GORAKH HILL

It is the best place of Sindh and need to be fully developed – WILL be more suitable to declare it by establishing a new city. Sindh Government should consider it and conduct a feasibility on it. Gorakh Hill has the environment similar to Islamabad or Mari and if some Sindh government offices moved towards it. It can change the dynamics of Sindh.

Sindh: Gorakh Hill Station

Sindh’s cold mountain resort in cold storage

Gorakh Hill Station: The one place Karachi can escape to in the summers has been ignored despite its fantastic tourism potential

By Razzak Abro

JOHI: As Karachi sweltered in the summer’s heat, it was a cool night at Gorakh Hill in district Dadu, which is otherwise known for its cooking 40-degree plus temperatures.

It was the weekend and a group of people, including journalists, had gathered at the hill station for a festival organized by ActionAid and local NGO Village Shadabad Welfare Organization. Those who knew about Gorakh had brought warm clothes, especially the people from the surrounding areas, who even brought blankets for the night’s stay at the proposed summer resort located at the Khirthar mountains at a height of 5,866 feet.

But some of the guests from Karachi, Hyderabad and other parts of the province were caught by surprise. “I did not expect such cold weather here during the hot summer,” exclaimed Asghar Azad, a journalist from Karachi. He was one of the 100-strong group a majority of which were visiting the site for the first time. Over two hundred local people turned up as well. The hosts had arranged 4-wheel jeeps to the hilltop but the old ones spluttered out and it was only the locals who managed to complete the trek on motorcycle. An elderly gentleman in his 60s made it before us city folks. According to guests Muhammad Nawaz and Nabi Bux they had to drag the bikes up at some points, much to their misery.

PPI reported that hardly 15 km of a narrow strip, with sharp and steep turnings, has so far been built contrary to the claims of the previous government that 53km of road had been completed.

PPI reported that WAPDA has completed its work of erecting poles, installing cables from the foothills to the top where a transformer could also be seen but it needs to be activated. Moreover, the Gorakh Hill Development Authority (GHDA) has laid a water supply line and the boosting stations are under-construction in addition to a single-room police check post at Khawal pass, 15km below Gorakh peak.

A two-room rest house, built during late Abdullah Shah’s government, was in a dilapidated condition, and the only addition made by previous coalition government was a two-room rest house made from fiber at another peak.

According to the revised PC-I, approved on February 24, 2003, the cost of Gorakh Hill Station project was Rs 198.269 million including the construction of roads, bridges and a water supply scheme. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) had approved the project and the Sindh Government had started the work on the 53km road strip from Wahi Pandhi, a small town at the foothills to Gorakh peak. Later, the federal government agreed to share 30 percent of the cost of the entire project.

The strip would have 10 viewpoints and would have a 10-bed emergency hospital, waterfalls, a filter plant, security posts, horse and camel riding tracks, cable cars and chair lifts.

The then prime minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali had also visited Wahi Pandhi road and had directed the Sindh government to initiate an inquiry into the matter, which still was pending.

The topography of Gorakh peak is 1,340 acres in Sindh and 1,000 acres in Balochistan. The weather in summer is very pleasant, with moderate temperatures during the day, dropping to slightly chilly at night. In winter, however, the temperature goes down to almost -8 to -12 degrees centigrade. Being the highest peak in a region, the hill offers a beautiful view of a valley from the top. The area is surrounded by arid mountains with small green pastures at certain points. During the rainy season, one can see various streams of water flowing throughout the area.

Due to bad road conditions, the 53km distance takes about 5 hours. The track is not dangerous but since it has a few sharp turns at some places, visitors get trapped at certain turns where work has not been carried.

There is no communication system in case any tourist is trapped there. No landline or mobile phone works beyond Wahi Pandhi. But somebody told PPI that the V-PTCL Wireless Phone works there.

Courtesy – Daily Times – Site Edition, Thursday, May 29, 2008

We welcome PPP Govt decision about Kalabagh Dam

If these are firm and resolute decisions, then the people of Sindh welcome the announcements with regard to Kalabagh Dam & Sindh Public Service Commission. We wholeheartedly support it. It is good to celebrate this day of positive announcements by PPP and it is high time when Mr. Zardari, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, Mr Asfandyar Wali and other party leaders should set more realistic goals for increasing the pace of development and justice. Now the coalition Govt will have to address the issues of NFC and provincial autonomy. Otherwise it would be a disappointment that a govt whose main mandate was to change the policies of injustice, unemployment, inflation and oppression, is ignoring the main issues and has been busy in transfers and postings. Once again I would like to congratulate Raja Pervez Ashraf and PPP leadership and would like to forward my earlier mail with a hope that PPP leadership and civil society would plan the strategy to materialize these suggestions, Ayaz Latif Palijo said to media.

Sindh Agenda

1. Formation of Malir, Lyari, Ibrahim Haidry and Gaddap Districts.

2. Resolution for Establishment’s apology for murder of ZA Bhutto,

Akbar Bugti, Nazeer Abbasi, Yousif Jakhrani, Lala Asad, Murtaza Bhutto, Ayaz

Samon, Nawaz Kanrani, shaheeds of Shah Bandar, 12th May, Thoree Phatak and

for all martyrs of MRD operation, Balochistan Operation and Wana operation.

3. Restoration of old Hyderabad district or at least merger of District

Matiyari with Hyderabad.

4. Restoration of rural area seats in DMC and NED.

5. Establishment of students and working women hostels at Karachi,

Quetta, Peshawar and Hyderabad for rural population.

6. After restoration of old Judiciary new merit-based appointments of

indegenious Judges in High Courts and Hon Supreme Court.

7. Issuance of lease to 700 villages in and around Karachi.

8. Opening up educational / employment opportunities for old residents

of Karachi in Kiyamari, Yari, Maleer, Gaddab and launching of projects in

poverty stricken areas like Ibrahim Haidry, Gaddap and Kiyamari .

9. Independent inquiry into the May 12 killings, October 18 and

December 27 blasts..

10. Legislation against illegal immigrants.

11. Legislation for appointment of meritorious rural youth in corporate and

private sector & MNCs.

12. Establishment of new multidisciplinary well equipped general hospitals

in Qasimabad, Gaddap and Gharo.

13. Creation of at least 3 new provincial Assembly and 2 new National

Assembly seats for Qasimabad and Hyderabad rural Taluka on the basis of

genuine population.

14. De-limitation and re-structuring of controversial constituencies in Karachi, Mirpurkhas and Hyderabad.

15. Merit based appointment of rural youth in Port Qasim, PIA, Railway,

Water Board, KPT, KESCO, SSGC, KDA, HDA.

16. Enquiry of corruption, out of turn promotions and illegal appointments

of last 8 years.

17. Removal of corrupt politicians, governors and bureaucrats from key

posts.

18. New balanced formula for NFC.

19. New Water accord & termination of Thal Canal project.

20. End of Balochistan operation.

21. Removal of concurrent list and legislation for Sindh’s genuine share

from gas, patrol, coal and port output/income.

22. Re-opening of illegally withdrawn cases against terrorists.

23. Restoration of judiciary and supremacy of law.

24. Removal of all restrictions from the media.

25. Release of all political prisoners and conviction of real assassins of

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, Akbar Khan Bugti and other political leaders and activists.

