by Imran H. Khan

monisI had the good fortune of meeting three amazing Pakistanis who are in the process of changing the Pakistani society. They are young in years but mature and savvy in technology, business and the art of managing dynamic organizations. They share traits that are common to global entrepreneurs of self drive, respect for time, global market awareness,  getting quickly to the bottom of things and balancing priorities. All three of them got their education and training outside Pakistan and are now inculcating and mentoring Pakistanis with what they learned abroad.  As it turns out they are spearheading in the three synergistic technological areas of education, research and industry. Sometimes the stars get aligned and the right opportunities are given to people with the right credentials and motivations.

Dr. Qasim Sheikh

Dr. Sheikh is the CEO of ICT R&D fund that was created to fund research from the profits of the telecom sector in Pakistan. This is one of the great things that has happened for research in Pakistan.  It is unusual to find an academic with a strategic sense of research to maximize social impact.  His background of having worked in industry, research and academia is serving him well in his current role.  His vision is “to transform Pakistan’s economy into a knowledge based economy by promoting efficient, sustainable and effective ICT initiatives through synergistic development of industrial and academic resources”. Some of the notable ICT funded projects are

  • Development of Open Source Human Machine Interface called OpenControl.
  • Design and Implementation of Health Level 7 (HL7) Open Source Application for e-health Services

The aim of this project is to carry out research in healthcare by developing Health Level 7-based software framework in order to provide health services for diverse communities of the world. The envisaged development of HL7 middleware software will be focused on healthcare information systems already in use. The objective is to facilitate e-health services interoperable among various domains in the field such as laboratory, patient administration, pharmacy, billing and accounting etc.

  • An Artificial Immune System Based General Purpose Intrusion Detection System
  • Conversion of NGOSS Compliant, Web 2.0 Enabled Mediator, Rater and Biller Applications

Open source Billing and Customer Support software is a suite of applications that will fulfill all basic requirements of back office Billing and Customer Care of any Wireless or Wireline Service Providers.

  • Massively Parallel Fingerprint Recognition System Architecture for Performing Multi Million Matches per Second

This project will develop a high speed FPGA-based scalable Fingerprint Recognition System Architecture. The architecture will be scalable for higher throughput applications. The project aims to develop algorithms, which can be efficiently mapped in Hardware for subsequent mapping on FPGA-based system. The project proposes to develop this massively parallel fingerprint recognition system architecture for performing multimillion matches per second for high-density applications.

He is in the process of establishing Centers of Innovations across Pakistan in

  • Developing Next Generation Service and Network Management Systems
  • SME Productivity Improvement
  • eHealth
  • Agriculture Sector
  • Education Sector
  • Energy Sector
  • Security Sector

Dr. Arshad Ali

drarshad4Dr. Ali is the Director General of School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (SEECS) and the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Islamabad Pakistan. He blends the diverse traits of an academic, administrator and an entrepreneur. When he showed me around the SEECS building, I was struck by the fact that he has established numerous relationships with industries in leveraging his educational facilities. This practical education is going to prepare NUST students to hit the ground running as they enter the work force. It also inculcates a culture of entrepreneurism which is so much needed in Pakistan.

He has over 90 publications to his credit in national and international conferences & refereed journals. He has been awarded gold medal by Pakistan Academy of Sciences and COMSTECH for IT research, Presidents’ Gold medal for best researcher of the year 2005 and “Distinguished Scientists of the Year 2006” award by Pakistan Academy of Sciences. Dr Arshad initiated research collaboration with Center for European Nuclear Research (CERN), Switzerland and earned the Associate Institute status of CMS-CERN for National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST). Dr Arshad formed a joint consortium with University of the West of England UK, Beijing Institute of Technology China , University of South Britteny France and NUST Pakistan.

You can see his interview with “In the Line of Wire” here.

Mr. Monis Rahman

It is difficult to do justice to Mr. Rahman in one blog. He has done more in his short lifetime than most of us can do in our entire life. He went from being a hard core chip designer working on the Itanium CPU for Intel into building world class portals on the web. Being a hardware engineer I can only marvel at the plasticity of his brain. What I found intriguing in listening to him was his drive and business sense that most of the engineers tend to lack. One of the lessons is that you don’t have to get an MBA degree to learn how to start and grow a company. His decision to go back to Pakistan when he was at the peak of his carrier in the US and change his skill set to make that happen, is a true sign of an entrepreneur willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve a goal. He is the CEO of Naseeb Network ” A Muslim Social Network”  and Rozee, the number one jobs portal in Pakistan. Even OPEN has collaborated with Rozee to create a jobs portal for the Pakistan Americans in the US at .

You can learn more about how he started his internet companies and where he is headed in the video below.

He likes to think big. His next endeavors are going to blend the web portals with cell phones and mobile devices to bring real time location centric services to the web.

These three gentlemen represent a new breed of entrepreneurs that will create the high margin intellectual property based industries that will be globally competitive. They are in the process of changing the social landscape of Pakistan by empowering everyone with the possibilities of acquiring advanced skills and deploying them efficiently.  They are Pakistan’s only hope in developing high value jobs and generate foreign exchange that will make her truly sovereign.

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5 Responses to “Three Amazing Technology Entrepreneurs of Pakistan”

  1. tahir h chaudhry on April 4th, 2010 12:42 pm

    Very nice find and very well written Imran.

  2. Ali Rizvi on April 5th, 2010 1:10 pm

    Nice exposure for these entrepreneurs. I think more should be written of such people, their passion and commitment to create an interest in other. there is no dearth of talent, except proper mentorship, which i think, among others, OPEN can provide.

  3. Mohsin Mahmood on April 9th, 2010 7:13 am

    Very nice, inshallah this soil will keep on producing sons like these.

  4. Umair Khan on June 3rd, 2010 2:39 am

    Excellent post Imran. Great Blog!

  5. Mujahid Ali on August 5th, 2010 2:19 pm

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