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]

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Musharraf met daughter of Aitzaz in Davos

Source: Dawn

President Pervez Musharraf had an unannounced meeting in Davos with Saman Ahsan, daughter of Aitzaz Ahsan, the incarcerated leader of lawyers, to persuade her father to give up opposition to his regime, it is learnt.

“Saman was not convinced with whatever views he put across,” said Mr Ahsan’ wife Bushra Aitzaz while, confirming that the president had had a one-to-one meeting with her daughter on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

Saman, 30, works with the WEF in Geneva as project manager of the Council of 100 Leaders (C100), an initiative for dialogue between Muslims and the West. The meeting took place through Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the WEF, who is a friend of former prime minister Shaukat Aziz.

Mr Aziz attended the WEF where he met corporate leaders and spent substantial time with President Musharraf.

Mr Ahsan’s daughter is reported to have told her friends and colleagues after the meeting that the president had asked her to convince her father “not to come in my way”.

Mrs Aitzaz said the president had not given any message to her daughter.

She said the WEF executive chairman had raised the issues of democracy, removal and detention of independent judges and assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in his meeting with the president and mentioned that the father of “one of my forum members is still in detention in Pakistan”. This led to a meeting between the president and Saman.

She denied that Mr Ahsan’s permission had been sought for the meeting.

She said that during the meeting the president levelled allegations against the deposed chief justice of Pakistan and referred to the Supreme Court’s decision against a reference filed in this regard.

Peaceful rally in Peshawar: Citizens expressed their anger with Musharraf regime

Citizens staged a peace rally in Hayatabad on Wednesday, demanding the government and militants make efforts to protect citizens from suicide and rocket attacks. read more in this report

What the above report did not highlight is that there was a strong anti-Musharaff mood in the rally and almost all the speakers held the government responsible for the present security crisis. I participated in the walk too and it confirmed my belief.

The writing on the wall is now clear -- the dictator has no sympathisers left in the Frontier. These are ordinary citizens, women and children showing dissent in the streets in a conservative place like Peshawar. These are evident signs that the dark days of Musharraf's rule are ending. (Account by an Eye Witness)

US undermined Pakistani Democracy: Imran

[Following is the Interview of Imran Khan with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now TV, you can also watch Real Video Stream or listen Real Audio Stream or just MP3 Download ]

AMY GOODMAN Why are you here in US?

IMRAN KHAN Well, basically, the Pakistani- American community here, they invited me here to explain the other point of view. There’s a government point of view, Musharraf’s government point of view, and then there’s the other point of view. And they wanted me to explain it to the U.S. lawmakers, to make them understand two things. One is, that they should not back one man, a dictator, against the forces of democracy of Pakistan. Secondly, that a new strategy is needed in this war on terror because at the moment, terrorism is spreading with leaps and bounds. And unless we have a new strategy, the existence of Pakistan is at stake.

AMY GOODMAN Why is the United States relevant to that?

IMRAN KHAN Well, for two reasons. One, that the U.S. is involved in Afghanistan. Secondly, the U.S. feels Musharraf is the best bet, the US Administration they feel that hes their best bet in fighting terrorism.

AMY GOODMAN Your feeling about that?

IMRAN KHAN I think it is the biggest mistake. It is the biggest blunder the U.S. is committing. Because you could only win the war ... read more

افاقہ ہوگ

وسعت اللہ خان

وہ پاکستانی جو کئی برس سے کسی خلیجی ریاست کی جیل میں سڑ رہا ہے ۔ جسے نہ تو اپنی فردِ جرم کا تحریری طور پر پتہ ہے۔ نہ وکیل میسر ہے اور نہ ہی یہ معلوم کہ کب رہا ہوگا۔


اور وہ پاکستانی جسے گجرات یا گوجرانوالہ یا رحیم یار خان کے کسی ریکروٹنگ ایجنٹ نے لاکھوں روپے لے کر یورپ کی جانب سمگل کردیا اور وہ یا تو ایران و ترکی کی سرحد پر کسی گارڈ کی گولی کا نشانہ بن گیا یا پھر بحیرہ روم میں لانچ سمیت ڈوب گیا یا پھر کسی کنٹینر میں چھپا پکڑا گیا۔

اگر کوئی پاکستانی اہلکار یا سفارتخانہ مدد کرنے کو تیار نہیں تو گھبرانے کی ضرورت نہیں۔ایسے متاثرین یا ان کے ورثا صرف اس ایڈریس پر خط لکھ دیں۔انشااللہ افاقہ ہوگا۔

چوہدری شجاعت حسین
چوہدری پرویز الہی
ظہور پیلس۔گجرات

مذکورہ حضرات جب اپنے چھوٹے بھائی چوہدری وجاھت حسین ( کہ جن کی اس وقت کوئی سرکاری حیثیت نہیں) کے لیے پوری حکومتی مشینری اور برطانوی وزیرِ اعظم گورڈن براؤن کو ہلا سکتے ہیں تو اپنے قیمتی ووٹر کے لیے کیا نہیں کرسکتے۔

Youm-e-Iftikhar (Iftikhar Day) 2008, Pictures

Courtesy: BBCUrdu

These walls that divide us

By Feryal Ali Gauhar

The beloved sun did not rise when they threw up the wall. How long eyes have searched for it and are still waiting! Can the eyes themselves be lost? Could the wall have gouged them out?
Mahmood Darwish

THE six-metre high metal border wall erected by the Israeli government around Rafah in 2004 stands like a sentinel in the desert between Sinai and the Gaza Strip, ruptured and rusted, a festering wound in the body of a nation disenfranchised and violated for 60 years.

Subjected to the violence of colonisation and then the brutality of dehumanisation, the people of Rafah live divided lives, like many Palestinians who have left homes built by ancestors in the ancient land of biblical Judea and Samaria.

The history of Gaza is the history of the people of Ashkelon and Ashdod, and Gaza is the city which saw the birth of Goliath, defeated by David in a battle signifying the victory of the powerless against the powerful.Today, the people of Rafah fight another war, against a state which has literally imprisoned them within the confines of the coastal strip which saw massive relocations of Israeli settlers in 2006, a move made to ‘appease’ the peace process. And what of the peace process today? Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip was designed to cripple a population which is seen to be complicit in attacks on Israeli territory and citizens.

On Jan 22, the Security Council met in an emergency session to consider a call for ending the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip. The open meeting was requested by Arab and Islamic states amid an international outcry at what the European Union termed the “collective punishment of 1.5 million residents”. Cutting off fuel to the territory’s only power plant plunged Gaza into darkness, forcing doctors to choose between saving the lives of newborns or those undergoing heart surgeries.

Israel also blockaded the provision of food and medicines in a replay of the tragedy of Karbala. Today, it appears that the conflict pitting Imam Hussein against the forces of tyranny is reflected around the Muslim world, gaining more significance in a world echoing with chants of democracy and human rights and heaving with growing inequities of power and wealth. Perhaps the walls that divide us are not just erected to keep some in and others out. Perhaps these walls are meant to divide us permanently into those who wield power and those who are compelled to submit to it.

In his autobiography Out of Place, Edward Said talks about growing up as a Palestinian whose people were battered and then displaced by the British Empire which was in a crisis at the time. He learnt that as an Arab, he was the subject of a long history of imperial stereotyping and misrepresentation.

As a student of literature he learnt of the ineluctable and energising connections between culture and politics, with Gramsci and Foucault taking a central position in his intellectual growth. Both philosophers and theorists of social hierarchies and institutions, these giants inspired Said to write a book exploring the various ways in which knowledge about the ‘Orient’ was produced as a prelude to and a corollary of the conquest of these territories: “My contention is that without examining Orientalism as a discourse one cannot possibly understand the enormously systematic discipline by which European culture was able to manage and produce the Orient politically, sociologically, militarily, ideologically, scientifically and imaginatively…”

Said’s seminal work Orientalism needs to be considered seriously today in order to dismantle the walls which have divided the world into conquerors and those who are conquered, the ‘sub-human, barbaric native’ of Africa, Asia and Latin America. It is only by considering the narrative of the ‘other’ as valid and legitimate that we can begin to deconstruct the prejudices and the contempt with which we perceive those who are not from ‘among us’, whether that community happens to be the conquered subject or the warring tribal fiercely protective of territory and historical imperatives which strengthen that claim.

