May 30 - June 05, 2005



Major national issues could be resolved through reconciliation and tolerance. This was stated by the acting High Commissioner of South Africa, H. E. Mr. Magen Govender, while addressing the participants of a seminar on "National Reconciliation and Tolerance," organized by Preston University, as the chief guest.
Ambassador Magen said "we, in South Africa, have very successfully been able to resolve innumerable major national issues, through reconciliation and promotion of tolerance." He said in 1998, a Commission by the name of "Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)" was established. The TRC, he said, has played a pivotal role in creating a better life for all within the South African society, guided by 



national unity and reconciliation. He further said due to the efforts of the Commission, South Africa, to a large extent, has been able to successfully resolve some major political disputes of the past and strengthen the roots of democracy in the country and promote national solidarity.

Earlier, in his welcome address the Chancellor of Preston University, Dr. Abdul Basit maintained that reconciliation and tolerance were two very important and essential elements in the sustained progress and prosperity of any country and nation. He said in order to maintain peace and harmony for development, it is extremely important that an atmosphere of reconciliation and tolerance must prevail among the various political, social and cultural groups existing in a particular society. Dr. Basit said that the fundamental reason why the elements of reconciliation and tolerance is non-existent in the Pakistani society is the high rate of illiteracy prevalent among a large segment of the country's population. This is why endeavor should be made to spread the light of education among the masses. Once this is objective is successfully achieved, reconciliation and tolerance would become the order of the day and the nation and the country would embark on the path of progress and prosperity.

Renowned educationist, Prof. Khawaja Masud and Member Punjab Provincial Assembly, Ms. Farzana Raja in their discourse on the subject, on the occasion, maintained creation of an atmosphere of reconciliation and tolerance among the various segments of the Pakistani society was the need of the hour. They maintained it would rather be unrealistic to expect sustained growth and development in the country, in the absence of these two essential and very important elements among the different political, social and ethnic groups. They further said sincere and dedicated efforts must be made to bring about a rapprochement among the various conflicting groups to ensure amicable resolution of all disputes. But to be able to do so, those at the helm of affairs in the country will have to demonstrate a greater sense of accommodation, tolerance and reconciliation, they said.




Telenor, as everyone may know, is a multinational mobile connection provider based out of Norway. With such high standards and aggressive penetration skills to enter a market such as Pakistan, they must have spent a lot of time, money and resources working on a market strategy, to maneuver into mobilink's monopolized customer space.

One would think that a company that has committed a first-time complete ownership on an operation in a new market, such as ours, with a $600 million license fee would have at least trained, trained and trained yet again, a well rounded local team before launching into the dark realm of Pakistan's mobile consumer market. Sadly, they missed one very important factor in their user policy, which even I took for granted.

The license agreement is there for us to read and as the end user; we are given the choice to read it before getting into a contract. But when most of the elements in a cell phone contract are believed to be generic, you think that each provider would have mentioned something like a 'refund policy' in their agreement.

Apparently, according to the horse's mouth, that is not the case. In fact, Telenor, having been bombarded with account cancellations (mine being among the first), decided it was high time they prepared a refund policy so that the term "refundable security deposit" was real and not just a poof in the air. Just 2 weeks after getting three accounts, I cancelled them due to poor user feedback.



Thinking that, since the sim packs were unopened, I would get the "refundable" security deposit back within days. To my dismay, refund is a word unspoken in the company's financial department. Tut tut Mr. Financial Manager, you did not learn very well from your previous job as to how a customer should be satisfied. Customer service can only act on policies that are enforced by the folks sitting upstairs.

Giving you the job was probably the most negligent decision that Telenor made and now that they have committed $600 million into a 10 year contract here, they should probably consider replacing you so that the company does not continue to suffer from a bad repute because of a very careless oversight on your part.