Tag Archives: activists

Sindh: Three Activists Killed On Independence Day

On the 66th celebration of the Independence Day of Pakistan, three Sindh activists were gunned down in a fake encounter in Karachi. Many young Sindhi activists were also arrested from different districts of Sindh province and their whereabouts are unknown.

Below is an article published by the Asian Human Rights Commission:

– See more at: http://www.unpo.org/article/16319#sthash.MFlHM1Nh.0h5LNTEF.dpuf

Repeating Balochistan in Sindh

By Naseer Memon

The recent spate of violence in Sindh attained yet another traumatic dimension when the brutalised bodies of two young students were found in Dadu district. In a typical Balochistan-styled episode, both activists of a nationalist party, Amir Khahawar and Sajjad Markhand, were picked up in Larkano a few days ago and their tortured bodies were later found on the roadside.

National media, being too occupied with election mania, ignored the incident but the grisly news made rounds on Sindhi television channels. In a similar incident, another political activist, Muzaffar Bhutto, was found dead after a protracted disappearance and four other activists were killed near Sanghar in broad daylight.

The recent incidents triggered a wave of violence, protests and a paralysing strike in large parts of the province. Kidnapping and dumping lacerated and mutilated bodies of political activists turned Balochistan into a vortex of violence and now, the same mistake is being repeated in a relatively sedate province. Similar incidents snowballed a political conflict into a secessionist movement in Balochistan.

The province has been made an open cemetery of political workers and yet, the insurgency has refused to subside. Past insurgencies in Balochistan were mostly confined to a few tribes and their areas, but this time, ceaseless killings have propelled the insurgency and bestowed it with broader ownership of lower and middle class people. An inept policy of using gun power to handle political conflict has not only sullied the country’s image in the international community but fuelled a fire that has become difficult to douse.

A nationalist movement in Sindh started in the early 1970s when GM Syed initiated the Jeay Sindh movement in the aftermath of the debacle of Bangladesh. However, a discrete identity of this movement has been its peaceful demeanour in consonance with GM Syed’s philosophy of non-violence and peaceful coexistence. As a result of that, nationalist parties and splinter groups of Jeay Sindh, in spite of having serious political disagreements, never resorted to mass violence. On April 25, GM Syed’s death anniversary was observed where about half a dozen groups of the Jeay Sindh movement held separate parallel gatherings in Sann and no untoward incident was reported.

Continue reading Repeating Balochistan in Sindh

Violence in Kotri, Jamshoro after JSMM activists killed

By

HYDERABAD: Two people were killed while four others received bullet injuries as violence broke out in Kotri, Jamshoro district on Sunday evening.

The incident comes in the backdrop of the killing of two activists of the banned Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) in Khairpur Nathan Shah of Dadu district.

Their bullet riddled and mutilated bodies were found in Dadu earlier in the day. Two vehicles were torched and a train was attacked in the unfolding incidents of violence in Kotri.

JSMM has called for a province wide strike on Monday, according to a press release received through an email, to condemn the incident.

The PR blamed ISI and Rangers saying that they had picked up two activists who were busy in preparation of late GM Syed’s death anniversary on April 24. After going missing their bodies were found on Sunday in Khairpur Nathan Shah, it said.

Continue reading Violence in Kotri, Jamshoro after JSMM activists killed

Idle No More rallies held across Canada as movement grows

By: CTVNews.ca Staff

The national Idle No More movement showed no signs of slowing Friday as activists and protesters across Canada brought their call for protection of First Nations rights to the streets.

Peaceful gatherings took place in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Ottawa, Saskatoon,Toronto and Nova Scotia.

Manitoba First Nations groups rallied Friday morning at the Winnipeg International Airport, circling in cars, honking their horns and hoisting placards, one reading “Shame on you Canada.”

The group planned to join an Idle No More rally at the legislative building. A demonstration along Highway 102 in Truro, N.S. caused delays for about eight kilometres but was otherwise peaceful.

Hundreds also braved a snowstorm to march through the streets of Ottawa to denounce what they say is the systematic destruction of indigenous rights.

First Nations leaders say Ottawa’s policies toward First Nations are oppressive and they are concerned that federal government is preparing to siphon power from band councils.

Particularly concerning, activists say, is the recently passed Bill C-45, the omnibus budget bill that according to movement organizers will fasttrack the process for aboriginals to surrender their reserve lands. Organizers also protest the new law because it includes clauses they say will slash the number of federally protected waterways and jeopardize lands they rely on. First Nations groups say they were not sufficiently consulted on the legislation.

At a panel discussion Friday, Nova Scotia aboriginal activist Shelley Young said the government is ignoring the plight of the First Nations. She said the Idle No More movement has “spread like wildfire.”

“We’re not just speaking up for ourselves, we’re speaking up for the rest of Canada,” she said. “We know that our treaty rights protect the waters and waterways. We want to do something about it.”

