Saturday, August 17, 2013

BACK-TO-SCHOOL WOES



MAHTAB BASHIR
Good to talk@ 03335363248

ISLAMABAD - Sadly, there is no vacation that never ends, as school-going children know all too well: with the end of summer children, teachers, parents, are all immersed in preparations to return to school. All educational institutions working under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) and the majority of private institutions are reopening today (Monday), after over three months of summer vacations. Despite an extension of the holidays for Eid, school-going children are still not prepared to return to their academic routines: with their sleep schedules having been massively altered, enthusiasm to return to school is virtually nonexistent.

Attia Imdad, a pre-school teacher, said it happened every year with almost every child especially, if he/she was a lower grade student. “But each child faces different problems at different levels. These might be internal or inflicted by external forces, for example friends or bullies in school, which might be causing the child stress at the prospect of returning to school. If left unresolved, there is a possibility that the child might develop irrational fears, feelings of shame and embarrassment, distrust, and having low self-esteem,” she said, adding that if the problems persist, it could lead to poor physical and mental health.

Many children, on the other hand, were excited and waiting impatiently to begin their academic year. “Going back to school, to me is always exciting and interesting, as I felt bored sitting at home all days, as the sizzling heat restricted outdoor activities. I have missed my teachers and friends, although I have been in touch with them constantly via text messages and Facebook,” said Osama Pervaiz, a 6th grader.

Besides wanting to meet his friends, he said he was also looking forward to the daily grind of schoolwork and the satisfaction he derived from accomplishing new goals.

Academicians and psychologist suggested various ideas that could be used to welcome children and create an environment conducive to learning. “Encourage your teen to connect with teachers that he likes. Having a good rapport with a teacher not only makes high school more interesting, but these teachers are also helpful in writing job, college, and scholarship recommendations,” said Prof Dr Javed Kausar.

He added that parents needed to be compassionate. “Summer breaks are like vacations. Think about what it’s like for you to make the transition back from a great vacation. Talk about the value of education. Even if school isn’t always easy, that does not mean it is not important. Emphasize how working hard at school will help them to succeed later in life,” Kausar said.

A psychologist, Dr Fahad Ali, said in such situations parents and teachers continued to have fun with kids. “Don’t be surprised if you find that your child strongly resists going back to school. That’s normal. Many kids at this age love spending time with friends and would prefer to hang out with them outside of school. At the same time, other kids really look forward to going back to school. Help your child name what he likes best about school. Even if it starts out only with lunch and recess, go with that. As the school year progresses, see which subjects begin to interest him,” he added.

Conducting a survey, Pakistan Today observed that many children and their parents were perturbed at the prospect of going back to school. Parents said mentally preparing children for school was not their main concern – rather, it was the inflation that was causing them greater worry, as the prices of all school accessories, from stationary items to uniform prices, had tripled.

Starting from Barbie stationery to Harry Potter school gear, everything in the federal capital is available at increased rates ranging from Rs 300 to Rs 350. Similarly, prices of books and notebooks have also gone up to Rs 60 to Rs 80 this season, while prices of wax crayons, oil pastels, brushes, pen, pencils, sketch pencils, sharpeners, erasers have also surged.

Parents said it was becoming a Herculean task to educate children these days as fees were unbelievably high, even at the nursery and prep levels. “We can either feed ourselves or get our children enrolled at good private institutions,” said Rehana Moazzam, a mother of three school-going children. “It is not only the monthly fee and the money spent on course books and notebooks that worries me. As a matter of fact, all school items cost me over Rs10, 000 per month. For the sake of my children and their future, I have to suffer,” she said, hoping one day, she would get high returns on this investment.

