rs 37700 which included 15 months warranty, after sale service, bag, storage expenses and air fare. He said that if these charges were excluded, the price of laptop comes to Rs 31000. He said that education department or government has no concern with the distribution of laptops. He said that heads of educational institutions prepare lists on merit basis and these lists were on display at the website.

He said that the list of those students who have been given laptops would also be placed on the website along with serial number of the laptop. He said that if any complaint was received from anywhere, it was addressed immediately. He referred to the complaint about two candidates in Bahawalpur. The matter was investigated, one was an official of 1122 and the other was employee of police department. He said that they have been dismissed from service due to submitting wrong affidavit and their laptops have been cancelled.

Pervaiz Rashid said that 85000 laptops have been received so far out of which 63690 have been distributed in 28 districts whereas the process of distribution would be started in the remaining eight districts. He said that 25000 laptops would be received by the department within a week. He said that DELL Inspiron 4050— has the latest Intel Pentium Dual Core B950 chipset which is latest among the Intel Dual Core family of processors and comes with the latest Intel Sandy Bridge HM67 Chipset. The laptop has some great features including a 2GB RAM, 320GB HDD, DVD Writer, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3 in 1 media Card Reader, HDMI ports and a high resolution (1366 x 768) display and is an ideal platform to run all applications and address the requirements of a student. In a nutshell it is value bundled with economy.

The processor selection, he said, was done after a thorough evaluation and due diligence. He said that an ideal platform to run all applications and address the requirements of a student. He said that the government has purchased 125,000 laptops by curtailing its expenditure. He said that no new car, curtains or furniture has been purchased in the budget while air-conditioners of Chief Minister’s House as well as other offices were also not switched on before 11:00am.

He said that more than three lakh laptops would be given to talented students in the next budget as well. Similarly, he said, guard of honour was also presented to talented students. He said that yellow cabs have been given to unemployed youth without any discrimination while no political worker has been obliged under Rickshaw scheme. He said that contrary to Tehrik-e-Insaaf which is new born in the political field, Nawaz Sharif has been taking steps for the encouragement of talented students and youth since he was the Chief Minister and will continue to evolve such schemes in future as well. the nation

Laptops decision lauded LAHORE


PRINCIPAL Post Graduate Medical Institute and Lahore General Hospital (PGMI/LGH) Prof Dr Tariq Salahuddin said Punjab chief minister won the hearts of youth by distributing laptops among them. talking to a delegation of doctors, who recovered laptops recently, he said “The medical students will especially be the real beneficiaries of this decision as they can utilize this facility for keeping themselves abreast of modern research in medical field,” said a press release here on Sunday. He congratulated the doctors for their achievement and said it was for the first time in the history of our province that a chief minister has taken a step, which was needed nowadays. the news

Students lauded LAHORE


PAKISTANI students are world’s most intelligent people like Arfa Karim and Sitara just to name a few. It was stated by MPA Malik Saiful Malook Khokhar during annual prize distribution ceremony of an educational Welfare centre here on Sunday. “I am highly impressed with the performance of students and I see a bright future for them. If these students work with devotion, dedication and hard work, they will be able to play an effective role in the development of Pakistan,” he added. Former Minister of State Qayyum Nizami, Engr Abdul Majeed Khan, Mian Sajjad Hameed, and Dr Waqar Ahmed also distributed prizes among the students who took top positions in various classes the news



PML-N leader Senator Pervaiz Rasheed has said that transparency and merit has been ensured in the purchase and distribution of laptops in accordance with the policy of the Punjab government.


Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Pervaiz Rasheed, who was flanked by Special Assistant to Chief Minister Zaeem Qadri and Higher Education Secretary Dr Ijaz Munir, said that laptops were being given to students in recognition of their talent so that they could play their due role in the development of the country after acquiring the latest knowledge.


He further said the Punjab government had completed all the formalities in the procurement of laptops and the lowest bidding firm was selected for their purchase through an open competition.