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/idle-no-more-rallies-held-across-canada-as-movement-grows-1.1088765#ixzz2Fn5koC5O

 

Sindhi writers, intellectuals reject SPLGO 2012 – SAMA TV

KARACHI: Sindhi writers, poets, intellectuals, artists, civil society members, journalists and political activists staged a protest against Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO) 2012 outside Karachi Press Club on Saturday.

A large number of the writers gathered here and chanted slogans against the ordinance, rejecting the dual system in one province.

Sindh Assembly Members, PML-F leaders Nusrat Sahar and Marvi Rashdi also participated in the protest and said that the ordinance was illegal and exposed PPP of betraying Sindh and its people.

The participants included Agha Salim, Fehmida Riaz, Amar Sindhu, Arfana Malah, Jami Chandio, Aijaz Mangi, G.N.Muhgal, Zulfiqar Halepoto, Inam Sheikh and others. They said that the act was aimed to create a state within state in the province. Courtesy: SAMAA TV

http://samaa.tv/newsdetail.aspx?ID=54853&CID=1

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More details » BBC

5 Naked Femen Activists Arrested in London. Femen protested against Olympic committee

London Olympics 2012: Naked Femen Activists Arrested in Sharia Protests [VIDEO]

Participation of countries that apply Sharia law goes against Olympic principles of peace and philanthropy, say radical feminist

By Gianluca Mezzofiore

Five French members of the Femen radical feminist group have been arrested in London during a topless demonstration against the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The activists wore only knickers and ….

Read more » International Business Times

Separate the religion from the State – the Forum for Secular Pakistan (FSP) has been lanched in Sindh

FSP for a secular Pakistan

KARACHI: The Forum for Secular Pakistan (FSP) has been constituted by liberal progressive social activists and like-minded people to struggle for a secular Pakistan.

This was announced by FSP President Iqbal Haider at a press conference held at Karachi Press Club (KPC) here on Sunday.

Journalist Zubaida Mustafa, chief guest Sardar Sherbaz Khan Mazari, Vice President of forum Hasil Bizenjo, KPC President Tahir Hassan Khan and others were also present on the occasion.

Addressing the press conference, Iqbal Haider said that Pakistan’s critical situation was just because of us forgetting the principles laid down by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

He said that FSP was a national forum being supported by people throughout the country. Secular system in Pakistan can change the situation of the country, he said adding that people from Sindh, Punjab, Azad Kashmir and other areas are being encouraged to join the forum.

Haider said, “Non-Muslims also gave us an opportunity by joining the forum,” adding that Pakistan came into being on secular basis where all were supposed to have equal rights. Hasil Bizenjo said that time was ripe for the people to consider secular system seriously. He said that secularism was a part of various parties’ manifestoes in 1970s, but eliminated later on, giving rise to extremism. People, who termed secular system as Kufr, favour it in India, he said. He further added that they would try to promote secular system through the forum. Earlier, Haider read the declaration of the forum in which he also quoted speeches of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Courtesy: Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20126\18\story_18-6-2012_pg7_18

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 The laughing warrior

Sindh after the ‘Love for Sindh’ rally

By Haider Nizamani

The killing of Sindhi political activists in Karachi on May 22 by masked gunmen laid bare the fault lines that may define the future political landscape of Sindh. That the violence against peaceful demonstrators was not followed by attacks on Urdu speakers in various towns of Sindh shows the perpetrators of violence are still on the fringes.

Politicians issued customary condemnations and formed committees. Some spoke of creating a new province in Sindh, while others vowed never to let that happen. It needs a deeper understanding of the issue by Sindh’s politicians and intelligentsia to tone down the rhetoric that emphasizes differences between Sindhi and Urdu speakers.

Sindh can easily do without antics such as Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s statement that Nawaz Sharif is responsible for the killings carried out by trained snipers in Karachi. The allegation is a dangerous mix of political expediency, incompetence and insensitivity that neither helps us understand the dynamics of politics in Sindh nor instils confidence about the government’s ability to apprehend the real culprits behind the killings.

What happened in Karachi on May 22 indicates enduring features of the city’s politics, but this time it can have repercussions well beyond the metropolis. It was yet another proof of an increasing trend of instantaneously resorting to violence to make a political point.

The rally was called Mohabat-e-Sindh (Love for Sindh) and the participants were unarmed. The stated objective of the rally was opposing the demand for dividing Sindh on linguistic lines and expressing solidarity with the people of Lyari, Karachi’s predominantly Baloch locality. Groups that do not carry weapons are an easy target in Karachi’s violence-ridden political milieu. The message is loud and clear: get armed or get out. The space for nonviolent political expression is fast shrinking. In that way, the attacks on late Benazir Bhutto’s rally in October 2007 and the violence against the supporters of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry on May 12, 2007 were not very different from the May 22 Napier Road incident.

The level of political mistrust between Sindhi and Urdu speaking communities is also very high. Ignoring this reality by meaningless rhetorical statements of an imagined unity will not resolve the problem. What is required is a higher degree of political acumen to bring the two communities together because their fate is conjoined whether they like it or not.

