Mahathir gifts PM Khan 'made in Malaysia' car

In this file photo, Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, left, listens to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan during a welcoming ceremony at the prime minister's office in Putrajaya on Nov. 21, 2018. (AFP)
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Updated 16 December 2019

Mahathir gifts PM Khan 'made in Malaysia' car

  • PM adviser on commerce will receive the Malaysian X-70 Proton car at a ceremony in Islamabad on Monday
  • The Proton corporation has begun manufacturing cars in Karachi, along with a local partner

ISLAMABAD: A luxury car gifted to Prime Minister Imran Khan by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, has arrived in Pakistan and will be handed over to the government in a ceremony at the Malaysian High Commission in Islamabad on Monday.
Mahathir gifted the Malaysian manufactured X-70 Proton to Khan during his three-day official visit to Pakistan in March earlier this year. 
A Proton joint venture between Pakistan and Malaysia was first agreed on last year, and was the center-piece of a series of agreements signed during Mohamad’s visit.
“This will go a long way in consolidating the excellent relations between the two Muslim countries,” Razak Dawood, Khan’s adviser on commerce, told Arab News on Sunday.
Dawood will receive the car on behalf of the Prime Minister. A symbolic car key was already presented to Khan by the Malaysian PM at a signing ceremony in Islamabad.

In this file photo, the 2019 Proton X70 SUV is revealed during an official launching ceremony in Kuala Lumpur on Dec. 12, 2018. (AFP)

The manufacturing and assembly of the Malaysian Proton cars has already begun in Pakistan with a local partner, Al Hajj Automotive. 
The Proton plant, near the southern port city of Karachi, is the latest in a series of assembly deals set up in Pakistan by international auto-makers including Volkswagen AG and Hyundai Motors.
The Malaysian-based company, Proton, was established in 1983 and has so far sold 3 million cars worldwide. Proton cars are sold in more than 25 countries including Britain, Singapore and Australia.
Pakistan warmed up bilateral relations with Malaysia after Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the country in November last year. Multiple investment agreements have also been signed in different sectors as part of Islamabad’s efforts to attract foreign investment, to boost a fragile economy and create job opportunities.
The investment projects that Malaysia has promised to carry out in Pakistan include its Edotco Group’s agreements in the telecom sector with local units of China Mobile and Telenor, as well as local mobile group, Jazz.
Other deals include a halal meat agreement signed by the foods unit of Pakistan’s Fauji Foundation conglomerate and a $20 million venture capital agreement between Pakistan’s Fatima Ventures and Gobi Partners of Malaysia.

Virus school closure turns aspiring financier into Islamabad’s favorite pet portraitist

Updated 08 August 2020

Virus school closure turns aspiring financier into Islamabad’s favorite pet portraitist

  • In front of a veterinary clinic in Islamabad’s F7 sector, a 19-year-old artist set up a pet portrait studio
  • Malik began painting at a young age, but animals entered his canvas only last year, when his beloved cat went missing

ISLAMABAD: With a science certificate in his pocket, Arbaz Malik was ready for college when the coronavirus struck and shut the door of his dream school. Putting the 19-year-old’s education on hold, the pandemic has, however, opened to him a strikingly different career path: pet portraiture.

In front of a veterinary clinic at a small market in Islamabad’s F7 sector, Malik set up a tiny pop-up studio which draws attention with a rainbow sign “Paint Your Loving Pet” and furry customers waiting for their turn to be captured in paint.

 A German Shepherd puppy is sitting still while Arbaz Malik is painting its portrait in Maqbool Market in F7 Islamabad on Aug. 5, 2020. (AN/Sib Kaifee)

“I was very excited for school to begin, I am aiming to get a Bachelor of Business Management (BBM) degree,” he said. But as the pandemic made everything become uncertain, the current job as a pet portraitist gives him “a positive thing to look forward to every day.”

Malik’s engagement in the arts began at a young age, but until recently he was trying to master landscape and cityscape painting. Animals entered his canvas only last year, when his beloved cat Shpanty went missing.

Heartbroken, unable to find Shpanty, Malik eventually painted her portrait from a photograph. Seeing the result, his brother, Arsalan, advised him to think about turning talent into a career.

Arbaz Malik's cat Shpanty went missing in 2019. Her portrait, left, was Malik's first step into the pet portraiture business. (Photo courtesy: Arbaz Malik)

“My brother suggested that I come here to the same place we would bring our cat, and see if pet parents going in and out of the clinic might be interested in getting their pets painted,” Malik told Arab News while painting a German Shephard pup patiently sitting next to his easel.

“Three months ago, with the support of the clinic, I began my business.”

Dog, cat, bird, and even horse owners have since become Malik’s faithful and broad customer base. His paintings have already traveled across the world into homes in Canada and France with repeat customers commissioning him to paint pet portraits which they carry abroad as gifts for relatives and friends.

When his college reopens, Malik wants to attend classes full time, but says he will not give up art.

“I will always do both, even after my studies are complete,” he said, “I love painting too much.”

He also loves animals, which is what he and his customers have in common.

“Pets are so important, you love them, they are beautiful and innocent, and they really are your best friend,” Malik said, “They even help you fight off depression, because their support and love are unconditional.”