A workshop titled ‘Empowering Women: Legislation under Human Rights’ was organised at the Resource Centre Murree (RCM) on Tuesday.

 

The Fatima Jinnah Women University’s Women Research Resource Centre organised the workshop in collaboration with the Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Department of the Punjab Government.

 

It was the first seminar at the RCM, after its formal inauguration by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on December 30. FJWU has been involved in the RCM since the project was launched. Barrister Qasim Ali Chowhan and Dr Farah Qadir, in-charge of the Department of Behavioural Sciences at FJWU, were the resource persons while FJWU Vice Chancellor Dr. Samina Amin Qadir was the chief guest.

 

Chowhan conducted awareness-raising session by translating the legislation about the rights of women that may be exercised for their empowerment at workplaces. He linked the human rights today with the religion and stated that Almighty Allah has granted protection. He explained all rights with reference to religion as he gave the example of ‘Khutba Hajjat ul Wida’. All rights that CEDAW has ratified today were granted by Islam 1,400 years ago. All policy bills related to human rights explain the same.

 

Talking about harassment of women, he said that it is an issue that complainants hesitate to discuss. He said that our socio-cultural patterns of interaction encourage silence on these issues and other similar issues like inheritance, right to vote, marriage, divorce etc.

 

Dr. Farah Qadir discussed possible interventions for women’s empowerment. She gave real life examples to illustrate the phenomena and then distributed the post-study forms to evaluate that to what extent participants have absorbed the session.

The International School Award for Connecting Classrooms Project of the British Council was won by the Grammar School, Rawalpindi, says a press release.

 

The GSR held an event to celebrate the achievement and appreciate the efforts of heads and teachers involved in related activities.

 

The Connecting Classrooms Project requires that clusters of specified schools share activities with each other with the objective of learning from best practices. The GSR’s efforts towards this were considered outstanding enough among three hundred schools worldwide to enable it to receive the award.

 

GSR Director Nasreen Iqbal congratulated the faculty and appreciated the dedication, vision and purposefulness that led them to create and conduct activities for the project. She went on to say that the Connecting Classrooms Project was essential in that it helped young people to connect with each other through the projects and while doing the research they were able to discover more about their own country and culture. This kind of project, she said, would go a long way in creating understanding in today’s troubled world.

 

She said that earlier in the last decade, the GSR won Unesco’s Peace Pillar Award for its Peace Education Programme and it was also given recognition as one of the Nine Best Practicing Institutions in the Asia-Pacific Region by the Korean National Commission for Unesco in Education for Sustainable Development. Moreover she said, a Heritage Project prepared by the GSR based on four Unesco World Heritage Sites is being taught at the GSR and is also being shared nationally and internationally.

 

Syed Fahd Hussain was the chief guest on the occasion. He congratulated the school for this singular achievement and said that the school had obviously reached a level so as to enable it to earn this award. He went on to laud the work done by teachers and students.

 

Fahd Hussain said that he represented the media, whose balance sheet demanded that more focus be laid on education. He said he would be doing a series of programmes focusing on the contents of Article 25-A of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution which demands free education for all Pakistani children between five and sixteen years of age.

 

Shields commemorating the Grammar School Rawalpindi’s achievement of getting the International School Award were given away by the chief guest to heads of all branches of the school.

An annual report on child sexual abuse (CSA) launched by Sahil on Tuesday warns that sexual abuse of children can occur anywhere at anytime with acquaintances making the largest group of abusers. The report titled ‘Cruel Numbers 2011’ was launched at the ‘Child Friendly Newspaper Award 2011’ ceremony organised by Sahil.

 

The data collected by the organisation shows an increase of 2.26 per cent in the reported cases of CSA from 2010 to 2011 as total 2,303 such incidents were reported in 2011 as compared to 2,252 in the previous year. Around 88 per cent of sexual assaults took place within four walls where as 12 per cent cases happened in the open areas. Compiled from 65 national, regional and local newspapers, the report shows a phenomenal increase in the reported cases of abduction from 850 in 2010 to 1,112 in 2011. It mentions that on average, three children are abducted everyday in the country.

 

The three major crime categories show that there were 505 cases of rape and sodomy, 279 cases of gang rape and sodomy and 141 cases of attempted rape and sodomy. The data shows that 72 per cent of the victims were girls whereas 28 per cent of boys were sexually abused during the last year.

