Rebranding: What It Means And How To Do It

Businesses sometimes have to take a step back and admit their brand needs a little help.  When this happens, businesses have the option to rebrand themselves and start over fresh.  Rebranding is a way for a business to update its look and attract more customers while continuing to cater to its existing customer base.

When a business chooses to rebrand, it means that the business will undergo a lot of change.  As Business Insider said, “A successful campaign requires more than a revamped logo. It demands a vision that inspires customers, investors, and others to see the company in a new light.” Rebranding means that more than just the design or colors will change; it means that the whole environment of the business will change.

Rescue a CEO asked some successful entrepreneurs what needs to happened in order to make a rebranding campaign successful.  They suggested rebranding through design as most customers are visual and remember brands which have great branding through their logos, colors, etc.  It is also helpful to create a strong idea of where the brand will be going before starting.  Without a clear plan, it can be disastrous after starting to have to back track on a rebranding campaign.  A final suggestion is to announce the change.  Customers don’t like to be caught off guard and rebranding can be enough to make loyal customers leave if they don’t receive a warning first.

One company that has very good branding is 12 Palms Treatment Center.  Currently, they cater to people with addictions that want a personalized touch in an environment other than that of a hospital.  Their brand is there to remind people that going to a 12 Palms is more like a vacation than that of a rehab center.  They have done a great job of making rehab seem less scary and more comfortable.

Empire CAT Construction is a family owned company that has been handed down through the generations.  Their branding reflects the foundation that they have come from and the core values they hold are obvious building blocks to their brand.  Empire-CAT shows they value the safety for their customers as well as the ability to provide them with outstanding construction equipment to help them get the job done.

Rebranding can be a tricky business and there are a few things that can lead a business down the wrong track.  According to ReBrand, a rebranding agency, businesses should avoid clinging to traditions and hire someone who doesn’t regularly work within the business’s industry so they can get a fresh perspective of what needs to happen with their brand.  It is also a good idea to do a lot of research before starting and imagine how customers will feel and react to a business’s rebranding campaigns.  Finally it’s advised that businesses hire a consulting firm, but also stand their ground and not get strong-armed into doing something with their brand they don’t want to.

Obviously rebranding is not something that is an easy task.  Taking a brand and creating a new spin on it while attempting to keep customers happy is a tricky thing to do.  With proper planning and avoidance of common mistakes, rebranding can be a useful thing for businesses to consider if their brand needs a little updating.

About the author: Courtney Gordner is a blogger/journalist with a passion for writing and the latest trends online. You can read more from her on her own blog or connect with  her on Google+

Unconstitutional Egypt Coup

The Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi probably still have enough support such that it is unavoidable that they will be involved in the political life of a feasible democratic future for Egypt. The risk in unseating Morsi is that those supporters will not view any future political process as legitimate. I think that it will be very difficult to achieve a stable and democratic Egypt in the near future when a large segment of its voting population thinks that the government is not legitimate. I hope that I am wrong.

Some of Morsi’s sins undermined the legitimacy of his regime, and suggested that he no longer had the right to rule. Examples of these sorts of problems include passing a constitution without the widespread support of all segments of society, stacking the bureaucracy with cronies, and failing to end abuses by Egypt’s secret police. These are the reasons that protesters should give for unseating Morsi. If they can convince enough people that Morsi wasn’t a legitimate ruler, then they will have made their case that overthrowing him and establishing a new government is justified. However, some of the reasons that have been given for unseating Morsi include matters of policy, not legitimacy. For instance, a good deal of the protests are about the lousy state of the Egyptian economy, including the lack of tourism because of safety concerns. Even if Morsi was a bad economic manager, those sorts of questions are not the sort that can be answered by overthrowing the government.

