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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Further thoughts on “KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY” Initiative

I hope the attached document gives you the background to the project on this link:
I expect that you will participate in this endeavor through the COUNCIL/JK/VO/WO close to your home
LIFE LONG LEARNING -Options for a Student:
1.      Education and Skills
a.       Augment the coaching being offered in a traditional Institution.
b.      Access to Coaching material of the best universities towards Education and capacity development.
c.       Option for developing skills in existing career or change in career {example: Specialization in Microfinance].
d.      Option for families of limited incomes/access to traditional world famous Institutions of learning.
2.      Telemedicine option:  Once married, 80 percent of female doctors do not get an opportunity for practicing their profession. They will have the opportunity to serve fellow human beings in need through TKN from their homes and also build further skills.
1.       
2.      Integration of OUTERNET:          
a.       Will connect each of the clusters to free internet via satellite for access to coaching educational content from best universities.

b.      Will provide the opportunity to start the steps towards technology and business opportunity in this field.
Perspective:
A.    Targets for AKRSP/LSO:
1)      Target-1: Improve the economic conditions so that populations in GB and Chitral can meet the ever increasing costs of health and education and also become SELF SUSTAINING.
2)      Target-2: Groom indigenous leadership capable of establishing democracy (pre-requisites for meritocracy, and pluralism) and also capable of planning for a better quality of life for their future without external inputs.
3)      Target-3: “Facilitate establishment of Knowledge Societies in the program Area”
B.     Deliberations in the NC and GUIDANCE
1)      Extracts from the Minutes of the meeting of His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for Pakistan held on March 29th and 30th 2003 at Conference Hall, Jamat Khana Premises, Rawalpindi-Islamabad [shared in past on FB].
 “Responding to an observation IW told the house that Ismailis working for AKRSP are very old and do not seem to fit in to the new system and that is why others are more in numbers and in percentage.  Brig Beg observed that a transparent competitive procedure is more likely in selection of 90% Ismailis in different positions and advocated a blatant meritocratic competition and opined that such a course would not face serious challenges from pressure groups as faced previously and also in the present process. This assessment was not shared by many and accordingly it was proposed that the council should diagnose the reasons for the lack of competence among Ismailis in coming up to the standards and chalk out a road map for the future.
To this a discussion went on among the members as to why AKDN Institutions are not getting good Ismailies. Sharing her viewpoint, Laila Dossa, member NC said that we don’t want to pay well and do not know how to retain them; the fellow joins the institution as if he is serving the cause and then he feels that he is squeezed and leaves quietly.
Wrapping the subject AP said it’s good to consider merit as criteria but we need to consider the Ismailis constituency. We need to keep balance, keep both merit and Ismaili. If we have not been able to find Ismailis competent enough we should train them to be qualified on merit. He also proposed to form a committee to address the subject and requested LD to come up with recommendations.
Higher education and scholarships: [Brig Beg] We have realized in the March meeting that Ismaili candidates do not dominate on merit for job opportunities in AKDN. Competitive human resources can be developed only through access to higher education and proper stress for the same in award of scholarship and loans. My proposals for “Facilitation in accessing higher education” is through re-course to “distance learning” proposal as an immediate short-term measure. We recall the keynote address delivered by our Mawla to the MIT two years back and recent policy announcement by the MIT. MIT wants to initiate a global revolution in education and towards the same making the course material available free on the Internet. Mawla’s directions to AKU-IED and the University of Central Asia are well known to the leadership. The GOP IT policy gives the shape of things emerging in Pakistan.

We need to adopt this cost-effective and feasible solution in all our institutional policies. We have the ISP and many computer centers almost at every local council/VO/the Jamatkhana and AKDN offices at all levels. Requirement for AKU is to facilitate asynchronous transmissions directly from the satellite to the centers within the limits of already purchased bandwidth.

As regards to the scholarships I will illustrate my point by a chart which indicates the distribution of scholarships during 5-years which has been extracted from the databases recently released by the AKES. This shows out of 72 scholarships [between 1995 to 2000], 47 have been allotted in Karachi, 4 in Sindh, 3 in  Punjab, 5 in NWFP, 8 in NA and 2 in Chitral.  We need to re-assess the HR need of these regions and set specific targets in number as well as specialties. I would like the leaders to come up with the recommendations on this or alternative proposals, which we may give to the AKDN.”

