Tag Archives: challenging

Petition Challenging SPLGA – Support from North American Sindhis

By: Khalid Hashmani

I have read the article of adi Sarah Zaman a couple of times but I still do not see any argument against the legal challenge except that the Supreme Court may give a decision of rejecting the argument of Barrister Ghumro and that it will weaken the case of Sindh against SPLGA. The argument made is also that this legal challenge will weaken Nawaz Sharif and strengthen MQM. My view is that if we Sindhis are afraid of even challenging a violation of our rights in Pakistan’s supreme court, how are we going to file the case of Sindhi rights at the International Court and the UN? Do we expect Nawaz Sharif to guarantee Sindh rights?

Whether or not Nawaz Sharif wins the next election should not digress us from taking the actions that we believe are in the larger interest of Sindh. At best, Nawaz Sharif can guarantee us the same deal that he gave us when he won the election last time and became Prime Minister and imposed his Chief Minister on Sindh just as the PPP did it. It would be a grave mistake if Sindhis assumed that any political leader would help resolve this issue for them. The civil society has to take it upon itself to beat the crisis. It does not matter who the winner of election is. Sindhis will keep losing until they are able to get up on their own to safeguard their interests. We simply cannot afford any more to depend that a political party that is popular in Punjab to protect Sindh rights.

In objecting to the Barrister Ghumro’s legal petition, adi Sarah Zaman raises the following seven (7) questions: 1. Was the decision to file a petition by Barrister Ghumro approved by the Sindh Bachayo Committee? 2. Is the legal petition in the interest of Sindhis? 3. Does the Sindh Bachayo Committee agree with the main argument of the Barrister Ghumro’s petition? 4. Is this not an action to protect MQM and hurt Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League? 5. Is the present government in Islamabad doing what one would say the “back foot playing” game to push back Nawaz Sharif? 6. Can Sindh afford to bear the loss if the Supreme Court gives the decision that is not acceptable by Sindhis? 7. Were the intellectuals, writers, and poets consulted on the filing of the legal petition and were they in agreement?

Other than pointing out another legal point, adi Zaman has neither analyzed nor provided any answers to the questions raised by her. On the legal point, if I am reading correctly, she says “Since the (SPLGA) Ordinance was sent on October 11th in the form of a ‘Bill’ to the Governor of Sindh for his approval. That bill, according to newspaper reports was signed by the Governor and sent to Ministry of law on 18th October. For this reason the petition can be nullified. The attorney of Barrister sahib should have waited when the representative of Sindh would have come on November 8th”. Frankly I cannot make head and tail of this argument and would appreciate anyone to clarify as to what adi Zaman means by this argument?

I am in 100% agreement adi Zaman’s advice to Sindh intellectuals and leaders that it is their duty to awaken the people and not to mislead Sindhis in taking the steps that would lead them to further misery.

She also says that Barrister Ghumro has taken 180 degrees turn from what he said before on the issue of SPLGA and his action of filing petition. I have tried to researched this alleged “turn about” by Barrister Ghumro but cannot find any evidence. Once again, I would appreciate anyone to clarify as to what adi Zaman means by this allegation?

Another point that adi Zama makes is that Sindhis in London decided to focus on awakening people in Sindh instead of demonstrating in front of 10 Downing Street and shouting “Balle Balle..” or going to international forums and courts. First of all, Sindhis never shout “Balle, Balle…”, second, to the best of my recollection WSC held an impressive demonstration against SPLGA in London and many SANA GTA Chapter members gathered to tell Canadian authorities about how SPLGA violated human rights of Sindhis.

I am very much concerned about the campaign against one of the most active champion of Sindh Rights Barrister Ghumro. He has fought for Sindhi Rights in many innovative ways and has been source of most intelligent and thoroughly researched legal advice to Sindhis. I would trust him any day more than any urban or rural wadero or any political party in Pakistan. I abhor any attempts to create rift among Sindh’s intellectuals, poets, and writers. I believe that we should talk to every one and any one but please do not insist that Sindhis refrain from adapting an independent line of action and get on the bandwagon of Nawaz Sharif, Pir Pagaro, Altaf Hussain, Imran Khan, or Asif Zardari. This would hurt Sindhis both in the long term and short term.

Our intellectuals, poets, and writers had been in slumber for quite sometime and now that they are wakening and activating themselves, it will be a unforgivable crime to create a rift among them so that one or other political party wins the next elections in Pakistan. In the long run, only Sindh’s intellectuals, poets, writers, and other civil society will keep the candle of Sindhiat alive and help Sindhis to defeat SPLGA just like they defeated “one unit”.

Continue reading Petition Challenging SPLGA – Support from North American Sindhis

How to say yes to online censorship

By Jahanzaib Haque

Excerpt;

….. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) must issue a list of the blocked websites with explanations for who blocked the site and for what reason, under which law, along with the length of the ban. No ban should be put in place without court approval and due discourse with independent entities set up to safeguard the rights of the citizens. Any ban on a site should be preceded by a prior warning sent to the webmaster, possibly including a two/three strike system. A notice of an implemented ban should be sent to the site owners and announced publicly and there should be a clearly established system for challenging the ban.

As yet, the PTA and the government have made no overtures to suggest they want to be held accountable or want to develop a system after consultation with the citizens they serve. Till they do, the ongoing and upcoming censorship of the internet in Pakistan must be fought tooth and nail.

Read more: The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2012.

Desis stay away from Occupy Wall Street

by Dr. Qaisar Abbas

Excerpt;

While the American silent majority has spoken lodging its protest throughout America, the so-called model minority of Desis seems to be in a state of perpetual silence. The affluent are part of a capitalist system which they cannot afford to oppose anyway. On the other hand, the disadvantaged communities of the diaspora are so isolated from the American society; they do not feel to be part of a grassroots movement …

…. The grassroots agitation against the exploitative capitalist system is challenging the powerful businessmen, financial institutions and politicians in the United States. The recent issue of the progressive journal “The Nation” reports the deplorable economic conditions in the United States in these figures:

  • Twenty five million Americans are unemployed who are desperately looking for jobs
  • While corporate CEOs are paid handsomely, wages of 70% Americans without college education are declining
  • One in 6 American lives below the poverty line
  • One in four homes, considered to be the largest asset for most Americans, is at the verge of foreclosure and eviction by banks for nonpayment of mortgage loans
  • Fifty million people are unable to afford health insurance as healthcare costs are soaring
  • The economy works well for the rich 1% who control 40% of the wealth
  • Multinationals have conveniently transferred domestic jobs in other countries to reduce production costs
  • The rising cost of education is becoming unbearable for youth and they are burdened with a record high education loans ….

Read more » ViewPoint

Violence in Karachi exposes deep divides

By Karin Brulliard

SINDH: KARACHI, Pakistan — A trash-strewn dusty street here became a front line in recent ethnic battles that killed 100 people in four days.

Now, in the aftermath, residents speak of the street as though it is a chasm, dividing the population of this oceanside city of 18 million and even Pakistan itself.

On one side, people known as Mohajirs, long the dominant group in this economic hub, seethingly point to bullet-scarred and burned houses and demand a new province that would be theirs alone. On the other side, Pashtuns who migrated here in recent years after fleeing an Islamist insurgency in their native northwest also point to bullet holes, and some express worry that a sort of ethnic cleansing is to come.

“Now they are asking for their own province,” Adnan Khan, a Pashtun whose brother was fatally shot by unknown assailants this month, said of the Mohajirs. “Next maybe they will ask for their own country.”

Karachi, Pakistan’s most diverse city, is once more spewing violence that goes unchecked by police and is stoked by thuggish politicians. While the fierce Taliban insurgency seeks to overthrow the government from mountain hideouts hundreds of miles away, the city’s battles are laying bare the deep ethnic, political and sectarian cleavages that pose an additional threat to this fragile federation — as well as an impediment to its unity against Islamist militancy.

When Pakistan parted from India in 1947, it fused vast spans of ethnically and linguistically distinct populations under the common cause of Islam. But the state has struggled to define Islam’s role as a social adhesive. The powerful, Punjabi-dominated military, meanwhile, has aimed to suppress various nationalist movements, even while sometimes backing ethnic and sectarian groups as tools for influence. Politics remain cutthroat and largely localized. The result, some say, is a nation hobbled — and increasingly bloodied — by factionalism.

“Why are they fighting in Karachi? Because they have not become Pakistani yet. People have not become a nation,” said Syed Jalal Mahmood Shah, the Karachi-based leader of a small nationalist party that represents people native to surrounding Sindh province. Mohajirs, like Pashtuns, are themselves migrants to Karachi: They are Urdu-speaking Muslims who fled Hindu-majority India at partition.

