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Bilal Maqsood: Always Searching For New Heights

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The year was 1992, when a song Sir Kye Yeh Pahar was released in a mellow and soulful voice, it mesmerized all the youth of that time. Be in the car, in plane or even on a break from school or college, the song was favourite of every teenage boy and girl of that time. The vocalist of the song Bilal Maqsood, though the lead guitarist of his band gained immense popularity among the 90s kids just for a single.  

The band’s name was ‘Strings’ established in 1988 by four teenage college boys, who released their first album in 1990 named ‘Strings’. Two years later their second album ‘2 ‘came out accompanying the video of song ‘Sir Kiyeh Yeh Pahar’ which became a nationwide hit and the band was a sensation. Amidst enjoying the status of post 80s pop stars, the quartet took a break and almost left doing music for other jobs. Maqsood, who mostly fronted the band even opt a job of a creative director at advertising agency, a trait he inherited from his father, the legendary Anwar Maqsood, renowned writer and painter of Sub-Continent.

After the hiatus of eight years, Strings saw a new fame and success in new millennium and became international stars by performing all over the world and doing soundtracks for Hollywood hits like Spider-Man. They released four more new albums; Duur (2000), Dhaani (2003), Koi Aanay Wal Hai (2008) and latest Thirty (2018) which marked the completion of bands 30 years in the industry.  

Through all this journey Bilal Maqsood remained an integral part of the band and remained in touch with music and his band mates even when not doing music. Strings’ style of music and compositions are backed by this thin, tall and apparently quite (now a) man. Maqsood along with his long time fellow and lead vocalist of Strings Faisal Kapadia also directed the platforms like Coke Studios’s four seasons from seven to ten (2014 to 2017). 

Currently Maqsood is directing Pakistan’s first ever digital music platform Velo Sound Station. He took some time out for Daily Paperazzi about this new venture and his future plans in the field of music.

What is unique about Velo Sound Station? What you had on your mind when choosing artists and designing the sets for the program?

In the last 15 years or so I saw pop music taken over by Sufi and folk in Pakistan and quietly relegating to a space that was limited to just underground music. Idea behind VSS was to bring back pop music, which used to be the forte of Pakistani music industry to mainstream.

The set was designed keeping the Roman Colosseum in mind where the performer becomes the warrior with spectators all around him.

What is the inspiration behind Pyar Ka Rog?

Pyaar ka rog was one of the songs from my lockdown series on my Instagram. People really liked it but somehow i knew if ever I get down to record it, it would be in Faisal’s voice. We ventured out of our signature strings sound and experimented with retro synth wave keeping the mood of the show. The song is written by Mr. Anwar Maqsood,  began as just a piano version but now with Faisal Kapadia’s vocals and a full production it sounds amazing.

What was your journey from one big platform to Velo Sound Station?

My journey from Coke Studios to Velo Sound Station was bridged by the release of our 6th Studio album titled ‘Strings 30’. After the release of the album I had sometimes to think about the show and the direction it should take. I had two things in mind while coming up with the idea, one, that it has to be about pop music and second, that visually and sonically it should not resemble anything that’s on our local television screens.

How are you keeping it different from other music platforms of Pakistan?

Right now, Pakistani music is all about folk, Sufi and fusion. I made sure that I’ll stay away from that. I knew we will have to swim against the tide because people have forgotten the taste of Pakistani pop but that’s the risk we all were willing to take in order to bring our pop music to mainstream. 

Do you think that Velo Sound Station would be another platform for new talent?

Yes. We will always be looking for new talent who can fit into the realm of our show.

What do your fans expect more from you after the successful album ‘Strings Thirty’?

InshaAllah will never disappoint our fans. As soon as we get a little window will work on our new album.

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Delay in diagnosis can result in long term disability

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An awareness seminar to highlight the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of arthritis was conducted at the Governor house Punjab, with joint collaboration of Arthritis Care Foundation and Scotmann Pharmaceuticals here in Lahore on Sunday 21 November.

The seminar was chaired by the honorable Governor of Punjab Chaudry Muhammad Sarwar, with awareness sessions conducted by chairperson Arthritis Care Foundation, Prof. Nighat Mir Ahmed, Co-chairperson Prof. Sumaira Farman Raja, and Co-chairperson and General Secretary, Prof. Muhammad Ahmed Saeed, and Dr. Saira E. A. Khan.

