Haleem – A Pakistani Favourite

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NutrationsHaleem is a favourite dish for many Pakistanis, especially on festive occasions.

Cooked with a variety of ingredients such as wheat, barley, lentils,  and your choice of meat, haleem is not only delicious, but it is also a nutrient powerhouse:

Rich in protein. Thanks to the presence of protein rich lentils, haleem is the perfect post-work out snack, as it helps rebuild muscle and tissue. Loaded with carbohydrates (when rice is added to it), haleem aids in replenishing depleted energy levels, helping you stay sharp and focused, making it a wholesome and healthy mid-day meal.

Packed with dietary fibre. Barley and wheat – essential ingredients of haleem – contain substantial amounts of dietary fibre which promotes digestion, and maintains a healthy intestinal lining. Since consuming fibre keeps you feeling full for longer, it is a good food to add to diet plans for weight loss. Continue reading

Truck Art – Quintessentially Pakistani

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truck artWhile truck art has been around for quite a while, it is only recently that this quintessentially Pakistani art form has found its way into Pakistan’s high-end couture, the collections of web-based websites that sell everything under the sun, as well as street fashion.

Truck art, characterised by vibrant colours, borrows various elements from different regions of Pakistan, including cut mirror work indigenous to Sindh and Balochistan, portraits of popular film actors, not to mention the picturesque mountainous terrains of the northern areas.

Here is how truck art is being used to up the glam quotient in ensembles: 

Clothing. Embroidered motifs of Lollywood and Bollywood actors, exotic animals such as peacocks and serpents, and vibrant natural elements such as waterfalls and flowers are increasingly being used in kurtis and T-shirts. Cheekier versions include the kohl-lined eyes of a woman coupled with lines of ‘truck poetry’ including ‘dekh magar pyaar say. Bright coloured tassels and small metal bells (similar to ghungroos) are often used on hemlines to add drama. Continue reading

Labour Laws In Pakistan

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careerPakistan is a signatory to The International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions. However, employment laws – and their implementation – have a long way to go in terms of ensuring wage parity and safe working conditions, as well providing improved compensation packages.

The four areas that warrant immediate attention include: 

Employment of children. The Employment of Children Act took effect in 1991 which prohibited under-age children from being employed or performing functions considered hazardous. However, factories continue to employ young children at low wages, with no health and safety provisions in place. A focus on implementing the recommendations of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to improve these working conditions is needed urgently.

Employment of women. There is a dearth of legal protection governing women’s employment rights. They are mostly involved in low-wage/low-productivity occupations and the wage differentials between genders is a chronic problem. A specific law on equal pay, a revision of the Maternity Benefits Ordinance (making employers responsible for payment of maternity leave wages) and an active implementation of The Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, promulgated in 2010, is required. Continue reading

A Testament To Pakistan’s Regal Past

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Connected to Lahore’s city centre via Ring Road, Shahdara – or the Royal Pathway – is a suburban neighbourhood located on the northern banks of River Ravi. During the Mughal rule, it served as the entrance to Lahore.

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Emperor Jehangir’s tomb is built with red sandstone

The resting place of the royals… Historical landmarks continue to stand tall in Shahdara, the most well-known of which is Emperor Jehangir’s Tomb. Its exterior is adorned with mosaic, red sandstone and decorative marble. You can enter it through impressive stone gateways that are embellished with frescoes and ghalib kari , which lead into a square enclosure, the iconic Akbari Serai (Palace of Akbar). To its west is the red sandstone mausoleum of Empress Nur Jehan with a cenotaph of Ladli Begum, her daughter. The tomb of Asif Khan, Noor Jehan’s brother, is also located there; it is an octagonal brick structure layered with and blue tiles.

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Akbari Serai is located within Shahdara Bagh

Even more attractions… In addition to the aforementioned structures, Shahdara is also home to Kamran ki Baradari, a summer pavilion built by Kamran Mirza, son of Emperor Babur; it has two-storeys and 12 columns with arched balconies. Remember, a sight-seeing trip to Shahdara is never quite complete without partaking signature Mughlai dishes such as malai tikkas, murgh cholas, pulao and haleem at one of the many eateries there.

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The Shahdara Bagh Junction is a crucial connecting point

A touch of modernity… Over the years, modern utilities and amenities have made life convenient for residents. These include quality educational institutes, healthcare facilities, shopping malls, sports complexes and plenty of green spaces. Furthermore, the construction of two railway stations – Shahdara Bagh and Shahdara Town – ensures improved connectivity to the rest of Punjab.

The real estate take… Primarily a residential area, property options in Shahdara are limited to small houses, constructed decades ago. Commercial property options include standalone shops and makeshift pavement stalls. Due to its distance from the main city, demand and prices of property have remained relatively stable over the years.

In a nutshell… Despite the hints of modernity in the form of well-developed road networks and infrastructural developments, Shahdara remains one of the most prominent reminders of Pakistan’s regal, historic past. n

– Moneeza Burney

First published in the DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on August 14, 2016.

Is CSR A Win-Win Proposition?

