UBL inaugurates Pakistan’s first Digital Branch

Mr. Wajahat Husain, President & CEO UBL (4th left), Mr. Syed Irfan Ali, Executive Director, State Bank Pakistan (SBP) (4th right) and Mr. Izhar Hussain, Director, Centre for Executive Education, IBA (3rd left) along with officials from SBP and Read more

Pakistan’s largest mall Lucky One to be open for public soon

Pakistan’s largest mall Lucky One, which was under-construction since a long time has finally neared its completion phase. Tentatively named as Lucky One for now, though we don’t think that the name would be changed, the plaza has already Read more

The 10 Best Karachi Restaurants 2017 - TripAdvisor

Karachi’s packed with dining options as dozens of new restaurants open their doors to the city every year. Some are new entrants and some are old restaurants. The world’s most efficient travel website — TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor Popularity Index, which uses Read more

Karachi Literature Festival 2017

New Year brings with it a number of festivals that provoke and make us think about issues that matter. Music, literature and film festivals have the power to not only bring people together but also develop a sense of Read more

Tapal Danedar TVC September 2014

Posted on by manager in Entertainment, Food and Drink, Karachi Today | Leave a comment

Tapal Danedar has been one of those brands in Pakistan which constantly keep their customers interested in what they are up to next. The brand exudes an uplifting aura, by basically talking about the change they wish to see in the country. When Muhammad Waseem won a silver medal in the Common Wealth Games 2014, it was celebrated on the Facebook page along with K-2 climbers whose perseverance was applauded! Such is the note on which the brand wishes to grow on along with its brand loyalists.

Last year Tapal repositioned the brand with the new tagline “Ab Dil ki Suno”, inspiring people to stay true to their heart. This year in extension to the same message, Tapal has launched a campaign which announces the new, classier packaging.

The commercial focuses on the origin of the premium quality tea. It is done in a manner which shows that every cup of tea has been made using tea leaves from the best tea gardens in the world. The view of those tea gardens along with skillful workers instills a calm among all viewers that Tapal Danedar takes each cup of tea very seriously.

Tapal Danedar has once again successfully put forward the premium and chic image of the brand by highlighting, in a sensorial manner, the basics -color, taste & aroma.

Mobilink Brings Pakistan’s First 3G Enabled Dongle

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The largest telecommunication network of Pakistan, Mobilink recently broke the ice by introducing the first 3G enabled USB Dongle in Pakistan.

Branded with the name of speednet, the device comes with a free trial for 3G services and offers high speed internet reaching up to 7.2 Mbps.

“In line with Mobilink’s strategy of providing quality experience to its customers Mobilink will launch products and services that maximize the utility of our 10MHz 3G spectrum”, said Aamer Manzoor, Head of Data, Mobilink, while highlighting the prospects of Mobilink with line with 3G services in the future.

3G enthusiasts can get this device for Rs. 2500, which enjoys compatibility with all laptop brands. With a plug and play software, this dongle comes without a data plan for now, and hence would work free of charge.

Later on, after commercial launch of Mobilink’s 3G services, customers will be allowed to select their desired data plans as per their needs.

Kudos to Mobilink for being proactive in view of our emerging 3G needs!

‘Ker Daalo Pakistan’ ICC WorldT20 Cricket Cup Anthem by Mirage

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Keeping in line with the ICC T20 fever in Pakistan, one of the leading pop-rock bands Mirage has revealed, their ICC World T20 Cricket Cup 2014 anthem ‘Ker Daalo Pakistan’.

The band Mirage, comprising of Saad Hayat, Rehan Nazim (Lead Vocalist) and Hasan Mahmud have proudly released

The patriotic song, ‘Ker Daalo Pakistan’ ignites patriotism and loyalty among the youth of the country and aims to revive the spirits of the Pakistani cricket team ahead of the ICC World T20 Cricket Cup.