He said the total cost of a laptop was Rs37,700 which included 15 months warranty, after-sale service, bag, storage expenses and airfare, adding that if these charges were excluded, the price of a laptop came down to Rs31,000.


He said the lists of the students who had been given laptops would also be placed on the website along with serial number of the laptop.


While referring to the complaints about two candidates who managed to get laptops in Bahawalpur, he said the matter was investigated, one was an official of Rescue 1122 and the other was employee of the Punjab Police. He said both the officials had been dismissed from service due to submitting wrong affidavit and their laptops had been cancelled.


Senator Pervaiz Rasheed said 85,000 laptops had been received so far out of which 63,690 had been distributed in 28 districts whereas the process of distribution of laptops would start in the remaining eight districts. He disclosed that 25,000 more laptops would be received by the department within a week.



Methods of self-assessment would improve the quality of higher education in Pakistan, said Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Muhammad Qaiser of Karachi University at a recently held workshop.


“In order to attain fast-paced development in university-level education, it is imperative that possible ways of self-assessment be introduced in the teaching methodology.”


“The western educational system is highly credible and successful, because they use this strategy for improvement,” he said, adding that finding our weaknesses and overcoming them was the gist of the profession.


At the workshop titled “Self-Assessment Report” organised by the Quality Enhancement Cell (QEC) of KU, Professor Peerzada from the COMSTECH Institute of Information Technology said implementing the methodology would benefit the teachers more. “It would improve their teaching capacity, and help them increase their own market value.”


During his welcome address, the Cell’s Director Professor Sajdeen shared his plans of organising more awareness seminars for improving the quality of education imparted by the university. “Many more awareness programmes are in the pipeline.”


“Technology is equally important for formulating self-assessment reports, as it can highlight the qualitative as well as quantitative details of teaching and research,” said Professor Dr Abuzar Wajid, dean of the Faculty of Management and Administrative Sciences. He also distributed shields among the participants at the end of the session.


During the workshop, Professor Dr Aqeel Ahmed of the Department of Microbiology shed light on the importance of computing and laboratory facilities in higher education. The Campus Security Advisor, Professor Dr Khalid Iraqi, also appreciated the efforts of the Quality Enhancement Cell and said as a teacher, he looked forward to evaluating his own teaching methodology. The workshop was attended by many members of the KU faculty, including Prof Dr Ansar Rizvi, Prof Kaleem Raza Khan and Ms Ghazal Khwaja. the news



He sits in a black suit at a wooden desk, and looks up from behind his wide frameless spectacles as the interview begins. Dr Muhammad Qaiser has recently been appointed the vice chancellor of the city’s largest seat of learning, the University of Karachi, taking up perhaps the most challenging of posts in the field of education.


A major challenge likely to confront the newly appointed vice chancellor is violence on campus. In a recent spree of violence by student political groups, a fourth-year student was picked up from the university’s gate. He was found three days later on March 12 tortured, both physically and sexually. How big is the menace of student politics, he is asked, how does he feel about the role being played on campus by the Rangers and are students secure?


He answers by retracing the history of student politics and the genesis of the current situation. In the year 1989, he recounts, the Rangers were first deployed at the campus after the killing of three students. However, he is less forthcoming when asked why weapons have continued to proliferate in the campus despite the presence of these men in uniform.


“Yes, student politics should not occur. The campus should focus only on education, and the only solution is restoring student unions. We are working on it,” says Dr Qaiser.


He states that by the end of this month he will be able to restore student unions, perhaps forgetting the fact that the process is not so easy and will have to go through parliament first. In 2008, when the present Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, came to power, he too had promised to lift the ban on student unions. Four years later, however, the status quo remains.


To improve the security situation on the campus, Dr Qaiser reveals that a foolproof security plan is in the process of being finalised, which includes CCTV cameras. However, he does not mention the problem of the broken boundary walls around the campus, which security officers have often claimed to be a cause of the induction of weapons at the premises.


In a recent statement issued by the city’s largest seat of learning, the newly appointed vice chancellor was quoted as having said that his university ranked second in Pakistan and 600th in the world. So what was the criterion for this assessment and which organisation accredited it?


While he claims that ranking in Pakistan was determined by the Higher Education Commission, he is less sure about his statement about world ranking. “Several organisations determine university ranks, but they differ among themselves too,” he says.


Though an accurate figure is not available, a reasonable estimate is that at least 1,500 students graduate from the university each year. How many of them get jobs is a figure the new vice chancellor is not sure of.


“We get students from all backgrounds,” he says. “A lot depends on the student himself too. Some of our students from departments like pharmacy, chemical engineering and computer sciences get jobs even before they graduate,” he adds.


As for the quality teaching faculty at the university, he says the criterion for a lecturer to be hired is a test and candidates who score the highest are shortlisted. An interview with a team of experts is then held, and the best candidate given the post. Work experience or the number of research papers published is not a criterion, he admits, “though a candidate who has these will get added benefit”, which could be but is not necessarily monetary. In his opinion, the maximum number of courses a lecturer should take is three. When informed that a particular teacher at a department is taking at least five, he admits that “that should not happen”.


His vision for Karachi University is that by the end of his tenure the university should excel academically, because “research papers are the way forward.” However, he complains about funding issues being an obstacle to realising that vision. “Before the last budget ,while teachers’ salaries were ordered to be increased by 50 percent, when the budget came in May, the proportion for education was cut off and universities were asked to generate their own resources.”


Dr Qaiser has some plans to generate resources “probably by utilising free land by, let’s say constructing a hospital, or raising the fee of students by rupees 200-300, but not more than that.” the enws

Islamabad: Science & Technology (S&T) Pavilion organised by PASTIC in collaboration with Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry Expo 2012 at Jinnah Convention Centre Islamabad concludes here on Sunday, says a press release.


The main objectives of organising S&T/R&D Pavilion were to provide a market place to the R&D organisations and universities for the promotion of their innovative technologies, products and services to the women entrepreneurs and to create awareness amongst women entrepreneurs about R&D developments in different industrial sectors in the country.


Department of Food & Nutrition and Department of Horticulture & Biotechnology of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University (PMAS-UAAR), Rawalpindi; Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy Technology (PCRET), Islamabad; Academia Industry Linkage Forum (AILF), Lahore; National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA), Peshawar; Institute of Food & Science Nutrition, University of Sargodha; Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Islamabad; National Agriculture Research Council (NARC); Department of Micro Applied & Environmental Biology, Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU), Islamabad; The Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB) and Ek Hunnar Ek Nagar (AHAN), Multan participated in the exhibition by displaying their products and technologies for women entrepreneurs.


PASTIC under its UIP-Programme is involved in building linkages between R&D, university and industry for enhancing innovations, competitiveness and productivity of indigenous technologies.


Mrs Samina Fazal, Founder President Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry while addressing the audience at the closing ceremony said that innovations in business should be explored through research & development for the benefit of women entrepreneurs.


The paramedical staff of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) is still waiting for complete implementation of the service structure announced for them by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in February last year.

The non-implementation of the service structure had also created unrest among the paramedics who are now thinking about option of going on strike to press for their promotion. “We also demand of the prime minister to take notice of the situation and direct for removal of our grievances by full implementation on the service structure,” they said.

Presently, as many as newly created 40 posts in BPS-16 and 33 posts of BPS-14 have been lying vacant for want of meeting of the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) while as per decision of the Establishment Division which was taken three months, the upgradation of BPS-6 to BPS-9 was yet to be carried out.

The paramedics of PIMS have demanded meeting of DPC so that the eligible employees could get promotion according to their seniority. “We will be forced to go on strike if promotions are not allowed according to the service structure in letter and spirit,” they said adding that the promotion to next pay scales was their right.