At Gwadar’s first boat cafe, a sip of tea with views of Arabian Sea

Special At Gwadar’s first boat cafe, a sip of tea with views of Arabian Sea
Aurangzaib Abdul Rauf, right, drinks tea at Café Padizar, the first boat cafe in the southern Pakistani port of Gwadar on June 20, 2022. (Photo courtesy: Fahad Ishaq)
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Updated 26 June 2022

At Gwadar’s first boat cafe, a sip of tea with views of Arabian Sea

At Gwadar’s first boat cafe, a sip of tea with views of Arabian Sea
  • Cafe Padizar is one of few hangout spots in the impoverished Balochistan region of southwest Pakistan
  • Brothers Fahad and Qadeer Ishaq opened the venture last month after renovating their family’s old fishing boat

QUETTA: Fahad Ishaq and his brother Qadeer are busy arranging chairs and tables as visitors arrive from different parts of Gwadar to enjoy a sip of tea and watch the sunset from their three-story boat cafe — the first of its kind in the southwestern Pakistani port.

Cafe Padizar, which opened in May, takes its name from the beach where it is docked, overlooking the high, rocky cliffs of the coast of Balochistan province and the Arabian Sea.

The boat, which belongs to Ishaq’s family, was left unused for years after its engines broke down.

In 2021, after graduating in business administration, Ishaq decided to put his degree to good use and began renovating the old vessel.

Together with his brother, the 21-year-old invested Rs1.5 million ($7,200) to restore the boat back and, two years later, turned it into a hangout spot — one of only a few in the impoverished, underdeveloped region.

“We decided to turn the boat into a cafe,” Ishaq told Arab News. “The internal parts of the boat were completely damaged, and now there is space for more than 100 customers.”

The cafe serves tea, coffee and snacks, but the brothers plan to introduce more food items to its menu and offer work to more people.

“Right now, we have hired six workers to serve customers,” Ishaq said. “But we have plans to expand the cafe.”

Business ventures are not always a certain success in Balochistan, a sparsely populated mountainous region bordering Afghanistan and Iran. Despite Gwadar being the center of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, it has been reaping few rewards from the multibillion-dollar infrastructure and energy plan.

Cafe Padizar is not the only business Ishaq runs. His company BOASIS Tourism specializes in bringing visitors from Karachi, Quetta and Islamabad to the sandy beaches of Balochistan.  

“Tourism and traveling have been my passion since childhood,” he said. “Cafe Padizar will help in fostering tourism in Gwadar.”

The cafe, the first of its kind in Gwadar, has so far been successful in attracting customers, something entirely new in a city where the last cinema closed almost two decades ago.

One customer, Aurangzaib Abdul Rauf, said that previously only fishermen could enjoy the views now available to anyone from the top deck of the former fishing boat.

“The cafe has been attracting tourists from the nearest towns,” he told Arab News. “Most of us come here in the evening to enjoy the sea covered by the mountains.”

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UAE team explores setting up plasma farming facilities in Pakistan

A Pakistani paramedic stores plasma after donations by volunteers in Karachi. (AFP file photo)
A Pakistani paramedic stores plasma after donations by volunteers in Karachi. (AFP file photo)
Updated 11 sec ago

UAE team explores setting up plasma farming facilities in Pakistan

A Pakistani paramedic stores plasma after donations by volunteers in Karachi. (AFP file photo)
  • Proteins from human plasma are used in treatment of life-threatening conditions
  • Pakistan and UAE have been working on the ground-breaking project for several months

ISLAMABAD: A delegation from the UAE has arrived in Pakistan to carry out a feasibility study for a project to set up the first plasma farming facilities in the South Asian country.

Plasma farming technology is a growing field in patient care and clinical medicine. It involves plasma fractionation, the processing of plasma harvested by donors to break it into individual proteins, or plasma fractions.

