‘Anonymous Pakistan’ take down government sites, leak bank records

Screenshot from the hackers' website

KARACHI: In the wake of ongoing anti-government protests in Islamabad, a group of hackers calling themselves ‘Anonymous Op Pakistan’ temporarily brought down numerous government portals in a bid to remove, “every vestige of the Pakistan government from the Internet”.

The group also leaked a zip file containing 23,000 bank records allegedly connected to the government. The zip file contained a document that stated the leak was carried out by ASOR Hack Team.

Claiming to be a part of Anonymous – the global hacktivist network – the hackers attacked over two dozen government websites overnight, a few of which remained inaccessible on Monday. Some of the hacked websites were defaced as well.

In numerous online messages, Anonymous Op Pakistan said it was carrying out the attacks for political reasons, in support of the PTI/PAT protesters:

“We are cataloging the atrocities being committed in Pakistan. We will begin at once assisting the peaceful protesters in Pakistan with every tool and tactic at our disposal. And we will initiate the process of removing every vestige of the Pakistan government from the Internet and shutting down their communications network. And the Pakistani people will then remove this criminal regime from power and lock them in prison where they belong. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif you are hereby dismissed. You will leave power immediately. For the safety and security of your family we suggest that you depart Pakistan at once. This is your only warning.”

The group also condemned police action against the protesters:

As for the criminal security and military forces who have so barbarically attacked your own people in Pakistan, we will collect evidence of your crimes and deal with you in the time and manner of our choosing. You would do well to….well, you know – expect us. You will either answer to the justice of your people and the international community, or you will be the subject of the rage filled vengeance of Anonymous.

Portals that were hacked included:

  • Pakistan Army (www.joinpakarmy.gov.pk)

  • Pakistan Air Force (www.paf.gov.pk, http://www.joinpaf.gov.pk)

  • Inter Services Public Relations (www.ispr.gov.pk)

  • Federal Investigative Agency (www.fia.gov.pk)

  • Punjab Government (www.punjab.gov.pk)

  • Urban Unit (www.urbanunit.gov.pk)

  • Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (www.pemra.gov.pk)

  • Pakistan Electronics Manufacturers Association (www.pema.gov.pk)

  • Provincial Disaster Management Authority (www.pdma.gov.pk/)

  • Press Information Department (www.pid.gov.pk)

  • Pakistan Meteorological Department (www.pmd.gov.pk)

  • National Institute of Electronics (www.nie.gov.pk)

  • Federal Board of Revenue (e.fbr.gov.pk)

Political crisis must end through political means, Army says

Army chief Raheel Sharif.

ISLAMABAD: After a lengthy four hour meeting at General Headquarters, the Pakistan Army corps commanders came out with a statement “reaffirming support to democracy” and reiterating that the current stand-off between the PML-N led government and the Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaaf (PTI), Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) needed a political solution.

The meeting, which was headed by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif, saw the corps commanders reject “further use of force” in the crisis, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release stated.

The commanders also expressed “serious concern” over the violent turn of events in the federal capital.

“The Army remains committed to playing its part in ensuring security of the state and will never fall short of meeting national aspirations,” the press release stated.

Daily Sitara Sind News learnt that General Raheel Sharif took the commanders into confidence over his meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, PTI Chief Imran Khan and PAT Chief Tahirul Qadri last week.

The critical meeting, which was scheduled to be held on Monday morning, was pushed up to today in light of rapidly unfolding events.

The situation in Islamabad took on critical proportions after the clashes began late on Saturday and led to at least three reported deaths and countless injuries by Sunday night.

An apolitical army, for now

The meeting of the army commanders has a serious bearing on the prevailing scenario, given the fact that the military had engaged in ‘mediating’ the crisis between the government and PAT, PTI.

The Army’s message in support of the political process comes at a time when speculation is rife that the current crisis is being steered by, or has tacit approval from the powerful military establishment. The conclusions of the corps commanders meeting today will, for the moment, help in allaying fears of military intervention in the crisis.

Multiple events earlier in the week had suggested that the army and the government were not on the same page with regards to the PTI, PAT protests.

First the the government was left reeling from the blowback of asking the military to step in to alleviate the prevailing political crisis. Then a second jolt followed when the ISPR clarified that it was the government that had asked General Raheel Sharif to “facilitate” negotiations with the protesting parties, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had seemingly stated the exact opposite in the National Assembly.

The events revived concerns about the conventional issue in Pakistani politics: competition for power between the military and civilian leaders. The new statement from today’s meeting however, suggests the army remains apolitical, despite its direct involvement in the current crisis.

Army chief calls corps commanders meeting

Army chief Raheel Sharif.

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif has summoned a meeting of the corps commanders for Sunday evening, a day after the political impasse in Islamabad took the form of a full blown clash between protesters and law enforcement personnel.

Earlier, the meeting was scheduled to be held on Monday morning but its time was changed after the army chief held some consultations with the senior military commanders.

An ISPR spokesman had earlier said that the meeting which is to be chaired by General Raheel will discuss matters relating to the internal security situation.

Highly-placed sources told Daily Siatar Sindh  that the conference would also evolve its strategy to end the prevailing impasse.

The situation in Islamabad took on critical proportions after the clashes began late on Saturday and led to at least seven reported deaths and two hundred injuries.

Tomorrow’s meeting of the army commanders can have a serious bearing on the prevailing scenario, especially with the fact that the military had engaged in ‘mediating’ the crisis between the government and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

What a front page

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PM who never bothered about sessions in last 14 months now wants to have one everyday.  

Funny how they are boasting democracy in the parliament. Don’t they remember last night?

NS has failed democracy today. Rigged Govts will always remain weak and damage democracy.

Be the Hero Imran! you are the One that your country has been waiting for..

Untiring Imran Khan puts talks on hold till Nawaz’s resignation

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan speaks to protestors in Islamabad's D-Chowk.—Reuters/File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Two weeks into his anti-government protest in the federal capital, Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan maintains his defiant stance that the prime minister step down in order for an independent investigation of alleged election rigging.

In an address to protestors who have been encamped at D-Chowk for nine days, the PTI leader on Wednesday refused to continue negotiations with the government and was resolute on continuing the sit-in till the time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif steps down.

“There will be no negotiations with your team now. No resignation, no negotiations,” he told a crowd of supporters.

Thousands of PTI supporters have camped outside Parliament in Islamabad’s high-security Red Zone in anti-government protests against alleged election rigging in the 2013 polls. In his fresh address today, Imran remained unflinching in his demand for Nawaz’s resignation and said that he will not give in to the government’s efforts to “buy him out”.

A fifth round of negotiations between the government and PTI ended earlier today, with no apparent sign of a breakthrough.

The talks took place at PTI leader Jehangir Tareen’s residence. DawnNews correspondent Samar Abbas said the body language of the government team appeared to show that it had yet to achieve a breakthrough in the deadlock.

The PTI has put forward a list of six demands, which include the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – a demand from which the party is not willing to budge.

“How can I get justice with Nawaz Sharif still in the chair,” he said speaking to the crowd after talks failed again.

Imran said that, for the past 14 months after the May 2013 polls, he had tried all possible options but had been denied justice at every avenue. “All doors were shut on us, and they hid behind stay orders,” he said.

Imran rejects deputy PM offer

The PTI claimed the government was willing to accept all of the PTI’s six stated demands except the prime minister’s resignation.

“I set out on the streets (for justice) in May and today I have come to this point. On pressure from the people, the government is ready to accept all demands but is not willing to accept Nawaz’s resignation. If I could get justice under Nawaz, I would accept. But the prime minister is himself involved in rigging. How can I expect to get justice,” he said.

