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Dec 18 - 24, 2000


Microsoft's .NET Vision and CodeBase Technologies' Products

Microsoft, the world's leading software solutions provider, introduced the concept of .NET, to the IT heads of the leading local and foreign banks, at a seminar titled "Banking on the Microsoft Platform", held in Karachi, recently.

The speakers at the seminar explained Microsoft's solutions framework for financial institutions, and how the new concept of .NET can revolutionise banking, and the benefits to be gained from it, such as lower transaction costs, reduced processing time, expanded customer service portfolios and more profitable margins.

Following Microsoft's presentation, CodeBase Technologies, a local financial services software development house, and Sysnet, a Microsoft Certified Solutions Provider (MCSP), enlightened the audience with live case studies of some local banks that had actually used and benefited from e-banking initiatives.

Officials from Soneri Bank and Bank Al-Falah also made presentations on their IT experiences. In fact, the latter has standardized on Microsoft's technology, and is using banking applications developed by CodeBase Technologies.

Dilating upon Microsoft's e-banking initiatives, Jawwad Rehman, Business Development Manager, Microsoft Pakistan said, "Automation attempts in the banking industry in the past created tangled computing environments that actually hindered the creation of customer-focused organizations, but deploying e-banking initiatives based on the Microsoft platform really simplifies the customer-bank relationship and has opened up a whole new vista of opportunities for banks altogether".

Commenting further on the advantages of e-banking, Nauman Ahmad, Business Solutions Specialist, Microsoft Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean said, "The Microsoft e-banking platform is a revolutionary development that will make the paper mountains and time-consuming processes of back office operations in banks, a relic of the past".

While answering queries related to his company's banking software, Mr. Rizwan Warsi, Managing Director, CodeBase Technologies said, ".Net has opened up a whole new world for all businesses, especially banking, and we at CodeBase Technologies are working hand in hand with Microsoft, both locally and regionally, to develop top-of-the-line software for the Pakistani banking industry".

Christmas Begins at Sheraton

The newly revamped, upscale Gourmet Shop at the Karachi Sheraton Hotel & Towers is now presenting the delightful Christmas goodies that everyone had been anxiously waiting for. During this special season, the Gourmet Shop is all set to offer every thing you need to complete your Christmas preparations.

Made with the finest ingredients, the wide selection that's available during this festive season include Ginder Bread & Chocolate Santa Claus, Christmas Stollen, Pudding and Cakes, Chocolate Bells & Boots, Maraschino Fruit Ring, Yule Christmas Log, Scottish Black Buns, Italian Panetone and much more. Apart from this amazing variety of delectable Christmas goodies, a variety of Eid cakes as well as original creations from the Sheraton kitchen are also available for taking.

I.T. Seminar at IBA Sukkur

The IBA Sukkur has recently shifted to new Academic Building at Airport Road Sukkur on 1st November 2000 and before shifting business education in BBA (Hon) & MBA Programs were continued at Public School Building since 1994. In the new building the first academic activity of Seminar was organized by the BASC, IBA Sukkur on 22-11-2000. The Seminar was on the "Role of I.T. in Business". In the seminar proceedings Miss Irum Shoro of BBA-VI and Mr. Zubair BBA-II performed as stage secretary. The welcome address was made by Prof. Shah Muhammad Luhrani Director IBA Sukkur and Mr. Khurum Pirzada, V.P, BASC. The participants were students, Regional/ Zonal Heads of Banks & Industrial organizations, educationists and Divisional Heads. Amongst the speakers who read very important research papers on I.T. were IBA students & Faculty members, and Business Executives Mr. Fareed Hussain Bhutto Principal Petromen Sukkur, Mr. Abdul Qayoom Malik, Director SISTECH, Mr. A. Hameed Khan, Principal PAK American Cultural Center. The Chief Guest, Mr. Nisar Ahmed Siddiquie, Commissioner Sukkur Division & Chairman BOGs IBA, in his speech identified the significance of the I.T and the measures of the Government for the development of I.T education. He also informed that Sindh Government has selected IBA Sukkur in the interior Sindh for I.T. education & training of the college Teachers and Officers, and he also informed that Oracle Co. is also planning to start ERP-JAVA Program at IBA Sukkur. The honorary Guest Brigadier Shafiqur Rehman, Incharge Education Monitoring Cell Sukkur & Larkana Division, expressed in their speech the importance of the I.T. education in the country and the prospect contribution of IBA in promotion of I.T. Education in Sindh.

