Operation of Jhimpir wind turbines offers a ray of hope in power gloom

By Faiza Ilyas

JHIMPIR: Although the government seems to have no immediate solution to the on-going energy crisis, a ray of hope has emerged with the successful operation of the country’s first wind farm, which has been supplying 500 to 700 megawatt-hour of electricity daily to the national grid for over two months now while another wind power project is set to begin its commercial operation in a few days, a recent visit to the site in Jhimpir showed.

Read more » DAWN
http://dawn.com/news/1032576/operation-of-jhimpir-wind-turbines-offers-a-ray-of-hope-in-power-gloom

My name is Pakistan and I’m not an Arab

By Nadeem F. Paracha

In 1973, my paternal grandparents visited Makkah to perform the first of their two Hajj pilgrimages.

With them were two of my grandmother’s sisters and their respective husbands.

Upon reaching Jeddah, they hailed a taxi from the airport and headed for their designated hotel.

The driver of the taxi was a Sudanese man. As my grandparents and one of my grandmother’s sisters settled themselves in the taxi, the driver leisurely began driving towards the hotel and on the way inserted a cassette of Arabic songs into the car’s Japanese cassette-player.

My grandfather who was seated in the front seat beside the driver noticed that the man kept glancing at the rear view mirror, and every time he did that, one of his eyebrows would rise.

Curious, my grandfather turned his head to see exactly what was it about the women seated in the back seat that the taxi driver found so amusing.

This was what he discovered: As my grandmother was trying to take a quick nap, her sister too had her eyes closed, but her head was gently swinging from left to right to the beat of the music and she kept whispering (as if in quiet spiritual ecstasy) the Arabic expression Subhanallah, subhanallah …’

My grandfather knew enough Arabic to realise that the song to which my grandmother’s sister was swinging and praising the Almighty for was about an (Egyptian) Romeo who was lamenting his past as a heart-breaking flirt.

After giving a sideways glance to the driver to make sure he didn’t understand Punjabi, my grandfather politely asked my grandmother’s sister: ‘I didn’t know you were so much into music.’

‘Allah be praised, brother,’ she replied. ‘Isn’t it wonderful?’

The chatter woke my grandmother up: ‘What is so wonderful?’ She asked. ‘This,’ said her sister, pointing at one of the stereo speakers behind her. ‘So peaceful and spiritual …’

My grandfather let off a sudden burst of an albeit shy and muffled laughter. ‘Sister,’ he said, ‘the singer is not singing holy verses. He is singing about his romantic past.’

My grandmother started to laugh as well. Her sister’s spiritual smile was at once replaced by an utterly confused look: ‘What …?’

‘Sister,’ my grandfather explained, ‘Arabs don’t go around chanting spiritual and holy verses. Do you think they quote a verse from the holy book when, for example, they go to a fruit shop to buy fruit or want toothpaste?’

I’m sure my grandmother’s sister got the point. Not everything Arabic is holy.

Continue reading My name is Pakistan and I’m not an Arab

A man with nerves of steel

By Sadia Qasim Shah

PESHAWAR: Five years full of nerve-testing situations, tight security barriers, chilling death threats, social isolation (as others considered him a security threat to themselves) and apparently even the cold-blooded killing of his only young son seem not to have broken the spirits of the 55-year-old Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the spokesperson of the former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government which had opposed the terrorists and successfully rescued the Swat Valley from falling into their hands.

“One should never lose hope,” says Mr Hussain in an exclusive interview with Dawn, with his typical serene smile and composed demeanour, showing no sign of bitterness even after losing his seat in May 11 general elections.

Mr Hussain doesn’t show he is a broken man, though he is going to observe third anniversary of his sole son who was targeted by the Taliban.

The man who as a spokesperson of ANP government emerged as a bold voice against the terrorist conglomerate called Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spent sleepless nights finding a way to express his innermost thoughts and agony after his only son Mian Rashid Hussain, only 26, was killed by Taliban to teach Mian Sahib a lesson.

Continue reading A man with nerves of steel

GravityLight: a revolutionary new approach

GravityLight: lighting for developing countries.

We have developed a realistic alternative to Kerosene lamps by harnessing the power of gravity. We need your help to make it happen.

GravityLight is a revolutionary new approach to storing energy and creating illumination. It takes only 3 seconds to lift the weight which powers GravityLight, creating 30 minutes of light on its descent. For free.

