Offline Gmail – Made for Pakistan

Part of the magic that the search company has been able to cast on the human race has to do with its very deep strategic thinking bit. Email, at least a few years (months?) ago, had been the killer application on the Internet. Google targetted web based email services segment with the fast and efficient Gmail service and ever since than, they had been busy making it more and more useful by adding features that would let people just glued to the application.

Google Gears, the component that lets websites operate more like desktop applications, has now been tweaked to serve Gmail in ‘offline’ modes. Yes, out there they mean offline when traveling by air or in the train but for us here in Pakistan (and I guess the entire region), connectivity can never be taken for granted. Hence, the newly introduced Offline Gmail (still in the labs) has a lot more application instances than just traveling and this has more to do with the next billion people who are, or will soon be, about to go online on patchy and flip-flop networks worldwide. 

In the backdrop of the addiction to online documents and Gmail (now with the powers of enduring the outages caused by ‘traveling’ in the west or by KESC/Wapda here at home)  Google’s Chrome, with its built in support for Goolge Gears  (you don’t need a plugin for that in Chrome) and sepearately processed tabs is gently holding us by the arms and taking us from Deskabad to Cloudpur. And before we realize, the desktop (as we know it) would go the dodo’s way.


E, bay, pay, tay, say, jeem


No, I am not dead. Yet.

I am reproducing Faisal Khan‘s recent open letter to eBay for the lack of paypal services in Pakistan below to show solidarity with the cause (thanks for the tip Jehan Ara). And I think it is more of a perseption (of the country) problem than anything else. Let us hope to have the services available in Pakistan soon. To eBay: We promise, we won’t mishebave and that all Pakisani usage innovations we will do with the service would be copyleft! 🙂

January 11, 2009

John Donahoe
President and CEO
eBay Inc.
2145 Hamilton Avenue
San Jose, CA 95125

Subject: PayPal for Pakistan

Dear Mr. Donahoe,

I understand you are someone who is immensely busy and have thousands of other important issues to deal with, but I thought I’d try my luck with you. I’ve been writing to PayPal / eBay since 2002 regarding issuance of PayPal accounts for Pakistan, in 2005 I started including eBay in my correspondences to include eBay accounts for Pakistan.

I have never received a reply back. Twice in the past, I received a reply back (filed via customer services) that my ‘complaint’ has been lodged and PayPal will look into it. Other than that, have not gotten a satisfactory reply.

The issue – simple. Why is eBay / PayPal not being offered for Pakistan?

I just finished reading an article on your hand-on approach in TIME Magazine (Issue 12 January 2009 – Asian Edition, Page 35, written by Kristina Dell), it simply compelled me to get on the computer and write another letter to eBay / PayPal. The article gave me hope (again!)

Pakistan – purely from your business perspective may not be that big of an economy, but it surely has an economy that is larger and more active than Bhutan, Chad, Honduras, Somalia, Maldives, Rwanda, Uganda, Yemen —combined!

If these countries can have the privilege of obtaining a PayPal account, why not Pakistan?

As Pakistanis cannot legally have a PayPal account, 1000s of users here circumvent the system and obtain PayPal IDs from their friends and relatives abroad to use and conduct commerce. This should be of no surprise to you.

The same can be said about eBay.

Like I cited, we may not be that big on your radar, perhaps we’re not even equated to a blip, but a country of 170 Million, to be blatantly ignored (you may agree or disagree on my choice of words, if the above mentioned countries can have PayPal, I’d like to know what piece of legislation, law, banking infrastructure, etc. prevents eBay/PayPal from including Pakistan under your countries-in-which-you-work umbrella).

Pakistan’s predominant trading Partner happens to be the US. Within respect to both imports and exports (discounting oil).

The first time I experienced eBay and PayPal in the summer of 2001 whilst briefly working in the US – I was mesmerized to say the least. Till date, I wish we had the privilege of conducting business on a website so many take for granted.

This is not meant to be a protest letter by any means. In fact it is one of a very humble request. A request whose time has come, and was long overdue. I have in the past cited my willingness to help, providing information or getting eBay / PayPal connected to Banks, regulators, whomsoever you would like to meet. I am, in no way proposing or advocating a ‘role’ for myself – my intention is just to help.

Is it too much to think that perhaps this one letter will get the ball rolling. Or if the ball is already rolling, yield the desired result. Will this letter be tacked on your things-to-do board and actually get done with? Is this the right time to plead the case for my country?

I’ll end my letter with a quote from Dale Carnegie (sorry, couldn’t find a befitting Irish quote) “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

I just want to be able to have an eBay and a PayPal account from Pakistan. In the event you want to reach me, the easiest way is via email, my personal email address is and official email address is

Net Access Communication Systems (Private) Limited
Karachi, Pakistan.

CC: Mr. Scott Thompson, President, PayPal.