It has touched me in recent years how often I have witnessed the exploitation of farming communities by wealthy land owners as we have traveled the world. It is truly a universal norm to economically enslave share croppers by creating debt structures in the wake of drought or natural disaster, which in turn bind whole families to a land owner.
This man lives and works as a share cropper along the Indus River in Pakistan. I can still remember the hopelessness in his eyes as he explained how the land owner whose fields he tended had not changed his expected quota of grain following the massive floods of last summer, which has forced his children to quit school and work the fields themselves. Even with the extra hands they still can’t make the quota and are now bound to their master by debt.
FACT: This is a totally legal and recognized practice of slavery all across the world. (via aphotographicprotest)
Malaysia to set up center to honour Dr Atta-ur-Rehman
A top Malaysian university will set up a research institute to honour prominent Pakistani scientist Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman.
The “Atta-ur-Rahman Institute of Natural Product Discovery (RiND)” will be inaugurated at the University of Teknologi Mara (UiTM) on March 4, 2013, during an International Conference on Natural Products, where Rehman is being invited as a guest of honour to deliver the keynote speech for the “Jack Cannon Lecture”.
The UiTM had awarded Rehman an honorary doctorate degree in 2011 and RiND is another accolade for the scientist.
“The RiND will will work on full-fledged PhD programs in fields such as organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, neuroscience, proteomics, pharmacology, pharmacognosy and molecular medicine with a special focus on the bioactive constituents of terrestrial plants and marine sources,” Rehman said while speaking to Dawn.com. (Complete news)
Academy Award winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy was presented the ‘Crystal Award’ by Hilde Schwab at the 2013 World Economic Forum meeting for her efforts in promoting human rights and women’s issues through film. The award was given at the official Crystal Award ceremony held at the World Economic Forum Congress Centre, Congress Hall in Davos, Switzerland.
The World Economic Forum introduced the Crystal Award in 1995 to honour personalities who are highly regarded as both cultural leaders and global citizens committed to improving the state of the world in.
Alongside Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the session awarded Charlize Theron, actress and founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project and Vik Muniz, artist and member Global Agenda Council, on the Role of the Arts in Society. The ceremony was chaired by Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Past winners include A R Rahman, Amitabh Bachan, Muhammad Ali, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Richard Gere. (Complete news)
Vernin U’Chong started jumping around at home at an early age – around when he was six or seven. It was only when he watched a documentary on parkour and free running later in life did he realize that what he was doing was an actual sport. After a little research he took his passion to a whole different level. He is the one of the pioneers of parkour and free running in Pakistan and has inspired many youth into the sport. Vernin is also a professional athlete and has taken part in many national and provincial games. In the recent Sindh games in 2012, Vernin took the gold medals in the 100, 200 and 4×100 relay races.
Meanwhile his brother, Neil U’Chong, who also practices parkour, has also been break dancing in Pakistan for many years now and has been teaching it to children from his community for around half a decade. He now teaches at the Body Beat Recreational Centre and trains various people in break dance. Neil is also a graffiti artist, who practices the mantra that it’s not vandalism if someone wants it to be done on their property. He has been appointed to do graffiti for various television commercials and also promotes the activity if it is done legally.
For those who are new to this urban sport, parkour was developed in the 1990’s by David Belle in France. The sport is a training discipline that has been developed out of military obstacle training courses. The point is to move from point A to point B, overcoming all obstacles in between. It is a non-competitive sport and all one needs is a good pair of sneakers and the city is your playground.
Free running on the other hand is described by its creator Sébastien Foucan as “the art of expressing yourself in your environment without limitations: It is the art of movement and action”. Foucan explains that free running developed from parkour when he started making the sport more personal — by adapting it to each person’s strengths and weaknesses.
Both the brothers have done various parkour, free running, break dancing, and graffiti commercials and projects and intend on promoting the sport as much as they can in the city and hopefully the country. - Text by Kurt Menezes
Deutsche Bank Art: Imran Qureshi “Artist of the Year” 2013
Deutsche Bank’s art programme has announced Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi as its “Artist of the Year” for 2013.
This award honours promising artists who seek to address social issues in an individualistic manner and have succeeded in creating an outstanding oeuvre which focuses on two important points — works on paper and photography. The award was announced in Berlin where Qureshi’s work will later be exhibited in a solo presentation in the spring of 2013.
The award was announced following the recommendation of Deutsche Bank’s Global Art Advisory Council which consists of internationally-renowned and credible curators such as Okwui Enwezor, Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann and Victoria Noorthoorn.
“The award means a lot to me,” Qureshi said humbly. “It is good news from Pakistan for the Pakistani people and the art community which will project a positive image of the country to the outer world and that is the most important thing for me.” (For complete news and more of his work)
Thirty-seven years in UAE and looking forward to more (By Iqbal Mankani)
I landed in Dubai towards the end of September 1975. That was the time when apart from construction workers, talented young men from Pakistan comprising bankers, insurers, engineers, doctors and other professionals were still migrating from the country in search of greener pastures. Banks and Life Insurance along with several heavy industries had earlier been nationalized by the Bhutto regime leaving behind a large group of talented professionals whose services would be welcome in any country in search of talented manpower, particularly the oil rich kingdom of the Middle East. The Arabs were indebted to Bhutto for teaching them to use their new found oil as a weapon against the West and to face the Western world with dignity and so they were more than happy to reciprocate by offering jobs to Pakistanis in their country. (complete article)
Muhammad Asif victorious in World Snooker Championship finals
BULGARIA: Pakistani cueist Muhammad Asif won the IBSF World Snooker Championship finals, beating his opponent, England’s Gary Wilson.
Asif maintained a strong lead against Wilson, being up 6-3 at the break.
Asif had earlier sailed into the IBSF World Snooker Championship finals, crushing Malta’s Alex Borg, seven frames to one and secured his place in the final. He had reached the semi-finals after beating Syria 6-2.
The Pakistani cueist had triumphed against Australia’s Vinnie Calabrese 5-0 in their last 32-match played on Friday in Sofia, Bulgaria. Asif showed great confidence as he beat Calabrese 63-40, 115-14, 69-65, 67-55 and 67-15.
Furthering diplomatic ties: Japanese wrestler Inoki arrives in Pakistan
Antonio Inoki, a former Japanese professional wrestler, arrived in Pakistan on late on Friday to participate in an international wrestling competition, Express News reported.
Talking to reporters at the Benazir International airport in Islamabad upon his arrival, Inoki said that he was visiting Pakistan as part of the 60-year celebrations of diplomatic ties between Pakistan and Japan.
Expess News added that during the brief press talk, the Japanese wrestler revealed that he had accepted Islam and that his Muslim name was “Muhamamd Hussain”.
Inoki, who has previously visited Pakistan to take on late wrestler Akram, reminisced that the Japanese wrestler had managed to break the Pakistani challenger’s arm. Inoki said that he would visit the graves of late wrestlers Gama and Akram and pay his respects. (Complete news)