Monday, September 28, 2015

Launch of Pakistan Super League: Pakistan's T20 Cricket League

Pakistan will soon be starting its first professional sports league along the lines of for-profit sports leagues like Major League Baseball (MLB) or National Football League (NFL) in the United States.

 India's IPL (Indian Premier League) was the first such league in the cricket world. It was started by India's Lalit Modi who studied professional sports business at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Several other countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, England, Sri Lanka, South Africa and the Caribbean nations (West Indies), followed suit with their own versions of premier league. Pakistan is the latest country to join this movement with its own league called PSL or Pakistan Super League.

Pakistan is the 2nd largest cricket market after India in terms of viewership. It's the 4th largest market after India, England and Australia in revenue terms.

The launch of Pakistan Super League (PSL) will help significantly increase cricketing revenue and put Pakistan in second place in revenue terms. It will also help generate revue for Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to promote domestic cricket in the country.

There are five categories of players being recruited to be part of PSL — Platinum, Diamond, Gold, Silver and Emerging.

PSL has already signed up top international cricket stars like Kevin Peterson (England), Chris Gayle (West Indies) , Brad Haddin (Australia), Grant Elliot  (New Zealand) , James Franklin (New Zealand), Brad Hogg (Australia), Shakibul Hasan (Bangladesh), Dwayne Bravo (West Indies), Sunil Naraine (West Indies) and Ravi Bopara (England) . Other names will soon be revealed.  Several top international coaches have also agreed to join.

The star power is attracting major broadcasters to bid for media rights in different regions of the world. Broadcasters can expect high advertising rates with many big international stars playing in each team. In addition, big businesses will provide funding as sponsors of league matches.

Each team will have a salary cap of about $1 million for about 3 weeks of work. PSL will comprise of just 24 matches, with each team playing the other twice. Each tournament will end in less than a month.

There will be 4 foreign players and 2 under-19 Pakistani players in each of the 5 team currently in the works. The rest of the teams will be made up of Pakistani players who are now playing at the national level and the first class matches.  The teams are: Islamabad Blasters, Karachi Super Stars, Lahore Warriors, Peshawar Kings, Quetta Challengers.  80% of the league's revenue will be shared among the franchisees.

Under-19 Pakistani players will receive Rs. 2.5 million fees for 3 months of play. This will encourage more talent to compete and help improve the quality of young players in the country.

Pakistan Super League is expected to be played in February 2016 in Dubai and Sharjah stadiums in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It's the best thing to happen to Pakistan cricket in a long time. Let's hope that the security situation will soon allow future tournaments to be played on Pakistani soil.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Wahab Vs Watson: Cricket At Its Absolute Best

Pakistan Cricket Needs Top Sports Psychologist and World-Class Batting Coach

Pakistan Won 1992 World Cup After Losing to India and West Indies

Top Ten Sledges in Cricket

Pakistan Breaks Australia's 34-Match Winning Streak

Obama on Cricket

Case For Resuming India-Pakistan Peace Talks

Pakistan Punish Aussie 2-0 in T20 Series 

Afridi's Leadership

Pakistan In, India Out of T20 Semis

Pakistan Beat India in South Africa 

Kiwis Dash Pakistan's ICC Championship Hopes

Pakistan Crowned World T20 Champs

Pakistan's Aisamul Haq Beats Tennis Great Roger Federer

Modi's Soaring Rhetoric Amid Controversial Silicon Valley Visit

"The 21st century belongs to India', declared Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to thousands of his adoring fans at SAP Center in San Jose, California. As he spoke inside the Arena, protestors carrying anti-Modi posters condemned the presence in Silicon Valley of the person they choose to describe as the "Butcher of Gujarat".

My Invitation and Ticket:

I had received an invitation and a ticket to attend Prime Minister Modi's reception at SAP Center. I thought about attending it long and hard. I was really conflicted about attending and, in the end, I chose not to.

Modi's Soaring Rhetoric:

As Prime Minister Modi wowed almost exclusively Indian-American techie audience in Silicon Valley, there were many who compared his rhetoric to US President Barack Obama's 2008 soaring speeches promising "Change" in America which, for many, have led to a huge letdown in the last 6 years. Modi led his audience with chants of "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and "Jai Baghat Singh" and the they responded by cheering the Prime Minster on with screams of "Modi! Modi".

“[India] has moved on from scriptures to satellites,” Modi said. “The world has started to believe that the 21st century belongs to India.”

"Unwelcome Modi" Rally:

As the Indian Prime Minister spoke to thousands of his adoring supporters inside San Jose Arena, a group estimated by some at 3000 staged a rally against him.

"Prime Minister Modi's 'Rock Star' visit to Silicon Valley can't make up for his rock bottom performance in human and civil rights," Virali Modi-Parekh of Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA) told NBC News. "Since Modi's been in office, violence against religious minorities has spiked. But Modi turns a blind eye while churches are burned and Muslims and Christians are being forcibly converted. There is a culture of fear and victimization, especially against minorities in India, which undermines Modi's standing as a business partner."

Campaign against Modi's presence in Silicon Valley included billboards across Silicon Valley focusing attention on Modi's human rights record; hundreds of bottles of Purell hand sanitizer sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, each with a name of a person killed in the Gujarat riots; challenges from South Asian LGBTQ employees of high-tech companies of India's Penal Code 377; a "faculty statement" from 125 academics on Modi's history; a "die-in" dramatizing continuing attacks against minority groups; and social media campaigns using the hashtags #ModiFail, #ChallengeModi, #ModiLiestoUS, #ZuckWashYourHands, according to NBC News.

Academics Letter:

Over 100 US academics wrote an open letter to Silicon Valley tech executives warning them against doing business with Prime Minister who came to push his "Digital India" initiative. The US professors reminded the technology executive that Modi and his Hindu allies are using their power to censor dissident voices in India.

Hindtuva activists allied with Modi have been attacking dissidents with impunity since the Prime Minister's elevation to power in Delhi. M.M. Kalburgi, a 78-year-old professor, was assassinated by the Sangh activists recently. Hours after Kalburgi's murder, Bhuvith Shetty, a member of the Hindu militant group Bajrang Dal, tweeted in celebration: "Mock Hinduism and die a dog's death. And dear K.S. Bhagwan you are next."

Two other high-profile rationalists, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, were shot point-blank 18 months apart in the western state of Maharashtra. Dabholkar, a 68-year-old activist who worked on behalf of villagers exploited by local gurus and so-called godmen, campaigned for the state government to pass an anti-superstition bill. It's been two years since he was killed in the city of Pune, and no one has been charged, according to a report in Los Angeles Times.

Digital Censorship:

Facebook has published data indicating that India leads the world in censoring Facebook posts.  Indian government demanded Facebook blocks 4,765 times in a six month period.India’s approach to Internet speech has been a flash point for years, with the government saying it wants to regulate content that is offensive to religious or ethnic groups, and companies such as Facebook and Google (GOOG) bristling at the restrictions, according to Bloomberg News.

Source: Bloomberg


There's no question that Mr. Narendra Modi is wildly popular with Indians at home and abroad. The Prime Minister has made a lot of promises to the Indian people. And the more he speaks, the higher the expectations. Meanwhile, India's exports have declined every month for the last 9 months and the corporate profits of Indian companies continue to be weak. At the same time, Mr. Modi's allies in the Sangh Parivar are stepping their activities challenging the "Secular" foundations of the Indian Constitution. So the question is:  Is the Modi phenomenon beginning to unravel already?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mina Stampede: Can Recurring Hajj Tragedies Be Prevented?

