“The Non Smoking Gun”

Cyber attacks are increasingly ubiquitous in the contemporary world of information technology. It becomes both unprecedented and insidious threat to the international security as well as to the global economy. Though, it is comparatively benign, with lesser probability of destruction of property and no direct threat to human beings, unlike the physical warfare. But its consequences in the long run are much damaging and enduring. The primary objective of the cyber attack or cyber espionage is to steal sensitive information, intellectual property, defence secrets, weapon designs, and financially beneficial information.

In the recent year there were prevalent cyber attacks by international actors against each other. It is alleged that most of the cyber attacks were state sponsored to gather high level sensitive information by intruding into adversaries’ cyber space. More and more states are investing in new dangerous cyber arms race. Predominantly, China has been criticized for creating this new warfare by attacking numerous Western and American multinational and even government controlled organizations. For example Reserve Bank of Australia’s computer system have been successfully hacked in a series of cyber attacks and it was presumed that attackers were state sponsored and wanted to infiltrate sensitive information of pre-G20 event which will held in November 2014. Before this more than 150 computers of French Ministry of Economy and Finance was hacked to penetrate into same high profile G20 event’s sensitive information which was held in France in February 2011. And obviously both times the alleged guilty was none other than China. Reports showed that the cyber virus contains the characteristics of Chinese origin.

The United States, in particular, appears to have run out of patience with the flow of cyber attacks targeting it, when Google and The New York Times being the victims of cyber attack. Leon Panetta, US Secretary of Defence, said that the cyber space is the “battlefield of the future, where adversaries can seek to do harm to our country, our economy, and our citizens.” She further said “US reserves the right to pre-emptively cauterise cyber menaces with force and/or through its arsenal of digital weapons, which have been privately listed for first time.”

Before going ahead in this debate that what is happening in cyber space or what precautions should be taken to evade the threat of cyber attack. One should be known to the origin of this so called dangerous cyber warfare that where it actually stems from. Obviously it has decade’s long history but as it has been mentioned that cyber war is a kind of war with lesser probability of physical destruction but the time has changed the phenomenon and it can be physical, too. Let it be clear, when after so many sanctions and warnings from America and Israel, Iran refused to derail its nuclear program so as ultimate option Israel threatens Iran to attack it with the same dangerous warplanes to destroy Iranian nuclear plant which Israel had already used against Iraq and Syria. In 2006, to avoid this sinister conflict in Middle East, then president of US George Bush instigated the development of first known cyber weapon under the code name of “Olympic Games”. The project that had complete support and contribution of Israeli government was accelerated by President Obama and produced artificially-intelligent malicious software or malware with the sole aim of disrupting Iran’s nuclear program. The most well-known system which was designed is Surreptitiously Command the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition or SCADA which is controlled by infamous malware Stuxnet. Although, it is the latest form of cyber malware but the kind of same technology have already been used in 1982 by CIA and caused a Soviet gas pipelines to explode.

This system SCADA supervises the centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz nuclear plant. The SCADA system violently accelerate the centrifuge spinning speeds and it is supposed to have destroyed up to 1000 centrifuges and stopped uranium enrichment on many junctures in 2009 and 2010. It is pertinent here to mention that it was the same time when Iran’s four leading nuclear scientists were being assassinated in different accidents. To retaliate on these attacks Iran build up A-grade cyber game and allegedly was responsible for derailing the services of different American leading organizations more prominently Bank of America and American stock exchange were attacked.

However, now many non-state actors have also jumped in the cyber warfare. And the problem goes further from international political issues to financial and infrastructural matters. The victims of cyber attacks are becoming increasingly sensitive as the numbers of suspected targets are increasing day by day specially in the West where power, transport, financial/economical management and infrastructures have been integrated into the internet. There may be anyone from anywhere attacking the high profile multinational and government institutions that may include banks or stock exchanges or social media.

