Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Abdul Sattar Edhi

The lums student body had the privilege of having renowned philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi come to LUMS and talk about his extensive work experience and give advice on how we can contribute to the betterment of those around us.

Edhi is now approaching 80 years of age, he has done so much for the community despite very modest beginnings. That is why he has become a renowned and trusted name all across the country and to whom people give in complete trust. Under his leadership the worlds largest volunteer run ambulance service of over 160 ambulances provides services all across Pakistan.

His speech on the day was quite strong and direct. He made no qualms on describing the business world being full of hypocrites and greedy people who did not care about the right if the fellow beings rather focused only on their own selfish desires. The bad part about the audience was that we were all MBA students and sadly perhaps none of us will be joining the social sector and such endearing personalities will be forced to work with workers who have minimal education and have found no other place to work.

Edhi is one of the biggest heroes for me. I hope more people follow in his footsteps and as per his suggestions/insight set up community centers which help support their localities. wait..isn't that what mosques are supposed to do?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pakistan's Paralymics Medalist, 2008

Pakistan had a horrible showing at the Beijing Olympics 2008. We failed to come close to, let along win a medal during the games. Something, our highly paid sports bodies need to have a close look at and be shameful of the next time they go scandulously extravagant vacations and trips all paid for by the tax payer.

But we did have something to be happy about at the Paralympics also held in Beijing soon after the Olympics were over and the reason for that happiness was Haider Ali, an athletic who suffers from Cerebral Palsy made his country proud when he won a Silver Medal for his feat at the long jump competition on 9 Sept at the Beijing Paralymics.

His endeavour though, equal to that of the Gold Medal winner, a Tunisian, who ran the same distance that of 6.44 meters, Haider was chosen as the runner up as he was rejected for one of his five jumps during the preliminary rounds. But nonetheless, he managed to do what many his able-bodied counterparts couldn’t achieve just a few weeks prior to his competion – win a Olympics Medal at Beijing.

However, the saddest part is that unlike the other sports persons, there is no annoucement till date from either the Pakistani Olympic sporting bodies or the Government regarding any prize money for our hero. If he had been a cricker or from any other sport, or even a able-bodied olympic athlete, he would by now had been showered with enough accolades and money to last him a life-time. But being an optimist, I can only assume that the great news hasn’t yet reached among those at the higher echelons of power.

Picture and text courtesy of http://www.doodhpattiblog.com/

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ignorance is bliss!

I'm tired and fatigued from watching, hearing, talking and discussing the updates on the deadly bombing by (only god knows who) yesterday. so instead of talking about the obvious, ill post about something totally off topic. A few day ago i was hanging out with some friends in the LUMS boys dorm. It was a nice chill out since some of these guys have gone for a study abroad program. So here are the pics...enjoy!

Talha, Muneeb, Fazal & Numair
Fazal, Abid & Fahad
Omer, Khawaja and Shoaib
Me and Zeeshan

Thursday, September 18, 2008

12 year old invents efficient solar cell

As full this planet has become with problems...it does not take long before you hear positive news coming in from some end ot ther other. Humans have survived by adapting to all kinds of changes that have come about in the world and its stories like these that makes one think...that the possibilities of sustainable living is very doable if we put our minds to it.

12 Year Old Boy Invents New Type of Solar Cell

William Yuan’s 3D cell can absorb both visible and UV light. According to his calculations, solar panels equipped with his 3D cells could provide 500 times more light absorption than current commercial solar cells and nine times more light than existing 3D solar cells.

Yuan received a well-deserved $25,000 scholarship for his research. The next step? Getting his invention to market. Of course, the viability of his solar cells will ultimately depend on their cost efficiency—but Yuan has his whole life ahead of him to work on that.

In his project, “A Highly-Efficient 3-Dimensional Nanotube Solar Cell for Visible and UV Light,” William invented a novel solar panel that enables light absorption from visible to ultraviolet light. He designed carbon nanotubes to overcome the barriers of electron movement, doubling the light-electricity conversion efficiency. William also developed a model for solar towers and a computer program to simulate and optimize the tower parameters. His optimized design provides 500 times more light absorption than commercially-available solar cells and nine times more than the cutting-edge, threedimensional solar cell.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Crisis, Crisis Crisis!

