Sunday, December 23, 2012

PIA achieves profit for third month running

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi  
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

National Carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), has achieved an operating profit of Rs.738 million in November 2012 after having suffered losses of Rs.1272 million in the corresponding period last year. 

The airline earned the profit despite difficult economic conditions, fierce competition, rising fuel prices, foreign exchange losses and law and order situation, PIA said. 

It was for the third month running that there was significant increase in the airline’s revenue income due to, what was described as, dynamic policies of the present management which made the airline to achieve operating income since September this year. 

Although the airline faced a tough year yet successfully pushed its business forward in different areas with the credit attributed to the employees who made the airline to leap forward despite challenging times. 

The Managing Director, Mohammad Junaid Yunus, described it a testimony of the efforts of everyone connected with the airline. 

Explaining, he said PIA made successful Hajj operation this year and carried 98,000 hajjis achieving 96 percent flight regularity and winning punctuality awards from Saudi Civil Aviation Authorities. 

PIA’s operational profits during the last two months, demonstrated that the airline is able to achieve higher levels of profitability, he remarked. 

Having a forward look for the next year, Junaid Yunus believed that opportunity exists to continue on improving the financial health of the airline and it is satisfying to see the airline making progress and the efforts being made laying the foundation for the company's future. 

He said the focus of the present management is on cost reduction, improvement, and expansion in network, yield and revenue. 

Robust business plan for transformation is the roadmap for going forward, he said adding that it will be a long, winding and difficult journey requiring unleashing of talents by all the employees with support and patronage from valuable customers. 

He hoped the business transformation plan will transform the airline into a strong, dynamic and vibrant institution, aggressively bracing new opportunities and absorbing external shocks. 

According to him, the induction of new aircrafts in PIA fleet would be the turning point for the airline as it will be the foundation of being able to deliver cost cutting on fuel and improve punctuality and regularity bringing back the confidence of the customers. 

He asserted that these aircrafts should have been introduced more than a decade back since the centre of PIA’s network is short haul operations (within four hours) which comprises 64 percent of total operations, the newer aircraft if brought earlier would have been cardinal for the airlines financial conditions revival.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Riphah Institute of Public Policy’s seminar highlights Public Private Partnership

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The concept of public-private partnership was advocated at a seminar on Public Private Partnership, jointly organized by the Riphah Institute of Public Policy (RIPP) and the Infrastructure Project Development Facility (IPDF) at Marriott Hotel, Islamabad, on December 20.  

The distinguished speakers shared their views on the subject and stressed on the need for providing a boost to public-private participation concept to promote the cause of the country's greater progress.  
Senior government functionaries from different ministries, including Finance, Housing, Railways, P&D and Agriculture, also participated in the one-day policy seminar and deliberated on the possibilities of involving the private sector in infrastructure projects.

They appreciated the level of knowledge displayed by the presenters and emphasized that such conferences should take place more frequently. The seminar provided an opportunity to the academia to join hands with the government and to analyze the important issue. It covered the entire project life-cycle on public-private partnership, discussing the institutional and supporting framework and the best practices in procurement of such projects.

The Riphah Institute of Public Policy (RIPP) has been recently established at Islamabad by Riphah International University as part of its commitment to further the cause of education and research in the discipline of public policy.  

Besides its academic programs of Masters in Public Policy, the RIPP also provides a non-partisan and academic forum for conducting debates on important public policy issues.

Mohammed Ishfaq Khattak, Director RIPP, in his opening remarks welcomed the participants from different ministries and highlighted the fiscal limitations currently faced by the government, the unsatisfactory working of the Public Sector Enterprises and ever-increasing need for investment in the infrastructure projects.

Prof. Dr. Anis Ahmed, Vice Chancellor, Riphah International University, emphasized the importance of the role of private sector and said that such seminars would go a long way in developing connectivity between the academia and government sector.

Such interactions, he observed, are common in the developed world and the government benefits from the research and new knowledge created in universities.

The Riphah University, he said, had established RIPP for this purpose, and it would endeavor to maintain the linkages between the government and academia through RIPP. He said the recommendations of the seminar would be shared with the stake holders.  

Adil Anwar, CEO, IPDF, stressed the importance of the public-private partnership in Pakistan and mentioned the shrinking PSDP budget for infrastructure projects.

He said in order to spur economic growth Pakistan should promote private sector participation. He also gave an overview of the programme and the projects in pipeline, revealing that their costs exceeded US$ three billion.  

Ali Malik, Infrastructure Specialist, IPDF spoke about the supporting framework including the creation of viability gap fund aimed to bridge funding gap for projects which are economically viable but are not financially feasible.

Ahmad Aslam, Senior Infrastructure Specialist presented principles and best practices of procurement. He stressed pre-procurement planning and positive attitude are key to successful implementation of the projects.  
Mohammed Awais, Senior Legal Advisor, IPDF, spoke at length about the standardized contractual provisions specifically drafted such projects. The IPDF, he remarked, has developed comprehensive standardized contractual provisions to safeguard interests of the public sector while securing the private sector investments.

The vote of thanks was presented by Ishfaq Khattak in which he acknowledged the participants for their valuable inputs and announced that the policy seminar would be followed by focused workshops on public-private partnership in different sectors like energy, transport, agriculture, environment, production and industries. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Supplementary exams underway at Sir Syed University

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi  
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The supplementary examinations for students of all the eight semesters commenced at the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, on December 13. 

