Tuesday, December 25, 2007
(Every Step towards the prosperity)
ISLAMABAD: The prices of daily use items rose by 9.51 per cent in the third week of December.According to Federal Bureau of Statistics the rate of inflation for low income group rose by 12.24 per cent as compared to the previous year. It said out of 53 essential items prices of 17 registered advance while those of 11 declined and rates of 25 remained stable.Increase was seen in the prices of tomatoes, ginger, LPG, Kerosine oil, eggs, wheat, edibl .... Full Story
Blogged with Flock
By: Naeem Sadiq (email@example.com)
2007 will be remembered as a year of extremism. It was in this year that 'the extremists became very extreme', to quote from the president of the PCO Republic. It was in this year that the extremists on the mountains of Waziristan killed and captured more soldiers than at any other time in the history of Pakistan. It was in this year that the extremists in Islamabad fired a long-distance, high-speed PCO missile that knocked out one's own strategic assets such as the Constitution and the judiciary. It was in 2007 that we became the only country in the world that suspended and 'house-arrested' its own chief justice twice in the same calendar year. It was in this year that a militant legislation transferred all state powers to a single individual — perhaps the only person in the world who has a nuclear button in his pocket and whose constitutional amendments cannot be challenged.
Also in this year the political parties displayed unparalleled greed and spinelessness by legitimising extremely substandard PCO products like the PCO president, PCO judges, PCO PM and PCO Election Commission. No wonder the Chinese calendar calls 2007 the year of the animal we do not like to talk about.
But there was also a new sense of energy and resistance in the air that began to give hope to the dark despondency of 2007. It was for the first time that Pakistanis, forgetting their many differences, closed ranks and began to take positions around a single dividing line. The line that separates the civil and the uncivil society. A divide along the lines of conscience on the one hand and compromise on the other.
What are the dynamics of this new development? While the traumatic events of 2007 may have been a triggering factor, this new wave reflects an accumulated disillusionment of people from 60 years of uninterrupted deceit, corruption and lawlessness. Gradually but firmly, people have come to perceive their leaders (both civil and military) as corrupt, self-serving and power-hungry whose only interest is to use the placebo of clichés, deceptive manifestos and hollow slogans to dupe the masses.
The educated middle class — lawyers, teachers, students, doctors, professionals, individual citizens and groups — which has traditionally kept itself at a distance from mainstream politics is awakening to a realisation that it has stayed on the sidelines for too long.
There is a growing realisation that years of inaction, silence and cynicism have only resulted in people being taken for a long ride. In a classic replay of Pastor Niemöller's famous lines, the home-made Nazis have already come for the judges, the lawyers and the media. A scary realisation that people must stand up and speak for themselves as there is no one left to speak for them.
What separates the civil from the uncivil society of Pakistan? One simplistic understanding would be that anyone who directly or indirectly was a party to the mutilation of the Constitution and launch of the draconian PCO, who took oath as a PCO judge, cut power deals with the US, tried to seek indemnity against past crimes, supported the military regime, accepted a position under this unconstitutional arrangement or granted legitimacy to these actions by taking part in elections is a part of the Uncivil Society. All others may prima facie be assumed to be part of the civil society.
One does not, however, become a part of the civil society by merely suffering in silence. Even a weekend vigil or periodic public protests are not good enough. A society is called civil when its members individually and collectively follow ethical principles and practices in their working lives.
They relate their work to larger social and political causes. They support ethical and principled stands. They protest peacefully and lawfully against tyranny and injustice.
They are willing to contribute their time, effort, money or expertise for a cause or community. They are willing to rise above their party positions and cushy jobs, to raise their voice when the rulers indulge in unethical practices, and finally they care and work for the betterment of a larger society instead of a privileged few. While it may still be many miles to the land of the civil society, there are clear signs and symptoms that people in Pakistan are already taking the most difficult first steps. May 2008 be the year of the civil society.
Blogged with Flock
Press Release: Amnesty International
Amnesty USA Letter To Secretary Condoleezza Rice
The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Rice:
Thank you for meeting with the Human Rights Leadership Coalition on December 10. We would like to follow up on the conversation we had on Pakistan and respond to Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher's recent reply to our November 13 letter.
We remain deeply concerned that you and President Bush have not yet called unequivocally for the restoration of an independent judiciary and the lifting of restrictions on the media, particularly television. Pakistan's judiciary supervises the nomination and polling process at every level, while High Court and Supreme Court judges hear appeals regarding qualifications and fraud. The Election Commission is composed of retired and serving judges. The removal of independent-minded judges has rendered free and fair elections impossible, while strict curbs on media further impede accurate reporting on the political and electoral processes. It does not make sense to call for free and fair elections without addressing these concerns.
