The Sindh Minister for Environment Shaikh Muhammad Afzal has said millions of people were facing acute environmental threats across the province particularly in Karachi. To overcome the issue a joint endeavour is required from different stakeholders.


The non-governmental organisations, industrialists, transporters, municipal institutions, the media and citizens should work in harmony to counter the problem. He made the observation on Friday at a tree plantation campaign in the Boat Basin area to commemorate the International Earth Day. About a 100 schoolchildren and citizens participated in the ceremony.


The campaign was organized by the National Forum for Environment in collaboration with the District Municipal Corporation South.Despite the fact that cleanliness is considered half of Muslim’s faith, the Muslim Ummah including Pakistan lagged in the domains of safe and healthy environment, the minister maintained.


He also stressed the need to save mangroves in promoting a healthy environment.Talking about the pollution in Keenjhar Lake, he said investigations were underway and the culprits would be punished.


The NFE president Muhammad Naeem Qureshi appealed to the masses to keep their surrounding areas clean and green. He urged the environment department to cooperate with NGOs and industrial organisations in promoting environment-friendly activities.On the occasion, the DMC administrator also announced plantation of 5,000 trees.

Prize distribution ceremony at IIU


 The prize distribution ceremony for the Annual Cultural Week (male) students of the International Islamic University, Islamabad was held here on Thursday.

Acting Ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan, Jasim Muhammed Khalidi, was the chief guest whereas IIUI President Professor Dr Mumtaz Ahmad was the guest of honour. IIU Vice President Professor Dr Sahibzada Sajidur Rehman, Student Advisor (male) IIU Dr Safeer Awan, faculty members and students attended the ceremony.



Annual Sports Day ‘Cheering for Victory’ organized by The City School Cantonment Nursery Branch with much funfair here on Thursday at Pasban Sports Complex.


Headmistress The City School Cantt Nursery Branch Naveeda Riaz, Regional Academic Coordinators of The City School Rubina Zahid and Itrat Rubab Haider and Principal Cantt Senior The City School Moazzam Munnawar were present on the occasion. MNA Malik Abrar Ahmed was the chief guest.


The whole ground of Sports Complex was decorated with banners and balloons in which the children participated in different games. The event was attended by the parents of the participating students who cheered and appreciated at every activity.


The programme commenced with the recitation from the Holy Quran and its translation. After national anthem was played, the student lit the torch.


‘Welcome presentation’ was given by Play group children, ‘Zamba Party’ was presented by Nursery classes, ‘Happy to be Together’ by KG, Juvenile Aerobic Dance by Jr 1 N and Junior II T while Glorious Freedom was presented by Junior 1 T ,C and S.



The Government of Punjab on Friday distributed laptops among 1,517 talented students of four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK.


The laptops were by President of Pakistan Muslim League-N Mian Nawaz Sharif at a ceremony held in Islamabad, said a press release.


Among the students who were given laptops included 416 from Azad Kashmir, 386 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 95 from Balochistan, 140 from Sindh and 480 from Punjab.


The students lauded the services of Punjab Government for promotion of science education among the youth and allocating considerable budget for the facilities like laptops.


They said distributing laptops among students from four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK was a good step and would help the recipients to excel in their education.


A unique wood art exhibition by international fame artisan Muhammad Saleem Mughal is going on at the Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC).


Senator Najma Hameed, MNA Tahira Aurangzeb, along with Naheed Manzoor and RAC Resident Director Waqar Ahmed inaugurated the exhibition.


51-year-old Wazirabad origin artisan Muhammad Saleem Mughal spent 38 years in promoting the unique wooden art. He is a master craftsman in wood art and used to live in the neighbourhood of renowned Atta-ul-Haq Qasmi and Munno Bhai. He got education from the same school in which these intellectuals have studied.


Earlier, Muhammad Saleem Mughal had a passion for brass work, but later inspired by the variety wood could offer so he shifted from brass to wood art in 1973 and made first model of a house in 1974 and sold it for Rs25. Happy and contended with the money he earned, he paid for his admission in class 6th.


The artisan has a penchant for intricate details and often uses teak wood for crafting most profusely intricate carved items. Saleem uses walnut wood, cedar and ‘shisham’ for creating exquisite models and decorative items. A single item can take from two months to two years for completion all depending upon the intricacy of the piece.


