Tag Archives: dictator

A leaf from history: Zia rejects PNA’s conditions

By Shaikh Aziz

The news of Z.A. Bhutto’s conviction shocked the PPP workers and supporters who hadn’t thought that Gen Zia would stoop so low. Though some violent protests took place in parts of Lahore and Sindh, the general law and order situation was not seriously affected as the government had taken measures to prevent the breaking out of any violence. For some reason the upper leadership of the party remained out of the scene, leaving the PPP workers directionless.

The military courts became over-active in handing down punishments of jail time and lashing. It was clear that the government wanted to send a message to the top PPP leadership that they could also be arrested in order to keep the administration working smoothly.

Two days after the judgment, on March 20, 1978, retired Gen Tikka Khan was arrested under martial law regulation No 33 for his involvement in political activities. Benazir Bhutto who was under house-arrest at her Karachi residence moved the Sindh government to arrange her meeting with her father at Lahore jail. The meeting was arranged for March 25.

The military regime cracks down on protests in the wake of Bhutto’s conviction

The PPP lawyers worked round the clock to prepare an appeal to be filed in the Supreme Court. Some PPP leaders were of the opinion that there was no need to file an appeal against the verdict; instead they wanted to approach the military government through friendly circles to settle the matter amicably. However, saner elements in the party prevailed and finally an appeal was filed in the Supreme Court on March 25.

As the foreign minister in Ayub Khan’s government and later as the prime minister, Bhutto had developed friendships with a number of world leaders, especially in the Third World and the Arab countries. Now facing a death sentence he hoped they could prevail upon Gen Zia to spare his life. While messages from world leaders were coming in calling for a pardon for Bhutto, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s envoy, Abdul Ali Ubaidi, called on Gen Zia and conveyed to him a message from his president. Zia told him that at this stage the matter was pending with the highest court and he did not want to interfere in it.

While meeting foreign leaders Gen Zia always made sure that the meeting took place without any aide. It was, therefore, impossible to make out what the contents of the talks were and what transpired, leaving the people guessing.

Relieved of a major task of handling Bhutto which was now being done by the courts, Gen Zia focused his attention on strengthening his position politically. However he camouflaged his attempts in such a manner that he could not be blamed for being too ambitious. In this regard he was equally helped by some political leaders. He also began studying the lives and working styles of eminent dictators, like Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Marshal Tito and Mussolini, who stayed in power for many years without being challenged by the people. He apparently wanted to learn how these dictators managed to retain power for so long. He also used to engage some of his associates in debates on what style of governanvce would work in Pakistan.

While messages from world leaders were coming in calling for a pardon for Bhutto, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s envoy, Abdul Ali Ubaidi, called on Gen Zia and conveyed to him a message from his president. Zia told him that at this stage the matter was pending with the highest court and he did not want to interfere in it.

During this time it appeared that the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) was heading towards a break-up; Asghar Khan and Maulana Noorani had already parted ways. After the overthrow of Bhutto’s government, the PNA had decided to keep away from any interim arrangement offered by the military government. They remembered the performance of the Advisory Council Gen Zia had formed on Jan 14 to run the affairs of the government. Though the task of the council was to help in handling state affairs, Gen Zia himself supervised everything which negated the purpose of the council.

Continue reading A leaf from history: Zia rejects PNA’s conditions

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Pervez Musharraf’s admission into a hospital might be a precursor to him leaving the country to escape trial.

By Ayesha Siddiqa

As news filtered in about Pakistan’s former military dictator Pervez Musharraf falling ill on his way to the special court where he is being tried on treason charges, people wondered if he would be tried at all. The retired general, who was being taken from his palatial house in Islamabad’s suburbs to the court under heavy security of 1,600 personnel, is now comfortably ensconced in the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), as it is suspected that he has developed some heart problem. A popular Pakistani twitterati  even joked about it suggesting that: “AFIC has diagnosed Musharraf with court allergy and says it can only be treated abroad.”

There are many others who have voiced their concern about this episode as a precursor to the general eventually being flown out of the country under the pretext of medical treatment. Certainly, there is little faith among the ordinary people that Musharraf will be tried at all for his sin of imposing emergency measures in November 2007. This was the second time that he had imposed military rule in nine years. Notwithstanding the numerous legal issues of the case, its ultimate result will throw light on where civil-military relations stand in Pakistan today. Or if civilian institutions have become stronger, as it is claimed.

Read more » Aljazeera
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/01/justice-dictator-2014131508751453.html

One more dictator, “Africa’s Pinochet” to face war crimes for atrocities against his people. Senegal police arrest Chad former leader Hissene Habre

Senegal police arrest Chad former leader Hissene Habre

Police in Senegal have arrested Chad’s former leader Hissene Habre, who is wanted for alleged atrocities during his eight-year rule.

Mr Habre’s lawyer El Hadji Diouf said he was taken from his home in Dakar by paramilitary police to an unknown location on Sunday.

The 70 year old has been under house arrest since 2005 in Senegal, where he fled after being deposed in 1990.

He denies killing and torturing tens of thousands of his opponents.

Last year the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Senegal to put him on trial or extradite him to face justice overseas.

His arrest comes days after US President Barack Obama praised the efforts of Senegal’s current President Macky Sall to bring him to trial at the start of his Africa tour.

Historic precedent

Human rights group have been pushing Senegal to put Mr Habre on trial for decades.

Senegalese MPs passed a law in December allowing a special African Union tribunal to be created in the country to try the former leader, who has been dubbed “Africa’s Pinochet”.