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PrintCorporate Social Responsibility (CSR) became somewhat of a ‘must-have’ some years ago when the idea of the ‘triple bottom line’ (concern for people, planet and profits, preferably in that order)came into vogue. This idea extended the supposition from the one that had companies’ prime responsibilities as shareholder earnings, to one that included the well-being of employees and society at large. Corporate reporting began to include CSR as a measurable item and, not surprisingly, created its own controversies.

Some argued that CSR activities were funded by company profits that should rightly go to shareholders. Others (cynically) suggested that this was just a way for firms to earn ‘brownie-points’ and look good in the eyes of society. Whatever the opinion, if some segment of the community is benefiting, why quibble? Continue reading

Why Camel Milk Is Good For You

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nutrationsFor centuries, camel milk has been used for medicinal purposes in certain parts of the world, including the Middle East, due to the fact that it has low levels of saturated fat and high levels of essential nutrients. No wonder then, camel milk is gaining popularity the world over as well as in Pakistan, especially among people who are lactose-intolerant since camel milk is easily digestible when compared to regular milk.

Camel milk provides the following health benefits:

  • Boosts your immune system and fights disease. This is due to the presence of protein and organic antibodies that improve immune system function, fight off infections and counter autoimmune disorders. Camel milk also contains organic compounds which are beneficial for the neurological system; they can help lessen or reverse symptoms caused by diseases such as autism among children.

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Tackling The Menace Of Counterfeit Medicines

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health leadIn a country where approximately 30% of all medications sold are counterfeit, a Pakistani start-up ProCheck – is on a mission to reduce this figure, ensuring that people have access to safe and authentic medicines. This is a welcome initiative given that several instances of fake drug usage have endangered hundreds of lives in recent years.

Incorporated in 2014, the start-up is in the process of establishing collaborative partnerships with the largest pharmaceutical brands operating in the country. Once these agreements are finalised, every strip/bottle of medicine manufactured by these companies will have an eight-digit alphanumeric authentication code imprinted on it. To verify that the medicine they have purchased is original and has not expired, all buyers need to do is to SMS the code to 9900, after which they will receive a message confirming whether or not the medications are valid. Continue reading

Ramazan Essentials

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3rd boxWith Ramazan around the corner, this is the time to stock up with a plentiful supply of Ramazan essentials before the price hikes start.

No iftari is ever quite complete without chutneys, lemon wedges and green chillies, while curries do not have the necessary zing unless ginger and garlic are added to them. Vendors have the public over a barrel when it comes to maintaining steady supplies of these essentials throughout Ramazan and charge exorbitant prices regardless of their quality. Therefore, buying these ingredients beforehand makes sense.

Making a ginger-garlic paste with a food processor is easy as it stores well in glass jars in the fridge, or it can be put into plastic bags and frozen for up to six months. You can also wrap fresh ginger root in a damp cloth and refrigerate; this will keep it fresh for almost six weeks (matchstick-sized slivers of ginger freeze well). Healthy garlic bulbs on the other hand, need a cool, dry and airy storage area; otherwise, they will go bad in a few days. Continue reading

Recruitment In The Air

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CareersIt’s recruitment season all over again for graduating students as well as interns. As a diligent hopeful, have you prepared your résumé and gone around asking for hints on how to ‘ace the interview’ and distinguish yourself from hundreds of other candidates you are up against?

Here are a few observations that will be of use:

1. Time is of the essence. Interviewers have very tight schedules and have probably heard every variety of introduction. You are not there to solve world hunger nor make a million rupees for the company. All you can do is put your best foot forward in a restrained yet confident manner.

2. Get the introduction right. Stating what is on your resume is not very clever. Focus on something interesting about yourself that is not reflected in the document which would get the conversation going. Saying that you are hardworking (everybody is), innovative (what have you invented?) or a good team player are clichés everybody uses. Develop your skills to deliver what is called an ‘Elevator Speech’, in which you have just a minute or so to introduce yourself or an idea to someone really important and state your USP.

3. Highlight how you can add value. Do your homework on the company’s products, competition and the overall industry. This will enable you to articulate exactly what improvements or innovations you can bring about, both in the short- as well as the long-term.

Remember, just as you are looking for the best employer, recruiters are doing the same. There will be hits and misses and I know of very few careers that started off with a single job interview followed by immediate selection, so be prepared for rejection, but don’t let it demotivate you. Take heart from the fact that you have been invited for an interview from a large pool of applicants; now it’s all about how well you can ‘sell yourself’.

– Leon Menezes
The writer is a professor-of-practice at the IBA Karachi, a senior HR practitioner and an executive coach.

Dame Zaha Hadid Wins The RIBA Gold Medal

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International Women’s Day (March 8) is a good time to acknowledge the achievements of notable women from around the world. One such woman is renowned architect Dame Zaha Hadid, who became the first woman to be awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Gold Medal, the UK’s highest honour for architects last month. Although two other women – Ray Kaiser Eames and Patricia Hopkins – have been previously honoured, they were presented the medal in tandem with their husbands. Continue reading