Tag Archives: forced

Pakistani journalist given U.S. asylum tells of threats, disappearances in Baluchistan

Siraj Ahmed Malik, an ambitious young Pakistani journalist, was enjoying a stint last fall on a fellowship at the University of Arizona when he started getting chilling messages from home.

One after another, his friends and colleagues were disappearing, he learned, and their bodies were turning up with bullet holes and burn marks. A doctor’s son from his home town was arrested and vanished. A fellow reporter was kidnapped, and his corpse was found near a river. A student leader was detained, and his bullet-riddled body dumped on a highway. A writer whose stories Malik had edited was shot and killed.

“These were kids I had played cricket with, people I had interviewed, younger reporters I had taught,” Malik, 28, said in an interview last week in Arlington County, where he now lives. The final straw came in early June, when one of his mentors, a poet and scholar, was gunned down in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, Malik’s native province.

On Aug. 19, Malik applied for political asylum in the United States. In his petition, he said that his work as a journalist and ethnic activist in Baluchistan, where he had exposed military abuses, made him likely to be arrested, tortured, abducted and “ultimately killed by the government” if he returned. …

Read more » The Washington Post

Forced Convergence and Killing of Hindus in Pakistan

– By Zulfiqar Halepoto, on behalf of the entire team of Sindh Democratic Forum (SDF)

We strongly condemn the brutal murder of 4 Sindhi Hindu doctors in their clinic in Chak town close to district Shikarpur, Sindh, Pakistan. Shikarpur by armed men of Bhayo tribe, a beradari. The head of Bhayo beradari is district president of PPP. First they tried to kidnap Sindhi Hindu girls and tried to forcibly convert them into Islam and when the Sindhi Hindu community took strong notice then the Bhayo tribe people did an ambush at the clinic and Dr Ashok, Dr Naresh, Dr Ajeet and Dr Satia Paul were killed by armed assailants while working in their clinic even on Eid day.

This is an inhuman, immoral and illegal brutality against those who serve the people as doctors and savors. This act is a black dot on the face of secular, progressive and tolerant identity of Sindhi society.

This is not the first time such an incident has taken place where members of Sindhi Hindu community have been targeted. What is of concern is that the law enforcement agencies tend to support the criminals involved in such acts.

Religious minorities, vulnerable groups and women are the victim of an ANTI-HUMAN mindset comprised of local feudals, tribal chief, religious extremists and local agencies. They collaborate with each other to weaken the state writ and to develop their own hegemony.

Their being in power have collapsed the entire law and order and justice systems and paralyzed the administrative institutions to demonstrate their duties. And subsequently there is no state writ in these areas. We appeal to the government, political parties and civil society to take notice of this brutality and religious fascism and specially government to make arrangements to protect the citizens.

First we appeal to President Asif Ali Zardari to immediately suspend PPP district Shikarpur president so-called sardar Bhayo, orders must immediately be issued to arrest him and all other culprits, who are exploiting local administration. We appeal Chief Justice of Pakistan to take Suo Motto of the targeting of Hindus in parts of Sindh.

Courtesy » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, November 8, 2011.

Proper guidelines – by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

– The killings and rapes in Bangladesh have not yet been investigated and never will be because accountability of the army and the state is an unheard of concept here and has led to the atrocities in Balochistan …

Read more → Daily Times

Protest rally held against the human rights violations in Balochistan at the 18th session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

– PRESS RELEASE: A peaceful demonstration was held at the 18th session of the UN Human Rights Council by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) and the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC), on Thursday 15 September 2011 in Geneva , Plais des Nations ‘ Broken Chair Square’ to protest against the increasing number of human rights violations in Balochistan.

The demonstration was aimed to raise awareness of alarming number of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detentions that have been reported by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Human Rights commission of Pakistan and prompt the international community to act. Baloch delegates from London, Europe and Scandinavia and other human rights activists took part in the event.

A parallel event took place entitled ‘Climate of Fear: Enforced Disappearances, Extrajudicial Killings & Arbitrary Detention in Balochistan’ between 12 to 2 pm at Plais des Nations in Room 23.

