Saturday, December 31, 2011

A (hopefully) Very Happy New Year:2012

We dont live in a very happy world anymore, all of us...unfortunately. BUT we live in this world and try to live together, in peace, like humans. In trying so, we mostly ended up having bad years. But we are human...what else are we supposed to do part from trying....so once more.... A very happy (and hopefully really) happy

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A long lost number by ALAMGIR finally: DEKHTAY HEE DEKHTAY HAMEN PYAR HUA

 Alamgir, the long established icon of Pakistani music has given so many reasons for this nation to be proud of...This particular song "Phool Barsein"....I heard it way back in late 1990s perhaps and then it kind of get lost. I never was able to find it again in last ten years on internet. And suddenly today, here it was....right here on YouTube...since 2009. This in itself shows what mammoth jungle of information we have grown around ourselves, we are kind of lost with it now. Well, the sound quality is very poor and will be obliged if someone could send me better version...but for those growing up in 90s who remember what it felt to watch dramas by sahira kazmi and listen to music by folks like alamgir...here is this one

Friday, November 25, 2011

Three Tales by One Traveller: Tale Two

COURAGE

The second tale is about my time at University Institute of Information Technology, UIIT. It is IT school of Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, a place which specializes in knowledge about agriculture. Yet, I stayed at this place for around 28 months. And the time I have been here has been a fascinating experience.
UIIT, It Keeps Moving with Strength
This place manages and takes care of academic careers of approximately 1800 IT students at any given time. The place is anything but elite and s very low on this list of priorities of the university under which it operates as it is not directly related to agriculture. Most of the students in this institute get admission solely based on the marks they scored in the previous degree they achieved. It is an exciting boiling pot of different ethnic, economic and regional backgrounds that represent Pakistan. The institute is very far on radar screen of the university which never likes to be bothered about career growth of the students. More than half of the students can't even afford the fees they pay let alone have a PC, Laptop or any other facility needed on their own. The children whom this institute caters are in several cases as far from computer science and IT as a camel can be from north pole. And yet this institute send approximately 500 students every year in market. Many of these students get settled in one year. How does this happen?
I understood here that the biggest weapon a courageous human can wield in facing the world is perhaps not the skill, it is perhaps not the knowledge as well...It is the courage. The people I interacted with at UIIT, administration, faculty, students may never know this. In their daily lives, demeanor, appearance, they are just ordinary folks...nothing extraordinary, worried, tense, underestimating themselves, under equipped, complaining, facing official politics everyday...a typical Pakistani of 2011. But they posses something they don't know how to value...perhaps they even don't know they have it in several cases. They are courageous to face this life everyday and get something positive out of it.
During these two and half years, we did several great things together at UIIT. We together completed a couple of successful MS sessions envy of the whole computing community of our metropolis. Our undergraduate students excelled under guidance of their teachers. They won jobs while competing against the graduated of most established and resourceful institutions. They started getting admissions in much better institutions nationally and internationally in higher academic programs. The institute is now well known in the community. People now feel no hesitation being part of this hot boiling pot whether as professional academicians or students. The institute has did it on its own. No one has come to its help. It is only the courage of people who make UIIT, faculty, students, administration who make all of this possible. They have a lot of issues. There is undeniable element of politics. They have their own grudges...withe each other and with the outside world. They may not be as expressive as many others. But still, they form a machine that continues wheeling forward delivering a lot what it was supposed to deliver. It is not perfect no doubt, far from it....but it is very impressive.
This story is not a story of an individual. There are no heroes here. This is not my story either. Unfortunately, I could not deliver any miracles while I stayed here. I was a non entity while being here. The story of UIIT will only have a fading memory of me...an easily forgettable one. This is the story of all the people who make UIIT, made UIIT or will make UIIT. These are mortals with courage. This is their story. The story of people like Dr. Nawazish Naveed, Sheeraz Akram, Muhammad Nazir, Malik Nadeem, Nasir Minhas, Saqib Majeed, Shafique, Nasir, Abdur Rehman, Azeem Abbas, AD, DD, Basit, Safdar Abbas, Mushaad Gillani, Director, students...so many students, Such a large Staff, Faculty....there are thousands, I cant even name all. They are different people. Many amongst them  may not go along fine withe each other in many cases. They may be not happy withe each other on several things. But at the end of the day, these faculty members, services people, staff, students, at the twilight of their lives may be sitting somewhere someday and they may suddenly realize....whoa..we did something wonderful together when we were at UIIT. "We did it together".
They are different people. I dedicate this story to these people. As I leave UIIT, I salute their courage to stand proud always. UIIT is waiting for its time and moving towards it. IT lives on its strength. To the people who make up UIIT, I am proud to be part of all of your lives. This is my second tale as I sign off duty at this wonderful place. Be blessed.

Rauf Khalid: A spark who never could become a flame....rest in peace

Many of us do remember Rauf Khalid as the brain behind "Angaar Waadi", a master piece of Pakistani drama history....some like myself also remember him as owner of "Laaj", the worst disappointment of a film that conscious cinema goers could expect out of a genius like him. Unfortunately, the impaired genius went to his heavenly abode when Mr. Rauf Khalid died in a car accident yesterday.

May you always be allowed to dream
He was amongst the very few left in Pakistani mainstream media (the others being peerzadas) in my opinion who not only claimed to know the intricacies of modern and classical performing arts...They actually knew and mastered it. When he produced the epic "Angaar Wadi" in 90s, the TV drama in Pakistan was passing through one of its worst phases. We used to see old dramas of PTV and wonder if any such creativity ever come back. But then came a few surprises...Alpha Bravo Charlie, Duaan and Angaar Wadi...and we the nation were happy like a child...folks like Aasher Azeem, Shoaib Mnasoor and Rauf Khalid became our icons instantly.
But he was a tormented genius. Always thinking to come up with a commercial success which forsakes formula and trodden path. The result was obvious as has always been. His maiden film created an immense hype but became an even bigger disappointment. He never looked back in those alleys again.
A very cultured, polished and kind man. A man of principals and unbiased nature (very uncommon among the Pakistani fraternity these days). He was a blessed person who saw the height of his professionalism with dignity in a very short life, earned a lot of love and respect and actually gave Pakistan a lot to be proud of. Rest in Peace Rauf Khalid

Friday, November 18, 2011

Three Tales by One Traveller: Tale One

SUPPORT
The life is never easy. That we all know but it is even more difficult for those who are bent on making it less easier for themselves. I was the one who always shied away from the most obvious paths (they may not be the easiest but undoubtedly were the most obvious). Consequently, I have tasted quite a fair share of disappointments in my life. And I can't claim to be the all conquering hero of fantasy land who takes all these disappointments in his stride and continues moving towards the ultimate aim. I must confess...I was quite a broken man when I joined National University, FAST. And a quite hopeless broken man on it...so life was tough as they say.
and it will live on....always a survivor
But then we don't know what fate has in store for us. I tried my level best not to enter this campus which was like a horrible dream for folks like us who shied away from hard work. It was elite, it was focused, it zeroed in on rewarding only hard work, it was proud.....it was not for me.
But again the fate brought me here. And I toiled here like I never did before. I learned and succeeded in realizing many of my dreams here. I eventually passed out from this wonderful place completing my doctorate studies. I was given due recognition, respect and sense of self esteem. But those are not the things this blog is about. This blog is about my lessons that I learned about what "support" actually means.
Here, I learned what it means to be a true teacher. There were teachers who left options abroad to come here and teach us the way anyone can imagine the best teacher in the world to deliver. They never expected anything from us in return. That was the support for me. Here I got my mentors. The ones who understood me, realized me, nurtured me and taught me. They not only taught me what I paid to the university for, they also taught me the real essence of being human. They taught me qualities like dedication, commitment, honesty, dignity and honor. They taught me to shape me as a human. They protected me. I can never forget those who sacrificed their nights for my mornings. That was the support for me. I am indebted for that to my mentors like Dr. Aftab Maroof, Dr. Anwar M. Mirza, Dr. Rauf Baig and many others. That was support for me.
And then there were friends. The folks who helped me when I was desolate. The ones who stood with me when I was standing alone. Who made me work. And who worked with me on my work. Who helped me getting my first job. Who helped me getting my first algorithm understand. Who laughed with me and wept with me. That was support for me. People whose number I cant count but some among them include Dr. Arfan Jaffar, Dr. Ayyaz Hussain, Dr. Amjad Iqbal, Dr. Abdul Basit, Dr. Sajid Anwar, Muhammad Nazir, Naveed Iqbal, Dr. Hassan Mujtaba, Dr. Abdul Rauf and countless others. That was a support for me.
And yes....the university taught me that ultimately, it is fun to work hard....it pays when you need the most. That was the support for me. My lessons in support were learned. Support is not to hide your crimes. Support is not to close your eyes on every negative that your friend commits. Support is not the omission and commission. Support is the strength that you give to a person to become a "human" worthy of its existence. I am proud to be FASTian to have learned this lesson.

Friday, November 4, 2011

اک سفر تمام ہوا....اک حیات باقی ہے....If only I could Tell You


کیونکہ اب میں بھولنے لگا ہوں
وقت کی ایک اپنی رفتار اور اپنا رنگ ہوتا ہے.زندگی کے ساتھ چلتے چلتے کئی سنگ میل اے اور گزر گئے. وقت نے ان میں سے کئی پر اپنی گرد اسس طرح سے چھوڑ دی ہے کہ اب خود بھی پہچاننا مشکل ہونے لگا ہے. شاید وقت نے اپنے اثرات ہم پر چھوڑنا آخر کار شروع کر دیے. اور میں شاید خوش قسمت بھی ہوں کہ ان اثرات کا ادراک ہونا بھی شروع ہو گیا ہے. آج جب ایک بار پھر حکم سفر جاری ہونے لگا اہے تو سوچا کہ کچھ تصویر بتاں، کچھ حسینوں کے خطوط اپنے ماضی کی پٹاری سے نکللوں. کچھ مشفقین، کچھ دوست، کچھ خوشیاں اور کچھ رنج ، جو مل کر وہ سب کچھ بناتے ہیں جو میں آج ہوں یا کل ہوں گا. یہ یادیں کسی اور کی نہیں بلکہ میرا اپنا عکس ہیں. گزرتے وقت کی دھندلی پرچھائیوں میں اپنے عکس کو پہچاننے کی ایک کمزور سی کوشش. کیونکہ اب میں بھولنے لگا ہوں. وقت مجھ سے آگے بڑھنے لگا ہے


So I am going to start a three part series. "Three tales by one Traveler". This series has three themes; Support, Courage and Hope. This series will chronicle two of my past journeys; One through FAST National University, One Through UIIT at Arid Agriculture University and an upcoming Journey; through Foundation University. During this upcoming journey through the hazy alleys of my past and my future, I shall attempt to chronicle the events that made me what I am and the events that I hope will make me what I shall be tomorrow.
So let the journey begin with a melody from Yanni, "If I could only tell you". Because

تمام عمر وہی قصّہ سفر کہنا
 کہ آ سکا نہ ہمیں اپنے گھر کو گھر کہنا

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs: A life lived well....a job accomplished to perfection


Jobs...A job to perfect

Steven P. Jobs, the charismatic technology pioneer who co-founded Apple Inc. and transformed one industry after another, from computers and smart phones to music and movies, has died. He was 56.

Apple announced the death of Jobs — whose legacy included the Apple II, Macintosh, iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. He had resigned as chief executive of Apple in August, after struggling with illness for nearly a decade, including a bout with pancreatic cancer in 2003 and a liver transplant six years later.
Few public companies were as entwined with their leaders as Apple was with Jobs, who co-founded the computer maker in his parents' Silicon Valley garage in 1976, and decades later — in a comeback as stunning as it seemed improbable — plucked it from near-bankruptcy and turned it into the world's most valuable technology company. Jobs spoke of his desire to make "a dent in the universe," bringing a messianic intensity to his message that technology was a tool to improve human life and unleash creativity. "His ability to always come around and figure out where that next bet should be has been phenomenal," Microsoft Corp.co-founder Bill Gates, the high-tech mogul with whom Jobs was most closely compared, said in 2007. In the annals of modern American entrepreneur-heroes, few careers traced a more mythic sweep. An adopted child in a working-class California home, Jobs dropped out of college and won the title "father of the computer revolution" by the age of 29.
But by 30 he had been forced out of the company he had created, a bitter wound he nursed for years as his fortune shrank and he fought to regain his early eminence. Once out of the wilderness of exile, however, he brought forth a series of innovations — unveiling them with matchless showmanship — that quickly became ubiquitous. He turned the release of a new gadget into a cultural event, with Apple acolytes lining up like pilgrims at Lourdes.
This brief video chronicles the life and history of a man whom generations of IT professionals will remember as beacon of vision and strength. A life lived well....a job accomplished to perfection

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A very happy Eid to all


The times are tough...we as a nation are facing crisis after crisis. We are in the middle of some very unfortunate times due to our own wrong interpretations of life and due to the mindless, cruel and stupid follies committed by our leaders...But let us all pray that this passing month of Ramadan has taught us the true value of tolerance, humility, humanity and charity...and let us pray that this rising moon embodying the dawn of Eid ul Fitr brings with it countless blessings, opportunities and peace for all of us and our coming generations. I pray that, we in Pakistan live to learn with each other in harmony and tolerance. Many many congratulations everyone on this auspicious day. Eid ul Fitr Mubarak. Let us celebrate

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Today is the day Steve: Unfortunately, that day has come

No words to describe what Steve Jobs means for many amongst us who live our life daily in the technology world. He has been our source of inspiration for whatever he did and whatever we do. Simply there are no words. You will be missed Steve for not being the chief executive of Apple inc. anymore.


