Two key issues — who will control the internet and how to finance efforts aimed at bridging the digital divide — were frustratingly contentious from the very beginning, as anyone who has followed the story will tell you. However, at the end of phase II of the summit, the main issues remained largely untouched, just as they were at the beginning.
The UN General Assembly had endorsed the proposal forwarded by the International Telecommunications Union in 2001 to hold the WSIS in two phases. The first phase was held in Geneva in 2003, and the second was held in Tunisia. The second phase was attended by leaders from more than 100 countries — including 44 heads of state or of government, mostly from developing countries.
The outcome is that the United States remains in charge of the internet’s addressing system, averting a United States-European Union showdown. Of course, this was notwithstanding a general resentment over perceived American control. The US-based Icann (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) will continue to technically manage the internet. However, a new Internet Governance Forum has been formed to further look into the issue of control.
One of the original objectives of the WSIS was to raise consciousness about the divide between the haves and have-nots, and to raise money for projects aimed at better linking the developing regions, particularly Africa, Asia and South America. Unfortunately, the event was overshadowed by a persistent antipathy about who should control the internet and technical issues which allow people from Pakistan to Peru to surf the World Wide Web for information, news and various other activities. More promises, further meetings, and partnership programmes materialized on financing the expansion of access around the world so that the digital divide could be narrowed.
In short, the Tunis Commit- ment and a Tunis Agenda for the Information Society was adopted at the end of the second phase of WSIS in order to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society. This would give people all over the world an opportunity to create access, utilize and share information and knowledge.
The adopted documents stressed that freedom of expression and free flow of information, ideas and knowledge were essential for an Information Society. Given that such issues cannot be solved through alliances alone, results are very positive and balanced.
However, some countries and civil society groups were heard grumbling over the outcome. Under attack is the lack of a new mechanism for financing. Even though, a fund for internet development has been established, it does not seem to be of much consequence since participation has been kept voluntary.
Checks and balances were also demanded. It was suggested that an independent commission should be established in order to review national and international ICT regulations and practices.
The private sector also came under fire. It was generally felt that the sector was spreading its wings beyond the parameters of business. Their presence was greatly felt within the chambers of commerce and their influence was quite visible.
On a brighter note, the summit did bring about a pragmatic solution to one of the many problems facing the have-nots: a $100 laptop, which will be shortly marketed in many Third World countries. The laptop consumes a minimum of energy and is user-friendly. This one step will certainly assist in eradicating IT-ignorance in many developing, and underdeveloped countries. Egypt and Nigeria are candidates to receive the first wave of the laptops, starting in February or March, and each will buy at least 1 million units.
Apart from the fact that there is a consensus on “internet for everyone”, the WSIS, which was called a Summit of Solutions, was declared a success by the United Nations. But many stakeholders refuse to wholeheartedly embrace its outcome. Words like “success” or “failure” are too strong to describe the summit. Let’s just say the summit has been valuable.
The impact is yet to be seen. And remote villages in Punjab have to wait until 2015 to get connected to the internet.
It's easy to love a place where residents make efforts to feed the squirrels. In the Shalimar Garden, a few senior citizens party with the squirrels every morning.
When my friend Hussain Qazi who is naturalist and a photographer told me about people feeding birds and squirrels, I planned to skip my ‘ritual morning walks’ and decided to visit Shalimar Garden instead; hopping to find more about the party with the squirrels.
The care and feeding of squirrels in Shalimar Garden is a recent phenomenon. Long overshadowed by heritage talk (it is on UNESO’s world heritage list), Shalimar Garden is overcrowded during day. Whether or not Shalimar Garden ultimately can maintain its past glory - and with it, an influx of foreign and local tourists - it's a surprisingly satisfying open space during early hour of the day.
Every morning, two charismatic old men, loaded with biscuits, rice and pluses came to the waiting population of birds and squirrels in the Shalimar Garden. They sit on the same benches and start throwing grins to the birds. When this is happening, one can see squirrels coming down from nearby trees for their breakfast and then those gentlemen dig deep down their satchels and take out biscuits and start feeding the squirrels. The tiny winy animals are so use to those caring hands that they jump to take the first bite.
One of the old men Fazal Karim – a retired primary teacher who lives in nearby Daroge Wala – explained me this phenomenon and said, “I am coming here for my morning walk every day for a long time now. I feed the bird population and squirrels and find them very friendly. I miss them and look forward to meeting them every day. I think they miss me too.”
