Pakistan appoints Dubai-based climber Naila Kiani goodwill ambassador for girls education

Pakistan appoints Dubai-based climber Naila Kiani goodwill ambassador for girls education
The picture shared on April 22, 2024 shows Dubai-based climber Naila Kiani posing for a picture from K2 base camp. (Naila Kiani/Instagram)
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Updated 29 May 2024

Pakistan appoints Dubai-based climber Naila Kiani goodwill ambassador for girls education

Pakistan appoints Dubai-based climber Naila Kiani goodwill ambassador for girls education
  • Kiani is the first Pakistani woman climber to summit 11 of 14 highest peaks in the world
  • As ambassador, she will raise awareness, support government initiatives for girls education

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s education ministry has appointed prominent mountaineer Naila Kiani as its goodwill ambassador for girls education in the country, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported on Wednesday. 

Dubai-based Kiani is the first Pakistani woman and the third climber from the country to summit 11 of the 14 highest peaks in the world. She is also the first Pakistani woman to summit Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum I (G-I), Gasherbrum II (G-II), Lhotse, Manaslu, Broad Peak, Annapurna, Makalu, and Cho Oyu mountains. 

Pakistan’s government awarded Kiani the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, the highest civilian honor in the country, earlier this year for her notable achievements. It makes Kiani the only Pakistani woman to have received the award so far. 

“I am honored to be appointed as the National Goodwill Ambassador for Girls Education,” Kiani was quoted as saying by the APP. 

“Education is the only route to women’s empowerment and success for our country. I am committed to using my platform to support and advocate for educational initiatives that ensure every girl in Pakistan has access to quality education,” she added. 

As an ambassador, Kiani will work tirelessly to raise awareness about the importance of girls education, APP said. It said Kiani would also support and promote initiatives by the federal and provincial governments aimed at improving educational opportunities for girls.

Earlier this month, she became the first Pakistani woman to summit Mount Makalu in Nepal. The imposing mountain is the fifth-highest one in the world. It stands 8,485 meters (27,838 feet) high. 

Eid Al-Adha 2024: Pakistani TV channels to air special programming during three-day holiday

Eid Al-Adha 2024: Pakistani TV channels to air special programming during three-day holiday
Updated 13 sec ago

Eid Al-Adha 2024: Pakistani TV channels to air special programming during three-day holiday

Eid Al-Adha 2024: Pakistani TV channels to air special programming during three-day holiday
  • Television remains a major source of entertainment despite increase in the number of film productions
  • TV channels will air telefilms on Eid featuring artists like Ahsan Khan, Feroze Khan and Arsalan Naseer

KARACHI: As Muslims around the world prepare to celebrate Eid Al-Adha, marking the culmination of the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah, Pakistani television channels are planning to air some fun content for viewers’ consumption during the three-day holiday announced by the government beginning next week.
Television remains a major source of entertainment for most Pakistanis, especially during Eid and other national holidays, with drama serials and game shows being far more accessible than film productions. This holds true despite the recent increase in the number and special launches of film productions.
Arab News has compiled a list of at least six new telefilms making their way to the small screen to entertain people celebrating Eid.

Tere Naam Ka Tattoo
Content creator turned actor Arslan Naseer, who is making waves with his character in the ongoing drama ‘Radd,’ and new-age actress Sahar Hashmi will be starring in the Eid special telefilm ‘Tere Naam Ka Tattoo.’
It’s a romantic comedy, according to Naseer, who plays the role of the male protagonist Ahsan.
“He is a hopeless romantic who is in denial of his breakup,” Naseer told Arab News while explaining his character in the production.
Written by Hasan Inam, the telefilm is directed by Muhammad Iftikhar Iffi.
Naseer said it was a story of two individuals going through a rough patch who eventually find comfort in each other after being betrayed by their former love interests.
“Tere Naam Ka Tattoo is a fresh story,” he added. “It’s not our typical Bakra Eid content. It features a fresh onscreen couple and should be fun to watch.”