Just look at how clear and vibrant he has been all his life and how thoughtful he was on this emotional day. This is the letter he wrote to the board of his company:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.


I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.


As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.


I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.


I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


Steve

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The legend, The Charmer, The ultimate DIVA of subcontinent...Nazia Hassan being remembered today



Nazia Hassan — an icon of the Pakistani music industry — rose to fame with the song “Aap Jaisa Koi Meri Zindagi Mein”, which she sang for an Indian film titled Aap Jaisa Koi. Hassan was introduced to Aap Jaisa Koi director, Feroz Khan, by Indian-British songwriter and composer, Biddu, and after that there was no turning back. Hassan won a Filmfare Award for the Best Female Playback for this film and later her association with Biddu enabled her to produce her debut album titled Disco Deewane.
From the 15-year-old in ponytails (as seen in one of the videos) to a girl with wavy hair and strikingly good looks in her later years, Hassan was the rising star of the 80’s. She and her brother Zoheb, produced phenomenal songs and out of the box videos; something that nobody had thought of in those early days of Pakistani pop music.
Hassan was a breath of fresh air during General Ziaul Haq’s time, when it was banned to screen women dancing and singing on television. Despite these hindrances, her very first album was a hit, turning her into a celebrity who soon earned the title of the ‘Sweetheart of Pakistan’. Uzma Mazhar, a journalist says, “Making a mark in the world of entertainment during General Zia’s era was not a very easy goal to achieve. Only Nazia Hassan’s music could do it.” She was able to release four albums titled Disco Deewane, Boom Boom, Hazan and Young Tarang during this time. Hassan was the playback singer for eight Bollywood films but it was Aap Jaisa Koi and Star that really added to her fame. Terming her as an extraordinary singer, Amna Raza, a banker says, “There was a time she played a pivotal role in our lives from making the best music to showing posh, youthful videos that served as catharsis in their own way.”
The theme of masquerade parties that she introduced in “Ankhen Milane Wale” was a completely new concept for the Pakistani audience. Whereas, “Dum Dum Dede” was based on the concept of fortune telling and fairytales, with Hassan portraying the role of Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Alice was written under a pseudonym of Lewis Caroll). Both these themes were again very new to the media-deprived Pakistani viewers of the 80’s. Uzma Mazhar, a journalist says, “She positioned herself in such a way that today Pakistani music has gained recognition by working on those same lines.”
However, Hassan’s fifth album Camera Camera was not a hit amongst the masses and the brother-sister duo failed to receive the acclaim they were probably hoping for. It was after this that Hassan took a step back from singing and focus more on her personal life. She married businessman Mirza Ishtiaq Baig in 1995 and gave birth to her son Arez in 1997. The young star contracted cancer and passed away in 2000.
In 2002, she was conferred with Pride of Performance and in 2003 her family started a charity organisation under her name.
Hassan’s larger than life aura still looms over the music industry and is deeply embedded in her fans who can’t seem to forget the artist. Ahmed Haseeb, another one of her fans, directed and produced A Music Fairy: A Tribute to Nazia Hassan in 2007. The documentary was screened at Kara Film Festival in 2009 and won an award for the Best Documentary at the festival.

I once read this comment under one of her songs about a year back and I still have it written with me. It said while comparing legendary Hassan to modern day international pop divas " And it gives me real laugh that the world is listening to Mily cyrus and christina aguilera and Tylor swift etc. This lady was like miles miles ahead from them. And to every one's amazement, this is her real face. its not corrected with nose job or chin lilft etc. Pakistan is strange place. People just emerge from the dust and touch stars without any institutional support. May your soul rest in stars forever."

Here is this one for you Nazia. May you live in eternal peace. You gave our nation many reasons to smile.



جشن آزادی مبارک ..... میں بھی دیکھوں گا .... تم بھی دیکھو گے


ہم نے ہر سال اپنا جشن آزادی منایا ہے مگر شاید کبھی بھی یہ سوچ کر نہیں منایا کہ خدانخواستہ یہ ہمارا آخری جشن تو نہیں؟ اور یہی اسس قوم کی سلامتی کی نشانی ہے. ہمیں اس ملک پر، اس کے وجود پر، اس کے جواز پر یقین ہے اور یہی یقین انشااللہ اس ملک کو قائم رکھے گا. بلا شبہ ہم میں بہت خامیاں ہیں. ہم بد عنوان ہیں...سچ بولنے سے ڈرتے ہیں...طاقت سے خوف کھاتے ہیں...ہم نے اپنے مذہب کو اپنی پسند کے مطلب دے دیے ہیں اور آج ہم پوری دنیا میں اپنی پسند کے مذہب کے اکیلے ٹھیکیدار بن چکے ہیں. مگر ہمیں یہ یقین ہونا چاہیے کہ یہ خامیاں ہمارے خمیر کا حصّہ نہیں ہیں. ہم بنیادی طور پر ایک بلند مقصد کی حامل قوم ہیں. ہمارا عزم بلند ہے. ہماری نیّتیں صاف ہیں. ہم برداشت اور ترقی کے سفیر ہیں. ہم انسانیت کے عظیم ترین پیغام اسلام کی حامل قوم ہیں. ہم جئیں گے...عزت کے ساتھ جیئیں گے... اور سب کو جینے کا راستہ بھی دکھائیں گے. ہم نے مایوسی میں بہت وقت گزارا ہے مگر وہ بھی اسس لیے کہ کی گروہوں کے لیے ہمارا مایوس رہنا بہت منافع بخش ہے. مگر ہم مایوس کیوں ہو؟ اگر صرف ہماری صاف نیّت، عزم بلند اور یقین مستحکم ہو تو ہمارے مایوس رہنے کا تو کوئی جواز ہی نہیں رہتا. ہمارا سفر تو ابھی شروع ہوا ہے. بہت ٹھوکریں لگیں گی...بہت رکاوٹیں سامنے آییں گی... مگر...اگر ثابت قدمی سے چلتے رہے تو....میں بھی دیکھوں گا....اور تم بھی دیکھو 
گے....انشااللہ

Strings with "Mein to dekhoon ga" specially for this independence day...Many many congratulations Pakistan

Friday, July 29, 2011

Adil Najam: New VC of LUMS and my Inspiration in Blogging...His last blog at ATP before joining LUMS

Khiyal Rakhna: ATP Turns Five Today! It is Time to Move On. Thank You For Your Companionship.


Today – June 11, 2011 – All Things Pakistan turns five years old!
Today, sitting in Lahore, Pakistan, I write in the realization that it is now time to move on.
This is not a ‘Good Bye’ post – it is, in fact, a ‘Thank You’ post. Nor do I want this to be a ‘looking back’ post – I would much rather that it be a ‘looking forward’ post.
For me personally, it is time to move back to Pakistan.For ATP, the blog, it is time to turn off the lights.
Five years ago we set out with the mild ambition to have a conversation with a few friends on all things Pakistan – from the profound to the trivial. What followed was a more intense, more engaged, more elaborate, and more fulfilling conversation than we could have ever imagined. Well above 10 million visits later, it is now time to move on.
But we promise that we have no intention to tune out. We know that this conversation will continue. This was never our conversation, it was yours. We intend to keep listening in. We hope you will let us do so in all the myriad forms and formats that have now become available for this exploration of our Pakistaniat – our Pakistaniness – to thrive. We have chronicled our own story and evolution in our posts (the ATP Credo, the Tangay Walla post1st anniversary post2nd anniversary post3rd anniversary postwho reads Pakistaniat post,4th anniversary post) and now is not the time to repeat those arguments or even to look back.
I can say with some pride and great joy that we have had some small part in the construction of an important conversation. It has not always been an easy conversation. Our national predicaments have made it an often sad and occasionally angry conversation. But it remains a vibrant – and vital – conversation. We hope that in these five years ATP has contributed some to this conversation, and has contributed to it positively.
So, today, I write in gratitude. Thank you for your companionship. Thank you for your patience. Thank your for dropping by. Thank you for making this your own. Today, we are happy in the knowledge that the conversations we had wanted to seed are thriving. Technology has provided an array of new formats – from facebook totwitter and beyond. There is a mushrooming of blogs and formats, and we hope that in some small way we have contributed to them. We know we have thrived and found sustenance (and ideas) in this new and bold world of Pakistan’s Blogistan. We thank our blogging colleagues, our many many writers, and our even more many readers for the excitement they have added to our lives.
I realize that the timing of this will lead many of conclude that it has something to do with my own move. While the two are not unrelated, they are actually less related than you might think. It was, in fact, back in November 2010, that Owais Mughal and I had decided that we would do this on this date and in this manner. Owais had already moved to Singapore and my own professional commitments had begun to mount. We did not wish to end with a whimper nor just fade out abruptly. Five years seemed like a good innings to both of us. Let me take this moment to thank Owais for his support and companionship. More than anyone else he has made ATP possible and allowed it to last this long. Without him, it would have faded long ago. And without him it would have been not just a lonelier but also a much less interesting journey. Thank you, Owais, my friend. Thank you for everything! (As an aside, I should add that Owais and I had never met until fairly recently and for years ran this together without even having met – such is the magic in Blogistan).
Do I have regrets – yes, but too few too mention. I wish we had written fewer obituaries. I wish we had not had to talk about national angst and tragedies as much as we had to. I wish we more time to write all the posts that remain unwritten in our personal lists – more pleasant things than those that were floating in the daily headlines. Yes, I do also wish that some of our readers had been a little more kind to us and to each other in their comments – but, I also realize that we live in unkind times and the viciousness of our environs can sometimes seep into our own language and thoughts. More than anything else, I wish the unkindness of our times will become less, allowing us to be a little more considerate to each other than we sometimes seem to be.
Good byes, they say, should never be long. But this is not a good bye. So, until we meet again, dear friends, take care; khiyal rakhna.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

UIIT Open House 2011: Why it becomes our national duty to participate in this event


It has been a long time but way back in 2005 when I joined National University, FAST, Islamabad, I never realized that in the next half decade, I am going to meet people who will gradually change my perceptions and views to such an extent that it may be difficult for me to even realize myself after just half a decade but it happened and I am so glad and honored that it did. One of the things that I learned in FAST (despite it being an upscale, private and upper class oriented institute) from my mentors and teachers like Dr. Aftab A. Maroof, Dr. Anwar m. Mirza, Dr. Rauf Baig, Sir Arif Khattak and many more that it actually is beneficial to rise above your self and look at the broader national interests as the advantages derived out of this approach can ultimately transcend to yourself as well in a more satisfying and honorable manner. The names I cited above may not be familiar to many as they don't appear in self appreciation filled columns of national dailies. Neither does electronic media consider the spicy enough to invite them in their talk shows. Frankly these gentlemen don't bother about such things as well. They believe in serving the way they deem fit and that is sufficient for them.
The purpose of writing all this tale is to familiarize you with the circumstances which have caused me to write this blog. In 2009, I joined University Institute of Information Technology, a small, almost non existent centre of IT and CS education in a grand Arid Agriculture University of Rawalpindi. The institute seemed as misplaced in an agriculture university as a camel on north pole. On the eve of my joining UIIT, a lot of voices around me were telling me to reconsider my decision based on some "hard" ground realities. But UIIT had a special attraction for me.
This institute was perhaps the only place (and still is) of IT and CS education where a child of a poor man didn't need to dream of some OSP or "financial help" to get quality education. Where anyone from anywhere in Pakistan could get admission provided they met the open merit criteria (remember the transparent test fiascoes happening all around these days...in UETs and NUSTs). This was the only place where 80 percent of students winning admission never needed to lower their ego to keep their education going. And remaining 20 percent always had financial situation available. And by the way those 80 percent students were also not of upper class background. They belonged to lower and lower middle class of the society. And this particular institute nurtured them to compete with all the other students coming from such trendy instituters. This institute, in my opinion, is a treasure for whole Pakistan where 1400 students get a chance to acquire best CS and IT education for as low as 8 thousand rupees and maximum high of 20 thousand rupees per semester. This was my motivation to Join UIIT and same was true for several others. It was our way of returning to society what it bestowed upon us. And we have been very happy with this decision.
One more way in which we have been trying in our own way to help these students is by conducting annual Open House event since 2009. In this way, we have been successful in presenting these students to the software houses where even the name of this institute was previously not known. Today, we are proud that in these events, we were successful in sending many talented students to these organizations. This has been my pet project at UIIT and conduct of the event every time has been like a dream come true.
And the same time has again approached. UIIT Open House 2011 is going to be held tomorrow, 27th July, 2011. We have again put our best effort to use in making the event successful. We have displayed the best projects, collected the best research work and made the best arrangements possible to make the event a truly memorable experience. Now, it is up to you to stand up and make your contribution. We expect you to come forward and visit us. Appreciate the talent of the students. Ask your friends in influential places to visit us and induct suitable students in their organizations. Make these students realize that Pakistan value talent irrespective of your background, ethnicity, region etc. Show to the world that we are a nation of 180 million people and everyone of these 180 million people is going to shoulder everyone. That is how nations evolve and that is how our nation will evolve finally.
We live in times of opportunities. We have missed many opportunities as a nation in the past. When we were young, we always lamented those who let the opportunities pass. Today, we have the power. We can grab this moment for our nation. The only question is...Shall we also let it pass? I hope I know your answer but still I am afraid of our history. Best of luck for those who have promised themselves to support us in this initiative.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Death Note from a Nation...Sorry I am the one to say this but I guess we should start saying this now

Death Note from Pakistan...Death Note from me and Death Note from you as well...You can also call it a condolence message sent from a dead to itself....You may not like it (infarct you definitely won't like it) but You can't avoid it either...We have been in a state of denial for not just past 70 years....that is belittling the history...we the residents of region called Sindh (Indus...yes I buy that ideology that we are Indus people not Indian people) have been in this state of denial for centuries...But someone has to talk and we need to do a lot of honest straight forward talking amongst ourselves if we want a true Pakistan for ourselves and our children. We need a constructive dialogue and a new social contract...so here goes my death note...
Sialkot brothers was a big news and then we agreed that it was totally fine to kill the way they were killed because they were supposedly murderers...For us...Salman Taseer murder was a big news and then it was totally fine to kill him the way he was killed because he was supposedly blasphemer.......Innocent girls and boys in Jamia Hafsa complex first indoctrinated in absurdly wrong interpretation of religion by one and then murdered in the name of national security by other and what happened to any of those culprits? So many killed by militants in the name of religion in Swat and then so many murdered extra judiciously in the name of national interest...How many dead bodies recovered from Green Chowk of Swat but just a news for us...a means to spend our evening busy lamenting others so that our own faces remain hidden...., Kharootabad, Baluchistan, Lahore, Karachi everywhere.......So many innocents murdered in the name of religion and retaliation against injustice in suicide bombings and blasts and it was just a news for us...So many killed in the name of national interest, international brotherhood, classified operations etc and it was just a news happening far away from us...for us same story happened everywhere...it has always been the same...a good news...an excellent story for our greedy ears...a means to keep our evenings busy.....a means to hide our ugly face behind corrupt politicians and generals....we ourselves remained the same corrupt, dishonest, dual thinking, hypocrite, trigger happy, conspiracy loving people always blaming others....have we ever thought that no matter how cruel and callous any other is...how big an enemy of ourselves we have become?
Have we ever realized that we as a nation are so corrupt, insensitive and hypocritical that perhaps we are nothing but a source of embarrassment both for our religion and our national founders? Have we ever realized that these politicians, these bureaucrats, these generals are nothing but a mirror of us and are treating us this way only because we can't stop them? We can't stop them not because we are not strong....but because we ourselves are equally corrupt? Shall we ever realize that change doesn't come from top? Whenever, we try to bring change from top, it is just momentarily (even if it comes) and nothing more than charisma? Shall we ever understand that only lasting change will come from within us? It will come from bottom and it will only come if we start facing the truth with honesty. Shall we ever realize that we have been left with very small time to correct ourselves? We have lived as National Security state, Guardian of Islam and caretaker of interests of superpowers for decades...Isn't it the time that we need to transform into a social security state...A state not asking for people to withstand it...A state helping people to withstand their lives with honor and dignity...Have we ever realized that this state did not become a national security state by itself? We, the people made it so instead of a social security state. We desperately loved to teach everyone in the world a lesson and see what we have done with ourselves?
Shall we ever learn that history doesn't remember perished nations by the deeds of their corrupt leaders? The history remembers perished nations just as perished nations....It is our destiny after all...and it definitely can't be made by the way we are trying to build it.
And finally...about the question "Then what is the solution?"...Please don't do this to yourselves....You know the solutions and solutions are not french revolution or Chinese revolution or this and that revolution...You know the solution...do you have the courage to adopt it as well? Difficult question to ask as it requires action from 180 million people...not to change governments but to change ourselves

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Express Tribune: 10 troublesome traits of the average Pakistani by Sohail Anwar

1. An average Pakistani behaves as he is told to by the establishment and/or the biased media. We do not cherish golden rules like ‘do the right thing’. Instead, we follow a de-facto rule, ‘my staff, my cattle’ An average red blooded Pakistani thinks that whatever he can get his hands on without reprisal is his property and he has full rights over it – this applies to his wife(s), children, land, cars, official post etcetera.
2. An average Joe in Pakistan will never own up to his mistake(s), because if he does, that will be an anathema to his whole family.
3. A Pakistani would do almost anything in the name of Islam, such as kill someone on simple hearsay, but will never extend his religious charity or piety for the common good of society or for women’s rights.
4. The average Pakistani has acquired the mentality that everything should come to him rather than the other way around, especially when it comes to changing a government by coming out on the streets and just letting the government know that enough is enough.
5. The average Joe in Pakistan knows what his constitutional and legal rights in civil and criminal matters, but does not know the duties that come with it and also how to exercise these rights in a responsible manner.
6. The average Pakistani will know the problem and also the remedy, but will never move an inch to solve it unless he is convinced that his interests will also be served in the process. Also, he will never try to stop a heinous crime unless the victim is his sibling(s), parent(s) or any close relation.
7. The average man believes that corruption is his right, in pursuit of happiness. The drug barons and most of the public servants of Pakistan are a practical example of this.
8. The average Joe’s idea of patriotism is messed up. It starts and ends with his native territory. If a native of Punjab believes that making a Seraiki province is a conspiracy against Punjab, he will stick with it, even though it may hurt Pakistan in the long run.
9. The lucky Pakistani who is sitting on a high post would lean towards nepotism – substituting meritocracy with nepotism has become an integral part of our culture.
10. Our idea of administration of justice is obnoxious. We bribe clerks and court officers to drag a six month case for 100 years. If the offender is powerful and the victim is helpless and less resourceful than the offender, the society favours the strong and not the weak. In the villages, women are property, which can be exchanged or violated just because a male member of a tribe did something wrong.

Express Tribune: 10 terrific traits of the average Pakistani by Tehmina Khan

1. Our warmth: I was halfway through the journey on a PIA flight back home from Toronto and the lady next to me, who was a complete stranger, said in a gruff/indignant/too-assertive-to-leave-any-room-for-argument tone of voice:
“You haven’t eaten throughout the journey, eat your dinner.”
So a lot of people, especially of the Western individual-is-might mentality would consider this rude or nosy but it really warmed my heart. A random stranger caring about what I eat is touching.  I mean, really – who does that? A sweet, motherly Pakistani aunty on a PIA flight, that’s who.

2. Our sense of humour: Yeah it’s inappropriate, kooky, nonsensical, illogical, and sometimes plain outrageous (not to mention incredibly politically incorrect), but it is our sole surviving mechanism through these incredibly hard times.
When I went to work the day after the raid in Abbottabad that launched the latest round of condemnation of our beleaguered country, a co-worker said to another:
“My condolences, I heard they shot your good friend Osama. What a tragic way to die.”
It was totally random. The co-worker at the receiving end blinked, was slightly confused, and delivered a bored comeback and went back to work – just one exchange in a series of silly exchanges that tickle the funny bone and make it easier to get through the tough challenges that face us.
3. Our passion: For food. For lawn. For bargaining. For cussing out news anchors. It is everywhere. Observe it and absorb it. Some people complain about the ‘boisterousness’ of the Punjabi people, but it was such a soothing balm after spending a stretch of time doing my Bachelor’s in the West. People are decidedly mellow there (to the point of being eerily unresponsive).
4. Our levity: Somehow the true gravitas of a situation is lost upon us. Heart attacks? Failing you’re A-levels? Root canal? Survived a suicide blast? Just observe the reactions of those around you (after the immediate aftermath of intense care and concern, of course).
It can drive you nuts when you are trying to extract the appropriate amount of sympathy and concern, but in the long run having these things brushed off changes your perspective.
Nothing is insurmountable, nothing is terrifying.
We’re pretty brave if you really think about it. Of course, you could replace “brave” with less flattering adjectives, but I’ll go with brave!
5. Our wisdom: We have a rich, ancient, and deep-rooted culture that is the opposite of superficial. Well, superficiality will always be present, of course, but I’ve noticed a depth of soul that seems to spring from our very soil (if not the people). Pay attention the next time someone offhandedly cites a Punjabi mahavra. I love such mass-scale, non-esoteric, indigenous nuggets of wit and wisdom. I mean, just the other day I saw this written on the back of a rickshaw:
“Sajjan koi koi, dushmun har koi.”
I laughed, and then I thought about it. Funny yet thought-provoking and from such an unexpected source.
6. Our stamina: Not physically – we really could do with bolstering ourselves in that arena!
I mean our stamina for things that are not necessarily fun. When our grandparents are sick, we are by their bedsides. When it’s time to study, we buckle down and study. That is a remarkable trait in everyone but especially for the young. The West is troubled with the “rebellious teenager” stereotype, but it isn’t that rampant here – quite the opposite actually.
7. Our earthiness: We are not high-maintenance; we will make do with almond oil in our hair instead of fancy products. We’re happy to wear local-artisan created kola puris. And now it is actually fashionable to be “environmentally friendly” and go for “organic” products. Yeah, we’ve been doing it for generations.
8. Our culture: I’m commenting on our culture of making sacrifices for our parents’ happiness. My friends choose their majors to make their parents happy. We have to suck it up and paste a smile on our faces when we are dragged to random people’s weddings. This ties in with our ‘stamina’ but it is our culture that snuffs out the “me, me, me, only me” monster (of course some people are impervious to this and still run around spouting that as their mantra).
9. Our talent: ‘Jay’s Toons’ on Facebook, anyone? Coke studio? Olive handmade soaps? With all the challenges these people face, somehow, their talent and genius slips through the cracks of the obstacles that are there. I can only imagine where we’d be if we actually had proper platforms and monetary incentives.
10. Our festivity: No need to elaborate. When it’s time to celebrate, we know how to do it. Good food, merry people, and our homeland – the combination is very joyous if you stop to think about it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Survey Finds Cloud Computing Has Matured, But It Can Be a Pain

(Coutesy pcmag.com. Published online June 1, 2011) 

 
A survey conducted by Avanade finds that cloud computing has reached its first milestone as a mature technology.
Out of the 573 C-level executives, business unit leaders, and IT decision-makers surveyed, three key indicators of the maturing of cloud computing were made apparent: businesses have increased investments in resources to secure, manage, and support cloud computing, there is growing adoption and preference for private clouds, and a healthy interest in cloud computing for revenue-generating services.
Some other survey highlights:



  • 74 percent of enterprises are using cloud computing; a 23 percent growth since Avanade's September 2009 survey. Of organizations yet to adopt cloud services, three-quarters say it's in future plans. 




  • 60 percent of companies say cloud computing is a top IT priority for next year. The sentiment is even higher among C-level executives with 75 percent reporting cloud computing as a top priority.



  • 43 percent of companies surveyed use private cloud services.


  • The United States has seen steady cloud computing adoption rates with a 19 percent increase since a survey conducted in 2009. The highest cloud adoption rates among those surveyed were in Italy, Canada, France, Germany, and Australia, respectively.


  • The survey also revealed cloud growing pains. One in five executives reports that it's impossible to manage all of the disparate cloud services within their organizations. About 60 percent are worried about unmanaged cloud sprawl.


