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Posts tagged with: Lahore

Via Satellite TV: Images from the ground

(Image above – AAJ TV downlink has been suspended in Pakistan, 20 minutes ago)

(Image above: ARYOnline, footage of this TV channel in Pakistan and live feeds of others are being posted every couple of minutes to pkpolitics.com)

(Check points and road blocks have sprouted up across the streets in Karachi and Lahore)

October 8th 2005, Two Years Back

Pakistan Quake One Year AgoHelp-Pakistan.com : October 8th 2005, changed Pakistan forever, at precisely 08:50:38 a massive earthquake struck the northern areas of Pakistan over 80,000 lives perished in a blink of an eye, thousands were displaced ultimately resulting in millions of dollars in damage. A few of my older posts Have You Forgotten? October 8th 2005, Stories from Earthquake Volunteers, Where am I?& Help-Pakistan.com.

At this tragic moment it was really heartening to see that every Pakistani around the world joined in the relief efforts in unison to help the suffering. It was a proud moment of unity which sadly seemed to last for a fleeting moment and has long since been forgotten, the tragedy was without doubt a lesson from God Almighty, but it seems that we may have already forgotten too quickly, we continue to loot and plunder the nation with no care and worries of any repercussions whatsoever.

I would like to join A for [pine]Apple in prayer at Islamabad Metroblogs

Let’s pray for the departed souls, May Allah bless them with Maghfirah and Peace in Jannah; and for the affectees who lost limbs, families, homes, businesses, and lot more we’d never be able to even comprehend, May Allah’s blessings be with them (Ameen)

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Teeth Maestro Interviewed by Pakistani Spectator

I was recently interview by Ghazala Khan at The Pakistani Spectator – here is the published version as found on their website – I thank her and the entire Pakistani Spectator team for all the kind words they have repeatedly mentioned about me.

Interview with Dr. Awab Alvi : Blogging Maestro

Awab AlviTeeth Maestro is one of the beaconhouses of Pakistani blogosphere. He is a dentist by profession, but geeker than any geek when it comes to information technology. He has been actively blogging since July 2004 first on blogspot, but now has got his own WWW home at Teeth Maestro. He has been instrumental in making the Pakistani blogging horizon dynamic. Along with the people’s teeth and blogging, he also manages some other cool ventures.
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Assault on a Lawyer (Naeem Bukhari)

I share with you this letter written by Naeem Bukhari brought to my attention courtesy of an avid reader of this blog, Dr. Moeed Pirzada. I quote his message which I feel is self explanatory

I am posting here a recent article from Naeem Bokhari, after his thrashing by a group of lawyers inside the court room of Additional Sessions Judge. Since Mr. Bokhari’s action, of writing an open letter against the CJ was hotly debated, in your blog, it will be interesting to see what kind of reactions it ellicits now-given the fact that the events in Pakistan have moved full circle since then. If you will have any reservations in posting it, I will understand that, since most in media and legal community have conveniently ignored this development and I guess-sitting in London- that it is not kosher to discuss it. – Dr. Moeed Pirzada

I tend to agree with Dr. Pirzada it should be interesting to get the pulse of the nation in response to this letter written by Naeem Bukhari, since the dust has settled surrounding the CJP issues starting from his famous letter written in February 2007 and then as they say, the rest is history.
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Musharraf & his Hair Pulling Fenzy

Musharraf Pulling his HairThe Economist recently published an image in their August 16th issue which was a perfect reflection of the emotional roller coaster faced by General Pervaiz Musharraf and his feeble attempt to remain in power by a thin thread.

Last week the Supreme Court of Pakistan handed him yet another lethal blow by nullifying all agreements that were made between the Army and Sharif’s hence allowing the duo back into the country. While the entire country celebrated, it literally shook the Presidency including the lady in Abu Dhabi who may have gotten a bone chilling reminder that the Army has for the umpteenth time taken the Bhutto family on a roller coaster to disaster.
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I still love Pakistan, Do You?

