Tag Archives: Assembly

Punjab Assembly approves resolution to make Guru Nanak’s birthday a public holiday

By Abdul Manan

LAHORE: Sardar Ramesh Singh, the first Sikh member of the Punjab Assembly, tabled a resolution requesting that the birthday of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, be made a public holiday.

Ramesh Singh is a member of Pakistan Muslim League — Nawaz (PML-N) and the resolution was approved in the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday.

The passing of the resolution comes just a few days after members of the Sikh community stormed through the gates of Parliament House to protest …

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/714317/punjab-assembly-approves-resolution-to-make-guru-nanaks-birthday-a-public-holiday/

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Pakistan: Sikh MPA takes oath

Stand out parliamentarians: First Sikh MPA since partition takes oath

By Ali Usman

LAHORE: Saturday marked a historic milestone for the Sikh community in the province. A Sikh representative, for the first time since 1947, took oath as a member of the provincial assembly in Punjab at its first session.

He was nominated on a seat reserved for minorities on a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ticket.

Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora walked into the assembly hall wearing a traditional white shalwar kamees and an orange turban. Several parliamentarians and assembly officials shook hands with him and welcomed him. Several of his family and friends were there to support him as well.

“As the first Sikh to have taken oath as a parliamentarian in the Punjab Assembly since 1947, I am absolutely delighted to be part of this august house. The position certainly comes with a lot of responsibility. I will not only be representing my own community but all the minorities in the province,” Arora told The Express Tribune after taking the oath.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/557678/stand-out-parliamentarians-first-sikh-mpa-since-partition-takes-oath/

Pakistan Elections 2013: The view from afar

by Omar Ali

If all goes well, Pakistanis will go to the polls on May 11th to elect a new national assembly and all 4 provincial assemblies.  The Pakistan People’s Party was the largest party in the outgoing parliament and under the guidance of President Asif Ali Zardari, successfully held together a disparate coalition regime in the face of multiple challenges to complete its 5 year term of office. Unfortunately, that huge achievement is almost their only major achievement in office. While things were not as absolutely abysmal as portrayed by Pakistan’s anti-PPP middle class (rural areas, for example, are better off economically than they have ever been), they are pretty awful.  Chronic electricity shortages (inherited from Musharraf’s Potemkin regime, but still not fixed), galloping inflation, widespread corruption and endless terrorism have tried the patience of even the most devoted PPP supporters and make it difficult for the PPP to run on their record. There are a few bright spots (including a relatively well run welfare scheme called the Benazir income support program) and with Zardari deploying his coalition building magic, it is not a good idea to completely rule them out.  Still, they are clearly not the favorites in the coming elections. The middle class excitement (especially in Punjab and KP) is all about Imran Khan, while more serious pundits seem to be betting on Nawaz Sharif and his PMLN. Being out of the country, I have little direct knowledge of what retail politics looks like on the ground; but there is such a thing as a long-distance view and I am going to take that view and try and make some predictions. We will know in 3 weeks how out of touch I really am.

If you do want to look up what is happening on the ground in detail there are several excellent sources available, for example:  Saba Imtiaz’s election watch, the Dawn newspaper’s election page (including an interesting motor cycle diary from Tahir Mehdi as he motors across Pakistan), an election page from journalist and public intellectual Raza Rumiand last but not the least, the wonderful young team at fiverupees.com, who don’t have a lot of coverage yet, but do have writers who prefer carefully checked facts and data to mere opinion.

Committee agrees on Najam Sethi as Punjab caretaker CM

LAHORE: The parliamentary committee of the Punjab Assembly has agreed on veteran journalist Najam Sethi as the caretaker chief minister of Punjab province, committee head Rana Sanaullah announced Tuesday.

“We have selected Najam Sethi, an opposition candidate, for the post of caretaker chief minister of Punjab,” Sanaullah, told reporters in Lahore.

Sethi has earlier served as a federal minister in the caretaker set-up led by Malik Meraj Khalid in 1996.

Continue reading Committee agrees on Najam Sethi as Punjab caretaker CM

Human-chain from Karachi Press Club to Sindh Assembly Building to protest discriminatory, dual, black and apartheid SPLGA-2012.

Sindhi Adabi Sangat and Sindh Writers and Thinkers Forum jointly organized a human chain from Karachi Press Club to Sindh Assembly Building on Sunday to protest against passage of Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO) 2012. A large number of writers, poets, journalists, civil society activists and politicians took part in making the human chain. Amid tight security by police around the Sindh Assembly building the participants also comprised of women and children who were restricted at the Arts Council round-about, where they gathered and the leaders addressed to the participants. The police had closed down the gates along the road leading towards Sindh Secretariat and Sindh Assembly. Dr. Mushtaq Phul, General Secretary of Sindhi Adabi Sangat, noted writers and authors Agha Saleem, Irshad Memon, Noor Ahmed Memon, Inam Shaikh, Ishtiaq Ansari, Gul Hassan Kalmati, Qabool Abro, Manzoor Solangi, Murtaza Sial, veteran Sindhi poets Akash Ansari, Hidayat Baloch, authors journalist Dastagir Bhatti and G. N. Mughal, Hamsafar Gadahi politicians Ismail Rahu, Ali Hassan Chandio, Shafi Mohammad Jamote, civil society activists Prof. Mushtaq Mirani, Muzaffar Chandio and Zulfiqar Halepoto were the prominent among the participants of the human chain.

