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Time is a Great Teacher, but does it Kill its Pupil?

Time is indeed a great teacher. It has taught many lessons, great and small, to all its eagerly learning pupil. History teaches us many lessons from notable examples, on a great personality’s vision or inspiration or a great tyrant’s mistakes. All these stories have something for us, a lesson or a moral.

All those great people in history were born just as innocent and naïve as any other baby anywhere in the world. They made mistakes and learned from their own and the mistakes of those before them. These lessons that they learnt over time, made them stand out of the masses of millions who lived in their times.

But no one lives forever, and so is with all great personalities. Everyone dies when their time here ends, leaving only their legacy and marks in books of history behind.

Everyone comes in the world and lives their lives and then die. But only those who did something of great importance in the world are remembered. Everyone here, I am sure, knows Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Mahatma Gandhi, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Alfred Noble, Galileo Galilee, Leonardo da Vinci, the Wright Brothers, and many other great personalities who excelled at what they did, but could anyone here name any other person who lived in their times in the same neighborhood, or in the same city as of any on these?

Well, I don’t think so. So, you see my friends, time doesn’t kill its pupil. Its pupil, stay engraved in the pages of history, as those who molded and shaped the world or its future. Mahatma Gandhi is credited for leading the Indian independence movement and Muhammad Ali Jinnah is credited for creating Pakistan. Edison for creating the light bulb, Einstein, Newton, Galileo and Noble for their brilliance and excellence in their fields of work and setting the principals of sciences, da Vinci for his famous paintings and visionary ideas and the Wright brothers for making the first aircraft.

These personalities were pupil of time; they learned over time and then did what made them stand out of the masses in their limited time on Earth, so that when they left the world, they still live on in our memories and the memories of generations to come.

So my friends, time doesn’t kill its pupil, it keeps them alive forever in the hearts of the masses and the pages of history.

Ahmer Jamil Khan

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Should tobacco smoking be entirely banned or simply discouraged?

Smoker's questionTobacco smoking has been proven to be injurious to health; it is in fact the single largest preventable cause of death around the world. Tobacco smoke contains drugs and toxic chemicals like nicotine and tar, the former results in addiction, the latter causes long term severe adverse health issues like chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, lung cancer and death. Other chemical compounds and substances like soot, suspended ash, carbon monoxide etc. have their own adverse effects on health. People who once try smoking, get addicted to it, and with trying to quit comes withdrawal symptoms where a person willing to give up smoking feels helpless and troubled, like a fish out of water.

So why do people smoke, and why they are allowed to smoke, and why should it be banned or discouraged? We will start with why they smoke. Tobacco smoking does not just come in form of cigarette, but also as cigars, pipes, hookah, water pipes (sheeshas) and beerih (rolled up tobacco leaves). Over the years, cigarettes have become something like a “fashion statement” and a sign of coolness of the urban youth,. Cigars are an icon of the elite, a symbol of status and prestige. Water pipes and hookahs have become a must for the night life in cities and urban areas, and the the beerih is a tool for the underprivileged to live off with their frustrations and troubles.

The murderous pair: the killer and its accomplice.
The murderous pair: the killer and its accomplice.

Tobacco smoke kills, so why should it not be banned? Most legal experts (hired, in my opinion, by large multinational tobacco firms) argue that every individual has the fundamental right to choose and a freedom of expression. They may be warned about the consequences of their choice, but the choice to smoke, or not to smoke, must be entirely their own.

As a consequence of this argument, the legal systems in most nations allow any sane adult person to smoke, provided the manufacturers of cigarettes and related tobacco products pint a statutory warning that smoking is injurious to health. It was probably overlooked by the lawmakers that tobacco smoke does not just kill the smoker, but those around him/her as well. Suicide is a crime, drug consumption is a crime, homicide or murder is a crime, but why is not tobacco smoking considered a crime? A smoker, by smoking is slowly killing himself/herself (i.e. suicide), he/she is consuming nicotine and other addictive drugs (drug consumption) and is slowly killing others around him/her (murder or homicide). Why do legal systems adopt a dual policy when it comes to tobacco smoking?