My friend Khan is in Makkah for Hajj yet again. He says he was in Mina for Ramy al-Jamarat (Ritual Stoning of the Devil) when a tragic stampede claimed nearly a thousand lives this year. Besides those killed, more than 800 were reported injured. It was the deadliest day for the Hajj since more than 1,400 pilgrims suffocated in a crowded tunnel near Mecca in 1990, also on the day of the stoning of the devil ritual, according to a National Geographic report.

Even though Hajj is required only once in a lifetime, my pious friend Khan has far exceeded this requirement. He has been to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage every year for more than a decade. He proudly announces his presence in Mecca and posts his Hajj pictures on Facebook as his Hajj count rises every year.

While I admire Khan's annual reaffirmation of faith, I also question whether he is contributing to the rising crowds and recurring tragedies in Makkah.  Let me explain:

The Problem: 

As the world's Muslim population has grown to nearly 2 billion people and the faithful enjoy rising incomes and easy access to air travel, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of people performing Hajj.  The rituals associated with it require the presence of all of the pilgrims in a relatively small space within a short period of time. This requirement puts tremendous pressure on the Saudi government to ensure flawless movement of millions of pilgrims. There is very little margin for error. Even small errors of the administrators or poor judgment of only a few of the millions of pilgrims in this monumental exercise get amplified leading to major loss of life.  This has become almost a regular feature of Hajj with tragic deaths. 

Possible Solutions:

The obvious include adding more capacity to handle more pilgrims and/or limiting the number of people permitted to perform Hajj each year. 

1. Adding Capacity:

The Saudi government has been spending tens of billions of dollars to increase capacity at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the tent city in Mina and the Jamarat where the stampede occurred as pilgrims prepared to throw pebbles at three pillars representing big, medium and small Satan.  More levels have been added around the Grand Mosque for tawaf (circling around the Kaba). The height of the Jamarat has been increased and a multi-level structure built to accommodate more people simultaneously. 

Mina Tent City

A large number of cranes visible in Makkah confirm the continuing massive construction projects undertaken by the Saudi government. In fact, the earlier deaths in the Grand Mosque occurred when one of the construction cranes crashed down on the people performing Tawaf around the Kaba. 

2. Limit Pilgrims:

Since Hajj is required to be performed only once in a lifetime, it makes sense for the Saudi government to limit how often visas/permissions are granted to people to perform Hajj. In my view, the Saudis should impose once in five years restriction on issuance of Hajj visas. 

In addition, the Saudis should enlist the help of religious leaders to persuade pilgrims to stagger the pebble-throwing ritual. Many pilgrims, particularly those from South Asia region, believe that they must follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by doing Jamarat (pebble throwing) at zawal time, the time between Zuhr (high noon) and Asr (mid-afternoon). This limits the amount of time for this ritual to just a few hours. The religious leaders should issue fatwas (edicts) making it permissible to do Jamarat any time from sunrise to sunset. This will reduce the number of people present near the Jamarat and reduce the chances of tragic stampedes.

Crowd Control Examples:

Specific circumstances for each tragic incident at Hajj may vary but the underlying cause remains the same: Capacity overload with too many people in a single space at one time. There'll be more such incidents unless this underlying cause is addressed.

In more developed nations of the West, maximum capacities are posted for all venues. These are strictly enforced for safety reasons. The closest thing to Hajj crowds in California is Disneyland with maximum capacity of 65,000 people. When more than 65,000 people showed up for Disneyland's Diamond Jubilee celebration earlier this year, Disney management closed the park. When Eid crowd exceeded capacity at Santa Clara Convention Center last year, the city Fire Department ordered everyone out to  enforce the fire code.


Urgent actions are needed to prevent more and bigger Hajj tragedies with increasing Muslim population and greater demand for Hajj. Increasing capacity alone will not work; the Saudis must also limit the number of people permittec to perform Hajj each year. These actions will make Hajj safe for all in future years.   

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Rise of Sangh Parivar: Modi Accelerating Total Hinduization of India?

