Browsing 'pakistan' News

Shabina S. Khatri / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Pakistani visitors to Qatar can now get free visas on arrival at Qatar’s airport.

These visas are good for a 30-day stay, and can be extended for an additional month, according to the Qatari embassy in Pakistan.

Qatar Airways appeared to update its website to reflect the change late last month, and the Pakistani embassy in Qatar also tweeted about it.

However, the news was only confirmed by Qatari authorities in Islamabad this week.

The move comes after Qatar announced a new visa-free scheme for visitors of 80 nationalities in early August.

At the time, Pakistanis and many others lamented that their countries were not on the list.

The offer was extended to populous nations like India, Russia and China, but not most African, South Asian and Arab countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Egypt.

Conditions

To be eligible for the visa on arrival, Pakistani travelers must present passports with at least six months validity.

A return/onward ticket is also needed.

The traveler must also have at least QR5,000 in cash or a valid credit card. Additionally, a certificate of vaccination against polio is needed.

Travelers do not have to fly Qatar Airways to avail of the visa on arrival.

Thoughts?

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani meets Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain in March.

QNA

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani meets Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain in March 2015.

Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain is due to make his first official visit to Qatar today.

According to QNA, Hussain will meet the Emir on Monday to discuss “a number of issues of joint interest.”

Energy, labor and defense are likely to be high on the agenda, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar Gas

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In February, the two countries signed a US$1 billion deal in which Qatar will export LNG to Pakistan for the next 15 years.

And more recently, Qatargas and Pakistani firm Global Energy Infrastructure Ltd. signed a 20-year LNG sale and purchase agreement.

However, speaking to Gulf Times, Pakistani embassy officials stressed that no agreements are expected to be signed during this trip.

Instead, the president is making “a goodwill visit” at Sheikh Tamim’s invitation, the newspaper cited one official as saying.

In addition to meeting Qatari officials, Hussain will visit children at a Pakistani school and other community members.

Hiring more expats

Last year, Qatar’s Emir met with Hussain during his inaugural trip to Pakistan. At that time, officials pressed Qatar to hire more of its nationals.

According to Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, more than 125,000 Pakistanis live in Qatar. And remittances are an important part of their home country’s economy.

Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif

UN/Flickr

Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif

“We would appreciate if Pakistani manpower in Qatar is substantially enhanced,” Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was quoted as saying in March 2015.

Sharif also raised the labor issue during his own visit to Qatar in February of this year, when the crucial gas deal was signed.

Hussain is expected to leave Qatar on Oct. 25. Thoughts?

Shahnawaz Zali

Via Shahnawaz Zali

Shahnawaz Zali

An award-winning film about religious extremism that was produced and shot in Qatar has recently been nominated for a prestigious Student Oscar.

Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) graduate Shahnawaz Zali’s 100 Steps was one of 26 US nominees selected out of more than 500 applicants.

Though it was shot in Qatar, the film takes place in Zali’s home country of Pakistan.

Shahnawaz Zali's 100 Steps

Video still

Shahnawaz Zali’s 100 Steps

It follows the story of a boy named Abdulla who finds out that his local religious school is a front for a radical extremists’ recruitment camp.

Only 13 years old, Abdulla has to choose between doing what he is told or defying the man who raised him.

In a statement, Zali said, “We’re used to seeing Pakistan in a certain light and I wanted to show the world that there’s more.”

Time for change

Speaking to Doha News, the 23-year-old said the film took several months of research, writing, rewriting, shooting and reshooting.

Born and raised in Lahore, Zali witnessed first-hand Pakistan’s political turmoil. He said he had always hoped to produce content that challenged global stereotypes about his country and Muslims.

He explained:

“Even before coming to Northwestern University in Qatar, I had always dreamt about making films that can potentially invoke thoughts and emotions and can show the world that not all Pakistanis or not all Muslims are what the negative stereotype is around the globe…

And I believed that in order to progress as a nation, we must acknowledge that there is a problem within our society. Once we acknowledge the problem then only we can work together to solve it.”

100 Steps has already won awards at the Accolade Global Film Festival, Miami independent film festival and a Moving Media film festival in Detroit.

It is competing against six other films produced by students at other American universities in the narrative category.

Locally produced

The film is a product of Studio 20Q. The film grant initiative was started by NU-Q four years ago and provides funding for independent student projects.

Shahnawaz Zali's 100 Steps

Video still

Shahnawaz Zali\’s 100 Steps

The organization is a replica of the student-run organization Studio 22 at Northwestern University’s main campus in Evanston.

According to Zali, 100 Steps took nine days to shoot. But the whole process – including petitioning for crew members, scouting for locations, finding actors and editing the film – was about a year long.

“The crew that worked for us was unpaid and they were all students, so it is a 100 percent student work.

I was very glad that I had a very passionate and hard-working crew who worked tirelessly to make this film happen, especially in the heat we used to shoot in outside.”

After applying the finishing touches, Zali submitted his film to several film festivals, including the Student Academy Awards.

“I did not expect that I would get nominated, it was always a dream,” he said. “But you see, when you dream big, nothing is impossible.”

What’s next

After graduating this year, Zali said he hopes to work for Qatar Foundation. He is also in the process of establishing a production company in Lahore.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Craig Piersma/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

There, he plans to continue to tell stories about his country and its people through film.

But in the near future, the young filmmaker hopes to clinch his first Oscar at next month’s awards ceremony.

“I am praying to God that I hope I can make all of my friends, family members, university, crew members, Qatar and Pakistan proud by bringing a Student Oscar home,” he said.

Thoughts?