Interview: CEO Ilmasoft

•August 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

An influx of smart devices changes lives in sophisticated ways

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Aug 28, 2014
JAMIL-SMART-DEVICES-1DUBAI: The abundance of smart devices and friendly interfaces through various platforms has paved the way for governments as well as organisations in the medical, education, and tourism sectors, especially service providers, to reach the masses through this new mode of communication. In the next couple of years, users of smart devices in Dubai will have greater options to enjoy a variety of services as organisations shift to benefit the common person.
This was stated by Iftikhar Shah, CEO, Ilmasoft, in an exclusive interview with The Gulf Today in Dubai on Wednesday. The Dubai-based Ilmasoft has been providing solutions like mobile applications to a number of government and private organisations. Hundreds of smart devices like mobile phones and tablets not only in Dubai but all over the world are using designed applications and benefit through new modes of communication. Shah has been in Dubai for over the last 10 years and has acquired a number of diplomas in business administration and education training.
“With the launch of iPads in 2010, we saw the beginning of a whole new era of communication and ‘mobile devices on the go’. Since I am involved in education and working with young children, I decided to start designing applications — not an easy task but full of challenges,” he revealed.
He trained a team of developers to provide research and training in Lahore while at the same time, he registered Ilmasoft in Dubai as a huge platform to launch an applications developing house. In the last four years, the team of young engineers have been working to fulfil the needs of their clients from corporate sectors to academic institutions.
They have developed around 200 apps for different mobile platforms like Apple iOS, Android, Microsoft, Tizon and others to cover the fields of education, religion, medical, hotels and a variety of service providers in eight major languages including English, Arabic, Urdu, Spanish, German and others.
“We have designed a number of apps for children, toddlers especially, as it is a fact that young children are fast learners and easily adapt to new technologies. Our apps for young children teach them alphabets, numbers, and helping them to identify colours and objects.
“One of our apps, a Children’s Islamic Quiz, has been downloaded more than 10,000 times as it provides a huge variety of information not only to young children but adults as well. The response from different parts of the world is amazing,” he pointed.
The UAE’s position in the region for smart device usage is high, according to a recent report issued by the TRA (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority). It pointed out that the average UAE resident has more than one smart device, and the trend is on the rise.
Iftikhar Shah pointed that academic institutions, especially schools in the UAE, on the directives of the government, are shifting towards tablets, which reflects that soon the users of smart devices will increase many times over.
“The market in Dubai has tremendous opportunities as representatives of all major companies from all over the world which set up their regional offices here. Local firms here have also been trendsetters in the use of smart devices to lure their customers,” he added.
“However, to meet the demands of universities and other academic institutes in the UAE we have already started diploma courses for app developers,” he said.
“Our developers are mostly youngsters and fresh graduates, as they are the people who are more likely to do something different, filled with passion and bright ideas,” he said.
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Trajectories: An Indo-Pak Printmaking Show

•August 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Trajectories printmaking exhibition opens on Sept 10 at Sharjah Art Museum

SHARJAH: For the first time in UAE, this exhibition will introduce the rich printing traditions of India and Pakistan with its various schools and artists to an eager and curious UAE audience. The exhibition will also be a window for contextualizing the development of printmaking on the subcontinent within the broader context of world art history.
I would like to extend the opportunity to you to write about this fantastic exhibition. Please let us know if you have any queries.
Both India and Pakistan share a rich legacy of sophisticated printmaking traditions pursued before and after Partition by both formally trained and self-taught masters. Printmaking is one of oldest artistic mediums in the world, with the earliest documented examples dating back to approximately 220 A.D, and the practice has continued unabatedly in art schools and studios to this day.
A particular focus will highlight the fascinating ways in which contemporary artists from the two countries have successfully harnessed the traditional tools and techniques of the medium to create ground-breaking and cutting-edgeworks in which powerful metaphors make thought-provoking statements about contemporary society.
The exhibition has been made possible through the generous contributions and loans of artworks from many galleries and private lenders across India, Pakistan, the UK and the UAE, all of which we thank and acknowledge gratefully here.
The two guest curators responsible for the show are experts in their fields. Dr. Paula Sengupta is an artist, academic, art critic and curator resident in Kolkata. She has a BFA in Painting from the College of Art, New Delhi and an MFA in Printmaking from Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan.
 In 2004, she was awarded a doctorate in the history of Indian printmaking from Visva Bharati, Santiniketan.
Camilla Hadi Chaudhary from Pakistan, meanwhile, is an independent curator residing in Dubai. Camilla has a background in economics and international relations, graduating from Boston University, Boston, and Williams College, Williamstown. After stints in finance and teaching, a love of art brought about the idea of Art Chowk Gallery, which she co-founded.  Having spent many years in Central and South Asia as well as the Middle East, she is an avid collector of art from these regions today.
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Bazm-e-Urdu Organizes Mushaira

