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Tuesday, June 17, 2008, Jamadi-ul-Sani 12, 1429 A.H

The war goes on . . .

In a fresh wave of violence last month, a number of girls' schools have been bombed in various parts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Although secular parties have succeeded in the general elections, the process of radicalisation in many areas in Pakistan is growing instead of receding. Extremist militants have further clamped their hold on Orakzai Tribal Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) and revived action against girls' education. The new spate of attacks on female educational institutions in the area is the evidence of their growing strength and disregard for government authority.

Many schools have either been demolished or bombarded within the last few months. The most prominent of these were the Government Girls High School Charbagh, in the Kabal area of Swat valley, which was destroyed by unknown militants and the Kaki Government Girls Inter College in Bannu. These attacks have been successful to keep a majority of students and teachers away from school, mainly because until now nothing has been done to protect these probable victims from such attacks.

In Orakzai, militants - calling themselves Taliban - have also imposed a ban on girls attending schools. To make matters worse, unidentified armed men have taken hostage a female teacher, Farida Begum, who was teaching in Ghaljo area of Orakzai Agency for the last three years. Her father, Sifarish Khan, has appealed to Owais Ghani, Governor NWFP, and other officials to secure the release of his daughter. The young woman was to be married within a month and this incident will prove to adversely affect her whole life.

Kidnapping females is unheard of in Pakhtoon society, so in this context the incident is unprecedented. But the recent events involving female teachers in the Orakzai agency reveal that things are changing. Recently, two female teachers were killed in this area, while a lady instructor was murdered by the militants in Mohmand Agency last year.

Many schools have been shut down due to the threats, while others have closed down because of lack of staff and low attendance. Female students are the worst off, since they have no other opportunity to continue their education once they are out of school and they are destined to doom. According to an estimate almost 60 per cent of female students in the otherwise relatively developed Swat district have stopped attending schools. A group of female students of Allama Iqbal Open University, who were visiting Islamabad and Peshawar to attend their MSc Sociology and MSc Mass Communication, revealed the situation in Swat which is becoming unimaginable with time. They said that the female students of the area were extremely terrified but at the same time wanted to get education as well. This was affecting their lives in many ways. "Most of the girls are not sure whether they will be able to complete their education while living in Swat. The only option available to them is to migrate somewhere else and get settled there but that's quite difficult too because of the financial and social constraints of the family," remarked one of the students.

Ironically, while millions of girls in the NWFP are risking their academic career, both the federal and provincial governments, who are responsible for FATA and NWFP respectively, seem uninterested to actually find a solution. Large territories in these areas are virtually under the control of militants with no trace of state order. Some dire alternative measures are needed to be enforced by the government. These include setting up at least a number of hostels in Peshawar and Islamabad or adjoining peaceful areas as well as arranging uninterrupted classes and exams to make up for the lost academic time of these students. Unfortunately, no remedial steps have been taken as yet. 

With no writ of law or state in these areas, the void is easily filled in by the extremists and radical groups of clerics, who threaten everyone without fear. They use letters, telephone calls, speeches through FM radio stations and mosques public address system etc to terrorise the people. The underlying commonality of these threats is to warn women to comply with the directions of the radicals regarding the sort of life and mannerism they 'have' to adopt. Since it appears that these people don't consider that women should be allowed freedom to lead their lives, their threats aim to completely constrict the social sphere for them. And, of course their prompt target becomes women edification system.

But this is neither the first nor the last time that such incidents have occurred. The fact is that due to the lack of state authority, there are chances that these incidents might increase and spread. In the Frontier Region of Darra Adam Khel near Kohat, all the educational institutions for girls have stopped operating after the militants overtook the area. Just a few years back, a number of girls' schools in Darra area had been bombed. The parents of these girls were forbidden to send their daughters to school and the teachers were threatened not to turn up for their duties. After that, a lot of girls have also left schools in Bajaur, Mohmand tribal agencies, Tank and Bannu districts of NWFP. Whereas, in Waziristan agencies there has been a complete shut down of female schools since long.  Keeping the prevalent situation in mind, hundreds of female teachers in NWFP and FATA have written to their respective authorities that they are incapable of serving in the said areas and that they need immediate help to get rid of their misery.

A sociologist at University of Peshawar elucidated the sociological aspect of frightening and bombing the female institutions. "If the threats continue, then the little bit of improvement in the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) that was attained over the years in schools throughout the Frontier will come down significantly. The lawlessness in the region is due to the inefficiency of the controlling agencies that fail to play their role. Consequently, the criminal behaviour is further encouraged," shared the sociologist on account of anonymity.      

 Talking about the intensity of threat and people's reaction to it, the sociologist explained, "Among the many factors due to which the Frontier has remained backward is the conservative nature of Pakhtoons. They know that threats thrown by the militants can be turned into reality and thus they become apprehensive about the well being of their daughters if they send them to school. If there are any physical attacks on girls, the whole family will have to bear the torturous results. Therefore fearing this, people have stopped their daughters from attending schools as a precautionary measure and are waiting for the government to intervene," he elaborated.

With all the hopes of better future for the girls of NWFP, we are taken aback by something terrible nearly every month which further deteriorates their living conditions. The most important question at the moment is when the Taliban influence will fade away - giving way to a moderate and just system? And, when will people be allowed to live according to their wishes? Our fingers are still crossed!


When we talk about mornings, we picture blooming flowers, singing birds and sunlight filtering through the clouds in our homes. Everything seems to be beautiful and pleasant. But is it really what happens in our part of the world? The picture is a bit different when I talk about my days in the 'city of lights'.

My morning starts, even before my alarm rings, when I wake up frustrated and drenched in a pool of sweat. That's when I realise that either there is no electricity at home or the voltage is too low. All those who have experienced summers in Pakistan are probably familiar with this phenomenon. As soon as summers start, the majority of our population is hit by PESS - Post Electricity Shortage Syndrome. No! This is not a fancy psyche term for some complex disease, it simply describes one's state of mind during the hot season when electricity eludes us and daily life becomes torturous.

Considering that Karachi is the biggest contributor to economic growth, one is left to wonder that why is there an acute shortage of electricity in this revenue generating city. Load shedding in summers is not a new phenomenon in Pakistan but the current situation has never occurred before. It seems like a distant memory when the city used to lose power for a maximum of two to three hours a day, now we get to handle the heat, sweat and boredom for almost seven to twelve hours daily.

These days generators have become a common phenomenon. If not generators then nearly everyone has a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) installed at their homes. But only after a year of its services, the 'Uninterrupted Power Supply' transformed into DPS - Disruptive Power Supply. So my family, out of sheer helplessness, then piles into one single room underneath the only fan that agrees to work and that too at an extremely lethargic rate.

The worst situation occurs at night. Yes, the time when everyone is worn out, sleepy and possibly dehydrated. This is when I find that after an interval of every few hours, the lights decide to go out... again!  So instead of waking up like I should every morning i.e. fresh and rejuvenated, I wake up tired and exhausted. What happened to the claims that privatisation is the problem to all the solutions of power issues in Pakistan? Under such circumstances, the people are made to believe that there are organisations even more ineffective than the government. So next time you raise your finger at the workings of a governmental organisation, don't forget to take a broader look. 

Anyway, back to my schedule, which I like to think is the story of more than half of the people of our city; after waking up, if I'm lucky then my clothes are ironed otherwise I have two options - I could either wear wrinkled clothes or I could wear yesterday's sweaty and odour infested attire. Of course neither of the option will suit any of us. Then comes the escape route i.e. going to the workplace. Now, if you are one of the lucky ones who work in a multinational; you spend the rest of the day in the eternal bliss of the centrally air conditioned environment. However, if you work in some old government school or college, like me, then you have to lose half of yourself through perspiration as there is one ceiling fan for a large room of eight to ten people.

After working the whole day, I wish to return home and cool down with a bowl of ice-cream and my favourite serials on TV. And there I am caught up in the miseries of electricity once again which means no melodramatic rides at night and no ice cream at all. The positive side, I suppose, is that I get to have a candle light dinner with my family almost every night. Ah! The day finally ends here giving way to another day following the same routine. The good part of it is that I'm not alone in this crisis. There are always people who understand what I'm going through and can empathise with me.

I used to wonder as a child how people got off without electricity in the 'olden days'; the time our grandparents constantly tell us about. The time when fans, air conditioners, TV etc. were nonexistent. Well, now we know what that era was like. Their advantage was that they never knew the luxuries we have known. For us, we were given paradise and then told we can't have it forever and at all times. This piece of writing is just to imagine the possibilities you can indulge in only by getting plugged into the power socket... that is of course if you have power at your house!

Spruce up your look!

The holiday season often means invitations to many kinds of gatherings; a black-tie gala, a close friends' get together or socialising with your cousins etc. You want your makeup to look appropriate for every occassion, but you also want to look fabulous. The choice is yours. You can either go for light lips and darker eyes which gives you the subtle look or you can make a bold statement with sharp colours on the lips and smoky eyes.

For any evening out, you will love an exquisite outfit with a moist, pale-pink mouth, tawny, glowing cheeks and smoky powder liner under the eyes. Don't forget to wear one great piece of jewellery (like a pair of shimmery earrings) that will reflect light next to your face and tenfold heighten the glow of your makeup.

This is the time to be creative with your makeup and try new things. It's no longer about black eyeliner and red lips. You can use plenty of sparkle on your face and body; makeup no longer stops at the chin. Try dusting a translucent shimmer powder, available in loose and pressed formulas, onto your bare skin with a powder puff. Shimmer powders are easy to apply and add radiance to your skin.

And if you decide against body shimmer, play up your eyes with some pearly shadow. Just sweep the colour of your choice across your lid with the provided applicator for a fuss-free, glamorous look. Thick liner goes well with smoky eyes, but if you want it to be subtle, try a gradually thinning line. Use a liquid liner to draw a thin rim along upper lash-lines. Go over the outer half of each eye one more time, and extend slightly beyond the eye. Line the bottom corner of each eye to accentuate the outer edge and create an exotic almond shape. If done correctly, outer corners will look like a sideways capital Y.

It seems counterintuitive to highlight something you often want to hide! Adding shimmer under your eye reflects light in a way that makes puffy skin vanish. Sweep a luminising concealer across the under-eye area from lash-line to the lower rim of the under-eye. Using a product that's a brush-like pen allows you to apply with precision.

If you want to look airbrushed in person, apply lightweight tinted moisturiser on face and neck. (Use the shade you are, not a hue you want to be. You'll add colour later with blush and bronzer.) Spread evenly over face and neck with a sponge wedge until formula vanishes completely into skin. Apply concealer after foundation. That way you'll need less of it and won't risk rubbing it off completely.

By adding contour below your cheekbones, you can create the illusion of a more prominent bone structure, which is both slimming and flattering. Using a small stiff blush brush, sweep face powder under the raised line of your cheekbones, starting at your temples. Use one shade darker than your skin tone - it looks natural, not like war paint.

Blush is always a great place to start when you want to spruce up your look. Blend it into your skin with your fingers or a makeup brush so you get an 'edgeless' finish. You can also try jazzing up your traditional favourites by selecting browns, greys and pinks that have a translucent appearance.

Now, just a little question; have you ever wished you could extend last night's soft candlelight glow to the next day? You can replicate that coveted attractive illumination with a soft dusting of beige (not bronze or pink) shimmer powder along the brow and cheekbones. You can easily do it on forehead, nose and chin but too much light-reflecting product on those areas can look like perspiration. Shimmer can also draw attention to irregular skin texture, so try this look when skin is clear.

Let's talk a little about your hairstyle. The best argument for flattering hair is one-sided. Every woman has slight asymmetries in her face, which can easily be balanced by creating a side part. To create a new look you can switch the side of your part after blow-dry. You'll give the hair that extra oomph by forcing it against the direction it's trained to fall in. Now, you are ready to walk in any party or get together without the fear of looking inapt for the occasion. Happy holidays!



Compilation: Sana Akhtar

Photography & Coordination: Mickey and Momey (300-5201903)

Make-up: Honey and Kassim Salon (051-2816129)

Model: Urooj


Hi Nadine,

I am a 30-year-old man working in a private company and earning a handsome salary. I have an issue related to my marriage. From day one, my parents had plenty of problems. One of the reasons was that although both of them were from a rural background, my father was an educated man. He had shifted to city but still the roots were in our village from where family politics, run by uneducated people, ruined our life. At that time I had made up my mind never to marry someone from my family with a rural background. I just want an educated lady who can understand things. Now, the time has come for me to get married and I think I want to marry a doctor. This may seem very strange, but for me it is important. My family has asked me to let them know where and whom I want to marry.

Till now I have just told them that I am not bothered about looks or dowry, but what I need is a sensible and educated lady. I have not specifically mentioned that she should be a doctor. I think that I have a reasonable profile; my image as a sensible person the money I earn is quite good and I may not have any problem in getting married into a good family. But still the desire to marry a doctor is there. It is a bit strange and I do not know how to communicate this to my parents, as they say that a girl with a masters degree is also an educated person. But for me, a simple masters makes no difference.

Strange Desire


Dear Strange Desire,

Your desire isn't really strange, you know. Many of our young men, in search of a boost to their financial and social status, prefer marrying professional women, be they doctors or engineers! Taking short cuts is a growing trend, especially among those who do not trust their own ability to make it to the top. Although there is nothing wrong with your family background, you feel complexed because your roots are in the village. Don't feel that way, for you are turning your strength into weakness. Be proud of your origin and try to improve whatever shortcomings you feel you have. Take your own example: your own family hails from a rural background, yet you are educated and well placed. Since your father was an educated man, he should have tried to educate your mother also, instead of submitting to the remote control rule of the woman back in your village. Your parents are right when they say that a girl who has done masters is educated. However, if you simply want to marry a doctor, you should tell your parents clearly so that there is no confusion about your preference. You need to clear your own mind too, because on the one hand you claim you don't care about looks and dowry and simply want an educated and sensible partner, and on the other you say you have a desire to marry a doctor. Well, doctors are not the only females who can be sensible. In fact, it is not necessary to have a degree to be sensible! You are at a good post and can easily get a doctor, but please don't delude yourself; it's not simply an educated girl you want to marry, you want to marry a doctor and so you should be at least honest about it with your own parents.


Dear Nadine,

I'm 21 years old and an engineering student. My problem is a bit weird and it might sound ridiculous too. I'm in my final year of engineering and my mother is seriously asking me to consider some proposals. My problem is that I simply don't want to get married. I'll hate to have a physical relationship with someone and it's because of certain incidents that happened in my life. When I was quite young, I was abused by a shop keeper many times, and then there was the son of one of our family friends, who once tried to abuse me. I managed to escape, but that incident has left scars. I've a very different idea about married life in my mind; two persons who commit to live together and share the burden of life with each other, love each other, care for each other and it breaks in case they fail to understand each other. But marriage and the thought of physical relationship refreshes the ugly memories of those incidents and it makes me think that men just want women to fulfill their desires and for this purpose they can cross all limits - can use a child even. I hate this relationship. I can't think of being used by a man again for his desires. I feel that we females are like tissue paper for them, use us when they need and then throw us away! I hate everyone who's involved in such a relationship. I hate my friends who have fiances. I start hating them when they tell me about their romantic relationships. I hate my sister, who has just got engaged. Some of my university fellows showed interest in me and I reacted in a very rude way. I start hating the person who takes interest in me. I can make excuses to my parents to delay my marriage for three to four more years but after that I'll have to accept their order. Sometimes I think of telling them that I don't want to get married and that I want live my life alone. Please suggest something, as I'm tired of locking up all this hatred for men inside me.



