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Archaeology: Govt. of Sindh declares Chanhu Daro a protected area!

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M. M. ALAM

KARACHI:  Following the excavation work by French archaeological mission here Secretary Culture of Sindh has declared Indus Civilization Site of Chanhu Daro a protected area. 
A member of the French excavation team while talking to this scribe held: “This is of course thanks to a successful cooperation with the Dept. of Culture, Tourism & Antiquities, Government of Sindh and the local supporters of our work who have been creating community awareness.
“Several improvements on the village of Jamal Kerio are being implemented thanks to the interest that Chanhu Daro has brought among local administration (District Benazirabad and Sakrand) and community”.
Relevant authorities are expected to visit the site shortly.

 

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Environment

Sindh Birds exposed at French Center! (Text and Video)

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M. M. ALAM

KARACHI: Main Art Gallery of the Alliance Française (French Cultural Centre) de Karachi was the venue where 100 photographs of Sindh’s Wild Birds were exposed by Dream Merchants.

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Mirza Naim Beg a retired banker and photography enthusiast who used to do fashion photography for renowned magazines and still do it, albeit occasionally now. A veteran of 5 exhibitions for the past 25 years. He has turned his hobby into a healthy activity for a like-minded group of enthusiast wildlife photographers, by organizing various trips in and around Karachi, and covering many areas in Sindh under the banner of Wildlife with Dream Merchants, a Facebook group. He is an activist for wildlife conservations. 

Dream Merchants held: Given our much-acclaimed bird photography exhibition held November 2016 and we have vowed to continue with what we do best; that is, shooting birds with a camera! We are therefore pleased to announce the second chapter of this exhibition that will showcase a wider species of birds that inhibitor land.

This year, we have not only increased our number of visits to document the various bird species but have also expanded our reach towards unexplored areas. In doing so, our photography fraternity has grown substantially and the number of enthusiast birders has increased conspicuously.

Birds of Sindh —the journey began in 2016 with an exhibition as a humble effort of 4 photographers. It has now graduated to having 4 new members who have joined hands with the 3 pioneer members. At the time of the first exhibition, we were able to document about 125 species, and now, we are happy to report that with the passage of time and eventually having more bird enthusiasts onboard, this number is currently standing at 278 species! Our work hasn’t concluded by any means!

A lot still needs to be done in order to spread awareness about the negative impact of the destruction of the habitats as a result of encroachments; which means a lack of sufficient environment for the birds to breed and grow in a considerable number to balance the ecosystem.

This time around, in addition to the local and resident birds photographs, we take pride in presenting a whole bunch of migratory birds. 

We would like to acknowledge and extend our sincere gratitude out our family members, friends, well-wishers, and like-minded people who had appreciated and supported us in the first ever exhibition.

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Speaking to Newspakistan.tv (official partner BBCNEWS) Mirza Naeem Baig, who had created the facebook group (wildlife) Dream Merchants said: 

Q: Please tell our audience about (Wildlife) Dream Merchants.

A. I’m very proud that I’ve come to this stage where me and my friends together, the group that I’ve created called the wildlife dream merchants we have now from a near 50 birds one and a half years back we are now 270 birds of Sindh recorded.

These birds were never ever recorded before, I don’t think our wildlife department or WWF has this record and the exciting part as you can see here there are so many people here mashallah is because the more people get aware of these birds the more our message goes across. For example, I have now in my page about 1500 people so 1500 families are aware of these beauties.

Q. We have the threats. We have the threat of poaching, we have the threat of netting, we have the threat of hunting and to top that all that’s estate development. We are taking away all the beautiful habitat and they are running away.

These flamingoes live around mangroves and as you know we are losing mangroves so fast. These mangroves have these creeks where you find those shrimp, the small shrimps and that’s their favourite meal. Once they eat that they get their pink colour and that’s why many people call them pink flamingoes, now in this area round only I have seen in 3 years half the mangroves have gone.

The industries have come up, there is contamination and I can notice 3 years ago I had recorded about 300 flamingoes. They have come down to about 100 or so and we have to protect them. This is my mission, these exhibitions are a part of that.

Q. How to join Dream Merchants?

A. You just have to show your desire to join us, the page is called wildlife dream merchants and I announce trips once or twice a month and then we target a certain bird or a certain area and we celebrate if somebody catches a new species so all you have to do is to join the page. You’ll be updated as to what is happening and what we are doing and we move forward that’s very simple really.

