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Oct 16 - 22, 2000

LAUNChing OF PAKBUSINESSPORTALS.COM AND AJRAK.COM

The Governor Sindh, Mohammedmian Soomro hailed Pak-Libya for taking initiative in providing the much desired support from the financial institutions of the country to the I.T sector in his inaugural speech at a ceremony for launching two information portals, held at hotel Sheraton in Karachi on October 07, 2000.

The ceremony was organised to formally launch two information portals in Pakistan namely PakBusinessPortals.con and Ajrak.com. with the support of Pak-Libya's proposed first ever I.T Venture Capital Fund i.e. PakVenCap.Com. PakVenCap.Com is proposed to be the first I.T venture capital fund of the country, to be floated by Pak-Libya and other financial institutions, to provide financial as well as managerial support to viable I.T venture projects, converting them from Incubation stage to commercial scale. While the fund is in the process of completing the procedural formalities, it has already identified and supported two I.T. venture projects i.e. PakBusinessPortal.com and Ajrak.com, which were launched by the Sindh Governor.

PakBusinessPortals.com (Pvt.) Limited would be the first network information portal in Pakistan focusing on four vital sectors namely Healthcare, Food, Home Appliances and Automobiles. Initially the city of Karachi has been covered in this portal but the plans are to bring the provincial and federal capitals as well as other major cities of the country under its scope. Other sectors are also planned to be included in this portal at a later stage.

Ajrak.com features a unique and probably most comprehensive search engine specifically on Pakistan. It has enormous database, which has been a major drawback in most of the other local search engines, of Pakistan related web sites currently hosted on the Internet. All the major search engines like Yahoo, Google, Alta Vista, Hot Boot and MSN have given place to Ajrak.com as a leading search engine of Pakistan. From the Government sector to sectors like Business, Education, Entertainment, Religion, News, Travel, Sports etc., Ajrak.com covers it all from Pakistan as well as global point of view.

In the welcome address, the Managing Director, Pak-Libya Holding company (Pvt.) Limited, Mr. Zaigham M. Rizvi said that "Pak-Libya feels proud in saying that it had taken a lead position in promotion of I.T. entrepreneurship in the country. We at Pak-Libya are fully convinced that unless our young I.T. talent is provided encouragement to conceive and plan various bankable I.T. projects with a strong business potential, a true I.T. entrepreneurship could not be developed in the country. We, the financial institutions need to come forward by further supporting them through Venture Funding and also arranging for them necessary entrepreneurship support. By doing so we will be able to effectively equip this massive I. T. brain power of the country to ensure a respectable place for us on the global I.T. scene. The I.T. route provides our nation the only viable recourse for our massive economic problems".

The Governor Sindh, Mohammedmian Soomro, in his inaugural speech hailed Pak-Libya on these efforts to bridge the gap between the idea originators of the I.T world and the Financiers of the banking and finance industry. He said "the current I.T Friendly government is also taking concrete steps to promote I.T. Culture in the country. The National I.T Policy has provided an excellent platform for the Pakistani I.T. industry to take off and reach heights, which it has never reached before. On the provincial level, we are also doing our share. I for one, personally believe that I.T. is the future of Pakistan and to show our commitment, we have created Sindh I.T. Board on the provincial level to promote I.T. in Sindh". He also encouraged other financial institution to join hands for supporting I.T Venture capital Program launched by Pak-Libya.

I.A.P. Elections for 2000-2001

The Central Committee of the Insurance Association of Pakistan at its Meeting held on September 16, 2000 at Karachi, unanimously elected Mr. M.I. Ansari as Chairman and Mr. Zafar Iqbal Sheikh as Vice-Chairman.

Full composition of the Central Committee and Sectional Committees are as follows:-

Central Committee:

