Pakistan – Gen Beg warns of Egypt-like change in Pakistan

Gen. Aslam BaigProposes three-point formula to normalise situation

By Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE  – Former Army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg on Monday proposed a three-point formula to normalise the tense civil-military relations, warning the government of an Egypt-like change in case urgent steps were not taken in accordance with his suggestions.
He said the high treason case against Gen Pervez Musharraf should be dropped and he should be allowed to go abroad; the Pemra should ensure that no TV channel telecasts programmes that undermine the prestige of the army; and ministers or other leaders should be barred from speaking against the people who defend the country even at the cost of their lives. Talking to The Nation, he said the civil setup would face no threat and the situation would normalise within no time if the government acted in the light of his suggestions. Otherwise, he said, a military general would take over, just like Gen El-Sisi did in Egypt, and the United States would support the change for its own interests.
Gen Beg was of the firm view that the Constitution would not be able to block a military intervention if the rulers did not give the army its due respect. “ZulifikarAli Bhutto had said the 1973 Constitution would bury martial laws, but it was the martial law that buried Bhutto”.

Read more » The Nation
http://www.nation.com.pk/national/22-Apr-2014/gen-beg-warns-of-egypt-like-change-in-pakistan

No number 1 or 2, only ‘Mother Sindh’ to prevail: Bilawal

Excerpt; …. Referring to Altaf Hussain’s speeches in Hyderabad and Karachi, Bilawal said that neither “50/50” nor “Sindh 1” or “Sindh 2” formula is acceptable to the people of Sindh.

“No50/50,No number 1 or number 2, only Mother Sindh.All men are created equal.All Pakistanis should b treated equally in the eyes of the Law.”

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-133061-No-number-1-or-2,-only-Mother-Sindh-to-prevail:-Bilawal

Delhi comes out for Fatima

By , TNN

Literary do: This was a good opportunity for Delhi’s literary enthusiasts to get a copy signed by an author who usually gets a fair degree of attention this side of the border.

Fatima Bhutto recently launched her book, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon, in Delhi. To celebrate the occasion, restaurateur AD Singh hosted a do at The Dirty Martini at Olive Qutub, Mehrauli. Dressed in a smart blue sari, Fatima obliged guests who approached her to get their copy signed. “Earlier, there were some serials from Pakistan which were telecast in India as well. But now, Pakistan means just music and singers (here), which is not enough,” Fatima said.

Phoren praise: Radidja Nemar, a French national who was on an India tour, also attended the session. “I’ve heard about her. This is going to be my first book from this author. It was lovely speaking to her, especially on the unspoken violence that a majority of women go through,” said Nemar.

Courtesy: The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/books/Delhi-comes-out-for-Fatima/articleshow/24935639.cms

Bilawal declares war on “hijackers of faith”

KARACHI: Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, on Friday said he was declaring jihad (holy war) against “hijackers of the faith”, DawnNews reported.

Addressing his supporters at Karachi’s Karsaz on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the Oct 18, 2007 bomb blasts that killed 176 people during a historic rally led by Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal promised supporters that he would fight for the people.

The PPP chairman said that on Oct 18, the Taliban had used a child in the suicide attack on the rally led by his mother on her return from Dubai.

Read more » DAWN

PPP downfall: Aitzaz Ahsan resigns from Senate

LAHORE: Senior Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) leader Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan announced his resignation from the Senate, reported Express News on Tuesday.

After announcing his resignation from the senate, Aitzaz Ahsan said that the resignation should be accepted and the rest of the decisions were in the hands of the party.

Aitzaz Ahsan’s wife, Bushra Aitzaz contested and lost elections from the NA-124 constituency against Rohale Asghar, a candidate from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

According to Aitzaz Ahsan, voting results were bizarre as some polling stations had recorded a 150% voter turnout.

Results given by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should be reviewed, he added.

Wattoo resigns

Similarly Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, president of PPP’s central Punjab chapter submitted a letter of resignation to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, accepting failure in delivering his duties.

In the letter addressed to Bilawal, Wattoo listed the problems of water and electricity scarcity, economic instability and media trials as the reasons for defeat.

Other PPP resignations

Sherry Rehman also resigned from her post as the Ambassador the US in a letter to the caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso on Tuesday.

Continue reading

Musharraf formally arrested in Benazir murder case

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has arrested former president, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in relation to the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

The formal proceedings for the arrest were completed by the FIA Deputy Director at Musharraf’s farmhouse in Chak Shahzad which has been declared sub-jail.

During the interrogation, the former president was asked why Benazir Bhutto was not provided security upon her return to Pakistan, to which Musharraf replied that she was provided complete security. Musharraf also refused to accept the allegations against him and said Benazir Bhutto became the target of terrorists.

The FIA will file a petition seeking the physical remand of Musharraf in the Anti Terrorism court on Friday.

Earlier on Thursday, the ATC had allowed the FIA to include Pervez Musharraf in the investigation of Benazir Bhutto murder case.

Musharraf is accused of involvement in a conspiracy to murder Benazir Bhutto, who died in a gun and suicide attack in December 2007. It is one of the three cases he is fighting in the courts since returning home last month after four years in self-imposed exile.

Courtesy: The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-98394-Musharraf-formally-arrested-in-Benazir-murder-case

Musharraf on the run after bail cancellation

.This act of the former military ruler “underscores his disregard for due legal process and indicates his assumption that as a former army chief and military dictator he can evade accountability for abuses”, Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

“It is essential that Pakistan’s military authorities which are protecting the former dictator comply with the Islamabad High Court’s orders and ensure that he presents himself for arrest,” the statement added.

It further said that “continued military protection for General Musharraf will make a mockery of claims that Pakistan’s armed forces support the rule of law and bring the military further disrepute that it can ill afford.”

ISLAMABAD: General (retd) Pervez Musharraf on Thursday escaped from the premises of the Islamabad High Court after the cancellation of his bail application by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui in the judges detention case.

