Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Representatives of USAID visit ICAP

The President Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan, Mr. Abdul Rahim Suriya, Council Members and USAID Representatives Ms. Kris Smathers and Mr. Shiraz Ashraf at the at ICAP House, Karachi.
The representatives of the USAID visited the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) recently, in Karachi. Mr. Abdul Rahim Suriya President, Mr. Pervez Muslim, Vice President South and Mr. Abdullah Yusuf, Vice President North along with other Council members welcomed the representatives. USAID recognizes audit profession in the Country as one of the four pillars to ensure governance and transparency. The participants discussed other areas of mutual interest and the prospective areas where development projects may be considered for development of infrastructure and capacity building of the Institute.

The USAID is actively looking at the local auditors to audit the USAID funding projects and has discussed the role ICAP can play in this regard. The meeting with USAID primarily focused on aspects of capacity building of accountants, contribution of accountants in assisting and developing the local public sector, ICAP’s investigative process and Quality Assurance Program, continuous professional development efforts, activities of ICAP and quality and qualification of our members, etc.

During their visit, presentations were made to USAID highlighting in brief the activities of ICAP, the role it has played in developing the profession, accomplishments to-date, and future strategies. The Institute is in the process of discussions with the USAID to agree on a future course of action for the professional and educational projects.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Media influence on society

Hafiza Sadaf Mahmood

Mass media plays a crucial role in forming and reflecting public imagination, opinion, connecting the world to individuals and reproducing the self-image of society. In the last 50 years the media influence has grown exponentially with the advance of technology, first there was the telegraph, then the radio, the newspaper, magazines, television and now the internet.
Our society is centered on media, it is the most influential factor in constructing our culture, but is it a positive culture? If we examine the effect that media has on children, we can say that it breeds a harmful culture, one that throws values and morals out the window. This is because the media is profit driven and has developed its own code of ethics of "anything-goes". As a result, children are exposed to things that they should not necessarily be exposed to yet and as a result it rushes their mental development and in fact moulds their mentality. This is a scary fact because these children's minds are susceptible to the trickery of those who run the media. With the media luring in the children, they are able to sell their own value system to the kids through actors, cartoon characters, and even musicians who are puppets in the media's propaganda. They in turn tend to become role models to the kids and can influence the children and manipulate their behavior
The media have a strong social and cultural impact upon society. This is predicated upon their ability to reach a wide audience with a strong and influential message. Marshall McLuhan uses the phrase “the medium is the message” as a means of explaining how the distribution of a message can often be more important than content of the message itself. It is through the persuasiveness of media such as television, radio and print media that messages reach their target audiences. These have been influential media as they have been largely responsible for structuring people's daily lives and routines. Television broadcasting has a large amount of control over the content society watches and the times in which it is viewed. This is a distinguishing feature of traditional media which New media have challenged by altering the participation habits of the public.
Media strongly affects youth culture. The media executives are quick to defend their role in youth violence and bullying while selling millions of dollars in ads focused on youth. TV producers, network executives, motion picture companies and others in the media deny any impact of their programs on the attitudes and actions of youth. Meanwhile they continue to spend millions on special effects and marketing geared to increase appeal to youth markets. While corporations spend millions on market research and advertising to create products and campaigns targeted at a youth demographic, they still deny their ability to influence youth. If this were true to fact, would NIKE continue spending millions every year on product development, marketing and advertising? Would McDonalds still be using cartoon like characters to sell hamburgers? Would music labels be increasing the level of violence and sexual content in the music geared towards the youth audience? Would liquor companies be using youth oriented activities in their advertising? Of course it works on influencing youth and its ideals advertising would not be a multi-billion dollar a year business. If it had no influence, M-TV would not have consultant on staff spending huge amounts of money to ensure them keeping up with youth culture.

The internet creates a space for more diverse political opinions, social and cultural viewpoints and a heightened level of consumer participation.
They include licensing in advance;censorship of offending material before publication;seizure of offending material;injunctions against publication of a newspaper or book or of specified content;requirement of surety bonds against libel or other offense;compulsory disclosure of ownership and authority;post publication criminal penalties for objectionable matter;post publication collection of damages in a civil action;post publication correction of libel and other misstatements;discrimination in granting access to news source and facilities;discrimination and denial in the use of communications facilities for distribution;taxes;discriminatory subsidies;and interference with buying, reading and listening.
Media should encourage art, science and literature but it is focusing on astrology, rebirths, religious myths, beliefs and aliens. Now days almost every news channel telecast astrological programmes where an astrologer or some baba is sitting and predicting about deaths, marriages and relationships. The funny part is that sometimes statements made by each astrologer are contradictory which confuses the audience. Superstition and myths are also encouraged as recently in one of the news channel there was programme based on a tantrik who claimed that he can kill a person within three minutes. It was telecast but the action failed and to escape from humiliation the tantrik said that it can only be performed at night.

In the 2000s, Bollywood began influencing musical films in the Western world, and played a particularly instrumental role in the revival of the American musical film genre.Bollywood films are mostly musicals, and are expected to contain catchy music in the form of song-and-dance numbers woven into the script. A film's success often depends on the quality of such musical numbers. Indeed, a film's music is often released before the movie itself and helps increase the audience
The release of “Aja Nachle“ enthused a dance craze. The teenage crowd completely overshadowed us with their enviable knowledge of Indian songs and dance moves. One such enthusiast, 14 year-old-Faiza confessed “I enjoy Indian dramas and films especially the remixed songs.
Television is very influential when it comes to new trends and fashion. Peoples get in touch with all the new trends related to dresses and same kind of things because of this.
Programs like Kaun Banay Ga Crorepati, Tariq Aziz Show and many others are doing a good job by providing information in an entertaining way. The Public Service Messages on Television are really influential.
Most importantly, by reading columns, peoples learn a lot about writing. They admit that their creative writing is good because of reading books and news papers’ columns.
As Television is the most common and powerful media form that is why it has a number of negative influences. Some peoples really get impressed by new trends of fashion and they waste their money on those foolish things after watching them in any program or advertisements.
Wasting time on surfing different channels of Television is the biggest negative point of peoples. Some times, young girls get impressed by different beauty products just because of their eye capturing advertisement campaigns and then they often get allergy. Cross-promotions between food products and popular TV and movie characters encourage peoples to eat more high calorie food.
Some times young boys keep long hair and say, “it is fashion”, a very negative influence of media. Furthermore, the constant ambush of messages from the media especially Television to lose weight and to appear waif-like in order to meet society’s expectations of the ideal woman are possibly behind youngsters little eating.
The time youngsters spend using internet displaces time they could be doing physical activities. Whenever peoples get some time spare, they listen to Radio. Again, that time could have been used for any other useful activity.
These were just few examples of media influence but I think, they were enough to show that how convincing and influential media is. The growth of media as an industry has accelerated over the past few years with new forms such as DVD and the internet changing the way we, the audience, consume and receive media.So concluding this topic, I would say that it is up to us that how we consume media. It has both pros and cons but let us try to focus on positive points, not the negative ones.
What remains to be seen is how tomorrow's young adults will show the effects of growing up in a time of computers, Britney Spears and supremacy of Indian media. We may just end up paying a higher price than we bargained for. In the race to “Indianise“ our media, are we evolving with the times or burying our own heritage? Will we be successful in statue our own position eventually, or will the technologically know-how Indian industry usurp our culture and society?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

SECP granted licenses to 16 non profit associations

ISLAMABAD – July 8, 2010: During the first half of 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) granted licenses to 16 associations not for profit under Section 42 of the Companies Ordinance, 1984.

Four of the 16 associations belong to the public sector, the remaining are from the private sector. Eight associations have been granted licenses in the social services sector, two each in research/policy matters, provision of housing facilities for employees, one each in sports, charity, commerce and environmental protection.

The associations include Green Emergency Forum, Vision 21 Foundation, Pehchan, Zakria Foundation, WAPDA Endowment Fund for Sports, Furqan Education Foundation, Abbassciy Foundation, NRSP Institute of Rural Management, Energy Foundation-Pakistan, Centre for Strategic and Policy Analysis, Foundation for Better Tomorrow, Pakistan Institute of Cost and Contracts, Pakistan Wildlife Foundation, GEPCO Employees Housing Foundation, Pakturk Businessmen Association and COMSATS Employees Housing Foundation.

NRSP Institute of Rural Management has been created by the National Rural Support Programme, mainly to provide training and research for building the capacity of communities and professionals, fostered by the NRSP and other rural support programmes.

Pakistan Institute of Cost and Contracts has been formed by the Pakistan Engineering Council, NESPAK and All Pakistan Constructors Association, to undertake research and to provide a single and credible source for cost data of all construction inputs. It also seeks to develop schedule of rates and procurement documents, guidelines for cost estimation of construction works, etc.

Pakturk Businessmen Association has been formed to encourage trade, commerce and economic relations between the business communities of Pakistan and Turkey.

Green Emergency Forum has been created to promote environmental protection and conservation. Zakria Foundation aims at providing health facilities to the needy, and Vision 21 Foundation at supporting research on policy issues. The main object of Pehchan and Furqan Education Foundation is to establish and promote educational institutions. The non-profit sector is playing a significant role in the promotion of commerce, art, literature, science, religion and sports. It has been providing valuable social services to the public.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

HRCP condemns killing of university teacher in Quetta

HRCP condemns the target killing of Nazima Talib, a university teacher in Quetta, and calls upon the government to provide adequate security to vulnerable academic staff across Balochistan and bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice. Most of the victims are so-called settlers in the province who have been providing valuable services to people of Balochistan for the last several decades. Unfortunately, some Baloch militant organizations often claim responsibility for such murders and try to justify their acts as revenge for the excesses committed by the law-enforcing agencies against the Baloch political activists. HRCP is of the view that the excesses committed by the security agencies should not be visited on innocent non-Baloch people who served the Baloch society without any discrimination of race or language.
The killing of innocent people on ethnic basis serves no purpose for otherwise a legitimate struggle for political rights of the Baloch population. It is unfortunate that most of senior Baloch leaders have not condemned these ruthless killings strongly enough, some of them present conspiracy theories to divert the blame from the Baloch organisations which hardly makes any sense. As the target killings have led to migration of the settlers, mostly engaged in the services sector where the Baloch people do not have or have little indigenous expertise, out of Balochistan, the Baloch people have suffered owing to increasing shortage of necessary services. As a result, the education system in the province has been destroyed besides the unavailability of other essential services such as healthcare.
The government, despite the heavy presence of paramilitary forces and all sorts of intelligence agencies in the province, has failed in checking the crime. So far, no criminal has been brought to justice in any incident of target killing which emboldens the perpetrators of the crime. The discontent among the Baloch youth could not be assuaged though several months passed since the government made commitments to take measures to win over the Baloch nationalists, especially the young Baloch, under the Aghaz-i-Huqooq-i-Balochistan Package. The murder of the woman teacher at the Balochistan University should serve as a reminder to the powers that be that they need to act immediately and decisively to make things improve in the Balochistan province.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Candyland win in bridge tournament

By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Candyland interrupted Solox’s winning streak by annexing the latest edition of the weekly team championship organised by the Karachi Bridge Association (KBA) here at the Aslam Bridge Hall, housed in the National Stadium, the other day.

Candyland won the Swiss team contest among 11 participants by securing 72 Victory Points (VPs) while Free Bidders and Solax finished second and third position respectively although both of them aggregated 71 points each from four matches.

Candyland won all their four matches. After overpowering Essa (16-14), Aces (17-13) and Sakaria (19-11) they toppled Solax (20-10) to win the day.

There was a fierce contest in the weekly pairs event as well in which as at least three pairs fought the battle tooth and†nail until the end. It had gone so close that it became very unpredictable till the last card dropped.

The pair of Gulzar Bilal and Khalid Mohiuddin left other challengers behind in the North-South direction, winning the title with 64 percent score while Mohammd Nasim-Lutfuullajh ended runners-up with 62.99 percent score.

Dr Sarfraz Ahmed-Khalid Zaki won the contest while playing from the East-West direction by having scored 60.23 percent followed by Maqbool Ahmed-Ahmed Hasan and Masood Mazhar-Rais Ahmed both of whom aggregated 57.72 percent. (The News)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hillary praises Pakistan’s ‘valuable’ fight against terror

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday praised “valuable” US-Pakistan cooperation in fighting extremism, saying the Pakistani leadership “recognises that standing firm against the threat is important to the country’s future”.

In an interview with BBC on Tuesday, the top American diplomat offered no specific comments on the arrest of Taliban leader Mullah Baradar in Pakistan.

“We don’t comment on operations like that. We think less is better, in terms of what anyone knows, or what anyone might speculate on. But the general point is one that I would underscore, that the cooperation is increasing, and it is very valuable,” she told the British broadcaster in Jeddah, according to a State Department transcript released on Wednesday.

“I can express our appreciation for the increasing cooperation between the United States and Pakistan. It is something that I personally believe is in the best interest of both of our countries. And the efforts to combat our common enemy is one that requires this level of partnership,” she remarked. Hillary said the Pakistanis understood that extremists posed a direct threat to their state.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, lauded Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, specially, Chairman, Businessmen Group & former President-KCCI, Siraj Kassam Teli for their relief and rehabilitation efforts to affectees of Ashura incident. President of Pakistan said that the two political parties of Sindh, made joint efforts and proved the fact that democracy is better than dictatorship. He was addressing at the pay-orders distribution ceremony to affectees of Bolton Markets and other markets, held on Chief Minister House, yesterday. President said that his government believes on accommodating democracy and taking forward the policy of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. President, in response to the demand of Chairman, Businessmen Group and former President-KCCI, Siraj Kassam Teli, announced his consent to spend the leftover amount of the Federal Government’s announced and provided relief fund of Rs.3 billion for the development of Karachi and gave instruction to concerned authorities to plan for spending the leftover fund for making green, to purchase modern technology and machinery for police and fire brigade department and for Karachi’s Disaster Management Cell, and he has no objection for utilizing the leftover fund by the present committee or by making another committee of Sindh Government with representation of Siraj Teli.