Moving on, many have sought to justify the military coup on the ground that Egypt’s constitution provides no peaceful way to remove a president. That is not the case, lets refer to Article 152 of Egypt’s constitution – the President of the Republic is impeached for felony or high treason if at least a third of the members of the House of Representatives sponsor a motion of impeachment, and the House passes the motion with a two-thirds majority. As soon as the impeachment is in effect, the President of the Republic stops all work. This stoppage is treated as the result of a temporary hindrance that prevents the President of the Republic from assuming his responsibilities. It ends once the verdict is announced. The President of the Republic is to be tried before a special tribunal headed by the President of the High Council of Judges and staffed by the senior deputies of the President of the High Constitutional Court and the State Council, and the two most senior presidents of the appeals courts. The Public Prosecutor assumes the role of prosecutor. If the most senior person is unable to play his part, the person next in seniority takes his place. The law specifies the procedures of the trial as well as the sentence. If found guilty, the President of the Republic is relieved of his duties. This does not preclude additional penalties.

There was no justification for bloodshed. That said, Morsi supporters must share in the blame of the current chaos because of their support of a government that essentially marginalized democracy. Their vote for Morsi was meant only to select which degree of Islam the country would adhere to, not to select a true democracy; one with civil rights and a separation of church and state.

About the author: Laila Rehman is a Content Writer for Trango and a social scientist by degree. 

Unconstitutional Egypt Coup

The Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi probably still have enough support such that it is unavoidable that they will be involved in the political life of a feasible democratic future for Egypt. The risk in unseating Morsi is that those supporters will not view any future political process as legitimate. I think that it will be very difficult to achieve a stable and democratic Egypt in the near future when a large segment of its voting population thinks that the government is not legitimate. I hope that I am wrong.

Some of Morsi’s sins undermined the legitimacy of his regime, and suggested that he no longer had the right to rule. Examples of these sorts of problems include passing a constitution without the widespread support of all segments of society, stacking the bureaucracy with cronies, and failing to end abuses by Egypt’s secret police. These are the reasons that protesters should give for unseating Morsi. If they can convince enough people that Morsi wasn’t a legitimate ruler, then they will have made their case that overthrowing him and establishing a new government is justified. However, some of the reasons that have been given for unseating Morsi include matters of policy, not legitimacy. For instance, a good deal of the protests are about the lousy state of the Egyptian economy, including the lack of tourism because of safety concerns. Even if Morsi was a bad economic manager, those sorts of questions are not the sort that can be answered by overthrowing the government.

Moving on, many have sought to justify the military coup on the ground that Egypt’s constitution provides no peaceful way to remove a president. That is not the case, lets refer to Article 152 of Egypt’s constitution – the President of the Republic is impeached for felony or high treason if at least a third of the members of the House of Representatives sponsor a motion of impeachment, and the House passes the motion with a two-thirds majority. As soon as the impeachment is in effect, the President of the Republic stops all work. This stoppage is treated as the result of a temporary hindrance that prevents the President of the Republic from assuming his responsibilities. It ends once the verdict is announced. The President of the Republic is to be tried before a special tribunal headed by the President of the High Council of Judges and staffed by the senior deputies of the President of the High Constitutional Court and the State Council, and the two most senior presidents of the appeals courts. The Public Prosecutor assumes the role of prosecutor. If the most senior person is unable to play his part, the person next in seniority takes his place. The law specifies the procedures of the trial as well as the sentence. If found guilty, the President of the Republic is relieved of his duties. This does not preclude additional penalties.

There was no justification for bloodshed. That said, Morsi supporters must share in the blame of the current chaos because of their support of a government that essentially marginalized democracy. Their vote for Morsi was meant only to select which degree of Islam the country would adhere to, not to select a true democracy; one with civil rights and a separation of church and state.

About the author: Laila Rehman is a Content Writer for Trango and a social scientist by degree

Why Did Eye To Eye And One Pound Fish Go Viral?

The purpose of a viral video is simple: it gets people to talk about it, both online and offline.

This disposition grows exponentially when a video is passed on to friends through social network applications such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and blogs. These portals have dramatically enhanced the ability of users to share and discuss videos or images that either tickle their funny bone or make them want to bang their head against the wall.

