Pakistan’s population bomb: 240 million in 2030


Faaqa kab khatam hoga!


Fifteen-year-old Nasreen Qutubuddin beams happily at her mother, Haseena Bibi, and says: “Now that she is well all I want is to get some good uninterrupted sleep.”

Belonging to Alipur village in Muzaffargarh, they made a 24-hour bus journey to reach Koohi Goth Women’s Hospital in Karachi to get the mother treated for a serious child-birth injury she suffered and which left her incontinent.

In Pakistan, six million married women say they don’t want more children or want to space births, but are unable to do so.

Termed obstetric fistula, in the world of medicine, it is caused by long and stressful labour. In its fight to come out and unable to, the baby’s head puts undue pressure on the lining of the woman’s birth canal causing the wall of the rectum or bladder to tear resulting in urinary or fecal incontinence.

Read more » DAWN
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State Bank of Pakistan denies giving go-ahead for $75m investment


Photo credits: St. James’s Hotel website.

By Shahbaz Rana

ISLAMABAD: A lawmaker has raised fears of money laundering after the central bank declared that it had not initiated any process for granting permission to a billionaire for remitting $75 million for the purchase of Saint James’s Hotel in London as the deal has already been sealed.

“The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) neither gave any permission nor initiated a case for approval of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC),” Irfan Ali, Director Banking of the SBP, told the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Tuesday.

In July this year, the Senate committee had directed the SBP to furnish details whether the Nishat Group remitted $75 million for acquisition of the five-star hotel through proper channels. Billionaire Mian Muhammad Mansha had purchased the hotel in 2012 for $75 million.

Read more » The Express Tribune
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Mani Shankar Aiyar embarrasses India in Pakistan; says remove Modi government to solve issues


NEW DELHI: Former Union minister and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar today stoked a fresh controversy by reportedly saying, during a panel discussion on a Pakistani news channel, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to be removed if talks between the two nations have to resume.

The Congress leader’s comments evoked sharp response from BJP and RJD, with the saffron outfit saying Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi should react to this and let the countr ..
Read more » The Economic Times
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Pakistan’s Army Chief Is in Washington — Embarrassing His Prime Minister


Why is General Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s army chief, visiting Washington right now? Wasn’t his Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, in the nation’s capital less than a month ago? I know you are confident about your guess: The Americans must have invited him to come and discuss the unfinished war on terror. Oops! You got it wrong.According to the Voice of America, the United States government has not invited Pakistan’s powerful army chief. To borrow a phrase from the Hindustan Times, Raheel has invited himself to the U.S. The invitation does not matter much but this trip once again highlights the army’s brazenly tight grip on the country’s democratic government, specifically its foreign policy. A smug Raheel is in Washington with a straightforward message to D.C.’s policymakers: Forget about what was discussed between President Obama and Prime Minister Sharif last month. Let’s talk again. I decide my country’s foreign policy, not the prime minister.

Before his arrival to Washington, Raheel’s army, on November 10th, had solely taken credit for the “improved security situation” but rebuked the democratic administration that the “progress” it had made in the fight against terrorism could not be “sustained without matching betterment in governance and administration.”

Although the army has historically been in full control of Pakistan’s external relations, Raheel, since becoming the army chief, has staged sort of a foreign policy coup. Prime Minister Sharif, a victim of a military coup in 1999, has been so cautious in avoiding another military takeover that he has even not appointed a foreign minister two years after becoming the prime minister for a third term. On the foreign policy front, the army is explicitly intimidating the prime minister. He cannot take bold decisions or fulfill the promises he makes during meetings with foreign heads of government. The army chief has entered into an undeclared competition with the prime minister over foreign trips.

According to Zahid Hussain, a senior Pakistani journalist, the army chief “has perhaps travelled to more world capitals over the last two years than even the prime minister, reinforcing the perception that not only does the military call the shots on security matters it is also actively directing the country’s foreign policy

Read more » Huffington Post
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Kashmir has never been part of India: Arundhati Roy

we give below a very relevant piece of news in connection with Arundhati Roy and her stand on Kashmir. Our organization was always of the opinion that Kashmir has been forcibly acquired by India and the people’s revolt there is justifiable. We have been writing articles and booklets for the last two decades elaborating the history of the Kashmiri people. The situation has come to such a state that immediate step has to be taken to free the people of Kashmir. [ref to appeal in dated 19 September, 2010] .About a hundred thousand people have been killed by army and hundreds are still missing in this small valley with a population of about 70 lakhs. If we take the stock from the year 1953, more than 2 lakh inhabitants of the Kashmir valley have been killed or are simply erased by the Indian army. Is this a free country? Can we still call Kashmir a part of our Nation?

We are with Arundhati Roy and demand justice for the common people of Kashmir.

Prabir Ghosh, General Secretary
Science & Rationalist Association of India


Read more: The FreeThinkers
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NAP progress not only reason of tension between institutions

ISLAMABAD: A lack of progress on the National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terrorism in the wake of the Army Public School massacre was just one of many reasons behind the civil-military tensions that boiled over last week.

In background conversations with Dawn, military officials and civilian leaders offered their own interpretations for the reasons behind a public spat between the government and the army.

Also read: Military’s complaint

Sources say that there have been a number of recent developments that have strained the ever-sensitive balance of power between the two institutions.

After the corps commanders’ meeting on Nov 10, the military leadership expressed its dissatisfaction with the government’s performance on NAP. This prompted an uncharacteristic response from the PM Office the following day, which emphasised that effective implementation of NAP was the shared responsibility of all national institutions working within the ambit of the constitution.

A senior government functionary close to the PML-N leadership told Dawn that the prime minister had never been very comfortable with the army chief’s trips to international capitals. He was particularly unhappy, the functionary said, with Gen Raheel Sharif’s visits to Saudi Arabia in the first week of November, and now the US.

Read more » DAWN
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Chinese firm takes control of Gwadar Port free-trade zone in Pakistan

Gulf gateway key to plans to ship oil overland to inland provinces

By Summer Zhen

A Chinese firm officially took control of Pakistan’s Gwadar Port free-trade zone on Wednesday, further cementing its role in the Gwader area, a gateway to oil-exporting Gulf countries, and analysts see the deal as a chance for China to change the oil import game.

Under the agreement, state-backed Chinese Overseas Ports will manage the free-trade zone on a 43-year lease. The formal handover signals the Chinese side’s control of all the port’s business affairs.

Gwadar port is a deep sea port that sits next to the Strait of Hormuz, the key oil route in and out of the Persian Gulf and it lies only 120km from the Iranian border.

As part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor scheme, China plans to make Gwadar a transportation hub by building a 3,000km railway linking Xinjiang, in western China, with Gwadar.

Read more » South China Morning Post
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No, you are not in Europe, you are very much in Karachi

Burnes Road re-envisioned by architecture students


KARACHI: Pretty stone buildings with stained glass windows and wooden jharokhas overlooking clean open pathways with roadside restaurants and fruit, sweets and snack kiosks. No traffic, no pollution, just a nice open space to walk or if you feel like it, sit down and relax on benches or enjoy the delicacies on the offer.

No, you are not in Europe, you are very much in Karachi; in fact, this is Burnes Road! This is how fourth year architecture students at the Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture (IVSAA) changed the food street at Burnes Road, well, at least as a part of their class project, if not in reality.

The presentation given by the students here on Friday saw them working in four groups — research, transportation, facade and streetscape. The aim of the project was to redesign the Burnes Road food street that is 1km long and 72ft in width as a pleasant, vibrant and pedestrian-friendly public space while looking into aspects of environmental improvement there and without losing its flavours.

Read more » DAWN
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Lahore to get its own ‘Disneyland’

An agreement for the construction of a theme park and aquarium with facilities matching that of Disneyland has been signed between the Punjab government and a Chinese company.

The park will be built at a cost of Rs36 billion in one-and-a-half years, according to a handout issued by the Chinese company Golden Bean Group.