Mahtab Bashir is a journalist working for Daily Dunya and an independent blogger. He can be accessed at mahtabbashir@gmail.com

SIKANDAR, SECURITY OFFICIALS, ZAMURAD & OTHERS



WHEN AN INSANE MAKES CITY ADMINISTRATION INSANE



Islamabad police has been unnecessarily criticized for its handling of the incident in which an armed man, accompanied by his wife and two children, held Islamabad hostage for five hours. Sikandar choked life on Jinnah Avenue armed with two automatic weapons, and his demeanour suggested any attempt to take him out at once might harm his family. His shifting demands, where at one time he wanted to impose Shariah in Pakistan and at another referred to himself as a man on a mission to kill some high profile personality in the capital, compelled the police to show restraint. He was thought to be drunk and had even demanded the government should
step down. Through what seemed like a war of nerves, the administration wanted to capture the man alive as advised by the interior minister, once he was exhausted. Then, Zamurad Khan, a PPP stalwart, who ostensibly could not tolerate the humiliation Sikandar was subjecting the country to, decided to intervene even at the risk of putting his life in harm’s way. After the prolonged standoff and the police’s negotiations failed to end the drama, Zamurad Khan used the ploy of meeting Sikandar’s children to attempt to overpower Sikandar, but failed. Sikandar was then shot in the chest and leg by police commandos. It was both a daring and a risky step taken by Zamurad.


That the man held Islamabad hostage for five hours is not as big an issue as the media and commentators have made out. Standard operating procedure in such situations is to try and wear down the protagonist and thereby avoid unnecessary loss of life. The more important question is how Sikandar with two automatic weapons could enter the highly guarded areas of Islamabad through all the check posts that dot the roads. It goes without saying that he was helped to pass over these hurdles because he was accompanied by his wife and children, as the check posts usually let cars containing families go easily. Such consideration for women and children stemming from our cultural norms needs to be reassessed when the country is passing through dire times. Another security lapse occurred when Zamurad was allowed to approach the man. If the police had a plan, why did it allow someone, even with the best of intentions, to take such a big risk? What if in the process Zamurad or the woman and children had been killed? Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered an inquiry into why Zamurad was allowed to intervene. This strange encounter is a reminder that a lot of spadework is still pending to secure the country.



Courtesy Daily Times

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

AUGUST 14- A DAY AS USUAL FOR MANY



MAHTAB BASHIR
ISLAMABAD

mahtabbashir@gmail.com



Aerial firing, riding bikes at high speed without silencers, blowing crackers and fireworks arms and eve teasing is the way we tend to celebrate our important days and festivals, especially 14th of August - our Independence Day.
Celebrations are another name of indecent display of rowdiness across the country.Although everyone gets excited and proud on August 14 and wants to share the happiness and joy with other countrymen, but getting outside the house with family means meeting ruffian youth on the back of bikes and other “thugs” occupying the roads. One wants to get out of the house with the family and enjoy the decorated buildings, and lighting on the towers and mosques, but it is impossible to go to these places and enjoy a nice time with family members due to rowdy youth.

This attitude has become the hallmark of the way we celebrate Eid, Ramadan, Independence Day and all other auspicious occasions. When this scribe contacted a number of people from various segments of the society and from varied age, they blame illiteracy and poverty behind this indecent hooliganism. “Social behavior is an advanced action which directs specific behavior towards others. A majority of our youth – not only illiterate but also literate – have psychological problems so when they step out on the streets, there mannerism, attitude and respect for other changes for the worse,” they opined.
At around this time each year, people talk about the sacred month of Ramadan, how it ought to celebrated and how its true purpose is to understand how those in need feel. This year, the Independence Day arrives after Ramadan and it should be a time to think about how we have been celebrating the Independence Day in the past.
A number of people told Pakistan Today that if ever there was a time to demonstrate just what the real meaning of Ramadan and the real significance of Independence Day was, this was the right time. “The message of Ramadan – of understanding and feeling the pain of those in need, and of opening our hearts to share with those less fortunate – comes perfectly timed and perfectly in tune with the challenge we face today. Would this not be the perfect time to do just that: to open our hearts and hearths to share with those less fortunate?” said Amna Raza, a lady shopping at Super Market (F6 Markaz).
Another August 14 will be celebrated tomorrow. Thousands of youngsters in green and would be pouring on to the streets, but it would make little difference, just like it did not in the past 63 years.
It is often said that youngsters are the future of this country. Pakistan is the country with maximum population of youth; the one which is seen one wheeling from Faizabad Interchange to Constitution Avenue in Islamabad. Others show their love for Pakistan by lighting fire crackers, some performing stunts on bikes at high speeds, not knowing that slipping an inch could cost them their life. 