Supreme Court of Pakistan admits petition challenging Sindh local govt law for hearing

ISLAMABAD: A petition challenging the Sindh People’s Local Government Act 2012 was filed in the Supreme Court on Friday, DawnNews reported.

The apex court admitted the petition, filed by Barrister Zameer Ghumro, for hearing on Nov 8.

Ghumro stated in the petition that the Sindh Assembly had violated the Constitution by passing the local government bill.

He also stated in the petition that the Sindh government had transferred executive powers to metropolitan corporations without having the power to do so.

The apex court admitted the petition for hearing and issued notices to Attorney General Irfan Qadir and Advocate-General Sindh Abdul Fateh Malik, for the hearing on Nov 8.

Previously, the passing of the Sindh People’s Local Government Act 2012 had received relentless resistance from the main opposition parties in the Sindh Assembly, as well the nationalist parties in Sindh.

Continue reading Supreme Court of Pakistan admits petition challenging Sindh local govt law for hearing

Call to elect Dalits representation in parliament

Call to elect scheduled caste people

UMERKOT, Oct 13: Representatives of minorities and civil society have called for giving scheduled caste people representation in parliament and putting in place an inexpensive election system to ensure election of honest persons, good governance and religious harmony in the country.

They were speaking at a consultative workshop organised by the Forum for Human Rights Pakistan in collaboration with the Centre for Peace and Development here on Saturday.

Mirchand Sahjani and Popat Kolhi of the Bheel Intellectual Forum said that members of minority communities had no representation in the assembly and those who were elected to reserved seats for minorities had no interest in resolving people’s problems because the seats were sold to the highest bidders. They did not feel themselves answerable to people because they did not have any constituency or the electorate, they said.

HANDS activists Bansi Malhi and Sawai Malhi denied discrimination of non-Muslims by Muslims but said the country’s constitution was discriminatory towards minorities as it did not allow any non-Muslim to become president, prime minister and Chief of Army Staff.

Hindus and Muslims lived in perfect harmony in Umerkot and Tharparkar, Sindh and they attended one another’s weddings and religious festivals. In fact, upper-caste Hindus looked down upon scheduled caste Hindus and poor Muslims, they said.

Continue reading Call to elect Dalits representation in parliament

(SPLGO) 2012 is an apartheid act passed without due process

By: Khalid Hashmani, USA

My view we diaspora Sindhis should let everyone in Sindh, Pakistan, and rest of world know that (SPLGO) 2012 is an illegal act passed without due process and that it denies historic rights of Sindhis. For the time being, we should play a crucial role in creating awareness about this ill-conceived scheme among the following two groups:

1. Tell the heart-less PPP Assembly members that their action is a serious blunder which will hurt coming generations of people who live in Sindh and that they must go back to the Sindh Assembly and vote to withdraw this foolish regulation. We must make it clear to them that if they do not that as soon as possible, Sindhis will neither forget nor forgive them for this act of betrayal.

2. Create awareness in the general public of Sindh that (SPLGO) 2012 law undermines Sindh and will divide various ethnic people living in Sindh and keep rural Sindh under the shackles of poverty and dominance by urban and rural waderas/feudals. If PPP does not move fast to dismantle (SPLGO) 2012 immediately, we should play our role in encouraging them to vote for any one but PPP.

In doing so we must not align ourselves with any political party or a grouping of political parties. Our (SANA) actions should be transparent and inclusive and any appearance of supporting any faction must be avoided at all costs.

There are several actions that we can take but in the immediate future – for one we should call and write to PPP members to take immediate action to dismantle the ill-conceived action they took. We should also call other political and NGO leaders, writers, poets, teachers, student leaders, social writers, intellectuals, professors and other leading persons in Sindh and urge them to start and strengthen the movement to have one uniform system of local bodies in Sindh and restore equal rights for everyone who lives in Sindh.

I believe the above simple but focused actions will take enough of our time and encourage people of Sindh to rise on this critical occasion to force immediate annulment of (SPLGO) 2012.

Why is this revenge imposed on poor people of Sindh who elected those who said that the democracy is the best revenge?

By: Khalid Hashmani

The article of Mehtab Akber Rashdi, in Sindhi daily Awamiawaz, published on Oct. 08, 2012 definitely explains the pain and frustration being felt by Sindhis all over the world. The following are some of the key points from her article for those who cannot read Sindhi:

1. The ordinance in its final form came out of the Sindh Governor House in the late hours of the night of October 1st with only one day’s notice, the assembly of Sindh passed it within minutes and imposed on the people of Sindh.

2. Some had long suspected that the incompetent leadership of PPP would barter away something big to prolong their rule. But, nothing of this proportion and so harmful to Sindh was ever expected.

3. Indeed, generations of Sindhis will remember this revenge imposed on poor people of Sindh who elected those who said that the democracy is the best revenge.

