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What Coke Studio Missed in Atif Aslam’s Tajdar-e-Haram

My grandmother had just died, I was very close to her. She was kinda like my best friend. It was Sehri time in Ramzan, and Sabri Brothers’ Tajdar e Haram was playing on TV. It had tremendous effect on me. It filled me with loss, sadness, then hope, and love.

Speak to any Pakistani, and they would tell you how this Qawwali has made their eyes wet, gave them goose bumps, or evoked strong emotions of love, devotion, and hope.

Tajdar-e-Haram is an emotional roller coaster, and Sabri Brothers steer you skillfully with the help of chants, tabla, harmonium, style, narration, and wonderful fusion of Urdu, Persian, and Arabic verses.

I appreciate Coke Studio​ for trying and would praise Atif Aslam for trying. They were just simply out of their depths.

Not that I am any kind of expert, but generally speaking, In Qawwali there is great emphasis on devotion, poetry, and chanting. Atif Aslam’s piece was missing devotion and chanting.

It had the same poetry as the original Qawwali. But Atif Aslam was unable to put the emphasis on just the right words at the right time. He even failed to pronounce Urdu words properly like ShoQ and Kidhar.

The instruments were great but they were not as beautifully coherent or as artistically incoherent that they would make you swing and sway. A good combination of sounds is not always good music. Pitching at high nodes is not always good singing.

I liked it, and it was beautiful effort to recreate something so beautiful. They just didn’t get it quite perfect and that’s alright too.

The Judicial Commission and The Verdict on PTI’s Dharna

I do not like Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf. I think the party has no clear policies, no agenda, and it is misleading the Pakistani youth. I believe that misleading youth could have catastrophic implications not just for Pakistan, but for PTI as well.

Thankfully, most my countrymen agreed with me and did not give PTI clear cut majority in the general elections of 2013. PTI did win in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan’s North Western province. They formed a coalition government there with Jamaat-e-Islami.

Since the very first day of elections, Imran Khan and his party PTI continuously protested the election rigging. According to the party, there was massive pre-poll rigging in selected constituencies throughout the country.  Imran Khan said he has proofs, documented evidence, eyewitnesses, video clips and enough material to prove that elections were rigged in favor of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz group.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf organized a country wide protest called Azadi March. PTI leaders including Imran Khan, camped outside Pakistan’s Parliament house for 126 days. During this sit-in, Imran Khan was alleged by a senior member of his own party, Mr. Javed Hashmi, as well as other political parties in Pakistan for collaborating with Pakistan’s military establishment to derail the government. Mr. Khan and Pakistan army both condemned and denied these allegations. PTI continued the protests and organized massive rallies not just in Islamabad, but also in all major cities of Pakistan.

Government had support of all political parties and the parliament. All opposition parties gave Nawaz Sharif full support. This was a big blow for PTI as they had submitted their resignations to the speaker of the National Assembly. Technically speaking, many legal experts believe that those resignations are automatically accepted and all PTI’s MNAs are no longer MNAs.

After months of tough negotiations, PTI agreed to hand over the matter to a judicial commission. The commission was tasked to listen to all the complaints of election rigging and present its report. Government agreed to organize re-election in the constituencies, if judicial commission found any evidence of rigging.

The Judicial Commission presented its report concluding that there was no significant evidence of any mass rigging in elections. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressed the nation and asked all parties to move forward.  PTI has accepted the commission’s report.

As for people questioning the report issued by Judicial Commission and its findings. The commission could only give recommendations based on the evidence, arguments, and documents presented to the commission from both sides. It seems like PTI was ill-prepared and had bad legal counsel. They were unable to prove any wrong doing.

This is unbelievable, the general consensus is that all Pakistani elections are a mess of irregularities. Candidates often try to influence polling process using all legal and illegal means. There should have been enough evidence to prove that. I cannot understand why PTI failed to bring in that evidence to the commission.

Now the Pakistani media, PML-N and PPP leaders are asking Imran Khan to apologize to the nation for wasting 126 days with his protest. Imran Khan and PTI refused to apologize.

I totally agree, they should not apologize.

It was good for democratic system of Pakistan. I didn’t like the way PTI formed alliances with the worst elements of Pakistani society during the protest. But I think that the protest will lead to good things.

I hope PTI will continue to build pressure on government to bring forward a thorough electoral reform legislation. This legislation should be aimed at shutting down all the loopholes in our electoral system that allow non-democratic elements to interfere and even engineer the election results.

Telenor 3G USB Device

Telenor 3G Connect USB Device Review

Yesterday I purchased Telenor’s 3G Connect USB device. I was excited to buy it because they were offering 30GB per month free data for two months. This offer made the device virtually free. The sales staff at the franchise was very helpful, he activated the device and showed me how to recharge packages and stuff. He also showed me that he is activating my free 30 GB package.