Immediately after the bail cancellation, police tried to reach the former military ruler but he was escorted by his personal security, fleeing in his bullet-proof black four-wheeler.

“Islamabad High Court has cancelled Musharraf’s bail and ordered his arrest in the judges’ detention case today,” said Muhammad Amjad, secretary-general of Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League party.

In a written judgement printed in English, the IHC ordered that: “He (Musharraf) be taken into custody and dealt with in accordance with law.”

The detailed verdict issued by the Islamabad High Court ordered for terrorism to be added to the list of charges against the former military ruler. The order further said that Musharraf’s exit from the court earlier during the day warranted for separate charges to be filed against him.

According to reports, Musharraf’s lawyers reached the Supreme Court to file a pre-arrest bail application in order avoid his surrender to the police.

However, the SC returned the 14-page bail application as the timings for the Registrar’s office had ended. Musharraf’s lawyers are now expected to resubmit the appeal on Friday.

After departing from the IHC’s premises, Musharraf had reached his farmhouse in Chak Shahzad, a suburban area on the outskirts of Islamabad where security was beefed up and all entry and exit routes to the area were blocked.

Continue reading

Day of Remembrance for Sindhi Martyrs in Los Angeles Commemorated

Tributes paid to all the Martyrs of Sindh on the Anniversary of Bashir Qureshi

Los Angeles, CA  [Press Release] April 7th, 2013**,* Several activists from different parts of Southern California gathered on Sunday the April 7th in local restaurant to commemorate the anniversary of *Bashir Qureshi*, a Sindh leader

who was poisoned to death on the same day a year ago. In last few years Sindh political and civil society leaders have been targeted by the security establishment and by the fascists groups in Karachi.

This event was organized by World Sindhi Congress, a human rights advocacy, based in UK and USA. Participants paid tribute to *Muzafar Bhutto*, *Ghazala Siddiqui, Rooplo Choliyani, Sirai Qurban Khawar, Parveen Rehman, Noorullah Tunio, *and *Samiullah Kalhoro.*

“While world is reading about the terrorism inflicted by Islamic militants upon Shias and other civilian population, the Indigenous people of Sindh and Balochistan are facing terrorism from other parties, the targeted killings of our leaders and workers by the security agencies and fascist groups in Karachi,” said Dr. Saghir Shaikh, the member executive committee World Sindhi Congress. “Fascists groups even did not spare our women leaders, Ghazala Siddiqui and Parveen Rehman,” further said Shaikh.

Amongst others who attended include Malik Dino Shaikh of WSC, Rahman Kakepoto of WSC and also a President of G M Syed Memorial Committee, Sani Panwhar and Bashir Mahar of Sindhi Association of North America, Sobhya Agha, an activist from Sindh Pakistan, Venus Shaikh, Suniti Kakepoto, Susanna Shaikh, Jaffar Shah and Benazir Shaikh of International Sindhi Women’s Organization (ISWO). Sobhya Agha conducted the program, Mr Kakepoto

introduced the activities and mission of World Sindhi Congress, Mr. Malik Shaikh offered the vote of thanks to all the participants.

On platform of the WSC we shall continue to inform the international community about the on-going atrocities on Sindhi people and to raise the issue of targeted killings and forced disappearances at the UN forums, said Mr. Kakepoto of WSC.

Is it Musharaf’s political Kargil?

Is Musharraf going for a political Kargil?

by Dr Ghayur Ayub

Gen. (rtd) Pervez Musharaf is a commando trained by a well disciplined army. Against such background, he is known to have taken risks during his career. He makes tactical and strategic plans and executes them accordingly. He does not get discouraged if his tactical plan fails and waits for proper time to strike at strategic level. Take Kargil episode for example. In 1995 he put the plan and presented it to the then PM Benazir Bhutto. It was turned down. He retreated it tactically but kept it alive strategically for future. When the time came he executed it. That’s how his brain works.

When he was the most powerful leader heading Pakistan with four caps, he shouldered MQM in political gusto and made it the most powerful ally in Sindh controlling the economic hub of Pakistan. During his tenure Mustafa Kamal, the administrator of Karachi, was given a privileged reception when he visited America; thanks to him. It was in those days when a news appeared in media that he might join MQM. He never rebutted it. This was his tactical move to be counted as a political player.

Altaf Bhai who has many political eyes on his face and matching ears on his head realised the consequences. He took it as Musharaf’s tactical move to enter MQM and push him to one side later as part of strategic plan taking over the party leadership. He became active and made sure it did not happen. To show his command over the party he brought down two important personalities of MQM to their knees- Dr. Liaqat Hussain and Mustafa Kamal. It happened both were close to Musharaf. The former was thrown out of the party.

Thus Altaf Bhai was successful in obstructing his tactical move. Being Musharaf, he let it go but held to his strategic plan. According to news coming out of London, he maintained his links with a few old guards of MQM such as (late) Dr Imran Farooq. Were those links part of the strategy? Is it also part of that strategy which landed him in Pakistan? Keeping his Kargil episode in mind it may not be surprising to link it with that. Only this time he might be planning to fight political Kargil on three fronts; to clear his name in court cases; to make inroads in MQM; and to isolate Nawaz Sharif. How?

Before going to Pakistan he went for ‘a politicised Umra’ and prior to that he apparently met Nawaz Sharif in Saudi Arabia with blessings of the West and Saudi Arabia.

Continue reading

Bilawal leaves Pakistan, not to lead PPP election campaign: officials

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will not be leading the party’s election campaign as party officials confirmed his departure for Dubai on Tuesday, days before the party launches its official campaign on April 4.

Speaking to Dawn.com, PPP leader Sharmila Farooqi confirmed that Bilawal had departed for Dubai. She also confirmed that the young Bhutto would not be ‘physically’ taking part in the party’s election campaign; however, she cited “security concerns” as the reason behind the decision.

