Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Woman Pilot of Pakistan Air Force Perishes in Air Crash

It was a sad day today indeed for all Pakistanis as a brave and daring daughter of the soil perished in an air crash in a routine training mission near kacha area, Gurjat close to Mianwali, Tuesday 24 November today.

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Flying Officer Marium Mukhtiar thus became the first female pilot to have perished in line of her duty and joins many of her brothers that have sacrificed their lives for the defence of their country. 

Reportedly, Flying Officer Marium Mukhtiar was co-piloting a PAF FT-7PG flown by Squadron Leader Saqib Abbasi when it developed a technical fault. Both pilots ejected the aircraft before it crashed and succumbed severe injuries. They were evacuated nearby military hospital, where Flying Officer Marium Mukhtiar succumbed to her injuries. 

Marium always wanted to do something different and was inspired by the pomp and awe of the life of the fighter pilots. Stepping into the cockpit of a fighter jest was thus her challenge to accomplish. And she entered the window of opportunity when Pakistan Air Force opened its doors to the daughters of the country.

Although her mother had been concerned about her decision to join the force, she went ahead with her dream and became one of the few female pilots in Pakistan Air Force.

Just 24 years of age, she was hoping to challenge the enemy one day in a dog fight. But her life was too short for her dreams of catching an enemy mid air. 

Watch a video by BBC in which Marium appears and shares her dreams and aspirations:

Flying Officer Marium Mukhtiar shaheed - November 24, 2015
Posted by PAF Falcons Shop on Tuesday, November 24, 2015
More will be added as more is known about Marium Mukhtiar.

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Beware of Magnesium Deficiency

Nature has designed and build our bodies with a complex operating system. Unless the input to the operating system are correct, the system may malfunction - sometimes with very adverse results. We there must be cognizant of maintaining levels of various minerals and other required healthy substances.

While consuming various supplements, we generally consume calcium for strengthening bones and other deficiencies - but a recent research shows that magnesium deficiency is more pronounced in patients suffering from osteoporosis or the brittling of bones rather than calcium deficiency as commonly believed.

In fact doctors and nutrients warn that over 90% people are magnesium deficient and try to cure their deficiency symptoms with calcium rather than the actual deficient magnesium supplements or even adding diets rich in magnesium.

Those suffering from following ailments should be concerned about their magnesium deficiency and get a detailed blood test to ascertain the truth behind their ailments.

Following are some of the indicators and signs of magnesium deficiency:Muscle spasms and cramps

  • Arteries calcification - linked with heart diseases and heart attack
  • High blood pressure / Hypertension - low magnesium level leads to blood pressure and hypertension
  • Anxiety and depression - magnesium deficiency can lead to neuron damage and cell death
  • Hormone problems - pregnant women have lower magnesium level as estrogen and progesterone levels become higher. That is the reason why pregnant women suffer from cramps in the legs and also in the second half of their menstrual cycle when estrogen and progesterone are also higher and magnesium level is lower. 
  • Sleep problems  - Magnesium can also affect the good night sleep
  • Low energy - magnesium deficiency can lead to lack of desire, low energy, fatigue and other problems
  • Deficiencies of other minerals - Magnesium deficiency can inhibit or slow down proper use of Vitamin K and D, potassium, calcium and many other nutrients
So what to do? Well doctors and nutrients stress on maintaining health level of magnesium in the body and if one or more above mention symptoms are notices, specially low energy and fatigue and sleepless nights, it is time to get a magnesium level check up. And if there is a magnesium deficiency, use supplement and consume foods that are rich in magnesium, like:
  • Banana
  • Spinach
  • Black beans
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Almonds
  • Figs
  • Avocado
  • Chard
  • Dark chocolate
Don't delay to check your magnesium level - you have been warned!!

Source: My Healthy Lifestyle
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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Tracey Curtis's biplane touches down in Pakistan


Pakistan's Arabian Sea coastline has always been a touchdown must for many aviation expeditions and record breaking flights. Lat Tuesday, a Canadian female aviator Tracey Curtis touched down in Karachi in a 1942 Boeing Stearman bi-plane 'Spirit of Artemis.'

Tracey Curtis' journey in her bi-plane is a sort of dedication and paying homage to Amy Johnson, the pioneering British aviator, and emulate Johnson’s epic solo flight from Britain to Australia in 1930 by following Johnson’s route to relive her dramatic adventures.

