11 December, 2012

Khayyam's anniversary - Celebrating Muslim heritage

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD - A good number of people had a chance to learn about the ‘Renaissance Man’ of the Muslim world in an incredible surroundings that takes one back to the 11the century for it was the time of Omar Khayyam. The exquisite artworks by Irfan Qureshi, the delightful recital by Usman Qazi, and the outstanding mime act directed by Ms. Indu Mitha added charm to the event held at Gallery6 to pay tribute to Omar Khayyam on his 881st death anniversary.
Born in 1048 in Nishapur (a city in Iran), the poet we know today as Omar Khayyam contributed greatly to mathematics, astronomy, philosophy. The event started with brief video clips that enlightened Khayyam was also expert in the fields of mechanics, geography, music and Islamic theology that make him one of the prominent scholars of the Muslim world. It was Edward FitzGerald who introduced the poet of East in the West through translation of Khayyam's quatrains titled as ‘The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’. His treasured verses were recited in Persian with English translation by Usman Qazi, clad in traditional gray shalwar kameez completed with headscarf, who charmed the audiences. 

10 December, 2012

Pakistani Rural Women help revitalize Economy

Sana Jamal 

ISLAMABAD – Out of great disasters come great opportunities. This notion has fascinated and revived the humanity out of hardships since the earliest days. As Pakistan shifts from relief to recovery phase in the post-flood scenario, the focus was the rebuilding livelihoods. During these hard times, Pakistani women have emerged as the strength of the economy and the communities as they are helping the families get back on their feet and start their lives all over again.

A conference in Islamabad, organized by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Entrepreneurs Program, gathered women, particularly from the flood and conflict affected areas, who shared their stories of livelihoods improved, and incomes boosted. The women group from Swat, with their faces well covered in their long hand-embroidered dupattas, is one of the beneficiaries of the Entrepreneurs project. “Earlier these skilled women won’t get due credit or compensation for their art as the major chunk of profits was seized by the middlemen (between the skilled worker and the consumer),” said Farzana Akram, Project Officer at Lasoona, one of the implementing partners of the Project that is providing women micro-entrepreneurs from Swat access to bigger markets and buyers. 

With skilled workers, and access to better markets, the product quality has improved and there has been a huge increase in the incomes of micro-entrepreneurs. “Some 964 women have been trained. And we have just successfully delivered 476 pieces of hand embellished fabrics to Generation, Pakistan’s leading retain chain. The order was worth Rs. 485,000” told Ms. Farzana gladly.

Celebrating the importance of Mountains to life

International Mountain Day

Sana Jamal 
Courtesy: Google Image search

ISLAMABAD – A number of exciting activities were held in the city on the eve of International Mountain Day with intent to share knowledge among the people about the importance of mountains. Pakistan is home to some of the world’s highest mountains and most magnificent mountain ranges: Himalayas, Karakoram, Hindu Kush, Sulaiman, Salt range. Sadly, these long glorified mountains now face the tragedy of being most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and environmental degradation.

“We have the world’s highest peaks but there is no proper promotion of adventure tourism and mountaineering in Pakistan”, underlined Nazir Sabir, Pakistan’s famed mountaineer, reminding of the dismal fact.

17 November, 2012

Artist Talk: Lantz discusses the Power of Images

Sana Jamal
(L to R) H.E. Lars-Hjalmar Wide, the ambassador of Sweden,
 Michelle Galopin, Asma Khan, Maria Lantz (in blue),
the artist from Sweden at Satrang Gallery

The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is quite familiar. But what if the photograph isn't quite the truth? Or what if the picture is taken out of context? Such mystifying and untouched areas of photography were discussed here at an art lecture by Dr Maria Lantz, President of Konsftack, the University college of Art, craft and Design in Sweden. 

Dr. Lantz is accomplished as an artist, curator, and art critic. Dr. Lantz is on a trip to Pakistan and her lecture at the Satrang Gallery was arranged with the support of Lars Hjalmar-Wide, the ambassador of Sweden. A large number of students, artists and art aficionado participated in the discussion that was part of the series of lectures organized by Satrang Galley to promote Art Education.

In her lecture, titled ‘Politics of Place’, Dr Lantz expounded on the power of photographs within the broader framework of the social, cultural, political, or economic power structures of society. She explained that images have the power to sway our ideas about truth, desire, power structures and politics. 