Speaking about the release of their latest single, Saad, Rehan and Hasan said, “‘Ker Dalo Pakistan’ is a labour of passion which we feel represents the voice, hopes and prayers of a passionate nation who above all want their national cricket team to make them proud at the highest level of the game. Using the power of music we’ve come up with a catchy melody that truly embodies our passion for the sport and is a song that we feel will serve as a source of encouragement for our national cricket outfit, giving them the impetus to succeed and achieve greatness in the ICC World T20 Cricket Cup. As musicians, sports fans and patriotic Pakistanis we urge everyone to chime in and sing ‘Ker Dalo Pakistan’!”

In a country where music is considered a food for soul, Mirage is regarded as one of the most talented emerging rock outfits of Pakistan,

The band founder, Saad Hayat, Hasan Mahmud and Rehan Nazim, with their unique sound and blend, unusual compositions and inspiring lyrics and a solid live act have quickly collected a large following.

Mirage’s debut video, ‘Aarzoo’, was released in February 2008 followed by their second video, ‘Jeewan’, which was released in August 2008. And in 2011, the band released their début album ‘Aarzoo’ along with the band’s third music video, ‘Kyun Mujhse’, in association with Fire Records.

For more information and updates on Mirage’s musical journey, keep yourself logged on to:


Artist: Mirage

Song: Ker Daalo Pakistan

Composition & Lyrics: Rehan Nazim

Production & Keyboards: Saad Hayat

Guitars: Hasan Mahmud, Masood Mahmood & Sayyam Rana.

Bass Guitar: Bradley D’Souza

Backing Vocals: Saad Hayat & Tanseer Daar

Audio Production: Saad Hayat

Mixing and Mastering: Saad Hayat

Debut exhibition: Zehra Javeri unveils 20 years’ worth of artworks

Posted on by Muhammad Saleem-ul-Haq in Entertainment, Events, Karachi Today | Leave a comment

KARACHI: After painting only for herself for the past 20 years, artist Zehra Laila Javeri has decided to unveil her works.

Javeri’s debut exhibition opened at Canvas Gallery on Tuesday. The collection, titled ‘Weeds’ had been under wraps for nearly 20 years. “The whole experience is overwhelming,” exclaimed a breathless Javeri. “After painting for 20 years, I realised that all the work tied together as a show,” she said, explaining why she suddenly decided to display her work.


The artist’s paintings are predominantly about women since she “feels emotions as a woman” and can relate to them more than men. One painting did, however, have a man in it. Javeri admitted she found it difficult to paint a man. “For women, you use a circular stroke, and as an artist, my hand naturally moves in circular strokes. It was difficult for me to break my natural stroke to paint a man.”

On the use of weeds in several of her paintings, Javeri explained that weeds represent movement to her. “They’re mesmerising and resilient and always in a state of dance and that is reflected in my works.”

 photo ZehraLailaJaveri_zpsca48f8a9.jpg

Sameera Raja, the owner of Canvas Gallery, decided to host Javeri’s works. The gallery hosts exhibitions twice a month with a wide variety that encompasses all genres of art. “Zehra’s art is interesting, it has a different tone and palette,” she claimed. Most of the paintings were done in vibrant, striking colours.

Among the attendees of the exhibition was Marjorie Husain, a noted art critic, who described Javeri’s work as “interesting”. “Zehra’s been painting since childhood and this is the first time she’s showing her work,” Husain said. “I believe her work reflects what she sees around her.”

‘Cosmos’ by Zehra Laila Javeri. PHOTOS COURTESY: CANVAS GALLERY

She has incorporated many global themes into her work, especially regarding gender, said Husain, as she pointed at a painting that was about the Serbian War.

The use of weeds in her paintings has significance to the artist other than movement. Javeri was greatly influenced by her aunt, artist Laila Shahzada. After her death, Javeri began to have dreams about her with “weeds like tentacles for the first time swirling around her like a symphony”. Javeri admitted that she was entranced.  “Right now my studio is completely empty, but I would love to start painting and have another show,” she said. The exhibition will continue at Canvas Gallery until January 30.

Published in The karachiblog, January 23rd, 2014. 

Read more: Karachi

Loan disbursements rise despite hurdles

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Outstanding portfolio of agriculture loans rose Rs40.8 billion or 17.3% to Rs276.7 billion at the end of December 2013 compared to the same period last year. PHOTO: FILE .

KARACHI: Banks provided Rs159.3 billion in loans to farmers in the first-half of current fiscal year, which was 13.5% higher than the disbursement of Rs140.3 billion in the corresponding period a year ago, shows data released by the State Bank of Pakistan on Tuesday.
In July-December 2013, banks achieved 44% of their annual target of Rs360 billion despite an array of challenges such as high non-performing loans, hurdles to recoveries, insufficient bank’s infrastructure and overall security and macroeconomic conditions.
Outstanding portfolio of agriculture loans rose Rs40.8 billion or 17.3% to Rs276.7 billion at the end of December 2013 compared to the same period last year. The State Bank insists that the increase is primarily the result of its initiative to introduce annual outstanding indicative targets for banks.
Five major banks disbursed Rs85.4 billion or 47.5% of their annual target, higher by 12.3% from Rs76 billion in the same period last year.
Among them, Habib Bank, MCB Bank and National Bank reached 53.3%, 52.6% and 50.5% of their annual targets respectively while United Bank and Allied Bank could achieve only 38.6% and 34.5% of their targets.
Among specialised banks, Zarai Taraqiati Bank could meet only 34% of its target as it lent Rs23.7 billion to the farmers against the annual target of Rs69.5 billion.
Punjab Provincial Cooperative Bank Limited hit 48% of its target by disbursing Rs4.3 billion. In the period under review, 14 domestic private banks collectively achieved 42% of their target.
Bank Al Habib, Summit Bank, Silkbank and NIB Bank hit 61%, 48%, 44% and 42% of their annual targets respectively.
Sindh Bank has already surpassed its annual target by offering loans worth Rs672.8 million against the target of Rs600 million while the Bank of Khyber and the Bank of Punjab achieved 59% and 51% of their targets respectively.
Seven microfinance banks as a group gave farmers loans of Rs11.2 billion or 57% of their annual target. On the other hand, Islamic banks collectively lent around Rs250 million or 47.6% of the target during the six-month period.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2014.

Read more: Karachi

Best Islamic bank: Meezan Bank wins award

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Meezan Bank also received “Ijarah Deal of the Year” award for Siemens Pakistan Engineering Company’s Rs200 million off-balance-sheet lease facility.

Meezan Bank has won the award of “Best Islamic Bank in Pakistan” for 2013 from Islamic Finance News of REDmoney Group, Malaysia. This is the eighth time the bank has received this award.
The Islamic Finance News Awards honour the best in the Islamic financial industry across the world and are among the most recognised in the Islamic financial markets.
According to a press release, Meezan Bank has also won other awards. It got the “Pakistan Deal of the Year” award for providing advisory services to the Government of Pakistan to enable it to raise funds in a Shariah-compliant manner. The bank was appointed joint financial adviser for an Ijarah Sukuk issue of Rs43.018 billion.
It also received “Ijarah Deal of the Year” award for Siemens Pakistan Engineering Company’s Rs200 million off-balance-sheet lease facility.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2014.

Read more: Karachi

3G Can Trigger Pakistan’s Economy by Over Rs. 1,000 Billion in 5 Years

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It is a widely established fact that broadband infrastructure contributes towards economic growth of a country and notable amount of job creation.

Pakistan – without 3G – was left with PTCL’s aging copper media to cope with broadband needs of the country. WiMAX operators couldn’t fill the gap while EvDO technology isn’t smooth enough to entirely replace the fixed broadband technology.

This whole proposition resulted into mere 2.9 million broadband connections in last one decade against 125 million cellular subscriptions during the same duration.