26. Re-settlement of haree victims of bonded labor jails at specially

allotted areas around Ganjo takkar / Latifabad / Zealpak cement factory in

Hyderabad and in Gaddap, Maleer and University raod of Karachi.

27. Launching of Keti bandar Port and Thar Coal projects.

28. New employment opportunities & controlling inflation and price-hike.

29. Improvement in overall education, health and communication facilities of rural areas.

30. Plan for genuine results in next census.

THE CONDITION OF SINDHI LANGUAGE IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS OF KARACHI

By Dr Ali Akbar Dhakan, Karachi

1. According to the Sindh Assembly Act, the Sindhi language is to be taught as a compulsory subject according to the Text Book for each class (from i to viii), published by the Sindh Text Book Board.
2. Each book consists of about 30-35 lessons with necessary exercises to be accomplished by the teacher after completion of the reading of the lesson. All the lessons contained in all the prescribed books are about the (a) life sketches of various personalities and their contribution to the human beings, literature, culture, religion or ethics etc.(b) Pakistan (c) Islam (d)Tourism (e) Different aspects of social sciences, technical sciences, commerce, economics etc.
3. According to the strength of each school, about at least 5 teachers are required to be appointed as Sindhi language teacher with necessary knowledge and qualification of Sindhi language.
4.But it is sorry to say and grief to point out that the Sindhi subject is being allowed to be taught just as a formality and not as a compulsory subject with an objective to learn the language in an appropriate academic and literate sense.
5. Only one or two teachers are appointed to teach this subject to a huge number of students in each school.
6. The syllabus or course of each class is prescribed by each school not in accordance with the book directed by the Sindh Text Book Board but teachers are directed in writing to teach only four lessons out of 30-35 lessons contained in the Text Books.
7. Only two periods a week of 45 minutes each are fixed for teaching Sindhi language. In this way the teachers are unable to teach the boys the basic knowledge of Sindhi Language.
8. From the policy and practice of the Private Schools, it has been clear that Sindhi language is being taught just as a formality and not as a compulsory subject.
9. It is therefore a good time to look into this fraud being committed with the Sindhi language and residents of Sindh people but teaching the other languages full-fledged time as well as the strength of teachers is made available.
10. The Education Minister of Sindh is requested to take up this matter and necessary guidelines/ instructions/ directives may be issued from time to time so that the subject of Sindhi language may be taught in accordance with the Act of Sindh Province for the benefit of the people of Sindh and
Pakistan.
11. In this regard, it is suggested that the Sindhi Language Authority, Audit and Inspection Departments of Education Department of Sindh province may be assigned the job of Vigilance and inspection for necessary correction and improvement in the Education of Sindhi language with in the Sindh province.

Sindhi be made national language of Pakistan besides Punjabi, Siraiki, Pushto and Balochi.

Implementing Language Laws in Sindh, Pakistan

[The resolution below was passed unanimously at 23rd Annual SANA convention]

Where as, the Sindhi language is one of the oldest languages of Indo-Pak subcontinent and was the only native language that was taught officially by British in schools of Sindh.

Continue reading Sindhi be made national language of Pakistan besides Punjabi, Siraiki, Pushto and Balochi.

A Biography of Benazir Bhutto

Goodbye Shahzadi : A Biography of Benazir Bhutto

New Book on Benazir Bhutto by Shyam Bhatia

Book was launched on 21st May, 2008, Shri L.K. Advani inaugurated the book followed by a Q&A with the author, Book was published by Roli Books, Delhi , India

Venue was Lecture Hall , India International Center Annexe, New Delhi

In his latest book, Goodbye Shahzadi, Shyam Bhatia traverses the highs and lows of a 34-year-long friendship with Benazir Bhutto to present a personal account of the woman and her politics. In the course of many candid conversations with the author, Benazir spoke about her family and Pakistan’s defence and foreign policies. In this book Bhatia reveals, for the first time, details of conversations that remained confidential during her lifetime.

Excerpts:

ALTHOUGH America had provided much of Islamabad’s military hardware and been the major source of foreign economic aid, any suggestion that a Pakistani ruler was prepared to get overly close to the US was bound to be viewed with suspicion on the Pakistani street. The link with Delhi was more complex. India had been Pakistan’s traditional adversary from the time of Independence, and the two countries have engaged in three major wars in 1947–48, 1965, and 1971. Therefore, any notion of a Pakistani prime minister seeking the aid of the enemy to sort out their domestic problems was bound to be controversial.

However, elected civilian prime ministers like Benazir also needed to be on at least moderately friendly talking terms with Delhi to avoid the kind of Indian military build-up along the border that would provide the Pakistan army with an excuse to strengthen its grip at home. Achieving the right balance is a difficult and sensitive exercise. Standing aloof from India invited the risk of allowing an unchecked flare-up of tensions to develop into something more serious. Being too obviously friendly with India risked being called an Indian or Hindu ‘agent’. Where India was concerned, it could be argued the dice was loaded against her long before she became prime minister.

It did not help that Indira Gandhi, ostensibly Pakistan’s and the Bhutto family’s foe, was one of the first international leaders to make repeated pleas for clemency for Zulfikar Ali Bhutto after he was sentenced to death. It was the same Indira Gandhi, then in Opposition, who twice received Benazir’s brothers, Murtaza and Shahnawaz, at her Delhi residence following their father’s execution.

It was during that first meeting with Indira Gandhi in 1979 that Murtaza suggested dividing Pakistan into four parts as a way of permanently blocking a future role for the generals. His controversial proposal for the dismemberment of Pakistan is recorded by his erstwhile colleague, Raja Anwar, in his book entitled The Terrorist Prince. Benazir’s first personal exposure to the politics and conflicts that kept Pakistan and India at each other’s throats, came during the 1965 India–Pakistan war. She and her sister Sanam were at boarding school in Murree, close to the Kashmir border, when war broke out and the nuns in charge of the school made the girls participate in air-raid practices and blackouts. Six years later, as a college undergraduate at Harvard, Benazir was more directly involved when war broke out again, this time over the emerging nation of Bangladesh, and she was summoned by her father to New York to help him as he prepared his brief for the United Nations Security Council. It was while she was managing the telephones at her father’s New York hotel suite and simultaneously acting as hostess for the delegations calling on him that Zulfikar gave Benazir her first lesson in international diplomacy.

When peace talks with India began the following year in S[h]imla, Benazir was once again at her father’s side. This time she was personally introduced to Indira Gandhi and other Indian dignitaries, but it was her experiences at the mass level that made the greater impression. Her autobiography and other contemporary accounts record the ecstatic reception she received whenever she ventured out into the streets of S[h]imla, with traffic-jams and small mobs of enthusiastic Indians craning their necks to get a better view of her. One local newspaper carried the iconic headline, ‘Benazir is benazir’.

