:::: MENU ::::
Browsing posts in: 5/12

Letters to Univ of Stanford condemning Musharraf as “Big Speaker”

Musharrafs version of Democracy in PakistanGeneral (retired) Pervaiz Musharraf is scheduled to speak at University of Stanford on Friday, 16th January. This blog has since long been overwhelmingly against the actions and deeds of Mr. Musharraf starting from March 9th 2007 when he sacked the, then Chief Justice of Pakistan and more specifically after the imposition of Martial Law on November 3rd 2007, where he assumed himself to be above the laws of this land ie. the Constitution of Pakistan. All because Pervaiz Musharraf wanted to save his seat in power

I share with you three four separate letters that were sent to the University of Stanford condemning their decision to invite and honor Pervaiz Musharraf as a guest speaker, to teach the younger generation how to aspire to be a dictator like him, is probably the last thing that University of Stanford should teach its students. I believe that Pervaiz Musharraf in his final year in power caused Pakistan far greater harm then anything imaginable, having deliberately allowed crooks back into the country he bid adieu leaving Pakistan with a snub and a smirk when he said “Pakistan Ka Khuda Hafiz“. After all it is then that he wished us the worst, which is evident by the crooks he welcomed home
Continue Reading

May 12, 2007 – In remembrance

Pakistan stood stunned almost a year back on May 12th 2007 when the city of Karachi was held hostage in the hands of terrorists who went on a killing spree. The culprits were caught on tape and much was said about bringing these culprits to justice, but unfortunately nothing has come out, despite our repeated pleas for justice. Quite honestly how can any society, even imagine to dream about economic prosperity, when simple justice cannot prevail, there was ample video evidence to easily bring at least a few perpetrators behind bars, but unluckily they “knew the right people in the right places” to walk away scott-free as if no crime had ever occurred.

Dejected and helpless at the sad state of affairs surrounding our country, I simply share a few relevant posts made a year back. Read the anger and try to feel the frustration that besieged the citizens of Karachi that fateful day. Then take a moment and pray to God that Pakistan quickly comes out of the hands these ruthless above-the-law politicians and bring this country back to prosperity.

I must admit in the past few months the only shinning light I saw was through the resurrection of a strong and independent Judiciary, a dream which continues to evaporate into thin air. Innocent me, I dreamt of seeing Pakistan an embodiment of a fair and just society, where no body, not even me, is above the law and all are treated equally and with respect at least living in an Islamic state governed by the principles of the Quran and Sunnah, this should not be a dream, but an easy reality. Then why is it too hard for us to even live up to our name of ‘Islamic’ Republic of Pakistan. We might as well just become The Republic of Pakistan

About 200,000 people Arrested in Sindh

There are reports which are coming in for the past few days that a major crackdown is underway in Sindh specially targeting the workers of Pakistan People Party to an extent that there are official reports of around 0.2 million people that have been arrested for their involvement and activities in the rioting following the 27th Dec assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The estimates as reported in Dawn today narrate the official figure to hover somewhere around 200,000.

  • 227 FIRs have been registered for 91,571 people in Thatta
  • 167 FIRs have been registered for 81,840 people in Hyderabad
  • 264 FIRs have been registered for 1,232 people in Khairpur
  • 500 FIRs have been registered for 474 people in Nawabshah

Its is surprising that even a week after the incident the police has been able to identify the culprits of the crime, the ‘official’ reason for these mass arrests happens to be their involvement in riots and looting that took place throughout the country in the days after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. A number of Human Rights Activists working in these areas say that these mass arrests have nothing to do with those riots but instead are geared towards rounding up all opposition in an attempt to defuse their activities in the upcoming elections.

Continue Reading

Was yesterday’s carnage in Karachi all PPP’s doing or did MQM have a hand in it? – An Eyewitness Report

I would like to share with you an email sent to me just now narrating the experience of a person who tried to get home yesterday amidst the rioting and the chaos. The government and the media continues to point fingers at emotionally charged PPP supporters but instead we kind of forget that this city (Karachi) is controlled by yet another party called MQM who happened to show its full colors not to long ago on May 12th. Did we just see a repeat telecast of that 5/12 massacre yet again

I know many are attributing the violence, burning of cars, looting of ATM machines etc in the city to the reaction of PPP workers but allow me to share something that I observed last night. Like many I was also stuck in chaotic traffic for 4 hours. The Rikshaw driver refused to go beyond Quaids mazar and abandoned me there and took off. I don’t blame him. Anyway I had no choice but to ride with a total stranger on a bike to take me home. While moving through small streets to find our way to Gulshan-e-Iqbal, I witnessed many vehicles being torched. On one such small gali, I recognized a face, in the armed mob which was about to torch a parked Hi Roof, from my previous Mohala. He is a devout MQM worker. He had a riffle in his hand and was ushering a crowd of young men with lathis in their hands.
Continue Reading

May 12th HRCP Report – Carnage in Karachi but the Saga Continues

HRCP Carnage in Karachi ReportA few days back Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (blog) has published a fact finding report on the events of May 12th 2007 which is without doubt a tragic day in the history of Karachi (DOWNLOAD). It was a day when goons were deliberately let loose on the streets to enforce their concept of law and order, and the world is a testament that it was without doubt a horrendous massacre. We did not need an HRCP report to come to the conclusion as to who was at fault but this independent report definitely helps place the blame in a more credible manner.

