On 3rd November a small group of social & print media bloggers were invited to the US Consul General’s Residence in Karachi for a small luncheon discussion with the visiting US Under Secretary Maria Otero.
Maria Otero, is a well spoken representative of the US, coordinating U.S. foreign relations on a variety of global issues, including democracy, human rights, and labor; environment, oceans, health and science; population, refugees, and migration; and monitoring and combating trafficking in persons.
The discussion was interesting, everyone had a chance to put their point of view across, My issues were focused on
Pictures from the Karachi protest against the election of fake degree holders being elected into the Parliament where citizens demand from the election commission the verification and ouster of all fraudulent degree holder parliamentarians.
An election is taking place in Faisalabad for Punjab Assembly today. There are three more bye elections in other areas of Punjab. All are taking place after the resignations of the members of parliament due to their fake degrees of graduation submitted to Election Commission during the 2008 general election. It took two years before the Supreme Court took up the cases and several of these accused opted to resign instead of fighting their cases.
Two of those who resigned are contesting again. A natural division of these two is shared by the two parties of the rich, the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz. Ajmal Asif contesting from Faisalabad is from PMLN and Jamshed Dasti from PPP. Both of them are allowed by the courts to contest against. What a mockery of the justice. They resigned from their seats because they had cheated the Election Commission and the people in general. The cheaters are contesting again because at present the condition for the illegibility of a candidate to be a graduate is gone.
This is just one aspect of these bye elections. The elections are contested every where with full state sponsorship of the candidates from the respective governing political parties. The rich candidates are violating all the code of conduct that Election Commission has laid down for candidates before the elections.
This post was submitted by Farooq Tariq.
Huqooq March ends today on 8th March with public gathering in Gandakha participated by thousands of men and women. Huqooq March started by Awami Party on March 1st to support election campaign of Mai Jori, a peasant woman contesting election of provincial assembly of Balochistan.
The marchers arrived in Gandakha today that was received by hundreds of men and women as they marched into the streets of Gandakha. Addressing the public gathering Mai said that her election contest is the overwhelming decision of peasants, women and youth of the area. She was least worried about the election result and promised to continue struggling for the poor for their rights fighting against the big landlords and influential people who in a cowardice attempt use the government resources to influence the election.
Mai Jori continues her eight day Huqooq March by going walking through the various villages and towns in her constituency to rally up support for her by-election bid, but more importantly she is the symbol of hope for the down trodden and suppressed women of that area. throughout her journey she is being greeted by many peasants who greet her to a resounding welcome everywhere she goes.
On the third day (March 3rd) of Huqooq March she and her fellow marchers traversed through the village “Bagh Tail” by marching 30km through a convoy of motor bikes, hitching rides from various datsun pick ups, buses, cars and tractor trolleys. The marchers were well received by the villagers at Bagh Tail who literally came out in droves to greet her. Addressing the marchers and villagers gathered to receive her, Mai Jori resolved to continue lobbying for the rights of poor and vulnerable especially women regardless of the outcome of her election result.
Mai Jori, a peasant women contesting the Baluchistan Assembly by-elections has embarked upon an eight day Huqooq March (March for Rights) journey across her constituency by foot rallying voters to stand up for their rights and be a part of the change. Mai Jori started on the 1st of March from the village Ghulam Muhammad Jamali to Gandakha and visited several villages on the way and will continue to march across the region till the 8th of March. Men and women of the area joined this March for Rights in hundreds.
Mai Jori Jamali a peasant farmer belonging to a village called Ghulam Muhammad Jamali in Baluchistan filed to contest the bye-election on the vacant seat of Baluchistan Assembly PB 25 Jaffarabad – I on March 10th 2010. Her papers have been accepted and declared correct after scrutiny. Mai Jori is illiterate and helps her husband in farming she also looks after her nine children. She brings water for the family after traveling 2 km distance and was shot into prominence in 1978 due to Pat Feeder Kisan movement when progressive and trade unions leaders had started living in the Goth area for the sake of movement.
Mai Jori is contesting from the area which was recently brought into focus for the infamous and heinous crime against women where a few women were buried alive in 2008 in a case of Honor Killing. Mai Jori Jamali is contesting election on party ticket of Awami Party Pakistan.
It is being reported that Mai Jori and her relatives have taken this decision to dare to fight with outdated customs of women brutality in the region.
After a lapse of over two years, today a full bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan came through with a historic judgment declaring the 2007 National Reconciliatory Ordinance null and void. It must be recalled that the NRO was the mastermind of the then President of Pakistan General Pervaiz Musharraf who in October 2007 orchestrated this pact with the exiled PPP leader Benazir Bhutto in an attempt to negotiate his own extended stay on the Presidential seat of power and in this process pardoned most of the corrupt criminals whom he himself detested so vehemently in his autobiography a few months earlier all in the name of political compromise. Since then history stands witness to have watched the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the people of Pakistan stood embarrassingly dumbfounded as one of the most corrupt politician Mr. Asif Ali Zardari snuck through the back doors of diplomacy to land into the Presidency of Pakistan.
