Monday, 12 December 2011
|Sitara Akbar. (Photo: Web)|
By Hammad Suriya
CHINIOT: 11 year old resident of Chiniot, Sitara Akbar set a world record by passing O-level Mathematics, Science and English. This is not the first time that she had amazed everyone with her intelligence. She had passed O-level Chemistry in nine years and O-level at the age of 10, striking a record in Pakistan.
Friday, 9 December 2011
From a primary school in Lyari to Yale’s School of Medicine, Dr Junaid Razzak’s story is an inspiring one.
Today, Razzak is a renowned emergency medicine expert and the executive director of the Aman Foundation. He started his schooling at a humble primary school in Lyari, completing his secondary education from Nasira School in Depot Lines. Not one to be held back, the hard-working student subsequently attended Adamjee Science College where his impressive grades and unbounded enthusiasm won him a scholarship at the prestigious Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), the top private medical institution in the country.
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Friday, 2 December 2011
Sherjil has also developed other applications, which include an Urdu writing application. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS
KARACHI: Dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, without any glasses or a gadget in his hand, Sherjeel Shabih, does not, at all, look like a stereotypical technology geek. But at only 16 years, he has developed a bulk text messaging application for Android smart phones.
The application, “Multi Texter”, enables sending a bulk of text messages to multiple contacts at once. The user does not have to go back to the inbox and select each message to forward individually. It is available on the Android application market for free.
“I developed the software in only three weeks in July,” beamed Sherjil. “No other application on Android phones provide this option.” He shows off the application on his HTC phone.
According to Sherjil, he and his friends always found forwarding messages individually a big hassle. “But now, we simply select the messages and send it to multiple contacts at the same time.”
The application also has other features. It can be used to search messages by its subject or the sender’s name, just like email. One can also save custom messages, edit and then resend them. The unsent messages can also be viewed. But according to its developer, the application can also be misused to send “SMS bombs”.
Sherjil said that he paid $25 to upload the application. But it is free for the users. So far 2,860 people downloaded Multi Texter, most of them in the US.
“Just as kids love to watch television I love to make programmes,” said the young application developer. “While others might find programming difficult and dull, for me it is a hobby.”
Sherjil was only a year-and-a-half-old when he got his V-tech, a child’s laptop. His love for technology kept growing and he moved on to basic programming on his V-tech when he was only eight. He developed websites and internet application before moving on to Windows programming. In his short 16 years, Sherjil has also developed other applications, which include an Urdu writing application. During the semi final of Pakistan and India during the last World Cup he developed an application for sending the words “Out, four and sixer” with a single key, he added.
Strangely, the teenager never sought professional help. “Every programming language has resources and code samples which are available on the internet,” he said. “They were my only tutors.”
While Sherjil sends a good amount of time on his laptop and phone, he makes sure his studies are not neglected. He loves to dance hip-hop and play the African drums, something he picked up from his early life in Ivory Coast, where his father was stationed.
His mother said that she was proud of her “genius” child. “He’s an all-rounder,” she said. Though I don’t understand much about computers and phones, whatever he does makes me very happy.”
Sherjil is indeed a brilliant programmer but he does not want to pursue it as a career. “I want to do a PhD in nanotechnology.” But for now, he said, he will keep on making applications for the benefit of people.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2011.
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Islamabad: Famous TV anchors Kashif Abbasi and Mehr Bokhari got married here on November 15, 2011. Though they did not make it public as it was a purely family event.
Family friends of Kashif Abbasi revealed that the Kazim Naqvi performed the Nikah in the presence of friends and relatives.
Kashif and Mehr are popular TV anchors. Kashif started his career with newspaper and now lead the ARY news channel while Mehr started her career with Samaa TV and recently switched to Dunya TV.
Monday, 28 November 2011
It won’t be long before you will be ordering it in the US as well.
KARACHI: Consistent taste and “word of mouth” is what has taken Student Biryani, a brand of Café Student, from a small roadside vendor to one of Pakistan’s fastest growing franchise networks. The Karachi-based food outlet – after attracting notable traffic in Dubai – now wants to test North American and European markets; extend its Gulf network through global franchising.
