KLF Day 2 is full of invigorating discourses and vibrant performances

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Karachi(Cliff News)The second day of the 11th Karachi Literature Festival, which is being organized by Oxford University Press (OUP), was again an affair full of invigorating discourses and vibrant performances.The day started off with an informative workshop held on ‘Media Literacy and Misinformation’ conducted by Sabrina Toppa, an award winning US Journalist based in Pakistan.The renowned historian William Dalrymple made a presentation on the book Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company that has been edited by him. The journalist George Fulton introduced Dalrymple. Following this session, there was a conversation on Aurton kay Takhleeqi Shaoor say Inkaar Kiyun?’ between Zehra Nigah and Arfa Sayeda Zehra. This was followed by readings from Hijabistan by Sanam Saeed, along with a discussion between Sabyn Javeri, Sanam Saeed, and Saima Saleem. A session which attracted a great deal of interest was ‘The Deepening Crisis of the Middle East’ featuring Ahdaf Soueif, Massimo Ramaioli, Shahid Amin and Zafar Hilaly as panellists.Ten book launches took place on the second day of KLF including that of The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company by William Dalrymple; On Their Own Terms: Early Twenty First Century Women’s Movements in Pakistan by Fouzia Saeed; Transgressions: Poems Inspired by Faiz Ahmed Faiz by Anjum Altaf; Tooti hui Tanab Udhar by Asghar Nadeem Syed; Subjective Atlas of Pakistan by Taqi Shaheen and Annelys de Vet; Interpretations of Jihad: An Intellectual History by Tariq Rahman; and Zair e Aasman by Shahid Siddiqui.A discussion on Love, Relationships and Muslim Women’s Writing took place between Claire Chambers, Muneeza Shamsie, David Waterman and Sabyn Javeri, and it was moderated by Ilona Yusuf.Dastangoi by NAPA featured pieces from Marhoom ki Yaad Mein by Patras Bukhari, Zikr e Khooban al Maroof Aurat ki Takhleeq by Mir Baqir Ali and Fasana e Azaad by Pandit Ratan Nath Sarshar. Tehrik-e-Niswan presented an enactment of Ismat Chugtai’s short story ‘Kaafir’ promoting interfaith harmony with an introduction by Sheema Kermani.A discussion on the book Prison Interlude: The Last Eyewitness Account of the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case by Zafarullah Poshni was also held on the second day of KLF. The speakers were Zafar Ullah Poshni, Mazhar Abbas, Kamal Azfar and Wusatullah Khan. The moderator was Owais Tohid.Kishwar Naheed and Noorul Huda Shah were in conversation on Khawateen ka Mazahimati Adab in later half of the day. Highlighting the water problem in Karachi, ‘Drop by Drop: Karachi’s Water Crisis’ was another important session held with Farrukh Rasheed, Babar Siddiqui, Wusatullah Khan, and Khalid Shaikh as speakers. A panel discussion on the poetry of Noon Meem Rashid titled ‘Nazm e Azad, Shayar e Azad’ included Pirzada Qasim, Asghar Nadeem Syed,  Nasim Syed, and Khalid Ahmad as speakers and Mujahid Barelvi as the moderator.A discussion by Sharif Awan and Athar Masood was held on the topic ‘Traditional Music on Modern Media: Is there a Symphony in this Noise?’. In line with the theme of this year’s festival, an enlightening discussion took place titled ‘Shumali aur Lateeni Amreeki Adab Pakistan Mein’. It featured Nasim Syed, Nasir Abbas Nayyar, and Syed Kashif Raza as panellists.Other stimulating sessions that took place include ‘Indus Flows: Poetry, Mysticism, and Romance’ and The Political Character of Pakistani Middle Class’. A session on Performance Poetry called ‘The Spoken Word’ was presented by young poetsAnnum Salman, Vaneeza Sohail, Shehrbano Naqvi, Shameneh Majid, Zoha Jabbar, Hamza Iftikar, Zain Baweja, and Batool Hasan.Screening of award-winning films of the 2019 EACPE video competition was presented by Getz Pharma. The film submissions were on the theme ‘Is Pakistan a Brave Nation?’ Screening of the feature film Baaji directed by Saqib Malik attracted a huge number of film lovers. A musical performance by ACMA band, presented by Arts Council of Pakistan, marked the end of the second day of KLF. 

About Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press (OUP) is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. OUP Pakistan is committed to promoting the reading culture and to improving the intellectual content of life in Pakistan. It has an extensive school and college textbook publishing programme which addresses the need for books that are both of high quality and specific to the environment. It has gained a reputation for publishing well-researched academic and general books which are considered to be authoritative and definitive works on Pakistan

About Karachi Literature Festival

Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) seeks to create an intellectual space in which the diversity and pluralism in Pakistan’s society and that expressed by authors from literary and cultural traditions beyond Pakistan’s borders can be freely accessible to people in an open and participatory manner.

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11th Karachi Literature Festival promotes habit of reading and healthy discourse:Shafqat Mehmood

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Karachi (Cliff News)Federal Minister for education and Professional training Mr Shafqat Mehmood stated about 11th Karachi Literature Festival is a very exhilarating experience for me. I have never seen so many literary icons in one place and it is a real honour to be able to meet them and discuss issues of common interest. The very richness of this occasion fascinates me and creates in me the wish that instead of being a former bureaucrat and now a minister, I should also have followed the profession of art and literature and expressed my thoughts and feelings in a free-flowing manner.”“As you would be aware, the subject of education is a major priority for the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan and he has given me special instructions to make education viable and progressive if Pakistan is to move ahead on the path of national development. It is events like the Karachi Literature Festival that greatly enable our government to further the cause of education because these events promote the habit of reading and healthy discourse between individuals of all ages.”The Karachi Literature Festival is a three-day event being held on 28, 29 February and March 1. After the inauguration, on 28 February, the following two days of the Festival will comprise full days of discussions, talks, readings, author signings, art exhibition, performances, talks and discussions, etc. A food court and book fair have also been set up at the Festival.The theme of the Festival this year is ‘Across Continents: How the Word Travels.’ As every year for the past ten years, the purpose of KLF is to bring together international and Pakistani writers to promote reading and showcase writing at its best.Earlier, in his welcome address, Mr. Arshad Saeed Hussain, Managing Director, Oxford University Press Pakistan, said, “The institution I head is, by its nature, deeply involved in the process of educating Pakistan. I would suggest to you that an event like the eleventh KLF we are inaugurating today, is part and parcel of that process. By bringing together scholars, intellectuals, artists, writers, and policy makers to engage in discussion over many issues, we are creating living examples of Critical Thinking to place before you. By testing and sharpening new and maybe challenging ideas, we are encouraging innovative thinking and promoting Thought Leadership. In this festive spirit, we continue to encourage the habit of reading among young and old alike.” He further added, “KLF brings us together to express ourselves creatively and to engage with the fast changing political situations that surround us, through literature, music, poetry, songs, visual performing arts and other genres. KLF is a platform for people to speak in an open and free forum in celebration of the human spirit in all its forms.”The Guest of Honour, H. E. Dr Christian Turner CMG, British High Commissioner to Pakistan, spoke on the occasion of his very interesting experience of being in Pakistan and his deep fascination with the country’s cultural identity. Remarks were also made on the occasion by Jason Green, Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate, and Ms. Anna Ruffino, Consul General of Italy in Karachi, while Keynote Speeches were delivered by Mr. William Dalrymple, author and historian, and Ms. Zaheda Hina, Urdu short story writer and playwright.Several book awards instituted by KLF were also announced on the occasion. These comprised:KLF-Infaq Foundation Urdu Literature Prize. The books shortlisted for this prize were Chaar Darwesh aur Aik Kachwa by Syed Kashif Raza, Ae Falak-e-Na Insaf by Hasan Manzar and Sindhi Adab: Aik Mukhtasir Tareekh by Attiya Dawood. The winner was Ae Falak-e-Na Insaf by Hasan Manzar. The jury comprised Mr Asghar Nadeem Syed, Dr Nasir Abbas Nayyar, and Mr Hameed Shahid.KLF-Getz Pharma Fiction Prize. The shortlisted books were Call Me Al by Sheheryar Sheikh, The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali by Uzma Aslam Khan, Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif and The Selected Works of Abdullah the Cossack by H M Naqvi. Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif won the Prize. The jury of the prize comprised Mr Ghazi Salahuddin, Ms Hoori Noorani and Dr Nadya Chishty-Mujahid.KLF-HabibMetro Non-Fiction Prize. The books short-listed comprised Interpretation of Jihad in South Asia by Tariq Rahman, The Parliament of Pakistan by Mehboob Hussain, and From Kargil to the Coup by Nasim Zehra. Interpretation of Jihad in South Asia by Tariq Rahman was declared the winning entry. The jury of the Prize comprised Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed, Mr Zafar Hilaly and Mr Muhammad Ali Siddiqi.The Awards function was followed by a Kathak performance by Zahshanné Malik titled ‘A Tribute to Perveen Shakir’.The first day of the KLF featured a session ‘The Story of Qawwali’ based on a talk by Ally Adnan which was interspersed with performances by Ghayoor-Moiz-Mustafa Qawwal, Farid Ayaz and Abu Mohammad. A discussion was held on ‘Education in Pakistan: A Roller Coaster Ride’ and featured Shafqat Mahmood, Asad Ali Shah, Amjad Waheed and Shahid Siddiqui as speakers. Baela Raza Jamil moderated the discussion.A discussion titled ‘Challenges to International Diplomacy Today’ was also held on the opening day of KLF. The panellists included Christian Turner, Shahid Amin and Tariq Waseem Ghazi and Shaheen Salahuddin was the Moderator. A session titled ‘Women of Substance’ was also organized centering around the lives of Fatima Jinnah, Benazir Bhutto and Asma Jehangir. Participants in the discussion were Victoria Schofield, Sheema Kirmani and Karamat Ali.  The moderator was Fouzia Saeed.The Atlantic Muse by the Arabian Sea: Poetry in English’ featured poetry recitations by emerging as well as established poets like Adrian Husain, Arfa Ezazi, Farida Faizullah, Fatima Ijaz, Harris Khalique, Ilona Yusuf, Maya Nadeem, Peerzada Salman, Sadaf Halai and Tehmina Ahmed. 

About Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press (OUP) is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. OUP Pakistan is committed to promoting the reading culture and to improving the intellectual content of life in Pakistan. It has an extensive school and college textbook publishing programme which addresses the need for books that are both of high quality and specific to the environment. It has gained a reputation for publishing well-researched academic and general books which are considered to be authoritative and definitive works on Pakistan.

About Karachi Literature Festival

Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) seeks to create an intellectual space in which the diversity and pluralism in Pakistan’s society and that expressed by authors from literary and cultural traditions beyond Pakistan’s borders can be freely accessible to people in an open and participatory manner.

 

 

Nestle Pakistan wins 1st Prize at UN Global Compact Business Sustainability Award 2019

Lahore(Cliff News)Nestlé Pakistan has won the First Prize for ‘Living the Global Compact Best Practices Sustainability Award 2019’, in the category of multinational companies and declared the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Champion at the business sustainability moot and award ceremony, hosted by the UN Global Compact Network Pakistan.

This is the fourth consecutive time that Nestlé Pakistan has been recognised for its continuous commitment towards contributing to healthier future in line with SDGs and the ten principles of the UN Global Compact embedded in the way it conducts business.“It is an honour to be recognised by UNGC for the fourth time in a row. This not only shows Nestlé’s commitment and dedication to the SDGs but also motivates us further to continue our mission in line with UNGC principles,” said Waqar Ahmad, Head of Corporate Affairs, Nestlé Pakistan on the occasion. He added that Nestlé Pakistan was playing its role in community engagement and enhancement through various programs for its focus areas.“Nestlé believes in the philosophy of creating shared value (CSV). Our purpose is to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future and hence CSV is embedded in our business model, where direct engagement and support to communities is extended across the value chain,” he said.Nestlé Pakistan’s initiative, the Nestlé-BISP Rural Women Sales Program, under Ehsaas, was also presented as a case study at the moot, highlighting how the project had helped graduate BISP beneficiaries out of poverty in line with UN SDGs 3, 5 and 17 – Good Health & Well-being, Gender Equality, and Partnerships for the Goals, respectively. It has so far over 900 active rural women sales agents.As part of ‘Caring for Water – Pakistan’ initiative, Nestlé Pakistan with its collective action approach partnered with organisations such as LUMS, UVAS, WWF Pakistan, SDPI and PARC to address the shared water challenges, consistent with SDGs 6 – Clean Water & Sanitation, and 17 – Partnership for the Goals.Meanwhile, the Nestlé for Healthier Kids program (N4HK), a global initiative that empowers parents, caregivers and educators to foster healthier eating, drinking and lifestyle habits among school age children, has reached out to more than 220,000 kids and trained over 1100 teachers on nutrition in 280 schools, in collaboration with 10 educational partners.Congratulating Nestlé Pakistan on winning the award, Fasihul Karim Siddiqi, Executive Director Global Compact Network Pakistan, said, “We recognise Nestlé’s commitment and efforts which are completely aligned with UNGC principles of sustainable business practices in Pakistan.I believe that such practices should be promoted at greater levels and used as an example for other businesses to follow.”Living the Global Compact Best Practices Sustainability Awards is organised by Global Compact Network Pakistan every year. The network is currently fortified with around 90 organisations in Pakistan.