Continue reading Sindh after the ‘Love for Sindh’ rally

BBC – How Gilani turned contempt case from catastrophe to triumph

By M Ilyas Khan, BBC News, Islamabad

Excerpts;

Slogans of triumph

….. For today’s hearing, the prime minister wore the Pakistani national dress — shalwar trousers, kameez shirt and shervani, a Nehru-collared black long coat.

Accompanied by his cabinet colleagues and allied party leaders, he drove up to the outer precincts of the Supreme Court building from where he walked to Courtroom No 4 where the trial was held.

He appeared in a relaxed mood as he waved to dozens of sympathisers who had gathered outside the court.

Within the court, after the guilty verdict had been read out to him, he completed his custodial term within the space of a single four-word sentence uttered three times over; “A submission, my lord.”

The rising bench paid him no heed.

Moments later, he walked out a free man, greeted by women activists of his PPP party with loud slogans of triumph.

So in a way, the high drama that surrounded the early stages of this trial ended in a whimper.

But did this come as a surprise?

For those who have kept an eye on the overall political, economic and security situation of the country, it didn’t really.

Scandal subsided

Over the past couple of years, a perception has been growing that the country’s top judiciary has been selective in its judgements, dealing harshly with the PPP leadership but being soft on the military and some opposition politicians.

The PPP, which has traditionally been mistrusted by the country’s powerful security establishment, bided its first three years in office lying low, trying to survive.

It decided to strike back in December when the memo scandal broke out.

This revolved around a controversial memo which a former Pakistani ambassador to the US was accused of having initiated, allegedly at the behest of President Asif Zardari, to invite US intervention to prevent a possible military coup.

When the Supreme Court took up the case, questions were raised over the role the military had played in bringing that scandal to the fore.

Subsequently, Prime Minister Gilani, in unprecedented remarks in late December, told the parliament that while the civilian government had stood side by side with the military in difficult times, “they (the military) can’t be a state within the state“.

Given the PPP’s potential to ignite protests across large parts of the country, the army apparently backed down, allowing the memo scandal to subside.

The contempt of court case against Mr Gilani appears to have met the same fate.

It came at the height of the PPP’s tension with the military and the judiciary.

It was centred on an earlier judgment of the court that asked the government to write a letter to the Swiss government to re-open a corruption case against President Zardari which had been closed.

The prime minister was charged with contempt for failing to write that letter.

Prolonged trial

As the memo case went on the backburner, the contempt case also began to lose steam.

From the early expectations of a quick and harsh judgment, the case eased into a prolonged trial that has stretched over three months.

Many believe that through its order today, the court has tried to put an end to an increasingly difficult situation and has left the matter of Mr Gilani’s disqualification to others, whoever they might be – the parliament, the media, the political opposition.

Continue reading BBC – How Gilani turned contempt case from catastrophe to triumph

Brahamdagh : No talks with government, We welcome if US, NATO or India intervene, says BRP chief

Baloch Republican Party chief Brahamdagh Bugti living in exile claimed Wednesday Baloch movement did not enjoy any foreign support, saying but they would welcome it, be it from the US, NATO or the India.

‘We know foreign powers have their own interests; we think of our own greater interests”, he said in a telephonic press conference at Quetta Press Club.

Mr. Bugti said Baloch women, leaders, activists, students, writers, poets, and intellectuals were being picked up and eventually being disappeared and eventually turning up dead. Under such circumstances, we would welcome the support of foreign countries for independence, he said.

Bugti backed the US resolution on Balochistan and justified it was not against the sovereignty of Pakistan as every country possessed right to intervene in another country’s affairs if that state was involved in human rights violations ….

Read more » The Point

More details » BBC urdu

Tyranny and Terror Cannot Last for Long…….!

By: Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Malaysia

Today, we, the world over, are witnessing the end of this deep state. It is speeding fast towards being buried in the manhole of the history.

Tyranny and terror cannot last for long! All walls of despotism must fall! Balochistan has paid a severe and terrible price to free themselves from the mean fetters of ignominy chains of slavery. Thousands of valiant sons and daughters of Balochistan has lost their lives in the struggle of the  rights. Long live Sindh and Balochistan and down to the dictators of the deep state.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, February 20, 2012.

The statement of the Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians: ‘Winds of Change? Balochistan and US-Pak Relations’

On Nov 16, 2011 and Jan 13 this year respectively, State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner, and chief spokesperson Victoria Nuland, expressed U.S. concern about the human rights situation in Balochistan. On Feb. 8 Congressman Brad Sherman spoke at a subcommittee of Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives of the marginalization of the Baloch and Sindhi (speaking people) and the disappearances, torture and killing of their activists by Pakistan’s security forces.

Sherman went to say that the Baloch and Sindhis, being secular and moderate-minded, shared American values and that the US should reach out to them. Feb 18 saw the introduction of a resolution in the House stating that the people of Balochistan, currently divided between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have the right to self-determination and their own sovereign country and should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status.