Protein products derived from human plasma are used — often as the only available option — in the prevention and treatment of life-threatening conditions resulting from trauma, congenital deficiencies, immunologic disorders or infections.

The UAE delegation, which arrived in Pakistan earlier this week, was led by Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al-Maktoum, and included representatives of Hayat Biotech Limited, Emirati artificial intelligence company Group 42, and China’s Sinopharm.

After meeting the delegation, Pakistani Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel told Arab News on Thursday that he hoped the establishment of plasma farming facilities would happen “as early as possible.”

“We have discussed establishing state-of-the-art PFFs in Pakistan which will be the first of its kind as we have fresh frozen plasma extraction, but not farming ability,” Patel said.

Fresh frozen plasma is a blood product made from the liquid portion of whole blood. It is used to treat conditions in which there are low blood clotting factors or low levels of other blood proteins. It may also be used as the replacement fluid in plasma exchange.

Pakistan and the UAE have been working on the PFF project for several months, and a Pakistani delegation had visited the UAE in June, the minister said.

“It is a follow-up visit by the UAE delegation to assess potential, and to conduct a feasibility study for the establishment of PFFs based on World Health Organization’s standards,” he said, adding that blood services in the country were mostly provided by hospital blood banks, with no separation of the plasma processes into production and utilization.

“Very soon,” Patel replied when asked when the PFFs would become operational.

“After the submission of a report by the UAE delegation, we will try to expedite the whole process and would like to start this facility as early as possible,” he said.

“We are thankful to the UAE government as due to their efforts and the personal interest of Sheikh Al-Maktoum, who engaged a consortium of G-42, Sinopharm, Hayat Biotech Limited, and led a delegation for assessment and feasibility study of the project.”

Patel said that the team will visit regional blood centers in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi to evaluate the readiness of the sites for PFFs.

The UAE delegation will submit its report in about two weeks, “and then we will sign an agreement to cover its legal framework.”

Patel said that the facilities would save Pakistan precious foreign exchange by reducing the need to import several expensive medicines.

“No country can sustain without working on plasma farming, as we have to import all the plasma-based medicines, which cost us millions of dollars in foreign exchange,” he said, adding that plasma would also be easily available, especially for thalassemia, hepatitis and cancer patients.

The minister said that Pakistan was also in talks with the UAE to establish a genetic database profiling system to digitalize the Pakistani health system, revamp major hospitals across the country, and help in the modernization of health equipment and staff training.

“The visit was successful,” Rashed Abdulrehman Al-Zamar, deputy head of mission at the UAE Embassy in Islamabad, told Arab News. “The UAE is keen to invest in different sectors of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, especially in the health field.”


Founder of UK charity Penny Appeal visits Pakistan to review sustainable aid projects

Founder of UK charity Penny Appeal visits Pakistan to review sustainable aid projects
Updated 19 August 2022

Founder of UK charity Penny Appeal visits Pakistan to review sustainable aid projects

Founder of UK charity Penny Appeal visits Pakistan to review sustainable aid projects
  • Adeem Younis and two of his fellow trustees visited projects serving vulnerable people, including children, orphans and the elderly, and some of the 31 mosques established by the charity
  • ‘We all have a great love for Pakistan. There is so much beauty and so much potential, we all must play our part in helping lift our country up,’ said Mohammed Jehangir, chair of trustees

LONDON: The founder of UK-based humanitarian charity Penny Appeal, Adeem Younis, visited Pakistan recently to monitor and evaluate some of the development projects funded by the organization across the country with the aim of providing a sustainable and empowering route out of poverty.

The charity said it funds a diverse portfolio of relief projects in the country, including water wells, hunger relief, eye surgery, care for the elderly, homes for orphans and a number of schools.

“Now in its 13th year, the charity has helped transform the lives of over 20 million people around the world and has worked in 60 countries,” Penny Appeal said.

