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ISLAMABAD: Over one-third members of Senate submitted on Friday a resolution to repeal the National Accountability Amendment Ordinance promulgated last week to disqualify public servants seeking plea bargain.
On January 7, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the government had decided to immediately introduce the ordinance as the introduction of a bill in this regard would delay the matter.
As many as 38 senators from the opposition as well as coalition signed the resolution to disapprove the ordinance, former Finance Minister Senator Saleem Mandviwalla told The Express Tribune.
“We the undersigned members of Senate of Pakistan wish to move the resolution under Article 89 (2) (a) (ii) read with rule 145 (2) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate 2012,” the resolution read.
If the Senate passes the resolution, it will be the third time in less than two years that the opposition-controlled upper house of Parliament would strike down a Presidential Ordinance. Earlier, the House rejected Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Amendment Ordinance and Companies Ordinance 2016.
Mandviwalla said the Senate was expected to approve the resolution next week. The Senate, which has has 104 seats, requires a minimum one-third members to sign the resolution to disapprove an ordinance.
According to the senator, the resolution was moved over objections on bypassing Parliament, saying members of the party also were not happy with the contents of the ordinance.
He said that the senators belonging to Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Awami National Party, Muttahida Quami Movement and Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata) signed the resolution.
According to the amendments, both the plea bargain and voluntary return agreements would require the approval of a court.
The Supreme Court took serious notice of the controversial plea bargain deal worth over Rs2 billion struck by former Balochistan Finance Secretary Mushtaq Raisani with NAB.
The apex court had asked the government for its point of view on the powers conferred on the NAB chairman under Section 25-A of the ordinance.
Raisani was taken into custody on May 6, 2016 after a team of the bureau recovered sensitive documents and Rs603 million in cash during a raid at his residence.
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KARACHI: Picking up gymnastics is a road less trodden in Pakistan and 10-year-old Misha Saqib is all set to blaze the trail as she dreams of following her idol Simone Biles by winning gold at the Olympics.
Misha stunned all at the National Women’s Championship this week when she collected five gold medals which included winning the individual vault event, the individual balance beam and the floor event, while she took the award for the best gymnast and claimed another medal with Sindh Green for winning the championship in the overall team rankings.
“I want to be like Biles,” Misha told The Express Tribune. “I train six times a week after school and I work hard on improving myself; I want to be an Olympian when I grow up. I really like Misha; she is the best gymnast.”
Misha began showing interest in gymnastics in 2013 when she was introduced to the sport through a local coach who used to train the kids in her neighbourhood. A lot of time has passed since then and Misha now gets to go to Dubai to train twice a year.
“It’s a lot of hard work and dedication,” said Misha’s mother Zantiana. “We took her to London for a short course as well and Misha did some ballet for a year as well; we saw her potential so we decided that she should continue with it.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan Gymnastics Federation (PGF) President Ahmed Ali Rajput, who is also a Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) official, said that Misha has been one of the most improved athletes he has seen so far and hopes she keeps up the good work.
He, however, lamented the state of the sport in the country. “Gymnastics in Pakistan is a misunderstood sport,” admitted Rajput. “Most of the coaches, even the national ones, read articles to find out how to train the athletes. They don’t have much professional experience. We have still a very long way to go if we are to become world-class.”
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LONDON: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will agree to be extradited to the United States if President Barack Obama grants clemency to the former US soldier Chelsea Manning, jailed for leaking documents, the company said on Thursday.
“If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ (US Department of Justice) case,” WikiLeaks wrote on Twitter. Assange has been living in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations.
The Australian former computer hacker said he fears Stockholm will in turn extradite him to the US, where he angered Washington over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of US military and diplomatic documents leaked by former US soldier Manning.
Manning is currently serving a 35-year sentence in solitary confinement for handing over the 700,000 sensitive documents from the US State Department. Supporters of the transgender soldier are putting their hopes in a pardon by Obama before he leaves office later this month, although the White House has said the president will not be granting her clemency.
Manning has already made two suicide attempts and currently has an appeal pending before a military court. Washington has maintained the threat of prosecuting Assange over the 2010 leak, though no charges have been filed.