A fuller argument openly calling for support of the separation of Balochistan from Pakistan because the latter was acting against American and western interests, appeared in the Globe and Mail – a key mouthpiece of big capital and imperialism in Canada – in an op-ed piece on Dec 21, 2011, titled ‘Solve the Pakistan problem by redrawing the map’ by Chris Mason, a retired US diplomat now at the Center for Advanced Defence Studies in Washington.

Without a doubt the Sindhi people have suffered grievous injustices in Pakistan. Many times greater has been the pain inflicted by the state on Balochistan which, in addition to severe cultural, economic and political deprivation, has been on the receiving end of almost half-a-dozen prolonged and brutal military attacks which began in 1948 and continue to this day. Frustrated and angry beyond measure – and justifiably so – at their appalling treatment by the Pakistani state, the above developments in the U.S. have been widely welcomed by the Baloch.

Continue reading The statement of the Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians: ‘Winds of Change? Balochistan and US-Pak Relations’

Pakistan’s army should go back to the barracks

By Najam Sethi

The Pakistan army’s vaulting mission to remain the most powerful actor in Pakistani politics has received irreparable setbacks in the last few years.

On the one hand, this is due to the onset of several new factors in the body politic determining the direction of political change in the future.

On the other, it reflects poorly on the ability and willingness of the army’s leadership to understand the far-reaching nature of this change and adapt to it seamlessly.

Pakistan’s future as a viable nation-state now depends on how the generals read the writing on the wall and quickly come to terms with it. Here is a checklist of recent failures that have downgraded the Pak army’s rating with Pakistanis.

(1) The army’s policy of nurturing anti- Americanism in Pakistan for leveraging its strategic relationship with the US has backfired and left it stranded in no-man’s land. It can’t let go of the US privately for purposes of economic rent and military aid extraction but it can’t embrace it publicly because of the rampant ‘Ghairat’ brigade of extremist Islamic nationalists that it has brainwashed.

(2) The army’s policy of nurturing the Afghan Taliban in private while appeasing the Pakistan Taliban in public has also backfired.

The Afghan Taliban are now negotiating directly with America while the Pakistan Taliban are waging an ‘existential’ war against the Pak army and civil society. PAK army’s relationship with the government, opposition, and media is at an all-time low.

The government has meekly folded before the army on every issue; but the army’s arrogant, intrusive and relentlessly anti government propaganda and behaviour is deeply resented.

The media is also wiser and critical about its manipulation by the army and ISI viz its Drone policy, the Raymond Davis affair and Memogate.

Question marks remain over its incompetence or complicity in the OBL affair, especially following recent revelations by former DG-ISI Ziauddin Butt that General Pervez Musharraf ‘hid’ Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad.

The murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad, followed by running threats to a clutch of independent journalists, is laid at the ISI’s door.

The ease with which terrorists have breached military security, as in the attacks on GHQ, ISI offices, military Messes, Mehran Naval Base, etc also rankle deeply.

Finally, the media is now speaking up and asking disturbing questions about the role of MI in the disappearances and torture of Baloch activists. Consequently, the media is loath to blindly follow the army’s ‘line’ on any issue any more. The PMLN, meanwhile, has gone the whole hog, openly demanding that the intrusion of the military in politics must be curtailed and the army’s overweening power cut to size.

If its ratings are falling, the army’s ability to manipulate politics to its ends is also diminishing. In the old days, the army chief was the most powerful member of the ruling troika that included the president and prime minister. Now the office of the president has lost its clout and there are two new and powerful contenders for say.

The first is the judiciary under Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry that has unprecedentedly pushed politicians into a corner for corrupt practices and the military on the defensive for being unaccountable (the Mehrangate affair of 1990, disappearances and murder of Baloch and Taliban extremists in captivity).

The second is the electronic media that is reaching tens of millions of Pakistanis and courageously raising their consciousness. Neither will countenance any direct or indirect military intervention in politics. Recently, in a bid to salvage some wounded pride, the army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, said that defense expenditure is a mere 18 per cent of the budget and not over 50 per cent as alleged by critics like Maulana Fazlur Rahman. But the truth is that defense expenditure is about 25 per cent of the budget after hidden ‘defense’ items in government expenditures like the military’s salaries and pensions, special project allocations, etc are unveiled and supplementary grants in any budgetary year are accounted for.

More to the point, it is about 50 per cent of all tax revenues in any year, which puts a big burden on the fiscal deficit. Gen Kayani also insists that the army is not involved in quelling unrest in Balochistan. But the fact remains that the Rangers and Frontier Corps who are in charge of ‘law and order’ in the province are directly commanded by army officers who report to GHQ even though they are formally under the interior ministry.

