Posts Tagged ‘Internet’


One’s a Nobel laureate and the other a gamer!


The world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and gamer Sumail Hassan have now made it to Times’ 30 Most Influential Teens of 2016.

Sumail Hassan, now 17, won his team Evil Geniuses the Defense of the Ancient 2 (Dota 2) Asian championship in China last year when he was just 15 years old. The team bagged $1.2 million in prize money at the competition.

“Hassan has become the youngest person ever to earn $1 million playing competitive video games, making him a phenomenon in the rapidly growing world of ‘e-sports’,” states the publication’s website.

The child prodigy moved to the US in 2014 and spent some of his winnings – now at $2.3 million and counting – to buy a house for his family.

Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai has been fighting for girls’ right to education for almost a decade now. Her organisation The Malala Fund has received funding from famous personalities worldwide. Currently, the 19-year-old is working towards urging “world leaders to set aside $1.4 billion this year toward educating young refugees,” says Times.

Malala was shot by Taliban when she was 11 years old for braving against the ban on girls’ education in her hometown Swat.

The Times’ annual list includes children from the tender age of 14. The criteria to be a part of this list, Times shares, is: ‘we consider accolades across numerous fields, global impact through social media and overall ability to drive news.

Here’s the complete list:

Maddie Zielger, 14

Skai Jackson, 14

Logan Guleff, 14

Gaten Matarazzo, 14

Sasha Obama, 15 and Malia Obama, 18

Rachel Zietz, 16

Laurie Hernandez, 16

Kiara Nirghin, 16

Chloe Kim, 16

Yara Shahidi, 16

James Charles, 17

Gavin Grimm, 17

Amandla Stenberg, 17

Ben Pasternak, 17

Zara Larsson, 18

Yusra Mardini, 18

Jaden Smith, 18

Shawn Mendes, 18

Luka Sabbat, 18

Katie Ledecky, 19

George Matus, 19

Maisie Williams, 19

Simone Biles, 19

Camila Cabello, 19

Chloe Grace Mortez, 19

Barbie Ferreria, 19

Kylie Jenner, 19


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RYANAIR have introduced a new charge for check-in.


The airline have introduced a new cost that will charge passengers £6 to check-in for a flight more than four days prior.

The new cost will be introduced from the 1st of November.

This is a change to the airline’s previous policy, which allowed passengers to check-in seven days in advance for free.

This charge has angered certain customers who have found a very obvious flaw.

Those going on a week long holiday will be unable to check in for their return flight without being charged.

Or they will have to find a way to check-in and print a boarding pass whilst on their holidays.

Customers have taken to Twitter to vent their frustration.

Chris Wood wrote: “@easyJet allow you to check in 30 days in advance, @Ryanair only 7 unless you pay. Guess I’ll gave to find a printer while I’m away then.”

Ryanair has now charged customers for checking in early


Ryanair has now charged customers for checking in early

Marketing Chief for Ryanair Kenny Jacobs said: “We’re continuing to listen to our customers through our “Always Getting Better” programme and this change reflects the customer feedback we have received.

“From November 1, we’re offering those customers who wish to reserve seats more time to choose their preferred seat, by reducing the check-in window from 7 to 4 days pre-departure for those customers who prefer a random seat.

“Customers who do not wish to reserve their seat will be able to check-in between 4 days and 2 hours ahead of their departure, using both the Ryanair.com website and Ryanair mobile app, and will continue to be randomly allocated a seat, free of charge.

“Over 13 million customers are using the Ryanair app to download and travel on mobile boarding passes, making travel with Ryanair even simpler.”

This comes after it was revealed Emirates will start charging for economy seat selection.

The UAE airline has introduced a “minimal charge” for economy passengers.

Any customers wishing to select their own seat now have to pay for it.

Special and Saver fares in the Economy Class have been hit with the fee, which varies depending on the flight duration.

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What is the relation between science and religion? This is an important question. The world we inhabit today is shaped by modern science and its practical applications. The way we perceive nature is deeply informed by our understanding of the vastness of the cosmos and the complexities of the sub-atomic worlds as revealed by science. At the same time, religion is an integral part of Pakistani society, and shapes the identity of millions of its citizens. For a place like Pakistan, both science and religion are essential.

