Suggestions For Elections 2018: Use Technology!

To win the trust of the public, the first move of the PML-N should be to introduce advanced technological systems for casting votes. It’s the digital age and we should invest in utilizing smart processes in the future. I suggest the people make waves in having the ECP acquire a thumb scanner along with eye scanners. We already have the data available for all thumb scans and eye scans with NADRA.

So how does it work? You enter your ID card number to shorten the time of scan matches hence helping the machine to verify your thumb and eye scans and then digitally allowing you to vote. Just like an ATM transaction, a hard copy of your vote should be printed as a receipt to be polled in ballot boxes.

A second (optional) voter copy should be provided, optional because it may not be safe in areas where parties victimize opposition voters. The last time I checked, we have some 70,000 polling stations and around 4 such machines on each station is more than sufficient.

Pros: This will remove any type of fake vote, provided the police or army are present at each station to ensure people aren’t being forced to vote for a particular candidate. It will save time by teaching the method on display screens in the waiting lines and avoid the mess of inked thumbs. We don’t know how harmful the ink’s chemicals are for people with diabetes or sensitive skin.

Cons: Anonymity of the voter would end since the votes can be traced. The ECP will also have to get a hold of impartial neutral software security firms to ensure the system is hack and tamper proof as well as ensure that no fake votes are polled. It’s important that the firm overseeing it has no gain or stake with the outcome of Pakistan’s elections, though truthfully speaking, any election in any major part of the world has an effect on all nations in one way or the other.

If you have any suggestions, do mention them below.

About the author: Zohaib is former CEO of Nadia Textiles and currently a franchisee for Pearl Continental Catering in Lahore and investor-founder of several B-corporations, notably Uth Oye.

Are Air Conditioners A Luxury That Needs To Be Taxed?

If someone asked this question a few decades ago, the answer could be somewhat in affirmation. However, today’s scenario is quite different. Air conditioners that were once considered a luxury accessory to be afforded by the elite class only and were made available only by a handful of companies in Pakistan have now arguably earned the status of a necessity.

With the increase in competition, air conditioner prices have slashed down considerably, making them more affordable for a wider range of income brackets. That is the prime reason why today we see air-conditioners installed in almost every office building from government to private as well as in the majority of households. Also, technological advancement has allowed manufacturers to introduce more energy efficient air conditioners at lower prices.

Today people from a vast majority of income segments own an air conditioner and it has also become a necessary investment in fundamental institutions like private and government offices, schools, hospitals and even super markets.

From an economic perspective, air conditioning is important for productivity enhancement of employees, better efficiency at manufacturing facilities and is integral to the maintenance of business support systems such as computers and other machinery. Before air conditioning, cotton threads broke, cigarette machines jammed, bread grew mold, film attracted dust, pasta lost its shape, and chocolate turned gray when temperatures and humidity fluctuated. By filtering air and stabilizing temperature and humidity, mechanical systems improved the environment for products as well as workers. Today many consumer products such as computer chips and CDs must be manufactured in ‘clean rooms’, which provide a pristine dust-free environment. It can be safely asserted that air conditioning plays a major role in running efficiently the wheel of the economy.

With the challenges that await Pakistan’s economy, the increasing affordability of air conditioners is certainly a blessing for the masses and corporate sector. The double digit inflation that the Pakistani economy has undergone recently has made a large variety of products more expensive for the citizens. It seems like a few items that had not been highly impacted by the inflation earlier are now likely to suffer the ill-fate of becoming more expensive as the authorities plan to categorize air conditioners as luxury and levy 10% excise tax on them. If implemented, the result of this decision is likely to be more denting to the entire economy rather than beneficial. Since air conditioners have become a considerably critical tool for greater productivity, the demand for air conditioners is not likely to reduce as the authorities expect. Instead people will increasingly rely on the grey market to fulfill their air conditioning needs. And if this trend takes up, it will work as a double-edged sword for the government, because on one hand it will promote the illegal channel and on the other hand the government will not attain the tax revenue target that it aims to generate because grey markets evade taxes.