Many years later, when Benazir was Prime Minister of Pakistan in her own right, she hosted a visit to Islamabad by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The occasion was a regional summit of South Asian countries, and Benazir used it to try and forge a better personal rapport with Rajiv and Sonia, who were invited to a private dinner with Benazir and her husband during the course of the three-day visit. Six months later Rajiv was back in Islamabad, this time on a purely bilateral visit. The two visits led to a series of mutual confidence-building measures, including force reductions along the borders and an agreement that India and Pakistan would not attack each other’s nuclear installations. Benazir would also claim many years later, shortly before she died, that she choked off assistance to militant Indian Sikhs who had been afforded refuge in Pakistan by General Zia. It was the termination of this support, she implied, that finished off militant Sikh demands for an independent homeland carved out of India’s Punjab state.

Benazir’s Indian critics charge her with being two-faced when it came to India. They compare her covert fostering of the Taliban under Major General Nasirullah Babar, later her Interior Minister, with her rallying cry to anti-Indian jihadi militants across both sides of the ceasefire line when she shouted ‘Azadi, azadi `85’ (freedom, freedom`85). Evidence that she was secretly and violently anti-Indian has been deduced from her television images of 1990 where she was seen inciting Kashmiri militants to take action against India’s then Governor of Kashmir, Jagmohan. Still remembered is the shocking cutting gesture she made at that time in 1990, her right hand striking the open palm of her left, as she intoned, ‘Jag, jag, mo-mo, han-han’. In her speech aimed at stoking the fury of the jihadis, she said:

“The people of Kashmir do not fear death because they are Muslims. The Kashmiris have the blood of the mujahideen because Kashmiris are the heirs of Prophet Mohammed, Hazrat Ali, and Hazrat Omar. And the brave women of Kashmir?

They know how to fight and also to live. And when they live, they do so with dignity. From every village only one voice will emerge: freedom; from every school only one voice will emerge: freedom; every child will shout, “freedom, freedom, freedom”.

French journalist Fran`E7ois Gautier sensed the same hard line emanating from Benazir when he interviewed her in 1993 and asked her about Kashmir. She responded by telling him: “You have to understand the Pakistani point of view on Kashmir … that for long the Hindu Pandits in Kashmir exploited and dominated the Muslims who are getting back at them today”. Asked whether that was the only reason Pakistan was helping Kashmiris in their fight for self-determination, she replied: “It should be clear also that Pakistan never forgot the humiliating loss of Bangladesh at the hands of India,” before adding, “Zia did one right thing. He started the whole policy of proxy war by supporting the separatist movements in Punjab and Kashmir as a way of getting back at India.”

Benazir never attempted to justify her jihadi speech or the cutting gesture, but shortly before she was assassinated she claimed credit for reining in the Sikh extremists who had been given sanctuary across the border within Pakistan before she became prime minister.

Benazir’s Sikh connection was revealed in December, 2007, after India’s National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan publicly questioned her track record as “not necessarily something which will make us believe that she would follow to the letter what she has said—I think even if she wishes to”. A furious Benazir lashed back in an interview with India’s Outlook magazine:

“Does anyone remember that it was I who kept my promise to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi when we met and he appealed to me for help in tackling the Sikhs? Has India forgotten December, 1988? Have they forgotten the results of that meeting and how I helped curb the Sikh militancy?

If anyone kept her word, it was me, not Rajiv. He went back to India and then called me on his way to the Commonwealth to say he could not keep his promise to withdraw from Siachen (the disputed glacier in northern Kashmir) and that he would do it only after the elections.”

I had heard of Benazir’s azadi speech, as well as some of her other reported virulent comments about India–Pakistan relations, and wanted to see for myself just how much she had changed from the time we first met at Oxford. An occasion to talk to her freely and in depth arose when she invited me to visit her in Dubai in 2003. We had spoken over the telephone a few months earlier, and before that also briefly met in London. It was then that she and I agreed to get together for a heart-to-heart, somewhere private and away from the glare of television cameras.

One of the first questions I put to her before we sat down for dinner in Dubai was about Kashmir; how did she see Kashmir and was it a subject for negotiation? “Its for negotiation and when I was Prime Minister, the Indian Government had agreed to put Kashmir as an independent agenda item,” Benazir replied:

“We had two agenda items. One of the agenda items was Kashmir and the second agenda item was India–Pak and we said we must not let lack of progress on one issue impede progress on the other. The second thing is that if we disagree over the territorial unity of Kashmir, we can still work for the social unity of Kashmir by working for safe and open borders. Because if we have safe and open borders, then people can travel, they can trade and then, ultimately, I feel we must ask ourselves that with a population of over a billion people and high rates of poverty amid islands of affluence, what do we do to pick ourselves out of this mess for the future? And l see the only way forward for us is to try and see what the European Union did and to try and have a kind of tariff in a common market that will enable people.”

This sounded to me like sensible reasoning, at the very least sharply different from the kinds of sentiment associated with the “azadi, goli chalao” politician of a decade earlier. This new look, or rather a return to the old Benazir, had enhanced her reputation for expressing views that projected her both as sober and positive when it came to India. I, in fact, sensed something fundamental had changed. Speaking to her that day it seemed to me that Benazir had come round to the view that a nuclear armed Pakistan, one of the world’s seven nuclear weapons powers, and India could no longer risk head-on confrontations. As she explained; “After India and Pakistan went nuclear in 1998, the PPP had a reappraisal and we said we don’t want to follow tit-for-tat with India. Just because India does something, we should not copy it. We should identify our core interests and follow our core interests, but not copy India”.

Many in India still do not appreciate the importance of this changed thinking. In effect, Benazir had come around to the same point of view as the US and Soviet Union in their time after they had tested nuclear weapons following the end of the World War II.

Benazir felt that what made sense for India and Pakistan was to strengthen economic ties. “You know what makes economies move?” she asked me rhetorically:

“In my view economies move through the service sector, through creativity. So if we open up, people will come and visit Pakistan; our hotels will be full; more hotels will be built; more labour will get jobs. Same in your country. All the visitors who come will want to have kebab and tikka and nihari and all the shops that make all the kebab and tikka and nihari will go up. People will want to buy; they will want to spend; they will want to go to museums; they will want to sight-see. It’s the flow of money that strengthens our economy and that’s what we all need—Nepal or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka or India, or Pakistan; we all need that.”

Encouraged by what I had heard thus far, I focused more sharply on bilateral relations, asking Benazir if the bitterness among some Pakistanis was associated with their fear of Indians trying to reclaim the properties they had abandoned at the time of Partition. “There is the older generation; they fear that, but I don’t think there is any such thing among the younger generation,” she replied.

“I have met people who are very bitter about India and I am sure you have similar people on your side who have witnessed massacres. People who witnessed massacres, it’s very difficult for them to let go.

“But, generally speaking, those who did not witness massacres, they all want to talk about their homes in India which they left—and even Indians do the same. I met (former Prime Minister) Mr I.K. Gujral and he told me he had been in Jhelum his whole life. I have met (former Deputy Prime Minister) Mr Advani and he told me about Karachi and Hyderabad.

“It’s all about diversity, America is about diversity, Britain is about diversity; it’s all about unity through diversity.”

I pressed on to ask if Pakistanis looked at Indians in a specific way. Did Pakistanis dislike Indians as such, anyone who held an Indian passport, or was it just the Hindus who were most intensely disliked? “Well it changes from times of tension to times of less tension,” Benazir explained.