The 53-year-old Miss Curtis embarked upon a 13,000-mile solo flight in a vintage open-cockpit biplane on October 1, 2015. She was received on the Quaid-e-Azam International airport by Air Marshal Salman Ahsan Bukhari of Pakistan Air Force (Pictured above), John A Tucknott, British deputy high commissioner of Pakistan and Engro chairperson Hussain Dawood.

Curtis’ flight is expected to take 12 to14 weeks with her arrival in Sydney in early 2016. Her flight from Farnborough, England, has so far touched down destinations across Europe and the Mediterranean to Jordan, over the Arabian Desert, across the Gulf of Oman to Pakistan. Continuing her journey to India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, she will finally cross the Timor Sea to Australia.

Tracy with Pakistan Air Force officer  Squadron Leader Saira Batool at Gwader airport (Photo APP)

Earlier, Tracey Curtis touched down at Gwader seaport of Pakistan on Monday. On her arrival she was received by Squadron Leader Saira Batool, a lady pilot of Pakistan Air Force. Later Tracy endorsed her remarks on her Facebook: "Overwhelming reception in ‪Gwadar. Unbelievable welcome by C-47 and honoured to meet Air Force pilot Saira and now high on cliffs overlooking the Arabian Sea. Blown away by it all."

During her short stay in Karachi, Curtis will visit Dawood Public School and interact with more than 2,000 female students. The event is being organised by Engro Corporation, Habib Bank Limited and the Dawood Foundation.

Welcoming Tracy Curtis, John A Tucknott, British deputy high commissioner of Pakistan, said that he was delighted to welcome Curtis to Pakistan. “I have been living in Pakistan for the last two years, and I find it to be one of the most colourful and culturally rich nations.”

Sources |Express Tribune-17 November|Express Tribune-18 November

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A lone Georgian woman's travelogue of one of most dangerous countries on earth: Pakistan

Mail Online is one of my favourite reading sites on Internet and I share many news and posts in my blogs. Today while going through some of the older posts, I stopped in my tracks about a post Katie Amey who wrote about the travel adventure of a lone 29 years old Georgian photographer who chose to visit Pakistan despite caution and apprehensions of her family and friends.

The story is about Teo Jioshvili, from Tbilisi in Georgia, who travelled to the perilous country of Pakistan ALONE in 2014 and visited the historic city of Lahore - often labeled as the showcase of Mogul architecture.
 Children in particular fascinated Jioshvili - such as this street girl
Children going to school

The intrepid traveller, who aspires to be a travel photographer, first got the idea to visit after a trip to Iran. 'When I was in Iran, I met amazing people from Australia who crossed Pakistan - and one of my Georgian traveller friends had also travelled there,' she tells Mail Online Travel. 'Their stories inspired me.'
A street painter

Her travel experience are both interesting and much revealing about the hospitality and warmth of the people of Lahore and of a country where travellers are cautioned not to visit by their governments. Although the country is plagued by the menace of terrorism, it does not mean that Taliban or the terrorists roam in the cities of Pakistan with weapons slung on their shoulder and killing every foreigner in sight. Perhaps it was for this misconception that Miss Jioshvili was warned of her Pakistan adventure.

But she has fond memories of her visit to Pakistan.

'I was often stopped on the streets and in Bazaars someone would ask me to take a picture of him or her with me,' she says. If ever any men asked to take a photo with her, they were always extremely respectful. Infact if there was another male (another traveler or guide) with me, they would ask him for the permission to take a photo with me. I think that was a really beautiful sign of appreciation.' Most of the time, people would just give me an apple or an orange. That was just very sweet.' 
Jioshvili aith a group of young Pakistanis

She was taken to a wedding party on her very first night in Lahore by a German tourist staying in her hotel. The wedding was 'wedding party was just an incredible experience with its music, traditions, smiling and curious faces, women in colourful dresses. I am just very happy that I said "yes" to that girl,' says she. 

