News Buzz

December 2022

Pakistan Army: Change of Command

General Syed Asim Munir, a soldier with considerable operational experience and a career steeped in intelligence, has been designated as Pakistan’s 17th Army Chief, after weeks of intense speculation about who will lead the powerful military set in the country.

Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza, another infantry officer with an enviable career, has been appointed as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
The two officers have also been promoted from the rank of lieutenant general to that of four-star general.

General Syed Asim Munir
Gen. Syed Asim Munir entered the service via the Officers Training School (OTS) programme in Mangla, where he undertook the 17th Officers Training Course and was commissioned into the 23 Frontier Force Regiment in 1986. He was awarded coveted Sword of Honour of his course. He has been a close aide of the incumbent COAS ever since he commanded troops in the Force Command Northern Areas as a brigadier under Gen. Qamar Bajwa. As a major general, he was first posted as Force Commander Northern Areas (FCNA), the division deployed along the forward lines at Siachen.
He was later appointed DG Military Intelligence in early 2017, and in October next year was made the ISI chief. However, his stint as the top intelligence officer turned out to be the shortest ever. He was then posted as Gujranwala Corps commander before moving to the GHQ as Quartermaster General. He has done a staff course from Fuji School Japan, and later from Malaysian Armed Forces College Kuala Lumpur, and graduated from National Defence University. At some point in his career he also served as defence attaché in Saudi Arabia. He is the first army chief to have headed both the MI and the ISI, and also the first army chief who served as QMG.

General Sahir Shamshad Mirza
General Sahir Shamshad Mirza has had an impressive career in the army. He has a vast experience of serving in senior leadership positions during past seven years. He came to prominence as director-general military operations (DGMO) during the last two years of Gen Raheel Sharif’s tenure. In that role, he was part of Gen Sharif’s core team at GHQ, which supervised the military operation against the Tehreek-I-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militants in North Waziristan.

Further, he was closely involved in the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) that brokered intra-Afghan talks, involving Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and the United States.

After his promotion to the three-star rank in April 2019, he was initially appointed as adjutant general and later as chief of general staff, effectively making him the second-most powerful person in the army after the COAS. In that role, he was closely engaged in crucial decision-making related to national security and foreign affairs. He also joined former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in strategic talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in 2021. In October 2021, he was posted as Corps Commander Rawalpindi to enable him to acquire operational experience and become eligible to be considered for the top posts.

NBP, PCB Join Hands for the Promotion of Cricket

The National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have joined hands to collaborate for the promotion and development of cricket in Pakistan.

Giving NBP naming rights for the National Stadium Karachi for the next 5 years, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was recently signed by Mr. Rehmat Ali Hasnie, President (A) NBP, and Mr. Ramiz Raja, Chairman PCB at the PCB Head Office in Lahore.

As per the agreement, both organizations will work towards identification and grooming talent at the grassroots levels, which is essential for cricketing growth in the country.

An All-inclusive “Al Baraka Day” Held Internationally

On the occasion of Al Baraka Group’s 20-year anniversary, the Group shared its success with the less fortunate in the countries in which it operates by launching Al Baraka Day (ABD), a day in which all the Group and its subsidiaries’ employees, families and friends take part in service activities in their local communities.

Through this day, Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) Limited aspires to develop a culture of volunteering within its teams with the aim of serving the local community in general and those less fortunate in particular.

Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan), Limited like all Al Baraka Group’s banking subsidiaries, used special branded Al Baraka Day float vans to promote the Al Baraka Day activity. The service projects addressed a range of community needs under the UNSDG Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3) – from food baskets to visiting the elderly, giving gifts to children with terminal illnesses and others.

To this end, Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) Limited has executed “Dewar E Baraka” at two locations in Karachi. The bank is also organizing ’Food for All’ activity along with -Dewar E Baraka” at two locations in collaboration with Sahulat Food Foundation.

Fly Jinnah Launched

The latest domestic airline to operate in Pakistan is Fly Jinnah, the country’s fourth private airline.

Fly Jinnah or FJ is a low cost carrier owned and operated jointly by the Lakson Group and Air Arabia Group of the United Arab Emirates. It initially has three A320 aircraft and started domestic flight operations on November 1, 2022.

Fly Jinnah will contribute to the development of Pakistan’s economy by promoting the country in areas such as tourism and hospitality.

Netflix Brings Season 3 of ‘Emily in Paris’

Netflix, the world’s leading web streaming platform, recently unveiled a new trailer and the release date for Season 3 of Emily in Paris. Starring Lily Collins as the titular character, the popular series follows a young woman who gets a dream job in Europe and has to rebuild her life in Paris. In the short teaser trailer, Emily reflects on the new challenges she’ll face in Season 3, as she’s forced to choose between two romantic interests and two career paths. Season 3 of Emily in Paris will come to Netflix on December 21.

Telenor Pakistan Simplifies Tax Return Filing

Telenor Pakistan has brought on board Befiler, simplifying the tax return filing process for its retailers on subsidized rates through its application Apollo.

Apollo is an industry-first digital distribution retail application that empowers retailers and retail businesses to sell their services to a larger number of customers in lesser time.