 

The report says that a total of 4,846 attackers abused 2,303 children. The largest groups of attackers were of acquaintances, the second largest group was strangers followed by the perpetrator within the family. The statistics term children in rural set-up more vulnerable to sexual abuse as 60 per cent of these cases were reported from rural areas whereas 40 per cent occurred in the urban set-up.

 

The highest percentage of vulnerable age groups among girls is 6 to 18 years. Among boys, the age bracket of 6-15 years was the most vulnerable. The data shows that sexual abuse can occur anywhere at anytime. Punjab led the provinces with 79 per cent cases followed by 10 per cent in Sindh. Only 4 per cent such cases were reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and only 6 per cent from Baluchistan and Islamabad.

 

“Interestingly, districts like Dera Bugti, Gwadar and Turbat are lowest in CSA incidents, but are major spots from where the child trafficking occurs which shows that CSA exists in those areas, but not reported,” said Manizeh Bano, Executive Director Sahil in her presentation on Trafficking and Abduction cases in Pakistan.

 

She said that in 1,112 total abduction cases reported in 2011, 824 were girls whereas majority of cases involved. She said that according to Federal Investigation Agency, 800 cases of child trafficking and abduction occurred last year with 24,000 total victims. Around 15,896 victims were sold for prostitution.

 

Addressing the event, Norwegian Ambassador Cecilie Landsverk said that CSA is a global phenomenon. “Despite efforts to enhance awareness on child rights, several countries of the world continue to face the problem of child protection, negligence, abuse and exploitation and in the developing world, it is particularly widespread and acute,” she said.

 

She urged the media to give more attention to the issue of child sexual abuse. She said that a big number of children belonging to internally displaced families have become vulnerable to CSA.

 

Press Council of Pakistan Chairman Raja M Shafqat Khan Abbasi said that the Press Council has distributed the code of ethics for media in media organisations at national and regional level. He was of the opinion that sensitive reporting of these issues can create profound impact on the society.

 

Abbasi believed that majority of the cases of child sexual abuse are not reported in the society because of the fear of influential culprits. “The phenomenon of child protection needs to be dealt with a trans-national and national context through cooperation among various institutions,” he said.

A study of Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) shows lowest number of students-per-teacher (21) in government girls’ primary schools of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) whereas in Fata the number was highest (53) — higher than the government-set limit for primary schools which is 40 students-per-teacher.

 

The report released on Sunday says that as much as 92 per cent of the 154 government girls’ primary schools monitored in 84 districts in February were without cleaners while about three-fifths did not have peons and security guards.

 

The report mentions that information was withheld on the appointments of support staff by the administration of 57 schools. However, in schools that did share information, an average 10 per cent vacancy rate was observed. As for the teaching positions, the average vacancy rate was 9 per cent in 142 schools that shared information. The average teacher-student ratio of 1:34 in the monitored schools appeared to be satisfactory.

 

More than half of the schools were without playgrounds while 51 had no arrangements for clean drinking water. Furthermore, 50 schools did not have proper seating for students while three-fourths of the monitored schools did not have staffrooms for teachers. On the other had, 43 schools lacked electricity connections and classrooms of 56 schools had no fans.

Riphah tops HEC ‘W’ category

Islamabad

 

Riphah International University, Islamabad, has secured first position among ‘W’ category of private sector universities of the country for its quality enhancement programmes. The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC), after evaluating the performance of the Quality Enhancement Cells (QECs) of the universities through a score card has placed Riphah International University on the top of the merit list prepared in this regard. A function was held at the main campus of Riphah International University in Sector I-14 in Islamabad on Tuesday to celebrate the achievement.

 

RIU secures first position among ‘W’ category universities

Staff Report 

ISLAMABAD: Riphah International University (RIU) has secured first position among ‘W’ category private sector universities of the country for its quality enhancement programmes.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC), after evaluating the performance of the Quality Enhancement Cells (QECs) of the universities through a scorecard, has placed Riphah International University on the top of the merit list prepared in this regard.

A function was held at the main campus of the university on Tuesday to celebrate the achievement. RIU Pro-Chancellor Hassan Muhammad Khan was the chief guest on the occasion. The HEC started in phases the installation of QECs in public sector universities and higher education institutions since 2005.

Wood art exhibition opens at RAC

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: A unique wood art exhibition by internationally famous artisan Muhammad Saleem Mughal opened at the Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC) on Tuesday.

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

The 51-year-old artisan from Wazirabad spent 38 years in promoting this unique art.

Muhammad Saleem Mughal is a master craftsman in wood art and used to live in the neighbourhood of intellectuals Attaul Haq Qasmi and Muno Bhai.

