Friday, December 22, 2006

Secret the Spirit of GIVING...

The Secret Santa was recently profiled on msnbc. What an amazing thing this is. Something unique in present-day Western society. As the spirit of giving is very much alive in other part of the world--from the Middle-East to South Asia, giving is part of our daily life.

You step out of the home in the morning to go to work or take your lunch break, or leave work to return home. You surely will end up handing out a few rupees to the poverty stricken homeless folk who are commonly found hanging around traffic signals.

This spirit of given is not new, it is in fact something part of all traditions and cultures---whether it be Christian traditions, Jewish traditions, Hindu traditions or the Muslim traditions.

However, due to todays fast pace lifestyle and heightened materialism most of us have forgotten this basic teaching and trait of our respective cultures and traditions. Particularly in Western Society it is a lost tradition, a tradition which corporate marketing/PR engines tend to abuse to there advantage. These corporate entities are like vultures, preying upon a public who are disgruntled, unsatisfied and have a longing for a gentle smile or touch from someone or something. Most people are hungry for emotional gratification, as a result they go out and buy buy buy like there is no tomorrow. All in an attempt to try and satisfy this emotional void within themselves.

Our present-day society is extremely goal oriented, the focus is on action items, running all the time with little or no time to stop and breath. Action item to action item, meeting to meeting, conference to conference, workshop to workshop, and the saga continues. No time to stop and "chill" out, kick back and do nothing. Yes, doing nothing is a great luxury; to be able to do nothing, not even think. Just BE and feel heart beathing within your being, follow your breath as it traverse in and out of your wind pipe.

Thank you secret santa for reminding us the value of life, the value of sharing, the value of giving back. A value which is inherently part of the the Muslim tradition, manifesting itself in the form of Zakat, and Sadaqah.

So here is another commonality Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Bhuddist, etc have. There are more commonalities than differences, whats all the fuss about? Aren't we all one people, sharing one planet, a lonesome planet in the vastness of the cosmos. The only planet for lightyears around that can sustain life as we know it. So what is wrong with us? What is all the fuss about? We as a planet need to relearn the spirit of giving and sharing, a quality which we are born with. Children understand this spirit very well, however as they are introduced to society, through their schools, social circles, clicks, gangs, etc they start to forget. Which is perfectly understandable as one learns very early in life that people are not all that they appear to be. Someone may appear to be very generous, loving or helpful, but can in reality be the complete opposite. People may make you think you are there WORLD for them, but then the very same people will turn around and act as if you are nobody to them.

So this year we should make it our New Years resolution to GIVE. Give back to society, give back to our respective communities. Give to our local schools and homeless shelters. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area we have several organizations from RAHIMA FOUNDATION, San Jose Education Foundation, Hidaya Foundation, Lets rekindle this spirit of GIVING which is ingrained in our human DNA from birth. It is part of who we are. Corporations have learned that giving back to their respective communities is good for business, good for profits. However, don't give for expecting something in return. Your Return on Investment (ROI) is the inner satisfaction and gratification that will fill up the void within you, the void which many of us try and fill through conspicuous consumption. And don't forget to take time out each day. Take time out and relax, kick back and do NOTHING.

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Babel--A Thought Provoking Film Mired in an Emotional soliloquy

A thought provoking reality film which on the surface of things appeared to have an ad-hoc plot, without any clear-cut goal; the film center, or rather centers were rural Morocco, technologically affluent Tokyo, and the wild-wild west along the U.S.-Mexico Border, south of San Deigo, California.

The film appeared to be a sort of emotional soliloquy, intermingled with disjointed inter-character discourse. Emotions ran awry, at times leaving the audience dazzled and perplexed; wondering what to make of the abrupt and disjointed scene changes. From Morocco to San Diego to Tokyo we are taken on a journey of the human state.

This was indeed an accurate depiction of the present state of affairs in the world today. How an incident such a couple kids playing with their fathers rifle in remote Morocco could turn into an International crisis.