Muhammad Saleem Mughal has prepared lots of masterpieces including ‘Khana Kaaba’, ‘Masjid Nabvi’, plazas and houses. He also made statues of famous personalities of the world, including Benazir Bhutto. He is a self-made engineer by his inner qualities, who has sent his artpieces to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Spain, Norway, US, India, France, Canada, Greece, Japan, China and Korea.


Saleem is satisfied with his profession and has a desire to transfer this craft to his predecessors. He is imparting training to several students, thus ensuring continuity of his art to the younger generations. In this regard, Saleem Mughal runs an Art Centre in Gujranwala and has trained more than two hundred students all over Pakistan and has a museum of having 100 unique wood art pieces. He is inscribing Holy Qura’an with cedar wood, which is first-ever attempt in the world. He has set a target of 17 years because one para takes two and a half years to complete. Saleem Mughal has not yet received any national or international award from any government.


Apart from wood art, he is a good singer. He got recorded his first song in 1984 from Radio Pakistan, Lahore, with famous musician Taasaduq Ali Khan. He sings ‘ghazal’, ‘geet’ and ‘kafi’.


After opening ceremony, Senator Najma Hameed said: “The exhibition is a true reflection of our magnificent cultural heritage which certainly served to express a louder message to the world that Pakistanis are creative and peaceful nation.”


MNA Tahira Aurangzeb said that the craftsman must be provided with a platform and get a chance to sell his products to the public without involvement of the middleman.


 Over 700 scholars received degrees in the disciplines of engineering, medical sciences, management sciences, information technology, physics and mathematics during the 7th Postgraduate Convocation of National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) on Thursday.


The ceremony was attended by a large number of civil and military officials, parents and families of the degree recipients. A total of 686 MS and MPhil scholars were conferred degrees in their respective fields while 20 were awarded PhD degrees. Furthermore, 58 scholars were awarded gold medals for their distinctive performances in their respective areas of study.


Professor Dr Khalid Parvez (RCMS) and Professor Dr Athar Masood Ahmad (NBS) were awarded Best Teacher awards for the years 2010 and 2011 respectively. Similarly, Associate Professor Dr Rafiq Muhammad Chaudhry (NIT-SCEE) and Associate Professor Dr Hafiz Farooq Ahmed (SEECS) were awarded Best Researcher awards for the year 2010 and 2011 respectively.


Dr Javaid Laghari, Chairman Higher Education Commission was the chief guest. After awarding degrees and medals to the successful scholars, he extended his warmest felicitations to the degree holders, their proud parents and the esteemed faculty. He also appreciated the management and visionary leadership of the university in providing quality higher education in Pakistan.


He termed the university a national asset dispensing its duties with a team of committed professionals. He eulogized NUST for instituting a system geared up for the provision of a congenial environment for the holistic development of the students. He went on to mention that the NUST was significantly contributing to the evolution of a knowledge-based socio-economic culture in the country to help the nation face the modern challenges of globalisation.



The School Education Department (SED) has come up with a clarification regarding the news item, appeared in The News Thursday, which says it released Rs10.5 billion to provide missing facilities in schools during last four year i.e. 2008-09 to 2011-12. These facilities have been provided to 6,684 public schools on whole school approach basis.


A spokesman for SED clarified the facts that under whole school strategy, all missing facilities to each of the selected school are provided (i.e. drinking water, electricity, toilets, boundary wall, additional class rooms and furniture), through one go.


In addition to above, Rs10 billion have also been spent to upgrade 2,886 public schools to the next levels during last four years. These up-gradations have created 12,000 new slots of teachers from grade 09 to 20. More than 70,000 teachers of various grades have been inducted in schools purely on merit during last two years. These recruited teachers are highly educated having minimum graduation degree to PhD level. 50% of these new teachers, are science graduates, which will definitely impart, to improve learning outcomes of science and mathematics of the students of public schools.


He added that to bring at par, the public schools with the private schools, and to bridge the digital divide, with a cost of Rs5 billion, IT labs have been provided in 4,286 high schools. Another programme to upgrade 515 old IT labs and to refurbish 1,000 science labs in schools is also under implementation with a cost of Rs1.5 billion.


The provision of laptops to the talented youth of the province is also in initiative to provide productive tool to the future leaders to update themselves with the recent advancement of science, technology and knowledge to convert the nation into competitive, dynamic and informed workforce.


He said that in April, of the year 2011, Chief Minister Reform Roadmap was launched for the public sector schools as a soft intervention to infuse better governance and quality in the school system, which is imparting education for 11 million students, with 60,000 schools and 400,000 employees-teachers.


All the districts are being monitored continuously on the basis of 18 indicators under Reforms Road Map and ranked on basis of their performance i.e. quality, physical conditions, teaching techniques, and students attendance and teacher presence etc. As per latest quarterly monitoring generated by the independent sources, Student’s attendance has been achieved up to 85%, which is 09% higher than the same period of last year and Teachers’ presence for January, 2012 of public schools is upto 88.3%, which is 04% higher than the same period of last year. As regards to the availability-functioning of facilities in schools, it has risen up to 85.8% so far. These interventions have stopped the deterioration of public schooling in Punjab. The journey towards betterment has been started but still there is long way ahead to go.


Mumtaz Alvi adds: This correspondent stands by the story, as not a single of the mind-boggling facts, narrated in it, has been denied by the SED. It is widely emphasised even by teachers privately that there is a need to divert funds allocated for a politically-motivated laptop scheme to the provision of latrines, clean drinking water, electricity and boundary walls to thousands of government schools.


Moreover, in view of massive inflation, an upward realistic review of schoolteachers’ salary is also imperative to lift their morale, enabling them to meet their day-to-day expenses.

Islamabad: The National Language Authority (NLA) organised an event in which four books on Urdu literary criticism were launched as part of a series titled ‘100 Kitabain 100 Mehmaan’.


The books which were launched included ‘Iqbal ka Tassawar-e-Kashf’ by Shahida Rasool, ‘Ghalib aur Ghamgeen kay Farsi Maktubaat’ by Partu Roheela, ‘Naser Rasheed Jahaan’ compiled by Humaira Ishfaq and ‘Fikar-e-Iqbal ka Almia’ by Dr Salahuddin Darwesh.


NLA Chairman Dr Anwar Ahmad said that the event was initiated to promote book reading culture and Urdu language. It was second of series of events and will continue until he holds office of the NLA.


Presiding first session of books launching, Dr Najeeb Jamal said that Partu Roheela has compiled and translated ten Persian letters of legendary Urdu poets Ghalib and Ghamgheen that is her remarkable contribution to Urdu literature.


Commenting on Shahida Rasool’s book ‘Iqbal ka Tassawar-e-Kashf,’ Dr Jamal said that her topic was complicated but she has done an excellent job. The topic remained untouched despite abundant work of Iqbal Shanasi.


In recognition of outstanding performance of students in academics and international university placements, the Roots College International (RCI) Flagship Millennium Campus (Sector I-9/3) and the Roots High School (RHS) (Sector F-8/4) organised an award distribution ceremony for high-achievers on Thursday evening.


The ceremony, held at the Pak-China Friendship Centre, was attended by a large number of students achieving distinction, their parents, academicians and intellectuals. Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr. Javaid Laghari was the chief guest on the occasion. RSS Executive Director Faisal Mushtaq, Colonel & Mrs. Mushtaq Rasul Chaudhry, CEO and founder of the Roots School System, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, chairman of the Pak-China Institute, Masood Khan, ambassador of Pakistan to China, Zenen Buergo Concepcion, ambassador of Cuba, Uzma Yousaf, country head of the CIE, Khadija Bashir from Intel Pakistan, Dr. Maria Sultan, director general of the SASSI, along with other ambassadors, guests of honour and social, community and political leaders graced the ceremony.


This year, high-achievers award ceremony was organised to reward and recognise the achievements of all O-Levels, IGCSE, AS & A-Level, BSc University of London International Programme students. The large number of high-achievers showed that Pakistani students have huge potential and would make their mark in different fields in near future.


Speaking on the occasion, Faisal Mushtaq said: “Roots School System students across Pakistan have won scholarships of more than $100 million over four years to various international universities, which is testament to our commitment to their career choices and university application support.”


