Friday, April 29, 2011

Amartya Sen questions the obsession with economic growth rates

Amartya Kumar Sen is an Indian philosopher, ec...Image via Wikipedia
"The steadily rising rate of economic growth in India has recently been around 8 percent per year (it is expected to be 9 percent this year), and there is much speculation about whether and when India may catch up with and surpass China’s over 10 percent growth rate. Despite the evident excitement that this subject seems to cause in India and abroad, it is surely rather silly to be obsessed about India’s overtaking China in the rate of growth of GNP, while not comparing India with China in other respects, like education, basic health, or life expectancy. Economic growth can, of course, be enormously helpful in advancing living standards and in battling poverty. But there is little cause for taking the growth of GNP to be an end in itself, rather than seeing it as an important means for achieving things we value."

Quality of Life: India vs. China by Amartya Sen | The New York Review of Books
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Good news: IMF says no to Pakistan

IMF Headquarters, Washington, DC.Image via WikipediaA high level delegation of Pakistan's economic and financial minders has been turned down by the IMF for additional funds. While some may think it as a negative outcome, I believe this is a great news. I hope that sooner than later all lenders stop extending loans and grants to Pakistan.

Such a move would lead to very tough economic times in Pakistan. However, without such drastic measures, there is no hope of Pakistan ever being able to become economically sustainable.

Pakistan has borrowed, begged, and manipulated its way out of the economic mess for the past six decades. The time has come for Pakistan to find its own solutions for its own problems.

Read further details of the IMF visit in a story by Dawn's Anwar Iqbal.

Pak team returning without money | Newspaper | DAWN.COM
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

If only they'd listen


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry said on Saturday the oath of the armed forces called for true allegiance to Pakistan by upholding the Constitution and by keeping away from political activities.

“I am persuaded to say this (because) during my talks with one or two very high-ranking officers, I discovered that they did not know the implications of the oath taken by the troops of Pakistan,” the chief justice observed in an address to a delegation of officers of the Command and Staff College, Quetta, at the Supreme Court building here.

Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry administers...Image via Wikipedia

CJ asks military to keep away from politics | Newspaper | DAWN.COM
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Friday, April 15, 2011

There will be violence, you can always count on Karachi

A view of Karachi downtown, the capital of Sin...
Image via Wikipedia
Already, the Census has become controversial in Pakistan. The exercise of conducting Census is so rare, that there seldom develops an institutional or socio-cultural memory of how to hold a census.  Last time around, armed men took away by force the entire paper version of the census data collected in Quetta, Baluchistan.
This time around the violence and controversy is in Karachi where two enumerators have already died collecting Census data. The concern is about gerrymandering and the complainant is the ruling party itself! Usually the sitting opposition raises hue and cry about the excesses of the government. In Pakistan, it s the other way around where local politics conflicts with provincial and national issues.
KARACHI: Taj Haider, the Head, Census Monitoring Committee, Pakistan Peoples’ Party, Sindh/Coordinator to Chief Minister Sindh has written a letter to provincial Chief Secretary, Census Commissioner and others drawing their attention to massive irregularities in house-count phase of national census in Karachi.
“We request you to kindly take notice of the gross irregularities being committed in the Census work in Karachi. An immediate corrective action from the government is required to save the entire exercise from collapsing altogether,” he stated in the letter.
According to him the widely reported complaints are as under:
1. Arbitrary and illegal changes have been made in the boundaries of blocks, circles and charges. These delineations were made in 2002 by the Election Commission and although we have serious reservations on these, the mala fide in the new changes is obvious and worsens the situation. Old boundaries of charges, circles and blocks along with their old numbers may please be restored. If due to increase in population new blocks have to be created, these may be within the old boundaries and numbered after placing an oblique (/) sign after the original number. (Example 115/1, 115/2 if two blocks have to be created in block 115).
2. The maps being used do not show demarcation of houses. Latest digital maps showing house demarcations prepared most scientifically by the Orangi Pilot Project covering the entire city are available with the government. We propose that these accurate maps should be used to ensure that every household is enumerated.
3. There are serious objections on arbitrary selection of enumeration staff. Unfortunately two persons belonging to the staff have also been killed. It is proposed that enumerators should be taken only from the Education and revenue departments of the Government of Sindh to maintain uniformity revenue departments of the Government of Sindh to maintain uniformity and transparency all over the province.
4. Widespread interference of the TMOs of different towns has been reported. In many cases entire Census work is being carried out in the offices of TMOs.
5. It is proposed that Town DDOs should centralize the work in their offices and be responsible for all actions taken by the enumeration staff.
6. A large number of houses including the house of the Census Commissioner himself remain without enumeration. It may be necessary to extend the period of the house enumeration phase. We propose that this period should be extended till such time the exercise is completed to the satisfaction of all stake holders.
7. The law for enumeration of houses should be strictly and uniformly followed. At many places single families have been given 2/3 numbers. At others buildings have 15/20 flats have been given a single numbers. All these anomalies should be minutely examined and corrected.
8. The secrecy provision in the Ordinance of 1959 violates the “Right of access to information” of the Constitution and the objectives of keeping the Census transparent. Census now being a part of the Legislative List II is to be jointly administered by the Federation and the Provinces from the platform of the CCI. Change in the ordinance to bring it in line with Constitutional Provisions and ensuring transparency should be put on the agenda of the CCI on priority. In the meantime a Website to show the collected data should be designed so that the entire information is available to the citizens as soon as the Law is amended.”
Copies of the letter were also sent to Asif Bajwa, Secretary, Statistical Division, Islamabad, National Census Commissioner, Islamabad and Census Commissioner, Sindh.
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Turkish doner kebob served with the Taliban sauce

