Tag Archives: Lahore

Local manufacturing of mobile handsets from April

ISLAMABAD: A Chinese manufacturer will launch its mobile handset manufacturing and assembling unit in April (Pakistan’s first), a senior official at Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication said on Monday.

 

The manufacturer — China’s Haier — is already operating in the country and has established a laptop manufacturing unit in Lahore.

The move would help in reducing the import bill as smartphones are in demand and also bring good investment as well as creating job opportunities, the official said.

The government had announced tax incentive package for manufacturing of mobile phones in budget 2015-16. These included income tax exemption for five years, zero per cent depreciation allowance for plants, machinery and production line equipment used for manufacturing of mobile phones certified by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in the first year.

In the wake of new government policy facilitating local manufacturing/assembling of mobile handsets, a delegation led by Haier Groups CEO, Zeeshan Qureshi met with Minister of State for IT and Telecom, Anusha Rahman.

Mr Qureshi said Haier considers Pakistan a very lucrative and flourishing market for mobile handset manufacturing/assembling particularly with uptake of 3G/4G services in the country.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1236875/

Crossing borders: Why every Indian should visit Pakistan

Our soils are parted, let’s not part our souls.

By Nikita Singla

I said, “I want to go to Pakistan…” but, I couldn’t finish before the reactions came flying in:

“There are so many new places you can see, then why Pakistan?”

“If a war starts between India and Pakistan, the first thing they will do is seal the borders and you will be left on the other side forever.”

“Believe us, it’s not safe to go there. You won’t even get a US visa after this.”

Born and brought up in a Punjabi family, with an understanding of the Muslim world which was unfriendly, to say the least; these reactions were not all that surprising for me.

But there was still the question of whether a good part of this resentment did not flow from ‘Islamophobia’ or the lens through which the world sees Pakistan i.e. as a haven for the world’s al Qaedas and Talibans.

So I was clear: I wanted to go and find my own answers on the other side of my very own Punjab.

I reached Amritsar a day before, with fingers crossed but still clueless about whether I would even get the visa. Finally, everything fell into place and it ended with a lot of, “We cannot believe you are doing this…” lines.

I was going as a part of a 16-member peace delegation for a conference on South Asia People’s Union, and among the very few members who were visiting Pakistan for their first time. Everybody asked the youngest delegate in the team, “How do you think Pakistan will be?” And, that mounted my excitement even further.

The moment we crossed Wagah and got to the other side, a chill ran down my spine at the sight of the place where a suicide bombing had followed the daily parade, exactly a week before. And I caught myself chanting all the Sanskrit mantras I knew at mind-boggling speed.

A shower of rose petals by our Pakistani friends who had come to receive us at the border, was something I had definitely not expected. The South Asia Partnership (SAP) Pakistan’s team rolled out the red carpet and gave us a very warm welcome.

We directly headed for lunch at one of the members’ place. And in my first few hours there, I was at a complete loss at making out any difference between them and myself. We looked similar, wore similar clothes, ate similar food and spoke the same language; that same Punjabi with the same accent, except for the ‘Haye Rabba’ I burst into and the ‘Haye Allah’ they burst into, while laughing.

Continue reading Crossing borders: Why every Indian should visit Pakistan

Pakistan bomb kills 50 at Wagah border with India

More than 50 people have been killed and at least 100 injured in a suicide bombing close to Pakistan’s only border crossing with India.

The blast hit near the checkpoint at the Wagah border crossing, near Lahore.

The Pakistani Taliban told the BBC that it had carried out the attack, although another militant group, Jundullah, also said it was responsible.

At least 15 people were badly injured, and officials said three members of the Pakistani border force had died.

Scattered bodies

The Wagah crossing is a high-profile target, with large crowds gathering every day to watch an elaborate flag-lowering ceremony as the border closes.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-29871077

When Jews found refuge in an unlikely place: Pakistan

Instead of fleeing 1930s Europe to British-controlled Palestine like many other Jews, the Kahan family moved to Lahore on a whim.

By and Gabe Friedman

When Hazel Kahan went back to Lahore, Pakistan, in 2011 for the first time in 40 years, her childhood homes were completely different. Her first home, formerly a tan stone mansion covered in flowery vines, was now completely painted in white and inhabited by the Rokhri family, one of Pakistan’s most powerful political clans. Her second home, where her parents had run a medical clinic, had become the Sanjan Nagar Institute of Philosophy and Arts.

Pakistan is still close to Kahan’s heart. She explained that she has been graciously welcomed back into the Pakistani community every time she has visited. “I feel because I was born there that in a very profound way it’s my home,” she said. “Even though I’m not of it, I’m from there.”

