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Jun 23, 2012

To all the Historians of Pakistan

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 “The longer you look back, the further you can look forward.”
  Winston Churchill

These priceless words of a most remarkable philosopher\statesman, lead us to a basic conclusion: the future prospects for progress and prosperity of Individuals and Nations can quite precisely be predicted by its peoples prevailing attitudes towards their history.

Three dates are of paramount importance in the history of the freedom struggle of the Muslims of the Subcontinent: 30th of Dec, the founding day of All India Muslim League, 23rd of March 1943 (now commemorated as Pakistan Day) and the 14th of August 1947, the day of success for the struggle studded with the best of human efforts and sacrifice.

There cannot be any acceptable excuse in not preserving each and every moment of these days in our history. 

Unfortunately, as witnessed often in our daily chores, we are guilty of a neglect that we can ill afford. This pertains to the 23rd of March 1947.

The attitudes of a society and of those responsible for making decisions are reflected in everything that its individuals do, in every decision that they make, particularly in issues pertaining to community welfare and development. The results of our day to day work also depend, to a very large extent, on these attitudes.
Legends and National Heroes of Pakistan
Legends of Pakistan

In this background, we will bring to light an issue that for the writer is of great National importance.
This official photograph, released by the Government of Pakistan, and conspicuously displayed in many official offices, is very appropriately and rightly labeled as Legends of Pakistan. It is displayed at the main door of the National Archives in Islamabad. It must have been approved by some “Competent Authority’’ and I believe would have  been more than casually seen by all important “Leaders “of Pakistan.

Perhaps the same casual attitude that prevails in the country as a whole was meted out to this National asset too. An immediate reaction  in the mind  of anyone looking at this photograph seriously , or perhaps just more than casually,  is  that the title “ legends of Pakistan ” in no way allows, the “legends of the Nation” to be called and labeled as unknown. This not only sounds like a crime against history, against our National struggle for Independence but it also betrays the title itself. In this day and age, not being able to find the identity of three people, (out of the 18 select group) considered worthy of being with the father of the Nation on the most significant and historic day in the history of our struggle, is certainly not comprehendible. 

Not being able to identify these “Legends’, is not only difficult to digest it is rather unbelievable and unpardonable. It in reality reflects the attitude and lack of dedication that we all have as a nation, towards serious work.

Though this poor attitude reflects every day in our daily activities, yet in such a serious matter it speaks volumes against those responsible for this project.

The desire to know the truth, determines, to a very large extent the way we live and spend our lives. This in turn determines the attention given to detail and the correctness of our decisions.

There are countless examples where, our poor behaviors depict a clear lack of application of sound thinking and an extremely non serious attitude. We are guilty of not only being unable to look into the past, but also of not appreciating the present. The chances of planning correctly for the future are obviously non existent.

Just to quote a few issues, some of which are of the greatest importance even for our survival are the victims of such casual behaviour.

We are a country with water scarcity and our biggest asset is the sub soil water. When I see this precious commodity being pumped out to wash cars, and roads and to irrigate decorative plants, even within a hundred feet of the Canal, it reflects very clearly our attitudes. The mess on the roads , the poorly designed towns and cities, the jigsaw puzzle like power cables, the total disregard for safety at all work places.

This photograph is being presented as a challenge to all those who are interested in History and to the serious students of the history of Pakistan. I am sure we may find this answer in some papers pertaining to the record of the Muslim League or the Jinnah papers preserved in the National Achieves, or perhaps in the papers pertaining to the Subcontinent preserved in the UK. or in some private collections. Even putting advertisements in the National Press or on the large number of private channels can get us the answers, but it needs the drive for finding the truth and facts. We on the contrary prefer to close our eyes and settle for...

Our attitudes need a radical change and that can only, come through continued and dedicated efforts of the Leaders, we need real leaders, who are men of substance.


Written by:
Mahmood Shaukat
Professor of Paediatric Surgery
King Edward Medical College, Lahore

Jun 22, 2012

Pakistan and Its Image Problem - Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt

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Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schimdt's Visit to Pakistan

Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman and Ex. CEO of Google) recently visited Pakistan. This was his first visit to Pakistan. He wrote his thoughts about Pakistan on his Google Plus Page. His post is based on the observations during his 2 days visit. During this visit he met with top officials of Pakistan including Chie Minister of Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif and Ex. Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani. Media reported that Government of Pakistan is interested to get Google's help to monitor cross border movement across the Durand Line (Pakistan's Border with Afghanistan), However Eric didn't said enough about main purpose of his visit. Government of Punjab has already signed an MOU with Google for promotion of Tourist Destinations in Punjab. 

Eric Schmidt has shown a very true picture of current situation of Pakistan in his note on his Google Plus Page. I understand Google's Policy about not to copy other's content on your blog/website but I think that this is a very good and informative post by Eric Schmidt and I wish that more and more Pakistanis read it and know the facts about Pakistan. I found a hope in his post that Pakistan has the potential to sustain and develop.

Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt with Chief Minister of Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif
Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt with Chief Minister of Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif

Here is Eric's full note on his Google Plus Page without any alteration for the readers of this blog. Read the complete post and give your comments below.