Excerpt: This report does not presume to pre-empt or anticipate the outcomes of the processes of accountability that have been initiated in the courts and elsewhere. Its aim is more limited. It attempts to create a record based on newspaper reports, testimonies and accounts provided by eyewitnesses and affidavits relating to the events in Karachi on May 12. Much of the material used in this report is already in the public domain. In the politically charged atmosphere that prevailed in the city, “facts became contested almost as soon as they were first reported.
Continue Reading

George Galloway’s Speech on Pakistan

George GallowayI have long since been a fan of George Galloway, this time he works tirelessly to arrange for a session titled “Restoration of democracy in Pakistan” in the UK House of Commons. George Galloway first made his remarks and it was later followed by a response by the Minister of State, Mr. Geoff Hoon.

I needn’t say much about George Galloway’s speech as he was truly exceptional, had all his facts perfectly, was upfront at challenging UK’s support for Musharraf and also grilled the Minister on why UK had been harboring a terrorist by the name of Altaf Hussain for so many years and is allowed to run a terrorist organization ‘from a sofa, on Edgware Road’

Its sad to see Mr. Goons response which was embarrassing as he continued to support Musharraf’s reign on Pakistan by praising his Anti-Terrorism activities and also shed light on the holistic vision called ‘Enlightened Moderation’. Looking at this response I pray that the English bureaucracy does not overshadow the investigation of Altaf Hussain initiated by Imran Khan for his involvement in terrorism related activities in Pakistan. We all know had he been a bearded mullah sitting on an prayer mat in some isolated masjid in London, he would have been cuffed and sent to Gitmo within the blink of an eye simply on the suspicion of any involvement, but sadly with all the evidence gathered against him Altaf Hussain is not a mullah, and it seems as if this get-up does not ‘look like a terrorist’ it may be possible that he may yet again slip through the cracks. For the sake of the future of Pakistan – I hope that Justice is served

Other George Galloway posts, August 2006 – Galloway Belts the Bias Media on Israel & May 2005 – Galloway fires punches
Continue Reading

Imran Khan vs Imran Farooq

A must see dialog between Imran Khan of PTI and Imran Farooq of MQM on View Points from London. The discussion should have been good, but it seems that Imran Farooq did not prove to be a good rival, he mumbled and stumbled through the show without much substance.

The most hypocritical comment which I feel must be mentioned was when he talked about the ‘agencies conspiring against MQM’ during the May 12th massacre, had if not the TV channels not captured this live this lie would have been drilled down our throat with conviction, but as they say pictures speak louder then words, sorry Dr. Farooq, you have been found wanting.

Throughout the interview Imran Farooq remained on the back foot quite literally mumbling support for the lost and fading MQM ideology but was able to sneak a lone punch when he had Imran Khan talking on the Article 62 and 63 charges against him, but even then the goon fumbled his way back to the corner

Bottom line, I feel Imran Khan bowled him over with an in-swinging yorker. He has been sent back to the pavilion, and we await the next batsmen to come onto the crease….
Continue Reading

Kick the Killer out of UK Petition

Altaf Hussain and UK passportA group of Pakistanis have started this online petition to convince the British Prime Minister that enough people care that this Karachi Killer should be sent out of the UK. We all know that Imran Khan is there in the UK discussing with lawyers about preparing the case to file in the UK courts, rumors are that the lawyers need a little more time to digest the case and make it into a rock solid, close and shut case.

I doubt that there is any shortage of evidence as Imran Khan has claimed to have a European Commission report which allegedly finds Altaf Hussain intrinsically involved with local terrorism while he lives on British soil. Hence I feel there can only be one attempt to take this Karachi Killer to court and that should have a good attempt with no leaks.

