Sunday, December 30, 2007

Afganistan Enters the Internet Age...

A little while back I was browsing through RabitaZone's sitemeter account. You can see site visits from all over the globe - from Australia to Europe, including the Middle East. All looks normal, however there was one country you don't see a whole lot to often - Afghanistan.

Until today, I was unaware that there are Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in this desolate land, let alone Web users.

Upon further investigation I found to my amazement, at the Afghanistan Ministry of Communication and Information Technology the following "somewhat surprising" statistics,


The following statistic updates every after 3 months.
Last updated on 02, Oct 2007
Landline Phones: 39,608
GSM Subscribers: 32,85,332
CDMA Subscribers: 43,646
ISP Companies: 17
GSM Companies: 04

Who would have imagined, a nation such as Afghanistan would have 17 ISPs! This may seem like a small number, it however shows great promise for this nation - paving the way for innumerable entrepreneurial opportunities.

Copyright C. AbdulRahman Rafiq

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bilawal Zardari to be named PPP Chairperson

It is rumored that Bilawal Zardari, the 19 year old eldest son of Benazir Bhutto, will be named the new PPP chairperson, as per Ms. Bhutto's will.

Personally, I think this is ludicrous. Democracy starts at home. First democratize your own house, then the country. Nominating Bilawal, Benazir Bhutto's son, goes against everything she, and her late father Z.A.Bhutto have worked and died for. This would be a reckless move, not to mention a severe set back for the party as a whole. How can you talk about democracy for a nation, when your own party is run in an authoritarian fashion?

I would urge the PPP Central Executive Committee to reconsider, hold internal party elections, as is done in other such organizations around the world. It's time the Party open it's doors, and truely become the Peoples' Party - no more dynasty rule!

Copyright C. AbdulRahman Rafiq

Friday, December 28, 2007

Situation Update - Karachi Tense - December, 29, 2007

Word from the journalist community: About 75% of the rioting that has occurred in the aftermath of Ms. Bhutto's assassination, was out a sense of genuine rage by supporters. The remaining 25% is suspected to be the work miscreants.

Saturday, December, 29, 2007, 4:30 pm PST

I just got back from urgent grocery shopping, the general feeling outside is tense, a few general stores have opened, prices on major commodities items are jacked up, as expected. People are out and about but there is a sense of nervousness in the air.

There are signs of the rioting all around - on Shamshir, Defence Phase V you have quite a lot of damage. Traffic lights smashed and burned to the ground, the UBL bank in the Khada Market has all its windows smashed. The road to Gizri Village is closed - there are reports of sporadic rioting. There is a strong Makrani presence in Gizri, many of whom are PPP supporters.

Saturday, December, 29, 2007, 1:30 pm PST

Following is a situation update from one Syed Asif Alam, President and Founder of the Association of Pakistani Professionals (AOPP).

Saturday, 1:30pm PST..
...and two days after I am still in a shock; I was stuck in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, had to stay there overnight. We put our two kids in the car the next morning at 7 am and headed towards my parents house in Defense Phase V. We found pockets that could easily depict a war zone. Long lines of burn cars, at times more then 80-100 cars. I asked my wife to keep both the kids in the kneel down position in the back seat.

I ventured out few minutes ago (Saturday) and all the shops are still closed! Defense is usually unharmed by the Karachi violence but this time all the shops in this area is also closed. You can see few burned cars, broken banks and some shops that were attacked..
More Karachi updates can be read at Karachi MetroBlog.

To submit addition updates, email, or submit a comment to this post.

Bhutto Laid to Rest....The Country Mourns it's Slow Death...

At 4:45pm Pakistan Time, the body of the two term Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was laid to rest at Ghari Kudha Baksh, the Bhutto families ancestral graveyard.

A sad day for the nation, the death of a leader, mind you the only charismatic leader who was loved by many. Such leaders are hard to come by in the world, in Pakistan they are virtually non-existent. That is, leaders who can rally the crowds, give the people a feeling of purpose and belonging. With the demise of Ms. Bhutto, there is no one who can match her dynamism as a leader of the people.

Democracy is dead, whether the elections continue as scheduled, or are postponed what does it matter? The results have been predetermined? No Benazir, no Nawaz, who else is there other than the Religious right, and Musharraf's King's group. Pakistan's future is a bleak one, with little hope, illadvised policies by usurping ruler and authoritarian men at the helm have left the nation destitute. We are our own worst enemy, slowly digging ourselves to a slow death - from constitutional tampering to the destruction of the judiciary - what good is a nation without it's core democratic institutions?

Copyright C. AbdulRahman Rafiq

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shattered Hopes - A Nation Cries!

The nation weeps at shattered dreams and aspirations. Lost hope for a better tomorrow, a democratic Pakistan. None can deny the fact that Benazir Bhutto represented a symbol of Hope for the nation - for peoples rule. Now who will step up to the plate and fill the power vacuum?

With the demise of Ms. Bhutto, the leader of the most popular political party in Pakistan democracy seems like a fallacy. "Illadvised policies of the past, and severe polarization under Military rule have led to the circumstances behind today's tragedy. We have become accustomed to violence, to suicide blasts, and the usurping of rules and rights by strong men at the helm. Today, the nation paid a price" commented by As Nawaz Sharif correctly stated, something unthinkable has happened in Rawalpindi this evening. The country appear to be on the brink of disaster. Hospitals and Government buildings are up in flames, roads are littered with burning cars, buses and tires. Enraged, and emotionally charged political workers are swarming the streets of Pakistan. from Karachi to Peshawar, the nation is semblance of a war zone.

Today the people made an outcry. It is time for the nation to wake up from it's slumber, rise up as a united front against injustices perpetuated against them.

While many may disagree with Benazir's ideological beliefs, or argue her tenure was short lived with little to show for. Undeniably, she was the most capable leaders who spend 25 out of 30 years of her political career in the opposition, championing the cause of democracy with extraordinary fervor against Military dictatorships. This is the legacy Benazir will be remembered for.

Todays tragedy have left many in a state of shock and utter disbelief. Nerves have been touched hard, people, whether they be friends or foe acknowledge the symbolism Benazir represented.

Copyright C. AbdulRahman Rafiq