Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rtn Nasreen Masood highlights Rotary’s objectives in Radio interview

The President-Elect of the Rotary Club of Karachi Airport (RCKA), Rtn Nasreen Masood, was interviewed by Bushra Noor Khawaja in the popular ‘Prime Time Hour’ by Radio Pakistan on April 27. It was broadcast live on FM 93 as well.

It was a lively one-hour informative session, conducted by a seasoned campaigner, which was made even more entertaining by punctuating it with quite a few popular songs.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: Would you like to share with our listeners when did you start your career as a social worker?
A: It was more than a decade ago when I got engaged in social work. I am one of the founding members of Rotary Club of Karachi Airport (RCKA) which was chartered in 2008. I was elected unopposed as its President last year.

Q: Rotary motto of ‘Service Above Self’ is truly inspirational. How do you meet the challenge?
A: Rotary International is one of the top voluntary organizations of the world. We have a proper system in place. We act in accordance with our bye-laws. We hold weekly meetings of our club which help considerably in letting us accomplish our goals.

Q: How do you work on your projects?
A: In our weekly meetings we deliberate on the various aspects of the projects to be undertaken. Every member is provided the opportunity and encouraged to play his or her part. It can be in terms of cash or kind. All of us are volunteers. We devote our time and energies. Our Board finalizes the finer details and then the members are assigned tasks in light of commitments they make. The progress of the projects is monitored in our meetings. We work on short-term as well as long-term projects.

Q: How do you motivate your members?
A: Mostly the Rotarians are committed people. We, the resourceful ones, understand our responsibilities to the community and we try to contribute as much as we could to help those who deserve it.

Q: How do you reach the needy people?
A: We just need to keep our eyes and ears open while commuting. Day in and day out we come across people who need our support. We are flooded with requests for help at times. After proper verification we extend them as much support as we could by pooling our resources.

Q: What are the responsibilities of Rotary President?
A: Every Rotarian has a responsibility. The President is just the captain of the team for a term of one year. Our elections are held every year. The President tries to lead by example to let the others take the cue and perform more actively. In my opinion election to the post of the President its an incentive to work harder and create more resources.

Q: Which project has given you the highest satisfaction?
A: It was setting up a dispensary in Sector 11-D of North Karachi. While driving there, I had noticed an elderly man standing between lots of kids in front of a gate. As I drew closer it was discovered that the gentleman was Rahmat Bhai who was providing education free of cost to the area children at his own house.

We sent our club officials there to extract more details and then our meeting was arranged with him. He desired operating a dispensary in the portion of his house and sought our assistance to facilitate free medicine and consultation to the area people, who couldn’t afford costs. We readily agreed. We collected medicines and then persuaded a qualified doctor to work two hours daily on voluntary basis. The dispensary is still running and it gives me enormous satisfaction.

Q: What are your cherished goals now?
A: The eradication of polio is on top of the list of our priorities at the moment. Rotary’s National Polio Plus Committee, headed by our dynamic former Governor Aziz Memon, has been trying its level best to eradicate this deadly disease from Pakistan. On our part we are convincing the mothers to take the responsibility of saving their children. No mother wants her kid to be affected by polio. She has to be explained and made responsible. They have to be taught that it would be a criminal negligence to deprive their children of the polio drops that are being provided at their doorstep.  

Q: Who inspired you to take to social work?
A: I have been thoroughly impressed with the spirit and passion of Abdul Sattar Edhi. I always wondered how he worked so selflessly and so effectively round the clock. He was been there everywhere. He takes care of the elderly parents who are deserted by their own children. Similarly he adopts the kids who are abandoned by their parents. It’s quite astonishing how he manages to do so much of work. I am a greater admirer of his. I know that I can’t be like him but I derive inspiration from his acts and try to contribute my bit.

Q: Do you get any time for recreation?
A: To be honest I don’t get much spare but I listen to music whenever possible.

Q: Who are your favourite singers?
A: Noor Jahan and Mohammad Rafi.

Q: What kind of songs you prefer to listen?
A: I am fond of ghazals. I have liked slow songs from beginning.

Q: Tell us about your family.
A: My husband is a mechanical engineer, who secured gold medal at the NED University. He has been working abroad a multinational for the last few years. Both my sons are also engineers, with the elder one having got married just recently.

