Tag Archives: Information

Where is the evidence of Democracy?

Scientist muzzling probed by information commissioner

Complaint was filed by Democracy Watch and University of Victoria on Feb. 20

By CBC News

Canada’s information commissioner has confirmed that her office will investigate allegations that the federal government is muzzling its scientists.

The office of Suzanne Legault has concluded that a complaint made by Democracy Watch and the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Clinic in February falls within its mandate, wrote Emily McCarthy, assistant information commissioner, in a letter released Monday by Democracy Watch, an Ottawa-based non-profit organization that advocates for government accountability.

The letter, dated March 27, added that the office has notified and sent a summary of the complaint to the relevant government institutions:

  • Environment Canada.
  • Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
  • Natural Resources Canada.
  • National Research Council of Canada.
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
  • Department of National Defence.

Treasury Board included

The letter added, “We have also determined that the Treasury Board Secretariat should be included in your complaint because of its role in relation to the development and implementation of government policies.”

Tyler Sommers, co-ordinator of Democracy Watch, said in a statement, that the group is “very pleased” about the investigation being called.

“And we will continue to push the information commissioner to get to the bottom of this situation, publicly release the results, and push the federal government to change these policies,” he added.

The complaint, filed on Feb. 20, suggested that federal government policy “forcing scientists to jump through hoops before speaking with the mediabreaches the Access to Information Act.

The complaint included a 26-page report with 100 pages of appendices, containing details and examples, based on internal government documents previously released through freedom of information requests, along with conversations with current and former federal public servants, journalists, members of non-profit organizations, and professors at Canadian universities.

The federal Access to Information Act requires the Office of the Information Commissioner to investigate “any matter related to obtaining or requesting access to records” from federal institutions.

Continue reading Where is the evidence of Democracy?

Indo-Pak spy war: Military Intelligence staffer caught stealing information for Pakistan

By Wichaar Desk

NEW DELHI: A staffer associated with Military Intelligence unit has been caught in a joint operation by the Army and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence officials for allegedly stealing and trying to pass on classified information to Pakistan’s spy agency ISI.

Continue reading Indo-Pak spy war: Military Intelligence staffer caught stealing information for Pakistan

Indo-Pak Borders blur as experts brainstorm on education

Borders blur as experts brainstorm on education

The Aman ki Asha Education Committee met in New Delhi last Thursday to decide on ways in which India and Pakistan can collaborate to bring about reforms in education on both sides of the border. The Indo-Pak Education/Skills Development Committee is one of the six committees formed after the Aman ki Asha Business Meet in May 2010, to take forward cooperation in the areas that delegates had identified as having the greatest potential for cooperation – Education/Skills Development, Textiles, Information Technology (IT), Agriculture, Energy and Healthcare.At a day-long meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), The Times of India, the Jang Group, and Pakistan India CEOs Business Forum at India Habitat Centre, luminaries from both countries shared problems and achievements in their education sectors followed by some brainstorming for effective solutions. ….

Read more » Aman Ki Asha

Brig Ali approaches Abbottabad commission to record statement: Sources

By Sumera Khan

ISLAMABAD: Brigadier (retd) Ali Khan – who is accused of conspiring to overthrow the government and currently facing court martial proceedings – sent a request to the Abbottabad commission to record his testimony and to make revelations pertaining to the Kargil Operation and the 1999 military coup, sources have revealed.

Sources have said that Brig Ali has requested the Abbottabad commission to allow him to appear in a hearing as he has sensitive information pertaining to national security, which he think should be shared with them. He has, in his written request, stated that he is the one who was most affected by the May 2 raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed.

The application from Brig Ali had been sent though courier dispatch by his family.

Brig Ali, who is accused of having links with Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), had earlier claimed that the court martial is to malign him because he had asked the military brass to fix responsibility for the May 2 raid. Charges of planning an air raid on the General Headquarters using F-16s had also earlier been dropped.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/354493/brig-ali-approaches-abbottabad-commission-to-record-statement/

ANALYSIS: JI did it again! – Farhat Taj

The media blatantly distorts facts to produce and promote narratives, discourses and arguments that concur with the security establishment’s policies. The authors of the JI report seem to make no attempt to cross check the media reports with information on the ground

Some time back, an Islamabad-based think tank, Jinnah Institute (JI), published a report, ‘Pakistan, the United States and the End Game in Afghanistan: Perceptions of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Elite’. This report was criticised by some writers in the media for its justification of Pakistan’s security policy vis-à-vis Afghanistan. The well-known pro-military establishment journalists tried hard to defend the report. In the process, they exposed their own pro-establishment biases, in addition to have failed to address the valid objections on the report raised by the critics.