Join the Online Petition by signing it here
Continue Reading

Musharraf: I Command You to Praise Me

Mush in your face

Well my fears continue to be realized with time and yet again we were not surprised when the President of Pakistan, the so-called upholder of the free press, went ahead to ink the new PEMRA ordinance which gives President Pervez Musharraf more authority in controlling the electronic media. Quite simply Musharraf was a supporter of the open dialog so long as they don’t question his authority, since March 9th the media has repeatedly asked him tough questions and he continues to fail in terms of Public perception and hence now Musharraf feels that the media must be brought under control to the extend of forcible shutting down media outlets if they do not follow the editorial policy to positively portray the image of Musharraf

Musharraf’s dictatorship upon the people of Pakistan has now becoming more threatening to say

I Command you to Praise me or elseoff to the gallows

The free press bubble which was hailed as a breathtakingly new & bold initiative ever to have been undertaken by any previous Army General in the history of Pakistan, he proclaimed this feat as an important chain-link for his holistic concept sweetly termed as Enlightened Moderation. It was without doubt the free press / Enlightened Moderation (Anti-Taliban / Anti-Madrassah) concept fooled top leaders like George Bush into accepting his military dictatorship and continued to offer an extension to his stay in power. For the past seven years Musharraf has used the Free Media trump card against all critics who have dared question his rule on Pakistan quite simply staring down the individual with a simple response ‘has the press become freer like never before?’. I must admit the Press was free, it was allowed to blossom into a beautifully lily, the discussion and dialog was considered a democratic right of any individual, but how fickle were the foundations of this Enlightened Moderation & free press that the moment the media raised a finger to question the President of Pakistan in the same democratic manner, he rebounds with a clamp down on the media with a number of restrictions, in effect censoring the media forcing it to adopt a pro-government attitude.

The free media has without doubt glorified its creator [Musharraf] for over seven years…. When he showed them his candor during his interview, the media clapped…. When he showed them sparkling GDP and economic numbers, the media clapped…. When he showed them his finesse at handling the 9/11 crisis, the media applauded…. When showed them how to handle Jon Stewart on Comedy Channel, the media raved.

But when he showed them the assassination of Bugti, the media stood silent…. When he showed them that he was above the Law by trying to unseat the CJP, the media cried foul…. but what really pulled the string was when he deliberately left an entire city of Karachi at the hands of ruthless killers entrusted to foil the grand reception for the CJP, the media yelled ‘enough is enough’. The free media could not keep quite any more and considered it their journalistic duty to report the truth, they could not live with the guilt of having watched the assassination of more then 40 people on May 12th and smile to say ‘Shabash Mushy… Well Done’

Had if, Musharraf gotten his way on the fateful day of May 12th the massacre would never had made it onto TV and later that evening cowering behind inch thick bullet proof screens in Islamabad, he would have placed the blame of the ‘entire‘ massacre on the hands of the CJP and Judicial body rallying in his support, but that was not so, the people pf Pakistan had witnessed a shocking day and were not to be fooled any further, sadly the media spoiled his picture perfect plan.

Hence in an attempt to stop such incidents from ever happening again, the PEMRA ordinance has been strengthened to clamp down on such LIVE telecasts ever in the future the red-tape increased enough that the media outlets would unwillingly be forced to adopt the propagandistic policies enforced by the government, no more hot interviews, no more anti-government / anti-Musharraf debates, propaganda will be the easiest story to make the hourly headlines and breaking news will be limited a boring old PTV Khabarnama.

Adil Najam of Pakistaniat in his weekly column titled Respecting the military and the media in The News quite rightly says

I have never been impressed by General Musharraf’s chest-thumping assertions about how he ‘gave’ freedom to the press. Freedom is not something that anyone can ‘give’ to anyone else. It is a desire that is inherent, intrinsic and ingrained within individuals as well as institutions. The credit for the expression of freedom by the Pakistani media can, therefore, go to no one except the Pakistani media itself. Having said that, it is also true that while freedom cannot be ‘given’ it can be ‘taken away.’ While freedom cannot be bestowed by government, it can — and often is curtailed by government. For much of his tenure, General Musharraf does deserve credit for having chosen not to limit or attack the freedom of the media. He cannot be credited with ‘giving’ the media new freedoms, but he should certainly be commended for not ‘taking it away’ — that is, until now.

Unfortunately, he seems to be losing his patience; and his cool. Like many before him, he now finds it convenient to blame the media for problems — such as the judicial crisis and the increasing anger against the military– that are essentially of his own making. He seems ready to undo one more positive aspect of his political legacy. Indeed, he may already have.

While Ahmed Rashid for writing for Washington Post / Newsweek writes in his article titled Musharraf = Military Rule, Cannot Survive (credit The Glasshouse)

Musharraf cannot survive the year. His actions over the past few months have pitted the armed forces against the Pakistani public and a section of the establishment that includes the judiciary and civil society. If Musharraf continues along this present path in defiance of public and judicial demands, he may plunge the country into civil war.

Yes I feel its a defining moment for Pakistan and very soon we shall see who and what remains after the dust settles, but this is for sure Musharraf has his head on the chopping block, any takers?

Sheikh Rasheed with Talat Hussain on AAJ.tv

It has always been a pleasure to watch Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed give an interview on TV. His unique sense of humor ensures that there can never be a dull moment throughout the interview. One must also note that throughout his political career it has been an observed fact that which so ever position or ministry comes into his portfolio the public spotlight asl follows him, a prime example is the present Ministry of Railways which has forever been a dull portfolio but with the inception of Sheikh Rasheed this past five years we have started to see a lot of life and vigor in Railways. Its in my opinion that his dexterity in handling the media is the actual crowd puller and with time also plays the right tune helping the cause as well.

Sheikh sahib knows how to pay the media and I think it was a horrible mistake by Musharraf to have not placed Sheikh Rasheed in the spot light to handle the CJP mess since March 9th. Instead in his arrogance Musharraf stuck to his guns and let Durrani and Wasi Zafar handle his public image which was an utter disaster. The Minister of Information Mr. Durrani took punches without much of a solid fight while the Law Minister Mr. Wasi Zafar resorted to bad language every time when he was being cornered in an argument, such poor representatives contributed to a horrible public image. It has been my perception that had it been Sheikh Rasheed in the defense of Musharraf, the media would have had played an entirely different tune and he himself could have masterminded a far better public perception then what is there today.

Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed appeared yesterday in an interview with Talat Hussain on AAJ.TV, watch the entire four part series uploaded onto Youtube courtesy of the ever efficient Kursedwccf @ Youtube. (Thank You)
Continue Reading

Q & A with Salman Ahmad

Here is a Question and Answer response by Salman Ahmad in light of his recent email where he shared his ongoing problems with the MQM reign of terror

Q1: You recently stated in the press that MQM leader Altaf Hussain has threatened you on a number of occasions. Have you ever taken a legal action against him? If not, why? If yes, what happened?

Salman Ahmad: Altaf Hussain is not courageous enough to threaten me directly…he gets his goons to do the dirty work.The first time I was threatened by the MQM was in the early 1990’s when their armed activists told me to go on stage and welcome their then local leader Azeem Tariq at the KMC sports complex. When i refused they threatened to abduct my wife and children. Then they called my house repeatedly and told my father and wife that they will shoot me if I continue to perform in Karachi. I took the threat very seriously and called the Sindh police who sent officers to protect my family residence. I didn’t make it a public issue then because the media was also intimidated by the MQM unlike the Pakistani media now which is strong and independent.

I discussed the matter with legal counsel and everyone told me that no court would be strong enough to stand up to the MQM’s fascist tactics. My friends told me that since I’m a nationally known figure these thugs would be taking a huge chance at attacking me or my family for such a stupid reason.

They did however disrupt many Junoon concerts at (REX) Hashoo auditorium when armed members of their student wing APMSO gate crashed,fought with private security guards and terrorized women, children and families by firing shots in the air and shouting party slogans.

Unfortunately these threats have always been there and most artists have given into these terror tactics because of fear just like all the other citizens of Karachi all through the 1990’s right upto the present bloodbath of May 12.

Another time I got a call from nine zero was from a guy called “Khalid bin Walid” who said that his “quaid” Altaf Hussain had personally demanded me to appear with Junoon at his “ghyabana walima” in Karachi followed by the one in London.When I refused to comply he told me that “aap nay iss shehr mein rehna hai ya nahin, yeh merey quaid ka Order hai” I refused and had no choice but to contact the federal govt. which provided Junoon with security at our Karachi concert. My security officer Hasnain and even my sound engineer, Ishtiaq, were told to convince me to perform at the walima where other artists were also hustled into going because of MQM’s reputation of terror.

Junaid Jamshed and Sajid Hassan told me that these people are dangerous and not to be taken lightly. My response to them was that If I gave into these threats then all the songs that I have composed like “JAZBA-E-JUNOON, TALASH, EHTESAAB, MERI AWAZ SUNO, NO MORE, AZADI,MEIN KAUN HOON ETC would all be blatant lies…

Q2: Do you acknowledge the fact that MQM is a major party in Sindh?

Salman Ahmad: My mother’s family also came from Patiala, India in 1947. Some of my relatives lost their lives and all their possessions during partition. They shed blood for a Pakistan which they hoped would give them human rights, protection and a home for their children to grow up in Peace and prosperity. Its for this reason that initially I supported the MQM, but when I saw their politics of terror, violence and coercion, I was disillusioned by them. After seeing the blood bath of MAY 12, Muslims killing Muslims, I’m forced to ask these questions: For how long will these parties continue to threaten the new generation of Pakistanis who are Pakistanis first and Sindhi, Punjabi, Mohajirs, Pathan, Baloch second. For how long will they arm young students with T.T. pistols and other weapons and teach them to kill rather than educate them. Is this the Pakistan they want for their children to grow up in? My appeal to the MQM and all the other political parties who believe in terror and violence is to listen to the voice of change: LAY DOWN YOUR ARMS and let us all help build a new Pakistan, a Pakistan of Peace,Justice and prosperity… A Pakistan which openly celebrates its beautiful and diverse people.

Q3:You have also stated that, “I think the time has come for all Pakistanis to stand up and be counted.” Are you planning to take any action other than the statement you have sent out?

Salman Ahmad: I’m an artist first and my work speaks louder than my words: From DIL DIL PAKISTAN to GHOOM TANA I have always had strong political views which have been reflected through my music and films… Whomsoever helps Pakistan become a strong,just and Peaceful country will always get my support.As a U.N. goodwill ambassador I have an added responsibility to promote HIV. Aids awareness and a global vision of peace, tolerance and coexistence. Pakistan is an integral part of this vision.

Q4: You are friends with Imran Khan. Are you unbiased or are you working in support of Tehrik-e-Insaf?

Salman Ahmad: Like I said I’ll support anyone who serves Pakistan’s interests and not their own.

Q5: You have always been a strong supporter of President Pervez Musharraf. What is your view of his behavior regarding MQM and what happened on May 12 in Karachi?

Salman Ahmad: President Musharraf will be judged by the legacy he leaves behind, Its in his interest and Pakistan’s that he keeps the will of the people his highest priority. There should be a strong independent commission which should look into the causes of the tragedy of May 12th. Pakistani blood is not cheap…. each one of the killers should be brought to justice and May 12th, “Bloody Saturday” should be a reminder to all, that, Pakistanis will NEVER surrender to terror and violence.

Q6:All over the world, musicians often get involved in politics. You have made a political statement. Do you think Pakistani musicians should get involved in politics?

Salman Ahmad: Its not for me to say what other artists should do,but this is a time for all Pakistanis to stand up and be counted.You have to ask yourself: will I always live in fear and be a slave in someone’s fiefdom…OR will I express my true “Khudi” and fly like Iqbal’s “Shahine” to discover my highest potential.

Q7:Are you planning on making a song about this May 12 carnage?

Salman Ahmad: Music, poetry and a guitar are far more powerful than guns, bombs and bullets. Sabir Zafar and I wrote the song “Junoon sey aur Ishq sey miltee hai Azaadi, Qurbani ki bahon mein miltee hai Azadi” for the movie, Jinnah. In this, Pakistan’s 60th anniversary of independence,

I’d like to dedicate those words to the Martyrs of May 12 who shed their blood for the sake of Jinnah’s dream…

Expatriate Pakistanis react with Passion

Ever since the Massacre of May 12th in Karachi which sadly claimed the lives of over 50 people, the world is abuzz with astonished outrage. The people living in Pakistan naturally go through hell with the day-to-day incidents but what people often tend to forget are the emotions of those Pakistanis living outside Pakistan who feel helpless and are unable to do anything sitting across the world, they filter through each news item, they hear every TV and radio story with apt attention in hope of getting a glimmer of hope from their motherland.

Having lived in the US for three years I know the emotions that go through when your city is ablaze and you have loved ones sitting huddled in a room afraid. Imagine their heart pounding reactions when on May 12 they start hearing of state sponsored massacre, they hear that the police and rangers are sitting dribbling their fingers while gangsters go on a killing spree, its a nightmare we in Karachi don’t ever want to re-live and naturally expatriate Pakistanis don’t ever want to repeat.

There is little doubt to the fact that these people are far more patriotic then we here in Pakistan can ever be, they have to identify themselves as Pakistanis on a daily basis and most are proud of it (unlike a handful of rotten eggs) and are often questioned by foreign nationals on the unrest in their homeland. These expatriate Pakistanis then consider themselves as ambassadors of Pakistan and try their best to put up a ‘good face’ for the sake of Pakistan image.

The incident that happened on May 12th was one which stunned everyone beyond belief, a good way to judge the emotions would be to listen to a radio talk show of ABCN Chicago (from Pakistan access it via 1590 WONX) aired immediately after the 5/12 Massacre, quite literally was a shockwave echoed across the globe

or download the MP3 here (28MB)

The following week ABCN Chicago (Urdu Talk Radio Chicago) covered in detail the impact of media and blogging on the recent political unrest in Pakistan and invited the prominent blogger Adil Najam of Pakistaniat.com and later he was joined by Talat Hussain of AAJ tv, to shed light on the issue. You can hear the entire show in the following clip

or download the MP3 here (28MB)

All heard and said, there is little doubt that expatriate Pakistanis remain as emotionally involved as physically possible, they see their country burning and want to guide it towards the best direction possible. But do our leaders care?

Courtesy: Blogiyaat

Salman Ahmed speaks out against MQM


An open letter by Salman Ahmed, a famous Pakistani singer, to all Pakistanis

Altaf Hussain and his murdering accomplices deserve to be tried for their crimes against Pakistan. I’ve been threatened by them on many occasions in the past 15 years. One particular time was when I refused to perform at Altaf’s marriage function in Karachi and London where all the other artists, including Ali Azmat, were browbeaten to go and perform for his “Majesty’s” pleasure. The man who threatened me was called “Khalid bin Walid” who was a known terrorist and a murderer. He told me that Altaf Hussain, “his Quaid” had especially demanded me to appear with Junoon to perform at their ceremony function.

