Plan International shuts down its operations in Pakistan

Plan Pakistan recently shut down its operations in Pakistan. We are sharing the ending note which was published on their official website.

“After more than 2 decades of working in Pakistan, Plan International has stopped operating in the country following orders from the Government of Pakistan.

Plan International’s work in Pakistan directly benefited 26 million people in over 29,000 communities.

Plan International is deeply saddened to announce that it has shut down operations in Pakistan after more than 2 decades of development work in the country, following the Government of Pakistan’s orders.

Through a letter issued on 2 October 2018, the Ministry of Interior instructed Plan International to wind up operations in the country within 60 days. The letter was in response to an appeal filed by the organisation in December 2017 after its registration application was turned down by the government. No reason was provided for the rejection.

We understand that several other international NGOs in Pakistan have also been asked to shut down their operations in the country.


We are extremely concerned about the impact this will have on communities, particularly hundreds of thousands of children, that Plan International supported through its development work. We are also very sad about the impact the decision has had on our own staff – who are all Pakistani nationals.

Plan International started operations in Pakistan in 1997 and was supporting over 1.6 million children across the country through its various programmes. At the time of closure, the organisation had over 25,000 sponsored children in the country and an operating budget of more than €8.3 million with 202 full-time staff.


During more than 2 decades of operations in Pakistan, Plan International invested €160 million in its work which directly benefitted 26 million people in over 29,000 communities.

Our key achievements in Pakistan have been:

  • Providing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene services. Because of our work in this area 9 million people now live in open defecation free communities.
  • Responding to the needs of children during disasters, including the establishment of 16,000 emergency camps.
  • Supporting 1.9 million children to get birth certificates.
  • Ensuring equal access to quality education for all children. This included rehabilitating 964 schools and training over 4,200 teachers.
  • Supporting young people to learn key skills and get good jobs. As part of this work we provided over 4,000 young people with vocational training and over 3,000 with microfinance resources.
  • Training nearly 2,000 community health workers as part of our programmes to improve children’s health.

The government directive says that Plan International can reapply for registration with a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) after 6 months. The details on the process and the time it will take are currently unavailable.

Plan international will continue to take a keen interest in Pakistan – particularly on development issues that affect marginalised populations. We remain optimistic about our return to the country one day, so we can restart our work with vulnerable children, especially girls. ”


SDPI’s Twenty-first Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) & 10th South Asia Economic Summit (SAES)


Poster Design FThe Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-first Sustainable Development Conference (SDC). The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is ‘Corridors of Knowledge for Peace and Development’. The Eleventh South Asia Economic Summit (SAES XI), which is being hosted by SDPI in Islamabad this year, will also coincide with the SDC. The joint mega-events will be held from 4 – 7 December 2018 in Islamabad, Pakistan.

10 top data science and analytics education programs of 2018

By Alison DeNisco Rayome

These universities and institutes offer the best programs for professionals interested in a career in big data and analytics.datata

There’s never been a better time to begin a career in data science: By 2020 the number of annual job openings for all data-savvy professionals in the US will increase to 2.7 million, IBM predicted. And those with data science skills can command an average salary of $139,840 in the US, according to Glassdoor. The massive growth in data has changed the way enterprises operate, and data science has become crucial for making smart business decisions.

But how do you gain this coveted skillset? Analytics Insight Magazine has named the 10 best analytics and data science institutes of 2018, naming the top programs with experienced global faculties that offer real-world experience to their students, according to a press release.

“The featured institutions offer a comprehensive curriculum in Big Data and Data Science, delivered by top-class faculties along with extraordinary industry exposure,” Ashish Sukhadeve, founder and editor-in-chief of Analytics Insight, said in the release. “We congratulate all the ten institutes for providing world-class analytical education and building impactful data professionals.”

Here are 10 analytics and data science institutes that are at the forefront of education in the field.

  1. Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy

Carnegie Mellon offers a Master’s program in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics (BIDA), and deploys the latest in analytical education, according to the release.

