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Posts tagged with: CrisisPk

Talking in percentages, the latest IRI survey

Guest Blog by Zovc

Election Poll

The latest IRI survey released on 11th of February indicates once again that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will clean sweep the February 18th elections. These elections are thought to be one of the most critical in Pakistani history not just because they will decide the fate of Pakistan for the next five-years and its repercussions but also the fate of War on terror and neighboring Muslim nations.
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Just Think for Once and Then Vote

Guest Blog by Amjad Malik

This could be one of the most uncertain elections in Pakistan where there are hundred of doubts whether they will be held as scheduled, and if yes, will it be fair and the atmosphere is not conducive either. If people come out of fear, and went to vote on the poll day then rest assured despite all the odds the next Parliament will be a mix of pro and anti Musharraf forces who will be deciding very crucial issues and one of them would be reinstating the deposed judiciary and future of Pakistan. If these elections are rigged, it will open a Pandora s Box which may sweep a lot of things with it as Pakistani elections have many stories within.

In the gloomy atmosphere which is saddened by the death of Be Nazir Bhutto, election process could not really attract lay men, women and children who are scared as well as the government machinery under instructions to do or not to do their job casting spells on its fairness. Being a human being I sometime feel the pain of incarceration of family members of Chief Justice & others who are blamelessly detained and are not able to run their lives as other normal human beings like going to school, shopping meeting families etc. It reminds me of the colonial past where family members were arrested in order to make an arrest in order to try the main accused and even today our black masters could not exit from that mind set even in 21st century. Mr. Justice Iftikhar Choudhary could be the main man desired to be detained by the General, however his familys house arrest is unimaginable, and the shameless quietness over it is unforgiveable.
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Festival of the Oppressed

Guest post by Umer Chaudhry
Cross Posted from Red Diary

February 9th, 2008, was an important day for the lawyers movement and for the people of Pakistan. It was that day when the lawyers showed their resilience in the face of State repression on the streets of Islamabad. It was that day when the lawyers showed to the rest of the world that their movement will not fade away. It will stand to accomplish its objectives. It will stand for the rights of the people, for restoration of judiciary, for free and fair elections. The Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP) finds it to their honor to stand by the lawyers in their struggle for democracy and justice.

It started with the usual chill of the winter morning when a car rally organized by the Concerned Citizens of Pakistan left from the gates of Aitzaz Ahsans residence in Lahore. The organizers were kind enough to give space to some student-members of the CMKP for free. The long journey was made easy by discussions that ranged from anti-war movement in USA to political theories and the upcoming elections in Pakistan. We made short stays at the Bar Associations on our way as more lawyers and cars joined in. Ahmed Mukhtar, who is contesting elections from Pakistan Peoples Party against Pakistan Muslim League-Qs stalwart Shujat Hussain, hosted our lunch and briefed us about his preparations to tackle rigging of elections in his constituency. As we were getting late, we had to avoid more stops and rushed towards Islamabad.

Still we were not on time to attend the Pakistan Bar Councils meeting at Islamabad. We drove to the Aitzaz Ahsans house where a group of lawyers was waiting for us, ready to march on to the residence of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. As the demonstration started, members of CMKP from Rawalpindi/Islamabad arrived armed with large red flags marked with the hammer and sickle and a megaphone. Without wasting any moment, we ran towards the rally waving our flags, caught our breath, and started raising our slogans against the military rule.
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Pro Musharraf Rally welcomed in Islamabad

Funny yet ironic how the bureaucracy chooses to sugar-coat its Pro-Musharraf supporters with police protection, security gates and then finally a treat of lunch boxes. While only a few days earlier the opposition was treated with tear gas, bricks and a hose down in the chilly Islamabad winter. Free and Fair elections definitely remain an Oxymoron


It’s just a rock! It’s just a bruise

By Sundas

Sundas is a student of LUMS who is an active member of the Student Action Committee, Lahore and this write up is her narration of the events that took place in Islamabad last Saturday when over 1500 strong force of unarmed citizens braved the water cannons and tear gas to try and reach the house of the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry

“It’s just a rock, I’m fine. Don’t worry.” I said to my friend standing next to me, blinking from the pain, as a broken piece of a brick hit me square in my shin. We were at the capital of our country, trying to reach the house of our Chief Justice held captive by a brutal dictator. The extent of his brutality, we were just beginning to get a taste of.

