Tag Archives: Pakistan

We have found Malaysia Airlines MH370 in Pakistan

Malaysian MH370 found in Pakistan

Malaysia MH370 found in Pakistan

It’s a norm now, every thing whatever and wherever it happens in the world, it’s a work of some long-beard, bald headed Pakistani! Western media is so sanitised in itself that it wouldn’t even know about thousands of rape cases every year in USA, NSA spying on nearly every citizen of world effectively listening to every conversation we make everyday! but.. yes, human rights violations only exist in poor countries where there is some value, be it oil, be it natural gas, be it keeping eye on your super power status competition. Everything is alright under your noses. Problem is only where you want to look!

What I am not able to understand and nearly everyone is asking this question on Facebook and Twitter, we live in a digital space where NSA is used to of spreading malware through Facebook and still we are not able to track one of the biggest planes on earth? How a plane of the size of Boeing 777 carrying 239 passengers could cross Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and India to only land in Pakistan? What were military radars of these countries doing? Can a airliner cross a territory without permission? Do you really think it’s that easy or somebody is fuelling you dollars to say that?

It wouldn’t take you more than a few Google searches to know how aviation radars work? There are primarily 5 types of communication mechanisms which a commercial airliner can use during the flight.

  1. Primary Radars: Mostly used all over the world, even the tiniest and poorest countries in the world have these radars for military purposes. Nothing goes off it’s eyes. It relies on sending electromagnetic waves which then bounce back from any object at a certain altitude and let the people at the base know that some object is flying. That object can then be traced and it’s speed and altitude can be monitored. Air Forces all over the world use these radars to keep an eye on their airspace, any unidentified aircrafts are immediately asked for their intentions, if there is no answer then these Air Forces are allowed to use their multi-million dollar F-16s to tackle the flying object in air. Ironically, MH370 passed 5 countries military radars and tackling aside even none of these countries came up and said “oh yes, we had an unidentified object in our airspace during that time”.
  2. Secondary Radar: It’s the primary method of communication between air traffic controllers and flying planes. Just like military radars, ATCs (Air Traffic Controllers) are tasked to keep an eye on airspace of their region, no commercial plane could pass without identifying themselves first to ATC of that area. These radars also send electromagnetic waves but instead of returning blindly, these waves are then picked up by the transponder of aircraft and a reply is then sent back to ATC identifying the plane. We know now that someone inside the plane delibrately switched of the transponder, so, that means radar was identifying an object but plane was not identifying itself but obvious question is.. a plane was not identifying and ATCs of 5 countries did not do anything?
  3. ADC-B: It’s a new type of equipment which is now coming installed in most aircrafts. Most flight tracking sites such as Flightradar24 uses this equipment to track and plot planes on the map. Everyone can track a flight through these websites or can own a USB-stick for worth $25 and you can then see planes passing your area. Flightradar24 actually picked up planes location and then MH370s transponder suddenly went off the radar. Let’s say someone switched that one off as well.
  4. ACARS: It’s also called pilot communication, it’s sort of SMS service between airline and it’s pilots. The ACARS is subject of most speculation in the case of MH370, this communication system continued to send pings (just a method of telling another server that I am alive) to the satellites, which led experts to believe that MH370 never crashed immediately. It continued to fly for 5 hours more than initially thought and this is what has given the idea that plane is might be in Pakistan (because Pakistan is in that diameter of 5 hour flight from last known point, along with several other countries?)
  5. GPS: Yes, we all do have GPS in our pockets now and we can upload a place on Facebook which could track us back with the accuracy of milli meters, yet most commercial airlines use this technology just like we use it in our cars, to navigate! GPS system installed in Malaysia Airline MH370 was not equipped to send airliner location back to the base.

With all that explained, once again, channels like Fox News and people like Rupert Mudroch are supposed to be most informed but perhaps the scandal of News of the World and subsequent closure of newspaper tell us something, yellow journalism can earn you some dollars but you are never going to get any any respect and your words effectively become hollow over the time.

 

PIA: Pakistan International Airlines Pilot refused to fly from New York to Lahore

I would like to clarify it first that I am a very loyal customer of PIA (Pakistan International Airlines), the reasons of this I will explain later in this blog. First, I would like to talk about a tiny news appeared in the 2nd May, 2010 Jang Newspaper which reported that pilot of PIA flight PK-712 refused to take the plane back to Lahore from New York because of non-availability of the rest cabin for the crew. Here is the snapshot of that news:

Snapshot of news appeared in Jang May 2nd, 2010

According to the newspaper, the flight leaves New York at 5:30am and in alternate crew, there is always a pilot and first officer which rest for first 8 hours of flight and take charge of the plane for the next 8 hours. I have checked the flight duration on PIA’s website and it is almost 16 hours. The requirement of alternate cock-pit crew is compulsory due to international safety standards.