Imran claimed the government was trying to bribe him by offering him the position of deputy prime minister, but he did not accept.

“They even tried to bribe me by offering me the position of deputy prime minister. They are willing to go to any level to clear the crowd of supporters here,” he said.

Imran’s statement backed earlier reports from sources that the government was willing to give him the post of deputy premier for a span of three months to supervise the probe into election rigging allegations.

“I did not accept. We have all the evidence (of election rigging). I’m telling the nation: if we back down now, there can never be an independent inquiry under Nawaz Sharif,” Imran told protestors.

No word from government

Meanwhile, there was no word from the government following the end of talks with the PTI.

The government has previously said it is ready to open a judicial investigation into the rigging allegations and accept all demands except the resignation of the prime minister.

Imran had termed Wednesday as the “final round of talks” and the last chance for the government to reach a solution.

If the deadlock persists even after Wednesday, the PTI chief had said that he would announce his “next step” accordingly. He has warned of reprisals if any action is taken against the demonstrators.

 

Why everyone in Pakistan must support Imran Khan for Democracy

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I believe we can all agree that Pakistan needs, above all else, strong state institutions and the rule of law. These are the only way in which a proper modern country can function. They are necessary to ensure the social stability necessary for a functioning democracy and a prosperous market economy.

But when powerful individuals can sway the institutions of the state to serve themselves, when they can bend the rule of law and use the mechanisms of the state for private gain, then that can no longer be called a modern state. When there are individuals, business leaders or politicians or cultural icons that are not equal subjects to the state and its laws, when they can rise above the state and undermine it, then that is closer to a medieval, feudal state. And in that situation, democracy and aspirations for economic development are but a cruel joke.

Whether we like to admit it or not, Pakistan today does not look very much like a healthy modern state. On the one hand we do have elections, but what is the point of elections if the electoral process does not have the confidence of the people? The Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has declared victory in the last elections with barely 15% of the votes counted, and claimed a huge parliamentary majority as well. Small wonder then, that the opposition, led by Imran Khan, can raise hundreds of thousands of protesters to challenge the outcome of the vote.

I support Imran Khan’s position. Khan is not challenging or undermining the constitution or indeed the state. He is challenging the power clique of the Sharifs, who have long since entrenched their power base at the heart of the Pakistani political system, and have hijacked it to set them above the rule of law.

The election fraud at the last election and the way in which the courts have failed to redress it are only the straw that broke the camel’s back. Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis are not marching on Islamabad and risking violent confrontations with the police or even the army because Imran Khan has made allegations. They are marching because they are coming face to face with startling corruption and administrative ineptitude every day when they have to deal with the institutions of state. Corruption and ineptitude festered by the self-serving Sharif clique.

Furthermore, the right to peaceful protest, which is what Khan is using for his rally, is well within the law and the constitution. Sharif’s plans to use force if necessary to stop protesters entering Islamabad, on the other hand, are not what a democratic leader of a modern state would do when faced with peaceful protest. They are the actions of a man who is afraid that he cannot answer when a question over the legitimacy of his power and authority is raised. They are the actions of a dictator, or of a leader who is on his way to becoming a dictator. And that does not bode well for Pakistan.

So yes, we all agree that we need a stable Pakistan, in which the rule of law and the constitution are upheld, so that democracy can flourish and our society can prosper. And it is very unfortunate that right now Imran Khan’s actions are sowing instability. But surely the kind of stability that we need is that of a healthy democracy under the rule of law, not the stability we have had in the past under dictators and autocrats under the rule of force. Pakistan is heading in a very worrying direction again under Sharif, and we all need to rally in defence of our democracy before it is too late.

That is why I support Mr Imran Khan.

written By.
Azeem Ibrahim, an International Expert in Strategic Policy Development.

IMRAN KHAN ANNOUNCES ‘CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE’ MOVEMENT

Aamir Qureshi—AFP

CRICKETER-TURNED-POLITICIAN TELLS SUPPORTERS TO STOP PAYING TAXES AND UTILITY BILLS TO FORCE GOVERNMENT TO RESIGN.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Sunday announced that he was launching a civil disobedience movement to force the sitting prime minister to resign and call for fresh elections.

“I ask all Pakistani citizens not to pay tax, including general sales tax, or any utility bills, to protest the sitting Pakistani government that won through fraudulent elections in 2013,” he told thousands of his supporters in Islamabad on the third day of his party’s “long march.”

Khan accused the government, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in particular, of bribing stakeholders during the 2013 elections to secure a landslide victory. He also warned the government to resign within two days or he would lose control of his followers.

“I promised the interior minister [Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan] that my workers would not cross into the ‘Red Zone’ but I can’t control you indefinitely,” he said. “After two days, my workers will no longer be in my control and can cross into the ‘Red Zone’ and occupy Parliament House and even drag [Prime Minister] Nawaz Sharif out,” he warned. Later, he said he would personally lead his followers into the ‘Red Zone’ if the Sharifs did not resign within two days. The ‘Red Zone’ in Islamabad is the location of several foreign embassies and offices and Parliament House. The interior minister said on Saturday that no action would be taken against the protesters unless they tried to enter the ‘Red Zone.’

The government has already announced intent to initiate dialogue with Khan, but he said during his speech that he would not settle for anything less than the resignation of Nawaz Sharif. “I know you [Sharif] will try to send people to convince me to back down,” he said. “Don’t waste my time.”

However, Khawaja Saad Rafique, railways minister, said the government was ready to accept any constitutional demand of Qadri and Khan. “I have requested them to meet us for talks, as this would be the most useful process to meet their demands,” he said.

Also addressing supporters on Sunday, Canadian-Pakistani cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri said that what he called a corrupt system of governance could not be changed without a revolution. “The country’s survival will be at stake if Nawaz Sharif and his cronies are allowed to rule the country,” Qadri said. “We don’t want mid-term elections … what we want is revolution,” he said, adding that corruption and plundering of the national wealth was rampant. “We will not allow this system to continue any more.”

Qadri has called for Sharif’s arrest over what he alleges was the murder of his supporters, and for the installation of an interim national government. The cleric, who late Saturday issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the government to accept his demands, said he would not be responsible for any repercussions if they were not met.

He said Sharif and his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif, who is chief minister of Punjab province, had no right to sit in government, their cabinets should be dissolved and they should be arrested on murder charges.

Analysts warned there was no quick solution to the impasse. “Apparently there are no signs that the government and the two parties are working towards a solution of the problem … both are sticking to their positions, leading to a deadlock,” said analyst Hasan Askari. “If political leaders fail to resolve this problem and violence starts, then the initiative will shift to the military—either to mediate the problem or see to it that the stalemate is resolved,” he said.

Senior politicians have intensified their efforts to avert a crisis, however. Siraj-ul-Haq, chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, met the opposition leader in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Shah, to discuss the situation. “The entire nation is upset over what is happening in Islamabad … we have to steer the country out of this crisis with a cool mind,” Haq told reporters after meeting Shah in Karachi. “We will not allow democracy to be derailed at any cost.”

Shah confirmed that the government had called an emergency meeting of the Parliamentary Committee to discuss the ongoing protests. “The Parliamentary Committee meeting tomorrow will decide how and which demands can be accepted to avoid any chaos in Islamabad,” he said.

Aitzaz Ahsan, leader of the Opposition in the Senate, said he believed Khan’s allegations were true, but disagreed with the route he had adopted to seek redress. “Even the Pakistan Peoples Party has raised objections to the massive rigging in the 2013 elections, and there is evidence for it, but the way Imran Khan has taken to the streets of Islamabad is not a solution,” he told Newsweek via phone. “It will only raise agitation in the country,” he added.