Dear Sam,

I don't think your problem is ridiculous or weird at all. In fact, you have been traumatised badly and scarred due to the unfortunate incidents you have mentioned. They have left a fear of marital relationship which is creating this problem for you. My dear, the first step towards recovery has already been taken by you by writing what you had bottled up inside you for a long time. You had a very bad experience at the hand of two ugly males but that does not mean that all men are bad. It is also not right that all men use females like tissue papers! Dear girl, if they had such contempt for females, why would they even want to get married? The fact is that all men are not monsters and all females are not angels. Look around and study the males in your own family. Are all of them callous? Most men love their wives and care about them. Your fear of being involved in a physical relationship is understandable but you must realise that a relationship with one's husband is totally different from getting abused by nasty shopkeepers. Just because you had a bad experience, don't deny yourself normal and happy marital relationship. What you need to do is to talk this out with a psychologist. If you cannot do it, then write to Aangan-Rozan, P.O. Box 2237, Islamabad. Ph: (051) 7165365, 2215368 or e-mail them at [email protected]

Different strokes!

Ismat is one of the few grand dames of modern Urdu literature. She was a highly embodied writer in the sense that she was always aware of the rapidly changing society around her. Her stories were often controversial, set in the middle class milieu and her characters were generally unconventional. The passion with which Ismat wrote about subjects that mattered to her compels the reader to not just be swept away by her story-telling and anecdotes, but to appreciate the unwavering conviction with which Ismat Chughtai wielded her pen.

Sheema Kermani, who is always in search of good scripts, this time decided to work on two of the short stories of Ismat, to convert them into stage plays. And the result was the brilliant execution of the dramatisation of 'Kafir' and 'Amer Bel', recently staged at the Arts Council under the banner of Tehrik-e-Niswan. With Kafir and Amar Bel, Sheema has touched the society's sensitive issues with the help of Ismat's acerbic writing.

The first play 'Kafir', lasted for 20 minutes, was directed by Anwer Jafri and featured only two characters; Pushkar (Salim Meraj) and Munni (Asma Mundrawala). The theme of a Muslim girl marrying a Hindu boy would cause problems and raise eyebrows but in Kaafir Ismat deals with it in her typically delightful and endearing fashion. Anwar Jafri was successful in maintaining the original flavour with his clever direction. Besides the captivating and crispy dialogues, credit must be given to the powerful acting of Salim Meraj - whose name is synonymous with theatre.

The second 40-minutes play, 'Amar Bel' included Sheema Kermani, Saife Hassan, Mahvash Faruqi and Asma Mundrawala; also the director of this play. This representation draws upon narrative techniques to emphasise one of the most compelling aspects of Ismat's writing; her language. In a spontaneous and conversational style, Ismat reveals the middle class woman through the language she speaks.

The story revolved around Qamar Ara (Mahvash Faruqi) and Noor Fatima (Asma Mundrawala) who hooks their 50 plus brother Shujaat (Saife Hassan) to a young bride, after the death of his first wife. Though, Imtiazi phuppo (Sheema Kermani) warns them of the consequences of this marriage the two sisters, who are of the opinion that their brother is still young, brings a beautiful bhabi to their family. As years pass, the man gets older while the wife is still young so his jealousy towards her grows and disrupts the overall familial set-up.

Coming towards the performances; the presence of seasoned actors like Saife Hasan and Sheema Kermani might have been enough to engage the audience but Mahvash and Asma were a pleasant surprise too. Mahvash and Sheema excelled in the dialogue delivery while Saife and Asma had the appropriate body language for the scenes.

The photography was done by Moeen Faruqi while the set and lights were handled by Anwer Jafri.

It is true that theatre has a limited audience, especially for the young who watch movies and television. But it is still a force and can become more of a force if plays that are both entertaining and socially conscious are written and produced. As long as Tehrik-e-Niswan continues to produce plays like 'Kafir' and 'Amer Bel' the future of theatre seems bright in our part of the world. 