An American tourist being shot by a stray bullet is no trivial situation, it would surely as the movie depicted involve government involvement at the highest level. With next to no first hand knowledge of the incident, the International press are shown to be having a field day concocting theory after theory on what they believed had transpired. As a result pushing the local Moroccan authorities to act fast and brutally to diffuse the relatively volatile situation that appeared to be brewing under the hot dessert sun.

One could argue that the film was a depiction of the 6-degree networking theory, where essentially it was the rifle which resulted in the whirlwind of events. With a Japanese hunter who presented his rifle as a gift to his Moroccan guide, who in turn sold it to a friend, who handed it over to his sons to shoot wild Jackal in the Mountains, to ensure the safety of their goats.

Towards the end of the film, the Japanese hunter made a remark to a cop in Tokyo that his wife didn't jump off the balcony but instead shot herself. Which makes one wonder, was it with this same rifle before his trip to Morocco? Perhaps one of the reasons he gifted the rifle to his Moroccan guide in the first place was to distance himself from the very item that reminded him of his wife's suicide?

In essence had the Japanese hunter not gifted the rifle to his guide, events wouldn't have transpired as they did in the film. The American tourist wouldn't have been hit by the stray bullet, the husband and wife couple wouldn't have rekindled their love and marriage, the Mexican Nanny wouldn't have been deported, instead whould made her journey to Mexico to attend her sons wedding and safely return without alerting the border petrol of her illegal status.

There is nothing such as an isolated event. According to the film every action is surely to have an equal and opposite reaction. Which in Physics is refered to as Newton's Third Law of Motion. As the world grows smaller with the advancement in technology, the effects of this law become more pronounced.

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Karachi: Industrialist's son held for cellphone robberies

KARACHI, Nov 13: Police on early Monday morning arrested a son of an industrialist for his alleged involvement in mobile phone snatchings following a shootout on Shaheed-i-Millat Road.

Educated at the Lawrence College in Ghora Gali and the British School, Junaid Abbas, 19, son of Asad Abbas, has up to 200 acts of cellphone snatching to his name, said SHO Aurenzeb of the Ferozabad police station. The snatchings had been carried out since April, he added.

Explaining the circumstances that led to his arrest, the SHO said Junaid deprived some people of their cellphones in the DHA area on late Sunday night.

The complainants informed the police helpline 15 about the incident. The suspects could not be found in the DHA, but over an hour later they were spotted at the Tariq Road intersection of Shaheed-i-Millat Road by a police party.

Following a shootout the suspects were arrested by the Ferozabad police.

They were identified as Junaid Abbas, Altaf, Munir and Rashid. Four TT pistols and 35 cellphones were seized from them, the SHO said.

Munir and Rashid have several cases of murder and possession of illegal arms registered against them at Korangi and Zaman Town police stations.

Junaid owns a floor mill in the Site area where he hired security guards and used them in cellphones snatching.

They also used to dump the cellphones in the floor mill. END DAWN REPORT

This is Pathetic, I could have understood if these were unemployed youth or homeless persons, but an industrialist's son? What on earth is going on? Someone who has access to three square meals a day, a roof over their head, which is more than the average man, woman and child on the streets of Karachi could ever ask for is involved in cellphone robberies. Worse, he has the security gaurds from his flour mill in SITE do the dirty work.

What has the world come to, is there not even an iota of morality and ethics left, or are we so "bighrofied" as a society that that the distinction between right and wrong are increasingly becoming blurred?

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

In Memory of a Great Pakistani Patriot: Hasanally Abdur Rahman

There have been countless named and unnamed distinguished individuals whose whole life was spent in service to our great nation. One such individual who is well respected to this day in many circles of Pakistani society is the late Professor Hassanally Abdur Rahman, Barister-at-Law, Founder, architect and the First Principal of the Sindh Muslim Government Law College in Karachi.

Professor Hassanaly A Rahman was born in the Karachi, Sindh in the year 1909 C.E. to a respected professional, legal family of Sindh. He received is early education at the Sind Madressah and Saint Patrick School in Karachi. where after he joined the Aligarh Muslim University. He was called to the Bar at Middle Temple, England in 1934 C.E.

