Tag Archives: Journalists

Mir won’t speak in ISI’s presence

Senior journalist Hamid Mir on Wednesday refused to record his statement on his assassination attempt in the presence of a representative of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general.

The journalist who recently survived an attack on his life maintained that only ISI knew about his travel details and he could not record his statement in the presence of the same agency’s representative.

Read more » PT
http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2014/05/01/national/mir-wont-speak-in-isis-presence/

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An act of desperation

TaqiBy Dr Mohammad Taqi

Hamid Mir’s guardian angel was watching over him perhaps. Mir, a prominent Pakistani journalist and media personality, survived despite receiving multiple bullet injuries. He may be out of the woods medically but the violent threat to him and the Pakistani media at large has not dissipated. Mir was not the first journalist to be targeted with such brutal impunity and, unfortunately, will not be the last. Someone in the deep, convoluted bowels of society is getting really, really desperate. It seems like the war for the narrative and on those who may shape it has just entered a new and more deadly phase.
After a similar attack on the journalist Raza Rumi last month, I noted in my column ‘Hooked on jihadism’ (Daily Times, April 3, 2014) that “the Committee to Protect Journalists’ optimism notwithstanding, the Pakistani state is unlikely to kick its jihadist drug habit. The space for those citizens, especially media persons who do not conform, will continue to shrink. Raza Rumi, and others like him, will be left to fend for themselves.” The usual suspects seem gung-ho on either taming or eliminating the dissenting voices. The relentless assault on the media appears to be from both the state and non-state actors or some combination thereof. The attack on Express Television this past January was claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan while the one on Raza Rumi has apparently been traced to the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi ringleader Malik Ishaq. Many attacks, like the multiple bomb attacks on the residence of the Express Tribune’s Peshawar bureau chief, Jamshed Baghwan, have not been claimed by anyone.
Hamid Mir’s brother, Amir Mir — also a veteran journalist who has written extensively about the military-jihadist nexus — has directly blamed the ISI for the attack on Mir. Amnesty International’s (AI’s) Deputy Asia-Pacific Director David Griffiths has said in an e-mailed statement that, in the past three years, “Mir had on two occasions told the Amnesty International that he believed his life was under threat from different actors, including the ISI and the Pakistani Taliban.” Saying that they do not know who is responsible for the attack, the AI has called for bringing the perpetrators to book “regardless of their affiliations to any state institution, political party or any other group”. The Director General ISPR has since refuted Amir Mir’s allegations and an ISPR press release stated, “An independent inquiry must immediately be carried out to ascertain facts.”

Read more » Daily Times
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/24-Apr-2014/an-act-of-desperation

The Hamid Mir case: ‘In Pakistan, they used to censor journalists – now they shoot us’

Hamid Mir
Hamid Mir

On Saturday in Karachi, one of Pakistan’s most famous journalists survived being shot six times. Soon after, the TV news channel he works for blamed the feared Inter-Services Intelligence agency for the attack. Author Mohammed Hanif reports on a fourth estate under siege

By , The Guardian

More than a hundred bouquets line the lobby of the private ward of Karachi’s posh, private Aga Khan Hospital. Outside, dozens of policemen with bulletproof vests and automatic weapons look at every visitor suspiciously, officers speaking urgently into their walkie-talkies. The Karachi police force is really good at strutting about after a high-profile crime has happened. One of the largest bouquets in the lobby is from the force. “Get well Hamid Mir,” it says. “We may not be able to protect you,” it implies, “but we know where to order the best flowers.”

Mir is upstairs recuperating. He took six bullets – in the ribs, thigh, stomach and across his hand – in an assassination attempt on Saturday as he came out of the airport to present a special broadcast on Geo, Pakistan‘s largest news channel. Mir had warned about a possible assassination. He had also named his would-be killers. That’s what his brother claims, that’s what his colleagues and managers at the channel say. Geo, just after the attack, broadcast the allegation and, in an unprecedented move, also flashed the picture of the accused: the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence chief, Lieutenant General Zaheer ul-Islam. In that picture he comes across as a big man. We are not supposed to know much about him except the fact that he is a very professional general. According to an internet myth very popular in Pakistan, the ISI has been rated as the world’s No 1 intelligence agency: Mossad is No 5 and MI6 languishes at No 9. According to television ratings, the man with three bullets still in his body is Pakistan’s top-rated TV journalist and one of the most vocal critics of Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies.

