Pakistan’s web portal is up again, but with jolts
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan government’s web portal – www.pakistan.gov.pk – along with a dozen other official websites of various departments and ministries is finally accessible after an outage since Thursday. The other affected websites included Ministry of IT & Telecommunication, Ministry of Commerce, E-Government Directorate (EGD) and others.
‘The News’ learnt through a number of cyber savvy professionals in Pakistan, the UK and Canada that the country’s prime cyber access point was inaccessible. Despite repeated phone calls by the web surfers and this correspondent to the concerned officials in the EGD of the IT & Telecom ministry, the portal could not be restored until late Thursday night.
After a telephone call by The News late Thursday night, IT & Telecom Secretary Farrukh Qayyum declared an emergency due to a prolonged glitch. According to official sources the EGD staff waited for Friday morning to intervene and started restoration attempts a servers located in the National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) premises.
“Due to a failure at the EGD servers, the country’s web portal was down along with websites of other ministries,” a well-placed source said. It is also learned that the out-dated servers could not take up the web access load eventually leading to an absolute outage.
“The problem has been identified and the corrective actions have been taken by the related department,” said Noor-ud-Din Baqai, member telecom of the IT& Telecom ministry, said. In his brief telephonic comments, Baqai said: “Our experts are still working to adjust and balance the load of website access attempts on the servers.” It is learned that the entire EGD team was caught napping when the citizens across the world were failing to access Pakistan through its cyber gateway.
Interestingly, ‘the official web gateway to Pakistan’ is a key online link to General Musharraf’s website (www.presidentofpakistan.gov.pk). Musharraf’s website is hosted in United States with Texas-based Rackspace Managed Hosting, a secure and professional service by the world leading web host company. Besides General Musharraf’s website, certain other official websites such as Election Commission, CBR, M/o Finance, SECP, PTV and MCA were accessible. Most of ministries have hosted their website with professional companies abroad. At the same time, the websites hosted with the NTC were also working fine.
According to some experts within the official ranks, the up time and down time of the official portal is almost equal, which clearly reflects upon the performance of EGD. A senior official told The News on Friday, “Technically speaking, unless the DNS server is alive, the web service cannot remain available,” said a mid-level IT professional adding that it is “a simple logic and no rocket science”. The IT officials admitted that the Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) cannot be countered and diluted in the absence of state-of-the-art servers backed by dedicated professionals.
Senior officials complained the absence of competent and committed professionals within the public sector as the thriving companies in the private sector offer attractive packages. Some of the whistle-blowers included candidates for February 5 advertisements for the position of assistant director in the IT&T Ministry failed to apply online due to the prolonged outage of the web portal.
Source: The News