Feel Good, sad Pakistanis

– by Nadeem F. Paracha

Furry Factoid #5: We have gallons and gallons of oil and tons and tons of coal and gas in the grounds of Balochistan. We can become a rich country but only if the Baloch people stop their occupation of Balochistan.

The Pakistani state and forces have been fighting a bloody war with the occupiers of one of the richest provinces of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan: Balochistan.

This province whose grounds are rumbling with natural wealth and resources has been under the yoke and occupation of the Baloch people.

Some might ask who else this province would be under if not the Baloch people. That’s a valid point. But then do mountains, deserts or cactus have a language or ethnicity? Do oil, coal or gas? No, they don’t. But they do have a religion.

If there can be an ‘Islamic bomb,’ why can’t there be an Islamic coal mine, or an Islamic oil rig or an Islamic gas pipeline, aye? And anything Islamic must have something to do with Pakistan, right? Right.

Thus, what does this brilliant logic make the Baloch people? It makes them invaders and occupiers!

Once they are driven out, we will drive in and become a rich country – a new Saudi Arabia! *goose bumps* …

Read more → DAWN.COM

No flotillas for Balochistan – Security forces burn Baloch prisoners alive

Pakistan burns prisoners alive

Despite the election of a democratic government in Islamabad, Pakistan continues to abuse human rights in Balochistan

by Peter Tatchell

Four Baloch prisoners have been burned alive in hot coal tar by the Pakistan army during military operations in annexed and occupied Balochistan, according to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

Last week the AHRC received confirmation that Pakistani soldiers arrested four people on April 5 2008, in the Dera Bugti district of Balochistan, and subjected them to torture. They were asked to identify local supporters of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). After failing to get any names from them, the victims were immersed in scolding hot coal tar. Three of the men were literally boiled and burned to death. A fourth died later from his injuries.

Villagers in the area also claim the Pakistan army used a form of chemical gas against them and that some of the gassed survivors were later shot. Their bodies have not been handed over to relatives for burial.

These and many other crimes against humanity are still happening in Balochistan, despite the resignation of the dictator President, Pervez Musharraf, and despite Pakistan’s ostensible transition to democratic government.

During July and August, over 100 Baloch persons were killed, 250 disappeared and more than 20,000 were displaced. They are victims of intensified military operations by the Pakistan army, which has occupied Balochistan since invading in 1948 and forcibly incorporating it into Pakistan.

Cobra attack helicopters that were provided (pdf) by the US to help defeat the Taliban and al-Qaida are instead being used to crush the Baloch people. ….

Read more → guardian.co.uk

Tragedies continue to unfold in Sindh – Thirty-seven more Sindhi Hindus leave Pakistan for India over security concerns

by South East Asia News.Net

Thirty-seven Hindus, comprising five families and residents of Thul town in Jacobabad district, have permanently left Pakistan for India due to security concerns.

Despite tall claims of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leadership, murders of Hindus, kidnappings for ransom and forced conversions are being carried out unabated across the Sindh province, Pakistan Today reports.

Like many other Hindus of the province who have migrated to other countries, these families have left the country after selling their properties and wrapping up their businesses. …..

Read more → South East Asia News

In India, new middle class awakens – Anti-corruption effort could signify change in national psyche

By Simon Denyer and Rama Lakshmi

NEW DELHI — As he waited in the rain for India’s veteran anti-corruption crusader to emerge from jail, call-center employee Amit Bhardwaj was still troubled by the bribe he was forced to pay three months ago to get a birth certificate for his firstborn son.

“I hated it,” he said, miming how the official had greedily counted the notes, worth about $20, in full public view. “I had hatred for myself and for him. This was the first thing I did for my newborn son.”

Like millions of other Indians, Bhardwaj has found a degree of personal redemption by joining a national movement against corruption led by the unlikely figure of 74-year-old Anna Hazare. The peaceful movement has drawn in Indians of all ages and from all walks of life, but it marks the first time India’s new, urban middle class has put aside creature comforts and personal ambition and taken to the streets for a political cause.

Read more → Washingtonpost → SINDH DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE

We are living in a Taliban state – by Nayyer Khan

The ‘forced fasting’ of Zia’s time, like many other such laws, was never reversed by the PPP despite its third time in power. The reason could be that during Zia’s years, the fundamentalists became so powerful that they were now the masters of the country’s fate

Recently, a police SHO barged into Nairang Gallery located on Jail Road, Lahore, which is an art gallery-cum-rendezvous spot for the city’s social and cultural elite, intelligentsia and artistic and bohemian classes, and harassed the staff as well as visitors and customers present for violating the ‘holiness’ of Ramzan. According to him, food and beverages were being served there during fasting hours. He also objected to the attire of the female staff and customers there, calling it revealing and thus un-Islamic, and against the sacredness of Ramzan. He did not like both genders mixing freely either. He misbehaved with and even manhandled the female curator of the gallery. This incident has stirred a wave of condemnation and protest from civil society and the cultured classes.

This kind of forced ‘sanctification’ of Ramzan is a routine matter in small cities and towns in Pakistan. Such highhandedness by the authorities in small places is seldom reported in the media. For instance, the following incident, which, somehow, did get reported in a leading daily may give a faint idea as to what kind of thrusting of one’s values on others is prevalent in our society.

On September 16, 2009, during the month of Ramzan, about two dozen people were made to parade semi-naked in a market place in Mianwali, with their hands tied by the clothes stripped off their bodies, on the orders of a deputy district officer before they were put into the lockup. The guilt of those subjected to this humiliation was that they were caught sipping tea at some tea stalls at the railway station and bus stands during fasting timings.

This act of disgracing human beings reminds one of the black days of General Zia when ‘Ramzan violators’ were given similar treatment by the authorities, by painting their faces black or shaving their heads in public. But the irony of the matter is that this practice continues even during the government of a supposedly secular and moderate political party. However, with events like the one that took place in Mianwali, one fails to find the difference between the present regime and that of Zia.

According to the present laws, the administration grants special permission to some eateries to serve food and tea to patients, travellers, etc, during the fast. The above action against alleged Ramzan violators by the local administration of Mianwali raises two questions. First, how did the police establish that the alleged Ramzan violators were not patients or travellers? Second, how would a patient or a traveller know that the eatery serving food and beverages during fasting timings does not have such permission from the administration? Obviously, a customer would presume that such an eatery has permission. He would not demand to see the license first before ordering any eatables. The customer could be an uneducated person who may not even be able to read such a paper issued by the administration to the eatery. Then why were those citizens of Pakistan punished by the authorities?

Before the black year of 1977 — when Zia took over Pakistan — all restaurants here served food and beverages during fasting hours in Ramzan. The only difference was that during Ramzan, the doors and windows of the eateries were covered with thick curtains so that those who were fasting and passing by the restaurant were not tempted by the eating and drinking activities going on inside the eatery.

Since the inception of Pakistan till the government of the PPP before Zia’s coup, the above-mentioned norm remained in practice. After the PPP’s regaining of power in 1988, many draconian laws and practices from Zia’s regime were undone. Unfortunately, however, the ‘forced fasting’ of Zia’s time, like many other such laws, was never reversed by the PPP despite its third time in power. The reason could be that during Zia’s years, the fundamentalists became so powerful that they were now the masters of the country’s fate.

In any civilised society, it is considered an individual’s prerogative to follow a certain religious practice or not. Many people in the cities of Pakistan live forced bachelor lives away from their native towns. Even living in their home towns, many people have their work places situated far away from their homes. The only source of food and beverage for such people is the eateries. Many from amongst them suffer various medical conditions that force them to eat and drink regularly. For instance, a diabetic person has to eat at regular intervals to maintain his blood sugar level. A kidney patient has to take a lot of liquids to flush his kidneys. A person suffering from low blood pressure can faint without sufficient salt intake. There are so many other instances where the old, sick and weak have to indulge in a normal food and beverage intake to live. Where would such people go if they are not even allowed to drink water outside their homes? Thirst and hunger can be felt at any time whether one is in the concealment of a house or moving out in the open.

