Posted by: awaaz | June 28, 2007

Human rights situation in Pakistan

It is extremely frustrating and saddening to see what is happening around us, not only in or country, but most parts of the world. However, in this post, i will stick to Pakistan and will refer to some news articles coming fairly recently in the newspapers.

Some time ago i posted about a man who was the owner of the shed where journalist Daniel Pearl died. The man subsequently left Pakistan fearing correctly, that he would be pursued by our law enforcement agencies. He fled to another country where he was tracked down by the FBI, after which he was arrested and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay( one of America’s numerous torture centres) for three years. After this he was handed to Pakistani ‘agencies’. All this had happened without his family or friends having any clue about him, he had thus become one of the many ‘missing’ people and had remained thus since 2003 until about a few months ago when a court ordered him to be produced in front of the court. On 28th of April this year the intelligence agencies left him nearby his house where he was recognised by his neighbours. News reports indicate he was left there in a ‘pulp’, as a ‘skeleton of a man’ weighing a mere 18kg, having lost all his memory. Soon after, he died because of his weakness.

‘Skeleton of a man’ brought to Supreme court on stretcher

Suspect in Daniel Pearl case dies

It is important to note that there were no formal charges aginst the man, throughout the whole period. Thus his detention was illegal, and looking at what was done to him, inhuman.

Another notable event is related to what happened to Advocate Iqbal Kazmi, and is primarily related to the MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement). After the MQM sponsored events of May 12, human rights campaigner advocate Iqbal Kazmi filed a petition in the Sindh High court against the MQM and Sindh Government, as well as against PEMRA ordinance. Soon afterwards he was picked up by unidentified men, who asked him to drop the petition against the MQM and also took away his mobile phone which had evidence related to MQM activities on May 12. The sensitive parts of his body were burnt and his fingers were pressed with stones. He was not allowed to sleep and was interrogated about his association to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan.

After about 2 days, he was released on the condition that he would drop the petition and leave Karachi with his family within five days. There is no doubt that it was the MQM using its customary terror and torture tactics to scare the advocate and warn him from pursuing his case against the MQM.

Soon after, law enfocement agencies took Iqbal Kazmi into custody for some obscure false cheques given by him to others an year ago. Obviously these cases were fabricated against him only to punish him for his act of filing the petition. Iqbal Kazmi is still under custody and the court has extended it till July 7. Here are the articles referring to these incidents:

Ordeal of freed May 12 petitioner 8 June

Dud cheque case against petitioner 12 June

Civil rights campaigner sent to jail 13 June

Activist seeks dismissal of FIR 21 June

Activist’s remand extended 23 June

An honest and courageous person, who valiantly stood up to defend us, has now been awarded this treatment. But such cases are not rare, in face, they are very common and even more so since Pakistan has come under Musharraf and thus the military.

This also brings to my mind the murder of Hammad Raza who was registrat of the Supreme Court and close friend of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad. No doubt he would have been called by the counsel of the Justice as a witness, and therefore the intelligence agencies thought it best to kill him. Of course, there is no solid evidence for now about who was behind the murder, but that is always what happens. The agencies make sure of that.

Hammad Raza was an extremely honest and upright man. God grant him Paradise. But a mysterious death at the hands of agencies is how Pakistan rewarded him.

It pains me so greatly, all these things happening around us, and yet, almost nothing is being done. We too are doing little, but then again, we cannot do much anyways. We are perhaps powerless. However everything could be corrected if we were to have good leaders and genuine politicians, but that seems far away. But more on that later.

Continuing with the topic, a very good summary of the situation highlighting this situation of ‘missing persons’ and torture can be found at the following link. Indeed, none of us who chooses to follow his/her conscience is safe, even in our own homes. The article is indeed very moving and tells us about some of the people who were tortured by these agencies.

When one’s house is not a sanctuary A Must Read

For Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, it lasted six months where he was stripped naked and hung from the ceiling for hours on end, deprived of sleep for many days and given anaesthesia injections. Baloch returned on a stretcher. He was in hospital for three days and could not stand for two months.

