Today is the 16th of Oct 2010, it is Saturday, day off for me. The morning paper carries a photograph of Karachi’s slum area “Khuda Ki Basti”. The photograph itself is self explanatory. It shows a web of illegal electricity connections from a WAPDA pole. One could rave and rant about this thing, but why waste time. Just the picture is posted below for everyone to see. But on the contrary let me say a few words: This explains for the non-availability of electricity, this explains for its high cost and above all this explains the rampant corruption in our society. The question is, if such pictures appear in newspapers, does anyone actually take notice? I mean the people who are supposed to be controlling all this? I guess not. How true it is when they say, “The fish rots from the head.”
About a year back Pakistan Telecommunication Authority held a competition on ITU’s theme for 2009, “Protecting Children in Cyberspace”. Yours faithfully also participated and luckily won the first prize! The article itself is pasted below for you to read and enjoy. Best wishes
Internet is in a constant state of growth and change. New technologies mean new services and hence it is always in a state of evolution. Internet is neutral and can be used by anyone for any purpose. There area lot of ills and threats thriving in cyberspace and children are susceptible to these ills. These are covered in some detail here along with a brief analysis. Based on the analysis some worth recommendations have also been made. These recommendations if considered for adoption can help control the menace of child exploitation in Cyberspace.
The Internet is strange in many ways. Since its birth it has been growing at a phenomenal rate. 100 million websites and 1.5 billion internet users later this medium is growing and still strong. Few would have imagined its potential and power just a decade ago and fewer still would have predicted the way it is today. Since its inception it has been used for a myriad purposes, there is business, the daily E-mail, news, recreation, education, entertainment, social purposes, research and the inevitable chat to count a few. Each day a new use, a new technology and a new purpose is discovered. One thing is for sure now, there is no escaping the Internet, that is, it is now inevitable. Cyberspace is difficult to control and dominate, today. As the number of its netizens comprising young, old, poor, rich, simple, troublesome, black, white and all increase its making its own set of rules and is akin to controlling an underworld, that is by all means huge and constantly growing. Human behavior, habits and actions are unpredictable and this very feature makes the cyberspace hazardous. Add to this the fact that in cyberspace everybody can be somebody and a nobody all at the same time and we have a very complicated situation. There are children, adults, professionals, students, hobbyists and business people and then there are people with fake identities, perverted ideas, and assumed characters.
The Internet is addictive because it is always there and surprisingly there is something for everybody in it. These features make it attractive for all, and children are no exception to it. It is their curiosity and urge to learn that drives them to ride the Information Superhighway. The vast and endless amount of information available on the Net is a wonderful feature, and hence the attraction. This attraction does not end here, for the Net is prone to all types of threats. Threats from predators, threat from unwanted data, threat from pornography, lurkers, unsolicited e-mails etc. Children in young and tender ages are susceptible to all such hazards and uncontrolled use of the Net can lead to circumstances and occasions that are unwanted and in some cases ugly. Besides control and monitoring, there have to be in place laws, rules, regulations, policies and guidelines so that the menace can be addressed at all levels instead of leaving it o the parents to guard the children. It has to be a systematic process covering various tiers, so that slips at one end can be covered at another so that the issue addressed in totality.
The social networking website that took the world by storm and is still going strong with a population of over 400 million users is popular, in Pakistan and elsewhere. Well this is no breaking news off course. Let me explain, I am a frequent traveler on Pakistan’s premier bus service Daewoo. Frequent would mean at least round trips to various cities each month. And off course when you travel for over 5 hours one way, you are bound to use the bathroom, restroom, head or john, whatever you may call it. Bathrooms (public) everywhere in the world are always adorned with messages written on their walls, some meaningful some meaningless. I have seen this in China, Turkey, UK, UAE etc etc. This happens to be like this, somehow.
Most of the times in Pakistan, these messages appear to be offensive in nature. When you sit down on the toilet seat you really don’t need to read any paper or play with your cell phone! The walls have ample stuff for you to read. You can read religious hatred messages/slogans, jokes, 18+ graphic arts and most of all cell phone numbers of boys/girls. But just recently I came across the most interesting message of a would be hooker, written simply was “ 22 years old girl available for sex, in Lahore, find me at www.Facebook.com/(her name). Holy smokes! That explains it.
Whether the ad was genuine or not, I don’t know, but it was right there on the wall in red color! Hence my conclusion, Facebook is after all popular in Pakistan.
It has now been a little over three years that we Pakistanis have been experiencing power shortages. Each year promises to be better, but is worse than the last. When will it all end, nobody knows, perhaps never. The Government has been busy making promises, which have never been fulfilled. I was in Kashmir when this thing started in 2006, and right then I made a decision to buy a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). Then in 2008 I moved to Lahore and all hell broke loose. In Kashmir load-shedding (as it is called here) was normally for 2~3 hours daily, but in Lahore we experienced up to 8 hours of power outages during peak summers. Surely the UPS wasn’t built for this kind of use. So I had to buy another one, which was more powerful, imported and with a bigger battery. This, I have been using for the last two years. Being an Electrical engineer I have plans to go Solar 100%, but paucity of funds will not let me do this. Other than this, one can buy a Generator if he/she can afford the sky rocketing fuel prices. Wind energy is not an option either since there isn’t much wind in Lahore to drive a Wind Turbine successfully for electricity generation.
So what do we do? Or what can we do? Nothing much except that we can and should use less electricity, or in other words try to conserve it. The Government isn’t doing much. The RPP’s that have been installed haven’t started contributing to the National Grid (at least some of them, for whatever reasons). The so called Political Government can’t even build a consensus on the darned Kalabagh Dam. Such a pity,we can’t even agree on issues that affect us. And Thar coal? Well that perhaps is waiting for some Divine intervention. The least these Goons can do is start utilizing the plentiful coal deposits.
The wind corridors in coastal areas of Sind and Balochistan can be used for generating electricity from wind. But, the question is “who will bell the cat?”
Today I am making my first post on my blog at http://nmafzal.wordpress.com. I am not new to blogging, but all these months of blogging encouraged me to get my very own blog. I have a passion for technology, in fact it won’t be incorrect to say that I am technology enthusiast. I like to know how things work, how stuff functions, I like to keep myself updated on mobile phones and everything in between. I really hope I am able to keep pace with the changing technology which is evolving at a mad pace. Guns are a passion since my childhood. I don’t own many but the ones I have I love and the ones I do not have I crave for. A little bunny hunting, dove and pigeon shoot really relaxes me. I love to read and write besides long walks. Besides all this I ramble a lot, about almost everything. Happy Reading! 🙂