The YouTube ban in Pakistan has not diverted users from sharing unusual videos that are surfing around on the internet. Many users have bypassed the minor blockage of YouTube to blogs that discuss the videos that are hard to miss. Blogs have become a significant online network through which Pakistani users can find the most shared videos and images.

Taher Shah’s Eye to Eye
One such video that has really made waves on the viral landscape is ‘Eye To Eye’ by Taher Shah:

A response to Eye to Eye on ‘The News’ website was shared by over 4814 people, specifically 351 Facebook shares and 81 tweets.

The review was unsurprisingly followed by the launch of a parody Facebook page abundant with user generated content in the form of memes and more links to the video. All this buzz has resulted in Mr. Shah’s popularity skyrocketing in a very short time span.

One Pound Fish
A similar level of fame was attained by Muhammad Shahid Nazir in 2012. Commonly know as the One Pound Fish guy, Nazir gained popularity for the song he sang promoting his fish stall in London.


£1 Fish Man – One Pound Fish – O-Fish-Al Video by Leroidukitch

Nazir’s Facebook page is followed by over 33,000 fans and was active till this January.

When Brands Cash in on a Viral Trend
An interesting aspect about fame found by ‘odd’ means is that the ‘artist’ often gets noticed by major brands. Some brands even sign endorsements such as PTCL, who got Muhammad Shahid Nazir on board for their Landline Link campaign (sung to the tune of One Pound Fish, of course).


More recently, Mobilink’s official Facebook page shared this image featuring Taher Shah. However, it was deleted within a few minutes so it is unconfirmed whether or not this was an official celebrity endorsement deal.


Why Do Videos Go Viral?
Discourse around viewing a video that one loves or hates is a natural social instinct. Like One Pound Fish, Eye to Eye has also managed to hit platinum on the viral video chart. It was uploaded just two months ago and has already become one of the most talked about videos online.

It brings forth the question: what makes the video so share-able? What caused this video to transpire a phenomenal social wave of interaction? In fact various elements have been argued and deduced by scholars on the matter of viral videos and their ability to create a large social dialogue. The main conclusions are that videos go viral when they are specific to pop culture and have a combination of irony and hilarity.

It is widely recognized that viral videos are epidemic in nature for 18–25 year olds. This age group is the driving force in multi-sharing a video with a friend, colleague, acquaintance or relative.

The combination of irony and hilarity in Eye to Eye is quite easy to understand. It’s ironic because the love song is anything but genuinely romantic. The hilarity is the ambiance of the whole video: the glamorous background, the flashing lights and the constant close up on the ‘spectrum’ eyes.

Viral videos form a connection between social media users. They provide a passage for sharing opinions on a well-known article, image or video, even if it’s not informative. When the Eye to Eye sensation dies down, what could possibly come next?

Is Social Media An Influential Tool For Local Brands?

Social media is a powerful tool for brands if it is used effectively. As socialization becomes more digitized, consumers appeal to the idea of engaging with the product or service of a brand before purchasing it. It is a portal through which companies can engage with potential consumers swiftly and monitor customer feedback.

However, brands in Pakistan are not as powerfully integrated in social engagement.With internet penetration up to 12 percent since December 2011, Pakistan is still in its growing stages when it comes to using the social media for brand development. It is reported that there are over 8 million Facebook and Twitter users in Pakistan since April 2013.

There are three main social factors for effective use of social media by a local brand. These factors are:
1. Facebook and Twitter following
2. Brand response to consumer queries
3. Interactive promotional campaigns on social media

It has been noted that a handful of brands in Pakistan have managed to incorporate the above mentioned social factors to enhance their company. However, there are particular brands still in the process of understanding the influence of social media. Taking selected brands as examples of effective or non-effective use of social media, we shall deduct the influence of social media for a brand:

14th Street Pizza, launched in February, 2011

Advance Telecom, launched in 2001

Pizza Hut, launched in 1993

Ufone, launched in January, 2001

These companies have implemented Facebook marketing in their overall marketing strategy, which has led them to fruitful results. With the exception of Pizza Hut, the remaining 3 brands have also built a noticeable social presence on Twitter.

