Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pakistan Business Express add value to train journey

Jumbo Editorial Team

The Pakistan Railways, having inherited sound infrastructure, has been the lifeline of the country since its inception in 1947. It has been catering to the needs of large scale movement of freight as well as passenger traffic. After having endured some turbulent years in the recent past, 2012 has been a landmark year in the rail history of the country.

The Pakistan Business Express, shuttling between Karachi and Lahore with international facilities and providing best possible safety standards, was launched under the public-private partnership arrangement in February.

Later the same month the Shalimar Express, running between Karachi and Lahore via Hyderabad, Rohri, Multan and Faisalabad, became the second train to operate under similar partnership plan and recently the Karakoram Express, also steaming in between Karachi and Lahore, has been revamped with the addition of several new carriages which is set to improve its performance.

The Pakistan Railways has announced to implement its plan to operate a few more trains on public private partnership this year, besides purchasing new engines and repairing the existing ones to overcome the menace of delays.

Their recent initiatives has gladdened the hearts of the people of Pakistan, who could now look forward to commuting on train again with the same pride and pleasure that they used to find in the past.

The Pakistan Business Express, being managed by Four Brothers International Pvt Ltd, is a welcome addition to attract business travellers alongwith their families and friends. It has set high standards of service quality and punctuality from the outset.

The facilities available inside train include separate cabins for six passengers, power outlets for laptops, internet, LCD with music and video channel, soft drinks, tea, snacks, dinner and breakfast, paramedical staff and direct access to local 1122 emergency service, and security guards. It’s for the first time in Pakistan that internet facility was made available inside any coach or train.

The first-ever business express train, whose travel time from Karachi to Lahore is 18 hours, had completed its debut journey from Lahore to Karachi quicker than anticipated. It had touched the Karachi Cantt Station at 9.45 am on February 4, which was 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled time. The train had left Lahore at 3.30 pm on February 3 for its first journey.

The reservations for the Pakistan Business Express could also be made online and the tickets are delivered at the home/office of the client. Their reservation offices at the railway stations in Karachi and Lahore have also been functioning efficiently. They have also introduced business budget class for Rs: 3,500 but the package doesn’t offer meals and video channels.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Karachi immerses in Lawn Collections of 2012

Jumbo Editorial Team

Lawns have been doing booming business over the years but never before the exhibitions started so early when the city was still in its coldest months. It has been described as lawn mania as well as lawn extravaganza but the fact remained that the lawn fever gripped Karachi much before the arrival of spring.

One exhibition has been followed by another from the outset in 2012, starting from as early as January. It has looked like that the textile giants and the fashion designers are in the middle of a fierce race for capturing higher market share this summer.

The month of March is not over yet and a lot of designers and brands have already exhibited their lawn collection 2012 with many more to join the bandwagon in the coming weeks. It’s being estimated that approximately 108 lawns will hit the market this summer.

Mausummery, Nadia Hussain, Warda, Yahsir Waheed, Asim Jofa, Kayseria Lawn, Rizwan Beyg Lawn, Shamaeel Ansari, Maria B, Sana Safinaz, Deepak Perwani, Ayesha Hussain, Sanya Munir and Seveen Munir have already showcased their designs while the brands having exhibited in the first quarter of the year include Bonanza, S&S Textiles, Afroze Textiles and Al Karam.

The mercury was even dipping below 10 degrees when the majority of the billboards started displaying one brand or another. Probably the lawn exhibitions had not been previously organized during the winter season.

The heat was on from the moment it was freezing cold from the Karachi standards. Interestingly the weather has generally been on the cooler side this year, an extended winter much to the relief of the people.

The impatience of the brands to capitalize on the lawn market could be attributed to the anticipated bigger demand this year. Luscious, lucrative, fancy and branded lawn exhibitions tornado hit Karachi early 2012.

Every single sign board has had a new designer’s name with the date and place of their exhibition. It certainly meant disrespect to winter clothing and to the season itself. The winter has stayed longer than usual to make the lawn battle look a bit odd.

As for lawn itself, there are now numerous brands in the market to choose from. Almost every single actress, model, singer has started exhibiting their lawn without a hint of planning as the sole idea seems to beat the competition by hook or by crook.

Not surprisingly almost all of these lawn exhibitions are being held in a posh area of the city where the people have greater purchasing power. With commuting in peak hours and unavailability of parking spaces being major hassles, the work has been cut out for the middle class families who are also lured by the huge publicity campaigns. The steep prices are another factor that limits them.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Brief Profile: Syed Khalid Tawab

Jumbo Editorial Team

Syed Khalid Tawab, who was elected as Vice President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) for the year 2011, has also served as the Acting President of the federation.

