Tag Archives: legal

Talking to Radio Pakistan, Asma Jahangir said it makes no sense if only judges have to appoint judges

Prominent jurists give expert opinion on Judicial Commission for appointment of judges

They were speaking in Radio Pakistan’s programme ‘Naey Ufaq’‚ which was aired on Saturday night.

Prominent jurists have opined that composition of the Judicial Commission for appointment of judges was not complete and therefore‚ appointments so made are open to question.

Taking part in Radio Pakistan’s programme ‘Naey Ufaq’‚ on Saturday night‚ former Law Minister and senior jurist Khalid Ranjha said there would be nothing wrong with the proceedings of the Commission if someone from the existing members does not attend its meeting. However‚ as Pakistan Bar Council has not as yet nominated its member to the Commission‚ therefore‚ appointments done by it would not be in line with the spirit of the Constitution.

Another senior legal brain Latif Afridi also subscribed to this point of view and said an incomplete Commission should not conduct its proceedings for appointment of judges.

Former President of Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jehangir said input from the legal community should also be included while making nominations for appointment of judges. She said it makes no sense if only judges have to appoint judges as the process may also result induction of people with questionable competence or background. ….

Courtesy: http://www.radio.gov.pk/newsdetail-36946

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Petition Challenging SPLGA – Support from North American Sindhis

By: Khalid Hashmani

I have read the article of adi Sarah Zaman a couple of times but I still do not see any argument against the legal challenge except that the Supreme Court may give a decision of rejecting the argument of Barrister Ghumro and that it will weaken the case of Sindh against SPLGA. The argument made is also that this legal challenge will weaken Nawaz Sharif and strengthen MQM. My view is that if we Sindhis are afraid of even challenging a violation of our rights in Pakistan’s supreme court, how are we going to file the case of Sindhi rights at the International Court and the UN? Do we expect Nawaz Sharif to guarantee Sindh rights?

Whether or not Nawaz Sharif wins the next election should not digress us from taking the actions that we believe are in the larger interest of Sindh. At best, Nawaz Sharif can guarantee us the same deal that he gave us when he won the election last time and became Prime Minister and imposed his Chief Minister on Sindh just as the PPP did it. It would be a grave mistake if Sindhis assumed that any political leader would help resolve this issue for them. The civil society has to take it upon itself to beat the crisis. It does not matter who the winner of election is. Sindhis will keep losing until they are able to get up on their own to safeguard their interests. We simply cannot afford any more to depend that a political party that is popular in Punjab to protect Sindh rights.

In objecting to the Barrister Ghumro’s legal petition, adi Sarah Zaman raises the following seven (7) questions: 1. Was the decision to file a petition by Barrister Ghumro approved by the Sindh Bachayo Committee? 2. Is the legal petition in the interest of Sindhis? 3. Does the Sindh Bachayo Committee agree with the main argument of the Barrister Ghumro’s petition? 4. Is this not an action to protect MQM and hurt Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League? 5. Is the present government in Islamabad doing what one would say the “back foot playing” game to push back Nawaz Sharif? 6. Can Sindh afford to bear the loss if the Supreme Court gives the decision that is not acceptable by Sindhis? 7. Were the intellectuals, writers, and poets consulted on the filing of the legal petition and were they in agreement?

Other than pointing out another legal point, adi Zaman has neither analyzed nor provided any answers to the questions raised by her. On the legal point, if I am reading correctly, she says “Since the (SPLGA) Ordinance was sent on October 11th in the form of a ‘Bill’ to the Governor of Sindh for his approval. That bill, according to newspaper reports was signed by the Governor and sent to Ministry of law on 18th October. For this reason the petition can be nullified. The attorney of Barrister sahib should have waited when the representative of Sindh would have come on November 8th”. Frankly I cannot make head and tail of this argument and would appreciate anyone to clarify as to what adi Zaman means by this argument?

I am in 100% agreement adi Zaman’s advice to Sindh intellectuals and leaders that it is their duty to awaken the people and not to mislead Sindhis in taking the steps that would lead them to further misery.

She also says that Barrister Ghumro has taken 180 degrees turn from what he said before on the issue of SPLGA and his action of filing petition. I have tried to researched this alleged “turn about” by Barrister Ghumro but cannot find any evidence. Once again, I would appreciate anyone to clarify as to what adi Zaman means by this allegation?