This was a procession of over 1500 lawyers, students, civil society members, gathered to protest against the blatant usurpation of our judicial institution, our media, as well as our fundamental rights. There were around 150 of us who had come from Lahore to join in today’s protest. Marching on to the judge’s enclave, we were chanting slogans, singing songs “na mera Pakistan hay, na tera Pakistan hay; yeh uska Pakistan hay jo sadr-e-pakistan hay” [This not my Pakistan, this is not your Pakistan; this is that person’s Pakistan, who calls himself the president of Pakistan] followed by proclamations of our struggle to get our country back. “Freedom is ours, if you don’t give it to us upon asking we will take it…” Wherever you looked, you saw people who had come together, united to fight for the collective good. Stating it was enough, we will no longer be silenced. We will no longer hold back, or bow our heads low.
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They took Oath under the PCO before – Why Should we Support them Now

Article written by members of the People’s Resistance

Originally written on Dec 26 2007, The PCO Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry, has since retired

A Bit of History

Pakistans history is chequered with instances of military taking over the state. When Ayub took over, he introduced a constitution (1962) that gave sweeping powers to the President and the military. On his downfall, General Yahya, the new military ruler issued Pakistans first Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) suspending the citizens human rights, civil liberties and right to approach a court of law.

After the promulgation of the 1973 Constitution – considered pristine and drafted by popular, unanimous choice – the military twice displaced civil power and took extra-constitutional judicial action through a PCO that required judges to take fresh oath: in 1981 (under General Zia) and 2000 (under General Musharraf).

After Musharraf seized power (Oct 1999) the courts were first purged of independent judges when several, including Justice Wajihuddin, refused to take oath under the 2000-PCO. An Army Colonel held Justice Saiduzzaman Siddiqui, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, hostage for several hours while the oath-taking ceremony took place elsewhere. The fear was that he would have refused to take oath and might have influenced other judges into doing the same.
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PR Call for protest in Karachi in solidarity with activists in Islamabad

Email received on the People’s Resistance network

I’m sure you are all aware of the cowardly and brutal measures taken by the police in Islamabad to stop the lawyers and activists for reaching the home of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

If lathi charge and arrests weren’t enough, this time the state used water canons and tear gas against the brave souls, as if they were being attacked with molotov cocktails and batons.

In order to show solidarity with our injured and detained brothers and sisters of Lahore & Islamabad, we are holding a

SOLIDARITY VIGIL AT 5 p.m. KARACHI PRESS CLUB, FEBRUARY 11th, 2008

WE NEED AS MUCH PARTICIPANTS AS POSSIBLE TO SHOW OUR RESENTMENT TO SUCH BRUTAL ACTIONS!

The press people suggested 5 p.m. since they can better picture/record our protest in the day time.

Yes, in the face of such violence, a simple vigil sounds petty and ridiculous, but like our friends moderating the Emergency Times quote- “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Please forward to all concerned friends and family, especially lawyers and journalists.

See you all there.

In solidarity, – FARIS


Brave Citizens confront water cannons & tear gas in Islamabad

islamabad protest under water cannon blast

Islamabad Protestor being dragged away by polie

Macleans Canada Reports: Police using tear gas and water cannons clashed today with hundreds of lawyers to block them from reaching the barricaded house of Pakistan’s deposed chief justice. About 1,500 black-suited lawyers marched on the residence of Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, the detained top judge of the Supreme Court, who was fired by President Pervez Musharraf three months ago. After the lawyers tried to breach the barbed-wire barricade, hundreds of police drove them back by firing tear gas and shooting water cannons from a fire truck.

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Email from Islamabad about the assault on Civil Society

Report / email from Urooj Zia a People’s Resistance activist who was in Islamabad for the protests

Friends from Islamabad and those from Karachi who went to Islamabad for the protest. I can still taste the friggin’ teargas, and the place where a stone lobbed by the policemen hit me on my hipbone. And the water-canon! The first one came as a shock. And then when they realised that a few of us WOULDN’T retreat, they started taking aim and dousing us. It’s a miracle we didn’t freeze to death.

And when THAT didn’t stop us, they buried us under teargas shells. Jesus Christ! A *lot* happened today. Will file a detailed report once I’ve stopped shivering. :-P

Meanwhile, let the records show that the lawyers and the activists at today’s protest fought the State machinery bravely. I’m so darn PROUD to have stood side-by-side today with such absolute heroes. *salute*

~ UZi


Update @ 2200: The police were brutal, today

Courtesy FASTRising @ 2018

Police is extremely aggressive today, visiting hospitals and arresting activists, who are trying to get treatment there.

