Archive for the ‘Pakistan’ Category

Images of new island born after earthquake in Pakistan

September 28, 2013

A second earthquake (6.8 magnitude) rocked south-west Pakistan today, in a region where at least 400 people died in a 7.7 magnitude quake earlier this week. The earlier quake gave birth to a new island off the coast of Gwadar.

Map locator

The epicentre of Tuesday’s quake, which hit close to the location of the latest seismic shock. BBC

From NASA’s Earth Observatory:

On September 24, 2013, a major strike-slip earthquake rattled western Pakistan, killing at least 350 people and leaving more than 100,000 homeless. The 7.7 magnitude quake struck the Baluchistan province of northwestern Pakistan. Amidst the destruction, a new island was created offshore in the Paddi Zirr (West Bay) near Gwadar, Pakistan.

On September 26, 2013, the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured the top image of that new island, which sits roughly one kilometer (0.6 miles) offshore. Likely a mud volcano, the island rose from the seafloor near Gwadar on September 24, shortly after the earthquake struck about 380 kilometers (230 miles) inland. The lower image, acquired by the Operational Land Imager on the Landsat 8 satellite, shows the same area on April 17, 2013.

Earthquake Births New Island off Pakistan

acquired September 26, 2013 – Earthquake Births New Island off Pakistan

Coast of Gwadar acquired April 17, 2013

The aerial photograph below from the National Institute of Oceanography provides a close-up of the landform, estimated to stretch 75 to 90 meters (250 to 300 feet) across and standing 15 to 20 meters (60 to 70 feet) above the water line. The surface is a mixture of mud, fine sand, and solid rock.

Aerial view of new island acquired September 26, 2013

“The island is really just a big pile of mud from the seafloor that got pushed up,” said Bill Barnhart, a geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey who studies earthquakes in Pakistan and Iran. “This area of the world seems to see so many of these features because the geology is correct for their formation. You need a shallow, buried layer of pressurized gas—methane, carbon dioxide, or something else—and fluids. When that layer becomes disturbed by seismic waves (like an earthquake), the gases and fluids become buoyant and rush to the surface, bringing the rock and mud with them.”

Inam asserted that the underground pressure in this case came from expanding natural gas. “The main driving force for the emergence of islands in this part of the world is highly pressurized methane gas, or gas hydrate. On the new island, there is a continuous escape of the highly flammable methane gas through a number of vents.”

Several of these islands have appeared off the 700-kilometer-long Makran coast in the past century noted Eric Fielding, a tectonics scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He explained that the Makran coast is where the Arabian tectonic plate is pushed northward and downward to go underneath the Eurasian continental plate. The thick layer of mud and rock on the Arabian Plate is scraped off and has formed the land in southwestern Pakistan, southeastern Iran, and the shallow underwater area offshore.

“The Makran coast is not very populated and any such event may easily go unnoticed, so satellite images are extremely important,” Inam said. “Mud volcanoes and islands are a natural hazard and threat to navigation.”

The life of this island is likely to be short. That underground pocket of gas will cool, compress, or escape over time, allowing the crust to collapse and settle back down. Waves, storms, and tidal action from the Arabian Sea will also wash away the loose sand, soft clay, and mud. Barnhart says such islands usually last a few months to a year before sinking back below the water line.

By the grace of Allah – a water-powered car!

August 8, 2012

Of course it’s August and it’s silly season but the bottom is reached when a Pakistani Minister of Religious Affairs and cabinet ministers endorse a water-powered car!!

New York Times:

…..  “By the grace of Allah, I have managed to make a formula that converts less voltage into more energy,” the professed inventor, Agha Waqar Ahmad, said in a telephone interview. “This invention will solve our country’s energy crisis and provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of people.” …… 

Federal ministers lauded Mr. Ahmad and his vehicle, sometimes at cabinet meetings. The stand-in minister for religious affairs, Khursheed Shah, appeared on television with him and took a ride in his small Suzuki rental, which was hooked up to a contraption that Mr. Ahmad described as a “water kit.” Respected talk show hosts suggested he should get state financing and protection. …..

The country’s most famous scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan — revered inside Pakistan as the father of the country’s nuclear weapons program and reviled elsewhere as a notorious figure in the international nuclear black market — gave it his imprimatur, too. “I have investigated the matter, and there is no fraud involved,” he told Hamid Mir, a popular television journalist, during a recent broadcast that sealed Mr. Ahmad’s celebrity.

The quest to harness chemical energy from water is a holy grail of science, offering the tantalizing promise of a world free from dependence on oil. Groups in other countries, including Japan, the United States and Sri Lanka, have previously made similar claims. They have been largely ignored. Not so with Mr. Ahmad, even if he is an unlikely scientific prodigy. Forty years old and a father of five, he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1990 from a small technical college in Khairpur, in southern Sindh Province, he said in the interview. For most of his career he worked in a local police department. He is currently unemployed.

