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Feb 26 - Mar 04, 2001

Booking of booths at ITCN Asia 2001 nearing close

The booking of booths at the ITCN Asia 2001 is nearing to a close with all major IT companies and organizations having booked their respective places.

ITCN Asia 2001 the mega IT event showcasing Pakistan's current and future IT prospects is starting in Karachi at the Expo Centre from March 24 — 26, 2001

The three large halls in the Expo Centre at Karachi have been divided in three categories. Hall A is reserved for organizations focusing on Networking, Telecommunications and Internet Services; Hall B is for e-commerce, e-government solutions, e-business and IT education; and Hall C will feature IT and Hardware products.

E-commerce degree program launched at South City Institute of Management & Technology

South City Institute of Management & Technology has launched the E-Commerce degree Program in the Information Technology Department. This E-Commerce Degree Program is designed for Bachelor and Master level for regular (Morning/Evening) students and also for Executive levels (Saturday/Sunday) students.

The duration of Bachelor (BS) degree program is 36 months, where as Master (MS) degree program is for 16 months and for Executive (EMS) degree program is of 12 months.

E-Commerce Program at SCIMT will focus on the big picture that will build the foundation of activities and process behind Business to Business (B2B), Business to Commerce (B2C) and Consumer to Business (C2B).

During study the student will gain a clear understanding of the dynamic nature of E-Commerce business model on the Internet and the analytical skill to determine the strength and weakness of existing business plan.

The Management of South City Institute of Management & Technology is confident that after completing the E-Commerce Degree Program their student will be easily absorbed in Banks, Insurance Companies, Stock Exchange, and also to those companies who are already promoting their business on On-line system or are willing to promote their business on On-line system.

South City Institute of Management & Technology is one of the leading private institute having obtained the recommendation for Charter from University Grants Commission and now proceeding for Charter from Government of Sindh.

Lecture program on I.T at IBA-Sukkur

As the part of academic cultural trend, IBA is once again a step ahead in I.T. In this connection IBA Sukkur has arranged a Lecture Program on Information Technology recently.

The Heads of Banks, DFIs, Industrial Organizations, Chamber of Commerce & Industry Sukkur, Computer Sc. Institutes, Colleges and Schools attended the Lecture Program.

The proceedings were started with the name of Allah and the Director IBA, Prof. Shah Muhammad Luhrani, offered thanks to the Chief Guest Prof. Dr. Zubair A. Shaikh of KIIT. The Director, in his speech, informed the importance of I.T that drastic developments are made at Global & National levels. He informed that Global Reach Internet Connection (GRIC) is established by the 70 ISPs of 30 countries to integrate the business of Firms /Institutions / Govts to provide quick information in solving local & international problems. He also informed that in Hong Kong Asia, AFACT has been established in 1996 to integrate the Government and Firms businesses, where as Pakistan Government has got membership in July 2000. However Pakistan Government is taking very serious steps in the I.T. development by developing I.T. Park at Karachi and providing incentives to business organizations for expansion of I.T. education. In conformity of I.T. policy and guidance & sponsorship of Mr. Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui, Commissioner Sukkur Division, IBA has established 50 Pentium-III computers Lab to provide modern education of computer science & I.T. in this area.

After the Director's thanks and informative speech the scheduled Academic Lecture on I.T. & its Prospects, was delivered by the Chief Guest Prof. Dr. Zubair A. Shaikh, Head of Industrial Liaison, K.I.I.T, Karachi. Prof. Dr. Zubair A. Shaikh delivered a comprehensive lecture, full with educational information on I.T and identified the areas of applications such as Govt. Sector & Corporate sector at different levels of management. He recommended that Pakistan should develop Data Warehouses, Mining Centers and should establish Virtual Offices, Malls & Medical Transcriptions. He also put some light on different I.T. problems and their solutions. In last, he appreciated the current setup of Business Administration Faculty & I.T. Faculty with 50 Pentium-III computers Lab. At IBA-Sukkur for providing modern education to the people of this area. He also gave the good words of mouth to the students.

