Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Walk in Karachi for Judiciary - 30th April

pr-logo-option-02-1.jpgPeoples Resistance shall hold a demonstration for restoration of judiciary on Wednesday April 30, 2008, at 6 pm at Dalton Market DHA, (in front of Rahat milk shop). Participants will walk down to the Legal Chief Justice of SHC, Mr. Sabihuddin Ahmed’s house for a 30 minute protest.

PR expresses its disappointment that this important issue has not been addressed as promised and would like to reiterate the demand for urgent and unconditional restoration of judiciary. April 30th is the last day of 30-day period committed by two major political parties in Bhurban Declaration for the resolution of this issue.

All concerned citizens /groups are requested to join and show solidarity for the cause of restoration of original judges.

People’s Resistance is a coalition of students, teachers, NGOs, journalists and citizens concerned with restoration of judiciary, freedom of media and restoration of constitution.

Bring banners, placards, flags, T-shirts and your friends!
In a rare quirk of fate if the judiciary is restored on that day, we will mark it as a celebration!

All those in Karachi are requested to join. Please inform all your friends in Karachi.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Habib Jalib - Mainay Uss Say Yeh Kaha - Laal

video

A poem by Habib Jalib called “Musheer” (advisor) [lyrics]. Jalib wrote it as a satirical piece against Hafiz Jalandari in the period of Ayub Khan. It is equally valid today.

Credits:

Habib Jalib - Mainay Uss Say Yeh Kaha
Shahram Azhar - Vocals
Taimur Rahman - Music
Mahvash Waqar - Backing Vocals
Taimur Khan - Director Producer
Dita Peskova - Assistant Director
Jamie Mill - Recording Director
Laal & Taimur Khan - Music Producer
WIDEi Films - Production Company

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Zardari ditching the nation on the judges


Please find the transcript of Zardari's interview with BBC below. Alternatively you can listen to it here: Listen 3 mins 35 secs



Summary:

  • Zardari accuses the CJ of playing politics. Mr. Zardari himself is known as 10% before the Nation while the CJ Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry is the Second most popular figure in history of Pakistan after Quaid-e-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. A renowned convict in courts domestically and abroad should refrain from issuing such statements lest he brings forth the wrath of the people.

  • Zardari also accuses that the CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry refused to grant him bail when the only case pending against him was the BMW case. This is baseless. There were still numerous corruption, murder, narcotics and money laundering cases against him. As an example read this report: http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSISL12558720080417

    Pakistan court acquits Bhutto's widower in second murder case

    HYDERABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - A Pakistani court acquitted Asif Ali Zardari, widower of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, in the murder of a civil servant in 1997, his lawyer said on Thursday, the second such exoneration for Zardari this month.

    Please note that Fatima Bhutto, the daughter of Shaheed Murtaza Bhutto still blames Zardari for the murder. Perhaps we should ask for a UN investigation into the murder of her father as well?
    http://www.despardes.com/articles/2007/20070920-fatima-bhutto.htm

  • Zardari lies that the ball is not in his hand when asked. Anyone with a bit of basic common sense and respect for rule of law would realize that the 7 member bench of the Supreme Court had issued a stay order against the declaration of Emergency and PCO in the country. Hence all actions of Musharraf under the state of emergency and PCO are illegal. The deposed judges are still the real judges of Pakistan. It would require ONE order from the PM for the judges to go back to their offices and PM Gilani has already promised to issue it once the coalition asks him: http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=14265
    We know from the news stories that its Zardari who is the hindrance to the restoration not anyone else.

  • He further argues consensus in parliament is needed. LIE! Majority is needed. All acts need simple majority to be approved. If we had to move ahead with 100% consensus in the parliament there would be no need to have an opposition leader. Why was a consensus not sought for asking for UN inquiry in the assassination probe of Mohtarma Shaheed (which we support, by the way). Mr. Zardari you can not be selectively choose different routes on your liking.

  • His overall tone is not encouraging. "Think so" "hope so" are not synonymous with "Yes". I hope the people are aware enough to realize it.

  • Zardari had shown his true moral character earlier by offering to make the CJ Governor of Balochistan:
    http://pakistanmartiallaw.blogspot.com/2008/04/zardari-offers-gubernatorial-post-to.html

    Not everyone is looking for positions, fame or money Mr. Zardari.

  • Complete details of the possible script of Zardari and the Establishment can be seen here:
    http://www.pakspectator.com/zardari-dancing-to-the-tunes-of-the-establishment/


There are 4 more days left in the Bhurban Declaration Deadline that was set by the members of the parliament themselves. If the elected representatives do not get us justice through the parliament people of Pakistan will need to figure out other ways of getting justice even if it includes getting hands on the NAB files and hiring lawyers to re-pursue the cases of Mr. 10% in a court abroad that can give us justice. The current Supreme and High Court of cronies is not a court the people of Pakistan trust.


In solidarity,

Saif Rasheed Khan


Transcript of Part of Owen Bennett-Jones's interview of the co-chairman of the Pakistan People's Party, Asif Zardari

Zardari: All of them have played politics. Iftikhar Chaudhry had played politics before, and he's playing politics even now. And we're going to restore the judiciary.

Interviewer: Will you restore him?

Zardari: Hopefully. It's part of it.

Interviewer: Hopefully?

Zardari: Yeah, it depends on the parliament. Not me, I cannot restore or not restore anybody else.

Interviewer: Well, you said… I mean, Nawaz Sharif, the other big political leader is absolutely committed to the restoration of this man.

Zardari: Why do you think I'm not?

Interviewer: Because you've just told me it's not up to you when it is up to you. If you ask the parliament to do this, it will happen tomorrow. It can happen in half an hour.

Zardari: No it cannot happen in half an hour. Even if Mr. Sharif wants it, it can't happen in half an hour.

Interviewer: Why not?

Zardari: There has to be a consensus in the parliament, right? For that there has to be a bill drafted which is being drafted today and its being looked at. I have come to power, People's Party has come to power, we have lost our leader to politics; the fourth leader we're losing to politics! We intend to change the system. I'm not interested in restoring only the judges, I'm interested in restoring the judiciary, the rule of law, the majesty of law, so that no other Asif Zardari stays in prison under trial for eight years and Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry does not say: "I have not read the case so I cannot hear the case." That was my last case. What was the case? A BMW case. Less duty has been paid. The law of the land is: if duty is unpaid, you take the car, you don't take the man! In that case I was languishing in prison for two years and I went to Chaudhry Iftikhar five times. So we do not allow the judiciary again to do that. The judiciary is on record. They have killed my father-in-law. They admit their judicious murder!

Interviewer: If I can say so, your whole demeanor has just changed in the last minutes. You're angry, and it seems to me that you're angry with this man, this chief justice. (Zardari interrupts: No!) And well, the difficulty of course is that the vast bulk of Pakistan wants this man restored to office.

Zardari: Ok, let me correct you. I'm not angry. If I'm not angry with the people I'm sitting in politics with, who I have marks on my body of.

Interviewer: You're referring to the fact that many of your coalition partners played a role in putting you in prison. I mean, that's true!

Zardari: I was the prisoner of Mr. Musharraf for five years. So if I'm not angry at them, if I haven't asked for the death sentence for the killing of my wife, I don't believe in anger. It's a wasted energy.

Interviewer: Ok, but nonetheless, you've just been very critical of a man who…

Zardari: No no, not a man, but (of) the system.

Interviewer: Would you feel comfortable with this man as Chief Justice again?

Zardari: You will feel comfortable. Pakistan will feel comfortable with the new laws that the parliament brings in, the package that I bring in. It will be to strengthen the judiciary so that they can do justice and not politics.

Interviewer: And as part of that, will Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry be restored?

