News Buzz

February 2023

Raza Rabbani calls for declaring 2023 ‘Year of Constitution’

PFormer Chairman Senate and PPP leader Mian Raza Rabbani has asked the government to declare 2023 as the “Year of the Constitution, 1973”.

He said a national committee must be formed to carry out celebrations throughout the year. He said 2023 is the Golden Jubilee Year, of the 1973 Constitution.

The 1973 Constitution was passed by the National Assembly on the 10th April, 1973, given assent on the 12th April, 1973, and promulgated on the 14th August, 1973.

During this period there were constitutional deviations from 1977 - 1985 and from 1999 - 2002.

He said the 1973 Constitution is the lynchpin of the Federation. It provides for the Fundamental Rights of the citizens, it provides a Parliamentary and Federal form of Government, it defines the powers of the various organs of the state through trichotomy of power.

“Since it is the document that holds the Federation, its importance needs to be stressed on the younger generation. This year must signify that the people will resist any deviation from the path prescribed by the Constitution, 1973,” Mian Raza Rabbani added.

GO Installs RO Plant

Gas & Oil Pakistan Ltd. (GO) has installed a large-sized Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Filtration Plant, with capacity of 3,600 gallons per day at Pateywala Basti, Qasba Gujrat about 200 metres from GO Mahmoodkot Terminal. The RO plant was inaugurated by Mr. Ali Akber Khaleel, Col. Muhammad Anwar Khurshid and Mr. Muhammad Fasihuddin.

Commenting on the occasion, COO of GO, Mr. Zeeshan Tayyeb said, “The importance of clean drinking water cannot be overemphasized as it is a basic requirement of the people for healthy life. Therefore, GO has been making all out efforts to install as many ‘RO Water Filtration Plants’ as possible for both employees and the general public, especially for those living in surrounding areas of our installations.”

Cowasjee Institute to be made psychiatry university

The Sindh government has decided to seek help from an international prestigious psychiatry university for the establishment of Sir Cowasjee Jahangir University of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences in Hyderabad.

The decision to this effect was taken by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah at a meeting held to review the upgradation of the Sir CJ Institute of Psychiatry to a fully-fledged university.

“The Sir CJ Institute is over 150 years old and has been a leading institute where patients from other countries used to come for treatment and it deserves to be the country’s best university,”

The health minister briefed the CM about the upgradation of the institute to the status of a university.

The MHA chairman said the institute was established over an area of 27 acres which was sufficient for the university.

PM approves outsourcing management of three key airports

Reviving a decision taken by the PML-N government in 2017, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has issued directives calling for initiating the process of outsourcing the management of major airports in the country. In April 2017, the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif had approved the policy to outsource the country’s three main airports.

Chairing a meeting held to discuss matters pertaining to aviation and airports, PM Shehbaz gave a go-ahead for outsourcing of Jinnah International Airport Karachi, Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore and Islamabad International Airport under the public-private partnership.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Shehbaz Sharif said that under the outsourcing process all relevant departments should take the required steps efficiently, adding that transparency must be ensured during the exercise.

The meeting was informed that outsourcing of airports is a “normal profit-seeking practice” throughout the world.

Film on forced conversion bags international award

A film documenting the issue of forced religious conversion in Sindh has won an award at the Cannes World Film Festival.

‘The Losing Side’ bagged the award in the category of ‘Best Human Rights Film’ for the month of November. The film is based on real events with four victims of forced conversions narrating their stories, said film director Jawad Sharif.

Released under the banner of Jawad Sharif Films, the film was submitted for the awards a couple of months back and it was nominated for the award in mid-December.

On the last day of 2022, Sharif learned that his film has won the accolade. “Such good news on the last day of 2022. Our film The Losing Side has won the Best Human Rights Film Award at @cannesworldfilmfestival,” he wrote in an Instagram post.

