Peshawar Zalmi win battle of the anthems with upbeat songs for PSL 2022

The collage of photo shows singer Farhan Saeed and actor Hania Aamir (right). (Photo courtesy: Peshawar Zalmi/Twitter)
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Updated 05 February 2022

Peshawar Zalmi win battle of the anthems with upbeat songs for PSL 2022

  • The anthems, featuring Zarsanga and Farhan Saeed, receive massive praise from fans
  • Mahira Khan, Hania Aamir, Ali Rehman and Zalmi players also feature in music videos

KARACHI: While Peshawar Zalmi are placed at number four on the Pakistan Super League (PSL) points table, the side has already won the battle of the anthems by rolling out two songs, featuring Zarsanga, ‘the Queen of Pashto folklore,’ and pop star Farhan Saeed, that have already struck a chord with fans in Pakistan and around the world. 
Beginning with the melodious voice of Zarsanga and featuring renowned Pakistani actor Mahira Khan, who channels her inner Mulan as a zen avatar, Zalmi’s main anthem, Aya Zalmi, for the PSL seventh edition “symbolizes metaphorical representation of life.” 
“As long as we have self-belief, God surely will help us. We are Zalmi Pashtuns. We spread love in every field,” proclaim the lyrics of the opening verse sung by Zarsanga. 
The Pashto and Urdu song features singers Zarsanga, Sunny Khan Durrani, Zoha Zuberi, Tayyab Rehman and Zara Madani. 
“This Zalmi anthem symbolizes metaphorical representation of life,” reads the song’s description on YouTube. “It is all about finding your inner peace and the fight with self to reach one’s true potential.” 
The song’s executive producer is Rohail Hyatt, the famed music composer who launched Coke Studio in Pakistan, while Ali Mustafa has been credited as its music producer. 
Directed by Hassan Dawar, the music video features actors Mahira Khan, Ali Rehman and numerous cricketers from Peshawar Zalmi, with skipper Wahab Riaz essaying the character of a Jedi master. Other players featuring in the video are veteran all-rounder and former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Hussain Talat and Usman Qadir. 
The song has earned adulation from fans of Pakistan cricket on Twitter. 
“Peshawar Zalmi always puts out the best anthem of PSL whether it’s the song, the lyrics, the video or cinematography, everything is just perfect. And wow Mahira Khan in the recent anthem,” one fan, Waheed, wrote on Twitter. 

“#AayaZALMI anthem is lit!! Next level editing!! #HBLPSL7,” another Zalmi fan said. 

Zarsanga, a recipient of the Pride of Performance award, does the magic with her potent delivery, which perfectly meshes with the upbeat sound. 
Speaking to Arab News, Zarsanga’s son Hijran Khan said his mother was overjoyed after being told she would be singing for the most popular cricket league in Pakistan. 
A fan, Muhammad Ibrahim, praised Zarsanga: “So #PeshawarZalmi’s anthem is finally here, Zarsanga’s voice is at a whole another level!” 

Another fan wrote the “anthem war” had been won by Zalmi and now it was time for the ‘Yello Storm’ to bring home the trophy for a second time. 
“Video cinematography music anthem war won by Zalmi In Sha Allah, the trophy cabinet will be decorated with the 2nd one this season,” he said. 

The second anthem “Har Qadam Zalmi” has been sung by pop star Farhan Saeed and features the rap trio, Fortitude. The video for the song features renowned actors, Hania Aamir and Ali Rehman. 
Peshawar Zalmi skipper Wahab Riaz and other players feature in the second anthem as well, which lived up to the expectations and earned praise from Pakistani fans on Twitter. 
“Farhan Saeed singing in PASHTO is the best thing that happened,” one fan wrote. 

“Artists including @farhan_saeed, Fortitude, @alirehmankhan & @realhaniahehe, #HarQadamHaiZalmi is more than just a song,” Sarah Rehman wrote. 
“It’s the anthem of cricket, it’s a uniting force and an affirmation of nation’s love for the game & the team!” 

Peshawar Zalmi will take on the formidable and an undefeated Multan Sultans at 7:30pm today at the National Stadium in Karachi. 

 


China blocks UN sanctions on leader of Pakistan-based militant group

Updated 5 sec ago

China blocks UN sanctions on leader of Pakistan-based militant group

  • India and US are seeking sanctions against Jaish-e-Mohammad deputy chief Abdul Rauf Azhar
  • China says hold placed on sanctions to seek “more time to study the case”

NEW YORK: China on Wednesday blocked the imposition of UN sanctions sought by the United States and India against the deputy chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad, a Pakistan-based militant group designated by the United Nations as a ‘terrorist’ organization.

Abdul Rauf Azhar has been under US sanctions since December 2010 for acting for or on behalf of the group, known as JEM. India says Azhar was involved in the planning and execution of numerous attacks, including the 1999 hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft, the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and the 2016 attack on the Indian air force base in Pathankot.

In June, China put a hold on adding Abdul Rehman Makki, deputy chief of another Pakistani group proscribed by the UN, Lashkar-e-Taiba, to the UN blacklist. Makki has been under US sanctions since November 2010, and India says he has been involved in raising funds, recruiting and radicalizing young people to resort to violence, and planning attacks, including in Mumbai in 2008.

According to Pakistan’s counter-terrorism agency, the government has outlawed more than 65 militant groups, including Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“We placed a hold because we need more time to study the case,” said the spokesperson at China’s UN Mission, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

He said the UN Security Council committee monitoring sanctions allows “holds” on people proposed for sanctions, “and there have been quite a number of similar holds by committee members on listing requests.”

A spokesperson for the US Mission to the United Nations, who was also not authorized to speak publicly, said the United States “respects other countries’ need to verify” that people proposed for sanctions meet their threshold for evidence required to justify being put on the UN sanctions blacklist.

“We strongly believe in the importance of the committee, which is to prevent and hold Daesh, Al-Qaeda and their affiliates accountable for their illicit activities,” the US spokesperson said. “Further, the United States values cooperation with our Security Council partners to effectively use this tool in an apolitical way to stop terrorists from exploiting the global order to do their misdeeds.”


PETA welcomes Lahore Safari Zoo’s decision to cancel lion auction

Updated 10 August 2022

PETA welcomes Lahore Safari Zoo’s decision to cancel lion auction

  • Zoo officials had set a reserve of 150,000 Pakistan rupees ($700) per cat, about the same price as a cow
  • Keeping lions, tigers and other exotic wildlife as pets is not uncommon in Pakistan, seen as status symbol

ISLAMABAD: The global animal rights group PETA said on Wednesday it welcomed a decision by the Lahore Safari Zoo to call off plans to auction 12 lions from its ever-growing pride to private buyers, saying it would instead create new enclosures for the big cats.

The auction planned for Thursday had drawn condemnation from the WWF, which urged authorities to instead rehome them with other government wildlife facilities.

“PETA welcomes Lahore Safari Zoo’s decision to cancel its auction of big cats – who would have been sold off like mere objects, likely destined to exist as living trophies in someone’s house – and to build a larger enclosure instead,” Elisa Allen, Vice President of UK Programmes and Operations, PETA Foundation UK, said.

“However, as long as this zoo continues to breed wild animals into captivity, it’ll only be a matter of time before it’s again faced with the prospect of having too many animals and not enough space.”

PETA called on the zoo to end its captive-breeding program immediately and focus on protecting animals in their natural habitat “because all the cages in the world certainly won’t save animals from extinction.”

“The main reason behind the auction was the lack of space,” deputy director Tanvir Ahmed Janjua told AFP, adding officials had decided to speed up work building two new enclosures. “Now that this issue is to be resolved soon, there is no need for the auction to take place.”

Set over 200 acres, Lahore Safari Zoo is considered one of the best in the country, where zoos are known for disregarding animal welfare.

The Lahore facility is currently home to 29 lions, six resident tigers and two jaguars.