He has God-gifted wood art skills which are totally different from his ancestors. He started to learn brass work, but later shifted to wood art in 1973 and made first model of a house in 1974 and sold it for Rs 25, which he used to get admission in 6th class.

He often uses teak wood for crafting intricately carved items. Mughal uses walnut wood, cedar and shisham to create exquisite models and decorative items. A single item takes two months to two years to complete. He has prepared lots of masterpieces, including holy mosques in Makkah and Medina.

He has also made statues of famous personalities of the world, including Benazir Bhutto. He is in fact a self-made engineer who has sent his art pieces to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Spain, Norway, America, India, France, Canada, Greek, Japan, China and Korea. He is satisfied with his profession and desires to teach his skills to his next generation. He is imparting training to several students, thus ensuring continuity of his art.

In this regard, Mughal runs an Art Centre in Gujranwala and has trained more than 200 students all over Pakistan and has a museum housing 100 unique wood art pieces. The special is that he is scribing holy Quran with cedar wood, which is the first ever attempt in the world.

Apart from wood art, Mughal is also a good singer. He recorded his first song in 1984 at the Radio Pakistan Lahore with famous musician Tassaduq Ali Khan. Speaking at the exhibition, Senator Najma Hameed said, “It was 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.”

Tahira Aurangzeb said that the craftsman must be provided a platform and praised the role of RAC in this regard.

A large number of visitors, including families, youth and general public, from the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi attended the exhibition.

ISLAMABAD – A unique wooden art exhibition by international artisan Muhammad Saleem Mughal kicked off here at the Rawalpindi Arts Council on Tuesday.
Senator Najma Hameed, MNA Tahira Aurangzeb, Naheed Manzoor and Resident Director Waqar Ahmed inaugurated the exhibition.
The 51-year-old Wazirabad-origin artisan spent 38 years in promoting this unique art. Muhammad Saleem Mughal is a master craftsman in wooden art. He lived in the neighborhood of Atta-ul-Haq Qasmi and Munnu Bhai. All the three got education from the same school. He has God-gifted wooden art which is totally different from that of his ancestors.
Saleem told Pakistan Today that he started to learn brass work, but later switched to wooden art in 1973. He made first model of a house in 1974, sold it in Rs 25 and spent Rs 6 for his admission to 6th class. He often uses teak wood for crafting most profusely intricate carved items. Saleem uses walnut wood, cedar and shisham for creating exquisitely models and decorative items.
A single item takes two months to two years for completion. He has prepared lots of masterpieces, including Khana Kaaba, Masjid-e-Nabvi, plazas and houses. He has also made statues of famous personalities of the world, including Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.
He is in fact a self-made engineer by his inner qualities and has sent his art pieces to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Spain, Norway, America, India, France, Canada, Greece, Japan, China and Korea. Saleem is satisfied with his profession and desires to shift it to his next generation.
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 wooden art pieces. The special is that he is scribing the holy Quran with cedar wood, which is the first-ever attempt in the world. He has set a target of 17 years because one paara of the Quran takes two and a half years to complete. Saleem Mughal has not yet received any national or international award from any government, but he thinks that God’s blessing is more important than any award. Apart from wooden art, he is a good singer.
A large number of visitors, including families, youth and general public from the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, attended the exhibition.

Employees of university demand facilities
KHAIRPUR, A large number of employees of the Shah Abdul Latif University (SALU) held a demonstration outside the press club here on Tuesday in protest against the varsity administration.

On the call of the All Sindh Universities’ Employees Federation, they held the protest, carrying placards and raising slogans in favour of their demands.

Speaking on the occasion, president of the SALU Employees Welfare Association Sheharyar Rajput and general secretary Mohammad Aslam Ghumro said that employees had several demands, including a housing scheme, increase in medical allowance, leave encashment and admission quota for the children of university employees.

They said they would continue the protest for their demands.

The shuttle programme was world famous, but blighted by two disasters and high costs

One of Nasa’s retired space shuttles has made a dramatic flypast over the centre of the US capital on the way to its final resting place in a museum.

Discovery flew over the monuments along the National Mall in Washington DC at about 10:00 EST (14:00 GMT).

Piggy-backing on a modified Boeing 747, Discovery was flying at an altitude of about 1,500ft (457m), Nasa said.

The shuttle programme ended in 2011. Discovery will be on show at the Air and Space Museum in Virginia.

After circling four times over the Washington Monument, and passing the National Mall over Capitol Hill, the shuttle landed at Dulles Airport, a few miles outside Washington DC.

