December 2019

Parwana Hun by Kashmir

Pop-rock band Kashmir has brought out their new single “Parwana Hun”. The track is accompanied by a music video, directed by Ashar Khalid. Parwana Hun is about man’s struggle to find the truth. The song is a representation of the band’s style and energetic stage presence.

“Parwana Hun” is a follow up to their last single “Pari” and is a part of an album that will contain eight songs. Formed in 2012, Kashmir became known when they won the Pepsi Battle of the Bands in 2017.

ARY and World Call

ARY Communications Limited has made a public announcement of its intention to acquire more than 51% of the issued and paid-up share capital and control in World Call Telecom Limited.

Shajar Capital has been appointed as the manager to the offer by ARY Communications and ARY Digital FZLLC.

Major shareholders of World Call Telecom Limited include WorldCall Services with 27.79% holding, Ferret Consulting with 17.97% holding and ABM Management Consultants with 7.51% share.

Based on the annual audited accounts for 2018, the total number of issued shares of World Call Telecom are 1,805,921,917 at the price of Rs. 10 per share. After the announcement, WTL’s shares at the stock exchange touched a high of Rs. 1.33.

World Call reported a Rs. 272 million profit after tax, down by a massive 72.3% as compared to Rs. 981 million earned last year. The company’s revenue witnessed a slight increase of 2% to Rs. 3.3 billion as compared to Rs. 3.32 billion, indicating sustained growth compared to last year, with LDI (Rs. 1.66 billion) and the broadband businesses (Rs. 1.7 billion) being the major contributors to the revenue.

Airbnb in China

The Airbnb concept has worked with Chinese authorities. Their ‘Lost & Found’ campaign aims to preserve China’s heritage sites. Over 40 masters living in various cities and regions of China have been invited to offer their expertise to Airbnb’s global travel community on its digital platform.

Airbnb has collaborated with the UCCA Centre for Contemporary Art, China’s leading contemporary art institution, to build a physical ‘Lost & Found’ exhibition at their museum. A group of modern artists and architects have created a series of exhibitions based on their personal Airbnb apprenticeship experiences that incorporate interactive installations and workshops.

Bangladesh at Miss Universe 2019

For the first time, the Miss Universe pageant will have a Muslim model, Shirin Akter Shela. She is a Physics student at the University of Dhaka and is from Thakurgaon. Shirin Shela has already been crowned Miss Universe Bangladesh and was later selected to represent her country at the beauty pageant.

At Miss Universe Bangladesh, Shirin was crowned by Indian actress Sushmita Sen, who won the Miss Universe title in 1994. This is the first time someone from Bangladesh and from a Muslim-majority country in South Asia will compete in Miss Universe.

Kamil Gets doctorate

Sima Kamil, President & CEO UBL has been conferred with the honorary degree of ‘Doctor of the University Honoris Causa’ by the Kingston University in London. The doctorate was awarded at the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences held at the University. Ms. Kamil is a Kingston University alumna. The honorary degree has been awarded to Sima Kamil for her outstanding contribution to diversity in business leadership.

Sitara on Netflix

The animated short film ‘Sitara’ is being released on Netflix. The film revolves around a young girl named Pari who dreams about being a pilot but ends up being married off. The story is depicted through the eyes of her younger sister, Mehr. Waadi Animations have created the film.

Best Place to Do Business

Pakistan has tied with Canada, Australia and Finland at number 1 position as one of the best places to make a living, according to Forbes magazine.

Government support and access to non-financial assistance in Pakistan lags behind most countries. However, Pakistan scores exceptionally high for women in leadership positions and ease of accessing investment. The US is now at 32nd position, the number that was occupied by Pakistan earlier.

Writes Forbes, “Pakistan despite having limited government support and being difficult to sell to businesses and government agencies still commands #1 for earning a living. The nation’s comeback in this category is a remarkable feat given the country was ranked #30 in 2016. The improvement of liveable income may be because Pakistan has become a more open market for do-good companies to sell to the general public.”

‘Humrahi’ by EFU

EFU Life Assurance has released its web series titled ‘Humrahi’ that features Zahid Ahmad and Rabab Hashim. It is a huge step towards monetizing the international community by diversifying the Pakistani media’s platform.

The series follows the journey of two young people who are at the peak of their life. They are looking for prospective matches to settle down in what can be called the ‘rishta dikhaai culture’. The first episode will be all about that meeting and how the pair embarks on their journey of life by tying the knot.

Through this web series, EFU encourages the couple to get insurance policies as a medium of saving money to fulfil their needs and live a lavish life which is only considered to be a sign of the wealthy. The series takes the youth on a journey of romance and responsibilities.

They also have a little girl and they are seen talking about saving to give her higher education so that she has better career options. This emphasizes female education.

‘The Grudge’ Reboot

Sony has announced reboot of the 2004 Japanese-American horror film ‘The Grudge’. The new Grudge will be rated R, which means the film will be loaded with blood and gore. Nicolas Pesce has directed the project and Demián Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin, Jacki Weaver and Lin Shaye will be seen in key roles.

The film will focus on the aftermath when a detective starts to investigate the grudged house where a murder has taken place. ‘The Grudge’ reboot is about a single mother and a young detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) who discovers that the suburban house is cursed by a vengeful ghost who dooms those who enter it with a violent death. The mother thus runs to save herself and her son from demonic spirits from the cursed house in her neighbourhood. In 2011, it was already speculated that the film will have a sequel.

Mehwish as BB

Benazir Bhutto may get further immortalized through Mehwish Hayat. In an interview with BBC Urdu, she said she will play Benazir Bhutto in a film.

Says she: “This is the story of a hero. Benazir Bhutto is a hero to me and I love that woman. Her story is so inspirational to me. This generation and the generations ahead must see her contributions, her struggles and her progress. She was the first woman [to be] Prime Minister.”

Mehwish said the role of Bhutto will be unlike anything she has played as it will undeniably be a complex journey to bring BB’s character on screen.

Price of Bahria Adventure

The Bahria Town in Karachi recently celebrated the grand opening of Pakistan’s first international theme park ‘Bahria Adventure Land’ with spectacular fireworks. The theme park has thrilling and exciting rides, roller-coasters, water rides, ferris wheels and a lot more.

The only thing that might bother visitors is the entry fees. An adult pays Rs. 4000 while for children it is Rs. 3000 per head. Where the park does entertain, it is a big no-no in terms of accessibility for the general public.

FPCCI Creates History

FPCCI organized the 43rd FPCCI Export Awards Ceremony at which the President of Pakistan, Mr. Arif Alvi presided. The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry held many other meetings and hosted events to boost Pakistan’s trade and industry.

The Specialized Committee meetings and the 27th Executive Committee Meeting of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO-CCI) were held on November 13 and 14 at the FPCCI Head Office in Karachi. Mr. Imran Ismail, Governor Sindh, was present on the occasion.

The 29th Board of Directors and 62nd Financial Committee meetings of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA) were held on November 15 and 16 at Movenpick Hotel. Mr. Abdur Razak Dawood, Advisor to Prime Minister for Commerce, Textile, Industry & Production and Investment was present on the occasion. Other notables included H.E Sheikh Khalifa Jassim Al Thani, First Vice President ICCIA, Azaraksh Hafizi, President ECO CCI and Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, Vice President ICCIA & President, TOBB.

Delegates from Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Niger, Palestine and Oman attended the meeting.

An Investment Bridge themed ‘Exploring Opportunities, Integrating Businesses’ was organized on the sidelines. Mr. Jam Kamal Khan, Chief Minister of Balochistan was present. Presentations were made by Turkey, Iran and the Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan Boards of Investment.

FPCCI and TOBB organized the 2nd Board Meeting of Pakistan-Turkey Joint Chamber of Commerce Forum which was attended by Turkish delegates representing various industrial sectors.

An exhibition of Pakistani products and Islamic art showcased the potential of Pakistani art and crafts at these meetings.

KSA Offers Host Visas

Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia will now be able to call their loved ones on a new visa known as “host visa”, which will allow the hosting of people under their personal sponsorship.