Today the year-old restored judiciary stood strong to declare the NRO null and void, a short order issued outlined some important aspect of this new judgment but the exact specification and its affect on the Presidency remains to be ironed out. But it might be in the interest of Pakistan to not embarrass and ridicule Asif Ali Zardari and the Presidency any further and it might serve us all well to settle for a negotiated compromise, possibly having him to hand over most of the illegally amassed wealth back into the national treasury in lieu of his respect and freedom
By: Amjad Malik, MA, LLM
I have been vehemently advocating the need to erect a system of accountability by invoking a new commission and an Act of Parliament to curb mal practice, plundering and looting whilst one is holding a public office. This new Commission can truly ensure compliance with the Clauses of Article 62 and 63 of the constitution too. We are witnessing many names in the list of beneficiaries of National Reconciliation Ordinance, and many names which are not in it, are either praying to be in it or cursing the said redemption order of the former military dictator who came to rid corruption on 12 October 99, and left giving this strange gift of ‘hypocrisy’ to the nation.
Mal practice, corruption and mal governance is a common phenomenon of the third world countries as wealth is confined to the elite and institutions are so weak that they do not get roots and are run on the dictat of personalities. Pakistan is amongst those few unfortunate countries where despite abundance of natural resources, talent, passion, capacity of self dependency in edible food products, the country is still rating higher in corruption, suffering from food, electricity, gas, sugar shortages. Who is to be blamed is a long short, and to me, all bear the collective responsibility to bring this country to a stage where each person of any possible public stature is not free from corruption charges, which I will call allegations.
It seems the Iranian Elections are being reported by the State run news agencies as a victory for the incumbent Ahmedinejad but it seems that only a fraction of the results have been counted. Stratfor has issued a careful watch alert on the elections to not jump to conclusions just as yet as there appears to be hotly contested election and tempers may flare up
A must read article by Shaheen Sehbai published in The News yesterday, sheds light on the present political chaos. “The over-riding sense of failure is that after a free and fair elections a genuinely popular and elected government should have created a tidal wave of trust and confidence, at the domestic and international levels, which would have translated into massive political, economic and moral support for Pakistan” – He goes on to share the gloomy reality “Whatever is being said, heard and thought about in Islamabad, is testimony to the fact that our politicians are failing to meet the challenge that the present window of opportunity has provided them. If they ultimately fail, God help them, and us all” God Help Pakistan
Guest blog by Muhammad Saad
Barack Obama’s recent election as the next US president has been met with widespread acclaim all over the world. However, in Pakistan, which has been a frontline state in the ‘War on Terror’ since September 11, 2001, Obama’s victory has met with either cautiously optimistic or sceptic reactions. His recent statements about Pakistan have been hardly encouraging for the Pakistani people.
Despite facing considerable opposition at home, Pervez Musharraf’s government allowed the US armed forces to use Pakistan as a base for staging attacks against the Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan. But since the past one year, the War on Terror’s scope has expanded to the tribal areas of Pakistan. Many Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders are believed to be taking refuge over there, forcing the Pakistani military to take action against these forces. The new democratic government has also resolved to root out the Taliban from these areas. However, the recent American and NATO air strikes in the tribal regions, which have killed many innocent people along with some Taliban forces, have caused massive outrage in the country and soured relations between the two erstwhile allies.
Guest Blog by Farrah K Raja
When I came across” Teeth Maestro” I thought well how healthy my teeth are? The answer is always the same the one which Cinderella’s step mom used to get from the mirror.
I do not believe in cosmetic surgery or going under knife so I do not spend much time in front of the mirror but I do spend a lot on my computer.
In today’s world where now Obama will be addressing the Nation through internet, so that message is not limited to USA alone but to the whole world. The impact of internet cannot be ignored and I am so glad Teeth Maestro is one blog from Pakistan which very responsibly is providing an alternative for people to express and connect as compared to stereo type Print and Television Journalism.
I personally believe past ten years were extremely important in the history of the world and in the history of Pakistan.
We were led by a true statesman, Mr.Musharaff, the only thing he was lacking was he did not come through voting process. By God people of Pakistan have proved who ever does not come through this process is never going to rule us even if he delivers moon and the stars.
Guest blog by Talkhaba
These are two out of many pictures of Salman Taseer, Governor Punjab. Salman Taseer has his own way of life. Every one knows well about this guy and his personal and social life. To him and his son Shehryar Taseer Life means Wine and women. We have nothing to do with their personal life but once one occupies any public office his personal become public. This is why according to the constitution of Pakistan
- There shall be a Governor for each Province, who shall be appointed by the President [96A] in his discretion  after consultation with the Prime Minister. And
- A person shall not be appointed a Governor unless he is qualified to be elected as member of the National Assembly and is not less that thirty-five years of age 
Great presidents born from bad times – Rick Barton shares his thoughts on the newly elected President. If greatness is bestowed upon the American presidents by the seriousness of the problems they face, then the coming months are likely to produce Mount Rushmore-like moments for Barack Obama.
Not since 1932, when Franklin D. Roosevelt prepared to take office amid the depths of the Great Depression, or perhaps since 1860, when little-known prairie lawyer Abraham Lincoln watched powerlessly as a swath of Southern states seceded from the Union, has an incoming president faced such a daunting set of challenges. Is Barack Obama as the new president of the United States of America ready to rise up to the challenges that lay ahead and thence forth be recognized as one of the greatest President of our time?