At the end of her lecture, Bushra Gohar, central vice president of the Awami National Party in Pakistan, asserted her belief that Pakistan isn’t necessarily in a bad way; it’s just misunderstood. Terrorism, religious extremism and volatile tribal areas contribute to its reputation as a perpetual war ground. Gohar shares her unique experience as a woman politician in Pakistan to try to brighten the dark clouds that hang over her country.
Courtesy: Chautauqua Institution
MQM terrorists kill Karachi organizer of National Party
Terrorists allegedly belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement gunned down a Baloch political organizer in Karachi Monday afternoon.
The victim was identified as Yaqoob Baloch, 45, Karachi Divisional organizer of the National Party. The deceased was an employee of the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation and a resident of Old Golimar.
“He was at his office at Nazimabad No. 1 when the killers came there and asked him if he was Yaqoob. When he replied ‘yes’ they shot and killed him,” Hameed Baloch, Sindh organizer of the National Party said.
He said identity of the killers are not known, but suspected that they belonged to the militant M.Q.M. as the area is the party’s stronghold.
Pak college’s editorial board dissolved over blasphemy row
Pakistan’s first arts college’s editorial board has been dissolved and two other departments have been closed, weeks after the institution’s annual journal was accused of publishing material that supported homosexuality and ridiculed Islamic values.
The architecture and research and publication departments of the National College of Arts in Lahore have been closed while the director for research and publication, Sarosh Irfani, has been suspended.
Following complaints about the inclusion of some paintings and a feature in the annual journal Sohbat, the college’s editorial board too has been dissolved.
The principal of the NCA, Sajjad Kausar, and some other staff are facing charges of blasphemy, official sources told PTI.
With extremist and hardline religious parties, including the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, calling for stringent action against those responsible for publishing “blasphemous materials” in the journal, the college’s administration, including the Principal, are feeling insecure, the sources said.
“I have dissolved the editorial board, closed down the research and publication and architecture wings and suspended the director for research and publication,” Kausar told reporters.
He said a ban had been imposed on the publication of Sohbat for an indefinite period. ….
WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama told his staff in late 2011 that Pakistan could ‘disintegrate’ and set off a scramble for its weapons, claims a new book by David E. Sanger, chief Washington correspondent of The New York Times.
Excerpts from the book, published earlier this month, were highlighted by the US media but it assumed an added importance when US officials started asking Pakistani diplomats, visiting officials, lawmakers and even journalists to read the book.
This forced senior Pakistani diplomats to have a second look at the book and some of them also asked Washington-based Pakistani journalists to read the book and share their views with them.
The book identifies Pakistan as President Obama’s “biggest single national security concern” and it quotes Mr Obama telling his senior aides that he had “the least power to prevent” a possible disintegration of this nuclear-armed country. And he also could not control the scramble for Pakistani nukes that this disintegration would cause.
Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza, finalising her decision in Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s contempt case, said that Gilani cannot be disqualified under Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution, Express News reported on Thursday.
The speaker said that according to Article 63 of the Constitution, the question of the prime minister’s qualification “does not arise”. She has also decided against forwarding the Supreme Court’s reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Quoting the Supreme Court’s order in her 11-point long ruling, Mirza wrote, “no specific charge regarding the propagation of any opinion or acting in any manner against the independence of the judiciary or defaming or ridiculing the judiciary as contemplated under Article 63 (1) (g) has been framed.”
She added: “I am of the view that the charges against Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani are not relatable to the grounds mentioned in paragraph (g) or (h) of clause (1) of Article 63, therefore, no question of disqualification of Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani from being a member arises under clause (2) of Article 63 of the Constitution.”
Sources affiliated with Express News revealed that Dr Mirza said the Supreme Court did not raise the issue of Gilani’s disqualification when it announced the verdict in the contempt case, hence there was no need to send the reference against Gilani to the ECP.
Dr Mirza consulted law experts including Aitzaz Ahsan, Fakhruddin G, Asma Jahangir and Justice (retd) Sajjad Ali for the decision, which she dictated to the secretary national assembly.
“The authorities here are big fans of China and how it filters the Internet,” said Sana Saleem, chief executive of Bolo Bhi, a group that campaigns against restrictions on the Internet. “They overlook the fact that China is an autocratic regime and we are a democracy.” “What makes this kind of censorship so insidious is that they always use national security, pornography or blasphemy as an explanation for blocking other kinds of speech,” Ms. Saleem said, adding that her site had been blocked for several months in 2010 when it made reference to a ban on Facebook. ….
Read more » ChagataiKhan
Balochistan National Party (Mengal) leader Akhtar Mengal has inquired that religious parties have made announcement against America in case of intervention in Balochistan but these elements why didn’t announce Jihad against Baloch youth abduction and aftermath their mutilated bodies throwing series, why they are muzzled about these atrocities. He inquired in his statement.
The personalities, who are providing ground to prolong the series of Baloch genocide, they are darkening the future of nation, and they will be accountable in front of history. Each conscious Baloch has desire that he mustn’t be used for enemy against his nation. Mr. Mengal said.
Baloch Nationalist leader said that there is no doubt that in ongoing atrocities on Balochs parliamentarian and present government is involved and they are responsible as equal establishment, they haven’t only debilitated Balochistan National interest but they have harmed Baloch, too. Now conscious Baloch wouldn’t want this that their future to be made dark and they to be used for succor of enemy. Those who are working for state should join National Movement and give up rival’s supporting onward, because she is committing genocide of brethren Baloch. Akhtar Mengal said. ….