One of the modest bouquets wishing Mir a full and speedy recovery is from the prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, who visited him in the hospital earlier this week after announcing a judicial inquiry. Going by the history of judicial inquiries in Pakistan, Sharif seemed to be saying: “Look Hamid, we want you to get well but don’t really expect us to find out who tried to kill you. Who is going to go and ask a working general? Meanwhile, here are three senior judges who will help you get over the whole thing.”

The day after the assassination attempt, Pakistan’s army chief General Raheel Sharif visited the ISI headquarters to show that he stands with his intelligence boss.

And the very next day, the Defence Ministry recommended that the channel for which Mir works should be shut down for bringing a national institution into disrepute. Geo’s competitors have joined the chorus.

For years, Pakistan has been one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists. From feudal landlords to Taliban fighters, sectarian groups to separatists, all have killed journalists. The question one needs to ask is: does the ISI, a national body often referred to as “a sensitive institution”, occasionally kill journalists? As any trained journalist would tell you, we need two sources before we can tell you a story. Here are two stories, with multiple sources and two different endings.

Continue reading The Hamid Mir case: ‘In Pakistan, they used to censor journalists – now they shoot us’

Shahbaz speaks in Sindhi

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif spoke in Sindhi with a delegation of some senior journalists from Sindh visiting Lahore.

According to a handout, the journalists were pleasantly surprised by the chief minister’s fluent Sindhi. The chief minister exchanged views with the Sindhi journalists over the national situation and development projects in the Punjab.

Talking about Karachi, Shahbaz Sharif said Karachi was a beautiful city back in the 1960s when he was a student and used to visit the city frequently. However, he said he felt extremely sad to see the situation in Karachi when he visited the city some time back.

Courtesy: http://www.pmln.org/shahbaz-speaks-in-sindhi/

Sindh journalists deny PPP minister in protest

Today on November 10, 2012 in Hyderabad Press Club’s SAFMA Media training Workshop, three journalists, Mehwish Abbasi, Haseen Musarat Shah and Ameen Lakho, refused to receive award Certificates from the PPP Senator & Minister in protest because the PPP has imposed a black, dual and apartheid SPLGA on Sindh that has effectively separated Karachi from the rest of Sindh. Later Advocate Hussain Bux Thebo put Ajrak in recognition of Miss Mahwish Abbasi’s refusal to accept certificate from PPP Senator at Hyderabd press club.

Source – Above news based on facebook

Armed men shoot at the offices of Pakistan’s Aaj TV

New York, June 25, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today’s attack on the offices of a Pakistani television outlet and calls on authorities to immediately investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.

At least four gunmen on motorcycles shot at the front of the Aaj TV building in Karachi at about 9 p.m., injuring two guards outside the station, the station’s staff members told CPJ. Aaj TV is a private Urdu-language outlet that covers domestic and international news. The guards are being treated at a local hospital, an Aaj staff member said.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban, told Agence France-Presse that his group claimed responsibility because it was angered that it did not receive the same amount of coverage as that given the government or army. The group also said that the attacks would continue if the outlet’s coverage did not change, Aaj reported.

Aaj reported that President Asif Ali Zardari and newly appointed Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf condemned the attack and said that the perpetrators should be brought to justice as soon as possible. Qaim Ali Shah, the Pakistani chief minister, has ordered an investigation and said the Aaj TV offices will be given protection, the report said.

“This brazen attack illustrates how the Pakistani press is under fire from all sides and for all manner of reasons,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Authorities need to do more than promise an investigation–they need to enforce the law to ensure that the flow of information is not dictated by violent forces.”

Wajahat Khan, a senior anchor at the outlet, told CPJ that the staff was very concerned about the health of the guards, but doesn’t intend to alter its coverage.

Pakistan has ranked as the most dangerous country in the world for journalists in 2010 and 2011, according to CPJ research. Last month, two journalists were killed, two others shot and wounded, and another attacked in police custody, CPJ research shows.

Courtesy: The Committee to Protect Journalists

U.S falls to 47th in press freedom rankings after Occupy crackdown

By Ellen Connolly

Sweeping protests around the world made it an extremely difficult year for the media, and tested journalists as never before, the annual report into press freedom reveals.

The annual report by Reporters Without Borders has been released, showing the United States fell 27 points on the list due to the many arrests of journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests.

The slide in the United States places it just behind Comoros and Taiwan in a group with Argentina and Romania.

Reporters Without Borders said the heightened unrest around the world resulted in a significant shake-up of the group’s annual Press Freedom Index, which assesses governments’ commitment to protecting media freedoms.