About Nestlé

Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. It is present in 191 countries around the world, and its 328,000 employees are committed to Nestlé’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. Nestlé offers a wide portfolio of products and services for people and their pets throughout their lives.

 

 

Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup returned to Karachi

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Karachi(Cliff News)The champion will represent Karachi in the Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup Grand Finals Turkish Airlines, flying to more countries than any other airline, arrived in Karachi at Defence Authority Country & Golf Club for the Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup attendance for the event was high while local high-profile figures and members of the business community was also present.Established in 2013, the Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup comprises 100tournaments held around the globe at world-class facilities with over 8,000 players in total competing against one another.The winners of this year’s tournament will qualify for the Grand Finals in Antalya in November, when they have the chance to secure a place in the Turkish Airlines Open pro-am, and will fly Business Class with Turkish Airlines to stay at a five-star golf resort on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.Representing Karachi,Sultan Mahmood secured his position as the champion with 43 points, while Aftab Nihal was runner-up, and Adnan Mahmood came third.The Nearest the Pin competition on the seventh hole was won by Adnan Mahmood for the men’s category and Annia Farooq for the women’s. Annia Farooq won
the lowest gross score with 76.Gurhan Sozen, General Manager for Turkish Airlines Karachi, said “Thank you”again to all of our wonderful guests who made the Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup here in Karachi a huge success. What a great tournament it was to watch and congratulations to our winner of this stage of the TAWGC series, Sultan Mahmood. We wish him the best of luck in Antalya.”

Shaan e Pakistan announces details of its upcoming fifth edition

Huma Nasr with her partners at the red carpet event of 5th Promising Shaan-e-Pakistan press conferenceKarachi(Cliff News)Shaan e Pakistan the huge and unique Pakistani platform for culture, food, music and fashion which aims to project the best that Pakistan has to offer beyond its borders, held its star-studded press conference at Zaoq restaurant, Dolman Mall, here earlier today. The event was well-attended by media, celebrities, socialites and corporates who graced the red carpet before the start of the conference.The event was hosted by the charming Hira Hussain who invited the founder and creator of the prestigious platform, Shaan-e-Pakistan, Huma Nassr to introduce the event. She announced the details of the upcoming 5th Edition and said “After the overwhelming success of the previous editions that took place in New Delhi in 2015, Lahore in 2016, Karachi in 2018 and Lahore in 2019, this year Shaan-e-Pakistan aims to cross another milestone by holding their 5th Edition — PROMISING SHAAN-E-PAKISTAN, 3-DAY FESTIVAL, in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 21st till 23rd March, 2020.”She added the objective of doing such festivals outside Pakistan is to give a platform to our country to show what it has to offer in terms of art, culture, music, food, fashion, property and trade. The three-day event will include exhibitions at Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre by both Pakistani and Sri Lankan corporates, women entrepreneurs, designers and artists. There will be a designer Lounge headed by Faiza Malik from Ensembles Dubai featuring Saniya Maskatiya, Fareeda Hasan, Armari and a lot more designers. There will be a Crafters Lounge headed by Anisa Yunus with some great crafts of Pakistan, Savvy Lounge by Aamir Mazhar featuring statement jewellery and exclusive outfits by designers from Lahore, and South Asian Lounge depicting South Asian Ensembles.Among the other speakers on the occasion were Irfan Pardesi from Zee Foundation, the executive producer of the event, Saad Ahsan from Commonwealth Dominica, Saud Faisal from Pakistan Observer, Amir Iqbal (poet), and Faisal Mubeen from Malka Foods.While a fashion show is scheduled for the 22nd, there will be a closing ceremony ‘Aik Shaam Pakistan kay Naam’ on the 23rd, both at Barefoot. Salts Arts would be collaborating with Shaan-e-Pakistan as Music Curator Partners. The fashion show will not only feature local talent like Mushk who will also be hosting the Red Carpet, but also international models. Ali Xeeshan and Humayun Alamgir would also be sharing the stage. Komal Rizvi, one of the ambassadors of Shaan e Pakistan, will also be walking the ramp and singing for the audience. There will also be a cricketers’ meet and greet on the closing night.For the entertainment of those present and to give an idea of what to expect in Sri Lanka, a sensational unplugged session by lead singer Wajih Farooqui of Raeth Band followed by Komal Rizvi and finally Safeer Jaffrey took place, after which the floor was open to questions and answers. High tea was then served.  The event would not be possible without the support of Zee Foundation and Saad Ahsan Immigration Law Firm, and Tranquility Beach Commonwealth Dominica who are the main promoters of the event. Hemani is the organic partner and Malka Foods is the food partner. HUM Network is the official media partner, while Hot FM 103 is the radio partner. Print media partner is Pakistan Observer, which is also presenting a property and pharma pavilion.Among the main partners from Sri Lanka supporting Shaan-e-Pakistan with gusto are aesthetic partner Jewel Gate, hospitality partner Galadari Colombo, venue partner Barefoot and SLECC, and logistics partner ASK, airline partner Sri Lankan Air and travel partner Reems Travel. Zaoq is the official restaurant partner in Karachi.The PR of the event is being handled by Starlinks PR and Events.




 

Global demand for LNG grew by 12.5%:Shell Annual Outlook

Karachi(Cliff News)Global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) grew by 12.5% to 359 million tonnes in 2019, according to Shell’s latest annual LNG Outlook published today – a significant increase that bolsters LNG’s growing role in the transition to a lower-carbon energy system.2019 saw key developments that are helping to reshape the industry, namely;  

  • an industry record of 40 million tonnes of additional supply becoming available and being consumed by the market.
  • the belief in long-term demand growth triggering record investment decisions in liquefaction capacity of 71 million tonnes.
  • an increase in diversity of contractual structures, providing a wider range of options to LNG buyers.
  • the growing role of gas in improving air quality through coal-to-gas switching in the power and industrial sectors, with coal generation phase-out announcements more than trebling.

Natural gas emits between 45 and 55% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and less than one-tenth of the air pollutants than coal when used to generate electricity.“The global LNG market continued to evolve in 2019 with demand increasing for LNG and natural gas in power and non-power sectors,” said Maarten Wetselaar, Integrated Gas and New Energies Director at Shell. “Record supply investments will meet people’s growing need for the most flexible and cleanest-burning fossil fuel.”“While we see weak market conditions today due to record new supply coming in, two successive mild winters and the Coronavirus situation, we expect equilibrium to return, driven by a combination of continued demand growth and reduction in new supply coming on-stream until the mid-2020s.”Europe absorbed the majority of 2019 supply growth as competitively-priced LNG furthered coal-to-gas switching in the power sector and replaced declining domestic gas production and pipeline gas imports.  New spot-trading mechanisms and a wider variety of indices used for long-term contracts point towards LNG becoming an increasingly flexible commodity.There was a modest rise in imports to Asia in 2019, compared to the previous two years, a result of mild weather and rising electricity generation from nuclear power in Japan and South Korea, two of the three largest global importers.In China, LNG imports increased by 14% in 2019 as efforts continued to improve urban air quality.Also notable was LNG demand growth in South Asia. In total, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan imported 36 million tonnes, an increase of 19% over last year, pointing to emerging growth countries in Asia.Over the longer-term, global LNG demand is expected to double to 700 million tonnes by 2040, according to forecasts*, as gas plays a significant role in shaping a lower-carbon energy system.Asia is expected to remain the dominant region in the decades to come, with South and South-east Asia generating more than half of the increased demand.