Established by Haji Muhammad Ali in 1969, the eatery – a favourite biryani restaurant for most, if not all, Karachiites – with a 15% return rate, continues to expand disregarding investors concerns about energy crises and poor law and order.
Student Biryani’s network is spread over 26 outlets (12 branches and 14 franchise restaurants) in Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore and Dubai. It is adding one more outlet – a takeaway restaurant – in Boat Basin, Karachi this December while also finalising the launch of its first restaurant in Islamabad, to be operational early next year.
There is no better market for the business than Pakistan, Ali’s son and company director, Muhammad Arif believes. “There are more opportunities than difficulties. Pakistan is an agriculture-based economy,” he added, “ the ingredients are a lot cheaper here.”
There are days when sales are affected due to violence in the city, Arif said, but added that the business normally does great, especially on public holidays.
Arif’s father started the business – selling homemade biryani and a few other dishes – in Saddar, Karachi. He named it Cafe Student to attract students from a host of schools and colleges that were located in the area.
This worked well for him as his first customers were students and teachers who particularly liked his biryani, which dominated the business so much that it overshadowed Café’ Student, the official name.
Ali’s recipe for biryani is still the business secret for Café Student that associates its popularity partly to “the word of mouth” – publicity, as Arif puts it. The business has turned Ali’s recipe into a formula that’s centrally dispatched – mostly in the form of premixes– to all outlets to ensure that each place has the same taste, Arif said.
“We have a centrally-controlled supply chain,” Arif said, “we buy the same quality of rice to make sure the taste doesn’t change,” he added.
The love for biryani coupled with consistent taste helped the business grow significantly over the last decade. It converted its head office in Saddar to a multi-storey restaurant serving 2,500 to 3,000 customers every day – the number includes takeaway, dining-in and home deliveries.
With a continuous expansion plan, the company is now considering franchise option to meet the increasing demand for the brand.
“Franchising is the easiest and fastest way to grow your business,” Arif said. “You don’t have to invest and yet your brand name and consumer-base grows while you get royalty,” he added.
Responding to a question Arif said, one needs to invest about Rs8 million to develop a 3,000-sqaure-feet restaurant – a standard size for the business – in Pakistan. There is tremendous opportunity for this business in Pakistan; one has to be patient because it grows slowly, he added.
The company has a 15 to 1 return rate, he said, but it can vary for branches depending upon the size of the unit. The return ratio for a takeaway unit, he explained, will be different from a dining-in restaurant.
The company already has 14 franchise restaurants in the country and more are in the pipeline. The story doesn’t end here; Student Biryani is also extending its customer-base in the Middle East.
“We are almost ready to open our first branch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,” Arif said, adding, “We have another branch in the pipeline for Sharjah; we will launch it soon.”
The majority of customers in Dubai are Indians, Arif said, he is, therefore, personally interested in entering the Indian market as well.
The company is in the final stages to give the go-ahead for three franchisees one each in the US, UK and Dubai. They are expected to launch their operations very soon, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2011.
Friday, 25 November 2011
ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday announced cash award of Rs 500,000, besides the National Peace Award (NPA) for Swat student Malala Yousufzai.
Malala Yousufzai, who is student of 8th class from Swat, had been nominated for International Peace Award in the category of children below 18 years. Keeping in view the educational brilliance of the student, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has announced the National Peace Award for the student and her family .
The PM has also directed the cabinet to hold National Peace Awards every year for the children below 18 years who are working for the cause of education and peace.
Thursday, 24 November 2011
Monday, 21 November 2011
National honour Swat girl nominated for international peace prize Malala, 13, alone raised a voice for girls education during Taliban rule
A FAZAL KHALIQ
Malala Yousufzai, 13, beat 93 contestants from 42 countries to be nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize 2011. The class 8 student became the first Pakistani to be nominated for the prize, and if selected, she will be given the award by Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu.