Assistant Secretary Boucher's letter notes that the U.S. government has called for the end of martial law and the release of detainees. But the letter's language lacks urgency when discussing judicial independence, stating only that the U.S. "encourages an independent judiciary as a significant part of any democracy." Our organizations have heard consistently from colleagues in Pakistan that they cannot understand the silence of the U.S. government on the necessity of an independent judiciary and an unwavering commitment to the rule of law.
Since our meeting, President Musharraf has formally lifted martial law, as the United States had called on him to do. However, in his revocation order and another order issued the day before, President Musharraf renewed his attacks on the judicial system, permanently replacing the dismissed judges and barring judicial review of his actions. Orders and amendments imposed during martial law, fundamentally changing the constitution and people's access to basic rights, remain in place and outside judicial review. Such provisions allow for military trials of civilians and suppression of the media by imposing harsh prison sentences and fines for "anything which...brings into ridicule" the head of state or other government officials.
We urge the United States government to call on the Government of Pakistan to restore the judges to their positions and to lift media restrictions prior to the January 8 elections. Furthermore, the Pakistani government must return the power to license or disbar lawyers to the independent Bar Council. Without such steps, some of the most dangerous aspects of martial law will become enshrined in the Pakistani legal and political system, and neither free elections nor long term stability will be possible.
Mr. Larry Cox, Executive Director
Amnesty International USA
Ms. Karin Ryan, Director
Human Rights Program
The Carter Center
Ms. Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director
Mr. Salih Booker, Executive Director
Ms. Maureen Byrnes, Executive Director
Human Rights First
Mr. Kenneth Roth, Executive Director
Human Rights Watch
Mr. Gary Haugen, President
International Justice Mission
Mr. Robert Arsenault, President
International League for Human Rights
Ms. Felice D. Gaer, Director
Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights
Ms. Robin Phillips, Executive Director
Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights
Mr. Frank Donaghue, Chief Executive Officer
Physicians for Human Rights
Ms. Monika Kalra Varma, Director
Robert F Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights
Blogged with Flock
Monday, December 24, 2007
KARACHI: Former premier Nawaz Sharif has vowed that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) would try its best to reinstate the judges sacked on November 3. “This is as necessary as Pakistan’s existence,” Nawaz told reporters after meeting some sacked judges here on Sunday. Addressing a press conference at the residence of PML-N Additional Information Secretary Sardar Rahim, he said, “Sacking honest and diligent judges should not go unnoticed.” He said the president and the PML-Quaid were to blame for the worsening law and order situation in the country. Nawaz said the present regime had written off Rs 107 billion in loans, alleging that they were for defaulters from the PML-Q and its allied parties. He said Musharraf had justified an army takeover by calling Pakistan a failed state. Following eight years under Musharraf’s rule, the country was facing an even more difficult situation, he added. “The nation wants to know what the achievement on your (Musharraf’s) part was,” he said. The PML-N chief said he had told the APDM that he supported a boycott only if it was collective. He said he still supported his colleagues, even if they chose to approach the ‘target’ in different ways. He said Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain was a ‘hurdle’ to the reunification of the various PML factions. He said the PML-N was continuing talks on seat adjustments with the Pakistan People’s Party, adding that nothing was finalised. According to Online, he said it would be difficult to reach any understanding as there was very little time left till the polls. He said anyone who cooperated with President Musharraf was betraying the country. He said he would only be willing to listen to Musharraf if he agreed to reinstate the judiciary.
Blogged with Flock
By: Irfan Hussain
With President Pervez Musharraf having lifted the state of emergency in Pakistan, there must be sighs of relief in the United States and Israel. The state of emergency was imposed when Musharraf pre-empted an expected verdict against his re-election on November 3, against a backdrop of mounting concern over the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.
Over the last eight years he has been in power, Musharraf has come to be viewed as a reliable figure in Western capitals, a "safe pair of hands." Despite the resurgence of the Taliban and the increasing potency of the threat that movement's Pakistani supporters pose in the northwest of Pakistan, the international community was more or less comfortable with Musharraf in charge. As long as he was around, went the received wisdom, Pakistan's nuclear assets were safe.
Musharraf's problems - most of them self-inflicted - began piling up after March 9, when he tried to remove the stubbornly independent chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry. This generated serious concern in Washington and other world capitals. Although instability in Pakistan would strengthen the extremists, the more pressing worry was the possibility of nuclear warheads and related material falling into Al-Qaeda's hands.