The Paris-based non-governmental Reporters Without Borders has named “crackdown” the word of 2011 in an assessment of global media freedom during a year in which journalists covering sweeping protests were tested as never before.

The non-governmental organisation seeks to defend journalists’ freedom to work and combat censorship internationally. ….

Read more » daily Mail. co. uk

CIA agents in Pakistan

By Najam Sethi

These are difficult times for professional journalists in Pakistan. Eleven were killed last year in the line of duty. They were either caught in the crossfire of ethnic or extremist violence or targeted and eliminated by state and non-state groups for their political views.

Saleem Shehzad, for example, was abducted, tortured and killed last year and a commission of inquiry is still floundering in murky waters. He had exposed the infiltration of the armed forces by elements affiliated with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Several journalists from Balochistan have been killed by non-state vigilantes sponsored by state agencies, others have fled to Europe or USA because they had sympathies with the nationalist cause in the province. Some from Karachi have taken refuge abroad because they were threatened by ethnic or sectarian groups or parties.

Now an insidious campaign is afoot to target senior journalists who question the wisdom of the security establishment on a host of thorny issues. They are being labeled as “American-CIA agents”. This is an incitement to violence against them in the highly charged anti-American environment in Pakistan today. Consider.

If you say the military’s notion of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan is misplaced, outdated or counter-productive, you are a CIA agent.

If you say the military was either complicit or incompetent in the OBL-Abbottabad case, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the civilians should have control over the military as stipulated in the constitution, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the military shouldn’t enter into peace deals with the Taliban that enable them to reorganize and seize Pakistani territory, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the drones have taken a welcome toll of extremist Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the military’s annual defense budget, which amounts to nearly half of all tax revenues, should be scrutinized by parliament or the Auditor General of Pakistan, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the one and same resignation criterion should be applied to both Ambassador Husain Haqqani and DG-ISI Ahmed Shuja Pasha – the former is accused of trying to influence the American government to back up the civilian government of Pakistan in its attempt to establish civilian control over its army and the latter is accused of seeking the support of Arab regimes for the overthrow of the civilian regime ( both accusations come from one and the same individual) – you are a CIA agent.

If you say we should construct a social welfare state in place of a national security state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that fundamental citizens rights enshrined in the constitution cannot be violated at the altar of a narrow definition of national security defined exclusively by the security state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that human rights violations in Balochistan carried out by the security agencies are as condemnable as the ethnic cleansing of Punjabi settlers by Baloch insurgents, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that Pakistan’s foreign policy should not be the exclusive domain of the military establishment, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the Pakistan military’s conventional and nuclear weapons doctrine amounts to a crippling arms race with India rather than a minimal optimal defensive deterrence, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the ISI is an unaccountable state within a state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that belt-tightening measures to control budgetary deficits and inflation should apply to wasteful aspects of defense expenditures no less than to wasteful aspects of civilian government expenditures, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the Supreme Court should pull out Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s ISI-Mehrangate 1991 case from cold storage and adjudge it along with the Memogate 2011 case, you are a CIA agent.

The irony is that the Pakistan military remains the single largest recipient of American aid in the last sixty five years. The irony is that all military coups in Pakistan have drawn legal and political sustenance from America. The irony is that the Pakistani military has signed more defense pacts and agreements with America than all civilian governments to date. The irony is the Pakistan military has partnered America in Afghanistan in the 1980s, fought its war on terror and leased out Pakistani air bases and Pakistan air space corridors to America in the 2000s, and sent hundreds of officers for training and education to America in the last six decades.

The greater irony is that all those liberal, progressive, anti-imperialist Pakistani citizens who have opposed US hegemony and protested American military interventions in the Third World all their lives are today branded as CIA agents by the very state security agencies and non state religious parties and jehadi groups who have taken American money and weapons and done America’s bidding all their lives.

Courtesy: Friday Times

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20120106&page=1

The world is focused on Pak as a potential problem, some of India’s politician are trying to prove “we are stupid too, dear world” …

India deports radio broadcaster David Barsamian upon arrival at Delhi airport

by Shivam Vij

David Barsamian, founder director of Alternative Radio, and independent radio legend, was deported on arrival from New Delhi airport in the early hours of Sept 23. Details are awaited since David is probably still on the plane back. But between his arrival sometime after midnight, and his being “put back” on a flight at 3am, David was able to only make a quick call to his ‘home’ here in Delhi, to the family of his longtime sitar guru, Debu Chaudhuri.