The news comes as the Press Trust of India reported that the PPP chairman had left after an argument with his father, President Asif Ali Zardari.

Continue reading

We are at war

By: Asad Munir

Until the late 1970s Shias and Sunnis lived in complete harmony in this country. There were sporadic, minor incidents of Shia-Sunni violence but generally there was no hostility between the two sects. Muharram was sacred for Sunnis as well. Many attended Shia majalis, and on the tenth of Muharram cooked special foods, participated in Shia processions and revered the Zuljinah.

These good times were changed by three major events that took place in the late 1970s: Zia’s martial law, Khomeini’s revolution and the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets. Pakistan was no more the same moderate and tolerant country. Zia, after hanging an elected prime minister, wanted to use religion as a tool to prolong his rule. He tried to introduce Islamic laws as per the concept of the Islamic state envisioned by Maulana Maudoodi.

Continue reading

Tahirul Qadri, the Bhutto boy, and the establishment’s last play

by Adnan Khalid Rasool

Based on the political events of the last 10 days, one of the most commonly asked questions in Pakistan is:

‘What is going on?’

As in what is going with the whole Qadri parade, what is up with Bilawal’s launch, and generally what on earth is going on in Pakistan?

Simply put, there are two sides going up against each other and all of these events, or whatever you want to call them, are just parts of that.

Who are these sides and what are they after?

One side to all this is the establishment.

For the last five years, the establishment has played one hand after another against a democratically elected government but failed, as for once, the largest opposition parties refused to play along with them. So a year ago, they launched their own horse in the race who initially did very well but later fizzled out like most of the establishment’s schemes.

The establishment learnt from this failed experiment and went back to the drawing board and came up with Tahirul Qadri. Tahirul Qadri, already having played a pawn multiple times in the establishment’s miscalculated moves, jumped right back on the horse and rode in promising to change the system. But as is the case with most of the establishment’s experiments, he came, he saw and he backed off from what he said.

So one side to this fight is these guys, but why are they doing this?

The answer to that is actually very simple but not very commonly discussed.

What the establishment is after is something dubbed as the ‘Bangladesh formula’. For years, our army and their army have been messing around in politics without much success. No matter how many times they took over, they were always kicked out eventually and in this process they ended up earning a bad name. But about four years ago, the Bangladeshi army finally cracked the code to solve this complicated riddle. The play was that the army does not get involved; instead a caretaker government needs to be formed that would include all branches of the state including judiciary and the military.

This way the army would get a seat on the table, but it would not be the bad guy as the caretaker government would make it a ‘joint effort’. And just to make things more ‘legitimate’, smaller insignificant parties would be invited to become part of the caretaker setup. That would then decide the rules for elections which would be delayed from their actual date as the new structures being designed just happen to take about two years to complete.

Continue reading

International Community Raises Grave Concerns Over the Forced Disappearance and Killings of Political Activists In Pakistan

LONDON, World Sindhi Congress delegation participated in 14th session of Universal Periodic Review working group at United Nations on 30th October. WSC delegation was represented by Dr. Hidayat Bhutto and Dr. Rubina Shaikh.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years. This year Pakistan was under review on 30th October 2012.

World Sindhi Congress submitted two UPRs on Forced Disappearance and Extra Judicial Killings of Sindhi Political Activists and Violence Against Lesser Known Minorities in Sindh. Both UPRs were submitted on behalf of Liberation, an ECOSOC accredited NGOs. Information from both UPR was referred by a number of countries and became part of UN recommendations.

During UPR review a large number of countries expressed their grave concerns over Pakistan’s Human Rights situation in particularly forced disappearance of political activist, and human rights campaigners. Countries also shown their concerns over forced conversion of religions of young girls and bonded labor practices in Pakistan and called for abolition of death penalty and Blasphemy Law.

“Pakistan has ratified a several UN Human Rights Convents and Treaties, but continues to violate many of its fundamental clauses,” Said Rubina Shaikh, Secretary General of WSC. “International Community is greatly concerned over this lack of adherence during this review process,” she further said.

Continue reading

Gen. Hamid Gul accepts responsibility for creating IJI

Former ISI chief Hamid Gul said that as long as politicians were corrupt, the Army would interfere in the state’s affairs.

ISLAMABAD: During an interview on DawnNews, former chief of the Inter Service Intelligence(ISI) General (Retd) Hamid Gul said that politicians in the country were corrupt, and at the same time admitted responsibility for creating the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), a political alliance that was allegedly created to prevent Benazir Bhutto’s PPP from winning.

He said that he is not afraid of any case leveled against him, nor is he afraid of being hanged. “The army cannot be controlled by politicians, the army has put control on itself,” he said.

Speaking on DawnNews’s programme ‘Faisla Awam Ka‘, Hamid Gul not only defended the creation of the IJI, but also credited General (Retd) Aslam Beg for helping create it.

Continue reading

Sindhis in UK demand to revoke Sindh local bodies law

LONDON: The 24th International Conference on Sindh organised by World Sindhi Congress has called on the PPP government to revoke the controversial Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO) as it’s a conspiracy against Sindh. The conference warned that actions of the PPP government had harmed Sindhis and had given too much influence to Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

The speakers said MQM is the sole beneficiary of this ordinance and allows the party to “rule Karachi and Hyderabad without any challenges”. The conference was attended by a large number of delegates from Sindh, UK, US, India and Europe. A keynote speech by Baloch leader Sardar Akhtar Mengal was the special feature of the moot.

The speakers advised all Sindhi nationalist parties to make Karachi centre of their political activities and believe in mass mobilisation of people. Sardar Akhtar Mengal said Sindhis gave huge mandate to PPP but in return it betrayed them and the recent local bodies act is the latest example. He said Sindhis should think beyond PPP.

Dr Lakhu Luhano said it was unprecedented time for Sindhi people in terms of danger and threat that never has existed to this level in the entire history of Sindh. Syed Jalal Shah said ground realities are very tough for Sindhis and called for a “fight back to repeal the act and take this struggle to wider demands of Sindhis”.

Hidayat Bhutto said Sindhis joined Pakistan based on the 1940 Resolution which clearly said, “Federating units shall be sovereign and independent” but that has not happened. “Since 1947, Sindh’s rights are being violated, its water is being diverted, its natural resources are used without any compensation and now its integrity is at stake,” he said.

Continue reading

Balochistan on Fire – An interview with Sardar Akhtar Mengal, former chief minister

If only this interview was in English the world would understand the pain of a people of Sindh & Balochistan who have lost 14,000 dead and disappeared youth at the hands of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Geo Tv (Capital Talk with Hamid Mir, 27th September 2012.)

Via – Adopted from facebook » TF’s wall

The flag of surrender

By: Cyril Almeida

THE green flag of Islam was vigorously waved Friday, the government wants us to believe. But to anyone who knows anything about this place, it was really a white flag of surrender in the PPP’s hands.

That the PPP has pandered to the religious right in the hope that giving them space will make them leave everyone else alone is true from the time of ZAB. The problem is, 35 years on, the camel’s nose and much of the rest of him is already inside the tent.

Cowardice and a myopic survival instinct dictated the PPP’s decision to embrace the mobs. The thinking was fairly rudimentary, as it often is here: get on the right side of the outrage; co-opt the raging few by giving their protests an official imprimatur; after Friday, treat the matter as adequately protested; and with the government’s flanks protected thus, push back if the protesters refuse to get off the streets.

As far as the government is concerned, the Friday ruse worked.

The protests weren’t enormous, they weren’t as violent as things can get in Pakistan and the government is now insulated from accusations that it is soft on the godless US. In a situation loaded with downside risks, the government thinks it has prevented the grenade in its lap from going off.

By any other measure, it was a very stupid thing to do.

Continue reading

Sindhi activists meet UN Mission in Karachi: UN investigations and Tribunal trial demanded regarding the murder of Bashir Qureshi, Muzaffar Bhutto and others

Representatives of Sindh nationalist political parties and civil society activists met United Nation Mission in Karachi over the issue of enforced disappearances in the province. The activists demanded that the murders of Bashir Qureshi, Muzafar Bhutto, Sirai Qurban Khuhawar, Rooplo Choliani and many others should be investigated by UN and case should be trialed in the UN tribunal.

The representatives of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) and Jeay Sindh Mutahida Mahaz (JSMM) held meetings with the mission and told about the missing persons, disappearances and extra judicial killings of the political activists especially nationalists in Sindh by the state security outfits.

The JSQM representatives told the mission about the poising of their leader Bashir Qureshi by the state institutions in aftermath of Freedom March held on March 23, 2012 in Karachi, which was attended by the hundreds of the thousands people from across the province.

Representatives of the both parties demanded for the UN investigations regarding the extra-judicial murders and the trial for the culprits. JSMM told the mission that 250 activists of their organization were abducted.

Continue reading

How long and how many more liberals you will kill? You can crush all of us. But you can’t stop the spiring.

Pakistan’s musician Taimur Laal on massacres of liberals in the “Land of the Pure” by the “guardians of the Religion of Peace!?” Laal’s video on the trials, tribulations, and sacrifices of the people of Pakistan in the struggle against extremism in our society.  Religio-fascists! how do you claim that the battle is over in which we have not even taken the very first step! You can crush All of us. But you can not stop the spring.

Poet: Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Directed by Dr. Taimur Rahman.

Courtesy: Laal » YouTube

Judge Iftikhar Chaudhry threatens Pakistan’s democracy

By George Bruno

As the NATO military offensive against the revitalized Taliban progresses in Afghanistan, the political situation in neighboring Pakistan remains tense in a way that can directly impact U.S. military and political objectives in the region.

I have long believed that the pacification of the extremist threat in South Asia and around the world can only be accomplished in an environment of democracy and the rule of law. Any assault on these values fuels the fires of fanaticism.

Continue reading

New Prime Minister of Pakistan Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was born in Sindh and speaks Sindhi but he was elected in Punjab

Zardari bowls out opponents once again

by Omar Derawal

Asif Ali Zardari has been underestimated from day one. The shrewd businessman has proved not only to be a master of the boardroom, but of political strategy as well. Nominating Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as Prime Minister after losing successive wickets appears his latest triumph. And, as with his previous deliveries, this one too seems to have outwitted the opposition.

Nawaz Sharif termed Raja Pervaiz’s election as ‘tragedy’, but perhaps the PML-N chief was thinking of his own political fortunes. After all, Raja Pervaiz was born in Sindh and speaks Sindhi, but he was elected in Punjab. Even the carefully staged energy riots look a little bit awkward with a new Prime Minister who, as Minister of Water and Power, added more Megawatts to the national grid than anyone since the government of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

Imran Khan too seems to have been outplayed in this innings as he finds himself with a Vice-Chairman from a feudal family while Asif Zardari has a Prime Minister who rose through party ranks from a middle class background. By nominating Raja Pervaiz, Zardari has also neutralised Khan’s nationalistic appeals to security hawks. Though a liberal himself, Raja Pervaiz is strong on national security. In his first speech as PM, he declared that there can be no peace in Pakistan without peace in Afghanistan, sending a clear signal that the government continues to be united on defending Pakistan’s priorities.

Qamar Zaman Kaira’s stellar performances on talk shows had many PPP supports hoping he would pull off a surprise win, but it’s Kaira’s unmatched ability to silence the chattering heads that made him indispensable as Information Minister. Some suggested the name of Hina Rabbani Khar, too – but her deft handling of foreign affairs means that she too is more needed where she is. What is impressive about this debate among PPP supporters is that despite losing such figures as Benazir Bhutto, Salmaan Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti, Husain Haqqani, Yousaf Gilani, and Makhdoom Shahabuddin, PPP still has such a deep line-up from which to draw new players.

Politics is a test match – not T20. You have to play a long term strategy if you want to win. Zardari’s opposition thought they could force him to retire early, but he proved too skilled for that. Now they are praying for a draw. But with this latest innings, Zardari has shown once again it’s the opposition who is still chasing.

Courtesy: new Pakistan

People never to permit undermining of Parliament: Zardari

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari said Wednesday that the people of Pakistan would never permit undermining of the Parliament behind different pretexts and they know how to ensure the supremacy of the Parliament and the Constitution.

He said, “the era of packing the Parliament through the back door by using the defunct Article 58 (2) (b) is over for all times and no back doors and side doors will be allowed to be reopened for sending the elected Parliaments home.”

“Our people will also not suffer a destiny thrusted upon them by militants and extremists in the name of religion or in any other name,” he added.

The president said this in his message on the 59th birth anniversary of Benazir Bhutto falling on Thursday.

President Zardari said, “On the eve of her 59th birthday I wish to reiterate our commitment to the values of supremacy of the Parliament and the Constitution and the building of a modern, egalitarian and pluralistic society in which everyone is allowed opportunity to help shape his or her own destiny—values for which she stood and fought for and when the time came even laid down her life for it.”

He said Benazir Bhutto led from the front the battle for democracy against all sorts of bonapartes and extremists.

“She believed in a moderate and pluralistic Pakistan where ballot determined the ultimate choice of the people and where the House elected by the people representing their will was supreme.”

Continue reading

Daily Times Editorial : Virtual judicial coup

The Supreme Court’s (SC’s) verdict on the petitions challenging the ruling of the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA) that rejected the argument that Prime Minister (PM) Yousaf Raza Gilani stood disqualified after being convicted and sentenced for contempt of court has pronounced that he does stand disqualified, not only from the premiership, but from membership of parliament as well. Not just that, the SC in its short order has laid down that he cannot stand for election for five years. To that end, the SC has sent instructions to the Election Commission (EC) to issue a notification to that effect. Meantime the PPP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), which happened to be meeting when the verdict was announced, revealed its decisions on the crisis through a press conference by PPP leaders. The gist of the CEC’s decisions was that despite having reservations about the SC’s verdict, they had accepted the court’s finding that the conviction and sentencing till the rising of the court of Gilani for contempt on April 26 meant that he was no longer the PM, and with retrospective effect, had been removed on and since that date. The PPP has appealed to its workers and supporters to remain calm and restrained, despite the fact that the verdict is bound to inflame opinion in the PPP and allied camp. The CEC has empowered party Co-chairperson President Asif Ali Zardari to take whatever decisions he thinks fit regarding a replacement for Gilani. The intriguing question of course is whether the new PM will suffer the same pressure from the SC to write the letter to the Swiss authorities regarding President Asif Ali Zardari that the court was insisting on Gilani writing, and refusal to comply with which had attracted the contempt conviction for the former PM. In that case, the looming confrontation between state institutions, which began as a confrontation between the judiciary and the executive, could expand to now a confrontation between the judiciary and parliament as well. After all, the SC’s verdict overruling the Speaker of the NA too has set an unprecedented example, one that will reverberate in our jurisprudence for a long time to come. Questions have also been raised whether all the decisions and acts of the former PM since April 26 to date stand. The most important of these acts was the passing of the budget. It is possible that the detailed judgement may throw more light on this matter. Normally, courts are mindful that retrospective judgements should not disrupt things done and transactions closed to an extent that causes greater difficulties.

Continue reading

The laughing warrior

By: Nadeem F. Paracha

Born in 1956, Fauzia Wahab was enjoying a fiery career as a passionate human rights worker and one of the most prominent voices of reason in the often chaotic, judgmental and fiercely patriarchal world of Pakistani politics and sociology, when her life was cut short on June 17, 2012.

Belonging to Pakistan’s largest political outfit, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Fauzia’s fame was nothing like that of former PPP Chairperson, late Benazir Bhutto, and nor was she known so well outside of Pakistan like the country’s other famous women activists and democrats like Benazir or Asma Jahangir.

Fauzia’s fame was largely local, rooted deep in whatever that is left of the tradition of progressive politics and liberalism in the country’s urban middle-classes – a tradition that was triggered by the rise of the PPP in the late 1960s and gave large sections of the Pakistani middle-classes a left-leaning and almost revolutionary dimension.

Although Fauzia was in school when leftist student organisations and trade, labour and journalist unions rose to successfully challenge the rule of Pakistan’s first military dictator, Ayub Khan, in the late 1960s, she was quick to join politics when she entered college in 1972 and then the Karachi University in 1975.

A glimpse into her career as a student politician can be an insightful exercise to understand the kind of a charisma she possessed that continued to make her stand out without requiring her to be a leading political figure or an ideologue.

A PPP colleague of hers once described Fauzia as a smiling rebel who had a natural knack of balancing her traditional side with her rebellious streak without looking or sounding contradictory or confused.

The same colleague (who was talking to me late last year in an informal chat), thought that Fauzia’s first act of rebellion was actually against her own ethnic background.

Coming from an educated Urdu-speaking family settled in Karachi, Fauzia did not automatically support the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) or the Jamiat Ulema Pakistan (JUP) like most Urdu-speakers of Sindh and its capital, Karachi, did till the late 1970s.

Instead, when she joined college, she at once jumped into the ranks of leftist and progressive student groups, but without waving Mao’s Red Book or Marx’s Das Kapital.

Another colleague of hers who was with her in a progressive student group at Karachi University and then later joined the Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM), told me that Fauzia was always more interested in solving the problems of the students and challenging those who used faith to impose their politics than she was in leftist theory.

It was this attitude of hers that placed her in the leading ranks of the Progressive Students Alliance at the Karachi University – an alliance comprising of various left-wing, liberal and Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun student groups.

