Showing posts with label Abdul Qadir Qureshi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abdul Qadir Qureshi. Show all posts

Monday, June 1, 2020

Veteran educationist passes away

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Anwar Ahmed Zai, having worked for a long time in the education sector, passed away in Karachi on May 31. He was buried later in the afternoon. 

According to the family sources, he had been admitted at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) for the last couple of weeks where he suffered a fatal heart attack on the morning of May 31. 

He headed the Board of Intermediate Education, Karachi, besides the Board of Secondary Education, Karachi, and Board of Matriculation and Intermediate Education, Mirpurkhas. 

He also held the positions of the Director of School Education, Karachi, Executive District Officer, City District Government, Karachi, and Additional Secretary, Education, Government of Sindh. 

Upon retirement from the government service, he was associated with the Ziauddin Education Board, Karachi, as its Executive Director.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Ramazan, Eid with a difference

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

“This Ramazan, majority of Muslims around the world while observing Rozas (fasting) offered Taraweeh (late night prayers) quietly in their homes, except a few, who defied government instructions and advices of religious leaders and prayed in mosques. It was against the common sense behavior of protecting themselves, their families and other citizens from the risk of deadly COVID-19,” Senator Nisar Memon, a former federal minister, observed in his latest newspaper article.

“Such a response evokes no surprise because we have neither provided basic education nor proper religious education to our compatriots. Else they would have shielded themselves from pandemic despite Islamabad’s confusing and conflicting response and lack of uniform support to provinces on this pandemic,” he felt. 

“In the spirit of Ramazan the leadership of Ummah, apart from the Fund they committed, did not announce any policy to make us proud Ummatis. The Muslim leadership did not demonstrate their numerical strength but instead succumbed to the worldly gains and protected their own power rather than their people and other Ummatis without realizing that these worldly gains are too meager compared to the wrath of Allah on the Judgement Day and possible denunciation by citizens when they rise,” the former federal minister opined. 

“But what is puzzling is their inability to prepare a Universal Plan for future to fight hunger and disease (now COVID-19 too) which has struck people of Sahara’s in Africa, mountains of Himalayas and plains in Asia. True to their teachings, the Ummatis did not wait for leadership and have massively contributed Zakat and Khairat amongst Ummatis to fulfill their religious obligations as well as national responsibility,” he remarked. 

“It was the month when the Muslims rededicated themselves to their Creator and sought guidance provided in Quran. It was a rebooting to be able to meet the challenges that lie ahead including the pandemic and in doing so serve fellow citizens and earn His favour for coming days and ultimately for the eternal life,” the Senator added.

“Allah says in the Quran, in Surah Al-Baqarah (2-183): ‘O you who believe, Siyam (fasting) is prescribed on you as it was prescribed to those before you so that you may become self-restrained.’ The importance of Siyam in Ramadan is clearly expressed in several sayings of the Prophet (SAW). All Muslims, particularly the leadership, need to do soul searching on their conduct during the month of Ramazan and seek pardon,” he wrote. 

“Eid at the end of holy month of Ramazan is expression of gratitude to the Creator that it gave us the chance to practice His teachings and a festive occasion amongst friends and family. Festivity of Eid this year is somber affair due to sufferings of millions and departure of thousands from this world due to pandemic,” he concluded.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Nisar Memon desires government support for restaurants

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Desiring governmental support for the small restaurants all over the country, Senator Nisar Memon has urged the authorities to be compassionate with this particular sector, so badly hit by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The Punjab government has reportedly allowed opening of the restaurants. Notwithstanding its impact on current COVID-19 spread, the small restaurant owners are suffering two-folds. Firstly with the loss of revenue and secondly they are enduring the burden of paying their staff for all these three months,” the former Federal Minister highlighted in his statement issued on May 29. 

“In view of this, it is just and prudent to allow opening of restaurants with some SOPs particularly in small towns like Gharo on N5 in Thatta and all the way up to Kashmore. The Sindh government will earn the goodwill of its people suffering from this comparative disadvantage,” he advised. 

“Civil services, including the police, should mitigate and not enhance the sufferings due to current economic situation. Let the elected representatives stand up and give their views to the Sindh government which has done a good job despite man-made difficulties coupled with natural calamity since the beginning of this year. This is also time for federal government to help the way they helped daily wages workers,” Senator Nisar Memon concluded.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Queen Elizabeth grieved over PIA plane crash

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

Queen Elizabeth II has offered condolences to Pakistan and families of those having died in the PIA plane crash in Karachi on May 22.