Pyaar Tou Warh Gaya
The Ahsan Khan and Amar Khan-starrer ‘Pyaar Tou Warh Gaya’ is described as a “very fun, Eid entertainer,” according to Amar.
Amar plays the female lead opposite Khan, who has a double role in the telefilm. He is the husband of the female lead while also disguising as a woman as his second avatar.
Amar plays the role of Khan’s naive wife who wants to know everything. However, she said, she gets puzzled when she learns the truth.
“The audience’s response to the first teaser of the telefilm has been really interesting,” she told Arab News. “Some people are comparing it to ‘dream girl.’“
“Viewers must watch it for fits of laughter this Eid Al-Adha,” she continued, adding the cast included Sidra Niazi, Behroze Sabzwari, and Adnan Jaffer, in addition to herself and Khan.
Written by debutant Shakeel Arsalan, it has been directed by Ali Faizan.

Jodi Ban Gayi
The Feroze Khan and Sehar Khan-starrer telefilm ‘Jodi Ban Gayi’ will also hit the small screen this Eid Al-Adha. Airing on the first day of Eid, the telefilm offers a fresh pair in never-seen-before characters.
“This is the most exciting aspect of the telefilm,” director Syed Ramish Rizvi said in a conversation with Arab News.
“It’s a romantic comedy that highlights there is no right age for marriage as long the mindset of two individuals align,” he added.
The cast includes Saba Faisal and Mehmood Akhtar in key roles.
“The storytelling and cast are the highlight of the project,” Rizvi said. “Feroze Khan hasn’t done a light-hearted character like this before.”

Tamanna Ki Aarzu
Muneeb Butt and Madiha Imam are coming together for an Eid Al-Adha telefilm, titled ‘Tamanna Ki Aarzu.’
“It’s a 40-minute comedy tele-play that revolves around the theme of property,” Imam told Arab News.
The story, according to her, highlights how women feel insecure in financial terms after their marriage.
Imam plays the role of an unconventional woman who is straightforward and vocal against injustices.
“She is more of a tomboy,” she said.
“It’s a comic, light-hearted play that will make viewers reflect on many things,” Imam continued. “It has a very subliminal, quiet message in it. It also promises a good time with friends and family this Eid Al-Adha.”

Wo Saat Din
The telefilm titled ‘Wo Saat Din,’ starring Usama Khan and Alizeh Shah in lead roles, will hit television screens on the third day of Eid.
It has an ensemble cast including Samina Ahmed and Fazila Qazi while it is written by Saima Akram Chaudhry of ‘Suno Chanda’ fame.
Chaudhry described the story as one in which a woman tries to keep relationships intact.
“There is a budding love story amidst the situation that becomes life-changing for the families involved,” Chaudhry told Arab News.
Khan, who plays the male protagonist in the telefilm, shared it was signature Saima Akram Chaudhry’s family-oriented play.
“Still, it has a unique story which will be entertaining to watch for viewers on Eid Al-Adha,” he said.

Love Hai Mushkil
‘Love Hai Mushkil’ is described as a “fun, Eid special telefilm,” according to the official Instagram handle of the channel airing it on Eid.
It features Ali Rehman Khan and Mah-e-Nur Haider in lead roles, alongside Hina Bayat and Javed Sheikh. Written by Misbah Ali Syed, Love Hai Mushkil is directed by Kashif Saleem.
Going by the teaser, it seems to be a conventional romantic comedy in which hate between the guy and the girl turns into lasting love. The two individuals who constantly fight and express dislike toward one another eventually fall in love.

Pakistan needs major change after reaching ‘lowest point’ says Imad Wasim

Pakistan needs major change after reaching ‘lowest point’ says Imad Wasim
Updated 30 min 42 sec ago

Pakistan needs major change after reaching ‘lowest point’ says Imad Wasim

Pakistan needs major change after reaching ‘lowest point’ says Imad Wasim
  • Pakistan, champions in 2009, crashed out of World Cup in group stage after losing to USA, India 
  • Their final game is against Ireland on Sunday with both teams already out of the World Cup 

LAUDERHILL, United States: Pakistan cricket is at its lowest point and needs to make radical changes, all-rounder Imad Wasim said after the team failed to get out of the group stage of the T20 World Cup.

