Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Public Press Release - Please Distribute Widely


Monday 06 March 2006

Media Contact:

Dr. Awab Alvi

Cell: 92-333-2373493

Fax: 92-21-4313069



In a recent development, the PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority) has blocked access to thousands of blogs and websites being hosted on Google Inc's blogging hosting service - www.blogspot.com. PTA issued a notice announcing the ban of 12 offending websites which were promoting the blasphemous cartoons on the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and one of the offending websites was being hosted on the domain www.blogspot.com which also hosts more than four million other blogs and websites.

In a very blatant misuse of the power entrusted with the PIE (Pakistan Internet Exchange), the network administrator there has placed a block on the entire domain blogspot.com, hence blocking accessibility to all internet users in Pakistan. It has been over a good week and no measures to correct this error have been implemented as yet, probably indicating some more deliberate attempts to censor the World Wide Web than an honest mistake.

Internet access is the key to the success of any business, and if the governing body of the Internet in Pakistan, the PIE, continue to create hurdles, this will ultimately discourage foreign investment. A prime example of such mismanagement can also be found in the not too distant past, where Pakistan was isolated from the World Wide Web last year for about 7-10 days and this resulted in catastrophic losses within the industry which ammounted to a few billion dollars. At the time, the root causes of these loses were attributed to the inadequacies of the PTA .

The Don't Block the Blog campaign ( help-pakistan.com/main/dont-block-the-blog/ ) and the Action Group Against Blogspot Ban in Pakistan ( groups.google.com/group/AGABBIP ) are protesting this outrageous ban on blogs and Internet censorship in Pakistan on the whole. We urge the print and electronic media to exert pressure upon the Government of Pakistan to first lift the ban on non-controversial blogspot.com websites and then push for the reform of the PTA before this incompetent authority wreaks havoc with a progressing Pakistan


Action Group Against Blogspot Ban In Pakistan (AGABBIP) is a group of like minded individuals based around the globe who truly condemn the recent Internet censorship policy in Pakistan and are striving on having the ban on Google's blogspot blogging service lifted by the Government of Pakistan. Our main aim is to regain free and fair access to Internet content which is a right of every individual irrespective of their race, religion, age or gender. while we expect any censorship to be within the limits of decency and decorum of the Pakistani culture. This means that we stand against any blasphemous caricatures yet this in no way should imply denying access to information to any individual or party and pushing for the rectification of censor ideologies so that similar problems can be avoided in the future.

RSF Press Release

Cross posted from original link at www.rsf.org

Twelve websites, including blogger.com, blocked for posting cartoons

Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the decision of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), to block access to twelve websites which posted the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed which appeared in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten.

The PTA on 28 February ordered Internet Service Providers to block the website blogspot.com (or blogger.com), taking down thousands of weblogs hosted by this tool.

“We believe that the decision to ban a website should only ever be taken by a judge, at the end of a fair trial. It is moreover unacceptable that the order to block a site should go through the PTA, which while apparently aiming at one blog hosted by blogger.com, led to the filtering of all websites sharing the same domain name,” said the organisation.

This order from the PTA comes around ten days after a petition calling on the government to ban the spread of “blasphemous content” through the Internet, was submitted to the Supreme Court. The court on 2 March formally asked the government to take such a step.

The bloggers network Global Voices, which revealed the case on its site, has been posting information about campaigns launched by bloggers to condemn the filtering.

Local access providers have applied the PTA decision by blocking access to all sites whose URL incorporates blogspot.com, that is all sites hosted by this service. It is however technically possible to ban access solely to a blog causing a problem.

Go to Reporters Without Borders’ Handbook for Bloggers and Cyberdissidents, that gives practical advice about how get round Internet filtering :

Monday, March 6, 2006

Blog Ban in PK - Please redirect to Post title link

Please visit http://groups.google.com/group/AGABBIP for further details on blog ban.

www.blogcharm.com/zohare -- incase blogger is inaccessible by me in PK within next few days. so far so ok...

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Useless Trip to Pakistan

This was in the NYTIMES a few days ago:

Pointless Trip to Pakistan
Published: March 3, 2006

At this moment in time, there is no more meaningful a place than Pakistan to illustrate the state of America's relations with the Muslim world. The country is ground zero in the fight against global terror. Anyone needing a fresh illustration need look no further than yesterday's bombing outside the American consulate in Karachi, which killed four people. Beyond the hunt for Osama bin Laden on the Afghan-Pakistan border, Pakistan is where radical fundamentalism is increasingly taking the moderate Islamic world hostage.

