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TPL Life and U Microfinance Bank Ltd. (U Bank) have signed an agreement whereby TPL Life’s innovative life insurance and health insurance products will be available through U Bank branches.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Faisal Abbasi – CEO, TPL Life said “Developing products for the financially excluded members of our society has been the driving force behind our existence. This alliance with U Microfinance Bank will go a long way in providing tailor made insurance solutions to the common man to help his health and saving needs.” He further shed light on the importance of micro insurance and how it benefits the vast majority of people who remain outside the banking net.

Mr. Kabeer Naqvi – COO, U Bank, emphasized on the strategic vision of the bank and how these products will add phenomenal value to the lives of ordinary people and said “U Bank is proud to be at the front line of fighting poverty in Pakistan and is dedicated to play its critical part in the implementation of National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2020 that aims to bring 50% of Pakistan’s adult population into banking net.”

“Our product portfolio is designed to continuously create livelihoods for the underserved population of Pakistan and bring betterment to their lives. This alliance with TPL Life is another step in that direction,” he concluded.

TPL Life provides innovative life and health insurance products which adhere to international standards and address the divergent needs of Pakistanis. The company came into existence with a mandate of providing top notch quality and affordable insurance solutions based on the strength of their team of seasoned professionals.

U Microfinance Bank Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) – Etisalat Company. The bank has presence across 76 cities and rural areas of Pakistan and offers a wide range of microfinance loans, deposit products and branchless banking solutions. U Bank’s branchless banking offers services under the banner of U Paisa in collaboration with Ufone (Pak Telecom Mobile Limited).


Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Ltd, the oldest and largest international bank in Pakistan, signed an agreement with Pronet (Pvt) Ltd., one of the country’s leading systems integrators, to deploy cutting-edge communications solutions from Avaya. Standard Chartered will implement Avaya’s IP telephony solutions nationwide, helping it to boost efficiency deliver superior customer experience and increase profitability.

The wholly owned subsidiary of Standard Chartered has been operating in Pakistan since 1863 and today has more than 90 branches across the country. Standard Chartered Pakistan wanted to consolidate its voice operations infrastructure to improve efficiency and implement latest state of art technology.. After an extensive evaluation process, Standard Chartered decided to work with Pronet to upgrade its existing infrastructure to Avaya solutions, as they demonstrated superior reliability, easier administration and a better end-user experience than competitor solutions.

This solution will help the Bank deploy and maintain one consolidated network, lower recurring expenses and overall costs through a common architecture. The transformation will also ensure scalability and high availability and enhance employee productivity through applications.

“At Standard Chartered Pakistan we are proud of our position as thought leaders in the market, our success has been based on always looking forward, delivering innovative new offerings and embracing technology to achieve our goals. We felt that Avaya fits well in this strategy and we look forward to working with them in the future.” Shazad Dada, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Pakistan

“As one of the leading systems integrators in Pakistan, it is a proud occasion for us to collaborate with Avaya to transform communications for Standard Chartered. By choosing Avaya’s robust and state-of-the-art digital technology, Standard Chartered will reduce costs, boost employee productivity, and deliver superior customer experiences.” Mash Khan, Pronet Chairman

“We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Standard Chartered, having worked with this leading brand across the globe, and to show our commitment to the Pakistan market. By working with Pronet to bring this solution to Standard Chartered, we are helping them to achieve their digital objectives and play their rightful part in Pakistan’s economic development. This is the perfect demonstration of the strength of our next-generation communications offerings, and how they deliver superior team and customer experiences for organizations of all sizes.” Nidal Abou-Ltaif, President, Avaya International.


Siemens has recently celebrated the win of its largest ever power generation contract in Pakistan, during a signing ceremony attended by high-ranking government officials. Under the contract, Siemens will supply a complete power island solution for a new power plant – Punjab Power Plant Jhang – that will be built in Jhang, located 250km south-west of Lahore. The deal is valued at around EUR200 million for Siemens and marks the first time Siemens’ highly-efficient H-Class gas turbines will be installed in Pakistan. Punjab Power Plant Jhang will increase power generation capacity in Pakistan by approximately 1.3 gigawatts and provide a much-needed boost to the national grid.

