Logic is Variable

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My Cursive Writing

Like his father, Muhammad Jamal Muhsin is an accomplished calligrapher, and in addition to creating beautiful calligraphy, is contributing to promote and teach centuries old art of calligraphy including.

Jamal Muhsin’s father, Ibne Kaleem Ahsan Nizami and his brother Hamid Iqbal are all celebrated calligraphers. Ibne Kaleem has the singular distinction in the field of calligraphy. He created a new Khatt (writing style), Khatt-e-Ra'ana in calligraphy after a gap of 700 years. This is the great addition of its own kind and has opened up the new avenues of learning for calligraphy students, in times to come. Jamal Muhsin himself is teaching handwriting for last 25 years.

Jamal Muhsin has penned down two practical exercise books titled My Cursive Writing (Book I and Book II both for English handwriting) for the students of calligraphy and also for those who want to improve their hand writing. Adopting step-by-step approach of explained in My Cursive Writing anyone can learn and improve hand writing.

Jamal Muhsin has made it easy for the students by using pointed techniques with directions in explaining dimensions of the alphabets that not only help students at all levels but assist teachers as well.
I suggest all those interested in fine art of calligraphy must have these books and try them and learn the fading fine art.
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My Urdu Blog - Social Media

This appeared in Roznama Pakistan

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al Majeed


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:43 AM, , links to this post

Plagiarism, Prove it!

This article appeared in daily the Nation

"If you steal from one author, it's plagiarism - if you steal from two, it's research," writes American screen writer Wilson Mizner

Broadly speaking, plagiarism as per the popular literature on the subject refers to use of another's work without giving credit. This dangerous trend is not new but advent of the Internet has facilitated the speed and methods used.

It is a chronic problem that has been greatly facilitated by the resources rich Internet. Students (mostly those who are not Internet savvy), who plagiarize, do it old fashion way here -- finding some relevant article printed somewhere and getting it typed. In case one article does not cover all dimensions of the topic, a wary student may get some old book on the subject (perceiving that the teacher might not have read it), mark apparently relevant paragraphs and give it to the typist to prepare the assignment. The source material is commonly known among students' fraternity as chappa or nuskha. Some may proof read the typed paper, correct mistakes and clear irrelevant references in the text while some other may not take the trouble of reading "their work".

Clearly, plagiarism is far easier for those who are familiar with the Internet and spend some time online. While plagiary attempts like brazenly copying whole article verbatim from the Internet and giving it to the teachers as one's own work is easy for students but it is out rightly insulting to the capabilities and sense of responsibility of teachers, and rude. So cautious students take two or three relevant articles from the Internet and syntheses them in a way that it looks, at least apparently, like a different work altogether, even though they do not add any thing new in it. But what some students are found doing is this: "searching an article written on the subject and using it as a "template" and working on it, changing the words using thesaurus, paraphrasing, removing advances and unfamiliar adjectives and jargons, adding local context and flavour in the process," says Mohsin Aziz, a management teacher at Allama Iqbal Open University Centre who has to assess lot of written work because most of the students' course work in open university is in the form of written reports, "It is time consuming but fairly secure." That is what makes it hard for technology to detect.

Depending upon how much efforts any one has put in to camouflage the purloined work, a few clicks should yield result. Tracking simple plagiarism on the Internet does not require any special skill. Any one who can log on and use one of those efficient search engines can find out if the text has been taken straight from the Internet. Put some keywords and unique phrases, in quotes preferably, and hit Go. A clever quote may even lead to the whole article.

The very technologies that make such plagiarism so simple, tempting, and seductive can also be used to nail the perpetrators. A quick search reveals that there are a lot of plagiarism detection sites and software solutions claiming to help teachers to detect; go to Google directory for a comprehensive list. (Search also exposes sources that pride in selling written papers or writing as per the specific requirement.) The effectiveness of any detection service or software depends on their being able to identify the text from the indexed material like most search engines. Even if the material has been copied from the Internet source and the detection sites have not indexed that, it will not be traced.