  1. Cornell University

Cornell offers a unique flagship program in Master of Professional Studies in Applied Statistics (M.P.S.). It also offers undergraduate degrees in statistics and data science, as well as M.S and Ph.D. degrees in these fields.

  1. Great Lakes Institute of Management

Great Lakes Institute of Management is a leading business school in India, which offers a one-year Post Graduate Program in Management (PGPM), a regular two-year Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM), along with weekend and executive programs in analytics, for professionals who want to gain these skills while working.

  1. International School of Engineering

The International School of Engineering (INSOFE) in India is an applied engineering school with a focus on data science and big data analytics education, according to the release. The school offers courses in big data analytics, teaching the latest machine learning and deep learning techniques to solve real-world problems.

  1. New York University Stern School of Business

The NYU Stern School offers a Masters of Science in Business Analytics degree that aims to help executives understand the role of data in decision-making. The program focuses on domain-specific areas such as analytics strategy, marketing, and optimization, according to the release.

  1. Penn State University

Penn State University offers Master in Data Analytics, preparing students to work in positions that require the design and maintenance of big data and data analytics systems with exposure to real-world datasets.

  1. Praxis Business School

India’s Praxis Business School offers a one-year post-graduate program in data science with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities aimed at equipping students with the tools, techniques, and skills to enter the analytics field, the release said.

  1. Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame

Notre Dame offers a Master of Science in Data Science program provides students with a deep dive into the mathematical and computational skills needed to take on complex data challenges.

  1. University of Chicago Graham School

The University of Chicago offers a Master of Science in Analytics (MScA) program to help students analyze complex datasets and and solve real-world problems, the release noted.

  1. University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco offers a Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS). This full-time, one-year program involves a rigorous curriculum focused on mathematical and computational techniques in emerging fields


Graduates urged to be bold in pursuing change



More than 400 graduates celebrated their success at the Aga Khan University’s convocation ceremony on Saturday. This year’s ceremony was especially significant as it marked the graduation of the University’s 15,000th student and 10,000th woman student.

In his convocation message on the 35th anniversary of the University’s founding, AKU Chancellor His Highness the Aga Khan spoke of the institution’s long-standing tradition of educating students who drive change and make a difference in people’s lives.
“I am confident you will demonstrate, like those who came before you, that an AKU education is preparation for a consequential and rewarding life in a diverse world,” he said.
The Chancellor added that the most significant social change is driven by people who share a common set of qualities. “Recognize that change requires agility, flexibility, and the capacity to absorb new facts and adjust theory to reality. Nothing will serve you so well in the future as a hunger for learning.”
This year, 441 students received degrees in different disciplines including nursing, midwifery, medicine

and education. This included 228 graduands from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, 160 from the Medical College, 44 from the Institute of Educational Development and 9 from the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.

A number of students won awards at the convocation. The 2018 Best Graduate Awards went to Anmol Minaz from the School of Nursing and Midwifery and Basim Ali from the Medical College.
The chief guest, Ms Roshaneh Zafar, Kashf Foundation founder and managing director, extended her congratulations to the graduating class and encouraged them to continue their quest for knowledge through the experience of serving others:
“You are graduating today, commit to yourself that you will use this knowledge to be a process of change for others. We may have finished our studies today but this process of learning can never end. So we must continue to use our knowledge to change the world that we are currently in. And that again must never stop.”
In his welcome address, AKU President Firoz Rasul urged graduates to be bold, to pursue excellence, to work to improve the lives of the disadvantaged, and to anticipate the course of change, in accordance with AKU’s founding vision.
“You can lead a life that contributes to the great tasks of overcoming disease, poverty, ignorance, and suffering,” he said. “A life that empowers others to pursue their dreams, and brings something new into this world. A life that calls upon all the knowledge you have acquired and all the skills you have developed, and challenges you to continue learning, growing, and discovering new capacities.”
President Rasul emphasized that AKU graduates are indeed a “powerful light” as described by the Chancellor 30 years ago.
Valedictorian Sarosh Madhani echoed these thoughts in his speech. “In our time here… we have seen people from all walks of life. People of different ages, genders, races, ethnicities who came to us battered by sickness and broken in spirit and we brought them back up on their feet. But most importantly, we gave them their right to hope: hope for a future full of health, sustainability and opportunity.
Courtesy: AKU.EDU

RSPN seeks qualified professionals for its SUCCESS programme

RSPN is seeking applications for the below mentioned positions. Eligible applicants should email their detailed resume at latest by the given deadline by mentioning the position title in the email subject line. Only shortlisted candidates will be called for an interview and/or written test. RSPN is an equal opportunity employer.


70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 4th edition of ‘Human Rights through Cinematography Film Festival’ kicks off in Islamabad


Islamabad, 25 November, 2018: Dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 4th edition of the human rights film festival, hosted by the European Union kicks off at the Pakistan National Council of Arts, (PNCA) in Islamabad.

Aiming at providing a window to the universally human rights challenges to the Pakistani people, the festival presents 27 award winning documentaries on human rights issues from around the world, such as freedom of expression, gender equality, access to justice, minority rights and death penalty.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain graced the event as the Chief Guest.

The opening ceremony featured the screening of film ‘Freedom for the Wolf,’ by Rupert Russel which investigates ‘illiberal democracies’. It explained how a new generation of elected leaders dismantling freedom and democracies in many parts of the world.

Followed by the screening, a debate on the issues of democracy and human rights was held among the young participants and experts including Member of National Assembly Maleeka Bokhari, academic and journalist Harris Khalique, and human rights activist Marvi Sirmed.

Running from 25 November to 10 December, the film festival is led by the European Union (EU) United Nations Pakistan and in partnership with a large number of member states of the EU, Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS), Pakistan National Council of Arts, (PNCA), the Centaurus Cineplex, and educational and cultural institutions.

The screenings will be held simultaneously in nine cities of Pakistan, including Gujrat, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, Charsada and Quetta. Screening venues include universities, embassies, Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services, and cultural spaces such as Goethe-Institute, PNCA, Pakistan Chowk Community Centre and OLOMOPOLO Media.

A large number of representatives from the diplomatic community, NGOs, media, United Nations and students from the universities attended the event and took part in the panel discussion.

The screenings are open to the public.


Courtesy: UNIC Islamabad

PM Imran Khan chairs meeting of the Economic Advisory Council in Islamabad

November 26, 2018 (Islamabad): Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired meeting of the Economic Advisory Council in Islamabad on Sunday.

IKAccording to a press release issued by the PM Office, the PM approved the policy recommendations for a Medium Term Structural Reform Framework of the Economy. Prime Minister Imran Khan also approved a Social Protection Framework to ensure the vulnerable segments of the society are protected. The comprehensive social protection framework aims at overcoming the challenges of poverty, health, stunted growth, education and enabling the youth realize their potential and extricate themselves out of generational poverty traps.

The meeting was briefed on the policy recommendations for Mobilizing Finance for Development, Enhancing Exports & Strengthening SMEs, Tax Reforms, Job Creation Impact of Major Policy Actions and Social Protection Priorities in Pakistan, in the light of the deliberated proposals of the working groups of the Economic Advisory Council.

The policy recommendations were finalized to focus on acceleration of underutilized areas including Agriculture, Housing, Small & Medium Enterprises in terms of incentives, reliance on export oriented and labour intensive growth, reversal of anti-export bias, enhanced system automation and use of technology, transparency in trade regime, facilitating importers, job creation through skill development, ease of doing business through business friendly environment while focusing on productivity and moving on technology sophistication.

Minister for Finance Mr. Asad Umar, Minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Adviser to PM Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Syed Saleem Raza, Former Governor State Bank, Dr. Naved Hamid, Professor at Lahore School of Economics, Mr. Sakib Sherani, Economist, Dr. Faisal Bari, Associate Professor at LUMS, Dr. Asad Zaman, VC Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Dr. Abid Qayyum Sulehri, ED Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Governor State Bank Mr. Tariq Bajwa, Secretary Finance Mr. Arif Ahmad Khan, Advisor/Executive Director General (IERU) Dr. Khaqan Hassan Najeeb and other senior officials were present during the meeting.