Facebook and Twitter following:

Brand Name

Facebook

Twitter

Following Talking About It Following Tweets
14th Street Pizza 1,004,113 45,744 797 2,191
Advance Telecom 524,650 30,944 893 4,800
Pizza Hut Pakistan 940,778 35,230 25 64
Ufone 1,281,417 91,263 12, 382 2,302

Date: 28th June 2013

Brand response to consumer queries:

Quick response to consumer queries is essential for a brand. An immediate reply conveys a brand’s interest in each customer on a personal level. It maintains a social relationship and gains trust. In this aspect, the above mentioned brands do not respond on their social media pages as promptly as expected but they still answer queries within 12 hours.

However, there are some queries that go unnoticed which can break customer loyalty:

Interactive promotional campaigns on social media:

Promotional campaigns on social media platforms are most effective when they engage consumers into sharing the campaign with others. A digitized version of word of mouth marketing is achieved, which reaches even those individuals who have not tried the product. Social media posts and shares are the quickest ways for brands to gain exposure. Here are some promotional campaigns that have been designed to interact with followers:

Social media is a useful tool. Once a company is able to grasp its mechanics, it can use it to build an influential digital portal for its consumers. The question is, when will brands in Pakistan realize this?

5 Local Coupon Sites For Deals And Discounts Galore

Digitized coupons are making a huge splash in Pakistan. While the scorching heat deters shoppers from browsing summer sales, e-commerce has become every shopaholics dream. Now add to that the opportunity to purchase deals and coupons at low prices; it is every consumer’s lucky day.

The growing market for online coupon sites has caused a multitude of local Groupon clone sites to emerge year after year. Some of them are:

  1. Grabit – June 1, 2011
  2. DealToday.pk – May 1, 2012
  3. HappyDeals.pk – Jul 23, 2012
  4. Groupado – Nov 13, 2012
  5. Dealon.com – February 5, 2013

This gives consumers the benefit of comparing prices on various coupon sites before decide on their purchase.

Business are considered trustworthy when consumers can easily find company details on their website. Major traffic on websites can cause hang ups and delays, which is not profitable for discount sites. This is why it’s essential for an online business to have an efficient, well-maintained website, so both the site and the business can run smoothly. Quick browsing and user friendliness are critical to a coupon site’s reputation.

After going on to all five coupon sites, it is pleasing to note that all websites are running without any hang ups. One is able to purchase a voucher that is immediately confirmed via e-mail and a phone call. However, the websites usually look one and the same.

DealToday.pk, Grabit and HappyDeals.pk lean towards a cool blue theme with featured or recent deals displayed on the homepage:

Dealon.com has gone with a striking red theme for their website to perhaps set them apart, while Groupado’s website welcomes customers with an attractive orange theme:

HappyDeal.pk is Lahore-based and has a Facebook following over 400,000 fans, while Karachi-based DealToday.pk has over 600,000 fans. Some of these sites cater to only one city while some have expanded into multiple cities in Pakistan.

As a general rule, since these sites grow organically due to word or mouth, they tend to establish customer loyalty. The sites are recommended by satisfied customers who have tried out their deals. Here are some positive comments on Facebook from some of the coupon sites:

The sites mentioned above, as well as many others, do not have an online payment solution. Purchasing a deal is means confirming the order online, after which there is a physical delivery of the voucher. The method of payment is cash on delivery. The whole process seems quick but it has resulted in delays and mismanagement of deals and funds. This leads to unsatisfied customers. Here are some comments about it:

Online coupon sites are going strong in Pakistan. They’re convenient, user friendly and open 24 hours a day. Some of the deals on offer on these sites feature discounts that can often be hard to believe. Buyers not only save on the price tag but also on fuel costs and time, all from the comfort of their homes. What’s not to love?

10 Memorable Hosts Of The Lux Style Awards

The last 11 years have seen eleven annual Lux Style Awards. These awards have come to be associated with glamorous events combining the fashion, film, television, music and, thanks to the sheer amount of branding that surrounds them, advertising industries.