Continue reading One more dictator, “Africa’s Pinochet” to face war crimes for atrocities against his people. Senegal police arrest Chad former leader Hissene Habre

Nawaz Sharif announces to try dictator Musharraf for High Treason

Government to try Musharraf for high treason: PM Sharif

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif announced in the National Assembly [Federal Parliament] that former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf will be tried for high treason under article 6 of the Constitution, Geo News reported.

Pervez Musharraf faces charges of abrogating the Constitution of Pakistan and detaining judges of the higher judiciary after imposing emergency on November 3, 2007.

Speaking in the National Assembly on Monday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pervez Musharraf will be held accountable for subverting the Constitution of Pakistan, stopping judges of higher judiciary from working through illegal orders and taking unconstitutional steps of imposing emergency on November 3, 2007.

He said that there had been a tug of war between democracy and dictatorship, adding that political parties and intellectuals didn’t let the flag of democracy fall.

Moreover, Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan came into being through democractic struggle and the process of transition of power will continue in the country.

Article 6 : High Treason*

(1)Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.

(2)Any person aiding or abetting [or collaborating] the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.

(2A)An act of high treason mentioned in clause (1) or clause (2) shall not be validated by any court including the Supreme Court and a High Court.

(3)Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) shall by law provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of high treason.

*excerpt from the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Courtesy: Geo TV
http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=106588

Article 6 to be applied to Musharraf even if sky falls: SC

By Sohail Khan

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that it would implement the Article 6 of the Constitution in the Pervez Musharraf treason case even if the sky falls.

The grim ruling came during the hearing of a set of identical petitions by a three-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Jawad S. Khawaja, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan.

The petitions seek the trial of former President Gen. (retd) Pervez Musharraf for high treason for abrogating the Constitution.The apex court observed that hearing into the instant case would not be a futile exercise but would be decided in accordance with the law.

“There is no question of futility and the case would be decided in accordance with the law,” remarked Justice Khawaja while responding to Musharraf’s counsel Ahmed Raza Kasuri.

He further remarked that under the law, Secretary Ministry of Interior had to lodge a complaint against Musharraf under the Article 6 of Constitution read with High Treason (Punishment) Act 1973 for subverting or abrogating the Constitution.

Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked that if those responsible for fulfilling their responsibilities failed, the court would do it accordingly.

Continue reading Article 6 to be applied to Musharraf even if sky falls: SC

The Three Heroines of Guatemala: The Judge, the Attorney General and the Nobel Peace Laureate

Former Guatemalan President Efrain Rios Montt was hauled off to prison last Friday. It was a historic moment, the first time in history that a former leader of a country was tried for genocide in a national court. More than three decades after he seized power in a coup in Guatemala, unleashing a U.S.-backed campaign of slaughter against his own people, the 86-year-old stood trial, charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. He was given an 80-year prison sentence. The case was inspired and pursued by three brave Guatemalan women: the judge, the attorney general and the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

“My brother Patrocinio was burnt to death in the Ixil region. We never found his remains,” Rigoberta Menchu told me after Rios Montt’s verdict was announced. She detailed the systematic slaughter of her family: “As for my mother, we never found her remains, either. … If her remains weren’t eaten by wild animals after having been tortured brutally and humiliated, then her remains are probably in a mass grave close to the Ixil region. … My father was also burned alive in the embassy of Spain [in Guatemala City] on January 30th, 1980.”

Rigoberta Menchu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, “in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.” She continued telling me about her family’s destruction: “In 1983, my brother Victor Menchu was also shot dead. His wife had her throat slit, and he was fleeing with his three children. Victor was jailed in the little town, but his three children were kept in a military bunker. My two nieces died of hunger in this military base, and my brother Victor was shot. We still have not found his remains.”

Continue reading The Three Heroines of Guatemala: The Judge, the Attorney General and the Nobel Peace Laureate

Musharraf’s return: The graveyard is full of indispensables

By

“We rotate these days among people … the only being who cannot and will not perish is your Lord.”

We were inside the parliament building, saying Friday prayers after a stormy Senate session. What we witnessed inside made all of us feel humble and subdued.

“Put Pervez Musharraf in the same cell where he put Nawaz Sharif. Let snakes and scorpions into his room. Let him cry out in pain,” said one of the senators as the lawmakers vented their anger against the former military ruler.

“Handcuff and shackle him and parade him through the streets,” said another senator.

I opened a little window to the recent past and found myself in the army chief’s official residence in Rawalpindi where Musharraf was staying after toppling Nawaz Sharif. He was still the chief executive of Pakistan, a strange title he coined for himself before moving to the president’s office.

We were there with a media team to interview him. Some members of his advisory team were also there, including a Rawalpindi politician. Musharraf sneezed. Three of these advisors ran to him, holding tissue papers. The Pindi politician reached him first. Others looked at him with envy.

None of them came forward to defend the former dictator when PPP, PML-N and ANP lawmakers berated him this Friday, although some of them were present during the debate too.

The senators also targeted the caretaker government for failing to arrest Musharraf after an Islamabad court refused to grant him bail.

They wanted him “hauled to the worst prison” in the country, as a PPP senator said. Later, one senator also suggested that he should be hanged for toppling a lawfully elected government.

Above all, they wanted him “disgraced, dishonored and humiliated” as a “warning to future adventure seekers.”

The retired general, however, had already suffered much humiliation. The man who once hauled the country’s chief justice to his office and tried to persuade him to resign is now forced to appear before junior magistrates, seeking bail.

But that’s not enough for his enemies. They want more. “Do to him what they did to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir and Nawaz Sharif,” said one senator, ignoring a plea from the Senate chairman not to get carried away.