2)      Appointment Meeting guidance on 9th December 2005, Islamabad.
3)      Keynote speech of H.H. Aga Khan at MIT



 My dear Chairperson,

This communication is in response to your letter no nil dated 5 Jan 2005 in my personal capacity. In this connection, please refer to my views given in the ICP meetings and different draft suggestions as attached again with this letter. I would certainly recommend sharing a clear picture on the following aspects in the same priority and improvement of the procedures in the light of these considerations:
A.    Planning data (region wise) for the numbers and specialties recommended in meeting the long-term vision for the region concerned.
B.      Provide the database for the region wise distribution and tracking of the 450 awardees of these scholarships. The limited database for awardees in higher education provided by AKES in the past shows a very discouraging state for regions outside Garden area of Karachi.
C.     There is a need to cater for students desirous of availing distance learning facilities.       
 I hope and pray that these recommendations are passionately considered by the Board before the award of the scholarships for this and subsequent cycles.

From: habib.peermohamed[habib.peermohamed@aku.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 3:37 PM
To: Hisamullah Beg SI (M)
Subject: RE: Scholarship Programme
I have forwarded your comments and observations to my colleagues and will get back to you on these issues.

Regards 
 Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan
                                                         Scholarship Programme
Regional Statistics
2004
2003
Applicants
Interviewed
Recipients
Applicants
Interviewed
Recipients
Northern Areas
33
27
18
22
17
17
Chitral
8
8
4
22
22
11
Sindh
29
27
12
15
14
10
Punjab and Frontier
5
4
4
2
2
0
Karachi
81
74
38
65
63
36
Total
156
140
76
126
118
74

Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan Alumina Data Base
                                          Scholarship Programme (1995 – 2000)

Regional Statistics

Male
Female
Total
Remarks
Northern Areas
07
01
08

Chitral
2
0
2

Sindh
2
2
4

Punjab
3
0
3

Frontier Province
5
0
6

Karachi (Garden East)
21
10
31

Karachi (Karimabad)
13
1
14

Karachi (Kharadar)
1
1
2

Outside Pakistan
4
0
4

Total
57
15
72


From: Hisamullah Beg SI(M) [mailto:hisam@sat.net.pk]
Sent: Saturday, April 6, 2005 10:24 AM
To: AGA KHAN, Zahra
Cc: JAMES, Claudine
Subject: Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan

Your Highness,

This humble servant of Imamat has ventured to place a copy of the communication done with chairman AKES and the data that has been shared in response. The views on development of HR in all regions as shared in the ICP are also appended as part of this communication. In view of these statistics I have communicated the desire for a review in procedures for which I am seeking blessings of your highness.

Brig (Retd) Hisamullah Beg, VP ICP

From:  “JAMES, Claudine” <Claudine.James@aiglemont.org>
To:       “Hisamullah Beg SI (M)” <hisam@sat.net.pk>
Sent:   Friday, April 29, 2005 5:57 PM
Subject: Re: Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan

To the attention of Brigadier (Retd) Hisamullah Beg

Brigadier,

Further to your e-mail Princess Zahra has asked me to pass you the following message:

“Princess Zahra thanks you for the information which you have sent her, and looks forward to reviewing the progress of the AKES scholarship programme through the normal reporting channels of the SWD.”  

Sincerely,

Claudine James
Secretary to Princess Zahra Aga Khan 
cc.: Mr. Akbarli Pesnani, President – Aga Khan Council for Pakistan
        Mr. Habib Peermohamed, Chairman AKES, P
         Mr. Rahim Somani, Acting CEO AKES, P                                
                

     
 


      


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fear And Loathing in the House of Saud By Pepe Escobar

Riyadh was fully aware the beheading of respected Saudi Shi'ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr was a deliberate provocation bound to elicit a rash Iranian response.
 The Saudis calculated they could get away with it; after all they employ the best American PR machine petrodollars can buy, and are viscerally defended by the usual gaggle of nasty US neo-cons.  
 In a post-Orwellian world "order" where war is peace and "moderate" jihadis get a free pass, a House of Saud oil hacienda cum beheading paradise — devoid of all civilized norms of political mediation and civil society participation — heads the UN Commission on Human Rights and fattens the US industrial-military complex to the tune of billions of dollars while merrily exporting demented Wahhabi/Salafi-jihadism from MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) to Europe and from the Caucasus to East Asia. 
 And yet major trouble looms. Erratic King Salman's move of appointing his son, the supremely arrogant and supremely ignorant Prince Mohammad bin Salman to number two in the line of succession has been contested even among Wahhabi hardliners.
But don't count on petrodollar-controlled Arab media to tell the story.
 English-language TV network Al-Arabiyya, for instance, based in the Emirates, long financed by House of Saud members, and owned by the MBC conglomerate, was bought by none other than Prince Mohammad himself, who will also buy MBC.
 With oil at less than $40 a barrel, largely thanks to Saudi -Arabia's oil waragainst both Iran and Russia, Riyadh's conventional wars are taking a terrible toll. The budget has collapsed and the House of Saud has been forced to raise taxes.
 The illegal war on Yemen, conducted with full US acquiescence, led by — who else — Prince Mohammad, and largely carried out by the proverbial band of mercenaries, has instead handsomely profited al-Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula (AQAP), just as the war on Syria has profited mostly Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria.
 Three months ago, Saudi ulemas called for a jihad not only against Damascus but also Tehran and Moscow without the "civilized" West batting an eyelid; after all the ulemas were savvy enough to milk the "Russian aggression" bandwagon, comparing the Russian intervention in Syria, agreed with Damascus, with the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.   
 US Think Tank-land revels in spinning that the beheading provocation was a "signal" to Tehran that Riyadh will not tolerate Iranian influence among Shi'ites living in predominantly Sunni states. And yet Beltway cackle that Riyadh hoped to contain "domestic Shi'ite tensions" by beheading al-Nimr does not even qualify as a lousy propaganda script. To see why this is nonsense, let's take a quick tour of Saudi Arabia's Eastern province. 
 All Eyes on Al Sharqiyya
 Saudi Arabia is essentially a huge desert island. Even though the oil hacienda is bordered by the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, the Saudis don't control what matters: the key channels of communication/energy exporting bottlenecks — the Bab el-Mandeb and the Straits of Hormuz, not to mention the Suez canal.
 Enter US "protection" as structured in a Mafia-style "offer you can't refuse" arrangement; we guarantee safe passage for the oil export flow through our naval patrols and you buy from us, non-stop, a festival of weapons and host our naval bases alongside other GCC minions. The "protection" used to be provided by the former British empire. So Saudi Arabia — as well as the GCC — remains essentially an Anglo-American satrapy.  
       Al Sharqiyya — the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia — holds only 4 million people, the overwhelming majority Shi'ites. And yet it produces no less than 80% of Saudi oil. 
 The heart of the action is the provincial capital Al Qatif, where Nimr al-Nimr was born. We're talking about the largest oil hub on the planet, consisting of 12 crisscrossed pipelines that connect to massive Gulf oil terminals such as Dhahran and Ras Tanura.
 Enter the strategic importance of neighboring Bahrain. 
 Historically, all the lands from Basra in southern Iraq to the peninsula of Musandam, in Oman — traditional trade posts between Europe and India — were known as Bahrain ("between two seas").
 Tehran could easily use neighboring Bahrain to infiltrate Al Sharqiyya, detach it from Riyadh's control, and configure a "Greater Bahrain" allied with Iran. 
 That's the crux of the narrative peddled by petrodollar-controlled media, the proverbial Western "experts", and incessantly parroted in the Beltway.  

There's no question Iranian hardliners cherish the possibility of a perpetual Bahraini thorn on Riyadh's side. That would imply weaponizing a popular revolution in Al Sharqiyya.  But the fact is not even Nimr al-Nimr was in favor of a secession of Al Sharqiyya. 
 And that's also the view of the Rouhani administration in Tehran. Whether disgruntled youth across Al Sharqiyya will finally have had enough with the beheading of al-Nimr it's another story; it may open a Pandora's box that will not exactly displease the IRGC in Tehran. 
 But the heart of the matter is that Team Rouhani perfectly understands the developing Southwest Asia chapter of the New Great Game, featuring the re-emergence of Iran as a regional superpower; all of the House of Saud's moves, from hopelessly inept to major strategic blunder, betray utter desperation with the end of the old order. 
 That spans everything from an unwinnable war (Yemen) to a blatant provocation (the beheading of al-Nimr) and a non sequitur such as the new Islamic 34-nation anti-terror coalition which most alleged members didn't even know they were a part of. 
 The supreme House of Saud obsession rules, drenched in fear and loathing: the Iranian "threat".
 Riyadh, which is clueless on how to play geopolitical chess — or backgammon — will keep insisting on the oil war, as it cannot even contemplate a military confrontation with Tehran. 
 And everything will be on hold, waiting for the next tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue; will he/she be tempted to pivot back to Southwest Asia, and cling to the old order (not likely, as Washington relies on becoming independent from Saudi oil)? 
Or will the House of Saud be left to its own — puny — devices among the shark-infested waters of hardcore geopolitics?
 Pepe Escobar is an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia. Born in Brazil, he's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong.