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Book-reading culture | Spring Splash 2012

Book-reading culture on thewane
Islamabad, April 17: The book-reading culture in the society is on the wane as the high prices of books are discouraging the people from reading.

It is deplorable that the people have distanced themselves from books which help promote civilised behaviour and discourage extremist thinking patterns.

These views were expressed by Abdul Hameed, Chairman, Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) on Sunday while addressing a press conference on the eve of National Book Fair that is being organised in connection with 'International Book Day'.

He said; "It is high time to promote book culture and help the book market flourish so that violent fundamentalism can be countered effectively.

'International Book Day' is being celebrated on April 23 while in Pakistan it will be held on April 22. The PAL has been arranging national book fairs for many years. The book festival commencing on Monday (today) will continue till April 20. A large number of publishers from across the country will participate in the fair.Chairman PAL said that a number of other activities like Mushaira, folk music and seminars will also be held to mark the day.

He said that the PAL had invited people from various walks of life and also requested universities, colleges and schools to encourage the students to attend this five-day activity.

Along with publishers, some leading NGOs would also set up their stalls at the book fair to avail themselves of the opportunity to reach a large gathering of educated people from all age groups under one roof, he informed the news men.

He said that the book fair not only would offer a chance to the readers to buy books on reduced prices but also provide the publishers with an opportunity to learn about readers' interests.

According to the schedule of the five-day national book fair announced by Chairman PAL, federal minister Qamar Zaman Kaira will inaugurate the event on April 16. A Mushaira will be held on April 17 at 4:00pm in the chair of Tauseef Tabassum while Sajjad Babar from Peshawar and Sultan Sakoon from Abbottabad will be the chief guests.

On April 18 at 4:00pm, a folk music in collaboration with Punjabi Adabi Parchar will be held. Ghulam Shabbir from Chiniot, Irfanullah Sagir from Multan, Kamran Essa Khailvi from Mianwali and Muhammad Imran (violinist) will perform on the occasion.

A Mushiara (poem recitation) will be organised on April 19 at 4:00pm. Aftab Iqbal Shamim will preside over the event while Dr. Ishan Akbar and Sarwat Mohayyudin will be the chief guests.

The closing ceremony will take place on April 20 at 11:00am. Federal Minister for National Heritage and Integration Samina Khalid Ghurki will be the chief guest of the ceremony. Dawn

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Spring Splash 2012 starts with lively events
Islamabad: The Spring Splash 2012 kicked off at the Preston University here on Monday. Students of different universities took part in 'Naat', Painting and Sketching competitions in addition to a cultural dress show.

The gala stretched over a week would provide an opportunity to students to unleash their creativity and potential to the utmost and participate in healthy competitions other than academics. The festivity would provide students with a chance to unwind, showcase their creative self to have a respite from their strict academic schedules.

The inter-university gala includes plethora of events, including competitions of 'Naat', Sketching, Painting and a Cultural Dress Show, which were held on Monday. The other events include bilingual debate, comedy skits, singing competition, T20 cricket tournament, football, badminton and table tennis competitions.

The universities which participated in the 'Naat' competition included International Islamic University, Islamabad; Hamdard University, Islamabad; Federal Urdu University, Islamabad; SZABIST, Islamabad; Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad; University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore; Pir Mehr Ali Shah-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi; and Preston University's Islamabad, Kohat and Lahore campuses.

The 'Naat' competition started with the recitation of Holy Qur'aan. Afterwards, students mesmerised the audience with beautiful 'Naats' to pay homage to Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).

In the 'Naat' competition, Samam Mumtaz of the Pir Mehr Ali Shah-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, received first position. Second position in this competition was awarded to Zarmeena Yasmeen from the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore. Afshan Shaheen from the International Islamic University, Islamabad, won third position.

Dr. Qari Muhammad Younus, who was chief guest on the occasion, distributed prizes among the position-holders. Preston University Chancellor Dr. Abdul Basit was also present on the occasion. Skills of the participating students in 'Naat' recitation was highly appreciated by Dr. Qari Muhammad Younus and Dr. Abdul Basit.

In the painting and sketching competitions, the theme was 'The Unseen Realm of Fairy Folks' and 'Little Hands for Books not for Tools'. Three hours were given to students to compete in these events. Students brought out the best from their imagination to the sheet and canvas to comply with the themes.