Most of the Pakistani media went ape. But Dawn at least kept its cool and represented the voice of sanity:

TALK-SHOW hosts feted it. Politicians rode in it. Cabinet ministers discussed it. Well-known scientists backed it. Those of a particularly conspiratorial bent called for him to be provided security against a threatened oil industry. While a lone voice calling foul was barely given a chance to be heard, Agha Waqar Ahmad and his ‘water car’ were being hailed as the invention that would free the world from the tyranny of fossil-fuel dependence and transform Pakistan’s image around the globe. As was bound to happen eventually, his scientifically impossible claim, which defies the basic laws of physics, is now being exposed as gobsmacked scientists begin to write and speak about it. A technical examination of the water kit, planned at the highest levels of government, has been delayed indefinitely. Perhaps the best proof has come from the man’s own bumbling attempts to defend his device.

What won’t change as quickly are the unfortunate truths this episode has exposed about Pakistani society. For one, it highlighted again how easily the media here buys into seemingly exciting, but always improbable, news stories without any background research or inquiries. Also left looking more ridiculous than Mr Ahmad are the politicians, ministers and especially scientists who jumped on the bandwagon and hailed the car as a giant leap for Pakistan, showcasing in the process the national love of shortcuts and easy glory and the lack of quality education that makes even our leading public figures susceptible to such bogus claims. Meanwhile, no real work, scientific, managerial, technical or otherwise, is being done to actually address the energy crisis. And the fact that at the same time the breakthrough science of an actual national hero — the Nobel-prize-winning Dr Abdus Salam — is being erased from our official history is a telling comment on Pakistan’s commitment to knowledge.

Karachi University decides that plagiarism is not misconduct – drops charges

May 8, 2012

It does seem that plagiarism is not considered a very serious matter at Universities in Pakistan.

Karachi University has found a novel way to drop plagiarism charges against 4 academics against whom plagiarism charges were established by an independent committee. They charged the academics with misconduct, took up the matter formally at a Syndicate meeting and then dismissed their own charges since misconduct does not apparently include plagiarism under the University Act!

Karachi University was founded in 1951 and is considered one of the top 3 universities in Pakistan.


When plagiarism is not plagiarism: University of Peshawar allows 19% plagiarism to protect plagiarising Vice Chancellor

August 26, 2011

When plagiarism is not plagiarism

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Peshawar,  Dr Azmat Hayat Khan was found guilty of plagiarism by a three-member committee of the Higher Education Commission that was constituted to probe the matter. The Higher Education Commission had submitted its report to the Governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa who is also the Chancellor of the university.

For apparently political reasons, no action has so far been taken against the Vice Chancellor. Instead the University went on the attack. First they attacked the complainant, Mohammad Zubair, an assistant professor at the UoP Law College. They  suspended him and have now dismissed him and are going through a paper exercise to strip him of his law degree. Now they have attacked the Higher Education Commission for finding their beloved Vice Chancellor guilty. The defence of the Vice Chancellor is ingenious. First they have objected to the procedures followed by the Commission in not interrogating the Vice Chancellor. Since they felt this argument was probably a little weak they then redefined plagiarism so that the Vice Chancellor’s plagiarism was no longer plagiarism!!

The University has effectively created a Cheaters Charter. It has reinvented and redefined a plagiarism “threshold” of allowable copying as being 19% for scholarly articles and 25% for theses. And since – they claim – the Vice Chancellor only cheated to the extent of copying 18% of his book from others – what he did was not plagiarism!!

From being a case of the Vice Chancellor’s plagiarism this has now escalated to become a case of blatant corruption at the highest levels of the University and not excluding the Chancellor – who is of course merely taking a political position as the Governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The ethical standards of the University of Peshawar are beginning to stink.

Pakistan Today reports:

The University of Peshawar issued a clarification on a news item pertaining to plagiarism stating certain elements from a political group were involved. …. 

The HEC thus already had jumped to conclusions without inquiring into the matter which shows a partial approach and mala fide intentions. This in fact was the only inquiry in history in which the author under investigation was not called before the committee. The plagiarism policy of HEC point number eight section“E“ clearly reads that the author under investigation must be provided opportunity to justify the originality of their concepts. …..

The HEC Plagiarism policy states plagiarism cases be dealt by respective universities and the threshold is setup by the concerned University in light of the Quality Assurance guidelines of HEC. The percentage of allowed threshold decided by meeting of the Advance Studies and Research Board of University of Peshawar in light of HEC Quality Assurance guidelines, in its meeting held on 25/11/2009 was 19% allowed matching (threshold) for published research articles and 25% for thesis.
The plagiarism allegations against the Vice Chancellor were looked in HEC recommended software and the result was shown to be 18%. This is the same software which is being used all over the country and by HEC. The same document was checked manually and the matching percentage of Kulwant Kaur Book “Pak Afghan relations” to that of Dr Azmat Hayat Khan book was 17%.  …….