But battling opposing student groups, especially those on the right, through student union elections and campaigning, was where it all started and ended for Fauzia – in 1978 she met and married another passionate progressive student politician, Wahab Siddiqui, who soon went on to become an accomplished journalist.

After marriage, Fauzia gladly became a housewife, raising her children and supporting her husband’s career as a journalist. But her love for politics, the liberal ideals that had driven her as a student and her romance for Karachi remained intact.

Some early recruits of the MQM claim that Fauzia almost joined the MQM when it suddenly rose to become Karachi’s leading party in the late 1980s. Though this was never mentioned by Fauzia herself, it is however true that she eventually became a kind of a pioneer of a little known but important strain in the workings of the PPP in Karachi, Sindh.

I can vouch for this because I, as an active member of the PPP’s student-wing, the PSF (in the 1980s), too got involved in what Fauzia would ultimately represent within the PPP as a Karachiite.

When Benazir returned to Pakistan from exile in 1986 and then went on to become the country’s first woman prime minister in 1988, she at once recognised the importance of having the MQM as a ‘natural ideological partner’ and a party that could keep governments afloat with the seats that it was able to win in Karachi and Hyderabad.

I was at the Karachi University in 1989 when Benazir constituted a team of Sindhi and Urdu-speaking members of the PPP to negotiate a coalition deal with MQM chief Altaf Hussain. I remember how this policy created a kind of a rift within the ranks of the PSF in Karachi.

One faction was totally against Benazir’s move, while the other faction saw it as a way to unite secular forces so they could reclaim the political space they had lost to the ‘reactionaries’ and religionists during Ziaul Haq’s dictatorship.

Though a Punjabi from my father’s side, I was born and bred in Karachi. So I decided to side with the latter group and was ultimately ‘expelled’ from the university by the former faction.

Of course, the coalition collapsed and dozens of students lost their lives in the deadly clashes that followed between the PSF and MQM’s student-wing the APMSO.

However, even while an operation was underway against MQM militants under the second Benazir regime (1993-96), I am witness to the fact that Benazir’s idea of creating a bridge (made up of ideological similarities as well as pragmatism) between Karachi chapters of the PPP and MQM was very much alive.

And here is where Fauzia came in. After the tragic sudden death of her husband in 1993, Fauzia found herself returning to politics. Her husband had played an active role as a journalist against the Zia dictatorship and this drew the attention of Benazir who made Fauzia the Information Secretary of the PPP’s women’s wing in Sindh.

An articulate and educated person from a respected Urdu-speaking middle-class family, Fauzia was to become that bridge between the PPP and Urdu-speakers in Karachi. Later on, Fauzia, along with another prominent PPP Karachite, Faisal Raza Abidi, would play a prominent role in helping Asif Ali Zardari strike a coalition with the MQM after the 2008 elections.

Though a passionate Karachite and proud of her ethnic background, Fauzia was first and foremost a Pakistani who wanted to use the platform of a large political party to continue raising human rights issues, especially those related to women.

Fauzia became a close confidant of Benazir Bhutto. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Fauzia was the person Benazir banked on to continue building links between the PPP and Urdu-speakers in Karachi as well as being one of the faces in the PPP the MQM was most comfortable with.

But it wasn’t until during the Musharraf dictatorship that Fauzia was thrown into the limelight of Pakistani politics. Being made an MNA during the 2002 elections, she played an active political role against the Musharraf regime.

This was also due to the eruption of privately owned TV news channels in the country. Fauzia became a prominent fixture in most political talk shows, passionately criticising the Musharraf regime and articulating her party’s understanding of the situation.

After Benazir’s shocking assassination in 2007, Fauzia managed to survive the PPP’s new chairperson Asif Ali Zardari’s changes within the party structure. In fact she became an even more prominent figure in the party.

Along with Faisal Raza Abidi and Qamar Zaman Kaira, Fauzia became one of the fiercest defenders of the PPP regime’s polices in the electronic media. But unlike many other politicians who also became regular fixtures on TV talk shows, Fauzia retained a cheerful witty attitude.

However, she wasn’t only about defending her party’s regime. Along with famous human rights activist and lawyer, Asma Jahangir, Fauzia was one of the few prominent Pakistani women who never held back while lambasting crimes of hate committed by religious nuts and terrorists.

She openly condemned the murder of Punjab Governor, Salman Taseer, by a crackpot who wrongly accused Taseer of committing blasphemy. She was threatened by a number of fanatical clerics and their supporters for this.

Fauzia continued highlighting the threat to Pakistanis, especially women and those belonging to minority religions, faced from radical religious groups. She continued to remain a target of the abuse and menacing threats that came her way from religious outfits.

But she marched on, still holding her balanced mantle that seamlessly mixed passionate oratory with reason and hearty wit.

Continue reading

Congressman Sherman Urges Secretary Clinton to Press Islamabad on Muzaffar Bhutto and Enforced Disappearances of political activists of Sindh

(Washington, DC) June 8, 2012 – The Sindhi American Political Action Committee commends the Honorable Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) for continuing to bring to light to an issue that continues to plague the country of Pakistan. Congressman Sherman is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Sindh Caucus.

Congressman Sherman wrote a letter to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarding his concerns of the enforced disappearance and eventual murder of Mr. Muzaffar Bhutto. Sherman stated that he was “deeply concerned about the state of the rule of law in Pakistan.” Last year, Sherman expressed the same concern about Mr. Bhutto to the President of Pakistan, Mr. Zardari, who was abducted. Over a year later, Mr. Bhutto was found dead near Hyderabad. Mr. Bhutto’s story is one of many instances in where enforced disappearances have become common in Sindh & Balochistan. The Sindhi American Political Action Committee is ever so grateful of the Honorable Brad Sherman’s dedication to raising awareness about this issue in Pakistan.

A letter from Rep. Brad Sherman to Secretary Clinton regarding the recent death of Mr. Muzaffar Bhutto in Pakistan. The letter mentions a previous letter from Rep. Sherman to President Zardari of Pakistan in April 2011, warning that Mr. Bhutto’s life was in danger.