Continue reading Pakistan’s army should go back to the barracks

We salute our sisters of Sindhyani Tehreek. – By: Kalavanti Raja

A successful shutter down strike observed by Sindh Nationalists Parties, the call was given by an alliance of Sindh nationalist parties, ‘Sindh Bachayo Committee (SBC), against the 20th Constitutional Amendment draft bill which was tabled in the National (Federal) Assembly by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

In Hyderabad, the workers of Sindh Bachayo Committee took out a rally from Hyder Chowk to SP Chowk, during that the protesters clashed with the police and the same situation was occurred in Karachi when a crowd of  ethnic elements (gundas) on Motor cycles  tried to stop the marching Sindhiyani Tahreek activists on M.A. Jinnah road but the brave Sindhiyani Tahreek workers handled the situation … Two women activists injured.  In other parts of Sindh nearly 117 workers were detained in the crackdown operation against Sindh nationalist parties by the police.

Received via email.

Treason? Under what Constitution?

By Mahmood Adeel

Asma Jahangir’s resignation as Husain Haqqani’s lawyer in the memo case surprised quite a few people. She had originally taken the case as a matter of principle based in her experience as a respected human rights lawyer. She reviewed the facts of the case, looked at the way it was proceeding, and immediately became concerned about the precedent that was being set. From the beginning until the end, she said her concern was not specific to her client but to the greater principles of constitutional law. Ironically, what has not been discussed much in the endless analysis of the memo case are not the facts – who was involved, who knew what and when did they know it – but the principles of the case.

Please allow me to clear up one apparent misconception about this case: There has been no proven evidence of anyone’s involvement except for three people, all Americans: Mansoor Ijaz, Gen Jim Jones and Adm Mike Mullen. That is supposedly why the Supreme Court has set up a commission – to investigate for evidence. If the evidence was already proven, there would not be need for an inquiry commission, would there? But let us assume for the sake of this post that some genie will present to the court fool proof evidence that someone from the federal government was involved in the memo. Many people are suggesting that it constitutes treason under Article 6. Is this true?

According to Article 6 of the Constitution of Pakistan, “Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.”

Continue reading Treason? Under what Constitution?

Shocking: Unconscious girl brutally beaten by Egypt military

The blog-o-sphere is boiling at the cruel beating of a female protester by Egyptian military police, who continued battling protesters in Tahrir Square on Sunday. The clashes, into their third day now, have left 10 people dead and hundreds injured. ­The video uploaded on YouTube Sunday reveals the extreme cruelty of the country’s law enforcers during the crackdown. The army soldiers in full riot gear have been savagely beating a seemingly unconscious female protester with big sticks, kicking her and stomping on her chest. Security forces lashed out ruthlessly on armless civilians and burned down tents that had been put up by activists outside the parliament building to camp in protest against the military rule. The internet community therefore questions the methods of the military regime who took over power after the ousting of the ex-President Hosni Mubarak in February.

» YouTube

 

An appeal to International Community – “We want to attend universities, not funerals” – Young Women of Balochistan

Below please see a letter from Young Women of Balochistan, forwarded by a friend who received it via email on Dec 10, 2011, Human Rights Day – a day commemorated around the country and dedicated to the people of Balochistan by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (See this report by Rabia Ali). Ironically and tragically, that very day, a young Baloch human rights activist, 35-year old Faisal Mengal, was gunned down in Karachi (details in this report). As Rabia Ali reports, from July 2010 to November 2011, around 300 dead bodies were found — some even of 14-year-olds, according to Tahir Hussain, Vice Chairperson of the HRCP’s Balochistan chapter. Those killed include two HRCP activists, while the number of people missing range from 5,000 to 6,000.  Read on for this brief appeal by the Young Women of Balochistan…

We are young women from Balochistan, belonging to Quetta, Pishin, Mastung, Khuzdaar, Lasbella, Sibi, and Qila Saifullah.

On International Human Rights day, we want to send forward our message.

Each of us has horror stories; each of us has lived through nightmares. We want to tell you our fears.

We want to tell you that we no longer sleep at night. Because we fear the midnight knock. We don’t sleep in the day either, because when men we love go out, we don’t know if they will ever come back or not.

We want to tell you that when our loved ones ‘disappear’, we don’t know what to pray for – whether we should pray for them to come back broken, tortured and maimed, or whether to pray for their quick and painless death. We know unharmed return is not a possibility.

We fear that our daily battles for dignity within our homes and communities will be lost; that our fight for equality and progress will vanish in our fight for survival as an ethnic group.

We fear our own blindness.

We fear the Frontier Constabulary, the army, the state, and the ‘unknown assailants’ that all FIRs record. We have now started to fear ourselves. We fear that years later, when others tell us ‘We didn’t know what was happening in Balochistan’, we will not be able to accept that.

We fear we will lose our capacity to forgive.

We need you to help us fight our fears.

We ask you to help us fight for our future. A future in which the FC and the army does not rule over our lives and deaths.

We want to attend universities, not funerals.