The answer to this may lie in the fact that the tobacco industry is the largest or the second largest (second only to telecom, where it is second) tax paying sector in most countries. The lawmakers and legislators cannot afford to loose a large chunk of the revenue. If a bill or legislation is considered to be against the interests of this industry, large bribes and underhand influences prevent such a bill to be passed or discussed in the law making bodies.

Recent laws do provide some sort of protection to the non-smokers like me. Smoking now in most regions, including Pakistan, is strictly prohibited in public places such as streets, parks, roads, shops, public transports, etc. and sale of tobacco and its related products to those under 18 is a criminal offence prosecutable under law. These laws, however, are not as effective as they were intended to be, and hundreds of thousands of people especially children under 18 still take up smoking each day, and smoking continues to be the single largest preventable cause of death.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified smoking as a disease, to allow the smokers to avail their health insurance to pay off for the costs associated with quitting of smoking.

It is now probably a matter of time when the public outcry against smoking reaches new heights, and the law makers realize the facts and decide to out rightly ban and outlaw smoking in any and all forms, and consider it to be suicide, homicide, murder and drug consumption.

This article was written as my answer to the topic “Should tobacco smoking be entirely banned or simply discouraged?” given in my General Paper exam. This article has been slightly modified before being published here. The test was graded 17/20 with a comment stating “Strong ideas!”
I may also mention here, that the above article expresses my personal views about tobacco smoking; and I’m proud to state that I never have and never ever intend to smoke in my whole life!

Ahmer Jamil Khan

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The ZABMUN 2012 experience

ZABMUNZABMUN is a Model United Nations (MUN) organized by the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) annually. Our school participated in this year’s conference ZABMUN 2012. The participants, most of whom were winners of SM-MUN, were quite eager to participate in the event. The participants included Sahir Arif Khan, Syed Imran Bokhari, Asfia Khan, Mashaal Ghaffar, Rida Tafveez, Imraha Farooq, Palwasha Ghaffar, Muhammad Daniyal Musharraf, Syed Daniyal Ali, Jazaib Haider Naqvi, Syed Wasif Bukhari, Hussain Fakharuddin, Muhamaad Umer Javaid, Abdul Rehman, Eshal Waris, Abbas Asad, Murtaza Sarosh Rizvi and me.

Thursday 8th November 2012; Day 1 of ZABMUN: We all arrived in school dressed up, and eager to be a part of ZABMUN. The school van took us to Carlton hotel, and we waited in the lobby for the registrations to open. By 9:30 AM the registration desk had opened and we collected our id cards and other delegation accessories from the desk and were seated in the Ball Room for the grand opening ceremony. This year ZABMUN 2012 organizing team had not announced the schedule; it was distributed along with the delegation accessories. After the opening ceremony, we all had lunch at Carlton, and then met our fellow delegates and lobbied for the issues at hand. The lobbying primarily was focused at setting the agendas of the committee the next day. Soon afterwards we all left.

Friday 9th November 2012; Day 2 of ZABMUN: This day too, we all left from the school via the van; although it was a public holiday, the school managed to drop us at the venue. At Carlton Hotel, the sessions began a little later than expected due to the confusion about the committee rooms. By the end of the first session, a fire had broken out in Carlton, and we were asked to evacuate the hotel with immediate effect. The evacuation was done quickly; we ran down the stairs with thick dark chocking smoke around us; the power had gone out too. Midst that confusion, Mashaal gathered all the students and stayed with them, and I went to look for those who were not with us, and managed to round them all up. Then did we notice the thick off-white flames coming from the top floor of the hotel. Some time later the Fire Brigade arrived to tackle the flames. We stayed together for some time, and it was announced that the break had been extended by an hour. Later the session resumed after an even extended break, they had sprayed a lot of room freshener all over the hotel, yet the whole place still had the pungent smoky smell. The ending time had been extended too, after that we all went home.