 

 

 

 

 

Meezan Bank Shariah board approves guidelines for Digital Mobile Account

Karachi(Cliff News)In it’s recently concluded 46th Shariah Supervisory Board meeting, Meezan Bank’s Shariah Supervisory Board approved guidelines for digital Mudarabah-based mobile account to support financial inclusion in Pakistan.The meeting was chaired by Dr. Muhammad Imran Ashraf Usmani and attended by Sheikh Esam Mohamed Ishaq, Mufti Muhammad Naveed Alam, Mr. Ahmed Ali Siddiqui and other key officials. Mr. Irfan Siddiqui – President & CEO, Meezan Bank and Mr. Ariful Islam – Deputy CEO, Meezan Bank were also present in the meeting which was held at Movenpick Hotel, Karachi.The Shariah Supervisory Board showed its overall satisfaction on the Shariah-compliance environment and operations of the Bank.Several key issues were discussed in the meeting related to modern trends in Islamic banking. Guidelines for a digital mobile account – Meezan Asaan Mobile Account based on Mudarabah was approved under which a customer can open his digital mobile account at Meezan Bank without the hassle of visiting any physical branch. On maintaining balance in this account, the customer would be entitled to receive halal profit based on actual returns of Shariah-compliant financings on monthly basis. Furthermore, the customer can use this account to deposit and withdraw funds digitally or from any Meezan Bank branch all over Pakistan.The Shariah Supervisory Board also gave important guidelines related to housing finance facility to be offered by the Bank in collaboration with Pakistan Mortgage Refinance Company which is low cost housing finance solution for the lower and middle income families.Relevant guidelines related to Islamic Fintech solution for supply chain financing were also issued by the Shariah Supervisory Board to make Shariah-compliant financing solutions accessible to Small and Medium Enterprises in Pakistan.Earlier on the same day, a meeting between Shariah Supervisory Board and Board of Directors (BoDs) of Meezan Bank was also held as part of the annual meeting plan of the Shariah Supervisory Board and BoD. In this meeting Dr. Muhammad Imran Ashraf Usmani conducted a learning session for the Board and also apprised them regarding the key decisions taken by the Shariah Supervisory Board during the year 2019.

VEON’s Co-CEO shares key insights with National Incubation Center startups

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Islamabad(Cliff News)Sergi Herrero, co-CEO of VEON Group, the global telecom leader and Jazz’s parent company, toured the National Incubation Center (NIC) facility in Islamabad. Following a brief pitch session by Jazz xlr8 and other NIC startups, Sergi, who before being named the co-CEO was leading new ventures, digital products and partnerships for the VEON group, participated in a conversation with the startups on innovation, leadership and the future of digital technologies.Sergi also shared insights with the startups from his time as Facebook’s Global Director of Payments and Commerce Partnerships, where he oversaw the launch and growth of payment and commerce capabilities for Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. He provided the keen entrepreneurs present at this talk the best strategies they can adopt for sustainable growth and expansion of their digital platforms.While lauding the efforts of the team behind the NIC, Sergi Herrero stated, “Pakistan is a dynamic country with a large youth population that is motivated, talented and eager to succeed, and this reflects in some of the work I have witnessed today at the NIC. Jazz’s intervention in this space provides these eager minds the resources and expertise needed to make a meaningful impact on society.” Since NIC’s launch, its incubated startups have generated over $5 million in investment and another $5 million in revenues. They have also created over 5,000 jobs and incubated more than 63 women entrepreneurs.Jazz xlr8, is an accelerator program for growth-stage startups at the NIC, helping them scale their products to the next level. More than 20 startups are on-board with this program, already generating over 1500 jobs, while raising over $1.6 Million in investments.“Jazz xlr8 startups are some of the best in the world in terms of their robust and innovative product offerings. In the three years we have worked with them, these startups have managed to create 1000s of jobs and raise finances to scale-up. Sergi’s visit today reinforces our commitment to the Pakistani startup ecosystem, as we look to double our support in pursuance of the government’s Digital Pakistan agenda,” said Jazz CEO Aamir Ibrahim.“Jazz is looking at innovative ways for digital interventions through our startups, operating in key areas, such as; Health, Education, Tourism, Agriculture and Gaming. We are committed to support socio-economic development in Pakistan, by providing technologies that impact the lives of millions by leveraging the largest infrastructure and footprint of Jazz all across the country,” said Jazz Chief Digital & Strategy Officer Aamer Ejaz.  

About Jazz

Jazz is Pakistan’s largest digital telecommunication company. Serving over 60 million subscribers across the country. 