In its annual report for the year 2021, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said at least 27 alleged forced conversion cases were reported from Sindh, with a majority of victims belonging to “low-caste or scheduled-caste Hindus and Christians”. Seven cases even involved minors, the HRCP added.

Veteran Journalist Mudassir Mirza passes away

Senior journalist and deputy editor of Jang Mudassir Mirza passed away on December 31, 2022. He was 70.

He suffered a fatal heart attack and died at his Gulshan-i-Iqbal residence. He is survived by his widow, a son and daughter.

Mudassir Mirza had remained active in student politics during his student days at the University of Karachi. He was associated with the National Students Federation (NSF) and Democratic Students Federation (DSF). An honest and thorough professional, he remained associated with Jang for over four decades. He was laid to rest at Sakhi Hasan graveyard in North Nazimabad.

NBP Awarded (GDEIB) Awards in four categories

National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) has been recognized at the Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Benchmarks (GDEIB) Awards 2023. The Bank won a total of four awards in categories of Recruitment; Work-life Integration, Flexibility and Benefits;

Speaking about the achievement, Asma Sheikh, SEVP & Group Chief, Human Resource Management Group, NBP said, “At the Bank, we believe in empowering all employees as well as ensuring that they have equal opportunities for growth and development. We are committed to providing avenues for progress to all the workforce, while fostering an inclusive culture’.

Emirates Group returns to profit

In a clear sign that the aviation industry is getting back on its feet after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Emirates Group has reported half-yearly net profit of $1.2 billion, or AED 4.2bn, for its financial year 2022-23.

A statement issued said the record half-year performance showed a turnaround from its AED 5.7bn ($1.6bn) loss for the same period last year.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group attributed the “record performance” with accelerated operations recovery after more countries eased and removed travel restrictions.

American TV journalist Barbara Walters dies at 93

Barbara Walters, one of the most visible women on US television as the first female anchor on an American network evening news broadcast and one of TV’s most prominent interviewers, died on December 30 at age 93.

Walters, who created the popular ABC women’s talk show “The View” in 1997, died at her home in New York. In a broadcast career spanning five decades, Walters interviewed an array of world leaders, including Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, Libyan ruler Moammar Qadhafi, Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein, Russian presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, and every US president and first lady since Richard and Pat Nixon.

Faysal shifts to ‘Islamic only’ banking

Faysal Bank Ltd has surrendered its conventional banking licence to the State Bank of Pakistan and received an Islamic banking licence instead. It has now become the sixth full-fledged Sharia-compliant bank from the first day of the New Year.

Five Islamic banks and 17 conventional banks with Islamic banking branches already operate in Pakistan. The share of Islamic banking assets in the overall banking industry is 18.6 per cent while the share of Shariah-compliant deposits stands at 19.4pc.

“There’s never been a conversion of a conventional bank to an Islamic bank at such a massive scale,” according to Syed Majid Ali, chief financial officer of the bank.

Mashreq Bank Acquires Digital Banking License to operate in Pakistan

Mashreq, one of the leading financial institutions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), announced the acquisition of a Digital Banking license, under the Digital Regulatory Framework issued by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). Mashreq’s intention is to bring their digital expertise to Pakistan and further the interests of the SBP in the digital arena. With the commencement of digital banking operations, Mashreq will usher in a team of bankers and engineers with multicultural experience as well as its proven Neo banking capabilities and world class technology to address the evolving customers’ needs in Pakistan.

With over five decades of expertise, Mashreq is one of MENA’s best performing banks with an expanding presence in Europe, Asia, and the US. Mashreq has always considered Pakistan to be an attractive financial destination owing to the unprecedented growth and turnaround of the country’s banking sector in recent years. Moreover, Mashreq’s excellence in the realm of cybersecurity and compliance is well known as it establishes a robust technological infrastructure and compliance strategy coupled with accomplished technical expertise and an effective risk management culture for each geography into which it expands.

