Interview with Ali Waqas | Code for Pakistan

Interview with Ali Waqas

Interview with Ali Waqas

Q: Is there something your town/city is famous for, or something interesting or unique about it?

A: My hometown is Mardan. Mardan is well-known for its hospitality. Mardan is also famous for its archaeological importance, particularly the Buddhist stupas of Takht-e-Bhai. Some staple Mardan foods are Kabab, Pairay, Kacahloo.


Q: Favourite subject in school? A favorite course at university?

A: I completed my Bachelor’s in Electronics Engineering from Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute, Swabi. Physics was my favorite subject at school. It made me wonder about the universe and its expanse. Another favorite subject of mine is Robotics. My interest in robotics developed after doing a project in school where we developed a digital weight-balance.


Q: Work experience?

A: I worked as a Technical Support Engineer at Claryicon Pvt. Ltd. Islamabad for one year.


Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: One of my hobbies is playing competitive online video games. I also like to read about world politics and international relations. I enjoy playing sports, like cricket. In my free time, I love designing websites, web forms, and front pages.


Q: Why did you apply to the KP Government Innovation Fellowship?

A: I wanted to contribute to the community. Through the Program, I aim to improve the lives of my fellow citizens. The Program also comes with the bonus of allowing me to pursue something I like, i.e., designing.


Q: Which government department were you assigned to work with? What solution did you work on?

A: I was assigned to work with the PMRU – Performance Management & Reforms Unit to develop an Open Data portal. Through this portal, the data which was previously inaccessible will now be open to the public, leading to the empowerment of citizens.


Q: Any other achievements you want to share?

A: I taught my friends how to use Adobe Illustrator, and then we would take up freelance projects as a group and work on them together. Now all of those guys are individual freelancers working on independent projects and are earning a living through it.


Q: How has your experience of the Fellowship program and working with the government been like? What were the challenges? What were the positive aspects?

A: Domain registration took almost a month because of the government processes in place. Getting approval, information, and data sets from other government departments was also a little time-consuming. Otherwise, it has been an excellent experience. We have made excellent connections. There were different mentoring sessions arranged for us, which focused on ways we can improve our growing edges.


Q: What was your favorite part of being a Fellow?

A: Working in a co-working space with and around like-minded people and having easy access to leadership was a bonus.


Q: What have you learned?

A: The Fellowship has helped me improve my managerial skills.


Q: What was the unique quality you brought to the Fellowship?

A: My strong verbal and written communication and design skills.


Q: What do you hope will be the impact of the work that you did? What do you hope this will achieve?

A: Creating opportunities, solving public problems, empowering citizens, and improving governance.


Q: What is one civic/social problem in your community/hometown that you think needs to be solved urgently?

A: The quality of education being provided could be improved majorly. Graduates are not as creative as in the other, more developed parts of the country, and can’t bring about any social development or secure jobs.


Q: What is your favorite book/movie/tv show and why?

A: My favorite movie is Shutter Island. I like it because it keeps one guessing the plot until the very end. My favorite book is Pakistan: A Hard Country by Anatol Lieven.


Q: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

A: I think people would be surprised to know that I participated in a marathon race.


Q: How would other people (friends, colleagues) describe you?

A: They would describe me as someone helpful and trustworthy.


Q: If you could have any superpower, what would you choose and why?

A: Being able to heal people from illnesses.


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