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The Spokesman

The Spokesman

NCA clears the air

The National College of Arts, home to a century old learning tradition of art education is regulated by the Higher Education Commission and the Federal Government. Meaning that necessary steps are taken through a system of checks and balances before they reach practical realizations, following the voice of reason to bring about clarity, than jumping into blame games, the following details provide an insight into the workings done solely that the environment at the National College of Arts is provided for better intellectual growth and support of students, faculty and staff. These are the details that have not been mentioned and instead, only baseless allegations in the recent set of news publications defaming NCA.

In the past three years, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Murtaza Jafri, Principal National College of Arts, the college administration comprising of various committees chaired by heads of all departments, senior staff members of the education and accounts sections have been working together as a team to enact necessary changes that were pending for several years.

The steps taken include betterment to a wide variety of college sections from improvement in living conditions at the hostels to forming new, and the revival of international MOUs with foreign universities, not forgetting the improvement in college infrastructure that includes introducing state of the art technology ranging from security purposes to systems for student and departmental usage.

Improvement, with regards to infrastructure, promoting sound administration and outreach in order to earn development and fostering educational and practical career growth, for all college members, is sought for the future. The detail begins with construction of Academic Block for the Design Department, Installation of Biometric Security System for College and Hostel on entry and exit points, completion of pending building projects such as the Girls Hostel Building Lahore, Rawalpindi Development Project Building, College’s Restoration work, and construction of the Zahoor-Ul-Akhlaq Gallery Art Shop along with the Newsletter Office establishment. Installation of an advanced Water Filter Plant and the construction of Double Storied Cafeteria with subsidized rates along with a separate staff section is an imperative part.

Up-gradation of facilities is an important aspect where computer labs and digital studios of the National College of Arts are equipped with modern and state of the art Computer Systems and Apple iMACs for growing demand of the present era. This move has also been undertaken for the Rawalpindi Campus. Installation of a Solar Powered Alternative of electricity at the campus as well as the hostel has been accomplished successfully which will significantly reduce electricity costs borne by the College; and will provide uninterrupted power supply to lecture theatres and hostels.

Formation of linkages via MOUs with Foreign Universities (American, Chinese, Iranian and French) has been done; with a revival of an MOU with the prestigious Princes School of Traditional Arts in England has also been accomplished. Numerous, local and foreign artists showed interest to pursue residency programs held at NCA during principal, Prof. Dr. Murtaza Jafri’s tenure. This amounted to the interest of scores of sought after local and foreign scholars, artists and key individuals who have come to NCA to deliver master classes, lectures, seminars and workshops. NCA also found a home for film screenings and promotions by international and local filmmakers in its wake. Foreign dignitaries and diplomats were welcomed pertaining to the zest and zeal of activity at NCA that led to numerous international and local exhibitions to establish NCA’s standing as the premier Federal Government art education institute in the country.

A necessary step to regulate and streamline college administrative matters under the work load explained above, liaison offices between the Departments and the Main Office was imperative in form of a Single Centralized Office. Creation of the newsletter as a medium of outreach to the wider world (an e-copy is provided at detailing all activities.

It is due to such activism, that NCA was honorably welcomed by wings of the Federal Government to undertake various projects such as the restoration of GPO Building and Government House Murree along with creation of video presentations that have promoted Pakistan’s softer image abroad. One example is of the standing ovation received from all the Commonwealth Countries by the documentary for the National Assembly of Pakistan created by NCA. Moreover, projects by the National Accountability Bureau such as the creation of coloring books for primary and secondary children against corruption have also been undertaken. To add to this, logos for Benazir Income Support Program have also been designed. All in all, the best students of the National College of Arts have been engaged in all such projects under the supervision of the faculty members. A recent program involves creation of a video documentary for the Victoria and Albert Museum by film students of NCA, Lahore along with art work for the Constitution Gallery at the Senate Secretariat, Parliament House by the students of the NCA Rawalpindi Campus.

Realizing that education is not just the right of the privileged and selected few, art education programs in form of art workshops and short summer camps were held in Murree and Lahore with a successful turn over. Diploma courses were sanctioned with a successful turnover in conjunction with the Punjab Skill Development Board that pays students stipends to attend the courses on a monthly basis for periods of three months, several such diploma courses have convened in the past two years. Art education for school children is also an integral part of these workshops. Moreover, Students of NCA have been commissioned with beautification projects of Lahore, such as painting the walls of the city, for which they were duly acknowledged.

To sum up, it is a planned measure by a certain lobby to acquire gains unlawfully by leveling baseless allegations and then use a sympathy vote of others by telling a one sided story, majority of which is fabricated and the rest have been clarified before proper authorities. NCA as a premier art institute in the country will continue its path towards progress and the selfish forces hampering its way will not be successful.