Another point that adi Zama makes is that Sindhis in London decided to focus on awakening people in Sindh instead of demonstrating in front of 10 Downing Street and shouting “Balle Balle..” or going to international forums and courts. First of all, Sindhis never shout “Balle, Balle…”, second, to the best of my recollection WSC held an impressive demonstration against SPLGA in London and many SANA GTA Chapter members gathered to tell Canadian authorities about how SPLGA violated human rights of Sindhis.

I am very much concerned about the campaign against one of the most active champion of Sindh Rights Barrister Ghumro. He has fought for Sindhi Rights in many innovative ways and has been source of most intelligent and thoroughly researched legal advice to Sindhis. I would trust him any day more than any urban or rural wadero or any political party in Pakistan. I abhor any attempts to create rift among Sindh’s intellectuals, poets, and writers. I believe that we should talk to every one and any one but please do not insist that Sindhis refrain from adapting an independent line of action and get on the bandwagon of Nawaz Sharif, Pir Pagaro, Altaf Hussain, Imran Khan, or Asif Zardari. This would hurt Sindhis both in the long term and short term.

Our intellectuals, poets, and writers had been in slumber for quite sometime and now that they are wakening and activating themselves, it will be a unforgivable crime to create a rift among them so that one or other political party wins the next elections in Pakistan. In the long run, only Sindh’s intellectuals, poets, writers, and other civil society will keep the candle of Sindhiat alive and help Sindhis to defeat SPLGA just like they defeated “one unit”.

Continue reading Petition Challenging SPLGA – Support from North American Sindhis

More of a political vendetta than a legal crusade – Los Angeles Times

Pakistan highest court ousts Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani

The ruling stems from a conviction involving a graft case against Pakistan’s president. It sets up a clash between President Asif Ali Zardari and the judiciary.

By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times

ISLAMABAD, PakistanThe Pakistani Supreme Court ousted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday, leaving an important U.S. ally without a chief executive and setting up a showdown between the country’s president and judiciary that could lead to political chaos.

The ruling, triggered by Gilani’s contempt conviction in April for failing to revive an old corruption case against Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, potentially sets up a constitutional clash between the judiciary and parliament, which is controlled by Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party, or PPP, and a fragile coalition of allied parties.

For now, Zardari’s party appeared to accept that Gilani and his Cabinet are no longer in government.

“Technically, after this Supreme Court decision, Gilani is no longer prime minister,” Qamar Zaman Kaira, a top party leader who up until Tuesday was information minister, said at a news conference. “And if the prime minister isn’t there, then the Cabinet is no longer there.”

Though Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry is revered in Pakistan as a bulwark against corruption, many experts believe his pursuit of the graft case against Zardari may be more of a political vendetta than a legal crusade. ……

Read more »Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-pakistan-gilani-20120620,0,2429553.story

One suo motu too many – By: Tausif Kamal

Whenever some of our preconceived myths are shattered by a stark, unyielding and yet truthful reality, we tend to revert to denial and a refusal to face up to the facts as they are

The Supreme Court’s short order in the Arsalan Iftikhar case absolving the Honourable Chief Justice (CJ) without any investigation or examination of any evidence in the underlying imbroglio is premature. It is in fact contradicted by the Supreme Court’s own statement in this order: “…the Supreme Court (SC)…cannot judge the guilt or innocence of the parties without evidence or trial…” So how is this ruling not applicable to the CJ, who is so intertwined in this scandal being the father of one of the main suspects, and whose judicial power is at the heart of this corruption scandal?

This is in way to imply that the CJ is guilty but there cannot be an exemption from inquiry and investigation along with other participants and witnesses, for possible criminal violations based just on mere words of one of the parties. Who is Malik Riaz to give a clean bill of health to the CJ? It is strange that the SC is relying on the good word of Malik Riaz whom the former considers to be an accused fit to be prosecuted for some serious criminal offences under Pakistan’s criminal laws.

To contend that the media is maligning the judiciary by highlighting this scandal is to blame the messenger and not the message. Let us not be sidetracked, for now at least, by corruption in the media, which no doubt prevails, but which is less important than the imperative of our judiciary to have an unassailable reputation and an image above reproach. Conducting a thorough probe or inquiry of all those allegedly involved, including the Honourable CJ, will clear rather than tarnish the judiciary’s reputation and remove the dark clouds hanging over our most esteemed institution.

