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Pakistan IT industry competitiveness rank

Pakistan ranks 62nd in global IT competitiveness index
Karachi, Sep 23: Pakistan is ranked 62 in the world IT industry competitiveness index 2008, sliding two places from its yesteryear ranking in the same index, Economist Intelligence Unit study reports.

Pakistan is far lagging behind the other South Asian countries such as India ranked 48, Sri Lanka ranked 54 and Bangladesh at 60.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) sponsored these findings of Economist Intelligence Unit.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, six factors work together to create a sound environment for the IT sector, including: an ample supply of skills; an innovation-friendly culture; world-class technology infrastructure; a robust legal regime that protects intellectual property, such as patents and copyrights; an open, competitive economy; and government leadership that strikes the right balance between promoting technology and allowing market forces to work.

Those countries that perform well in these six 'competitiveness enablers' generally are home to high-performance IT industries. High performing IT sectors directly contribute more than 5 percent to the gross domestic product of most advanced nations. They also drive momentum in the wider economy by helping organisations and workers to be more efficient and productive.

"This year's index shows that a country's IT competitiveness rankings can move upward or downward very quickly," said Aly Harakeh, BSA spokesperson for Eastern Mediterranean & Pakistan. "The ability of local governments and IT industries to deliver jobs and a better quality of life through information technology is strongly affected by how they handle the drivers of competitiveness."

Pakistan needs to invest in its R&D environment and IT infrastructure in order to improve its competitiveness in the IT industry. Although fair scores were achieved for the business environment as well as support for IT industry development and legal environment, there is still a lot to do to move up the global ranks," he added.

The study finds that Pakistan performed strongest in business environment (55.3 points) as well as support of IT industry development and legal environment (both 41.0 points) Areas of improvement include R&D environment where the country scored the lowest with 0.2 points.

"Policymakers and business leaders need to address the full combination of factors that enable competitive IT industries," maintains Denis McCauley, Director, global technology research with the Economist Intelligence Unit. "Few countries can hope to build strong IT production sectors without strong business and legal environments, deep pools of talent, support for innovation, and the widespread use of technology throughout society."

The study, now in its second year, assesses and compares the IT industry environment of 66 countries to determine the extent to which they enable IT sector competitiveness. Although the top 20 economies remain the same from one year ago, nine countries moved up and 11 went down in the rankings. Three countries in the top five are new: Taiwan, Sweden and Denmark. The top five countries in Asia-Pacific Region are Taiwan, Australia, South Korea, Singapore and Japan. Daily Times

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MS/PhD and MSMD (Surgery and Medicine) Entrance Test
Karachi: University of Karachi (KU) Registrar Prof. Rais Alvi has announced the names of candidates who are eligible for the Entrance Test for MS/PhD and MSMD (Surgery and Medicine). The list will be posted at the Silver Jubilee gate of the university and on its website (uok.edu.pk).

Eligible candidates are required to contact the National Testing Service (NTS) at Suite no 605, Ibrahim Trade Tower, Plot no 1, Block 7 & 8, Maqbool Cooperative Housing Society, Main Sharea Faisal for further information. The test will be held on Sunday, October 19, at the KU Faculty of Arts.

Meanwhile, KU Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof. Pirzada Qasim met a four-member delegation of the Central Committee of the All Pakistan Muttahida Students Organisation (APMSO), including the organisation's Chairman Waheeduzzaman, Vice-Chairman Noman Ahmed, Joint Secretary Irshad Ahmed and Adnan Batu. The delegation assured the VC that they were serious about maintaining peace in the university to allow an environment that is conducive for continuous educational process.

Moreover, the Teachers' Society of the Faculty of Arts, Federal Urdu University for Arts, Science & Technology (FUUAST) has expressed sorrow over the death of Prof. Yousuf Baloch who had rendered great services to the cause of education.

Your Comments
"Mistakes in NTS common wealth scholarship test 2009" It is indeed a regret to say that the standard of NTS has fallen down to the worse. In the "Blue Book" which I took in Common Wealth Scholarship 2009, there were questions wrongly written in the book especially the choices given were blunders especially in Analytical portion. For instance the reprinting of same choice more than once in the same question and in another question all choices negates the fundamental clause of arguments thus making whole question unanswerable. In Math portion one question states that "If there are 50 students in class, 28 are female and 27 are male..." This defies the credibility of NTS of such responsible job. If possible award full marks for all wrongly placed questions/choices in exam sheet."
Name: wajahat
Email: wajhii@yahoo.com
City, Country: sargodha, Pakistan

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To read, or not to read
Karachi: Dr Zafar Iqbal, Professor and Chairman of the department of Urdu at the University of Karachi (KU), has an insatiable appetite for reading. He must, for his private library alone houses close to 40,000 books.