Now, the JI has come out with another report, ‘Extremism Watch: Mapping Conflict Trends in Pakistan 2010-2011’. The key reason why the report is misplaced is that it is mainly based on — as stated in its methodology (pg 6) — reports from English and Urdu media in Pakistan. But most of the Pakistani English and Urdu media is neither independent nor abides by any professional or ethical standards in reporting on matters that are the exclusive domain of Pakistan’s military establishment, such as policies about Afghanistan and India. These policies are closely interwoven with religious extremism and terrorism in Pakistan, the issues that this JI report seeks to look into. The media blatantly distorts facts to produce and promote narratives, discourses and arguments that concur with the security establishment’s policies. The authors of the JI report seem to make no attempt to cross check the media reports with information on the ground.

To elaborate my point, I will comment on one of the essays in the JI report, ‘Turning the Schools to Stones’, to highlight its bias. What the writer of this essay is saying about the bombing of schools in the Pashtun areas — FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and even in Afghanistan — is this.

Read more » Daily Times

via – Twitter

New York Times – Pakistan Builds Web Wall Out in the Open

By ERIC PFANNER

PARIS — Many countries censor the Internet, but few spell out their intentions as explicitly as Pakistan.

In an effort to tighten its control over the Internet, the government recently published a public tender for the “development, deployment and operation of a national-level URL filtering and blocking system.”

Technology companies, academic institutions and other interested parties have until March 16 to submit proposals for the $10 million project, but anger about it has been growing both inside and outside Pakistan.

Censorship of the Web is nothing new in Pakistan, which, like other countries in the region, says it wants to uphold public morality, protect national security or prevent blasphemy. The government has blocked access to pornographic sites, as well as, from time to time, mainstream services like Facebook and YouTube.

Until now, however, Pakistan has done so in a makeshift way, demanding that Internet service providers cut off access to specific sites upon request. With Internet use growing rapidly, the censors are struggling to keep up, so the government wants to build an automatic blocking and filtering system, like the so-called Great Firewall of China.

While China and other governments that sanitize the Internet generally do so with little public disclosure, Pakistan is being surprisingly forthcoming about its censorship needs. It published its request for proposals on the Web site of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry’s Research and Development Fund and even took out newspaper advertisements to publicize the project.

“The system would have a central database of undesirable URL’s that would be loaded on the distributed hardware boxes at each POP and updated on daily basis,” the request for proposals says, referring to uniform resource locators, the unique addresses for specific Web pages, and points of presence, or access points.

“The database would be regularly updated through subscription to an international reputed company maintaining and updating such databases,” according to the request, which was published last month.

The tender details a number of technical specifications, including the fact that the technology “should be able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URL’s (concurrent unidirectional filtering capacity) with processing delay of not more than 1 milliseconds.”

Following the Arab Spring, which demonstrated the power of the Internet to help spread political and social change, Pakistan’s move to clamp down has set off a storm of protest among free-speech groups in the country and beyond.

Opponents of censorship say they are doubly appalled because they associated this kind of heavy-handed approach more with the previous regime of Gen. Pervez Musharraf than with the current government of President Asif Ali Zardari.

“The authorities here are big fans of China and how it filters the Internet,” said Sana Saleem, chief executive of Bolo Bhi, a group that campaigns against restrictions on the Internet. “They overlook the fact that China is an autocratic regime and we are a democracy.”

Continue reading New York Times – Pakistan Builds Web Wall Out in the Open

Of memogate and precedence – By Waris Husain

As Habib Jalib said, “How can this desert be called a rose garden? How can I write a silver lining of this cloud? We have inherited this grief from the past, how can I write this grief anew?”

Critics argue that the Supreme Court’s decision to continue its probe of Memogate is a replay of past judgments which legitimised the will of the military over the people’s civilian government. Others contend that the will of the people demands that Zardari and his cohorts be punished in any manner for corruption, and the Supreme Court’s decision is one step in that political fight.