HEC Chairman Dr. Javaid Laghari appreciated the outstanding achievements of students of the RCI Millennium Campus and congratulated students, parents and teachers who have won recognition. He saluted the dedication and commitment of its management and teachers who are nurturing the future of Pakistan and promoting global citizens imbued with patriotism.


This year, the RCI Millennium Campus clinched many distinctions and university placements. Eman Riaz, Rida Fayyaz and Hassan Tariq are top of the list, while other distinction-holders include Iftikhar Ali, Daanial Zafar, Mishaal Tanveer, Zainab Tabarak, Hina Satti, Naiha Mahmood, Hamza Iqtadar and Flah Ilyas.


This year once again, the Rootsians got placement in world class universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth, UPENN, Georgia Tech, New York University, University College of London, University of Warwick and Imperial College London, Cardiff University, the University of Liverpool, the University of Nottingham, Alfred University, Arcadia-Columbia University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, University of Warwick, University of Manchester, Drake University, University of Edinburgh, Queen Marry College of London, University of Southampton, University of Ontario, University Okalahoma, University of Westminster, Valparaiso and Northeastern University.


In the end, shields, medals and certificates were distributed among high-achievers who had excelled in various disciplines. The chief guest also gave awards to teachers, coordinators and management staff members of the RCI and RHS.

 olm Toibin will take up his position at Manchester University next academic year, as Martin Amis makes the journey across the Atlantic in the opposite direction Colm Toibin will replace Martin Amis as professor of what has become one of the highest profile creative writing courses in the English speaking world.The Irish author, currently lecturing at Princeton in the United States, will take up his position at Manchester University next academic year, as Amis makes the journey across the Atlantic in the opposite direction for family reasons.But while Toibin remains a significant, if less controversial, coup for Manchester, sources indicated that he will not be benefiting from the £80,000-a-year salary enjoyed by Amis. The author of Money famously received what was worked out to be an hourly rate of £3,000, in exchange for teaching postgraduate students just two days a week, one semester a year.A spokesman declined to comment on exactly how much Toibin will receive for his 28 hours of annual lecturing but said it would be “less than” Amis.A bitter Islamophobia row with former faculty colleague Terry Eagleton not withstanding, Amis has presided over a 100 per cent increase in the number of students looking to enroll at the Centre for New Writing Courses, where his lectures on subjects such as Nabokov and Saul Bellow have been packed out.Amis paid tribute to colleagues, students and part-adopted city. “Teaching creative writing at Manchester has been a joy. I’ve become very fond of my colleagues. I was impressed by the four instalments of ‘youth’ I encountered – they seemed to me impressively independent-minded and non-ideological. I loved doing all the reading and the talking; and I very much took to the Mancunians. They are a witty and tolerant contingent.” He said he hoped to continue to visit Manchester regularly in the future.Toibin, whose work has explored themes arising from – among other subjects – his homosexuality and Irish society, won last year’s Costa Novel Award for Brooklyn, ironically the destination where the Amis family are reported to be preparing to decamp. He was also long-listed for the Booker Prize for the same novel, having previously appeared on the shortlist twice before.Toibin said he was looking forward to taking up the post and was planning to bring composers, artists and other arts practitioners into the seminar room to explore how music, art and theatre influences writing.”I visited the Centre for a reading two years ago, and I saw and liked how the students combined writing new work with reading and talking about literature in seminars and workshops, and in the public events which bring the work out of the university and into contact with the wider world,” he said. John McAuliffe, co-director of the Centre, described Toibin, as “a great writer and a public intellectual” who would be a similarly “iconic appointment” to Amis.Head to headColm ToibinAge 55Born Enniscorthy, Co WexfordBest known books The Blackwater Lightship, Brooklyn Salary Undisclosed but less than AmisQuote On his education: “I found some of the priests sexually attractive, they had a way about them… a sexual allure which is a difficult thing to talk about because it’s usually meant to be the opposite way round.”Martin Amis Age 61Born OxfordBest known books The Rachel Papers, Money, London FieldsSalary £80,000 for 28 hours of teaching (£3,000 per hour)Quote On model Katie Price, aka Jordan: “She has no waist, no arse… an interesting face… but all we are really worshipping is two bags of silicone.”