Archive for the ‘News’ Category

TEDxLahore – new ideas swarm L-town!

Amid all the chaos and disillusionment that our country is going through right now, all we can and should do is talk about hope. After all, this is our country and we have to bring things in order on our own by uniting our minds and sharing ideas that can bring change for the good.

TEDxLahore is just about one such opportunity that shows hope for Pakistanis that there still are people who can turn things around for our society, country and the greater world at large by using the power of collective genius. Yes, ‘Collective Genius’ is the theme for this year’s TEDxLahore.

For starters, TED (Technology, Entertainment & Design) is a non-profit organization that has provided a platform through their annual conferences, talks and website for sharing ideas that can bring change in this world. Notable speakers at TED talks over the years have included Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Bill Gates and various notable individuals. In addition to TED talks, the movement encourages independently organized events hosted by colleges, communities and people across the world to share ideas worth spreading in their own context. These events are termed as TEDx.

Into it’s second year, we are glad to have another TEDx event happening right here in Lahore on 31st of July 2010. Being supported by the Planning Commission of Pakistan, TEDxLahore 2010 will provide an opportunity for individuals of the highest caliber to express their views and share their ideas for change.

To give you a tentative idea about things to expect at this year’s TEDxLahore, the list of speakers is as follows:

Arif Hasan – An architect, teacher and social researcher.
Dr. Nadeem ul Haque – Head of the Planning Commission of Pakistan.
Omer Sheikh and Jabran Rafique – Super Mappers (Google MapMaker)
Dr. Zeeshan-ul-Hassan Usmani
– A researcher on the effects of herd behavior on impulse shopping
Ajmal Kamal – Editor of AAJ journal for Urdu literature
Dr. Asher Hasan – Founder and CEO of Naya Jeevan
Saima Zaidi Author of ‘Mazaar, Bazaar’ – an exhaustive review of Pakistan’s visual culture.
Rafay Alam – A lawyer & environmental activist.
Mudassir Zia – Founder & President of Message Welfare Trust.
Beena Raza and Noor Zehra Kazim – Artists, Sitar players and teachers.
Dr. Aamir Khan Epidemiologist, founder and Executive Director of IRD since 2004.
Zubair K. Bhatti – Ex-DCO Jhang & The Asia Foundation’s Director of Programs, Pakistan.
Dr. Tariq Rehman
– Professor of Sociolinguistic History & specialist on Language Change.

You can find a detailed profile of all the speakers here, which will be more than enough to increase your excitement & eagerness to be a part of TEDxLahore as a present or virtual audience this year.

Let’s all look forward to what TEDxLahore brings for everyone on 31st of this month. Till then, keep following…


Twitter: @TEDxLahore


Live Viewing Parties: (click for more details)

Karachi – T2F

Islamabad – Civil Junction

Den Haag (The Hague) – Pakistan House

Suicide attacks at Data Darbar

Three suicide bomb blasts have killed at least 30 people at the shrine of Hazrat Data Gunj Baksh in Lahore. More than 40 (some sources even quoting 80) people have been injured, some of them seriously, and taken to various hospitals in the city. Two of the blasts happened inside the compound while another one blew in the adjoining bazaar. Geo TV reports that even a hand grenade was found in the ablution area of the shrine. Thursdays are very busy days at Sufi shrines, especially Data Darbar, where thousands of Lahorities and people from across the country come to pay respects to the great Saint.

One of the blasts took place just outside the Shrine - Source: Dawn News

Lahore derives it’s Sufi heritage from dozens of saints and holy men out of which Data Sahib shines out the most. The city itself is lovingly known as ‘Data di Nagri’ (Data’s Town). An attack on this very symbol of harmony, humanity and peace, as well as at something more like our city’s identity, strikes at the very heart of every Lahori.

The news comes as a very sad and shocking reminder of the fact that these terrorists have no religion, faith or humanity left  in their hearts. These people are bloody killers who do not target minorities, Shias or Ahmedis only, rather, they would go to any extent in order to spread what they call ‘terror’. But they are badly mistaken for with every such incident, resolve of the people of this city against their twisted ideology becomes stronger and firmer.

We pray for the souls of the deceased – may all of them rest in peace. Amen!

(There is another rumor of an attack near Mizar of Bibi Pak Daman – the news has not been confirmed so far)

It takes more than 8 explosions in 12 hours

As if it were news, all of us shook our heads in shock after hearing about twin suicide attacks in R.A.Bazaar this morning. Although the apparent target were the military vehicles passing through that busy route, dozens of innocent civilians became casualty to the vicious intent of bloody terrorists. The total count of victims has totaled about 39 people while injuring another 95. And that was not all of it because the terrifying morning was followed by 5 explosions, one after another, in various locations of Iqbal Town. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in the second wave which happened all in a span of about 1.5 hours and allegedly caused by grenades hurled by a person riding a motorbike. Police has claimed that all 5 of these explosions were of low intensity and caused by planted time devices.

10 among the dead are military personnel - Image Source: AP via BBC News

With deep sorrow, we should console and pray for those who became victims of terrorism in Lahore today. Our prayers are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives. May their souls rest in peace… Inna lillahe wa inna ilehe rajioon!

TTP has claimed responsibility of today’s blasts according to recent media reports. All Pakistan Traders Association has announced all markets in Lahore to be closed tomorrow i.e. Saturday, March 13, 2010.

Regardless of what happened today, one thing should be made clear to those behind such cowardly acts, and that is the fact we’re alive! and they can’t kill of all of us whatsoever they may try. As long as we keep our resolve of fighting this menace and exposing the real elements behind these incidents, we can never loose the battle.

Hence, our advice to everyone would be: be careful in venturing out to crowded and sensitive places but don’t stop living life your way for it takes more than what happened today to break our spirits…

God bless the souls of the deceased… Amen!

Model Town shakes up to a deadly awakening

It was only quarter past eight Monday morning when residents of Model Town were shaken by a glass-shattering sound and impact. People as far away as 10 KMs in Wapda Town and DHA, both in different directions from Model Town, heard a loud bang and saw smoke rising in the distance. Few minutes of utter panic followed until media reported a suicide attack in the otherwise calm part of the city.
Rubble of the SIA building in Model Town after suicide attack - Source: AFP via
Rescuers clearing rubble after suicide attack on the SIA building in Model Town, Lahore
Image Source: AFP via
Yesterday, the target was office of the FIA and Special Investigative Agency (SIA), a branch of secret police that investigates highly sensitive terrorism suspects and criminals. The office building totally collapsed as a result while 13 people fell victim to the horrendous episode with another 80 or so injured. Victims include passerby children who were heading towards school. Dr. Israr Ahmed’s Masjid is very close to the scene and bore the full brunt of impact where all glass has shattered. Similar was the effect on the entire block where home windows, doors and facades of houses were badly damaged.
This incident happened after a period of relative calm. Last time Lahorites saw terror up so close was when Moon Market was hit by attackers a few months back.
According to recent media reports, the Taliban have accepted the claim of the blast and called it a revenge over US drone strikes and Pakistan Army’s operation in the tribal areas.
Although many questions remain unanswered, however, the most important one still remains why are these sensitive agencies based in residential areas of the city? Similarly, how secure is the common man? and what from here on?
We strongly condemn terrorism of all sorts and pray for the deceased… May Allah bless them and their souls rest in Peace, Ameen! (Inna lillahe wa inna ilaihe rajioon)

VIP movement & traffic problems

Since our ‘beloved’ president Mr. 10% err Zardari is in town today till another week, the ongoing traffic miseries are certainly on the rise apart from the roads overclouded by the PPP flags and banners; Here are some tips to follow before you start your commute:

– Tune into Traffic Radio RASTA FM 88.8 often and listen to the traffic updates
– Call 24×7 Traffic Helpline 1915 before you leave your home
– Visit RASTA.PK to see the updates on traffic

P.S: My personal experience of 1915 helpline is very good when i called them early today for the first time to check on Mall Road status and the lady operator told me that there were some portions closed due to security but they have been restored 5 minutes before i called. And I had a nice and easy commute to downtown; As per the lady operator, you can also get help if your car breaks down.

Seatbelts now the law!!

SeatbeltIf, like me, you wonder why people don’t wear seatbelts while driving in Lahore, it’s because there is come confusion as to whether or not wearing seatbelts is legally required.

Well, the debate is finally over. According to this newspaper report, the Punjab Assembly just introduced an amendment in the Motor Vehicle Ordinance, 1965 making it mandatory for automobile drivers to wear seatbelts. Finally and thank god!!!

But not so soon, some of the fine print says that the seatbelt requirement will not apply if, for instance, the car doesn’t have any in the first place. The new amendment also gives the Government the opportunity to exempt a category of cars from the seatbelt requirement.

Still, it’s a start.

Are we witnessing end of Pakistan?

Without a doubt Pakistan is witnessing her worst crisis since the Bangladesh debacle. Most major cities are witnessing deadly attacks on a consistent basis and just today close to 100 innocent people lost their lives in Peshawar.


Where is our beloved country heading? Is the operation in Wazirstan going to solve our problems? I highly doubt. Who is our enemy? Is it the Taliban, India, the US, or we don’t need an enemy as WE are our own worst enemy.

Something has to give up here. For how long this bloodshed could go on? Just for how long? Have we not had enough? This month alone we have lost close to 300 lives!!! Isn’t it about time that we give up the comfort of our homes to do something for our country? But what can we do? At my end other than praying I know I am not doing anything. But prayers alone would not get us there….We need to back up our prayers with actions. Its about time my fellow citizens!

Lahore strikes back at the terrorists!

Elite Police Celebrating Win - Photo suggestion by Shakeel

Elite Police Celebrating Win - Source: BBC News - Suggested by Shakeel Ahmad

In Lahore this morning, three different police facilities were attacked by well-trained and well-equipped terrorists. The incidents at FIA building, Manawan Police Academy and Bedian Elite Force Training Facility left at least 30 people dead including all the attackers, policemen and some civilians. Two of the targets, the FIA building and Manawan Police Training Academy have been hit by terrorists earlier as well. Although the new wave of attacks was serious, however, the response of security agencies and the police has shown an upgraded level of strike-back action.

Police force moving for action against attackers in Lahore - Source: BBC News

Police force moving for action against attackers in Lahore - Source: BBC News

Yes, we are living in insecure times and when a full-fledged war is being raged against these mug-heads, they are sure to strike back. What makes all Pakistanis proud is the sacrifice of life that our soldiers and policemen are making to fight terrorism and to protect common citizens like you and me.

We should pray for these brave sons of the soil and help them by providing any information that we are able to gather against terrorists or suspicious activities around our cities and neighborhoods.

To all the policemen who lost their life today in Lahore and Kohat; every Lahori and Pakistani salutes you!

Telenor Pakistan launched one stop online solution for Persona users

Telenor Persona WebloungeTelenor launched one stop online solution for all its Persona subscribers. The new package, Telenor Persona Weblounge, allows the freedom of purchasing a number of your own choice (any number including Golden Numbers), port your number from any other network to Telenor with convenience, make payments online or subscribe for exciting add-ons, special offers and value added services and all this power packed sim will be delivered at you door step through TCS.

The service was introduced to a group of local bloggers in a session held at Telenor’s office here in Lahore.

The company aims to bring convenience and ease to the daily user experience of its subscribers. Those who are interested in Telenor’s service can either buy a new Telenor number online with ad-dons of your own choice or you can port your existing number to Telenor in a few easy steps. Make sure you have a credit card to place this order. The process is very easy and self explanatory.

I believe this initiative will invite competition in the online one stop solutions by all mobile companies; which is direly needed by a rapidly increasing community of internet users in Pakistan.

Edited (16:08 – Tuesday, August 11, 2009): Deleted official quote upon request.

Sharifs handover the Siberian tiger

If the reports are to be believe, the Sharifs have handed a Siberian tiger to the NWFP government after the public outcry. The younger Sharif, Sulieman, son of Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif imported the tiger from Canada and was to be kept in its own air-conditioned compound.

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