31 January, 2011

Wooden work depicts anxiety & fear in society

Sana Jamal
Artist Imran Hunzai standing
beside his striking artwork.

ISLAMABAD: Imran Hunzai has used a traditional medium wood carving in an artistic way to depict the element of fear and frustration which has seeped into the society with the passage of time. The exhibition titled ‘Wooden Woes’ include 14 exquisite wooden sculptures and dust paintings by Imran Hunzai which are put on display at Rohtas art gallery, Islamabad.
Imran describes his work in poetic words ‘Kahan jayengey ye shikayat ke maarey, zaban kaanpti hai riwayaat ke marey’ (Where shall the protestors go, when the old conventions have sealed the tongue). One of the attractive wooden sculpture showcases camera lens and at the bottom of camera, Imran has used bullets instead of reel (film) that according to the artist, portrays media’s negative role that only sensitize incidents. 

Artist and educationist Imran Hunzai hails from Hunza and trained as a sculptor from the National College of Arts, Lahore, in 2006 and is currently practicing and teaching at NCA, Rawalpindi Campus.

“An artist’s role is not only to create art for the sake of art but he/she must use this effective medium to contribute to the society in a positive way” said the artist, Imran Hunzai while talking to Pakistan Observer.

In one of his work, Imran has captured two mice fighting for one egg, trying to portray the power grabbing games that we witness around. In another artwork, the unity of two hand sliced like an apple and served in a dish depicts that how the strength and unity of the nation is being slashed and broken making us feeble gradually.

29 January, 2011

Rich Colour palette depicts traditional heritage

Published in Pakistan Observer (29 Jan. 2011)
Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: The rich colour palette of the artist, A. S. Rind with a strong focus on design and pattern bring pictorial affluence to his painting show at Tanzara art gallery in Islamabad.
In his third solo show at Tanzara, the Karachi based artist A. S. Rind exhibits a natural exuberance as his latest figurative style reflect profoundly the faces and moods of the women of his homeland of Rahim Yar Khan. His ethnic long necked women are generally wide eyed, often with puckered lips and adorned gracefully with traditional ornaments.

In some of the paintings, the presence of parrot, fishes and rose with women creates an aura of romance and mystery. Occasionally Rind has also used Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s verses to enhance the romance and mystique of his paintings. All the 41 paintings including six charcoal drawing are based on the same theme more or less.

“The rich traditional heritage of the artist’s soil reverberates in his paintings of stylized women, jewellery and design” said Noshi Qadir, the curator of the gallery.

A. S. Rind’s latest work carries a strong cultural influence of his area, as his paintings are certainly and deeply influenced by the regional aesthetics, splendor, colors, and motifs. The use of the verses of Faiz is to emphasize the mood and expressions of the stylized women he paints. His paintings of this period are mostly either in acrylic or mix media.

26 January, 2011

Islamabad Knowledge City Festival: Evolving a Culture of Learning

Published in Pakistan Observer (26 Jan. 2011)
Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: “Knowledge for All - All for Knowledge” was the slogan of the first ever ‘Islamabad Knowledge City Festival’ which concluded on Tuesday, attracting a marvelous response from the knowledge lovers of the twin cities during the week long activities at convention center.

The festival organised by the Ministry of Education and its affiliated organisation, National Book Foundation (NBF) was an effort to make federal capital a hub of knowledge and a model education city for the whole country as Islamabad has the highest literacy rate in the country i.e. 85 per cent.

24 January, 2011

A rare book on letters of Faiz launched

Published in Pakistan Observer (22 Jan. 2011)
Sana Jamal

Book cover.

ISLAMABAD: “The letter of Faiz Ahmed Faiz unveil his genuine feelings for the society as he continues to be the only poet after Allama Iqbal who is admired by the common people” said Iftikhar Arif, a poet and Chairman of National Language Authority (NLA).

He was speaking here on Saturday at the launch of a collection of letters written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz to Iftikhar Arif and edited by Dr Rashid Hameed held at Kuch Khaas, a cultural center in Islamabad. The book launch was arraneged by Kuch Khaas in collbaoration with Progressive Writer's Association.

Fashion Week 2011 makes its way to Islamabad

Published in Pakistan Observer (22 Jan. 2011)

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: The first ever ‘Islamabad Fashion Week’ is all set to launch in the capital city. The highly anticipated, four-day glamour event is scheduled to take place from January 27-30, 2011.
After the successful launch of Karachi Fashion Week Chapter 1 and 2, Excellent Events and Entertainment (Pvt.) Limited (Triple-E) brings the fashion week chapter 3 to Islamabad which will facilitate to let in Islamabad in the world’s fashion capitals.