The arrangements for over 900 students appearing in the exams in the engineering disciplines of Civil, Electronics, Computer Bio-Medical and Telecom were reviewed at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Jawed Rizvi. 

The Vice-Chancellor expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made separately for old as well as new students. He directed that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for security arrangements should strictly be followed and no compromise on this aspect will be acceptable. 

Dr Jawed Rizvi also reviewed the ongoing admission process and it was informed that the first merit list has already been issued whereby over 1000 eligible students as per the Higher Education Commission (HEC) criteria have been sent offer letters at their home addresses besides having it published on the university's website.

The meeting was told that December 17 is the last date for depositing of admission and semester fee. The first merit list was issued on December 8. 

The Vice-Chancellor said that if some seats remained vacant after December 17, the university will issue second merit list. The meeting also reviewed the arrangements for the ‘Orientation Day’ to be held on January 7, 2013, when new session’s classes will start. 

The meeting was attended, among others, by Registrar Shah Mahmood Hussain Syed, and Chairpersons of the various departments.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Engr Z A Nizami vows to continue Aligarh’s sporting spirit alive at SSUET

Pakistan News & Features Services

The Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET) has vowed to keep the Aligarhian spirit alive by continuing the policy of promoting sports in a big way. 

Engr Z A Nizami, Chancellor, SSUET, and President, Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys Association (AMUOBA), renewed the pledge while talking to a group of sports journalists at the University campus in Gulshan-e-Iqbal on December 10. 

Ali Zafar Khan Afridi, Joint Secretary (Sports), AMUOBA, who had secured admission in the Aligarh University in the 1940s on the basis of his all-round excellence in swimming, was also present on the occasion. 

“The legendary Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, who is credited to have played the pioneering role in enlightening the people of South Asia, laid great emphasis on education and sports. That’s why sports featured prominently in the list of priorities at the Aligarh University which he founded. The first-ever covered swimming pool of international standard in the entire region was built there,” Engr Nizami, who himself played tennis while studying at the famous Aligarh University, revealed. 

“The SSUET, founded by the AMUOBA in 1994, has been following the principles of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and the university has carried forward the Aligarhian spirit of sports among its students. We are delighted to be the largest university of the country in the private sector with more 5,000 students enrolled,” the SSUET Chancellor observed. 

“Special consideration is given to the outstanding athletes at the time of admission where the sports certificates carry certain marks. The performance in sports also helps them in getting scholarships,” Engr Nizami, who also served as the Director General of the Karachi Development Authority (KDA), added. 

“We have developed sporting facilities at the ground, owned by the Karachi Hockey Association, which is just opposite our campus. We encourage and support our students to actively take part in sports and quite a few of our teams have fared well in many competitions across the country,” he elaborated. 

“We have planned even bigger things for sports in future. We have decided in principle to build a sports complex in our new campus which is to be spread over 200 acres. Besides providing facilities for indoor games at the sports complex, we will also make an athletics field and a swimming pool,” he revealed. 

“At present we have space constraints here. Otherwise we would have developed more facilities than we actually have at the moment. Since sports remains in the list of our priorities we will make amends by building infrastructure projects that would serve the generations to come,” he announced. 

“We have passion and determination to play a lead role in motivating the students to engage in healthy activities like sports. We fully understand its importance and significance,” the SSUET Chancellor said. “Among the other initiatives to be launched in the near future are instituting ‘Athlete of the Year’ award at the SSUET,” Engr Nizami concluded.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

PIA acquiring new aircrafts through transparent tender process

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi  
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The immediate goal before the PIA management is to bring down the average age of its fleet and improve reliability and punctuality with on time departures and arrivals besides providing world class customer service. 

A PIA Spokesman informed the PNFS on December 6 that the airline, under the present management which barely had few weeks, has started a process of fleet modernization and revamping of its entire service to achieve turn around in shortest possible time with its new business model. 

"Already the airline has entered the operating profit during the last two months-September–October 2012,” he disclosed. 

He clarified that PIA has not finalized particular type of aircrafts, adding that tenders have been floated for acquiring five narrow body aircraft with delivery of at least four in first and the fifth one in the second quarter of 2013 so as to cope with the capacity shortfall. 

PIA has received offers for both Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-800. However, A320 offers are larger in number as compared to Boeing 737-800. Presently, these offers are being evaluated and no final decision regarding induction of either narrow-body aircraft has been finalized. 

He made it clear that the tender for these aircrafts has not yet been awarded and the evaluation process was still not complete. It is, therefore, premature to assume which aircraft or engine type will be inducted. 

“Speculative reports create undue bias for evaluators and they may not be in the best interest of the national airline,” the spokesman felt. 

He said it was for the first time in PIA’s history that their Managing Director, Mohammad Junaid Yunus, invited Transparency International Pakistan to monitor the bidding process. 

In addition to TIP, representative of the Ministry of Defence, Employees’ Unions including SAEP were also present in the financial and technical bid opening process while TIP was taken onboard during the evaluation process relating to not just this tender but in fact all future tenders would be forwarded to TIP for scrutiny. 

According to him, PIA was spending 55 percent of its revenue on fuel. Newer an aircraft provided fuel savings up to 50% for a route flown as well as lower maintenance costs. 