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EBM participated Gulffood 2020 exhibition at Dubai

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Karachi (Cliff News)Following the recent launch of their new corporate brand identity, EBM participated in the Gulffood 2020 Exhibition held in Dubai. The overall response received from the buyers present at the exhibition has helped create multiple opportunities for EBM to expand their reach across international markets.In recent months, EBM has focused on enhancing its operational capabilities in order to be able to meet the increased level of international demand. With a reach that already spans to many major countries around the world, EBM hopes to further expand its consumer network to include other countries as well. While speaking on the subject, Dr. Zeelaf Munir, CEO of EBM, said, ‘We have taken the ownership as well as the responsibility to provide wholesome and nourishing food-between-meals to our consumers. With ever increasing levels of demand, EBM has kept innovation, research and development at the core of its production process. Through our market-research, we have observed the evolving needs of our consumers, both at home and abroad, and have been able to fulfill the needs of those looking for high quality innovative offerings including ethnic varieties.’Shahzain Munir, Director Business Development further added, ‘The response from this year’s fair has been overwhelming for our organization. We will continue to break barriers to enter into new markets and adopt cutting edge technologies for efficient operations. International markets are and continue to remain our primary focus for business growth. We are determined to continue contributing to the national exchequer by increasing the export of our products.’With a legacy of over 50 years, as a leading food company from Pakistan, and an example of flourishing entrepreneurship, EBM firmly believes that success and growth are achieved only through consistently striving for excellence. EBM’s commitment to remain abreast of global trends, while staying true to its roots, has enabled the company to satiate the needs of local and international consumers belonging to diverse markets.

About EBM:

EBM has been baking nutritious delights for Pakistani consumers under the brand name Peek Freans since 1966. As one of the pioneers of the industry as well as a dominating market leader, EBM continues to innovate on each of the three fronts: product, quality, and communication.

 

A1 decoded-accountants and policy makers can benefit from ongoing work

Karachi (Cliff News)ACCA’s (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) latest report Explainable AI addresses explainability from the perspective of practitioners, i.e. accountancy and finance professionals. Head of Business Insights, Narayanan Vaidyanathan, said: ‘It is in the public interest to improve understanding of XAI, which helps to balance the protection of the consumer with innovation in the marketplace.’Complexity, speed and volume of AI decision-making often obscure what is going on in the background (the black box), which makes the model difficult to interrogate.  Explainability, or the lack of this, affects the ability of professional accountants to understand and display scepticism. In a recent ACCA survey, more than double, 54%, agreed with this statement compared to those who didn’t.Vaidyanathan continued: ‘It’s an area that’s relevant to being able to trust technology and to be confident that it’s used ethically and XAI can help in this scenario.  It’s helpful to think of it as a design principle as much as a set of tools. Moreover, this is AI decoded, and designed to augment the human ability to understand and interrogate the results returned by the model.’

Key messages for practitioners:

  • Maintain awareness of evolving trends in AI: 51% of respondents were unaware of XAI.  This impairs the ability to engage. The report sets out some of the key developments in this emerging area to help raise awareness.  
  • Beware of oversimplified narratives: In accountancy, AI isn’t fully autonomous, but nor is it a complete fantasy. The middle path of augmenting, as opposed to replacing, the human works best when the human understands what the AI is doing; which needs explainability. 
  • Embed explainability into enterprise adoption:  Consider the level of explainability needed, and how it can help with model performance, ethical use and legal compliance. 

Policy makers, for instance in government or at regulators, frequently hear the developer/supplier perspective from the AI industry. This report can complement that with a view from the user/demand side, so that policy can incorporate consumer needs.  

The report’s key messages for policy makers are:

  • Explainability empowers consumers and regulators: improved explainability reduces the deep asymmetry between experts who understand AI and the wider public. And for regulators, it can help reduce systemic risk if there is a better understanding of factors influencing algorithms that are being increasingly deployed across the marketplace. 
  • Emphasise explainability as a design principle: An environment that balances innovation and regulation can be achieved by supporting industry to continue, indeed redouble, its efforts to include explainability as a core feature in product development.

 

Narayanan Vaidyanathan added: ‘XAI can be polarising, with some having unrealistic expectations for it to be like magic and answer all questions. While others are deeply suspicious of what the algorithm is doing in the background. XAI seeks to bridge this gap, by improving understanding to manage unrealistic expectations, and to give a level of comfort and clarity to the doubters.’

About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. ACCA supports its 219,000 members and 527,000 students (including affiliates) in 179 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 110 offices and centres and 7,571 Approved Employers worldwide, and 328 approved learning providers who provide high standards of learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.ACCA has introduced major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.