Pakistani author wins prestigious ‘Brain of the Year’ award in Britain

Pakistani author wins prestigious ‘Brain of the Year’ award in Britain. (Photo courtesy: Social Media)
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Updated 23 October 2020

Pakistani author wins prestigious ‘Brain of the Year’ award in Britain

  • Arif Anis recognized for ‘One Million Meals’ initiative to feed doctors, nurses, paramedics and key workers during coronavirus pandemic
  • Previous laureates include Professor Stephen Hawking, English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author

ISLAMABAD: Renowned author, thought leader and columnist Arif Anis has won the “Brain of the Year 2020” award by Britain’s Brain Trust, getting recognition for co-founding the ‘One Million Meals’ initiative in April this year to feed National Health Services (NHS) doctors, nurses, paramedics and key workers on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

On Thursday, Brain Trust Chairman and Grand Chessmaster Raymond Keene OBE made the announcement of the award, which is presented each year to a leader who advances mental health through research, support and funding for individuals and organizations.

Previous laureates include Professor Stephen Hawking, English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author.

Anis is the author of I’MPOSSIBLE and Follow Your Dreams, and co-author of Made In Crises. In 2018, the Power100 British Parliamentary Review listed him among the 100 most influential trailblazers in Europe. He was awarded the “Global Man of the Year Award” in 2019 in London for his contributions to the fields of learning and development.

Anis supports Prince of Wales’ British Asian Trust and is a trustee of the world’s largest interest-free microfinance loan provider, Akhuwat, that has disbursed around 4 million interest-free loans (more than $725 million). 

Pakistan Steel Mills workers say will challenge mass layoffs in court

Updated 29 November 2020

Pakistan Steel Mills workers say will challenge mass layoffs in court

  • PSM management argues the company’s accumulated losses reached Rs212 billion ($1.33 billion) in June
  • The termination of 4,500 contracts is believed to be the biggest layoff from a single entity in Pakistan’s history

KARACHI: Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) employees are going to challenge in court the company’s recent decision to terminate the contracts of thousands of workers, union representatives said on Sunday.

The management of the state-owned company on Friday handed letters of termination to some 4,500 employees, arguing that PSM’s accumulated losses had reached Rs212 billion ($1.33 billion) in June, when the government decided that 9,350 workers would have to be fired for the dysfunctional enterprise to be revived.
“PSM has terminated 4,500 employees in the first phase of government’s plan to lay off 9,350 employees ... The employees have refused to accept this termination they have registered protests and have decided to challenge this decision in court next week,” Mirza Maqsood, President of Voice of Pakistan Steel Officers Association, told Arab News.

Located 40 kilometers from Karachi, Pakistan’s largest industrial complex with a steel production capacity of 1.1 million tons has been dysfunctional for the past few years. Its operations were suspended in 2015.
“Neither the Company has funds to revive the Mills nor are funds available from any other source to revive the Steel Mill. In any case, revival of the mill would require, firstly massive investment and secondly, entail a period of at least two years,” reads a PSM termination letter seen by Arab News.
The layoff was defended by federal Industries and Production Minister Hammad Azhar, who on Saturday said the terminated employees would be given compensation of Rs2.3 million on average.

“Since the closure of the mill, the government has paid around Rs35 billion as salaries and Rs20 billion as arears to the employees,” he said.

The discharge of workers is said to be one of the biggest layoffs of employees from a single government entity in the country’s history. 
 Karamat Ali, executive director at Pakistan Institute of Labor Education & Research (PILER), said the PSM layoff in unprecedented.
“No such number of employees have ever been fired from a single government institution,” he said.
The decision was also opposed by the provincial government of Sindh, which vowed to support the affected employees. 
“This is wrong and injustice. They (the federal government) must adhere to their earlier stance and commitments of turning the state institutions around with the help of their champions. I am with the employees,” Sindh Labor Minister Saeed Ghani told Arab News.
Mumrez Khan, convener of a representative body of employees, pensioners, suppliers, dealers and contractors of PSM, said that no serious efforts have been made by the federal government to revive the mill, claiming that negligence had caused losses even higher than those cited by PSM management.

“The accumulated losses have swelled to $12 billion on the account of closure of plants, revenue to the government and imports of steel products,” he said.