Just some Tidbits

Alright peeps … you know I love you all so here is some little info from the ICT Trade Mission.

1. YouTube is NEVER getting unblocked. Nope. Got it from the horse’s mouth (funny expression, right?). Had a lively (ahem) disucssion right at the Google HQ at Mountain View. So happens that YouTube/Google has banned the blasphmous video which was why YT was blocked in dear ol’ Pakistan. NOT because YT/G suddenly becamse sensitive to Muslim feelings but because an actor in the video filed a copyright or something suit. Now PTA has no reason to keep the website blocked except that if anyone dares to give verdict in its favor some WAY BETTER Muslim than any of us will take offence and decide that person no longer has the right to live. You know what I mean? So that’s that.

2. The not-so-important ministries in Pakistan such as the IT Ministry are given away to whoever raises their hand first. ‘Nuff said.

3. Higher echelons believe we (as in Pakistanis) don’t have enough talent and hence foreign governments need to step in not only to give us monetary aid but also intellectual aid. For example, NO ONE in Pakistan knows about eGovernance so the government would like to import people who do. Ummm … I’d like to request the Pakistani government to please use google for something other than looking for stuff to ban. Thank you.

4. No one is doing business with Pakistan because we don’t have good piracy laws and the few that we do are not implemented. One point raised was about downloading movies and music. My question to them was, “I want to use iTunes and Amazon etc to buy music, ebooks, movies but we don’t have PayPal and our credit cards are not accepted online. NOT watching latest movies or listening to music is not an option. So, what choices do I have?” Was that a fair question? *Hint: Do not respond unless it’s in the affirmative.

5. Microsoft won’t come to Pakistan until we stop using pirated software. A point raised by many on the delegation: MS needs to lower its prices because when it comes to a choice between ridiculously expensive and free, guess which wins? Pakistan is a good sized market and currently we are using the software for free. If they lower the price a bit we will pay for it because who likes to see that annoying “Your copy of Windows/MS is not registered” message pop up all the time? I wouldn’t mind paying $50 for a good bundle with Outlook and Publisher.

If this gets me into trouble I promise I will write a much more detailed post ‘coz that’s how I roll 😉

OK byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

P.S. Some ministers believe that YouTube is not relevant to a country like Pakistan and small businesses working with social media do not matter. #facepalm


On Turning 35 and more

Uhhhhh ….

Ummmm ….

Errrr ….


I am brand ambassador for #NestleNesvitaWomenOfStrength campaign. Khirad *sharam* (Don’t worry if you don’t understand this – it’s from a superhit Pakistani TV drama).

Am waiting for the video they made. Or maybe I am not. I tried following a script to answer their Qs. But they wouldn’t have it. And we all know when I speak from the heart I get into trouble. *biting nails*.

Here is an example:

For those of you who understand urdu … I made a Pathan joke. Ugh. Those who don’t, I MADE A PATHAN JOKE. *facepalm. Being a blueblooded pushtun is perhaps the reason I don’t have people calling me racist.

Alauddin - Nestle Nesvita Women of Strength Campaign 1

A photo from the campaign.

Anyway, I am glad the video (yet to go live) was shot at Alauddin. It’s my second fav place now … almost as magical as Hunza. Did I tell you I was going to Hunza for a whole month in July In sha Allah? Yes, Sir, I am. Woo hoo.

Was invited to a seminar arranged by British Council Pakistan. The US Embassy will always be my first love (think Artemis) but it was nice to hear a different English. *grin. As skeptical as I was the experience really was quite wonderful. Best part was meeting Dr Quratulain Bakhteari. The lady has a PhD in pit toilets. I meet people like these … who just quietly go through life touching people, working for them, and I somehow want to just cry. So easy to make people’s lives better. All it takes is a little bit of our time and yet we don’t do it. Why? Emo much? Oh well.