  • The concerns about managing cloud services, especially employee access to public cloud services is well-founded. One in five respondents said they have personally purchased a cloud service without the IT department's knowledge. The reasons given were that many thought it takes too long to go through IT and that it's easier to provision cloud services themselves. About 27 percent say their company's cloud policy actually prohibits the cloud services they want to use.
    While 60 percent of these companies do have corporate policies in place to prohibit such actions, those surveyed say there is no real deterrent for purchasing cloud services against policy guidelines. 29 percent reported there were no ramifications whatsoever and 48 percent say it is little more than a warning.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Pakistan in Summer 2011....an Odyssey of Life and Colors

    When the hope fades...always remember, it never dies


    The Beautiful Kaghan
    Northern Areas
    Karachi by Night




    The Honorable Baluch
    Islamabad by Night

    Desert Cholistan
    Mighty Indus


    Post Morning in Punjab Village
    Desert in its Galore
    Yaa banda e Sehrai
    It is a busy fruit market in summer here

    Mangoessssss









    Sea @ Karachi
    Lahore by Night





    Mulberry
    Road to Murree



    Eating @ Night in Food Streets
    A Fruit Kiosk



    Flowers in The Fields
    Swat River

    The Poor...Down but not Out


    Land of Fairies


    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    Bol - the movie and the Voice of Hadiqa Kayani

    These are heady days, tense days and sad day unfortunately for us. But it is life and we the writers have responsibility to look and show both sides. Otherwise, we are not doing Justice. Some good efforts to project the positive, defiant and courageous face of Pakistan are also materializing. One such effort is Bol, the movie, directed by Shoaib Mansoor. Awaiting patiently for its release, here is a very catchy composition from this movie, sung nicely by Hadiqa Kayani. Hope you like it.





    Friday, May 6, 2011

    "Why do we embrace conspiracy theories" by Fareed Zakaria

    Fareed Zakaria
    A number of you on Facebook and Twitter have been asking me about the “birthers” and “deathers” (the former question Obama’s birth; the latter question bin Laden’s death). These questions got me thinking about the prevalence of conspiracy theories in America and around the world.  Here’s what I think:

    The propensity of Americans to embrace conspiracy theories has long been attributed to their great suspicion of state authority. America was founded as a revolt against centralized power and there has always been a fear of coordinated action taking place in the dark behind closed doors. American conspiracy theories implicate Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. government, the intelligence community and many others. But conspiracy theories are certainly not confined to the United States.

    Pakistan is rife with them. A leading Pakistani journalist, Jugnu Mohsin (who will be on GPS this Sunday at 10am ET/PT), attributes conspiracy theories in her country to a population that feels deeply disenfranchised. There are so many double and triple games being played on them by the Pakistani military and the Pakistani establishment that it breeds conspiracy theories. The Arab world is also full of conspiracy theories and many analysts blame them on the prevalence of dictatorships.

    Conspiracy theories are indeed an odd phenomenon since they are widely present in the world’s leading democracies and the world’s leading dictatorships. They can’t be entirely related to political institutions.
    There must be something deep in the human psyche that makes us believe there are patterns to events – order, purpose and meaning.

    The simplest alternate explanation to a conspiracy theory is usually incompetence. When people say, “Why did these things happen?” and then point to a series of seemingly implausible events, it’s usually because the government messed up. The right arm didn’t know what the left arm was doing. Government is made of human beings. They are remarkably ordinary in their ability to make mistakes.

    There is also a certain amount of life which is luck, chance, coincidence and happenstance. You can’t always divine some larger pattern from the fact that two events seem related or happened in the same month. Often it is just chance.
    As you see, I’m not particularly partial to conspiracy theories.

    I can’t tell you how many times people ask me about the conspiracy of the Bilderberg Group. It is a conference I’ve occasionally been invited to and have attended once or twice. If only the people who wrote the alarmist treatises on the Bilderberg Group were allowed in. They would be so utterly disappointed. It’s just a conference like dozens of others around the world. And anyway, the idea that a finance minister or a banker would say something with a group of 150 people that is any different than what he would say in public is crazy in today's world where everything leaks instantly. In my experience, they say the same fairly banal platitudes inside as they say outside.
    So on the few occasions in my life when I’ve been inside centers of the conspiracy, I’ve been disappointed and relieved to find they were pretty much like the world on the outside.

    Fareed Zakaria hosts CNN’s flagship foreign affairs show, is Editor-at-Large of TIME Magazine, a Washington Post columnist, and a New York Times bestselling author.  Esquire Magazine called him “the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation.”

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Moin Akhtar: The man who taught me the meaning of "Pakistani Dream"

    I am in no position to say something about the legend. I am just putting his picture here to honor him. Please pen down a few lines in comments to honor the man who was himself "an odyssey of hope" for our nation.

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Is there any other country more beautiful than Pakistan? And Higher Education Commision

    And is there any other nation as cruel as our nation about itself? This is the question that has been circling my mind unusually frequently these past few days. I bet many amongst those who will be reading this blog travel quite frequently within and outside Pakistan. And I am also very much sure that all of them realize why this question is haunting my mind so much. That is because the same question haunts them too.
    Unfortunately, haunting don't matter really unless we have cures for these nightmares and that is exactly what lacks. We have the questions but we are really not ready to speak the answer which speaks itself within ourselves but we are not ready to even listen to it let alone speak aloud. I, like many others, have heard the answer and spoken it many times. Is there anyone who is willing to own it?
    Just travel around and see what we are blessed with. We are blessed with rich fertile plains, exuberant weathers, exotic customs, flowing rivers, snow capped mountains, wonderful locations, natural resources...we may be downtrodden but we are still envy of the earth. Can any other nation be more fortunate? And these are just the very insignificant blessings of God almighty upon us. The biggest blessing for our nation is 180 million rugged, content but highly intelligent people that God was so generous to give to us. Has anyone amongst those reading it ever thought that out of these 180 million, you were the chosen ones, you were one out of a million whom God gave the opportunity to excel in your lives. You excelled and there is no problem with it. But did you return the favor? To day my question is not towards the Corrupt politicians, self centered bureaucrats, news hungry media journalists, ruthless feudals, aimless military and visonless judiciary. We talk a lot about them...that has become our pastime. For us the whole malaise lies with one person or a bunch of persons and that is absolutely wrong thinking. That is not the answer that you hear within yourselves. That is not the cure. These are but just a reflection of ourselves. My question is to all of us. What have we done to ourselves and this gifted land that was given to our ancestors as a reward of their sacrifices. Mind you, our ancestors, not the ancestors of these greedy folks I just mentioned above.
    We, the nation is also corrupt. Anyone, in any position is behaving dishonestly in everything that we do daily. We scream about injustice, lack of governance, corruption etc but resort to same things when we are confronted with same dilemma without any hint of conscience. We are ready to earn money through any source possible. We buy the items from market which were supposed to be for flood and earthquake victims. We force young children to do domestic labor in our homes. We bunk our classes, we don't teach what we should, we don't struggle, we find shortcuts, we break lines, we give bribes, we accept bribes, we grab lands, we invest in shady deals, we don't have courage to elect honest people, we tolerate foreign invaders in the name of liberty, we tolerate terrorists in the name of struggle for religion, we impose our ideology upon others, we don't speak out for the truth, we celebrate the killings....the list is endless...We, the nation's chosen ones are rotting ourselves.
    And this is the answer. This answer speaks within ourselves, we don't own it. The answer was told centuries ago by our prophet. The answer was again and again reminded by our own scholars. The answer is written everywhere but we have become so blind to it that it even surprises us when we are confronted with this answer. We were the chosen 10, 20 million people of this land...educated, employed, bright etc etc. God almighty and this nation invested so much in all of us. Will the remaining 160 million not ask us what we owed and what we returned? Are not we as much culprits as all those greedy, power hungry so called stakeholders that I mentioned afew paragraphs above? Don't we deserve to be punished?
    I again ask all of us (including myself)....have we ever looked in the eyes of the children on street? How bright, how full of life, how intelligent they are. They are scattered everywhere. They are our children. They did not choose their parents and neither did us. They did not choose their nation and neither did us. But we got the fairer deal which they did not. We still whine but they don't. They need very little from us. They don't need Grameen banks, KASHF foundation, Alkhidmat or even EDHI and Shaukat Khanum from us. All they need from us is for us to be honest and to be forthright. Are we willing to do that?
    There may be many amongst us who may be thinking that this doesn't apply to them. They are very honest. They preach good. They are practicing Muslims. They studied with dedication and found job on merit. They have achieved everything through belief in God and their effort. However, I will still say, you (myself included again) are not honest and you know I am saying truth. Move beyond your personal self. Preach good, become unbiased, struggle to become good citizen not just a good self which suits your personality. Become balance, become moderate. Don't impose and don't be budged. Don's accept anything wrong because it suits the mindset that is close to you. Think of this nation and what really really suits it.
    Higher Education Commission was and is one such moderate success story where some people like us thought and made efforts to bring some good changes in their domain of work. Hats off to Dr. Atta ur Rehman for his vision. He worked under a dictator but none can doubt his sincerity and passion for Pakistan. He brought meaningful change literally in Pakistan. Quality of education improved significantly. Quality research emerged. As a nation, we were for the first time exposed to highest level of international research within Pakistan solely through his efforts. Today more than 10 thousand Pakistanis are serving in various universities all around the world as a consequence of his and HEC efforts. Within 10 years, HEC has been able to change international landscape which was once occupied by Indian scholars but today, they have to compete with scholars from Pakistan. I know from personal experience that South Korea and Italy prefer Pakistani scholars and scientists over Indian scientists due to their intelligence and breadth of knowledge. I don't this this is a trivial feat. Then look at the quality of studies and research improvement within national universities. It is easy to sit in an easy chair and give talks about so called fictitious research. Matter of the fact is that the only group who worked tirelessly in this past decade to bring any meaningful change in the society was academia and the students. The teachers went back to their class rooms and labs and students followed them. This was also mainly due to efforts of Dr. Atta and his team at HEC. They improved infrastructure of national universities. Brought the idea of sponsored research projects. Encouraged the concept of rewarding the ingenuity. Today, there is at least some awareness of conducting meaningful research within the universities. Many think producing PhDs was actually a non achievement and I can simply laugh at their small sightedness. Each PhD produced by HEC made at least ten internationally reputable scientists and researchers know about the potential of Pakistan through participation in international conferences, journal publications in their highly cited journals, thesis evaluations and finally thesis defense. If one PhD scholar supported by HEC was able to make ten influential scientists of the world know about Pakistan and still, we were not able to take advantage of it, is it the fault of PhD scholars and HEC? Or, it is a grim reality check to all policy makers of this country about how pathetic their planning has been that they have absolutely ruined the ten years struggle and effort of these motivated researcher in utter disregard to national interest?
    HEC is not perfect. It is again a mirror of us. It may have committed several errors and misdeeds which should be investigated. It is after all run by humans like us. It should be answerable to public accounts committee like all other watch dogs. But the way, HEC is being used for political mileage, the way academia is being ridiculed by ignorant policy makers, headline greedy media anchors and those few politicians who have no vision of themselves (I am speaking about all those politicians who are either opposing HEC in the foolish tone or even supporting it without any logic only to gain sympathies) is devastating. As memebrs of academia, I am so proud of the fact that we never craved for media limelight. We always preferred to perform our duties without any wish to be recognized. That is moral strength of our tribe. Being part of this community, I stand proud and say that we, the scholars, the teachers, the researchers and finally HEC did much better than many other of the chosen ones. We are proud of our effort and we won't let anyone snatch it. The issue of devolution of HEC has been used for political point scoring. No one is against devolution amongst us from academia. It is good but it should be streamlined and core concerns such as curriculum, standardization, infrastructure, verifications, oversight should still remain with a totally autonomous, answerable and independent Higher Education Commission.
    It has become a very large blog today but there were so many things on my mind. In the end, I will just like to say that it is spring here in Pakistan and is not going to last very long as summer is approaching. Take out that car, jeep bike of yours....travel along GT road...look at all the colors of Pakistan, absorb them within yourself. Stop at as many roadside dhabbas (cafes) as possible and share their smiles and joys of this spring. Stand up for Pakistan. Here is a beautiful new presentation by STRINGS called "Mein to Dekhoon Ga" which translated roughly into "For sure, I am bound to witness". A superb work, a heart touching wish and a mesmerizing prayer. Feel and enjoy. Take care of yourselves and your families.