•August 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Indo-Pak poetry session opens tomorrow

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Aug 21, 2014

DUBAI: Bazm-e-Urdu (Urdu symposium), a non-profit organisation, has announced a grand Urdu Mushaira (poetry session) with participation from Indian, Pakistani and UAE-based poets with the aim of globally promoting the Urdu language.
The poetry session will be held on Friday at Sheikh Rashid Auditorium, Indian High School, at its Dubai premises on Oud Metha Road.
The celebration is being held in honour of the independence days of India and Pakistan, the birthplace of Urdu. Millions of people in both countries as well as others all over the world speak the language. The session will be attended by 15 prominent poets from India, Pakistan and the UAE, including Gulzar Dehlavi, Nida Fazli, Abbas Tabish, Jalees Sherwani, Sarwat Zehra, Mumtaz Saleem, Khalid Sajjad and others. The chief guest for the occasion will be Mahesh Bhatt, a prominent contemporary Bollywood director.
The organisation is run by volunteers who are professionals working full time for various corporations and multinational companies. In their spare time, they contribute to promoting the Urdu language which is part of their inspiring and culturally rich heritage. Bazm-e-Urdu’s purpose is to restore Urdu to its proper place and give it the prominence it deserves.
Rehan Khan, the founder of Bazm-E-Urdu, said: “We plan to collaborate with intellectuals and celebrities who can help us get this message across to the masses. This will help promote the Urdu language in the long run. We will be conducting programmes such as workshops and group discussions which will further the cause of Urdu appreciation,” he added.
The event will be by invitation only, as the organisers are expecting a huge turnout because of the large expatriate population from India and Pakistan residing in the UAE who always come forward to attend Urdu poetry sessions.
However, Bazm-e-Urdu has also decided to start an annual award for an individual or organisation in recognition of their efforts and work in promoting the Urdu language. The award is being named in memory of a renowned poet, Josh Malihabadi, and will be called the “Josh-e-Urdu Award for service to Urdu”.
Josh Malihabadi was a revolutionary poet from a town called Malihabad near Lucknow in India. He was a freedom fighter and moved to Pakistan after Partition. His contribution to the Urdu language inspired the organisers to use his name on the award.
Khan pointed that Bazm-e-Urdu assures that they will achieve the aim of spreading this lyrical language to as many people as possible.
“The Bazm-e-Urdu has also decided to conduct the Urdu poetry session annually in Dubai on the occasion of Indo-Pak Independence Day,” he added.
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Community Celebrates I-Day

•August 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Community promotes local talent on Independence Day

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Aug 17, 2014

DUBAI: Scores of families residing in Dubai, Sharjah and other parts of the UAE took part in different events organised to mark Pakistan’s 68th Independence Day on Aug.15.
The celebrations were started on Aug 13 with the opening of the first art exhibition of two UAE based Pakistani artists, Irfan Haider Mirza and Nazar Haidri in Musawwar Art Gallery in Al Qouz, Dubai.
The two-day exhibition “Freedom of Artistic Expression” was organised by the newly established Arts and Photography Wing under the banner of Pakistan Association Dubai to promote community artists based overseas. PAD-1
The event was attended by a large number of art lovers from the community while Ambassador Javed Malik, Prime Minister’s special envoy on foreign investment was the chief guest.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Malik said that the artwork showcased in the exhibition is done by highly talented artists and will get huge attention in Dubai which is home to expatriates from over 100 nationalities. “We are delighted that the PAD has set up a new club to promote the country’s talent in art and the government will extend all its support to promote the soft image through these initiatives,” he added.
Dr Faisal Ikram, general secretary, while addressing the event said that this exhibition is a first in the lineup of events which would focus on the creative and artistic talent of Pakistanis settled abroad.
“The PAD has a goal to represent and promote Pakistanis across all platforms and all paradigms. This exhibition is first in line for us to walk down that path of exploring newer avenues of promotion and communications,” he added.
Fahad Ali, who is in charge of the exhibition and the newly Arts and Photography Club, said while talking to The Gulf Today that the potential in Pakistani artists has been recognised all over the world. “Through this platform we are going to promote the overseas Pakistani artists in the local community while events like exhibitions and competitions will be organised on a regular basis to bring the Pakistani talent in front of the world. We would want more artists and photographers from the community to step forward and help support us,” he added.
The two-day exhibition highlighted the artwork of two artists, as it was announced that a portion from the proceeds of their work will be used to support the PAD ongoing community projects.
However, the association had also hosted a fun fair at the Pakistan Education Academy on Aug. 14 to bring a number of activities for families and children.
The fair was attended by Javed Jalil Khattak, consul general, representatives of the association and community members from all walks of life.
Furthermore, Pakistan Social Centre in Sharjah had also organised a two-day Meena Bazaar and other activities to mark the country’s 68th Independence Day.
During the event, schoolchildren from Pakistasni schools and the community participated in national songs and competitions and won prizes.
Members and office-bearers of the social centre had also hoisted the national flag and attended the event.
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APML Celebrates I-Day In Dubai

•August 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Pak committees showcase national solidarity

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Aug 17, 2014
APML-1DUBAI: The celebrations of Pakistan’s 68th Independence Day continued as more and more segments of the community, especially workers and supporters of different political parties and others residing in the UAE, expressed their national enthusiasm.
The workers and members of the central working committee of former president Pervez Musharaf’s party, All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), in the UAE organised a ceremony to celebrate the country’s Independence Day in Dubai.
The ceremony was attended by office-bearers of the UAE chapter of APML, which included Salim Shad, president, Shahswar, senior vice president, M.G. Shehzad, general secretary, Zahaib Nabeel, joint secretary, Tabish Zaidi, information secretary besides Omar Baloch, Muhamamd Raziq, Danish Qazi and others.
After cutting a cake decorated in the colours of the national flag, Shad highlighted the country’s ongoing situation in the wake of two political rallies in Islamabad and pointed that the government should resolve the crisis accordingly.
“Pakistan can only progress if we follow the message of Pervez Musharraf, that of ‘Pakistan First’. We are assured that our country will once again be prosperous under the leadership of APML,” he added.
However, members of the Pakistan Journalist Forum, a body representing working mediapersons, also celebrated the Independence Day by cutting a cake at the Pakistan Association, Dubai premises.Those who participated included Ashfaq Ahmed, Tahir Munir Tahir, Mohammed Qadeer Siddiqi, Manzoor Bhatti, Salman Jazib, Jamil Khan, Arshad Anjum, Attiqur Rehman and others.
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Independence Day

•August 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Pak expats celebrate nation’s 68th I-Day

