Saturday, October 04, 2008

SOFTEC 2008 Closing Ceremony Speech

SOFTEC 2008 Closing Ceremony (Evening, August 31, 2008)

“The winds of change are in the air. The future becomes reality in the blink of an eye, as quickly as the reality of today becomes history. Never before has the pace of technological advancement been so rapid, and never before has it offered so much in so little time.”

Respected faculty, Chief Guest, sponsors, participants, ladies and Gentlemen,


I stand before you today as President of SOFTEC 2008, hardened by a thousand tough decisions, having faced hardship, toil, and the constant threat of event cancellation. A long way indeed from how I started out. In 2004 I started as a volunteer in the first international SOFTEC. It was a rigorous and fitting initiation for what was to come later. We volunteers (like these) stood there terrified as a larger than life Belal Hashmi proceeded to drill into us the numerous merits and benefits of being a part of the SOFTEC society. I remember even now that he managed to communicate to us what a privilege and honour it was to serve SOFTEC.

Fast forward four years. I was handed over the team, and I took over with the idealistic belief that things would start getting done automatically as soon as I take charge of the office. I could not have been more wrong. The first piece of news imparted to me as SOFTEC President that Mr. Belal Hashmi, a constant in all the previous SOFTECs and without whose guidance, help and support none of these events would have been possible, would be stepping down as society advisor. It took me the grand total of 72 hours to realize what a huge blow that was to SOFTEC 2008 and the university in general. Hurdles were encountered at every turn, hurdles that were so smoothly handled by Mr. Belal Hashmi with such complete control, were turned into obstacles and obstacles into obstructions. And that was just the beginning. The political situation in the country continued to deteriorate, with security becoming more and more of an issue every day. I think it would be folly to turn a blind eye to events in the country and pretend that they did not affect us. A substantial amount of sponsorship which is provided by the Government of Punjab to SOFTEC was not received this time due to the political instability in the country. A number of other sponsors were also reluctant to be involved. As recently as last Thursday the event was at the threshold of cancellation. But I would like to give special thanks to REDMATH’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr.Raja Akbar Hassan who understood and acknowledged the efforts put in by the students for this largest student run event in Pakistan.He has been a true inspiration.I salute you Sir!

I would also like to thank PTCL’s GM Consumer Services, Mr.Irfan Chaudhry and Manager Mr.Hassan Zafar.Gratitude goes to Mr.Faizan Mubarak and Mr.Shahid Latif at GEO Television Network, Ms.Saadia & Mr.Imran Bhatti of The News and Mr.Sarfraz Niazi of FM91 as well as Mr.Farid Sabri of Sabri Stores without whose help it certainly would not have been possible to hold this event.

Bao Jee is an engineer. Thus, he conducted as many “stress tests” as he could in order to test the capabilities of his product called “THE PRESSEDENT”. Fortunately, I was able to survive most of them.SOFTEC 2008 was planned to give a befitting tribute and farewell to Sir Belal Hashmi but unfortunately due to shortage of funds, I could only implement 35% of my initial plan for the event. I take this opportunity to announce that with the consent of alumni and faculty advisors, SOFTEC’s famous programming competition has been renamed as the “Belal Hashmi Programming Competition” in order to acknowledge the services of this Guardian Angel to the SOFTEC Society for the last 13 years.

SOFTEC Society in collaboration with Student’s Blog is also announcing 3 scholarships of 1500, 1000 and 500 pounds respectively in order to support the higher education of students intending to continue their education in United Kingdom. Lucky draw was conducted for the registered students at the Student’s Blog stall

The lucky students selected after the draw are

1) For 1500 GBP-> Mr. Iftikhar Malik (Lahore School of Economics)

2) For 1000 GBP-> Mr.Salik Nadeem (Garrison)

3) For 500 GBP-> Ms.Maimoona Shehzadi (FAST-Lahore)

I congratulate all the winners of this lucky draw. Student’s Blog Team would contact you shortly.

Managing an event of such magnitude throws pressures of its own. While this pressure is extremely challenging and motivates us all to give our best, there have doubtless been occasions when this pressure might have been taken out on the wrong person or things might have been said that were not meant to be said. I would like to apologize for anything that I might have said or done in the heat of the moment that may have offended anyone. None of it was personally directed towards anyone, and it was all due to the pressures of organizing an event like SOFTEC.

A successful event can never be hosted without a dedicated team working tirelessly behind the scenes. When SOFTEC was originally postponed, much of the final year team resigned. It seemed at the time that canceling the event entirely was a better alternative, seeing that most of the batch would have graduated by the time SOFTEC finally came around. It is at this point that I would like to offer my sincerest thanks to my entire batch mates especially Associate Vice President, Salman Ahmad. Had he not shown the strength of character and determination in the face of disappointment, the whole event would have come down like a house of cards. The Vice Presidents, Bilal Munir, Abeer Hamid and especially Rabia Mohyuddin were instrumental in pulling together all aspects of SOFTEC.

Two sweet batch mates who’ll always remember me as an “animal” for the rest of their lives are the Manager, Marketing & Branding Noaman Azhar and Manager, Software House Enclosure Maria Batool who have been always there for me. Always listened to my crap. Banged their heads in every nook and corner of the region to get the finances for the event. I would like to appreciate what they have done for me and SOFTEC 2008 under such critical circumstances.

Moreover, I would like to personally thank all the volunteers and team members who have done the re-setup of the event 4 times since yesterday afternoon due to the bad weather conditions. Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like you to give a round of applause to these young dedicated volunteers who have spent sleepless nights in preparation for this event and are looking after the security and management of all the respected guests and visitors since last 48 hours.

I would also like to thank my parents especially my mother for being so understanding about my being out of the house for days on end, our Director, Dr. Arshad Hussain for his continued support, our faculty advisor Mr. Aurangzeb, Mr. Agha Ali Raza, and last but definitely not the least, Dr.Imtiaz Tarique, who was the guiding force in the end when all hope had been lost. I would also like to appreciate the efforts of the FAST-National University’s administration for assisting us in hosting this event, and their dedication to the cause was clear the way they fixed the broken underground power line by working day and night to have it repaired in time for the competition.

Many times during this journey, I was pushed and blackmailed on the personal front for taking stand as the SOFTEC President. I thank the Almighty Allah for keeping me steadfast during this course. My believe in the Allah has strengthened in last few months so much so that I am now a firm believer that everything good or bad happens for a reason.

There were some reservations from the junior batch that they would not be given the opportunity to organize SOFTEC. I would like to assure them that they will certainly be hosting SOFTEC, and very soon the new executive body of SOFTEC 2009 will be announced. I sincerely hope that by the time SOFTEC 2009 comes around, the situation in the country would have improved, and the new team will be able to put on an even bigger, better and more well organized event than SOFTEC 2008!

Thank You!


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