After living in England, Australia and Israel, and having worked in market research in Manhattan for years, Kahan, 75, now lives in Mattituck, on the North Fork of Long Island. She produces interviews for WPKN radio in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and has recently begun discussing her family history in public presentations, telling a story that illustrates how complicated citizenship and allegiances were for Jews during and after World War II in Pakistan and beyond. She has presented her piece “The Other Pakistan” in Woodstock and Greenport, New York and twice in Berlin. She plans to bring her performance to Montreal in November.

Kahan said that her parents wanted to spend their entire life in Pakistan, and dreamt of dispensing free medical care to people throughout the Middle East after they retired.

“I never really cared about it, I never bothered, until [my father] died [in 2007],” Kahan said of the project. “Then I realized there’s no one left to tell this story. He did his best to pass it on to us. And we’re responsible, you know?”

Continue reading When Jews found refuge in an unlikely place: Pakistan

SP also ‘punished’ for stopping general’s car

SP also ‘punished’ for stopping general’s car

LAHORE, Oct 16: Model Town division SP Syed Ahmed Mobin Zaidi was transferred and directed to report to the central police office (CPO) in the wake of an incident on Tuesday night when a police team stopped the car of a major-general’s family at a picket near Ghalib Market, Gulberg.

Model Town division ASP Muhammad Ali Nikokar has already been asked to report to the CPO. Besides, Ghalib Market SHO Shahid Chaddar has been suspended and Constable Nazir booked under Section 506.

The police had stopped the car on Tuesday night to remove its tinted glass, which was banned by the Punjab government for security reasons following the murder of MNA Maulana Azam Tariq.

The driver, who was reportedly in army uniform, introduced the family on board. But constable Nazir Ahmad refused to let them go because “no body was exempted from the ban”.

This led to an argument between the two which attracted other policemen present there who intervened in the matter and allowed the family to go with the tinted glass still intact.

Before leaving, the general’s driver reportedly threatened the policemen with dire consequences. His threat meterialized within minutes as the senior army command got into action and asked the police hierarchy to take strict action against the constable, Ghalib Market SHO and Model Town division SP and ASP.

The police command not only booked constable Nazir Ahmed but also allowed the army to take him to the corps headquarters handcuffed for “further interrogation”. He managed his release on Wednesday after getting bail from a local court.

Sources said SP Syed Ahmed Mobin Zaidi did try to use his connections in the army but failed to stop his transfer due to “enormous pressure” on the police hierarchy.

According to an army official, the action has been taken to “condemn the police conduct at pickets”. Soon after the incident, vehicles of the army and the judiciary were exempted from the ban.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/120505/sp-also-punished-for-stopping-general-s-car

Was this Lahore or Occupied Kashmir?

Islamabad diary

By Ayaz Amir

If this was Srinagar, and the Indian army had been trying to quell a crowd of Kashmiri demonstrators, we would have understood. We would have shaken our heads but we would have understood. Although even there the savagery and the mindless brutality of the Lahore police on supporters of Dr Tahirul Qadri would have seemed excessive.

The Indian army and the Indian police don’t have much of a reputation for being gentle in dealing with unruly Muslim protesters. Even so, when was the last time nine people, including two women and a youngster, were shot dead in cold blood in Srinagar? In addition to the dead there are around 30-40 people with gunshot wounds in hospital. When was the last time this happened across the Line of Control? When was the last time this was the tally of the dead and wounded in East Jerusalem or the West Bank?

And this wasn’t Hamas-ruled Gaza, the West Bank or Occupied Kashmir. This was Lahore and one of its better residential colonies. The chief minister lives in the same locality. But that evening when he addressed a press conference looking ever so contrite, he gave the impression that all this happened over his head. This from someone known as a hands-on chief minister…virtually half the city’s police force deployed against the Minhajul-Quran secretariat, the locality looking like a battlefield and resounding with the sound of gunfire for hours on end, and the chief minister in blissful ignorance.

Continue reading Was this Lahore or Occupied Kashmir?

Pakistan: Lahore Orange Line Metro train

Lahore Orange Line Metro train project signed with Chinese company

By Usman Khan

SHANGHAI: Chief Minister Punjab Mia Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif on Thursday have signed Lahore Metro train project with Chinese company.

Shahbaz Sharif signed the contract with the Chairman of the Chinese National Development Reforms Commission in Shanghai.

Read more » The News Tribe
http://www.thenewstribe.com/2014/05/22/lahore-orange-line-metro-train-project-signed-with-chinese-company/

Bhagat Singh’s house in Pakistan to get Rs 80 mn for restoration

Legendary Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh’s ancestral house, school and his village in Punjab Province in Pakistan will be restored for Rs 80 million. “We have allocated Rs 80 million for restoration of the house and school of Indian [Indo-Pak] Independence war hero Bhagat Singh. The amount will also be spent for the upliftment of Singh’s village, where clean drinking water is not available and drainage system is in a bad shape,” Faisalabad District Coordination Officer Noorul Amin Mengal told PTI.

Mengal said that people in Faisalabad “take pride in the fact that Bhagat Singh was the son of their soil” and want the place to be known as “the town of Bhagat Singh”. The celebrated revolutionary was born September 28, 1907 at Bangay village, Jaranwala Tehsil in the Faisalabad (then Lyallpur) district of the Province. Singh’s village, Bangay, some 150 kilometres from Lahore, would also become a tourist attraction for people, especially Indians, once his house is restored by this year end, he added.

“Singh’s village is just 35 kilometres from Nankana Sahib. It could be another point of attraction for the Sikh pilgrims,” he said. The government has also planned to shift Singh’s belongings from Faisalabad Museum and Library to his house, he added.

Read more » The Indian Express
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/bhagat-singhs-house-in-pakistan-to-get-rs-80-mn-for-restoration/?SocialMedia

Voice of Baloch Missing Persons’ Long March Arrives in Lahore: warm welcome for Baloch marchers.

Comrade Irfan stood head and shoulders above the entire left in Pakistan. An organic representative of the most advanced and progressive section of the working class, he literally risked his life safeguarding the Baloch. He came in front of a truck to protect the march and escaped because he came under the truck and between its two front wheels. He cared for their every need from Harrapa onwards. He took care of their food and shelter. And finally he organised the most incredible reception that they have received in the entire Punjab.

Lahori workers lifted Comrade Irfan on their shoulders as he spoke passionately against the injustice of the Baloch. Surrounded by red flags he welcomed the Baloch march to Lahore on behalf of the working class movement. The enthusiasm and the energy was a sight for sore eyes to see. In one big gesture, workers brought together people of all communities in the fight against all forms of oppression. Lahori working women draped their Baloch sisters in chadors. People showered petals until the road was red with rose petals. Media surrounded the march and took pictures from every angle. Everyone was disciplined, there was no pushing or shoving. Women were safe in the centre. Workers made a human chain around the march to protect their Baloch brothers & sisters. The Baloch said to us “this was the best reception we have received anywhere in the Punjab. We thought we would not return alive from the Punjab but we did not expect that so many people had so much love for us.”Altogether united people shouted “We want, justice” “Baloch want justice”. There were representatives from the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party, Bonded Labour Liberation Front, Peoples Democratic Front, National Students Federation, Baloch Students Federation, Shahvar Ali Khan representing musicians, Rise for Pakistan and so many others whose names I cannot remember right now. This was not your caste of usual suspects. This was a real proletarian gathering for the Baloch. And I think that is what made it genuine and wonderful.

The entire left should join us in awarding comrade Irfan with a medal as a “Hero of the Working Class”.

Courtesy: Facebook

Pakistan: Bhagat Singh Shaheed’s village selected for preservation

Faisalabad: Bhagat Singh Shaheed native village Banga in Faisalabad is been selected for preservation and has been declared as historical sites by Faisalabad district coordination officers Noorul Amin Mengal. Mr Mengal had earlier named Shadman Fawara Chouck as Bhagat Singh Chouck in 2012 while he was DCO Lahore, Along with Bhagat Singh village, the villages of Sir Ganga Ram, Mirza Jutt and Ahmad Khan Kharal, the other freedom fighters and historical personalities, have also been declared as historical place.

Source – via Facebook

Pakistan Railway Decided to Provide Free Internet Facility For Passengers in Trains

Lahore: After Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Railway Department also decided to provide internet and modern facilities for passengers in train. According to Express News, Railway officials has decided to provide Internet access to passenger within trains, passengers will be provided free Internet access and wireless Internet access (Wi- Fi) systems.

Federal Minister Railway Khawaja Saad Rafique while talking to media said that Railways have reduced train fares. He said that “We are working had to get Railways back to its feet and will again restore passengers confidence” .

Note : The PIA also provide phone and SMS service for passengers over flying.

Courtesy: The Pak Media
http://www.thepakmedia.com/pakistan-railway-decided-provide-internet-facility-passengers-trains/2014/01/25/

Naheed Akhtar to perform after two decades

By

LAHORE, May 31: Famous for her voice range and often credited for her versatility, yore years’ playback singer Naheed Akhtar will perform after 22 years at Alhamra Art Centre, The Mall, on June 8.

The singer, who gave up professional singing in 1991, will be awarded Alhamra Excellence Award on the occasion.

She used to be a household name from the 70s to the 90s. Famous TV host and actress Ayesha Sana will interview Ms Akhtar at the evening while Hamid Ali Khan, Shabnam Majeed and Saima Jahan will sing the popular film songs sung by the singer.

Videos of her film songs and those she sang on television will also be screened. There will also be a few performances on some of her songs by film and TV artistes.

A number of known film artistes, music composers, lyrists and other guests are invited to the occasion.

The credit for bringing to stage Akhtar after so many years directly goes to the council for its officials made repeated requests to the singer for a public appearance.

LAC Deputy Director Zulfiqar Ali Zulfi told Dawn that after repeated requests the singer finally got convinced for a public appearance and a performance.

He said since Akhtar belonged to the league of such singers who were thoroughly professional therefore she had several meetings with Alhamra officials to finalise the list of songs to be sung and performed. He said: “These days she is doing rehearsals for the songs she is going to sing at the evening.”

Ms Akhtar was discovered by veteran musician M Ashraf in the mid-70s and replaced Runa Laila. Her debut film was ‘Nanha Farishta’ in 1974 and that year she sang songs in the film Shama also.

As a singer, she was brilliant in fast tracks, sad songs and ghazals as well.

Melodies such as ‘Piyar Kabhi Karna Na’ and ‘Yeh Aaj Mujko Kia Hua, and ‘Kisi Meherbaan Nay Aa Ke Meri Zindigi Saja Dee’ gave her immense popularity. The song ‘Meherbaan’ was a huge landmark in her singing.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/2013/06/01/naheed-akhtar-to-perform-after-two-decades/

Warning of Violence: TTP focused on ending democracy, says Mehsud

MIRANSHAH: In a letter to the media, leader of banned outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has said that his group is focused on jeopardising democracy by hindering elections in the country.

“We have succeeded politically after we were asked to negotiate by the government,” said Hakimullah Mehsud.

He added that the group was now solely ‘focused’ on the next elections.

As elections are nearing, TTP’s aim would be to “end the democratic system,” the letter further said. Mehsud also urged TTP militants to target senior politicians and party leaders, while continuing the battle against security forces.

Furthermore, in a rare address from an undisclosed location, the militant chief claimed that the TTP was not just fighting a war on a tactical level, but were also able to ‘subdue’ politicians by making them negotiate.

TTP student union

A student union of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan was traced by the police while three of its members splashed posters and banners around Multan.

The publicity material was scripted with inflammatory messages, encouraging people to not vote in elections as democracy was ‘un-Islamic’. It demanded that the people of Pakistan should adhere to the shariah (Islamic law), and said that it was haraam for them to participate in the voting process.

Police claim that the three members were students belonged to Lahore, but were enrolled at the Bahauddin Zakarriya University in Multan. After posting 50 banners in the urban area, they were putting posters on the walls of the Multan press club when they were caught by the journalists.

Continue reading Warning of Violence: TTP focused on ending democracy, says Mehsud

Muslim mob targets Christian locality in Gujranwala ‘for disrespecting Islam’

LAHORE – In a renewed attack on minorities, a violent Muslim mob attacked a Christian locality in Gujranwala on Wednesday, damaging shops, houses and vehicles belonging to the local Christians following a clash between the youths of the two communities last night, Pakistan Today has learnt.

According to initial information, a group of Christian boys was snubbed by a local cleric for playing music on their cell phones while passing by a mosque on Tuesday evening.

“Our boys were passing the mosque when the prayer leader objected to their playing music on cell phones. The boys turned off the music at that moment but switched it on again after covering some distance. The cleric raised a clamour and accused the boys of showing disrespect to Islam. As word spread of the incident, we immediately went to the police post in our colony and shared our security concerns with them. The police told us not to worry and assured us that they would contain the situation but no measures were taken,” Pervaiz, a resident of Francis Colony in Gujranwala, told Pakistan Today.

Continue reading Muslim mob targets Christian locality in Gujranwala ‘for disrespecting Islam’

Committee agrees on Najam Sethi as Punjab caretaker CM

LAHORE: The parliamentary committee of the Punjab Assembly has agreed on veteran journalist Najam Sethi as the caretaker chief minister of Punjab province, committee head Rana Sanaullah announced Tuesday.

“We have selected Najam Sethi, an opposition candidate, for the post of caretaker chief minister of Punjab,” Sanaullah, told reporters in Lahore.

Sethi has earlier served as a federal minister in the caretaker set-up led by Malik Meraj Khalid in 1996.

Continue reading Committee agrees on Najam Sethi as Punjab caretaker CM

Humorously close to reality!

Daddy?

Yes, son.

Are we going to have a war with India?

Perhaps.

Oh, goody. We will thrash them, right? Like we did in 1857!

It wasn’t in 1857, son.

Oh, okay. But whom did we thrash in 1857?