Islamabad Fashion Week (IFW) will showcase couture by local and international top fashion designers on the first day of the event which will include 8 fashion runway shows. The rest of the days will be designated to various clotheslines and fashion accessories brands of Pakistan.
The event will help in facilitating trade and exposure of international guests as well as highlighting Pakistan’s local talent. It is estimated that there will be approximately 50 exhibition stalls and 40 multimedia brand presentations which will be taking place parallel to the fashion runway show.

The objective of the fashion week is to introduce Pakistan’s fashion-related businesses to both domestic and international buyers to further assist them in the creation of effective business link. While the event will also help to widen the international network of Pakistan’s fashion/textile businesses and to assist in the promotion and development of small and medium enterprises in Pakistan, especially those whose scope of production is related to fashion accessories.

21 January, 2011

Documentaries highlights Sufi poets' message of Peace

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: A society shrouded with chaos and conflicts can turn over a new life through meditation and by practicing the message of tolerance, love, brotherhood – which is the message of the Sufis. This message was communicated through the three documentaries on Pakistani Sufi Poets, Shah Hussain, Bulleh Shah and Mian Muhammad Bukhsh, screened at Pakistan National Council of Arts, on Thursday. The documentaries are a massive project of Pakistan Academy of Letters (PLA) and were presented by its chairman Fakhar Zaman.

In his welcome speech, Fakhar Zaman stated that “the purpose of the production of the documentaries is to promote the Sufi Poets’ message of humanity, love and peace in the society and to portray the Pakistani nation as a peace-loving nation.” He also informed that PLA aims to project the real essence of our religion at international level.
Produced by Afzaal Shahid and directed by Farrukh Zaman, these documentaries will be subtitled in major languages of the world such as, English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Arabic in addition to Urdu and then will be distributed by the Ministry of Culture to different countries of the world, Zaman informed.

The enlightening as well as melodious documentaries in high resolution were rich in symbolism and re-interpreted the message of three Sufis of Pakistan namely Shah Hussain, Bulleh Shah and Mian Muhammad Bukhsh who are truly known as the envoys of peace. Sufi poetry has a special place in national music, which has helped in promoting the message of Sufis in every age. From humble street-singers to renowned singers like the Sain Zahoor, Abida Parveen and Pathanay Khan, and rock band Junoon have integrated sufi poetry in their music.

20 January, 2011

Artist depicts historic splendor through mixed media art

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: Bold colours, profound themes and splendid pieces of paper in the paintings of Samina Ali, takes one back into the magnificent history of Mughal era, one of the richest culture of the world. Samina Ali’s exquisite exhibition of paintings titled ‘Imprints – Historical Promises’ will open at Nomad gallery, Islamabad today.

During the press preview session on Wednesday, the artist Samina Ali said that being influenced by the historical achievements of Mughal dynasty, she aims to revive historical splendor of Mughal period through her artwork. Her influence grew stronger because of “residing in Lahore which is the center of Mughal architecture,” and reminds us of exemplary of Muslim architecture, said the Lahore-based artist, Samina Ali artist while talking to Pakistan Observer.

The paintings give a feeling that the artist has molded history with her contemporary experiments. The artwork, which at first look seems like a collage of woodcut, calligraphy, silver and gold leaf, is actually a blend of acrylics, natural dyes, vadri, stains while the artist has also “experimented with natural dyes and acrylics by introducing beetroot, tea, onion and coffee, to get the sepia and crimson hues.”

The artist “experiments with various media like acrylics, natural dyes, stains and her exclusive style of calligraphy to blend the imagery into an aesthetic contemporary composition reflecting elements of historical splendor” said Nageen Hyat, curator of the gallery.

The paintings are unique in the sense that the subjects are quite enlightening as the artist has not only made use of various media in one artwork but also various parts of one theme. For instance the painting on the theme of ‘rare fossil flower found’, includes a woodcut of fossil painting, history of flora as well as fossil, a news report on fossil flower with facts & figures, relative calligraphy & verses of Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

The exhibition including unique 26 paintings by will continue from 20 Jan. – 3 Feb. (10am-6:30pm).

19 January, 2011

Saadat Hasan Manto remembered

Sana Jamal

Islamabad - “Saadat Hasan will die one day, but ‘Manto’ will never die.” This line written by Manto himself has borne out Manto’s belief as his writings reign the Urdu literary world making him one of the greatest storytellers of South Asia.
Saadat Hasan Manto.
Pakistan’s great literary icon, Saadat Hassan Manto’s 56th death anniversary was observed on Tuesday.

Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-55) was a leading Urdu short-story writer of the twentieth century. His Urdu short stories especially ‘Bu’ (Odour), ‘Khol Do’ (Open It), ‘Thanda Gosht’ (Cold Meat), and his magnum opus, ‘Toba Tek Singh’.

18 January, 2011

Leading Artists’ work on display

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: The quotation that “every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures” remains true for the exhibition titled ‘Eminent Artists of Pakistan’ displaying the nature of prominent artists of country at gallery 6, Islamabad .

The opening of the exhibition featuring the works of 28 leading painters and sculptors was a well-attended event, with art enthusiasts taking pleasure from the rich subtleties of textures and patterns of the legendary as well as contemporary artists of Pakistan. The exhibition which will continue daily (from 11am to 7pm till January 29) has been arranged “to celebrate the silver jubilee of the exhibitions at gallery 6, by exhibiting diverse variety of artwork of eminent artists of Pakistan” informed Arjumand Faisel, curator of the gallery while talking to Pakistan Observer.

The exquisite show includes the original art works of the legendary artists of Pakistan such as Sadequain, Ali Imam, Ghulam Rasul, Anna Molka, Sheikh Ahmad and Mansur Aye who have left for their heavenly abode.
An Art lover examining the contents of 'Autumn in Saidpur'
one of the three paintings by Ghulam Rasul.

While the artworks of some contemporary artists including Mansur Rahi, Shahla Rafi, Rashid Arshed, Hajra Mansur, Mobina Zuberi, Rabia Zuberi, Abdul Jabbar Gull, Mohammad Ali, R. M. Naeem, Masood A. Khan, Ahmed Khan, Abrar Ahmed, Riffat Alvi, Mehr Afroz, Akram Spaul, Akram Dost, Mussarrat Nahid, Sana Arjumand, Iqbal Hussain, Omar Farid, Jamil Baloch and Noorjehan Bilgrami are also adorning the walls of the gallery.

15 January, 2011

A unique tea restaurant offering 70 brands

Published in Pakistan Observer (15 Jan. 2011)
Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: As the famous proverb reminds us “if a man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty”, a unique tea house ‘Chaayé Khana’ (Tea café) has opened in the heart of capital city, in Super Market on Friday.

The new tea café attracted large number of tea lovers of the city on the very first day as it is perhaps the first restaurant of the city offering around 70 different brands of tea.

On the launching ceremony of the restaurant, Kashif Ahmed, the proud owner of the café said “we have around 70 brands of tea from all over the world which makes us special among all the tea restaurants of the city.” The idea for opening this shop is “to boost the culture of tea in our society as opposed to coffee culture” informed Mr. Kashif talking to Pakistan Observer reporter.

While enjoying tea, the visitors can also cherish the beauty of nature as the restaurant overlooks the beautiful scene of Margalla hills. Ali Raza Shah, a visitor said “I am taking this unique flavor of green tea, ‘peach and berries’ which tastes quite different than usual tea.”
It is perhaps unique to note that leading national and international newspapers, magazines and famous books are also available at the shop for the visitors. At one corner, there is also a chess board where the customers can enjoy tea with chess game.

Pakistan is ranked the fourth largest tea consuming country in the world where black tea with milk is preferred. It is our tradition as well a symbol of hospitality that no gathering whether big or small is considered complete without a cup of tea. The new tea restaurant ‘Chaayé Khana’ aims to keep alive our tradition by catering the tea-lovers of the city.

“Brecht Theatre Festival” begins

Published in Pakistan Observer (15 Jan. 2011)
Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: To pay homage to Bertolt Brecht (10 February 1898—14 August 1956), a German poet, playwright and theatre director, a play titled ‘Takey Da Tamasha’ was staged at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) auditorium on Friday evening.

‘Takey Da Tamasha’ is part of “Brecht Theatre Festival” from 14th to 16th January, organized by PNCA in collaboration with Ajoka Theatre to introduce Brecht, an influential theatre practitioner of the 20th century who made significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production.

The play ‘Takey Da Tamasha’ is part of three-day festival which marks 25 years of performing arts in Pakistan deals with themes of dictatorship, betrayal and corruption. The plays have been adapted by well-known dramatist, Shahid Nadeem and directed by founder Ajoka Theatre, Madiha Gohar.

Takey ka Tamasha’ is an adaptation of the play, ‘Three Penny Opera’ which was first performed in 1991. The play ‘Three penny Opera’ which has been translated into 18 languages and performed more than 10000 times on European stage, is a musical by German dramatist Bertolt Brecht who was forced to leave Germany by the rise of Hitler in 1933. The play was first staged in 1928 in Berlin.

The next scheduled play ‘Chaak Chakkar’ is an adaptation of ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’ while
Bala King’ is an adaptation of ‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’.

Book on Faiz Ahmed Faiz launched

‘Faiz Ahmed Faiz -Muntakhib Mazameen’(Selected essays on Faiz)

Published in Pakistan Observer (14 Jan. 2011)
Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: In these times of chaos and intolerance, Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s writings can help the individuals to realize our real identity in order to emerge as a tolerant, peaceful nation. This was the message of the scholars speaking at the launch of the first book on Faiz Ahmed Faiz, titled “Faiz Saddi: Muntakhib Mazameen” (Selected essays on Faiz) on Thursday at National Language Authority (NLA).

14 January, 2011

Japanese Calendars Exhibition opens

Published in Pakistan Observer (14 Jan. 2011)
Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: Exquisite calendars and traditional items on display at the Japanese Calendars Exhibition 2011 present a visual sense of Japanese art and culture to the people of Pakistan. The calendar exhibition opened at the National Art Gallery on Thursday was organized by the Embassy of Japan in collaboration with Pakistan National Council of the Arts, Pakistan-Japan Cultural Association (PJCA) and MEXT Alumni Association of Pakistan (MAAP).

12 January, 2011

‘Youth Drama Festival 2011’ concludes amidst zest and joy

ISLAMABAD: At the conclusion of a 10-day ‘Youth Drama Festival-2011’ an award distribution was held here at Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) auditorium on Tuesday. The drama festival helped in promoting the hidden talent of the youngsters of the country and also provided quality entertainment for the youth of the twin cities.

11 January, 2011

“Faseel-e-Jaan Se Aagay”, a drama series on true stories of brave Pakistanis launched

Published in Pakistan Observer (11 Jan. 2011)

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: To pay tribute to the unsung heroes of war on terror and to promote the message of peace, a drama series “Faseel-e-Jaan Se Aagay,” has been jointly produced by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) and Communications Research Strategies (CRS). The second curtain raiser ceremony for the drama series, based on true stories of brave Pakistanis, was held here at a hotel in Islamabad on Monday.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Qamar Zaman Kaira was the chief guest of the event. Qamar Zaman Kaira commended the effort of ISPR and CRS in portraying the actual situation of the affected areas and displaying the sacrifices of not only army personnel but their families as well through the drama series. “No war can be won unless the nation is standing side by side its army and government” he added.

Director General ISPR Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, speaking on the occasion said that the 11 episodes focused on Swat and Malakand are “stories of unsung heroes” who conducted a prolonged operation to protect the innocent people who became victims of the terrorists. He said the series is an effort “to present the human face of the war to the people.” De-radicalization programs with the help of civil society and government is the need of time in order to stop the creeping ideology of extremist thoughts, said Abbas.

Implementation of Anti-Sexual Harassment polices stressed

Published in Pakistan Observer (11 Jan. 2011)
Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: In the backdrop of Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act (Section 509), a seminar-cum-book launch was held at local hotel in Islamabad on Monday to make the effective implementation of law possible at all levels.

The seminar titled ‘Leaders of Change – Implementation of Anti-Sexual Harassment Legislation’ was jointly organized by International Labour Organization (ILO), OXFAM, Alliance against Sexual Harassment-AASHA and Mehergarh (an NGO).

Fouzia Saeed, Executive Director of AASHA; Samina Fazil, President Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Ms. Margaret Reade Rounds, ILO Country Representative; Wilson Lee of National Endowment for Democracy and Mehfooz Elahi of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and
Industry spoke on the occasion.

To promote opportunities for women and men to obtain descent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity, the two booklets were launched at the event which discusses the Anti- Anti-Sexual Harassment policies.

