Virtual Fashion Showcase Coming Soon By Pakistani Designers



In the world we now live in, everything has gone digital and the inevitable future, seems online. While the need for online entertainment booms, the requirement for fashion declines. Amid the global lockdown, luxuries cannot be prioritised anymore thus Catwalk CEo Freiha Altaf has found a way to keep the fashion industry, afloat.

A virtual fashi0n sh0w called the ‘United Fashi0n Fr0nt,’ (UFF) is being 0rganised t0 pay tribute t0 the fr0nt line fighters 0f C0vid-19. The sh0w, aside fr0m attracting 0nline buyers and reminding pe0ple 0f the Eid that sh0uld n0t be spent in despair, will represent Pakistan’s designers in a new, digital light.

Each designer will als0 d0nate an 0utfit 0r access0ry fr0m their Eid c0llecti0n t0 the health care w0rkers and th0se risking their lives t0 pr0tect 0thers amid the pandemic.

“I called N0mi Ansari after seeing his and Anushay Ashraf’s fundraising initiative f0r the daily wagers and then I sp0ke t0 Asim J0fa. After 0bserving h0w badly the pandemic had struck the maj0rity and h0w c0ncerned these pe0ple were ab0ut the 0nes suffering, I knew I had t0 d0 s0mething as well,” Altaf t0ld The Express Tribune.

She then j0tted d0wn all the ways in which it felt imp0ssible t0 execute the pr0gramme, and w0rked 0n a strategy that made an 0nline sh0wcase p0ssible.

“I c00rdinated with designers ab0ut their c0llecti0ns and we came t0 the c0nsensus that th0se wh0 c0uld arrange a safe space f0r their lab0ur f0rce t0 w0rk in c0uld get new 0utfits made while 0thers 0nb0ard w0uld utilise existing and unt0uched c0llecti0ns.”

The design h0uses expected t0 sh0wcase in the event include Faraz Manan, Shehla Chat00r, Elan, Generati0n, N0mi Ansari, Republic by 0mar Far00q, Ali Xeeshan, Ismail Farid, Shamaeel Ansari, Asim J0fa, Fnk Asia, S0nya Battla and Amir Adnan.

F0r Ali Xeeshan, fashi0n is ab0ut the “j0y0us n0ise and madness backstage, the red carpets and the pe0ple,” s0 the designer is thinking 0f the virtual sh0wcase like m0re 0f a temp0rary fix, n0t a permanent s0luti0n.

Household Income For Each Province Revealed by PSLM



Bal0chistan has gr0wn its average m0nthly h0useh0ld inc0me faster than any 0ther pr0vince despite having the l0west m0nthly h0useh0ld inc0me, Pakistan S0cial and Living Standards Measurement (PSLM) Survey 2018-2019 has revealed.

Acc0rding t0 PSLM 2018-2019, Bal0chistan grew its average h0useh0ld inc0me by 21%, the highest gr0wth rate 0f any pr0vince, since the last editi0n 0f the PSLM rep0rt published in June 2014.

PSLM 2018-2019 c0vered 24,809 h0useh0lds and gathered inf0rmati0n ab0ut their inc0me, savings, liabilities, and c0nsumpti0n expenditure and c0nsumpti0n patterns at b0th nati0nal and pr0vincial levels with an urban-rural breakd0wn.

In the last 5 years, the highest h0useh0ld m0nthly inc0me was rep0rted in Punjab at Rs. 42,862 while Bal0chistan remained at the b0tt0m with Rs. 36,387. M0re0ver, the inc0me 0f the p00rest segment 0f s0ciety increased faster than the richest segment.

0verall, nati0nal m0nthly inc0me 0ver the past 5 years increased by 16.2% t0 Rs. 40,265 against the previ0us average 0f 34,642.

Here is a c0mparis0n 0f h0useh0ld m0nthly inc0me 0f all pr0vinces under PSLM 2018-2019 against PSLM 2013-2014.

Acc0rding t0 the 2019 survey, the average m0nthly c0nsumpti0n expenditure increased by 14% t0 Rs. 37,159 since the 2014 survey.

P00rest segment 0f the s0ciety has the l0west m0nthly c0nsumpti0n expenditure while the richest segment rep0rted the highest m0nthly expenditure. Similarly, the urban p0pulati0n has a c0nsumpti0n expenditure 0f 37% higher than the rural p0pulati0n.

With 42%, salaries and wages remain the biggest c0mp0nent 0f the h0useh0ld inc0me acr0ss Pakistan. Dependence 0f h0useh0ld inc0me 0n agriculture activities is increasing while dependence 0n livest0ck is 0n a d0wnward traject0ry, PSLM 2018-2019 c0ncluded.

Pakistanis Abroad Can Now Vote in Elections


Taking another step towards the fulfillment of his promise, Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to give Pakistani nationals in foreign countries a right to cast vote through i-voting.

This was decided during an important meeting, attended by the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis, Zulfiqar Bukhari, PM’s adviser on parliamentary affairs Babar Awan, National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and the officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The attendants of the meeting also gave approval of the biometric voting procedure after reviewing its practical demonstration. The matter will be taken to the Parliament to initiate a debate.

SAPM on Overseas Pakistanis, Zulfiqar Bukhari said that the decision to allow i-voting was taken on the directives of Prime Minister Imran. He added that the development will adhere to the longstanding demand of the overseas Pakistanis.

He said that they will keep the i-voting procedure easy and simple to allow more Pakistani nationals abroad to exercise their right of voting.

Bukhari lamented previous governments for ignoring Pakistan expatriates’ demand in the past, saying that PTI-led government will also include them in the decision-making process.

50% Reduction in Cyber Crime in Pakistan


Cyber Crime

Air pollution is not the only thing that has seen a decrease these days due to Coronavirus, there has been a fall in cybercrime cases across Pakistan thanks to the steps taken by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The analysis of complaints at the cybercrime wing (CCW) shows a huge fall in the amount of online financial crimes in the country despite the usage of the internet going up.

 The FIA CCW, under the directives of the PM, had taken strong measures to prevent online financial crimes. According to a recent report, the cyber financial crimes have fallen by around 50%.

During the lockdown period, over 488 complaints have been filed with the CCW compared to 928 similar complaints that were filed in the same period before the lockdown.

During the period of 1st March to 22nd April of this year, the cybercrime wing had caught 6 gangs of cybercriminals with 45 perpetrators being jailed. Apart from this, 39 cases in this period have been registered by the CCW.

Pakistan to Receive $305 Million From ADB for Coronavirus Pandemic


The Concept Clearance Committee met to discuss the ADB’s financing plan in its efforts to support Kovid-19 Emergency Assistance Services, entitled “Emergency Assistance to Fight the Kovid-19 Pandemic,” worth $ 305 million. Submitted and subsequently approved.

The meeting was chaired by Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Muhammad Jahanjeeb Khan and was attended by a delegation from the Asian Development Bank headed by the country’s Director Mrs. Jiaohong Yang.

ADB provides $ 200 million for social care for the poor and vulnerable and $ 105 million for public health emergency preparedness.

The proposal will also focus on storing stores and health lists for any unexpected surge and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies throughout the corona epidemic.

Increase existing facilities or add additional space in existing facilities, train health personnel, strengthen health management systems including inventory control, disease monitoring and standard protocols, as well as improve water and sanitation facilities and open spaces.

DCPC Jahanjeeb Khan said the government is looking for ways to help those who have been directly affected by the corona pandemic and are not eligible for financial assistance from the BISP. Various methods have been discussed to fund the government of Pakistan under the loan agreement.

The forum has authorized the federal government to borrow ADB, which will be implemented by the NDRMF (National Disaster Risk Management Fund) as a grant in the province and in special areas.

Planning Commission, Ministry of National Health Services and Regulation, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, NDMA and Benazir Income Assistance Program (BISP) officials participated.

3 Hospitals to Avail Finances from Meezan Bank Without Markup



Meezan Bank Management Rs. 200 million for three charity hospitals providing treatment to COVID-19 patients in Karachi.

The bank will provide financing to these hospitals on the basis of Kharz Hasna, which also waives 3% of the financing amount fixed by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

This step is one of the good examples set by the banking company when the whole country is facing a challenging situation. Other for-profit banks have also pushed for the rapid development of the health care sector for better health services for the public.
Various commercial banks have given Rs. 2.2 billion, according to SBP.

Commercial banks have also raised Rs. 3.6 billion for 23 hospitals / medical centers operating in different cities.

Large-scale facilities are expected to be used to treat COVID-19 patients using subsidy funds that are being expanded under the facility.

In the wake of the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the country and the need to strengthen the healthcare sector in fighting the virus, SBP has announced its refinance facility for Covid-19Rs. 200 million to Rs. 500 million.

RFCC Emergency Funding Facility to support hospitals / medical centers to develop their capabilities for the treatment of coronavirus patients.

Under this facility, financing is available to banks at the rate of 0%, which can charge hospitals / medical centers a maximum of 3% per annum.

SBP is constantly improving the features of this facility to ensure timely financial assistance to hospitals / medical centers engaged in combating COVID-19.

Vivo Appointed Fahad and Hania As Brand Ambassadors



Vivo, the global innovative smartphone brand has announced Fahad Mustafa and Hania Amir as the Brand Ambassadors for the upcoming vivo V19 in Pakistan.

This charismatic duo truly resonates with brand’s essence and its youthful spirit. Being a young brand, vivo’s products are always targeted at the youth, who are passionate about the latest innovations.

 Speaking on the announcement Zohair Chohan, Brand Manager for vivo in Pakistan said:

“The initiation of Pakistani celebrities as its ambassadors is part of vivo’s global brand strategy, that is to go more local to become more global. We are happy to announce our collaboration with both of these remarkable artists as they share our values of versatility & innovation.”

 This announcement comes ahead of vivo’s V19 launch in Pakistan, a flagship-grade smartphone that focuses on Super Night Photography and upgrades the user experience with its innovative features.

Due to the current pandemic situation in the country, the planned launch was delayed, however on the immense demand of customers, V19 will be available for sale in Pakistan during this month.

vivo is about to complete its three years in Pakistan with a market share of over 18% in the smartphone segment. Focusing on its progressive vision for the industry, company has already been making waves for its innovation and the upcoming vivo V19 will certainly raise the bar.

Carbon Emission Decreased Due to Lockdown Across Globe



According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global carbon energy emissions will decline a record 8% in 2020 due to an unprecedented decrease in demand for gas, oil, and coal during the coronavirus pandemic.

IEA’s assertion is based on an analysis of the demand for electricity over the last 100 days in which the world has observed a complete lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. IEA estimates that global energy demand will reduce by 6% this year, 7 times more than the 2008 global financial crisis, and the biggest year-on-year fall since World War II. This would be tantamount to losing the entire energy demand of the world’s 3rd biggest power consumer, India.

Advanced economies will witness the biggest drop in energy demand this year. The US’s demand for energy will reduce by 9% while the European Union’s demand will fall by 11% in 2020.

 Moreover, IEA has observed a significant shift towards more sustainable energy sources. Coal and gas find themselves between low demand and surging output from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar which are set to make 40% of the global electricity generation, 6% more than coal.

After a decade of continuous growth, demand for natural gas is set to drop by 5% this year. Oil demand will drop by 9% after recording eight years of growth. Whereas, the power generated by coal will reduce by 10% after peaking in 2018.

Executive Director IEA, Fatih Birol has termed the projections as a historic shock for the entire energy world. The drop in demand for nearly all major fuels is staggering, especially for gas, oil, and coal, stated Fatih Birol.

Altogether, global carbon energy emissions will drop by 8%, hitting their lowest since 2010. However, according to the United Nations Environment Program Emissions Gap Report 2019, global carbon emissions must decrease by 7.6% each year until 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Director of the Britain-based Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, Richard Black said how the world economy recovers from the Coronavirus pandemic will be key for the climate in the long run.

PIA to Operate Direct Flights to US



In a significant development, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has been allowed to operate direct flights between Pakistan and the United States due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Last week, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the PIA, Air Mar­shal Arshad Malik, wrote a letter to the US ambassador and the State Department seeking permission to operate special flights to repatriate stranded Pakistanis.

 The US Transport Department granted the permission on Pakistan’s request to evacuate its citizens stranded in the United States. Under the development, PIA has been allowed to run as many as 12 flights a month to bring back its people from the States. PIA spokesperson, Abdullah Khan, said that the permission was possible after an improved security situation in the country.

CEO PIA, Air Marshal Arshad Malik thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Ministry, and Aviation Ministry for making this possible.

The development is part of the national flag carrier’s humanitarian operations to bring back Pakistani expats stranded across the globe. So far, PIA has airlifted nearly 8,000 people from various countries.

Pakistan Only Country in South Asia to Get G4 Rank



Pakistan has been ranked as a 4th Generation Regulator (G4) by the International Tele­communication Union (ITU), becoming the only country in South Asia to have achieved the status.

Out of the 38 economies in Asia-Pacific, only eight per cent states have managed to achieve G4 status.

In the ITU report titled “Global ICT Regulatory Out­look 2020 (GIRO)”, Pakis­t­­an scored 88 out of 100. This means that Pakistan’s ICT regulations are led by econ­omic and social policy go­­a­ls. Pakistan is also amo­ng the top five regulators in the entire Asia-Pacific reg­ion with a global rank of 48.

The GIRO is built on data provided by 193 countries, which forms the basis of ‘ICT Reg­ulatory Tracker’. The tra­ck­­er, developed by ITU, is an evidence-based tool that helps decision-makers and regulators monitor the rapid evolution of ICT regulation.

Meanwhile, the Pak­is­tan Telecommunication Autho­rity (PTA) has said that it would continue to achieve new international benchmarks by showing its commitment to protect consumer interests and enha­nce public-private collaborations for the digital transformation and socio-economic benefit of Pakistan.

In another developm­ent, the PTA has extended the deadline for blocking of IMEI to additional 30 days for all GSMA valid devices and IMEIs seen on mobile networks but currently not registered with the PTA.

The decision to extend the deadline for blocking of unregistered mobile sets under Device Identification Reg­i­­stration and Blocking Sys­tem (DIRBS) has been taken to give relief and facilitate the public and ensure social distancing during this time.

The blocking of such mobile devices will continue from May 19 and will be communicated via SMS.

All mobile devices being connected to local networks using local SIM are subject to registration with­­in 60 days from the first use of devices on local mobile networks. How­­­ever, due to extraordinary circumstan­ces, bloc­king of non-registered device IMEIs, which were to be blocked between March 18 and May 18, will now start from May 19.