From: Young Women of Balochistan

Courtesy » Journeys To Democracy

http://beenasarwar.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/we-want-to-attend-universities-not-funerals-young-women-of-balochistan/

Occupy protesters prepare for day of ‘solidarity’ across US

Series of events planned to support evicted Zuccotti Park activists by highlighting growing inequality and need for jobs

by Paul Harris in New York

Supporters of the Occupy movement are gearing up for a national day of protest and direct action across America, taking in dozens of events from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles.

Thursday has been declared a day of “solidarity” with the Occupy Wall Street activists in New York after their camp in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park was raided and dismantled by police. But it is also aimed at highlighting several of the movement’s broader aims in terms of income inequality and a desperate need for job creation in America’s floundering economy. …

Read more » guardian.co.uk

Occupy Islamabad!

For decades, we have heard, and chanted, slogans against the evils of capitalism. We have witnessed the monopolization of multinational corporates and intensifying ratio of starvation, growing side by side. We have seen so many wars, imposed in the name of peace. We have heard enough lies about the people’s struggle and their achievements of the past. We have watched the world transforming into a global village of miseries, poverty, bloodshed, hunger and oppression. Now, the masses, all over the world, seem to realize the root cause of all the miseries: exploitation of man’s labour by man. Capitalism is failing. The world is changing!

It is a historical moment for us. The advocates of free-market economy are shaken by the series of protests that, starting from the New York City, have captured the hundreds of cities all over the world. These protests represent the awakening class-consciousness of the masses that has culminated in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. These occupy activists have gathered to change the existing economic inequality of the system. They have always been taught that Marx was wrong in his critique of capitalism. They have realized the empirical evidence of the opposite.

Karl Marx, in the 19th century, had explained the inevitable presence of exploitation as an essential ingredient of capitalism. The German social scientist had proved that, in any society, the exploitation takes place when a few people own all the means of production and the majority, who doesn’t own anything, is bound to sell its labour to that minor class which accumulates private property. While, the state functions to protect that unequal distribution of wealth, assuring the widening class-differences.

The NY Post has referred the Occupy Movement as the New York’s ‘Marxist Epicenter’. It has countered the myth, propagated by the media, that the occupy activists are a breed of bored, hippie-like folks who are doing some adventurism to seek attention. According to their report, the flags depicting revolutionary icons can be seen everywhere, showing their ideological commitment. Moreover, the ‘occupiers’ openly refer to each other as ‘comrade’, a term used by the left-wing worldwide, meaning ‘friend’ or ‘ally’. Their literature openly declares Socialism as a cure of all the prevailing problems.

At this historical moment, the Pakistan’s left is reorganizing like their counterparts of the West. We have a long history of youth’s struggle against the dark military regimes. From the Democratic Students Federation’s front ‘Red Guards’ to the Lawyer’s movement, our young activists have always stood for the people’s cause. Continuing their legacy of internationalism, Pakistan’s left parties have decided to start anti-capitalist camps, initiating from Lahore, not only for the solidarity for the Occupy Wall Street movement, but also as a continuous struggle to change our indigenous problems. We need to realize the importance of this revolutionary wave. We need to be in the flow. For how long the people will continue to suffer and dream for a better society? The time has come to make those dreams an existing reality. The time has come to reject all the confused liberators. The time has come to chant, ‘Occupy Islamabad!’

But, unfortunately, the state is not the only thing to occupy, in our case. We are aware that Pakistan suffers from multiple complex issues. We don’t only have the corrupt feudal political families and their huge palaces to occupy; we have millions of minds to occupy which are burning in the flames of religious fanaticism. We have to occupy the rising sectarian mindset of the people. We have to occupy the religious rage to assure peaceful coexistence of everyone. We have to occupy the narcissistic prism and replace it with rationality and realism. We have to occupy the filth of the society and the filth within. And we, the people, can do that! We can do that because we are the 99 percent!

Courtesy» The Express Tribune

Protest rally held against the human rights violations in Balochistan at the 18th session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

– PRESS RELEASE: A peaceful demonstration was held at the 18th session of the UN Human Rights Council by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) and the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC), on Thursday 15 September 2011 in Geneva , Plais des Nations ‘ Broken Chair Square’ to protest against the increasing number of human rights violations in Balochistan.

The demonstration was aimed to raise awareness of alarming number of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detentions that have been reported by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Human Rights commission of Pakistan and prompt the international community to act. Baloch delegates from London, Europe and Scandinavia and other human rights activists took part in the event.

A parallel event took place entitled ‘Climate of Fear: Enforced Disappearances, Extrajudicial Killings & Arbitrary Detention in Balochistan’ between 12 to 2 pm at Plais des Nations in Room 23.

An open letter to General Pasha – by Ejaz Haider

Dear General Pasha,

I write this letter to you in the wake of the gruesome and gratuitous murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad, friend to many, including myself.

The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate, the agency you head, is being accused of Saleem’s murder. You must also know that the ISI is widely reviled and dreaded at home. For an agency that was set up primarily for strategic intelligence, this is quite an achievement. It is accused of driving in its own lane, monitoring the media, kidnapping, torturing and sometimes killing dissenters, political and otherwise, determining, arbitrarily, what Pakistan’s national interest is and how best we should go about pursuing it.

