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Posts tagged with: America

This is the Time For Lawyers to Speak – Naomi Wolf

Appeared on The Huffington Post

We have all seen over the past couple of months pictures of brave lawyers in Pakistan risking their careers and even their own health and safety to stand up for their nation’s constitution. At the same time, we are witnessing at home a similar – if not quite as acute – assault on our own Constitution by the Bush administration. Yet we have not seen a coordinated movement of lawyers in defense of the Constitution in this country.

It seems like this is about to change. The American Freedom Campaign, in conjunction with the National Lawyers Guild, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Alliance for Justice, has launched a campaign called “American Lawyers Defending the Constitution” (ALDC). Conceptualized just last month, the campaign has already brought together scores of law professors and other prominent lawyers, including Governor Cuomo.

Overall, more than 700 lawyers and law students have signed on to the campaign’s first project – a sign-on statement to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, calling for hearings to investigate unconstitutional and potentially criminal activities by the Bush administration.
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Benazir – Why the world needs democracy in Pakistan

An Op-ed by Benazir Bhutto printed in Christian Science Monitor today, what one must note that Benazir has ranted about everything but the Judiciary, I share this piece here only to expose the hypocrisy of our so called leaders who hail themselves as the upholders of Democracy in Pakistan

By Benazir Bhutto
Benzair BhuttoDictatorship fuels extremism, which reaches far beyond Pakistan

The world has rightly welcomed President Pervez Musharraf’s retirement as Army head and announcement that emergency rule will end on Dec. 16. However, a crucial question remains. Is Pakistan heading toward a democratic future? Parliamentary elections are currently scheduled for Jan. 8. Among many worrying signs of corruption, the election commission is biased and not acting on complaints of fraud.

Yet if credible elections are not held, it will have dangerous consequences for Pakistan and the rest of the world community: Extremism will continue to grow, putting everyone at risk. The world must act to prevent this. It must insist on free and fair elections in Pakistan.
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Pakistan asks Diplomats not to comment on Domestic Politics

It has just been reported on Dawn News that the Government of Pakistan has asked foreign diplomats stationed here not to publicly comment on the domestic political situation, officials said Sunday. The advice came after ambassadors of the United States and European Union member countries last week held a series of talks with Pakistani opposition leaders and gave on-spot television interviews after the meetings. “We have no objection to their meeting with anyone, but diplomats should not make public comments after such meetings, foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadiq told AFP. “We expect them to follow the standard behavior and diplomatic etiquette, Sadiq said. He added that it was general advice and whenever there is a violation diplomats are summoned and told not to interfere.

Is this some form of a PCO on the foreign diplomats living in Pakistan


VOA Interviews People’s Resistance during Muneer Malik’s Vigil

VOA LogoVoice of America host Murtaza Solangi covers the People’s Resistance vigil when they were stationed outside the SIUT for the support of Muneer Malik on 8th December. Following the interview VOA does a report on the Codepink activists Meda and Tighe when they returned back to the US after being deported from Pakistan

Hear it all here [audio:urdu1500aFRI.mp3]


Pakistans Rich List of 2008

Short-listing Pakistan’s most influential business magnates or Groups has never been an easy task because there are the people who have been very powerful in nearly every regime that has held this country’s reins since the last 60 years and then we have had those seasonal species that maneuvered their voice to be heard better than most within the power corridors, but later vanished into the oblivion for one reason or the other. We have selected only those tycoons who have made their presence felt for a better part of country’s history, have earned consistently, have been setting up units at regular intervals or have been legends in stocks, currency or real estate business.

The list excludes many names that have previously qualified and all of Pakistan’s most prominent feudal land lords who would definitely make it to the top 10, expect the few land owners which have declared their assets and work force and registered with the CBR Islamabad. In order to promote the new and “unknown” Pakistani magnates we have excluded in previous entities.

Unfortunately, our extensive research does not currently include the names of a few stars that shone brightly amidst the galaxy of the influential creed of yesteryear like C.M.Latif of BECO- the Steel Man of Pakistan- who did make a lot of name once, but then got gifted with contentment somehow, although the late business wizard got very badly hit by Bhutto’s nationalization of 1970 which had inflicted an astounding thud to everybody in business then. Had it not been the case, many of our tycoons may well have managed to gain the kind of status greeting the likes of Birlas and Tatas in India today, if not the one saluting Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Among these gifted individuals, you will find politicians-turned-businessmen, businessmen-turned-politicians or even the businessmen-cum-politicians. With malice towards none and with no intention to decorate somebody, We thus takes the pride of announcing these names. We hope this document will go a long way in serving as the most authentic endeavor of its kind for a very long time to come. It has been prepared very carefully in consultation with leading real estate barons, stock moguls, business leaders of virtue and senior bureaucrats at the Central Board of Revenue.
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Musharraf’s emergency upends Pakistan’s courts

By Nafisa Hoodbhoy, McClatchy Newspapers

A month after President Gen. Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan , the country’s once-independent judiciary is in disarray and still under attack, making it unlikely that America’s closest ally in the war on terrorism will have a functioning democracy anytime soon. Police lines surround the principal courts, unfit judges are taking over the judicial apparatus and the enormous number of lawyers on hunger strikes has slowed the wheels of justice.

