Fiddling while Rome burns: Technophobia affects employability, innovation and development

"If a novice hacker can put Pakistan’s national security at stake, then we need to raise questions about the roles and responsibilities of all these institutions that are supposed to guard the country 24/7. There is also an urgent need to brush them up"

The show that is going on in nuclear Pakistan is so critical that instead of mourning over ‘leaks’, all stakeholders are politically playing. Many demand the constitution of a commission to probe what breached national security as it was formed to investigate the East Pakistan debacle.

The security breach of the key institution in Pakistan should be a matter of concern but who cares. Alas, ‘the soul of Nero’ never dies, as it is often said.

If the security of the Prime Minister’s Office, which is also the epicenter of power and political skirmishes, is not foolproof, and apart from that, the talks of the head of the most organized institution are also leaked, the need is to call for an emergency and make up for these shortcomings. It must be a priority agenda of national security.

Stuxnet, as it is claimed, was a US-Israel joint venture designed as a tool to derail or sabotage, the Iranian nuclear program which it did. In the Russia-Ukraine war, cyber-attacks have become accepted as war arsenals. Many countries including India, and China have developed secure software and would later never allow citizens to use social media platforms freely. Surprisingly, the Chinese tech giant Tencent owns social media websites like WeChat and QQ. They equal Facebook in revenue and user-ship. Pakistan is to go a long way in this regard.

Politics, which was a great source of reforms, has been turned into a game of vested interests. It is obvious that usually, mafias rule the roost in politics. Regrettably, all the institutions have dyed their hands in it, which were legally banned. They not only violated oath, but it was also flouted.

If a novice hacker can put Pakistan’s national security at stake, then we need to raise questions about the roles and responsibilities of all these institutions that are supposed to guard the country 24/7. There is also an urgent need to brush them up.

When the mighty people, instead of doing their assigned work, start to interfere in the work of others, then all’s future is at stake and there is no doubt about it. Those institutions whose primary job is A, are engaged instead in B, surely, because of political rifts. Many politicians have become commission agents, mafias’ touts and whatnot; instead of engaging in some sort of civilized politics. Babus are engaged in pleasing their political masters, to flourish at taxpayers’ expense, instead of serving the people which is their main responsibility.

Naseer Ahmad advocate said that people have even started raising questions about why law enforcement agencies have become the ‘facilitators’ of the lawbreakers. Instead of legislation, the parliamentary houses are engaged in the protection of mafias and where the flag of balance was supposed to be raised; there is an alleged environment of shadowy deals.

Pakistan came into existence on the world map as a state which had a great ideology behind it. A part of it was as Indra Gandhi said, drowned in the Bay of Bengal in 1971 and we are bent on slaying the remaining part with our own hands. We must not forget that the protection of ideological borders is more important than the protection of geographical borders, but we have completely neglected it, which has resulted in chaos, economic disparity, poverty, lawlessness, bribery, corruption, unemployment, and mushroom growth of market mafias in the country. There is infighting among institutions and above all, injustice. This is, arguably, the fit case for an ‘Arab Spring’.

Ejaz Hussain, an educationist, says that the audio leaks are coming out regarding the most important personalities and institutions in Pakistan. Drumming against each other is being played on the media, the same parochial politics is happening, attention has been diverted from the real issues, and national progress has been forgotten. No one cares what causes economic bankruptcy. Why are disasters happening in Pakistan every decade? Who is responsible for the severe energy crisis in Pakistan which has put robberies in people’s pockets? Who has to find a solution? There is an initial estimate of more than 1500 billion rupees loss in flood-hit areas, but we are busy playing the trumpet when the videos of the opponents are leaked.

Remember that Pakistan is a country surrounded by enemies. Its geographical borders and ideological borders are critical. In our institutional fight, the state has been largely neglected, politics is far away, and more or less all the institutions and citizens of the state are either in the process of degrading each other or making money. The most sacred and important responsibilities which were to be performed according to the constitution of Pakistan are all entangled in business interests because the biggest profitable business is politics and all are behind it.

When there was a discussion with different people in this regard, they expressed eye-opening views. We are fighting with hollow slogans. They said that we have shown the worst negligence in technological advancements and our biggest enemy and neighboring India is far ahead of us in this matter. They are earning dollars against exports while Pakistan, with its economy in tatters and the shadow of bankruptcy hovering over its head, has become a huge importer.

Engineer Faisal Sultan, who has an eye on tech issues, said that we are using the platform for communication, which includes WhatsApp and Facebook, etc. We should not forget where their headquarters are and all our information is reaching.

He said that it is surprising that government organizations are using them all the time and, documents are being circulated on them and nobody cares. If we want to go ahead in technology and want our data not to be leaked, we have to fully adopt our communication tools like the ones made by China, otherwise, we will fail, he warned.

The government should start strict accountability of institutions after the commission submits recommendations and fixes responsibility. There should be anti-espionage SOPs that are altogether missing in our environment. Policymakers should never forget that every mobile user is under tracking. We should ban Whatsapp and launch our own communication apps as China did. Otherwise, mobile phones may play like spies to further breach our data to MNCs and enemies.

Javed Iqbal is a special correspondent covering the Punjab government with a particular focus on bureaucracy. He has unearthed a number of mega scams while working with leading media houses. He tweets @javedjahangiri and can be reached at javediqbal344@gmail.com.

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