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Mari Petroleum and KUFPEC sign MoU

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Mari Petroleum Company Limited (MPCL) and Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC), today announced a strategic cooperation initiative for evaluating future potential business opportunities in local & international upstream exploration and production. The MOU for strategic cooperation was signed by Ayyad M.E.A AlKandari, Vice President Operations, KUFPEC and Lt. Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad (Retd), MD/CEO MPCL, here at MPCL Head Office Islamabad.

The strategic cooperation between the two oil and gas exploration companies envisages exploring business opportunities in upstream exploration and production projects within and outside Pakistan including farm-in opportunities in each other’s blocks and KUFPEC’s overseas assets.

MPCL is one of the major petroleum exploration companies of Pakistan E&P and presently the second largest gas producer of the Country with more than 60 years of rich history. KUFPEC is an international upstream Company, engaged in exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas outside the State of Kuwait. The two companies with a robust financial and operational background have desired through the MOU to exchange technical knowledge and industry experiences, allowing for further discussion of potential local and international upstream growth synergies and possible co-venture opportunities.

Earlier Lt. Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad (Retd) accorded a warm welcome to AlKandari. Speaking at the occasion, Gen Ishfaq stated that signing of MOU is an important development for both the Companies which will further strengthen their existing relations and open up new avenues of cooperation for them within Pakistan and abroad.

Expressing his views, Ayyad M.E.A AlKandari said that KUFPEC, as a Kuwaiti national Company, holds both Pakistan and MPCL in high regard based on historic brotherly relations between both the two countries. Considering MPCL’s integrated E&P capabilities, proactive presence in Pakistan’s exploration and production activities, KUFPEC is equally looking forward to pursuing the potential opportunities with MPCL.

Besides the two Managing Directors of MPCL & KUFPEC, Tufail Ahmed Khoso, General Manager Exploration, Aqib Anwer, General Manager Business Development, Brig Obaid-ur-Rehman Lodhi (Retd), General Manager Mari Services Division and Asif Ali Rangoonwala, Consultant Business Development witnessed the MOU signing.


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‘CPEC enhanced Pak’s regional importance’

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Pakistan offers tremendous opportunities for businesses and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects have increased Pakistan’s regional importance.

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Regional Chairman and Vice President Chaudhry Arfan Yousaf expressed these views on the inauguration of Flynas Airline, according to Federation’s spokesman here on Tuesday.

Chaudhry Arfan said, “We live in the world of connectivity, and airline industry is rapidly changing. The growth of this industry is strongly associated with the phenomenon of globalisation; therefore, addition of Flynas to our air connectivity will robust our cooperation.”

He said that Saudi Arabia was the largest trading partner of Pakistan in the Middle East and most of the Pakistani overseas labourer worked in Saudi Arabia, which was evident from the fact that an estimated 2.7 million Pakistanis residing in Saudi Arabia and their remittances were the highest from any single country in the world.

FPCCI regional chairman hoped that the airline would ensure quality and affordable flights to business community, religious and other travelers to and from Saudi Arabia especially Hajj and Umar pilgrims. On this occasion, Chaudhry Arfan Yousaf, Flynas Country Head Manzoor Thanvi, TDCP Managing Director Ahmed Malick, Bukhari Group Chairman Rafique Khan also gave away free airline tickets to 10 participants through lucky-draw.


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Turkey’s poultry production on rise in 2017

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: Turkey’s seasonally and calendar-adjusted poultry production grew, year-on-year, in 2017, according to Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data on Tuesday.

Hen egg production in the country rose 6.6 percent to reach 19.3 billion units last year, compared with 2016, TurkStat data showed.

The data revealed that chicken meat production also increased to 2.1 million tons in 2017, up 12.9 percent from the previous year.

The number of slaughtered chickens and turkeys also rose 11 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively, over the same period.

Some 1.23 billion chickens and 5.1 million turkeys were slaughtered in 2017, according to the data.



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Overseas Pakistanis remit $11.4billion

Niamat Khan

KARACHI: Overseas Pakistani workers remitted US $11383.47 million in the first seven months (July to January) of FY-18, showing a growth of 3.55 % compared with US $10993.48 million received during the same period in the preceding year, according to state bank of Pakistan.

“During January 2018, the inflow of worker’s remittances amounted to US $1638.72 million, which is 4.92% lower than December 2017 and 10.10% higher than January 2017,” reads a handout issued by Pakistan’s central bank here on Monday.

The country wise details for the month of January 2018 show that inflows from Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA, UK, GCC countries (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman) and EU countries amounted to US $383.91 million, US $351.58 million, US $223.94 million, US $235.1 million, US $186.33 million and US $56.4 million respectively compared with the inflow of US $434.15 million, US $323.29 million, US $175.39 million, US $180.91 million, US $186.41 million and US $31.69 million respectively in January 2017.

Remittances received from Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan and other countries during January 2018 amounted to US $201.46 million together as against US $156.53 million received in January2017, handout concludes.


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NBP adopts 5 outpatient clinics at national epilepsy center

F.P. Report

KARACHI: In line with its social responsibility of being the nation’s bank, National Bank of Pakistan has adopted five outpatient clinics at National Epilepsy Center (NEC) within the boundaries of Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Center (JPMC) where epilepsy patients will be provided free of cost treatment.

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder and a rapidly growing disease in Pakistan. Work stress and lack of awareness are considered to be the main reasons behind this illness. With both rural and urban areas being the effected regions, a remedy for this is scarcely available within the hospitals in Pakistan. Mohsin Furqan, EVP/Head of CSR, National Bank of Pakistan visited NEC on behalf of Mr. Saeed Ahmad, President and CEO, NBP and presented a cheque for donation to Professor Hasan Aziz, Chairman and Administrator, NEC.

“At National Bank of Pakistan, it is our priority to contribute and bring positive changes to improve the life of under privileged people under our CSR initiatives. Epilepsy is one of the most uncommon illness that still exists. Understanding the plight of underprivileged patients, we decided to support this cause by adopting these clinics, which will provide free of cost treatment to the patients. Our commitment remains to serve the society with more such noble collaborations to follow in future”, said Mr. Saeed Ahmad while stressing on significance of NBP’s initiative. While acknowledging Dr. Hasan Aziz’s detailed work on Epilepsy, Mr. Saeed Ahmed said that people like Dr Aziz are an asset for Pakistan whose hard work in this field has gained world-wide appreciation for the country.

NBP is one of the largest commercial bank of Pakistan and CSR is an integral part of its corporate policy. NBP has institutionalized CSR by making it a separate division and running a full-fledged program towards bringing a positive change and enhancing quality of life for the underprivileged members of our society. The key areas of focus for CSR initiatives are Sports, Education, Health Care, Women & Child well being programs, Special persons, Culture & relief for affectees of natural disasters.

National Bank, one of the largest bank in Pakistan, is operating with more than 1490+ branches across the country. In addition to core banking services, the bank is a trustee of public funds. The bank has diversified its business portfolio and provides solutions in the debt equity 0market, corporate investment banking, retail & consumer banking including agricultural and government collections & payments. NBP aims to evolve a National Payment Eco-System to facilitate the entire population of the country through every possible delivery channel on a 24/7 basis. Under this initiative the bank is already in process to enhance digital outreach through all available digital channels in the banking.


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SMEDA starts consultation on SME budget proposals

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) Monday initiated a nation-wide consultation process to solicit inputs for Federal Budget 2018-19 by approaching around 250 SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) stakeholders including SMEs, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, trade associations and sector development companies.

According to SMEDA officials here Monday, the stakeholders had been asked to send their recommendations by end of this month regarding taxation tariff, regulatory procedures and any other issue that may limit SME progress. The received budget recommendations would be submitted to Ministry of Industries and Production, Ministry of Finance and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for inclusion in the Federal Budget 2018-19.

