Thursday, 31 May 2012

Karachiites Toolkit

Keeping into view the rising number of mobile snatching incidents in Karachi, one of the tools at the disposal of Karachites is the CPLC Theft Form. Even though reporting an incident does not guarantee that the handset will be blocked, it nevertheless, reduces the risks associated with not reporting the incident promptly.

Of course, this has to be followed up with some sort of verification with the CPCL itself otherwise dummy reporting cases would lead to a number of legitimate users having their handsets blocked (at the hands of mischievous close friends). Listed on their website are also the contact details copied below:

U.A.N Number 111 222 345
Emergency No. 136

Phone Number +92 (21) 3568 3333
  +92 (21) 3566 2222
Fax Number +92 (21) 35683336 

Monday, 28 May 2012

Mobile banking in Pakistan

For years now, a lot of banks have cooperated with the mobile network operators (MNOs) to penetrate banking into the unbanked areas in Pakistan. The initiatives have all been led by the big five banks and the results have been mixed success. HBL's partnership with UFone and subsequent Mr. Bean marketing campaigns have been above the average response but other campaigns have not made a stir in the market. 

In such times, Standard Chartered bank's mobile portal is a breakthrough move. The bank, that already has an excellent online banking portal, has created a light-weight version of the same and rolled it out as the mBank. Though the online portal was easily accessible through mobile devices, the creation of this portal utilises data more efficiently by cutting down on unwanted graphics (which consume more data and hence are costlier). The portal does not boast of too many innovations - it is a simple stripped down version of the online portal offering basic services like paying phone bills, mobile credit and transferring funds to pre-added payee's. At the same time, the portal also offers saving icons for Nokia and Blackberry users. A very good start, one must say, for the future of mobile banking in Pakistan.

Friday, 25 May 2012

The Time Travel Saga

In a dream, in a period of an hour, you see a year pass and many deeds are performed. If you were to read the Qur’an in the place of these deeds in that hour, you would finish reading the whole Quran a couple of times. This state takes place for the saints of Allah while they are awake. The issue is related to the capacity of the soul. In fact, the soul is not restricted to time. The deeds of saints of Allah whose souls are superior to their bodies take place with the speed of soul.” (Mesnevi-i Nuriye)

Today, we take it for granted that voices and visions instantly reach many places at the same time via television. However, we cannot grasp it that the throne of Bilqis was instantly brought to the presence of Hazrat Sulayman (PBUH). If we succeed in transferring things like voices and visions one day, we will then find it only natural and reasonable too, and begin not to wonder at it, either.

In the text above, there was an expression we are not acquainted with: the speed of soul. The speed of soul can be compared to neither light nor voice. Imagination is a servant of the soul. It can reach paradises at an instant. Reason is the tool of soul for understanding. Man can rise to stars and contemplate them with this tool.

When the soul surpasses the body, it becomes very easy to be present in different places at the same time. In dreams, our soul also surpasses our body to some extent. It covers great distances at a moment; we can easily go to the past and the future. We can talk with both our grandfathers and grandchildren. Why should a soul, which surpasses angels by developing spiritually, not do the thing they easily do? Why should it not be present in different places at the same time?

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Much ado about nothing

Whilst reading the article (, I could not help but think that for the police, it was all an affair of getting funds. At least the handsome figures of biryani supply costs insist so. The operation in Lyari has told the international media that we have terrorists within the backyard of our own commercial hub and that our police is incapable of thwarting them out even after ten days of "operations". It's high time for some kind of military operation because if the police cannot match the artillery in possession of the gangsters in Lyari, then there is no logic in continuing to keep the police operation on.

These things aside, a couple of weeks back, in a show on some local news channel, a reporter had surveyed the Lyari public on their issues, problems and concerns regarding the current security situation in the town viz-a-viz their political affiliations. It was surprising to see that the public's attitude was "This PPP minister (Gabol) is bad, but we will still vote for PP in future." The people had blind faith in PPP as a result of their generational loyalty and were not willing to look beyond it. I could not pity those people then because when the time would come to choose their fate, they would willingly select the thieves to rule over them. For them Steve Jobs summed it all well, albeit in a totally different context: "Stay hungry, stay foolish."

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Barthez - 16

Whilst attending my cousins Nikah ceremony at a lawn in KMC complex on Sunday night, I came across a young kid barely 12 who was picking up the table cloths after the dulha had moved to the dulhan side for photography. In between his cloth-picking I got a chance to speak to him. ''Saab aap mere baare mein jaan kar kya karenge (what will you do after getting to know me?''). He had a valid point. His story was painful and I do not feel like repeating it here. He was born into a poor family and to support his family he worked overnight.

His battle was a hard one. There was no government support for his family nor were they enrolled on the list of any NGO. Breaking out from the vicious cycle of poverty was a daunting task for him.

Amidst the negativity and doom that loomed his future, he remarked with a positive stint in his eye: ''Mujhe angrezi parhne ka shawq hai (I like to read English).'' So much as I wished, I could not do anything for him at that point in time except that I committed to drop by the next day with something of value to him that would assist him in achieving that aim. The number of Barthez's on the streets is silently climbing as we wait for political leaders to brush aside their differences and vested interest and do something for them. Being a taxpayer, it is kind of frustrating to see this trend. As I write this, I have in mind the success story of one such boy. Miraculous as it may seem, it certainly was the result of determination and hard-work. Let's hope the same for our Barthez too!