PALPA (Pakistan Airline Pilots’ Association) took this matter to the international authority about 5 days before this incident. Newspaper further told that the administration of Airline is thinking of operating the flight with a stop in Manchester on the way-back, so the cock-pit crew can be changed at Manchester Airport.

Later that day, I read on the Newspaper’s latest news that PIA has denied the fact that the pilot has refused to fly any flight and this flight will leave New York at its due time.

As a frequent air traveler and a avid fan of Discovery’s Air Crash Investigations, I got worried after reading this news. This was a very small news in the inside pages but I know exactly how this can be the cause of a very big news if a crash happened just due to this. National flag carrier has 9 Boeing-777 airplanes including Boeing-777LR and holds the record for longest commercial jet flight in aviation industry. The airplanes are made for long range flights specifically and were bought to cater for Toronto, Chicago and New York flights basically. However, while it gives you a great flexibility of operating at longer routes, it gives you a great responsibility of handling the flight safely without any break on the way.

The New York flight takes a break in Manchester on it’s way from Lahore to New York while on the return it come as a direct flight and takes about 16 hours. I am sure that while ordering an airline can ask for any modifications in the plane seating-wise and I am sure the original design would have a rest cabin included with the airplane as the airplane was intended for long-haul flights and I am sure again that PIA would have asked to remove the cabin to increase seating capacity.

PIA-777ER at runway

What makes me worried is a tired pilot who remain seated for first 8 hours of the flight and then he would be flying the plane back to the safety of airport for the next 8 hours. Everyone in airline industry know what a tired pilot flying an aircraft means, a flight in danger of a clash if anything goes wrong, obviously if the pilot is tired, his capability of handling potential hazards would be very low than a fresh pilot. We have seen many airliners crashing in bad weather, low visibility areas or in case of engine failures because either the pilot or first officer was tired and they missed the steps to handle the hazard.

Recently, another news in the same newspaper I read was about the maintenance of these multi-million dollar airplanes (Boeing-777) because the hanger for these airplanes were not made at the home of PIA (Pakistan International Airlines), the Karachi Airport. As of this reason, PIA is already not maintaining these airplanes properly and at times the flights are getting delayed due to security reasons in flying a faulty aircraft.

PIA has recently reported a surge in it’s operating profit which remained about Rs.5 billion in the past year. However, if you are not maintaining the safety standards and stretching your crew to get profit, that is a very risky bet, if in-case an aircraft got crashed due to these reasons, the airline would not only lose it’s multi-million dollar investment in the aircraft but also hundreds of lives along with a bad name for the airline.

I am a frequent flyer with PIA and always choose this airline whenever I go back  home. The reasons behind why I always choose this airline are not that it is a great airline to fly with or they are very hospitable (steward never reply the call, I always have to go to the kitchen myself to drink water), the PIA tickets are not cheap if compared to other airline’s fares and they are not that great in flying according to schedule (flights are often late). The reasons are, number one you get a direct flight from London to Lahore, you are in Pakistan in 8 hours, you do not need to change planes etc. If you take Emirates or Etihad or any other airline, obviously they stop at their home airports en-route. Second reason is much emotional, when you are traveling with PIA, the time when you get to your departure gate, you feel yourself as you are in Pakistan because the passengers and crew will be of your country and that makes you more happy, while coming back until you don’t leave the exit gate of heathrow airport, you again feel yourself at home, within your own people. Other than this, in-flight meals are just OK, the floors are dirty and because mostly it’s Boeing-777 which operates at heathrow route as well, the LCD screens for entertainment on the back of seats are starting to pose problems as well. It never happened with me yet but the passengers sitting beside me, normally their in-flight entertainment system will not work and they will keep on complaining and stewards will keep on saying that I am looking at the problem and nothing will happen. Obviously the airline is not taking care of it’s assets and it’s name.

PIA is our national flag carrier and despite of the fact that I am concerned with the safety of it’s airplanes and other factors, I will keep on flying with this airline as for the reasons I stated above. However, the airline itself need to give itself some fact-check and see what can happen if they keep on ignoring it’s crew and the maintenance of it’s aircraft.

Update 24/02/2014: PIA is the only airline now which flies direct from UK to Pakistan. Airblue was in competition and was even trying to expand it’s presence by offering Manchester to Lahore flight alongside existing Manchester to Islamabad route but reportedly due to some problems with availability of aircrafts, Airblue decided to pull out from the UK market. As a result, PIA seats are selling quickly due to ageing immigrant community who only want to travel direct. There are still some ways to get cheap flights to Pakistan through PIA and other airlines such as Emirates, Qatar, Etihad and Turkish airline but if you want to fly direct, it would be better to book your flight at least 3 months in advance.

Pakistan’s WAPDA and WAPDA’s website both got hacked!