From there it will be towed to the nearby Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, where it will be on permanent display.

During the flypast, onlookers lined the roofs of the capital’s buildings and the route to the airport, wanting to catch a glimpse of the shuttle.

Earlier, crowds of onlookers gathered along the Florida shoreline as dawn broke on Tuesday to see the shuttle take off from Kennedy Space Center.

Cheers broke out from the estimated 2,000-strong crowd as the aircraft left the runway, the Associated Press reported.

Dozens of former shuttle workers and Nasa veterans were reported to be among the onlookers.

Discovery then passed low over a packed beach and made one final turn back over the runway at the space complex before climbing towards a cruising altitude.

Space shuttle Discovery piggy-backed on a modified Boeing 747 on its way around Washington and into Dulles Airport

The aircraft’s fuselage was illuminated by the early Florida sunshine for moments before it headed out of sight on its journey up the East Coast.

Fleet leader

In Washington, would-be shuttle-watchers gathered on the National Mall, the two-mile-long public park running through the heart of the city, for a prime view of the mid-morning flyover.

Discovery descended to 1,500ft and was visible over the city’s Waterfront area, the Mall, and near the Jefferson Memorial.

The flypast was also expected to delight onlookers at a regular plane-spotting haunt, Gravelly Point Park, just outside the city limits in Virginia.

Discovery’s final destination is an annex of the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum, situated in Virginia, close to Dulles, the main international airport serving Washington DC.

Discovery was the most-used of the shuttle fleet, flying 39 missions, and was designated the fleet leader.

It is the first of three remaining shuttles to head to a museum. Enterprise – the prototype shuttle – and Endeavour will make their final journeys later this year.

The shuttle fleet was decommissioned and the programme wound up in 2011, after 30 years in action, when construction was completed on the International Space Station.

Retirement of Nasa’s iconic shuttle fleet was ordered by the US government, in part due to the high cost of maintaining the ships.

The decision leaves the country with no means of putting astronauts in orbit.

Chile Earthquake Shakes News Station As News Reporter”s On Air A strong and prolonged earthquake of magnitude 6.5 has shaken central Chile. Authorities have ordered a preventative evacuation of parts of the coastline.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake’s epicenter was 30 miles northeast of Valparaiso, Chile, and it had a depth of 15.5 miles. It struck at just before midnight local time.

Residents say the quake was felt for almost a minute.

Authorities say the evacuation was ordered from the city of Constitucion to Tongoy.

Chile’s oceanography service discounted the possibility of a tsunami.

 

SANTIAGO, Chile — A strong earthquake struck this city early Tuesday morning while Prime Minister Stephen Harper was visiting.

The quake left highrise buildings in the Chilean capital swaying back and forth.

The quake, which the U.S. Geological Survey initially measured at a magnitude of 6.5, struck 42 kilometres north-northeast of the main port of Valparaiso, and 112 kilometres northwest of the capital, Santiago, at a depth of 25.9 kilometres.

Harper had arrived in Santiago early Monday morning and met senior members of the Chilean government as part of a push to expand trade ties with the country and the region. He flew out Tuesday morning for a trip back to Canada. As he boarded on the airport tarmac he was asked if he felt the earthquake. He nodded.

The earthquake struck at about 12:50 a.m.

The tremors in Santiago lasted about 30 seconds.

“The prime minister and his wife were at the hotel when the earthquake happened,” said Andrew MacDougall, Harper’s director of communications.

“All members of the Canadian delegation, including the prime minister and his wife, Laureen, are just fine.”

A contingent of Canadian media travelling with the prime minister were staying at a separate hotel from Harper.

Most reporters had just returned to their hotel rooms after a lengthy day of covering the prime minister’s visit to the city.

Suddenly, the hotel shook violently and there was a loud rumble. The building swayed back and forth.

 

Shortly after the earthquake, a stretch of Chile’s coastal area was evacuated as a precaution.

 

There was no initial word on damage to buildings, and the government’s emergency office said there were no immediate reports of any injuries.

 

No tsunami warning was issued.

 

This is the second major earthquake to hit central Chile in the past three weeks.

 

On March 25, a magnitude-7.2 earthquake hit the central part of the country, shaking buildings in Santiago.

 

Chile, on the western coast of South America, is prone to frequent earthquakes because it is located on the region’s “Ring of Fire” of volcanoes and fault lines.

