Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rape Instinct or Rape by Fault

Mama and Baba, can we go back to home? You know I am scared. I am in terrible pain – why can’t I speak? This is unfathomable for me. I am uncharacteristically nervous! I want to become free – I want to be safe.
After finding myself in the hospital bed, I tried to change my direction several times, wanting to hold my teddy bear back and wanting to stand up, but I found it a terrible and painstaking task. Whenever some time passes while I am awake, an auntie in a white dress injects something in my drip and then things gradually become blurry and I fall asleep. However, since last week, I want to tell mama about the pain, about my nightmares but I do not know why I cannot talk. My uncles and aunts used to call me a chatterbox. This time I planned to ask the nurse to not inject any liquid in my drip because whenever I sleep I see a group of haunting large men who are chasing me, ripping my teddy bear which grandma gave me on my fifth birthday, this year. No doubt, teddy has lost its original color but I still prefer to place it with me before going to sleep.
Whenever I cry and tears drip down I can feel that the itch on my cheeks is becoming intense day by day. The terrible thing is that I want to move but I cannot. My arms and legs have become heavy. I cannot even lift them. I silently watch when doctor comes; when my mama sobs in front of me, when baba just nods in front of the doctor who probably talks about me. I have felt that baba has not slept for a week because his eyes seem watery and red. He looks too tired. Everyone was so happy a week ago.
I remember the evening last week when mama dressed me with a skirt and a blouse.  She carefully combed my hair and made a single pony on top of my head. I have been always very careless about losing my hair accessories when playing with my friends. Every time she has to open a new packet of it for me with the same old instructions about taking care of my things. However, in all this baba has proved that he is quite generous. He does not bother to count how many I have lost since and every time places a packet of colorful pins in mama’s hand. I remember the same goes for my erasers and pencils. Nevertheless, they have had a stock of them also. Now lying here, I realized that I am no longer wearing that blue skirt. My hair is undone.  I am stunned altogether.
I am horrified to see the marks of their bites on my arms. Whenever my sleeves touch me, the pain is intense. They are now gradually turning purple and ugly. Some of the wounds had to be wrapped in bandages because I remember my arms were also bleeding when their nails were tearing the flesh.
I know something very bad has happened to me. Something that is very painful and very new.  That evening I remember when I was playing in front of my house and the Azaan of maghrib had started. One by one, my friends started leaving the game because their parents have asked to come back. When I was going back to my house, I remember a man came to talk to me. He offered some sweets as well. I guess I have seen him in our street couple of times.
Then I also remember he was talking to me. Then he started walking while picking me up and when listening, I placed my arm on his shoulders. He was probably asking questions about me. Soon I realized during the conversation that I was no longer in my street. It was already dark. I told him that I want to go back because mama has always advised to come before Azaan. However, he did not change his direction and insisted I to listen to him carefully.
Things were soon changed. Now he was talking to some men. I felt my heart was beating faster because it was quite dark by then.  I was afraid that I was not with my mama and baba. They were complete strangers to me. Some of them started biting at my arms. It was painful. My clothes were torn.  Everything that was happening was alien to me. Then I was shrieking loud and loud because I was now drenched into my own blood.
I have a dim imagination when the hospital guard carried me when he saw me lying unconscious in front of the hospital. My body was placed in some sort of a moving bed and I arrived in a room. Then couple of doctors seemed disturbed after seeing me and then more darkness followed. 
I know I was hurt and injured. Whenever during playtime I got a bruise, mama always scolded me to be careful. Now she always cries. Baba always used to kiss me on my forehead, and would ask a couple of questions which my qari sahib had taught.  Now he does not say anything. I want to see my friends also. I want to tell them I would not be able to join them in the coming days because I cannot speak, let alone move.
Just a while ago, my uncle was telling my mom that police has obtained closed circuit camera footage of me. I guess it must be something useful for family and me.  The last time, when someone came into my room, they said police has arrived to ask me some questions. The very thought of strangers jolted me but before I could protest the doctor told him that I was not in a condition to do that. He is stranger but amazingly, whenever he comes he inquires about my health. I am grateful that he is not cruel.
I am waiting for when I will be able to talk and tell them about my agony and fears.  I remember everything and I am afraid that I will not forget it for the rest of my life.
Section 376 of Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 provides that whoever commits rape shall be punished with death or imprisonment for either description for a term, which shall not be less than ten years or more than twenty-five years and shall be liable to fine.
When a rape is committed by two or more persons furtherance of common intention of all, each of such person shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life. 