If fasting is a religious duty then so is offering prayers. In the ‘model’ police state of Saudi Arabia, clergymen called mutawas go about the streets and market places with sticks in their hands during prayer times and harass and even beat up people to join prayer offerings in the nearby mosque. Why is Pakistan this one step behind Saudi Arabia? If laws here force people to follow one religious duty, why do they not make them follow the other one too?

What is a Taliban mindset? It is to impose one’s religious values on others. The laws of Pakistan overlap with Taliban laws. Let us admit that we are living in a semi-Taliban state, which may become a full Taliban state one day.

Courtesy: → Daily Times

PPP govt. is doing nothing for recovery of 48 kidnapped Hindus and many murdered for ransom.

KARACHI, SINDH – The Pakistan Coalition for Religious Minorities (PCRM) will launch a protest campaign against Sindh Minority Affairs Minister Dr Mohan Lal Kohistani for “not taking any interest in the increasing kidnapping of Hindus throughout the province”.

The PCRM – a newly established representative body of Pakistani Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ahmedis and other religious minorities of the country – termed these incidents as a conspiracy against religious minorities and expressed disappointment over the ministry’s silence even after 48 cases of kidnapping for ransom, murders, forced conversion in the last six months alone.

Continue reading PPP govt. is doing nothing for recovery of 48 kidnapped Hindus and many murdered for ransom.

The judge, jury and the hangman – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

As long as the politicians cherish their perks more than the rights of the people, the ascendancy of the army is assured. Little wonder then that the armed forces in Balochistan have always acted like the judge, jury and the hangman with impunity

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in its recent report appropriately titled ‘Balochistan: blinkered slide into chaos’ has highlighted the repulsive role of the armed forces in the issue of the missing and killed persons in Balochistan. It also is scathing on the abdication of authority by the politicians to the armed forces who now decide about every aspect in Balochistan. It would have been to the everlasting credit of the HRCP if they had bluntly stated the fact that Balochistan was literally under martial law but sadly they refrained.

The countries and people that sweep their perpetrated atrocities under the carpet, hoping that by denials maybe these will be forgotten and consequences thwarted, underestimate the consequences of denial; those who refuse to accept mistakes make a habit of them. They also fallaciously start believing that their judge, jury and hangman role is justified and something to be proud of.

The fact that the atrocities and war crimes committed in Bangladesh in 1971 by the army and the state went unpunished has consequently resulted in atrocities in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A listless civil society and generally supine media has been unable to challenge or expose these atrocities. Urban extra-judicial killings too have gone unchallenged and unpunished.

The spate of blatantly state-sponsored brutal extra-judicial killings and missing persons in Balochistan, Swat, etc, would not have happened if the perpetrators of the Bangladesh atrocities had been punished. Perhaps even Bangladesh would not have happened if the 1948 Kalat assault and subsequent operations in Balochistan had been challenged and the perpetrators docked for their deeds. ….

Read more → Daily Times

Central leader of BSO-Azaad Shafi Baloch killed in custody

Quetta: June 23: Central leader of the Baloch Students Organization (BSO-Azad), Shafi Baloch’s mutilated dead body has been found from Bolan area and shifted to his ancestral town of Sibbi for burial. Shafi Baloch was abducted by agencies on Friday June 17th 2011 near Lakhpass area of Mastung district.

Balochistan is dying out

by Mazhar Arif

The very unfortunate situation in Balochistan seems to have raised little concern in other parts of the country. The ethnic media appears more concerned about the ‘ghairat business’ or events occurred in Karachi or Islamabad. There are dozens of military detention centers in Balochistan, where people after their arrest, are detained and tortured to force confession statements about their alleged activities ….

Read more: → View Point

They dragged her out, tore up her clothes and forced her to walk naked on the street

Woman paraded naked in village north of Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: A woman was forcibly paraded naked through a village after her sons were accused of sleeping with a married neighbour who became pregnant, police said Tuesday.

The incident happened after neighbour Mohammad Salman grew suspicious that the woman’s sons slept with his wife in Neelor Bala village, 100 kilometres north of Islamabad, said police official Akhtar Nawaz. …

Read more: DAWN.COM

The Chinese Cozy Up to the Pakistanis

by Selig S. Harrison

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

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

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

Read more : The National Interest

A great Poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz was born today

Aaj Bazar mein – Faiz Ahmed Faiz (13 February 1911 – 20 November 1984)

Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Pakistani poet and journalist, who combined in his poetry the themes of love, beauty, and political ideals into a vision of a better and peaceful world. Due to his opposition to the military dictators, Faiz spent several years in prison and was forced to go into exile at different times in his career.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz is amongst the most famous poets of 20th century. Faiz, who was hounoured by Lenin Peace Prize in 1963, was seldom subjected to arrests by the pro-imperialist military regimes of Pakistan. Once, during the dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq, he was arrested and taken to the police station in front of the public. In this context, he wrote ‘Aaj Bazar mein’.

The video starts with a ‘mushairah’ (public recitation), where Faiz presents the poem, and describes its context. Then the video, with the melodious voice of Nayyara Noor in the background singing the verses of Faiz, shows the Sufi culture of Pakistan, which was suppressed by the religious fundamentalist government of Zia-ul-Haq. Then, there are some clips of public floggings and public hangings of political dissidents, which were employed to ingrain terror in the people of Pakistan. Public floggings were a norm during Zia’s time.

You Tube Link

Must watch : Interesting and factful story of Pakistan

Achievements & Disappointments of Pakistan. The language of discussion is urdu/ Hindi.

Courtesy: Dunya TV (Tonight with Najam Sethi-23-03-2010-1) – You Tube Link

Liberals are losing ground in Pakistan

“They’re armed, we’re not. They’ve nothing to lose. They fight for their faith with bullets. We’re not ready to die.”Rehana Hakim, Editor, Newsline

“The liberal-minded people are thinking of leaving the country. The liberal space will shrink even further.”Ayesha Siddiqa

“Should I remain silent or stand up to be counted? I’m struggling to take a decision.”Moneeza Hashmi, Broadcaster

The Flickering Flame

. Pakistan’s liberals are fleeing the country in fear or being forced into silence.

Mariana Baabar

When Omer announced he had completed his master’s degree from a university in London and wished to return home to Karachi, his father Rahim Khan, a senior government official, should have marvelled at his luck. After all, only a minuscule percentage of boys from the subcontinent ever return to their country from studies abroad. Contrary to expectations, Rahim was dismayed, promptly advising his only son to enrol for another course or grab a job, to do anything he could to extend his visa there. Rahim explained his decision to Outlook, “He will have no future in a city where you can’t be sure of returning home alive in the evening.”

It isn’t just those from the rich, western-educated class who have made it their habit to take a flight out of Pakistan, often for good. Months ago, Allama Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, a leading religious scholar, decided to make Dubai his home, so weary was he of the repeated threats from the obscurantists livid at his moderate interpretation of Islam. Marred by continuing ethnic strife, the once-liberal city of Karachi has also undergone rampant Talibanisation, goading the rich to make a beeline for safer climes abroad. This exodus prompted columnist Kamran Shafi to recently write about the “darkened homes in Karachi where the inmates have flown to alternative ‘nests’ in Canada, England and Malaysia”.

For long, Pakistan has seen its people migrate for reasons as varied as better economic prospects to hopes of escaping political discrimination and the state’s inability to provide protection from murderous gangs scouring the land with impunity. Whoever from the minority groups of Hindus and Christians can leave the country, does so at the first opportunity. Joining them in droves in recent times have been those from the Ahmedia sect, which is deemed non-Muslim under law. A significant percentage of the exodus comprises businessmen, often the target of kidnapping and extortion. Pakistanis have always asked themselves: should we leave the country or stay behind?