When the Pakistani Army was constructing facilities to store and conceal components of its nuclear arsenal, it located these sites away from the Indian border, in the northwest of the country. These are the very areas where the extremists are now gaining in strength. And although the arsenal's location remains a closely guarded secret, there is a worry that Al-Qaeda might have supporters in the ranks of the Pakistani military. It is common knowledge that both the defense establishment and the intelligence community in Pakistan have been infiltrated by Taliban sympathizers. These fears have been compounded by the country's history of proliferation and the covert help A.Q. Khan, the disgraced nuclear scientist, must have received from the military.
In the worst-case scenario in which a Pakistani nuclear device does fall into the wrong hands, Israel would almost certainly be a prime target. Frustrated by the enormous technological edge enjoyed by the Israeli armed forces, Israel's enemies would dearly love to get their hands on an equalizer. In all probability, they would be unwilling to take the risk of trying to smuggle the device into the US, so Israel would do fine as the next best target.
In much of the Muslim world, Israel is seen as an extension of the US. Indeed, regarding all hostile American policies that concern Muslim countries the prevailing view is that it is a case of the tail wagging the dog. Thus, an attack on Israel would be viewed, especially in jihadist circles, as a blow against the hated Americans.
As Pakistan has been progressively destabilized through a combination of military rule and the rise of religious extremism, another concern is the emergence of vast tracts in the turbulent tribal areas as safe havens for Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. With the weakening of the state's writ in these rugged badlands, the grip of terrorists has tightened.
With more training camps being established in these areas, an expansion of the global jihad can be expected. Western as well as Israeli targets would be at risk. Indeed, the biggest danger is the emergence of a nascent Greater Pashtunistan where Pashtun tribesmen on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan border who have traditionally supported the Taliban will gain autonomy.
Another area in which Musharraf's support would be needed is Iran. Should there be an American decision to attack Iran or its nuclear facilities, Pakistan's long common border would be crucial to the success of such a campaign. Although Pakistan's participation would be kept secret due to the political ramifications of its involvement, the possibility of American special forces and aircraft crossing the Baluchistan border in western Pakistan could make the difference between success and failure.
Finally, Musharraf is the only Pakistani leader to have publicly advocated a debate on finally establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. Although his initiative lost steam with the Israeli attack on Lebanon last year and the subsequent political turmoil in Pakistan, Musharraf has not used the usual anti-Israel rhetoric so common in the Muslim world.
Despite the fact that Pakistan is a long way from the Arab heartland, Musharraf is still a respected figure in the Middle East. This is largely due to Pakistan being the only Muslim nuclear power. But the general's call for "enlightened moderation" is music to the ears of Arab leaders who fear Islamic militancy. They are all nervous about the possibility of an implosion in Pakistan that would encourage militants to establish a permanent presence there, as in Afghanistan during the Taliban era.
Musharraf appears to have got over the worst: he now has a subservient judiciary, a divided opposition, and a supportive White House. His generals are solidly behind him, and the newly-emerging private television channels have been cowed. His decision to retire from the army and take an oath of office as a civilian president is unlikely to cause any major changes in policies, at least in the short run. But the legitimacy he so ardently desires continues to elude him. If he cannot build bridges to the opposition, he will remain vulnerable.
Irfan Husain is a weekly columnist for Dawn and The Daily Times. He served in the Pakistani civil service for 30 years. This commentary first appeared at bitterlemons-international.org, an online newsletter.
Blogged with Flock
As part of the crackdown on protests against emergency/martial law, the Government of Pakistan recently brought sedition charges against fourteen faculty members of the Punjab University (Lahore, Pakistan). These charges were in response to the faculty members speaking out and organizing a protest walk on their campus against the imposition of emergency rule (martial law) in Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan has also issued a ban on political discussions and debates on campuses, which is a violation of one of the most basic tenets of academic freedom.
Most of you must by now be familiar with the vanguard role played by members of the Pakistani judiciary in the current political struggle against dictatorship. The unprecedented expression of solidarity by members of the international law community has been extremely important in building up the pressure against the Pakistani government, and in keeping up the spirits of the lawyers and their family members. Students (and educators) comprise the next largest group of protesters and so are being targeted in similarly illegal and brutal ways. This is a call to school and college/university faculty, academic unions and organizations to express their solidarity with the above mentioned faculty members of Punjab University as well as all those being targeted by the Pakistani state, and to demand that the government drop these charges immediately.
It should be noted that even when emergency rule is lifted, these and other such charges will not be automatically dropped nor will the dissenting judges be restituted. Please sign the petition and forward to others, and please consider creating faculty/student solidarity committees on your campus, and issuing separate letters of protest and solidarity. It is imperative at this stage to get as many signatures as possible, as well as to send as many letters/faxes/emails to the individuals and institutions listed below as possible. You can sign the petition at:
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/drop-charges-against-members-of-the-punjab-university.html (the text is pasted below). Time is of the essence, so please sign the petition and send your letters ASAP. Your voice counts.Below are links to three related articles.