Meanwhile, SMEDA CEO Sher Ayub said that Federal Budget and Trade Policy had become the most important policies reshaping the business environment landscape in instantaneous terms in Pakistan, therefore, it was now an established fact that jointly these two policies most profoundly affect SMEs and their growth pattern.

There had been an increased acknowledgement of the role of SMEs in the economy yet there remained lack of focus on SMEs in allocating resources and awarding incentives, which needed to be addressed prudently in light of the stakeholders’ aspirations, he added.

Sher Ayub said that SMEDA being the apex SME development body served as a bridge between SME sector and the government. In its efforts to support SME development in the country, he mentioned, various policy advocacy activities were undertaken for development of conducive business environment based on sound policy measures to accelerate SME growth.

It is notable that free economic analysts had observed that Pakistan’s financial policies generally tend to favour large scale industry by allocating significant portion of development funds and fiscal incentives to the large scale businesses. Therefore, SMEDA had planned to advocate the SME case convincingly through Ministry of Industries and Production, he concluded.

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PCSI building capacity of private sector

F.P. Report

MULTAN: Pakistan Cotton Standards Institute (PCSI) is enhancing capacity of private sector through biannual training courses enabling people to perform cotton grading, classing, selection and fibre testing.

This was stated by PCSI Multan regional office in-charge Mian Nasir Ali while formally opening the course that began here on Monday and will conclude on Mar 9, says an official release.

Pakistan Cotton Standards Institute (PCSI) was organizing courses regularly at Karachi, Multan and Sukkur and sensing its importance the PSI was offering this course twice a year in Multan and Sukkur.

The courses were opening windows of earning opportunities for the trained workers, Mian Nasir said.

Farmers besides people from ginning, textile and cotton trade businesses were participating in these courses.

Deputy director Mian Zawar Hussain, Assistant Director Nasir Bajwa, Afzal Zafar and Siddiq Khan also addressed the ceremony.


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Top UK media team visits SZABIST

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: SZABIST hosted a four member UK Media delegation; Patrick Wintour (The Guardian), Freddy Gray (The Spectator), Roland Oliphant (The Daily Telegraph) and Ms. Sarah Titterton (AFP) at its Karachi Campus on 10th February 2018. The visit was organized by the ISS, Islamabad.

During the exchange with Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali (President, SZABIST), Dr. Riaz Sheikh (Dean Social Sciences, SZABIST) and Dr. Kaiser Bengali (Dean Management Sciences, SZABIST) the regional relations between Pakistan, United Kingdom, Afghanistan, China and US were discussed.

SZABIST’ students candidly discussed Pakistan’s situation in the context of multiple opportunities and concerns emerging from the Chinese investment; the strengthening of democracy, the increasing participation of young women in higher education and jobs. Ideological and identity issues along with the implications of American foreign policy on Pakistan and the region was discussed.



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Turkey’s red meat production down four per cent in 2017

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: Turkey’s annual red meat production dropped 3.97 percent to 1.12 million tons in 2017, compared with the previous year, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) announced on Monday.

The red meat production consisted of cattle (987,482 tons), sheep (100,058 tons), goat (37,525 tons) and buffalo meat (1,339 tons), TurkStat said.

Meanwhile, in December 2017, the country’s red meat production rose by 9.1 percent to reach 295,329 tons, compared with the same month of 2016.

Last week, TurkStat said the total number of animals — mostly bovine and ovine animals — in Turkey amounted to 60.7 million heads last year, an 8.6 percent rise, year-on-year.

The country also produced 20.7 million tons of milk, up 12 percent, year-on-year, and 114,471 tons of honey with an annual hike of 8.3 percent, according to TurkStat.