PL-4785Image by Community Eye Health Journal photos via FlickrIt is slowly going to dawn on the American policy-makers that it is impossible to sideline the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, the Pushtuns. The other important lesson for the Americans to learn is that the Taliban now hold sway over most Pushtuns in Afghanistan. This fact is not lost on Afghanistan's neighbours, Pakistan, and Iran, and others in the region including Turkey.

Thus the Turkish offer to recognize Taliban as a political force in Afghanistan and Pakistan's endorsement of the Turkish offer represent the fast-evolving balance of power in Afghanistan.

The fact that the Taliban are a  regressive force may not be a dominant concern for the neighbouring powers who are now occupied more with restoring normalcy in the region that has suffered significant political turmoil resulting in the the death of hundreds of thousands of Afghanis, Pakistanis, and others. A large number of those killed or injured are civilians caught in the crossfire between the murderous ideologies pursued by the Taliban and the NATO.

The hubris-laden defense policy pursued by Americans and the NATO may soon be exposed for its shallowness and shortsightedness when NATO's departure from the region would restore the balance in the Taliban's favour. One must then ask the question about the utility of a policy that achieved nothing but destroyed the lives and the livelihoods of one of the most deprived people on the planet.

Pakistan would back Taliban office in Turkey: official | World | DAWN.COM
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Friday, April 8, 2011

Gwadar: Pakistan's new Great Game

Gwadar: Pakistan's new Great Game | Rina Saeed Khan | Comment is free |

For centuries, Gwadar has also been a smuggler's paradise – it was once infamous for its human trafficking in slaves and it is still a place where illegal immigrants are smuggled into the Middle East and beyond. The idea had been to capitalise on its location, but the dream of Gwadar remains just that. Pakistan's strategic location as a gateway to the oil and gas riches of central Asia means that it will remain a battleground for competing interests for the foreseeable future. The Great Game continues well into the 21st century.

