ISLAMABAD, April 17: The 24th annual cultural week of International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) was inaugurated on Tuesday by the varsity’s president, Dr Mumtaz Ahmed.

Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Javaid Laghari was the chief guest on the occasion while President Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Sardar Yaqoob Ahmad Khan, Prof Dr Sahibzada Sajidur Rehman, and ambassadors of United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Somalia to Pakistan attended the opening ceremony.

Students from China, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Kenya, Bangladesh, Iran and other countries set up their stalls.

The stall established by Afghan students featuring different aspects of Afghan life, food, literature and rare livestock was a great attraction for visitors. Students from other countries also showcased different aspects of their respective cultures.

Similarly, students from the four provinces of the country highlighted their cultures.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, IIUI President Prof Dr Mumtaz Ahmad said: “In 1980s, some forces had been preaching only Jihad but after 9/11, the same forces changed their direction and emphasised that Islam is a religion of peace. It is true that Islam is a religion of peace but at the same time Jihad is its integral part. The foundation of Islam is not primarily peace but justice,” he said.

Dr Javaid Laghari urged students and teachers to focus on research-based studies for mastering advance technology. He said the World Bank had a focus on higher education, skilled knowledge, technology, innovation and research. He said universities should devise policies keeping in view the priority of the international monitory institution.

He said the HEC would encourage all innovative ideas so that the pattern of seeking employment could be turned into creating employment. He reiterated that the Muslim youth should work in the field of research and higher education.

UAE Ambassador to Pakistan Essa Abdullah said students were the real assets of the Muslim world. He said his country was contributing to improving the economy of the Muslim countries. He said the UAE had established 22 universities in 40 years and now the students from all over the world were coming to the country to get education.

IIUI Rector Prof Fateh Mohammad Malik said Muslims should remember their duties by keeping in mind that Islam was a religion of peace and harmony.

Iranian Ambassador to Paksitan Ali Reza Haghighian will open the cultural week on the female campus on Wednesday. The event will continue till April 2.

(Dawn)

RAWALPINDI, April 17: Masterpieces of wood artist Mohammad Saleem Mughal on Tuesday impressed art lovers at an exhibition held in Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC).

Living in the neighbourhood of intellectuals like Attaul Haq Qasmi and Munno Bhai, Mr Mughal, in his early 50s, made first model of a house from wood in 1974 when he was in 6th class and sold it for Rs25.

“At that time my school admission fee was Rs6,” he said while talking to Dawn.

He said it took him 38 long years to promote wood art the world over and attract its lovers from several countries.

He said he had prepared a lot of masterpieces including Khana Ka’aba, Masjid-i-Nabvi, plazas and houses besides making statues of famous personalities of the world including former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

He is in fact a self-made engineer and has sent his art pieces to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Spain, Norway, America, India, France, Canada, Greek, Japan, China and Korea.

Mughal, who also runs an art centre in Gujranwala which houses 100 unique wood art pieces, said he was satisfied with his profession and desired to pass on his skill to the next generation.

Senator Najma Hameed and MNA Tahira Aurangzeb inaugurated the exhibition and was impressed by the skills of the artisan.

Mughal has also made the first ever attempt to scribe Holy Quran on cedar wood for which he has set a deadline of 17 years, as one para (chapter) of the holy book takes two-and-a-half years to complete.

Saleem Mughal has not yet received any national or international award from any government.

He said he often used teak wood for crafting most profusely intricate carved items. He also uses walnut wood, cedar and shisham for creating models and decorative items. A single item takes two months to two years to complete.

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

After the inaugural ceremony, Senator Najma Hameed said it was a true reflection of our magnificent cultural heritage which certainly served to give a louder message to the world that Pakistanis were creative and peaceful.

MNA Tahira Aurangzeb said the craftsman must be provided a platform and also get a chance to sell their products to public for promoting peace that would ultimately portray soft image of the country.

(Dawn)

Condemning the incident, religous cicles and teachers fraternity said that the provincial government and the city administration had failed to provide security to the life and property of the citizens.