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While the entire state machinery as well as media is acting as nothing has happened, Pakistan Army is desperately looking for miracles while searching for 135 comrades buried by a massive avalanche (mass of snow, stones, mud and slush more than 1,000-metre wide and 25-metre high) that engulfed a military complex at the entrance to the Siachen glacier between 5 am and 6 am on Saturday. Those missing from the camp include 124 soldiers from the 6 Northern Light Infantry battalion and 11 civilian contractors.
Rise to the occasion brave men! Nothing else matters at this moment.
Thatta Kedona participated in a three-day Pakistan Cultural Mela was organized at the Alhamra Cultural Complex Qaddafi Stadium on April 20-21, 2012. More than 80 handicraft stalls including Thatta Kedona were displayed in the cultural festival. Here are some of the impressions from the event.
I’ve been blogging for long time now but have never really, until last week, looked into “buying own domain.” I have been using Blogger, and always assumed that “I am doing at BlogSpot what others are doing with own domains. It did fine for me. Was I handicapped?
Friends and fellow bloggers have been telling me that getting your own domain name is a must for a long time. Reasons: You don’t really own your Blogger blog (as per Blogger’s ToS, the domain and the platform are properties of Google though you own content). And it has serious consequences. Having your own domain gives you more credibility (and an ego boost – sajshirazi.com looks much better). And of course it gives you more flexibility.
Above all else, here is another reason. Those who are looking forward to making money from blogs now need own domain. Initially BlogSpot used to be the best way to get your adsense account approved, but later now it’s getting harder to get your adsense account with blogspot. News is that Google may pull down all adsense account on BlogSpot blogs any time. Similarly other paid posting platforms are also offering less and less on free platform blogs.
While I move to sajshirazi.com, I owe big thanks to all my awesome readers. Many thanks to you all for reading, sharing, liking and leaving valuable feedback that kept me going since 2003. Do please come and join me at my new blog.
Technology has become more useful overtime. Use of technology by people has already brought changes in the ways we work and live. Much more can be done to use the power of computing and the networking to accelerate the change?
It is in this milieu that I see Technology for People Initiative (TPI) – a new Initiative launched by Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and Google Inc on April 18, 2012. Dr. Sohail Qureshi, Dean SSE and Dr. Ahmad Shoaib Khan, Chair CS LUMS explained the Initiative and William Fitzgerald from Google Inc announced Google’s support for TPI during the launching ceremony. Use hash tags #LUMS or #t4p and you will know how the launch was received by not only the young scholars from LUMS but also by Netizens who wish to see some positive change in society of Pakistan.
I already knew Dr. Adil Najam, the Vice Chancellor LUMS always thinks Pakistan. During his TPI launch speech I found out that Dr. Adil Najam also thinks very big. TPI is a very big initiative both in terms of engagement and its practical impact. Aimed at use of technology to create solutions relevant to the socio-economic context of Pakistan, TPI will focus “on leveraging technology in the domains of public policy and governance. The initiative is multi-disciplinary in nature; bring together resources from multiple departments and partners, to create comprehensive and deployable solutions using intellectual resources available at LUMS for the practical benefit to the people of Pakistan.”
TPI is also part of a larger LUMS cross-university interdisciplinary Research Initiative on Internet and Society (RIIS), which aims to encourage activities and research across the universities for better utilization of cyberspace for the country's development.
Given my personal interest, I am going to follow the Initiative and would love to see it in practice. My own life will be happier if land registry (that is presently handled by Patwari, Girdawar, Tehsildar) is computerized?
Karachi Chapter 55 PMA Long Course get together was held on the occasion of the marriage ceremony of the daughter of Attahullah Shah Bukhari at the Services Club Malir Cantonment, Karachi on April 14, 2012 – the date that marks the 37 years of 55 PMA members comradeship. Agha Ali Raza Qizilbash and all other members of Karachi Chapter were there. Here are some of the images with thanks to Zafar Iqbal Durrani – the soul of Karachi Chapter.
The 46th convocation of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (and College of Physicians and Surgeons Bangladesh) was held in PC Lahore on April 13, 2012. Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif was the chief guest who awarded madels and diplomas among the fellows. Total 422 fellows were awarded degrees and 53 fellows were given membership in the convocation. Prof. Rakhshanda and Dr. Abrar Ashraf Ali were given honours while gold medals were given to the position-holders.
Delegates of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India associated with medical sector, Advisor on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique, medical superintendents, vice chancellors, professors and a large number of doctors were present on the occasion. The Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif praised doctors, paramedical staff and nurses for bravely countering the worst outbreak of dengue in the human history last year and said that it was due to their tireless efforts that thousands of lives were saved. "College of Physicians and Surgeons is playing an important role in the promotion of quality medical education in the country and Punjab government will extend all out cooperation to the College of Physicians and Surgeons due to its vital role in higher education in health sector so that specialists in various sectors of medicine could become available to the country," the CM said.
Earlier, the President College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan Dr. Zafarullah Chaudhry in his welcome address highlighted the performance of the institution. He said that College of Physicians and Surgeons is providing modern educational facilities to doctors in various sectors of medicine.
Annual 55 PMA Long Course get together for year 2012 was scheduled to be held at PIFFER Golf Course at Abbottabad on April 15, 2012. Due to very sad incident of "Siachin" the course get together has been postponed. We all pray for the life of those who are buried under the snow. May Almighty Allah save them.
On 8th April, 2012, flights lands on the land of India, President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari along with his army of 40 men steps on it. His 23-year-old son and heir apparent to his political party, Bilawal Zardari Bhutto has been also a part of his entourage. The trip was said to be a private one, aimed at visiting a famous Sufi Muslim shrine in the state of Rajasthan. His late wife, Benazir Bhutto visited the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, a 12th-century saint, five times in her lifetime. The trip also held a short meeting with the meeting of 40 minutes during a lunch.
There has been wagging tail of grave issues lined up for consideration from both governments. A zoomed looked at those problems were given a focus. Since Pakistan and India share a sad story throughout, delightful gestures were presented from both sides to bring down the heat. Both leaders presented views to soak the dried wells of security, trust and trade. There are ups and down, pulls and push in lives but these must not come in the way of relations of two states such as Pakistan and India the destinies of which are intertwined. Every year enormous amount has to be spent on the security of both countries, which can well be spent on other social and political problems once things are cooled down between the two. As the world is rapidly growing, tentacles of hatred must be chopped down. We must think on all the probabilities before embarking upon any adventure.
Blogs initially started as archives for web links on the Internet. Users could place important links on blogs to be referred and read later. Overtime blogging has matured as a phenomenon and one can see meaningful and useful blogs on any subject online. Blogsphere has become a very strong voice; vibrant, living and ever growing.
Pakistan blogsphere (blogs about Pakistan by local bloggers and those bloggers who are living abroad) has created its own identity that is mostly political and or personal. Pakistan corporate blogging has yet to take off though. Where personal blog create social harmony, well knit community and peace, political blogs add to the positive image Pakistan needs so much, more so in online world. Given the strength of powerful international media and in the face negative content, there has always been a lack of local content. Thanks to able Pakistani bloggers that they are adding meaningful local content in their blogs and that contextual content not only answers some of what mostly ill informed foreign media says but also add to the positive image.
Need of the hour is that Pakistani bloggers come forward and play their role by adding more content that is based on facts and first hand information. You owe this to Pakistan. No?
Those of us who are always worried on account of everything that happens to them or happening around them, live a miserable life. Instead of taking a positive note of our lives, we count things we don't have, but the neighbour does, the perks and privileges enjoyed by a relative or a friend, the winning of match by a country we do not like and so on. If we start taking everything to our heart, how long this small clump of meat can take the stress and one day clogs - sending us in wailing ambulance to a cardiac hospital.
Are we born to live a miserable life? Ever seen people living in slums - who still laugh, make merry while still living in rag tags and heaps of dirty and litter. But many of us who have everything still lament of not having enough. If do this we are definitely not going to live long and will someday be intercepted by a failing heart - or even if we do not, the misery can be read from our faces and they way we live.
I was down too on account of a misery of my friend, who for no explainable reason is being forced to live a confined life for many more years in future. It was then that I received an e-mail from a friend of mine, who always sends me something that is thought provoking and make me wiser.
The mail contained a few tips on life and aging by no one other than George Carlin. Well if you haven't heard of this name before, let me write a few words about him before sharing his views on aging.
Geroge Carlin or George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist, actor and writer/author, who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums. Carlin was noted for his black humor as well as his thoughts on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. Carlin and his "Seven Dirty Words" comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a narrow 5–4 decision by the justices affirmed the government's power to regulate indecent material on the public airwaves. Four days before his death, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts had named Carlin its 2008 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor honoree. The prize was awarded in Washington, D.C. on November 10, making Carlin the first posthumous recipient.
With this brief introduction, now just read what Carlin write about aging. But remember, if you do not read it to the end, you would lose an important day of your life. And if you really reach to the end, then you must share it with friends and anyone known to you (as I am doing by sharing this in my blog) as it would have a profound effect on the life of all those who really value life and want to read something about it.