Read more » Baloch Voice
Mysterious death of Bashir Khan Qureshi was preceded by deaths of several Sindhi nationalist leaders
On the heal of recent rush of killings of Sindhi nationalist leaders comes the news of mysterious death of Bashir Khan Qureshi. He was the chief of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) founded by SaeeN G. M. Syed, the legendary father of modern Sindhi nationalism. This alarming situation is either going scare many non-political Sindhis away from nationalism or embolden many non-political Sindhis to join the Sindhi nationalist movement.
Many recent press statements mentioned score of Sindhi nationalist leaders having been killed allegedly by security forces. These statements say that in 2011 alone such killings included that of Zulfiqar Kolachi, Aijaz Solangi, Sirai Qurban Khuhawr, Roplo Choliani, Nadir Bugti, Noorullah Tunio, Haji Abubakar, and Abdul Ganai Mirbahar.
Born on August 10, 1957, Bashir Khan was short of his 57th birthday, when he suddenly died of cardiac arrest. Apparently, he was in good health and many suspect a foul play in his sudden death. Just two weeks ago, he held a very successful rally on March 23, 2012 in Karachi. The rally was called as “Freedom Rally”. Many of the JSQM supporters that their party was gaining unprecedented popularity in Sindh and was becoming a formidable political force in Sindhi areas of Karachi.
Mr. Qureshi entered politics during his student days when in 1976; he joined Jeay Sindh Students Federation. He loved talking about the political philosophy of G. M. Syed and articulated the vision of G. M. Syed about independent Sindh in a forceful manner. He was elected to many positions within the Jeay Sindh Students Federation and became its President. In 1995, he was elected as Deputy Organizer of the newly formed Sindh Quami Mahaz and became its chairman in 1998.
Dialogue only on Freedom Agenda, Pakistan is an Occupier, Intervention Continuing Since 1948! Hyrbeyar Marri & Khan Kalat
Baloch national leader Waja HyrBeyar Marri said that there would be no dialogue on anything except freedom, speaking in a private TV program, the patriotic Baloch leader said that foreign interference in Balochistan started the day one when Pakistan occupied it! Pakistan is the occupier! On a desperate remark of the anchorperson that Zardari would not give you
Freedom, HyrBeyar said that they would knock every door of international community for support, and pledge that every Baloch would work hard to regain the freedom!
HyrBeyar Marri, exiled in London, said that the name of Islam is manipulated to serve morbid interests. He said that the attitude of Punjabi elite has never been friendly, he added that Pakistani oligarch has always plundered and looted Balochistan.
Read more » http://www.twitlonger.com/show/gnsdep
Pakistan’s ‘jaundiced’ media is full of terms such as ‘Baloch, Pashtun, or Sindhi nationalism’ and ‘Mohajirs’. What is missing in defining Pakistan’s ethnic groups in the mainstream media is ‘Punjabi nationalism’.
The electronic media, newspapers and communication flood on the social media had printed on the masses’ minds that demands coming from Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan are speaking of the nationalists in those provinces. However, Punjab’s gains in development, education, health, and communication infrastructure are portrayed as national achievements of Pakistan.
In politics, a term like ‘Sindh card’ is widely used with PPP despite its presence in all four provinces, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan. ANP is hardly defined in terms of its secular agenda or the only anti-Taliban forces in the volatile northwest Pakistan. Political forces from Balochistan—JWP, BNP and others are presented as soft names of the Baloch rebel groups in the national media. Political parties in Sindh are paraded in the media with the available negative tags attached to their names and causes.
All national traitors Pakistanis have known so far through media are either the Bengalis of the pre-71 Pakistan or the non-Pujabi nationalities of the post-71 era–Sindhis, Pashtuns, Balochis and Mohajirs. Starting from the latest case, Dr Shakil Afridi (the doctor whose small efforts had allegedly got rid the South Asian Islam off the terror godfather Osama bin Laden and Wahabism) is Pashtun. Former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (Sindh), former opposition leader late Khan Abdul Wali Khan (Pakhtunkhwa), late GM Syed (Sindh), late Ghaus Bakhsh Bizanjo (Balochistan), to name a few, all are defined as traitors in the mainstream media. Altaf Hussain of MQM can’t come back to Pakistan and leaders like Nawab Akbar Bugti don’t deserve life.
Contrary to this, the Indian-specific media and text books are defining Major Aziz Bhatti, Captain Muhammad Sarwar, Major Muhammad Tufail (a total of 11) as Pakistan’s national heroes. All of them died while defending Punjab in four wars against India from 1948-1999. However, the state and ‘yellow’ media of Pakistan have yet to produce a single hero in the 10- year war against Terrorism in a comparatively tough terrain and tricky battlefield known as the Wild Wild West of Pakistan.
Over 160 million Pakistanis, today, can’t recall a man or a woman that they know who might have been fallen against the Arab, Central Asian or Pakistani fanatics in the mountains in FATA while defending Pakistan against militancy. One apparent reason for this nation-wide apathy towards soldiers fighting Terrorism is that Pakistan not owning the ongoing war despite its claims of higher causalities at international fora.
The decades long control of the Punjabi mindset and ‘Maulvis-turned-journalists’ on media has locked Pakistani journalism in ‘Punjabi Box’. The journalists living in that particular box can hardly imagine the sensitivities of people and regions existing out of the Punjabi Box. They don’t see Pakistan Muslim League (N) or (Q) as Punjabi nationalists nor they define Sharif brothers as leaders of Punjabi nationalism when they allocate more development funds for Punjab or deny due shares of the other three provinces from the national pool of resources.