Earlier, Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Governor of Sindh, Dr. Ishrat ul Ibad Khan, commended Karachi Affected Markets Relief Committee and Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry for supporting and helping out the affectees, and said that the Government of Sindh, with a passion of service, helped the affectees for their relief and rehabilitation. Governor Sindh, Dr. Ishrat Ul Ibad Khan said that on the instruction of Quaid-e-Tehrik, Altaf Hussain, he helped the affectees in a best way possible. Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah said that some people were intolerant about peace in the Sindh province, and the Ashura Incident is an act to sabotage peace, however, Government will punish such elements accordingly.
Previously, Siraj Kassam Teli, Chairman Businessmen Group & former President-KCCI, for the relief and rehabilitation of victims of affected markets expressed cordial gratitude and compliments, especially to President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari and Governor of Sindh, Dr. Ishrat ul Ibad Khan, Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Federal Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin, Federal Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, Federal Minister Dr. Farooq Sattar, Federal Minister Babar Ghouri, Provincial Home Minister Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza, Provincial I.T. Minister, Raza Haroon and City Nazim Karachi Syed Mustafa Kamal who remain engaged from the first day of the incident, in the relief activities. Siraj Teli informed that Karachi Chamber also remain steadfast in the relief and rehabilitation activities from 28th December, 2009. After the constitution of Karachi Affected Relief Committee, Chairman, Zubair Motiwala, President-KCCI, Abdul Majid Haji Muhammad with KCCI’s Office Bearers and Managing Committee Members remain determined to help out and engaged in the relief and rehabilitation process till date and maintaining effective liaison with affectees and subsequently contacted the Government.

Siraj Teli appealed the President of Pakistan for directing Federal Board of Revenue for declaring immunity to the affected people with regards all kinds of taxes for at least one year, KESC & PTCL for not charging for 6 months, school and educational institution’s fee waiver for 4 months to children of affectees. Siraj Teli also appealed President of Pakistan to immediately establish a Disaster Management Cell with Sindh Government having representation of KCCI, while utilizing the leftover amount of relief fund. He said that since the total amount of claims would be approximately 1.6 billion and the Federal and Sindh Government has already set aside Rs.3.5 billion for the purpose, and he suggests and requests that the remaining amount should be kept aside for this Disaster Management Cell and be spent on improvement of fire and police departments and for the purpose of unforeseen. He also reminded all the concerned for their commitment of exposing the culprits whosoever they may be and that is the only way to stop the recurrence of such incidences.

Siraj Teli, presented a report on Bolton Market Incident to the President of Pakistan and Sindh Government whereby informing about the completion of relief work while utilizing all the available means and resources of Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, its members and secretariat staff. Siraj Teli said that seven loss assessment committees comprising of the Businessmen Group’s members and KCCI’s Managing Committee members, with due diligence visited the affected markets, meticulously interviewed each and every affectee and comprehensively compiled the record while ensuring maximum transparency, performing 12 hours work daily. Siraj Teli said that over 2800 claims were filed, after examination of double and incorrect filed claimed, the scrutiny of 1600 claims completed. Initial amount of claims was Rs.3 billion, affectees after taking oath corrected their claims and the claim amount including the claim of goods, cash, and materials is around Rs.1.2 billion. For reconstruction of destroyed and dangerous declared buildings, Siraj Teli said that tenders have been invited and the approximate estimate of reconstruction is over Rs.0.5 billion. Scrutiny of claims over 1.5 million will be completed in 10 days followed by payments of claims, he added. Siraj Teli informed that the number of scrutinized claims is 1451 and the approximate claim amount is Rs.0.73 billion which is the 90 percent share of filed claims, remaining 10 percent claims number is 150 which amounts to 0.45 billion approximately. Siraj Teli highlighted that in all the relief work, efforts were made to ensure check and balance and transparency. President of Pakistan on the said occasion distributed the pay-orders amounting to Rs.12,635,000/-.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

General Mubarak Salem Al Rada Al Mazrouei meets General Kayani

Major General Mubarak Salem Al Rada Al Mazrouei, UAE Land Forces Commander called on General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of Army Staff at General Headquarters on tuesday.
The visiting dignitary remained with the Chief of Army Staff for some time and discussed matters of professional interest.