Sunday, August 14, 2011

Crossing a milestone

Pakistan crossed another milestone on Thursday when it successfully launched, with Chinese help, its first communications satellite on board China’s Satellite Launch Vehicle from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province, thus joining those nations who own and operate communications satellites. The satellite called PAKSAT-1R, having a design life of 15 years, will provide TV broadcasting, Internet and data communications services across South and Central Asia, Far East, Eastern Europe and East Africa, besides extending their range to the entire Pakistan. Pakistan feels beholden to China for extending help, without any strings, in yet another coveted field. Pakistani engineers have been closely associated with their Chinese counterparts in the execution of this project to acquire the required expertise. Some of the project’s features developed at SUPERCO were also integrated into PAKSAT-1R.

This historic achievement made on a historic occasion, the anniversary of the first session of the Constituent Assembly in 1947, would, one hopes, regenerate the feeling that all is not lost, even among that section of society that is badly affected by the buffeting array of existentialist problems. Pakistan also has had the singular honour of producing the atomic bomb in the face of the strictest possible worldwide sanctions, and to silence those malevolent voices who fear that our nuclear arsenal could be snatched by militant Muslim groups, the Prime Minister at a National Assembly session, emphatically said once again, “I assure you that our nuclear programme is in safe hands and no covetous eye can be cast on it, as our armed forces are capable of protecting our nuclear assets and frontiers.” Not only that. He expressed his determination to boost the programme as well.
If the nation can take time off the pressing issues it faces and look at such a positive record of achievements, it would certainly be in a mood to celebrate, on two counts: one for the achievements themselves and the other for having a sincere friend like China, which has stood us in good stead in good times and bad. Listing its assistance would not be so easy, considering not only the different spheres in which it has been extended, but also the lasting benefit the projects executed with its help carry for the progress of the country and its security and defence needs. In every field, the Chinese ungrudgingly offered their know-how to enable us to use it on our own. Would that our rulers grasp the sterling value of strengthening our bonds with Beijing and getting away from the lure of the West!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

From wooden skis to Pakistan's 1st Winter Olympian - (Washington Post)

These days, Abbas uses Atomic skis and equipment donated to him through his country's ski federation, along with the Pakistan Air Force, in which Abbas is currently enlisted, his primary duty being to ski. Abbas waxes and tunes his own skis, a job the top competitors typically hire a technician to do.

His coach arranges the training, does the cooking and cleaning and serves as an interpreter for Abbas, who is still working on his English. It's all so Abbas can focus solely on his skiing.

Training to compete with the best in the world has been challenging, even under Farooq's guidance. At 17, Abbas spent 15 days in Japan, learning the technique of the slalom from a specialist.

Hardly enough time.

With no travel budget, Abbas only attended a handful of small events each year. He would go to a military-and-police giant slalom race in Switzerland, or an entry-league FIS competition in Iran.

His results were unspectacular. He needed more training.

So, Farooq rounded up more funds, enough to send his star pupil, along with seven other kids, to Austria in 2009 to work with some professional coaches. It was an intensive six-week training session, a crash course in the slalom.

With proper training, Abbas began to make great strides. He even finished eighth in a lower-tier race in Lebanon last March, his only top-10 finish at a FIS-sanctioned competition.
Read More at Washington Post


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