More details » BBC urdu

Rally in London against killing of Sindhi leader Muzzafar Bhutto & 14 activists of Mohabat-e-Sindh

On the morning of 22nd May 2012 people of Sindh received bullet-riddled body of renowned Sindhi nationalist leader Muzafar Bhutto, who was kidnapped 2nd time by intelligence agencies 15 moths ago. His body bore clear marks of severe torture.

Then in the afternoon of 22nd May, 2012, peaceful Mohabat-e-Sindh (Love of Sindh) rally was attacked by ethinic fascists in the presence of police. The indiscriminate firing on peaceful Sindhi & Baloch activists killed 14 activists including 4 women. Brave daughter of Sindh & the niece of Usman Baloch gave her life facing barrage of bullets from fascist terrorists. PPP-MQM led government in Sindh allowed this massacre to take place on the roads of Karachi, the capital city of Sindh.

Let us to demand U.K. government & the international community to help the people of Sindh in their struggle for their democratic & national rights & stopping of Human Rights violations by Pakistani security establishment & its proxy organisations.

Therefore, please join us on 10 June 2012 from 1pm to 4pm opposite 10 Dowinng Street London, near Tube station westminster in a rally against the murder of Sindhi leader Muzaffar Bhutto & 14 activists of Mohaba-e-Sindh.

Rally is Organised by;

World Sindhi Congress (WSC) in with collaboration of Baloch Human Rights Council (UK) & International voice for missing persons of Sindh & Baluchistan.

Mending fences: PPP cabinet body off to a bad start

By: Jan Khaskheli

SINDH – Karachi :- A Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) federal cabinet committee, which was scheduled to meet politicians, writers, intellectuals, and civil society activists in Sindh to allay growing resentment against the party, faced a number of impediments during a recent trip to Hyderabad, The News has learnt.

Contrary to the rumours, the committee did not meet with Awami Tehreek (AT) President Ayaz Latif Palijo, the man considered one of the main stakeholders in the politics of  Sindh. Palijo told The News that he demanded the committee to show its terms of reference to prove how serious they were in alleviating the grievances of the people of Sindh.

“Their seriousness can be gauged by the fact that they preferred to discuss a very important issue with a handful of civil society representatives instead of political parties,” he regretted. The committee was also boycotted by a number of writers and civil society representatives, who questioned the authority of the body. When the committee met with members of the civil society, only a handful of academics and two representatives of nongovernmental organisations were present on the occasion.

The majority of participants remained silent during the meeting, while the rest largely raised irrelevant issues such as the falling educational standards and water shortage.Veteran scholar and writer Mohammed Ibrahim Joyo, who was supposed to represent writers and the civil society, plainly refused to participate in the meeting. Similarly, the Sindhi Adabi Sangat (SAS), a literary body that claims running about 120 branches with hundreds of writers and poets, also boycotted the meeting.

“We had a number of demands to put before the committee, but we refused to attend because the organisers prohibited us from raising any controversial topic during the meeting,” SAS Secretary Dr Mushtaq Phul told The News.

A number of civil society representatives rued that the police were cracking down on nationalists. They also claimed that those, who tried to express solidarity with the victims of the Mohabbat-e-Sindh rally, had been “whisked away” by the law-enforcement agencies.

Many PPP activists have also expressed their reservations over their party’s silence on the attack on the Mohabbat-e-Sindh rally that left 12 people dead.

The spokesman for the Sindh United Party said his party has announced an all parties’ conference in Karachi, Sindh on May 29 in which all parties have been invited – except for the PPP and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. “They [the PPP and the MQM] are involved in the conspiracy to divide Sindh,” he maintained.

Although Sindh has traditionally been a PPP stronghold, the increasing political instability, the calls for the division of the province, the deteriorating law and order situation in the rural areas, the kidnapping and subsequent murder of political activists including Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz General Secretary Muzaffar Bhutto and the attack on the Mohabbat-e-Sindh rally have left much of Sindh disillusioned with the current leadership.

Courtesy: The News

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-111062-Mending-fences-PPP-cabinet-body-off-to-a-bad-start

HISTORICAL GATHERING IN DUBAI FOR THE MARTYRS OF MOHABBAT-E-SINDH RALLY KARACHI AND SHAHEED MUZAFAR BHUTTO.

Dubai based Sindhis are gathering to pay tribute to JSMM Leader Shaheed Muzafar Bhutto and martyrs of Karachi Mohabbat-e-Sindh rally,  of 22 May 2012,  in Dubai. Venue. Friday 25 May at 4 PM in Khawanej.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, May 24, 2012.

Pushing the Sindh Against the Wall – DailyTawar editorial.

Translation By: Archen Baloch

Sindhi too has now started receiving its share of mutilated bodies of abducted people after Balochistan.

The bullet riddled body of Muzafar Bhutto, the leadere of Jeay Sindh Muthada Mahaz, was found at Goth Bukhari near Hyderabad bypass, bearing severe torture marks. He was abducted fifteen months back. The family of Muzafer Bhutto has alleged that the state security agencies are involved in his abduction saying that he was abducted on 25th Jan 2011from New Saeedabad.

Keeping in view the political circumstances, this tragic event can be viewed as a part of rehearsal that is constantly being repeated in Balochistan on daily basis. Previously, the death of JSQM leader Bashir Qurishi in mysterious circumstances is also being regarded as a wider part of the conspiracy against them by Sindhi nationalists.

Muzafer Bhutto’s political struggle has left indelible mark in the political history of Sindh. Previously Muzafer Bhutto was abducted by secret agencies and released after subjecting him with crippling tortures. His role in Sindhi national movement will always be remembered. Baloch nationalists parties too have expressed their unequivocal solidarity with Sindhi nationalists and describe the abduction and the killing of Muzafer Bhutto as the continuation of the same policy of “Kill and Dump” in Balochistan.

