Tag Archives: Pakistan

Pakistan’s First Ever Hackathon

1SZABIST Karachi organized Pakistan’s first ever Hackathon where 100+ computing/IT students from 7 different institutes stayed at SZABIST for 3 days and attempted to automate the manual processes of Pakistan. SZABIST Karachi is the institute from where I completed by MBA degree specializing in Marketing and I am proud of their achievement. Following is the Press Release of the event.

[48Hour Hackathon] Press Release

IEEE-SZABIST Student Branch is a non-profitable student branch at SZABIST of the international organization IEEE, which works to promote technological and industrial market by organizing various seminars, conferences and workshop catering students from all over Karachi.

From the 22nd to the 24th of March 2013, IEEE-SSB (SZABIST Student Branch) organized a 48-Hour application development event, HACKATHON at SZABIST 154, Clifton, Karachi. This event provided a forum for the students of Pakistan to collectively come up with creative ideas and provide technological solutions to real life problems.

The theme that we selected for the HACKATHON this year was ‘To Automate Any Manual Process of Pakistan‘.

IEEE-SSB molded this event to fit best at national level. It was platform and technology independent; the teams comprised of 2-4 participants and were allowed to work on web, mobile or desktop applications. There were a total of 26 teams and overall 118 students that registered for the event from 7 different universities all over Pakistan (SZABIST, FAST-NUCES, University of Karachi, ISRA University Hyderabad, DHA-SUFFA, SSUET, MAJU) who stayed at SZABIST 154 Campus for 3days. Participants were provided with all the necessities to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

There were 3 judges that were there to evaluate the projects of the participants at the end of the third day. The judges were from renowned industries and well reputed personalities including Mr. Syed Asif Shah (CEO, IT Minds), Mr. Owais Sheikh (CTO, Lutebox), Mr. Amir Ali Jivani (CTO, Pi-Labs). The judges were very fair in their judgment and gave ample time to every team to explain their projects in detail.

At the end, all the participants were awarded with a certificate of participation. The top 3 teams, all from FAST-NUCES received shields and cash prizes i.e. the team that came in first position received Rs. 20000, the team that came in second position received Rs.10000 and the team in third position received Rs. 5000.

For accomplishing all expected objects we have with us ICT R&D Funds & KMC, Thank you everyone for everything.


Symmetry Shines at “Agency of the Year Awards 2012”

Symmetry Group has brought some much needed success for Pakistan at the prestigious “Agency of the Year awards 2012” that were recently held in Singapore. The Symmetry Group, comprising of Symmetry Digital, Creative Jin and Iris Digital, bagged 4 awards.

In the press conference held at Southend Club on February 2, 2013 the management presented details about the event and shared their success story. The “Agency of the Year” is a prestigious award that is well recognized internationally. Digital agencies from round the globe participate and there is a comprehensive screening process that ultimately leads to final selection. There are various categories, including a Pakistan specific sub-category within South Asia that was completely dominated by Symmetry Group. The group not just bagged all three awards from Pakistan category but was also awarded “South Asia Digital Agency of the Year”. Continue reading

Dear USA, Please Stop The Aid

Dear USA,

It’s been over 60 years since the first official contact between Pakistan and USA took place and our founding father, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, made a blunder for which our nation is still paying the price.

He asked you for ‘Aid’ !!

The requested amount totaled $2 Billion of which you provided ‘Aid’ amounted to $10 Million, just 0.5% of the requested assistance. It was American money, so you were fully in your right to refuse any more help. It set a precedent that haunts us to this day where our politicians and establishment elements look for more aid, loan and grants from you and refuse to clean up the mess created in our own backyard. Continue reading

Dear Jon Stewart (Regards, Arsalan Shaikh)

Dear Jon Stewart,

I used to think of you as one of the good guys. It always seemed that you were a one-man rallying cry for peace and understanding in the US media. You had taken it upon yourself to stand up to the right-wing bigots in your midst when it came to the New York Islamic Cultural Centre, Guantanamo, the invasion of Iraq and countless other instances where US citizens and Governments have acted in a reckless and arrogant manner.

As a Pakistani progressive, I find it increasingly more difficult to rally against the right-wing bigots that are increasingly taking over the agenda in my country. I would say to them that as a practicing Muslim I have more in common with someone like Jon Stewart, an American Jew who believes in equality, tolerance and understanding between different faiths then a jihadi who wants to kill people simply because they disagree with them. Continue reading

Pakistan’s First National Anthem

A good friend Mobeen Ahmed Chughtai brought my attention back to our National Anthem which we spend every school day reciting in the morning and forget it altogether as an adult. Like many problems of Pakistan attached with languages, so is our National Anthem.

