Tag Archives: crowd

I am ashamed ….

By: Raza Habib Raja

One of the most important days of my life occurred in 1994. At times a tragic event changes you as a person. They say and I agree that tragedy more than anything else has the potential to bring about change. Perhaps tragedy evokes negative emotions like hurt, fear, embarrassment and revulsion. Emotions which do not reinforce your existing state of mind but force you to look into the status quo with a critical eye.

That day changed my life forever. I had woken up and was reading the newspaper when a two column headline caught my eye. According to that news story, a crowd of several thousand had burnt a man alive as a punishment for desecrating Quran in the city of Gujranwala. The man’s name was Hafiz Sajjad Tariq and he had accidently dropped Quran on a burning stove. Being a religious person, he panicked and merely uttered words “ Oh God, I have sinned and burnt Quran”, words that were unfortunately heard by a neighbor who had just entered the house. The neighbor went out and started screaming hat Hafiz had burnt Quran.

What followed next was horrifying but perhaps not unusual. Soon there were announcements from the loud speakers (I hate that device) that Hafiz had burnt the Quran. The mullahs were urging Muslims to show their “love” for Islam and the Muslims in that city obliged. Hafiz was dragged out of his home and beaten up. At that point police came and took Hafiz into protective custody. But charged up Muslims wanted “justice” and so a mob of thousands gathered outside the police station and demanded that Hafiz should be handed over to them. The police buckled under pressure and handed Hafiz to the crowd. Crowd stoned him to death and then burnt his body. Afterwards the burnt corpse was dragged in the streets.

I felt a nauseated revulsion and just put the newspaper down. That fateful day changed my life forever. That incident demonstrated the flip side of “reverence” of religion. It showed that one could easily vent out his/her (by the way some of our Muslim sisters also actively participated) gutter instincts under the excuse of “reverence”.

Continue reading I am ashamed ….

Imran Khan Fails in Sindh

By: Zafar Imam

Contrary to many media reports influenced by Imran-o-Phobia, PTI Jalsa in Hyderabad was a plain failure.

Imran Khan – the emerging Tea Partier of Pakistan- held a public meeting (so-called Tsunami) in Hyderabad on 22 June, 2012 which was not more than a small tide. It ran-over to coast, smashed and died. Here I am writing an eye witness account, because I was present in the SRTC ground where it was held.

This event started very late, after 8 p.m. in evening. Before Imran Khan, PTI’s other main leaders took to stage to address the crowd. His was the last speech, which he delivered round about 9.00 pm.

There was a huge deployment of Police and rangers. Barbed wires covered most of the surrounding area. All the nearby shops and hotels were ordered to shut off their business. It felt like he is not a man opposing the Government, but a man enjoying all official protocols and security arrangements which normally an in-government politician would enjoy. SRTC ground is on the same road a few kilometers ahead where Hyderabad cantonment falls. All security arrangements, official level protocol and strategic location of the event near Hyderabad cantonment did not surprise me. Today every Tom, Dick and Harry down the street knows that he is the new found darling of Pakistani establishment.

Most of the crowd was hired. Yes, hired. They belonged to backward areas like Tharparkar and local Muzhiks of nearby towns, who were loaded into buses and driven to SRTC ground in Hyderabad. Anybody visiting the ground from backside would know this truth. Crowd was cunningly arranged in a manner that those belonging to city and looking well-dressed ‘Jazbaati Nojwans’ (angry young men) were programmed to be present in front rows, and those belonging to backward areas, seemingly hired, were programmed to sit in back benches. This sitting arrangement was designed to dodge rolling cameras, which would focus front rows most of the time and will show blurred image of backward rows, such that the ground would seem filled with crowd and cast an impression of ‘Tsunami. Most of the fans of PTI flocking into Imran Khan’s public gatherings are usually his cricket fans too. He had already achieved status of a cricket celebrity in Pakistan before entering politics. Till date, people know him more as a cricketer than a politician. This identity crisis is a challenge for Imran Khan which will ultimately give him tough time in upcoming elections.

As soon as Imran Khan started his speech, people became restless because they were only waiting to see him and by now they had seen him. Finish. They had not gone there to listen to his speech; but for fun. Anybody present in middle of the ground could easily take this feeling with him that people were not listening to him; instead they were talking loudly, crying and whistling. One could hardly listen to what he was saying.

