Mastercard inaugurates office in Pakistan
KARACHI (PR): In a move aimed at further strengthening its footprint across the wider Middle East and Africa region, Mastercard, a leading technology company in the global payments industry, has formally commenced its operations in Pakistan, with the opening of a dedicated Mastercard office in Karachi.
Building on the company’s growing presence in the market since the 1990s, Mastercard Pakistan Private Limited will provide a wide range of industry-leading payments services, including debit, credit, prepaid, corporate , Mastercard Payment Gateway Services, Mastercard Rewards Solutions and digital payment solutions. Mastercard’s recent achievements in Pakistan include the global launch of Masterpass QR, the country’s first interoperable digital payment service that allows banking consumers to use their mobile banking app to pay for in-store, bill payments (invoices) and for delivery with one secure account.
The service is expected to benefit a large number of existing and potential customers with a fast, secure and convenient payment experience on mobile banking apps.
“Pakistan has always been a key strategic market for Mastercard and in the last couple of years, we have further sharpened our focus in the market to tap into the country’s tremendous growth potential and appetite for innovation in payments technology. We are proud of the strong business relationships we share with all the prominent partners across the country, and look forward to collaborating and engaging with them on a deeper level to advance the cause of financial inclusion in Pakistan and drive the country’s shift from cash to a cashless economy,” said Aurangzaib Khan, Area Head, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Mastercard.

Sri Lankan delegation visits PITB office

LAHORE (PR): A delegation from National Services Youth Council Colombo (Sri Lanka) visited Punjab IT Board (PITB) at Arfa Tower the other day. The 15-member delegation gathered from all over Sri Lanka was led by Youth Parliament Minister Srilanka Mr.Kasun Wickramasingha. E-Learn programme’s team presented the digital content and shared ongoing educational programs and initiatives of Punjab government with the delegation. The delegation was informed that the PITB had initiated exemplary IT based education projects in Punjab that were being replicated by the other provinces such as Gilgit Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindd and even Islamabad.
Joint Director cum Project head of e-learn program Kashif Farooq said Punjab was the first province in Pakistan that had made monitoring data of 53000 public schools public. He said “our smart monitoring program has significantly increased attendance and performance of teachers in schools. The monitoring staffs have been bound to visit each school once a month and send digital reports on attendance, cleanliness and missing facility through our central dashboard. This practice has eliminated fake visits and reports as were found before smart monitoring.” Farooq further told that the e-Learn Punjab program had digitized all science and maths books of the class 6 to 10 and the lessons were being delivered on LED screen in eight selected schools of Punjab under its pilot project through computer tablets given to their teachers.

Report on electoral reforms presented to ECP
ISLAMABAD (PR): Chairman National Democratic Foundation (NDF) Kanwar M Dilshad presented comprehensive report on electoral reforms to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) during a high level meeting held on Thursday at ECP Secretariat, Islamabad. The NDF’s report covers broad spectrum requirements for electoral reforms which were already shared time to time with political stakeholders and ECP.
Acting Secretary ECP Fida Muhammad chaired the meeting and appreciated the cooperation of NDF and assured his full cooperation to meet the aspirations of all stakeholders concerned for democratic governance in Pakistan.

NIBD launches new journal in health sciences

LAHORE (PR): National Institute of Blood Diseases and Bone Marrow Transplantation is launching a new journal recognised by the Press Information Department, Government of Pakistan. NJHS will publish scholarly articles as Open Access related to broad spectrum of research disciplines quarterly. It aims to provide clinicians and academicians a platform to publish cutting-edge research in health sciences. It will bridge the gap between hospitals and universities. It will provide training to young researchers in paper writing and will help to develop research and publication culture among the youth. NJHS is an open access online and print version journal with no financial burden on researchers.

PPAF, FAO sign MoU
ISLAMABAD (PR): The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have signed a memorandum of understanding to begin the Alliance for Change in Balochistan initiative. With this partnership, pilot agricultural and livestock interventions will be carried out in two districts of Balochistan, Qilla Saifullah and Kech.
PPAF and FAO have sent a joint mission comprising experts to both districts to study the working models at field level to identify community needs, assess their priorities and plan short term interventions to pilot test. Pilot interventions are planned for the current Rabi season for a period of nine months with project activities to include vegetable production in plastic walk-in tunnels, establishment of farmers field schools for wheat producers, formation and facilitation of farmers associations for improved agricultural products.
Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO of PPAF, said, “In a mutually beneficial partnership, FAO is keen on using PPAF outreach, specially its vast network of community organizations and help farmers association established by FAO, and PPAF looks forward to utilizing FAO’s technical expertise around agriculture related sub-sectors.”
The initiative aims to build on the strengths of the two organizations in the remote union councils of Balochistan, where both the organizations have a presence. PPAF and FAO have a presence in a number of districts in Balochistan, however, five districts have been identified where both are active. The activities of both organizations are complementary as they strive to mobilise communities through community development.
Following completion of the nine month pilot interventions, the outputs and achievements will be showcased before donor agencies. This alliance will also create space for both partners to design and implement future projects from a joint platform, where PPAF will bring in community development expertise while FAO will bring in their technical expertise around agriculture and livestock related sub-sectors.

Telenor roadshow

ISLAMABAD (PR): In a bid to turbo-charge its digital inclusion initiatives in the country, Pakistan’s foremost telecom services provider Telenor Pakistan is seeking to build a long-term knowledge and experience sharing channel with the Silicon Valley. In this regard, Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO Telenor Pakistan, conducted a special roadshow in collaboration with Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America (OPEN) Silicon Valley during his official visit to the global technology hub in California, USA. The roadshow attracted great numbers of Pakistani community, tech professional, experts, investors and startup founders, facilitating enlisting of mentors and consultants who would want to contribute to development of digital ecosystem and promotion of digital inclusion in the Pakistan.