If, on the other hand, the government’s objective is to curtail the energy crisis rampant in our country, the  focus should be on providing technological solutions rather than imposing duties and aiming to reduce the demand of air conditioners. If that is the case and air conditioners are such a luxury as stated by authorities, then the authorities should ensure that the air conditioning facility is first taken away from the government offices. But obviously that is not on the cards because that is not the real solution to either curtailing the ongoing energy crisis or improving tax revenue. To achieve energy efficiency, it would be far more beneficial if the government encourages the use of inverter air conditioning. Inverter air conditioners continuously regulate temperature and are at least 30% – 50% cheaper to run as they consume less electricity. These air conditioning systems vary the speed of their compressor by delivering precise cooling and heating power as required.

As mentioned earlier, imposing tax on air conditioners will not affect the demand of air conditioners because consumers will easily find cheaper alternatives from the grey market. Both consumers and the government suffers from this situation. On one hand, consumers have no choice but to purchase a product with no warranty and reliability and on the other hand, the government is deprived of import duties. Moreover, there is a situation of trade deficit that must be controlled as local manufacturers are forcefully shut down, hampering the country’s export base. Taking the air conditioning facility away will only make the manufacturing environment more hostile.

The citizens of Pakistan, the corporate sector and invariably the manufacturers of air conditioners will only benefit if the government supports genuine local manufacturers and exempts them from unnecessary duties. A more appropriate way to generate tax revenue and save energy for the government is to levy duty on products that are actually luxury items and are being consumed by the elite income group and on the other hand create awareness among the masses regarding the ways and benefits of power saving in everyday lives. Air conditioners must remain tax free to create a win-win situation for all concerned stakeholders.

The Top 5 Sports Movies

Sporting events attract huge crowds and rate highly on television. Sports usually wrap viewers in the agony of losing or thrill of winning and in effect, provide many people with an ideal way to unwind after a hard day at work. Not surprisingly, a lot of movies are made from the drama of sports. Usually, movies that are based on sports preach that victory is not the achievement, but fair play, team work and perseverance.

The following is my personal list of the top 5 sports-themed movies.

1) Brian’s Song
Billy Dee Williams plays Gale Sayer’s role in this movie. He is a running back who becomes a member of the Chicago Bears. He meets James Caan, who plays the role of Brian Piccolo. The teammates become very good friends after starting as rivals. This emotional movie is about a powerful true story about how Piccolo gets help from Sayers in order to go through his difficult situation after developing terminal cancer.

2) Miracle
This is a true story about the greatest upset that the history of sports has ever encountered. Kurt Russell plays Herb Brook’s role. All the ingredients that were necessary for making an inspiring and uplifting movie were in the 4-3 victory by the United States in the medal round during the Winter Olympics that took place in 1980.

3) Rocky
United Artists preferred James Caan, Burt Reynolds, or Robert Redford to play the role of Rocky Balboa, who was a club fighter who qualified for the championship for world heavyweights, because they were big names in the box office. Sylvester Stallone wanted to sell the story only if he was given the title role even though he was responsible for writing the script. This movie was awarded three Academy Awards that included Best Director and Best Picture. Sylvester Stallone became a major star because of it. The famous scene that shows Rocky going up the stairs at the Philadelphia Art Museum is nowadays a favorite tourist spot and a cultural icon.

4) Raging Bull
This picture that Martin Scorsese directed is among the greatest movies that have ever been made. It is about Jake LaMotta, who was a middleweight boxer with a troubled life. Robert De Niro portrayed LaMotta, who was a paranoid and jealous prizefighter who messed up his life when he was not in the ring. Robert De Niro was awarded for being the best actor in this movie by representing the character before his boxing career. He gained sixty pounds to do so.

5) Field of Dreams
This was about a man who wanted to use baseball to reconnect with his father who had died after he heard a mysterious voice whisper to him that he will come if he builds it. Kevin Costner plays the role of the Iowa farmer who plows his crops in order to build a field that the ghosts of disgraced players can play on after he heard and saw a baseball diamond.

Movies based on sports inspire individuals or teams to achieve greatness by overcoming all the odds. If you wish to be inspired as well, ensure that you watch the best sports and movie channels. Check your local directory for the sky contact number today!

Malala, The World’s Youngest Nobel Laureate Honors Pakistan

The late Ardeshir Cowasjee was a social activist, philanthropist and an outspoken newspaper columnist who always harped on the same tune that education, education and education is the panacea for the ills plaguing the land. I , though a non-entity, fully concur and endorse his viewpoint.

It now seems that the mantle of responsibility for the advocacy and awareness of education has been passed onto the young shoulders of a brave and courageous 17 year old girl who has been recently bestowed with great honor.

Malala Yousufzai needs no introduction for she has become a worldwide celebrity and a household name. She has only recently been jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with an Indian social activist.

It would not be incorrect to state that credit for Malala’s fame and glory goes to none other than the notorious Taliban who attempted to silence her in a botched an assassination attempt on October 9, 2012. She survived, and the world took notice.

Malala hails from Mingora, Swat, the lush and verdant scenic valley in Northern Pakistan where she was born and raised and where her father ran a school. When the Taliban took over Swat in 2007, she clandestinely blogged for the BBC under the pseudonym Gul Makai narrating the savagery and atrocities of the Taliban especially their effort to curb women’s education.

It goes without saying that Malala has a passion, a burning passion, and an ardent desire for education not only for herself but now also for the deprived and underprivileged females of the world. Her cause is undeniably just and noble for which she has been duly rewarded but her path to the road of universal female education is fraught with dangers, criticism and cynicism. Her detractors accuse her of being a scapegoat for the West who has vested interests against Pakistan. Islamist fanatics might call her heretic working against Islam.

First of all the girl is only 17 years old for crying out loud. Obviously she needs guidance and protection, a responsibility that the powers that be seem to absolve themselves from in Pakistan.

It is tragically ironic that she cannot return to Pakistan to celebrate her victory with her compatriots for death stalks her and the government is too irresponsible and spineless to provide her protection.

So what if she lives abroad and ardently pursues the advocacy of women’s education universally? The cause is just.  Are we too shortsighted and narrow minded not to realize that education improves the lives of people and teaches us human values?

Malala Yousufzai has honored Pakistan and we should have the courtesy and decency of supporting her wholeheartedly and accord her the peace and quiet to pursue her dreams.

Sadly we have denigrated one Nobel laureate already from Pakistan. Let us not make the same mistake with this young visionary.

I for one can’t t speak for the nation  as a whole but Malala, thank you for the honor, my prayers are with you. Carry on your noble mission. Godspeed.

The Politicization Of Independence Day

A year ago I had penned a piece on how independence day festivities had become grossly commercialized, but this year it seems the politicians in the country are taking a lead role in teaching the masses how to celebrate the day with none other than our iconic cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, the standard bearer of  the whole political charade.

Independence Day is a day to celebrate and reflect upon the past, the struggle, sacrifices, suffering and losses endured  by our ancestors to carve out a separate homeland  for the Muslims of the subcontinent. It is a day to ponder if we have realized the vision and dreams of our founding fathers.

Sadly, the scenario is absolutely in the negative. We as a nation have completely lost it. Our ideals, our goals, our vision…  it seems that nothing else matters apart from grabbing  power by any means necessary, at the cost of millions of  rupees and sadly lives too.

The powers that be are buckling under the pressure being exerted by Khan and his forces. The recent action by the Punjab Government  at the headquarters of another opposition leader Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri  in which  11 people were mercilessly killed speaks volumes of  the government’s sense of insecurity and paranoia. This was followed by another incident of Qadri’s arrival in Islamabad where his flight was diverted to Lahore causing immense problems for other passengers and public at large.

What right do these politicians have to take the country hostage for their own political goals on such occasions as August 14th or December 25th?

What’s more is that over the course of the last 10 years, all that the political parties have delivered to the masses is massive loadshedding, chronic unemployment, rampant corruption and a pathetic transport system, among other failings. The list is endless.

All we’re asking for is for the politicians to at least let us celebrate our Independence Day in peace.

Vehicle Wraps: A Smart Advertising Technique?

If you know enough about advertising, then you also would know what type of advertisements have a bigger impact on the consumers. Out of radio, TV, billboards and hoardings, TV wins the race because, along with amazing visuals, you actually get to know the product and this has better impact on brain as the visuals are remembered for longer.

But with time, every sector needs improvement and better innovation, and that is why vehicle wraps are all set to rule the market.

From a business person’s point of view, behicle wraps are cost effective, easy to understand, have a huge impact on users and low failure rate.

What are Vehicle Wraps?

An ad design that is printed on a vinyl wrap, laminated and then wrapped or pasted on the vehicle is known as a vehicle wrap. This can be directly applied on to the vehicle and the precision level is so high that the design sometimes is mistaken as a paint job.

Excellent Visibility Medium

As per studies, with the help of a vehicle wrap one can easily fetch up to 30,000 to 70, 000 views in a day and that is simply great while other TV ads success depends on the fact that how many people are viewing the channel at that time.

People See It Even if they Don’t Want To

Watching something on TV or listening to the radio gives you the option to switch to another channel. which might lead to missing out on ads. On the other hand a person who is either stuck in traffic or just passing by a vehicle with a wrap ad has no choice but to take note. Whether they want it or not, your message has been reached.

Innovative Concept

As per many studies, it has been concluded that a vehicle wrap with attractive deigns and creative message impacts better and for longer than any other advertising medium. And the best part is – you can do that under a low budget too.

Durability

This is going to amaze you! A vehicle wrap can last up to five years, yes that is true! Can you afford any other medium for this much time duration? We don’t think so! All thanks to the vinyl sheet and the lamination with which it is covered.

Easy to Remove and No Damage

The wraps can be easily removed and do not harm the paint of the vehicle provided you get it done right and with the help of a professional.

About the author: Amy is a guest blog writer who has an interest in writing articles about business and marketing. Most often she writes articles related advertising strategies like vehicle wraps, barricade covers and inflatable billboards.

Use Of Facebook In China And Recent Changes

If digital policy changes in China today, you will be able to see Facebook posts not only while out of China but while within the country.

Unfortunately as things stand now, the use of popular social networking sites in China is blocked by a firewall. However, participants at the Fortune Global Conference in Chengdu, China have been accessing Facebook and other social networks; the attendants are experiencing what it would feel like if the existing policy were to change.

The conference hosts 500 executives of high-octane Fortune companies in various cities. It has previously taken place in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing. It is now taking place in Chengdu and this is good news for the little known city which holds a population of about 14,000,000 since it will be put on the spotlight.

Allowing use of Twitter and Facebook would portray China as a flexible country, one that has a positive attitude towards social networks. This would be a good gesture but it seems there is a lot to be wished for going by the access level permitted at the conference. According to the Hispanic Business report, access to Twitter and Facebook is limited to Shangri-La Hotel where the conference takes place. It is only inside the hotel where participants can post and log on. Participants cannot access Facebook while in other hotels or in their rooms.

All the people who can get their hands on Facebook and other social networks, the press included, are using them to the maximum to promote the global profile of the conference. For instance, on Twitter the hashtag #fortuneglobal has been created by the conference in a bid to spur a discussion.

One glance at the #fortuneglobal discussion will inform you that the discussants comprise foreign press members as well as members from multinational companies such as McKinsey. It is interesting to note that Chinese citizens themselves are not as active in this discussion. While hotel employees have access to the social networking site, they choose not to participate.

Chengdu is happy with the fact that foreigners can come and use social sites, bring in foreign currency and raise the profile of the hotel as well as that of the city. This however should not be interpreted as government’s change of attitude towards the US- based social networking sites especially when it comes to giving its citizens access to such sites.