WikiLeaks’ post on Twitter was accompanied by a letter addressed to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in which Assange’s lawyer Barry Pollack argues there is no legitimate basis for continuing the investigation into the WikiLeaks founder.
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KARACHI: Former cricketer Jalaluddin has warned the team management that they need to do something about the players’ confidence, otherwise the team won’t be able to win any match in the series.
The 57-year-old believes that the constant rotation policy by the team management, where a single bad performance can get a player axed from the team, is not reaping any rewards.
“If a batsman is not confident that his place is secure in the team, then he will not play his natural game,” he said. “He won’t be able to follow the plan laid out by the management and thus won’t be able to contribute much. The team management has to keep this in mind and work to improve the players’ confidence. The team is very demoralised at the moment.”
Jalaluddin also criticised the team management for not fully utilising the strengths of the batsmen. “We have to agree that our batsmen are not all world-class; they don’t have the skill and the mental temperament to match the best in the world and the team management needs to realise that. They need to utilise the strength of the batsmen and ask him to play accordingly.”
The former pacer also expressed his disappointment with the bowlers, who just have been extremely poor the entire tour.
The Pakistani bowlers had reduced Australia to 78-5 at one point but were unable to capitalise on it as the hosts ended up setting a strong 269-run target for the visitors.
Jalaluddin, who claimed ODI’s first-ever hat-trick, said that players lack confidence and consistency which is a worry for Pakistan because it can spoil all the good work they have put in. “The bowlers showed some complacency after reducing Australia to 78-5 and that was where the problem began. The just relaxed a little bit and Australia took advantage of that,” he said.
The post Something needs to be done about player confidence: Jalaluddin appeared first on The Express Tribune.
KARACHI: The index finally underwent a much-awaited correction, registering a fall of 306.51 points on the last day of the week after climbing over 156 points in the morning.
Investors opted to book long overdue profits, falling in a queue after the mid-day break with the KSE-100 Index enduring a volatile and see-saw ride to finish close to the 49,200 level.
At close, the Pakistan Stock Exchange’s (PSX) benchmark KSE 100-share Index finished with a fall of 0.62% or 306.52 points to end at 49,210.50.
JS Global analyst Nabeel Haroon said the market opened on a positive note as the index gained to make an intraday high of +156 points but came under selling pressure during the second half where investors booked profits.
“Banking sector led the decline in the market, as index heavyweights UBL (-2.64%) and MCB (-1.83%) lost value to close in the red zone,” said Haroon.
“Profit taking continued in the textile sector as the sector extended it loss to close (-1.79%) lower.
“The fertiliser sector also closed marginally lower (-0.22%) than its previous day close even after the news that fertiliser manufacturers have increased prices by Rs210/bag and Rs300/bag for urea and DAP,” respectively.
“Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim Group (+1.11%) managed to close in the green zone.”
Trading volumes rose to 563 million shares compared with Wednesday’s tally of 460 million.
Shares of 432 companies were traded. At the end of the day, 161 stocks closed higher, 263 declined while 8 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs23.6 billion.
First Dawood Investment t Bank was the volume leader with 28.8 million shares, gaining Rs0.22 to finish at Rs7.85. It was followed by Pace (Pak) Limited with 24.6 million shares, losing Rs0.71 to close at Rs11.30 and Sui Southern Gas Limited with 24.1 million shares, gaining 1.35 to close at Rs37.74.
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LONDON: Britain’s Victoria & Albert Museum announced on Friday that opposition Labour lawmaker Tristram Hunt would be its next director, triggering a by-election that could provide an opening for the Brexit-supporting UK Independence Party (UKIP).
Hunt, a history lecturer, will resign next week as Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent in central England as he prepares to take the prestigious post in the ‘coming months’, he and the London museum said.
The announcement brings a fresh challenge for beleaguered Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is struggling in opinion polls against Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives.
— V&A (@V_and_A) January 13, 2017
In his resignation letter, Hunt cited his ‘frustration’ at the direction of his party under the veteran socialist, although he said he had ‘no desire to rock the boat’.
Hunt was first elected in 2010 and kept his seat at the election five years later with majority of more than 5,000 over the runner-up from the anti-immigration, anti-EU UKIP.
In the June referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, he campaigned against Brexit — but 69 per cent of his constituents voted to leave the bloc.
UKIP, a driving force behind Brexit under its former leader Nigel Farage, confirmed it would contest the forthcoming by-election.
“UKIP will be fighting hard to offer local people the committed representation they both need and deserve,” said UKIP chairman Paul Oakden.
UKIP, which currently has only one MP, has been plagued by in-fighting since the vote to leave the EU, which was for decades its primary objective.
Hunt is an expert on British history in the 18th and 19th centuries and alongside his parliamentary work, which has focused on education policy, lectures at Queen Mary University of London.
V&A Chairman Nicholas Coleridge said he had a “highly compelling mixture of experience across public life, the arts, history, education and academia, and knows our collections well”.
As MP for an area known for its potteries, Hunt also helped save the Wedgwood Collection in 2014, which was gifted to the V&A and is on long-term loan to the Wedgwood Museum in Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent.
Hunt said he was “delighted and honoured”, adding: “I have loved the V&A since I was a boy, and today it is a global leader in its unrivalled collections, special exhibitions, academic research and visitor experience.”
The outgoing director, German Martin Roth, announced his intention to leave following Britain’s vote to quit the EU, saying he would throw his weight into fighting nationalism across Europe.
QUETTA: Unidentified attackers shot dead a journalist in Balochistan’s Qalat district, close to Afghan and Iranian border, police said Friday.
Muhammad Jan, 37, who worked for Urdu language daily newspaper Qudrat, was shot late Thursday while on his way home on a motorcycle in Qalat district, some 160 kilometres south of Quetta, the provincial capital.
“Two attackers on motorcycle opened fire on him, using a pistol and killing him on the spot,” senior police officer Muhammad Ali told AFP. The attackers fled the scene, he said.
Pakistan is ranked among the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists. The restive province has been wracked for more than a decade by religious, sectarian and separatist insurgencies. However the motive for Jan’s killing is not yet clear, Ali said. He had not complained of any threats from militant groups or mentioned any family or tribal dispute.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the killing, and Ali said police were investigating. Jan was also working as a press secretary for the Balochistan media council as well as a teacher in a government school.
SYDNEY: Canadian starlet Eugenie Bouchard says she has learnt to take no notice of the “haters”, revealing she has spoken with fellow young gun Nick Kyrgios on how to handle the intense scrutiny.
Despite a slump in form, she and the Australian are two of the sport’s hottest drawcards, with both having to deal with a spotlight on their professional and private lives.
Bouchard, on the comeback trail after her high-flying career plunged into a tailspin, said being seen as one of the most marketable players on tour could be a hard ask.
She has discussed the burden of expectations with the brash Kyrgios, tipped as a future Grand Slam champion but who has polarised opinion with his on-court antics.
“Yeah, we have spoken about it a little bit. We just came to the conclusion that haters are going to hate and we weren’t going to listen to them,” she said in the Sydney Morning Herald Friday.
“Why would you not do something because of somebody else’s opinion of you? Why should I allow somebody else to dictate my life? That’s Nick’s attitude as well and I think that’s really cool. I respect that.”
Bouchard became one of the most bankable assets in women’s tennis in 2014 when she stormed to the Wimbledon final as well as the semi-finals of the Australian and French Opens.
But the confident, charismatic 22-year-old then saw her career nosedive in 2015 and her ranking slump.
Now 49 in the world, she reached her first semi-final for 10 months at the Sydney International this week, before losing to Britain’s Johanna Konta.
She said it was “a good step in the right direction” ahead of the Australian Open Grand Slam next week, where all eyes will again be on the Quebec native.
LONDON: Spending by tourists visiting the UK, especially from Hong Kong, China and the Middle East, surged in December with the pound slumping after the Brexit vote, a survey said on Friday.
“Foreign visitors spent over £725 million…in December, as the weakened pound prompted an influx of bargain hunting ‘Brexit tourists’ to the UK over the Christmas period,” said a report from card payments processor Worldpay.