Sesame Street comes to Pakistan | World news | The Guardian

Sesame Street comes to Pakistan | World news | The Guardian
US government aid agency sponsors $20m Pakistani remake of the American kids' TV show
Sesame Street characters
    Sesame Street characters Ernie, Bert, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby and Zoe. Many will be dropped from the Pakistani version. Photograph: Kathy Willens/AP
    There's no Cookie Monster, no Big Bird and no Count von Count. But Pakistani children will soon start experiencing what millions in the west have done for more than four decades – the joys of Sesame Street. In a $20m (£12m) remake of the classic American children's programme, the setting for the show has moved from the streets of New York to a lively village in Pakistan with a roadside tea and snacks stall, known as a dhaba, some fancy houses with overhanging balconies along with simple dwellings, and residents hanging out on their verandas. The Pakistani version, in which characters will speak mostly in Urdu, will feature Rani, a cute six-year-old Muppet, the child of a peasant farmer, with pigtails, flowers in her hair and a smart blue-and-white school uniform. Her curiosity and questions about the world will, it is hoped, make her a role model for Pakistani children. The financing for the series comes from USAid, the economic assistance arm of the US government, which aims to help the country's young learn some basic words and numbers through Sesame Street's fun style of education. Pakistan's schooling system is failing badly, a major reason for a descent into religious conservatism and economic stagnation. Elmo, the cheerful monster toddler from the original, will be in the Pakistani version, with new local personality touches. But other American favourites such as Count von Count – a lovable vampire who would rather count telephone rings than answer the phone – will make way for local characters in SimSim Humara ("Ours"), the Pakistani edition. The programme, which will start filming this summer in Lahore and begin airing in the autumn, is targeted particularly at deprived children outside the big cities and will be shown on the national state broadcaster, PTV, so it should be available even in the smallest village. Following the Sesame Street formula, each show will pick one word and one number to highlight. "The idea is to prepare and inspire a child to go on the path of learning, and inspire the parents of the child to think that the child must be educated," said Faizaan Peerzada, the chief operating officer at the Lahore-based Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, which was awarded the commission for the project in collaboration with Sesame Workshop, the creator of the American show. "This is a very serious business, the education of the children of Pakistan at a critical time." The show will have strong female characters and carry an implicit message of tolerance but will feature no pro-American propaganda or overt challenge to hardline religious sentiment. Under Barack Obama, US civilian assistance to Pakistan has tripled to $1.5bn a year but the money does not seem to have made much obvious impact. The Pakistani Sesame Street could turn out to be the most visible American aid project in Pakistan in recent years. The $20m US grant will produce the Pakistani Sesame Street for four years, with 78 episodes in Urdu and 56 in regional languages, a radio show, mobile TV vans to show the programme in remote areas and a travelling Muppet roadshow. Some will criticise the expenditure on a TV programme, but it aims to reach 3 million kids, many more than the same sum spent on school building. The Muppets will also be used to front public service messages on issues such as health, which aim to reach 95 million people. "Teaching kids early on makes them much more successful when they get to school. And this programme will have the capacity to encourage tolerance, which is so key to what we're trying to do here," said Larry Dolan, director of the education office at USAid for Pakistan. "In terms of bang for the buck, reaching 95 million people is pretty important. This is much more than a TV programme, far more ambitious than a Sesame Street series."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

جب میاں بیوی راضی، تو نکاح پڑھے گا قاضی

جب میاں بیوی راضی، تو نکاح پڑھے گا قاضی

And then there is hope in Pakistan ....
An 84-year-old man married a 76-year-old woman near Bhowana on Wednesday. Raksa Lakki resident Aslam, 84, and his seven children took a barat to the house of Bano Begum, 76. The bride’s seven children gave her away at the wedding and the entire village celebrated the occasion.

No age-limit on love – The Express Tribune
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Plagiarists academics in Pakistan

‘Plagiarists’ get key UET posts | Newspaper | DAWN.COM
From Dawn.Com:

‘Plagiarists’ get key UET posts
By Mansoor Malik | From the Newspaper

LAHORE, April 6: The University of Engineering and Technology Syndicate has appointed alleged plagiarists as chairmen of the Electrical Engineering and City and Regional Planning (CRP) departments.

Both the professors have also been blacklisted by the Higher Education Commission on the grounds that the UET, Lahore had not taken appropriate action against them in the light of the Plagiarism Policy. Their names figure on HEC website’s Plagiarism Policy page under the title “Black List of Faculty members”.

The UET Syndicate meeting, chaired by vice-chancellor Muhammad Akram, last month confirmed the appointment of Prof Dr Naeem Ayyaz and Prof Dr Shabiul Hassan Zaidi as chairmen of electrical engineering and CRP departments, respectively.

Electrical Engineering Department’s Prof Dr Suhail A. Qureshi, who himself is facing plagiarism cases, has written a letter to the vice chancellor as well as Syndicate members to review their decision of appointing the two blacklisted professors as chairmen. The Syndicate members might have been kept in the dark, he pointed out in the letter.

The UET VC says the case of Prof Ayyaz is lying with the plagiarism committee while Dr Zaidi’s plagiarism case has been received and the Syndicate has yet to issue charge-sheet against him. “The Syndicate members were of the view that the appointment of both departments’ chairmen has been lying pending for long and needed to be decided in favour of those holding look-after charge,” he says.

Sources (in the university) said the UET Syndicate had violated its decision wherein it had stated that no faculty member facing plagiarism inquiry would be appointed as chairman of a department.

The appointment of both faculty members as chairmen, sources said, was not on regular or even current agenda of the Syndicate. They also revealed that the Syndicate meeting held last month was not attended by the representatives of the Higher Education Commission, the Punjab Assembly, the Chancellor’s Office and the Lahore High Court.

