Renault Pakistan to establish car manufacturing plant in Faisalabad

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Al-Futtaim Renault Pakistan on Tuesday announced the acquisition of an industrial plot to set-up an automotive plant for the manufacture and assembly of Renault vehicles in Pakistan.

The facility will be set up at M-3 Industrial City in Special Economic Zone Faisalabad.

“Al-Futtaim is fully committed to the Pakistani market and to this project,” said Colin Cordery, Senior Managing Director of Al-Futtaim Automotive International.

“This project will bring significant Foreign Direct Investment to Pakistan, and also create many direct and indirect jobs,” he added.

The design and pre-engineering work of the project is well underway, and on-site activities will commence shortly. The formal launch of the facility construction will be in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Once construction work is completed, the assembly plant will have a total installed capacity of over 50,000 units per annum. Al-Futtaim and Renault expect that the factory will commence production in 2020.

“Renault is renowned for the safety and quality of its cars. We will bring cutting-edge and leading European technology to the Pakistani consumer through a modern distribution and dealership network,” commented Yasser Alvi, CEO of the Al-Futtaim Renault Pakistan project.

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Beautiful Bangles for Eid-ul-Fiter

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Bangles, studded necklaces and henna add final touches to your Eid ensemble

With Eidul Fitr just around the corner, women are ­­­­­gearing up to dress to the hilt despite the sweltering weather. However hot it may be, what is Chand raat or Eid without an ethnic touch here and a traditional touch there to finish our look on the big day marking the end of Ramazan. Trends may vary but when it comes to shopping for Eid, fancy little trinkets from bangles to bobby pins keep the festive spirit alive. Without colourful bangles and rich henna patterns Eid wouldn’t quite be Eid.

“Girls buy more than one set of glass bangles during the days before Eid to match with their outfits according to their budget and age,” says a salesman at a shopping mall in Karachi’s Clifton area.

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There are bangles in glass, metal and plastic available in glittery, matte or velvet finish to suit a variety of tastes. Some prefer to wear jingling bracelets that have the bling factor, others opt for a more understated look. Whatever your style may be, bangles are one of the best ways to accessorise your outfit.

Dressing up for Eid is not complete without vibrant bangles which never go out of style

The price for a set of bangles varies between 60 rupees to 1,200 rupees according to quality and adornment. Glass bangles are cheaper in price than metallic ones. “We have some eye-catching glass bangles for girls and women. Customers just do not leave my shop without buying every new style which is offered according to changing trends,” says a stall owner at the shopping hub on Tariq Road.

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Other than your favourite bangles shop, there are plenty of makeshift bangle stalls that pop up across the streets of Karachi selling glass bangles in vibrant colours, trinkets and imitation jewellery. Going shopping late at night is a tradition that most enjoy on chand raat, when the weather is cooler and the bustle of people rushing to do last-minute shopping enhances the festive ambience.

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There are plenty of bangles, rings, earrings, bracelets, anklets, tiaras, headbands to choose from. Bring a mehndi cone home or get it done by the mehndi girls’ stalls dotting the shopping areas and malls.

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15 pictures that depict the true beauty of Pakistan

While we have developed a love-hate relationship with the noisy, cluttered streets of big cities such as Karachi and Lahore, we often overlook the natural beauty Pakistan has to offer.

Here are 15 pictures that will reignite your love for the scenic masterpiece in our own backyard:

1. Eagles nest — Hunza

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2. Interior Sindh

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3. Rural Punjab

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4. Seaview, Karachi

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5. Interior Sindh

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6. Shardah, Neelum Valley, Kashmir

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7. Plaza, Karachi

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8. Atabad lake

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9. Hingol

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10. Manthokha Waterfalls — Skardu, Baltistan

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11. Golden marmot at Deosai

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12. Interior Sindh

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13. Kachura lake

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14. Satpara lake

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15. Hingol

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ریحام خان کی کتاب کی رونمائی کے خلاف حکم امتناع جاری

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ملتان کی عدالت نے پاکستان تحریک انصاف کے چیئرمین عمران خان کی سابقہ اہلیہ اور اینکر پرسن ریحام خان کی تحریر کردہ کتاب کی رونمائی کے خلاف دائر درخواست پر حکم امتناع جاری کردیا۔