Whether it’s a political fight between PPP or Muslim League, differences on NFC award (national resources), provincial autonomy, militancy, royalty rights, blasphemy law, or women rights, Pakistani media shows Punjab’s voice as protagonist and those of other provinces as antagonist in its narration of events.
As if that is not enough, they cover up Punjab’s causes as Pakistan hard core national interests and label others as Pashtun, Baloch, Sindhi or Mohajir nationalists in a bid to deny them a space on the minds of media viewers, listeners and readers.
The irony is that the state institutes and Pakistani intellectuals call it a ‘media revolution era’ of Pakistan though a reader of the Jang newspapers in 1970s and viewer of Geo TV in March 2012 doesn’t see a difference in contents and description of facts (Punjab vis-à-vis others). The media revolution in Pakistan has, unfortunately, reinvigorated the Punjabi voice and its outreach, however, and has successfully avoided the ‘Punjabi nationalism’ label for itself while defending the interests of one major ethnic group at all levels in a multi-ethnic country.
Courtesy: Mullah Military Media
Brig Ali approaches Abbottabad commission to record statement: Sources
By Sumera Khan
ISLAMABAD: Brigadier (retd) Ali Khan – who is accused of conspiring to overthrow the government and currently facing court martial proceedings – sent a request to the Abbottabad commission to record his testimony and to make revelations pertaining to the Kargil Operation and the 1999 military coup, sources have revealed.
Sources have said that Brig Ali has requested the Abbottabad commission to allow him to appear in a hearing as he has sensitive information pertaining to national security, which he think should be shared with them. He has, in his written request, stated that he is the one who was most affected by the May 2 raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed.
The application from Brig Ali had been sent though courier dispatch by his family.
Brig Ali, who is accused of having links with Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), had earlier claimed that the court martial is to malign him because he had asked the military brass to fix responsibility for the May 2 raid. Charges of planning an air raid on the General Headquarters using F-16s had also earlier been dropped.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune
Did General Pasha and his colleagues ever realise that their mid-20th century organisation, built on ‘paradigms of control and fear’ and buttressed through old fashioned notions of ‘national security’ and ‘patriotism’ needs a strategic rethink to face the challenges of a new interactive age? …
Read more » Daily Times
By Zahid Gishkori
ISLAMABAD: A National Assembly panel directed on Friday the Sindh police to shift two Hindu girls to Islamabad for protection against severe threats to their lives at the Panah Shelter Home in Karachi.
The panel gave the directions after the Sindh police expressed concern over the security for Rinkle (now, Faryal Bibi) and Lata Kumari, who were allegedly abducted and forced to get marry after embracing Islam.
Both girls will be shifted to Islamabad via the first flight available on the Pakistan International Airlines on Monday, according to the chairperson of the National Assembly Standing on Human Rights, Riaz Fatyana.
“I have directed the Sindh police to shift the girls to Islamabad for better security,” Fatyana told The Express Tribune.
Additional IG Police Sindh Falak Khurshid informed the panel that both girls were forcibly abducted ….
Read more » The Express Tribune
General Kayani has also begun getting upset with TV talk shows – Pak generals (holy cows) love to be above the public scrutiny. They have things, they want to push under the rug.
Kayani takes exception to public discussion on agencies
ISLAMABAD – Tacitly registering his concern over the debate in the media on the role of the army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani on Wednesday said “the national institutions should not be undermined”.
By Khaled Ahmed
Origin of our national mindset
The Army is composed of Punjabis up to 80 percent. Even the Navy, which should normally absorb coastal populations, is composed almost exclusively of Punjabis.
The ‘vitality’ and ‘dynamism’ of the middle class in Pakistan are channeled into ideological aspirations that negate the modern state
The economist says the middle class anywhere in the world is a factor of dynamic growth: a growing middle class means the country will post good growth rates. But for the non-economist, no two middle classes may be alike. In Pakistan, the middle class is conservative, just like India’s; but unlike India, it is ideological, anti-American and pro-Taliban.
The Indian Constitution informs the attitude of the Indian middle class, which is tolerant of secularism. In Pakistan, the Constitution inclines the middle class to desire sharia and consequently prefer the ‘harder’ sharia of al Qaeda to state ideology. It is the sentinel of the unchanging character of the medieval state presented as a utopia by state ideology.
By ERIC PFANNER
PARIS — Many countries censor the Internet, but few spell out their intentions as explicitly as Pakistan.
In an effort to tighten its control over the Internet, the government recently published a public tender for the “development, deployment and operation of a national-level URL filtering and blocking system.”
Technology companies, academic institutions and other interested parties have until March 16 to submit proposals for the $10 million project, but anger about it has been growing both inside and outside Pakistan.
Censorship of the Web is nothing new in Pakistan, which, like other countries in the region, says it wants to uphold public morality, protect national security or prevent blasphemy. The government has blocked access to pornographic sites, as well as, from time to time, mainstream services like Facebook and YouTube.
Until now, however, Pakistan has done so in a makeshift way, demanding that Internet service providers cut off access to specific sites upon request. With Internet use growing rapidly, the censors are struggling to keep up, so the government wants to build an automatic blocking and filtering system, like the so-called Great Firewall of China.
While China and other governments that sanitize the Internet generally do so with little public disclosure, Pakistan is being surprisingly forthcoming about its censorship needs. It published its request for proposals on the Web site of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry’s Research and Development Fund and even took out newspaper advertisements to publicize the project.
