Illuminative, informative, educative and thought-provoking deliberations took place during the International Conference on “Covering Each Other - In An Era Of Imagined Clashes of Civilizations” organized by the Institute of Communication Studies of the Punjab University.Punjab University Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mujahid Kamran inaugurated the moot which continued for four days and was addressed by a number of local and foreign delegates in various sessions, underlying the needs and responsibilities of the free media. Director of the Institute, Dr. Mugheesuddin Shaikh presented the welcome address and highlighted the aims and objectives for organizing the international moot.Speakers included Dr. Elisabeth Elde from Norway, Gujrat University Vice-Chancellor Dr. Nizamuddin, Dr. Ade Atmondo from Indonesia, Shahid Raza from Bangladesh, former Punjab Governor Shahid Hamid, Arif Nizami, Hafiz Sanaullah (Peshawar University) among a host of others from all over the country and abroad.Foreign and local delegates were also presented with souvenirs by ICS Director Dr. Mugheesuddin Shaikh as a memento of their participation in the moot at the Punjab University.Various socio-cultural activities were organized at different venues in the provincial metropolis in connection with the 30th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution which was celebrated quite enthusiastically. Iran's Cultural Festival formed the main part of these celebrations. One of the main events was an exhibition of paintings by Iranian artists, which was held at the Alhamra Art Gallery. The exhibition drew a large number of visitors from different walks of life including the artists and art lovers.A function was held at the Children Library Complex under the auspices of the Al-Ajam Association. The main objective was to honour dedicated and devoted persons from different walks of life in recognition and appreciation of their meritorious services for the humanitarian cause of the Special Children.Federal Minister Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan was the chief guest on the occasion. She lauded the services being rendered and contributions made by the dedicated and devoted persons for improving the lot of the physically handicapped, mentally retarded, deaf, dumb and blind children and gave away the awards. Dr. Awan, who hails from Sialkot, also availed the opportunity of her presence in the provincial metropolis and addressed the print and electronic media representatives at a press conference at which she talked about wide ranging subjects.People came out on the streets holding rallies and demonstrations and reiterated their unflinching support to the Kashmiris in their just struggle against occupying Indian security forces at the seminars and meetings held on February 5 while observing a day to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people.The day was observed as a public holiday, as has been the practice for the last many years. As a matter of fact, Kashmir Solidarity Day should be observed as a working day and people from both public and private sectors should donate one day's salary or wages, as the case may be, to the suffering and struggling Kashmiri men, women and children. This would have been a more productive way of expressing solidarity with our Kashmiri brethren, who are continuously being denied the birth right to decide their future themselves through a plebiscite in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations.Even otherwise, public holidays should be kept to a minimum as we have a long, long way to go as a progressive and developing country, indeed.Elections to fill 50 vacant seats of the Senate and Upper House of the Parliament are scheduled to be held on March 4. This has generated a lot of interest among the political parties, mainly those represented in the Parliament, and the filing of nomination papers as well as the scrutiny of these papers have since been completed. Election to the Senate takes place in an indirect manner as the directly elected members of the National and Provincial Assemblies form the electoral college for this purpose.In view of the due importance of the Senate polls, the Election Commission of Pakistan has been making hectic arrangements in this regard. Secretary, Election Commission of Pakistan, Kunwar Muhammad Dilshad, was in the city to review the arrangements insofar as holding of the special sitting of the Provincial Assembly for this purpose is concerned.ECP Secretary Kunwar Muhammad Dilshad, besides reviewing the arrangements, also briefed the print and electronic media representatives at the Provincial Election Commission premises adjacent to the Civil Secretariat about the forthcoming Senate polls, which may also be called bye-polls technically, and explained the procedure to be followed as well as how the counting of votes cast is to be worked out.Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani also paid another weekend visit to the provincial metropolis and went through some formal and informal activities.On arrival at the airport, the Prime Minister was received by PPP leaders and parliamentarians including federal and provincial ministers as well as Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. Needless to mention that soon after being welcomed, the Prime Minister talked to the waiting media people.Afterwards, Governor Salman Taseer called on the Prime Minister at the State Guest House, which also serves as the PM's Camp Office, and discussed matters of national and provincial importance during the meeting which lasted for some time.Prime Minister Gilani visited different places to offer his personal condolences with the bereaved families over the demise of well-known lawyer and Peoples Lawyers Forum President Mian Jahangir, PPP Lahore Vice-Vice President Imtiaz Shahid and offered fateha for the departed souls.Since Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani is frequently visiting the provincial metropolis, it would be most fitting to suggest to him that he should allocate some time either at the Gilani House, State Guest House or the Governors' House to meet the PPP leaders, workers, parliamentarians, federal and provincial ministers. This would save them from rushing to the airport every time the Prime Minister is arriving or leaving for Islamabad or Multan.And, defending champions PIA retained the top honours by winning the 56th National Hockey Championship participated in by a number of teams from all over the country.The winning team was awarded the coveted trophy by Pakistan Hockey Federation President Qasim Zia along with District Nazim Mian Aamer Mahmud afterwards.
by RIFFAT QURESHI