The press release stated the case was in court and an unbiased decision would be issued because the author would get a chance to explain his point of view and the facts of the matter. It said the University of Peshawar considered the HEC’s recommendation of a penalty and the press conference organized by them as contempt of court (against PHC decision) and will take the case to legal corners. It claims that the victimizing campaign is spear-headed by Zubair Mehsud. The press release denied Zubair was being targeted, as claimed by a newsreport, for raising his voice against the VC.
The press release said ex-Law College faculty member Zubair had been terminated for engaging in political activities against the VC’s directives and the used of defamatory language when issued show cause notice to explain his position on the matter.

But the demands on the Governor to replace the tainted Vice Chancellor are continuing to grow.

University of Peshawar turns vindictive against plagiarism complainant

August 26, 2011

An earlier post reported that the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Peshawar,  Dr Azmat Hayat Khan had been found guilty of plagiarism by a three-member committee of the Higher Education Commission that was constituted to probe the matter. The complainant, Mohammad Zubair, an assistant professor at the UoP Law College was suspended by the University. Now Noor Aftab at The News reports that the actions against Zubair have turned nasty and the University is trying to cancel his degree in retaliation:

A teacher who raised voice against alleged plagiarism by the Vice Chancellor of University of Peshawar now himself faces hard times , as somewhat controversial internal Fact Finding Inquiry Committee, constituted to probe authenticity of his own LLM degree, has recommended cancelling his degree. ….

….  Assistant Professor Muhammad Zubair said he approached HEC on March 10 and Governor House on March 16 this year to raise issue of plagiarism by the University of Peshawar vice chancellor. “The university administration got infuriated over it and an inquiry was launched on March 17 and I was suspended on March 20 to mute my voice against illegal act of the University of Peshawar vice chancellor”, he said.

Some small hope for Zubair lies in that the Civil Society has started a movement against the plagiarism of the Vice Chancellor Dr Azmat Hayat Khan, reports Pakistan Today.

After the alleged involvement of University of Peshawar (UoP) Vice Chancellor Azmat Hayat Khan in plagiarism, the Joint Action Committee of Civil Society against Plagiarism on Thursday announced to launch ‘Save Peshawar University’ movement to stop any such future incidents. Idrees Kamal, Dr Syed Alam Mehsood and office bearers of other civil societies told a press conference that plagiarism was not only an academic dishonesty but it also challenged the moral norms of the society. …

The committee said that ‘zero tolerance for plagiarism’ was the slogan often raised on various literary platforms. The Supreme Court chief justice termed literary plagiarism as a legally punishable crime, it added. 
Idrees Kamal and Dr Syed Alam Mehsood expressed their disapproval of the relevant authorities’ negligence in the matter. “Azmat Hayat (Khan) is still enjoying the office and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor is a silent spectator”, they said, adding that if the vice chancellor was allowed to continue as head of UoP it would be a disgrace and the university might get blacklisted internationally.

But I am very pessimistic about  Zubair’s prospects. He is fighting a losing battle against a powerful establishment and he will likely have his law degree cancelled. Whether civil society in Pakistan can or will mobilise itself sufficiently to make any difference, either in protecting him or in having any sanctions levied against the plagiarising Vice Chancellor, is is very doubtful. Zubair does seem to have some support in society and at least in one newspaper but the blogosphere is probably not sufficiently developed or influential in Pakistan to have much impact.

Pakistan Navy photoshop fail

March 9, 2011

Advertising agencies are supposedly very creative but much of their output is little more than plagiarism.

The Indian and Pakistani Armed Forces share a common past before 1947 but are the most intense rivals and virtually paranoid about each other. But it seems that the Pakistani Navy (or their advertising agency Orient Advertising) is a little short of stock photographs and imagination. Photo-shopping provides a cheap alternative.

Reminiscent of the Chinese publicity film about their new generation fighter aircraft which had spliced in images from “Top Gun”!

In an embarrassing goof-up, an advertisement issued by the Pakistan navy on Tuesday for a multinational exercise prominently featured images of Indian Navy warships even though India is not among the participating countries.

The full-page advertisement for the Aman-11 exercise in the Arabian Sea, which appeared in The Nation and Nawa-e-Waqt newspapers, featured photographs of Indian Navy’s Delhi, Godavari and Talwar-class warships. The insert also featured images of US warships under the slogan: “Together for peace” .

Warships, aircraft, Special Forces and representatives from 39 countries are participating in the exercises for fostering peace in the region and enhancing cooperation to counter maritime threats like piracy.

Within hours of the advertisement being posted on websites of newspapers, blogger Shahid Saeed posted the original image of American and Indian warships from the Malabar 2010 exercise that was used in the advertisement . There was no official word from the Pakistan Navy.

The Advertisement (with 2 ships removed, one helicopter removed and one ship added)

Photoshopped advertisement in The Nation

The original picture from the Indo-US Naval Exercise, Malabar 2010:

Indo-US Naval Exercise Malabar 2010

Shahid Saeed has another example of an incompetently photo-shopped image of UN envoy Ellen Margrethe Løj apparently pinning UN Medal to a Pakistan Army Doctor during a Special Award Ceremony held for Pakistani UN Peace Keeping Mission serving at Minrovia, Liberia. (23-2-2011), but which is remarkably careless with the bodies and limbs of people in the background.

%d bloggers like this: