The Supreme Court (SC) three-member bench hearing the missing persons case in the Quetta Registry headed by Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has been scathing in its remarks during the proceedings about the seriousness of the situation in Balochistan and the obvious lack of the federal and provincial government’s seriousness in addressing the issue. The bench has been putting civil servants, junior government officials and police personnel on the mat regarding their failure to produce the missing persons. At the last hearing, the Deputy Attorney General got so much stick from the bench that he tendered his resignation. The CJ quoted former Balochistan advocate general Salauddin Mengal to portray a situation where no Pakistani flag could fly without the protection of the guns of the security forces more than 10 miles from Quetta. In the same vein of castigating the political, administrative and law enforcement leadership at the Centre and in the province, the CJ remarked that if the prime minister was not interested in acting to salvage the situation, the constitution envisaged other means, including the declaration of an emergency. Further, the CJ warned something must be done before another martial law is imposed.
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20520
Dear Madame Secretary:
We are writing today to express our deep concern over the safety and well-being of former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani. It has come to our attention that Ambassador Haqqani is under intense pressure in Pakistan, including possibly threats to his life, over the so-called “Memogate” affair.
Questions have been raised about the manner in which this case is proceeding against Ambassador Haqqani and whether due process of law is being followed. Internationally recognized human rights defender Ms. Asma Jehangir recently quit as Haqqani’s lawyer, citing her lack of confidence in the judicial commission established by the Pakistani Supreme Court to investigate the case. Because of her doubts about the commission’s impartiality, Ms. Jehangir refused to appear before it.
Ms. Jehangir described the Supreme Court decision to admit the memo petitions as a “black chapter” in the judiciary’s history and further noted her concern that Ambassador Haqqani could be picked up by Pakistan’s intelligence services and intimidated, and even possibly tortured, into providing a statement that suits their interests. In this context, the fact that Haqqani was forced to surrender his passport, despite returning to Pakistan voluntarily to face the charges, is particularly troubling.
The case against Haqqani follows an ominous trend in Pakistan. The assassinations of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, and journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad this past year have created a culture of intimidation and fear that is stifling efforts to promote a more tolerant and democratic society. Significant segments of the Pakistani media have already judged Haqqani to be guilty of treason, which could inspire religious extremists to take the law into their own hands as they did with Taseer and Bhatti.
While we, as individuals, may not have always agreed with Ambassador Haqqani’s views, we regarded him as an effective presenter of Pakistani positions in the Washington context. In keeping with its traditional support for human rights and its deep interest in a firmly democratic Pakistan, the U.S. government should do all it can to ensure Haqqani receives due process without any threat of physical harm.
We commend the State Department for its statement on Friday calling for fair and transparent treatment of Ambassador Haqqani in accordance with Pakistani law and international legal standards. We would urge the U.S. government to continue to weigh in with key Pakistani leaders and to make appropriate public statements to ensure that Husain Haqqani is not physically harmed and that due process of law is followed.
With High Regards,
Dr. Stephen P. Cohen, Brookings Institution
Ms. Lisa Curtis, Heritage Foundation
Mr. Sadanand Dhume, American Enterprise Institute
Mr. Toby Dalton, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Dr. C. Christine Fair, Georgetown University
Dr. Robert M. Hathaway, Woodrow Wilson International Center
Mr. Michael Krepon, Stimson Center
Ambassador Dennis Kux, Woodrow Wilson International Center
Ambassador William B. Milam, Woodrow Wilson International Center
Dr. Aparna Pande, Hudson Institute
Dr. George Perkovich, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Mr. Bruce Riedel, Brookings Institution
Ambassador Howard B. Schaffer, Georgetown University
Ambassador Teresita C. Schaffer, Brookings Institution
Dr. Ashley J. Tellis, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Dr. Marvin G. Weinbaum, Middle East Institute
The Honorable U.S. Vice President Joseph R. Biden
The Honorable U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta
The Honorable U.S. National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon
The Honorable Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency David H. Petraeus
January 7, 2012
News adopted from Bolta Pakistan Facebook page.
Two soldiers ‘train’ guns at minister
– Chaudhry Nisar said he saw “a lot of military activity” on the avenue at the time, giving him the impression that “some four-star general” was coming to meet either the president or the Prime Minister.
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly appeared shocked to hear from opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday that two soldiers had insulted a federal minister in his flag-bearing car earlier in the day by training their guns at him at a checkpoint near parliament when a four-star general too was in the area.
The government acknowledged that this “serious” incident had happened, which Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Naveed Qamar said would be taken up with “appropriate authorities”.
Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi, chairing the proceedings at the time, called for a report about what he called an incident of “highhandedness” before the house concludes its current session after four days.
But neither of the three men who spoke about the matter identified the minister involved in the incident, which the opposition leader said happened some time in the afternoon, when he also drove around 2pm through the Constitution Avenue, on which the Parliament House is located and where one of the checkpoints normally manned by police checks vehicles going towards the Parliament House as well as the nearby presidency and the Prime Minister’s House.
Also none of them named the general for whom troops came to control traffic, although Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday afternoon.
Chaudhry Nisar said he saw “a lot of military activity” on the avenue at the time, giving him the impression that “some four-star general” was coming to meet either the president or Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and that he was informed by some witnesses later on coming to his office in parliament about a minister’s car flying the national flag having been stopped along with other cars by two soldiers “carrying bandooks (rifles)” and controlling traffic at the checkpoint instead of police.
“The soldiers did not have the courtesy to salute the national flag… which is the duty of every uniformed Pakistani,” he said.
“The matter did not end there,” he said, and added that when the driver of the minister — who too he thought was heading towards the presidency or the prime minister’s house — “tried to move his car forward, the two soldiers trained their guns” (towards the inmates).
“Is it the national army or an individual’s army,” the opposition leader asked and stressed the troops had no business to assume police job. “If they stop me tomorrow, I will not stop.”
The army would enjoy the nation’s respect only if it complied with its constitutional duty of defending the borders, Chaudhry Nisar said, drawing cheers from his PML-N colleagues as well many PPP members.
Minister Naveed Qamar said it was a “serious matter” to stop the car of a minister with the national flag or of any elected member of the house and added: “The government takes it seriously. We will take up the matter with appropriate authorities.”
Read more : DAWN
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