Thursday, September 16, 2021

Technology is as good as the people using it: Computer technology is just a tool. Its user determines the quality of output

Installing cameras for fighting crime and tax evasion, using computer technology for removing corruption, and implementing EVMs for ensuring transparency of election results are all uses of technology to solve problems. However, "technology is as good as the people using it". Utility of a technology is dependent on the ability and competence of people using it.
Let's see some examples of technology and its tools:

A knife is as good as the person using it. On Eid ul Azha qurbani by a professional qasai vs a novice is easily visible by the quality of the cut meat. One would spoil the meat the other would make it into a treat worth remembering. Even a simple task like putting a nail in the wall with a hammer. An expert will get the nail in with a few strokes of the hammer. A novice would spoil several nails, can spoil the paint and in fact destroy the wall plaster also. Similarly, a good carpenter can create a master piece of furniture using the tools which in the hands of a clumsy novice can spoil the furniture. Using the same paints, an artist can create a masterpiece of painting, and the same paint in the hand of a novice can destroy the painting.

Like all technologies, computer technology and electronic devices are no different. In the hands of experts they can do wonders. In the hand of novices they can cause of wastage and great debacle as what we saw in the use of RTS in 2018 elections where the untested and unpiloted app failed in its first real life test.

Sandblasting the license plate number of cars is sometimes considered to be a solution for car-jacking. Recently, Kenya which is notorious for street crimes, resorted to sandblasting on cars of Nairobi. Cars not having the numbers sandbasted on window glasses are not given fitness certificate to drive on roads. The pic here was posted in 2021 that wanted Pakistan to use sandblasting on car windows for apprehending car thieves. Little did the person asking us to emulate Nairobi knew that in 1995-1997 we went through an extensive drive to get all the cars on Karachi roads sandblasted with the license plate numbers. It failed predictably because the issue in Pakistan is not being able to identify the license number of car, but the willingness and commitment of the traffic police to apprehend the criminals. The only result was that the sandblasting companies made huge money providing their services in cahoot with the police who were busy extorting money for forcing the drivers to get the sandblasting done. The project was discontinued.
In Pakistan it is the people problem not the technology problem.

‎Pakistan has been trying to stop tax pilferage and misreporting of factory outputs by installing the cameras since 1990s. There is also SRO notifications in this regard. Has there been appreciable reduction in tax pilferage. None except greasing of the palms of inspectors and giving huge contracts to camera companies.
There is a similar story of safe city cameras of Islamabad and Karachi. There are 2000 cameras in Islamabad. There are several thousands in Karachi too, but when the time comes they are often found to be non-operational, there is no transparency of data.

The problem is not of technology, the problem is not of laws and regulations. But the problem is people management, strategy and processes.

The case of EVMs is a classic case where government thinks that technology is a panacea of all ills of the society. They think that there is rigging in election because of lack of technology. There are so many incentives for rigging. It is a political problem, it is a social problem, it is a human behavior problem. See the detail post in this regard.

EVMs will fail in Pakistan because it is more of a management problem than a technology problem

Technology is as good as the people using it.
Technology is not the solution. Change of behavior of people who use the technology need to change!


EVMs will fail in Pakistan because it is more of a management problem than a technology problem

EVM is a much bigger logistics & management problem than a technology problem!
Assuming EVMs are technologically feasible, now please work out the logistics and management issues of manufacturing, testing, transportation, storage, issuance, receipts, returns, installation, post installation testing, quality assurance, maintenance, malfunction detection, repair, supervision etc of uniquely numbered 7 lac devices. Mind you, that all these devices will have to work flawlessly for only two days out of every five years in 100,000 polling stations spread over big cities, small cities, villages in areas spread over a country consisting of mountainous regions, deserts, plains, etc with highly differring levels of roads, internet, communication infrastructure using over 4 lacs polling staff that is conscripted for election duty from government departments for election duty. Each of 1lac polling stations has at least 7 hardware devices; 1 device for voter identification, 1 control unit, two ballot machines for men and 2 ballot machines for women (out of two, one is for NA and the other is for PA), and 1 RTS machine.

But, the million dollar question is who will perform all these logistics functions, who will train them, who will ensure safety, security. Mind you the devices can not be left unsecured for even 10 minutes in a country where authorized access is as much if not more vulnerable than unauthorized access for corruption reasons. Do you think that the same government officials who cannot maintain 2000 cameras in Islamabad, the most developed area of the entire country, (which are often found not working when they are needed the most), can be trusted to manage this huge logistical enterprise. The same bureaucracy who could not run a simple RTS app?