That's why President Bush's trip today to Islamabad could have been a chance to try to bridge this stretch of the chasm between Muslims and Westerners. Unfortunately, everything sets it up to be just the opposite, starting with the fact that it is being overshadowed by Mr. Bush's misbegotten nuclear pact with Pakistan's blood enemy, India.

Since Mr. Bush agreed to share civilian nuclear technology with India despite its refusal to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Pakistanis have been demanding similar treatment. The Pakistanis won't get that deal, and any time spent discussing the issue is wasted time that could be spent on other ways in which America should be developing its relationship with the Pakistani people.

Mr. Bush's visit comes just as Pakistan is getting past deadly riots over Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. They came on the heels of American airstrikes that killed 18 Pakistani civilians in January — strikes legitimately aimed at Qaeda leaders that tragically killed innocents.

Clearly, this is the perfect time for the American president to do some nurturing. Too bad the nurturing that seems to interest Mr. Bush is with Pakistan's military dictator, President Pervez Musharraf. General Musharraf has yet to permit the democratic elections he has repeatedly promised since his coup more than six years ago, but the Bush administration, which says it wants democracy in the Muslim world, has put little pressure on him for reform.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bush is receiving little pressure from Mr. Musharraf to grant the one thing that could tangibly bind America to Pakistan in a way that no number of summit meetings or sales of F-16 fighter jets could ever manage: a free trade agreement.

An agreement like the one the United States has granted Jordan and Morocco and a host of other countries would mean more jobs in textile factories in Pakistan. It would mean fewer unemployed people on the street with nothing to do but listen to the exhortations of mad mullahs. It would cement the economic well-being of the average Pakistani to the well-being of the United States.

Alas, don't expect to see anything close to that coming out of this trip. The Bush-Musharraf summit meeting is one between two leaders far more interested in guns than butter.

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Blogger Blogged Out in Pakistan?

So what's this I hear? Blogger ports being banned on Pakistani soil? Just today I was discussing with someone how media and press have really become liberated in Pakistan that some countries that are already well into their developed stages such as the US and UK could take some lessons from us.

Now, it appears that I have to mark my words and take my foot out of my throat -- cause apparently that's how far down I managed to get it before I heard this. I find it quite ironic that on the day the President of the US makes his debut / landmark visit to this part of the world, showing that he has trust. The visit marks a tremendous amount of significance in the quality of our leadership, especially since the last few visits did not last more than a few hours.

Check this story out: Pakistan Blocks Blogs on Cartoons

You know, its funny that the court should issue an order that blogs be banned because of this belief, and that too the entire blogger network, not just specific sites. This is just outright shameful, pathetic and unconstitutional! People have a right to speak and people have an even greater right to read and know. This is the truest mechanism of transporting information to the remainder of the world, that which the local media colors with political agendas and uncivilized bias. This clearly shows how strong the effect of blogging is and I believe it is the civic duty of every individual to write and write responsibly. If someone is writing unconfirmed information or is publishing fallacies to pursue perfidy, then they should suffer the concequences...not the entire blogging network. This is not the military, this is real life and each individual is responsible for their own actions. It's time we take it.

Friday, March 3, 2006

Nuclear Legitimacy

I caught this news article this morning and thought it may be of interest to you readers. Interestingly, I do not know the facts, although I have been doubtful of the integrity with which the nuclear program started. I have heard differently, but that is not a fact, just hearsay so we shall leave it at that.

Not many are happy about Mr. Bolton's appointment to the UN and here is the scoop with WPI on that.

In the meantime (PS: John Bolton's CV/Resume available on this site)

'India, Pakistan got nukes legitimately'

NEW YORK, March 2: The US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, said on Wednesday the way India and Pakistan had obtained nuclear arms was legitimate, in contrast to Iran, which he accused of pursuing atomic weapons in violation of its international undertakings.

While Iran is seeking to ‘conceal development of nuclear weapons under the guise of a legitimate programme’ to generate nuclear power, Mr Bolton said: “India and Pakistan did it legitimately.”

His comments, made in response to an audience question following a speech to a meeting of the World Jewish Congress, appeared to go farther than the administration of President George Bush has previously gone in embracing Islamabad and new Delhi’s nuclear programmes.

They also coincided with the visit by President Bush to India in which Washington offered New Delhi de facto recognition of its nuclear arms programme.