At this point it can only be speculation, but since David has been visiting India almost every year since the early 1970s, one can guess that his attention to the Kashmir issue could well be the reason. On a recent trip to Kashmir he did a series of interviews and local events.

Less than a year ago, American academic Richard Shapiro was similarly deported upon arrival from the Indira Gandhi International airport. His crime, presumably, was an article on two on the human rights situation in Kashmir. Earlier this month, the journalist David Devadas was assaulted by the Jammu and Kashmir police.

India’s intolerance to dissent on Kashmir is not limited to foreigners. In May this year, Delhi-based journalist and human rights activist Gautam Navlakha was sent back to Delhi from Srinagar airport. Academic and activist Angana Chatterji has been threatened to not visit Kashmir. The J&K police had assaulted the noted Kashmiri human right defender Parvez Imroz in 2008. The media in Kashmir is tightly controlled by the state and press freedom is a matter of daily negotiation with the state.

Nation-states who deny access to foreign journalists, writers and academics – such as North Korea, Myanmar, China and Iran – usually have things to hide. What is it that India has to hide in Kashmir? I thought ‘peace’ was ‘returning’. ….

Read more → KALIFA

via → crdp, September 23, 2011.

More details → BBC urdu

Death threat Alert: Ethnic political group releases journalist “hit list”

Alert – Ethnic political group allied with ruling party releases journalist “hit list”

(PPF/IFEX) – The Mohajir Rabita Council (MRC), an ethnic political group in Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh, has issued a list of twelve Pakistani journalists it denounced as being “chauvinists”, and criticized their alleged role in the violence during protest rallies held in Karachi on 12 May 2007, during the visit of the suspended Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftekhar Mohammed Chaudhary to the city.

The MRC is considered to be closely associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the party allied to President Pervez Musharraf and the main coalition partner in the Sindh provincial government.

In a press statement, the vice-president and secretary general of MRC said the organization had established a special unit to inform the new generation about their “enemies”. The statement also condemned certain television programmes and accused them of “playing a dangerous game to destroy Pakistan by igniting linguistic prejudices.”

The names of the journalists on the list include: Zafar Abbas of the daily newspaper “Dawn”; Azhar Abbas of Dawn TV; Mazhar Abbas of AFP; Ayaz Amir, a “Dawn” columnist; Sajjad Mir of TV One; Irfan Siddiqui of daily “Nawa-e-Waqt”; Dr. Shahid Masood of Geo TV; Aneeq Ahmed of ARY TV; Asfar Imam of Aaj TV; Zahid Hussain of Geo TV; Shaheen Sehbai of ARY TV; and Zarar Khan of AP. Also included in the list was Iqbal Haider, secretary general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

A press release issued by the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) expressed concern at the MRC statement, which it described as a serious threat to free media and an attempt to gag the press. ….

Read more → IFEX

http://www.ifex.org/pakistan/2007/05/24/ethnic_political_group_allied_with/

New York Times – Pakistan Spies on Its Diaspora, Spreading Fear

By MARK MAZZETTI, ERIC SCHMITT and CHARLIE SAVAGE

WASHINGTON — F.B.I. agents hunting for Pakistani spies in the United States last year began tracking Mohammed Tasleem, an attaché in the Pakistani Consulate in New York and a clandestine operative of Pakistan’s military spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence.

Mr. Tasleem, they discovered, had been posing as an F.B.I. agent to extract information from Pakistanis living in the United States and was issuing threats to keep them from speaking openly about Pakistan’s government. His activities were part of what government officials in Washington, along with a range of Pakistani journalists and scholars, say is a systematic ISI campaign to keep tabs on the Pakistani diaspora inside the United States.

The F.B.I. brought Mr. Tasleem’s activities to Leon E. Panetta, then the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and last April, Mr. Panetta had a tense conversation with Pakistan’s spymaster, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

Within days, Mr. Tasleem was spirited out of the United States — a quiet resolution typical of the spy games among the world’s powers.

But some of the secrets of that hidden world became public last week when two Pakistani-Americans working for a charity that the F.B.I. believes is a front for Pakistan’s spy service were indicted. Only one was arrested; the other is still in Pakistan.

The investigation exposed one part of what American officials say is a broader campaign by the Pakistani spy agency, known as the ISI, to exert influence over lawmakers, stifle public dialogue critical of Pakistan’s military and blunt the influence of India, Pakistan’s longtime adversary.

American officials said that compared with countries like China and Russia — whose spies have long tried to steal American government and business secrets — the ISI’s operations here are less extensive and less sophisticated. And they are certainly far more limited than the C.I.A.’s activities inside Pakistan.

Even so, officials and scholars say the ISI campaign extends to issuing both tacit and overt threats against those who speak critically about the military.

The ISI is widely feared inside Pakistan because of these very tactics. For example, American intelligence officials believe that some ISI operatives ordered the recent killing of a Pakistani journalist, Saleem Shahzad. ….

Read more → The New York Times

Pakistani journalists threatened after covering killings

New York, June 10, 2011–Two Pakistani journalists who captured images of apparent military violence against unarmed foreigners and a local man are being threatened, their colleagues told CPJ. The threats have come amid calls from high-ranking Pakistani military leaders to quell public criticism of their policies, made at a Thursday meeting of top level commanders.

According to Pakistani journalists, Abdul Salam Soomro of the Sindhi-language television station Awaz has received anonymous death threats after his footage of an apparently unarmed teenage boy being killed by paramilitary troops in Karachi was shown nationally. Public protests and criticism from political leaders forced President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday to order an investigation into the killing, according to The New York Times.

A Quetta-based freelance photojournalist, Jamal Tarakey, photographed members of the army-organized Frontier Constabulary shooting five unarmed foreigners in Quetta on May 17. ….

Read more: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

Dying to Tell the Story

By UMAR CHEEMA

Islamabad, Pakistan: WE have buried another journalist. Syed Saleem Shahzad, an investigative reporter for Asia Times Online, has paid the ultimate price for telling truths that the authorities didn’t want people to hear. He disappeared a few days after writing an article alleging that Al Qaeda elements had penetrated Pakistan’s navy and that a military crackdown on them had precipitated the May 22 terrorist attack on a Karachi naval base. His death has left Pakistani journalists shaken and filled with despair.

I couldn’t sleep the night that Saleem’s death was confirmed. The fact that he was tortured sent me back to a chilly night last September, when I was abducted by government agents. During Saleem’s funeral service, a thought kept haunting me: “It could have been me.”

Mourning journalists lined up after the service to console me, saying I was lucky to get a lease on life that Saleem was denied. But luck is a relative term.

Adil, my 2-year-old son, was the first person in my thoughts after I was abducted. Journalists in Pakistan don’t have any institutionalized social security system; those killed in the line of duty leave their families at the mercy of a weak economy.

When my attackers came, impersonating policemen arresting me on a fabricated charge of murder, I felt helpless. My mouth muzzled and hands cuffed, I couldn’t inform anybody of my whereabouts, not even the friends I’d dropped off just 15 minutes before. My cellphone was taken away and switched off. Despite the many threats I’d received, I never expected this to happen to me.

Sure, I had written many stories exposing the corrupt practices of high-ranking officials and pieces criticizing the army and the intelligence agencies. After they were published, Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s prime security agency, always contacted me. I was first advised not to write too much about them and later sent messages laced with subtle threats. But I never imagined action was imminent.

On Sept. 4, I was driven to an abandoned house instead of a police station, where I was stripped naked and tortured with a whip and a wooden rod. While a man flogged me, I asked what crime had brought me this punishment. Another man told me: “Your reporting has upset the government.” It was not a crime, and therefore I did not apologize.

Instead, I kept praying, “Oh God, why am I being punished?” The answer came from the ringleader: “If you can’t avoid rape, enjoy it.” He would employ abusive language whenever he addressed me.

“Have you ever been tortured before?” he asked.

“No,” I said.

“These marks will stay with you forever, offering you a reminder never to defy the authorities,” he replied.

They tortured me for 25 minutes, shaved my head, eyebrows and moustache and then filmed and photographed my naked body. I was dumped nearly 100 miles outside Islamabad with a warning not to speak up or face the consequences.

The following months were dreadful. I suffered from a sleep disorder. I would wake up fearing that someone was beating my back. I wouldn’t go jogging, afraid that somebody would pick me up again and I’d never return. Self-imposed house arrest is the life I live today; I don’t go outside unless I have serious business. I have been chased a number of times after the incident. Now my son asks me questions about my attackers that I don’t answer. I don’t want to sow the seeds of hatred in his heart.