Wrote by Qurat-ul-ain Haider is founder & CEO at Amal (facebook: ) (www.amalpakistan) 
She can be reached at @annyzaidi And on facebook:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Innovation Culture Roadmap in Pakistan

Ask the question, “What does a culture of innovation look and sound like?” and you’re likely to get a variety of answers. That’s not a bad thing. It’s probably slightly different – and articulated differently – in each organization.
If the person being asked can articulate a definition, that’s major success and a foundation to build from. You may just as likely get blank stares, and responses like, “I know it when I see it, but can’t put my finger on it” or “It’s when people are coming up with new ideas all the time.”
Of course, these are not measurable or meaningful … or manageable, for that matter. And many leaders see benefit in building a culture of innovation. So how can such a culture be defined, as an objective, such that it can be nurtured and cultivated?
Culture is an aggregate built from human dynamics, processes, and structures. The endlessly fascinating part is the people dimension. Do the people in the organization have the ability and willingness to be innovative?
Here are some interesting questions, organized under the construct of a competency (knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, beliefs), to help start thinking about ways to define a culture of innovation:
Knowledge: Do people know how to think creatively to solve problems or capture opportunities, individually and collectively? Do they understand the process to follow to translate a promising idea into tangible value, and how to divide roles/responsibilities to do so?
Attitudes: Is there a predisposition of collaboration and benevolence, or does everyone want to be the hero visionary or problem solver? Are opinions, diversity in thinking, and perspectives encouraged, tolerated, or discouraged?
Behavior: Are ideas shot down by the classic “devil’s advocate” argument (finding reasons why something won’t work instead of reasons it could or alternate approaches) or are they embraced as part of the process of progress?
Beliefs: Is there a widely held belief in community, the values/vision of the organization, and working to win together? Do employees believe that they are respected, valued and empowered to make improvements?
Taking a slightly different tack toward understanding the human dynamics of innovation, we can identify unwritten or formal rules or norms. These may be established and perpetuated by management’s handling of situations and by individual employees at all levels.
These rules might include, “Complaining is OK, but you must have an idea for resolution (be part of the solution, not part of the problem).” Or, “It’s acceptable and expected that individuals will take risks, within reason, but if their actions pan out negatively, they must learn from the experience and transfer their learning to others.” Or, “Individuals are expected as a condition of employment not just to perform their duties, but also to make improvements on a daily basis.”
What are the innovation competencies or norms that are thriving in your organization? Which ones are lacking? Taking the time to study and map the human dimension can lead to identifying opportunities to ignite change and develop a culture of innovation.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pakistan Earthquake Create a New Island in the Arabian Sea

Tuesday's major earthquake in southern Pakistan led to some intriguing reports of a new island appearing just off Pakistan's coast.

The Associated Press says following Tuesday's 7.7-magnitude tremor, witnesses reported that a small island appeared near the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar, about 150 miles northeast of the quake's epicenter.

Gwadar Police Chief said the new island was about 30 feet high and 100 feet long.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

40-Years-Old Mother Set To Marry Own Son-In Zimbabwe

level and get married considering that the mother, Betty Mbereko (from Mwenezi in Masvingo) is now six months pregnant and expecting her son’s child and her grand child.
 Mbereko, 40,  has been a widow for the past 12 years and has been living with her 23-years-old son  Farai Mbereko.
 She confirms that she is six month pregnant and that she has decided it is better to “marry” her son because she does not want to marry her late husband’s young brothers, whom she says are coveting her.
 Betty stunned a village court last week when she said the affair with her son had begun three years earlier.
 She said after spending a lot of money sending Farai to school following the death of her husband, she felt she had a right to his money and no other woman was entitled to it.
 “Look, I strove alone to send my son to school and no one helped me. Now you see that my son is working and you accuse me of doing something wrong.
 “Let me enjoy the products of my sweat,” she told the village court council.
 Farai said he was more than prepared to marry his mother and would pay off the ilobola balance his father had left unpaid to his grandparents.
 “I know my father died before he finished paying the bride price and I am prepared to pay it off,” he said. “It is better to publicise what is happening because people should know that I am the one who made my mother pregnant.
 Otherwise they will accuse her of promiscuity.” But local headman Nathan Muputirwa says: “We cannot allow this to happen in our village, mashura chaiwo aya, (This is a bad omen indeed). In the past they would have to be killed but today we cannot do it because we are afraid of the police.”
 He warned them to immediately break off their marriage or leave his village. They chose the latter and have  since left the village for an undisclosed  destination.
- See more at:

