Archive for the ‘Pakistan’ Tag

War on Terror – Project Management perspective

Everyday we see a number of analysts, politicans, journalists, etc presenting their views on the war on terror and its implication. Here I present my analysis on the subject from an angle that I can very easily relate to:

Client: USA
Contract: Economic aid, military aid, $$$
Development Methodology: Outsourced, iterative development
Project: War on Terror
Business Development Manager: Mr. Asif Zardari
Project Manager: General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani
Analysis Team: Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
Development Team: Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps
Development Environment: Federally Administered Tribal Areas
Development Tools: Guns, tanks, artillery, etc
Third Party Support: Drone attacks, CIA intelligence, etc
Quality Assurance: Media, NGOs, journalists, etc
Recent Client Meeting: Asif Zardari’s visit to US from May 5 to May 8, 2009
Recent Published Release: Operation in Swat
Recent Milestone: US approval of additional $1.9 billion in aid to Pakistan

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Pakistan’s 30 questions for India

When Rehman Malik presented the findings of the investigation being carried out by Pakistan regarding the Mumbai attacks, he said to the reporters that around 30 questions have been sent to India and further investigation is tied to the prompt reply from the Indian Government.

Following are those thirty questions:

1. Authenticated copy of confessional statement of Ajmal Qasab recorded by the judicial authorities

2. National Identity Card number of Ajmal and other documentation/ diaries recovered from his possession.

3. Cell phone numbers used by Ajmal in the past, if disclosed during interrogation.

4. Detailed description and further particulars / maximum information of reportedly killed terrorists deposed by Ajmal during interrogation with Indian Police.

5. The digital note books/ diaries recovered from killed terrorists.

6. Authenticated copies of seizure memos of all the articles recovered from or belonging to accused terrorists along with their photographs.

7. Authentic forensic analysis reports of mobile / satellite phones and or any other evidence establishing connectivity and communication of the terrorists with militants based abroad along with identifying particulars.

8. Logs of cell phone interceptions.

9. Detailed transcripts of conversation amongst the terrorists during the terror activity from 26 to 28 Nov as well as with their handlers.

10. Cell-phone numbers targeted for transcripts immediately after the terror strike.

11. Intercepted voice recording identified by Ajmal Qasab as of Abu Hamza and Kahfa etc for voice analysis, as well as further details about alleged handlers ‘Abu Hamza’ and ‘Kahfa’.

12. Thuraya telephone forensic analysis including:

a) Numbers in stored memory.

b) Called numbers /log

c) SMS messages

d) Any other information

13. Forensic analysis of cell phones, recovered from the possession of accused including:

a) Dialled numbers

b) Missed and received calls.

c) Last location

d) Photographs / movies

e) Audio recording

f) IMEI no. & SIM IMSI no

g) Screen shots etc

14. Fingerprints of all the ten accused for comparison with available database.

15. Fingerprints lifted from recovered weapons, personal articles and navigation devices etc. of the accused required for comparison.

16. Clear photographs of the accused for identification and matching with the national database.

17. DNA profiles of all the terrorists arrested / killed.

18. Post mortem reports of all the killed terrorists.

19. Forensic analysis and photograph of engravings on Yamaha engine including the tampering of letters on the engine. Two letters are missing. Complete engine number must be provided.

20. Photographs of engravings on pistols /SMGs recovered from the accused for identification.

21. Confirmation as to whether the pistols used by the terrorists were 9 mm! The picture of pistol shows a TT 7.62 MM (30 Bore) and CAL-30 is clearly visible.

22. Headers of the email received from deccanmujahideen@gmail.com claiming responsibility and clarification as to which specific media received the same.

23. Complete and date wise CCTV footage of all the incidents.

24. GPS data regarding travelling log, location to check log and coordinates, etc. for identifying the launching area. This is important because certain ambiguities have been noticed in the information already provided. For instance, if the terrorists started in a small boat from Karachi at approximately 0800 hours on 22nd Nov, then how come MOB waypoint is showing the boat’s position near Keti Bandar nearly one hour before this time? Out of 17 waypoints, only three have date stamps and remaining is without the same, creating doubt whether these points are authentic or created through GPS.