During the talk on powerful photographs, the famed ‘The Situation Room photo’, which received much publicity after the news of bin Laden's death, also came under discussion. The photo, of President Barack Obama and his national security team monitoring ‘Operation Neptune’s Spear’, has achieved icon status as it was splashed across newspapers and television screens across the world. Dr. Lantz contrasted the photograph with an old painting; both portrayed the tension in the room and horrified faces. She added that throughout history, images have been used to elaborate hoaxes, and forgeries that had enormous ripple effects. 

Text, by its nature, is processed more critically whereas images can express a thought much more quickly and convey feelings or emotions that words sometimes cannot. This quality of the image, naturally, makes it a dangerous tool in the wrong hands. But at the same time, it is also most effective tool in provoking powerful and positive responses. The human brain interprets an image as reality and reacts appropriately. Research indicates that 65% people can remember a message containing both images and text, whereas only 10% could remember one that only held text.

06 November, 2012

Japanese Musicians charm Music Lovers

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD – The delightful dialogue between piano and violin, presented by the Japanese artistes, filled the air with such warmth, grace, and amiability that it simply charmed the audiences. The brilliant musical performance, held here at the auditorium of the Turkish Embassy on Tuesday evening, was attended by a houseful of music lovers, mostly foreigners. The Embassy of Japan in collaboration with the Turkish Embassy organised the joint music recital to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Japan. 

 The sweet sounds of piano and violin tunes were played by four celebrated Japanese musicians, Mr. Kazuhisa Akita (Composer), Mr. On Mitani (Pianist), Ms. Mie Kobayashi (Violinist) and Ms. Yuriko Ito (Pianist), together with the Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Oe, who surprised many in the audiences by playing some charming melodies. 

04 November, 2012

School Kids plea to protect the Trees

Sana Jamal

Islamabad - Standing alongside the trees like old friends, a group of children pledged their affection for the trees of great age by appealing the city administrators to protect the trees. The students of Khaldunia High School learned about the significant role of trees in our lives on a cultural caravan. The caravan was organised by the Funkor Child Art Center and Khaldunia School to inculcate a sense of respect and awareness among the youth about the cultural and natural heritage of Islamabad.

Khaldunia kids under the tree called Maa teh Nau Bachey (Mother and Nine Children).

23 October, 2012

Early Screening of Infants advised to minimize Disability

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD – Medical experts advised the parents that early screening of infants with disability can help them recover to a great extent and improve their abilities to full potential.
“Early treatment with a loving, stimulating environment can prevent the more severe disabilities and also foster independence in the child with learning disabilities” informed Dr. Irfan Ahmad, Senior Audiologist. The earlier a learning disability is detected, the better chance a child will have of succeeding in life, reaffirmed the health experts, here on Tuesday, at the Awareness Seminar on “Disabilities and their Management”. 

03 October, 2012

Harms of Noise Pollution go unnoticed in Pakistan: Experts

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD - The music blaring out of cars to annoying vehicle horns, from deafening fireworks at weddings to irritating chime of mobile phones, our ears are exposed to incessant battering that can take a serious toll on health. This unnoticed and often ignored form of pollution was the topic of discussion here at a symposium on “Effective Measures to Eradicate Noise Pollution.” 

PhotoCourtesy Google Images
In recent years, noise levels have gone up in cities with the increase in urban development but the issue has still not aroused public attention and is generally deemed as mere annoyance. “Noise pollution is not considered a serious issue in our society owing to its intangible nature” observed Dr Azra Yasmin, environmentalist and head of Fatima Jinnah Women University’s Environmental studies department, speaking at the seminar.

02 October, 2012

Exploring the Brazilian Culture through Capoeira

Capoeira classes for Pakistanis – A fun way to learn

ISLAMABAD – The beginning of Capoeira classes at the Embassy of Brazil is a wonderful chance for Pakistanis to learn about the dynamic and brilliant Brazilian culture. Capoeira, a Brazilian art form, is an amusing kind of activity that combines elements of martial art with dance and music. The Brazilian Embassy in Islamabad is organising Capoeira classes free of charge. 

To mark the start of Capoeira classes at the Embassy, the Ambassador of Brazil, H.E. Alfredo Leoni, held a ceremony here on Tuesday. Greeting the first group of students, H.E. Ambassador Leoni shared brief information about the Brazilian art form. Capoeira, an art form steeped in Afro-Brazilian culture, has been maintained for centuries in Brazil.

