Archive for June, 2011
Fourteen-year-old Javed covered the distance in 14 minutes and 2.90 seconds to secure the first position as she outran India’s A Marymanda, with a difference of one minute and 10 seconds.
Javed clinched her second medal at the Games, having previously bagged a silver in the 1000-metre time-trial event.
“I’m so happy with this extra-ordinary achievement,” Javed told The Express Tribune.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Aslam bagged the bronze medal as he covered the distance in 19 minutes and 7.53 seconds, being two minutes and five seconds slower than Germany’s Christian Zinserling. Colombia’s Carlos Morales secured the second place in the event.
“I’m very proud of our cyclists, they’ve proved that they have more spirit than the athletes with normal intellectual ability,” said cycling coach Ishrat Zehra.
“Both Javed and Aslam have two medals each and they’re beaming with confidence.”
Meanwhile the men’s basketball team defeated Uruguay 24-6 in a one-sided encounter. Similarly, the women’s team maintained their winning streak when they outplayed Turkey 13-7 in the qualifying matches.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2011.
MANCHESTER: Prof Dr M Iqbal Choudhary, Director International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), Karachi University (KU), disclosed on Thursday that former Chairman, Higher Education Commission (HEC) Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rehman is the first Pakistani whose genome has been mapped by Pakistani scientists at a cost of $40,000 in just 10 months.
China has contributed $20,000 in the total cost of the genome project. Pakistani and Indian genomes have similarities compared to others, he said, while speaking at a press conference, held on Thursday at Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine & Drug Research (PCMD), Karachi University (KU).
Dr. Kamran Azim, Assistant Professor in the Dr Panjwani Center and other faculty members were also present on the occasion.
Dr Iqbal Choudhary said that the success of our scientists on this genome project is in fact a national pride for us; they have acquired remarkable scientific achievement at a time when Pakistan is passing through a terrible time in its history.
With this historical achievement, Pakistan has taken a step forward in the genome world and joined the ranks of the few countries – the US, UK, China, Japan and India – which have successfully sequenced the human genome, he said and added that Pakistan, however, is not new in this genome world as we have already sequenced DNA of mangoes and other fruits.
“Dr Atta has become the first Muslim man with this distinction, while he is the third one among a list of renowned people in the world whose genomes have been mapped by scientists. The names of the first two persons are Prof Watson and Dr Ventor (2007), while others are unnamed.
Pakistan has become the sixth country, working on the genome projects after US, UK, China, Japan and India.
We need advanced equipments to further gain progress in this unique field; an institute of Genome will also be setup in the country soon. Millions of pages are required to write the details of genome and that the genome of the first American was mapped at a cost of $6b, across a ten year period,” he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that the research team, who mapped the genome, comprised of Dr Kamran Azim, Assistant Professor in the Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research and Dr Yong Zhang, head of the genomics department at the Beijing Genomics Institute, Shenzhen, China, one of the leading authorities in genomics.
Dr Kamran Azim has acknowledged the fact that the complete Pakistani genome has been sequenced for the first time, and said that this research will improve the diagnosis of disease, while the earlier detection of genetic predispositions to diseases will also be a benefit of this research. He said, “The new thing in the study was the technique which can trace back a mutation to the specific parent. We are still studying the actual genome data itself and how the genetic differences we identified may predispose this particular individual to certain diseases”, he said.
The ICC executive board on Thursday gave cricket boards 12 months to implement free elections and another 12-month grace period to enact the changes before any sanctions would be considered.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), whose chairman Ijaz Butt was appointed by the president, was not immediately reachable for comment but it has threatened legal action in the past if the constitution is changed.
Khan told AFP that the PCB now had a chance to become a real institution if the system was overhauled.
“The amendment will help Pakistan as there is no transparency and accountability in the current set-up,” Khan told AFP.
“But to gain full benefit, Pakistan must fix the cricket structure with a new constitution on regional grounds where officials are elected.”
Khan said the changes could allow Pakistan to perform better.
“If we have our cricket structure right, Pakistan has more talent than anywhere in the world, and we will dominate the world,” said Khan, who led Pakistan to their only World Cup title in 1992.
Former PCB chairman Arif Abassi said reform had long been needed.
