Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Are All Politicians Corrupt in Pakistan? Mythical Narratives Designed to Support Rule of Dictators

[To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions]
All politicians are corrupt? This sweeping generalization is a narrative used and popularized by supporters of neocolonialism to justify the rule of un-elected elites on one hand,  and on the other hand to demoralize the people,  and keep them in a perpetual state of powerlessness and hopelessness.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Conference Marketing and Promotion-Where is the "conference" in a conference!

Conference Marketing and Promotion: Where is the "conference" in a conference?
Marketing and branding of a conference depends upon its value proposition for its participants. Currently value proposition of most conferences is often every thing except the "confer" part of the conference, which means exchange of ideas and discussions. Typical value propositions of existing conferences include (i) site seeing, (ii) establishing contacts, (iii)  "presenting" papers, (iv) citing conference papers in CVs and research profiles, (v) making money, (vi) gaining promotional mileage, etc where exchange of ideas does not happens except as a side-effect. One-to-many presentations by a paper reader who is totally glued to and dependent on the slides and with no eye contact or engagement with the participants has downgraded the value of conferences. Typically, research paper presentations are only attended by other paper presenters who keep on leaving after their presentations till a time comes that the last presenter is addressing an empty hall. They disappear for site seeing immediately after their presentations. Any discussion and exchange of ideas that do take place happen on the sidelines when participants bunk the conference sessions. Challenge for marketing and promotion of a conference is to establish clearly its value proposition and work on ensuring that worthwhile discussion and exchange ideas takes place during the conference sessions. Panel discussions is often a mechanism to engage the participants and the speakers in interactive discussions but this seldom happens because the moderators are often ill-equipped to catalyze a worthwhile energetic exchange of ideas. The challenge for marketing and promotion of a conference is to ensure the catalyzing of deep discussions about the major issues of the conference themes. This talk would focus on the challenge of connecting the marketing and promotion of a conference  with its content and its value proposition.

[Keynote Speech at IEEE mini POCO 2017, Sep 19, 2017, Organized by IEEEP, CIIT, HEC, Falettis' Hotel, Lahore.]

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

How Neocolonialism Keeps Developing Countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan Perpetually Destabilized

[To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions]
The analysis of the recent NewYork Times article about Afghanistan indicates that think tanks in USA have worked out all the options for Afghanistan. All these options perpetuate destabilization for the long term which is the actual objective of the policy. Endowment based think tanks and the area study centers spread across universities war game several options, and present a list of options to the President of USA. Whichever, option the president selects, all end up at the same goal; keeping developing countries perpetually destabilized. These options are flexible enough and can be quickly morphed from one option to another as the situation dictates. If all else fails, direct occupation a' la Iraq is always an option.  The un-elected elites installed in such countries become simply a pawn in the machinations of the neo-colonial powers to protect their vested interests and their lives. They are herded into a direction where they can not but follow the desires of the neo-colonial powers. Those that try to pull a fast one, such as Saddam or Gaddafi or Gen Zia are made a spectacular example for the rest to remain in line. The picture below shows how sheep are herded in the direction wanted by the shepherds. Similarly, people of developing countries are driven through the course selected by the neocolonial powers through the shepherds that consist of unelected elites (judiciary, military, dictators, gangs,  extremists) through an option that can only end in a single result: Chaos. The objective is never to give the people a choice to select their own destiny by perpetually keeping them off balance,  and destabilized and fighting for their survival. Hence, none of the developing countries have a functional democracy,  and are perpetually in the survival mode of existence.

What Options Gen Musharraf had after 9-11 when US threatened to send Pakistan to stone age?

[To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions]
I often come across people who consider that Gen Musharraf's U-Turn after 9-11 was the only alternative that the dictator had in the face of the threat from State Department official to bomb Pakistan back to stone age if Pakistan were to refuse to cooperate. A dictator general finding himself running out of ideas and options is typical of his training where he can only see lose-win or win-lose situations. The dictator generals trying to safeguard their illegitimate rule are pathologically incapable of thinking out of box and contemplating options that may exist outside the win-lose or lose-win box. On the other hand,  politicians never run out of ideas even when their backs are to the wall. I personally think the fake commando general could have done several things, but in his false bravado and enclosed in his limited coterie of advisers he took the easiest way out. I think the preferred option would have been that he should have announced elections,  transferred the power to an interim government and told USA that such decisions require consensus. He would have gained several months of time for Pakistan. Getting a political consensus from politicians is hard especially when backed by the military. They would have started bickering and playing politics. The pressure would have thus passed. Turkey did a similar thing when USA tried to pressure Turkey to give land access to US forces for invading Iraq. They referred the case to parliament that conveniently ruled out the possibility. This is Politics 101.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

How to Measure the Quality of Your "Parental Relationship"

Quality of "parental relationship" :
اپنے بچوں سے  تعلق قائم کریں قبل اس کے کہ کوئی اور ان سے تعلق قائم کرنا شروع کر دے ۔
Following parameters indicate quality of your relationship is NOT good and you need to be concerned if: