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Pakistani blogger invited to TED, Infosys Campus
By Techgirl

In the aftermath of the cowardly, inhuman terrorist attacks on Mumbai, the Indian Government decided to tighten the screws on Pakistan.  Soon, there was a ban on Pakistani cricketers (as well as coaches) in India. But at least five prominent Pakistani’s, including a respected super blogger, will be at the TED conference at Infosys, Mysore next month

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and its conferences have been attended by technology greats like Bill Gates, Google founders, Ram Shriram, Nandan Nilekani and many others.  In the past, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Richard Branson were among the many stars who spoke at TED Conferences. The idea is to bring the best minds in technology, entertainment and design to help make the world a better place. By all accounts, TED conferences go a long way towards this noble goal.

For the first time ever, TED will be held in India on Nov 4 – 7 at the Scenic Infosys offices at Mysore. After an exhaustive selection process, 103 new TEDIndia Fellows have been invited to be part of part of this global movement.

Pakistan blog Teeth Maestro, founded and managed by Dr. Awab Alvi, will one of the TED fellow guests.  Dr. Alvi studied in USA but chose to return home to practice in Karachi.  While his dental treatments are appreciated by his patients, he has won a cult following for his blog Teeth Maestro.  Very courageously, his blog holds the rich and powerful to account.  It even questions the Pakistani Army if it feels that it is guilty of human rights violations. Unlike some right wing Pakistani and Indian blogs, it is more introspective rather than blaming neighbours across the border. A recent blog post by Amjad Malik in Teeth Maestro gives you an idea of what it is all about:

Kashmir policy, acquiring nuclear asset(s) and Army has been sensitive issues for Pakistan since its birth in 1947. Though there can be no disagreements that Army rule could not bring change by ridding corruption and opening flood gates of economic progress by sacking popular leaderships in their four trials in 1958, 1969, 1977, and 1999 respectively. Having said that there has not been a paradigm shift in the love for its main stream Army, lust for independence of Kashmir and acquiring a sustainable mechanism to hold on to nuclear assets for a just deterrent, and maintaining state sovereignty.

The other four Pakistani’s TED fellow who will be at the Infosys campus are

1. Shandana Minhas (Pakistan) – Novelist and screen writer
2. Aun Rahman (Pakistan) – Pakistan Director for Acumen Fund, a global nonprofit social venture fund
3. Asher Hasan (Pakistan/US) – Founder CEO of NAYA JEEVAN, a social enterprise dedicated to providing low-income families with affordable access to quality, catastrophic healthcare
4.Shahida Saleem (Pakistan) – Founder of Sehat First, a social enterprise providing access to basic health care and pharmaceutical services across Pakistan

The TEDIndia speakers will include Anil Gupta, from IIM Ahmedabad, the founder of the Honeybee Network, Erin McKean, editor of the new online dictionary Wordnik, Kamal Haasan, film actor and director, Pawan Sinha, MIT vision researcher and head of Project Prakash, Pranav Mistry, MIT grad student and inventor of SixthSense, Shashi Tharoor, India's Minister of State for External Affairs, Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com and others.

Welcome to India, Teeth Maestro.

Techgoss note:  Techgirl is a senior Tech journalist who reports on the IT, KPO and KPO Sectors for a leading media house.  In her spare time, she dabbles in satire in her blog http://techgirltalk.blogspot.com

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