Women’s stories the real gems of one Pakistani sister-run jewelry house 

Women’s stories the real gems of one Pakistani sister-run jewelry house. 
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Updated 12 January 2020

Women’s stories the real gems of one Pakistani sister-run jewelry house 

  • Brand founded by three sisters celebrates extraordinary historical and modern women 
  • The business has been an international success, with local and global influencers donning the unique pieces

ISLAMABAD: On the webpage of Pakistani jewelry house ‘Pierre Gemme,’ the brand is described as an enterprise profiling the stories of extraordinary women. With its unique brand image, the business, founded by three sisters-- twins Hira and Hajjra and their younger sister Hina Hur, holds an edge over most of its contemporaries. 

Hajra, Hira and Hina Hur are the sisters behind Pierre Gemme, a jewellery start-up based out of Islamabad that attempts to tell the stories of extraordinary women through jewellery design. August 12, 2019. (Image via Pierre Gemme Instagram)

Born in Quetta in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province to a civil servant father, who the sisters describe as a “master storyteller,” and a dentist mother, the three sisters embarked on their joint venture in 2017 largely inspired by their life across Pakistan and their travels around the globe-- between them over 75 countries in the past 10 years. 
Their travels introduced them to different women from all facets of life they said, which inspired them to want to tell stories, particularly about women. They also credit their father for “unintentionally opening doors for inspiration and creativity for all three of us.”
“Like most South Asian parents, ours wanted us to be doctors or engineers,” said Hira Hur, but added that their creative urges couldn’t stay locked up for long.
Hina Hur initially followed in her mother’s footprints and became a dentist, but acted on her passion for art and design all the while, creating unique earrings.

"Gulestan" draws inspiration from the rose gardens of the Mughal Era as written by a poet of the era, Saadi. The earrings marry traditional aesthetics of South Asian jewelry design with modern-day touches. April 22, 2019 (Image via Pierre Gemme Instagram) 

She began sketching and designing graphics of jewelry and brought them to life in 2016, making her first pair at the workshop of the artisans she now works with. She emphasizes on creating designs with history and significance.
“It was not the design alone that was admired, the earrings started a conversation,” Hira said of her sister’s creations. 
Their first design, the “Pierre Gemme Signature,” earrings are a tribute to the Mughal empire and have made an international mark for themselves.
“The earrings made it to New York where one of us was working and one earrings’ request from a friend turned to 100 orders... and now we are selling around 10,000 pieces per year,” Hira told Arab News.

"Pursuit of Pleasure" features the portrait of a Mughal era woman. May 4, 2019 (Image via Pierre Gemme Instagram)

Pierre Gemme in French means gemstones, which are an often overlooked part of Pakistan’s offerings to the world. 
“The name is an homage to the natural beauty and landscapes of Pakistan. Beneath these landscape lies a whole new world of gemstones and its beauty. While living in Balochistan, we traveled along the silk road and got inspired by the gems each place had to offer. Pakistan is home to emeralds, peridots, aquamarine, Kundun, rubies, topaz, quartz, the list goes on,” Hira said.
“Our brand is more than jewelry,” she said. “It celebrates women who are not typically spoken about but created history through their activism in the early 17th and 18th century.”
“We believe telling and hearing stories is the most powerful means to educate, influence and inspire others,” she continued.
“Stories create connections — they move us and make us feel alive, they challenge and help us understand our place. We are seizing the power of art and combining it with jewelry to incorporate stories of extraordinary women and cultures, typically not well known.” 
The sisters research the real-life stories of the women they bring to life in their jewelry and then relay that story in captions on their buzzing Instagram page.

A client, Yemini artist and activist Bushra, wearing the "Kandaka" earrings in Yemen. August 21, 2019. (Image via Pierre Gemme Instagram)

“We go through a thorough research of selecting influential and lesser-known women in history who created movements and achieved something,” said Hira. 
“Our piece ‘Umrao Jan’ is inspired by Umrao Jan Ada, an early novel written in the Urdu language about a woman who narrates her tales of self-discovery, using art and poetry,” Hira said. Similarly, she explained, “Kahina is a pre-Islamic female warrior from Morocco’s Berber’s tribe.” 
Designs by the sisters also incorporate modern faces of trailblazing women, including Sudanese activist Alaa Salah, who became a recognizable icon of the Sudanese protests in March 2019 when her photograph went viral.
“She inspired and is depicted on ‘Kandaka — the Nubian Queen’ piece. That piece is from an unforgettable vision of a woman dressed in white, standing on top of a car chanting and pointing to the sky as the crowd holds up their hands. Her image defied false ideas of Muslim women as oppressed and being politically passive during the Sudanese revolution.”

A client, Yemini artist and activist Bushra, wearing the "Kandaka" earrings in Yemen. August 21, 2019. (Image via Pierre Gemme Instagram)

The Hur sisters have employed men and women in Lahore to create their original pieces. For them, their women artisans are also a critical part of their story. 
“We have five artisans working with us at the moment of which four are women and one is a man. It takes between a month or two to produce the first pair of earrings. After the design is final, all earrings are made by hand and we make about 10 pairs a day on average,” Hira said.
“We noticed that jewelry making is a male-dominated profession,” she added. “It took us a long time to encourage and get women to make jewelry, so we can create better opportunities for women in Pakistan.”
The sisters hope to build up their brand and get the opportunity to employ more people from Pakistan and expand their story-telling around the globe. They will be taking their jewelry to Cairo later this year.
“It will be amazing if we can build a movement of women across the world telling stories through the art of jewelry making,” said Hira. “We would love to grow Pierre Gemme as symbolic jewelry that connects women to their emotions, grace, strength, vulnerability, and sense of humor.”

Pakistan says its Expo Dubai pavilion received over 100,000 visitors since October 1

Updated 11 sec ago

Pakistan says its Expo Dubai pavilion received over 100,000 visitors since October 1

  • Deputy ruler of Dubai visited the Pakistan pavilion at Expo 2020 this week
  • Pakistan’s pavilion was officially inaugurated by President Arif Alvi on October 9

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai has received over 100,000 visitors since its opening on October 1, the country’s official Twitter handle for the event said on Thursday.

The Expo is the first world fair to be held in the Middle East, and Dubai, the region’s tourism, trade and business hub, is hoping to boost its economy by attracting 25 million business and tourist visits to the exhibition, which has been built from scratch on 4.3 sq km of desert at a cost of around $6.8 billion.

Exhibitors from almost 200 countries, including Pakistan, are participating, with many countries and companies looking to the expo — the first major global event open to visitors since the coronavirus pandemic — to boost trade and investment.

“We, at The Pakistan Pavilion, Expo2020 proudly announce the 100k visitor’s milestone as of October 18,2021,” Pakistan Expo 2020 said in a tweet, urging people to “come join us in reaching another milestone and let’s complete this journey together.”

Earlier this week the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, toured the Pakistan pavilion which was officially inaugurated by President Dr. Arif Alvi on October 9.

Built from scratch on 4.3 square km of desert, the Expo is divided into three sub-theme districts: Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability.

The Pakistani pavilion, themed “The Hidden Treasure,” is located in the Opportunity area.

Pakistan can beat India in T20 World Cup opener in Dubai, experts say 

Updated 6 min 16 sec ago

Pakistan can beat India in T20 World Cup opener in Dubai, experts say 

  • Javed Miandad says Pakistani players must learn how to perform under pressure 
  • Pakistan will face off India at Dubai International Stadium on October 24 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani cricket experts said on Wednesday India and Pakistan were equally capable of benefiting from the conditions in the United Arab Emirates and the team that handled pressure well was likely to win the Twenty20 World Cup opener at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday. 

The Men in Green are familiar with UAE pitches after playing several matches in the Gulf state since 2009, when the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by militants in Lahore. 

As international cricket went on a decline in Pakistan, the country’s cricket board hosted multiple series in the UAE and even launched its biggest Pakistan Super League tournament in the Gulf state. 

Pakistan’s cricket squad ranks number three in T20 cricket and has previously grabbed the world title in the shortest format of the game. It has also won the last ten T20s in the UAE, which makes its players, including skipper Babar Azam, confident of success. 

However, former cricketers and independent experts say the Pakistani side will need to be aggressively in order to win the game. 

“While you are playing, you get opportunities and a stronger team benefit from them,” Javed Miandad, a former Pakistani cricketing legend, told Arab News. 

“Pakistan has a good team that can perform well, but our players will have to learn to take pressure without losing their nerves. In such matches, especially during crunch moments, you have to take your team to the end.” 

He recalled his own historic six in the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in 1986 that earned his side victory over India on the last ball of the match. 

Miandad maintained that UAE pitches could “equally support India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka,” adding that the final outcome would be determined by how these teams were going to utilize the available conditions. 

Salman Butt, former left-handed opener and skipper, agreed with Miandad. 

“It’s the same for all Asian teams,” he said. “We are all accustomed to these conditions. Pakistan may have played more cricket than other nations in the UAE, but several international cricketers have recently played the IPL [Indian Premier League] here and will come prepared.” 