Just after about 8 minutes of his speech, people were seen flocking out of the ground. Groups of 30, 40 people during his speech started to leave ground.

And why?

Because celebrity had finally appeared and it was worth nothing more than his mere appearance.

Within 15 to 20 minutes, ground was almost half empty! Ghosh! Imran Khan failed in Hyderabad. And Hyderabad is political and cultural center of Sindh. We could easily deduce that Imran Khan failed in Sindh. Just 20 minutes after he had started speech, ground was short of crowd and he had to complete his speech in haste. Quickly after that lights were shut off, SRTC ground and nearby roads fell dead silent. It ended so quickly, so rapidly. Hardly 5-8 thousand people were present in the ground against the claims of PTI.

Sindh is different; it has no room for such neo-conservative Pakistani patriotic chauvinism.

Observations before Jalsa

Before this event I had visited nearby areas of SRTC ground at daytime. I snapped some photographs and talked to people to know how they’ll respond to Imran Khan’s Jalsa at night?

In nearby streets and neighborhood where wall posters were affixed and banners were hanged, people showed a silent dissent with Imran Khan. I knew it from torn wall posters and banners in nearby areas. Clearly, people did not want him here. Generally in Sindh, people leave political posters, wallpapers and banners hanged wherever they are. This was a clear message that people already recognize him as a phantom of establishment.

This so-called ‘Tsunami’ was a failed scene of a small tide dying away. Sindh is more politically aware in this regard because it knows who is for them and who is not for them. It recognizes Talibans in guise of Imran Khan; it knows who is who and what is what. Neo-conservative, revivalist, patriotic chauvinist brand of politics has to face very tough time in Sindh.

Courtesy: http://zafarimam.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/imran-khan-fails-in-sindh/

Bound by hatred of the US, Pakistan extremists and politicians join hands to shake government – Chicago Tribune

By: ASHRAF KHAN

Associated Press – KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Bound together by hatred of the United States and support for insurgents fighting in Afghanistan, a revived coalition of supposedly banned Islamist extremists and rightwing political parties is drawing large crowds across Pakistan.

The emergence of the “Defend Pakistan Council” movement has raised suspicions that the group has approval from elements in the powerful military and security establishment, aiming to bolster public support for a hardline position. The group’s rise comes as the military is trying to assert its position in renegotiating its troubled relationship with the United States and as Pakistan prepares for elections likely to take place later this year.

Some of the leading lights in the Defend Pakistan Council have traditionally been seen as close to the security establishment, which has a long history of propping up radicals to defend its domestic interests or fight in India and Afghanistan.

On Sunday, the group’s bandwagon rolled into Karachi, the country’s commercial heart.

Between 20,000 and 30,000 men gathered close to a monument to Pakistan’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, whose vision of a liberal, secular Pakistan is often contrasted to the rise of hardline, often violent groups in the country.

The star of the gathering was Hafiz Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a front group for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group accused by India and the West of sending Pakistani militants by boat to Mumbai in 2008 where they killed 166 people in attacks on a hotel and other sites.

“We demand Pakistani rulers quit the alliance with America,” said Saeed, who was placed under house arrest after the Mumbai attacks but has slowly re-emerged in public, without a response from authorities. “There can be no compromise on the freedom and sovereignty of the country.”

Members of Dawa patrolled the rally, some armed with automatic weapons, others on horseback.

Also represented on stage and in the crowd were Sipah-e-Sahaba, a feared Sunni extremist group that has carried out scores of attacks on minority Shiites in recent years. Its members have reportedly formed alliances with al-Qaida operatives in Pakistan.

A large banner that hung over the stage read “Wake up, countrymen, break the shackles of American slavery.”

That anti-American message has been amplified by the Pakistani army since U.S. airstrikes along the Afghan border in late November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The Pakistani army accused the U.S. of deliberately targeting the outposts, rejecting American assertions it was mistake.

Pakistan retaliated by closing its western border to NATO and U.S military supplies into Afghanistan, a key supply line for the war. Saeed and other speakers threatened civil disobedience if Pakistan reopens it. Their stance could hamper American hopes that Islamabad will quietly reopen the route in the coming weeks.

