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Posts tagged with: CrisisPk

Pakistan pushing out IRI Election Observers

In what continues to be trumpeted as a free and fair elections it seems the Government of Pakistan is keen to push out International Republican Institute (IRI) from properly monitoring the elections. IRI is a U.S. democracy-building institute funded by the US Congress and it has come on record to say that it is being pushed out of Pakistan by President Pervez Musharraf’s government, who is refusing to issue new visas for the institutes top two Pakistan based US National officials or even allow the group to perform exit polls at upcoming parliamentary elections.

The Pakistani government has told the two U.S. citizens responsible for IRI public-opinion polls that they will have to leave the country in three weeks because their visas will not be renewed, said Robert Varsalone, the country director for IRI. The government tried to end their visas in January but extended them a month after coming under diplomatic pressure. “We’ve been told essentially, this is it for you,” said Varsalone, who has been in Pakistan more than a year. “We always tried to be honest brokers of information.”

In other news IRI has also refused to send in more staff over to Pakistan as it seems the Government of Pakistan cannot assure them security and safety. So by the looks of it, these elections are to be monitored by two people who are already under the gun lest they make a fuss about the election results, in all likelihood we are definitely in for a sham elections.

Zero Fervor for Elections

By Farooq Tariq spokesperson for the Labour Party Pakistan

Thirteen days to go and yet there is no election excitement. There are no street corner meetings or large-scale public rallies. The main leadership of those parties participating in the elections plan no national tours. It could be the most colorless election in the history of Pakistan.

The reasons are simple: General Musharraf wanted it that way. Before announcing the date for the general elections, he imposed martial law. He arrested over 10,000 political activists and lawyers, removed all the top judges, amended the constitution and got himself elected as “civilian president. He wanted five more years in power.

General Musharrafs allies made all the arrangement to “win the elections before announcing the date. They wanted a snap election where the opposition would have no time to mobilizing its base. It was to be a general election held without an independent judiciary, with a dependent Election Commission, and with repression still alive. This was the ideal circumstance for a “win.
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Pakistan’s Forgotten Man

By Aitzaz Ahsan for Newsweek February 11, 2008

In the past months, as the crisis in Pakistan has worsened, key figures in the Bush administration, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have spoken out about the need for free and fair elections and have condemned extremism. Yet they’ve continued through-out to support the man who poll after poll show to be the least popular public figure in Pakistan, less so even than Osama bin Laden: President Pervez Musharraf.

Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte went so far as to call Musharraf an “indispensable ally” just days after the general declared de facto martial law and suspended Pakistan’s Constitution.

All the while, U.S. officials have ignored a man who lives a mere stone’s throw from Musharraf. This man’s exclusion might seem understandable: barbed wire surrounds his home, the phone lines are cut and the gate is padlocked from the outside. Yet he is no dangerous criminal. Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is the chief justice of Pakistan. He’s also one of the most popular figures in the country, according to recent polls, and its best hope for returning to a democratic path.
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Ali Ahmad Kurd re-detained for 30 days

Pakistani authorities have yet again detained Ali Ahmed Kurd only after releasing the lawyer jsut a few days ago. Ali Ahmad Kurd was first held in November when President Musharraf imposed emergency rule. He was released last week but has now been detained again.

“Mr Kurd was trying to leave Quetta. He has been served a detention order and he will be under house arrest for 30 days, senior police official Rehmatullah Niazi told AFP. Kurd said that he had tried to go to address lawyers in Lahore, but authorities feared that he would cause trouble. “The rulers are scared that I will create problems for them and under this fear they have again detained me. This detention is illegal, Kurd said. “Our struggle for the independence of judiciary will continue and such steps cannot deter us, he said.

The Youth Revolution in Pakistan

I share with you an email written by Masood Sharif Khan Khattak who discusses the youth revolution in Pakistan following the ordeal faced by a few young activists of Student Action Committee in Lahore

Assalam Alaikum All,

The younger generation of Pakistan gives me a lot of hope that all may not be lost as yet. I salute Raheem-ul-Haque and Saeeda Diep for their courage and conviction (READ THEIR ORDEAL). I salute every single one of you striving for Pakistan’s freedom.

While I am proud of every single one of you I am quite ashamed of the fact that my generation has more or less failed to provide the younger generation a Pakistan wherein instead of feeling the need of distributing fliers demanding freedom in all respects (which truly is a basic human right that need not be asked for in a civilised society but be ensured by the State on its own) you all should have been striving towards self improvement at this stage of your lives.

There should have been jobs out there for which you all should have been competing knowing that your connections in this haphazard society of ours is not going to improve your lot but your competency will.