25. GPS operation is dependent on internal or external batteries, thus following points need elaboration:

a) If internal batteries were used, a large cache of batteries were required to keep them operative for more than six days.

b) If external batteries were used on boat then picture / evidence of the same should have been included in the list of items recovered from ‘Kuber’.

c) Picture labelled ‘Thuraya satellite phone found in Kuber’ is of GPS of Garmin Company as GPS navigation buttons, waypoint names on screen and company name are clearly visible.

26. Photograph identified by Ajmal as Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi.

27. Relevant information pertaining to tailor / company marks, brand names as well as dry cleaning or laundry stamps on clothes seized.

28. Google earth does not carry details of security systems, various entries / exit points, inner details. Such like information requires extensive physical reconnaissance and establishment of control centre within targets. Further details are required.

29. Why did the terrorists not come to the notice of Gujrat and Maharashtra Governments after having travelled by sea in their territory including reported refuelling enroute? Besides, how did they manage to evade so many coastal radars?

30. Details of interrogation reports of Mukhtar Ahmed (Counter-insurgency Officer) and Tausif Rehman, both Indian nationals, arrested after Mumbai attacks on charge of providing SIMs to the terrorists.

Additional Information Required:

The eye witness account of Jugdev, the only survivor boarding the vehicle of ATS Chief Mr Hemant Karkare, accompanied by two other senior police officers in the same vehicle namely Mr Salasker and Mr Kamteis required to be examined by investigators in Pakistan. It is necessary as Mr Karkare was investigating the cases against militants in mass scale killings of Muslims in India including Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, reportedly involved in Samjhota Express incident.

Linkages between diamond merchant firm Surat, Gujrat and some Hindus in Pakistan need to be clarified as the diamond merchant was alleged to sponsor Malegoen blasts through Col Purohit.

ICL and Pakistan

Finally some good news in Pakistan cricket – Sindh High Court has ordered Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to lift the ban from the 11 players that had signed contracts with the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) and PCB owing to public pressure has finally allowed them to feature in the next round of Quaid-e-Azam trophy matches.

According to an ICC spokesperson:

Banning a player from playing in domestic cricket because he participated in the ICL is not a matter for the ICC. Instead, only a member board can take such action. The ICC executive board therefore resolved in 2008 that member boards should take such action against ICL players as they considered appropriate, in light of and in accordance with the requirements of their own local laws. 

The question now is that can such a regulation be applied on international matches? If according to the local laws a player can feature in domestic matches then why can’t the same be applied to international tournaments and encounters. What if the court orders PCB to lift the ban from the international matches – in such a scenario isn’t PCB bound to obey the laws. If political and security reasons can be used as a tool to decide WHERE, WHEN and HOW cricket is played then a similar case should be valid for legal situations and matters. Given the loss Pakistan cricket team has suffered because of the ban on the ICL contracted players and the lack of support and authority by the ICC and its member boards especially BCCI, PCB should go ahead and lift the ban but obviously following the approciate procedure i.e a legal case and the appropriate decision by the High court or even the Supreme court. And guess what could be their comeback tournament – ICC World Twenty20 2009 – a real smack in the face.

May be some hope for the 11 players – Mohammad Sami, Abdul Razzaq, Hasan Raza, Shabbir Ahmed, Mohammad Yousuf, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Tahir Mughal, Shahid Yousuf, Khalid Mahmood, Naved Latif and Shahid Nazir.

Akhtar’s new enemy

Shoaib Akhtar is one character in world cricket who has to have at least one active enemy and incidentally it has to be the skipper of the team. After Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik is the new entry in this list. After losing the second ODI against Sri Lanka in Karachi, Malik openly critisized his fitness and commitment and rightly so. In the two ODIs that Akhtar featured in, he failed to complete his quota of 10 overs in either of the matches and gave away 88 runs in the 13 overs that he bowled grabbing only a single wicket. He also appeared sluggish in the field showing signs of the same old  fitness issues.

Malik’s argument centered around the fact that to stay in the team a player’s fitness has to be no less than 100%. Akhtar may be a match winner for Pakistan in the past but if he is not 100% fit and cannot survive two consecutive ODIs how can he manage a test match or a full-blown ODI tournament. Additionally, by giving him opportunity after opportunity, Pakistan is unable to give any chance to the new talent that has shown their capabilities in the domestic circuit. Its time to look beyond and target the future rather than cherish the past and opt for a bleak future.