4. Remembering Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, and Murtaza Bhutto, Ms Rashdai recites the following poem of Shah Abdul Latif:

ويا مور مري، هنج نه رهيو هيڪڙو،

وطن ٿيو وري ڪوڙن ڪائنرن جو

Gone are the principled and sincere heroes and just leaders!

Our homeland is now is in hands of selfish and unjust hoarders!

5. Instead of feeling ashamed of their actions, they shamelessly say that they had the democratic mandate to take these decisions. How can these people abuse the trust of simple, selfless and trusting Sindhi marrooars who trusted them to protect their rights and their future!

6. Once again, Sindhis have been shackled under another black law by their own representatives. Now is not the time to talk to them but to awaken men and women of Sindh to assess the damage that has been done to their future.

7. History is the witness that those betrayed Sindh ultimately fell in the list of traitors and no amount of effort in rehabilitating them.

8. The author assails the provisions that hand-over 41 of 43 provincial powers to mayors and how can one expect that equal rights will be enjoyed by every one Sindh.

I myself don’t understand as to why the PPP government that helped in restoring some provincial powers through the 18th amendment would turn around and give back most of those subjects to mayors. Do they know the consequences of what they are doing?

Save Sindh committee calls for strike today

The Save Sindh committee (SSC), an alliance of nationalist parties in Sindh has called for shutter down in Sindh today (Monday) after Qaim Ali Shah government in Sindh showed its intention to present controversial local government ordinance in the provincial assembly for making it a permanent law.

With the ordinance which drew severe criticism in Sindh, the government restored 18 Towns of Karachi and a notification in this regard was issued on Saturday.

The system as its opponents claim replicates the one introduced by military dictator Gen Musharraf with a malicious design of dividing Sindh into two parts.

The SSC convener Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah said it was a huge plot to divide Sindh and, they would never allow it to be implemented. Mr. Shah and his committee leaders including Dr. Qadir Magsi were in Thatto in connection to their campaign against the local government law. They appealed to the people of Sindh to observe strike today.

After the SSC’s call, reports said, the workers of the SSC parties staged protest demonstrations in various cities and towns of the province.

Also, there were reports that they besieged the house of a PPP MPA Dr. Magsi announced they would put siege around the houses of the members of Sindh Assembly today. The strike call is also supported by the PML – N, JI and other parties. The PML – F and its allies including the PML – Q and NPP have announced that they would severely protest in the assembly. They have their members in the assembly who have already sought separate seats on opposition benches in the house. KARACHI: TP Report, October 1, 2012

Courtesy: The Point

http://thepoint.com.pk/sindh72-Save-Sindh-committee-calls-for-strike-today.php

Nationalists urge Sindh govt to bury the new LG ordinance

HYDERABAD / SUKKUR: The nationalists claimed that they would continue to protest against the new local government ordinance till the government rescinds it.

According to the chairperson of the Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party (STPP), Dr Qadir Magsi, they planned to stage sit-ins every Wednesday till the ordinance is ‘buried’.

Leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Functional), Awami Tehreek (AT), Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), Sindh National Movement and Awami Jamhoori Party met at the Hyderabad Bypass for a four-hour long sit-in. Protesters blocked the National and Indus Highways in Matiari, Shaheed Benazirabad and Sehwan. They also carried placards and burnt tyres in Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas.

There will be bloodshed if the Sindh Assembly votes in favour of the ordinance,” said Magsi. “The Sindhis are prepared to bleed to save their province from being divided. The ordinance is a conspiracy to divide Sindh.” JSQM’s Aakash Mallah chanted a slogan made famous by Hosh Muhammad Sheedi, a military general from the Talpur dynasty who died fighting the British Raj in 1843, “we will die, but we will not give you Sindh.”

In Sukkur

Workers of Sindh United Party, STTP, JSQM, Jeay Sindh Tehreek and other nationalists blocked the National Highway and major roads leading into cities. The Shah Hussain Bypass near Khairpur and Kandhkot was also blocked. In Daharki, hundreds of nationalists and workers of the PML-N carried placards and chanted slogans against the government. They were led by STPP’s Jam Fatah, PML-N’s Hafiz Mohammad Sadiq Samejo and Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz’s Dr Niaz Kalani. The protesters burnt tyres and blocked the traffic flow for three hours.

Continue reading Nationalists urge Sindh govt to bury the new LG ordinance

NO TO DIVISION OF SINDH

Sindh Bachayo Committee & other Parties Declaration

People of Sindh will never accept such a draconian law and resist it with full might and force.

A representative meeting of Sindh bachayo committee was held here today with Sayed Jalal Mehmood Shah, convener of the SBC in chair.

The meeting took stock of the situation arising out of present Local Government issue and deliberated on its sinister effects on the unity and harmony of Sindh.

The meeting was of the opinion that PPP Government second attempt to bring about new Local Government law in the province amounted to sabotaging the unity of Sindh and relegating the status of Sindh to a post office.

It said that last year on August 5, same effort was made to divide Sindh administratively and deprive it of its authority but same was foiled by the Sindh Bachayo Committee by its historic protest and strike on 13th August 2011.

It said that the PPP government has again attacked the unity of Sindh by issuing extra constitutional and illegal ordinance in the darkness of night. Such an action was akin to declaring martial law because martial laws have been dedared in the darkness of night.

Continue reading NO TO DIVISION OF SINDH

ANALYSIS : For whose turn should the Sindhi youth wait now? – Mohammad Ali Mahar

Merit is a word made completely irrelevant by the successive regimes ruling the province for several years

The Minister of Petroleum informed the National Assembly that out of 1,584 positions filled in the oil and gas public sector, only 10 had gone to Sindh. Does the news bother anyone? And does another report that only two officers from rural Sindh have been hired out of 448 positions filled during the last three years in the same ministry perturb anyone of the 180 million conscientious people living in Pakistan? Considering Sindh produces around 70 percent of the total gas and oil in the country and the majority of sites are situated in Sindh, how this is justified is anyone’s guess. Why should it bother the majority? It is happening to Sindhis. So be it. When it happened to Bengalis, we did not care. Why should we now?

About 10 years ago, during the first Nawaz Sharif term, my friend Shah, son of the legendary Sindhi poet, Ustad Bukhari, was in Islamabad. Like the multitudes of Sindhi youth roaming the streets of Karachi and Islamabad looking for the men in the assemblies to help them find a source for subsistence, Shah too, having earned his engineering degree, was in Islamabad searching for a job. One day, he was lucky to have secured a pass to enter the National Assembly. Waiting in the lobby looking for someone to beg for a job, he spotted one of the most powerful ministers of the time. Shah rushed to the minister and handing the minister his application, he made his submission. The minister sensed from his accent where he could be from, asked him if he was a Sindhi. Shah replied affirmatively. At which the minister shoved the application back into Shah’s hands and walked away saying, “Then to get a job you should wait for the ‘Peepul Party’ to come to power.”

The ‘Peepul Party’(Pakistan People’s Party) has been in power twice since. The party is in power today and so is the minister, ironically. The minister in the above story is none other than Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. Chaudhry Sahib may not remember the incident, but Shah does very well and so do all his friends, including me, to whom he related the episode. As jobless and helpless now as during Mr Sharif’s two terms, whose turn should the Sindhi youth wait for now to get jobs?

Continue reading ANALYSIS : For whose turn should the Sindhi youth wait now? – Mohammad Ali Mahar

Pakistan – government, allies agree to amend constitution again

ISLAMABAD: The government and its coalition partners late on Friday agreed to bring 21st and 22nd constitutional amendments, which will also allow dual nationals to contest elections, DawnNews reported.

The meeting at the Presidency was chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani also attended it.

Federal Law minister Farooq H. Naek briefed the meeting over proposed bills regarding contempt of court and dual nationality before tabling it in the National Assembly.

The meeting approved 21st and 22nd amendments in the constitution. The latter will allow people having dual nationality to participate in general elections.

The law minister also informed the meeting that process of related lawmaking was in progress over contempt of court issue.

The meeting also decided to protect decisions taken by former PM Gilani between April 26 and June 19.

Continue reading Pakistan – government, allies agree to amend constitution again

Questions Surround New Supreme Court Order Disqualifying Prime Minister

The Supreme Court of Pakistan removed the Prime Minister in what is known as a “short order” – essentially a court order lacking a full explanation. These orders often begin, “For reasons to be recorded later…” – a practice that seems the beg for abuse and controversy – and then proceed directly to ordering some specific action on the part of an individual or institution. In this case, though, the specific action was not given until almost two months later – and made retroactive.

On April 26, the Supreme Court issued an order “for the reasons to be recorded later” that found then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani “guilty of and convicted for contempt of court.” The Supreme Court did not declare the Prime Minister disqualified from office and sentenced him to a symbolic detention of about 30 seconds.

The Supreme Court having chosen not to disqualify the Prime Minister, the issue was then taken up by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Fehmida Mirza, who ruled that Mr. Gilani was not disqualified. That was last month.

Today, nearly two months after the Supreme Court issued its controversial conviction, a new short order, “for reasons to be recorded later,” was issued by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry – this time declaring that “Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani has become disqualified from being a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)…on and from the date and time of pronouncement of the judgement of this Court dated 26.4.2012…”

This raises several very interesting questions. If the Prime Minister was disqualified pursuant to the Supreme Court’s order on April 26, why did they wait until June 19 to say so? Some have suggested that the Supreme Court was giving the Prime Minister the opportunity for appeal, but this is doubtful for a number of reasons: One, the Supreme Court could have declared the Prime Minister disqualified and then stayed the order pending appeal. But more to the point, to whom would the Prime Minister have appealed? The original order was given by a 7 member bench of the Supreme Court – there was no higher authority to appeal to.

Then there is the matter of the ruling by the Speaker of the National Assembly. If the Supreme Court had determined that Mr. Gilani was disqualified as of April 26, why did they allow Dr. Mirza to proceed with deliberations and a ruling on Mr. Gilani’s status as parliamentarian? If the Supreme Court believed that Dr. Mirza did not have the authority as Speaker of the National Assembly to issue such a ruling, why did they not issue an injunction stopping the Speaker from carrying out the act?

While these questions remain unanswered, at least until the Supreme Court delivers more than the two pages made available today, they suggest very troubling possibilities. By allowing Mr. Gilani to continue serving as Prime Minister for months, the Supreme Court has created a policy nightmare for Pakistan. Making the disqualification retroactive to April 26 means that any decisions made by the government since are effectively nullified. Pakistan has, essentially, been operating without a government for over 8 weeks.

Moreover, by allowing the Speaker of the National Assembly to deliberate and issue a ruling without comment, only to nullify that decision weeks later, the Supreme Court has undermined the authority of parliament and created confusion about fundamental issues of separation of powers and constitutional authority. What government official can now carry out their duties without the fear of Supreme Court action if the Chief Justice does not like the outcome.

This gets to what is perhaps the most troubling question of all – would the Supreme have issued this new order had the Speaker of the National Assembly herself disqualified Mr. Gilani? In other words, is Pakistan’s Supreme Court acting pursuant to due process or desired outcomes?

Courtesy: http://americansforpakistan.com/2012/06/19/questions-surround-new-supreme-court-order-disqualifying-prime-minister/

Via – Twitter

Gilani cannot be disqualified under Article 63: Speaker National Assembly

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.

Continue reading Gilani cannot be disqualified under Article 63: Speaker National Assembly

Showing the red rug to the bull!

PM contempt: ‘Govt will comply if SC orders Gilani’s disqualification’

By Web Desk / Sumera Khan

Excerpts;

…. Privilege motion against SC assistant registrar

The government has decided to move a privilege motion against the assistant registrar of the Supreme Court for writing a letter to speaker of National Assembly to initiate an action against the prime minister under recently passed judgment by the apex court.

Terming the letter ‘illegal’, Law Minister Naek said that the letter in which Speaker of National Assembly Fehmida Mirza was directed to implement the SC’s judgment was an open violation of law. Naek added that the assistant registrar of the Supreme Court is not authorised to issue directions to the speaker of National Assembly.

“We will move a privilege motion against assistant registrar as the letter is illegal which was written as a clear violation of rules and procedures. He has directed the speaker of National Assembly to implement the court’s verdict at the earliest which is we believe is an offence to the parliament.”

Naek went on to say that, “The parliament’s privilege was disparaged by the assistant registrar’s letter to the speaker of National Assembly directing her in the prime minister contempt case.”

Read more » The Express Tribune

Gilani hits back at the opposition

By Nusrat Javeed

Before hiring the services of Pakistan Army for launching a multi-pronged assault on troops of the ‘Evil Empire’ deputed in Afghanistan, Ronald Reagan needed some deceptive trappings of ‘democracy’ in Pakistan. General Zia facilitated him by inventing a consultative assembly in the early 1980s.

Continue reading Gilani hits back at the opposition

Gilani challenges the leader of the opposition – Bring vote of no confidence if you have courage

Islamabad: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that he could only be removed by the Parliament and would accept the decision of the house.

Mr Gilani seemed confident during his speech in the National Assembly on Friday in the absence of Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who on Saturday announced that he would not let the prime minister to enter the house.

Gilani criticized Nawaz-League leadership for what he said their ego and said that Nawaz Sharif could not run the parliament as it was not an easy job.

“I challenge you to bring vote of no confidence against me if you have the courage,” Gilani said.

He said that he was punished for protecting the Constitution of Pakistan. He said that nobody other than National Assembly speaker could de-notify him.

The prime minister said that he would honour the decision of the house but would not accept conspiracies and would not let anyone to derail democracy in the country.

Gilanis said that the PML-N should look into results of Multan by-election in which the PPP won.

Courtesy: Geo TV News » TheNewsTribe

More details » BBC urdu

Threatened Hindu girls to be moved to Islamabad

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

Sindh accuses centre of unjust resource distribution

SINDH – Karachi: Sindh’s Minister for Finance, Murad Ali Shah, informed the Provincial Assembly of Sindh on Monday that the federal government was tending to unilaterally reduce Sindh’s share in the Gas Development Surcharge (GDS) and had fixed a formula for GDS distribution without consulting the province.

“The Chief Minister of Sindh and the finance department have written, cumulatively, around 20-25 letters to the federal government asking for transparency in the GDS matter,” he said, and added that in the year 2008-09, the federal government had reduced Sindh’s share in the GDS to Rs11, 328 million. “The federal government has not consulted the Sindh government while finalizing estimates for the GDS,” said the finance minister. He observed that Sindh had only started getting GDS since 1991. …

Read more » The News

A country for bigotry

Land of bigots

By Tazeen Javed

It has been a year since Shahbaz Bhatti passed away. No, strike that, he did not pass away; his life was brutally cut short when he was murdered. Everyone from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan have been suspected with his murder, either by the police officials, or by the home ministry, yet no decent progress has been made.

In a way, it all makes sense, since only certain kinds of angry groups of men, who bay for blood and destruction, seem to carry any weight around here. Bhatti was NOT that kind of a man. He believed in fighting for rights the democratic way and had planned to introduce legislation that would ban hate speech and hate literature against all. He was campaigning for official holidays for minorities’ religious festivals and wanted the blasphemy law to be repealed which turned out to be a crime worthy of death.

Bhatti’s death is not a lone incidence of brutal violence. Planned acts of aggression and cruelty against minorities — whether ethnic, religious, sectarian or communal — is becoming a norm in the ‘Land of the Pure’. Intolerance has reached such levels that people with names that revealed their sectarian or religious beliefs are afraid to use them when they feel unsafe. Slain journalist, Mukarram Khan Atif narrated one such incident, which depicted the extent of narrow-mindedness and fanaticism in the country. He and another reporter were travelling south from Mohmand Agency through Khyber Agency and one of them had to use a name that would make him pass off as a member of the majority sect.

The minority communities — no matter who they are and where they are living — are constantly under threat. We have cases of forced conversions of Hindu girls, mostly minors in Sindh who are forcefully abducted and married to Muslim men and then presented to the court as religious converts. According to a treasury member of the Sindh Assembly, around 20 to 25 forced conversions take place every month in the province.

Acts of mob violence against Ahmadis seem to be rising at an alarming rate. The situation is such that any Ahmadi family is at risk of being threatened with the blasphemy law. Their places of worship are gunned and/or ransacked and the law-enforcement community and the state does nothing and silently looks on.

The perpetrators of the Gojra incident, where a whole Christian colony was burnt down, still roam free and the Hazaras in Balochistan are regularly targeted for their sectarian and ethnic identity. Also, nothing is done to check the dissemination of hate literature, some of which can be found even in mainstream bookstores. Last week’s tragic shooting of passengers travelling on a bus to Gilgit on the Karakoram Highway, where people were asked to show their CNICs and then taken off and killed — all of them were Shia — shows that we have reached an even higher level of prejudice and bigotry.

It would not be wrong to say that intolerance rules our society and no one is safe here in this country other than the men who perpetuate bias, bigotry and hatred?

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2012.

Witnessing ethnic cleansing of Balochs – Balochistan ministers eye-witnessed 3 execution style slayings: Umrani

By Ahmar Mustikhan

A Balochistan minister and provincial  president of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party dropped a bomb shell on the floor of the Balochistan assembly Monday when he revealed that he and two other government minsters saw with their own eyes the execution-style killing of three Baloch youths by the Frontier Corps.

Sadiq Umrani,, Balochistan minister for communistaion and works, told the shocking story on the floor of the House, pro-independence web sites reported Monday.

“Few months back I (Sadiq Umrani), Zaffar Zehri and Younas Mullahzai were returning to Quetta from Kalat after offering our condolences to Agha Irfan Karim on demise of his mother. All three of us saw the FC shooting at three people; their hands were tied behind. The next day bodies of the three men were found dumped [in Mastung]. We are eye-witnesses of that incident,” Umrani told the Balochistan provincial assembly.

Umrani’s remarks come just two days ahead of the Oversight and Investigations Sub-committee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, summoned by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher at the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday.

Zaffar Zehri, who is home and tribal affairs minister, oversees much of the law-enforcement work in the bloody province and is an estranged brother of the chief of the Zehri tribe and servbices and general administration minister Sardar Sanaullah Zehri.

Mullahzai is the information minister of Balochistan.

Umrani made the speech during a debate on the killing of family members of opposition member Mir Bakhtiar Domki.

Domki’s wife Zamur Domki, 32, daughter Janan Domki, 13, and family driver Barkat Baloch were allegedly gunned by agents of Pakistani secret services in the wee hours of January 31 in Karachi, commercial capital of Pakistan.

Umrani has strong feelngs for Baloch patriots.

Though a member of a federalist party, Umrani has been a close friend of Baloch patriotic leader Dr. Abdul Hayee of the National Party since the time they were in jail together four decades ago.
Continue reading on Examiner.com Balochistan ministers eye-witnessed 3 execution style slayings: Umrani – Baltimore Foreign Policy | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/foreign-policy-in-baltimore/balochistan-ministers-eyewitness-to-execution-style-slayings-umrani#ixzz1n4KUDI00

STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST PAKISTAN’S RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES

We urge you to intervene and stop the killing of Pakistan’s religious communities, including Sunni (Barelvi), Shia (including Hazara) and Ahmedi communities that are facing a virtual genocide simply for following their religious beliefs and practices.

You are no doubt familiar with Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s speech to the Constituent Assembly on Aug 11, 1947, in which he said: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed –that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

The recent attacks on the 12 Rabiul Awal processions in various cities around Pakistan (including Gujranwala, Mansehra, Gojar Khan, Mirpur, Khairpur, Mustang and Karachi) are evidence of the menace of bigotry and intolerance. The government must act with all of its might to put a stop to this. It needs to be done NOW.

The evil lurks in the belly of the so-called Diffa-e-Pakistan Council, a coalition comprising several ‘religious parties’ including some banned organsiations whose views dont resonate with the majority but are able to use their armed status and street power to attack others with impunity. The activities of this coalition need to be curtailed before it becomes the Destroy Pakistan Council. ….

Read more » CHANGE

Army, not a mafia! – Chaudhry Nisar, the leader of the opposition, fiercely criticized the killing of missing citizens in the custody of a spy agency asked Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani to protect the honour and goodwill of the Pakistan Army

Ch. Nisar

Rein in agencies, Nisar asks Gilani, Kayani

ISLAMABAD – Strongly criticising the role of agencies in the missing persons’ case, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday asked Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani to rein-in the intelligence agencies.

Responding to Nisar’s fierce criticism of the killing of four people who were in the custody of a spy agency and his demand of constitution of a court of inquiry by the government, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said a committee of the House could be constituted to look into the matter, but he proposed that as the matter was sub-judice, the court’s verdict should be awaited.

Gilani said all state institutions should work under their constitutional ambit and all institutions were answerable to parliament. He said the government would respect the Supreme Court’s order in the missing persons’ case. Speaking on a point of order earlier, Nisar announced that he would go to the Supreme Court on the next hearing of the missing persons’ case to express solidarity with the families whose relatives had been illegally abducted and killed by spy agencies.

He said a secret agency had dumped the tortured corpses of four people who it had abducted upon their acquittal from a court of law. Nisar also asked Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani to protect the honour and goodwill of the Pakistan Army and take notice of such incidents.

“This is a national army, not a mafiaGeneral Kayani must stop such things which tarnish the army’s image,” he said.

PML-N MNAs chanted slogans ofshame, shame” over the killing of missing persons. Nisar added that it was a moral and constitutional obligation of all members of the parliament to raise voice in parliament for missing persons and against the atrocities of secret agencies and to appear in the Supreme Court to express solidarity with the families of the missing persons. “Whenever the government feels threats from agencies, the prime minister wastes no time in pointing out a state within the state, but in this case no government functionary has come forward to speak in favour of common citizens,” he said, asking the prime minister to rein in secret agencies and bring their heads before parliament so that lawmakers could hold them accountable.

Courtesy: Pakistan Today

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/02/rein-in-agencies-nisar-asks-gilani-kayani/

Killing of Brahamdagh Bugti’s sister and niece could be sending him a chilling message by Pak military

DAILY TIMES EDITORIAL: Balochistan: a self-fulfilling prophecy

The Balochistan Assembly passed a resolution against the brutal murder of MPA Nawabzada Bakhtiar Khan Domki’s wife and daughter in Karachi. A complete shutter-down strike was observed all over Balochistan to condemn their murders. The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for a retaliatory attack on four Frontier Corps (FC) checkposts near Margat coalmine area in which at least 15 FC personnel were killed and a dozen sustained injuries. This attack, according to the BLA spokesman, was in reaction to the murders of the Domki women. Karachi is no stranger to target killings and it seems that this horrible trend along with bhatta (extortion) activities have started again after a brief lull. But the murder of Balochistan Republican Party (BRP) chief Brahamdagh Bugti’s sister and niece in Karachi was unlike any other target killing. The claim by the Karachi police that this could be the result of a ‘tribal feud’ could not be further from the truth. It is highly unlikely that women and children would be targeted even in a feud between the Baloch tribes. This is completely against the culture of the Baloch. Reasonable suspicion thus arises that this was not the work of any Baloch tribe but our own intelligence agencies that are busy harassing and assaulting the Baloch.

The murder of Mr Domki’s wife, daughter and driver is political, and there are genuine reasons to speculate that it is related to Brahamdagh Bugti, who is one of the leaders of the Baloch resistance movement and has often been hounded by our military and its operatives. So far, they have not been successful in extraditing him from Switzerland, where he has obtained political asylum. Killing his sister and niece could be one way of sending him a chilling message. It also points to the military’s callous attitude towards all norms of humanity. Women, children and old people are not deliberately targeted in wars. What kind of a despicable regime is this that would kill women and children in cold blood just to make a point? The police are still clueless about the murderers but they must investigate properly and get to the bottom of this horrific incident. No words can do justice to the sense of outrage at this atrocious crime.

It seems that there is now a sinister plot to hunt the Baloch outside Balochistan too. In December 2011, Faisal Mengal — a Baloch activist — was killed in Karachi. The death of two Baloch females along with their driver in Karachi also points to this new ‘trend’. The military’s ‘kill and dump’ policy in Balochistan has wreaked havoc in the lives of the Baloch. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) recently pointed out that “…the [Pakistan] military and its spy agencies have supra-constitutional authority to deal with the Baloch people, who are struggling for their constitutional rights of self-rule in the province”. The policy of eliminating members of the Baloch resistance movement, moderate nationalists, intellectuals and youth has led to more hatred and more alienation in the province. Now this policy is seemingly being extended to women and children. Independence from Pakistan is now being demanded openly all over Balochistan. The death of two Baloch women will certainly stoke the fire even more. Nobody can blame the Baloch for this demand given the atrocities being committed against them every single day by our military. Even the veteran Baloch leadership has nothing to offer the disgruntled Baloch youth fighting in the mountains because of the criminal military operation. The military’s highhanded policies have hardly left any space for a political solution now. The federation is definitely in trouble.

Courtesy: Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201222\story_2-2-2012_pg3_1

Nationalists shut Sindh to protest 20th Amendment

* Say parliament not authorised to form new provinces

By Asghar Azad

KARACHI: A complete shutter-down and wheel-jamed strike was observed in Sindh, excluding a few localities of Karachi, on Saturday.

The strike call was given by an alliance of Sindhi nationalist parties, ‘Sindh Bachayo Committee (SBC), against the 20th Constitutional Amendment bill which was tabled in the National Assembly by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and was approved for discussion. The nationalists feared the bill was aimed at dividing Sindh.

The nationalist parties, including Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Jeay Sindh Tahreek, Sindh United Party, Sindh National Front, Sindh Taraqqi Pasand Party, Awami Tehreek and National People’s Party condemned the proposed amendment. Professional bodies, human rights activists and writers’ organisations had announced their full support for the shutter-down strike as no public transport was available, causing severe difficulties for commuters to carry out their day-to-day work.

A protest demonstration was held in Hyderabad while roads were also blocked at various places.

All business activities came to a grinding halt in big and small cities of the province, including Sukkur, Nawabshah, Larkana, Khairpur, Dadu, Naushahro Feroze, Moro, Faiz Ganj, Gambat, Ranipur, Rohiri, Ghotki, Pir Jo Goth, Wada Machoon, Babarlo, Therrhi, Kumb, Padedan, Thatta, Golarrchi, Choohar Jamali, Badin, Fazil Rahou, Talhar, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Mirpurkhas, Mithi, Islam Kot, Sakrand, Dolat Pur and Umer Kot.

The strike was also observed in various localities of Karachi, including Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Gadop Town, Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Bhens Colony, Abdullah Goth, Pipri, Sindhi Goth, Gaghar Phattak, Chakra Goth, Bilal Colony, Gulshan-e-Mehran, Mehran Town, Bhittai Colony Korangi, Sachal Goth, Safora Goth, Mosmyat, Memon Goth, Liyari, Baloch Goth and Baloch Colony of Orangi, Malir, Maripur, Bhitiabad, Dhani Bux Khaskhekli Goth, Rashidi Goth, Razaq Abad, Peer Goth and Bin Qasim Colony.

Workers and supporters of the nationalist parties staged rallies and sit-ins at several places, including Indus and national highways, Sehwan Bypass, Khairpur Bypass, Rohiri Bypass, Larkana-Khairpur Bridge Bypass, Faiz Ganj and Hyderabad.

Meanwhile, SBC convener Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah said that the people had given their verdict against the amendment and it was not acceptable to them in any shape. He appreciated business and traders’ communities for cooperating and participating in the strike.

Talking to Daily Times, Shah said that “the makers of the 1973 constitution, though complied with the first provision of the Lahore Resolution that there would be four provinces in the new federation and did not confer any power on parliament to create new provinces, but they violated the second provision of the Lahore Resolution, which says the federal government could only be given four subjects including, defence, foreign affairs, currency and customs”.

“We can safely say that though the constitutions of 1956 and 1962 were based on total violation of the two provisions of the Lahore Resolution, the 1973 constitution fulfills the first part of the Lahore Resolution of giving protection to the unity and integrity of provinces,” he said, adding that it gave the federal government more subjects than envisaged in 1940 resolution. Shah said, “Again an attempt is being made by centralists to violate the Lahore Resolution by giving parliament the power to create more provinces.” It may be mentioned that the MQM has submitted a proposal in the National Assembly for the formation of new provinces in the country.

Courtesy: Daily Times

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

Pro-democracy protest: Protestors threaten civilian unrest if govt toppled

LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Civil Society Network and Center for Peace protested against the judiciary and army on Thursday, warning the two institutions of civilian unrest if they tried to topple the PPP led coalition government.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Abdullah Malik, advisor to the Punjab governor, said that “The participants sensing the current democratic to be in danger have decided to come out on the roads to show their solidarity with the democracy.”

He added that only people had the right to change the government through their vote in a democracy and not the judge or the generals.

PPP members along with prominent representatives of civil society demonstrated in favour of the current democratic government at the Liberty roundabout.

Participants warned the judiciary and army that if it tried to topple the PPP led coalition government by using the Memogate affair as an excuse, then the civil society will protest on the streets.

Civil Society Network and Center for Peace members, including IA Rehman, Hussain Naqi, Shah Taj Qizilbash, Abdullah Malik along with South Asia Free Media Association’s (SAFMA) Anjum Rashid, Imtiazul Haq, Shoaib Adil and Amina Malik participated in the demonstration.

Other PPP members at the protest included Deputy Parliamentary Leader in the Punjab Assembly, Azma Bukhari and Altaf Qureshi. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

News Reports and Press Clippings about Zardari Specific Judiciary

Pakistani Judiciary is nowadays very fond of quoting Quran and Hadith in any Detailed Judgement particularly if the case is related with Elected Member of the Parliament specifically Pakistan Peoples Party and Asif Ali Zardari. The quotation from the same Quran and Hadith are conveniently “ignored” rather “avoided” while dealing with other cases. ….

Read more » ChagataiKhan

http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2010/03/zardari-specific-judiciaryaccountabilit.html