Though the Supreme Court judges and the Lawyer’s Movement acted as a political force to remove Musharraf, they should reexamine their roles in the battle for constitutional supremacy today. The Court has a valid interest in applying the rule of law equally to all, including Presidents and former Ambassadors, but they must also recognise the context of that judgment. The law, unlike politics, is powerful only when it follows precedent, and the precedent being set by the court today is quite a dangerous one for the future of civilian-military relations.

The Supreme Court’s order calls for a three judge panel to collect evidence and present findings within one month. In the Order, the Supreme Court stated that it was protecting fundamental rights recognised in Articles 9, 14, and 19A of the Constitution. These articles protect the right to due process, dignity of man, right to information of matters of public importance.

Continue reading Of memogate and precedence – By Waris Husain

Memogate: ‘Pasha stepped beyond jurisdiction when he briefed Kayani’

By Faisal Shakeel

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Monday said that Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Shuja Pasha stepped beyond his jurisdiction when he briefed Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Ashfaq Pervez Kayani about his meeting with Mansoor Ijaz in London.

“He should have known who he was supposed to report to,” the federal government stated this in a reply submitted to the Supreme Court in the form of an affidavit. The nine-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had asked the federal government on December 19 to “accept or deny” the statements filed by Kayani, Pasha and others in the memo case.

The reply said the COAS did not immediately inform the prime minister of his meeting with the ISI chief on October 24 with regard to the details on the memo. However, he chose to divulge the details to the prime minister on November 13.

Both Kayani and Pasha have taken an entirely different position to that of the government before the nine-member bench of the court on Memogate.

The generals insist that the memo is authentic and needs to be thoroughly investigated, while the government has termed it a conspiracy and urged the SC to dismiss petitions outright.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

The rise of people’s media

– By Manzoor Chandio, Karachi, Sindh

A piece of news or information is no more the property of the so-called ministries of information or media barons. New technologies have set free the information from official controls and ‘mainstream media’ newsrooms.

Often called liberating technologies, the cell phone, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. have assumed the role of new modes of disseminating information. They have allowed every citizen to become a publisher or a journalist. Today the first source of information is a mobile, instead of newspapers or TV channels, where one receives breaking news. ….

Read more → Manzoor Chandio’s Blog

IQRA Program

– Information on 30 million “Improving the Quality of Reading Activity (IQRA)” Program in Sindh

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean

Recently, the US government issued “Request for Agreement (RFA)” documents for engaging NGOs for a US $ 30-million “Improving the Quality of Reading Activity (IQRA)” Program in Sindh. This RFA was issued in conjunction with the $ 155 million agreement between Government of Sindh (GoS) and the US Aid Agency. The full RFA document is available at http://www.usaid.gov/pk/docs/USAIDPakistanRFA-391-11-000005.pdf

Those interested to be active participant in the “Improving the Quality of Reading Activity (IQRA)” Program must read read the full document at above link.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, September 30, 2011.

Bashir Jan Revealing Shocking Information About Karachi terrorists

YouTube

Terrorists in ‘Command and Control’?

– BY IMDAD SOOMRO

» During recent incidents of violence, ISI recorded conversations between Command and Control Centre officials and target killers, On Feb 28, SHC ordered handing over centre to Home Department, but directives not complied with so far

SINDH: KARACHI – The officials of the Command and Control Centre established by former Karachi nazim Mustafa Kamal is aiding target killers and terrorists in their activities, Pakistan Today has learnt. Sources said that with their eyes on various parts of the city through the cameras installed all across the metropolitan, the officials of the centre’s Cam Wing provide anti-social elements with information about movement of the police and personnel of other law enforcement agencies as well as instructions for terror activities.

During the recent incidents of violence, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has recorded conversations of the centre’s officials with target killers and terrorists, the sources added. They said that officials of the Cam Wing were discovered directing criminals regarding targets for killing and causing disruption as well as vandalism, looting and arson.

The ISI has recorded conversations of Cam Wing officials on separate occasions of violence and found that they directed criminals to leave a particular location or reach a specific site, they added. Sources said that the ISI has forwarded a letter to the federal government to immediately investigate the Cam Wing officials, and has recommended that the centre be handed over to the law enforcers immediately because due to these corrupt officials, the law enforcers have been unable to take action against target killers and terrorists among other criminals.

