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Showing posts from June, 2010

Afghan Mineral Wealth Discovery Inspires Hope in Pakistan

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Recent confirmation of vast new mineral deposits, an estimated trillion dollars worth spread in all parts of war-torn Afghanistan, has sparked interest in conducting a comprehensive aerial geological survey in Pakistan.



Significant deposits of copper and gold (Saindak and Reko Diq in Balochistan), zinc and lead (Lasbella, Balochistan), a new gas field (Nawabshah, Sind) and coal (Tharparkar, Sind) have been confirmed in recent years by Geological Survey of Pakistan and Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation in collaboration with mining firms from Australia, China and other nations. Reko Diq alone has estimated reserves of two billion tons of copper and 20 million ounces of gold. The value of the deposits has been estimated at about $65 billion. Based on preliminary data, a nation-wide aerial survey can be helpful in finding significant additional mineral resources in Pakistan.

The conventional exploration methods historically used by geologists have essentially relied on sturdy boots…

TEDx Launched in Karachi, Pakistan

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TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a U.S. based private non-profit foundation that is best known for its conferences, now held in Europe and Asia as well as the U.S., devoted to what it calls "ideas worth spreading." Its lectures, called TED Talks distributed through the Internet, are subject to an eighteen-minute time limit. Speakers are an eclectic mix of people with ideas representing a wide cross section of humanity.

TED is run by Chris Anderson, a Pakistani-born Oxford-educated journalist, who recently returned to the land of his birth to launch TEDx Karachi conference. Organized by Dr. Awab Alvi, aka Teethmaestro, and others, the theme of the Karachi conference held on June 4, 2010 was "What Pakistan Needs Now". Chris Anderson, Curator, TED, Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder/CEO, Acumen Fund, Roshaneh Zafar, Founder/CEO, Kashf Foundation, Asad Umar, CEO, Engro, Monis Rahman, Founder/CEO, Naseeb Networks, Asad Rezzvi, CEO, e-Cube Global and Joshinder Chag…

Mobile Internet Revolution in Pakistan

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“The times they are a-changin’,” said Steve Jobs in a recent e-mail exchange on Apple's iPhone, “and some traditional PC folks feel like their world is slipping away. It is.”

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has started talking up his company's new motto "Mobile First", urging its developers to start creating versions of new services for smartphones before converting to run on PCs.

"There is a huge thirst for smartphones in emerging markets," Microsoft said in a statement. "For many people, the phone rather than the PC is the main entry point to the Internet, resulting in a high demand for rich communication devices. In order to meet this demand, we have teamed up with MediaTek to facilitate the provision of affordable smartphones," the company added.



As the smart phones prepare to take center stage among computing and Internet access devices, there seems to be a rare consensus emerging among the American technology titans at Apple, Google and Microsoft that …

Kleptocrats Rule India and Pakistan

When Asif Ali Zardari became president of Pakistan, I was reminded of the famous ancient philosopher Aesop who is quoted to have said, "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to high office". While Zardari's rise from a convict in Swiss corruption case to the highest office in the land of his birth is among the most egregious, it is by no means unique. There are many examples of kleptocracy in Pakistan's neighborhood, as recently outlined in a piece by Mohan Murti, former Europe Director of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), published by the Hindu. Here are some excerpts from it:

It is a fact that the problem of corruption in India has assumed enormous and embarrassing proportions in recent years, although it has been with us for decades.

In a popular prime-time television discussion in Germany, the panelist, a member of the German Parliament quoting a blog said: “If all the scams of the last five years are added up, they are likely to rival and…

India Emerges as Low Cost Leader in IVF Baby Supply Chain

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Cost arbitrage that began with call center outsourcing from the West to India has now found its way into the low-rent wombs of poor Indian women! This new growing business has created a global supply chain with low-cost human babies as the final product brought to the West. This business can cut the cost from over $100,000 in the U.S. to less than $6000 per baby in India. It is explained in an Israeli documentary "Google Baby" scheduled to be aired on HBO in the United States tomorrow. The movie follows an Israeli gay man who decided to have low-cost test-tube babies by outsourcing the job to India.



Wealthy Americans and Europeans, gay or straight, can now shop online for an egg from an egg donor in the West, use their sperm or from sperm another western donor, and implant the embryo into a surrogate mother in India. These people don't want their European genes to be mixed with those of the poor women in India, but the Indian women are acceptable as cheap surrogate moth…

Op Ed on Pakistan's Budget 2010-2011

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Guest Post by Dr. Ashfaque H. Khan, Dean of NUST Business School, Islamabad.

Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the newly-appointed finance minister, presented his first and the government’s third federal budget in the National Assembly on June 5, 2010. Budget 2010-11 is the first budget under the new National Finance Commission Award and as such it posed difficulties far many analysts, experts, trade bodies and other segments of our society in understanding the budget.

The varieties of comments made in the print and the electronic media on the budget reflect such misunderstandings. One such misunderstanding deals with the size of the allocations made to the health and educational sectors.



Dr Shaikh’s budget speech was unconventional in several respects. Firstly, more than half of the speech was extempore, reflecting his confidence in the budget. No finance minister has ever moved an inch away from the written text of the budget speech. Secondly, Dr Shaikh gave an Economics 101 lecture to his fellow p…

OPEN Forum Attracts 600 Pakistani Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley

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OPEN Forum 2010 in Silicon Valley, California attracted nearly 600 people, including entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, engineers, lawyers, physicians and others on June 5, 2010. It was an all day conference organized by the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs (OPEN) in Silicon Valley featuring 5 plenary sessions, and over a dozen break-out sessions addressed by 58 speakers and panelists on special topics of interest to various groups of attendees. The conference had a large number of sponsors, including dozens of Silicon Valley companies founded or managed by Pakistani-Americans.



This post is based on partial coverage of the event. For more details, please view the conference video recordings on facebook available via Vpype, a startup founder by Pakistani-American entrepreneur Shoieb Younus.

The conference was opened by Naeem Zafar, President of OPEN Silicon Valley, who briefly described the conference agenda and the organization's objectives and its various events and acti…

Pakistan's Media and Telecom Boom Continuing

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Pakistan's media and telecom revolution that began during the Musharaf years is continuing unabated.

In addition to financial services, the two key service sectors with explosive growth in last decade (1999-2009) in Pakistan include media and telecom, both of which have helped create jobs and empowered women.

Pakistan is among the five most dynamic economies of developing Asia in terms of increased penetration of mobile phones, internet and broadband, according to the Information Economy Report, 2009 published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad). Among the five countries in terms of mobile penetration in South Asia, Pakistan is placed at number three followed by Sri Lanka and Bhutan. Iran and Maldives are ranked above Pakistan.

In the area of internet penetration, Pakistan is placed third and for broadband penetration the country is ranked fourth.



The report sees the mobile industry as a ‘cash cow’ in some countries noting that Pakistan was experiencin…