Growth in Broadband Penetration

With upcoming 3G spectrum auction a large population will be able to transition towards broadband services through high-speed wireless data networks. This is a trend that is followed in various markets, have a look at below table:








3G BB Penetration 0.0 % 11.5% 3.5% 16% 1% 0.7% 1.1%
Fixed BB Penetration 0.4% 1.1% 5.4% 1.9% 1% 2.2% 0.1%
3G Services Start Year Future Date 2006 2012 2005 2010 2006 2007
Source: ITU, Informa Telecoms, via Plum Consulting Report

Above table makes it apparent that 3G broadband penetration has exceeded fixed line broadband in almost every market, except Thailand where 3G licenses were auctioned just a year and half ago. Even in Thailand the broadband penetration on 3G is fast catching the fixed line mark.

A recent report by Plum Consulting anticipates that Pakistan is set to achieve at least 10 percent broadband penetration (or 20 million broadband connection) by 2018 if 3G is auction in 2014.

These estimates are based on low-demand forecast. While with high demand forecast, broadband penetration in Pakistan can go up to as high as 16 percent or 30 million broadband connections by 2018 if 3G is auctioned in 2014.

Positive Impact on GDP

Economic studies have proven the fact that there is a positive relationship between broadband penetration and GDP growth. This is true for both developed and developing markets.

Researches have established that impact of a ten percentage point increase in broadband penetration on GDP growth rates range from 0.1-1.5 percentage points, with higher impacts found in lower income countries like Pakistan.

If we carry a conservative estimate of 0.5% impact on GDP and assume that impact will last for 3 years then Pakistan’s current GDP will increase by Rs. 40 billion in one year after 3G auction, while another Rs. 105 billion increment after second year of 3G auction and Rs. 210 billion during the third year of 3G auction.

Estimates suggest next generation networks are expected to add Rs. 380 billion to Rs. 1,180 billion to national GDP during next few years till 2020.

Not to mention, these figures exclude the auction money that Pakistan is going to generate through 3G.

Increased Employment:

Same report, and experts’ opinion, indicate that over 900,000 new jobs will be created if 3G is auctioned right away. These jobs will span around various sectors including telecoms, services, advertising, outsourcing and others.

Increased Taxes

The increased taxes arise as a result of the general stimulus to economic activity i.e. they derive from taxes paid by all sectors of the economy, especially the data services.

Plum Consulting estimates suggest that government will be able to generate addition taxes of at least Rs. 29 billion and at most Rs. 71 billion from various sectors after 3G auction.

Socio-Economic Benefits

Broadband is an enabler. It will enhance the provision of education, health and government services in Pakistan by reducing delivery costs and improving service availability.

With access to broadband will entirely change the way we do our business, financial and private transactions. The way we interact with each other or the way we find our addresses, everything will be reshaped.

Smartphones with increased computing abilities are going to lessen the efforts and hardships we come across in our daily routines.

From the way we pay our bills to the way we register our complaints with utility companies will all go digital.

In addition, low cost and flexible access to IT resources, such as file storage, software and databases, can be accessed using Cloud based services. Assume a system with centralized database and reporting of corruption or registration of complaints from general public (similar to what PITB did with Dengue reporting Android app) will make the lives easier, simpler, efficient and more productive.

Access to broadband technology and the internet can provide specific benefits to women enabling access to education and health resources and ways of generating income within their homes.

Many of the benefits from using broadband to deliver health and education services are not reflected in GDP estimates mention above as they occur over a long timescale (e.g. the benefits of better primary and secondary education can take 10 or more years to be realised in labour force productivity) and because they are about improving aspects of quality of life which are not captured by GDP measures.

More outsourcing opportunities will surface. With higher rate of access to broadband will mean more resources available for servicing the world. More services to export and more revenue inflows, just that everything will be reshaped.

Only if we Do 3G Rightly:

All of the above benefits will be reaped if one condition is met: We do the 3G rightly.

A deeper and proper planning is what we require at this point in place. Only setting the auction price rightly, taxing the services rationally and regulating the operators finely will yield all the benefits that we have mentioned above.

Governments naturally would want to make more money with the spectrum auction, which is fine and understandable. But there’s a very thin line between getting the maximum out of auction money and going over-priced.

Unrealistic auction targets, such as $ 2 billion urged by Mr. Ishaq Dar, will get this country nothing. Neither the services nor the benefits.

