Light Within

Making sense of Social Media

Access to warm waters

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Some places are so idyllic and unspoiled that it is almost unbelievable. One such place is picturesque, tranquil and pollution free town Garam Chashma (meaning hot spring) in at the edge district Chitral. The very sound of it is (sort of) strategic - the role Garam Chashma played during Russian occupation in Afghanistan not very long ago. The town is located on the bank of a turbulent torrent known as Luthko Gol that is full of trout; about two hours drive from Chitral City.


As the small Fokker Friendship hovers over Chitral before committing to landing, one can see the beautiful sights through window of small aircraft: red roof houses dotted on the hill contours, alpine trees, and fruit orchards. Chitral airport is built in one of the serene gorges of the River Kunar. I stayed at the deepest place in district Chitral known as Mir Khanni - over seventy kilometers from Chitral City. As per the plans that I had made to see different sights in Chitral valley during free brakes in the schedule of my assignment, I boarded a passenger Mazda that was ready to go to Garam Chashma right from the airport early one April morning.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, December 02, 2020, ,

Historic Trilogy

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The first thought that came into my mind after visiting Okara can be described by four words: milk, butter, mammals and farms. Peers also told me the same. Besides Harappan ruins, I did not know the area. But one thing I did know, though, was that I should be happy to say goodbye to the place. Two years later, I felt drawn to the area and its people and it was very hard for me to part. There is so much to be seen, so much to be done. Above all, it has spirited, sincere and full-of-love people living in Gogera, Dipalpur and Pakpattan historic trilogy. The distances in the hinterland are short but the landscape is so enormous that it had to be studied in parts like a large mural seen by a child.


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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, December 01, 2020, ,

Would It Kill Ya To Comment

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One feature that distinguishes blogs from static websites, making them more interactive, is that blogs offer readers an option to participate through comments. Allowing comments is a matter of choice for bloggers, though. Bloggers can disallow other visitors to comment on weblogs, single entries or can authorize comments for all internet users, for members only, or make their blogs as read-only. Generally speaking, blog comments are what most keep most bloggers (including me) going.

Which is why, walking around the blogspshere reveals that most blogs have their comments option turned on, which permits users to interact with the bloggers and each other at their own pace. Some go a long way to engage others and solicit comments. I have seen permanent banners on many blogs that read, "would it kill ya to comment" or don’t "de-lurk" (meaning you must comment and not just visit the blog). In fact, a few famous bloggers celebrate De-lurking Days and Weeks to urge readers to comment.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, November 30, 2020, ,

E-commerce

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E-commerce is global in nature. Connected users from all over the world will resort to online shopping if businesses can offer safe, user-friendly online shopping experience. A recent international ecommerce survey conducted by Pitney Bowes has crossed my desktop that points out major preferences that can be mirrored anywhere in the world. As per the findings, “71 per cent international internet users look for competitive prices, 42 per cent want a broad selection of products and services online and some 35 per cent opt online-shopping for an easy checkout and other savings; deals, free shipping and taxing costs”.

In any market based economy, prices convey all of the information that consumers require to make learned decisions. On both the production and consumption sides, market prices act as coordinating signals. In order to make informed decisions about what to offer and how, businesses need to know the prices of inputs. Similarly, consumers need to know the prices of the goods and services they might buy so that they can make appropriate decisions. The internet offers a very advanced means to communicate prices that were never possible before.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, November 28, 2020, ,

New domains

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Penetrating new IT domains appeared in Profit, Pakistan Today.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is about to expand general Top Level Domaown names (gTLDs). The applications have already been invited from January 11, 2012 through April 11, 2012. During the first round, ICANN will accept only 500 applications, while the subsequent rounds will be limited to 400 applications. The gTLDs expansion program has the potential to add countless new names to the existing twenty one available top-level domains (.com, .net, .edu, .biz, .org) and over 100 suffices (.pk - Pakistan, .ly - Libya) by permitting brands, businesses, geographical regions and even individuals to apply for a virtually unlimited list of new gTLDs in different scripts including Arabic. It is expected that the first gTLDs will come online by 2013.

This news has initiated a debate amongst the various stakeholders since May 2008, when ICANN first came up with the idea of expanding gTLDs “to unleash the global human imagination. The decision to expand respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind,” says Rod Beckstrom, the CEO ICANN.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, November 27, 2020, ,

Pakistan Army should blog as a policy

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I remember the days when army soldiers were told not to disclose their locations where they happened to be serving. I also remember seeing those signs on bridges saying ‘photography is prohibited’. No more. Things have changed now. Advent of technologies like GPS or cellular phones has changed the way we work and also our priorities. It is in this milieu that I say blogger outreach and social media influence can be of great advantage to any organization including Pakistan Army. Why else other armies have dedicated army blog networks where soldiers, family members, friends and supporters can post video, images and written stories?

By getting into blogging and other social media channels, army can pick up useful insights to successfully and directly connect with people. Blogging can encourage authenticity and transparency to build credibility. Social influence is very much relevant to any army today, more so to Pakistan Army that derives its strength from masses. This may also help army to actively listen to those strong opinionated advocates and those “realist, liberals, progressive, revolutionaries” that are present out there in blogosphere.

It is about time that Pakistan Army should include blogging in its communication strategy and fill the huge void that exists. Army need to update policies and encourage solders to engage meaningfully. And I know soldiers are good at it (I still remember those public speaking lessons that I had during my training in Pakistan Military Academy – one of the best training institution anywhere in the world – and later those Method of Instructions tutorials I had to attend).

Army has great opportunities to offer to its people. They need to tell this to people it serves. Internal as well as external army bloggers can do this better than anyone else.

Can influential bloggers (call them Social Media Influencers) help army in present context? Shoot down if you don’t agree.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, November 26, 2020, ,

Mountain Might

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Pakistan Urdu Science Board textbook defines earth surface “13000 feet above sea level as mountains. Areas that are 9840 feet above their surroundings are also mountainous.” Much more than travel, recreation and adventurous destinations, mountains are natural resource reservoirs that help to sustain life on the planet earth. Nature has blessed our country with rich mountain terrain.


Nowhere in the world is concentration of high mountains, peaks, glaciers, clean water lacks (full of trout and romantic legend attached to them) and passes except in Pakistan. Of the 14 over 8,000 meters high peaks on our earth planet, four occupy an amphitheatre at the head of Baltoro glacier in the Karakorum Range: K-2 (this year Pakistan is celebrating fiftieth anniversary when man first conquered the world’s second highest - 8,611 meters – peak half century ago), Gasherbrum-I (8,068 meters), Broad Peak (8,047 meters) and Gasherbrum-II (8,035 meters). There is yet another great mountain, Nanga Parbat (8,126 meters), located at the western side of the Himalayas. Moreover, there are 68 peaks over 7,000 meters and hundreds others over 6,000 meters in Pakistan.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, November 25, 2020, ,

To Carry the Dust to Multan

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Standing in Qila Kohna Qasim Bagh - accumulated debris of ages - one can think of Alexander the Great, Muhammad Bin Qasim, Saints, Mystics, Sultans, Gardezis, Gilanis, Qureshis, and Khawanis. But what you see is the ageing town hall and Ghanta Ghar, Hussain Agahi Chowk - Hide Park of Multan - with the nerve jarring rattle of auto rickshaws, tangle of tonga and donkey carts vying for space with mechanical transport, vendors and shoppers, blaring music of audio video music centers and second hand cloths (landa) hung on the walls.


A city of monuments, Multan has been around for centuries. History of Multan dates back to ancient times. As per the legend, its origin is assigned to the time of Hazrat Noah (A S). Under the various Hellenic forms of ancient designations (Kasyapapura, Kashtpur, Hanspur, Bagpur and Mulasthan) Multan figures into works of Hecataeus, Herodotus and Ptolemy. It has been an empire, a kingdom, a province, a state, a capital and now a divisional headquarters.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, November 24, 2020, ,

Harand heritage

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Perched in between legendary Suleman Range on one side and mighty River Indus on the other, ruins of original Harand Fort are situated in the area commonly known as Pachaddh. The Fort has seen a lot in the past and looks as if hiding thousands of secrets besides its historical and archaeological importance.

The Fort was originally built opposite historic Chachar Pass in Suleman Range to guard against the invaders. The fading signs of the edifice are still there in the forms of derbies and bricks scattered around the old site. Sikh Governor Sawan Mall used the material of the old fort rebuilt the Fort on a new location in 1831. Present structure of the Fort - a valuable part of our heritage - is situated about 25 kilometres west of sleepy and rustic town Dajal in district Rajan Pur. The Fort is spread over an area of 50 acres. The outer wall of whatever is left of it is one kilometre long and was made of thin red bricks. There are 16 pillars. Main entrance is in the west and another one is in the east. What ever is left of the fort is a clear evidence of its past, solidity of masonry and quality of construction.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, November 23, 2020, ,

Signs of the past

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, November 22, 2020, ,


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