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Hope sprouts among budding students

November 27, 2011

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EVERY child has a potential but most fail to grow accordingly in the absence of conducive environment and opportunities. In this modern age of science, social attitudes are blindly driving children to learn and progress in those fields that might not be close to their hearts. In order to do away with this constraint, the Chand Bagh School annually organise an art competition and invite students from schools, colleges and universities from across Pakistan to participate in a one-day art contest.

This year, the Chand Bagh School's Art and Design department hosted 63 students from 26 institutions at its 9th All-Pakistan Art Competition and asked them to express themselves through lines and colours on the subject – “Ray of Hope”. The students stayed at the school for a day and painted their expressions. The paintings were then adjudged by senior artists, who selected four top position holders including a recipient of consolation prize in two categories – Class-V-IX and Class-X and above.

In order to encourage the art competition participants, the school management for the first time displayed all paintings at the Coopera Art Gallery in Lahore last Friday and invited the position holders as well as other students. In school category, Muhammad Ammaar of Divisional Public School, Faisalabad, stood first while Tayyaba Bint-e-Tariq of the same school secured second; and Abeera Safdar of Chand Tara School got third position. Mahnoor Ahmad of ICAS Salamat received consolation prize.

In college/university category, Lahore College for Women University's Aniqa Saeed earned first position; Saba Naz, who is a BFA student at Alhamra Art Council, bagged second position; and Hina Khalid of Government College for Women, Samanabad, stood third. Sana Asher of Defence Degree College for Girls, DHA Lahore, got consolation prize. First position holder in schools category, Muhammad Ammaar, said he was highly excited about his experience of participating in an art competition and eventually winning it. He said his painting reflected that a child was studying his books in the light of a lantern, while there was loadshedding. He said he tried to express that education was the only ray of hope for the younger generation.

The second position holder in college/university category, Saba Naz, said she showed a rising sun behind a denuded tree, whose branches had made up a map of Pakistan. Still, there are fresh leaves sprouting out of the tree – representing a ray of hope. Chand Bagh School principal Syed Nusrat Ali Shah Kazmi, who opened the exhibition, said the art competitions were being organised to discover young students' potential. “We hone their potential,” he said. Sometimes, he said, the school administration also faced criticism from parents who questioned about putting their children to such activities instead of teaching them science subject with complete focus. He said the position holders were given shields, while the winning school bagged trophy. The school's art and design department had also printed a table calendar for the year 2012 showing students' paintings along with their names and institutions. School category's first position holder and his teacher were, however, got depressed when they saw Ammaar's name missing on his painting reflected in the calendar. The school teacher, however, assured them that the mistake would be rectified.

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A MOCK Parliament replicating the structure and working of neighbouring country Afghanistan held its three-day session at Forman Christian College under the aegis of Seeds of Peace – an NGO dedicated to preparing teenagers from areas of conflict with the leadership skills required to promote coexistence and peace.

A group of 35 students from 13 private and semi-private schools of Lahore took part as members of Parliament of Afghanistan (the Wolesi Jirga). On the first day, the mock parliamentarians discussed the purposes of the Nato and US invasion of Afghanistan, and subsequently, the psychological security of the Afghan citizens. The representatives discussed in detail the legal status of the Taliban as a political regime in Afghanistan. They also discussed how the Taliban might or might not serve as an inspiration for other extremist factions within the region. The house also addressed the issue of sovereignty and its varying interpretations with regards to the Afghanistan invasion. On the second day, the parliamentarians discussed the possibility of negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan. There was a general agreement that the Taliban and the Nato forces had committed atrocities and human rights violations in their own varying capacities. There was also a debate about the implementation of the Shariah Law in Afghanistan and how many factions took the fundamental interpretation of the Shariah as decisive. There was, however, a very heated debate about the relation of the Afghan Taliban with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. Later, the business of the house shifted towards international relations of Afghanistan in the context of the Nato intervention, where the role of the US was highlighted in terms of infrastructure rebuilding.

The third and final day on Sunday began with an incredibly high level of debate with the parliamentarians discussing issues like the viability of a future Afghanistan, which would be self-reliant and politically and economically stable. The mock parliamentarians also discussed the issues of opium plantations and the subsequent drug trade that provided the world with 95 per cent of its heroin and cocaine. The parliamentarians acknowledged that the opium plantations and drug trade was an integral part of the Afghan economy, and that the international community not only needed to view the situation with sensitivity, but needed to give the Afghan people time to eliminate the drug production and develop alternative agriculture and industries. They also discussed power sharing and the period of interim government after the Nato withdrawal. Resolutions were passed for the strengthening of Afghan economy and earning of international support for rebuilding of the country.

Responding to Nato's blistering air strikes on two Pakistani positions in Mohmand Agency on Saturday, the parliamentarians condemned strikes stating that the onslaught would affect Pak-Afghan relations. FC College executive Vice-Rector Dr C J Dubbash distributed prizes amongst the participants acknowledging that the Mock Parliament was able to achieve its aims – the recognition of issues of Afghanistan along with the learning of parliamentary procedures. Seeds of Peace, Pakistan, president Sajjad Ahmad lauded the participants and their parents for their positive contribution and hoped that such peace activities would continue in future. — mansoormalik173@hotmail.com