 

Chile Earthquake 2012: Magnitude-6.5 Temblor Prompts Authorities To Evacuate Stretch Of Coastline

SANTIAGO, Chile — A strong, magnitude-6.7 earthquake rocked central Chile late Monday, prompting authorities to order a preventative evacuation of a stretch of coastline, causing hundreds of people to flee buildings in panic and shaking up the visiting prime minister of Canada.

There were no reports of major damage, but authorities in the port city of Valparaiso said a 72-year-old man died of a heart attack during the quake, which was felt for almost a minute in Valparaiso and the capital, Santiago.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially put the quake’s magnitude at 6.5 but later raised it to 6.7. Its epicenter was 26 miles (42 kilometers) northeast of Valparaiso, and it had a depth of 23 miles (37 kilometers). It struck just minutes before midnight local time Monday (3:50 Tuesday GMT).

The Chilean navy’s hydrographic and oceanographic service discounted the possibility of a tsunami, but authorities maintained an order for people to move to higher ground along a roughly 500-mile (roughly 780 kms) stretch of coastline running from the city of Constitucion to Tongoy, north of the capital.

Deputy Interior Secretary Rodrigo Ubilla said the preventative evacuation would be kept in place until authorities had confirmed that there were no major variations in the ocean.

The quake knocked out power and telephone service in various parts of Santiago, but the National Emergency Office of the Interior Ministry said that it had received no reports of major damage or injuries so far.

There were reports of rockslides on a highway outside of Santiago, and residents of Valparaiso said the facades of some old buildings had fallen.

Public Works Minister Laurence Golbourne said that that Chile’s airports and roadways appeared undamaged.

Visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was awakened by the earthquake, but was not hurt.

“The prime minister and his wife were at the hotel when the earthquake happened,” said Andrew MacDougall, Harper’s director of communications. “All members of the Canadian delegation, including the prime minister, and his wife, Laureen, are just fine.”

Still, the event shook up delegation travelling with Harper at the end of a four-day trip to Colombia and South America.

On his Twitter page, Canadian Parliament member Randy Hoback wrote, “With PM in Chile. Just experienced Earthquake. Everything A ok! Just freaky!”

Chile is highly earthquake-prone. A magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck central Chile on March 25, the strongest and longest that many people said they had felt since a huge quake devastated that region two years ago. In 2010, the 8.8-magnitude quake caused a tsunami that obliterated much of the coastal downtown of the central Chilean city of Constitucion.

SANTIAGO, Chile — Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen have escaped unharmed after a strong earthquake struck the Chilean capital Santiago early Tuesday morning while the couple were visiting.

The quake left highrise buildings in the city swaying back and forth.

The quake, which the U.S. Geological Survey initially measured at a magnitude of 6.5, struck 42 kilometres north-northeast of the main port of Valparaiso, and 112 kilometres northwest of the capital, Santiago, at a depth of 25.9 kilometres.

Harper had arrived in Santiago early Monday morning and met senior members of the Chilean government as part of a push to expand trade ties with the country and the region. He flew out Tuesday morning for a trip back to Canada. As he boarded on the airport tarmac he was asked if he felt the earthquake. He nodded.

The earthquake struck at about 12:50 a.m.

The tremors in Santiago lasted about 30 seconds.

“The prime minister and his wife were at the hotel when the earthquake happened,” said Andrew MacDougall, Harper’s director of communications.

“All members of the Canadian delegation, including the prime minister and his wife, Laureen, are just fine.”

A contingent of Canadian media travelling with the prime minister were staying at a separate hotel from Harper.

Most reporters had just returned to their hotel rooms after a lengthy day of covering the prime minister’s visit to the city.

Suddenly, the hotel shook violently and there was a loud rumble. The building swayed back and forth.

Shortly after the earthquake, a stretch of Chile’s coastal area was evacuated as a precaution.

There was no initial word on damage to buildings, and the government’s emergency office said there were no immediate reports of any injuries.

No tsunami warning was issued.

This is the second major earthquake to hit central Chile in the past three weeks.

On March 25, a magnitude-7.2 earthquake hit the central part of the country, shaking buildings in Santiago.

Chile, on the western coast of South America, is prone to frequent earthquakes because it is located on the region’s “Ring of Fire” of volcanoes and fault lines.

Literature festival
Karachi: The second Karachi Literature Festival being organised by the British Council and Oxford University Press-Pakistan begins on Feb 5, the organiser announced on Tuesday.

The two-day event would be held at a local hotel from 10am to 9pm on both days, they said, recalling that the first event of the series held in March last year had received a great deal of attention and acclaim internationally.

A large number of well-known local and foreign authors, playwrights and poets would be participating in the upcoming festival, they said. app