“Prince Philip and I have been saddened by the news of the plane crash near Karachi on Friday (May 22). We send our most sincere condolences to you, the families and friends of those who died, and to the Pakistani people, particularly at the time of Eid,” Queen Elizabeth wrote. 

The British foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, and the British High Commissioner, Christian Turner, were also grieved by the tragic PK8303 plane crash in Karachi. 

“I’m deeply saddened to hear of the plane crash and loss of life in Karachi and my thoughts are with all those affected in this terrible tragedy,” Dominic Raab remarked in his message.

“Thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones. The British High Commission was in touch with local authorities to establish if any Britons were on board,” High Commissioner Christian Turner stated.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Ignoring coronavirus SOPs could cause serious miseries in Pakistan

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The shopping spree of Eid-ul-Fitr, in which the agreed SOPs for coronavirus (COVID-19) were flouted blatantly by the traders as well as the shoppers all over the country, is now being followed by the Eid festivities in which people’s reluctance to pursue the safety measures continues to give rise to more infections and causes more challenges for the already hard pressed health system.

Not surprisingly the rate of infection has been shooting up alarmingly of late which are serious warnings for things to come in the near future if the existing practices are allowed to continue longer. 

While the government has its own obligations, and limitations too, the role and the attitude of the people become more significant. 

As responsible citizens, the SOPs should be followed in letter and spirit in order to prevent catastrophic situation. Otherwise things could go horribly wrong within no time. 

We have already witnessed a country as resourceful as the United States of America (USA) besides the powerful European countries like Italy, Spain, England and France suffer immensely due to their late realization about the venom of this virus, a country like Pakistan, with limited health facilities, simply cannot afford to take it lightly. 

The people of Pakistan need to stand up and take the responsibility of protecting themselves and the country by following the SOPs which everyone seems remembering by heart but for some reasons they are unable to do it. Doing simple things like wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining social distancing should not be an issue for anyone.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

International Day for Biological Diversity: our solutions are in nature

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

“Never before since the adoption of this day in year 2000 by United Nations it was more relevant than today, since the day falls amidst the deadly disaster of COVID-19 has brought to human being to make us realize the focus on bio-diversity.”

This was stated by Senator Nisar Memon, a former federal minister, in his message on the International Day for Biological Diversity being observed on May 22. 

“The theme for 2020 ‘Our solutions are in nature’ is very appropriate given the fact that we are battling pandemic. It says it all. If we had recognized the importance of biological diversity, we would perhaps have avoided the loss of thousands of lives and jamming of global order,” he recognized. 

“It is hoped post pandemic, we shall emerge victorious by going closer to nature, adopt our lives in line with natural processes and coexist with other living beings. After all, the planet belongs to all and we must co-habit giving back the space of others we have occupied,” the former federal minister for Information & Broadcasting thought. 

“We have lost a lot and must reflect how we will repair, reorient and reconstruct our lives to build a future of life in harmony with nature. As the ecosystem affects our health, water, food and life we must rethink how we shall live in harmony with nature. The United Nations estimate that around 25% of all animals and plants species are threatened with extinction globally. Therefore, we must create awareness and build momentum to protect life in this planet,” he asserted. 

“The countries observe a week identifying various segments for the needed action but we in Pakistan are preoccupied in day to day issues without realizing our indifference will cost us lives and quality of life in future. The governments in centre and provinces could have launched e-visits to zoos, parks, forests, aquariums, museums and libraries to bring citizens specially youth closer to nature, animals, plants, ecosystems which are pieces of the biodiversity jigsaw. With that we would have united the people and also taken them away from the sufferings of pandemic apart from most needed disengagement from current low-level politics,” he pointed out. 

“If leadership in Islamabad had realized that all efforts on bio-diversity would mean healthy living conditions, richer varieties of food, clean drinking water for our people and way to achieve seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) they would have been seen busy highlighting it. They should know SDG-2 is Zero Hunger, SDG-3 Good Health and Well-being, SDG-10 Reducing Inequalities, and SDG-12 Responsible Consumption and Production, SDG-13 Climate Actions, SDG-14 Life below Water, and SDG-15 Life on Land,” he added. 