He was also the Chairman of FPCCI Working Group on Federal Budget 2011-12. Having been awarded an honorary degree of Ph.D.he was decorated with the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, one of the top civilian awards of the country, by the President of Pakistan in 2008. He is also the Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Mozambique in Karachi.

A prominent businessman, he has been representing the Pakistan Iron and Steel Merchants Association on the Executive Committee of the FPCCI. He has also served as President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

Khalid Tawab has been an outspoken business leader. He didn’t mince words in stating that the FPCCI remained in favour of normalisation of trade with India but not at the expense of allowing the allow local industry to suffer or close down because already the country was faced with acute unemployment problem.

He was quoted as saying that though the industry welcomed the negative list but the deadline of December 2012 was too short to cope up with the situation because 10-month period was not sufficient to face open challenges for any industry, urging the government to give at least three years for keeping negative list operative.

Syed Khalid Tawab on Jumbo Karachi Guide

Jumbo Editorial Team

“I have had this passion of collecting city guides, besides other books, from my early days. Jumbo Karachi Guide will be a welcome addition to my collection because of its outstanding contents. I am thrilled that a guide of my own city will finally make its way there. It was long overdue.”

“The contents of Jumbo Karachi Guide are of high class. A lot of hard work and creativity is reflected in its compilation. It’s very heartening to note that a few of the top journalists of the country have put together their efforts in bringing out what is certain to become a fabulous book.”

“Karachi certainly needs a travel guide that’s updated every year because new things keep happening at a very fast pace here like any other bustling metropolis. Jumbo Karachi Guide can fill this vacuum by bringing out a new edition every year.”

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Anwar Maqsood’s debut stageplay Pawnay 14 August rocks Karachi

Jumbo Editorial Team

Anwar Maqsood, who describes writing comedy as like walking on the edge of a sword, has made a sensational debut. The first-ever stageplay written by him, Pawnay 14 August, has rocked Karachi where the auditoriam of the Arts Council of Pakistan has remained packed to capacity since its opening on March 17.

He has been writing satire-laden comedy for television for a more than four decades, having become a trend-setter of sorts. He is acclaimed as the most celebrated and recognised comedy writer. With numerous TV shows under his best with many of them having attained the status of classics, he is one writer having the capacity to enthrall the masses with his unique style.

The living legend of television, for some reasons, had never written for theatre. So there was plenty of excitement in anticipation of his debut stageplay ‘Pawnay 14 August’ and it has indeed lived up to the billing.

“I had never written a play for stage for obvious reasons. The kind of stuff that I used to watch in the name of theatre in Karachi and Lahore never made me feel like going for it. On the other hand, at NAPA they mostly do translations which I personally don’t find enjoyable. One more point, there are Russells, Elliots and Agha Hashrs in the academy,” Anwar Maqsood explained.

“A few months back these young men (Dawar Mehmood and his team) showed up at my place and requested me to pen a script for them. Giving it a bit of consideration, I came up with the idea of Pawnay 14 August. After all, the future belongs to the younger lot,” he added.

“If you are watching television, you have the option to change the channel or switch it off. As a writer you have time. On stage, however, you cannot drop the curtains at will. There’s audience watching you. So it’s different,” he pointed out.

As per the story of play, souls of three leaders came to Pakistan on August 11 to visit the country that came into being as a result of their tireless efforts. They were expecting Pakistan to have become an Islamic welfare state, where masses would dwell peacefully, having freedom to act upon their religion and values and working for the progress of the nation and the country. But they were disappointed and their dreams were shattered.

The play kicks off through a scene dated August 15, 2012, from the waiting lounge of the Karachi airport, where the three leaders were waiting for conformation of their seats in the national carrier, Pakistan International Airline, to the capital Islamabad.

Waiting for conformation of their seats in the flight, they were talking about the ongoing situation of the country, where not a single person even recognised them during their visit. They were astonished to see the lifestyle, mental approach and views of the representatives of various communities including students, politicians and artists.

Hollywood icon Sean Penn visits shrine and Edhi Home in Karachi

Jumbo Editorial Team

Hollywood icon Sean Penn, during his maiden visit to Karachi on March 24, took the time out to travel to the Bilquis Edhi Female Child Home in Clifton after going to the shrine of Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi to lay floral wreaths and pay his respect. He was accompanied by William Martin, Consul General of the United States of America (USA) in Karachi.