1. Mr. M.I. Ansari, Chairman,

2. Mr. Zafar Iqbal Sheikh, Vice-Chairman,

3. Mr. Mohammad Rafiq Chaudhary,

4. Mr. Fazal Rehman,

5. Mr. A.U. Siddiqui,

6. Sheikh Abdul Qayyum,

7. Mr. Akhtar K. Alavi,

8. Ch. Zahoor Ahmad,

9. Mr. M. Vaqaruddin,

10. Syed Umer Ali Shah,

11. Mr. Mujib Khan.

Accident Sectional Committee:-

1. Mr. A. Razzak Polani, Chairman,

2. Capt. Azhar Ehtesham Ahmed, Vice-Chairman,

3. Mr. Amin H. Yacoob,

4. Mr. Afzalur Rehman,

5. Wg.Cdr.(Retd.) Ishtiaq Ahmed,

6. Mr. Iqbal Siddiqi,

7. Mr. Mir Mahmood Ali.

Fire Sectional Committee:-

1. Mr. Salim Rafik Sidiki, Chairman,

2. Mr. Zaheer Ahmed Qadir, Vice-Chairman,

3. Mr. M. Jawed Asghar,

4. Mr. T.L. Fernandez,

5. Mr. Mirza Ashfaq Ali,

6. Mr. S.V.A. Durbari,

7. Mr. Khalid H. Burney.

Marine Sectional Committee:-

1. Mr. Afaq Ahmed, Chairman,

2. Mr. S. Zahid Ali, Vice-Chairman,

3. Capt. M. Iqbal A. Qureshi,

4.Capt. M. Jamil Akhtar Khan,

5. Mr. Mohammed Asif Arif,

6. Mr. Mohammed Safdar,

7. Mr. Ghiasuddin Ahmad.

Lahore Regional Committee:-

1. Mr. F.A. Jaffery, Chairman,

2. Mr. M.H. Derbari, Vice-Chairman,

3. Mr. Khalid Rashid,

4. Mr. Arshad P. Rana,

5. Sheikh Abdul Qayyum,

6. Mr. Shahzad Hafeez,

7. Mr. Shahbaz H. Agha.

3rd Arena IT Guru Seminar

Our world better known as the global village has undergone sophistication at its peak during the last decade mainly due to the Internet. Realizing the need to create awareness among people, a seminar was held by Arena Multimedia (the global multimedia training institute) on 4th October 2000 at Hotel Marriott.

The seminar commenced with a welcome presentation by Mr. Laiq A. Siddiqui, General Manager, Arena Multimedia. He highlighted few major key issues regarding the growth of IT industry. He encouraged the Pakistani youth to enter this industry, which requires over 4 million software engineers worldwide out of which 330,000 are needed in USA alone. Presenting the IT industry's overview, he mentioned that the IT sector is growing at 13% per annum and the world IT industry is $720 billion. For a better positioning of Pakistan in the Global IT industry, local IT companies have to focus on E-commerce technologies & Applications, Internet & web-based applications and maintenance, Coding and testing, Data entry, Digitizing and Authoring.

Followed by a presentation by the IT Guru of the 3rd Seminar of the 'Arena IT Guru Series' Mr. Viqas Atiq, Director, Axact Cyber Solutions. The topic was "The Dot Com World, How to become a part of IT?" Mr. Atiq, an MBA from IBA, highlighted the importance of the Internet as a full-fledged medium to reach out to the right audience. Furthermore while explaining the reasons as to why this medium has heavy influence, he explained that we as humans love interactivity and Internet, besides being accessible it is extremely interactive too and it also satisfies our curiosity. He laid great emphasis on how the textile and leather industry of our country can be boosted by having an online presence and their product can be branded not only internationally but also effectively. Covering the Corporate side of IT, he gave examples of MNCs who were a part of the dot com world and were not only generating amazing results but also reaching out to their target market in the most effective manner. The comparison of the roles of financial institutions abroad and in the country was also made. After the presentation, the floor was opened for questions. A memento was presented to the speaker by Mr. Anis Zuberi of Arena Clifton Branch.

Microsoft Launches 'Get Legal' Drive for a limited Period in Pakistan

In an effort to facilitate cost-effective legalisation of Microsoft software products, Microsoft Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean (GEM) has announced its first ever 'Get Legal' offer. This offer will allow the purchase of genuine Microsoft OEM Windows software at the lowest cost for existing PC installations with illegal software.

Microsoft OEM products can only be sold with new PCs and now are available at significantly lower prices to customers as well. The promotion will extend from 6th October to 30th November, 2000, and is valid only for PCs purchased on or after 1st August, 2000.

The 'Get Legal' offer will also enable existing PC installations with illegal Microsoft Windows software to be legalised by purchasing Microsoft OEM products. This move is estimated to save customers up to 50% in legalisation costs. The offer has been conceptualised to benefit customers by offering them a simple and rewarding alternative by employing legal Microsoft software. Customers who wish to benefit from this offer should contact their hardware suppliers (PC vendors).

MCB Towers: Pakistan's tallest building gets under-way

The piling and protection works of Pakistan's tallest building i.e. MCB Towers, have been completed in Karachi.

The contract for this work was awarded by the Muslim Commercial Bank to an international firm M/s. Bauer Pakistan Limited in April last, valued at over Rs. 52 Million. This work has been executed by deploying latest building techniques and use of heavy mechanical equipment, some of which was specially imported from abroad and used for the first time in Pakistan. The work involved 278 cast-in-place concrete Secant Piles to ensure protection of adjoining properties. The civil work carried out used over 25,000 bags of cement and over 250 tons of steel.