The 2009 champions, beaten finalists two years ago, lost to the USA and India with their sole victory coming against Canada.

Pakistan’s final game is on Sunday against Ireland, which is now a dead rubber with both teams already eliminated.

Asked about the exit, with the USA beating Pakistan to Super Eight qualification, along with India, Wasim said there was no doubt about the level of disappointment.

“This is the lowest point. You can’t go any lower than this. That’s the fact,” he told a press conference.

Asked whether there now needed to be major changes, the 35-year-old left-arm spinner, said it was clear that radical changes were needed.

“It’s not my domain but I think there should be changes and there should be a drastic change so we can move forward,” he said.

Wasim, who came out of a brief retirement for this tournament, said that the change needed to be far-reaching.

“In everything and every aspect. How to take the game on? How to play the game? This is what I believed in and this is why I came back and tried to do things but it didn’t happen,” he added.

After the shock loss to the USA, Pakistan put up a close fight in defeat against India in New York and Wasim said that the context needed to be understood.

“You can also say the wickets are a bit tougher than what you think and any team can beat anyone. You can see Nepal was almost through. So, things can happen but I think the approach, how we play the game, I think we will change that and all of the boys are eager to do that because this defeat hurt us really badly,” he said.

The key change that is needed is in the mental side of the game, added Wasim.

“I’m giving my personal opinion. Don’t make these headlines — it’s all your mindset. What mindset do you want to play the game with? You either play fire with fire, or you play your way.

“So, I personally believe that you should play fire with fire. And even if you lose, you can sit down and say to yourself that on that day we were not good enough,” he said.

“The problem is our team is so good, our players are so good that we are good enough to play any kind of cricket. So you have to get rid of fear of failure mindset.

“In everything — batting, bowling, fielding, you have to get rid of fear of failure mindset. As I said earlier, personnel change doesn’t change anything, just changing the mindset can change a lot of things,” he added.

“We compete with the world’s best teams. Their mindset has changed over time. We used to rule in T20 cricket. I think we have moved back a little now. If you change the mind of the player, you can achieve things beyond your limits. I always believe in this.”

Wasim said he would not make any decision on his future until after Sunday’s game.

“As far as retirement is concerned, there’s a match tomorrow. We’ll play a match and obviously, after that, we’ll think about it and sort out whatever we need to. Because to be honest, a lot of things are going to be sorted out in the Pakistan team. The chairman and the board will sort it out.

“We have given away two games by ourselves. Losing to USA, well, losing is a part of the game, but we shouldn’t have lost to USA. Even against India — we had that game in our hands and we shouldn’t have lost. So, there is no excuse for anything. We are losing matches collectively,” he said.

“After the match against Ireland — we will sit down and talk and then decide. I don’t do anything secretly. I told everyone when I retired last time. If something happens, I will come and tell everyone.”

Amid differences, Pakistan’s ruling party vows to win over major ally’s support on budget

Amid differences, Pakistan’s ruling party vows to win over major ally’s support on budget
Updated 12 min 11 sec ago

Amid differences, Pakistan’s ruling party vows to win over major ally’s support on budget