The sane among them, however, did warn their colleagues not to go too far. “The ground realities must not be ignored,” said a senior PPP senator. “After all, he is a former army chief and the military obviously will not like this humiliation.”

He urged the angry politicians to seek a way out, proposing “consultation among all stake holders,” i.e. the interim government, the judiciary, PPP, PML-N, ANP and the military.

Other senators also agreed with the suggestion, saying that starting a treason trial against Musharraf will not stop at him. “Don’t forget that the present army chief was also attended Musharraf’s meeting with the chief justice,” said a senator.

Continue reading Musharraf’s return: The graveyard is full of indispensables

Senators demand Musharraf’s arrest for supremacy of law

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ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers in the Upper House of the Parliament Thursday demanded action against former President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for his crimes against constitution, democracy, political leadership and the nation.

They also demanded from the caretaker interior minister to inform the House how he escaped from the court to his residence and “why a former General could not be arrested if the elected prime ministers of the country can be sent to jails.”

Speaking on points of order, the senators claimed that double standard existed in the country in violation of the Constitution which considers every Pakistani equal before the law.

“We have been talking of the rule of law and independence of judiciary. But, today we have seen that it is easy to send an elected prime minister to jail but a former General and military dictator cannot be arrested,” remarked senior PPPP Senator Raza Rabbani.

“In Pervez Musharraf’s case it is test of time. When the court had ordered to arrest him, then why he was not arrested. It’s a question mark,” Rabbani added.

He charged Pervez Musharraf of involvement in the abetment of killing of Benazir Bhutto and Nawab Akbar Bugti, abrogating the constitution and house arresting the judges of superior judiciary.

“Musharraf is a usurper who twice abrogated the Constitution. He was announced to be arrested but he safely fled in connivance with state institutions. The caretaker government was responsible to arrest him and the interior minister should inform the House why the government had not fulfilled its obligations,” Rabbani said.

PPPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said he does not hold caretaker government responsible for his escape. “I have been looking the state apparatus very closely. There are two laws and double standards in the country. If we could not mend it over the time how we can hold the caretakers responsible for these double standards.”

Continue reading Senators demand Musharraf’s arrest for supremacy of law

Musharraf on the run after bail cancellation

.This act of the former military ruler “underscores his disregard for due legal process and indicates his assumption that as a former army chief and military dictator he can evade accountability for abuses”, Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

“It is essential that Pakistan’s military authorities which are protecting the former dictator comply with the Islamabad High Court’s orders and ensure that he presents himself for arrest,” the statement added.

It further said that “continued military protection for General Musharraf will make a mockery of claims that Pakistan’s armed forces support the rule of law and bring the military further disrepute that it can ill afford.”

ISLAMABAD: General (retd) Pervez Musharraf on Thursday escaped from the premises of the Islamabad High Court after the cancellation of his bail application by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui in the judges detention case.

Immediately after the bail cancellation, police tried to reach the former military ruler but he was escorted by his personal security, fleeing in his bullet-proof black four-wheeler.

“Islamabad High Court has cancelled Musharraf’s bail and ordered his arrest in the judges’ detention case today,” said Muhammad Amjad, secretary-general of Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League party.

In a written judgement printed in English, the IHC ordered that: “He (Musharraf) be taken into custody and dealt with in accordance with law.”

The detailed verdict issued by the Islamabad High Court ordered for terrorism to be added to the list of charges against the former military ruler. The order further said that Musharraf’s exit from the court earlier during the day warranted for separate charges to be filed against him.

According to reports, Musharraf’s lawyers reached the Supreme Court to file a pre-arrest bail application in order avoid his surrender to the police.

However, the SC returned the 14-page bail application as the timings for the Registrar’s office had ended. Musharraf’s lawyers are now expected to resubmit the appeal on Friday.

After departing from the IHC’s premises, Musharraf had reached his farmhouse in Chak Shahzad, a suburban area on the outskirts of Islamabad where security was beefed up and all entry and exit routes to the area were blocked.

Continue reading Musharraf on the run after bail cancellation

We are at war

By: Asad Munir

Until the late 1970s Shias and Sunnis lived in complete harmony in this country. There were sporadic, minor incidents of Shia-Sunni violence but generally there was no hostility between the two sects. Muharram was sacred for Sunnis as well. Many attended Shia majalis, and on the tenth of Muharram cooked special foods, participated in Shia processions and revered the Zuljinah.

These good times were changed by three major events that took place in the late 1970s: Zia’s martial law, Khomeini’s revolution and the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets. Pakistan was no more the same moderate and tolerant country. Zia, after hanging an elected prime minister, wanted to use religion as a tool to prolong his rule. He tried to introduce Islamic laws as per the concept of the Islamic state envisioned by Maulana Maudoodi.

Continue reading We are at war

Violent protest in Nawabshah against SPLGO; 1 dead 6 injured

By Ahmed Farooq

Hyderabad: A man was killed and six others injured during violent protest against Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance 2012 in Nawazbshah district [Home district of President Zardari] on Monday.

The protesters, belonging to various nationalists parties, …. and set ablaze Airport Police Station in Gharibad locality.

The protesters rallied on Sakrand Road as they observed strike against the controversial local government system, although, supported by two major political stakeholders the Pakistan People’s Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. Police also resorted to aerial firing to disperse the charged protesters ….

The dead and injured were taken to nearby hospitals. The Sindh Assembly today (Monday) passed the [notorious, controversial & black ordinance of dictator Gen. Musharraf in the name of] SPLGO 2012 bill which further fueled the already angry nationalist elements.

