Tag Archives: authorities

Greece: Amnesty International slams migrant roundups, says detained face ‘inhumane’ conditions

By Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece — Human rights group Amnesty International is calling on Greek authorities to stop mass roundups of suspected illegal immigrants, arguing that police are treating law-abiding foreigners like criminals and subjecting thousands of detained persons to “degrading and inhumane” conditions.

The London-based group said Wednesday that legitimate asylum seekers were being denied proper assistance and that police were stopping and detaining suspects based on skin color. ….

Read more » The Washington Post

Pakistan – “The Supreme Court calls for an “Arab Spring” uprising”

Pakistan: Top Judges Attack P.M. Gilani With Poetry and Threats

The Supreme Court calls for an “Arab Spring” uprising.

The opposition already calls him “the former prime minister of Pakistan.” His country’s Supreme Court has declared him “wicked”—a “criminal” seeking political “martyrdom through disobeying the law.” It may be a good thing for Yousaf Raza Gilani that he claims descent from Sufi saints, since he’ll certainly need the patience of one as pressure intensifies for him to step down.

The outcry reached an unprecedented pitch last week as the court issued a 77-page “detailed judgment” against Gilani, publicly exhorting the people of Pakistan to rise up against him and his government. “The recent phenomenon known as the Arab Spring is too fresh to be ignored or forgotten,” wrote Justice Asif Khosa in an assenting opinion, citing “the responsibility of the people themselves to stand up for defending the Constitution and … for dealing with the delinquent appropriately.” Gilani’s alleged crime was to disobey the court’s order for him to request that Swiss authorities reopen old corruption cases against his boss, President Asif Ali Zardari. (Gilani and the Swiss both maintain that Zardari has immunity from criminal prosecution.)

Continue reading Pakistan – “The Supreme Court calls for an “Arab Spring” uprising”

Concern about new bid to censor the Internet: HRCP, FIDH

By Zohra Yusuf, HRCP chairperson

Lahore, March 13: On the occasion of the international day of action against Internet censorship, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organisation, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), have expressed deep concern over an attempt by the Ministry of Information Technology in Pakistan to further restrict freedom of expression, creativity and peaceful thought on the Internet, by projecting an extensive filtering system that will, if implemented, allow authorities to block up to 50 million “undesirable” URLs at the national level.

The National ICT R&D Fund of the Ministry of Information Technology released in February a call inviting academia/research institutions, companies, organizations to submit, by 16 March 2012, a proposal for the set-up of a filtering system. The call claims that Internet access in Pakistan is mostly unrestricted and unfiltered, so that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and backbone providers in the country need a high-performance system to block millions of URLs containing “undesirable” content as notified by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Censorship is already very tight in Pakistan; 13,000 websites considered guilty of publishing adult and blasphemous content have already been blocked. On 14 November 2011, authorities requested mobile operators to censor the content of SMS and ban 1,600 words and expressions. Over the last summer, operators received the order to submit lists of Internet users trying to escape censorship, which corresponds to a system of surveillance”, said Zohra Yusuf, HRCP chairperson.

Continue reading Concern about new bid to censor the Internet: HRCP, FIDH

Who Controls Pakistan’s Security Forces?

By Shuja Nawaz

Internal militancy and insurgency are the immediate threats to Pakistan’s security.

Pakistan’s polity is fractured and dysfunctional, allowing the military to assert greater control over Pakistan’s response to this growing internal threat.

Civilian authorities have missed numerous opportunities to assert control over security matters. Miscalculation by the current civilian government in its attempt in 2008 to exert control over the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate soured civil-military relations at a time when the new army chief favored keeping the army out of politics.

The military’s interests are expanding to newer sectors, including economic policymaking, since a shrinking economy could hurt military interests and lifestyles.

An opportunity to improve security sector governance exists in the proposed National Counter Terrorism Authority, which the government has unduly delayed.

This report reflects the views expressed during a conference entitled “Who Controls Pakistan’s Security Forces?” hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Security Sector Governance Center on April 19, 2011. Speakers at the event included the author, Professor Hassan Abbas of Columbia University, and Moeed Yusuf of the U.S. Institute of Peace. The report discusses the complex political landscape in which Pakistan’s civilian and military authorities operate, often vying for power and supremacy; identifies the challenges facing Pakistan’s civilian government in the face of the military’s expanding role; and suggests a realignment of roles, increased expertise for civilian officials in security matters, and better civilian-military coordination. …

Read more » U.S. Institute of Peace

Pakistan seeks Bramdagh’s extradition

By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD: The government has asked the Swiss authorities to reject the plea for political asylum made by Bramdagh Bugti, who heads an outlawed Baloch rebel group, and extradite him to Pakistan. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

US, Western diplomats under strict watch in Pakistan

By ANI

Lahore, July 21 (ANI): Pakistan authorities will keep the American and Western diplomats under strict surveillance to prevent them from going to places they are not authorised to, sources have said. The Nation quoted the sources ….

Read more → Yahoo News

China’s riot town: ‘No one else is listening’

By Eunice Yoon, CNN

The authorities here are obviously nervous. My crew and I are sitting in a local government building being questioned by six propaganda officials.

One of them is scribbling down our credentials in a worn pocket-sized notebook. My producer, Steven Jiang, is talking non-stop to one officer who looks especially nonplussed.

We traveled to the manufacturing town of Xintang to investigate why thousands of migrant workers suddenly took to the streets just a week ago.

We knew the unrest was triggered by what appeared to be a minor event — a pregnant migrant worker and her husband got in a scuffle with city officials and she ended up falling on the ground.

However, the ferocity by which this dispute exploded in a massive conflagration, pitting thousands of enraged workers against hundreds of riot police, took many by surprise.

The unrest seems to belie the image of China as a bustling economy going from strength to strength, enriching the lives of millions across the country, especially in the industrial south. But the problem is many people feel they are not getting their fair share of the rapid growth. …

Read more: → CNN

Dying to Tell the Story

By UMAR CHEEMA

Islamabad, Pakistan: WE have buried another journalist. Syed Saleem Shahzad, an investigative reporter for Asia Times Online, has paid the ultimate price for telling truths that the authorities didn’t want people to hear. He disappeared a few days after writing an article alleging that Al Qaeda elements had penetrated Pakistan’s navy and that a military crackdown on them had precipitated the May 22 terrorist attack on a Karachi naval base. His death has left Pakistani journalists shaken and filled with despair.

I couldn’t sleep the night that Saleem’s death was confirmed. The fact that he was tortured sent me back to a chilly night last September, when I was abducted by government agents. During Saleem’s funeral service, a thought kept haunting me: “It could have been me.”

Mourning journalists lined up after the service to console me, saying I was lucky to get a lease on life that Saleem was denied. But luck is a relative term.

Adil, my 2-year-old son, was the first person in my thoughts after I was abducted. Journalists in Pakistan don’t have any institutionalized social security system; those killed in the line of duty leave their families at the mercy of a weak economy.

When my attackers came, impersonating policemen arresting me on a fabricated charge of murder, I felt helpless. My mouth muzzled and hands cuffed, I couldn’t inform anybody of my whereabouts, not even the friends I’d dropped off just 15 minutes before. My cellphone was taken away and switched off. Despite the many threats I’d received, I never expected this to happen to me.

Sure, I had written many stories exposing the corrupt practices of high-ranking officials and pieces criticizing the army and the intelligence agencies. After they were published, Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s prime security agency, always contacted me. I was first advised not to write too much about them and later sent messages laced with subtle threats. But I never imagined action was imminent.

On Sept. 4, I was driven to an abandoned house instead of a police station, where I was stripped naked and tortured with a whip and a wooden rod. While a man flogged me, I asked what crime had brought me this punishment. Another man told me: “Your reporting has upset the government.” It was not a crime, and therefore I did not apologize.

Instead, I kept praying, “Oh God, why am I being punished?” The answer came from the ringleader: “If you can’t avoid rape, enjoy it.” He would employ abusive language whenever he addressed me.

“Have you ever been tortured before?” he asked.

“No,” I said.

“These marks will stay with you forever, offering you a reminder never to defy the authorities,” he replied.

They tortured me for 25 minutes, shaved my head, eyebrows and moustache and then filmed and photographed my naked body. I was dumped nearly 100 miles outside Islamabad with a warning not to speak up or face the consequences.

The following months were dreadful. I suffered from a sleep disorder. I would wake up fearing that someone was beating my back. I wouldn’t go jogging, afraid that somebody would pick me up again and I’d never return. Self-imposed house arrest is the life I live today; I don’t go outside unless I have serious business. I have been chased a number of times after the incident. Now my son asks me questions about my attackers that I don’t answer. I don’t want to sow the seeds of hatred in his heart.

When Saleem disappeared, I wondered if he had been thinking about his children, as I had. He had left Karachi, his hometown, after receiving death threats, and settled with his wife and three children in Islamabad. From there, he often went on reporting trips to the tribal areas along the Afghan border. Tahir Ali, a mutual friend, would ask him: “Don’t you feel scared in the tribal areas?” Saleem would smile and say: “Death could come even in Islamabad.” His words were chilling, and prescient.

The killing of Syed Saleem Shahzad is yet another terrifying reminder to Pakistani journalists. He is the fifth to die in the first five months of 2011. Journalists are shot like stray dogs in Pakistan — easily killed because their assassins sit at the pinnacle of power.

When Daniel Pearl was brutally murdered by militants in Karachi in 2002, his case was prosecuted and four accomplices to the crime were sentenced. This happened only because Mr. Pearl was an American journalist. Had he been a Pakistani, there would have been no justice.

Today, impunity reigns and no organization is powerful enough to pressure the government to bring Saleem’s killers to justice. Journalists have shown resilience, but it is hard to persevere when the state itself becomes complicit in the crime. Now those speaking up for Saleem are doing so at a price: they are being intimidated and harassed.

