Category Archives: Punjab

Graduate Seminar on Pakistan’s Water Challenges: Need for Integrated Water Resources Management held at USPCAS-W MUET

Press Release – JAMSHORO, SEPTEMBER 29, 2018: Dr. Hassan Abbas, a renowned hydrologist and water expert of Pakistan said that a mega vision and strong will were needed to tackle the water challenges of Pakistan. While speaking in the graduate seminar on Pakistan’s Water Challenges: Need for Integrated Water Resources Management, held at U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Water (USPCAS-W) Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET), Jamshoro on Friday organized by the Center in collaboration with Center for Social Change (CSC), he said that one of the biggest challenges the country was facing is water pollution instead of water scarcity. He said that water resources were not diminished as perceived by all and sundry but the natural abundance water resources were being diverted which ultimately affect the lower riparian region. Talking about the Indus Delta, he said that the balance between the sea and the delta was only possible with the natural flow of water. He said that 24 acres of land in delta were being affected and 8 acres were completely inundated due to sea intrusion on a daily basis.

Continue reading Graduate Seminar on Pakistan’s Water Challenges: Need for Integrated Water Resources Management held at USPCAS-W MUET

Destruction Of Indus Delta As A Result Of Dams On Rivers In Pakistan

ذرا اس تباہی کو بھی دیکھ لیں

Sea incursion and intrusion has inundated & destroyed large areas of land in coastal areas of Thatho and Badin districts of Sindh. Historically prosperous indigenous people have become the poorest. They have lost their source of livelihood & many have been forced to leave their abode.

Indus Deltta jee tabaahi pahinjay akhhyun saan ddiso
انڊس ڊيلٽا جي تباهي پنهنجي اکين سان ڏسو

To watch special report on environmental and human disaster of Indus Delta, please click here
https://saveindusriver.com/2018/09/19/destruction-of-indus-delta-as-a-result-of-dams-on-rivers-in-pakistan-a-video-report/

Indus River: Water Scarcity And The Conflict Between Sindh And Punjab

The basic source of irrigation for Pakistan agriculture is the Indus River. Water resources are becoming shorter due to the irregular flow of water in the Indus River. To overcome the problem of water shortage and to meet the water demands of rising populations, the Punjab and the federal governments are in favor of constructing more dams in order to store the water which is being wasted otherwise. On the contrary, the Sindh holds the point that the construction of dams such as KBD and Bhasha dam would deprived them of their due shares from IBIS. There has been a distrust regarding water sharing between the two provinces.

The conflict between the two provinces exists since pre-partition and the issue is still a bone of contention between the two provinces as Sindh have reservations regarding the construction of KBD and other dams i.e. they see the building of KBD as a cause of desertification and water scarcity, however Punjab feels it necessary to construct more dams in order to save our coming generations from severe water scarcity.

Read more >> Water Politics
http://www.waterpolitics.com/2013/03/03/indus-river-water-scarcity-and-the-conflict-between-sindh-and-punjab/

Pakistani gang kills six policemen, takes 24 hostages

By REUTER

By Mubasher Bukhari

LAHORE, April 14 (Reuters) – Pakistani gangsters on Thursday killed six policemen and took hostage 24 people, including police, during a raid to clear an island hideout in the south of prosperous Punjab province, authorities said.

The operation to flush out the gangsters entered its ninth day as 1,600 security officials, including police officials and paramilitary Rangers, battled for control of the island in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s power base of Punjab.

Read more » DailyMail.Co.UK
See more » http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-3539607/Pakistani-gang-kills-six-policemen-takes-24-hostages.html

Learn more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-3539607/Pakistani-gang-kills-six-policemen-takes-24-hostages.html#ixzz45nuHJZDl

Embracing Punjabi

By Obed Pasha

Rabindranath Tagore was once asked why he got the Nobel Prize for literature and Allama Iqbal did not. Tagore replied “Probably because I write in my mother tongue and Iqbal doesn’t.”