Q. Do you feel secure travelling with your team?

A. In the last 3 years, I have taken about 70 trips along with 20-25 people, 10 people from Tharparkar, Nagarparkar, Larkana, Tanu Amat Khan and Alhamdulillah touchwood security has improved far better and we have never been disturbed or threatened as far as security is concerned.

Q. Who finances you? 

A. We do not have any sponsors yet, these pictures are for sale, whatever money we get out of it we put back in our trips and you know try to, try to cover maximum areas.

Q. What equipment do you use?

Startup level is actually a 300 mm lens which is very basic, ideally what we are carrying now is 500-600 mm, I wouldn’t like to name brands but normally the 2 top are cannon and Nikon.

It’s not easy to do wildlife photography on mobile because you see it’s the most challenging photography since you have no control on light, no control on the pose of the subject, no control on the background so it is very heavy hard work carrying heavy lenses, sitting in a place, we wear camouflage equipment so we are not seen.

We had those big lenses but you can’t take a picture of a bird sitting on a car window so we used a mobile to take that picture.

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     Other lensmen whose works were exposed at Alliance Française de Karachi:

Saad Aleem is a Mechanical Engineer by profession and a photography enthusiast. He recently became more interested in photographing birds mainly due to his fascination with nature & wildlife. For the last 8 months, he has visited interior Sindh and places near Karachi for pursuing his hobby and has recorded approximately 85+ species of birds so far. Saad mostly shoots with Nikon D750 & Tamron 150-600mm G2.

Khurram Kaimi is a software engineer/software sales guy by profession and a photography enthusiast. He did his software engineering from FAST and did his MBA from IBA. He’s doing birding since 3 years now and it all started from a trip to Haleji Lake. He jointed this group 6 months back and since then he has covered around 7 locations in suburbs of Karachi and interior Sindh. Khurram uses Canon 750D with Sigma.

Nusrat Ali a media sales guy and a graduate from Karachi University in International Relations, as well as MBA from IBA. He’s a hobby photographer who took interest in bird photography about 4 years ago and was part of the team that organized the 1st Birds of Sindh Exhibition. Nusrat shoots with Sony A77 and 7711, with Sony 70-400mm G2.

Saeed Jamal Tariq is a finance professional working with a commercial bank and is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan. He has been an avid photography enthusiast since long, concentrating on candid portraiture and landscapes. His love for birding and in particular photographing birds developed in the last 5 years and turned into a passion after meeting his mentor and dedicated wildlife activist cum renowned birder Mirza Naim Beg and joining groups such as ‘Wildlife with Dream Merchants’, Birds of Sindh’ and ‘Birds of Pakistan’.

Fahad Siddiqui works for the creative department with a TV channel. He started his passion for photography 5 years back and since last two years heavily into wildlife. Is very selective in displaying his work… almost a perfectionist. Likes to do landscape as well. Keeps in close contact with wildlife departments.Nusrat Ihsan is a Director in a private firm based in Karachi. Photography has been his passion and for the past few years has done considerable photography of architecture, landscapes, in and outside the country. He ventured into trips with different groups and enjoyed clicking away. Around 6 months back he took a turn towards wildlife with Mirza Naim Beg of Wildlife with Dream Merchants and a FB group. Being close to nature opened up his desire to capture more and more of our feathery friends. He went around on various trips with them and added new species. He hoped this passion remains with him for coming years.

Muhammad Isaac Kamal Kalmati is an auto parts retailer at village Kathore 50 kilometre away from Karachi near Super Highway. He is a nature lover and he is been photography for 5 years when he captures images of nature around his village then he takes interest in birds as birds are always fascinating to him. He sold out his shop and bought a camera. Isaac uses Nikon D-7100 and Tamron 150-600mm G1 lens.

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Sindh

Road accident takes toll of 7 at Mehran Highway.

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KHAIRPUR: Seven people were killed and two injured as a result of a head-on collision between two vehicles on the Mehran Highway near here today.

According to details one of the vehicles was heading towards Khairpur from Nawabshah while the other going towards Kot Diji.

Sources had informed that four people expired immediately after the collision while three succumbed to their injuries in nearby medical facilities. Two more injured are in critical condition.

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Crime

NAB retrieves 10k acres of state land!

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KARACHI: NAB has today announced that it has retrieved ten thousand acres of state land near the Port City worth Rs. 75b.

Sources privy to Newspakistan.tv have informed that revenue officials had signed fake documents manifesting that over 10,000 acres worth Rs. 75b belonged to few builders and developers. NAB managed to get the fake allotments canceled by concerned revenue officials of Jamshoro.

It has been insinuated that 731 acres of retrieved lands were usurped by DHA City by means of tampering of revenue records.

Relevant pieces published earlier: In line with the Apex court orders Chairman NAB Javed Iqbal has launched a formal probe and directed the relevant directors general to complete their investigations in three months apropos Bahria Town Karachi, Bahria Town Lahore and Bahria Town Rawalpindi.

Readers may recall that on 4th of May SCP had declared the procurement of land by Bahria Town for its housing projects in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Murree null and void.

 A plaza collapsed here due to Bahria Town’s faulty water-supply line passing beneath it! KARACHI: According to the tenants a plaza collapsed here due to Bahria Town’s faulty water-supply, a new building was being constructed adjacent to it. When the digging started for basement yesterday it was discovered that Bahria Town’s damaged pipeline was passing underneath his plot and that was leaking badly. When he told about the predicament to Bahria Town last night they simply opted not to respond. While the workers were working at the adjacent plot the constructed plaza – due to the leaking of water from Bahria’s pipeline – commenced vibrating.  When the entire occupants ran out of the building to save their lives the building collapsed. According to details following the collapse of the plaza the Bahria Security personnel reached the spot and attempted to take control of the place. This resulted into a scuffle with the owners of the Plaza. Later the Bahria Security personnel resorted to aerial firing due to which many residents received bullet wounds. Moreover, those filming the incident by means of mobiles were baton-charged and their mobiles were destroyed. The hooliganism of the Bahria Town Security personnel has now reached to the extent that they incarcerated the passers-by (including a number of students going to the academy for tuition) in the Bahria Town’s private lockups after heavy thrashing. The affectees have appealed the Government and CJP to contain this hooliganism by Bahria Town’s private guards and see that justice is done.

Supreme Court stops Bahria Town Karachi from sales of properties! KARACHI: Supreme Court stops Bahria Town Karachi from sales of properties, SC has barred the Bahria Town Karachi from selling of residential/commercial plots and buildings. Apex Court proclaiming the allotment and transfer of land illegal has ordered the probe into the illegal allotment of Malir Development Authority’s plots. According to details Malir Development Authority had sold/exchanged 11000 acres of land to Bahria Town. But it was not authorized to do so. The land was meant for development of Government Housing Schemes and not to be to be sold to some private developer Malir Development Authority not only sold the land at throwaway (2006) prices but in case of exchange of land gave the expensive pieces of terrain to Bahria Town against useless arid lands in far-flung areas. In order to provide benefit to one private developer, no bids were invited from other developers. This insinuates that big amount of money must have changed hands. Following Apex Court’s decision, the land does not belong to Bahria Town anymore and is again the property of the Government. And all the land given by Bahria in exchange has again become Bahria’s property. The amount paid by Bahria to buy the land shall be paid back to Bahria by the Government. However, to protect the third-party interest Bahria Town has been given an option to procure the said 11,000 acres of land at the market rate and if it wants to exchange land then the land should be of equal value. Meanwhile, the allottees have been instructed not to pay the remaining amounts to Bahria Town and instead deposit the same in a special NAB account. The process will be monitored by an implementation bench constituted by the Supreme Court. It is pertinent to mention here that those found guilty of corruption during the NAB investigation would be put behind bars. Bahria Town had been paying a huge amount to Media in the form of advertisements.
Demonstration against Bahria Town’s illegal occupation of villages at Karachi Press Club! 
KARACHI: Indigenous Rights Alliance Karachi organized a protest demonstration against Bahria Town and illegal occupation of villages land around Gadaap, Malir, Dhabeji of rural Karachi at Karachi Press Club today. Residents of villages from Malir, Thatta and Karachi’s West and Korangi districts attended the protest. A large number of women also took part in the demo, which was also attended by representatives from civil society organizations, human rights activists, political workers and students organizations.  They were carrying placards, banners with slogans against dislocation of the local population as a result of various housing schemes around Karachi including Bahria Town, DHA City etc. The Coordinator of the alliance Gul Hassan Kalmati said the Malir Development Authority and Board of Revenue have provided only 9000 to 11,000 acres of land to Bahria Town but the management is developing over 45,000 acres of land. The company has demolished many historical places like Shah Latif Bhitai’s Takiya and historical graveyard like Makli. Malik Riaz in connivance with ruling PPP leadership is forcibly removing villagers. The other speakers demanded the government to stop the removal of local people. They pledged to continue their struggle for rights of local people.
Locals whose lands have been encroached upon via coercing to manifest against Bahria Town at Karachi Press Club! KARACHI: The locals whose ancestral expensive goths (44,000 acres of rural terrain) have been encroached upon by means of coercing have decided to manifest against Bahria Town before Press Club here tomorrow to get their lands back.   This decision apropos demonstration at KPC has unnerved those investors whose billions of rupees are at stake.  It is pertinent to mention here that Bahria Town is a unique instance of property business in the world where all the dealings are carried out on parchi (non-legal documents) and not on allotments from any Government Organisation. Ironically the Government is neither taking any action against this parchi racket nor is owning it. Meanwhile, a large number of investors, seeing their billions going down the drain, have moved the Sindh High Court where innumerable cases are pending against this fraud involving billions of rupees and usurpation of lands by Bahria Town.
Supreme Court bans Bahria Town’s illegal construction: Public’s billions go down the drain! KARACHI: Supreme Court of Pakistan has imposed a ban on the illegal construction work that was being carried out on phase III and IV of the controversial Bahria Town here in the Port City. The public who had invested billions of rupees on the unlawful project is panicked to see their lifetime savings go down the drain. According to details the land on which Bahria Town was constructing Phase III and IV originally belongs to a Hindu citizen. Bahria Town encroached upon the said territory, reckoning that as Government land, and allotted the plots. But after hearing the case, Apex Court has passed judgment in favor of the said owner who belongs to the minority community. Subsequently, Supreme Court has ordered Bahria Town to vacate the terrain on which it was building its phase III and IV unlawfully. Alarmed Bahria Town Management is now endeavoring to pull the wool over the Supreme Court eye by putting mud on the routes saying those were built a long time ago.   According to sources the future of Bahria Town is at great risk on one end and on the other end, citizens who had handed over billions of rupees to Bahria Town are shocked foreseeing the looming debacle. The public’s sole hope for justice is from the courts. It is pertinent to mention here that hundreds of cases are pending against Bahria Town in courts and stay had also been ordered in many cases. Yet Bahria Town’s relentless illicit expansion goes on unabated. Bahria Town has allegedly usurped 40,000 acres of land while originally it was only granted 1330 acres. Since reportedly the Police is also teaming-up with Bahria Town, Rangers have been instructed to implement the court’s orders. Due to the raids carried out by Rangers for a week now the work at Bahria Town’s Phase II, III and IV have been stopped. As soon as the Bahria Town management sees Rangers approaching they put their laborers out of sight. Affectees have appealed the court to order the establishment of permanent posts around the Bahria Town manned by Rangers personnel.
Land Grabbing by Malik Riaz? ADSJ hearing a widow’s complaint orders lodging of FIR against Bahria CEO! Big Deal!! ISLAMABAD: Following instructions from Additional District & Sessions Judge, Bhara Kahu police has registered FIR (u/s 109, 341, 379, 427 and 447 of PPC) against the management of Bahria Town, its CEO Malik Riaz and his son Ali Riaz. According to details the accused, who have been booked on the complaint of the residents of Phulgran (including a widow), face charges of theft, wrongful restraint, mischief and criminal trespass. Sources privy to Newspakistan.tv have informed that the complainants claim that the accused have grabbed their inherited land and included that in his project. An advocate of Malik Riaz said that the matter regarding the ownership of the land was pending in a court. Bahria Town spokesman, who happens to be a retired army colonel, claimed that the area was purchased by Bahria Town and the complainants were trying to get more money by means of such litigation.
 
Sindh High Court orders Bahria Town to halt construction on 284 acres. KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) has ordered Bahria Town to halt all construction activities on 284 acres of disputed land. According to details during today’s hearing petitioner Wali Muhammad has maintained that Government of Sindh and MDA had illegally allotted 284 acres of land to Bahria Town.  Applicants were allotted plots on a 99-year lease at Gadap’s Usman Allah Rakhio Goth. But Bahria Town using influence got the allottees ejected. SHC, appointing Nazir as commissioner,  has asked for submission of a report in this respect within 15 days. It is pertinent to mention here that despite SHC’s stay construction is going on full swing on the disputed land.
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