Saturday 10th November 2012; Day 3 of ZABMUN: The day went by smoothly, with nothing extraordinary of the sort. We all had debated hard in the first session of the day, and had an exceptionally short break, and then the second session went well too.

Sunday 11th November 2012; Day 4 of ZABMUN: The last session of ZABMUN was in the first half of the day, and had crises coming up in most committees, and the session’s duration was extended longer than planned. After the event’s debates were over by 1:00 PM, we all gathered in the lobby for lunch. The organizers decided to start the Closing Ceremony earlier than planned, and some of us had to go to the Ceremony without lunch. The closing ceremony was a really adrenaline boosted one for most of the participants. Our school won two Best Delegate Awards, conferred upon Abdul Rehman and Muhammad Daniyal Musharraf; and an Honorary Mention, conferred upon Jazaib Haider Naqvi.

The over all experience was a great one, in which we learned many new things to carry on all along our lives.

Ahmer Jamil Khan

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How SM-MUN happened!

SM-MUN LogoIn the year 2012, students of St. Michael’s proactively took the initiative to organize and host not one, but two grand events: the first one being the St. Michael’s Debate Championship (SMDC) 2012, in which other institutions and private delegations were invited to compete in cut throat parliamentary debates; and the second one being the St. Michael’s Model United Nations (SM-MUN) 2012, the first MUN to be organized and hosted by our school, in which students from grade 9th onwards, as delegates of different nations around the word debated on haunting issues and tried to solve the world’s problems in a diplomatic manner. Both events were a big success.

On 29th August we submitted written a request to our Deputy Principal Mrs. Naiyer, to be given the permission to organizing the SM-MUN. That very moment Mrs. Naiyer passed a contagious smile and gave us a nod, which was our signal to go ahead with our plans. That day we spread that smile to whoever crossed our way. We discussed our ideas with Mr. Lobo, who encouraged us throughout the planning and preparatory stages, giving us new ideas and refining our own. In a few days it was decided that I was to be the President and Bilal Haider would be the General Secretary of the first St. Michael’s Model United Nations.

We spent the month of September planning on how to go about and organize this, at first seemingly impossible task. We kept our pace and slowly we could see light at the end of the tunnel, we could see a successful event ahead of us. We went through the registration phase where students started enthusiastically registering themselves for their first MUN and selected our volunteers, who played a major part in the success of this event. Mashaal, Swaleha, Owais, Elsa and Hassan agreed to chair.

In October, as soon as the O levels were finished with their assessments, we started the training sessions. It was, for almost all the participants, their first MUN experience. The training sessions were from 7th to 11th October, and gave the participants the training they needed to display extraordinary debating and diplomacy skills at the conference. We also arranged for the lunch for all the participants, and our Principal Mr. Misquita generously decided to sponsor the snacks on all three days.

Friday 12th October was the first day of SM-MUN: The volunteers and organizers had a lot to day that day. After the Friday prayers, as soon as I entered the school, I could see decent, smart, and prim and proper pupil dressed formally for the occasion. We began with the distribution of the packages for delegations which were the folders, pads and pens along with the placards, and the ID cards of all participants in a large paper bag. After this all the delegates were seated in the Auditorium where we started off with our opening ceremony.

The ceremony began with a recitation of the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Bible, followed by speeches by Mrs. Naiyer, Mr. Lobo, the President, and the General Secretary. Finally the Principal Mr. Misquita declared SM-MUN open. As the curtains were drawn on the opening ceremony, we had a tea break. After the break, the delegates moved to the committee rooms, i.e. the Auditorium, Hall 1 and Meeting Room 5, where DISEC, ECOFIN and SOCHUM committees respectively were to be in session. The first day went great, and although immensely tired, we all looked forward to the next day.