The world around us seems to be going through a lot right now. Pakistan is at the center of many of these stories but some of even bigger significance are also there. Here is a snapshot of some of the biggest stories hitting the headlines. I know there is a lot more than just this...Thailand PM, US election campaigns but these are some of the really shocking ones.

US on the border - Pakistan for once holds firm
The US has been intruding into Pakistan territory on an almost daily basis for the past few days and finally the Army took a strong stance and instead of just saying we regret and condemn these incursions has issued an open threat that the armed forces will open fire on any US intrusions into Pakistan Territory.

India stop water flows
India has once again stopped water flows into Pakistan and the government has lodged the 6th protest in the past 2 months against the act which is against the Indus Water Treaty of 1960. Pakistan will suffer immensely due to the timing of the stoppage as it is time for wheat cultivation.

Lehman Brothers collapses
Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and AIG saved by US Government takeovers

George Soros thinks this is just the start of a financial crisis which he even related to the big depression of the 30's. This could well be the start of a nightmare for global economies. The ramifications of which could last for years if not longer.

Milk powder for babies in China tainted with chemicals
Several thousand babies are sick with atleast three deaths due to the addition of a toxic chemical melamine to make the milk appear higher in protien content. All for a little more money, endangering lives is okay. Don't you just love capitalism!!

Carla Bruni (Mrs. Sarkozy) is singing with Metallica
What a charming woman! She has impressed world leaders not as much by her looks but moreso due to her understanding of political realities that France faces. A model, singer, musician, and the first lady. She is the 'complete package'!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Nothing to cheer one up other than a bit of humor...that too with pics!!!

second hand smoke...ruthless!!

talk about a useless pic

the concept prevails in the animal kingdom too.

we keep it simple


Noah's Ark: The woodpecker has gotta go
hehe!uh oh...striking resemblance there!

It's so obvious!
err..excuse me!

the universal treaty

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fatigued rant!

Its monday and it seems its been a long week already. That has a lot to do with the fact that at LUMS we had a Written Analysis of a Case (WAC) last weekend for which i was up all of saturday night studying. It was for our project management course and a case on A&D Hight Tech going into the online retail business.

A few hours of sleep later i was getting ready for the Mensa exam which i am hopeful to pass and become a member of MENSA. :) Fingers crossed, lets see. Soon after the exam, it was time for an iftaar dinner and some chilling with friends before getting back to more studying. :(

Another full day of classes today and more studying through the rest of the week including 5 '90-minute' classes in a row starting at 8 am on Thursday and to top it all of there are classes on Saturday as well. So its going to be a hectic routine this week as well. No chance of catching up on my 'To-do' list anytime soon.

Plus, ramadan is half way through and the body begins to weaken just a little especially due to the extra strain of limited sleep. I sound like i'm living in prison but really the way they want us to work for an MBA degree..its almost like forced or slave labor. ;) Okay enough for now...gotta get back to my readings again!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sahiwal visit

There is a lot to see in Punjab and i have been fortunate enough to travel to quite a few places in the province, though i do wish to see some more places. Recently, i visited Sahiwal, a town 100 km south of Lahore which was a small village called Montgomery after some Britisher before being named Sahiwal in 1966.
My ancestral village from my paternal side is located about 15 km from Sahiwal near a small village, Nurpur. It actually lies in Pakpattan district but is actually closer to Sahiwal city. We have some farmland there and since we have leased it out to local farmers we do not make it down there more often than a few times a year. It is indeed a very relaxing retreat away from the crowded city and a chance to breathe in some fresh air and enjoy some nature.

It is also where my ancestors are buried..in picture are my grandmother and my great grandfather...just behind their graves is the grave of my great great great grand father. The local village is named after him and is called 'Chak Jaffer Shah'. As i stood there laying petals on my forefathers graves, and praying for thier souls and asking them to guide us, when we need it the word of our professor Imran Ali hit me, am i still stuck in the old custom of glorifying the dead, am i part of the whole shrine culture that he taught us to frown upon. The thought became increasingly worrisome when i visited the shrine of Pir Shakar Ganj who is regarded a very devout person in his time. The question still remain unanswered.
The barren field where Tobacco had been planted is empty for a short while before potato cultivation begins. In the picture below the truckloads of tobacco that had been farmed lies waiting for the right time before it is sold in the market. A hookah, an instrument used by locals to smoke can also be seen.