PIA’s 63 percent operation is on short haul routes, within four hours of flight time. 

He said PIA is following a clear point-based system where points are awarded based on fleet commonality and availability of present apparatus for overhaul of engines. 

The spokesman said that PIA would not go for one criterion, especially with the rapid advances in technology in aviation. What matters is the cost benefit analysis of these aircraft and therefore financial cost and availability of these aircraft also play an important role, he said adding that PIA cannot afford to wait years on end to suit the schedule of a particular vendor or manufacturer. 

It is pertinent to mention that any further delay in the induction of new aircraft will result in the delay of the turn around of the airline, which was noted by the Board of Directors and Government Pakistan, he concluded.

MoU for energy conservation signed between PIA and KESC

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Managing Director PIA, Mohammed Junaid Yunus has said that the airline management is committed to implement Energy Conservation Program, not due to high energy cost, but as a social responsibility for rational power use.  

He was speaking at the MoU signing ceremony between the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) for Energy Conservation held at the PIA Headquarters in Karachi on December 5.

The MoU was signed by Capt Junaid for PIA while Tabiss Gohar signed for KESC. He said that PIA’s Green Team is working for Safe Environment for future and the saving achieved will help minimize cost, time and resources.

"We are committed to protect the environment and comply with environmental laws, regulations and methods of conservation,” he remarked. Speaking on the occasion, CEO KESC Tabish Gohar described PIA a potential customer of KESC and said the power utility looks forward for strengthening the existing relationship between the two organizations.  

KESC, he assured, will fully corporate with PIA in saving energy cost through cost cutting measures. Although it may reduce KESC's revenue but saving of important resource will be of great benefit, he added.

KESC's Director Energy Conservation, Asif Siddiqi, in his remarks, pointed out that that PIA would save 30 percent in its electric bills by introducing energy conservation programme at its Head Office and Training Centre.

It may be mentioned here that PIA is currently spending about Rs 50 million a month on power consumption at its head Office and Training Centre and by implementing energy conservation plan it is expected to save around Rs.200 million annually in its electricity bills.

MD PIA Junaid Yunus explained that the PIA Green Team has worked tremendously on power conservation during the last couple of years which saved Rs 7 million in diesel consumption last year despite rising cost of diesel.

He said PIA saved another Rs 3 million in one month as compared to September 2011 by rationalizing office timings.

He assured KESC of full cooperation during Energy Audits and also for technical collaboration in matters of energy and environment conservation. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Final Semester exams get underway at Sir Syed University

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi  
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The final semester examinations of Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, have commenced here November 28. 

“The exams are being held under complete peaceful atmosphere”, Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Jawed Rizvi, informed Chancellor Engr Z A Nizami during his surprise visit to various examination rooms to personally review the conduct of examination. 

Some 1541 out of 1711 registered students are appearing in the final semester exams being held simultaneously along with second, fourth and sixth semesters in Computer, Electronics, Civil, Bio-Medical, Telecommunication engineering and Computer Science. 

As far as the break-up is concerned, 318 are appearing in Computer Engineering, 350 in Electronics, 141 in Telecom, 366 in Civil, 126 in Bio-Medical engineering and 240 in Computer Science. 

Registrar Shah Mahmood Hussain Syed briefed to the Chancellor that the examinations will conclude on December 11 to be followed supplementary examination due to start from December 13. 

The Vice-Chancellor confirmed that the classes in the New Year will start from January 7, 2013 following holding of ‘Orientation Day’ the same day. 

He said that the arrangements have also started for holding of ‘Convocation 2013’ to award degrees to passing out students. 

It would be the 16th Convocation since the SSUET came into being as a private sector engineering university in 1994. 

Currently the University has over 5000 students on roll including over 600 girls studying in various engineering disciplines. The University has been granted the highest “W4” Category by Higher Education Commission and also registered as 5-Star University by the Sindh Government’s Charter Evaluation Committee.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Indian Aligarhian visits SSUET

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Chancellor of the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, Engr Z A Nizami has reckoned that having achieved commendable success in developing information and communication technology, the university has emerged as a modern educational technology hub contributing significantly to both knowledge acquisition and innovation. 

He made these remarks while speaking at a reception held in the honour of senior Aligarian Rifaqat Ali Khan from India during a visit to SSUET on November 27. 

The SSUET Chancellor remarked that the new initiatives taken at the university had provided a boost to creative and research potential and the innovative measures taken towards this direction infused a new spirit of confidence in the academic and administrative work culture here. 

Recalling the memories at the Aligarh Muslim University, Chancellor Nizami said that he had spent a very eventful and productive life there and spoke about some of the episodes of activities. 

Speaking on the occasion, the senior Aligarian, Rifaqat Ali Khan, observed that establishment of the Sir Syed University was a historical initiative that proved to be a milestone in the educational development of the nation.

 He said that existence without education for a nation, particularly in the present era, is not possible and will serve just as a dream, adding that time has come to catch up with changes fast taking place globally and assign top priority to education. 

Rifaqat Ali Khan asserted that torch-bearers of the Aligarh spirit have a sacred responsibility of promoting education without discrimination in every walk of life. 

The Aligarian from India did Masters and PhD in History from the Muslim University before joining Jamia Milia where he retired as Head of Department of History. 

His wife is also an Aligarian who did Masters in English from Aligarh University. Later she joined the Dehli University and retired as Professor of English from the university. 