Courtesy: The News Tribe

http://www.thenewstribe.com/2012/10/01/violent-protest-in-nawabshah-against-splgo-1-dead-6-injured/#.UGr-qFFXljs

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

Catch-44: Takfiri intolerance and Shia genocide in Pakistan – by Mujahid Kamal Mir

Pakistan’s 65-year history of missed opportunities seized by other rapidly developing nations like Korea, Turkey, etc, tainted by military coups, political infighting and a form of crony capitalism that has stifled its economy were enough of the destablisers, and when it seemed like it could not go any worse, the cat dragged in the leviathan of religious and ethnic terrorism. The barbaric acts of cruelty against Christians, Ahmedis and in particular Shiites this country has witnessed over the past few years, all in the name of religion and God, can bring the likes of Ivan the Terrible and Attila the Hun to tears.

Literati and commentators blame the former military dictator General Ziaul Haq for making it a state policy to fund and arm Wahabi groups in the 1980s. It is an established fact that the general used these organisations primarily against the Shiites at the behest of the state financier, Saudi Arabia. Shiites had natural sympathies with Iran because of religious and emotional proximity and there was no doubt that Saudi Arabia was supporting Wahabi groups through General Zia to kill Iran’s support in Pakistan, and hence Pakistan became a battleground for the war between two states striving for regional hegemony. In retrospect, this war did not actually start in the 1980s as per the famous Indian writer, M J Akbar. He states the animosity between the Sunni majority and the Shia minority in the subcontinent dates back to the Mughal era where the Mughal Emperor Humayun became a converted Shiite when he returned from Iran along with Shia preachers, which resulted in a mass conversion of Hindus to Shiite Islam. In later years, Aurangzeb persecuted Shiites, who by that time had grown in numbers. In short, this animosity has always been embedded in the very fabric of the subcontinent for hundreds of years, but always remained confined to discussions and dialogues among the religious clergy, popularly known as ‘manazara’, and were never militant.

Continue reading Catch-44: Takfiri intolerance and Shia genocide in Pakistan – by Mujahid Kamal Mir

When Pakistan will be revived in true letter and spirit of Jinnah’s Pakistan?

JinnahBy Dr. Saif Ur Rehman

The founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, wanted Pakistan to be a moderate secular state.

On 11th August 1947, Founder of Pakistan addressed constituent Assembly of Pakistan. 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 place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

The Constitution of Pakistan provides for fundamental rights. It is clearly written in article 25(1) of constitution of Pakistan that All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. And it was the guaranteer for inter-faith harmony among all religions and sects.

But things were changed, in the 1980s clauses were added to the laws by the military government of dictator General Zia-ul Haq.

As those laws were not legislated by elected representatives of the people of Pakistan, so when she was prime minister, Benazir Bhutto tried to change the blasphemy law because it was being used to terrorise religious minorities, but she couldn’t succeed. She was able to make the existing law more moderate but those changes were reversed by the government of Nawaz Sharif later on.

In the name of the religion, there have been serious human rights violations since the 1973 Constitution were changed to accommodate amendements in the name of blasphemy. This has made the lives of members of minority communities miserable.

Vested interests have made the most of these draconian laws in the wake of personal hatred and killed many an innocent person in the name of blasphemy. There is a need to redo the law, removing the draconian clauses so that no vested interest should be able to exploit the law.

In January 2011, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer – a prominent critic of the law- he advocated to repeal these draconian laws and he was assassinated by his bodyguard. The assassination divided Pakistan, with some hailing his killer as a hero. In March 2011 Religious Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti was shot dead in Islamabad, he was also critic of the law and demanded to repeal it.

Shaheed Salmaan Taseer stood for minorities’ rights to review court’s verdict in the case of Asia Bibi, but he was martyred by a religious fanatic and it was a black day in the history of Pakistan when people in northern Punjab, especially in Rawalpindi, celebrated martyrdom of great leader of Pakistan. Pakistan’s Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian member of Pakistan’s cabinet, was also assassinated on 2 March 2011. Both leaders never committed blasphemy but were killed brutally.

Continue reading When Pakistan will be revived in true letter and spirit of Jinnah’s Pakistan?

Venom spread into the whole of society: the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges

Pakistani activists alarmed by threats to minorities

The US has said that it is deeply disturbed by the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges. It also expressed satisfaction, however, about President Asif Ali Zardari’s action to probe the case.

On Monday, when Pakistani Muslims were busy celebrating the Islamic Eid festival, hundreds of Christian families living in the low-income Mehrabad neighborhood of the Pakistani capital Islamabad were forced to leave the homes where they had been living for more than two decades.

The Christians feared that they would be attacked by the majority Muslim community after Rimsha, a Christian girl aged between 10 and 13, allegedly burnt pages with the verses from the Koran inscribed on them. The incident took place last Thursday and Rimsha was later taken into custody by the Pakistani police.

The angry Muslims of the neighborhood, which is only a 20-minute drive from Western embassies in Islamabad, immediately demanded that she be punished for her “sin.”

According to some media reports, the girl was burning papers that she collected from a rubbish pile for cooking when some Muslims entered her house and accused her of burning the Islamic text. Pakistani officials have claimed the girl suffers from Down’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder causing major learning disabilities.

On Monday, the US State Department took serious note of the girl’s arrest. “This case is obviously deeply disturbing,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, adding that the US government was encouraged by President Zardari’s move to order the interior ministry to submit a report on the case.

“We think that the president’s statement is very welcome, and we urge the government of Pakistan to protect not just its religious minority citizens but also women and girls,” Nuland said.

Religious discrimination is widespread

Religious discrimination in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is not a new occurrence but it has increased considerably in recent years. Pakistan’s liberal sections are alarmed by the growing influence of right-wing Islamists in their country.

Rights activists complain that the Islamists enjoy state patronage, while on the other hand liberal and progressive voices have to face the wrath of the country’s security agencies.

Rights organizations also point out to the legal discrimination against minorities in Pakistan, which, in their opinion, is one the major causes of maltreatment of Pakistani minority groups.

President Zardari’s PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) government has recently come under sharp criticism from the country’s rights organizations and the West for refusing to reform the anti-blasphemy laws despite the assassinations of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian cabinet minister, and Salman Taseer, the former Governor of Punjab province.

Controversial anti-blasphemy laws

The two politicians were brutally murdered by Islamists in 2011 because they had dared to speak out against the controversial laws, which were introduced by the military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s.

Many rights activists say they have little to do with blasphemy and are often used to settle petty disputes.

Farooq Sulehria, a London-based activist and journalist, told DW that they should be immediately repealed. “But I doubt that in the absence of a working-class struggle in Pakistan, any government will be forced to do it.”

Mohsin Sayeed, a journalist in Karachi, said the laws were “un-Islamic.”

“The anti-blasphemy laws should be abolished because they have nothing to do with Islam. We have been demanding their repeal for a long time. This demand has met with a fierce reaction from religious extremists, who are no more a marginalized group in Pakistan,” Sayeed told DW.

He also criticized the Pakistani judiciary for its alleged sympathetic behavior toward the right-wing. “Asia Bibi is still languishing in jail, while Mumtaz Qadri (Taseer’s assassin), is still alive,” he said.

‘Intolerance is becoming mainstream’

There have also been reports of hundreds of members of the Hindu community trading Pakistan for India, citing mistreatment, discrimination and persecution in their homeland as reasons.

Continue reading Venom spread into the whole of society: the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges

Judicial supremacy or Judicial dictatorship?

By Khaled Ahmed

We have to wait till the Chief Justice and his fellow judges overreach themselves and finally come to the conclusion that moderation is the only path to tread in this imperfect Third World environment

On 7 July, 2012, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that Article 8 of the constitution empowered the Supreme Court to strike down any legislation which encroached upon the basic rights of the citizens. He said this while speaking at a ceremony for newly enrolled advocates at the Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry.

Continue reading Judicial supremacy or Judicial dictatorship?

Hindus, don’t leave your soil, please – Mohammad Ali Mahar

Why should Hindus be forced to leave the soil they inhabited since time immemorial? What is their fault?

Los Angeles, August 17, 1988. On the fateful day Genera Ziaul Haq’s plane exploded in the air above Bahawalpur, I was in Los Angeles. Adam Leghari, my friend who unfortunately died young, was my host for the day. At around 9:30 pm, while discussing politics as usual, he asked me if I wanted to meet Jaggat Bhatia, an eminent lawyer and a childhood friend of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Excited, we drove half an hour to where he lived. When we pressed the buzzer it was already past 10 pm and from the darkness surrounding the house I could deduce that the residents were asleep. After a little wait the door opened a bit and an enraged man looking at us from behind the chain yelled, “Who are you and what do you want at this hour?” We told him we were Sindhi students and wanted to meet him to talk about his early days in Sindh and his friendship with Mr Bhutto. The elderly gentleman still trembling with anger let us in saying he could not spare more than 15 minutes.

As we sat down in his lavishly furnished living room, the first thing Mr Bhatia said, “If you are here to talk against Pakistan, then leave this moment. I cannot hear a single word against my country. I love it and have been fighting for it all my life. I will not let Pakistan be harmed.” It was only after our assurances that we were not there to talk against Pakistan that he loosened up. We ended up spending more than two hours with him upon his insistence. All through the meeting, he kept talking about Pakistan — sometimes tears flowing down his cheeks — and his days in Karachi where he lived in the Clifton area. I would not have believed his emotions thinking he was behaving thus due to the fear of the agencies had I not known that we were in the USA and not Pakistan.

Chicago, 1988. I was visiting Chicago and I had borrowed the car from Lal Chand Jagwani, my best friend to this day, to drive to Chicago. The people we stayed with advised us to remove all the valuables from the car before parking it in the street overnight because Chicago was not a safe city. As I was emptying the glove compartment, I noticed a small book wrapped in a cloth cover; unwrapping it, I saw it was the Surah Yaseen. Upon return to Detroit, while returning the car I asked Lal whether he knew somebody had forgotten the Surah in his car. Lal laughed and said, “Why do you think so? Do you think that only you Muslims own the Quran? We, Sindhi Hindus, respect and believe in the Quran and its blessings as much as you Muslims do.” Lal’s late father, Mehru Mal Jagwani was a great Pakistani who contested and won elections in Pakistan.

Continue reading Hindus, don’t leave your soil, please – Mohammad Ali Mahar

Zia’s legacy

PRECIOUS little happens in Pakistan that cannot be traced to the man who ruled over this country for 11 dark years of its existence. On the morning of Aug 17, exactly 24 years after his death, Gen Ziaul Haq’s presence was felt all the more poignantly. ‘Terrorists attack Kamra airbase’, ‘19 pulled out of buses, shot dead in sectarian attack’ at Babusar Top, ‘Zardari seeks Muslim countries’ assistance’ on Afghanistan. Rulers either side of Zia have contributed to this mad, unending dance of death that Pakistanis have been subjected to. But while the dictator may have found the soil fertile for cultivating his brand of hatred, he was so thorough in his execution of the self-assigned job and so heartlessly committed to his creed that he ensured that generations after him will find it impossible to escape his influence.