Pakistan and its Image Problem


Pakistan, a Muslim country, has spent about half of its independent life under military governments.  Today, Pakistani leadership celebrates the ruling coalitions success in almost finishing the first five year term in history (previous leaders indicted by the courts, assassinated by extremists or brushed aside by the generals.)  In meetings last week with the senior General, Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, they made the case for a new and updated image of Pakistan: one of the largest democracies in the world, with a vibrant and open press, an upcoming demographic dividend of hardworking young people, and a highly educated elite leadership of the country.  Islamabad and Lahore, where we visited, were relatively safe and certainly safer than Afghanistan.  It was clear to us that Pakistan has an image problem.
Pakistan also has a power problem, as in electric power.  Power is now off two hours out of three all day and all night.  Estimates are that the country has enough generation capacity (hydro and oil based) to handle all the load, but corruption, power stealing, poor payment rates and the classic mistake of underpricing power compared to its real generation cost means that industrial production is threatened.  Everyone of means has a UPS, and the air-conditioning seldom works on a 45 Celcius day.   Our meetings often were literally in the dark, a common enough occurrence that people did not even remark about it.
Pakistanis are on their way to full mobile penetration with more than 110 million users, and all effective political communication programs now rely on SMS.  3G licenses are underway and the start of a real software industry can be seen.
Against this backdrop, another side of Pakistan emerges.  The consensus is that the military drives the foreign policy of the country with unforeseen consequences.  Alleged use of extremist groups to fight in Kashmir enables a criminal element to flourish, and the hosting of the Taliban in the autonomous regions (called FATA) to the north and west in the mountains turned an ungoverned area into a very dangerous area.  The Army Generals explained the difference between fundamentalism (which they support) and extremism (which they fight), and the political leadership explained that the extremism now comes from “seminaries” where youth are indoctrinated, housed and fed in the rural areas where there are no opportunities at all.
Until recently a strong US ally, Pakistan is now on very good terms with China, and has improving relations with India (with whom they have had three wars.)   The development of a nuclear stalemate between India and Pakistan seems to have forced them to pursue accommodation and trade is now increasing rapidly.  The press are generally hyper-critical of the United States policies in the region and take the view that the India-US relationship is driving much of our countries behavior.  The drone strikes are universally condemned as a violation of sovereignty and their constitution and are subject to much negotiation between the two countries.  The bin Laden raid is viewed with strikingly different perspectives in the two countries.
The son of the chief of the Supreme Court is under investigation for corruption, and the media in turmoil after the appearance of staged interviews.  In return, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Prime Minister is unable to govern after he was sentenced to a 30 second (yes, that’s right) detention for failing to investigate a corruption case against the President.  The Prime Minister, so proud of the stability of the political system in his comments a week ago, is now the former-Prime Minister.  The lack of trust within the society weakens both the real and perceived effectiveness of the government on security, corruption and good government matters.
We met a number of impressive Pakistanis, none more so than Masarrat Misbah of Smile Again.  Every year, hundreds of young rural women have acid thrown on their faces by men as punishment for some dishonor, including being raped by the men who pour acid on her.  This horrific crime, which often leads to death or blindness, requires painful rehabilitation and rebuilding of the woman’s life.  Masarrat Misbah’s home in Lahore provides a temporary safe house.  The perpetrators, most often direct family members, are seldom prosecuted and almost never convicted of anything.  I will never forget the faces of these shy, young women so grievously injured in such an evil way.
Much of what people say and think about Pakistan is absolutely true for most of the FATA provinces (autonomous areas) and for Baluchistan. Pakistan's image problem results from the fact that people outside the country believe the realities of North and South Waziristan and Quetta are reflective of what the larger country looks like. Islamabad and Lahore are certainly safer than people realize, unless you are a politician (many prominent politicians still suffer assassination attempts and threats inside these cities). 
Pakistan's major security challenge comes from having two many fronts. FATA represents a Haqqani network and Taliban problem, threatening the establishment in Islamabad. Baluchistan is a persistent separatist movement. Afghanistan is a threat because Pashtuns are allowed to go back and forth undocumented.  All of this, including India, is simply too much for a government like Pakistan to take on right now. 
We ultimately see three Pakistans: 1) The places where the security issues are true (FATA, Baluchistan, parts of SWAT Valley, and Kashmir); 2) the rest of Pakistan for the average citizen, much larger than the first and which is reasonably misunderstood and relatively safe; 3) The politician's and military's Pakistan, which whether in FATA or Islamabad, is turbulent, unsafe, and complex.
There is a good case for optimism about Pakistan, simply because of the large emergent middle class (#2).  The country, vast, tribal and complicated, can follow the more successful model of India.  Connectivity changes the rural experience completely.. illiteracy at 43% can be overcome relatively quickly, and providing information alternatives can dissuade young males from a life of terrorism.  The well educated elite can decide to further reform the countries institutions to increase confidence in the government.  The war in Afghanistan, destabilizing to Pakistan in many ways, winds down after 2014 and buys time for Pakistan to address its real and continuing internal terrorism threat (more than 30,000 civilian terror deaths in the decade.)
Technology can help in other ways as well.  The power problem is mostly a tracking problem (tracing corruption and mis-distribution).  The problem of extreme crimes (like acid, or stoning) in poorly policed regions can be mitigated with videos and exposes that shame authorities into prosecution.  The corruption problem can be tracked and traced using mobile money and transparent government finances.  We met with clever Pakistani entrepreneurs who will build large, new businesses in Pakistan in the next few years and global multinational will locate sales and eventually manufacturing in the country.
The emergent middle class of Pakistan won’t settle for a corrupt system with constant terrorism and will push for reforms in a burgeoning democracy.  Here’s to the new civil society of Pakistan, who will use connectivity, information and the Internet, to drive a peaceful revolution that brings Pakistan up to its true potential.

Jun 19, 2012

Zong Flutter - New Fantastic Package for Women

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Zong Flutter

Zong Flutter is a new package for female customers. Though it is not officially launched and also not advertised on media but it is available to customers and many Zong customers have already subscribed for this package.

Flutter Package Details

Followings are available in Zong Flutter Package:

  • 75 Free Minutes
  • 100 Free SMS
  • 1 Free outgoing Off-Net Minute on 3 Incoming Off-Net Minutes
  • Monthly Free Women Specific Gifts through Lucky Draw up to Rs. 500,000
  • Free Flutter Lounge Value Added Service
  • Free Call Block Service

Zong Flutter Tariff

Following rates will be applied on using more than free resources.
Call rate for Zong to Zong and all other networks= Rs. 1.2 + tax per minute
Zong Friends and Family Numbers Rate= 0.35 + tax per minute
80 Paisa per SMS to all networks
MMS Rate = Rs.3 per 300KB
GPRS= Rs.15 per MB
Happy Hour = Rs. 5 + tax per hour

How to Join Zong Flutter Package?

Dial *369# to join Zong Flutter Package. USSD Menu will show following options:

  1. Sub
  2. Unsub
Reply with 1 to subscribe and 2 to unsubscribe. 

Jun 18, 2012

Top-10 Pakistani Social Networking Websites

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Top-10 Social Networks of Pakistan

Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter are three most popular social networks not only in Pakistan but also worldwide. These three are the leaders of social networking but there are many other social networks e.g. Pinterest, Delicious, Stumbleupon, Friendster, MySpace etc which are also popular and gaining more popularity day by day. 

Here we are not going to discuss any social network with international fame having worldwide users. Here we will only enlist local social media networks of Pakistan which are developed mainly for Pakistanis. 

Here is a list of Top Pakistani Social Networks.
Social Networking Websites in Pakistan
Social Media in Pakistan


1. Reffra.com

Reffra.com is a social networking, blogging and video sharing community. Members are provided with an interactive experience which encompasses blogging as well as forums within their personal profiles and includes group chats audio and video with friends in addition to the standard features like groups, polls, events etc. In addition to the web presence on ground chapters across various communities are also being created through Reffra Foundation platform for welfare activities.



2. Pring

Pring is the fastest growing social network of Pakistan. Users can post their status and receive updates of other via SMS on their mobile phones and on website also. Users cans also get registered either via sending an SMS to 9900 or visiting pringit.com website. This network is a beautiful combination of internet and cellular networks.
You can join my network by sending SMS "Follow PakistanHotline" to 9900.
Pring
Pring

3. Naseeb

Naseeb is also a Pakistani Social Site focused on providing match making services to its users. Naseeb lets you create three different profiles so that you can control your information sharing. You can find your partner by advance search options and interact with them.

4. Campus.pk

Campus.pk is social network of Pakistani students. Many colleges and universities are featured on this website. User Students, Photos, Videos and News are categorized college wise.
Campus.pk - Social Network Site for Pakistani Students
Campus.pk - Social Network Site for Pakistani Students

5. Stop.pk

It is more than just an ordinary social site. You can create groups and blogs, add quizzes and events, enjoy videos and audio. It has also Store, Classifieds and Forum sections.

6. Circle.pk

Circle.pk is also a Pakistani social media site. Its design and many features are similar to Pakzzle. Concept and idea of Circle is very unique, it is based on creating social circle for every user.


More Pakistani social networks will be added here whenever we found new quality social networks. Some websites e.g. MeraWatan.pk, Pakzzle.com, Zoobeedu.com are being deleted from this list as these are not available to its users at this time when we checked these websites, these websites were also included initially. 
You can ask us to add any new or existing quality Pakistani social network.

Jun 16, 2012

Computerization of Land Records in Punjab

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Computerization of Land Records in Punjab Province

Punjab Government has started computerization of all data and records of lands in the province. A project management unit "Land Records Management and Information Systems" has been already been established and has achieved many goals. This management unit is working under Punjab Board of Revenue. 

Government of Punjab is willing to establish an accountable, efficient and secure land records system and ultimately establishing a Land Titling System.

Contracts for data entry of land records of many districts in Punjab has been awarded to different firms.

