March 2020

Shah Mahmood Qureshi Visits IBA

IBA recently organized a distinguished lecture on ‘The strategic importance of Economic Diplomacy for Pakistan in the 21st century’ by Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Guests included the academia, media, consul generals, the corporate sector, the IBA faculty, students and alumni.

A seasoned politician, Mr Qureshi has twice served as Minister for Foreign Affairs; from 2008 – 2011 and currently, since August 2018. He is also at present the Vice Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). He has served as the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs in the Federal Cabinet from 1993 to 1996. An alumnus of Aitchison College, in Lahore, and a Cambridge University graduate, he studied Law and History from Corpus Christi College for a Master’s degree.

During the lecture, Mr Qureshi described how the 21st century is different from the old times as borders have become fluid and communication is instantaneous and free-flowing. Emphasizing the importance of economic diplomacy, he said that it is an ‘opportunity’ and his office has made a conscious determination to place Economic Diplomacy in the front and centre of Pakistan’s diplomatic agenda.

He discussed the economic challenges of the current account deficit and falling exports that Pakistan’s economy is facing. He also mentioned that Pakistan will no longer fight wars for other countries and will maintain its stance for peace which is why even despite India’s aggression, Pakistan reacted with responsibility and restraint.

While talking about the future, he said Pakistan must climb up the global value chain by upgrading technology, leveraging young talent and by capitalizing on export-related opportunities that CPEC will create.

Pakistani Trans Activist Wins

Nayyab Ali, a well-known transgender social activist and political worker, was presented with the ‘International Activist of the Year’ award. Her efforts were recognized by The Galas Awards which highlights the work of LGBTQ+ activists.

A transgender rights defender and Chairperson of the All Pakistan Transgender Election Network, Ali manages the ‘Khawaja Sira Community Centre’ in Okara which offers a basic literacy and numeracy programme, vocational training, life skills education and driving classes for the transgender community. In 2018, Nayyab was one of the four transgender candidates who ran for Pakistan’s general elections and has also been leading the advocacy efforts for the approval of Pakistan’s National Transgender Rights Protection Policy.

Four others were also nominated belonging to Brazil, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan, by Amnesty International, Frontline Defenders and the International LGBT Action Foundation. The ceremony was held in Dublin, Ireland which Ali, unfortunately, could not attend as she was sick. However, she did record a video thanking the attendees for the award.

Outstanding Peacekeepers

A Pakistani all-female group of 15 peacekeepers have received medals for performing a range of services in the conflict-affected eastern DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo).

The team of 15 female officers, who serve in the ranks of major and captain, have been stationed in the war-torn country since June 2019. The officers are psychologists, stress counsellors, vocational training officers, gender advisors, doctors, nurses, operations officers, information officers and logistics officers.

Pakistan has a long history of sending troops to various UN peacekeeping missions and has been recognized as one of the largest contributors of troops and police.

According to the UN, Pakistani troops are currently serving in seven UN operations, with the vast majority of them deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Darfur region of Sudan and the Central African Republic.

US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells says she is inspired by the award-winning Pakistani female peacekeepers serving in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

PR Legend Dies

Tarold Burson, the co-founder of Burson-Marsteller and one of the most influential figures in PR history, passed away at the age of 98.

Burson lived a giant life as a master of influence and was one of the true pioneers of PR and strategic communications. He was the wisest person with the highest level of integrity, humility and kindness. Harold inspired tens of thousands of public relations and communications professionals around the world.

The PR legend started Burson-Marsteller with Bill Marsteller in 1953 and the agency became one of the largest public relations companies in the world. In 1979 it became a subsidiary of Young & Rubicam, which in turn was later acquired by WPP. In 2018, it merged with Cohn & Wolfe and was renamed as Burson Cohn & Wolfe. Before starting up Burson-Marsteller, Burson had established Harold Burson Public Relations in 1946.

In addition to his career in PR, Burson made many contributions to society at large, serving as a Presidential Appointee to the Fine Arts Commission, Founder of the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund, a Board Member of the World Wildlife Fund, and an Executive Council Member for the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, his alma mater.

Clampdown on Social Media

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that social media platforms can’t be left completely unregulated.