With this answer Tagore touched on two important points. First, that people can best express themselves through the language they grow up speaking. And second, that the Muslim Punjabi intelligentsia has stopped using its native language as a medium of expression.

Read more » The News
See more » http://www.thenews.com.pk/print/44143-embracing-punjabi

Pakistan: Women can race jeeps in desert rally

LAHORE: Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab has added a new category in the Cholistan Jeep Rally under which women drivers can also participate in the event.

It was announced by TDCP officials at a press conference held at Royal Palm Golf and Country Club on Wednesday. Minister for Tourism Rana Mashhood was chief guest.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1235845/

Railways fiscal deficit reduced considerably: Shahbaz Sharif

LAHORE: The financial deficit of the Pakistan Railways has been reduced and its operations have been improved considerably, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Saturday.

He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the recently-completed double railway track from Lodhran to Raiwind at Premnagar. With the dualisation of track from Lodhran to Raiwind, the entire railway line from Lahore to Karachi has been doubled.

“The railway’s deficit has been brought down from Rs37 billion to Rs27 billion. The deficit will be further cut by more than Rs3.5 billion during the current year. Due to railway administration’s efforts, the number of passengers has been increased by 15 million,” he said.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/1024904/railways-fiscal-deficit-reduced-considerably-shahbaz-sharif/

Pakistan’s Punjab province govt launches income support program for special persons

Punjab govt launches Khidmat Card Programme for special persons

 

LAHORE (Web Desk) – The Government of Punjab on Tuesday launched Khidmat Card Programme with two billion rupees for providing financial assistance to special persons, the Radio Pakistan reported.

Under the programme, special persons will be provided 3,600 rupees after every three months.

Initially, two hundred thousand people will benefit from the programme.

Addressing the ceremony in Lahore today, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said special persons from the entire province will benefit from the programme.

He said the objective of the scheme is to empower the special persons financially. He said special persons have equal rights in the country.

The Chief Minister said the programme will be monitored at every level, and it will be implemented transparently.

On the occasion, Shahbaz Sharif also distributed Khidmat Cards among special persons.

News courtesy: Dunya News Tv
Read more » http://dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/315069-Punjab-govt-launches-Khidmat-Card-Programme-for-sp

Chenab: Pakistan’s river of love

I like to view my life as multiple voyages: the first is a physical one that requires me to walk the earth, the second is a journey from known to unknown. There is another journey that leaves one emotionally fatigued, and it is a need to form and nurture relationships.For me, the thought of new voyages is very refreshing. The North Wind holds you in thrall at your first visit (to the northern areas of Pakistan); subsequently, it keeps whispering in your ear to come back. You remember the blue sky of the day, the black cloak of the night embroidered with glittering stars, and the breeze dancing over the river in summertime; its scent can leave you intoxicated.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1219865/

Fight like a girl: How the Punjab police is breaking stereotypes with its new recruits

Sub-Inspector Shahida is one of the many young women who have recently joined the Rawalpindi Police Force after clearing the Punjab Public Service Commission exam. She is conscientious, educated, and confident — exactly the image that Pakistan, whose population balance tips towards the young, needs to have.

In our dominant patriarchal culture, the induction of such a large number of young women did come to me as a bit of a surprise. So much so, I was wondering if the government had privatised the police department!

This interesting exchange with Shahida took place by chance a couple of days ago, when I was visiting my friend, a superintendent of Police in Rawalpindi. Upon entering the Rawalpindi Police Headquarters, I saw a couple of young uniform-clad women, looking very professional.

I asked her if she ever felt threatened, or if she carried a weapon. “I am the weapon,” she said.

The colour of their uniform was the same as that of their male colleagues, but something else captured my attention. They were all wearing pantaloons.

This was definitely not something I expected policewomen in Punjab to wear. They usually dress in the traditional Shalwar Kameez.

Also read: Badge of honour: KP’s female cops break new ground

I was very curious to know how these policewomen were different from the rest. When I asked my friend about it, he said these newly-recruited ladies had to undergo a rigorous police training, including an Elite Commando course.