There have been serious questions raised about India's secularism since its independence in 1947. Such questions have gained new urgency with the rapid rise of Hindu Nationalists and the election of BJP leader Narendra Modi in 2014.

Serious doubts about India's claim of secularism were articulated well by Indian journalist Kapil Komireddy in an Op Ed piece he wrote for the UK's Guardian newspaper a few years ago. Here's an excerpt of it:

"Indian Muslims in particular have rarely known a life uninterrupted by communal conflict or unimpaired by poverty and prejudice. Their grievances are legion, and the list of atrocities committed against them by the Indian state is long. In 2002 at least 1,000 Muslims were slaughtered by Hindu mobs in the western state of Gujarat in what was the second state-sponsored pogrom in India (Sikhs were the object of the first, in 1984). Gujarat's chief minister, Narendra Modi, explained away the riots by quoting Newton's third law. "Every action," he said on television, "has an equal opposite reaction." The "action" that invited the reaction of the mobs was the torching of a Gujarat-bound train in which 59 Hindus pilgrims, most of them saffron-clad bigots who were returning home from a trip to the site of the Babri Mosque that they had helped demolish a decade earlier, perished. The "equal and opposite reaction" was the slaughter of 1,000 innocent Muslims for the alleged crime of their coreligionists."

Komireddy goes on to describe how India's "liberal" elite rationalize sectarianism in "secular" India:

"The novelist Shashi Tharoor tried to burnish this certifiably sectarian phenomenon with a facile analogy: Indian Muslims, he wrote, accept Hindu rituals at state ceremonies in the same spirit as teetotallers accept champagne in western celebrations. This self-affirming explanation is characteristic of someone who belongs to the majority community. Muslims I interviewed took a different view, but understandably, they were unwilling to protest for the fear of being labelled as "angry Muslims" in a country famous for its tolerant Hindus."

The Sangh Parivar's project to Hinduize India has accelerated with the landslide victory of BJP leader Narendra Modi and his inauguration as Prime Minister of India in 2014. Some of the manifestations of this phenomenon as reported by the Washington Post are as as follows:

1.The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (or the World Hindu Council) launched a program called “Gharwapsi” (or Homecoming) to urge India’s Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism, which they said was the religion of their ancestors. It has resulted in many reported instances of forced mass conversions of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism.

2.  Beef sales have been banned in several Indian states. The most egregious of such laws is the Maharashtra state law that criminalizes possession or consumption of beef.

3. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has said the Hindu scripture Bhagwad Gita must be declared a “national scripture.” Another BJP politician, Manohar Lal Khattar, the chief minister of the northern Haryana state has said Bhagwad Gita is considered more important than India’s secular Constitution.

4. Poor school children are being denied eggs, a cheap protein needed by growing youngsters, in their school lunches by India's vegetarian Hindu elite, according an NPR report.

The above changes are just the tip of a much larger iceberg of Hindu transformation of India with major appointments of Hindu ideologues by ruling party to key positions in education and media posts at the center and the provinces.

It's not just in India that the Hindu Nationalists are gaining strength. Their programs receive significant funding and support from non-resident Indians (NRIs). A report entitled "Hindu Nationalism in the United States: A Report on Non-Profit Groups" makes the following assertions regarding the strength and nature of the Hindu nationalist movement in the United States:

 a. Over the last three decades, a movement toward Hinduizing India--advancing the status of Hindus toward political and social primacy in India-- has continued to gain ground in South Asia and diasporic communities. The Sangh Parivar (the Sangh "family"), the network of groups at the forefront of this Hindu nationalist movement, has an estimated membership numbering in the millions, making the Sangh one of the largest voluntary associations in India. The major organizations in the Sangh include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

b. Hindu nationalism has intensified and multiplied forms of discrimination, exclusion, and gendered and sexualized violence against Muslims, Christians, other minorities, and those who oppose Sangh violations, as documented by Indian citizens and international tribunals, fact-finding groups, international human rights organizations, and U.S. governmental bodies.

c. India-based Sangh affiliates receive social and financial support from its U.S.-based wings, the latter of which exist largely as tax-exempt non-profit organizations in the United States: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Sewa International USA, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation-USA. The Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party - USA (OFBJP) is active as well, though it is not a tax-exempt group.