She says the biggest problem concerning social media websites was that there was no cell in the country to regulate them.

Digital media companies are providing services in Pakistan from abroad and are making money from it. Now these companies will have to register in Pakistan and open their offices in the country. The social media companies will be bound by law to provide data to Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. All global social media platforms and companies would have to register in Pakistan within three months and open offices in Islamabad. They will have to appoint a representative in Pakistan to deal with a national coordination authority, which would be responsible to regulate content on social media platforms.

Foreign digital companies would be required to set up data servers in Pakistan and it will be compulsory for them to provide data of accounts found guilty of various crimes — including targeting state institutions, spreading fake news and hate speech, engaging in harassment, issuing statements that harm national security or uploading blasphemous content. Authorities would, therefore, take action against Pakistanis found guilty of targeting state institutions at home and abroad on social media. The law would also help the law enforcement authorities to obtain access to data of accounts found involved in suspicious activities.

Carry On Momina

Singer Momina Mustehsan showed up at the red carpet of Pakistan International Screen Awards (PISA) 2020 in Dubai but it was her mustard-coloured ensemble that got all of Twitter talking.

The actress dyed her signature red hair completely blonde, which she previously revealed at the Hum Style Awards paired with a red dress. However, this time around at PISA, Mustehsan matched the colour of her yellow-based hair with an off-the-shoulder gown, undoubtedly a bold choice.

Many took to Twitter to criticize the star for the interesting shade, comparing her to foods such as haldi, corn, mustard and egg yolk. Many were quick to point out that the star also donned the same outfit as Mahira Khan and with her style. But Mahira looked classy.

Joaquin Phoenix Wins Oscar

Joaquin Phoenix won his first Oscar for his performance as an isolated loner who becomes one of the world’s best known comic book villains in Joker and invoked his late brother River Phoenix in one of the most emotional acceptance speeches of the night.

Phoenix, 45, won the best actor Oscar after three previous nominations, crowning an awards season that has seen him sweep every major prize for his role in the standalone original story of Batman’s arch-enemy.

The actor, known for playing brooding or emotionally troubled characters, dropped more than 22 kilograms to play Arthur Fleck, an emaciated mentally ill clown.

Byco Celebrates 25

Byco Petroleum, founded in 1995, is the largest oil refining company in Pakistan. It recently celebrated its Silver Jubilee. The company has made great efforts to serve the nation and to achieve its mission of becoming Pakistan’s premier oil company despite facing serious obstacles.

At the Silver Jubilee ceremony, the company’s CEO, M Amir Abbassciy said, “On 9 January 1995, my father, Mr Parvez Abbasi and I founded this company with the vision to make Pakistan self-sufficient in energy production. My father was a farsighted leader who instilled in Byco a consuming desire to dream. His dreams and vision continue to guide Byco and help us grow.”

Byco launched its first refinery in 2004, with a refining capacity of 18,000 barrels per day. In 2007, it launched its first retail outlets in Sukkur and Rawalpindi. In 2012, Byco commissioned Pakistan’s first and only Single Point Mooring, a dedicated deep sea floating port for petroleum shipments, a national strategic asset which has imported 11 million tonnes of crude oil to date.

Today, Byco has 389 retail outlets across the country.

Bill Gates Buys Superyacht

Microsoft co-founder and the world’s second-richest man, Bill Gates has commissioned for himself an ultramodern superyacht called ‘Aqua’ that is powered entirely by liquid hydrogen for Rs 4,600 crore. Notably, this is the first of its kind vehicle powered by liquid hydrogen.

Gates is a regular superyacht holidaymaker but has not previously owned a vessel and has preferred to rent during his summer trips. His plans of buying the superyacht were unveiled at the Monaco Yacht Show in December 2019.

The luxury liner is 370ft-long and comprises five decks complete with space for 14 guests, 31 crew members, a gym, yoga studio, beauty room, massage parlour and cascading pool on its rear deck.

More from Minions

Universal-Illumination studios have released the teaser trailer for the upcoming film ‘Minions – the Rise of Gru’. This will be the second film in the ‘Minions’ franchise. However, it will be the fifth film in the ‘Despicable Me’ franchise. The film will be focusing on how Gru came into power and is going to hit the theatres this year in summer 2020.