The varsity VC says Prof Qureshi, who himself is facing plagiarism charges, is “conducting research on various faculty members’ research work” to divert the administration’s focus from his own case.

The VC admits the university had received 10 plagiarism cases – five each against faculty members and students. He says the cases of all the students and one faculty member – Electrical Engineering Department’s Associate Professor Hafiz Tahzeebul Hasan – have been decided.

The Syndicate had found that the research paper of Hafiz Tahzeebul Hasan contained mostly plagiarised material and thus the charge was confirmed. Imposing penalty, the Syndicate asked him to refrain from publishing plagiarised research papers in future. He was also directed to publish withdrawal of his research paper and an apology in the new Horizons, an IEEE Pakistan journal, in which his paper was published.

The five students were charged with submitting plagiarised MSc theses and the Plagiarism Standing Inquiry Committee (PSIC) found that their works contained mostly plagiarised material and “charge of plagiarism was proved against them without any shadow of doubt”.

The Syndicate had on May 31, 2010, directed the students – Muhammad Salman Kahleeq, Syed Nazar Sardar Zaidi, Ashiq Husain Haral, Shahzad Sarwar Gishkori and Sidra Javaid – to improve their respective theses by removing plagiarism or re-write them within one year to the satisfaction of their departments. They were also asked to refrain from plagiarism in future.

Referring to the plagiarism cases against Prof Dr Suhail Aftab Qureshi, the vice-chancellor told Dawn the PSIC had investigated and found that eight research papers of Prof Qureshi contained mostly plagiarised material. He said Prof Qureshi continued to claim credit for his tenure-track appointment on the basis of research publications, two of which had been proved plagiarised.

He said Prof Qureshi also produced three plagiarised publications including one published in 2008 after getting tenure-track appointment, which was a flagrant violation of the HEC Plagiarism Policy and conduct unbecoming of a teacher under PEEDA Act 2006.

Gen Akram said the Syndicate in view of his length of service in the university took a lenient view and reverted him to basic pay scale (BPS) of the post of professor as it was at the time of appointment on tenure track. It also asked him to withdraw the plagiarised research papers and publish an apology in the journals which published the papers.

He was also asked to refund all financial benefits and debarred from sponsorship of research funding; travel grants; supervision of PhD and MSc students except those currently being supervised; and fellowship or any other funded programme for three years.

As for the charge of misuse of university research grant by Prof Qureshi, the “Syndicate also considered the issue of Research Grant amounting to Rs700,000 drawn in 2006 and 2008 by Prof Qureshi for innovative research project titled Generating Electrical Energy from Electrostatic Vibration.

The plagiarism committee report said the project was of 12 months duration but Prof Qureshi did not make any significant progress, although he had spent more than Rs625,000 on the research project. However, he published two plagiarised research papers titled “Design of Electrostatic Vibration to Electric Energy Conversion” and “Electrostatic Vibration to Electric Converter” which were shown in the progress report of the Directorate of Research Extension and Advisory Services.

The Syndicate said the issue was whether an expenditure of Rs700,000 could be justified on plagiarised results or the funds had been misused/misappropriated. Meanwhile, Prof Qureshi denied his signature on this report but in January 2010 (during inquiry) he got another extension of one year for the completion of this project. Therefore, the Syndicate noted, the plagiarism committee decided not to further advance its investigation on this charge and recommended to proceed against him under PEEDA Act 2006 through another committee.

The Syndicate unanimously decided that the PSIC should complete the ongoing inquiry on this charge and submit the final report on the expiry of extended period for this project. Accordingly, the matter was referred back to the PSIC for further consideration of the case in the light of the above directions of the Syndicate and submission of final recommendations to it.

The VC said the cases against Prof Dr Naeem Ayyaz and chemistry department’s Prof Dr Inamul Haq were with the plagiarism committee.

Complainant Prof Qureshi, however, alleges that the cases against Prof Ayyaz and Prof Haq have been lying pending for over a year and are deliberately being delayed, while cases against him were executed in the shortest possible time.

Prof Haq, who was appointed as convener of PSIC, was himself accused of doing PhD on the basis of a plagiarised thesis. The varsity’s Director General Research had stated that there were some evidences of plagiarism committed by Prof Haq.

Prof Haq has also been named among the HEC blacklisted faculty members. Three of the six faculty members whose names figure in the list belong to the UET, Lahore.

