Showing posts from April, 2023

Padlocked Grave Story Confirms Yet Again India's Status as the Hub of Fake News

The story of the padlocked grave has gone viral, thanks to the mainstream Indian news media ranging from the Times of India  to NDTV. The story links the image of a padlocked grave to rising necrophilia cases in Pakistan, with the claim that the image is an example of how parents lock their daughters’ graves in Pakistan in order to prevent rape.  Alt News , a fact-check site run by Mohammed Zubair and Pratik Sinha, has found that the grave is in fact located in the Indian city of Hyderabad.   Fake News in Indian Mainstream Media. Source: Alt News   Indian news agency ANI Digital tweeted the image of the green padlocked grave with the claim. In its article titled ‘Pakistani parents lock daughters’ graves to avoid rape’, it cited a Daily Times article to report that parents in Pakistan protected their dead daughters against rape by putting padlocks on their graves. None made any attempt to verify it.   Padlocked Grave Fake News Made Top Google Search Results For Pakistan on April 30, 202

China-Pakistan: Beijing to "Further Deepen and Expand" Ties, Support Pak "Financial Stability"

Top Chinese officials have committed to “further deepen and expand” ties with Pakistan at meetings at the highest levels between the military and civilian leaderships of the two nations.  Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang assured  Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of his country's support for Pakistan's "financial stability".  Also in the news this week is a Chinese government commission report recommending the construction of a 3,000 kilometer long  railway link  between China and Pakistan at an estimated cost of  $57.7 billion , making it the most expensive infrastructure project in the Chinese-sponsored Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to date.  The railroad will connect Pakistan's  Gwadar Port  on the Arabian Sea with the western Chinese city of Kashgar in Xinjiang province. This appears to be a part of the Chinese response to the US-led Indo-Pacific strategy which Beijing sees threatening its interests in the region. Will India allow itself be used as a US proxy agai

Digital Pakistan 2023: Technology Transforming Women's Lives in Rural Pakistan

Growing access to smartphones and Internet connectivity is transforming the lives of  women in rural Pakistan . They are acquiring knowledge, accessing healthcare and finding economic opportunities.  A recent  UNDP report   titled "DigitAll: What happens when women of Pakistan get access to digital and tech tools? A lot!" written by Javeria Masood describes the socioeconomic impact of technology in Pakistan in the following words: "The world as we know it has been and is rapidly changing. Technology has proven to be one of the biggest enablers of change. There has been a significant emphasis on digital trainings, tech education, and freelancing in the last several years especially during the pandemic, through initiatives from the government, private and development sectors. Covid-19 acted as a big disrupter and accelerated the digital uptake many folds. In Pakistan, we saw the highest number of digital wallets, online services, internet-based services and adaptability ou

Pakistan is the Second Biggest Source of Foreign Doctors in US and UK

When US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke suffered a massive heart attack in 2010, the doctors who responded to this emergency were both foreign: one from India and the other from Pakistan. Dr. Farzad Najam, a graduate of King Edward Medical College in Lahore, was the chief heart surgeon at George Washington University Hospital at the time. Dr. Monica Mukherjee, a junior cardiologist at the hospital, assisted Dr. Najam in the operating theater. This episode illustrates the high profile presence of South Asian doctors in the United States.  Doctor Brain Drain. Source: Statista More recently, Dr. Mansoor  Mohiuddin , a 1989 graduate of Karachi's Dow Medical College, made global headlines when he implanted a pig heart in a patient at University of Maryland School of Medicine. Considered one of the world’s foremost experts on transplanting animal organs, known as xenotransplantation, Muhammad M. Mohiuddin, MD, Professor of Surgery at UMSOM, joined the UMSOM faculty five years ago and establ

Silicon Valley NEDians Sponsoring Free Software Bootcamp in Pakistan

Pakistan has seen several boot camps started in recent years to respond to growing demand for practical tech training in the country. Two of my fellow  NED University  alumni in Silicon Valley - Saeed Kazmi and Idris Kothari - are "helping an initiative in Pakistan with a company xLoop Digital ( ), to provide advanced software Bootcamp training to fresh grads in computer science and engineering".  Idris and Saeed are senior NEDians who graduated from our alma mater in early 1970s.  I have personally known them since the early1980s when I first arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area. Both have solid track records as successful tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.  Here are excerpts of their email sent to me on the subject:  "The training center is located in Karachi . The first batch started in November 22.  Currently, we have about 50 developers under training in  two tracks  -1. Cloud Native Software Development, 2.  Data Sciences/Engineering . The

Venture Capital in Pakistan: Startup Funding Rises in Q1 2023 After Hitting Lows in Q4 2022

Pakistani startups raised  $23.1 million in the first quarter of this year after hitting a low of $15.2 million in the last quarter of 2022, according to  Data Darbar . The amount of money raised by Pakistani startups increased in each of the first 3 months of 2023, bringing the total funding amount to $945.4 million across 321 deals since 2015. It started out slow with just $1.5 million raised in January, followed by $8.7 million in February and $12.9 million in March. Most of the money went for seed or pre-seed stage companies.  Pakistan Startup Funding Trend. Source: Data Darbar Six of the eight deals in Q1/2023 involved seed stage. The pre-seed and accelerator rounds were never disclosed and aren’t, therefore, reflected in the numbers. The lion's share of the investments this year went to logistics ($10.1 million) and fintech ($9 million) startups with the two sectors drawing about $10 million each. Education technology (Edtech) startup Maqsad raised $2.8 million.  Deal Flow in