News Buzz

July 2023

Rehmat Ali Hasnie honoured as CEO of the year

Rehmat Ali Hasnie, President and CEO (A) of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), has been recognized as the CEO of the Year. Organised by the CEO Club Pakistan, the prestigious award was presented to Rehmat Ali Hasnie by Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman, Governor Punjab, during a grand ceremony held at the Governor House in Lahore in May, 2023.

With over 25 years of diversified experience in economics research, capital markets, investment banking, treasury, and credit markets, Rehmat Ali Hasnie has been an instrumental figure within the banking sector in Pakistan. Since assuming the role of President and CEO (A) NBP in May 2022, he has exhibited exceptional leadership and strategic vision, propelling NBP to new heights to become Pakistan’s largest bank in terms of balance sheet.

The growth of the bank’s balance sheet has also been coupled with marked growth in the various profitability indicators and at the same time the continued efforts of the bank to serve the nation. Under his guidance, NBP has embraced cutting-edge technologies and digital solutions, solidifying NBP’s position as a frontrunner in the digital banking landscape.

Total PARCO organizes university day

Total PARCO Pakistan Limited, one of the largest multinational energy company in Pakistan, recently organized an event “Transforming Lives with Positive Action in New Reality” at Government College University (GCU) in Lahore. The event featured Mehmet Celepoglu, Chief Executive Officer of Total PARCO Pakistan.

Mehmet Celepoglu inaugurated the Miyawaki Forest at Government College University, Lahore along with Professor Dr. Asghar Zaidi the Vice Chancellor of GCU Lahore. TPPL demonstrated its proactive approach towards environmental preservation and conservation, aligning with its core value of “Care for the Environment.” In his speech, Mehmet Celepoglu shared insights into his unique leadership and management style, which has successfully guided TPPL through the challenges of the last three years.

Mr. Celepoglu also shed light on TPPL’s initiatives focused on positive diversity, women empowerment, safety, and sustainable development, showcasing the organization’s transformative journey over the past three years.

Supreme Court rejects review plea in One Constitution Avenue case

The Supreme Court has rejected a petition by declaring it infructuous moved by BNP (Pvt.) Ltd in a case involving the multi-billion land originally meant for a hotel but later converted into an apartment complex called One Constitution Avenue.

The petitioner wanted to reduce the agreed amount of Rs17.5 billion it has to pay to the CDA to Rs10 billion which was not possible, the CJP regretted, adding the petitioner had earlier accepted changes in the agreement but now the earlier judgment of the court had been overtaken by the events and therefore the petitioner should follow the same.

Time for Animal Liberation

A recent issue of the famed National Geographic magazine cited elephant as one of the most intelligent animals on Earth. It was an excellent coverage, raising mass awareness towards these majestic animals living in the wild, or around human civilisations. This brings us to take a closer look at the demise of a young elephant in Karachi.

It was captured in Tanzania, and was kept at the zoo in Karachi that lacked the expertise required to care for these animals. This was a tragedy that should not have been allowed to happen. A lot of grief over the incident and anger against the zoo management was expressed on conventional and social media platforms. Tragedies like this have happened before and zoo managements have been blamed afterwards. Calls for reforms are made, but then everyone seems to forget them, and animal abuse continues in the zoos.

A fundamental problem is the perception of our relationship with animals, in general, and zoo animals, in particular. We see zoo animals as a source of entertainment, a notion that robs animals of their dignity and lifestyle conducive to their needs. Such views of course lead to bigger issues that Australian philosopher Peter Singer in his 1975 classic, Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals, called speciesism; a prejudice against animals that is not different from the prejudices of racism and sexism that we abhor in this day and age.

Islamic banks to encourage start-ups, generate jobs

Higher interest, compound interest work as barrier for entrepreneurs, this is why Europe and US formed separate equity systems for Islamic financing.

Former governor of Bangladesh Bank Dr Salehuddin Ahmed recently said that Islamic banks can work to encourage youth-led start-ups for employment by providing investment in nominal profit margin, which is the broader perspective of Islamic finance.

He said this while speaking as the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of the Bangladesh Institute of Islamic Finance (BIIF), a training institution for Islamic financing. Salehuddin said higher interest and compound interest work as a barrier for entrepreneurs, this is why Europe and the United States have formed separate equity systems for Islamic financing along with the research panel.

He said there are many Islamic banks and general banks that have opened Islamic banking wings, but quality Islamic banking is lagging behind in line with the global standard, due to lack of knowledge and regulations. He emphasized that Islamic banks work for human welfare, creating opportunities for the deprived in the sense of social justice of Islamic financing.

‘I want to be healed,’ says model Saheefa Jabbar

Model Saheefa Jabbar Khattak opened up about some very dark and troubling thoughts she has been experiencing in a series of Instagram stories.