“When there is tension and troops at the borders, then people hate anyone who is Indian, irrespective of whether they are Muslim or Hindu. They say, “They want to attack us and kill us, they want to destroy us and our country.”

“But when there is no tension, people really welcome Indians. I mean Indian films are very popular in Pakistan. Indian goods are smuggled across Pakistan a ll the time, people are desperate to get Indian visas and travel to India to go and visit their families, and go and see the Taj Mahal and the Mughal heritage of those days. And overseas, in America, I must have travelled to all the states where the Indians and Pakistanis and Bangladeshis see themselves as South Asians. They feel their interests are the same. They work together, they socialize together, there is no hatred at all.

You leave it to the people and they all want to be friends. Sometimes I think that your country and my country, our militaries need a war so that they can go on buying weapons. I don’t know. But as far as the people level is concerned, there is a lot of love and affection.”

I deliberately kept my most provocative question for the last, and when I put it to Benazir, she almost choked over the cup of tea in her hand. Looking her straight in the face I asked, “As a Pakistani did you ever wake up in the morning and think, “Oh God I wish I could nuke a few thousand Indians?”

Benazir’s response was unequivocal:

“For God’s sake, never for a moment have I woken up with such a thought—because I know that nuking any Indian—if I was mad enough to think that—would end up nuking my own people. And this is sometimes what I don’t understand because neither India can use the nuke, nor can Pakistan. Because whatever country is throwing that nuke knows there is not enough time space to avoid retaliation and is going to get it back. No.”

Excerpted with permission from Goodbye Shahzadi by Shyam Bhatia. Published by Roli Books. Pages 130. Price Rs 295

I-Witness

In 2003 and 2004 she agreed to a series of searingly honest interviews on the record with me about herself, her family, and her political life. At the time I did publish some, but not all the material from the tapes of those interviews. Some tapes containing much of the unpublished material, including her revelations about Pakistan’s nuclear programme, remained locked away in my filing cabinet. They only came to light by chance soon after she was assassinated when I was scouring through my personal papers. I realised then that the tapes contained exclusive information about contemporary issues that had never before been revealed. — Shyam Bhatia

World Peace Rallies and Seminars Against Nuclear Arms in Sindh

Pakistan Peace Coalition is organizing a Torch-light Peace Rally from Hyderabad Press Club to Hyder Chowk on May 27, 2008 at 6.00pm to 8.00pm. The objective of the Rally is to voice against nuclear Arms especially in South Asia. Peasants, labourers, Youth, Women, Social and Political Activists will assemble peacefully under the banner “BREAD, NOT BOMB”.

Pakistan Peace Coalition has already organized seminars in Karachi on May 11, 2008 (May 11, the day when India experienced atomic explosion) and Khairpur May 18, 2008 (as series of activities).

On May 27, the day before Pakistan joined the Nuclear Arms’ Race, PPC will organize Torch-Light Rally In Hyderabad. All Peace loving citizens are invited to join The Rally.

May 22, 2008

Justice Rana Bhagwandas to be keynote speaker at SANA Convention

Sindhi Association of North America, SANA , has been in solidarity with the lawyers’ movement in Pakistan from the day one. We had strongly condemned military dictator Musharraf’s illegal orders of 9th March 2007 deposing the Chief Justice of Pakistan. We had also vehemently opposed his unconstitutional actions of 3rd November, 2007. We have been highly appreciative of the heroic stand of superior courts’ judges who declined to take oath under an illegal PCO and the lawyers who have launched a valiant struggle for the restoration of judiciary to pre-emergency position.

Continue reading Justice Rana Bhagwandas to be keynote speaker at SANA Convention

Remembering Comrade Haider Bux Jatoi

By Aziz Narejo, TX

As we fight our present wars and honor our heroes of the day, we should not forget our leaders and our heroes of the past who led us during some of the turbulent times of our history, fought our wars, never compromised on principles, sacrificed their freedom and liberty and faced incarceration and tortures under previous dictators at various prisons and torture houses including the infamous Lahore Fort.

Let me remind you one such personality Comrade Haider Bux Jatoi with whom I had an honor of meeting a few times.

He was a humanist and a poet who felt the pain of the wretched of the earth and devoted his life to lessen their sufferings and their anguish. He quit a high position in British Raj bureaucracy to fight for the cause of the downtrodden. He was put in jail for so many times and for so long periods but it couldn’t diminish his spirit.

He remained a guiding star and the vanguard of peasant’s movement for over a quarter of a century and fought for the national, democratic, social, cultural and economic rights of our people. He is rightly considered as a non-controversial leader. His name was synonymous with the struggle of the oppressed people.

We miss him today when the feudalism has reemerged as a menacing power and along with naked opportunism, urban terrorism and lawlessness, it is disfiguring our society. We need leaders like him today to give us courage and inspiration and lead us in the war against the forces of darkness and the oppression.

Friends, it is the day to remember and pay homage to our great leader Comrade Haider Bux Jatoi who departed us 38 years ago today (21st May).

May 21, 2008

Nirmala’s ashes immersed in Indus

By Waseem Shamsi

SUKKUR, May 17, 2008: The ashes of Nirmala Deshpande, an Indian peace and human rights activist, were immersed in the Indus River at the steps of the Sadhu Bela temple on Saturday. The peace activist had said in her will that her ashes should be immersed in all rivers in South Asia.

A 250-member delegation representing the India-Pakistan peace committee, whose members arrived here from different parts of Pakistan, participated in the ceremony to pay homage to Nirmala Deshpande for her efforts for making South Asia a peaceful region for all nations.

Respected internationally, Nirmala Deshpande played a leading role in various peace movements in South Asia over the last six decades.

It was her desire to make South Asia a region free of nuclear weapons. She also played a key role for bringing people of different religions closer to each other.

The peace committee delegation was led by secretary Karamat Ali and attended by member Miss Anoosha Alam and her nine-year-old daughter Nisa Alam.

Nirmala Deshpande had desired in her will a young girl should be employed for performing the immersion ceremony.

In accordance with the will, the ceremony was led by little Nisa Alam. Immersing ceremonies for Nirmala’s ashes have already been performed at Ganges and Jumuna and other rivers in South Asian countries.

Courtesy: Daily Dawn

Albert Einstein described religion as “the expression and product of human weakness.”

Einstein believed religion bunk

By Stephen Adams

London: Albert Einstein regarded religions as “childish” and “primitive legends,” a private letter he wrote a year before his death has revealed

The great scientist’s views on religion have long been debated, with many seizing upon such phrases as “He [God] does not throw dice” as evidence Einstein believed in a creator.

But the newly unveiled letter written in German, a response to the philosopher Eric Gutkind, has cast doubt on the theory Einstein had any belief in God at all toward to the end of his life.

In the letter, dated Jan. 3, 1954, he wrote: “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.

“No interpretation no matter how subtle can change this [for me].”

Einstein, who died the following year aged 76, did not spare Judaism from his criticism, believing Jewish people were in no way “chosen” by God.

“For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions,” he wrote.

“And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people.

“As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are better protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.”

The letter, which for decades has been in private hands, has come to light as it is to go on sale at Bloomsbury Auctions in London tomorrow. It is expected to sell for up to 8,000 pounds ($16,000).

Einstein was educated at a Roman Catholic primary school but given private tuition in Judaism.

He later wrote that the “religious paradise of youth”- when he believed what he was told- was crushed when he started questioning religion at the age of 12.

“The consequence was a positively fanatic freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression.”

Yet many of his pronouncements appear to support a belief in a divine being, or at least a wish to believe in one.

The same year he wrote the letter he also said he wanted to “experience the universe as a single comic whole.”

Courtesy: The Daily Telegrah

///-///

– Our source of the above news- National Post (The Canadian Newspaper), Wednesday, May 14, 2008, page A2

What Sindhi Students should do?

By Munwar Soomro

…What we should do now? I think people have started realizing that self-help is the most important for us, and education is the base. Unfortunately we haven’t paid attention to getting quality education as much as we should have done. We have degrees but no qualification. Times are changing and the importance of quality education is getting the priority world over. This is no hidden truth that all nations who are developed are because of education….

May 17, 2008

Courtesy: Mehran

100km long Industrial Zone between Karachi and Hyderabad

Karachi, May 14, 2008 (Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX) — — Sindh Minister for Industries and Commerce, Rauf Siddiqui has suggested establishing 100km long industrial zone at the land lying between Karachi and Hyderabad.

Speaking at the Business & Industry, Trade Convention organized by his ministry at a local hotel in Karachi on Tuesday evening, Rauf Siddiqui said that Sindh government was preparing a report identifying the problems being faced by the industrialists to resolve them.

He said that a seven-member committee was also being constituted to recommend suggestions for promoting industrialization in Sindh province.

He said that plots in allocated land for industrial purpose by Sindh government would be handed over to those industrialists, who would deposit half of its total price.

He said that ban on land utilization in Karachi badly harmed industrialization in the city.

Minister said that to eliminate rising unemployment in the country and strengthening local economy, we had to convince foreign investors including from European Union, Japan, China, Korea and other countries to invest in Pakistan.

Dr Junaid Ahmed, Advisor to Finance Ministry said that about 55,000 MW electricity could be generated through available resources in Ghharo.

He said that Thar and Lakhra coal resources were also major source to generate thousands of MW electricity.

He said that industrialization could not be promoted without setting up more industrial zones in country like Korangi, Landhi, SITE and North Karachi industrial zones.

He called up on government to establish Pak-China, Pak-Korea, Pak-Iran, Pak-Arab Economic Zones, in which industrialists from these countries could be provided opportunities to invest here. He said that with printing over packed Pakistani food items the words like Hilal Food and Made in Islamic Republic of Pakistan; billions of rupees could be earned from Islamic countries market. He said that more than 50 percent of our fruits and vegetables go waste due to non-presence of proper processing system to convert them into juices and exporting to other countries.

He said that Sindh government should pay heed to setting up agro-based industry in interior Sindh.

Larkana District Nazim, Muhammad Bux Narejo criticized Sindh government for concentrating industrialization only in Karachi and ignoring other cities of this province for many decades. He said that only in 1947, Sindh government allocated 12,00 acres of land in Hyderabad for industrialization purpose after allocating 4,000 acres in Karachi for same target. He regretted that many governments had ignored interior Sindh in this regard and concentrated to promote industrialization only in one city Karachi.

He said that billions of rupees were spent by different governments in industrial zones like Korangi, Landhi, North Karachi but other cities of province were not considered for industrialization to eradicate crime, poverty and unemployment. He said that we are ready to provide all possible facilities to investors, who intend to invest in agro-based industry in Larkana. He urged Sindh government to distribute thousands acres land lying near Moen jo Daro Airport Larkana to investors free of cost who could provide guarantee to invest there.

He said that Sindh government should not only patronize industrialization process in Karachi but also pay heed to interior Sindh in this connection.

Noted Industrialist Zubair Motiwala said that industrial sector in Sindh was not getting sufficient growth due to the unresolved issues being faced by the industrialists here. He said that investors were heading to Punjab province owing to higher cost of land in Karachi. He said that Sindh government should offer tax holiday to industrialists to promote industrialization here.

He stressed to establish vocational training institutes in collaboration with private sector.

Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, Acting President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that improving infrastructure including roads, water, electricity and gas could also promote industrialization.

Mian Zahid said that economy depended on both agricultural development and industrial development. He said that our farmer could provide us more crops if he would be provided prices of his crops as per international rates.

He said that five to six year banking financing on six percent mark up in raising building structure and purchasing machinery could promote industrialization.

Haji Muhammad Yaqub, President Hyderabad Chambers of Commerce & Industry said that Sindh government never paid heed to interior Sindh as it paid to Karachi for industrialization. He called on government to allot plots to investors, which were allocated for industrialization in Hyderabad so that they could start their investment there. He said that Sindh government should arrange investment in agro-based industry in interior Sindh in order to bring prosperity here. He said that poor law and orders were also a major hurdle in industrialization.

Shakil Mukhtar, representative Sukkur Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that government had allocated 46 acres of land in Rohri, 50 in Sukkur and in Nawabshah for setting up industrial zones but not paid heed to create atmosphere of industrialization, resultantly these lands were still lying unused.

He demanded a water filter plant for Sukkur SITE Area. Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig said that private sector should be allowed to establish industrial zones like SITE, Korangi and others. Sheikh Fazl-e-Jalil, Chairman Korangi Association of Trade and Industry said that many industrial units were set on fire soon after the assassination of Ms Benazir Bhutto. He said that investment could not be attracted here without improving law and order. Muhammad Nisar Shahwani, Chairman SITE Industry Association said that India was generating 48,000 MW electricity through wind power. He said that monopoly of KESC on electricity distribution should be ended as it was affecting industry.

Masood Naqi, former president Korangi Association of Trade and Industry said that billions of rupees could be earned through investing in agro-based, sea food based and livestock based industries in Sindh province.

Sindh Minister for Information Technology, Raza Haroon said that within two years people could lodge their online FIR report to Sindh police after completion of E-Policing Project. At the end, the KCCI leaders presented gold medal to minister Rauf Siddiqui.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Courtesy: TradingMarkets.com

source: http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1559532/

Risks created by dams in earthquake zones

Dams Reported Damaged as Soldiers Reach Quake’s Center

NY Times Report:

CHENGDU, China — The possibility of far worse damage from Monday’s earthquake loomed Wednesday after a Chinese government report said that nearly 400 dams suffered damage. State media reported that 2,000 soldiers were sent to try to plug “very dangerous” cracks in one, upriver from the hard-hit Sichuan city of Dujiangyan, official media said.

Courtesy: New York Times

May 15, 2008

Sindh Thar Coal Reserves; Ownership; Centre-Sindh rift; Assets equivalent 400 billion barrel of oil

ISLAMABAD, PAK: The dispute between the Pakistan People’s Party-led governments in Sindh and at the centre has resurfaced once again over the constitutional ownership of the 5th largest coal reserves in the world. In a recent communique with the central government, the Sindh government has raised serious objections on the announcement made by the federal water and power minister to hold an international conference on coal energy in Islamabad during the month of June to attract foreign investment. Sources terming it a first conventional dispute between provincial and federal governments run by PPP on the ownership of natural resources.

