Monthly Archives: April 2013

The right to be governed Democratically

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The fate of the country is unknown. People are wondering if indeed the elections 2013 will be held as promised. With the current spate of violence across Pakistan, many have decided not to vote at all.

Keeping this view in mind, as well as the growing tensions in the country, the Center for Civic Education Pakistan held a week long course earlier this month to educate 22 young leaders from all over the country.

I too was a part of this course that revolved around elections 2013, focusing on the ‘right to be governed democratically’. The course, led by Mr Zafarullah Khan, Executive Director Centre for Civic Education, discussed the many fundamental rights a citizen has in a country and the extent to which he is aware of them.

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Held in Islamabad, the workshop began on 11th April 2013 and commenced with asking all participants to introduce their partners to the group. This exercise acquainted me with a number of different and incredible people I otherwise could have never met in one room alone.

I came across an incredibly brave lady from Turbat, Balochistan. Working as a social worker, she battled grave dangers everyday to help people of her community. Living is a city where even the basic human right – the right to live, is denied, she carries on trying to make a difference.

I met this young woman from Muzafargarh, Punjab who was doing her Bachelor’s in Nursing, the first girl in her family to do so.

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All in all, I got to be introduced to people who had actually done something with their lives, helped in some way to make a difference to the people around them and truly deserved being a part of the workshop. I on the other hand was there for God knows what reason.

While the course took us through different issues plaguing our society, it also taught us the basic fundamental rights a person has in his country, the history behind these rights, and how countries are answerable to a human rights council via the Universal Periodic Review. A country has to submit a report of all social, economic and political rights given to its people.

This particular class chaired by Mr. Sajid Mansoor Qaisrani talked about Pakistan in general and the two reviews already conducted in the country. The talk also extended to the changes these reviews have brought and those which will be visible in the coming decade or so.

The group with Mr. Sajid Mansoor Qaisrani

The group with Mr. Sajid Mansoor Qaisrani

The workshop wasn’t all learning. Interactive sessions with group work also asked members to discuss the role youth in the upcoming elections, the culture of fundamental rights in their particular community and dealt with the grounds on which the youth plans to vote.

For me the workshop was an eye-opener. Not only did I learn in detail about the constitution of Pakistan, I through healthy debates with fellow participants managed to gauge their mindset.

The best part about this workshop was the way it integrated people from all four provinces of Pakistan and brought them together. I learnt how people live in the different provinces even interior Sindh. They hopefully learnt that people from Karachi aren’t all dead.

During a group session

During a group session

According to a participant from Haripur, currently a student of Peshawar University, Sehrish Mehmood: “It was the most appropriate time to train (us) about the importance of constitution, as our constitutional history is taking new turns. It is important for us to understand it. And CCE (Center for Civic Education)just provided us with the platform to learn and know about it. This course gave me an insight into the importance of democracy and how important a constitution is for a strong state.”

Field visit to the Center of Civic Education.

Field visit to the Center of Civic Education.

Ifrah Faiz, a pilot from Peshawar said: “It was a great experience and a great learning platform where friends from all provinces shared their thoughts, views (over the) prevailing situation in their areas. I strongly believe that we (will) spread the knowledge gained (to) benefit the citizens of our country in our own capacities. As change always starts from our ownselves and then our efforts, will and endeavour take it further to the society. And we must remember that every individual effort counts so don’t forget to vote for election 2013.”

Sheraz Ali from Nowshera stated: “It (the course) was informative and interesting, but depends how we (will) put into practice (the lessons learnt) to fill the gap in.

For Swaleha Malik, the course was ‘a platform where you can voice your opinion.”

An amalgamation of all four provinces, the workshop aimed at lessening the differences between us all. Yet personally I witnessed the opposite. Conversations at lunch started with ‘who are you?’ The right answer being ‘Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Pathan’. Me, I just sat there awkwardly saying meekly ‘I am a Pakistani’ because 1) I was born here, 2) I do not belong to any ethnicity and 3) I really do not care about the background of a person before talking to them.

Above all the workshop might have only been for days, it certainly changed me, for the better.

Certificate Distribution

Certificate Distribution

For more information on Center of Civic Education, please visit their website: www.civiceducation.org and http://www.citizenswire.com

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Pakistan Fashion Week 2013

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While the city is steeped in the greatest miseries of all time, from bomb blasts to target killing, I stepped into a completely different world this Tuesday, 9th April, when the Fashion Council hosted its 5th Fashion Pakistan Week.

House of Maheen opened up with a tribute to the birds on the endangered animals list. Her collection titled ‘flight’ featured her signature styled classic black pants with fancy headgear and feathers. Lots and lots of feathers. I absolutely loved the saris that were a part of her collection. Absolutely loved! But then I am a fool for saris.

Next up were Deepak and Fahad, taking inspiration for their collection from metallics. Bearing chains, metallic studs, the collection revolved around mellow browns and steel greys.

Showcasing at Fashion Week for the first time was Zari Faisal. Her ‘Plush’ collection drew inspiration from vintage oil paintings. Pinks, golds and beige were the main colors highlighted in it.

With lawn being such an integral part of the fashion scene in Pakistan, FPW 2013 also saw the emergency of textile mills such as Orient showcasing their lawn collection. Their spring summer collection of lawn made one wonder whether lawn has indeed taken over fashion or not?

Aamir Baig with his tribute to stripes took control of the ramp next. A rebel symbol of the 60s, stripes have steadily gained popularity. While the debate over ‘whether horizontal stripes make you look fat’ continues, Aamir Baig and his collection were perfectly suited to prisoners all over the world.

Mona Imran and her ‘Safari’ collection next came up, daring to use bold animal prints on icky shamoze silk. The fabric that incites fear into the hearts of every living soul in Karachi, when paired with animal prints left me petrified.

Ayesha Hassan’s SS’13 collection took inspiration from the art of Zillij mainly used in Moroccan architecture. Models wearing gorgeous ‘matha pathees’ paraded around wearing her collection. Warm colors like maroons and greens and blues were her main focus.

Possibly my favorite collection of the night was that of Ahsan Nazir. His global remix saw a fusion of global issues highlighted through different colors made for a very vibrantly hued collection.

Emraan Rajput came next with her ‘denimology’. The collection breezed by without really leaving a mark in my mind. What I do remember is the low crotch pants which I just cannot for the life of me understand. Why do they even exist?

Next Aamna Aqeel’s collection was showcased. Her collection reminded me of Michael Jackson and his ‘Thriller’ video. The idea behind it was the balance between Yin Yan and labeled ‘Finding Glory’.

Rizwanullah was once more MIA on Day 1. Therefore Faiza Saqlain came up. Her collection titled ‘Marvi’ was based on ethnic Sindhi culture, however almost instantly made the mind scream ‘Wardha Saleem already did this love.’ I did like the use of ethnic jewelry. She too opted for low crotch pants which like I said I just cannot understand.

To close day 1 Bani D showcased their ‘Seraiki meets western world’ collection. To start off, Bushra Ansari’s sister sang a song, which made several people leave their seats. Yes it was that bad. Jewelry by Artel and showstopper like always was Sania Saeed.

That was the end of Day 1. All clothes featured are now available by Labels e store here: http://www.labelsestore.com

pictures courtesy https://www.facebook.com/ShariqShafaatPhotography

How not to win Facebook Contests.

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Ever participate in a Facebook contest? Or two or three, or every one that you came across? You are not alone. With the number of Facebook users increasing by the minute, Facebook pages for different brands regularly hold various contests to attract traffic. These contests promise giveaways that many won’t otherwise purchase. Hence the craze.

If you are a frequent participant of these above mentioned Facebook contests, yet still not a winner, I can tell you just what you are doing wrong. My job is managing quite a few Facebook pages for different brands, running contests often, and I get to choose the lucky winner.

Dos and don'ts

Dos and don’ts

Following is a list of things to do, to make sure you never ever win a facebook contest.

1)      Have a fake profile. If you participate in a contest with a profile name of ‘Sweetie dolly’ or ‘Innocent Pari (fairy)’, trust me your chances of winning are as high as finding a real innocent pari. Some people create fake profiles just to participate in these contests. By having these contests, brands like to create publicity. We don’t want to give away a prize to an unknown person with a questionable existence.

2)      Participate in every contest you see: If you have made it your life’s mission to participate in every contest you see, well then I, as a brand manager see no interest in you. The winner for my contest needs to be someone who is not only a fan, but is a genuine fan. He is a portal to the real world. The giveaway is like a billboard which will tell people about my product. I don’t want my product drowned out by other prizes you may or may not have received participating in every contest you come across.

3)      Not having your genuine display/ cover: Just like participating in too many contests is a turn off, dedicating your display pictures and cover photos for other contests also make you an unlikely contender.

4)      Not mentioning your city on profile: Sometimes, our clients are located in few cities only and for certain reasons want winners from the same cities as well. When selecting a winner, if I choose you but cannot see your basic details, I will pass you up.

5)      Send a personal message: I take my contests seriously. If you try to butter me up by posting statuses saying how much you love the brand, or inbox me saying you want the prize for your mother, I will consider it a violation of rules (most of them exist staunchly in my head).

6)      Taking us for fools: Possibly the worst thing you can do to screw your chances of winning, is to be a wise ass. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT think you can outsmart me. I check each and every thing before I consider you eligible. I will stalk your profile, look at your cover photo, and check out your genuineness through mutual friends if any. In short I will go the extra mile before even considering you as the winner.

You are the winner!

You are the winner!

Once you have passed the test, I will then group you together in a list (believe me it is very small) and randomly pick a number. So if you are participating in a contest, either play by the rules, or make sure I am not managing the page.