In its letter, the ISI has also expressed its reservations over the department of Community Police, more commonly known as the City Wardens, the sources added.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Community Police Department was also established by the former city nazim, and some 7,500 activists of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) were appointed in the department without conducting any interviews to determine their eligibility.

It is also relevant to mention here that on February 28 this year, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had ordered handing over the Command and Control Centre to the Sindh Home Department, but despite the passage of over five months, no action has been taken in this regard due to the Pakistan People’s Party’s policy of reconciliation.

An SHC division bench comprising Justices Gulzar Ahmed and Imam Bux Baloch had ordered constituting a committee headed by the Sindh Special Home Secretary and Sindh Additional Inspector General of Police with Pakistan Rangers-Sindh Lieutenant Colonel and a grade-19 officer of the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) as its members to supervise the centre.

The bench had issued the orders on a constitutional petition filed by Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi President Muhammad Hussain Mehanti who sought handing over the centre to the Sindh government.

At the time of the SHC decision, Sindh Additional Advocate General Miran Muhammad Shah had assured the court on behalf of the provincial government that the centre would be run under the control of the Home Department.

Shah had said that the centre would be run under the supervision of the Home Secretary and law enforcers among others.

The court had then disposed of the petition and ordered handing over the centre to the Home Department.

The Command and Control Centre was established by the CDGK in its last tenure following the directives of the former city nazim to control the traffic problems of the city; however, according to sources, the centre has been misused by a specific political party.

They said that the law enforcers have expressed their reservations on many occasions and suggested that instead of a political party or the local government, this centre be supervised by the provincial government because the centre has been misused by a political party for its own interests.

Several terror incidents – including the 12 Rabiul Awwal, 12 May and April 9 incidents as well as the Ashura and Chehlum tragedies – shook the metropolis, but no video evidence was maintained or handed over to the law enforcers, they added.

They also said that former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfiqar Ali Mirza had publicly complained that the Command and Control Centre was being misused by a specific political party. The video clip of a recent quarrel between Mirza and a private television channel’s team was also provided by the officials of the centre to the said channel, they added.

Courtesy: →PAKISTAN TODAY

Abdul Qadeer accuses Pakistani military figures of accepting bribes from North Korea

The nuclear scientist considered the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb has claimed that North Korea gave millions of dollars in bribes to senior military figures in exchange for weapons secrets.

By Rob Crilly, Islamabad

Abdul Qadeer Khan signed a confession in 2004 admitting that he had handed classified information to Iran, Libya and North Korea but his supporters have long claimed he was made a scapegoat by a government which cast him as a rogue operator.

Now documents passed to a US nuclear weapons analyst by Dr Khan suggest that high-level Pakistani military officials knew about – and personally profited from – his sales of nuclear weapons technology.

In a written statement, Dr Khan describes helping transfer more than $3m to senior officers, delivering the cash in a canvas bag and cartons, including one in which it was hidden under fruit.

The revelations, which have been denied by Pakistani officials, will only heighten already difficult relations between Islamabad and Washington. …

Read more →  telegraph.co.uk

Pakistan’s Spies Tied to Slaying of a Journalist

By JANE PERLEZ and ERIC SCHMITT

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Obama administration officials believe that Pakistan’s powerful spy agency ordered the killing of a Pakistani journalist who had written scathing reports about the infiltration of militants in the country’s military, according to American officials.

New classified intelligence obtained before the May 29 disappearance of the journalist, Saleem Shahzad, 40, from the capital, Islamabad, and after the discovery of his mortally wounded body, showed that senior officials of the spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, directed the attack on him in an effort to silence criticism, two senior administration officials said.

The intelligence, which several administration officials said they believed was reliable and conclusive, showed that the actions of the ISI, as it is known, were “barbaric and unacceptable,” one of the officials said. They would not disclose further details about the intelligence.

But the disclosure of the information in itself could further aggravate the badly fractured relationship between the United States and Pakistan, which worsened significantly with the American commando raid two months ago that killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistan safehouse and deeply embarrassed the Pakistani government, military and intelligence hierarchy. Obama administration officials will deliberate in the coming days how to present the information about Mr. Shahzad to the Pakistani government, an administration official said.

The disclosure of the intelligence was made in answer to questions about the possibility of its existence, and was reluctantly confirmed by the two officials. “There is a lot of high-level concern about the murder; no one is too busy not to look at this,” said one.

A third senior American official said there was enough other intelligence and indicators immediately after Mr. Shahzad’s death for the Americans to conclude that the ISI had ordered him killed.

“Every indication is that this was a deliberate, targeted killing that was most likely meant to send shock waves through Pakistan’s journalist community and civil society,” said the official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the information.

A spokesman for the Pakistan intelligence agency said in Islamabad on Monday night that “I am not commenting on this.” George Little, a spokesman for the Central Intelligence Agency, declined to comment.

In a statement the day after Mr. Shahzad’s waterlogged body was retrieved from a canal 60 miles from Islamabad, the ISI publicly denied accusations in the Pakistani news media that it had been responsible, calling them “totally unfounded.”

The ISI said the journalist’s death was “unfortunate and tragic,” and should not be “used to target and malign the country’s security agency.” …

Read more → THE NEW YORK TIMES

Pakistan Arrests C.I.A. Informants in Bin Laden Raid

By ERIC SCHMITT and MARK MAZZETTI

WASHINGTON — Pakistan’s top military spy agency has arrested some of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency in the months leading up to the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, according to American officials.
Pakistan’s detention of five C.I.A. informants, including a Pakistani Army major who officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in the weeks before the raid, is the latest evidence of the fractured relationship between the United States and Pakistan. It comes at a time when the Obama administration is seeking Pakistan’s support in brokering an endgame in the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

Read more: The New York Times

Osama’s Yemeni wife led US to Abbottabad?

by Wichaar

LONDON: Pakistan interior minister Rehman Malik believes US had a mole right inside Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout and this was how the al-Qaida chief was tracked down, a media report said on Sunday.

Top US officials said after the raid that they were only partially certain of Osama’s presence inside the $1 million mansion, but Malik says only definitive information could have led them right to the room where bin Laden was killed, according to a report in The Sunday Times. The report also says that bin Laden’s Saudi wives believe it was his younger Yemeni wife Amal who betrayed him.

“In my experience of years as an intelligence officer, I think someone from inside may have given information,” said Malik. “If the Americans didn’t have definitive information, they couldn’t have gone straight to the room where bin Laden was,” he was quoted as saying by the paper.

A pocket guide carried by the US Navy Seals who killed Osama, suggests “bin Laden had fathered twins in captivity” referring to the unidentified children born this year to his youngest wife Amal, 28.

The document, left behind in the compound, lists the names and ages of those who were present, including bin Laden’s wives, children and grandchildren. It also details where they lived in the compound and when they arrived. ….

Read more : Wichaar

Farhat Taj’s 2nd Article after ISI’s response to her first Article

ANALYSIS: More misleading information — I —Farhat Taj

Mr Haider’s most misleading information about the Ali Khels is that the Pakistani state supported their resistance to the Taliban. The fact is that the state abandoned the Ali Khels by design so as to punish them for their anti-Talibanism

Mr Ejaz Haider responded to my article ‘Misleading information’ (Daily Times, April 2, 2011) via his two-part column ‘Responding to Farhat Taj’ in another daily (April 10, 2011). I had said in my article that, “Mr Ejaz Haider, as a political analyst, is expected to be honest and not to mislead people.” I regret to say that Mr Haider has produced even more misleading information in his response. The range of his misleading information is so wide that I cannot accommodate it all in one column. Therefore, today, I will comment on some of it, leaving the rest for my columns in the coming weeks. …

Read more : Daily Times

Pakistan Today Is Better Than It Was 20 Years Ago

by Farid Ahmad
Sitting in the middle of load-shedding, watching the political theater roll-on ad infinitum, and reading the news of another security incident somewhere, it is easy to be depressed about Pakistan these days.

Depression, however, is parasitic.

It jumps from person to person and grows in strength unless treated. It makes you weak and vulnerable  and sometimes it is necessary to break the circle. Yes, Pakistan is going through very tough times, but there is no reason to throw all hope to the wind and to start denying the things that are going right  and a lot has gone right in the past twenty or so years.

First, the necessary disclaimer: The intention here is not to sweep Pakistan’s problems under the rug or to try and rationalize away the immense suffering of the victims of recent violence and economic turmoil. There is no doubt that things have taken a very serious turn in recent months and millions of people are paying a heavy price every day.