It is no surprise then that the question of the relation between science and religion often comes up in conversations. From a historical perspective, there is no single narrative that defines this relation. There have been times when religious authorities  stymied science. On other occasions, holy books have provided the inspiration, and religious institutions the support, to help discover the secrets of the universe. There have been religious scientists: Ibn al-Shattir was a muwaqqit at a mosque in Damascus, Mendel was a priest. And there have been scientists who have been vocal in their opposition to religion. Thus, it is hard to define the relation between science and religion in any other way than complex.

In Pakistan today, there seems to be consensus that science and religion are not opposed to each other. This signals a positive approach, as Pakistan needs to develop a strong scientific culture to meet the challenges of the 21st century. However, for a large majority, this view is shaped by the pseudoscience of finding scientific miracles in the Qur’an (also known as I’jaz). This is neither good science nor good religion! If many of our bright, young minds are being introduced to science this way, then the practice of I’jaz is perhaps a major impediment to the development of a vibrant scientific culture in Pakistan.

Science is driven by curiosity about the natural world. Unsolved problems attract the attention of its practitioners. The harder the problem, the more attention it gets.

For example, one of the hottest areas in astronomy today is exploring the nature of “dark matter” — we know it exists but we cannot see it, nor does it interact with ordinary matter. Some of the brightest minds are searching for dark matter in the largest particle accelerators in the world as well as in observatories looking for evidence in large galaxy clusters. We do not know when or where we will find the evidence. It is also possible (though unlikely) that someone will show that dark matter does not exist and that our inference about its existence was deeply flawed. Science will go wherever evidence will take it.

On the other hand, those who are seeking scientific miracles in the Qur’an are driven neither by curiosity about the natural world nor by the desire to find explanations of unsolved problems. Instead, they know that they already know the answer. For them, the primary goal is to seek validity of one’s own belief through the authority of science.

This search for science in scriptures is a relatively new phenomenon. It is the religious response to the advent of modernity and the rise of modern science as the most powerful method for explaining the natural world. Muslims are not alone in seeking validity from science. Christians find science in the New Testament, Jews find it in the Torah, Hindus find it in Bhagavad Gita, and Mormons find it in the Book of Mormon. Everyone is convinced that their holy book contains snippets of modern science. Take the specific case of dark matter: you can find websites and even books that claim that dark matter is already mentioned in the Qur’an (for Muslims), the Bible (for Christians), the Torah (for Jews), and Bhagavad Gita (for Hindus). Of course, everyone will be scrambling to change his or her respective interpretations if the dark matter idea turns out to be wrong.

Make no mistake. None of this is science.

It is ironic that when medieval Muslim scholars dominated natural philosophy (what we may loosely call science today), they did not seek ‘scientific miracles’ in the Qur’an. Instead, the Qur’an served as an inspiration to understand the natural world through reason.

So what can we do to rekindle the spirit of scientific culture in Pakistan? This is a large question, but we can take the small step of appreciating the joy of finding things out. From the condensation of water into rain here on Earth, to the detection of lakes of liquid methane on the Saturn’s moon, Titan. From understanding the way leaves change colours in the winter, to figuring out the how stars form in galaxies.

Science seeks answers about how the universe works. Religion provides inspiration to explore the natural world. The late American biologist Stephen J Gould called science and religion two equal but separate spheres of life, or Non-overlapping Magisteria, in his own words. The former deals with the physical world and the latter with questions of ethics and the meaning of life. The building blocks of a scientific culture in Pakistan will have to be laid upon this mutual respect and separation of these two vital spheres of life.

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Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Chairman Absar Alam on Tuesday said a request has been sent to the federal government for a complete ban on airing of Indian content.

The federal government had earlier suggested banning airing of Indian content in a tit-for-tat move after Pakistani content was completely banned by India.

“A letter has been sent to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in this regard,” he said, adding that the federal government would decide on the matter within a week.

The Pemra chairman insisted that as India has banned films starring Pakistani artists, “we will have to do the same”.

Alam also said a crackdown was initiated against illegal Indian Direct-to-Home (DTH) sets on Oct 15, adding that action is being taken against cable operators who do not comply with the instructions.

The Pemra chairman said Pemra has received a complaint against three television channels that have been airing more than 6 per cent Indian content.

As per the law, only 10pc of airtime is allowed for foreign content, while the maximum limit for Indian content is 6pc in 24 hours.

“If the channels are found guilty they will be banned”, Absar Alam added.

In regard to the Pakistani DTH licences, the Pemra chairman said that seven more companies have requested the licence, whereas nine companies have already been shortlisted.

He added that 16 requests have been received for three DTH licences and the licences will be granted over the next few weeks. Alam added that the floor price for the DTHs has been kept at Rs200 million.

A company owned by PML-N leaders and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s son Hamza Shahbaz has also been shortlisted for DTH licence, he said.

Earlier in October, Pemra granted Absar Alam the authority to revoke or suspend licences of companies airing Indian content without providing prior notice.

On Aug 31, Pemra had announced that strict action would be taken against the channels airing foreign content more than the prescribed limit and traders selling illegal DTH sets.

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Pakistan maintains one of the world’s largest centralised citizen databases, which continues to expand at an unprecedented rate. This mammoth task sounds impressive, but it also raises concerns about the vulnerability of our data.

There is no denying the database’s utility. Multi-layered digitisation of big data can offer guarantees for greater transparency. Indeed, in the best-case scenario, sophisticated mobilisation of big data can refine the state’s service delivery mechanisms.

The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), for instance, is one biometric transition success story in Pakistan.

The BISP’s increasing automation reflects how biometric verification of credentials acknowledges the non-static, dynamic nature of data. The programme facilitates nearly 5.3 million women in accessing welfare support through real-time thumbprint recognition.

On the other end, insufficient legal safeguards to curb abuse of surveillance knowledge by law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) raises red flags.

These concerns are not unfounded considering the exceedingly vigilant security regime under which rights defenders, citizen activists, and journalists operate in Pakistan’s data territory.

Given the size of biometrically-contained human records in the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) repository and the extent to which data-sharing occurs across, between, and beyond government agencies and LEAs, the scale of this vulnerability is likely to be huge.

Read: CNIC re-verification hit by major technical snag

With Computerised National Identification Cards (CNICs) as testaments of having our consolidated biometric data stored with principally a single entity; and with an inevitably recurrent use of this CNIC and of biometrically-registered SIM cards while conducting our daily consumer mobility and monetary interactions, the ideals of free movement and of unmonitored human communication for the citizens, are breached in their fundamental.

It can be rationally imagined that only when surveillance on communications is regulated exhaustively and when limitations on the jurisdiction of this surveillance are very thoroughly defined – which is possible when there are efficient legal protections accessible to all citizens indiscriminately – the privacy of citizens and the democratic guarantees that their personal data are not exploited, will not be threatened.

The desperate need for biometric data management

The simple fact is that biometric data management is yet to mature.

Accidental data leakage, forgery with identification documents leading to identification theft and duplication, and inaccuracies in the handling of even legitimate documents, are insecurities of scale and have incredible damaging externalities.

Risks associated with these externalities become more profound in the intricate dynamics — including a refugee management crisis, an overwhelming population, and a climate of intense censorship — of countries like Pakistan.

These challenges are exacerbated when infrastructure and staff competencies in the use of biometric technology are not adequate and thorough.

Explore: Afghan refugees’ children can’t get CNICs: Nisar

Opportunities which biometric data amassment has to offer, merit a pragmatic acknowledgement of existing structural and legal voids which prevent the prioritisation of the protection of individual privacy, and which continue to generate pressing questions on the efficacy of this technology for public development and responsive governance.

Mass-scale surveillance and the law

In Pakistan, the space for an autonomous Privacy Commission gains prominence to respond to the critical need for the examination of an exceptionally large surveillance data.

This need grows further in the scenario where the government is investing heavily in mass-scale digital surveillance of its citizens and visitors through projects like the Punjab Safe Cities Project (PSCP).

The PSCP will reportedly have more than 8,000 cameras installed across its premises, and is now being extended to include Rawalpindi, Multan, Gujranwala, and Faisalabad.

Similarly, the Islamabad Safe City Project (ISCP) gives LEAs sweeping intrusive powers through 24 hours of intensively-networked, real-time virtual monitoring with around 1,800 high definition Huawei CCTV cameras worth over Rs13 billlion installed in the capital city and connected to Nadra’s centralised biometric repository.

As shared by ISCP project director Dr Tahir Akram with Dawn, the project’s command centre will be able to “monitor every car coming out of any residential sector in Islamabad”.

Read: Operators to spend more on Sim verification drive

This arrangement between safe city projects and Nadra affords the kind of arbitrariness to data handlers that pervasively encroaches on the civil freedom of sociopolitically vulnerable sections of the citizenry, to claim anonymity.

It therefore becomes important to question what guarantees are being supplied for the protection of this surveillance data during its retention with Nadra, and what extent of this retention carries involvement of Huawei’s equipment.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 and the way forward

The recently-enacted Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA, 2016) further legitimises the demand for independent data protection authorities and an increased jurisdiction of the National Commission for Human Rights as also outlined in the 2015 Charter of Demands jointly prepared by digital rights organisations Bytes for All, Pakistan, and Media Matters for Democracy.

Simultaneously, it is crucially significant that the data-handling and investigative capacities of FIA’s National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes, are rapidly evaluated and optimised. This will ensure that PECA is enforced keeping in view the local dynamics where the government has still not rolled out enough campaigns for the purpose of educating the cyberspace occupiers in the country about the legal implications of this law on their cyber rights and responsibilities.

A glaring void currently exists between the extensive criminalisation of the Internet landscape that PECA’s enactment has mobilised into law and the public’s nascent information and comprehension of the intricacies of its legalities.

Equally concerning is that PECA’s language contains considerable opportunity for the subjectivity of the investigating regulator to claim a determinant jurisdiction.

Explore: The state bytes back: Internet surveillance in Pakistan

In the backdrop of Pakistan’s dictatorial history with digital censorship and the political exploitation of the blasphemy law, to invest potentially unmonitored authority in a regulatory body, will make the ambiance of cyber expression only more precarious.

To refer to PECA as ‘archaic’ is no exaggeration.

In its quite expansive coverage and criminalisation of cyber activism, it criminalises the act of whistleblowing. It also makes highly controversial way for a warrantless collection of one’s personal digital data and its reproduction to Pakistan’s foreign cooperation partners.

With now a fiercer surveillance regime in place, Pakistan currently experiences one of the world’s most desperate urgencies to ensure the presence and preparedness of an assertive oversight and transparency regime.

In terms of transparency, it is expected of the federal and provincial governments to educate the public on the use of their Right to Information for greater documentation on surveillance practices, to be brought into the public domain.

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“The upstream users of an international river are no longer entitled to the unrestricted use of (the waters) of such a river, and are bound, when taking decisions concerning its use, to take reasonable account of the interests of other users in downstream areas.” On Sept 25, 1997, the ICJ gave its imprimatur on the rule in a case between Hungary and Slovakia (concerning the Gabcíkovo-Nagymaros Project), putting it beyond dispute.

Thus, even if the Indus Waters Treaty did not exist, India would not be able to take any of the diversionary measures that official leaks in the media threaten. It reflects legal incompetence, contempt for international morality, and a barbaric outlook.

The court followed an earlier ruling of its predecessor, the Permanent Court of International Justice, in 1929 with regard to the River Oder, which said “the community of interest in a navigable river becomes the basis of common legal right, the essential features of which are the perfect equality of all riparian states in the use of the whole course of the river and the exclusion of any preferential privilege of any one riparian state in relation to the others”.

The water treaty is not a weapon to be used for political ends.

Therefore, in its judgement, the ICJ pointedly stated: “Modern development of international law has strengthened this principle for non-navigational uses of international watercourses as well, as evidenced by the adoption of the convention of 21 May 1997 on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses by the United Nations General Assembly. The court considers that Czechoslovakia, by unilaterally assuming control of a shared resource, and thereby depriving Hungary of its right to an equitable and reasonable share of the natural resources of the Danube […] failed to respect the proportionality which is required by international law.”

The law mandates equitable and reasonable shares for all the countries through which an international river runs. In 1895, US attorney general Judson Harmon was asked for an opinion on the rights of the US and Mexico over their shared river, the Rio Grande. US farmers had increasingly begun to divert its waters, significantly reducing its flow to Mexico.

He responded: “The fundamental principle of international law is the absolute sovereignty of every nation as against all others, within its own territory.” He conceded that he had found in support of his view “no precedent or authority which has a direct bearing” and the “case presented is a novel one”. The Harmon Doctrine of absolute territorial sovereignty, which privileged the upper riparian state, died swiftly and was buried by the US supreme court.

East Punjab was therefore ill advised to cut off the water supplies in every canal crossing into Pakistan in April 1948, which ran contrary to the agreement reached by Committee B (one of the committees set up to deal with issues arising from Punjab’s partition) when it stated: “There is no question of varying the authorised shares of water to which the two zones and the various canals are entitled.” Cyril Radcliffe expected that “any agreements […] as to the sharing of waters from these canals will be respected”.

It is unnecessary to trace the tortuous course of events that followed this standstill agreement of May 1948 until the signing of the Indus Waters Treaty in Karachi, on September 1960, by Jawaharlal Nehru, Ayub Khan and W.A.B. Iliff (representing the World Bank) — albeit for specified purposes. As judge Richard Baxter, an expert on international waterways law, noted, the World Bank was not a disinterested presence but one of the parties to what were actually tripartite negotiations. It was, therefore, not a bilateral treaty but a multilateral one — for yet another reason.

On the same day and place, two other agreements were also signed: the Indus Basin Development Fund Agreement by representatives of Pakistan, the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the World Bank, and a loan agreement between Pakistan and the World Bank. Enormous sums of money were spent and expensive irrigation works construction was undertaken.

The treaty says that it can be terminated only by another treaty. Article 63 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1980) says: “The severance of diplomatic or consular relations between parties to a treaty does not affect the legal relations between them by the treaty except in so far as the existence of diplomatic or consular relations is indispensable for the application of the treaty.” Even severance of diplomatic relations does not affect the treaty.

To obstruct the Permanent Indus Commission is to trigger the formation of a court of arbitration (Article IX). The treaty is not a weapon to be used for political ends; it has a long history and is entrenched in international law.

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Like, where’s Fawad Khan? And is demi-couture a thing?


Year after year, we’ve heard a similar complaint — award shows don’t bring anything new to the prime-time TV slot. Will this change with the newest award show in town?

We’re getting closer to the day of Pakistan’s only other style awards, the first ever QMobile Hum Style Awards — and the nominations are in.

Categories include Best Model, Best Hair & Makeup Artist, Best Fashion Photographer, Best Designer – Demi-Couture, Best Designer – Bridal, Best Designer – Lawn, Best Designer – Fashion Jewellery, Best Designer – Menswear, Retail Brand of the Year – Apparel, Best Fashion Publication and a QMobile Rising Star.

Most Stylish Awards will also be awarded to film and TV actors, singers, TV hosts and sport personalities.

The stage is set for a celebration of “trendsetters in fashion and entertainment”, but the most pressing question on our minds is ‘Will Hum TV remain objective?’ The tendency of TV channel-sponsored award shows to honour their own productions has reduced them to mere television entertainment with no real credibility, and the hope is that Hum TV will not follow suit in favouring the stars with whom they have the closest association.

Another question that begs asking is the exact criteria of the style awards. Are they being doled out to celebs that dress the best on-screen (in which case the credit really goes to the film’s stylist, costume designers, director and other people with creative input) or off-screen, where the celebrities’ own preferences are likely to come into play.

