ISLAMABAD – Like other parts of the country, International Labour Day was also observed in the federal capital on Tuesday with a large number of rallies taken out by various organisations working for the rights of labour.
In this connection, a joint rally by the labourers of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Pak PWD, OGDCL, ZTBL and several others organisations was organised. It started from Aabpara Market and culminated near the parliament house. A large number of labourers participated in the rally.
They paid homage to the sacrifices of Chicago martyrs, saying that they had set a glorious example for all times to come for the working class. The labourers were of the view that the Chicago martyrs had created history by sacrificing their lives without compromising on principles.
Speaking on the occasion, CDA Mazdoor Union General Secretary Chaudhry Muhammad Yaseen said that the labour community in the country had been working in the insecure environment due to the anti-poor policies of the leaders.
“It has now become difficult for poor labourers to even feed their families due to the rising inflation, load-shedding, terrorism and unjust privatisation of the state run institutions,” said Yaseen.
The labour leaders went on saying; “The people sitting in the parliament take no interest in the plight being faced by the people who earn their livelihoods through hard work”. The labour community demanded of the government to increase their salaries in the next fiscal budget according to the rate of increase in inflation. A separate rally was also taken out by the Awami Party Pakistan to press the government for accepting the demands of labourers serving in the government organisations. Speaking on the occasion, human right activist Farzana Bari said that the government would have to take some practical steps for the welfare of the labour community as well as the poor of the country.
She said that free education, health insurance, electricity, gas and other basic amenities were responsibility of every state and the Pakistani government should not deprive its citizens of these basic rights.
It is pertinent to mention that the International Labour Day is the commemoration of the 1886 massacre in Chicago, which occurred after an unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at police as they dispersed a public assembly during a general strike for the eight-hour workday. In response, the Chicago police fired on the workers, killing dozens of demonstrators and several of their own officers. In 1889, the first congress of the second international meeting in Paris for the centennial of the French Revolution called for international demonstrations on the 1890 anniversary of the Chicago protests. May Day was formally recognised as an annual event at the second congress in 1891.
Car thieves’ gang busted; 2 cars seized: Aabpara police busted a gang of car thieves and recovered two cars and as many CNG kits from three gangsters, a police spokesman said on Tuesday.
He said that a team of Aabara police, headed by SHO Khalid Mehmud Awan, managed to bust a gang of auto-thieves and recovered two cars from three gangsters identified as Nisar Ahmed, Saeed and Afzal.
The thieves confessed during the initial investigation that they had taken away seven cars from various areas, including Sector G-6 in Islamabad. The police have so far succeeded in recovering two cars and two CNG kits of vehicles from their possession. Further investigation is underway from them.

(Pakistan Today)

ISLAMABAD: National Literacy Promotion Programme (NLPP) Chairman Asif Irshad Satti has demanded substantial allocation of funds in the next budget to promote better education facilities in the rural and urban areas.
Speaking at a ceremony of teachers on Tuesday, he said budgetary allocation for expansion of educational facilities was very low and if the government did not pay any attention to improve the current situation, the ongoing educational projects at the federal and provincial levels would be badly damaged.
Satti pointed out that in the far-flung areas, there are still a number ‘ghost schools’ and the influential persons normally use their buildings for animal farming. He said that sincere efforts were required to upgrade the standard of education in the country and to enhance the literacy rate.
The chairman stressed the need for addressing the difficulties being faced by the teaching staff and said that adequate raise in salaries should be announced in the forthcoming budget.

(Daily Times)

KARACHI: The Students’ Financial Aid Office, University of Karachi (KU) will organise Mitsubishi Scholarship Cheque Distribution Ceremony on May 3 (tomorrow) at the Council Room of the Dean Faculty of Arts. According to the In-charge Students’ Financial Aid Office, Prof Dr Shakeel Ahmed Khan, this will be the first and second installment of Mitsubishi Corporation Scholarship in which 56 students will be awarded with scholarships. The cheques will be distributed by the Vice Chancellor,
Prof Dr Muhammad Qaisar.

(Daily Times)

Protesters in Egypt are responding in large part to a widening gap between rich and poor, one expert says.Analyst: The protesters “all want the same” as they oppose growing inequality Analyst: “There’s a feeling a lot of people are being left behind”Differences involve government structure and population makeup

(CNN) — Protesters who have taken to the streets in several Arab nations of North Africa are angry at their own governments, and lashing out over some specific problems in their countries. But what they’re looking for — and, in the end, what inspired them to stand up and demonstrate — is very similar, experts on the region said Thursday.

“They all want the same,” said Emile Hokayem, with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in the Middle East. “They’re all protesting about growing inequalities, they’re all protesting against growing nepotism. The top of the pyramid was getting richer and richer.”

Speaking to CNN about the recent demonstrations that have occurred, to varying extent, in Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia in northern Africa, and Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, Hokayem said the protesters were also standing up “against a high level of police brutality.”

“Fundamentally it’s a question of dignity. People’s dignity has been under assault for decades,” he said.

Juan Cole, a Middle East historian at the University of Michigan and a blogger, put it this way: “There’s a feeling a lot of people are being left behind.”

The protesters are driven by economic frustrations, “discontent with authoritarian character of the regime,” and the “feeling that there’s no real representation” — although to different degrees in each nation, Cole said.

Across all four countries, the protest movements are “largely driven by young people” and include a “high proportion of the educated middle class,” he said. There’s “a feeling amongst that middle class that they’re not being given the opportunities in life that their degrees warrant — what historians would call a ‘blocked elite.'”

The worldwide economic crisis helped trigger the demonstrations by adding to economic pressures at home, and showing up in things like petroleum and food prices, Cole said.

But there are differences among the protest movements as well.

In Egypt, “the state probably has done more to protect people” from rising food prices by offering subsidies, Cole said. The Egyptian economy was stagnant for decades, but in the past 10 years started to grow — creating bigger differences between rich and poor, Cole said.

“And I think some of the protest is over the ways in which the labor movements have gotten left behind and haven’t shared in the economic growth” in that country, he said.

In Algeria, where protests have been relatively small, the demonstrations “look to me like an after-effect of the civil war that Algeria had between the fundamentalists and the secular generalists,” Cole added.

Yemen has also faced great internal strife, which serves as a background to the wave of protests, he said. The dire poverty in Yemen has also left questions about how many people have access to water, he said. “It’s a deeply poverty-stricken country which is getting worse off. … People are desperate there.”

In Tunisia, the government was run by an especially small clique, “a kind of mafia state,” which people are railing against, Cole said. “The tightness of that clique and the way in which it dominated the economy is beyond anything you see elsewhere. People just weren’t being let into the system to benefit.”

Hokayem said that “the key differences have to do with the makeup of these societies.” For example, “Egypt is more diverse, a much bigger country,” while Tunisia has a “pretty homogeneous population.”

Also, the military plays a different role in the different societies, he said. In Tunisia, it is “small and underfunded” and not a major instrument of power, unlike in Egypt, where the military is a much bigger player, he said.

But while the context for each protest movement may be unique, “at the end of the day, the real driver is psychology,” Hokayem said.

He noted two more key similarities among the protest movements: “The Islamists don’t seem to be on the forefront in any of those countries,” he said. “Up to now, it has been a mix of separate leftist and moderate Islamic movements.”

And unlike other protests seen in the Arab world in recent years, the protests aren’t against the West — nor do they seem inspired by the West. “The West is irrelevant in a way,” he said. Grievances at home “are driving all of this.”


RAWALPINDI: The students of Rawalpindi will get laptops under the chief minister’s laptop scheme in a distribution ceremony in Barani Agriculture University on May 5.
Sources said that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif would be the chief guest and distribute laptops among the brilliant students after a speech.
A total 7,169 of students of the city will receive laptops in the ceremony.
Colleges Director Dr Muhammad Ashraf said that 2,362 students of Barani Agriculture University, 2,413 of Engineering University Taxila, 1,550 of the Rawalpindi Medical College and 105 students of the Rawalpindi Education Board would be given laptops.
The distribution ceremony had been postponed twice in the past.


 Marco Vicenzino: Hosni Mubarak’s besieged government a threat to region’s stabilityVicenzino says Mubarak should renounce 2011 candidacy, lay road map for transitionPopulation tired of martial law and poverty and want better life, he saysWriter: Mohamed ElBaradei not ideal leader, but moderating force, credible for transitionEditor’s note: Marco Vicenzino writes about geopolitical risk analysis for global media outlets and is director of the Global Strategy Project, a geopolitical research and analysis organization based in Washington.

(CNN) — With public pressure mounting against the government of President Hosni Mubarak, the future of Egypt, the broader Middle East and international stability hang in the balance.

Mubarak’s best option is to offer Egypt a safe landing. He should lift the 30-year state of emergency, renounce his candidacy in Egypt’s September 2011 presidential election and allow civil society to prepare for a free and fair election under full international supervision.

The promise of a clear road map for transition will defuse tensions and ensure stability in Egypt and beyond. Exiting politics pragmatically will also guarantee the safety of Mubarak, who is 82, and that of his inner circle.

Change in the region is inevitable. The question remains: What shape and course will it take in each state? The status quo is clearly unsustainable in the long term. Most people simply have had enough of authoritarian rule and are tired of its constraints.

