Empowering Women With Education

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Fatima Jinnah Women University was established in 1998

International Women’s Day will be celebrated on March 8, so this may be an ideal time to learn more about Rawalpindi’s Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) – the first university dedicated solely to educating women in Pakistan. (Incidentally, the first college for women was APWA, which came into being in Karachi in 1949).

History and education… FJWU was established in 1998. Since its inception, thousands of women from across Pakistan have been educated there and have pursued Masters and PhD programmes. The campus building is an imposing white, with impressive columns and turrets. It also has an interesting history as it was constructed as a residence by two Sikh brothers Mohan and Sohan Singh (most likely prior to Partition given the Victorian influenced architecture), and in the early 1960s it served as the Presidency of Pakistan.

Serenity in Civil Lines… A five-minute drive away from FJWU is Civil Lines – an elite residential neighbourhood established during the British Raj to serve as the residence of civil officers (this is how it got its name). Today, Civil Lines is considered to be one of Rawalpindi’s most upscale neighbourhoods, with large houses, well maintained parks, mosques and a few grocery stores; it remains peaceful thanks to minimal commercialisation. Consequently, shopping and dining avenues there are next to non-existent; however, plenty of options are located within a 10-minute drive, and include Diva Restaurant, Pappasallis, Pearl Continental Hotel, Usmania Restaurant and McDonald’s. Saddar Bazaar is also located in proximity, as is Jinnah Park, which also has a movie theatre.

The real estate take… Classified as a premium residential area, property options in Civil Lines are largely limited to large houses constructed on 500, 1,000 and 4,000 square yard plots. Property is in high demand; prices and rentals have increased by 40% in the last two years and are among the highest in Rawalpindi.

In a nutshell… This part of Rawalpindi is, for the most part, quiet, serene and green, and the presence of the prominent white building that houses FJWU adds to its appeal.

– Nimrah Butt

Photograph courtesy: FJWU

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The Fire Rooster

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3rd-boxChinese New Year will be celebrated on January 28 and mark the beginning of the Year of the Fire Rooster, which symbolises an awakening as well as the light of dawn. This is because a rooster’s crowing signals the start of a new day, and hopefully for all of us, a new and exciting year to look forward to.

People born in the Year of the Fire Rooster (1957 and 2017) are generally intelligent and confident, which makes them excellent leaders. However, patience is not a virtue they can boast of. Although some astrologists are of the view that Fire Roosters are ‘born lucky’, others believe that it is their dedicated hard work that enables them to excel in their professional lives. Continue reading

Remembering Habib Fida Ali (1935-2017)

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real-leadBorn in Karachi in 1935, Habib Fida Ali, who passed away on January 7, was among Pakistan’s foremost architects. He studied at the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) in the 1950s and was the first Pakistani student there. After returning to Pakistan, he worked with the American architect William Perry, before beginning his own practice in 1965.

In the years that followed, Habib Fida Ali became an icon in his own right; his work was visible across Pakistan and his portfolio included a diversity of buildings ranging from schools, mosques, offices, malls, hotels and residences, including the National Bank of Pakistan, the CAS School, The Forum, the Burma Shell Building and LUMS. Habib Fida Ali was also the recipient of several awards over the years for his work. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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