The fiasco started as #FamilyGate, turned into a #MalikGate, morphed into #MediaGate and suddenly I was thrushed into a weird fiasco which I choose to call as #TwitterGate. Unless you have been sleeping under a rock im sure you must have read Pakistans obsession with the “Gate fiasco” somewhere along the line, watergate to memogate etc etc, It seems Pakistanis are ready to rename all possible gates in Lahore and beyond
TwitterGate takes birth on the afternoon of 14th June 2012. When suddenly scanned copies of a Baharia Town documents appeared on the social networks, it listed about 19 top journalists to have been allegedly favored by the Bahria town owners in one form of the other, [this release comes hours after the off-air DunyaTV youtube video hits the social network hours earlier]. Noticing these images, I choose to share the image by ProPakistani at 4:05 pm on my facebook profile
The ProPakistani had actually picked it up from a twitter account of Abdullah Saad (@Kursed) who had actually posted this a status update on Twitter
Upon talking to Abdullah Saad today he categorically says that the image was not posted by him, but instead was a ReTweet of a particular media personality, whose tweet he ReTweeted (new style), when “the media personality” deleted his own tweet, it actually resulted in Abdullah Saad’s tweet also being deleted. The name of the media personality mentioned by Abdullah Saad was given to me but I choose to with-hold the name until I can get his own point of view [I’m paying caution to the wind lest i be sucked in an another circus]
[Read an update at the bottom of this post]
My second facebook update was made at 4:31pm after I discovered that the ProPakistani had only one page [3rd page] and Meri Jan Pakistan had the entire 4-page set on their facebook page in an album titled #MediaGate
After this post almost 29 minutes after from my “first Facebook (ProPakistani) status update” I tweeted the following at precisely 4:34pm on 14th June 2012. This was then also the first time I shared this on twitter and by then twitter was brimming full of these documents, if for an example even Kursed himself had retweeted the particular update well before 4:05pm, to have been picked up by ProPakistani and then to have been re-shared by myself
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 188.8.131.52
traceroute to yahoo.com (184.108.40.206), 64 hops max, 52 byte packets
1 192.168.0.10 (192.168.0.10) 2260.190 ms 0.864 ms 0.705 ms
2 220.127.116.11 (18.104.22.168) 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 22.214.171.124 (126.96.36.199) 46.673 ms 46.131 ms 45.280 ms
5 rwp44.pie.net.pk (188.8.131.52) 45.757 ms 46.353 ms 43.939 ms
6 rwp44.pie.net.pk (184.108.40.206) 43.749 ms 44.675 ms 44.910 ms
7 static-khi-ni01-swa.pie.net.pk (220.127.116.11) 44.823 ms 44.716 ms 45.713 ms
8 khi77.ptcl.net.pk (18.104.22.168) 181.540 ms 179.108 ms 180.835 ms
9 ge-1-3-0.pat1.ams.yahoo.com (22.214.171.124) 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
Today at 10:30pm (Pakistan Time) British Foreign Secretary William J Hague on his trip to Pakistan is going to come on twitter [@WilliamJHague] to answer questions. I believe this is a great initiative by the UK govt to engage with the general public on a one-on-one basis, I fully support the effort. You are welcome to pose questions on Twitter using the hashtag #FSinPak and I am sure quite a few will be answered live in the 140-character twitter style responses
My question posted earlier yesterday was“Q to @WilliamJHague #FSinPak > your position on liberating Pakistan from this War OF Terror when will it all stop, were sick of runin ur war”. I am sure many would have other pertinent questions to ask of the UK Foreign Secretary today Continue Reading
Today at 8:00pm Pakistan Time Twitter.com service went offline due to a massive DDoS attack on its servers. DDoS attacks are an attempt to make a website inaccessible by technically overloading the servers with millions of instantaneous requests from hundreds of computers scattered across the world.
Twitter a very popular suffered this attack and was literally conked out for over two hours until they slowly recovered their servers to normalcy. The DDoS attacks were definitely worrisome but what really tickled us here in Pakistan was the fact that Jang News had a very unique and interesting twist to this report.
Jang, the local Urdu newspaper, In an effort to explain to its viewers or even in a surge of sheer stupidity they explained Twitter as “Microsoft Blog called Twitter” now that is a joke in its own self. For a fact twitter is not a Microsoft entity and is a Micro-blog and quite definitely not Microsoft’s blog. Continue Reading
Its exciting to see a very vibrant and motivated community of Pakistanis online, spreading from twitter to facebook and even the age old community on Orkut. Young energetic Pakistanis are doing their best to be the new face of Pakistan on the digital sphere. This comes more as a counter to the depressing situation that we see daily in Pakistan where our elected leaders are generally embroiled in taking this country down into the doldrums.
People have ever so slowly have lost their patriotic spirit and careless about their nationality, its a sad site and a situation that continues to get worse day-by-day. The upcoming 62nd Independence Day is definitely an event to evoke that national spirit and the online community has already started gearing to literally shake the world Continue Reading
Little words can express the happiness with which I celebrate the fact that Pakistan are the World Champions of the Twenty20 world cup. To have defeated Sri Lanka with a comfortable margin of eight wickets and many balls to spare. Pakistan erupted with a roar of celebrations heard not only in Pakistan but practically every corner of the world where Pakistanis were watching this match.
This victory in my opinion was not only a sporting victory but a godsend for a nation which has been bogged down for months of uncertainty and choas, if anything, the 11 players won it to revive the ailing heartbeat of an entire Pakistani nation, for which we shall be forever grateful. Continue Reading
Keep an eye on the conversations going on online via this Live Blog, if you choose to take part then either join twitter.com and use the hashtag #PakCricket [which will pull your message into this live blog] alternatively you can leave a comment in the CoveritLive application re and after approval it can be shared with everyone keep ina eye on the Twenty 20 final. Hence we would love to hear your live commentary during the 40 overs of the entire match.
The #PakCricket twitter rally started late Saturday night an attempt to rally behind the Pakistan Cricket Team when it was due to face the Sri Lankan Cricket team on Sunday in the Twenty20 cricket World Cup at Lords in London.
Simply having the team featuring in the Twenty20 Final was a godsend morale boost for a nation desperately on the look out for good news as it has been a long time have they been able to look beyond the haze of bomb blasts and terroristic attacks.
The digital sphere decided to rally behind a twitter keyword “#PakCricket” aiming to build momentum of patriotism. We finally achieved our goal at 4:30pm Pakistan time when the #PakCricket appeared on the sidebar of the home page of Twitter.com. Since the first time it was spotted it has already climbed to #8 position. Appearing on Twitter trending topic means that one of the most ten talked about topics amongst the millions of conversations on twitter.com is about Pakistan Cricket. Continue Reading
Sunday evening the Pakistan Cricket team will face off Sri Lanka at Lords Cricket Stadium for the Twenty20 World Cup Final. Naturally our prayers are with the team, many supporters will actually be at the venue to support the team, while many will rally in front of their TV sets amongst friends and family, rooting for each four and each six that our team may hit against Sri Lanka or for that matter we shall celebrate each Sri Lankan wicket that does find its way into the dressing room.
In an effort to support the Pakistan Cricket team we Pakistanis have decided to initiate an e-rally in an attempt to make a global impact. Our effort is to concentrate around the trending topics of twitter.com. Trending Topics are a mere 10 most talked about items being discussed live on twitter.com at the very moment, if enough people mention a certain keyword enough many times it starts to feature on the home page of twitter.com
The last time we here in Pakistan managed to ‘trend’ was during the Long March with the keyword ‘#LongMarch’ I like many digital activists in Pakistan believe that this attempt serves many purposes, firstly the world notices that Pakistan is playing a crunch time cricket match, secondly it will serve to uplift the moral of Pakistan which has for sometime been ruthlessly battered amidst bomb blasts and terror strikes thirdly it is important to bring the patriotic spirit back into Pakistanis.