11 LRMIS Service Centres has been established while 30 more will be completed very soon. Government of Punjab promised in an advertisement in today's (16 June 2012) Daily Express that Computerized Land Record Services will be available on all service centrers up to 2013. 
LRMIS Advertisement by Government of Punjab in Daily Express
LRMIS Advertisement by Government of Punjab in Daily Express

Advantages of LRMIS

Through LRMIS (Land Record Management and Information Systems), people of Punjab will get rid of traditional land record system which is totally dependant on Patwaris and it is a known fact that most of them are extremely corrupt. Some of the key advantages of this system will be:
  • Availability of all data online
  • Transparent and corruption free system
  • Biometric data entry
  • Land transfer within 50 minutes
  • Get "Fard" within 30 minutes

Traditional Land Record of Patwari System
Traditional Land Record of Patwari System 

Jun 15, 2012

Honour Services by Malik Barkat Ali - A Forgotten Hero of Pakistan Movement

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Malik Barkat Ali

I would like to bring to your attention the sad reality that the services of Malik Barkat Ali, a prominent member of the legal and political fraternity of the pre partition era, who died on 5 April 1946.  He has not yet been given due consideration as not a single road has been named after him. Previously Temple Road on which Malik Barkat lived from 1925 onwards till his death was named after him and the same was than changed. Thereafter Lytton Road was renamed as Malik Barkat Ali Road and this met the same fate.
Malik Barkat Ali
Malik Barkat Ali

When Malik Barkat Ali died in 1946 the Quaid e Azam paid him the following tribute at a special session of Muslim League attended by 470 newly elected members:-  forgotten
I am deeply grieved to hear the very depressing and sad news of the sudden death of Malik Barkat Ali. He was from the very beginning a true and loyal member of the Muslim League, and on all occasions, he rendered the greatest service to Muslim India. His advice and staunch support on all occasions was of greatest value to the League and myself. Muslim India has lost in him a great man, and I have lost in him not only a colleague, a collaborator, but also a great friend. My deepest sympathies go out to his family in their bereavement for their irreparable loss.

A brief history of his services is as follows:-

He belonged to a middle class family and after a distinguished academic career, joined FC College as Asst. Professor English after doing MA in 1905. He later served in Islamia College. Malik Barkat Ali joined government service in 1907 after competitive examination standing first and completed his LLB classes. While posted at Lyallpur, he developed differences on principles and resigned in 1914. On 13 April he joined English weekly The Observer as editor, which gained him prominence in Punjab politics, since this paper projected the Muslim community. His editorials irritated Governor Punjab O’Dwyer, who asked proprietors to sack him or face closure, but they preferred ceasing publication. On 22 Dec 1919 he enrolled in Punjab High Court and started active politics. He participated in annual sessions of Muslim League held in 1924, 1924 and 1926. He was member Reforms Committee All India Muslim League in Dec 1915 and participated in Muslim League delegation to All Parties Convention called by Indian National Congress at Calcutta in 1928. In 1929 when Bhagat Singh was tried, a resolution condemning trial was moved jointly by Allama Iqbal, Barkat Ali, Nanka Chand and Norang in Lahore High Court Bar. He was an ardent supporter of Allama Iqbal and this association continued till Allama Iqbal’s death in 1938. He was a member of All India Muslim League working Committee for over 20 years, which under Quaid e Azam approved draft of Pakistan Resolution.

Malik Barkat Ali was elected on Muslim League ticket to PA from eastern districts of Punjab on 9 Feb 1937. Only two Muslim League candidates were elected, the other being Raja Ghazanfar, who immediately joined the Unionist Party.  For 10 years he alone represented ML and opposed Unionist Party. In Lahore there was only one pro League Urdu newspaper Daily “Ehsan” and to fill this vacuum an English weekly “The New Times” was launched which was edited by Malik Maratab Ali, his eldest son, while Allama Iqbal remained its patron. Malik Barkat Ali was again elected unopposed to Punjab Assembly in 1946. 