Q: What kind of mother you have turned out to be?
A: Well I have never compromised on discipline. I didn’t allow my sons to go out once they were back from school with the focus being on studies. I taught them to ignore the mistakes of others and not to get provoked. Both my sons are greatly indebted to me now for having being strict when they were not in a position to find out themselves what was good for them and what was not.

Q: What’s your message to our listeners? A: I will urge the people not to lose hope. You must remain positive and your face should be glowing. Nobody leads an ideal life. The hardships are to be faced with courage. Don’t lose heart when things don’t go your way. Continue working hard because there are no short-cuts to success. If you wish to bring about a change in your lives you must work hard.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pakistan's engineers and technologists can surmount weak economic conditions: Engr Z A Nizami

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

The Chancellor Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, Engr Z A Nizami, has expressed the strong conviction that the qualified engineers and technologists can combat the forces responsible for weak economic conditions of the country and financial constraints in the way of progress.

“They do have the capacity to find ways and means to transform poverty into plenty”, he observed in an interview.

The SSUET, he pointed out, has been playing a major role in equipping the youth with technical education during the last two decades and today its graduates were working on highly important positions in the national and multi-national institutions.

“They are serving in army and civil departments successfully and working as researchers, innovators and making new breakthroughs, not only in Pakistan but also in Europe, US and many other foreign countries like Australia and New Zealand,” he added.

The university, he said, is working under a well managed system and in order to achieve its outlying objectives, its strategies are developed in the light of growing demands and technical knowledge.

Referring to the progress achieved during the last couple of decades, Chancellor Nizami informed that starting with a budget of mere Rs 17.22 million in 1994, its annual budget today stood at Rs 712.3 million.

Since its inception, he said, the university has provided latest equipment worth Rs 370 million to its laboratories besides spending Rs 195 million on buildings and structures – and all this without any financial assistance from the government.

Engr Nizami said the performance of the university can be judged from the spate of admissions being sought by students not only from Karachi but any parts of the country. He said this year 3878 applications were received for admission to six engineering disciplines. Of them 374 applicants had secured above 80 percent marks, 1381 above 70 percent marks and rest above 60 percent marks.

He pointed out that starting with a strength of only 200 students in 1994, SSUET today has over 5600 students on its roll and since 1998, this institution produced around 9820 graduate engineers.

At present, he said, 22 Ph.Ds were serving as faculty members in various departments of Computer, Civil, Electronics, Bio-Medical and Telecommunication engineering besides Computer science while 15 faculty members were pursuing Ph.D programs from this university and a same number pursuing higher studies abroad.

Replying a question, the Chancellor said that the university was founded under the very mission and vision of great educationist and reformer Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and as such no student is rejected admission merely because of his/her financial constraint.

He said the university had been liberally assisting deserving and merited students and during 2011-12 alone, it provided Rs 40 million worth of scholarship. In addition the University provided Rs 10 million as financial assistance to deserving students and Rs 2.3 million to deserving employees.

Engr Nizami reiterated that SSUET was the outcome of Aligarh spirit, which had been inculcated in the members of Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys Association (AMUOB), the sponsors of the university, during their stay at Aligarh Muslim University.

He said that the AMUOBA had the strong feeling that education and particularly the technical education provides solution for all the problems of Pakistan and they wanted to establish the university in conformity with the philosophy of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and their success crowned in 1994.

The Chancellor pointed out that in order to adorn the students with Aligarh spirit, the Aligarh Movement is being taught as a subject in the SSUET.

Monday, April 16, 2012

SSUET is a research oriented university: Engr Z A Nizami

Z A Nizami

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

Sir Syed University is a research-oriented institution of higher learning which is making significant contribution in the field of research. The university provides a diverse, vibrant and stimulating environment for research and sees its graduate and postgraduate students as an important component of its success.”

This was stated by Engr Z A Nizami, Chancellor, Sir Syed University of Engineering & Techonology (SSUET), Karachi, while presiding over a ceremony organized by the university in collaboration with Pakistan Intellectual Forum.

The ceremony was held to award gold medals to five persons in recognition of their proven work and services with valuable contribution to the development of research and education besides those who rendered great services in the social sector and public service.

Engr Nizami said that the SSUET’s faculty members were strongly encouraged to attend and participate in national and international conferences and also publish their works in research journals.

He referred to his offer to help in establishing a university at Pak Pattan Sharif and chalk out a complete charter for it. But no further headway occurred in this regard and he is still awaiting the work to start.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Qaiser, Vice Chancellor Karachi University, pointed out that universities don’t survive without research which, however, cannot be done without money. 

