Today marked a historic event in the Pakistani Blogosphere, where the Sindh Ministry of IT sponsored a full fledged conference on blogging. The event was hosted at a local hotel in Karachi and was attended by a large audience and had some excellent presentations by a few well known bloggers in Pakistan. The Chief Guest was Federal Minister Dr. Farooq Sattar and was graced by Ardershir Cowasjee a prominent columnist whilst Mr. Raza Haroon, Sindh Minister of IT played host.
The highlight of the evening was the recognition of Umema Adil who completed her MCP [Microsoft Certified Professional] certification at the tender age of 11, she was presented with a laptop from the Minister and a heavy wrapped gift [?] from Cisco. The event was moderated by Rabia Garib and Barrister Ali Chishti and it kicked off with a short introduction and welcome address by the Sindh Minsiter of IT, followed by a number of presentation by fellow bloggers like Jehan Ara, Ammar Yasir, Farhan Chawla, Raja Islam, Ramla Akhtar, Ammar [Urdu Blogger] and myself.
Overall the event was a success, it may not have been as technologically interactive as we may have really enjoyed but it was a major milestone in bringing the government into understanding the elusive giant called Blogging. I sincerely hope that this is the start of a series of events that can truly help this citizen powered community develop into a positive source of energy for Pakistan.
It would be unfair to not acknowledge the hard work done by the MQM-PRAC in helping realize this event, despite my earlier reservations on this blogging event being metamorphosed into a political event, the organizers had promised me, and proudly stood by, keeping the non-political flavor to the event. I must acknowledge the hard work by Syed Ali Raza Abidi, Rehan Shakoor, Ali Chishti and their entire team of volunteers to have done a great event – well done lads, im happy to attest that these guys rose beyond the realm of politics and lets hope that we can together take this positive trend forward, changing the mindsets for a better and brighter Pakistan
Follows is the presentation I made on Free Speech in Pakistan available for download under a Creative Commons License