So far no outcry has been witnessed from Shoaib Akhtar but his axing from the third ODI and Pakistan’s dismal performance in the last two ODIs may prompt one especially against Shoaib Malik. Even if Akhtar doesn’t come out with a statement, he has to do some decision-making. The choice (play or retire) is simple but how to get it is tough – either he has to improve his fitness and perform at his best or again indulge in a war of words with the skipper. May be following Waqas’s advice may help and do some good.

Pakistan Cricket – 2008 highlights

As the year 2008 is ending, I have made an attempt to summarize the major happenings of the year in Pakistan cricket

  • Pakistan suffered a test-less season this year. However they managed to play 21 one-day internationals but mostly against minnows like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
  • Punjab Stallions won the RBS Pentangular One Day Cup. In the final they defeated the Federal Areas Leopards by eight wickets.
  • India refused to tour Pakistan for its scheduled tour of January 2009 citing political reasons.
  • Lahore Badshahs won the ICL 20-20 Indian Championship in November 2008 beating Hyderabad Heroes in the finals. They lost to the same side in the finals earlier this year in April 2008.
  • NWFP won the RBS Pentangular Cup by beating Baluchistan in the final by 28 runs.
  • Pakistan comprehensively defeated West Indies registering a clean sweap in a three match one day series in Abu Dhabi.
  • Muhammad Yousuf signed up for the unauthorised Indian Cricket League (ICL).
  • Geoff Lawson was sacked from his position of the coach of Pakistan.
  • Pakistan took part in a four nation T20 tournament in Canada where they lost to Sri Lanka in the finals. Zimbabwe and Canada were the other two teams featuring in the tournament.
  • Sialkot Stallions, captained by Shoaib Malik, won the RBS Twenty20 Cup by beating Karachi Dolphins by 7 wickets. In the process, they managed to earn a place in the Champions Twenty20 League.
  • Ijaz Butt, the former Test opener, was appointed the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board.
  • Champions Trophy scheduled to be held in Pakistan in September 2008 was postponed due to security fears raised by most of the teams.
  • Nasim Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board resigned from his post soon after the resignation of Pervez Musharraf.
  • Mohammad Asif tested positive for a drug test that was taken while he was playing in Indian Premier League (IPL). Earlier this year he was detained in Dubai for almost 19 days as he was found possessing some illegal substance.
  • Pakistan was host to the 9th Asia Cup and first to be held in Pakistan. But they failed to take advantage of the home conditions and couldn’t even qualify for the final.
  • Pakistan participated and won the Kitply Cup 2008 – a short triangular series featuring Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
  • Sohail Tanvir was the IPL’s most successful bowler and helped guide his Royal Rajhistan team to the cup. He took 22 wickets in 11 games at an average of 12.09 and economy rate of 6.46.
  • Shoaib Akhtar and PCB were in a constant strangle for most part of the year with Shoaib being handed over a 5 year ban which was then temporarily suspended for IPL which was then reduced and finally as always the ban was revoked and Shoaib was allowed to play in all forms of cricket.
  • Bangladesh toured Pakistan in April for a series involving 5 one day internationals and a T20. Pakistan was victorious in all the matches.
  • Australia pulled out of their cricket tour of Pakistan due to security fears.
  • Defending champions Pakistan lost in the semifinals of the Under 19 Cricket World Cup.
  • Pakistan started the year with a 5 one-day international home series against Zimbabwe. The series proved to be an easy ride for the host and they clinched the series 5-0.

Sources
Cricinfo
Cricket Bloggers of Pakistan
Cricketfiles

Cricket Roundup

The second test match between England and India ended up in a draw but it was not the kind of finish expected from a team that is challenging the might of Australians. If you really want to be No. 1 then you have to play like them – trying to force a result (and not a draw) out of every match especially if you have an upper hand. But on the last day of the second test match, the Indian cricket team were not at all interested in producing a result out of it since they had already secured the series with a win in the first test match. Instead they opted for their batsmen – Yuvraj and Gambhir – to complete their centuries[1]. Couldn’t the same logic had been applied for their bowlers who possibly could have won the match for them especially considering the fact that Zaheer Khan was judged as the Player of the series.

Double standards in cricket were once again on display when ICC announced that it will conduct an independent security assessment of the country before appointing officials for Sri Lanka’s tour[2]. Why such assessment was not carried out in the recently concluded India-England test series when the terrorists attacks were not even 15 days old.Is it double standards or what???