Elite training? I was puzzled. This training is considered to be the toughest in police, not just for women, but also for men. It has the same reputation as that of the SSG trainings conducted by the army. “How did they do all this?” I inquired, on which my friend suggested that I should meet them to find out for myself.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1220522/

 

Hazro: A small Pakistani town of mandirs and gurdwaras

By ZULFIQAR ALI KALHORO

Archeologist Dr Ahmad Hasan Dani, in one of my frequent meetings with him, remarked that Potohar is an open-air museum of history. The entire landscape, stretching from Rawat to Taxila and Katas, is dotted with remarkable monuments.

Dani’s remark inspired me to explore the Potohar region. It was during one of my expeditions that I traveled to a small town named Hazro – a tehsil of the Attock district, Punjab, and was instantly smitten.

Formerly a fortified town with four gates, Hazro is home to many temples,gurdwaras and havelis believed to have been built during the Sikh and British era.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1214362/

The DAM!AGE Story of Pakistan

Story of “THE KALABAGH DAM” the most Controversial Dam, proposed on Great INDUS RIVER in Pakistan.

The DAM/AGE story of Pakistan

By Shahnawaz Chachar

This documentary film is the story of a Great Ancient River, of Indus Valley Civilization. A River that has been source of Peace & Prosperity for all habitant since thousands of years, story of Almighty River, Mother Indus

This story is about the KalaBagh Dam, the Proposed Hydro Electric Dam in Mianwali District of Punjab Province. Since the first feasibility conducted in 1983, The CaalaBaag Dam remained controversial for many reasons, all stakeholders, political parties, technical experts and vocal society groups have their own supportive and protective opinions and interests, over this controversial dam.

The supporters of KalaBagh Dam, praises high value benefits for country, such as increased & improved conventional irrigation system, effective flood control management, water reservoir for dry seasons, solution to highly demanded energy crises, and rapid growth in GDP.

At the other end, the dissenters’ side, they have critical concerns about KalaBagh Dam, this group believes that this dam could trigger, irreversible degradation, of the Indus River Ecosystem. It will displace thousands of people, loss of productive fertile land under water, and southern province the Sindh province would be the worst sufferer of degradation of nature, and it will devastate the strained ecology of the Indus delta.

Out of four provinces of Pakistan, three provinces have strongly condemned this controversial project and passed resolutions in provincial assemblies against KalaBagh Dam. They all believe that KalaBagh Dam is just a BIG BROTHER SYNDROME, many of you are familiar with.

In recent past, these disagreements and disputes on KalaBagh Dam were scaled up to threats, for FEDERATION OF PAKISTAN, and this controversy becomes, one of the major issues of inter-provincial politics in Pakistan.

Focusing this never-ending controversy of KalaBagh Dam, I am going to make a documentary film and, named it, The DAM-AGE story of Pakistan. This documentary film would be the story of 32 years, of political warfare, for Kalabagh Dam.

Which covers, the national and international interest, Country’s long puzzled energy crises. Power politics and pressure groups. Water distribution history among provinces. Flood history and its management. Provincial and ethnic cards. The river dependent Livelihood. Climate Change and Environmental Impact. People living at tail, the delta story. And, about the INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, who have honored this river, as the ALMIGHTY GODDESS, from the ancient times.

This documentary film is a synopsis of long struggle, of sponsors, supporters and dissenters of KalaBagh Dam, Covering Expert Opinions, Political Interests, Seasonal floods and surplus water statistics, Possible displacement of population packets, Water distribution treaties & practices, Royalty matters & natural resources, Analysis of acclaimed outcomes, and prolonged hypothetical theories, which were created through mass media.

Courtesy: Indiegogo
Read more » https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-dam-age-story-of-pakistan–3#/

Punjab to Assam: Writer returns her Padma Shri, another his Akademi

To kill those who stand for truth and justice put us to shame in the eyes of the world and God. In protest, therefore, I return the Padma Shri award”, said Tiwana.

Written by Parul | Chandigarh

Dalip Kaur Tiwana, a novelist and short story writer from Punjabi, announced Tuesday that she is returning her Padma Shri, the country’s fourth highest civilian award. Tiwana, 80, is the first to give up a Padma award to express “solidarity with writers who are protesting against increasing cultural intolerance in our society and politics”.

Assamese litterateur and journalist Homen Borgohain also returned his Sahitya Akademi award, which he received in 1978 for his novel Pita Putra. He cited the killing of a man in Dadri over rumours of cow slaughter as the trigger, and said he was protesting against the “growing fascist tendency in the country” and “evil forces” that are “trying to hit hard at the core ideology of Indian civilisation and culture”.

Tiwana, who received the Padma Shri in 2004 for Literature and Education, is also the recipient of a Sahitya Akademi Award. “I had something big to give up, for a cause I believe in and which is close to my heart, and this is my way of protest. Minorities are being crushed and writers and rationalists are being murdered, and no one is allowed to speak,” Tiwana told The Indian Express.

Tiwana, who used teach Punjabi at Patiala’s Punjab University and is now a writer-in-residence there, added, “In this land of Gautama Buddha and Guru Nanak Dev, the atrocities committed on the Sikhs in 1984 and on the Muslims currently because of communalism are an utter disgrace to our state and society.”

Read more » The Indian Express
See more » http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/punjabi-author-dalip-kaur-tiwana-to-return-padma-shri-more-writers-protest/

Lahore: Mubarak Centre project relaunched

By Jawwad Rizvi

THE commercial landmark that was earlier scrapped at its foundation stage is back on track as both the Punjab government and Abu Dhabi Group have managed to launch it again though with some modifications in its main plan.

The Mubarak Centre, a complex under construction in Lahore, was scrapped by the current government of Punjab in 2009. Initially, the project included towers having residential apartments and offices, conference halls and a shopping mall and it would have the tallest building in Pakistan.

An audit and accounts committee, consisting of representatives of both the Punjab government and Abu Dhabi Group, was established to make the feasibility report and finalise it before the next Board of Directors meeting scheduled to be held in January 2012.

Continue reading Lahore: Mubarak Centre project relaunched

Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada killed in Attock suicide blast

By Abdul Manan / Hafeez Tunio / Agencies

Punjab Home Minister Col (retd) Shuja Khanzada was killed along with dozens of others in a suicide blast at his political office in Shadi Khan near Attock on Sunday.

Adviser to Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, Dr Saeed Elahi, confirmed Khanzada’s death. “Home Minister Shuja Khanzada was killed in the suicide blast.”

Police said the blast appeared to be a large bomb, and it had caused the roof to cave in as Khanzada held meetings with supporters in his hometown of Attock. Khanzada was trapped under the rubble along with dozens of others as the entire structure of his office building collapsed.

“The bodies of nine people have been pulled out from the rubble,” Zahid Saeed, the commissioner of Rawalpindi, told reporters earlier, adding it was a suicide attack.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/939003/blast-rocks-punjab-home-minister-shuja-khanzadas-political-office-in-attock/

Pakistan – Prayer leader gets 10-year jail for hate speech

BAHAWALPUR: Anti-terrorism court judge Khalid Arshad on Friday awarded 10-year and four months jail term to the prayer leader of a mosque at Qaimpur Town near Hasilpur, about 90km from here, for delivering hate speech. He was also awarded Rs0.7m fine.

The convict, Maulana Abdul Ghani, was arrested by the Qaimpur police after he delivered the speech against a sect about two months back.

Meanwhile, the ATC announced judgements in four other cases pertaining to the distribution of hate literature.

Muhammad Waqas was awarded sentence of 3.5 months with a fine of Rs5,000, Rafiq Ahmed three months jail along Rs5,000 fine, Muhammad Zahid, three months and fifteen days while Talib Husain was given sentence of 3.5 months with Rs5,000 fine.

RAINWATER: Several dried-up open ponds, locally called tobas, in Cholistan were filled up with rainwater after the recent heavy rain.

According to Cholistan Development Authority’s director livestock Asghar Ramay, the rainwater in the ponds would meet the needs of both humans and cattle in the vast desert area.

