Monday 30 April 2012

Mariam Khan Labour Candidate in Washwood Heath Birmingham Council Elections

Mariam Khan whose family is from the Dadyal region is standing as a Labour Party Candidate for Washwood Heath in Birmingham. Here is what she hopes to offer in her local area if she is to be elected:

My name is Mariam Khan and I am your Labour candidate for the 2012 elections. I am 21 years old and I am in my final year of studying Economics at the University of Leicester. I was born and brought up in Washwood Heath and would like to be given the chance to represent you and strive to build a better area. I attended Thornton Junior School and after passing my 11+, I completed my GCSE's and A Levels at King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School. Although I am only 21 years old, I think that it is about time that both women and young people got represented fairly in this area and I feel that I am a suitable candidate to fulfil this role. It has been over 20 years since Washwood Heath has had a female councillor and having a female population of around 50%, I think it is essential to elect a woman who can understand the issues and needs of other women. Being both female and young, I hope that I can fill both the empty gaps that our community faces. 

My experience through youth work for the past 7 years as a volunteer for the city and then a youth support worker has meant that I have witnessed the current problems that young people face with regards to education, unemployment and the lack of extra-curricular activities to enhance their abilities to succeed. I have actively campaigned against the closure of youth services and worked for the people of Washwood Heath on a voluntary basis. I want to be given the chance to bring about positive change for everyone in Washwood Heath by being supported in this election, so that I am in a position to raise and fight for the concerns of the people. I consider myself as a passionate, determined and reliable candidate as I genuinely want to help the whole community with the problems they may face and if I receive enough support in the elections, I will commit myself to ensuring that this area receives the maximum benefits available all within the interest of the constituents. If I am elected, my aim is to work for the entire community regardless of their age, gender, race, creed or colour towards improving education, youth and women's facilities, employment opportunities and environmental and housing issues. I sincerely believe that all these goals are achievable with the Labour Party policies, commitment from myself and working together as a community.

 You can follow Mariam on her Facebook page:

Indian School Textbook labels Pakistani Kashmir as Azad Kashmir

New Delhi (April 2012) - At least in new secondary education textbooks for class three in Indian Army schools in Srinagar, the Indian government accepted existence of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The new textbooks depict the map of Jammu and Kashmir exactly how Pakistan claims it to be, Indian media reported on Sunday. Indian government officially used to call this part of the disputed territory between two nuclear armed countries as ‘Pakistan-occupied Kashmir region’ but the new textbooks now have shown it as ’Azad Jammu and Kashmir’, a term used by Pakistan to describe the region. Further, the books showed Gilgit-Baltistan region, which India says is a part of Kashmir, is called the Northern Areas. Indian opposition Bhartiya Janta Party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that the Education Ministry must get to the bottom of the matter. “The Education Ministry must look into the matter immediately. 

They must find out if this was a mistake or done deliberately,” he said. “This is a serious matter because Jammu and Kashmir is a controversial topic. If wrong information about the country’s boundaries is being taught to young children, then it must be stopped at once because it is goes against the good of the country,” he added. Meanwhile, Congress leader Rashid Alvi said action would be taken against those responsible. “We do not have information on the issue. If such a thing has been done, action will be taken,” he said. Reportedly, some Indian army commanders have now asked some of the school principals to get back to them with the books so that they can take a look. In the meantime, the Indian army has decided to write to the Education Ministry regarding the issue. Indian army has been maintaining that its position vis-a-vis the issue is very clear since the army is not a publishing authority. Also, the book was published by a leading publishing house based in Karol Bagh in Delhi, which means that, probably, the Education Ministry is going to sit up and take notice. Later, the Indian army withdrew the controversial class three textbooks from schools, without giving any explanation. 

The controversy surfaced three days ago when it was found that the map practice exercise book for schools run by Army Education Welfare Society showed PoK as ‘Azad Kashmir’. “As soon as the discrepancy was noticed, the Society withdrew the books,” sources in Indian army said on Sunday. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has, however, distanced itself from the controversy by maintaining that the exercise book in question was brought out by a private publisher and not of them which it prescribes for class one to class eight students. When asked to comment on the faux pas, Chairman Vineet Joshi said the Board has “Nothing to do with it”. “We prescribe only official board textbooks for class one to eight students. This book which is being talked about is of a private publisher,” he told PTI.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Lahore Railway Station Blast: Two People Killed

LAHORE (24/04/12): Two people were killed and at least 27 others injured in a powerful blast that ripped through the busy Lahore Railway Station on Tuesday, according to the Capital City Police Officer. However, Rescue 1122 sources put the number of injured at 40, most of whom were taken to Mayo Hospital and the rest to Ganga Ram Hospital. Five of the injured are said to be in a critical condition. The blast occurred outside the business train's counter at platform No-2 where people queue up in large numbers to buy tickets. Capital City Police Officer, Aslam Tarin termed it a terrorist act in which the bomb was planted in a bag and left at a ticket counter. He estimated that six to eight kilograms of explosives were used in the explosion. "We're trying to investigate how the bag managed to get through despite so many scanners," he said. He put the number of dead at 2 and injured in the tragic bomb blast at 27. The blast left a 4-5 ft crater on the floor, he added. Later, Federal Minister for Railways, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour formed an investigation committee headed by IG Railways to probe the incident. The Minister also announced compensation of Rs 0.5 million each for the heirs of the dead and Rs 0.1 million each for the injured. Earlier, Immediately after the explosion, police cordoned off the blast site where teams of emergency services also kick started the rescue work. The dead and injured were brought to Mayo and Ganga Ram hospitals where emergency was declared. TV images showed that broken glass of windows and doors of railway staff's offices at platform No-2 littered across the floor. A false ceiling of an office also collapsed.

The News - Pakistani Media

Thursday 19 April 2012

Kashmir dispute to be raised in UK Parliament

April 2012: Former Prime Minister of AJK and Central Leader of PPP (Azad Kashmir), Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhary and Chairman All Parties Kashmir Committee in British Parliament, Lord Nazir Ahmed said on Thursday that Kashmir issue would soon formally be discussed in the British Parliament. They also said that the Kashmir issue would also be raised at the international forums in an aggressive manner at it has entered to decisive phase. They made these remarks while addressing a luncheon which was hosted by Barrister Sultan Mehmood in honour of Lord Nazir Ahmed here. Large number of expatriate Pakistanis and Kashmiris from the US, Canada, Britain, Spain, France, Norway and Belgium attended. The two leaders were agreed that the Kashmir issue could be raised in the Europe and entire international community from the United Kingdom as a large number of Kashmiri was living here. They said that it was the responsibility of the United Kingdom to help resolve longstanding Kashmir issue as it has deep rooted relations with the US and it was also an important member of the European Union. Lord Nazir Ahmed speaking on the occasion said that for the first time in 64 years, the Kashmir issue was discussed in the British Parliament by their efforts which reflected that British Parliament had started giving importance to the longstanding issue. He appreciated Barrister Sultan Mehmood for projecting Kashmir issue at international forums and added that he was not only raising this issue in Britain but also in European countries and the US for which “we all are grateful for him”. He also stressed that the Kashmir issue should be resolved in accordance with the resolution of United Nations resolutions and said that an effective campaign was needed to unmask human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.

The Nation Newspaper

Snow Leopard Killed in Rawalakot

April 2012: An endangered snow leopard that had retreated up a tree near a village was shot by some of the residents who claimed self-defense. The wild cat was said by a villager to have remained in the tree for eight hours.
The location was the remote town of Rawalkot in Azad Kashmir.

