Category Archives: Other

Pakistan : Rule of Law through Technology Oriented Policing

This is English Version of an analysis published on BBC URDU ONLINE SERVICE by the Author. 

According to prevalent thinking of security officials, deployment of maximum number of security officials is an indicator of quality of protection of persons and premises in urban spaces. Emphasis is on visible security measures to deter the assailants and saboteurs. There is another social dimension to this visibility because in our society presence of uniformed and armed personnel with a person is correlated with stature and power one holds in the higher echelons. Moreover, fact that there is need to respond any response to threats will still in human form, it is considered economical to rely on the traditional deployment of security officials for all purposes. In some cases, CCTV cameras are also used in addition to physical deployment but the response remains primarily through human resources with little value addition by technology.

There may be many other factors behind display of arms and armed guards but there is miniscule evidence that these measures unsupported by additional intelligence sources have helped in thwarting attacks on important personalities and on key locations. It is required, therefore, to think about shifting the focus from visible paraphernalia to invisible measures for ensuring security in urban settings.

In many big cities of the world like London, Glasgow, New York, Mexico, Nairobi, Dubai and Qatar, it is considered to replace human foot print on streets with digital eyes and ears through an integrated command and control system. It is not a conventional approach prevalent in most of the countries of the world as it calls for high investments as well as application of highly advanced technology to come up with a virtual security information collection mechanism. But if we think strategically, the future belongs to Technology Oriented Policing (TOP) paradigm.

This shift is due to fiver factors. First, increasing rate of urbanization and spatial extensions of cities making it difficult to monitor the public spaces through only human resources. Application of cameras and allied applications at vintage points not only broadens the field of view but also reduces the cost and risks of permanent presence of security officials in any place. Second, automation of surveillance mechanisms reduces variations of human application of law and takes out individual discretions out of the equation. Electronic devices installed on public places ensure certainty of a uniform action against all and sundry. For example issuance of e-challan tickets of traffic violations issued to every violator, regardless of his social status and nuisance in the society and size and brand of the vehicle! Third, early information available to law enforcement agent through integrated technological solution enables them to act in more safe and confidant manner against any potential threat. Every police officer and first responder is equipped with mobile applications on smart phones displaying details of vehicles and persons manifesting suspicious behaviour. Fourth, this invisible security mechanism is not completely run by machines. Smarter people use smart phones better. Police officers running the centralised integrated command, control and communication centres are not only more qualified but also imparted better training to handle complex situations in metropolitan cities. Quality of decision-making and resource allocation also improves by deputing senior and responsible decision makers in the centre rather on the ground for addressing the galleries only. Lastly, by improving the monitoring mechanism through electronic eyes and recording of all events in electronic gazetteers accountability of all police officers and public response increases many folds. Major beneficiary of this electronic evidence are investigators, prosecution departments and courts. It will help them in fixing the responsibility through face recognition capacity and giving a verdict which even defence lawyers cannot question. Thus TOP becomes decisive intervention in the justice sector and all urban population becomes beneficiary.

For cost benefit analysis, the initial high costs would be justified by four indicators, i.e. 1. Reduction in crimes, 2. Reduction in traffic casualties 3. Increase in revenue through zero tolerance on traffic violations and 4. Satisfaction of the public won through transparency, accountability and good governance in civilian security sector. Whereas first three can be measured by comparing results in short time frame but last and most important indicator cannot be ensured without committed response by the law enforcement agencies, in this case, Police.

This public trust is not easy to achieve due to many risks involved in implementing this paradigm of invisible security to develop safe cities in Pakistan. In developed countries civilian security apparatus is designed, mostly, in sync with requirements of urban development, population planning and economic growth framework but it is not happening here. Scarcity of resources, despite positive economic development evidenced by Forbs and Times remains a challenge. The biggest challenge, however, remains the police response to this advanced technology intervention e.g. in Islamabad and Lahore Safe Cities Projects. The way to do business changes dramatically and unless there is huge effort of change management it becomes an unbridgeable chasm. Equally important and in much bigger in scale, is cooperation of public. People are bosses and bosses do not like surprises! Preparing people for even better services require a well thought out strategy and action plan. Here comes role of Media and Courts. Media plays positive role by informing them about developments but also forms public opinion in favour of such fundamental changes which require modification of public behaviour on traffic signals and in law and order situations. Courts have to respond positively for admission of electronic evidence and bar councils are also partner to defend the cases on evidence rather than conventional oral accounts of witnesses, accused and complainants. If these stakeholders do not support the whole scheme of things then they may become spoilers.