Hamza Khan, a young boy at Jinnah Super Market said Independence Day should be celebrated in a simple manner, but first of all we have to show solidarity with one another. “Get clear of the thoughts of racism, we are not five, we are one! God never asked me if I wanted to be Punjabi, Sindhi, Pathan, Baloch or Gilgiti. We are Pakistani’s and we should celebrate our day of independence showing unity,” he said. Another said “we must carry on with this passion of I-Day throughout the year. We are at war, real war. We are facing challenges and crisis. We are down and we are bruised. We are threatened by terrorism and we are choking under a huge debt. If we are to address issues of poverty, hunger, desperation, law and order, we need to do so not by treating the cancer with aspirin but with radical surgery. We have to do it ourselves”. 
Osama Pervaiz believed the media could bring about a positive change and make the youth aware of what to do and what not to do on August 14 for the betterment of our country. “If our next generation can come forward and take charge and get all politicians and other corrupt people who are proven guilty by the law are actually sentenced, serve jail terms and are asked to leave our homeland; I believe the country can breathe for a brief time independently in real terms. Then I can spend the Independence Day with a flag in my hand, dancing madly on the tunes of national songs,” he said.






Mahtab Bashir is a journalist working for Daily Dunya, Islamabad and an independent blogger. He can be contacted at mahtabbashir@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

27th RAMADAM, LAILATUL QADR & ITS OBSERVANCE


MAHTAB BASHIR
mahtabbashir@gmail.com
03335363248

Main dil ka raaz kehta hoon

Ke jab jab saansein leta hoon

Tera hi naam leta hoon

Ye tune kya kiya…….!!!



Indeed he was a nucleus of a gathering wherever he went. A quality poet of seven languages, a religious scholar, an authority on Seerat-un-Nabi (pbuh) Naat writing and Iqbal (RA), he was a walking lexicon on Urdu, Persian, Punjabi, Arabic and English literature. In his 75 years life he possessed
Bashir Hussain Nazim reciting Naat-e-Rasool (pbuh)
another distinction of recited Durood-e-Pak (saw) over 50 millions times- a reason of his success in both the world, as he used to claim. He was Bashir Hussain Nazim- a known name in the realm of Naat composition and recitation.  



Before reciting Naat-e-Rasool-e-Maqbool (SAW), Hafiz Azmat rightly pointed out Bashir Hussain Nazim used to be the focal point of this ‘Lailatul Qadr’ congregation. He said though he is no more among us, the volume of Naat he has created with the well immersed love emotional and spiritual attachment to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) would never let him apart from us and the Muhammad (SAW). Here are few verses of the Naat …



Azmat-e-Shah-e-Jinn-o-Bashar dekhiyay

Zer-e-pa unke Shams-o-Qamar dekhiyay



Taaj-e-Inna Fatahna ka mafkhar bana

Unka farq-e-Ulaa, unka sar dekhiyay



Ibtidaay karam, Intihaay karam

Hay faqt Mustufa he ka ghar dekhiyay



Hadd-e-Gibreel se masawa se waraa

Unki parwaaz unka safar dekhiyay



Ajnum-o-Kokab-o-Kekishan-e-malak

Unke Meraaj me rahguzar dekhiyay



Gar Madina mein ho, hazri Dosto!

Rehmatein har taraf jalwagar dekhiyay



Chahaty ho agar zindagi sarmadi

Unke Naam-e-Girami pe mar dekhiyay



Hay hazaroon ibadaat se ola tar

Gumbab-e-Sabz par ik nazar dekhiyay



Mera Madfan ho Nazim diyar-e-Nabi

Ye tamanna mere mukhtasar dekhiyay.



To be continued …….