If you have any questions please email ConcernedAcademicsOfPakistan@gmail.com.
Shefali Chandra (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Lubna Chaudhry (SUNY, Binghampton)
Sofia Checa (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Arslan Razmi (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Rakhshanda Saleem (Harvard Medical School and Lesley University)
Sahar Shafqat (St. Mary's College of Maryland)
Saadia Toor (College of Staten Island, CUNY)
Sedition case against 14 PU teachers
DAWN, November 22 2007
http://www.dawn.com/2007/11/18/nat11.htmPolitical debate banned in colleges
DAWN, November 22 2007
http://www.dawn.com/2007/11/22/nat9.htmLUMS professors, students charged under MPO
Daily Times, December 05, 2007
Send your letters/faxes/emails to:
General (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf
Fax: (92) 51-922-1422
Email: CE@pak.gov.pk, firstname.lastname@example.org, or via the website
Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, DC
3517 International Court, NW
Washington DC, 20008
Phone: 202-243-6500, Fax: 202-686-1534
Ambassador Mahmud Ali Durrani: 202- 243-6500 Ext. 2000 & 2001
Email: email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
Punjab University Administrators:
Dr. Muhammad Arif Butt
Vice Chancellor, Punjab University
Phone: (92) 42-923-1098, Fax: (92) 42-923-1101
TEXT OF PETITION
General (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf
We, the undersigned, are appalled by the charges brought against 14 faculty members of the Punjab University under sections 124-A, 188, 143/149 and 16-MPO. They have been charged with sedition and provoking the masses against the government for its action of imposing emergency and promulgating the PCO.The charges against the Punjab University faculty were registered after the said academics organized and participated in demonstrations against the promulgation of emergency and abrogation of the constitution. These were peaceful protests held inside the campus. We demand the withdrawal of the charges against the faculty members of Punjab University.
We are also appalled by the restrictions on academic institutions and civil society in general including the ban on open debate in all colleges and universities, as well as the curbs on constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and association of the citizenry of Pakistan. University campuses are supposed to be the center of political debate and activity, not zones of repressive censorship. The undersigned condemn the curbs on free speech and attempts to silence voices through intimidation and harassment. We also condemn the suspension of the constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and association. The ban on political debates on campuses is a violation of the most basic tenet of academic freedom; we demand that this ban be lifted immediately.
We express solidarity with our colleagues at Punjab University and all those in Pakistan engaged in the just struggle to end the state of emergency and restore the constitution and the rule of law in Pakistan.
cc. Pakistani Embassy in Washington, DC
Vice Chancellor, Punjab University
Blogged with Flock
(courtesy Dr. Awab Alvi)Pakistanis
I would like to share with the first two parts of this four part series titled 'The NAB Diaries' penned by Amer Niazi who has been a victim of the Nationally Accountability Bureau. The first two parts can be found on Teeth Maestro's Blog @
- PART ONE - http://www.teeth.com.pk/blog/2007/12/14/the-nab-diaries/
- PART TWO - http://www.teeth.com.pk/blog/2007/12/23/nab-diaries-part-two-2/
My name is Amer Nazir. I live in exile in London. It is a forced exile. I left Pakistan as soon as NAB took my name off the Exit Control List after a period of three years. If I had not left, probably I would have also disappeared forever like my best friend Ahmed Shujaudin – a leading architect.
I intend to write about my journey from a modest middle-class background to one of the top IT entrepreneurs of Pakistan before I fell to the extent that I became homeless. Once a familiar face in the so-called corporate social circles in Karachi it came to a point where no one was willing to take my phone call – after all, I was a NAB accused. I was never to be convicted but it did not matter. The logic was straight forward. If Shuja had been kidnapped then surely Shuja must have done something terrible to cause it or else at least deserve it…
The scope of these four narrations hopefully to be published during the next four weeks is to narrate a very brief account of my business journey, my labour of love, after a briefest possible introduction of myself, the major space will be given to my NAB experience, the actual inside account, and the behaviour and the attitude of our kings of the castle.
