The mountainous Northern Areas of Pakistan bordering China and Indian administered Kashmir, finally have a chance of emerging from poverty and backwardness, thanks to increasing attention from international donors, particularly a US $123,641 grant from Japan last week.The Northern Areas, home to 1.2 million people spread across 1,123 villages, were unrepresented in Parliament for the last 57 years. For all practical purposes, they are governed directly by Pakistan's federal government.
Prime Minister, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, Saturday said that the present government has convincingly showed that it is committed to upgrading and reforming the education sector.
'New education initiatives are being implemented that will enhance primary school enrolment, increase training opportunities for teachers and school administrators, spread literacy and encourage public-private partnership for education. Within these programmes many opportunities exist for cooperation between the government and the Aga Khan University'.
A committee of cabinet ministers is working out a strategy for the privatization of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) and will finalize its recommendations before June this year.The committee comprising ministers and senior officials have been asked to recommend the best possible strategy for the privatization of PTCL. Well-placed sources say the committee is confronted with a pressing issue, that is, if PTCL is offered to a single group of strategic investor it will create a giant monopoly.
The ministry of overseas Pakistanis will launch two training programmes for nurses so that they could avail job opportunities abroad.Sources in the ministry told this reporter that the programmes would be launched in Islamabad and Karachi to impart training to 3,500 nurses. They said during the training, the nurses would be provided boarding and lodging facilities, besides a monthly stipend of Rs5,000.
The nurses will also attend language classes in the National University of Modern Languages, they added.
A non-government organizations have formed a mega forum involving various stockholders of the region to encourage public participation and promote awareness for participatory planning and integrated programming in the Northern Areas.
Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf today arrived in Paris on a two-day visit.
According to The News, he is scheduled to meet French President Zhak Chirak at luncheon and also to meet Prince Karim Aga Khan.
At his arrival Lee airport, he was welcomed by officials of French Foreign Ministry. The formal reception ceremony of President Musharraf will be held at French Presidential Palace.
Sources said President Musharraf, besides issues of economic cooperation, would take up issue defence cooperation also.
President Gen Pervez Musharraf said on Friday that Pakistan stands for peaceful settlement of all issues with India, including the core issue of Kashmir, and is ready to enter a dialogue.'We seek peaceful resolution of all disputes and differences, especially the core dispute over Jammu and Kashmir. We, on our part, will demonstrate all our seriousness,' he stated at a banquet he hosted in honour of Prince Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual head of the Ismaili community.
Musharraf said Pakistan has made consistent overtures for a better climate of relations with India.
The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan (AKPBS, P) the other day organized a daylong workshop on 'Improving the Living Conditions of Rural Communities in Sindh' at Ali Mohammed Ismail village, Khyber, Hyderabad District.
The Nazim and Naib Nazim of the district and other members of the local government, directors of the AKPBS, P and representatives of various other NGOs were among the 200 people who attended the programme, says a Press release here on Friday.
A family of Afghans climb between two trucks as they assemble for the return journey from Lahore to Afghanistan. ? UNHCR/J.ReddenWhen dignitaries gathered this month to see off more than 500 Afghan refugees, UNHCR and the Pakistan government shared the podium with a relief agency that had been key to their effort to contact the refugees and organise returns from a city where refugees are submerged among 6 million Punjabis.
Civil society organizations have an impressive history of substantial contribution to the socio-economic and political development in the country and there are new opportunities evolving gradually for NGOs.
Pakistan has also an excellent record of civil society organizations' contributions to the country's social, economic and political development.
These observations were made by the Consul General of the United States in Karachi, Douglas C. Rohn, while speaking at a launching workshop of the NGO Institutional Management and Certification Programme (IMCP) held here on Wednesday.
Syed Hassan Raza, Assistant professor in University of Agriculture, Faisalabad attended the 1st World Mountain Forum held in Chambery, France last month. Representing Pakistan he exchanged views with numerous actors of mountainous areas development around the world.
..........The 1st World Mountain Forum gathered researchers and policy makers from all over the world from Nepalese to Bolivians.
Pakistan's second largest commercial bank, Habib Bank has been handed over to Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development.
An agreement was signed in Islamabad this afternoon by the Privatisation Commission and the Fund for transfer of management of the bank.
Aga Khan Fund had given the highest bid of over 22 billion rupees in December last year for acquiring 51% strategic stake and acquiring management control in the Bank.
The Aga Khan Family Health Centre was inaugurated here on Tuesday to provide healthcare services to the local people as well as Afghan refugees, a press release said.
Inaugurating the centre, Dr Luis Sampaio, president of the Institute of Portuguese for Health and Development (IPAD) also announced US$100,000 for the centre and urged the people to contact the centre for their medical needs.
Community based trophy hunting programmes that allow limited hunting of rare animals have become an important source of sustainable economic development for communities in the Northern Areas, a group of journalists learnt on a visit to the Bar valley organised by the Forum of Environment Journalists, Punjab chapter (FEJP), in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
The touring team were first taken to the Gilgit Information Conservation Centre and witnessed the development done by non-governmental organisations and environment units.
The Aga Khan, billionaire spiritual leader of the Ismaili sect of Islam on Saturday attended with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov a ceremony laying the foundations of Central Asia?s first Ismaili centre in Tajikistan?s capital Dushanbe. Prince Karim Aga Khan is funding the construction of the religious and cultural centre. He will also finance the construction of a five star hotel in Dushanbe, Rakhmonov said. There are 15 million Ismaili Muslims throughout the world, including some 200,000 in Tajikistan.
Prime Minister Jamali would be hosting a luncheon in the honour of Ismaili Spiritual leader Prince Karim Aga Khan today (Wednesday) at the Prime Minister House.
Influential political personalities have also been invited to the luncheon.
Prince Aga Khan will also attend a dinner hosted by President Gen Musharraf on the very night.
The Aga Khan after reaching the provincial capital, Karachi on December 5, will attend the annual convocation of the Aga Khan University on December 6.
President, Khushhali Bank, Ghalib Nishtar has said the Bank would continue to generate 100,000 clients each year and by the year 2010 it aims to create about one million clients.He expressed these views while addressing a seminar on 'Current Issues in Microfinance,' organised by Pakistan Microfinance Network in cooperation with Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan through Social Institutions Development Programme funded by Canadian International Development Agency here Saturday.
The European Commission (EC) has approved Euro 20 million (approximately Rs. 1,280 million) grant for Pakistan's educational development, to be undertaken by Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan (AKFP) over the next five years.The grant mainly aims at improving access, quality and sustainability of education for in-school and out-of-school children, with increased gender equity and the participation of communities in the Northern Areas and Chitral (NAC), a highly placed source said here MOnday.
Ambassador and Head of the European Commission Delegation in Pakistan, Ilkka Uusitalo, will visit Sakardu, Hunza Gilgit and Chitral from June 11 to 14. During his visit he will inspect and review the EU-sponsored projects in these areas. Uusitalo would be meeting the Chief Secretary of Northern Areas, Secretary Education of Northern Areas and the District Nazim of Chitral.Last month, the EU approved a grant of Rs. 1.28 billion to support Aga Khan Foundation's Northern Pakistan Education Project (NPEP).
The European Union's ambassador to Pakistan, Ilkka Uustialo, has laid emphasis on quality education at the Aga Khan centres for education all over the country .Mr Uustialo was visiting Karimabad education centre, which had been declared the best college of the year.The Aga Khan Education Service (AKES) has been awarded a grant of 20 million euros for the implementation of the Northern Pakistan Education Programme, over the next five years, says a press release on Thursday.