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PTA Blocks websites with Salman Taseer’s pictures ‘Harmful for the integrity of the Country’

Its being reported that PTA has recently blocked six specific URL’s in Pakistan deeming them “harmful for the integrity of the country“. These websites are blocked for carrying a certain set of pictures containing Salman Taseer, The Governor of Punjab & his family.  The PTA is said to have complied upon the request from the Inter Ministerial Committee which has prefered to monitor and block anti-Pakistan, blasphemous, and pornographic web sites.

The alleged pictures had started making rounds on the Internet in early November and consequentially did find its way on a few specific websites, we too did share a couple but preferred to ignore the remaining as they were definitely too personal for public consumption.

Though on a personal level we exercised self-restraint in choosing not to publish the private pictures of his daughter, but I am shocked to see the official bureaucracy go begging at his mercy deeming these websites as harming the national integrity of Pakistan, quite definitely a far fetched lame excuse at best. I am sure there could have been other effective legal measures to bring down these pictures, which would then have been a better representative of a democratically elected government but it seems they still choose to rule by the dictatorial stick. All said, I am definitely shocked to see how easily PTA was eager to comply to this lame excuse on the whims of certain individuals and hope that they quickly revert their decision to block these websites
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Pakistani Bloggers Discussion Forum Launched

Approximately two years back in 2006 we had initially launched a discussion forum to help bloggers in Pakistan, initially it was well recieved and were able to manage for a few months but it disappeared into oblivion due to neglect and lack of interest. It was recently after the series of blogger meetups that we had in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad did many of us feel the need to revive a discussion forum where fellow Pakistani bloggers can collectively help each other to compete with the world at large and maybe place the Pakistani blogging community on the global blogosphere.

This early morning of 2009 [Happy New Year to everyone] I have finalized the preparations of the discussion form being hosted at http://bloggers.pk/forum. This flavor of the discussion board software has been deliberaly selected for its simplicty so that it is easy for everyone to be involved in any on going discussion

We hope that the community of Pakistani bloggers can now join hands together help & assist the new breed of upcoming, who might be gingerly stepping onto this platform for the very first time. While the forum will also provide a place for the advanced users to also share their experiences with everyone around.


2008: Blaaging to Blogging

My article published in yesterday’s The Friday Times [26th December 2008] where i shared the evolution of Blogging in 2008

There was once a time when most people in Pakistan had no clue as to what the word ‘Blogging’ actually meant, this ‘un-heard off’ word was often greeted with a confused and stunned silence, quite frequently followed with an innocent desi‘ish utterance Blaaging?. An avid blogger like me, who has been dotting the blogosphere since 2004 would instantly get those dreaded stomach binges to sum up the courage and go out on the usual two minute revolutionary spiel promoting the art and science of blogging, it was also an effort to educate the educated. In those days, back then, the two minute sales pitch would often fade into a distant whisper, leaving both parties scampering for other talking points as this geek fad discussion would not last an entire conversation.

Then came the martial law of 2007, most, if not all, Pakistanis were up in arms condemning this heinous political change, including the relatively unknown community of bloggers who too joined the outcry on the digital landscape and penned their protest, little did they know then, that this political tragedy may very well have served them with an unexpected christening right here in the ‘Islamic Republic’ of Pakistan. Whilst the Lawyers and Journalists were taking a battering on the streets, the media could not report and the press could not print, it was these previously unrecognized lone rangers of the blogosphere who stepped up to the plate and offered an unhindered and uncensored news from ‘the streets’. The media blackout had in fact catapulted the community of citizen journalists to become the ‘media’ for Pakistanis hunting for the real uncensored news about the political circus taking place within Pakistan.
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Teeth Maestro selected as Best South Asian Blog – Thank You

Teeth Maestro - Best South Asian Blog

A few days back I was informed via a very unlikely & surprising source that I was being nominated by the Brass Crescent Awards for the Best South Asian Blog. The email was from the office of Queen Rania of Jordan congratulating me for the nomination in the particular category. On 1st December I looked through the great efforts by Queen Rania and made a post immediately on her cause

It was definitely an honor to be simply nominated, at that time I generally believed it would have been tacky to ask my readers for the vote and consequentially for a few days I sidelined the issue until a week later a few close aides convinced me that I must post on this issue, it was not a personal award and neither did it carry any financial motivation whatsoever, but instead it was a mere recognition for the blog which I have been managing for the 4+ year. Hence finally I succumbed to the request and on December 6th made a post on this blog asking my readers to vote for the Brass Crescent Awards and if maybe even me

Many did and THANK YOU to each and every person who spared a little time to cast their precious vote, as Teeth Maestro has been selected as the Best South Asian Blog by the Brass Crescent Society for 2008. Its these small recognitions that truly make this entire effort worthwhile, that said the icing on celebrations today would be to wish for a better, stronger, safer and brighter Pakistan ….. InshaAllah we will all succeed there as wellPakistan Zindabad

Pakistani and Indian geeks in a Hacker War

With continued military tension across the border between India and Pakistan, it was imminent that Cyber activists might soon embroil themselves into a mini cyber war. It may have started off a few days back when an Indian group called HMG defaced Pakistan Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority, in response a few Pakistani calling themselves the Pakistan Cyber Army responded with a defacement of the Indian Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority. Though all this may be entirely illegal, so I hope that our friends understand the limitations and keep it on a friendly level. Story being extensive followed on ProPakistani.com

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Lahore Bloggers Meetup

Its seems a large number of Bloggers are aggregating today at LUMS @3:00pm today to talk extensively about citizen journalism – follow CIO Pakistan for live blog / twitters and updates or even Facebook page

On twitter you can follow the following Hashtags to be sure that you are getting live updates #LBM08 #Lahore

Google Doodle for Muslims or Pakistanis?

Google has over the past years becoming one of the most successful IT companies practically out-gunning most of its competitors in every possible field where it has any presence. The success of Google has predominately been due to its commitment to provide service far before the thought of minting money which according to their model invariably follows. This combined with its deliberate effort to harness a level of trust with its users plays an important role in ensuring that Google.com becomes a household name an invariably the most favored search engine by a long margin. Millions of people use Googles endless list of innovative services ranging from GMail, Blogspot, YouTube, Google Reader etc.
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The Zong Mystery

In Pakistan as we all know that Zong is the brand name of a pre-paid mobile SIM offered by China Mobile Pakistan, a subsidiary of China Mobile that has already invested over $700 million in Pakistan to the launch of their cellular company in Pakistan.

Momekh a fellow blogger and a recent twitter acquaintance stumbled across a very interesting discovery. In his online adventure he stumbled across a blog being hosted on a sub-domain blog.zong.com which flouts itself to be”‘the first and only mobile payment system enabling Facebook application developers and Web Publishers to seamlessly bill 95% of the US and European wireless subscribers on their phone bill” billed to launch itself at the TechCrucnh50 party in the US.

At first glance this could very well be just another website with no links with the Pakistani compatriot Zong but if you were to go to their home page ie Zong.com the website ironically it forwards to the Pakistan Wikipedia page, how interesting but definitely mysterious
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Say NO to Terrorism – Yeh Hum Naheen

Almost a year back in February of 2007 we had on this blog, participated in campaign launched by Waseem Mahmood, where a number of popular Pakistani vocalists had joined hands to raise their voice on behalf of the Muslim world coming together in the form of an amazing soul touching sound track called Yeh Hum Naheen featuring names like Haroon, Ali Haider, Ali Zafar, Shufqat, Strings, Shuja Haider and Hadiqa Kiani.

With some good dedication on part of Waseem Mahmood’s team this initiative has grown exponentially, he even shares his surprise in his message on the website

I am amazed that what started as a simple song has gone on to become an unprecedented anti terrorism movement

The underlying message is quite simple

We plead the world to hear this cry,
Muslims are NOT Terrorists…

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Pakistan; The Ongoing “Soft Revolution” towards a “Welfare State” – Part I

Guest Post by Silence

A welfare state is a government that provides for the welfare, or the well-being, of its citizens completely. Such a government is involved in citizens’ lives at every level. It provides for physical, material, and social needs rather than the people providing for their own.

The purpose of the welfare state is to create economic and social equality or to assure equitable standards of living for all, access to justice, freedom of faith, freedom of speech and transparency in decisions of executive.

The welfare state provides education, housing, sustenance, healthcare, pensions, unemployment insurance, sick leave or time off due to injury, supplemental income in some cases, and equal wages through price and wage controls.

It also provides for public transportation, childcare, social amenities such as public parks and libraries, as well as many other goods and services. Some of these items are paid for via government insurance programs while others are paid for by taxes.
Continue reading “Pakistan; The Ongoing “Soft Revolution” towards a “Welfare State” – Part I” »

Teeth Maestro v 4.0

Teeth Maestro v 3.0Welcome to the new design of Teeth Maestro’s Blog, it is for the record the fourth major re-design of this blog since 2004 when I first started to blog on the world wide web..

The v3.0 had been running for almost an entire year and saw us through some serious political debates here in Pakistan but like Pakistan its time for a change and I now present you the v4.0 design. I personally had grown tired of cluttered and confusing layout of the old design, though the play with the two side bars was truly a geeks paradise on earth but it was just a bit too much. So in an attempt to change I finally took the plunge last week and pulled out a theme which appealed to me.

A few improvement are noted below
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Lahore Electric Supply Corp (http://LESCO.info) – Honeypot for Privacy leaks

ReallyVirtual, a fellow blogger from Lahore accidentally stumbled across a major security flaw, a few weeks back, within the website of the Lahore Electric Supply Corporation (LESCO) http://www.lesco.info/. It must be kept in mind that LESCO’s original public page is at http://lesco.gov.pk, but this alternate website seems to be geared towards the support personnel. Accessing the lesco.info website via the customer service link at http://www.lesco.info/mc/ guides you to their Human Resource Management System log-in page which incidentally already has the Guest login and password pre-filled for your convenience.

Once into the system a search around the website using the various convenient search options shows some remarkable information about the electricity consumers in Lahore. Designed by a Lahore based firm called Clicksoft (http://clicksoft.com.pk/) who claim to be a groundbreaking software development organization providing high-end technical solutions … vast experience of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solutions for demanding mission critical environments in, retail and wholesale, manufacturing, financial services lead by the Lahore based CEO Naseem Ahmad.

I have no idea if this data is deliberately placed online or it is an accidentally link into the back-end portal system, luckily one only comes across the names and addresses of all ‘in-process’ applications within LESCO system, no explicit revealing data is publicly displayed but ReallyVirtual, an IT professional, analyzes the system to rightly point out this easy backdoor access unfortunately opens the door for script kiddies to exploit the system by simple SQL injection techniques and be gifted with truck load of highly private and sensitive information which may be stored elsewhere in the system.

LESCO must be urgently urged to shut down their online system with immediate effect taking Clicksoft to task for this major security flaw ensuring that such a mistake was never to happen again.

A shoutout to ReallyVirtual for discovering this leak and then taking time to explain it to us, it must be noted that no harm has been done to the LESCO system at the filing of this report and a few screen captures were indeed taken simply to report the leak to the world.

Karachi Metroblogs pulls an April Fools prank

The cat is finally out of the bag, and the entire Karachi Metroblog team has come clean accepting the April fools joke being played on its readers. The plan was hatched barely two days ago on our internal mailing list, a number of ideas were floated to finally settle with two options one was for a prank news of a pipeline being laid down by Saudi Arabia to supply much needed electrical power to ease the woes of Karachiites and the other was to announce the shut down of the blog. Both ideas played well but the KMB shut down prank attracted the most attention. We cant be sure if many people fell for it but the number of comments received showed that we did have half-believers.

The Gotchya post can be read on KMB here. I hope people did enjoy the joke as it was truly meant to spice up the energy levels which have been on a slow crawl since some time.

Other Links: Pakistaniat | Chowrangi | Zag Talks | Waking Life | Adnan

RIP – KMB Going Down

KMB Login Error for Teeth MaestroWell its not news to anyone who regularly follows Karachi Metroblog but at this moment all of our current batch of authors are effectively sidelined and trashed. Sean the co-founder from Metrblogging wrote a post after he disabled all authors from the system where he states that the ongoing bickering and fighting amongst the authors and the management was the reason why he had to shut the site down and we all got the axe.

Dear Readers of Karachi Metblogs,

It is with a sorry heart that we at the Metroblogging headquarters in Los Angeles have to announce that Karachi Metblogs will be shutting down for a while while we decide what is the best future for it. While I could certainly try to sugar coat this and blame corporate restructuring, the truth is we are just sick of the constand bitter rivalry within the ranks of the authors which has lead to absolute chaos on the site. Honestly, not a day goes by that one author isn’t e-mail me complaining about this or whining about that, and quite frankly I just don’t care enough to keep putting up with all of it. It’s become a nightmare and it has to end.
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YouTube Blocked again in Pakistan

It is being reported on the mailing list for the Society Against Internet Censorship in Pakistan that YouTube is yet again being blocked here in Pakistan. Though no notification has yet surfaced from the the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority but most users are reporting a total blackout showing error pages while accessing youtube.com

A little investigation shows that it could be a new system employed by the censorship body as when we try to access the URL youtube.com it leads us to a blocked page but when you enter the IP address of the youtube website

It could easily be speculated that this block has yet again to do with the Geert Wilders movies Fitna which was released a few days earlier, but surprisingly it is not being hosted on youtube, in fact Google/Youtube had taken all instances of this movie due to a violation in its Terms of Service. The domain of the domain Fitnathemovie.com movie was also slashed by the host and later when Geert Wilders released the video, via LiveLeak it too suffered the cut since a number of employees were harassed forcing the management to remove the video for their own safety was.