Friday, January 2, 2009

In Search of Qasab – A Journey to Pakistan

Pakistan a Failed Republic?

Being part of the American intelligence, I was given the job nail Pakistan on the Mumbai attacks. Though it is obvious that any terror attack in the world has either direct or indirect link to Pakistan, the Fed wanted to have tangible evidence - “data, data, data”. I embarked a flight to Islamabad and after initial bonhomie I delved on it with Raza Gilani (RG)

Me: Dear Prime Minister, Will you permit to have a look at the National Database

RG: Database, which one?

Me: The one that contains record of all citizens

RG: (blinking his eyes) Oh Yes Sure, Sure ... we can show you ... nothing to hid; it’s Open Source ...

Me: Oh it’s open source ... Is it MySQL?

RG: (completely flummoxed) oh yeah .. its OurSQL

[I know that Gilani wouldn’t have expected these intricate technical details of databases from a Secret Service Agent like me. Neither do I know this a couple of days ago. A session with top database expert Reddy got me accustomed with these terms. Reddy also gave some hints on how to query the database. “Select * from” hmm I remember it. The Like Operator... Like ‘%asab’ should bring ‘Kasab’, ‘Qasab’ etc. Some other ‘hints’ you would come to know once my report gets declassified by Fed.]

Gilani was a good host. I had a sumptuous lunch with him, after which he introduced a Software Architect who would help me in ‘Search for Qasab’. The software architect looked like a British educated person, but spoke almost nothing and drove me to a building with lots and lots of arches. He introduced me to a ‘database expert’ and left the scene.

The database expert, Rahim, was quite comfortable by my presence and took me to a big hall where around twenty PCs were placed near the four walls on a neatly crafted wooden benches.

Me: Rahim, the wooden crafting should be costlier than your PCs

Rahim: No Sir! There are many good artisans in Pakistan. We have a good taste for art! [He was right, all the drawers had some Mosque carvings surrounded by Palm trees, Camels etc.. a unique feature of Arabs] [more on ]

As Rahim went into a small room to fetch water, I glanced at other engineers at work. Almost all of them were young – in their early twenties, they wore a Shirt that is too lengthy for their upper half, the sleeves drooped out of their hands and their pants were terribly short. It was drooping half way between knees and toes. All of them had beards and highly-designed caps. Some were playing games and one guy with a long beard was playing some Arabic song that was so loud that the database centre looked like Mecca on a Friday Namaz.

Me: Thanks for the Water Rahim, I want to have a hands-on with your National Database. Can you get me a machine

Rahim: sure sir! You can use this machine [he took me to a machine and pressed Ctrl+Alt+Del. The green Screen Saver with a mosque paved way for a greener Desktop with some Mosque and Quran inscriptions as background]

[I took the hint that Reddy gave and searched for some data connections. There was no sign of databases installed on that machine. It had some Real Player and Games] [more on ]

Me: Rahim what database do you use? MySQL?

Rahim: No sir .. no database here.. [ I was really stunned... no database]

Me: Do you have any in-built databases

Rahim: We bought and assembled the machines [Aagh ... he was talking more on Hardware]

Me: No Rahim! I want the software

Rahim: Yes sir! You can have it ..

Me: [Exasperated] Can you take me to the Manager of this Organization.

Rahim: He is in Afghanistan, at present I am in charge of this?

Me: What’s he doing in Afghanistan?

Rahim: He is fighting against NETO

[NATO i suppose]

Rahim: (Proudly) He has destroyed some NETO 200 vehicles in Peshwar !

Me: Can I get any chance to look into records of citizens. Well! I mean a file containing names, addresses etc.

Rahim: Sure sir! You can GET!

Me: Where?

Rahim: You can try in Karachi

Me: In Karachi?

Rahim: You will get info like names, addresses, mobile nos, credit card numbers etc

Me: That’s what I want. Do you have any contacts in Karachi?

Rahim: I do have. My brother works there.

Me: That’s good, where shall I find him?

Rahim: “Rehan Traders” in new market area?

Me: Will he take me to the information department?

Rahim: What department?

Me: For getting the emails, addresses etc?

Rahim: He has those in CDs. He sells them

Me: IN CDs, why he sells them

Rahim: People buy them to get access to credit card accounts of Indians?

Me: Indians!

Rahim: Yeah Indians, we get these CDs through Pasha from Mumbai

Me: [to myself Oh Jesus! Where will I Search for Kasab]

Rahim: Sir, we tried searching last week. The name was not there. Once the name comes we need to inform the our government

Me: So you were searching Indian database... Im sorry Indian CDs and DVDs

Rahim: (Proudly) Yes Sir!

Me: Thanks Rahim.. Thanks a lot

Rahim: My pleasure ... please come again [Sure ... If I need any info on Indians]

I walked back to Mariott and switched on TV. A news anchor from Geo TV was shrieking ‘Pakistan reiterates no data related to Qasab is available on its National Database

I switched off the Televison and dozed off!!

Is my trip a failure? Or is the country a failure?

1 comment:

  1. CDs are banned in Pak aren't they?

    CDs/DVDs are anti-islamic right! They should be banned in Pakistan


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