Pakistan is at a crossroads and so is its news media. In a situation of doom and gloom, Pakistani journalists offer a ray of hope to their fellow citizens and they have earned the people’s trust. Even the former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has admitted that people who once went to the police with complaints now go to the press.

But this trust will be eroded if journalists continue to be bullied into walking away from the truth. News organizations throughout the world must join hands in seeking justice for Saleem and ending the intelligence agencies’ culture of impunity. An award for investigative journalists should be created in his honor, as was done for Daniel Pearl. No stronger message could be delivered to his killers than making him immortal.

Umar Cheema is an investigative reporter at The News International, Pakistan’s largest English-language daily. He was a Daniel Pearl Fellow at The Times in 2008.

Courtesy: The New York Times

Terrorist arrested on ISI tip,in France

Indian national arrested in France on Pak tip

PARIS. French counter terrorism authorities, acting on an intelligence tip-off provided by Pakistan, have smashed a terrorist network headed by an Indian national, report well informed sources.

The French Police arrested the gang leader Mohammad Niaz Abdul Rasheed, a thirty-three years old Indian national from Madurai, from Charles de Gaulle Airport on May 10, as he returned from a recruiting trip to Algeria. Six of his accomplices were also apprehended, from various French cities concurrently.

According to sources, Mohammad Niaz, who lived in India till 2008, came to France by marrying a women bearing French nationality, ostensibly to acquire foreign naturalization. He had been radicalized by the age of 21 primarily on account of a backlash to the oppressive treatment of Muslims in Baral Pur and joined Manitha Neethi Parasai, an offshoot of the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and predecessor of Indian Popular Front (IPF).

Once in France he planned to create a terrorist organization, French Popular Front (FPF), on the lines of IPF model by creating a nucleus of young French jihadists to fight foreign troops in Afghanistan.

The first reconnoitering group comprising two French nationals, sent by the FPF and on their on way to Afghanistan was apprehended by the ISI in January this year from Lahore. The information passed by the Pakistani authorities resulted into the arrest of seven members of the FPF by the French intelligence, earlier this May.

According to observers, there is a strong possibility that Mohammad Niaz, working on the behest of RAW was attempting to infiltrate Taleban/al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan through the diversion provided by a French connection.

Courtesy: The News

Four Bahrain protesters sentenced to death

A court in Bahrain has convicted four demonstrators and sentenced them to death over the killing of two police officers during pro-democracy protests.

Three others were sentenced to life in prison by the military court.

Bahraini authorities have responded harshly to protests which began in February, following uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Hundreds of people have been detained for taking part in protests, many unable to communicate with family.

The seven defendants were tried behind closed doors on charges of premeditated murder of government employees – allegedly running two police officers over in a car. …

Read more : BBC

Sources claim colonel Imam killed by his own trained Taliban

The former ISI officer Colonel (r) Imam known as the ‘godfather of the Taliban’ has been killed by his abductors in North Waziristan, Dunya News reported on Sunday.

Imam was abducted in March, 2010, who said in a video footage released by his captors that his life was in danger unless the authorities meet his kidnappers demand to free a number of prisoners held for terrorism.

Imam, whose real name was Sultan Amir Tarar, worked alongside Afghanistan’s mujahideen to defeat the Soviet occupation. In the mid-1990s, as an ISI agent in the country, he spotted the potential of the then emerging Taliban movement and helped nurture it. After 2001 he was forcibly retired from the ISI after being considers too radical.

Courtesy: ARY News – You Tube

Pakistan: Drop Blasphemy Charges Against 17-Year-Old

Student’s Case Underscores Urgent Need to Repeal Abusive Law

Pakistan has set the standard for intolerance when it comes to misusing blasphemy laws, but sending a schoolboy to jail for something he scribbled on an exam paper is truly appalling. It’s bad enough that a school official flagged it, but for police and judicial authorities to go ahead and lock up a teenager under these circumstances is mind boggling. – – Bede Sheppard, senior children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch

(New York) – The Pakistani government should immediately drop blasphemy charges against a 17-year-old student and ensure his safe release from detention, Human Rights Watch said today.

The authorities arrested Muhammad Samiullah on January 28, 2011, and charged him under Pakistan’s “blasphemy law,” article 295-C of the criminal code, for allegedly including derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad in his answers on a written school exam in April 2010. According to press reports, police at Shahra Noor Jahan Police Station in Karachi registered a case against Samiullah after receiving a complaint from the chief controller of the intermediate level education board. On January 29, a judicial magistrate, Ehsan A. Malik, ordered Samiullah sent to a juvenile prison pending trial. …

Read more : Human Rights Watch

 

Report Says Militants in Daniel Pearl Killing Still at Large

Report Says Militants in Pearl Killing Still at Large

By JANE PERLEZ

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Nine years after an American reporter Daniel Pearl was captured and killed by operatives of Al Qaeda in Pakistan, more than a dozen of the militants involved in his murder remain at large, a testament to the lack of will by Pakistani authorities to prosecute the cases, according to a report released Thursday. …

Read more : THE NEW YORK TIMES