Our government will have to be very accurate in terms of determining the bread limit of telecom companies to make sure they are left with enough resources to enable the consumers will services too.

Same goes for taxing on telecom sector. Government has always shown deaf ears to the taxation concerns of telecom industry, but this sector is now going to get to the next level. It is getting beyond the basic voice and communication services.

Telecom sector is going to become the back-bone of national economy and hence a proper attention and rational taxing is what it requires.

Source : 3G Can Trigger Pakistan’s Economy by Over Rs. 1,000 Billion in 5 Years

Sindh Festival 2014: Fireworks to light up province for 15 days !

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The event, being held from February 1 till 15, is being organised on a budget of Rs450 million, of which Rs150 million is funded by the government .

Karachi : The first 15 days of February this year promise to put ‘Sindh on the map’ – at least this is what has been envisioned by its organisers who have come up with a detailed schedule which takes visitors from the ruins of Mohenjo Daro to the seaside for kite flying.
The Sindh Festival, a project initiated by the Pakistan Peoples Party’s patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, aims to ‘revitalise the long-lost culture of harmony and peace’ of the province. Throughout the festival, fireworks will light up the skies of Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana and Thatta at 10pm sharp – a first in Sindh.
When asked about the budget for the elaborate festival, Sharmila Faruqi, the special assistant on culture to the chief minister, told The Express Tribune that the Sindh government was dipping into the Rs250 million budget for the culture department. “We have the amount and we are utilising it for the festival,” she said. According to the project manager, Fakhr-e-Alam, however, the government is providing only Rs150 million for the festival while Rs350 million is to be covered by sponsors. “It is the government’s venture and will become an annual event,” Alam reassured. “It will become a separate body one day and will work for the mission on its own — under the patronage of government of course.”
Every event and decision is being overlooked by Bilawal and while there is no apparent team in place to organise the event, his foreign friends are also said to be helping with the festival.
Save the date
The two-week Sindh Festival starts on February 1 with multiple events running side by side in different districts – Larkana, Hyderabad, Karachi and Thatta. “This is only our first year, and we hope to expand the festival across Sindh in the coming years,” said Alam.
Opening ceremony
With a promise to bring the ‘Mound of the dead’ back to life, the festival will kick start with a star-studded opening at the Mohenjo Daro in Larkana. “First time ever, one of the oldest civilisations of the world will be lit up. The place holds a lot of significance – we should revisit our roots and revitalise them,” said Alam, adding that a huge display of fireworks and laser lighting would be part of the night – all available for the people in their homes to see on live television. “We are still tweaking the final details which is why we can’t disclose too much information. Some of our prestigious guests are flying in from all over the world and we have rented a plane to commute them back and forth out of Karachi for events,” he added.
photo Everydecision_zps2d58448d.jpg
Fuzon and other musicians are expected to perform at the ceremony while singer and comedian Ali Gul Pir will also unveil his song for the festival. “The diverse cultures of our land should be celebrated, not used as an excuse to divide the nation. I am proud to be part of an initiative that strengthens our bonds with Sindhi culture and ultimately celebrates the diversity of Pakistan,” Pir said while talking to The Express Tribune. “My song for the festival promotes Sindh’s culture and its union with Pakistan. For more, you’ll have to wait for the super saeen to take the stage!”
Festival City
The largest family park in South Asia sprawled across 130 acres, Bagh Ibne Qasim, will be the epicentre for the festival. The Festival City, the makeshift point for festivities from February 2 till February 15, will have four separate enclaves – Sindh enclave, international enclave, food enclave and children enclave. The Sindh enclave will feature the province’s specialties, such as ajraks, topis and cultural artifacts.
“We will have banners and posters across the park’s walls to give marketing space to our sponsors,” Alam said, adding that a huge screen might also be set up at the park for cinema viewing under the sky.
Art festival

Perhaps one of the most unique features of the festival is a peek into the late Benazir Bhutto’s private art collection. Bilawal has agreed to display 100 art collections of the former prime minister and leader of Pakistan Peoples Party at the Frere Hall.