Acer's special Ramzan gesture

In a unique gesture announced the world's third largest PC manufacturer, Acer, in a move aimed at embracing the festive sentiment in the country, offered its popular range of Aspire Multimedia PCs and TravelMate notebooks at highly subsidised prices. On offer uptil Eid-ul-Fitr only, Acer has slashed prices on select popular models of its award-winning range of PCs and notebooks.

Valid from now until Eid, the super deals, a great opportunity for people who want to gift PCs and laptops this festive occasion, will include Acer products including Acer Aspire 6600 Home PCs and TravelMate 200DX and TravelMate 524TXV notebooks. By far one of the best price campaigns ever to be offered by any computer company in Pakistan, customers can avail of these special-offer Acer products from any participating Acer dealer throughout the country or can contact the Acer Computer Pakistan office for details.


Intel Corporation announced the Intel® Express 8205 VPN Broadband Router, a device that helps protect the security of small office and home office (SOHO) users with "always on" broadband Internet connections.

According to Jupiter Communications, by the end of 2000 the number of people accessing the Web via such broadband methods as DSL and cable modems will have increased threefold — from 1.3 million in 1999 to 4 million.** These always-on connections are susceptible to security attacks, yet many customers do not have adequate protection from this risk. The Intel Express 8205 VPN Broadband Router provides security in a high-performance device that can be installed quickly and easily.

"The Intel Express 8205 VPN Broadband Router delivers exceptional virtual private networking (VPN) performance at an attractive price for small sites, rounding out Intel's broad line of high-performance VPN equipment," said Matt Rollender, Intel Converged Edge Division marketing director. "The higher VPN performance in this segment allows customers with broadband connections to realize more of the bandwidth for which they are paying, while also enjoying robust security."

The Intel Express 8205 VPN Broadband Router offloads the processing required to run VPNs and firewalls on individual PCs, aggregating these functions into a dedicated device while helping maintain maximum performance of broadband connections. The device supports unlimited users and can establish secure VPN tunnels with 50 other sites. Using 3DES IPSec encryption, the router provides VPN throughput up to 1.3 Mbps.*** The Intel Express 8205 VPN Broadband Router can be easily installed by small business and home users, allowing service providers to deliver high-performance security with every broadband connection without expensive on-site installation.

New Product Introduction By HP

A special team of IT experts from Hewlett Packard Singapore has been brought in to introduce HP's solutions to meet the business needs, as a strategy and direction of HP for the coming year is geared towards small and medium sized businesses in Pakistan.

The SMB seminar held in Karachi and Lahore in the last week of November, had a double connotation, where speakers at the seminar talked about the potential and growth of small and medium sized businesses, and the government's efforts to the economy providing incentives and bank credit to this sector.

It is longing for cooperation of local IT players, software houses and other institutions. Main purpose being to acquire cooperation of local people so that they can assess the requirement of local businesses and let HP develop their country specific devices for better efficiency and greater productivity.

Kaiser Naseem, Managing Director of Small Business Finance Corporation, Hamza Matin, President of Pakistan Software Houses Association and Jawwad Rahman, Business Development Manager of Microsoft were some of the speakers at Karachi seminar. Iqbal Mustafa, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA) was the main speaker at the Lahore seminar.

The HP team highlighted their products and solutions for SMB's which according to them are "easy to buy, easy to use and easy to own". HP introduced their new product line of business PCs as perfect tool for small and medium sized businesses. A new range of servers, printers, scanners and CD-writers were also introduced in the seminar.

The strategies that were highlighted focused on empowering SMBs with the technology advantages of large corporation but at an affordable cost. As a key provider of e-services, HP offers a large range of services that cover all aspects of e-business keeping in view the growing need of today's businesses.