When Saleem disappeared, I wondered if he had been thinking about his children, as I had. He had left Karachi, his hometown, after receiving death threats, and settled with his wife and three children in Islamabad. From there, he often went on reporting trips to the tribal areas along the Afghan border. Tahir Ali, a mutual friend, would ask him: “Don’t you feel scared in the tribal areas?” Saleem would smile and say: “Death could come even in Islamabad.” His words were chilling, and prescient.

The killing of Syed Saleem Shahzad is yet another terrifying reminder to Pakistani journalists. He is the fifth to die in the first five months of 2011. Journalists are shot like stray dogs in Pakistan — easily killed because their assassins sit at the pinnacle of power.

When Daniel Pearl was brutally murdered by militants in Karachi in 2002, his case was prosecuted and four accomplices to the crime were sentenced. This happened only because Mr. Pearl was an American journalist. Had he been a Pakistani, there would have been no justice.

Today, impunity reigns and no organization is powerful enough to pressure the government to bring Saleem’s killers to justice. Journalists have shown resilience, but it is hard to persevere when the state itself becomes complicit in the crime. Now those speaking up for Saleem are doing so at a price: they are being intimidated and harassed.

Pakistan is at a crossroads and so is its news media. In a situation of doom and gloom, Pakistani journalists offer a ray of hope to their fellow citizens and they have earned the people’s trust. Even the former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has admitted that people who once went to the police with complaints now go to the press.

But this trust will be eroded if journalists continue to be bullied into walking away from the truth. News organizations throughout the world must join hands in seeking justice for Saleem and ending the intelligence agencies’ culture of impunity. An award for investigative journalists should be created in his honor, as was done for Daniel Pearl. No stronger message could be delivered to his killers than making him immortal.

Umar Cheema is an investigative reporter at The News International, Pakistan’s largest English-language daily. He was a Daniel Pearl Fellow at The Times in 2008.

Courtesy: The New York Times

Pakistan: ISI Led Alliance in Formation

ISI Led Alliance in Formation – by Dr. Akram Khan

Based on information from by multiple sources in political and media circles, and compilations of analysis on discuss forum on pkpolitics, a clear plan seems to be under execution by establishment (aka Army/ISI) to setup the future puppet political government in Pakistan.

The plans seems to be as under:

• A new alliance comprising PTI (Imran Khan), MQM (Altaf Hussain), factions of PMLQ, and JI are being actively supported to form an alliance to force an anarchic situation followed by a joint electoral alliance.

• This alliance would be supported by other individual ISI agents, including Sheikh Rasheed, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Saifullah brothers, Humayun Akhtar Khan and many more.

• A few TV anchors and journalists, such as Haroon Rasheed and Kamran Khan are already making grounds for such alliance and change.

• This ISI led political alliance would intensify the call for breakup of Punjab plans through campaigns of Mohammad Ali Durrani, PPP and MQM to make Bahawulpur, Multan, Haripur and Karachi as new provinces primarily to weaken the anti-establishment parties in next elections. …

Read more : PkPolitics

They should apologize for Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s judicial murder

The military should apologize for Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s judicial murder

By Shiraz Paracha

Excerpt:

Parrot writers and journalists in Pakistan always praise the position of a serving Army Chief. Those who have sold their souls tell us how great the military’s top brass is. It does not matter if it includes generals, who surrendered in Dhaka, and those who ran away from Kargil, or those who killed an elected Prime Minister and tore apart the constitution. Even military leaders accused of corruption, incompetence and misconduct are portrayed as heroes.

It is not surprising that we are told that the current Army Chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, is the only capable saviour of Pakistan. Analysts, anchorpersons and columnists, who pretend to be mouthpieces of the military, inform us that General Kayani is different than his predecessors.

Not very long ago, General Kayani was the right-hand man of General Parvez Musharraff. After Kayani became the Commander-in-Chief, General Musharraff received a guard of honour at the end of his illegal stay in the President House. The military is a state within the state in Pakistan. The sword of a military intervention still hangs over the civilian government as the power equilibrium continues to be in the military’s favour even under General Kayani.

Nonetheless, so far, General Kayani has acted wisely and he appears softer than the previous heads of the Pakistani military. The Armed Forces are supposed to defend a country but the Pakistan military has embarrassed Pakistan many times. The Armed Forces are a symbol of pride for the people of a country; in Pakistan the military has caused national discomfiture. Some Pakistani generals wanted to make history—they left with dark history. ….