When Musharraf handed down his “Provisional Constitutional Order” on Nov. 3 , the federal Supreme Court was about to declare unconstitutional his plan to run for another term as president while remaining the army’s chief of staff. Musharraf said he couldn’t find a solution within the Pakistani Constitution, so he took “extraconstitutional measures,” with the judiciary a prime target. “Some judges by overstepping the limits of judicial authority have taken over the executive and legislative functions,” he said in the order. Even though he’s given up his post of army chief of staff, donned civilian clothes and promised to end the stat of emergency by Dec. 16, Musharraf has said he won’t reverse his takeover of the judiciary.

He put Iftikhar Chaudhry, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, under house arrest and demanded that all other judges swear under his order that they don’t have the power “to make any order against the president or the prime minister.”
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Coalition of Concerned Citizens – A successful day on Capitol Hill

Press Release issued by Coalition of Concerned Citizens

An impressive number of Members of U.S. Congress and a Senator addressed a large gathering of Concerned Citizens to show their support for the restoration of pre-November 3 independent Pakistani Judiciary. In addition to the U.S. lawmakers, the representatives of Amnesty International, and International Crisis Group also spoke to a huge gathering. The large audience of Concerned Citizens included professionals, lawyers, physicians, and businessmen.

In her speech, Senator Claire Mccaskell from Missouri showed strong desire to restore the Pakistani judiciary. Senator Mccaskell showed her desire to make the U.S. Military aid to Pakistan contingent to “the rule of law. She strongly advised the Musharraf Government to restore the judiciary, or face the military sanctions. The Senator warned, “If the judiciary is not restored, Pakistan should face the threat of military sanctions.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren from the California accused the Musharraf Government of misusing the American Military Aid against his political opponents. She explained, “Pervez Musharraf’s government is using America’s military aid against political opponents rather than terrorists. She criticized the Musharraf Government for the abusive treatment of attorneys. She called, “The treatment of attorneys, such as Munir Malik, is outrageous.
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Musharraf’s teams Mis-statements at Asia Society

A detailed rebuttal to Musharraf PR Teams Mis-statements at Asia Society Meeting in New York on Friday Nov 30, 2007 which ‘mis’represented by Nasim Ashraf, Kashmala Tariq and Barrister Ali Saif

My views before the event and after the event were all concentrated on the fact that this was sadly a pro-musharraf deal and Asia Society should have done better to widen the platform to actually see a proper debate. It must be noted that on Nov 8th Asia Society did conduct an Open Town Hall Meeting which seemed a little more balanced quite contrary to the 30th Nov event

The entire recording can be heard here [audio:113007pakistan.mp3]

Background: An Emergency was declared in Pakistan on November 3, 2007 by General Musharraf as Chief of the Army Staff and on the same day a “Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) was issued by him as President of Pakistan. Pakistans 1973 Constitution only allows the President of Pakistan to declare Emergency. It does not give any authority to the Chief of the Army Staff to declare Emergency. This illegality was acknowledged by General Musharraf in an interview with BBC News on Nov 16th (BBC). He specifically says, “Have I done anything unconstitutional and illegal? Yes, I did it on 3rd November. Under the PCO, President Musharraf suspended Pakistans 1973 Constitution depriving the people of Pakistan of their fundamental rights and preventing the actions of his government to be challenged in the Courts.
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Musharraf’s Economic Deception – Part 1

Guest Post by Dr. Tariq Naeem

General Musharraf took over the reigns of power in 1999 from Nawaz Sharif with the Pakistan economy on the verge of bankruptcy. So desperate was the situation Nawaz Sharif toured the world visiting Pakistanis with a begging bowl requesting them to invest in Pakistan due to the sanctions imposed on Pakistan for carrying out nuclear tests. Incoherent, short-term policies had resulted in a minority of people benefiting immensely, who incidentally were directly linked to the Sharif family.

Both the IMF and the World Bank have consistently praised the Musharraf government for solid macroeconomic recovery and saving the Pakistan economy from the brink of economic collapse. They cite the $128bn generated under his tenure. Many commentators are eager to explain that the Musharraf government has made substantial macroeconomic reforms since taking over the economy in 1999. The argument of the few Musharraf loyalists being that he has brought a degree of stability to Pakistan that the country never knew under civilian rule.

Part 1 of this two part series will assess this claim and analyse the current state of Pakistan’s economy which shows it is in a far more precarious position:
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Update @ 2149: CodePink Activists arrested in Lahore

It is just being reported that Medea and Tighe, two US Human Rights activists who had come to Pakistan to stand up against these blatant human rights violation in Pakistan under the Martial Law have been arrested by the Punjab Police and are reportedly being held at Civil Lines. They’ve apparently also confiscated Khurram Khosa’s car, in which they were traveling.

They have at the moment many people working in their support from Lahore, as they made many friends during their brief stay there. We are also being told that the American Embassy is also assisting to orchestrate their release from captivity


CodePink – Vigil Outside a “Sub-Jail” in Lahore

CodePink activists were in Karachi for a few days and later headed off to the northern areas to take more part in the Anti-Martial law activities. Reaching Lahore they have already started making a ruckus and an article by Medea Benjamin on their visit to Aitzaz Ahsan’s house where he has been placed under house arrest

By Medea Benjamin

As soon as we arrived in Lahore, Pakistan on November 30, Tighe Barry and Iboth human rights activists from the United States–called the wife of the most prominent lawyer in Pakistan today, Aitzaz Ahsan. Ahsan is under house arrest, but his wife, Bushra, invited us to come by their office the following day.

The law office of Aitzaz Ahsan is connected to his home. When we arrived, the building was surrounded by 10 policemen. We entered the office and had a long chat with Bushra. She told us that her husband had been in jail for 21 days, and was then placed under house arrest. He was not allowed to leave the house, and visitors were not allowed in. I asked her if we could try. She smiled and escorted us to the door connecting the home and office.
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Radio Opensource Interviews Omer Alvie

Christopher Lydon of Radio Open Source has just interviewed Omer Alvie, a well known Pakistani blogger who blogs at The Olive Ream and a very passionate Pakistani like many of us. He has a knack of interspersing humor into his writings on his blog that one often wonders where does he come up with all this, this interview is nothing different when he says ‘….the hitlist should have the letter S in front of it’. Check out the interview on Radio Open Source or listen to it here

[audio:OmerAlvie.mp3]

A few excerpts from his interview
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Asia Society Discussion : Musharraf Government Makes Its Case

Asia Society LogoOn Nov 8 the Asia Society held a Town Hall meeting where discussed the Martial Law in Pakistan, it had a number of panelist from Asma Jahangir, Ayaz Amir to Najam Sethi, for a real thought provoking and interesting discussion, anyone who missed the show can listen to the entire recording online on Asia Society’s Pakistan Emergency page.

Today at 8:30am – 10:00am EST (6:30pm-8:00pm Pakistan Time) the Asia Society has scheduled yet another talk on Pakistan but sadly it only features only a pro-Musharraf panel. The team nominated by Pakistan to project the pro Musharraf message is as follows
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American Bar Association rallies alongside Pakistani Lawyers

American Bar Association LogoAs a Pakistani engulfed in this crisis it is really heartening to see the entire American Bar Association rallying to the support of the lawyers here in Pakistan, Thank you


How to Save Pakistan By Imran Khan

By Imran Khan

Make no mistake; Pakistan faces a grave threat from the creeping chaos, a by-product of the most shameful demonstration of power politics. There are many threats confronting our society. The threat of extremism is just one which is essentially a consequence of policies that serve foreign interests at the cost of the fundamental rights of our citizens. On 9/11, yes, we should have stood with the US when it was attacked by terrorists. But our cooperation should have been within the ambit of our constitution and law. No civilized society will ever allow its own army, raised and armed at a great cost to society, to be used so mercilessly against its own citizens and expect business as usual. In a society where the majority is without fundamental rights, without education, without economic opportunities, without healthcare, the use of sheer force will only expand the extremist fringe and contract the majority moderate.Our military rulers are incapable of understanding that the real owners of the country are its people who must have the right as, political sovereigns, to decide without fear and coercion who should rule them. In India the only qualification for Lalo Prasad or his domestic housewife Rabri Devi to rule Bihar was the mandate of the people. Can we imagine our ruling elite ever accepting a similar peoples verdict. This fundamental question of Who Owns Pakistan must be decided once and for all.

In the absence of democracy and rule of law, extremism and religious fundamentalism will continue to grow at a frightening pace. The more the present regime bows to Washingtons desire to “do more and the more innocent Pakistani blood is shed under the garb of fighting the war on terror or curbing extremism, the more Pakistan moves towards becoming a “failed state, and the more people would resort to picking up arms against the security forces.
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