With that disclaimer in place, here’s a collection of things that I have seen change for the better in my life in Pakistan – from high-school in the eighties to today.

It is necessarily a very personal list, though others might be able to relate to some of it. Traveling apart, I’ve spent my life living in Islamabad and Lahore and my memories are naturally specific to these places. So again, I’m fully conscious of the fact that not everyone can relate to or agree with my attempt at optimism.

But even if I come across as being overly optimistic, it is only to counter those who are becoming unnecessarily pessimistic.

Maybe you have your own stories, your own inspirations, your own rays of hope that keep you going… these are mine. And I share them with the hope that they will help someone else break out of the circle of pessimism.

Roads: 1989: Driving from Lahore to Islamabad was an ordeal on the mostly single-lane, badly maintained GT road.
2010: Driving from Lahore to Islamabad is a pleasure on the motorway. And it is not just this one road, a lot of roads have been added to the network or improved. I know people in my office in Islamabad who routinely drive to Karachi with their families. We need many more roads – but we have certainly not been sitting idle.

Communications: 1989: Calling from Islamabad to Lahore meant going to the market to a PCO, telling the guy to book a 3-minute call and waiting around till it got connected. Even if you had an STD line at home, your fingers were likely to get sore from dialing before you got connected. And once the call was connected you watched the clock like a hawk as it was so expensive.
2010: Instant, cheap calls worldwide for everyone from cellular phones.

Internet: 1995: I was first introduced to the wonders of Email in 1995. It was an offline ‘store and forward’ system (remember those @sdnpk email addresses?) . If you sent a mail in the morning, it reached in the evening when your Email provider called USA on a direct line to forward it.
2010: Broadband, DSL, WiMax, Dialup, Cable – instant connectivity for everyone. More generally, I’ve gone thru a series of denials about the adoption of new technologies in Pakistan. I went through thinking that cellular phones would never gain widespread adoption – I was wrong; that internet would remain a niche – I was wrong; that broadband would never take off here – I was wrong; that Blackberry would never be adopted – I was wrong. Here I speak from some experience as I work for a cellular company and I’ve seen all these numbers grow exponentially. The fact is that Pakistan and Pakistanis love technology and are eager to adopt and adapt the latest technologies as soon as they become available. With its huge population, this creates a large market for every new technology in Pakistan and businesses rush in to fill it. This bodes well for the future. ….

Read more : Pakistaniat

Jemima Khan on Assange; Don’t shoot the messenger; The Assault on Assange Is an Assault on All Americans

Why did I back Julian Assange? It’s about justice and fairness

by Jemima Khan

Why did I offer to provide surety for an alleged rapist, a man I have never met? That’s the question even my mother asked me after I appeared in court for Julian Assange.

That morning I had sent a spur-of-the-moment message of support by email to Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens, when I read of his arrest. He immediately responded and asked if I would be prepared to come to court in the next hour to act as a surety for Assange. I was nervous about the inevitable media circus, but felt that it was the right thing to do after being convinced by Stephens that it could help.

Assange has not even been charged, let alone convicted. Swedish prosecutors do not have to produce any evidence that he committed the alleged sexual offences to justify the warrant. On the basis of the allegations that I heard read out in court, the evidence seems feeble, but I concede that I don’t know the full facts. Neither does Assange. Stockholm’s chief prosecutor, Eva Finne, who heard the evidence against Assange in August, threw the case out of court, saying: “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape.”

Read more : Guardian.co.uk

— — —

To read article of  Naomi Wolf – The Assault on Assange Is an Assault on All Americans –   CLICK HERE

Julian Assange : The “Man of the year”

Times of universal deceit — Dr Mohammad Taqi

The US government has now ordered all its employees to stay away from the WikiLeaks website even on their home computers and not read what the government still considers classified information. Big Brother keeps digging itself deeper into a hole …

Read more : Daily Times

 

Janane ka Haq means Right to Know!

Janane ka haq [WikiLeaks] is the anthem of the Right to Information movement. Janane ka Haq means Right to Know. This song underlines the importance of the Right to Information in day to day life of an individual.

My dreams have a right to know … My hands have a right to know … My feet have a right to know … My hunger has a right to know … My old mother has a right to know … My fields have a right to know … My forests have a right to know … My rivers have a right to know … My village has a right to know … My vote has a right to know …. My Ram … My Rahman has a right to know … My life has a right to live …. This song is written, composed and sung by Vinay and Charu Mahajan.

You Tube Link

Encyclopaedia of Sindhi Launched

The Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah launched the first ever comprehensive encyclopaedia of the Sindhi language, ‘Encyclopaedia Sindhiana’ on Saturday, Dec 4, 2010 at a ceremony at Karachi’s Regent Plaza hotel.

The ceremony was also attended by Ms Sassui Palijo, the Sindh Culture Minister, Ms Sharmila Farooqi, Information Advisor to the Chief Minister, Mr Abdul Salaam Thaheem, Minister for Technical Education and a large number of Sindhi scholars and intellectuals including Dr GA Allana, Mr Mazhar Siddiqui, Sirajul Haque Memon and others. …

Read more : Sindhiyat

No contradiction when it comes to Gen. Kiyani

by Adnan Farooq

One expression of hegemony that in Antonio Gramsci’s view sustains rulers in power, is self-censorship practiced by mainstream media professionals. Here is a case in point:

Noted Geo-anchorperson and Jang-columnist, Hamid Mir, in his column last week (November 04) titled “Yeh Nawaz Sharif Bhi Kehtay Thay” claims that on September 14, 1999, he informed Nazir Naji to convey to the then Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, that his government would be shown the doors if he did not mend his ways and stopped interfering with the state institutions.

One wonders if Mr. Hamid Mir had access to such sensitive information, why he kept it to himself or only shared it with Nazir Naji. Was Nazir Naji the only person in Pakistan who could save the democratic system by merely sharing it with Mian Nawaz Sharif.

Mr. Mir asserts in his column that he mentioned two advisors to Mian Nawaz Sharif and criticized his government policies during a live PTV talk show hosted by the late Khalil Malik. The show was ‘fortunately was being watched’ by Mian Shahbaz Sharif. He received a call from Mian Shahbaz Sharif soon after the PTV talk show was hooked off.

If one goes by journalistic ethics, Mr. Mir should have shared this information with the peoples of Pakistan in the same columns of his newspaper so that people and civil society could be mobilized to pre-empt unscrupulous General Pervez Musharraf from overthrowing an elected government and pushing the country in the throes of dictatorship for almost a decade. It certainly involved risks. But to champion democracy when Musharraf’s boat was about to sink, is nothing to boast about. …

Read more : View Point

Unaccounted-for, release of Rs5.55 billion to ISI

PAC denied information about Rs5.5bn paid to ISI

By Khawar Ghumman

ISLAMABAD: Eyebrows were raised on Tuesday when finance officials informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly about an unaccounted-for, one-time release of Rs5.55 billion to Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) during 2007-08 for its operations.

When pressed for details, Finance Secretary Salman Siddique opted to keep quiet. “This is highly sensitive information and hence I can’t talk about it at an open forum.”

According to information provided by the finance division to the PAC, the amount was paid to the ISI as a supplementary grant.

Despite repeated questions and light-hearted taunts by members of the committee, Mr Siddique refused to share any details. …

Read more >> DAWN

Injustice with Sindhis by PTV & Ministry of Information

by: Saeed Sangri, Khair pur, Sindh

You probably do not know that PTV is the one of most prestige Federal Institution in the country, which is under the control of Information Ministry and where appointments are made from Four province including Kashmir and FATA on equally basis. I would like to draw here over all postion of Employees in PTV.

Continue reading Injustice with Sindhis by PTV & Ministry of Information

The relevance of the Bhutto factor

sherryrehmanBy Sherry Rehman, Islamabad
Please note: The writer is the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, MNA, and Member the Central Executive Committee, Pakistan Peoples Party.
If Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto were alive today, he would have celebrated his 81st birthday on January 5, 2009. The enthusiasm his followers demonstrate on every birth anniversary of the Shaheed leader, thirty years after his judicial murder, remains a challenge for those looking for an academic understanding of the phenomenon of ‘Bhuttoism’. Perhaps the reason leaders like Shaheed Bhutto continue to live in the national memory is because of the dedication they commit to their cause. For Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, people’s empowerment was a cause so important that he refused to make any compromises even when his life was at stake.

Continue reading The relevance of the Bhutto factor