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Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

Facebook meets Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to discuss social media rules

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

A delegation from Facebook held a virtual meeting with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to discuss the Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020, and to propose recommendations as part of an ongoing consultation process.

In the meeting, Facebook representatives highlighted that the rules should: strive for greater transparency on content restricted in Pakistan; preserve citizens’ right to freedom of expression as guaranteed under Pakistan’s Constitution; incorporate due process requirements; and develop an independent oversight mechanism as required by PECA.

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Airlift Grocer launches in Pakistan with an impressive foreign investment of $10m

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Bus ride-hailing service Airlift has introduced a new online grocery shopping service in Pakistan introduced as ‘Airlift Grocer’, bringing in an impressive foreign investment of $10 million. This investment comes to Pakistan at a time when the economy is crippled due to the havoc caused by Covid-19 and creation of new jobs and supporting the local suppliers can serve as a lifeline for the local economy through such foreign investments.

Pakistan’s retail e-commerce sector has registered a significant growth during the recent past but there is ample room for new entrants to further uplift the market. The initial investment round for Airlift Grocer was led by Quiet Capital, based in San Francisco, with TrueSight Ventures (London), RT Ventures (London), Shorooq Partners (Abu Dhabi), and ACE Capital (Taiwan) participating, among other local partners. Existing investors, First Round Capital (San Francisco), Fatima Gobi Ventures (Pakistan) and Indus Valley Capital (Pakistan) also continued their support for Airlift in this financing.

This new service from Airlift promises to provide an international experience of retail e-commerce to Pakistan’s every growing base of online shoppers, while strictly following safety guidelines as issued by public health authorities to restrict the further spread of Covid-19. Airlift Grocer promises a satisfying shopping experience through its express delivery of all orders within 45 minutes. Shoppers will also be able to choose from a wide range of products which are sure to be delivered with accuracy of order and fixed transport charges irrespective of order value.

The service is currently introduced for online shoppers in Lahore and will soon be launched in Karachi. Shoppers can log on to the website airliftgrocer.com to start shopping or download the Airlift Grocer mobile app from Google Play store and Apple’s App Store.

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Emirates delivers on customer promise, offers travel confidence

Friday, July 3, 2020

  • Expedited processing has cleared nearly 650,000 refund requests in 8 weeks
  • Policies offer customers confidence to plan and book their travel

In the past two months, Emirates has processed nearly 650,000 refund requests, returning over AED 1.9 billion to its customers and making good on its promise to expedite refunds after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted travel plans for millions of customers around the world.

In April, Emirates had announced that it would ramp up its refunds capabilities and committed to clear its backlog by August, which at that time stood at nearly half a million requests. The airline had crossed that target by early June, after expanding its processing capability from an average of 35,000 requests a month, to nearly 200,000.

Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer said: “This pandemic is a black swan event no-one expected, impacting travellers and hitting the airline and travel industry hard. At Emirates, we’ve earned our customers’ trust over the years and we value that greatly. It is tough times for everyone, but we are committed to doing what’s right by our customers. That’s why we ringfenced cash to honour refunds, and invested resources to expedite processing. Our average processing time for refunds has reduced from 90 days to 60, and as we see lower volumes of new requests we expect this rate to further improve. We still have over half a million refund requests to manage, and expect to clear these within the next 2 months. We’d like to thank our customers for their patience and trust, and to those who have opted to hold their ticket or rebooked to travel at a later time – we look forward to welcoming you onboard soon.

In addition to refunds, Emirates continually reviews its booking policies and travel products, to offer customers added confidence to plan and book their journeys.

Flexibility and assurance

Emirates currently offers travellers flights to over 50 cities, with convenient connections between the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Asia Pacific through its hub in Dubai. Dubai has recently announced that it will re-open to welcome international visitors from 7 July 2020.

With the gradual re-opening of borders over the summer, Emirates has revised its booking policies to offer customers more flexibility and confidence to plan their travel.

