EFU Life wins CSR Award

Karachi (PR): EFU Life Assurance Limited, a leading private life insurance provider in the country, has been conferred with ‘CSR Award 2016’ in the category of ‘Social Impact’ at the 5th Corporate Social Responsibility Awards, organized by The Professionals Network and Ethical Business Update (EBU). This award is the first and only registered CSR Award of Pakistan registered with IPO. Ms. Aman Hussain, Head of Marketing, EFU Life Assurance Ltd., received the award on behalf of the company. The awards recognized the efforts of the companies who are at the helm of Social Responsibility efforts in Pakistan.

EFU Life has been in the forefront in promoting and contributing to the causes of healthcare and education. It believes in playing a crucial role and building a positive relationship with the society in which it operates.

For serving this purpose, EFU Life has joined hands with numerous renowned non-governmental organizations for a better and prosperous Pakistan.

LUMS honours winner


Lahore (PR): The LUMS community including faculty, staff and students got together on Monday to honour its students, Team FATE, who won first prize in the P2P: Challenging Extremism competition organised by Edventure Partners, Facebook and the US Department of State.

Team FATE, which included Abeera Akhtar, Mashal Imran, Basil Saeed, Usman Sarwar, Samey Noor and Shahroze Tariq, were supervised by Dr. Taimur Rahman, Assistant Professor at the LUMS Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences. These undergraduate students designed and conducted a campaign named FATE, which stood for ‘From Apathy to Empathy’, aimed to create empathy among students for the victims of terrorism.

Dr. Taimur Rehman welcomed the guests at the ceremony and shared some highlights of the competition. Later Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi, Vice Chancellor, LUMS took the podium and greatly appreciated the students’ project.

On the occasion, Team FATE presented their campaign again for the LUMS community.  They explained how, over the course of the semester, they used creative ways to engage with the student body and the wider community on social media through music, tourism, humanising the victims of terrorism, and other aspects of social life.

The students shared how in the short span of five weeks, they managed to get over 14,000 likes and over half a million impressions on social media as a whole. Their campaign was one of the most viral campaigns of all the contestants in the competition. They were selected amongst the three finalists and travelled to Washington for the final lap of the competition, where they were declared as the winners. The team members said that it was a proud moment for themselves and Pakistan when their presentation received a standing ovation and enormous praise.

Syed Babar Ali, Pro Chancellor, LUMS concluded the session by congratulating the faculty and students on this great achievement.

Summit Bank appoints new CEO

Karachi (PR): The Chairman & Board of Directors of Summit Bank appointed Mohammad Zahir Esmail as its President and Chief Executive Officer. He will take over from the retiring President and CEO, Mr. Husain Lawai who retired after serving over 45 years in leading positions and has been elevated to play his role as Vice Chairman on the Board of Directors. 

Mr. Esmail has 48 years of diversified banking experience including Conventional as well as Islamic. He joined the banking industry in 1968 as an Officer at Habib Bank Ltd, Karachi Pakistan.He had also been associated with Habib Bank AG Zurich,H.B.Z Bank South Africa,Habib Metropolitan Bank, ArifHabib Bank Limited and My Bank Limited where he imparted his professional experiences in the successful growth of these banks.

On this occasion, Mr. Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah, Chairman of Summit Bank said, “With the experience and well-recognized qualities that Zahir Esmail brings to the table, he was the best candidate to head the entity and we believe he will carry on the good work done by Husain Lawai.”

Bank Alfalah conducts programme on Islamic Banking

KARACHI (PR): Bank Alfalah, in collaboration with the Centre for Islamic Economics recently organised a comprehensive learning programme on Islamic Banking and Finance, for the Bank’s senior management team. The two day programme was conducted by renowned Shariah scholars of the country who spoke about basic Islamic Banking concepts covering liability, asset and consumer financing.

Saeed Ahmad, Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan, highlighted the steps taken by the State Bank of Pakistan to promote Islamic Banking and Finance in Pakistan. He added that there was a need for a robust Islamic Banking system and stressed on the need to promote Islamic Banking in Pakistan. He also appreciated the efforts of Bank Alfalah in building capacity of its staff and creating awareness about Islamic Banking principles among customers.

Speaking at the event, Faisal Farooq Khan, Group Head Human Resource & Learning Group, Bank Alfalah said: “At Bank Alfalah, we are committed to build the capacity of our employees so that they understand and uphold Shariah-complaint banking practices. We are equally committed to enhance the understanding of our customers about Islamic Banking.” He further added that the Bank is focused on being an innovative player in the industry and is exploring new opportunities in creating an Islamic payment platform to enhance financial inclusion of the unbanked segments of the industry.

The programme concluded with a panel discussion on the latest trends in Islamic Banking, moderated by Head of Learning and Development, Ahmed Nauman Anees. Dr. Imran Usmani, Director CIE and a prominent Shariah Scholar, appreciated the collaborative efforts between Bank Alfalah and CIE to build the capacity of staff and customers in Islamic Banking. Other panel members included Mufti Khalil Aazami, Chairman Shariah Board, Bank Alfalah, Mufti Irshad Ijaz, Chairman Shariah Board, Bank Islami and Mufti Yahya, Shariah Advisor, HBL.

Digital financial services can enhance women empowerment

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): A research study released by Action-Pakistan shows that women’s empowerment cannot be achieved in Pakistan unless efforts are launched for their financial empowerment.    

The report launched on the eve of International Women’s Day cites UNDP’s Gender Development Index, 2014 under which Pakistan ranked 147th.

Ahmed Hassan at the launch of the report said that the literacy rate for females in the country is a mere 45% and female “net” enrollment ratio for secondary schools stands at 29.2%. The figures are dismal as half of the population of Pakistan is female and that the poverty rate is almost as high as 20%, as per Pakistan Economic Survey, 2013-2014.

Mr Hassan said unfortunately, the state of financial inclusion in Pakistan was pretty miserable as per the Global Findex Database, as only 5% of the female population had any type of relationship with formal financial sector. But the number of active financial lives of women and their potential for contributing to country’s economy are higher. Figures show that women have unserved as well as under-served credit needs- stakeholders of the formal financial sector should explore the reasons behind it. The report acknowledges government’s efforts for women’s financial empowerment, such as the Benazir Income Support Program and Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal.

The report said there government-to-person payment schemes have made a difference, but this scheme should have been extended to the poorly-regulated informal sector where 70% of women are employed.  There is no single solution to the question that how to overcome the challenges.  Academician and researcher Syed Hassan Shahzad says Pakistan has a high tele-density rate of around 70%, and mobile accounts are owned by a mere 6% of the adult population.

This may seem negligible but it’s interesting to note that South Asia’s average is a third of this, as per a World Bank’s report.

Acknowledging the economic and social potential of digital financial inclusion, last year, State Bank of Pakistan launched the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) and earlier this year, the Universal Financial Access Initiative was launched, with a focus on digital transaction accounts.

“These initiatives will undoubtedly multiply the impact of female empowerment and gender equality efforts being made by the public and private sectors,” he said.