Pakistan’s Lingua Franca is English, the national language is Urdu, the provincial languages are Sindhi, Punjabi, Balochi and Pushto and National Anthem is in Persian. What is comical is that a common Pakistani doesn’t know more than three languages listed above on the average.

I found this post from Abdul Haseeb on the First National Anthem of Pakistan and it proved to be very interesting. I had read something similar before but his post is much clearer and gives some more in-depth details along with highlighting the poet who wrote it on none other than Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s instruction, Jagannath Azad. Continue reading

Osama Syndrome cured?

The month of May 2011 started off with a bang as people all over the world were startled with the news of great success …

The death of the infamous Osama Bin Laden.

As the information trickled in, we found that US Navy Seals conducted a secret operation during the night at a city called Abbottabad which is very close to the capital city of Pakistan. The night raid left Osama and his comrades dead, his sons and wives captured. The news further said that the dead body was offered to Saudi Arabia for burial, but they refused and the body was buried at the sea.

It was celebratory atmosphere in America as I watched on TV plenty of people waving hands and cheering at news, hoisting flags and claiming the end of evil. The biggest manhunt of modern times came to an end.

But what now? Continue reading

The Woes of Business Education

Published here on Express Tribune.


It came as a shock to me when I read somewhere that Tokyo city alone had over 200 universities. If we check the list of most populace cities in the world, Karachi is included in the top 5 while Tokyo not even in top 10. Considering the huge difference in the population and education facilities, no wonder we have so many fake graduates ruling us.

When deciding to apply for graduate and post graduate programs, the youth find themselves extremely limited with the available choices. If we consider the business schools only, the top business school in Karachi doesn’t really live up to its name as the top, however the environment provided and the competitive nature of class tends to keep their students sharp. Having a 50 year history of producing business graduates who now dominate the market also greatly impacts with recruitment drives from known and respectable brands.
If you fail to get in due to competitive test, there is still a college and an institute that have developed reputable standing over the past couple of decades in business studies. They have their own specialties to offer and some of the program structures are not found in any other institute. There has been a growing number of people who actually target these institutions for admission rather than going for the best due to cost, location, environment, studies and various other factors.
Practically all other business schools position themselves after them, to catch those who fail to get into the top 3 of Karachi. Many might offer some argument in defense of their institutions but being a graduate from a “Navy” university myself and having a wide social network that spreads in all business schools of Karachi, I say with sadness that number of business schools can be counted on fingers irrespective of their quality level.
With such a low ratio of institution to students, no wonder business schools fail to take market studies and updating coursework seriously. Majority of them have teachers who had long ago memorized the text books to pass their exams and now follow the pattern to teach their classes, ever improving the art of “rattafication”. Some institutes are hell-bent on hiring those who recently graduated from that very institute, effectively killing the possibility of including fresh perspective and experienced faculty staff. The students are now so thoroughly trained in memorizing that even slight deviation becomes a nightmare, especially critical analysis. Teachers favoring free thought, open ended discussions and questions in the tests and exams end up receiving negative feedback from the class, nailing the coffin of ‘creativity’.
The institutions still have course books written by American, Canadian and British authors that are focused on business markets of their respective countries. Pakistani market, being an amalgamation of East-meets-West on many fronts (or simply compare Clifton with North Karachi), requires market understanding at an entirely different level. With the western coursework we are trying to imitate western market philosophy which does not properly apply to our business needs.
No local author has come up with satisfactory work in any sector of business which could be used as course book by local institutions. The business schools fail to take in market experts and leading companies as focus groups to understand market demands, improving quality of graduates, increasing depth of their major courses, draft conclusions, take in recommendations, implement them, perform follow-up meetings, check progress and call upon new focus group to understand the current market trends, gauge the effectiveness of previous focus group and asses the need for future.
There is a greater need to increase the number of higher education institutions in the country, let alone in a single city, but that is something which requires time and risk management. We still have current problems to face and resolve them somehow. Until the institutions take it seriously to improve their curriculum with the help of market experts and greatly enhance their graduates abilities, the students will always find a great disconnect between what they were prepared for and what they ended up facing in job market. If the talented students want to study and work abroad and immigrate to western nations on first chance, who can blame them when we ourselves are responsible for ongoing ‘brain drain’?