IRI – Pakistan Survey

The International Republican Institute (IRI) released its survey of Pakistan public opinion on 18 December 2008. The poll was conducted from 15 to 30 October 2008. As per the news release,

The randomly selected sample consists of 3,500 adult men and women from 223 rural and 127 urban locations in 50 districts in all four provinces of Pakistan. The margin of error for the national sample will not exceed + 1.66 percent in 19 out of 20 cases. IRI has conducted surveys in Pakistan since 2002. The goal of the program is to both gauge public opinion and to use this information in IRI’s work with Pakistan’s political parties.

Here are the surveys

IRI Pakistan Index
Charts and Graphs

Shoes traced out

Got this interesting email(joke) today:

The pair of shoes which was thrown at Mr. Bush in Iraq has links to Pakistan, said a statement from Pentagon. They have the following proofs:

  1. The journalist had visited Pakistan earlier this year. There he was inspired by the shoe throwing at former CM Arbab Ghulam Rahim and Sher Afghan Niazi.
  2. He received his training of throwing shoes by a Pakistan based Jihadi organization.
  3. The DNA sample of leather has revealed that the animal whose skin was used for manufacturing the shoe had traces of grass which is grown in North of Pakistan and this skin was collected by a Jihadi organization on Eid-ul-Adha this month.

Hearing this, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani have decided to ban the Jihadi organization and launched a country wide crackdown against all the cobblers in Pakistan.

Since his first presidential election, Bush has always remained in the news and to top on that his farewell is no different. Following the shoe-throwing incident, people round the world are sharing videos, flash-games, emails, joke, etc on this very topic to make Bush’s farewell a memorable one.

Cricket returns to India

So its finally there – no no I am not talking about cricket or the England team in India but the double standards that have finally made its way into the cricket fraternity. Even after witnessing the recent terrorists attacks in Mumbai and knowing the fact that these especially targetted foreign nationals, the England cricket team is back in India within 15 days as if nothing had happened. What if it had been Pakistan instead of India – England team and in fact all the others would have drained cricket out from the Pakistani soil for God knows how many years. This was witnessed a few months backs when almost half the cricketing world refused to take part in Champions Trophy 2008.

But why??? India is quite different from Pakistan when it comes to cricket:

  • India has huge commercial and social attractions for the foreign teams and their players.
  • The matches involving India have the highest attendance of live audience meaning heavy sponsorship and lucrative TV rights.
  • Last and most important, there is BCCI which is now de facto ICC. While ICC failed to stop Champions Trophy boycott, BCCI managed to bring back cricket on their soil within 15 days.

Having said all this, I am in no way criticizing the England team for touring India. I am writing just to highlight the double standards. I sincerely wish that the series goes ahead as planned and all the matches prove to be a treat for the audience. This series has at least highlighed a strong message that cricket can continue in the toughest of conditions. The same spirit now needs to be adopted for the resumption of cricket in Pakistan and India could be the first one in this regard by not opting out of the Pak-India series in January 2009.

Hajj – 1429

Around three million Muslims from around the world have gathered in Makkah to perform the annual Hajj – the fifth pillar of Islam. It is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world and a symbol of the solidarity of the Muslims and their submission to Allah. It is a five day long event and occurs from the 8th to 12th of Zil-Hajj. Muslims irrespective of their colour, caste, creed, status travel to the holy land to perform their obligation towards Allah. From India and Pakistan, almost 200, 000 pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj under different schemes/policies announced by their governments. But whats susprising is that it costs almost double for the 85,000 Pakistani pilgrims compared to their Indian counterparts.

In Pakistan, there are two categories for Haj pilgrims – government and private. In the first category, the minimum amount that could be spent is Rs 200,000. This could go up to Rs 800,000 in the private category depending on the class of travel, and quality of transport and stay in Makkah and Medina. This translates into a minimum of $2,500 as the cost of the pilgrimage. Whats interesting is the fact that the Government does not subsidize any portion of the cost in any way whatsoever. In comparison, in India a pigrim has to pay a minimum of $1,400 for the entire pilgrimage thanks to the massive subsidies offered by their Government.

Pakistan being a Muslim country, where a huge majority simply cannot afford such an hefty amount, should at least offer some subsidy to its people leaving them with at least a chance of fulfulling this important, but not mandatory, obligation of Islam. Instead, this event is used as a means for Pakistan International Airlines(PIA) to recover some of its losses for the year.