So what teachers can and should do while assessing the class assignments and research papers? Let us enumerate some factors before attempting to answer this question: first, adequate local contents on any subject are not yet available on the Internet, though a lot is available in print form. Second, the educational institutions are not taking this trend seriously; they leave it to the teachers to handle. Where as no teachers, who were contacted for this piece, denied plagiarism practice among students, but no one confirmed the presence of any official institutional policy on the chronic issue or the use of any detection service or software in Pakistan. Surprisingly some senior teachers even hesitated while giving their views on the subject. Third, students have more computers and the Internet know-how as compared to the teachers and not many teachers encourage their students to deposit the written work on diskettes or via email. Most prefer a hard copy, for record sack if nothing else.

I am reminded of what my teacher Ghulam Muhammad used to say, "No body can stop students from doing what they want to do. Teaches (and parents) can only make them understand the difference between right and wrong, good and bad. (This axiom also holds good for ongoing governments' efforts to ban porno sites). First and foremost thing to fight this plagiarism is to let students know about the moral, ethical and intellectual as well as legal aspects of plagiarism and its impact on their life and studies in the long run. Presently, one finds that this subject is not talked about unless.

The other important thing teachers can do is to give specific and contextual topics for written exercises and monitor the progress stepwise as the students write. Dr. Yahya Bakhtiar, Sociologist, says, "I stress upon the process rather than the product. I discuss the topic of their own choice and interest with students, ask for detailed synopses, and lead them to write a report that they should be ready to present in the class and defend if required. Knowing my students, their language skills and vocabulary, I can precisely make out if any of my students use outside help. Any teacher can make out. And for that it is not necessary that teacher may have had come across the stuff earlier." Another teacher says, "We in our department ask students to produce hand written reports." Personally, I do not subscribe to the idea of getting hand written reports and denying the students facilities of efficient word processing. The argument that "They (students) lean something while writing in their own hand even if they copy from somewhere" does not hold ground.

Plagiarism in the first place defeats the fundamental objective of the exercise of the written assignment. "Spending time and efforts in such unhealthy pursuit is unproductive and wear down educational standards in educational institutions. The practice impairs the plagiarists to think logically, construct own arguments, and draw inferences " says Muhammad Wasif, "They can produce better results if they spend the same time and energies creatively and let their own analytical faculties work. They should learn to use others' work to substantiate own points of view giving them due credit."

The unproductive tug of war can go on and on. Unless, perhaps, both teachers and students arrive at a point where teachers can trust students and students guard the trust, but students have to earn the trust first. [This article also appeared in GCU Magazine Ravi]

Related: Plagiarism Checkers, Blog confidential: Parasitical patriarch

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 10:30 AM, , links to this post

This happens in Lahore

Have a party with Squirrels at Light Within

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2:29 PM, , links to this post

Mountain Movers

This article appeared in daily the Nation

Most hard core travelers, particularly foreigners, come up with some local character who came "offering them hashish, heroin, sledge, or something even more bizarre when they write about their travel experiences in Pakistan, perhaps in an effort to make their tales rich in adventure, absurdity and or humor. Or they tell harrowing tales like their belongings stolen on gun point. Maybe they think this makes their stories culturally more erudite.

On the other hand, to-ing and fro-ing in Northern Areas, other touristy area and even during my long hauls elsewhere in Pakistan, what I could come across was only ordinary, warn, courteous and hospitable people who are always eager to go a long way to help.

It is easy to fall in love people who show consideration in physically tough conditions. I first met Drosh Khan during my assignment as a facilitator with multinational climbing expedition to Nanga Parbat from Rupal side in 2003. That is when our friendship started by chance. I was to accompany the expedition only up to forward base camp. The hike to base camp and extended stay there brought every kind of weather imaginable - scorching sun, blinding sandstorms, white-out blizzards. It was during my stay in the base camp that that I came to know young Drosh more.

Drosh Khan is sturdy and knows the mountains inside out. His forefathers migrated to Baltistan over six hundred years ago. Originally Buddhist, they along with other Balti people converted to Islam during the Moghul period in the sixteenth century. While some of the Baltis adapted to a trading economy, many are still largely pastoralists.