“The system would have a central database of undesirable URL’s that would be loaded on the distributed hardware boxes at each POP and updated on daily basis,” the request for proposals says, referring to uniform resource locators, the unique addresses for specific Web pages, and points of presence, or access points.
“The database would be regularly updated through subscription to an international reputed company maintaining and updating such databases,” according to the request, which was published last month.
The tender details a number of technical specifications, including the fact that the technology “should be able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URL’s (concurrent unidirectional filtering capacity) with processing delay of not more than 1 milliseconds.”
Following the Arab Spring, which demonstrated the power of the Internet to help spread political and social change, Pakistan’s move to clamp down has set off a storm of protest among free-speech groups in the country and beyond.
Opponents of censorship say they are doubly appalled because they associated this kind of heavy-handed approach more with the previous regime of Gen. Pervez Musharraf than with the current government of President Asif Ali Zardari.
“The authorities here are big fans of China and how it filters the Internet,” said Sana Saleem, chief executive of Bolo Bhi, a group that campaigns against restrictions on the Internet. “They overlook the fact that China is an autocratic regime and we are a democracy.”
National Defence Minister Peter MacKay speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa February 7, 2012. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)
By Peter Worthington
Whatever one thinks of Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s penchant for taking military helicopters on fishing trips, the country should support him chiding elements in Pakistan for helping the Taliban.
While there’s nothing new in NATO leaks that elements of Pakistan’s intelligence service and military are helping co-ordinate Taliban attacks on coalition forces, the fact these reports keep surfacing has to be upsetting.
Pakistani denials ring hollow — nearly 10 years of denials.
Good on MacKay for not brushing the NATO leaks aside. He said if such reports are reliable, and if Pakistan wants western allies to continue working for “peace and security” throughout the region, then Pakistan’s co-operation is not only required, but is demanded. And “demand” is what MacKay is doing. But is anyone listening?
That’s fairly tough talk. Ever since Navy SEALs took out Osama bin Laden at his Pakistani retreat, there’s been substantial evidence Pakistan is playing a double game.
There are even suggestions China hopes to exploit a rift between western allies and Pakistan — a possibility that makes traditional diplomats shudder. But, if true, Pakistan and China cuddling each other seems destined to be an enormous headache for both these hypersensitive, paranoid, nuclear states.
U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has made the curious observation that after next year, U.S. policy in Afghanistan will be one of “advise and assist,” rather than actually fighting. What on earth does that mean? One supposes it means that by 2014, Panetta hopes the Afghan National Army and National Police being trained by coalition troops, including Canadians, will be able to handle Taliban incursions.
Don’t bet on it.
By having a safe haven in Pakistan, and a seemingly endless supply of fighters, the future has got to look encouraging for the Taliban. They can lose battles indefinitely against American forces — and win the war once the Americans have had a bellyful.
Time is on the Taliban’s side. And patience is their virtue.
There’s not much that can be done. Clearly, coalition countries don’t intend to stay in Afghanistan, and the U.S. especially wants out with an election looming in November.
When Barack Obama’s predecessor, George Bush, was president and flailing away in Iraq, Obama made Afghanistan (relatively quiet at the time) the war he’d prosecute. Well, Afghanistan has turned bad for Obama. So he wants out, and has fired those generals who thought they could win the damn thing.
MacKay says he doesn’t give much credence to the so-called secret NATO report that says the Taliban are gaining confidence and are sure they’ll win in the end.
He thinks that’s what the Taliban would say no matter what — “an overly optimistic view of what’s happening on the ground … in battlefield skirmishes they always lose.” But the Taliban leadership is not in disarray — although coalition leadership may be approaching that state.
If the U.S. were realistic, it would consider cutting aid to Pakistan — $12 billion in military aid, $7 billion in economic aid over the last 10 years.
That may be the only way to get the attention of those who rule Pakistan.
Like hitting a mule on the head with a two-by-four.
The problem is not the Taliban, but the Pakistan leadership which seems hell-bent on wrecking relations with western allies, and gambling we are too timid to do anything about it.
Courtesy: Toronto sun
We are all prisoners
By Mehreen Zahra Malik
….. But here in Pakistan – where the justice system is hopelessly damaged, and where the guardians of national interest get to decide not just who is a criminal but also which criminals are enemies of the state – there was little chance of the Adiala 11 being punished in the ways in which punishment has come to be understood around the world.
Not here, no. Here, the truly powerful feed pain and terror to the masses like fast food while they dine on the most exclusive delicacy of all – impunity. That is how the law works here: by leaving behind the gift of grief, these souvenirs of pain that the Adiala 11 have become in the public imagination.
But while pain has limits, apprehension has none. At the hands of a punitive state, you and me are left not only to grieve for what we know has happened, but also to endlessly fear all that possibly may happen.
In a sense, then, we are all prisoners here in Pakistan.
The writer is an assistant editor at The News. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To read complete article : Daily Times
via – Twitter
21st February is an ‘International Mother Language Day’- Sindhi Adabi Sangat will hold a `National Language Conference’ in Islamabad to mark the day and highlight the importance of mother language in history and the culture of people.
Mother Language Day: National Language Conference to be held tomorrow
ISLAMABAD: Sindhi Adabi Sangat (SAS) will hold the `National Language Conference’ tomorrow (Tuesday) to mark International Mother Language Day and highlight the importance of mother language in history and the culture of people.
