Bangladesh and Pakistan

By Prof. Dr. Sajid Khakwani

Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma (Myanmar) to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south. The capital (and largest city) is Dhaka, which is the hub of all cultural, political and religious affairs. Together with the Indian state of West Bengal, it makes up the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal.

It is a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the D-8 and BIMSTEC(Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sector Technical and Economic Cooperation), and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Bangladesh is a unitary state (governed as one single unit ) and parliamentary democracy. Direct elections in which all citizens, aged 18 or over, can vote are held every five years for the unicameral parliament. Currently the parliament has 345 members including 45 reserved seats for women, elected from single-member constituencies. The Prime Minister, as the head of government, forms the cabinet and runs the day-to-day affairs of state. While the Prime Minister is formally appointed by the President, he or she must be an MP who commands the confidence of the majority of parliament. The President is the head of state but mainly a ceremonial post elected by the parliament. The Constitution of Bangladesh was drafted in 1972 and has undergone 14 amendments. The highest judicial body is the Supreme Court. Judges are appointed by the President.

Bangladesh pursues a moderate foreign policy that places heavy reliance on multinational diplomacy, especially at the United Nations. In 1974 Bangladesh joined both the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations and has since been elected to serve two terms on the Security Council in 19781979 and 20002001. In the 1980s, Bangladesh played a lead role in founding the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in order to expand relations with other South Asian states. Since the founding of SAARC 1985, a Bangladeshi has held the post of Secretary General on two occasions.

Bangladesh enjoys relatively warm ties with the People’s Republic of China which has, particularly in the past decade, increased economic cooperation with the South Asian nation. Between 2006 and 2007, trade between the two nations rose by 28.5% and there have been agreements to grant various Bangladeshi commodities tariff-free access to the Chinese market. Cooperation between the Military of Bangladesh and the People’s Liberation Army is also increasing, with joint military agreements signed and Bangladesh procuring Chinese arms which range from small arms to large naval surface combatants such as the Chinese Type 053H1 Missile Frigate.

A major source of tension between Bangladesh and India is the Farakka Dam. In 1975, India constructed a dam on the Ganges River 18 km from the Bangladeshi border. Bangladesh alleges that the dam diverts much needed water from Bangladesh and adds a man-made disaster to the country already plagued by natural disasters. The dam has had terrible ecological consequences. There are so many other sources of tension between the nations. India has voiced concerns about anti-Indian separatists and Islamic militants. The same two factors are bone of content in between Pakistan and India. India has ever disliked country for all the neighboring countries.

Bangladesh is among the countries most prone to natural floods, tornados and cyclones. Also, there is evidence that earthquakes pose a threat to the country. Evidence shows that tectonics have caused rivers to shift course suddenly and dramatically. It has been shown that rainy-season flooding in Bangladesh, on the worlds largest river delta, can push the underlying crust down by as much as 6 centimeters. Bangladesh is now widely recognized to be one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Natural hazards that come from increased rainfall, rising sea levels, and tropical cyclones are expected to increase as climate changes, each seriously affecting agriculture, water & food security, human health and shelter. It is believed that in the coming decades the rising sea level alone will create more than 20 million climate refugees. Bangladeshi water is contaminated with arsenic frequently because of the high arsenic contents in the soil.

Being members of OIC Pakistan & Bangladesh are two brother countries. The people of both of the countries are one nation and have very strong bonds of Muslim brother hood. Pakistan and Bangladesh are part of Sub-Continent; due to this territorial relativity both of the countries have almost same interests to meet and same challenges to face. Especially Pakistan & Bangladesh are not in the good books of India. In several times India has given tuff times to the both of the brother countries and these two countries have very good and ideal relations with China. So with the same interests and same challenges, same enemy and same friend are some of the so many common matters of friend ship between Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Former military leaders express anguish, sorrow over Joseph Colony incident

Rawalpindi, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association (PESA) on Friday expressed deep anguish and sorrow at the inhuman destruction of Joseph Colony at Lahore terming it lowest form of governance.

This was observed in a special meeting of the Executive Council of PESA held to discuss some of the serious issues that are vital to integrity and sovereignty of the country.

The meeting observed that Joseph Colony attack was a repeat of Gojra carnage with a difference that no life was lost this time.

Mass killings of Hazaras amount to ethnic genocide, the former military leaders said, adding that inaction against the culprits and cash awards to the affected people cannot wash the humiliation caused to Pakistan in the international community.

Religious leaders should spread the principles of human values, equality and freedom that are most cherished by Islam. Objectives Resolution also guarantees that fundamental right and the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed and any violation must be dealt with a firm hand, they opined.

PESA members appreciated the independence and courage shown by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in going ahead with preparation of revised nomination papers despite non-approval by the President.

They lauded the prompt support extended by the Supreme Court. However real test of the ECP will be implementation of the conditions prescribed under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. Real change can only come when individuals with tainted past are weeded out right from the start, the former military strategists said.

PESA office bearers expressed concern over the on-going Anti-Army campaign through some selected electronic and print media. Its sole purpose is to destroy integrity and strength of the force that is engaged in defending countrys geographical and ideological frontiers and the national values.

Thousands of officers and soldiers have sacrificed their lives in fighting the extremist elements who want to enforce their own version of Islam. It is a matter of great satisfaction that despite this anti-Army campaign, the masses retain their total faith in the Armed Forces and look up to them as true defenders of the Republic.

The PESA members expressed surprise at policies of some of the TV channels, who spare no occasion to blame past military rulers for all the problems but at the same time they are giving almost daily coverage to political ambitions and programme of General Musharraf.

Musharraf flagrantly violated the Constitution, brought ignominy through misadventures like Kargil, Lal Masjid and tragedies of Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto and Sardar Akbar Bugti.

His unconditional submission to USA on just one phone call brought the war on terror inside Pakistan. On the economic front, through his inaction over building the Neelum Dam he has caused threat of perpetual loss of Jhelum River to Pakistan which could render Punjab into a desert, they said.

As a citizen of Pakistan, Musharraf should be free to return home but at the same time he should face the cases that are registered against him.

It was decided to hold a news conference to details about the conspiracies and plans of certain powers to not just destabilize but also break up Pakistan as one nation.

Tehsil Dar Office, Pabbi, Nowshera Inaugurated

Nowshera, 19 March 2013: Tehsil Dar Office in Pabbi, Nowshera was inaugurated by His Excellency Lars-Gunnar Wigemark Ambassador of the European Union. He was accompanied by Mr. Marc-André Franche, Country Director, UNDP Pakistan.

The floods in 2010 and 2011 caused unprecedented destruction, submerging one-fifth of the country and affecting close to 20 million people. For recovery and restoration of communities in flood-affected districts across the country, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Pakistan launched a US$90 million Early Recovery Programme (ERP). The European Union contributed US$20 million to this programme. This programme is among the largest early recovery and restoration programme carried out by UNDP.

120 buildings have been reconstructed and rehabilitated comprising local administration agriculture departments, livestock, health, education and revenue offices. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, 26 buildings were rehabilitated and reconstructed including 17 revenue, agriculture, education, livestock and local administration offices. The buildings have been reequipped with printers, desktop computers, registered softwares, photocopy machines and furniture.

The Early Recovery Programme (ERP) covered 4,000 villages across the country benefiting more than 5.5 million people in 29 most-affected districts, across the four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir by rehabilitating the communities and building their resilience from future disasters. The ERPs interventions created temporary employments benefiting 1.3 million people through cash for work schemes to primarily rehabilitate community based infrastructures (e.g. roads, bridges, culverts, and irrigation canals). 1.7 million people have been supported in restoring affected communities livelihood opportunities resulting in significant increase of local economic development and agricultural based income generation. 10,494 community organizations members have been capacitated in disaster risk management and planning, through provision of tailored needs trainings and advocacy programs, resulting in the establishment of early warning systems and risks mitigation plans. Those organizations have helped to build foundations for the affected communities to continue improving their living conditions, with increased resilience. 1,042 Community Based Disaster Risk Management Committees have been established and trained in community disaster risk management and planning. The programme restored 60 micro-hydro power units and established 2,000 biogas plants to provide communities with access to alternate energy. Additionally, solar water pumps, street lights and heaters were also introduced in the affected communities. 1,912 disaster resilient and energy efficient houses handed over to communities. Assistance was provided to the government institutions to establish one window operations through which more than 4,000 individuals were helped to receive legal documents lost during the floods. These range from birth certificates and national ID cards, to marriage certificates and landownership documents.

The UNDP, in coordination with the Government of Pakistan, national and international partners, local authorities and institutions, and communities across the country, sought to support the millions of survivors recover from the devastating floods, linking relief to recovery and paving the way for meaningful development. Working in all of the flood-affected provinces and regions, and adopting a multi-dimensional and integrated approach, UNDP supported the most vulnerable in the worst affected areas, including women, children, elderly and disabled people.

India crossed all limits of cruelty, Says Geelani

Srinagar, MTT News Desk: In Occupied State of Jammu & Kashmir (OSJK), the Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Syed Ali Shah Geelani has said that India and its puppet authorities in OSJK have crossed all limits of cruelty in Kashmir by resorting to killings, frequent arrests, use of pepper gas and ransacking of residential houses.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who is under house arrest in Srinagar after his arrival from New Delhi on Thursday, in a media interview via phone said that arrests, curfews and restrictions could not weaken the Kashmiris resolve for their fight against Indian repression.

The battle we are fighting is between truth and injustice. History is testimony to the fact that truth has always prevailed. I am sure victory will be ours, the APHC Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani said.

Geelani aid that Kashmir is witnessing the fallout of the secret hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru that a youth from Pulwama was murdered at Hyderabad in India and another youth was killed in cold blood in Baramulla town.

He said, Everybody is aware of the treatment meted out to me in New Delhi. I was put under house arrest for 19 days. Such were the restrictions on me that policemen stayed inside my room for 32 hours.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani said that Indian army is not only on the killing spree in Occupied State of Jammu & Kashmir (OSJK) but also arresting minors and even ransacking the public property.

Geelani said that the blood of martyrs would not be allowed to go waste.

The Tahreek e Hurriyat (TeH) spokesman, Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ganai, in a media interview said that Indian armed forces have arrested Kashmiri youth and an aged man Muhammad Yasin Malik for raising pro-freedom slogans on the arrival of Syed Ali Shah Geelani at the Srinagar airport. He strongly condemned the arrests and the highhandedness of police.

In the meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Freedom League (JKPFL) and the Jamaat e Islami of Occupied State of Jammu & Kashmir (OSJK) have said that the Indian government and its puppet authorities are suppressing the people of Kashmir through use of brute force.

The DFP spokesman in a statement issued in Srinagar said that the Kashmiris demand for return of mortal remains of Muhammad Maqbool Butt and Muhammad Afzal Guru from New Delhis Tihar Jail to the territory was gaining momentum with every passing day but the authorities were trying to suppress the legitimate and democratic demand of people by dint of force.

The JKPFL spokesman in a statement issued in Srinagar condemned the killing of a youth, Tahir Ahmad Sofi, in Baramulla by Indian troops with indiscriminate firing and arrest of students by the Indian police. He said that such tactics could not demoralize the people of Kashmir and they would continue their struggle for securing their right to self-determination till complete success.

He appealed to the international human rights organisations to impress upon India to stop its state terrorism in the Occupied Kashmir, OSJK. He also urged the United Nations to take serious and solid steps for peaceful settlement of the lingering Kashmir dispute.

The Jamaat e Islami of OSJK in its statement strongly denounced the arrest spree started by the Indian authorities in OSJK. It said that hundreds of innocent people mostly youth had been apprehended and they were being subjected to physical torture in various police stations and interrogation centre.

The Jamaat also condemned the house arrest of the Chairman of APHC, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, on his return from New Delhi. It said that all these actions were anti-democratic and symbol of autocracy. It demanded an immediate halt to Indian state terrorism in the territory.

Govt’s will, ability to import Iran gas questioned

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) on Thursday voiced doubt over governments determination and ability to ensure import of Iranian gas through multi-billion-dollar pipeline.

Governments tall claims to relieve country of energy crisis by importing natural gas from Iran remained confined to statements for public consumption and they woke up to the issue days before assemblies are scheduled to be dissolved which has raised doubts among many, said Farida Rashid, President IWCCI.

She said that all the statements of leading politicians claiming to reject US pressure on pipeline are aimed at gaining popularity and add to the problems of the next government as Pakistan is ill prepared to afford US confrontation.

Why government did not initiate the project soon after coming to power which would have helped revive economy and why now everything is being done with an amazing speed, she questioned.

Farida Rashid said that US would never allow Iran to increase its presences, income and influence in the region. She do not want to see a stable Pakistan too, the president of the womens chamber added.