According to research done by the Arthritis Care Foundation with funding by World Health Organization, approximately 1 out of every 4th person is suffering from some kind of inflammatory joint disease.  If not diagnosed early, these conditions can result in long-term disability, like Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. State of the art department of Rheumatology with international standards and equipment has been initiated at the Central Park Teaching Hospital, served by highly skilled and qualified specialists and staff. Central Park Teaching Hospital also provides free treatment services for deserving patients with the support of the Arthritis Care Foundation.

 

The seminar highlighted the role of Vitamin D, diet, and exercise for healthy bones and joints, arthritis in children, young and elderly, and the common causes of back pain.

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Peng Salon celebrates Children’s Day, inviting Children Cancer patients for a Spa Day

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This Children’s Day, Peng Salon & Spa, one of the leading hair & skin clinics in Karachi came up with a thoughtful initiative for children suffering from cancer. They invited these young cancer warriors from Indus Hospital for a Spa Day at the salon to mark Children’s Day celebrations. The children were treated with professional salon & spa services for a relaxing & refreshing experience.

 

 

Kaneez Fiza & Nafisa Dawood, Incharge at the Psychosocial department at Indus Hospital, who accompanied the children stated that the children were happy and it was an amazing experience for the children as well as their team at the Peng Salon. According to Kaneez, it was the first time for the children that they had visited a salon and they loved every bit of it and were overjoyed with the experience.

These children, fighting their battle against Cancer, are dreamers – full of innocence, hope and happiness. These little angels enjoyed the services of their choice at the salon and they were all smiles with the kind of pampering they were provided with. Services such as Haircut, hair styling, manicure, pedicure, makeup etc. were provided that made their day extra special.

 

After going through months of grueling treatment, giving these brave warriors such a day was a thoughtful initiative by Peng Salon. Arranging a Spa Day on Children’s Day for these young children to give them moments of joy and happiness was a wonderful idea by the team. Their aim to make these children feel valued, loved and special while helping them make cherishing memories.

Children were overwhelmed with the services they were provided and were all smiles as they left for the hospital again. Thumbs up to Peng Salon for initiating such a thoughtful activity to celebrate Children’s Day!

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5 motivational thoughts to get you motivated by Canadian-Pakistani CEO, Muneeb Mushtaq

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Canadian Pakistani CEO and motivational speaker Muneeb Mushtaq has given us many insightful and empowering thoughts over the years on the basis of his experiences as a young and dynamic businessman. The tech tycoon has been the founder of three tech business ventures and has managed to achieve so much at such a young age. And, he has given back his learning and knowledge by motivating, educating, and mentoring people to be successful in life.

Here are some motivational thoughts by the Forbes awarded entrepreneur Muneeb Mushtaq to get you motivated and beat the Monday blues:

 

  1. Get rid of the useless and negative clutter in your life

 

Muneeb Mushtaq suggests that it is important to subtract some of the unnecessary things from life to realise how insignificant they are. He advises us to get away from the insignificant and negative clutter in order to see an immediate positive impact. Worrying about what others think of us, trying to please everyone are some of the unimportant things we need to remove as soon as possible. According to him “When you remove what’s negative, it’ll add more space for what’s POSITIVE”!

 

  1. Don’t wait, just take the first step

 

The successful entrepreneur recommends us not to wait for other people or for the perfect moment to do what you have always wanted to do. There will never be a perfect time, situation or circumstances that would make you start working on your dreams. He advises us to just take the first step and get started.

 

  1. Failure is the opportunity to start over again, more wisely

 

The dynamic businessman is also of the view that failure provides an invaluable experience that makes it more likely to get success the next time around. He explains: “Till the time you don’t give up, the failures are just learning experiences, helping you to eventually succeed.”

 

  1. Respect the competition

 

Muneeb Mushtaq also shares this motivational thought that competition should be embraced and should be used as a driving force to push you further rather than fearing it. Competition is also a validation that there is a massive market and opportunity in the space to grow further.

 

  1. Change is important

Another motivating thought from Muneeb Mushtaq is that if you want change in life, then you should also be willing to change. He says, “If you are not willing to change, don’t expect your life to either”.

Follow Muneeb Mushtaq on Instagram @MuneebMushtaq for regular motivational posts.

 

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