Cogilent Saga, from Faisal’s own words

•April 27, 2007 • Leave a Comment

It was the morning of December 5th, a beautiful day in Islamabad. The morning chill coupled with a slight drizzle made it a wonderful day. I had a few meetings scheduled with our clients in the first session., 10:30 to 1:00.

I woke up a bit late but rushed off to the Cogilent’s office without breakfast at Evacuee Trust Complex (Software Technology Park 2). I reached office by 9:30 and spent thirty minutes getting updates from team members on different projects and left the office at ten for our first meeting. I was accompanied with our sales team lead for the meeting with one of our old and satisfied customers. During the meeting we discussed initiating some new projects and left with the promising prospects. I also promised to send them a draft proposal within the next few days. Then we had a meeting with a new prospective customers whom we were pursuing for the past many months. The meeting went well and we agreed to give them a formal presentation the next week.

The morning drizzling had stopped by the time we wrapped up our second meeting. I was tempted to take a drive up the lovely Margalla hills and savor the lunch at Pir Sohawa. Instead, I preferred to go back to the office to follow-up the clients work.

Around 1:00 PM, I entered the corridor of our office block and was surprised to see the main door closed. I assumed that the door is shut to avoid the noise emanating from our neighboring office which is under renovation. Peeking through the closed glass door, I could see numerous unknown and serious faced individuals. What surprised me the most was that our entire staff was huddled into a corner with helpless and shocked look on their faces. I entered the office quietly and no one took any notice of me. I inquired from one of our employees what had happened, who are these guys and what are they doing here. He told me that my home (I still remember the days when we used to sleep in the office for months) was raided on the offenses that we are using VOIP for making and terminating calls.

I wondered when we did it, or thought, about doing this kind of activity. I asked myself did you spent 16 years of education thinking about negative use of technology? Did you ever earned a single rupee from illegal activities?. The answer was straight no.

Then it was start of the ordeal. It was the start of a tragedy, battle between good and evil. It was start of a show of a proof of strength of unjust, corrupt, false, incompetents in Pakistan versus miserable, young, dynamic, innovative, innocent entrepreneurs in Pakistan.

To be continued…………..

Regards,
Faisal Chohan CEO Cogilent Solutions http://www.cogilent.com

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PSEB Archives of the event

•December 26, 2006 • 4 Comments

Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) is the government department that has been working closely with the Industry Associations, (PASHA, ISPAK, ACCO) to seek the release of Faisal Chohan, CEO of Cogilent Solutions. With their tremendous support the ordeal ended this last Saturday. The following link documents the proceedings and also provides links to scanned court documents for everyone to review.

http://www.pseb.org.pk/page.php?nid=7

This link is provided to see for themselves how difficult it is to bring justice where it is due…..

Finally, it is over!

•December 23, 2006 • Leave a Comment

This Saturday morning, Faisal’s bail application was rejected again by the Additional District and Session Judge, Ch. Abdul Qayum. This was the third time that the Session Judge has rejected the bail in less than a week. What was remarkable is that the case is withdrawn but the Judge continues to see a reason to let Faisal go.

Meanwhile, the process for cancellation of his case (FIR and discharge request) was moved to the court of Sr. Civil Judge, Mr. Abid Rizwan Abid today. The considerate judge heard the case, marked to Session Judge who sent it back to Additional Session Judge and finally then to Sr. Civil Judge at around 2:30 p.m. The Sr. Civil Judge then heard the arguments of FIA for cancellation of the FIR/Case and passed the orders for cancellation of the case and immediate discharge of Faisal from jail. The orders [robkar] is now taken to the jail. Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), Managing Director, Yusuf Husain, personally and others were at the gates of Adiala Jail to take Faisal out.

Behind the scenes, there were a lot of efforts made by some committed persons who made this thing happen.

Firstly it was Yusuf Husain, MD PSEB who has been at forefronts running around in the courts and putting maximum efforts. I have previously said that he’s unlike any government servant. Today, he made hectic efforts in the court rooms for cancellation of Faisal’s case. I’ve never seen a person holding a public office so committed, so concerned and working so pro actively for the common cause of the industry. Our hats off to you, Yusuf.