The British, son…

And the Hindus too, right?

Well…

Did Quaid-i-Azam fight in that war along with Muhammad bin Qasim and Imran Khan?

No, son. The Quaid and Imran were born much later and Muhammad bin Qasim died many years before.

Then who ruled Pakistan in those days?

There was no Pakistan in those days, son.

But there was always a Pakistan! It has been there for 5,000 years!

Who have you been talking to, son?

No one. I’ve just been watching TV.

It figures.

Daddy, why are all these people against us Arabs?

Arabs? But we aren’t Arabs, son.

Of course we are because our ancestors were Arabs!

No, son. Our ancestors were of the subcontinental stock.

Sub-what?

Never mind.You seem to like wars, son.

Yes. I like to watch them on TV.

But real wars are fought outside the TV, son.

Really? How is that possible? What sort of a war is that?

Never mind.

Daddy, you look worried.

Of course, I am, you little warmongering punk!

Daddy! Why are you scolding me?

Because TV is talking rot and so are you!

Daddy, are you supporting Hindus?

No!

Daddy, have you become a kafir?

Keep quiet! No more TV for you! Go watch a movie on DVD or listen to a CD.

Can’t do that.

But we have so many DVDs and CDs, son.

Not any more.

What do you mean?

I burned them all.

What?!

I burned them all.

I heard that! But why?

They spread obscenity.

Oh, God. Son, go do your homework. What happened to that science project you were working on?

It’s almost complete.

Good boy. What are you making?

A bomb.

What?!

A bomb.

I heard that! But why?

Because I am a true Muslim who hates America.

But only last week you wanted to go to Disney Land.

That’s different.

How come?

Mickey Mouse is Muslim.

No, he isn’t.

Is so. He converted when he heard azaan on the moon.

On the moon?

Yes. Because the earth is flat and…

What??

The earth is…

I heard that!

Daddy, do you want to see my science project, or not?

Gosh, that bomb? But your science teacher will fail you.

No, she wont.

Really?

Yes. I plan to blow her up as well.

God, what is wrong with you? Go call your mother!

She can’t come.

Why not?

I’ve locked her in the kitchen.

But what for?

A woman’s place is in the kitchen. I will not let her out until she covers herself up peoperly!

But she’s your mother!

She’s also a woman!

So?

So she should be hidden.

Hidden from whom?

The whole world and Tony.

Tony?

Yes, Tony.

But Tony’s a cat.

Yes. But he’s male.

Son, have you gone mad?

No. By the way, I’ve made sure Kitto starts covering up as well.

Kitto?

Yes, Kittto.

But Kitto’s a cat!

Yes. But a female cat.

But she’ll suffocate.

Oh, she’s already dead.

What?

She’s already dead.

I heard that! But how?

I buried her alive.

You what?

Yes. To avenge Tony’s honour. But now I will behead Tony.

But why?

To save mom’s honour!

Oh, God!

Don’t say that. Always say Allah.

What’s the difference?

Daddy, do you want to be beheaded too?

No!

Do you want to be stoned to death?

No!

Do you want to be flogged?

No!

Do you want to get your arms chopped off?

No!

Then stop asking silly questions. By the way, I won’t call you daddy anymore.

What will you call me then?

Whatever that is Arabic for daddy.

I don’t know any Arabic, son.

That’s because you are a kafir.

Who the heck are you to tell me who I am, you little fascist twit!

What’s a fascist?

An irrational, violent, self-righteous mad man!

W… aaaaaaa…

Why are you crying?

You scolded me.

Okay, I’m sorry. You have to be tolerant and rational, son. Now be a good boy and go read a book instead of watching TV.

I have no books.

Of course, you do. I bought you so many books.

I burned them.

What?

I burned them.

But why?

They were all in English.

So?

It’s a non-Muslim language!

But we are speaking English, aren’t we?

W… aaaaaaa…

What now?

Zionists made me forget my Arabic.

But you never knew any Arabic, son.

W… aaaa… yes, I did until you and mommy gave me the polio drops… aaaaa…

Okay, tell me, can you do me a favour?

Sure, dad.

Can you blow up something for me?

Oh, goody! Of course, dad. What should I blow? A CD shop, a hotel, a school…?

No, no, something a lot more sinister.

Mom?

No, no…

What then?

The TV set!

What?

Blow the TV set.

I heard that! But why?

Just do it!

I see. Dad?

Yes.

You’re so unconstitutional! – (author unknown)

Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, March 18, 2013.

Shahbaz speaks in Sindhi

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif spoke in Sindhi with a delegation of some senior journalists from Sindh visiting Lahore.

According to a handout, the journalists were pleasantly surprised by the chief minister’s fluent Sindhi. The chief minister exchanged views with the Sindhi journalists over the national situation and development projects in the Punjab.