A nearby field where the rice crop has been cultivated adds a vibrant green color to the landscape. A few more weeks left before this crop is ready.

Right next to our house, is this small farm where we grow different fruits such as oranges, pomegranates etc. It was just a short one day trip but a nice change from the hecticity of living in a big city. I look forward to the next time i can make a getaway and relax in a more serence environment.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Radio @ LUMS

One of the advantages of living in a free country, is the ability to freely exercise the option of expressing thoughts and ideas publicly. It is something that is not truly valued until you lose that freedom. One of the local television channels, Geo (www.geo.tv) realized that when they were banned by the then President, Pervez Musharraf. Due to public pressure he had to put them back air after a few months or so. Since most of us do not realize the power and value of this freedom we fail to properly utilize it. One way in which i have used that potential is to write this blog. I'm really happy with the fact that viewers from across the globe have been reading the blog. From Japan, to Brazil, Iceland to Malaysia and dozens of places in between people have read my views and commented on them. I find this connection with people from elsewhere really valuable and enlightening for both parties.

Another way i have been doing so is by going on radio and expressing my views via the airwaves. For this i have had the advantage of using the online radio service run by students at LUMS via the URL (radio.lums.edu.pk) Available for access from anywhere in the world but mostly accessed by LUMS students on campus, it gives me the chance to speak on whatever issue i feel need to be pointed out. Listeners can actively participate by chatting with the host and other listeners, send messages and requests to the host of the show or even by calling in from the website itself.

It really is a fascinating experience and even though there are usually a handful of listeners on the show, its good to make ones thoughts public and any opposition and difference in opinion be tolerated. Nothing compels the mind to think harder than organized and regulated discussion. For those of you interested in listening in, we do the show for an hour every Monday at 4 pm GMT (10 PM Pakistan Standard Time). Once again, the URL is (radio.lums.edu.pk). Hope to have you listening in soon!

Monday, September 8, 2008

US Transgressions

Another day and another attack by US forces on Pakistan territory. Sure, they attacked a possible hideout for a terrorist but conceptually and principally this is completely uncalled for. And then they ask, 'but why do you hate us'. I wonder what Americans might think if one day Canadian troops entered and destroyed any place in the US. It's just unthinkable, isn't it? Yet the US does it all the time. You have to remember, you only get what you give.

US drones 'bomb Pakistan target'
At least 11 people have been killed and 15 injured in a suspected US missile strike in Pakistan's border region, witnesses and officials say. Suspected aerial drones bombed a house and seminary linked to Taliban commander Jalaludin Haqqani. Pakistan's army confirmed an explosion in the North Waziristan tribal area. It would be the fourth cross-border attack in less than a week allegedly carried out by US forces, who have not officially confirmed their involvement. This follows persistent US accusations that Pakistan is not doing enough to eliminate Taliban and al-Qaeda sanctuaries in the border region. The upsurge in strikes has alarmed Pakistani military and government officials, who say it seriously undermines their counter-insurgency operations
Bodies Villagers say unmanned US aircraft fired several missiles at a house and an Islamic seminary in the tribal area of North

Haqqani and Sirajuddin were in Afghanistan at the time of the attack - they are alive Badruddin Haqqani Officials and witnesses say the complex was hit a number of times. "There were two drones and they fired three missiles," an unnamed resident of Dandi Darpakheil, a village near Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan, told Reuters news agency. Other reports speak of three drones. Some reports say the death toll could be as high as 20. Casualties include militants, as well as a number of civilians.