“To date, the charity has distributed an estimated £9.7 million ($10.7 million) in aid across Pakistan and been instrumental in disaster relief, as well as launching income-generating projects to support women and children in need.”

 

 

Younis, who was joined by fellow trustees Mohammed Jahangir and Irfan Rajput, visited some of Penny Appeal’s ongoing projects serving vulnerable groups including children, orphans and the elderly. The charity said it prioritizes projects that have long-term, multiplying effects on the lives of beneficiaries.

“With cutting-edge water-waste management for example, through its network of 9,334 kitchen gardens, the charity produces the equivalent of 65,000 meals every single day,” according to Penny Appeal.

“This is in addition to 18,645 tube wells benefiting 216,020 individuals, 461 deep wells benefiting 105,200 individuals, and 27 solar-powered wells and power centers benefiting 32,600 individuals.”

“We all have a great love for Pakistan,” said Mohammed Jehangir, the charity’s chair of trustees. “There is so much beauty and so much potential, we all must play our part in helping lift our country up.

The charity said it funds a diverse portfolio of relief projects in the country and a number of schools. (Supplied/Penny Appeal)

“There is so much to do, no one person can do everything but we can all do something and this is the wonderful spirit of Penny Appeal, enabling everyone to play their part.”

The charity said that by focusing on sustainability, it has helped transform Zakat receivers into Zakat givers. In 2018, for example, it provided 168 pregnant goats to vulnerable families and widows in Vehari District, Punjab province, and four years later the number of goats has grown to 1,512. With the income, meat and milk the animals provide, Penny Appeal said, families who once struggled to feed their children are now able to support multiple families in addition to their own.

“As a child of this nation I’m very privileged to be asked to support Penny Appeal’s incredible work in Pakistan,” Rajput said.

Adeem Younis visited some of Penny Appeal’s ongoing projects serving vulnerable groups including children, orphans and the elderly. (Supplied/Penny Appeal)

“The charity brings a wealth of expertise and experience, and its multi-pronged approach to sustainable development will help those in need not just lift themselves out of poverty but lift generations of Pakistanis out of poverty for good.”

The trustees also visited a few of the 31 mosques established by the charity, which serve 31,800 people. In addition to providing places of worship they are also used to provide about 6,700 children with a comprehensive Islamic education.

The charity began in Pakistan, Younis said, and “it’s here where we draw our inspiration to serve vulnerable people and communities all over the world … we want to help people not just escape poverty but become agents of change in their own communities.”

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UN chief urges more effort to ensure access to Ukrainian grain

UN chief urges more effort to ensure access to Ukrainian grain
Updated 19 August 2022

UN chief urges more effort to ensure access to Ukrainian grain

UN chief urges more effort to ensure access to Ukrainian grain
  • Guterres called for unimpeded access to global markets for Russian food and fertilisers

KYIV: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday there was still much more to do to ensure full global access to Ukrainian food products and Russian food and fertilizers after a UN-brokered food export deal.
At a briefing in Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa, Guterres said developing countries needed help to purchase such grain and called for unimpeded access to global markets for Russian food and fertilizers which are not subject to sanctions.
“This is an agreement between two parties locked in bitter conflict. It is unprecedented in scope and scale. But there is still a long way to go on many fronts,” he said.
“It is time for massive and generous support so developing countries can purchase the food from this and other ports – and people can buy it,” he said.


Malaysian prosecutors rest case against ex-PM Najib Razak in final 1MDB appeal

Malaysian prosecutors rest case against ex-PM Najib Razak in final 1MDB appeal
Updated 19 August 2022

Malaysian prosecutors rest case against ex-PM Najib Razak in final 1MDB appeal

Malaysian prosecutors rest case against ex-PM Najib Razak in final 1MDB appeal
  • Najib Razak’s lawyers declined to present their case in court this week, citing insufficient time to prepare

