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Kashmiri computer scientist draws national fame

She does not look back when she sets on a task. She firmly believes in hard work and commitment. Such dedication led computer science student Mehvish Mushtaq Hakak, 23, to become the first Kashmiri to develop an Android application (App), in two weeks of intense work.
  • Mehvish Mushtaq Hakak became the first Kashmiri to develop an Android app when she produced Dial Kashmir, a one-stop source for information helpful to residents and visitors in the Valley. [Amin Masoodi/Khabar]
    Mehvish Mushtaq Hakak became the first Kashmiri to develop an Android app when she produced Dial Kashmir, a one-stop source for information helpful to residents and visitors in the Valley. [Amin Masoodi/Khabar]
"I am happy to do something useful for the people of Kashmir," Hakak told Khabar South Asia. "More importantly, the application will be handy to tourists and others visiting Kashmir. We are living in an information age and at least one member in each family owns an Android phone."
Dial Kashmir – a one-stop source for essential information – contains more than 500 contacts of different departments, officials and public utilities.
Hakak plans to add more businesses and Google Maps to the app as well. "Google Maps are important, especially for the tourists who want to know the distance of different locations they intend to visit," she said.
Following widespread publicity in regional and national media, Hakak received attention on her Facebook and Twitter. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was among the first few to post a complimentary tweet.
Hakak also received a few job offers from outside the state. "A Bangalore-based information technology company offered me job as a software engineer," she said.
Android users say Dial Kashmir is a useful application and saves precious time.
"In absence of such an important application before, I used to spend a lot of time surfing websites of government departments to find addresses and contact numbers of officials, but often in vain," Shafat Ahmad, a Srinagar school teacher, told Khabar.
The application has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 with more than 5,000 downloads.
"Dial Kashmir has come in handy," said Nighat Shafi, a BA graduate from Budgam district. "Surfing official websites of government departments for contacts and addresses of officials was so hectic."
Overwhelming response
A resident of Bul Bul Bagh in Barzulla, Srinagar, Hakak completed her secondary education from Presentation Convent. She graduated in computer science from Srinagar School of Management Engineering and Technology last year.
She did a month-long online course on Android application designing in January. "I had a keen interest to develop the application. I worked for about six to eight hours a day to complete it," she said.
Her father, Mushtaq Ahmad Hakak, a retired Indian Forest Service official, is proud. "She is an ardent learner and a committed worker. She worked hard to accomplish the desired goal. I am proud of her achievement," he told Khabar.
A message on her Facebook page aptly describes her persona: "She turned her Can'ts into Cans. And her dream into Plans."
On April 21st, she posted on her Facebook page, "Finally checked my Mails/Messages and WOAHHHH! I'm overwhelmed by the response…I was just few messages away from being blocked due to excessive messaging."
Source of inspiration
Her achievement has inspired many. "I am encouraged by her commendable job. Under her guidance I plan to make an Android application on 'Yearly calendar' of Jammu and Kashmir," Salim Javid, a computer science graduate from north Kashmir, told Khabar.
Another computer science graduate, Shiasta Nabi, told Khabar, "I will spare no efforts to come up with some useful Android application in the future. Mehvish's guidance will come in handy to accomplish the task.

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