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.

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.

Time’s Person Of The Year 2013

The year 2013 is drawing to a close and the world’s media, both print and electronic make it a point to make in depth analyses to review the entire year’s events, turbulent or jubilant, negative or positive, covering wars and conflicts around the world, natural disasters, political turmoil and events and people who have made a deep impact in world affairs.

Time Magazine, one of the world’s leading newsmagazines, also publishes a voluminous last edition featuring all that transpired during the year with a very interesting theme: Time’s editorial team selects a person or group that has made the deepest and most influential impact on the world over the course of the year. The issue, aptly titled ‘Person of the Year’, selects the recipient irrespective of whether the impact has been negative or positive.

This year Time has kept its nominees under wraps but those interested in world affairs may compile their own list, which in our case runs as follows:

1. Angela Merkel

She is described as the most powerful female politician and leader in the world and the second most powerful leader after Obama. She has been instrumental in literally keeping the whole of Europe economically afloat by bailing out fiscally delinquent European nations. She has forged excellent relations with the United States and is a bridge between the US and the resurgent Russia especially when relations become strained. Germany’s economic clout has enabled her to become a powerful voice in world affairs. It would not come as a major surprise if Time accords her this honour in 2013.

2. Vladimir Putin

He is the second most powerful leader of the world alongside Angela Merkel, the leader of a resurgent Russia trying to revive the old glory reminiscent of the Soviet era. A former KGB chief, shrewd and cunning, he is a defiant leader challenging Barack Obama on the Syrian crisis and is largely responsible with support from China for warding off a military strike by Western nations on Syria. He upstaged Obama on that score and is doing his utmost to put Russia on the world stage as a reemerging superpower.

3. Hassan Rouhani

Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani, unlike his firebrand predecessor, is a moderate and soft spoken man who with the blessing of the Grand Ayatoullah Khamanei has been instrumental in making peace overtures to the USA and Europe with regard to Iran’s nuclear programme. A deal in Geneva has put him in the forefront of world leaders.

4. Narendra Modi

He is the emerging star in India’s political horizon riding on the crest of Hindu nationalism. Modi, a firebrand leader, is the current Chief Minister of Gujarat who has been nominated by the BJP to be its candidate for prime minister in 2014.

Modi is despised and reviled by many in India. His detractors hold him responsible for the Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujrat in 2002. On the other hand he is admired for his endeavours to develop Gujrat into a modern and developed state.

5. Malala Yusufzai

She has been in the news ever since she was shot and has been receiving accolades and plaudits as well as cash awards by human rights organizations, the UN, the World Bank and the European Union. She is being described as an education activist whose goal is to promote universal education for all, especially for females, and yet many in her own country regard her with suspicion and mistrust as carrying out the agenda for the West.

She was considered too young to receive the Noble Prize although she was favorite, and was runner up to Obama as Time’s POY 2012. She may well bag it in 2013.

6. Edward Snowden

The whistleblower, the traitor, the man with a conscience: Edward Snowden. Snowden, a CIA contractor working as an analyst who defected to Russia, has literally stunned the world with startling disclosures that have blemished the image of the USA and strained relations with its allies especially Germany as Snowden has alleged that the US snooped on the phone conversation of its powerful ally Angel Merkel. If making a powerful impact on world affairs is Time’s criteria for POY then my money is on Snowden.

There are many others in the fray such as IMF chief Christine Legarde, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Chinese President Ji Ping, Bashar Al Assad, the Pope and Barack Obama once again.

It may be the POY may be someone completely out of the blue. Let’s wait and see.

King Of Cricket Sachin Tendulkar Bows Out

He was to cricket what Daniel Day Lewis is to acting: impeccable, superb, inimitable and simply put, a God-gifted player.

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, described by millions of fans as the god of cricket, has finally decided to call it a day at the age of 40. His last hurrah was in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium where he played his last and 200th test match, ending a career which has been instrumental in breaking all records recorded in the annals of the game.

Indubitably, India’s finest cricketer ever to grace the pitches of the cricketing fields of the world, Tendulkar, is universally admired not only on the field but also off the field for his humble and soft spoken nature. It is indeed  noteworthy to mention that during his entire professional career spanning  24  years there has not been a  whiff of any scandal attributed to his name, a remarkable feat in an age where match fixing and spot fixing  has been rampant in cricket circles.

He first emerged on the playing field at the tender age of 16 at Karachi’s National Stadium in 1989 and ever since there has been no turning back. The next year he made his maiden century in England. It would be impossible to chronicle all his feats in one piece but it is suffice to say that he has bagged 100 centuries 51 in Test Cricket and 49 in ODIs.  His total scorecard of 15,921 runs in Test Cricket and 18,426 in ODIs unparalleled in cricket history.

Despite being under intense  media scrutiny during the course of his illustrious career the ‘Master Blaster’ never gave an opportunity to the paparazzi as well as tabloid news hounds to smear him in any manner at all. His life has been exemplary, which does India prou. It is a justifiable reason to confer on him the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.

For the man himself, whose last 24 years revolved around the 22-yard cricket pitch, it will be difficult at first to enter private life. As a player he will be dearly missed but all good things must come to an end and it is gratifying to note that Tendulkar ended his career on a majestic note.

It goes without saying that Tendulkar will be swamped with offers from companies vying for him to become their brand ambassador, for he has already endorsed hundreds of brands both Indian and international, amassing a fortune of $22 million a year according to Forbes.

It is quite likely that the United Nations may approach him to become a global goodwill ambassador, a role befitting him for sports icons like David Beckham, Lionel Messi, and Ronaldo to name just a few are revered as heroes and can contribute immensely to worthy causes like world peace, healthcare and global famine.

People like Tendulkar are born once in a life time and soar high above India’s billion plus multitudes. Adios, Sachin, for as long as cricket is played you will be remembered and revered as not only India’s but the world’s finest.

The Madness Of Celebratory Aerial Firing

It is probably only in the sub-continent where gun culture is so predominant that people thrive on the misconception that guns represent a status symbol and a blatant display of firearms is a show of machismo.

This warped mindset has resulted in nothing but the loss of innocent lives, especially in Pakistan where the law seems to be helpless in cracking down on those who engage in senseless aerial firing.

Happy occasions like the new year, weddings, sports victories or election victories are best celebrated by inviting people for dinner or lunch parties or arranging a musical soiree where guests can enjoy themselves to suit the mood of the occasion.

However, what is most bewildering and beyond comprehension is why people pick up revolvers, TTs and even Kalashnikov rifles and engage in random uncontrolled aerial firing to celebrate these joyous occasions.

One fails to comprehend the rationale of this act and the purpose behind it.  Does this give the person an overpowering feeling of power and control or a feeling that they are invincible?

What is the most alarming feature is that many of these people who are involved in such scenarios are the same people who hold positions of power in the Government. A case in point is the recent by-elections when the ruling party, PML-N, won majority seats and its supporters engaged in reckless aerial firing in their respective constituencies.

It is difficult to fathom that the lawmakers of the country themselves brazenly break the law simply because it serves their purpose. What impression does this irresponsible and unreasonable behavior give to the rest of the world?   Does this portray a positive image of us as a civilized nation?

There have been hundreds of documented cases where innocent people have been hit killed by stray bullets. Many a festive occasion has descended into tragedy, yet no sense prevails. And year after year we witness such events all over again.

The country is already facing the scourge of terrorism and hundreds of lives are being lost yearly. Such carnage and bloodletting are beyond our control but at least we should have the maturity and good sense not to engage in the stupid and callous act of aerial firing which is very much within our control.