The national conference is being arranged in collaboration with the National Language Authority (NLA), which will be attended by writers, intellectuals, linguists and leading politicians from across the country.
Talking to APP, SAS Secretary Sarwan Chandio said the national conference was expected to prove a milestone in the promotion of mother language, besides providing an opportunity to intellectuals to sit together and understand each other’s viewpoint.
“The national conference is being arranged for the first time in the history of the country where intellectuals and politicians will highlight the issues related to mother languages,” he added.
Member of the Federal Assembly Nawab Yousaf Talpur will be the chief guest, while the conference will be presided over by Sindhi Adabi Sangat Secretary General Dr Mushtaq Ahmed Phull.
Senators Sabir Baloch and Zahid Khan, Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nazir Ahmed Sangi, Jami Chandio and senior journalist Ejaz Mehar will be the honorary guests.
Writers from across the country, including Saleem Raz, Dr Shah Muhammad Marri, Abdul Rehman Baitab, Wahid Bozidar and Khalid Majeed, will highlight the importance of mother tongue as a national language on the occasion.
By Z Ali
The bill called for using Sindhi for official correspondence and asked the National Assembly to grant it the status of a national language.
HYDERABAD: Encouraged by the consensus reached in the National Assembly over the 20th constitutional amendment, Sindhi writers and scholars lobbied for Sindhi, Punjabi, Balochi and Pushto to be acknowledged as national languages.
The representatives of the Sindhi Adabi Sangat (SAS), Sindhi Language Authority, Sindh Democratic Forum, author Muhammad Ibrahim Joyo and others met with the federal law and parliamentary affairs minister, Maula Bux Chandio, on Wednesday. They asked the minister to fight for national status for Sindhi in the National Assembly.
Dr Fehmida Hussain, the chairperson of the Sindhi Language Authority, asked the minister to form a language commission comprising officials, writers and scholars for the languages. However, Chandio, despite being receptive to their demands, expressed a lack of optimism about the passage of the bill in the near future.
“The federation is rife with misgivings,” he told the delegation. “First it will correct the structure before such a bill can sail through.”
The SAS launched a three-week long campaign from February 1 for the implementation of a bill passed unanimously by the Sindh Assembly in 1972. The organisations’ leaders, Mehrunissa Larik, Amin Lakho and Zaib Nizamani, want the enforcement of a 1972 bill. It called for using Sindhi for official correspondence and asked the National Assembly to grant it the status of a national language. “All the major languages of the provinces should be given national status,” said Larik. “Even the Britishers used Sindhi as an official language,” she claimed. The SAS will organise an event on February 21, which is International Mother Language Day, to press for their demands.
The National Assembly’s standing committee rejected a similar bill in May 2011, introduced by former MNA Marvi Memon. The names of Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Saeed Ahmed Zafar and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement MNA Iqbal Qadri have surfaced with objections to the bill.
But Chandio said that the bill lay with the constitutional committee. The standing committee on law and justice had scrutinised the bill. “It will get through,” he said, but did not say when. Some members in the Standing Committee opposed the bill, he added, but did not name them. ….
Read more » The Express Tribune
- Message of Support sent by US Senator Kay Baily Hutchison
District Attorney Patrica Lykos was the Chief Guest
HOUSTON, TX, USA. Sindhi-Americans gathered in Houston on Saturday, January 28, 2012 to commemorate the 108th birthday of Mr. G. M. Syed, a national leader of Sindh who waged a nonviolent struggle against religious fundamentalism and for freedom.
Sindh is home to the ancient Indus Valley civilization and is now a province in Pakistan. A vibrant Sindhi-American community numbering in the tens of thousands lives in various U.S. cities. More than 30 million Sindhis live in Sindh today. Sindhis are supportive of democracy and secularism and have been marginalized by security establishment and its fundo ideology.
Ms. Patricia Lykos, District Attorney of the Harris County of Texas, was the Chief Guest and Keynote Speaker of the evening. Other prominent speakers include Mr Albert Chang, Director of Regional Office of the US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Mr. Iqbal Detho, a human rights scholar affiliated with the University of Minnesota, Mr. Mohammed Khan Buriro, a human rights lawyer from Sindh, Mr Umed Ali Laghari, Sr. Vice Chairperson of the World Sindhi Congress, and Mansoor Samo of the G M Syed Memorial Committee and Several community leaders spoke at the event. An estimated 250 delegates from different parts of Texas, USA came to attend this event.
Past present: Black mirror
History often helps in analysing the present day issues by reflecting on past events. Generally, this approach is adopted in a society where there is dictatorship, censorship and legal restrictions to express discontent in regard to government policies. The method is effective in creating political consciousness by comparing the present with the consequences of bad governance and disillusionment of the past.
After the independence[?] of Pakistan, the army and the bureaucracy emerged as powerful state institutions. In the absence of a constitution, the two institutions were unaccountable to any authority. Bureaucracy followed in the footsteps of the colonial model, treating people with arrogance and contempt. A strong centre allowed it to rule over the provinces unchecked. The provinces, including the former East Pakistan, greatly suffered because of this.
Sindh chose to raise its voice against the oppressive attitude of the bureaucracy and a strong centre. Despite the grand, national narratives which justified the creation of a new country, Sindh responded by presenting its problems and grievances by citing historical suffering of its people.
During the reign of Shahjahan, Yusuf Mirak, a historian, wrote the book Tarikh-i-Mazhar-i-Shahjahani. The idea was to bring to Shahjahan’s notice the corruption and repressive attitude of the Mughal officials in Sindh. As they were far from the centre, their crimes were neither reported to the emperor nor were they held accountable for their misdeeds.