Clad in a T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, the rather unassuming American actor Penn, arrived in a car to meet Pakistan’s most famous humanitarian worker, Abdul Sattar Edhi and his wife, Bilquis Edhi, at their home for children.

Penn, the Academy Award-winning star of Dead Man Walking, whose philanthropic efforts to help the survivors of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 were greatly admired, informed Sattar Edhi that he considered a ‘great honour’ for himself to meet him.

Penn toured the Bilquis Edhi Female Child Home, dipping into classrooms where Montessori students sang the nursery rhyme ‘Are you Sleeping, Brother John?’ eliciting smiles from him and Martin. The school at the home has 250 students and offers classes till Matric or tenth grade.

“What are they working on?” he asked Ali Edhi, who was showing him around the eighth class students in the computer lab. “Word, PowerPoint, Excel,” a teacher responded. Penn was also told about the number of Edhi centres nationwide and how the organization was open for everyone, regardless of faith, class and identity.

As the aroma of food being prepared for lunch wafted in from the kitchen, Penn stepped into a separate room to chat with the Edhis.

The versatile American actor praised the social and humanitarian work that has been undertaken by the Edi Foundation.

Consul General Martin informed the media that on the Pakistan Day weekend he brought Penn to meet Edhi, a great Pakistani who can inspire everyone with his big heart and generosity.

Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy makes Karachi proud

Jumbo Editorial Team

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy has made Karachi in particular and Pakistan in general proud by winning the prestigious Oscar award for her documentary ‘Saving Face’ on February 26. Now she has been decorated with one of the country’s highest civil awards Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Crescent of Excellence) on March 23 (Pakistan Day) for her services in the field of Arts and media and being the first female director of the country to touch such heights.

The eldest of five sisters and one brother, Sharmeen was born to a well-placed family of Karachi in 1978. After schooling at the Karachi Grammar School, she went on to do her graduation from the Smith College and then masters from the Stanford University.

She was interested in investigative journalism, having written her first article for Pakistan’s leading English newspaper at the age of 14. She ventured into film-making, in which she had no professional training, in an effort to bridge the gulf created between the East and the West.

Self- and on-the-job-trained, Sharmeen’s first documentary was on the lives of Afghan refugee children living in Pakistan, bagging a couple of awards which kick-started her career. She now has 16 documentaries to her name in the last 10 years many of whom have been acknowledged. Prior to the Oscar, the Emmy was the biggest award she won in 2009. She is the first non-American to win the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.

“Daniel and I want to dedicate this award to all the heroes working on the ground in Pakistan, including Dr Mohammad Jawad who is here with us today. The plastic surgeon working on rehabilitating all these women, Ruksana and Zakia, who are our main subjects of the film, whose resilience and bravery in the face of such adversity is admirable. And to all the women of Pakistan who are working for change don’t give up on your dreams. This is for you,” the 33-year-old Sharmeen remarked at the stage after winning the Oscar award which gladdened the hearts of everyone back home, ecstatic to be acknowledged positively in Hollywood.

Her co-director, Daniel Junge, was also credited to have recognized the significance of the moment and having allowed Sharmeen to take the spotlight.

Upon her return home, on March 11, Sharmeen informed the media at the Karachi Press Club that she felt like a star at the ceremony and narrated how her heart stopped when the announcer fumbled a little after saying “and the winner is…”

“When I heard the name of Saving Face, at first I thought I was repeating the name myself. It was only when Daniel got up to receive the award, then I felt that ‘Yes, we have won.’ There is no other feeling I can describe, it was the most incredible feeling ever,” she added.

Sharmeen’s accomplishment was also cheered loudly outside of Pakistan, as Angelina Jolie, the 1999 Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actress, praised her and expressed the desire to watch the documentary. Harvey Weinstein, co-founder of Miramax Films, told her that it made him “feel good to know the kind of work we do as filmmakers.”

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hamara Karachi Festival 2012 highlighting city’s culture and heritage gets underway

Jumbo Editorial Team

Like the last five years, the Hamara Karachi Festival is also being organized this year with the traditional zeal and fervour and it has already got underway on March 13 with a milad at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazaar in Clifton.

This year the theme of the festival is ‘Hamara Karachi, Hamara Pakistan’. It is being organised with the collaboration of the revived Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC).

A beautiful firework display was organized by District Municipal Corporation, Karachi East, at the Chahar Minar Bahadurabad Chowk as a part of the Hamara Karachi Festival on the Pakistan Day.

