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Ashar Nisar | The .PK Man | Entrepreneur of the month

Every day we come across website addresses trailing with “”, “”, “”, “”, “” or simply “.pk”. To land on this site, you also typed “”. However, majority people in my network don’t have an idea who operates this “PK” thing for us. It is sad to mention that even many IT Professionals and Computer Science students in Pakistan don’t know about PKNIC (Pakistan Network Information Center (Pvt) Ltd.), the registry responsible for the .pk country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) for Pakistan since most of the people acquire domain name via resellers with a hosting plan. Those who know about PKNIC are unaware of the fact that it is owned and run by Mr. Ashar Nisar, A Pakistani – American who graduated from UET Lahore in the 80s.

Ashar, the reclusive owner of PKNIC (the entity which registers all .pk domains) is termed as an unsung hero along with Imran Anwar, the pioneer and founder of internet and email in Pakistan. Those who have been associated with IT Industry since its inception term Ashar, Imran and Alvi brothers as the fathers of Pakistani IT Industry.

The .PK domain was envisaged as being a private sector provider of services to promote Internet in Pakistan. Formed in 1990,  Ashar Nisar and Imran Anwar both co-founded it as both of them were UET students and neighbors. Every effort was made to keep the government and the telephone monopoly out of it. This remains true to this day. However, some differences arose between the duo and ultimately Imran moved out leaving the complete management control to Ashar.  Mr. Ashar, the technical genius later went onto form PKNIC to manage the ccTLD.

Whois of Mr. Imran Anwar (Co-Founder of .PK ccTLD’s site registered in 1996)

The ccTLD is normally owned by government’s regulatory authority or the ministry of IT but the case of Pakistan is totally different. PKNIC operates from USA although important government, educational, and private organizations including PTA are currently using the DotPK domain server. Recently, The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) persuaded this US-based Pakistani company PKNIC to set up an office in Lahore and deploy a mirrored root server in Pakistan which is fully operational now.

Apart from the PKNIC story, some of you may already know that the very first PC computer virus was developed in our very own Lahore, back in 1986. The famous Brain Code used to change the volume label on a floppy disk since there were no hard disks at that time. This invention is generally attributed to the Alvi brothers, Basit and Amjad but the role of their friend Ashar Nisar is often overlooked. I have been told by various sources that Ashar was the original inventor and that this virus was originally displayed during the National Science Exhibition at UET. Alvi Brothers just modified and released it with their name.

I daily come across individuals who talk negatively about this champ and debate that PKNIC’s registration numbers and some management practices are not up to the mark. But considering how he started from nowhere, did right things at the right time, faced pressures from government & non-governmental organizations, and stands out as a role model for our technology students,  Mr. Ashar Nisar is our entrepreneur of the month.


5 Responses to “Ashar Nisar | The .PK Man | Entrepreneur of the month”

  1. […] Ashar Nisar | The .PK Man | Entrepreneur of the month […]

  2. Ali S. Jamal says:

    Thank you for this article, I agree that this is very less known among Pakistanis today.

  3. Assalam-o-Alekum,

    Mr. Ashar Nisar is a Pakistan phenomenon…He understands being overboard, which helps him throw best-selling lifelines to those still adrift.


  4. Great to read the story. This guy has done excellent job but he needs to upgrade pknic standard now!

  5. shaheen says:

    very nice information, i know Pakistani have great talent. Govt should take steps to boost this

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