Journalists: Would you sell your country for a good story?

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By now you must have heard of it — a Mr. Zamir Haider, invited by CNET to be a guest writer starts off in classic Pakistani negative journalism fashion by suggesting that theres not much tech in Pakistan. You can read the article here, although it does not really have much insight.

This includes some brilliant pieces of journalistic credence as well. As an example, when analysing whether or not plasma TVs have a market in Pakistan, he takes the average salary of the entire country from two years ago as a metric, rather than the specific segment in Islamabad who’re buying 72inch Bravias.

Here’s what you all can do: Email this gentleman at zamir.haider@cnet.com and tell him to get his stats from Green & White. CC his editor too. Infact tell the editors to check their facts before running a story next time.

The real hidden story, though, is the high-level execs from Rozee.pk, FiveRivers and perhaps Alchemy Tech who fought back in the comments.

All in all — CNET probably got some good traffic out of the controversy. I’m sure Zamir got a pat on the back.

Monis Rehman’s (Rozee.pk) entire reply is quoted after the link

A few years ago I moved back to Pakistan from a ten year stint in Mountain View. While I was there, I remember travelling to New York and being amazed at how low tech things seemed compared to Silicon Valley. The Valley’s tech culture is very advanced, even when compared to other US cities. Naturally, I was expecting to enter the technology stone ages when I moved back to Pakistan to setup the offshore development office for my US company.

To my surprise, the infrastructure in Pakistan was pretty good. I soon had my house wired up with broadband and wireless. LUMS, Pakistan’s equivalent of Standford, also has wireless access throughout its campus. There are almost 12 Million Internet users in Pakistan, which boasts a higher penetration as a percentage of the population than neighboring India. The first large scale Motorola WiMax deployment is happening… of all places… in Pakistan. The information technology industry is growing by over 50% each year and GDP rates have been sustained around 8% for the past several years. Our nascent job site, www.rozee.pk, is seeing drammatic growth in Pakistan with local employers shifting to the Internet to recruit new employees.

Today, there are about 42 Million mobile phone users in Pakistan, which translates to about 25% of the population. Some amazing mobile applications are emerging and when I travel back to the valley, the lack of SMS ubiquity seems a little backwards! Mobile networks here are leapfrogging the legacy networks of the US.

That’s not to say I don’t miss the Valley. For example, I often crave for a Starbucks Tall Mocha. But they are opening Starbucks here soon, I hear.

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