The nation has a right to know answers to such vital questions as how long the CJ knew about his son’s involvement with Malik Riaz and how many meetings the CJ had with Malik Riaz before the matter was seized through a suo motu action. The only other acceptable alternative to such an inquiry would be for the CJ to quit honourably in the larger interests of the judiciary and the country.

Continue reading One suo motu too many – By: Tausif Kamal

Judicial circus on memo

Legal solution to a political question

Whichever way one looks at it, the beginning and end of the ‘memogate’ controversy is political, as there is no constitutional issue to be resolved.

Ultimately, Asma Jahangir’s stance on the Supreme Court Order is exactly right

By Maryam Khan

The ‘memogate’ controversy is a political question, which means it is a question for political resolution between the political branches of government (the executive and the legislature) and other State institutions, like the military and the intelligence, which are subordinate to the government. The controversy requires political resolution because it has a direct nexus with structural issues relating to civil-military relations. To put it bluntly, the Supreme Court, in principle, has no role to play in this controversy. Let us see why.

Continue reading Judicial circus on memo

Israel: High Court Rulings Undermine Human Rights

Recent Decisions Uphold Discrimination, Exploitation of Occupied Territory

(Jerusalem) – Recent decisions by Israel’s high court aim to legitimize clear violations of Israel’s international legal obligations, Human Rights Watch said today. In one decision, the court disregarded international law prohibiting discrimination, and in another, it ignored international law on the use of resources in an occupied territory. Israel should annul a law preventing Israeli citizens from living with their Palestinian spouses and end policies that permit private Israeli companies to strip rocks and other construction materials from quarries in the occupied West Bank for their own economic gain.

“With these rulings, Israel’s highest court has veered seriously off course in serving as a final bastion for upholding human rights,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “For the system of legal checks against rights abuses to break down like this is one more indication of the unraveling of protections for rights and freedom in Israel.” ….

Read more » Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Husain Haqqani Confined in Pakistan Amid Legal Battle

By SALMAN MASOOD and ERIC SCHMITT

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Just a few months ago, Husain Haqqani, the former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, brimmed with charm and confidence as he hosted lavish dinner parties for diplomats, generals, journalists and White House aides in Washington.

Now Mr. Haqqani is confined to the regal hilltop residence of Pakistan’s prime minister, tangled in a legal battle over a controversial memo that he says has put his life in jeopardy.

Hounded by what he and his supporters say is a vicious smear campaign by a nationalist, right-wing media, and fearful of being kidnapped or killed by the country’s powerful spy agency, Mr. Haqqani has spent the past five weeks sequestered in a guest suite in the premier’s residence overlooking the capital. He has left the compound just three times — twice for legal proceedings and once for a dental appointment — each time flanked by a heavy security detail.

As ambassador, Mr. Haqqani, a 55-year-old former journalist and Boston University professor, glided about Washington pressing Pakistan’s case to Congress and administration officials, and dropping news tips to reporters. Now he feels cooped up.

“I can go out for a walk, but it is essentially like a house arrest,” Mr. Haqqani said in an interview. ….

Read more » The New York Times

Turkey’s former military chief arrested over alleged anti-government plot

By Associated Press

ISTANBUL — A former Turkish military chief suspected of leading an Internet campaign to stir revolt was jailed Friday in a sweeping investigation of alleged conspiracies to topple a civilian government that has stripped the armed forces of political clout.

Gen. Ilker Basbug, 68, was the most senior officer to face trial in the anti-terror probes that began years ago, netting hundreds of suspects, many of them retired and active-duty military officers. The government casts the inquiries as a triumph for the rule of law and democracy, but suspicions of score-settling, long imprisonments without verdicts and other lapses have tainted the legal process.

The investigations serve as a pivotal test for Turkey’s ability to put its own house in order even as it seeks a higher profile in a turbulent region where the Turkish brand of electoral politics and Islam-inspired government is viewed by some as worthy of emulation.

Perhaps most notable about Basbug’s arrest was the muted public response in a country where civilian leaders were once beholden to the generals, and any hint of conflict stirred fears of a coup. The power balance shifted in the past decade as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan undermined the premise that the military brass were the untouchable guardians of secularism, as enshrined in the constitution. …

Read more » The Washington Post

BlackBerry maker vows privacy safeguard amid probe

By AFP

OTTAWA — Research In Motion vowed Tuesday to defend the legal privacy rights of BlackBerry users after a judicial commission in Pakistan ordered copies of smartphone communications in a scandal probe.