Facebook promotions New Rules

Facebook promotions !!!   As an administrator of a Facebook business page, you probably know the rules you need to abide by when running a competition | promotion on this social network.  And yes, many of us have been very frustrated with business that repeatedly flaunted those rules yet seemingly got away with it. The practice of holding a “comment to enter” or “like to enter” contest was common.
But today, Facebook amended its promotions policy to simplify the process.
Facebook announced updated guidelines | rules for Facebook promotions on the social network, and biggest change was the removal of the requirement that promotions be administered via applications (apps) only.
They’ve removed the requirement that promotions on Facebook only be administered through apps. Now, promotions may be administered on page Timelines and in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:
  • Collect entries by having users post on the page or comment/like a page post.
  • Collect entries by having users message the page.
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism.
As before, however,
  • Businesses cannot administer promotions on personal Timelines
  • Businesses may not do are encourage users to tag themselves in content they are not actually depicted in, which Facebook says will “maintain the accuracy of Page content,”
  • Businesses should not require users to share posts on their personal timeline or those of their friends.
So let us look at the examples below
  • It is OK to ask people  to submit names of a recommended product in exchange for a chance to win a prize.
  • Itis not OK to ask people tag themselves in pictures of a recommended product in exchange for a chance to win a prize.
  • It is OK to giving away a prize to the 150th person who comments on a post.
We believe that these changes will even the playing field for the promotion of Facebook competitions and remove some of the current confusion that some businesses has in relation to the administration of Facebook competitions | promotions.
The other terms and conditions still apply.  These are that businesses are still responsible for the “lawful operation of [the] promotion,” which includes official rules, offer terms and eligibility requirements, compliance with applicable rules and regulations. Promotions must also include a complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant, and acknowledgement that the promotion isn’t endorsed by Facebook.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Top 20 things every travel agent should do right now, online and offline