Unfortunately if truth be told, it is really difficult for the victim to find out the blameworthy and to determine that whether the attack was state sponsored or not. Eventually it results in misapprehension between the states and accelerates the cyber space unrest. Resultantly governments are spending massive amount so as to enrich their web weapons and hastily building up cyber forces to defend their cyber space and to attack their adversaries. As it is shown by the history that without using a bullet or bomb, it can be dangerous physically so the possible targets are practically great in number. Until or unless states shall not start respecting one another’s cyber space sovereignty just like physical sovereignty and to start surveillance in cyber space by certain rules and regulations mutually agreed upon otherwise such regrettable incidents are likely to be happened in future. Many has predicted that cyber-attacks might lead to another Cold War for the internet generation but for this time America and Western World cannot use third world countries as their proxies because the possible targets would be under direct threat of being targeted.

the article was first published in Pakistan Observer: http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=204997

Constitutional Conundrum

These days everyone is free in bullying Pakistani constitution and no one can dare stop you from doing so. Nevertheless the only exception is that the person must not belong to Swat or Mengora, and should not be wearing a turban and have a beard. In such case he will be punished with for not giving due acknowledgment to the constitution, as it happened in Sufi Mohammad’s case. Otherwise if you are a modernist and liberal than just feel free and keep on bullying that’s your fundamental right of expression. It has become the tradition of today’s political campaign that everyone wants to have their say against article 62, 63 of the constitution and on the Election Commission of Pakistan. In upcoming elections the perilous problem politicians are facing is the decision to implement article 62 and 63 of the constitution.
Dealing mainly with qualifications and disqualifications for the membership of parliament; these articles scrutinize candidate by their truthfulness, trustworthiness, sincerity towards Pakistan and the basic knowledge of Islam. The so called liberalists scholars and politicians are highly pinched by this article and voices of dissent can be heard from every corner that Zia’s regime has come again and Election Commission is exploiting its powers. Yes their objections are justifiable to some extent because due to this highly compelling scrutiny many big names of traditional politics will be ousted from electoral process.     
Exactly after five years the virus of election fever has spread all the way from Karachi to Peshawar. Every layman, who in routine life is not concerned with the political happenings in the country, now days highly curious that what is going on in Pakistan. For the last few months many political pundits and scholars kept on threatening that upcoming elections would be highly formidable so the risk factor should not be taken for granted. However, none of them told the people that in the coming elections even the scrutiny of candidates will be that much unprecedented. No one envisaged that the names like Ayaz Ameer, Khurshid Shah, Shaikh Waqas Akram, Jamshaid Dasti and Faisal Saleh Hayat could be rejected on certain grounds. Yet, it happened! Though a lot of people are not happy with this procedure and these politicians are getting sympathy from their colleagues and even from media which usually castigates them. On the contrary, the question arises that should these politicians not be chastised for deceiving the whole nation rather than getting sympathies? The fake degree holder was the custodian of our education ministry. Alas! No wonders why we are still doing poorly in education. I was personally admired Shaikh Waqas and his political devotion but it simply does not permits him to betray the pitiable voters of his constituency who were happy to chose the highly educated and foreign degree holder as their MNA.
These forceful actions of the Election Commission annoy the political parties and so called scholars and they just do not understand how to deal with this. So they have start condemning the article 62 and 63. One of their arguments is that if this article was to implement upon Quaid-e-Azam he would have been disqualified as well. So they are trying to say that Quaid-e-Azam was either a fake degree holder, corrupt or he did not have even the basic knowledge of Islam. If they really meant this, than I must say that they are making fool of themselves and should study the life of Quaid at least for once. Unfortunately portraying Quaid-e-Azam as secular or an average person has become common now a day just because Quaid had British passport and he dressed up in western style. Anyhow that’s another debate but people who think that Quaid would have disqualified according to the criteria of article 62, 63 are wrong. The way Quaid alluded Quranic verses and Islamic teachings in a number of his speeches and writings shows very clearly that he had more than basic knowledge of Islam unlike today’s politicians who shamelessly fails in reciting even second Kalma or Surah Ikhlas. Moreover, the purity and honesty of Quaid is not questionable in any case not because he was some kind of sacred personality, but because his life and personality was crystal clear from these evils.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan and the interim government should take a serious notice of this defamation of article 62, 63 because these are the part of the constitution. Every citizen should abide by this and of course scholars and politicians are no exception. If you don’t like it you should have abolished it from the constitution or do it when you would come in power again. Other than you have no right to abuse the constitution of Pakistan.     

