Beyond the memo affair – By Raza Rumi

Excerpt;

…. Citizens have a right to ask why three serving chief justices of high courts are investing huge amounts of their precious time in handling the bizarre claims (and counter-claims) made by Mr Ijaz, when they should be attending to their core mandates of managing the high courts and thousands of subordinate courts. There are roughly 1.2 million cases pending in Pakistani courts and the cost of litigation is soaring due to a virtually unaccountable legal profession and corruption in lower courts. The Supreme Court has time and again reminded us that it is representing the people’s will and is answerable to the people only. Perhaps, nothing is as pressing for the ‘people’ than the denial of justice they are facing.

The Urdu media and internet forums are full of edicts against Mr Haqqani and sections of the establishment feel betrayed by his critical book on the Pakistan military. The least we can do is not to expose a man of his intellect to the rogue elements in the country. For the record, I have never met Mr Haqqani and hold no brief for his past adventures with the intelligence agencies. All I know is that he deserves a fair deal by a country he has tried to serve and defend in difficult times when everyone and his aunt have been wanting to ‘punish’ Pakistan.

Read more: The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2012.

Mumbai attack ‘mastermind’ Hafiz Saeed linked to Osama bin Laden

A $10m bounty was placed on the head of a Pakistani militant leader after the US obtained evidence he had been in close contact with Osama bin Laden, planning terrorist attacks, according to a former American intelligence official.

By Rob Crilly, Rawalpindi and Dean Nelson in New Delhi

Documents found by US special forces at bin Laden’s final hideaway in Abbottabad last year apparently linked Hafiz Saeed, founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, with the al-Qaeda leader.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and adviser to Barack Obama on Afghanistan and Pakistan told The Daily Telegraph that the evidence showed bin Laden played a key role in planning the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

166 people died when 10 terrorists, thought to be from Saeed’s group, stormed five star hotels and a train station in downtown Mumbai.

Mr Riedel said the close connection lasted right up until the world’s most wanted man was shot dead in May last year.

“OBL communicated with Saeed and others via courier. He practised very good opsec [operations security]. The two had a long-standing relationship going back to the creation of LeT in the 1980s,” he said. “OBL provided some of the seed money to start the group.” ….

Read more » telegraph.co.uk

Living a marginalised life – By Faiza Mirza

The recent spate of forced conversions, killings and abductions for ransom of non-Muslims living in Pakistan is an open question mark to the democratic governance and establishment of the country.

“Unless we protect and strengthen the weak, we will not be able to exercise the true power of democracy,” said Nazish Brohi, an independent research professional and a human rights activist.

Inaccessibility to appropriate health facilities, education and other essentials of life have transformed many Pakistanis into ‘weaker beings’, with non-Muslim factions topping the list. It is consequential to understand that protection of the suppressed and marginalised population of Pakistan indeed, is the only way to prove our stance towards a secular country.

In a country such as Pakistan, where male section of the society is predominantly overpowering, women generally face an ‘unequal’ share of hatred and discrimination.

A case of double jeopardy

Pakistani women are more susceptible to violence and other violations of human and civil rights however non-Muslim women are subjected to more discriminated behaviour on different stages and level which increase the magnitude of their ordeal.

“A vast population of Pakistani women suffer from effects of double jeopardy as they are discriminated because of multiple reasons,” said Brohi.

“Women in general are discriminated by men of their own families because they are considered to be carrying the responsibility of safeguarding their honour. Women are then subjected to discrimination because of the fact that they profess other faiths. And then the never-ending discrimination goes on,” added Brohi.

According to a report published by National commission for Justice and Peace, 74 per cent of minority women living in Pakistan faced sexual harassment during 2010 and 2011, respectively, whereas 43 per cent complained about facing religious discrimination at workplaces, educational institutions and neighbourhoods.

Moreover the report also proved that 68.4 per cent of non-Muslim women have no political participation which according to Brohi evidently signifies the mistrust of minority women in the political system primarily because it does not offer significant assistance to them.

Forced conversions

With forced conversions and kidnappings for ransom on the rise, many non-Muslims have fled Pakistan to seek refuge abroad.

Mangla Sharma, Chairperson of Pak-Hindu Welfare association said, “forced conversions and blasphemy laws affect non-Muslims of Pakistan at every level. In fact it will not be unwise to say that legislation and laws are manipulated to favour the majority,”

Continue reading Living a marginalised life – By Faiza Mirza

In memory of: 30th death anniversary of man who brought ‘Sindh’s history to life’

By Z Ali

HYDERABAD: Hundreds of people, besides scholars, historians and writers attended the 30th death anniversary of historian, Pir Hasamuddin Shah Rashdi at Makli, also his final resting place. Rashdi was born in Larkano on September 20, 1911, and spent most of his life in Karachi, Sindh.

Continue reading In memory of: 30th death anniversary of man who brought ‘Sindh’s history to life’