May 11/08

BALANCE SHEET

Our Birth is our Opening Balance! , Our Death is our Closing Balance! , Our Prejudiced Views are our Liabilities , Our Creative Ideas are our Assets , Heart is our Current Asset, Soul is our Fixed Asset, Brain is our Fixed Deposit, Thinking is our Current Account, Achievements are our Capital, Character & Morals are our Stock-in-Trade, Friends are our General Reserves, Values & Behaviour are our Goodwill, Patience is our Interest Earned, Love is our Dividend, Children are our Bonus Issues, Education is Brands / Patents, Knowledge is our Investment, Experience is our Premium Account, The Aim is to Tally the Balance Sheet Accurately. The Goal is to get the Best Presented Accounts Award.

The most destructive habit ……… ……Worry

The greatest Joy ……… ……… ….Giving

The greatest loss…….Loss of self-respect

The most satisfying work…….. …….Helping others

The ugliest personality trait……. ……Selfishnes s

The most endangered species….. ….Dedicated leaders

Our greatest natural resource…. ……… ..Our youth

The greatest ‘shot in the arm’…….. ..Encouragement

The greatest problem to overcome…. ……… ….Fear

The most effective sleeping pill…….. Peace of mind

The most crippling failure disease….. …….Excuses

The most powerful force in life…….. ……… ..Love

The most dangerous pariah…… ..A gossip

The world’s most incredible computer…. ….The brain

The worst thing to be without….. ……… ….. Hope

The deadliest weapon…… ……… ……..The tongue

The two most power-filled words……. ……… ‘I Can’

The greatest asset ……… ……… ……Faith

The most worthless emotion ……… ….Self- pity

The most beautiful attire ……… …….SMILE!

The most prized possession.. ……… …..Integrity

The most powerful channel of communication. ….Prayer

The most contagious spirit ……… …Enthusiasm

The most important thing in life. ……… .GOD

Life ends; when you stop Dreaming,

Hope ends; when you stop Believing,

Love ends; when you stop Caring,

And Friendship ends; when you stop Sharing.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups.

12th May a black day

by Aziz Narejo, TX, USA

Lawyers, political groups, human rights activists and pro-democracy elements will be observing black day tomorrow to condemn the terrorism on the day a year ago to block the Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary’s visit to Karachi at the bidding of military dictator Pervez Musharraf.

The fascist group’s violence that day had resulted in a large number of casualties and huge loss to properties. It was a brutal attack on the lawyers, journalists, political activists and general public to stop them from welcoming the CJ and to hamper their struggle for non partisan independence of judiciary, freedom of media, democracy and rule of law.

It is essential that all of us join in to observe the black day and demand that all culprits who launched a reign of terror on the people must be brought to justice. There should be no compromise with the criminals if we don’t want death to principles, justice and fairness. (May 11, 2007)

May 11, 2009

Munhji Dil Moen-Jo-Daro- Aror Jo Massat- Qurban Ali Kangle Jo Rooh

By Khalid Hashmani

Washington DC — The Pakistani community of the greater Washington DC area once again witnessed a unique event aimed at bringing two founding nations of Pakistan, Sindhis and Punjabis, to better understand each other. The occasion was the formal introduction of “Amar Kahanian”, translation of several short stories of great Sindhi writer Amaar Jalil published by Dr. Manzur Ejaz from Fairfax, Virginia, USA. The function was held in Fairfax, Virginia on Saturday, 24th November and attended by several members of Sindhis, Punjabis, and other Pakistanis.

In addition to reading of beautiful story “Arror Da Massat” (Aror Jo Massat), Dr. Ejaz gave a short briefing on the activities and programs of “Wichaar” that includes a very impressive Web site and publishing books in Punjabi. He said that Sindh and Punjab have from time immemorial lived side by side and shared a wealth of common culture and literature. Lately, for some right and wrong reasons, the two communities are moving away from each other. He expressed his belief that renewing cultural and literary relationship has great potential for eliminating many misunderstandings. He added that the great Sindhi and Punjabi poets from 12th to 18th centuries, Sachal Sarmast, Buleh Shah, Shah Abdul Latif, Wasris shah, and others shortened many cultural gaps between the two communities and it is time again to renew those links again. Dr. Ejaz, who himself has a mastery of both Punjabi and Sindhi languages, explained the plans of “Wichaar” to further this objective. He said, Wichaar web site has been frequently translation of Sindhi articles into Punjab and vice versa and has become very popular with those who are interested in Punjabi and Sindhi literature. On the publication side, the first book “Amaar Kahanian” was published last last and another Sindhi book that will contain Punjabi translation of short stories by Nasim Kharal is under preparation. The second phase will include translation of two Punjabi books into Sindhis. He said that one of the challenges that “Wichaar” faces is lack of volunteer translators and computer linguist computer experts and any help provided to Wichaar in those contexts will be a great boost to increase the opportunities for literary exchange between Sindhi and Punjabi communities.

During Question-and- answer session, a proposal was made that it will bring Sindhi and Punjabi communities much closer if instead of using Gur-Mukhi or Shah-Mukhi (Persian) scripts, it makes much greater sense to adapt the Sindhi script in Punjabi literature. Another member of audience said that the Sindhi script is a rich script and just like rich array of sounds in Sindhi language, it coves all sounds of the Punjabi language. The Sindhi script has been existence for more than a century and has been the language of the court system and government of Sindh for many years. This step will be a great boost to national integration in Pakistan and help in creating a true national language as Siraiki, Balochi, Pushto, and Urdu too can easily be adapted to the Sindhi script.

The “Amaar Kahanian” book contains the following 11 stories:

Punjabi Name — Sindhi Name

Aror Da Massat — Aror Jo Massat

Tarikh Da Kafan — Tarikh Jo Kafan

Addam Di Maa — Adam Ji Maa

Ik Doar Da Matam — Hik Doar Jo Matam

Mera Dil Moen-Jo-Daro — Munhjo Dil Moen-Jo-Daro

Eis Jaal Which — Hin Jaaria Mei

Qurban Ali Kangle Di Rooh — Qarban Ali Kangle Ji Rooh

Dil Di Dunya — Dil Ji Dunya

Mera Putar Menhdi — Munhjo Puta Menhdi

Barnes Street Da Ghundaa – Barness Street Jo Ghundo

Dharti Di Dhoar, Asman De Tare — Dahrti Ji Doar, Asman Ja Sitara

Visit http://www.wichaar.com to learn more about the mission and objectives of Wichaar Publishers.

May 10, 2010

A 5 year plan for Primary Education and Adult Literacy

By Mohammad Ibrahim Joyo / Fakir Abdul Ghafoor Alasti

Courtesy: Daily Ibrat, May 7, 2008

[How to Achieve 100% Primary Education and 50% Adult Literacy for Rural Areas and Katchi Abadies of Sindh within 5 years And also to facilitate Access to Elementary Education (From Class VI to Class VIII) for all those who pass their 5 year primary and 2 year adult literacy exams from their village schools/centres in the rural areas and Katchi Abadies, of Sindh, by 2015.]