The VC also said a plagiarism case against Prof Dr Shabiul Hassan Zaidi was received but he had yet not been issued a charge-sheet by the Syndicate.

Meanwhile, after the complaint of plagiarism against Prof Haq, the UET Syndicate has re-constituted a three-member Standing Plagiarism Committee comprising Mechanical Engineering Department chairman Prof Dr Hameedullah Mughal (convener), School of Architecture Director Prof Dr Abdul Rehman and Institute of Environmental Engineering and Research’s Prof Dr Tauseef Ahmad Qureshi.

Iranian refugee sets himself on fire in Amsterdam

Asylum seeker commits public suicide by self-immolation in Holland - Monsters and Critics
Amsterdam - A 36-year-old asylum seeker from Iran died Thursday from injuries suffering from setting himself ablaze in front of tourists the day before in Amsterdam, police said.

According to witnesses, the victim was involved in a shouting match with some English-speaking tourists on Wednesday. Suddenly warning bystanders to move away, he then set his clothing on fire with a lighter. He was taken to hospital, where he later died.

Police said they had no reliable knowledge as to the motive for the act. It is thought the man, whose asylum claim had recently been rejected for a final time by Dutch officials, had deliberately chosen the Dutch National Monument in Dam Square as the site of his suicide.

Bomber attacks top police official's residence in Quetta

The law and order situation in Pakistan's Baluchistan province has worsened to the extent that suicide bombers are now attacking the residence of top police official.

In the latest attack, a suicide bomber drove an explosive laden vehicle to the residence of the deputy inspector general (DIG) of police in Queetta. The attacker shot and killed the guards at the entrace of the residence, drove in, and blasted the explosive-laden vehicle. Scores died in the incident. The DIG survived the attack, but was injured nevertheless.

The conflict between Pakistan's security apparatus and the Baluch nationalists has led Baluchistan to the state of civil war. Baluch tribes have taken up armed resistance against the State after decades of slow or no economic development in Baluchistan.

There can be no military solution to the socio-political mess in Baluchistan. The cycle of violence in Baluchistan has spread into other parts of Pakistan as well where Baluch and Pushtun youths are attacking civilian targets in prosperous provinces of Punjab and Sindh.

High-handed military-based alternatives have failed in Baluchistan in the past and are likely to fail in the future. The way out of this mess is a more equitable distribution of resources amongst the provinces in Pakistan where provinces enjoy greater autonomy in determining their own political and economic course.

‭BBC Urdu‬ - ‮پاکستان‬ - ‮خود کش حملہ: ایک ہلاک، ڈی آئی جی زخمی‬

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Comparing BBC and Voice of America

Word clouds are common features in English text. Their use in Urdu is rare. I have taken the text from the front-page of Voice of America’s web site on April 5 and generated a word cloud from it. The output is presented below.


For BBC, the word cloud looks very different in terms of what is being highlighted as news on its Urdu service page.


The Cricket World Cup is more prominently displayed on BBC website than on VoA. BBC lists words such as final, word cup, Afridi more prominently. Whereas VoA lists Bhutto’s anniversary, Yemen, firing and industrialist frequently. Interestingly, BBC Urdu Service mentions Bharat as frequently as it does Pakistan. Whereas VoA mentions America and American more frequently after Pakistan.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The miscounting Census in Pakistan

The Census in Pakistan was planning to count multiple units in an apartment building as a single dwelling unit. This would have certainly affected the housing census counts in the cities where high rise units are becoming increasingly popular.

Even though the decision has been reversed, it suggests that Census is being conducted by those who may not have any past experience in the field. Perhaps, Pakistan may want to hire some Census officials from India who have recently completed the World's second largest Census.

Census body’s about-turn over house count unit | Newspaper | DAWN.COM
Census body’s about-turn over house count unit
By Habib Khan Ghori | From the Newspaper
April 2, 2011

KARACHI, April 1: In a step aimed at removing misgivings about the housing census, the Pakistan Census Commission has changed its decision of listing each residential apartment complex as one unit, citing that every flat will now be counted as a separate unit.

Reliable sources told Dawn on Friday that a formal notification in this regard was likely to be issued by the commission within 48 hours so that all enumerators were informed about the decision before the beginning of the first phase of census on Tuesday.

The decision of counting each flat as a separate housing unit is made after lawmakers expressed their scepticism over the census process during an hours-long briefing given to them by Chief Census Commissioner Habibullah Khattak, Federal Statistics Secretary Asif Bajwa and Joint Census Commissioner of Sindh Farooq Baloch.

Earlier, MQM Parliamentary Party leader Syed Sardar Ahmad during an assembly session had protested over the amendment made to the census rules, saying that it would be considered a deep conspiracy against millions of families residing in multi-storeyed flats.

When his comments were sought on the decision on Friday, Mr Ahmad said that the amendment was ridiculous and if they had revisited their decision it augured well for a fair census.

Regarding the shortage of staff for enumeration that was also pointed out during the briefing, the sources said that if the shortage of staff was felt in any city or district, the DCO and DDO Revenue concerned would increase the number of enumerators from the reserved manpower of five per cent being trained for the purpose. They said that the staffers would have completed their training by the time the housing census began.

Meanwhile, officials of the census commission gave a briefing to the DCOs, EDOs for Revenue and Education and DPOs from Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Mirpurkhas, Badin, Tando Allahyar, Tando Mohmamad Khan, Matli, Matiari, Mithi and Jamshoro at a meeting called by Chief Secretary Abdus Subhan Memon on Friday.

The participants of the meeting were informed that the EDO and the DDO Revenue would be officials in charge of the population census in their respective districts.

The chief secretary directed the officials concerned to fully cooperate with the census officials and if any officer was found guilty of negligence, action would be initiated against them.

He also asked the DCOs to notify the sensitive areas and provide necessary security to the census personnel for discharging their duty without any fear.

“If they face any problem in discharging their duty, it should be brought immediately in the knowledge of the relevant higher authorities so that it is solved,” he said.

JI objection

However, the Jamaat-i-Islami has expressed concern over the census process to be carried out under the supervision of town administrations.

According to a statement signed by ex-lawmakers Muzaffar Hashmi, Laeeq Khan, Nasrullah Shaji, Hameedullah Advocate and Yunus Barai, the town administrations included many workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement whose political affiliation was known and fairness of the census process could not be expected if the census was carried out under their supervision.

This would jeopardise the entire exercise, they said, demanding that all political parties be made part of the census exercise. They added that such persons should be posted whose impartiality was beyond doubt.

Murderous suicide bombers play havoc in Pakistan

After an attack on a sufi shrine in DG Khan in Pakistan that left almost 50 dead, another suicide bomber killed at least eight more in Dir.

Days earlier, it was reported that Fazlur Rahman, a hardline religious politician who backs various Taliban outfits, was also targetted twice by the suicide bombers. He escaped unhurt. Scores others who died in the attacks were not as fortunate as the conservative politician from DI Khan.

Teenaged suicide bombers in Pakistan expose the ills resulting from the social and economic collapse in Pakistan. In the absence of any foster care programs, the orphanages do not have the capacity to deal with orphans or abandoned children in Pakistan. The religious schools operated by the Jihadis are the only place where orphans and abandoned children find temporary refuge. While an overwhelming majority o religious schools provide education and shelter to such children, other religious/militant outfits turn such children into fodder for war. This exposes the rot in the society in general and in the conservative sections in particular.

Suicide bomber kills eight in Lower Dir | Provinces | DAWN.COM
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ADB Backs Rail Project for Banglore

Map of Bangalore MetroImage via WikipediaInternational Development - ADB Backs Rail Project in Indian City

The Asian Development Bank has approved a $250 million loan for the construction of a metro railway system in Bangalore, one of India’s fastest-growing cities.

The loan will go toward the Bangalore Metro Rail Transit System Project. It will partly finance 42.3 kilometers of rail track, rolling stock, stations, and equipment for two key routes in the city.

The overall metro rail project is the first of its kind in South Asia to be funded by ADB. It is expected to reduce road congestion and pollution and provide the city with a safer, faster and more fuel-saving transportation system.
Read more development aid news.
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

54% Pakistanis face `multi-dimensional deprivation`: UNDP

54pc Pakistanis face `multi-dimensional deprivation`: UNDP | Newspaper | DAWN.COM

"ISLAMABAD: About 54 per cent of Pakistani population is facing a “multi-dimensional deprivation” — lack of basic necessities like education, health and good standard of living — as the country fell two steps down to the 125th position on the world index of human development compiled by the United Nations."

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I million babies could be saved by having more midwives

One in three women worldwide gives birth without expert help, a study from UK charity Save the Children suggests.

It said if a global shortage of 350,000 midwives were met, more than one million babies a year could be saved.

BBC News - Midwife shortage costing lives, says Save the Children