The Canadian firm reacted to news that a Pakistani commission was seeking records for a probe into an unsigned memo purported to ask for Washington’s help to rein in Pakistan’s military.

The highly controversial memo was allegedly an attempt by a close aide of President Asif Ali Zardari to enlist the US military’s help to head off a military coup in May in Pakistan. …..

Read more » http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iH0E_CyR0Lc1k_N63vVDrY0MThqg?docId=CNG.3ec81592b40bb5358c1575a97cd5b5ce.201

Army wants Zardari out but no coup – Military sources

By Michael Georgy

ISLAMABAD: (Reuters) – Pakistan’s powerful army is fed up with unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari and wants him out of office, but through legal means and without a repeat of the coups that are a hallmark of the country’s 64 years of independence, military sources said.

Tensions are rising between Pakistan’s civilian leaders and its generals over a memo that accused the army of plotting a coup after the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May. …

Read more » Reuters

Memogate: Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry Should Not Judge In The Case; He Should Stand In Witness Box & Answer Questions; Barrister Aitzaz Had Approached US To Seek Help For CJ’s Restoration in 2007. Barrister Aitzaz Should Stand In Witness Box too.

By Aziz Narejo

[Click here to watch a video that  how Aitzaz seeks U.S. help for Iftikhar Choudhry – Aitzaz Ahsan in washington withMark Mazzetti and David Rohde]

Memogate is certain to open can of worms in Pakistan. The legal battle is going to be stinky & very dirty. It has been pointed out that in case such memo was actually written to US officials, it had been done so in the response to a real threat of a coup by the military establishment. The whistle-blower, Mansoor Ijaz has pointed out in his black berry messages that a certain Mr. P (generally recognized as general Pasha, chief of Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI) had toured certain Arab countries, Saudi Arabia included, to pave the way for the overthrow of Zardari government.

It has also been said that the United States was approached even on the behalf of ex-prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, who is the petitioner in the case in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Several other political leaders and even generals are said to have approached the US officials for help in the past. The present Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhry is not an exception. It is said that leader of the lawyers’ movement, Choudhry Aitzaz Ahsan had visited United States in 2007 to garner support for the deposed Chief Justice, Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhry. Hence it is demanded that the Chief Justice should recuse himself in the case & answer questions in this regards. So should do barrister Aitzaz Ahsan.

Courtesy: Indus Herald

http://indusherald.blogspot.com/2011/12/memogate-chief-justice-iftikhar-coudhry.html

via » adopted from facebook (social media)

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Watch video – a discussion to seek U.S. help for Iftikhar choudhry – Aitzaz Ahsan in washington, Mark Mazzetti and David Rohde

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More details » Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s Meeting with Richard Holbrooke

» The Secretary General PTI says the people of Pakistan, do not appreciate the meeting of Iftikhar Chaudhry  with Mr Richard Holbrooke in his chambers

FEDERAL COURT OF CANADA HAS RULED A MEMBER OF MQM-A INADMISSIBLE TO CANADA BECAUSE MQM-A MEETS THE LEGAL DEFINITION OF TERRORIST ORGANIZATION.

…… [13] The immigration officer concluded that the applicant is inadmissible to Canada on security grounds pursuant to paragraph 34(1)(f) of the IRPA for being a member of an organization that there are reasonable grounds to believe has engaged in terrorism as referred to in paragraph 34(1)(c) of the IRPA. The applicant was a member of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement – Altaf (MQM-A), and there are reasonable grounds to believe that the MQM-A is an organization that has engaged in terrorism while the applicant was its member. ….

To read full Judgement → http://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/en/2010/2010fc781/2010fc781.html

The arrest of Dr Fai, may appear as isolated legal action of the US government but the scratch below the surface is just the beginning of the US retribution against Pakistani actions

On the course of retributions

By Dr. Manzur Ejaz | DAWN.COM

The arrest of Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, and arrest warrant of a Pakistani national, Zaheer Ahmad, may appear as isolated legal actions of the US government against its citizens for unauthorised lobbying for Pakistan. However, scratch below the surface and it becomes clear that this is just the beginning of the US retribution against Pakistani actions.

The matter has been brewing and coming to the boiling point since Raymond Davis’ arrest and then jailing of those who helped the US in nabbing Osama bin Laden. In recent days, the US media has been reporting that the US is pressuring Pakistan for the releasing of Dr Shakil Afridi who was reported to be arrested for undertaking a fake vaccination campaign to get blood samples of bin Laden’s kids for DNA match.

