On 28th April about more than 10 days back – ARY hosted a recording program “Eidi Sab Kay Liyae by Fiza Ali” at Baharia Town Islamabad – during the recording the scaffolding holding the stands collapsed – Many people were injured and I think one lady succumbed to injuries – imagine it’s been over a week not a whimper of a news from any media outlet even #GEO maintained a pin drop silence even against their arch nemesis #ARY
Read the narration of one victim published in The Nation a few days back
… The “improbable” happened. The stalls beneath us collapsed like a house of cards, through a height roughly the equivalent of two and a half floors. In the first 10 seconds following the incident, we were too dazed to notice anything but the sudden change of scenery in our immediate vicinity; from a stepped structure with seats bolted into it, to flat wreckage on the ground.
It took us a moment to acknowledge our injuries: our bleeding feet, our bruised skin, our misshapen limbs. Our first instinct was to cry out for help to those around us. That was until we realised that everyone around us was struggling through the same wreckage that we were….
I guess Malik Riaz ka paisa Bolta hai – so much for independent media ! This letter by Baharia Town confirms the incident and the videos I have received lends us a shocking reminder of what the people of Pakistan NEVER saw on TV being reported
Take a moment to vote for Nighat Dad as she has been honored with a nomination for the Dutch Human Rights Tulip Award.
With the grant she hopes to build a helpline for Cyber crime and Harassment, which is an ongoing issue and will continue to haunt us in the times to come – take a moment to support Pakistan – each vote brings Pakistan closer to a much needed Cyber Crime & Harassment center
She needs our help. We have to vote for her all this week to make sure she gets into the shortlist. Go to this link and press VOTE. Then wait for the validation email to come to you and follow the instructions. It’s that simple, but we don’t have much time to help her win. It would be a great honor for Pakistan if she does, and a way of saying thank you to Nighat Dad for all the work she does on our behalf.
UPDATE 1: 2:55pm Wednesday 28th October UPDATE 2: 6:40pm Wednesday 28th October UPDATE 3: 4:00 pm Friday 30th October UPDATE 4: RELEASED ON BAIL 11:30 am Tuesday 3rd November
Today the FIA arrested a twitter activist @JalalQazi from Peshawar for posting a tweet on 22nd Sept, they placed upon him charges for violating the Electronic Transaction Ordinance of 2002 specifically clause 36: Violation of Privacy of Information and 37: Damage to Information Systems(read clauses below) these are, as per my understanding (?), non-bailable offences permitting the FIA unbridled arrest of Jalal Qazi for up to 90 days without follow-up
On 15th September Ihsan Ali, the VC of Abdul Wali Khan University and three other educationalists were arrested by Ehtesab Commission and sent to a 14-day remand to Peshawar Central Jail for involvement in corruption to the tune of Rs 550 Million, the media published reports on this arrest partially siding with the ANP narrative and playing a sympathetic anti-educationist angle almost as if to blame Ehtesab commission for wrongdoing. The case took an interesting twist when seven days later on 22nd September, Ihsan Ali was granted bail by the Honorable Justice Irshad Qaiser. Which may have, in normal circumstances been a routine bail, but had it not been for some investigative sleuthing of Qazi Jalal who dug out an engagement card possibly establishing a conflict-of-interest between the honorable judge and her to be son-in-law Faizan Malik a lecturar at Abdul Wali Khan University, and possibly undergoing the same investigation
The on-ground reports from Peshawar is that, FIA is responding and harassing Qazi Jalal on possibly contempt of court charges started by Justice Irshad Qaiser, Ihsan Ali the bailed VC, ANP Senator Sitara Ayaz (who is ironically also subverting arrests from Ehtesab Commission under ‘stay orders’ issued by Honorable Justice Irshad Qaiser, Qazi Jalal reported on the Senators case as well) the case is also being propped up fully pushed by the corrupt ANP party as they are intrinsically involved in the corruption scandal.
The more pertinent issue is if this tweet was wrong as deemed by the honorable judge, Qazi Jalal should have been asked by the honorable judge, even in pursuant of a proper legal proceeding to ask him to delete &/or apologize for this inaccurate information, but quite ironically it seems they may have chosen to bully and harass Qazi Jalal using the FIA to exercise the ETO ordinance 2002, which if you read the clauses below, there is truly no direct violation under which Qazi Jalal should be arrested, unless they choose to draw hypothetical conclusions to the wordings of the law, best part is that a tweet gathering a mere 8 retweets was deemed damaging the repute of the people involved in the AWKU and others directly/indirectly involved that required such drastic harassment
This is a very serious development, the Cyber Crime Bill which is presently in the National Assembly of Pakistan for approval in its present form, is also a prime example of what could happen if such weak laws are promulgated – it allows irresponsible state agencies to abuse vague injunctions to harass the citizens of Pakistan on the flimsiest of excuses, the present ETO clause 36 and 37 falls well outside realm of this arrest but the agencies found enough of an excuse to arrest & harass Jalal – It could happen to you too
UPDATE 1: Wednesday 28th October 2:55pm : Its interesting to dig around to find out how Qazi Jalal had access to the engagement card, it has come to our attention that Qazi Jalal tweeted this image of the card after spotting it on his facebook friends Haybat Khan’s timeline
The original poster made the update on 22nd Sept 12:47pm and Qazi Jalal made a post almost 8 hours after on 22nd Sept 9:14pm. The FIA if are interested in a credible investigation should pursue the original content from Facebook (credit for the find Sidra Imran)
UPDATE 2: Wednesday 28th October 6:40pm: Reports are coming in that all day efforts were being made by family and the local jirga to come to some understanding and have a Muafi Nama (Apology) signed between the parties, but we’ve have just found out that Qazi Jalal has been handed over to the FIA for a 2-day remand by the court. Seems a contempt of court charge has also been tacked onto this case
UPDATE 3: Friday 30th October 4:00pm: Qazi Jalal appeared before the sessions court judge for the hearing, the Judges family has refused to accept the apology – despite having forced / convinced him to sign it in the fist place, the sessions court judge remanded him to 14-days in Peshawar Central Jail – the jail conditions are horrible, its deplorable – I personally have seen the copy of the FIR the case is only registered as a violation of ETO 36 and 37 there is no Contempt of Court Charge. The next hearing is expected to be Wednesday 4th November
UPDATE 4: Tuesday 3rd November 11:30am JALAL QAZI RELEASED ON BAIL: After much of a traumatic experience it has been reported that Jalal Qazi was granted interim bail and released from Peshawar Jail – the reports are that the family came to some understanding to manipulate his release before wednesday. Keep in mind this does not mean the issue is all sorted out, it only means Jalal Qazi has been harassed enough that they choose to release him on bail for sometime
36. Violation of privacy of information.—Any person who gains or attempts to gain access to any information system with or without intent to acquire the information contained therein or to gain knowledge of such information, whether or not he is aware of the nature or contents of such information, when he is not authorised to gain access, as aforesaid, shall be guilty of an offence under this Ordinance punishable with either description of a term not exceeding seven years, or fine which may extend to one million rupees, or with both.
37. Damage to information system, etc.— (1)Any person who does or attempts to do any act with intent to alter, modify, delete, remove, generate, transmit or store any information through or in any information system knowingly that he is not authorised to do any of the foregoing, shall be guilty of an offence under this Ordinance.— (2)Any person who does or attempts to do any act with intent to impair the operation of, or prevent or hinder access to, any information contained in any information system, knowingly that he is not authorised to do any of the foregoing, shall be guilty of an offence under this Ordinance.— (3) The offences under sub-section (1) and (2) of this section will be punishable with either description of a term not exceeding seven years or fine which may extend to one million rupees, or with both.
Today the site which might have been responsible (as per my info) for the cause of the WordPress censorship is undoubtedly Anti-Pakistan propaganda and has been engaged in this Anti-Pakistan propaganda for quite sometime, even to the extent of supporting TTP terrorists against Pakistan etc, but by blocking it, does not serve Pakistan well, as inadvertently the Govt of Pakistan attracts more undue attention towards the site, a site which I too would not have bothered to look up – had if Govt of Pakistan not decided to block it, inquisitively I looked around to search the cause of the block to actually see why had it irked PTA enough to block it.
