Library or headquarters for paramilitary soldiers

At Golimar library, guns take place of books
Karachi, Feb 06: Paramilitary soldiers have occupied the building intended for Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai Library, what was once a sprawling sanctuary for the men of learning, now serves as a regional headquarters for paramilitary soldiers.

For the residents of old Golimar, the soyem of Baloch elder Akbar Bugti had brought much more than just the pain of losing their cherished leader. In the protests that followed, a 35-year-old library was burnt down by arsonists, leaving behind nothing but rubble and soot.

Today, the building has been taken over by the Rangers. Men with large, automatic rifles guard its entrance and no civilian is allowed to step into the tall, white complex, which looks out of place in the otherwise rundown neighbourhood.

Among the few pre-Partition settlements, "Golimar" got its name from the firing range set up by the British in the area. The majority of the population is ethnic Baloch, though Sindhi, Mohajir and Punjabi families have co-existed peacefully for years.

Established in 1971, the Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai Library was spread over 1,500 square feet and housed a wide array of books on history, politics and literature.

"It was Bhutto sahib's [Zulfikar Ali Bhutto] gift to us," says an elderly man, who walked with a limp and stooped because of old age. To this day, he remembers the political leader with reverence.

"It was a beautiful, peaceful place with tall coconut trees. My friends and I often went to the library," says another local Mujeeb Rahman. "Back in the '90s, I would read the morning paper there."

As the library's loss was the loss of a social amenity that could benefit their generations, citizens left no stone unturned to highlight the issue. In 2011, the late Fauzia Wahab set aside funds to reconstruct the library. Construction work carried on smoothly but at the same time, residents recall, a Rangers van took guard near the building.

"Initially, it would change places, but then the building's entrance became their permanent abode. Eventually they started sitting inside the building. A few days later, we saw them setting up barricades. Now it has become their regional quarter," recalls Ghulam Rasool, a social and political worker. "What happened to our library or the funds for the building?"

When contacted, the Rangers spokesperson was even unsure about any such building but later denied occupying the Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai Library. "We do not have this building in our possession. Our mobile stands at its entrance to stop crimes."

Already the city suffers from a dearth of libraries. Though the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation website puts the number of libraries over 60, they are either too small to fit the bill of a public library, are managed privately, or have shut down due to lack of funds.

On July 27 last year, it was reported that during a visit by parliamentarians to the Allama Iqbal Library, several books had gone missing.

The library at the University of Karachi is also in a mess. On September 24, 2012, a newspaper reported that key sources of national history have fallen prey to dust and mites.

With the education system already in the pits and schools closed every now and then, residents maintain, this library would have saved the future of their children. "We don't want them to grow up illiterate," said Akhtar Mengal, a social worker in old Golimar, who has been campaigning for the library. The news

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Collaborate opens at Indus Valley School
Karachi: Artists are thought to be individuals who like to work in isolation or in a private zone far from the public eye. They need their own space to give shape to inchoate ideas and only after giving them the final touches that they put their artworks on display. This is why artists generally shy away from working in groups. But when they do, they come up with some startling results for reasons best known to them. This was observed at the fifth alumni show of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture graduates titled Collaborate which opened at the school's gallery on Monday.

Artworks of more than 40 artists, made either in pairs or groups, touch on a variety of subjects done in different media. The topics range from modern-day socio-political issues to personal predicaments to civic life.

Emaan Mahmud and Essa Malik use digital prints to draw attention to the fact that relationships witnessed from an outsider's perspective can provide fodder to a creative person to come up with imaginative interpretations. They have set their image in a futuristic time frame and by using the water imagery have prevented it from looking outlandish. The end result is pretty impressive.

Sarah Anjum and Sahar Ghanchi have opted for a more traditional art form making a sullen face which depicts not just a character but an era. They have intriguingly titled their piece 'Coming Together' (acrylic paints, nails on Lasani board). The use of nails on the artwork serves a twofold purpose: it adds a distinct shade to the whole picture and highlights the pain of the character.

Humayun Memon and Ali Reza Dossal intelligently employ photographic art and illustrations to underscore the element of puzzlement which human beings often experience despite receiving crystal-clear signals. These signals are usually received by virtue of the visual sense, the eye to be specific. But even then sometimes the puzzles remain unsolved. The exhibition will continue until Feb 16.

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CMC reschedules MBBS papers
Larkana: The principal of the Chandka Medical College (CMC), Larkana, Professor Dr Assadullah Mahar, on Monday announced that the papers of surgery-II and medicine-II of the MBBS final year (10th semester), which were torn up and boycotted by some students on Dec 7, 2012, would now be held on Feb 7.

The management of the Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro had communicated the date to the principal of the CMC, said the press release of the college.

On 7 Dec 2012, some students appearing in the examinations after exchanging hot words with invigilators tore up the theory papers of medicine and surgery.

It had sparked protests and about 121 affected students filed petition in the court for re-conducting of the papers.

A disciplinary committee, headed by the principal with Professor Dr Khursheed Abbasi of director academics and Professor Dr Riaz Sheikh as members of the committee, after inquiry had decided to rusticate two students Suhail Sarki and Majid Gorar for six months.

The High Court circuit bench of Larkana stayed the announcement of the results.

On Monday, protesting over the rustication of Suhail Sarki and Majid Gorar, the students boycotted the regular classes in the Chandka Medical College and observed a token hunger-strike at the main gate of the CMC.

Akash Anasri, the central vice chairman of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz arrived at the camp.

Addressing the protesters, he criticised the vice chancellor of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Medical University for the situation.

He demanded withdrawal of rustication orders within two days and warned that they would expand the protest, if their demand was not met.

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SU employees step up protest
Hyderabad: Academic activities and administrative affairs were severely affected on Monday because of ongoing agitation against the SU administration by the Sindh University Employees Workers Association.

The leaders and activists of Sewa and All Sindh Universities Employees Federation along with their families staged a sit-in on the Superhighway to press the government to accept their demands.

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl leader Dr Khalid Mehmood Soomro and Maqsood Qureshi of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz also joined the protesters who continued the sit-in for around three hours.

They demanded that the SU administration remove the registrar, withdraw cases lodged against Sewa activists, release arrested activists and accept their charter of demands.

An official of the Motorway police said that a large number of light and heavy vehicles, air-conditioned coaches and cars had been stuck in the gridlock caused by the protest near toll plaza on the highway from 12:45pm to 15:35pm.

But SU registrar Mohammad Nawaz Narejo tried to downplay the impact of the agitation by saying the faculty members were fully cooperating with the administration to ensure smooth running of academic process.

Students too were cooperating to a great extent because they wanted classes to run without any impediment, he said.

He said the administration had issued show-cause notices to a teacher of the Sindh University Model School, Hyderabad, Mohammad Moosa Rajar, and another teacher of the Sindh University Model School, Jamshoro, Azmat Shaikh, after receiving complaints against them from their principals.

The principals said the teachers did not attend classes and participated in Sewa protests. Therefore, the administration issued them show-cause notices and also withheld one-month salary of Mohammad Moosa Rajar for misbehaving with the principal, he said.

Our Khairpur correspondent adds: The Shah Abdul Latif University Employees Welfare Association observed a pen-down strike on Monday in protest against the SU administration's action against its employees.

The employees took out a procession from the SALU premises and marched to the old National Highway where they held a demonstration.

They said the SU administration had done great injustice to its employees by having them arrested under fake cases. The employees had a legitimate right to protest against injustices or denial of rights.

It had been an accepted practice but the SU administration had set a new example by trying to quell the protest by force, they said.

They said that employees unions of all universities had decided to continue their protest against the SU administration and SALU employees would follow the decision. Dawn

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