Escalating clashes

Shifting demographics are the root of the fighting in Karachi, where an influx of ethnic Pashtuns from the war-torn region along the Afghan border is challenging the Mohajirs’ long-standing grip on the city. The struggle is waged through assassinations, land-grabbing and extortion, and it is carried out by gangs widely described as armed wings of ethnically based political parties. The Urdu speakers, represented by the dominant Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM, accuse the Pashtuns of sheltering terrorists in Karachi; the MQM’s main rival, the Awami National Party, or ANP, says the city’s 4 million Pashtuns are ignored politically. But the violence is escalating to new levels, and residents say ethnic tensions are sharpening.

Courtesy: → Washington Post

AJK elections: Theatre of the absurd

Excerpt:

….. Myths proliferate. The AJK assembly represents Azad Kashmir and the territory administered by India across the Line of Control. Since the refugees from the other side are scattered all over Pakistan, AJK elections for seats from the ‘other side’ are held in other provinces too. The MQM, which had won two seats last time, wanted to retain them both, but the PPP wanted one. When the MQM did not agree, the inspector-general of the Sindh police reported that conditions for polls in Sindh were not good, thus allowing the government to postpone voting. This has led to another PPP-MQM rift which promises to get worse in the coming days, with MQM leader Altaf Hussain saying that “the end of the PPP has begun”.

Everybody knows that India rules Kashmir from New Delhi, calling the head of the executive there chief minister; Pakistan has sensationalised the myth by calling the AJK chief executive the prime minister while ruling AJK from Islamabad. Once, the Muslim Conference was the blue-eyed boy of the establishment. Under General Ziaul Haq, Sardar Qayyum and Nawaz Sharif were equal beneficiaries at the fountainhead of power. The Muslim Conference thought it could go along with President Pervez Musharraf and switch off jihad. Sardar Atique is blameless today. The fact is that the establishment has rolled back the Musharraf policy and dumped his party.

A ‘flexible’ President Asif Ali Zardari has taken the PPP into the embrace of the establishment, concerned about reviving the ‘safe havens’ scaled down by Musharraf. On the other hand, the PML-N is challenging the establishment, not because of any difference in its thinking, but because of the PPP. It can switch off its intense criticism of the army if the latter dumps the PPP. The military is not particularly enamoured of the PPP. Furthermore, in comparison with the PML-N, it is less fearful of the PPP because of the PML-N’s reach and clout in the country’s most populous province. And clout matters within the officers’ corps. ….

To read complete editorial: → The Express Tribune

THIS ARTICLE SHOWS NO HOPE FOR POOR PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN IN NEAR FUTURE

Something has changed

By: Huma Yusuf

TWO weeks after Abbottabad, the jury’s still out on Pakistan. Who knew? Who didn’t? And does anyone at all feel bad about the whole thing?

While international journalists and US lawmakers continue to ask these questions, Pakistan observers are at pains to point out that the answers matter little given that nothing has changed — the status quo has been maintained.

Continue reading THIS ARTICLE SHOWS NO HOPE FOR POOR PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN IN NEAR FUTURE

A Primer on Class Struggle

by Michael Schwalbe

When we study Marx in my graduate social theory course, it never fails that at least one student will say (approximately), “Class struggle didn’t escalate in the way Marx expected. In modern capitalist societies class struggle has disappeared. So isn’t it clear that Marx was wrong and his ideas are of little value today?

I respond by challenging the premise that class struggle has disappeared. On the contrary, I say that class struggle is going on all the time in every major institution of society. One just has to learn how to recognize it. …

Read more : Common Dreams

The Chinese Cozy Up to the Pakistanis

by Selig S. Harrison

China’s expanding reach is a natural and acceptable accompaniment of its growing power—but only up to a point.

Beijing is understandably challenging a century of U.S. dominance in the Pacific and the South China Sea immediately adjacent to its shores. But the aggressive effort to block Indian hegemony in South Asia, reflected in its growing ties with Pakistan and its territorial claim to the adjacent northeast state of Arunachal Pradesh (for which there is no historical basis) is more ominous.

In contrast to its studied neutrality on the Kashmir issue in past decades, Beijing is now openly supportive of Pakistan and is establishing its economic and political influence both in Pakistan-occupied Azad (Free) Kashmir and in the Himalayan state of Gilgit-Baltistan. …

Read more : The National Interest