Just over a year ago, on an off-Broadway stage in New York I watched a young woman play out the life of Rachel Corrie, the American activist who died trying to protect the lives and properties of Palestinians in Gaza. Watching this courageous production put together by Alan Rickman, I thought back to the days in London when I would come across Vanessa Redgrave at meetings held in solidarity with the Palestinian people. She had befriended me and would take me home to her flat, cooking for me in a kitchen which held the warmth and love of a woman committed to causes of humanity and peace.

When the London production of this play was cancelled, Vanessa condemned the pressure to suppress the truth. I share her words: “If this cancellation is not transformed we would be complicit, all of us, in a catastrophe that must not be allowed to take place. This play is not about taking sides. It is about protecting human beings, in this case, Palestinian human beings who have no protection, for their families, their homes or their streets. Rachel Corrie gave her life to protect a family. She didn’t have or use a gun or bomb. She had her huge humanity, and she gave that to save lives.”

In Rafah today, men and women swarm across a breach in the wall at the border, “hungry for freedom, for fuel and other things”. In New York, the neo-imperial alliance between Israel and the United States ignores the warnings of the United Nations Relief Works Agency which has run out of plastic bags used to distribute food aid to 860,000 Palestinians living in Gaza. And while bulldozers breach walls in the desert, more walls are erected to ensure that the divide between those who rule and the ruled remains firmly incised into the fabric of our fissured history.

Courtesy Dawn

Musharraf lambasted by Chief Justice of Pakistan

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry (file photo)
Mr Chaudhry says that he is the victim of 'an outrage'
The (original and legal) chief justice of Pakistan has described President Musharraf as an "extremist general" for sacking him and 60 other top judges.

Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry also criticised the president for keeping him and his family under house arrest for the last three months.

Mr Chaudhry had a reputation for taking a firm line on government misdemeanours and human rights abuses.

He was sacked when President Musharraf imposed emergency rule in November.

His dismissal came as the court was preparing to rule on the validity of President Musharraf's re-election.

Earlier he had gained a reputation for taking up investigations into the highly sensitive issue of the disappearance of political activists allegedly detained illegally by the security forces.

A spokesman for the president said that he could not comment on Mr Chaudhry's complaints, which have been delivered to diplomatic missions of the US, the European Union, Britain and France.

'Corrupt and inept'

"What the general has done has serious implications for Pakistan and the world," Mr Chaudhry said in a statement.

"Some western governments are emphasising the unfolding of the democratic process in Pakistan. That is welcome, if it is fair".

"But how can there be democracy if there is no independent judiciary?"

The former chief justice said that his wife and three children - one of them a special needs child - were not allowed even to go onto the front lawn of their Islamabad home, because it was occupied by police.

"Barbed-wire barricades surround the residence and all phone lines are cut,"

he said in the seven-page statement, which was made public by lawyers who support him at a press conference in Islamabad.

Mr Chaudhry also complained that comments made by President Musharraf during a recent tour of Europe that he was "corrupt and inept" were slanderous.

"Is there a precedent in history, all history, of 60 judges including three chief justices being dismissed and arrested at the whim of one man?" he asked.

He described his treatment at the hands of President Musharraf as an "incredible outrage" committed by an "extremist general" who is supported by the West.

You can download the complete letter of Chief Justice of Pakistan here.

China's weapons exceed self-defense needs: US military

WASHINGTON, Jan 29 (AFP) -The United States said Monday it was “troubling” that China's weapons systems capability exceeded the level Beijing defined as necessary for self-defence. The head of the US armed forces in the Asia-Pacific, Admiral Timothy Keating, said the United States had “intelligence that reinforces my opinion that China is developing, fielding and has in place weapons that could be characterized as having, amongst perhaps other purposes, an ability to restrict movement in and around certain areas on the sea, in the air or under the sea. “I'll go back to the point we made a couple of times already -- that we understood PRC (China's) intentions, not just their transparency, not just the fact that these weapons exist. We know they exist,” he said.

I am confused ... why US military is always worried about others ? Don't they have weapons more than their requirements ? Don't they have forces deployed around the globe ? and more importantly Why they have forces deployed around the globe ? To protect American 'interests' ? They bombard Iraq in a preemptive attack because they might had weapon of mass destructions ... Isn't it true that US has lot more weapons of mass destructions than anyone else in the world ? If having weapon of mass destructions is a crime then America is a biggest criminal ... if having intentions of attacking on some country is a crime (like they said in case of Iraq) then once again America is a biggest criminal because they have plans to attack of Iran, Syria, Sudan etc.

Do we know any other state such a shameless and unethical?

No electricity in Parachinar for 50 days!

PESHAWAR, Jan 29 (APP): Electricity supply to Parachinar, capital of Kurram Agency, could not be restored despite the passage of 50 days. An APP correspondent said electricity supply to Parachinar and its adjoining areas is cut from Nov 16, last, after an outbreak of sectarian clashes. The power disruption has created problems and markets are closed, and tube wells are not operating and people are miserable.

Lets see what 'reason' is produced by our 'genius' for this crisis ... may be his response would be 'Media is creating this crisis, infact there is no crisis ... blah blah blah'

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lawyers unveil plan for ‘Iftikhar Day’

Source: The News International

Besides the Lawyers community, the HRCP and the People’s Resistance to also take part in the protest

The lawyers community will stage a protest demonstration on Thursday to celebrate “Iftikhar Day” at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) to express solidarity with the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The call for a country-wide protest demonstration was given by the Sindh High Court (SHC), and was later endorsed by the Pakistan Bar Council, which, in a joint meeting, declared to observe January 31 as ‘Iftikhar Day’ to salute the former chief justice for his continuous detention since March 9, when he was made non-functional by the President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf.

Giving plans for the day, President Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA), Rashid Razvi, in a joint press conference at the Shuda-e-Punjab Hall on Tuesday, informed journalists that all the bars of the country would observe the day by holding demonstrations, protest processions and seminars across the country to pay homage to deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

General-Secretary, Karachi Bar Association (KBA), Naeem Qureshi, while giving details of the protest plan, said that all 310 bars of the country, including the Supreme Court Bar Association, Pakistan Bar council, Sindh Bar Council, all the high court bars of the country and the Malir Bar Association (MBA), endorsed the decision.

He disclosed that the elected body of the KBA, along with its members, would reach the SHC in a form of a caravan, where MBA members would also join in. A joint governing body meeting would be held at the SHC, from where thousands of lawyers would march towards the KPC.

He appealed to all civil society organisations, NGOs, students’ bodies, political party leaders, labour unions and other concerned citizens to join the rally to voice their protest against the illegal detention of the CJP and their support for the revival of democracy, rule of law and restoration of all judges deposed after promulgation of emergency on November 3.

The procession to the KPC from the SHC would be led by Rasheed Razvi. Speaking to journalists, the SHCBA president said that no judge in the world had ever been detained, which was, unfortunately, the case for jugdes in Pakistan.

He said that the CJP was to appear before the review board, but, to date, the government had been unable to produce him there, nor was any habeas corpus filed by any lawyer for his detention.

He further said that, unfortunately, while most wanted criminals such as Rashid Rauf were at large, a respected CJP was under detention. Razvi said that the CJP was not even allowed to offer Eid prayers, as if he was a hardened criminal.

He said that the action against the judiciary, media and other segments of society was taken by the government only to prolong one man’s rule,

Judges who were removed under the PCO would also address the gathering on “Iftikhar Day”, informed Razvi, who, however, added that their names could not be disclosed due to security reasons, as they would be placed under house arrest, he apprehended.

Vice President of Malir Bar Association, Ashraf Samoo, also endorsed the call.

Replying to a question, Razvi said that the HRCP has supported the call, while a civil society organisation, the People’s Resistance, has also backed it. He said that no political parties have approached the lawyers in this regard.

The political parties were, however, requested to include the restoration of judges in their election manifesto, which would help lead the country towards real democracy. During a meeting with Asif Zardari at Naudero, Qureshi said, they requested him to include the demand for an independent judiciary in the PPP election campaign.

Retired generals invite Musharraf to their meeting

Source: The News International

The retired generals, who President Musharraf described as ‘good for nothing’, have invited General (retd) Pervez Musharraf and many others to their next meeting on Thursday.

“We invite you as General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, along with your star-studded team of ex-servicemen to join us. Honour us with your presence and give us your wisdom so explicitly being expressed,” a letter co-authored by many said.

Instead of Lt-Gen (retd) Faiz Ali Chishti, the Thursday’s meeting is being presided over by a respected ex-serviceman, Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan. Musharraf’s close aides like Gen (retd) Ehsan-ul-Haq, Gen (retd) Muhammad Yousaf, Gen (retd) Aziz Khan, Gen (retd) Ahsan Salim Hayat and Lt-Gen (retd) Moeen-ud-Din Haider have also been invited to the meeting.

A PML-Q leader and the oldest ex-serviceman who had drafted the resignation of Maj-Gen Askandar Mirza when Gen Ayub had toppled him, Lt-Gen (retd) Majid Malik has also been invited.

Others prominent ex-servicemen invited are Air Marshal (retd) Noor Khan, Lt-Gen (retd) Ali Quli Khan, former COAS Gen (retd) Wahid Kakar and Gen (retd) Aslam Beg, and former admirals like Sharif Ahmad, Fasih Bokhari and Fazil Janjua and others.

It won't be a surprise if Musharraf engineered terror attacks: General Chishti


A retired Pakistani General who opposes President Pervez Musharraf said he would "not be surprised" if Musharraf had engineered terror attacks to manipulate his image in the West. Former Lieutenant General Faiz Ali Chishti heads the influential Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society, which last week issued a blunt open letter signed by more than 100 senior officers calling on Musharraf to quit.

The statement fuelled Western speculation that Musharraf may be losing support in the military following his resignation as army chief in November, a potential blow with parliamentary elections only three weeks away.

"Musharraf is an intellectually dishonest person. He is a clever ruler, who makes the US and the West believe that they can only effectively deal with Al-Qaeda as long as he is in power," Chishti told AFP in an interview."But what is Al-Qaeda and who are Taliban? I will not be surprised if this clever ruler is behind all suicide attacks,"

he said.
Pakistan has been buffetted by more than 50 suicide attacks in the past year, culminating in the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on December 27, which led to planned January 8 general elections being delayed.

The government blames Bhutto's killing on an allegedly Al-Qaeda-linked tribal warlord, Baitullah Mehsud, but many of Bhutto's supporters have accused the government or parts of the military of involvement.

Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999, has rejected those claims, and last week he angrily brushed aside the calls for his resignation by Chishti and the other generals.

"They are insignificant personalities," Musharraf told the Financial Times in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "Most of them are ones who served under me and I kicked them out... They are insignificant. I am not even bothered by them."

In another interview with the BBC he said that the retired officers had no clout with today's 500,000-strong, nuclear-armed military.

But Chishti -- a former federal minister and the one-time corps commander for Rawalpindi, a key post in the Pakistani army -- urged current and former servicemen to push for change.

"My request as head of the society, is that retired General Pervez Musharraf should also step down as President," Chishti said.

"We request all ex-servicemen and even those, who are in uniform to vote for persons, who are fit to do something for this country and people."

Chishti himself is no stranger to military rulers, having supervised the imposition of martial law in July 1977 in Pakistan. He went on to become a close associate of late dictator General Zia-ul-Haq.But he said that the situation now was different, partly because of Musharraf's close ties to Washington.

"Musharraf is in league with the US and the West for the sake of his own survival. The majority of Pakistanis feel he... has been taking illegal, unconstitutional and unlawful actions for his survival," Chishti said.

He rejected Western "propaganda" about Musharraf being able to safeguard Pakistan's nuclear weapons from Islamic extremists, saying it was the army's job.

"Is he carrying these nuclear weapons in his pocket? The answer is no," he said.

Chishti also accused Musharraf of "taking sides" and campaigning for the former ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q party ahead of the elections on February 18.

The government meanwhile has rejected the ex-servicemen's claims. Information Minister Nisar Memon told state media that their demands for Musharraf to resign were unconstitutional, adding that he was "dismayed" by their "lack of understanding of national issues."

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Resistance Movement Against Musharraf

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The route of the Foreign Aid

I must say this one is a very generous bureaucrat. In situations where a couple of generals are involved in the food chain, you can't expect the aid Dollars to fall out of the Military Inc.

so many awards for Pakistani Judges and Lawyers: Another one

Source: New York Law Journal & New York State Bar Association (NYSBA)

Annual Award for Distinction in International Law and Affairs presented to the Lawyers and Judges of Pakistan, as represented by Aitzaz Ahsan, in asbentia

Embattled judges and vulnerable children are among the issues to be taken up this week as more than 5,000 lawyers gather at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square for the annual meeting of the New York State Bar Association.

The International Law and Practice Section tomorrow (Wed. Jan. 29th 2008) gives its annual award for distinction in international law and affairs in absentia to Aitzaz Ahsan, on behalf of the lawyers and judges of Pakistan. Much of that country’s legal and judicial community has been in conflict with Pakistan’s leadership since President Perves Musharraf suspended the constitution and replaced seven of the 11 members of the Supreme Court.

Mr. Ahsan, president of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association, has been under frequent arrest for his efforts to restore Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as chief justice.

Earlier this month, the New York City Bar Association granted honorary membership to Justice Chaudhry. In November, the city and state bars, as well as the New York County Lawyers’ Association, organized a rally attended by about 700 people at Manhattan Supreme Court in support of Pakistan’s lawyers and judges.

And still he says 'no flour crisis in Pakistan'

Man dies in ‘fight for flour’

Source: Dawn

A labourer, Muhammad Akbar, was electrocuted to death when he touched a live wire at a flour grinding machine in Libey Badiana, Pasrur, on Sunday night. It is believed that he was trying to break into the unit to steal flour. He is survived by his eight children and a wife.

The family of Akbar says that they had been hungry for the last three days because of non-availability of flour. On Sunday, Akbar, begged flour from different places but failed get anything. At night, he planned to break into the flour grind unit in his village. While stealing the flour, he touched a live wire there and died. Akbar was laid to rest in the presence of the hundreds of the mourners from all walks of life.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Reason to Believe - by Shehzad Roy

Source: Dawn

Op-Ed by Shahzad Roy

When I was 10 years old, I saw on the nine o’clock news on PTV a woman with a dupatta draped round her head saying, “Pakistan tareekh kay aik naazuk mor say guzar raha hai.” Then I turned 20 and again saw a woman, this time not wearing a dupatta on her head, saying with eloquence on the nine o’clock news, “Pakistan tareekh kay aik naazuk mor say guzar raha hai”.

Déjà vu… why? I tried to analyse the situation to find out how come Pakistan is still stuck at the naazuk mor even after the passage of many long years. I reached the conclusion that 50 per cent of our knowledge lies in asking the right question. Government functionaries, intelligentsia, armed forces, critics, human rights activists and, for that matter, all stakeholders ask questions. But they end up slinging mud at each other, for the simple reason that the questions they ask are never right in the first place.

The question usually asked is: “Why is the state of health and education in Pakistan in such dire straits?” The complacent response is: “At least we have some schools and a few hospitals. Something is better than nothing.”

After pondering over the state of education and health in our country, I realised that the “something is better than nothing” view cannot apply to education and health. Just imagine, would so many youth have agreed to become suicide bombers if proper education had been provided to them by the state? If they had been only taught to ask the right questions and had inter-faith dialogue at the institutions they attended, they would have thought thrice before embarking on mindless missions and most definitely have refused to be used as a pawn in the hands of others.

When it comes to healthcare, a lukewarm (something) effort — by a doctor of questionable credentials (something), to cure a patient by giving him a substandard (something) medicine or injection — has a high probability of killing the patient rather than curing him.

Quality education is every citizen’s right and its responsibility lies with the state. A paradigm shift is required in the mindset of state authorities, the people and the education system to save our future generations from destruction. The first step towards this shift would be changing the textbooks.

Just by building schools, training the teachers, increasing administrative controls, the issue of providing an education that makes a ‘thinking’ individual, will not be addressed. A student must learn from the textbook how to learn, change and inquire freely rather than becoming a “lakeer ka faqeer”. If we want our future generations to ask the right questions then a culture of discussion, interaction, proactive thinking and asking questions needs to be encouraged.

It’s high time that a quantum leap was taken in the education and health sectors. Nothing is as powerful as the idea itself, whose time has come.

The problems of education and healthcare are just the tip of the iceberg. Multiple interventions are required to turn the country around. To name a few: The state’s failure to provide timely justice (more than 70,000 under-trial prisoners are languishing in Pakistani jails), housing, power, employment, communication, clean drinking water (without which 250,000 children die annually) has created problems that should prompt the rulers to declare an emergency.

Whenever these questions are raised or talked about, most of us say, “Oh bhai! This is Pakistan.” My answer to this cliché is, where you live should not determine whether you live happily or live poorly and die.The difference between a developed or developing — rather declining — country is that people in the former are given a ‘reason to believe’ by the state and the media, that they are working to achieve and maintain a decent living. Whereas in the latter case, the state and the media fail to create this ‘reason to believe’ for the citizens. In the absence of this ‘reason to believe’, citizens lose a sense of direction and move and act aimlessly. The absence of this also leads to lack of thinking, questioning and movement by the citizens.

Only having a ‘reason to believe’ sets the ball rolling — slowly, but in the right direction. It is not strange when extraordinary people do extraordinary things. But when they have a ‘reason to believe’, even ordinary people start doing extraordinary things. That is precisely the moment when a group of people start turning into a great nation.

The writer, a pop singer, is president of Zindagi Trust, an organisation working for child welfare and education.

Army Headquarter - دو ہزار چار سو پچاس ایکٹر - Disgusting!!

Salient features:
- BIGGEST army headquarter in the WORLD
- 2.4 (arub) dollars estimated cost
- Being built on one of the most expensive lands in the world, without a penny being spent on the land ownership

Out of the 2,450 acres of the new army head quarter being planned in the heart of Islamabad, only 200 or so acres are planned for the actual offices, so what is the rest of the area for? What is the cost? Who is going to pay for all of this? Find out:

But the only sane question is: Isn't it the height of arrogance on the part of the planners for this disgusting mistake of another army settlement, especially when we are a nation so poor, so looked down upon, so torn, so lost? Doesn't army already enjoy all the benefits which most people in this country can't even think about except for a handful of people? In case Pakistan has such high figures in the treasury, shouldn't it be spent in less disgusting fashion?

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SAC, Lawyers and CCP issues a call for joint protest

2 Feb 2008.bmp

Reconstructing federalism

analysis: Reconstructing federalism —Rasul Bakhsh Rais

Ethnic pluralism of the Indus valley region, that now forms the geographical core of Pakistan, historically was never separatist in orientation but rather interactive and integrationist for thousands of years under local kingdoms and great empires

Federalism, the constitutional distribution of power between the centre and the provinces, has suffered heavier blows during the last eight years under General (retd) Pervez Musharraf than any other time in our history. The story of other norms and institutions is no less tragic, but how we manage issues of federalism is of far greater importance to the future of the country.

The significance of handling the federal question proactively and according to popular aspiration lies in two political facts.

The first fact is our national character as a multi-ethnic society. But this multi-ethnic character is like a marble shape, more intricate, inter-woven and complex than is commonly understood or recognised. This development that has taken place through migration, old and new, does not diminish the ethnic character of the provinces, their own ethnic mix notwithstanding. As has become clearer through painful experiences, the issue of provincial rights is one we can ignore only at the cost of damaging the federation.

The second political fact is that a multi-ethnic state like ours requires a democratic, federal framework of governance. Democracy would give peoples and their representatives a sense of ownership in the power structure and a stake in the political system, while federalism would give them political, economic and cultural autonomy. The theoretical foundations of a federal system lie in the concept of dual sovereignty, as it creates two sets of political authority: an effective and efficient national government, and state or provincial governments with separate and well-defined areas of jurisdiction.

Empirically, federalism has proved the best arrangement for ethnically diverse societies. Its recognition of social and political pluralism integrates different communities together in a single nationhood. Unfortunately, successive generations of politicians and policymakers in Pakistan have failed to demonstrate true understanding of ethnic pluralism and how to accommodate it in the political system.

Maybe they understood the issue of ethnic diversity but fudged it by representing genuine ethnic and regional demands as opposed to the interests of the federation. This falsification had another sinister purpose: to legitimise themselves as true patriots while labelling ethnic leaders and groups as traitors.

Our national leaders, both civilian and military, never came to grips with the ethnic and regional realities of the country, which were presented as more of a problem than an opportunity to build inclusive, participatory nationalism. The use of religion to create national solidarity that would cut through ethnic identities was too idealistic to be a pragmatic solution to the real political problem.

The ethnic identities of regional social groups are rooted deep in history, culture, language and folklore. The illusory assumption that these identities could be wished away or instantly substituted with another politically engineered identity was proved absolutely false. And if we continue to ignore the ethnic factor in our national politics, it will only add further pressures and demands on the central political system.

The problem is that most of our leaders have been uncomfortable in recognising ethnic identity as a legitimate human feeling. It is also lost on them that ethnic difference is and can be a legitimate basis on which regional groups can claim their share in national resources, power and decision-making.

Ethnicity in Pakistan or in other countries is not inherently antagonistic to building a nation-state. Those who make the opposite argument are fixated on the European notion of culture-based nations, which were formed after many years of immeasurable bloodshed for powerful groups, often minorities, to impose their cultural hegemony on less fortunate, weaker groups.

Most post-colonial states are ethnically diverse, and by necessity have to go through a painful process of adjustment, mutual accommodation and co-existence by mutual acknowledgement, respect and inclusive politics. Pakistan, compared to many other countries, has an ethnic complex more conducive to nation building than in many other places. It has many layers of integrative forces that we could have used, and still can intelligently use, in weaving our composite nationhood.

Ethnic pluralism of the Indus valley region, that now forms the geographical core of Pakistan, historically was never separatist in orientation but rather interactive and integrationist for thousands of years under local kingdoms and great empires. There cannot be better evidence for this than in the historical pattern of migration and voluntary relocation of populations, regional commerce and trade. This historical pattern, which has continued over the past sixty years, has further transformed the ethnic landscape of Pakistan into a marble shape that presents a diffused, patchy and inter-woven image of ethnic colours and cultures.

This has happened, though, without any assistance from the country's politics, which was divisive rather than integrative in its refusal to accept regional autonomy and ethnic rights as one of the guiding principles of Pakistan's secular nationhood.

Let me clarify the idea of secular nationhood: shared powers, responsibility and political significance among all regions and ethnic groups.

Never in any situation is social diversity an obstruction to evolution into cohesive nationhood. It requires a different kind of politics, which must be dictated by the logic of ethnic diversity. It is a kindly national solidarity that needs to be built from below upward by listening to concerns and voices from the constituent regions; not by acknowledging them as rightful players but giving them a say and a stake in national power and decision-making. The trust deficit that we have between the centre and the provinces is in proportion to defective national politics, which has not been appropriate for or responsive to the ethnic mosaic that is Pakistan.

The successive authoritarian rules that we have endured for decades have alienated some ethnic groups, fuelling anger and frustration among them. Military rule by nature has a centralising tendency, and in our case, in popular regional perceptions, it has become associated with the dominance of the majority ethnic group. The one-man political show that we have watched helplessly for the last eight years has greatly damaged our federal structure.

It took us a quarter century to reach national consensus on the 1973 Constitution, somewhat settling the federal issue as the regional political parties accepted distribution of powers. We have not lived up to that promise. We don't need to repeat how individual rulers have disfigured the document to protect their own power and place in politics. Pakistan must return to a democratic, federal framework to address the question of ethnic diversity sooner rather than later. We are already late, weakened and politically disoriented on this fundamental issue of national importance.

The author is a professor of Political Science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. He can be reached at

Monday, January 28, 2008

and why we have wheat crisis, listen and be enlightened

Are we blind to the plight of Palestinians?

- Are we blind to the plight of Palestinians? Let students show that they care!
Going over the news today, I found this:
"Monday, January 28, 2007 (web typo: actually it should be 2008)
ISO protests against siege of Gaza City
Staff Reporter

LAHORE: Imamia Students Organizations (ISO) Sunday staged a protest outside Lahore Press Club to express solidarity with the people of Palestine.Students carrying placards and banners chanted slogans against the USA and Israel and demanded immediate end to the siege of Ghaza city. Addressing the protestors, ISO leader Nadir Abbas Baloch called upon President Pervez Musharraf to voice for the liberation of Palestine at the international level.
Honourable reader! You might be wondering about why this student organization is creating such a fuss. Here's a recap of the recent developments in Palestine:

A 225km rectangle on the Mediterranean, the Gaza Strip is squeezed between Egypt and Israel. With just under two million people, it has one of the world's highest population densities. Half of all the people in Gaza are refugees, or their descendants, from Israeli wars. A few days ago, Isreal effectively seiged the Gaza strip, blocking supplies to it and effectively turning it into a prison camp. The crime of millions imprisoned inside was that they were being governed by a democratically elected government of Hammas - a government that, in the furtherance of the people's will, refuses to bow down before Israel. Then, on the morning of Jan 23, Wednesday, some people managed to blow holes in the wall. Immediately after that, people thronged out of Ghaza, moving into Egypt, on everything from donkey-carts to truck. It was as if, for once, a prison break had succeded.

Just imagine this: millions of fellow human beings, Muslim brothers and sisters, growing restless as they linger in prison, deprived of power, food, medicine and other basic necessities. And then, quite dramatically, someones manage to blow holes in the prison wall separating them from Egypt. Inmates throng out into freedom, some of them for the first time in their lives, travelling to Egypt, yet not knowin if and when they will even get back to their homeland, which Israel has turned into a prison.

If our commitment is to humans and their well-being, and our duty is to care about their unbearable suffering, then, now is the time to show solidarity with them. Now is a time for the oppressed of the world to stand together, in solidarity. Notwithstanding our differences with ISO and other student organizations, let us, for once, follow their lead in a cause they we too should uphold. Let us, for once, raise our voice for a cause that is not just deserving of our attention, but is close the hearts of almost all Pakistanis, poor or elite. I ask you: What good are we, if we cannot so much as " express solidarity with the people of Palestine." and "demand immediate end to the siege of Ghaza city"?

Is it that countless episodes of "Prison Break" have dulled our senses so much and made us so sullen that we cannot even appreciate the heroism of this most impressive prison break of our times.

for the speech of the year, Award goes to:

Pakistan's Dilema - A perspective

By: Mustafa Waris

The gulf between the rich and poor is widening with every new day. We do have a yearly list of the richest people on earth but nobody pays any heed to the poorest people especially the new entries. We have become acclimatized to lots of things which we just take for granted. In reality, our system has become something of a labyrinthine, and the most disturbing fact is that our oligarchs are adamant not to disturb the status-quo.

In the 60 years of the history of our country, we have taste both capitalism and socialism with capitalism dominating for most of the years. I am not entering the fray discussing which one of these suits us or our local environment. But my main point of concern is that our masses at large were not able to benefit from either of the two systems. We heard for many years from both schools of thought focusing on the positive attributes of both systems. I personally think that both were successful to some extent and simultaneously failed as well.

Coming back to Pakistan and finding ways so that the gulf between the rich and the poor could be controlled, let’s identify our main problem. If we examine our history and the data on the richest people of our country, we would find two different classes. One are the traditional landed elites having the proud title of Chaudries, Sardars, Maliks, Khans, Mians, Nawabs and the offspring of the Sirs and Generals. The other category is of those once poor people who now have the wealth and the power of our traditional elites. Most of the people reached this category through cynical ploy but a mere fraction did excel through purely fair means.

The dilemma of our society is that our nouvelle wealthy did nothing whatsoever to bring change in the society, instead they themselves got engrossed in ways of bolstering their budgets and turned out to be more feudal than the established elites. It can’t be said for sure, but it was probably a kind of a vengeance against the oligarchs. If the idea was to display their hatred towards the aristocratic, it was certainly not the right style. The right thing was to help their once pauper-fellows both socially and financially.

The current extremely dangerous situation of Pakistan is self-made turned self-destructive. Our country is on fire and we all are to blame for the present scenario. Year 2007 had been annus horribilis for the ordinary citizens of Pakistan. Never in our history did we witness suicidal attacks. Be it suicides or the suicidal attacks, both are performed in exasperation. The paramount reason is apartheid and injustice for which we are all culpable and should be made accountable. The oligarchs are to blame for doing too little to bring a real social change and the oppressed ones are to blame for tolerating this injustice for such a long time and doing nothing practical to bring about change. If we want to create Pakistan of our founders, we need to do something collectively and that needs to be done As Soon As Possible.

God bless Pakistan



( - I am now a serial protester, it seems. And among my English friends increasingly the butt of jokes. Three demonstrations in the UK since October, and several others - including some of a distinctly Monty Python-esque bent - during my years of living in Pakistan. I have spent many a pre-protest evening in Islamabad quibbling with activists over the minutiae: what the placards should say (no "death to..." anyone, I would insist) or whether to allow effigy burning, a Pakistani protest staple ("Jem, you don'tunderstand how politics works here - please, just a burning Bush").

Tomorrow at midday I will once again be positioning myself outside 10 Downing Street, to await the arrival of retired General and self-appointed President Pervez Musharraf, who I intend to greet with lusty jeers, provocative placards and slogans that almost rhyme. We have agreed that we don't like the commonly used kuta, meaning dog. Monkey, fox, hyena and, worst of all (for a pork-phobic nation), swine have also been banned.

I expect most of you will be thinking: "Aren't demonstrations a bit old fashioned and irrelevant? Can they actually achieve anything?"

It is 40 years since 1968, "The Year That Rocked The World", when mass protests erupted across the globe, in France, America, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Belgium, Poland, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. While none of those demonstrations achieved their immediate stated aim, cumulatively they changed the world more profoundly than those involved could ever have imagined.

Popular protests rarely achieve much on their own. Hillary Clinton had a point when she said that "[Martin Luther] King's dream began to be realised when U.S. President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took a President to get it done." She was lambasted by her Democratic rivals for having demeaned the great civil rights icon. But she was right that, while there is no doubt King was brilliant at mobilising a movement, as well as an outstanding orator and inspirational activist, his real achievement was the shifting of American consciousness. This created the environment in which it was possible for Johnson to pass the humanitarian Civil Rights Act which resulted in the greatest social change in 20th-century America.

The effects of protests are rarely immediate or even measurable. What demonstrations do is to change the weather. And the weather changes the landscape. Protests invariably move from the extreme to the mainstream.

Sometimes, though, they really do what they say on the banners. Ghandi's march to the sea to make salt marked the beginning of the push to remove the British from India; the Suffragettes did get the vote for women; the Peasant's Revolt did change the feudal system; and the Anti-Slavery Movement did do away with slavery. They are all examples of what demonstrations hope to achieve: the mass power of the individually powerless.

Tomorrow I will be protesting Gordon Brown's continued support for Pakistan's dictator. I will be joined by politicians, lawyers, doctors, human rights activists, journalists and ordinary Pakistanis who want to know what happened to New Labour's "ethical foreign policy". Our equivalents in Pakistan have been denied the same right to protest. Many hundreds remain in prison - some tortured. We can't read about it because the media in Pakistan remains restricted.

Brown and Musharraf are planning to discuss democracy, counter-terrorism and the upcoming Pakistani elections. We, the crowd outside Number 10, will be there exercising freedom of speech and practising real democracy. Inside they will only be going through the motions.

How can they seriously discuss the "democratic process in Pakistan" with straight faces when 60 percent of the Superior Court judges have been dismissed and many are still under house arrest? How can "free and fair elections" take place in three weeks under the supervision of hand-picked substitute judges, a pet caretaker government and a bogus election Commission? Why is our Government supporting and our taxpayers funding a counter-terrorism strategy that has encouraged terrorism? Above all, why has our Prime Minister chosen to host a constitutionally illegal ruler who has lost the support of Pakistanis both in Britain and abroad, and who is seen as the cause not the solution to the country's problems?

Every time Gordon Brown shakes hands with and gives tea to a dictator, in some small way, like protests, it changes the weather. If you shake hands with one, you shake hands with them all. It's pointless refusing to be in the same country as Mugabe, if you invite Musharraf into your home.

Wouldn't it be nice if, on hearing our shouts, Brown came to the window of Number 10, waved cordially at the rabble outside and announced: "Actually, you are right." To be followed from within by pleasing sounds of scuffle and outrage with Brown emerging to join our final chorus of "Resign Musharraf, Resign!"

It is more likely that we will just make ourselves heard. But who knows? 2008 may yet turn out to be Pakistan's 1968. Inshallah.

Monday, midday, Downing Street. Effigies supplied.

[Ms. Jemima (Goldsmith) Khan is a leader of the Free Pakistan Movement (FPM) based in London, UK.]

Some Sayings/Statements of a very 'Wise' Guy !!!

بعض صحافیوں کو سوائے بکواس کے کوئی کام نہیں۔

قاضی حسین احمد پاگل ہیں انہیں معائنہ کروانا چاہئے۔

یہ بلوچستان والے کیا سمجھتے ہیں۔ یہ سن ستر نہیں ہے کہ پہاڑوں پر چڑھ گئے۔ ان کے سر پر ایسی چیز لگے گی کہ پتہ بھی نہیں چلے گا کہ کہاں سے آئی۔

یہ آپ نے سوال کیا ہے۔۔۔۔۔ لگتا ہے آپ کا تعلق سندھ سے ہے۔ سندھ والے ہی اکثر ایسے سوال کرتے ہیں۔

مجھے پتہ ہے کیا ہوتا ہے۔۔۔۔ کئی خواتین اس لئے ریپ ہونے کا شور مچاتی ہیں کہ انہیں کینیڈا یا کسی اور ملک کا ویزا مل جائے۔

افتخار چوہدری کی بات چھوڑیں جی ۔۔۔ وہ ایک نااہل اور کرپٹ شخص ہیں۔

میں ایک فوجی ہوں جو جمہوریت اور انسانی حقوق پر پختہ یقین رکھتا ہے۔

یہ مغرب والے فروغ جمہوریت اور انسانی حقوق کے جنون میں مبتلا نہ ہوں۔ ہمیں ان کے معیارات تک پہنچنے میں وقت لگے گا۔

چند سابق فوجیوں کی تنقید سے کوئی فرق نہیں پڑتا۔ یہ غیر اہم لوگ ہیں۔

یہ جو یہاں بیٹھ کر پاکستان اور حکومت پر الزام تراشی کرتے ہیں۔ انہیں روکنا ہوگا۔ بلکہ اگر ان جیسوں کو دو تین ٹکا دیں تو اچھا ہوگا۔

I am sure that i dont have to 'expose' the 'wise' guy ... because he is already exposed to everyone. He is more insane than he looks ... because if he had a little bit of grace then he would have gone by now ... but he didn't. What do you say on these 'Golden quotes' ? If i missed some of the 'Golden Quotes' then pardon me ... and add them into the comment area :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

British Policy 1835


Source: Dawn

The bar organisations have planned a rally and a seminar to observe “Yaum-i-Iftikhar” on Jan 31.

A meeting of the office-bearers of the Sindh Bar Council, Sindh High Court Bar Association, Karachi Bar Association and Malir District Bar Association was held at the SHCBA office to draw up the day’s programme.

A rally of lawyers will be taken out from the SHC building which will culminate at the Karachi Press Club in the forenoon. A seminar on the “Rule of Law and the Independence of the Judiciary” would be held later in the bar room, SHCBA President Rasheed A. Razvi, who presided over the meeting, said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

The day is being observed to honour the services of the deposed Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, to the cause of the judiciary’s independence, he said.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Desperate Palestinians blow the wall apart

Tearing the Wall Apart - a tribute to brethren in resistance
It took explosives to do what diplomacy couldn't: allow Palestinians to go on a shopping spree. The siege of Gaza, imposed by Israel and the international community after Hamas seized control of the Palestinian territory last July, ended abruptly before dawn on Wednesday when militants blew as many as 15 holes in the border wall separating the territory from Egypt. In the hours that followed, over 350,000 Palestinians swarmed across the frontier, nearly one fifth of Gaza's entire population.

Some Palestinians craved medicine and food — goats appeared to be a hot item — because Israel had cut off most supplies from entering Gaza as punishment for militants' firing rockets into southern Israel. Students and businessmen joined the throng heading for Egypt. There were scores of brides-to-be, stuck on the Egyptian side, who scurried across to be united with their future bridegrooms in Gaza. And some, like teacher Abu Bakr, stepped through a blast hole into Egypt simply "to enjoy the air of freedom."

The previous day, President Housni Mubarak faced the wrath of the Arab world when his riot police used clubs and water hoses to attack Palestinian women pleading for Egypt to open the Rafah crossing in Gaza. And despite pressure from Israel and the United States, Mubarak wasn't about to order his men to use force to restrain Palestinians rendered desperate by Israel's siege. The Egyptian President said he ordered his troops to "let them come to eat and buy food and go back, as long as they are not carrying weapons."

At 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Palestinian militants detonated explosive charges knocking out slabs in the 26-foot concrete border wall, and by dawn, Gazans were racing to the open border on donkey carts and tractors and in cars. Once through the holes, they trampled across barbed wire, vaulted over fences and picked their way gingerly through cactus. Many carried heavy suitcases and said that they were never coming back to captivity in Gaza.

But most Gazans were in a mad scramble to go shopping, and they returned with everything from goats to tires to jerricans full of gasoline. One stout woman in a veil threaded nimbly through barbed wire with a tray of canned fruit balanced on her head. The Palestinians cleaned out every shop on the Egyptian side: By afternoon, there was nothing to buy within a six-mile distance of the border; and even the Sinai town of El-Arish, three hours drive away, had been sucked dry of gasoline. One taxi driver who brought back cartons of cigarettes and gallons of gas to resell for a profit in Gaza said, "This should help feed my family for several months."

Israel expressed fears that Hamas militants would use the breach in the border to bring in weapons. One Palestinian said he witnessed dozens of Hamas men who had been stuck in Egypt for months crossing into Gaza. Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Aryeh Mekel told newsmen, "We have real concerns that they can now freely smuggle explosives, missiles and people into Gaza, which makes an already bad situation even worse."

Hamas moved quickly to capitalize on the mass celebration of the border's breach. The movement's parliamentary leader, Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh, called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egypt to join in urgent talks to find a formula for keeping the Gaza-Egypt border permanently open. Haniyeh said Hamas was prepared to set up joint control of the border with the President's forces, bringing an end to a hostilities between the two factions that erupted last July when Hamas militants chased the President's Fatah militia out of Gaza.

Now that Gazans have exploded out of their besieged enclave, it may be up to Israel to seal up the border again, since the Egyptians are showing no signs of doing so. Israel had put the economic squeeze on Gaza's 1.5 million people — a policy described as "collective punishment" by many aid organizations — hoping it would turn the Palestinians against Hamas. But with the siege broken, even if temporarily, Hamas has earned the gratitude of hungry Palestinians and reinvigorated its popularity in Gaza.

Islamabad, 24 Jan 2008 - Protest of Lawyers and Baton Charge of Police in Pictures

Police tear-gas anti-Musharraf protest in Islamabad: witnesses

Riot police used tear gas and batons here on Thursday to disperse hundreds of protesters chanting slogans against President Pervez Musharraf, AFP reporters witnessed.

Around 400 people, including lawyers and supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) screamed "Death to Musharraf" when police stopped them from visiting former chief justice of Pakistan.

President Musharraf deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry under emergency rule in November last year. Chaudhry remains under house arrest in Islamabad.

The protesters tried to break through a police barricade outside the upmarket Marriott Hotel, which is near Chaudhry's house, but were forced back by baton-wielding police who then fired tear gas.

Waving black flags, the protesters regrouped and chanted: "We will lay down our lives for the chief justice."

Former premier Nawaz Sharif was prevented from meeting Justice Chaudhry on Wednesday.

Source: AAJ News

Retired generals tell Musharraf to go

By MUNIR AHMAD, Associated Press Writer Wed Jan 23, 9:27 AMET

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - An influential group of retired officers from Pakistan's powerful military has urged President Pervez Musharraf to immediately step down, saying his resignation would promote democracy and help combatreligious militancy.

"This is in the supreme national interest and it makes itincumbent on him to step down," said a statement released late Tuesday to the media by the Pakistan Ex-Servicemen's Society, after a group meeting attended by more than 100 former generals, admirals, air marshals and other retired officers and enlisted men.

The call came as Musharraf, who was commander of the army until stepping down last month, was in Europe on a tour aimed at reassuring Western leaders about his ability to restore democracy and prevail in the escalating combat between government troops and Taliban rebels along Pakistan's mountainous border with Afghanistan.

The group of former generals does not speak for serving officers, but its tough stance is an embarrassment to Musharraf whose popularity has waned considerably in the past year.
It could strike a chord within the army's current ranks —which are forbidden from expressing political opinions —over how a once-respected institution has lost a lot of support among the wider public as Musharraf's personal standing has eroded over his maneuvering to stay in power.

This fall, the U.S.-backed president purged the Supreme Court, which could have scuppered his recent re-election,and briefly suspended the constitution, setting back expectations of a restoration of democracy.

"The feeling was unanimous and strong among the (retired) officers and other ranks that Musharraf is the problem and that he is a source of divisiveness, a source of centrifugal forces and an impediment to democracy," saidTalat Masood, a retired general who is now a prominent political analyst.

"He is bringing down the reputation of the army, and undermining its support among the people which it needs in the war on terror," said Masood, who attended the meeting."He has brought disgrace on all ranks."

Musharraf, a top U.S. ally in its war on terrorism, led a military coup to seize power in 1999, but retired from the army before being inaugurated for a new five-year term as civilian president in November.

His successor as army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, is believed to remain loyal to the president. The continued support of the military — which has ruled Pakistan for morethan half of its 60 years as an independent nation — is essential for Musharraf to remain in power.

The Bush administration has continued to praise the former general, saying he is committed to restoring democracy through parliamentary elections scheduled for Feb. 18.

Kayani has moved quickly to disengage the army from politics. He has banned officers from maintaining contacts with politicians, and ordered the more than 3,000 officers now serving in the civil administration and government-run enterprises to gradually revert to their military duties.

Kayani has been praised by U.S. officials as an aggressive commander who has shown he is determined to restore law andorder to the border regions that have served as a haven for Taliban and al-Qaida fighters.

On Tuesday, Adm. William Fallon — the head of the U.S.Central Command and top commander of American forces in theMiddle East — held talks in Rawalpindi with Kayani. ThePakistani army said the two men discussed the "security situation" in the region, but gave no more details.
In the latest violence, suspected militants attacked a military camp in the frontier region with rockets and small-arms fire Wednesday, killing three soldiers andwounding several others, a military statement and securityofficials said. The strike against Razmak Fort in SouthWaziristan came a day after fighting that left seven troops and 37 militants dead.

Meanwhile, a suspected suicide bomber was killed and five people were injured in an explosion in Jamrud, a tribal area close to Peshawar, said Khan Dad, a local government officer. The bomb went off in a market in the village ofWazir Dand, he said.

"We think he was carrying the bomb somewhere when it exploded," Khan said.

In its statement, the Ex-Servicemen's Society said its members had been watching "events in the recent past withgreat concern and anguish," according to the Dawn newspaper.

Tuesday's meeting brought together retired commanders ofall political stripes, the daily said. It included hard-liners such as Javed Ashraf Qazi, the former head of Pakistan's feared Inter-Services Intelligence, and liberal reformists like Air Marshals Asghar Khan and Nur Khan.

"Kayani has made it very clear that army has to keep away from politics and the affairs of the state," Mirza Aslam Beg, who was chief of army staff from 1988 to 1991, told The Associated Press.

"He has realized the sentiments of the people of Pakistan that they do not want the army to intervene and take decisions on their behalf."
Associated Press writers Bashirullah Khan in Miran Shah,Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan, Riaz Khan in Peshawar,and Slobadan Lekic in Islamabad contributed to this report.
Source: The Emergency Times

Two leading Pakistani lawyers to receive 3rd Asian Human Rights Defender Award

capt-mushSource: AHRC

[January 23, 2008] The Board of Directors of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is pleased to announce that it has decided to grant its 3rd Asian Human Rights Defender Award jointly to Muneer Malik, former President of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association, together with his successor, Choudhry Aitezaz Ahsan.

The award is in recognition of the historic leadership role that the lawyers of Pakistan have had in fighting against military dictatorship there during the past year, spearheading the protests against General Pervez Musharraf’s unconstitutional removal and illegal confinement of Chief Justice Iftekhar M. Chaudhary on 9 March 2007.

The lawyers’ movement has attracted interest and immense support of people from all walks of life in Pakistan and the scheme to remove the chief justice was thwarted, although he was again illegally removed from his post, along with 55 other senior judges, including 13 from the Supreme Court, when Musharraf seized power through an unconstitutional declaration of emergency rule at the end of the year.

The lawyers, judges and others of Pakistan have been making great sacrifices to defend the independence of their judiciary as a last bastion against the otherwise unchallenged power of the military. This struggle is continuing today.

The 3rd Asian Human Rights Defenders Award is thus awarded to these two leading lawyers both in recognition of their personal sacrifices as well as to them as representatives of the entire people’s movement against dictatorship in Pakistan.

For his leading role in fighting against the removal of the chief justice and promoting the struggle for an independent judiciary, Muneer Malik was arrested and drugged, causing him to suffer renal failure. He is still recovering today. Choudhry Aitezaz Ahsan has been kept under detention since the emergency was imposed on 3 November 2007.

The two lawyers’ leadership, courage and unswerving commitment to their profession, their integrity and their country are strongly symbolic of their cause. In them we acknowledge and award all of the lawyers, judges and others who have refused to bow down to the immoral pressure of military force, including all of those dismissed from their posts and kept in their houses. They stand today as the representatives of civilised society and institutional commonsense in Pakistan, in stark contrast to the barbarism and primitive feudal order represented by Musharraf and his allies.

By making this award we also again emphasise that the international community is obliged to support the people of Pakistan at a time that they are faced with the very real threat of being subjected to the sole authority of a merciless and self-interested executive authority. We call upon others to join with us in open expression of support for these lawyers and their struggle.


Muneer A. Malik was President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan from October 2006 to October 2007. He has fought for the independence of the judiciary and independence of the legal profession consistently. When Chief Justice Iftekhar M. Chaudhary was removed unconstitutionally by General Musharraf, he was among the senior lawyers who openly defied the move and led his peers in their struggle to oppose it, which swelled into a massive outpouring of dissent against military dictatorship from people in all quarters and professions. As a result, he was arrested and imprisoned. While held in the notorious Attock Jail under supervision of the ISI, the military intelligence agency, he was given drugs that he was told were painkillers. Thereafter he suffered renal failure. His life was saved only due to massive locally and internationally pressure that led to the authorities acquiescing to the needed medical intervention. He is still undergoing treatment.

For details of his views on the present crisis see: here

Choudhry Aitezaz Ahsan is the serving President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and he too has consistently fought for the independence of judiciary and lawyers. He also led the protests against the attack on the chief justice. He successfully represented the chief justice in the case for his reappointment, despite heavy pressure being brought upon him not to do so. He was put under house arrest together with the senior judges and other lawyers when the emergency was imposed illegally on 3 November 2007 and remains there to this day.

For his views see here

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Blatent !!!

(The one and only genius ever born in Pakistan) General (r) Musharraf once againd claimed that Europe got the current level of democracy after centuries, so we will. He insulted 160 million people of Pakistan by saying that they dont deserve west-like democracy. I found following interesting 'comment" on BBC opinion page:

ٹيلی فون، ٹينک، توپيں، جہاز، کمپيوٹر، فريج، انٹرنيٹ، ايف 16 اور نہ جانے کيا کيا ايجادات جو صديوں بعد وجود ميں آئيں، وہ تو جنرل مشرف اور انکے دسترخوانيوں کو پہلی فرصت ميں چاہئيں مگر قوم کو جمہوريت کی ضرورت نہيں کہ مشرف کی عقل کے مطابق قوم اس قابل نہيں۔ مشرف سنو تم کروڑوں پاکستانيوں کی بار بار تذليل کر رہے ہو اور پاکستانيوں کو جمہوريت دينا تمہاری عطا نہيں يہ انسانيت اور پاکستانوں کا حق ہے۔ تم نے قوم کی جو تذليل کی ہے، ميرا سر شرم سے جھک گيا ہے۔ مغرب کو نہيں اب پاکستانيوں کوبھی تمہاری ذہنی حالت پر شک ہے۔

چاند بٹ، جرمنی

Rule of Law project LUMS-US Report Urges U.S. Lawmakers To Demand Restoration of Judiciary


CONTACT: Devin Theriot-Orr, LUMS Rule of Law Project, (0334)428-9694,

Washington, D.C. - The Rule of Law Project at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) is issuing a report today entitled "Defending Dictatorship: U.S. Foreign Policy and Pakistan's Struggle for Democracy." The report is co-authored by members of a delegation from the United States National Lawyers Guild and is the result of a ten-day fact-finding visit to Pakistan to assess the status of the judiciary and the prospect for fair elections in light of recent attacks on judicial independence. The report criticizes U.S. foreign policy in Pakistan, concluding that U.S. support for resident Musharaff and its failure to demand restoration of the deposed judges will have long-term negative impacts on the judiciary and the rule of law in Pakistan and damage regional safety and security.

The report also concludes that the upcoming elections are unlikely to meet international standards due to widespread systemic and structural problems, including pre-poll abuses and the failure to enforce existing election regulations. Additionally, the report addresses press freedom in Pakistan, noting that severe restrictions faced by all media, in particular the Urdu-language press, constitute a "serious threat" to Pakistan's democratic development.

"The independence of the judiciary is a cornerstone of a functioning democracy. The United States' support for a dictator and its failure to demand the reinstatement of the deposed judges is critically damaging demcratic development and threatening regional safety and security," stated Rule of Law Project Director Devin Theriot-Orr.

David Gespass, the Vice President of the National Lawyers Guild and the leader of the delegation, stated that "We intend to share the report with the American people and place it before our elected representatives to help effect a drastic change in U.S. policy towards Pakistan that emphasizes human rights and democracy as the only real means of reducing the threat of terrorism."

