Mon. Nov 28th, 2022
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

I was a bit confused today after one of my colleagues asked me if I’d heard about ‘fontgate’.

“Letter Gate?” I asked.

“Pakistan either loves Calibri, or he hates Calibri,” I was unhelpfully informed.

Apparently there were some forged documents, and the forgery was discovered using Microsoft’s Calibri. But I was confused; this sounded like a story from years ago. Why was it in the news now?

As I continued reading, one thing became clear about Calibri’s popularity in Pakistan: opponents of the government may be fans, but the Sharif doesn’t like it.

Rock de Candara

The Panama Papers — a collection of documents leaked in 2014 by the offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca — contained documents that appeared to indicate that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had amassed a significant fortune far exceeding what he and his family legitimately earned. . Pakistan’s Supreme Court established a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to determine where the money came from. Sharif handed over documents to show that the money had been obtained lawfully, but the authenticity of those documents has been questioned. Daughter Maryam Sharif was found to have signed forged documents to try to cover up the truth.

How was the forgery discovered? A document allegedly written and signed in 2006 used Microsoft’s Calibri font. Although Calibri was originally designed in 2004 and was available in betas of Windows Vista and Office 2007 throughout 2006, it was not released in a stable version of Windows or Office until 2007. As such, its use in a 2006 paper is extremely suspicious. It’s not impossible that for some reason beta software was used to prepare the documents. But it’s more than a little unlikely.

Ultimately, the result of the corruption and cover-up is that Pakistan will soon, like Calibri itself, be without Sharif.

After many years of vilifying the world for the double atrocities of Times New Roman, the default font in Word, and Arial, the default font in Excel and PowerPoint, the Microsoft 2007 releases include a series of attractive new fonts with “C” names: Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Consolas, Constantia and, my personal favorite, Corbel. Calibri was chosen as the new default font in Word. Therefore, without other indications, using Calibri is a direct indication that a document was produced some time after the release of Office 2007.

When in (Times New) Rome

This is a foolish mistake of the counterfeiters. But what makes it even more foolish is that I was not mistaken; this indeed sounded like a story from years ago. In 2012, the Islamist Turkish government accused more than 300 people of plotting a coup to overthrow it. The allegations were made on the basis of documents dating back to 2003 — documents that referred to, and sometimes even used, Calibri and the other C-family fonts, and therefore could not have been produced in 2003. The court ignored the temporary impossibility of the documents and found the defendants guilty anyway.

Other Word features have also caught counterfeiters. The “Killian Documents,” which claimed President George W. Bush had been declared unfit for service during his time with the Air National Guard, are said to have been produced on a typewriter in 1973. However, those documents used proportional fonts and curly quotes, making them spectacularly unlikely to be authentic. Standard 1973 vintage typewriters didn’t offer proportional fonts or curly quotes, but 2004 vintage Microsoft Word did both.

Despite this obvious typographical anachronism, CBS and journalist Dan Liever presented the documents as authentic in an episode of 60 minutes II. The scandal surrounding this use of such flawed evidence caused the show to be canceled in 2005 while numerous CBS employees were fired or asked to resign. Prefer to retire that same year.

By akfire1

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