Lahore Commissioner Abdullah Sumbal along with Punjab Horticulture Authority director-general Mian Muhammad Shakeel and Chinese company chairman Jin Ming Nan signed the agreement in Lahore on Thursday.

Read more » The Express Tribune
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In case of threat, opposition to stand by govt: Aitzaz

“The ISPR  and the Corps Commanders has no right t publicly talk about the democratic and constitutional government.”


ISLAMABAD: Severely criticising a recent ISPR statement on poor implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) by the civilian set-up, several political parties — mainly the PPP — assured the PML-N government of their complete support in any eventuality.

“I am disappointed with the governance of the present government. But the ISPR and the corps commanders have no right to publicly talk about the democratic and constitutional government of Nawaz Sharif,” Leader of Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan said while speaking on a point of order in the Senate.

“Keep on indulging in my character assassination, but you will find Aitzaz Ahsan and those sitting on the opposition benches with you in case of any threat (to the government),” he said in an apparent reference to recent personal attacks on him by some ministers on the floor of the house.

Also read-editorial: Military’s complaint

Mr Ahsan said it was Mehmood Achakzai of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) who had been talking on the matter over the past two days, regretting that no-one from the PML-N had the courage to speak out.

Indicating tensions in civil-military ties, the military leadership had gone public on Tuesday with its concerns about poor implementation of the NAP and warned that efficacy of its counter-terrorism efforts could be undermined by inadequate supporting actions from civilian agencies.

The ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations) issued the statement after a corps commanders’ meeting presided over by army chief Gen Raheel Sharif.

“There is no doubt that the present government is absolutely incompetent. But can the military make such an announcement through an official statement after the corps commanders’ conference,” said Farhatullah Babar. “The ISPR statement itself is a manifestation of poor governance of the rulers.”

“We can also ask questions about your governance, Mr Commander,” he said in an apparent reference to the army chief.

“You almost daily tell us about the killing of foreign militants in Tirah Valley and other tribal areas. Please tell us the names of at least two militants,” he said. Similarly, he added, there were many questions in their minds about the ongoing Operation Zarb-i-Azb. “However, we do not ask such questions publicly believing that the army is doing a good job.”

Mr Babar said he would like to know why the army chief had not raised the issues at a meeting on national security issues presided over by the prime minister only two days before the corps commanders’ conference.

Read more » DAWN
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Gen Sharif himself requested for this visit – Pentagon

COAS to share ideas with US on Afghanistan


ISLAMABAD: Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif is expected to mainly focus on Afghanistan during his coming visit to the United States.

During his stay in the US, from Nov 15 to 20, the COAS will meet senior officials at the Pentagon and the State Department, according to officials making preparation for the visit.

This will be the army chief’s second visit to Washington in a year. And it comes close on the heels of a visit to Washington by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last month when he discussed almost everything with President Barack Obama.

But given the extent of the military’s influence in the country’s foreign affairs and security matters, people here believe that more substantive discussions would take place during the army chief’s US trip.

One must also not lose sight of the fact that Gen Sharif himself requested for this visit. To put it in the words of a Washington-based source, it is not ‘a counterpart visit’.

Read more » DAWN
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More details » Voice of America

Pakistan, China and Naxalites are main threats, says Indian Air Force chief

NEW DELHI: China, Pakistan and Naxalites are a major source of worry for the Indian Air Force (IAF), Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, India’s Chief of Air Staff, said here on Tuesday.

According to the Indian Express, he listed China’s growing influence in the Indian sub-continent as a major security challenge for New Delhi. Delivering the inaugural address at 12th Subroto Mukerjee Seminar at the Centre for Air Power Studies, ACM Raha said that Chinese growing influence was with a strategic aim in mind, and it was being factored in India’s foreign and defence policies.

“China has increased its economic and military ties with all our neighbours. Rapid infrastructure development is taking place in the TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region). World’s highest airfield at Daocheng Yading, highest railway line from Xiniang, Qinghai province to TAR capital, development of the Gwadar port and Economic corridor through PoK (Indian term for Azad Kashmir) and Pakistan, development of roads in TAR up to Indian border and increasing economic and military ties with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar are all strategic moves by China to contain India,” ACM Raha said.

Highlighting Beijing’s other regional moves, he said that “China has been making sustained efforts to make its presence felt in the IOR (Indian Ocean Region), including dispatch of submarines in the name of piracy control, with a strange logic.”

According to the Express, he said: “Incidents of border standoff in the north, issuance of paper visa to the residents of Arunachal Pradesh (AP) and claiming of Aksai Chin and part of AP as part of China have diluted the agreement of five principles, Panchsheel signed way back in 1954.”

Noting that the rise of China, India and Asean has shifted the global economic centre of gravity and hence, the strategic centre of gravity to the Asia Pacific Region, ACM Raha said that India faced a unique challenge — it has the dual task of physical security of the borders and maintaining harmonious relations with its neighbours.

Talking about Pakistan, ACM Raha observed that the “support of the Pakistan Army to the militant organisations and continuous interference in the internal affairs of Jammu and Kashmir will remain a source of friction between the two countries.

“Despite the grim internal situation, Pakistan has managed to strike a balance in its relations with China and USA. It has steadily built up its nuclear and ballistic missile capability with covert assistance from China and North Korea while continuing to receive monetary support and conventional weapons and aircraft from both USA as well as China. Their gamble of ‘Running with Hares and Hunting with Hounds’, while proclaiming itself as a member of GWOT (Global War on Terror) is paying off handsomely due to various geo-political reasons,” he added.

Read more » DAWN
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China, Russia And Pakistan: The World’s New Superpower Axis


The world is coming toward a bipolar world with China, Russia, Pakistan and a number of other authoritarian countries of Central Asia on one side, and the U.S., EU, Japan and their Asian allies on the other side.

And that’s not a peaceful nor a promising future, it’s a rather chaotic future where undecided countries such as India, Brazil, Egypt and others will be squeezed between the two sides.

If you take interest in today’s geopolitics, you probably know that the relations between Russia and Pakistanhave recently seen a significant warning. It is reasonable to say that the two countries – who were Cold War rivals – are getting closer.

Meanwhile, China, who is a traditional ally of Pakistan and has always supported the country against its historical rival India with its military equipment and in the fields of diplomacy, is showing clear signs of forming this new China-Russia-Pakistan triangle, which is likely to lead to the above-described bipolar world.

After the Russian economy had been hit by Western sanctions in the summer of 2014, the Kremlin started to look in the direction of Asia, particularly – Pakistan.

Read more » ValueWalk
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Pakistan an emerging market economy: IMF


WASHINGTON: In its latest World Economic Outlook report, the International Monetary Fund has included Pakistan in emerging market economies.

An emerging market economy is the one that is progressing toward a more advanced stage, usually by means of rapid growth and industrialization. These countries experience an expanding role both in the world economy and on the political frontier.

The IMF projects that Pakistan’s real GDP will continue to grow modestly, reaching 5.2 percent by 2020.

It was 4.0 percent in 2014, 4.2 percent in 2015 and is projected to reach 4.5 percent in 2016.

Read more » DAWN
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Not without my son


Two mice fall into a bucket of cream. The first one gives up early and dies. The second one keeps thrashing about till one day, the cream turns into butter and it crawls out. Few years ago, Hamid Ansari narrated this short story to an auditorium full of school dropouts in Mumbai. Today, his mother is the second mouse.

For over two years now, Fauzia Ansari has been desperately burrowing through a series of tough hearts on both sides of the border to find her son, Hamid. In November 2012, Hamid had set off to meet a girl in Kohat near Peshawar that he had fallen in love with online. On the pretext of a job interview at Kabul airport, the then 27-year-old management graduate flew to Afghanistan and later illegally entered Kohat. Here, after checking into a hotel on November 14, 2012, he disappeared. It was only recently that the Pakistani police admitted that Hamid had been arrested by the local police on the information of Inspector Naeem Ullah of Intelligence Bureau, Kohat.

Read more » The Times of India
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‘Looking East’: A trip to Middle Kingdom


The word China conjures a wide variety of different images. A typical Chinese house with curved and sloping roofs, people with their pants up to their ankles and hats in paddy fields or people with pencil thin tweaked moustaches with round and red cheeks and high hairstyles similar to the Emperors of earlier dynasties, and cities that are overcrowded, funny smells, and exotic spices and foods.

Fortunately or unfortunately, none of these things hold true for China today, at least for the two cities that I visited during my predominantly business trip there.

Despite there being many flights daily to China, our geographical position is interesting.

Though China and Pakistan are neighbours, the presence of the Karakoram, Hindukush and Himalaya mountain ranges has made this region relatively inaccessible and our sense of China, unlike India, is all that is conjured in books, pictures, films and from ancient history.

Read more » DAWN
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The Pakistan Nuclear Nightmare


With as many as 120 warheads, Pakistan could in a decade become the world’s third-ranked nuclear power, behind the United States and Russia, but ahead of China, France and Britain. Its arsenal is growing faster than any other country’s, and it has become even more lethal in recent years with the addition of small tactical nuclear weapons that can hit India and longer-range nuclear missiles that can reach farther.

These are unsettling truths. The fact that Pakistan is also home to a slew of extremist groups, some of which are backed by a paranoid security establishment obsessed with India, only adds to the dangers it presents for South Asia and, indeed, the entire world.

Read more » The New York Times
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I had to take off my Hijab because society refused to accept me

By Ayesha Umair

Out of the 50 Muslim majority states in the world, Pakistan ranks second in the list with a Muslim majority population of 97 per cent. And it was among these Muslims that I felt discriminated for donning a hijab.

I began the practice of hijab during my second year in art school. Initially, most of my friends did not pay attention to my additional piece of clothing and encouraged the practice. Eventually, however, I realised that while all my relatives, friends and acquaintances professed to be Muslims, very few supported my choice to wear a hijab.

Read more » The Express Tribune
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Turkmenistan starts work on $10bn pipeline bringing gas to Pakistan


ASHGABAT: Energy-rich Turkmenistan’s leader has ordered the start of construction on a pipeline carrying gas from the former Soviet state to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, their government said on Saturday.

Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov ordered state companies Turkmengaz and Turkmengazneftstroi to begin building the isolated republic’s section of the pipeline, state media said.

Overall, the pipeline will stretch 1,800 kilometres and is likely to cost more than $10 billion.

The Turkmenistan official newspaper also said the government expects the gas link, with an annual capacity of 33 billion cubic metres, to be fully operational by the end of 2018.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) project could help ease growing energy deficits in Asian giants India and Pakistan.

Read more » DAWN
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The “State Religion” is the root of religious terrorism and extremism in Pakistan.

WSC 27th International Conference
Desk News – London: 27th International Conference on Sindh, “Roots of Extremism and Terrorism in Pakistan and Human Rights of oppressed nations” was organized by the World Sindhi Congress (WSC), at Kingsley Hall, London, on October 31st, 2015..

Chairman Jeay Sindh Mahaz, Abdul Khalique Junejo’s book “Politics of Change – Bitter realities and tough choices” launched by World Sindhi Congress at London.  Amanullah Shaikh, thel leader of Awami Jhamori Party (AJP) and Julian Levesque French researcher spoke on the book. Farhan Kaghzi introduced the book and moderated the event.

India’s former Union Law Minister and formerer Chairman of Bar Council of India, Ram Jethmalani and .several other distinguished scholars and activists from Sindh, USA, EU, Canada and UK presented papers and speeches on the theme of “Roots of Extremism and Terrorism in Pakistan. Human Rights of oppressed nations”

Courtesy: via Social media (Facebook)

Today, I wish Pakistan and India could be more like Canada

Dear Pakistan and India,

Today was a beautiful day in Canada. The sun was shining bright, and it was a warm day in the cold month of November. The temperature in my city was 20 degrees centigrade. Warmer still were the temperatures of hearts in Ottawa where our new handsome Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, whom you loved when he relished biryani in a mosque or performed bhangra with the desi community, was taking the oath of office along with 30 other ministers. Half of these ministers are women.

A 12-year-old boy from the indigenous aboriginal community led Trudeau to the ceremonial hall. The ceremony began by paying tribute to the Algonquin community on whose territory they were standing. Two indigenous ministers were sworn in. Acknowledging the centuries old injustices to the indigenous people, one of them was named minister of justice.

Today was the first time in Canada that a Muslim minister was sworn in, and that too a woman, who came here as a refugee with her widowed mother and sisters after fleeing war-torn Afghanistan.

There are three South Asians taken in as ministers. One of them holds the coveted position of minister of defence. Another was a bus driver before he came into politics. Two individuals with disabilities, one with impaired vision and another on wheel chair also became ministers. Yet another one of the minister’s parents worked as immigrant factory workers all their lives. A doctor became the health minister, and a university scientist became the minister of science. A new portfolio of immigration, citizenship and refugees was created.

An incredible step has been taken towards celebrating diversity today. The world has been watching Justin Trudeau with awe.

And yes, our premier (chief minister) of Ontario is a gay woman who is a grandmother and says family comes first.

But why am I writing this all down for you?

I was 24-years-old when, as an Indian, I married a Pakistani, and embraced my Pakistani-Indian status. I know some people would frown and wonder how that could work, but I have loved every minute of my marriage. It has been 25 years since then. But that’s another conversation.

In contrast to that, I have been a Canadian for only five years, yet I feel safer here than back home.

Sitting here, witnessing diversity unfold its virtues in Canada, my heart weeps for the havoc that has been created by ‘otherising’ and demonising diversity in India and Pakistan.

From the persecution of Ahmadis, to the killings of Shia youth, to burning Christians, to forced conversions of Hindus, to the recurrent Hindu-Muslim communal riots, to the lynching of Muslims for eating beef, to the burning of low caste children, with every new tragedy a little of Pakistani-Indian dies within me.

The unending arguments of how different Indians and Pakistanis are, despite sharing the same history, same geography, same ethnicity and even the same genetic pool, looks more ridiculous when you watch different skin colours and different ethnicities stand together in peace at the swearing in ceremony in Ottawa.

Read more » The Express Tribune
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GE Partnering with Sapphire Electric Company Limited to Help Pakistan’s Power Capacity Keep Pace with Rapidly-Growing Demand

Dubai, UAE; GE (NYSE: GE) is partnering with Sapphire Electric Company Limited through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to co-create GE Predictivity™ solutions that will play an integral role in delivering more power to Pakistan, and help close a gap between the country’s power capacity and ongoing electricity demand.

GE Predictivity solutions combine the power of the company’s connected machines network, data analytics and people at work to help power generators manage their plant facilities more productively, and make well-informed operational decisions. The MoU is part of GE’s strategic partnership approach to co-create tailored solutions that will increase the power plant output.

Mr. Shahid Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of Sapphire said, “This strategic agreement with GE underlines our vision to be the most efficient and to serve the needs of our customers and investor communities. GE brings extensive industry experience to our partnership, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration in helping expand Pakistan’s power generation infrastructure as our communities continue to grow.”

– See more at:

More details » GE Reports

Fashion Pakistan week is back to tell you what’s hot this winter.

FPW Winter/Festive 2015 to be held on 28th-30th November

This Fashion Pakistan Week’s highlights include a grand finale by Nilofer Shahid

Attention, fashionistas: Before you pack your wardrobes with your winter haul, wait for the winter edition of the Fashion Pakistan Week to tell you what’s hot.

The Fashion Pakistan Week Winter/Festive 2015, previously known as the FPW Autumn/Winter, will be held from November 28th to November 30th.

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