Archive for July, 2005

Fixed line to mobile phone charges to be reduced

Sunday, July 31st, 2005

The Daily Times reports that PTCL has announced a 25% reduction on fixed-to-mobile line tariffs from August 1st 2005. This reduces per call charges from Rs2.8 to Rs2.12 per call. PTA (the Daily Times site has this wrong) Chairman Shahzada Alam also revealed future PTCL directions: fixed to mobile charges might be further reduced by 25% next year and PTCL has been issued directives to change the existing system from per minute billing to per second billing.

Firms Plan Landmark India-Pakistan Business Deal

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

The Washington Post reports, India’s biggest software exporter plans to open a training center in Pakistan this fall, venturing across a heavily guarded border to launch the first formal joint venture between major companies from the rival nations.

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., part of India’s Tata conglomerate, seeks to team up with Pakistan-based Techlogix Inc. to offer software engineering courses for technology workers in Lahore. Tata officials say that they hope to eventually create a software development facility in Pakistan and that the training center will help ease the company into the market.

Read the rest at the website.

Utility Payment Kiosks

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

NADRA has started allowing consumers to pay their bills electronically with the aid of computerized kiosk’s. the Jang reports.

The KIOSK machines installation process would be completed by the end of August 2005. Nadra, in initial phase, is considering installing around 25-40 KIOSK machines in Karachi only.

That’s where the problem lies. They have moved the entire nation to these computerized NIC’s and have them registered to their systems, and they expect to handle a city of 15 million people with just 40 kiosk’s? And let me guess, they’re built on a pirated windows platform as well. The article proudle boasts that the machines can handle over 300 users in a 24 hour period.

No user will ever be paying their bills at 2 in the morning. I can still see the four hour queues of users trying to pay their utility bills on time. Why don’t we have an online payment system yet since everything is all computerized now?

The kicker: Will there be separate ladies kiosk’s?

Computerized salary payment introduced

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

The office of accountant-general Azad Kashmir, will be making salary payments to government employees through a computerized (direct debit) payment system, reports dawn. These employees will further recieve a pay increase starting July. Pensioners will also recieve enhanced pensions, through this system.

Electronic money transfer may not be very welcome in a financial climate like Paksitan where tax evasion, word-of-mouth credit and cash are king; where people and businesses would prefer to keep everything off the books and out of the government/public eye. Salaried employees, however, would have much to gain and nothing to lose from this.

Tsunami Early Warning System in Pakistan

Sunday, July 24th, 2005

With the recent 7.2 earthquake off the southern coast of India, Pakistan Met. Department is investing Rs.193 million in upgrading its seismological network toward a Tsunami Early Warning System (TEWS). Current proposal is to install 15 broadband seismic centres, 50 short-band and 50 strong motion seismo-graphics across the vital regions. The data from these systems could be analyzed and processed within a couple of minutes.

In 1945, Balochistan coast was hit with an 8.3 Richter earthquake followed by 40 feet Tsunami waves resulting in 4000 casualties.

While these system will provide an early warning, there should be a public plan in place for an emergency response system detailing evacuation and relief. Say a warning is issued by TEWS and a tsunami is imminent, I don’t see how the people living in say the clifton/defence area would be able to evacuate within a matter of hours, let alone minutes (due to traffic congestion, bad roads, 3 major exit points to the inland, two of them being bridges etc). TEWS is only half the battle and hopefully the government is sensible enough to think two steps ahead.

P@SHA Job Fair 2005 - Careers in Pakistan - In Partnership with

Thursday, July 21st, 2005

Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) has teamed up with Pakistan’s leading job site,, to organize a job fair of proportions never before seen in Pakistan. The job fair will feature company booths, exposure to high quality professionals and workshops that will give you the edge you want.

Over 500 companies have been invited. This is a once in a life time opportunity to test your career’s marketability. This fair will be advertised to more than 80,000 job seekers. Companies can find the best available talent from a huge pool of mid-level and high-level employees.