Athar Minallah (spokesperson of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry) has also been arrested.

At least one activist has been taken to emergency after police torture.

Iqbal Bali (age: 65+), a veteran activist, is still missing.

Police is deliberately not disclosing the location of the detainees – they are afraid of the ‘sit in’ (dharna) and candle light vigils the students and the civil society members will start there.

Students and the lawyers are deliberating the next move. One option is offering themseves for arrest, other is sit-in (dharna).


Update @ 2010: Initial reports from the Hum Logge Solidarity Rally in Islamabad

Sketchy details coming in from Islamabad:

If anyone wishes to show solidarity with those injured and affected by the police attack can reach Aitzaz Ahsan’s residence in Islamabad.

The rally was stopped by a very large posse of police (over 1000). Barbed wire was laid out on way leading to Aitzaz’s residence. As the group neared the barbed wire, police took up positions with tear gas guns, batons and bricks in hands.

As soon as those in front crossed the barbed wire, they were hit with high pressure jets of cold water from water cannons. The citizens moved backwards to take cover and the police lunged forward with their batons, and started throwing stones and bricks at the citizens. Some students and citizens were hurt in the process. In the meantime, to stop the police onslaught, stones were thrown back at the police in self-defense.

Moments later, heavy tear gas shelling started. Marriott Hotel, which was nearby, refused to give water to those affected by tear gas. In contrast, staff from offices in Software Technology Park building sent containers and coolers of water for the injured protesters.

International media was present and was also horrified at the unprovoked and brutal attack by the police.

At the moment, there is confirmation of arrest of Tahira Abdullah and also Umayr Hassan a faculty member of FAST NU (FASTRising), Lahore. Arrest of Athar Minallah is still being confirmed.


Hum Logge Solidarity Rally in Islamabad Tear gassed & Arrests

The Hum Logge Solidarity Rally that was scheduled to be held in Islamabad today was heavily tear gassed and arrests have been made. Initial reports indicate that Athar Minallah and Tahira have been arrested. The tear gassing has stopped for a little while, updates to soon follow as they come in

Details of the planned Hum Logge [We, the people] Solidarity rally can be read here


AAJ TV Blackballed again because of Live with Talat

Live with Talat shut downA day back around 11:30 at night on Feb 6th AAJ TV was suddenly taken off the air in the regions of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and according to AAJ it was blocked up to Chakwal 60 km away. Live with Talat was due to air a discussion with Nusrat Javeed while some sources say that the shut down could also have been due to Aaj live broadcast of Nawaz Sharif’s Lahore address in which he accused that the militants had shot down the army helicopter.

AP Reports that prior to the broadcast, Musharraf’s spokesman Rashid Quereshi had advised Aaj that it should not allow Javed to appear on any of its programs, Aslam Dogar, an assignment editor for the station.

The international media rights group Reporters Without Borders accused state-run Pakistan Television of bias against parties opposing Musharraf. The media group noted Musharraf had promised fair and free elections when Pakistanis choose a new parliament Feb. 18. “The absence of fairness in the coverage provided by the only national terrestrial broadcast channel shows that this is not yet the case,” the group said in a statement Wednesday
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Scotland Yard – BB’s death from Shockwave NOT bullet

Well the news is making its rounds across the country that Scotland Yard has submitted a report that BB was killed by the shock wave from the bomb blast and not from a bullet [link]. It apparently seem to follow exactly in line with what the Government tried its best to pitch to the country back in December. I am, like many astonished to read these findings as the visual evidence does tell a different story altogether, but I am definitely not a crime scene investigator

Even with this report I remain critical of the Mush administration as to how they treated this tragic event, almost like a circus, but at the same time emotions within me feel its time to bring closure to the issue of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s death, she is sadly no more with us and what good will it do to continually rehash her cause of death, she is quite simply dead and no more amongst us.

The report is supposed to be submitted today in the afternoon, but Scotland Yard has made it clear that it will remain mum on the issue until the Government of Pakistan chooses to make this report public, else we have to rely on what the government chooses to tell us. Excerpts of an article published in NewYork Times

NewYork Times: Investigators from Scotland Yard have concluded that Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani opposition leader, died after hitting her head as she was tossed by the force of a suicide blast, not from an assassin’s bullet, officials who have been briefed on the inquiry said Thursday. The findings support the Pakistani government’s explanation of Ms. Bhutto’s death in December, an account that had been greeted with disbelief by Ms. Bhutto’s supporters, other Pakistanis and medical experts.
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