Incidents at Sea

 

Sea and oceans are major sources of movement of people and goods from one part of the world to another. The sovereignty of state extends to 12 nautical miles from the baseline of the coast into the sea. Up to the jurisdiction of 200 nm a coastal state may enjoy sovereignty and can use Sea water for different purposes like exploring and exploitation of deep water mineral and oil resources, for fishing, scientific research, and economic activities, and for humanitarian and military exercises. Many disputes of overlapping sovereignty and exploitation of deep water natural resources exist between the coastal states. South China Sea dispute is the major example of overlapping sovereignty disputes which involves almost six coastal states these are China, Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia over the islands of Scarborough Shoal, Spratly and Paracel islands. Conflict is over the islands that are rich in oil and mineral resources. The dispute has resulted in serious security threats amongst the states. In early 2012 a military stand-off between China and Philippines took place, as both blamed each other of intruding into their territory. Another example of sovereignty disputes over sea water and islands is between China and Japan in East China Sea.

Another major problem, which can cause unpleasant incidents, is maritime pollution. Sea water covers almost 71% of the total area of the earth, and is critical for billions of lives. Therefore, prevention of sea pollution is in the interest of humanity. Unluckily due to lack of awareness about the seriousness of the issue, seas and oceans are getting more polluted day by day. Sewage and dumping of chemical and biological wastage in the sea, unintended oil spills from vessels and off-shore drilling of oil, cause sea pollution. Consequences of sea pollution are serious. Pollutants can be both organic and mineral resources. Living resources of the sea destroy or become unhealthy for utilization. The worsening of water quality can lead to poisoning and illnesses and have sever repercussions on the economy of coastal states by discouraging environment for fishing, leisure activities or water being used for industrial and other purposes.

Many incidents at sea happen due to the incomplete information, weak surveillance and navigation which can result in serious accidents at sea. They can cause disputes between the coastal states. The coastal states are responsible for strong surveillance with in their defined zones to avoid mishaps. Freedom of navigation and surveillance is very important to avoid safety and security threats which may harm coastal states especially. To avoid these threats each coastal state has to play its part by increasing surveillance through using satellites and other latest technology to keep an eye over high seas and to get awareness about the activities taking place in the sea with in their jurisdiction. Surveillance at sea has broader scope comprising of different actions i.e. detecting and sensing any problem, assessing and evaluating threat, communicating/coordinating and taking proper action in time to prevent any incident. Along with surveillance exchange of information between the bordering coastal states is necessary to avoid conflicts.  

Muslim, America and Terrorism.

To counter terrorism a lot attempts have been made at international level. United Nations and America is more than willing to combat terrorism. For this purpose, many counter-terrorism task forces and committees created at UN and other international forums -which are working on their noble mission night and day-. More perceptibly America even has started a global war on terrorism and spends more than $170 billions annually on this war. However, a very meek question arises that how come it could be possible to counter terrorism when no one knows that what actually terrorism is? Yes that’s a reality that after being fighting against terrorism for more than a decade now, the international community is yet failed to build a common consensus over a precise, concrete and entirely explanatory definition of terrorism. Which is clear in every sense and does not provides a vague statement. Commonly it is assumed that terrorism is “a deliberate action of violence or threat of violence in pursuit of achieving political aims or acquisition of power. It is ambiguous hitherto that who will determine which one is guilty party the one who is fighting for political aims or the one who is acquiring political power and uses it for oppression.