I Still Love Pakistan do youBarely four days left for the 60th anniversary of our beloved nation, but it seems that many citizens are just not motivated enough to celebrate this milestone. It appears that the people have been disheartened by the continuous political twists and turns that have besieged our country since the past few months which saw the attack on the the judiciary, the 5/12 massacre then the recent rumor of State of Emergency.
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Pakistan at the Mercy of ‘Greedy’ Musharraf

Musharraf CartoonIts not easy for a nation of 160 million people stand on the sidelines helplessly watching one person lead our beloved country down towards a path of destruction simply because of his greed and hunger for power of the kursi. There are strong rumors floating around Islamabad suggesting that Musharraf might enforce a State of Emergency in Pakistan as per the Article 232 of the Constitution of Pakistan, quite forcibly pushing this nation into even more chaos and confusion.

In an earlier post I had outlined that Musharraf was playing this game of poker with only two cards in hand and both served up to him courtesy of the White House. The Americans had clearly offered him two options, first was to attempt to negotiate a deal with Benazir Bhutto and the second was a back up scenario just in case if the Benazir talks fail, then he was permitted to enforce a State of Emergency. All these ramblings and dealings were simply because the United States of America needed a moderate leader running the country so that they can continue to wage the war on terror around Pakistan
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Plot to Bring Back Benazir

Benazir BhuttoAfter recovering from the celebrations across the country where majority of Pakistanis celebrated the reinstatement of Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry as the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Its time to look towards the future of Pakistan, one thing we all hope should transpire from this landmark decision is the courage for other legal departments to stand up and lead the way forward towards serving justice to the people of Pakistan, which has eluded Pakistan for over 60 years. We pray and hope to see a change in the fundamental workings of our court system moving away from bribery and actually creating room for a fair and just society.

Political future at the moment presents a very bleak picture when we see a circus surrounding the romance between Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto which has now become an open secret that they have full intentions of becoming bed fellows for five years. The secret was revealed in an investigative report conducted by The Guardian showing that talks have been underway between both the leaders for over three years since 2004. There is an imminent power sharing deal between the two but whatever the deal, both are cunning individuals capable of lying through their teeth even stabbing each other in the back just to protect their precious seat.
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The 15 Jail Days under Musharaf military dictatorship

By: Farooq Tariq
(I received this article written by Farooq Tariq, a leader of Labor Party Pakistan, its important to share this first-hand narration of the events which took place while he was detained by Musharrafs dictatorship in an attempt to control the rising voice of descent slowly developing against him in Pakistan)

It was one of worst jail experience I had during my 30 year of activism. I was released after 15 days when my detention orders were withdrawn by the home secretary of Punjab government on 19th June. It was not due to a mercy of the government but our local and international massive solidarity campaign. Hundreds of protest letters have been sent to General Musharaf with dozens of faxes and messages of protest to different provincial authorities during the solidarity campaign against my detention.

Most importantly, a write petition at Lahore High Court was to be heard on 20th June. One of the most prominent advocate and former president of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan Abid Hassan Minto was to argue my case against the detention. Abid Hassan Minto is also head of National Workers Party and convener Awami Jamhoori tehreek (Peoples Democratic Movement) a left alliance of seven political parties. Labour Party Pakistan is part of the alliance.
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I Support, Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa

Military Inc by Ayesha SiddiqaThe Government of Pakistan (read Pakistan Army) has been trying its best to suppress the release of the book titled Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy which was written by Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa. Since Friday, the proposed release date the military has pulled all stops to prevent the release of this all-exposing book going to the extent of pulling the book off the shelves and then harassing the author considerably.

This recent attempt to bully Free Speech has resulted in a world wide outcry and many people overwhelmingly have objected to the attempt by the Pakistan Army to silence this author and offer her my full physical and moral support in this regard.

I fully condemn the actions of the Pakistan Army to silence Dr. Ayesha and her new book titled Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy and offer her full physical and moral support in this crisis

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Pakistan Cricket News SMS’d to your Cell Phone

twitter.pngCricket Bloggers of Pakistan: For some days I have been fascinated by the easy and utility of Twitter, this is without doubt a step closer to interconnecting the entire world via the mobile phone. The best portion of twitter which I have grown to love is the ability to deliver instant news right to my cell phone. I have configured a few twitter accounts and attached them to some RSS feeds and whenever the feed updates I get pinged immediately with an SMS containing a short description and a tinyurl to browse through using GPRS.

I have for the past few weeks created a number of Twitter accounts which is customized to update you with Pakistan specific news from some leading news sources in Pakistan.

With a strong passion for cricket I have just recently configured the Pakistan Cricinfo RSS feed with a twitter account aptly calling it PakCricket and now whenever there is a story update on Cricinfo about anything related to the Pakistan Cricket scene I get the news sent to me instantaneously.
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Eyewitness: Karachi, May 12, 2007

A narrative of the events of “Black Saturday and the “stop-the-blame-game argument

Guest Post by Beena Sarwar
article also published in The News on 27th May

“Here in Karachi, we avoid name calling and finger pointing due to fear of having our knees drilled

ON May 12, 2007, Karachi witnessed orchestrated mayhem. Such carnage is hardly unique to Karachi or to Pakistan — law enforcement agencies have stood by and even participated in worse massacres elsewhere, like Northern Ireland and Gujarat, India. In Karachi that day, “only about 46 lives were lost, and 150 or so injured.

But this was the first time in Pakistan that live television cameras captured the situation for viewers to see: government tankers used to block off routes to the airport, police and rangers conspicuous by their absence or standing idle as armed men ran amok on the streets of Karachi, corpses and wounded bodies lying by the wayside in pools of blood.

The security plans chalked out for May 12 were abandoned overnight. The Sindh home department withdrew the weapons of most law enforcement personnel in Karachi on May 12. Armed only with batons, the 15,000 or policemen deployed in the city avoided the violent areas. Rangers who were to hold key positions on the flyovers on the main airport road were nowhere in sight. Instead, armed men in civilian clothes held those posts, and fired into the crowds trying to reach the airport to receive the Chief Justice stranded inside.

At 5:00am on Saturday morning, Shahrah-e-Faisal (Drigh Road), the main airport route normally trafficked at all hours, was deserted as a journalist friend in Karachi found who was out and about early. He emailed me: “I saw something which gave me the chills — no police or Rangers on the roads, just kids with guns guiding trucks, tankers to block the intersections, entry and exit points on the main artery of city. I saw an NLC truck also being used to block the road (picture attached). We all know NLC is Pakistans largest trucking company, owned and managed by the army. Tie-rods were being removed from front tires so the vehicles could not be moved even by a tow truck. I thought, What if ambulances are required to move on Sharah-e-Faisal?My thought was immediately answered when I saw two KKF ambulances moving freely (Khidmat-Khalq Foundation, MQM’s social service wing) and MQM activists among those supervising the blockade.

Getting to office took him two hours, a journey that even during rush hour takes only 45 minutes. “I told my colleagues about my fear and almost all of them told me to relax as MQM is not that stupid they will not repeat the 1992 & 94 stupidity. By 12 noon Karachi was bleeding.

“There were bodies lying at every street intersection, Uzi, a reporter related later on her blog. “We picked up a whole bunch of them and put them inside police mobiles parked nearby.As for the police and the Rangers: “They did NOTHING! They stood around and LOITERED while my city was tainted with blood.

The areas she covered were the second bloodiest that day. It took her nearly an hour to get to Jinnahs mausoleum (Mazar-e-Quaid), normally a 15-20 minute drive from her house. At Kashmir Road the cab driver couldn’t go any further and she walked the remaining distance. At around 01:00 p.m., she was stopped by a political worker who put a TT pistol to her forehead (“NOT the temple, the FOREHEAD). She was allowed to proceed after showing her press card.

Over at the Sindh High Court, lawyer Ayesha Tammy Haq sent this text message around 5 pm Karachi time: “In the High court. Things getting worse. Judges will not leave as there will be a rampage. I was with the CJ. City courts being attacked as re Aaj and Geo. We are going to have army rule in Karachi. It looks like that was always the plan i.e. redemption of the army. (Later in an interview, General Musharraf denied such plans and reasserted his commitment to democratic politics. But then, he has also justified what happened in Karachi as “the political activity of a political party attempting to show its strength to its constituency interview with Talat Hussain, Aaj TV, May 18, 2007)

Another lawyer emailed: “Not only was the Sindh High Court under virtual siege by armed activists, but lawyers attempting enter the Court were repeatedly beaten and roughed up. The armed activists did not even spare the Judges of the High Court. One judge was held at gun point and his car damaged. “While holding me at gun point, the youth called someone and stated Yeh bolta hai kay High Court ka judge hai…kya karun is ka?…achaa theek hai, phir janay daita houn (He says hes a judge of the High Court. What should I do with him? Ok then, will let him go). Many judges, unable to drive to the Sindh High Court, had to leave their official ‘flag’ cars and make their way through menacing crowds and climb over the court’s back wall in order to reach their chambers.