Mr. David Ong (Business Manager, Commercial Channels Organization Asia Emerging Countries), Mr. Peter Quek (Business Manager, Commercial Customer Organization Emerging Countries) and Mr. Hamza Matin (President PASHA) addressing the audience in SMB seminar by Hewlett Packard.

AMD computers exhibition at PAF-KIET

AMD Computers, an upkeeping marketing firm dealing in microprocessors, laid on an exhibition of their products at PAF-Karachi Institute of Economics and Technology (PAF-KIET) on 2nd December, 2000. The demonstration exhibited a competitive quality of resolution and graphics on Computers as compared to famous Intel microprocessors. The students benefited from the exhibition.

PAF-KIET takes part in educational exhibition

Recently an educational exhibition arranged by the World Learning Bureau was held at Regent Plaza where national and international institutes, universities participated. The exhibition lasted from 22 to 23 Nov. 2000. Large number of prospective candidates planning to further higher study visited the stalls and inquired about their prospects.

Islamic Infrastructure Fund Regional Office for Brunei

Emerging Markets Partnership (Bahrain) E.C., the General Partner and Manager for the targeted US$1.5 billion Islamic Development Bank Infrastructure Fund L.P., announced in Brunei Darussalam that it had received approval from the Ministry of Finance to establish the Asia Regional Office of the Fund in Brunei.

His Excellency Dato Seri Paduka Haji Selamat Haji Munap, Deputy Minister of Finance, said that the decision bf Emerging Markets Partnership (Bahrain) E.C. and the Islamic Development Bank to site the Fund's regional office in Brunei marked "an early success in Brunei. Darussalam's strategy to develop an international financial centre focusing upon activities in which this country has strong comparative advantages, such as international investment and a commitment to Islamic finance."

H.E. Dr. Ahmad Mohamad Ali, President of the Islamic Development Bank and Chairman of the Policy Management Company (PMC) of the Fund said that the "Islamic Development Bank is delighted with the location of the Fund's Asia Regional Office in Brunei. Both the Bank and the Fund look forward to using the upcoming financial centre in Brunei as the focal point for promotion of the IPOs of underlying equity investments of the Fund and making it the regional hub for underwriting and syndication of Complementary Finance Facility (CFF) of the Fund and securitization of Fund's assets for disinvestment. IDB and the Fund will work closely with the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to support further the development of Brunei as an international financial centre."

Mr. Mumtaz Khan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Mr. Michael Lee, Deputy Chairman, of Emerging Markets Partnership (Bahrain) E.C. were in Brunei for the announcement of the Fund's Asia Regional Office.

Mr. Khan said, "Brunei is an ideal regional location for the Fund. Our office here will be the focal point for our sourcing of infrastructure projects in the Asia region; and for maintaining and developing our relationships with Asian banks who may wish to play a role in syndicated financings for the projects in which the Fund invests equity. Such banks would most naturally relate to our Asia region projects, but we might also be able to offer participations in financings for the Fund's projects in selected other member countries of the Islamic Development Bank."

Mr. Khan explained that the Fund, whose First Closing is expected to be announced shortly from its headquarters in Bahrain, could invest in private sector infrastructure projects in a wide range of sectors, including power, telecom, transportation, natural resources development, and infrastructure-related sectors such as cement.

A unique feature of this infrastructure fund is that, in addition to its Equity Capital, targeted at US$1 billion, which will be available for equity investment in projects, the Fund has a Complementary Finance Facility (CFF), targeted at US$ 500 million. The CFF is an underwriting facility, designed to promote the use of Islamic finance in infrastructure projects in which the Fund invests equity.

Mr. Khan indicated that the Fund is keen to invest equity and to make commitments for complementary financing in infrastructure projects in the Asian Muslim countries, as regional economic recovery continues apace, "The Fund can provide diversified sources of financing for regional private sector infrastructure projects. At an early stage, we shall be interested in investing in eligible projects in both Brunei and Malaysia - and we are also hopeful that, in due course, we shall be able to address suitable opportunities in Indonesia."