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Witch-hunt against democracy in Pakistan

Pakistani diplomat accused over memo claims he is victim of witch-hunt

Husain Haqqani says he fears for his life as hearing begins into allegations he sent memo to US official warning of military coup

By Saeed Shah in Islamabad

The former Pakistani diplomat at the centre of a scandal threatening to bring down the government in Islamabad says he has become embroiled in a “witch-hunt” against democracy in Pakistan.

A judicial commission on Monday began investigating allegations that could lead to treason charges against Husain Haqqani, who resigned as ambassador to Washington following claims he was behind an anonymous memo asking for US support to stave off a military coup in Pakistan.

The case has again drawn battle lines between the civilian government and the military in Pakistan, where the generals have ruled for half its existence. Haqqani, who denies knowledge of the memo, was a key adviser to President Asif Ali Zardari.

Haqqani was summoned to Pakistan in November and has, in effect, been under house arrest since, with his travel abroad banned. He is staying at the heavily guarded official residence of the prime minister in Islamabad, afraid that religious extremists or military agents will kill him if he ventures out. He said he was there for his “personal safety and security“. Last year, militants assassinated two senior officials of the ruling Pakistan Peoples party.

“Some people want to have the right to judge the patriotism of civilians. Some have joined the witch-hunt to keep democracy weak or even get rid of it if they can,” said Haqqani, speaking to the Guardian in a worn-looking sitting room where he receives few visitors.

In Washington, where Haqqani served for nearly four years, he was lauded as one of the best-connected diplomats in town, a smooth-talking, hyperactive defender of Pakistan on American television screens and in the corridors of the US capital. He is credited by some with keeping aid money flowing and relations with the US alive as the alliance between the two countries foundered in recent years over charges that Pakistan was playing a “double-game” by secretly supporting the Taliban.

In Pakistan, however, Haqqani was persistently vilified by the military establishment and the country’s press, painted as an American stooge and a too-clever-by-half strategist for the unpopular Zardari. Many in Pakistan believe it is the president who is the real target of the “memogate” furore, although he insisted over the weekend that he was not going to quit.

Pakistan’s armed forces, used to controlling the relationship with the US, deeply resented Haqqani’s contacts and level of access in Washington. Democracy was restored in Pakistan in 2008, but the government has been shaky, with simmering tension with the military. Haqqani had advocated closer ties to the US and was a strong critic of the army’s role in politics and its policy of supporting jihadist groups, laid out in his 2005 book, Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military.

“I am being targeted for my views and beliefs on civil-military relations and US-Pakistan ties, not because I did anything wrong,” said Haqqani.

Continue reading Witch-hunt against democracy in Pakistan

Pakistan PM hits out at army amid ouster fears

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s embattled Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday said conspirators were plotting to bring down his government and delivered an unprecedented tirade against the powerful military.

In astonishing confirmation that he fears being ousted, he angrily denied the government was subservient to the army, long considered the chief arbiter of power in Pakistan as his administration grapples with a damaging scandal.

Pressures are at boiling point over a memo, allegedly written with approval from the president, asking for US help to prevent a feared military coup after Osama bin Laden was killed in May.

Rampant speculation that President Asif Ali Zardari could be forced out of office over the scandal and illness has refused to ease, despite his return to the capital following two weeks of medical treatment in Dubai.

“I want to make it clear today that conspiracies are being hatched here to pack up the elected government,” Gilani told a gathering at the National Arts Gallery, without naming anyone.

“But we will continue to fight for the rights of people of Pakistan whether or not we remain in the government,” Gilani said, declaring himself the country’s longest serving premier, with 45 months on the job. ….

Read more » One Pakistan

Rally for freedom and democracy in Egypt

Mubarak, you’re fired!’ Toronto rally Saturday

By Krystalline Kraus

Rally for freedom and democracy in Egypt, Saturday, February 5, Assemble at 1 p.m., Queen’s Park (south side), TTC: Queen’s Park, Nearest intersection: University Avenue and College Street, March begins at 2 p.m. Please dress warmly.

Event on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/FreeEgypt

Just weeks after a revolution in Tunisia toppled its decades-old dictatorship, a similar movement in Egypt is poised to overthrow the 30-year-old regime of Hosni Mubarak. Please join us for a city-wide, family-friendly rally and march in downtown Toronto in support of the Egyptian people’s struggle for freedom and democracy, and to support all freedom struggles across the region. Please bring your placards, banners, and noise-makers.

Organized by – Canadian Coptic Association, Egyptian National Association for Change, Toronto Egypt Solidarity Campaign, Canadian Arab Federation, Canadian Peace Alliance, Toronto Coalition to Stop the War

WE NEED VOLUNTEERS!

Join our next volunteers’ meeting: Friday, February 4, 2011, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West, Room number to be posted, TTC: Spadina

Help us assemble placards and paint banners (all materials provided) and find out how you can help during the rally and march. Please RSVP to info@nowar.ca.

Read more : Rebble.Ca

Lets do an Egypt in India!

by Sudhir Gandotra

Time for a Non-violent-comprehensive revolution in India! Lets get rid of all violence in & around us! Join and also invite all your friends! Peace in the heart, light in the understanding .. “Working for a Violence-free World

“With 83% living on >20 rupees a day, 25% sleeping hungry ever night, prices rising daily, farmers committing suicide, increasing poverty-malnutrition-hunger-suicides, India is far away from Real-Democracy. It is time to wake up and take responsibility of the nation, take inspiration from the non-violent wave of transformation happening from Tunisia, through Egypt to other parts of the world, and to bring about a complete non-violent revolution in India in order to establish a Real democracy that can give a Dignified life to all the people without any discrimination whatsoever immediately. We do not lack resources for this. Only the willingness is missing as the scamster-corrupt-mafia-masquerading-politicians are working with the sole interest of taking India’s money to tax-heavens. This must stop NOW !”

“The hero of this age flies towards the stars.” – The Inner Look, XX. Internal Reality.

Silo (Mario Rodriguez Cobos) January 6, 1938 – September 16, 2010 – “You go deep into yourself, I go deep into myself and there we meet.”

Sudhir Gandotra’s blog http://blog.sudhirgandotra.org/

Courtesy: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_160997877284537#!