Widely considered a prestigious hosting gig, emceeing the Lux Style Awards has become a coveted job. From Zia Mohyeddin to Ahmed Ali Butt, who rocked last year’s show with wise cracks, all the hosts have given their best to Lux Style Awards.

From 2002 to 2012, the Luxies have seen glamorous stars, top models and talk show hosts showcasing their skills at the prestigious awards ceremony. Here’s a look back at the most memorable LSA hosts:

1. Zia Mohyeddin
The first LSA held in 2002 was hosted by Zia Mohyeddin, a Pakistani actor, narrator, producer, director and television broadcaster who has appeared in both Pakistan and British cinema throughout his career. No one can match the hosting skills of this legend and he stands on top of all the LSA hosts.

2. Moin Akhter
Worldwide comedy icon Moeen Akhter’s name is synonymous with laughter. He hosted the second Lux Style Awards in 2003, and is still remembered for his spoof on the fashion industry.

3. Nadia Jameel
A thespian and actress par excellence, Nadia Jamil’s skills are not limited to dramas and stage. There is a lot more to her than acting, which she proved at the Lux Style Awards 2004 held in Dubai.

4. Shaan, Aamina Haq and Iman Ali
Shaan Shahid is an actor, writer and director, but his strengths are not limited to these skills. He has hosted LSA ceremonies in 2005 and 2008 and is the first male Lollywood star to pilot the high-profile awards show.

Top models Aamina Haq and Iman Ali also made it to LSA hosts’ list in 2005 as Shaan’s co-hosts.

5. Moammar Rana and Reema Khan
The actor who took Lollywood by storm with his first movie ‘Deewane Tere Pyar K’ made his first appearance at the LSA as an MC in 2007, along with the local film icon Reema Khan.

6. Ali Azmat
The singing sensation Ali Azmat, who performed at the LSA in 2006 found his way back to the stage in 2007 as a host. Ali Azmat also hosted segments at LSA 2008 along side Shaan Shahid.

8. Fawad Khan
Singer and actor, Fawad Khan made his first official entry to LSA as a host in 2008.

9. BNN
The 10th Lux Style Awards brought the laughter kings, BNN to the stage. The BNN boys received huge applause from the audience and the media for doing full justice for keeping the audience engaged throughout the event.

10. Ahmed Ali Butt
Actor, rapper and keyboardist, Ahmed Ali Butt stole the show at the 11th Lux Style Awards with his hilarious jokes and brilliant re-enactment of Akon’s ‘Smack That’.

This year, the awards office has once again asked Butt to host the show for the second year running.

Brand Collaborations: Why Nando’s + Uth Oye! = Success

Brand collaborations, also called brand partnerships, are one of the many tactics through which you can market your brand.

Brand collaborations are much needed these days due to increased awareness regarding the complexity within the diverse segments of the market.

These days brand managers are smart enough to use as many cost effective communication channels as possible. This helps brands achieve synergy. It also satisfies the concept of ‘holistic marketing’, which states that due to rapid globalization and the dynamic nature of the market, it is essential to consider the complexities of a business in depth. The concept of traditional marketing is fading away, as are traditional channels of advertising.

Brand collaboration can act as a breath of fresh air for your brand but only if it is communicated wisely. Big brands with huge marketing budgets also risk a failed collaboration if it is not channelized properly. Through effective brand collaborations, you can enhance your brand’s identity and if done right, it can have a long term positive effect on the brand’s health.

Martin Lindstrom’s book ‘Brand Sense’ claims that more than 90% of brand collaboration fail because of 3 simple mistakes:
1. The two collaborating brands do not share equal value.
2. Strategy is too complicated to be understood by the consumers.
3. There is no similarity between the brands.

Additionally, if two competing brands collaborate it is likely to be unsuccessful due to a conflict of interests. The collaboration can do wonders if the managers of the two brands have organized it effectively and their brand identities correspond to each other.

NANDO’S AND UTH OYE!

