Stylish face masks and where to get them in Pakistan

Pakistani brands such as Generation, Rastah, Khaadi and Nishat Linen release their own lines of reusable face masks to fill this need. (Photo courtesy: Social media)
Short Url
Updated 12 July 2020

Stylish face masks and where to get them in Pakistan

  • From intricate prints and embroideries to bold statement designs, Pakistani retailers offer a variety of reusable face masks to fetch a stylish look at all times
  • Many brands are donating the sales from their face mask collections to organizations helping persons affected by COVID-19

RAWALPINDI: After health officials recommended wearing face covering for protection against the coronavirus, many Pakistani retailers produced their own masks to fill this need. From intricate prints and embroideries to bold statement motifs, designers offer a variety of reusable face masks to fetch a stylish look at all times and keep stocks of medical masks available to health professionals and those who need them most. 
Some brands have also pledged that sales of these masks will be going toward supporting communities affected by the outbreak and restrictions that followed.
Arab News has compiled a list places where you can purchase a reusable mask and add a unique twist to your outfits.




Using their khaddar fabric that fans of the brand love, Khaadi retails embroidered and colorful masks that are washable and reusable. (Photo courtesy: Khaadi)

Khaadi

Pakistan’s most famous high-street retailer was one of the first Pakistani brands to release its own line of masks. For less than Rs200, fashion lovers can grab embroidered and printed stylish face covering, including one that plays on the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On” with “Keep Calm and Keep Distance.” They also have embroidered rickshaws and masks with traditional patterns. While many designs on their website and social media are already sold out, Khaadi says their in-store supply is still available.

Generation

In the beginning of the virus outbreak, Generation put their leftover fabrics to use for face masks. Customers would get them with each order to stitch masks themselves. The brand over the past few years has been turning greener and often opts to reuse fabric in its collections. Reusable masks from leftover materials fit right in with the brand’s ethos, while for every Generation fan their bright traditional prints are worth snatching up.




 Nishat Linen creates non-medical fabric masks for kids, featuring design choices such as bright flowers and superheroes. (Photo courtesy: Nishat Linen)

Nishat Linen

Nishat Linen took a different approach to face covering, opting to make fun embroidered fabric masks exclusively for their kids line. With designs featuring pretty embroidered flowers and motifs of superheroes such as Spiderman, Nishat is encouraging children to observe safety measures with a stylish flair. The masks are mostly sold out in their online shop, but still available at physical stores.

Rastah

Premier Pakistani streetwear brand Rastah put their fabric reserves to use almost immediately after COVID-19. All proceeds of the mask sales go to support Pakistani daily wage workers, many of whom lost their sources of livelihood due to coronavirus lockdowns and the ensuing economic slowdown. The brand created masks featuring embroidery with Urdu calligraphy and the block prints they are known for in their street style apparel.

International rands making masks that ship to Pakistan are aplenty, including those from sustainable fashion and high fashion. Everlane, for example, introduced masks to their 100% Human line which gives proceeds to different rights groups, while Asos offers hundreds of patterns to choose from.


Tribesmen in northwestern Pakistan refuse to bury 'assassinated' elder, continue protest for twentieth day

Updated 7 min 43 sec ago

Tribesmen in northwestern Pakistan refuse to bury 'assassinated' elder, continue protest for twentieth day

  • Residents of Janikhel started protesting last month after one of its tribal elders was gunned down by unknown assailants
  • The community also resorted to similar protest earlier this year after finding mutilated bodies of four teenage members

PESHAWAR: Members of a Pashtun clan from a small settlement in Pakistan’s northwest have threatened to march on Islamabad after unidentified gunmen assassinated a tribal elder last month, confirmed senior representatives of the protesting community while talking to Arab News on Friday.
Residents of Janikhel have staged a sit-in for the last 20 days without burying the corpse of Malik Naseeb Khan who was murdered on May 30.
The Pashtun clan also planned a similar demonstration in Islamabad last March after finding mutilated bodies of four teenage boys belonging to the community who had gone out for hunting. Later, they called off their protest after reaching an agreement with the government.

In this photo taken on June 17, 2021, protesters attend a sit-in in Janikhel, a remote town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, to demonstrate against the killing of one of its tribal elders. (Photo courtesy: Latif Wazir)

“The non-implementation of our pact with the government has led to the target killing of a prominent elder of our clan,” Latif Wazir told Arab News over the phone. “The incident has forced us to stage another sit-in without burying his body.”
The deal between the two sides required the Pakistani authorities to act against militant outfits and launch a crackdown against illicit weapons in the area. The government also promised to compensate the bereaved families of the teenagers, investigate their killings and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Apart from that, a special development package had to be announced for Janikhel where residents live an impoverished life.
Last month’s killing was followed by another round of negotiations between the provincial transportation minister, Shah Muhammad Wazir, who belongs to the same clan and the angry protesters.
Wazir asked the mourning demonstrators to bury their leader, though his personal assistant, Amir Khan, told Arab News that the Janikhel community refused to heed his advice.
“The minister even assured the protesters during the meeting that their demands would be met within three days,” Khan said. “He also promised that either a high-powered government delegation would visit them in their own town or their delegation would be invited to Peshawar [the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] to discuss the matter.”
Rahimullah Yusufzai, a senior analyst, described the concern of protesters regarding growing insecurity in their area as legitimate, adding there was definitely a presence of militants and armed groups in Janikhel region.
“However, this trend [of not burying the dead and protesting with their corpses] is painful,” he added. “This is against the basic teachings of Islam and our tradition, though it seems that the bereaved families believe they need to protest as forcefully as possible to make the government act.”
Yusufzai said it was the prime responsibility of the government to be empathetic toward the demonstrators and take immediate measures to address their legitimate grievances.
Rafiullah Wazir, son of the slain tribal elder, told Arab News his father had no personal enmities and had played a constructive role for peace in the area.
“My father had been working for peace since 2009 and had escaped an assassination attempt in the past,” he said while referring to a phase when Pakistani tribal territories were widely described as the hub of religious militancy in the region.
However, the country’s security forces launched military operations in and around the area to target militant outfits and re-establish the state’s writ.
“Armed groups are still involved in creating mayhem and turmoil in Janikhel,” Yusufzai said. “It is the government’s responsibility to identify these groups. I think some coordination between the security forces, administration officials and local elders can help restore order in the area.”
 


Mulberry farmers in Pakistan’s southwest seek official patronage for increased production, market development

Updated 28 min 16 sec ago

Mulberry farmers in Pakistan’s southwest seek official patronage for increased production, market development

  • Dried mulberries produced in Balochistan’s Mastung district is particularly popular in neighboring Sindh province where they are mostly sold at Sufi shrines
  • Mulberry farmers say they have suffered significant losses due to restrictions on Sufi festivals during the coronavirus pandemic

QUETTA: Mulberry farming has been a popular occupation in Balochistan’s Mastung district for about four decades, though most people associated with the trade say they have suffered losses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Located some 43 kilometers south of Quetta, Mastung exports two different varieties of mulberries in their dried form to other provinces.
“Our elders knew little about preserving mulberries and probably never thought of selling them in market,” 56-year-old Hajji Khalil Ahmed, who has two orchards in the district, told Arab News on Friday. “But things changed when residents of the neighboring Sindh province started buying dried mulberries and we decided to enter the trade.”

A local farmer Haji Khalil Ahmed lifts mulberries from ground at one of his orchards in Mastung, Balochistan, on June 18, 2021. (AN Photo)

“Balochistan is famous for its peaches, apples and cherries,” he continued. “However, Mastung is the only place in the province which has nearly 900 mulberry orchards and supplies its yield to other provinces.”
Muhammad Ramzan, 30, who learned mulberry farming from his father said about 85 percent of the fruit was exported to Sehwan Sharif in Sindh where it was mostly in popular demand during an annual festival at the shrine of a 13th century Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.
However, he added that restrictions on such Sufi gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic had made things difficult for farmers like him.

Mastung is the only district in Balochistan that is famous for the harvest and export of mulberries to other provinces. Picture taken in Mastung on June 18, 2021. (AN Photo)

“Dried mulberries worth millions of rupees are currently stocked in our warehouses with no one to buy,” Ramzan said.
Asked about the provincial administration’s response to the situation, Ramzan said he was confident the Balochistan government did not know the fruit was produced in one of its districts or exported to other places like apples, cherries and peaches.
Back in 2012, the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched a livelihood project in Mastung to assist famers producing mulberries.

Mastung is the only district in Balochistan that is famous for the harvest and export of mulberries to other provinces. Picture taken in Mastung on June 18, 2021. (AN Photo)

The program lasted for three years during which the FAO trained the farmers how to pack and export the fruit to markets in other cities.
Ramzan said the project instilled a new business sense among people associated with the trade, though he added they were back on their own after the UN initiative ended in 2015.
The provincial administration of Balochistan, he maintained, should realize the business potential of mulberry farming and take necessary measures to increase the production of the fruit and create a bigger market for it across the country.
Masood Baloch, who works as director general at the provincial agricultural department, said the authorities were already conducting research on the trade while planning a project to help the farmers.

A sack of mulberries weighing 70 kilograms sold for Rs17,000 ($108) before the pandemic, though its present market rate is only Rs6,000 ($38). Picture taken in Mastung, Balochistan, on June 18, 2021. (AN Photo)

“Indeed, dried mulberries are in huge demand in other provinces, making its production lucrative for local farmers,” he told Arab News. “But the agricultural program for mulberry needs to be included in the provincial public sector development program [to receive the government’s assistance].”
Imran Khan, a mulberry contractor who has warehouses in Sehwan Sharif, informed that a sack of mulberries weighing 70 kilograms sold for Rs17,000 ($108) before the pandemic, though its present market rate was only Rs6,000 ($38).
“We have sold one kilogram of dried mulberries for about Rs500 ($3) during the annual festival of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar,” he said. “Now the same quantity is only sold for Rs130 ($.83).”


Dhani takes 4-5 to sink another Lahore run chase in Pakistan Super League

Updated 19 June 2021

Dhani takes 4-5 to sink another Lahore run chase in Pakistan Super League

  • Multan managed to put up a strong total of 169-8 despite fast bowler Shaheen Afridi’s brilliant performance for 3-23
  • Lahore’s four successive defeats have pushed the team in a tight corner in the race to the playoffs

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates: Multan Sultans fast bowler Shahnawaz Dhani grabbed 4-5 as Lahore Qalandars fumbled another run chase in losing by 80 runs in the Pakistan Super League on Friday.
The fourth successive defeat while chasing pushed last year’s finalist, Lahore, in a tight corner in the race to the playoffs.
Defending champion Karachi Kings could edge Lahore on better net run-rate if it beats bottom-placed Quetta Gladiators in its last league game on Saturday.
Despite fast bowler Shaheen Afridi’s brilliant performance for 3-23, Multan managed to put up a strong total of 169-8.
Lahore stumbled against Dhani’s pace to be bowled out for 89 in 15.1 overs, losing its last seven wickets for just 41 runs.
Sohaib Maqsood scored yet another brilliant 60 off 40 balls, but it was the little cameo by Twenty20 veteran Sohail Tanvir — 29 off 9 balls — that gave Multan’s total heft. Tanvir smacked Haris Rauf for three fours and two sixes in the last over.
In reply, Lahore lost its three key batsmen within the batting powerplay: Ben Dunk (5), Fakhar Zaman (13) and Mohammad Hafeez (14) all fell to pace.
When Imran Tahir had captain Sohail Akhtar (5) stumped in the 10th over, Dhani returned to take three more wickets and wrap up the innings quickly.
Islamabad United, which takes on Multan in its last league game on Saturday, and Peshawar Zalmi have already qualified for the playoffs. Peshawar is certain to finish among the top four as it has a better net run-rate than Lahore.

 

 


Pakistan’s central bank amends export regulations to benefit from global e-commerce market

Updated 18 June 2021

Pakistan’s central bank amends export regulations to benefit from global e-commerce market

  • The State Bank of Pakistan has invited suggestions from exporters and other stakeholders to simplify use of Amazon and other international digital platforms
  • Local businesses appreciate the central bank’s ‘open-minded’ policy, say it will lead to greater revenue for everyone