Following the initial inspiration of using gravity, and years of perspiration, we have refined the design and it is now ready for production. We need your help to fund the tooling, manufacture and distribution of at least 1000 gravity powered lights. We will gift them to villagers in both Africa and India to use regularly. The follow-up research will tell us how well the lights met their needs, and enable us to refine the design for a more efficient MK2 version. Once we have proved the design, we will be looking to link with NGOs and partners to distribute it as widely as possible. When mass produced the target cost for this light is less than $5.

Why GravityLight?

Did you know that there are currently over 1.5 billion people in the World who have no reliable access to mains electricity? These people rely, instead, on biomass fuels (mostly kerosene) for lighting once the sun goes down.

Continue reading GravityLight: a revolutionary new approach

Three officials of Pakistan’s Toronto consulate fired

TORONTO: At least three functionaries, stationed at Pakistan’s Consulate General in Toronto, Canada, have been relieved from their duties with immediate effect, Geo News reported.

A notification to this consequence was issued by National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) headquarters Islamabad on Tuesday night.

The fired officials namely Israr Hussain, Samiuddin, and Aziz Khalid Baig were working in the NADRA section of the Consulate. They were appointed there three years back during the tenure of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led coalition government.

It must be noted that Israr Hussain and Samiuddin are the close relatives of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain, whereas Aziz Khalid Baig happens to be a kin of former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Brigadier (Retd) Imtiaz Ahmed.

Courtesy: The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-110696-Three-officials-of-Pakistans-Toronto-consulate-fired

Scientists Finally Discover The Function of the Human Appendix

By Barbara Miller

It has long been regarded as a potentially troublesome, redundant organ, but American researchers say they have discovered the true function of the appendix.

The researchers say it acts as a safe house for good bacteria, which can be used to effectively reboot the gut following a bout of dysentery or cholera.

The conventional wisdom is that the small pouch protruding from the first part of the large intestine is redundant and many people have their appendix removed and appear none the worse for it.

Scientists from the Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina say following a severe bout of cholera or dysentery, which can purge the gut of bacteria essential for digestion, the reserve good bacteria emerge from the appendix to take up the role.

Continue reading Scientists Finally Discover The Function of the Human Appendix

Kashmir deal will make Pak a normal state: Riedel

Resolution of the Kashmir issue would go a long way towards making Pakistan a more normal state and reducing its preoccupation with India, says CIA veteran Bruce Riedel.

He also suggests a quiet American effort led by President Barack Obama to move the two countries towards an agreement.

In his new book Avoiding Armageddon, published by HarperCollins, Riedel, who was a senior adviser to four US presidents on Middle East and South Asian issues, explains the challenge and the importance of successfully managing America’s affairs with India and Pakistan and their toxic relationship.

Full of riveting details of what went on behind the scenes, and based on extensive research and Riedel’s experience, the book reviews the history of American diplomacy in South Asia, the crises that have flared in recent years, and the prospects for future crisis.

“Resolution of the Kashmir issue would also remove a major rationale for the army’s disproportionate role in Pakistani national security affairs; that in turn would help to ensure survival of genuine civilian democratic rule in the country,” he writes.

Read more » Rediff
http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-kashmir-deal-will-make-pak-a-normal-state-riedel/20130704.htm

Hauling New Treasure Along the Silk Road

By

AZAMAT KULYENOV, a 26-year-old train driver, slid the black-knobbed throttle forward, and the 1,800-ton express freight train, nearly a half-mile long, began rolling west across the vast, deserted grasslands of eastern Kazakhstan, leaving the Chinese border behind.

Dispatchers in the Kazakh border town of Dostyk gave this train priority over all other traffic, including passenger trains. Specially trained guards rode on board. Later in the trip, as the train traveled across desolate Eurasian steppes, guards toting AK-47 military assault rifles boarded the locomotive to keep watch for bandits who might try to drive alongside and rob the train. Sometimes, the guards would even sit on top of the steel shipping containers.

The train roughly follows the fabled Silk Road, the ancient route linking China and Europe that was used to transport spices, gems and, of course, silks before falling into disuse six centuries ago. Now the overland route is being resurrected for a new precious cargo: several million laptop computers and accessories made each year in China and bound for customers in European cities like London, Paris, Berlin and Rome.