Every Washington circle that had anything to do with Pak-American-Kashmir affairs was well aware of Dr Fai’s activities in the community, think tanks and on lobbying with Congress and Senate members. Most activists among the Pakistani-American community have been speculating about Dr Fai’s connection with Pakistani government and/or Inter Services Agency (ISI). Therefore, the allegation of having received about four million dollars from Pakistan and making over four thousand phone calls to his alleged handlers from ISI will not be totally perceived as concocted charges even among Pakistani expatriates. Pakistan embassy’s claim that Dr Fai is not a Pakistani citizen—he came from India and sought amnesty in the US—is not going to lessen the impact of such a damaging development.

Dr Fai’s activities on the Capital Hill and his arrangements of large and expensive conferences involving key people from Pakistan and India were quite open. It can be safely assumed that he was giving heart burns to Indian diplomats and lobbyists and they must have been pressurising the US government to rein him in. However, the US had chosen to look the other way for a decade and never bothered with his activities. But, now the parameters have changed. Probably because the US wants to send the message that it has some options to retaliate in Pakistani style as well.

It is well known that Pakistan has its own human intelligence assets in the US. Of course such assets must be a fraction of what a sole world superpower, the US, would have in Pakistan. The US financial power to buy human assets in Pakistan, Europe and from the rest of the world cannot be matched by a poor developing country. Nonetheless, the party with meager resources gets hurt more when mutual retributions occur.

Before Dr Fai’s arrest Washington’s diplomatic circles were subtly pointing out for such retribution. According to very reliable sources, the US side was arguing with Pakistani diplomats that millions of Pakistani-Americans live in America—some of them are Green Card Holders and technically, Pakistani nationals—and the US issues hundreds of thousands of student, visiting, business and work visas to Pakistanis while Pakistan is raising questions about a few hundred visas.

A thinly veiled threat is that if Pakistan continues restricting movements of its diplomats and citizens, the US can do the same putting Pakistani diplomats’ work in jeopardy and creating problems for visitors. Technically, the US can cancel Green Cards on very flimsy grounds, through finding any trivial fault with application process, and send thousands of Pakistanis back home. It is not very likely to happen but if things get too far it is not out of question either.

If the US expands the scope of retributions the diplomatic make-up of staff at Pakistani embassy may change as well. Pakistan may not be able to appoint ranking officials from intelligence agencies as ‘head of community affairs’ or under other such covers. The set of military mission in the embassy may be realigned as well. Most of all, the US agencies, particularly tax authorities, can be used to scare prosperous Pakistanis, mostly physicians, who hold fund raisers for the US lawmakers and arrange their meeting with Pakistani diplomats and incoming Pakistani officials. Such moves will certainly hamper little efforts Pakistani-Americans make to provide bridge between the two countries.

If the negative perception of Pakistan further deepens, the US may not be able to use drones in Pak-Afghan border areas but it will hit Pakistan’s financial system with stealth bombers. Besides stopping the financial aid, the US can harm Pakistan’s foreign currency earnings by creating difficulties for transmitting the remittances of Pakistani expatriates. Presently, Pakistani expatriates contribute a significant portion of foreign remittances of Pakistan. Furthermore, it can issue guidance to donor agencies, European partners and other private financial institution to hold back on financial transfers to Pakistan.

A sketch of broad possible scenarios of US retribution–been started with Dr Fai’s arrest–is not to scare the new found patriotism in Islamabad. Patriotic feelings are very noble, worthy and respectable but one should know the cost as well. Before throwing stones at others while sitting in the glass houses, one should have thick tall walls to protect oneself. Are Islamabad and GHQ ready to build such walls if the US process of retributions expands? Does not seem like it.

Courtesy: → DAWN.COM

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

Punjabi Language Movement

Punjabi Language Movement Protest Rally in Lahore

Punjabis’ legal, democratic rights ‘being usurped’

LAHORE, Feb 20: Constitutional, moral, legal and democratic rights of the Punjabi people are being usurped by the establishment, putting the integrity of Punjab in danger.

“Anti-Punjabi language forces within the establishment and anti-Punjabi mindset of the rulers are hampering enforcement of Punjabi as official, academic and legal language in Punjab,” said Punjabi Language Movement convenor Chaudhry Nazeer Kahut at a rally near Shimla Pahari on Sunday.