Karachi’ites will also get to celebrate Basant as an official event, scheduled to be held on Saturday night and Sunday morning, February 8 and 9, at the Sea View. Boasting big name from across the border, Basant in Karachi is expected to be attended by Bollywood singer Mika Singh and Bhangra king Sukhbir Singh.
International Film Festival

Director Assad Zulfikar Khan, an upcoming filmmaker, has been tasked with looking after the International Film Festival, which is being held in collaboration with the Raindance Film Festival based in London. According to Khan, it will feature numerous award-winning films along with local film entries. A competition has also been planned to boost the enthusiasm of amateur filmmakers and the film industry of Pakistan.
Fashion Festival

The fashion festival will feature works by designers exclusively on Sindhi theme. The event, however, is not being looked after by Karachi’s own fashion gurus – instead, its management has been given to the son of the late Salman Taseer, Sheheryar Taseer.
Sufi Night

For those willing to spend Rs2,000, Keerti Sanghatiya, Abida Parveen, Masroor Fateh Ali and Sayee Zahoor will perform on February 7 at Bagh Ibne Qasim.
Ghazal Night
Aptly titled ‘Mohabbat Bhari’, a ghazal night has been planned for Valentine’s Day, featuring artists Talat Aziz, Ghulam Ali and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan at the DHA Moin Khan ground. Tickets for couples are priced at Rs5,000.
Grand Mushaira, Sindhi Music Mela
To bring back some indigenous music and poetry, a grand Mushaira will be held in Karachi on February 3. Meanwhile, local Sindhi singers will go on a 12-city tour between February 2 and February 15.
Fun for all

Known to be Asif Ali Zardari’s favourite sport, horse and cattle grand prix will take over the streets of Hyderabad on February 2 as part of the festival.
On the streets of DHA Phase VIII, a donkey derby with participation of Lyari residents, will take place on February 4. The donkey carts will be painted in neon colours while the jockeys will wear hi-tech gears. “Lyari’s residents are excited about this already – they have prepared their carts and we will facilitate them with hi-tech attire and props,” said Alam. A deep sea fishing tournament is also scheduled to be held on February 6 at Mubarak village.
Cricket Tournament

A professional cricket tournament is also part of the festival for sports enthusiasts. The series has already started and the finalists will play at the the Moin Khan Academy on February 13.
Show over
The closing ceremony will be held right next to the Keenjhar Lake in Thatta in an open ground. With lights, live music, fireworks and celebrities, the organisers hope to end the festival with a bang. Artists Atif Aslam, Ali Azmat, Bilal Khan, Asim Azhar and others are expected to perform live at the ceremony.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2014.

Mobilink Announces Q Mobile Noir Z4 from its Platform !

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Mobilink, in collaboration with Q-Mobile, is offering Q Mobile Noir Z4 as a means of enhancing the bouquet of offers to its smartphone subscribers.

The phone will be available with a pre-loaded data bundle and be priced at Rs. 35,000.

Moied Javeed, Director Marketing Mobilink, highlighted “Mobilink is committed to offering innovative communication solutions to its customers with the latest mobile phones coupled with country’s best mobile internet offers. I am confident that the customers will enjoy our aggressive data bundle that comes with the Q Mobile Noir Z4 and make the most out of it.”

Q Mobile Z4 is a slim and smart single body device designed with a smooth finish with an excellent mix of technology. Z4 provides 32GB onboard storage, 13MP BSI sensor rear camera, 5MP front camera, 2GB RAM, Gorilla glass protection and comes with a 1.5GHz quad core processor.

Mobilink said that its data package with Q Mobile Noir Z4 will provide its customers with a powerful and unique mobile computing experience with unlimited data bundle offer for 6 months, with fair usage of 6GB.

Index stock market boom has crossed 27 thousand 100 new high 100

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Karachi stock market on Monday, the first day of the business week, the country has broken all records for the first time in history, the KSE-100 index of the psychological threshold of 27 thousand aburky The index rose 87.10 points to 26913.85 points !