ISLAMABAD – Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) in collaboration with Higher Education Commission (HEC) will arrange an international conference on `The Emerging Issues of Social Sciences in Pakistan’ from April 27 (Friday).
The three-day conference will be an effort to elucidate the issues like terrorism, Pak-US deadlock, political crisis, institutional decay, culture, religious diversity and human rights, economic, ethno national issues, youth and society and role of media. Vice-Chancellor QAU, Professor Dr Masoom Yasinzai, Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Farooq H Naik and Chairman HEC Dr Javed R Laghari will formally inaugurate the conference.
Social sciences are important in providing guidelines to the policy making sector and the event aims at providing an opportunity to the national and foreign scholars to present their research leading to resolution of issues effecting Pakistan. Scholars across the country and abroad will participate and the conference will provide a platform to build intellectual linkages among them. The ultimate agenda of projecting Pakistan as a peace loving country is at the heart of the conference.
Conference Secretary, Dr Razia Sultana informed that the conference will discuss the themes of sustainable development, internal and external challenges, cultural diversity and human rights and civil society and the role of media.
The conference will help promote social sciences in the country especially highlighting the research conducted by the local and foreign scholars on various issues of economy, state and society, she said.
It will also provide an opportunity to local and foreign scholars to build intellectual linkages and project Pakistan as a moderate and peace loving country wherein efforts are underway to live in peace between them and with the world.
Dr Razia said the conference will also provide guidelines and suggestions to the policy making sector so to help them to take country out of the current crisis.
The idea to hold this conference is in continuation of the last Social Sciences conference that was held in collaboration of HEC and University of Gujrat in April, 2011.

(Pakistan Today)

ISLAMABAD – As many as 101 MBBS graduates of Foundation University Medical College (FUMC) were awarded degrees at its convocation held here Thursday.
President, Foundation University Islamabad (FUI), Lt. Gen. Muhammad Mustafa Khan HI (M) (r), who is also Managing Director of the Fauji Foundation was the chief guest on the occasion. Amongst the students six were awarded gold medals, five silver medals, five distinction certificates and 36 merit certificates.
The award for best graduating student was clinched by Madeeha Abdul Ghaffar.
In his welcome address, Principal, Foundation University Medical College, Maj Gen (r) Dr Nasim-ul-Majeed, presented the annual college report highlighting the progress and academic excellence it has achieved in the past year.
The President FUI, in his address, said that today FUMC stands out as a prominent institution among the medical colleges of the country. He said, several hundred graduates from FUMC are in the mainstream of medical profession not only with in Pakistan but also in other countries. A few of them have acquired postgraduate qualifications from local and international institutions, he added.
He said that no academic program can succeed without the diligence and commitment of the faculty. FUMC is privileged to have hard working and dedicated faculty whose guidance has played a key role in achieving the high academic standards.
“I am glad to know that the college authorities are fully aware of the importance of co-curricular activities in the development of a well rounded personality which is so essential for the role of healer in society”, he said.
He informed the audience that construction of new block to house the dental college has also begun and it is expected that BDS program shall be launched by the year 2013. In the end, Prof Dr Belal A Khan, Rector FUI presented a shield to the President FUI.

(Pakistan Today)

 

The Convocation 2012 of the Foundation University Medical College (FUMC) was held here on Thursday.

 

Foundation University (Islamabad) President Lieutenant General (r) Muhammad Mustafa Khan was the chief guest on the occasion. FU (Islamabad) Rector Professor Dr. Belal A. Khan was also present.

 

As many as 101 MBBS graduates were awarded with degrees by the FUI president who also awarded six gold medals, five silver medals, five distinction certificates and 36 merit certificates. The award for best graduating student was clinched by Madeeha Abdul Ghaffar.

 

Foundation University Medical College Principal Major General (r) Dr Nasim-ul-Majeed presented the annual college report, highlighting the progress and academic excellence it has achieved in the last academic year.