    Saturday, December 31, 2011

    A (hopefully) Very Happy New Year:2012

    We dont live in a very happy world anymore, all of us...unfortunately. BUT we live in this world and try to live together, in peace, like humans. In trying so, we mostly ended up having bad years. But we are human...what else are we supposed to do part from trying....so once more.... A very happy (and hopefully really) happy

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    A long lost number by ALAMGIR finally: DEKHTAY HEE DEKHTAY HAMEN PYAR HUA

     Alamgir, the long established icon of Pakistani music has given so many reasons for this nation to be proud of...This particular song "Phool Barsein"....I heard it way back in late 1990s perhaps and then it kind of get lost. I never was able to find it again in last ten years on internet. And suddenly today, here it was....right here on YouTube...since 2009. This in itself shows what mammoth jungle of information we have grown around ourselves, we are kind of lost with it now. Well, the sound quality is very poor and will be obliged if someone could send me better version...but for those growing up in 90s who remember what it felt to watch dramas by sahira kazmi and listen to music by folks like alamgir...here is this one

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Three Tales by One Traveller: Tale Two

    COURAGE

    The second tale is about my time at University Institute of Information Technology, UIIT. It is IT school of Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, a place which specializes in knowledge about agriculture. Yet, I stayed at this place for around 28 months. And the time I have been here has been a fascinating experience.
    UIIT, It Keeps Moving with Strength
    This place manages and takes care of academic careers of approximately 1800 IT students at any given time. The place is anything but elite and s very low on this list of priorities of the university under which it operates as it is not directly related to agriculture. Most of the students in this institute get admission solely based on the marks they scored in the previous degree they achieved. It is an exciting boiling pot of different ethnic, economic and regional backgrounds that represent Pakistan. The institute is very far on radar screen of the university which never likes to be bothered about career growth of the students. More than half of the students can't even afford the fees they pay let alone have a PC, Laptop or any other facility needed on their own. The children whom this institute caters are in several cases as far from computer science and IT as a camel can be from north pole. And yet this institute send approximately 500 students every year in market. Many of these students get settled in one year. How does this happen?
    I understood here that the biggest weapon a courageous human can wield in facing the world is perhaps not the skill, it is perhaps not the knowledge as well...It is the courage. The people I interacted with at UIIT, administration, faculty, students may never know this. In their daily lives, demeanor, appearance, they are just ordinary folks...nothing extraordinary, worried, tense, underestimating themselves, under equipped, complaining, facing official politics everyday...a typical Pakistani of 2011. But they posses something they don't know how to value...perhaps they even don't know they have it in several cases. They are courageous to face this life everyday and get something positive out of it.
    During these two and half years, we did several great things together at UIIT. We together completed a couple of successful MS sessions envy of the whole computing community of our metropolis. Our undergraduate students excelled under guidance of their teachers. They won jobs while competing against the graduated of most established and resourceful institutions. They started getting admissions in much better institutions nationally and internationally in higher academic programs. The institute is now well known in the community. People now feel no hesitation being part of this hot boiling pot whether as professional academicians or students. The institute has did it on its own. No one has come to its help. It is only the courage of people who make UIIT, faculty, students, administration who make all of this possible. They have a lot of issues. There is undeniable element of politics. They have their own grudges...withe each other and with the outside world. They may not be as expressive as many others. But still, they form a machine that continues wheeling forward delivering a lot what it was supposed to deliver. It is not perfect no doubt, far from it....but it is very impressive.
    This story is not a story of an individual. There are no heroes here. This is not my story either. Unfortunately, I could not deliver any miracles while I stayed here. I was a non entity while being here. The story of UIIT will only have a fading memory of me...an easily forgettable one. This is the story of all the people who make UIIT, made UIIT or will make UIIT. These are mortals with courage. This is their story. The story of people like Dr. Nawazish Naveed, Sheeraz Akram, Muhammad Nazir, Malik Nadeem, Nasir Minhas, Saqib Majeed, Shafique, Nasir, Abdur Rehman, Azeem Abbas, AD, DD, Basit, Safdar Abbas, Mushaad Gillani, Director, students...so many students, Such a large Staff, Faculty....there are thousands, I cant even name all. They are different people. Many amongst them  may not go along fine withe each other in many cases. They may be not happy withe each other on several things. But at the end of the day, these faculty members, services people, staff, students, at the twilight of their lives may be sitting somewhere someday and they may suddenly realize....whoa..we did something wonderful together when we were at UIIT. "We did it together".
    They are different people. I dedicate this story to these people. As I leave UIIT, I salute their courage to stand proud always. UIIT is waiting for its time and moving towards it. IT lives on its strength. To the people who make up UIIT, I am proud to be part of all of your lives. This is my second tale as I sign off duty at this wonderful place. Be blessed.

    Rauf Khalid: A spark who never could become a flame....rest in peace

    Many of us do remember Rauf Khalid as the brain behind "Angaar Waadi", a master piece of Pakistani drama history....some like myself also remember him as owner of "Laaj", the worst disappointment of a film that conscious cinema goers could expect out of a genius like him. Unfortunately, the impaired genius went to his heavenly abode when Mr. Rauf Khalid died in a car accident yesterday.

    May you always be allowed to dream
    He was amongst the very few left in Pakistani mainstream media (the others being peerzadas) in my opinion who not only claimed to know the intricacies of modern and classical performing arts...They actually knew and mastered it. When he produced the epic "Angaar Wadi" in 90s, the TV drama in Pakistan was passing through one of its worst phases. We used to see old dramas of PTV and wonder if any such creativity ever come back. But then came a few surprises...Alpha Bravo Charlie, Duaan and Angaar Wadi...and we the nation were happy like a child...folks like Aasher Azeem, Shoaib Mnasoor and Rauf Khalid became our icons instantly.
    But he was a tormented genius. Always thinking to come up with a commercial success which forsakes formula and trodden path. The result was obvious as has always been. His maiden film created an immense hype but became an even bigger disappointment. He never looked back in those alleys again.
    A very cultured, polished and kind man. A man of principals and unbiased nature (very uncommon among the Pakistani fraternity these days). He was a blessed person who saw the height of his professionalism with dignity in a very short life, earned a lot of love and respect and actually gave Pakistan a lot to be proud of. Rest in Peace Rauf Khalid

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Three Tales by One Traveller: Tale One

    SUPPORT
    The life is never easy. That we all know but it is even more difficult for those who are bent on making it less easier for themselves. I was the one who always shied away from the most obvious paths (they may not be the easiest but undoubtedly were the most obvious). Consequently, I have tasted quite a fair share of disappointments in my life. And I can't claim to be the all conquering hero of fantasy land who takes all these disappointments in his stride and continues moving towards the ultimate aim. I must confess...I was quite a broken man when I joined National University, FAST. And a quite hopeless broken man on it...so life was tough as they say.
    and it will live on....always a survivor
    But then we don't know what fate has in store for us. I tried my level best not to enter this campus which was like a horrible dream for folks like us who shied away from hard work. It was elite, it was focused, it zeroed in on rewarding only hard work, it was proud.....it was not for me.
    But again the fate brought me here. And I toiled here like I never did before. I learned and succeeded in realizing many of my dreams here. I eventually passed out from this wonderful place completing my doctorate studies. I was given due recognition, respect and sense of self esteem. But those are not the things this blog is about. This blog is about my lessons that I learned about what "support" actually means.
    Here, I learned what it means to be a true teacher. There were teachers who left options abroad to come here and teach us the way anyone can imagine the best teacher in the world to deliver. They never expected anything from us in return. That was the support for me. Here I got my mentors. The ones who understood me, realized me, nurtured me and taught me. They not only taught me what I paid to the university for, they also taught me the real essence of being human. They taught me qualities like dedication, commitment, honesty, dignity and honor. They taught me to shape me as a human. They protected me. I can never forget those who sacrificed their nights for my mornings. That was the support for me. I am indebted for that to my mentors like Dr. Aftab Maroof, Dr. Anwar M. Mirza, Dr. Rauf Baig and many others. That was support for me.
    And then there were friends. The folks who helped me when I was desolate. The ones who stood with me when I was standing alone. Who made me work. And who worked with me on my work. Who helped me getting my first job. Who helped me getting my first algorithm understand. Who laughed with me and wept with me. That was support for me. People whose number I cant count but some among them include Dr. Arfan Jaffar, Dr. Ayyaz Hussain, Dr. Amjad Iqbal, Dr. Abdul Basit, Dr. Sajid Anwar, Muhammad Nazir, Naveed Iqbal, Dr. Hassan Mujtaba, Dr. Abdul Rauf and countless others. That was a support for me.
    And yes....the university taught me that ultimately, it is fun to work hard....it pays when you need the most. That was the support for me. My lessons in support were learned. Support is not to hide your crimes. Support is not to close your eyes on every negative that your friend commits. Support is not the omission and commission. Support is the strength that you give to a person to become a "human" worthy of its existence. I am proud to be FASTian to have learned this lesson.

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    اک سفر تمام ہوا....اک حیات باقی ہے....If only I could Tell You


    کیونکہ اب میں بھولنے لگا ہوں
    وقت کی ایک اپنی رفتار اور اپنا رنگ ہوتا ہے.زندگی کے ساتھ چلتے چلتے کئی سنگ میل اے اور گزر گئے. وقت نے ان میں سے کئی پر اپنی گرد اسس طرح سے چھوڑ دی ہے کہ اب خود بھی پہچاننا مشکل ہونے لگا ہے. شاید وقت نے اپنے اثرات ہم پر چھوڑنا آخر کار شروع کر دیے. اور میں شاید خوش قسمت بھی ہوں کہ ان اثرات کا ادراک ہونا بھی شروع ہو گیا ہے. آج جب ایک بار پھر حکم سفر جاری ہونے لگا اہے تو سوچا کہ کچھ تصویر بتاں، کچھ حسینوں کے خطوط اپنے ماضی کی پٹاری سے نکللوں. کچھ مشفقین، کچھ دوست، کچھ خوشیاں اور کچھ رنج ، جو مل کر وہ سب کچھ بناتے ہیں جو میں آج ہوں یا کل ہوں گا. یہ یادیں کسی اور کی نہیں بلکہ میرا اپنا عکس ہیں. گزرتے وقت کی دھندلی پرچھائیوں میں اپنے عکس کو پہچاننے کی ایک کمزور سی کوشش. کیونکہ اب میں بھولنے لگا ہوں. وقت مجھ سے آگے بڑھنے لگا ہے


    So I am going to start a three part series. "Three tales by one Traveler". This series has three themes; Support, Courage and Hope. This series will chronicle two of my past journeys; One through FAST National University, One Through UIIT at Arid Agriculture University and an upcoming Journey; through Foundation University. During this upcoming journey through the hazy alleys of my past and my future, I shall attempt to chronicle the events that made me what I am and the events that I hope will make me what I shall be tomorrow.
    So let the journey begin with a melody from Yanni, "If I could only tell you". Because

    تمام عمر وہی قصّہ سفر کہنا
     کہ آ سکا نہ ہمیں اپنے گھر کو گھر کہنا

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Steve Jobs: A life lived well....a job accomplished to perfection


    Jobs...A job to perfect

    Steven P. Jobs, the charismatic technology pioneer who co-founded Apple Inc. and transformed one industry after another, from computers and smart phones to music and movies, has died. He was 56.

    Apple announced the death of Jobs — whose legacy included the Apple II, Macintosh, iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. He had resigned as chief executive of Apple in August, after struggling with illness for nearly a decade, including a bout with pancreatic cancer in 2003 and a liver transplant six years later.
    Few public companies were as entwined with their leaders as Apple was with Jobs, who co-founded the computer maker in his parents' Silicon Valley garage in 1976, and decades later — in a comeback as stunning as it seemed improbable — plucked it from near-bankruptcy and turned it into the world's most valuable technology company. Jobs spoke of his desire to make "a dent in the universe," bringing a messianic intensity to his message that technology was a tool to improve human life and unleash creativity. "His ability to always come around and figure out where that next bet should be has been phenomenal," Microsoft Corp.co-founder Bill Gates, the high-tech mogul with whom Jobs was most closely compared, said in 2007. In the annals of modern American entrepreneur-heroes, few careers traced a more mythic sweep. An adopted child in a working-class California home, Jobs dropped out of college and won the title "father of the computer revolution" by the age of 29.
    But by 30 he had been forced out of the company he had created, a bitter wound he nursed for years as his fortune shrank and he fought to regain his early eminence. Once out of the wilderness of exile, however, he brought forth a series of innovations — unveiling them with matchless showmanship — that quickly became ubiquitous. He turned the release of a new gadget into a cultural event, with Apple acolytes lining up like pilgrims at Lourdes.
    This brief video chronicles the life and history of a man whom generations of IT professionals will remember as beacon of vision and strength. A life lived well....a job accomplished to perfection

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    A very happy Eid to all


    The times are tough...we as a nation are facing crisis after crisis. We are in the middle of some very unfortunate times due to our own wrong interpretations of life and due to the mindless, cruel and stupid follies committed by our leaders...But let us all pray that this passing month of Ramadan has taught us the true value of tolerance, humility, humanity and charity...and let us pray that this rising moon embodying the dawn of Eid ul Fitr brings with it countless blessings, opportunities and peace for all of us and our coming generations. I pray that, we in Pakistan live to learn with each other in harmony and tolerance. Many many congratulations everyone on this auspicious day. Eid ul Fitr Mubarak. Let us celebrate

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Today is the day Steve: Unfortunately, that day has come

    No words to describe what Steve Jobs means for many amongst us who live our life daily in the technology world. He has been our source of inspiration for whatever he did and whatever we do. Simply there are no words. You will be missed Steve for not being the chief executive of Apple inc. anymore.


