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'