12 September, 2012

Regional Connectivity in South Asia urged

5th South Asia Economic Summit: “South Asia is one of the fastest growing yet one of the least economically integrated region”

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD – Closer cooperation in the fields of trade, public diplomacy, and communication was advocated at the 5th South Asia Economic Summit which began in Islamabad on Tuesday. Speakers believed that, Pakistan and India can play a leading role for deeper regional integration as the two major nations of South Asia,
Over 114 foreign delegates, including ministers, economists and civil society members are participating in the 3-day summit that focuses on issues relating to South Asia economic outlook, impacts of global financial crisis, regional trade, energy cooperation, transport connectivity, and economic growth. The summit is being jointly sponsored by Pakistan’s Sustainable Development Policy Institute in collaboration with its regional partner think tanks.

07 September, 2012

Art Talk: Exploring Brazil through Artistic Lens

ISLAMABAD - It was a surprising moment for a large number of Pakistani art lovers who explored Brazil as a culturally vibrant country and not just as home to great football players. This disclosure was made in a fascinating slideshow lecture “The Art Scene of Brazil Today”, presented by the Brazilian art connoisseur and promoter, Roberto Padilla, who is on his first visit to Pakistan. 

Brazil came into sight as an art-influenced society at the art talk, as every succeeding image on the slideshow signified the cultural exuberance of the country reflected in its contemporary art scene and modern architecture. 
“Vibrant works of art by Brazilian artists reflecting nature with plenty of colours and light also remind of the colours of Pakistan” remarked Roberto Padilla at one instance. Padilla let the audience glimpse some of the significant artworks by prominent Brazilian artists including Angelo Venosa, Walter Goldfarb, Hilal Sami, Beatriz Milhazes, Ernesto Neto, Ligia Clark, Tomie Ohtake.

03 September, 2012

Masterpieces in Miniatures – Royal treat for Art lovers

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD – The art lovers of the city were in for a treat, a royal treat indeed, as Gallery6 opened its doors to a collection of rare miniature paintings of British and Indian royal families and rulers. The exhibition of portrait miniatures, small in size and scrupulous in detail with fine brushwork, depicted the charm of a bygone era. 

Although the paintings are decades old but the grandiosity in the portraits of bejewelled Indian Maharajas and Nawabs, the adamant self-confidence in the miniatures of British kings and viceroys, and the feminine grace and beauty such as in the portrait of Sarojini Naidu, can still be felt in the artworks dexterously portrayed by Hafiz Sheikh Mohammad Amin and Sheikh Moin. “The paintings are 70 to 80 year-old and were done by leading artists of their times: Hafiz Sheikh Mohammad Amin and Sheikh Moin,” said the curator of the gallery, Dr Arjumend Faisel.

18 August, 2012

Iftar banquet bring delight for SOS Children

Sana Jamal 

Islamabad –With plenty of goodies to eat, the little girls and boys at SOS Children’s home enjoyed a delicious Iftar banquet - a long-awaited moment for orphans and abandoned children which they greeted with a shy smile, donning their best clothes. Ramadan Iftar dinner, organised by the Islamabad Serena Hotel for some 200 orphaned children and staff of SOS Children’s Village in Rawalpindi, was indeed a heartening initiative amidst a blissful Ramadan atmosphere promoting the spirit of giving and sharing. 

As the Iftar time drew near, the children playing on the swings and slide in the garden, slowly made their way into the open area where an array of delicious feasts presented with tasteful décor was awaiting them. To the surprise of visitors, the children showed remarkable discipline in taking Iftar food items – a sight rarely witnessed even at VIP Iftar parties.

14 August, 2012

Pakistan witnesses Digital Patriotism on Independence Day

Sana Jamal 

Islamabad - As the nation marked its 66th Independence Day with great enthusiasm on Tuesday, many joined the local parades, and festivals, lifting high up the green flag. Official festivities began with flag raising ceremonies after a 31-gun salute echoed in the federal capital. Children dressed in green-colored garb, wearing badges and waving flags were also seen. For some, flag hoisting on rooftops and terraces has become an essential part of the festival. But the times are changing and amid all these traditional celebrations, a new and trendy kind of digital patriotism was witnessed this year with more vehemence. 