Zardari: I think so.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Judicial reforms: reconsidering CJ's role

Saturday, April 26, 2008
Babar Sattar

What is wrong with the PPP? Has it still not learnt that Pakistan in 2008 is an assertive, impatient place unwilling to suffer politicians who try to feed the nation with equivocal commitments and platitudes? How many more coalition meetings, special-committee negotiations and expert consultations will it take to conclude that the wrongs inflicted on the judiciary since November 3 must be corrected unconditionally? Hypothetically speaking, had the general not illegally dismissed the judges, and by some miracle of nature the general election had still resulted in the creation of the coalition government that we presently have, would slashing the tenure of the Chief Justice still top the PPP's constitution-amendment agenda? Is it honourable for a popular mainstream political party to derive leverage from the unconstitutional and condemned acts of the general and seek partisan gains in agreeing to support a principal?
Asif Zardari's trite speech on the PPP's commitment to strengthen the 'institution of judiciary' and animate the 'majesty of law' is not comforting due to his party's hectic behind-the-scene efforts to exclude Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry from the bench. A constitutional package fixing the tenure of the chief justice to ease CJ Chaudhry out of office before he reaches the age of superannuation will be rightly viewed as another naked assault on the independence of the judiciary. If Mr Zardari is focused on institution building and not stuck on individuals as he claims, what better way to manifest such principled commitment than by restoring and strengthening all the deposed judges including the Chief Justice who he finds disturbingly independent and unpredictable. The PPP must realize that feet-dragging on the issue of restoration, while smugly deriving benefits from the Dogar Court and keeping compromised wheeler-dealers such as Attorney General Malik Qayyum in office, are all factors compounding its image problem.
It is understandable that the PPP is confronted with a dilemma when it comes to the judiciary. It has now assumed partial control of a malfunctioning justice system that serves the powerful. Now that it is on the right side of the system, there are massive gains to be reaped so long as it is in the power seat. So should it make hay while the sun shines or resist the temptation and make the system less vulnerable to abuse in the larger interest of the nation and to be dealt a fair hand if the party gets the wrong end of the stick in future? The swiftness with which cases pending against Mr. Zardari have been wound up by the courts over the last few months puts the concept of rule of law to shame. This is not a comment on the merit of the cases, but instead the timing and the manner in which they have been handled. It is a well-known adage that justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done.
What suddenly shook the conscience of our dispensers of justice to arrest the gargantuan wrongs being inflicted upon Mr Zardari for years? How come it dawned on the Dogar Court only last week that requiring elected public representatives to be graduates violated their constitutionally protected right to freedom of association and equal protection of law. Pro-democracy forces have been crying hoarse for the last six years that the graduation condition makes a mockery of democracy, equal rights and majority rule; it is elitist and constitutes a grave infringement of citizens' fundamental rights by proponents of 'controlled-democracy'. The Supreme Court hearings in the matter suggest that the court could not previously fathom the discriminatory effect of this disenfranchising law due to lack of empirical evidence (in a country where even the exaggerated literacy rate is around 50 per cent and those able to read papers are deemed literate!). Is it merely coincidental that while general election were held under the graduation condition, the Doger Court struck down the law prior to the by-election wherein Mr Zardari – reportedly a non-graduate – wishes to contest?
One marvels at the compulsions that force individuals, bestowed with the divine calling to mete out justice, to stoop to shameful levels of partiality. Notwithstanding the psychological profiles of those at the helm of our institutions of justice, opportunistic decisions of the Dogar Court and the surrounding circumstances in which they are rendered emphasize the urgent need to reassemble an independent judiciary. It is true that no other court can possibly provide the kind of predictable legal service that the PPP or any ruling party can desire. But in conjuring up the image of a desirable court, considerations of autonomy, fairness and impartiality must override those of predictability and spineless loyalty. For spineless loyalty can change sooner than the weather. And in any event the majesty of a legal system cannot be enthroned if the law means different things at different times depending on whether the litigant is powerful or dispossessed.
If Mr Zardari is serious about strengthening the judiciary as an institution, he can sponsor process-driven reforms and initiatives that could even address the PPP's misconceived fears that if unconditionally restored CJ Chaudhry might be beholden and partial to the PML-N.
The coalition partners can agree to reconsider the administrative authority of the chief justices of the Supreme Court and High Courts. The independence of the judiciary is actually a means to create an impartial judiciary, as explained at length by Justice Asif Khosa of the Lahore High Court, while speaking at the International Judicial Conference held in Islamabad in 2006 during the golden jubilee celebrations of Pakistan's Supreme Court. Such judicial independence and impartiality can be threatened not only by the executive -- as has historically happened in Pakistan -- but also by chief justices to the extent that they exercise their administrative powers to influence the judicial function of other members of the court.
As Justice Khosa elaborated in his paper: "Concentration of powers in the hands of the head of a judicial institution regarding constitution of benches, allocation and distribution of cases among benches, attaching priority to different kinds of cases and geographical transfers of judges is an issue which has raised eyebrows in the past and can also resurface in the future. A possible misuse of such powers by the head of a judicial institution can effectively render the independence of an individual judge to be of no practical utility or benefit to the citizens at large." The chief justice as the head of the court is first among equals and his judicial authority is no more than that of any other member of the bench. However, by virtue of his administrative powers to determine the composition of benches as well as which bench hears what cases, he can single-handedly influence the judicial outcome of important cases being adjudicated by the court.
Judicial independence implies independence of a judicial officer from all extraneous considerations and influences, including freedom from the coercive influence of seniors on the bench. Conventional wisdom suggests that the best protection against abuse of arbitrary authority is to distribute it widely. In the US all justices of the Supreme Court have a vote in determining which matters are to be fixed before the court, just as they have an equal vote in determining the outcome of a legal dispute. Given the size of our court and the number of cases heard by the apex court, a voting system involving all justices might not work for us. But our Supreme Court should have an executive committee comprising the five senior most judges who collectively exercise the administrative functions of the court, with the chief justice functioning as the committee chair.

Such an approach to judicial reform will be rooted in principle, as opposed to being outcome-driven, unlike the proposed reduction in CJ Chaudhry tenure aimed at seeing him off as soon as possible. One the one hand it will guard against the whimsical exercise of authority as well the partisan affiliations of all chief justices, and on the other it will make it harder for a ruling executive to solicit favourable decisions from the court in a matter of days by liaising with an all-powerful chief justice. Effective statesmanship requires of a leader to conceive a vision larger than the immediate partisan goals of his clique. In order to establish that the PPP's commitment to judicial independence and reform transcends its love for the NRO, Asif Zardari must opt for a principled approach to reform that makes the judiciary impervious to partisan executive manipulation – even the PPP's.
The writer is a lawyer based in Islamabad. He is a Rhodes scholar and has an LL.M from Harvard Law School.

Pakistan closing in on pact with militant's Mehsud tribe

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, April 25 (Reuters) - Pakistan is close to clinching a peace pact with the Mehsuds, one of the most recalcitrant tribes in its tribal region bordering Afghanistan. “It's now a matter of days before we have an agreement. The talks are in a very advanced stage,” a senior government official involved in the negotiations told Reuters. A draft of the 15-point accord with the Mehsud tribal elders was shown to Reuters. It included a call for an end to militant activity, exchange of prisoners and gradual withdrawal of the army from South Waziristan. The draft did not explicitly say whether militants should stop cross-border attacks into neighbouring Afghanistan. But it did say Mehsud tribesmen should expel al Qaeda and other foreign fighters from their area within a month and stop their lands being used as a base for attacks. While the authorities and tribal elders made final touches to the pact, Baitullah Mehsud, who was declared as the leader of the Pakistani Taliban late last year, on Wednesday ordered his followers to stop attacks inside Pakistan. A government official described the ceasefire as part of a series of confidence building measures that will be taken before the agreement is signed. He said the government also planned to lift blockade of Mehsud territory by the military.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Zardari dancing to the tunes of the Establishment?

Suppose The Establishment and Zardari were to team up, how would the script have rolled?

  • Zardari would have wanted to become PM.
  • For that he would need to have all his murder, corruption, money laundering charges dropped.
  • Requirement for BA would be dropped (though according to some sources Zardari is a graduate)
  • By elections would be delayed.
  • The establishment would have wanted to delay the whole issue using attrition to wear down the movement.
  • They would have liked Musharraf to stay.
  • And of course the judges restoration be delayed or avoided.

What do we see right now?

The works of the establishment:

  • Zardari’s murder cases dropped
  • Zardari’s corruption cases dropped
  • BA requirement dropped
  • By-elections delayed
  • Attacks on lawyers, another massacre in Karachi and attack on Sher Afgan
  • Petition put in SC when the count down is nearing its end to stop the restoration

The works of Zardari:

  • No question of impeachment raised by Zardari
  • PPP members have even called Musharraf “an asset” for Pakistan
  • Needless delay over the judges
  • Active hostility towards the judiciary and lawyers (the only lucky ones to have been issued a charge sheet)
  • Telling Aitzaz to shut up and go on with his agitation; as if he cared. Also said kay yeh ulti ginti walay baaz aa jayain.
  • Creation of confusion by offering indecent offers such as minus one, minus two and offering to make CJ the governor of Balochistan
  • Deliberate confusion over the date of countdown, by Zardari and Sherry Rehman.
  • Trying to find replacement for pro-judiciary PML-N through MQM and others in the guise of “national reconciliation”.
  • Constitutional Package.
  • Backdoor meetings between PPP and Musharraf
  • Retention of Malik Qayyum as AG and his clear shift to becoming pro-Zardari.
  • Delaying the issue of restoration from the first parliament session to 30 days.
  • Then creation of a committee which leads to deadlock.
  • Then the establishment puts a petition when the count down is about to end.

The issue of the judges:
The deposed judges are still the real judges. A simple order by the PM or a resolution in the parliament telling them to return to their offices would have been enough.

Suppose Zardari wanted to restore the judges and listen to our demands, how would the script have looked?

  • First session would have asked the judges to return to office.
  • Impeachment case put against Musharraf so he could not use 58-2(b)

Which of the two scripts do we see being played?

Can we still trust Zardari (or the PPP) after all this?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Politics of student unions

Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Syed Saad Rizvi

The removal of ban on student unions by the present government is a welcome sign for the establishment of a strong democracy in Pakistan but there is still a lot that needs to be done. Much damage has already been done to the image of politics and its effectiveness among the post-1984 generation – especially present students – because of the long-standing ban on student unions.