The President of the Hamara Karachi Foundation, Senator Nasreen Jalil, also a former Naib Nazim (Deputy Mayor) of Karachi, has announced that the festival, scheduled to continue until April 7, will be celebrated this time with lots of entertainment items with an aim to highlight the city’s culture and heritage.

As in the past, different activities will be organised at various places of the city. The festival activities included music concert, photo exhibition, cycle race, donkey-cart race, inter-faith evening, seafood festival, beach games, flower show, film shows for special children, walks and cultural shows.

It has been planned to set up food streets at Burns Road, Boat Basin and North Nazimabad while the other events of the festival will be spread all over the city, including Clifton, Nazimabad, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah Road, Federal-B-Area and Gulistan-e-Jauhar.

Meanwhile the Hamara Karachi seven-a-side Floodlit Football tournament has commenced at the National Soccer Academy Ground in Paposh. The Sindh Sports Minister, Dr Syed Muhammad Ali Shah, was the chief guest in the colourful opening ceremony held on March 15.

NAPA organize first-ever theatre festival in Karachi with great fanfare

Jumbo Editorial Team

The National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) organized its Performing Arts Festival 2012 from March 1 to 11. They had started with a bang and concluded in a blaze of glory with its sixth and final production ‘Equus, acclaimed as one of the most brilliant plays to be produced in modern day Pakistani theatre.

The three-hour-long play set itself apart with its unique style of presentation and flawless execution. Directed by Sunil Shankar, it has been translated into Urdu by both Shankar and Nazarul Hassan.

It’s a story of a 17-year-old boy Alan Strang, played by Ishtiaq Rasool, who ends up blinding six horses in a stable where he used to work. However, the different layers of depth are revealed in Strang’s treatment by a psychiatrist Martin Dysart (Nazarul Hassan).

‘Equus’ ran for three hours but time passed in the blink of an eye and the audience remained into totally absorbed and involved. The mind blowing performance of Hassan, who played the difficult role of Drysart, a paedophiliac therapist with apparent ease, was well and truly appreciated.

The usually dark and gloomy campus of the NAPA remained lit up with decorative lights during the entire length of the institute’s first ever theatre festival. An auditorium packed to the brim with an enthusiastic audience in the opening ceremony was testimony that the festival was long-awaited in the metropolis.

The event started with brief speeches by some of the disinguished theatre veterans who are also senior faculty members at NAPA.

“Theatre is a huge blessing because it challenges our thought process, forcing us to question things,” Zia Mohyeddin, the NAPA President, remarked adding that the theatre festival has been a goal of the Academy ever since it was formed.

Rahat Kazmi, who is the head of the theatre department, was happy to note that the youth has finally has taken charge.

“A time comes when the older generation has to make way for newer faces and that is why we (faculty members) have completely eliminated ourselves from the festival so that the graduates take the onus from here,” he stated.

The festival kicked off with an impressive and experimental performance ‘Mein Muntazir Hoon’ by final year students of Napa, who portrayed the various issues of today’s youth. Directed by the Special Programmes Manager Zain Ahmed, the play starred Ishtiaq Rasool, Waqar Naaem, Raheel Ahmed and Hameeruddin whereas its music was composed by Ahsan Rabbani and Arsalan Rabanni.

Prof Dr Nasim Fatima’s unique distinction

Jumbo Editorial Team

Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, one of the luminaries in the field of library and information science, holds the unique distinction of reviewing the first-ever publications brought out by Jumbo Publishing as well as Jumbo Infomedia.

A former Chairperson of the Department of Library and Information Science at the University of Karachi, she was the first reviewer of Jumbo Publishing’s maiden book titled ‘Spotlight on World Cup 2003’ which was published in 2005.

Despite her preoccupations as the Principal Research Investigator at the Sindh Archives in Karachi, she has taken the lead once more by having reviewed Jumbo Karachi Guide, which is the pilot project of Jumbo Infomedia, before anyone else could do it.

She has achieved many firsts in her distinguished, holding the distinction of being the first lady lecturer to be appointed in the Library & Information Science department of University of Karachi besides being the first lady to earn the doctorate degree in her field from any university of Pakistan.

Prof Dr Nasim Fatima, with her unmatched accomplishments over the years, has become a role model for the community. She has been recipient of numerous awards in an illustrious career, spanning more than three decades.