“Yes, I have not been myself lately, which is very difficult for me to accept here. I may or may not know what has exactly happened but it is definitely something I cannot talk about without crying my lungs out. I am in pain, I am grieving, every day is a struggle for me,” she wrote, adding that she does not “see the light at the end of the tunnel”.

“It is all dark and gloomy for me. Yes every day I wish death upon myself. In [the] past 60 days there has not been a single day when I haven’t cried or simply questioned everything,” she said.

The model said she has lost 12kg in the past few months and she has had to keep herself “heavily sedated” so she can “sleep off the pain”. “My family has been constantly trying to help me with it but I guess it is my battle to fight (alone) and I have to fight my demons myself. No one can come and take away my pain of me,” Khattak wrote.

India’s wrestling chief charged with harassment

Five months after India’s top women wrestlers accused their politically powerful federation chief of sexual harassment and sparked a nationwide protest movement, police filed charges. In June, Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a senior lawmaker from India’s right-wing ruling party, was charged with sexual harassment and stalking.

He has denied all allegations, and claims to be the victim of a conspiracy to smear his reputation and force him out of parliament. Wrestling is hugely popular in rural northern India, and images of star athletes being detained as they tried to march to parliament in May went viral on social media. Since January, top Indian wrestlers, including Olympians and Commonwealth Games champions, have taken to the streets to demand Singh’s arrest over allegations of sexual harassment and intimidation.

At one of the protests in New Delhi, two-time world champion medallist Vinesh Phogat said that women wrestlers had been “sexually harassed at national camps by coaches and also the WFI president”. In their police complaint, seven wrestlers accused 66-year-old Singh of groping them on several occasions and demanding sexual favours.

HBL launch a customer care Twitter handle

HBL becomes the first Bank in Pakistan to launch a dedicated customer care Twitter handle “@HBLCare”. The Twitter handle will provide customers with a convenient platform to interact with HBL and get their queries answered quickly.

Elaborating on the initiative, Ali Habib, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer - HBL, said, “We are excited to leverage the potential of Twitter to unlock value for our customers. HBL believes in the power of social media and through two dedicated Twitter handles, we will deliver more value to our customers”.

Jubilee Life sends-off Pakistan’s contingent to Special Olympics

Jubilee Life Insurance supported the send-off event for the Pakistan’s contingent, participating in the prestigious Special Olympics World Games, Berlin, 2023. The reception, organized and hosted by Ronak Lakhani, Chairperson, Special Olympics Pakistan, was held in Karachi to honour the athletes and showcase the spirit of inclusivity.

The Special Olympics World Games, scheduled from June 17 to 25, is a remarkable international event that showcases the extraordinary talents and abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities. Pakistan sent a strong contingent comprising 87 athletes and 30 coaches, who have undergone rigorous training and demonstrated exceptional skills to secure their place in this prestigious competition.

Pakistan Welcomes New British Envoys

Jane Marriott OBE, the British High Commissioner-designate to Pakistan, will take up her new appointment sometime this month. Marriott was currently in the process of knowing more about Pakistan - a country she has earlier visited twice as part of delegations. “Delighted to be appointed as the next British High Commissioner to Pakistan! United Kingdom & Pakistan are connected by heritage, strong people ties, climate cooperation & growing trade. Dosti & Commonwealth links can ensure a prosperous future”, Jane Marriott tweeted.

Meanwhile, Sarah Mooney has recently been appointed as the British Deputy High Commissioner Karachi; Director of Trade Pakistan; and Deputy Trade Commissioner for Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. Mooney has served in Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and Department for International Trade for nearly 2 decades. She was previously a Deputy Director in the Department for International Trade, UK in various roles between August 2019 and August 2022. Between 2015 and 2019 she served as Head of Science and Innovation, India, Africa and the Middle East at the British High Commission, New Delhi.

Policy dialogue on Menstrual Health & Hygiene Tax Reforms held

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) recently organized the Policy Level Dialogue on Menstrual Health & Hygiene Tax Reforms. Held in collaboration with Santex Products, the manufacturers of sanitary napkin, the dialogue was organized in continuation of the ethnographic research on menstrual health and hygiene conducted by the two partners in 2022.

The discussion brought together prominent stakeholders from government, non-profit organizations, and the private sector who all urged the government to address this pressing issue and advocate for policy reforms aimed at reducing financial barriers to accessing required products that are currently subject to Luxury Tax. Chief Guest, Mehnaz Akbar Aziz, Member of the National Assembly and Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Law and Justice, agreed to raise this issue in parliament and will support tax reforms. She was joined by Dr. Inoussa Kabore, Deputy Representative UNICEF Pakistan, and Fawaz Ahmed, Head of Marketing Santex Products, along with other dignitaries. Distinguished speakers and panelists shared valuable insights, experiences, and successful initiatives from around the world and encouraging the policy makers and the private sector to replicate these approaches while respecting local customs in Pakistan.

Heart of Stone trailer is out

The much-anticipated trailer of Alia Bhatt’s debut Hollywood film Heart of Stone was finally unveiled at the Netflix Tudum 2023 event in Sao Paulo.

The high-octane trailer is dominated by Gal Gadot and her umpteen action scenes but it hints at Alia being the lead antagonist. Alia has just 5-6 scenes in the trailer but it seems she is the one calling the shots in this story. She was in Brazil along with Gal Gadot and Jamie Dornan for the trailer launch.

Xi, Blinken agree to Stabilize U.s.-China relations

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) shakes hands with China’s President Xi Jinping.

China and the United States have agreed to taper off their over decades-long rivalry so it doesn’t veer into conflict but failed to produce any major breakthrough during a rare visit to Beijing by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in June.

Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed “prog¬ress” after shaking hands with Blinken at the Great Hall of the People, a grand venue usually reserved for greeting heads of state. The top U.S. diplomat and Xi both highlighted the importance of having a more stable relationship, as any conflict between the world’s two largest economies would create global disruption.

India struggles with sweltering heat wave

At least 96 people died in two of India’s most populous states over the last several days, with swaths of the country reeling from a sweltering heat wave.

The deaths happened in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and eastern Bihar where authorities warned residents over 60 and others suffering various maladies to stay indoors during the daytime. Authorities found out most of those who passed away were over 60 years old and had preexisting health conditions.

Nepal bans Indian film

The mayor of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu launched a ban in June on the screening of hugely popular Indian films after a film inspired by the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana sparked controversy.

Critics have taken issue with lines of dialogue in the film Adipurush, which was released globally in Hindi and four other Indian languages in June. The inspiration for the film, the Ramayana, centers on King Rama’s attempt to save his kidnapped wife Sita. Sita was believed to have been born in Janakpur, a southern district of Nepal, but the film suggests she was born in India, triggering anger in Kathmandu. Before the film’s release, Kathmandu Mayor Balendra Shah warned it would not be screened if that section remained, and censors cut the offending dialogue for Nepali audiences. But since the film remained unchanged outside Nepal, Shah issued a wider ban in protest.

Naimal Khawar faces criticism for alleged plastic surgery

Social media users have harshly criticized Pakistani actress Naimal Khawar, amid allegations that she has had plastic surgery.

Netizens recently initiated a wave of commentary on her Instagram photos, suggesting that the actress’s appearance has changed drastically due to facial surgery, including rhinoplasty and lip enhancements.

Fans began drawing comparisons between Khawar and model Sara Loren, also known as Pakistani Mona Liza. Numerous social media users expressed their belief that Khawar had “compromised her natural beauty” by opting for plastic surgery and lip fillers.

Speculation arose that Hamza’s sister, Dr. Fazeela Abbasi — a renowned celebrity dermatologist and skin specialist — had conducted the surgery on Khawar’s face. However, others defended Khawar, stating that her physical choices were personal and urged critics to refrain from intruding.

Son builds Taj Mahal for his mother

Taj Mahal, which is located on the banks of Yamuna stands as a jewel of architecture and a symbol of love. This masterpiece, created out of white marble for the husband’s adored wife, is a piece of world heritage. And now, to demonstrate his love for his mother to the world, a son in Tamil Nadu’s Thiruvarur district builds a memorial that is an exact replica of the Taj Mahal.

Abdul Kadhar and Jailani Bheevi belonged to Thiruvarur district of Tamilnadu. The couple settled in Chennai and they had 4 daughters and a son Amrudheen Sheik Dawood. They made their living operating a hardware store. Abdul Kadhar’s wife and his five children were left behind after he unexpectedly passed away from a sickness. Jailani Bheevi, the husband’s wife, was devastated by his passing and mourned his loss. But she consoled herself as the future of these kids solely lies on her.

Amrudheen was unable to accept the death of his mother and felt that he wanted to create a memorial in her honour so that he could deal with the loss.

Naseeruddin shah apologies to Sindhi-speaking people

Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah recently found himself at the centre of a controversy after making statements in which he claimed Sindhi is no longer spoken in Pakistan. These remarks, made during promotions for his web series ‘Taj: Divided By Blood,’ triggered a wave of criticism and strong backlash from Pakistanis. Shah has now taken to his official Facebook page to issue a sincere and official apology, acknowledging his mistake and expressing regret for any offence caused.

Shah posted the apology on his Facebook page and addressed it to the entire Sindhi-speaking population of Pakistan. In his statement, he admitted his error and extended his heartfelt apologies for deeply offending the community with his mistaken opinion but couldn’t help but take a jab at his naysayers.

“Okay, okay. I apologise to the entire Sindhi-speaking population of Pakistan who I seem to have deeply offended by my mistaken opinion. I admit I was ill-informed but is it necessary to crucify me for that? ‘Let him who is free from…’ as Jesus said. “Actually, I’m quite enjoying being called ‘ignorant’ and ‘pretend intellectual’ after many years of being mistaken for an intelligent person. It’s quite a change!” he wrote.