KARACHI: As Pakistan’s central bank amends regulations for exporters to simplify trade at international digital marketplaces, such as Amazon, e-Bay and Ali Baba, experts believe the new regulatory framework will help increase the value and volume of the country’s exports.
The State Bank of Pakistan issued a circular earlier this week, inviting feedback from the business community, banking industry and other stakeholders before making amendments to the Foreign Exchange Manual (FEM).
The amendment proposals, said the central bank, were to promote ease of doing business by simplifying existing instructions.
“The proposed changes are part of the SBP’s broader agenda to revise the existing foreign exchange regulations to align them with the changing market dynamics, business needs and global trade practices,” said the circular.
The SBP plans to create space for B2B2C, an e-commerce model which combines business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) arrangements.
The proposed changes to export regulations also seek to implement the Pakistan Single Window Project that will eliminate the requirement of Electronic Form-E which is currently used by exporters to declare and process shipments.
Other than that, there is also a proposal to delegate certain regulatory approvals required from the SBP to other banks to facilitate the business community.
“It is the democratization of exports and process of making SBP regulations compatible with modern requirements of the day,” Badar Khushnood, who is part of the National E-Commerce Council, told Arab News on Friday. “Now the amended regulations will allow any person to become an exporter.”
Khushnood said the SBP intervention was part of the e-commerce facilitation process, adding it was the first time in history regulations were amended through the recommendation of the industry.
“This will have multiple impacts,” he continued. “It will increase the number of exporters which currently stands at about 35,000, encourage the sale of value-added products in the international market and increase the volume and value of goods.”
Last month, Pakistan was officially added to Amazon’s seller list after a successful trial of some 40 companies for which regulations were made by the National E-Commerce Council.
Additionally, the SBP proposed changes to the FEM to allow exporters to receive cross-border payments against the international sales of goods in 270 days against the existing requirement of 180 days since “the exporters will now be selling goods to end consumers.”
Khushnood said the new regulations would encourage small and medium enterprises and women-owned businesses to scientifically market their products at various international e-commerce platforms.
“It is a good precedent that the central bank is seeking feedback from the business community and other stakeholders,” Zulfiqar Thavir, president of the Union of Small and Medium Enterprises, told Arab News. “Such open-minded SBP policy will not only be applauded by exporters but also create a hassle-free system leading to greater revenue for everyone.”
The process, he added, would also encourage documentation of Pakistan’s economy.


Islamabad against Taliban rule in post-NATO Afghanistan — report

Updated 18 June 2021

Islamabad against Taliban rule in post-NATO Afghanistan — report

  • Circulated by NATO’s Defense College in Italy, the document says Pakistan wants to maximize its influence in Afghanistan while keeping India at bay
  • Prime Minister Imran Khan recently said his government was not pursuing ‘strategic depth’ in the neighborhood and would work with any administration in Kabul

ISLAMABAD: A report released by a military training facility in Europe earlier this week claimed that Pakistan wanted a broad-based interim government in Afghanistan that also included the Taliban, though it added that the administration in Islamabad did not want the insurgent group to return to power since it thought it was against its interests.
United States President Joe Biden announced to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan last April, saying his country would complete the military exit by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks later this year.
The announcement was following by an escalation of violence in Afghanistan, making various international powers and neighboring countries indulge in situation assessment to devise an enduring strategy for peace in the region.
“The former Taliban regime … did not respond positively to Pakistani demands, foremost the recognition of the Durand Line as an international border,” the report prepared by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Defense College in Italy said. “The potential reestablishment of an Emirate – with the abolishment of the Republic, the constitution, and guaranteed fundamental and political rights – could also lead to a major influx of refugees into Pakistan.”
The document maintained the Taliban rule could once again turn Afghanistan into a hub of terrorist outfits, adding that some of them could specifically target Pakistan.
It identified Islamabad’s primary objective in the war-battered country to gain maximum influence while keeping India at bay.
“Pakistan continues to use its influence over the Taliban so as to achieve these goals,” said the report. “But it has also pursued a rapprochement in Afghanistan-Pakistan relations, gaining leverage among key players at the expense of [President Ashraf] Ghani’s government.”
Pakistani officials have frequently denied that their country intends to meddle in Afghanistan’s domestic affairs in any way possible.
In a recent interview, Prime Minister Imran Khan said his government had changed Pakistan’s policy of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan and was willing to work with any administration in Kabul.
Pakistan’s national security advisor also highlighted his concern regarding a “hostile” international media recently, saying that his country was doing everything for peace in the region and would not allow anyone to “scapegoat” it for any possible failings in Afghanistan.