Month: June 2017

Basbousa Recipe I learned via Periscope

Few days back I learned a new recipe for Ramadan via Periscope from Middle East. It’s a traditional Middle Eastern sweet cake and looks quite easy so I give it a try.

Ingredients:

2 cups semolina flour

1/3 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup sugar

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1/4 cup melted butter

1 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup milk, or as needed

1/4 cup whole almonds

For Syrup:

1 cup water

1 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square baking dish.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the semolina flour, baking powder, 1 cup sugar, coconut and butter. Add the yogurt and milk; mix until moistened but not runny or liquid. If you see that it is too dry, add more milk. Spread into a greased 8 inch square baking dish, smoothing the top as much as possible. Decorate the top with whole almonds.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. While the basbousa is baking, combine the water, 1 cup of sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook for at least 5 minutes.
  • When the basbousa has finished baking, pour the syrup over it as evenly as possible. Place it back in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the syrup has been fully absorbed. Let rest for about 20 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving.

 

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Pakistan International Airlines has launched its mobile App

Pakistan International Airlines has launched its mobile App and Online Check-in facility for its passengers. Passengers will now be able to book their tickets online,give feedback and also check-in through PIA website or mobile app prior to arrival at the airport.

PIA CEO - Nayyar Hayat

PIA CEO – Nayyar Hayat

These added facilities and features is part of the Digital Transformation Program at PIA with the aim to facilitate its passengers by providing online and self service capabilities.3

PIA CEO - Nayyar Hayat

On one hand the mobile app will facilitate its customer and on other hand it will help PIA to increase its direct sales. Online Check-in facility is available both on PIA website and its mobile app,however initially available for domestic flights between Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and will soon be implemented on all other domestic and international flights.

PIA CEO - Nayyar Hayat

Passengers will be able to perform web check-in 24 hours prior to the scheduled departure and up to 03 hours before the flight departure time. However, passengers with web check-in would be required to report at check-in counter for baggage drop off at least 45 minutes prior to the flight departure time due to stringent security checks at the airport.

Nayyar Hayat with Bloggers

Acting CEO PIA, Mr. Nayyar Hayat while sharing his views on the occasion,said that Online Check-in through website and mobile app is a step forward in our quest to improve passenger experience with PIA and we will continue to bring further improvements in order to facilitate and please our passengers. He congratulated PIA’s ICT Department for the design and implementation of the new mobile apps and online check-In capability.

“Mehrunisa V Lub U” slated for Eid-ul-Fitr release

After the blockbuster success of the hit comedy “Wrong No.”, director Yasir Nawaz has another trick lined up his sleeve. Mehrunisa V Lub U, mixes drama, music and a whole lot of fun in an attempt to entertain the mainstream cine-goers this Eid ul Fitr.

Renowned actors like Danish Taimoor and Sana Javed will be seen in the lead roles, while veterans Javed Sheikh and Qavi Khan will spice things up in supporting roles. Yasir Nawaz, Nida Yasir and Hassan Zia, better known as the YNH team, are the producers of this film.

mehrunisa v lub u

Mehrunisa, V Lub U is Urdu 1 Pictures second release as distribution partners and the team is confident before the release of the film. Continuing with the upbeat preparations for the film, Nina Kashif; GM Urdu 1, added ‘Urdu 1 Pictures is proud to join hands with YNH Films for Mehrunisa, V Lub U and it has all the ingredients to become the cine-goers favorite film this Eid.’ The film shall be released on Eid ul Fitr all across Pakistan and 6th July in GCC.

mehrunisa v lub u

The film has an excellent music score which has been composed by Simaab Sen and dances are choreographed by Nigah Hussain. The powerful lyrics of Gulzar adorns the music with deeper meaning and beautiful flow.

“People are fond of watching movies which provide full throttle entertainment and we realized that when Wrong No. became a success. That is when we conceptualized this movie. It provides a great dose of comedy, drama, music, dancing and of course romance with a few twists and turns thrown in for good measure,” says Yasir Nawaz.

mehrunisa v lub u

The film boasts one of the biggest and most expensive sets ever made in Pakistan. The film has been aesthetically shot and social commentary is relevant to the times we live in. The film speaks the language of love and should strike a chord with every Pakistani.

mehrunisa v lub u

Amna Ilyas

With a well-received first look and promising trailer, Mehrunisa V Lub U is one of the most anticipated films of the year. So don’t forget to buy your tickets in advance to have a rocking Eid Ul Fitr.

Karachi Literature Festival Goes International

Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) recently celebrates 70th anniversary of the Pakistan’s foundation at the Royal Festival Hall of the Southbank Centre, as a part of their annual festival Alchemy, was a resounding success. Dubbed as Pakistan’s biggest literary event, the KLF brought together writers, scholars, and artists from diverse backgrounds, creative traditions, and academic disciplines to showcase contemporary Pakistani literature and writers. Produced by Oxford University Press (OUP) Pakistan, KLF was organized in collaboration with the Southbank Centre, Bloomsbury Pakistan (a research collective based in London), and Rukhsana Ahmed.

KLF London

In the welcome note, Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director, Oxford University Press, and Founder/Director,

Karachi, and Islamabad Literature Festivals said,

“We have much to be pleased about in Pakistan which has had the longest period of continuous democratic government. Despite its image, most Pakistanis are moderate because of our Sufi tradition. Today, we are celebrating Pakistan’s diversity and plurality.”

“By holding KLF in London, we are also celebrating 70 years of Pakistan–British friendship, our shared history and future which, I hope, we can together build for the next 70 years. Pakistan and the UK have strong cultural, educational, intellectual, diplomatic, and commercial ties. Hopefully, through collaborative events with Southbank Centre, UK’s cultural hub, we can strengthen our ties and build a foundation for the future”

The audiences at the KLF were treated to a medley of around 20 parallel sessions encompassing talks, panel discussions, poetry readings, mushaira, and performances. A stellar cast of around 70 leading Pakistani-origin and international writers, scholars, critics, journalists, and artists participated in stimulating sessions covering a broad range of themes, ideas, and subjects pertaining to Pakistan’s literature, arts, and culture. A separate strand for children which included an immersive theatre piece by Jungly Jadoogars; an animated film by the artist Fauzia Minallah; storytelling by the children’s author, Shahbano Bilgrami; and sing-along songs by the veteran Pakistani musician, Khaled Anam, were also a part of the festival.

KLF London

KLF London started off with the renowned novelist and journalist, Mohammed Hanif’s keynote address giving unique insights into Pakistan’s history, hopes, and dilemmas. Earlier, at the festival opening, Ameena Saiyid, KLF and Islamabad Literature Festival Founder and Director, Asif Farrukhi, KLF and Islamabad Literature Festival Founder, and Adrian Mellor, Managing Director, Asia Education, OUP, welcomed the guests and speakers. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK, Syed Ibn Abbas also spoke on the occasion.

KLF London

Some of the sessions held early on in the day included ‘Transphobia and Misogyny’, a discussion on legislations around transgenders and women in Pakistan; ‘Reluctant Returners: Migrants, Refugees and Memories of the Homeland’ in which Kamila Shamsie, Qaisra Shahraz, and Mirza Waheed explored characters and fictions inspired by exile and displacement; and ‘Pakistani Renaissance? The Best in Cinema, Reportage, Theatre and Fashion’ with the television actor Atiqa Odho, filmmaker Faris Kermani, designer Maheen Khan, and journalist Cyril Almeida as speakers.

KLF London

Faris Kermani, Cyril Almeida , Atiqa Odho and Maheen Khan

Taimur Rahman, Moni Mohsin, and H. M. Naqvi weighed up the challenge of portraying Pakistan’s gender and class divide in the session ‘Blaming the Elite: Class, Greed, and Gender in Contemporary Pakistan’. Educationists, entrepreneurs, and experts including Farid Panjwani, Ahmereen Reza, Mona Kasuri, and Ameena Saiyid were part of a stimulating panel discussion titled ‘Madrassas and Montessoris: Are Private Schools Keeping Madrassas at Bay?’ moderated by Nigham Shahid.

KLF London

In a panel discussion titled ‘Against All Odds: The Price of Prosperity in Pakistan Today’ held later in the day, Shuja Nawaz, Maleeha Lodhi, Ishrat Husain, and Victoria Schofield analyzed geopolitical and internal challenges facing Pakistan. In the session ‘Urdu ki Zid Mai: At Loggerheads: Urdu vs English vs Regional Languages’ Basir Kazmi, Ishrat Afreen, and Harris Khalique, and Asif Farrukhi discussed if Urdu in Pakistan is under threat from English or the regional languages.

KLF London

The evening sessions comprised thought-provoking discourses on ‘Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: Diaspora Pakistanis Caught in Post Brexit Hate-Storm’, with Ziauddin Sardar, Farooq Bajwa, and Iftikhar Malik debating the challenges faced by Pakistani diaspora in Europe; ‘Karachi: City of Lights and Gangs’ with Laurent Gayer, Nichola Khan, Mohammed Hanif, Sobia Ahmad Kaker, Omar Shahid Hamid, and Kamran Asdar Ali talking about the battle for Karachi and its resilience despite political conflicts; and ‘Tweeting for Social Change: How Social Media is Influencing the Political Scene’ in which Huma Yusuf,  Umber Khairi, and Umair Javed discussed the impact of social media on Pakistan’s political scene.

KLF London

The highlight of the festival was the ‘Satrangi Mushaira’, which was an open mic session for Pakistan’s regional language poets to recite their latest offerings. Another session ‘In Their Own Words: Writers and Poets from Pakistan’, moderated by Muneeza Shamsie, featured poetry and prose readings by writers of Pakistani origin including Imtiaz Dharker, Aamer Hussein, and Zaffar Kunial. In ‘Partition Stories’ Nimra Bucha, Vayu Naidu, Shayma Saiyid, Amrit Kaur Lohia, and Sarah Ansari presented a medley of readings, film clips, recitals, dance and poetry about the Partition of India.

KLF London

The evening came to a close by a kathak dance performance by Shayma Saiyid and a music concert by Khumariyaan, a Peshawar-based music band known for their fusion brand of Pashtun folk music.

Sponsorship support to the KLF London was provided by Bestway, Arts Council England, Third World Quarterly magazine, Salt n Pepper restaurant, High Commission of Pakistan in London, South Asia Institute of the University of Texas at Austin, and The Pakistan Society.