Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Achievement: Pakistani students made a terrific car

Automotive industry is the sector that can bring economic boom in a country. In this industry, China tops the list by manufacturing 13,790,994 cars in 2009 while Japan and USA are next with 7,934,516 and 5,711,823 respectively. Unfortunately, Pakistan has still not appeared in this sector. Is lack of talent our problem? No.

Recently, a group of students from NED University of Engineering and Technology have manufactured a model car that gives 80 kilometers per liter petrol. These ambitious and hardworking students belong to Mechanical and Electrical Engineering departments and the team calls itself ‘WINMARK’. The shining, attractive and compact car can grab anyone’s attention.

Winmark has designed the car to participate in the upcoming global competition by Shell in Malaysia which invites the students worldwide to design car with best mileage.

Speaking to Common Room, the team leader Haris said that all the cost has been contributed by the students themselves. They’ve worked day and night to bring the car from design to execution. “No organization has contacted us for full sponsorship yet. We’re students and we cannot bear the full expenses of manufacturing and especially transporting the car to Malaysia for competition.” said Haris. He said that they’re representing Pakistan in a global competition and therefore need financial assistance for this.

Winmark member Ashraf says, “We’ve worked very hard to win and Inshallah if we do, we have plans to launch the car commercially. The car is economical, eye-catching and safe so it would be an ideal car for anyone. Its body is made of fiber so its safe it meets any accident. We’ll proud if we launch a car from Pakistan.

Although these determined students have no financial assistance, they have talent, skill and above all enthusiasm to touch skies. Common Room wishes them good luck!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cartoons raise voice.

Illustration by Ema Anis.

Facebook & the unfortunate King

Long time ago, there lived a king who ruled a small state. The state had deep conflicts with her neighboring states over the boundary issues. The king was a fair ruler and man of justice who always considered his public’s benefits first. It was all fine until one of the neighboring opponent states launched a pre-planned propaganda against the king. They first sent immoral comments about the king to him that annoyed the king. He immediately stopped imports from those neighboring countries that caused problems for the public. In agriculture, they highly depended on the neighboring countries so there came the shortage of fruits, vegetables and other crops. The enemies then sent their agents to the state in order to speed up the anti-king campaign. When the king came to know, he started killing the agents and blocked all the boundaries, confining the state. Now, the exports were also stopped which caused an economic breakdown. The remaining agents started to misguide people about the king. Therefore, the king started killing his people who were reached by the agents. The conditions turned critical and eventually, the state was shattered by drought, hunger, economic collapse and bloodshed. The state disappeared from the pages of history.

The recent blasphemy issue of Facebook reminded me of that state’s story. An evil group on Facebook launched an event and invited the artists worldwide to draw sketches of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) which is a very disgusting act against the Muslims. Throughout the world, Muslims are protesting while Pakistan is leading the front. For this evil act, Lahore High court has banned Facebook in Pakistan for indefinite period. Following the order, websites like Youtube and Wikipedia are also banned by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for “growing sacrilegious content”. It may seem emotionally correct but let’s have a look rationally.

According to an estimate, Pakistan has more than 25 million internet users. In this 25 million, majority is of students, journalists, doctors, bureaucrats, writers, researchers and other professionals. Wikipedia is one of the prime sources of information for students, journalists, researchers and others and over 75% of internet users log on to Wikipedia for information. Be it an academic assignment, news or an article, Wikipedia is one of the most reliable information websites. Wikipedia provides the most accurate and detailed information even when you search a less-known personality of your country. The website tells the background, career, date of birth and even place of birth about a personality. The website is highly trusted and the information is published on unprejudiced basis.

Now I come to the point. When I needed to search the history and backgrounds of the famous personalities like Nazia Hassan, Aitizaz Ahsan and Shahid Afridi, no Pakistani website provided me detailed information but Wikipedia. There is no complete encyclopedia website in Pakistan that could serve the Pakistanis. Banning Wikipedia has created a critical situation for students and professionals who needed information. We’re so dependant on the others that we’ve never made any information and video portals. In this situation, is it correct to ban such websites?

As I said, the present situation reminds me of that unfortunate State that was destroyed by her neighbors. Same as the king did, the Government started with banning Facebook, then Youtube and Wikipedia. There are thousands of other ways that these anti-Muslim elements could use. Let’s see that the government will ban Google, hotmail, yahoo and other websites too. In the end, internet will be blocked in Pakistan and Pakistan will move back to decades. The evil elements will also try to spread their unethical messages through TV, so the government will first ban the channels and then the TV too. I also expect the government to ban all the art schools in the country so that nobody could draw Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)’s sketch. Déjà vu it is.

Is there some other way too? Yes. We have proved ourselves true Muslim nation who don’t compromise on our religion but is only banning such websites a solution? There are thousands of other channels from where the blasphemy messages can be reached so there’s no reason of banning the websites. On the other hand, we have to step ahead and make information portals of our own. In this way, banning won’t even affect us.

Anyway, we have to keep protesting about such disgusting acts but rationale also matters. We have to find the ‘Solution’ instead of what the king did to his state.