Continue reading Zia’s legacy

Hell and al-Qaida descend on Syria

By: Tarek Fatah

Who would have thought a Canadian mother of two would leave her children behind and join the international jihad unfolding in Syria?

Meet Thwaiba Kanafani. She left the comforts of her apartment in downtown Toronto, soon to appear in a YouTube video dressed in camouflaged battle gear, holding an automatic assault rifle, to declare: “I came from Canada to answer the call of my homeland” as the men surrounding her chanted “Allah O Akbar.”

Kanafani is not alone. A Dutch journalist who was kidnapped by rebels inside Syria, along with his British colleague, reports some of his abductors had “Birmingham accents,” while others were from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Chechnya, with no Syrians present.

Reports of non-Syrian jihadis have been confirmed by correspondents of both the Guardian and the New York Times who say foreign fighters under the banner of al-Qaida’s black flags bearing the Islamic declaration of faith, “There is no god but God,” are taking a bigger role.

The jihadis are the best-funded and well-equipped of the groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime.

While the American-backed Syrian National Council (SNC) had its own share of U.S.-based Islamists pulling the strings, it is now clear these jihadis-in-suits will not be the ones determining the future of Syria when the doctor dictator is gone. Very soon, Damascus will get a taste of al-Qaida’s hatred of life and their yearning for death as they have demonstrated in the last couple of months.

In one attack by the al-Qaida fighters on the historic Damascus district of Zainabiya, the fighters made no effort to hide the al- Qaida flag. Some wore the black head bands while others wore the flags of Pakistan, Somalia, and other Muslim countries. They killed Shia residents and pilgrims as they tried to destroy the shrines of Prophet Muhammad’s granddaughter Hazrat Zainab and Ruqaiya. At least one Afghan family was slaughtered inside their home.

One al-Qaida commander inside Syria, Abu Khuder, had this to say about foreign jihadis: “In the beginning there were very few. Now, mashallah, there are immigrants joining us and bringing their experience … Men from Yemen, Saudi, Iraq and Jordan … (al-Qaida’s) goal is establishing an Islamic state and not a Syrian state.”

The role of America in Syria seems at best incompetent and disastrous.

However, evidence suggests there is a method in the madness of the Obama Administration. Instead of helping the democratic forces of Syria it has dilly-dallied on the sidelines until the Islamists managed to get an upper hand. The same cowardice was demonstrated when Iran’s democrats rose up in 2009.

One of the leaders of the Syrian al-Qaida is Abdelhakim Belhadj, a Libyan accomplice of Osama bin Laden who, according to former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, was suspected of complicity in the 2004 Madrid train bombings.

Belhadj was arrested by the CIA, but then released under mysterious circumstances and returned to Libya where he facilitated the U.S.-NATO overthrowing of Col. Moammar Gahdafi.

Now the same Libyan ally of NATO has been parachuted inside Syria with the help of the Turkish government.

Reportedly, 15,000 Syrians have given their lives to fight a dictator, and Belhadj’s presence in the war-torn country could make it a hell on earth.

Courtesy: Toronto Sun

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/31/hell-and-al-qaida-descend-on-syria

Via – Twitter

M.Q.M. is allegedly involved in a number of high profile killlings of Urdu-speaking leaders

MQM terrorists kill Karachi organizer of National Party

By: Ahmar Mustikhan, Baltimore Foreign Policy Examiner

Terrorists allegedly belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement gunned down a Baloch political organizer in Karachi Monday afternoon.

The victim was identified as Yaqoob Baloch, 45, Karachi Divisional organizer of the National Party. The deceased was an employee of the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation and a resident of Old Golimar.

“He was at his office at Nazimabad No. 1 when the killers came there and asked him if he was Yaqoob. When he replied ‘yes’ they shot and killed him,” Hameed Baloch, Sindh organizer of the National Party said.

He said identity of the killers are not known, but suspected that they belonged to the militant M.Q.M. as the area is the party’s stronghold.

Continue reading M.Q.M. is allegedly involved in a number of high profile killlings of Urdu-speaking leaders

The shadow of Zia (dictator’s ghost) still looms large over the Parliament

Rights activist and former Supreme Court Bar Association president Asma Jahangir.

Constitutional trap

By: Asma Jahangir

THE shadow of Zia still looms large over our political scene. Several parliaments and parliamentary committees have tried to exorcise this dictator’s ghost from the constitution but they never succeeded in rectifying all the ills. The current parliament is no different.

The committee drafting the 18th Amendment was urged time and again to do away with Zia’s crafty law that allows the disqualification of members of parliament. And now the PPP faces the consequences of its own omission as its prime minister is threatened with disqualification due to the Supreme Court judgment in the contempt case.

The SC has not convicted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for obstructing the administration of justice but for ridiculing the judiciary. The court has been able to do this because of the law introduced by Zia. Article 63(g) is open-ended and can end up being used by the judiciary to persecute the politicians.

The law disqualifies anyone who has been convicted for “propagating any opinion or acting in any manner prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or independence of the judiciary of Pakistan, or which defames or brings into ridicule the judiciary or the Armed Forces of Pakistan…”

Very few would dispute that this article is problematic.

Continue reading The shadow of Zia (dictator’s ghost) still looms large over the Parliament

Pakistani Supreme Court has gone overboard – says Justice Markandey Katju (Supreme Court of India)

It has no right to dismiss a Prime Minister or overrule the constitutional immunity given to the President

By: Markandey Katju

When I was I was a student of law at Allahabad University, I had read of the British Constitutional principle ‘The King can do no wrong’. At that time I did not understand the significance of this principle and what it really meant. It was much later, when I was in law practice in the Allahabad High Court, that I understood its real significance.