Of course there is always a counter narrative and actors who can turn into spoilers if their concerns are not addressed or if they are not taken on board. Most evident question: why cities only? Will it not draw sharper lines between urban and rural areas? One should be mindful that TOP have limitations because it is an expensive solution and scaling it up is not envisaged even in developed cities like London. In some cases TOP is not as flexible and as intelligent as a human resource can be. Other key factor will be the way the system is being utilised. It will be defeating the purpose of invisible security if there are no active response teams of Police to nab the violators of laws or if lawyers tried to question the unquestionable electronic evidence or if courts did not convict the culprits due to other mitigating circumstances. Changing public behaviour and improving road safety are other determinants for positive outcome in country like Pakistan where such interventions are in the offing.

At the moment, there is strong political will to implement TOP in the form of Punjab Police Integrated Command, Control and Communication Centre (PPIC4) project Lahore. Punjab Safe Cities Authority is established to develop PPIC4s for at least five major cities i.e. Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi and Lahore. This is biggest intervention by the Chief Minister Punjab to change Police Culture not only in Punjab but also in Pakistan. TOP is the future of Punjab Police.

Media has the key role to shape the public opinion to support the positive steps but Media cannot change the reality on the ground. Real success depends upon a number of factors: phenomenal leadership both at operational and political level; meticulous implementation by Police as well as support extended by other public departments. Public response to this apocalyptic change is yet to be seen. There is a big question for public: are you ready to support this stride towards a change in Police Culture by following the rule of law through technology?

Akbar Nasir Khan : COO Punjab Safe Cities Authority (psca.gop.pk)

 

The Rebalancing of Middle East

The term “Middle East” has become enormously elastic that once British Foreign Office used in the 19th century by dividing the region into the Near East, the area closest to the United Kingdom and most of North Africa; the Far East, which was east of British India; and the Middle East, which was between British India and the Near East. This is creating confusion and strategizing the challenges of rebalancing of the Middle East.
Today Middle East refers to the predominantly Arab Muslim-dominated countries west of Afghanistan and along the North African shore; with the exception of Turkey and Iran. The understanding of the complexity of Middle East is more conceptual and it varies immensely in the perceptional domain. The makeup of the Middle East has traditionally been countries seen close to European secularism and the one aligned with Islam.
During Cold War one part of the region was secular, socialist and built around the military, while the Arabian Peninsula was largely was Islamist, traditionalist and royalist. The Middle East’s threat comes from its internal composition of tribes, clans, ethnic and sectarian groups divided by the borders traditional and religious loyalties based on sectarian lines.
The political structure of the Middle East has embraced either secularism or traditionalism to manage both the subnational groupings and the claims and their religiosity. This makes it an interesting political model: they are against Israel; the unifying point that all opposed. The secular socialist states, such as Egypt and Syria, opposed Israel and the traditional royalist threatened by the secular socialists, saw an ally in Israel.
Today world is experiencing the effects of Soviet disintegration in the Middle East. The socialist secularist movement of Fatah has lost its backing and credibility. The vacuum is being filled by ideological groups and organizations like al Qaeda and Islamic States. The collapse of the Soviet Union seems to have energized ideological groups as they defeated the Soviets and the first Iraqi Invasion led by United States combined anti-Soviet coalition of Arab countries, but it triggered a sense of Islamic power against United States itself to be taken a great threat to Islam.
The concept of religion or pan-Islamism has emerged in a historical context of transnational caliphate having a single political entity that abolishes existing states, the United States and its partner being the enemy of Islam and mobilization of subnational groups in various countries to overthrow corrupt Muslim secular and traditionalist regimes.
The radical like al Qaeda, Islamic States and Taliban etc. wanted to far enemy العدو البعيد United States close to them to launch a crusade in the Islamic world against near enemy القريب العدو, by sparking uprisings against corrupt and hypocritical Muslim states, then sweep aside to European-imposed borders and set the stage for uprisings. The events since 9/11 indicate manifestation of this ideology that has embroiled United States caught up in the subnational conflicts of Iraq and Afghanistan that involved it in creating tactical solutions rather than confronting the strategic problem.
United States in its urge to defeat al Qaeda unleashed the subnational groups, created a vacuum that they couldn’t fill and weakening of governments empowered non state actors supported by subnational groups, which caused national institutions in the region to collapse. The Arab Spring was mistaken for a liberal democratic rising like 1989 in Eastern Europe. It indeed was only a uprising of pan-Islamic movements that eventually embroiled Syria in a prolonged civil war giving al Qaeda and Islamic State room enough to maneuver.
Today the center of the Middle East is hollowed out to turn it into a whirlpool of competing forces, where non state actors and subnational forces are reality and player of the region. The Islamic State has turned the fight into a war on Shiite heresy and represents a logical continuation of al Qaeda with enormous military and political framework to exploit the situation.
The balance of power is now shifting to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provided it sustains internal security and political stability being Arab world’s central power and a world power leader responsible for regional stability and development. It requires superior counterterrorism and internal security strategies to combat two potential concurrent conflicts; protect the homeland and simultaneously safeguards its strategic allies. This requires Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to defeat Islamic States, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), state sponsored proxies and regional conflicts by non-state actors including threats against external aggression defining the concept of regional wars.
The any further leaning of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to adopt failed strategic framework of United States and its European allies would create a complex, uncertain, and ever-changing regional landscape beleaguered by internal strives, rebellions, terrorism and sectarian strife to transform Middle East into an unrecognizable political arena plagued by instability, inefficiency, and failing states to impact stability of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

