News Buzz

November 2021

World’s Largest Quran

Shahid Rassam, a renowned Pakistani artist, and his over 200 associates have been working since 2017 in placing Quranic script crafted out of 2000 kg of aluminium and plated in 200 kg of gold on 600 canvas rolls to prepare the world’s largest copy of the Holy Quran.

It is the first time in over 1,400-year history of Islam that the Quran is being cast in aluminium. Calligraphers have previously produced classic art in creating copies of the holy book using conventional materials like wood, paper, animal skin and cloth.

Inspired by Turkish, Arabic and Iranian art designs, the artist is using precious stones like rubies, sapphires and emeralds to illuminate and enrich the design. Italian glazing technique and acrylic colours are used to develop the design so it can last for hundreds of years.

The artwork, measuring 8.5 feet long and 6.5 feet wide, is poised to break the record currently held by a copy of the Quran sized at 6.5 and 4.5 feet, which was prepared in Afghanistan in 2017 and is now kept at the Kul Sharif Mosque in the Russian city of Kazan.

Rassam will display the first sample of his artwork, Surah Rahman, at the ongoing Dubai Expo in November. The rare project is scheduled to be completed in 2026.

African Novelist Wins Nobel

Tanzanian-born novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah won the Nobel Literature Prize for his writings on post-colonialism and the trauma of the refugee experience.

Gurnah grew up in Zanzibar but arrived in England as a refugee at the end of the 1960s. He is the fifth African to win the Nobel Literature Prize. He has published 10 novels and a number of short stories.
The head of the Academy`s Nobel committee, Anders Olsson considers Gurnah`s reflections on the plight of refugees particularly topical for his writings and extremely interesting for people in Europe and around the world.

The theme of the refugees’ disruption runs throughout his work, with a focus on identity and self-image, also apparent in the 1996 novel ‘Admiring Silence’ and ‘By the Sea’ from 2001.

Born in 1948, Gurnah fled Zanzibar in 1968 following the revolution there which led to oppression and the persecution of citizens of Arab origin. He began writing as a 21-year-old in England. Although Swahili was his first language, English became his literary tool. He is best known for his 1994 breakthrough novel ‘Paradise’, set in colonial East Africa during World War I, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction.

New PAA Office Bearers

Ahmed Jamal Mir of Prestige Communications was elected unopposed as Chairman of the Pakistan Advertising Association (PAA).

Mir thanked all members for reposing their confidence in him and assured them that the new team, with the support of the PAA members, will work towards creating a positive change to enhance the image of the advertising industry in Pakistan.

Numan Nabi Ahmed of The Brand Partnership was elected Senior Vice-Chairman while Muhammad Zeeshan Khan of TNI Communications as Vice Chairman. Mahmood Parekh of MCM, Usman Atiq Butt of InteRlink and Rizwan Ashraf of Velocity were elected Chairman of PAA Zones A, B and C, respectively. Javed Qadeer of Marksman was elected Secretary of Finance.

Yasra Rizvi’s Social Campaign

Actor and writer Yasra Rizvi’s recent social media campaign is meant to make some viewers uncomfortable as it speaks out against forced marriages and divorce shaming, two social evils of our society.

Rizvi posted a series of pictures on social media as a visual commentary against forced marriages and divorce shaming. The pictures show Rizvi in a festive red outfit with gold jewellery. She is bound in chains, her make-up badly smudged and hair dishevelled.

The actor says marriage is a social contract that ensures the rights of and responsibilities towards one’s partner. It is unfair to make marriage an experience akin to imprisonment or death sentence. She has even encouraged her followers to stand up for those who experience oppression because of their marriage.

Women and young girls often bear the brunt of forced marriages in Pakistan. Such marriages can prove detrimental for girls as they are unprepared. Though ending the marriage can be difficult as it is considered a taboo, Rizvi is trying to make more people understand with her campaign that these practices are wrong.

SUN Academy Farewell

SUN Academy recently organised a farewell to appreciate students for scoring good grades in Aga Khan University Examination Board (AKUEB). This is the first batch of Matric students who passed out from SUN Academy.

Madam Naureen Mansoor (Head Teacher) welcomed the guests after which trustee SUN Academy Rafia Khan and Trustee of the Society of the Unwell and Needy, Engr. Mohammad Ahson Khan, addressed the audience. The SUN Management also acknowledged the hard work by awarding certificates and shields to students and teachers.

Mr Saeed, (former President of NBP), Mr Mohammad Aslam (Principal of H.B Malik School), Mr Ahson Shamsi (Owner of TSNA School), Mr Mohammad Naeem and Mr Feroz Khan (Trustee SUN Academy), also attended the event.

The SUN Management had also invited its pioneer teachers who had initially worked for SUN Academy.

Pakistani American to Head US College

A Pakistani American physician, Dr Omar Atiq, has been nominated as the next President of the American College of Physicians (ACP). He is the first physician of Pakistani descent and only the second international medical graduate selected for the position.

Dr Atiq, a professor of medicine and otolaryngology head and neck surgery, is based in Arkansas. He earned his medical degree from the Khyber Medical College, University of Peshawar. He is board-certified in medical oncology, haematology and internal medicine.

In December 2019, he sent out a holiday greeting to his patients before Christmas letting them know that their outstanding payments worth $650,000 would be cleared.

He was named chair of ACP`s Board of Governors and serves on the Arkansas State Medical Board. He was previously president of the Arkansas Medical Society. He has also served a four-year term as governor of the Arkansas Chapter of ACP.

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical speciality organisation in the US with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 154,000 internal medicine physicians, related subspecialists and medical students.

Coldplay’s Eco-Friendly Tour

British band Coldplay recently announced that they will be powering their upcoming world tour via a dance floor along with bicyles that generate electricity.

This is part of the band’s 12-point plan to cut their carbon footprint, a plan they devised two years ago. They will also plant a tree for every ticket sold. The band last played to 5.4 million people on their 2016-17 tour, making it the biggest tour of all time, earning more than $500 million.

Coldplay’s world tour will start in March in Costa Rica, a city that has one of the highest rates of renewable energy generation in the world.

Tony Bennett Sets More World Record

The Grammy Award-winning singer has added another record to his 70-year career by becoming the oldest person to release an album at the age of 95. His song ‘Love for Sale’ in collaboration with Lady Gaga was released on October 1.

Previously, he made the Guinness World Records by being the oldest person to reach no.1 on the US album chart with a newly recorded album for ‘Cheek to Cheek’. He again set a record by having his songs among the UK top 20 albums for 39 years, the longest in history. He then became the oldest person to enter the UK top 20 album chart with ‘Duets: An American Classic’ when he was 80. He made another record by taking the longest time between the release of an original recording and a re-recording of the same single by the same artiste.

No More Social Distancing in Makkah

The Grand Mosque in the city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia operated at full capacity with worshippers praying shoulder-to-shoulder for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began. Workers removed floor markings that guide people to social distance in and around the Grand Mosque which is built around the Kaaba.

While social distancing measures were lifted, the authorities said visitors must be fully vaccinated against coronavirus and must continue to wear masks on mosque grounds. Also, the Kaaba remained cordoned off and out of reach.

The Umrah draws millions from around the globe, as does the annual Hajj, raking in a combined $12 billion annually but the pandemic hugely disrupted both Muslim pilgrimages.

Saudi Arabia is slowly opening up and has started welcoming vaccinated foreign tourists since August 1. Masks are also no longer mandatory in most open spaces.

Ahad at First Renaissance Awards

Ayesha-YasirPakistani actor Ahad Raza Mir appeared alongside Oscar award-winning British actor Colin Firth, supermodel and activist Gisele Bundchen, legendary musician Nile Rodgers and musician, political activist and philanthropist Annie Lennox in the first edition of the Renaissance Awards.

The Renaissance Awards empower young leaders all over the world and its first edition took place on October 18. Unlike typical award shows, the inaugural Renaissance Awards took on a cinematic format, with a film presentation produced by Pulse Films Italia and directed by Grammy-nominated Giorgio Testi.

The ceremony took the form of a movie, filmed inside the Palazzo Vecchio and included celebrity appearances from several stars.

Ahad’s performances in TV plays such as ‘Ehd-e-Wafa’ and ‘Yeh Dil Mera’ have won great appreciation. He has also won the Betty Mitchell Award for his performance in a stage play. Apart from him making an appearance in the first edition of the Renaissance Awards, Ahad has also finished filming for an coming Hollywood project.

Pakistan to Host Asia Cup 2023

Ayesha-YasirThe ACC has recognized that it is the turn of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to host the Asia Cup and the Pakistan board, as it has been maintaining in recent times, has declared that it will host the event in Pakistan.
The Asia Cup 2023 will be played in a one-day format and the schedule of events will be finalized soon.
The Asia Cup 2020 will be held in Sri Lanka in 2022. Asia Cup 2022 was to be held in Pakistan, but now it has been rescheduled to be held in 2023.

Saba Qamar’s New Project

Ayesha-YasirSaba Qamar has announced her new project called ‘Serial Killer’ written by Umera Ahmed, who has previously collaborated with Saba Qamar in the serial ‘Maat’.

She posted a photo of her new character in an Instagram post saying, “I am very elated to announce my new project #Serialkiller. Couldn’t say no to another promising script, written and offered by our intellectual genius Umera Ahmed.”

Saba was last seen in the hit drama ‘Cheekh’ in 2019.