Initially villagers noticed the snow leopard near settled areas and contacted a local official who told them to scare it away with firecrackers. They killed it instead. Their defense for the cat’s death was protecting human life, however no verified attack on a human by a snow leopard has ever taken place, according to the Snow Leopard Trust. Snow leopards are known to be very wary of humans and remain far away in mountainous areas. They only time they may be aggressive is when they have cubs and people are getting to close to them. Snow leopards reportedly will not even defend an animal they have killed and are eating, if humans approach. Snow leopards have been said to be the least aggressive of the large cats.

So it seems more likely the villagers were the aggressors and merely used self-defense as a justification for their behavior. The fact they skinned and dressed the cat and distributed its meat throughout the village suggests they may have had an ulterior motive. Last year another snow leopard was also shot and killed in the same area. Another clue the main motivation was not self-defense is a local superstition consuming snow leopard is beneficial for treatment of orthopedic diseases. This kind of irrational belief is also driving the illegal trade in wildlife (tiger body parts and rhino horns) putting species on the verge of extinction. The mere fact such a belief exists suggests strongly there has been a historical practice of killing snow leopards to eat them.

The Snow Leopard Conservancy has been working with communities living near snow leopard habitats to reduce the number of killings and to help villagers economically.

A scared cat climbs up a tree, is spotted by an innocent child and consequently rescued by local heroes – an anecdote of human compassion often narrated in children’s books. However, in the remote town of Rawalkot in Azad Kashmir, when a snow leopard, an endangered species, climbed up a tree in fear, the villagers shot it down.

Kashmir is home to two of the world’s big cats, the common leopard (Panthera pardus) and the snow leopard (Uncia uncia), a cat so secretive few have been privileged enough to get a glimpse of it in the wild. A businessman of the area, Waseem Khursheed, is a witness to the killing. “A snow leopard climbed up a tree and remained there for eight hours in the town of Banjosa, some 18 kilometres from Rawalkot.” Locals informed Deputy Commissioner Sohail Azam about the animal which had left its habitat and ventured near the settled areas. The deputy commissioner asked the villagers to scare the leopard through firecrackers, but finding the steps inadequate, they decided to kill it instead.

Khursheed said the villagers acted upon a “self-help basis” to avert any threat to human life. After the DC was informed of the leopard’s presence, a few police constables visited the site, but left shortly without taking any initiative. “Sensing the snow leopard’s hunger, the scared villagers shot down the animal with a 7mm rifle.”
Khursheed added that the villagers skinned the animal and distributed its meat among the locals as it is considered to be very useful for patients of orthopedic diseases. He added that a snow leopard was also killed last year in the same area, and though the police arrested the accused, he was later released on bail.
According to the AJK Wildlife Act, the killing of a snow leopard can result in imprisonment of up to 6 months and/or fine. However, no charges are a framed if the animal is killed in self-defence.

Narrating his version, DC Sohail Azam said that on being informed of the animal’s presence, he immediately contacted AJK Wildlife Department’s Director General Javed Ayub to dispatch a team to capture the animal without injury.

“The Wildlife Department’s DG was attending a function when he received my call. He suggested the use of firecrackers to scare the leopard away.” Azam added that he dispatched some policemen with the directives to adopt the same preventive measures.

Azam strongly advocates the need for a district-level office of the Wildlife Department to ensure the safety and protection of endangered animals in the populous hills and forests around Rawalkot. He confirmed the death of another leopard last February, who was also shot dead by locals.

Newly-inducted Wildlife Department DG Chaudhry Muhammad Razaq, who has recently replaced Javed Ayub, blames lack of manpower and proper equipment for the inefficacy. “My predecessor’s advice of using firecrackers to scare the animal away was the right solution.”

Encounters between humans and the big cats are becoming increasingly frequent. The animals wander off in search of food and venture towards the settled areas where they are killed by the locals out of fear and lack of awareness.

Sunday 15 April 2012

Accident in Sudhnoti District AJK leaves 8 people dead and 27 injured

Muzaffarabad, April 13 2012: At least eight persons, including three women and two young children, died and 27 others sustained injuries in a road accident in the southern Sudhnoti district of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) on Friday, police said.

A Hajira bound passenger bus, coming from Sudhnoti, fell into a deep gorge at about 9:30 am as it was negotiating a small turn in the under-construction road near Gorah village, DSP Sudhnoti Naseem Mahmood said.

Quoting some passengers he said the bus went out of driver’s control due to some technical fault and nosedived into the gorge, more than 300 feet beneath the road.

Seven people died on the spot and another succumbed to his injuries on way to the hospital in Islamabad. Of the remaining 27 wounded persons, 16 were hospitalized in different hospitals of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, he said.

Mahmood said local residents and police had to face problems in accessing the wreckage of the ill-fated vehicle as they carried out the rescue operation which came to end at about 3 pm.

The deceased were identified as Prof Ashfaq Hussain, Ism Jan, Mehnaz Bibi and her son Ilyas, Areesha, Nazira Begum, Ishaq and Asif Aziz.

On Thursday, two persons died and nine others were injured in another road accident in district Kotli after a passenger bus coming from Lahore fell into a gorge on the outskirts of Kotli city.

Sunday 8 April 2012

A Short Story about Two Men and Zakat

Paying Zakat is the best way to purify and add substance to your money.

A fictional story written by Sameer...

There is a rich man who has £500,000 in his bank account and he realises that he must pay £12,500 Zakat (2.5% of his savings). He spends many hours thinking about what he should do, he thinks that it's not fair on him if he pays so much Zakat. He doesn't feel right giving such a big amount away in a matter of minutes. So he convinces himself that he should only give £2,500 Zakat and he feels that is sufficient.

A few months later, the man is on holiday and his bag goes missing and as a result he loses a phone worth £500 and a laptop worth £1,000. He returns from holiday and he realises that his car insurance has gone up by £500. He invested some money in shares some time ago and unfortunately share prices drop dramatically and he is forced to lose £5,000. He feels frustrated and starts to think that it is his bad luck that is causing him to lose so much money. He buys a used car for himself which lets him down a few weeks later due to a faulty engine, and he ends up selling it, at a loss of £3,000. One day, the man sits down and adds up all his losses and he realises that he has lost £10,000 due to misfortune. When the man reflects upon his loss, he remembers that £10,000 is the Zakat money that he should have given to the needy. He realises that it would have been much better for him to give the money as Zakat than to hold on to it and go through all the adversities he had to face. The man acknowledges that without the Mercy of Allah, he would never have had so much money in his bank in the first place, so by holding on to it and not paying the full amount of Zakat, he was being ungrateful. 

There is another man who has just enough money to make Zakat compulsory for him. He calculates the Zakat due and pays all of it. He believes that the Zakat money is not for him, so by giving it to the poor he is not losing anything. The man feels that every penny he has, is a gift from Allah, then why should he hesitate when it comes to helping the poor, in order to earn the Pleasure of Allah. The man struggles financially later in the year, but somehow money starts to come to him, from sources that he couldn't have imagined. At work, his manager leaves the company and he gets promoted, his salary is doubled. He becomes the youngest person to become a manager in his company. In the same year, the man becomes ill and requires an expensive operation. He is worried about the cost of the operation and decides to postpone it till he has more savings. However, a new scheme is launched by a local hospital which makes him eligible to have the operation for free. The operation goes well and the man recovers after a few weeks. He starts to think about how he has been fortunate over the year, every difficult situation has been taken care of and he has come out stronger.

MORAL: Paying Zakat is the best way to purify and add substance to your money and to keep yourself protected from any form of misfortune.

