• Thursday, May 25, 2017

Positive vibes Pakistan

Discussion in 'Social & Current Events' started by Lone Shooter, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. Sulman Badshah

    Sulman Badshah SENIOR MEMBER

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    Avengers: Age of Ultron's Video Effects By Pakistani VFX Artist



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    Rumor has it that Avengers: Age of Ultron, will have over record-breaking 3000 video effects shots used, to create the visually stunning movie that we all are excited about.

    What makes this all the more impressive is that one of the VFX artists behind the onscreen magic is our very own Pakistani, Wajid Raza.

    Born in Lahore, Wajid Raza is one of the few Pakistanis working in Hollywood and making us proud. The VFX artist has been employed at the Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) Company, a part of Motion Pictures and Lucasfilm, since 2011 and has worked his magic from behind the screens for blockbusters like Rango, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Trek into Darkness, Now You See Me and the upcoming, Avengers: Age of Ultron, as reported by the Express Tribune.

    From a culture where academic and professional choices are restricted to being an engineer, a doctor or an accountant, Wajid Raza still managed to breakthrough and mounted on an inspiring journey.

    With a computer sciences degree from good old Government College Lahore, Wajid Raza moved on abroad to pursue a Masters degree in Fine Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design. With by then a background in digital arts and computer graphics, Raza landed a job in ILM, an experience he still feels overwhelmed by.

    Read More: Pakistani Short Film "Baat Cheet" to Participate at Cannes Film Festival 2015

    The initial work at ILM did not come easy to Raza, however, now after having shined through in a number of projects under a number of different capacities, he feels confident enough to mentor aspiring artists.

    “Always focus on quality (instead of quantity) whether you are preparing to apply at a school or trying to find work. Watch good contents (TV/film) and take up challenges that can help you grow.”

    While talking about the revival of Pakistani cinema and the need for VFX artists locally, Raza stated how there is barely a need for visual effects in the local film industry. However, he does believes that our aspiring artists can work offshore for USA and China, granted basic problems like lack of infrastructure and load shedding issues are overcome.

    Watch Trailer: Avengers: Age of Ultron New Trailer Shows All-Star Team

    We don’t know about the future of VFX in Pakistan, but we would definitely be applauding the work of Wajid Raza in The Avengers, Age of Ultron next month.
     
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  2. ghazi52

    ghazi52 ELITE MEMBER

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    Beautiful..................
    Love it.

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    Tirich Mir is the highest mountain of the Hindu Kush range, and the highest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas-Karakoram range, located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The mountain was first climbed in 1950 by a Norwegian expedition consisting of Arne Næss, P. Kvernberg, H. Berg, and Tony Streather. Tirich Mir overlooks Chitral town, and can be easily seen from the main bazaar. It can also be seen from Afghanistan.

    height 7708 meter
     
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  3. Al Bhatti

    Al Bhatti SENIOR MEMBER

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    May 9, 2015

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    Dr Rafeeya Pasha began her career at the Central Hospital in Abu -Dhabi in 1968.

    Women of the UAE: Dr Rafeeya Pasha

    In 1968, Dr Rafeeya Pasha flew into Abu Dhabi with only a herd of goats as fellow passengers.

    Little would she know that such an inauspicious start would lead to the gynaecologist and obstetrician mingling with royalty and helping deliver some of their children.

    Her journey began when she chanced upon an advert for a doctor’s job in the UAE in the classified section of a newspaper in her home country of Pakistan. Despite some opposition from her family, she applied and was chosen for the role.

    “On my flight from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, I was the only passenger and I sat in a seat next to the pilot,” said Dr Pasha, 77.

    “However, there was a herd of goats travelling with me and I could hear them bleat all the way to Abu Dhabi.”

    She began working at the Central Hospital in Abu Dhabi. Soon afterwards, she was asked to go and work in Al Ain. The journey there took her six hours.

    “I understood that I could not be afraid. Unless you take some calculated risks in life, you will not get anywhere,” she said.

    While in Al Ain, she met Sheikh Zayed, the founding President of the country, and his wife, Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.

    “The First Lady of the country was so kind, generous and humble and a true visionary,” she said.