Security officials say that the house belonged to Jalaludin Haqqani, a veteran Afghan Taleban commander said to have close links to Osama Bin Laden. Mr Haqqani and his son, Sirajuddin, who is also a Taliban commander, were not at home, another son, Badruddin, told Reuters by telephone. Badruddin Haqqani said one of his aunts had been killed in the raid, and that women and children were among those who had been hurt. The BBC's M Ilyas Khan says the residential-cum-seminary complex has been raided a number of times by the Pakistani army, and hit by aerial attacks from across the border with Afghanistan. Mr Haqqani has maintained the complex since 1980 and family, clansmen and militants still use the premises, our correspondent says. Our correspondent says militants immediately cordoned off the entire area and shifted bodies dug up from the debris elsewhere. Officials in Miranshah say they still do not have evidence that any high-value target may have been hit.

Rising tensions
In recent months, US forces based in Afghanistan have been accused of stepping up attacks against suspected Taliban targets over the border in Pakistan's tribal region. Last week Pakistan condemned an alleged raid by foreign troops based in Afghanistan, which officials say killed at least 15 villagers in South Waziristan. In the same week, at least 10 people were killed in two suspected US missile strikes on alleged militant targets in North Waziristan. Pakistan's army has warned that such direct US action could rally more tribesmen behind the Taliban and incite a wider uprising, our correspondent says.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pakistan - Uncertainties ahead

We have a new president now. President Zardari has been elected with due process. He has been able to out maneuver his rivals. He has been able to successfully remove a military dictator who had been ruling for over 8 years and was adamant to stay in power. He says he is systematically moving towards solving the problems faced by Pakistan one by one. According to him, next on his agenda is to accurately classify what the powers of the President are and curtail them in favor of the parliament. This would involve limiting or absolutely taking away Article 72B from the constitution which gives the President powers over the parliament.

He also talks about resolving the issue of the judges sacked by the military president General (retd) Musharraf. According to the sacked judges who, lead by the deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary, have been leading a monumental lawyers movement against his sacking, the current Chief Justice Dogar is illegitimately put into place and Iftikhar is the real Chief Justice and needs to be brought back to his justified position.

Meanwhile, some of the judges from the movement, who were supporters of the PPP and Mr Zardari have been backing out of their commitments with the movement and have been taking a renewed oath under the new chief justice and hence damaging the movement badly. About 12 judges have so far done so. But the ones who have not 'sold their souls' are standing tall and are adamant that one day justice will be served to those who are to deliver justice.

Some of the issues the President has yet to speak upon are the numerous security issues. Not only do we have a mammoth problem with the Taliban operating in the NWFP and are having regular skirmishes with the security forces and causing horrendous suicide bombings against innocent civilians and the government is only responding back with force and all efforts of negotiations and reasoning have so far failed. So that's really something he needs to work on. The other problem is of the sanctity of the Pakistan Afghanistan border. The Coalition forces, headed by the US have recently ventured miles into Pakistan territory and actually attacked and in at least one case killed civilians. This is an act of war and the most the government has done is condemn the action and summon the American ambassador and inform him of their anger at it.

Another major issue is the dismal economic condition we face today. There has been rampant inflation earlier in the year. Prices of daily use items have sky rocketed making it extremely difficult for the common man to make ends meet. Much of this has been due to rising oil prices, which has happened worldwide but more so in Pakistan as the IMF has forced the government to remove subsidies on oil and let the populace feel the pressure so that the government can make some of its debt payments. The country's foreign reserves have fallen drastically low due to capital flight as people are very insecure about the government. IMF and World Bank want to step in with more loans so that in the future, they can completely dictate how our government is run. Added to that is the major power shortages the country faces. We have had very high growth in recent years which has resulted in major demands for power. Currently, we face a 4500MW power shortage which needs to be dealt with very soon.

So we see that the President really has his hands full and if he can somehow deliver on most if not all of these issues, i for one, am willing to completely absolve him of all his wrong doings in the past. I am not sure what lies ahead for this country. All i know is, i am here and I'm here to stay, so i hope the future is brighter than the present.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