Social websites, such as Twitter and Facebook, did not cause the current upsurge but serve as critical enablers; the instability is clearly rooted in the lack of political opening, insufficient economic opportunity and years of corruption.

Although Tunisia served as catalyst sparking wider regional activism, the kettle of discontent was simmering in Egypt and beyond long before Tunisia’s uprising.

In relative terms, Egypt is more open than other societies in the region: In 2008, Egypt was rated top reformer in the World Bank’s annual Doing Business Report, which ranks ease of doing business by country. It praised the country for a series of actions aimed at making it easier to start a business, get credit and construction permits. However, benefits from all this have not adequately trickled down the social ladder.

After 30 years of martial law, most feel entitled to a better life. The state of fear is dissolving. Although the religiously inspired violence of the 1990s surfaces occasionally, it no longer serves as a credible pretext for denying civil liberties. The fatal beating of a young blogger by police officers in June further enraged public opinion.

The Middle East’s landscapes are not only dominated by minarets. White satellite dishes bring global exposure to millions, particularly the young who constitute the region’s overwhelming majority.

Complimenting Tunisians in his State of the Union address, President Obama avoided any reference to developments in Egypt. As it juggles for words, the Obama administration is trying to strike a balance between popular aspirations for democracy and American interests in a stable Egypt, a leading recipient of U.S. aid.

The Iranian revolution and its fallout continue to haunt U.S. foreign policy. The fear of another close regional ally falling to fundamentalism lurks in the American mind-set. Losing Egypt would have devastating consequences for stability in an already volatile region. After all, Egypt remains the largest and most populous Arab state with about 80 million people. Furthermore, it borders the explosive Gaza and Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. aid.

No political party is responsible for the current public activism. It is largely ordinary people on the front lines seeking reform. They must not be undermined, and any movement for change must guard against the calculated factions with drastically different agendas wishing to exploit current instability.

Egypt’s largest political opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood, has remained largely silent, but it has now called for participation in demonstrations. Even so, keeping a low profile and allowing protests to take their course may best serve the Muslim Brotherhood’s interests at present.

A more public role would trigger a fiercer government crackdown under the pretext of confronting extremism. Even if reform takes place, Egypt’s military and security services will inevitably shape any final outcome to current instability.

The hopes of many are hinging on Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei. However, after years living abroad, his ability to lead is questionable. He remains largely disconnected from Egypt’s streets and daily realities of its population, more than a third of which live in poverty.

ElBaradei reportedly under house arrest as Egypt sends army into the streets

However, this apparent liability can be an asset. ElBaradei’s international profile can calm international concerns and ensure continuity with global institutions critical to economic survival. Not being tied to any political party can help make ElBaradei credible as an important transitional figure. After all, most Egyptians have no party affiliation.

As a moderating force above the political fray, ElBaradei can guide a broad-based coalition of national unity into a democratic age. He will never be a leader ordinary Egyptians can identify with, but can be representative of their aspirations for a more a transparent future in which citizens become greater stakeholders and leaders more accountable.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Marco Vicenzino.


LAHORE – A five member delegation of German journalists lead by Dr Erentraud Homberg, managing director of Communications & Medical Journalism Department Germany, visited Kinnaird College for Women’s Media Studies Department here on Monday. Principal Dr Rukhsan David and Head of Media Studies Department Shazia Saeed welcomed the delegation. Dr David briefed the delegation about various disciplines and degrees offered at Kinnaird and involvement of Media Studies Students in various curricular and co-curricular activities. The German delegation also visited Radio Kinnaird 97.6 FM. Dr Manfred Hettlage, Editor of Bayernkurier appreciated the media studies students on their creative expression and execution of ideas in their fields and on successfully running campus radio.
German delegation of journalists also had an informal interactive session with the students. The delegation attended a presentation of Media Studies Department’s students consisting of a short film “Pathar ka Insan” produced by students of Media Studies Werda Munib, Misha Umer and Mariam Iftikhar, a photo essay presented by Muneera Batool, a stop motion film by Furda Asghar, Sahridh Ghumman and Sadia Irfan. Hilde Regeniter, from Cologne Dom radio appreciated the students on their creative expression and execution of ideas. German delegation of journalists also had an informal interactive session with the students. Students discussed the issues related to negative media portrayal of Pakistanis and Muslims in the western media.
Kurt Seinitz, Head of International Dept of Kronenzeitung, University of Vienna shared his views that lack of direct personal exposure of journalist to the community or country they report results in such portrayal. Dr Nikhat Khan, vice principal and Dr Isabel William, Dean of Faculty of Professional Studies were also present at the occasion along with Media Studies Dept faculty members Ms Nida Tahir & Ms Seemab Far Bukhari.
The delegation also visited PU and held talks with PU VC Mujahid Kamran.

KARACHI – The Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) fully endorses and pledges to extend its full support in creating awareness about the Earth Day – celebrated globally on April 22.
In a statement issued on Monday, the KESC stated that it is a “socially responsible organisation and cognizant of its responsibilities towards its operating environment”.
In 1970, the Earth Day originated in the US and the now global event is celebrated by more than 500 million people in 175 countries across the world. The Earth Day’s theme for 2012 was “Mobilise the Earth”.
The theme calls for people to transcend nationalities, backgrounds and join hands to celebrate the event and encourage the planet’s protection. This theme puts greater responsibility to take practical steps to protect the world and ensure a better tomorrow.
The KESC believes that small contributions in raising awareness levels in this direction today can be converted into major initiatives in the future. With this spirit in mind the, Energy Conservation Department of KESC participated in a number of public awareness campaigns to mark the Earth Day celebrations.
The KESC conducted an awareness camp at the Dolmen Mall Clifton and was an active participant in the beach cleaning activity at Clifton beach, held by the Environment and Alternative Energy Ministry.
The KESC was also present in good faith at the pledge-making activity held at the Bagh Ibne Qasim, aimed at engaging people in activities that work towards sustaining and saving the environment.
In a message at the event, KESC CEO Tabish Gohar said: “We should all join hands to raise our voices for a sustainable future and direct our efforts towards saving our planet and contribute in our individual and collective capacities to make this world a better place to live in.”

ISLAMABAD, April 30: A teenage boy drowned in a pond here on Monday.

Police said Jibrial Kazim, a second-year student of a college at Sector F-10/4, had gone to G-12 along with his friends for swimming. However, he stuck in a marsh and drowned in the water.

The police fished out the body and handed it over to the family of the victim.

ISLAMABAD, April 30: Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday declared the non-refund policy of all the educational institutions as illegal and directed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to formulate a policy that safeguards the students’ interests.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC passed this order while deciding the petition of a student who got admission at Comsats Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) in BS Computer Science programme.

The petitioner deposited Rs69,000 as admission fee but then deposited another Rs85,000 at FAST University when he received an admission offer for the same programme by them.

The CIIT, however, refused to refund his admission fee when he informed them of his admission at FAST University and asked for his money. The Comsats administration told him that due to their non-refund policy, the fee, once deposited, could not be returned to anyone.

The court observed the policy was neither rational nor legal. It directed the HEC to restructure the policy and bring the same in conformity with the court’s orders.

The court observed: “There is no statutory provision through which the entire fee deposited by the students can be forfeited and non-refund of fee to a student who leaves the institution at the very initial stage is against the principles of justice.”

The order further said the educational institutions’ approach in parting education appeared to have commercial orientation and “due to this very reason, such policies are introduced to squeeze money from the students who, in the compelling circumstances, are forced to submit an undertaking regarding acceptance of all terms and conditions”. The order stressed that educational institutions cannot be allowed to operate purely on commercial considerations.

Justice Siddiqui said such policies, in fact, burdened the entire family and there were instances where brilliant students had been deprived of education for good as their families were not financially so strong as to deposit fee at different institutions to secure admission for them.

He said: “The institutes’ management is expected to demonstrate parental conduct with the students instead of dealing with them like a businessman.

“Availing better opportunity is the right of every student and it should not be treated as an offence.”He, however, said the institutions might be allowed by the HEC to deduct certain amount from the deposited fee against their expenses on the services made available to the students till their stay with them.

The petitioner, Usman Syed, through his counsel Barrister Omer Farooq adopted before the court that he applied for admission in the bachelor programme at CIIT, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (GIKI) and FAST University, simultaneously, in 2010.

He said the CIIT on July 7, 2010 sent him an offer letter for admission and he deposited the admission fee. On July 19, 2010, the FAST University also approved his admission and asked him to deposit the fee which he did. According to the petitioner, on July 29, 2010, he approached the additional Registrar CIIT Nadeemuddin Qureshi who refused to refund
the fee saying that no such practice prevailed at Comsats.

Raja Abid Hussain, counsel for the CIIT told the court that petitioner deposited the admission fee after accepting the terms and conditions mentioned in the offer letter.

He said, the institution announced the opening and closing dates for admissions and reserved the seats for those students who met the criteria adding that because of the admission of the petitioner, the other aspirants were denied the same because of the limited number of seats. He pointed out that CIIT operates under CIIT Ordinance 2000 and its policies
were formulated in accordance with the said ordinance.