“I resigned in 1996 because there was uncalled for government interference when I wanted to make the PCB a private company with shares,” said Abassi.
Abassi said the ICC was after Pakistan after a slew of public irregularities and said: “It’s now time we find the right people to overhaul our system and who know how to do it,” he said.
But fellow former PCB chief Khalid Mahmood rejected the ICC imposition as a violation of Pakistan’s independence.
“The ICC has no business to tell us how to run our cricket,” said Mahmood, calling for legal action if necessary.
“We must resist on this and although legal action is the last resort, one has to back it because we have to draw a line on sovereignty,” said Mahmood.
Former spinner Iqbal Qasim thought Pakistan would have trouble in enacting the change.
“While other Boards like England and Australia have a proper system, Pakistan will face some problems in implementing the change and they will need to overhaul the system from grass-root level,” said Qasim.
“We need to think out a proper plan, be it with the government’s help, to implement the change in two years.”
Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are also directly affected by the amendment as their cricketing affairs are similarly run on government directives.
At least two top leaders of the PML-N told The Express Tribune on Wednesday that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif would soon establish ‘direct contact’ with the MQM hierarchy, including its London-based chief, Altaf Hussain. They did not, however, specify when or how any such contact would be established.
Simultaneously, some other associates of Sharif had been tasked to approach the rightwing opponents of President Asif Ali Zardari’s government, including the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) of Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Both the MQM and the JUI-F walked away from an alliance with the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
Officials in the PML-N said the decision to go all out to dislodge the government was taken during a recent meeting of top party leaders in Lahore chaired by Nawaz Sharif.
They added that the resignation by MQM members from both federal and provincial cabinets to join the opposition had lured the PML-N into thinking that it might be the right time for gathering their support against the government.
“We believe it is the best time to go in for a kill … it looks like the iron is hot and now is the time that we can hit it as hard as possible,” said a PML-N official, who attended the meeting.
A spokesperson of the party also confirmed that the PML-N was looking forward to working with the MQM as a more “coordinated opposition” and both groups could explore “common ground” against the government.
However, MNA Ahsan Iqbal denied that a high level contact was being established with the MQM or that the PML-N was hoping for a formal alliance with the party.
“We are not strangers to each other … we know each other and have been maintaining a shared stance on various issues recently and I think we can work together in the future. But this does not necessarily mean we can become partners,” Iqbal said.
He added that the alleged rigging in the recent Kashmir elections, unbridled corruption in government departments and the poor rule of law were the issues that could bring the two groups together.
A close associate of Sharif, Zulfikar Khosa, also told the media in Lahore that there were prospects of the PML-N and the MQM working together in the days to come.
According to officials, the PML-N chief had barred his party leaders from issuing hostile statements against the MQM and Altaf Hussain, an issue that has been keeping both parties away from each other in recent years.
According to the plans, the PML-N would hit the streets with its campaign to dislodge the government immediately after the month of Ramadan that ends early September.
Before that, Iqbal said, the group would complete its lingering reorganisation campaign by the end of next month.
The Express Tribune tried to seek comments from a few MQM leaders but none of them was available.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2011
According to sources the telephone call lasted for about twenty minutes wherein the two leaders discussed playing the role of joint opposition in the National Assembly and Senate. Altaf assured Fazal-ur-Rehman that MQM will support Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam in the Senate.
Fazal-ur-Rehman said that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has repeatedly broken its promises made to both the masses and political parties.
Earlier, MQM had boycotted the Azad Jammu and Kashmir elections, blaming the PPP for rigging the election and had filed a petition in the SHC against it. Ministers in the party had tendered their resignation with President Asif Ali Zardari.
I resigned because I didn’t want to be part of a government which had trampled over my maroora’s (people) rights. On the day that we had to vote on the budget, I had to make it clear that, unlike many others, I wasn’t going to give my vote of confidence to this government.
I am glad I did what I did because my conscience is clear. I did not become my party’s forward block nor sat in the assemblies where my people’s issues continued to be trampled upon. My resignation letter was self-explanatory.
My future strategy needs to be shared so that we can rid of the prevailing despondency and show people that there is a way forward out of this mess. A mess created by the potpourri of political actors who have been acting in their vested interests and playing musical chairs. By now it’s clear that most parties have given a lease of life to this government by voting for the budget and are thus a part of the problem and not the solution. Deliverance cannot come from any of them but, in fact, can come by rejecting them through the ballot because they have all been tried and tested. In fact, they need to be rejected through mid-term elections so that deliverance from despotic governance can come quickly.
How will the deliverance occur? When all patriotic, experienced politicians, political workers and youth create a much-needed collective leadership and rally for change. There is a need for many such movements because Pakistan is large and has many localised issues which need to be solved fast by like-minded patriots.
The message of these movements needs to be this: It’s time for a change because Pakistan has suffered plenty and cannot sustain economic hemorrhage any further. It’s time for people to voice their discontentment and rally around solid leadership. It’s time for people to reject old politicians who only win due to their fear tactics, and stand by honest ones.
In essence, its time for the youth to adopt issues of the poor as their own rather than standing aloof and disinterested. It’s time for them to work towards mass moblisation. It’s time for rural and urban areas to see that their issues can only be resolved when a unified approach is taken. It’s time for professionals to analyse the reasons for Pakistan’s hemorrhaging and plan for an alternative government by setting up a shadow cabinet that the country so badly needs. It’s time for businessmen to contribute to such a movement. It’s time for the legal community to continue to contribute to justice by fighting cases for free as part of this movement. It’s time for the media to continue to highlight the difference between new and old politics.
We all have our specific roles. The movement’s success is not possible without a collective approach — an approach that joins sects, religions, provinces and peoples with a cohesive manifesto.
Perhaps this is the reason I have decided not to join a political party as yet because this movement requires much work. The answer to which is the right political party to join will become clearer when all are tested on real issues in the battlefield.
Call it a movement for political reform, for revolution; call it a pied piper for justice, it’s a process. It is a hard, long, painful process of cleansing the evil out of the political system. It’s a question of not compromising on the right policies. It’s a question of building consensus on the correct policies across the national divides. It’s a question of spreading hope. The goal is a just, developed, moderate Pakistan where there is a focus on good governance, national security, climate change, economic revival and nationalism. That is the only plan that will save us.
Published in The Express Tribune
Hamid Mir (Urdu: حامد مير, born July 23, 1966) is a Pakistani journalist and editor. He is news anchor, terrorism expert, and security analyst who regularly participates in international conferences. He is also known for his columns in Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, and English newspapers and hosts a popular political talk show on Geo TV with the name of Capital Talk. He was banned from TV by the military regime of General Pervez Musharraf in 2007. He was again banned by the Zardari-led PPP government in June 2008.
Ata ul Haq Qasmi is one of the leading and most popular columnist of Pakistan who has been writing Urdu columns for more than last 45 years in the leading newspapers with the name of “Rozan-e-Dewar Sey”. The most distinguished character of Qasmi’s column is his satire on social inequalities of the society and his anti dictatorship stance which he boldly takes in his columns. He has a unique style of writing incomparable to any other columnist because of his humorous way which holds the reader till the last line of his column which is his punch line. Qasmi was also elevated to the position of Ambassador of Pakistan in Norway and Thailand during 1997 to 1999. He is also a very famous drama writer and poet. His books of columns include “Column Tamam”, “Shar Goshiyan”, “Hansna Rona Mana Hay”, “Mazeed Ganjey Farishtey” and many more while his TV Drama Serials include the most popular “Khwaja and Son”, “Shab Daig”, “Sheeda Talli” etc. His travelogues are also very popular and one of the best is “Shoq-e-Awargi”. Qasmi has also received the Pride of Performance and Sitara-e-Imtiaz (highest civil awards) from President of Pakistan in addition to many other awards over his literary contributions. Mushtaq Ahmad Yousfi has termed Qasmi as the best columnist of Pakistan while Altaf Gohar has termed him as the most wittiest columnist .
Irfan Siddiqui is the Urdu columnist, known to be the great supporter of former prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif. He started writing his columns on Nawaiwaqt. In July 2008, Irfan Siddiqui left Nawaiwaqt and joined Jang. He has been found criticizing Pervez Musharraf and his regime in Pakistan, very bluntly. He was also unhappy with the late Benazir Bhutto and her Pakistan Peoples Party, and wrote the same in the columns. He is currently serving the Jang group of newspapers.