Sports journalist Aalia Rasheed said it was premature to say anything about the outcome of the match since “we do not have the exact idea of what kind of pitches the Pakistani team is likely to get.” 

“Keeping in view the general UAE conditions, however, Pakistan and India can both benefit,” she continued. “These pitches are not offering turn. They are slow pitches where a grafter would be more successful. We cannot ignore the importance of power hitters, but a timer and a player who plays more on the ground and creates gaps can build an innings.” 

She acknowledged that Pakistan had some good batsmen like Babar, Rizwan, Hafeez and Malik, but maintained that it was all about handling pressure during the game. 

“They have a huge experience of playing in the UAE,” she said of the Pakistani players. “Yet, the magnitude of the World Cup is so big that it is not about the conditions but mental pressure. Whichever team manages to absorb that pressure on a given day will win.” 

Kamran Akmal, a test cricketer, said Pakistan had an advantage on other teams. 

“The pitches and general conditions should certainly benefit Pakistan,” he said. “Our team has played a great deal of international cricket in the UAE, though we will have to see how it begins to play from the first match.” 

Akmal said spinners, such as Shadab Khan, were likely to take wickets for Pakistan. 

“Pakistan certainly has an edge over others,” he continued. “Several Pakistan players have launched their professional career from the UEA. I believe that better planning and an aggressive game can help Pakistan win.” 

Pakistani ministries start implementing 2 percent employment quota for people with disabilities 

Updated 15 min 37 sec ago

Pakistani ministries start implementing 2 percent employment quota for people with disabilities 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani government departments have started implementing a 2 percent job quota for people with disabilities at all federal ministries, a senior official at the human rights ministry said on Wednesday.

Human Rights Watch estimates that the number of people living with various intellectual and physical disabilities in Pakistan, a country of 220 million, varies from 3.3 million to 27 million. 

Pakistani law requires that 2 percent of people employed by an establishment be “disabled persons.” A Supreme Court ruling last year obliged the federal and provincial governments to take steps to realize equal participation of people with disabilities in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Pakistan ratified in 2011.

“On the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, establishment division has formally instructed all ministries, divisions, attach departments and commissions working under federal government to strictly implement 2 percent quota of disabled persons in jobs,” Human Rights Ministry director general Muhammad Arshad told Arab News on Wednesday.

“Work has been started to implement this by providing jobs to disabled persons in all federal government departments in Pakistan,” he said. “For this purpose, the government has also established a new council, Council for the Rights of Disabled Persons, which is working on it and following it with all federal ministries.”

Until now, the 2 percent job quota has been widely unimplemented, with only a small number of persons with disabilities employed by different government departments.

“The government passed a legislation in December 2020 which required every office and government building to have accessibility options for special people, but even that law has not been fully implemented,” rights activist Muhammad Atif Sheikh told Arab News.

He added that a major issue was the lack of data on how many Pakistanis lived with disabilities as such questions were not included in the census process in Pakistan.

“Data is the biggest challenge,” he said. “The latest census conducted in Pakistan in 2017 showed there were only 0.09 percent disabled people in the country since the authorities did not ask questions related to the issue.”

Saqlain Shah, a visually impaired graduate, has been applying for government jobs since 2018, but says that until now has not received any response.

“We get response from private organizations, but it is very hard to find a job opening at government departments, he said. “Officials only respond when we apply for low-income jobs but they mostly remain silent when we apply for higher positions.”

Pakistan can be kings again despite India’s IPL riches, says Nazar 

Updated 21 October 2021

Pakistan can be kings again despite India’s IPL riches, says Nazar 

  • Starting in 2008, a year after the inaugural T20 World Cup, the IPL ushered in a new era of white-ball cricket 
  • Pakistan once had a far better head-to-head record against India who played catch up with their arch-rivals from 2000 onwards 

DUBAI: Former Pakistan all-rounder Mudassar Nazar insists his country will once again be the kings of Asian cricket despite India’s rise as world beaters on the back of the riches of the IPL. 
Pakistan were kings of the sub-continent from the mid-1980s to 1990s with their on-field brilliance under Imran Khan, who led them to the 1992 World Cup, before India turned the tables. 
“I don’t think Pakistan has changed. It is India who have changed,” Nazar told AFP ahead of the eagerly-awaited India-Pakistan clash at the Twenty20 World Cup in Dubai on Sunday. 
“With the advent of the IPL they have used the money really, really well. If you look at the domestic competition in India, look at all the associations, how well they are organizing their cricket. 
He added: “Everybody has got their own stadium, their own academies, school cricket, state cricket. Cricket is thriving in India. 
“But the people who have been consistently doing well have been England and Australia...India is in the forefront and among the three best sides in the world.” 
Starting in 2008, a year after the inaugural T20 World Cup, the IPL ushered in a new era of white-ball cricket that witnessed the game break new ground in viewership and fan base.

The IPL emerged as the world’s richest T20 league with its brand value estimated at $6.7 billion in 2019 by the Duff and Phelps financial consultancy.

At the same time, Pakistan was becoming a no-go zone for international cricket following the 2009 terror attack on the visiting Sri Lanka team.
“The BCCI have been very clever in how they used the IPL money. Indian cricket was powerful before that but since then it has seen a lot of consistency,” said Nazar. 
“They have got all the areas covered. You talk about fast bowling, you talk about spinners, fielding, the physical side, it’s a powerhouse. They seem to be getting top class batsmen every season. At the moment they are looking very formidable.”

But Nazar remains hopeful that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) — the nation’s premier T20 tournament — and new management will revive the game.

“It is also a matter of cycles. One decade we could be better than the rest of the world and then somebody else catches up,” said Nazar, who played 76 Tests between 1976 and 1989 with a batting average of over 38. 
He also sees a bright future under new PCB chairman Ramiz Raja.
“Things have started to improve with the PSL, but it will take time. It took time for India to revive.” 
“There is no club cricket and there is hardly any state cricket, so that’s a stumbling block. 
“But now with the new management coming in, Ramiz is a former cricketer and I think he will shape things better, put us on the right path and in the next couple of years probably we will be as strong as we used to be.” 
Pakistan once had a far better head-to-head record against India who played catch up with their arch-rivals from 2000 onwards. 
Nazar, who had been part of that strong Pakistan set-up, said the national team will someday turn a corner and notch up their first win against India in a World Cup. 
“When we were playing we always had the edge and toward the end of my career we won most games against India than we lost,” said the 65-year-old Nazar. 
“It needs somebody to come up with some brilliance. Somebody has a damn good game. Somebody has a decent century and bowls a decent spell and all of a sudden the tables will turn.” 

Boycott calls add to India-Pakistan cricket tensions ahead of World Cup clash in Dubai

Updated 20 October 2021

Boycott calls add to India-Pakistan cricket tensions ahead of World Cup clash in Dubai

  • India has largely refused to play bilateral games against Pakistan since 2008, after deadly attacks in Mumbai which it blamed on Pakistan
  • Indian atheletes say ‘sports and politics should not be mixed’ and the World Cup match between the two countries should go on

Dubai: Cricket tensions between India and Pakistan have been heightened by boycott calls in India ahead of their T20 World Cup clash on Sunday.
A series of killings in the disputed Kashmir region has set off the anger, even though the Indian board has insisted the national team cannot withdraw from the game.
Decades of bitter rivalry between the neighbors often clouds their cricket encounters. India has largely refused to play bilateral games against Pakistan since 2008, after deadly attacks in Mumbai which India blamed on Pakistan.
Now they only play each other in international events. The last meeting was at the 50-over World Cup two years ago but even that was at the center of boycott calls.
The killings of 11 migrant workers and minority Hindus and Sikhs in Indian-administered Kashmir have led to the latest demands made in India, which frequently accuses Pakistan of backing Kashmir militant groups. The hashtag #BlacklistPakistan was trending on Twitter Wednesday.
Rajeev Shukla, the Board of Control for Cricket in India vice president, said earlier that the country had a contractual obligation to take part.
“We strongly condemns the killings. However, under the International Cricket Council’s commitments, you can’t refuse to play any one (game),” Shukla told Indian media.
A cabinet minister, Giriraj Singh, had also urged the government to consider intervening to stop the match.
“I think if relations are not good, then this should be reconsidered,” Singh said when questioned about the match. Other politicians have also joined the calls.
However, India’s badminton great Prakash Padukone said, “sports and politics should not be mixed and according to me it (the India-Pakistan match) should go on.”
India was also urged to boycott the 2019 World Cup game against Pakistan because of a Kashmir suicide bomber attack in February of that year in which more than 40 troops were killed.
Pakistan denied any role in the assault but the two countries came to the brink of war. India won the game which went ahead in June 2019.
India and Pakistan last played a bilateral series in 2013 during a brief thaw in their rivalry.
The two countries have fought two wars over Kashmir — divided between the two nations — since their independence in 1947.