 

The FUI president said that today FUMC stands out as a prominent institution among medical colleges of the country. He said several hundred graduates from FUMC are in the mainstream of medical profession not only within Pakistan but also in other countries. Quite a few of them have acquired postgraduate qualifications from local and international institutions, he added.

 

The president said that no academic programme could succeed without diligence and commitment of the faculty. FUMC is privileged to have hard-working and dedicated faculty whose guidance has played a key role in achieving the high academic standards. “I am glad to know that the college authorities are fully aware of the importance of co-curricular activities in the development of a well rounded personality which is so essential for the role of healer in society,” he said.

 

The president informed the audience that construction of a new block to house the dental college has also begun and it is expected that BDS programme shall be launched by the year 2013. In the end, Professor Dr Belal A. Khan presented a shield to the FUI president.

(The News)

ISLAMABAD – A panel discussion on the eve of World Intellectual Property Day was held here at Shakarparian under the aegis of Lok Virsa (National Institute of Folk & Traditional Heritage), Rural Development Policy Institute (RDPI) and Centre for Culture & Development (C2D). The theme was “Traditional knowledge, folklore and intellectual property rights in Pakistan”.
Federal Secretary, Ministry of National Heritage and Integration, Asaf Ghafoor was the chief guest on the occasion. While addressing the gathering, the secretary said: “Intellectual property right is an important subject for Pakistan. I am glad that now a lot of awareness about it is seen in the institutions and individuals dealing with various national projects in the country. We fully support them and offer them our help wherever required.”
The panelists who took active part in the discussions were Ahmed Saleem, South Asia Research & Resource Centre, Khalid Javaid, Executive Director, Lok Virsa, Abdul Shakoor Sindhu, Principal Coordinator, RDPI, Dr. Nadeem Omar, Director, C2D, Zafarullah Khan, Executive Director, Centre for Civic Education, Dr. Khadim Hussain, Executive Director, Bacha Khan Research Centre, Mazhar Arif, Managing Director, School of Political and Strategic Communication, Hummera Ishfaq, International Islamic University, Karim Johar, Cultural Advisor to Governor Gilgit Baltistan and Dr. Huma Haque, Dean, Humanities & Social Sciences Department, Bahria University.
Speaking on the occasion, Lok Virsa Executive Director Khalid Javaid said: “Lok Virsa works towards the awareness of our cultural legacy by collecting, documenting and projecting it. A survey, research and documentation of the cultural heritage of Pakistan is central to its objectives. After its inception in 1974, Lok Virsa started a nation-wide project to record, document and preserve all components of the Pakistan’s traditional knowledge, in particular folk music through conducting village-to-village, town-to-town and district-to-district cultural surveys. Mobile recording and filming units were set up for active field research, documentation and collection of the materials components of our indigenous traditions.
Later, a series of audio-visual cassettes, CDs and DVDs were published. But due to no intellectual property rights introduced in Pakistan at that time, most of our products were got pirated”. He expressed the hope that because of growing awareness about the subject matter, now we, all stakeholders, will be in a position not to face the difficulties that Lok Virsa encountered in the past.
The purpose of panel discussion was to raise general awareness and understanding of how IP contributes to the flourishing of traditional knowledge and folklore. It is simultaneously aimed at kicking off an informed policy debate to address the concerns for the development and protection of traditional knowledge and folklore as economic resources critical for the growth of Pakistani economy in the era of globalisation.
The aims and objectives of the dialogue were to stimulate a discussion on the role of IP in national culture. Specific objectives were to analyse the threats and opportunities for the development of national cultural heritage in the context of TRIPS agreement and cultural diversity; discuss the effectiveness of IPR legislation for the protecting national cultural heritage; and highlight issues in monitoring of IP Rights and discuss the measures needed to put in place effective institutional mechanisms for tracking violation of IPRs in Traditional Knowledge and Folklore.
Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the mind: inventions; literary and artistic works; and symbols, names and images used in commerce and otherwise. Intellectual property is divided into two categories: industrial property includes patents for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications. Copyright covers literary works (such as novels, poems and plays), films, music, artistic works (e.g., drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures) and architectural design. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and broadcasters in their radio and television programs. Within the basic forms of intellectual property, many variations and special kinds of protection are possible. Geographical indications, which identify a good as originating in a locality where a given quality, or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin, such as Ajrak and Basmati rise.
Intellectual property rights are likely any other property right. They allow creators of new goods with designs, qualities, or owners of patents, trademarks or copyrighted works to benefit from their own work and investment in a creation. These rights are outlined in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides for the right to benefit from the protection of moral and material interests resulting from authorship of scientific, literary or artistic productions. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992 represents a commitment by nations to conserve biological diversity, to use biological resources sustainably, and to share the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources fairly and equitably. Article 8(j) of the convention draws a connection among traditional knowledge, folklore and genetic resources by calling on nations to “respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities” and to promote wider application with the approval of the holders of such knowledge and practices.
Traditional knowledge (TK) refers to systems of knowledge passed from generation to generation pertaining to a particular group of community of people or territory, displayed in their creations, innovations and cultural expressions. Traditional knowledge that has existed for a long time, is not static and can be constantly evolving in response to a changing environment. Folklore refers to traditional artistic heritage developed and maintained by a community or by individuals who reflect the traditional artistic expectations of such a community. Expressions of folklore may be intangible and oral, as in folktales; musical, as in songs; actions, as in folk dances, plays, or rituals; or other tangible expressions, such as drawings, paintings, carvings, sculptures, pottery, woodwork, metal ware, jewelry, basket weaving, needlework, textiles, carpets, costumes, musical instruments and architectural forms, among others.
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) and Agreement on better understand and implement CBD within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRPS). WIPO was established under Article 1 the WIPO Convention of 1967. C2D and RDPI believe that there is an emerging concern in Pakistan and other developing countries for the loss of traditional knowledge; lack of respect for traditional knowledge; systematic misappropriation of traditional knowledge, including offensive use without benefit sharing; and the need to preserve and promote the use of traditional knowledge. Indigenous communities have many similar concerns regarding their traditional artistic expressions. C2D has also been advocating for creating new forms of legal protections for these resources in Pakistan.
World Intellectual Property Day (World IP Day) is celebrated every year on April 26, to raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life and to celebrate creativity and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe. World IP Day offers an exciting chance each year to join with others around the globe, to highlight, discuss and demonstrate the importance of IP for the development of national and sub-national cultures and economies.

(Pakistan Today)

ISLAMABAD – Long-term use of mobile phones may cause cancer, government scientists have admitted, as the biggest review ever of the subject is published.
The report, by a Health Protection Agency group set up to examine the safety of mobile phones, transmitter masts and wi-fi, found “no convincing evidence” they caused any adverse effects on human health, The Telegraph reported. But members of the Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR) said they could not be sure of the long term effects of mobiles, as there was currently “little information beyond 15 years from first exposure”.
A small number of individual studies have found evidence of a link between heavy mobile phone use and increased brain tumour incidence. Two years ago the INTERPHONE study reported that the heaviest users could be at a 40 per cent increased risk of developing glioma, a common type of brain cancer. Most studies have found no such association though. However, brain tumours can take decades to develop. Launching the 333 page report, which reviews hundreds of studies, group chairman Professor Anthony Swerdlow said: “I think there’s a need to keep a watch on national cancer trends in relation to this, particularly with brain tumours
“So far brain tumour rates are not rising in the sorts of age groups who have had exposure for 10, 15 years. “But if this is something that takes 15, 20 years or more to show up. We need to keep watch over rates just in case.” Researchers running cohort studies – projects following individuals’ health over their lifetimes – also needed to investigate the matter to see if heavy users of mobile phones tended to develop brain tumours more than others, said Prof Swerdlow, an epidemiologist at the Institute of Cancer Reseach. The review found no evidence that radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields caused by wi-fi – now widespread in schools, homes and the workplace – caused harmful effects, or could even be detected by those who claimed to be sensitive to it. Neither did it find any evidence that mobile phone mast transmitters caused health problems. The HPA is though continuing to adopt what it calls a “precautionary approach” to mobile phone use, in particular advising that children avoid their “excessive use”.
Dr John Cooper, director of the HPA’s Centre for Radioation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, commented: “There is still no convincing scientific evidence that radiofrequency (RF) fields exposures from mobile phones and other radio technologies affect human health at exposure levels below internationally agreed guidelines.
“However, as this is a relatively new technology, the HPA will continue to advise a precautionary approach and keep the science under close review. “The HPA recommends that excessive use of mobile phones by children should be discouraged and mobile phone Specific Energy Absorption Rates (SAR) values should be clearly marked in the phone sales literature.” Dr Simon Mann, another member of AGNIR, said: “We are continuing to recommend discouraging non-essential use by children.”
Texting was preferable to calling, he said, as it meant the phone was “tens of centimetres away (from the head) rather than one or two”, reducing exposure levels by “orders of magnitude”. He added: “Hands-free kits reduce your exposure, as does using third generation (3G) modes rather than second generation (2G), and shorter calls.” Last spring the Department of Health updated its advice by saying that sending text messages or using hands-free kits can reduce exposure to radiation, by keeping the handset away from the head. John Cooke, executive director of the Mobile Operators Association, said: “The public will be reassured by this conclusion that there is still no convincing evidence that mobile phones cause adverse health effects, after almost two decades of research involving a large number of studies.”

(Pakistan Today)

ISLAMABAD – The week-long show of comedy play featuring parody of romantic hit Romeo Juliet is continued here at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) till April 29.
The play “Sorry Juliet! Romeo Loves Paaro” served the fun lovers of twin cities with Desi style of Romeo Juliet by replacing the concept of true love with the feelings of flirt in today’s society. The audience termed the play as a treat of laughter experience with quality theater entertainment created by a group of youngsters that fill the ambiance with laughter on situational parody. Directed by Raheel Khan Lodhi and produced by Nasarullah Chaudhary, the young cast mesmerize the Islooites with dances and related props, comic situations, jealousies and old age involvements The story of the bilingual play revolve around two rivalry families `Montagues and Capulets’. They are involved in a family feud that goes back years before any of the members were born. Yet the feud still continues due to the fact that neither family is ready to forgive and forget the past.
Even the townspeople are involved because the families do not keep the feud in the privacy of their own home but have been seen fighting in the public streets and displaying violence.

(Pakistan Today)

LAHORE: A group exhibition of paintings titled ‘Vision’ opened at the Revivers Galleria on Thursday.

Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal inaugurated the exhibition.

The exhibition featured paintings by 11 renowned artists from across the country. These artists are: AQ Arif, Salman Farooqi, Khalid Saeed Butt, Babar Azeemi, Abrar Ahmad, Moazam Ali, Tanveer Farooqi, Muhammad Arshad, Wajid Yaqoot, Maqbool Ahmad and Maham Gull.

These artists came together to present a very colourful and vivid collection. A large number of artists and art lovers attended the opening of the exhibition and praised the work on display.

More than 50 paintings by these artists, done in different mediums, including oil, ink and acrylics, have been put on display at the exhibition, which will continue until May 10.

(Daily Times)

LAHORE: A division bench of the Lahore High Court on Thursday further restrained the anti-terrorism court (ATC) from announcing decision on the trial of former lawmaker from the Pakistan People’s Party, Mian Aslam Madhyana, over torturing an elderly schoolteacher and fracturing both his legs.

The bench, consisting of Justice Sheikh Najamul Hasan and Justice Abdul Sami Khan, on Thursday extended the stay until May 3, as the complainant teacher’s counsel sought time to present some documents.

