Pakistan Ordnance Factories manufactures face masks, hand sanitizers

Workers make facemasks with sewing machines at a small factory 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 26 March 2020

Pakistan Ordnance Factories manufactures face masks, hand sanitizers

  • In view of the current situation, the country’s defense establishment has shifted focus of its production facilities
  • The ordnance factories are traditionally known for manufacturing weapons and ammunition

ISLAMABAD: As the nation finds itself at war with a deadly pathogen that emerged in a small Chinese town in December 2019 before spreading across the globe and infecting more than a thousand people in Pakistan, the country’s defense establishment on Wednesday announced a shift in the focus of its production facilities, saying that its ordnance factories, which traditionally manufacture weapons and ammunition, have also started making face masks and hand sanitizers.
An official handout released on the instruction of the minister of defense production said that the country’s ordnance factories had “attained the capability to produce 25,000 Face Masks and 10,000 liters of Hand Sanitizers on a daily basis.”
The official statement described its new production potential as “a landmark achievement and a proud moment for the entire nation.”
“Special cloth has been used in production of Face Masks, that makes it re-usable after wash,” the statement said, adding that in view of the current situation, wherein the country was fighting novel coronavirus, Pakistan’s defense related production capability “had been diverted toward mass production of Face Masks and Hand Sanitizers.”
“The laudable efforts by Pakistan Ordnance Factories will indeed complement the ongoing national drive to fight COVID-19,” it continued while promising “further breakthrough” in “the near future.”
Pakistan’s security forces have already been playing their role in preventing the spread of the dreaded virus in the country by activating the network of their hospitals across the country to deal with the problem.
They are also helping the civil administration with countrywide lockdowns that have been announced to implement social distancing.


Coronavirus takes toll on Pakistani entertainment industry as major Eid films shelved

Updated 52 min 29 sec ago

Coronavirus takes toll on Pakistani entertainment industry as major Eid films shelved

  • Several projects postponed amid coronavirus shutdowns
  • Producers and directors say no option but to move release dates forward

KARACHI: With almost every major sector across the world impacted by the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Pakistan's film industry, too, has taken a beating, with multiple films shelved or postponed due to the ongoing lockdown in the country.
As compared to last year, several big-budget films were slated for release this year, with some in the post-production stage, while work on others had just begun but had to be halted indefinitely.
One such film is ‘Intezaar’ which was set to be released on March 20 but had to be postponed due to the closure of cinemas across the country.
Two films, ‘The Legend Of Maula Jatt’, and ‘Titch Button’, were scheduled for release on Eid-ul-Fitr, while two other movies, 'Zarrar’ and ‘Money Back Guarantee,’ were ready to announce their release dates. 
All in all, the entire industry seems to be in dire straits. Some of the films adversely impacted by the situation are:
'London Nahin Jaonga,' produced by Six Sigma and ARY Films and directed by Nadeem Baig, is a likely sequel of 2017's super-hit film, ‘Punjab Nahin Jaongi.’
Starring Humayun Saeed, Mehwish Hayat, and Kubra Khan in the lead roles, work on 70 percent of the film had been completed in Pakistan, with the remainder of the shooting slotted for London next month.

Talking to Arab News, Irfan Malik, Head of ARY Films, said: “We had planned our spell of London shooting in mid of April, but in these situations, it seems impossible as conditions in the UK are more severe than ours.” 

He added that moving the set's location had come up for discussion, but would not be practical as the script requires many scenes to be shot in London. 

“We are ready and closely watching the situation as the lockdown in Pakistan might end next week," he said, adding if they couldn't resume work next month, the film's "release will definitely be delayed (even if cinemas are open)."
"We have targeted to release it in 2020,” he said.

Another movie that has piqued everyone's interest was 'Ghabrana Nahi Hai,' an action-comedy produced by Mastermind Films and JB Films.
With the title inspired by one of Prime Minister Imran Khan's most-used phrases, the film is written by Mohsin Ali and directed by Saqib Khan and stars Saba Qamar, Zahid Ahmed, and Syed Jibran in the lead roles.

Talking about the status of the film, Hasan Zia, one of the producers and owner of Mastermind Films, told Arab News that work would resume as soon as the conditions became normal. For now, his team has already completed three days of shooting.

"Keeping the current situation in mind, our priority is only to complete the film first, hence no release date has been finalized," he said.

Another Saba Qamar-starrer named 'Kamli' is a tragic love story inspired by Punjabi folklore. Produced and directed by critically-acclaimed Sarmad Khosat, work on the film had begun in December last year and was set to be completed soon. The lockdown, however, has placed a question mark on its future.

Meanwhile, 'Chakkar,' produced and directed by Yasir Nawaz – and starring Ahsan Kahn and Neelam Muneer and Yasir Nawaz – is a thriller-comedy, the partial shoot for which has been completed, too.

Nawaz told Arab News that they had shot for six days for the first part of the film while the next two parts were scheduled for April and May.

He was hopeful that things would normalize by mid-April, following which they would be able to resume work on the film. If not, they would push the dates to June or the month after, adding that he had already requested his cast to keep their schedules free in June.

Talking about the release of the film, Yasir said: "Initially, we had planned to release our film somewhere between Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha, but now we can’t say anything about this.” 
Equally impacted is 'Parde Mein Rehne Do,' a social comedy produced by Zayed Sheikh, written by Mohsin Ali and directed by Wajahat Rauf.

With Hania Amir and Ali Rehman Khan as the main protagonists, the film is based in Karachi, with 50 percent of its work completed in Pakistan's financial capital.

However, with the restriction of movement created by the lockdown, Rauf said they had stopped all work on the film but were taking steps to ensure that the move impacted none of the staff.

“Hopefully, if everything gets normal after May as announced by the government, we will resume our shoot and will complete it in almost 15 days. The edit will take another couple of months so that it will be ready in September or October, and I hope it will get released by the end of the year," he said.

Close on the heels of 'Parde Mein Rehne Do' is 'Fat Man,' a social drama produced by renowned female producer Fizza Ali Meerza, directed by Nabeel Qureshi, and starring Ahmed Ali Butt in the lead role.

Meerza told Arab News that even if the situation resumed normalcy after May, it would not be a wise decision to shoot in June and July in Pakistan. Therefore, they will not be able to start the shoot before October.

Keeping her team busy, however, was Fahad Mustafa and Mahira Khan-starrer, 'Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad,' the editing for which is underway at the moment.

“Luckily, we have completed our shoot for Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad and have shifted the editing at our place and are working from home. If everything gets normal after a couple of months, we will release the film on its original date, which is Eid ul Adha.”
One of Pakistan's highly-anticipated films is 'Neelofar,' with fans waiting with bated breath to watch their favorite onscreen couple, Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan, reunite after 2011, when they both catapulted to fame with the release of the cult drama serial, 'Humsafar.'

The film is produced by Fawad Khan and directed by Ammar Rasool, who has also written the script under Fawad's supervision.

Sheikh Amjad Rasheed, Chairman IMGC Global Films, the distributor of 'Neelofar,' said that the film was shot entirely in Lahore and was now in the post-production phase. He added that they would announce a release date as soon as the situation permitted.

Close on its heels is another film, 'Dum Mastam,' the first to be produced by veteran actor Adnan Siddiqui, directed by Mohammed Ehteshamuddin, and starring Imran Ashraf and Amar Khan.

For now, the film is in its post-production stage.