Customers who purchase an Emirates ticket by 31 July 2020 for travel on or before 30 November 2020, can enjoy these fully flexible terms when they book a Flex or Flex plus fare, or if they have to change their travel plans due to COVID-19 related flight or travel restrictions (applicable to all bookings):

Free date change for travel in the same cabin to the booked destination, or to/from Dubai

Free rebooking to any alternate Emirates destination in the same region, or to/from Dubai

Extended ticket validity for 2 years from the purchase date for future use

Convert the ticket value to a Travel Voucher that may be used as credit towards future travel purchases with Emirates, providing flexibility to reschedule when they are ready to travel again

Emirates customers whose travel plans are disrupted by COVID-19 related flight or travel restrictions, can easily request travel vouchers or refunds via an online form on Emirates’ website, or contact their travel booking agent for assistance.

Dubai is ready to welcome international visitors from 7 July 2020. Click here for more information on travel requirements for international visitors.

For more information on Emirates’ current flights and services, visit www.emirates.com/wherewefly

Emirates has put in place a comprehensive set of measures for the health and safety of its customers and employees, at every step of the customer journey. For more information, visit www.emirates.com/yoursafety

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Emirates SkyCargo expands cargo connectivity to 100 destinations

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Emirates SkyCargo will be operating scheduled cargo flights to 100 destinations across six continents during the month of July 2020. Some of the new cities added to the air cargo carrier’s network include Accra, Algiers, Athens, Fort Lauderdale, Glasgow, Larnaca, Los Angeles, Male, Moscow (SVO), Phnom Penh, Rome, Santiago, Sialkot and Tunis.

Emirates SkyCargo’s network expansion is in response to the growing economic activity and demand for air cargo capacity from markets across the world along with Emirates’ increased passenger flight operations. By offering multiple daily or weekly cargo flight frequencies to major production and consumer markets, the carrier is helping facilitate supplies of goods required for combatting the current pandemic as well as machinery and equipment required for manufacturing and several key economic sectors across global trade lanes.

In addition to scheduled services, Emirates SkyCargo also operates a number of special charter flights every week to transport a range of commodities from Personal Protective Supplies (PPE) and pharmaceuticals to food and outsized machinery and components.


The freight division of Emirates offers an innovative range of cargo capacity options for businesses and exporters on its modern, wide-body aircraft fleet. In addition to loading of cargo in the belly hold, Emirates SkyCargo has introduced loading of select cargo on the passenger seats and in the overhead bins of the passenger cabin of its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Recently the carrier also modified 10 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft from its fleet by removing seats from the Economy Class in the passenger cabin to make room for additional cargo. Emirates SkyCargo also operates 11 Boeing 777 F full freighters currently deployed to over 30 destinations every week.

Emirates SkyCargo places a strong emphasis on the safety of operations. Working with its partners, including ground handlers, the carrier has introduced a number of strict guidelines on cabin loading of cargo covering the type of permitted cargo as well as proper packaging and handling in accordance with IATA guidelines.

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Bank Alfalah Islamic and Institute of Business Administration launch scholarship fund

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Bank Alfalah Islamic and the Institute of Business Administration have announced the Alfalah Islamic Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance for five fresh undergraduate students for their entire first year. The MoU for this initiative was signed by Mr. Atif Bajwa, CEO and President of Bank Alfalah and Dr. S Akbar Zaidi, Executive Director IBA, at a ceremony held at Bank Alfalah Head Office. 

Under this agreement, Bank Alfalah Islamic will be contributing PKR 850,000 each for a total of PKR 4.2million to seed the fund to support students on the basis of academic excellence, personal circumstances or economic hardship. The scholarships will be awarded on a case-by-case basis, and funding can cover complete educational expenses such as admission, tuition, hostel and books to support deserving students in furthering their education.

Commenting on the partnership, CEO & President Bank Alfalah, Mr. Atif Bajwa said, “The launch of the Alfalah Islamic Scholarship Program not only reaffirms Bank Alfalah’s commitment of giving back to the society, but is also in line with our vision of building a future for Pakistan where our youth has access to quality education. At this time when many families are struggling financially, we have launched this initiative to allow bright, young talent to pursue their education without any obstacles. We believe supporting these students goes beyond investing in their individual futures. Their success is the country’s success, and we want to do all that we can to help them. We couldn’t have had a better partner than IBA for this.”

“We are grateful to Bank Alfalah Islamic for extending their support for students from our upcoming classes. Their generosity will help students and their families in this time of unprecedented crisis by enabling the gift of higher education and their better future, which represents an investment in a better future for all of Pakistan.” said Dr. S Akbar Zaidi, Executive Director, IBA.


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Jubilee Life wins prestigious Effie Award in the Insurance Category

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Jubilee Life Insurance, Pakistan’s leading private sector life insurance provider, has been awarded the prestigious Effie Award in the Insurance Category at this year’s awards ceremony which was held virtually. This is the first time any insurance company has won the award in this category and Jubilee Life has been recognized for their ‘Hum Insurance Nibhatay Hain’ campaign. Jubilee Life was the only shortlisted company in the Insurance category.

Jubilee Life Insurance has continuously placed emphasis on building trust with its consumers and making efforts towards minimizing their financial insecurity. The award-winning campaign revolved around three focus areas of health, education and savings which consumers of the insurance sector place most importance towards.

The award is a testament to Jubilee Life’s winning approach and unrelenting commitment towards creatively communicating with their customers and building a genuine relationship. The assessment by Effie Pakistan is based on identifying and ranking the most active marketers, brands and agencies and analyzing finalists and winners keeping strict criteria of the effective marketing efforts made in the previous year.

Speaking about this achievement, Javed Ahmed, Managing Director & CEO, Jubilee Life Insurance stated, “Winning the award is a great achievement for everyone at Jubilee Life and our partner Prestige Communications. It is a reminder of the hard work and effort that they have put all throughout the previous year. It, of course, always feels good to receive acknowledgement for any work which has been executed with a lot of passion. There had been several challenges along the way, but our team managed to deliver excellent work, and we are grateful to all jury members of Effie Pakistan for recognizing it. This will serve as motivation for us to continue working even harder to craft narratives which resonate with our customers.”

Jubilee Insurance is a global brand of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) that offers diverse insurance solutions (life, health and general) in the Asian and East African markets. Jubilee Life in Pakistan offers a uniquely designed range of life and health insurance plans, catering to various customer segments and needs. These include retirement, child education, marriage, saving & protection, wealth accumulation, life insurance plans for women, rural insurance plans and life and health insurance solutions for the less privileged of our country.

Effie Awards are known by advertisers and agencies globally as the pre-eminent award in the industry, and recognize any and all forms of marketing that contribute to a brand’s success. Effie Pakistan is a not-for-profit initiative with the mission to champion and improve the practice and practitioners of marketing effectiveness. It honours the most significant achievement in marketing communications: ideas that work.

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State Bank of Pakistan grants approval for pilot operation to APPS for ecommerce payment gateway “PayFast”.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

PayFast brings the ultimate and innovative solution to address the pain points of digital payments industry of Pakistan.

Pakistan has over 80 million 3g / 4g subscribers, and a huge potential of ecommerce, the market value is estimated at USD 2 billion with a remarkable average yearly growth of 58%. Covid has evidently caused a boom in online payments as the customer’s preference from cash has started to shift towards cashless means. Nonetheless, the value can be far better if the concerns are addressed as it is still a Cash dominated economy with COD valuing 90% of online transactions.


We have more than 1,500 ecommerce enable merchants with a huge pie left out, this low number is primarily attributed to the dearth of cost effective, robust and secure online payment solutions compatible with multiple modes of integration such as Open APIs, plugins etc.

PayFast address these issues by providing payment acceptance via multi instruments with a User Centric UI/UX, these include cards noteworthy being, UnionPay and other card schemes, Mobile Wallets and now unveiling Bank account numbers as an easy payment instrument. They are also helping merchants to accept online payments at ease, by offering them digital sign up, Developer friendly APIs, plugins for ecommerce stores and the experience of future payments. PayFast is PCI-DSS compliant entity, coupled with a very dynamic Fraud and Risk Management System that will ensure security and compliance of transactions for the consumer and the merchant.

Another disruptive service PayFast is bringing to the table is digital invoicing. Payments can be accepted with just a unique link, ideal for FB merchants, Freelancers, etc as the link can be sent via WhatsApp, FB messenger, email and mobile number.

PayFast will fill the gap of the requirement of a payment gateway in the ecommerce industry. Its indigenous gateway’s services and features would be comparable with renowned international gateways like Stripe, Square and Razorpay.

Syed Adnan Ali, CEO of Payfast, said in a statement, “Digitalization is our ambition and an indispensable need of society particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Vision is to provide Intuitive, reliable and a high standard solution to our valued partners and consumers while contributing toward the of the economy. We are very passionate that PayFast will act as a catalyst to digitalize the economy and will lead Pakistan towards cashless journey.

PayFast has already received a vote of trust, as its portfolio of partner banks, a portfolio that has grown to 12 banks which include Allied Bank, Askari Bank, Bank of Punjab, Dubai Islamic Bank, Faysal Bank, Finca MicroFinance Bank, HabibMetro Bank, Summit Bank, UBank, JS Bank, Telenor Bank, & NRSP Bank. The merchant count has also climbed steadily and has crossed the 150 mark. At this pace, PayFast is all set to achieve new heights very soon.

For more details about PayFast you can visit their website at www.apps.net.pk

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Emirates SkyCargo keeps the world connected with over 10,000 flights in 3 months

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Between April and June 2020, Emirates SkyCargo has facilitated the movement of essential commodities and other supplies for individual consumers and businesses across the world by operating more than 10,000 cargo flights to destinations across six continents. The flights were a mix of scheduled, ad-hoc and charter operations.

In Pakistan, Emirates SkyCargo offers cargo capacity on 39 weekly flights including passenger services.

Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo said: “As a customer focused organisation, Emirates SkyCargo has innovatively adapted our cargo operations and offerings over the last few months in line with rapidly evolving market demand. In keeping with our core value as a global facilitator of trade and economies, we have re-grown our network to over 100 destinations with robust flight frequencies to key production and consumer markets. We continue to be able to offer our customers an unmatched reach and connectivity for their valuable cargo and our flight milestones are a validation of our customers’ trust in our service.”

During the months of May and June, Emirates SkyCargo operated on an average more than 3,800 flights per month, with the aircraft travelling to over 100 destinations and covering approximately 37 million kilometres, which is the equivalent distance of roughly 50 trips to the moon and back.

Starting from just over 35 destinations at the end of March 2020, Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its network to over 100 scheduled cargo destinations across the world for the month of July 2020. From transporting urgently needed medical supplies and food to materials required for manufacturing and other industries from origin to destination, Emirates SkyCargo is helping reconnect cities to international trade lanes as manufacturing and other economic activities recommence.

For more information on Emirates SkyCargo’s network and flight schedules visit https://www.skycargo.com/services-alerts/

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Emirates covers customers from COVID-19 expenses, in industry-leading initiative to boost travel confidence

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Emirates customers can travel with confidence, as the airline will cover medical expenses of up to EUR 150,000 and quarantine costs of EUR 100 per day for 14 days, should they be diagnosed with COVID-19 during their travel, while they are away from home. This cover is provided by the airline, free of cost to its customers.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Group Chairman and Chief Executive said: “Under the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Emirates is proud to lead the way in boosting confidence for international travel. We know people are yearning to fly as borders around the world gradually re-open, but they are seeking flexibility and assurances should something unforeseen happen during their travel.”

He added: “Emirates has worked hard to put in place measures at every step of the customer journey to mitigate risk of infection, and we have also revamped our booking policies to offer flexibility. We are now taking it to the next level, by being the first in the industry to offer our customers free global cover for COVID-19 medical expenses and quarantine costs should they incur these costs during their travel. It is an investment on our part, but we are putting our customers first, and we believe they will welcome this initiative.”


First airline in the world to offer free, global cover for COVID-19 related costs

This cover for COVID-19 related medical expenses and quarantine costs is offered by Emirates free of cost to its customers regardless of class of travel or destination. This cover is immediately effective for customers flying on Emirates until 31 October 2020 (first flight to be completed on or before 31 October 2020). It is valid for 31 days from the moment they fly the first sector of their journey. This means Emirates customers can continue to benefit from the added assurance of this cover, even if they travel onwards to another city after arriving at their Emirates destination.

Customers do not need to register or fill in any forms before they travel, and they are not obligated to utilise this cover provided by Emirates.

Any impacted customer who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 during their travel simply has to contact a dedicated hotline to avail of assistance and cover.

The hotline number, and details of what COVID-19 related expenses are covered, is available on www.emirates.com/COVID19assistance

Flexibility and assurance

With the gradual re-opening of borders over the summer, Emirates has revised its booking policies to offer customers more flexibility and confidence to plan their travel. Customers whose travel plans are disrupted by COVID-19 related flight or travel restrictions, can simply hold on to their ticket which will be valid for 24 months and rebook to fly at a later time; request travel vouchers to offset against future Emirates purchases, or request refunds via an online form on Emirates’ website or via their travel booking agent.

Emirates currently serves over 60 destinations in its network, facilitating travel between the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific through a convenient connection in Dubai for customers across the world.

Dubai is open: Customers from Emirates’ network can now to travel to Dubai as the city has re-opened for business and leisure visitors with new air travel protocols that safeguard the health and safety of visitors and communities. For more information on entry requirements for international visitors to Dubai, visit: www.emirates.com/flytoDubai

Health and safety first: Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey to ensure the safety of its customers and employees on the ground and in the air, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to all customers. For more information on these measures and the services available on each flight, visit: www.emirates.com/yoursafety

Travel restrictions: Customers are reminded that travel restrictions remain in place, and travellers will only be accepted on flights if they comply with the eligibility and entry criteria requirements of their destination countries. Visit: www.emirates.com/travelrestrictions

Dubai residents can check the latest travel requirements at: www.emirates.com/returntoDubai

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Ufone wins two prestigious Effie Awards

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Pakistani Telecom brand, Ufone, added another feather in its cap by winning two prestigious Effie Awards last night. Ufone won a Gold award for Best in Internet & Telecom category for its SuperCard campaign Budget bamuqabla befikri and a Bronze award in Best and Internet & Telecom for Balochistan Football Cup 2019.

The Budget bamuqabla befikri campaign highlighted how despite the rising inflation in 2019, Ufone maintained a steady price for its Super Card. The second award won was for the Balochistan Football Cup 2019 which provided a substantial platform to emerging footballers of the region to showcase their talent. Both campaigns were recognized by the jury for the positive impact they created

The award reflects the company’s diverse and innovative marketing strategies, which have won the hearts of millions. The brand has also won two Eventex Global Awards in Gold categories for Ufone Balochistan Football Cup this year. Amongst 444 entries from 39 countries, the Pakistani telecom brand emerged as the winner in two categories i.e. People’s Choice Award and Best CSR Event Award.

The Effie Awards are one of the most prestigious awards of the country which bring forward most significant achievements in marketing communications. It celebrates ideas that work and encourage thoughtful dialogue. Success of Pakistani telecom operator, Ufone, at the Effie Awards signifies the growing impact of the brand and its commitment to work on ideas which benefit the common man.

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