He was of the view that least importance is given to research and promotion of education in our present day society and only 4% is allocated in the national budget for education and health.

“In Pakistan, research is like investing money at one end and then retrieve it with profit from the other end,” he observed.

Former Federal Minister, Haji Hanif Tayyab, told the gathering that the holy saints played a significant role in the development of education and knowledge in this subcontinent. 

Dr Qamar, Registrar Federal Urdu University, said Pakistan has a great potential and it is the first country in the Islamic world to become a nuclear power.

On the occasion Chancellor Nizami awarded gold medal to Prof. Dr. Hakim Aaqil in recognition of his great work in IT Sector.

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Qaiser, Vice Chancellor Karachi University was presented gold medal for his grand contribution to the knowledge based research, while the youngest scientist Prof. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Choudhry got the coveted award for his valuable services in research development.

Haji Hanif Tayyab, Chief Patron Al-Mustafa Welfare Trust and Khawar Masood Butt, Chairman & Managing Director of English Biscuit Manufactures were also awarded gold medals.

Khawar Butt was presented gold medal in recognition of his visionary and strategic leadership in turning around the business. His gold medal was received on his behalf by his daughter Saadia Naved as he could not attend the ceremony due to his ailment. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Engr Z A Nizami pays tribute to Lutfullah Khan

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

Various scholars highlighted the invaluable services of the great archivist and oral historian Lutfullah Khan at a Literary Reference organized by Pakistan Academy of Letter at Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), Karachi.

The Reference, held to pay homage to great archivist and oral historian, Lutfullah Khan, was chaired by Engr Z A Nizami, Chancellor, SSUET.

Speaking on the occasion, Engr Nizami declared that Lutfullah Khan was a committed and devoted person who spent most of his life in the collection of voices of people from different walks of life. 

He had a wide variety of voices like the speeches of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Gandhi, Maulana Azad to the poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Noon Meem Rashid, Jigar Moradabad and further to the sermons of Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi.

He said that Lutfullah had some unique and extinct record of voices which no national institution could claim to have. 

Engr Nizami offered full support on behalf of the SSUET in preserving the valuable and important record of voices with latest technology. “Preserved record of voices by Lutfullah Khan is in fact our preserved history,” he added.

In his speech Dr Muhammad Ali Siddiqui, an eminent critic said “we are a nation that tends to either distort history or give it a shape as we want to see it but the late Khan recorded the voices in its original form with complete honesty and sincerity.”

Khan was more senior broadcaster than Z.A. Bukhari and Pitras Bukhari, yet he was never been remembered as such. He claimed if any one is to listen to the material that Khan had recorded, one would require at least three and half years for that. He was able to save contemporary history to a great deal, he added.

Poet Fatima Hassan informed the audience that Lutfullah Khan had recorded more than 5000 voices in a very organized form with well maintained catalogues. He was a multifaceted man who entered the world of archives through his passion for classical music. However, it was being an archivist that overshadowed the rest of his talents.

Poet Sarshar Siddiqui, Chairman of the Academy Abdul Hameed and Resident Director of the Academy Agha Noor Muhammad Pathan also spoke on the occasion.

PML-N not to enter into alliance with PPP, PMLQ: Nawaz Sharif

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

The Pakistan Muslim League, headed by former Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, (PML-N) has decided not to enter into an alliance with PPP and PML-Q, nor will it make any seat adjustment with these two parties in the coming elections.

This was stated by the PML-N chief, Nawaz Sharif, in a recent interview in Lahore with Zahid Hameedi of MHz TV Network US. He, however, clarified that his party will consider seat adjustment with JUI-F and Jamaat-i-Islami in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.

Answering a question Nawaz Sharif said that the PPP government has not taken any step to solve the problem of the common man. Instead, it has indulged in large scale corruption and destroyed the national economy.

He said that after coming to power the PML-N government will give special attention to solve the energy crisis which has brought life to a stand still in the country. 

For this purpose PML-N government will build small dams and set up gas fired power plants to provide electricity at reasonable rates to the people, Nawaz Sharif added.

He said that the PML-N has formulated plans to promote Information Technology and Technical and Vocational education at all levels which will help fight unemployment in the country. 

“By promoting education we will be able to export trained manpower to the Middle East and other countries,” he said.

To another question the PML-N chief said that his party will also introduce reforms in the transport sector like mass transit system in order to provide cheap transportation to the public. 