Game of Thrones final.....


"Game of Thrones" spent the lapse between seasons five and six being peppered by questions about Jon Snow's fate. Based on Sunday's extra-long finale, the producers will be spared that irritation, but anticipation for next season should be no less palpable.

"Thrones" is known for loading up its penultimate episode with huge, Imax-quality battle sequences, as it did last week, living up to HBO's old "It's not TV" slogan.

Still, the 69-minute finale Sunday was hardly a low-key exercise. Rather, it contained a major, much-discussed reveal, and advanced the story in ways that bring a possible endgame into much greater focus.

"Game of Thrones" is almost surely the most analyzed, parsed and theorized-about show on television -- one of the high-class problems associated with being a huge genre hit.

As a consequence, much has already been made of the ascendant role female characters haveplayed this season. While scenes of violence toward women have triggered past controversy, this year women not only took center stage but proved every bit as ruthless and resourceful as any of the men.

Related: 'Game of Thrones' epic battle: Jon Snow vs. the most hated man on TV

In the finale, the clear theme was vengeance -- which was exacted on multiple fronts. That included Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) seizing control by eliminating the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) and his zealot followers who humiliated her.

Having painstakingly transformed herself into an assassin, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) also achieved payback -- in a brilliantly mounted sequence -- for the program's most notorious act of barbarism: the Red Wedding.

Elsewhere, the witch Melisandre (Carice van Houten) was banished for her role in the death of young princess Shireen, one of the fifth season's most stomach-turning interludes.

Finally, the multi-episode dive into "Thrones" mythology confirmed what has long been a source of speculation: Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is not the illegitimate child of Eddard Stark, but rather his nephew. That creates plenty of tantalizing possibilities, especially with Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) beginning her massive invasion.

Even with its narrative leaps, it's almost hard to imagine "Thrones" completing this sprawling story in the two seasons that remain. After all, the finale offered plenty of foreshadowing regarding "the great war ... still to come" with the White Walkers, pitting the living against the armies of the dead.

If this were a play, the curtain calls alone ought to take three episodes, and the producers are talking about wrapping the whole thing up in 13.

Still, at this point it's hard to second-guess producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who, working with Martin, have created a series for the ages. And while it's hard to predict when and how its Winter will end, if what remains rivals what has transpired, calling it "epic" won't fully do it justice.


Wimbledon 2016: Novak Djokovic beats James Ward


World number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic beat Briton James Ward 6-0 7-6 6-4 in the first round of Wimbledon.

Djokovic, 29, searching for his fourth SW19 title, took the first nine games but Ward fought back in the second set.

"James was serving with a lot of precision and it was not easy to break his serve," Djokovic told BBC Sport.

The Serb is seeking a calendar Grand Slam having already won the Australian and French Open titles in 2016.

World number 177 Ward struggled early on but finally got on the scoreboard in the 10th game, much to the delight of the Centre Court supporters, and the Londoner celebrated by raising his arms in the air.

But Djokovic - who holds all four Grand Slam titles - showed his class and big game experience to advance.

He added: "There is not really not much to say about the first nine games - it was flawless.

"I felt great and nerves kicked in for James. He started playing better in the second set and it got close - it was solid performance from me though.

"This is probably the most unique experience in tennis, playing as the defending champion, on untouched grass. It is really special to feel this tradition."


EU leaders reject informal talks with UK


The European Union will not hold informal talks with the UK until it triggers Article 50 to leave, Germany, France and Italy have insisted.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted talks with French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Berlin.

The leaders called for a "new impulse" to strengthen the EU.

Last Thursday, British citizens voted 52-48 in favour of leaving the EU in a historic referendum.

UK financial markets remain volatile in the wake of the vote, with sterling plunging to a 31-year low against the dollar, and some share trading temporarily halted.

Together with the UK, Germany, France and Italy have the largest economies in the EU.

'No further steps'

"We are in agreement that Article 50 of the European treaties is very clear - a member state that wishes to leave the European Union has to notify the European Council," Mrs Merkel told a joint news conference at the German chancellery.

"There can't be any further steps until that has happened. Only then will the European Council issue guidelines under which an exit will be negotiated.

"That means that, and we agree on this point, there will be neither informal nor formal talks on a British exit until the European Council has received the [UK's] request for an exit from the European Union."

President Hollande and Prime Minister Renzi emphasised the need to process the UK's exit as quickly as possible and focus on the challenges facing the remaining 27 states.

"Our responsibility is not to lose time in dealing with the question of the UK's exit and the new questions for the 27," Mr Hollande said. "There is nothing worse than uncertainty."


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