Muniba Mazari, Meesha Shafi and Maria Unera pose for photos at Expo 2020 Dubai on Sunday.
Tanvir Usman, Gulf Today
Dubai is known as the land of wonders. It’s no secret that the city is one of the favourite destinations for celebrities from all across the globe to live and work. Top stars from the world of sports to showbiz and entertainment call Dubai their second home and rightly so. The city has all the ingredients for a perfect living, be it luxurious lifestyle, robust infrastructure, security, multicultural audience and the list goes on.
With Expo 2020 undergoing successfully, many well known faces have got an opportunity to visit the mega event and meet their fans and enthral them with spectacular shows and performances.
Sunday was another eventful day at the Expo 2020 Dubai with leading Pakistani women sharing their insights with Gulf Today and entertaining the audience with their stunning performances.
Meesha Shafi (C) sings as Muniba Mazari (R) and Maria Unera look on at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Pakistan Pavilion brought a mesmerising evening to Expo 2020 Dubai to celebrate tolerance and inclusivity week with a great line up of motivational speaker and artistes together around the theme “Pakistan – Connected through Diversity.”
The Pakistan Pavilion, since its opening on Oct.1, 2021, aimed at showcasing the diverse culture of the country, the various rich traditions, several backgrounds, and unique traditions practiced throughout the country.
To celebrate the occasion, Pakistan’s leading stars like powerhouse motivational speaker and singing sensations Meesha Shafi and Maria Unera were seen taking centre stage at the Jubilee Stage at Expo 2020 Dubai to meet fans and address the much important subject of diversity in Pakistan and showing the world on what inclusivity means to the people of the country.
Meesha Shafi performs at Expo 2020 Dubai.
One of the major hidden gems of the country is the diversity it carries; from the snow-laden Northern plains to the buzzing cities in the south, the country has several shades to its colour.
The idea of an inclusive Pakistan has been much talked about lately, and the country’s celebrities are ever so more dedicated to conveying their roots and diversity while linking it to a bigger message.
The Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 has been consistently delivering the message of a greater Pakistan, which people rarely get to see.
This weekend there was another successful event to stress the importance of empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, education, and national origin.
Muniba Mazari, also known as the Iron Lady of Pakistan, is an activist, anchor, model, and motivational speaker who came into the limelight after her unbeatable spirit and persona despite being wheelchair-bound person post a car accident at the age of 21 only.
Mazari was all eyes for the stunning Expo 2020 and expressed how she felt about it being a perfect initiative to bring people together. “It’s a wonderful initiative, and I’m so glad that a lot of people are coming from all across the globe, especially when I visited the Pakistan pavilion. That was so beautiful. I mean, that’s the true depiction of what Pakistan really is.”
Talking about the diversity and inclusivity week being celebrated, she stressed the importance of changing narratives. “I think we need to change the narratives, and by being in the wheelchair for the past 13 years, my motto is to change the narrative about differently-abled people. There are a few labels that are being used, like crippled, handicapped disabled. I think this is the time that we must change these narratives. And we should use words like differently-abled people, and that’s my real agenda,” she added
The Pakistani music industry has been ground-breaking, a true technique for many to showcase their talent and their diversity. As it continues to grow and expand organically, because Pakistan does not have the kind of infrastructure that global musicians have access to, but it’s the passion that drives so many musicians to take the initiative and follow their own musical goals, and that’s what sets Pakistani music apart.
Meesha Shafi, who is a well-known Canadian/Pakistani singer, also expressed her delight at the wonderful experience that is the Expo 2020. “I’ll be on the Jubilee stage as we celebrate diversity and inclusion. So it’s not just any other performance. I think it’s got a really wonderful message, and I look forward to connecting with just as diverse an audience today because that’s what the Expo is all about. It’s bringing so many people from around the world together. And that’s what we’re celebrating. So I’m really honoured to be here.”
Shafi has been known to be an icon for women in Pakistan, advocating women’s rights and high lightening their achievements. She believes that it is time to create work opportunities for women that enable them to grow and wants to share her space with these women and represent them.
Another young talent from Pakistan who has been seen rising to fame, Maria Unera, a young Pakistani born in Philippines, has made news by working with some of the biggest brands in a very short time and brings much diversity to the nation, blending in with her roots, through music yet keeping it apart with a little bit of a Filipino touch.
Talking about Expo 2020 Dubai, Unera said, “It’s phenomenal. I am truly honoured and grateful to be here. I think this is one of the biggest opportunities that I’ve got.”
Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai crossed a milestone of 100,000 visitors within just 18 days and became one of the most visited pavilions since the show opened its doors on Oct.1, 2021.
The colourful exterior of the pavilion attracted more than 8,000 visitors on the first day, and the visitors number jumped to 55,000 in the first week of the month. The pavilion has reached 120,000 visitors just after 3 days of reaching its first milestone.
Pakistan’s Pavilion, located in the Opportunity District, will unearth the hidden opportunities that the country has to offer. The pavilion has an immersive and hybrid art installation inviting visitors to the land of colours. Through a walkthrough visitors will experience Pakistan; a country of every known landscape that boasts of unparalleled nature and adventure.
The 35,000 sqft pavilion is divided into nine sections allowing visitors to rediscover Pakistan’s culture of hospitality, based on historical and religious traditions.
The outer facade has been enhanced through thousands of coloured and unique aluminium panels, that will give an impression of changing colours as visitors walk across them. Through a visual display the pavilion will showcase tourism sites, trade and investment opportunities, music and crafts and its culinary varieties.
The pavilion also includes a café named ‘dhabba’, and a gift shop that will further enhance the experience of visitors.
In addition to the walk through experience inside the Pakistan Pavilion, several events are being planned outside the pavilion at various Exp sites.
These events will be related to the nine thematic weeks proposed by the Expo authorities.
The events will focus on several areas including Tourism, Climate change, Investment opportunities in Pakistan, Culture/music, sports and special occasions.
Pakistan will also contribute to the events organised by Expo authorities. Moreover, several seminars/ talks by speakers from Pakistan have also been planned to project the achievements of Pakistan at this global show.
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The pavilion is located in the 'Opportunity District' and has a total covered area of 35,000 Sqft. The inner journey of the Pavilion is set under the theme ‘Pakistan: The Hidden Treasure’ with an aim to enhance tourism, commerce and investment in Pakistan.
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