09 January, 2011

Young Pakistanis launch ‘The Re-Volt’ magazine

Published in Pakistan Observer (9 Jan. 2011)
Cover of 'The Re-Volt magazine'.
Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: In the backdrop of hopelessness and distress, a group of young Pakistanis have risen to give new hope to the nation by launching a publication titled ‘The Re-Volt’ in Islamabad on Saturday.

The first of its kind magazine, run by youth on voluntarily basis was launched by ‘Pakistan First’ think-tank which aims to promote the ideology of Pakistan, the thinking of Iqbal and the legacy of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in every Pakistani.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Amaan Tareen, Director of Media of Pakistan First said that “The Re-Volt magazine endeavours to become the voice of the common Pakistani citizens.”

The chief guest of the event, Masood Sharif Khattak said “no country can dream to be a developed or civilized society unless its political system meets the demand of the people” and urged to the young listeners that “the time has come for the silent majority to step forward and raise their voices.” He hoped that the magazine would become the voice of the patriotic and motivated youth of Pakistan.

In his aspiring speech at the occasion, Faisal Awan, Senior Editor of the magazine pledged that “The Re-Volt aspires to contribute towards laying foundation of a strong Pakistani society whose core values will be honesty, justice, compassion, integrity and dignity.”

Tareen briefed the audience that Pakistan First also runs an online radio ‘Watan’ and a think tank to revive the ideology of Pakistan among young generation. Pakistan First is an independent organization, founded by Ali Khan which intends to provide opportunities and a platform for youth to voice their concerns.

Relief sought for women

Sana Jamal

Islamabad—In a male-dominated society where a women is faced with inequality of some kind or other, Dr. Rakhshinda Parveen’s latest book asks the state for some relief in taxation system for disabled, divorced women, divorced mothers and unmarried women, at least the exemption in property tax.

With an objective to unveil the hidden faces of gender inequality in connection with the taxation system, Rakhshinda Parveen- a social activist launched her book titled ‘A Tax Break For Economic Freedom: The case of divorced mothers, divorced, disabled and never married (above 40 years) Pakistani Women- a Civic Entrepreneur’s Perspective’ at a local hotel here on Saturday.

Economic Freedom Network- Pakistan (EFN) in collaboration with Creative Anger, and sponsored by Friedrich Naumann Stiftung arranged the book launch-cum-seminar which was attended by gender experts, human rights and women rights activists, legislators, policy makers financial pundits and media persons participated.

The purpose of the book is the realization of the author’s dream, that is “a society where policy recognizes the needs of divorced, disabled and never married women through a clear policy and strategy in taxation system,” said Rakhshinda Perveen, the author of the book.
Calling herself a dreamer, Perveen said that she had a “dream of a society in Pakistan where divorced women, disabled women, divorced mothers and unmarried women (above 40 years) who face a number of emotional traumas and stigmatized both subtly and openly can at least get some support from the state.”

07 January, 2011

First ‘Gem Bazar’ in Islamabad

Pakistan can earn Billions through Gem exports

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is home to rare gemstones and minerals that can earn billions of dollars for country if properly exploited and marketed. However, this gem paradise has been unfortunate to receive due attention of the concerned authorities.

Inaugurating the Islamabad’s first ever ‘Gem Bazar’ on Thursday, Minister for Industries and Production, Mir Hazar Khan Bijrani noted that “Pakistan’s gems and jewellery sector has huge potential to become regional leader by adopting modern techniques and methodologies.” The Minister boasted “Pakistan is blessed with immense resources especially minerals and precious stones. It is up to us to put in our best efforts to convert the potential into tangible gains to benefit the country and economy.”

Acknowledging the huge potential of the industry, Minster promised “to increase the revenues of gem and stones industry from $300 million to $1.5 billion in the next three years.”
However, Ateeq Sheikh Vice-President of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry pointed out that the plan of our government is limited, as “India is planning to expand gem industry to earn up to $100 billion in next few years.”

“Pakistan is home to more than 270 varieties of precious stones” highlighted Ateeq. Comparing the gem industries of Pakistan and India, he said “India earns up to $26 billion as foreign exchange by importing only 3 kinds of stones while Pakistan manages to earn $300 million despite of having more than 270 kinds of stones.”

‘Endorsing Icons’ give identity to ignored ones

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: Big black canvases of Faraz Ali portray the faces of those in society who play vital roles in our lives but remain unrecognized and unpublicized.

Syed Faraz Ali, a Karachi-based artist intends to give identity to unnoticed and unspoken people through his painting exhibition titled ‘Endorsing Icons’, which opened here at Nomad Art Gallery, Islamabad on Thursday.
To give an identity to the working-class of Pakistan, the artist has painted the faces of servants, drivers, sweepers, carpenters and maids with whom he had interacted at some part of his life.

The graduate from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi explained that he was greatly inspired by the valuable services of the low-profile people in his surroundings. The paintings intend to recognize their importance in the society, as “the brutality of life and things around us are usually gone unnoticed and unspoken” the artist informed the Pakistan Observer reporter.

Yearning to bring out the true side of the society through his artwork, the artist said “my art has a perpetual craving of bringing the truth from the society that we live in. Unveiling the hidden identities of mankind, my artistry brings out the truth of the society, the aristocratic division of humanity.”

06 January, 2011

‘Two Folds’ depict Fear and Greed

Sana Jamal

Islamabad—Two miniature artists used traditional methods in their artwork to depict human emotions, greed and fear show two sides of the same coin. The paintings exhibition titled ‘Two Folds’ opened at Rohtas Art Gallery in Islamabad on Wednesday. The exhibition includes eight art pieces by Noor Ali Chagani and twelve artworks by Quratulain Shams.

Using gouche on vasli, both the artists have used different themes to signify the insecurities of human nature. Chagani, a Karachi based artist has used minimum colours to depict a life full of materialism and desire to own things. While Quratulain, Lahore-based has used rich colours to portray the fragility of moments.

The desire of a common man to have a beautiful house has been brilliantly painted by Artist Noor Ali Chagani who calls himself a simple man. The bricks symbolize the desire for a bigger house and “show the constant struggle between retaining one’s identity and yet blending with the masses” held the artist. It also communicates the need to be a part of a strong organization. It talks about the struggle to fit in, making a place for oneself in a system.

02 January, 2011

Solidarity with victims of cruelty marked

Sana Jamal
Photo Courtesy: Teeth Maestro.
ISLAMABAD: Solidarity Day 2011 rally was held in Islamabad as an expression of solidarity with people suffering violence in any form, including suicide attacks, bomb blasts, target killings, kidnappings, disappearances, and torture killings.

A large number of students, traders, labour unions, human rights activists, journalists, and civil society members took part in Aman Ittehad’s peace rally which marched from the National Press Club to the Parliament.

Solidarity Day was an expression of the power of ordinary citizens who believe that they are ready to lead the nation to progress, to justice, equity and tolerance. Citizens at the rally demanded an end to the protection of all those state and non-state actors who take the law in their own hands and propagate extremism in the state.

The rally in Islamabad was part of Aman Ittehad’s countrywide peace rallies held simultaneously in more than 100 locations all over the country including Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Abbottabad, Gujranwala, Swat, Gwadar, Jacobabad, Kohistan, Jhang, Dera Ismail Khan, Mithi, Multan, Larkana, Gilgit and in FATA and Azad Jammu & Kashmir.

Addressing the rally Ali Asghar Khan said that “peace in Pakistan is possible if the state gives primacy to the welfare of its citizens.” He said that Aman Ittehad’s rallies in 108 locations in every part of Pakistan were an expression of the determination of citizens to bring change. “A new leadership is emerging through Aman Ittehad that is demanding stronger democratic institutions, fair accountability, equal opportunity, and justice for all citizens,” said Ali Asghar Khan.
A view of the gathering in Islamabad. - Courtesy: Teeth Maestro

01 January, 2011

Opportunities for youth crucial for a peaceful Balochistan

Published in Pakistan Observer (1 Jan. 2011)
Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: “Employment opportunities and youth participation in policy making is imperative to have peace in Balochistan”, this consensus was reached at a press conference at Islamabad Press Club on Friday. The conference was organized by Chanan Development Association (CDA) a national youth lead organization, in collaboration with Action-Aid Pakistan.

The youth representatives of Baluchistan at the conference demanded that youth, media and civil society organizations should make a coordinated mechanism to promote peace in Baluchistan. “The youth of Baluchistan is deprived of many of the fundamental human rights and facing a lot of problems including unemployment, lack of participation in policy making, and social injustice, while poor law and order situation is adding to the frustration of the youth of Baluchistan”, explained Kamran, a youngster representing the youth of Baluchistan province.

The speakers noted that Baluchistan comprises 43% of Pakistan’s territory while it has an estimated population of Seven Million, which is almost 5% of the total population of Pakistan and youth comprises of almost 35% population of the province, i.e. around 2.5 Million.