Saturday 13th October, day 2 of SMMUN: All the participants were on time, and the committee sessions started as planned. DISEC was shifted to A-Levels Room 1, as there was an orientation in the Auditorium, and Hassan and Owais had an exam that day. Bilal and I had to chair in their place. That day, Mashaal and I had to give a speech at the orientation as well. Everything went well. I designed the certificates and had them printed that day. We had some entertainment sessions during the MUN, as is the tradition in all MUNs. These entertainment sessions provided the much needed break from long serious debating. Overall, all the committees went exceptionally well.

Sunday 14th October, day 3 of SMMUN: The last day went exceptionally well, with crisis situations popping up in the committees, and the committees finally passing their resolutions at the topics at hand. We had finished a little before the planned, and had a long entertainment session in Meeting Room 5 after DISEC raided ECOFIN and DISEC and ECOFIN raided SOCHUM with paper balls! This was followed by a formal lunch, and then the closing ceremony officially drew curtains on the first SM-MUN.

At the closing ceremony, our Deputy Principal Mrs. Naiyer gave a thought provoking speech, this was followed by a closing speech by me, and finally SM-MUN was declared closed. Finally the committee chairs announced the much awaited Best Delegates, Honorary mentions and Special Mentions. The final act of the day was the distribution of the certificates of participation to all the delegates.

That day we all went home with a big smile on our face! We had achieved something big; something we had dreamed of achieving! That day was probably the biggest and the happiest day I could remember of. It was really amazing to see our hard work and efforts shine so beautifully over the course of those three days!

I am really indebted to our volunteers and all our delegates; and I am really thankful to Owais, Mr. Lobo, Mrs. Naiyer and Mr. Misquita for all their support and encouragement.

As I had said in the opening speech on the first day:

    “SM-MUN is all yours; make it or break it, but do your best!”

I was really pleased at the end, that everyone did their best and made our first MUN the best it could be!

 

Ahmer Jamil Khan
President of St. Michael’s Model United Nations
Head Boy of St. Michael’s Convent School

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The beautiful end to a wonderful beginning!

SM-MUN-300x1501The 1st SM-MUN finally came to a beautiful end! It was really amazing to see our hard work and efforts shine so beautifully! To our volunteers and all our delegates, I am really indebted to you all! I am really thankful to Owais, Mr. Lobo, Mrs. Naiyer and Mr. Misquita for all their support and encouragement.

As I had said in the opening speech on the first day:

“SM-MUN is all yours; make it or break it, but do your best!”

I am really pleased that you all did your best and made our first MUN the best it could be!

Heartiest congratulations to all the delegates who won the awards and a big encouraging pat to those who didn’t make it to the podium; there’s always a next time! All our chairs were awesome, especially Owais, who was voted as the best. In the end, I’d say a big thank you to our General Secretary Bilal, we did it pal!

At this moment, who could be happier than the President of this event, yours truly! I must say, I am probably the happiest person on the face of this Earth!

The last note: expect more awesome events this year!
Hoping to see an even better MUN next year!

Ahmer Jamil Khan
President of St. Michael’s Model United Nations
Head Boy of St. Michael’s Convent School

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St. Michael’s Model United Nations

SM-MUN LogoThe importance of debating and public speaking skills are immeasurable. Public speaking and debating are not just skills but an art, which are essential in shaping the personality of an individual. Humans are social; hence expressing oneself is an essential need. How well one expresses them and how well they get their ideas across to the other person and more importantly to a large audience determine the personality of the person. Many students in our school shy away from such opportunities, and this leaves a bad impact on them.

This is the reason why we are organizing St. Michael’s Model United Nations (SM MUN) in our school. The SM MUN is a simulation of the United Nations, where students would represent the member states of the United Nations as their respective countries’ delegates. This event aims at giving our students an insight into this style of debating, and a taste of how the United Nations works. Most importantly, this would give you a chance and a platform to speak up before an audience and an opportunity to discover and polish your speaking skills.