General Ziaul Haq banned student unions, learning from his Turkish counterparts, in an attempt to subdue politics. The decision was further compounded by his ideological leanings because that mean that progressive student bodies were effectively rooted out but Islamic student's organizations such as the Islami Jamiat-e-Tulaba (IJT) were in fact strengthened during his time. As a result, these Islamic student unions gained a monopoly in the universities and frequently resorted to militancy and violence to harass students at campuses to coerce them into following the student wing's own agenda. Furthermore, the state support, even if covert, to these student organizations made them immune to any action from law-enforcement agencies and this only served to embolden them. In many cases, members of the faculty at various universities felt their moral duty to support these militant student organizations to the extent that they became their de facto members and/or patrons.

Also, in the aftermath of the ban, some student organizations arose along ethnic lines while others, remnants of former unions, associated themselves with political parties. The student organizations that organised along ethnic lines were armed and did not hesitate to engage in violence to safeguard their interests. These student organizations also represented and reflected the resentment of local ethnic groups against the policies of the central government and also the state itself.

The ban on student unions did not stem the violence on campuses, which only continued to grow. Adamjee Government Science College, apparently the best intermediate college in Karachi with a student body that is among the brightest in the country, was often scene of many violent incidents. On the very first day for new students who join the college, the above-mentioned student organizations have their representatives at the college door, all trying to lure the new students to join their student wings. They are attracted by what later turn out to be bogus promises of helping with academics or even with the registration process. Some even go to the extent of claiming themselves to be saviours against campus violence and pledge to protect their members from it. As for those students who manage to somehow avoid joining a student union, they still are affected by violence. It is this violence which greatly affected how most students see and perceive student unions on campus – usually as things to be avoided. The power of the student wings was, as is, such that usually even the head of the college, the principal, is unable to do much about the violence, except to call in the Rangers of the police, as and when it happens. And this state of affairs is found across the length and breadth of the country.

So, while the step to lift the ban on student unions is good that it may allow some genuine politics to take place and could help reduce the incidents of violence, it needs to be followed by a stringent deweaponization campaign in all colleges and universities. If done without favouring any particular student wing it could restore a certain level of confidence in student politics and would also contribute towards the establishment of a level playing field for all student organizations. Reducing violence in politics at national level would also serve as motivation for those students who may already be interested in political activism.

In addition to this, courses in civics should be taught to secondary school students. Political science, history and geography should all be offered as separate subjects instead of the hodgepodge that one finds in the form of Pakistan Studies. In addition, seminars and conferences should be held to explain to students the real role of student unions and how they can be used as a platform for airing and reflecting the wishes and aspirations, as well as grievances, of students to the administration and even to the government of the day. Politicians could be invited to campuses to engage with students in dialogue and this could help remove some of the faulty notions that many students have of politics and politicians.

Students need representation at some level. All developed and democratic nations have student platforms and organizations and these usually serve as breeding grounds for future leaders. Besides, if an interest in politics is not encouraged or developed during one's student years, this country could face a grave leadership crisis – the signs of which are already becoming visible.



The writer is a student at the University of Connecticut in the US. Email: syed.mustafa@uconn.edu

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Zardari's statements and the Murree Declaration: Contradictions..?

Countdown has not begun: Zardari (Courtesy The Daily Times)

LAHORE: The countdown for the restoration of judges sacked on November 3, 2007, has not begun, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari told Aaj Television on Monday. Zardari said the countdown for the restoration of the sacked judges would begin after the formation of all four provincial governments. The PPP co-chairman said he was developing a consensus among coalition partners on the draft resolution for the restoration of the sacked judges, adding that the PPP was committed to restoring the sacked judges under the Murree Declaration. Zardari said he did not want a judiciary that would succumb to the pressure of the government.


Text of the Murree Declaration:

http://www.hindu.com/nic/pakistan-murree.htm

1-Allied parties, the Pakistan People's Party and the Pakistan Muslim League (N) resolve to form a coalition government for giving a practical shape to the mandate, which was given to the democratic forces by the people of Pakistan on February 18, 2008.

2-This has been decided in today's summit between the PPP and the PML (N) that the deposed judges would be restored, on the position as they were on November 2, 2007, within 30 days of the formation of the federal government through a parliamentary resolution.

3-The parties agreed that all allied parties would fully support the candidate for the position of the prime minister, nominated by the PPP. The PML (N) suggested that the candidate for prime minister should be such person who can take ahead the common agenda of the allied parties.

4-The parties agreed that the speaker and the deputy speaker of the national assembly would be from the PPP while the speaker and the deputy speaker of the Punjab assembly would be from the PML (N).

5-Both the parties agreed that the PML (N) would be a part of the federal government while the PPP would be a part of the Punjab government.

6-This is the solid opinion of the leaderships of both the parties that the allied parties are ready for forming the governments and the sessions of the national and provincial assemblies be summoned immediately.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

PML-N may quit federal ministries

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) has decided Monday night to quit all the federal ministries if the deadlock among their party and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) over the restoration of judges persists.According to details, PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif held consultations with the party leaders and arrived on the decision that his party ministers will leave the federal ministries if the deadlock with the ruling PPP persists over the judges restoration.It was said however that PML-N will continue supporting PPP in the federation.

Nawaz-Zardari meeting again today

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) spokesman Siddique Al Farooq said that the previous negotiations between PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari have failed to achieve results.
Talking to media outside Punjab House here, he said that no party could withstand the failure in the negotiations over the restoration of judges. Responding a question regarding the judges restoration, Siddique Al Farooq said that there is consensus and constructive approach present between PPP and PML-N.
He said the negotiations process will continue even today.

(Courtesy GEO)

Impasse in PDA over judges restoration

ISLAMABAD: There is a deadlock among ruling parties in connection with the finalization of draft resolutions for restoration of judges and Constitutional Package to be presented before National Assembly.
Geo News, citing source, said the Pakistan Democratic Alliance came to a stalemate over some points of the draft resolution including mainly the retirement age of judges and date of their restoration.
Had the parties reached an agreement in today’s negotiations, the Awami National Party (ANP) would have also joined them. However, the negotiations will resume tomorrow.It may be mentioned here that the spokesman of Pakistan Muslim League (N), Siddique Al-Farooq said the talks between PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari over the draft resolution could not be completed today. The negotiations will be resumed on Tuesday, he added.

(Courtesy GEO)

Draft resolution on judges issue ready

By Syed Irfan Raza

ISLAMABAD, April 20: The government has finalised the draft of a resolution for reinstatement of all deposed judges, including Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, PPP sources told Dawn on Sunday.

The sources said that the resolution would be presented in the National Assembly within a week and all deposed judges of superior courts would be reinstated.

They said the coalition partners had made some changes in the draft of the resolution prepared by former justice Fakharuddin G. Ibrahim.According to the agreed draft, the strength of the Supreme Court would be enhanced and no existing judge of the apex court would be removed.

The original draft had sought removal of the judges who had taken oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO). The new draft suggests that the deposed chief justice would work till reaching the age of superannuation.

When contacted, information minister Sherry Rehman said that the coalition partners were very actively working for the reinstatement of deposed judges and a final announcement would be made soon.“We want the best possible solution to this problem,” she said.

Another senior leader of PPP said that PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif, Awami National Party President Asfandyar Wali and Maulana Fazlur Rehman would make a formal announcement of the agreed resolution.

The author of the resolution, Justice Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim, has stressed the need for early reinstatement of judges in accordance with the Constitution, and advised against politicising the matter.

He said that he had sent the draft of the resolution some three weeks ago and pleaded forcefully that the coalition government could easily reinstate the judges without any constitutional amendment because the judges had been deposed unconstitutionally.

The resolution also had the backing of 15 former superior court judges, four chief justices among them, who had supported Justice Ibrahim’s contention that the removal of judges under the emergency decree on Nov 3 was unconstitutional and that a resolution in the National Assembly would be sufficient for their reinstatement.

(Courtesy DAWN)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Zardari hints at becoming PM, says judges acted in 'self-interest'

LONDON: Co-chairman Pakistan People's Party Asif Ali Zardari has announced that he will be taking part in the coming by-elections and, if need be, he can become the prime minister.

In an interview with a British news channel, Zardari said he and his sister Faryal Talpur would submit their nomination papers to contest the by-elections from Benazir Bhutto's constituency NA-270.

Responding to a question, he said it was not necessary that the party chairman must become the prime minister but he could be the PM if need be.

He said his party would maintain the status quo with the president but would think about his accountability if they got a two-thirds majority in parliament. He said the prime minister had secured more than two-thirds of the votes in the National Assembly but some members might not vote for the president's accountability.

Zardari said the establishment brought President Musharraf into power and "these are the same forces which are now hatching conspiracies against the democratic government." He said the establishment had also asked Benazir Bhutto to boycott the elections.

He alleged that the judges did not start the war because of any danger to democracy but they did so in their self-interest. He said even then, he was in favour of reinstating the deposed judges.

(Courtesy The News)

Parliamentary sovereignty… a fine notion

Ayaz Amir
(Courtesy The News)
Friday, April 18, 2008

And so far in this blessed country, where form has always reigned over substance, parliamentary sovereignty is just that: a fine notion, to be spoken of in thundering terms. That's about it. In actual practice it is rather a threadbare notion. You would expect the members of this 'sovereign' National Assembly to be well-informed about the nation's affairs. They are certainly not better informed than newsmen.

Ask most of the members and perhaps most of them wouldn't have a clue about what's really cooking over the judges' issue. They get their information from the newspapers and newspapers too, such being the standards of reporting, can be dodgy, the headlines suggesting one thing while deep in the story would lie buried something completely different.

Take the recent meeting between Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad to discuss the restoration of the deposed judges. The headlines said unambiguously that they were in complete agreement and that they had reiterated their commitment to the Bhurban declaration or accord. But the later paragraphs of the same story suggested that no agreement had been struck on the actual mechanics of getting the legitimate Supreme Court, and high courts, back.

Every time I now hear about another reiteration of commitment to the Bhurban accord I feel like wiping my nose, or reaching for my gun. Why is the National Assembly, attired in the robes of its yet-to-be-proven sovereignty, being so foolish? Restoring the rightful Supreme Court is not a matter of partisan politics, although this is what many in the PPP seem convinced of, that the judges' issue deep down is a conspiracy between the PML-N and My Lord Chaudhry.

We are familiar with silly things but this takes the cake. No, it is not a partisan issue. It concerns all of us and, on the pragmatic plane, it concerns the National Assembly most of all because the sovereignty of the National Assembly will remain a pipedream unless buttressed by an independent and powerful judiciary.

There was a time, lasting for much of our history, when there was a compact between generals and judges and together they made a fine thing of our democracy. Today we have a chance to build something new: a compact between the judiciary and parliament.

This will not open the floodgates of prosperity. Let's not kid ourselves on that score. But it will be good for democracy and that is something worth striving for because with all its shortcomings democracy is a whole lot better than the rotten military dictatorships we have endured.

If the political leadership doesn't get this, if it doesn't grasp the importance of an independent judiciary, then God help us. The stories we are getting to read about committees to examine the judges' issue, the seniority of Justice Falak Sher over the seniority of My Lord Chaudhry, are getting a bit too much because even if most of these stories amount to kite-flying, they at least suggest that there are worthies uneasy at the prospect of seeing Justice Chaudhry back in the Supreme Court.

The word conspiracy is much in vogue these days. Anything happens and it is put down to a conspiracy. But on the judges' issue if there is any conspiracy to see the last of Justice Chaudhry and ensure that he doesn't stay long in the Supreme Court it is arising not from the walls behind which the once-powerful generalissimo, President Pervez Musharraf, lies besieged but from the redoubts of democracy. Ironic but grimly true. Justice Chaudhry and his brother judges may be popular with the masses. Alas, they are not so popular with the political class or with the political leadership.

For obvious reasons I am drawing no distinction between the PPP and the PML-N but when I say the political leadership I think my meaning is pretty clear.

In an email from distant Singapore Dr Noeen Arshad makes a rather telling point: "I have…noted that even since Feb 18 elections, there is directly or indirectly a mention of Musharraf in your articles. Agreed he was bad for the country. But do we have to keep on talking about him all the time? I am sure you will agree that even if one talks in negative of another it means that the person is on one's mind. Let's get him off our minds, let's not talk about him…I just hope that we have learnt from our mistakes and I would not like to read about the present government in future like we read about Musharraf today!!"

Touche! Musharraf did what he did and he is paying the price of his many failures. But now the reins of power are in different hands. How long do we propose living in the past? We should now be asking ourselves what Bastille walls have we pulled down, what bright morn are we ushering in?

The judges' issue may be taking forever but how quick the new interior boss, Herr Rehman Malik, has been with a measure which, had it been proposed during the Musharraf era, would have triggered a national uproar. As you must have read in the papers, anyone wanting to hold a public meeting or take out a rally would have to seek permission three days in advance. Provincial governments, we are informed, have also been asked to select a 'people's corner' in every tehsil and district headquarters where public meetings will be held on a 'first come first serve' basis.

You might have thought that such a sweeping measure, which amounts to restricting political activity, would have been debated in the sovereign National Assembly. But the sovereign National Assembly heard about it on the evening news or read about it in next morning's newspapers.

As I say, had anything like it been mooted before Feb 18 all hell would have broken loose, column writers and TV anchors going blue in the face denouncing another draconian (another word we have fallen in love with) measure. But since we have stepped into another era of democracy our reaction, I guess, will be more restrained.

Anyway, does the permission clause mean that if another Bushra with her two minor kids, driven to despair by poverty, lies down in the path of an incoming train in order to put an end to her miserable life, and if, on account of this, the people of her locality, also children of despair, are roused to fury, they would first have to put in a request to their local police station before taking out a rally? Or would they be expected to travel to their 'People's Corner' at tehsil headquarters, there to deliver angry speeches?

One Abdul Basit died the other day in Lahore because of police torture. This happened in the Baghbanpura police station. Incensed, as they had every right to be, the people of the locality came out to protest. They beat two policemen in plainclothes and burnt their motorcycle. What else could they do? On what or whom else could they have vented their anger? But under the new Herr Rehman decree people like the incensed citizens of Baghbanpura would have to give three day's prior notice before taking out a procession.

I think no provincial government, except perhaps the good government of Syed Qaim Ali Shah in Sindh, will be silly enough to go along with this exercise in creative fancy. Be that as it may, it surely deserves some kind of a prize for unintended comedy.

I think the most momentous event in the country since Feb 18 has been the suicide of Bushra and her two minor kids because it tells us of what we truly are and what we pretend or profess to be. I am sure it will shake none of us out of our complacency. But such things are taken note of in the skies above. Such are the events that drive the avenging angels to fury.

The prime minister went to Bushra's house, or the hovel that passes for her parent's house, bearing a gift of two lakh rupees. At least he went there which is more than can be said of those who occupied high office during the past eight years when suicides as a result of poverty became a pretty frequent affair.

But I liked what Bushra's father said before the television cameras: to how many people will you go giving one or two lakh rupees? The more important thing is to do something about inflation. A professor of economics could not have put it more succinctly. There was pain on his face as he said this but, surprisingly, not much bitterness in his tone.

I am reading a life of the young Stalin. Stalin too grew up in poverty. The question to ask is why the conditions of life in Tsarist Russia produced a Stalin, and so many others like him, and why with us, poverty and oppression give rise only to acceptance and resignation…and endless visits to mazars and khanqahs, of which we have more than any other country in the world.

Email: chakwal@comsats.net.pk

HRCP welcomes the ratification and signatures of

April 18, 2008

Karachi: In a statement issued to the press, Iqbal Haider, Co-Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan welcomes the ratification and signatures of three core UN human rights instruments by Pakistan

On Thursday, Pakistan ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR), which is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16,
1966
, and in force from January 3, 1976. It commits its parties to work toward the granting of economic, social, and cultural rights (ESCR) to individuals, including labour rights and rights to health, education, and an adequate standard of living. The ICESCR is part of the International Bill of Human Rights, along with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the latter's first and second Optional Protocols.

HRCP notes with appreciation that the truly elected Government of Pakistan has accepted the long outstanding demand of the human rights activists by signing and rectifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as well as Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). CAT is an international human rights instrument, under the purview of the United Nations, that aims to prevent torture around the world. The Convention advises states to take effective measures to prevent torture within their borders, and forbids states to return people to their home country if there is reason to believe they will be tortured. The text of the Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December
1984
and, following ratification by the 20th state party, it came into force on 26 June 1987; 26 June is now recognised as the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, in honour of the Convention

Mr. Haider said that the ratification and signatures of these three crucial UN human rights instruments are indeed significant step forward by the present elected Government of Pakistan in fulfilling its pledges and commitment to promote human rights of the people of Pakistan in accordance with international human rights law. Joining the main international human rights instruments reflects the commitment of the democratic Government to promote and further strengthen the mechanism to protect the human rights of the people in Pakistan, including the rights of women, children, minorities and the unprivileged.

Mr Haider emphasized that implementation of these very important UN human rights conventions, is an equally important task of the present Government and he hoped it will follow and abide by these UN instruments, in their letter and spirit.

Rendition of Jalib by 'Laal'

This is a rendition of Habib Jalib's famous 'Meinay Uss Say Yeh Kaha' by the band 'Laal' comprised of Taimur Rehman and Shahram Azhar. Brilliant job, guys.

Seminar: "Do Countries Sell Their Own People?" April 17, Islamabad, Pakistan


A seminar entitled "Do Countries Sell Their Own People: A Discussion on Civil Liberties in the Age of War on Terror" was held on 17 April, 2008, at Embassy Lodges in Islamabad. The event presented the plight of the families of the victims of state-sponsored terrorism. The seminar was organized by Pakistan Professionals Forum, FASTRising and Pakistan Youth Alliance and attracted representation from a broad cross-section of general public including students, professionals, human rights activists and lawyers. Families of more than 60 missing persons were present.