There is a possibility that a politically motivated action is unlawful and terrorism for one party but it can be a battle for basic human rights and freedom for the other one.

The political movement in Kashmir and Palestine is terrorism in the eyes of India and Israel but it is a freedom movement and fight for basic human rights for Kashmiri and Palestinians. If Kashmiri people protests against the Indian forces’ repression supported by their State it is terrorism. Because Kashmiri freedom fighters (their main fault is that they are Muslims) do not have any established government and so far they are Non-State Actors. So any action taken by them can easily be considered as terrorism. But if Indian forces are killing innocent Kashmiri citizens, looting their properties, raping their respected women, spoiling their futures and lives, these actions are justifiable. Because it is supported by Indian Government, -a state actor- so no harm in this exploitation. The same phenomenon which is being used by the Israeli forces in Palestine, and American forces are using in Pakistan (in the form of unauthorized drone attacks).  The alleged terrorists who are working in or from Pakistan, Palestine and Kashmir are all non state actors. But in response to them in the name of combating terrorism the State actors (the governments of America, India and Israel) are killing innocent people in a hope that causalities might include any terrorist. God knows well what actually their intentions are!

While studying about different terrorist activities and FBI’s annual reports on terrorist incidents from 2002 to 2010, the one thought which promptly comes into mind is that, FBI and America deliberately or unintentionally maintained discriminatory criteria of determining domestic or international terrorism. Also while investigating the reason behind the terrorist action of a person; very bigoted measures have been used to examine the intentions. Following few examples may evidently elaborate the point: on July 4th 2002, a man naming Hashem Mohammad Ali Hedayat kills two Israelis at Los Angles International Airport; the investigations determined that Hedayat’s political and religious beliefs were the main motive behind the attack, and the case was officially designated as International Terrorism.

Whereas, in the same year in August, FBI caught few non-Muslim terrorists whom were having numerous weapons and explosives and they were planning to attack Islamic Facilities. FBI investigation revealed that they were taking revenge of 9/11 terrorist attack from Muslims and further revealed that it was an action of retaliation for Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel. This incident was designated as an action of domestic terrorism. 

Since 9/11 more than 140,000 murders reported in United States of America by the end of 2010 and Islamic terrorists were accounted for only fewer than three dozen murders. Yet Muslims are presumed to be monopolists in terrorism and all actions against terrorism are Muslim centric. This kind of confusing and dual standards of investigations creates sense of hatred and distrust against America and American policies in Muslim world.

If anyone had a chance to study about the designation of International terrorist organizations he/she might noticed United Nations have no standard list of terrorist organizations precisely. It mainly believes that Al Qaida and organizations and persons whom are supporting Al Qaida in any matter are the biggest threat and to combat this organization it established a resolution 1267 in 1999 which is further modified and strengthened by many subsequent resolutions. While America has produced a list of terrorist organizations -which are involved in terrorist activities in more than one country- and they are willing to add more names of organizations if they find any as a threat to American security. In American list almost 50 terrorist organization’s names are given and most of them are Islamic organizations. This gives an image which proves that “Muslims have monopoly in terrorism”. Actually this is not the case. According to American definition of international terrorism “an organization which is engaged in terrorist activities and it must threat the security of United States” many names which are given in the list provided by State department are irrelevant as they do not have any terrorist business in US nor they directly threatens the American security. Amongst them are many organizations which are considered as freedom movements in there respective State just as Palestinian Liberation Front, although it do not have anything to do with America or Americans they fight against Israeli oppression but it is enlisted as a terrorist organization. On the other hand many Non-Muslim organizations which are involved in spreading threat, vandalism, and even in killing people but there names are missing from the ITO list. Such as Earth liberation Front, Animal Liberation Front. Both of them fulfills the American State department’s criteria of terrorist organization as they work in more than 17 States including United States and they are engaged in terrorist organizations. If we follow the criteria -other than State departments defined criteria according to which ITO must threat US security but many organizations which do not operates in US nor they threat its security but still there names are enlisted in ITO- than another list of roughly 20 to 30 organizations  can be amalgamate in the existing one. The activities of these organizations are reported in FBI annual reports on terrorist incidents.  It is interestingly pertinent to mention here that even with in America, State Department, CIA and FBI have different guiding definitions of terrorism.