This event would be a great opportunity for many of you to have your first taste of public speaking, and to face your fear of doing so. There are many students who are scared of speaking into the mic or are afraid of a large audience in front of them. Don’t worry neither the mic is going to bite you nor would the crowd lynch you.

Ahmer Jamil KhanA few years ago, even I was scared of speaking into the mic and that too before the large audience. Whenever I was asked to deliver the thought of the day, or gave a speech at a debating competition, I would write a really good speech. But then at the moment of speaking, my pulse would shoot up, breathing became hard, sweating would start, and my hands and legs would tremble. Nothing is impossible, they say, and so eventually I got over my fears. I took the bull by its horns; participated over and over again in the very thing I was really scared of. It took more than a year, but soon afterwards I started enjoying public speaking. I now feel really good speaking into the mic and addressing a crowd has become something natural, something I feel I was made to do.

It is said, “In archeology you uncover the unknown, but in diplomacy you cover the known.” Yes, diplomacy is an art, an art of words, where the diplomat plays with words and sentences, to manipulate the truth, to make the situation favorable to their cause, to create a win-win situation, hiding the ugly truths and presenting beautiful lies as visionary promises.

Over these few days, you would learn not only how to be a good public speaker, but also how to negotiate, how to get your ideas and vision across to a large crowd, and would get a taste of international policy making and politics.

St. Michael’s Model United Nations would now be a part of the school’s annual calendar, and would each year be organized by the A Level 2nd year students. This event is open for all students from class 9 to A Levels. The A Levels batch of 2013 would not only leave the legacy to have organized the first SM MUN, but would also leave behind guidelines for all other batches on how to go about and organize this event in the future.

Ahmer Jamil Khan
President of St. Michael’s Model United Nations
Head Boy of St. Michael’s Convent School

Also published on the website of St. Michael’s Convent School.

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Award Ceremony 2012 Speech

Ahmer Jamil Khan

The following is the text of the speech I delivered at the Award Ceremony 2012, at St. Michael’s Convent School.
The main theme of the speech was why I had decided to do my A Levels from St. Michael’s Convent School.

Respected Principal and Deputy Principal, Honorable Parents and Teachers and my fellow students.

Welcome to the Annual Award Ceremony 2011-2012.

Today, it is my honor and privilege to stand up here, and address the bright and outstanding students of our prestigious institution, and their proud and esteemed parents.

The Annual Award Ceremony, is one of the school events that I have attended almost every calendar year, sitting here in the crowd as one of these high achievers.

I joined this institution, back in 1998, in the Lower Nursery. I still remember the first day at school, when I was left at my class, where the teacher welcomed me in. That day was the first step of my journey, 15th and last year of which began this 1st of August. This journey has been a long, yet interesting one.

I achieved a lot during this journey, the credit of which goes to my parents, teachers and my institution, who have molded and shaped my character, and made me what I am today.

This journey has been a wonderful one, I made really good friends, learned a lot of new things, and had fun doing so. I really looked forward to the school opening after vacations. It became a second home for me, and all my friends.

Out of my wonderful time in school, there have been moments where I felt like being nagged by my teachers, or felt the school rules were too harsh and too strict upon me. Not being allowed in class for coming in an improper uniform, or for forgetting books, these rules may indeed seem harsh to a young student.

But looking back at those moments, I realize that it was the concern of my teachers and the institution; they could have easily chosen to ignore our mistakes and mischief, but they did not. This decision of theirs has had made a lasting impact on me and all my fellow students. This changed our carefree and forgetful habits, transformed us into prim and proper pupil. That has made us stand out of the rest.

Now I say with pride, I am really lucky to have concerned and caring parents and teachers.

The school has always provided us with a fair and healthy competitive environment in every field, be that sports, academics or extracurricular activities, and has always encouraged us to do our best and to strive for perfection in anything we do. The school has always appreciated me in each and every of my achievements. All these have been really motivating factors.

