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Showing posts from 2011

Christmas Celebrations in Pakistan

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Christmas celebrations are enjoyed world wide. I also was very eager to make some  reports on how christmas is celebrated in Pakistan. To fulfill my desire, I went to one of the oldest churches in Rawalpindi city, called the St. Pauls's Church, to cover a chruch service. This church service was organized almost fifteen days before christmas. The Pastor of church, Samuel Titus, told me that Christmas celebration start well before the actual Christmas date.
                     During the Christmas service, Pastor prayed for the prosperity of Pakistan and asked the affluent christans to help the unprivileged Christan families, especially those who want to send their children to schools but don't have enough funds. Many carols were also sung in memeory and praise of Jesus. But the best part of the service was the surprise appearance of Santa Claus. Santa came running in the church on lovely tunes of Jingle Bells. All the children got really excited to see the…

History Of Moti Bazar, Rawalpindi

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Moti Bazar is one of the oldest bazars in Rawalpindi city. It is  hub of business activities, many people visit it but only few are aware of its interesting history. I was fortunate to get to know some interesting facts about this lively bazar. Almost, 200 years ago, Satti practice was common in India.  Like any vibrant society, there were a group of people who were against this practie. Mr. Moti Lal Nohri, a prominenet sikh from Rawalpindi was one who spoke against this practice openely. To help widowed women, Moti Lal opened a centre for these women. In this centre women who were afraid that there families or their in laws would  burn them to death after their husbands death, took protection in this centre. Women would stich clothes, do embriodery on clothes and sell them outside their centre. This provided them some money to feed themselves. After partition , this centre was closed and the building was alloted to a school. So, next time if you happen to go to Moti Bazar, do visit …

Peace Award to Malala yousafzai from Prime Minister Pakistan

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Malala Yousafzai is a fourteen year old girl of Swat, Pakistan. She has recently been awarded the first National Peace Award of Pakistan. The award in future will  be associated with Malala's name. Between 2007 and 2009,  there was a military operation going on in Swat against militants. Militants were bombing girls's schools throughout Swat, and killing people who were favoring the military and government of pakistan.This was the time when people were shifting to other cities, when people had hidden themselves in their homes. But Malala was brave enough to talk to national and international media. She openely talked about girls education, how harmful bombing girls schools would be. She became a part of Newyork Times documentaries , A school girl's odyessy, and A class dismissed in Swat. She also was a regular writer for BBC Urdu website. On 20th Decemeber 2011, she  recieved Pakistan's first peace award, in recognition of her services to raise awareness about girl'…

U.S. not Freezing Military Aid to Pakistan

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I got a chance to interview Mark Stroh, spokesperson of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, for ARY NEWS. Following is the summary of the interview.

             The U.S. says its not cutting the military aid of 700 million dollars nor it is freezing the aid to Pakistan. The senate has passed a defence authorisation bill, which bounds Pakistan to cooperate with the U.S. in combating the IED's, which have been a primary sources of deaths of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. If the defence departement of U.S. sends a report to the congress that Pakistan is cooperating than the aid money will go to Pakistan. This bill will most likely be soon signed by President Obama, and than Pakistan would be bound to control the flow of IED's to Afghanistan. Experts of International affairs, here in Islamabad have been talking about a clear shift in Pakistan's policy regarding war on terror. So I asked Mark, what would be the reaction of the U.S. government if Pakistan withd…

Environment Friendly Handicratfs of Muzaffarabad, Pakistan

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We all know how hazardous can the plastic bags be to our environment. Burning them , releases poisonous gases, just throwing them away can cause sewage problems not only this, they can also be harmful for agricultural land. Yet plastic bags are commonly used in Pakistan and there is no proper mechanism to recycle them. On my recent visit to Muzaffarabad, I was pleasantly surprized to cover a project for ARY NEWS. This project is about utilising plastic bags to make useful household items. This project is sponsered by NGO,Idara e Taleem o Agahi, and the U.S. State department. Under this project, Tahir Alam, a school teacher, has guided girls of a local school of Muzaffarabad to weave plastic threads and make household items. By cutting the plastic bags in a certain way, the girls are able to get 9 yards of plastic thread. Girls have made useful items such as table mats, baskets, school bags and other decorative items by weaving plastic thead. The project head , Tahir Alam, says that t…

Beautiful Swat Valley

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On Tuesday 21st Sep 2010 Sarah, my friend who also works as a news reporter called me to join her on a day trip to Swat. I was a bit reluctant to accept the invitation as I had taken three days off with the Eid holidays to attend quite an amazing wedding in Peshawar. But somehow she convinced me and I was ready for an adventurous trip.

So early in the morning at around 7 we got in to a 20.5 million armored vehicle. This was World food program’s car.  We were traveling with them as media reporters to cover their projects in Swat. This seemed to be a cool, comfortable car and I was just excited to travel in an armored vehicleJ. Anyway we had a pretty good ride to Swat without any lunch break we went to a village where we met the WFP people, they served us food in a small village house. It was nice they served us fruit which they picked from the tree in their home. It was a very simple home, the women in that home couldn’t speak Urdu and the girls there had only studied ti…

GRANTING MFN STATUS TO INDIA

GRANTING MFN STATUS TO INDIA

Syed Asad Hussain is a leading economist of Pakistan and currently serving as Director SZABIST Islamabad. I had a discussion with him on what benefits Pakistan could achieve but giving India the status of most favourite nation or MFN. Here are some excerpts from the conversation.

  No country in the world is self-sufficient in natural and technical resources. To share these resources it’s important that countries trade with each other and get rid of unnecessary trade barriers. Trade between regional economic blocs such as ASEAN and NAFTA have proven to be successful. The volume of trade between Far East Asian countries is almost 193 billion dollars annually. The trade between countries in European Union is approximately 2000 billion dollars annually. The trade among countries in South Asia is only 9 billion dollars. Mexico and Canada are both one of the biggest trading partners of U.S. Despite be…

Memorable trip to Muzaffarabad, Pakistan

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Memorable trip to Muzaffarabad, Pakistan.

Muzafrabad is a beautiful city with great hospitable and beautiful  people. I feel lucky to have  travelled with staff of NGO Idara e Taleem o Agahi, Riffat and Sadia, to Muzafrabad. Riffat like me is a U.S State dept alumnui and since our last meeting I have done almost three reports with them.

     The road to  Muzafrabad is with sharp turns so if you are like me who  gets sick while travelling to hilly areas than you must take some good medicine so the nausea doesnt spoil your trip. It took us about three and a half hours to reach Muzafrabad. Our first destination was Pilot High School. This school was established in 1924 during Dogra rule, which makes it the oldest school of Azad Kashmir.  President of AJK Raja Zulqarnain has been a student at the same school. Idarae Taleem o Agahi wanted us to cover a small ceremony organized at the school to highlight a project in which young girls of a nearby village have made lovely hous…

Child Labor In Pakistan

This blog is about a small child Zeba who works as a domestic servant but is also a student at a loacl school in Islamabad.    Must watch this link and you can read the translation for better understanding.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMH6lv3slN0&context=C29836ADOEgsToPDskK24NyzohU1OEZsKaxmlWQB

Translation:

This is 12 year old girl Zeba. Because of poverty, she is forced to work at a home. As a child labor Zeba with her small hands sweeps, cleans the dishes and do other household chores. Despite working so hard at such a tender age, after cleaning she goes to a local school nearby her home run by NGO, Idara e Taleem o Aghai, where she doesnt have to pay any fee. . Zeba studies in grade 3. Zeba understands that only with proper education she can liberate herself from shackles of poverty and social injustices. Along with her studies she is also learning sewing so that in futre she is able to help her poor parents. ZEBA, "I want to study like others. I will not work…