Tag Archives: trial

The Three Heroines of Guatemala: The Judge, the Attorney General and the Nobel Peace Laureate

Former Guatemalan President Efrain Rios Montt was hauled off to prison last Friday. It was a historic moment, the first time in history that a former leader of a country was tried for genocide in a national court. More than three decades after he seized power in a coup in Guatemala, unleashing a U.S.-backed campaign of slaughter against his own people, the 86-year-old stood trial, charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. He was given an 80-year prison sentence. The case was inspired and pursued by three brave Guatemalan women: the judge, the attorney general and the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

“My brother Patrocinio was burnt to death in the Ixil region. We never found his remains,” Rigoberta Menchu told me after Rios Montt’s verdict was announced. She detailed the systematic slaughter of her family: “As for my mother, we never found her remains, either. … If her remains weren’t eaten by wild animals after having been tortured brutally and humiliated, then her remains are probably in a mass grave close to the Ixil region. … My father was also burned alive in the embassy of Spain [in Guatemala City] on January 30th, 1980.”

Rigoberta Menchu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, “in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.” She continued telling me about her family’s destruction: “In 1983, my brother Victor Menchu was also shot dead. His wife had her throat slit, and he was fleeing with his three children. Victor was jailed in the little town, but his three children were kept in a military bunker. My two nieces died of hunger in this military base, and my brother Victor was shot. We still have not found his remains.”

Continue reading The Three Heroines of Guatemala: The Judge, the Attorney General and the Nobel Peace Laureate

Huge Bangladesh rally seeks death penalty for Islamists

Hundreds of thousands of people are rallying in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, calling for the death penalty for Islamists on trial for war crimes. The protests have been going on since Tuesday, when one of the accused, Abdul Kader Mullah, got a life sentence ….

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21383632

Julian Assange urges US to end Wikileaks ‘witch-hunt’

Julian Assange has urged the US to end its “witch-hunt” against Wikileaks, in his first public statement since entering Ecuador’s London embassy.

He also called for the release of Bradley Manning, who is awaiting trial in the US accused of leaking classified documents to the Wikileaks site.

Mr Assange spoke from a balcony at the embassy and thanked Ecuador’s president, who has granted him asylum.

He faces extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims, which he denies.

The 41-year-old said the United States must also stop its “war on whistleblowers”. ….

Read more » BBC

Chicago Tribune – 10 reasons why Pakistan should apologize to U.S.

By Malik Siraj Akbar

Pakistan‘sobsession with extracting an apology from the U.S. for airstrikes that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops last year seems dubious considering its own questionable commitment in the fight against terrorism.

Instead of jeopardizing U.S. efforts in South Asia, the Pakistani government should instead show courage by owning up to its destructive policies and apologize for its mishaps.

Here are at least 10 reasons why Pakistan owes the U.S. its deepest apology:

1. Osama bin Laden: On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed near the Pakistan Military Academy, the equivalent of West Point. Pakistan was receiving about $18 billion from the U.S. to dismantle al-Qaida, while bin Laden was living comfortably with his wives and children in Abbottabad. Instead of apologizing for its complicity or incompetence, Pakistan vigorously protested violation of its sovereignty by theU.S. military operation that killed bin Laden. In fact, Pakistan’s National Assembly offered religious prayers for bin Laden, and civilian protests across the country condemned the killing.

2. Doctor on trial: Last week, Dr. Shakil Afridi, a surgeon who helped the CIA locate bin Laden’s whereabouts under the cover of a vaccination campaign, was convicted of treason and sentenced to 33 years in prison and fined about $3,500. So, let’s get this straight. Pakistan publicly pledges to eliminate terrorism, yet punishes its citizens for helping to do so?

3. Embassy attack: On Sept. 13, 2011, well-equipped insurgents linked to the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, allied with al-Qaida and the Taliban, attacked the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. Adm. Mike Mullen, the then-Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, said the network is a “veritable arm” ofInter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistani spy agency. Instead of working to dismantle the terror network, Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani complained that his country was being “singled out,” and that it was “neither fair nor productive.” Hence, the network continues to undermine coalition efforts in Afghanistan.

Continue reading Chicago Tribune – 10 reasons why Pakistan should apologize to U.S.

Turkey’s ex-army chief on trial for coup plot – When the Pakistani generals will meet the same fate?

Turkey’s ex-army chief on trial for coup plot

Ilker Basbug is among 29 accused of being part of shadowy group plotting to overthrow government.

Ilker Basbug, Turkey’s former army chief, has gone on trial on charges of leading a terrorist group accused of plotting to overthrow the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister. ….

Read more » AlJazeera

Pakistani U.N. peacekeepers sentenced in Haiti rape case

By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE – (Reuters) – Two U.N. peacekeepers from Pakistan have been sentenced to a year in prison for raping a 14-year-old Haitian boy after being convicted in a Pakistani military trial in Haiti, authorities said on Monday. ….

Read more » Reuters

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) expresses concern over Husain Haqqani’s security

PRESS RELEASE – GENEVA – The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has expressed grave concern for the infringement of rights of Husain Haqqani, former Pakistani ambassador to the United States of America.

Husain Haqqani faced a vicious media trial following which the Supreme Court of Pakistan on a petition filed debarred him from travelling abroad, despite the fact that he has not been charged with any crime,” said Sheila Varadan, International Legal Advisor at the ICJ Asia-Pacific Regional Office. “Husain Haqqani continues to receive threats and has been painted as disloyal to the country. There is, though, no proof of any betrayal of his duties as an Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States.”

“We are calling on the Pakistani Authorities to respect Husain Haqqani’s right to be presumed innocent and to remove the restriction on his right to leave the country and any other restrictions on his right to freedom of movement,” added Varadan. “They must also ensure his personal safety at all times and respect his right to a fair and impartial hearing throughout the Inquiry process.”

Courtesy: Pakistan Today

Pluralism on trial in Pakistan

Haqqani vision of a tolerant nation integrated into the world community aligns with Pakistani and US interests

By Farahnaz Ispahani

As US-Pakistani relations plunge to new depths, Americans need to look beyond media reports on tactical issues such as aid and counterterrorism. The direction Pakistan takes will be of great strategic significance to the world.

The manner in which my husband, former Pakistani ambassador Hussain Haqqani, is being treated in our homeland reflects the shrinking political space ….

Read more » gulfnews.com

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

Former CIA officer: Sharif begged our help against military in 1999. Why is he crying now?

Memo crisis adds pressure to US ties

By Reuters

Excerpt;

WASHINGTON: A political crisis in Pakistan may threaten not only the future of President Asif Ali Zardari but also keep pressure on an already tense relationship with the United States as it seeks to stabilise neighbouring Afghanistan.

A scandal over a murky memo that warned the Pentagon of a possible military coup in Pakistan has highlighted historic tensions between the weak civilian government in Islamabad and the powerful military, whose help Washington needs to battle militants fueling violence in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court began hearings this week into who was behind the memo, keeping the spotlight on a controversy that has added even more strain to US-Pakistan relations. ….

…. QUESTIONS ABOUT PAKISTANI MOTIVES

There are also doubts in Washington about how much turbulence Pakistan’s fragile democracy can withstand and whether courts can conduct a fair trial in a charged climate.

“The fact that the Supreme Court has now been involved gives (the memo matter) extra importance and legitimacy,” said Shujaa Nawaz, a Pakistan scholar with the Atlantic Council.

Pakistan’s top court is now moving ahead with the petition, filed by Nawaz Sharif, Zardari’s chief opponent, raising questions about the political motivations for the case.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA and White House official who chaired President Barack Obama’s 2009 review of US policy on the region, said Sharif himself initiated a similar petition over a decade ago.

He recalled a 1999 meeting with Sharif’s brother Shahbaz, who he said traveled to Washington to warn of what civilian officials at the time feared was a brewing military coup.

“It was an entire day spent at the Willard Hotel listening to Shahbaz talk about their fears that a military coup was coming and asking for American help to prevent it,” he said.

“That’s pretty much the charge (that) is being leveled against Ambassador Haqqani.”

A coup did ultimately happen, in 1999, bringing General Pervez Musharraf to power until he resigned as president in August 2008.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/22/memo-crisis-adds-pressure-to-us-ties.html

For Pakistan to change, army must change

– by Ayaz Amir

Decades of misadventure have distorted and even corrupted the Pakistani mind. We do not live in the real world. Our foreign policy notions, our list of assets and threats, have but a remote relation to reality. We must look to first causes. How did we create these bonfires for ourselves? How did we become prisoners of our misconceptions? Liberating the Pakistani mind from the shackles of these self-imposed errors must be the first of our tasks if, with luck, we are to become a normal nation.

The army and its strategic adventures have brought Pakistan to its present pass. The footprints of the terrorism now haunting the country go back to the first Afghan ‘jihad’, the one army-inspired event which pushed Pakistan to the frontiers of insanity. The phoenix won’t rise from its ashes, and there will be no return to sanity, unless the army can bring itself to change its outlook and reinvent some of its mental apparatus.

Civilians have been poor administrators, in no position to escape their share of the blame for the mess the Fortress of Islam is in. But in the driving seat of Pakistan’s steady march to the brink have been our holy guardians. There is little room for quibbling on this point.

Even so, despite the mounting evidence of disorder, the army refuses to change, still obsessed with the threat from the east, still caught up with the quixotic notion of exercising influence in Afghanistan. God in heaven, why should it matter to us if a president of Afghanistan is a Tajik, an Uzbek or a Pathan? Can’t we keep our eyes focused on our own problems? The threat we face lies squarely within but our strategic grandmasters insist on being foreign policy specialists.

If a Stalin were around, although fat chance of that occurring, he would lay his hands first not on militants and assorted terrorists but on the foreign policy experts who infest our television studios.

Is Mossad pulling the strings of terrorism in Karachi? Was the CIA behind the attack on Shia pilgrims in Mastung? Was RAW behind the attempt on the life of the Karachi special investigator, Chaudhry Aslam?

By any reasonable computation we have enough of a nuclear arsenal. By any yardstick of common sense, a commodity often in short supply in the conference rooms of national security, we have as much of a deterrent as we need to counter the real or imagined threat from India. This being the case, we should be directing what energies we have to the threat from within: that posed by militancy marching under the banner of Islam.

As part of this undertaking, we need to advertise for a Hakim Luqman who could cure our general staff and the ISI of their preoccupation with the future of Afghanistan. We have been burnt by Afghanistan. We don’t need any further burning. For the sake of Pakistan’s future we need to distance ourselves from Afghanistan’s problems, dire as they are.

Continue reading For Pakistan to change, army must change

China executes Pakistani man on drugs charges

China has executed a Pakistani man, Zahid Husain Shah, despite last-ditch appeals for clemency, his family says.

Mr Shah, 35, was arrested in 2008 and was convicted last year of drug smuggling. He was put to death by lethal injection in Shanghai on Wednesday morning.

Human rights groups had called on Beijing to stop the execution and urged Islamabad to take up appeals on his behalf. There was no comment from either government.

Relatives were allowed one last meeting with Mr Husain at Shanghai Detention Centre on Wednesday morning.

His cousin, Tasneem Fatima, told the BBC the family expects to travel back to Pakistan later this week, once his body has been returned to them. The last thing he told her was that he was innocent, she said.

Four other Pakistanis arrested with Mr Shah were sentenced to life imprisonment. According to Mr Husain’s relatives, he was framed for a crime he did not commit.

“Executing someone for drug-related offences violates internationally accepted standards for imposing the death penalty,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director.

The human rights group argues that no-one sentenced to death receives a fair trial in China, where thousands of executions for drug trafficking take place every year, more than the rest of the world combined.

Courtesy: → BBC

CIA – ISI, impending divorce or trial separation?

Lovers tiff, impending divorce or trial separation?

by Omar Ali

Excerpt:

…… 2. The romantic Left delusion. This is the belief that Pakistan’s corrupt elite deserves to be overthrown by the lower classes and the Taliban are (an unfortunate but expected) instrument of this necessary revolution. Actually the first part of this delusion is not a delusion. The Pakistani elite is not just corrupt, they have been practically suicidal. Where other corrupt third world elites have mismanaged the state, provided poor governance, oppressed the poor and failed to evolve a stable political system, Pakistan’s elite (which in this case means the army high command and their supporters) have done something no other third world elite has managed. They have armed, trained and encouraged their own executioners in the course of a demented scheme of trying to wrest Kashmir from India while laying the foundation for a mini-empire in central Asia. But the second part of this delusion is the real delusion here. The Pakistani Taliban is not the Bolshevik party; in fact, they are not even the Iranian Mullahs. They were created by the army as an outgrowth of the American-sponsored Afghan jihad. Their leadership is derived from the Madrasahs and think tanks sponsored by Saudi money and inspired by Syed Qutb and the most virulent Wahhabi and Salafist clerics in the world. They were guided by the jihadist faction of GHQ, men inspired by Maudoodi and his children, not by Marx or even Ali Shariati. They have absolutely no workable social or economic plan. If they do overthrow the elite, what follows will be a nightmare of historic proportions. If the whole thing does not dissolve into anarchy, it will be stabilized by an army coup. After purging liberals and hanging Veena Malik, the dictatorship of the mullahtariat will degenerate into an Islamic version of Myanmar, not revolutionary Iran or Castro’s Cuba.

Cia So, coming back to our original topic: does the Raymond Davis affair reflect a lover’s spat or an impending divorce? My guess is that its not a divorce. The US has few options and neither does Pakistan. We are probably in for more of the same, but with a chance that one of these days the ISI will find itself the victim of too much success and will not be able to pull back from the brink of divorce. Meanwhile, when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail. So I expect the state department to pass out more money to GHQ, I expect the CIA to fund some new insane lunatic fringe to counter their last lunatic fringe, I expect the Pentagon to ask for more money for weapons and a good hard “shock and awe campaign”, I expect professors in San Francisco to blame colonialism, and I expect Islamists to blow themselves up with even greater devotion. May Allah protect us from anything worse.

To read full article : 3QuarksDaily

Benazir Murder Case: PPP Government Impedes Investigation, Prosecution

Comment by Aziz Narejo

It is extremely disappointing to see that instead of pursuing vigorously the Benazir Bhutto murder case, the PPP government is making all out efforts to obstruct the investigation into the case and impede a fair trial. It was expected that the PPP government, immediately after coming to power, would order a robust investigation in the case and will forcefully go after the killers of its leader Benazir Bhutto. But as the news reports indicate, it is instead going after the upright investigation officers and the prosecutors who have worked hard to build a strong case. …

Read more : Indus Herald

Pakistan: Drop Blasphemy Charges Against 17-Year-Old

Student’s Case Underscores Urgent Need to Repeal Abusive Law

Pakistan has set the standard for intolerance when it comes to misusing blasphemy laws, but sending a schoolboy to jail for something he scribbled on an exam paper is truly appalling. It’s bad enough that a school official flagged it, but for police and judicial authorities to go ahead and lock up a teenager under these circumstances is mind boggling. – – Bede Sheppard, senior children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch

(New York) – The Pakistani government should immediately drop blasphemy charges against a 17-year-old student and ensure his safe release from detention, Human Rights Watch said today.

The authorities arrested Muhammad Samiullah on January 28, 2011, and charged him under Pakistan’s “blasphemy law,” article 295-C of the criminal code, for allegedly including derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad in his answers on a written school exam in April 2010. According to press reports, police at Shahra Noor Jahan Police Station in Karachi registered a case against Samiullah after receiving a complaint from the chief controller of the intermediate level education board. On January 29, a judicial magistrate, Ehsan A. Malik, ordered Samiullah sent to a juvenile prison pending trial. …

Read more : Human Rights Watch

 

The Ilam Din fiasco and lies about Jinnah —Yasser Latif Hamdani

Jinnah’s record as a legislator tells us a different story altogether. He was an indefatigable defender of civil liberties. He stood for Bhagat Singh’s freedom and condemned the British government in the harshest language when no one else would

In the recent debate over the blasphemy law, a group of Jamaat-e-Islami-backed right-wing authors have come up with an extraordinary lie. It is extraordinary because it calls into question the professional integrity of the one man in South Asian history who has been described as incorruptible and honest to the bone by even his most vociferous critics and fiercest rivals, i.e. Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The lie goes something like this: ‘Ghazi’ Ilam Din ‘Shaheed’ killed blasphemer Hindu Raj Pal and was represented by Quaid-e-Azam at the trial who advised him to deny his involvement in the murder. ‘Ghazi’ and ‘Shaheed’ Ilam Din refused and said that he would never lie about the fact that he killed Raja Pal. Quaid-e-Azam lost the case and Ilam Din was hanged.

To start with, the story is entirely wrong. First of all, Jinnah was not the trial lawyer. Second, Ilam Din had entered the not guilty plea through his trial lawyer who was a lawyer from Lahore named Farrukh Hussain. The trial court ruled against Ilam Din. The trial lawyer appealed in the Lahore High Court and got Jinnah to appear as the lawyer in appeal. So there is no way Jinnah could have influenced Ilam Din to change his plea when the plea was already entered at the trial court level. Nor was Ilam Din exactly the ‘matchless warrior’ that Iqbal declared him to be — while simultaneously refusing to lead his funeral prayers. Indeed Ilam Din later filed a mercy petition to the King Emperor asking for a pardon. …

Read more : Daily Times

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

Let’s germinate like Germany did

– Muhammad Shoaib Akif

President Asif Ali Zardari will continue to face a difficult, and at times war-like, situation through such media debates which rather look like trials. The participants in the debates usually are the beneficiary of the system that speaks volumes about an ever-untold truth that is about human relationships that are determined by economy and security. President Zardari is in a struggle to change the system. Since he means economy and security for all, and not for only a few hundred thousand elitist Pakistanis, he would continue to face resistance. What does security and economy here in Pakistan for everyone mean? Moreover, what if these two entities are not achieved justifiably with the reasons quite understandable even to an illiterate and what is not happening here for more than 63 years? Last but not the least, who will help us achieve these utmost requirements and how? Let’s have one of the pertinent examples say of Germany to find the answer. Germany acted rationally after experiencing almost total devastation caused by its expansionist policies during Second World War 63 years ago. Germans did not raise another army; it raised its economic structure through social democracy. And that enabled Germany make its citizens secure both socially and economically. To Germans security and economy of an individual is security of state itself. The people out there do not need thousands of judges and generals because a responsible bureaucracy, which is much smaller than ours, does its job amicably under the guidance of political government. Germens do not have to pay almost 10 billion US$ to keep only their not-awfully over-sized army and administration happy every year as we do here. Although their differences between expenditures and income may be in hundreds of US$ billion yet the differences are not mere due to their spending on their army and administration but on employed and unemployed citizens living therein. Germany makes her citizens secure both socially and economically and in turn the citizens show a paramount patriotism and protect the state also simply because the state does best possible justice with them. None can refute a recent example when world economic recession had just started off to effect Germany; it were the elites of Germany who asked their state publicly to tax them more than what their common citizens paid. In fact, almost all the citizens work, produce and pay taxes willingly and thus increase the income of the state to be spent back on them in various ways later in shape of social and economic security. To them and rightly so: security and economy of an individual is the security of state itself. …

Read more : The Frontier Post

Pope Benedict weighs in : The Pakistani power corridors will act only when important foreign leaders weigh in. Otherwise, every person will be slaughtered like goats and chickens!

LAHORE: Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti on Thursday called for a thorough re-investigation and fair appeal for Aasia Bibi, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy, after the pope called for her release.

On November 8, Aasia Bibi was sentenced to hang in after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) in 2009.

Bhatti told AFP that Aasia had filed an appeal at the Lahore High Court (LHC).

“We have requested the Punjab government that the trial should be fair in the high court. She must also be provided security in jail,” he said.

Aasia’s supporters say the case is baseless and that her first trial “was not heard properly,” Bhatti said.

“We have, therefore, asked the Punjab government that the case be reinvestigated properly.”

Governor Punjab Salman Taseer also expressed his support for a fair trial for Aasia Bibi on Thursday when he tweeted:

Aasia bibi’s appeal has been filed in the High Court. I am personally supervising the case.inshallah I will ensure she is not victimised.

Pope Benedict XVI this week called for her release and said Christians in Pakistan were “often victims of violence and discrimination.”

“I feel close to Aasia Bibi and her family and I ask that she be released as soon as possible,” he said on Wednesday.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has said he was told during a visit to Islamabad last week that Pakistan was committed to changing the blasphemy law and promised to join the fight to save Aasia. …

Read more : THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

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

Link

– – – – –

Protesters halt Pakistani PM court case – BBC

The trial of Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has been halted after his supporters forced their way into the Supreme Court building in Islamabad.
Protesters shouted abuse against the Chief Justice, Sajjad Ali Shah, who was hearing a case of contempt of court, which could lead to the Prime Minister’s disqualification if he is found guilty. The court adjourned for the day.
The protest is the latest twist in the country’s constitutional crisis, which started over the appointment of five new judges to the Supreme Court.

Mr Ali Shah charged Mr Sharif with contempt after his outspoken criticism of the candidates. Mr Sharif responded by trying to remove him from office.

The two men are under considerable pressure from the country’s powerful armed forces to resolve the situation constitutionally.
Mr Ali Shah’s position in the court has become increasingly uncertain after an internal struggle emerged in the Supreme Court over his status. Four of his fellow judges in two separate hearings ruled he was suspended from office because he was not the most senior judge when he was appointed.
Friday’s trouble started when one of Mr Sharif’s Members of Parliament climbed over the gates in front of the court to get inside.
A crowd of a few hundred party supporters then began to follow him and, as the police and the security forces in riot gear stood by and did nothing, they pushed open the gates and ran into the court compound.
A few members of the crowd got into the court building and ran to windows and onto the roof of the entrance, chanting slogans against the Chief Justice.
Amid the commotion a court official ran to the courtroom and said the Chief Justice was in danger. The judges immediately adjourned proceedings and left the room.
Courtesy: BBC

A column about Aafia Siddiqui

The Aafia mafia – by Fasi Zaka

Her ex-husband rubbishes many of her claims, and the family of Dr Aafia won’t let the media speak to her children who can shed light on what really happened ….

About a year ago, I wrote a column that got the ghairat brigade on my case. The gist of the column was that the trial in the US was based on a case of evidence, and lack of, that the US had full control over in the alleged attempt to shoot a US soldier by Dr Aafia Siddiqui. That she would get a fair trial was dubious, plus the case was opportunistic because the US took the easy way out and didn’t prosecute her for her alleged links to al Qaeda but instead for a shooting during a questioning. She was, after all wanted for links to terrorism initially. Then of course, one of the main problems is the US took a third party national from Afghanistan for a trial in their domestic courts.

The offending opinion which got the aforementioned ghairat specialists riled up, which I still subscribe to, is that from what we know Dr Aafia cannot be categorically described as innocent or guilty.

Before she went missing, before the alleged shooting, Dr Aafia was on the radar as an enabler of terrorism. A UN commission described her as a member of al Qaeda, Sheikh Khalid Mohammed gave her name to the US and court records show her as the second wife of an al Qaeda member. One of her uncle’s claims to have met her when she was supposedly in detention in Afghanistan by the US during her missing year’s period. Her ex-husband rubbishes many of her claims, and the family of Dr Aafia won’t let the media speak to her children who can shed light on what really happened. …

Read more >> THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE