UNESCO Award for Dr. SM Haq

July 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

DAWN

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission  (IOC) of UNESCO  on its   50th Commemorative  Anniversary, held on 22nd June 2011 at the  UNESCO Headquarters,  Paris ,  awarded   Professor  Dr. S.M.Haq  of Pakistan  a  Commemorative  Medal for his outstanding contributions to the program activities of the Commission  in Ocean Science and Services.  

Dr.  Haq  is  the first Pakistani to have  received  this award  from the IOC of UNESCO.

Dr. Haq’s   involvement in the IOC program  and activities dates back to  1961,  when  he, at the invitation of the IOC/ Scientific  Committee of Oceanic Research (SCOR) of  ICSU,  participated  in its meeting  held in Delhi to finalize the arrangements for the launching of the  International Indian Ocean Expedition  (IIOE ; 1960-65) with IOC as the coordinating body.
As  part of  Pakistan’s participation  in  the  IIOE  activity,  Dr. Haq, with the support of the University of Karachi and in close cooperation with and support  of the  Directorate of  Hydrography of  the Pakistan Navy,  led  oceanographic  cruises, consisting of  a team of young national scientists,  on board the P.N.S.  Zulfiquar,  covering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.  The data collected during the cruises were later incorporated in the Indian Ocean Atlas, published by  the  IOC.

Serving as  Head of the Capacity Building  program activities of the IOC, (1978-1990)  Dr. Haq was responsible for  the introduction and implementation of  a wide range of  measures to enhance  marine science capacity  of a number of  coastal and island states of  the Caribbean,  Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and East and  West African coasts. These activities were  timely, considering  the adoption  by the international community of the final text of the UN Convention  on  the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS : : 1982) and, later, the provisions  adopted   by the  UN Conference on Environment for Development (UNCED : 1992), which triggered national interest world-wide for  marine sciences  in  new   and extended areas of national jurisdictions  offshore. 

The overall result of these contributions was seen in the progressive involvement  of developing countries in  regional and global  scientific  program   as well as  their  increased awareness of the importance of coastal and ocean sciences in the context of national development.

Born in Hyderabad  (India)  and educated  at the Osmania University, Dr. Haq  immigrated to Pakistan in 1954. He is   now a US citizen,  residing permanently in  Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dr. Haq obtained his Ph.D.  in 1960 in Marine Science from the Marine Science  Centre of University of N. Wales. He was a post-doctoral Fulbright Fellow at  Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Mass.,  (1963-65) and  a recipient of  the post-doctoral Nuffield  award at  the  Marine  Biological  Association  of  the U.K. (1973). His scientific  work  covered  the vast areas  of the Irish Sea, the Indian  Ocean, the Western Atlantic, the Arctic Ocean as   part of his research studies.  He  Published numerous scientific pares in international journals, including  as joint editor of a book  on “Coastal Management imperative  for  Maritime Developing  Nations,”  published by the  Kluwer   Academic  Publishers of  the Netherlands. 

At the national  level (Pakistan), Dr.  Haq served as the founder-director of the Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Karachi, 1970-78. He was a member of the Pakistan Delegation  to the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea (1976), where he made important contributions to  the negotiating text dealing with the role of Marine Scientific Research in the New Ocean Regime.

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OpEd–An Insulting Comment

April 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS

I was very surprised to find a reference to my work while “googling” to see if a certain academic piece of mine was online, for I wished to make a reference to it, but I discovered, in the internet edition of Outlook India of August 27th 2007 (http://www. outlookindia/article.aspx?23514), I found an unflattering reference to myself.  In an interactive comment at the bottom of a travel article on Kashmir, “Eden’s Secret” by Parvaz Bukhavi, there was an attack not only on me,  but another American academic and three leading progressives in India.  To quote the comment by a Mr. Varun Shekkar of Toronto Ontario in Canada:

“Articles like this [it happened to be an apolitical travel piece] should give lie to Kashmiri separatists, but to their supporters across the border [i.e., Pakistan], and their vulgar sympathizers in the international media like Eric Margolis and Geoffrey Cook(!)..”  The interactive commentator goes on to say because of the comparative peacefulness of the region of Gurais in the (Indian, sic.[!]) State, “…the…Kashmiri movement is not a province-wide struggle against ‘Indian rule’…a strong rebuff to the likes of Arundhati Roy, Praful Bidwai and Nandita Haksar.”

Thank you, Mr. Shekkar, for including me in such a stellar array of fighters for human rights!  I am a great admirer of Mr. Margolis, but the Ms. and Mr. Roy, Bidwai and Haksar are, also, Indian citizens, and they are courageous individuals for speaking criticizing their own country’s policies when  those procedures are wrong!  I am afraid my name should not be listed with these brave and learned individuals, but I am glad at least someone is reading my works – even my critics!

For me this insult is praise!  From time to time I receive such “compliments” in the press and listservs.  That is one of the drawbacks for “opinion makers,” such as journalists politicians and other  individuals who expose their necks to the public.

Kashmir, after Palestine, is the most burning political issue within the Islamic world currently, for both sides of the argument are nuclear powers, and they almost came to explosive fisticuffs in 2001-2002 which would have killed and maimed hundreds of millions of human souls if not for the diplomatic skills of Perez Musharaf!
I do not wish to go over the recommendations that I made to the United States State Department through an elected Congressional official with whom I worked with on the conundrum and the United Nations — at their request. Because my scenario depends upon one step following after another, an order which is not the way how negotiations work – which are fraught with compromises, I shall not go into my suggestions as a whole.  Kashmir is a resolvable situation, though, but the problem lies within the Government buildings in New Delhi.

The Simla Agreement, where it was agreed that India and Pakistan would work out “outstanding differences bilaterally” without third party interference, has been unworkable!  Third parties (major extra-regional powers?) are needed – especially for shuttle diplomacy.

There is a fair enough chance that India’s right-wing political party, the BJP, who almost brought the region to catastrophe during the first year of this millennium, might be able to form a coalition after the next general election.

Kashmir can be settled, and it must be!  The sooner the better because of the  changing political landscape in South Asia  (Pakistan, too, is in danger that the struggle in the Northwest Frontier Provinces (N.W.P.)will descend into urban regions and their hinterlands there). 

The Arabian Sea area, which borders South Asia, portions of the Middle East and East Africa, does not only have a nuclear threat from Southern Asia but from the United States, France and Israel from  their nuclear missiles within their submarines which regularly prowl the vastness of that Sea.  The quandary lies not only with the Indo-Pak rivalry over Kashmir, but the other powers as well within that wide maritime territory.  The goal should be a nuclear-free zone in the expanse of that ocean and its surrounding nations!

The first step, though, is that Islamabad and New Delhi should begin consultations without preconditions!

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