This was easier than Sattar Baloch’s agony. Sattar came back with holes drilled into his feet and many months later, he is still trying to stand. Dr Hanif Shareef was also kept for six months and says that it is unlikely that he will ever lead a normal life. “They gave electric currents to my genitals and I have not recovered in so many months,” cries Shareef.

Finally, an editorial which appeared in dawn yesterday also relating to this situation.

Where torture is common

The fact is that torture in unimaginable forms is being practised routinely in Pakistan especially by the Police and intelligence agencies, so much so that it is inhuman beyond imagination. We are collectively responsible for atleast trying to stop torture and ‘rein in’ the intelligence agencies, if for no other reasons then for our own sake and safety, because for all we know, we might be next. Who has given these people the right to destroy another beings lives, and that too in such a cruel way. In my personal opinion, our lives are not worth living if we see all this and yet dont do anything to stop this madness. and perhaps the smallest thing we can do is vote in the upcoming elections for someone who might try to improve the situation. Many people have lost confidence in our system, but if we do not vote, the worst will come to the top and that must be prevented. agreed, that our politicians are not exactly what we could have wanted, but even then, lets try to bring in those atleast who are least corrupt. Even that might do wonders.

The Palestinian Government had been dissolved by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Thus the Hamas-led government which was elected by the Palestinian people and was indeed their true representative has been dismissed and a new completely ‘Hamas-free’ government has been formed. Signs of a power struggle had become evident many months ago and now finally after sever weeks of heavy fighting, Hamas has been enable to gain complete control of Gaza while Fatah has gained control of West Bank. Talk has even begun of a possible ‘three-state’ solution in the future.

I do not even know or what i should criticize first. So many things have gone wrong. However, i feel the major fault rests on a few shoulders named as follows: The Palestinian Fatah party, and then the US and Israel. The rest of the responsibilty for the events rests on primarily the European Union, and the Muslim World. Strange as it may seem, i have not named Hamas as responsible for any of this. I know that many would question, “What about the ‘terrorist’ Hamas party which refuses to recognise Israel, is a terrorist organisation (meaning ofcourse, a group of muslim people who are fighting for independence), Hamas alone is the one to blame! It is obviously responsible for whatever the US, Israel and Fatah is doing, it alone is responsible for the crippling economic sanctions faced by the Palestinians.” Perhaps, but one must always try and understand the cause of something, and let us look at the actions of some of the parties involved and then try to address how the crisis can be solved. Read More…

Posted by: awaaz | June 21, 2007

The Palestinian Crisis : News and Pictures

The recent events in Gaza and West Bank have left most of us in a state of disbelief. Those who fought for an independent state for 60 years are now fighting amongst themselves. This is what the Israelis would have long hoped for and the Muslims feared. Hamas has bee able to gain control of Gaza while Fatah remains in control of the West Bank. The US, Israel and EU have welcomed the new emergency government (as it is Hamas-free) and have announced lifting economic sanctions from the West Bank, while Gaza has been branded as a ‘terror entity’ by Israel. Perhaps this is an attempt to further divide the Palestinian people. However, negotiations between Fatah and Hamas are yet to start. Here are a few links with reference to the present situation:

BBC: Israel to let in stranded Gazans
Meanwhile, the UN says food in Gaza will run out in seven to 10 days unless Israel lets normal shipments through.

BBC: Breaking Point in the Middle East
The dream so many Palestinians have of an independent state will die for another generation


BBC: Food convoy enters Gaza

Times Online: Gaza Breathes Sigh of Relief as New Rulers bring Veneer of Calm
Outside, the streets of Gaza City have returned to normal...“I think the situation has gone from the worst to the best,” Imad Bulbul, 33, a spice-seller said.

Guardian: Israeli Planes, tanks hit Gaza

Dawn: Violence in Gaza (opinion)

Pictures:

gaza7_177055a.jpg gaza6_177056a.jpg gaza10_177061a.jpggaza_1_177483a.jpg  gaza_8_177489a.jpg

Courtesy: Times Online

Posted by: awaaz | June 16, 2007

Imran Khan and MQM

Yesterday Geo aired a programme which featured a short one-hour debate between Imran Khan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-insaf and Imran Farooq, convenor of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

In a nutshell, Imran Farooq was completely out spoken by Imran Khan. Several times, Imran Farooq went onto a complete tangent(or even further) to the question asked by Imran Khan or the mediaperson himself.