“All knowledge-based societies have programmes. Can our leadership stand up and tell the nation where they stand on this count of governance?” he questioned.

World leaders condole tragic plane crash in Karachi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Many international leaders took to social media to express their shock and grief as the news of the plane crash in Karachi on May 22 spread like wildfire. 

The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, offered condolences, saying that Canadians were keeping Pakistanis in their thoughts. 

“The news from Pakistan this morning is devastating. To the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the crash of PK 8303, and to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy, our hearts go out to you. Canadians are keeping you in our thoughts today,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle. 

The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, also expressed his condolences over the tragic incident, tweeting: “Deeply saddened by the loss of life due to a plane crash in Pakistan. Our condolences to the families of the deceased, and wishing speedy recovery to those injured.” 

The Afghanistan President, Ashraf Ghani, tweeted: “My heart goes out to the families of victims who lost their lives in the PIA plane crash in Karachi. I offer my sincere commiserations to the people and the government of Pakistan. Afghans stand with you in this moment of grief.” 

The Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, in his message, extended condolences to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and the country's people over passenger plane crash which killed dozens on board and ground. He also expressed solidarity with the families of the victims.

PIA plane crashes in Karachi's residential area

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane which was coming from Lahore crashed in Karachi on May 22 with 98 people on board which included seven crew members. 

Flight PK 8303 went down at Jinnah Garden in Model Colony, a residential area in the vicinity of the Jinnah International Airport as the Airbus A-320 plane, carrying 91 passengers and seven crew members, was approaching the runway. 

According to the initial report released by the Sindh health department, 66 people were confirmed to have died as a result of the tragic incident while the list shared by the airlines mentioned that there were 51 men, 31 women and nine children aboard the aircraft. 

The airline officials stated that the pilot had reported technical issues while the witnesses said that the aircraft, flying from Lahore, attempted to land two or three times before hitting a mobile tower and crashing into houses of the densely populated residential area near the airport. 

The Bank of Punjab (BOP), Chief Executive, Zafar Masud, was among the lucky passengers to have survived the crash. He was taken to a nearby hospital for a first-aid from where he was moved to another hospital where his condition was declared stable by the doctors. Later he was visited by the Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah. 

The other fortunate survivor Muhammad Zubair was also found in a stable condition as he appeared in a television interview, narrating the tales of horror of the passengers of the ill-fated plane.

Aviation ministry to probe PIA plane crash

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The deeply saddened Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Air Marshal Arshad Malik, announced that the ministry of aviation would oversee the inquiry into the PIA plane crash on May 22.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi, where the national carrier's afternoon flight, coming from Lahore, crashed just before landing at the Jinnah International Airport, emphatically declared that the aircraft was technically sound. 

"The aviation ministry will oversee an inquiry into the incident. We want the inquiry report to be completed as soon as possible but we cannot say when. We do not wish to interfere with the inquiry in any way. We will need two to three days to complete the operation," he said, adding that his team stood with the government of Pakistan, the armed forces, and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). 

The PIA chief confirmed that 99 people, including passengers and air crew, were aboard the flight and he had reports of 19 dead in Civil Hospital and 22 in other hospitals at the time of the press conference. 

He revealed that the pilot had established a final landing approach and the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) control room gave him a green signal to go ahead.

"The pilot then did a go-around saying he’s preparing for a second approach. Now what was the reason for the go-around? Please do not have any suspicions or doubts. Nothing can be said till the black box is retrieved," he stated. 

"Something happened there and there can only be ambiguities until we receive the voice and data recorders. I say this with responsibility that when it is received, we'll know whether there was a technical fault, some other issues, some outside activity or bird hit,” the Air Marshal added. 

"When the plane lowered down, the ATC asked the pilot if there was an issue and the pilot responds, 'Yes, I am facing a problem,' after which the communication gets cut off,” he revealed. 

The PIA helmsman declared that the families of the victims were welcome to come and stay at the airport hotels which had been vacated. “All affected persons are going to be accommodated in airport hotels and other government facilities in Qasr-e-Naz," he said. 

"The plane crash-landed in a street; there was damage to the nearby houses but thankfully no building collapsed," he noted.

Nisar Memon urges going back to basics

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

“When a person, nation or humanity is beset with problem; the commonly tried and tested approach is to go to the root cause of the problem to understand, analyze and find solution to fix it. This is what is done in knowledge based organized societies with strong but firm, selfless but truthful, visionary but practical leadership,” Senator Nisar Memon, a former federal minister, remarked in his latest newspaper article.