Zoo officials had set a reserve of 150,000 Pakistan rupees ($700) per cat, about the same price as a cow, but hoped each would fetch around two million rupees at auction.

Keeping lions, tigers and other exotic wildlife as pets is not uncommon in Pakistan, and is seen as a status symbol.

Wealthy owners post images and video clips of their big cats on social media, and rent them out as props for movies and photoshoots.

Janjua denied opposition from animal rights activists had led to the decision to cancel the auction.

“Should the lions breed more, and we see we are running out of space once again, then we can easily hold another auction,” he told media.


Boxing federation confirms two Pakistani boxers missing after Commonwealth Games in UK

Updated 10 August 2022

Boxing federation confirms two Pakistani boxers missing after Commonwealth Games in UK

  • Pakistan Olympic Association forms four-member committee to investigate how Suleman Baloch and Nazeerullah Khan disappeared
  • Travel documents of both boxers with Pakistani officials, British government and police informed about the disappearance

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) on Wednesday confirmed the disappearance of two national boxers in Birmingham, just days after the conclusion of the Commonwealth Games, local media reported. 

Geo News reported that the Pakistan Olympic Association has formed a four-member committee to investigate how Suleman Baloch and Nazeerullah Khan had disappeared after the Games. 

Secretary PBF Nasir Tang told Pakistan’s Dawn.com Baloch and Khan went missing a few hours before the team’s departure for Islamabad.

The travel documents of both boxers are with the PBF officials, he said, adding that the British government and police had been informed about the disappearance.

“We have seized the documents of the duo under the standard operating procedure,” Tang said, and he hoped the athletes would be found soon.

This was a good year for Pakistan at the Commonwealth Games as javelin athlete Arshad Nadeem won a gold medal and became the first Pakistan to achieve the feat.

Nadeem snatched the title in a fifth-round throw of 90.18 meters, breaking a new record at the Games where he now holds the title of the biggest throw recorded by a South Asian athlete.

Pakistan won a total of eight medals at this year’s Games.


Ex-PM Khan says ‘conspiracy’ being hatched to pit his party against Pakistan army

Updated 10 August 2022

Ex-PM Khan says ‘conspiracy’ being hatched to pit his party against Pakistan army

  • Khan’s comments come after his chief of staff was arrested on Tuesday over comments in a TV show seen as “seditious”
  • Khan and his supporters have variously expressed disappointment military did not support him in vote of no-confidence in April

ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had hatched a “conspiracy” to pit his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party against the country’s army.

Khan’s comments come after his chief of staff, Dr. Shahbaz Gill, was arrested on Tuesday over comments in a TV show advising army officers not to follow the orders of their top command if they were “against the sentiments of the masses.” The government and the national media regulator, PEMRA, have said the remarks were tantamount to inciting mutiny within the Pakistan army. The TV channel on which Gill made the comments, ARY News, has also since been taken off air by PEMRA.

Khan was ousted from power in April in a parliamentary vote of no-confidence that he blames on a foreign conspiracy hatched by the United States in collaboration with rival politicians. Both deny the charge. Khan and his supporters have also variously expressed disappointment that the military and army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa did not support him against the alleged foreign plot.

Following Khan’s ouster, anti-army trends have become a common occurrence on social media. A hashtag calling for Bajwa to step down as army chief regularly trends online and recently, a smear campaign was also launched against military officers who died in a helicopter crash last week. The government has announced a probe into the campaign.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Khan dismissed claims his party was against the military, and said the impression was being created as part of a “plot” to decimate the PTI. He also did not distance his party from, or condemn, the comments by Gill.

“The party is at the federal level, it is in all the provinces, the largest vote bank is of this party … it is the largest party in Pakistan right now,” Khan said in a televised address. “A conspiracy is being hatched and it is being hatched by those people who are involved in the foreign conspiracy, collaborators … It is being portrayed that we and the army are against each other.”

He added: “This conspiracy is so dangerous that if we try to pit the largest political party of a country against its army and it creates differences within, nothing else can harm the country as much.”

Khan then gave the example of 1971 when, as per his account, differences between the largest political party in East Pakistan at the time and the country’s military led to a war that saw the break up of Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh.

“Attempts are being made to break the biggest party of the country, they are also trying to break our people so that they [PTI] become so weak by the [next] elections,” the ex-PM said.

Khan’s party is also facing legal challenges currently, with Pakistan’s top election body ruling last week on an 8-year-old case against the PTI, saying the party received millions of dollars in illegal funds from foreign countries including the United States, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, and Australia. The party denies any wrongdoing.

The Election commission has issued a notice to Khan and ordered him to appear personally on August 23 at the hearing of what is popularly known as the “foreign funding case.”

Earlier on Wednesday the PTI challenged the Election Commission’s ruling in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), seeking a cancelation of the order.

The ECP’s verdict could lead to a ban on Khan and his PTI which rose to prominence on an anti-corruption agenda.


Pakistan’s currency and stocks recover losses on expected IMF disbursement, UAE $1billion investment

Updated 10 August 2022

Pakistan’s currency and stocks recover losses on expected IMF disbursement, UAE $1billion investment

  • Pakistani rupee posted another gain of 0.96 percent, or Rs2.13, against USD in the interbank market to close at Rs221.91
  • Following the rupee, stocks also closed bullish with the benchmark KSE-100 index closing at 42,494 points, up by 398 points

KARACHI: The national currency and stocks continued bullish trajectories on Wednesday as Pakistan nears approval by the International Monetary Fund board for the disbursement of a $1.17 billion loan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has expressed interest in investing $1 billion in Pakistan, traders and analysts said. 

The Pakistani rupee posted another gain of 0.96 percent, or Rs2.13, against the United States dollar in the interbank market to close at Rs221.91. The rupee has gained by 7.8 percent or Rs 17.38 in an uptrend that has continued for two weeks, according to State Bank of Pakistan data.

The recovery in the currency markets comes after the government took steps to curtail imports and meet the preconditions of the IMF for the revival of a $6 billion program signed in 2019 to stave off a balance of payments crisis. 

“The current bullish trend in the currency market is mainly due to the nearing of IMF board meeting which is expected by the end of this month, August 2022,” Samiullah Tariq, Director Research at the Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company, told Arab News. 

“The confidence was further boosted by the expected investment of $1 billion from UAE companies in Pakistan that is vital for bridging a $4 billion financing gap pointed out by the IMF. The exporters are also selling dollars in market which is appreciating the rupee.” 

The IMF has reached a staff level agreement with Pakistan that would pave the way for a disbursement of $1.17 billion after board approval and subject to Islamabad convincing the fund about the availability of funds to fill a $4 billion financing gap. Pakistan hopes to fill the gap with funds from friendly countries in the form of deposits, investment in stocks and oil and gas deferred payment facilities.

Last week , the UAE’s state news agency said the country intended to invest $1 billion in Pakistani companies across various sectors, including gas, energy infrastructure, renewable energy and health care. The country needs another $3 billion, which will most likely come from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Following the currency market, stocks also closed bullish with the benchmark KSE-100 index closing at 42,494 points, up by 398 points. Investor participation remained healthy as hefty volumes were witnessed in the main board and third tier stocks.

“Stocks showed another bullish session on strong rupee recovery and hints over UAE interest to invest $1bn through Pakistan Stock Exchange PSX,” Ahsan Mehanti, CEO of Arif Habib Corporation, told Arab News.

“$4.794 billion RDA (Roshan Digital Account) receipts and likely $1.5 billion ADB (Asian Development Bank) approval for support to overcome balance of payments crises upon IMF program board approval this month played a catalyst role in bullish activity.” 

Pakistan’s import bill declined from $7.8 billion in June 2022 to $4.8 billion in July 2022, mainly due to an import restriction imposed by the government. The import curb has not only reduced the trade deficit but also eased pressure on the rupee.