For him, it is not enough. Iqbal craves books and manuscripts, and is perpetually on the lookout for them all over the city. "The best place for a good catch is Regal Chowk," he says. "I have visited it every Sunday for the past 40 years." Iqbal is living proof that despite the advent of television, computers, the internet, and other forms of entertainment, there are still people who indulge in the long-tested, much admired and highly-relished enjoyment of reading. He recalls a time about fifteen years ago when he was browsing through books that were being sold on a pavement.

"A Christian lady came to the bookseller and wanted to sell a copy of 'The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire' by Edward Gibbons for five rupees. The bookseller offered three rupees for it. The lady refused and walked away. I approached her and offered to buy the book at her price." After a short conversation, Iqbal learnt that there were close to 40,000 books in the lady's house belonging to her deceased husband, who had been an avid reader, but now that she was going through hard times, she was forced to sell them. Iqbal discovered a library full of invaluable classical books, and bought many from her, including a handwritten manuscript of Khwaja Suleiman Taunsvi, a great Sufi and a writer. The manuscript cost him Rs800. He visited the lady's house again and bought two more manuscripts by Taunsvi. To Iqbal, they are priceless. "About 15 years ago, Sajjada Nasheen of Taunsa Sharif came to me and offered to buy the manuscripts for Rs1.5 million. I declined."

Despite his sizeable collection, Iqbal never turns down the opportunity for more books. He knew somebody who taught at a college in Karachi and had five large bookshelves comprising books in both English and Urdu. Upon his death, Iqbal visited the house and bought the bookshelf, books included, at what he terms was "a throwaway price".

In yet another episode in his hunt for books, Iqbal persuaded a student to donate the 4,500 books left by her deceased father to the department's seminar library of the department. She agreed.

"I bought the books, packed them in 100 bundles, and transported them in a Suzuki van," says Iqbal, and proudly adds, "Now we have 10,000 books in our library with 9,000 coming from donors. My private library has about 35,000 to 40,000 books".

Iqbal's love for books is uncommon. Over the years, it is believed that the habit of reading has declined, but Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed, acting Director of Pakistan Studies Centre, University of Karachi (KU), has a few thoughts on how it can be revived.

"It can be done if political parties take note of the decline in reading habit," he said. "Now that the democratically elected government is at the helm of governance, it should not be difficult to establish libraries in each neighbourhood in their electorate. Some individuals have taken pains to establish small libraries. I think the reading habit is still there. What we need are libraries to quench the thirst of the readers."

Ahmed is no stranger to reading. He has a collection of over 6,000 books, which is in addition to the numerous magazines and newspaper clippings he has acquired over a period of 30 years. When he returned from Cambridge University after his PhD, he needed 60 cartons just to ship all his books, which include early editions of books by English essayist and poet Joseph Addison, nineteenth-century British poet, historian and Whig politician Thomas Macaulay, and Scottish essayist, satirist, and historian, Thomas Carlyle.

Dr Ahmed said he had received letters from small libraries in Interior Sindh requesting for books. He often receives such letters from libraries or persons, especially after book reviews by the Centre appear in different newspapers.

"I try hard to comply, and usually, I am successful," he said. "Such letters are a clear indication that people are still interested in books, but formidable book prices create barriers for genuine book readers." The News

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SSUET to honour Iranian President Ahmadinejad
Karachi: Arrangements are being made at the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) for a ceremony to set up the chair for transportation engineering in the name of Iranian President Dr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The chair is being established under a MoU signed between the Iran Cultural Centre, Karachi, and SSUET for cooperation in scientific research and cultural activities. SSUET Chancellor Engineer ZA Nizami said that the MoU has been signed to show respect to Dr Ahmadinejad, an eminent engineer, by establishing a chair in his name and establishing a centre for academic, historical and cultural exchanges between Iranian universities and the SSUET. The centre will provide information to students and faculty about academic, literary and cultural activities, said Iranian Cultural Attaché in Karachi Dr Tavassoli. He said that the Iran Cultural Centre will decorate the SSUET hall with traditional Persian glazed tiles and exquisite calligraphy. App

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