Attended by the Honorable Chief Minister of Punjab, Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, the ceremony saw the signing between China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) and government-owned Punjab Thermal Power (Pvt) Ltd (PTPL), an independent power producer. Siemens will supply the power island to CMEC, the project’s EPC contractor.

“We are very proud to have the chance to contribute with sustainable and reliable power generation for the future development of Punjab and for the Pakistani people.

Our highly-efficient technology will be instrumental to meeting their power needs within the timeframe targeted by the local government,” said Jean-Claude Nasr, Senior Executive Vice President of Siemens Power Generation Division, Middle East and North Africa.

Running on liquefied natural gas, the Punjab Power Plant Jhang will be built as a combined cycle power plant (CCPP). Siemens will supply a power island solution, comprising of two SGT5-8000H Gas Turbines, an SST-5000 Steam Turbine, two heat recovery steam generators, control systems and related auxiliaries. Siemens will also be responsible for engineering, project management and associated site services. The plant is scheduled to supply power to the grid in simple cycle operation by December 2018, and in combined cycle mode by November 2019.

Siemens’ SGT-8000H is the company’s largest and most advanced gas turbine in commercial operation. It is among the most efficient and powerful gas turbines in commercial operation, with low operating and lifecycle costs. Siemens sold more than 80 H-Class gas turbines worldwide, with 47 currently in commercial operation. The fleet of Siemens H-class gas turbines achieved about 500,000 fired hours.

“Siemens has been a key contributor to major infrastructure projects in the country, since opening its first office in 1922 in Lahore, present day Pakistan. We are eager to continue supporting its development towards sustainable power generation and building a more robust energy infrastructure that meets the growing needs of its population,” said Helmut von Struve, MD of Siemens in Pakistan.


Finally the government has responded to the woes of the fertilizer industry on account of subsidy payments. Executive Director of Fertilizers Manufacturers of Pakistan Advisory Council (FMPAC) – Brigadier Sher Shah called on the newly appointed Federal Secretary of the Ministry of National Food Security & Research (MNFSR) – Mr. Fazal Abbas Maken and briefed him on the protracted delays in payments. The secretary was apprised of the issues related to subsidy payments causing cashflow challenges to the industry. During the meeting, the Federal Secretary acknowledged that Government’s commitment to the industry has to be fulfilled and assured the fertilizer industry of facilitating in future payments and also sorting out the huge pending claims at the earliest. He promised that the government will release the available funds to the tune of 9 billion Rupees, within a week, which will redress the cash flow problems faced on account of significant delays in disbursement of the subsidy.

For the remaining amounts of pending subsidy claims, the MNFSR is conducting a third-party validation , which reflects the government’s serious commitment and efforts to resolve the subsidy crisis which has been creating serious financial challenges for the fertilizer industry.

The stakeholders of the fertilizer industry are optimistic that this concrete effort by the new Federal Secretary of the MNFSR will prove to be a significant step, which will bring an end to the financial hardships faced by the fertilizer industry due to delays in the subsidy payments. This also shows the Governments seriousness in accelerating the growth of the agricultural sector by reducing the cost of soil-nutrition. This subsidy on urea promises many economic benefits, by extending the much-needed financial support and relief for the revival of the fertilizer industry – which is the biggest revenue-contributor to the national exchequer. Earlier Secretary to Prime minister Mr Fawad Hassan Fawad had chaired a meeting on 24 July to resolve the crisis, however, the direction of PM office has yet to come to effect. While Ministry of Finance has issued the requisite notification for subsidy in 2017/18, the funds are still to be released.

Over the past couple of years, the government has granted a subsidy on fertilizers. The urea manufacturers had agreed to participate as an intermediary and facilitator for delivering this valuable incentive to the common farmer. Now, as that the fertilizer companies have sold large volumes of fertilizers at discounted prices, the government must expedite the overdue payments by simplifying the validation process of the subsidy claims.


Reel on Hai invites artists, designers and architects to transform cable reels which are installed in schools, public parks, hospitals and universities located in prominent and landmark locations, in Karachi such as Saddar to Lyari, Clifton Beach to the Airport, and Safari Park and Hill Park to Orangi Township. Each unique work aims to engage the community with activities designed around the work to sensitize them to art and the role it can play to project the dynamism of a society.

Reel on Hai recycles a common object like the cable reel which is a symbol of Karachi’s industrial power and it’s never ending expansion into an artwork. Karachi is also a city made ugly by the excessive garbage it produces so art from discarded objects is a powerful green gesture that will elevate waste with imagination and innovation.

The Karachi Biennale Trust is an art platform that will host the largest international art event Karachi Biennale (KB) in Pakistan’s largest city starting 22nd October 2017. The primary aim of the KB is to take art out of the gallery space and to celebrate the extraordinary talent of artists with a larger public audience and art enthusiasts from Pakistan and around the world.

Reel on Hai is part of the public art initiative of the Karachi Binneale Trust in Pakistan.

The initiative has received an overwhelming response from local artists across Pakistan. It also attracted interest and contribution from international artists such as Giuseppe Percivati (Italy), Maurizio Boscheri (Italy) to name a few, who especially flew down to Karachi, Pakistan to paint the cable reels and leave a message for the masses.

40 reels have been installed in over 30 different locations that vary in sizes between 6 feet upto 5 feet. Artists and architects have use the cable reels distinctively to communicate messages of peace, hope, diversity, conservation while some artists have used the cable reels for functional objects by converting them into furniture for school, kiosk and a reading booth. The activity is in progress and will conclude by end 2017.


National Bank of Pakistan in collaboration with Punjab Excise & Taxation Department (E&T), is going to start the automation of collection process for Property Tax across Punjab. This collaboration is a step towards the vision of Punjab Government for complete E-governance of Excise & Taxation Department.

A MOU was signed for these services between National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and the Excise & Taxation Department. Mr. Mudassir H. Khan, SEVP /Group Chief PS&DBG, National Bank of Pakistan and Dr. Ahmed Bilal, Secretary, Excise & Taxation Department signed the MOU at a local hotel in Lahore. Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur- Rehman, Minister Excise & Taxation Punjab, chaired the ceremony, other senior officials of Excise & Taxation Department and NBP Senior Management Team were also present on the occasion.

The property tax collection was done through NBP branches manually but the implementation of this new system would make the process much easier for the customers, will provide Real Time Validation & will improve the process of reconciliation at E&T Department. NBP earlier also rendered its services to E&T Department for implementation of Dealer Vehicle Registration System (DVRS).

Mr. Mudassir Khan speaking at the occasion highlighted the need for automation & digitization in all Federal & Provincial Government Collection/ Payment services and said that “NBP is in process of developing systems for digitization of all G2P & P2G Payments. In some cases we have already executed projects for example Passport Fee collection as well as collection of taxes on behalf of Sindh Government”.

Moreover, National Bank of Pakistan will launch its mobile banking very soon. It is already under testing along with other digital services over the coming months. This will facilitate NBP’s customers for utilizing banking products and services at their fingertips and executing transactions on real time basis.


Over the past several months, the Fertilizer Manufacturers of Pakistan Advisory Council (FMPAC) has repeatedly urged the government to make strategic changes in its policy for allowing exports of a limited quantity of surplus Urea inventory in the country. The key stakeholders of this industry believe that; the current policy has several flaws, whereby the urea producers will not be able to take optimum advantage of this regulatory support.

Since the fertilizer sector in Pakistan is showing high productivity (6 million tons of urea annually, while the current domestic consumption of urea is only 5.4 million tons per year), Pakistan is currently accumulating a yearly surplus inventory of 0.6 million tons of urea. The carrying costs and storage of around 1.5 million tons of the current fertilizer inventory is a big financial burden on this heavily-taxed industry.