He said that the PPP government is openly defying the Supreme Court orders which show how serious it is about establishing the rule of law and constitution and democratic norms in the country.

“People are hankering for change and Inshallah the PML-N government will strive sincerely to improve the lot of the common people as in the past,” the former Prime Minister concluded.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Going Green for Pakistan

By Sabina Rizwan Khan

Let's make Pakistan Green, One Plant at a time! This spirit showed will be shown again by a bunch of enthusiastic green lovers of environment. From doing flash mobs to planting saplings, from conducting informative seminars on environmental issues to beach cleaning, from creating awareness at schools to running own small campaigns, Earth Week will be 7 days of fun, sheer activism and creating attentiveness toward Pakistan's important climate issues.

Earth Day is celebrated on 22nd April which was founded by Gaylord Nelson, an American Senator to create awareness for Earth and our environment. But later on, many people extended the effort of inspiration to a week, thus called Earth Week now. Earth Week is celebrated from 17th April to 23rd April, in more than 175 countries all over the world. Numerous people, communities and organizations focus this whole week on activities regarding environmental issues.

With numerous environmental changes like creation of artificial lake, reduction in growth of certain crops, floods and changing climatic patterns over the years showed how vulnerable Pakistan is towards climate change. The recent devastation caused by floods demonstrated well that how global warming can be lethal. With very little awareness regarding climate change also and its consequences, it was difficult to address the concrete issues and work towards solutions some years ago.

However, the scenario is progressing as now people especially youngsters are showing interest in environmental issues, with responsibility. With much knowledge on media and people accepting environment problem as matter of great concern has made the difference to a larger extent. This year, Karachi along with other cities, witnessed many celebrations on account of Earth Week, in various schools, colleges and universities. Even some offices made sure to cut down their energy consumption. A lot of seminars were conducted to disseminate information and facts regarding how these problems can be minimized. Many forums were held to initiate a dialogue on energy conservation especially in a country that is already suffering from its shortage. From plantations to cleaning to just writing blogs a lot of action was observed this time.

Though many see all such efforts as time wastage, we see this as an encouraging sign towards betterment. Remaining in our given capacities if we are able to create awareness and making people informed, I think a lot of transformation starts from here. Jerry Yudelson, a green building and green marketing specialist from US, on account of Earth Hour shared "Everything that raises awareness of energy use and creates a feeling that global warming is an issue for the entire world to address together, is useful in my opinion."

This surely puts end to all cynical critics who says that we have far better issues to address than environment. We must understand that global warming and its effects are indirectly affecting our living conditions, our patterns of weather, giving rise to natural calamities. This as a result has negative impacts on our agro-based economy as well as our infrastructure, budgets and security.

We as individuals who have access to all sorts of resources can make a greater difference only if we know what and how to do. Like I said earlier, awareness is the first step towards the solution, it is essential to know what is global warming. How climate change is affecting the world collectively and its further costs in future are needed to be understood, so that we can work better to find practical solutions.

Here are some interesting tips to play your part in saving your Earth:
  1. When television is not being watched, turn the television off and don't leave it on standby.
  2. Especially for students and office people, try to re use your Xerox papers' back for writing down notes.
  3. Instead of using new wrapping paper, use newspaper and magazine pages to wrap gifts. They give an interesting look and you can do collage work out of it as well giving it a personalized touch.
  4. Cook while keeping all pots and pans covered, this will help in cutting the energy expenditure by almost 90 percent.
  5. Reuse plastic bags as much as possible. Try to use cloth bags for shopping as plastic bag manufacturing gives off enormous amount of carbon.
  6. If you are not sitting in any room, turn off the lights, fan and air conditioner.
  7. Turn the switch off, if your cell charger is plugged in, even when your cell is not connected.
  8. Travel to nearby places, visiting close living friends by walking or riding a bicycle. A little bit of this can help cut down the carbon emission in greater amounts.
  9. Instead of travelling to your institutions or offices in your individual cars, start car pooling which is again less on carbon and also price effective in times of petrol price hikes.
  10. Always make sure to run the washing machine with full load of laundry to save electricity.
  11. Keep your food covered in the refrigerator. This helps stopping moisture escape and as a result it prevents excessive power burden on compressor. 
  12. Keep it all Green. Plant trees as much as possible, water them regularly. Drive plantation campaigns in your campuses and localities not only in Earth Week but throughout the year. This birthday, plant number of trees as your age!

Monday, April 2, 2012

SSUET Convocation 2012 held at Karachi Expo Centre

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

“Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology has been playing a major role during the last two decades in equipping the youth with technical education . The SSUET graduates are serving in various countries of the world with placement on highly important positions and making new breakthroughs not only in Pakistan, but also in Europe, America and other countries”, Engr Z.A. Nizami, Chancellor SSUET, observed while addressing the 15th Convocation of the university held at Karachi Expo Centre on March 31.

The coveted Dr A Q Khan Gold Medal was won by Sania Rehan of Computer Enginering, Engr Z A Nizami Gold Medal by Muhammed Tarique Saleem of Electronic Engineering, Bashir A Malik Gold Medal by Obaid Saheel of Telecom Engineering, Zakir Ali Khan Gold Medal by Farrukh of Bio-Medical Engineering Dr A.T. Khan Gold Medal by Husam Bin Arshad of Civil Engineering and Hasan Nasir Gold Medal was bagged by Minhaj Anwar of Computer Science department.

At the convocation over 1,000 graduates of batch 2008 were awarded degrees in the engineering disciplines of Electronics, Computer, Civil, Bio-Medical and Telecommunication besides Computer Science..

The Chancellor said that it’s our strong conviction that good Engineers and Technologists can combat the forces that are responsible for weak economic conditions of the country and financial constraints in the domain of progress. They can find ways and means to transform poverty into plenty, he observed 

He asdvised the new gaduates to come forward to accept the challenges, which the country is confronting like dwindling down energy and water resources, dependence on foreign reliance and primitive systems and machinery in industry, which are the menace plaguing the country. 

He emphasized on need for effectively exploiting the country’s latent natural resources like huge deposits of coal at Thar as well as copper and other valuable minerals in other parts of the country so as extract the country from economic turbulence and attain self autarky in every strata of national life.

Presenting the annual report, Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Sayed Nazir Ahmed highlighted the successful journey of Sir Syed University from its inception in 1994 to its present glorious stage and informed the audience that SSUET’s annual budget has soared from Rs. 17.22 million in 1994 to a record Rs. 712.3 million in 2012.

He said the university provided Rs. 370 million worth equipment for Labs in all the Departments and spent Rs 195 million on new buildings and structures. 

He stated that besides a financial assistance of Rs 10 million and Rs 40 million worth scholarships to deserving and talented students during 2011-2012, the university also provided Rs. 7.7 million to needy students and Rs 2.3 million to deserving employees.

He pointed out that the university, which started with merely 200 students in 1994, today has over 5600 students on roll and gave around 9820 graduate engineers to the nation since 1998, when its first convocation was held. 

At present the university is dispensing 6 Bachelors Degree, 6 Master's and 02 PhD programs while its faculty has 22 PhDs teaching in various departments while as many as 15 faculty members are pursuing PhD degree from this university and as many number had gone abroad for higher studies, the Vice-Chancellor stated.. 

Dr Nazir informed that the University supports its Alumni, in their Career Planning and Placement and out of about 8660 graduates till 2011, 77% had been employed in gainful jobs while remaining proceeded for higher studies or started their own business.

On the occasion Chancellor Z.A. Nizami conferred medals to Saniah Rehan for securing first position in Computer Engineering, Muhammad Tarique Saleemin Electronic Engineering, Obaid Shakeel in Telecommunication Engineering, Farrukh in Biomedical Engineering, Husam Bin Arshad in Civil Engineering and Minhaj Anwaar inComputer Science.

Recipients of Silver Medal for securing second position included Sana Waseem (Computer Engineering), Noman Akhtar (Electronic Engineering), Bilal Saeed (Telecommunication Engineering), Amna Ghani (Biomedical Engineering), Zia Ali (Civil Engineering) and Muhammad Arabi Tayyab (Computer Science).

The third position holders winning bronze medal included Anam Ashraf (Computer Engineering), Muhammad Muzaffaruddin (Electronic Engineering), Muhammad Kashan Shahbaz (Telecommunication Engineering), Samia Kaleem (Biomedical Engineering), Muhammad Rafique (Civil Engineering) and Rabia Rasheed (Computer Science).

The proceedings started with recitation of Holy Quran and Naat by the university students.

As the ceremony reached near completion, the graduating youth celebrated their award of degrees with tossing their robe caps into the air while excited youth posed for photographs with their parents.