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BOK and HBL sign strategic partnership
A group photo after the signing ceremony.

Bank of Khyber (BoK) is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with HBL for Government to Personnel (G2P) and Personnel to Government (P2G) payments across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) through HBL Konnect’s branchless banking channel.

The MoU was signed by Sher Muhammad, Group Head Conventional Banking BoK, and Agha Israr Ahmed, Head of Sales and Distribution, IF&I HBL. The signing ceremony was attended by Irfan Saleem Awan, MD/CEO (A) & CFO, Asim Bashir, Group Head Digital Banking, Ihsan Ullah Ihsan, Group Head Remedial Assets Management Group, Muhammad Asif, Group Head HRDG, Shaikh Mashhood ur Rehman, CIO, Ali Khan Arbab, Group Head IBG (A), and Asad Mehmood Siddiqui, Head Digital Banking from BoK, and Asghar Ali, Regional Business Head, North, I&FI, from HBL amongst other senior executives.

By leveraging HBL Konnect’s extensive network, a significant number of individuals will gain improved access and convenience. This will enable them to benefit from seamless transactions and streamlined processes for both funds collection and disbursement.

Dawlance launches ‘Dawlance Prima Line’ – a premium range of home-appliances
Dawlance launches ‘Prima Line’, a premium range of home appliances

Dawlance, Pakistan’s leading home appliances manufacturer, has launched a new range of premium products, under the umbrella of “Dawlance Prima Line – Designed for Better”. Catering specifically to the Pakistani market, this ground-breaking product range is a continuation of the company’s legacy of providing cutting-edge solutions, to meet the evolving needs of the consumers. Dawlance is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arcelik, flagship of Türkiye’s Koc Group – largest manufacturer in Europe, which is providing investments and technological expertise to create innovative technologies in Pakistan.

The ‘Dawlance Prima’ range of products embodies modernity and sophistication and offers state-of-the-art technology and sleek designs, tailored to elevate the lifestyle of Pakistani consumers. Dawlance Prima Line’s debut product category, the No-Frost Refrigerator, offers solutions for the unique challenges and preferences of the Pakistani market. The product has special features to ensure reliable performance, despite the scarcity and rising prices of energy in the region, which cause power-fluctuations and load-shedding. Crafted with top-notch European technologies and quality standards, Dawlance Prima Line products will set a new benchmark for innovation, efficiency, and aesthetics. By the end of year 2024, other Dawlance Prima Line products will also be introduced in Pakistan.

Emphasizing to the contribution of Arçelik’s experience in international markets and expertise in innovation to the Pakistani market, Mr. Can Dincer, Chief Commercial Officer of Türkiye and South Asia at Arçelik said, “Dawlance is strengthening its position as the leading home appliances company in the market with investments. We provide Pakistani customers with innovative and sustainable products and solutions. And Dawlance Prima Line is also a great example of this. Prima stands for prime and summarizes our vision within the country. We are proud to launch Pakistan’s first premium product line-up “Dawlance Prima”, which demonstrates our commitment to the Pakistani customers.”

Mr. Can Dinçer added: “Pakistan stands out with the potential of its young population. We see Pakistan as a key developing market for local manufacturing, R&D and future export hubs. We believe in the potential of Pakistan. We will further invest in production, technology, retail and customer experience in the country. I believe that our position as the no. 1 white goods manufacturer in Europe will further add value for our business and customers in Pakistan.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Dawlance – Mr. Umar Ahsan Khan stated: “It is a proud moment for us to achieve this great milestone in elevating the quality of home-appliances in Pakistan, with the ‘Dawlance Prima’ line. No Frost Refrigerator is the first product category being introduced in this revolutionary lineup. This new product-range will feature a wide range of high-end products, with state-of-the-art technologies and sophisticated designs to meet the specific needs of the discerning consumers, who seek premium quality, with a higher lifestyle.”

The introduction of Dawlance Prima Line marks a new era of advancement, reflecting the company’s vision to exceed customer expectations and redefine standards of quality and sophistication. As Dawlance Prima Line expands into various product categories, Dawlance remains committed to elevating the standard of living for consumers across Pakistan.

Over the years, Arcelik has invested more than 300 million Euros in Dawlance. Its research & development efforts have created many new technologies, while its products also promise up to 60% energy-conservation. With a local R&D center established in Pakistan and support from Turkish engineers, Dawlance is dedicated to enhancing global collaboration and diversification, fostering self-reliance in creating European-quality products for the Pakistani market.