Although the government made a good decision to allow the exports of limited quantities, to reduce the excessive inventory burden on the fertilizer industry, but the progress on urea-exports has so far remained quite slow, due to some inherent constraints in this policy. Actually, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had given a very tight timeline for exports, as the urea producers were expected to achieve the export-target by the 31st of October 2017.

One key factor was that; Pakistan is not internationally recognized as an exporter of urea, because it has never regularly exported this commodity over the past several decades. Thus the locally produced fertilizers currently have a limited market for exports. Hence, it will take some time before the foreign buyers can evaluate the Pakistani suppliers, their product quality and their service-reliability, whereby they can finalize the bulk-quantity transactions with Pakistan.

The domestic producers of urea were reluctant in seeking any fresh export orders, because this policy also imposes a non-performance penalty. In case the exporters are unable to complete their export transactions within the stipulated timelines, they will have to pay a penalty worth 15 percent of export-price.

Observing these hindrances and so far the slow pace of progress on this export opportunity, which will expire very soon without achieving significant results, the domestic fertilizer industry has expressed its concerns on this issue. More than two months ago, the key stakeholders had formally requested the government to make some policy changes like; removing the non-performance penalty and extending the timeline for urea-exports.

The urea-exporters of Pakistan are rightfully asking for more time to penetrate into the highly competitive and price-sensitive international markets. However, the government has not responded favorably to approve this collective request from the industry. The industry experts have expressed their belief that; a more liberal policy and sufficient time-frame for establishing an export market for Pakistan’s surplus urea is necessary for achieving the export-target and reducing the trade-deficit for economic stability.

The fertilizer industry currently needs relief from the big inventory burden. Hence, it is also advisable at this juncture, to extent the timeline for export of additional urea. If the last-year’s stock is carried forward, the country can easily export 1.2 million tons of surplus fertilizers, without disturbing the local supply, as this year, the domestic demand for urea is expected to remain flat. With such healthy export figures, Pakistan can also earn well over 200 million US Dollars.


National Bank of Pakistan has signed an agreement with Public Service Commission of KPK to digitize Examination Fee on 3rd October 2017.

The agreement was signed by Mr. Saeed Ahmad – President & CEO NBP and Mr. Fareedullah Khan, Chairman KPK-PSC, in the presence of senior management of both sides including Mr. Mudassir H. Khan – SEVP/Group Chief-Payment Services & Digital Banking Group, Mr. Azfar Jamal – EVP/Head – Payment Services & E-Banking, Mr. Muhammad Azam Khan, Chief Secretary KPK and other delegates. This initiative will bring convenience for the applicants of KPK-PSC by enabling them to deposit Examination Fee through digital payment channels including branchless banking infrastructure of Jazzcash and Easypaisa.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Saeed Ahmad – President & CEO NBP stated that the capabilities of technology have opened new horizon in all fields. Banking services are now expected to be available anytime, anywhere. Over the past few years, digital transactions are rising in leaps and bounds. We expect this trend to continue and accelerate. As a consequence, our services should be changing rapidly. And Digitalization of KPK-PSC is another step in this direction.

Mr. Saeed Ahmad further added “I commend the latest initiatives taken by the Government of KPK to create convenience for citizens. Revamping of KPK website to facilitate functioning of Form E1 is one example. Now Public Service Commission KPK will create a portal to facilitate payment by ADR. Today’s event is a big step in that direction.”

Mr. Fareedullaah Khan said that “The initiative is for youth who are keen in taking PSC exams and to facilitate convenience in payment of fees. He thanked NBP to reach this point that we are signing an agreement between both organisations.” He thanked the management and in particular NBP’s President Mr. Saeed Ahmad for visiting Peshawar to sign the agreement.

NBP President & CEO emphasized that “Digitization of Job Portal opens doors to many new initiatives in ADR. At NBP we regard ADR as “Mutabadal Nizam-e-Adaigee”. The real future of financial transactions lies in P2G, G2P, P2P, P2B and so on. At NBP a new department has been created called “Payment Services and Digital Banking” just to cater for these Services. The benefits of this initiative include Ease of doing transactions efficiently, with transparency and cost effectively. Thereby eliminating the Middle man and abolition of Corruption.”

Mr. Saeed Ahmad emphasized, “The use of algorithms to develop pattern of customer behaviors will help in effective planning of product and services and credit approvals. Banks need to create awareness amongst users through clear and easy instructions, training of bank staff and regularly keeping the technology up to date along with regular Quality Assurance surveys.

Mr. Mudassir H. Khan SEVP / Group Chief PSDB – NBP, said that “The Digital Financial Services industry in Pakistan took its first step back in 2009 and has now reached a stage where it needs to be taken to the next level. NBP is aggressively working to digitize services through partnerships with Mobile Money platforms and Government Institutions; we are setting the goal of financial inclusion in its true sense and will create the right environment for inclusive growth in the country”.

The service will be provided by NBP through its M-wallet accounts and 30,000 branchless banking agents of Easy paisa and Jazz Cash.


“At McDonald’s we believe it is important to help protect and preserve the environment for future generations that is why we are always exploring and evaluating ways to use renewable energy and materials”, said by Jamil Mughal Chief Officer McDonald’s Pakistan on the occasion of inaugurating the installation of solar panels at its Sea View restaurant, Karachi.

With the help of Greenewable Solar Company, McDonald’s first restaurant has gone partially solar on August 14, 2017. This initiative will not only help in saving energy, it will also help in making the environment safe and pollution free. Mr. Mughal added, “With this initiative we are also playing our part in reducing the electricity shortfall.”

Mushtaq Chhapra, Chairman (Greenewable Solar Pvt. Ltd.) was equally enthusiastic and expressed that, “We are delighted to work with McDonald’s and would like to continue doing so in future.”


Aimed at raising awareness about the importance of energy conservation amongst the youth, K-Electric has set up an energy conservation stall at ’The Dawood Foundation Magnifi-Science Exhibition 2017’. The three-day-long exhibition is being organized at Dawood Public School in Karachi.

During the first day of the exhibition, KE’s stall attracted large turnout and educated the students about the measures they can take towards a cleaner and sustainable environment. Various activities featuring interactive games and easy to understand awareness sessions were also organized regarding renewable energy, home appliances and energy conservation tips.

According to KE spokesperson, “We are thankful to the organizer The Dawood Foundation for organizing this exhibition. Our presence in the exhibition serves a perfect platform for the young generation to develop a better understanding of energy conservation and adopt an energy efficient lifestyle. We have received an overwhelming response today from the students as well as their parents and are hopeful that our efforts would help them plan similar energy conservation practices in their individual capacities.”

K-Electric actively promotes best practices for energy conservation and carries out a robust public awareness campaign to help preserve the country’s precious resources. To date, more than 1.3 million consumers have benefited from these campaigns, including more than 50,000 school children. K-Electric makes a concerted effort to create awareness about conserving electricity and offers various energy efficiency advisory programs to its consumers.


Pakistan, today, is celebrating what can easily be called the revival of the golden days of cricket. With the World XI series recently hosted in the country, the embargo on international cricket has been lifted. This almost seems like a dream for Pakistan which has seen its share of discrimination, persecution and systematic dismantlement as a cricketing nation. So crippling was the effect that the country’s cricketing infrastructure was going to ruins and the nation’s confidence hitting an all-time low. The journey to today has been a long and arduous one. In a sea of naysayers labelling Pakistan as unsafe and international cricket teams adamant not to visit, there have been beacons of hope which have consistently been working to push the country out of the abyss.

The first significant international fruition of their efforts came in the shape of the immensely successful Pakistan Super League (PSL) held in 2016 and consecutively in 2017. The nation was glued to their TV screens as Najam Sethi, opened the second season’s finale in Lahore.

‘We are united and a nation which can’t be stopped from doing the right.’ – Najam Sethi

The triumph of this endeavor is enough to outshine any other achievements but it is absolutely pertinent to look beyond the dazzle to the entities who have long stood steadfast to the dream of uplifting Pakistani cricket. One such powerhouse has been Jazz, Pakistan’s largest telecom operator boasting a market share of more than 52 Million customers.