Supposing we have angels who will manage this, then who will prepare a database of 4lac polling staff that are not finalized till the last day, who will create a database of lacs of people required for managing the logistics and who will manage the tracking of devices, tampering alarms and unauthorized access and movement alarms, who will designate which serial number device should only be handled by which CNIC card holder for how long, ,.....

Above all the billion dollar question (literally) is, who will pay the cost of around $1Bn new money for the above logistics and management of 7lac devices of EVMs? Mind you $1Bn is 50% of the total amount received from IMF with so many conditionalities that it has already broken the back of people of Pakistan.

The above can be learnt through a course on Information Systems strategy and management and learning from failures of over 70% ERP implementations of the like of SAP, Oracle ERP that have been in use by thousands of organizations around the world for over 3 decades.
الیکشن شفاف کرنے والی 7 لاکھ EVM ڈیوائسز کی جادوئی چھڑی پر وہ پڑھے لکھے عقلمند ایمان لے آئے ہیں جو ایک کروڑ نوکریوں، 50 لاکھ گھر، 47 روپے پیٹرول، دو دن میں 200$ ارب، 5 ارب درخت، 90 دن میں کرپشن ختم کرنے ....کے جھوٹے وعدوں پر اندھا دھند ایمان لے آئے تھے!
Also see

پڑھے لکھے عقلمند آئی ٹی ایکسپرٹ:

اگر ERP جیسی proven ٹیکنالوجی جو کہ ہزاروں بڑے بزنسز میں دنیا بھر میں کئی دھائیوں سے کامیابی سے چل رہی ہے، جس کے لاکھوں امپلیمنٹیشن ایکسپرٹس بھی موجود ہیں، وہ بھی ٪60 نئی جگہوں پر امپلیمنٹیشن کے دوران ملازمین کی ٹیکی اہلیت و استطاعت کی کمی ہونے کی وجہ سے فیل ہو جاتی ہے، تو ایک نئی EVM ٹیکنالوجی جس کی افادیت unproven ہے کیونکہ ابھی تک دنیا کے 167 میں سے 159 ممالک جن میں امریکہ، جرمنی، ہالینڈ جیسے ٹیکی ایکسپرٹ ممالک بھی شامل ہیں وہ بھی ابھی تک convinced نہیں، بلکہ جرمنی اور ہالینڈ تو استعمال کر کے ترک بھی کر چکے ہیں، اُس EVM ٹیکنالوجی کو پاکستان جیسے ملک میں "ہینڈسم پڑھے لکھے عقلمند" جادو کی چھڑی ہلا کر اُن لاکھوں پولنگ اسٹاف سے کامیابی سے چلوا لیں گےجن کی اکثریت نے ابھی ای میل کا استعمال بھی شروع نہیں کیا، اور وہ بھی ان EVM مشینز پر جو کہ ابھی صرف پروٹوٹائپ اسٹیج پر ہیں، جن کو 22 مہینوں بعد ہونے والے الیکشنز سے پہلے یکایک لاکھوں کی تعداد میں مینوفیکچر کروا لیا جائے گا، اور اُن 1بلین ڈالرز کے بجٹ سے جو ابھی estimate بھی نہیں کیا گیا اور نہ یہ معلوم کہ کہاں سے آئیں گے، اور جن EVM مشینز کو کسی اصلی الیکشنز میں پائلٹ ٹیسٹ بھی نہیں کیا ہو گا، اور اُن مشینز کو ملک کے طول و عرض پر پھیلے ہوئے ایک لاکھ پولنگ اسٹیشنز پر الیکشنز والے دن، سیاسی پریشر کے انتہائی ٹینشن میں، پہلی دفعہ استعمال کریں گے اور کامیاب بھی ہو جائے گے-
اے بسا آرزو که خاک شده

پاکستان میں 1لاکھ پولنگ اسٹیشنز، ہوں گے، ہر پولنگ اسٹیشن پر کم ازکم 7 مختلف ووٹنگ مشینز چاہئے- یعنی 7 لاکھ مشینوں کو استعمال کروانے کے لئے کم ازکم 4 لاکھ پولنگ اسٹاف چاہئے -

A chain is as strong as its weakest link:
What is the weakest link in the voting process? The polling station staff and logistics staff!
ان پولنگ اسٹاف کے پاس 1 لاکھ ووٹر شناخت مشینز، 2لاکھ کنٹرول یونٹ، 4 لاکھ بیلٹ مشینز، اور ایک لاکھ RTS مشینز کون پہنچائے گا- یہ کہاں اسٹور ہوں گی؟ ان کے کمپوننٹس پاکستان میں تیار ہوں گے، یا باہر سے آئیں گے؟ یہ کہاں سے اسمبل ہو کر بن کر آئیں گی؟ کس نے ان مشینوں کی کوالٹی چیک کی ہو گی؟ ان 7 لاکھ مشینوں کی بنوائی سے ترصیل تک، اسٹوریج سے پولنگ اسٹیشنز تک کی لوجسٹکس کی زمہ داری کون لے گا؟ ، اس اسٹاف کی ٹریننگ کون کرے گا؟ ان مشینز کی خرابی کون ٹھیک کرے گا؟ انسٹالیشن کون کرے گا؟ کون حفاظت کرے گا؟ یہ کیا گارنٹی ہے کہ بننے کے بعد سے لیکر استعمال تک کے دوران اس میں تبدیلی نہیں کی گئی؟

کیا ان سب مشینز کو ہیکنگ، ٹیمپرنگ، وائرس سے وہ حکومت روکے گی جو FBR کے 1 سسٹم کو بھارتی ہیکرز سے 7 دن تک نہیں روک سکی؟

بھارتی ہیکرز نے انڈین EVM مشینز کو جو تیس سال محنٹ اور ٹیسٹنگ سے تیار ہوئی تھیں ان کو دس منٹ میں $8 خرچہ سے ہیک کر لیا تھا!

الیکٹرانک ووٹنگ دھاندلی مشینز: دنیا کے 167 جمہوری ممالک میں صرف 8 ممالک EVM استعمال کر رہے ہیں! 9 ممالک وہ ہیں جنہوں نے EVMs استعمال کرنے کے بعد ان کا استعمال ترک کر دیا جن میں جرمنی، آئیرلینڈ، ہالینڈ شامل ہیں؛
چند پاکستانی ارسطو اپنے کو جرمنی، ہالینڈ اور آئیرلینڈ کے IT ایکسپرٹس سے زیادہ عقلمند سمجھتے ہیں-وہ سمجھتے ہیں کہ پاکستانی وہ کارنامہ انجام دے گا جو جرمنی کے ایکسپرٹس نہ کر سکے.....
See reference:

دھاندلی EVM سے کتنی آسان ہے:
ووٹنگ مشین کی ٹیکنالوجی کیا ہے:

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

A Drive on a Rickety Cycle and Sufistic Thought by Shah M Ismail Rauf

This is a story/article written by my dear mamoo  Shah M Ismail  around 1953-55. Today is his 22nd death anniversary. He retired as Major in 1980s. Great man who taught me how to love and play with children.
Father of Faizan Shah, Faryal Osman Khan, Faraz Shah, Fariha Ahmreen, Farid Shah.
Rauf Mamoo of the the entire family. Humaira Tariq, Sm Omar, Rabia T Zeeshan,.....
He was our companion in Hajj of 1996. What a great memorable 40 days. 
May Allah give him the best of abodes in the hereafter. Aameen

A huge effort sorting, numbering, compiling, organizing, dating, protecting, cataloging, scanning, transcribing, editing,... is in progress.

 I have letters from SM Ismail and his siblings dating back to 1949. Letters from Rauf Mamoo's mother's sister Ayesha Faridy, from his father SM Ibrahim who died in January 1951, from his nana Shah Ab Shakoor Faridy. Sufistic poetry from Shah Ab Shakoor Faridy and deewan of handwritten poetry of Shah Ab Shakoor Faridy's father Shah Ab Ghafoor. Rauf Mamoo's, Sardar Mamoo's, Rais Khala's letters informing about the death of Shah Mujeeb Ur Rehman in 1978 and very emotional description of his last few days.
Documents/diary relating to award of khilafat to SM Faridur Rehman (in 1940s) and to SM Ismail from SM Ab Shakoor Faridy ( in around 1950s?).  Did you notice the sufistic discourse in this article? 
And of course relating to struggle of siblings establishing themselves from nothing. after leaving everything behind and coming to pakistan after partition with zero resources. And then gradually establishing bit by bit, slowly, gradually, painstakingly with mutual love and then marriages and children. 70 years later the children are well settled and comfortable. Saga of Great sacrifices.