Munir A. Malik, one of the 25 lawyers accompanying Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry from Islamabad to Karachi, narrates how they were forced to remain inside the airport. The Sindh government representatives offered to transport the Chief Justice by helicopter but this offer was for him alone. Since the lawyers with him had already foiled the attempts of “two uniformed people to “snatch the CJP and take him from the other side, he refused. (Story at the airport, The News on Sunday, Special Report, May 20, 2007)

Armed men attacked lawyers at Malir District Bar, Iftikhar Choudhry’s scheduled first stop in Karachi, killing a lawyer and injuring several others, including female lawyers. The Chief Justice and his team, of course, were externed to Islamabad after several hours. Late that night, residents in the low-income Ranchore Lines mohalla were awakened by loud banging on their doors. One resident relates that it was two young boys distributing freshly cooked biryani and suji in plastic bags: “Yeh chief justice ki wapsi ki khushi mein hai (This is to celebrate the Chief Justice’s return [to Islamabad]).

On the Karachi streets, Uzi’s press card had saved her again at around 05:00 p.m. as she and a colleague tried to reach the Rangers Headquarters in Dawood College. “A car chockfull of ammunition passed in front of us, stopped, backed up and stopped in front of us, Kalashnikovs pointing at the two of us from the windows. We showed our press cards and the car moved on. NEVER in my LIFE have I felt more grateful to my press card than I did yesterday.

At around 06:00 p.m., she and her colleague were trapped by gunshots all around. “Short of climbing the walls and entering one of the houses around, there really was no other place for us to go.They stopped a police mobile and asked which way would be safe to go. The answer, accompanied by laughter: “You can be killed wherever you go. Choose your place.

In published reports, journalists prudently avoided naming the parties involved. “Young men toting flags and banners had set up camp outside the airport departure lounge. They hid, however, when policemen came by. Reporters in the vicinity were asked whether they had seen any political activists around. Munawar Pirzada (from Daily Times) said that he had seen some nearby. After the policemen had left, the activists came up to the reporter, dragged him by the hair and took him aside. They then proceeded to threaten him with dire consequences if he said anything the next time the policemen came around (Urooj Zia, Daily Times, May 14).

But the affiliation of these gangs was visible in the live coverage provided by several private television channels, which showed plainclothes men brandishing weapons on the deserted roads, using government tankers as cover, exchanging gunfire with unseen opponents, the tri-colour MQM flag visible on their motorcycles.

After Aaj TV’s continuous live coverage of such scenes, armed men attacked the television station, firing at it for several hours. Instead of stopping the coverage, Aaj showed live footage of reporters ducking behind a desk, shots being fired at their office, as anchor Talat Hussain provided an account of the situation on the phone. Reporters in the area asked the Rangers posted nearby to help the Aaj workers trapped inside their building. The answer: “We’re helpless. We can’t do anything unless we have orders from above.

Aaj TV’s refusal to suspend its live coverage emboldened the new breed of citizen journalists. “My faith in independent media was restored and I was confident that I am not alone, wrote one blogger. He had hesitated to post out the testimony of a doctor at a Karachi hospital who witnessed armed political workers turn up to finish off an injured political worker. Encouraged by the Aaj re-broadcasting of images that clearly showed the involvement of MQM workers in the violence, he published the testimony with a disclaimer that “it was an anonymously posted comment and could be entirely false, you be a judge for yourself.

The testimony was apparently sent by a doctor who had been at work for several hours attending to multiple gunshot wound victims in his hospital lobby, where a makeshift emergency room had been set up. Nothing, he writes, “struck down my soul more than what 9 fully armed workers of MQM along with 2 sector office bearers did. They tried to drag out the wounded and dying body of a Sunni Teri worker (whose identity they later learnt) for presumably finishing him off.The protesting doctors were slapped around and dragged by their legs to the back of the gurney alley. With “shotguns, pistols and ak-47’s in hand, the men ran back to the lobby presumably to find their target again.

The doctor ran out to the rangers and police near the hospital front gate. Their answer to his appeal: “Jaante ho inn logon ko phir bhi kyon larta ho¦hamain upar se order hai ke inn ko char baje tak karne do jo karna hai. Char baje ke baad kuch dekhainge” (When you know who these people are why do you still fight them ¦ we have orders from above to let them do whatever they want until 4pm. After 4pm we will see).

As a previous MQM supporter, the doctor had recognized some of the assailants and called a friend related to MQM deputy leader Farooq Sattar. Five minutes later the men received a phone call and left, threatening the doctors (and stealing one of their cell phones, “Chikna set hai — it’s a cool set). “The guy they had come looking for had been shot one more time in the head. The o.t dress we had dressed him in 10 mins earlier was freshly bloody. Full text at: Karachi Metroblogs
There is a story behind each of those who were killed, some belonging to one or other political party, and others just because they were there. Masked men stopped ambulances and sprayed them with bullets, killing an Edhi Ambulance driver, Faizur Rahman Khan, 65, when he refused to throw out a wounded person he was transporting to hospital from near the airport; the wounded man was also shot again. Armed gangs herded passers-by into an alley and shot dead a young overlock machine operator along with another man, in front of two colleagues who were also shot but survived to tell the tale (They shot us one by one… by Munawar Pirzada, Daily Times). There have been reports about an SHO who guided a procession into an ambush and a pregnant woman who had to deliver her baby in the car when armed men refused to let her proceed to the hospital with her husband. The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) reports that several journalists were manhandled and nine wounded. Some TV cameramen were beaten and their cameras snatched or damaged.

In all these stories of horror, there is at least one amusing aside: the stranded reporter Uzi had the thrill of getting to ride a motorbike when her editors sent a senior reporter to pick her up. “You couldn’t use a car etc, because on a bike your press card was visible, and that was a kind of immunity. In a car or a van, they’d shoot at you on sight. So yeah, I got to ride pillion on a bike, and I didn’t sit sideways either, like women usually do here. 😀 I sat like guys usually do handsfree mode. 😀 Initially I was scared shitless, but then I got used to it, and it was AWESOME — like flying! MQM-waalahs on the way kept turning and staring at the weird Chick who was riding pillion like guys do and didn’t have to hold on to anything to maintain her balance. 😀 AWESOME, it was! I want a bike now! :P”

All power to Uzi, I say. I hope she gets her bike and I hope she gets to ride it. Someone should do a study on why Pakistan is the only Southasian country where it’s a no-no for women to cycle or drive scooters, or sit pillion astride (rather than side-saddle as they do,
uncomfortably and dangerously, sometimes holding on to several children). It wasn’t always that way until the 1960s college girls in Lahore, Karachi, even Peshawar bicycled around pretty freely, some even in saris. A trivial matter perhaps, given what’s happening in the country but these issues are not entirely unlinked.

Karachi educationist, Anwar Abbas, later emailed: “My son-in-law and daughter who live in a building adjoining Baloch colony flyover had a good look at the thugs in action from their rooftop. Their only regret is that they did not have a camera to capture the ghastly scenes. They returned to their flat because their little daughter was alone with the maid and because the thugs had also climbed the roofs of adjoining buildings in order to obtain an aerial view of their targets and shoot at random.

He added: “It is not important which group they belonged to; it is important that they could behave the way they did in complete disregard to the rule of law; if indeed the law was awake or not in collusion with the thugs Many others, including Aaj TV’s Talat Hussain and MQM’s Dr. Farooq Sattar have also suggested that the “blame game be avoided.

But a lawyer friend, “angry and distressed in Karachi, argues that “If we avoid name callingand finger pointing, we will simply be brushing the events of last Saturday under the carpet of indifference. Here in Karachi, we avoid name calling and finger pointing due to fear of having our knees drilled. Even Urdu speaking lawyers, while talking of last Saturdays events at the Sindh High Court look over their shoulders and speak in hushed tones when mentioning the name of MQM

“As we try to understand the carnage of 12th May, we have to ask the following question: Which political group stands to lose the most in a Musharraf ouster? Not the PML (Q). The Chaudhrys and their ilk will merely disperse and filter back into the PML (N) or the PPP. The unprecedented power and privilege of the MQM however is firmly tied with Musharraf’s hold in Islamabad. It was the threat to their benefactor from the supporters of the Chief Justice, which unleashed the gunmen on 12th May. Zaffar Abbas is correct when he writes that Karachi was only at peace for the past many years because it suited its militants (‘Back to the future?’ Dawn, May 14, 2007)

“Finger pointing is necessary, because throughout our history, instead of a catharsis, we simply go through a jo ho gaya ab bhool jaao, aagay daikho (forget what has happened) attitude. Already, with the President’s pat on the back at the emergency meeting of the ruling party in Islamabad (on Monday) the MQM is back on the front foot

“Although it is unlikely that the perpetrators of Saturday’s violence will ever be brought to justice, at least they should continue to be exposed before the entire country. More importantly, they should face the consequence of such exposure. Public image is very important to the MQM and the national outrage at their conduct may be the best prospect of compelling them to change their ways.