Earlier the SSUET Vice Chancellor, Prof Dr Jawed Rizvi, welcomed the distinguished visitor and informed that Sir Syed University, which started with only 200 students in 1994, today has more than 5000 students on roll. “The university focus remains on quality education and try to improve it,” he emphasized.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

SSUET’s final semester exams commence on November 28

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi  
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The final semester examination at the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, will commence from November 28 and go on till December 11. 

This was confirmed the other day at a review meeting convened by the Chancellor SSUET, Engr Z.A. Nizami. 

The meeting was attended, among others, by Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dr Javed Rizvi, and Registrar, Shah Mahmood Hussain, besides Director Finance and two Additional Registrars. 

It was informed that after a gap of a couple of days, the supplementary examination will start from December 13. 

The meeting was told that the admission process was going on and the interviews of candidates who qualified for admission in test held earlier on November 18 at Expo Center was in progress and will be completed later in the week where after lists of successful candidates will be finalized and later displayed on notice boards besides being posted on the university’s website. 

The Vice-Chancellor reported that the ‘Orientation Day’ will be held on January 7, 2013, which will be followed by holding of regular academic session. 

He said that the arrangements have also been started for University’s Convocation 2013 scheduled to be organized on March 2. 

The Chancellor also reviewed the calendar of activities and directed that it should be strictly followed as per laid down schedule of events.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sri Lankan delegation visit SSUET; discuss bilateral cooperation in academic sector

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi  
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

A eight-member Sri Lankan delegation, headed by Chairman, Puttalam Urban Council and also including Minister of Health, Indigenous Medicine, Sports & Youth Affairs, North Western Province recently visited Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, and exchanged matters of bilateral cooperation in the field of education. 

The delegation comprised K A Baiz, Mayor of Puttalam, Chief Government Organizer for Puttalam Electorate, N T M Thahir, Member of North Western Provincial Government, A M Kamardeen, Member of North Western Provincial Government, R A S Pushpakumara, Deputy Mayor of Puttalam, A O Alikhan, Opposition Leader for Puttalam, M T N Ameen, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, Party Member for Puttalam Urban Council and W.M.M.B Weerasakara, Commissioner of Local Government and Representative of Governor of NWP. 

The Mayor of Puttalam and Chief Government Organizer for Puttalam Electorate, K A Baiz, stated that efforts were being made to improve bilateral cooperation in academic sector, for which vast potential existed between two countries. 

“We are planning to have interactive sessions with the officials of Sir Syed University to open its campus in Sri Lanka,” he added. 

Baiz appreciated the University’s role in helping the students in acquiring knowledge in modern technologies through highly competent and capable faculty and state of the art equipment. 

He was highly impressed with the presentation given by Prof. Shahid Saleem providing complete information about Sir Syed University with the help of statistics. 

Speaking on the occasion, Mayor Abdul Baiz emphasized the need to explore new avenues of bilateral economic and commercial cooperation. He was of the view that Puttalam Urban Council can join hands with SSUET in areas of mutual cooperation in the field of education. 

He informed that earlier there were only state universities in Sri Lanka as the government didn’t allow universities in private sector in the past. But now with a change in the policy, the government was considering to grant permission for opening campus of foreign universities in Sri Lanka. 

The SSUET Vice Chancellor, Prof Dr Syed Jawaid Hassan Rizvi, Registrar Shah Mahmood Syed, Dean Engineering Prof Dr S.M Makhdumi, Prof Dr M A Haleem, Dr Faisal Bukhari, Dr Imran Beg and other faculty members were also present on the occasion.

Monday, November 12, 2012

PIA adjudged Best Hajj Airline Operator for third year running

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi  
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Saudi Arabia, has declared the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) as the best airline operator amongst the 74 international Airlines operating from Hajj terminal, flying more than 1.7 million Hajjis in 2012. 

The PIA spokesman, Syed Sultan Hasan presented the copies of the certification of 25 Zilhajj 1433H (November 10, 2012) mentioning PIA as the Best Hajj Airline Operator to a Pakistan media team visiting Saudi Arabia at Madinah. 

The GACA, in the certificate issued to PIA, has noted that they closely monitored the activities of all the airlines’ operating from Hajj terminal Jeddah and considered that PIA again proved itself the best operator on the basis of regularity as well as services provided. 

The GACA further said that PIA demonstrated exceptional value by overcoming the delay factor of departures during the initial two days of Post Hajj operation. 

This is the third consecutive year starting from 2010 that PIA has been chosen by the Saudi Arabia Civil Aviation as the best Hajj flight operator. 

The testimonial from the GACA should further motivate PIA would in order to continue serving the Hajjis with even greater devotion in the years to come.

Glowing tributes paid to Allama Iqbal at SSUET

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi  
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The life and achievements of great philosopher and poet, Dr Allama Mohammed Iqbal, were highlighted at a Iqbal Day function held at the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, on November 9, his 135th birth anniversary. 

Speaking as chief guest on the occasion the Chancellor SSUET, Engr Z A Nizami, declared that Dr Mohammed Iqbal was a great poet, thinker and philosopher at the same time who devoted his poetry for the renaissance of Islam and whose concept later turned as the basis for ideology of Pakistan. 