Yesterday, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were flooded with a creative graphic announcing a collaboration between Nando’s Pakistan and t-shirt brand Uth Oye!. The collaboration aims to promote a Nando’s event while making Uth Oye! the restaurant’s lifetime merchandise partner.

Both these brands are so different, operating completely different businesses. What is the factor that holds them together?

The answer is segmentation. There are 4 types of segmentation: geographic, behavioral, demographic and psychographic. The target markets of these two brands compliment each other in terms of their segmentation. Both brands are targeting similar socio-economic classes with consumers of similar mind sets. Both brands are outstanding, cause-oriented product developers that are growing rapidly and franchising worldwide.

Uth Oye! has designed t-shirts for Nando’s with branding around their Peri Peri line. The tees will be sold at the comedy shows that Nando’s is organizing in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. They will also be availble on the Uth Oye! website as well as their retail outlet.

The impact it will have on consumers has the potential to be huge. The two brands would be perceived relevant by the consumers and the feelings for one will automatically shared by the other. Consumers can see the exclusivity of the two brands coming together.

If done properly, there is always a reason to collaborate and it can be very valuable in terms of publicity.

About the author: Farah J. Shahid is responsible for managing international cosmetics brands and is currently a media representative at Renaissance Pakistan, a local NGO.

5 Best Telecom Ads Of All Time

Telecoms are major ad spenders in Pakistan. Over the years, these telecom TV ads have faced all sorts of responses from consumers including the good, the bad and the ugly. But out of all the Warid, Mobilink, Telenor and Ufone TVCs that come out, there are always those that touch your heart:

1. Warid Telecom – Be Heard (2005): 4 stars

This was the first ever TV commercial released by Warid Telecom. It probably single-handedly persuaded millions to switch their SIM cards. The company had established itself in the race for people’s attention by just two words: “Be heard”. The entire TVC led up to its slogan with an elegant sequence of events that started with a wedding and ended with two children enjoying their communication through two tin cans and a string. The ad had done its job to persuade, to inspire and to be heard.

2. Mobilink: Har Dil. Har Din (2013): 3.5 stars

Re-vamping a brand that already boasts recognition on top of millions of minds is not easy. It takes a completely different outlook on the brand and the risks are high. However, Mobilink’s TVC has become the beacon of light that can help them reach their target audience. There is a certain tempo to the sound score that builds up to a crescendo as it reaches the end. It is like a deep breath taken in and then exhaled out just when the ad ends. The visual aspect of the ad has the capability to grab attention as the split-screen editing is flawless and the voice dubbing with each scene is one cue. This ad has persuaded one individual; it most certainly can persuade a million more.

3. Ufone: Shukriya Pakistan – 14th August TVC (2012): 3.5 stars

A strong message always shines through in an ad that is simple and sweet. 14th August will always remain a soft spot in the heart of every Pakistani. Being able to reach each and every one of those hearts requires a message that is clear, resounding and full of hope. Ufone has definitely been able to achieve these qualities with the help of Aftab who is blind but can still listen. This ad has a beautiful melody with a simple message: “Shukriya (Thank You) Pakistan”. Quick shots, picturesque views and the symbolic greenery around Aftab deliver the idea that Ufone users know the importance of being thankful.

4. Telenor Talk Shawk – Baaton Baaton Mein (2010): 3.5 stars

This TVC has provided an enriching overview of communication that is all relationships, old and new, is just a phone call away. Its visuals frequently display Telenor’s “Talk Shawk” with each relationship it narrates. It conveys the notion Telenor has been easily incorporated into maintaining relationships far and wide. There is no chance that one can be alone anywhere if it has Telenor. The TVC illustrates Telenor’s confidence and recognition of community.

5. Ufone – Teri Meherbani (2010): 3 stars

Putting a twist on the typical boy-meets-girl narrative does attract a large audience that is tired of the cliché. As the ad starts, assumptions are already made about the story ending typically with the boy whisking the girl away into the sunset. Ufone’s TVC though, makes a parody of the love cliché to notify its audience about voice clarity. The entire ad is a trick of the mind. The setting is soft, there is a band, a handsome man and beautiful woman, the one bump in the road is the woman’s truckhorn-like voice. It definitely makes one think twice about making assumptions.