- Iram N. Muzaffar & Fatima Zakir

On a regular basis now females here are stepping forward and accomplishing feats which make us all proud. Joining the ranks of some of the most successful women of Pakistan are Bapsi Sidhwa, Shazia Sikander and Lena Khan. The award aims to honour the achievements of South Asians in different fields of life. Starting with Bapsi ji; a distinguished writer who won the Literature Achiever of the Year Award at the first ever South Asian Excellence Awards ceremony held recently. Her novels include 'The Crow Eaters', 'The Pakistani Bride', 'An American Brat' and 'Water'.

Shazia Sikander won the Performing and Visual Arts Achiever of the Year Award. Her specialty is Indian and Persian miniature paintings and she deals with many beautiful pieces from the Mughal era. Writer and director of the film 'A Land of Paradise'; Lena Khan won the Entertainment Achiever of the Year Award. The lady has been writing and directing films from long and with time has managed to make her name in the industry.  We are proud of them!


No Sarkar Raj here!

For all of you who have been waiting for the Bachchan thriller 'Sarkar Raj', we have bad news. Well, wait no more because the censor board has finally decided that the movie will not be gracing the Pakistani celluloid. The movie stars Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and his wife Ashwariya Rai Bachchan, and the storyline revolves around an Indian extremist organisation; Shiva Sena. The Big Bachchan is playing the role of Bal Thakerey in the film while his son along with his wife are said to play other important roles. What we don't understand is why the movie is banned in the first place?  Considering how movies of all subject matters are being showcased around the cinema halls of Pakistan, it seems like another movie wouldn't have harmed our cinema owners. Well, in any case we can always catch the movie on DVD..



Chicken (minced)          1 lb    

Rice powder          1 tbsp

Pepper 1 tsp

Lime juice          2 tbsp

Onion  1

Garlic  1 tsp

Red chilli          1 tsp

Oil      2 tbsp


For Garnish:

Spring onions          (chopped)    

Mint leaves           (chopped)

Coriander leaves           (chopped)



Start by heating the oil. Add the chopped onions, rice powder, chilli and garlic paste, and cook for three minutes

Now, add the chicken and cook for five to eight minutes

Take it out in a serving dish

Garnish it with spring onions, coriander and mint leaves. Serve while hot!

The International Defence Exhibition and Seminar or the IDEAS has been a success since its inception. It is a biennial event being held at Karachi Expo Centre since 2000. It provides a platform for Pakistan and foreign defence manufacturers to showcase their products. With its theme 'Arms for Peace', it is a reflection of Pakistan's desire to promote international peace and stability through deterrence. Besides, it also presents an ideal opportunity to the defence manufacturers for entering into collaboration and joint ventures with Pakistan or other prospective international partners.

On the occasion of the Soft launch of IDEAS 2008, recently at the Prime Minister's Secretariat Auditorium, Islamabad, a profound presentation was given by Shaiyanne and Sohail Malik along with their team to a select gathering of dignitaries. The inaugural ceremony was presided by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and was attended by the Chairman Joint Chief of Staff of the Pakistan Armed Forces, General Tariq Majeed, and other high officials including PIA Managing Director Captain Aijaz Haroon. A magnificent sword was also presented, as a souvenir of this event, to the Prime Minister by the Director General of DEPO, Major General Mohammed Farooq. Brigadier Munir Ahsan conducted the proceedings in an effective and articulate manner and gave a brief introduction to the choreographed sequence.

The dramatic presentation of the theme - Arms for Peace - was beautifully executed by Shaiyanne's talented team. The show sought to address the fundamental aspects of humanity and Pakistan's role as a moderate peace loving nation fully committed to the UN's charter. The glorious backdrops of the stage displayed the rich heritage sites from across the land, such as the Ghandhara civilisation friezes and the other ancient temple carvings with the Derawar and Lahore Forts in imposing picturesque grandeur, all placed in a complementary contrast to the breathtaking view of the scenic splendour of the mountains of our northern regions.  

The task was quite daunting as it was not easy to handle subjects like the link between weapons and the advancements in technology and how the unarmed and the weaker nations are invariably overwhelmed by their opponents. The dramatic rendition of the varied aspects of the trials and tribulations in the Asian region was done immaculately. It also depicted the exemplary contribution of the armed forces in turbulent times, including the continuing commitment shown by Pakistan to the UN's peace keeping efforts, throughout the world.

An interesting aspect of the show was the incorporation of a unique group called Heartbeat, which composed people, from countries, such as North America, Europe and Far East, who have chosen Pakistan as their home and live here permanently. Their love for this land, which they have adopted as their own, was evident in their colourful performance which was highly appreciated by the audience.

Aptly directed by Sohail Malik, the lighting of each dramatic sequence was appropriate to its mood and lent just the right hues to accent the atmosphere required for each scene. The costumes were designed by Shaiyanne while the make-up and styling was done by Huma Tahir. The sound track was mostly symphonic, while the theme song for IDEAS, specially composed for this event was charmingly rendered by Zahshanne Malik in the finale. It was a very sentimental moment for everyone when the entire cast assembled on stage and rendered the theme song - highlighting all the positives that emanate from the IDEAS forum and its overall contribution to lasting world peace by guaranteeing a reasonable measure of deterrence in providing a wholesome balance of power.

Fashion is the accepted way of dressing at a given time. It is the total outlook of an individual of today. Though fashion evolves and some styles come back, it only applies for 'now'. Right fashion means getting the value for your money. That's why the demand for designs that requires timeless appeal and a quality that goes beyond trendy has been tremendously increasing. Whether it is haute couture or pret-a-porte, it is basically the designer's distinctive style that sells.

Rana Saeed Allawala is one such designer who is known for her elegant style. Her boutique Rans at Bahadurabad, Karachi, has been catering to fashion conscious women since 1986. Rana has recently launched her latest collection along with the chicken kari collection of Vandana (Indian Designer) in a simple ceremony organised by Catwalk Productions.

The design philosophy of Rans is based on style, beauty and elegance. She has diversified her work by offering an eclectic range of shoes, purses, bridal accessories and exotic bridal bed spreads. Now, she has also ventured into arts by starting up an art gallery with paintings of renowned artists.

Let's come back to her collection. The gorgeous and glamorous models who flaunted her outfits at the event were Iraj, Nadia Hussain and Fayeza Ansari. Her designs are timeless as she offers a wide range of variety in cuts, embellishments and colours - be it bridals, sarees, formals or evening wear. Take Iraj's light green sharara, Fayeza's brown saree or Nadia Hussain's orange evening wear. Intricately embroidered designs, complemented by the jewellery pieces speak volumes about the designer's skills. And the best part was that the collection was wearable.

Rana's collection of assorted sarees in shimmering silk was a feast to the eyes. According to her it's the world's oldest fashion statement. "Saree is all about rhythm and fluidity, capturing the essence and sensuality of the woman. It speaks of romance or riches, of sobriety or gaiety, of sophistication or innocence. It is said that a saree rarely fails to flatter a woman, making her feel fragile and feminine," said Rana, who was also wearing a graceful saree on the occasion.

Her designs are not restricted to a certain kind of fabric as there is something for everyone. She claims to use only the best of fabrics and materials because she feels that "therein lies the essence of beautiful clothes". From jamavaars and khadi to silks, georgettes and chiffons, there isn't much the lady hasn't experimented with. While for the colours, she mainly works on the soft colours and chalky tones. Of course it depends upon the requirement of the season and clientele as well.

Embellish-ments play a very important role in her style of designing. From traditional zaree, dapka, resham, kamdani, madoori, shadow, kantha works to the dazzling fusionist jewels, shells, beads, and diamantes embellishments; she has worked with all sorts of add-ons!

The evening was attended by both media and showbiz fraternity where you could spot big names such as Rohana Iqbal of Bhabhi's salon to Neshmia and from Frieha Altaf to Azra Zia. There have been events when you walk out bored and frustrated but Rana Saeed along with the organisers managed to carve a soothing impression on the minds of the attendees.

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