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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Amir Rajput selected to look after boarding, lodging of Sikh pilgrims


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Amir Rajput Group, one of the leading events and catering companies in Pakistan with more than two and a half decades of experience in event management, wedding functions and highest quality catering services, has been assigned the task of taking care of boarding and lodging of the visiting Sikh pilgrims at Kartarpur Gurdwara.

Exhaustive arrangements have been made for lodging and boarding of the Sikh pilgrims (yatrees), who have started pouring in from various parts of the world to participate in the 550th anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak to be held at Kartarpur Gurdwara, due to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan on November 12. 

Elaborate arrangements have been made to provide free food to the visitors. The arrangements include providing food to 2,000 pilgrims at a time. Gurdwara Nankana Sahib is decked up with lights to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev. 

During their stay, they will also visit other Gurdwaras in the Punjab province and attend the opening ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9.

Special arrangements have been made for the comfortable stay of the pilgrims who are expected to be in the excess of 10,000. 

For this purpose nine beautiful canopies have been installed which will remain a permanent structure. 

The Gurdwara is of great significance for Sikh community and has been refurbished in a record nine month time as a first phase of the project. In the second phase, the Gurdwara will be further expanded. 

The government has assigned the country’s reputed caterer and event manager, Amir Rajput, for lodging and boarding of visiting pilgrims. 

The Amir Rajput Group has been acclaimed as one of the most respected and trusted names in the hospitality sector and they have a carved a niche for themselves for quality, service and reliability.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

New book on Dr Nasim Fatima published


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Another book on Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, a former chairperson of the Library & Information Science department at the University of Karachi, has recently been published under the auspices of the Library Promotion Bureau (LPB). 

The 132-page book titled ‘Dr Nasim Fatima: Bio-Bibliographical Study’ has been edited by one of her students, Huma Mannan Butt, with Abdul Qudoos and Saima Qadeer being the compilers while the foreword has been penned by Syed Khalid Mahmood. 

“She was my teacher and chairperson at Department of Library and Information Science, University of Karachi. She is an asset to the Pakistan librarianship. Widely respected, she has had the quality of respecting each individual to have come across her,” Huma Mannan, now working as Chief Librarian at PN Central Library in Karachi, wrote in her introductory remarks in the book.

“Dr Nasim Fatima has had a tremendous academic record throughout her life. She loves to read and write. She teaches others how to become writer and researcher. She readily has plenty of topics in her mind for research whenever she is approached. She helps each researcher by all means. She has written in English and Urdu languages but feels happier in transferring technical and scientific information in Urdu for the benefit of the masses,” she added. 

Huma Mannan had earlier done a book on her illustrious teacher titled ‘Dr Nasim Fatima: Shakhsiat wa Kam’ which was a compilation of views and opinions about her works. 

Her contributions in literature have been highlighted by Zain Siddiqi in his book ‘Aik Rag-e-Deeger’ which is a tribute to her illustrious writings. 

It may be recalled that Dr Nasim Fatima has been writing on a regular basis in 1975 after her appointment as lecturer in the Library Science department although her first article ‘What you read about Quiad-e-Azam’ was published in Akhbar-e-Khawateen in 1968. She wrote her first book on Allama Iqbal’s chronology in 1976. 

Dr Nasim Fatima has been bringing out a literary magazine ‘Adab-o-Kutub Khana’ since 1979, from the platform of Bazm-e-Akram, and it has become an acclaimed annual publication, of which she is chief editor. 

An author of more than 50 books already, her compilation ‘Faiz Huay Hain Mar Kay Amar’ which was brought out by Jumbo Publishing, has been hailed as splendid and authentic bio-bibliography of the great poet.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Foreword to Dr Nasim Fatima: Bio-Bibliographical Study


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Following is the text of the foreword, penned by Syed Khalid Mahmood, to the recently published book ‘Dr Nasim Fatima: Bio-Bibliographical Study’ highlighting the accomplishments of the prolific library scientist:

“No hard-and-fast rules about forewords, allowing room to be creative and even have some fun, makes the task of penning my maiden foreword simpler than it could have been otherwise for a firm believer and practitioner of out-of-box thinking! 

Indeed it’s a great honour to be asked to write the foreword to such a significant book, bringing to light the accomplishments of Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, the famed library scientist, teacher, scholar, researcher, writer, author, editor and mentor, yet one of the unsung heroes. 

Her multi-faceted personality has been talked about with great awe over the years but she hasn’t been granted the kind of recognition she so richly deserved. On the contrary, she has had to endure some terrifying moments in her long professional career. In fact, she still has to combat some unforeseen challenges from within which don’t make her tasks simpler.

No praise could be too high for her for having overcome the obstacles with the iron will and the never-say-die approach. 

She has fought her way to the top and she’s going to be remembered for her overwhelming contributions for the cause of librarianship in particular and education in general. 

Obviously this book is not going to inform the readers about the trials and tabulations which she had faced, and continues to tackle in achieving the various elusive landmarks. 

Since she seems to have pursued the policy of just letting her work do the talking, without engaging into controversies or making even a noise at the injustices meted out to her from time to time, I am not sure if she will ever take the time out to narrate her tales of horrors and the dream of her autobiography may remain unfulfilled.

Isn’t it surprising, and hints of ungratefulness too, that those so many individuals having been, taught, trained, guided and mentored by her over the decades, didn’t reciprocate by furthering her mission? 

The community of the librarians in particular should wake up before it becomes too late. You people are extremely fortunate to be blessed with such an adorable personality like Prof Dr Nasim Fatima who is ever willing, and smiling, to lend a helping hand to everyone and anyone seeking assistance or guidance. 

 As the founder of the Library Promotion Bureau (LPB), Prof Dr Ghani-ul-Akram Sabzwari, has publicly acknowledged repeatedly, the bureau and its flagship publication, the Pakistan Library & Information Science Journal (PLISJ), have survived for more than a half a century primarily due to her dedication and sacrifices.

I commend the joint efforts of the trio of Huma Mannan Butt, Abdul Qudoos and Saima Qadeer for having done this wonderful book which will surely be helpful in motivating the fraternity of the library professionals besides others. 

Now it’s your responsibility to play the due role in spreading the word and sharing it with the masses. You can pay your tribute to the living legend by promoting the book in your own circles. You will agree with me that this book merits a place in every library of the country.”

Thursday, October 17, 2019

NICVD expands its services in Karachi


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) has made operational its 10th Chest Unit in Karachi which is housed at 11-G, Godhra Colony, New Karachi. 

The containerized unit was formally inaugurated by Sindh Information Minister, Saeed Ghani, at a ceremony held at the container site. 

It was the 14th setup in Sindh as part of the NICVD’s plan to provide immediate and initial relief to a patient suffering from heart problem before being shifted to the main hospital for treatment.

Besides the Minister, the Executive Director of the NICVD, Nadeem Qamar, Farooq Khatuda. President Godhra Muhammadi Anjuman, Siraj Chunkla, President Godhra Sheikh Muslim Anjuman 11-G, Sultan Kharadi, President 11-F, Sheheryar Bhagat, General Secretary, Dr Amin Kharadi, and other officials were also present on the occasion. 

Saeed Ghani, in his speech, remarked that the Sindh Government planned to set up more such centres not only in Karachi but also elsewhere in the province.

He informed that over 2.84 lac patients had benefitted from these units in Karachi alone so far and of them there were 6,800 such patients these units proved life savers. 

He pointed out that ever since 2011, when the Sindh Government took management of NICVD, and the manner in which the cardiac patients were being provided free of cost treatment, no other province could match this service. 

The Minister added that besides Karachi, the Sindh Government has set up heart hospitals in seven cities of Sindh and it was in the process of introducing more improvement in the health sector.

Referring to shortage of dog bite vaccine, he said that not only Sindh, but this vaccine is short in the entire country because of their non-availability from China and India. 

In Sindh, he stated, the government was meeting vaccine shortage by buying it from the market at premium rates. 

He said that the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and other KMC or DMC hospitals were responsible for arranging the vaccine, but the Sindh government was helping them and will continue doing so.

The Minister pledged that the provincial government remained committed to serving the cause of the people in urban as well as rural areas.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Plea to empower volunteer nurses, physicians




By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The community-based palliative care can serve to be a cost-effective method to provide care to individuals undergoing serious illness. 

Training and empowering volunteer nurses and physicians can change how palliative care, a method of care and support of a patient’s well-being by ensuring their physical, social and psychological needs are met, is perceived in Pakistan, according to speakers at the 1st Palliative Care Symposium at Aga Khan University (AKU) which was held on the occasion of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. 

An estimated 40 million people are in need of palliative care in the world and 78 percent of whom live in low and middle-income countries. In Pakistan, there are less 10 health facilities that deliver palliative care under the supervision of trained palliative specialists. 

The speakers at the symposium stressed the importance of palliative medicine and noted that it remains a low-priority issue in Pakistan 

They added that AKU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery has taken the lead in this field by introducing an elective course on palliative care to meet gaps in the national nursing curriculum. There is a need for increasing public awareness and formalising training to establish palliative care opportunities for homes and at the community level, they added 

The patients who receive early palliative care in the course of treatment of disease have to be given less-aggressive care towards the end of their life and have a longer survival rate since it significantly improves their quality of life and mood, according to Dr Ali Haider, an assistant professor of palliative medicine at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center USA. 

Differentiating between hospice and community-based care, speakers noted that while a hospice is a paid practice world-wide, training and volunteering nurses and individuals can be an affordable practice for families to enable better living of patients. 

The speakers at the event also highlighted the role of family physicians in providing holistic palliative care to patients with life-limiting illnesses owing to their accessibility to communities. Due to a physician’s familiarity with patient’s health history, they are able to advice on a multidimensional care model for the family. 

They also spoke about how palliative care is associated with patients suffering from cancer when in reality both patients and families can benefit from it for any illness that may shorten life. Some people also believe that it should be practiced when a doctor has given up on a patient and there is no hope. 

Another myth the speakers tackled was about children’s palliative care that it can only be offered in high-resourced settings when in reality, it can be provided in community health centres and in homes too. 

“Palliative care, on the flipside, ensures living life as fully as possible through compassionate, patient-centred care,” Dr Nasreen Saleem, a senior instructor on palliative care at AKU, remarked. 

The symposium was held in collaboration between the University’s departments of oncology, family medicine, paediatrics and child health and AKU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. 

The one-day event marking the theme ‘My Care, My Right’ was attended by healthcare professionals, nursing leaders, social workers, health policy makers and medical education.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Pakistan’s unusual suicide issues highlighted


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Married women and single men under the age of 30 in Pakistan are among the groups most likely to commit suicide, according to speakers at a panel session Wellness in the Workplace at Aga Khan University. 

The event was part of a week of sessions and themed activities aimed at spreading awareness of the importance of suicide prevention: the theme for World Mental Health Day 2019. 

The speakers noted that research showed that Pakistan’s highest-risk groups for suicide were different to those in other parts of the world. 

In the West, single men between the age of 50 and 60 are most likely to take their own lives. But in Pakistan, youth of working age, under the age of 30, are most likely to commit suicide which suggested that employers had a role to play in tackling the public health threat of suicide, which claimed about 800,000 lives a year globally, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to global figures, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds with three out of four suicides occurring in low and middle income countries. 

The worthy speakers reckoned that companies needed to establish a culture where people could speak about their challenges and daily stresses without the fear of being judged. 

The forums where employees can openly share their concerns promote wellness in the workplace and reduce the threat of issues such as anxiety and burnout. 

Shagufta Hassan, interim CEO of Aga Khan University Hospital, added that companies should launch professional mentorship programmes so that vulnerable youth had someone they could seek advice from. 

She also highlighted the importance of offices having counselling services where employees facing challenges could access additional help or be referred to professionals. 

Speaking at the event, Atiya Naqvi, a clinical psychologist, noted the importance of friends and family in supporting those going through a difficult time, adding that the mere act of listening to a person’s problems helps reduce anxiety. She also spoke of the need to monitor one’s thought patterns and to communicate one’s concerns with those around them. 

Dr Ayesha Mian, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at AKU, noted that hopelessness and despair are feelings that often exist in people with suicidal ideation. 

She noted that being unable to cope with financial pressures, academic stresses, dysfunctional relationships and bullying were some of the determinants known to lead to passive or active thoughts of suicide. 

“There is a myth that only those patients with mental health disorders will commit suicide. While more often than not, patients who die of suicide have a diagnosed psychiatric illness, there may be those who do not have a mental health disorder. We know that for every one person who takes their life there are ten people actively planning suicide and a 100 with suicidal ideation, which is why prevention efforts are so vital,” Dr Ayesha remarked. 

She also spoke about how compassionate words and actions can help ease feelings of despondency that may lead to pervasive feelings of hopelessness and suicidality in those vulnerable. 

“Talking about suicide doesn’t promote suicide. We often underestimate the importance of listening and acting with compassion even though they help protect against a number of self-harming actions. It is important to listen with sincerity and without fear; if you don’t know what to do, ask the person how would you like me to help,” she advised. 

Over the course of the week, students and staff at the University participated in support group sessions and wellness camps designed to promote mental wellbeing. Students also held a Kindness Walk and organized a Wall of Compassion to showcase the importance of empathy and kindness in preventing harmful thoughts and actions.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Usman Buzdar’s message on World Tourism Day


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Punjab Chief Minister, Sardar Usman Buzdar, in his message on the World Tourism Day (WTD) 2019, shared that a new tourism policy has been prepared besides giving the tourism sector a status of an industry. 

“Pakistan has great tourism potential and effective measures have been adopted to provide best facilities to tourists, along with improving tourist spots,” he stated. 

"Improving tourism is among the top priorities of the government and the Punjab government is working to facilitate tourists as one hundred and seventy-seven rest houses have already been opened for public in Punjab,” the Chief Minister remarked.

Imran Khan’s message on World Tourism Day


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his message on the World Tourism Day (WTD) 2019, pointed out that the country was blessed with natural beauty and had enormous opportunities of tourism. 

“The tourism sector plays a pivotal role in socio-economic growth. It also provides an impetus for employment opportunities and promotion of entrepreneurial activities, globally,” he recognized. 

“The tourism experience provides synergies between communities having diverse cultural backgrounds. It also enables people to adapt themselves to the cutting-edge traveling facilities of modern days,” the Prime Minister remarked. 

“Pakistan has immense potential in tourism sector. It generates economic activities, brings in valuable foreign exchange and generates investors' interest in the tourism sector by attracting myriad foreign tourists. Influx of visitors is also correlated to law and order situation,” Imran Khan added. 

“The present government is giving due priority to the tourism sector. The government is devoted to introduce policies, infrastructure development, institutional empowerment and improvement in service delivery for attracting tourists,” he assured.

Dr Arif Alvi’s message on World Tourism Day

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, in his message on the World Tourism Day (WTD) 2019, observed that the significance of world's tourism industry as a major source of employment and poverty alleviation is undeniable. 

“Tourism is a key to earning foreign exchange and an effective tool to bring diverse people close to one another, thereby promoting tolerance. Therefore, Pakistan celebrates the World Tourism Day as a nation proud of its glorious past and cultural heritage,” the President remarked. 

“The tourism sector plays a key role in enhancing socio-economic status of a country and uplifting the standard of life of local population,” he added. 

“The government is fully aware of the immense tourism potential in Pakistan and is aiming to transform it into a vital industry,” the President noted. 

“Pakistan is home to rich cultural heritage, most significantly Indus valley, world's ancient civilization. We are motivated to make Pakistan an attractive tourist destination by attracting both local and foreign tourists,” Dr Arif Alvi pledged.

PTDC celebrate World Tourism Day



By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) played its due role by celebrating the World Tourism Day (WTD) 2019 rather proactively on September 27. 

Besides hosting a seminar on the theme ‘Tourism and Jobs: A better future for all’ at the Postal College Auditorium in Islamabad, the PTDC also organized Rock Climbing Competition, a Cycling Rally & Walk, Tourism Gala at F-9 Park and a City Bus tour of SOS village children in the federal capital to reflect on the importance of tourism and raise awareness about sustainable tourism in the country. 

It’s gladdening indeed to find the PTDC furthering the initiatives of the government and engaging into such activities aimed at boosting the tourism industry in particular and the country’s economy in general. 

The PTDC, with the collaboration of the Islamabad Cycling Association (ICA), organized a cycling rally and awareness walk around the Fatima Jinnah Park, located in F-9 sector. 

More than 500 participants, wearing beautifully designed World Tourism Day T-shirts and carrying flags of Pakistan, took part in the event which was witnessed by a large number of area people and their families. 

The PTDC, in collaboration with the Pakistan Adventure Club (PAC), organized a rock climbing activity at Lake View Point in which more than 300 students from different schools of Islamabad took part. 

The participating students appreciated the organizers for holding such healthy touristic activities in the federal capital. 

The events also included a day trip of SOS Village’s students to the different tourist points of Islamabad, Pakistan Monument, Lok Virsa, Faisal Mosque, Lake View Park and Dam-e-Koh, packaged with recreation and infotainment.