He said the areas of Bijnot, Maujgarh, Dingarh, Salmsar and others received heavy rains while there was a drizzle in the parts of Derawar and Nawankot.

Mr Ramay expressed hope there would be grass and increase in natural pastures for animals after rain in the desert.

News courtesy: Dawn, July 4th, 2015
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1192238/

Sikh referendum 2020: Demand for Independence of Punjab Echoes in San Francisco

San Francisco (RPRN) 06/08/15 —  Thousands of North American Sikhs converged in downtown San Francisco to commemorate the 31st year of Indian Army’s invasion of Golden Temple in which thousands of Sikh pilgrims were massacred.

A highly visible stage at the San Francisco City Hall carried the larger than life portrait of slain Sikh separatist leader Sant Bhindranwle, while the speakers paid homage to the perennial chief of Damdami Taksal who headed the movement for independent Sikh country, “Khalistan”.

The “Sovereignty Rally” attended by more ten thousand Sikhs, was organized by the management committees of Gurudwaras across California.

Bringing the city of San Francisco to a halt, admirers and followers of Bhindranwale marched through the streets chanting slogans demanding referendum in the Indian occupied State of Punjab. Wearing T-shirts with pictures of slain separatist leader, Sikh youths were carrying placards for “Referendum 2020”.

Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) an international human rights group is advocating for holding of referendum in the year 2020 to create separate Sikh country.

Pointing to the growing popularity of campaign for Sikh Referendum, attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun legal advisor to SFJ stated that Sant Bhindranwale represented the community’s aspirations for independence and was not a terrorist as portrayed by the Indian government.

“History is a witness that in more than 300 years Sikh community was never an aggressor and only laid lives defending its right to peaceful existence”, added attorney Pannun.

What lies at the bottom of the controversy between the disgruntled Sikhs and Indian Government is the Explanation II to Article 25 of the constitution of India which labels Sikhs as Hindus. Offended by the constitutional assault on independent status of Sikhism, Bhindranwale initially lead the movement for abolition of Article 25 which ultimately culminated in demanding cession of Punjab, the historical homeland of Sikhs, from India.

News courtesy: RushPrNews
Read more » http://rushprnews.com/2015/06/08/demand-for-independence-of-punjab-echoes-in-san-francisco

Punjab: Did you hear what the Chinese president said?

BY MUSHTAQ SOOFI

Would the prime minister, the cabinet ministers, the members of the National Assembly, the senators and other power wielders pause for a moment and ponder over what the president of the People’s Republic of China said in the beginning of his address to the joint session of Parliament held this week in Islamabad.

He described Pakistan as a country ‘young and ancient’. In the euphoria created by a huge pile of MOUs (which definitely would have economic bearings on our future) no one would care to understand the implied suggestion this apparently simple statement carried. But anyone who knows how Chinese are subtle in the matters of statecraft, politics and diplomacy will not miss how significant is the unsaid in what he said.

We all know we are a young country. The president reminded us that though a young country we have been a product of a brilliant ancient society spanned over thousands of years. What prompted him to iterate that is obvious? Our attitude towards the past and what it offers! Our past and what it offers constitutes ‘ancient’.

It’s precisely this very ‘historical mess’ that we abhor and are scared of, thus exposing an unbridgeable gulf between our being ‘young’ and ‘ancient’. So far we have tried though not successfully to build everything around the fact of our being young in search of ideology driven utopia that has landed us in a grey zone of historical dis-orientation.

With the emergence of Pakistan in 1947 our ruling elite strengthened the faith-based narrative, exclusive and monolithic, which was and is still being touted as a raison deter of the new state. Such an unnatural and a historical thinking caused an almost complete rupture with our long past especially the shared one spread over at least five thousand years.

In our world of make-belief we thought as if we came into being out of thin air of abstraction forgetting that we are what we have been and what we have been belongs to the irretrievable, the past. One can interpret and re-interpret the past but cannot change it.

It does not in way mean that humans are mere prisoners of history. On the one hand they are product of history and on the other they are capable of making history. However it is to be remembered that though ‘men make their own history they do not make it as they please. They do not make it under the circumstances chosen by themselves but under the circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past’. Our elders made history by creating a new state but they did this under the circumstances created by history itself which made the peaceful co-existence of Hindu and Muslim communities a distant dream cherished by many.

The new state while endeavouring to realize a different and secure future for its citizens suffered from a fatal fallacy. That is that the past can be declared an alien territory having no presence in the collective conscious and subconscious of people and hence one can have absolutely clean break with it.

The past, to the dismay of ideologues, is not something completely solid that can be demolished and buried under the debris of intellectual claptrap. What is most tangible about the past is its ever present intangibility as submerged experience at subterranean level that refuses to fade out from the psychic space.

Pakistani state and the elite with a deep sense of insecurity have been trying to build an exclusive national identity based on the denial of the past that we shared and still share with India.

The irony is that what is conceived as Indian and debunked is the cultural and intellectual manifestation of our ancient culture. What is the Indian civilization san Indus valley?

Can you imagine Indian civilization without Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, Rig-Veda (composed by Rishis at the banks of river Ravi), Gandhara and Taxila? Can you write the history the political science ignoring the Chanakya Kautilya’s Arthshastra, the first book on statecraft and art of politics?

Continue reading Punjab: Did you hear what the Chinese president said?

Pakistan – Punjab Launching First Responder Dolphin Force

Punjab Police is launching a first responder service by name of Dolphin Force (DF). DF will be equipped with modern gear including high speed bikes, mini-buses with field support, body mounter cameras, GPS locators and special radios. Each unit will be strategically stationed at different locations of the city and their movements will be monitored and controlled through satellite systems. This will enable them to reach at any location within a short period of time through help of central command and control center.

The new force will be trained by Turkish experts and the project is expected to cost around 900M.

Read more » PKPolitics
See more » http://pkpolitics.com/2015/04/02/punjab-launching-first-responder-dolphin-force/

Deadly blasts hit Pakistan churches in Lahore

Two bomb blasts have killed at least 10 people near two churches in a Christian neighbourhood of the Pakistani city of Lahore, local officials say.

At least 50 people were reportedly hurt in the explosions at the Catholic church and Christ Church in the city’s Youhanabad area.

Violent protests erupted after the blasts, with large crowds already in the area to attend Sunday mass.

Pakistan’s Christian community has often been targeted by militants.

An offshoot of the Pakistan Taliban, calling itself Jamatul Ahrar, has said it carried out the attack.

Witnesses say suicide bombers were responsible for the explosions but police have not confirmed this.

The bombers are said to have detonated their explosives at the gates of the churches. Local media say the death toll has reached 14.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31894708

Banned ASWJ ends protest as Islamabad police forms team to probe murders

By SHAKEEL QARAR

ISLAMABAD: The banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) marched from Lal Masjid to the Parliament House on Friday in protest of “target killings and kidnappings” of its representatives.

The proscribed outfit marched today to protest against what it called a recent surge in acts of violence against its representatives. The march was led by ASWJ Islamabad President Ghulam Mustafa Baloch in light of which police cordoned off the street near the headquarters of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) with containers.

Following a dialogue with the Islamabad police, the outfit agreed to end its protest after an assurance was given that the murders of its workers would be probed. The additional deputy commission Islamabad, the SSP and other police officials said that a special investigation team to be led by SP Captain (retd) Ilyas was being formed to investigate the killings.

ASWJ, a reincarnation of the banned Sunni militant group Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), had been banned in Feb 2012.

Despite the ban, the ASWJ continues to operate in the country with religious conferences and demonstrations held in different cities from time to time and no apparent action from the authorities.

Read more: Banned outfit operates with impunity in Chakwal

Last month, lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir led a protest against ASWJ’s activities, bringing attention to the government’s negligence towards following due process of law.

ASWJ representatives have been targeted in three incidents of sectarian violence this year. Two days ago, senior ASWJ leader Dr Mohammad Fayyaz Khan was gunned down in Karachi.

According to data compiled by the South Asian Terrorism Portal, 112 people have been killed and 140 injured in incidents of sectarian violence in Pakistan since the beginning of 2015.

The Sunni Supreme Council had, at the end of February, announced the launch of a protest movement against sectarian killings and terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but the province-wide protest has not picked up impetus outside of KP.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1167784/banned-aswj-ends-protest-as-islamabad-police-forms-team-to-probe-murders

Pakistani farmers struggle to switch to solar powered pumps

By Aamir Saeed

Amid Pakistan’s growing energy crisis, farmers are being encouraged to switch from diesel to solar powered water pumps, but few can afford the initial costs

Arshad Khan recently converted his diesel-operated water pump to solar energy to save money on his monthly diesel bill. He grows wheat, vegetables, peanuts and sugar-cane on his 18 hectare farm in Attock district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

“In April last year I decided to convert my tube well to solar energy after my diesel costs rose to 29,000 rupees (US$287) per month,” he said.

In Pakistan, there are over 1.1 million agriculture tube wells, with only 30% of them operated by electricity.

As the country faces a growing energy crisis, farmers are left with no option but to switch from diesel to solar energy to irrigate their crops. Tube wells consume around 2,000 million litres of diesel every year.

Khan is now encouraging other farmers in the area to install solar panels, pointing out the long-term economic benefits despite the initial expenditure of 1.8 million rupees (US$17,827).

National solar drive?

Pakistan’s government recently approved the use of grid-connected solar energy and rooftop solar installations and cut import taxes on solar equipment in a bid to boost solar power across the country.

In the next few months, Pakistan will add 100MW from the Quaid-e-Azam solar park in Punjab province to the national grid for the first time, with an additional 50MW to be added within a year. The project is part of Pakistan-China Economic Corridor, under which China will invest US$33 billion including in the energy and power sector.

But the country’s solar sector has a long way to go. “At the moment, generation of solar energy in the public sector is zero as all the projects are being done in the private sector,” said Asjad Imtiaz Ali, CEO of the Alternative Energy Development Board, a government organisation.

Chairman of Pakistan Solar Association, Faiz Muhammad Bhutta, recently urged the government to do more to spread solar power: he called for a 20,000-MW solar target by 2026, following the example of India’s National Solar Mission.

Despite plummeting oil prices, Asjad Imtiaz Ali believes Pakistan should continue to develop its renewable energy sector as a way of reducing its reliance on volatile fossil imports for electricity.

Almost half of Pakistan’s total electricity generation comes from expensive thermal energy sources and this means electricity prices have become unaffordable, according to the country’s 2013 National Power Policy.

Solar is the most viable and reliable energy source for agriculture, argues Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman, climate change and renewable energy expert with LEAD Pakistan, an NGO based in Islamabad. He believes farmers across the country should be encouraged to convert their diesel-operated water pumps to solar energy.

“Agriculture tube wells can be operated directly from solar panels as no batteries are required to store the energy for them,” Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman said, adding farmers can recover costs within three to four years by saving on diesel and electricity bills.

Read more » The Third Pole
See more » http://www.thethirdpole.net/pakistani-farmers-struggle-to-switch-to-solar-powered-pumps/

‘Huge’ reserves of iron ore discovered in Chiniot

CHINIOT: The government on Wednesday said it has discovered major reserves of iron ore as well as copper, silver and gold in Punjab.

The reserves were found in Chiniot city, around 160 kilometres (around 100 miles) northwest of Lahore, by Chinese group the Metallurgical Cooperation of China.

A senior provincial administrative official told AFP that initial estimates indicated 500 million tons of iron ore – a primary ingredient in steelmaking – had been discovered.

He said the Chinese company has expressed interest in setting up a steel mill on the site, adding that the extracted iron had been tested in Swiss and Canadian laboratories, which found 60-65 percent of it to be high grade.

The official added that silver, copper and gold samples would also be sent for testing soon.

