You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Friday, December 14, 2007

What if we lose?

What if we lose?
- Haray bhee to bazi maat nahin!

I have a feeling that fellow students, lawyers, and many other citizens want to pose us a tough question. Something – perhaps love for us or fear of breaking our hearts, hope for the movement or despair of ever convincing us to quit it – keeps them from saying it loud. The question is: What if we lose?

We hope that this wouldn’t happen. Somehow the powers-that-be will quiver before the moral force of our argument and if they don’t, whatever political government that emerges out of the elections will. Nonetheless, let us suppose what the cynics have always believed. Suppose that no one listens to us and, as Kamila Hyat put it, ‘in our lonely walk’, we end up no where? What if our movement fails to bring the legitimate judges back? What if one by one, those trampled flowers wither and vanish and freedom’s tender wings remain forever clipped in this country? What good is all the hue and cry we raised and still raise, and all the effort that it takes, if the movement’s objects are never achieved?

If that happens - it being the worse that could possibly happen - I believe our efforts would still not have been in vain. The great thing about a social movement is that it is never lost. We are lucky to be engaged in a principled moral endeavor, in love’s lonely labour, which even defeat cannot render futile. As Faiz put it:

Yeh baazi ishq ki baazi hae, jo chaho lara do dar kaisa?
Gar jeet gaey to kia kehnay, haray bhee toe baazi maat nahin.
- Faiz

There are gains produced by this movement that even defeat cannot wipe off. For one, the movement has left countless individuals who participated in it, particularly students and young lawyers, fundamentally changed. The legal profession in Pakistan has not been known for a display of integrity or honesty. When these young protesting lawyers go back to their trade, they will hopefully take home with them some of this principled behavior.

Students of elite institutions like LUMS and FAST have also long been known for a lack of social and political sensitivity. If you were ask them about the state of affairs in this country the standard response would be either of the two: “There’s nothing you can do about it”, or “I plan to settle abroad”. Today, the same youth is preparing to inherit this country with all its struggles and all its bounties. Even if they withdraw now from the arena of practical politics, they will take back with them a deeper concern for and engagement with the problems that common people in this country face. I know many students who seemed destined to become ruthlessly effective tools in the machinery of global economic imperialism – this brief brush with activism has left them thinking. Some, if not all of them, have resolved to utilize their undisputed talents in fighting the people’s war in whichever field of life they end up in.

Many eyes, formerly blind, have come to see the gravity of the situation around them. Inwards, those very eyes shall soon turn. Perhaps, they will uncover some remedy to that impoverishment which globally afflicts the human soul in this age of materialism, objectification and commodification. As resistance to the evil outside blossoms, let each and every one of us reflect also upon the very meaning and purpose of human existence, social life, our daily live, education and all other endeavors. In many minds, that introspection has already begun, sharp tongues are wagging and desiccated pens like mine are pouring floods – how can the effort then be considered futile.

Beyond the contribution it has made to the individuals involved in it, the current civil society movement has already bequeathed a legacy to the nation at large. It has given the country an inspiring glimpse of what politics can be, if it is done honestly and in a principled manner. Also, it has dispelled a notion that the 90’s experience popularized I the notion that in this country that elected government and corruption can never be separated. By infusing into popular discourse the ideas of rule of law and strict constitutionalism, this movement has revived the hope for bringing in rule-bound elected governments, which are effectively restrained from corruption and authoritarianism by judicial independence and the vigilance of media and civil society.

We are a nation that has lost its heroes, not to gradual erosion by history but to swift corrosion worked by mysterious forces. Political leaders either lost or sold their credibility ages ago. War-heroes slip out of our fingers once we begin to contemplate the possibility that maybe we really didn’t win all those wars and they were sparked by the ambition and adventurism of certain power-hungry individuals. Even sportsmen have become quite disappointing. Recently, forces bigger than our miserable bully-of-a-state have stolen the integrity of the nuclear scientist, denying our last civilian hero.

Today, however, a whole new crop of national heroes has sprung up – lawyers, judges, activists, not one but dozens. As I pen these words, from within the sobering darkness of their prison cells and sub-jails, the likes of Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary and Advocate Munir Malik are defining the true meaning of integrity. In their own neighborhoods, people are finding heroes like Justice Siddiqi of Lahore, in whose defence they can willingly sacrifice their liberties, and others in turn are willing to risk their own liberties and comforts so as to secure their release.

Finally, this episode has shown the world a picture of Pakistan that it had never seen before – a picture so inspiring that some Americans lawyers have actually decided to copy us. In this age of cultural imperialism and the exercise of hegemonic soft power, this is no less than a miracle. It is the one of those miracles that only true love for a cause can bring about – love which is incomplete without a passionate hope of success, but remains as valuable a sentiment, even when it stays forever unrequited.
وسعت اللہ خان

پاکستان آرمی کے نئے سربراہ جنرل اشفاق کیانی نے دو ہزار آٹھ کو فوج کا سال قرار دیا ہے۔ جس کا مقصد پیشہ ورانہ صلاحیتیں اور فوجیوں کے معیارِ زندگی کو بہتر بنانے پر توجہ مرکوز کرنا ہے۔ فی الحال میں تفصیلات کا منتظر ہوں کہ اس سال میں ایسے کیا کیا خصوصی اقدامات کیے جائیں گے جو پچھلے ساٹھ برس میں نہیں ہوئے۔

ملکی شاہراہوں پر ڈیفنس پرسنل پہلے ہی سے ٹول ٹیکس کی ادائیگی سے مستسنی ہیں۔ ریل اور قومی ایر لائن میں وہ پہلے ہی سے رعایتی ٹکٹ پر سفر کرنے کے مجاز ہیں۔ ان کے اور ان کے اہلِ خانہ کے لیے صحت اور فوجی اسپتالوں میں علاج معالجے کی معیاری سہولتیں ہمیشہ سے ہیں۔ روزمرہ ضروریات کی اشیا کی رعایتی نرخوں پر دستیابی کے لیے پورے ملک میں سی ایس ڈی سٹورز کھلے ہوئے ہیں۔ ریٹائرڈ فوجیوں اور بیواؤں اور بچوں کی دیکھ بھال کے نام پر آرمی ویلفئر ٹرسٹ اور فوجی فاؤنڈیشن سمیت متعدد ادارے اربوں روپے کی سرمایہ کاری کیے ہوئے ہیں۔ ہر کمیشنڈ آفیسر ترقی کے مختلف مندرجات طے کرتے ہوئے ڈیفنس ہاؤسنگ اتھارٹیز میں ایک سے زائد پلاٹ قانونی طور پر رکھنے کا مجاز ہے۔ ہو سکتا ہے کہ سال دو ہزار آٹھ میں نان کمیشنڈ فوجی بھی ڈیفنس اتھارٹیز میں پلاٹ حاصل کرنے کے حقدار ہو جائیں۔

اس ملک میں سویلینز کا سال آخر کب منایا جائے گا۔

'Fearless' statement of BB

Look at this 'Fearless' statement ... it is fearless in a sense that it hurts the sentiments of huge majority of the common people, of this country, but still it was given 'courageously'. When there is a non-zero chance that some statement could go against Amreeka or their Amreekan guardian could hurt with such a statement then these selfish and greedy parasites are very careful while moving their lips to speak.

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Teacher Action Committee formed, issues statement

Following a couple of meetings, the teachers from various schools, colleges and universities including PU, FAST, LGS, LUMS, NCA, BNU, LACAS, FCC and GCU unanimously decided to form a Teachers Action Committee (TAC). The aim of TAC is to provide a nonpartisan forum where teachers can discuss issues pertaining to their profession and their role in society. These issues include our tiered education system and standard of education among others. But currently, the foremost being raising our voices against the illegal imposition of martial law (called emergency rule) and the brutal oppression by state authorities to suppress any voices calling for the rule of law and freedom of expression. Our silence is not an option in the face of this state brutality, especially now that the judiciary has been dismissed and the constitution violated.

The Teachers Action Committee vehemently condemns the FIR lodged against 14 members of the Punjab University academic staff and 4 professors and 2 students of LUMS under sections 124-A, 188, 143/149, 16-MPO and 7 ATA (charge of terrorism). We demand that the state also withdraw cases against PU faculty members as has already been done for LUMS faculty. We stand in complete solidarity with our fellow academics and students who have been subjected to harassment and intimidation. We strongly believe that safeguarding freedom of thought and expression is a fundamental principle of our profession. Thus repressive tactics by the state and restrictions on freedom of speech and peaceful protest by administrations are in direct violation of the principles of our profession and the Pakistani constitution.

We pledge to raise our collective voice to protect and win the constitutional freedoms of our citizens especially teachers and students and we invite all teachers to join us in this long struggle.

We demand

1. An immediately end to faculty and student harassment for exercising their constitutional right to free speech and peaceful protest. We demand institutional administrations to protect the constitutional rights of students and faculty.

2. September 2nd judiciary and constitution to be restored immediately.

3. All political prisoners to be released immediately.

4. Lifting of all curbs on the media.

5. Free, fair and transparent elections. We consider the current manipulated election process to be neither free nor fair.

6. An immediate lifting of martial law, army returning permanently to the barracks and the abrogation of changes to Military Law.

With this we take the first step towards a brighter future of our country.

Teacher Action Committee.

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Medal of Freedom........

In the wake of the imposition of emergency rule in Pakistan, on November 14, 2007, the Harvard Law School Association decided to award its highest honour, the Medal of Freedom to Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, following the military. He becomes the first Pakistani to be presented with such honour.

Harvard Law School Medal of Freedom is given to selected personalities for their contributions to freedom, justice, and equality. Former South African President Nelson Mandela is one of the previous recipients of this award.

Armed Forces guardian of national integrity: General Tariq Majid

Source: Dawn

ISLAMABAD, Dec 13 (APP): The Armed Forces are the guardian of national integrity and a symbol of unity of Pakistan and, with the support of the people, are fully capable to meet all challenges to the security of the country, said General Tariq Majid, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee while chairing the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee meetingThursday. The meeting reviewed the overall security environment with special emphasis on evolving geo-political dynamics

He rightly mentioned that "with the support of the people" ... but the real question is that how he is planning to gain "the support of the people" ? It is very unfortunate that due to the hostile policies of army, gaps between the people and the army is increasing with the passage of time and it is neither desireable nor acceptable. Now Tariq Majeed and Kiyani have the great responsibility to fill this gap. Right now Army is becoming the symbol of "DIS-INTEGRATION" of the country's anatomy. It must be stopped, Army should only concern with its professional responsibilities.

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