Thursday, March 8, 2018

Agha Siraj rules out horse trading in senate elections

By Rashid Zia Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

“The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) would sweep the general elections 2018 throughout the country as the PPP Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has won the hearts of Punjab.”

This was observed by the Speaker of the Sindh Assembly, Agha Siraj Durrani, while talking to media at the residence of elder of All Sindhi-Pathan Nawabshah community, Jan Muhammad Pathan. Durrani contradicted the allegations of horse trading leveled against the PPP, adding that other parties were attempting to pass the impression as if their hands were clean. 

“That who fed whom and how much quantity of grass was given to the horses would be known soon but even if anyone have evidence of horse trading he or she should show it,” he said. 

When asked Imran Khan if would contest from Karachi, Durrani said that it is Imran’s wish to contest general election from any part of the country but the factual position is that he would bag how many votes public would see. 

He said that the PPP has always served the masses due to which public has identified failed politicians who had claimed the demise of the PPP. 

Speaking on the differences having erupted in MQM ranks, he stated that the PPP was neither making profit out of it nor was is the party policy. 

However if any political party faces crisis of such situation then party workers get disappointed and join other parties and this was the reason that others were turning to the PPP. 

Durrani considered it to be the beauty of democracy, insisting that by election and general election have big difference and he was confident to win as the people now desired a change.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Nisar Memon’s An Insight into the Senate launched in Karachi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Describing national security of Pakistan as key to our survival and growth, Senator Nisar Memon, a former Federal Minister, called upon everyone to rise to the occasion to work for a common of cause of upholding the dignity of our people, sovereignty of the country and strengthening of the institutions, which he reckoned, were in a state of decay. 

He gave the clarion call while speaking at the second launch of his book "An Insight into the Senate of Pakistan" held at the NJV High School's auditorium in Karachi on March 4. Earlier the first launch of the book had taken place in Islamabad. 

Besides Nisar Memon himself, other speakers on the occasion included former Federal Minister and Senator Javed Jabbar, former Chief Minister and Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Marvi Memon, Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme, Syed Raghib Shah, former chairman WAPDA, and Tariq Hussain from World Bank. 

Nisar Memon discussed national security at length and dilated upon its various aspects like water, environment, climate change, finance, defence, defence production and social service. In the book, he said, he has also touched upon the present day's most sensitive issue of international peace. 

While bringing the book to conclusion, Nisar Memon asked "can't people the believers in one God, one Prophet, one Book and one Faith be joined on one front against aggression and violation of human rights". 

Nisar Memon, who served the Senate for six years, told his audience that objective of his writing this book was to let the people know about those aspects of the Senate to which it is not possible to them to have access to. 

He said many things which occur in the Senate does not appear in newspapers and, therefore, he thought, to present himself before the people for accountability and what he did when he was in the city, what changes and reforms should be brought. 

He said that when you are elected to the Senate to serve the cause of people for six long years, you have to give the best to the people and they must know what you performed, what you gave and what you learned. 

He said he has discussed all these things in black and white and also to encourage the others to come out and speak about the working of the Senate 

Speaking on the occasion Javed Jabbar facilitated Nisar Memon for writing this book which was long overdue from a parliamentarian about parliament. 

While eulogizing the services of Nisar Memon, he recalled his appreciative role in a non-partisan cabinet, his role in the reformers movement and again in a caretaker government and said he enjoyed excellent opportunities into governments he served with a constructive approach. 

He described his book a genuine attempt aimed at strengthening the institutions and pointed out that Senate is the custodian and rather political custodian of all the four provinces and his book contributes wealth of experiences he gained during his six years of Senatorship. 

He mentioned the book a good combination of remembrance, intelligence and contribution to democracy. 

Senator Syed Muzaffar Shah, who was re-elected as Senator for another six years term only the other day, in his eloquent address marked with fluency, observed that Pakistani politicians are not fond of writing books outlining their experiences as parliamentarians and which the people at large want to know as to how the parliaments work in a parliamentary democracy. 

Senator Shah, who has the presence in as many as 14 committees of the Upper House besides being Chairman of Food and Agriculture Committee and said that Senate is the custodian of rights of the provinces while passing laws. 

He disclosed how he save 1300 acres of prime land in the heart of Islamabad belonging to Pakistan Agriculture Research Council and said the report thereof by highly appreciated by the Supreme Court. 

Referring to clamouring of accusation of horse trading in the Senate election, he stated to have secured highest number of votes without spending a single penny. 

He asserted that parliamentarians should write books and follow the example of Senator Nisar Memon who ventured to do this which only few would do as people want to know how parliament work and how the Senate functions and this book is worth reading for such people. 

Muzaffar Shah was confident that soon the Senate will also have financial authority being the custodian of provinces. 

He paid tributes to Nisar Memon from a Sindhi background and from the corporate sector and said he made a significant role in the political history of Pakistan. 

Marvi Memon in her usual charming style said that to be elected a member of the parliament indeed is an honor as they can make a difference in the political history. 

She said that it was a very special for her to have served the country along with her father Nisar Memon and advised that new generation should learn from his experiences. 

Marvi Memon said that the thoughts cherished by his father as Senator and as Federal Minister were always dedicated to the national causes and one would find it explicitly in his book "Insight into the Senate of Pakistan". 

Tariq Hussain from the World Bank spoke about Nisar Memon's focus on aspect of National Security as highlighted by him in his book, particularly the aspect of water which today is assuming as an alarming issue, particularly with reference to drainage, water logging and salinity. 

He said that the book should encourage the others for improving the effectiveness of our political bodies.

Syed Raghib Shah referred to Nisar Memon's acumen about technical issues and said that although he was Chief Engineer in WAPDA he found Mr Memon more technical than him he would speak in the House Committee on Water issues. 

The present Senators, he said, should pursue all those recommendations and suggestions as provided by Nisar Memon on water as Chairman of Water Committee which were duly recognized by the world bodies.

On the occasion Mr Nisar Memon announced that proceeds of his book would go to the NJV High School where he had remained a student. He congratulated Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah for having been elected to the Senate for another six years term. 

The launch ceremony concluded with the presentation of copies of the book "Insight into the Senate" to the speakers of the day by Nisar Memon himself.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

An Insight into the Senate to be launched on March 4

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The book titled ‘An Insight into the Senate’ is set to be launched at a ceremony to be held in Karachi on March 4. 

The book has been authored by Senator Nisar A Memon, who has also been a former Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting. 
The speakers on the occasion would include former Federal Minister. Javed Jabbar, ex-Chief Minister Sindh and Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Rukhsana Zuberi, Tariq Hussain and Raghib Shah. 

It’s in the fitness of things of that the book is being launched in Karachi one day after the Senate elections being held on March 3, as 52 senators will be completing their six-year term on March 11.

In the book, Nisar Memon, who has remained as Senator for six years, gives an insight into the working of the Senate with special reference to National Security which includes various aspects like water, climate, environment and defence. 

 As Senator, he was the Chairperson of the Standing Committee of Senate on Defence and Defence Production and the Parliamentary Committee on Water Resources. 

He was also a member of the Standing Committees of Senate on Foreign Affairs, Finance and Economic Affairs and Housing and Environment Committee. 

The first launch of the book was held in Islamabad and the author has selected Karachi as the second venue for the launch of his book.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dewan launches Daehan Shehzore at an spectacular ceremony

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said that Pakistan is fast coming back on its real economic track and would be looking at its future in the year 2018 when its GDB will be close to 6 percent as against 5.3 percent in 2017. 

He was speaking as chief guest at the grand launch of Shehzor truck, the most popular light commercial vehicle produced in the automotive history of Pakistan with over 50,000 units in operation.

Shehzore has become the generic name for pickups in the country, Dewan Muhammad Yousuf Farooqui, Chairman, Yousuf Dewan Motor Company remarked in his welcome speech at the launch of Daehan Shehzore at the Mohatta Palace Museum on February 25.

Ahsan Iqbal recalled that there was a time when big industrialists and businessmen would be speaking about relocating their industries and concerns to Canada and Dubai and smaller ones to Lahore but today they are coming back to Karachi and Pakistan because of the peaceful conditions and positive investment climate here. 

He said that today international media including Economist and Finance Times are describing Pakistan as the fast emerging economic nation more because of much peaceful conditions today when present government responded stubbornly and cleared our territories of terrorists and subversive elements because of sacrifices of the armed forces and the nation. 

He recalled when the country faced acute power crisis just 5 years back and within four years of this regime, there is a turn around and Pakistan is rising and brought back on the world's economic map. He said in four years the government added 11000 MW of electricity to the national grid and constructed a record number of highways and motorways.

He informed that at present the government is constructing 1600 KM of motorways and will have 2200 KM of motorways by 2019 as against 1400 KM in India. 

"Time has come now to focus on the prosperity of our people and future economic boom", the Minister stated adding that now it is for our entrepreneurs to take advantage of infrastructure developed and they have the potential for this. 

He pointed out that with the steps being taken by this government Pakistan will be among the top 20 world economies by 2025 and top 10 by 2030 provided the country maintained the continuity of economic development with political stability.

Ahsan Iqbal while referring to the development of automotive industry assured of his government's all out support and cooperation for the industry and hoped that all the business groups of Pakistan will make fast advancement to achieve the desired objectives.