“We have all witnessed the handling of coronavirus (COVID-19) by Islamabad leadership. The pandemic in Pakistan is rooted through the import of it by our own nationals coming from USA and Iran initially. If Islamabad had analyzed it in time, we would have saved many a lives lost already and saved thousands from its painful contact and millions from the short term and long term mental agony, physical inconvenience and economic hardship,” he opined. 

“The capability and capacity in Islamabad for cool rational thinking without bias is now an open secret. It has been recorded by media, including all pervasive social media, that the leadership viewed COVID-19only with one lens and that of politics,” he added. 

“The rest followed and explains the lack of Islamabad cooperation with provinces sans Punjab province which appears to have direct rule of Islamabad, not through the Governor Rule as provided in Article 232/234 of the constitution of Pakistan but by informal arrangement. The results are very visible,” the former Minister pointed out.

“A closer look at our history indicates, if we had paid attention to identifying the root cause of issues as they came along we would not have questions like: why our public health and education not responsive to need of the hour, why our economy is based on alms, why our governance is weak, why despite strong bureaucracy we are unable to provide services to common man from Karakoram to Keti Bander, why we have conflicts between institutions and subsequent interference, why we have indigenously developed strategic weapons but yet for research on water, food and energy we are dependent on outside the country, why we hire consultants for even telling us what our vision should be, why we are producing leaders which sooner or later we renounce and show them the door. The list of why, why goes on,” he continued. 

“This is because: our value system has and is eroding; our education system is not based on science and technology; institutions have and are decaying; our parliament is not what was envisaged; we have laws but enforcement is nonexistent, compromised or selective; our judiciary is unable to provide speedy justice to common man; perpetually there is a ruling class and a ruled one; our society has visible conflict of interest at the highest offices and people violating constitution are not taken to task,” Senator Nisar Memon explained. 

“We all know, the value system starts from home and built up by schooling therefore the fundamental right to education must be enforced and the education system aligned with our value systems and science to meet the needs of the time. We need well placed government priorities replacing old colonial systems. The political reforms should begin with political parties followed by electoral reforms to get high quality competent representative elected to assemblies,” he suggested.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Plasma therapy test trials continue

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

A new clinical trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of plasma therapy, an emerging form of treatment for the coronavirus, in Pakistani COVID-19 patients is underway at the Aga Khan University (AKU) in Karachi. 

Convalescent plasma therapy involves separating blood donated by previous COVID-19 patients into plasma, a clear straw-coloured liquid, that contains antibodies and proteins that help fight infections. 

The plasma is then injected into a severely ill COVID-19 patient whose immune system may not be able to generate the antibodies needed to combat the virus. A single donation can potentially treat two patients.

There is currently no vaccine for the coronavirus and no approved form of treatment beyond managing its symptoms. The trial will generate evidence on whether plasma therapy, the only experimental treatment currently available for the virus, can help treat those suffering from acute complications from the virus. 

The researchers will perform three pre-procedural investigations on each donor to ensure their blood is safe from other infections and to check their suitability for the process of apheresis which collects plasma. 

Like a typical blood donation, the process is painless after the initial prick and lasts approximately two hours. Once plasma is transfused into a patient, the team will monitor the response to the treatment and assess its effectiveness through clinical and laboratory tests. Informed consent will be sought from all potential donors as well as those receiving the treatment. 

“Plasma therapy can potentially help treat patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 infection,” Dr Natasha Ali, who is part of a team of six faculty members from the departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Internal Medicine, working on the trial, remarked.

“This trial is part of the University’s science-based approach to evaluating novel treatments that can help save lives during this pandemic,” she added. 

The AKU is also participating in Solidarity, the international clinical trial launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners, to find effective treatments for the coronavirus. 

The study has been approved by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan and Pakistan’s National Bioethics Committee.

Handbook on Field Isolation Centre launched

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

A panel of doctors working at the Field Isolation Centre, Karachi, has compiled a handbook of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Protocols regarding the pandemic of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, who was the chief guest at its launching ceremony on May 19, lauded the efforts of the doctors for having made a consolidated endeavor to log their experience in the fight against COVID-19 and devise SOPs/Protocols in the form of the book which would serve as a guideline for smooth establishment of a similar facility in future. 