The hope is that some of you may see a part reflection of your own lives in this account and it may perhaps help you in some way. Another hope is that once it reaches the Free World and once fully investigated the world will realize that the common Pakistanis have never had the chance and that they deserve an honest break. There is also this hope to try and shame the shameless. And last but not least, and though it is a long shot, perhaps even Musharraf may realise the extent of damage he has done. He may finally understand, that although it is true for every institution, but especially when it comes to matters of justice, a self-designed system, a crude accountability set-up which is from day one formed on principles that are outside universally accepted rule of law – is soon bound to become abusive and corrupt itself…
For the non-Pakistanis, NAB is the acronym for The National Accountability Bureau. The flag ship of Musharraf. The main reason he gave for assuming power. He said that the nation had become too corrupt. NAB is composed of serving and retired army officers with unlimited powers. They are answerable to none . Present in every major city, each NAB office has a jail within its compound where prisoners are kept without any possibilities of bail. Some of them picked up from the streets, most from their beds at dawn. Several have died during interrogations…
And lastly, my narration will detail how a proud Pakistani was forced to claim asylum in his wife's homeland. Who although married to a British national for twenty years had never applied for the British nationality and had instead sponsored his wife for the Pakistani nationality instead…
Blogged with Flock
Source: The Post
PTI condemns Aitzaz's arrest | Lawyers to give tough time to govt: SCBA
LAHORE: The legal fraternity here on Monday announced to observe a black day on December 26 in protest against the manhandling, torture and detention of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Aitzaz Ahsan.
SCBA media advisor, Azhar Siddique talking to The Post said the lawyers condemned the re-arrest of SCBA president, adding that the community in question would observe December 26 as black day, in protest against the humiliation and manhandling of 'our' leader Aitezaz Ahsan.
Meanwhile, Lahore Bar Association Secretary Shamim-ur-Rehman Malik in a statement issued here on Monday also stated that the LBA would observe a black day on December 26 in this regard.
He said the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in an Eid greeting message to LBA lawyers said, "We wish for the supremacy of the Constitution and independence of judiciary in the country.'
He saluted the lawyers for their continuous struggle in this regard and goaded them on to continue their movement to help restore a democratic set up. LBA president Syed Muhammad Shah vowed to continue the movement for restoration of deposed judges, supremacy of constitution and rule of law, saying the CJP's message 'helped boosted our morale.'
"We have the courage to face any hurdle," he said, adding that the decision to boycott the coming general elections was pure as it would have been all 'selection' and never elections.
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Central Secretary Information (CSI) Admiral (r) Javed Iqbal has condemned the re-arrest of SCBA President Aitzaz Ahsan on Eid-ul-Azha and termed it the worst example of dictatorship. Javed Iqbal, in a statement issued here on Monday, said that government could not suppress the movement for the independence of judiciary and restoration of true democracy in the country by using such coercive tactics.
He said that government ridiculed the constitution and violated basic human rights and he added that PTI would continue its struggle for the independence of judiciary, supremacy of the constitution and respect of human rights.
Lawyers will give tough time to government by launching an extensive agitation movement and buses carrying judges will be run across the country for the independence of judiciary and release of detained judges and lawyers. On the call of Pakistan Bar Council all bar associations will observe Black Day on Wednesday (tomorrow) against the inhuman treatment with Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Aitzaz Ahsan.
SCBA Secretary Amin Javed announced this here on Monday at a press conference held at Punjab Bar Council.
Amin Javed condemned the torture of Aitzaz and his family members on Eid night. He said Pakistan Bar Council, Punjab Bar Council and Supreme Court Bar Council along with other bar associations would stage protest rallies to observe Black day on December 26. Lawyers all over the country would boycott courts and wear black armbands to register their protest, he added. Advocate Shaukat Ali, who was with Aitzaz Ashan at the time of his re-arrest, told the details of manhandling of Aitzaz Ahsan by officials of police and agencies. "Police dragged Aitzaz into a van and hit him on his face and later took him to some private place and subjected him to torture", he said.
Blogged with Flock
SUKKUR, Pakistan, Dec 24 (Reuters)
President Musharraf made the country an international laughing stock by purging the judiciary after he imposed emergency rule in November, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said Monday. Sharif took his campaign for January 8 elections to Sindh province. “Musharraf has made us a mockery by sacking the judiciary,” Sharif told a crowd of about 3,000 at a rally in the main market area of Sukkur town on the Indus river. “We are a laughing stock all over the world, even in India. We have to liberate our country of dictators,” he said. Of the judges ousted by Musharraf, Sharif said, “these judges are our heroes…it is our commitment that we will restore these judges at any cost.” In Sukkur, flags and posters of Benazir's party bedecked walls around the market where Sharif spoke. He did not appear hopeful of winning seats in Sindh. “We've never won a National Assembly seat from Sukkur but I still love the people of Sukkur and Sindh ... they've always supported the democratic forces,” he told the crowd.
Blogged with Flock