“We vow that the NATO supply will never be restored,” he said.

The alliance groups many of the same parties and clerics that banded together after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, capitalizing on anti-American sentiment. It formed a political alliance that won 50 seats in elections that took place in 2002.

The current government, which is broadly pro-American and doesn’t espouse political Islam, is under pressure from the courts and opposition parties. Elections are now seen as likely later this year, and the revival of the “Defend Pakistan” group appears to be a push by politicians grouped within it to win votes among the legions of Pakistanis who subscribe to Islamist views.

It could also be attempt by the army to put pressure on the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, which has repeatedly clashed with the generals since taking power in 2008 and has tried to get closer ties with India. The group has organized large rallies in several Pakistan cities; next week it plans a gathering in the capital, Islamabad.

Many of the speakers in Karachi rallied the crowds with warnings that Pakistan was under threat, and Islam its only defense.

Do you swear to fight back with Islamic spirit, honor and dignity if anyone, whether American, NATO, Israel or India attack Pakistan?” asked Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, head of a hardline school that has sent thousands of people to fight in Afghanistan over the last 10 years.

Jihad! Jihad!” the crowd roared.

Speaker after speaker also touted the army line on India, saying the neighboring country represents an existential threat to Pakistan. This stance justifies the security state that has been established since the two nations broke apart from the British-ruled subcontinent in 1947.

Liberals, democrats and peace activists have been trying for years to bring India and Pakistan closer together. But in the past, the army has funded and trained Islamic militant groups and their umbrella organizations to battle Indian forces in Kashmir, the disputed territory at the heart of the rivalry between the two countries.

The security establishment of this country desires that ultra-radical parties should be brought into politics so that their doctrine against India, America or Israel could be infused to the masses,” said Tauseef Ahmed, the head of the Mass Communication department at the Federal Urdu University.

Also at the Karachi rally was Hamid Gul, a former general who headed the country’s spy agency in the late 1980s when Pakistan and the U.S. were supporting militants in their fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He has since become a leading voice in the media against America and in support of the Taliban. Documents released by the whistleblower site Wikileaks alleged he retained ties to the insurgency there, a charge he has denied.

Ejaz Haider, a security analyst, said the security establishment should be “checked for serious dementia if it was using the council for its own purposes, given that many of its members have been linked to terrorism that is taking a deadly toll inside Pakistan.

Continue reading Bound by hatred of the US, Pakistan extremists and politicians join hands to shake government – Chicago Tribune

Imran Khan: a very Punjabi takedown in Kasur

By Omar

In his hurry to reach the prime minister’s chair, great cricketer and philanthropist Imran Khan has recently started acquiring every lota available on the Pakistani political scene (Lota, or ablution vessel, is the colloquial term for political opportunists who switch parties, frequently at a signal from our master strategists in Aabpara). His latest acquisition is Mr Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, formerly foreign minister under Pervez Musharraf (and therefore part and parcel of the foreign policy that IK always describes as treacherous, anti-Muslim, sellout, disastrous, CIA-inspired, etc etc). Mr Kasuri, an otherwise respectable elder statesman from kasur, joined IK at a rally there. But somehow, the crowd spoiled the glorious occasion by running away with the chairs after the public meeting ended.

Hilarious video:

Who knows, maybe it was spontaneous, but I suspect that the fix was in…IK is remarkably disconnected from everyday Punjabi life and I think someone in the PMLN had the bright idea of teaching him “aatey daal ka bhao” (the price of flour and lentils…ie the state of affairs on the ground as opposed to how it looks from his evacuee property in Zaman Park). It wouldnt have taken much. A wink and a nod and a few professional saboteurs (the kind who are available in any village to “spoil” a rival’s wedding feast or other big occasion) would have started the free for all…after that, its a self-catalytic process. ….