You must also know that some former officers have not only admitted to electoral fraud, rigging, making and breaking of political alliances, buying people through a mix of carrots and sticks, and browbeating the media, but consider having done so as part of their remit and in the best national interest. Perish the thought that any one of them would say peccavi, since some actually boast about it.

Whispers there always have been. But now much is being said aloud. The ISI is not accountable to anyone; it is all-powerful; it can kill mercilessly and, in this case, it has killed Saleem, so go these whispers. What would you say to this? Shrug and move on, as if it makes no difference, that this is about a few flies buzzing around, a minor nuisance at worst? The man, who now lies buried after being tortured to death, leaves behind three children and a wife. To me this does not look like anything minor.

And what has the agency you head done so far? ….

Read more: The Express Tribune

Killings of teachers, activists unacceptable: HRCP

By HRCP

Lahore, June 3: The target killing of teachers and political activists in Balochistan is outrageous and utterly unacceptable, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said on Friday, calling upon the government to make a greater effort to stop the killings than it had so far.

A statement issued by HRCP said: “In circumstances that are both tragic and familiar, unidentified armed motorcyclists have killed another teacher, Saba Dashtiari, in Quetta, and another political activist, Nasim Jangiyan, in Turbat. The police have promptly classified Dashtiari’s assassination as target killing and stated that Jangiyan could also have been a victim of target killing. This is not the first time that teachers and political activists have been killed in this manner in Balochitsan and, unless extraordinary measures are taken, it would not be the last. The people may be excused for thinking that the security agencies’ job is merely categorising murders. Why is it that after so many murders the state is no closer to nabbing the culprits? It is utterly unacceptable that despite heavy deployment of security personnel the killers of the people enjoy impunity and strike at will. If there was a strategy in place to stop these killings then that clearly has not worked and must be reviewed. HRCP demands every possible measure must be taken to prevent this bloodletting. Also every single incident of unlawful killing and violence targeting teachers and political activists in Balochistan must be investigated with the priority and importance that the government is required to attach to human life. The situation also demands serious measures to address the glut of weapons across the country, particularly in Balochistan.”

Zohra Yusuf

Chairperson

US Aid is being used to Kill Secular Balochs and Sindhis in Pakistan

– ‘US Aid is being used to Kill Secular Balochs and Sindhis in Pakistan’. Protesters Gathered in Front of Pakistan Consulate in Houston

Report by: Sikander Baloch

HOUSTON, MAY 27, 2011: Several dozens of Americans of Sindhi and Baloch origin gathered on Friday to protest in front of the Pakistan consul-general in Houston condemning …., Islamabad’s support to terrorist outfits and state terrorism against people of Balochistan and Sindh. The peaceful but vocal protest was held on Jones Road in front of the Pakistan Consulate in Houston.

Continue reading US Aid is being used to Kill Secular Balochs and Sindhis in Pakistan

Syria unrest: ‘Bloodiest day’ as troops fire on rallies

At least 72 protesters have been killed by security forces in Syria, rights groups say – the highest reported death toll in five weeks of unrest there.

Demonstrators were shot, witnesses say, as thousands rallied across the country, a day after a decades-long state of emergency was lifted.

Many deaths reportedly occurred in a village near Deraa in the south, and in a suburb of the capital, Damascus.

The US White House urged the government to stop attacking demonstrators.

Spokesman Jay Carney said it should “cease and desist in the use of violence against protesters” and follow through on promised reforms.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was “extremely concerned” by reports of deaths and casualties across Syria and urged restraint on the country’s authorities.

“Political reforms should be brought forward and implemented without delay,” he said. “The Emergency Law should be lifted in practice, not just in word.”

Live ammunition

Protesters – said to number tens of thousands – chanted for the overthrow of the regime, Reuters news agency reports.

Video images coming out of Syria show footage of many confrontations where live ammunition was used.

President Bashar al-Assad’s lifting of the emergency had been seen as a concession to the protesters.

In their first joint statement since the protests broke out, activists co-ordinating the mass demonstrations demanded the establishment of a democratic political system.

Political unrest in Syria developed after revolts elsewhere in the Arab world, which saw the downfall of the Tunisian and Egyptian presidents and an ongoing civil war in Libya.

At least 260 people are said to have died since it began last month.

‘Rain of bullets’ …

Read more : BBC

Sindh: New Disappearances Cause International Concern

The Asian Human Rights Commission has launched a campaign on Sindh after the latest news of further disappearances of political campaigners, the use of torture to extract information and confessions, and anti-terrorism charges levelled against activists.