At the same time, the Bush administration is pressing Iran to turn its back on a programme to enrich uranium on its own soil, a plan Tehran insists is intended only to produce electric power but which Washington insists aims to develop nuclear bombs.

Mr Bolton noted that neither India nor Pakistan had signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, intended to contain the spread of atomic arms, while Iran had done so.

“I give them (India and Pakistan) credit at least that what they did was consistent with the obligations they undertook,” Mr Bolton said.

“They never pretended that they had given up the pursuit of nuclear weapons. They never tried to tie what they were doing under a cloak of international legitimacy. They did it openly and they did it legitimately,” he said. —Reuters

On this occasion

In honor of President Dubya, Captian of the 'W' Ketchup Family Corporation, I thought I would help promote the images of a fantastic ink artist in Tanzania, Nathan Mpangala, who is a recognized for his great sports art.

On another note, I am looking for verification regarding the Bird Flu having killed and / infected anyone in Pakistan in the last few days.

A Dubya Bush is comin'

Read All About It! Bush is comin' to town. Yes that's right folks, little man Bush, the dude who runs the company called America (the government at least) is coming to Pakistan.

Well, jokes aside...I was wearing my favorite Dubya t-shirt the other day to work and one of my colleagues dared me to wear the shirt and parade around the city in it tomorrow. Unfortunately, the city of Islamabad is going to be sealed tight as a baby on a nipple 'cause of security. He won't see me in it so what's the point, eh?

I was watching a terribly interesting tv show today on GEO - a program called 'Follow Up with Fahad', who was interviewing a few folks such as the Foreign Minister * Khurshid Kasuri *, some ex-ambassador to the US and a man named Amin Hashwani - India Pak CEO's Forum rep.

It was also being broadcast to the US in the auditorium of GW University where there was a live feed and a few guests were hosted by a lady there, i forget her name. Among the guests was a very wise man named Steven Cohen of the Brookings Institute. I have heard quite a bit about him from my friend Azeema who used to work under him in DC quite sometime back...the day's I was her chauffer. Anyway, that story another time...this discussion over the tele was really quite well done and very well rounded. They spoke on issues such as terrorism and Pakistan's committement, India-Pak relations, Nuclear issues, Iran/Pk pipeline for energy and some others that will be elaborated once Bush gets here.

We are all entitled to our opinions, that is one fundamental of a democracy, but whatever we may think of Bush's character, he is still the President of the US and no matter how much one may like or dislike him, working with him is essential for Pakistan to emerge above this fundamentalist aura that we are surrounded by thanks to the likes of Qazi Hussain Ahmad and his followers - a real bunch of sinners and hypocrites. There is enough dirt on them to have them hung for treason, but because the 'maulvi's' make such a large portion of our population, it would just be asking for civil war. While we are on this topic, I am going to reprint an old article of mine regarding my sentiments on the bearded fellers - mind you when I talk of beards, I mean the real long kind that has all kinds of gook stuck in it from breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have a beard myself, but its short, stylish and does not in any way represent my religious affiliation... if any.

Looking forward to Bush's arrival, not looking forward to being housebound while he is here...when it was Clinton, that was ok cause we liked him. Bush is just funny...no, not dave chapelle funny, just funny lookin'

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Get paid to blog?

Check it out... i get money to write shit, I think it won't be long before blogger starts something...or will they?


Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Bird Flu Update #2


Sindh health department has once again alerted the health concerns throughout the province following the reports about confirmed H5N1 strain of Avian influenza in chicken in the NWFP. Additional Health Secretary said that no case of bird flu was reported to the health department till Monday evening, but in the wake of possibility for an outbreak of the deadly Avian influenza in the region, the district health officials had already been asked to take all precautionary measures.

According to the Ministry of Food and Livestock the virus is of a low pathogenic avian influenza and is of N-type virus. The Ministry had sent the samples to the World Reference Laboratory in Weybridge, London, to determine if it is the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain.

As the process of slaughtering of 16,000 hens and 11,000 eggs on the Abbottabad poultry farm began on Monday, the Livestock Department said that polyphonic bags filled with carbon dioxide gas would be used to kill the birds. They will then be buried in an eight-foot hole, which will first be sprayed with chemicals to protect the virus from spreading.

Livestock experts told Daily Times that eggs with dropping on them should be cleaned properly before handling. People should clean eggs properly as the bird flu virus could be transferred through finger(s).

CWS-P/A is currently watching the bird flu situation in the region and more news will be shared.

Disaster Response Unit (DRU)

Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan

Source: www.dailytimes.com.pk

more reads

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