This campaign is NOT about one person, or one team but a true nationwide rallying support. We are aware there is a technological gap that needs to be fulfilled, as not many people are aware of what twitter.com might actually be, this mere inconvenience can easily be overcome.
Signup to twitter.com using your chosen username and email address
Upload any picture on your profile but at the moment we would appreciate if you can use this flag of Pakistan for until the cricket match is over [it would be nice if you can leave it one forever]
Once you sign up all you have to do is type supporting messages for the Pakistan Cricket Team in the limited 140 characters, but in ever message please insert the keyword including the hashtag ‘#PakCricket‘
The best possible time is to use the Hashtag during the match sharing your comments and opinions with the world, quite literally you will have a live commentary feed to millions of people, more updates to follow very soon
Spread this message across Pakistan and the world and lets have all Pakistanis rally for the cricket team whereever they might be
DigiActive, a community of people who care passionately about digital activism, and are actively creating a world of activists empowered by digital technology, has recently published an E-Book on Twitter Activism, which explains in simple layman terms on what twitter actually is while shedding light on how it can be used for activism. We here in Pakistan do get a mention in this E-book for our efforts on twitter. I believe if they were impressed by our efforts back in December 2007 well then they still have to evaluate our combined efforts in the Long March in 2008 [here] and subsequently the Long March in 2009
In December 2007, Benazir Bhutto, then leader of the Pakistani opposition party Pakistan People’s Party was killed in an attack during a political rally (BBC News 2007). For the first time, the news coverage on established media was not only accompanied through news coverage on blogs, but also on Twitter feeds. Local Twitterers, like Dr. Awab Alvi (@teeth) or social media consultant Dina Mehta (@dina, Mehta 2007) started to monitor local and international media outlets and posted their observations and comments on their personal Twitter feeds and blogs. Prominent Twitterers like Dave Winer (@davewiner), Laura Finton (@pistachio) and Dennis Howlett (@dahowlett) also started to post snippets of different news sources to their respective Twitter feeds. From then on the Twitterverse was abuzz with discussion on the events in Rawalpindi and their possible repercussions (Howlett 2008).
This should raise alarms. Will it? This is extra-judicial killings – by state organs. The last time it happened under Benazir and Sharif Governments, the agencies got emboldened and thousands of Baluchis and Muhajirs died.
Earlier in the 70s, the same agencies were involved in what was then East Pakistan.
A fool learns from his mistakes. An idiot does not.
We seem to be bent upon endlessly repeating mistakes. Either that, or the agencies are a power unto themselves and are a state within state and cannot be controlled.
The key question to ask is – ‘who exercises control over these agencies and how effective is their control?’
The concern of our MaiBaap is not displaced. They urge effective control over this behemoth (the Agencies) as much for their benefit as for ours. Continue Reading
The twitter revolution is being seen as a tool to help gear up for country changing activism – recently Foreign Policy magazine published an article on how twitter is helping young Moldavian fight for their rights,
Foreign Policy: Ever since yesterday’s announcement that Moldova’s communists have won enough votes to form a government in Sunday’s elections, Moldova’s progressive youth took to the streets in angry protests. As behooves any political protest by young people today, they also turned to Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness about the planned protests and flashmobs. Led by youth NGOs like HydePark and ThinkMoldova, the protests began very peacefully – as a flashmob, where young people were simply supposed to hold lit candles in the vicinity of the square.
However, things got out of hand – and, with or without Twitter’s help, the crowd got much larger, reaching as many as 10,000 people, who first picketed Election Commission headquarters, the president’s residence (windows are reported to be broken – and there are also reports that this building has been stormed), and other government buildings before storming the building of the Moldovan Parliament, which happens to be just across the road.