Archive for April, 2009

Fire at Hameed Latif

A fire has engulfed the basement at Lahore’s Hameed Latif Hospital near Qaddafi Stadium.

Located on Ferozpur Road, Hameed Latif is one of the most advanced private healthcare facilities in the city that provides state-of-the-art treatment and care for patients suffering from diverse health problems.

Rescue 1122, the Fire department, authorities and other emergency crew are currently trying hard to contain and control fire in the hospital stores which is being fanned by Oxygen cylinders and cotton stocks in the basement. 

Despite of a loss in hundreds of thousands of rupees, fortunately, no casualty or injury has so far been reported. Let’s hope the blaze is extinguished as soon as possible without causing any further physical, structural, or human loss.

LUMS student case update

As reported here in a previous post, a LUMS student was killed in a road accident when the car he was traveling in was smashed by a Cruiser being driven by drunk men a few days back. Two of the accused were arrested with their vehicle while the third person fled the scene.

Efforts of late Waheeb Alam’s supporters are bearing fruit as the fugitive and the third culprit has recently been arrested while two men in earlier custody have been sent to Central Jail under police remand with no preferential treatment awarded.

Students of LUMS, in a remarkable display of unity, strength and solidarity with friends and family of the deceived soul, had staged a peaceful demonstration against police inaction and meddling of the evidence on scene at Club Chowk and Masjid Chowk, DHA. This led to intervention from higher political and police authorities with assurances to the students that their case will be proceeded in a fair and transparent manner.

LUMS Vice Chancellor, Faculty, Administration and fellow students have been instrumental in achieving whatever success we have been able to observe so far. Though any good news cannot bring Waheeb back to his family, we pray that the perpetrators be brought to justice without any compromise or conditions.

It’s time for Critical Mass


This Sunday will be Lahore’s fifth Critical Mass event. The group’s been getting some publicity, including this piece in the Christian Science Monitor.

I can’t speak for the others (though I know many share this view), but getting on our cycles and going onto the streets of Lahore sends a powerful message: That the streets are open spaces; that men, women and children can enjoy the city and its many delights safely and without fear of molestation; that cycling is a viable form of transport; that the way our cities are managed is deplorable; and that, most of all, we are having fun in our own city and in our own country.

Come join the Critical Mass on Sunday. All you’ll need is a road worthy cycle and a sense of adventure. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Lahore School of Economics Annual Conference

lahore_schoolLahore School of Economics (Center for Research in Economics and Business) on 20-21 April, 2009. The underlying objective of the conference is to promote dialogue/discussion on key economic management and policy issues facing the country today. A distinguished economist or senior policy maker will be asked to present the keynote address, while eminent economists from the region will be invited to present papers or participate in the panel sessions. The papers and proceedings of the conference will be published in a special issue of the Lahore Journal of Economics.The topics and broad areas of discussion include Promoting Stable and Sustainable Growth, Free Trade Agreements – Experience and Potential, Liberalizing Trade and Investment with India: A Recipe for Higher Growth, Pakistan’s Stop-Go Growth – A Symptom of an Anti-Export Bias, Accelerating Export Growth – Looking Beyond Textiles. Read here.

The Fifth Annual Conference on Management of the Pakistan Economy is being held in

LUMS Students protest killing of their fellow

Early morning on April 20, at about 4:00 am, a group of three drunk men, driving in ecstasy through empty lanes of DHA Lahore, lost control of their Land Cruiser and crashed into a car on the other side of the road after knocking down a lamp-post and tumbling over the road divider. The incident happened at Club Chowk near H-Block Market and resulted in the sad demise of Waheeb Alam, an undergraduate student of 2010 batch at LUMS (Innalillah-e-wa-inna-ilaihe-rajioon). Waheeb and his two friends had been out driving their Cuore to have an early morning breakfast when a speeding four-wheeler in good speed slammed into their unfortunate vehicle.

Police controlling the protest

Police controlling the protest

Waheeb sccumbled to injuries, dying on the spot, while both of his friends were injured of whom one was in a serious condition. One of the accomplices driving the Cruiser fled the scene while the other two were held and later arrested by the Police. Considering the fact that the perpetrators had a very influential background, immediate steps in collection of evidence and registration of an initial FIR were delayed unnecessarily by the Police authorities. This led to a protest demonstration by hundreds of LUMS students who blocked the one-way road at Club Chowk to demand immediate filing of the FIR and securing original evidence without tempering.

Students praying for the deceased soul

Students praying for the deceased soul

Students were later joined by the LUMS Vice Chancellor, Mr. Ahmad Jan Durrani, Dean Suleman Dawood School of Business, Mr. Shaukat Brah and several other university faculty members. Negotiations with the authorities continued for about six hours during which students ignored continued requests by the Police officials to end the sit-in and move back to university campus until their demands were fulfilled.

A few important demand points included:

– An assurance by the Police that evidence should not be tempered or distorted

– Official blood sample reports of the accused be produced and shared with the students as soon as possible

– The third accomplice should be arrested within 24 hours of the incident

As the wait for blood sample reports prolonged, officials informed the protestors that the reports will be produced within two weeks time. Infuriated, the group of students peacefully moved from Club Chowk to the main Masjid Chowk blocking one-way lane in front of the masjid.

