Category Archives: Emergency in Pakistan

Mushraff’s democracy

President Mushraff adequately displayed his understanding of democracy when in an international interview he said ,` “The problem with the West and your media is your obsession with democracy, civil liberties, human rights.” Who has built democratic institutions in Pakistan? I have done it in the last eight years. We empowered the people and the women of Pakistan. We allowed freedom of expression”

Please note the semantics.. . “I have done it.. ” “Allowed freedom ….”

Political Science 101 perhaps Mr. President ? It should tell you what government by the people, from the people and for the people is and why it cannot be “allowed” or “done” by one man.

Stand up for Code Pink

As soon as the deported Code Pink activists landed in the US, they went to attend a Congressional hearing in Washington DC. They wanted to speak at the hearing but were told that the speakers had already been chosen.

One of the speakers was Mr. Richard Boucher the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs.At the hearing “Mr. Boucher gave the impression that Pakistan was on the path to democracy and that the billions of dollars in assistance was being well used. He called the state of emergency a mere “bump in the road.” The travesty of sacking the independent Supreme Court judges and replacing them with Musharraf allies was called a “Supreme Court reshuffling.”

When the Code Pink activists wanted to protest and declared, “ Musharraf has beaten lawyers and students, destroyed the judiciary, and censored the press. The U.S. must freeze all funding to this military government until emergency rule is lifted, the independent judiciary is reinstated, the censorship of the media is lifted, and all judges, lawyers, students and human rights defenders are released.”

The activist was arrested and will be appearing in court on December 27th to face charges of Disorderly Conduct.

Now is the time , in our opinion, that the Pakistani civil society must pay it’s dues and support the Code Pink activists just as they supported us. If you are a blogger , blog about it , if you are part of an online or offline network use it to support Code Pink activists who have been arrested for speaking for us.

“I have a choice:A choice to leave”: President Mushraff

Mr. Mushraff speaks to ABC news. Some quotes from this video are :

Here we hang people, don’t teach us what you have.” on agitation and putting protesters in jail in Pakistan.

Whose failure of intelligence is it? The Americans” on why hasn’t Pakistan caught Osama bin Laden up till now.

If I am not satisfied by the election results, I have a choice. A choice to leave.” on elections.

The last statement is very disturbing. With such high stakes , are there any prizes for guessing if the Jan 8th elections will be general elections or the Ex-General’s elections?

Code Pink deported from Pakistan

To “support the Pakistani civil society.” two Americans Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry landed in Pakistan on November 25th. They attended various events, held a vigil to protest the arrest of Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan and for their efforts received a lot of media and internet attention. However, December 4th evening saw them being “arrested.” According to reports, “ Armed policemen jumped out of cars and motorcycles and surrounded their car, guns drawn. They forced the driver and journalists out, beat passers-by who were looking at the scene, and hijacked the car with Benjamin and Barry inside. They raced recklessly through the crowded streets of Lahore, endangering the lives of those in the car and outside. They took the two activists to the Race Course Police Station. Benjamin was roughed up by a woman police officer who was given orders to take away their cell phone.

Benjamin and Barry were never charged with anything and no reason was given for their brutal arrest. After four hours, a representative of the US Embassy appeared. The activists were allowed to leave in his custody, but are being forced to leave the country.” They will arrive on Thursday, December 6th 2007 at 8 am at New York’s JFK airport and are said to be available for interviews.

Everyone has been condemning the arrest and the deportation of the two activists. Certainly condemnation is in order. However, we fail to understand as to how the two activists came up with this strategy of “supporting the Pakistani civil society.” They travelled from America to Pakistan to take part in the protests and hold a vigil outside Aitzaz’s residence thus getting a lot of media attention. If their sole purpose was to render support to the Pakistani civil society, then couldn’t they have lobbied the US government since nothing moves in Pakistan without Uncle Sam’s permission?

Both of them are from Code Pink. Code Pink has become well known for it’s lobbying against the Iraq war using unconventional methods. Could’nt Code Pink think of other more effective ways of supporting Pakistani civil society given their rich experience?

This compels one to ask did the activists really work out their strategy of helping the Pakistani civil society. What purpose did they achieve? Won’t they have been more effective by building the pressure on the US media and the US congressmen to ask the right questions as to why the US is mum over the situation?

No more Mr. Nice guy during emergency

Mushraff proudly had declared that he is gender sensitive and all for the “uplift of the women of Pakistan.” He counts amongst his trophies the Women Protection Bill of 2006 as well as the increase in the women reserved seats in the legislatures. He calls this the “silent revolution.” In a state of emergency ,however, it appears that his gender sensitive mask has been cast off. Watch how Imran Khan’s sisters were treated on the streets of Lahore in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Geo shuts down

Under extreme pressure from Musharraf government, Geo News has closed down. This is the latest move by the government to slap the curbs on media especially Geo TV Network, which has been off air with all its entertainment channels since the imposition of emergency.

Earlier, Geo TV network has been ordered to shut down by authorities of the country from where it is being aired. Now, the telecast of Geo News would not be viewed even through dish antenna.

Asma Jehangir writes….

I am fortunate to be under house arrest while my colleagues are suffering. The Musharaf government has declared martial law to settle scores with lawyers and judges. While the terrorists remain on the loose and continue to occupy more space in Pakistan, senior lawyers are being tortured.The civil society of Pakistan urges bar associations all over the world to mobilize public opinion in favor of the judges and lawyers in Pakistan. A large number of judges of superior courts are under arrest. Thousands of lawyers are imprisoned, beaten and tortured.

In particular the cases of Muneer A Malik, Aitzaz Ahsan, Tariq Mahmood and Ali Ahmed Kurd are serious. Muneer A Malik, the former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and leader of the lawyers’ movement has been shifted to the notorious Attock Fort. He is being tortured and is under the custody of the military intelligence.

Tariq Mahmood, former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, was imprisoned in Adiala jail. No one was allowed to see him and it is reported that he has been shifted to an unknown place.

Mr. Ali Ahmed Kurd, former Vice Chair of the Pakistan Bar Council is in the custody of military intelligence and being kept at an undisclosed place. Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan, President of the Supreme Court Bar is being kept in Adiayala jail in solitary confinement.

Representatives of bar associations should approach their governments to pressure the government of Pakistan to release all lawyers and judges and immediately provide access to Muneer A Malik, Tariq Mahmood, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Aitzaz Ahsan. The bars are also urged to hold press conferences in their country and express their solidarity with the lawyers of Pakistan who are struggling to establish the rule of law.

Asma Jahngir

Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan

Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Police outside LUMS

Inspector General of Police of Punjab (IG) has given orders to police, rangers and the anti terrorist force to arrest students from the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) who have been organizing protests.

Four army trucks and a police convoy has been postioned outside of LUMS.

It is heartening to see the students take the lead in this . Please try to capture videos /photopgraphs of police harrasement that you can and send them to CNN I reporter or if you have any write ups … comments please send them to us .. . we will be happy to share your comments / reporting with our readers.