Hewlett-Packard, the Silicon Valley electronics company, has pioneered the revival of a route famous in the West since the Roman Empire. For the last two years, the company has shipped laptops and accessories to stores in Europe with increasing frequency aboard express trains that cross Central Asia at a clip of 50 miles an hour. Initially an experiment run in summer months, H.P. is now dispatching trains on the nearly 7,000-mile route at least once a week, and up to three times a week when demand warrants. H.P. plans to ship by rail throughout the coming winter, having taken elaborate measures to protect the cargo from temperatures that can drop to 40 degrees below zero.

Though the route still accounts for just a small fraction of manufacturers’ overall shipments from China to Europe, other companies are starting to follow H.P.’s example. Chinese authorities announced on Wednesday the first of six long freight trains this year from Zhengzhou, a manufacturing center in central China, to Hamburg, Germany, following much the same route across western China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland as the H.P. trains. The authorities said they planned 50 trains on the route next year, hauling $1 billion worth of goods; the first train this month is carrying $1.5 million worth of tires, shoes and clothes, while the trains are to bring back German electronics, construction machinery, vehicles, auto parts and medical equipment.

DHL announced on June 20 that it had begun weekly express freight train service from Chengdu in western China across Kazakhstan and ultimately to Poland. Some of H.P.’s rivals in the electronics industry are in various stages of starting to use the route for exports from China, freight executives said.

The Silk Road was never a single route, but a web of paths taken by caravans of camels and horses that began around 120 B.C., when Xi’an in west-central China — best known for its terra cotta warriors — was China’s capital. The caravans started across the deserts of western China, traveled through the mountain ranges along China’s western borders with what are now Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and then journeyed across the sparsely populated steppes of Central Asia to the Caspian Sea and beyond.

These routes flourished through the Dark Ages and the early medieval period in Europe. But as maritime navigation expanded in the 1300s and 1400s, and as China’s political center shifted east to Beijing, China’s economic activity also moved toward the coast.

Today, the economic geography is changing again. Labor costs in China’s eastern cities have surged in the last decade, so manufacturers are trying to reduce costs by moving production west to the nation’s interior. Trucking products from the new inland factories to coastal ports is costly and slow. High oil prices have made airfreight exorbitantly expensive and prompted the world’s container shipping lines to reduce sharply the speed of their vessels.

Slow steaming cuts oil consumption, but the resulting delays have infuriated shippers of high-value electronics goods like H.P’s. Such delays drive up their costs and make it harder to respond quickly to changes in consumer demand in distant markets.

Read more » The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/business/global/hauling-new-treasure-along-the-silk-road.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Dubai sentences Norwegian woman who reported rape

A Norwegian woman has spoken out about the 16-month prison sentence she received in Dubai after reporting a rape incident to police.

Interior designer Marte Deborah Dalelv was on a business trip in Dubai when she says she was raped.

The 24-year-old reported the March attack to the police but found herself charged with having extramarital sex, drinking alcohol, and perjury.

Convicted earlier this week, she says she is appealing against the verdict.

The appeal hearing is scheduled for early September.

Describing the sentence as “very harsh”, she told the AFP news agency: “I am very nervous and tense. But I hope for the best and I take one day at a time. I just have to get through this.”

The case has angered rights groups and the authorities in Norway.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23381448

American city Detroit files bankruptcy

Detroit files for bankruptcy protection

City losing residents as tax base shrinks

By The Associated Press

Once the very symbol of American industrial might, Detroit became the biggest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy Thursday, its finances ravaged and its neighbourhoods hollowed out by a long, slow decline in population and auto manufacturing.

The filing, which had been feared for months, put the city on an uncertain course that could mean laying off municipal employees, selling off assets, raising fees and scaling back basic services such as trash collection and snow plowing, which have already been slashed.

“Only one feasible path offers a way out,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a letter approving the move.

Read more » CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/07/18/detroit-bankruptcy.html

“The story of DNA continues to twist and turn”!

Scientists Discover Quadruple Helix: Four Strand DNA In Human Cells

by Arjun

The human race knows very little of itself, almost like a race with amnesia. As we continue to move forward through time, new discoveries are made that make old theories obsolete and false. It’s a good lesson that shows us how we can attach ourselves to “truths” and believe them whole-heartedly, often forgetting that truth is constantly changing and new paradigms of perception always lurk around the corner.

Decades after scientists described our “chemical code” of life using the double helix DNA, researchers have discovered four-stranded DNA within human cells. The structures are called G-quadruplexes, because they form in regions of DNA that are full of guanine, one of the DNA molecule’s four building blocks. The others are adenine, cytosine and thymine. A hydrogen bond is responsible for holding the four guanines together. The four stranded DNA usually presents itself right before cell division.

The discovery was published online in Nature Chemistry, and you can take a look at it here. The study was led by Shankar Balasubramanian at the University of cambridge, UK.

For us, it strongly supports a new paradigm to be investigated – using these four-stranded structures as targets for personalized treatments in the future.We have found that by trapping the quadruplex DNA with synthetic molecules we can sequester and stabilise them, providing important insights into how we might grind cell division to a halt — Shankar Balasubramanian

The study went on to show certain links between concentrations of four-stranded G-quandruplexes and the process of DNA replication, which is crucial to cell division and cell production. G-quadruplexes, (when targeted with synthetic molecules responsible for trapping and holding these DNA structures) prevent cells from replicating their DNA, thus blocking cell division. Scientists believe that this discovery could possibly lead to a stop in cell proliferation at the root of cancer ….

Read more » Collective Evolution
http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/07/17/scientists-discover-quadruple-helix-four-strand-dna-in-human-cells/

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SANA Calls for Peace, Progress, Education, Development & Rights for Sindh

(Press release): July 14, 2013 – Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) general body unanimously adopted following resolutions at its 29th annual convention held in San Francisco, CA, July 4-7, 2013.

Desperate Situation: SANA expresses grave concern at the critical and desperate situation in Sindh where people live under abject poverty; where there is no safety and security of life and property; where terrorism and corruption rule the roost; where education is not guaranteed for all the children; where youth doesn’t see any future; where people don’t have access to economic opportunities; where women and minorities are denied their basic rights; where efforts are being made to artificially change the demography of the province; where people are denied their inalienable human rights; where people are pushed into dark ages and they see no light at the end of the tunnel.

Peace: SANA holds the present and the past governments responsible for the miserable situation and calls for immediate steps to bring drastic changes to improve the lot of the people. It calls upon the government to restore peace, end the politics of violence and ensure the security of the life and the property. There cannot be any progress and development without peace.

Education: It is unfortunate that the education, which should have got top priority, remains to be the most neglected subject. SANA calls upon the government to accord required importance to education and make all possible efforts on war footings to provide quality education to the youth so that they can become productive citizens. SANA also calls for opening up all the urban educational institutions for all the students in the province without any discrimination.

Corruption: It is noted with grave concern that corruption has become a norm in the society. It has actually grown manifolds in the past few years. The major part of the budget is eaten away by corrupt politicians, civil and military bureaucrats and other influential people leaving only a little for any development projects. All out efforts should be made to eradicate corruption from the society.

Continue reading SANA Calls for Peace, Progress, Education, Development & Rights for Sindh

Good news, bad news — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The establishment understands quite well that without turning Gwadar and large parts of Balochistan into a joint Chinese-Pakistani cantonment, they will not be able to move an inch

Passengers are relaxed in a cruising airliner all dreaming of their cherished destination and the pleasurable environment they would be in when suddenly the captain’s anxious voice breaks the calm. He says, “Ladies and gentlemen due to unavoidable circumstances a change of plans has been necessitated and we have been diverted to an uninhabited island. However, there is good news and bad news; which do you want first?” All demanded the bad news first. He said, “The bad news is that there is nothing to eat there except horse dung but the good news is that there is plenty of it.”

The situation in Pakistan is not much different; there are horse dung islands instead of promised destinations and, above all, the good news is always that there is more of bad news. There are unending atrocities against the Baloch, loot of their resources, injustices against Sindhis, carnages against Hazaras, intensification of attacks against Shias, discrimination against Hindus and Christians, persecution of Ahmadis, neglect of displaced persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Dera Bugti. The list is far from complete and the establishment continually not only adds to it but also increases the perniciousness of prevailing problems.

In the first five months of this year 84 people were disappeared, whereas 79 disfigured bodies were recovered from different parts of Balochistan; the toll of the dead is over 700. Whilst unabated atrocities, abductions and dumping of the Baloch persist, the establishment prepares to further antagonise them with the so-called economic projects essentially detrimental to Baloch interests because of the demographic changes and increased economic injustices these will entail and naturally be a prelude to increased state atrocities against them who naturally will resist to preserve their rights.