“This handbook is an excellent culmination of their efforts. it will help not only other national efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 but also those developing countries that lie in circumstances similar to ours who will use it as a guide map to building isolation centres in their own areas,” he reckoned. 

The organizers of the programme presented first copy of the handbook titled Field Isolation Centre-Karachi to the chief minister on the occasion. 

The launching ceremony was attended by among others by Dr Nuzhat Faruqui, Dr Waris Ahmed, Dr Muneer Amanullah, Dr Arish Haider, Faisal Edhi, Dr Mushtaq Chhapra besides Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shalwani. 

The Field Isolation Centre was set up at the Expo Centre, Karachi, jointly by the Sindh Government and the Pakistan Army last month.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Eid holidays from May 22 to 27

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

The Federal government has notified six-day holidays for Eid-uul-Fitr, starting from May 22. Eid will be celebrated on May 24 or 25, depending on sighting of the moon. 

The Ministry of Interior, Government of Pakistan, issued the notification in Islamabad on May 16, according to which May 22 to 27 shall be public holidays on the occasion Eid-ul-Fitr 2020. 

The communication further stated that during the upcoming holidays all businesses, public places, community markets and shops will remain closed while only essential items’ shops and medical services/medical stores, as already notified, will remain open. 

There were speculations that the federal government might consider announcing an extended 10-day Eid break to offset effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) but the notification from the Ministry of Interior has dispelled such thoughts.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Traders, public reminded to follow SOPs

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sindh Minister for Information and Local Government, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, has reminded that the designed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the purpose of business activities must be followed in order to save human lives. 

In a statement issued on May 13, he clarified that the Government of Sindh had allowed the business community to carry out activities in accordance with the designed SOPs but it has been observed that neither the traders nor the people were following them, which was not acceptable.

Nasir Shah warned that the provincial government can also revert back the lockdown relaxation decision if the violation of SOPs was not stopped. 

The Minister insisted that nothing was more important than the lives of people and the traders were advised to implement the designed SOPs religiously in order to protect everyone from the virus. 

People from different walks of life have expressed their apprehensions as the markets and commercial areas of Karachi in particular have been flooded with people ever since lockdown was relaxed on May 11.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Time to learn lessons from history

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

“Today the whole world is talking about various aspects of a common enemy COVID-19. Whatever the reasons, rationale or conspiracy theories on the subject, which are in abundance, the fact remains that we are obsessed by this monster.” 

This was observed by Senator Nisar Memon, a former federal minister, in his latest newspaper article.

“The fear is monumental because there is no medicine and vaccine but the positive aspect is availability of preventive shield which is simply to stay out of its possible contact by taking suggested precautions and isolation to insulate its entry into human body. So simple but yet not practiced, causing unprecedented halt!” he opined. 

“It is ironic, that while internationally everyone accepts it is a common war but yet the countries, states and cities are battling each other. China and USA, the two major economic powers though bruised by pandemic, do not see eye to eye on its origin. New York Governor has taken a course independent of Washington to fight pandemic,” he wondered. 

“The citizens in many countries are either defying government instructions like in most of our cities or are in streets protesting against continued lockdown like in Berlin. The scientists of different countries are researching in different directions and world bodies offering differing programmes,” the former federal minister added. 

“In this backdrop, let’s see how we are faring. Pakistan federal government with its civil and military administration in Islamabad is on one page, if voices of some cabinet members were to be ignored. Parliament is still under lockdown but the parliamentarians are contesting each other vehemently in media. Judiciary has scores of questions from executive to allow it to be counted on same page. Unfortunately, a divisive debate rages whether to save lives from COVID-19 or from hunger,” Senator Nisar Memon commented. 

“The federal and provincial governments, including the ruling party’s own governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, can be seen by all whether they are on one page or not. The business, trade and industry despite financial pressures have shown remarkable resilience to be on one page with provincial governments. Finally, the Ulemas came in to defy the government perceived to be weak is not a silver lining but ‘call to attention’ notice,” he remarked. 

“The intensity of COVID-19 sooner or later will recede but the world would have lost opportunity to be on one page in preparing itself for a peaceful and just world order with respect to Mother Earth and its children, the humans. In post-Coronavirus, people expect a new world order which is different from the one that emerged after World War I and II. The economic powers must concede their domineering role and neocolonialism; while developing economies must move away from aid, loan and support and ‘break the begging bowl’ if they wish to be sovereign,” he reckoned. 