The event started with the screening of the documentary "Missing in Pakistan". This was followed by a speech from Pakistan Professionals Forum spokesperson. He condemned the government for terrorizing its own people and wondered how Sehba Musharraf should feel if her son, Bilal Musharraf, went missing. K.Asif, a student representative, condemned the intelligence outfits for their role in extra-judicial arrests and vowed completed support to the families of missing persons on behalf of the students of Islamabad.


Next, Zafar Jan, the Baloch relative of missing person, claimed that around 12,000 Balochis have been abducted. He lamented the fact the media had no access to Balochistan. Shahid Kamal Khan, ex-president Mailsee Bar Association, said that armed forces have no legal right to intervene on its own in the affairs of the country until unless requested by a civil government. Furthermore, armed forces or intelligence outfits have no right to detain or kill its own people. He vowed to register an FIR for murder against Pervez Musharraf.


This was followed by a talk by Mrs. Amina Janjua – the wife of Masood Janjua, missing since May 2005, anchorperson of the organization 'Defence of Human Rights' and spokesperson of the families of the missing persons. She related their struggle to win the release of their family members, through street demonstrations as well as their meetings with various politicians. She implored civil society activists, lawyers, professionals to continue supporting the cause of the missing persons. Furthermore, she expressed her gratitude to lawyers in UK and US as well as the chief counsel of missing persons, Shaukat Siddiqui, for their support. The civil society activist, Ghazala Minallah, empathized with the unrelenting pain of the families of the missing persons and deplored the hypocrisy of world powers. She assured the families of her continual support. Sardar Asmatullah, president Rawalpindi High Court Bar Association, reiterated the civil liberties guaranteed to the citizens of Pakistan by its constitution. He condemned Pervez Musharraf for illegally imposing martial law and rendering the Chief Justice non-functional, and demanded the impeachment of the President for subverting the constitution. Hameed Gul, ex-head ISI, condemned the collusion of successive governments in selling their own citizens to world powers. He demanded justice for the students of Jamia Hafsa and highlighted the importance of a strong and independent judiciary to safeguard the rights of citizens. He further demanded that Pervez Musharraf be court-martialed and charged for high-treason. President PTI, Imran Khan, challenged Pervez Musharraf to declare the number of Pakistanis killed in the war on terror and called for his impeachment. later, Justice (R) Wajihuddin pointed out the weakness of courts to curtail extra-judicial detention. He called for investigating the perpetrators of extra-judicial detention. Furthermore, he opined that Pervez Musharaf's regime is dwindling and that Musharraf's removal will have critical impact on the results of US election. Finally Qazi Hussain Ahmed, president JI, condemned the acts of Parvez Musharaf and his allies and made dua for the families of missing persons.

Almost more than 500 people from all walks of life were present there to show solidarity with the cause and with the aggrieved families.

National Textile University Student Strike Against Military VC, APTMA (All Pakistan Textile Mills Association) and for recognition by PEC

Since Feb 18 a wide range of student and workers protests are taking place across Pakistan. Among them is a protest campaign by a large number of students of National Textile University in Faisalabad city largest province of Pakistan, Punjab. They are protesting against maltreatment and denial of engineering council recognition. The following is their press release.

The students have been protesting peacefully before the press club, Faisalabad and before the university administration for more than six years but after April 2nd 2008 incident things became rough when more than 250 students on April 15th held a demonstration before parliament under highly unfavorable weather conditions. They also came before the National press & media by holding a press conference in Islamabad press club the same day. One of the student leaders of the student action committee of NTU told me that one of the senators had agreed to put this issue before the senate and has taken the file about this issue to the senate. He also said that some parliamentarians have also promised to highlight the issue in the parliament.


National Textile university was founded by General Ayub Khan on the 12th October 1959. It was named Lyallpur textile Institute. In 1965 the institute was granted affiliation with the university of engineering & technology Lahore. The first batch of Graduates engineers passed out in 1966. In 1973 the administrative control of the institute was transferred to federal government and it was renamed as National College of textile & Engineering. In 1983 through a presidential ordinance the institute was placed under the control Of Board of Governors which was supposed to consist of the Federal Minister of Industries as its chairman with seven other members from the Federal/Provincial governments and three members from All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA). In 1992 the institute received an aid of worth ¥ 650 million from the Japanese government, through JICA program, in the form of latest machinery & equipment for all departments of the institution.

All this was before September 1993, when the institute was placed under complete control of APTMA, the board of governors was reconstituted. Taking seven out of eleven members from APTMA. The following years carried serious problems for the students and the temperature rose when the temporary accreditation ended in 2002 after which he university Administration proclaimed that re accreditation process is underway.

Meanwhile the federal cabinet on November 15th 2002 upgraded the college as National Textile University. The president of Pakistan is the Chancellor of the university but still no convincing measures taken to recognize NTU as a Professional Engineering Institute.

The simple and only solution to all problems, according to the students is to transfer the Institute’s Management and charge to the federal Government specifically under the regulation of Ministry of Textile Industries, Pakistan and accreditation by Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).

Concerns of the Students:

Students are seriously concerned and feel that their future is at stake as long as the Management of the university remains in the hands of APTMA which may be an effective business organization but certainly it is not an academic organization and so the university under the control of Federal Ministry of textile and Industry or Ministry of Education. At one of the recent protests I heard one of the students saying “APTMA wants to develop technologists not engineers by concentrating on non-textile basic sciences rather than masters and PhD program in textile subjects so that the students of NTU could be forced to work on minimum wages in Textile mills since they are not officially recognized as engineers”. Students believe that accreditation with PEC is their genuine right that the university Administration has not taken required steps to fulfill PEC requirements.


April 2nd 2008 Student Mistreatment & Harassment:

The students of NTU were under protest right after 2002-03 for their right of accreditation with PEC. This was a constant irritation for university administration which was concentration more on pressurizing students to bring this protest to an end rather than negotiating with the PEC to resolve the issue.

The attitude of the university administration became stubborn, ignorant & irresponsible and on April 2nd 2008 a student of first year fell victim to the heinous behavior of one of the faculty members. The student was physically tortured on a baseless issue injuring him and then blaming him for an offence he did not commit. The enraged the students and re-energized the protests which then came out of the university premises with full force. Unexpectedly University administration started a blame game against students by issuing false press releases blaming innocent students of indiscipline against female students, to weaken the movement.

Demands of the Students are:

Transfer of the university management to Federal Ministry of Textile from APTMA.
Immediate accreditation by Pakistan Engineering Council.
Removal of corrupt Management and non-professional staff from the university so that the confidence of the students on Management can be restored.
Introduction of Masters and phd programs instead of concentrating on non-textile fields.
Officials of the disciplinary committee responsible for student harassment and injustice should be penalized by the laws of disciplinary committee.
Restoration of student unions and provision of basic student facilities as per other reputed universities.
Restoration of scholarships.
Expansion of hostels.
Academic activities should resume from the instant they were boycotted by the students.

In the middle of all activity one must not get carried away with the response of the MNAs as it is not a new practice for them to make promises but fulfilling their promises is a separate issue. The MNAs who have met student delegations have promised to take the issue before the parliament in two days but there is a question…….what if they do not fulfill their promise? Students have exhausted by the activities of last 2 months, especially the students present in Islamabad have been under severe stress due to unfavorable weather conditions. SAC NTU should think of alternate ways so that the momentum and effectiveness of the protests does not break.
(Click here for more)

Power Crisis in Pakistan: workers’ anger shakes Multan

By Harris Azhar, Aslam Ansari, PTUDC Multan

Pakistan has been plagued by shortages and a crisis of basic necessities of life for a long time, but the situation exploded on the eve of the last elections while General Musharraf and his team were blowing the trumpet about "unprecedented economic development". After eight years of ruthless capitalist policies, which were implemented by the IMF's puppet prime minister Shaukat Aziz, the already fragile basic economic structure went into a state of general collapse. Suddenly there was no wheat flour [which is the staple diet in Pakistan]. People were on the streets demonstrating for bread. This was happening in the Punjab which was once regarded as the food basket of undivided India. On top of this there was no electricity. For the last three months Pakistan has been paralysed by severe power shortages. WAPDA [The national electricity company] is carrying out "load-shedding" of 10 to 20 hours per day.


When there is no electricity for 18 hours in 24 hours one can understand what this means for workers who get their wages on a daily basis. No industry is working. The worse affected are people who work in small scale "cottage industries". One such cottage industry is in the Power Loom sector which produces cloth at household level using electrical motors. For the last few months the life of these workers has been destroyed due to power shortages. Many of them have lost their entire livelihood due to lack of work. The Power Loom Association is a trade union of these small "owner-workers". They have been protesting throughout Pakistan over the last few months urging WAPDA to give them a schedule of power cuts. Due to numerous hunger strikes and demonstrations WAPDA in Multan, which is the home town of new Prime minister Gillani, offered a deal to the workers which assured them that electricity would be provided to them for at least 12 hours and there would be no unannounced power cuts.

But instead of honouring the agreement, they increased the load-shedding to 20 hours. Today, April 15, the unions announced a siege of MEPCO [the Multan office of WAPDA] unless the electricity company honours the agreement. Hundreds of workers surrounded the offices of the electricity company but the authorities refused to listen to the workers. This sparked off a wave of anger in the crowd and the workers started destroying the cars and properties of the bosses. A bank was burned as well as parts of MEPCO head office. The arrogant authorities instead of listening to the genuine grievances of the workers, most of whom literally have no bread in their kitchen, started firing on the unarmed workers. This further angered the workers who took over the premises, virtually paralysing life in the city, blocking the roads and demanding their right to earn a decent living.

The whole episode was shown live all across Pakistan through the media channels. The government and others intellectuals of the media immediately started describing the workers as "miscreants" and "lawless criminals". The police and the authorities arrested more than 50 workers and charged all the central leadership of the Power Loom Association under the "Anti Terrorism Laws".

The comrades of our tendency have a strong presence in the Power Loom sector. The PTDUC is in the forefront of the movement of the Power Loom workers. The movement of this group of workers is no longer under the control of the state. The capitalist system has brought Pakistan on the verge of famine and now workers are on the streets demanding that the People's Party led government deliver its promises to the poor masses. Today in Multan they have demonstrated their power and their militant mood and have warned the Prime minister that the workers will not accept empty slogans. This system has no life left in it if it cannot give bread and electric power to the people. Such was the outrage that the Prime Minister was forced to announce the sacking of the MEPCO chief but this is too little too late. The police have not released the workers and the crackdown continues.

The PTUDC had held a successful labour conference last year in Multan and their Joint Action Committee (JAC) was formed in which representatives from all trade unions, including the Power Looms Association, were present. Now the PTDUC and JAC has contacted the local trade unions throughout Pakistan and Multan to express solidarity to the masses. We appeal to workers of the world to raise solidarity activity for the release of all the imprisoned workers in Multan.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Muneer Malik awarded the 2008 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights

The May 18 Memorial Foundation in Gwangju, Korea proclaimed Mr. Muneer A. Malik as the winner for the 2008 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.
Mr. Muneer A. Malik was the former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association who has played an enormous role in the struggle of the lawyers, judges and the rest of the citizens of Pakistan for the independence of the judiciary. Under his leadership he was able to mobilize lawyers and the people to fight the repression imposed by President Musharraf when he declared an emergency and ousted several chief justices and judges. In the 1980's Mr. Malik had been in the forefront of the struggle against the military rule of then President Zia Ul Haq. Mr. Malik was recipient of the 2006 Dorab Patel Award given by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
On May 18, 2008 the award will be conferred to Mr. Muneer A. Malik on a ceremony to commemorate the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising. The prize award includes a good medal, a certificate of achievement and US $ 50,000.00.
The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights is an award given to individuals, groups or institutions in Korea and abroad that have contributed in promoting and advancing human rights, democracy and peace in their work. The award is given by the Gwangju people in the spirit of solidarity and gratitude from those whom they have received help in their struggle for democratization and search for truth.
The Gwangju Prize is administered by The May 18 Memorial Foundation, a non-profit organization established on August 30, 1994. It was organized by surviving victims of the 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, the victims' families, and the citizens of Gwangju. The Foundation aims to commemorate and continue the spirit of struggle and solidarity of the May 18 Uprising, contribute to the peaceful reunification of Korea, and work towards peace and human rights throughout the world. Since its establishment, the Foundation has carried out numerous projects in varying fields, including organizing memorial events, establishing scholarships, fostering research, disseminating public information, publishing relevant materials, dispensing charity and welfare benefits, building international solidarity, and awarding the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Exporting Rights Violations

The Bill of Rights—the essence of American civil liberties—contains crucial provisions for protecting free speech, due process, and a fair and speedy trial among other things. The U.S. Constitution, in turn, was arguably a precedent for Universal Declaration of Human Rights. One might assume that as the descendants of this tradition, the people and the government of the United States would believe in the universal application of human rights around the world.

However, the opposite is the case–at least for now. Ever since the War on Terror began, the Bush administration has been infringing on the civil liberties and rights of American citizens. It started off with a bill with an unnecessarily long and now infamous name: the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act. After a series of bills, the Military Commission Acts was adopted in 2006 and gave the U.S. President absolute powers to label a non-American citizen an enemy of the state, imprison him without charging him with a crime, and deny him the right to due process. In view of the fact that this act is obvious breach of the Bill of Rights, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has called it a rejection of core American values.

Since this does not affect American citizens’ right to habeas corpus and a fair trial directly, perhaps they should not be worried too much about it. Many would argue that with the unprecedented complexities of determining enemy actions in the War on Terror, the ordinary procedures of establishing crime may not be effective and that some liberties must be forsaken for increased homeland security. Perhaps allowing the government to monitor your phone calls is prudent if it prevents future terrorist attacks.

However, American citizens should be aware of the record of its government’s record abroad when there is no constitutional or judicial oversight over their actions. A government that disregards human values abroad, engages in torture, and arbitrarily detains people without a fair trial would have serious credibility question marks. How could citizens trust such a regime for their protection?

The Bush administration is such a regime. As Guantánamo Bay enters its seventh reprehensible year, it seems unlikely that truth about it will ever come out. The only reports of what happens inside of Guantánamo are leaked memos and words of some of captives who are lucky enough to be released. Most of these in detention inside Guantánamo are likely to remain there forever—lest they come out and speak of their torture ordeals, claims an attorney at the ACLU.

Guantánamo is only one small part of a series of serious human rights violations around the world. The CIA has been actively involved in an “extraordinary rendition” program under which possible suspects are arrested and flown to territories outside U.S. jurisdiction and interrogated by U.S. and foreign officials. The ACLU claims that one German citizen, El-Masri, was kidnapped by the CIA, taken to a “black site” in Afghanistan, tortured for two months, and eventually abandoned on a hillside in Albania without any explanation or charges.

And this is not an isolated example. Just in Pakistan, over 4,000 people have been arrested in connection with suspected terrorism. Half of them were handed over to foreign countries, and some of them resurfaced in Guantanamo Bay after being missing for months. Many of them were picked up without the knowledge of their families and hence were simply termed as “missing people”. After having her husband disappear mysteriously, a brave woman, Amina Janjua, was able to identify that her husband was indeed in the custody of the intelligence agencies in Pakistan. She challenged his detention, as well as that of the other Pakistanis, to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The Supreme Court was hardly able to get a handful of these people brought to court, but then President Musharraf of Pakistan sacked over 60 of the judges of the High and Supreme courts of Pakistan. Most Pakistanis see this coming with American blessing and anti-American sentiment in Pakistan is at a record high.

As a result of the lack of due process, transparency, and judicial oversight, policy assessments and analysis have become increasingly suspect. Are these often pre-emptive arrests preventing terrorism? Are they really needed? Policy debates are difficult without access to information and media inquiries.

Furthermore, the Bush Administration does not take into account the fact that detainees are real humans who have real families. By denying these captives a fair trial, the U.S. government is only further antagonizing many people—each of these extraordinary renditions may result in thousands of people turning against the U.S. If one of the reasons behind terrorist attacks against the U.S. is anti-American sentiment, one must wonder why such an antagonizing step is constantly used.

Not everyone is as noble as Amina Janjua. Some will equate justice to revenge, and in the absence of a judiciary they can trust will take matters in their own hands. The Bush Administration would be partially responsible if a family member of any of these “missing people” ends up attacking a U.S. embassy.

Samad Khurram ’09 is a government concentrator in Winthrop House. His column appears on alternate Tuesdays.

Judges to be restored in 30 days

ISLAMABAD: An important meeting of the leaders of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) Tuesday decided to act upon the 30-day deadline for the restoration of deposed judiciary.According to the reports, the meeting decided that the resolution regarding the restoration of the deposed judges would not be included in the constitutional package.It was also agreed upon that the Murree Declaration would be fully implemented.The meeting that occurred at Zardari House here, was attended by PPP leaders Raja Pervez Ashraf, Raza Rabbani, Khurshid Shah, Farooque Naik, Sherry Rehman and Naveed Qamar and PML (N)’s Raja Zafar-ul-Haq, Khawaja Asif, Chaudhry Nisar Ali and Ahsan Iqbal.Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman could not attend the meeting, as he is ailing.

Monday, April 14, 2008

12th May Anniversary, new challenges


By: Amjad Malik

April was a month to celebrate the birthday of our national poet Sir Allama Mohammad Iqbal who with his visionary poetry tried to wake our long slept nation as well as ummah and declared our youth ‘eagles’ who with their strong character, will and intelligence will earn repute for their country in the community of nation. However those eagles were burning people alive in the chambers of Tahir Plaza on the sad day and Karachites saw the vivid reminder of them all of the 12th May massacre when Chief Justice was returned from airport and his colleagues were expelled, dead bodies were lying in the streets and goons were operating for good 6 hours shutting down all accesses to justice and by silencing the voice of channels through bullets. The answers to unsolved mystery are yet to be answered by a high powered commission.

England too saw northern Ireland conflict where people of Ireland fought for their rights and struggled with their political faction (Sin Fein) and advanced their argument with violence wherever they thought through IRA (Irish Republican Army), however in the end to get accepted nobly they had to lay their weapons to sit with the loyalists of the country to make a strong political argument.

I believe that drive of MQM to canvass nationally for elections was a way forward to get accepted nationally that they have a role to play in national politics and it would have been a service to the country if that had happened. However 12th May was a day which badly damaged their national role and all thanks to the policy of one man. If on that day the party had refused to do dirty what Choudharies already rejected on 5th May in Lahore, Mutaheda would have secured reputation as well as some stance that they have an independent position in the ranking. However, rather than renouncing violence, arson, blackmailing, harassment and subjugating the will of free people, they have failed to protect the public on the 9th of April 2008 and people witnessed the worst of its kinds atrocities in the form of burring law chambers as well as burning human beings alive.

Whatever the argument for or against operations against a political party, it was a wrong one, political matters are best to be dealt with politically on negotiation tables. However, when one tries to solve problems with might, it always backfires and same applies to Karachi. People of Karachi are under siege devoid of free will and a voice as their voice is nipped and they are portrayed as victims. This internationally renowned city has a lot to offer to the country in its national development. All the commercial business as well as the main port for transportation of goods is situated in the city. Quaid e Azam international airport is one of the biggest of the country and its time that the people of the city are served the way they truly deserves.

People of Karachi despite having talent, skill and intelligence have housing as well as employment issues. Multi story flats are housing millions without proper care and national service facilities despite the fact that Altaf Hussain have read the blue print of UK public service system where in 6 minutes police, ambulance and fire brigade come at the door of a person who dials 999 and hospital treatment, education and most of the services are free. Why similar treatment is not offered to the people of Karachi in last 9 years is questionable. The estate of the art development which is offered in last nine years falls a victim to the atrocities or riots at the hands of one or the other political rivalries and rather than youth competing with Indian counterparts in contributing national development, art, science, and IT they have guns ion their hands and mask on their faces fighting politics of lost cause.

MQM is a political reality in Pakistan and has a lot to offer. Time has come to learn from the mistakes and experiments in the west where no one could win the struggles of their rights by using might or weapons example of Sin Fein in Ireland, and role of Nelson Mandela in apartheid is a clear path to follow if people of veteran Altaf Hussain truly wishes to translate his majority into achieving physical objectives. National reconciliation is not a box of chocolates limited for ruling elites it applies to MQM, BNP,ANP and all others who have nationalist instincts the only condition is that time has come to abandon militant outfits of the political party as Pakistan does not afford any confrontation. In this light, MQM’s decision to sit in opposition will promote democratic spirit and their role must be accepted and protected too.

Quaid e Azam in his tomb must be seeking answers to the very question that if he has not achieved independence, at least it would not be Muslims who would burn each other in Karachi as the blame would have gone to opposition like in Gujarat riots. Is it not time that we all transform this country into Quaid’s Pakistan and policy of live and let live is followed in its true spirit. At this twilight a decision needs to be made that Karachi will talk of national politics but not through bullets, and that’s what people desires from public representatives to protect and represent the people.

Amjad Malik is a Solicitor-Advocate of the Supreme Court (England) and a political analyst based in UK

14 April 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Protest Against MQM's actions


DEAR ALL

JOIN US FOR A PROTEST OUTSIDE THE MQM OFFICES TO CONDEMN THE ATROCITIES COMMITTED IN KARACHI AGAINST CIVIL SOCIETY AND LAWYERS.

THIS IS ONE OF THE KEY GOALS THAT WE AS A PARTY HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING FOR - JUSTICE !!!

CIVIL SOCIETY, POLITICAL PARTIES, STUDENTS & OTHERS WILL BE GATHERING OUTSIDE THE MQM OFFICES IN LONDON ON APRIL 13TH. AT 1PM AT ELIZABETH HOUSE, 54-58 HIGH STREET, EDGWARE, MIDDLESEX, HA8 7EJ.

WE WOULD LIKE TO INVITE ALL THOSE WHO ARE AGAINST VIOLENT KILLINGS, ANTI- DEMOCRATIC FORCES IN PAKISTAN AND WHO ARE STRIVING FOR THE RESTORATION OF AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY TO JOIN US IN SOLIDARITY FOR THIS DEMONSTRATION.

PLEASE DO MAKE THE EFFORT - EVERY SINGLE NUMBER COUNTS !!

For additional information contact Mr. Ahmed Nawaz Wattoo 07799214021 or Rabia Zia 07515549541

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Let's not lose the Judiciary to the PPP now

Dear All,

The B-Team of the establishment, aka the lotas in PPP, are about to undertake a very serious and detrimental action for the restoration of the judges. According to the Constitution of Pakistan, any ordinance, unless ratified falls after 4 months. There is no need to send a bill to the parliament: a mere notification to PEMRA is enough.

By sending this to the parliament, the elected government will be accepting Musharraf's amendments as legitimate (please see detailed analysis by Advocate Faisal Siddiqi) and would damage the judges cause irreparably. WE CAN NOT LET THIS HAPPEN!

Campaign actions:

- Contact the ones responsible:

Please contact Senator Naek and MNA Sherry Rehman at their contact information below and ask them for an IMMEDIATE RETRACTION of their resolution. Instead urge them to have PEMRA retracted through a simple notification of its expiration.

Senator Farooq H. Naek Advocate
Suite-5, 3rd Floor, Shafiq Plaza, Block-A
Sarwar Shaheed Road, Karachi
021-5687931-3, 0300-8232527, Fax: 5687979 E-mail: naek_law786@hotmail.com

Address: H.No.8 St. 19 F-8/2 Islamabad.

Ms Sherry Rehman
Information Secretary
49-Old Clifton, Karachi
021-5834663, 0300-8222881, 0300-5001420, 051-9224129
E-mail : sherryrehman@gmail.com;
srehman@sat.net.pk
PPP E-mail: centralinformationsecretary@gmail.com


- Contact PPP CEC representatives and urge them to STOP this conspiracy:

Central Executive Committee (CEC)

Office Bearers of CEC

Asif Ali Zardari
Co-Chairman
H. No. 8, St. 19, F-8/2, Islamabad
051-2282781, 2255264, Fax 2282741. E-mail:
ppp@comsats.net.pk

Makhdoom Amin Fahim
Vice Chairman
11-A, 2nd Sun Set Street, DHA, Karachi, 021-5842140, 0228-31199, 051-2840588, 0300-9221234
E-mail: csppp@comsats.net.pk

Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani
Vice Chairman
Gilani House, Ghaus-al-Azam Road, Multan, 155-B, Phase-I, Defence, Lahore
061-542424, 0300-8448141, 8730662; 042-5723234. E-mail : makhdoomyrgillani@hotmail.com

Mr. Jehangir Bader
Secretary General
140/107 Karim Block, Allama Iqbal Town, Lahore. 042-5414990-1, 0300-8470402; 051-2276014, Fax 051-2276016
E-mail:
bader@brain.net.pk

Mian Raza Rabbani
Deputy Secretary General
H. No. 14/II, St. 31, Phase-V, Ext. DHA, Karachi:
021-5865841-2, 0300-9291624, 051-9223854. E-mail:
rrabbani@cyber.net.pk

Ms Sherry Rehman
Information Secretary
49-Old Clifton, Karachi
021-5834663, 0300-8222881, 0300-5001420, 051-9224129
E-mail : sherryrehman@gmail.com;
srehman@sat.net.pk

Mr. Sajjad Bokhari
Deputy Information Secretary
8 - Davis Road, Lahore - Tel: 042-63714559, 0300-8446754, E-mail:
pppintl@lhr.paknet.com.pk

Mr. Babar Awan
Treasurer
27-E, Ali Plaza, Blue Area, Islamabad. 051-2823778, 2276540, 0320-4265000
E-mail:
drbabarawan@hotmail.com

Punjab

Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi
President (Ex Officio Member)
H. No.445, Bab-ul-Quresh, Muhallah Daulat Gate, Multan
061-4514666, 042-5712289, 0300-8634453 E-mail:
smhq148@hotmail.com

Ch. Ahmad Mukhtar
4-A Main Gulberg-II, Main Blvd. Lahore Tel: 042-5870106, 0300-8467744, E-mail : amservis@hotmail.com

Ch. Aitzaz Ahsan
5- Kanal Bank, Zaman Park, Lahore.
042-6369725; 6361800, 6305327,

Haji Aziz-ur-Rehman Chan
President Lahore (Ex-Officio Member)
110 - Suriyya Jabeen Park, Main GT Road, Baghbanpura, Lahore.
Tel: 042-6819739, 6815300, 0303-7351276 E-mail: chanppplahore@hotmail.com

Makhdoom Shahabuddin
1 - Mianwali Qureshian, R. Y. Khan.
0731-65555, 042-6651613, 0300-8459101

Mr. Mohammed Afzal Sandhu
Room No. 1, 2nd Floor, Naqi Arcade, The Mall, Lahore.
042-7589878, 6371508, 0631-51300, 72639, 72339, 0300-42440384

Ch. M. Zaka Ashraf
128 Tufail Road, Lahore Cantt.
042-6655002-3, 0300-8459215; 051-2825777. E-mail: asmllhr@hotmail.com

Nawabzada Ghazanfar Gul
Kothi Nawab Sahib, Gujrat City.
0300-451222; 04331 523131; 523231, E-mail:
ghazanfarali@hotmail.com

Senator (R) Dr. Akbar Khawaja (Special Invitee)
38A, Johar Town, Lahore
0300-4234089; (001) 703-725-6786. E-mail:
ak2mbb@aol.com

Mr. Qasim Zia
16-Sarwar Road Lahore Cantt.
042-6664110-11, 9200315, 0300-8442317, E-mail: qasim@brain.net.pk

Rana Aftab Ahmad
D-613, Peoples Colony, Faisalabad - 041-712555, 612444, 0303-7362852
E-mail: aftabirshad@hotmail.com

Dr A. Rehman Malik
H. No. 419, St. 38, Sector G-10/4, Islamabad - Cell: 0321-2033383
E-mail: president@dmdigitalt.co.uk

Mr Sultan Mahmood Qazi
H. No. 50 / 8, Taimor House, Lane 3 Gulistan Colony, Rawalpindi -
Tel: 051-5511579, 0333-5145179

Dr. Israr Shah
Address : Attabak Pharmaceuticals, Block C, Industrial Area, I-10/3, Islamabad
Tele: 051-4434124, 44342901, 0300-8562032 - E-mail : attabak@brain.net.pk

Sindh

Syed Qaim Ali Shah
President PPP Sindh (Ex-Officio Member)
H. No. 50, St. No. 14, Khayaban-e-Mujahid, Phase-I, DHS, Karachi
021-5850308; 0792-52481; 52219, 552900, 051-9207477 - E-mail: pppsindh@yahoo.com

Mr Nisar Ahmed Khuhro
7th - Gizri Street DHA Karachi
021-9212031, 0333-2113388 - E-mail: nisarpppsindh@hotmail.com

Syed Naveed Qamar
Unit No. 2, Latifabad, Hyderabad;
0221-860892, 021-5874751, 5868850, 0300-5000222, E-mail:
naveedqamar@yahoo.com

Nawab Mohammed Yousaf Talpur
6-A, North Circular Avenue, Phase-I, DHS, Karachi
021-5882841-2, 0300-8236468. E-mail : talpur_nawab@hotmail.com

Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah
Manzil Gah Road, Sukkur. 071-30870, 30875
40/1, St. A, Khayaban Shujaat, Phase-V, DHA, Karachi Tel: 021-5845941, 5846941, 051-9208370, 9221147

Senator Dr. Safdar Ali Abbasi
D-42, Block-4, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi
021-4983169, 5838102, 510832, 513981, 051-9209307 - E-mail: benazir@zab.net.pk

Sardar Nabeel Ahmad Gabol
32/2 Khayaban Hilal, Phase-VI, DHA, Karachi
021-5850371, 0300-8241441, 8563296, 051-9221880 - E-mail: nabilgabol@hotmail.com

Mr. Rashid Hussain Rabbani
President Karachi (Ex-officio member)
C-57, Block D, North Nazimabad, Karachi. 021-6632469, 6674949, 0321-223869
E-mail: rabbani_52@hotmail.com

Mr. Murad Ali Shah
A-15-A/2 Central Ave. DHA, Karachi. 021-58997931, 0300-8210080 - E-mail: murad@wahur.com

Dr. Fehmida Mirza
Information Secretary - Sindh
38/I, 23rd Street, Khayaban Mujahid, Phase-V, DHA, Karachi. 021-5846509

E-mails: fehmida_m2000@yahoo.com; fehmidam_2000@yahoo.com

Senator Farooq H. Naek Advocate
Suite-5, 3rd Floor, Shafiq Plaza, Block-A
Sarwar Shaheed Road, Karachi
021-5687931-3, 0300-8232527, Fax: 5687979 E-mail: naek_law786@hotmail.com

Pir Mazharul Haq
Pir Colony, Dadu
22-B Lalazar, Off Boat Club Road, MT Khan Road, Karachi
Tele: 0254-710002, 021-5612298, 0300-3279135 E-mail : pmhaqdadu@gmail.com

NWFP

Mr. Rahimdad Khan
President (Ex Officio Member)
Village Hathian, Mardan. 0931-820155, 0303-7820435. E-mail:
hathianhouse@hotmail.com

Mr. Abdul Akbar Khan
Spinkati, Bakhshali, Mardan.
0931-61001, 091-819131, 0300-9177021. E-mail : bhutto79@hotmail.com

Balochistan

Nawabzada Mir Lashkari Raisani
President (Ex Officio Member)
Sarawan House, Raisani Road, Quetta
081-449582, 440661, 0300-9384197, 3830334 E-mail:
mirlashkari@yahoo.com

Mr. Javaid Ahmed
20-B/2 Railway Housing Society, Quetta
081-441404, 442643, 0300-9384199. E-mail: kamran@paknet3.ptc.pk

Mir Baz Mohammed Khan Khetran
H. No. 281-B, St. 40, F-10/4, Islamabad
051-2292225, 0333-5123923, 0641-688011 - E-mail: khetran786@yahoo.com

Mr. Sadiq Umrani
124-Block 5, Satellite Town, Quetta
0300-2126233, 0740-710553

AJ&K


Ch. Abdul Majeed
President (Ex Officio Member)
Village Tangduon, Tehsil & District Mirpur, AJK
Tele: 058610-44808, 0300-5191384

Northern Areas

Syed Jaffar Shah
President (Ex Officio Member)
Khazana Road, Gilgit. 058811-52995, 52634

Mr. Mohammed Musa
Tehsil Gilgit - 058811-2936, 55540, 55142, 051-9224871-2


- Use your activism group/political party to issue a statement and/or put pressure:
- Please get a statement from your group ASAP so the pressure can be sustained to have this resolution withdrawn before it reaches the parliament.

- Spread the word ASAP:
- Forward this to your contacts
- Urge your family and friends to put take up the campaign
- Publish this on blogs and email to Newspapers so this can be exposed.

Our SPECIAL thanks to Advocate Faisal Siddiqi and to CCP for bringing this to the nation's attention.

- Ryzwan

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Analysis by Faisal Siddiqi

It has been stated by the information minister today that a bill has
been moved in the parliament which seeks to repeal the November 3rd,
2007, amendments in the Pemra Ordinance, 2007. For the reasons stated
herein below, this move will damage the stance of the lawyers that no
constitutional amendment is required to restore the deposed judges.

1. Through PEMRA (Third Amendment) Ordinance, 2007, 10 darconian
amendments were brought about in the PEMRA Ordinance, 2002.

2. Under Article 89(2)(a)(i) of the Constitution, an Ordinance will
automatically expire/repealed after 4 months. Therefore, under the
Constitution, the PEMRA (Third Amendment) Ordinance, 2007, expired on
or about March 3rd, 2007 [this is in addition to the argument that
none of these amendments could even otherwise be made by a Chief of
Army Staff/President in pursuant to a unconsitutional
emergency/martial law].

3. If the PEMRA (Third Amendment) Ordinance, 2007, has
expired/repealed on or about March 3rd, 2007, then there is no need
for a bill in parliament to repeal it.

4. Musharraf's Argument: Article 270-AAA was a (illegal) purported
amendment made in the Constitution by Musharraf on 21-11-2007. It is
the same 270-AAA which alllegedly protects all the unconstitutional
acts [including the removal of judges] of the November 3rd, 2007,
Martial law. All Ordinances including the PEMRA (Third Amendment)
Ordinance, 2007 Dated: 3-11-2007, are allegedly protected by Article
270-AAA(3) which ensures that the Ordinances [like the PEMRA (Third
Amendment) Ordinance, 2007] will not expire after 4 months and these
Ordinances can only be revoked by parliament.

5. In view of the above, if a bill is moved in parliament seeking the
repeal of the November 3rd, 2007, amendments in the PEMRA Ordinance,
2002, then the Parliament WOULD BE ACCEPTING THAT ARTICLE 270-AAA IS A
PART OF THE CONSTITUTION.

6. This bill needs to be opposed as this might irreparably damage the
restoration of the judges movement.

7. As to the question of the legal status of the PEMRA (Third
Amendment) Ordinance, 2007, it is simple. These amendments (even if
valid) have expired/repealed. Mere Instructions have to be given to
the PEMRA Authorities not to enfore these amendments.

Best Wishes,
Faisal Siddiqi,
Advocate