COVID-19: Pakistani celebrities who have lived to tell the tale

(L to R) Singer Abrar-ul-Haq, Actress/Host Nida Yasir, Actor/Director Yasir Nawaz and Fashion Designer Maheen Khan.
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Updated 07 July 2020

COVID-19: Pakistani celebrities who have lived to tell the tale

  • Arab News speaks to notable Pakistanis about their experience testing positive for the coronavirus and the road to recovery 
  • Around 234,509 Pakistanis have so far tested positive, many of them politicians and celebrities from the entertainment and fashion industries 

KARACHI: As more and more notable Pakistanis test positive for COVID-19, Arab News spoke to some members of the entertainment and fashion industries about their experience with the coronavirus, the road to recovery and the lessons learnt along the way: 
Abrar ul Haq, famed singer, politician and philanthropist, told Arab News on Sunday that he suspected he had caught the virus while building a coronavirus hospital in Lahore, and soon learnt that his wife and son were also positive, though his one-and-a-half-year-old daughter was not. The family immediately quarantined in different rooms of the house for almost 20 days and received advice from doctors over the phone while the daughter was sent to live with her grandmother.
Haq said he had used his time in quarantine to produce a song, soon to be released on his YouTube channel, which paid tribute to the doctors and nurses fighting against the coronavirus outbreak.
Yasir Nawaz, a film and television actor and director, and his wife Nida Yasir, a famous morning show host, both tested positive for the coronavirus in May, and quarantined themselves in the upper portion of their house, isolating themselves from their children and household staff. The maids who brought them food were given PPE suits to wear, Yasir said. 
“We used disposable plates and cups and didn’t waste our trash outside but kept it in a separate place on the terrace,” Yasir added. 
An asymptomatic carrier, she tested negative for the virus in 14 days and believes a clean diet and strong immune system might have helped keep her safe from complications.
“I was already taking lots of fruits and vegetables,” she said. “Besides I was regular on Vitamin C, Zinc and Calcium for my general wellbeing, that also worked against COVID.” 
Yasir said she had wanted to donate her plasma but doctors advised that as an asymptomatic carrier, her plasma probably had not produced enough antibodies needed for the treatment, which involves the infusion of plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient to a recovering one as a source of antibodies, a widely sought method in Pakistan despite limited information on its effectiveness.
Yasir’s husband Nawaz, however, said he had donated his plasma to Dow University Karachi and was informed by the hospital that his plasma had been infused in a number of patients, of which one woman who had been on a ventilator was now recovering. 
Maheen Khan, a 75-year-old top Pakistani fashion designer, said her symptoms included fever, body pains and headache and she also lost her sense of taste and smell.
“I had read a lot about the virus, so I immediately tested myself and after testing positive, just quarantined myself at home for the next 21 days,” she said, adding that she opted for a “holistic approach” to recovery, staying away from all medication except pain killers and eating raw food like mango with yogurt, milk and honey, and taking lots of Vitamin C. She also tried to rest a lot and do breathing exercises. 
“Calm yourself first if hit by the virus, try your best to be cured at your will but if the symptoms still get worse, see a doctor,” Khan said. “At 75, I put myself on strict care as I was the most vulnerable.”

'Within two weeks': Pakistan to challenge Indian move to patent Basmati rice in the EU 

Updated 23 September 2020

'Within two weeks': Pakistan to challenge Indian move to patent Basmati rice in the EU 

  • Pakistan produces a number of varieties of Basmati rice and believes it has a right to an exclusive Geographical Indications tag
  • Export of basmati rice from Pakistan increased by 33 percent, overall rice exports surged by seven percent during July-March 2019-20 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan plans to challenge, within two weeks, Indian's request before the European Union for a patent for Basmati rice, the chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Trade said  on Wednesday.

Islamabad accuses Delhi of "cheating" its neighbour by applying for an exclusive Geographical Indications (GI) tag for Basmati rice in the European Union (EU) this month.

Mirza Muhammad Afridi said Pakistan produced a wide range of Basmati rice varieties and had the right to apply for a GI tag.

“Hopefully Pakistan will challenge the Indian move in two weeks,” the senate committee chairman said, adding that though Pakistan technically had three months to challenge New Delhi's action, it would do so much sooner. 

Pakistan is one of the largest exporters of rice in the world

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the export of basmati rice from Pakistan increased by 33 percent and overall rice exports surged by seven percent during July-March 2019-20 period.