A talk with Asia Calling

Yes I happen to give an interview to Saif Khan of Asia calling. I along with Jamal Ashiqain of KMB met up with Saif to talk about Pakistani Blogosphere.
The show was recently aired. With opinions of Dr.Awab Alvi and Raza Haroon the federal minister of IT Sindh.
The session went pretty healthy with us talking about the Pakistani Blogosphere and how we wish to expand it. Saif  asked our opinions about talibanzation  and we went all hail for the military operation. Our yap session was pretty humongous and me being the yapping expert dreaded nt getting a kick from under the table to make me stop.It’s a pity for other speakers and a blessing for me that only a fraction of our convo was aired. Indeed that is the beauty of editing *this comes without any relevance of me being a part of the editorial world :P*.

So I shall stop yapping and leave you with Asia Calling :


Pakistan’s Growing Liberalized Blogging Community

With the eyes of the world’s media on the battle taking place between the military and local Taliban forces, local bloggers are adding their voice to the debate.

Internet was introduced to Pakistan in early 90’s.

While today only ten percent of the population has access to the number of online journalists or bloggers is dramatically increasing.

The government is looking to embrace the trend and recently held a national bloggers conference.

From Karachi Saif Khan takes a look at the trend.

Students chatter in the lobby of IT University. It’s one of a handful of private institutions that have sprung up in Pakistan.

Since 1995 – when Pakistan ‘got connected’ – Information Technology education has boomed.

Lucky graduates get job goods in the IT sector while others try their luck running internet cafes.

Internet cafés like this in South Karachi are popular hang-out spots.

Paying as low as 30 US cents an hour visitors explore the world of audio-video fantasies.

But increasingly they are also looking to read what home-grown bloggers have to say about current political and social issues.

Sana Saleem is the author of the blog “Pro-Pakistan”.

“From the beginning the main stream media was U turning, they were not sure should they sympathize with Taliban or go against them. But we bloggers are a liberalized persons we want to express our views that is the beauty you can write anything you want. Blogging community has been strongly against Taliban or any political party that is suppressing freedom of speech.”

Dr. Wahab Alvi who goes by the name “Teeth maestro” is one of the most famous bloggers in the county.

He says online media gained credibility in former President General Musharafs era when main stream media was restricted.

“Main stream media should develop partnerships with blogging because that’s the future. Look at in Europe and America, newspaper sales are going down and web base papers and blogs are getting famous.”

Many members of the blogging community are either foreign educated or belong to higher income group of the society.

US return youngster Jamal Aashqain writes about social issues on the Karachi Metro Blog.

He says no one talks about taboo social issues in the main stream media.

“When I wrote that alcohol for non-Muslims should not be banned during Holly Muslim month of Ramadan because by imposing ban we are imposing our religion on them people got furious they called me all they could but certain area of society admits that there is a need to discuss these things but over all tolerance level is very low.”

The current popularly elected government is looking to harness the power of the blogs.

Last week they organized the ‘National Bloggers Conference’ in Karachi. IT Minster Raza Haroon explains why.

“Our message is just use your freedom and rights with responsibility. Responsibility suggests that after all you represent a country, religion and community be positive about that on the web. Be part of that communication so that rest of the world would not see only one side of the picture you being there makes a difference.”

IT teacher Anwar Rasheed Lodhi from the Federal University of Science and Technology hopes bloggers can provide a window to the real Pakistan. That’s ignored by mainstream media.

“Considering the present situation of the country, we need to show rest of the world the actual image of our religion, country, thoughts and feelings, which is not been showed to them properly. The Internet is the best medium to do this.”


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