ملتان کے سول جج نے دائر درخواست پر ریحام خان، حسین حقانی اور پاکستان الیکٹرنک میڈیا ریگولیٹری اتھارٹی (پیمرا) سے 9 جون کو جواب طلب کرلیا۔

درخواست گزار غلام مصطفیٰ نے عدالت سے استدعا کی تھی کہ کتاب کی اشاعت مبینہ طور پر حقائق کے خلاف ہے۔

ان کا کہنا تھا کہ پی ٹی آئی چیئرمین کی شخصیت کو تباہ کرنے کے لیے کتاب پبلش کی گئی۔

درخواست گزار نے دعویٰ کیا کہ عمران خان کے کردار پر کیچڑ اچھال کر الیکشن سبوتاز کیے جانے کا خطرہ ہے۔

انہوں نے مزید کہا کہ کتاب غیرملکی ایجنڈے پر منبی ہے اور عدالت سے استدعا کی کہ الیکشن کے وقت کتاب کی رونمائی کو روکا جائے۔

درخواست گزار کا مزید کہنا تھا کہ سابق سفیر حسین حقانی مسلم لیگ (ن) کی مدد سے کتاب کے ذریعے اداروں کے وقار کو تباہ کرنا چاہتے ہیں۔

گزشتہ دنوں ریحام خان کی کتاب نے منظر عام پر آنے سے قبل ہی ملک کی سیاست اور خاص طور پر پی ٹی آئی کی صفوں میں ہل چل مچادی دی تھی۔

پی ٹی آئی کے ترجمان فواد چوہدری نے سماجی رابطے کی ویب سائٹ ٹوئٹر پر اپنے پیغام میں کہا تھا کہ ریحام خان کہاں، کب اور کس سے ملیں، یہ ساری کہانی اب سامنے آچکی ہے، ان کا دعویٰ تھا کہ ریحام خان نے سابق وزیراعظم نواز شریف کی صاحبزادی مریم نواز سے ملاقات کی اور اس ملاقات کا اہتمام احسن اقبال نے کرایا تھا۔

فواد چوہدری نے مزید دعویٰ کیا تھا کہ ریحام خان کی کتاب کی تصنیف کا مقصد ملک کی حقیقی اپوزیشن کو نقصان پہنچانا ہے۔

اس کے جواب میں احسن اقبال نے ٹوئٹ کیا کہ پی ٹی آئی کی جانب سے اپنے دفاع کے لیے جعلی ای میل کا ڈرامہ ایک شرمناک عمل ہے، انہوں نے دعویٰ کیا کہ وہ انٹرویو کے علاوہ ریحام خان سے کبھی نہیں ملے۔

انہوں نے کہا کہ یہ انٹرویو بھی عمران خان اور ریحام خان کی شادی سے قبل ہوا اور سابق میاں بیوی کے معاملات میں انہیں مت گھسیٹا جائے۔

بعد ازاں حمزا علی عباسی نے اپنے ایک ٹوئٹ میں کہا تھا کہ انہوں نے ریحام خان کی آنے والی کتاب کا متن پڑھا ہے، جس میں چیئرمین پی ٹی آئی عمران خان کو دنیا کا سب سے برا شخص قرار دیا گیا۔

انہوں نے اپنی ٹوئیٹ میں ’ریحام آن پی ایم ایل این ایجنڈا‘ کا ہیش ٹیگ بھی استعمال کیا تھا۔

How beautiful is Pakistan?

Pakistan, from its north to south is full of places and tourist spots that will make you drool over them. Many of these places have magic about them. You will be spellbound by the aura and charm they possess. Their scenic beauty is breathtaking. The picturesque landscapes, green pastures and terrains are spread across its all provinces. These sights are gem and an absolute treat to watch.

We all know that “beauty is subjective”. I believe that one can find a captivating sight from any part of the world, it just depends upon one’s own taste and liking.

Some find charm in natural beauty, some love mystique architectures, some like old civilizations, some are attracted by the loneliness of desert, its dunes and the beauty of oasis within, some prefer the serenity of a calm beach and some are fond of summits and peaks. Pakistan is blessed to have all of them.

Now to the question that “how beautiful is Pakistan?” I will say again that it is a subjective matter. For me Pakistan is one of the most beautiful and heavenly places on earth. For you, I will try *presenting some of the most dazzling sights from Pakistan to help you make your own judgement (but do not be prejudice).

So, here are some of the awe-inspiring sights from this beautiful country.

Moola Chotok – Khuzdar, Balochistan

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Pir Ghaib Waterfall – Balochistan

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Hingol National Park – Balochistan

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Princess of Hope – Gwadar, Balochistan

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Hanna Lake – Balochistan

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Gorakh Hill Station – Sindh

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MohenJoDaro – Sindh

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French Beach – Karachi, Sindh

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Thar Desert – Sindh

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Cholistan Desert – Punjab

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Darbar Mahal – Bahawalpur, Punjab

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Saidpur Village – Islamabad

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Laik Saif-ul-Malook – Kaghan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

Shangrila Resort – Skardu, Gilgit Baltistan

Attabad Lake – Gilgit Baltistan

Leepa Valley – Muzaffarabad

Fairy Meadows – Gilgit Baltistan]

Lalazar – Kaghan Valley, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

Rush Lake – Gilgit Baltistan

Naltar Lake – Gilgit Baltistan

Naran Valley – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Nanga Parbat – Gilgit Baltistan

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Apart from all these places, Pakistan has myriad of worth seeing and adventurous spots that need to be explored and toured without any sort of apprehension.

I am sure I must have left plenty of other places uncovered in this answer but sometimes less is more.

I am of the opinion that pictures do not do justice with the actual beauty of such mesmerizing places. The real beauty is magnified many-fold when you live in the moment yourself. So my advice is to come and visit this beautiful country because seeing is believing.

 

TRAVEL: KASHMIR’S OWN PARADISE

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At an elevation of 2,900 metres (9,500 feet) above sea level, Pir Chinasi is a mountain pass located 30 kilometres east of Muzaffarabad, the capital city of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. It is the perfect getaway from the daily hustle and bustle of life in noisy and overpopulated metropolitan cities. One can walk on the lush green, grassy land in summer, which covers itself in a white blanket of snow as the mercury dips down for winter in Kashmir, while a pure, refreshing but chilly air welcomes you upon your arrival.

The hill station of Pir Chinasi in AJK offers beautiful green mountains, clear rivers, silent valleys and plenty of thrills

Around the mountain peak, you can view small, traditional villages around thick forest despite relentless deforestation. Due to its lush greenery, magnificent weather and charming landscape, Pir Chinasi has become the ultimate destination of tourists from all over Pakistan. Carrying your own food supplies is a must, as there are no two-, three-, four- or five-star hotels available. If you plan to stay overnight in summer, you must have a cold-weather tent with you. This tent will, however, be useless in winter because of heavy snowfall.

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A view of the shrine of Sufi saint Syed Shah Hussain Bukhari

When visiting Pir Chinasi, one can also visit the neighbouring areas i.e. Pir Assimar, Phanwa Da Dana, and areas at the foot of Pir Chinasi such as Jarran Phirran, Sikki, Sud Bun, Saran and Mushki. A tourist lodge at Saran provides accommodation for tourists who wish to stay overnight.

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The Pir Chinasi track in winter

According to statements by the Prime Minister Secretariat and and AJK Tourism Department, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir government has recently approved a mega project to make Pir Chinasi an international tourist resort. Apparently, a company of international repute will construct chairlifts from Pir Chinasi to Jhattiyan at a cost of 1.5 billion rupees.

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Animals from surrounding areas come to drink from this pool of water

In the next phase, a five-star hotel, a public park and tourist resorts at the hill station are a part of the development plan. The government has provided 250 kanal land to the company to initiate the project.

Secrets of Thar: A Jain temple, a mosque and a ‘magical’ well

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The Gori temple in Nagarparkar area of Tharparkar district

After our convoy is stopped at a second checkpost — it is a ‘sensitive’ area, after all — our cameras are confiscated. This could have been a disaster, but we still have our smartphones on us. We can manage to take some photos once we reach our destination: the 16th century Jain Gori temple near the Pakistan-India border in Nagarparkar.

Unlike other sacred sites in Thar, the stunning white temple has hardly any worshippers left in the country. Nearby is the village of Gori, but not many come this way.

Local stories say the temple was built by a wealthy Hindu merchant and is dedicated to Lord Parshwanath, the 23rd Jain prophet. But with hardly any Jains left in the country, this major archaeological monument lies abandoned, neglected and shrouded in mystery.