Twitter in Pakistan

twitter.pngThere are so many web products being launched on a daily basis that it becomes mind boggling to filter through the good and the bad. Twitter is most definitely not a new name to the internet and has literally captured the imagination of millions of mobile and internet users around the globe. Quite surprisingly it has some how not yet engulfed the SMS crazy Pakistani people.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is new social network that integrates mobile phones with the web. It is a way for keeping in touch with your friends no matter where you are or what you are doing, if you have a mobile phone you can update your current status by simply sending an SMS and literally all your friends will get updated with your message.

How can I Twit?

There are three ways you can send and receive Twit messages, the most exciting concept is through your cell phone, you can also choose to send and receive on Google Talk or even restrict your viewing pleasure to the website. All messages you send immediately appear on the website and a quick look will show you all the messages that have been sent and received.

Is it available in Pakistan?

Most definitely YES! I personally have been watching the the product for some time but would have to admit that somehow I kept assuming that this service was not available in Pakistan until a few days back I tested the registration system and was astonished to receive an almost instantaneous SMS activating my cell phone, since then I have throughly enjoyed receiving up-to-the minute breaking news and a lot many updates of my own choosing.

Why are you so excited about Twitter?

To appreciate the concept one must understand the system. Lets suppose I have a twitter account at http://twitter.com/drawab (which I do) attached to my profile 30-40 friends (which i don’t have yet) have voluntarily decided to follow all my updates. All along the day I could post any message, it could be a joke, it could be anything and literally everyone of my freinds would get the update. All I have to do is send one SMS to a specified UK number (costing me Rs. 1.50) which is the twitter SMS Gateway, instantaneoulsy the gateway updates my profile and also dispatches the update to all my friend all for FREE. I am sure you see the savings instantaneous. Simply said I am happy and I also have communcited with all my friends. The group message is such a tickling moment that a few of my freinds are bound to respond and hence we have ourselves a mobile based social network fully within our control. We can accept freinds and at the same time reject strangers.

Honestly one has to look beyond the savings and appreciate the technology twitter has to offer extending the interconnected world right into our palms.

Twitter Network is not limited to people chit chatting about everyday life, but blogs and news websites also use this to instantaneously spread their updates like BBC, CNN, FoxNews, Engadget, TechCrunch, lets not forget Teeth Maestro and Karachi Metroblogs to name a few.

The past few I have been susbcriber to a number of breaking news channels on twitter which has my cell phone buzzing off the hook with instantaneous updates of the world around me. If it get to your nerves you can choose to selectively turn each channel off and see it either on Google Talk or even limited to your web based twitter profile. Please do remember to key in your sleep timings otherwise you will have a twit filled night.

What concerns are there in Pakistan?

Taking a look at our greedy cell phone companies who have relentlessly continued to make a fortune off the consumers yet fail to provide decent service, I suspect they will react quickly and try to block these services lest they hinder the steady stream of revenue. Naturally if you are getting free alerts from Twitter on any issue of your choice then why will you subscribe to their subscription packages offering you horoscopes or even cricket messages (yes twitter also had a World Cup 2007 Twitter channel which was well updated till the final ball). The other drawback seen by the cell phone giants would be excessive incoming messages in exchange for one out going charge.

I would have to argue with these providers is for them to look at the greater concept if their consumers getting increasingly hooked onto any mobile based social network they will naturally tend to make millions while Twitter incurs the costs from its SMS Gateway in England.

Who looses out?

I suspect the information services companies that actually push these messages for a minor charge will be the big time losers, and I am not the least bit concerned as they have made millions already sucking on you phones (they will continue to make a lot from their ring tone collection)

Is there a real cost savings?

The cost savings will be a lot if you limit your usage to receive only news updates, but if you start to engage with the contagious social network then it might turn out to be expensive in the long run since the international SMS is priced higher then the usual, but I suspect many of us can easily become twitaholics, I probably already am.

What other utilities are there with Twitter?

The Twitter company has released it API for full integration and development with their system and a large number of designers have already made some interesting tools which can be discovered here in detail, but a few did spark my interest

  • Facebook to Twitter – Sadly there was none to merge the twitter messages to the Facebook update pages, (Designers: There is a need for a mashup between the facebook and Twitter API)
  • Twitterfeed – This application incorporate RSS feeds to be converted into Twits, I have created channels for my own blog Teeth Maestro and Karachi Metroblog hence getting you an immediate update (polled every thirty minutes) right on your cell phone
  • Twitterberry – An application designed for Blackberry’s

What if your Cell Phone does not work?

There is a probability that the mobile service provider is already blocking the Twitter UK number +447781488126 you can alternatively receive these updates via Google Talk or even via email but the easiest will naturally be the Twitter website itself.

What about Pakistani content?

I think there is a definite shortage of Pakistani content on Twitter and naturally no community from Pakistan but I expect it to grow exponentially, to create some interest I have created a few twitter accounts and have taken the liberty of creating a few local channels which can really prove handy for any mobile connected individual each has been associated with an RSS feeds from there respective sources

Teeth Maestro – http://twitter.com/teeth
Karachi Metroblog – http://twitter.com/KMB
Lahore Metroblog – http://twitter.com/LMB
Islamabad Metroblog – http://twitter.com/IMB
GeoNews – http://twitter.com/GeoNews
DawnNews – http://twitter.com/DawnNews
Jang – http://twitter.com/Jang

These following Twitters Channels are not yet associated with any feed but I hope to engage these feed to provide updated information on happenings in the city. Sending an email to the corresponding address will reach me and I will try to ensure that spam does not filter through this channel and is limited to the happenings of the city

Karachi – http://twitter.com/Karachi Karachi/bloggers.pk
Lahore – http://twitter.com/Lahore Lahore/bloggers.pk
Islamabad – http://twitter.com/Islamabad Islamabad/bloggers.pk
(replace the forward slash for the @ sign)

Or you may choose to Join my personal network at drawab – http://twitter.com/drawab

Lets see Pakistan dominate the twitter world

MQM the Big Bad Wolf

Enough of our speculations on who could be at fault, for the sudden loss of transmission to over six channels in Karachi. ARY Digital, ARY One World, Geo TV, Geo News, Geo Super & AAJ YV. The mess started at around 5 pm and a few hours later Mustafa Azizabadi, MQM Information Secretary has been trying so hard to reinstate that MQM had no hand in this mess.

I have tried to reason all sides of the argument even going to the extent of trying to understand the motive behind the blanket block limited to Karachi only. I am on record to have even speculated that Geo was a ‘Drama Queen’ but it seems I might have to stand corrected on that statement and leave the Drama Queen title to be crowned some other day.

It seems MQM is pissed at the media outlets to have not given its press conference its due coverage and accuses the media to have ignored this historical event in Karachi. A number of statements have come from the London MQM headquarters and all have been denying any involvement in the censorship but surprisingly they go onto say

In a press release issued by MQM here Saturday, it is said that MQM’s Legal Aid rally is not covered properly while CJ Iftikhar’s rally, from Islamabad to Lahore, is being transmitted step-to-step, which it says is ‘journalistic dishonesty’. However, MQM believes in promoting the freedom of press. It also claimed that MQM’s rally was ten times larger than CJ Iftikhar’s rally on GT Road.

It also claimed that people themselves took the step to blackout the channels, as it was their reaction towards ‘such channels’ journalistic dishonesty’. Geo.tv

Please note the incriminating evidence which quite simply sums up the entire seven hour Karachi media black-out they use the term so casually, the enraged public seeing this ‘journalistic dishonesty’ closed down those channels.

Quite stunning at how simply they can deny any involvement in the confusion yet in the same statement drive home their grievance against the six media outlets to have ignored their ‘mammoth’ press conference and they in turn tried to teach these outlets a lesson for their bad behavior conspiring with the cable operators to shut down the offending channels. More so to bring them to their knees and beg for forgiveness. Honestly, Is this the Press Freedom they stand for? But wait, it has always been a strong Danda / Terror mentality with which they have maintained their full authoritarian control over their own voters

Geo the Drama Queen

Barely an hour ago I was up in arms trying to break the new about the nonavailability of Geo.Tv and Aaj.tv in a number of localities of Karachi. A number of reports have come through some claiming it to be blocked while others saying Aaj is on the air but Geo is blocked. Puzzling reports go onwards to state that the rest of the country the channels are fine without even so much as a hiccup.