Top 5 Pakistani Women Who Have Scaled New Heights

Amidst the doom and gloom, and not to mention the constant darkness courtesy of load shedding, pervading the Pakistani atmosphere, there is always some news or the other that gives one us something to cheer about and instills a feeling of pride and belief that there is still hope for us.

Kudos to Pakistani women for their courage and resilience to overcome insurmountable odds and bring glory and fame to the nation. Although, there are many women in Pakistan who are real achievers, for the sake of brevity I shall endeavor to highlight the latest news breakers.

1. Samina Baig
Samina Baig probably feels like she’s on top of the world and rightfully so for she has just scaled the pristine heights of Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world at the young age of 21. She is the only Pakistani woman to have ever achieved this feat.

Hailing from the remote village of Gojal in Gilgit-Baltistan, Samina and her brother Mirza Ali Baig (who accompanied her on her ascent but abandoned the climb at 8600m ostensibly to allow her to complete the feat) have been mountain climbers from a young age. Samina has been scaling peaks since the age of four.

Unfortunately the government of Pakistan did not sponsor her. Instead, the New Zealand government helped in financing the expedition, although now the Alpine Club of Pakistan and the Pakistan Tourism Development Authority have honored her and recommended her for the pride of performance award.

2. Ayesha Farooq
She soars the skies, comfortable  and completely at ease in the cockpit of an F-7 PG  fighter aircraft  as she mans the controls, weaving through Pakistan’s air corridors, ever alert and vigilant while guarding the nation’s horizons.

She is Ayesha Farooq, 26, Pakistan’s first female fighter pilot qualified to fly a fighter jet. She is among 19 women enrolled in the Pakistan Air Force, and the first of five who has qualified as a fighter pilot. The other four have yet to qualify for the final test.

This is indeed a rare feat and a major stride in women’s empowerment. Ayesha has ventured in what was exclusive a male domain but with the changing times she overcame all odds, including opposition from her own family members to be where she is now.  Hats off to Flt Lt Ayesha Farooq.

3. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
She has given face to the faceless women of Pakistan who have been brutalized and scarred for life by acid throwing male tormentors. A filmmaker, producer and director, she won an academy award for jointly producing the documentary, ‘Saving Face’. The short term documentary follows the plight of women who are victims  of acid attacks and shows a Pakistani plastic surgeon who has helped in reconstructing their faces.

The documentary vividly highlights the injustice and maltreatment meted out to Pakistani women, particularly in the rural areas of the country. Though there were many detractors who blamed Ms Obaid-Chinoy for shaming the country y exposing its ills, in general her noble efforts to focus on a major problem in this part of the world was duly and widely appreciated.

4. Arfa Karim
Alas, she is no more with us having lost the battle of life at the tender age of 16. Arfa Abdul Karim Randhawa can best be described as an IT genius. She was the youngest Microsoft certified professional 2004-2006 having excelled in the field of IT technology.

She won many awards in a short life such as the Fatimah Jinnah Gold Medal in the field of Science and Technology and the Salaam Pakistan youth award both in 2005, as well as the President’s Award for Pride of Performance.

She represented Pakistan in several international forums and had she lived, she surely would have brought greater honour, glory and fame for herself and Pakistan and in particular to Pakistani women. May her soul rest in peace.

5. Malala Yousufzai
She has become a beacon of hope for children’s education particularly of girls throughout the world. Malala Yusufzai is the young student activist who defied the wrath of the Taliban, chronicling their nefarious activities in her native Swat as a blogger for the BBC.

A strong advocate of female education, she and her brave friends continued their education despite the harsh edict of militants opposing their efforts. She was shot in the head by militants but miraculously survived and was sent to England for treatment.  She has since become a global icon and the pride and hope of women’s education. She may well go on to win the Noble Peace prize.

Kudos and salutations to these and many other glorious women of Pakistan.