He remarked that Iqbal's foremost book Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam was intended to secure a vision of the spirit of Islam and he encouraged Muslims to embrace ideals of brotherhood, justice, and service. 

“Through his poetry he tried to free the Muslim’s mind from the prevailing colonial mentality and own narrow self-interests,” Chancellor Nizami added. 

Renowned scholar Prof Dr Waqar Ahmed Rizvi said that in his poetry Iqbal focussed on love (Ishq) and described it as a great power that brings one closer to Allah. 

Senior Aligarhian and columnist Saeed Siddiqui, another senior Aligarian, Ali Zafar Khan Afridi, also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the monumental role which Iqbal's poetry played in the movement for Pakistan. 

The students of the SSUET, Umar Khan Ufaq and Umar Ali Kazmi, while delivering their speeches on Dr Iqbal called for following his philosophy for the growth and success of the nation. 

Khumar Farooqui, a noted poet and Incharge SSUET’s Literary and Culture Forum, paid poetic tribute to Allama Iqbal. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

SSUET to bring out alumni directory of women graduates

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), Karachi, is set to become the country’s first university to prepare a directory exclusively of its women alumni.

The directory has been compiled by the university’s Girls Affairs Committee which has collected the data of SSUET’s women graduates since their first batch passed out in 1998 and the last batch passed out in 2008.

The SSUET Chancellor, Engr Z A Nizami, was briefed about the progress of the preparation of the directory at a meeting held at his chamber on November 7. The meeting was attended, among others, by Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dr Jawed H. Rizvi, Registrar Shah Mahmood Hussain Syed besides officials of examination and other departments.

The Incharge Girls Affairs Committee, Mrs Attiya Abid, informed the meeting that some 1234 female students passed out from the SSUET during the period 1998-2008 and as of the current position some 682 as against 500 last year, who were studying in various engineering disciplines.

These girls form a big chunk of 6194 students studying in seven various engineering disciplines at this university.

The Chancellor was informed that Girls Affairs Committee is responsible to look after the day to day problems of the female students including activities of their five common rooms.

Chancellor Engr Nizami directed that any problem, if pinpointed by girls, should be solved immediately on priority. He instructed that social activities by girls should be promoted and 3-month programmes be chalked out for this purpose.

He assured that the university will provide every assistance in providing due facilities to girls under-going education engineering studies.

The Chancellor was informed that a programme is being prepared in relation to health of girls’ health.
Engr Nizami directed the committee to chalk out an extensive program that may produce visible impact in relation to activities of girls at the campus and hectic activities be generated thereof.

He advised that a report be submitted to him for up gradation and refurbishment of girls’ canteen and common rooms.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Advice for computer and internet safety

By Mohammad Yahya Waliullah

Director, Information Technology & Statistical Bureau, Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi and ex-Secretary to Government of Sindh
(Exclusive to Pakistan News & Features Services)

With the continued innovation of computers, mobile phones and other useful devices, the lifestyle of majority of population with access to computer and internet has drastically changed.

There are over half a billion households making use of computer and internet in the world and Pakistan is catching up fast with over ten million computer-literate population.

The mobile phone companies have sold over 118 million Subscriber Identity Modules (SIMs). Many activities like verification of National Identity Cards (NIC), name in voters list, payment of bills, electronic banking, travel reservation and ticketing are either done on-line through computer or through mobile phone with internet facility.

The Students and teachers at schools, colleges and universities are making frequent use of computer for studies, research, gaming, entertainment and other purposes. A large chunk of the population browses websites for seeking information that was not available earlier.

There has been phenomenal growth in the use of computer and internet in the country. By the end of this decade it is likely that use of computer and internet will become an absolute necessity and no household will be deemed complete without a computer and internet facility. The computer and internet technology has made life easier, having provided level playing field to people living in developed and developing world.
However, its use has a price, vulnerability and potential threats. Like any other technology computer, internet and mobile phone users may face potential threats and risks.

Not many users are aware of potential risks and resulting loss of information, data and transactions that may not be retrievable. The potential threats to computer and internet users chiefly for home based personal, desktop, laptop, palmtop, hand held and mobile phones with internet applications need to be learnt and understood in order to be more vigiliant in meeting the challenge.

It will be pertinent to mention that early computer virus was detected in Pakistan in the days when plastic diskettes were used for information and data storage in early seventies. The virus was transferred through computer diskettes from Pakistan and it spread through network (inter-connectivity) in USA.

Time Magazine had published an article quoting a couple of teenagers from Lahore whose diskette spread virus (may be at that time they did not know what the virus is) in the network and large number of computers became dysfunctional.

Non starting, breakdown or malfunctioning of computer is largely due to power break down or flow of current to Central Processing Unit (CPU) and monitor through power cord. Power plug and flow of current to computer hardware needs to be checked. Sudden power failure or power surge may result in damaging small components in computer and may even erase data and information.

It is advisable to install a circuit breaker or low cost Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) system. Any peripheral attached to computer such as printer, fax machine and game ports, etc. need to be checked before working starts. As technology has advanced it is easy to detect non starting or malfunctioning of computer hardware and simply replacing those components that are malfunctioning.

It is also important that computer hardware be protected from dust and heat. Small and tiny parts in the computer hardware are susceptible to dust and heat. Now days small fans are built-in in the CPU but excessive heat may cause damage to computer components. 