In case you are thinking that this is the first maybe the last time Facebook and other social networks have found their way to China, you are wrong. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the press was given access. It is also possible that during the 2014 Naijing Youth Olympic games, access to social networking sites will be allowed. If this trend gives you hope for internet freedom in China, sorry but these occasions look more like attempts to woo foreign capital than a cause for citizens’ web freedom.

There are several instances of Chinese censorship that point out the fact that this opening of Chengdu is just a performance for the benefit of foreigners. One of them is the fact that China censored Wikipedia, which prepared a Tiananmen Square anniversary feature a few days before the start of Chengdu conference. Another one is a recent instance where the BBC accused the government of China of blocking broadcasts.

We can only hope that things will change with time.

About the author: Mila Kassar is a tech blogger and writer from London. She is interested in various topics related to mobile phones, gadgets and technology in general. Currently Mila lives in Florida, US where she enjoys in blogging, hiking and shopping. She wrote this article on behalf of Mobile Shop.

The FIFA World Cup 2014 Rocks Brazil

They are dancing the Samba in the streets of Brazil to the tune of the official World Cup song, ‘We Are One (Ole Ola)’.  As the FIFA World Cup 2014 comes calling, the adrenalin is flowing, the euphoria is frenzied, and hearts and minds are pulsating with hope and expectation in a nation where football is virtually a religion.

The greatest show on earth is well underway. It is a spectacular sporting extravaganza viewed by more people on the planet than any other event in history.

Brazil has set stage to the 2014 World Cup, which began last week despite the country’s multiple problems in completing the infrastructure in time.

Twelve cities namely,  Rio de Janerio, the capital Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Fortaleza, Bela Horizonte, Porto Alegre,  Salvador, Recife, Cuiraba, Manaus, Natal and Curitiba will host the 32 participating nations, 13 from Europe, 6 from South America, 5 from Africa and 4 from central and North America.

Football’s iconic stars such as Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Argentina’s Lionel Messi, England’s Wayne Rooney and Brazil’s Neymar to name just a few will hog the limelight in the  month long event in Brazil.

Brazil in Brazil are favorites to lift the cup for the sixth time with pundits predicting an All South American final between Argentina and Brazil.  Ironically no European team has ever won a World Cup in South America.

The World Cup is simply not just a sporting event.  It is an occasion which brings the world together so much so that it is known to have created temporary truce or ceasefire between warring factions so that a final could be watched.

With the advent of digital communication, every major event has gone into superlatives, greatest, biggest, richest and most glamorous.

This provides a unique opportunity to advertisers, marketers and entrepreneurs to advertise, promote and expand their brands to worldwide audience. Advertising revenue generated during the World Cup runs in billions of dollars and top names such as Pepsi, Coca Cola, Nike and Adidas are having a field day.

Pakistan has the honor of manufacturing and exporting the official FIFA 2014 football, the Brazuca.  Some 42 million footballs  have already been ordered by FIFA for its global use.  Sports companies in Sialkot, Pakistan’s sports goods manufacturing city, must seize this opportunity to promote and advertise its wares as it is well known that Pakistan manufactures some of the best sports equipment in the world.

This summer, the world from Hong Kong to Honolulu, from Madrid to Montreal from Tehran to Timbuktu not to forget our boys in Lyari, Karachi, will be captivated by this great sporting event.

As for me, a football fanatic myself, it is time to eat football, sleep football, dream football and drink Coca Cola or Pepsi.

The Ad Mad Dude On Zubaida Aapa’s Whitening Soap That Promises Gora Pakistan

Nahi Zubaida aapa mujhe gora nahin hona! I love my tan; it makes me beautiful. In actual logic the more melanin you have in your skin (which, by the way, gives you your skin color) the less skin diseases you are prone to!

Ab gora hoga Pakistan – really!?!?!? There are a host of whitening creams but they have taken a different route and honestly don’t make Pakistan sound like it has a kaaladisease.

Should I mention how racist this is? But that wouldn’t matter of course since the kaaladisease needs to be treated!

Kaala is not the problem. It’s the existence of such brand teams and creatives.

I am giving you all the middle finger salute!

Watch the video below:

Agency: Angel’s Advertisers 
Product:: Zubaida Aapa Whitening Soap 
Duration: 45 sec
Director: Baber Elishah (TheBashFilms’) 
DOP: Haseeb at 146 
Produce by: Sirf Films 
Line Producer: Waleed Irfan Khan 
Creative Director: Kamran SA Khan 
Art Director: Bshah 
Asst Director: Binesh Khan, Yahya Production Co: Ishtiaq 
Production Manager: Waleed IK & Khalil 
Makeup:Altaf at Altaf Saloon Shoot by Arri Alexa 
Location: Malir, Studio 146, City Station & KGA 
Music: R.Adnan Dawood Khan 
Talent: Ajmal Murad, Ntalent Hunt (Naila Khan) & Hamid

First published here by The Ad Mad Dude on 7 May, 2014.

About the author: Follow The Ad Mad Dude on their wild hunt as they stalk, stab, maul and haul ads from Pakistan and around the world for your entertainment, knowledge and horror.

Pakistan Idol Reaches Top 6

With an incredible 460 million viewers in over 150 countries worldwide for more than a decade, when television’s biggest ‘star’ maker reality show franchise came to Pakistan, eye-brows were raised and questions were hurled.  Over the past few months, Pakistan Idol has proven its worth by becoming a household sensation.

When the contestants took the stage, ready to woo the crowd with their heartfelt performances, the Pakistani audience was transfixed by their resonating voices. Now, Pakistan Idol has entered its Top 6 Gala Round where the air is alive with possibilities. Any one of the 6 contestants can win the title of becoming the first Pakistan Idol with a Rs. 2.5 million cash price, a brand new Honda City Aspire and a recording contract worth millions.

The ground is set for the contestants to battle it out. Without  further ado, let’s meet our 6 superstars.

Zamad Baig:

Flying all the way from Lahore, Zamad’s passion to follow his dream of becoming a singer and his focus on achieving these dreams has got him this far into the competition. Zamad has a raw element to his voice and  believes sufi rock is his genre, which often prompts the judges to compare him to the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Rose Mary:

Being the only girl left in the all-male line up does have its perks, but Rose Maryhas won over the hearts of the public and the judges solely through her strong, mature and yet feminine voice. Rose is only 15 years old and aspires to be the first female Pakistan Idol. She prefers singing semi-classical and pop songs. Rose previously took part in the competition ‘Chotay Ustad’ where she came fourth.

Kashif Ali:

21-year old Kashif Ali from Lahore has learnt to take success with a pinch of salt. He shocked and disappointed audiences after he was eliminated from the competition earlier on, but managed to return to Pakistan Idol through the Wild Card entry. With his unique voice Kashif, has won hearts of the viewers who keep voting for him and saving him from elimination. His voice and singing versatility has often been compared to that of Kailash Kher.

Muhammad Shoaib:

Mouhammad Shoaib is a native of Kissa Khwani in Khyber Paktunkhwa and currently resides in Peshawar. He does not have any formal training in singing, but has managed to mesmerize the audiences and the judges with his soothing, husky voice. With his humble nature and sweet grin, he aspires to go really far with his singing career.

Abdul Rafay Khan:

Pakistan Idol’s youngest ‘barood’ has gained massive fan following due to his incredibly poignant voice. He is a trained singer from Karachi’s National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA). Rafay enjoys singing classical music and has proven himself in every stage of the competition. He remains extremely attached to his mother, which is often reflected in his song choices. Rafay is also the judges’ favorite as he reminds Ali Azmat of his younger self.

Syed Ali Asad Zaidi:

Heartthrob Ali Asad Zaidi has come a long way into the competition. His interest in music is as versatile as his singing abilities. He loves listening to Asad Amanat Ali, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Kishore, Mohammad Rafi and Michael Jackson, The Beatles and Queen. Upon entering the Gala Round, Ali has his eyes set on the prize and his heart set on singing the best of songs.