“But if the world emerges out of COVID-19 without learning the lessons of history, a disaster of unimaginable magnitude compared to pandemic may emerge and therefore all efforts must be made to avoid it. Let the world reboot and move on to live with new economies with different means of production, trade, communication; and new human relationship with dependable health and education systems. Pakistan should shun deceit and petty politics and truly bring all on one page,” he urged.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Aina Ayyam-e-Iqbal’s 2nd edition published

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The second edition of a book, chronicling the illustrious career of the legendary philosopher and poet, Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal, titled ‘Aina Ayyam-e-Iqbal’ has recently been published by the Library Promotion Bureau (LPB). 

The book has been authored by Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, a former chairperson of the Library and Information Science department of the University of Karachi, while eminent intellectuals Dr Moinuddin Aqeel and Dr Farman Fatehpuri have contributed its foreword and preface respectively. 

The first edition of the book was published during the year of 1977 when the centennial birth anniversary was being celebrated with tremendous enthusiasm throughout Pakistan. 

The second edition of ‘Aina Ayyam-e-Iqbal’ is spread over 160 pages and the cover price of one copy of the book in Pakistan is Rs 350.

‘Aina Ayyam-e-Iqbal’ covers highlights of the personal, professional and political life of the Poet of the East and it has been regarded as a notable reference book about him.

Recalling Spanish flu, the worst pandemic in history

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

While these lines are being written the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, having taken the world by storm, has had 3,894,487 cases, causing 269,251 deaths while 1,332,687 people have recovered.

The clocks seem have turned back because there was a similar kind of pandemic almost a century ago which had devastated the whole world. 

Although there may be just a few survivors of the Spanish flu, which started in 1918 and ended in 1920, it’s still talked about as the most feared pandemic in human history. Many people thought those days that the world was on the verge of extinction. 

The Spanish flu had infected one third of the world's population, causing about 50 to 100 million deaths, equal to 3% to 5% of the population. Around 50 to 100 million people had perished worldwide died within two years and there was hopelessness and darkness all around.

Historically it was in September 1918 when the first signs of the impending disaster. 

The World War I was coming to an end and the jubilant people had assembled in England’s city of Manchester to greet Prime Minister Lloyd George at Albert Square. 

There was buzz and excitement as the Allied victory was being celebrated. But the evening turned sour when the Prime Minister suddenly had a sore throat, a high fever and lost consciousness. 

For the next 10 days, Prime Minister Lloyd George was isolated in a hospital room in Manchester. He could not walk and had to wear a breathing tube. 

The British press then hid all information out of fear that the Germans might use this to propagate the coup. Only the people closest to him knew how seriously ill the Prime Minister was.

The 55-year-old Prime Minister was fortunate to have survived many days of treatment but his people were not so lucky. 150 people in Manchester were reported to have died in just one week.

In 1918, the Spanish flu had killed 250,000 Britons. Young men, who did not die under gunfire of enemies, were getting killed by an influenza pandemic. 

About a century later, another sitting British Prime Minister of the same age, Boris Johnson, has survived a similar virus again after being in a very critical situation. Once more the people of Britain have died in large numbers. 

Going back to history, it was in May 1918, when King Alfonso XIII of Spain became infected, everyone still considered the Spanish flu a normal illness. They even told each other to gargle with salt water and quarantine themselves until the fever is over.

No one could imagine that in just two years, this flu would infect one third of the world's population, killing three to five times the number of soldiers killed during World War I. 

In the US, 28% of the population was infected and 675,000 died. Many Native American tribes were greatly affected, and even the Inuit and Alaska Aboriginal tribes were completely wiped out. 

50,000 Canadians were killed, 300,000 Brazilian people have died from the Spanish flu, including contemporary President Coleues Alves. In the UK, more than 250,000 people died while this figure in France is more than 400,000. In Japan more than 300,000 people died while in Indonesia as many as 1.5 million lives were lost.

India, under the British rule, was one of the countries to suffer the most when more than 17 million people died from the Spanish flu, equivalent to 5% of the total population.

Even in isolated countries like Tahiti, Samoa, Australia and New Zealand, the death toll was enormous. 13% of Tahiti's population died within a month. In Samoa, 38,000 people, or 22% of the population, was wiped out while 12,000 New Zealanders died in just six weeks. 