Although I was not one of the climbers, the weather in the base camp left me physically emaciated and emotionally wasted. With great good fortune, on the way back, I was invited by Drosh Khan to his village, situated at the edge of the Rupal Valley, to recuperate. There I was nursed back to health with a combination of goat's milk, apricots and warm hospitality. I and Drosh Khan have always been in contact ever since.

Living in a small peaceful hamlet opened my eyes to the realities of the Balti ways of life. Baltis live hard, graceful and independent life. Living conditions are harsh and devoid of modern day civic amenities we in urban centers take for granted. The Baltis live in isolated, remote valleys subsisting on pastoral grazing and marginal crops of barley and wheat. The climate is severe due to the high altitudes. Villagers rely on their ingenuity to bring glacier water to their fields and homes. Medical care is almost nonexistent. Broken bones and burns often go untreated, and diseases due to malnutrition are a common fact of village life. Chronic infections often lead to blindness and deafness. Infant mortality rate under age one caused primarily by diarrhea-induced dehydration is alarmingly high. In winter, villagers crawl into tiny basement dugouts and spend months huddled together, barely kept warm by smoky fires.

Despite this abject poverty, Baltis not only accept their destiny, but embrace the hardship as well as the beauty of their lives, keeping their humanity undimmed and even enhancing it. Facing an existence of privation and adversity, Drosh Khan and his family generously took in me and cared for like their own.

The traditional Balti ways of life are no doubt are about to change. Their ancient self-sustainable methodologies are being lost in the pursuit of the cash that expedition and trekking jobs bring. The inflow of money, material goods, and growing numbers of foreign travelers are impacting the Balti culture in many ways. In return for sharing their spectacular mountain surroundings with outsiders and for providing the strong back on which many expeditions reached their goals and many westerners realized their adventures, these Balti people deserve a decent future in which they have a voice.

Drosh Khan had nine years of schooling before he started working as a porter. He is familiar with spoken English and is qualified in mountain hygiene and sanitation, first aid, and crevasse rescue. Drosh Khan told, “I leave villages for months at a time to seek elusive jobs as porters. I remain busy for the trekking season and earn enough to sustain our family through winters.”

“Serious mountaineering starts in the forward base camps,” narrated Drosh Khan, “I have seen climbers going back from the base camps even without attempting and team leader failing to pursue them to go ahead.” Though the travel to Pakistan has declined, but adventure travel has sustained.

Baltis are famous for longevity but Drosh Khan is aging for a porter job. He was once known to carry maximum load when he was young literally moving the mountains of luggage and equipment on the most difficult hikes. As a person, Drosh Khan always inspires me. He remains proud, happy and ready to share despite all the hardships. There is no fast lane in his life. He has no worries, alienation or fears. He is very contended with life and what ever comes his way.

I still remember what he had once told me, “keep a lemon and suck on it while walking hard and long in hills. It gives strength and quenches thrust.” Once he said, “tire the mountain not yourself." I realize the folk wisdom in the advices every time I walk.

Porters are the backbone of most climbing expeditions, trekking and adventurous exploration into the mountains all over the world. The agile, tireless, hardworking people, primarily from local communities, ferry massive loads of gear on their backs. Like the more familiar Sherpa people of the Himalaya, the Pakistani porters are respected among fraternity of mountain lovers as some of the best porters in the world. They are dedicated and know where the crevasses and icefalls are, how to acclimatize, how much food and fuel to haul up the hill, when to push on, when to rest. They are unsung heroes of high-altitude mountaineering. Without their labor, many a base camps would never have been established; many a summit would never have been conquered.

Would you like to move to a city? "Drosh Khan smiled and replied, "I guess we like it here because we like to be left alone. Oh, it is nice to have people visiting. And we like people all right. But we like them on our own terms." And, he was right. I could hear him, murmuring sitting on his old walking stool. Most of the Baltis whom I asked confessed, "We like and want our own way of life." That is what is keeping them there.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 7:55 AM, , links to this post

Untaped Potentials

Saleem Shahab

Pakistan is a country beset with problems and blessed with solutions at once. It is up to the ruling people to make sense of fitting solution to an embryonic problem. Regretted to say, this is not being done at home; that is why the country is poor in performance despite having rich resources. Much has been discussed about natural resources of the country but little has been said about the prodigious youth of Pakistan which is making progress across the board.