Our first plea, as an introduction to the proposal is:

The present day definition of literacy:

Anyone who could read and write with reasonable ease and do simple arithmetic with numbers, that is, passes 3Rs one of ‘Read’, one of ‘write’ and one of ‘arithmetic’ is considered to be literate, may he or she be a small baby or a Harvard University professor. The former is always innocent but not the later, who could also be maker of Atom Bomb and boast to be the president or prime minister of a country.

To us literacy is access to ‘knowledge’ and through it access to ‘humanity”. All sciences, formulas, QEDs bring knowledge to the seeker of objective truth, our request and appeal to him or her is “please Know Thyself,” as a human person.

After such a definition of literary. (Knowledge i.e. light of life, love and joy on earth), we proceed to the proposal for a viable access to it.

Where does our country stand now in its access to literacy? Fortunately for us, His Excellence the UNO Head here in our country – the chief of UNESCO answered this question to us and also for all our countrymen & women. It is reproduced in full text as reported in Dawn, dated April 20, 2008.

Pakistan’s literacy ratio still at 50pc: Unesco

By Bakhtawar Mian

ISLAMABAD, April 19: Literacy ratio in Pakistan still remains at 50 per cent, mainly because of small budgetary allocations, lack of political will and delays in disbursement of funds, according to the Unesco.

In the region, Pakistan has been ranked higher only than Nepal and Bangladesh, which have literacy rates of 49 and 43 per cent, respectively. Other countries have far better ratios: the Maldives, 96 per cent; Sri Lanka, 91 per cent; and India, 61 per cent.

Addressing a function organized by the Parliamentary Caucus on Literacy in Pakistan, Unesco’s representative Arshad Saeed Khan said there were about 55 million illiterate people in the country because of which the country risked failing to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

If corrective measures were not taken, the percentage of illiterates might even rise to 60 per cent of the population by 2010, he said.

Sindh has the highest percentage in education which stands at 54 per cent followed by Punjab (52 per cent) and the NWFP (40 per cent). Balochistan has the lowest ratio – 33 per cent.

The Unesco attributed the low level of literacy rate to factors like weak organizational infrastructure, low professional capacity, lack of research, non-availability of proper training institutes, low public awareness and lack of evaluation and monitoring system.

“The state shall be responsible for eradication of illiteracy and provision of free and compulsory education up to secondary level, within minimum possible time,” says article 37-B of the 1973 constitution.

Mr Arshad Saeed said that 16 political parties – including the PPP, PML-N, ANP, JUI-F and BNP (Awami), BNP (Mengal), Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and National Party – had signed Education For All Declaration on February 5, 2008 in which they had pledged to increase education budget up to 4 per cent of GDP, at least 10 per cent of the education budget for literacy and non-formal education, free and compulsory primary education – achieving 100 per cent enrolment rate, 86 per cent adult literacy by 2015, eradicate political interference and favouritism in appointments, transfers of education staff and uniform core curriculum and similar facilities in all schools.

Unesco stressed the need for legislation for free secondary education as a fundamental right, increasing education budget to 4 per cent of GDP, ensuring equal opportunities for all children because Pakistan has ratified Unesco Convention Against Discrimination in Education.

From the above it is clear that our Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as regards our education and literacy are now at higher risk if we do not shake up ourselves from our present national lethargy. Failing to do so, we may be branded in time as the most illiterate nation in the world. Thus it is the political will that is needed at the present juncture. So let us be sincere to read (“IQRA”). The Good written WORD! And involve ourselves one and all in EFA, i.e. the Education for All.

Having said this, we also note with a measure of joy the highest literary rate claimed for Sindh in the above report, among all federation units of Pakistan. But it is perhaps due to Karachi and other big cities in Sindh where combined literacy rate in these cities stands around 60%. The 40% Population living in katchi abadies and in the rural areas is still stark illiterate. Going by population formula, Karachi and the 3 other major urban cities viz. Hyderabad, Nawabshah & Sukkur compose 10 million literate, what about the rest of rural population of Sindh which is made up of 30 million including those living in katchi abadies and rural areas where literacy is at most 5%. So when we tally or balance the figures the overall situation of literacy in Sindh comes to 18.75% say 18%, 3 times lower than 54% what is said in the above report. That is the miracle of our bureaucrats of Pakistan. They are masters of figure fudging. They inflate or deflate these figures at will. As to poverty, one day they say it is 33% in Pakistan and next day 23%. Similarly all statistics of literacy are the legerdeomain at their hands: they enhance them without giving thought to the facts. The world knows that literacy and poverty are interrelated. If one increases other decreases. They are inversely proportional to each other. If they were to attend specifically to rural areas and katchi abadies of Sindh, they will find that 95% of the masses are illiterate. So we would ask his Excellency the Chief of UNESCO kindly to instruct his subordinate organizations of UN not to blind-foldedly follow figures supplied to them by our bureaucrats but go themselves to rural areas and katchi abadies and unregistered villages of Pakistan to conduct surveys on literacy i.e. the state of 3Rs, themselves. They will wonder to find that illiteracy and poverty are exactly the same, not 1% less, not 1% more! The illiteracy and poverty are one monster with two faces, those of ignorance and of indigence.

The factual state of education & literacy in Rural Sindh and its Katchi Abadies:

According to 1973 constitution of Pakistan, “The state shall be responsible for eradication of illiteracy and provision of free and compulsory education up to secondary level within a given minimum possible time” that goes on getting extended in time. About the functioning of the Primary schools, particularly the Sindhi medium ones, the less said the better. The life of many exists on paper but has no trace on ground. And what to tell of corruption in education all over Sindh from primary through elementary to secondary! There is no further room left for more of it.

Now the factual State of Poverty in Rural Sindh:

The quasi divide created by political interests between urban and rural Sindh presents the horrible look. Wherever you turn your eyes to see. If you will only come to Thatta from Karachi, after Ghagar Phatak (20 kms distance from Quaidabad) you will see indigenous people living in medieval ages. They residing in straw and indifferent abodes, their women old pitchers on their heads going by foot for miles in to get drinking water. All of them clothed in rags and barefeet. Their children and old people going to Karachi or to other towns TO BEG! One is ashamed seeing such differences created by this divide. On one side there is abundance and affluence only 20 kms away from the phatak and on the other indigence and poverty at its shamefulness. This state of poverty is more or less same in all rural areas of Sindh.

Now the lay-out of the PLAN to achieve 100% primary education and 50% Adult literacy within 5 years, affording access to Elementary education and near full adult literacy in rural areas and katchi abadies of Sindh, by 2015. And Measures to be taken under the direction, supervision and financial support of the present Government of Sindh to fight the two-face monster, poverty and ignorance, in one go:

Pre Primary, primary, elementary and secondary education:

The education be made compulsory and free from pre-primary to secondary level, and Government bear all educational expenditures of poor children of rural areas and katchi abadies in Sindh.

