Tuesday, June 23, 2009



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“The Higher Education Commission and SAMAA TV has taken a landmark initiative in promoting the Industry-Academia Linkage network model, which is highly required for the future quality work force development in Pakistan. Such initiatives will strongly benefit the business communities in tapping the knowledge being produced in the academia and support the economic growth of our nation”-Mr. Qamar-Uz-Zaman Kaira, Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting

Islamabad, 8th June 2009 – Today, the first Scholarship programme for Media students in Pakistan announced its first batch of successful candidates at an award ceremony held at the Higher Education Commission in Islamabad.

SAMAA TV, one of Pakistan’s leading urdu news channels, in joint collaboration with the Higher Education Commission today awarded scholarships to selected media students of public universities across Pakistan through the HEC-SAMAA TV Scholarship Programme. The successful students were awarded certificates by Ms. Shehnaz Wazir Ali, Chairperson HEC.

Speaking at the media conference, Chief Guest, Mr. Qamar-Uz-Zaman Kaira, Federal Minister of Information & Broadcasting applauded HEC and SAMAA TV for taking a landmark initiative and developing the first scholarship programme targeted for media students. “This has highlighted the need for developing and catering the potential within our youth who carry the aspiration of pursuing a career in the media industry. This scholarship has further endorsed the importance of the public-private partnership model, which is the future road for improving the socio-economic situation in our country, as engaging all stakeholders across the board makes the journey more focused, result oriented and achievable”.

The selected candidates for the HEC-SAMAA TV Scholarship Programme are Mr. Jaffar Hussain Pahnwar (University of Sindh), Mr. Muhammad Ashad (University of Karachi), Mr. Samar Abbas Qazafi (NUML), Mr. Usman Umer (Punjab University), Ms. Ghazala Zia (PU), Mr. Muhammad Atif Waheed (PU), Ms. Pawan Masaud Amna (PU), Mr. Muhammad Tauseef Sabih (PU), Mr. Hafiz Atiq ur-Rehman (PU), Mr. Muhammad Qurban (PU).

Mr. Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer of SAMAA TV spoke on the new media age and said that ”The media is evolving on a fast track and is now one of the key players in the development of any nation – be it social, political or economic role play. The global journalism and competitive market now also demands quality work force. This scholarship programme is a step towards bridging the gaps between the academia and industry and creating the quality work force required to take Pakistan forward and position our country on a more competitive global footing”.

Mr. Jahangir also said that SAMAA TV believes in constructive innovation journalism, which is particularly relevant to Pakistan, as since long the local media has relentlessly only pursued the country’s challenges. He said that “We, at SAMAA believe that it is time to move from “raising a problem” towards a solution oriented perspective”. Mr. Jahangir announced ten (10) new scholarships for mass communication students of public universities across Pakistan.

The Scholarship Programme took its start through the signing of a MoU with the Higher Education Commission on 20th October 2008. Samaa TV will through this scholarship programme be providing (10) students from any public university across Pakistan with a scholarship of Rs. 50.000/- per student to cover the tuition fee for two years of Master’s level degree in Mass Communication. All of the successful candidates will upon completion of education and a min. scoring of GPA 3.0 be offered a one year job contract with SAMAA TV with salary at par with the industry standard and with desired department

To ensure a transparent selection and also to identify the most eligible and suitable candidate, a selection committee was established consisting of representatives from the HEC, SAMAA TV, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and Pakistan Federal Union Journalist (PFUJ). Each of the organizations carries an in-depth insight into the needs of a professional media person, who can become an asset to the development of the media industry.

Samaa will through this initiative be creating potential and talent for the media industry and also be building the capacity of young individuals, who have the talent but lack the resources to achieve their educational standards. By financially supporting a talent, Samaa will be playing its active role in bringing a positive change in the social, political and economic scenario in Pakistan.

SAMAA TV is one of Pakistan’s leading private satellite television channels, which takes pride in its fair, factual and independent news coverage through its on-the-hour bulletins, breaking stories, incisive political analysis and current affairs programs. The channel has also made a niche for itself through its programs on women and youth issues besides infotainment and sports. SAMAA TV, launched in December 2007 has network of district correspondents and 5 bureaus across Pakistan along with international stringers in the Middle East, Europe and North America.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

.:: SAMAA - Govt won’t delay funding: Khar

.:: SAMAA - Govt won’t delay funding: Khar

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This fiscal year the government will definitely distribute development funding on time, assured state finance minister Hina Rabbani Khar Tuesday while acknowledging this was not done last year.

“Literally, resources were so tight [last year], no development spending was possible,” Khar explained on SAMAA’s Pakistan Aaj Raat programme with Ihtesham-ul Haq who questioned her on the new federal budget she presented on June 13. “At least now we are talking about economic revival.”

That revival has been slow in the making since October 2008 when the currency had devalued, there was a run on the banks, and economically Pakistan was at a low point. “People had lost confidence,” she said, adding that no government wants to turn to the IMF, but unfortunately it is a “lender of last resort”. “But stabilisation wasn’t possible without that,” she stressed.

Most of all, the province of Balochistan suffered because of the shortage in development funds, she acknowledged but said that all the money it was owed from the last fiscal year had been carried forward.

This budget includes the highest ever allocation for development – Rs 646 billion to make up for last year. The Public Sector Development Programme has been split into Rs 421 billion for federal projects and Rs 200 billion for the provinces, to be spent through their Annual Development Programmes.


In order to keep working on stabilization, Khar said the budget had set aside 40 billion rupees for its investment support fund. This was essentially to target exports and thus mainly applied to textiles. A minister had gone up to her after the budget speech and complained that she had not mentioned this sector at all. She clarified, however, that she had repeatedly referred to manufacturing and industry and in fact this time a good textile policy had been prepared. “One major thing that has been done is that we have decided to bring energy costs down instead of subsidizing textiles,” she said.


Ihtesham-ul Haq questioned her on the new carbon surcharge on petroleum products that would be imposed from July 1.

“I will be highly unpopular right now,” she said with a smile, before going on to explain the reason why the government has put a carbon tax in addition to GST.

The gas supply for Pakistan has to be rationed because we are short on it. For four months of the year, half of industry comes to a grinding halt because of the gas shortage and contract employees go unemployed. “You have to decide whether you want gas on your streets or in your factories and power houses,” she said, while explaining why it will be more expensive. The ministry and power houses need 335 MCFD but have been getting only 100 MCFD which is why they are forced to close or use furnace oil. “When you have a resource shortage, you have to prioritize,” she said.


Khar was extremely candid when asked about the likelihood of foreign investment given the current fight against extremism. “It would be very unrealistic to say that Foreign Direct Investment will come,” she said while describing the possibility as “not very positive”.

“Pakistan is in the news every day for suicide bombings,” she said. “But we must recognize that bold decisions need to be taken. No one has Aladdin’s lamp to say what will happen.” And there were areas where investment was still being made even though people were spreading panic by saying investors wouldn’t even come to Pakistan for meetings and preferred Dubai.

She felt it was sad that Pakistanis were tolerating such high levels of violence that has been affecting the economy so badly – a war economy for all intents and purposes. “No other country has such a high acceptance for wrong, such a soft corner,” she said, adding that Pakistanis still manage to rationalize violence by saying its perpetrators must have some reason.

Nonetheless, she assured that the government was trying to bring back confidence and if industry output or growth goes from a -4 percent to 2 percent, that would still be an improvement.


The rich landholders should be taxed, argued Khar when questioned on the agriculture tax.

“I am not talking about the hari who has barely 25 acres and one tractor,” she said, clarifying that the agriculture tax could not be applied to such poor people. “We’re talking about the rich ones with say, more than 20 morabas… [But we know that] we have to first increase farmer income,” she stressed.

Khar’s stance was rejected by former minister Sartaj Aziz, who felt that an agriculture tax was not a federal government matter. “This is something for the local bodies… they will be able to assess it better,” Aziz said over the phone during the programme. “[But for it to become a federal government matter] you would need a constitutional amendment.” When asked if people were ready for something like this, Aziz replied that he didn’t think so. “Far more important constitutional amendments haven’t come through… how would this one?”

.:: SAMAA - SC orders survey of transsexuals

.:: SAMAA - SC orders survey of transsexuals

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The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the Social Welfare Department to survey the Third Gender people in Pakistan and register them.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry ordered this during the hearing of a constitutional application by Dr Aslam Khaki on Tuesday. The next hearing would be held after reports come from the provinces.

The court has also ordered that it should be indicated in the reports whether the transsexuals are living with their ‘gurus’ by consent or have been compelled to live with them. It should also be seen what kind of facilities they are being provided and what is their personal status.

The court also gave directions for it to be ascertained whether the transsexual was handed over to the guru with the parents’ consent or if pressure was applied.

The SC also directed that no transsexual could be handed over to a guru now without the parents informing the Social Welfare Department.