Google honors Fatima Surayya Bajia with a birthday doodle

Updated 01 September 2018

Google honors Fatima Surayya Bajia with a birthday doodle

  • Pays tribute to the late playwright on her 88th birthday
  • Bajia died in Karachi in 2016 after battling throat cancer

ISLAMABAD: Google on Saturday paid a tribute to legendary playwright Fatima Surayya Bajia with one of its iconic doodles on what would have been the late writer’s 88th birthday.
Bajja died in Karachi, in 2016, after a long battle with throat cancer.
Google doodles are special illustrations, graphics and short videos created to honor both living and dead icons from around the world. Previously, Google has displayed doodles of humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi and singers Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Nur Jehan from Pakistan.

Bajia was born in pre-partition Hyderabad, India before moving to Pakistan with her family after Pakistan’s creation and independence in 1947. (Photo courtesy: social media)

Homeschooled her entire life, her siblings include a number of notable Pakistanis including actor, writer and performer Anwar Maqsood, Zehra Nigah, and the late Zubaida Tariq also known fondly as Zubaida Apa.
She first appeared in a play as an actress in 1966 with Pakistan Television (PTV) which sparked her interest in writing plays.
Recognized as one of Pakistan’s most prominent and successful literary minds, Bajia was the recipient of a number of accolades including Pakistan’s highest civilian honor — the Pride of Performance Award in 1996 and the Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 2012. She also received Japan’s highest civilian award for her body of work.
As a writer she wrote more than 20 plays for PTV including novel adaptations of AR Khatoon’s work: ‘Shama 1974,’ ‘Afshaan,’ and ‘Tasweer,’ Zubaida Khatoon’s ‘Aroosa’ and Mirza Quleech Bain’s Sindhi novel ‘Zeenat.’ Other popular plays included ‘Phool Rahi Sarsoon,’ ‘Arzoo,’ ‘Sassi Punno,’ and ‘Anarkali.’
In addition to her writing achievements, Bajia was also appointed as the adviser to the Chief Minister of Sindh province in Pakistan, and was a member of the committee of the Arts Council of Pakistan.

Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

Updated 14 November 2019

Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

  • New skills-based system to be launched from next month
  • Will include India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Starting next month, Saudi Arabia will introduce a new skilled foreign manpower program that will eventually include Pakistan, a senior official at the Saudi labor ministry said this week. 

Nayef Al-Omair, head of the vocational examination program at the Ministry of Labor, said on Tuesday in Riyadh that the ministry was categorizing the tasks and the structure of some professions for visa-issuing purposes.

Under the new policy, visas would be issued only after skill tests and the previous system would be gradually phased out. 

The new scheme would be optional for one year starting December 2019 after which it would become compulsory, Al-Omair said. The new program would first be applied to manpower recruited from India due to its large size in the Saudi market.

Eventually, the program will cover seven countries, including India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Workers belonging to these states constitute 95 percent of professional manpower in the Kingdom’s local market.

Saudi Arabia is home to around 2.6 million Pakistani expats those have been a vital source of foreign remittances.

Last year the country received $21.8 billion in remittances out of which $5 billion were remitted by Pakistani nationals working in Kingdom.

According to the Pakistani ministry of finance, there was a major decline in manpower export to Saudi Arabia where only 100,910 emigrants proceeded for employment in 2018 as compared to 2017, a drop of 42,453 emigrants.

However, Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari, special assistant to the Pakistani prime minister on overseas Pakistanis, said in an interview earlier this month that Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase the share of the Pakistani labor force in the multi-billion dollar New Taif City development.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have formed working groups to develop procedures for this transfer of manpower. Pakistani groups will visit the Kingdom in the coming months to finalize arrangements.