According to MQM’s logic as Imran Farooq so eloquently expressed, the MQM is against military dictatorship and military interference, but they support Musharraf. They are tooth and nail against the doings of the establishment, including the military commanders and so forth, but of course naturally they support Musharraf. They are for judicial independence, but think that the presidential summoning and the reference against Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has nothing to do with it. They are a middle class party, but don’t think that the lawyers movement and the movement by civil society has any origins from the middle class.

Most importantly, Imran Farooq pointed out, the MQM is totally against feudalism( I have lost count of how many times the MQM has said this to defend themselves, who isn’t against feudalism anyway?). However, he had no answer to why the MQM has its own police officers and thanedars all over Sindh, and thus, themselves showing a feudalistic attitude (Well done Imran Khan, now we have a answer whenever the MQM blabs out their anti-feudalist stance).

It also brought to my mind a story in the Newsline magazine where they pointed out that MQM secretly has a quota of about 60% or so in the police force, if these gangsters are part of the police force, God help us! However what i can confirm is that the MQM has offices inside government hospitals in Karachi, complete with giant pictures of Altaf Hussain. Doctors are asked to first administer to those affiliated with ‘nine-zero’ even if there are other emergency cases waiting before them. Of course, if the doctors don’t co-operate, they are threatened with ‘dire consequences’.

But what is most shocking is that Musharraf has gifted the MQM the whole of Sindh, as Imran Khan rightly pointed out, while they have only 15% of the vote bank. And that 15% is also highly doubtful, i am a witness to the open MQM rigging in the Karachi local body elections held a while ago.

I cannot praise Imran Khan enough for the stand he has taken against the MQM, despite receiving death threats as well. However, i must suggest to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to change their election logo at least, the cricket bat just won’t do. What justice has to do with cricket is beyond my comprehension.

Finally, i must say that hopefully, if Altaf Husain is found guilty, he should not ne sent back to Pakistan without any harm coming to him. In pakistan he will just go loose again what with our present system. What would be better would be to punish him there in England, he is after all their citizen. But the outcome of the case only time will tell. For now, at least we have some hope of getting rid of this Altaf Husain and his goons. I hear the PTI has even set up a site to expose some of the activities of the MQM.

MQM Watch

Also, you can watch the programme ‘Viewpoint from london’ which featured the debate online, the links are below. Thank you Geo!

Viewpoint From London

Posted by: awaaz | June 16, 2007

Blog updates

As promised, its the 16th of June and most definitely this blog will be more active from now on with regular updates, hopefully two-dayish or so. Of course, it will focus on current as well as past Pakistani issues as well as global affairs. However, what with the ongoing judicial crisis and all, i think global affairs will take a back seat for now. Anyways, here goes.

Posted by: awaaz | May 20, 2007

Apalling human rights situation in the world

It is beyond sad how the human rights situation in the world is worsening by the day. The more organisations that are now present to try and remedy the situation, the more there is an increase in forced disapperances, torture and injustice. Here is an article which gives only an insight into what the intelligence agencies the world over are doing. Not only the ISI of Pakistan but FBI involvement is also seen involved in this case.

It was reported first on the 5th of May:

‘Skeleton of a man’ brought to court on stretcher 

The man could not hold out for long and finally was relieved of his misery today by parting with life itself:

Key suspect in Daniel Pearl Case dies 

Here is an image of the same article snapped from the newspaper itself:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Take special notice of the facts that he only weighed 18kg, a 4 year old baby weighs more than that. Furthermore he could not even support his head, and :

“had lost his memory. He was not able to recognise any of the family members, nor was he able to speak. Thus we cannot confirm where he was kept and who his captors were.”

The full tragedy and implications of this i will comment on in a later post, hopefully around 13th June. But it really does make me rethink about the kind of life we are living.

Posted by: awaaz | May 19, 2007

MQM tries to save face

The now widespread electronic and print media has to a great extent showed the true, albeit ugly face of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement(MQM). Although the criticism of the party is still not as great as it should have been, perhaps because of the very fact that anyone who does criticise it puts his life on the line. A local private Television news channel, Sindh TV, was brought off the air after it aired an interview of Asfandyar Wali Khan, leader of the Awami National Party. This party is representative of the Pakhtun community to a large extent and one of the rivals of the MQM. On the 5th of May, during the historic rally of the Chief Justice from Islamabad to Lahore, many private channels including Aaj TV, ARY One World, and GEO TV had their transmissions blocked in some areas of Sindh, including Karachi, that is, MQM strongholds. It does not leave much to the imagination as who is responsible behind these attacks on press freedom in its entirety itself, not only on political opponents.

Then came the 12 May rally from the MQM, and nothing but. Everything should have become crystal clear, and mind you, it did. However, I would have loved the press to have publicly stated it leaving no cause for doubt. But it was a part of the British media who came to the forefront and publicly accused Altaf of controlling Karachi. Please have a look at this article in the Daily Telegraph:

Running Karachi from London 

There was widespread outrage from the opposition leaders as well of course, and many people were so enraged that they went ahead and attacked MQM offices and workers. I really salute their bravery, for perhaps this is the only way to get rid of them completely. The move prompted the MQM to close down their offices where they did not enjoy popular support, saying that they wanted to defeath ‘a conspiracy’ against them.

But the MQM must have realised that the people were waking up to its ploys and  hence they started a campaign of disinformation and lies, by promoting themselves as the sole helpless victim and saying that it suffered this only because it wanted to help the poor classes.

What a sad world we live in, where those who are the instruments of darkness, tyranny and oppression go around in the world saying that the are the oppressed, and even sadder is that we let them. This is one of the reasons why i feel the press should not just be reporting the news, but atleast trying to also expose hypocrites and liars like Altaf Husain, his goons and Pervez Musharraf.

 The most recent part of this campaign is a leaflet being distributed everywhere in Karachi. ‘An open letter of Altaf Husain to the citizens of Pakistan’, where again the MQM brings itself forward as the victim and tries to show itself as a party intending to help the poor and helpless. Included in it are a few pictures of some destroyed MQM offices and gunmen with opposition parties’ flags, such as the PPP.

Nice try, Mr. Altaf, but anyone with a grain of sense would realise that of course, it was not only the MQM gunmen out on that day, there would have been opposition workers as well hoping to retaliate. But they did not atleast shoot on civilians or on unarmed rallies, thank God. But that is what you do, after all you are a gangster and former taxi driver. And I feel they were even prepared to try and take what little evidence there was of opposition activity. Aaj TV aired MQM activists bringing along cameras to film opposition activists who were involved in exchanging fire with them.

 Here are some exlusive pictures of the new leaflet being distributed by the MQM:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

 

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

 Finally, this is what Ayaz Amir, one of my favorite columnists, had to say about the tragic events of May 12.

The Day Of The Sector Commanders by Ayaz Amir 

That was quite a long but necessary post, now off to study for my exams!

Posted by: awaaz | May 17, 2007

MQM makes Karachi burn

The events which took place in Karachi on the 12th of May were distressing and painful to say the least. The sprawling metropolitan of Karachi was brought to a complete standstill by a party of gangsters and thugs. But we should have seen it all coming.

The MQM had deliberately announced to hold their rally on the same day the Chief Justice would be coming to the city and the opposition parties would be welcoming him. Musharraf wanted the MQM to ensure that the same jubilant scenes in Lahore were not repeated in Karachi, and ensure it they did. Not only did they succeed in completely dispersing all opposition activists in a shocking manner, they managed to expel the Chief Justice and his aides from the Sindh province. The MQM was quick to rest the responsibilty of all the killings on the Chief Justice and the first of announce a ‘Day of Mourning’. How they can be hypocritical enough to go around murdering people and then try to portray themselves as the victims, i simply cannot understand.