    “When I met Sheikh Zayed, he asked me about my family. I told him I had left my nine-month-old baby and husband behind in Pakistan and he said ‘in my country, it is not possible that a mother and child and a husband and wife are separated.’ He issued orders and within a week, my husband and child landed in Dubai,” she said.

    Dr Pasha’s next challenge was to learn Arabic, so she sought the help of interpreters at the hospital.

    “Gradually, I could speak Arabic fluently.”

    Nowadays, the country’s health care system is renowned for its excellence, but back then, it was less advanced.

    “We had to do the X-rays ourselves without any technicians,” she said. “Doctors would donate blood for patients if their blood group was compatible.”

    She eventually resigned from the hospital in 1987 to join a private practice, where she worked until 1993.

    Dr Pasha said she could not have had her career without the support of her husband.

    “If were not for him, I would not have been able to do things I wanted to. We are like two wheels of a cart,” she said.

    She has also managed to raise three accomplished children. Timour and Tahnoon both work in finance, while her third, Dua, is a lawyer.

    Dr Pasha has since retired and devotes much of her time to charity work.

    “My father told me ‘be a tree that bears fruit that is not useful only for itself, but for others as well’,” she said.

    Dr Pasha and her friends help collect money to pay off the blood money debts of prisoners so they can go home.

    She also helps pay for children’s education and organises fund-raising drives for victims of natural disasters.

    As for her mantra for success, she puts it down to her work ethic.

    “To achieve anything, you need to have patience. Set a goal and have conviction in it,” she said.

    Women of the UAE: Dr Rafeeya Pasha | The National
     
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  4. Al Bhatti

    Al Bhatti SENIOR MEMBER

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    May 12, 2015

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    Children learn computer skills at City District Government Middle School, Chah Meeran, Lahore. In 2008, the school had 26 pupils and was on the verge of closing due to dilapidated conditions, lack of teaching staff and poor facilities. It was adopted by Seema Aziz’s Care Foundation and now teaches more than 1,100 pupils. Muzammil Pasha for The National

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    Businesswoman Seema Aziz, centre, has not only built up Pakistan’s fastest-growing women’s wear chain but is a champion of philanthropy. Courtesy Care Pakistan

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    The students of City District Government Middle School in Chah Meeran, Lahore, just one of the state schools adopted and regenerated by the Care Foundation. Muzammil Pasha for The National

    Educating a nation: Seema Aziz is giving Pakistani children a brighter future

    Businesswoman and philanthropist Seema Aziz has changed thousands of lives through her vision that it is every child’s right to have an education. Through the Care Foundation, she gives the children of Pakistan a brighter future, Samar Al Sayed writes

    Her children have long left school, but hundreds of thousands more can thank a Pakistani philanthropist and businesswomen for their own education.

    At 63, Seema Aziz continues to run her business and foundation with equal passion.

    “Some told me education would do these children no good,” says Ms Aziz. “But I knew that equipping them with a future would be better than just giving them temporary resources that they may never cultivate.”

    In the late 1980s, Ms Aziz visited villages in the Punjab, which had been destroyed in floods.

    “I had never witnessed such devastation and poverty at close proximity,” she says.

    “Thousands of villages had been totally wiped out.”

    “A group of us went to a village to see how we could help. Our business was still very small. We had experienced limited monetary success at the time, but I had witnessed such horrors in the aftermath of the floods that I decided I wanted to give these children something that no flood can ever take away.”

    The result was the Care Foundation – Cooperation for Advancement, Rehabilitation and Education – that now has 177,000 children enrolled in schools across Pakistan.

    Ms Aziz, who was in Dubai last month as part of the judging panel for the million-dollar Hult Prize for education, says that schooling was always a priority for the people she was trying to help.

    “Many women from these villages had, in fact, urged me to abandon the idea of building houses and focus on getting a school built in the area.”

    The first school was set up on January 17, 1991, with just 250 children enrolled.

    “By the following year, the number increased to 450, then 800 the year after that,” she says.

    The fees were set at 10 rupees (60 fils), because Ms Aziz “did not want any child to grow up thinking they were educated on charity”.

    “We firmly believe it is their right and duty,” she says.

    “More than 80,000 have cleared their matriculation exams and graduated over the years, and we have never looked back.”

    Care builds and runs its own schools, with no government or donor funding. In 1998, the government invited Care to adopt 10 failing state schools.

    “We managed to turn these schools around and enrolment increased by several hundred per cent,” says Ms Aziz.

    “Through our espousal of state institutions, we helped to pioneer public-private partnership for the first time.”

    Care runs 270 schools, with another 100 holding evening classes.

    “Each school is different in the way it was set up. The very first school we had built, for instance, was in a village with no electricity or sewerage systems,” says the philanthropist.

    Twenty years later, about 2,000 boys and girls are enrolled in that school.

    The first medical student to have finished his studies there went on to attend King Edward Medical University in Lahore, an acclaimed medical college in the country.

    More than 25 million children are out of school in Pakistan, which has the second lowest literacy rates in the world, a situation that has been declared an emergency by the United Nations.

    How much support the Care Foundation gets from her business empire is something Ms Aziz is uncomfortable talking about.

    “We don’t like to discuss that aspect,” she says.

    But if the reported 1 per cent of revenues is correct, it means a substantial sum.

    Her company, Bareeze, is Pakistan’s fastest-growing women’s wear chain, and has expanded into countries, including the UAE and the UK.

    Growing up in a middle-class family with no business background, she and her brother faced obstacles when setting up the textiles firm.

    “There was no concept of brand in Pakistan when my brother and I started out,” says Ms Aziz, who graduated from the University of the Punjab, and later from Harvard Business School.

    “We wanted to make and sell local fabrics that are equal in quality to the best in the world. My father and many others were sceptical of the idea, saying I was mad to think we could ever rival premium brands, but we continued in our path.

    “We wanted to bring Pakistani textiles to the international scene and market them to be as good as any other label.”

    Through Bareeze, which runs under her umbrella company Sefam, the siblings design, make and sell their fashion ware and have since gone on to create 11 brands.

    With 460 outlets in Pakistan, five in the UAE and three in the UK, the multimillion dollar business is thriving.

    In 1994, she took her business to Dubai. “We now have one store in Abu Dhabi, one in Sharjah and three in Dubai,” says Ms Aziz, whose mother is a silent partner in the business.

    “Though Bareeze and Care are run separately, I juggle the same type of managerial skills in the day-to-day operations of both projects, and in equal measure, to keep them going.” The Hult Prize is the world’s largest student competition, and aims to find budding entrepreneurs to solve the world’s pressing social issues.

    Ms Aziz was one of 12 judges who helped to select a team in the first round and chaired the decision for the final round of the prize, which will be announced by former US president Bill Clinton in September.

    She says: “I met a senior member of the Hult Prize at a retreat in Maryland, who then asked me to become a judge.”

    Ahmad Ashkar, chief executive and founder of the prize, says he chose Ms Aziz as the “unofficial authority in this domain”.

    “Who else has put more than a quarter of a million children through school and had the poor outperform the rich?,” says Mr Ashkar.

    “She not only built a commercial empire through Sefam, but pioneered education for the poor. Most people wrote off poorer parents, accusing them of choosing to send their children to the field instead of school.

    “Seema helped these parents prove them wrong. She created an education system that serves as more than just a daycare centre.”

    He says: “Seema served as our anchor social enterprise expert for education for the prize. She worked with business experts to select the Gulf region winners for this year.”

    Mr Ashkar predicts Ms Aziz’s huge effect on education in Pakistan, combined with business success both at home and abroad, will lead to much more international recognition.

    “Seldom do you meet someone who is as successful in philanthropy as they are in enterprise,” he says.

    Educating a nation: Seema Aziz is giving Pakistani children a brighter future | The National
     
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  5. Sulman Badshah

    Sulman Badshah SENIOR MEMBER

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    IIFA 2015: Soch band nominated in Best Music Directors category

    ENTERTAINMENT DESK — PUBLISHED about 6 hours ago




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    Soch the band — Publicity photo
    You'd think the pop/rock band Soch would be on to their next big thing by now, but the song that shot them to fame is still picking up honours!

    Their song 'Awari', which was included in the soundtrack of Mohit Suri's Ek Villian, has been nominated at International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards 2015 in the Best Music Direction category.


    This is the fourth nomination for the band in India; Soch has previously been nominated at Brittania Filmfare Awards, GIMA Awards and Life Ok Screen Awards (where the band won the Best Music Award).

    At IIFA 2015, the band is up against Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (2 States), Vishal Bhardwaj (Haider) and Mithoon, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Pritam and Arko Pravo Mukherjee (Yaariyan) in the Best Music Director category.

    Music directors for other tracks of Ek Villian —Mithoon ('Banjara', 'Zaroorat'and 'Hamdard') and Ankit Tiwari ('Galliyan') — have also been nominated.

    IIFA 2015 kicks off on June 5 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
     
  6. Sulman Badshah

    Sulman Badshah SENIOR MEMBER

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    11136634_774676515981728_1872782719489170407_n.jpg
     
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  7. ghazi52

    ghazi52 ELITE MEMBER

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    Pakistan shows modest improvement in standard of education, says report

    DAWN.COM | SHAMEEN KHAN

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    A schoolgirl, who was displaced with her family from Pakistan's tribal areas due to fighting between militants and the army, puts down her shoe before entering her classroom, in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Islamabad.
    The Alif Ailaan District Education Rankings 2015 is the third annual attempt at comparing and contrasting the various regions of Pakistan based on their standards of education.
    Alif Ailaan and SDPI began this exercise in 2013. The attempt is to assess both educational outcomes and school infrastructure by comparing the relative performance of different regions.

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    Pakistani schoolgirls, who were displaced with their families from tribal areas due to fighting between militants and the army, listen to their teacher in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Islamabad.
    Objectives of the rankings
    The objectives of the rankings are:

    • To produce a comprehensive measure of education standards in Pakistan, covering important policy areas such as access, quality, gender parity and infrastructure.

    • To use this measure as the basis for a comparison of different parts of the country to track their performance, and thereby to encourage healthy competition between districts and between provinces.

    • To create awareness about the importance of data and evidence in assessing the state of education, and to promote the use of data in the development of education policy.

    • To encourage more accurate and comprehensive data collection by government and non- government entities.
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    Orphaned children react while watching an early screening of the first episode of the animates Burka Avenger series, at an orphanage on the outskirts of Islamabad.
    Provincial and National Education Scores (Primary School)
    2015
    • Overall Pakistan’s education score remained steady (an increase of 1.67%). This is the second consecutive year of modest improvement.

    • The biggest decline seen in the scores was in learning score, while improvements were seen in retention (survival till class 5) and gender parity.

    • Islamabad is the highest ranked territory for the third year running.

    • In 2nd and 3rd place are Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab, respectively. This represents a reversal from last year when Punjab ranked 2nd. Punjab’s score declined by 3.38%, while AJK’s stayed static.

    • Gilgit-Baltistan holds steady at 4th position while its education score increased by 1.69%.

    • Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) exchange positions for the second year in a row, with KP reclaiming 5th spot which it had lost last year. KP shows an improvement of 13.15% in its education score (second largest improvement), while Sindh dropped by 1.02%.

    • Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) round up the bottom of the rankings. This, despite a drop in -
      Balochistan’s score (3.67%) and a large increase in FATA’s score (15.12%).
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    Pakistani schoolgirls, who were displaced with their families from tribal areas due to fighting between militants and

    t

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    Education Score
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  8. ghazi52

    ghazi52 ELITE MEMBER

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    [​IMG]
     
  9. ghazi52

    ghazi52 ELITE MEMBER

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    ...................n
    Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s song Zaroori Tha that made director Mohit Suri incorporate it into his forthcoming film Hamari Adhuri Kahani.



     
  10. IrbiS

    IrbiS FULL MEMBER

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    Silsila 2015: Art reimagined


    By Shanzay Subzwari
    Published: May 24, 2015
    View attachment 224469

    Abid Aslam’s Lovers’ Dinner, mixed media on wasli. PHOTOS COURTESY: SANAT GALLERY


    Silsila 2015 is a unique and significant on-going exhibition at Sanat Gallery, Karachi, spanning over a month. It is unique because it is the second of its kind and brings together mid-career and emerging artists who have had associations with Studio RM, and significant because it displays work by some of the most capable and promising artists of Pakistan. The exhibition is structured around the idea of reinterpreting or reinventing the genres of still life, landscape, portrait/ figure and calligraphy — the strict definitions of which are considered to be obsolete in today’s contemporary art world.


    Dua Abbas’s charcoal and pastel piece Long Distance is hauntingly beautiful. With a conch shell and telephone receiver superimposed on an idyllic endless sea, it evokes childhood memories where waves are believed to communicate through shells. The piece also explores memory and the passage of time, as well as a false sense of hope, where one enters a make-believe relationship that does not necessarily exist.

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    Saba Khan’s Eating Fries, beads and acrylic on Hahnemuhle paper. PHOTO COURTESY: SANAT GALLERY

    Abid Aslam’s artistic practice is unique because it involves the use of plastic grommets or eyelets punched into wasli (handmade paper). Depicting a vexing scene with a waiter serving a human head to a fine-dining couple, his diptych Lovers’ Dinner, according to art critic Nafisa Rizvi, reminds one of the “biblical account of the Last Supper in which food and drink were associated with physical human attributes….” The hands and human head are painted in detailed miniature technique and the piece evokes ideas of the marginalisation of certain groups of society.

    Irfan Gul Dahiri’s Still Untitled, acrylics on wasli, is an enigmatic, dark and foreboding piece. What dominates the composition is a large, yellow form, depicting a cross between a flower and a bunch of bananas, strung together by what looks like an emblazoned helmet. To its left is a much smaller, beautifully painted, wilted flower, and the dark background reveals abstract human forms, perhaps mutilated.

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    Dua Abbas’s Long Distance, charcoal and pastel. PHOTO COURTESY: SANAT GALLERY

    Irfan Hasan displays skill and dexterity with Self Portrait as David with the Head of Goliath, After Johann Zoffany. Stemming from his ‘After’ series that pays homage to Renaissance masters, the piece involves the Mughal miniature medium of opaque watercolour on paper. The phrase ‘David and Goliath’ here is used to denote a situation where a weaker opponent faces a stronger adversary, perhaps reflecting Hasan’s struggle to emulate Renaissance masters.

    Donia Kaiser’s Sleep Walking is bold and dramatic, depicting a recently occupied, unmade bed in the spotlight. Emerging from the bedside table is a haunting, blue, bare tree and a red moon, reminding one of dark forests and nightmares.

    Ali Kazim’s Untitled I and II (The Storm Series), at first, seem to depict calm clouds in unidentifiable locations that either hover above or seem to rest on a surface. However, a closer look reveals the opposite; these are desert storms rushing towards or away from the viewer, destroying everything in their wake.

    Saba Khan’s Eating Fries stands out from the rest. In mixed media, a blonde woman is depicted (literally) eating fries. The work speaks of rampant consumerism, globalisation of tastes and foreign influence into Pakistani culture.

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    Irfan Gul Dahri’s Still Untitled, acrylic on wasli. PHOTO COURTESY: SANAT GALLERY

    Eminent artist and art-educator RM Naeem’s acrylic on canvas Still+Lifewows with his skill, displaying a man and woman separated on either end of a table by cubistic, pyramidal and spherical shapes. He, perhaps, questions (and balances) the praxis of spirituality versus religion, male versus female, as well as the genre of still life versus real life.

    Naveed Sadiq’s Untitled depicts, in colour pencil, an incredibly realistic looking pair of feet as seen from a voyeuristic, introspective point of view. Across them, one can faintly make out an assemblage of thorns. The message it gives is that it is our feet that allow us to travel; yet, these very feet can be shackled and bound.

    Other artists exhibiting soulful pieces in Silsila 2015 include Sadaf Naeem, Sana Arjumand, Mudassar Manzoor, Faisal Asghar, Nazia Gull, Kiran Saleem, Irfan Gul Dahiri, Mizna Baluch, Akif Suri and Amra Khan. It is left to the viewer to decide whether the artists’ pieces successfully fall under the classifications they claim to be under, or is art today too integrated to fall under a single category.

    Shanzay Subzwari is an artist and art writer based in Karachi. She tweets @ShanzaySubzwari

    Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, May 24th, 2015.
     
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  11. Menace2Society

    Menace2Society SENIOR MEMBER

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  12. Fasih Khan PK

    Fasih Khan PK FULL MEMBER

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    God bless Pakistan !!!
     
  13. Al Bhatti

    Al Bhatti SENIOR MEMBER

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    If we have the right leadership we can turn desert into green land like Abdul Hafeez Khan of Pakistan did.

    We have thousands of Abdul Hafeez Khan in their respective fields but without the right leadership it is of no use.

    @Indus Falcon @Akheilos


    ------------------------------


    June 9, 2015

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    Sheikh Zayed, for whom plants were ‘like children’, was determined to see his land bloom.

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    Sheikh Zayed planted the eucalyptus in Abdul Hafeez Khan Al Yousefi’s garden in 1962.

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    Sheikh Zayed's agriculture advisor Abdul Hafeez Khan interviewed at his home in Al Ain



    The man who realised Sheikh Zayed’s dream of a desert turned green

    Abdul Hafeez Khan Al Yousefi faced the daunting task of turning the desert green on his arrival in Abu Dhabi in 1962. But Sheikh Zayed’s friendship and passion for the project led him to stay well beyond his one-year contract.

    Could you really turn the desert into a lush green land? Fifty years ago, one man firmly believed it was possible. For Sheikh Zayed the only limit was your imagination.

    To turn his vision into reality, the Founding Father summoned prominent agricultural experts from around the world to the oasis at Buraimi. After seeing the barren land, most decided to return home.

    Except for a 25-year-old graduate in agricultural science from Karachi in Pakistan.

    But even Abdul Hafeez Khan Al Yousefi had his doubts in the beginning. He remembers what people said: “God created this place a desert, and it will remain a desert.”

    What stopped him from going back to Pakistan? It was, he says, the love and affection of Sheikh Zayed and the look in his eyes when he spoke of his plans.

    Now 77, Mr Al Yousefi recalls one of his most moving moments with Sheikh Zayed. Grasping his arms one day, Sheikh Zayed said: “You will not leave me, will you now?”

    Sitting in the shade in his garden in Al Ain, surrounded by his children and grandchildren, Mr Al Yousefi remembers the years of companionship with the Founding Father.

    Those memories have been collected in a new book dedicated to Sheikh Zayed called 50 Years in Al Ain Oasis: Memoirs of Abdul Hafeez Khan.

    Just asking Mr Al Yousefi about his first memory of Abu Dhabi is enough to take him back to the summer of 1962. “The story I am about to reveal is of a Dark Age,” says the father of seven. “In 1962, I was pursuing my graduate studies in agriculture sciences at the American University of Beirut.”

    Sheikh Zayed, then Ruler’s Representative for the Eastern Region, had turned to international diplomacy in his efforts to find someone to develop Al Ain’s agriculture.

    Sir Hugh Boustead, the British political agent in Abu Dhabi, contacted Dr Jack Eyre, an agriculture adviser to the Middle East development division at the British Embassy in Beirut, requesting a candidate.

    Mr Al Yousefi got the job but remembers that he was preoccupied with one question: “Where is this Abu Dhabi? I couldn’t find it in an atlas. Does it even exist?”

    Having said goodbye to his family and friends, he landed in Abu Dhabi on September 7, 1962 for what he thought was a one-year contract.

    And at that moment, his plans came to a sudden halt. There was no river gushing with water – just sand dunes that blurred the line between Earth and sky.

    “But I knew Allah had sent me here for a purpose,” he says.

    Mr Al Yousefi had no idea that he was being sent inland, to the oasis village of Buraimi.

    “You see, it’s all an adventure. Then the news spread that a ‘big’ agriculture adviser is coming to help with the plantation,” he says pointing to himself with a chuckle.

    “This house was especially built for me by Sheikh Zayed. It is the first properly built house in the history of the UAE.”

    The building was also used by a young Sheikh Khalifa, the President, for his private lessons.

    Even today the exterior of the house remains the same, as a reminder to Mr Al Yousefi of more than 40 years of friendship.

    Sheikh Zayed visited him two days after his arrival in Buraimi, and in the days and weeks that followed, a deep companionship developed between a leader and an adviser striving for a common cause.

    “Give me agriculture and I assure you of civilisation,” was the deal between Sheikh Zayed and Mr Al Yousefi.

    To work together, the two men had to find a way to communicate.

    “An interpreter named Mohammed Zain from southern India was hired to ease communication between me and Sheikh Zayed,” says Mr Al Yousefi.

    But it emerged that Sheikh Zayed was uncomfortable conveying his thoughts and ideas through another person.

    “One day, I was told Sheikh Zayed gave him a huge amount of money and gently convinced him to go,” he recalls.

    “Sheikh Zayed gestured that Zain had left, and that we would communicate through English or Urdu. Both of us knew we couldn’t.”

    Mr Al Yousefi was left with no choice but to learn Arabic.

    “Sheikh Zayed was after cultivation,” he says. “He had the money to built a modern city, but he wanted greenery before modernity.”

    Gradually, the dream began to take shape.

    Among the plants imported were 12 crates of eucalyptus from Australia. A tall eucalyptus still stands at one end of Mr Al Yousefi’s garden.

    “This plant was among the first batch of the imported exotic trees. Sheikh Zayed chose the location,” he says. A plaque on the tree reads: “Planted by H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1962.”

    The leader wanted to see greenery everywhere, Mr Al Yousefi says. So one morning, Sheikh Zayed asked him to select a plant that would survive the harsh environment and not be uprooted by a sandstorm.

    “I thought and thought for days,” he says.

    “While passing by my area, I came across a palm tree – yes, date palm,” he exclaims.

    He recalls rushing to tell Sheikh Zayed and finding him having breakfast at Hili village.

    “Zayed, you have made me mad,” he recalls saying. “The past 10 days, I have been thinking of a plant that would survive and not vanish. How about we plant palm trees?”

    The idea excited Sheikh Zayed, who insisted that they start work at once.

    “Sheikh Zayed would be holding one end of the measuring tape and I the other,” Mr Al Yousefi says. “We were like friends. I called him Zayed.

    “Do you think the palm trees in the middle of Al Ain Road was a coincidence? It was an effort by me and Zayed. Zayed couldn’t have done it alone, nor could have I done it without him.”

    For Sheikh Zayed plants were like his children. “Always thinking about work, work and work,” Mr Al Yousefi says. “He always ran from one place to another, relying only on himself.”

    As to why he stayed for so long, Mr Al Yousefi says: “I signed a one-year contract at the beginning and I should have left a long, long time ago, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.

    “How can I explain through words? Sheikh Zayed had a magnetic personality that stopped me. His love and affection are indescribable.

    “His determination and conviction to see this land bloom instilled confidence in me.”


    The man who realised Sheikh Zayed’s dream of a desert turned green | The National


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    Abdul Hafeez Khan during the launch of his book


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    Abdul Hafeez Khan



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    Shaikh Zayed during one his trips to the western region (Liwa) in 1979



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    Abdul Hafeez Khan in the early days after his arrival in Abu Dhabi
     
  14. Lone Shooter

    Lone Shooter FULL MEMBER

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    PAF officer awarded Best Overseas Candidate at UK’s Royal Air Force Academy

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    LINCOLNSHIRE: Flying Officer of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Junaid Saleem has been awarded with the ‘Best Overseas Cadet Award’ in Royal Air Force College(RAFC) Cranwell.

    This is first time ever in the history of Pakistan that someone from PAF has been rewarded as the Best Overseas Candidate in Royal Air Force College Cranwell.

    Junaid Saleem, who passed out on June 18 from Royal Air Force Academy Cranwell made the nation proud.

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    The RAFC is the Royal Air Force training and education academy which provides initial training to all RAF personnel who are preparing to be commissioned officers.
     
  15. Hira Mohsin

    Hira Mohsin FULL MEMBER

    New Recruit

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    WOW this is good invention