Like me, every student has a reputation which they made for themselves, they have a recognition, and they have a fair chance in every opportunity that comes our way. The school has prepared us to face all the cut throat challenges life has in store for us.

Keeping in mind my qualities and capabilities, the school made me the Deputy Head Boy in the O Levels.

I got an excellent set of results in the O levels, which included a distinction.

Like all my achievements, the school duly appreciated my achievement, and awarded 100% scholarship to me in the A levels.

The school is like a second home, to me, and to all my friends. I did not even think about leaving the school in the A levels. And so I came back here for A levels. That was a decision I cherish every moment.

In the A levels, I was sent to the National Science Talent Competition, by the school. There, I made it to the top 50, out of thousands of high achievers from institutions across Pakistan. I was proud to represent our institution there.

This year I became the Head Boy of our School.

They say, “The journey of a thousand miles, begins with the first step.” St. Michael’s provided me with the first step which will lead me to my future journey in the professional field.

Finally, I would like to use this opportunity to thank my parents, all my teachers, and our institution, for making me what I am today. I would especially like to thank our Principal Mr. Peter Misquita, and our Deputy Principal Mrs. Seema Nayier, thank you so much for everything you have done for us and our institution. Without you our institution wouldn’t be where it is today.

Thank you everyone for your time.

Ahmer Jamil Khan

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Blog Published Social Issues Speech Tribute

Positive Thinking

Following is the text of my speech on Friday, 10th August 2012 before the Assembly of students at St. Michael’s Convent School. The speech was titled ‘Positive Thinking’, was a part of my personal effort to reduce, if not eradicate negativity and negative thinking from my fellow students’ minds.

Respected Deputy Principal, teachers and my fellow students. I am Ahmer Jamil Khan.

I’m here to share a few things with you all…

I think I just heard someone back there say, “abay yaar phir ek lambi speech” (Another long speech). Well, is this the attitude we have to start our day with? Negative thoughts, negative speech, negative actions and all this leads to a negative approach to life.

But why shouldn’t we be so negative? There are problems everywhere, in everyone’s life, getting scolded by our parents, being nagged by our teachers, and there are those nose poking neighbors, friends who are no better than pests, and then she said this to me, he said that to me, life is so unfair for those with a negative attitude…

Some of us have a really very negative approach to life and all the things that come our way, and when someone says something negative, others around them get carried away. People with a negative attitude have reasons to justify their attitude.

But friends, I have learnt, negative attitude to anything can never be justified. If I call anyone up here to tell us what’s wrong with the school, I’m sure many people can come up with some reasons to dislike our school. But did anyone ever realize how fortunate we are to be in this institution, or how fortunate we are to be able to receive good education here, can someone count the blessings they have?

Why do we have to complain about the one thing that we do not have, when there are 9 other things that we do have.

If someone can come up with 10 reasons to dislike our country, there are 90 reasons to love it!

I just checked this morning, 925 million people in the world are undernourished and 6 million children die of starvation each year! We have had a good meal this morning!

Our negative thinking takes up most of our attention, and we do not realize all the good things in life that we are missing out on.

A really good approach I found to tackle this problem, I write a diary every day. I only mention the good things that happened to me each day, and I also mention all the good things I did in the day. By doing this I realized how beautiful life is, how fair things are, and how easily I neglected the blessings I have.

Sometimes life hits us with a brick in the face. When it does, never lose hope, and never curse, but try to appreciate this as an opportunity to learn from the mistakes, try to appreciate the experience gained from that.

We should learn to appreciate our blessings before they are taken away? We should enjoy the things we have in life, instead of regretting over what we do not have, and to do this we need to change our attitude.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “People are only as happy as they want to be.” Really, happiness is a choice, and it’s up to us to choose to be positive or negative.

Life is too short to be unhappy. Let’s change our way of thinking, our attitude and let’s choose to be happy and see the magic.

Thank you all for your time.

Ahmer Jamil Khan