News Corner

World Earth Day 2011 by SWAN

SWAN was the first to celebrate Earth day 2011 in Lahore. It held a Seminar at Alhamrah Arts Council on the evening of the Thursday 21st April 2011. At the Seminar the president SWAN, Mr. Ghazanfar Ali Langah presented the objectives and mission of the organization and emphasized on the state of degradation in the Natural Health of our environment and wildlife. The chief speaker Mr. Ashiq Ahmed Khan who is also the Chief Technical Advisor SWAN very comprehensively explained the state of conservation in Pakistan giving its history, its present state and future prospects. Different visuals of the endangered species which he used in his Power point presentation not only supported his argument but also struck the audience with awe and surprise, for the naked truths of this degradation in wildlife & Nature is like a clear and present danger lurking on our heads.

A Film document on 11 Eco zones of Pakistan was presented which was followed by the previews of up-coming documentaries by SWAN. Each of the 4 films is focused on a National Park in Pakistan; they are KHUNJRAB, HINGOL, KHIRTHAR & NAGAR. These documentaries will be released in near future.

Audience was also delighted by the showing of one of the very famous documentaries by SWAN on the endangered species of cranes in Pakistan it is called also "The Cranes of Pakistan". After the show Mr Langah emphasized on the necessity of saving and rehabilitating the crane species.

The program ended with the distribution of special achievement Awards to the friends who had extended their priceless help and services for the cause of SWAN in one way or another. A general distribution of posters and documentary CD was followed by Tea.

This seminar was joined by many intellectuals and dignitaries of Pakistan and abroad, who are related to the issues of conservation of Nature in our country and generally on the whole.

SWAN the organizer of this Seminar has been working for the cause of wildlife and nature from last 10 years and since its inception, it has produced 4 short documentaries, and 4 more are in the pipeline for future releasing. SWAN owes all its activities to the sole efforts of its President Mr. Ghazanfar Ali Langah and his few friends. Some of these activities are:


Partridges were and are the most preferred bird specie for hunting in Pakistan and this passion for killing and sometimes satisfying gluttony have cost us a lot. Now instead of half a dozen different types of partridges, which once were all flourishing in the country, it is hard to find even few of them. These hand drawn pictures by Dr. Ahsan Qureshi are like windows in the past. Available for sale @ $2/- each.

Dr. Ahsan Qureshi (Member Artists for Conservation Foundation, Canada)

Ahsan is a self learned wildlife and nature artist from Pakistan and has been active with painting since childhood. He used to go with his father on hunting and fishing trips and the natural world inspired him to draw and paint. His passion for painting and his work attracted the attention of agencies working for nature conservation around the globe and he is currently working as a wildlife art illustrator for wildlife projects and also helps generate funds for conservation. He is a member of Artists for Nature Conservation Foundation Canada and is representing the wildlife and wilderness of Pakistan.

E mail:

Our Heritage: The World's First University established even before Alexanderia University is in Pakistan

It's quite possible that there are many things that we may not know about our beloved Country! The interesting nugget of information about Pakistan is that the world's first University was established in Taxila (Which is now in Pakistan) in 700BC. This center of learning was situated about 50 km west of Rawalpindi in Pakistan in the city of Takshashila. It was an important Vedic/Hindu and Buddhist center of learning. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied here. The campus accommodated students who came from as far as Babylonia, Greece, Arabia and China and offered over sixty different courses in various field such as Science, Mathematics, Medicine, Politics, Warfare , Astrology, Astronomy, Music, Religion, and Philosophy. Generally, a student entered Takshashila at the age of sixteen. Students would come to Takshashila and take up education in their chosen subject with their teacher directly.

The famous Sanskrit grammarian, Kautilya (Chanakya) and Charaka, the famous physician of ancient India, and Chandragupta Maurya were the products of this University. It was probably, the earliest of the ancient seats of higher education.

The British archaeologist Sir John Marshall conducted excavations over a period of twenty years in Takshasila. In 1980 Takshashila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site with multiple locations. Recently it has been ranked as the top Tourist Destination in Pakistan by The Guardian.

Our National Treasure "Indus Blind Dolphin" is Fighting a War of Survival

Indus Blind Dolphin is conveying the message about the unhealthy aquatic and terrestrial environment adjoining the Indus River! The Indus River Blind Dolphin is Global priority specie of freshwater cetaceans, endemic to Pakistan. Its number is under serious threats. It is a negative sign for humans also who is a part of the food chain. Dolphin is a flagship specie. The presence of dolphin in a river system signals a healthy ecosystem. Since the dolphin is at the apex of the aquatic food chain, its presence in adequate numbers symbolizes greater biodiversity in the river system and helps keep the ecosystem in balance. All life forms obey Nature's demands - except man whose cruel and selfish nature is continuously polluting the environment. Indus Blind Dolphin is fighting a war of survival in the Indus River. Since dolphin is a mammal and during breeding season it swims towards the irrigation canals made for rice paddies, and when the water flows out of the canals to be received by the paddies these poor dolphins get trapped in the low waters of their travelling route which was supposed to bring them home back to the river. They sometimes also become entangled in fishing nets and then they drown. Their habitat has been reduced to one fifth of its historical range and is degraded primarily due to the making of Dams and Barrages causing shortage of water, uncontrolled use of agrochemicals in farming around the river and discharge of untreated industrial wastewater. It is designated as Endangered (En) in the IUCN Red List Data.

Let's Save Our National treasure! Some serious measures like developing safe alternative fishing techniques, minimizing human-induced chemical and water pollution, cooperation and coordination among conservation bodies and through education and awareness. All Pakistanis should unite to save Indus Dolphin which is our National Treasure.

Medicinal Plant Population of Pakistan