The universities which competed in the painting and sketching competitions were Hamdard University, Islamabad; International Islamic University, Islamabad; Federal Urdu University, Islamabad; Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad; Foundation University, Rawalpindi; and Preston University's Islamabad, Kohat, Peshawar and Lahore campuses.

In the painting competition, first position was grabbed by Ayesha Abbas of the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. Sadia Anwar of the Preston University, Islamabad, was awarded second position. Safia Shaheen of the Foundation University, Rawalpindi, obtained third position.

In the sketching competition, first position was grabbed by Arusha Javed of the Preston University, Islamabad. Amna Athar of the Foundation University, Rawalpindi, was awarded second position. Third position went to Faiza Nadeem of the Preston University, Islamabad.

Last but not the least, in the cultural dress competition students attired in different cultural dresses showcased the same attitude synonymous to that culture. The theme of presentation was 'Life's a Label' that lasted 5 to 8 minutes only. The show spoke volumes about the traditions that are synonymous to that culture in which boys and girls presented their cultural dresses while walking on the ramp. The students of Preston University also presented hip-hop dances prior to the cultural show, which were appreciated by the audience amidst cheers and deafening whistles.

The universities that took part in the cultural dress show were Foundation University, Rawalpindi; Pir Mehr Ali Shah-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi; Islamia College University, Peshawar; and Preston University's Islamabad, Kohat, Peshawar and Lahore campuses.

In the cultural dress competition, first position was won by the team of Preston University, Islamabad. Second position was won by the team of Islamia College University, Peshawar. The Foundation University, Rawalpindi, stood third in the competition.

Mir Shahjahan Khetran, managing director of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), was the chief guest at the award distribution ceremony of cultural dress, painting and sketching competitions. He appreciated the performance of students in the competitions. He particularly lauded the excellent performance of students who stood first, second and third in their respective competitions. Khetran congratulated Preston University Chancellor Dr. Abdul Basit for organising the gala.

Dr. Basit congratulated students of the winning universities in the three competitions. On the occasion, he expressed the hope that the participating universities would continue to sponsor their students to compete in such events organised by the Preston University.

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Professors of medical field get awards
Islamabad: Adviser to the Ministry of National Regulations and Services Shahzada Jamal Nazir gave away awards to professors, who showed excellent performance in the medical field.

The event was organized at the conclusion of a workshop where more than 100 professors from across the country were trained as inspectors and conveners for inspection of medical and dental colleges under the PM&DC Ordinance, 1962.

Pakistan Medical and Dental Council and Higher Education Commission jointly organized the training workshop.According to PMDC Registrar Dr Nadeem Akbar, the training has equipped professors with knowledge of new quantifiable accreditation standards of medical and dental colleges developed by PMDC.

"PMDC accreditation standards have been acclaimed worldwide and the US has formally declared PMDC accreditation standards to be comparable to the US standards," he said.

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Village school kids spread message of tolerance
Islamabad: On an invitation extended by the Islamabad chapter of East-West Centre Association, the students of 'House of Light,' a village school located at a 45-minute drive from Islamabad on way to Simli Dam, visited gallery 6 to view its inaugural show '66 Statements.'

As many as 20 students of class five visited the gallery with their art teacher and principal. All of them appeared to have an eye for art. They paid close attention to all the artwork, whether painting, drawing, print, photograph or sculpture. They discussed the imagery of the paintings in relation to their personal observations. Their eyes beamed with excitement and they surprised not only the gallery staff but also their accompanying teacher with their intelligent comments. It seemed as if they were regular visitors to art galleries.

"Look how much this mother loves her child," commented a girl viewing a painting by Ali Abbas. A boy observing the transparent paintings of Masood A. Khan asked his fellow students: "Isn't it like the message on our classroom wall 'Learn to see what is hidden from eyes.' They not only loved the sculpture by Nusrat Mangi, in which a man is washing a cow in a pond, but also admired the symbolic work of Jamil Baloch. In a chorus, the students read out 'Ayatul Kursi,' which was aesthetically painted in the works of Arif Khan. It was not only astonishing to see their involvement in art, but also in the message of each painting and the technique behind it.

Some were impressed with the pointillism technique used by an Australian aboriginal painter, while others discussed the mixed media of Musarrat Nahid Imam. During the walk-through, the students started discussing about experimenting different techniques themselves. On completion of the round, when the curator of gallery 6 Dr. Arjumand Faisel asked them whether they could guess how many artworks were on display, the response was '85,' which came in a chorus, indicating their sharp observation as the last art work was numbered 85.

At that point, a girl student from the House of Light shared the objectives of the school with the audience, prominent among them being NCA teacher Aqeel Solangi and his students. "For our school, the secret of success of a nation lies in social harmony and the secret to social harmony lies in tolerance. The children of our school will grow up to face the challenge of establishing a tolerant, just and ethical society in which Pakistanis of all colours and creeds are free to practice their customs and religious beliefs and yet feel they belong to one nation that believes in democracy and in scientific and social progress-a nation where the welfare of the people is paramount," she said with confidence, spell-binding the audience.

The students also presented national songs, a dance, and the poetry of Allama Iqbal. As a token of appreciation of their interest in art, well-disciplined attitude, intelligence and high aims projecting tolerance and harmony, the EWCA chapter leader presented each one of them with a gift hamper. The students were overjoyed to see paint boxes, room decoration stickers, classroom accessories, chocolates and chips as their gifts.

Saadia Qaiser, the principal of the school, its art teacher Shahla Rafi, and Raja Qaiser, the man behind the initiative, thanked the gallery and EWCA for providing such exposure to children from under-privileged communities. These students come from families who cannot even afford to send them to government schools.

Located in Pind Bhegwal, the House of Light was established in 2006 for children from very underprivileged communities by a dedicated group of people under Horizon International Trust. It started with pre-class one and currently has 150 students up to class five. A few weeks from now, class six will start in a tent. School uniforms, books, materials and even pick and drop from homes is provided free of cost to every child and no fee is charged for tuition and other services. Previously, meals were also provided but have been stopped due to shortage of funds.

Horizontal International Trust has managed to raise donations for land, but is making efforts to raise an endowment fund for expansion of the classes. People wishing to support the effort can deposit their donations in favour of the trust, account no. 01-6450652-01, Standard Chartered Bank, Saudi-Park Tower branch. Interested people may also personally visit the school or contact Raja Qaiser by dialling (0300 8503359).

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Jackonites celebrate World Health Day
Rawalpindi: To commemorate World Health Day, which is celebrated every year on April 7, the students of Jack and Jill Montessori and High School celebrated World Health Day here on Wednesday. Each year a theme is selected for World Health Day that highlights a priority area of concern for WHO.

The topic of World Health Day-2012 is 'Ageing and Health' with the theme 'Good Health adds Life to Years'. The focus is how good health throughout life can help older men and women lead full and productive lives and be a resource for their families and communities.

World Health Day is a global campaign, inviting everyone - from global leaders to the public in all countries - to focus on a single health challenge with global impact. Focusing on new and emerging health issues, World Health Day provides an opportunity to start collective action to protect people's health and well-being. An impressive programme was organised by the school by highlighting the need for healthy lifestyle, which is necessary for a healthier life. The students through their speeches highlighted the daily rituals of cleanliness as well as the inclusion of healthy food that play an integral part in shaping up a healthy life of an individual. The chief guest on the occasion was Bushra Javed. She was a lecturer in psychology, then she moved on to television and Radio Pakistan as a newscaster and then for many years she conducted all time favourite programme on forces of Pakistan 'Fauji Bhayon ka liye' and different programmes on current affairs.

Jack and Jill School Principal Tahmeena Malik, while speaking on the occasion said that although her school is small, but it has always taken big initiatives in creating awareness regarding core social issues of life. She said that this initiative seeks to stimulate a global movement addressing the core issue of health. "Health not necessarily means a good physical condition but it means an induction of a healthy lifestyle, which in the longer run adds quality to your life," she said.

Bushra Javed speaking on the occasion said that healthy lifestyle from the beginning of life is key to a healthy and active life. "Lifestyle merely means good habits and a good pattern of life so that when you grow old you have a quality life. We need to inculcate three things in our daily routine, which is exercise, diet and positive mental attitude towards life and people. A healthy mind ensures healthier body because our mind orders our body to work on specific task so if the mind is stressed with fatigue, insecurity or negativity our bodies will have the same affect on them. There are many people who cannot face the realities and shy away from them and live in their own fantasy world," she said. The news

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