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Pakistan Tech Summit 2020 at Draper University in San Francisco Bay Area

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Hundreds of Pakistanis and Pakistani-Americans attended Pakistan Tech Summit 2020 at Draper University in San Mateo, California on February 15, 2020. It was organized by Arzish Azam of Ejad Labs with sponsorships from JS Bank, Netsol, VisionX, Pakistan IT ministry, Pakistan National IT Board and Pakistan Software Exports Board. This event came after a recent report in Germany's Deutsche Welle (DW) by Miriam Partington who wrote in a story titled "Pakistan: The next big Asian market for tech startups?" that "Pakistan's young and tech-savvy population, market of over 220 million people and increasing levels of local capital are creating opportunities for tech entrepreneurs".

Pakistan Tech Summit:

At this conference, I was really encouraged by the presence of many young Pakistan entrepreneurs eager to realize the vision of Digital Pakistan. Enthusiasm is necessary but not sufficient. What is missing is serious attention to attract more risk capital to support t…

Who's Pete Buttigieg بو دجاج ? What Does He Stand For?

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Thirty-eight year-old Mayor Pete Buttigieg (بو دجاج)  of a small Indiana town of South Bend has so far been the biggest surprise with his surge in Democratic Party primaries for the presidential nomination this year. His strong showing among the top two candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire has been as much of a shock to the pundits as the poor performance of former Vice President Joe Biden who is also seeking the nomination. Mayor Pete is now beginning to get more scrutiny by media pundits and commentators.

Mayor Pete's Last Name:

Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 38,  is Maltese-American. His last name literally means "father of chicken".  His parents came from Malta, a small Mediterranean island close to Sicily and North Africa.  His last name is in Maltese, a language strongly influenced by Arabic. It is attributed to settlers from Sicily where Siculo-Arabic was spoken after the island was conquered by the Fatimids from Egypt in the 9th century AD.

Buttigieg's Sexual Orientatio…

Pakistani Woman Industrial Designer Wins Lexus Global Design Award

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Aqsa Ajmal, a graduate of Pakistan's National University of Science and Technology, is among six finalists for Lexus Design Award 2020 for industrial design.  Each of these finalists will receive 3 million Yen (over $25,000) in funding and mentorship in an exclusive program in New York City under the guidance of prominent design leaders from a variety of design fields.


Aqsa's entry is named Pursewit. The device provides an easier way to incorporate sewing skills into income generation for the blind who rely upon touch and other senses. The thread path is much more simplified and streamlined; the user follows a straight, outlined path from the spool pin to the machine’s arm and through a loop, then down to the needle. The machine provides feedback at each step to ensure the process is completed, according to Lexus.

Aqsa's entry ranked among the top 6 from 2,042 submissions from 79 countries. The other finalists are from the China, France, Italy, Kenya, Russia and the United…

Pakistan's Arslan Ash Siddique Wins ESPN's ESports Player of the Year Award 2019

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Arslan Ash Siddique from Lahore, Pakistan has won three top ESports awards, including Player of the Year award for 2019, according to ESPN.com. In December awards, Aslan Ash won the Best Esports Player award under both the fan and ESPN choice categories. He was also the first-runner for Best Moment of the Year award in the fan poll. The nomination was based on his EVO wins.


Esports have risen to the level of other major international sports with multiple international tournaments. Esports leagues have sprung up in many countries including Pakistan. Esports Pakistan (ESPK) is a growing E-Gaming organization which organizes national esports competitions at its Gaming Arena at Royal Palm, Lahore.

Arslan put Pakistan on the esports map following his surprise first-place victory in Tekken 7 at EVO Japan 2019 and EVO 2019. Before October 2018, Ash, the Pakistani Tekken 7 phenom, had never competed in a major international tournament. Now, at the end of 2019, he is an international star and …

Why is America So Deeply Involved in the Middle East? Energy? Geography?

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What is the importance of the Middle East for the West? Is it energy resources to fuel the industrialized West? Or the key trade and shipping routes passing through the Persian Gulf and the Suez Canal used by ships to sail from Asia to Europe and North America?


Why is oil, the most traded commodity, priced and traded in US Dollars? Does oil trade help maintain the US Dollar as the international trade and reserve currency and solidify US control of the global financial system, giving the US a very powerful tool to control the world?

What is the history of West's involvement in the Middle East? Can it be traced back to the fall of the Ottoman Empire in early 20th century?

When did the United States take over where Britain and France left off? Cold War? Iranian leader Mosaddegh's overthrow by CIA? Suez Crisis?