In 1919, when antibiotics and vaccines were not yet born, many believed that the Spanish flu would be the destruction of mankind, something that the world war had just ended. 

Despite its name, the flu had not originated in Spain. Because of this sensitive time, the World War I had just ended, so the warring parties were hiding information about the disease, making the neutral Spain become the first place in the world for the infected cases to be made public. 

The Spanish influenza had an extremely high infection rate of up to 50% and a mortality rate of about 10%-20%, while other types of flu were only about 0.1%. In particular, the main death victim of this flu was young people, aged 20-40 years old, who seemed to have the strongest immune system. 

The manifestations of the disease were hemorrhages in the nose, stomach and intestines, followed by hemorrhage and pleural effusion, causing the patient to drown by the internal fluids of their body.

Pakistan opts for partial lifting of lockdown from May 9

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Taking the cue from many countries in the region and in other parts of the world, having eased restrictions recently, Pakistan has also announced partial lifting of lockdown from May 9. 

“We have decided to partially open the lockdown on Saturday (May 9) just to facilitate the daily wagers and small businesses. We have to open the lockdown with great prudence. The success of this phase is linked with public cooperation and discipline,” Prime Minister Imran Khan declared said in his televised briefing, following the meeting of National Coordination Committee (NCC) on COVID-19, presided over by him, on May 7.

The meeting was attended by ministers for foreign affairs, economic affairs, information and broadcasting, federal education, aviation, industries and railway, advisors to the PM on finance and commerce, special assistants to the PM on health, information, overseas Pakistanis and social safety, and the National Disaster Management Authority chairman while the provincial chief ministers also participated in it using video link. 

Among the major decisions taken in the meeting included reopening of small markets in localities and rural areas, allowing businesses to open after Sehri till 17:00 hours, opening of selective OPDs (outdoor patient departments) at hospitals and closure of educational institutions until July 15. 

The partial lifting of countrywide lockdown from May 9 is meant to allow economic activity with strict adherence to safety measures by the people, who have been specifically advised to take all precautions at their workplaces and elsewhere to ensure their own protection and avert any sudden spike in the coronavirus cases.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Nisar Memon highlights Shanghai, SCO

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

“It is understandable to keep social distances amongst the people to fight COVID-19 but not amongst the countries vowed to cooperate against terrorism, separatism and extremism, the three evil forces. These are the objectives pursued by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) or Shanghai Pact; a Eurasian intergovernmental organization for political, economic, and security cooperation.”

This was observed by Senator Nisar Memon, a former federal minister, in his latest newspaper article. 

‘The SCO was founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001 by six countries. Shanghai symbolizes the political power with its history dating back to 1291, an economic showcase with gross domestic product in 2019 amounted to approximately 3.82 trillion Yuan (about US$ 541billion), is China’s biggest and richest city, and a naval base and shipbuilding industry where Pakistan’s F-22P Frigate was built Shanghai is the city which rivals New York or Paris in terms of modernity and boasts a blended culture of the East and the West and has come to be known as Oriental Paris,” he wrote. 

“The SCO countries like other countries of the world are confronted with terrorism of tiny virus COVID-19 since the dawn of this decade. Each of the eight SCO member country; the People’s Republic of China, The Republic of India, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan; has suffered pandemic in varying degree,” the former federal minister observed. 

“The People’s Republic of China successfully came out of it and is on its feet reaching out to all continents to help victims of COVID-19. In February 2020, the SCO rightly issued a statement supporting China’s efforts against the novel coronavirus outbreak,” he complimented. 

“There must be some inherent immunity and strengths in our people. Besides this pandemic, the region awaits peace and progress for its 3.2 billion inhabitants compared to the rest of the world population of 4.6 billion,” he added.

“Pakistan experienced, within SCO, terrorism of worst kind with terrorist attacks on headquarters of its Navy, Air Force, and Army headquarters; on its cities killing civilians; but the worst was brutal attack on its innocent children in a Peshawar Public School. With political and security determination and coordinated actions, Pakistan has controlled terrorism but not completely as yet,” Senator Nisar Memon noted.

“Pakistan has overpowered extremism like one witnessed when the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad were paralyzed by brute force at Faizabad, and Lal Masjid was turned into fortress with heavily armed extremists to fight the state. The need for institutional support from the SCO countries will bring fruits envisaged by pioneers of the alliance,” he opined.