India’s ‘Fake News’ Amendment Akin To Censorship

The proposal would bar social media platforms from hosting any information that the authorities identify as false, the latest in a slew of measures by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that are being seen as efforts to rein in big tech firms.

Information deemed “fake or false” by the Press Information Bureau or by any other agency authorised for fact-checking by the government would be prohibited under the recent draft amendment.
The government will hold a consultation with stakeholders to discuss the amendment, and has also invited “comments from stakeholders and general public.”

Lisa Marie Presley died

Lisa Marie Presley, the singer-songwriter and only child of Elvis Presley, died last month in Los Angeles after a medical emergency and a brief hospitalization. She was 54. Sam Mast, a representative of Priscilla Presley, her mother, announced the death in a statement. Ms. Presley said her daughter had been receiving medical attention but did not provide more information. Ms. Presley lived in Calabasas, Calif., west of Los Angeles. Lisa Marie Presley was buried at Graceland, the famed home of Elvis Presley that became a gathering place for fans distraught over her death a day earlier.

Nickelodeon “Zoey 101”

Nickelodeon has started production on a “Zoey 101” original sequel film. Jamie Lynn Spears will reprise her role as the titular character in the film, currently titled “Zoey 102.” She will be joined by fellow original cast members Erin Sanders (“Quinn Pensky”), Sean Flynn (“Chase Matthews”), Matthew Underwood (“Logan Reese”), Christopher Massey (“Michael Barrett”), Abby Wilde (“Stacey Dillsen”) and Jack Salvatore (“Mark Del Figgalo”). Based on the original franchise created by former Nickelodeon producer Dan Schneider, “Zoey 102” will reintroduce fans to the Pacific Coast Academy alumni as they reunite for a wedding in the present day.

COAS, Saudi Crown Prince discuss ways to strengthen ties

Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir has recently met Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman at his winter camp in the Saudi city of Al Ula, around 1,000km northwest of the capital Riyadh.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the COAS and the Crown Prince reviewed bilateral relations and ways to enhance them further. The two also discussed issues of mutual concern, SPA added.

The meeting was attended by Saudi Minister of Defence Prince Khalid bin Salman, National Security Adviser Dr Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ameer Khurram and other officials.
The army chief, who was on a seven-day official visit to the kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, also performed umrah.

In January , the COAS met Saudi Defence Minister Prince Khalid and discussed the ways of strengthening cooperation between the two countries.

The SPA said that the two leaders, during the meeting, emphasised the strength and durability of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Release of ‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’ stalled in India

Pakistani blockbuster The Legend of Maula Jatt, starring Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan, due to release in India on December 30 has run into rough weather.

A spokesperson for multiplex chain INOX said, “The distributor has conveyed that the release of the film in India has now been postponed indefinitely, and we have not been given any new date or the reason for stalling the release.”

Zee Studios had acquired the distribution rights of the film, which was to have a limited release in Delhi and Punjab. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) did not comment on the Pakistani film, but sources involved in its release said announcements by theatres are usually “done only after CBFC clearance” has been obtained for the films.

The Legend of Maula Jatt was to be the first Pakistani film to be released in India in more than a decade, after Shoaib Mansoor’s Bol.

China names ‘wolf warrior’ as FM

China appointed Qin Gang, its ambassador to the United States, as its new foreign minister, installing a top diplomat known for tough talk against the West.

The 56-year-old replaces Wang Yi, who has been the face of Chinese diplomacy since 2013.
Qin had been Beijing’s top representative in Washington since last year, charged with putting the relationship between the world’s two largest economies back on track.

Qin, from the north-eastern city of Tianjin, has earned a reputation as a “wolf warrior”, a nickname given to Chinese diplomats who respond vehemently to Western nations they perceive as hostile.

He said in 2020 the image of China in the West had deteriorated because Europeans and Americans — in particular the media — had never accepted the Chinese political system or its economic rise. Qin was a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry for several years.