Energy revolution is in full swing in Silicon Valley with widespread use of solar panels, electric vehicles and storage batteries. Like other technologies emerging from Sil…

Lower Import Duties Rattle Pakistan's Mobile Handset Makers

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Pakistan Federal Board of Revenue has recently announced that “Sales Tax and Income Tax at import stage has been drastically reduced in case of smartphones of Rs15,000 or below". This action was apparently taken after Digital Pakistan Initiative led by Tania Aidrus asked for it. It has come under fire from the country's nascent mobile phone and smartphone manufacturing industry which is producing low-cost mobile phones. Pakistan's mobile handset market is the 8th largest in the world. Current annual demand is for about 40 million units of which 13 million are assembled in Pakistan while the rest are imported, according to a report by Dunya News. The import bill for Fiscal Year 2020 is expected to be about $1.2 billion. Boosting it will save billions of dollars of precious foreign exchange. It will create tens of thousands of jobs and spawn new auxiliary manufacturing industries for chargers, headphones, USB cables, cases, etc.  In future, Pakistan could become a significa…

Pakistan's Middle Class Consumer Population Among World's Fastest Growing

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Although the rate of growth has slowed since 2018, Pakistan's middle class consumer population still remains among the fastest growing in the world. In a report titled "Emerging Markets Transforming As Velocity Markets", Ogilvy and Mather, a global market communications firm, has put Pakistan among what it calls "Velocity 12" group of economies that include Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines and Vietnam.  The term velocity describes both the rate of real change in the size of the middle class as well as a priority for companies as they consider business investment and marketing in V12 countries. These 12 countries will be the biggest contributors to the next billion middle class consumers, according to the report.

The Velocity 12 report says that this next billion middle-class group will:

1. Be increasingly defined by women and youth as the change agents, with purchasing power crossing cultural, r…

Are Pakistani Leaders Slaves of Arab Royals?

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Are Pakistani leaders slaves of Arab Royals? Or simply doing what is in Pakistan's best interest?


Why did Imran Khan not attend the Kuala Lumpur Islamic Summit that was organized by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad and attended by Turkish President Erdogan and Iranian President Hasan Rouhani? Why did he yield to Saudi pressure to skip it?

What are Pakistan's key economic and security interests in Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC)? Is labor Pakistan's biggest export earning over $20 billion a year? What is the biggest export market for Pakistan's labor? What would happen if Pakistan joined Malaysia and Turkey in creating a new Muslim bloc competing with the Arab-led Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC)? Will OIC try to live up to Pakistan's expectation of a tougher stance against India's Modi vis a vis Indian Occupied Kashmir and Indian Muslims?

Who makes Pakistan's foreign and security policies? How influential is Pakistani military in making th…

Soleimani Was the Hardest of the Hardliners in Iran

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Iran's General Qassem Soleimani was in America's cross-hairs for many years. He was the hardest of the hardliners in Tehran. He was very effective in his role as the head of the elite but ruthless Qods Force which is part of Iran's "Pasdaraan" (Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps). He had made many powerful enemies, both at home and abroad. Some conspiracy theorists are speculating that his assassination was staged by American and Iranian intelligence agencies to get rid of the Iranian general who was getting too big for his boots. American and Iranian Intelligence agencies have cooperated in their common battle against ISIS in recent years. Both sides wanted to eliminate Soleimani for their own reasons but without starting a real US-Iran war.

Soleimani Assassination: 

His assassination on President Donald Trump's orders last week brought Washington and Tehran to the brink of yet another major war in the Middle East as  Iran lobbed over a dozen missiles at two Iraq…

Battle For Pakistan 2007-2019: Pak-US Ties and Civil-Military Relations

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Shuja Nawaz's "The Battle For Pakistan: The Bitter Friendship and a Tough Neighborhood" looks at key events of the last decade that have characterized US-Pakistan ties and civil-military relations in Pakistan.  One of the biggest developments in the period covered by Shuja Nawaz's book is the rise of Narendra Modi and the Hindu Nationalists in India. His book is a well-written treatise but it is strangely silent on the implications of this major development for South Asia region and the world.


US Raid in Abbottabad:

On May 2, 2011, US commandos raided a house in Pakistani city of Abbottabad and killed Al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden. There are many stories about who led the Americans to Bin Laden's hideout. The story that Shuja Nawaz appears to confirm is the one about ex Pakistani spy Lt Col Iqbal Saeed Khan walking into the US Embassy in Islamabad to tell the CIA station chief the exact location of Bin Laden. This spy was apparently well rewarded for it. He now …