Editorial – BSF Brutality on the border

New Delhi needs to make an unreserved apology to Bangladesh for the brutal conduct of its Border Security Force personnel who were seen in a recent video torturing a Bangladeshi man. Not surprisingly, the telltale video has caused widespread outrage in Bangladesh. A remark by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee that the incident must not be hyped, echoed by a Bangladeshi Minister, seems only to have provoked more anger and fuelled opposition allegations against the Sheikh Hasina government for being “pro-India”. With the Bangladesh Army claiming the other day that it averted a coup against the government by an “anti-India” section of officers, New Delhi needs to guard against becoming an unwitting cause for political instability in its eastern neighbour. Anti-India sentiment has been high in Bangladesh since the killing of three of its nationals by the BSF in two separate incidents on the border last month. A March 2011 agreement between the two countries not to use firearms in dealing with illegal activities on the border has brought down the number of such incidents, but the video is evidence that the guards feel free to use other forms of violence. It underlines the fact that such bilateral agreements on the management of their complex boundary are worth nothing unless accompanied by a change in the mindset of those responsible for it on the ground.

The distressing 11.56 minute footage, circulated through YouTube, is quite evidently a trophy video, the guards happy to pose as they strip their victim, tie his hands and feet, and beat him mercilessly while discussing among themselves other severe options of dealing with him. …..

Read more » The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/article2826161.ece

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) expresses concern over Husain Haqqani’s security

PRESS RELEASE – GENEVA – The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has expressed grave concern for the infringement of rights of Husain Haqqani, former Pakistani ambassador to the United States of America.

Husain Haqqani faced a vicious media trial following which the Supreme Court of Pakistan on a petition filed debarred him from travelling abroad, despite the fact that he has not been charged with any crime,” said Sheila Varadan, International Legal Advisor at the ICJ Asia-Pacific Regional Office. “Husain Haqqani continues to receive threats and has been painted as disloyal to the country. There is, though, no proof of any betrayal of his duties as an Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States.”

“We are calling on the Pakistani Authorities to respect Husain Haqqani’s right to be presumed innocent and to remove the restriction on his right to leave the country and any other restrictions on his right to freedom of movement,” added Varadan. “They must also ensure his personal safety at all times and respect his right to a fair and impartial hearing throughout the Inquiry process.”

Courtesy: Pakistan Today

Thousands protest media’s moral policing in Pakistan

By Beena Sarwar

A morning show broadcast in Pakistan on Jan 17, 2012, on Samaa, a Pakistani television channel, has catalysed what could well be the beginning of a media consumer rights movement.

In the show, Subah Saverey Maya kay Sath (Early Morning with Maya), the host Maya Khan, charges through a public park looking for dating couples to interrogate. With her is a battalion of other women, who join her in self-righteously lecturing the couples they come across – does your family know you are here, why don’t you meet at home if you are engaged, and, most outrageously, if you are married, where is your nikahnama (marriage certificate)?

When the harassed couples ask for the camera to be turned off, the Samaa team pretends to acquiesce but carries on filming with sound. As several people have pointed out, this intrusive behaviour could result in putting those couples in life-threatening situations in a country where forced marriages and ‘honour killings’ continue to be the norm. ….

Read more » Beena Sarwar

Sindh Assembly smells conspiracy behind 20th draft bill of amendments in constitution for creation of new provinces

SA thumbs down to any change

By: Ramzam Chandio

KARACHI – The Sindh Assembly on Friday sent a clear signal not to accept any amendment in Article 239(4) of the Constitution, relating to two third votes of provincial legislature mandatory for altering/creating new province within any province.

The law minister while supporting the proposed resolution of a lawmaker from NPP promised before the House that the resolution would be taken up in the Assembly for discussion on the next Monday. The Sindh Assembly, which met at 11:30hours, against schedule of 10:00am, with Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, consumed over ten minutes on arguments and counter arguments on a request of Masroor Ahmed Jatoi from NPP, who wanted to move a resolution out of turn, opposing any amendment in Article 239 (4) of Constitution. After question-hour session, NPP MPA Jatoi, stood on his feet and urged the chair to allow him to move a resolution out of turn. The proposed resolution of Mr Jatoi was also distributed among the media persons in press gallery, carried signatures of lawmakers of the ruling PPP, PML-F, NPP and ANP. ….

Read more » The Nation

Mansoor Ijaz – A whistle blowing hero to some, a villain doing the Pakistan military’s dirty work to others

Who is Mansoor Ijaz? The US businessman behind Pakistan’s ‘Memo-gate’

A whistle blowing hero to some, a villain doing the Pakistan military’s dirty work to others, Ijaz is above all a mysterious anomaly.

By Issam Ahmed

Islamabad, Pakistan – A multi-millionaire American businessman at the center of a political crisis in Pakistan refused to travel to Islamabad Monday to testify before a Supreme Court commission, saying he feared for his personal safety. ….

Read more » csmonitor

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2012/0125/Who-is-Mansoor-Ijaz-The-US-businessman-behind-Pakistan-s-Memo-gate

DAWN Editorial on Memogate: Its “Time to move on.” “Eternal shame of all those involved in creating the hysteria.”

Time to move on

THE high drama over memogate has given way to low farce. Yesterday, the high-powered judicial commission formed to assist the Supreme Court ascertain the ‘origin, credibility and purpose’ of the memo tried several times to convince a reluctant Mansoor Ijaz to travel to Pakistan and appear before the commission. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Defending democracy

By Saad Hafiz

It seems at the first sign of cracks in a democratic setup in Pakistan, a battle cry goes out from media pundits, back-door politicians and professional pontificators alike to end or derail the democratic process. As the knives and bayonets are sharpened, headlines like “End the farce”, “Noose tightens” and “Government isolated” dominate in the media.

Continue reading Defending democracy