The British were experienced and able administrators. They realized from their own long, historical experience that while everybody should be legally liable for his wrongs and made to face court proceedings for the same, the person at the apex of the whole constitutional system must be given total immunity from criminal proceedings, otherwise the system could not function. Hence the King of England must be given total immunity from criminal proceedings. Even if he commits murder, dacoity, theft, or some other crime, the King cannot be dragged to court and made to face a trial.

One may ask why should the King be given this immunity when others are not? The answer is that in the practical world one does not deal with absolutes. The British were one of the most far sighted administrators the world has known. They realized that if the King is made to stand on the witness box or sent to jail, the system could not function. A stage is reached at the highest level of the system where total immunity to the person at the top has to be granted. This is the only practical view.

Following this principle in British constitutional law, almost every Constitution in the world has incorporated a provision giving total immunity to Presidents and Governors from criminal prosecution.

Thus, Section 248(2) of the Pakistani Constitution states:

“No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or Governor in any Court during his term of office.”

The language of the above provision is clear, and it is a settled principle of interpretation that when the language of a provision is clear the court should not twist or amend its language in the garb of interpretation, but read it as it is.

I therefore fail to understand how proceedings on corruption charges (which are clearly of a criminal nature) can be instituted or continued against the Pakistani President.

Moreover, how can the court remove a Prime Minister? This is unheard of in a democracy. The Prime Minister holds office as long he has the confidence of Parliament, not the confidence of the Supreme Court.

I regret to say that the Pakistani Supreme Court, particularly its Chief Justice, has been showing utter lack of restraint. This is not expected of superior courts. In fact the court and its Chief Justice have been playing to the galleries for long. It has clearly gone overboard and flouted all canons of constitutional jurisprudence.

The Constitution establishes a delicate balance of power, and each of the three organs of the state — the legislature, the executive and the judiciary – must respect each other and not encroach into each other’s domain, otherwise the system cannot function. It seems to me that the Pakistani Supreme Court has lost its balance and gone berserk. If it does not now come to its senses I am afraid the day is not far off when the Constitution will collapse, and the blame will squarely lie with the court, and particularly its Chief Justice.

Continue reading Pakistani Supreme Court has gone overboard – says Justice Markandey Katju (Supreme Court of India)

The day justice was dispensed! – by Bahadar Ali Khan

A malifide intended PM has been disqualified. Every one on the streets is reciting ‘Va ja ul-hukke va zahaq-al-batil, Innul batila kana zahuka’. Finally piety, chastity and good has prevailed. There is fresh breeze of purity that is causing stir on the horizon of virtue. Crying babies have started giggling, trees and crops have started smiling, milkmen started distributing non-contaminated milk, the sounds of angels’s wings have started spurring on the sovereign aerospace of Pakistan, the faces of parliamentarians are beaming with the new respect that they have attained and last but not least executive has finally cheerfully decided to not to interfere in the craft of running a government again, ever! And every one is going to live happily ever after. Right?

I don’t know about you but personally I don’t agree with my above bizarre juxtaposition. Reality is actually more grim. From the history, we know there were times when military dictators would topple elected governments and aggrieved party would go to Supreme Court as a last recourse. But times have changed now. A bad and corrupt Prime Minister has been disqualified by an honest and upright judiciary. The maligned fellow was in General Musharraf’s dungeons when the same esteemed judges were taking oath under PCO ( not once but twice ) and gifted the blank cheque decisions to the dictator to amend the constitution, the way he pleased to do so.

Continue reading The day justice was dispensed! – by Bahadar Ali Khan

Pakistan’s leading intellectual, Prof. Parvez Hoodbhoy on the rise of jihadi terrorism and its acceptance in Pakistan

Courtesy: News Click In » via – Twitter (TF’s tweet)

The Taliban mercenary movement is the major cause of Pakistan’s isolation in the community of nations

Comment by: Manzoor Chandio

The Taliban mercenary movement is the major cause of Pakistan’s isolation in the community of nations … they work like rent-a-car business… rent-a-training camp is Waziristan’s buzzword… their true mercenary face came to fore when they started attacks on the Pakistan military… these Taliban might have been rented in Afghanistan… those carrying out attacks in Afghanistan, like the Haqqani network, are said to be helped by Pakistan… Taliban have nothing to do with Umah… they are based in a barren mountainous area… first time people of this area saw rains of dollars in the 1980s thanks to Dictator General Zia … the people of Waziristan rented out their lands for setting up jihad training camps… many more rented out houses as barracks for Jihadis… one rough estimate is that some 40,000 people from across Muslim countries landed in Fata for jihad… rent-a-training camp business flourished as high as rent-a-commercial suite in Dubai… Jihadis came from across the Umah to get training… again this was not without money… Muslim separatists from Philippines, Chinese and other countries paid money for training their fighters in Fata… Waziristan is like Sandhurst and Fort Hood of Jihadis across Umah… local Mehsuds allowed the training camps in their areas for money… & this is called business by them… they know how to protect their interests… then there was drug business & it flourished along with the killing Jihad business… there is a saying in Pushto ‘Awal Zaar, resto Jahan’… this mean business… the only way to close this jihad & drug industry is to industrialized Fata that provide jobs to the people.

Courtesy: Manzoor Chando’s facebook wall.

‘Taliban are Pakistani military without uniform’ says Hyrbyar Marri

In the wake of the first anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s killing by American elite troops, DW takes a closer look at Pakistan’s “other” war in a rare interview with a prominent Baloch leader.