The Directorate General of Passports (Jawazat) in KSA and the Ministry of Haj and Umrah are carrying out studies about the introduction of the “host visa” service through the Ministry of Interior’s portal of Absher.

Under this visa system, a citizen or expatriate can host from three to five Umrah pilgrims. As for citizens, they can host anyone whom he wants to bring in. However, as far as expatriates are concerned, they can only bring close relatives.

The Jawazat and the ministry will soon come out with a working mechanism for the host visa, which would cost 500 Saudi Riyal per person for a year. The same person can be brought to the Kingdom at least three times in a year after issuance of separate visa for each travel through Absher.

The visa will allow the hosts to entertain their guests with full freedom for travel and stay either in hotels, furnished apartments or with them in their residential apartments.

The visa holders can travel freely around the Kingdom and participate in tourist activities. The data of the guests will be recorded in the Civil Status registry of citizens and Absher portal of expatriates.

Apple AirPods

Apple went massive with its new global campaign to promote its new AirPods Pro. The company dropped larger-than-life images of lithe dancers in eye-popping poses – some reaching 40 feet tall and even breaking out of the expected framework of massive out-of-home displays. They wrapped around the corner of a building, peered down at busy intersections or spanned sides of highways in major cities around the world, including London, Paris, Tokyo, Dubai and Milan.

The colossal figures started to pop up from late October and when the AirPods Pro hit the shelves, they appeared in the dancers’ ears. In total, Apple created 31 images, about half of which appeared in out-of-home ads and half at retail locations.

The AirPods Pro showed the flexibility and freedom afforded by the cord-free earbuds, such as a film depicting a man bouncing across city streets and another in which a man magically defies gravity. Features of the AirPods Pro include active noise cancellation, tapered silicon tips and transparency mode that let’s outside noises in.

Faisal’s Money-Back Guarantee

Faisal Qureshi’s film ‘Money-Back Guarantee’ could be an exciting project. It has Fawad Khan in the lead role as well as cricketer Wasim Akram.

The film is a satirical comedy involving a bank robbery. Akram will be playing the villain in a small but important role, while Khan will be the hero.

The cast also includes Mikaal Zulfiqar, Kiran Malik, Gohar Rasheed, Mani, Javed Sheikh, Hina Dilpazir, Afzal Rambo, Shaniera and Qureshi himself. Mahira Khan has also been approached for a cameo.

‘Money-Back Guarantee’ will begin shooting in Karachi followed by a shooting schedule in Thailand. The film will be released in 2020.

Zhang at Reuter Communications

Intelligence and communications agency Reuter Communications has hired Tracy Zhang as Director in Shanghai where she will develop integrated marketing and digital strategies for clients in the luxury, beauty and fashion sectors.

Zhang was previously Group Account Director at BBDO Shanghai. Altogether, she has over 15 years of experience in advising international brands on Chinese culture and localisation.

Reuter connects luxury brands and businesses with affluent consumers in Asia and their clients include Sotheby’s, Harrods, Swire Hotels, Este´e Lauder and Swarovski. The agency has offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai.

Prequel of Game of Thrones

The ‘Game of Thrones’ creators have announced a prequel series for HBO titled ‘House of the Dragons’. The prequel will be set 300 years before the actual events of Game of Thrones. Miguel Sapochnik will partner with Ryan Condal as showrunner and will direct the pilot and additional episodes while Condal will be writing the series.

‘Game of Thrones’ has been a blockbuster series and has racked many awards during its run. The series comprised seven seasons, all having a surprise story. ‘House of Dragons’ will present the story of the Targaryen Dynasty, a dynasty that has the abilities to tame dragons, just like the one in ‘How To Train Your Dragon’.

Johhny Depp Out

Disney has roped in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ veteran Ted Elliot and Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin to work on the story of the reboot of the film franchise. The first part of the film had commercial success while the remaining received mixed reviews.

Though the franchise is a hit among fans, Johnny Depp will not be seen in the film as he was seen more than enough in the last series of films.

The five previous Pirates films had Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow and also featured Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and Geoffery Rush.

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