British Council Seminar

One epic moment at the seminar. I have been trying to avoid this anecdote but I can’t help it. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. So, during a panel discussion on how we can use technology to engage civil society, moderator asked us how we can capitalize on a hyper connected youth. This person representing the IT Ministry gave the BEST answer. Remember, I said IT Ministry. He said the best way to engage this tech-savvy, socially connected youth was to build playgrounds and get them involved in sports!!! OMG. OMG. ROFL. *splutter gasp* #facepalm. Sigh.

What else? Ummm …. nothing much really. Oohhh yeah. I turned 35. Wow. I always used to think 35 was old. But I don’t feel old. Is that normal? Pretty much feel the same as I did at 15. Except I have some grey hair now. And I weigh a ton. Or two tons. But I feel just as stupid as I did before. Somehow the same stupid thoughts make people think I am clever now. Find me inspiring. Strange how perspectives can change. However, not sure how I feel about it. As long as I wasn’t relatively famous I knew who were my friends most of the time. Now, I am not. I mean I think I do but then I find out the hard way they are just people who are intrigued. They have an idea of who I am and then they are disappointed when they find out I am not who they thought I was. That I really meant what I told them about me and I wasn’t just being self-deprecating. And it’s like they are taken aback and shocked that I can be human. But oh well. I am not competing with anyone on being nice.

The only person you should try be better than is the person you were yesterday.

Ok byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee



Woe is I

2-day blackout in dear ol’ Paki-land. Don’t let the official reports fool you. It wasn’t 2 hours. Went out for almost 48 hours. Not a problem, you say, I had a laptop and evo. Let me give you some basic 101 on the way laptops work. They need to be CHARGED which needs ELECTRICITY which we barely had for TWO FRIGGIN’ DAYS. How did that affect me? Um, let me explain that too.

I run an “online” business with ops running almost 24/7 since I have clients in about every continent. Soooo … I had some VERY annoyed clients. Oh no, they are usally very understanding and kind. But their patience has been tested to the max I believe. You see, Govt of Pakistan is personally responsible for ensuring all its citizens go to heaven. Soon as some idiot somewhere had the wonderful idea of making a video that hurt the sentiments of Muslims around the World and a few hundred people (read, Muslims) died in protests and some churches were burnt and public property was destroyed much in line with Islamic teachings, our wonderful Govt decided to ban YouTube. That way it protects its naive citizens from committing a sin and going to hell. Of course our IT Ministry and ICTR&D departments, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority etc have never heard of something called a proxy.

So I go to my clients and say err … can’t access any tutorials you have sent, I can’t also help maintain your YouTube channel any more. They were like, oh too bad but we love you so we will overlook it. Cool! But then … yes, there is more.

Govt decides to put a ban on Skype to phone calls. FINAL.NAIL.IN.THE.COFFIN.

Now how in God’s name am I supposed to call my clients, or call on behalf of them using their Skype number or receive calls on their behalf on their Skype number?


And no, Van Gogh had no idea what a scream, a real blood-curdling scream looked like. 

I lost 2 clients. 

While some poor, unsuspecting Muslim somewhere is sitting in his room watching whatever the hell he wants to watch using Hotspot Shield or VidProxy or whatever and condemning himself to hell.  

I thank the Government of Pakistan, Ministry of IT, PTA and, of course, the ONE AND ONLY, MR. Ban-It-All (that sounds strangely like PANADOL, no?), Interior Minister, Right Honorable Dr. Rehman Malik for coming up with all the brilliant ideas that are so effective in keeping peace in my country and ensuring we stay on the path to prosperity by banning YouTube, Skype to phone alls, and frequent bans on cellular phone services. Owe it all to you, Sir.

Internet Freedom

Facebook Ban

Twitter and FB Ban

Gmail ban in Pakistan

Crass but depicts how banning cellphones is NOT going to accomplish much

Crass but depicts how banning cellphones is NOT going to accomplish much

Am at the end of my wits.

Also, for more info on Internet Freedom, or lack of it, read here.

OK Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee