This blog intends to educate the global audience about our country. We would like to debunk the stereotypes perpetuated against Pakistan. We extend a hand of friendship and understanding to all people who have been given a negative perception due to the actions of a few in Pakistan. This is the Pakistani perspective. If you are a visitor from another country. Please drop us a line/comment/suggestion and your country of origin. Thanks!


Pakistan offers open source training toolkit

Article from

Tuesday March 20, 2007 (08:01 PM GMT)

By: Fouad Riaz Bajwa

Pakistan is the third largest low-cost IT-enabled and offshore business processes outsourcing services provider in Asia after India and China. The country's Open Source Resource Center (OSRC), a project of Pakistan's Ministry of Information Technology, has developed and released a FOSS resource kit entitled "OSS Training Toolkit," originally put together in order to facilitate OSRC's own training workshops in Pakistan. The toolkit contains step-by-step manuals in six modules covering various Free and Open Source Software applications. All the content is available in printed manual form and as OpenDocument (.odt), Portable Document Format (.pdf), and Microsoft Word (.doc) files for download.

The toolkit covers databases, application servers, desktop applications, office productivity suites, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and customer relationship management (CRM) software, as well as open source desktop applications for both Linux and Microsoft Windows. Along with the manuals, the toolkit provides a set of CDs that includes two Linux distributions, Ubuntu Linux Desktop and Fedora Server, as well as the other applications.

The toolkit's curriculum has been planned and laid out in such a manner that anyone from a basic to novice user can learn and benefit from it. It has been released under open source licenses through the OSRC Web site so that individuals and organizations interested in migrating from proprietary to open source networks can freely download, distribute, use, and modify the toolkit and its related CDs.


The many seasons and terrain of Pakistan

796,096 square kilometres

148.723 million

South Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, between India on the east and Iran and Afghanistan on the west and China in the north.

Land boundaries
Total 7,266 km (Afghanistan 2,430 km, China 580 km, India 2,240 km, Iran 909 km).

1,046 km

Mostly hot, dry desert, temperate in northwest; arctic in north.

Flat Indus plain in east, mountains in north and northwest, Balochistan plateau in west and desert
in south.

Elevation Extremes
Lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m, Highest point: K2 (Mt. Godwin Austin - 8611 meters)

14th August 1947
(from Great Britain)

National Day
23rd March

Government Type


Administrative Divisions

4 provinces (Punjab, Sindh, NWFP, Balochistan)
Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT)
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)
Disputed Jammu & Kashmir region includes Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas
Islam 97%, Christianity, Sikhism, Hinduism, and others 3%

National language: Urdu
Official languages: Urdu and English
Regional Languages: Sindhi, Pushto, Punjabi and Balochi

Pakistan, India agree to 7.23 billion dollars gas pipeline

Article from Dawn...
By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, March 8: Iran, Pakistan and India plan to start laying a $7.23 billion gas pipeline by September 2009 on a segmented basis to ward off possible US sanctions aimed at punishing oil companies dealing with Iran.

Each country will build the pipeline in its territory and Iran “has already started laying pipeline from Assaluyeh to Iran Shehr” to serve its eastern areas that would be extended by about 200 kilometres to Pakistan border, a senior official in the petroleum ministry told Dawn.

He said a tentative schedule for the pipeline’s implementation had also been agreed upon, envisaging completion of the project between June-September in 2014.

He, however, said that Pakistan would build the 655-kilomter pipeline in its territory through private sector on ‘build, own, operate and transfer’ (BOOT) basis, adding that a lead sponsor would be appointed immediately after signing the gas sales and purchase agreement with the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) by June 2007.

The lead sponsor will set up a special purpose pipeline company to undertake detailed feasibility study and make various arrangements to transport imported gas. The federal government or its controlled entities would take at least 10 per cent equity in the pipeline company.

Based on steel cost of $960 per ton (which may vary later), the 1,092-kilometre Iranian segment would cost $3.99 billion, while $2.64 billion would be needed for the 655-km segment in Pakistan. The 344-km-long Indian segment would cost $600 million.

The official said there would be two pipelines of 56-inch-diametre (class 600X-70) for the project – one delivering 2.1 billion cubic feet per day (BCFD) to Pakistan and the other that will take about 3.2 BFCD to India. Iran has about 944 trillion cubic feet (TCF) proven gas reserves.

Pakistan and Iran have already signed a term sheet for supply of 2.1 BCFD gas for 30 years that could be increased to 2.8 BCFD at a later stage.

The official said the pipeline route was expected to be finalised in a few days by the National Engineering Services of Pakistan (Nespak) and then gas sales and purchase contract (GSPC), joint declaration and inter-governmental framework agreements would be signed before December 2008.

Pakistan is targeting to complete acquisition of right of way for the project by June 2010 and finalise financing arrangements by April 2009. Similarly, the construction Pakistan part of the pipeline is expected to start in September 2009 and complete in September 2011. The testing and commissioning phase is expected be completed by March 2014 and first flow of gas is expected in June 2014.


Myth: Pakistani music non-existent and dependent on Bollywood

Pakistani music, specifically sufi rock is a music genre unique to Pakistan.


Pakistan investing heavily in energy

Pakistan plans $40bn oil storage
Published: Tuesday, 31 October, 2006, 09:09 AM Doha Time
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government is all set to establish an ‘oil city’ with an investment of $40bn at Gwadar Port to make it the biggest crude and refined oil storage base in the region, the News reported yesterday.
For this purpose, the government has allotted 12,500 acres of land in Gwadar. It will be made available on lease at nominal rates to interested parties for setting up refineries or making investment in oil logistics and storage facilities.
The official said the project would be completed in two phases. In phase-1, a ‘petrochemical city’ will be set up with an initial investment of $12.5bn. In this city, a big refinery, along with petrochemical, oil logistics and storage complexes, will be set up. In first three years, the refinery will be able to refine 10.5mn tonnes of oil annually.
The capacity of this refinery will be increased to up to 21mn tonnes in seven to nine years.
The official said the Chinese Petroleum Chamber would come up with $12.5bn investment plan for the project. In addition to it, some companies from the Middle East have also shown interest to set up refineries at Gwadar Port.
Under the second phase of the plan, the capacity of refineries in the ‘oil city’ will be enhanced to 63mn tonnes in 15 years,” the official said.
“We have allowed a Chinese company to initiate the project for power generation and water desalination prior to initiating the construction of the ‘oil city’,” he added.
Meanwhile, a consortium, including Dana Gas has signed an agreement to develop a liquefied natural gas terminal in Karachi at an estimated cost of $200mn, the UAE company has announced.
A statement said Dana Gas, Single Buoy Moorings (SBM) and US-based Granada Group signed the memorandum of understanding for the LNG terminal at Port Qasim, which would have an initial capacity of 3.5mn tonnes a year.
It said the consortium was holding talks with major LNG producers, but did not name them.
“Dana Gas has the objective to develop a network of LNG terminals mainly in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region and to tap into the LNG value chain including LNG trading activities,” the statement said.
It said Dana Gas signed a co-operation agreement with SBM, under which the UAE firm would focus on LNG marketing activities and SBM on the supply and operation of LNG floating storage and re-gasification terminals.
“The newly-formed alliance will initially target LNG terminal projects in Pakistan, Lebanon and Kuwait,” it said.
Pakistan, which has its own gas fields, expects to have a supply deficit as soon as 2008. Plans to import LNG and pipeline gas from Iran and Turkmenistan are based on projected gas demand growth of about 6.5% a year.
Industry sources in Pakistan have said they expected the LNG terminal to be completed around 2010.
Dana Gas was set up to deliver gas to utilities and industrial users in the UAE. With an agreement to import Iranian natural gas delayed, Dana Gas’s second-quarter earnings came entirely from investments and financing activity.
The firm said it aims to invest in the upstream gas industry in the Middle East, the transmission and distribution sector and gas-related industries such as petrochemicals.
The statement said natural gas consumption in the Middle East has been growing by an average 5.9% a year in the last 10 years, driven mostly by demand for power generation due to growing populations and an industrialisation drive. – Internews


Are there only mud-hut homes in Pakistan?

No. Here are pictures of just a few homes in the karachi suburbs of Clifton, Mohammad Ali Society, PCHS, KDA, Defence.


Employment, Investment and Entrepreneurship can change Pakistan!

By David Montero, Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor Tue Oct 24, 4:00 AM ET

KARACHI, PAKISTAN - When he started his software company, Omar Malik wasn't thinking about social responsibility - let alone changing society.

He wanted to make a bundle in Pakistan's exploding service sector, he readily admits. But now, eight years later, he's seen what a difference his company makes in the lives of his 35 employees, most of them educated at local universities. For Mr. Malik, a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, business has an underlying social mission.

"Even if you come from a lower class background, you will, through companies like ours, be able to get better opportunities," says Malik, whose Lahore-based firm, Trisoft Technology, develops software for clients as diverse as the government of Punjab and a semiconductor firm in Dallas, Texas.

Service sector businesses like Trisoft are exploding in Pakistan, reaching record growth this year and accounting for half the country's gross domestic product. They've helped the economy grow so fast - 8.4 percent in 2005 - that some are calling it one of Asia's hottest.

While such a rapid explosion of wealth among Pakistan's elite has raised concerns about a parallel explosion in social inequality, Malik is part of a wave of young entrepreneurs who see an emerging antidote: their businesses. By creating jobs for young people and exportable products that promote stability, they reason, they can give Pakistanis viable alternatives to extremism.

"How many people who have jobs would actually go to their employer and say, 'There's a protest. I'm going to go burn some American flags'?" asks Shakir Hussain, a Whittier College graduate who employs 45 people at his software-consulting business in Karachi.

And not only would such jobs keep youth away from violent activities - it could also help project a different face of Pakistan to the world and vice versa, young entrepreneurs say. American clients constitute the bulk of business for both Malik and Mr. Hussain.

Nearly every day their staffs interact via phone and e-mail with counterparts in the US or other Western countries. For most, it's the only time in their lives they would interact, and those interchanges are helping erase misconceptions on both sides.

"[My employees] realize, 'Hey, these people are exactly like us. They don't bring up politics and religion every time. There is no agenda,' " says Malik.

Cross-cultural currents are increasingly common in the country's new economy, which has by most accounts undergone a dramatic turnaround in recent years. In 1998, when it was bogged down with sanctions after detonating a nuclear bomb, the country was close to defaulting on its foreign loans; today Standard and Poor's gives it a B+ rating.

Economic liberalization has helped blaze that path, but so too, has 9/11. In a bid to win Pakistan's support in the war on terror following the attack, the US canceled $1.5 billion in debt. Remittances sent by expat Pakistanis jumped from $1.5 billion in 2001 to $4 billion last year. Many expats came with their capital, helping to spur real estate and stock market booms.

The government likes to brag that the dividends of growth are already trickling down. Poverty has fallen from 34.5 percent in 2001 to 23.3 percent in 2005, according to the Asian Development Bank, it points out. "Wherever you go you see traffic jams. This is a good thing to have. People are buying cars and automobiles," says Ashfaq Hassan Khan, an economic adviser to the finance ministry.

Not everyone agrees, however. Instead, there is a national debate as to whom Pakistan's new wealth is actually benefiting.

"If you look at where a lot of the money's being made, it's real estate and the stock market. And that's benefited few people," says Hussain. The employees at his business, Creative Chaos, come mainly from local universities typically attended by lower- and middle- class students. Hussain admits his staff is certainly not representative of the poorest of the poor. But he sees his business as a start to luring less privileged young people into a rapidly expanding industry. In the coming months his company will host a scholarship program to encourage this trend.

It's a vital effort, say some analysts, who see a storm brewing on the horizon. Wealth is increasing, but it's controlled by the upper classes, says Kaiser Bengali, a Karachi-based economist.

Mr. Bengali and others are worried that the economic expansion is only exacerbating disparities that lead to extremism, among other things. Unemployment has improved, falling from 8.3 percent in 2002 to 6.5 percent in the first half of 2006, according to the Asian Development Bank. But without the prospect of new industries where they can find jobs, analysts say, young people are susceptible to the lures of radical groups, who provide support and a sense of purpose.

"[Extremism] has an economic solution," says Mr. Khan, the economic adviser. "If you reduce the amount of inequality, you will remove the sources of extremism," says Bengali. It's a position Washington would like to bolster by beefing up small businesses. In August, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signed an agreement with the Pakistani government granting $17.3 million to be used in part for 130,000 loans to small and micro businesses.

While young entrepreneurs are optimistic about their country's progress, they also know they can't just sit back and enjoy the spoils.

"[T]here's a possibility that the country can get out of the stagnant position it's in," says Umair Aziz, Hussain's business partner, who worked for a software company in Boston for several years before returning to Pakistan. "It's people like us ... who can make that change possible."


Myth: Transportation infrastructure in Pakistan???

WORLD's 8TH WONDER: The Karakoram Mountain Range Highway linking China to Pakistan
KKH - Karakoram Highway
Karachi - to - Gwadar COASTAL HIGHWAY

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The best book out there for Travel to Pakistan.