WordPress Community Growing in Pakistan, 500+ Attend Lahore Meetup

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Over the weekend, the WordPress community in Lahore, Pakistan held its third monthly meetup. The first meetup had just a few dozen attendees, the second approximately 300, and this weekend they had more than 500 WordPress professionals and enthusiasts.

Attendee Noumaan Yaqoob traveled from Karachi to the event and shared his experience in a post on Facebook:

“The auditorium was full of young students, experts, freelancers,” Yaqoob said. “There were people sitting on stairs, standing at the entrance and the organizers had to quickly install a large screen outside so that people could sit outside too. The energy of these young people was mind blowing.

“I had a chance to interact with lots of participants,” he said. “They were all excited about using WordPress in their professional lives and many of them already had small freelancing setups. I was very impressed by their passion for entrepreneurship and creating jobs not just for themselves but for others too.”

Muhammad Kashif, one of the organizers for the Lahore meetup, said that news of the event spread through an extensive network of Pakistani freelancers who are connected by social media. ProPakistani, a local IT news site, also published an article that helped new attendees learn about the event.

“We had to close registration two days before the event because we didn’t have space,” Kashif said. He and fellow organizers, with the help of 25 volunteers, printed directions, arranged refreshments, and managed the crowd. As the meetup is still very new, they put the event together without the help of any official sponsors.

“We got a free venue from TechHub Connect, the local co-working space provider,” Kashif said. “The rest we managed from our own pockets. We wish we had more resources, but we will continue to do our best to educate and inspire the local WordPress community.”

Kashif hopes that the event will attract more sponsors but wants to be careful to preserve their purpose and focus.

“We welcome anyone who wants to join us but we would like to maintain the independence and the freedom of WordPress,” he said.

Paving the Way for WordCamp Pakistan

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Organizers of the Lahore WordPress meetup expect even more attendees at the next event on January 16. They are working together with other active meetups in Karachi, Sialkot, and Hyderabad to organize WordCamp Pakistan as a mega event in September 2016. The WordPress Foundation is currently reviewing their application.

English and Urdu are the primary languages used by the WordPress community in Pakistan, so the WordCamp would be accessible to many more attendees from outside the country.

“Pakistan is a very multilingual country,” Kashif said. “But English is the unofficial official language. So most of the sessions are in English but the speaker or presenter may switch to Urdu to make their presentation even more interesting. We actually don’t even notice when someone has switched from English to Urdu and vice versa,” he said.

WordPress and other open source technologies open up a world of new employment opportunities to freelancers in developing nations like Pakistan. This has helped fuel the growth of the Lahore meetup, which is now largely made up of freelancers and entrepreneurs.

“The local economy is struggling, which is pushing young individuals to start their own businesses or improve their skills,” Kashif said.

“WordPress offers great employment opportunities as one can work from home and does not need a visa or immigration,” he said. “The ease and familiarity with English helps Pakistani freelancers work easily with clients from all over the world.”

Although some Pakistani professionals work in well-known WordPress-related businesses as remote support, customer care, or developers, a larger number are freelancers who have formed small companies and are creating new jobs.

“Pakistan has a large user base of WordPress freelancers and developers,” Kashif said. “We feel it’s about time we put it on the map and tell the world about the huge potential we have here.”

16 Comments


  1. being a co-organizer of Sialkot WordPress meetup, I would say There are lots of WordPress developers who are living their lives by selling WordPress plugins, themes and custom WordPress projects for more than 5 years and these meetups are gathering them all to come forward and share their knowledge to grow open source movement.

    I invite Matt and other WordPress lovers to start thinking to speak at WordCamp Pakistan ;)

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    1. Before inviting Matt to Pakistan it is important to consider that Some local hardline islamists have threatened Pakistanis to boycott WordPress as it is a Tool of the Kaafir and have issued a fatwa for future events such as these. Now I believe such misunderstandings are temporary and should go away soon.

      Imran Hafiz Sayeed
      Lahore

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      1. Now a days most of things comes from western countries and no fatwa against them. We should encourage other peoples to participate in such types of events because now the security position is very good as compare to before. I just request you show the positive attitude towards others and ignore the nonsense opinion. Islam is Great and wast.

        Thanks

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      2. You know something is huge in Pakistan when the assorted Islamists declare a fatwa against it, isn’t that always the case? Happy to be working with WordPress. Here’s to bigger and better and more Islamist-irritating things to come! ;)

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    2. What about the terrorism threat? do you think our country is ecquipped to handle a conference with Firangis? there have been many incidents of kidnap of high value targets.

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  2. It was a fun thing to do, last time we organised a WordPress week, that was in 2014 with 700+ attendees. Now this meetup with 1000+ potential registerations and 500+ attendees.

    Sarah, I actual spoke about “Personal Development for a WordPress Developer” at this meetup. My slides can be found at (Zoom out to view it) http://ahmda.ws/PersonalDevWP

    Thanks to all the organisers and contributors.

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  3. It was a great event. So many local WP users and beginners under on roof. They were all so very excited to improve their skills or get started. I hope that many beginners who start by attending meetup, will do great things in the future. Organizers deserve the praise for pulling this off with limited resources. Can’t wait for WordCamp Pakistan :)

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  4. As an American business owner hiring developers, I’m very interested in this. Some internal metrics show me that heavy key entry-points stem from Pakistan and also India, in regards to WordPress developers seeking employment. I am concerned about the high volume of Muhammad Haris clones on the market today. I want our products to be very unique to end-user and developers should NOT try to mimic Avada. I consider this important fact when I outsource freelancers from different countries.

    Any Pakistani’s care to share some insights on the general professionalism and skill levels within the Pakistani WordPress community? Thanks :)

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    1. Hello Tai,

      I work for Envira Gallery WordPress Plugin as a Writer and Community Manager. Envira is a product of Awesome Motive. AM has many other successful web properties like WP Beginner, OptinMonster, List25 etc. And, I’m a Pakistani working professional.

      I’m glad to know that you are interested in the talent of Pakistan. Let me tell you very common names.

      Muhammad Kashif, the organizer of this big event in Lahore is a professional developer, and he is running his own web agency. To my goodwill of sharing this general professionalism stats with you, I met a few more talented developers due to this meetup over Twitter from Pakistan.

      If you may not know Muhammad Adnan, then I would like to introduce you another successful WordPress plugin developer from Pakistan. Adnan developed WP-Analytify, a Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress backend (2000+ active installs).

      You may have seen Ahmad Awais in the comments above. He is the core contributor in many of the WordPress releases. With over 10 years of experience, he is a deep down developer. Isn’t great?

      These are just a few names. I wish we can talk more, so I can tell you about the Pakistani skill level and professionalism. Cheers! :)

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    2. Hey Tai,

      Syed Balkhi here, founder of AwesomeMotive (WPBeginner, OptinMonster, and tons of other web properties).

      I’m a Pakistani American and have employees working in several countries US, UK, Czech Republic, Greece, and Pakistan as well.

      From my experience, I’ve found the professionalism level to be a hit or miss — but that’s true of most South Asian countries (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Philippines, etc).

      That’s why doing proper due diligence and having a good interview process is important. For developer level roles, I highly recommend creating a multi-part test project that increases in difficulty. Only serious professionals will work on the test project, the rest won’t even bother to start.

      It’ll also help to understand the culture as well which will help you weed out most of the “copy-cats”. From your comment above, I imagine you’ve already dealt with a few of those.

      Lastly, I’m a firm believer of you get what you pay for. There are some really talented folks in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, etc — but you have to be realistic about the pay for their respective talent.

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  5. Hello Tai,

    Usman here (and no, I don’t have a fancy website to show you) but I have been the server guy for some well known WP based sites from USA for past 4 years or so. (Part of the talented team who manages everything for those big names) I also work with clients for WP Security and WP Optimization.

    I completely agree with Syed Balkhi here. But that is true for almost every situation and everywhere. You do need proper due diligence to hire anyone as part of your team. And yeah, you get what you pay for. (Pretty common saying in the hosting World)

    We have tremendous talent here just waiting to be found. Given the right opportunity, they can do pretty much anything. It’s actually pretty hard to work from here at times (Hint: No PayPal) but we still find a way to WOW everyone every once in a while. :)

    PS. You will find Muhammad Haris clones almost everywhere :P (there may be a few more here).

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  6. It is good to see that WordPress community is growing in Pakistan, i started developing wp sites when many of us think wp is useless application and joomla and others are good. but i have always said to people that WP is gonna rock and here it is. i missed this meetup but surely attend next one.

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  7. I’m based in Lahore. Where did this meetup take place? I could have sworn that’s the FAST NUCES auditorium.

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