New York Times – The Dregs of Dictatorship

By MOHAMED NASHEED, Maldives

my government asked the United Nations to help us investigate judicial abuses

DICTATORSHIPS don’t always die when the dictator leaves office. The wave of revolutions that toppled autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen last year was certainly cause for hope. But the people of those countries should be aware that, long after the revolutions, powerful networks of regime loyalists can remain behind and can attempt to strangle their nascent democracies.

I learned this lesson quickly. My country, the Maldives, voted out President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, its iron-fisted ruler, back in 2008, in historic elections that swept away three decades of his authoritarian rule. And yet the dictatorship bequeathed to the infant democracy a looted treasury, a ballooning budget deficit and a rotten judiciary.

I was elected that year, and with the help of the International Monetary Fund, my government worked to cut the deficit, while also building a modern tax base. For the first time in its history, the Maldives — a group of islands in the Indian Ocean — had a democratically elected president, parliament and local councils.

But it also had a judiciary handpicked by the former president, which was now hiding behind a democratic constitution. These powerful judges provided protection for the former president, his family members and political allies, many of whom are accused of corruption, embezzlement and human rights crimes.

Continue reading New York Times – The Dregs of Dictatorship

Eight more missing people die in mysterious circumstances

By Azaz Syed

ISLAMABAD: Forty one Pakistanis disappeared under mysterious circumstances have been traced out while eight of them have died, the government said in a report. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Patriotism, treason, and bounty hunters

By Kamran Shafi

It is an undeniable fact my friends, that our blessed country has become synonymous with the very worst acts of terrorism carried out across the world and with those caught in the planning stages of such attacks. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News

By Richard Engel and Robert Windrem

NBC News

Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET — Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.

The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

The Iranians have no doubt who is responsible – Israel and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, known by various acronyms, including MEK, MKO and PMI. ….

Read more » http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/09/10354553-israel-teams-with-terror-group-to-kill-irans-nuclear-scientists-us-officials-tell-nbc-news

via – Twitter

Pakistani high court delays spy agency hearing

By Reza Sayah, CNN

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — Pakistan’s Supreme Court postponed a rare public hearing for the country’s secretive and powerful spy agency Thursday, a lawyer for one of the alleged victims of the agency said.

Long thought to be untouchable, the ISI, or Inter-Services Intelligence, has been ordered to produce seven men it’s accused of holding since 2010 and explaining the deaths of four other detainees.

But attorney Tariq Asad told CNN the court had delayed the hearing until Friday because other proceedings took up much of the day.

Asad said it was clear the lawyer for the ISI, who was present when the postponement was announced, had not brought the seven detainees to court as ordered. …

Read more » CNN

http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/09/world/asia/pakistan-spy-agency/index.html

Rights violations shame Pakistanis at Congress hearing

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON: Guilt and shame were the two dominant feelings that overwhelmed many Pakistanis at a US congressional hearing room on Wednesday as witnesses detailed human rights abuses in Balochistan. Some were also troubled – while some felt elated – as all five US lawmakers who attended this unusual hearing of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations stressed the Baloch right to self-determination.

But this emotive session – which often drew warm applause from Baloch nationalists – offered little insight into how to resolve this difficult issue. Perhaps, that’s not even the intention of those who had organised the meeting. They wanted to highlight Balochistan as a possibly explosive spot close to a US war-theatre and they succeeded in doing so. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Al Jazeera – Balochistan: Pakistan’s other war

Baloch politicians and leaders share their vision of self-determination and freedom from Pakistani rule.

By Al Jazeera

In the rugged mountains of southwest Pakistan lies the country’s largest province of Balochistan. Far from the bustling cities of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, this remote region has been the battleground for a 60-year-long insurgency by the Baloch ethnic minority.

“The Baloch people now live in a state of war. Every day, they face injustice. The army and intelligence agents kidnap our young, and we know nothing about them for years. The Baloch people live in a state of war. We will not accept any offers until we regain control over this land. They burn down our homes and then ask us for peace? We are not stupid.” – Baloch Khan, Baloch rebel leader

The ongoing conflict is often called Pakistan’s dirty war, because of the rising numbers of people who have disappeared or have been killed on both sides.

But the uprising against Pakistan’s government has received little attention worldwide, in part because most eyes have been focused on the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in other areas of Pakistan. …

Read more » al Jazeera

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/aljazeeraworld/2012/01/2012121372863878.html

Baluchistan hearing – Congressman Sherman Speaks on the Importance of U.S. Outreach to Sindhi and Baluch people

A hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on February 8, 2012, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) spoke on U.S.-Pakistan relations and the importance of U.S. outreach to the Sindhi and Baluch people.

» YouTube

Sindh University: Protesters’ leaders face the axe

HYDERABAD, Feb 8: The tug of war between the vice-chancellor and teachers of Sindh University took a new twist on Tuesday night when a syndicate meeting at the Governor House in Karachi decided to terminate the services of two teachers’ leaders and suspend six others. Although the university authorities have not yet issued any notification, sources told Dawn ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

BBC urdu – Families of Baloch Missing Persons Protesting

BBC Urdu on Baloch missing persons. Families protesting for the recovery of their loved ones. Pakistan’s security forces instead of releasing Baloch missing persons continues to abduct more and more people from Balochistan.

Courtesy: BBC urdu » YouTube