Read more » Geo Tv News
See more » http://www.geo.tv/article-174802-Huge-reserves-of-iron-ore-discovered-in-Chiniot

 

US says can’t confirm if Pakistan banned JuD, Haqqani Network

ISLAMABAD – In a recent development, the National Counterterrorism Authority (Nacta) has removed the list of proscribed organisations from its official website, which is being seen as an attempt to add more confusion to the ongoing debate whether Haqqani Network and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) have been banned or not.

Under the National Action Plan (NAP) on Counterterrorism, the government has declared Nacta a focal point to coordinate all efforts to end terrorism in the country.
Some two weeks back at least till January 10, Nacta’s official website had an updated list of proscribed organisations, but now this has been removed on the directions of the high-ups of the Ministry of Interior, sources privy to the development revealed.

Amid some media reports in this regard, the US State Department, in its recent statement, said that it did not have confirmation from Pakistan about banning the Haqqani Network or JuD.

On the Nacta’s website, National Internal Security Policy (NISP) which was announced last year by the incumbent government with great pomp and show has been uploaded that also contains list of proscribed organisations.
There is main link of NISP at the home page of Nacta’s website and a sub-link of the list of proscribed organisations under this main link.
“The Nacta officials have delinked the list of proscribed organisations under the pressure of the bosses of the Ministry of Interior,” official sources confirmed.

The Nacta did this when some sections of the media started reporting that the government had decided to ban JuD, a charity organisation run by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, and a militant organisation, Haqqani Network.
The move is significant ahead of President Obama’s visit to India starting from next Sunday as the US had been asking Pakistan to ban both the organisations as these were responsible for terrorist activities in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.

According to Nacta’s ‘List of Proscribed Organisations’ that now has been removed from the official website, there are 62 proscribed organisations in the country and 10 are facing financial sanctions due to the ban imposed by UNSC’s Sanctions Committee in 2008 through a UN resolution.

The Supreme Court, the other day, also suggested to the government to make public the list of banned organisations in the interest of public.

Interior Additional Secretary Muhammad Asghar Chaudhry on January 20 told Senate Standing Committee on Interior that JuD and Haqqani Network had not been banned.
Prior to this, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, in its last press conference, had avoided to answer a question about the ban on JuD and Haqqani Network.
The Foreign Office, the other day, added more confusion to the ongoing debate as it gave a vague answer while replying to a question about banning JuD and Haqqani Network.
The Foreign Office, in its reply, focused more on the procedural matters rather than replying to the specific question.

According to the NAP Implementation Progress Report of the Ministry of Interior, a comprehensive analysis/assessment review is underway to identify how many of the proscribed organisations are active, working under other names and/or more importantly how many of them have an armed wing, operating inside or outside the country.

Special correspondent adds from Washington: The United States backs Pakistan’s commitment to taking steps without discrimination against the terrorist groups operating on its soil, but it has no confirmation about the banning of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Haqqani Network, a State Department spokesperson said Friday.

“We recognise that Pakistan is working through the process of implementing measures to thwart violent extremism, including the National Action Plan.
We don’t have any confirmation of specific steps,” State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington when asked about the reported ban on the two militant outfits.

Psaki noted that Islamabad has made clear in statements that it is in Pakistan’s own interest to take steps against all militant groups and explicitly not to differentiate between such groups.
“We support this commitment and believe it is essential to address terrorism and stop recurrence of the attacks like that on the Peshawar schoolchildren,” she remarked during a conference call.

Read more » The Nation
See more » http://nation.com.pk/editors-picks/24-Jan-2015/nacta-removes-list-of-banned-outfits-from-website

Hafiz Saeed urges India to ‘leave Kashmir’

LAHORE: Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed urged India to “leave Kashmir” while addressing a rally in Lahore to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day on Tuesday.

“No one could defeat the Muslims… If America had to run away, then India, you will have to leave Kashmir as well,” said Saeed amid chants of ‘al-jihad, al-jihad’.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/502947/hafiz-saeed-urges-india-to-leave-kashmir/