Last month, the Pakistan British Council released a report about industrious Pakistani youth. The report informs that the country is passing through a phase with a positive ratio of productive youth. In other words, we have more fruitful youth than dependants. This phase set in 1990, and would probably set to close sometime in 2045. But unfortunately the ruling people never paid heed to make the most of this opportunity. That is why merely 15 per cent of the Pakistani youth believe that the country is headed in the right direction. The report reveals the country’s youth to be passionately inclined towards nationalism but having very little trust in national or local government.

In Information Technologies alone, Arifa Kareem Randhawa, Babar Iqbal and Ammar Afzal have worked wonder. Former Chairman, Pakistan Science Board Dr. Noor Muhammad Butt informed me a lot about the brilliance of Pakistani youth in the domain of natural sciences. As a matter of fact, we are not successful to give our prodigious youth way to progress at home. Our prodigious youth is compelled to perform on international stage having no opportunities in the country.

In 2005, Arifa Karim Randhawa dazzled the world by successfully becoming Microsoft Certified Professional (MCS) just at the age of 9. The Mir Khalil-ur-Rehman Foundation working with Microsoft, Pakistan awarded Arfa with the Shabash award for her achievements and arranged for her a trip to the Microsoft Redmond Headquarters in the USA. Being impressed with her genius, Microsoft’s Chairman, Mr. Bill Gates awarded him an opportunity for one-on-one meeting. After coming back from the US, Arfa received the Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal 2005, the Salaam Pakistan Youth Award 2005 and the President's Award for Pride of Performance in 2006.To get to such a certificate, one needs to demonstrate technical proficiency in areas such as .Net, Visual Studio 6.0 and Windows Server. Arifa did the same so successfully. Arifa was very much excited when her father got a computer at home for making use of the technology. Since then, she started to work hard and got results. While she wants to study abroad, works and Microsoft, she likes to conduct technology innovations at home. After her success, a large number of people appreciated her brilliance all over the world.

There is no end to Pakistani genius. Arifa set the record at the age of 9 years and 8 months, but se held the record for about four months since it was broken by the Babar Iqbal at the age of 9 years and 27 days. Babar Iqbal from Dera Ismaeel Khan set at least four world record: Youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) at the age 9 years, Youngest Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA) at the age 9 years and Youngest Certified Web Professional Associate (CIWA) at age 10 years and Youngest Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) at the age 12 in Dubai. Interestingly, all his siblings (two brothers and sisters ) are also Microsoft Certified Professional. By acknowledging his genius, President Asif Ali Zardari invited him at President House, Islamabad and awarded him a cheque of Rs5 million.

Thanks to our current Chief Minister who is showering money to the toppers in Annual Board examinations without improving the standard of our curriculum. It goes without saying our toppers fail to deliver in the society. Every year, students top in the examination but they do not benefit the society as expected. On the other hand, people with humble background in education miraculously dazzle the world off and on. It clearly indicates problems stuck to our education sector. Last month, we published an article about Ammar Afzal, a prodigious youth, who set several world records in different exams and tests.

Now we have learned that Ammar has also topped the exam of window development conducted by Microsoft itself and Mr. Bill Gates himself congratulated him. 49 people from different age groups appeared in the exam and Ammar outclassed all of them. Interestingly, Ammar, the only Pakistani in the examination, is the youngest of all. It is most probable that the coming version of windows will be developed by a team led by Mr. Ammar Afzal. At a time when the world media is portraying negative pictures of Pakistan, Ammar Afzal’s achievement gives a new ray of hope to settle the score.

Belonging to an average Pakistani family, Ammar Afzal got his early education from Okara District (near Sahiwal). He was student of 9th-class at Divisional Public School, Okara when he got wind of an online Organization called Brain Bench which offers online certification up to 600 different skills. Unlike other students of his age who like to visit absurdities on net, he not only visited the Brain Bench, but passed the two different online examinations with average result. However, the online tests encouraged him to do more.