Wajid Ali

Disclaimer : Views presented in the articles by authors do not necessarily represent ankltd.com

Rebalancing of the Middle East

The term “Middle East” has become enormously elastic that once British Foreign Office used in the 19th century by dividing the region into the Near East, the area closest to the United Kingdom and most of North Africa; the Far East, which was east of British India; and the Middle East, which was between British India and the Near East. This is creating confusion and strategizing the challenges of rebalancing of the Middle East.

Today Middle East refers to the predominantly Arab Muslim-dominated countries west of Afghanistan and along the North African shore; with the exception of Turkey and Iran. The understanding of the complexity of Middle East is more conceptual and it varies immensely in the perceptional domain. The makeup of the Middle East has traditionally been countries seen close to European secularism and the one aligned with Islam.

During Cold War one part of the region was secular, socialist and built around the military, while the Arabian Peninsula was largely was Islamist, traditionalist and royalist. The Middle East’s threat comes from its internal composition of tribes, clans, ethnic and sectarian groups divided by the borders traditional and religious loyalties based on sectarian lines.

The political structure of the Middle East has embraced either secularism or traditionalism to manage both the subnational groupings and the claims and their religiosity. This makes it an interesting political model: they are against Israel; the unifying point that all opposed. The secular socialist states, such as Egypt and Syria, opposed Israel and the traditional royalist threatened by the secular socialists, saw an ally in Israel.

Today world is experiencing the effects of Soviet disintegration in the Middle East. The socialist secularist movement of Fatah has lost its backing and credibility. The vacuum is being filled by ideological groups and organizations like al Qaeda and Islamic States. The collapse of the Soviet Union seems to have energized ideological groups as they defeated the Soviets and the first Iraqi Invasion led by United States combined anti-Soviet coalition of Arab countries, but it triggered a sense of Islamic power against United States itself to be taken a great threat to Islam.

The concept of religion or pan-Islamism has emerged in a historical context of transnational caliphate having a single political entity that abolishes existing states, the United States and its partner being the enemy of Islam and mobilization of subnational groups in various countries to overthrow corrupt Muslim secular and traditionalist regimes.

The radical like al Qaeda, Islamic States and Taliban etc. wanted to far enemy العدو البعيد United States close to them to launch a crusade in the Islamic world against near enemy القريب العدو, by sparking uprisings against corrupt and hypocritical Muslim states, then sweep aside to European-imposed borders and set the stage for uprisings. The events since 9/11 indicate manifestation of this ideology that has embroiled United States caught up in the subnational conflicts of Iraq and Afghanistan that involved it in creating tactical solutions rather than confronting the strategic problem.

United States in its urge to defeat al Qaeda unleashed the subnational groups, created a vacuum that they couldn’t fill and weakening of governments empowered non state actors supported by subnational groups, which caused national institutions in the region to collapse. The Arab Spring was mistaken for a liberal democratic rising like 1989 in Eastern Europe. It indeed was only a uprising of pan-Islamic movements that eventually embroiled Syria in a prolonged civil war giving al Qaeda and Islamic State room enough to maneuver.

Today the center of the Middle East is hollowed out to turn it into a whirlpool of competing forces, where non state actors and subnational forces are reality and player of the region. The Islamic State has turned the fight into a war on Shiite heresy and represents a logical continuation of al Qaeda with enormous military and political framework to exploit the situation.