Many experts have rejected the tall claims of the government at a time when country is heading towards a default.

Pakistans balance of payment situation has become highly unstable, forex reserves are at unsatisfactory level while country cannot pay for imports for more than two months.

In such a situation when almost every sector of the economy is limping how can Pakistan avoid a minimum of 9-10 billion dollar loan from the IMF which can be provided only on the behest of US, said Farida Rashid.

Pakistan can never have reliable energy supply from Iran unless US stop looking at the project from a political angle and start considering it imperative for survival of Pakistan.

Farida said that handing over Gwadar port to China was a laudable decision that may have something to do with fresh wave of terror across the country.

Pakistan’s Ranking on the travel and tourism competitiveness index 2013

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: Pakistan has shown slight improvement on the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013. The biennial report, published under the theme, Reducing Barriers to Economic Growth and Job Creation, sees considerable movement in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Indexs 14 pillars in terms of Pakistans performance according to the fifth Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, released today by the World Economic Forum.

Amongst the areas, where Pakistan showed poor performance are policy rules and regulations dropping ranking from 106 in 2011 to 120 this year and prioritizing of travel & tourism, which secured 131 in 2013 as compared to 121 in 2011.

Pakistan showed improvements in the areas of human resources, where the indices on education and training have improved to the rank of 125 this year to 134 in 2011, similarly availability of qualified labor showed an improvement of 79 in 2013 as compared to 100 in 2011, an indication of a return of skilled labour force from middle east and other countries.

Other area where policy, rules & regulations impacted Pakistan was the business impact of rules on FDI ranking, which deteriorated from 73 in 2011 to 94 in 2013

The war on terror has impacted the countries travel and tourism competitiveness, in terms of the safety and security pillar; Pakistan was ranked at business costs of crime and violence (128), road traffic accidents/100,000 population (101) and business costs of terrorism (139).

Pakistan showed lack of attention and prioritization of the travel and tourism in 2011/12, ranking 131 out of 140. The poor performance of railways and the quality of railroad infrastructure also deteriorated in the last two years where Pakistan scored 65 this year as compared to 55 in 2011.

Governments policy on the information technology and telecommunications also showed lack of focus as the Report signifies that the ICT use for business-to-business has dropped from 103 to 115 from 211 to 2013 respectively. The performance of the regulatory body for ICT also showed an alarming figure, where Pakistans lost 20 ranks in 2013 as of 119 as compared to 99 two years ago.

In an effort to improve the revenue stream, governments in Pakistan have also the mid-to-long term interest of the travel and tourism industry, the price competitiveness in terms of the extent and effect of taxation the country lost 23 ranks in the last two years and ranking on 68 now.

The quality of education system showed an improvement by ranking 74 this year as compared to 87 in 2011 among 140 countries globally. The country also showed flexibility in hiring and firing practices, thus showing a competitiveness advantage by securing the ranking of 21.

On the cultural resources pillar, although Pakistan still maintains its competitiveness advantage, Pakistan lost its ranking of 29 to 39 in 2011 and 2013 respectively on the no. of world heritage sites. Similarly Pakistans position on number of international fairs and exhibitions at 88 in 2011 has been dropped to 117.

Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer of Mishal Pakistan, the country partner institute of the Center for Global Competitiveness and Performance, World Economic Forum said, that the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index covers 140 countries and uses a combination of data from publicly available sources, international travel and tourism institutions and experts. It also incorporates the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum and its network of partner institutes. Mishal being the country partner institute of the Center for Global Competitiveness and Performance of the World Economic Forum works closely with the Forum for data on Pakistan. The survey provides data on many qualitative institutional and business environment issues.

As well as providing insight into how countries are fostering the development of their travel & tourism industry, the report also offers a snapshot on the health of the industry and its role in driving global economic growth. With travel and tourism accounting for one in 11 jobs globally, the report highlights that the industry has proven resilient during the global economic downturn and can be a key factor in paving the way for developing and emerging markets to diversify into higher value economic activities.

Switzerland, Germany and Austria lead the world in terms of their travel and tourism industry competitiveness with Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Canada, Sweden and Singapore completing the top 10.

Among developed economies, New Zealand and Japan improved strongly; the former climbing to12th from 19th and the latter moving up eight positions to 14th. Emerging market economies reported mixed levels of progress, with India being the only BRIC nation to move up in the rankings. In this category, rising stars include Panama, climbing from 56th to 37th, and the Philippines, which climbed from 94th to 82nd on the back of policy improvements supporting the industry.