It said spending on foreign cards surged 22 per cent year-on-year, handing an extra £130 million to UK retailers compared with the same month in 2015.
Worldpay said visitors from Hong Kong spent an extra 69 per cent in UK stores last month. Spending on Chinese cards was up by 24 per cent, while traditionally big-spending visitors from the UAE spent almost a third more. US and Russian outlay also grew by around a quarter.
And the amount spent by French and German tourists over the festive period was up by 14 per cent.
“UK retail centres, including London’s West End, are a magnet for visitors from all over the world, made all the more attractive by the bargains on offer as a result of the weakened pound,” said James Frost, chief UK marketing officer at Worldpay.
The pound has struck 31-year lows against the dollar and eight-year troughs versus the euro since Britain voted in June to exit the European Union, making the UK an attractive place for foreign visitors holding stronger currencies.
Irish spend was up more than 46 per cent, although this likely included a number of people holding euros from southern Ireland simply crossing the border into Northern Ireland where the currency is sterling.
Swiss-held cards meanwhile showed a drop in spending of 1.8 per cent in December, according to Worldpay data.
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COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Friday tightened the rules governing the around one million tuk-tuks — rickety three-wheel taxis — on its streets after road traffic accidents claimed a record 3,000 lives last year.
The transport ministry said all tuk-tuks must now have head and tail lights, and made it an offence for drivers to smoke while carrying passengers. All three-wheelers will also have to be fitted with fare meters and issue receipts to passengers, it said in a notice in the country’s official gazette.
The transport ministry also made it mandatory for the ubiquitous tuk-tuks to have electrically operated windscreen wipers and cabin lights. Police estimate that 3,000 people died on Sri Lanka’s roads last year and about 15 per cent of those were tuk-tuk passengers.
Another 100,000 people are seriously wounded in traffic accidents each year in Sri Lanka. Last month, the government announced raising the minimum traffic fines from about 500 rupees ($3.3) to 25,000 rupees ($166) in a bid to make Sri Lankan roads safer.
The vast majority of three wheelers in Sri Lanka have been imported from neighbouring India and most of them are in poor condition.
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KARACHI: Sibling rivalries generally fade away well before adolescence, but in the case of teenage brothers Muzammil and Mudassir Murtaza, the rivalry has only just begun.
The Murtaza brothers are both vying for a place in Pakistan’s Davis Cup squad that will take on Iran next month in Islamabad as part of their Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Zone Group II tie.
With the experienced Aisamul Haq and Aqeel Khan virtual locks to grab two of the four spots on the team, the 17-year-old Muzammil and 19-year-old Mudassir will have to fight it out with fellow hopefuls Yasir Khan, Muhammad Abid, Heera Ashiq, Abid Ali Akbar and Ahmed Chodhari for the remaining two places.
So intense is the competition for places that the younger Muzammil says he shows no mercy to his elder brother Mudassir despite sharing a bond with him.
“Davis Cup is of course the most important tournament for us in tennis. Representing your country on an international stage is unlike any other feeling,” the highly-rated Muzammil, who has wins over Davis Cuppers Yasir Khan and Muhammad Abid Mushtaq, told The Express Tribune.
“Both of us are in the running for the two spots in the Davis Cup team and even though I wish we both make the cut, at the end of the day it is the sport that matters. The two of us don’t even talk to each other when we are on the opposite sides of the court.”
The brothers, who employ the rarely used two-handed forehand, clashed in the ongoing trials on Sunday when Muzammil drew first blood. Although as expected, he was unapologetic about it since it was all in the game.
“We trash talk before the match to intimidate each other,” he revealed. “It is a sign of healthy competition. We are also each other’s best support system; I tell him about his flaws and he points out mine. It is all about honesty, on and off the court.”
While for now, Muzammil’s aim is to earn a place alongside Aqeel on the roster, the youngster says once the Davis Cup gets out the way he will again try and climb his Everest — which is to defeat the almost invincible Aqeel.
“Aqeel has taught us a lot but that doesn’t reduce my desire to defeat him,” said Muzammil, who has last month’s Asian Tennis Tour (ATT) tournament defeat at the hands of his idol still fresh on his mind. “He is the best player we have, so I need to overcome him in a match in order to prove that I have improved.”
Aqeel, meanwhile, rates the Jahaniyan-based prodigy very highly but feels the youngster could benefit with a more dedicated training regime as well as playing in the International Tennis Federation Futures events.
The advice hasn’t fallen on deaf ears as Muzammil plans on playing the Dubai juniors ITF tournament at the conclusion of the first phase of the ongoing Davis Cup trials. He feels he will return a better player and more prepared for the second phase following his excursions in the Middle East.
“I have to win one more match in the first round of the Davis Cup trials which of course won’t be easy as I prefer the slower clay courts and the trials are taking place on outdoor hard courts. Hence, I’ll be going to Dubai to try and refine my technique and learn from other players so that I can represent Pakistan which is my ultimate dream,” concluded Muzammil.
With both Aisam and Aqeel well into the twilight of their careers, Pakistan will soon need a new breed of players to carry the torch. If that proverbial torch needs safe hands, mind you, Murtaza brothers use both of theirs.
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Tuesday that peaceful coexistence and mutual respect are the main objectives of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
“Peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and economically integrated region must be our shared objective and we must strive for realising this objective,” he said.
The prime minister was chairing the meeting in Islamabad to review foreign policy with regard to current global and regional challenges Pakistan has been facing, where the participants also discussed the current status of relations with its neighbours and strategic partners.
“Pakistan believes in peaceful coexistence with all neighbouring countries and looks forward to establishing strong and mutually beneficial relations with them,” PM Nawaz said.
He added that coexistence is only possible when “we demonstrate a commitment to our aspirations of peace, progress and prosperity”.
The high-level huddle reviewed bilateral and multi-lateral relations with neighbouring countries, future road-map for regional stability and maintenance of mutually beneficial relations with all countries in the region and beyond, according to a PM House statement.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, DG ISI Lt-Gen Naveed Mukhtar and PM’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz were among others who attended the meeting.
Emphasising on the game-changer project of the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the premier said that it is a cornerstone of the country’s quest for regional connectivity and shared prosperity.
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KARACHI: Pakistan endured another nightmarish day on their Down Under sojourn as Australia openers David Warner and Matt Renshaw smashed stroke-filled centuries to all but knock out the tourists on day one of the dead rubber Sydney Test on Tuesday.
Former chief selector and Test batsman Haroon Rasheed feels that the damning loss in Melbourne left the team tired and mentally fatigued, and once the Australians started on an aggressive note, there was no coming back for Misbahul Haq’s men.
“Pakistan were on the back foot since the onset; losing the toss on a good batting pitch against attacking batsmen decided it for Pakistan. The bowlers bowled all over the place and Warner blazed away. The heavy loss in the preceding Test made it really tough and it seems as if the players never recovered from that.”
The pace-bowling quartet of Mohammad Amir, Imran Khan and Wahab Riaz bore the brunt of Warner’s attack, who posted his 100 off 78 balls in the opening session of the Test to become the first batsman to score a century before lunch on the opening day of a Test match on Australian soil.
Warner eventually fell for 113 but Pakistan’s relief was short-lived as Renshaw posted his maiden Test hundred in the last session of the day; he ended the day unbeaten on 167 off 275 balls with his team sitting pretty at 365-3.
Rasheed expressed his surprise over the benching of Sohail Khan in favour of Imran, “Sohail bowled decently in Melbourne besides his batting contribution — 65 in the first innings. I am not aware of his fitness though and unless there was an issue there, he shouldn’t have been benched. Imran has hardly played in recent months and I feel it wasn’t right to ask him to deliver on a batting track against quality batsmen,” he said.
‘Senior players a massive disappointment’
Rasheed also observed that while Australia have been wonderfully served by their senior players like Warner and captain Steve Smith, Pakistan’s senior batting duo of Misbah and Younus Khan have been major disappointments on the tour.
“We need to take stock of the situation; Australians have their senior players delivering which is inspiring their youngsters who are emulating their feats. On the contrary, our senior batsmen have been unable to carry the burden which has made it very tough for the younger lot. Yasir Shah’s bowling form and control is also lacking; he has proved ineffective which has made the bowling attack toothless.”
Yasir had another forgettable day as he conceded 100 plus runs for the sixth time in his last 12 innings finishing the day with a return of one for 132 in 30 overs — his only success of the day was Smith’s scalp.
‘Structural reforms necessary’
The poor start to the Sydney Test sees Pakistan staring at the prospect of their 12th consecutive long-format defeat in Australia, a run that started from the 1999 Brisbane Test.
Rasheed, who was removed as chief selector following the debacle in last year’s World T20 in India, feels that bucking the defeat’s trend in Australia is a formidable challenge for Pakistan and the authorities need to start planning for the next tour to avoid making the same mistakes.
“I am afraid we can’t expect to win in Australia without structural reforms and a long-term plan. We haven’t won there for 20 years which means that we need to prioritise and map out a strategy for the next Test-tour Down Under; 12 defeats in a row is embarrassing for a team like Pakistan and I hope that the PCB can find a solution to reverse this depressing trend.”
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HERAT, AFGHANISTAN: Around 2,000 Shia Muslims in western Afghanistan staged a protest Tuesday against growing sectarian attacks by Islamic State, as the government warned that the group had expanded its foothold into 11 provinces.
Chanting “Death to the enemies of Afghanistan!” and “Death to Daesh!”, the Arabic acronym for IS, the protesters in the city of Herat marched on the governor’s office, carrying pictures of Shias killed in recent attacks.
“Daesh attacks on our mosques are increasing everyday. They want to create a rift between Shias and Sunnis,” Qurban Ali, a 40-year-old demonstrator, told AFP. “This is a dangerous trend and we want the government to protect us.”
The rise of IS has raised the spectre of sectarian discord in Afghanistan, something that the Sunni-majority country has largely been spared despite decades of war. Until a few months ago IS was largely confined to the eastern province of Nangarhar bordering Pakistan, where it is notorious for brutality including beheadings despite a US-backed offensive against the group.
But the government this week said the group was steadily expanding into other provinces. “Our initial information shows Daesh is behind the recent attacks in Herat. They are expanding and are always looking for new geographical areas,” Najeebullah Mani, head of counter-terrorism at the interior ministry, told reporters in Herat.
“They are present in at least 11 (of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces). Their main goal is to create sectarian divisions between Shias and Sunnis.” Herat, which borders Shia-dominated Iran, has recently witnessed a surge in attacks on the minority group’s mosques.
A prayer leader was killed and five others wounded in one such attack on Sunday. The group did not officially claim responsibility for the assault. “We will not allow Daesh to make Afghanistan another Syria,” said 30-year-old Jawad, another protester. “The government must come up with a plan to protect Shiaes.”
Last year Afghanistan witnessed a wave of attacks on Shias claimed by IS, which considers Shia Muslims apostates. At least 14 Shias were killed in October in a powerful blast at a mosque in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, hours after gunmen targeted Shia worshippers in a shrine in Kabul and killed 18 people.
In July the IS militants targeted members of Kabul’s Shia community in a suicide bombing that killed more than 80 people and wounded 130.
OMD Pakistan, a part of the Omnicom Media Group, won the title of ‘Pakistan media agency of the year’ at the Campaign Asia-Pacific Agency of the Year Awards 2016.
This is OMD Pakistan’s third consecutive award at Campaign Asia’s Agency of the Year Awards, but the first time as a winner of the gold.
OMD Pakistan achieved the accolade by demonstrating a strong business performance in 2016 and obtaining numerous top tier clients, whilst retaining 100% of its existing client base. The team takes pride in their creativity, innovation, service, transparency and commitment to its clients.
Omnicom Media Group’s Asia Pacific CEO, Cheuk Chiang, said, “OMD Pakistan is a very strong force in our region and we couldn’t be prouder of their performance and growth this year”.
OMD Asia Pacific CEO, Stephen Li, said, “OMD Pakistan has done it again and this time bagged the top, enviable title. We couldn’t be happier to raise the bar for ourselves every year. The award not only is a reflection on the agency’s performance but also mirrors the strong support of all their clients allowing them to indulge beyond the regular and deliver fearless creativity”.
CEO OMD Pakistan, Dara Bashir Khan, commented, “Winning the gold this time goes to show the trust and confidence our clients have in our abilities. It couldn’t have been possible without their support and our commitment towards unparalleled potential – the sky is definitely not the limit for us!”
Campaign Asia-Pacific’s Agency of the Year Awards honour ‘inspired leadership, management excellence, outstanding business performance and overall achievements’, in Asia Pacific’s advertising and communications industries.
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According to FoodNavigator, the global halal market is currently worth US$1.1 trillion and is forecasted to grow to over US$1.6 trillion by 2018. Moreover, according to Halal Research Council, halal food and other Muslim-focused markets are growing at double-digit rates in almost all Muslim-majority countries and even in Muslim-minority ones. According to World Finance, the global Muslim market is also growing outside of halal food at a combined total of over US$3 trillion in gross income.
However, Muslim countries are not at the forefront of this Halalified revolution. To share just one example, Brazil’s halal exports in 2015 earned them about US$5.9 billion. It’s clearer than ever that focusing on this specific niche — serving Muslims with products and services that meet their needs and do not conflict with their faith — has a potential for incredible growth. Entrepreneurs have taken note of this.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at five of the most innovative startups and entrepreneurs who are making it big by serving Muslims.
1. Salaam Bank
Founded by Ummah Wide creator Dustin Craun, Salaam Bank bills itself as a “Global Bank for a Global Generation.” Inspired by western banks, it has positioned itself as the world’s first Islamic banking and finance platform, which can connect customers to Islamic financial solutions worldwide depending on their locations.
Its aim is to make banking ethical for devout Muslims by connecting them to financial institutions that share their values (such as interest-free banking which is at the core of Islamic finance). The bank uses an online-only model that has already been popularized in the western world.
It is also designed to be global. From Dubai, Jakarta, London, to the US, it allows freedom and control of a customer’s banking experience.
Salaam Bank hasn’t launched yet, but they are expected to begin trials soon.
Founded by Danish Muslim entrepreneur Maruf Yusupov, Halal.ad is designed to be a halal-friendly alternative to other leading online ad platforms such as Google AdSense. It ensures that if your website — about the study of the Quran for example — begins running ads, your visitors won’t see advertisements for things that will offend their faith (alcohol or other items that Muslims are not allowed to consume).
The platform checks every single ad served to make sure they’re compliant with the faith’s ideals, saving Muslim companies a lot of time and money. It also has features such as date and location-specific targeting. In addition, the platform gives Muslim entrepreneurs and businesses a great way to target Muslims specifically, helping grow the halal and Muslim market niches.
The Islamic travel and tourism industry will be worth US$200 billion by 2020 according to areport by MasterCard, and HalalTrip is looking to serve Muslim consumers of this growing industry.
This is one of the oldest startups on this list — it was founded by CrescentRating CEO Fazal Bahardeen in 2013 — and it has quickly found success, becoming the go-to website and app to help Muslims find halal destinations.
This startup also helps Muslims find relevant experiences globally. It features restaurant reviews, tours, hotels, and offers coupons, special travel packages, and other such promotions. It also has a convenient “spotting” feature which allows users to upload photos of halal restaurants and destinations they visit to share with other users.
Their app also has an in-flight prayer time calculator which helps Muslims calculate when their prayer times should be while crossing different time zones.
HalalTrip has both an iOS and Android app.
4. Quran Academy
This innovative Quran study company was conceived by American entrepreneur Bilal Memon, a financial analyst and a hafiz (i.e., someone who has memorized the entire Quran). When he was younger, he found himself at a loss to remember the surah (a chapter of the Quran). Struck by this realization, he dedicated the next two and a half years (and his personal savings account) to create a modern way to help Muslims connect more effectively with the word of Allah.
Quran Academy was the result. This website as well as its mobile app, Quran Companion, is built to help average, every-day Muslims grow closer to their god through a consistent and informative study of the Quran.
The website integrates this timeless topic with modern technology and helps devotees study in the busy world.
Free trials are available through the site.
5. Bayyinah Institute
Founded by Nouman Ali Khan, an Arabic instructor and entrepreneur born in Germany, Bayyinah Institute’s mission is to encourage and enrich the study of Arabic and the Quran around the world. It focuses on the accessibility of study materials, innovation, affordability, and easy-to-understand lessons.
The concept is based on an understanding that for many, studying the Quran in the original Arabic is quite difficult. However, it emphasizes how rewarding the experience of doing so could be. It seeks to give as many people the tools they need to study the word of Allah in both the original and modern Arabic.
The site offers a massive collection of informative videos, online study materials, audio materials, and several different in-person and online classes. They also offer intensive summer courses at their headquarters and traveling in-person classes.
Bundle News (special mention)
While Bundle News is not focused on the Muslim world alone, it gets a mention in this article because it is created by a team of Turkish developers and designers, and also because the app has received good local press in Turkey.
Disclaimer: Ercan Varol, the founder, was my colleague for a short while in a company in Stockholm back in 2007.
This app provides an easy-to-use interface to keep track of the news. It has an Android and iPhone version and supports over 6,000 news sources from over 29 countries. Ercan shared that they now have 750,000 users and were also included in Google Play’s Editor’s Choice. They are also part of the FBStart program and Amazon’s Activate Service Bundle.
All these startups are providing valuable services such as education, finance, and more to Muslims which will surely help them become more progressive and responsible citizens.
The Muslim market continues to grow and, besides these companies, we can expect to see a huge amount of innovative, creative, and Muslim-focused startups disrupting the Muslim market in the future. It’s truly an exciting time for anyone involved in serving the needs of Muslim consumers. Anyone with business sense should certainly keep an ear to the ground and do their best to follow its growth just as these entrepreneurs have.
This article originally appeared on Tech in Asia.
The post These 5 startups are making it big by serving Muslims appeared first on The Express Tribune.
2016 proved to be a remarkably successful year for Hollywood with many movies grossing record numbers at the box office.
However, scores of people continued to frequent torrent sites to get their hands on pirated hits. According to Torrent Freak, Deadpool was the most pirated movie of 2016, followed by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America.
Here’s a list of the 10 most-pirated Hollywood movies of 2016, according to Torrent Freak.
Recently, the same website published a list of the most-pirated shows of 2016 with Game of Thrones emerging on top.
Have something to add in the story? Share it in the comments below.
The post Revealed: The 10 most-pirated Hollywood movies of 2016 appeared first on The Express Tribune.
Tech giant Samsung witnessed a terrible year in 2016 as the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer saw its flagship Note 7 device literally go up in flames, ultimately forcing the South Korean firm to launch a global recall for the Note 7 in an attempt to regain lost ground.
Though a new flagship device from Samsung isn’t expected for the next three months, the smartphone giant on Monday unveiled a number of mid-tier devices completely revamping its Galaxy A line-up.
Announced ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 the Galaxy A (2017) series includes the A7, A5 and the A3 smartphones that employ a metal frame and glass designs that gives a very premium look. On the inside the devices are powered by a 1.9GHz Octa Core processor with 3GB of RAM for the A7 and the A5 and a 1.6GHz Octa Core processor and 2GB RAM for the A3.
In addition to this the A7 and A5 also feature enhanced 16-megapixel cameras for both front and rear which are now more stable with accurate autofocus which company claims will result in vibrant and clear photos and selfies even in low-light conditions.
What’s even more interesting is that the Galaxy A series also has IP68 water and dust resistance rating, allowing it to withstand the elements, including rain, sweat, sand and dust. The series also supports fast charge and NFC functionality which are something rarely available in mid-tier smartphones.
The Galaxy A comes in four colours including black sky, gold sand, blue mist and peach cloud and would be available by in January.
“At Samsung, we are always trying to ensure our customers have the most advanced products on the market,” said said DJ Koh, president of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “The latest Galaxy A series is a testament to this. We integrated our unique approach to design as well as the features Galaxy customers have come to love to provide added performance without compromising on style.”
The post Samsung unveils new Galaxy phones with better waterproofing, 16MP camera appeared first on The Express Tribune.