Sit-in continues at the Masjid Chowk, DHA

Sit-in continues at the Masjid Chowk, DHA

Later intervention of the higher authorities and visit of the PML (N) MNA from the constituency Khawaja Saad Rafiq paved way for the peaceful dispersing of the protesting crowd. The assurances made by Mr. Rafiq included a resolve to bring justice to the family of the deceased soul as soon as possible in the form of arrest of the third man, delivery of blood sample reports within an hour (at 5:00 pm) and transparency and urgency in the whole process.

PML (N) MNA, Khawaja Saad Rafiq at the spot

PML (N) MNA, Khawaja Saad Rafiq at the spot

Overall, students of this institution made sure to stand by Waheeb’s family in their hour of grief as they peacefully campaigned and protested to get the responsible party duly charged and arrested.

We pray for our fellow Waheeb Alam’s deceased soul (May Allah grant him peace and salvation), his family and for the speedy recovery of his injured friends. Please join us in condemning use of influence and power by those who cause innocent deaths and then easily escape from the grips of law.

The latest

Classes were cancelled at LUMS today. Death has struck this institution again, barely a year after a student took his own life, and at least one student’s life has been taken right outside the gates of the university.

Here are the bare facts. Early this morning, around the time of Fajr, three students of LUMS, in their junior year, walked out of the gates for a trip. A drunk driver in a Pajero crashed into all three of them and took off. One student has passed away (Inna lillahi a inna ilaihi’ raji’oon), another is critically injured, and another suffered ‘relatively minor injuries’ according to the mail.

One last piece of information: the student that is critically injured is at the hospital right now and they are refusing to treat him, as it’s a ‘police case’, whatever that is supposed to mean. I don’t know the hospital’s name right now, but student and teacher protestors have been staging a protest against this and against the person who committed this act. The drunk driver is a very influential person; hence it will be very difficult to launch a case against him.

I have nothing else to say, except to ask for your prayers and to spread the word so that at least something can be done to help the people that are still living.


Punjab Police given much deserved relief

In an unprecedented move, the Punjab Government has substantially increased the pay and allowances of all cadres of policemen and officers in the Punjab Police Department. Mian Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Punjab, announced this landmark decision while addressing jawans at Lahore’s Qila Gujjar Singh Police Lines.

The new package includes a risk allowance equal to the policemen’s existing pay, a ration allowance and compensation and guaranteed employment for families of the martyred men.

Making the remuneration package of the Punjab Police equivalent to that of the prestigious Motorway Police, is a highly appreciable decision. For a Police constable earning Rs.6,000/- as base salary, it will be a blessing and a matter of survival for his/her family members.

Police forces in most of the developed countries are highly funded as they are responsible for protection of the people and their possessions. In Pakistan, however, abnormally low pay levels have fueled bribery, corruption and inefficiences in the Police department.

This much needed move will help provide financial security to thousands of men and women serving in the Provincial force who mainly belong to lower-class urban and rural families. It will also help curb corruption, contain the menance of bribery and will surely increase the morale and motivation levels. All of this will result in a Police force that is mentally and moraly better prepared to perform and protect the citizens in the current insecure times.

‘Wasted Vigil’ sheds new light on Afghanistan

The Sayid Saigol Auditorium at the Lahore School of Management Sciences (LUMS) hosted the book reading of Nadeem Aslam’s latest publication, ‘Wasted Vigil’ on Friday evening.

The book is a journey to the past, as it picks up 25 years ago to showcase and analyse the curse of barbaric extremists that now plague Afghanistan. ‘Wasted Vigil’ is the author’s third publication and easily achieves the status of one of his most powerful novels yet. The work highlights the lives of five varying individuals and the impact of the ‘war on terror’ on them.

History’s reflection:

 At the book reading, the author explained what made him write his books. He said his fiction reflected history, claiming the subcontinent’s realities were a tad too real to ignore and needed to be spread to the masses.

As part of the event, Nadeem read extracts from his book and then talked about its contents with the audience. The book is an elegantly crafted tale of latter day Afghanistan, parts of which the author travelled to as part of research for his novel. The cover of the paperback version of the novel features Steve McCurry’s photograph of a pashtun girl in a Peshawar Refugee Camp. The same photographer captured Sharbat Gul, the Afghan girl whose eyes still haunt the world from a Nat Geo cover.

Teaching through talking:

Since the auditorium was full of students, Nadeem Aslam carefully explained the technicalities of his writing. He explained how he injected life into his texts, how he formed his sentences and how aspiring writers could create something that stood out. In the question and answer session, the participants asked meaningful questions, at times challenging the author to look at his own work in a different light. The author carefully cleared all confusions regarding the book and later signed all copies of his three books that were for sale outside the auditorium.

Rainbow in Lahore

well it must not be a big thing for many readers but we had a rainbow in the city after a full week of rain. I’m sure it was after a long long time that it was widely seen all across Lahore.

Express News has spotted it very well, it shows the second rainbow but kind of dim :) Enjoy the shot –


Nadeem Aslam reading from The Wasted Vigil

Wasted Vigil is Nadeem Aslam’s third and most powerful novel yet. It follows the lives of five damaged souls dealing with the repercussions of the “War on Terror” in later day Afghanistan. A work of deepest humanity, “The Wasted Vigil” offers a timely portrait of this region, of love during war and conflict. At once angry, unflinching and memorably beautiful, it marks Nadeem Aslam as a world writer of major importance.
Nadeem shall be reading from ‘The Wasted Vigil’ and answering your questions at the Sayeed Saigol Auditorium on 10th April between 5-7pm.
This event is being arranged by The Last Word in collaboration with the LUMS Literary Society.

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