Industry resilience has been driven by the growth of the middle class in emerging markets, although advanced economies too are displaying positive momentum. Better policies, harnessing technology and facilitating the movement of people over borders will allow the industry to capitalize on this tailwind and support rising prosperity into the future, said Jennifer Blanke, Chief Economist and Head of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network at the World Economic Forum.

The travel and tourism industry has weathered the global downturn and is now playing an important role in helping tackle serious global challenges, including youth unemployment, economic development and environmental sustainability. The challenge for the industry and its stakeholders today is to maintain this powerful contribution to economic growth and employment, while continuing to proactively pursue the shared goals of facilitating global travel and tourism and protecting host cultures, identities and environments, said Thea Chiesa, Director, Head of Aviation, Travel & Tourism Industries, World Economic Forum.

The reports cross-country analysis of the drivers of competitiveness in travel and tourism provides comparative information that is useful in business decision-making and supporting policies of governments wishing to improve their travel and tourism environments.

In addition, the report includes contributions from industry experts. Several chapters explore issues such as how visa facilitation can play a role in stimulating economic growth; the importance for policy-makers to leverage local competitive advantages to thrive in a volatile environment; the impact of the tourism sector on employment creation; and how the connectivity that aviation sector creates sustains economic development.

The report also contains detailed country profiles for the 140 economies featured in the study, including a comprehensive summary of their overall positions in the Index and a guide to the most prominent travel and tourism competitive advantages and disadvantages of each. Also included is an extensive section of data tables covering each indicator used in the Indexs computation.

The World Economic Forum produced the report in close collaboration with its Strategic Design Partner, Booz & Company, and its Data Partners, which include Deloitte, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Mishal Pakistan and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The Forum also received important feedback from Industry Partners in the effort, namely Airbus/EADS, BAE Systems, Bahrain Economic Development Board, Bombardier, Delta, Deutsche Lufthansa/Swiss, Embraer, Etihad Airways, Jet Airways, Hilton, Lockheed Martin, Marriott, Safran, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and VISA.

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is tied to no political, partisan or national interests.

OIC urges for Kashmir settlement as per UN mandate

Geneva, MTT News Desk: The Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu has sought settlement of the Kashmir dispute on the basis of UN resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

According to Kashmir Media Service, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu addressing the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council expressed concerns over the arrest of the entire Hurriyet leadership in occupied Kashmir by the authorities. He reaffirmed the OICs commitment and support for the Kashmiris struggle for right to self-determination.

Later, a delegation of the true representatives of Kashmir including Barrister Abdul Majeed Tramboo, Altaf Hussain Wani and Sardar Amjad Yosuf met the OIC Secretary General, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu on the sidelines of the 22nd session of Human Rights Council and apprised him of the Indian state terrorism in the occupied territory.

Barrister Tramboo commended the outstanding work of the OIC in supporting the people of Kashmir. He also commended the OIC for its Cairo Summit resolution on Kashmir, which was passed in the 12th session of the OIC Summit earlier this month.

He raised the issue of Afzal Gurus hanging and the letter that was sent to him by the ICHR-KP seeking his support in the global condemnation of the tragic execution. The OIC Secretary General assured Barrister Tramboo that the OIC would help address the issue.

Altaf Wani also discussed the issue of Afzal Gurus hanging and expressed concerns over the continued detention of the APHC leadership. He urged the OIC Secretary General to raise the issue within the Muslim world.

Sardar Amjad Yosuf briefed the OIC Secretary General on the continued firing across the ceasefire line by India, which has left local residents injured. He urged the OIC to consider providing humanitarian aid to the victims of the broken ceasefire, on both sides of Kashmir.

Pakistan-Turkey cooperation in defence to be further enhanced

Ankara, MTT News Desk: Turkish President H.E. Mr. Abdullah Gul today received a Pakistani defence delegation led by Federal Minister for Defence Syed Naveed Qamar who is visiting Ankara on the invitation of his Turkish counterpart. The Turkish President stressed that the existing strategic partnership between Pakistan and Turkey provides an excellent opportunity for joint ventures between the defence industries of the two countries.