In the Presidential speech, thanks were offered to the Chief Guest and distinguished guests by Mr. Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui, Commissioner Sukkur Division & Chairman, BOGs IBA Sukkur. Mr. Siddiqui also informed the measures of the Government to renovate the departments/ offices with the Computer equipment and software, and also informed that efforts are taken to make IBA Sukkur a Center of Excellence. Mr. Siddiqui also requested Prof. Dr. Zubair A. Shaikh that he should also visit or deliver a Lecture to IBA students' at least once in a month. After the presidential speech the guests were served with the refreshment.

UBL Declares rate of profit on PLS deposits

UBL has announced the rates of profit on various types of PLS Deposits for the half-year ended December 31, 2000. The details are given below:

Profits rates for the Half-year ended Dec. 31, 2000

Profit rates
per annum %

PLS Savings Accounts


PLS Uni-Saver Accounts


Below Rs. 1 M


Over Rs. 1 M upto Rs. 10 M


Over Rs. 10 M upto Rs. 25 M


Over Rs. 25 M upto Rs. 50 M


Over Rs. 50 M upto Rs. 100 M


Over Rs. 100 M upto Rs. 250 M


Over Rs. 250 M upto Rs. 500 M


Over Rs. 500 M


PLS Uni-Zar Rupees Accounts


PLS Short Notice Deposits


07 to 29 days


30 Days & Over


PLS Term Deposits


1 Month


3 Months


6 Months


1 Year


2 Years


3 Years


4 Years


5 Years


UBL plans assessment tests for officers

United Bank Limited will hold assessment tests to rediscover talented staff at the officers level by training and planning their accelerated career progress. The training and planning process will enable the staff to realize their potential by making them the mainstay of the bank for middle and senior level positions. These positions are likely to fall vacant due to the retirement of a large number of senior officers and executives within the next 2-5 years.

It is mandatory for all officers to participate in the assessment process except those officers who have reached the age of 57 years, on or before January 31, 2001. Clerical staff can also participate in this process, if they so desire.

An independent firm of management consultants, specializing in HR management services, will conduct this assessment to ensure transparency of the process and eliminate biases of internal management.

The results of the process will be placed in the individual personal files, which will form the basis of accelerated career progression of the employees in future.

The assessment process where career planning and employee growth will be of paramount importance is expected to start by the end of February 2001.

Inbox—the affordable PC brand

Inbox Business Technologies has formally introduced "INBOX" — its branded range of Personal Computers and Laptops. "Inbox is about meeting computing needs of all consumer segments, from pre-purchase advice to post-purchase support. The customer is the company's reason for being," said Ghias Khan, Chief Executive, Inbox Business Technologies.

Inbox Business Technologies was incorporated in June 2000 with the objective of establishing itself as the most preferred computer brand and technology solution provider in the industry with international recognition. The company realized this goal by achieving the worldwide status of being the first Intel Premier Provider in Pakistan.

"Form the onset of our operations, we aimed to introduce cutting-edge technology in Pakistan, whilst ensuring its availability and affordability," said Ghias commenting on local consumer dependence on international names for technology transfer. "The introduction of Inbox Mobile, our range of Laptops is a testimony to our promise."

Inbox currently constitutes of a range of Intel Architecture-based systems which include Inbox Basic for the education and home segments; Inbox Vision for performance users; Inbox Absolute for power-savvy high-end users and Inbox Mobile for the value segment.

Inbox Business Technologies designs, develops and markets computer hardware and network solutions and services. These include industry-leading enterprise computing solutions, fault-tolerant business-critical solutions, communication products, commercial desktops, portable products and consumer PCs.

Cathay Pacific invests US $10 million in Tenzing Communicatons;

Cathay Pacific Airways announced it has invested US $10 million in Tenzing Communications, a global communications provider offering travellers inflight access to Web content and email. The investment in the Seattle based company was made through Cathay Pacific’s wholly-owned subsidiary Taikoo Aviation Technologies Limited. The investment represents 10% of Tenzing’s outstanding shares. The US $10 million investment is part of Tenzing’s second round of funding. The US $12 million first round funding was led by international telecommunications investment firm Fremont Group. Investors in both funding rounds include the leading venture capital and aerospace companies TH Lee, Riverside Management Group, JGL Investments, Deutsche Bank and Itochu Corporation, as well as a number of private shareholders.

Cathay Pacific Director Information Management & e-Business Ian Riddell, said: "This investment in Tenzing Communications is consistent with our venturing programme, a key element of our e-Business strategy. It recognizes that inflight connectivity for air travellers will become an essential part of the service offered by leading airlines over the coming decade. Cathay Pacific, through Tenzing, wishes to be at the forefront of this wave of new service offerings."

Cathay Pacific has committed to deploying the Tenzing product across its entire fleet in the third quarter of 2001. This makes the airline the first in the world to commit to the introduction of such technology across its entire fleet.

Cathay Pacific’s investment in Tenzing is part of its aim to become Asia’s leading e-Business airline. In October last year, the airline announced plans to invest over HK $2 billion on a range of e-Business projects over the next three years. These included the relaunch of its flagship Website www.cathaypacific.com with groundbreaking new features such as notiFLY, which alerts passgengers to flight status changes, an improved online booking system, Online Check-In, and a Downloadable Trip Planner.

Tenzing Chief Operating Officer Alan Pellegrini said: "This investment from Cathay Pacific is significant in more than simply financial terms. As with our first round of funding, this new investment signals a high-level of confidence in Tenzing and our serivices from airlines — industry leaders who understand both our business, and our target markets". Tenzing Communications is the premier provider of inflight connectivity solutions and is dedicated to the ease of communication for connected travellers. Services include inflight email, terrestrial global roaming capabilities, extensive Web content, a business-focused Web portal, targeted e-commerce services and frequent con tent updates throughout the traveller’s experience.

Engro Launches Bemisal Seeds

Engro Chemical Pakistan Limited in response to persistent demand from its customers and the agricultural community has entered into seed business. The Company intends to offer high quality hybrid seeds of Maize, Sunflower and Sorghum (Fodder) under a universal brand name "Bemisal". These hybrid seeds are available with Engro dealers in Punjab and Sindh.

The inadequate and uncertain supply of certified seeds has been a significant problem experienced by farmers in Pakistan. As the quality of seed has a major bearing on productivity in agriculture, a need was there to increase and assure supply of quality certified seeds. Engro accepted this challenge and entered into long-term contracts with reputed international seed supplying companies. Seeds marketing is a specialized business requiring unique competencies. The selection of these hybrids seeds has been made on account of their suitability to local soil and climatic conditions and proven reliability. Numerous field trials and tests were conducted at different locations over a period of two years to ensure their performance in local conditions.

The hybrid varieties being marketed by Engro have proven competitiveness to hybrids seeds currently being marketed in the country. Bemisal seeds have demonstrated characteristic like high vigour, early maturity, high degree of purity, least variability and high crop yield. The Company has assigned a dedicated team of professionals to provide "on farm advisory service" to the growers and to continuously develop and test new seeds and varieties.

Engro intends to expand into hybrid seeds of other crops and also into open pollinated seeds of major crops. The Company endeavors setting up its own R&D and production facility to develop high yielding local varieties. The Company's vision for the Seed Business is to become the leading supplier of certified high quality seeds in Pakistan.

The seed business is congruous with the Company's core business, fertilizer manufacturing and marketing, and is in line with its long term goal of providing all agri-inputs to farmers at one place. Engro is a leading fertilizer company of Pakistan. The Company manufactures urea fertilizer and is currently constructing an NPK fertilizer unit near Karachi. In addition, the Company imports phosphatic and potassic fertilizers to promote balanced use of nutrients which is essential for achieving higher yield. The launch of Engro's Bemisal hybrid seeds is another step towards sustainable agriculture and farmer profitability through higher crop yield.