The prize is presented to a child with exceptional capabilities whose remarkable acts and thoughts have made a difference in countering problems that affect children around the world. The prize was first launched at the Nobel Peace Laureates’ Summit 2005 and was initiated by the Dutch Organisation KidsRights.
The other four nominated for the award are: Liza (17) from Palestine, Michaela (17) from South Africa, Nikolay (17) from Armenia and Winfred (14) from Uganda. One of the five nominees will be rewarded with the prize on November 21 (today) and will become the seventh child to get the prize.
Malala’s was nominated because she alone raised her voice for girls’ education during the mayhem in Swat, in which girls were not only banned from attending schools and colleges, but their schools were destroyed as well. She successfully used national and international media to let the world know about violations of their rights. She fought bravely for girls’ rights in the militancyhit Swat, focusing on their right to education.
Desmond Tutu, in a press release announcing the nominees, stated, “The five nominated children are very brave since they are fighting for children’s rights in their country every day, sometimes even in dangerous situations.
Children are the future, but often they are not heard, the Children’s Peace Prize gives a voice to these unheard voices.” Malala said, “I am very happy to be nominated along with four other great girls. I am particularly inspired by Michaela who, despite her physical disability, fights for the rights of children with disabilities.” She added that her nomination in the top five has “doubled her courage” as her cause is of great importance, “Irrespective of whether I win the prize I will continue my struggle. I hope to set up a vocational institute for the marginalised girls of this area so they can stand on their feet in the future.” When asked why she started her campaign for girls’ rights, she said that the mayhem in Swat had “a huge impact on my mind”.
“I could not stand such exploitations; I started my campaign with the help of media and forums, which, with the help of God, was successfully completed.” Malala said she wanted the rest of the world to stop terming the people of Swat as terrorists as they were very peaceful and loving people.
Malala credited her father Ziauddin Yousufzai and her teachers for supporting her in her cause.
Thursday, 17 November 2011
Dr. Athar Osama is the first Pakistani scholar honoured the WTN award. – Image Courtesy by WTN
KARACHI: Pakistani scholar Dr.Athar Osama has been awarded the prestigious World Technology Network (WTN) award and has also been elected as a fellow of the WTN. He is the first Pakistani who was honoured with the WTN award.
Osama was short-listed for the award as announced in a press release by WTN on September 5, 2011. WTN recognised www.Muslim-Science.com, founded by Osama as an agent of change and had been named as a finalist for the Science and Innovation Media Journalism category.
Osama received the award in a galaxy of luminaries and innovators from across the globe at the World Technology Summit in association with TIME, Fortune, CNN, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and MIT’s Technology Review.
The WTN awards are widely seen as “Oscars of Science and Technology.” The Previous WTN award winners include Al Gore (US former Vice President), Mohammad Yunus (founder of Grameen Bank), Mark Zuckurberg (Facebook founder), Larry Page (Google) and Tim Berners – Lee (Inventor of Internet).
The awards were distributed on October 25-26, 2011 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, USA.
Dr. Athar Osama speaking to the participants after receiving WTN award. – Image Courtesy by WTN
WTN selects the finalists through a peer reviewed process and a well established criteria. On individual bases, the awards are distributed in 20 categories such as arts, biotechnology, education, energy, entertainment, health, media and journalism and information technology. WTN also awards to the companies and organisations in10 different categories. The WTN awards have been presented since 2000. Prominent advisors and professionals are included in the selection panel of WTN awards.
“This year we are more eager than ever to pay tribute to the talent and innovation of our individual and corporate honorees,” said James P. Clark, Founder and Chairman of the World Technology Network.
Osama frequently writes about science, technology and innovation issues especially on Islamic countries. He is the director of Middle East and Asia for ANGLE Plc – a UK based firm for technology commercialisation and policy. He also works at RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA as a science and technology policy analyst.
Recently, he launched Muslim-Science.Com, an online journal discussing the issues of Science, Technology, Innovation and Policy mainly concerned with Muslim countries.
Osama did his Bachelors from the Pakistan Air force Academy and did his doctorate in public policy from Pardee RAND Graduate School.