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian prosecutors on Friday wrapped up their arguments against former premier Najib Razak’s final bid to overturn a 12-year jail sentence for corruption, saying he was aware that he had received funds from an “unlawful activity.”
Najib’s lawyers declined to present their case in court this week, citing insufficient time to prepare. They had submitted written arguments before the proceedings began.
It is unclear how the Federal Court will proceed when it resumes on Tuesday. It could potentially either deliver its verdict or set a new date for its decision.
Najib, 69, was convicted in July 2020 by a lower court for criminal breach of trust, abuse of power, and money laundering for illegally receiving about $10 million from a former unit of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Prosecutors have said some $4.5 billion were stolen from 1MDB — co-founded by Najib as premier in 2009 — in a wide-ranging scandal that has implicated officials and financial institutions around the world.
An appellate court last year upheld the guilty verdict against Najib but the former premier appealed again to the Federal Court, which began proceedings this week in what would be his final appeal.
Najib, who faces several trials over the allegations, has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His lawyers have argued in the lower courts that Najib was misled by 1MDB officials.
Najib “knew, or had reason to believe or had reasonable suspicion that the monies that he received in his bank accounts were proceeds from an unlawful activity,” lead prosecutor V. Sithambaram told the court.
Najib had replaced his legal team just three weeks before his appeal began on Monday.
After the prosecution wrapped up its arguments, Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat again asked Najib’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik to begin his submissions on Tuesday.
Hisyam declined.
Najib and Hisyam declined to comment after the day’s proceedings.


US lawmakers meet detained Philippine opposition leader

US lawmakers meet detained Philippine opposition leader
Updated 19 August 2022

US lawmakers meet detained Philippine opposition leader

US lawmakers meet detained Philippine opposition leader
  • Leila de Lima was charged with non-bailable drug cases that landed her in jail in February 2017

MANILA: US Sen. Edward Markey, who was once banned from the Philippines by former President Rodrigo Duterte, on Friday met a long-detained Filipino opposition leader, whom he says was wrongfully imprisoned under Duterte and should be freed.
Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and a group of US legislators met former Sen. Leila de Lima for more than an hour in her high-security detention cell in the main police camp in Metropolitan Manila, according to her lawyer, Filibon Tacardon, and police.
Details of their court-authorized meeting were not immediately available.
Duterte had banned Markey and two other American legislators from traveling to the Philippines after they called for de Lima’s release and raised alarm over human rights violations under his presidency. Duterte’s turbulent six-year term ended in June.
The former president’s brutal anti-drugs crackdown, which left thousands of mostly poor suspects dead, has sparked an investigation by the International Criminal Court.
Duterte was succeeded by Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who took office on June 30 following a landslide election victory with his vice presidential running mate Sara Duterte, the former president’s daughter.
Markey and his delegation met Marcos Jr. at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila on Thursday. After the meeting, Marcos Jr. said he looked forward “to continuing our partnership with the US in the areas of renewable energy use, agricultural development, economic reform, and mitigation of drug problems.”
A top critic of Duterte, the 62-year-old de Lima has been locked up for more than five years and has accused the former president and his then-deputies of fabricating the non-bailable drug-linked charges that landed her in jail in February 2017. Her arrest and detention effectively stopped her at the time as a senator from investigating the widespread killings under Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Duterte had insisted on her guilt, saying witnesses testified that she received payoffs from imprisoned drug lords. Several witnesses, however, have recently recanted their allegations against her, re-igniting calls for the Marcos Jr. administration to free her.
Markey, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations East Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, renewed deep concerns over human rights conditions under then-outgoing President Duterte in a joint statement in June with two other US senators.
They said then that the incoming administration of Marcos Jr. provided an “opportunity to reject the repression of the past, release Sen. Leila de Lima and embrace policies that support the rule of law and a vibrant free press in the Philippines.”
It was not immediately clear if Markey renewed his call for de Lima’s release in Thursday’s meeting with Marcos Jr. and how the Philippine leader responded.