Cathay Pacific wins award for World's Best Airline Website

Cathay Pacific Airways has been awarded the prize for Best Airline Web Site 2001 in a worldwide survey of frequent flyers by OAG, a major provider of independent business travel information. The voters for the survey came from a global audience of business travellers who subscribe to OAG print and electronic travel information products. Established in 1982 as a barometer of the views of business travellers, the OAG awards have since become coveted industry honours.

Dominic Purvis, Manager of the Cathay Pacific Website, said: "This is great news, and a tribute to the immense effort that the team has put in so far. It is particularly pleasing given the identity of the other finalists. We recognise the competition is always going to be tough, but we have an ambitious upgrade program and fully intend to earn our reputation as Asia's leading e-Business airline."

Announcing the awards the host, British television presenter Steve Rider, observed: "Innovation is abounding as airlines exploit the potential of the Internet find new ways to foster customer loyalty, through one-to-one marketing and tracking customer behaviour."

Delegation from Silicon Valley visits IBA

Business and Information Technology Students Club at Institute of Business Administration, (IBA) Karachi organized an interactive session with Mr. Safi Qureshi, a renowned IT visionary based in US. He was accompanied by a delegation from Silicon Valley which is currently touring major cities of Pakistan and includes such prominent names as Mr. Kanwal Rekhi (founder Excelan) and Dr. Kailash Joshi (President TiE Silicon Valley).

Mr. Safi Qureshi the chief guest was introduced by the Deputy Director of CCS Dr. Ejaz Ahmed, who emphasized on Mr. Safi Qureshi's dedication for IT progress in Pakistan. Mr. Safi Qureshi is a prominent figure in the IT field who is noted for being the co-founder and former CEO and chairman emeritus of AST Research, Inc, a personal computer manufacturer. He has also been a member of former American President, Mr. Bill Clinton's export council. He has been rated as being one of the top 25 executives by Computer Resellers News.

Mr. Safi Qureshi said he wanted to encourage the aspiring students from this part of the world to work their ways towards not only the silicon valley but make their mark wherever they may end up, and that is what made him return to Pakistan and especially IBA again after about a year. Addressing the students of the Center for Computer Studies, Mr. Safi Qureshi said, "You are among the brightest talent this country has produced. There is a very prosperous and bright future for all of you. We are trying to create an environment in which you feel encouraged and motivated to become entrepreneurs".

Earlier, Dr. Ejaz Ahmed, Deputy Director, CCS-IBA welcomed Mr. Safi to IBA and highlighted his achievements. He also said that IBA, a well known business school also caters courses leading to BCS and MIS degrees. Courses taught to the Computer Science students are a blend of Information Science while focusing also towards the business related courses. This distinguishes BCS and MIS students of IBA from those produced by other IT institutes.

Mr. Kanwal Rekhi also spoke on the occasion and shed some light on what Pakistan has done over the period of 53 years of its independence, and concluded that poverty is our major setback. Therefore we should concentrate on entrepreneurship and work towards creating opportunities and good fortunes for both our future generations as well as ourselves. Mr. Rekhi is known to be the founder of Excelan, a computer networking company, which later went public on NASDAQ and merged with Novell. This was the first company in the Silicon Valley to be headed by third-world people.

While answering some of the questions of the students, he talked about fighting racial discrimination and encouraged entrepreneurship, and change the mindsets of job oriented society. He also emphasized on education, innovation and exploration of what the world offers. He said the government does not always help in such ventures and that one should always do self-help and find investors and risk takers on his own. Director IBA, Dr. Javed Ashraf also spoke on the occasion and thanks the delegations for visiting IBA. All Deputy Directors, Faculty members and students of the CCS were present.
Tabinda Khursheed.