…. At the same time, the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Lahore High Court must reverse the decision of Bhutto’s judicial murder and seek an apology from the people of Pakistan. The Supreme Court is guilty of gross injustice. The Bhutto case is a stain on the institution of judiciary. Bhutto’s blood will stay fresh in the courtrooms until justice is done and Bhutto’s dignity is returned to him by the Court. The integrity and respect of the Supreme Court of Pakistan will never be restored without declaring Bhutto innocent and calling him Pakistan’s national hero.

Also the Supreme Court should formally admit that judges who were instrumental in providing legal cover to martial laws and dictators were actually traitors. The Court should give a similar verdict about generals who imposed military coups and derailed Pakistan. …

To read full article : LET US BUILD PAKISTAN

Yemen protesters: “First Mubarak, now Ali”

From Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN

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

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

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

Clashes between protesters and police were reported by witnesses.

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

Read more : CNN

“Shoot us” : Mazhar Arif writes on role of media in Taseer’s killing

“Shoot us”

by Mazhar Arif

Urdu press and leading television channels, played a catalytic role in what happened. They lament that the responsibility of Taseer’s assassination rests with the irresponsible media and its howling and yelling anchors. The Jamaat-e-Islami and Sipah-e-Sahaba affiliated journalists and analysts in the media berated and maligned Taseer for supporting poor Christian rural worker Aasia Bibi …

Read more : View Point

MQM public meeting in Bhitshah on Dec 25, 2010

HYDERABAD: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) will hold a public meeting in Bhitshah on Dec 25. This was stated by Minister for Health Dr Sagheer Ahmed and Ashfaq Mangi in a press conference at MQM’s Zonal Office here on Sunday night.

They said MQM was struggling to extricate the people from the retrogressive feudal system, adding that the party’s message in that regard was being received in every nook and cornor of the country.

On the occasion, the MQM leaders appealed intellectuals, writers, researchers, journalists, students and teachers, peasants, growers and people belonging to every walk of life to attend the public meeting as to give a message that regardless of any distinction people of Sindh were united.

Members of rural Sindh’s organizing committees including provincial ministers Zubair Ahmed and Nisar Panhwer, MPAs Heer Soho and Naheed, Umar Qureshi, Ghulam Hyder Rahoo, members and workers of Zonal Committee were also present in the press conference.

Read more : THE NEWS

Speech of Dr. Zafar Baloch (BHRC) to the conference on South Asia

The conference on South Asia was organized by International Center for Peace & Democracy (ICFPD) in collaboration with Baloch Human Rights Council (Canada). The conference took place at Hotel Radisson Toronto, Canada on December 11, 2010.

SOUTH ASIAN PERSPETIVE ON REGIONAL STABILITY THE ROLE OF THE STATE: DEMOCRACY, DICTATORSHIP, AND EXTREMISM

ICFPD

Following is the speech delivered by Dr. Zafar Baloch, president of Baloch Human Rights council (Canada) in the conference.

Continue reading Speech of Dr. Zafar Baloch (BHRC) to the conference on South Asia

Abuses by India’s Border Security Force (BSF) against both Bangladeshi and Indian nationals

“Trigger Happy” – Excessive Use of Force by Indian Troops at the Bangladesh Border

81-page report documents the situation on the border region, where both Bangladesh and India have deployed border guards to prevent infiltration, trafficking, and smuggling. Human Rights Watch found numerous cases of indiscriminate use of force, arbitrary detention, torture, and killings by the security force, without adequate investigation or punishment. The report is based on over 100 interviews with victims, witnesses, human rights defenders, journalists, and Border Security Force and Bangladesh Rifles’ (BDR) members.

Read more : Human Rights Watch

Chomsky signs Australian letter of support for Assange

Renowned American scholar and activist Noam Chomsky signed an open letter to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Tuesday urging her to make a “strong statement” in support of Julian Assange.

Chomsky, a professor of linguistics at the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a prominent critic of US foreign policy, joined scores of high-profile Australian lawyers, authors and journalists in signing the letter.

Noting the “increasingly violent rhetoric” directed towards Australian-born Assange, the besieged founder of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, the signatories said there were “grave concerns” for his safety.

via – Gobeistan – Read more : RawStory

An excellent article by the fearless Ayesha Siddiqa

Land allocation & the principle of eminent domain – by Ayesha Siddiqa

It is almost every second day that we come across a news item about distribution of free land or on concessional rates to significant members of the state and society. It was just a year ago that there was an uproar about land allocation to journalists. Just a couple of days ago there was the story about the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, having received a plot of land under the Musharraf government. Not to forget the more popular and controversial story of military officers and civilian bureaucrats being allocated land. …
Read more : The Express Tribune

Panel of journalists discussing conversation about buying Lahore High Court’s judges against Asif Zardari in programme Sawal Yeh Hai with Dr. Danish. Its not even easy to imagine that how much the Pakistani judiciary is corrupt!?