A large number of patriots and enthusiasts took to social media to share their collective excitement about various events, posting live comments and making their memorable moments by sharing their photos which was as good as sharing happiness and fun in a real gathering.

Facebook had almost turned green as users have been posting pictures of their own special way of celebrating the Day. “Share the positivity. Appreciate the good that's happening in the country. Stop criticizing Pakistan” read one message on Facebook. Many had a display picture with the Pakistani flag as background. Thanks to the “Go Green movement” pioneered by Farhan Masood and his team, who remained busy changing display pictures of Pakistani Twitter and Facebook users adding a Pakistan flag background.

31 July, 2012

Global Community asked to support Mercury Reduction Treaty

Sana Jamal 

ISLAMABAD – Considering the harmful effects of mercury, a toxic substance, on human life, wildlife, and ecosystems, a Pakistani think tank, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), has called upon the global community to come up with a legally binding global mercury treaty. Expressing its fears, in a statement issued on Monday, the organization noted that the existing important global treaty elements have proven to be weak and
“ineffective in addressing the rising mercury levels and are failing to protect wildlife, ecosystem and human health.” 

10 July, 2012

‘Forests are depleting, foresters are sleeping’

Children worried about Environmental Losses
Sana Jamal

Islamabad – Children at a forum considered ways and means to draw the attention of President and Prime Minister of Pakistan towards ever-increasing environmental degradation in the country. Young mountain conservationists gathered in Islamabad on Tuesday after finishing 10-day long expedition aimed at highlighting environmental issues and measures to realise environment-friendly society. 

“Our forests are depleting fast while the foresters are sleeping, depriving us all of the fresh air and fresh water” remarked Hannan Ahmed, a participant at the summit. 

07 June, 2012

Experts alarmed at Climate Change effects on CKNP

Sana Jamal

Islamabad - Experts at a seminar held on Thursday urged the government to take serious measures to conserve the environment of Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) in Gilgit Biltistan – rich in natural biodiversity and cultural heritage. Speakers at a consultation on “Climate Change and Ecosystem Assessment of the CKNP Region”, have demanded establishment of a Committee under the supervision of Ministry of Climate Change to protect rich biodiversity region. 

The study ‘CKNP - Climate Change and Ecosystem Assessment Report’ highlighted drastic changes in climatic conditions in the CKNP region which has become warmer with increased rainfalls, changed snow patterns and less intensity of winter affecting the communities, culture, economy, livestock, pattern of agriculture and biodiversity. 

20 May, 2012

Pakistan urged to develop consensus on Green Economy: Experts

Sana Jamal

Image Courtesy: World Bank website 
Islamabad – Environmental professionals at a conference, on Saturday, urged the government to facilitate a broad-based consensus among all stakeholders to adopt new initiative in promoting green investments and sustainability in the country. Speakers at the two-day ‘National consultation on green economy’ focused on the challenges of actualizing the concept of sustainable development, of creating a “greener” and sustainable economy, and identifying institutional frameworks.

“Green economy should integrate and bind the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental” concluded the speakers on the final day of the conference organized in collaboration with Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Ministry of Climate Change, Heinrich Boll Stiftung (HBS), and Lead Pakistan.

16 May, 2012

Pakistan most vulnerable to climate change: UNDP report

UNDP’s Asia-Pacific Human Development Report 2012 launched 

Sana Jamal

Islamabad – Pakistan is among the most vulnerable countries facing climate risks, according to UNDP’s latest report launched here in capital city on Wednesday. Asia-Pacific region has some of the world’s fastest-growing cities, which must deal with both, the causes and the consequences of climate change, the report states. 

The report titled ‘Asia-Pacific Human Development Report 2012-One Planet to Share: Sustaining Human Progress in a Changing Climate’ suggests the region should promote green technologies for more efficient and cleaner processes in energy, agriculture and transport.  The launching ceremony of the publication was chaired by the Pakistani Ministry of Climate Change’s Secretary Muhammad Javed Malik. He reiterated that the recommendations of the report must be translated into concrete actions and must form an integral part of the human development agenda in Pakistan.

10 May, 2012

Making Islamabad a Bicycle-friendly City

Islamabad – The ordinarily car-clogged streets of Islamabad presented an inspirational sight when dozens of local bicyclists came together on roads to promote pro-cycling culture in the capital city. These bicycle enthusiasts were taking part in the Critical Mass Mega Cycling Ride on a pre-determined route that started from F-9 Park and continued for over three hours. The encouraging event was arranged by Critical Mass Islamabad (CMI), capital’s only social cycling group. 