    Just look at how clear and vibrant he has been all his life and how thoughtful he was on this emotional day. This is the letter he wrote to the board of his company:

    To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

    I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.


    I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.


    As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.


    I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.


    I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


    Steve

    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    The legend, The Charmer, The ultimate DIVA of subcontinent...Nazia Hassan being remembered today



    Nazia Hassan — an icon of the Pakistani music industry — rose to fame with the song “Aap Jaisa Koi Meri Zindagi Mein”, which she sang for an Indian film titled Aap Jaisa Koi. Hassan was introduced to Aap Jaisa Koi director, Feroz Khan, by Indian-British songwriter and composer, Biddu, and after that there was no turning back. Hassan won a Filmfare Award for the Best Female Playback for this film and later her association with Biddu enabled her to produce her debut album titled Disco Deewane.
    From the 15-year-old in ponytails (as seen in one of the videos) to a girl with wavy hair and strikingly good looks in her later years, Hassan was the rising star of the 80’s. She and her brother Zoheb, produced phenomenal songs and out of the box videos; something that nobody had thought of in those early days of Pakistani pop music.
    Hassan was a breath of fresh air during General Ziaul Haq’s time, when it was banned to screen women dancing and singing on television. Despite these hindrances, her very first album was a hit, turning her into a celebrity who soon earned the title of the ‘Sweetheart of Pakistan’. Uzma Mazhar, a journalist says, “Making a mark in the world of entertainment during General Zia’s era was not a very easy goal to achieve. Only Nazia Hassan’s music could do it.” She was able to release four albums titled Disco Deewane, Boom Boom, Hazan and Young Tarang during this time. Hassan was the playback singer for eight Bollywood films but it was Aap Jaisa Koi and Star that really added to her fame. Terming her as an extraordinary singer, Amna Raza, a banker says, “There was a time she played a pivotal role in our lives from making the best music to showing posh, youthful videos that served as catharsis in their own way.”
    The theme of masquerade parties that she introduced in “Ankhen Milane Wale” was a completely new concept for the Pakistani audience. Whereas, “Dum Dum Dede” was based on the concept of fortune telling and fairytales, with Hassan portraying the role of Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Alice was written under a pseudonym of Lewis Caroll). Both these themes were again very new to the media-deprived Pakistani viewers of the 80’s. Uzma Mazhar, a journalist says, “She positioned herself in such a way that today Pakistani music has gained recognition by working on those same lines.”
    However, Hassan’s fifth album Camera Camera was not a hit amongst the masses and the brother-sister duo failed to receive the acclaim they were probably hoping for. It was after this that Hassan took a step back from singing and focus more on her personal life. She married businessman Mirza Ishtiaq Baig in 1995 and gave birth to her son Arez in 1997. The young star contracted cancer and passed away in 2000.
    In 2002, she was conferred with Pride of Performance and in 2003 her family started a charity organisation under her name.
    Hassan’s larger than life aura still looms over the music industry and is deeply embedded in her fans who can’t seem to forget the artist. Ahmed Haseeb, another one of her fans, directed and produced A Music Fairy: A Tribute to Nazia Hassan in 2007. The documentary was screened at Kara Film Festival in 2009 and won an award for the Best Documentary at the festival.

    I once read this comment under one of her songs about a year back and I still have it written with me. It said while comparing legendary Hassan to modern day international pop divas " And it gives me real laugh that the world is listening to Mily cyrus and christina aguilera and Tylor swift etc. This lady was like miles miles ahead from them. And to every one's amazement, this is her real face. its not corrected with nose job or chin lilft etc. Pakistan is strange place. People just emerge from the dust and touch stars without any institutional support. May your soul rest in stars forever."

    Here is this one for you Nazia. May you live in eternal peace. You gave our nation many reasons to smile.



    جشن آزادی مبارک ..... میں بھی دیکھوں گا .... تم بھی دیکھو گے


    ہم نے ہر سال اپنا جشن آزادی منایا ہے مگر شاید کبھی بھی یہ سوچ کر نہیں منایا کہ خدانخواستہ یہ ہمارا آخری جشن تو نہیں؟ اور یہی اسس قوم کی سلامتی کی نشانی ہے. ہمیں اس ملک پر، اس کے وجود پر، اس کے جواز پر یقین ہے اور یہی یقین انشااللہ اس ملک کو قائم رکھے گا. بلا شبہ ہم میں بہت خامیاں ہیں. ہم بد عنوان ہیں...سچ بولنے سے ڈرتے ہیں...طاقت سے خوف کھاتے ہیں...ہم نے اپنے مذہب کو اپنی پسند کے مطلب دے دیے ہیں اور آج ہم پوری دنیا میں اپنی پسند کے مذہب کے اکیلے ٹھیکیدار بن چکے ہیں. مگر ہمیں یہ یقین ہونا چاہیے کہ یہ خامیاں ہمارے خمیر کا حصّہ نہیں ہیں. ہم بنیادی طور پر ایک بلند مقصد کی حامل قوم ہیں. ہمارا عزم بلند ہے. ہماری نیّتیں صاف ہیں. ہم برداشت اور ترقی کے سفیر ہیں. ہم انسانیت کے عظیم ترین پیغام اسلام کی حامل قوم ہیں. ہم جئیں گے...عزت کے ساتھ جیئیں گے... اور سب کو جینے کا راستہ بھی دکھائیں گے. ہم نے مایوسی میں بہت وقت گزارا ہے مگر وہ بھی اسس لیے کہ کی گروہوں کے لیے ہمارا مایوس رہنا بہت منافع بخش ہے. مگر ہم مایوس کیوں ہو؟ اگر صرف ہماری صاف نیّت، عزم بلند اور یقین مستحکم ہو تو ہمارے مایوس رہنے کا تو کوئی جواز ہی نہیں رہتا. ہمارا سفر تو ابھی شروع ہوا ہے. بہت ٹھوکریں لگیں گی...بہت رکاوٹیں سامنے آییں گی... مگر...اگر ثابت قدمی سے چلتے رہے تو....میں بھی دیکھوں گا....اور تم بھی دیکھو 
    گے....انشااللہ

    Strings with "Mein to dekhoon ga" specially for this independence day...Many many congratulations Pakistan

    Friday, July 29, 2011

    Adil Najam: New VC of LUMS and my Inspiration in Blogging...His last blog at ATP before joining LUMS

    Khiyal Rakhna: ATP Turns Five Today! It is Time to Move On. Thank You For Your Companionship.


    Today – June 11, 2011 – All Things Pakistan turns five years old!
    Today, sitting in Lahore, Pakistan, I write in the realization that it is now time to move on.
    This is not a ‘Good Bye’ post – it is, in fact, a ‘Thank You’ post. Nor do I want this to be a ‘looking back’ post – I would much rather that it be a ‘looking forward’ post.
    For me personally, it is time to move back to Pakistan.For ATP, the blog, it is time to turn off the lights.
    Five years ago we set out with the mild ambition to have a conversation with a few friends on all things Pakistan – from the profound to the trivial. What followed was a more intense, more engaged, more elaborate, and more fulfilling conversation than we could have ever imagined. Well above 10 million visits later, it is now time to move on.
    But we promise that we have no intention to tune out. We know that this conversation will continue. This was never our conversation, it was yours. We intend to keep listening in. We hope you will let us do so in all the myriad forms and formats that have now become available for this exploration of our Pakistaniat – our Pakistaniness – to thrive. We have chronicled our own story and evolution in our posts (the ATP Credo, the Tangay Walla post1st anniversary post2nd anniversary post3rd anniversary postwho reads Pakistaniat post,4th anniversary post) and now is not the time to repeat those arguments or even to look back.
    I can say with some pride and great joy that we have had some small part in the construction of an important conversation. It has not always been an easy conversation. Our national predicaments have made it an often sad and occasionally angry conversation. But it remains a vibrant – and vital – conversation. We hope that in these five years ATP has contributed some to this conversation, and has contributed to it positively.
    So, today, I write in gratitude. Thank you for your companionship. Thank you for your patience. Thank your for dropping by. Thank you for making this your own. Today, we are happy in the knowledge that the conversations we had wanted to seed are thriving. Technology has provided an array of new formats – from facebook totwitter and beyond. There is a mushrooming of blogs and formats, and we hope that in some small way we have contributed to them. We know we have thrived and found sustenance (and ideas) in this new and bold world of Pakistan’s Blogistan. We thank our blogging colleagues, our many many writers, and our even more many readers for the excitement they have added to our lives.
    I realize that the timing of this will lead many of conclude that it has something to do with my own move. While the two are not unrelated, they are actually less related than you might think. It was, in fact, back in November 2010, that Owais Mughal and I had decided that we would do this on this date and in this manner. Owais had already moved to Singapore and my own professional commitments had begun to mount. We did not wish to end with a whimper nor just fade out abruptly. Five years seemed like a good innings to both of us. Let me take this moment to thank Owais for his support and companionship. More than anyone else he has made ATP possible and allowed it to last this long. Without him, it would have faded long ago. And without him it would have been not just a lonelier but also a much less interesting journey. Thank you, Owais, my friend. Thank you for everything! (As an aside, I should add that Owais and I had never met until fairly recently and for years ran this together without even having met – such is the magic in Blogistan).
    Do I have regrets – yes, but too few too mention. I wish we had written fewer obituaries. I wish we had not had to talk about national angst and tragedies as much as we had to. I wish we more time to write all the posts that remain unwritten in our personal lists – more pleasant things than those that were floating in the daily headlines. Yes, I do also wish that some of our readers had been a little more kind to us and to each other in their comments – but, I also realize that we live in unkind times and the viciousness of our environs can sometimes seep into our own language and thoughts. More than anything else, I wish the unkindness of our times will become less, allowing us to be a little more considerate to each other than we sometimes seem to be.
    Good byes, they say, should never be long. But this is not a good bye. So, until we meet again, dear friends, take care; khiyal rakhna.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    UIIT Open House 2011: Why it becomes our national duty to participate in this event


    It has been a long time but way back in 2005 when I joined National University, FAST, Islamabad, I never realized that in the next half decade, I am going to meet people who will gradually change my perceptions and views to such an extent that it may be difficult for me to even realize myself after just half a decade but it happened and I am so glad and honored that it did. One of the things that I learned in FAST (despite it being an upscale, private and upper class oriented institute) from my mentors and teachers like Dr. Aftab A. Maroof, Dr. Anwar m. Mirza, Dr. Rauf Baig, Sir Arif Khattak and many more that it actually is beneficial to rise above your self and look at the broader national interests as the advantages derived out of this approach can ultimately transcend to yourself as well in a more satisfying and honorable manner. The names I cited above may not be familiar to many as they don't appear in self appreciation filled columns of national dailies. Neither does electronic media consider the spicy enough to invite them in their talk shows. Frankly these gentlemen don't bother about such things as well. They believe in serving the way they deem fit and that is sufficient for them.
    The purpose of writing all this tale is to familiarize you with the circumstances which have caused me to write this blog. In 2009, I joined University Institute of Information Technology, a small, almost non existent centre of IT and CS education in a grand Arid Agriculture University of Rawalpindi. The institute seemed as misplaced in an agriculture university as a camel on north pole. On the eve of my joining UIIT, a lot of voices around me were telling me to reconsider my decision based on some "hard" ground realities. But UIIT had a special attraction for me.
    This institute was perhaps the only place (and still is) of IT and CS education where a child of a poor man didn't need to dream of some OSP or "financial help" to get quality education. Where anyone from anywhere in Pakistan could get admission provided they met the open merit criteria (remember the transparent test fiascoes happening all around these days...in UETs and NUSTs). This was the only place where 80 percent of students winning admission never needed to lower their ego to keep their education going. And remaining 20 percent always had financial situation available. And by the way those 80 percent students were also not of upper class background. They belonged to lower and lower middle class of the society. And this particular institute nurtured them to compete with all the other students coming from such trendy instituters. This institute, in my opinion, is a treasure for whole Pakistan where 1400 students get a chance to acquire best CS and IT education for as low as 8 thousand rupees and maximum high of 20 thousand rupees per semester. This was my motivation to Join UIIT and same was true for several others. It was our way of returning to society what it bestowed upon us. And we have been very happy with this decision.
    One more way in which we have been trying in our own way to help these students is by conducting annual Open House event since 2009. In this way, we have been successful in presenting these students to the software houses where even the name of this institute was previously not known. Today, we are proud that in these events, we were successful in sending many talented students to these organizations. This has been my pet project at UIIT and conduct of the event every time has been like a dream come true.
    And the same time has again approached. UIIT Open House 2011 is going to be held tomorrow, 27th July, 2011. We have again put our best effort to use in making the event successful. We have displayed the best projects, collected the best research work and made the best arrangements possible to make the event a truly memorable experience. Now, it is up to you to stand up and make your contribution. We expect you to come forward and visit us. Appreciate the talent of the students. Ask your friends in influential places to visit us and induct suitable students in their organizations. Make these students realize that Pakistan value talent irrespective of your background, ethnicity, region etc. Show to the world that we are a nation of 180 million people and everyone of these 180 million people is going to shoulder everyone. That is how nations evolve and that is how our nation will evolve finally.
    We live in times of opportunities. We have missed many opportunities as a nation in the past. When we were young, we always lamented those who let the opportunities pass. Today, we have the power. We can grab this moment for our nation. The only question is...Shall we also let it pass? I hope I know your answer but still I am afraid of our history. Best of luck for those who have promised themselves to support us in this initiative.

