Pakistani businessmen raise Rs21 million on WhatsApp for virus most affected

People queue as they wait to receive charity food alongside a road during a government-imposed lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Rawalpindi on March 24, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 25 March 2020

Pakistani businessmen raise Rs21 million on WhatsApp for virus most affected

  • All donations were made via no-touch payment transactions
  • Corporate Pakistan Group (CPG) is also going to support frontline medical staff with personal protective equipment

KARACHI: Within two days, members of a Pakistani group on WhatsApp raised Rs21 million to help the country’s most vulnerable from sinking into poverty, as many commercial activities have been shut down amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The economic impact of the epidemic has already hit millions of Pakistani families, especially those whose livelihoods are dependent on daily wage work, testing both the government’s response and society’s generosity in a time of a major public health crisis. The latter gives hope.
“Two days back I shared my intention with the group members and the response was overwhelming,” said Muhammad Azfar Ahsan, founder of Corporate Pakistan Group (CPG). “Within two days we have received more than Rs21 million pledges made by our members through WhatsApp. Our target was Rs20 million.”
“The initiative was suggested by CPG member Shamsuddin Shaikh and now other members of the group, Zafar Sobani and Saleem Ranjha are managing this initiative with him,” Ahsan added.
CPG has 256 members, including the country’s top businessmen, policy makers, security officials, and scholars. Many of them pledge further donations.
Since cash has been increasingly seen as a vehicle for coronavirus, no-touch payment tools were used for all contributions, Ahsan said, “All transactions have taken place in virtual space without any physical contact.”




Muhammad Azfar Ahsan, founder of Corporate Pakistan Group. (Supplied)

He said the money raised was not transferred to any private account, but channeled directly to three renowned charities — Akhuwat Foundation, Bait-ul-Salam, and Orange Tree Foundation (Robinhood Army). Equal distribution of the funds was managed by two chartered accountants who volunteered their time for the purpose.
Besides organizing emergency food assistance to poor families affected by the crisis, the group is also going to support frontline medical staff with personal protective equipment, as shortages of masks and protective wear in Pakistan are directly putting at risk the lives of those who are saving others from the coronavirus pandemic
“Orders have been placed for manufacturing of safety kits for doctors and paramedical staff,” Ahsan said. “The state has to play major role but we will continue to play our role with continued funding.
“The first phase is challenging, we are preparing to face the challenges,” he said, admitting that the group is planning response activities for the next couple of weeks, as the health crisis situation is unfolding.
In preparation for other crisis scenarios in the future, by the end of the year the group is going to establish a think tank, Ahsan said, “It would be Pakistan’s biggest policy institute.”


Airbus team to arrive in Pakistan for PIA plane crash investigation

Updated 25 May 2020

Airbus team to arrive in Pakistan for PIA plane crash investigation

  • A PIA flight crashed near the Karachi airport on Friday with 99 people on board
  • Authorities in Pakistan have already constituted a team that is investigating the cause of the crash

ISLAMABAD: A team of European aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, will arrive in Pakistan’s biggest city, Karachi, tonight to help investigate the PIA plane crash on Friday, Pakistan’s state-run media reported.
A PIA A320 Airbus, which flew from Lahore to Karachi, crashed in a congested residential area near the Jinnah International Airport on May 22 minutes before landing.
Two passengers miraculously survived in the tragic incident that claimed the lives of 97 people on board. No fatalities were reported on the ground, however, where several houses were damaged in a narrow street.
“The (Airbus) team will visit the (crash) site in the Model Colony area of the city as shifting of the plane’s debris from the site has also been stopped,” Radio Pakistan reported.
Pakistan’s seven-member team has already started investigating the incident.
It was the second PIA plane crash in less than four years. In 2016, a domestic flight of the national air career from Chitral to Islamabad crashed in a hilly area in which all 47 passengers and crew members lost their lives.
Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said after the crash that “Captain Sajjad Gull (who was flying the plane) was senior most A320 pilot with extensive flight experience.” He added that “the aircraft involved in the crash was 16 years old and was in a very good condition.”
According to the minister, the A320 joined the PIA fleet on dry lease six years ago and underwent its major A-check in March 2020.
“The aircraft carried out eight flights since 21st March, 2020, when the domestic and international flights were suspended in view of efforts to control the spread of COVID-19,” he informed.