President Zardari

Pakistan will have a new president on the 6th of September. Chances are that Asif Zardari will be selected. Despite the fact that he is well known to be extremely corrupt and his property list is extremely lengthy. It goes something as follows:
Agricultural land in Deh 51 Dad Taluka, Nawabshah.
Plot No three and four Sikni (Residential) Near Housing Society Ltd, Nawabshah.
Café Sheraz (CS No 2231/2 and 2231/3), Nawabshah.
Agricultural land in Deh 23-Deh Taluka and Nawabshah.
Agricultural land in Deh 72-A, Nusrat Taluka, Nawabshah.
Agricultural land in Deh 76-Nusrat Taluka, Nawabshah.
Plot No A/136 Survey No 2346 Ward A Government Employees Cooperative Housing Society Ltd, Nawabshah.
Agricultural land in Deh Jaryoon, Tando Allah Yar, Hyderabad.
Agricultural land in Deh Aroro, Tando Allah Yar.
Agricultural land in Deh Nondani, Tando Allah Yar.
Agricultural land in Deh Lotko, Tando Allah Yar.
Agricultural land in Deh Jhol, Tando Allah Yar.
Agricultural land in Deh Kandari, Tando Allah Yar.
Agricultural land in Deh Deghi, Tando Mohammad Khan, Hyderabad.
Agricultural land in Deh Rahooki, Hyderabad.
Property in Deh Charo Taluka, Badin.
Agricultural property in Deh Dali Wadi Taluka, Hyderabad.
Five areas prime land allotted by DGKDA in 1995/96
4,000 Kanals on Simli Dam
80 acres of land at Hawkes Bay
13 acres of land at Maj Gulradi (KPT land).
One acre plot, GCI, Clifton.
One acre of land, State life (International Centre, Sadar).

Sakrand Sugar Mills, Nawabshah.
Ansari Sugar Mills, Hyderabad.
Mirza Sugar Mills, Badin.
Pangrio Sugar Mills, Thatta.
Bachani Sugar Mills, Sanghar.
FEBCs worth Rs 4,000,000.

Foreign Assets (Front Companies):
Bomer Finance Inc, British Virgin Islands.
Mariston Securities Inc, British Virgin Island.
Marleton Business SA, British Virgin Islands.
Capricorn Trading SA, British Virgin Islands.
Fagarita Consulting Inc, British Virgin Islands.
Marvil Associated Inc, British Virgin Islands.
Pwnbury Finance Ltd, British Virgin Islands.
Oxton Trading Ltd, British Virgin Islands.
Brinslen Invest SA, British Virgin Islands.
Chimitex Holding SA, British Virgin Islands.
Elkins Holding S. A. British Virgin Islands.
Minister Invest Ltd, British Virgin Islands.
Silvernut Investments Inc, British Virgin Islands.
Tacolen Investment Ltd, British Virgin Islands.
Marlcrdon Invest SA, British Virgin Islands.
Dustan Trading Inc, British Virgin Islands.
Reconstruction and Development Finance Inc, British Virgin Islands.
Nassam Alexander Inc.
Westminster Securities Inc.
Lapworth Investment Inc, 202 Saint Martin Drive, West Jacksonville.
Intra Foods Inc, 376 Lomrel Grove, Jacksonville, Florida.
Dynatel Trading Co, Florida.
AS Realty Inc, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Bon Voyage Travel Consultancy.

Properties in UK:
Rockwood Estate, Haslemere Road, Surrey.
Flat 6, 11 Queens gate Terrace, London SW7.
26 Palace Mansions, Hammersmith Road, London W14.
27 Pont Street London SW1.
20 Wilton Cresent London SW1.
23 Lord Chancellor Walk, Coombe Hill, Kingston, Surrey KT2 7 AG.
The Mansion, Warren Lane, West Hampstead, London NW6.

Properties in Belgium:
12-3 Boulevard De-Nieuport, 1000, Brussels (building containing 4 shops and 2 large apartments).
Cauisee De-mons, 1670 Brussels.

Properties in US (In Zardari's name and managed by Shimmy Qureshi):
Stud farm in Texas.
Wellington Club East.
West Palm Beach, 12165 West Forest Hills, Florida.
Escue Farm 13524 India Mound, West Palm Beach, Florida.
3220 Santa Barba Drive, Wellington Florida.
13254 Polo Club Road, West Palm Beach, Florida.
3000 North Ocean Drive, Singer Islands, Florida.
525 South Flager Drive, West Palm Beach, Florida.
Holiday Inn Huston (Owned by Asif Ali Zardari, Iqbal Memon and Sadaruddin Hashwani).