Continue reading Good news, bad news — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

New fears: TTP in Syria

THE problem with a head-in-the-sand approach to fighting militancy is that the rest of the body is left exposed. For a while now the TTP has been an enemy of the Pakistani state but there is hardly a faction within that umbrella organisation that at some point over the years has not been in the good books of the army-led security establishment. But the good Taliban/bad Taliban dichotomy never made sense to begin with and as time has gone by, the contradictions have become apparent. The TTP in all its forms has always been bad news for this country’s internal stability and external relations. Just how bad has been underlined in recent days with two foreign news services reporting that the TTP has claimed to have sent men to Syria to fight alongside rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

The Arab nexus, including links to Al Qaeda, has always been apparent in the arc of the TTP’s relatively short history. Unlike, say, the Afghan Taliban who by and large have hewed to a purely domestic agenda, ie ridding Afghanistan of foreign ‘invaders’, the TTP’s overall agenda has leaned more towards the concept of a global jihad. In the past, that has meant offering sanctuary to foreign militants who arrived in Fata for training or to escape more hostile environments in their home countries. Eventually, however, a resilient TTP was always likely to seek to contribute directly to so-called jihadist struggles outside the Pak-Afghan region. As with all things, TTP claims made by various commanders take time to be established but if the Syria claims are verified, it would mark an alarming new phase in the militant network’s existence.

Syria may be an epic mess on its own, but other countries that could be potential destinations for the TTP’s battle-hardened cadre of fighters will surely be alarmed by the possibility. Pakistan is already fairly isolated in the international arena because of its inability to systematically curb the activities of non-state actors on Pakistani soil and this latest development will only add to the pressure. But it is in the domestic arena that the repercussions will be the most severe. The TTP has proved to be far more resilient than originally thought, though perhaps that is in no small part aided by the lack of a coherent strategy on the part of the state to fight militancy. If the TTP is confident enough to be sending fighters abroad, does that mean the network believes it has enough resources locally to successfully fend off the Pakistani state? That is an enormously worrying possibility.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/news/1029169/new-fears-ttp-in-syria

First Pakistani women paratroopers make history

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Army, in another landmark achievement, successfully completed the first ever Lady Officers Para Trooping Course at Para Training School, Peshawar, said a statement issued here on Sunday.

Besides challenging physical training, Para jumping course involved training in exit, flight and landing techniques.

Read more » The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-109317-First-Pakistani-women-paratroopers-make-history-

Belfast riots injure officers, protesters

. Northern Ireland police, Protestants clash in running street battles

By: The Associated Press

Hundreds of police reinforcements from Britain were deployed on Belfast’s rubble-strewn streets Saturday after Protestant riots over a blocked march left 32 officers, a senior lawmaker and at least eight rioters wounded.

Read more » cbc
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/07/14/northern-ireland-belfast-violence.html

Swept by the tides of holy patriotism

Islamabad diary

By Ayaz Amir

….. America is still an empire but after Iraq and Afghanistan, a more sober empire. America’s determination to pull out of Afghanistan – they are now even talking of the zero option, no troops at all after 2014 – is a reflection of this sobriety.

The ghost of Bin Laden perhaps laughing soundlessly in the kingdom of the shades, and we scarcely aware of what awaits us… as, to the roll of muffled drums in the distance, another chapter in our colourful history begins to unfold.

Read more » The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-189432-Swept-by-the-tides-of-holy-patriotism

Malala speaks at UN, vows not to be silenced

By: AFP

NEW YORK CITY: Pakistan teenager Malala Yousafzai told the United Nations on Friday that she would not be silenced by terrorist threats, in her first public speech since being shot by the Taliban.

“They thought that the bullet would silence us, but they failed,” Malala said on her 16th birthday, which she spent making calls for greater global efforts to get children into schools.

“The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, courage and fervour was born,” she said in a speech given several standing ovations.

The passionate advocate for girls education was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman as she road on a school bus near her home in Pakistan’s Swat Valley on October 12 last year.

She was given life-saving treatment in Britain where she now lives, but the attack has given new life to her campaign for greater educational opportunities for girls.

Gordon Brown, the former British prime minister and UN special envoy for education, hailed Malala as “the bravest girl in the world” as he presented her at the UN Youth Assembly.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/news/1028531/malala-speaks-at-un-vows-not-to-be-silenced

DISBAND THE ISI – a letter from Altaf Hussain to Tony Blair

BBC digs deep into Altaf Hussain’s antics

By: Pakistan Today Report

…. Meanwhile, the British government confirmed the existence of a letter from Altaf to Tony Blair in which he had suggested disbanding the ISI.

The letter, sent in September 2001 and signed by Hussain, offered help against al Qaeda in return for “participation in governing the province of Sindh and in disbanding the ISI”.

Hussain pressed for help disbanding the ISI, warning that the agency would “continue to produce many Osama bin Ladens and Taliban in future”. He offered to provide “unlimited human resources throughout the towns and villages in the province of Sindh and the province of Punjab to some extent, to monitor the activities of fundamentalists and Taliban-led organisations, and also to monitor the activities of madrassas” in return.

“The Prime Minister’s Office received a letter from Mr Altaf Hussain which was passed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for a response,” the Cabinet Office confirmed to the BBC. The government said that Hussain’s letter was not replied to.

In May, police confirmed they were investigating remarks allegedly made by Hussain following the conclusion of the Pakistani general election, in which he allegedly threatened violence against protesters in Karachi.

Courtesy: Pakistan Today
http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/07/11/news/national/bbc-digs-deep-into-altaf-hussains-antics/

– See more at: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/07/11/news/national/bbc-digs-deep-into-altaf-hussains-antics/#sthash.SjyKcLBQ.dpuf

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Invasion of foreign fanatics in Sufi Sindh. About 67% of the madrassas in the Sindh are owned by people who do not have a Sindh domicile.

The madrassa networks of Sindh

Thousands of new religious schools that opened in urban Sindh after 9/11 are a cause of concern for the provincial government

By Ali K Chishti

In a recent survey carried out by the Sindh Home Ministry, there are 12,545 madrassas in the province, of which 2,161 are sectarian and dangerous.

About 74 percent of these religious schools are in Urban Sindh (Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur). At least 8,191 out of them opened after 9/11. About 67 percent of the madrassas in the province are owned by people who do not have a Sindh domicile.

– See more at: http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta3/tft/article.php?issue=20130712&page=5#sthash.aFTa1b3y.Jpdh03wx.dpuf

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JSMM seeks world help to ‘liberate Sindh’

By: Daily Dawn report

HYDERABAD, July 7: The chairman of the banned Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz, Shafi Burfat, has urged the United Nations, European Union, America, France and other foreign countries to help the JSMM get ‘freedom for Sindh’.

He said in a recorded message played at a JSMM rally held on the Fatima Jinnah road outside the State Bank of Pakistan building late on Saturday night.

“The JSMM wants to reconstitute Sindhi nation on the pattern of civilised nations of the world…After the Abbottabad operation, the state has become a nursery for jihadists and world powers should break chains of slavery that have enslaved oppressed nations,” he added.

He said that free markets could not be established until all forms of slavery in the third world were abolished. The world should avoid wishful thinking that there was democracy in Pakistan, he added.

Sindh’s mineral and other natural resources were being usurped by Punjab which had become a strategic partner with China against America and India, he said.

JSMM senior vice chairman Lala Aslam Pathan urged the Urdu-speaking people to unite under the JSMM’s flag for ‘freedom of Sindh’. “Extremists and other organisations hold Urdu-speaking community hostage but if they follow G.M. Syed’s philosophy no power on earth can dare touch them,” he said. …… A message from Nawab Khair Bakhsh Mari was also read at the gathering.

Read more » DAWN
http://dawn.com/news/1023506/jsmm-seeks-world-help-to-liberate-sindh

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Corruption limits educational opportunities for Sindhi Children

Reopening ghost schools a lucrative business in Thar

By Prem Shivani

MITHI: The number of schools in the most-underdeveloped district in Sindh is roughly twice the number of total villages.

According to education department records, there are 4,153 operational schools in 2,484 villages of Tharparkar district.

The schools are ‘operating’ on paper only and are not even remotely related to providing education to children living in these villages. Such schools are used only to embezzle government funds received for their management, Dawn reliably learnt. A couple of years ago, more than 50 per cent ghost schools in the district were got reopened by local influential persons in connivance with officials of the education department.

The schools regularly receive funds, ration for students, stipends and scholarships which the bogus schools management committees — comprising the supposed supervisor, teacher and at times the education district officer and additional district officer — distribute among themselves, according to sources in the education department.

According to regulations of the education department, a primary school has to be opened after every two kilometres. However, since the education officers have a stake in schools funds they have been more than generous in opening as many as 60 bogus schools in a single village, said the sources.

These officials have evaded notice by maintaining fake records for students’ enrolment and semis code.