Syed Naveed Qamar agreed with the Turkish President that both countries could jointly produce defence products in their respective countries that will help in technology transfer and will generate economic activities. He commended the excellent cooperation between the defence establishments of the two countries. He noted that both countries take pride in their armed forces which have many complementarities and strong traditions of close cooperation. The Turkish President also referred to the regional situation and said the whole world recognizes the sacrifices that the people and defence forces of Pakistan are making in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

Earlier, Syed Naveed Qamar held a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mr. Ismet Yilmaz. Upon arrival at the Turkish Defence Ministry, the Pakistani dignitary was presented a guard of honour. Both sides agreed to raise the level of High Level Military Dialogue Group, which is an institutional mechanism for boosting defence ties between the two brotherly countries. The Turkish Defence Minister referred to the project of midlife up-gradation of F-16 aircrafts of Pakistan undertaken by Turkish Aerospace Industries and termed it as a symbol of excellent defence cooperation. Syed Naveed Qamar referred to a recent agreement of building a fleet tanker for Pakistan Navy by STM of Turkey and said this is a best model for our future defence cooperation.

Mr. Murad Bayar, Undersecretary of the Turkish Defence Industries also called on the visiting Pakistani Minister. They discussed various proposals related to joint production of defence projects and took stock of the ongoing defence project.

Young Pakistani mathematicians awarded

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: Eighty students representing different government and private schools of Islamabad and Rawalpindi who participated in the first National Inter Schools Math Olympiad (ISMO) were awarded cash prizes and certificates worth four hundred thousand rupees.

The ISO titled, Pakistan Seeks Al- Khwarizmi, was held on Jan 27th, 2013 at all the branches of PakTurk Schools across the country in which some 16500 students participated representing over 500 schools.

The students of class 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th took part in the competition while 722 were selected for rewards due to their mathematics skills.

Eighty students out of 2500 contestants representing different schools of twin cities bagged cash prizes worth four hundred thousand while rest of the 642 winning students would get rewards in ceremonies to be organised in nine other cities of Pakistan.

Those who received prizes included Abdul Moeed Ijaz, a class VIII student who was recently declared Al-Khwarzmi of Pakistan for his brilliance in mathematics.

Those who spoke on the occasion included Mr. Unal Tosur, PakTurk International CAG Educational Foundation, MD PakTurk Mr. Fesih Celik, Director Education Kamil Ture, Ebubekir Haspolat, Ahmet Efiturk and others.

They said that not a single competing student filled ISMO forms manually which means that usage of internet has become very popular in Pakistan. ISMO is getting popular to an extent that now parents have started demanding ISMO coaching classes and tuition centres which is encouraging, they added.

We are in continuous process of upgrading ISMO software to help provide better education to Pakistani students ensuring high quality human resource which is most meaningful investment in future of this brotherly country, they informed.

They said that we are developing learning tools with local content for the sake of Pakistan and trying to reach out students from correct angle.

Throwing light on the selection and checking process they said that there was only one case of equal marks among thousands of contesting students.

They said that we are not moved by monetary consideration but by deep-rooted and centuries old ties between both brotherly countries.

PakTurk will continue to invest in the future of Pakistan, the speakers promised.

Geelani detention is illegal, says Dal Khalsa

Amritsar, MTT News Desk: The Amritsar-based Sikh organisation, Dal Khalsa, has strongly condemned the continued house arrest of the Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Syed Ali Shah Geelani in New Delhi as illegal and unjust.

The President of Dal Khalsa, H S Dhami, in a statement issued in Amritsar while demanding immediate release of Syed Ali Shah Geelani expressed serious concern over the silence of so called Indian civil society and eminent human rights activists over the issue. He said that the government of India had stooped too low to gag the voice of Kashmiri people.

He urged the United Nations Human Rights Council, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to intervene and take stock of the restrictions on the APHC Chairman.

He said the Indian government was highly mistaken if it considered that by detaining Gilani it could break his resolve for carrying forward the struggle for Kashmiris right to self-determination.

Dhami also urged Indian Home Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, to restore the civil, political and human rights of Geelani immediately and allow him to be with his people and Family members.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani is visiting Delhi for his medical treatment but the Indian government is keeping them under house arrest even in Delhi and not allowing him to lead the ongoing Quit Kashmir Movement.

While talking to the visitors, Syed Ali Shah Geelani said that how does the largest democracy justify illegal confinement of an over 83-year-old man with pace-maker, only half-a-kidney, chronic asthma, and prostate problem?

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