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S&T Ministry Rs 500m scam | NCA graduates exhibition

Rs 500m scam unearthed in S&T Ministry
Islamabad, April 07: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Muhammad Azam Khan Swati on Monday claimed to have unearthed a major corruption scam of Rs 500 million in his ministry.

Addressing a press conference here at his ministry, Swati said he had thwarted a bid made by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) to buy a 36-year-old discarded boat for Rs 500 million.

"This scam was thwarted as I went to Dubai and hired an expert to evaluate the condition of the boat on my own expense. The expert said in his report that the boat was only an iron skeleton of no use," he said while unveiling the details to the journalists.

"On the one hand, our talented students are being denied their legitimate scholarships for PhD projects owing to the financial crunch and on the other hand, the countryís wealth is being misused. I would not let it happen," he said.

The minister said that taking strict action on the report, he had suspended Director General NIO Dr Rabbani and another official who had allowed the tenders for the purchase of the boat, adding that further investigation was in progress.

He said the objective of the purchase by the NIO was to use the boat for oceanography as Pakistan had recently extended its ocean limits from 200 Nautical Miles to 350. "The boat being purchased was manufactured in year 1973 while now-a-days it was being used for the purpose of a makeshift hospital for rescue purpose from the rough Sea. You can better assess the functioning of the boat as a ship manufactured in year 1982 awaits for wrecking at the Gadani Port," he said.

"I myself would submit a detailed report over the issue to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and also would reveal the names of those bigwigs of the government who hurled threats to me to restraint me from the investigation," he added.

Moreover, the minister said the NIO officials have shown ghost offices, ghost ponds, and ghost vehicles while Rs 35 million have been spent on renovation of the NIO building, which according to him, was still "crumbling".

Sharing the details of another department of his ministry, Swati said he was shocked to note that only 27 inspectors appointed by the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) were looking after the quality standards of all thousands of products across the country.

"How 27 inspectors could assess the quality of thousands of products? I have summoned a meeting of the PSQCA on Friday and would also address the issues so as the rights of 17 crore consumers of Pakistan are protected and the quality standard of the products could be evaluated properly," he added.

HEC holds workshops for editors of research journals
Islamabad: Higher Education Commission (HEC) in continuation of its efforts to improve the quality of research in Pakistan has scheduled four region-wise workshops of editors of HEC recognised journals.

In this regard, the first workshop of the editors of Islamabad and Rawalpindi region was held recently here at the HEC Headquarters. Ms Jenny Coghlan was the resource person for the event, who briefly defined the international aspects of indexing and abstracting the journals, and discussed famous and internationally recognised indexing agencies with the workshop participants. She also highlighted the process of peer review and getting the article reviewed internationally.

Prof Dr Riaz Hussain Qureshi, Advisor (QA & LI) HEC, and Prof Fateh Muhammad Malik, Rector International Islamic University, Islamabad, were also the key speakers of the event. After Ms Jenny Coghlan's, the editors were divided into two disciplines of Science and Social Sciences. The Science Journals Group was presided over by Ms Zia Batool, Director General (QA) HEC, while the Social Science Journal Group was chaired by Prof Fateh Muhammad Malik. The News

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NCA graduates open exhibition at Nairang Art Gallery
Lahore: Amna Tariq and Saba Khan, recent graduates of the National College of Arts (NCA), displayed their new works, prints and paintings at the Nairang Art Gallery on Monday.

Both artists have explored multiple politics of visual language and its diversity through their work. Amna uses multiple layers of paint and creates sensuous dialogue with the viewer while Saba's prints and drawings show her linear skills and her strong composition of shifting imagery.

Works: Saba's work is based on a disease called Alzheimer's, which leads to memory loss after brain damage. Her work becomes figurative but the thought process seems evident from the work. The colours are befitting and engage the viewers in their themes. Although the artist is not yet a veteran, her work is refined with a unique look to it. 'Displaced in Time'- one of Saba's works depicts the time battle that patients suffering from Alzheimer's go through. "I was reviewing Alzheimer's patients and tried to determine how the brain reacts under the influence of this disease," she said. Amna's paintings are interesting in terms of their meaning. Her work seems to be a comment on various things. 'Individuality Erased'- one of her works is a critique on women clad in burqas. It suggests that all women look alike when they are wearing burqas.

Personality: "My paintings show that there is no personality without a face". The painting portrays a human being without a face, an interesting idea that amused many. 'In Vain'- one of her works is based on the human bond that has weakened in the modern age. It suggests that everybody has a separate way to walk on thus rendering the internal human bond quite weak. Noted writer Bapsi Sidhwa inaugurated the exhibition. A total of 21 art pieces were put on display and the prices ranged between Rs 6,000 to Rs 28,000. The exhibition will remain open until April 17. Daily Times

Debate contest at GCU
Lahore: The Business Accounting and Finance Society of Government College University (GCU) hosted the 1st annual inter-varsity debate contest on current issues pertaining to finance and economics on Monday. According to a press statement, eight teams participated in the competition. Hina and Saba Mehmood of Hailey College of Banking and Finance (HCBF) were adjudged first and second and consequently they bagged the team trophy while Sara from Fast University got third position.

University of Central Punjab Convocation
The seventh convocation of the University of Central Punjab is scheduled to be held at Aiwan-e-Iqbal , Egerton Road, Lahore, on April 8, 2009. Punjab Governor Salman Taseer will be the chief guest while Lt Gen (Retd) Khalid Maqbool will be the guest of honour. The News

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