At Middle Temple he in a short span of time distinguished himself as a knowledgeable and persuasive advocate and also leader of the Bar. He was one the few Muslim advocates of Karachi, before the 1947 C.E. partition of the Pak-Indo Sub-Continent, to be elected to the office of President of the Karachi Bar Association.

Mr. Hassanally stood for the rule of law, wherein lies the salvation of the nation. He was one of Pakistan’s greatest patriots, and a staunch supporter and follower of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, or Mr. Jinnah, as he would respectfully and affectionately refer to the founding father.

Professor Rahman’s love for Pakistan knew no bounds. As principal of the Sind Muslim Law College, he would make it mandatory that every student at the time of admission sign the “pledge of a law student:”

“I shall serve Pakistan to the best of my ability, and
I shall abstain from creating dissension and hatred.”

The late Professor Rahman was also known as a social and community leader. He served as Vice Chancellor (1964 C.E. - 19XX C.E.) at the Sindh University, Jamshoro. He was the treasurer of the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, Secretary General of All Pakistan Educational Society and President, Sind Madressah and S.M. Law College Board. In 1952 C.E., he led the Pakistani delegation to UNESCO and in 1953 C.E. represented the country at the Commonwealth University Conference.

The untimely death of his illustrious younger brother, Mr. Justice Tufail Ali Abdul Rahman, on the 16th of January 1975 inflicted a heavy blow on his health, happiness and law practice; On April 19th, 1982 he made his last appearance at a function hosted in his honour and in recognition of his contribution to the cause of the legal profession and education at the Sindh Muslim Law College.

It was in the year 1986 that this illustrious figure of Pakistan took to his deathbed. The members of his legal fraternity held Mr. Hassanally Abdul Rahman in great reverence; He was well respected by the Pakistan Supreme Court bench and Bar Association. What added to his stature were his polite and gentlemanly manners in court. Though he was an eminent educationists and reputable successful law-advocate, he never developed a false pride to ignore people he had known even slightly and was always the first to raise his hand to say “As Salaam Alaykum.”

*Primary source: Newsletter, Sind Muslim Law College and tit-bits of family anecdotes.
** Visit Hassanally Abdur Rahman's bio on wikipedia

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Karachi is hurting ! Help--Karachi O' Karachi !

[First published on list on Thu Aug 31, 2006 12:24 am, Message #12738 of 12989 ]

Karachi is hurting...who will help?
Karachi is hurting...Mush, Kamal, CDGK, KDA, DHA, where are you?
Our lives are in your hands...

Oh Karachi is hurting...
Anyone there...HELP....HELP...
Karachi O' Karachi...

You disolve the KMC and divide KHI into townships---claiming this will streamline things. But where has it landed us? Back in the same rut, if not worse Recall the '92 downpour, it was floating....but this is worse.

The City of life---the heart of the PakLand.

Mush you call yourself a Karachite---well, sad to say we have seen what kind of Karachite you are, our City, your CIty is hurting. What will you do about it? What have you done?

Please ! Spare me the explaination, I don't want your explaination. Heard enough. No more empty talk---we want results. If you can't produce results, then please go back to where you came from--go back to the barracks, and take your chumcha Nazims and flunky chief ministers and governors with you.

Karachi will survive with or without you. After all we have gone thorugh a whole lot worst over the past years.

From Payya Jaams to bomb blasts to floods---the city has seen it all.
We have survived thus far, will survive again.
For Karachi is the golden city, the city of life, the pulse of the PakLand.

Karachi O' Karachi is hurting, who will help?

Build Karachi, Love Karachi...the City of life !

An ancient city with a rich history...

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Geeks BUY Geeks: YouTube to GoogleTube !

The Silicon Valley, land of Geeks who make it big doing things people from outside the valley would think crazy. YouTube, who would have thought that such a site would be such a big hit. With no solid marketing plan, a fluid business model the founders created a site which turned out to become a global hit. You can get Videos on any topic or search keyword, or almost any as I have tried searching with keywords with no results!

