Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sasta (Cheap) Tandoor Scheme - An Imran Khan project.

Following is an excerpt of the Press Release:

The program envisages teaming with established tandoor in the lower class areas of the city and selling roti and naan for less than half the cost. Roti (Bread) are being sold for 2 rupees and Naan (Bread) for 3 rupees.

The first tandoor was launched today, August 27, 2008 in the congested run-down locality of Dubanpura, Lahore.

“Inflation has broken the back of the common person and those sitting in parliament cannot seem to find the time to help the poor,” said Imran Khan.

“Tandoor like these will be opened across Pakistan to show that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is committed to help fight the dreadful effects of inflation.”

According to Mian Mehmud ur Rashid, the idea was plucked out of the books of the AKP (former Welfare) party in Turkey which had begun to sell bread at subsidized rates in the localities of Ankara and Istanbul after the country was hit with hyper inflation in the mid-1980’s. Places selling cheap bread became so popular in Turkey, that private bakeries ended up going out of business. It was schemes like these which helped propel the AKP to become the largest and most popular party in Turkish politics. PTI Lahore leadership and the party’s central executives feel the model can be replicated in Pakistan as affordable roti is the need of the hour.

Between now and the end of Ramzan, four tandoor will become operational. Once they are successful, the ‘Sasta Tandoor’ scheme will spread across the localities of Lahore and Pakistan.

Because of the repute of Chairman Khan, many concerned citizens have come forward to provide free flour for this scheme. As 60% of the cost of running the ‘Sasta Tandoor’ is the cost of the flour, the scheme has potential to be an enormous success.

PTI encourages all its members to help out in this effort – be it in the form of organizing donating flour or manpower to oversee the individual projects. This will show to the people that even though Tehreek-e-Insaf is not in parliament, it is making efforts to help alleviate hardships of the downtrodden – more so than those in the corridors of power.

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Note: Contributions to Sasta Tandoor may or may not be Tax Deductible. For information to that regards contact your regional Tax department, and/or local PTI chapter representative.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Divide Pakistan ADs on CNN - Where is the Foreign Office?

Pakistani diplomats in the US, who toil ceaselessly to counter critical newspaper editorials by writing plaintive letters to editors, seem to be stumped by the ad, which usually airs in the morning. A 30-second prime time spot on CNN can cost as much as $ 20,000.

What "stumped by the ad". They bloody well do something about it than just being stumped - but then why doesn't it surprise me?

I think Pakistani/Pakistani-American private citizens have done, and are doing a far better job than our so called diplomats who have the official authority, and are recognized as the official authority to represent the country, but in essence haven't lived up to the bargain - though you may ask what bargain? Well that is another issue for another RZone blitz.

Seriously if they are stumped then let us, the private-citizens through our various vehicles such as AOPP, PAKPAC, PANA, PADF, OPEN, PakSEF, IOPWE etc lend them a hand. Many of the named organizations may not have the political clout or resources to foot the bill for $20k ads on CNN everyday - but we certainly have the passion and commitment to promoting Pakistan as a progressive nation that it is - a country with unbounded opportunities - a country ripe for foreign investment - a nation with growing and vibrant economy. A nation where the CEOs of some of the leading fortune companies in the U.S. make it a point to praise the countries leadership in their company meetings.

Fact of the matter Pakistani's and Pakistani-Americans need to act now with a major nationwide campaign to correctly brand Pakistan. For the last 12 months I have been harping this on various discussion groups, reciving nothing but lip service acknowledgment. From AOPP to PAKPAC to PADF - the organizations where formed with this particular mandate seemed to have failed to mobilize the vast majority of Pakistani and Pakistani-Americans.

Though, you have to give credit to AOPP and OPEN two organizations which have stepped up the challenge, and have in fact mobilize the Pakistani/Pakistani-American community in a nationwide effort to re-brand Pakistan. AOPP has in fact has been organizing Branding Pakistan events all across the Eastern Seaboard of the United States - from New York to Washington DC. On the other hand OPEN Silicon Valley has for the last three years successfully organized Business and Technology moots where promoting Pakistan as an investment friendly country has been on top of its agenda.

The bottom-line is Pakistan has enemies, both internal and external, however the passion and enthusiasm to keep the idea Pakistan alive is a trait ingrained in every Pakistanis DNA.

What is needed is a serious unified re-branding effort on the part of the entire Pakistani diaspora. The Foreign Office is not equipped to handle negative propaganda such as this led by Syed Jamaluddin ; or by others such as World Sindhi Institute or the World Sindhi Congress. These are three organizations with a small following, but have bloating expense accounts. Surely we, the mainstream Pakistani and Pakistani organizations can as a united front nuetralize these few anomalies. A sustained nationwide media campaign is in order - daily ADs in all the major U.S. newspapers, daily Prime Time ADs on national TV, weekly Branding Pakistan information sessions and cultural events in every nook and cranny of America. The idea is to promote the honest by God truth about what Pakistan is and who Pakistani and Pakistani-Americans are?

Copyright (c) Abdulrahman Rafiq