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Strict security instructions for private schools

Improve security at educational institutions or face closure
Rawalpindi, Oct 29: Private educational institutions would be closed down, if they would not improve their security.

The decision to this effect was made in a meeting between District Coordination Officer (DCO) Imdad ullah Bohsal with the heads of private schools here on Wednesday.

The meeting was held in commissioner office in which CPO Rao Muhammad Iqbal, MPAs Malik Yasir Raza, Raja Muhammad Hanif, engineer Qamar-ul-Islam, Malik Iftikhar Ahmed, Tariq Kiani, EDO (Education) Malik Muhammad Ashraf, ETO IT Amjid Iqbal Bharo, DO Rescue 1122 and heads of private schools were present.

DCO said that circular would be sent to all the schools to appoint a teacher, as security officer, who should be familiar with all the students of his institute and all the schools and colleges should issue identity cards to their students.

DO revenue was appointed as focal person about the security issues on the behalf of district government. Whereas SP Sultan Ahmed Chadhar was appointed as focal person over security issues on behalf of police department.

During the meeting CPO Rao Muhammad Iqbal said, "We are forming the Mohalla committees after getting the names of known residents of the areas from the MPAs so that they could help the police and administration over the security issue."

The participants of the meeting also decided to urge the hotel owners to improve their security, which would be checked by survey teams.

MPAs would also arrange meetings with the imam's of local mosques and would brief them about the security so that they would inform their faithful during Friday sermons.

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Principal allied hospitals claimed innocence
Rawalpindi: Principal Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC) and In-charge allied hospitals Professor Dr Muhammad Mussadiq Khan claimed that none of the illegal appointments of doctors and quacks at District Headquarters Hospital was made through his office.

Referring to a statement of PML-N MPA Sarfraz Afzal alleging that the principal is responsible for the illegal appointments, Dr Mussadiq said that his office bears no record on appointments of unqualified persons as medical officers and illegal appointments of doctors at DHQ Hospital.

During an inquiry being conducted by anti-corruption department, Medical Superintendent of DHQ Hospital Dr Khalid Iqbal Malik, Medical Officer at the hospital Dr Bilal Arshad Butt, Director Finance at the office of Principal Abdur Rashid had been arrested for their alleged involvement in appointments of quacks as MOs at DHQ Hospital and for violating the service acts.

Three brothers namely Salahuddin, Naseeruddin and Allauddin, who are not qualified doctors, along with a staff nurse Riffat Shaheen were appointed as MOs at the DHQ Hospital. The three brothers have not even passed the SSC examination. Salahuddin was serving as Deputy Medical Superintendent before unearthing of the scam nearly three weeks back while Naseeruddin and Alauddin were posted as medical officers in the hospital in neurosurgery and ENT departments respectively.

Dr Bilal had resigned from the post of MO some two years back and joined an NGO, but later when the CM ordered to regularise the services of MOs on contractual basis, he was appointed as medical officer out of the way and the office of the principal issued his salary of the last two years amounting to over Rs324,000. Dr Bilal had been serving as DMS before his arrest. Two other doctors namely Dr Maryam Waqar and Dr Mobeen Akhtar were also appointed illegally as women medical officers at the DHQ Hospital.

Salahuddin, Naseeruddin, Allauddin, Dr Maryam and Dr Mobeen were appointed as MOs at DHQ Hospital by Punjab Health Department in April 2009, however, Dr Mussadiq claimed that only Riffat and Dr Bilal have withdrawn salary from his office. "Their salaries demand was sent to Director Finance at my office from MS of the DHQ Hospital and Director Finance submitted the demand to me after signing the documents," he said adding he did not suspect the DF and signed their salary slips.

It is important that Riffat had been withdrawing her salary as charge nurse through principal's office till May 2009, but from June onwards, she was given salary as Woman Medical Officer.

"The three brothers, the fake doctors, along with Dr Maryam and Dr Mobeen have never withdrawn their salary through my office," claimed Dr Mussadiq.

To a query, he claimed that none of the said doctors and quacks was appointed as MO at DHQ Hospital through his office instead the Punjab Health Department appointed all of them and did not sent any copy of their appointment to my office," he added.

An offer of contract appointment of Salahuddin as MO issued by the principal's office bearing his signature in the beginning of March this year.

It is important that the posts of MOs are advertised by the principal's office and Special Selection Board (SSB) exists for induction of staff at allied hospitals in BPS-17 and above. According to rules and regulations, the principal is the chairman of the SSB while other members include a member from Punjab Public Service Commission, a representative of the Punjab government, a retired professor and a professor from the concerned department.

The SSB interviews the candidates and the principal sends list of successful candidates to provincial health secretary who upon principal's recommendations appoints the MOs or officers in BPS-17 and above. Copy of the appointment latter is then sent to the principal for maintaining record.

"It is the responsibility of the principal to check/verify the lists of MOs prior to signing their salary slips," said a senior doctor serving at allied hospitals. Pleading anonymity, he said that the principal's office should have one copy of recommended lists and one copy of final selection/appointment of MOs.

He further alleged that Special Selection Board for selection of staff for allied hospitals or RMC in BPS-17 or above has never been made as per principles laid down.

Dr Mussadiq when asked said that Director Finance Abdur Rashid has been arrested because of his involvement in the matter. "I have received not a single show cause notice on the subject from the Provincial Health Department as yet," he claimed.

Provincial Health Secretary Anwar A Khan said that the inquiry being conducted by the anti-corruption department into the case is in progress. To a query, he said that his office is busy working on checking records of the officials serving under the Provincial Health Department.

"In the light of recommendations of the inquiry, we would be able to asses the position of the principal RMC," he responded to another query and added that so far they have found no reason to issue any notification to the principal.

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Methane reserves exploration urged
Islamabad: Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, former chairperson of Higher Education Commission (HEC), has said that methane could give much more energy than all gas and oil deposits in the world.

Dr Atta was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the three-day national seminar on "Challenges for Socio-economic Development in Pakistan: Role of Science and Technology" organised by the OIC Committee on Science & Technology (Comstech) along with Comsats and HEC here Wednesday.

Dr Atta observed that if we put all oil and gas reserves of the world on one side and methane reserves on the other side, methane would provide greater energy than other fossil fuels. He stressed the need to explore methane reserves in Pakistan's coastal areas.

Dr Shaukat Ali Khan, former member of Planning Commission on science and technology, said Pakistan needs a $300 billion investment to meet the country's energy requirements for the next two decades, and asked the government to make maximum use of alternate energy sources such as utilising wind power and coal reserves of the country.

Ali Bahadur of National University of Science & Technology said Pakistan imported 8.6 million tons of crude oil in 2005-06 costing $6.7 billion. He said the country would need 53 per cent more of it in the next two years for which we would give our hard earned money to the oil producing nations. He said the proven oil reserves in these countries are fast depleting and Pakistan needs to come up with a strategy to discover its alternate and indigenous sources of energy.

During deliberations, participants observed that energy is the lifeline of any economy, adding that Pakistan has 28.8 million barrels of proven oil reserves but is currently digging out only 64,000 barrels a day with a consumption level of 351,000 barrels a day. The shortfall of 82 per cent of the country's needs is being met by importing oil from abroad, said Faroha Liaquat, a scientist.

The seminar concluded with the closing remarks of Dr Anwar Nasim of Comstech, who thanked the participants.

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Classical music students mesmerise audience
Islamabad: An evening of classical music featuring students of the Classical Music Heritage Trust (CMHT) was held at the PNCA Tuesday evening and was attended by a select audience of music aficionados including parents and siblings of the young artistes.

Their guru and teacher, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan was also in the audience as were some of the founders of the CMHT as well as former boss of the World Bank in Pakistan, John Wall, who has been a great supporter of the CMHT and is visiting Pakistan these days. It was good to see that most invitees arrived on time and the fact that the programme began only a little late was also creditable.

Addressing the gathering founder member, CMHT, Iftikhar Rashid welcomed the audience warmly and said the reason to hold the concert was to instil confidence in the young students. He also announced that Sardar Asef had promised to come, however he was slightly delayed because of a meeting but they would start the programme and welcome him when he did - setting a good precedent of not waiting for VIP's to arrive. Praising the government for including art and culture in the next five year plan, something which had never been done before, he said the CMHT was formed entirely on their own initiative by seven music lovers to preserve and revive the dying tradition of classical music and its academy had passed on 10,000 man hours of lessons in classical music under the tutelage of Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and other maestros. Adding that this concert was their first exposure to an audience and he wished them well, he concluded by urging the audience not to applaud the young artistes in between their singing in case they were disturbed and went off beat but to applaud them heartily at the end of their performance to encourage them.

One of the students, Faheem Bangash, acted as anchor person for the evening and the programme began with Raja Riaz vocalizing raag 'bharvi' followed by Samad Ghafoor ('koshak dohani'); Natasha Eijaz ('bhem palasi') Yasir Abbas ('malkos'); Kanwal Iftikhar (jon puri); Saadia Mirza in a duet with another female vocalist whose name was not on the programme ('khamaj') Ahmed Jamal and Ateeq ('kandhara'); Ateeq Rifhat Soofizadah ('puriya dahnaseri'); Sijjal Ali Sadaqat ('darbari'); Faheem Bangash ('aeman') and Abbbas Ali Khan (bhagesheri). Each student followed the tradition of paying respect to his/her teacher by asking for his blessing and permission before starting to sing.

They were accompanied by Umeed Ali on the harmonium and Shahid Jimmy on the tabla with some students also acting as accompanists.

Needless to say the audience could not refrain from showing its appreciation and applauded the students in between their various musical overtures by clapping as well as voicing verbal accolades, so it was obvious that the performances were of a high standard - and it goes to the students credit that they did not miss a beat though their may have been a slight fluff here and there which was probably noticed only by the experts! While the formal side of the performance was enjoyable, even more so was the fact that the students sang as if they were really enjoying themselves - all had pleasant expressions on their face, something which makes listening to live music more enjoyable, the visual combining with the vocal to create a special kind of ambience for the audience.

In the end, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan said he had refrained from singing because it was the student's big day and thanked the CMHT for keeping alive the tradition of classical music at its academy and by arranging concerts. The news


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