Govt Approves PC-I for National Language Processing Lab to Promote Urdu Language

The Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives has approved a revised PC-1 at Rs. 78.186 million for the project “Establishment of National Language Processing Laboratory (NLP) to implement and promote Urdu as the national language.

The Ministry of National Heritage and Culture Division is the sponsoring agency, while the National Language Promotion Department (NLPD) will execute the project.

The core objective of the project is to elevate Urdu to the status of languages with extensive digital data resources and equip it with modern technology applications? said Dr. Rashid Hameed, Director General NLP, Lab working under NLPD which was established in October 1979 to advance and promote the Urdu national language.

While sharing the details of the project Dr. Rashid Hameed, explained the project includes the development of several applications, such as Machine Translation (MT), Speech Recognition (SR), and Optical Character Recognition (OCR), that will make language learning more accessible, facilitate cross-border communication and commerce, enable people to access online content, promote cross-cultural understanding, and help preserve language resources. Dr. Hameed believes that only languages that adapt to the latest technology will survive in today’s world.

In 2015, the Supreme Court ordered the government to implement Urdu as the official language in all government departments under Article 251 of the constitution. To comply with the apex court’s order, the government has expedited its efforts and approved the revised PC-I of the project worth Rs. 78.186 million.

Since assuming power in April 2022, the government has taken several steps toward implementing digital transformation in the country. Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal has been a driving force behind these efforts, with a focus on shifting from manual to digital processes.

Last month, the Planning Minister established a Steering Committee composed of experts from the Information Technology and private sectors. The committee aims to facilitate the implementation of digital transformation and increase the country’s export volume.

Syeda Roshana Ali Naqvi, Program Manager for Research and Development at NLPD, while sharing further details of the project explained that the Machine Translation (MT) module uses computer algorithms to automatically translate text from English to Urdu. This module will efficiently provide translations of all current official documents from English to Urdu, including policies, press releases, economic surveys, annual reports, long-term plans, newsletters, public notices, tenders, and advertisements.

Naqvi emphasized the importance of the lab for the survival, growth, promotion, and development of the national language. The program Manager NLPD also shared details about the Speech Recognition (SR) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) modules of the project.

She explained that the SR module will enable digital devices to recognize and transcribe human speech into Urdu text. This technology will help digitize Urdu audio resources, such as parliamentary speeches and meeting minutes. Additionally, speech recognition technology can increase accessibility and inclusivity for those with hearing and speech impairments. The OCR module, on the other hand, will convert printed text into editable digital text. This will help to digitize previously printed records and save a significant amount of time and effort compared to manual typing. The OCR module will make the text searchable, making it easier to access and use.

The experts believe that this technology can make Urdu text accessible to visually impaired people in the form of audiobooks. With these and other AI-based applications, Urdu can become more accessible and usable across different platforms.

Advocate Kokab Iqbal, who filed a landmark case before the apex court in 2003, has hailed the decision as a significant moment in the country’s history. In 2015, a three-member bench, headed by then Chief Justice Jawad S Khawaja, ordered the government to implement the decision. “There is a dire need for the promotion of the Urdu language across government offices,” he remarked.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Sajid Sadpara Makes Pakistan Proud by Making History on Mount Everest

Renowned Pakistani mountaineer, Sajid Sadpara, has successfully scaled Mount Everest in Nepal without the use of supplemental oxygen or Sherpa support.

With this achievement, he became the first Pakistani to accomplish such a feat to honor the memory of his late father, the legendary mountaineer Mohammad Ali Sadpara.

Sadpara wrote on Twitter, “History has been made as 1st Pakistani to be on the top of Everest; Solo, without the use of supplemental oxygen and personal sherpa assistance.”

Sadpara has summited several high peaks, including K2, Gasherbrum-I, and Gasherbrum-II in Pakistan, as well as Manaslu in Nepal, without using supplemental oxygen.

It is pertinent to mention that Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler scaled the tallest peak in World without supplemental oxygen support 45 years ago in 1978.

Meanwhile, Naila Kiani has become the second woman from Pakistan to summit Mount Everest and the first non-Nepalese to scale the peak this mountaineering season.

The mother of two has previously climbed Annapurna I in Nepal, K2, Gasherbrum I and II, and is now aiming to scale the 8,516m high Lhotse, the fourth tallest mountain.

Kiani, who is also a professional boxer, and a banker in Dubai, gained prominence in 2018 after images of her wedding photoshoot at K2 Basecamp went viral on social media.

With this achievement, she has added another feather to her cap by becoming the only Pakistani woman to scale five eight-thousanders within a span of just two years.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Restaurant Owners Accuse Sindh Food Authority of Corruption

Reports have emerged that the Sindh Food Authority has been accused of corruption by restaurant owners. A private news channel’s team uncovered this corruption during a raid on a bakery in North Nazimabad, which was sealed by the Sindh Food Authority.

The team’s reporter went to the Sindh Food Authority office and was asked for Rs. 70,000 by a man named Tahir Baloch to unseal the bakery.

The investigation aimed to expose the corruption of Deputy Director Khadim Hussain. The team secretly recorded their conversation with Baloch, who took the money and promised to provide an affidavit to de-seal the bakery. When the reporter informed the team of this, Deputy Director Hussain denied involvement and claimed he was not in the office at the time.

Further investigation revealed that Baloch was a private individual and also Hussain’s driver. The team found that the bakery had been sealed without any samples being taken.

Despite their attempts to confront Deputy Director Hussain with their findings, he avoided their questions. The team pointed out that the Sindh Food Authority’s main duty is to ensure food quality, but they are instead engaged in corruption and neglecting their responsibilities.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Young environmental activist develops mobile app for effective disposal of trash

Young Environmental Activist from Peshawar Fawad Pirzada has developed a mobile app for lifting of garbage from homes and its proper disposal to keep the city’s environment clean

Fawad Pirzada, obtained training from National Incubation Center and developed the app to protect environment and also make some earning through it.

The app titled “The Kabari”, provides facility to people at their door step for removal of garbage gathered in their homes.

Talking to APP, Fawad said it is a pilot project and will be expanded to the whole of the city on the basis of the response of the people.

Fawad said that his team ensures responsible recycling of collected scarp by supplying it to proper dealers.

He told that People can download this app from Play Store and Apple Store.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Zaheer A. Janjua attends community fun gala of Pakistani diaspora in Ottawa

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Canada Zaheer A. Janjua attended a community fun gala of Pakistani diaspora in Ottawa.

The event was attended by a large number of Pakistanis and Canadians of Pakistan origin living in and around the Canadian capital.

The High Commissioner lauded the organizers for arranging the event and providing the community with an opportunity to celebrate their culture, food and dress under one platform.

Source: Radio Pakistan