2010, 2015

The Cyber Crime bill’s draconian laws

The problematic Cyber Crime bill 2015 has been submitted to the National Assembly, without consultation with the bill’s committee members. It curtails basic civil liberties; gives institutions like the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority abusive powers; gives the government over-arching powers to spy on personal information and share this government with unspecified foreign governments; and bans all satire and political criticism on social media.

Here are some problematic clauses from the government’s proposed and modified Cyber Crime bill, courtesy of Bolo Bhi.

3107, 2015

Evicting the homeless, keeping Islamabad beautiful?

There are community-specific slums in Islamabad; the slum found in the sector I-11 belongs primarily to the Afghan refugee population, while those in sectors F-6, F-7, G-7, G-8 and G-12 belong to the Pakistani Christian and Muslim population. The people that reside in these slums are inherently poor and lack basic facilities of life. However, they perform a very important task of providing essential services to the permanent residents of Islamabad. Most of the male and female population in these slums is employed as sanitary workers, guards and cleaners in the Capital Development Authority, as well as in nearby households.

This not only provides the marginalised slum population with employment opportunities, but serves as a “cheap recruitment pool” for the well-to-do of the city. Now, the tide is turning for the not-so-well-to-do of the city. The Capital Development Authority has, following an order from the Islamabad High Court, started an eviction process that has met with stiff resistance from the civil society within the city.

3107, 2015

Anatomy of a murder

It was a 9mm gun, probably a Stoeger. Before Saad Aziz got this “samaan” through an associate, by his own admission, he had already plotted a murder. On the evening of Friday, April 24, 2015, he met four other young men, all well-educated like him, somewhere on Karachi’s Tariq Road to finalise and carry out the plot. As dusk deepened into night, they set off towards Defence Housing Society Phase II Extension on three motorcycles. Their destination: a café-cum-communal space – The Second Floor or T2F – where an event, Unsilencing Balochistan: take two, was under way. Their target: Sabeen Mahmud, 40, the founder and director of T2F.

2807, 2015

Hacking Team hacked: The Pakistan connection, and India’s expansion plan

Leaked email exchanges between Hacking Team (HT) and Pakistani contractors vying for their controversial Remote Control System (RCS) surveillance tool provide insight into how the business of cyber security operates behind closed doors.

The story, which begins in 2011, is one of intrigue and troubling intentions on the part of both buyer and seller.

2707, 2015

A step ahead: Sabeen’s mother takes the torch forward

KARACHI: The mother of Karachi’s wild child Sabeen Mahmud has decided to carry forward her legacy by establishing a foundation that will promote young artists and give a voice to the subdued.

Sabeen was taken away from the city too soon for its good but the seeds she laid down will hopefully reap benefits for generations to come. Her mother, Mahenaz Mahmud, is taking the torch forward.

1107, 2015

Sabeen Mahmud, Jibran Nasir and Shaan Taseer are all cut out from the same fabric

In May 2013, just a little over two years from now, there was a wave of change which brought with it new possibilities and ‘hope’. Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) tenure had come to an end and elections were going to take place. We had various political parties competing against one another for the win. In the entire hullabaloo that was taking place, there was one young man, about 26-years-old who ran for the NA-250 constituency. Jibran Nasir ran his campaign actively on social media and other forums, and gained many followers, however he lost the political end game.

2506, 2015

Pakistani activists risk death in speaking out against religious extremism

In recent weeks, a string of slayings in Karachi and beyond has presented a grim picture for minorities in Sunni-dominated Pakistan, as well as for Pakistani human rights activists and others who speak out against injustices.