After the terrible 9/11 incidence, a serious threat for the long term security of America and to some extent for the rest of the world has been perceived. USA took this threat very seriously and started War on Terror to combat this evil. Knowing that there is no universally accepted definition of terrorism is available. Many actions have been taken in this regard by United States of America and its allies keeping in view their own definitions of terrorism and terrorists. Obviously it creates turbulence amongst others but no doubt that basically their main targets are Islamic so-called extremists as there is a common perception regarding terrorism is that “Muslims have monopoly in terrorist activities all around the world”. Interestingly, in this fight to eliminate terrorism America and its allies have taken many steps which are defined as acts of terrorism by their own definitions. For instance, constant drone strikes in Pakistan which results in hundreds of casualties of civilians but to satisfy international community and perhaps themselves too, over this inhuman behavior and their deliberate action of violence against non-combatants to achieve their political goals a term “Collateral Damage” is produced and lose of every innocent life is added in to this account. 

Therefore, without knowing properly that against whom you are fighting and what terrorism actually is along with many bigoted actions in fight against terrorism, it is very difficult to eliminate or combat terrorism. How come a normal human being having a little common sense will acknowledge this drama that no we don’t know what is terrorism we do not have any concise and mutually agreed definition, we don’t know whereabouts of these terrorists are, but even than we are fighting against them!

Rather it will expose their agenda in this war on terror.

Don’t Smash the Statue!

Few days ago I was at Jinnah super market, window shopping with my friends. We were at Ecs shop suddenly my friend whispered in my ear excitedly; look Shireen Mazzari is sitting just behind you. I looked back and thoroughly saw her. She was looking very causal and trying some chappal which was perhaps not comfortable in her feet and she went for the previously checked one. She was accompanied by a cute young lady who was helping her in shopping. During all this time I was looking at her again and again and trying to figure out something different or unusual in her from others as she is a public figure, a politician and a journalist too. She must have some alienate characteristics because both politicians and journalists are usually different from common people like me. After thoroughly scanning her in eyes I found no difference in her which really disappoints me. My friend suggested me that lets go to her and get an autograph and if she allows having a picture with her. She is too a big fan of her alike me. I have been following her articles and papers since long ago; I second her views on Pakistani foreign policy, towards America and India specifically. I enjoyed a lot her remarks over NATO soldiers’ pampering scandal. Recently I entered in my practical life and I have an aspiration that In Sha Allah one day I will be just like her, a strong, determined, and confident in speaking truth, passionate in rejuvenation of the society and the one who make a high positioned place in a male dominant society. In short I have a high regard for her, but I refused my friend to go and talk to her. Although I had many questions which I wanted to ask her. I don’t know exactly why I did that but at that time very quickly two names clicked my mind. Both of them are very famous journalists and I also admired their work and bravery that how intensely they are trying for the betterment of the society. They speak truth and they are not affraid of consequences. I had very high hopes from them and during my studies I planned that ill work with them if get chance. Two or three years before, when I was in college and the dirty issue of blaspheming cartoons which hurts each and every Muslim all around the world arises. I was one of them who could not do anything but to pray for worst chastisement to be sanctioned on the dirty news paper and their editors and cartoonists. One day while I was listening to the one of my favorite anchor got an idea that why not I call and ask him to speak on this issue and to let the world know that we are hurt badly and some strong action must be taken against them. As I told you earlier I had very high hopes with two of them so I called with full believe that he would take into consideration my idea. What actually happened was totally different; he even didn’t let me to complete my sentence which I memorized spending al most half an hour on this. He interrupted me whilst saying that religion and preaching is not his area of interests he only works on political issue and the phone line was dead. I was stunned and took a deep breath. Until today I can not understand that how this matter is non-political and only religious leaders and molvies have the duty to speak on it. The most hurting thing was not his refusal of taking this topic in his program and claiming that he only speaks on political issues. But his program which went on air after few days in which he was discussing some cricket scandal with Shoaib Akhtar who was the only guest that night. I left watching his shows.