That's all it takes for success in the Silicon Valley: A wild imagination and the courage to take the plunge, in many cases a risky plunge against all odds. The chances are you could hit rock bottom, or if you are lucky make the major leagues and join the likes of Google, Yahoo, Cisco, Microsoft, Apply, Intel.

Its all upto you--all it takes is an idea. Silicon Valley is founded on wild and crazy ideas, after all it wouldn't be Silicon Valley if it weren't for people like Steve Jobs, Atiq Raza, Asad Jamal, Vinod Khosla, etc. These are people who had an idea and courage to take the first step and plunge into the deep end.

And so is the POWER of an IDEA ! Dreaming BIG and hitting the the jackpot is the nature of the Silicon Valley.

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Friday, October 06, 2006

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: After the Kashmir Quake Response

What Does It Mean to Be Committed to Our Communities?

In the aftermath of the earthquake in Kashmir a year ago, Pakistanis and Pakistani-Americans gave tremendous amounts of time, energy and money to help in the relief efforts. OPEN Silicon Valley is hosting a panel discussion on what it means to have a sustained commitment to our various communities. Which communities, and what kind of commitment? We will talk to leaders of several prominent community organizations about their personal involvement with their causes.


SAP Campus, 3410 Hillview, Palo Alto

Date: Thursday, Oct 26, 2006

Time: 6:00PM – 8:30PM

Fee: Free for members (pre-register), $10 for non-members.


Sara Abbasi:

Sara Abbasi is an Executive Board member and San Francisco Chapter President of Developments in Literacy (DIL). DIL’s main purpose is to work for the eradication of illiteracy in the remote and neglected areas of Pakistan, by establishing primary and secondary level non-formal schools for underprivileged children. (

Muhammed Chaudhry:

Muhammed Chaudhry is the President & CEO of the San Jose Education Foundation (SJEF). SJEF is the leading education foundation serving the students, teachers and families of San Jose. (

Farhana Khera:

Farhana Khera is the Executive Director of Muslim Advocates, a sister charitable entity of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers. Muslim Advocates seeks to promote and protect freedom, justice and equality for all, regardless of faith, through legal advocacy, policy engagement and education and by serving as a resource to promote the full participation of Muslims in American public life. (

Michael Wolfe:

Michael Wolfe is Co-Director of Unity Productions Foundation, a media and educational organization. (

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Akbar Bugti: The end to an era !

Pakistani security forces kill Akbar Bugti QUETTA, Aug 27, (Agencies) - Pakistani security forces killed tribal chieftain Nawab Akbar Bugti in an operation in Baluchistan province, the country's information minister said Saturday. "I can confirm that Akbar Bugti was killed in the operation," Mohammad Ali Durrani said. "Further details are coming and we cannot confirm any other information." At least 25 commandos and more than 30 tribesmen were also killed in fighting near Dera Bugti town, close to a mountain hideout where Bugti was sheltering, security officials said. A top security official, who declined to be named, said at least 24 tribesmen were killed along with an unspecified number of Pakistani security forces. The official said the operation targeted between 50 and 80 of Bugti's supporters at Karmu Wadh in the district of Kolhu on Saturday evening who were tracked down by the intercept of a satellite phone call.(Posted @ 00:30 PST)

http://dawn. com/2006/ 08/26/welcome. htm

A personality from another time indeed. As a student of history, his 'bap dadda' fought the British tooth and nail, thus one of the reasons the colonial power was unable to annex the Baluch lands.

Once as a child, I recall meeting him at a small gathering in someones house, in Karachi in the mid-late 80's. To a 11 year old he seemed like a large towering figure. In his starched white shalwar kameez which matched his white neatly trimmed beard. He was an important man, with an entourage of people around him at all times. He carried in his hand a semi-automatic scorpion pistol, neatly tucked in a sued leather case---a heavy item it seemed like, yet he carried it with such easy, so much so it appeared to be part of his being, coupled with impecible social graces.

In spite of the crimes and accusations against him as a enemy of the state. You can't help not admire such a man. Perhaps his picture is reminiscent of childhood memories. Memories from the past, memories of a different Pakistan, a Pakistan and a world which from the perspective of an 12 year old was a sane one. [See DAWN Monday August 28th, "Bugtil Maligned but widely respected"]

A Pakistan that just emerged from 11 years of martial law under Zia. Was embarking on a new journey with hopes and aspirations of greatness under a Bhutto. People were excited, finally we have democracy, a peoples government, however that was short lived....

Indeed it was a different time, an exciting time in the history of the nation. Not that it isn't an exciting and remarkable time now! A time where the tides are in the nations favour. It is upto us to sieze upon this moment and a make difference. The effects of which will reveberate well into the distant future.

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Water Powered Vehicle

A Proposal for a vehicle operating on an alternate and environmentally friendly fuel.

Abdulrahman Rafiq

(Formally re-written on May 29th 2002. First Conceptualized: 1990/91 )

I first started working on this idea in my early teen years, when my knowledge of science was limited to a High School/pre-Senior Cambridge level.

My thoughts on this subject emerged from my study of Senior Cambridge/O'level chemistry and the methodologies used in purifying gases from other gases and the cooling of gases via extreme high pressure.

My thinking: Water vapor compressed under extreme high pressure and then released under controlled conditions will create a force, which essentially could possibly result in moving a vehicle horizontally in the forward direction. Assuming, of course that the compressed vapor is released in the backwards direction. This is very much like a rocket engine, however the one difference being that this doesn’t cause any adverse effects on the environment that a rocket engine, or rather its fuel causes.

Further if the compressed vapor is released in the downward direction it could possibly lift the vehicle up, enabling hovering capabilities.

Theory: My theory on how this will work is simple. Liquid Water is converted to its vapor state by heating. The Water Vapor is stored for a length of time. During the storage the Vapors are continually being heated via heating coils installed in the storage container. Then after some time has passed the Vapor is released via a jet like nozzle at high pressure. The nozzle is what the vehicle pilot will control via the accelerator peddle in the passenger compartment.

Through careful and controlled timing the pilot could successfully steer the vehicle, maintain a safe and reasonable distance from the ground, and increase or decrease the vehicles speed whenever deemed necessary.

This vehicle could be the replacement to the present-day internal combustion engine. Instead of burning fossil fuels, it would “burn” molecules of H2O, commonly known as water. Water is abundant on this planet, requires no expense to mine, and is environmentally friendly.

Copyright © 2002
Abdulrahman Rafiq

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

A Witness to History Being Written...

Witness to History Being Written...

Abdulrahman Rafiq

(Written June 17, 2005, 3:25 am)

(Rough-Draft--unedited, pls disregard syntax, spelling, grammar errors--working on it.)

Sitting in Professor Umesh MishraÂ’s office, I just barely completed my second or third week at UCSB, fall 1997. Patiently awaiting my turn, as Professor Mishra was on the phone with a reporter from the Santa Barbara News Press.

A few days back his group had a breakthrough in demonstrating the InGaN/GaN Multiple Quantum Well (MQW) blue LASER. I had no idea what that meant, I was merely sitting there listening to Professor Mishra as he so eloquently explained in laymanÂ’s terms what this meant.

I had just transferred frofromom Moorpark College into the Physics Department at U.C. Santa Barbara. I had applied to the Electrical Engineering department, however since my application was refused I picked Physics as my alternate major. My intention was to try and transfer into the Electrical Engineering department after year; hence I started my first Quarter at UCSB by taking courses both in Physics and Electrical Engineering.

One of the first courses I took in Electrical Engineering was ECE132, “Introduction to Solid State Electronic Device,” thought by Professor Umesh Mishra. I was completely taken aback by Dr Mishra, his whole style of teaching, the way he explained the subject matter was so well done. He displayed a keen interest for the subject, which made Solid State Electronics extremely attractive for me. Subconsciously I wanted to be like Dr Mishra, I wanted to be a research Scientist, to work on cool projects.

Though, I recall I felt a little superior to my Engineering classmates, as I was Physics major and was being trained in more rigorous mathematics than they were; as most of what Engineering students do is number crunching, unlike us in Physics who derive all the formulas and equations from first principles. Sound a little arrogant, donÂ’t I?

Well what to expect, after Mishra got of the long phone interview in which he explained to the report from the news press that one of the benefits of the blue laser will be that we will be able to store more data on a CD, as the wavelength of the blue laser is significantly smaller than the that of the red (ruby) laser. Wow! That sounded so awesome to me, I was wishing I got be part of such an exciting project.

So when he got of the phone, I started very meekly, trying to look for the appropriate words and technical terms to ask my question. Dr Mishra got up from his desk and walked around to the other side, which is the side I was on. He walked rup to upto his white-board, and started explaining what I had just asked. I watched as he drew a Semiconductor band-gap picture on the board, drew a few lines to represent the energy levels, the Fermi energy level. A wiggly line pointing into the band-gap diagram was indicative of a photon hitting the semiconductor device, which resulted in an electron from the valence band gaining enough energy to cross the band-gap and move into the conductive band—in turn leaving a hole behind in the valence band.

What an interesting, mind grabbing explanation. However, then he proceeded to give me a hint on how to solve the homework question I was having trouble with. Where, frankly speaking he lost me. He scribbled an equation on my notepad and said here try and derive this. I looked at it, thought to myself “oh no…what in God’s name does that mean?” I was no more perplexed than before I walked into his office. I was sitting there, looking at the equation, looked up at Dr Mishra, he was smiling and then looked down, nodded, thanked him for his help and told him I will try and get back to him.

I walked out of his office feeling so down, as I had no idea what he wanted me do? How as I to proceed? This was one my first upper-division, 100 level classes I was taking. I thought this Engineering class would be a breeze, as compared to the other class I was taking in Physics on Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics, Physics119 with Professor Phil Pincus.

The only good thing that came out was that I learned something about the blue-laser. I was fascinated by this and wanted to know more. That evening I went home, dialed into my ISP and tried to search for some information on the World Wide Web, which at the time was still in its infancy.

*Professor Umesh MishraÂ’s website link/

Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

“A tide…taken at the flood, leads to fortune.”
This was the theme of the third annual Business and Technology conference put together by the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of the Silicon Valley (OPEN SV) on Saturday June 3rd at the S.A.P. campus in Palo Alto, California.

This years conference engaged and informed a large gathering of over 375 attendees, representing the crème de la crème of the Pakistani-American community with an outstanding lineup of speakers, including President Pervez Musharraf, MySQL CEO Marten Mickos, Redpoint Ventures Founder Tom Dyal, former State Bank Governer Dr Ishrat Hussain, and last but not least the acclaimed venture capitalists (VC) and founder of ePlanet Ventures Asad Jamal, who was recently portrayed by the Red Herring Business and Technology digest as “The Worlds Hottest VC”.

There were seven workshops and panel sessions, offering top-notch practical information on the latest business and technology trends in the Silicon Valley, and investment opportunities in Pakistan.

The conference was brought into session by the OPEN Silicon Valley President Umair Khan, whom with incredible dynamism and zeal presented a short introduction and overview of OPEN. “Now more than ever, the Pakistani-American and Pakisani community needs OPEN,” he said. The event emcee Aaref Hillaly following him expressed similar sentiments before introducing the keynotes and speakers.

In his live two-way video conference address, the first-time a sitting president has directly spoken to the west-coast of the United Statses, President Musharraf pitched Pakistan as a land of immense opportunity. He said Pakistan’s international credit rating has shown significant improvements, and since he assumed power the per capita income has risen to US$ 835. “We have created an investment-friendly climate in Pakistan….and have the cheapest labor in the world. It is cheaper than China and India,” he informed the gathering.

