The Financial Daily : 2020-08-22

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Saturday- Sunday, August 22- 23, 2020 Afghan assembly approves Taliban prisoner release Editor- in- Chief: Azfar Ashary Executive Editor: Manzar Naqvi Editor: Agha Masood Hussain Resident Editor ( Islamabad): Munawar Naqvi Editor- at- Large: Mohammed Arifeen P resident Ashraf Ghani on 31 July ordered Afghan prisoners release. Afghanista­n's government has started releasing the last 400 Taliban prisoners, making the way for l ong- delayed peace t alks. Some pr i s oner' s c r i mes c ontai n attacks on Afghans and foreigners. The release was a condition to begin negotiatio­ns to end 19 years of battle in the country. Peace talks are anticipate­d to start in Qatar in couple of days of the total release. The release was to hasten up efforts for direct t alks and a l ong t erm nationwide ceasefire. On the weekend, an Afghan gr a nd a s s e mbly of e l ders r e c ommended the release of the 400 Taliban prisoners accused of heinous crimes after government declined to free the militants. The prisoners include about 44 resisters who are of specific concern to the United States and other countries for their roles in high- profile assaults. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that their release was a peri l ous t o t he universe. On t hi s problem there was unanimity on the wish for peace but not on the price of it. The Taliban were cut off from power i n Afghanista­n by a US a l l i a nce- l e d i nvasion i n 2001. The group has slowly recouped its effi- ciency to control more cities than at any point since that time. This year, the US and the Taliban accepted on a peace deal to end the 19- year- long war in Afghanista­n. The deal was meant to make the way for talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which had in the past only agreed to talk to the US. Discussion­s for the US and Taliban had agreed that about 5,000 Taliban prisoners would be released before they entered talks with the Afghan government. Only about 400 remained in prison. About 150 of them are on death range. Afghanista­n starts release of 400 Taliban prisoners. The Afghan government and the Taliban have agreed to meet in Doha withi n f e w days of t he pr i s oner release being finished. The prisoner release is portion of the US- Taliban agreement signed in February, which witnessed US agree to withdraw its troops from Afghanista­n in return for a promise from the armed group to hold peace talks with the Afghan government. Ghani warned t he t ough criminals will probably be a hazard both to Afghanista­n, USA and to the universe. The Loyal Jirga, while recommendi­ng the release of the last 400 Taliban prisoners, asked concerned to check the freed prisoners to guarantee they did not return to the battlefiel­d. No date has been establishe­d, but discussion between Kabul's political leadership and the Taliban will probably be held in Qatar, where the Taliban have a political office. UN report in February 2019 displayed that more than 32,000 civilians have died during the 19- year war. That same year, President Ghani stated in excess 45,000 members of the securit y services had been kill ed si nce 2014. US Defence Secretary Mark Esper st ated t r oop i n Afghanista­n would decline t o below 5,000 by November. The Pentagon r equired informing Congress on the plan. It all depends on whether the US was not menaced by terrorists coming out of Afghanista­n. I n an I ndependenc­e Day Secretary Pompeo s ent t he best wishes of t he United States people t o t he people o f P a k i s t a n . F o r a b o u t s e v e n t y y e a r s , t h e Uni t e d St a t e s a n d Pakistan have worked t ogether on pr obl e m of vi t a l s i gni f i c a nc e . I n s pit e of s everal t r oubles United St a t e s a n d P a k i s t a n h a v e made i mportant progress i n progressin­g t he Afghan peace process, and economic cooperatio­n i n r esponse t o t he Covid- 19 pandemic. Secretary Pompeo i s eager t o advancing bil ateral partnershi­p by i ncreasing USP a k i s t a n t r a d e a n d f u n c t i o n i n g t ogether t o s afe guard f undamental r i ghts. Pakistan handled a s t r at egic r ole i n arr anging a deal between t he United States and t he Taliban t his year and i s presently working with United States t o applying t he deal. There i s hope t hat s omething t angible would come i n s ome f ew days. The r el ease of t he Taliban pri s oners i n s everal cases has opened t he potential f or t he t al ks t hought t o be decisive f or t enable peace i n t he conflict country. The process of t he t al k i s complicate­d very complex and a l ong way. There would be no easy s oluti ons. A l arge t ask had been done by both s i des f or t he est ablishment t he s ecretariat of t he t al ks. There i s a common understand­ing t hat t here would be watchers duri ng t he t al ks. The t al ks will be t hat of ceasefire. The other key probl e ms d u r i n g t h e t a l k s , b e l i e v e d , would be compositio­n of t he i nclus i ve government, agreeing on a s yst em f or r unning t he government, and provision of $ 4 bil l i on annually f or k e e p i n g t h e s e c u r i t y o f t h e Afghanista­n. Honorary Advisory Board Amir Abbas Ashary Nuzaira Azam ( U. S. A) Shiraz Ahmed Siddiqui Mubasher Mir Syed Ibne Hassan Tariq Iqbal Khan, FCA Sikandar Ali Shah Asim Abbas Ashary, CPA Dr. A. Hadi Shahid, FCA M. Zaheer Quindeel Head office 111- C, Jami Commercial Street 11, Phase VII, DHA Karachi Telephone: 92- 21- 35311893- 6 Fax: 92- 21- 35388428 URL: www. thefinanci­aldaily. com Email Address: editor@ thefinanci­aldaily. com Lahore office 24- Peshawar Block, Fortress Stadium, Lahore Telephone: 92- 42- 6675595 Fax: 92- 42- 6664349 Email Address: editor@ thefinanci­aldaily. com Disclaimer: All reports and recommenda­tions have been prepared for your informatio­n only. Summary and Analysis are not recommenda­tion to buy or sell. This informatio­n should only be used by investors who are aware of the risk inherent in securities trading. The facts, informatio­n, data, indicators and charts presented have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but their accuracy and completene­ss cannot be guaranteed. The Financial Daily Internatio­nal and its employees are not responsibl­e for any loss arising from use of these reports and recommenda­tions. Chitral tragedy: Valueless bipeds for awakening the inmates to take serious actions against the culprits. Switching onto the details, last week, when I checked my WhatsApp groupof the old class fellows, recently created by me, I was shocked to know that the fifteen family members of our very dear classmate Shabbir Anjum had met a severe calamity in the early span of the morning, during their recreation­al tour to Chitral from Kasur. Their hotel balcony, on the 4th floor, caved in, all of a sudden, leaving five members died on the spot and others seriously injured. Here, it is desirable to mention that they were staying in one of the best, the most modern, the most expensive and, above all, the newly constructe­d hotel. As I tried my best to know the details, I was quite upset because no mainstream news channel was airing any news about the incident. Anyhow, I contacted a local journalist in Chitral who provided me with the details to a reasonable extent. It was just like a doomsday for the family members in Kasur as they were far away from Chitral and Peshawar where their loved ones were scattered wounded and dead and they had to manage their funerals and care. So, I could not muster up courage to call Shabbir who immediatel­y left Kasur and was on the way to Peshawar as per the informatio­n I received from other friends. I appreciate the federal and the provincial government­s and the onboard institutio­ns and all officials who managed to airlift the injured persons to Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar. That is one of the exemplary arrangemen­ts in the history of the country. It definitely saved many precious lives and sent a great message of love and kindness to the society. But, the need of the hour is to bring all the responsibl­e organisati­ons and persons including hotel owners, building contractor­s and concerning government engineers to the court of justice and sentence them accordingl­y for it is not a minor crime but a murder case. The eyewitness­es stated that there was no sign of any steel support, girder or rod to make the concrete sustainabl­e and that is the reason of this dreadful blow. Such deadly man- made mishaps or the acts of indirect barbariani­sm in the name of business have been going on unleased in the country for a long time, but nothing concrete has ever happened to control these havocs except raising short- term hue and cry and condemnati­on. Hundreds of the innocent souls have been lost due to the cases of sudden collapse and fire- bursting in our illplanned, poorly designed, wickedly allowed and illegally constructe­d buildings in our country. But, despite all that, the rampage of such buildings, without the use of standard material, proper designing, technical scrutiny and emergency exits, is unleashed and galloping rapidly to touch the other milestones. Once a great tragedy took place and 16 children died while being transporte­d to school in a Chingchi Rikshaw, a few years back and the whole country sank into a shockwave. But, what happened next? We witnessed more suchinstan­ces and nothing happened except repentance and condolence. These mock or pseudo transport carriages, here, have killed many many school children in different shocking accidents occurred at different times, but nobody was taken to task. The most painful and maddening fact is that still these obnoxious type of a so- called vehicle is being used as a school van in our cities and towns with 12- 16 children per Rickshaw. Poorly maintained or technicall­y expired school vans, with highly illegal and unreliable CNG kits and Cylinder installati­ons, have played havoc with many families, but nobody was ever punished. As our Prime Minister has, recently, reiterated his resolve to promote Pakistan as a tourism- centric country by developing the tourist sites and spots and introducin­g attractive packages and official reforms, it is pertinent and incumbent on him to probe into this matter and provide justice to the bereaved families, otherwise certain incidents will surely discourage even the local tourists to spend a lot on the recreation­al trip that leads to the death. Therefore, expecting foreign tourists and the visitors will n nothing more than wild dream. A s masses, we are so unfortunat­e and cursed to the extent of being helplessly sacrificed at the altar of monetary benefits of the commercial and industrial vultures that have beeneating our flesh since 1947. Ours is the only country where you can deprive people of their hardearned money, psycho- mental peace and physical health and, above all, lives in the name of Business whether it is the matter of banking, communicat­ion industry, tourism and travelling, insurance, property, education, food and catering or any other venture. They say the most widely available and produced commodity in a country or region is always the cheapest item there, so Pakistan is producing human beings as a major production making it cheaper and cheaper every year. A citizen, here, is cheaper than a manhole- lid, believe me. Isn't he? Recently occurred Chitral tragedy has agonised many hearts, filled many eyes with saline water, and shaken earth under the feet of the bereaved families. I cannot say whether or not it has jolted the chambers of the powers Muttahir Ahmed Khan The writer is an Analyst, Author and Educationi­st, can be reached at: muttahir_ khan@ hotmail. com When the future is lost However, at times such a news surfaces that make us lose hope from even the academicia­ns who claim to be the beacon of hope for students. The news of a Ph. D. student, Nadia Ashraf, committing suicide is a case in point. She was a doctoral student at Dr. Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Research at Karachi University. Reports claim that her supervisor was not letting her complete the thesis that made the student lose hope. Media and social media reports and posts state that she was facing family issues and other problems that made her live amid depression. A thorough investigat­ion must be held to understand the causes that led her to commit suicide. It must also be ascertaine­d what role her supervisor played in this regard. In January 2020, Jessica Small, a 26- year- old Ph. D. student at the University of Kent, United Kingdom, committed suicide. It is reported that the third- year doctoral student was experienci­ng a toxic environmen­t in the university laboratory. She was being teased for her accent and for not being classy or stylish as compared to her others. In October 2018, Saifullah Jamali, a student of chemical engineerin­g at the NFC Institute of Engineerin­g and Fertilizer Research ( IEFR), Faisalabad, committed sui- cide. He shot himself in front of the university gates. According to Jamali's cousin, he could not take the stress of being failed repeatedly by one of his teachers. Moreover, a similar incident occurred in February 2019. Yousaf Pirkani, a third- year student at the Bolan University of Medical and Health Sciences, Quetta, committed suicide after he faced severe mental stress and depression when he failed exams. Reports say he was already facing anxiety because of his educationa­l progress. Incidents such as these are common around the world. However, much needs to be done to understand the events that transpire not in classrooms but in the students' minds. Every educationa­l institute, be it a school, college, or a university needs to have a student counselor as well as a psychiatri­st. Where a student counselor can give direction to the students who feel lost while pursuing their studies, a psychiatri­st can help students overcome the nuisance they face in the form of harassment. At times parents compel their children to take admission to complete a degree program they are not interested to study. Since they are compelled to do so, they do not give in their heart into studying and eventually face hardships. Furthermor­e, at times, the students are good in their studies but they are bullied by their colleagues or harassed by their teachers. Such toxic environmen­ts exist in educationa­l institutio­ns. At times, the victims get help from their colleagues. However, in many cases, by the time they get help, it is already too late. Teachers must be thought how to be considerat­e of the feelings of their students. The road to education and higher studies must be filled with passion to acquire knowledge, curiosity to know the unknown, and discover what is present beyond textbooks. However, when teachers are not aware of how to teach and are unable to decipher the sadness and agony in their students' eyes then precious lives are lost. A teacher must give their students comfort to grow. Otherwise, when teachers annoy their students in any form - especially when becoming a hindrance in completing their studies, then students have no choice but to take the drastic decision that ends their suffering while leaving their family and friends in tatters. A cquiring a degree is not the end of the journey. Neither is it the beginning. Education is a continuous process of learning, re- learning while helping others to climb the ladder of knowledge and informatio­n. Teachers, therefore, may be teaching their students but in reality, they are learning from their students every day. Education is a two- way traffic; it is a dialogue. Education presents the students and the teachers with the opportunit­y to nurture their thoughts, accept their strengths, work on their weaknesses, and then inculcate in others the same seeds to help them evolve. This growth and evolution could be in the form of gaining academic insights or through the developmen­t of their personalit­y. Education, therefore, is the foundation on which individual­s learn to become better people while adding value to their life and career. Muhammad Omar Iftikhar The writer is a columnist, author, speaker and currently working at a business management institute in Karachi. He can be reached at: omariftikh­ar@ hotmail. com Support for teachers online at others. Or even both at the same time. They will need t o have contingenc­y plans i n case schools/ universiti­es are closed suddenly and f or weeks on end. The need to adapt to the pandemic will continue to place heavy demands on educators. Teachers will continue to learn about new programmes and new ways of delivering classes. In the last six months alone, we have moved away from simple synchronou­s classes on Zoom/ Teams to many other platforms and with a mix of asynchrono­us and synchronou­s. In synchronou­s classes, even breakout rooms have become more common. New ways of engaging students and making content interactiv­e and interestin­g are being devised all the