Either way, one is confused by the presence of Hamza Ali Abbasi in the style nominations. The actor has been vocal in his rejection of style statements, but is in the running for his second style award this year, the first having been awarded to him at the Lux Style Awards in July.

Other nominees that surprised include Feroze Khan who hardly ever makes an impression and Urwa Hocane, who is often singled out as the worst dressed at red carpets and isn’t ‘Most Stylish’ by a long shot.

Television hosts are, again, hardly stylish, especially those that go about gifting rickshaws and motorcycles to their audience. Fahad Mustafa, for instance, usually evades designer-wear, opting to boost a brand called ‘Cherry’ – and when he goes on promotional rounds for his movie, he makes blunders like wearing over-ripped jeans. Sana Bucha, Huma Amir Shah and HSY, though, certainly have style.

Noticeably missing from the nominations is one Fawad Khan, but the omission has probably got to do more with the fact that he hasn’t featured prominently in a Pakistani production — TV or film — in the past year.

Also read: Fawad Khan in a bowtie at the Grazia Awards is possibly his best look ever

Many big names were snubbed in the fashion categories. For instance,Elan and Faraz Manan were ignored in the Demi-couture category (more on that later), Sana Safinaz and HSY are not present in the Bridal category while a relatively younger designer like Zainab Chottani gets recognized. In Menswear, Deepak Perwani and HSYignored despite showing menswear collections last year – perhaps this is because both designers are ostensibly more inclined towards womenswear now?

Another thing that had us scratching our heads is what classifies as demi couture in the Pakistani context? Demi couture is defined as the in-between of pret and haute couture — it’s fashion that has the high quality and fine embellishments of couture but is available to be picked up off the racks. It sounds like luxury pret — and a fashion insider confirms that demi-couture is Hum TV’s new word for the same.

Fashion Publication of the Year leaves one confused because most fashion publications tend to be over-infested with ads and very little exclusive matter. One wonders how the jury managed to decide upon the results for this category.

The full list of nominations of the QMobile Hum Style Awards, which takes place on October 28, is below:


Amna Babar

Rabia Butt

Sadaf Kanwal

Fouzia Aman

Sunita Marshall


Shahzad Noor


Hasnain Lehri

Aimal Khan

Waleed Khalid


Hannan Siddique

Raana Khan

Natasha Khalid

Toni & Guy North Pakistan



Shahbaz Shazi

Guddu Shani

Nadir Firoz Khan

Abdullah Haris

Azeem Sani


Ashna Khan

Zara Abid

Anam Malik

Shoaib Khan

Umair Bin Nisar




Sana Safinaz

Shamaeel Ansari

Body Focus Museum

Shehla Chatoor

Zaheer Abbas


Zainab Chottani

Nomi Ansari

Shehla Chatoor


Faraz Manan



Shehla Chatoor

Sana Safinaz

Zara Shahjahan

Faraz Manan


Republic By Omar Farooq

Nauman Arfeen

Ismail Farid

Munib Nawaz

Amir Adnan


Samina Ibrahim

Amber Sami


Zohra Rahman



Gul Ahmed

Sana Safinaz




Junaid Khan

Imran Abbas

Hamza Ali Abbasi

Feroze Khan

Ahsan Khan


Syra Shahroz

Ayesha Omar

Nausheen Shah

Aamina Sheikh

Urwa Hocane


Mohib Mirza

Humayun Saeed

Adeel Husain

Sheheryar Munawar

Sikander Rizvi


Humaima Malik

Iman Ali

Mehwish Hayat

Sanam Saeed

Mahira Khan


Ali Zafar

Asim Azhar

Atif Aslam

Shahzad Roy

Umair Jaswal


Hadiqa Kiani

Zoe Viccaji

Sara Haider

Meesha Shafi

Quratulain Balouch


Shahid Afridi

Shoaib Malik



Fahad Mustafa

Faisal Qureshi

Hassan Sheheryar Yasin

Huma Amir Shah

Sana Bucha


Libas International


Niche lifestyle


Brides & You

Me & My Wedding

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