1. Specialize
Pick a few destinations or activities and resolve to be a better expert at them than anyone else. Consumers now have access to so much travel information, particularly at their fingertips via the Internet that they have themselves become “generalist travel agents.”  When they seek help, they’re seeking a true specialist.
2. Personalize
Differentiate yourself from DIY, self-service online solutions – and instead give consumers highly personalized service, recommendations, etc., right from your very first interaction with them — whether online, by phone or in-person.
3. Develop a repertoire of unique experiences and special access
It’s all about selling experiences. The more unique, the more value you’re adding.  The more you can get clients access to special events or people, the more differentiated you are.
4. Be complex
Consumers can book the simple trips themselves (e.g. point-to-point trips such as Seattle to Las Vegas). Travelers really need agents for complex trips (e.g. longer international trips or cruises).  Your energy and specialization should be on these complex trips.
5. Go upmarket
Segment the market into two traveler types: Those with more money than time, and those with more time than money.  Agents can only compete for the former segment’s business.  Travelers with more money than time value purchasing a travel agent’s expertise and ability to handle every aspect of the trip.
6. Work with net rates rather than take commission
Especially for custom tours, agents should consider getting net rates from suppliers and marking them up rather than taking commission. This gives pricing flexibility and better cash flow, and reduces the hassle of collecting commission.
7. Constantly do a self-check: Am I delivering the best value?
The market’s constantly changing. For all your products and services that you offer, are you getting competitive rates?  Do you have a variety of strategies to get your clients the most value?
8. Master your pitch
Have you perfected your pitch if clients ask: “Tell me about yourself and your agency,” or “What makes you different from other agents?”  What are the top three messages in your pitch?  Memorize them.
9. Brush up on “trusted advisor” sales skills
It’s a consultative sales job: Most agents can sell a lot more if they can be perceived as a trusted advisor. This means relationship-building and trust-building skills rather than pushy sales skills.
10. Develop a trusted reputation/brand
Get yourself or your agency written up in national media or at least your local newspaper.  Join the BBB.  Get clients to write you endorsements on LinkedIn.  Build your reputation with real traveler reviews on a referral service.
11. Have a good website
Many agents have websites that do them a disservice.  Agent websites need three key things: good design + compelling content + easy to maintain/update.  If you don’t have a good web developer, use services like Intuit Websites or HP LogoWorks.
12. Be incredibly responsive & reachable – use a smartphone
Even when you’re not at the office, use a smartphone to be extremely responsive through voice, email, and social media. Use Google Voice to have one number that rings you at your landline, mobile, or any other number.
13. Improve process efficiency
Most agents have plenty of opportunities to be more efficient in their operational processes. For example, streamline the time to develop a custom itinerary, the time to price a quote, etc.
14. Know when to ask for a fee
I don’t believe there’s a cookie cutter answer on when to ask for a planning fee or good faith deposit. Make a judgment call on this for various types of clients.
15. Engage with social media
I highly recommend a Facebook Page for your travel business. Get your clients to be fans and to post reviews of your services.   Engage them with insights and tips.
It is fine to post some specials or deals, but a Facebook page is best used when it’s less about selling and more about engaging with fans and being helpful with your knowledge. As an example, check out the Zicasso Facebook Page.
16. Partner to get new leads
Be a good marketer – or if you’re not, hire a marketing agency to help you, or use a travel referral service like Zicasso for targeted, pre-qualified luxury leads.  Save yourself the time and focus on the selling.
17. Improve your writing/email skills
Many clients prefer email communications. Good writing is a sales skill that helps build trust and relationship with clients. Take a class to improve this skill and you’ll also improve sales conversion.
18. Sharpen your first response to clients
Obsess over the quality of your first interaction with a new client, whether it’s a phone call or an email.  Making a good first impression plays a major role in sales conversion.
19. Don’t sell deals: Sell expertise!
Many agents advertise deals on their website and send the message that they can find the best deals. It’s tough to beat deals on the Internet, and will be even tougher going forward. Transform your business and your message to sell expert advice and personalized service.
20. Be a lifelong student of change
This industry has changed tremendously and the pace of change will only accelerate. Be a constant student of best practices and be ready to adapt and adopt new ways of doing things….no matter how many years you’ve been in the industry.
And lastly…
I have a request of everyone: as you achieve success, be a role model for the next generation of young agents.
Recruit, inspire, and mentor them.  This industry desperately needs new blood and young talent will only join when they see successful role models.  I wish everyone great success in your continued business endeavors.

3 Ways to Grow Your Online Travel Business

Global online travel sales exceeded $160 billion in 2012, growing 12% year over year. This impressive growth can be further accelerated provided the right steps are taken to overcome these key challenges.
1. Loss of business to travel agents - Even with about 150 million online travel bookings last year, travel agents saw a growth in their offline business. This growth is a combination of two things – 1) the plethora of flights, hotels and vacation options available to customers, and 2) a lack of personalized service to cater to the needs of every customer. Travel agents are able to fill this void by having a good understanding of the market and personalizing their offerings depending on the customer. At times, they are even able to generate more business by offering deep discounts or coupons to customers based on their relationships with an airline or a hotel property.
Online travel sites can reclaim this business by enabling real-time personalization on their site. The personalization has to be fast and dynamic for displaying relevant content, offers and recommendations. This is only possible if the site has the right infrastructure to analyze all customer interactions (web, social or mobile) along with thecustomer profile and purchase history, in real-time.  Another key aspect is to improve the overall customer service to own the customer travel experience from door-to-door. This means offering the customers not just flights & hotels but other services like restaurant recommendations at the airport during the layover, connecting them with fellow travelers based on customer preferences, making it straightforward to modify an existing reservation, etc.
2. Tough competition from search engines – Online travel sites are losing business to travel portals created by searchengines, like Google and Bing, that are leveraging their deep search expertise to make it easier for customers to find the right flights and hotels. Unfortunately, the travel sites are also indirectly funding the search engines to build this new functionality by spending millions of dollars with them for search engine marketing.
The best way to overcome this challenge is to enhance the stickiness of your travel site. One way to do this is by offering value-added services e.g. each customer can be assigned a travel concierge at the time of booking and the concierge can help in case of any problems or questions related to the trip. Another way is to have richer content on the site. Expedia realized the importance of content when it decided to separate TripAdvisor. Richer content attracts more customers and keeps them engaged resulting in increased stickiness and greater revenue.
3. Customer loyalty is a tricky business – Most customers sign up for multiple loyalty programs but still end up buying from a site that has the lowest price. Just relying on price to drive revenue is a risky strategy, as the online travel businesses do not own the airlines and hotels inventory that is sold on their sites.  In several cases, airlines and hotels offer special perks that cannot be matched by most travel sites resulting in customers directly booking with the airline or hotel site regardless of the amazing loyalty program offered by the online travel site.
It has become table stakes to have a great loyalty program that can drive more business, is easy to use and the points are redeemable in multiple ways. In the current environment, a loyalty program needs to have that ‘little extra’ to retain the customer business. This ‘little extra’ could be complementary travel insurance when a customer books a trip above a certain dollar value or it could be something tied to the customer preferences like a bottle of their favorite wine at their destination.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A must read for personal safety specially in #Karachi