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    Death Note from a Nation...Sorry I am the one to say this but I guess we should start saying this now

    Death Note from Pakistan...Death Note from me and Death Note from you as well...You can also call it a condolence message sent from a dead to itself....You may not like it (infarct you definitely won't like it) but You can't avoid it either...We have been in a state of denial for not just past 70 years....that is belittling the history...we the residents of region called Sindh (Indus...yes I buy that ideology that we are Indus people not Indian people) have been in this state of denial for centuries...But someone has to talk and we need to do a lot of honest straight forward talking amongst ourselves if we want a true Pakistan for ourselves and our children. We need a constructive dialogue and a new social contract...so here goes my death note...
    Sialkot brothers was a big news and then we agreed that it was totally fine to kill the way they were killed because they were supposedly murderers...For us...Salman Taseer murder was a big news and then it was totally fine to kill him the way he was killed because he was supposedly blasphemer.......Innocent girls and boys in Jamia Hafsa complex first indoctrinated in absurdly wrong interpretation of religion by one and then murdered in the name of national security by other and what happened to any of those culprits? So many killed by militants in the name of religion in Swat and then so many murdered extra judiciously in the name of national interest...How many dead bodies recovered from Green Chowk of Swat but just a news for us...a means to spend our evening busy lamenting others so that our own faces remain hidden...., Kharootabad, Baluchistan, Lahore, Karachi everywhere.......So many innocents murdered in the name of religion and retaliation against injustice in suicide bombings and blasts and it was just a news for us...So many killed in the name of national interest, international brotherhood, classified operations etc and it was just a news happening far away from us...for us same story happened everywhere...it has always been the same...a good news...an excellent story for our greedy ears...a means to keep our evenings busy.....a means to hide our ugly face behind corrupt politicians and generals....we ourselves remained the same corrupt, dishonest, dual thinking, hypocrite, trigger happy, conspiracy loving people always blaming others....have we ever thought that no matter how cruel and callous any other is...how big an enemy of ourselves we have become?
    Have we ever realized that we as a nation are so corrupt, insensitive and hypocritical that perhaps we are nothing but a source of embarrassment both for our religion and our national founders? Have we ever realized that these politicians, these bureaucrats, these generals are nothing but a mirror of us and are treating us this way only because we can't stop them? We can't stop them not because we are not strong....but because we ourselves are equally corrupt? Shall we ever realize that change doesn't come from top? Whenever, we try to bring change from top, it is just momentarily (even if it comes) and nothing more than charisma? Shall we ever understand that only lasting change will come from within us? It will come from bottom and it will only come if we start facing the truth with honesty. Shall we ever realize that we have been left with very small time to correct ourselves? We have lived as National Security state, Guardian of Islam and caretaker of interests of superpowers for decades...Isn't it the time that we need to transform into a social security state...A state not asking for people to withstand it...A state helping people to withstand their lives with honor and dignity...Have we ever realized that this state did not become a national security state by itself? We, the people made it so instead of a social security state. We desperately loved to teach everyone in the world a lesson and see what we have done with ourselves?
    Shall we ever learn that history doesn't remember perished nations by the deeds of their corrupt leaders? The history remembers perished nations just as perished nations....It is our destiny after all...and it definitely can't be made by the way we are trying to build it.
    And finally...about the question "Then what is the solution?"...Please don't do this to yourselves....You know the solutions and solutions are not french revolution or Chinese revolution or this and that revolution...You know the solution...do you have the courage to adopt it as well? Difficult question to ask as it requires action from 180 million people...not to change governments but to change ourselves

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    Express Tribune: 10 troublesome traits of the average Pakistani by Sohail Anwar

    1. An average Pakistani behaves as he is told to by the establishment and/or the biased media. We do not cherish golden rules like ‘do the right thing’. Instead, we follow a de-facto rule, ‘my staff, my cattle’ An average red blooded Pakistani thinks that whatever he can get his hands on without reprisal is his property and he has full rights over it – this applies to his wife(s), children, land, cars, official post etcetera.
    2. An average Joe in Pakistan will never own up to his mistake(s), because if he does, that will be an anathema to his whole family.
    3. A Pakistani would do almost anything in the name of Islam, such as kill someone on simple hearsay, but will never extend his religious charity or piety for the common good of society or for women’s rights.
    4. The average Pakistani has acquired the mentality that everything should come to him rather than the other way around, especially when it comes to changing a government by coming out on the streets and just letting the government know that enough is enough.
    5. The average Joe in Pakistan knows what his constitutional and legal rights in civil and criminal matters, but does not know the duties that come with it and also how to exercise these rights in a responsible manner.
    6. The average Pakistani will know the problem and also the remedy, but will never move an inch to solve it unless he is convinced that his interests will also be served in the process. Also, he will never try to stop a heinous crime unless the victim is his sibling(s), parent(s) or any close relation.
    7. The average man believes that corruption is his right, in pursuit of happiness. The drug barons and most of the public servants of Pakistan are a practical example of this.
    8. The average Joe’s idea of patriotism is messed up. It starts and ends with his native territory. If a native of Punjab believes that making a Seraiki province is a conspiracy against Punjab, he will stick with it, even though it may hurt Pakistan in the long run.
    9. The lucky Pakistani who is sitting on a high post would lean towards nepotism – substituting meritocracy with nepotism has become an integral part of our culture.
    10. Our idea of administration of justice is obnoxious. We bribe clerks and court officers to drag a six month case for 100 years. If the offender is powerful and the victim is helpless and less resourceful than the offender, the society favours the strong and not the weak. In the villages, women are property, which can be exchanged or violated just because a male member of a tribe did something wrong.

    Express Tribune: 10 terrific traits of the average Pakistani by Tehmina Khan

    1. Our warmth: I was halfway through the journey on a PIA flight back home from Toronto and the lady next to me, who was a complete stranger, said in a gruff/indignant/too-assertive-to-leave-any-room-for-argument tone of voice:
    “You haven’t eaten throughout the journey, eat your dinner.”
    So a lot of people, especially of the Western individual-is-might mentality would consider this rude or nosy but it really warmed my heart. A random stranger caring about what I eat is touching.  I mean, really – who does that? A sweet, motherly Pakistani aunty on a PIA flight, that’s who.

    2. Our sense of humour: Yeah it’s inappropriate, kooky, nonsensical, illogical, and sometimes plain outrageous (not to mention incredibly politically incorrect), but it is our sole surviving mechanism through these incredibly hard times.
    When I went to work the day after the raid in Abbottabad that launched the latest round of condemnation of our beleaguered country, a co-worker said to another:
    “My condolences, I heard they shot your good friend Osama. What a tragic way to die.”
    It was totally random. The co-worker at the receiving end blinked, was slightly confused, and delivered a bored comeback and went back to work – just one exchange in a series of silly exchanges that tickle the funny bone and make it easier to get through the tough challenges that face us.
    3. Our passion: For food. For lawn. For bargaining. For cussing out news anchors. It is everywhere. Observe it and absorb it. Some people complain about the ‘boisterousness’ of the Punjabi people, but it was such a soothing balm after spending a stretch of time doing my Bachelor’s in the West. People are decidedly mellow there (to the point of being eerily unresponsive).
    4. Our levity: Somehow the true gravitas of a situation is lost upon us. Heart attacks? Failing you’re A-levels? Root canal? Survived a suicide blast? Just observe the reactions of those around you (after the immediate aftermath of intense care and concern, of course).
    It can drive you nuts when you are trying to extract the appropriate amount of sympathy and concern, but in the long run having these things brushed off changes your perspective.
    Nothing is insurmountable, nothing is terrifying.
    We’re pretty brave if you really think about it. Of course, you could replace “brave” with less flattering adjectives, but I’ll go with brave!
    5. Our wisdom: We have a rich, ancient, and deep-rooted culture that is the opposite of superficial. Well, superficiality will always be present, of course, but I’ve noticed a depth of soul that seems to spring from our very soil (if not the people). Pay attention the next time someone offhandedly cites a Punjabi mahavra. I love such mass-scale, non-esoteric, indigenous nuggets of wit and wisdom. I mean, just the other day I saw this written on the back of a rickshaw:
    “Sajjan koi koi, dushmun har koi.”
    I laughed, and then I thought about it. Funny yet thought-provoking and from such an unexpected source.
    6. Our stamina: Not physically – we really could do with bolstering ourselves in that arena!
    I mean our stamina for things that are not necessarily fun. When our grandparents are sick, we are by their bedsides. When it’s time to study, we buckle down and study. That is a remarkable trait in everyone but especially for the young. The West is troubled with the “rebellious teenager” stereotype, but it isn’t that rampant here – quite the opposite actually.
    7. Our earthiness: We are not high-maintenance; we will make do with almond oil in our hair instead of fancy products. We’re happy to wear local-artisan created kola puris. And now it is actually fashionable to be “environmentally friendly” and go for “organic” products. Yeah, we’ve been doing it for generations.
    8. Our culture: I’m commenting on our culture of making sacrifices for our parents’ happiness. My friends choose their majors to make their parents happy. We have to suck it up and paste a smile on our faces when we are dragged to random people’s weddings. This ties in with our ‘stamina’ but it is our culture that snuffs out the “me, me, me, only me” monster (of course some people are impervious to this and still run around spouting that as their mantra).
    9. Our talent: ‘Jay’s Toons’ on Facebook, anyone? Coke studio? Olive handmade soaps? With all the challenges these people face, somehow, their talent and genius slips through the cracks of the obstacles that are there. I can only imagine where we’d be if we actually had proper platforms and monetary incentives.
    10. Our festivity: No need to elaborate. When it’s time to celebrate, we know how to do it. Good food, merry people, and our homeland – the combination is very joyous if you stop to think about it.

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Survey Finds Cloud Computing Has Matured, But It Can Be a Pain

    (Coutesy pcmag.com. Published online June 1, 2011) 

     
    A survey conducted by Avanade finds that cloud computing has reached its first milestone as a mature technology.
    Out of the 573 C-level executives, business unit leaders, and IT decision-makers surveyed, three key indicators of the maturing of cloud computing were made apparent: businesses have increased investments in resources to secure, manage, and support cloud computing, there is growing adoption and preference for private clouds, and a healthy interest in cloud computing for revenue-generating services.
    Some other survey highlights:



  • 74 percent of enterprises are using cloud computing; a 23 percent growth since Avanade's September 2009 survey. Of organizations yet to adopt cloud services, three-quarters say it's in future plans. 




  • 60 percent of companies say cloud computing is a top IT priority for next year. The sentiment is even higher among C-level executives with 75 percent reporting cloud computing as a top priority.



  • 43 percent of companies surveyed use private cloud services.


  • The United States has seen steady cloud computing adoption rates with a 19 percent increase since a survey conducted in 2009. The highest cloud adoption rates among those surveyed were in Italy, Canada, France, Germany, and Australia, respectively.


  • The survey also revealed cloud growing pains. One in five executives reports that it's impossible to manage all of the disparate cloud services within their organizations. About 60 percent are worried about unmanaged cloud sprawl.


  • The concerns about managing cloud services, especially employee access to public cloud services is well-founded. One in five respondents said they have personally purchased a cloud service without the IT department's knowledge. The reasons given were that many thought it takes too long to go through IT and that it's easier to provision cloud services themselves. About 27 percent say their company's cloud policy actually prohibits the cloud services they want to use.
    While 60 percent of these companies do have corporate policies in place to prohibit such actions, those surveyed say there is no real deterrent for purchasing cloud services against policy guidelines. 29 percent reported there were no ramifications whatsoever and 48 percent say it is little more than a warning.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Pakistan in Summer 2011....an Odyssey of Life and Colors

    When the hope fades...always remember, it never dies


    The Beautiful Kaghan
    Northern Areas
    Karachi by Night




    The Honorable Baluch
    Islamabad by Night

    Desert Cholistan
    Mighty Indus


    Post Morning in Punjab Village
    Desert in its Galore
    Yaa banda e Sehrai
    It is a busy fruit market in summer here

    Mangoessssss









    Sea @ Karachi
    Lahore by Night





    Mulberry
    Road to Murree



    Eating @ Night in Food Streets
    A Fruit Kiosk



    Flowers in The Fields
    Swat River

    The Poor...Down but not Out


    Land of Fairies


    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    Bol - the movie and the Voice of Hadiqa Kayani

    These are heady days, tense days and sad day unfortunately for us. But it is life and we the writers have responsibility to look and show both sides. Otherwise, we are not doing Justice. Some good efforts to project the positive, defiant and courageous face of Pakistan are also materializing. One such effort is Bol, the movie, directed by Shoaib Mansoor. Awaiting patiently for its release, here is a very catchy composition from this movie, sung nicely by Hadiqa Kayani. Hope you like it.





    Friday, May 6, 2011

    "Why do we embrace conspiracy theories" by Fareed Zakaria

    Fareed Zakaria
    A number of you on Facebook and Twitter have been asking me about the “birthers” and “deathers” (the former question Obama’s birth; the latter question bin Laden’s death). These questions got me thinking about the prevalence of conspiracy theories in America and around the world.  Here’s what I think:

    The propensity of Americans to embrace conspiracy theories has long been attributed to their great suspicion of state authority. America was founded as a revolt against centralized power and there has always been a fear of coordinated action taking place in the dark behind closed doors. American conspiracy theories implicate Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. government, the intelligence community and many others. But conspiracy theories are certainly not confined to the United States.

    Pakistan is rife with them. A leading Pakistani journalist, Jugnu Mohsin (who will be on GPS this Sunday at 10am ET/PT), attributes conspiracy theories in her country to a population that feels deeply disenfranchised. There are so many double and triple games being played on them by the Pakistani military and the Pakistani establishment that it breeds conspiracy theories. The Arab world is also full of conspiracy theories and many analysts blame them on the prevalence of dictatorships.

    Conspiracy theories are indeed an odd phenomenon since they are widely present in the world’s leading democracies and the world’s leading dictatorships. They can’t be entirely related to political institutions.
    There must be something deep in the human psyche that makes us believe there are patterns to events – order, purpose and meaning.

    The simplest alternate explanation to a conspiracy theory is usually incompetence. When people say, “Why did these things happen?” and then point to a series of seemingly implausible events, it’s usually because the government messed up. The right arm didn’t know what the left arm was doing. Government is made of human beings. They are remarkably ordinary in their ability to make mistakes.

    There is also a certain amount of life which is luck, chance, coincidence and happenstance. You can’t always divine some larger pattern from the fact that two events seem related or happened in the same month. Often it is just chance.
    As you see, I’m not particularly partial to conspiracy theories.

    I can’t tell you how many times people ask me about the conspiracy of the Bilderberg Group. It is a conference I’ve occasionally been invited to and have attended once or twice. If only the people who wrote the alarmist treatises on the Bilderberg Group were allowed in. They would be so utterly disappointed. It’s just a conference like dozens of others around the world. And anyway, the idea that a finance minister or a banker would say something with a group of 150 people that is any different than what he would say in public is crazy in today's world where everything leaks instantly. In my experience, they say the same fairly banal platitudes inside as they say outside.
    So on the few occasions in my life when I’ve been inside centers of the conspiracy, I’ve been disappointed and relieved to find they were pretty much like the world on the outside.

    Fareed Zakaria hosts CNN’s flagship foreign affairs show, is Editor-at-Large of TIME Magazine, a Washington Post columnist, and a New York Times bestselling author.  Esquire Magazine called him “the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation.”

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Moin Akhtar: The man who taught me the meaning of "Pakistani Dream"

    I am in no position to say something about the legend. I am just putting his picture here to honor him. Please pen down a few lines in comments to honor the man who was himself "an odyssey of hope" for our nation.

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Is there any other country more beautiful than Pakistan? And Higher Education Commision

    And is there any other nation as cruel as our nation about itself? This is the question that has been circling my mind unusually frequently these past few days. I bet many amongst those who will be reading this blog travel quite frequently within and outside Pakistan. And I am also very much sure that all of them realize why this question is haunting my mind so much. That is because the same question haunts them too.
    Unfortunately, haunting don't matter really unless we have cures for these nightmares and that is exactly what lacks. We have the questions but we are really not ready to speak the answer which speaks itself within ourselves but we are not ready to even listen to it let alone speak aloud. I, like many others, have heard the answer and spoken it many times. Is there anyone who is willing to own it?
    Just travel around and see what we are blessed with. We are blessed with rich fertile plains, exuberant weathers, exotic customs, flowing rivers, snow capped mountains, wonderful locations, natural resources...we may be downtrodden but we are still envy of the earth. Can any other nation be more fortunate? And these are just the very insignificant blessings of God almighty upon us. The biggest blessing for our nation is 180 million rugged, content but highly intelligent people that God was so generous to give to us. Has anyone amongst those reading it ever thought that out of these 180 million, you were the chosen ones, you were one out of a million whom God gave the opportunity to excel in your lives. You excelled and there is no problem with it. But did you return the favor? To day my question is not towards the Corrupt politicians, self centered bureaucrats, news hungry media journalists, ruthless feudals, aimless military and visonless judiciary. We talk a lot about them...that has become our pastime. For us the whole malaise lies with one person or a bunch of persons and that is absolutely wrong thinking. That is not the answer that you hear within yourselves. That is not the cure. These are but just a reflection of ourselves. My question is to all of us. What have we done to ourselves and this gifted land that was given to our ancestors as a reward of their sacrifices. Mind you, our ancestors, not the ancestors of these greedy folks I just mentioned above.
    We, the nation is also corrupt. Anyone, in any position is behaving dishonestly in everything that we do daily. We scream about injustice, lack of governance, corruption etc but resort to same things when we are confronted with same dilemma without any hint of conscience. We are ready to earn money through any source possible. We buy the items from market which were supposed to be for flood and earthquake victims. We force young children to do domestic labor in our homes. We bunk our classes, we don't teach what we should, we don't struggle, we find shortcuts, we break lines, we give bribes, we accept bribes, we grab lands, we invest in shady deals, we don't have courage to elect honest people, we tolerate foreign invaders in the name of liberty, we tolerate terrorists in the name of struggle for religion, we impose our ideology upon others, we don't speak out for the truth, we celebrate the killings....the list is endless...We, the nation's chosen ones are rotting ourselves.
    And this is the answer. This answer speaks within ourselves, we don't own it. The answer was told centuries ago by our prophet. The answer was again and again reminded by our own scholars. The answer is written everywhere but we have become so blind to it that it even surprises us when we are confronted with this answer. We were the chosen 10, 20 million people of this land...educated, employed, bright etc etc. God almighty and this nation invested so much in all of us. Will the remaining 160 million not ask us what we owed and what we returned? Are not we as much culprits as all those greedy, power hungry so called stakeholders that I mentioned afew paragraphs above? Don't we deserve to be punished?
    I again ask all of us (including myself)....have we ever looked in the eyes of the children on street? How bright, how full of life, how intelligent they are. They are scattered everywhere. They are our children. They did not choose their parents and neither did us. They did not choose their nation and neither did us. But we got the fairer deal which they did not. We still whine but they don't. They need very little from us. They don't need Grameen banks, KASHF foundation, Alkhidmat or even EDHI and Shaukat Khanum from us. All they need from us is for us to be honest and to be forthright. Are we willing to do that?
    There may be many amongst us who may be thinking that this doesn't apply to them. They are very honest. They preach good. They are practicing Muslims. They studied with dedication and found job on merit. They have achieved everything through belief in God and their effort. However, I will still say, you (myself included again) are not honest and you know I am saying truth. Move beyond your personal self. Preach good, become unbiased, struggle to become good citizen not just a good self which suits your personality. Become balance, become moderate. Don't impose and don't be budged. Don's accept anything wrong because it suits the mindset that is close to you. Think of this nation and what really really suits it.
    Higher Education Commission was and is one such moderate success story where some people like us thought and made efforts to bring some good changes in their domain of work. Hats off to Dr. Atta ur Rehman for his vision. He worked under a dictator but none can doubt his sincerity and passion for Pakistan. He brought meaningful change literally in Pakistan. Quality of education improved significantly. Quality research emerged. As a nation, we were for the first time exposed to highest level of international research within Pakistan solely through his efforts. Today more than 10 thousand Pakistanis are serving in various universities all around the world as a consequence of his and HEC efforts. Within 10 years, HEC has been able to change international landscape which was once occupied by Indian scholars but today, they have to compete with scholars from Pakistan. I know from personal experience that South Korea and Italy prefer Pakistani scholars and scientists over Indian scientists due to their intelligence and breadth of knowledge. I don't this this is a trivial feat. Then look at the quality of studies and research improvement within national universities. It is easy to sit in an easy chair and give talks about so called fictitious research. Matter of the fact is that the only group who worked tirelessly in this past decade to bring any meaningful change in the society was academia and the students. The teachers went back to their class rooms and labs and students followed them. This was also mainly due to efforts of Dr. Atta and his team at HEC. They improved infrastructure of national universities. Brought the idea of sponsored research projects. Encouraged the concept of rewarding the ingenuity. Today, there is at least some awareness of conducting meaningful research within the universities. Many think producing PhDs was actually a non achievement and I can simply laugh at their small sightedness. Each PhD produced by HEC made at least ten internationally reputable scientists and researchers know about the potential of Pakistan through participation in international conferences, journal publications in their highly cited journals, thesis evaluations and finally thesis defense. If one PhD scholar supported by HEC was able to make ten influential scientists of the world know about Pakistan and still, we were not able to take advantage of it, is it the fault of PhD scholars and HEC? Or, it is a grim reality check to all policy makers of this country about how pathetic their planning has been that they have absolutely ruined the ten years struggle and effort of these motivated researcher in utter disregard to national interest?
    HEC is not perfect. It is again a mirror of us. It may have committed several errors and misdeeds which should be investigated. It is after all run by humans like us. It should be answerable to public accounts committee like all other watch dogs. But the way, HEC is being used for political mileage, the way academia is being ridiculed by ignorant policy makers, headline greedy media anchors and those few politicians who have no vision of themselves (I am speaking about all those politicians who are either opposing HEC in the foolish tone or even supporting it without any logic only to gain sympathies) is devastating. As memebrs of academia, I am so proud of the fact that we never craved for media limelight. We always preferred to perform our duties without any wish to be recognized. That is moral strength of our tribe. Being part of this community, I stand proud and say that we, the scholars, the teachers, the researchers and finally HEC did much better than many other of the chosen ones. We are proud of our effort and we won't let anyone snatch it. The issue of devolution of HEC has been used for political point scoring. No one is against devolution amongst us from academia. It is good but it should be streamlined and core concerns such as curriculum, standardization, infrastructure, verifications, oversight should still remain with a totally autonomous, answerable and independent Higher Education Commission.
    It has become a very large blog today but there were so many things on my mind. In the end, I will just like to say that it is spring here in Pakistan and is not going to last very long as summer is approaching. Take out that car, jeep bike of yours....travel along GT road...look at all the colors of Pakistan, absorb them within yourself. Stop at as many roadside dhabbas (cafes) as possible and share their smiles and joys of this spring. Stand up for Pakistan. Here is a beautiful new presentation by STRINGS called "Mein to Dekhoon Ga" which translated roughly into "For sure, I am bound to witness". A superb work, a heart touching wish and a mesmerizing prayer. Feel and enjoy. Take care of yourselves and your families.

    Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Finder