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Aug 15, 2014
JAMIL-Pakistan-iDay-1DUBAI: The Pakistani community in the UAE has celebrated the country’s 68th Independence Day with national zeal.
People from different walks of life gathered along with their countrymen in Pakistan and all over the world to commemorate the day.
As part of the official flag hoisting ceremonies held in the Pakistan Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Consulate in Dubai on Thursday morning, children and community members in national attire expressed their patriotism to vow for the support of the Pakistan armed forces engaged on many fronts to keep the country’s defence intact.
In Abu Dhabi, Asif Durrani, Ambassador of Pakistan, hoisted the national flag at a ceremony in the premises, and read out the Independence Day messages of President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in front of the community members.
The audience was entertained with a special performance of patriotic songs and anthems by a group of community members.
In his address, Durrani recalled the great sacrifices rendered by our forefathers for a separate homeland. “Pakistan was both our identity and destiny. In the last 68 years, the Pakistani nation had witnessed many challenges and measured up to each one with resilience and resolve,” he said.
In this context, he also mentioned the success of the ongoing army operation Zarb-e-Azb in Northern Waziristan as well as remarkable improvements in key economic indicators.
Mentioning the role of the Pakistani community in UAE, Ambassador said that their presence in large numbers was a sign of strong friendly relations between Pakistan and the UAE.
“The UAE is a time-tested friend that stands shoulder to shoulder by Pakistan in every moment of trial. The UAE leadership’s special affiliation towards Pakistan and the leaders of the two countries engage on strengthening bilateral relations,” he added.
Durrani lauded the role of the Pakistani community in strengthening the national economy and improving ties.
He emphasised to the community members to work tirelessly for the progress and development of the UAE and continue to abide by local norms under all circumstances. He also appealed to the community to expend efforts in educating future generations and to move forward in life with unity and discipline in their ranks.
The ceremony concluded with Ambassador Durrani cutting a large cake commemorating the Independence Day.
Likewise, Javed Jalil Khattak, Consul General, led the official ceremony in Dubai and read out the messages in front of officials and a large number of community members attended the ceremony early in the morning.
Khattak recalled the excellent fraternal relations between Pakistan and the UAE and stated that the two countries have always stood by each other.
He expressed his gratitude to the UAE leadership for their consistent support to the people of Pakistan.
He hoped that Pakistan’s relations with the UAE would continue to grow from strength to strength under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Mohammed Nawaz Sharif, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Community members who attended the ceremony included businessmen, professionals, students as well as housewives.
Children dressed up in different national attire attracted media attention and also performed to the national songs to show their patriotism for the country.
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Centro Rotana Drive

•August 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Clothes collected in ‘Cupboard Clean Up’ drive to support the deprived

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Aug 13, 2014

SHARJAH: As part of its unique charity initiative – Cupboard Clean Up campaign – guests and workers of a local hotel in Sharjah have collected a huge amount of clothes and linen to donate it to less privileged people through the Sharjah Charity International.
In a simple ceremony held at its premises on Tuesday, Michael Kasch, General Manager of Centro Sharjah, handed over the collected items to Khalil Ibrahim Alhaj, a senior official from the charity association in the presence of senior hotel managerial staff. The hotel organised the clothes donation drive to help less fortunate people across the world through Sharjah Charity International while a number of other initiatives under the umbrella of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) are being carried out throughout the year to extend support towards deserving people as well as for the students with special needs.
The campaign focuses on reducing unwanted clothes of guests and workers and linen from the hotel that could still be used by others. The hotel gathered a huge amount of mixed used, new clothes and linen and donated to Sharjah Charity International as the beneficiary that will be responsible in distributing to different parts of the world. It further aims to have a sense of responsibility to help poor people.
Kasch said, “Initiating the Cupboard Clean Up Campaign and involving our employees to participate in the event is in line with Rotana Life that demonstrated our leadership to maintain colleagues awareness on our social responsibility. We believed that a social activity like this strengthens our cooperation across the country in supporting and helping less fortunate people.”
He further pointed that it is a great privilege to extend our support to Sharjah Charity International as we would like to stand against poverty by donating unwanted clothes, as we believe that one man’s old shirt is another man’s new start.”
On the occasion, Alhaj said to The Gulf Today said that they are delighted about the initiative of “Cupboard Clean Up” that involved guests and workers of the facility and collected unwanted clothes and linen to support needy people. “Currently we are engaged with different corporate organisations that collects clothes and other necessary items and hands it over to us and then we distribute it among the less privileged people in the UAE,” he said.
The Sharjah Charity International has also been supporting needy people in different refugee camps in various countries around the Middle East, especially providing daily need items to Syrian refugees with the support of individuals and corporate sectors.
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