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I recently came back from Pakistan and as most Pakistanis I was concerned with frequent power blackouts there. These power blackouts are known as load shedding in Pakistan as WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority) and it’s controlling authority PEPCO (Pakistan Electric Power Company) try to manage the load across the power grids so none of them get blown off. The result of short fall of more than 5000MW daily is that public is sitting idle without electricity for more than 12 hours daily.

As a professional in web services I want to know every thing from the Web and on times I felt the urge to log-on to WAPDA’s website to get to know what is actually happening. What I would expect from the authority, is that, their website would have a map of Pakistan, which would get updated live through AJAX or it could be a Java applet which show you how many MWs are currently available, how many of them are actually getting distributed, how much are the line losses and how much is the demand. Then on the map additionally, you could see which areas are out of electricity at the particular moment.

I know that WAPDA will not do this ever until the political and bureaucratic structure of the authority get changed. The reason behind is, WAPDA has the capacity to generate more than 19,000MW a day through it’s own hydel power plants and through other IPP (Independent Power Producer) plants across the country. WAPDA hasn’t deliberately paid the payments to IPPs which in turn hasn’t paid fuel supplying companies, so those power plants are actually not running on their full strength and the power at the end available in the country is around 12,000MW a day.

Let’s take that in a bigger picture, when the government could get a loan of more than 7 billion dollar from international agencies with in a time frame of 2 years, it has taken too much loan from inside the company as well, why it couldn’t just pay back the IPPs debt which is around 100 billion Pakistani rupee (approximately 1.2 billion dollars) and due to only this reason, the whole country is in trouble including the industry and commercial sector and only this reason is causing a halt to growth and pushing the government to take more loans.

Yes, the last point is the answer, this is the game to pressurize the people of Pakistan so that they do not see toward the so-called war on terror game at the borders of Pakistan, secondly so that Pakistan should take more and more loans so like today, when international agencies ask something from us and we say we would not do that, they will say OK we will not release any more funds for you and as we will be down to our knees, we will do as “they” say.

Now on the corruption side of current “democratic” government of Pakistan, which country on earth would install more power plants when you have enough capacity available already and about 40% of it is not in use because of fuel supply? Well, the country’s name is Pakistan. In lieu of this scenario obviously Mr. 10% would like to have a bigger share out of his presidency, so what we are seeing is the Minister of Power saying again and again that it is due to the non-availability of power generation capacity (when 40% is idle) and then Pakistan is getting rental power plants which are expensive to get and install and more off they run on same kind of fuel which you are already not supplying to current power generators. The only purpose seems here to get kickbacks from those rental power plant operators.

This is a well known fact and every Pakistani is aware of that, anyway I got diverted here too  much from my subject, the reason behind is obviously to let the reader know that why WAPDA would not put this all live information on their website because that will put the orders in transparency and that is what the international pressure and local government do not want (that’s against the interests of those nations).

However, the grip of WAPDA’s IT department is so weak that when I searched wapda on Google and that is my habit which saved me here that I always search rather than typing in the address bar, the Google told me that visiting this website can be harmful. This is a bit shocking as the website’s domain is gov.pk and it is a government’s website, however I checked that on 7th April, the date of writing of this blog is 10th April and who knows from how long it has been hacked. Well hacked is probably not a right word here, what probably has happened that the OS it’s developer is using is pirated (shouldn’t be a shock, it’s WAPDA) or he has been installing pirated software on the system and there is probably no anti-virus on the web developer’s system as well as web server. So, this malware got it’s way all up to the one of the most important websites of Pakistan.

Here are few screen shots:

May Allah bless Pakistan!

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Shandur festival on world’s highest polo ground

Shandur Mela (festival) is going to start on 7th July, 2009 on the world’s highest polo ground in Chitral. Chitral is on the border of Afghanistan but a bit away from Waziristan and Swat where Pakistan Army is on war against foreign trained elements who want to de-stabilize Pakistan. The country has recently won 20-20 World Cup cricket tournament and that was a well-needed shot-in-the-arm on time for a nation who daily hear the news of killings of their countrymen by the people working for external powers.

Shandur


shandur

Shandur is highest polo ground on earth, it is about 3738 meters above sea level and lies between Gilgit and Chitral in north-west Pakistan. This area remain snow covered in winters and turn into green heaven in summers. The first recorded tournament played on this ground was in 1936. The teams who play are always of Gilgit and Chitral and they are considered strong rivals to each other. Both teams practice throughout the year to see each other in this ground every July. This festival is very famous among local and general public of Pakistan as well as foreign tourists.

shandur festival

The events like this show that Pakistan is not a country of terrorists but its a beautiful country with its beautiful culture and people here are famous for their hospitality.

2010 Update: Shandur Polo Festival for 2010 will take from 7th July 2010 to 9th July 2010. This will be a time to see the breathtaking beauty of Chitral, Pakistan along side the beautiful valley of Hunza. There will be many on-foot and jeep expeditions leaving Islamabad and Peshawar around that time to see this free-style polo tournament which has deep roots in local culture. Don’t miss it!

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