The eyes captivated Jioshvili

 Jioshvili enjoyed photographing the women and children of the city - in particular, their eyes - something that is very captivating and adorable.
 Jioshvili with her German friend and the groom
The bride's colourful bridal dress with Hina on her hands

She admired the architecture of Lahore, specially the Badshahi Mosque (The Royal Masjid) which according her is just one of the most impressive heritage sites that I've ever visited.
 An exotic wall of Lahore Fort with miniature paintings
Jioshvili with a children in the courtyard of the Badshahi Mosque, Lahore

Summing up her visit to Lahore, Jioshvili says: 'I did not expect that it would be so easy to get around Lahore. People were so generous and friendly that I was really impressed. Lahore is a huge city, but I was never lost and I always knew if I got lost that someone would definitely help me, which is a very important feeling especially when you are a lone female traveller.
Break time for a shopkeeper selling spices

Have you ever been to Lahore? Do share your expereinces - and if not, do visit it whenever you intend visiting South East Asia, for Lahore and its hearty and hospitable will always reside in your memory forever.

Read the complete post at Daily Mail
To see more of Teo's pictures visit www.teospics.com
Read more about Lahore at Pakistanpaedia

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Incredible hoteling - the Japanese way

Beaten in the WW-II, the Japanese nation rose from the devastation caused by the A-bombs and crippled economy and a stigma of defeat - something the Japanese pride could never swallow with ease. They thus came up with ideas with extreme motivation and hard work that stunned the world.

Today, the Japanese have a thriving economy, booming business and exports all over the world. Name anything from a needle to ships and trains, you will find Made in Japan stamped on world's leading merchandise.

Hoteling is not only a thriving business but an art too. It requires extreme imagination, innovation and aesthetic sense - dovetailed with technology and awareness.  And when it comes to innovation and imagination, no other nation can beat the Japanese.

I came across a video today on Facebook and am sharing this for the information of my readers. The video shows an extremely novel approach for display of food right next to your seat on a conveyer belt - continuously moving and you may pick up anything that you wish to eat. Not only that, you can order via a digital display and the ordered food is delivered right on your table - without any help of a waiter or a blonde waitress you may have been eagerly looking forward to coming and delivering your order to you.

Watch the video below as I have no more words to describe this innovative delivery approach:

Japanese Restaurant Its Incredible........
Posted by Malik Tajamul Hayat Khan

Amazing - isn't it? Next time you are in Japan, do visit this place and enjoy this novel approach to hoteling - the Japanese way..

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Zurich Film Festival - Our last destination in Switzerland

Our last destination in Zurich was the Zurich Film Festival - the annual film festival is held at the end of September and spills over to October. It attracts thousands of tourists from around the world, specially those already visiting Zurich - and we were one of them in 2014.

Festival centre at Sechseläutenplatz, Zürich

Young tourists and up-and-coming heroes of tomorrow posing

The festival focuses on the work of young up-and-coming filmmakers from around the world to promote their work. However, particular emphasis is placed on the discovery of new talent from the German-speaking world as German is widely spoken in Switzerland.

The Zurich Film Festival is held under the auspices of Spoundation Motion Picture GmbH in cooperation with local sponsor and international distributors and producers. The idea to create an international film festival was the brainchild of Karl Spoerri, who founded the festival together with Nadja Schildknecht and Antoine Monot Jr.. Karl Spoerri (Artistic and Strategic Director) and Nadja Schildknecht (Managing Director) are the festival’s current Co-Directors.

Each evening, the ‘Gala Premier’ section celebrates highly anticipated film premieres by established filmmakers in the presence of cast and crew. Both feature films and large-scale documentaries are presented in this section. The films are screened as world, European, German-language or Swiss premieres.

Poster showing some of the films being shown in the festival

Golden Eye Award is the main attraction of the festival - an award that also comes with 25 000 CHF cash prize (International Feature / Documentary Film) resp. a 20'000 CHF cash prize (Focus). The public chooses its favourite film from all of the competition entries by giving votes to every film. The best voted film receives the festival's Audience Award.

 The state of parking lots being displayed for the ease of drivers finding a parking lot
Zurich Film Festival night at the Zurich Opera House

Each year the Zurich Opera House wars a cloak of brightly coloured lights, dominated by the purples, to host the film festival. When we reached the arena, the guests were arriving amid big applause by the crowd gathered around the welcome shelter.

 Guests being received by Nadja Schildknecht, managing director of ZFF
 Nadja Schildknecht, managing director of ZFF and Swiss entrepreneur 
 Actors posing in front of the ZFF welcome board

The Golden Eye Award for 2015 was presented to the following films in the categories as shown below (Source):

  • International Feature Film Competition: UNA NOCHE SIN LUNA by Germán Tejeira (Uruguay)
  • International Documentary Film Competition: TOTO AND HIS SISTERS by Alexander Nanau (Romania)
  • Focus: Switzerland, Germany, Austria: CHILDREN OF THE ARCTIC by Nick Brandestini (Switzerland)
  • Critic’s Choice Award: SVENSKJÄVEL by Ronnie Sandahl (Sweden)
  • Audience Award: ZU ENDE LEBEN by Rebecca Panian (Switzerland)
  • Audience Award for Children’s Film: QUATSCH UND DIE NASENBÄRBANDE by Veit Helmer (Germany)
  • Newly introduced Emerging Swiss Talent Award: Bruno Deville’s BOUBOULE (Switzerland)
The day at Zurich was really lovable and enjoying as we roamed the main streets of the city centre, spent a beautiful evening by the Lake Zurich and the day culminating at the Zurich Film Festival - a hectic day if I may say so. And definitely it was and we were dead tired by the time we finally settled for a few scoops of Swiss novelty: The Movenpick ice cream:

Thus our Swiss tour finally ended with the delicious Swiss ice cream and memories that would always remind us of being there - though for one day but carrying a nostalgia that keeps reminding of Switzerland till date.

Tomorrow we would be leaving for Italy's Milan and Pisa. But there was much more enroute to write on. I will describe the following events in my subsequent posts.

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Find us on Facebook

Last year I got a phone call from London, England - the person on the other end bombarded a lot of questions that only someone who knew me in my teens could ask. I tried to recall my memories of some four decades and even old and was still engrossed in guessing when the caller introduced him to me: Zahid Masood Khan, a class fellow of mine since 1966-971. He found me out from Facebook - that was the start of many more pleasant encounters.

And then a chain of events started. A few days back I got a call from another classmate Tahir Aslam from Lahore, followed by Khaleeq from Saudi Arabia and the chain kept on connecting. And then I found a friend tariq Hashmi in Holland, Rashid Mahmud and Dilawar in Lahore. 
Meeting my friend Tariq Hashmi (second from left) in Groningen, Holland 2014 - flanked by our sons

And as if that was not all - I also got connected to a classmate working for Habib Bank in Bangladesh. It was really amazing as the chain is still connecting. I met all those in Pakistan recently as the came to my home in Islamabad and I went to Lahore to meet some. Not only that I went to Holland to meet my friend Tariq Hashmi and suddenly my memories and nostalgia brought me back my yesterdays - once more.

But that is not all still. Another surprise was yet to come till a few days earlier. A few years back while in Islamabad with my younger son, I passed through F-6/4 sector, a place where we lived from 1966-1971. Though we actually lived in Lahore, we visited our father in our vacations, who was then heading the Interpol Pakistan. I had some vivid memories of the place, so I decided to go to the house where we once spent our vacation.

In 1966, the area where we lived was fresh, clean and well maintained. The smell of fresh paint could still be felt when we occupied our flat 27/7 in 1966. But the landscape had changed and did not not present a healthy look with unkempt hedges and long grown grass. But for me its was still a place where I had spent earlier part of my teen. I asked my son to take a photo of me while I stood in front of the flat 27/7 (above).

I never knew someone else living so close to us would be watching this photo. I shared this photo too on Facebook and specially on page My Home Islamabad. Many people liked and commented on the photo - and then someone asked me if I knew her father. Well I never thought that someone lived so close to us and I replied: I wish I could - we did not have Facebook then. She liked my remark and that was all.

But then another comment came - this time naming her father: Umar Daraz Khan. And that was a bullhit. Yes I knew Uncle Umar daraz Khan, we called Uncle UD Khan, who lived on the upper story of oflat. And I instantly replied and was reconnected to my past. Children of Uncle UD and we were of the same age and had a wonderful childhood/teenage. The next comment was a bit sad as I was told that her parents and only brother of our age have since boarded their heavenly flights. 

Much that I wanted to meet my father's friends, but that four decades is a lot of time and obviously my father and his friends were in their 50s at that time and living beyond 90 is a lesser of all the probabilities. But finding their children was really amazing and a wonderful coincidence. Suddenly my mind was floating in Islamabad and the street where I lived (I wonder if you have heard this song or not - from once classic My Fair Lady).