WRITTEN BY A COP: Everyone should take 5 minutes to read this. It may save your life or a loved one's life. In daylight hours, refresh yourself of these things to do in an emergency situation... This is for you, and for you to share with your wife, your children, & everyone you know. After reading these 9 crucial tips, forward them to someone you care about. It never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do :The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

2. Learned this from a tourist guide. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse,
DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you... Chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse.

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy.. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.
DON'T DO THIS!) The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head,
and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR ,

If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, Repeat:
DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
A.) Be aware:look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor ,
and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door.
Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women
are attempting to get into their cars. C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side.. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN!
The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; and even then,
it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably in a zig -zag pattern!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked 'for help' into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late
and she thought it was weird.. The police told her 'Whatever you do, DO NOT
open the door..' The lady then said that it sounded like the baby
had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, 'We already have a unit on the way,
whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.' He told her that they think a serial killer
has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby.. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night.

10. Water scam! If you wake up in the middle of the night to hear all your taps outside running or what you think is a burst pipe, DO NOT GO OUT TO INVESTIGATE! These people turn on all your outside taps full blast so that you will go out to investigate and then attack.

Stay alert, keep safe, and look out for your neighbors! Please pass this on
This e-mail should probably be taken seriously because the Crying Baby Theory was mentioned on America 's Most Wanted when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana

I'd like you to forward this to all the women you know.
It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle..
I was going to send this to the ladies only,
but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc.,
you may want to pass it onto them, as well.

Send this to any woman you know that may need
to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it
and it's better to be safe than sorry..
Everyone should take 5 minutes to read this. It may save your life or
a loved one's life.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Why You Should Always Do the Right Thing, Even When No One But You Will Ever Know the Difference

Have you been around the block a few times?

Then you know how hard it is to get along in the world. Life has a way of challenging you on a regular basis. You end up having to make hard decisions and do hard things. I've known people who preferred to look for an easy way out; and if they saw one, they took it, seemingly oblivious to the consequences.

As I write this, I’m in my seventh decade of life. And here’s something I've learned: if you do something you know you shouldn't do, it’s very, very hard to avoid the consequences. 

It’s amazing how this works. Cause and effect rule, and the consequences roll in. Other people eventually find out. You might lose respect, trust, friendship, support, or money. You might even go to jail. 

On the other hand, sometimes misdeeds go undiscovered. But the odds are heavily stacked against you.

Here’s the deal: Even if no one ever finds out what you did, in an important sense you’ll never get away with it. Because you can never hide the truth from yourself. You’ll know what you did.

Why is this a big deal?

Take a telling a lie. Lies are hard to cover up. It takes more effort than you might think to cover your tracks and keep a lie from being discovered. But even if no one ever finds out, you know that instead of being strong and facing up to the truth, you were weak and hid behind the lie. Somewhere in your brain is this truth: I’m someone who lied. I wasn't strong enough to tell the truth. I’m a dishonest person.

You may not like these thoughts, and you may try to dismiss them. But you can't delete them. They'll always be stored somewhere in the database of your memory.

And they will tear down your self-esteem.