Bank Accounts:
Union Bank of Switzerland (Account No.552.343, 257.556.60Q, 433. 142.60V, 216.393.60T).
Citibank Private Limited (SWZ) (Account No.342034).
Citibank NA Dubai (Account No.818097).
Barclays Bank (SUISE) (Account No.62290209).
Barclays Bank (SUISEE) (Account No.62274400).
Banque Centrade Ormard Burrus SA.
Banque Pache SA.
Banque Pictet & Cie.
Banque La Henin, Paris (Account No.00101953552).
Bank Natinede Paris in Geneva (Account No.563.726.9).
Swiss Bank Corporation.
Chase Manhattan Bank Switzerland.
American Express Bank Switzerland
Societe De Banque Swissee.
Barclays Bank (Knightsbridge Branch) (Account No.90991473).
Barclays Bank (Kingston and Chelsea Branch) (Sort Code 20-47-34135).
National Westminster Bank (Alwych Branch (A/C No.96832320).
Harrods Bank Limited (A/c No.11309063).
Midland Bank (Pall Mall Branch).
National Westminster Bank, Barking Branch (A/C No.28559899).
Habib Bank AG, Moorgate, London EC2.
National Westminster Bank, Edgware Road London W2.
Banque Financiei e Dela Citee.
Crdit Suisse.
Habib Bank AG Zurich, Switzerland.
Pictet Et Cie, Geneva.
Credit Agricole, Paris.
Credit Agridolf, Branch 11, Place Brevier. 76440, Forges Les Faux.
Credit Agricole, Branch Haute – Normandie, 76230, Boise Chillaume

Despite him having such extensive array of property and assets, and how he was capable of getting them being totally unknown, we can not have any legal doubts against him being elected as President. He is totally legit as per the laws of the land and just as importantly he is the democratically elected leader of the country.

Those who have any doubts should know that there the Constitution of Pakistan has a very clear method for the President selection. The National Assembly, the provincial assemblies, and the Senate form the electoral college for the president selection. Whichever candidate get a majority of votes in the electoral college is declared president. Zardari is from the PPP which is the majority party and as we shall see has the support of a major portion of those eligible to vote.
Sadly, all cases of corruption. murder and malpractice which were to be against him have been dropped by an illegal judicial system. So his legality is under no doubt. What is most important is what his actions will be when the country is in such dire straits. The economy is in doldrums, the security situation is terrible with the US doing ground incursions well into the country and even commiting war crimes and killing civilians, there is a huge energy crisis, as well as a food crisis, inflation is out of control, we shall just wait and see if he can do anything or the poor shall continue suffering.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Ramadan, the word itself means intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of rations. So it makes sense that this is the month that muslims all across the world make the sacrifice of not eating, drinking or having sex during the entire day from sunrise to sunset.

It gets particularly difficult during the longer, warmer summer days. The Islamic Calendar as it is based on lunar movements is 10 days shorter than the Western Calendar we are all accustomed to, hence Ramadan and the other 12 Islamic months move back 10 days every year. So for example, since Ramadan began on September 2nd this year, next year it would be starting around August 22nd based on the sighting of the moon. That particular clause, that the moon needs to be sighted, to officially announce the start of the month actually causes quite some disorganization. For example, Ramadan began on three different days in different parts of Pakistan. The NWFP government apparently saw it earlier than the Punjab government, and hence they began Ramadan on different days. Pretty bizarre and disorganized if you ask me. Not the way Islam teaches us to be united.

The main message of the month is to begin to understand all the different things we are blessed with. We begin to understand what it means to be hungry and not be able to do anything about it. Something many people the world over have to live with during thier lives. Since it is a mandatory requirement for all healthy muslims (which means that children, old people, pregnant women etc are exempt) to fast the whole month which is to raise awareness among the rich of the problem of hunger faced by people who are not so well off. Ramadan also teaches you self restraint and control. You learn to withhold food, water and sex which also teaches you the value of these things, as they say you only value what you have, when you lose it.

So thats a bit about Ramadan, on this first day of Ramadan where im feeling the fast, i.e. im quite hungry but i have to control myself, but there is only half an hour left for sunset so not much of a wait left. So one down, 28 odd to go. :D

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