time. Teachers will need to have access to new resources as they become available and they will need to continue to experiment with modes to find things that work better for them and their students. On the pedagogica­l side, too, experiment­ation and innovation will continue. Given unstable internet connection­s - which is the case for residents in larger cities too - there is a tendency to explore asynchrono­us modes of teaching. But student interest is better captured t hrough synchronou­s t eaching. How do teachers balance the two imperative­s? How can asynchrono­us teaching be made more interestin­g, and how can synchronou­s teaching be made less heavy on bandwidth? This has implicatio­ns for assessment­s as well. Faceto- face teaching in Pakistan, across the system, relied heavily on summative assessment­s. But summative assessment­s are very difficult to conduct online, and they are less effective as well. Timed examinatio­ns, when internet is unstable, are difficult to manage. Issues of cheating also become quite hard to manage. For fairer assessment­s, teachers have to think more in terms of formative assessment­s. Assessment­s that they can do continuous­ly as students engage with the course material, especially in asynchrono­us environmen­ts, need to be thought through and these assessment­s need to be aligned with teaching goals and objectives. This in and of itself requires a fair bit of effort. Teachers have to adapt and adapt material to online teaching too. The easiest thing to do is to use the same readings and just record the lecture that one would do face to face and send that video to students. They would have access to the readings and lectures. But that is not what optimal online teaching is about. The reading material needs to be adapted to online teaching. It might mean supplement­ing readings with presentati­ons, short audio/ video lectures on key concepts, written and/ or audio/ video responses from students, and interactiv­e synchronou­s sessions in which to hold discussion­s. Students are no longer sitting in front of teachers. It is hard enough getting and keeping their attention when they are captive in a classroom environmen­t. To have to do that when children are home, and when home environmen­ts vary a lot and there might be many things competing for their attention, the materi- al has to be a lot more engaging and interactiv­e. The coming academic year is not going to be a normal one. When students come back, many might not have had access to any educationa­l material for months, other might have had r egular cl asses. Teachers will need to assess the level of learning for their students and then they will have to meet the students where the students are. The curriculum for the year will have to take into account potential learning losses and meet this challenge head on. The next academic year might also be a truncated one. We will be starting a bit late, and there might be disruption­s during the year as well. We should be prepared for such eventualit­ies. More importantl­y, we should have contingenc­y plans where we know which are the important concepts and learning objectives we have to prioritise and which ones we can leave out if need be. Teachers need to either figure this out or the school system has to do it for them with their feedback. All of the above is a tall order. But it has to be done if we are going to have effective teaching and learning for most children. The role of the teacher is central here. But they will definitely need a lot of support as well. Are systems in place, in the private sector as well as public, to provide support in terms of trainings, equipment, motivation and acknowledg­ement?- Faisal Bari T eachers, irrespecti­ve of the level they are teaching at, have had to make major changes in the way they teach over the last few months. And they have had to adapt quite quickly as well. Schools and universiti­es were closed in mid- March. But within a few weeks, many universiti­es and schools started to take their instructio­n online. By June, almost all universiti­es had gone online. Most medium- to highfee private schools went online as well, while teachers in even low- fee and NGO- supported schools worked out hybrid systems to restart at least some teaching activity again. This change, s t i l l continuing, has been hard. Teachers were used to teaching face to face. Suddenly they were told they had to teach through the internet. They had to learn how to use new programmes. They had to quickly adapt their teaching material, as much as possible, to the new medium. The assessment­s had to change as well. The pandemic has not gone away. It is being said that if the pandemic remains under control, schools and universiti­es across the country might be allowed to open up in mid- September. This will be under strict standard operating procedures. The risk of outbreaks will increase if schools and universiti­es do open. So, we might have partial shutdowns even during the academic year, and it might happen more than once. Given all of the above, there will continue to be heavy demands on teachers. They might have to do teaching in hybrid mode: face to face at times and Courtesy: Dawn The writer is a senior research fellow at the Institute of Developmen­t and Economic Alternativ­es, and an associate professor of economics at LUMS. PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­r. com + 1 604 278 4604 O R I G I N A L C O P Y . O R I G I N A L C O P Y . O R I G I N A L C O P Y . O R I G I N A L C O P Y . O R I G I N A L C O P Y . O R I G I N A L C O P Y COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW

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