Below is an appeal published by the Asian Human Rights Commission:

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that four activists of a nationalist political group were abducted from a crowded part of Karachi city by the police and plain clothed persons in police and military jeeps when they were ending their six day hunger strike in protest against the second disappearance of their leader who has been missing since 25 February 2011 after his arrest by persons from Army, Rangers and police. The parents of the disappeared person, in an application to different authorities, accuse Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and military intelligence (MI) for the kidnap and disappearance.  …

Read more : UNPO

Let peace win at Mohali

By Shahid Nadeem

Pakistani cricket fans are on their way to Chandigarh to cheer their team in the mother of all matches taking place at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium in Mohali.

Among them are Pakistani peace activists who will be joined by their Indian counterparts to promote peace. Pakistani cricket fans would have crossed the border without obtaining no objection certificates from Rehman Malik and by passing the Indian government’s newly introduced stringent visa policy. While stepping over the imaginary border line, they will surely notice the well-built, tough-looking border security jawans from both sides, who behind their thick, oiled moustaches, may be hiding their desire to join the cricket caravan. Back home, people will be taking half day off, even if the government doesn’t announce it. The tyre-burning mobs may suspend their ‘noble’ campaign and Karachi’s target-killers may give themselves a much-needed break for the day. Cricketing hero-turned-playboy-turned-The Avenger, has already instructed his Tehrik-i-Dharna brigade to schedule the anti-Nato sit-in well after the World Cup final. …

via – Siasat.pk – Read more : The Express Tribune

Rally in Hyderabad against the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti

Sindh – Hyderabad : A large number of concerned citizens, civil society activists, lawyers, peace and human rights activists, writers, thinkers, academics and workers of political parties and think tanks gathered on March 3rd, 2011 for a public protest marches in Hyderabad to condemn the brutal murder of Shahbaz Bhatti.

They were raising slogans against fundamentalism, religious, ethnic and communal hatred and extremism and called upon the government to ensure writ of the state, rule of the law and constitutionalism in Pakistan.

Rally was jointly organised by Movement for Peace and Tolerance (MPT) and Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC)

 

Unfit for Democracy? – NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

Is the Arab world unready for freedom? A crude stereotype lingers that some people — Arabs, Chinese and Africans — are incompatible with democracy. Many around the world fret that “people power” will likely result in Somalia-style chaos, Iraq-style civil war or Iran-style oppression.

That narrative has been nourished by Westerners and, more sadly, by some Arab, Chinese and African leaders. So with much of the Middle East in an uproar today, let’s tackle a politically incorrect question head-on: Are Arabs too politically immature to handle democracy?

This concern is the subtext for much anxiety today, from Washington to Riyadh. And there’s no question that there are perils: the overthrow of the shah in Iran, of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, of Tito in Yugoslavia, all led to new oppression and bloodshed. Congolese celebrated the eviction of their longtime dictator in 1997, but the civil war since has been the most lethal conflict since World War II. If Libya becomes another Congo, if Bahrain becomes an Iranian satellite, if Egypt becomes controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood — well, in those circumstances ordinary citizens might end up pining for former oppressors.

“Before the revolution, we were slaves, and now we are the slaves of former slaves,” Lu Xun, the great Chinese writer, declared after the toppling of the Qing dynasty. Is that the future of the Middle East?

I don’t think so. Moreover, this line of thinking seems to me insulting to the unfree world. In Egypt and Bahrain in recent weeks, I’ve been humbled by the lionhearted men and women I’ve seen defying tear gas or bullets for freedom that we take for granted. How can we say that these people are unready for a democracy that they are prepared to die for?

We Americans spout bromides about freedom. Democracy campaigners in the Middle East have been enduring unimaginable tortures as the price of their struggle — at the hands of dictators who are our allies — yet they persist. In Bahrain, former political prisoners have said that their wives were taken into the jail in front of them. And then the men were told that unless they confessed, their wives would promptly be raped. That, or more conventional tortures, usually elicited temporary confessions, yet for years or decades those activists persisted in struggling for democracy. And we ask if they’re mature enough to handle it?

Read more : Wichaar

Sindhis Start Peace and Tolerance Movement in Pakistan

A broader meeting of political parties and civil society activists from across Sindh held in Hyderabad, which after a detailed discussion over the peace and interfaith harmony and tolerance issues in Sindh as well as in the country took following consensus decisions:

– Formed Movement for Peace & Tolerance (Aman Rawadari Tahreek) initially by 51 representatives of political parties and civil society activists, which selected 15 members Coordination Committee.

– The proposal of Peace Long March was approved by the participants, however, it was consensually agreed that civil society and political parties activists from Punjab and Islamabad should be taken in the loop; and if they support in facilitation and organization of the initiative in the Punjab and Islamabad, it should be carried from Karachi to Islamabad, otherwise the march should be carried from Karachi to the shrines of Sachal Sarmast in Khairpur district or Bhagat Kanwar Ram in Ghotki district.

– District level rallies, marches and Seminars / Jalsas should be organized in Sindh, – Meetings should be organized in Sukkur and Karachi for above proposals, – Meetings should be held with political parties, trade unions, students, intellectuals and academia.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists, Sun, February 13, 2011