Mirak minutely described their vices and crimes and how the people [Sindhis] were treated inhumanly by them. He hoped that his endeavours might alleviate the suffering of the people when the emperor took action against errant officials. However, Mirak could not present the book to the emperor but his documentation became a part of history.
When the Persian text of the book was published by Sindhi Adabi Board, its introduction was written by Husamuddin Rashdi who pointed out the cruelty, brutality, arrogance and contempt of the Mughal officials for the common man. Accountable to none, they had fearlessly carried on with their misdeeds.
Today, one can find similarities between those Mughal officials and Pakistani [civil & military] bureaucrats of the present day. In the past Sindh endured the repercussions of maladministration and exploitation in pretty much the same way as the common man today suffers in silence. But one can learn from the past and analyse the present to avoid mistakes.
The history of Sindh shows two types of invaders. The first example is of invaders like the Arabs and the Tarkhans who defeated the local rulers, assumed the status of the ruling classes and treated the local population as inferior. The second type was of invaders like Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali who returned home after looting and plundering. The rulers of Sindh defended the country but sometimes compromised with the invaders. Those who defended it were vanquished and discredited by history, and their role was not recognised.
G. M. Syed in his tract Sindh jo Surma made attempt to rehabilitate them. According to him, Raja Dahir who defended Sindh against the Arabs was a hero while Muhammad Bin Qasim was an agent of the Umayyad imperialism who attacked Sindh to expand the empire and to exploit Sindh’s resources.
Decades later, in 1947, a large number of immigrants arrived from across the border and settled in Sindh. This was seen by Sindhi nationalists as an attempt to endanger the purity of the Sindhi culture. In 1960, agricultural land was generously allotted to army officers and bureaucrats. Throughout the evolving circumstances in Sindh, the philosophy of Syed’s book is the protection and preservation of the rights of Sindhis with the same spirit with which the heroes of the past sacrificed their lives for the honour of their country [Sindh].
By Abdul Hafeez
Karachi: As Pakistan’s civilian government and military establishment are mending ties which strained after memogate controversy, ISI chief is likely to be given extension by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
However, sources said the spymaster who was given extension twice after reaching the age of retirement in 2010 and 2011, is reluctant to continue his job.
A Pakistani newspaper claimed that civilian and military leaders had decided to lower temperature in the ‘national interest’ and it was evident from General Kayani’s visit alongside Let Gen Pasha to Prime Minister House on Tuesday.
Sources said that Pasha during corps commanders meeting had offered his resignation and was unwilling to continue. However, Gen Kayani has desire that Pasha should get extension for another term.
In case, Pasha refused to get extension, the prime minister after consultation with the army chief would appoint new ISI head in March that might be Let Gen Zaheerul Islam, currently working as corps commander Karachi, or Major Gen Naushad Kayani, now working as Director Gen Military Operations.
However, sources told The News Tribe that Major General Sahibzada Asfandyar Pataudi, a paternal uncle of Indian film star Saif Ali Khan might be appointed ISI chief.
Indian media, shortly after the US raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden, had published reports, speculating that Saif Ali Khan’s uncle might be a new ISI chief if Pasha resigned from the post.
Interestingly, Saif Ali Khan is going to release his new movie Agent Vinod, in which he played RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) Agent and Kareena Kapoor, a leading bollywood heroin would be playing ISI agent role. One could imagine how Saif would deal with the ISI spy.
Courtesy: The News Tribe
The language of the speech is urdu.
Pakistan’s leading lawyers Asma jahangir & Ali Ahmed Kurd questioning using of “contempt of court act” and canceling licenses of Bar members by the top judge of supreme court
Pakistan’s leading lawyers Asma Jahangir & Ali Ahmed Kurd questioning using/abusing of “contempt of court act” as “Black Law” against the media or the citizens of Pakistan to silence them and canceling licensees of Bar members (lawyers) to impose Judicial Dictatorship” on people by the top judge of supreme court. The language of the news clip is urdu (Hindi).
Democracy or dictatorship?: Resolute Gilani paves way for govt resolution
ISLAMABAD: Steady nerves and a pointed address.
The premier remained composed on Friday, despite a raring opposition and potentially wavering allies in the face of a deepening row with the military and the judiciary – and the government also managed to introduce a highly-anticipated resolution in the house.
The resolution was moved, symbolically enough, by the PPP’s thus far most steadfast ally, Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, amid a protest from opposition benches.
Before the resolution, addressing a special session of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said he would prefer going to the people over begging for the opposition’s support for a fresh vote of confidence in parliament.
“I do not need a vote of confidence,” Gilani said, adding that he was elected prime minister unanimously.
The session, it was widely believed, had been convened in the wake of the Supreme Court warning President Asif Ali Zardari and the prime minister of disqualification over the non-implementation of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) verdict.
But the prime minister snubbed the notion that his government was afraid of the NRO at the get-go.
“We have not come for the NRO. We do not need your support to be saved from the military and have not come for a clash of institutions. We have also not come to be shaheeds (martyrs),” the premier said, responding to the leader of the opposition’s query seeking a justification for the ‘emergency session.’
“Somebody should tell us the reason for convening this session and what you are afraid of,” the leader of the opposition, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, had said earlier.
“We have to decide whether there should be democracy or dictatorship in the country … democracy should not be punished for our mistakes”. ….
Read more » The Express Tribune
Generals & Judges waiting for their savior Mansoor Ijaz a Memogate Millionaire – Kab Awaogae, Kab Awogae – Aaja Meri barbad Mohabat ke
– O — O — O — O –
Security will be provided to Mansoor Ijaz: Army
ISLAMABAD: The meeting of corps commanders headed by the Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani on Thursday decided to provide Mansoor Ijaz with security upon his arrival in the country for the hearing of memogate case, DawnNews reported.
Pakistan’s military chief met top commanders amid a widening rift between the powerful armed forces and the civilian government.
The meeting at GHQ lasted for 10 hours which was not only attended by the corps commanders but by the Principle Staff Officers of Pakistan Army as well.
According to sources, it was decided not to compromise on national security.
Memogate hearing on January 16, by the commission formed by Supreme Court, also came under discussion at the meeting.
It was decided that the central character of controversial memogate issue Mansoor Ijaz would be provided security by the army upon his arrival in the country.
Statements issued by military and the government on memogate issue also came under discussion in the meeting.
via » twitter
Salmaan Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti and, of course, Benazir Bhutto were not murdered because they were guilty. The perceptions created about them ultimately led to their assassinations
While deliberating on a multitude of petitions filed by Mian Nawaz Sharif and others in the so-called Memogate case, the august bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan made observations and comments that have left many, including several ardent supporters of the lawyers’ movement, deeply disconcerted.
The honourable Chief Justice (CJ) of Pakistan, as reported by the print and electronic media, appears to have repeatedly referred to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani — one of the respondents in the memo case — with the honorific ‘sipah saalaar’ (Urdu/Persian for an army chief). If it was just restricted to using the vernacular terminology for the army chief, it might have been of little consequence. But the CJ, apparently also asked Husain Haqqani’s counsel Asma Jahangir, to show reverence to the ‘sipah saalaar’. He also seemed to have lamented that the learned counsel was deferential to the American General James Jones but not to the Pakistani ‘sipah saalaar’.
The question then is if it is a specific ‘sipah saalaar’ who deserves respect. And who gets to decide which particular ‘sipah saalaar’ has to be venerated, and when? Moreover, when is it kosher to discard the respect, disobey the ‘sipah saalaar’ and agitate against him? When can a critique be characterised as insolence for which Asma Jahangir had to be chastised? One must submit with utmost respect that with comments like these, my lord CJ is walking on very thin ice.
Who would know better than my lord CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry that there is no blanket respect guarantee for any public official, including the ‘sipah saalaar’. General Pervez Musharraf was a ‘sipah saalaar’ and the president — validated by none other than the apex court itself — when he, on March 9, 2007, illegally and maliciously showed the door to the rightful CJ of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhry. Despite having taken oath previously at the hands of General Musharraf, the CJ refused to take orders from that ‘sipah saalaar’ or show respect to him that fateful day. For this the CJ earned the respect of hundreds of thousands of people across the globe.
That attempt by the ‘sipah saalaar’ of the time to tame the judiciary was bad and had to be resisted, and rightly so. But now people are supposed to click their heels and fall in line to the present ‘sipah saalaar’ and his sidekick who are on the verge of throwing a wrench in the works of the democratic system in the name of national security! I am afraid this can be (mis)construed as double standards. And frankly, when it comes to resisting military adventurers, the people have never sought permission from anyone before and, the profound regard for the CJ notwithstanding, they are not about to start doing so at anyone’s whim. The bench could have done without such references, especially in a case where the court itself has given national security pre-eminence over fundamental rights.
Earlier, during the course of the proceedings, the honourable Justice Jawad Khwaja had made another interesting observation that the judiciary was an independent organ of the state and was answerable to the people, not parliament. This is a double-edged sword that the esteemed judge has unsheathed. Relative insulation from public opinion is considered to contribute positively to a judiciary’s independence. In Testament of a Liberal, writing about judicial activism, the late Justice Dorab Patel had noted: “…It is not the function of court to please the public, but to uphold the laws. An independent judiciary means not only a judiciary which can resist the pressures of the governments, but also the pressures of the public opinion…”
A simple question, then, is: which section of the public does the court intend to answer to? Is it the hordes of lawyers who held victory parades for Salmaan Taseer’s self-confessed assassin Mumtaz Qadri? Are the likes of Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa and scores of other militant outfits flexing their muscle in the streets, the ones that the courts would find themselves answerable to? Unfortunately, if the dismal conviction rate of terrorists and the high incidence of jihadist mass-murderers going scot-free are any indication, one really has to wonder if the courts have already succumbed to the lethal cocktail of the national security jingoism and obscurantism. I may be wrong but I am certainly not alone in holding this view. The anti-terrorism court (ATC) Judge Pervaiz Shah, who sentenced Mumtaz Qadri, had to flee Pakistan. I implore my lord Justice Khwaja to help determine why someone from the judicial fraternity had to seek refuge abroad. Does it say something about that judge’s confidence in the superior judiciary?
On the other hand, the Supreme Court took no time to suspend Husain Haqqani’s fundamental right to liberty. He was not even heard! A man who flew all the way from the US — against the advice of friends, I can say on good authority — to face the charges against him, suddenly became a flight risk? The way the former ambassador’s rights were suspended could seriously prejudice any commission, investigation or a trial court against him.
this involves the private messages between two individuals and as such RIM is unlikely to share this data — if it exists — with Pakistan’s Supreme Court
Research in Motion (RIM) and the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad have become the latest actors in the so-called “memogate affair” that observers believe is a slow-motion palace coup by Pakistan’s military aimed at unseating the civilian administration of President Zardari.
In a decision on Friday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the country’s attorney general to demand RIM hand over BBM messages allegedly exchanged between the former Pakistan ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, and American businessman Mansoor Ijaz. The exchanges involve an unsigned memo handed over to to former American Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, requesting U.S. intervention to stave off a military coup in Islamabad.
The latest tug of war between the government of President Zardari and his generals erupted on Oct. 11, 2011 when the Financial Times ran an op-ed titled “Time to take on Pakistan’s Jihadis.”
In the article, Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American businessman, claimed he was contacted by a Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, and asked to contact Admiral Mullen to prevent a military coup from taking place in Pakistan. The military was outraged and wanted heads to roll. Ijaz wrote:
Early on May 9, a week after U.S. Special Forces stormed the hideout of Osama bin Laden and killed him, a senior Pakistani diplomat telephoned me with an urgent request. Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, needed to communicate a message to White House national security officials that would bypass Pakistan’s military and intelligence channels.
As evidence, the American businessman handed over copies of his alleged BlackBerry message exchanges with Haqqani to Pakistan’s feared military intelligence force, the ISI. On his part, Haqqani categorically denied that he had asked Ijaz to draft any message and dismissed the messages cited by Ijaz as a fabrication.
As a result of the controversy, Ambassador Haqqani — a man not liked by his country’s jihadis, whether civilian or military — was forced to resign his post and ordered back to Pakistan, where he was placed under security watch and barred by the military from leaving the country.
The country’s parliament set up a commission to get to the depth of the matter, but this inquiry was upstaged by opposition politician Nawaz Sharif who took the matter to the country’s Supreme Court that is closely allied to the country’s military generals.
Pakistan Supreme Court
Last Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that there was merit in the complaint against Haqqani and set up a three-member judicial commission that will report back in four weeks to determine the guilt or innocence of the former Boston University professor and Pakistan’s most prominent diplomat in the last four years.
At the crux of the matter is the authenticity of of the BlackBerry messages that were allegedly exchanged between the two men.
In its decision on Friday, the Pakistani Supreme Court ordered the country’s attorney general to get in touch with Research In Motion in Waterloo, Ontario to secure from RIM the data verifying the validity of the alleged BlackBerry conversation between Haqqani and Ijaz.
In an unprecedented move, the Pakistani Supreme Court stepped beyond its jurisdiction to direct the Canadian High Commissioner in Islamabad, ordering it to facilitate in the securing the data from RIM.
In August 2010, Research In Motion was pressured by the Indian government to allow it access to data exchanged on its BBM messenger service. RIM resisted that pressure and the two parties came to a resolution. However, that involved BlackBerry messages within India, not overseas.
RIM ended up ready to compromise on the privacy of corporate customers to placate Indian regulators. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates too threatened to shut off BlackBerry services unless RIM opened its encrypted client data for the sake of national security.
However, in this case, the alleged exchanges between the Pakistani Ambassador and the American businessman were conducted in the United States, not Pakistan. Unlike the Indian request, this involves the private messages between two individuals and as such RIM is unlikely to share this data — if it exists — with Pakistan’s Supreme Court.
In addition, the Supreme Court ordered former ambassador Husain Haqqani to not leave the country, thus placing him in virtual house arrest. Haqqani, fearing for his life at the hands of the military and jihadis, has now taken refuge inside the Prime Minister’s residence in Islamabad.
Dark day for Pakistan
Haqqani’s counsel in the case, prominent human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir reacted with shock at the Supreme Court decision, labelling it a “dark day” for the country’s judiciary.
Ms. Jahangir a former president of the country’s Supreme Court Bar Association and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion, said the decision was evidence Pakistan’s civilian government had for all practical purposes come under the thumb of the army.
Speaking to the media outside the Supreme Court on Friday, Ms. Jehangir said that the court’s judgment in the “memogate scandal” had forced her to wonder whether Pakistan’s judiciary represented the people of Pakistan or the country’s (military) establishment.
Two days later Jahangir announced that in protest at the high-handedness of the Pakistan Supreme Court, she was stepping down as counsel for Husain Haqqani. She alleged the judges of the Supreme Court were acting “under the influence of the [Military] establishment” and not in the cause of justice or due process.
A noose around Haqqani’s neck
She told Karachi’s DAWN Television she was stepping down because the only outcome left was a noose around Haqqani’s neck. She said:
“If nine judges of the Supreme Court can be under their [military] influence, then I am sorry to say I cannot have any expectations from three judges, who are subordinate to the same Supreme Court judges.””Should we close our eyes? Should we allow ourselves to be fooled?… I have told my client [Haqqani] he can appear before the commission if he wishes to — and he will go–but I have no confidence at all in the [judicial] commission.”
Asma Jehangir blasts Pasha for meeting Mansoor Ijaz
ISLAMABAD: A day after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had adopted a soft attitude towards the military leadership, the top spymaster came under intense scrutiny in the Supreme Court hearing a set of petitions in the memo case here on Tuesday.
“I called these petitions ‘benami’ (anonymous) because two of its respondents are the actual petitioners,” Advocate Asma Jehangir argued while alluding to Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha who are named as parties in the petitions.
In her usual assertive and hard-hitting style, Ms Jehangir, the counsel for former ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani, asked why one of the petitioners changed his mind two days after writing a letter to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and then filing petitions in the Supreme Court. …
Read more » DAWN.COM