Written by Sameer Hussain - Dadyal Online

Saturday 7 April 2012

Young Man & the Farmer’s Daughter – Moral Story

A young man wished to marry the farmer’s beautiful daughter. He went to the farmer to ask his permission. The farmer looked him over and said,
“Son, go stand out in that field. I’m going to release three bulls, one at a time. If you can catch the tail of any one of the three bulls, you can marry my daughter.”
The young man stood in the pasture awaiting the first bull.
The barn door opened and out ran the biggest, meanest-looking bull he had ever seen. He decided that one of the next bulls had to be a better choice than this one, so he ran over to the side and let the bull pass through the pasture out the back gate.
The barn door opened again. Unbelievable. He had never seen anything so big and fierce in his life. It stood pawing the ground, grunting, slinging slobber as it eyed him. Whatever the next bull was like, it had to be a better choice than this one. He ran to the fence and let the bull pass through the pasture, out the back gate.
The door opened a third time. A smile came across his face. This was the weakest, scrawniest little bull he had ever seen. This one was his bull. As the bull came running by, he positioned himself just right and jumped at just the exact moment. He grabbed…but the bull had no tail!


Life is full of opportunities. Some will be easy to take advantage of, some will be difficult. But once we let them pass (often in hopes of something better), those opportunities may never again be available. So always grab the first opportunity.

Thursday 5 April 2012

Azad Kashmir signs deal for internet facility in schools

MIRPUR (AJK) - Under the spirit to provide swift internet facility in 50 public sector schools of Azad Jammu and Kashmir beside conducting internet workshops in the educational institutions in the state, the AJK government formally signed an agreement with a private sector cellular company operating in Pakistan and AJK, it was officially announced.
An AJK government spokesman said that the agreement was signed between the two parties at Kashmir House. AJK Prime Minister Chaudry Abdul Majeed, on the occasion, stated that Information Technology (I.T) has got a significant role to play in global village. “Acquaintance with the modern mechanism and its proper utilization is the only way forward to cope with the challenges of the time,” he declared.
He resolved that his government is determined to make AJK an educational place by devising a uniform curriculum across the state. “We are well aware of the importance of Information Technology and putting an all-out effort to promote IT education and computer literacy as we are going to establish an IT University in AJK, providing computer labs to all the educational institutions and providing them modern equipments,” he observed. The AJK premier revealed that one third of the educational budget was being spent on computer education.

“The PPP Government in AJK has established three medical colleges, an IT University, Cadet colleges, another public sector university at Rawalakot, Women university, upgraded the educational institution and following the precedent of Al-Azhar University, we are going to establish modern Islamic university,” Majeed maintained.

Earlier the formal agreement was signed by the Secretary Education Muhammad Sadiq Dar and Representative of the cell company Aamir Izharul-Haq, the spokesman said.

News by The Nation

Sheffield Girls College Now Complete in Bagh Azad Kashmir

In October 2005, a group from Sheffield visited Azad Kashmir following a massive earthquake which had destroyed most of the area’s schools, taking the lives of many residents. In response to the disaster, this group set up a small charity with the task of re-building a Girls College, and are pleased to announce that the College is now almost complete. The new Girls College is to be opened at Easter by members of the original delegation, including Maxine Bowler (Heeley Development Trust) and Kubra Assim (Heeley Asian Women’s Group).

Maxine Bowler recalls, “When we embarked on this project, we could not have foreseen the obstacles we would face. Firstly, we had to find a new site for the College follow a seismic survey which showed that the original site was now unsound. Secondly, because the new land allocated by the government was mountainous, rock had to be blasted, land levelled and a road built. Finally, we had to transport all the materials over a long distance from Rawalpindi to Bagh. We therefore believe that it is a real achievement to be finally opening the College”. 

Maxine went on to thank everyone who has supported the project and added that further funds are still needed to put the final touches to the College. Cheques can be made payable to ‘KERF’ and sent to KERF c/o 58 Northcote Road, Sheffield S2 3AU.

Completion of the College is a great achievement, because this type of project can easily flounder. The College is something the people of Sheffield can be proud of and represents real solidarity with the people of Azad Kashmir.

Article by Heeley Online

Tuesday 3 April 2012

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