Read more » Brown Pundits

Great Imran Khan interview with Karan Thapar

By Omar Ali

I am delighted to see Imran Khan’s interview. Its a very good interview (transcript here as well:http://www.defence.pk/forums/kashmir-war/140450-put-kashmir-backburner-built-trust.html). It may be backpedalled very soon by Shireen Mazari and company..but if he sticks to these views with equal determination IN Pakistan, then the ISI-Paknationalist crowd (who have been excited by him recently, no doubt about it, look it up) will run away from him.
I will admit that I thought when push comes to shove, he will edge closer to the Shireen Mazari faction, not closer to the liberal faction. Lets see, maybe I was wrong. Either way, the excitement in the IK fans will split..his current rise is fueled by very disparate groups. When he starts committing, he will have to alienate some factions. It will be hard to make all of them happy. In THIS interview, he is clearly taking a very sensible line. If he sticks to it, I will become his supporter, but many others who are currently his vigorous supporters will no longer be with him.
The other problem that will invariably come up is that some part of his vision is unrealistic. He implies that he will deweaponise Pakistan and get rid of all militant groups. But armed groups are not disarmed by unarmed ones. He will have to use the army to do so. That part may turn out to be far nastier and harder than he seems to think. That remains one of my problems with Khan sahib. That he does not regard the Islamist jihadist network as a real force, with real supporters inside the deep state. He will be disabused of his notions I am afraid.
I will be happy to have been wrong about Khan sahib if he turns out to be a super-clever liberal who not only sticks to liberal ideas in power, but understands power so well that he manages to carry it off and disarm militants and get rid of their supporters in the state and use force where needed in a smart way and do all that while retaining the support of the Pakistani people. THAT will be wonderful and worth any humiliation as “an analyst who turned out to be wrong”.But my cynical side still thinks that he doesnt fully grasp (or even partly grasp) what the obstacles to such a course are likely to be..or that the “paknationalist” dream is itself a source of many of these problems and that any naive belief in Allama Iqbal, Jinnah and Pakistani nationalism is not compatible with the liberal vision he propounds here.
But good luck to him if this is what he is going to try….

btw, IK fans take note, the one possibility I am still avoiding is the one that he is so capable of double-talk that all this is a ruse. In some ways, I am more of an IK fan than most; I dont think he is flat-out lying.

some quotes from the interview:

… I am not only making a promise to the Indian people, I think I am making a promise to anyone. The biggest problem the United States faces, you know they worry about terrorism from Pakistani soil. Its not just India who is worried. If I cannot stop terrorism from Pakistani soil, I would rather not be the Prime Minister.

…Because I am the one who has received so much love in India. I grew up hating India because I grew up in Lahore and so there were so much massacres of 1947 and so much bloodshed and anger. But as I started touring India, I got such love and friendship there. All this disappeared. And then my closest friend who you also know, Vikram was Indian. So we became very close. So, as time passed I realised that we’ve so much similar history, culture compared to the western countries. We have so much in common. There is so much the people of two countries can benefit if we have civilised relationship.

Courtesy: BrownPundits

Yemen protesters: “First Mubarak, now Ali”

From Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) — Hundreds of anti-government protesters marched toward a presidential palace in Yemen on Sunday, calling for regime change in the Middle Eastern country.

Some of them chanted, “First Mubarak, now Ali,” referring to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Hosni Mubarak, who recently resigned as president of Egypt after nearly 30 years in power.

Security forces put up a barbed wire barricade and blocked the protesters’ path about two miles from the palace. At that point, the situation intensified as protesters turned away and attempted to reach the palace through side streets.

Clashes between protesters and police were reported by witnesses.

According to Tawakkol Karman, a prominent Yemeni rights activist and president of Women Journalists Without Chains, anti-riot police then “went into the crowd of protesters with batons and tasers,” attempting to disperse them. Karman said she and other protesters were hit with sticks and that at least 12 people were arrested. …

Read more : CNN

How Democracy Can Work in the Middle East

By Fareed Zakaria

When Frank Wisner, the seasoned U.S. diplomat and envoy of President Obama, met with Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday, Feb. 1, the scene must have been familiar to both men. For 30 years, American diplomats would enter one of the lavish palaces in Heliopolis, the neighborhood in Cairo from which Mubarak ruled Egypt. The Egyptian President would receive the American warmly, and the two would begin to talk about American-Egyptian relations and the fate of Middle East peace. Then the American might gently raise the issue of political reform. The President would tense up and snap back, “If I do what you want, the Islamic fundamentalists will seize power.” The conversation would return to the latest twist in the peace process.