The P@SHA Job Fair 2005 is scheduled for August 16, 2005 at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore. The job fair will feature company booths, workshops, and counseling sessions. The P@SHA Job Fair 2005 will be advertised to over 80,000 professionals and executives in Pakistan.

The workshops are aimed at improving local human resource skills such as resume writing, interviewing and professional development. These workshops will provide valuable practical insights to help enhance Pakistan’s talent pool.

Please follow the link (P@SHA Job Fair - In Partnership with ) for more details.

Ed: We covered PASHA’s previous June 2005 job fair here. It was disappointing in terms of turnout due to lack of advertising, looks like this time it will be better.

Following up on PAEC

Friday, July 15th, 2005

Dawn reports, The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) has been assigned a special task by the government to set up 13 new nuclear power plants to generate 8800 MW of power in the next 25 years with a view to meet growing requirements of the industrial sector.

Informed sources told Dawn here on Thursday that when work on the 300-MW Chashma Nuclear Power Plant-2 had started in May last, the PAEC authorities were directed to accelerate their efforts to install 13 more nuclear power plants both with local and foreign financial and technical support. Each plant would roughly have a capacity of 600-700 MW.

Chashma-2 will be completed in 2011 at a revised cost of $850 million for which Chinese were mainly providing financial and technical support. Chashma-1 was also built with Chinese assistance and was currently producing about 1400 MW of electricity at 95 per cent plus capacity, which sources claimed, was one of the highest in the world.

Sources said that PAEC was expecting to establish 13 new nuclear power plants mostly through indigenous efforts, especially due to the transfer of technology being received from Chinese for Chashma-2. The PAEC is expected to be self-sufficient in all aspects of designing, installation, construction and operations of the proposed nuclear power plants.

Can someone please tell me, where the heck is PAEC getting all this pull for financial credit from all these foreign countries who are helping set up our so called future civil infrastructure. What’s the catch here? What are we giving back to China that they are helping us out like this?

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission to invest Rs2.5 billion in lab upgrades

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) has the go ahead from the government to updrade the laboratories of Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (Pinstech) in a 5 year plan, costing Rs. 2.5 billion. Dawn reports:

Under the programme, laboratories and facilities of Pinstech will be established and upgraded for economical study of irradiated assemblies of the Pakistan Atomic Research Reactors I and II, the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant and the Karachi Nuclear Power Project to determine their performances at different burn-ups.

Compensation demanded for internet losses

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

Dawn reports that the ISPs, Long Distance and International (LDIs) call centres are seeking compensation of $43 million for the 10 day internet outage, while PTCL claims that legally they are not obliged to pay anything at all. The LDIs which bring on average 10 million minutes of international traffic per month claimed losses of $7.35 million, ISPs claimed $7 million and the IT industry $3.6 million (although these figures don’t add up to $43 million).

The enraged also claimed that PTCL, instead of spending $10 million on satellite backup every year could have simply invested $20 million in an alternative fibre-optic cable.

Sucks to be a call centre in Pakistan.

KEDA agrees to cooperate with Police on stopping trading of stolen mobile phones

Sunday, July 10th, 2005

The Dawn reports that the Karachi Electronic Dealers Association (KEDA) has agreed to cooperate with the police in controlling the trading of stolen mobile phones. According to the article, the chief of police Karachi says that 80 percent of trading of all stolen mobile takes place in Karachi’s Saddar electronic market, which the KEDA represents. This partnership is a positive move by the KEDA after April’s violent encounter with the local police that ended with KEDA’s top leadership being taken into overnight custody.

Mobile phone snatching incidents are getting more frequent and violent in Karachi. The Police and KEDA’s joint initiative, the m:track mobile tracking system has not had much of an impact on the crime rate, maybe because it relies on the mobile phone seller’s voluntary participation into the program.

Can technology be used to eliminate this dangerous trend without having to rely on the local police’s brute force or the local mobile sellers’ honesty?