KARACHI: In what appeared to be part of the ongoing targeted killings on sectarian grounds, the vice principal of a government technical college was shot dead in the Nazimabad area on Tuesday, police and leaders of a religious organisation said.

Imran Zaidi, the vice principal of Jinnah Polytechnic College, in his late 40s, was attacked while he was driving home in his car (T-8473) from work in the evening.

The police said two assailants riding a motorbike fired multiple shots at his 1000-CC car when it was passing the Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) building.

“As told by witnesses, both attackers were wearing helmets,” said SP Tanveer Alam Odho of North Nazimabad. “The victim sustained serious injuries and was being taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital when he died. The killers used 9mm pistol in the attack.”

He said the police cordoned off the crime-scene to collect evidence and more details about the incident. He, however, sounded convinced that the victim was killed on sectarian grounds.

Officials at the hospital said the victim, shot at close range, sustained four bullet wounds mostly in the upper torso. The official in the medico-legal section, further stated that one of the bullets pierced the victim’s forehead.

A resident of North Karachi, Imran Zaidi was father of two and had been associated with the profession for more than 20 years.

The killing attracted strong reaction from religious circles and the teacher fraternity. Condemning the incident, they said that the provincial government and the city administration had failed to provide security to the life and property of the citizens.

“In district central alone, some 22 members of our community have been gunned down on sectarian grounds within the last three months or so,” said Allama Ali Anwar of the Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM), which had organised a sit-in outside parliament in Islamabad last week to register its protest against the ongoing wave of violence against the Shia community.

He said the authorities concerned had assured the protesters of concrete measures to check the trend that had affected many parts of the country, the situation was aggravating with each passing day.

“We believe that the government is not serious in tackling the situation as it has not even removed the police officers concerned in Karachi’s central district despite so many such incidents having taken place within their remit. The people of Karachi have been left at the mercy of armed groups, who strike their targets with impunity.”

The teacher fraternity also condemned the killing and described it as a direct threat to the people associated with the noble profession.

Meanwhile, the Anjuman-i-Islamia Trust, which manages the affairs of the Jinnah Polytechnic College, has announced suspension of all activities at the institution till Thursday to mourn the death.

“We condemn the killing,” said a college spokesman, adding that Mr Zaidi had been associated with the college for many years and commanded great respect among his colleagues and students. He urged the government to investigate the murder and punish the culprits at the earliest.

(Dawn)

KARACHI, April 17: The Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) has released its new schedule for the SSC examinations that could not be held on April 10, 11 and 14 due to the poor law and order situation in the city.

According to a BSEK handout issued on Monday, the April 10 English (compulsory) paper-II of Science Group will now be held on May 8 in the morning session at all centres.

The English (compulsory) paper-II of General Group, which could not be held at the Government Boys Secondary School, Jinnah Square Malir, on April 11, will now be held on May 8 in the afternoon session (2pm to 5pm).

The SSC Science Group’s Mathematics for Class X, which could not be held at a total of six different examination centres in Lyari Town on April 14, will now be held on May 27 in the morning session.

The examination centres will remain unchanged, said the BSEK communication.

In the meantime various vigilance teams detected three cases of impersonation at a centre in Orangi Town and 13 cases of cheating at three different centres located in Shah Faisal and Landhi towns on Monday.

The BSEK controller of examinations, Rafia Mallah, paid a visit to the examination centre located at the Civic Public Secondary School, Nazimabad, and warned the centre superintendent of changing the centre if he failed to reign in the “rampant mismanagement”.

(Dawn)

KARACHI, April 17: Mansoora Hassan is a seasoned artist. Her work has been exhibited all over the world. Like all genuine artists she likes to experiment with the content as well as with the form or technique of her work. This is why apart from using the conventional media to express herself she has also used the pulp paper painting technique. An exhibition of her recent work titled Parallel views, which was inaugurated on Tuesday at the Canvas Art Gallery, is noteworthy because the display features her pulp paper as well as mixed media works.

In pulp paper painting, natural colour pigments are mixed and turned into finely beaten natural fibres. This makes the pulp act like paint. It is indeed a different technique that Mansoora Hassan has executed in a pretty convincing manner, for the simple reason that looking at her 15 pulp paper pieces makes the viewer appreciate the context and form of the painting(s) almost simultaneously.

The mixed media work on display overtly takes the exhibition to a spiritual plane. If the pulp paper pieces are more of a symbolic nature, the mixed media exhibits discuss in clear terms the Sufi side to life, which is dubbed the ‘Sema series’ of her work. The whirling dervishes, in groups or as a singular entity, are part of the entire philosophy of spirituality. The circles, in both techniques employed, play an important part with regard to the concept of the exhibition. They are the wholeness of the being.

In one way the display is a kind of homage to Rumi. It is the longing for the beloved with whom the ties have been severed. This desire for the reunion can be construed differently and has both worldly and spiritual connotations, which is what the artist seems to have tried to convey.

The exhibition will run till April 26.

(Dawn)

HYDERABAD, April 17: Seventeen students of a private school received injuries when the dilapidated roof of their class caved on Tuesday.

All 17 injured were taken to the Kotri Taluka Hospital where from, three were shifted to the Civil Hospital Hyderabad for getting fractures, while the rest were sent back after receiving first aid.

Ali Mohammad, 12, Aryan Baloch, 15, and Nazeer Ahmed, 13, were moved to a private hospital and the owner of their school promised to bear the medical expenses of the boys.

The injured were studying in Class-VII at the Blue Birds School in Kotri.

The incident took place at 8.30am while a little earlier the injured Ali Mohammad had informed their teacher Mohammad Amir of the weakness signs, the girders had begun showing. The teacher didn’t take it seriously but soon after the roof collapsed.

Regional Manager of Society for Protection of Rights of the Child (SPARC) Kashif Bajeer had announced of moving the court of law against school’s owner and Director of Private Schools, Education Department.

(Dawn)

LANDI KOTAL, April 17: The Akkakhel Peace Lashkar has claimed to help reopen eight educational institutions and launch a successful polio vaccination campaign after purging nearly 80 per cent of its territory of militants and restoring the writ of the government.

Haji Gul Miran, head of Akkakhel Amn Sarishtha (peace lashkar), told journalists in Bara on Tuesday that efforts were afoot to clear the entire area of all militant groups and pave the way for a peaceful return of internally displaced families to their homes.

He said that activists of banned militants groups had unleashed a reign of terror in Akkakhel in the recent past and beheading, kidnapping for ransom and destroying the houses of innocent people was order of the day. “It was due to this ruthless behaviour of militants that thousands people were forced to flee their houses and take shelter in the inhospitable environs of Jalozai camp,” he added.

Flanked by his comrades Haji Gul Zaman, Haji Mirza Gul and lashkar supreme commander Nawrang, he said that the sole purpose of raising the armed force was to restore peace in Akkakhel and expel militants from their area.

Haji Miran said that the sub-tribe of Sanzalkhel took a lead in forming the lashkar that was later expanded to other sub-tribes of Akkakhel tribe. “All members of the lashkar belong to Akkakhel tribe and we have no connection with any of terrorist group,” he said and adding that they had backing and support of local political administration.

He appealed to the political administration to initiate development projects in their area to restore the confidence of terrorism-affected population of Akkakhel.

(Dawn)

SWABI, April 17: Unidentified militants blew up a private school, owned by a lawmaker of Awami National Party, here on Monday.

Police officials said that main gate, boundary wall and rooms of the school were damaged when a five-kilogram bomb, planted at its entrance, exploded with a big bang. No one was present in the school at the time of explosion. The Pakistan International Public School, situated in the district headquarters on Swabi-Jahangira Road, is owned by MPA Sikandar Irfan. The school was visited by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti About two months ago.

The school remained closed on Tuesday and the management of the institutions told students that they should wait till further order.

So far about 12 schools and colleges had been targeted by militants in the district.

(Dawn)

LAHORE, April 17: The Punjab University will allocate one seat in its all departments for students from Balochistan and bear all their expenses.