Now hats off to PTA as the traffic / attention to the site increases … censorship is hence a double edge sword, but propaganda wins, if it reaches the tipping point of curiosity, catapulting the issue to mainstream news, as compared to an unknown blog post being uploaded on some random blog site pushing filth
“A source at Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has confirmed ProPakistani that WordPress.com is temporarily blocked in Pakistan due to severe issues related to national security. It appears now that blocking decision is somewhat related to Pakistan day. Source, who wanted to remain unnamed, said that exact content that caused the blockade can’t be revealed due to seriousness of the matter. Source further confirmed that WordPress.com will be unblocked in two days from now”
Post Edit: One does go through a flux of thoughts at times like these, sure on 23rd March with patriotism in full swing, Anti-state propaganda is to be shunned / ignored, and in their self acclaimed defenders of the ideology of Pakistan – PTA decides to possibly take a moratorium on wordpress for 2 days (?) to silence this idiotic blog but does blocking one blog warrant the blatant censorship of millions of other blogs
Many may argue, its not the end of the world, sure… but why should millions of blog access suffer for one idiotic lunatic hosting something against Pakistan. Havent they inturn given legitimacy to the blog, that they have successfully irked the Pakistani nation and in some way catapulted the blogger to international fame. Ignoring such lunatics possibly requires prudence in thought, it could compel PTA to ask Channels/PEMRA to ignore such Anti-Pakistan stories, but attracting attention to the site is a damning shot in their own foot
An op-ed by Bina Shah spilling the beans as to what triggered the HEC directive to silence – primarily started from the Islamic University UN Model Conference where students smashed the Israeli stall – but typical bureaucracy, they stretched their imagination to ordering the censorship of all/any voice of political reasoning “The state has no right to dictate the ideals of individuals” read the full op-ed by Bina Shah in Dawn – Fed on Ideology
———— Dr Mansoor A Kundi
Higher Education Commission
Dear Dr Kundi (cc Chairman HEC and some academics),
Dr Abdullah Sadiq and I received a query about the attached note — circulated by you to universities — from our friend, Mr Naeem Sadiq in Karachi.
Only now have I ascertained that the note is genuine. What you are essentially recommending is censorship! Given the already suffocating intellectual environment on our campuses, your note will only strengthen those who wish to create a repressive atmosphere of George Orwell’s brilliant dystopia, “1984”
In a shocking notice to Universities across Pakistan the Higher Education Commission has instructed all students enrolled in universities to refrain from raising any objections or opinions against the Government of Pakistan.
HEC Directive (No.10-1/A&C/HEC/2013/869) instructing all degree awarding institutions to “remain vigilant and forestall any activity that in any manner challenge(s) the ideology and principles of Pakistan, and/or perspective of the Government of Pakistan thereof.” – Courtesy Access is my Right & Bytes For All
Its interesting to note how easy it is for a tabloid newspaper to conveniently delete a news story from its website without even bothering to offer an explanation or justification – Express Tribune today (18th Feb) has been caught (Again) to have deleted the fourth story that was published in its Print edition (e-paper link) but the story has been entirely removed from its online website
This latest story was another expose on the potential election alliance between PML-N and the banned outfit Ahle Sunnat Wali Jamat where PML-N is planning not to contest against ASWJ on three National Assembly seats – all in the name of Politics while the same banned outfit is known to support Shia killing.
All four stories were hard hitting reports against the PML-N and we have documented each deletion, seems like our efforts are paying off in exposing Tribune and its bias towards PML-N
A closer examination of all four stories we notice a common factor where the author of all four were by a political reporter Abdul Manan – Abdul Manan has been writing for Express Tribune since April 7th 2010 and a quick calculation reveals that he writes regularly and has over 750+ news reports for the Tribune under his name. He has written about every political party and many have been hard hitting & damaging articles as well. But when it comes to PML-N, the Express Tribune web desk is quick to delete the storieswithout offering any explanation and it may well be after some heated phone calls from Raiwind.
Some critics point out that these reports by Abdul Manan are inaccurate so were rightfully removed, my question then stands, Coincidentally why does it only happen to hard hitting stories regarding PML-N, that such reporting inaccuracies are deleted without any explanation, the print edition editorial board finds these stories pertinent enough to let them be printed, but within a few hours the web desk in turn finds them erroneous to delete – despite the three prior incidents the journalist continues to write for Express Tribune and no action is taken against him. If Abdul Manan is misreporting facts then who are these errors only related to news stories related to PML & ASWJ? Many questions and the fourth incident is proof enough that there is foul play to hide facts – Prime case of Yellow Tribuninsm by Express Tribune
Its hilarious at how PML-N is running confused on so many fronts, politically confused as to which side of the government does it want to be, sometimes it screams of protests from the side of Opposition, but the very next day it flips over and goes soft, in the online arena the abundant social media employed to counter the PTI Tsunami online also behaves like a headless behemoth, full of daily propaganda with no soul.
Today (6th June, 2012) Express Tribune printed a story on Page 2 – ‘Like’ my Facebook page, Shahbaz tells officials [404-DEAD LINK] which narrated a story as to how the Chief Minister has been asking Punjab govt employees to like his page & “remove PTI-related material from their Facebook accounts and not ‘like’ any PTI page”
PTI supporters started making funny jabs at how the Chief Minister was trying to rally Patwaris in the Punjab Govt to build “likes” for Shahbaz Sharif’s “political” page. In a very surprising development a few hours later Express Tribune deleted the article from their website. No explanation given, just a simple delete, was it under political pressure? Was the story misreported? We can only wonder what happened?
There is absolutely no crime in promoting your facebook page, social media experts world over do it all the time, so why a sudden embarrassed push to delete the story, so whatever the reason something did definitely bother PML-N and its supporters to force Express Tribune to pull the entire article from the website
So for whatever it is worth, I think its important to retain the contents for digital posterity, occasionally to rub the embarrassed PML-N noses to a shine for this gaff or for preserve this to question Express Tribune’s political bias for succumbing to political pressure and Continue Reading
As of 1:00pm Sunday Twitter.com has become inaccessible to all users in Pakistan. Practically all ISP’s have reports of users complaining of twitter.com being inaccessible. Ever since the reports emerged we have asked affected users to help test the site from their ISP connections and within minutes we had hundreds of reports The traceroute shows a very interesting fact, the block is at the DNS level, the url is not resolving right from the get go
traceroute: Warning: yahoo.com has multiple addresses; using 18.104.22.168
traceroute to yahoo.com (22.214.171.124), 64 hops max, 52 byte packets
1 192.168.0.10 (192.168.0.10) 2260.190 ms 0.864 ms 0.705 ms
2 126.96.36.199 (188.8.131.52) 24.729 ms 24.442 ms 21.330 ms
3 10.0.2.6 (10.0.2.6) 43.865 ms 43.745 ms 43.108 ms
4 184.108.40.206 (220.127.116.11) 46.673 ms 46.131 ms 45.280 ms
5 rwp44.pie.net.pk (18.104.22.168) 45.757 ms 46.353 ms 43.939 ms
6 rwp44.pie.net.pk (22.214.171.124) 43.749 ms 44.675 ms 44.910 ms
7 static-khi-ni01-swa.pie.net.pk (126.96.36.199) 44.823 ms 44.716 ms 45.713 ms
8 khi77.ptcl.net.pk (188.8.131.52) 181.540 ms 179.108 ms 180.835 ms
9 ge-1-3-0.pat1.ams.yahoo.com (184.108.40.206) 175.123 ms 176.314 ms 176.563 ms
Shows that the pings head to PIE [Pakistan Internet Exchange] in Rawalpindi then to the Karachi PIE server before heading out to Yahoo. Twitter does not even get beyond the first hop
My gutt feeling is that PTA is just testing their URL Filtering system, we had reports of them testing some image servers on facebook last week, and it disappeared by the evening. PTA choose Sunday to avoid any legal backlash exploiting the courts day off. I also dont buy into the argument of Express News that the access to Twitter was blocked due to an ongoing “competition” of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) caricatures. As no one knew about this “in Pakistan” and it was an unknown issue on twitter to target this portal on Sunday afternoon, there seems to be no evidence to come to that conclusion and feel Tribune should be careful in making such sweeping statements on such a sensitive issue can spark an outlash. I definitely believe they are testing their system. Though the civil society has to its credit a stay order on the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority preventing them from blocking websites obtained on 19th April 2012 which can be used against them.
Once they get through these testing days I am sure it can be later used as and when needed. Though the argument presented by PTA is that it needs this technology to crack down on Terrorism related issue, but one may never know when it can be used for political censorship
On the 17th of April 2012, seven individuals, Dr. Awab Alvi, Sana Saleem, Faisal Kapadia, Nazim Haji, Naeem Sadiq, Noman Quadri and Ayesha Tammy Haq, through their lawyer Haider Waheed with Basil Nabi Malik, petitioned the High Court of Sindh at Karachi challenging the arbitrary and random acts of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in blocking/ censoring and restricting access to various websites in violation of the fundamental rights of the owners of the websites/online forums as well as the public at large, and without affording the aggrieved persons an opportunity of being heard or due notice.
It was prayed in the said petition that no website could be blocked/ censored or restricted without affording the aggrieved parties (including the public at large) due notice and an opportunity to be heard in accordance with Articles 4, 9, 10-A, 18, 19, 19A, 20 and 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, read with Section 6 of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Act, 1996.
The Honorable High Court of Sindh issued notice to the Federation of Pakistan, through the Secretary, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, through its Chairman, and furthermore ordered the PTA not to block any website other than in accordance with the provisions of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-Organization) Act, 1996.
It may be noted that as per the PTA Act, the correct procedure to be followed before blocking or censoring of websites is as per Section 6 of the said Act, which states,
Section 6: Responsibilities of the Authority.—In exercising its functions and powers under this Act, the Authority shall ensure that—
Rights of licensees are duly protected;
All of its decisions and determinations are made promptly, in an open equitable, non-discriminatory, consistent and transparent manner;
All applications made to it are disposed of expeditiously;
The persons affected by its decisions or determinations are given a due notice thereof and provided with an opportunity of being heard;
Fair competition in the telecommunication sector exists and is maintained
The interests of users of telecommunication services are duly safeguarded and protected.
The said petition has not been made to stop the banning of any website or forum contrary to the rules already laid out by the PTA but has instead the objective of bringing the entire process under judicial review to insure its fairness, transparency and to provide a proper system of redress of the parties owning these websites and forums and protect the fundamental rights of the public at large, including internet users, in Pakistan. Continue Reading
For quite sometime Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has been blocking websites in Pakistan on the instructions of the Government, or otherwise, other than in accordance with the law. As per the constitution of Pakistan such blocking infringes upon the fundamental rights, of the people of Pakistan as well as that of the owner of the website:
The Freedom of Expression as protected by Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan;
The Right to Information as guaranteed by Article 19-A of the Constitution of Pakistan.
We are in the process of taking the PTA to court in an effort to seek an interim injunction restraining the PTA from blocking access to any website without following due diligence and fair hearing from the aggrieved persons (as out lined in Section 6 of the PTA Act, 1996)
A summary of the petition to be presented in the Honorable High Court of Sindh is as follows. If you agree and would like to be a party to this petition, then please FILL THIS FORM before Wednesday 11th April 2012.
For a good one year, ever since the facebook controversy regarding the burning of the Quran hit Pakistan, internet browsing has been significantly restricted on Blackberry devices under the orders of the Lahore High Court and subsequently conveyed to all telco’s via Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. Other cell phone users enjoy unrestricted access to most websites since they rely on simple GPRS connections which can be easily monitored and controlled but Blackberry users face the brunt of the impact of these restrictions since their devices are connected online via a secure tunnel connection to Singapore easily bypassing any government enforced censorship.
My personal position is that any blasphemous / illegal (including porn) content should not be viewed, those individual who seek such content do so on their own free will and they alone are responsible and will be answerable to Allah. Condemning an entire population for something they have no interest in, is unfortunate, and such blanket censorships only become a source of inconvenience.
Most of Pakistani Blackberry users subscribe to Blackberry Internet Services (BIS) which is the simplest form of blackberry service the services and tools are controlled to a great extent by the Telco themselves, one way to bypass all the censorship hoopla is to subscribe to Blackberry Enterprise Server, Continue Reading
Over the past few days Wikileaks has been regularly releasing an interesting set of secure cables on Pakistan. it is my belief that these documents will without doubt go down into history books to have been a world changing event, We here in Pakistan till now dont see anything that may suprirse us, we knew that these bafoons running our country are enslaven to the American interestes, literally calling them up practically at every juncture to appraise them of the issue quite often seeking advise and suggestions, even internal issues.
To me these cables are seemingly like an immensely long chain of love letters written by US embassies around the world, their disclosure embarrasses the participating countries, its without doubt, practically all nations, including Pakistan will be very careful on sharing their ballads in the future, hurting years of American diplomacy. What one does have to wonder, who may actually stand to benefit from supporting Julian Assange and his team helping them to spill the beans, many conspiracy theorists have their own theories, but time will only tell who suffers the least. Fingers have gone pointing to Israel, could it possibly be China or would you speculate someone else? Care to venture a thought
I fully support Julian Assange and his team in this whistle-blowing effort, we here in Pakistan can, after this, claim to be a better informed electorate [for whatever that means in Pakistan] but no longer are we shooting theories into the wind, as to the extent of American involvement in our day-to-day affairs of Pakistan, but now they are documented that all our bafoons running our country blatantly report to their masters quite frequently. I share with you a TEDGlobal2010 interview of Julian Assange with Chris Andersen on Why the world needs WikiLeaks Continue Reading