As incentive to bring all children up to 18 years under the cover of school education, to give stipend of Rs: 100/month/child of 3-5 ages, for preprimary education. Rs: 300/child/month of 6-10 years for attending primary education. Rs: 400/month/child of 11-14 years for continuing elementary education, and Rs: 500/month/child of 15-18 years for getting secondary education.

Government to provide premises for primary schools at every village and settlement at most 2 furlongs from it. The premises may even be of improvised material.

The schools for elementary and secondary education will be provided by Government for every 5000 and 10,000 populations respectively in every rural area.

The posts for recruiting teachers and staff for schools shall be immediately advertised and jobless educated youth appointed after due procedure on merit.

The education to be quality education, the teachers shall be given a six months training to start with by trained teachers (primary, middle, secondary and higher secondary) to be made free for the purpose of the six – month training of freshly appointed teachers.

Adult Literacy:

It will be compulsory too for all adults from 19 to any highest age the learner is desirous to enroll for it.

Each learner will be given Rs: 200/month as stipend (males and women both).

The literacy centres will be run in the same premises as for primary, elementary or secondary schools in evening time by the same teacher as posted in these schools with increased allowances.

The duration of these literacy centres will be 2 hours daily.

For males & females there shall be separate classes.

This type of education will be non formal and shall be each time for 2 months and executed through NGOs/CBOs. Separate syllabus shall be prepared for this type of education.

In all adult literacy centres, provisions for skill-training in local crafts be made for men and women entrants, who will be given micro-credits to pursue their skills as life profession to their choice.

Both those compulsory education programs, one for all children and adolescents up to 18 and the other for the literate adults from 19 years and above shall involve nearly all of rural areas and katchi abadies population. And if carried out through 5 years shall make us nearer to MDGs goals of 2015 and bring whole population of rural Sindh and its katchi Abadies at par with urban Sindh in eliminating the divide and promoting their progress as one people.

How to implement and administer both the program:

Both the programs primary through elementary to secondary and adult literacy be given directly with all their infrastructures, administrations, and staff to District Committee for implementation, each to be designated the District Basic Education and Poverty Alleviation Committee and be constituted from local education and literacy officers / Local Government representative / one umbrella NGO each – reputed for educational work in the district.

Monitoring and Evaluation:

There will also be a separate committee of local literary men and women and educationists of district to report directly to education minister on progress of the programs. Evaluation as to expenses be done by Auditors every 3 months sent by Education Minister.

Under the two programs, if started in like earnest and without losing any time, and carried out diligently, some 20 million adults, mainly daily wage earners and landless share croppers will be made literate in addition to almost equal number of the 5 years’ newborns of Sindh will have covered their 5 years primary education, literally amounting to reach the full literacy in Sindh approximately touching thus the MDGs goals by 2015.

It is to be understood that both of these programmes shall be conducted in and for the mother tongue – with Sindhi and Urdu to be introduced from class III respectively for Urdu and Sindhi children upto class V, and English is to be taught as a foreign language from class VI onwards.

It is also to be understood that the present Government of Sindh shall own up the subject of Education solely as the provincial subject at least upto higher secondary stage i.e. class XII in the first instance.

It is also to be remembered that nothing worthwhile in matter of Education as in any other sphere of development can be achieved in provinces without full measure of genuine political and fiscal autonomy.

MQM got big share in Sindh cabinet

Sindh: Karachi- PPP and MQM power-sharing formula under which the MQM will join the Sindh Government with 13 ministers, one adviser and one special assistant. With the induction of the MQM ministers, the strength of the Sindh cabinet would reach 38, including four advisers.

Addressing a press conference at the Chief Minister’s House, Senior Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq, who led the PPP negotiating team, said: “For us ministries have no importance. It is the spirit of reconciliation that matters most.” The deputy convener of the MQM Coordination Committee, Dr. Farooq Sattar, who said: “Our basic objective of power sharing is to have friendly and good relations with the PPP and continue the process of national reconciliation.” The portfolios allotted to MQM ministers include: health, industries and commerce, information, technology, environment and alternate energy, sports, youth affairs, rural development, public health engineering, Auqaf, bureau of supply and prices and human rights. Two portfolios are yet to be decided.

May 04, 2008

Pakistan: Doctor Released After 2 Years

By SALMAN MASOOD

A Pakistani-American doctor has been released after being held by the authorities for more than two years, the local news media reported. Dr. Safdar Sarki, an advocate for greater autonomy for Sindh Province, was taken to a hospital in Quetta after the provincial government of Baluchistan withdrew weapons charges against him. Dr. Sarki, who lives in Texas, was arrested during a visit to Karachi in February 2006.

The police in Baluchistan did not announce his arrest or any charges until last October. Pakistan’s Supreme Court identified him as one of the people held in a secret detention system.

May 2, 2008

Courtesy: The New York Times

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/02/world/asia/02briefs-DOCTORRELEAS_BRF.html?ex=1210478400&en=c3e44deef1bd1bbe&ei=5070&emc=eta1

1st May

Thousands of marchers gathered in Hamburg on May Day to call for more workers’ rights, while protesters in Turkey were met with police batons and water cannon.

In Russia on Thursday, marchers called for economic equality, and in Cuba residents hoped their president would offer up more change.

1 May is known in Germany and elsewhere as the unofficial International Workers’ Day and is typically marked with rallies that can sometimes turn violent.

About 30,000 people participated in rallies around Moscow, Russian police officials said.

Courtesy: 24 hours- Friday, May 2, 2008-05-03

They are sick and tired- and still working

– Kevin Connor, Sun Media

Employers need to do more to address the mental health of their employees because too many workers are too sick or stressed to do much more than put their heads down on their keyboards, a new study shows.

The Canadian Mental Health Association is urging employers across the country to accept greater responsibility for their staff.

“Employers must do more to promote a healthy work/ life balance, otherwise they, their workers, our economy and society will suffer serious consequences,” said Dr. Taylor Alexander, CEO of the CMHA.

The report says 83% of Canadians reported having shown up for work while sick or exhausted. On average past year.

An overwhelming 89% who took part in the study say they feel stress- related mental health problems have been increasing over the years.

“Stress, burnout and depression create huge fall out in the workplace that far exceeds taking a sick day here and there. They are part of a continuum that can lead to serious illness,” Alexander said.

“It is estimated that more than 2,000,000 employees in Canada suffer mental illness at any given time. The economic, social and personal impact of mentally unhealthy workplaces is staggering.”

The Conference Board of Canada says workers who reported a high degree of stress balancing work and family missed 7.2 days of work each year.

Workers suffering from clinical depression miss work an average of 40 days, which reduced productivity and generated higher disability and benefits costs.

“In addition businesses are facing projected shortages of skilled workers in the future and they will have to use their resources in the most effective way. Part of that is ensuring that their workforce is mentally healthy,” Alexander said.

Mentally unhealthy workplaces add to an already stressed health-care system. Depression is linked to heart disease, diabetes and autoimmune disorders.

Many reasons

“For all of these reasons, we’re calling on employers to do more- to make mental health their business,” he said.

“Employees must also take responsibility for their mental health by making sure they are taking care of their health and communicating with their employer and supervisors when they see potential problems.”

Courtesy: Toronto Sun, Friday, May 2, 2008