Linked strongly with the vivacious Lahore Qalandars in the PSL and beyond, it might be easy to mistake the telecom’s association with cricket as a more recent one. However, scratching the surface reveals that strategically, cricket has been one of its main and consistent platforms for the past two decades.

At a time when the nation needed hope and confidence in their heroes who were playing in foreign stadiums, Jazz carried the torch forward through its extensive sponsorship, marketing and communication plans. It led the way in the glorification of our national assets like Younis Khan upon becoming the highest Test Run Scorer in the country and the first Pakistani to cross the 10,000 Test Runs milestone.

On the local front, Jazz took it upon itself to support local cricket in all its forms by hosting cricket matches for students and the physically challenged to name a few and talent hunts such as ’The Hunt for Heroes’ in collaboration with the PCB.

The consistent efforts by a market leader accumulated to a snowball effect, bringing in investments by other brands and corporations towards cricket. This metamorphosis of local cricket as marketing gold led to more events being hosted nationwide; slowly and gradually pulling Pakistan towards stabilization coupled with a sense of security and confidence.

‘Cricket cannot be looked upon as a sport. It is a passion that will never die. They took cricket out of Pakistan but they can never take cricket out of a Pakistani. And we won’t let them.’ – Asif Aziz, Chief Commercial Officer, Jazz.

Emboldened by this sense of security and confidence, the conception and subsequent execution of the PSL (international and local players forming regional teams) came to be. Jazz was one of the first corporations to sign up with a PSL team, stamping its endorsement and conviction in the endeavor. More brands followed suit, soon after. PSL had been written off by many, before it even began to the point that Najam Sethi’s promise to host the finale in Pakistan was scoffed and laughed at. The success of PSL brought about a seismic shift in the cricketing world toppling misconceptions, prejudices and dirty politics.

PSL is now a non-dismissible event on international cricket schedules and hopes are that future tournaments, in their entirety, will be hosted in Pakistan. This achievement, however was not enough for Jazz. In the summer of 2016, it collaborated with the Lahore Qalandars and launched a massive cricket talent hunt, Jazz Rising Stars (JRS). With the objective to scout and groom grass-root cricket talent and provide international exposure, it immersed into 8 districts of Punjab and grew to be the world’s largest cricket talent hunt with more than 113,000 registered participants. Supervised by cricket legends Aqib Javed and Mudassar Nazar, the best talent was selected from each district which went on to play against each other in a grand tournament at Qaddafi Stadium attended by dignitaries, journalists, celebrities and the media.

The top 30 were taken in by the National Cricket Academy, the top 16 were taken to Australia to play a tri-series against Sydney Thunder and Sydney Sixers. The top 4 namely Usman Qadir, Saif Badar, Muhammad Irfan Jr and Ghulam Mudassar were selected and recruited in the Lahore Qalandars Squad 2017. Additionally, unique talent such as the magical ambidextrous fast bowler Yasir Jan (formerly a vegetable seller) was discovered who recently returned from the United Kingdom after completing his training at the Watford Cricket Club.

A venture of this magnitude and success did not go unnoticed and received international and local acclaim, even awards for being the harbinger for good for Pakistan.

The second edition of Jazz Rising Stars is currently underway and promises to be bigger than its first season. Trial camps have been set up not just in Punjab but in AJ&K as well where tens of thousands of young cricketers have already given trials. A 21-year-old bowler who can consistently bowl at over 90mph has already been discovered.

‘Jazz Rising Stars, like all our efforts, is our investment in the country. We want to be the proponents that bring international cricket home, so our people can see their idols and heroes play LIVE in front of them.’ – Shahbaz Maqsood Khan, Director Marketing, Jazz.

Jazz Rising Stars has set a revolution in motion. Motivated, other PSL teams have announced that they too will be conducting trials for aspiring cricketers. This stands as a true victory for Pakistani cricket. This, however, will not be the first time that Jazz has strategically used its leadership to woo corporate investment in cricket which has led to the return of the glory days of cricket in Pakistan and promises to do more.

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