Talking about Karachi, Shahbaz Sharif said Karachi was a beautiful city back in the 1960s when he was a student and used to visit the city frequently. However, he said he felt extremely sad to see the situation in Karachi when he visited the city some time back.

Courtesy: http://www.pmln.org/shahbaz-speaks-in-sindhi/

Making energy from waste : 25 MW Rachna Power Plant on the cards

LAHORE: National Industrial Parks (NIP) Development and Management Company has decided to establish a 25 megawatt (MW) power generation plant based on municipal and agro waste besides local coal or combination of these fuels for the electricity requirement of the industries at the Rachna Industrial Park on the main Lahore-Sheikhupura Road.

The Rachna Power Plant will be the first-ever power unit to be developed on the basis of waste as a source of energy. The plant’s primary fuel will be Refused Derive Fuel (RDF) prepared from a mixture of municipal solid wastes and agro wastes, while the coal would be used as a backup fuel.

The technology of an integrated recovery of recyclable materials and production of the refused derive fuel will be adopted for this power plant.

The concept of the modern waste to energy plant has been proposed for the Rachna Power Plant, which is very different from the old incinerators due to the technological progress of the last decade.

Chief Executive Officer Mohsin Syed at NIP meeting in which investors of the Rechna Industrial Park were also present said the municipal solid waste of Lahore and surrounding area and the agro wastes, which including rice husk, corn and wood waste of the adjoining areas would be collected and transported to recycle it into a real fuel that could be easily stored, transported and efficiently burned at the plant site within the premises of the Rachna Industrial Park.

He said the power generation complex was proposed to consist of one unit of 6 MW and two units of 11 MW each with total gross capacity of the 28 MW and the net capacity at site would be 25.5 MW to provide operational flexibility and reliability in case of shut down of one or more units.

The power generation facility would be located within the premises of the Rachna Industrial Park located at 7.5 kilometers (km) Lahore-Sheikhupura Road on the Upper Chenab Canal. The site is at the distance of 18 km from the

Lahore-Shekhupura Motorway Interchange, 24 km from the Lahore city centre and 40 km from the Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore and an area of 10 acres has already been earmarked for the power generation complex at the Rachna Industrial Park, the NIP chief explained.

Continue reading Making energy from waste : 25 MW Rachna Power Plant on the cards

Death by a thousand cuts

By Farahnaz Ispahani

After each act of violence against religious minorities, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or Sipah-e-Sahaba proudly own up to it without fear of punishment

The recent mob attack on Christians in Lahore, resulting in the burning down of over one hundred Christian homes while the police stood by, is a reminder of how unsafe Pakistan has become for religious minorities. The attacks on Christians follows a rising tide of attacks on Pakistan’s Shia Muslims, sometimes mischaracterised in the media as the product of sectarian conflict. In reality, these increasingly ferocious attacks reflect the ambitious project of Islamists to purify Pakistan, making it a bastion of a narrow version of Islam Sunni. Pakistan literally translates as “the land of the pure”. But, what started in an imperceptible way as early as the 1940s, picking up momentum in the 1990s, is a drive to transform Pakistan into a land of religious purification.

Muslim groups such as the Shias that account for possibly 20-25% of Pakistan’s Muslim population and Non-Muslim minorities such as Christians, Hindus and Sikhs have been target-killed, forcibly converted, kidnapped and had their religious places bombed and vandalised with alarming regularity. At the time of partition in 1947, Pakistan had a healthy 23% of its population comprise non-Muslim citizens. Today, the proportion of non-Muslims has declined to approximately three per cent. The distinctions among Muslim denominations have also become far more accentuated over the years.

Continue reading Death by a thousand cuts

Cries for a lost home(land)

By Xari Jalil

LAHORE, March 9: “Burn us too!” wails a woman, her hands repeatedly hitting her head. “Did they leave us alive to see all this?” Her tears stream down her face and her nose is red and swollen. In one of the doorways, a mother and son stand hugging each other and weeping as if someone has just died. “They took everything from us…” sobs the boy. “Those robbers took everything we had worked hard for.”

Not many of the homes in Joseph Colony are left intact. They are now skeletons, empty shells, housing nothing but ashes.

The Christian families, who had been shifted one night ago for ‘safety’ as the police told them, only came the next day to find out that all of their belongings and all their assets – in fact everything that they owned had been ransacked, robbed, and the rest mercilessly burnt to the ground. All because one man from among them was accused under Section 295-C: an accusation which has not been proved.

While the police remain guarded, only carefully revealing any kind of information to the media, and the Muslim community prefer to remain mute, the Christians are ablaze with fury.

“There are about 250 families in total,” says Aslam Masih. “Each family has faced a loss of about Rs0.8 to Rs0.9 million, and this figure is the lowest I am talking about.”

Mariam Bibi stands in her doorway peering inside. She cannot step inside because the ashes are still white and burning, and acrid, black smoke fumes out angrily.

“We saved every penny to collect for my daughter’s dowry,” she sobs. “In one night they have left us homeless and out on the streets. Where will we sleep now?”

Continue reading Cries for a lost home(land)

Who says countries are permanent?

Ayaz AmirBy Ayaz Amir

Islamabad diary

We should know this more than others. The Pakistan of 1947 is not the Pakistan which exists today, one half of it having broken away to form another country. I served in Moscow in the seventies and nothing seemed more solid or permanent than the Soviet Union, a mighty power which cast a shadow far and wide. Who could have thought that in a few years’ time it would fracture, leaving a trail of small, independent republics behind?

Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall was two countries. Now it is back to being one. Czechoslovakia was one country then. Now it is two. In the UK, of all places, the Scots, or a goodly part of them, are demanding independence. A referendum is set to decide this question in 2014.

After the fall of the Soviet Union it seemed as if American pre-eminence was an assured thing, lasting for the next hundred years. Bright-eyed scholars announced not just the closing of an era but the end of history. As hubris goes, this had few equals. There were other Americans who said that reality would be what America wanted it to be. Yet American power has declined before our eyes, nothing more contributing to this than the wars President Bush ventured upon in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Clash of civilisations was another phrase current just ten years. Something of the sort has happened but not in a way that the US could have intended. Wouldn’t the Taliban, wouldn’t Al-Qaeda, define their struggle as a clash of civilisations?

Ten years ago in a Jamaat-ud-Dawaah mosque in Chakwal (not far from my house) I heard one of their leaders talking of America’s eventual but sure defeat in Afghanistan. I thought his rhetoric too fanciful then. It sounds much closer to home now.

I have just read a longish review of Norman Davies’ ‘Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations’. This book should be required reading for anyone concerned about the future of Pakistan. For the lesson it emphasises is that history does not promise progress. All it promises is change. Nothing is fixed, all is movement, nations rising and falling, the old disappearing to make way for the new, the new in turn becoming the old and morphing into something else – the philosophy of Heraclitus and Hegel, even of Marx.

Continue reading Who says countries are permanent?

British Pakistani Christian Association – In memory of Shanti Nagar

Today is the 16th anniversary of the sacking of Shanti Nagar. In memory of this, we publish the relevant section of a new report on Pakistan we plan to publish quite soon.

Shanti Nagar is a predominantly Salvation Army village in the Punjab province, founded in 1916, of around 25-30,000 people. Apart from about 15 Muslim families – for whom the other villagers built a mosque – the inhabitants are Christian. Hard work in farming meant the village was relatively prosperous. On 17th January police raided the house of a 60 year old Christian, claiming intelligence of alcohol-drinking and gambling going on. The police regularly raided the village on such pretexts – usually about every fortnight, probably because of jealousy over the Christian village’s prosperity. They would harass the villagers, and because the villagers were rich enough to bribe the corrupt police, they always came back for more. Anyway, despite, as ever, no gambling or alcohol or anything else illegal going on there, they searched his property, and amidst the ransacking a box with a bible fell out. The police deliberately kicked and desecrated the bible, and took the man to the police station, even though they had found nothing illegal, and were trying to get a large bribe from him. The residents of the village protested the raid, the false arrest and the desecration of the bible, and also the numerous false blasphemy accusations that had been made against villagers. They asked for charges under article 295 to be brought against the policeman responsible. Even after police investigations found the charge to be true, the police refused to act until sustained pressure resulted in a promise to suspend the officers responsible and take them to court. Then the police pressured the village for the matter to be settled out of court, but they refused and the senior police officer threatened to act in way that meant they would not be able to stand on their own feet for at least 50 years. On 3rd February, a general election day, he posted the policeman who had kicked the bible to Shanti Nagar as security officer. This made the villagers even more angry as it proved the promises by higher police officers to take action was a lie, and they protested even more, so the police hatched a plot. Two days later, a Muslim man went to an abandoned mosque 2km from Shanti Nagar and found – so he said – torn pages of the Quran with blasphemous words and the name and address of the Christian from Shanti-Nagar who complained about his bible being desecrated, along with several others. He took it to the police station of the nearby city of Khanewal, a stronghold of an Islamicist group with ties to Bin Laden called Harkat-ul-Insar. Within 30 minutes of registering a case (and several Christians being arrested), mosque loud speakers from the city and all the Muslim villages around about were calling all faithful Muslims to wage jihad against Shanti Nagar, using word for word identical language. City church priests rushed to warn senior officials of the impending attack, and were promised that all appropriate measures would be made, but that too was a lie. Late that night, mobs started attacking churches, Christian homes and shops and medical dispensaries in Khanewal, setting them and their contents on fire. The next morning, the mob attacked the Catholic church just outside the city Council buildings. Bibles and other books were gathered from churches and burned, and the Holy Communion bread thrown on the floor, statues and the like were systematically smashed. 100’s attacked the priests’ house and burned all the parish records. Pleas for police help went unheeded, they just stood by and watched. The mob attacked a Christian boys school. Many fled, but about 50 of the youngest hid under their beds. The mob set fire to mattresses over them, and they had to flee for their lives, several being carried out unconscious. They burned all the school records and furniture. They then attacked the Salvation army church and pharmacy, and re-attacked the Church of Pakistan building they had attacked the night before. Christians in local shops and homes fled for their lives, but those who were caught were severely beaten. Again the police did nothing. The mob only retreated when Christians started throwing bricks and stones to defend their homes.

