Twenty Pakistanis joining New York’s Hasidic Jews in a search for a missing boy, a Pakistani father restraining a whole community after a hate crime took his son in England, to a Pakistani policewoman helping the Timorese people; from Timor to MIT to New York City to Birmingham to Kathmandu, ordinary Pakistanis show they can keep the spirits high even when politicians back home create a mess out of what should have been a rising nation.
HAM HAEN PAKISTANI, HAM TO JEETAIN GE BHYI JEETAIN GE
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—while Pakistani politicians make a mess out of their country, ordinary Pakistanis have shown in less than four weeks how they can rise above the bad news back home and establish a record for keeping the head high despite tough times.
Right: Dr. Umar Saif, Professor at LUMS, believes that we need to glamorize Research if we are to achieve excellence in Higher Education. Well, he has started the ball rolling on the path to making research look pretty sexy. What we are talking about? A paper that Dr. Umar Saif co-authored with students and colleagues at MIT has been awarded the Mark Weiser best paper award at IEEE Percom’08! The Mark Weiser Award is the highest award of recognition for a researcher in the field of Pervasive computing.
On Tuesday, Dr. Umar Saif, a professor from Lahore University of Management Sciences [LUMS] in eastern Pakistan entered MIT Technology Review’s ‘World’s Top Young Innovators for the year 2011’. The MIT Technology Review (TR35) recognizes the world’s top 35 young innovators that are radically transforming technology as we know it, and this is the first time in a decade that a Pakistani has been recognized by TR35. [See full story here].
The honor means that Saif now joins an elite group of researchers and technologists including the likes of Google’s Seregy Brin and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
One of his pet tech projects is SMSall.pk; a Twitter-like service based on short text messaging that is spreading across Pakistan. “Political parties, media channels; everyone is signing up for it,” says Dr. Saif. SMSall.pk is Pakistan’s largest SMS social network and has sent close to 4 billion SMS for users in Pakistan.
Technologies developed by Saif’s research group and startups are used by millions of people in the developing world. One other notable technology his team developed is BitMate, which enhances the speed of Internet in the developing world using peer-to-peer technology.
Just as news of Dr. Saif’s honor spread in Pakistan on Tuesday, Pakistanis heard another good news: Pakistan squash team recorded a convincing 3/0 win over Austria in WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championship at the Ahorn-Sport Park in the city of Paderborn, Germany.
The 23rd staging of the World Squash Federation event, the first senior world championship since the IOC announcement that Squash is on the shortlist for Olympic inclusion in 2020, is taking place in Germany for the first time. Seeded for the first time as low as 12th position in the history of the event, Pakistan squash players won all of their matches against 25/32 seeds Austria.
The Pakistan under-16 team remained unbeaten throughout the tournament, which comes as good news for country’s football after the senior team suffered an indifferent year. PHOTO: FILE AFP
Just a couple of weeks earlier, Pakistan’s under-16 football team achieved a rare football title as the country’s young guns downed archrivals India 2-1 in the final of the under-16 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Tariq Jahan told reporters how he tried to revive his son after he was knocked down by a car in Birmingham. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA
A few days earlier, during and after the worst riots in Britain in decades, which threatened to tear the social fabric of the country, Pakistanis and Britons of Pakistani heritage left a lasting impact for long term social harmony in the United Kingdom when a Pakistani-origin father, Tariq Jahan, rose above the murder of his son by members of a different ethnic group, restrained an entire community, and made an impassioned plea for peace and harmony that resonated across Britain.
And before that, the Hasidic Jewish community of New York City established a new relationship of trust with the city’s Pakistani community when hundreds of volunteers searching for a lost eight-year-old Hasidic Jewish boy were surprised and touched to see a group of 20 Pakistani men volunteering with the search to find the kid.
And the list won’t be complete without mentioning Officer Shahzadi Gulfam, the 2011 recipient of the International Female Police Peacekeeper Award. Originally belonging to Pakistan Police Service, she was loaned by the country to the United Nations Police [UNPOL] as a Team Leader as part of the UN Integrated Mission in Timore-Leste [UNMIT].
UNPOL Officer Shazadi Gulfam (left) with Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro (centre) and UN Police Adviser Ann-Marie Orler
And so ordinary Pakistanis are keeping their country running even as the nation’s politicians, who sit atop a failed and violent democracy, run the country to the ground in one of the worst examples of a western-style democracy in a developing nation.
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