Masjed Shaheed Gunj issue created turmoil when it was demolished by Sikhs with connivance of police and army on night of 4 July 1935, with a coalition including Feroze Noon, Muzaffar and Shahabuddin ruling Punjab. Several were killed by police firing and thousand arrested, which included Maulana Zafar, while activists of Majlis e Ahrar abstained. Quaid arrived in Lahore after a gap of 8 years on 21 Feb 1936, on joint appeal of muslims of Punjab. His intervention led to release of muslim prisoners and formation of Reconciliation Committee. Malik Saheb actively campaigned for Masjed Shaeed Gunj issue and on instructions of Allama Iqbal filed a suit with District Judge Lahore, who ruled against them on 25 May 1936 and later filed an appeal in Lahore High Court, which was taken up by full bench comprising of Chief Justice Young, Bhade and Din Mohammad.  Barkat Ali and Barrister Coltman on recommendation of Quaid pleaded the case. High Court decided case in favor of Sikhs in Jan 1938 with Justice Din dissenting.  Allama Iqbal instructed him to present a bill called Islamic Mosques Protection Bill in assembly.  Premier Sikandar Hayat fearing trouble for his government advised Governor to block the presentation of bill. A civil disobedience movement was launched to protest issue of Masjed Shaheed Gunj and  Quaid in a letter to Allama Iqbal dated 2 March 1938 desired that a special session of All India Muslim League be convened at Lahore to discuss this urgent matter. Allama Iqbal sent a formal invitation for holding this Special Session hosted by Punjab Muslim League.  It is an unfortunate fact of history that the Punjab Muslim League, which was headed by Allama Iqbal had its affiliation cancelled on 3rd April 1938 by a sub-committee at Delhi, few weeks before Allama’s death on 21 April 1938.  History is testimony to the fact that this Special Session to be convened at Lahore was never allowed to be held.

Malik Barkat Ali was a close confidant of both Allama Iqbal and Quaid e Azam Mohd Ali Jinnah. It was unfortunate that he did not live to see the birth of Pakistan for which he had struggled hard, particularly in the last ten years of his life. After the creation of Pakistan, on the instructions of the Quaid e Azam, Malik Shaukat Ali son of Malik Barkat Ali was second Mayor of Lahore twice elected. He was also returned to the National Assembly.

Written by:
Mahmood Shaukat
Professor of Paediatric Surgery
King Edward Medical College, Lahore

Jun 1, 2012

Budget of Pakistan 2012~2013 Highlights

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Federal Budget of Pakistan 2012~2013

Federal Budget of Pakistan was presented in Parliament today. Dr. Abdul Hafiz Shaikh, Federal Minister of Pakistan for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics, Planning and Development presented budget speech before national parliament today 01 June, 2012 at 1800hrs. Span of budget speech was only half an hour. This is 5th and last budget of current PPP collation government.  

Pakistani Budget 2012-2013
Pakistani Budget 2012-2013

Salient Features of Federal Budget of Pakistan for Fiscal Year 2012-13

  • The total outlay of budget is estimated at Rs 2,960 Billion while Budget of 2011~12 was of Rs. 2,559 Billion.
  • Total revenue is estimated at Rs. 3,234 Billion for new fisclal year.
  • According to tax speech, no new tax will be applied during this year.
  • 20 percent Adhoc Relief Allowance will be given to Federal Government Employees.
  • Pension of retired government employees will also be increased by 20 percent.
  • Annual income up to 4 lacs is exempted from income Tax.
  • Tax Payer Honour Card will be issued to tax payers for additional facilities and privileges on many places e.g. NADRA, Passport Office, Airports, Railways and some other government offices.
  • Government planned to give technical training and intern-ship to 1 lac unemployed young Pakistanis in upcoming year.
  • With holding Tax limit on withdrawing cash from banks is increased. Now there will be no WHT on up to 50,000 rupees per day.
  • 16 % General Sales Tax (GST) will be fixed on all items.
  • Custom Duty is minimized on many items.
  • Rs. 183 billion are sanctioned for Electricity projects in year 2012~2013.
  • Prime Minister House will be converted in Institute for Advanced Studies.

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