There is potential threat like denial of service, phishing, and virus attack etc from the use of internet for any purpose like e-mailing, web browsing, social media websites, banking, financial transactions, entertainment and gaming, etc.

When a computer user uses internet to connect to one’s destination for any purpose, it is a complex arrangement and spreads like bird’s nest around globe. The internet finds its own path in very complex cobweb and connects one to destination site.

For example, someone wants to use internet for web browsing or emailing a click chooses its own path to reach destination in virtually no time. However, during this process there is a danger of virus attack of many types while reaching the destination and flow of information from destination to origin.

After having said this much, there are security tips like home made remedies for computer and internet users and may save/protect from virus attack that may destroy information and data in storage device or copy to hackers for ulterior purposes.

When using computer and internet take following steps that may provide a safety shield to users.

**Ensure that password is kept secret; it should not be shared with any one. Try to make password such that it can be remembered easily. A password should neither be too short nor too long. Keep on changing password quite often.

**Keep operating system, browser, antivirus and other critical software, latest and update. Most software for home based users can be down -loaded freely. Choose a browser that is more effective, easy to use, and have built-in antivirus software. Many anti virus software can also be downloaded freely.

**Verify authenticity of requests on e-mails you receive. In case you are asked to provide some information and data: ensure that it does not go in the hands that may potentially damage you. Contact the company or person requesting information and ensure that company or individual request is genuine and authentic.

**Check website Universal Resource Link (URL) carefully as malicious websites at times confuse you through very similar wordings and spellings as that of authentic and genuine website and once open it may seriously damage. 

**In social media websites, like Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube, Twitter in video games, forums, chat sites and personal web-sites, do not put personal information that may have potential to harm you.

**Be cautious for unknown links, e-mail or through message. Do not open suspicious link, answer e-mail or reply messages on web-site or mobile through normal SMS or messaging through internet.

**Be careful about your internet connection. Internet connection through cable is risky. Take internet connection from reputable Internet Service Provider (ISP). Ensure that ISP has installed security software like spam deduction and firewall, etc. Now a days wireless and Wi Fi connection are available. Check Band Width, it is measured in terms of MB (Mega Bytes). Broad Band connection provides higher speed of connectivity.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

PakRe registers substantial growth

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Pakistan Reinsurance Company Limited (PRCL), rated as AA Company, has posted a net profit of Rs.925 million for the three Quarters ending September 30, 2012.

The break-up of Profit & Loss Account of PRCL in Underwriting Profit in nine months having ended on September 30, 2012, is Rs.578 million, as compared to Rs.283 million during the corresponding period last year.

The investment income stood at Rs.785 million as compared to Rs.747 million while the rental and other income went up from Rs.36 million to Rs.45 million. The general and administration expenses were brought down from Rs.30 million to Rs.29 million with the exchange gain being Rs.39 million compared to Rs.27 million last year.

The net profit before tax and value of available for Sale Investment-write-off was Rs.1408 million as Rs.1073 million last year, less Provision for Taxation Rs.337 million to Rs.217 million, net Profit after Tax and before Value of available for Sale Investment-write-off Rs.1071 million to Rs.856 million, and value of available for Sale Investment-write-off Rs.146 million to Rs.61 million.

The summary of accounts for the nine months ended September 30, 2012, as compared with the accounts for the nine months ended September 30, 2011 is Premium Written Rs.5472 million to Rs.4212 million, Reinsurance ceded Rs.2669 million to Rs.1278 million, Net Retention Rs.2803 million to Rs.2934 million, Premium Reserve Rs.282 million to Rs. 372 Million, Net Premium Rs.3085 million to Rs.2562 million, Net Commission Rs.644 Million to Rs.574 Million, Net Claims Rs.1530 million to Rs.1451 million Underwriting Profit before Management Expenses Rs.911 million to Rs.537 million, and Less Management Expenses Rs.333 million to Rs.254 million.

The Underwriting Profit during the period under report was Rs.578 million as compared to Rs.283 million during last corresponding period.

SSUET admission deadline remain unchanged

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The admission 2013 process is going on apace with November 10 being the last date for submission of admission forms at Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET).

The Chancellor SSUET, Engr Z A Nizami, reviewed the progress made so far at a meeting and directed that the process should be completed by November 10 as per check list.

It was informed that so far 3913 prospectus had been sold, much higher than the prospectus obtained during admission process in 2012, and of them 2161 eligible students had got themselves registered until October 30.

It was pointed out that as per analysis of the registered candidates, the admission has been sought in this university by students with marks as high as 89.5 percent.

The meeting was told that this year the highest number of students (867) have applied for admission in civil engineering followed by 672 in Electronics, 259 in Computer engineering and 228 in Computer Science. Besides, so far only 59 candidates had applied for admission in Bio-Medical and 76 in Telecommunication engineering as being their first choice.

The meeting was informed that out of total number of applications registered, 317 were submitted with marks above 80 percent and above whole 970 applications with marks of 60 percent and above.

In the Electronic Engineering discipline, the applicants had 73.91 percent and above of marks while it was 89.5 percent in the discipline of Computer Engineering.

It was pointed out that this year there was much higher pressure for admission in this university as compared to last year.

The Chancellor directed that admissions should be granted strictly on the basis of merit as well as the result of tests to be carried out on November 18 followed by interviews.

The Chancellor was told that like the last year, admission test will be carried out at Expo Center in view of very high number of applicants as well as keeping the security considerations into view.

The meeting also discussed university matters relating to Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) and defaulters of university dues.

It was informed that no examination form was being entertained with out clearance of outstanding dues by students appearing in the examination.

The meeting was attended, among others, by Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Jawed H. Rizvi, Dean of Engineering Prof Dr S.M. Makhdoomi, Chairman Electronics department Dr Prof Najib Siddiqi besides chairpersons of various departments.

Friday, October 26, 2012

SSUET Board reviews CIEC report

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The 5th Inspection Report of Charter Inspection and Evaluation (CIEC), Department of Education and Literacy, Sindh, regarding the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, came under detail analysis at a meeting of the University’s Board of Governors held under the chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr Jawed H. Rizvi, on October 25.

The report related to a visit of the university by members of CIEC, assisted by Experts Sub-committee (ESCs).

While expressing satisfaction, the Board went through the observations and recommendations made by CIEC in its report and gave approval to the same.

According to the report, the members of ESCs in their overview expressed general satisfaction on the overall performance of the University and in this regard some positive improvements were mentioned in general in case of all the departments.

As per report, the Chairman CIEC appreciated the elaborate presentation made and information provided by the University.

It may be mentioned here that the University, sponsored by Aligarh Mslim University Old Boys Association (AMOBA) was established in October 1993 and the ‘Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology’ Bill was passed by Provincial Assembly on September 17, 1995.

The University provides 4 year BS under-graduate programs in Computer, Electronic, Biomedical, Civil and Telecommunication Engineering and Computer Science, besides MS postgraduate programmes in Computer, Electronic, Biomedical, Civil Engineering and Mathematics and also offering Ph.D in two subjects.

In its recommendations, the CIEC called for recruiting more highly qualified and senior teachers, revising the curriculum of computer science according to HEC requirements, to encourage faculty to organize and attend more international conferences and publish journals.

In its report CIEC observed that the university appeared to have fulfilled the minimum requirement as per Cabinet criteria and the EC has placed it in highest category W-4 and also granted 5-star rating by CIEC.

Rotary observes World Polio Day with unprecedented enthusiasm

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Pakistan’s Rotary Polio Plus Committee, headed by Aziz Memon, observed the World Polio Day 2012 on October 24 with unprecedented enthusiasm throughout the country.

The various Rotary Clubs, with the collaboration of the Polio Plus Committee, organized numerous programmes all over Pakistan while a lot of people around the globe participated in the World’s Biggest Commercial, promoting the international effort to eradicate the devastating disease. 

The innovative, interactive online initiative provided everyone a chance to join Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bill Gates, Jackie Chan, Angelique Kidjo, and other world figures and celebrities having already joined in Rotary’s This Close campaign in support of polio eradication.

The participants uploaded photos of themselves to Rotary’s polio eradication website, endpolionow.org, edited into the constantly expanding promotional spot. They were sent an email with a direct link to their image and comment within the commercial.

Rotary International also released End Polio Now, an eclectic album of songs performed by its celebrity polio eradication ambassadors from the music industry. The album is available for download on iTunes, and soon as a CD from shop.rotary.org, with all proceeds from sales going to PolioPlus.  

The Rotary Club of Karachi Creek and the Rotary Club of Karachi Kolachi joined hands to put up a Polio Awareness Stall on World Polio Day, on the ground floor of the Park Towers Mall, located in main Clifton.

Visited by hundreds of people on a daily basis, more so these days, due to the forthcoming festival of Eid, the EPN banners on pillars caught many people's attention. A volunteer doctor has been made available at the stall screened for blood sugar free-of-charge, attracting adults.

Pakistan’s National Chair, Polio Plus Committee, Aziz Memon, led by example which was followed by District Governor-Elect Dr Pir Ebrahim Shah, Media Coordinator for Karachi, PP Jamsheed Zahidi, PP Tahira Khan, PP Irfan Qureshi, Rotaractors who volunteered to man the stall and distribute IEC and social mobilization material to children and adults.
Dr Nadia Farhan Essa from RCK Creek was instrumental in organizing the polio camp and stall which became a centre of attraction at Park Towers.

Similar stalls were set up in many other bustling shopping malls of Karachi and other cities of Pakistan. A three-page newspaper supplement was also brought out by the Polio Plus Committee to mark the occasion.

“Coinciding with World Polio Day, Rotary is ramping up its advocacy work in the 200 countries and regions where Rotary clubs exist to encourage every national government to commit to help meet a $700 million funding shortfall for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative through 2013,”  Pakistan’s National Chair, Polio Plus Committee, Aziz Memon, disclosed.

“Although new polio cases are at an all-time low, there were fewer than 180 worldwide in 2012 as of October 16 the funding gap has already curtailed scheduled immunization activities in polio-affected countries. If eradication fails and polio rebounds, up to 200,000 children per year could be paralyzed,” he warned.

‘The governments need to step up and honour their commitments to polio eradication if we are to achieve our goal of a polio-free world. We are at a true tipping point, with success never closer than it is right now. We must seize the advantage by acting immediately, or risk breaking our pledge to the world’s children,” the Chair of the Rotary Foundation, Wilfrid J. Wilkinson, remarked in his message on the World Polio Day 2012.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Diplomatic Consultant Jibran, Sindh Governor discuss Green Revolution

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Governor of Sindh, Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan, has stated that the issue of pirates could only be resolved by combined efforts of the international community. He added that the Government of Pakistan, on its part, was trying its level best but greater efforts were needed to create awareness about it.