Then comes the Secretary Ministry of IT, Mr. Farrakh Qayyum. Yusuf says that he was on phone all day with the Secretary and whenever he called the Secretary to call someone in Ministry of Law & Justice or Ministry of Interior, he immediately acted and short cut the process of clearance of case from three courts within few hours which would normally have taken weeks. Mr. Qayyum continued pursuing the case despite being out of the country and persuading the decision makers’ so that justice could be served quickly. When Mr. Qayyum was thanked for his support, he said that he felt the pain of Faisal and his family very close to his heart. I must say that today’s release of Faisal wouldn’t have been possible without Mr. Qayyum’s wholehearted and sincere efforts. The industry is greatly indebted to you, Mr. Farrakh Qayum.

Mr. Ishaq Khan Khakwani, Minister of State for IT, was also very concerned and didn’t hesitate at all to pick up his phone and call people whenever he was requested.

Oan Rana of PSEB used his personal family contacts to move the case through as Talib Baloch fully extended his helping hands.

All others who spent time, money and efforts for this cause deserve sincere thanks and applause.

And finally, Mr. Wahaj us Siraj, CEO, Micronet, lead the struggle from the front. He marshaled all the resources and support to bring justice. Even against the extreme threat and pig pigheadedness of PTA and FIA, he did not lose hope till justice was served today.

And above all, all praises and thanks to Almighty Allah as this wouldn’t have been at all possible without HIS special blessings and help.

The Court Hearing

•December 23, 2006 • Leave a Comment

This Saturday (Dec 23) is the date of hearing for Faisal in the court of Additional District & Session Judge. There’re no points in the case any more. The Complainant (PTA) and Prosecution (FIA) both have withdrawn the case. The lawyer is one of the top criminal lawyers in the country. But it all depends on the perception of Judge, that’s what happened on the last hearing when bail application of Faisal was turned down.

Let’s hope and pray that this ordeal is closed by tomorrow Inshallah.

Minister for IT has assured the industry that they would take action on the demands of industry within 7 days. Today’s 6th day and nothing moved this far. We’ve sent him a reminder yesterday.

The crisis as it unfolds

•December 21, 2006 • Leave a Comment

The story about the saga has now been picked up by many websites, blogs, forums and newspapers. The following story actually does a good job of summarizing the events as they have unfolded so far.

http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=5047404

If you or anyone has anything new to share, please do provide us with the information and we will be happy to post it up here.

Update on Cogilent Solution Crisis

•December 19, 2006 • 1 Comment

Issue No: 5/12 December 2006

Dear Colleagues,

Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), is working hard for the release of Mr. Faisal Chohan, CEO Cogilent Solutions, an Islamabad based company located at ETP Complex. He was wrongly arrested on the suspicion that his company was involved in illegal use of VoIP on commercial basis. Cogilent Solutions has been popular in industry for its leading HR portal of Pakistan with the name of BrightSpyre.

PSEB officials attended the Session Court hearing on Monday, 18th December 2006, along with a few industry representatives. Although, documents supporting the bail of Mr. Faisal Khan were provided to the court by FIA and PTA, bail of the CEO has not been accepted on technical grounds as per the Cogilent lawyer.
Now a bail application will be filed on Saturday 23rd December 2006 in Session Court and we hope and expect that Mr. Faisal will be released soon after.

PSEB officials also visited Mr. Chohan at Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi and his family in Islamabad. They assured their continued support on behalf of Ministry of Information Technology. PSEB seeks a high level inquiry into the circumstances leading to the arrest, in order to ensure that the rights of IT industry are protected and such an incident is not repeated again.

Best Regards,
Aon Rana
Director International Marketing
Pakistan Software Export Board
2nd Floor, Evacuee Trust Complex,
F-5, Agha Khan Road, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tele: +92-51-9211124
Fax: +92-51-9204075
URL: http://www.pseb.org.pk

No Bail, No Justice

•December 18, 2006 • Leave a Comment

Faisal’s case for his discharge from jail was presented to court today. The judge after listening to the case, ordered the following:

“Present Investigation Officer with record. The accused has been sent to judicial lock. At this stage, application for discharge of the accused can not be allowed. So the prosecution may adopt the given procedure under the law. The application is therefore turned down with the above referred observation”.

So FIA would move proceeding for case cancellation with the court which many take minimum 10-15 days.

Now the bail application of Faisal would be moved to High Court for his early release so that he can at least come out of jail before Eid ul Azha.

Unfortunately, it is very easy to get in, but very difficult to get out from the prison no matter whether you’re innocent and even the case is withdrawn. Judges are not concerned whether someone is spending worst days of his life in a cell for no crime and what’s happening to his family and relatives. They’re more interested in technicalities of the case.

Can there be more ironic a story out there. Poor Faisal, he has been cleared of all charges, but the Judge does not believe that is enough for him to acquit.