She is credited to have authored and co-authored more than 35 books, mostly on the subjects of library and information science. She has also produced a few masterpieces on the subject of research. She brought out new edition of Adab-o-Kutub Khana titled ‘Bazm-e-Akram 2012’ which is the fourth publication in this series.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review: Jumbo Karachi Guide

By Prof Dr Nasim Fatima

Jumbo. Karachi Guide: ed. by Abdul Qadir Qureshi, Karachi: Jumbo Informedia, 2011. ISBN: 978-969-9688-00-3. 146 p. Rs. 600.

The Jumbo Group has promoted the cause of information access of readers on different fields of life specially on sports, fine art, books, reading etc. They have been doing a splendid job by producing the information of new publications on internet through the blog of Jumbo Publishing.

They have published the first edition of Jumbo Karachi Guide, which is compiled, edited and printed beautifully, in 2011. It provides almost all the subject fields on the mega city Karachi.

The publication in hand is first standard guide which provides brief information about, Important Telephone numbers, Postal area codes, Geography, Demography in facts column. Chronology of important events form 1843-2011, a brief introduction of Karachi includes banking, ports, factories, sightseeing, shopping, crafts, gifts, educational institutions, cultural organizations, clubs, councils, sports and beaches.

Under the headings of “Modern Karachi” the development made so far is discussed climate of Karachi is described month wise. “From Kolachi to Karachi” includes the historical background from 17th century to 1947.

There is a chapter on Architectural heritage of Karachi, the most famous buildings amongst many are Quid-e-Azam House Museum, Mohatta Palace, Khaliq Dina Hall, Frere Hall, Mereweather Tower, Max Denso Hall, Empress Market, KPT and KMC buildings, Karachi Chamber of Commerce. Basic informations alongwith beautiful coloured illustrations are presented.

The cultural history of Karachi is traced, transportation through tramway is highlighted. Spotlights are fixed on the Karachi’s identity that Karachi Grammar School founded in 1847. Tracings are there of St. Patrick School, D.J. College, Delhi College & Schools, NED University, Karachi University, Dow University, Aga Khan University, Hamdard University and Sir Syed University.

There are chapters on evolution of new media through blogging and social networking. hub of business, Karachi ports, reflections of splendid beaches and coastline, sports clubs, hotels of repute, shopping centres, cinemas, Hamara Karachi Festivals, Book Fairs, Fashions, Glimpses Literary festivals, Social Sector Development in Karachi. There are three selected maps of Pakistan, Sindh and Karachi.

In last there is a section on practical information. It includes useful information on Airlines, Ambulance Services, Art Galleries, Banks, Blood Banks, Booksellers, Breakfast & Brunch, Cinemas, Clubs, Coach Services, Courier Services, Cultural Centers, Departmental Stores, Farm Houses, Fast Food, Florists, Foreign Missions, Fun Spots, Gift Shops, Golf Clubs, Handicrafts, Health Clubs, Hospitals, Hotels, Laboratories, Libraries Laboratories, Rent a Car, Restaurants, Travel Agents and Tour Operations.

This guide presents Karachi as a city of splendid history. Information are scrutinized and summarized carefully and presented in a literary way of writing. Pictures are of archival nature and reflect the fun of Camera. This book is good addition in book world and of printing in Pakistan too. Each and every library should buy this book for their information and reference desk.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

World snooker chief Guillaum declares Karachi a fantastic city

Jumbo Editorial Team

Pascal Guillaum, President, International Billiards & Snooker Federation (IBSF), who spent four days in Karachi recently, found it as fantastic a city as anyone else in the world.

The visiting IBSF President was presented a copy of Jumbo Karachi Guide whose contents and presentation impressed him considerably.

“It’s a wonderful place which can be compared to any internationally acclaimed city. I had first come here 19 years ago. Obviously a lot of development work has taken place in this part of the world too which is reflected when we move out,” the Paris-based IBSF chief, who was in Karachi from March 4 to 7 as the guest of honour in Jubilee Insurance 7-Nation International Snooker Championship 2012 held at Hotel Pearl Continental, remarked in a conversation with Jumbo Editorial Team.

“I faced no problems whatsoever in the city while commuting to its different parts for four days. I consider Karachi a safe enough city to play host to international cue sports events, including the World Snooker Championship. It has all the ingredients needed to organize a global competition,” he declared.

“I have had very comfortable stay in this vibrant city again. I went to Zamzama in Defence a couple of times besides spending some time on what I consider as splendid beaches of Karachi. Honestly speaking it has been a wonderful trip. I couldn’t visit the French beach because it was little far but I will definitely try to reach out there when I am around next time,” the IBSF President said.