This was announced by PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran at a seminar on ‘Balochistan – Problems and Solutions’ organised by varsity in collaboration with its Academic Staff Association on Tuesday.

He was all praise for the Baloch youth studying at PU’s College of Art and Design. “They have the best creative skills. We should collectively work for removing misconceptions and endeavour to solve problems of Balochistan,” he said and urged all the segments of life to be united for allocation of four percent of GDP towards education.

Senator Mir Hasil Bazenjo said for the last 60 years or so, the people of Punjab were being wrongly propagated about the Baloch that they were traitors and the same propaganda was in Balochistan against Punjabis that they were consuming major chunk of the resources of the country.

“The establishment has been causing harm to Pakistan but unfortunately the responsibility has wrongly been shifted towards Punjabis through propaganda. None of the five movements launched for the rights of Baloch people were for the freedom of Balochistan. Punjab is the province that faced maximum discriminations in the last 60 years.

“After the assassination of Nawab Akber Bugti, some young Balochis started killing Punjabis which we condemn. A large number of Punjabis has been residing in Quetta,” said the senator while stressing the need for cultural unity among provinces for the development of Pakistan.

Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association President Kaleem Baloch said that the problems of Balochistan were not created by the people of the province. The local leadership was not taken into confidence while taking major decisions regarding Balochistan.

Political analyst Prof Dr Mujahid Ali Mansoori said people belonging to middle class did not consider Balochis as traitors. Ghaus Bakhsh Bazenjo was a great politician who always practiced politics as ritual and the new generation should be aware of his lifestyle and honesty.

He said the first public representative government in Balochistan was formed in 1973 but unfortunately it was dismissed by a civilian government after nine months. Balochistan was the first province which declared Urdu as official language.

Former senator Abdul Hayee Baloch said Balochis would not comprise over their sovereignty and would prefer sacrificing their lives rather than becoming a slave. He said now Balochi women had taken to streets and established camps outside Islamabad and Karachi Press Clubs to raise voice for the missing persons.

Military Training Centre former director-general Javed Iqbal said the civil government of Balochistan should use Rs14 billion allocated for `Aghaz-i-Haqooq-i-Balochistan’ and if the government did not consume it, then the people should ask their Balochi rulers about it.

He said Balochis should join Balochistan police and Levies to improve law and order situation there.

LUMS: The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) will be launching ‘Technology for the People Initiative (TPI)’ on its campus with the collaboration of Google on Wednesday (today).

Representative of Google public policy and government affairs team William Fitzgerald would also be present on the occasion, said a LUMS spokesperson on Tuesday.

(Dawn)

LAHORE, April 17: An exhibition of furniture pieces by Nadeem Bashir, who is an associate professor and head of the communication design department, National College of Arts, opened at Ejaz Galleries, MM Alam Road, here the other day.

A carefully-edited collection of accent furniture ranging from sleek profiled drawer units to consoles and sideboards was on display.

Each piece highlighted the inherent qualities of its materials: dark grained hardwoods, hand-rubbed finishes and intricate decorative patterns. The pieces enraptured the deep warmth of seasoned wood and complement both modern and traditional lifestyles.The designs were inspired by the sleek language of contemporary design blending into the warm refined aesthetics of the rich traditions of South Asian history and culture.

The designs incorporated a clean and modern aesthetic that complemented a sense of belonging and evoked a deep hidden wisdom and truth.

Inspired by the timelessness of simple design and craftsmanship, the works on display range from bespoke furniture lines to commercial and individual design solutions. To each piece, the artist brought an impeccable eye for detail and a handmade approach that embodied his commitment to quality.

According to the artist, the objects were designed to inspire and evoke a sense of luxury and to extinguish the myth that style and satisfaction are mutually exclusive.

Mr Bashir told Dawn the current exhibition was the third one in a series; the last exhibition was held in Pearl-Continental Hotel. “I have tried to blend contemporary trends with that of traditional ones,” he added.

The artist has done Masters in Product Design from Sydney. The exhibition will remain open till April 22.

(Dawn)