The smiling cyclists wearing safety helmets not only surprised their street fellows in vehicles but also inspired them to take up cycling as a sports, recreational pastime, and everyday mode of mobility to peddle towards a healthier future. Participants, including students, professionals, and foreigners, called cycling a “great pastime as well as a healthy activity.” 

“We want to revive cycling as a communal sport to promote it as a sport and mode of transportation” which not only saves energy (fuel), but also promotes physical fitness, said Rana Atif Rehman, one of the founding members of CMI.
Critical Mass Islamabad (CMI) was formed back in 2009 after the Lahore and Karachi group to encourage more people to take up cycling and promote it as a safer and enjoyable sport. 

04 May, 2012

Experts highlight Digital Divide in Rural Pakistan

Sana Jamal

Islamabad - Pakistani youth have made a remarkable move in social media interaction but the urban and rural digital divide keeps them far from making any collective progress in society. The participants at a seminar held in Islamabad on Thursday concluded that the popular use of social media has turned urban Pakistanis into internet activists, but the benefits of the new media have failed to reach the masses. 

To explore the possibilities for social media as a tool for collaboration to bridge digital inequalities, a seminar was organized by Centre for Civic Education Pakistan (CCEP) and attended by media professionals and social media experts to coincide with World Press Freedom Day. The journalists of the modern era expressed mixed views on the use of social media for their journalistic duties. Participants pointed out that one reason for limited use of social media by traditional journalists is that the new media is not accessible in local content and local language.

16 April, 2012

Informal-school offers Hope to down-trodden Children

Sana Jamal

Islamabad - Deep inside the small town of Rawalpindi, Pir Wadhai where the roads are rough and surrounded with heaps of garbage, there is a place for the working children where they can relax, learn and play. Among them is an 8- year-old girl, Kiran, a regular garbage-picker but she dreams of having a big beautiful house of her own. Her dream to bring a visible change in her family’s lifestyle seems a little closer to reality after attending last six weeks in a rare classroom where she is learning Urdu, English and also sewing. “I have a dream of living in a beautiful house with my family” said Kiran in a softened voice. 

Kiran is one of the many kids who come to attend 3-hour schooling daily at Children Drop-in Centre managed by Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) and financed by a German NGO, Kindernothilfe (KNH) in Fauji colony at Pir Wadhai where the marginalised children of society are offered an opportunity to dream of a better future. 

Siachen Glacier can become a Peace Park

Sana Jamal

Islamabad – In the background of recent tragedy in Siachen, an expert suggested on Monday that a ‘third party” should ensure the preservation of Siachen glaciers by limiting the military activities at the highest peak. Speaking at a seminar here on Monday, Arshad H. Abbasi, Water and Energy Adviser said that “it is high time to make a joint appeal to UN for the protection of our glaciers by turning it into a peace park for good bilateral relations” as the melting of the glaciers would not only be a threat to Pakistan and India but to other regional countries.
Three important reasons cited as the main causes of fast melting of glaciers are: global warming, deposition of carbon content on glaciated ice and heavy military presence and activities. “Prevalence of black carbon content is one of the major reasons behind the melting of Siachen Glacier, one of the Himalayan glaciers and the largest in the world outside of the polar regions” pointed out Dr Qamar uz Zaman Chaudhry, Advisor Climate Affairs speaking at the seminar on ‘Climate Change and Siachen Glacier: A Global Challenge’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

15 March, 2012

Pakistan’s Cultural Treasure documented by Japanese Archaeologist

Sana Jamal

Islamabad – A renowned Japanese professor and archaeologist, Prof. Koji Nishikawa has spend more than two decades to come up with an excellent publication on Pakistan's brilliant chapters of cultural history, titled ‘Ranigat, a Buddhist Site in Gandhara, Pakistan, surveyed 1983-1992’.

The comprehensive report, based on two volumes, is a fine photographic record of the excavations at Ranigat, one of the largest Buddhist sites in Gandhara, illustrating some 2000 rare photographs of excavated objects including sculptures, stone objects, stucco, terracotta, stone reliquary, and stone lamps. Along with rare photographs and scientific research, the Report illustrates   the journey of 10 Japanese experts headed by Prof. Nishikawa as the director of the Kyoto University, Scientific Expedition to Gandhara, who undertook pilot excavation on the site of Ranigat during 1982 and 1992, discovering many Buddhist stupas, shrines and monasteries.

01 March, 2012

Bid to enlist Kalash on the World Heritage List

Efforts to preserve Kalash Culture 

Published in Pakistan Observer

Sana Jamal

Islamabad – To the good fortune of Kalash people, the government of Pakistan has finally moved to take long-awaited measures for the preservation of Pakistan’s rare tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
Following the repeated demands from the endangered community and a comprehensive deliberation held on Wednesday at Lok Virsa, the concerned officials eventually nodded their heads and agreed that Ministry of National Heritage and Integration would propose UNESCO to enroll Kalash on the World Heritage List. The draft proposal will be prepared by 12 member committee supervised by the Federal secretary for national heritage and integration Faridullah Khan. In this regard a second meeting of experts will be held within next two weeks to finalise the document within next 45 days.
Faridullah Khan speaking at the workshop on
Protection of Kalash Heritage in Pakistan.

Speaking at the one-day workshop, Faridullah Khan said that keeping in view “the heritage value and serious threats being posed to the living Kalash Valley, the ministry will introduce a comprehensive plan for safeguarding the endangered heritage of Kalash Valley.” He wished-for a special development package for Kalash people and assured cooperation from the ministry for documentation and preservation of the Kalash culture.

23 February, 2012

Pakistan's manner of compensating its Terrorism Victims commended

Sana Jamal

Islamabad – Pakistan's positive side came to light surprisingly at a report launch on Wednesday, when speakers noted that the terror-hit country is ahead of many states in delivering compensation to the victims of terrorism and conflict at a massive scale. This point of concern was highlighted at the launch of research report on “Compensating Civilian Victims of Conflict and Terrorism in Pakistan.” The research on the existing policies and practices being adopted by Federal and Provincial governments for award of compensation to the civilian victims was conducted by Institute of Social and Policy Sciences (I-SAPS) in collaboration with Foundation Open Society Institute (OSI). 

The report refreshingly highlighted a positive side of Pakistan. “The conflict-hit country is doing better than many states to provide relief to the victims of conflicts,” remarked Michael Shaikh, Director Country Program of Campaign for Innocent Victims of Conflict (CIVIC). Erica Gaston, Program Officer of OSI, appreciating the efforts of the country administration, said that “the concrete steps taken by Pakistan government in providing compensation to victims of conflicts are commendable and an exemplar for many countries.” 

18 February, 2012

Book Launch: ‘Wazir Khan Mosque Rediscovered’

Sana Jamal 
Book cover.

Islamabad – Pakistan’s treasured Wazir Khan Mosque has enchanted and inspired many by its mere magnificent look, but the latest comprehensive documentation on the Mosque is yet to charm the art lovers. The innovative book “Wazir Khan Mosque Rediscovered”, by Mamoona Khan was launched here on Friday at National Art Gallery in the presence of Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, Dr Shaukat Mahmood, Prof Jamila Zaidi and Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, Representative of UNESCO. 

“It is for the first time that inscriptions bedecking the mosque are fully documented in this book including calligraphic styles, motifs, and designs with thorough analysis.” The book also focuses on the undercurrents of rhythm and orderliness, the hallmark of Muslim ornamental designs which lies in geometry, the epitome of which is Golden Ratio. “It highlights that Muslim artists did not limit themselves to the usual frame of decorating but keen observation deciphered the role of science as the guiding principle of the Muslim adornments” explained the author.

08 February, 2012

Argentine Tango delight Islamabad music lovers

Sana Jamal 

Islamabad – Football is apparently all that comes to the mind of a Pakistani when the name of Argentina is mentioned. However, the recent melodious concert held in Islamabad not only has altered the perceptions of Pakistanis but also proved to be a great occasion to experience the national music of Argentina: Tango.

The rhythmic Tango music, played by a guitar trio, offered an exquisite experience for the audience to enjoy the Argentine music in Pakistan at the PNCA auditorium. Rodolfo Gorosito, on guitar and vocals, Jose Armando Cataldi and de la Vega, with acoustic guitars, in the right hands, conveyed the integral feeling of tango to the listeners as the audience nodded their heads with rhythm. 

04 February, 2012

World Cancer Day: Early diagnosis can beat killer disease

Sana Jamal

Islamabad – The disease, once known as fatal and haunting enough to bring images resembling death sentence in the minds of patients, is now curable if detected at an early stage. “Cancer is dreaded by most people but the truth is that the disease has emerged as a chronic one rather a fatal disorder” said Dr. Kamran Rasheed, Consultant Medical Oncologist at a health awareness seminar held at Shifa International Hospital (SIH).

Cancer can be averted by early diagnoses and healthier lifestyles. This was crux of the presentations of the eminent Oncologists at the seminar, held to observe World Cancer Day in Pakistan where the cancer specialists illustrated causes, treatment, symptoms and prevalence of cancer.
“Early detection means less invasive treatment, less trauma, less pain, less cost. In fact early disease detection is equivalent to curable disease” affirmed Dr. Badar us Salam, Consultant Surgeon.

02 February, 2012

Iran Culture Festival begins in Islamabad

Pak-Iran strategy to highlight Islamic culture stressed

Sana Jamal
Courtesy: Google Image.

Islamabad – In a colourful inaugural ceremony, the Iranian Cultural Week started here at National Arts Gallery (NAG) of Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) on Thursday where the speakers urged for measures to initiate Pak-Iran joint strategy. The cultural festival, highlighting Iran’s development in the field of art and culture, social, economic, scientific technology, and defence, has been arranged to mark the 33rd anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran and to commemorate the Solidarity Week.

The week-long (February 2-10) festival has been jointly organised by the Cultural Consulate of the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in collaboration with PNCA featuring photographic display of development of Iran, Persian books and publications, original handwork on wood, metal, and cloth, rugs work, recitation of Quran, and and screening of feature films.

One of the prominent features of the cultural week was collection of rare Quranic manuscripts dating back to 10th Hijri. The calligraphy of the remarkable Quranic manuscripts, preserved in glass display case, was splendidly illuminated in gold, colours and medallions. “The publications on display are the collection of Iran-Pakistan Institute of Persian Studies which strives to preserve and promote Islamic culture and Persian language” told Muhammad Abbass, representative of the Institute.

01 February, 2012

US initiative on Education may soften strain ties

USAID signs 7 MoUs with Pak Universities

Sana Jamal 

Islamabad - While Pakistan-United States strategic relations continue to remain strained, cooperation in the field of education continues to grow. To reaffirm the support, Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) were signed on Wednesday between seven universities of Pakistan and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The signing ceremony took place at the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in the presence of Vice Chancellors of the seven universities. 

Speaking at the ceremony, Karen Freeman, USAID Deputy Director for Pakistan, acknowledged that “Pakistan and the United States have enjoyed a long and productive relationship that spans more than 60 years and covers a variety of fields.. The MoU signing ceremony is yet another expression of the U.S. Government’s long- term commitment to help build a stronger, more prosperous Pakistan.” 

The $15 million construction initiative is aimed at building new faculty of Education buildings at the Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University in Quetta; the Hazara University in Mansehra; the University of Education in Lahore; the University of Sindh in Hyderabad; the University of Karachi (KU) in Karachi; and the Shah Abdul Latif University in Khairpur (Sindh) and renovation of the Institute of Education and Research at the University of the Punjab. The construction contract has been awarded to CDM Constructors Inc. 

In a cheerful mood and pleasant environment, the representatives of the universities keenly discussed the educational problems while explaining their case for additional support from U.S. and appreciating Pak-U.S. collaboration in education sector. The professors compared the quality of education with quality of life, and hoped that the initiative would help in improving the teacher education. “Unfortunately, a large number of teachers in Pakistan are in teaching profession by chance and not by choice”, observed Dr. Pirzada Qasim, Vice Chancellor of KU. 

“The program will be beneficial in training the best young minds to the teaching profession and also help revise the curriculum” he said. Dr. Javaid Laghari, Chairman of the HEC appreciated the efforts to improve the quality of education across the country. T

he new facilities would support the implementation of two new degree programs, a four-year Bachelor’s Degree in Education (B.Ed.) and a two-year Associate Degree in Education (ADE) designed by Pakistani scholars to increase the quality of teacher preparation at colleges and universities. Additionally, the new buildings would be used for the continuing education of practicing teachers. “The construction will take place over the next two year and the new facilities will eventually house approximately 2,000 students and 100 faculty members each year” informed Karen.