Professors Roger Normand and Justice (ret'd) Jawwad Khawaja of LUMS established the Rule of Law Project to serve as an academic clearinghouse for documentation and research regarding constitutionalism and the rule of law in Pakistan. The Project is developing a comprehensive report on the impacts of the PCO and seeking information from all lawyers and members of civil society who were arrested, detained, or mistreated following the PCO.

Plane crash in GIKI

FYI: A great letter by a student at GIKI whose perspective of things in life changed after the plane crash.

Today, there was an incident here that substantially changed my way of thinking. A Pakistan Airforce trainer plane crashed inside GIKI premises today. The pilot and a gardener died on the spot. There was no other loss of life or property. Further analysis (and some witness reports) revealed that the trainee pilot's quick thinking had prevented loss of 300+ lives and damage to faculty buildings. The pilot, instead of ejecting from the plane when he knew it was going to crash, maneuvered the plane and kept it on the (narrow) road away from the buildings and places nearby, where students hang out during the day. Had he ejected from the plane, he would most probably have survived but the crash site was surrounded by buildings in which 300+ people were working/studying at the time, a lot would have been lost. In short, he sacrificed his life to prevent loss of other lives.

It is incidents such as these that force you to think about...well, about everything. And this time it got me thinking about his selfless act. It is only the leader of the Pakistan Army, who had lowered the army in the eyes of the civilian population. Whereas the truth of the matter is that our army, is willing to sacrifice for the country. They stand ever-ready, to defend our homeland from any harm.

It also made me think that It is really not a leader who makes all the difference. This single man had saved 300+ lives. It made me realize that every-day people can also be heroes. They can also do big things. And they can make a difference. If the pilot would have started blaming the engineers and the government for old planes with mechanical faults, there would not have been enough time for him to think and act as he did. We are too lazy and love to put the blame on others.

From now on, I resolve to change my lifestyle to favor growth and prosperity of Pakistan. I resolve to be honest, devoted and respectful and to deliver what I promise. May Allah grant me the strength to do so. Maybe one day I will be a hero and I will make a difference. Until then, I live on in the hope that the day will soon come.

Lastly, I salute the pilot, for his selfless act. May Allah rest his soul in peace. Amen.
Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute
Topi, Swabi

Bhutto's niece wants end to 'dynastic' politics

"We have to seriously look at her political legacy, which is deeply flawed," Fatima Bhutto said. "Both her governments were known for widespread corruption, for an abuse of human rights, and for an excess of police violence."

For detailed reading:  Bhutto's niece wants end to 'dynastic' politics -

Blogged with Flock

Engaging with Politicians

- Detailed Account of A talk organized by the CCP at LUMS, on June 22

A long and engaging talk was organized at LUMS by "Concerned Citizens of Pakistan", a civil society organization, galvanized into action in the aftermath of the imposition of emergency on November 3. The arrangement was unusual in that the CCP had booked an auditorium at LUMS – only those on the SACLUMS mailing list were invited. So many outsiders came in that most students, like myself, had to keep standing. The talk will be aired by Aaj TV (we weren't told exactly when), although with some modifications because the whole thing would violate the new censorship laws. The talk went on so long that I must admit that my account cannot do justice to all its twists and turns.

The Talk was titled: "Importance of rule of Law for society" A CCP representative opened the show, after which Talat Hussain conducted its proceedings. The talk started with Dr. Pervez Hassan, a representative of the lawyers' movement(also a trustee of LUMS). He was sitting in lieu of Tariq Hassan, who couldn't come but had sent a 12-page paper to Dr.Hassan so that his position may be represented. Dr. Hassan's speech focused around the need for upholding the constitution and restoring the judiciary. He also said that the Lawyer's Movement had not ended: it will pick up strength once again, after the elections.

The second speaker was a member of Tehrike Insaf(sorry, I cudn't get his name down). He said that when they were founding their party, many years ago, they had chosen the idea of Rule of Law as their party slogan, even though it wasn't fashionable back then. Every idea had a time and now the time for this idea had come. He felt that Musharraf was dragging Pakistan on the path to authoritarianism like Islam Karimov, Husni Mubari and Robert Mugabe have done elsewhere in the third world. He also stated that, in the coming general elections, he expected a maximum turnout of 10 to 15% ( I feel like placing a bet against him :-) His other concern besides uphold the judiciary's cause was to save the federation.

Justice(r.) Fakhrunnisa Khokhar spoke on behalf of PPP because all other senior PPP members had turned down the invitation. After paying rich tribute to the lawyers' movement (she, herself, was badly beaten up on Nov 5), she said that her party believed in contesting the elections and then championing the cause of the judiciary. She said that within the river there is a whirlpool - to bring change one had to jump into it; it couldnt be done from the outside.

Next spoke Chaudhry Ahsan Iqbal of PML-N, perhaps the most impressive speaker in the house. He told us that he had come all the way from his campaing activities in Narowal to address this gathering because of the respect he had come to develop for the civil society of Pakistan and for LUMS. (After the event, he declined my request for an interview because he couldn't spare time from his campaigning.) He congratulated civil society for finally waking up and standing for the cause of Pakistan. He said that the best thing that had ever happened to Pakistan was this: people would not even bother so much as to go and cast their votes are now fighting the battle for Pakistan and facing jails. He said that societies have survived with poverty and ignorance but never without laws. He added that the law is the shield of the poor against oppression because the rich can protect themselves by other means like money and influence, but the poor can only seek the law's help. It is particularly impressive that today the elite is coming out to protect the shield of the poor – the law. He announced that PML-N candidates would publicly take an oath on Feb 5 to pledge support for the cause of restoring the judiciary after getting elected. He concluded by saying that he had looked at the CCP's objectives and, for a moment, he thought it was his own party's manifesto (there is much truth in this statement, by the way.)

Hamid Khan was the last speaker of the house. He bagan by prasing the lawyers' movement and, in particular, Justice Khwaja, the Head of LUMS Law School (my school!) who resigned in protest against the humilating treatment met out to the Chief Justice. Hamid Khan's key addition to the discourse was his contention that if the Parliament was to restore the judiciary, it would be an insult to the judiciary, becasue the judiciary was not just above the executive but also above the legislature. The judiciary, therefore, had to be restored before the elections.

The Q and A session was long, heated and colourful. Most of the questions attacked the politicians, alleging that the political parties were corrupt, colluding with the army and betraying the people and the cause of rule of law. At times, the booing and jeering got so loud that Talat Hussain had to intervene reminding this very educated audience that democracy entailed giving others a chance to, at least, state their argument. In general, the speakers tried to clear the parties' position on various issues. Ahsan Iqbal from PML-N managed to answer almost all questions quite gracefully because, after all, his party's current manifesto is based upon the civil society's slogans. He did face trouble when somebody mentioned the assault on the Supreme Court during Nawaz Sharif's second term in office. He replied by saying that it was party blown out of proportions by the agencies and, partly, a mistake. Talat Hussain intervened saying that he had been present at that event and was convinced that the Sharif government was involved.

Justice Fakhrunnisa from PPP, on the other hand, had a harder time and, by the end of it, she had almost reached breaking point. Her best rebuttal to all of this criticism against PPP was her continual referral to the fact that she, and countless other PPP workers, also braved atrocities to stand with the cause of rule of law. It reminded me of Nov 5: at the High Court protest , we were hiding from the charging police batallion, along with Dr. Pervez Hassan and others. Outside, Fakhrunnisa Khokhar, the old lady was, true to her word, was suffering police brutality, amidst choking levels of tear gas. The audience, however, had not seen those scenes. In the cose comfort of PICIC hall, they mercilessly grilled her, making it clear that they were disgusted with the PPP's deal-making politics in the recent past, and the PML-N's similar conduct in the years before Musharraf.

Aasim Sajjad, a LUMS professor, and Athar Minallah, a lawyer and activist, reminded the audience that the future of democracy is inextricably linked to politics, politicians and political parties. In the past, the army has systematically maligned politicians, assuming for itself the role of the messiah. By its sceptical and contemptuous attitude, the civil society today is again falling into the same trap. If democracy is to survive in this country, we must all learn to respect politics and politicians and realize that political parties are, after all, comprised of politician wo are from amongst us, and, just like us, they are prone to human errors. It is by engaging empathetically with them and by trying to help them in bringing positive change that we can contribute to the country's future. By contemptuosly dismissing them, we are only easing the army's path, leading to the destruction of this country.