Panel of journalists discussing Conversation Saif-ur-Rehman Justice Qayum, Shehbaz Shareef and others about buying Lahore Hight Court’s judges against Asif Zardari in programme Sawal Yeh Hai with Dr. Danish. How much the Pakistani judiciary is corrupt, its not even easy to imagine!?

Courtesy: ARY News (Sawal Yeh Hai with Dr. Danish, Novermber 21, 2010)

via – Siasat -> YouTube Link 1, 2

IT’S NOT CORRUPTION WHEN WE DO IT.

by Ghulam Haider

Journalistic corruption is doubly evil because infected columnists and ‘plot-zada’ journalists then collude with corrupt generals, politicians and bureaucrats and aid them in their thievery in the hopes of a few crumbs falling their way.

The institutionalized loot and plunder of state resources, especially the allotment of expensive residential plots to hand-picked Darbari journalists by successive governments to ‘shackle their pens’, has reached unprecedented heights in Pakistan.

The so-called fourth pillar of the state – the press – has been witnessing its foundations reeling under the burden of the ‘legendary journalists’, who do not tire while preaching morality and ethics on electronic and in print media, have become the part of this dirty loot.

Media are considered a watchdog for any society. Journalists are supposed to point out loopholes in the government policies for safeguarding public money and greater public interest. But one wonder if journalists too get themselves involved into dirty plot politics, who would safeguard greater public interest and the interest of tens of teeming millions who are shelterless, jobless, needy and poor, who perhaps deserve far more than those for whom the floodgates of the taxpayers’ money see no limit. …

Read more : ViewPoint

Judges, generals, journalists, politicians and others: All should face accountability

 

by Aziz Narejo, Tx

 

A few days ago a news item mentioned names of some judges who were allotted residential plots in Islamabad. Someone said publication of such news items was a deliberate attempt to malign the judiciary. Then a section of the press carried a list of the names of the journalists who were allotted plots in the federal capital. This time it was the turn of the friends of the media to cry foul.
It is not uncommon to see statements by leaders, members and supporters of various political parties condemning one or the other section of the press or their opponents for ‘unjust’ or ‘discriminatory’ criticism of their parties. They call such criticism as vilification campaign against them and paint themselves as victims.
All this doesn’t speak well of Pakistani society. It still seems to be primitive, inchoate and undeveloped. One is not sure how many more years and how many more disasters and debacles it would need to show any signs of maturity.
The people must be clear in their understanding and in their resolve that they would not allow any attack on democracy, the freedom of media and the independence of judiciary. Other than that no institution should be regarded as sacrosanct or beyond criticism and accountability. …
Read more : INDUS HERALD

Playing to the gallery – George Fulton

Nor is Talat alone in suffering from this forked tongue affliction. The Quilliam Foundation, a UK anti-extremist think tank, recently held a function in Islamabad. The event gathered together some of Pakistan’s media elite, youth activists, reformed terrorists and foreign journalists. One of the speakers at the event was Hamid Mir. I have it on good authority that Mr Mir was the voice of rational moderation that day. He talked unequivocally of his disgust with the intelligence agencies, he explicitly condemned the Taliban as anti-Islam forces and passionately argued — in English — that the only future for Pakistan was democracy and that it should be protected at all costs. Yes, I am talking about Hamid Mir, host of “Capital Talk”. Version 2.0 of Hamid Mir had transformed, becoming the personification of enlightened moderation. But then he was speaking in English and not to his usual Geo constituents.

Of course the reason that the Hamid Mirs and Talat Hussains of this world can get away with this duplicity is due to the linguistic Berlin Wall that the establishment likes to retain. Project an urbane, liberal image to the West with your (mostly) rational, logical and relatively free English media, and feed the wider public bile, conspiracy theories and irrational, simplistic nonsense in Urdu, thus ensuring that a suitably malleable, impressionable public can be whipped up when said establishment is fed up with the present government.

Do you remember when AQ Khan was forced to apologise to the nation for giving away nuclear secrets for personal gain? In what language did the disgraced scientist speak to his countrymen? English, of course. The establishment didn’t want the father of the bomb discredited as a money-grubbing chancer in the eyes of the public. Change the language and you change the audience. …

Read more : The Express Tribune