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World in Focus (Jan – Feb 2018)

World in Focus (Jan - Feb 2018)

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Jan 16: President of Pakistan Federation Baseball and ex-director general Sports Board Punjab Khawar Shah passed away. He was 68.

Jan 16: The government announced ‘Idea Award Scheme’ for asking bureaucrats to send suggestions for improving governance and decision-making process by offering them even cash prizes.

Paigham-i-Pakistan State Narrative Against Terrorism

Jan 16: Paigham-i-Pakistan, a document that offers counter-narrative to extremist ideas by collating edicts that declare all kinds of terrorism against the spirit of Islam, was launched .

Highlights

  • The 22-point Fatwa has been compiled through the efforts of the International Islamic University Islamabad.
  • It has been signed by 1,829 religious scholars — belonging to nearly all mainstream sects in the country.
  • It declares several actions like suicide attacks against the state, spreading sectarianism and anarchy in the name of religion and issuing a call to jihad without state’s consent as un-Islamic.
  • It denounces the use of force on the pretext of imposing Sharia, waging an armed struggle against the state, or employing violence and terrorist tactics to settle ethnic, geographical, religious and sectarian conflicts.

Analysis

Religious differences have for too long been exploited by various groups to acquire influence over society and in the political arena. Violence stoked by bigotry and prejudice has pitted Muslim against Muslim, sect against sect — aside from being the driving force for depredations against the minorities. There have been attempts earlier to forge a consensus to counter religious violence: in 2015, some 200 ulema issued a decree against suicide bombings; in May last year, 31 prominent religious scholars signed a similar fatwa. The latest document, however, not only encapsulates a wider range of crimes committed in the name of faith but is also a far more comprehensive representation of the diverse strains of religious thought in the country. At the same time, let us not deceive ourselves: Paigham-i-Pakistan will remain a declaration of intent alone unless followed by substantive steps. To put the counter-narrative into effect, reviving the moribund National Action Plan and follow its stipulations to the letter are inevitable. Until the state adopts a resolute, unequivocal approach, this country will continue its drift towards the right, and suffer the mayhem that comes with it.

Jan 17: Maqsood Ahmad, a retired lieutenant general of the Pakistan Army, was appointed chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) for three years.

About the new Chairman

1. Maqsood Ahmad belonged to Frontier Force Regiment in the 61st PMA Long Course during April 1980.
2. After reaching the rank of Major General, Ahmad headed the 12th Infantry Division in Murree.
3. In 2013, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.
4. He also served as the Corps Commander of IV Corps, Lahore.
5. In August 2013, he was made Military Adviser for Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
6. He had also served as Deputy Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) under Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha and then under Lt Gen Zahirul Islam.

Jan 17: The 11th Pak-Saudi joint-ministerial commission meeting was held in Islamabad. During the meeting, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia agreed to set up a working group to promote food exports and training centre to meet job market needs in the Arab country.

Jan 18: The government appointed Shahid Mehmood as Executive Director to Asian Development Bank (ADB) for tenure of three years.

Jan 18: The 14th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Summit was cancelled due to the refusal of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Iran.

Dr Ishfaq Ahmad 

Jan 18: Nuclear physicist and former head of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Dr Ishfaq Ahmad passed away. He was 87.

Dr Ahmad was among the handful of scientists who attended the historic meeting under the shamiana (tent) at the residence in Multan of chief minister Sadiq Qureshi where prime minister Z.A. Bhutto commissioned them to “give me fission in three years”.

He served as the chairperson of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission from 1991 to 2001 — the tenure during which Pakistan conducted its nuclear tests, in 1998.

He also worked as adviser to the prime minister for strategic and scientific programmes.

In recognition of his services in the field of nuclear physics, Dr Ahmad was awarded three of the highest civil awards of Pakistan — Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Hilal-i-Imtiaz and Nishan-i-Imtiaz.

His endeavours led to the creation of Global Change Impact Studies Centre in Islamabad where research on climate change is undertaken.

Jan 19: Renowned Urdu poet Saqi Faruqui passed away. He was 81.

Munoo Bhai 
A life well lived

Jan 19: Renowned journalist, playwright and poet Munoo Bhai passed away. He was 84.

He was laid to rest later in the day. A large number of people, including journalists, artists, intellectuals, writers, civil society members and his friends and colleagues, attended the funeral.

About Munoo Bhai

  • Munoo Bhai was born on Feb 6, 1933, in Wazirabad.
  • His real name was Munir Ahmed Qureshi.
  • He did his graduation from Rawalpindi and launched his journalistic career by writing columns for Imroze and Zamindar.
  • He began his professional journalistic career with Tameer in Rawalpindi.
  • He wrote his first television play, entitled Pull Sher Khan, in the second half of the 1960s.
  • As a pioneering playwright of the PTV, he has to his credit popular plays such as Sona Chandi, Jhok Siyal, Jheel, Dasht, Ashyiana and Ye Khanai Nahin.
  • He also wrote long plays for the PTV, Gumshuda and Khoobsurat being prominent among them.
  • As a poet of the Punjabi language, he has one anthology to his name, Ajay Qayamat Nayeen Ayee.
  • His column Gareban was extremely popular among newspaper readers.
  • He had established Sundas Foundation for blood cancer patients.
  • He was awarded the Pride of Performance in 2007.


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