According to analysts, the beginning of appearances of mutilated bodies of Political workers in Sindh, shows that the rulers are in panic in Sindh too after Balochistan. Because the rulers seems to have resolved to crush every dissenting voice, no matter wherever it is raised. The rulers are afraid of the intensity of the political movements on moral ground.

The appearance of Mutilated body of Muzafar Bhutto would have far reaching consequences. Political analysts further believe that pushing Sindh against the wall will result in serious ramifications after Balochistan.

Courtesy: http://www.dailytawar.com/adaria_page/2012/May/24/ada.htm

Daily Times editorial on CJP’s Strange, ominous, unconstitutional pronouncement on emergency & martial law

EDITORIAL: Strange pronouncement

The Supreme Court (SC) three-member bench hearing the missing persons case in the Quetta Registry headed by Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has been scathing in its remarks during the proceedings about the seriousness of the situation in Balochistan and the obvious lack of the federal and provincial government’s seriousness in addressing the issue. The bench has been putting civil servants, junior government officials and police personnel on the mat regarding their failure to produce the missing persons. At the last hearing, the Deputy Attorney General got so much stick from the bench that he tendered his resignation. The CJ quoted former Balochistan advocate general Salauddin Mengal to portray a situation where no Pakistani flag could fly without the protection of the guns of the security forces more than 10 miles from Quetta. In the same vein of castigating the political, administrative and law enforcement leadership at the Centre and in the province, the CJ remarked that if the prime minister was not interested in acting to salvage the situation, the constitution envisaged other means, including the declaration of an emergency. Further, the CJ warned something must be done before another martial law is imposed.

Continue reading

Sindhi nationalist leader Muzaffar Bhutto’s body found in Hyderabad

HYDERABAD: After 45 days of mysterious death of chairman, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) Bashir Khan Qureshi, the bullet riddled body of another nationalist leader Muzaffar Bhutto was found in the outskirts of Hyderabad on Tuesday. Bhutto was central secretary general of Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) which is headed by Shafi Burfat.

His body was found stuffed in a gunny bag near Bukhari village in the limits of Hatri police station near Hyderabad.

Muzaffar Bhutto was among missing persons of Sindh, as he was kidnapped on February 25, 2011 from national highway near Saeedabad town.

The family members had been staging demonstrations for recovery of Bhutto while petition had also been filed in the apex court of Sindh. The slain leader has left a widow Saima Bhutto, two sons and a daughter.

The body of slain JSMM leader was brought to civil hospital Hyderabad late last night by some people who disappeared after leaving the body. Later, the relatives identified the body on Tuesday. The body of Muzaffar Bhutto was later sent to Sehwan, his hometown, where he would be laid to rest.

The reports of death of Muzaffar Bhutto sparked reaction in different cities and towns of Sindh. In Qasimabad,Hyderabadand Kotri, the activists of JSMM resorted to aerial firing after which the hops and other businesses were closed.

In Dokri town three people sustained injuries when the enraged people started firing. One of the injured Muhammad Zada succumbed to injuries at the hospital. The Larkana town was also completely shut after the reports of Bhutto’s death reached. The aerial firing was also reported from different areas.

Reports from Nawabshah said all the commercial activities came to standstill in Nawabshah, Sakrand and Qazi Ahmed towns where the aerial firing created panic.

The JSMM workers alleged that secret agencies were involved in killing of their leader. Meanwhile, Zain Bhutto, vice chairman, JSMM, condemned the murder of Muzaffar Bhutto and Dr Niaz Kalani, acting chairman, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, has announced strike in Sindh on Wednesday to condemn the murder of nationalist leader.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

Pakistani agencies give another dead body to Sindh: Muzaffar Bhutto’s tortured body found near Hatrri Police Station

Comment by: Aziz Narejo

Muzaffar Bhutto, a missing person from last 16 months, General Secretary of JSMM was taken away on 25th February, 2011 by premiere agency in Hyderabad, Sindh. His tortured body was found today near Hatrri Police Station.

This must be strongly condemned. CJ, govt., HR organizations, govt. must take its notice.

- – - -

Courtesy: Facebook + Geo Tv News (Aapas Ki Baat with Najam Sethi, 22 May 2012)

Ancient Jain temples in Tharparker

Temples too discriminated!

By Kapil Dev

You may dislike President Asif Ali Zaradari for his political smartness for he had outwitted many of his opponents and for his failure to deliver to masses. But you may not dislike him for his love for environment. The reason may be he himself held portfolio of Environment Minister in Benazir Bhutto’s first government or his instinctive love for environment.

On Monday, President Asif Ali Zardari expressed concern over the damage to the centuries-old Kataas Raj temple near Choa Saidan Shah, Chakwal, due to the environmental degradation caused by the construction of industrial complexes around the temple and asked for a report from the relevant ministry.

Similar reports were also published some time ago regarding dilapidated conditions of temples in Sindh, particularly ancient Jain temples in Tharparker and an attempt to demolish a Hindu temple in Choorio, Nangarparker, by a Granite lease owner. But the Presidency did not move to instruct authorities for protection.

On Kataas Raj temple located in a small village of Punjab, the President called for a report after taking note of a media report that the building of industrial complexes around the Kataas Raj temple had destroyed its pristine beauty and threatened the natural water pond with complete extinction.

The report was published in Dawn Newspaper on April 22 under the headline “Holy pond at Kataas Raj dying up” and reported by Nabeel Anwar Dhakku.

The natural pond had been in existence for thousands of years attracting pilgrims from far and wide in the South Asian subcontinent. Since ages water flowed from the pond to downstream villages of Wahoola, Tatral and Dulmial without any drop in the pond level that was constantly replenished by the spring waters underneath. However, the industrial units constructed near the site had sucked up groundwater and diverted the flow of the springs resulting in the drying up the pond, the report said. ….

Read more » The Sindh Journal