Amid differences, Pakistan’s ruling party vows to win over major ally’s support on budget
  • Pakistan Peoples Party, a key government ally, has accused ruling party of ignoring its budget recommendations
  • Will consider PPP’s recommendations “favorably” and try to include them in the budget before voting, says official 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ruling party this week vowed it would win over the support of its major coalition partner, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on the federal budget before voting on it takes place, despite differences between the two over the key document. 
Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb unveiled the much-awaited Rs18.877 trillion ($67.76 billion) federal budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 on Wednesday in parliament. The tax-heavy budget is expected to play a pivotal role in Pakistan’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a fresh financial assistance program with the global lender. 
The PPP is a major coalition ally of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party. A day before the budget was presented, the PPP accused the government of ignoring its recommendations for the annual document. The party initially announced it would boycott the budget session but later, a handful of its leaders attended it. 
“We are a major coalition partner of the government but they completely ignored us in the pre-budget consultations and meetings,” PPP lawmaker Sehar Kamran told Arab News. 
“Shehbaz Sharif’s government wants to use us as a rubber stamp in parliament to pass the budget but we won’t do it if our reservations are not addressed.”
Kamran said the government has proposed a tax-heavy budget without consulting the PPP, adding that there were also disagreements between the two parties over the distribution of development funds and various projects related to Pakistan’s provinces.
The PPP, which voted Sharif into power after the contentious national election in February, is not part of the federal government but has its government in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province. Sharif’s government needs PPP’s votes to pass the budget in parliament. 
“If the government needs our votes in parliament to pass the budget, then it will have to listen to us first to address our grievances,” she said. 
Aqeel Malik, a government spokesperson, admitted the “real issues” between the PPP and the PML-N were related to the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for provinces. 
However, he said the government cannot take all of the PPP’s suggestions into consideration regarding provinces where the party was not in government, such as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab. 
“In Sindh, we have consulted them there and there is absolutely no issue with regards to this,” Malik told Arab News, emphasizing that the government held meetings with the PPP leadership before finalizing the budget.
He said this was the reason why a few PPP leaders had attended the budget session symbolically. 
“We have had meaningful consultation with them,” Malik explained. “We have taken them on board and we consulted them.”
The government is committed to resolving the PPP’s issues regarding the budget, Malik said, hoping the party would “come around” once voting takes place. 
“If there is any tweaking in the budget with regards to their suggestions or recommendations, we will certainly consider them favorably and will try to include them before the voting takes place,” he said.
PM Sharif’s coordinator, Rana Ihsan Afzal, confirmed the government was ready to address the PPP’s reservations on the budget before it is voted upon. 
“We are engaging with them [the PPP] thoroughly,” Afzal told Arab News.
As per media reports, the general debate on the budget will begin on June 20 while voting on it is expected to take place on June 24. 

Arafat sermon projected to reach 1 billion listeners worldwide

Arafat sermon projected to reach 1 billion listeners worldwide
Updated 45 min 13 sec ago

Arafat sermon projected to reach 1 billion listeners worldwide

Arafat sermon projected to reach 1 billion listeners worldwide
  • Sermon delivered on Saturday at Namira Mosque was translated live into 20 languages 
  • Translated sermons promote peace, coexistence, and deeper understanding of Islam

ARAFAT, Makkah: The Arafat sermon delivered on Saturday at Namira Mosque in Makkah was projected to reach a staggering one billion listeners worldwide, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The sermon was translated live into 20 languages as part of the groundbreaking initiative launched by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman's in 2018. Non-simultaneous translations into 17 languages were further made.

Spearheaded by the Presidency of Religious Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, the project serves as a cornerstone in spreading the message of moderation and centrism espoused by the holy sites, SPA said.

"The translated sermons promote peace, coexistence, and a deeper understanding of Islam — a religion built on mercy, tolerance, and peaceful living," the report said.

When the project was first launched in 2018, translations were offered in only five languages.  Its reach has continued to grow each year. Sermons are translated into an increasing number of languages and broadcast on various platforms, including digital platforms, FM radio, and Islamic television channels.

"These efforts demonstrate the Kingdom’s unwavering commitment to serving Islam and the global Muslim community," the report said, adding that the initiative "exemplifies Saudi Arabia’s dedication to serving the Two Holy Mosques and their pilgrims. It further reflects the leadership’s commitment to promoting global peace and the values of tolerance and moderation," said the report.

"Having surpassed 200 million listeners in 2020, the project fulfills the Kingdom’s sacred responsibility of caring for the Two Holy Mosques and their visitors. By translating the Arafat sermon, they effectively share the message of these holy sites with the entire Muslim world," it further said.

For some Pakistanis, camels make a bigger, better and more expensive Eid sacrifice

For some Pakistanis, camels make a bigger, better and more expensive Eid sacrifice
Updated 54 min 19 sec ago

For some Pakistanis, camels make a bigger, better and more expensive Eid sacrifice

For some Pakistanis, camels make a bigger, better and more expensive Eid sacrifice
  • Traders from across Pakistan flock each year to Hala camel market in southern Matiari district
  • Camel sellers and buyers complain of sharp rise in prices compared to last year though Pakistan inflation has slowed 

MATIARI, Sindh: Muslims around the world often slaughter sheep and cows at the annual Eid Al-Adha “feast of the sacrifice” but some Pakistanis are thinking bigger.
Ahead of this year’s Eid holiday, traders from around the country are making their annual trip to the Hala market in the southern Matiari district, which is dedicated to animals for auction — but not sheep or cows, but camels. 
“The biggest camel market in Pakistan is in Hala. Camels are brought here for trading from different cities, districts and divisions,” said Muhammad Akhtar, a trader who had arrived from the southwestern city of Quetta nearly 700 kilometers away to purchase camels ahead of Eid. 
“This market is busy year-round. Camels are supplied here from all over Pakistan.”
Traders at the market listed some of the famous breeds, including Laari, Thari, and Saakrai, with Laari being the most expensive. 
“There are different prices for camels depending on their beauty,” Akhtar said. “The sacrificial [Eid] camels are obviously the most expensive. Laari is the most expensive breed, so its price is higher.”
A Thari breed, weighing 8-9 maunds, can cost up over $3,000 around Eid time, while the Laari and Saakri kinds can go for over $6,000. Another breed, the Sindhi, can sell for up to $4,600. 
“Camels are costlier on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha compared to before Eid,” Akhtar said. “Due to the arrival of Eid, rates are higher.”
Pakistan’s consumer price index (CPI) in May rose 11.8 percent from a year earlier, the lowest reading in 30 months and below the finance ministry’s projections, though consumers around the country still complain of exorbitant prices of food and energy. 
Pakistan has been beset by inflation above 20 percent since May 2022. Last May, inflation jumped as high as 38 percent as the country navigated reforms as part of an International Monetary Fund bailout program. However, inflation has since slowed down but customers at the Hala market weren’t happy. 
“I come to Hala every year to buy two sacrificial camels for my business. I prefer Sindhi camels, but they are quite expensive,” said Sher Muhammad Lulai, who had traveled hundreds of kilometers from a town in Punjab with a budget of around $2,100, which turned out to be much less than anything available. 
“I will purchase if I find suitable ones, or I will return without buying anything.”
Asghar Ali, another trader from Punjab and a resident of Mian Channu, said he had purchased 15 camels from Hala market to take back to Punjab but prices had been back-breaking. 
“Compared to last year, the cost has increased by Rs100,000 rupees [$350] but I have no choice but to purchase them, as this is my livelihood,” Ali said. “I will sell them back home and trust that God will provide me with sustenance,.”


It’s not just buyers who are complaining. Sellers too said they were struggling to find customers this season. 
Sher Khan, a trader from Usman Shah Huri in Sindh’s Tando Allahyar district, said he had brought two camels to the market to sell but failed thus far to find buyers.
“I am demanding RS1.8 million ($6,392) for my two camels, but despite being here for the last four days, I have not found a customer,” he said. “The market is very down, perhaps due to inflation.”
Saadullah Brohi, another trader from Quetta, said he had been coming to Hala to sell for 22 years but had never seen the market “this slow” before.
“In the past, the market was good, but it’s not good anymore,” Brohi told Arab News. “However, we cannot do anything except adjust ourselves to survive as I have to feed my family.”