“The government through the Automotive Policy is fully committed to extending full support to the local automotive industry of Pakistan. The policy has already attracted significant investment of over US$ 800 million,” he observed while congratulating Dewan Yousuf and his team for their relentless efforts to revive their automotive assembly plant.

Earlier in his speech, Dewan Mohammed Yusuf Farooqui, Chairman Yusuf Dewan Motor Company said that reproduction of Shehzo was made made possible by the acquisition of Brownfield status from the Ministry of Industries and Production, a landmark achievement.

He said our collaborators the JVA and Kolao Group will help us keep our promise of delivering only the best quality vehicles to our trusted customers as we stay committed to contributing our best to our motherland’s socio-economic development.

He described th day as the most special day of his life and Dewan Group.

Speaking on the occasion, Oh Sei Young, Chairman, Kolao Group, and the joint venture partner in Daehan-Dewan Motor Company, expressed the confidence that the Daehan Shehzore pickup will achieve the desired results.

He assured that the Kolao Group will consistently provide total support to the JVA in achieving the mutual objective of regaining market leadership in its segment.

“The government through the Automotive Policy is fully committed to extending full support to the local automotive industry of Pakistan.

The policy has already attracted significant investment of over US$ 800 million,” he observed while congratulating Dewan Yousuf and his team for their relentless efforts to revive their automotive assembly plant.

It may be recalled that Yousuf Dewan Companies, one of Pakistan’s most prominent business houses, had entered into a joint venture with the Kolao Group of South Korea in April 2016.

The new joint venture, Daehan-Dewan Motor Company, unveiled Daehan Shehzore, setting up its automobile assembly plant in Sujawal.

The launching ceremony at the Mohatta Palace was nothing short of spectacular. The cultural programme, featuring performances by the local as well as the South Korean artists, followed by the musical concert provided glamour to the evening at the most historical of venues.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

UNICEF, AKU embark on National Nutrition Survey

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

A country-wide survey to collect information on the nutritional status of women and children, food security and household water quality is about to begin under a joint collaboration between the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, the Aga Khan University and UNICEF. 

For the first time, the 2018 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) will collect data at the district rather than provincial level, providing targeted insights about the areas that face the greatest nutrition challenges besides barriers to adequate food intake and nutrition-related health status, according to speakers at the NNS launch ceremony at the Aga Khan University on February 12. 

The NNS will also see researchers analyse the country’s progress in nutrition since 2011, the year of the previous survey which found that more than half of all households in Pakistan suffer from food insecurity, in other words are hungry or face the threat of hunger. 

The 2011 survey also found that 44 per cent of children are stunted, too short for their age, and noted that the indicators of mother and child nutrition had not improved in the decade leading up to 2011. The study will see information gathered from 115,500 households, with field teams going door-to-door in villages, towns and cities across the country. 

The data to be collected includes blood and urine samples which will highlight the presence of key minerals for growth and good health; height and weight measurements to detect development delays; and an assessment of the state of household drinking water quality and sanitation facilities which can cause illness and malnutrition. 

Field teams will also collect information on household income, gender empowerment, education levels, and breastfeeding practices which are known to have an impact on nutrition indicators. 

“Poor nutrition in the crucial early years of a child’s life triggers irreversible mental and physical defects that have a lifelong impact on a child’s productivity, immunity against disease and earning capacity as an adult,” Dr Atif Habib, assistant professor in the department of paediatrics and child health at AKU, remarked. 

“Malnutrition also has a vicious, multi-generational impact since malnourished mothers are more likely to have underweight children. This survey will analyse Pakistan’s progress on a variety of fronts that influence nutrition and will enable us to design targeted interventions to boost the health of our young women and children,” he added. 

UNICEF’s Field Office Chief, Sindh, Cristina Brugiolo noted that insights from the survey would help Pakistan develop evidence-based initiatives to achieve targets under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which call on countries to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030 and to address the causes of preventable deaths in newborns and children. 

“Good nutrition lays the foundation for healthy, thriving and productive communities and nations. The scale of the nutrition problem in the country necessitates the need for regular monitoring. Findings from the National Nutrition Survey will show provincial and federal governments where they can make the quickest and highest-impact gains. UNICEF is happy to share how such programmes can be scaled up,” she added. 

The fndings from the survey are also expected to shed light on the impact of the 2011 decision to devolve responsibility for health from federal to provincial governments. 

Dr Baseer Achakzai, director of nutrition at the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, said that the 2018 survey would be the largest such survey in the country. 

He added the findings of the survey would help the government of Pakistan to assess how the country’s nutrition indicators have changed following the introduction of provincial nutrition support programmes and in light of other social safety net schemes such as the Benazir Income Support Programme and other province-level initiatives. 

The data collection phase of the survey is expected to take eight months with stakeholders gathering to assess the data at monthly intervals. 

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources are also acting as technical partners on the National Nutrition Survey.

The other speakers at the event included Dr Salman Kirmani, chair of the department of paediatrics at AKU, Dr Sher Baz from the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination; Dr Iftikhar Mallah from the Sindh health department, and Dr Naveed Bhutto from the Sindh Nutrition Support Programme.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Canadian, Pakistani researchers collaborate on molecular research

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

New research into the molecular structure and genetic make-up of tumours is enabling more targeted cancer treatment, said experts attending the 3rd Annual Surgical Meeting Surgical Oncology-Evidence and Practice at Aga Khan University.

Molecular analysis of brain tissue is revealing the distinctive ‘signature’ of tumours that are otherwise of a similar type and stage, according to speakers who noted that a partnership between Pakistani and Canadian researchers is resulting in the transfer of knowledge and skills stemming from this novel research. 

The faculty from Aga Khan University is currently working with researchers on the tumour boards of the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Canada, to explore how these molecular insights can enhance the treatment of complicated cases of brain cancer. 

“Insights from molecular biology are helping oncologists select the most suitable course of cancer treatment and more accurately predict the response to targeted therapy. This will ensure optimal treatment for each tumour and a longer, better quality of life for each patient,” Dr Shahzad Shamim, an associate professor at AKU’s department of surgery, said. 

The experts from 14 countries around the world gathered at the two-day multidisciplinary conference to explore the latest developments in cancer surgery, diagnostic, pathology and treatment. 

The sessions at the conference also highlighted innovations in reconstructive surgery which were helping restore the function of organs affected by the spread of cancer. 

The speakers noted that techniques such as intra-operative monitoring enabled surgeons to stimulate parts of the spine to quickly and painlessly detect areas that can be reconstructed. This means that damaged areas of the spine, which were previously deemed too dangerous to operate on, can now be mended and rebuilt. 

The experts added that similar technological advances in orthopaedic surgery meant that high quality implants can be used to replace bones and joints damaged by the spread of cancer, thereby helping preserve essential body functions. Robot-assisted surgery was another prominent theme of the conference. 

While the experts noted that the use of robots in the operating theatre can enhance the precision of surgeries, they added that the process of learning how to work with technology was typically very demanding in terms of time and difficulty. 

“There are about 148,000 new cases of cancer in Pakistan every year. Bringing together experts from around the world promotes the sharing of advances across the field of oncology which will boost our chances of detecting the disease in early stages and deliver more effective treatment for cancer patients across the country,” Dr Masood Umer, an associate professor in AKU’s department or surgery and chair of the conference, remarked.

The conference’s objectives are in line with global efforts to achieve targets under goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals: ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Target 3.4.1 of the goal calls for special efforts to reduce deaths caused by cancer by a third by 2030. 

The 3rd Annual Surgical Meeting was organized in collaboration with the European Society of Surgical Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the International Journal of Surgery. 

The conference’s inaugural session was preceded by a day of 25 workshops and symposiums at the University’s Centre for Innovation in Medical Education. 

Over 300 participants were in attendance over the two-day event which also saw the launch of a book consisting of 15 unique stories of Pakistani cancer survivors, families and physicians who have battled the disease.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Dr Seemin Jamali presented book Trauma Care

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Dr Seemin Jamali, Executive Director, Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Karachi, was presented a copy of the book ‘Trauma Care’ by its author Dr Muhammad Saeed Minhas, Associate Professor of Trauma and Orthopedics Surgery at JPMC.

Appointed Executive Director of the JPMC last April, Dr Seemin Jamali, has been one of the most popular physicians, having headed the emergency department with distinction for several years. Her caring attitude towards the patients in particular has been particularly admired. 

Dr Saeed Minhas is Fellow of College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan (CPSP) in Orthopaedic Surgery, having done his basic training in Accident & emergency, Chest surgery, General surgery, trauma and Orthopedics. 

Besides his teaching commitments to under graduates and post graduates in Orthopaedic surgery he is actively involved in training Primary trauma care program not only in Pakistan but in many counties of the world. 

He is giving trauma training to doctors, nurses, paramedics, motorway officials and combating soldiers. He is also leading Volunteers training program in trauma and disaster for medical students. 

He has to his credit number of original research articles published in medical journals. He is also the author of Pre hospital primary trauma care manual in English and Urdu for first responders. He has also compiled a manual of Trauma, Accident & Emergency for medical students and young doctors.