‘Education emergency should be declared in Pakistan’

ISLAMABAD, June 20: At the moment, over 25 million children are out of school in Pakistan, and the literacy rate is less than 60 percent. It requires us to declare an educational emergency in the country.

This was said by the state minister for education, Engineer Baligh-ur-Rehman, during the launching ceremony of a report, Pakistan District Education Rankings, by Alif Ailaan and Sustainable Development Policy Institute at a local hotel on Thursday.

He said the literacy rate could not be improved without political will. During the past five years, 45,000 teachers had been appointed in Punjab and most were placed near their villages to assure maximum attendance.“We have decided to establish the National Curriculum Council to introduce a syllabus with a minimum standard for all provinces,” he said, adding that schools would be increased from 10,000 to 40,000 in the first year of the current government’s tenure.

The ranking report showed the huge variation in education standards across Pakistan. One of the goals of the report was to serve as a benchmark against which the performance of politicians and administrators could be assessed.

Continue reading ‘Education emergency should be declared in Pakistan’

Indo-Pak: An Indian retailer formally opens its first shop in Pakistan

Indo PakFlagship Indian retailer opens in Pakistan

By AFP

SINDH – KARACHI: Raymond, an Indian suiting and fabrics conglomerate, will on Friday formally open its first shop in Pakistan, where business leaders welcomed it as a step towards closer trade ties between the two countries.

NexSource Pakistan, which acquired the rights to sell Raymond suiting in Clifton, one of the most upscale neighbourhoods in business capital Karachi, said it was a major acquisition.

“They wanted to bring Raymond to Pakistan and we offered to be their partner,” said one of its directors, Najmus Saqib.

Nexsource say they expect to reap good business after an aggressive advertising campaign in a city whose wealthier residents are sartorially obsessed and where fashion is a key driver of business.

“People are crazy about clothing and dressing, and they already know Raymond,” Saqib said. “We just have to let them know that it is here.”

NexSource executive Saqib said he believed the enormous Indian market represented massive business opportunities for Pakistan.

Read more » DAWN
http://dawn.com/news/1019784/flagship-indian-retailer-opens-in-pakistan

Taliban asked to join hands with fellow countrymen

By: Daily Dawn report

KARACHI: In what appears to be a major policy shift, Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain has invited the Taliban to join hands with their fellow countrymen, instead of disassociating themselves from Pakistan.

“I ask the Taliban leaders that this country came into being as a result of great sacrifices. Come and join Pakistanis…do not disassociate yourselves from Pakistan,” he said in a telephonic address at the 27th foundation day of the MQM on Friday.

The day was celebrated across Pakistan and Mr Hussain’s address was simultaneously relayed to 34 places in the country. Carrying MQM’s tri-coloured flags and portraits of Mr Hussain, a large number of people attended the main rally at Karachi’s Jinnah Ground.

Condemning the United States for drone attacks in tribal areas, Mr Hussain said that the US was violating Pakistan’s sovereignty and killing innocent people, adding that drone attacks were being carried out in clear violation of the UN charter.

He assured the government and the armed forces that every Pakistani would support them if they took ‘meaningful steps’ with courage and bravery to stop drone strikes and part ways with the carrot-and-stick game of superpowers.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://beta.dawn.com/news/614195/taliban-asked-to-join-hands-with-fellow-countrymen

So, finally, a farewell to arms

Islamabad diary

by Ayaz Amir

With the announcement of a Taliban address in Doha, Qatar, and the Americans welcoming this development, the window for military action in our Waziristan has finally slammed shut. The army wasn’t about to launch any operation – no fear of that – but even the tantalising possibility that at some point in the future vacillation would give way to decisive action now evaporates.

The scales have shifted. With the Americans engaging, however fruitlessly, with the Taliban in Doha, the Pakistan Army is in no position (psychologically) to undertake any kind of military operation in North Waziristan. The army can play around with the status quo in that embattled region – huffing and puffing and losing more officers and men to Taliban ambushes, six of our soldiers killed in an ambush this Wednesday – but the status quo, rail against it as we might, has come to stay.

Time was on the side of the Taliban, as it always is on the side of any force engaged in irregular warfare. And the Pakistan Army and a confused nation, their thinking split down the middle, have missed the bus. For us that is the significance of the Taliban gaining, at long last, virtual American diplomatic recognition – which is what this latest development amounts to.

A triumph for Mullah Omar and a problem for us, because Mullah Omar’s resurgent emirate, waiting patiently for the Americans to depart, now extends, like a dagger, into Pakistan – in the form of Hakeemullah’s Waziristan.

Let us not lose heart too much. This is not history being rewritten, only history being reversed. The kingdom of Kabul once held sway over the territories constituting our north-west frontier. Maharajah Ranjit Singh (sorry for bringing up his name again) pushed the Afghans back and the British inherited Ranjit Singh’s kingdom. That is how the new state of Pakistan came into possession of those frontier lands.

But through an historical process, starting with the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979 and leading up to the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Pakistan’s control over those territories stands immeasurably weakened.

Strange the workings of history – our military geniuses under Gen Zia sought strategic depth in Afghanistan. It is the Taliban and Al-Qaeda which have acquired strategic depth in Pakistan.

The Americans are about to talk to the Taliban not to get them to lay down their arms and ship them to the Solomon Islands, but as a face-saving exercise. They want to exit Afghanistan sans too much humiliation. In so many words they are telling the Taliban, look we are getting out; make our departure easier. That’s it, if only we could read the writing on the wall.

Hamid Karzai has more sense than we do. Look at his anger: he knows he’s been used and the Americans, for all their tall talk, are about to talk, if not cut a deal, with his sworn enemies. And he’s frothing at the mouth, without this having the slightest effect on his paymasters.

At least Karzai knows what is what. We get used like a box of tissues again – the first time under Zia, the second time now – and still think we are ‘stakeholders’ in the Afghan game. There’s no end to our talent for make-believe, even as the tide of history is being reversed.

Continue reading So, finally, a farewell to arms

Pakistan has broken world’s record of planting 8,47,275 saplings of mangroves

By: Shujauddin Qureshi, Karachi, Sindh

Pakistan has broken not only India’s but world’s record of planting 8,47,275 saplings of mangroves in 12 hours along Kharo Chhaan, Keti Bander coast of Sindh (Arabian Sea) in Thatto district Sindh. World Guinness book of record officials were present to monitor it at Indus Delta.

Courtesy: Via Facebook

– – – – – – –

More details » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2013/06/130622_mangroves_record_zz.shtml