This is the wonder magic of Facebook - do you have any such coincidences?

Read more:
School days friends - Lost and Found

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

An evening by Lake Zürich

Continuing from my last post, it was around 5:21 PM, as can be seen from the big watch on the Zürich Bahnhofstrasse (below) that we realised that we have more places still to see. So we looked back at the Bahnhofstrasse for the last time and went to collect our car while the sunlight started to turn pale.

5:21 PM - time to say goodbye to c 
 The pale sunlight falling on buildings of Bahnhofstrasse 

We then drove through the streets of Zurich in fading sunlight watching people and buildings and sculptures by the roadsides, as can be seen in the following photos:

 Would you like to have this number for your car? - Well I would !!

And then it was the Lake Zürich - our second last place of interest. It was almost evening and the sun was gone already when we reached the lake.

There was nothing moving as all boats were already strapped and covered, except the many swans swimming and waiting for the tourists and visitors to feed them.

Lake Zürich, or Zürichsee as is it locally called, extends southeast of the city of Zürich. As per Wikipedia, Lake Zürich is formed by the Linth river, which rises in the glaciers of the Glarus Alps and was diverted by the Escher canal (completed in 1811) into Lake Walen from where its waters are carried to the east end of Lake Zürich by means of the Linth canal (completed in 1816). The waters of the Lake of Zürich flow out of the lake at its north-west end, passing through the city of Zürich; however, the outflow is then called the Limmat. The culminating point of the lake's drainage basin is the Tödi at 3,614 metres above sea level.

Perhaps we were on the wrong side as the massive fountain with more than half a dozen nozzles throwing away massive wall of Lake Zurich water in the air. We could see it from the 'wrong side' of the lake but it looked impressive even from our side.

The Lake Zurich has a coastal length of 87.60 km, with its deepest point 143.00 m (469 ft.) between Herrliberg and Oberrieden, while  Stäfa and Richterswil are at its widest span of 3.85 km.

The Fraumünster church seen with on the right with its tall conical tower
 My son feeding the swans while my wife and younger son watch

 My younger son too had a photo of his taken while feeding the swans

The water of Lake Zurich is extremely good quality and it is supplied to its surrounding region with the majority of its drinking water flowing from taps and fountains.


Lake Zürich's water is very clean and reaches, during summer, temperatures well beyond 20 °C (68 °F). Swimming in the public baths and beaches is very popular. Historically, the best weather for swimming has been late August, with August 28 typically having the nicest weather at around 17:30h. The lake's water is purified and fed into Zürich's water system; it is potable.


We saw the huge steamer slowly moving past us and docking a little away from us. My sons went to see if there was another trip planned - but we were too late for that as the last trip had just finished in front of us and a missed opportunity to listen to the splashes of Lake Zürich water against the steamer while being on board.

My son with Grossmünster church with its two typical twin towers in the center of the photo

The Grossmünster or “Great Minister” or “Great Cathedral” was constructed around 1100 and inaugurated around 1220. It is built on the banks of the Limmat River and it is distinguished by its twin towers, as seen in the photo above.

The Limmat River commences at the outfall of Lake Zurich, in the centre of the city of Zurich. From Zurich it flows in a northwesterly direction, after 35 km reaching the river Aare. 

My son standing on the bridge over Limmat River with Grossmünster church (left) and a tram (right) in the background

So while I and my wife waited at a bench a little away from the bridge, my sons got a chance to move around, have a few snaps before coming back to us and heading for our third and last destination in Zürich.

While my sons were away, I took a couple of photographs of my wife with my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone camera with Lake Zürich and city skyline in the background.

Although sitting there by the Lake Zürich and enjoy the coolness in the air due to cold water of the lake, and we could have sat there for hours but we had one last destination of Zürich waiting for us - the final days of the Zürich Film Festival. 

So hurried to the venue to have glimpse of some of the actors and actresses, the film previews and at the end the most delicious ice cream flavours of Movenpick rich with indigenous and pure Swiss milk, cream and fruits. Stay tuned for my next post - which would also be my last post of Zürich as tomorrow we would be heading to Italy!! 

My earlier posts on Switzerland:
Coffee morning in Switzerland

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