It is quite likely that a version of this exchange took place on that Tuesday. Mubarak would surely have warned Wisner that without him, Egypt would fall prey to the radicalism of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s Islamist political movement. He has often reminded visitors of the U.S.’s folly in Iran in 1979, when it withdrew support for a staunch ally, the Shah, only to see the regime replaced by a nasty anti-American theocracy. But this time, the U.S. diplomat had a different response to the Egyptian President’s arguments. It was time for the transition to begin. (Watch a TIME video on the revolt in Egypt.)

And that was the message Obama delivered to Mubarak when the two spoke on the phone on Feb. 1. “It was a tough conversation,” said an Administration official. Senior national-security aides gathered around a speakerphone in the Oval Office to listen to the call. Mubarak made it clear how difficult the uprising had been for him personally; Obama pressed the Egyptian leader to refrain from any violent response to the hundreds of thousands in the streets. But a day later, those streets — which had been remarkably peaceful since the demonstrations began — turned violent. In Cairo, Mubarak supporters, some of them wading into crowds on horseback, began battering protesters.

It was a reminder that the precise course that Egypt’s revolution will take over the next few days and weeks cannot be known. The clashes between the groups supporting and opposing the government mark a new phase in the conflict. The regime has many who live off its patronage, and they could fight to keep their power. But the opposition is now energized and empowered. And the world — and the U.S. — has put Mubarak on notice.
Read more: Time

Pakistan radicals rule the streets

by Amanda Hodge

TENS of thousands of people crowded the streets of Lahore late on Sunday demanding freedom for the assassin of Punjab governor Salman Taseer.

The protestors are also demanding death for the US consular official who killed two suspected armed robbers in self-defence.

Demonstrators from religious parties Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan and the banned terrorist-linked charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa held banners in support of Mumtaz Qadri — the police guard who killed Taseer last month because the governor had supported changes to Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws.

Opposition party leaders from more mainstream parties also lined up to assure the protesters they would never support changes to the blasphemy law and would quit the National Assembly should the government attempt to amend them.

Protesters chanted slogans such as “Free Mumtaz Qadri” while demanding the harshest penalty for Raymond Davis, a US consular official who was arrested for double murder on Friday after shooting two armed motorcyclists he feared were about to rob him.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

“We warn the government and administration that . . . if they help the arrested American illegally, then this crowd will surround the US embassy and presidential palace in Islamabad,” one official from the Jamiat Ulema Islam party said.

The US has demanded Mr Davis’s release, claiming he has diplomatic immunity, but the Pakistani government says the courts should decide his fate.

In another corner of the Punjab’s once feted cultural capital, 500 people attended a peace rally and remembrance vigil for the slain governor.

Among them was liberal commentator Raza Rumi, who conceded yesterday: “It’s not a good time to be a liberal in Pakistan.

“Forget liberal — it’s not a good time to be a moderate.”

Analysts say the fact that among the speakers at the larger rally was JUD founder Hafiz Saeed, believed to have also founded terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, says much about the complicity of state forces in Pakistan’s extremist groundswell.

But just as telling was who was sharing the podium.

Members of Imran Khan’s so-called moderate Tehreek-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice) party also spoke in support of the blasphemy laws.

“All the major political parties from the Right and the centre were there, which shows the Right is capturing more and more political space,” says Rumi. …

Read more : The Australian

The dogmas of Fatwa and Sharia Laws still dominate million of Muslim lives

Sharia Laws — Heavy Deception With Abusive Divinity

The dogmas of Fatwa and Sharia Laws still dominate million of Muslim lives

by Mesbah Uddin

No doubt, early Islam possessed many fine and noble attributes. But Islam couldn’t have swept Arabia and its adjacent lands so fabulously if Sharia Laws and Fatwa had been the models of Islamic edicts at that time.

It is an irony to iron-out the deep wrinkles of Islam, we know today. Corrupted beliefs are too profoundly ingrained in Islam. The dogmas of Fatwa and Sharia Laws still dominate million of Muslim lives and the vulnerable ones get succumb to Fatwa’s claws.

A year before his death and before the Koran was compiled, Prophet Muhammad made his last pilgrimage from Medina to Mecca. There He made a great sermon to his people. The sermon breathed a spirit of generosity. The Muslims created a society more free from widespread cruelty and social oppression than any society had ever been in the world before.

But that was then – the prophetic Islam. Today, Islam encompasses numerous fragments, interpretations and the dreadful echoes of Sharia Laws. The Sharia Laws are much heavier on one side. It is the side that is not the Koran but the Hadith. It might surprize the readers that stoning to death” cannot be traced anywhere in the Koran, but it is profusely enshrined in the pages of the Hadith. Obviously the Hadith narrators borrowed it from a famous story in the Christian Bible – the New Testament, and passed it in the name of Prophet Muhammad.

The story (John: 8) tells us that some Jewish crowd brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand before Jesus, and then said to him: “Now, master, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. According to the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women to death. Now, what do you say about it?’ After they persisted in their questioning, Jesus finally straightened up and said simply, “Let the one among you who has never sinned throw the first stone at her.” …

Read more : Bangladesh-web

Flight of Reason – by Aamer Ahmed Khan

We published two photo galleries on BBC’s Urdu website last Friday. One on the Jamaat-e-Islami’s youth wing Shabab-e-Milli’s tribute to Mumtaz Qadri’s father in Rawalpindi and the other on the candlelit vigil in Lahore in memory of the slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.

As expected, comments started to pour in almost instantly. The most telling among them simply said: “Please compare the crowd in the two, for every Taseer mourner, there are at least 50 Qadri supporters.” If nothing else, it says a lot about the state of siege in which liberal opinion finds itself, as more and more people flock behind Mr Qadri, a cold-blooded killer who had been painstakingly planning Taseer’s murder for weeks before he struck.

Irrespective of the number of people who gathered for the vigil in Lahore, I am stunned at their courage in standing up to a crazed mob that neither understands its religion nor the man who brought it to them. It is a mob of moral cheats that has become religiously, politically, intellectually and morally so bankrupt that it seems to have convinced itself that its only salvation lies in baying for innocent blood.

Let us give ourselves some idea of how courageous the dozens who flocked to the vigil in Lahore really are. Since the glowing tribute paid to Qadri by lawyers at his first court appearance, we have been trying to contact the lawyer leadership that spearheaded the civil society movement only three years ago to bring down General Musharraf’s dictatorship. In that movement, millions around the world saw the seeds of a politics that Pakistan has desperately been waiting for all its life — a politics that flows from the combined intellect of the mobile middle class instead of dynastic politics, hereditary constituencies and endemic corruption.

Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed, Aitzaz Ahsan, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Justice (retd) Tariq Mahmood became household names as tens of thousands of people rallied behind them wherever they went. For weeks, no political talk show in the country was considered complete without at least one of them in the chair. Since Taseer’s murder, they simply seemed to have vanished into thin air.

We finally managed to get through to two of them: one simply said that we are free to call him a coward if we want to but he doesn’t want to comment on the issue at all. The other one went even further: he said he would not even allow us to report that he was contacted for his opinion on the issue.

Predictably, Asma Jahangir was the honourable exception who not only spoke in detail about the atrocity against Taseer but was candid and unambiguous in her criticism of the legal fraternity’s sudden gush for a killer. But then, one has always known her to be one of the bravest women in the country.

Which brings to mind another brave woman who dared to bring a bill to the National Assembly aimed at amending some of the more draconian provisions of a law that has spawned nothing but injustice in the quarter century of its existence. Our crazed mob has distributed pamphlets advocating that she must meet the same fate as Mr Taseer. I am proud to have worked for her at Herald for six years. She was one of the bravest editors I know. Today, she has been forced into abandoning her public life by the tyranny of bloodthirsty criminals masquerading as religious zealots.

President Asif Ali Zardari’s administration has already surrendered to these criminals. It is pointless to expect him to fight this battle. However unfortunate as it may be for the liberals, they do not have the luxury to follow suit. They have to go on fighting even if their battle is far more dangerous than the one Pakistan has been fighting in its tribal areas for the last 10 years.

Courtesy: http://www.columnspk.com/flight-of-reason-by-aamer-ahmed-khan/

Pakistan: Lawyers or mobsters?

The way lawyers led by Fazal-ur-Rehman Niazi, president PML (N) lawyers’ wing in Rawalpindi, came out in support of Mumtaz Qadri, was unethical and shameful. It not only violates the very basic rules of the legal profession, it expressed admiration for intolerance and fanaticism. Federal Minister of Law, Babar Awan, may be trying to get political mileage by categorizing the martyrdom of Salman Taseer as political because of Niazi’s actions; but he has a point: PML (N) is part of the crowd that abets religious extremism.

The legal profession includes judges, lawyers and other functionaries involved in the court system. Legal professionals of all levels are supposed to uphold the existing laws and try to implement them. Even when a professed murderer is on trial, lawyers make sure that all legal requirements are being fulfilled. A legal professional is duty bound not to become part of sedition or exonerate an accused outside the court of law. However, all such rules were violated when Niazi led a crowd of lawyers that showered rose petals on self-confessed murderer Malik Mumtaz Qadri.

If a legal professional cannot uphold a simple rule that no has the right—come what may—to take another person’s life, then he is part of a wild mob rather than a member of the legal community. A lawyer may have private biases against certain type of people but he is not supposed to publically endorse an illegal activity. Violating this basic rule, Mr. Niazi’s lawyer crowd and all the other who are volunteering to defend him are proving themselves to be nothing more than a lawless gang. Even if every Pakistani lawyer joins the killer-adoring crowd, it will still be a lawless gang. Their jackets and ties cannot cover this ugly reality.

The lawyer’s crowd in this case was no different than the fatwa issuing mullahs. Actually, the lawyers were confirming that mullahs’ fatwas are more valid than the country’s law. By adoring and idealizing killer Qadri, the lawyers’ crowd was condoning murder by an individual who can act as his own judge, jury and executioner. I wish the mullahs formally take over the court system and then we will see how these lawyers earn their bread and butter. All of them will have to go back to madrassas to become advocates in Qazi courts. These lawyers have no clue that they are cutting their own feet by supporting fatwas at the expense of the country’s laws. Evidently, Pakistani situation is very grave: If the defenders of the law turn into the biggest law breakers then the future is very bleak. It is just like setting your own house on fire.

The very fact that the lawyers’ crowd was led by a PML (N) leader shows that, at its base, the ruling party of Punjab is also comprised of fanatic mobsters who have no respect for the law. Advocate Niazi was not the only PML (N) leader who expressed admiration for the killer: PML (N) spokesman, Sidique-ul-Farooq also gave a similar spin to this murder by saying the Taseer was going to be murdered any way by someone if not killer Qadri. This means that Punjab government was aware of the danger and it did not do much about it. PML (N) may not be part of a conspiracy to kill Taseer but it is part of the crowd that has created an environment of extremist religion. After all, it was in Nawaz Sharif’s tenure as prime minister, that the mandatory death sentence was added to the Zia era blasphemy law.

The degeneration of some lawyers groups into mobster gangs is the most heart breaking development. People like us had thought that the lawyers’ movement has ushered in a new era where Pakistan will be run by law and order. But it has been proven over the months that our conclusion was a premature half-truth. Probably, the silent majority of lawyers led by Aitzaz Ahsan and Asma Jahangir are still the ray of hope. But they should know if they don’t rise to defend the rule of law their profession is in jeopardy. The lawyers’ crowd, as a tool in the hands of Mullah Shahi, is most lethal and destructive. The silent majority of lawyers has to find out a way to fight the lawyer mobster gangs.

Courtesy:  http://www.wichaar.com/news/285/ARTICLE/23526/2011-01-08.html

Govt of Pakistan has lost all control? Chaos over Mumtaz Qadri’s court appearance.

Chaos over Mumtaz Qadri’s court appearance

The crowd in Rawalpindi set up a cordon preventing the judge from leaving for Islamabad for the hearing.

ISLAMABAD: A planned court appearance for Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the killer of Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, ran into chaos on Thursday as extremist supporters prevented an attempt to re-locate the session, witnesses said.