Continue reading British Pakistani Christian Association – In memory of Shanti Nagar

Imran Khan, PTI leaders Alliance with Tahirul Qadri

PTI leaders, Tahirul Qadri hold talks over reconstitution of ECP

By Ema Anis

LAHORE: Top leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) met Minhajul Quran International (MQI) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri in Lahore on Wednesday to discuss their reservations over the current Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

PTI president Makhdoom Javed Hashmi told the media that the reservations were only discussed during the meeting, but the final decision will be taken by his party regarding the petition being filed in the Supreme Court by Qadri for the reconstitution of the election commission.

PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that a transparent ECP is crucial for the upcoming elections, “but the government claims that it cannot dissolve the election commission as it is against Article 209”. ….

Courtesy: The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/503384/pti-leaders-tahirul-qadri-hold-talks-over-reconstitution-of-ecp/

IndoPakPeaceNOW Global Vigil Jan 27, 2013

Initiated by an Aman ki Asha supporter in New Delhi, this global event on Sunday, Jan. 27 is taking place in different cities at different times around the world. It invites Indians and Pakistanis and those who want peace between the two countries, to come together in their respective cities. The purpose of the vigils is to urge the governments to continue the dialogue, and not give in to the war hype being created by some sections of sections of society. The vigil statement is online at this link (text below)

Confirmed venues and times so far:

Bradford: 2-3 pm, Student Central, J.B. Priestly Library, University of Bradford, U.K.

Cambridge, MA: 4.30-5.30 pm, Harvard Square Pit (fb event link)

Islamabad: 6 pm, Press Club, F-6/4. Contact 0344-5469738 and 0300-9880397

Karachi: 5.30 pm, Karachi Press Club

Lahore: 6 pm, Lahore Press Club, Shimla Pihari (fb event link)

Los Angeles – 5 pm, in front of UCLA

Mumbai: 7 pm, Gateway of India

New Delhi: 5.30 pm, Gandhi Peace Foundation, email aaghazedosti@gmail.com

New York: 5 PM at Union Square near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue

Shahdadkot- 5 pm, Press Club

Toronto: 5 pm, 365 Bloor St. East, Toronto (outside Indian Consulate) (fb event link)

Washington DC: 6 pm, Chutney Restaurant, Springfield, VA

Kansas City: 5:30-7:30 at Kababesh Grill, Overland Park

Courtesy:  via Facebook

Inquilab zindabad!

By:Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

How is Bhagat Singh more Indian than Pakistani?

Revolutionaries never die; definitely not until what they strived for is achieved. They can also reincarnate when liberation is threatened by incarceration. The cause they fought for can wake up again, the struggle they gave birth to can be born again, the noise they generated can resonate again, the slogans they chanted can reverberate again – if recent events are anything to go by, Lahore should echo with “Inquilab zindabad!” again.

Bhagat Singh’s revolution could reawaken 81 years after the British hanged him in Lahore. The indirect skirmishes between the Tehreek Hurmat-e-Rasool (THK) led fundamentalists and the Dilkash Lahore Committee, over renaming Fawwara Chowk (or Shadman Chowk) back to its pre-partition name of ‘Bhagat Singh Chowk’, is a throwback to the clash between suppression and freedom that the man gave his life for. Apparently dying for the sake of the independence of this country and its people isn’t reason enough for the square – where he was hanged on 23 March, 1931, aged 23 – to be named after the freedom fighter himself. It is a pity that people and groups, who now have the luxury to openly express themselves – something that they didn’t have back then –, choose their expression to oppose tributes to those very personalities that made this freedom possible, owing to their religious identity.

Continue reading Inquilab zindabad!