The MQM claims some 12 of their party workers died. I seriously doubt that claim, since it was principally them roaming around the streets carrying these guns. Before the day of the killings itself, I had already started hearing rumours that Altaf Husain had asked his party workers to be loaded with ammunition and become a ‘steel wall’ in from of the opposition. The MQM workers also in broad daylight laid siege to the High Court building and even kidnapped a lawyer who was going to the High Court hoping to listen to the Address of the Chief justice.

Aaj TV showed footage of some people shooting directly at the Aaj TV offices after they received some orders from the high ups. Well, surprise surprise, a few seconds later a motorcycle and a car with MQM flags show up which supply ammunition to these goons. My guess is that after the attack on Geo TV, the establishment wanted to scare Aaj TV as well. Since MQM goons were on the rampage anyways, why not ask them to do another favour for them.

My heart aches to see such a terrorist party controlling the whole of Sindh, and the destruction they are causing it.

If there is any doubt left as to who was responsible for the carnage on that day and later,
there are just a few questions to be answered:

*Why did the MQM insist on having a rally the same day when it could have been done later or before if they were so anxious to ‘show their strength’. The date of the opposition party rallies was announced many days ago, and they would obviously have to keep it on that particular day if the CJ was coming.

*Why were all the roads where opposition rallies were supposed to take place blocked,
whereas those where the MQM rallies were supposed to take place open. How come the MQM supporters were able to reach the airport when not even the hosts, the lawyers from the Bar association could get there.

*Why did all the law enforcing agencies despite their heavy presence simply disappear when the killings started. Obviously on the orders of the government. Who is in the government?

Why were the policemen instructed to remain in their ‘chowkis’ and ensure that they were not carrying weapons.

*Theres no doubt opposition party rallies came under fire. Obviously the opposition party
workers would not fire on each other, and there is only one governing party in Karachi.

*Not one single rally of the MQM was fired upon. Sure, there was cross fire on the road next to Gurumandar etc. but it is only fair and understandable if some armed groups of the opposition parties or other enraged ethnic groups sought to try and stop the MQM, hence the cross fire.

*Could the opposition parties have attacked Aaj TV. Except the MQM, who else could have?

*These armed men had actually positioned themselves atop buildings, containers, MQM offices.

They had a good idea of the routes they could use and had perfect planning, blocking even the roads to the airport.

Frankly, I wish Imran Khan the best in filing the case against Altaf Husain, and hope to God for our benefit that he succeeds in getting him arrested if not hanged.

Posted by: awaaz | May 14, 2007

Blog Updates

This is just to tell everyone that this blog is hopefully going to become very active after about the 15th of June when my exams finish. Hopefully, it is going to be a neutral perspective of Pakistani and world news. But i feel that by saying that it would be neutral, i do not mean it in the same way as a news channel or newspaper would. Rather, it would be inclined towards what i feel is right. Some would argue that it is necessary for news to be unbiased, but this blog will be a mixture of news and opinions, and i base it on the strong opinion that there is news, but then there is truth, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out most of the time. Of course, comments and debate would be welcome. Lets struggle for a better world, check back soon. Thank you.

Posted by: awaaz | October 29, 2006

Minister sees MQM hand in street crime surge

 
“LAHORE, Oct 5: Law minister raja basharat told the Punjab Assembly on Thursday that there were reports that street crime had increased in certain areas of the province where Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) opened its offices and that some office-bearers appointed therere also involved in heinous crimes.
The minister, however, requested speaker Afzal Sahi to defer the matter till the full-day debate on law and order. A committee had been constituted to review the overall law and order in the province and all the ‘facts’ in this regard would be presented before the house, he said in response to a point of order raised by MMA’s Arshad Mahmood Baggu.
The MMA legislator from Sialkot had earlier pointed out that street crime had increased in the province, especially in the city, after the MQM opened its offices here.
PPP’s Farzana Nazeer said that since the MQM, a coalition partner of the federal government, had moved to the Punjab, the law and order situation had deteriorated further. Some bold steps had to be taken to improve the situation, she said … “

-Dawn, Friday October 6th

Well, if thats what they have done and have only opened a few offices in the Punjab, we can only imagine what they would be doing to Karachi, where they are currently in power. No wonder the crime rates are at an all time high.

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