When I refused to comply he called up my staff and my sound company guy, Ishtiaq Ahmed,and threatened them with dire consequences if I didn’t go. Ishtiaq pleaded with me to go and perform or risk being killed,and all this OVER REFUSING TO PLAY AT A MARRIAGE FUNCTION!
Continue Reading

Eyewitness: Karachi, May 12, 2007

A narrative of the events of “Black Saturday and the “stop-the-blame-game argument

Guest Post by Beena Sarwar
article also published in The News on 27th May

“Here in Karachi, we avoid name calling and finger pointing due to fear of having our knees drilled

ON May 12, 2007, Karachi witnessed orchestrated mayhem. Such carnage is hardly unique to Karachi or to Pakistan — law enforcement agencies have stood by and even participated in worse massacres elsewhere, like Northern Ireland and Gujarat, India. In Karachi that day, “only about 46 lives were lost, and 150 or so injured.

But this was the first time in Pakistan that live television cameras captured the situation for viewers to see: government tankers used to block off routes to the airport, police and rangers conspicuous by their absence or standing idle as armed men ran amok on the streets of Karachi, corpses and wounded bodies lying by the wayside in pools of blood.

The security plans chalked out for May 12 were abandoned overnight. The Sindh home department withdrew the weapons of most law enforcement personnel in Karachi on May 12. Armed only with batons, the 15,000 or policemen deployed in the city avoided the violent areas. Rangers who were to hold key positions on the flyovers on the main airport road were nowhere in sight. Instead, armed men in civilian clothes held those posts, and fired into the crowds trying to reach the airport to receive the Chief Justice stranded inside.

At 5:00am on Saturday morning, Shahrah-e-Faisal (Drigh Road), the main airport route normally trafficked at all hours, was deserted as a journalist friend in Karachi found who was out and about early. He emailed me: “I saw something which gave me the chills — no police or Rangers on the roads, just kids with guns guiding trucks, tankers to block the intersections, entry and exit points on the main artery of city. I saw an NLC truck also being used to block the road (picture attached). We all know NLC is Pakistans largest trucking company, owned and managed by the army. Tie-rods were being removed from front tires so the vehicles could not be moved even by a tow truck. I thought, What if ambulances are required to move on Sharah-e-Faisal?My thought was immediately answered when I saw two KKF ambulances moving freely (Khidmat-Khalq Foundation, MQM’s social service wing) and MQM activists among those supervising the blockade.

Getting to office took him two hours, a journey that even during rush hour takes only 45 minutes. “I told my colleagues about my fear and almost all of them told me to relax as MQM is not that stupid they will not repeat the 1992 & 94 stupidity. By 12 noon Karachi was bleeding.

“There were bodies lying at every street intersection, Uzi, a reporter related later on her blog. “We picked up a whole bunch of them and put them inside police mobiles parked nearby.As for the police and the Rangers: “They did NOTHING! They stood around and LOITERED while my city was tainted with blood.

The areas she covered were the second bloodiest that day. It took her nearly an hour to get to Jinnahs mausoleum (Mazar-e-Quaid), normally a 15-20 minute drive from her house. At Kashmir Road the cab driver couldn’t go any further and she walked the remaining distance. At around 01:00 p.m., she was stopped by a political worker who put a TT pistol to her forehead (“NOT the temple, the FOREHEAD). She was allowed to proceed after showing her press card.

Over at the Sindh High Court, lawyer Ayesha Tammy Haq sent this text message around 5 pm Karachi time: “In the High court. Things getting worse. Judges will not leave as there will be a rampage. I was with the CJ. City courts being attacked as re Aaj and Geo. We are going to have army rule in Karachi. It looks like that was always the plan i.e. redemption of the army. (Later in an interview, General Musharraf denied such plans and reasserted his commitment to democratic politics. But then, he has also justified what happened in Karachi as “the political activity of a political party attempting to show its strength to its constituency interview with Talat Hussain, Aaj TV, May 18, 2007)

Another lawyer emailed: “Not only was the Sindh High Court under virtual siege by armed activists, but lawyers attempting enter the Court were repeatedly beaten and roughed up. The armed activists did not even spare the Judges of the High Court. One judge was held at gun point and his car damaged. “While holding me at gun point, the youth called someone and stated Yeh bolta hai kay High Court ka judge hai…kya karun is ka?…achaa theek hai, phir janay daita houn (He says hes a judge of the High Court. What should I do with him? Ok then, will let him go). Many judges, unable to drive to the Sindh High Court, had to leave their official ‘flag’ cars and make their way through menacing crowds and climb over the court’s back wall in order to reach their chambers.