I came home and plugged in the USB device. I was checking the modem’s settings when I discovered that the available data on my plan was 998 MB. I panicked because my daily usage far exceeds 1 GB data. I called the customer support center and was informed that the 30GB volume is segregated to cover the whole month. In simple words, I can only use 998MB per day.

So basically you have the volume but Telenor will decide how you will spend it. It is basically a cap on a capped data plan. A very dishonest thing to do. If they had this cap on the capped volume they should have advertised it so that customers can make informed choice when buying the product. This restriction made it Telenor 3G USB dongle quite useless to me. My job requires posting high quality screenshots, making gifs, and browsing lots of websites every day.

Telenor 3G Connect USB dongle

I continued using the device for the day and I crossed the data limit in 5 hours. After which the device remained connected but I didn’t get any data.

The next day I reconnected the Telenor 3G USB device and got the error “Can’t connect device. Please retry later. If the problem persists contact your service provider”.

I called the Telenor customer service center again, the untrained Telenor staff thought that since I am calling from a Telenor phone number I am complaining about 3G on my phone. They kept wasting time unless I interjected and reminded them that how they can lookup my information without asking the SIM number of my Telenor 3G USB device? The staff then asked my sim number and put me on hold. After 5 minutes she came up with the brilliant response.

“Sir, I have forwarded your complaint. It will be resolved in 72 hours.”

I protested that are you out of your mind, I will have to wait another 3 days just to hear back from you? She replied:

“No sir, I didn’t say that you will hear back from us. I said your complain will be resolved.”

At this point, I have had enough and asked her if I can return my Telenor 3G USB device for a refund. She replied

“Sir please visit our customer care office for this.”

My Review of Telenor 3G Connect Device

I used it for 1 GB data. The speeds were nothing impressive I got 1.5 MBPs to 3.1 MBPs through out my usage. The cap on the already capped plans is ridiculous and it will make your daily usage very minimum.

If you are a professional and thinking of using it for some reliable work sessions, then Telenor 3G Connect Device is absolutely useless.

On the other hand if you just want to occasionally check emails and have other backup internet solutions, then you can try it out.


I will visit Telenor customer care office on monday and will try to return the device. I will update the post with my experience there. I am expecting that the staff there will also be just as poorly trained as phone support. I am expecting that they will try to ask me to call phone support or do this and that. I am also certain that they will not give me a refund. So lets see…

WordPress.com Blocked and Then Unblocked in Pakistan

Pakistan Telecomunication Authority blocked WordPress.com across the country on March 22, 2015.

Government unblocked WordPress.com today. Apparently, it was blocked for Pakistan day parade in Islamabad. Pakistani Army is fighting a terrible war against terrorism in the country. Pakistani government occassionally blocks mobile phone services too based on intelligence reports. This usually happens around national and cultural holidays and in selected cities only.

The blockage of WordPress.com was not due to censorship. Even though, the country’s strong establishment has a reputation for censoring information sources like YouTube, which is banned since 2012. While the government cites blasphemous content and a court order as the main reason for the ban. Critics believe that it is due to the growing number of propaganda videos by Islamists, Baloch separatists, and other anti-state elements that triggered the ban.

These things have a damaging impact on Pakistan’s growing ICT industry. YouTube is a very important cultural phenomena in today’s world. While Pakistani internet users can still access it using VPN and Tor, but its so much trouble that many users don’t even bother.

Some experts believe that the ban will give a chance for some local businesses to grow. For example, tune.pk a local site that has thousands of YouTube videos copied and displayed illegally and without permission or consent from their publishers and without any usage rights.

This kind of moral corruption in the IT sector of Pakistan is tolerated by local IT community at large. In fact, many in the industry even feel jealous that why didn’t they cashed in the idea first.

For a real, sustainable, and powerful impact on the country’s economy our IT industry needs to be innovative, inventive, and creative. Sadly, government’s policies are a major hurdle in that path. This includes a shitty educational system which produces dumb workforce, crazy monetary policies which make online micro-transactions extremely difficult and costly, and lastly the random blocking of internet which creates uncertainty and doubt in the hearts of foreign investors.

The short blockage of WordPress.com was just a small scene from a long and painfully predictable comedy. Pakistan needs to get smarter if we want to survive in the future.

How to Send Files via Bluetooth From Android to Mac OS X

Recently, I faced this strange issue that I was unable to send files from my Nexus 5 Android phone to my Macbook pro via Bluetooth. I had Bluetooth turned on, I had my Android phone paired with Macbook pro. But whenever I tried to send a file from Android to Mac it will fail. I looked around and it seems that a lot of people were having the same issue. I was about to stop trying, when I finally found the solution.

Sending Files From Android Device to Mac OS X

First you need to turn on Bluetooth on both devices. Then on your Mac computer, go to System Preferences and click on Bluetooth.

Bluetooth Settings in Mac OS X

This will bring up Bluetooth settings page. Your Mac will now look for Bluetooth enabled devices and will show them. Click on your Android device in the list and pair both devices.

Don’t worry if your device appears not connected even after pairing.

Now go back to System Preferences and this time click on Sharing.

Enabling bluetooth sharing in Mac OS X

On the next screen, check the box next to Bluetooth to turn on file sharing service via Bluetooth.

Turning on Bluetooth file sharing on Mac OS X to  send an receive files from Android devices

You can also choose folder where you want to store files you send from Android to Mac OS X.

That’s all, I hope this article helped you learn how to share files via Bluetooth between your Android phone and Mac OS X.

Getting Rid of Information Overload

How much information do we really need? As you know that we live in an information bubble designed specifically for each individual based on our likes and dislikes. Facebook, Twitter, and Google, they are all showing us information that they know we are going to like.

For someone who spends almost all day on the internet, this means that I am getting article suggestions throughout the day. These suggestions are derived from my interests, and are written by professionals who have mastered the craft of writing catchy headlines.

For example, if I open my Facebook timeline right now I will see a dozen stories by The Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, Quartz, Buzzfeed, Guardian, BBC, etc. Most of these stories will be focused on topics that interest me and all of them will have interesting headlines.

I mean, I love reading about signs of extraterrestrial life as much as any other nerd, but do I really need to read each article speculating about possible signs of water on some faraway moon?

Why I must read every article about developments in Ukraine, ISIS, fossil discoveries, and ancient extinct species?

I love reading and it makes me feel powerful. But for someone who hardly speaks to any person other than my wife, my brother, and my boss, where I am going to use all this information? Its not like I can use these stories as conversation pieces anywhere.

I am also unable to write or blog as often as I would like to. This means I can’t share these stories on my blog. Besides, why would anyone want to read my thoughts about early humanoid species when they can learn about it from experts?

May be I should try to control what I read every day. I was thinking about trying to limit my leisure reading activities to a fixed 30 minutes period. Instead of reading things as they pop-up on my timeline, I should just ignore them till my reading time.

If I decide to read more on what’s actually related to my profession and useful for me, then I should probably read more about why cute kitten videos go viral? Any recommendations on that topic will be much appreciated.

Why Everything is Cheaper in Karachi Than Lahore or Islamabad

Recently a friend of mine asked on Facebook, why cars are cheaper in Karachi than in Lahore or other cities? This is a great question because answering it actually explains a lot about the socio-economic environment of the city.

The mentality in the Karachi’s business community is to sell quickly. They do not want to hold on to something for a longer period of time just to get a better price. They would rather sell it at low profit or even at loss than to wait for a better price.

When you hold on to something for better price your money is stuck. The business community of Karachi don’t like money just sitting waiting for higher returns. It is kind of risky, what if you never get a higher price on that thing and the first price you rejected was actually the best price that you missed.

This mentality helps the city’s business community to quickly buy new things as they arrive in the market. Lets take a look at the fruits market in the city.

Karachi is further away from the fruit farms of the country. Many other cities are surrounded by countless farms but you will find a greater variety and quality of fruits in Karachi. You will also find fruits in Karachi to be much cheaper than any other city in the country.

Traders in other cities will stop buying fruits from farms once their stocks are full. Fruits are arriving at much faster pace than they can sell. They don’t want to sell at loss or unbelievably low profits.

On the other hand, traders in Karachi will buy all fruits coming to the city. This only becomes possible because the traders in the city don’t want to stock, they want to sell quickly for lower profit margins and sometimes even at loss. This is why their stocks are never full and they can always buy more fruit from farms all over the country and even from other countries.

This mentality is not just limited to trade. You can see it in action in every aspect of the city life. For example, housing sector. Karachiites would rather invest their money in business than buying a house on their own land. This is why more Karachiites live in apartment buildings and on rent.

You can see this in action in the services sector as well. Qualified and skilled professionals would grab a low paying job rather than waiting for a higher salary.

This particular behavioral trait of Karachiites is the real force behind the city’s economic growth. Despite the fact that Karachi is the most dangerous city in the world to live and do business, the economic growth is able to maintain a steady pace. However, crime in the city is a major threat and there are signs that it has already started affecting this growth.

Slow economic growth in Karachi has extremely dire implications for the economic stability of Pakistan. Because if the money stops moving hands in Karachi, then it will affect every single person in Pakistan.