Mumtaz Qadri, who was assigned to Salman Taseer’s security detail and confessed to the killing, was charged and ordered to appear before the Anti-Terrorist Court in Rawalpindi on Thursday.

But as a growing crowd of extremist lawyers and madrassah students descended on the building in support of Qadri, authorities instead drove him to a makeshift court hastily set up in a heavily protected building in Islamabad.

But the crowd in Rawalpindi set up a cordon in protest, preventing the judge from leaving for Islamabad, lawyers and an AFP reporter said.

“We requested the judge that legally he cannot go to Islamabad to hear the accused and he accepted our request,” lawyer Malik Waheed Anjum told reporters. …

Read more : DAWN

Mullah Shahi and their opponents – by Dr. Manzur Ejaz

What are it that Mullah Shahi has and their opponent don’t have:

1. Mullahs have a concerted ideology which may be called twisted, but they have it. Their opponents do not have a central ideological theme: they are collection of individualists who are against Mullah Shahi due to different reasons.

2. Because of ideological strength Mullah Sahi has people who are willing to sacrifice their life for their cause. Their opponents do not have such committed people.

3. Mullah Sahi has been supported by Pakistani state in organizing themselves and through an educational system that produces pro-Mullah Shahi crowd. Now, Mullah Shahi may not need state support and function on its own.

4. Pro-Mullah Shahi mass has infested all the state institutions including all kinds of security agencies. Therefore, Mullah Shahi has a significant control over the state with or without Islamabad’s help.

5. The new rich class, backward in its world outlook, is more likely to fund Mullah Shahi than its opposing modernist forces (if there are any).

6. The liberal minority–that is what it is–has no commitment to enlightened ideals. They are just a small crowd of ever-mourning people.

Courtesy: http://www.wichaar.com/news/285/ARTICLE/23516/2011-01-07.html

How easily we forget Nawaz Sharif’s attack on Supreme Court

Link

– – – – –

Protesters halt Pakistani PM court case – BBC

The trial of Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has been halted after his supporters forced their way into the Supreme Court building in Islamabad.
Protesters shouted abuse against the Chief Justice, Sajjad Ali Shah, who was hearing a case of contempt of court, which could lead to the Prime Minister’s disqualification if he is found guilty. The court adjourned for the day.
The protest is the latest twist in the country’s constitutional crisis, which started over the appointment of five new judges to the Supreme Court.

Mr Ali Shah charged Mr Sharif with contempt after his outspoken criticism of the candidates. Mr Sharif responded by trying to remove him from office.

The two men are under considerable pressure from the country’s powerful armed forces to resolve the situation constitutionally.
Mr Ali Shah’s position in the court has become increasingly uncertain after an internal struggle emerged in the Supreme Court over his status. Four of his fellow judges in two separate hearings ruled he was suspended from office because he was not the most senior judge when he was appointed.
Friday’s trouble started when one of Mr Sharif’s Members of Parliament climbed over the gates in front of the court to get inside.
A crowd of a few hundred party supporters then began to follow him and, as the police and the security forces in riot gear stood by and did nothing, they pushed open the gates and ran into the court compound.
A few members of the crowd got into the court building and ran to windows and onto the roof of the entrance, chanting slogans against the Chief Justice.
Amid the commotion a court official ran to the courtroom and said the Chief Justice was in danger. The judges immediately adjourned proceedings and left the room.
Courtesy: BBC

Chief Justice reinstated

iftakharPakistan said to give in to protesters’ demands
by Laura King,
Courtesy and Thanks: LA Times
March 15th, 2009
– Wichaar.com

Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan – Wild rejoicing erupted in the Pakistani capital early Monday amid news reports that the government would capitulate to protesters’ demands to reinstate the popular chief justice fired by former President Pervez Musharraf. Word of the reversal by the government of President Asif Ali Zardari came as a huge caravan led by opposition leader Nawaz Sharif bore down on the capital in defiance of a government ban. Police resistance had melted away hours earlier as the convoy left Lahore, a center of Sharif’s power, with the crowd that accompanied him dismantling barricades along the 200-mile stretch of road to the capital. As the night wore on, thousands of followers flocked to the slow-moving convoy’s route, throwing rose petals and dancing by the roadside.

Continue reading Chief Justice reinstated