“The 150 years old undeclared and unofficial ban on basic education in mother tongue in Punjab be abolished and systematic cleansing of Punjabi language in Punjab be stopped. Punjab wants its mother tongue back. Punjabi children should be given basic education in their mother tongue just like the children in rest of the world.

The official discrimination against the mother tongue of 100 million people of Pakistan should be stopped immediately,” said a charged Kahut. …

Read more : http://www.apnaorg.com/articles/plm-4/

The health minister of Punjab, Dr Tahir Ali Javed, who practiced in America from 1989 to 2002 is facing 30 law suits in the state of Nebraska U.S. in connection with the largest known outbreak of Hepatitis C infection

Pakistan minister faces US court

A provincial health minister in northern Pakistan is facing 30 law suits in the United States in connection with the largest known outbreak there of Hepatitis C infection.

The health minister of Punjab, Dr Tahir Ali Javed, who practiced in America from 1989 to 2002, has been formally accused by the state of Nebraska in connection with the Hepatitis outbreak which has been linked to his former clinic.

Vowing to defend himself in the US court, he told the BBC that he did not receive any legal notice while he was in the United States and that the cases date back some four years.

Read more : BBC

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More details : South Asia TribuneNebraska State Announcement

The myopia continues – Cyril Almeida

Excerpt:

…..  Well, no less a person than the American president has weighed in on what he thinks ought to be the fate of a piddling employee/contractor of the American government.

Whatever spurred those comments — he was asked a question rather than made a prepared statement — you can be sure the weight and might of the American state machinery will press very, very hard to ensure their president isn’t embarrassed by the self-righteous defiance of some judges and a few politicians in a country surviving on American handouts.

The Americans want their guy back and, by golly, they seem bent on getting their way. Which leaves our response.

By now the cat is out of the bag. When the interior minister, the ex-foreign minister and the all-powerful spy chief met to decide the fate of Raymond Davis, two of those gents were of the opinion that Davis doesn’t enjoy ‘full immunity’.

One of those two has now been fired by Zardari. The other, well, if Zardari tried to fire him, the president might find himself out of a job first.

Which leaves the obvious question: once the government had, surprise, surprise, screwed up, what did the self-appointed custodians of the national interest make of the situation?

Forget all that mishegoss about Vienna conventions and legal minutiae and the like. In its dealings with the US over the past decade, the security establishment’s concern for the letter of the law has been, at best, patchy.

Tongues are wagging in Islamabad that the calculus would have been far simpler: through a stroke of luck, the Pakistani state now has something the Americans desperately want back — Raymond Davis — so what will the Americans be willing to give in return?

The Davis incident has come at a time when by all accounts relations between the US and Pakistan were growing more tense, and worse was expected in the months ahead. All manner of American pressure was expected to be put on Pakistan to further US counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency goals in this country and across the border in Afghanistan.

Some believe the contours of the security establishment’s response had become visible in recent months: discreetly and indirectly encourage anti-American sentiment in the country as a bulwark against American pressure. If/when the Americans leaned too heavily on the security establishment here, the generals would be able to turn around and say, we can’t do what you want, the people won’t let us.

But long after Raymond Davis is back home in the US, hawking his talents in the lucrative private sector there, we here in Pakistan will still be stuck with the fallout.

The security establishment seems to view extremist sentiment like a faucet: turn it off, turn it on, leave it half open, depending on the need of the hour. But in the real world it doesn’t quite work like that.

Once released into society, the poison lingers on, its pernicious effects revealed years and maybe even decades later. Kind of what Pakistan looks like today, 30 years since Zia tried to Islamise this unfortunate land and her luckless people.

The recent evidence is just as harrowing. Hafiz Saeed was trotted out in support of the blasphemy laws, and everyone knows what that fire ended up consuming. Now the right-wing is up in arms again, demanding the head of Raymond Davis, arguing for a swap with Aafia Siddiqui, crying out for the lives of Pakistanis to be treated at par with American lives — with the security establishment passively looking on, possibly counting the benefits.

Who knows, the arrogant Americans may or may not get their way on Raymond Davis. The security establishment may or may not be able to wrest some compromises from the US in return for facilitating the release of Davis.

But Pakistani society will be uglier, more intolerant and a little more vicious as a result — and that surely cannot be worth whatever the short-term tactical advantage which may or may not be gained.

Read more : DAWN

Amnesty International, has called for criminal investigation of torture by George W. Bush

Swiss Miss Bush – GWB Ducks Geneva Criminal Torture Charges

by Bill Quigley

Justice for George W’s torture violations jumped much closer this weekend. Ex-President George W Bush was supposed to fly to Switzerland to speak in Geneva February 15. But his speech was cancelled over the weekend because of concerns about protests and efforts by human rights organizations asking Swiss prosecutors to charge Bush with torture and serve him with an arrest warrant.

Two things made this possible. Switzerland allows the prosecution of human rights violators from other countries if the violator is on Swiss soil and George W admitted he authorized water boarding detainees in his recent memoir. Torture is internationally banned by the Convention Against Torture.

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, the International Federation for Human Rights, and the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights prepared criminal complaints with more than 2500 pages of supporting material to submit to the Swiss prosecutor. These criminal complaints were signed by more than 60 human rights organizations world wide and by the former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers, and Nobel Peace Prize recipients Shirin Ebadi and Perez Esquivel.

Amnesty International, which has repeatedly called for criminal investigation of torture by GWB, sent Swiss prosecutors a detailed legal and factual analysis of President Bush’s criminal responsibility for torture.

Read more : DissidentVoice

Governor Salman Taseer’s assassination & the rising tide of fanaticism in Pakistan

By Ahmed Chandio

The assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer has spread fear and terror among people. A killer has been made hero and the victim as a villain in the name of blasphemy law. Religious parties of the country have intensified their activities in the wake of the Governor’s assassination. They don’t care about the country’s image abroad and the cost anyway. People are not ready to discuss the issue of blasphemy saying it’s a sensitive issue.

Lawyers of Rawalpindi forced a judge of an anti-terrorism court not to leave for the capital to hear the case. Finally, police shifted the accused to Rawalpindi to present him before the judge. Lawyers and activists of some religious parties placed garlands of roses around the killer’s neck. They showered him with flower petals and kissed him. According to a PPP minister, lawyers who garlanded the killer belonged to the PML-N.

Over 300 lawyers signed legal documents expressing their willingness to defend the killer. But no public prosecutor came forward to plead the case of the assassinated governor because of fear.

One newspaper reported that Qadri was a mercenary killer and paid to carry out the murder. He was given an assurance that his family would be looked after if anything happened to him or if he was convicted. Sources said announcements had been made about bounty to be paid to the killer and the amount offered totaled Rs40 million.

The Punjab governor’s murder is seen as an act of religious fanaticism. The roots of the menace can be traced back to the Zia era. Earlier it was considered that madressahs (religious seminaries) served as breeding grounds for producing fanatics. But profiles of 9/11 terrorists, Times Square bomber, the killer of journalist Daniel Pearl proved that all of them had not studied in madressahs. The killer of Punjab governor had also not studied in madressah.

Can we hold curriculum being taught from primary to university-level education in Pakistan responsible for terrorism? No. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the killer of Daniel Pearl, had studied in the London School of Economics.

Then what instigated them to be a fanatic? What are sources and forces of hate in Pakistan?

There has been no doubt that hate missions are very much institutionalized and billions of rupees are spent on them. Some foreign countries are also funding millions of rupees to groups involved in acts of militancy. …

Read more : Indus Herald

Times we live in

In order to make sense of the atmosphere of fear, it is important to distance oneself from essentialist readings of Muslim culture as being inherently intolerant.

By Ammar Ali Jan

It is difficult to point out what is more painful to witness; the brutal murder of a Governor of the largest province of the country because he had dared to express dissent on a controversial law or the public celebration of this violent act by extremist forces, with complete impunity from the state. What is particularly shocking, however, is the muted response of secular political parties in the country in the wake of this assassination. Despite enjoying complete electoral hegemony over religious forces in Pakistan, mainstream parties are finding it increasingly difficult to speak out against discriminatory practices in our society, owing to the growing domination of religious forces in setting the contours of our cultural discourse.

Continue reading Times we live in

Pakistan: Lawyers or mobsters?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PROSTITUTION : THE GREAT DIVIDE

Feminists split over judicial decision overturning some legal restraints on prostitution
ANTONIA ZERBISIAS
Canadian feminism is a bawdy house divided. In the aftermath of last month’s landmark court decision that lifts the barriers to free trade in the sex trade, women’s rights activists are facing off. They’re split over whether the ruling will make sex workers safer — or merely pump up profits for pimps and help organized crime to traffic women. …

Read more : The Star