He made these observations during his meeting Diplomatic Consultant Jibran Ahmed Khan, who called on him at the Governor House, Karachi, on October 24.

The Green Revolution, a universal movement which aims to bring about a collective spiritual revival in the world through love, was also discussed during their meeting.

Jibran Khan briefed the Governor of Sindh about the efforts being made at the international level to combat the critical issue of pirates and for the promotion of the Green Revolution.

Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan was appreciative of the role being played by Jibran Khan in this direction, emphasizing that the Green Revolution can be immensely useful in food security besides enhancing economic cooperation between countries. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pak Railways to operate Eid Special Trains despite lack of resources

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Despite the acute resource problems, the Pakistan Railways will be operating two Eid Special Trains from Karachi to Peshawar and Rawalpindi on October 24 and 25.

A Pakistan Railways spokesman has announced that the first Eid Special Train will leave the Karachi Cantonment Station for Peshawar at 11 am on October 24 while the second one will operate also from the Cantonment Station for Rawalpindi at the same time on October 25.

The Peshawar-bound train will be running via Lahore while Rawalpindi-bound special will run through Faisalabad.

The Divisional Superintendent, Anzer Ismail Rizvi, informed PNFS that strict measures have been taken to control black marketing of tickets in view of great rush of people intending to go to upcountry destinations to celebrate Eid-ulAzha with their families.

He said that the vigilance teams are in place who are keeping eye on elements habitual to coming out on such occasions to mint money through black marketing.

Anzar Rizvi warned that anyone nabbed trying to sell tickets in black market will be dealt with strictly.

He stated that the two Eid Special Trains are being run to clear the surging rush of the upcountry bound passengers.

Meanwhile the Divisional Commercial Officer, Shoaib Adil, has advised the travelling people to ensure to take up their journey on a ticket issued in their own name and also keep their NC with them.

He made it clear that if any one found travelling on a ticket issued in the name of some other person would be considered as being ‘without ticket’ and will be penalized accordingly.

Friday, October 19, 2012

AMUOBA observed Sir Syed Day with traditional enthusiasm

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Distinguished speakers paid rich homage to the great reformer and educationist, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, on the occasion of his 195th birth anniversary observed under the auspices of Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys Association (AMUOBA) with a call by President AMUOBA and Chancellor, Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Engr Z A Nizami, for acquisition of the latest knowledge in the field of science and technology.

“Acquiring scientific and technological knowledge is the only solution for the problems being faced by the Muslims,” he observed in his Presidential address, declaring that the arduous task which was undertaken by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan for emancipation of Muslims of South Asia must continue with the same missionary zeal.

Engr Nizami described the establishment of Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology as a big step towards the desired direction. He said that today SSUET was regarded as the top engineering university of Pakistan having collaboration with top 11 universities of USA.           

He reminded that Sir Syed’s aim was not just to establish a college at Aligarh but pursue the Muslims to acquire modern education to lift them up from a precarious position, having devoted whole of his life for this purpose.

Speaking on the occasion, Azad Bin Haider, a renowned politician of his prime days and a writer and researcher of eminence now, stated that it was the great reformer Sir Syed who gave a new direction to the Muslims of South Asia and it was mainly due to his movement that many more new movements for Muslim’s renaissance started in South Asia.

He said that the observance of Sir Syed Day by AMUOBA every year is a highly fruitful act and Pakistan can be led to the path of progress if the motives behind Pakistan Movement are remembered.

He thought of Sir Syed a real motivator who launched a movement for Muslims to acquire modern education and created a wave of awakening in them. He urged the youth to focus on their education which is the only solution to every problem.
Prof Dr Waqar Rizvi, a religious scholar and writer, presented a paper on Pakistan Movement and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and said that it was the national spirit behind the mission undertaken by him which can truly be regarded as the foundation for the creation of Pakistan.

Renowned scholar, columnist and Pakistan Movement Gold medalist, Saeed Siddiqui, remarked that the past of nation is the pride of nation.  He said those nations who forget their history are bound to be eliminated.

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, he said, was a great visionary, statesman and Muslim reformer of the 19th century who worked tooth and nail to make the community progressive and lead them to the cherished objective.  

He said that Sir Syed was the first Indian Muslim to contribute to the intellectual and institutional foundation of Muslim’s modernization in South Asia.

He recalled that in 1862 he formed a scientific society, and 13 years later he assisted in establishing the Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental College, which prospered and became the key intellectual center for Indian Muslims - The Aligarh Muslim University. The success of the college was largely due to his leadership and a curriculum embodying both Western and Oriental studies.

Ali Zafar Qadri, a senior Aligarhian presented a detail chronology of the life and accomplishments of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan while Khumar Farooqi, a renowned poet and writer, paid poetic homage to the great reformer and educationist and drew a big applause.

A significant feature of the function was highly impressive speeches on the life and achievements of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan by SSUET students Umer Khan in Urdu and Umer Ali Kazmi in English. The audience highly appreciated their knowledge about the great reformer.

Another feature of the well-attended function was singing of Tarana-e-Aligarh” sung by boys and girl students of Sir Syed University.