Munir A. Malik, one of the 25 lawyers accompanying Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry from Islamabad to Karachi, narrates how they were forced to remain inside the airport. The Sindh government representatives offered to transport the Chief Justice by helicopter but this offer was for him alone. Since the lawyers with him had already foiled the attempts of “two uniformed people to “snatch the CJP and take him from the other side, he refused. (Story at the airport, The News on Sunday, Special Report, May 20, 2007)

Armed men attacked lawyers at Malir District Bar, Iftikhar Choudhry’s scheduled first stop in Karachi, killing a lawyer and injuring several others, including female lawyers. The Chief Justice and his team, of course, were externed to Islamabad after several hours. Late that night, residents in the low-income Ranchore Lines mohalla were awakened by loud banging on their doors. One resident relates that it was two young boys distributing freshly cooked biryani and suji in plastic bags: “Yeh chief justice ki wapsi ki khushi mein hai (This is to celebrate the Chief Justice’s return [to Islamabad]).

On the Karachi streets, Uzi’s press card had saved her again at around 05:00 p.m. as she and a colleague tried to reach the Rangers Headquarters in Dawood College. “A car chockfull of ammunition passed in front of us, stopped, backed up and stopped in front of us, Kalashnikovs pointing at the two of us from the windows. We showed our press cards and the car moved on. NEVER in my LIFE have I felt more grateful to my press card than I did yesterday.

At around 06:00 p.m., she and her colleague were trapped by gunshots all around. “Short of climbing the walls and entering one of the houses around, there really was no other place for us to go.They stopped a police mobile and asked which way would be safe to go. The answer, accompanied by laughter: “You can be killed wherever you go. Choose your place.

In published reports, journalists prudently avoided naming the parties involved. “Young men toting flags and banners had set up camp outside the airport departure lounge. They hid, however, when policemen came by. Reporters in the vicinity were asked whether they had seen any political activists around. Munawar Pirzada (from Daily Times) said that he had seen some nearby. After the policemen had left, the activists came up to the reporter, dragged him by the hair and took him aside. They then proceeded to threaten him with dire consequences if he said anything the next time the policemen came around (Urooj Zia, Daily Times, May 14).

But the affiliation of these gangs was visible in the live coverage provided by several private television channels, which showed plainclothes men brandishing weapons on the deserted roads, using government tankers as cover, exchanging gunfire with unseen opponents, the tri-colour MQM flag visible on their motorcycles.

After Aaj TV’s continuous live coverage of such scenes, armed men attacked the television station, firing at it for several hours. Instead of stopping the coverage, Aaj showed live footage of reporters ducking behind a desk, shots being fired at their office, as anchor Talat Hussain provided an account of the situation on the phone. Reporters in the area asked the Rangers posted nearby to help the Aaj workers trapped inside their building. The answer: “We’re helpless. We can’t do anything unless we have orders from above.

Aaj TV’s refusal to suspend its live coverage emboldened the new breed of citizen journalists. “My faith in independent media was restored and I was confident that I am not alone, wrote one blogger. He had hesitated to post out the testimony of a doctor at a Karachi hospital who witnessed armed political workers turn up to finish off an injured political worker. Encouraged by the Aaj re-broadcasting of images that clearly showed the involvement of MQM workers in the violence, he published the testimony with a disclaimer that “it was an anonymously posted comment and could be entirely false, you be a judge for yourself.

The testimony was apparently sent by a doctor who had been at work for several hours attending to multiple gunshot wound victims in his hospital lobby, where a makeshift emergency room had been set up. Nothing, he writes, “struck down my soul more than what 9 fully armed workers of MQM along with 2 sector office bearers did. They tried to drag out the wounded and dying body of a Sunni Teri worker (whose identity they later learnt) for presumably finishing him off.The protesting doctors were slapped around and dragged by their legs to the back of the gurney alley. With “shotguns, pistols and ak-47’s in hand, the men ran back to the lobby presumably to find their target again.

The doctor ran out to the rangers and police near the hospital front gate. Their answer to his appeal: “Jaante ho inn logon ko phir bhi kyon larta ho¦hamain upar se order hai ke inn ko char baje tak karne do jo karna hai. Char baje ke baad kuch dekhainge” (When you know who these people are why do you still fight them ¦ we have orders from above to let them do whatever they want until 4pm. After 4pm we will see).

As a previous MQM supporter, the doctor had recognized some of the assailants and called a friend related to MQM deputy leader Farooq Sattar. Five minutes later the men received a phone call and left, threatening the doctors (and stealing one of their cell phones, “Chikna set hai — it’s a cool set). “The guy they had come looking for had been shot one more time in the head. The o.t dress we had dressed him in 10 mins earlier was freshly bloody. Full text at: Karachi Metroblogs
There is a story behind each of those who were killed, some belonging to one or other political party, and others just because they were there. Masked men stopped ambulances and sprayed them with bullets, killing an Edhi Ambulance driver, Faizur Rahman Khan, 65, when he refused to throw out a wounded person he was transporting to hospital from near the airport; the wounded man was also shot again. Armed gangs herded passers-by into an alley and shot dead a young overlock machine operator along with another man, in front of two colleagues who were also shot but survived to tell the tale (They shot us one by one… by Munawar Pirzada, Daily Times). There have been reports about an SHO who guided a procession into an ambush and a pregnant woman who had to deliver her baby in the car when armed men refused to let her proceed to the hospital with her husband. The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) reports that several journalists were manhandled and nine wounded. Some TV cameramen were beaten and their cameras snatched or damaged.

In all these stories of horror, there is at least one amusing aside: the stranded reporter Uzi had the thrill of getting to ride a motorbike when her editors sent a senior reporter to pick her up. “You couldn’t use a car etc, because on a bike your press card was visible, and that was a kind of immunity. In a car or a van, they’d shoot at you on sight. So yeah, I got to ride pillion on a bike, and I didn’t sit sideways either, like women usually do here. 😀 I sat like guys usually do handsfree mode. 😀 Initially I was scared shitless, but then I got used to it, and it was AWESOME — like flying! MQM-waalahs on the way kept turning and staring at the weird Chick who was riding pillion like guys do and didn’t have to hold on to anything to maintain her balance. 😀 AWESOME, it was! I want a bike now! :P”

All power to Uzi, I say. I hope she gets her bike and I hope she gets to ride it. Someone should do a study on why Pakistan is the only Southasian country where it’s a no-no for women to cycle or drive scooters, or sit pillion astride (rather than side-saddle as they do,
uncomfortably and dangerously, sometimes holding on to several children). It wasn’t always that way until the 1960s college girls in Lahore, Karachi, even Peshawar bicycled around pretty freely, some even in saris. A trivial matter perhaps, given what’s happening in the country but these issues are not entirely unlinked.

Karachi educationist, Anwar Abbas, later emailed: “My son-in-law and daughter who live in a building adjoining Baloch colony flyover had a good look at the thugs in action from their rooftop. Their only regret is that they did not have a camera to capture the ghastly scenes. They returned to their flat because their little daughter was alone with the maid and because the thugs had also climbed the roofs of adjoining buildings in order to obtain an aerial view of their targets and shoot at random.

He added: “It is not important which group they belonged to; it is important that they could behave the way they did in complete disregard to the rule of law; if indeed the law was awake or not in collusion with the thugs Many others, including Aaj TV’s Talat Hussain and MQM’s Dr. Farooq Sattar have also suggested that the “blame game be avoided.

But a lawyer friend, “angry and distressed in Karachi, argues that “If we avoid name callingand finger pointing, we will simply be brushing the events of last Saturday under the carpet of indifference. Here in Karachi, we avoid name calling and finger pointing due to fear of having our knees drilled. Even Urdu speaking lawyers, while talking of last Saturdays events at the Sindh High Court look over their shoulders and speak in hushed tones when mentioning the name of MQM

“As we try to understand the carnage of 12th May, we have to ask the following question: Which political group stands to lose the most in a Musharraf ouster? Not the PML (Q). The Chaudhrys and their ilk will merely disperse and filter back into the PML (N) or the PPP. The unprecedented power and privilege of the MQM however is firmly tied with Musharraf’s hold in Islamabad. It was the threat to their benefactor from the supporters of the Chief Justice, which unleashed the gunmen on 12th May. Zaffar Abbas is correct when he writes that Karachi was only at peace for the past many years because it suited its militants (‘Back to the future?’ Dawn, May 14, 2007)

“Finger pointing is necessary, because throughout our history, instead of a catharsis, we simply go through a jo ho gaya ab bhool jaao, aagay daikho (forget what has happened) attitude. Already, with the President’s pat on the back at the emergency meeting of the ruling party in Islamabad (on Monday) the MQM is back on the front foot

“Although it is unlikely that the perpetrators of Saturday’s violence will ever be brought to justice, at least they should continue to be exposed before the entire country. More importantly, they should face the consequence of such exposure. Public image is very important to the MQM and the national outrage at their conduct may be the best prospect of compelling them to change their ways.

Pakistanis, Be a Part of the Change

The political situation in Pakistan is literally in an uproar these days and its getting worse, its time that Patriotic Pakistanis have to step up and be a part of the change, we cannot continue to live behind closed doors and hope that ‘someone‘ would come along to change Pakistan for the better – No one is coming, heck no one will ever come unless and until we Pakistanis stand up to change it ourselves

Are you Proud to be a Pakistani?
Are you ready to help change Pakistan for the better?

If so, then you most definitely need to join us and become an active part of the change, our goal is to remain politically neutral but speak the truth for the sake of Pakistan.

Join the Proud Pakistani mailing list group and contribute towards a positive change in Pakistan.

Google Groups Beta
Subscribe to White Band for Justice Mailing List
Visit this group

Proud-Pakistani Blog