The first film ended as we saw the minions saving the world; however, in the end, we were introduced to young Gru who is using his mind to become one of the most dangerous villains in the world. The minions who get attracted by Gru set on a journey to join Gru and become his workers and that is how Gru comes into power.

New IBA Executive Director

Tn eminent and renowned political economist, Akbar S. Zaidi, has been appointed as the Executive Director of the prestigious Institute of Business Administration (IBA). He is a renowned academic and political economist with over 35 years of experience. He has served as a faculty member at renowned institutions across the globe, including Columbia University, Johns Hopkins, IBA, Karachi and the University of Karachi. He has written many books.

Dr Zaidi said, “I hope to make the IBA an institution where we can attract the best possible teachers. I want more academic and intellectual engagement between the IBA and scholars and academics from within Pakistan and abroad and hope to announce a number of initiatives which bring in such scholars for lectures, symposia and to run short seminar series. My ambition is to make the IBA one of the leading centres of learning, education and creative intellectual endeavour in the region.”

Dr Zaidi holds PhD and M Phil degrees in History and Economics from the University of Cambridge, an MSc in Social Planning in Developing Countries from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BSc in Economics from University College London.

Woman in Space

Nasa’s Christina Koch returned to Earth safely after shattering the spaceflight record for female astronauts with a stay of almost 11 months aboard the International Space Station. Koch touched down at 0912 GMT on the Kazakh steppe after 328 days in space, along with Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency. Koch was smiling broadly when she landed.

Koch, a 41-year-old Michigan-born engineer, on December 28 beat the previous record for a single spaceflight by a woman of 289 days, set by Nasa veteran Peggy Whitson in 2016-17. Koch also made history as one half of the first-ever all-woman spacewalk along with Nasa counterpart Jessica Meir, her classmate from Nasa training, in October last year.

The first woman in space was Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova whose spaceflight in 1963 is still the only solo mission carried out by a woman. Russia has sent only one woman to the ISS since expeditions began in 2000.

Mirage Release ‘Barhe Chalo’

Mirage – the band - has released the pop-rock inspirational song ‘Barhe Chalo’ from their second album Doosri Dastak. ‘Barhe Chalo’, played and recorded live, highlights the importance of change needed in the times we live in and that the change can only come from within.

With composition and lyrics by Saad Hayat and Rehan Nazim, the song features Mohsin Raza Shah on guitar, Shane Kerr on bass and Ajay Harri on drums. Conceptualized and co-directed by Saad Hayat, the music video for ‘Barhe Chalo’ features Asghar Ali Ghanchi as co-director and cinematographer, Hasan Ahmed as art director, Aafreen Shahab as the stylist with hair and makeup by Sikander Khan, wardrobe by Naghma’s, line production by Azeem Arif and Adnan Yunus, edit and post by Bilal A. Mughal and post-production by Kashif Ahmed Khan.

‘Barhe Chalo’ is the fifth release from the album Doosri Dastak comprising songs ‘Befiker’, ‘Panchi’ featuring Alycia Dias, ‘Pyar Hua’ and ‘Zara Suniye Tou’ featuring Natasha Khan. The new song has been mixed, mastered and produced at Saad Hayat Studio in Karachi.

Recognition for Bank Islami

Bank Islami recently bagged four prestigious awards in the category of Biodiversity, Employee Engagement and Volunteering, Education and Scholarship, and Green Energy at a ceremony organized by the National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH).

With its contribution to a sustainable future, the bank aims at giving back to society and so it continues to tap more opportunities to fulfill its corporate social responsibility in the present year. These continuous efforts have rewarded them with the honourable recognition at the prestigious NFEH’s awards.

Bank Islami currently has 330 branches in 114 cities around the country and is an advocate of eco-friendly living.

Google HR Steps Down

The Head of Human Resources at Google, Eileen Naughton, stepped away from her job as the Vice President of People Operations though the company added more than 70,000 employees during Naughton’s tenure. She further worked with Pichai and Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat to find a successor.

In recent years, the Google workplace has been disrupted by employee opposition to top-level decisions ranging from forging contracts with the US military to tailoring a version of the search engine for China.