The balance of power is now shifting to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provided it sustains internal security and political stability being Arab world’s central power and a world power leader responsible for regional stability and development. It requires superior counterterrorism and internal security strategies to combat two potential concurrent conflicts; protect the homeland and simultaneously safeguards its strategic allies. This requires Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to defeat Islamic States, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), state sponsored proxies and regional conflicts by non-state actors including threats against external aggression defining the concept of regional wars.

The any further leaning of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to adopt failed strategic framework of United States and its European allies would create a complex, uncertain, and ever-changing regional landscape beleaguered by internal strives, rebellions, terrorism and sectarian strife to transform Middle East into an unrecognizable political arena plagued by instability, inefficiency, and failing states to impact stability of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.                                                                                                                    Syed Wajid Ali

Review – No Ordinary Disruption

The most interesting insight in Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, and Jonathan Woetzel book to be published on May 12th by Public Affairs “No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends” argues that the world economy’s operating system is changing and being rewritten. The authors explain the trends reshaping the world and contend why leaders must adjust to new realities.
In the early 19th century industrial revolution changed world’s geo-strategic perspective and today four fundamental disruptive forces are pushing world into dramatic transition that most world leaders seem unable to comprehend their trends, impending effects and magnitude and they need looking beyond Shanghai: The world is dealing four new trends in old manners namely: The age of urbanization, accelerating technological change, response to the challenges of an aging world and greater global connections centered on trade, people, finance.
The locus of economic activities is shifting within 440 small and medium size cities of world’s that many Western leaders might not have heard or could point on a map. These could be Mumbai, Dubai, and Shanghai, Hsinchu in northern Taiwan, Brazil’s Santa Catarina state, halfway between São Paulo and the Uruguayan border, Tianjin a city that lies around 120 kilometers southeast of Beijing whose estimated GDP is over $130 billion, making it around the same size as Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. By 2025, it is estimated that its GDP will be around US$ 625 billion, approximately that of all of Sweden.

The world is experiencing acceleration in the scope, scale, and economic impact of technology. Technology is overturning the speed of change in our lives and notion of status quo. In the past it took telephone more than 50 years after its invention to become utility item for half of the American homes and radio took 38 years to attract 50 million listeners. But Facebook attracted 6 million users in its first year and that number multiplied 100 times over the next five years.
The speed of innovation has multiplied and spread in recent years, it is poised to change and grow at an exponential speed beyond the power of human intuition to anticipate. The authors present interesting data in support of this argument, China’s mobile text- and voice-messaging service WeChat has 300 million users, more than the entire adult population of the United States. In 2009, two years after the iPhone’s launch, developers had created around 150,000 applications and by 2014 the number had reached 1.2 million, and users had downloaded more than 75 billion total apps, more than ten for every person on the planet. Twenty years ago, less than 3 percent of the world’s population had a mobile phone.
Technology offers the promise of economic progress for billions in emerging economies. The technological adoption and innovation is shortening the life cycle of companies and forcing executives to make decisions and commit resources much more quickly. The speed, processing power and connectivity have brought data revolution thus pushing world into a golden age of gadgetry, age of instant communication, and apparently boundless information which has placed unprecedented amounts of information in the hands of consumers.

The human population of new world is getting older, fertility is falling and the world’s population is graying dramatically. Ironically, we are not responding to the challenges of an aging world and caring for large numbers of elderly people will put severe pressure on government finances. Once aging was evident in developed economies, but now it is spreading to China and soon will reach Latin America. Thirty years ago, only a small share of the global population lived in the few countries with fertility rates substantially below needed to replace each generation i.e.2.1 children per woman. But by 2013, about 60 % of the world’s population is living in countries with fertility rates below the replacement rate.
Today’s world is much more connected through trade and through movements in capital, people, and information (data and communication)—what we call “flows.” The global trading system has expanded into a complex, intricate, sprawling web. Asia is becoming the world’s largest trading region. The volume of trade between China and Africa rose from $9 billion in 2000 to $211 billion in 2012. Global capital flows expanded 25 times between 1980 and 2007. More than one billion people crossed borders in 2009, over five times the number in 1980. The increasing speed of connecting trade, people, finance, and data is ushering a dynamic new phase of globalization, which would create unmatched opportunities, and perhaps foment unexpected volatility.
These four factors are happening simultaneously and world is changing radically thus disrupting long-established patterns, assumptions, tendencies, and habits that had long proved so reliable. Suddenly these have lost much of their resonance. We have more data and advice at our fingertips. The iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy contains far more information and processing power than the original supercomputer. But in the new world leaders need building intuitions to adjust to new realities and benefit from globalization which is full of opportunities and equally unsettling.

Wajid Ali