The digital platform has evolved into a comprehensive ecosystem by serving as a one-stop digital solution for retailers across Pakistan.

The Telenor Pakistan-powered digital solution delivers telco-related services such as easyload, financial services, and bundle subscriptions.

By partnering with Befiler, a tax filing and NTN registration portal for individuals and SMEs, Telenor Pakistan is empowering its retailers to register themselves for tax compliance.

Befiler includes services like income tax filing, sales tax filing, and maintaining tax records, all with just a click of a button.

By plugging Befiler into Apollo, Telenor Pakistan is not only ensuring retailers enter tax compliance, but also saving them the hassle of chasing down lawyers to file tax returns.

Befiler is also offering exclusively subsidized service fees to Apollo retailers, with the same service extended to the customers, enabling the retailers to earn by ensuring tax compliance.

With this partnership, Telenor Pakistan is not only ensuring that more people add themselves to the tax compliance net but also creating an extra earning stream for the retailers by ensuring citizen tax compliance.

Pakistani Rooh Afza Banned in India

The Delhi High Court has “permanently restrained” retailers on from selling Pakistan-made Rooh Afza on the e-commerce website following a trademark claim made by the famous sherbet’s Indian manufacturer.

“The listings of infringing ‘Rooh Afza’ products on the website not originating from the plaintiffs (Hamdard National Foundation) shall be removed within 48 hours,” the judge ruled while hearing the trademark infringement case filed by India’s Hamdard National Foundation (HNF).

In its petition, the HNF said it owned the right to “Hamdard” and “Rooh Afza” trademarks and had noticed last year that some sellers on Amazon had listed “Rooh Afza” products.

It approached Amazon, after which some of the listings were removed, noting however that the foundation recently found that some retailers were selling Rooh Afza bottles manufactured in Pakistan.

The Pakistan-made bottles did not comply with the law, which governs such products in India, the petitioner contended.

The mark Rooh Afza is registered in India and one of the registrations of the plaintiffs dates back to Aug 3, 1942. Rooh Afza was first sold in 1907 in old Delhi by Hakim Hafiz Abdul Majeed. After the Partition, one of his sons stayed in Delhi while the other moved to Pakistan.

They set up factories in both the countries — as well as one in East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh in 1971 — under two firms.

‘Enough is Enough’ for Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez, an American singer, actress and film producer, finally broke her silence on drama brewing online between her and her friend and kidney donor, Francia Raisa. Raisa drew attention in November when she commented “Interesting,” then deleted it on a post. E! shared on its Instagram account featuring Gomez’s Rolling Stone quote about Taylor Swift being Gomez’s only “industry” friend. Gomez didn’t specify which industry she meant, but many assumed it was just the music industry.

Former Miss Barbados Claims Rigging

A surprising allegation is doing the rounds on the internet that the Miss World 2000 contestant from India, Priyanka Chopra, won the coveted crown because of favouritism.

The news came up after a controversy in the beauty pageant world. It was alleged by several Miss USA contestants that this year’s competition and the consequent result was rigged to crown Miss Texas, R’Bonney Gabriel.

When she was crowned, instead of her fellow participants rushing to congratulate her as they usually would, walked off the stage instead.

Miss Missouri, Mikala McGhee, said that an investigation to reach the bottom of the matter is underway.

She said, “A lot of the girls felt like it was the organization’s plan from the beginning for R’Bonney to win, no matter who else was competing”.

After this incident, former Miss Barbados, Leilani McConney, posted a video on YouTube in which she said that the same happened in 2000 when Indian contestant Priyanka Chopra won the Miss World crown.

She said, “I literally went through the same thing at Miss World. I was Miss Barbados. The year I went, Miss India won. Mind you, Miss India had won the previous year (Yukta Mookhey), and the sponsor was also ZeeTV, an Indian cable station. Our sashes had ZeeTV on top and then the names of our countries. This is very familiar to me”.

The video was also shared on Reddit and Indians defended Priyanka Chopra’s win and criticized McConney for crying over sour grapes. They added that Priyanka Chopra rightfully won it and her current success is a testimony saying that look how successful she is now because she deserved it.

In 2017, Chopra spoke about her 2000 win in an interview with Elle.

“I do think pageants are subject to a lot of stereotyping, and some of them deserve it too, but my experience with Miss World wasn’t like that,” she said.

Pakistan Oilfields Start Oil and Gas Production at Tolanj

Pakistan Oilfields, along with partner operators, has commenced the production of oil and gas from Tolanj West, Kohat District before the set deadline of December this year.

According to the stock filing, the production from this well was expected to start in December 2022, however, with the best efforts of technical teams, Wellhead Surface Facilities and tie-in activities have been completed successfully and hydrocarbon production from the well has commenced significantly ahead of the original plan.

Tolanj West -2 well is currently producing 13.97 MMscfd of gas per day with 0.39 barrels per day of condensate and 2.10 barrels of water per day at the choke size of 51/64″ at the flowing wellhead pressure of 1, 103 psi.

The pre-commerciality working interest of Pakistan Oilfields Limited is (25 percent). Earlier in August 2022, the hydrocarbon deposits have been found in Tolanj West-02, a development well in the Tal block located in Kohat Plateau, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.