Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Intel ISEF 2012: Peshawar girl wins science accolade

PESHAWAR: Seventeen year old Shiza Gulab, who secured fourth place in the world’s largest pre-college science fair, arrived in her hometown in Swati Patik on Sunday.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2012 was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States. Three Pakistani teenagers Shiza Gulab, Mahnoor Hassan and Bushra Shahed attained fourth position for their project titled ‘Energy Square for Cattle.’

Gulab, a first-year engineering student at the Institute of Computer and Management Sciences (ICMS), Peshawar, talks about her project and the inspiration behind it.

“We attended a workshop in Islamabad in which the organisers suggested that we work in the fields of biology, mathematics, physics and computer science.”

Gulab said she decided to select a topic from the field of biology on her mother’s advice. “I discussed the idea with my colleagues Mahnoor and Bushra and they also agreed with me and we started working on our project.”

“Our project attained first position at the national level competition in which 86 teams participated and the regional level in the Pak-Turkish School Peshawar. When we found out that our team had been selected for Intel ISEF, we felt a mixture of extreme happiness and confusion.”

Gulab’s father Gul Shah is understandably filled with pride. “I am very happy. She has not only made me proud, but also the province and our country.”

Shah said he has cows in his home which are not raised for a source of income or milk, but to nurture his children’s interest in animals. He added that his daughter was destined to work for the development of the country.

Gulab’s mother maintains that her daughter is a very intelligent student and gets first position in school every year.

Principal of ICMS college for girls, Ambareen Batol said it was a “pleasure that our students have been selected for the international fair.”

ICMS Director Malik Tajamul Hayat said the prize winning students are already on scholarship and will be facilitated in every possible way to excel in their studies. Giving details about the project, she said it was designed to provide livestock with adequate nutrition even in times of natural disasters. The formula, which is a dry mix of a variety of ingredients such as mulberry, wheat, maize, rice polish, urea and calcium, provides vitamins and protein to the animals. It also contributes in controlling diseases, increasing milk production and weight in cattle in just 28 days.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2012.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

National Monuments of Pakistan

The Pakistan Monument in Islamabad, Pakistan, is a national monument representing the nation's four provinces and three territories. After a competition among many renowned architects, Arif Masood’s plan was selected for the final design.

The blooming flower shape of the monument represents Pakistan's progress as a rapidly developing country. The four main petals of the monument represent the four provinces (Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,Punjab, and Sindh), while the three smaller petals represent the three territories (Gilgit-Baltistan,Azad Kashmir and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas).

The Monument has been designed to reflect the culture and civilization of the country and depicts the story of the Pakistan Movement, dedicated to those who sacrificed themselves for future generations.

Lets discover some of the awesome monuments throughout Pakistan.

  • Uch Sharif

Uch or Uch Sharif Urdu: اوچ شریف) (Greek: Alexandria En Indo Potamo) is located in 75 km from Bahawalpur in Bahawalpur District, South Punjab, Pakistan Uch is an important historical city, being founded by Alexander the Great. Formerly located at the confluence of the Indus and Chenab rivers, it is now removed to Mithankot, some 100 km from that confluence.

It was an important center in medieval India, as an early stronghold of the Delhi Sultanate in the 13th century during the Muslim conquest. Uch Sharif contains the tombs of Bibi Jawindi, Baha'al-Halim and Jalaluddin Bukhari, which are considered master pieces of Islamic architecture and are on the UNESCO World Heritage Site tentative list.

  • Derawar Fort

Derawar Fort is a large square fortress in Pakistan near Bahawalpur. The forty bastions of Derawar are visible for many miles in Cholistan Desert. The walls have a circumference of 1500 metres and stand up to thirty metres high.

The first fort on the site was built by Hindu Rajput, Rai Jajja Bhati of Jaisalmer. It remained in the hands of the royal family of Jaisalmer until captured and completely rebuilt by the nawabs of Bahawalpur in 1733. In 1747, the fort slipped from the hands of the Abbasis owing to Bahawal Khan's preoccupations at Shikarpur. Nawab Mubarak Khan took the stronghold back in 1804.

The nearby mosque was modelled after that in the Red Fort of Delhi. There is also a royal necropolis of the Abbasi family, which still owns the stronghold. The area is rich in archaeological artifacts associated with Ganweriwala, a vast but as-yet-unexcavated city of the Indus Valley Civilization.

  • Wazir Khan Mosque

The Wazir Khan Mosque (Punjabi/Urdu: مسجد وزیر خان Masjid Wazīr Khān) in Lahore,Pakistan, is famous for its extensive faience tile work. It has been described as 'a mole on the cheek of Lahore'. It was built in seven years, starting around 1634–1635 AD, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. It was built by Hakim Shaikh Ilm-ud-din Ansari, a native of Chiniot, who rose to be the court physician to Shah Jahan and a governor of Lahore. He was commonly known as Wazir Khan, a popular title bestowed upon him(the word Wazir means 'minister' in Urdu). The mosque is inside the Inner City and is easiest accessed from Delhi Gate.

  • Badshahi Mosque

The Badshahi Mosque (Punjabi, Urdu: بادشاہی مسجد) or the 'Royal Mosque' in Lahore, commissioned by the sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1671 and completed in 1673, is the second largest mosque in Pakistan and South Asia and the fifth largest mosque in the world. Epitomising the beauty, passion and grandeur of the Mughal era, it is Lahore's most famous landmark and a major tourist attraction.

Capable of accommodating 5,000 worshippers in its main prayer hall and a further 95,000 in its courtyard and porticoes, it remained the largest mosque in the world from 1673 to 1986 (a period of 313 years), when overtaken in size by the completion of the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. Today, it remains the second largest mosque in Pakistan and South Asia and the fifth largest mosque in the world after the Masjid al-Haram(Grand Mosque) of Mecca, the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet's Mosque) in Medina, the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca and the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad.

To appreciate its large size, the four minarets of the Badshahi Mosque are 13.9 ft (4.2 m) taller than those of the Taj Mahal and the main platform of the Taj Mahal can fit inside the 278,784 sq ft (25,899.9 m2) courtyard of the Badshahi Mosque, which is the largest mosque courtyard in the world.

In 1993, the Government of Pakistan recommended the inclusion of the Badshahi Mosque as a World Heritage Site in UNESCO's World Heritage List, where it has been included in Pakistan's Tentative List for possible nomination to the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

  • Hiran Minar

Hiran Minar; Urdu: ہرن مینار (Minaret of Antelope) is set in peaceful environs near Lahore in Sheikhupura, Pakistan. It was constructed by Emperor Jahangir as a monument to Mansraj, one of his pet deer.

The structure consists of a large, almost-square water tank with an octagonal pavilion in its center, built during the reign of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan; a causeway with its own gateway connects the pavilion with the mainland and a 100-foot (30 m)-high minar, or minaret.

At the center of each side of the tank, a brick ramp slopes down to the water, providing access for royal animals and wild game. The minar itself was built by Emperor Jahangir in 1606 to honor the memory of a pet hunting antelope named Mansraj.

Unique features of this particular complex are the antelope's grave and the distinctive water collection system. At each corner of the tank (approximately 750 by 895 feet (273 m) in size), is a small, square building and a subsurface water collection system which supplied the tank; only one of these water systems is extensively exposed today.

Another special feature of Hiran Minar is its location and environment: the top of the minar is perhaps the best place in the province of Punjab to get a feel for the broader landscape and its relationship to a Mughal site.

Looking north from the top of the minar, one can see a patch of forest which is similar to the scrub forest vegetation of Mughal times, while to the west are extensively-irrigated fields, a product of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but similar in size and appearance to the well-irrigated fields of the Mughal period.

  • Makli Hills

One of the largest necropolises in the world, with a diameter of approximately 8km. Makli Hill is supposed to be the burial place of some 125,000 local rulers, Sufi saints and others. It is located on the outskirts of Thatta, the capital of lower Sind until the seventeenth century, in what is the southeastern province of present-day Pakistan. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981 under the name, Historical Monuments of Thatta.

Thanks to Wikipedia and Flickr.