The counsel for Madhyana, Azam Nazir Tarar, had already completed his preliminary arguments. He submitted that the allegations levelled against Madhyana had been proved false, as a medical board had given the opinion that the injuries to the teacher were not caused by a firearm. He said the board held that the wounds were caused by blunt weapons.

He submitted that the complainant got injured in a fight, adding that even the witnesses had testified that the petitioner was not present at the scene.

He submitted that the fight did not disturb the routine life of the people, as the locals intervened and calmed down both the parties. He pleaded that in such a happening, the case could not be lodged under sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The counsel said that the petitioner was being tried under the anti-terrorism law, and as such the ATC had no authority to try the petitioner.

He requested the bench to issue directions to the ATC not to try the petitioner under terrorism charges.

He also requested it to stay the proceedings of the trial court until the final decision of the petition. The police had arrested Aslam Madhyana from Johar Town. Earlier, the former MPA’s interim bail was cancelled by the LHC. Complainant schoolteacher Nafees Ahmad in the FIR alleged that Madhyana and his men attacked him after he objected to the former lawmaker’s criminal acts.

The Supreme Court had also taken suo motu notice of the incident and sought a report from all four provincial chief secretaries about steps taken to protect the lives and dignity of civil servants.

(Daily Times)

ISLAMABAD: Debate and speech contests are held to encourage students to take interest in studies, develop personality and think outside the box, said National University of Modern Languages (NUML) Rector Maj Gen (r) Masood Hasan on Thursday.

Addressing a prize distribution ceremony for debate and speech contest, arranged by the English Studies Department, he told students that co-curricular activities supplement curricular activities and help students find new avenues through which they can explore and polish their talents and abilities.

“It is a great source of satisfaction and inspiration that students are paying equal attention to both sides of their campus life,” he added.

Moreover, he also appreciated the level and performance of the students and commended efforts of the faculty for encouraging students towards such healthy activities.

A persuasive tone, logical reasoning, eye opening facts and figures, dramatic rise and fall, exuberance and a wish to outdo others made the debate and speech contest a very interesting event.

The preparation and delivery of the speeches by the students was an admirable demonstration of the art of public speaking. Moreover, two skits by the students about the bitter realities of present day world stole the show and spoke volumes of the fact that life at campus had trained them well to face the world outside.

A total of 15 students from the department participated in Urdu and English debate and speech competition and presented their views with masterly acumen. The rules of the contest required that the speech carry a strong theme regarding the present day social, cultural, economical and geo-political aspects of life.

The speech had to be completely memorised, no notes allowed, and must be between three and five minutes in length.

Khadeeja Atta secured the first position, Shahzia Javaid secured second position, while Mirza Attaur Rauf came in third in English debate. Arif Qureshi stood first, Sara Anwar remained second while Abida Khanam was declared third in the Urdu speech contest.

The prizes were distributed by the NUML rector and head of English Studies Department Dr Shaheena Ayub Bhatti. The event was also attended by Director General Brig Azam Jamal, director academics, director administration and director students affairs, faculty members and a great number of students.

(Daily Times)

ISLAMABAD: International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) Rector Prof Fateh Muhammad Malik on Thursday urged students to take part in sports and cultural activities in addition to curricular activities.

Addressing the opening ceremony of Sport Gala 2012 at IIUI, he said that extra-curricular activities were also essential for character-building and mental health of the students. He said that to encourage the students to take part in sports and cultural activities, the authorities would provide required facilities to the students and the university would also seek maximum cooperation of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in this regard. He said that players should adopt responsible behaviour whenever they go abroad to take part in sports events and consider themselves ambassadors of the country. “They must not indulge in negative activities,” he said.

He also announced the establishment of a sports directorate at IIUI.

Speaking on this occasion, HEC Planning and Development Director Tallat Khurshid said that universities all over the world produced excellent players, but the students in the country get little time for sports activities due to extensive studies.

He said that in order to change this situation and to divert the attention of the students towards extra-curriculum activities, the HEC had decided to give special concession in the attendance to those students who took part in any national championship. He said that the HEC would cooperate with the IIUI to encourage sports activities in the campus.

Earlier, Manzoor Hussain Shah, the organiser of the sports gala, introduced the participating teams to the audience. At the end, the participating players marched past and saluted the IIUI rector.

(Daily Times)

Campaigners will take part in a day of action today against controversial plans to scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

It comes as MPs prepare to vote on a motion, during an opposition day debate in Parliament, that calls for the Government to rethink its plans for the grant.

Ahead of this afternoon’s debate, campaigners will hold a lobby in the House of Commons.

EMA teenagers from two London colleges will take part in specially-arranged lessons at Parliament during the morning, and students are to hand out “save EMA” biscuits outside Parliament.

The EMA is a weekly payment of between ?10 and ?30 given to the poorest 16 to 18-year-olds, living in households earning under ?30,800 a year, to help them stay in education.

But the Government has announced the grant is to be withdrawn, and it is has already been closed to new applicants.

Campaigners are warning that scrapping the grant will affect thousands of youngsters who rely on the money to help fund their studies.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), said the Government’s decisions over the EMA have been a “complete shambles”.

“First they pledged they would not axe it, now they say they will.

“They clearly have no understanding of how important the EMA is or the difference it makes to so many people’s chances of improving themselves.

“Once again, they look horribly out of touch with the majority of people in the country – something highlighted by the revelation that the Education Secretary decided to axe the EMA despite never having visited a further education college.”

Today’s vote is “a chance for all MPs to put a stop to the mess the Government is making of the EMA and ensure they think again”, she said.

Ms Hunt added: “I urge every MP to use their vote to really make a difference to the life chances of thousands of young people across the country. With the job market as it is, we cannot afford to consign a whole generation to the scrapheap of inactivity.”

Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said: “Given the exceptional level of public support for EMAs and the political interest in the issue – as well as the wealth of new evidence about their positive impact – it is time the Government thought again about the proposed abolition.

“While we understand the ongoing pressures on the public purse, we believe that these young people are being asked to bear a disproportionate burden.”

A survey conducted by UCU with the AoC found that seven in 10 EMA recipients said they would have to drop out if their grant was withdrawn.

The UK’s biggest union has warned that educational and employment opportunities for thousands of young people would be “blighted” if the allowance is scrapped.

Unite’s new leader Len McCluskey said: “These plans make a sad mockery of the Government’s claims that it is interested in promoting job creation and will damn hundreds of thousands of young people who will be unable to reach their full potential as citizens.”

Conservative chairman of the Commons education select committee Graham Stuart told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The EMA goes to nearly half of all 17-18-year-olds in full-time education in the country. As few as one in ten students would not continue if it were not for the EMA.

“The Government’s case is that savings have to be made somewhere and, after the orgy of spending under Labour, the Government has nothing but a diet of hard choices and this is one of them.”

He said the Government was working on a replacement scheme to be administered by schools and colleges.

The Education Activist Network (EAN) said it has planned a march to start from Piccadilly at 4pm, and ending at Parliament Square where a rally will take place around 5pm.

EMA students and further education lecturers are expected to speak, according to (EAN) spokesman Mark Bergfeld.

The Metropolitan Police said officers will be handing out leaflets telling demonstrators what to expect from police during the event.

The leaflet contains information about what demonstrators can expect to see, what officers will be wearing and what to do if there is violence. It also gives information on the practice of “kettling” protesters and when it might be used.

Chief Superintendent Peter Terry, from Scotland Yard’s Public Order Branch, said: “Recently we have seen many young people turn up to protest in the capital and some of them have got caught up in the disorder and violence and are now facing court with possible life-changing consequences.

“We want protesters to have a better understanding of what to expect, what the policing operation will look like on the day, and what action we could take and why, so there will be no surprises.”