He sought admission in C++ online classes and succeeded to get free admission there. Now he was fully prepared to create history and he did. After appearing in C++ examination, he was not very sure: what is going to happen. He could know only after the result that he had topped the world. The students of different age groups appeared in the test but nobody could attain the level he has secured.

Under the spell of success, he applied for other courses such as Web Developing, Java and set world records there too. At this stage, he wanted to do something exceptional. For this purpose, he selected the most difficult software development course that is none other but Oracle. Keeping in view his successful record, he was awarded free admission. For other students, the fee of the course is not less than 80,000$. Now he was fully aware about the serenity of the matter. He took interest in his studies and wasted no time in absurdities. He started from Oracle 8,8i,9,9i. Again he set the world record in Oracle 9i. Now he was not an unknown person. That is why; Stanford University took interest to avail his services and for this purpose the University offered him 60,000$ which he happily accepted. He had opportunity to learn Oracle 10 from Stanford University. He says, “They treat me like a son”.

Once again he began his studies there wholeheartedly and again he was able to set record in Oracle 10,10g,11,11g. He is second to none in Oracle 11g throughout the globe. Despite setting several world records, his thirst for knowledge led him to apply in GCSE for graduation in Stanford Junior University USA where he will complete his graduation in the days to come. Despite all, he never forgot his love: Divisional Public School, Okara where he spends 2 hours daily. Microsoft also awarded him an admission free of cost against a course whose normal fee is 1,25,000$. In this way he became the first student in these programs out of 49 students.

There is a long list of achievements on Ammar Afzals side. Some of them, we try to mention. An international bank’s customers were very, very much disturbed due to failure of ATM machines on wide scale. Many software engineers were on bank’s payroll. The bank assigned them to repair the problem. The software engineers started their work but they could not give a go ahead. At this the bank management contacted the brilliant brains available in the local market. But the problem remained. It was truly an embarrassing situation for the management. They were ready to go any extent. First they sought the services of the best software engineers available in the country; then they contacted the best softengineers continent to content. But in vain. In the age of plastic money, the non-functioning of ATM machines shook the confidence of bank’s customers. A vice chancellor of University found it appropriate to contact Ammar Afzal. The experts were in efforts for three days to resolve the problem. How much time Ammar Afzal should have taken to find the solution? Phenomenally he provided the “lost key” of solution in less than 2 minutes.

A very interesting event took place when Ammar Afzal was getting internet training from Mr. Simond who had been very much gracious upon girls than boys. Another teacher advised Ammar to pretend to be a girl student online. Ammar did so and succeeded to get his online lectures during a week. However, Mr. Simond checked his personal profile and got infuriated upon this innocent fun. He challenged him in an angry mood to solve some question, and pledged that if he succeeded to solve these questions within prescribed time, Mr Simond would resign from his job. Ammar solved the computer soft ware riddles within an hour. He got 4.99 marks out of 5 in the test which was a world record. Resultantly, Mr Simond had to resign. Ammar has profound regard for Mr Simond as a teacher despite his antagonism since he has learnt a lot from the teacher. Ammar gives full credit for his success to his father who deals in potatoes. His father wanted to see his son a well-groomed person. Now he is able to fulfill the dreams of his father. He says, I am nothing without my parents.”

Now Ammar Afzal, our prodigious youth is all set to join Microsoft after completing his training. One can hope beginning of a new era with Ammar Afzal at Microsoft. Interestingly, Mr. Bill Gates, an American business magnate, philanthropist and Chairman, Microsoft Corp. also appeared on the world scene like a true prodigy. In the early years of Microsoft, he was youngest of all those working in Microsoft. But he left each and everyone far behind due to his performance in the shortest span of time. 1973 is the year when Gates entered Harvard University as a freshman, where Gates developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer - the MITS Altair. In his junior year, Gates left Harvard to devote his energies to Microsoft, a company he had begun in 1975 with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Under Gates' leadership, Microsoft's mission has been to continually advance and improve software technology, and to make it easier, more cost-effective and more enjoyable for people to use computers. Since then, the company is thriving with an accelerated growth.