Hyrbyar Marri is the fifth son of Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, a veteran national leader and the head of the largest Baloch clan. In the late 1990s Hyrbar Marri went into exile in Britain. In 2007, he was arrested under a warrant issued by former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and held in Belmarsh – a maximum security prison in southeast London. Prominent British human rights advocates such as Peter Thatchell campaigned for Marri and accused the British executive of collaborating with Musharraf’s regime. Marri was eventually acquitted in 2008 by a British jury and remains in Britain where he has recently been granted asylum.

DW: What’s the current situation in Pakistani-controlled Balochistan?

Continue reading ‘Taliban are Pakistani military without uniform’ says Hyrbyar Marri

Is this Justice???

Pakistan Peoples Party Washington DC condemns the decision made by Supreme Court against elected prime minister of Pakistan Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani.

In their statement PPP said that PM was just following the constitution of Pakistan.

It also noted with disappointment that while no dictator had been punished for suspension and abrogation of the Constitution a democratically and terorist like Malik Ishaq had been granted bail but an elected Prime Minister had been sentenced for upholding the Constitution. They also criticize media’s role in being a cheer leader of right-wing, Islamist politicians and populist judges is an unfortunate departure from its often stated role of being a “fair and balanced” presenter of the news and of informing the public.

PPP demands Supreme Court to invest time in issues which are concern to Pakistan and its people such as Younas Habib case instead of becoming a tool to destabilize democracy in country.

The participants of meeting said that Mr. Nawaz Shrif must remember his past actions before suggesting PM to resign as it is not PPP who attacked Supreme Court but was Mr. Shrif and his party members. The participants also noted that it is about time for Sharif brothers to support democracy in Pakistan as federation and stop beating provincial band.

The meeting of the PPPUSA congratulated the Prime Minister over his stance in defending the Constitution.

Meeting was attended by:

Senator Mohammad Akbar Khawja, Ali Nawaz Memon, Sr.Vice President PPP USA, Syed Iftikhar Zaidi, Sr.Vice President PPP USA, Masood Zakria Ch., Additional Sec Gen PPP USA, Dr. Javed Manzoor President PPP USA, Jawad Shirazi, Sr.,Vice President PPP Washington DC, Mansoor Qureshi, Sec. General PPP Washington DC, Munirullah Butt, Syed Imran Zaidi, Sec. Information PPP Washington DC, Junaid M Choudhary, Ali Awan, Junaid Chudhry, Haider Asghar, Jaffer Shah, Nawazish Shah

Saparatist Sindhi nationalist leader & JSQM chairman Bashir Qureshi passes away

By: Amar Guriro

KARACHI – SINDH: Rrenowned Sindhi nationalist leader, chairman Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) Bashir Kahn Qureshi has died on late Friday night. He was 54.

Qureshi was on his way to a small village Dari Magsi in Sakrand, district Benazirabad (Nawabshah) at the time.

Urdu television channels reported quoting initial reports that he died of fatal cardiac arrest, but despite several attempts the cause of the death was not confirmed.

Qureshi was a brave leader and spent all his life spreading the message of Great Leader Saeen G. M. Syed throughout Sindh and also struggling for Independent Sindhudesh.

In his last mammoth rally of an estimation of 0.7 million people chanting slogans of “Na Khapae na khapae, Pakistan Na Khapae” (We don’t want Pakistan) on M.A Jinnah Road of provincial capital city of Karachi-Sindh, he demanded international powers to help Sindhis to get their independent country—the Sindhudesh.

Political analysts are of the view that Qureshi’s death is great loose of nationalists who wants their independent country, the Sindhudesh.

Continue reading Saparatist Sindhi nationalist leader & JSQM chairman Bashir Qureshi passes away

‘Face the truth, Musharraf’ – Mark Siegel on BB’s assassination

‘Face the truth, Musharraf’ – Will there be justice for Benazir Bhutto?

By Mark Siegel / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

I was with Benazir Bhutto on Sept. 25, 2007, when she received a call from Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who was then Pakistan’s president. She was visibly shaken when she hung up the phone: Musharraf had threatened her with dire consequences if she returned to Pakistan to lead her Pakistan Peoples Party in the upcoming elections, where she was the major threat to defeat him. Bhutto quoted him as saying that she would be responsible for what happened to her.

Three weeks later, she returned to Pakistan after eight years in exile. She was greeted in Karachi by 3 million people — and two suicide assassin bombers. Within hours of her arrival, a failed assassination attempt took the lives of 170 of her party workers. Afterward, she emailed me to say that if anything happened to her, she would hold Musharraf responsible. Two months later, she was dead.

Earlier this month, Pakistan’s government, after a four-year investigation, requested that Interpol issue an international warrant for the arrest of Musharraf for Bhutto’s murder. He has been summoned before the Supreme Court of Pakistan tomorrow. No one expects him to appear.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/face-truth-musharraf-article-1.1047729#ixzz1pl4l6Kq5

REMEMBERING SHAHBAZ BHATTI – MARTYR OF DEMOCRACY & SECULARISM

Citizens for Democracy (CFD) invites you to join in the Candle light vigil to mark the first anniversary of Shahbaz Bhatti, former Federal Minister for Minorities. Mr. Bhatti, who was assassinated on March 2, 2011 in Islamabad, was a member of Federal Assembly of Pakistan and an outspoken critic of misuse of Blasphemy Laws introduced by a military dictator, Zia ul Haq.

The candle light vigil will held on March 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm in front of Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim/ Jehangir Kothari Parade, opposite Park Towers, Clifton, Karachi, Sindh. Please join us, invite friends and help spread the word.

Citizens For Democracy (CFD)- citizensfordemocracy.wordpress.com