Musharraf concluded his speech on a patriotic note, moving everyone in the audience “Be proud of Pakistan. Be an optimist”.

Immediately following the presidents address conference attendees participated in an interactive and informative workshop that presented a sampling of business and investment opportunities in Pakistan. The workshop had panelists who successfully engaged the participants on topics ranging from energy and infrastructure investment to social entrepreneurship and to off-shore outsourcing.

The final keynote of the day was by Asad Jamal, an exuberant personality indeed. He captivated the audience, discussing his initial beginnings as a Venture Capitalist, how he started from a small office with less than US$ 100,000 in hand. While the high-tech bubble burst in the Silicon Valley, his firm, ePlanet Ventures capitalized on an international business investment strategy, raising over US$ 600M for Asian based ventures such as Baidu, Skype, and Kongzong, with a return on investment (ROI) of 7.033%, 4.500%, and 3.300% respectively. He shared that his strategy is “If it does not make sense, we will not invest.” ePlanet is a shinning example of the VC model, and has recently opened an office in Karachi.

The rest of the conference followed a similar format, with networking opportunities interspersed between the workshops, panels’ and keynotes, not to mention a delectable Pakistani lunch buffet and high-tea were part of the many highlights of the conference. Further details and conference proceedings are available online at

The author is a technology professional in the Silicon Valley, a free lance writer, and OPEN SV fellow/operating committee team lead.

This article was published in August 2006 in Newsline's print issue,

Monday, June 12, 2006

June 12th - 18th 2006
(Published in the SV-PAK-NEWSLETER, Vol. 1, Issue 7)

The Silicon Valley Pakistani community is a highly talented and educated bunch indeed. From hardware, software, IT expertise to geniuses in Law and Business. We have it all, right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. As individuals we appear to be doing great for ourselves and our families.

However, can we leverage our respective brains to benefit our local community and the greater Pakistani Diaspora?

We have come a long way; this SV-PAK group is one of kind. No other region has such a Pakistani group. This group is a wonderful initiative, has tremendous potential to serve Pakistani’s worldwide.

So what’s next? Are we fated to remain a mere online e-group? Can we move this e-group from being just a discussion forum to a forum which produces results? From philanthropic activities to mentoring and entrepreneurial activities—the skies the limit. So are you ready to take the ultimate dive, plunging into the world of immense opportunity? You could take the plunge on your own, however if we take it together as a team the rewards would be greater, not just for ourselves but for the entire community and the Pakistani Diaspora in general. Together we can build this e-group into multi-faceted organization, which will serve us both economically and socially. From providing high quality technical consulting services to fortune 500 firms, to developing cutting-edge technologies of the future.

What do you think?

Abdulrahman Rafiq

Friday, May 26, 2006

Article: Can Silicon Valley be replicated?

It is Lahore in Pakistan which would appear to have a culture suitable for technology startups. Where as Karachi, it resembles New York in many ways. Indeed, a place where its citizen's are looking for the next fad. A fashionable city it is, where the latest styles, raves and fabs are welcome there.

Unlike Lahore, which tends to attract in a manner of speaking "nerds", or that type or class of people. Nerds are not only technology nerds, you also have nerds who are not-tech savvy or technical. Lahore has been the hub for all sorts of intellectual/creative activities----poets such as Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Allam Iqbal came to call it home.

However, given all this can the California Silicon Valley be replicated in Lahore? As the article mentions, it's not about having fancy buildings, but a certain type of people---a happy mix of "nerds" and "rich people, or investors". Or perhaps parts Karachi's sprawling megapolis would fbe a suitable "technology start-up" location, as you do have the "nerd" type there, coupled with a large investor base.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A couple weeks back there was a tragic fatal accident on the streets of Karachi where a young woman in her mid twenties, who was a passenger, a friend of a friend lost her life. The driver who was apparently under the influence of alcohol.

This is a serious issue in Karachi, and much of Pakistan where alcohol readily available through local boot legers. Alcohol is served openly at most parties these days, where a good majority of the party goers will indulge in a shot or two. If you are one of those people who don’t drink, then you most certainly will feel out of place.

Officially Pakistan is considered a dry-zone, being an Islamic Republic, where the majority population is Muslim and followers of the Islamic faith which prohibits drinking of alcohol the authorities and on the most part the general masses tend to turn a blind eye to the drinking issue.

This issue of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is one which must be addressed by the respective authorities; laws need to be drafted where DUI offenders are punished to the fullest extent of the law. All at the same time the launching of a drunk driving awareness campaign would be in order.

This was published as a letter in Daily Times, Sunday 22 Jan 2006.

This was also posted on my journal. Where the following comments were posted:

This is indeed a big issue here in Pakistan. Since alcohol is illegal, driving while intoxicated is not seen as an additional offence. It's tricky to launch a DUI campaign because that will be seen as "endorsing" alcohol, as long as you don't drive after drinking. Puts the public officials in a difficult situation.

I completely agree, these instances must be highlighted and severly punished to set an example. Many people don't see anything wrong with driving after a few shots.
--Monis Rehman, CEO Naseeb Networks

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The common saying, the devil is the detail is a little misleading. Why devil, why not angel or God. As being observant to details is the key to success. Even a top executive at a fortune 500 or fortune 100 company needs to be meticulously detailed oriented. It is not a bad thing, in fact even many of the great world religions speak about being detail oriented. So then why say the “the devil is in the details”?

-AR Rafiq
Success and innovation doesn’t just happen. It requires proactive effort and determination. You must be ready leap into the unknown, into a place with few friends and companions. Takes immense courage of mind, body and spirit to go on your own to create and invent something for the betterment of the world; thus a leader is born.
-AR Rafiq

Monday, February 27, 2006

Fearlessly plunging into the unknown

Fearlessly plunging into the unknown, is indeed the key to success. Success is not only realized in terms of monetary gains, but also in terms of personal growth.

The hardest thing to do is to go out of your comfort zones. However, those who manage to do this, tend to reap great rewards. You gain a sense of satisfaction by doing sometime out of the ordinary.

So go for it. You have an idea, jump upon it. As the well known English saying goes, "strike while the iron is hot." Or rather better put 'seize the opportunity while the idea is hot.'

Seize upon it while the idea is fresh in your mind. That is when you will have the greatest passion and drive. Be ready to go all out and develop your idea, no matter what the consequence.

(Blog post inspired from an email conversation between myself and a dear friend, Moazzam Chaudry)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Small example of ingenuity and thinking out of the box; as we are required to do these days:

One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the case of the empty soap box, which happened in one of Japan's biggest cosmetics companies. The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soap box that was empty. Immediately the authorities isolated the problem to the assembly line, which transported all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department. For some reason, one soap box went through the assembly line empty.Management asked its engineers to solve the problem. Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high-resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all the soap boxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty. No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent whoopee amount to do so.But when a rank-and-file employee in a small company was, this was probably one of the reasons that the second person came up with this solution was the fact that the first solution was not available to him at all !

In a "developing countries" where resources are apparantly scarce, or rather prices are inflated as I don't buy into the economic concept that there are limited resources to go around, such low cost innovative is common-place.

So indeed necessity is the mother of invention. Sometimes you don't need to spend loads of cash on R&D to promote innovation and encourage invention.

Our greatest asset as a nation is our minds, we will be doing a service to our nation if we spend a little time developing it. However, develop the mind from the stand point of the larger picture---i.e. it is not the mind alone which needs developing, it is also the development of the hearts mind, or the spiritual mind. This is key to building a successful and vibrant society.

For any sustainable progress, the nations critical-mass must be trained in the art of thinking outside the box.

Instead of trying to transfer technology from the developed world to the developing world, our efforts need to first be concentrated in the construction and strengthening of the nations foundation(s). For it is from here that one can embark on bright, productive, and creative future.

(Inspired from an email conversation with a friend, Moazzam Chaudry and related discussion on the PakSEF forum @ htttp://