Pakistan is a land with plenty of problems, however, it is also one burgeoning with immense talent. Media, law, business, finance and the most happening vocation of them all: technology. One can easily name some of the most eminent global personalities.
From being featured as a Pakistani-descent techie in HBO’s popular TV show ‘Silicon Valley’ to people such as Mudassir Azeemi writing a letter to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook requesting to showcase Urdu typeface on iPhone (and actually receiving a call from the man himself!!), subsequnetly getting the Nastaleeq typeface on the iPhone; there are many Pakistan can be truly proud of! So here’s a look at some of those techies.
1. Ghufran Ahmed
Ghufran Ahmed is currently the Vice President at Oracle in Silicon Valley. Son of a former Vice Chancellor University of Karachi, Dr. Manzooruddin Ahmed, the tech royalty has definitely upheld his family legacy of making his country proud! Graduating with high honors from Bowdoin College USA, then studying at the prestigious California Institute of Technology (CALTECH) followed by Masters from Stanford in engineering, Ghufran has worked in senior positions at Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, BlueLight, Ebay and Oracle.
2. Farhan Masood
A trailblazing innovator and a die-hard Pakistani, Farhan is the founder and CTO of Sololnsight. The company is a groundbreaking entity that has been termed as the ‘Internet of People’ due to its cutting-edge cloud-based global security platform. The tech dynamo also founded the ‘Go Green’ movement where users can add a Pakistan flag background on Twitter and Facebook, lighting up the digital world on fire especially during the T20 cricket world cup.
3. Ahmed Khattak
A graduate from Yale University, Ahmed was named among the Top 25 entrepreneurs under 25 by Bloomberg/Businessweek. He co-founded GSM Nation – a wireless and retail company which was incubated at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. The company was also honored at the White House as one of the Top 100 Companies started by young entrepreneurs. Launching US Mobile in 2014, Ahmed Khattak is currently heading the company that empowers mobile users to customize plans only to pay for what they use.
4. Faizan Buzdar
A Ghulam Ishq Khan Institute (GIKI) graduate, Faizan Buzdar is the founder and CEO of Convo – a Software As A Service (SaaS) product workplace collaboration. The company globally has more than 14,000 businesses as a user base including Ogilvy, The Next Web, CBS, Kaiser Permanente, NXP, and NBC.
5. Umar Saif
Recipient of many awards and accolades including the MIT Technovator Award 2008, Mark Weiser Award at IEEE, Percom 2008, IDG CIO Technology Award in 2008 among many others, Umar Saif was also named as one of the top 35 young innovators in the world (TR35) by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The technology genius founded Pakistan’s largest startup incubator – Plan9 and has been one of the main influences transforming the Pakistani technological landscape. Also serving the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda on Pakistan from 2013-14, he introduced a technology that used low-cost smart phones during his tenure in government service that positively impact the country’s IT scene. He is also the recipient of Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence), one of the highest civilian Awards in Pakistan.
6. Haseeb Awan
Haseeb Awan is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of BitAccess, a company that produces the world’s leading Bitcoin Autmatic Teller Machine (BTM). Bitcoin is a type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. Poised to revolutionize the financial world, Haseeb Awan has played an instrumental role in propelling technology into the next level.
7. Badar Khushnood
Currently the Chief Commercialization Strategist at the tech company Bramerz, the former Google ‘evangelist’ Badar has also worked as a Google’s Country Consultant for Pakistan. Among his many feats, he is best known for his efforts for the Innovation Punjab campaign striving to develop the right policy environment that is aimed at strengthening Pakistan’s innovators.
8. Rizwan Virk
An angel investor, filmmaker and a tech entrepreneur, Rizwan Virk is an MIT graduate and holds a masters degree from Stanford University. Not only mentoring future technologists, the dynamic Founder and CEO of Midverse Studios is also the co-creator of the game Tap Fish. He received the MIT Global Indus Technovator Award in 2005 and has also produced a number of independent movies such as Sirius, Turqoise Rose and Raspberry Magic etc.
9. Rabia Garib
An Eisenhower Fellow for Technology, Trade, Journalism and New Media, Rabia is the Editor-in Chief of local edition of the world’s largest technology business leadership magazine brand CIO. The trailblazer also co-founded ToffeeTV which according to its site: “stems from arduous hours of searching Urdu stories and songs for children similar to that of Cassette Kahani. As the search continues the sad realization has set in that our heritage has simply not been captured in the realm of providing our children with the opportunity of learning the Urdu language through imagination.”
10. Ashar Aziz
Currently serving as the Chief Strategy Officer and CTO of FireEye, Ashar Aziz started the company back in 2004. FireEye is a virtual machine-based security platform that provides real-time threat protection to enterprises and governments worldwide against the next generation of cyber attacks. With the stock prices of FireEye rising since it’s IPO in 2013, Ashar Aziz is now also a member of the billion dollar club.