A school with a semis code receives Rs22,500 per year as school management committee fund, a stipend of Rs250 for every girl student enrolled and the person who opens the school in his locality or village gets the job of a lower staff or a naib qasid. Moreover, funds and wheat, oil and ghee are also given by the World Food Programme and Tawana Pakistan Project for these schools.

According to education department records, there are 61 primary schools for boys and girls and one high school in Vaouridora village in Chhachhro taluka which has a total population of 6,580 people.

Around 3,950 boys and girls — 60 per cent of the population — have been shown enrolled in these schools, also having 182 students who have even studied up to matric. Out of these 62 schools 42 do not even have a building but have been allotted a semi code by education officials.

Meanwhile, 27, 22 and 17 schools have been supposedly functioning in Chhachhro, Diplo and Islamkot towns respectively.

A greater number of schools are operating in several villages of Tharparkar district having a population of less than 5,000 people.

Moreover, 24 schools have been opened in Chelhar, 23 in Karuro, 23 in Charnore, 22 in Thardos, 21 in Kitar, 19 in Kitari, 19 in Sakrio, 17 in Kantio,16 in Udani, 15 in Janjhi,14 in Danbhario,14 in Ranpario, 13 in Jetrar, 12 in Khimejopar, 11 in Pabuhar, 11 in Bhorilo, 10 in Dhaklo, 10 in Jese jo Par,10 in Kaloi, and 9 in Aranro village, state official bogus records.

A senior teacher who worked with the Tawana Pakistan Project confirmed that many schools in Thar maintained bogus records of students’ enrolment.“Wheat and oil obtained for these schools is openly sold in the market of these villages and towns,” he said.

An education official who wished not to be named shed some light on ‘the rationale behind opening several schools in a single village’.

He said that influential persons of various communities used their clout to get as many schools opened as possible because for each school opened in a village, bogus teachers gave a cut of their loot to the school superviser and the influential person who had got the school opened. If a teacher paid Rs1,000 a month to the supervisor then more schools meant more teachers and more money, he explained.

Tharparkar district education officer Abdul Majid Hur said that the matter was being probed thoroughly. He said that he would not hesitate to take a stern decision for putting the educational system in Thar on a sound footing and ensuring that quality education was imparted in schools.

For about two years now, people working in such bogus schools in connivance with the education department have managed to pull the wool over the eyes of stakeholders who are funding these schools.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1023302/reopening-ghost-schools-a-lucrative-business-in-thar

India – Renowned Sindhi writer Sundri Uttamchandani passes away

SundriIndia: Sundri Uttamchandani (سندري اتم چنداڻي), said to be the most well-known Sindhi-Indian of our times and Sindhi language’s prominent writer has passed away in India. She was born in Hyderabad, Sindh on September 28, 1924. She was a Sindhi secular liberal writer herself and was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in Sindhi for her Book Vichhoro, a compilation of nine short stories, in the year 1986, given by Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters.

She married Assandas Uttamchandani (A.J.Uttam), a Freedom fighter, with a keen interest in Sindhi Literature with clear leanings toward Marxist Philosophy and, who become in the later years one of the leading writers of Sindhi progressive literary movement, A J Uttam, was one of the founders of Sindhi Sahit Mandal in Bombay/Mumbai. Sundri accompanied him to weekly literary meetings which were presided over by a fatherly figure, Prof M U Malkani, who was a fountain head of encouragement to new and upcoming writers.

This exposure to Sindhi writers and their creative works were to become source of inspiration for her and in the year 1953 she produced her first novel “Kirandar Deewaroon” (Crumbling walls). This proved to be path breaking. She shattered the near monopoly of male domination in literature by her one feat, while on the one hand, she won the accolades and acclaim of all senior writers for use of ‘homely’ language, a folksy- idiomatic language used by women folk in their household and thus brought in a new literary flavour in Sindhi literature. The theme and structure of the novel was mature and it has distinction of being reprinted many times over. This Novel was translated into many Indian languages and brought her acclaim by literary critics of those languages, thus elevating her from a writer of a regional language to writer the of All India fame. Her Second Novel “Preet Purani Reet Niraali” came in the year 1956, which has run into 5 reprints, which amply speaks of its merit and popularity.

More details » Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundri_Uttamchandani

Jinnah Institute resolution: Pakistan, India experts spell out peace steps

By Maha Mussadaq

ISLAMABAD: A draft resolution on peace recommendations for India and Pakistan through trade and other measures were presented by former ambassador Sherry Rehman at Jinnah Institute’s 3rd Islamabad Dialogue which concluded on Friday.

As the two day Islamabad Dialogue came to an end, a number of Indian analysts and Pakistani experts on the region united for a successful dialogue.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/573228/jinnah-institute-resolution-pakistan-india-experts-spell-out-peace-steps/

Shades Of The Old Punjab – Across rural Punjab, Sikhs and Hindus are helping restore mosques destroyed during Partition

By Chander Suta Dogra

Around 200 mosques across Punjab have been repaired, rebuilt or built from scratch with the help of Sikhs and Hindus in the last 10 years. Many destroyed during Partition riots are now being restored by village communities. It’s a reassertion, after decades, of Punjab’s unique religious and cultural synthesis

Read more » OutLookIndia
http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?265962

Religious fundamentalism could soon be treated as mental illness

By JohnThomas Didymus

Kathleen Taylor, a neurologist at Oxford University, said that recent developments suggest that we will soon be able to treat religious fundamentalism and other forms of ideological beliefs potentially harmful to society as a form of mental illness.
She made the assertion during a talk at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales on Wednesday. She said that radicalizing ideologies may soon be viewed not as being of personal choice or free will but as a category of mental disorder. She said new developments in neuroscience could make it possible to consider extremists as people with mental illness rather than criminals. She told The Times of London: “One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated. Someone who has for example become radicalized to a cult ideology — we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance.” Taylor admits that the scope of what could end up being labelled “fundamentalist” is expansive. She continued: “I am not just talking about the obvious candidates like radical Islam or some of the more extreme cults. I am talking about things like the belief that it is OK to beat your children. These beliefs are very harmful but are not normally categorized as mental illness. In many ways that could be a very positive thing because there are no doubt beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage, that really do a lot of harm.

Political Islam Fails Egypt’s Test

By

LONDON — Heba Morayef voted for Mohamed Morsi last year. The Muslim Brotherhood candidate was an unlikely choice for a liberal Egyptian woman, the director of the Human Rights Watch office in Cairo, but she loathed Hosni Mubarak’s old guard, wanted change and believed Morsi could be inclusive.

“I have been extremely conflicted this past week,” Morayef told me. “I don’t support the military or coups. But for me as a voter, Morsi betrayed the trust that pro-reform Egyptians placed in him. That is what brought 14 million people into the streets on June 30. It was not so much the incompetence as the familiar authoritarian agenda, the Brotherhood trying to solidify their control by all means.”

Morsi misread the Arab Spring. The uprising that ended decades of dictatorship and led to Egypt’s first free and fair presidential election last year was about the right to that vote. But at a deeper level it was about personal empowerment, a demand to join the modern world, and live in an open society under the rule of law rather than the rule of despotic whim.

In a Muslim nation, where close to 25 percent of Arabs live, it also demanded of political Islam that it reject religious authoritarianism, respect differences and uphold citizenship based on equal rights for all.

Instead, Morsi placed himself above judicial review last November, railroaded through a flawed Constitution, allowed Brotherhood thugs to beat up liberal opponents, installed cronies at the Information Ministry, increased blasphemy prosecutions, surrendered to a siege mentality, lost control of a crumbling economy and presided over growing sectarian violence. For the Brotherhood, the pre-eminent Islamist movement in the region, the sudden shift from hounded outlaw to power in the pivotal nation of the Arab world proved a bridge too far.

Read more » The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/05/opinion/global/political-islam-fails-egypts-test.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Sindhi Advocacy Campaign 2013 in Washington, DC

Press Release (3 Jul 2013): The Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) will be organizing a Three-day Advocacy Campaign, September 10th-12th 2013 at the Capitol Hill for the Sindhis in Pakistan. These three days will encompass raising awareness regarding the discrimination faced by the Sindhis in Pakistan.

We would like to send out our sincere request for participation in our Sindhi Advocacy Campaign on September 10th through 12th, 2013, 9am-6pm, at the Capitol Hill. The Three-day Advocacy will focus on Education, Health and the human rights issues: Torture, enforced disappearances, marginalization of the religious minority (particularly Sindhi Hindus) and mistreatment of women in Sindh, Pakistan. On the Hill we will be setting meetings with 435 members of the house and 100 senators.

Your support by attending the Sindhi Advocacy Campaign 2013, would be deeply appreciated and help uplift our mission of amending justice to the Sindhis in Pakistan. Please feel free to contact us at sapac.sindh@gmail.com