Acceleration of "secular" India's total Hindu-ization under Prime Minister Modi represents a sea change for South Asia region and the world. It could prove to be very destabilizing for India, a much larger and far more diverse country than its neighboring Islamic Pakistan. Such instability could derail India's economic rise unless its forced Hindu-ization is checked by the country's leadership with external pressure from India's friends. And its effects will be strongly felt far outside the borders of India. It is already causing serious issues between India and Pakistan that could lead a devastating war in South Asia with severe consequences for the entire world.

Here's Indian writer Arundhati Roy explaining who Narendra Modi is:

Arundhati Roy in Chicago on Modi & Hindu Fascists by zoimsihi784

Related Links:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Silicon Valley Opposes Islamophobia: Celebrates Texas Teen Ahmed

A 14-year-old Muslim teenager Ahmed Mohammad was arrested in Texas when he showed his teacher a clock he had built at home. The teacher mistook the student's invention for a bomb and called in the police who handcuffed the Sudanese-American teen and escorted him down the hallway, out the school building and to a juvenile detention center.

The incident was highlighted by the Council on American Islamic Relations, a American Muslim Civil Rights group, as another egregious manifestation of anti-Muslim bigotry that prevails in many parts of the United States.

There has been significant outpouring of support for Ahmed since the incident came to light. President Barack Obama invited Ahmed to the White House via a tweet that said: "Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great". It was followed by a tweet from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton that said: "Assumptions and fear don't keep us safe—they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and keep building.

Many top Silicon Valley technology executives also took to the social media to support Ahmed. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg weighed in, inviting the Texas teen to visit the tech giant's Menlo Park campus. Google invited Mohamed to its annual youth science fair in Mountain View this weekend. And Box CEO Aaron Levie also extended an invitation. Twitter has also extended an invitation to Mohammad to visit its office in San Francisco.  Popular twitter hashtag #IStandWithAhmed in support of Ahmed Mohamad has been trending for several days now.

Some elite US schools, including Harvard and MIT, have invited Ahmed Mohamad to visit their campuses.

Would this story have found much traction without the social media? I doubt it. It was the growing power of the new media that led to the teen's release from custody on Wednesday after 2 days of detention.  During this time, he was elevated to the status of an American folk hero.

As we celebrate the meteoric rise of Ahmed Mohammad to celebrity status, we must not forget the long history of bigotry and violence against natives and minorities in this country. Even President Obama has been a frequent target of racists. Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump's vicious attacks on Mexican immigrants and his rapid rise in the national polls is an indication that racial and religious bigotry remain alive and well in the United States. We must support organizations such as CAIR and ACLU that stand against this tide to assure implementation of the Bill of Rights for all Americans, including women and minorities. We must also make use of social media to highlight social problems that are spun or left uncovered by the mainstream commercial media.

Watch this video apparently posted by Islamophobes on Obama's religion:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Free Speech and Islamophobia industry

Silicon Valley Pakistanis

Saudi Prince Funding Hate Against Muslims in America? 

King's Hypocrisy

FBI Entrapping Young Muslims in Phony Terror Plots?

I'm Not Charlie; I'm Ahmed

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

MQM Strike Failure; Bilawal Re-Launch; Baloch Insurgency Fizzle; Hajj Tragedy

Why did the MQM strike call fail in Karachi? What’s happening in Imran Farooq murder case in London? What’s MQM’s Altaf Husain’s Future?

What is causing PPP’s flagging popularity? Can Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Revive PPP Fortunes? How far will Pakistan Rangers go to rein in corruption and violence in Sind? Will similar anti-corruption and anti-terror actions follow in Punjab?

Why is the Baloch insurgency dying? How serious is the infighting among Baloch insurgent groups? Why is Bramdagh Bugti seeking talks with Pakistan government?

What caused Makkah crane collapse? Who’s responsible for this tragedy? What actions will be taken to prevent its recurrence?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam ( discusses these questions with panelists Ali Hasan Cemendtaur ( and Riaz Haq (

MQM Strike Failure; Bilawal Re-Launch; Baloch Insurgency Fizzle; Hajj Tragedy from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Gangs of Karachi

Political Corruption in Pakistan

PTI Dharna in Islamabad

Pakistan Economic History

Viewpoint From Overseas Dailymotion Channel

Viewpoint From Overseas Youtube Channel

Viewpoint From Overseas Vimeo Channel

Monday, September 14, 2015

Pakistan Approves Net Metering and Feed-in Tariffs for Solar and Wind

Pakistani power regulators have approved a regulatory framework for solar and wind energy for both commercial and residential installations. The framework includes feed-in tariffs for commercial power producers and net metering for residential applications of up to 1 MW.

Under the new Net Metering Law, NEPRA, the Pakistani power regulator, will grant power generation licenses to solar and wind system owners. The owners will need to register the critical equipment used, particularly the make and model of inverter and generator used. Among other technical considerations, the generator must also install a manual disconnect device to take the system off the network if necessary, according to details published by PV Tech publication.

Source: PV-Tech
Net metering is a billing mechanism that pays solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. It allows a residential customers with rooftop solar panels to generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours and sell it to the power supply company. It will require a bi-directional meter (or two separate meters) for implementation.

Pakistan has already introduced feed-in tariffs (FiTs) for larger renewable power systems to supply electricity to the national grid on a commercial scale.  It paved the way for a 1000 MW Quaid-e-Azam solar park being built in Bahawalpur.

Pakistan's renewable power policy and regulatory frameworks have drawn praise from international law firm Eversheds which has described the country as “one of the most exciting renewables markets globally, with an abundance of potential”. Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) of Pakistan's CEO, Amjad Ali Awan has said that "Pakistan’s renewable market is relatively new but it provides an attractive investment opportunity with compelling structures which make it bankable as well as marketable."

Net metering law is necessary but not sufficient to promote widespread use of renewable energy. It will take serious coordinated efforts of Pakistan power regulator NEPRA, the country's nascent solar industry and various utilities like K-Electric to start implementation. Meanwhile, consumers could install a stand-alone rooftop solar system that can be connected to the grid in future. They just need to make sure to select high-quality equipment, particularly inverter and switch, for this purpose which will most likely be acceptable to utilities.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Deploys IT Apps to Improve Service in Public Sector

Solar Power For Pakistan Homes, Schools, Factories

Shakti Solar Model For Pakistan

Pakistan's New FIT Policy For Alternative Energy

Media & Telecom Revolution in Pakistan

Pakistan Building 1000 MW Wind Farms

Pakistan Launches Wind Farm Projects

Renewable Energy to Solve Pakistan's Electricity Crisis

Electrification Rates By Country

Wind Turbine Manufacturing in Pakistan

Pakistan Pursues Hydroelectric Power Projects

Solar Energy for Sunny Pakistan

Wind Power Tariffs in Pakistan

Pakistan's Twin Energy Shortages

Friday, September 11, 2015

Largest Ever NED University Alumni Convention in Toronto in 2015

Over 600 NEDians and their families from all over North America and other parts of the world converged on Toronto to attend the Karachi-based engineering university's 11th international alumni convention for the year 2015.  It was organized by the NED Alumni Association of Canada over the Labor Day weekend (September 4-6, 2015) at the Mississauga Hilton.  Last year, the NED Alumni convention was held in Silicon Valley, California. Next year's convention will be held in Houston, Texas.

Arrival in Toronto:

My wife and I were met by Pakistanis from the moment we landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Our first encounter was with a Karachi-born Canadian immigration officer. Our taxi driver who took us from the airport to the hotel was a Sikh gentleman. The manager at the hotel was a Pakistani as was the man minding the gift shop there.

What impressed us most was how "desis" from South Asia were very responsive and well organized in performing their jobs, a far cry from how badly the same people do the same things in their countries of origin.  It's a tribute to the efficient systems put in place and operated in Canada. Rule of law is a big part of it.

Mississauga in Peel region of Greater Toronto Area is an excellent choice for any gathering of Pakistanis in North America. It has a large number of people of Pakistani origin with a strong support system. There are over 30,000 Pakistanis in Mississauga making up the second largest immigrant group in the city, according to Canadian Census Data from 2011.

Welcome Dinner on Friday:

Alumni coming in from outside Toronto area were treated to Chinese food and Pakistani poetry and music at Symphony Event Center & Banquet Hall, one of many Pakistani-style  shadi halls dotting the Peel region around the airport. It was a great opportunity to meet lots of friends after many years.  Some were from 1974, the year I graduated. My wife met some of her Dow Medical College (DMC) alums who are now married to NEDians attending the event.

Energy Panel Discussion:

After continental breakfast and a brief welcome speech by President Imran Ahmad of NED Alumni Association of Canada, there was a panel discussion on a very hot topic for most Pakistan: the energy crisis. Mr. Arif Alauddin, Dr. Khurshid Qureshi, Dr. Asad Asghar, Dr. Afzal Haq and Mr. Tanveer Zuberi were on the panel. The people on the panel all have impressive backgrounds but the the content and the quality of the discussion left much to be desired. Panelists focussed mostly on engineering and manufacturing while ignoring major policy issues that are mainly responsible for severity of the crisis.  For example, panel members looked for solution to the crisis in engineering and manufacturing solar panels and turbines while saying little or nothing about the serious policy issues ranging from badly crafted IPP power purchase contracts to impact of fuel costs, lack of incentives for generation efficiency, and extremely poor financial management of the entire energy sector.

NED University's Finances:

Dr. Afzal Haq discussed the precarious financial situation of the university and how he is trying to fix it. Dr. Haq inherited a significant debt running in hundreds of millions of rupees when he took over as the Vice Chancellor of the University. Much of the money was borrowed from commercial banks at high interest rates. He blamed it on heavy political patronage-based hiring of non-faculty staff who he could not easily fire.  He did reduce the staff to some extent and then turned his attention to raising more revenue. One of the ways he's done that is by adding self-financed seats filled by those who pay significantly more than the standard tuition for the privilege of attending NED University. He's also added more graduate classes in the evening for working engineers who pay more. Dr. Haq has so far cut NED's debt in half by these measures.

Saturday Banquet:

The Saturday banquet drew the largest attendance. It was well organized with good food and great entertainment. The only complaints I heard were related to the length o speeches and other presentations that took time away from people wanting to spend more time meeting friends and families.


The 2015 NED Alumni Convention went very well except for some minor irritations. The NEDians in Canada deserve full credit for pulling off the largest ever NED Alumni Convention in the last 11 years. Hope the 12th international NED alumni convention in Houston , Texas,  will be even bigger and better. I think my fellow alum Afzaal Hafeez is quite capable of delivering it.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

NED Alumni Convention 2014 in Silicon Valley

Energy Crisis in Pakistan

Pakistanis in Silicon Valley

NEDians in America

Promoting Culture of Innovation in Pakistan 

Asian Tiger Dictators Brought Prosperity; Democracy Followed

Industrial Revolution Power Shift

Steve Jobs' Syrian Father

Inquiry-Based Learning in Pakistan

3D Printing in Pakistan

Zia Chishti's Innovation in Orthodontics

Human Capital Growth in Pakistan

Khan Academy Draws Pakistani Visitors