Pak-Qatar General Takaful Limited announces Financial Results for 2023

Pak-Qatar General Takaful Limited (PQGTL or the Company), a leading provider of Shariah-compliant general Takaful solutions in Pakistan has announced its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2023. PQGTL is part of Pak-Qatar Group, Pakistan’s premier and pioneer Islamic financial conglomerate. PQGTL is rated ‘A+’ (Single A Plus) having a Stable Outlook by Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA) and ‘A’ (Single A) having a Stable Outlook by VIS Credit Rating Company Limited.

The Board meeting presided over by Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah bin Thani al-Thani, the Chairman of Pak-Qatar Group, discussed the financial results of the company for 2023 and its plans for 2024, in the meeting held in Doha, Qatar. It was attended by the Directors – M/s. Said Gul, Abdul Basit Ahmad al-Shaibei, Ali Ibrahim Al Abdul Ghani, Zahid Hussain Awan and Muhammad Kamran Saleem. Saqib Zeeshan, Deputy CEO of the Company also attended the meeting

Overview of Financial Performance:

During 2023, Pak-Qatar General Takaful Limited achieved a turnover of PKR 1.26 Billion. Shareholders Fund posted a net profit after tax of PKR 101.2 million with an EPS of PKR 1.99 per share despite all challenges; while the Participants’ Takaful Fund (Waqf Fund) generated an annual surplus of PKR 40.57 million. The Company has increased its net equity & break-up value per share through impressive growth in its profits.

Sindh Govt’s universal health coverage promotes health for all

Universal Health Coverage promotes health for all. Sindh government through its public-private partnerships has been able to make significant strides towards it. Today, no child is more than 30 minutes away from quality emergency services. Similarly, no one is more than 90 minutes away from quality heart care. This was stated by Dr. Ahson Rabbani, CEO – ChildLife Foundation while moderating a session on Universal Health Coverage at the Healthcare Expo & Conference 2024.

Since 2011, the Government of Sindh and ChildLife Foundation have fostered a public-private partnership to enable access to quality emergency care, free of cost for 6 million children across Sindh. Child health is our top priority, and our joint efforts have lowered the child mortality rate in Sindh. The UNICEF-supported MICS survey of 2021 reported a major reduction in child mortality rate in Sindh – from 104 to 46 per 1,000 live births over five years. This partnership has also expanded ChildLife’s Telemedicine network to all tehsils of Sindh.

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is a fundamental human right that ensures all individuals have access to quality health services without facing financial hardship. Collaborative efforts are crucial to increase access to quality healthcare services, reduce mortality rates, diminish financial burdens on individuals and households, enhance health equity, and strengthen the healthcare system and infrastructure. Together, these efforts promote health and well-being for all.

The session highlighted the critical role of public-private partnerships in providing access to Universal Health Coverage in Pakistan and was attended by healthcare professionals from various organizations. Notable panelists stressed the importance of Universal Health Coverage and mentioned that achieving it in Pakistan requires a collaborative effort from all stakeholders. The government, private sector, civil society, and international organizations must work together to address the country’s significant health challenges.

Pakistan faces numerous health challenges, including a high burden of infectious and non-communicable diseases, resulting in high child mortality rates, inadequate health infrastructure, and a shortage of healthcare professionals. The country’s largely privatized healthcare system leads to significant out-of-pocket expenses for patients, causing financial hardship and pushing many individuals below the poverty line. By expanding health coverage, increasing health financing, strengthening healthcare infrastructure, developing human resources, and implementing health insurance programs, Pakistan can make significant progress towards achieving Universal Health Coverage and ensuring that all citizens have access to quality health services without facing financial hardship.

Pak-Qatar General Takaful Limited Appoints Mr. Saqib Zeeshan as its new CEO
Pak-Qatar General Takaful Limited appoints Mr. Saqib Zeeshan as its new CEO

Pak-Qatar General Takaful Limited (PQGTL), a leading provider of Shariah-compliant General Takaful solutions in Pakistan, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Saqib Zeeshan as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective immediately.

With over 20 years of experience in the Takaful, Insurance, and Health Services Providers, Mr. Zeeshan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his new role. His proven track record of success in driving growth and innovation across all lines of business makes him an ideal leader for PQGTL.

We are confident that Saqib Zeeshan’s deep industry knowledge and commitment to Islamic values will be instrumental in leading Pak-Qatar General Takaful towards continued success in the years to come,” said Mr. Kamran Saleem, Director. He also extended his sincere gratitude to Mr. Zahid Hussain Awan, the former CEO, for his relentless efforts in shaping the company on firm foundations. “We highly value and acknowledge the contributions made by Mr. Awan for Pak-Qatar Group in general, and for Pak-Qatar General Takaful in particular, since the beginning”, said Mr. Kamran.

“I am honored to be appointed as the CEO of Pak-Qatar General Takaful,” said Mr. Saqib Zeeshan. “I am committed to continue serving our customers with improved experiences and leading PQGTL to even greater heights. We will continue to offer innovative and Shariah-compliant General Takaful solutions that provide financial protection to our customers and deliver greater value. I look forward to working with our talented team to drive growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction. Taking this opportunity would also like to thank the Board of Directors for having reposed confidence in me to lead PQGT.

Mr. Zeeshan has a distinguished career in the industry, having served as a founding member of Pak-Qatar Family Takaful in 2007 and holding senior positions at renowned organizations such as Salaam Takaful, The Indus Health Network, American Life Insurance, Commercial Union Life Assurance Pakistan, and Allianz EFU Health Insurance Limited. He has also actively contributed to the industry by serving as a member of the Executive Committee at The Insurance Association of Pakistan (IAP). Mr. Zeeshan holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Economics (M.A.), LLB, as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Takaful & Islamic Banking from Darul Uloom, Karachi.

Pakistan’s leading advertising and marketing company Synergy Group celebrates its Silver Jubilee Anniversary

Synergy Group, a leader in the integrated marketing communication (IMC) industry, celebrated its 25thAnniversary recently.

Founded in 1999 by Ahmed Kapadia, Synergy Group began its journey with a clear mission of fostering a work culture where teamwork, experimentation, and knowledge-sharing are paramount.The Group’s 25th Anniversary was marked bycelebrations of its achievements, collaborative culture, and continuous growth.

“Synergy Group’s success over the years is a testament to our unflinching belief in the power of collaboration, innovation and limitless potential,” said Kapadia, Chairman of Synergy Group.

“From our humble beginnings, we have always encouraged our team to dare to dream big, experiment, learn, and grow together. It is this spirit of unity, teamwork and the challenger mindset that has driven us to achieve remarkable milestones over the past 25 years.”

Understanding the challenges and the opportunities that the world of IMC offers in Pakistan, Synergy Group remained ahead of the curve and established brands and companies that are involved in BTL marketing, digital media, public relations, media buying, publications, and activation campaigns.

The Group now stands tall in the country, having established 12 companies and brands namely Synergy Advertising for advertising and communication solutions, Synite Digital for digital media solutions, Synchronize Media for media buying, Syntax Communications for public relations, Synergy Marketing for event and BTL marketing, Syntinel for data lab and analytics solutions, Syndicate – the Synergy Group’s Content Hub, and the not-for-profit Latif Kapadia Memorial Welfare Trust (LKMWT) which is aimed at helping the poor and the needy.

With four offices in Pakistan’s three main cities – Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, and nearly 300 employees at its disposal, Synergy Group has expanded its reach to all the regions of the country, catering to 75+ clients across a wide range of industries.

Synergy Group’s crowning moment came when it won its first international award at Abby Awards and was officially lauded with two Silver Awards at iCOM for the Asia Pacific region. In total, it has won more than 200 awards including 25 Awards at PDA, 11 Effie Awards (six of which came this year), two PAS Awards, 10 APNS Awards, 17 PAA Awards, and one win each at Dragons of Asia and Dragons of Pakistan.

Synergy Group remains committed to its core values of collaboration, innovation, and learning. With plans to expand its services and explore new markets, the Group is poised to continue its legacy of excellence and drive forward with the same passion and dedication that marked its inception.

Every Govt prioritised loans and aid over investment: Mian Zahid

The Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, as well as former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain, said on May 13 that every government in Pakistan has prioritised loans and aid over investment.

He said that the entire nation is suffering because policymakers have the wrong priorities, and now the country cannot survive without begging.

Speaking to the business community, the veteran business leader stated that every government has always relied on tall claims instead of practical work. He said that most of the world’s countries consider Pakistan a beggar, while creditors are also tightening their terms due to negative perception. However, the current government is prioritising investment during a period of significant economic damage. The majority of the business community still thinks that improvements are still possible, which calls for actions in the right direction.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that with the actions of the current government, the frustration of the business community, stock market, IMF, and friendly countries is decreasing. We should take advantage of Saudi investors’ commendable interest in Pakistan. Saudi investors want to invest in their favourite sectors, but it is our policymakers’ job to attract them to the sectors that Pakistan needs most.

The Saudi Crown Prince is also upset with Pakistan’s red tape obstacles and has expressed this at the highest level, so SIFC should not allow any hindrance to investment.

Mian Zahid Hussain added that the country’s economic condition is neither able to withstand the shocks of the mafia nor stable enough to withstand failed experiments; therefore, there is a need to work very carefully in the shortest possible time. He demanded that those who are sacrificing the economy for their personal gain must face such severe consequences that no one can consider similar actions in the future, thereby enhancing the country’s reputation and providing relief to the populace.

Sindh Govt successfully treated 6m children public-private deal

In the last 13 years, the Sindh government, under its public-private partnership model, has successfully treated 6 million children in public hospitals across the province. Through this partnership, the government has modernized children’s Emergency Rooms (ER) of all public tertiary care hospitals, resulting in a significant increase in the survival rate of critically ill children in these ERs. Along with this, the government of Sindh has deployed telemedicine technology across all tehsils of the province, making quality emergency care accessible to children closer to their homes. “Today, the public-private partnership has ensured that every child in Sindh is within 30 minutes from quality emergency care”, said Dr. Ahson Rabbani, CEO of ChildLife Foundation.

This collaboration has been crucial in reducing the child mortality rate in Sindh. As per UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), the under-5 child mortality in Sindh has more than halved, from 104/1000 live births in 2014 to 46/1000 live births in 2018-2019. This remarkable progress has placed Sindh at the forefront of transforming the children emergency care landscape in Pakistan.

The Sindh government’s public-private partnership program has been ranked as the 6th best in Asia. The impact of their combined efforts is undeniable, reflected in the 6 million children who have been treated in the last 13 years, as well as in the financial relief provided to their families, preventing them from falling into the debt trap.

UBL announces winners of the 11th UBL Literature & Arts Awards
The Judges’ of the 11th UBL Literature and Arts Awards along with celebrity Presenters and Mr. Zia Ijaz (Center), Deputy CEO UBL in a group photo taken at the event.

The 11th UBL Literature and Arts Awards were held in Karachi at a five-star hotel, attended in large numbers by writers, literary and media personalities, socialites, and celebrities. At every event, the celebrated awards recognize and celebrate the best of Pakistani writers and artists, honoring a longstanding commitment to arts and literature.

The various award categories received hundreds of nominations from all over Pakistan. The competition was open to all Pakistani authors who had published their original work in 2021 and 2022. Entries were shortlisted by an esteemed panel of judges. The jury members in the Urdu categories were Dr. Asghar Nadeem Syed, Dr. Arfa Syeda, Dr. Anwaar Ahmed, Ms. Kishwar Naheed and Dr. Nasir Abbas Nayyar, while jury members for the English categories included Dr. Naazir Mahmood, Dr. Aroosa Kanwal and Mr. Harris Khalique.

The winners in each category as declared at the Awards are:

  • Children’s Urdu Literature presented to Mr. Ahmed Adnan Tariq for ‘Dastaan-e-Ameer Hamza’
  • Children’s English Literature presented to Ms. Marzieh Abbas for ‘Nadia and Nadir Series’
  • Translation into Urdu (joint awards) presented to Mr. Inam Nadeem for ‘Aaina Si Zindagi’ and Ms. Yasmeen Hameed for ‘Janubi Asia Ki Muntakhib Nazmein’
  • Urdu Poetry award presented to Mr. Mohsin Shakeel for ‘Kuch Ishq Kiya’
  • Pakistani Languages award given to Dr. Syed Wiqar Ali Shah for his work ‘Abdul Ghani Khan – Zhwand Au Zamana’ in Pushto language
  • Online Literature award presented to Mr. Nayyar Mustafa for his work ‘Rangon Main Sochnay Wali Larki’
  • Song Lyrics Award presented to Mr. Sabir Zafar
  • Drama Script presented to Mr. Hashim Nadeem for his play ‘Parizaad’
  • Urdu Debut presented to Mr. Ahmad Jahangir for ‘Shah Darya’
  • English Fiction presented to Mr. Haroon Khalid Akhtar for his work ‘Liar’s Truth’
  • English Non-Fiction award given to Mr. Tariq Rehman for ‘Pakistan’s Wars: An Alternative History’
  • Urdu Fiction Award presented to Dr. Aurangzeb Khan Niazi for his book ‘Urdu Abad – Maholiyati Tanazur’
  • Urdu Non-Fiction award given to Mr. Shaheen Abbas for his work ‘Leema Yakka Ban’

The awards also included a special category to celebrate the wide reaching impact of a celebrated artist who has produced exemplary work across a long distinguished career. The prestigious ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award was awarded to the exemplary Ms. Zaheda Hina.

The awards were interspersed by light entertainment and ended with a lavish dinner for all the participants. It was hosted by well-known celebrities Mr. Sajjad Hasan and Ms. Faiza GIllani.

Mr. Zia Ijaz, Deputy CEO UBL, in his message during the awards, said “As a responsible Corporate Citizen UBL has played its part in the betterment of society through many of its own efforts. The UBL Literature & Arts Awards have been a cornerstone of one of our initiatives of giving back to the society through the recognition of indigenous talent across the country.”

With each iteration of the award, the UBL Literature & Arts Awards support, motivate and celebrate talented Pakistani writers. The Bank recognizes the importance of arts and literature in helping society feel fulfilled, inspired and proud of its roots. It encourages budding Pakistani artists to continue producing their works in a variety of different genres, knowing that there are celebrated local platforms where they can be recognized. It is through such ventures that the literary tradition lives on and benefits the current and future generations.

Pakistan’s Male Champions of Change Devise a Transformational Plan for Gender Equality & Inclusion
Pakistan Male Champions of Change convene in Karachi for their quarterly meeting, crafting a transformative strategy for gender equality and inclusion.

Male Champions of Change (MCC) Pakistan’s members convened for their quarterly meeting in Karachi, hosted by Syngenta Pakistan, where they collectively shared actionable best practices on the ongoing themes for gender equality including “Power” and “Gender Equality Targets”, in addition to making new commitments for empowering women in their organizations and communities.

The private sector leaders gathering for the meeting also collaborated around the theme of “Building Buy-In for Gender Equality”, identifying ways of internalizing the “Champions of Change Coalitions” Strategy within their organizations while sharing the best practices and actionable interventions all members have undertaken, for cross-pollination and knowledge sharing.

During the meeting, Syngenta Pakistan showcased its commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) by sharing details about initiatives such as the “Women in Sales”: a first-in-the-industry program which is designed to shift mindsets and open opportunities for women in areas which have previously been male-dominated. These female employees are operating in the field and are working in farmer-facing roles.

Speaking on the occasion, Zeeshan Hasib Baig (Country GM, Syngenta Pakistan) stated “At Syngenta Pakistan, we understand the importance of taking bold actions to disrupt the status quo and achieve greater representation of women in workforce & leadership roles as gender equality is one of the key levers for ensuring a healthy society and a successful organization. MCC offers a unique platform in this regard where committed industry leaders from various sectors come together for a shared vision of a diverse and an inclusive workplace environment.”

The Convenor of Male Champions of Change Pakistan, Fiza Farhan further added; “It gives me great pleasure to see the actionable momentum at MCC Pakistan, led by our members with their collective commitment and action towards gender equality. With every meeting, knowledge and best practices to accelerate action on empowering women is shared, enabling all members to accelerate the bold and disruptive action they are undertaking within their organizations and communities. The needle is finally moving!”

The Male Champions of Change Coalition share a commitment to creating a fair, diverse, and inclusive world, shaped by empowered and capable women in every industry with a strategic focus on elevating women in leadership and executive roles. Members meet quarterly to set objectives and share their learnings. This bold initiative signifies a pivotal step towards fostering a culture of equality and empowerment within Pakistan’s corporate landscape, setting a precedent for meaningful progress in gender equality and inclusivity.