This is indeed a puzzling incident and after some serious discussions with a number of friends (story credit Inspirex) I feel we have ourselves a drama queen trying to create some sort of chaos and put pressure on the Government of Pakistan. President Pervaiz Musharraf already has a plate full of problems in terms of the CJP fiasco, Justice Iftikhar and the lawyers supporting him have been rallying around the country to create additional pressure on the government to reinstate the Chief Justice of Pakistan, I fully support the cause, as I feel Musharraf has simply lost his sanity and is slowly going berserk like a crazed captain on a pirate ship. Its now been said, that if you are with him good otherwise Walk the Plank, Har Har.

The CJP issue seems to have Lahore and Islamabad up in a fix while Karachi seems to be simply asleep on this issue, we only read it on the front pages of news headlines and after that it appears to be a normal day at work. Karachi was never up in arms about the issue, more importantly because MQM had been carefully taken care off…. Altaf Hussain issued statements well after a week as if to wake up from a slumber party and say ‘whats this going on’ without the rallying power of MQM Karachi had a blissful sleep while the northern areas of Pakistan burned in the name of Justice.

Heading back to the topic at hand, GEO did have a tussle with the Government since the get-go which ultimately landed with a handful of warnings and even the suspension of a host during the CJP crisis. Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehamn is in no small terms a cunning fellow, he knows that he wields power of the media in his grasp and plays his own tune when he wants too. Since a few days the Jang Group it seems has not been in talking terms with the bureaucracy and I can assume that he must be itching to resume the fight.

What will Govt of Pakistan achieve to block Geo in Karachi ?

This is a good question that was also posed to me when I made the post on my blog about the blocking of Geo and Aaj in Karachi. Why would this censorship be limited to Karachi only and that too being limited to a number of select cable operators in the area (World Call Karachi). The first thing that people start to suspect is that it is a move by the Government of Pakistan to censor Geo in light of the Chief Justice of Pakistan crisis, I too reasoned likewise. This assumption will create a revolt in Karachi and people will start to rally against President Musharraf and give him additional pressure on the CJP fiasco, something which the government definitely does not want. Punjab is enough to worry about they don’t have to mess with the emotions of Sindh and stir a sleeping giant.

What will GEO achieve to have it blocked in Karachi ?

Well thats an interesting question, they simply achieve the attention of having been at the receiving end of a gag-order issued by the President of Pakistan, they achieve front page headline in tomorrows newspapers, the could also potentially wake Karachi from its slumber and be at the forefront of the assault on President Musharraf creating more pressure for him to succumb to any new demands Shakeel-ur-Rehamn might have up his sleeve, better yet they have a story which can go down in the history books as their struggle for free speech. Mind you people of Pakistan all know the cunning nature of Jang Group to be a force to reckon with.

An important point should also be noted is the fact that Geo.tv website has nothing about the incident, how strange, for a news organization to be taken off-air against its wishes will definitely start issuing strong statements in whatever way possible.

UPDATE: GEO.Tv website has just issued a statement “In some parts of country including Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkar, Mirpur Khas and Nawabshah, Geo News telecast has been blocked. Some circles claimed that MQM bade the cable operators to shut down the telecast. The cable operators were allegedly asked to keep the telecast closed down until the chief justice rally came to an end.” – seems like a lame excuse,

MQM Angle?

Could it be an MQM ploy to teach GEO a lesson as there is little doubt that MQM have a full authoritarian control over the cable network operators in Karachi and Hyderabad, it has previously threatened ARY with dire consequences when they refused to cover press statements of Altaf Hussain and it did not take long for ARY to do a 180 and succumb to their requests and start covering news items concerning Bhai, we are most definitely shown his statements on a regualr basis for the past few years. Seriously this can only be the logical explanation to have Geo go down in MQM controlled localities of Karachi and Hyderabad.

I suspect there is some thing more then the eye can see, naturally this is all speculation and can be turned around to be nothing at all, but if we find that rat scurrying around somewhere then Geo should most definitely be renamed as the Drama Queen of 2007