Ammar Afzal topped the Windows development test and no doubt the key product of Microsoft is Windows, a series of software operating systems and graphical user interfaces, without which more than 90 percent computers in the world would not work. The most recent client version of Windows is Windows 7; the most recent server version is Windows Server 2008 R2. For the first time, Windows was introduced in November 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Since then Microsoft Windows is successful to dominate the world's personal computer market, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced previously. As of October 2009, Windows had approximately 91% of the market share of the client operating systems for usage on the Internet.

At this time, we need very sincere efforts to exploit the capabilities of our energetic youth. With the appearance of Ammar Afzal on world horizon, one can expect multifaceted breakthrough on international level from Pakistani youth. For this purpose we need to teach, education and prepare our youth so that they might replace the going stakeholders in a befitting manner.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:46 AM, , links to this post

Lonely at Khunjerab

Being at Khunjerab Pass is a unique experience for those who like the mountains and want to walk on them. On the way up on Kharakorum Highway (KKH), there are innumerable options right from simple sight seeing to hard adventure, or a mix of both. Khunjerab surpasses them all. It is one of the world's highest passes connecting two countries, and mountains on either side.

In summer, a stream of buses from down country, motorcycles and bickers (through China) reach Khunjerab. KKH has become one of the world famous routs for bikers and motorcyclists. At times the pass seems like a place where international cultural diffusion takes place. Travellers are seen clicking the shutters of their cameras standing around milestone situated at the pass for memory sack or exchanging addresses and promises to send the photographs to each other. From this place one is 400 kilometres away from Kashgar and 880 kilometres from Islamabad. Those who are not acclimatized, experience a degree of altitude sickness, headaches, and or drowsiness as well. And in winters, it is lonely out there.

Beyond Pirali, the place on KKH before the snows of Khunjerab make existence difficult, the first impression of Khunjerab Pass at 15072 feet above sea level is a long series of switchbacks around the pass. The immediate sight on home side alone is worth the trip to the pass. On either side, massive angular mountains crowd the horizon – silent guards of some highest peaks on planet -- celestial giants thrusting toward the heavens. Snow-capped pinnacles pierce through white misty clouds amidst kaleidoscopic purple dusks. The sharp jagged peaks of the Karakorums on ours side distinguish a region of former feudal princedoms, valley kingdoms and states some call Little Tibet. The region is home to more tall mountains than Nepal and Tibet combined together. This is "the Roof of the World," where four greatest mountain ranges in the world come together - the Himalaya, Pamirs, Karakorums and Hindu Kush. The landscape on the Chinese side is noticeably smoother. There are mountains -- the snow-clad rounded Pamirs to the east -- but the valley is more open. Yaks, sheep, camels, and people can be seen from the last point, and everything seems different even at a distance.

I have very romantic memories of sitting at lonely places (don’t call me loner), enjoying physical beauty and being taken by my own thoughts and perceptions of the places I happened to be at. One pleasure in travelling alone is that no one is around to remind about others waiting for you to start back! Alone at Khunjerab, climbing up a gorge, I was treated to the rare sight of Markhor sheep (well, I think I saw one). So artfully had nature blended them with the terrain that it becomes hard to tell where the rocks or Markhor stands? With the air thinning I continued climbing, hairpin after hairpin till I began to see the straight road that spans beyond Sost - Pakistan custom and immigration post. This is another matchless experience. Looking up to and walking on mountains, at Khunjerab one see them almost at eye level. I sat at the gorge for a while and saw so much unappreciated beauty.

Caravans as far back as the fourth century have been using this historic pass. Ivory, spices, silk and jade were hauled through Rocky River gorges and grassy valleys. This was where Marco Polo trekked through taking news of a legendary kingdom back to Europe. Along this giant oriental trading autobahn, intrepid explorers bartered goods, exchanged ideas and discovered technologies. A steady trickle of horseback commerce crossed the Khunjerab until the 1950s. Up above the road, remnants of old mule tracks from the old days are still evident, etched along mountainsides. After the completion of KKH, the Khunjerab Pass was opened to traffic and trade in 1982, and to tourists in 1986. Khunjerab in local language means valley of blood, a reference to local bandits who used to take advantage of the difficult terrain to plunder caravans in ancient days. Now it is safe and one can buy much sought after "Do Ghore ki Boski" at many places in the way.

Any travellers can have all this and more using a bus service or better still a four wheel driven topless jeep on KKH. Khunjerab is also a starting point for more adventurous who want to explore the catchments of Sukhtar Abad commonly known as the Blue Sheep Valley -- a little known habitat of Blue sheep, the Himalayan ibex and possibly snow leopards. Due to lack of tracks, Sukhtar Abad is not easily accessible. It can be approached from three different routes, Nazim Abad village through Dikarjerb crossing -- a high altitude pass, Hussain Abad village through Gourdour Pass; and from the Khunjerab River, when it is relatively dry in winters. Those who have visited the valley say it is very rewarding but takes some serious trekking to reach the valley.

The Khunjerab grasslands came under the control of rulers of Hunza in the late 18th century. They used to allocate grazing rights to villagers, and in turn used to receive from them a tax in the form of livestock and livestock products. Hunza rulers controlled hunting in the area as well as any trans-border trade with China. Their own livestock grazed in the Khunjerab pastures, tended by designated shepherds, who sent livestock and the products when ordered to Baltit Palace, Hunza. The situation changed when the princely states were merged into Pakistan in the early 70s. Area in Gilgit district, comprises of 2,269 square kilometres, either side of the KKH from Dih to Khunjerab Pass as Khunjerab National Park.

Khunjerab Pass has become increasingly accessible now. The construction of KKH and air service to Gilgit has resulted in an increase in the number of visitors, both foreign and domestic. With increase in access, the mountain pastures, valleys, and wildlife habitats, previously valued for centuries as grasslands and woodlands, have now become the objects of desire of a number of competing interests -- resort hotels, adventure tourism, big game hunting, mountaineering, and conservation organizations, to name a few. Each group is interested in maximizing its return from usage of the resources in the area. Khunjrab is losing its serenity in the process.

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Cyber World is Not in Safe Hands

Saleem Shahab

While hoisting national flag, Shahrukh Khan was leading a great procession. In the middle of the road, Indian Security personnel had erected barriers to stop him. The strange thing: Sharukh was hoisting the Pakistani Flag. After reading the above lines you must say, impossible. Yes, it is impossible in the real world but not in cyber world where once India and Pakistan were unofficially engaged in cyber war and some Pakistani hackers did all. In much the same manner, Indian hackers hacked an important Pakistani website and filled it with absurdities.

In 2007 annual report, the Internet security company McAfee is said to have stated that approximately 120 countries have been developing ways to use the Internet as a weapon and target financial markets, government computer systems and utilities. More importantly, private groups and people can also start Cyberwarfare to serve their vested interests.
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Annual Get Together - 2010

It was on April 17, 1975 when young boys who have been selected to join the Pakistan Military Academy came to Kakul (Abbotabad). Thirty five years is a long time and a lot has happened during these years; most of us have retired. Members of 55 PMA get together to celebrate the association and comradeship and to relive their memories whenever they can. Annual Get Together has become one of the best kept traditions.

Annual Get Together - 2010 was held on the bank of picturesque Rawal Lake Islamabad on the farther side of the Dam Spillway where serving and retired officers of 55 PMA Long Course (along with their families) got together and relived some of the joint past memories. Gathering was good including Tariq Khan from up north, Baqar Zaidi from Lahore and Aslam from Sothern Punjab. Like always, Jalall Hameed Bhatti has captured some of the moments with his camera. Here are a few of the images for those who were not there and for record sack.

Related: The 55 PMA Long Course 33rd Commisioning Anniversary  (Note: This  post appeared on April 22, 2010)  


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 1:04 PM, , links to this post

The 55 PMA Long Course 33rd Commisioning Anniversary

Heartiest Congratulations
all members of 55 PMA Long Course
on the occasion of
33rd Commisioning Anniversary

(the anniversary is being celebrated in course Annual Get Together 2010 on April 18, 2010 (Sunday) at 1100 hrs at Rawal Dam Islamabad.) 

Note: This post first appeared on April 17, 2010

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