However, I didn’t left believing in other one I thought in fact I presumed him to be different from the erstwhile. So I called him to let him know about some corruption scandal in governmental sector. About which I came to know accidently. I did not have any details so I wanted him to investigate and to prevent corruption by letting the authorities know about it. Nothing new had happen. Same rude style when saying that I do not speak to strangers and also it does not happens in government sector. As if he don’t know that what can or cannot happen in government sectors.

I presume that you understand that why I refused my friend to meet Shireen Mizzari. Because I admire her efforts, I believe that she is as same as she looks like in talk shows. I have placed her statue very high in my heart and I really don’t want to smash it.

Vampire of Our Society

Yesterday I saw a really very horrible scene which scared me a lot that I couldn’t sleep well all the night. I could see that scene very clearly in my nightmare as if it was happening to me or to any of my dear one. Wait! it was not any horror movie’s scene in which a vampire suddenly appears and bite a person and s/he too becomes vampire and then both of them started sucking blood of other’s together. Although, it was much alike that when I saw few pupils (who seems to be at some well grade Cambridge school) beating their own school mate in the name of ragging. I hope all of you know about this phenomenon ragging in schools, colleges and universities which gives the forcible authority to the senior students of the institute to make fun of the new comers. As long as I perceived the purpose of this custom or tradition -which al most every institute is following nowadays- is to welcome new students in a relaxed mood and to let them introduced and befriend with the senior students so that they may not feel hesitant or strange in a new place and will start their new academic year in a chilled way. But what I saw in the t.v screens had no justification where one student was being beaten and humiliated by his fellows. The most weird thing that no one from school administration was there to stop them. Their uniforms and the building behind them tells that it was not an ordinary government “taat school” where students are not taught properly of etiquettes and no one bothers that how they are behaving with each other. In fact those students were -if I am not wrong- seems to belong elite class or at least upper middle class of the society. Children of these classes of society are highly sophisticated, well trained and they know the etiquettes of living in a high profile society -perhaps the students in this video keep these qualities only to show in front of their parents or with in their circle-. Psyche of children is a big big matter of concern for their parents so they let their children to live their own lives in their own way. Obviously they want their heads high and to be confident so usually they do not interfere in their personal matters. There is another reason too behind giving them a full freedom that parents are too busy in bringing all the luxuries of life in their homes so that their child do not feel complexed and poor. While making sure that their lives are luxurious -and their child have latest model of iphone and mac book and that they always wear branded/ classy dresses-, usually they ran short of time in giving full attention to the training and personality development of their child. I don’t know what others think but for me a well groomed personality is not that one behaves very sophisticated in front of their relatives and the one who is very confident in giving prompt replies also knows that what thing suits in a more classy way and is having a latest make of mobile and car in hand but s/he does not have the respect for others and always looks down to them. May be all these aforementioned  things matter. However if one do not have the sense of responsibility that how an action or even a single word of them could ruins other’s life and how it could badly hurt the person before them all these thing goes in vain. One could presume the trauma in which the poor boy who is being victimized of the “classy humiliation”. Perhaps one day he too becomes like them because vampire of our society have bite him. God knows better if he could pull his self out of this catastrophic incidence or he too will become the vampire.

Our countries is blessed with bulk of youngsters. Round about 60% of our population is below the age of 24 years. Just imagine that if this youth is properly trained and educated, than with in 15-20 years Pakistan could reach the sky high position in the map of world. Unfortunately majority of our youth is busy in facebooking, twitting and humiliating others.