Muslim Commercial Bank Limited, the largest private bank in the country has embarked upon construction of high-rise modern "State of the Art" building for its Head Office on I.I. Chundrigar Road, Karachi, the banking district of Pakistan. The Building has been designed by a leading Pakistan Architect and estimated to cost Rs. 800 million.

The project comprises three-level Basements, Ground floor, Mezzanine floor and twenty-two upper floors and includes a Heliport for landing of Helicopter on the roof top. The 27-stories building will have a height nearly 100 meters above the I.I. Chundrigar Road level, in addition to 10 meters below ground level space. The tendering of the remaining works is now in progress and the building is expected to be completed in three years time.

The Battle for Pakistan in Cyber Space — IBA Seminar

BITS Club at Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, organized an interactive session which focused on "Operation Badr", which is a project that has been launched by Dr. Zia Ullah Khan with the objective of providing very high quality e-commerce application development education at very low cost to the students and professionals of Pakistan. The speaker on the occasion was none other than Mr. Zia Ullah Khan himself.

Highlighting the dire need to participate actively in the Information revolution, Mr. Zia said that Muslims of the sub-continent did not participate in the industrial revolution. The result has been centuries of subjugation, economic deprivation, and military defeats. If we miss the digital and information revolution, the consequences are hard to imagine. In the past only the western powers had the technological edge over us, this time our hegemonistic neighbor has also made tremendous strides in this area. If we are not careful our very survival is at stake. However, the good news is that there is general consensus in Pakistan, both on the individual level as well as at the national level, that mastery of information technology is crucial for our survival. The only thing we lack is direction, focus, and a winning strategy.

We should focus on Electronic-Commerce Web Application Development technologies. The technologies we should develop expertise in should be industry standards so that our future should not be dependent on the economic interests of any one company.

The technologies that are emerging as industry standards for web and e-commerce application development are Java, XML (eXtensible Markup Language), and UML (Unified Modeling Language). Some of the related technologies are:

Enterprise Java Beans (EJB's)

Servlets, Java Server Pages (JSP's), and Java Database Connect (JDBC)

Java Message Service (JMS) and the Connector architecture

Unified Development Process (UDP)

Design Patterns for Object Oriented analysis and design

Wireless Application protocol (WAP)

Extensible Stylesheect Language (XSL) and eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transforms (XSLT)

XML Schema, Xpointer, XPath, Xlink, and Xforms

Resource Description Format (RDF)

E-Commerce and web protocols, such as: ebxml, OFX, ICE, eXML, CBL, WebDev, SOAP, etc.

"Operation Badar" also called "The battle of Pakistan in Cyber Space" has been launched with an objective of providing very high quality e-commerce application development education at very low cost to the students and professionals of Pakistan. Mr. Zia stressed that most institutions here are not providing quality education and are charging quite a lot of money. He also revealed that soon another project would be started which would focus on practices regarding Software Development.

In the end Faraz Haider, Seminar Co-ordinator BITS club thanked the distinguished speaker. Others organizers of the event were Nasir Hussain Khadim, Zubair Naseer, Khurram Mahboob and Mahreen Yousaf.

Advantage Asiatic

Allen Thomas Worldwide Creative Director for J.Walter Thomson recently visited Karachi and conducted a creative workshop for Asiatic Advertising and their clients.

"Advantage" the creative workshop was held over two days and was based on JWT's credo for great advertising and also covered Total Branding, another JWT tool.

Allen Thomas has worked on many of the biggest and best-loved campaigns in the UK, notably for Bristish Telecom (Beattie) Kit Kat (Have a Break) and Oxo Family, Kraft Philadelphia and Winston Ciggarettes, amongst others.

As a copy writer he has also won Gold Awards at Cannes for Polo Mints and Persil campaigns, and has won a Silver D&AD Silver Award. He has been president of UK's prestigious D&AD Association and the Chairman of the Cannes Jury.

CITIBANK-SYNECTIV, SIGNS JOINT PROMOTIONAL AGREEMENT

Synectiv & Citibank has signed a promotional agreement to exclusively offer world's best mobile phones, connection services and related accessories to all Citibank credit card holders on installment with 0% mark-up. In addition, Synectiv offers customized solution for after sales service and original one-year warranty from their display center (opposite Karachi Club).

Cathay Pacific August traffic figures

Cathay Pacific Airways carried a record 1,087,480 passenger in August, the third new monthly record it has set this year. The figure marginally surpassed the previous record of 1,085,533 passengers set in July. The airline has slow carried 7.93 million passengers in the first eight months of this year, a rise of 15.1% over the same period in 1999.

North Asian routes have seen exceptionally strong growth with revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rising by 16.9% over the first eight months. The overall passenger load factor for August was 83.1%, bringing the load factor for the year to date to 77.6%, a rise of 7.2 percentage points above the same period in 1999.

Cathay Pacific's General Manager Network Revenue Ian Shiu said: "it is certainly encouraging to set yet another resold for the number of passengers carried in a month. Although the summer peak is now over, the outlook for traffic remains positive."

Ombudsman's Action Against Guttka.

The Helpline Trust has lauded the action taken by the Hon. Ombudsman against the manufacturing and sale of guttka. The Trust has stated that they have been carrying out a campaign against guttka and suppari for the last several years, but unfortunately without much success. They had succeeded in having a ban imposed by the Commissioner on these deadly poisons, which is ruining the health and lives of thousand's of citizens, including children. However, these bans have been totally ineffective, as they are only valid for 90 days and have never been properly enforced. THT said that they have even filed a public interest litigation in the High Court of Sindh on 30th Sep., 2000, but once again, very little progress has been made. It would seem that those in authority seem to be the least concerned about the future of our youth, who are being addicted to this deadly sweet poison.

e-BUSINESS SUMMIT INTEL-BASED SOLUTIONS

Technology and e-Business leaders assembled at the eXCHANGE e-Business summit emphasizing the momentum behind Intel-based solutions. The two-day summit, hosted by Intel Corporation, highlighted the importance of a worldwide e-Business ecosystem to support today's growing Internet economy.

'Decisions you make today on your Internet-based business model will have consequences for decades," said Craig R. Barrett, Intel President and CEO. "An open architecture creates unlimited possibilities to build the most flexible, scalable, cost-effective and innovative e-Business solutions."

Industry leaders Carly Fiorina, Chairman, President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Corporation; Bill Gates, Chairman, and Chief Software Architect of Microsoft Corporation; and John M. Thompson, Vice Chairman, IBM, delivered keynote addresses at the event. They join Barrett, Intel chairman Andy Grove and Executive Vice President Paul Otellini in offering senior business and information technology managers blueprints of the diverse technologies that will help them innovate, grow and respond to the changing conditions of the Internet economy.

In addition to the keynotes, more than 100 companies are showcasing their e-Business success stories and products that support building front-to-back e-Businesses.

Intel's e-Business and Intel® Architecture Solutions

At the event, Intel provided an update on some of its key e-Business building blocks and programmes. Intel said it is placing the final touches on its ItaniumTM processor family and expects initial Itanium processor-based pilots to be shipping this quarter. More than 400 applications are currently being developed, and Intel has shipped more than 6,500 prototype systems and almost 32.000 processors since November.

Helped by the Intel® Pentium® III XeonTM and Pentium III processor families. Intel-based servers make up more than 75 per cent of all Internet servers deployed, according to 1999 figures from IDC. Intel-based servers are running some of the largest and most mission-critical e-Businesses in the world today and continue to achieve significant industry leading performance benchmarks at much lower overall system costs.

Earlier this year, Intel committed more than $100 million and created new programmes to assist with developing Internet solutions. One such programme, the Intel e-Business Network, is the largest of its kind, encompassing more than 100,000 developers, service providers, resellers, distributors, consultants and integrators. With Intel-led solution centers and programmes, certification laboratories and e-Business alliances, Intel is working with the industry to integrate and easily deploy affordable Intel-based solutions.

Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com/pressroom.

Plea to allow previous I.T.R. forms

Mr. M. Zubair Motiwala, in a press release issued, has urged the government to allow the filing of income tax returns on previous forms, pending the formation of new "simplified" form.

The KCCI Chief, while welcoming the assurances of the Chief Executive of Pakistan, to extend the date for filing of tax returns till the simplified forms are made, commented that the same, despite promises could not be made so far. "A form may be simplified from the point of view of the government, but it may be very complex and complicated from the point of view of the tax-payers", he added.

The Chamber President argued that the form for filing tax returns be prepared afresh, after vetting the same by the representatives of trade and industry and must be used from the next year.

Mr. Motiwala recalled that the Chief Executive of Pakistan has categorically stated in one of the meetings with the members of business community that no SRO, no document etc., pertaining to trade and industry shall be enforced, unless it is vetted by the representatives of trade and industry.

He said that on the basis of experience, it could be concluded that the preparation of a "simplified" form was a time-consuming phenomenon.

"As such, the previous forms be continued for this year to avoid delay in much-needed tax receipts by the government", he stressed. Forwarded for favour of publication/relines/broadcast/telecast by your esteemed news paper/agency/organization.

Zubair Motiwala