This question has again become a subject of fervent debate from the time Punjab governor Salman Taseer was gunned down and the shocking feting of his assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, who was outraged by his victim’s support for amending the blasphemy law. For someone to be killed for an opinion, an idea, has jolted Pakistanis into reflecting over their journey backward—from liberating progressivism to stifling conservatism. Recalls journalist Adnan Rehmat, “In the ’60s and ’70s, you could even eat at restaurants during Ramadan and see women in saris and bell-bottoms in the bazaars. Burqas and beards were a rare sight.” …

Read more : OUT LOOK

Hundreds of Sindhi-Americans Gathered in Houston to Pay Tribute to Their National Leader

Condemned the religious intolerance and human rights violations in Pakistan

HOUSTON, TX, USA. Tens of hundreds of Sindhi-Americans gathered in Houston on Saturday, January 15, 2011 to commemorate the 107th birthday of Mr. G. M. Syed, a national leader of the Sindh who waged a nonviolent struggle against religious fundamentalism and for freedom.

Sindh is home to the ancient Indus (Sindhu) Valley civilization and is now a unit of Pakistan. A vibrant Sindhi-American community numbering in the tens of thousands lives in various U.S. cities. More than 30 million Sindhis live in Sindh today. Sindhis are supportive of democracy and secularism and have been marginalized by security establishment of the country and its religious extremist reactionary ideology.

Continue reading Hundreds of Sindhi-Americans Gathered in Houston to Pay Tribute to Their National Leader

Seven girls, one in chains, recovered from brothel

Police search for the man who allegedly forced his two wives into prostitution.
Pakistan – FAISALABAD: Seven girls, one chained, were recovered from a house in street no 5 of Sakhi Sarwarabad area on Monday after the mother of one of the girls and local residents broke into the house and released them. …
Read more : The Express Tribune

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

Link

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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

SEX SCANDAL-HIT INDIAN ARMY GENERAL FORCED TO QUIT

NEW DELHI: In a major embarrassment for the army, a Lieutenant General has been forced to resign following allegations of sexual misconduct against him by the wife of an officer during a visit abroad last month. Indian army sources said that Lt. Gen A. K. Nanda, the Engineer-in-Chief, was asked to put in his papers by Army Chief Gen V. K. Singh after a complaint that he molested the wife of his technical secretary during a visit to Israel. …

Courtesy: Voice, June 05, 2010

In Pakistan, a Sex Industry Has Begun to Boom

SEX IN DEPTH

In Pakistan, a dark trade comes to light

By William Sparrow

BANGKOK – Prostitution in the Islamic nation of Pakistan, once relegated to dark alleys and small red-light districts, is now seeping into many neighborhoods of country’s urban centers. Reports indicate that since the period of civilian rule ended in 1977, times have changed and now the sex industry is bustling.

Early military governments and religious groups sought to reform areas like the famous “Taxali Gate” district of Lahore by displacing prostitutes and their families in an effort to “reinvent” the neighborhood.

While displacing the prostitutes might have temporarily made the once small red-light district a better neighborhood for a time, it did little to stop the now dispersed prostitutes from plying their trade. Reforming a neighborhood, instead of offering education and alternative opportunities, appears to be at the core of early failures to curb the nascent sex industry. This mistake would become a prophetic error as now the tendrils of the sex trade have become omnipresent in cities like Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore, not to mention towns, villages and rural outposts.

An aid worker for an Islamabad-based non-governmental organization (NGO) recently related a story: quickly after his arrival in the capital, he realized the house next to his own was a Chinese brothel. The Chinese ability to “franchise” the commercial sex industry by providing down-trodden Chinese women throughout Asia, North America and Europe would be admirable in a business sense if it were not for the atrocities – human trafficking, sexual slavery and exploitation – which cloud its practice.

Chinese bordellos, often operating as “massage parlors” or beauty salons, are across Pakistan, even spread even to war-torn and restive locations such as the Afghan capital Kabul. Chinese in the sex industry have developed a cunning ability to recognize areas where the demand for sex far outstrips the supply.

The NGO worker said that after months of living adjacent to the brothel things were shaken up – literally. One evening a drunk Pakistani drove his car into the brothel. Later the driver told authorities the ramming was a protest by a devout Muslim against the debauchery of the house and its inhabitants. The NGO worker, however, had seen the same car parked peacefully outside the house the night before.

The local sex industry comprised of Pakistani prostitutes has also grown in recent years. One can easily find videos on YouTube that show unabashed red-light areas of Lahore. The videos display house after house with colorfully lit entranceways always with a mamasan and at least one Pakistani woman in traditional dress. The women are available for in-house services for as little as 400 rupees (US$6) to take-away prices ranging 1,000 to 2,000 rupees. These districts are mostly for locals, but foreigners can indulge at higher prices.

Foreigners in Pakistan have no trouble finding companionship and may receive rates similar to locals in downtrodden districts. More upscale areas like Lahore’s Heera Mundi or “Diamond Market”, cater to well-heeled locals and foreigners. At these places prettier, younger girls push their services for 5,000 to 10,000 rupees for an all-night visit, and the most exceptional can command 20,000 to 40,000 rupees for just short time.

Rumors abound online that female TV stars and actresses can be hired for sex. “You can get film stars for 50,000 to 100,000 rupees but you need good contacts for that,” one blogger wrote after a trip to Lahore.

“The Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi sex scenes are totally changing and it’s easier and easier to get a girl for [sex],” another blogger wrote. “Most of the hotels provide you the girls upon request.” Bloggers also reported that it is easy to find girls prowling the streets after 6 pm, and foreigners can find young women hanging out near Western franchises like McDonald’s and KFC. Such women, the bloggers claim, can lead the customer to a nearby short-time accommodation.

Short-time hotels offering hourly rates can be found all over major cities, underscoring the profits being reaped by the sex industry.

Pakistan can also accommodate the gay community with prostitution. Unfortunately, this has also given rise to child prostitution.

A Pakistani blogger wrote, “We [ethnic] Pathans are very fond of boys. [In Pakistan] the wives are only [had sex with] once or twice a year. There are lot of gay brothels in Peshawar – the famous among them is at Ramdas Bazaar. [One can] go to any Afghan restaurant and find young waiters selling sex.”

As in many societies, access to technology, the Internet and mobile phones has only facilitated the sex trade in Pakistan. “Matchmaking” websites serve the male clientele, while providing marketing for prostitutes.

The root causes of prostitution in Pakistan are poverty and a dearth of opportunities. Widows find themselves on the streets with mouths to feed, and for many prostitution offers a quick fix. A local Pakistani prostitute can earn 2,000 to 3,000 rupees per day compared to the average monthly income of 2,500 rupees.

Forced prostitution is not rare. Women in hard times are often exploited and pushed into prostitution. Sandra (not her real name), said that after the death of her father she was left alone; friends and relatives deserted her after the grieving period. As a middle-class, educated woman she was surprised to find herself forced into prostitution from her office job.

“My boss initially spoiled me at first,” she told Khaleej Times. “[But] now I am in [the sex industry].” Sandra first thought her boss was being gracious, but quickly learned he was grooming her for sex for his own pleasure, and then acting as her pimp.

Many of Pakistan’s contemporary sexual mores may have evolved from traditional practices. For example, the polygamy permitted in Muslim society stemmed from the need for larger family units, the better to support familial ties and tend for widows. Until such ancient customs are updated, women such as Sandra will continue to be bought and sold.

It’s time for Pakistan to admit that prostitution is doing a roaring trade within its borders, and will continue to prosper until it is addressed in a modern manner. Let us hope that the people and government of this proud Muslim country will stop pretending the problem simply isn’t there.

William Sparrow has been an occasional contributor to Asia Times Online and now joins Asia Times Online with a weekly column. Sparrow is editor in chief of Asian Sex Gazette and has reported on sex in Asia for over five years.

Courtesy: atimes.com

Source- http://pakteahouse.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/in-pakistan-a-sex-industry-has-begun-to-boom/

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Courtesy: ARY News (Sar-e-Aam – August 24th 2012)

Via – Siasat.pk » YouTube

http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?129943-Sar-e-Aam-August-24th-2012