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The stunning white marble structure is built in a classical Jain style
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The Jain temple in the village of Gori was built around the 16th century
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t was built by a wealthy Hindu merchant and is dedicated to Lord Parshwanath, the 23rd Jain prophet

Immediately, the sight is unlike any other holy site you’ve seen: reminiscent of Jain architecture, the temple is not a smooth circle like other domed sanctuaries.

Its walls instead are geometric steps of marble — a particular style that shows up everywhere from the temple’s steps, to the frames carved inside some of its walls.

Stepping inside, I am greeted by semi-darkness and the screeching sound that seems to belong to an animal. I could have been terrified, but I am surrounded by intricate art and fresco work on every marble wall, pillar and ceiling.

The carvings shape their way up to a grand dome — a majestic sight even in little light.

But as beautiful as the dome is, it elicits a second shriek, as I identify the source of the earlier sound: the ancient dome is covered with innumerable tiny bats clinging on to the ceiling.

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Fresco art inside one of domes.

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The frescoes adorning the temple’s domes are a series of arches, and flat blocked patterns depicting kings and princesses in their royal attire.

The paintings’ colours and vibrancy suggests they are in their original state, possibly making them some of the oldest surviving frescoes in Pakistan that haven’t been ‘stolen’.

Some parts of the temple do visibly lie in ruin: walls destroyed by an earthquake, and sections broken down by the British at some point during their occupation. None of these sections have been repaired.

Mazing through the temple, I cross smaller rooms attached to the central dome, all without light. Aside from one picture — showing a god and a goddess — we find inside one of the cramped rooms, there is no idol, trinket or statue depicting the deity for which the temple was made.

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We could explore around and dig deeper, but another look at the dark ceiling full of bats and I am ready to leave the temple in seconds. Besides, we are told that the Gori temple is not the only wonder the area has to offer.

Further on, Marvi jo koonh (Marvi’s well) is another frequented spot, home to several contradictory stories and legends.

According to one, Marvi — a local Thari woman — was kidnapped by King Umer several thousands of years ago at the well’s spot.

The famous well inside the 'Marvi Heritage & Cultural Center & Guest House'. — Photo by author
The famous well inside the ‘Marvi Heritage & Cultural Center & Guest House’. 

Because of the spot’s significance, it is said that the well never goes dry. There is certainly water in it; but it is also clear that the well has been restored and is kept maintained.

There may or may not be truth in the well’s magical powers, but a cultural centre that has cropped up beside the spot is determined to keep Marvi’s memory alive.

Mystical sounds of live Thari music echo from the centre’s rooms, which contain wax sculptures depicting the folktale.

On one wall, a plaque praises Marvi’s refusal to give in to the king’s advances. Apparently, villagers revere Marvi because she gave preference to her village, which she chose over a royal lifestyle.

Further down the road, on the foot of the Karoonjhar Hills — also called granite hills — lies another domed marble structure, similar to the Jain temple. But this is a holy site for Muslims, not Jains: the Bhodisar Mosque.

The small Bhodisar mosque on the foot of Karoonjhar hills. — Photo by author
The small Bhodisar mosque on the foot of Karoonjhar hills. — 
A board outside the Bhodisar mosque. — Photo by author
A board outside the Bhodisar mosque. — 

After climbing and crawling through some shrubs behind the mosque, we reach the Bhodisar Dam’s reservoir — a welcome sight of serene blue water.

Local women wash their clothes by its banks, while a few cows graze about in the delightful green pastures here.

A walk along this reservoir takes us through a park towards a second, smaller Jain temple. Apparently, this second temple once held an idol inside which has long gone missing. There are no boundaries and no caretakers. Hardly any locals seem to visit the place either.

The picturesque Bhodisar Dam reservoir with Karoonjhar Hills in the background. — Photo by author
The picturesque Bhodisar Dam reservoir with Karoonjhar Hills in the background. — 
A small Jain temple in Bhodisar. — Photo by author
A small Jain temple in Bhodisar. 

We are told to stop by some other spots in the area, including a picturesque waterfall, but time restraints do not allow us to explore further, and we must return home. But every visit to Thar’s relics precedes another: I know I will visit again soon.