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9th Karachi Literature Festival 2018 concludes

F.P. Report

KARACHI: In the opening session of the last day the 9th Karachi Literature Festival, Asif Farrukhi had an interesting conversation with popular TV writer Noorul Huda Shah. Asif Farrukhi asked why Noor stuck to TV, didn’t write a novel, to which she replied, “TV dramas are like a blanket that is difficult to leave.” An audience member asked Noor, “I feel that Sindhi and Urdu speakers need to be unified, like Nelson Mandela united black and white people. How can we unite our people?” to which Noor replied “I seek to eradicate those differences through my work. Urdu and Sindhi are both my languages. In India, Urdu is plagued by problems but it is blossoming in Sindh. In 70 years, one generation is almost gone and the second, third, fourth generation remains. We all have to move forward and embrace each other.”

In the session “Fiction Has the Power to Affect Politics” the speakers Qaisra Shahraz, Kishwar Naheed, Kesho Scott, Claire Chambers, Arfa Syeda Zehra, Sarvat Hasin with moderator Maniza Naqvi discussed important issues.

The session on History from the Margins pulled the crowd with speakers Ali Usman Qasmi, Ali Raza, Bani Abidi and Kamran Asdar Ali.

The book launch “A Cry for Justice: Empirical Insights from Balochistan by Kaiser Bengali” was also a crowd puller where Kaiser Bengali, I.A. Rehman, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi with moderator Hifza Shah discussed different aspects of the book.

At the book launch of “Interior Design of Pakistan” author Maria Aslam sat with Shahid Abdullah, Naheed Mashooqullah and moderator Iftikhar Azam to discuss her book. “With Interior design, we’ve only scratched the surface, people still haven’t understood it, they see it as interior decoration,” said Shahid. Naheed added, “Since I started architecture in ‘93, we’ve come a long way. There was little to no awareness, and now it’s been doing remarkably well.”

In the session “Italy Reads Pakistan Award” Omar Shahid’s The Spinner’s Tale won the Italy Reads Pakistan Award. The author sat in a panel along with Anna Ruffino, Ameena Saiyid and moderator Bina Shah. The winning author said, “To make it believable you have to put yourself in tour characters’ shoes. You have to go in a dark place and it’s not always comfortable. But you want to do it because you want to do justice to your character.” Anna added, “Don’t stop yourself from humanising your characters and showing their dark side because at the end of the day we’re all humans.”

Bushra Ansari, Neelam Basheer, Asma Abbas and Sumbal Shahid sat with moderator Asif Farrukhi in session Chaar Chand: Behnain aur Baatain. Neelam Muneer said “I’m not trying to be preachy, but I have kids too and I’d like to say, don’t keep your children away from art and culture, that’s what softens their hearts.” Anam Zakaria, Sheela Reddy and Nauman Naqvi sat with moderator Kamila Shamsie in the session The Flames of Separation. “You can’t escape Jinnah no matter which side of the border you are on, he continues to fascinate,” says Sheela Reddy. Kamila Shamsie asked Sheela Reddy if it feels transgressive to be Indian and to be spending so much time investigating Jinnah, to which Sheela said yes. Sheela said I remember growing up venerating Gandhi and then I read more, I read his letters and I realised he’s not all I thought he was. And that was disconcerting. About crossing the Wagah border, Sheela said, “You feel some kind of healing taking place when you physically connect with the other.” Nauman Naqvi said, “It would not be in the interest of any indigenous government to divide a country into a kind of apartheid, It is only a hallmark of colonial government.”

In the session “A Writer’s Odyssey” Muneeza Shamsie was in conversation with Amit Chaudhuri. In the session The Punjab Muse, Harris Khalique sat with Amarjit Chandan, who is in Karachi for the first time. “I’ve gained my rozi roti through English, but Punjabi is my passion,” says Amarjit, adding, “I firmly believe poetry can only be written in your mother tongue.” Amit said, “I look upon creative writing courses with suspicion because I myself am not a product of one.”

Arsalan Isa and José Oliver join session “Sandscript – Poetry from Germany”. José said, “In Pakistan, I have seen many smiles. On the German border, if I’m asked if I have anything to declare, I will say, yes, I think I brought back too many smiles from Pakistan and will see what they have to say. They’ll call me a smuggler of smiles.”

At the Book launch of ‘The Impact of Afghan-Soviet War on Pakistan’ author Imrana Begum sat with Asad Sayeed and moderator Sarosh Hashmat Lodhi to discuss her book. The author said, “My book is written on the crucial decade in the 80s when soviet troops entered Afghanistan. Afghanistan has always been a buffer state for Pakistan, but when soviet troops entered it was a buffer no more.” “Pakistan was central to the political economy created by the war effort in Afghanistan. American resources were supplemented by the drug trade. This has enhanced the informal economy in Pakistan. Obviously with American money and drug money there was nothing on the books,” said Asad Sayeed.

In the session “Sneak Preview: Beloved Delhi : A Mughal City and Her Greatest Poets” by Saif Mahmood Arfa Sayeda Zehra sats with Saif Mahmood and Sania Saeed. According to Arfa, “There are lots of poets in our country, but no one can ever be Ghalib.” “The Mughal’s knew one thing, how to give. They have us poets, they gave us themselves.” Arfa, added “I don’t think Urdu belongs to a group, or a country, it’s something the Mughals brought with them.”

At the Book launch of ‘The Quest Continues’ the author Amardeep Singh sat with moderator Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro on his book The Quest Continues: Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan. The author said “Partition did not just impact Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians but also atheists.” He added, “Documenting these books for future generations has been the most fulfilling journey.” Amardeep Singh said, “I thank the people of Pakistan, they understood my quest, they embraced me. In a span of 30 days, I had traveled to 36 cities and villages in Pakistan. I call myself an accidental author. I was finance professional and I just stumbled onto this journey. I really wondered, why hadn’t anyone before me done this before?” He said, “Im appealing to the government to save heritage sites, remember that heritage has no religion.”

Author Rina Saeed Khan sat with Rab Nawaz, Babar Khan and Javed Jabbar to discuss the book “From Mountains to Mangroves of Pakistan: Protecting Pakistan’s Natural Heritage”. The author said, “I wrote this book for Pakistan’s youth.” He added that “The Khunjerab National Park used to be wildlife area but the newly renovated Karakoram Highway has increased traffic. Tourists are arriving in bigger numbers and leaving behind garbage, etc.”

The session Generation and Genres: The Drama and Change was acrowd puller. Asif Raza Mir, Samina Ahmed, Zain Ahmed, Mehreen Jabbar, Sarmad Khoosat and Irfan Khoosat sat with moderator Khurshid Hyder to talk about drama and change. Asif Raza Mir said, “Actors don’t get enough time with the script, you just get an outline. And when you finally start grasping the material, you find out that the show needs to go on air soon so you can’t really do your characters justice, we’re not doing teamwork and sitting down with the directors and producers.” Sarmad Khoosat said, “20 years ago, we had all kinds of dramas and genres, now people aren’t experimenting, they continue doing what gets the ratings. We are not evolved enough I feel.”

In the session “Love Thy Neighbour? India-Pak Relations” Mani Shankar Aiyar, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi and Asad Sayeed sat with moderator Khalida Ghaus to talk about relations between India and Pakistan. “It was about 20-25 years ago, that this sentence came to me that there is only one way to resolve India Pakistan issues and that is by uninterrupted and uninterruptible dialogue. And I’m very proud and half very sad that this phrase has been accepted as Pakistani policy but has not been accepted as Indian policy. With an audience in your country and not yet in my country,” said Mani Shankar.

In the session Mazahmati Adab, Harris Khalique, Sheema Kermani, Arfa Sayeda Zehra sat with moderator Mujahid Barelvi.

In the session “Does Indian Poetry in English have a History?: Reasons for Marginality”, Rosinka Chaudhuri sat with moderator Ilona Yusuf. Rosinka said on the importance of literary criticism, “Writing poetry and getting it published into individual volumes or compiled into anthologies is one thing. However, unless we have scholars interpreting and documenting those works of poetry, even poets don’t have a sense of what they’re part of.”

At the book launch “Wavell: Soldier and Statesman by Victoria Schofield”, F.S. Aijazuddin, Victoria Schofield, Isambard Wilkinson sat with moderator Anam Zakaria.

In the session “Dil Dil, Boom Boom, Jazba Junoon: The Impact of Pop Culture on Pakistani Society and the World” Amin Hashwani was in conversation with Salman Ahmad. “Growing up as a teen in America, I was cut off from Pakistani culture, so the first Pakistani hit I heard was Nazia Hassan’s ‘Aap Jaisa Koi’. If I hadn’t seen her I wouldn’t have considered being an artist,” said Salman Ahmed. He further said “We have to decide as a nation, how do we define ourselves. We can’t define ourselves by our nuclear bombs. We should define ourselves with our soft power, our music and humour and fashion and food and film.” Salman Ahmed also announced that Junoon will do a 25 year reunion this year. He also performed live for the audience.

In the session “The Literary Traditions of Sindh” the speakers Jami Chandio, Syed Sardar Shah and moderator Izhar Soomro had a healthy discussion. Jami Chandio said, “Most literary traditions are as dated as the language in which they are written. But unfortunately, we have no documentation of the earliest Sindhi literature. Our first records of Sindhi literature are from the Sumho Dynasty in the mid-11th century after the departure of Arabs from the region.” “With the arrival of English in the subcontinent, Sindhi lit saw an explosion of new ideas and topics, borrowed from English, French and Russian literature,” added Chandio.

At “Sheeshay ka Slipper” performance by given by Zambeel Dramatic Readings on Ibn-e-Said’s Mehwar and Roshniyoun Ka Shehar. Introduction was done by Sayeed Hasan Khan.

At the session “When Money Talks”, Ishrat Husain, Salim Raza, Y Venugopal Reddy sat with moderator Kaiser Bengali.

The book launch “Pakistan Heritage Cuisine: A Food Story by Sayeeda Leghari” was well attened by the audience where Hussain Haroon, Sayeeda Leghari and moderator Niilofur Farrukh had an interesting discussion.

The session on “Aaj ka Urdu Adab” was also well received by the audience where Asghar Nadeem Syed and Anwaar Ahmad and moderator Kishwar Naheed had a healthy discussion.

The book launch “Uljhay Suljhay Anwar” by Imrana Maqsood was the jam packed session of KLF-2018 where Anwar Maqsood, Imrana Maqsood, Hoori Noorani with moderator Asif Noorani entertained the crowd with their witty discussion.

At the book launch “Cityscapes of Violence in Karachi: Publics and Counter publics” by Nichola Khan, author Nichola Khan sat with Arif Hasan, Nida Kirmani, Nadeem F. Paracha and Razeshta Sethna with moderator Kamran Asdar Ali to discuss the book.

Lahore Amateur Theatre Zealots presented the play “Art”: A Play by Yasmina Reza.

At the session “In Entrepreneurship today: Start-ups and Angel Investors” Nadeem Hussain, Amir Adnan and Hareem Bari sat with moderator Vaqar Ahmed. Amir Adnan said “When I was growing up, this word didn’t exist. You’d either be a doctor or engineer, if you weren’t intelligent enough, you did commerce and if things are really bad, you go into the arts.” Nadeem Hussain pointed out that 65% of people are under 25; there simply aren’t enough jobs. We have to look towards entrepreneurship now otherwise we’ll lose our demographic opportunity,” he added.

The book launch of “Moon Rise” by Bilal Hamid was also very interesting where Salman Tarik Kureshi, Bilal Hamid with moderator Raisa Vayani had an interesting discussion.

At the closing ceremony Ameena Saiyid and Asif Farrukhi gave their speeches. Keynote addresses were given by Amit Chaudhuri, Mani Shankar Aiyar, and Anwar Maqsood. This was followed by Folk Dance by Sumaira Ali, Kathak by Shayma Saiyid, Sufi dance by Sumaira Ali and Mani Chao. The evening ended with Qawwali by Saami Brothers.