My generation should have built a Pakistan for you all which should have been free of guns, drugs, bombs and fighting of all sorts so that all of you could have happily indulged in your career building rather than being beaten by robotic so called security guards and the police itself for trying to salvage Pakistan from going deeper down the pipe.
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With extreme prejudice?

A volunteer from the Student Action Committee writes on the SAC Lahore incident based on narratives by the SAC Lahore activist who were roughed up in Punjab College

On two consecutive days, 1st and 2nd February, the staff (security personnel as well as faculty members) of Punjab College, Muslim Town have tried to deny the rights of free speech and of free association of pro-democracy activists, and members of the Student Action Committee (SAC) Lahore – even going to the extent of brutal, un-restrained physical assault. In the face of this practical demonstration of the fascist attitudes nurtured in the so-called institutes of higher education that constitute the Punjab Group of Colleges, owned and run by the Nazim (Mayor) of Lahore, Mian Amir Mehmood, the activists have shown a remarkable degree of calm and fortitude, refusing to be provoked, and yet refusing to bow down to the dictates of the civilian collaborators of Army rule.

As already reported in some newspapers (e.g. Dawn), on Friday 1st February, Raheem-ul-Haque (adjunct faculty at Punjab University, former Project Manager at Techlogix) and Saeeda Diep (a veteran political, and not merely social, activist) were distributing flyers on the public side-lane in front of the two sections of the segregated Punjab College. The flyers, published by the Students Action Committee, laid out the basic demands of the Committee and also urged students to join hands with other sections of the public in a protest demonstration in Nasser Bagh on Saturday, the 2nd. The two activists were handing out flyers to all the students, boys and girls, consistent with their belief that information and debate are as much the right of women as of men. While Raheem was distributing some flyers outside the girls’ section of the college, he leaned over the chain at the exit and handed a few to some students standing there. He then continued distributing the pamphlets to other students as they left for home or arrived for class. It is important to note two things here: at no point did either Raheem or Diep trespass on the private property of the college, unless, of course, in his extraordinary legislative zeal, the President decides to declare into existence a new law against aerial trespassing, “Thou shalt not lean into, or otherwise violate the airspace of, another’s property”; not a single student had actually complained against the actions of the pro-democracy campaigners.
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SAC Lahore, exposes Punjab College & Caretaker Minister for Special Education

SAC Lahore held a press conference today at 1:00pm against the Punjab College and its administration for attacking their activists yesterday

The Students Action Committee (Lahore) held a short but vehement protest against the brutal assault by Punjab College’s establishment on four SAC representatives and a bystander driver.

Held outside the Press club today at 1 pm, students and sympathetic citizens stood, braving intermittent rain, raising slogans against the District Nazim Amir Mehmood and Principal Sohail Afzal, a minister for special education in the caretaker government.

They irate crowd chanted slogans against the current regime’s support for such barbaric officials, who not only relentlessly brutalized the five victims to the point of one of them losing consciousness but displayed complete disregard of the presence of police investigators at their campus Saturday evening.
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Kiyani & Musharraf, all seems not to well

A picture is worth a thousand words

Musharraf and Kiyani
Credit: WhizNews

Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Kayani and President (retired Gen and former COAS) Pervez Musharraf sit together during the missile training launch of Ghauri (Hatf V). According to analysts, their postures and body languages indicate “all’s not well” between the two. It has been reliably learnt that while President Musharraf was on his overseas tour last week, Gen Kayani had had more than one meeting with a select group of anti-Musharraf journalists at his GHQ in Rawalpindi. He told them, “Feb 18 elections are crucial” for the country.

Justice Tariq Advised Physiotherapy & Surgery

It has been reported in Dawn that Justice Tariq has been advised physiotherapy for his ailing backche and swollen knees and with further investigation it reveled that he had a hair line fracture in his left knee

Doctors at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) here on Saturday advised physiotherapy to justice Tariq Mehmood (retired). He was accompanied by a magistrate and police personnel was brought from his residence to the hospital for his medical checkup, where doctors suggested physiotherapy to him for 10-15 days on daily basis, the sources said. They said Mr Mahmood had sever backache and swelling on his knees. After consulting the doctors, he left for his house, which has been declared a sub-jail since December 6.
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Report From Lahore: SAC Members brutally attacked at Punjab College

A detailed report of the incident that occurred today at Punjab College which involved the roughing up of activists of Student Action Committee. Published in the Emergency Times Blog – [llink]

Today, the true nature of the establishment was unleashed in full colours. As a sequel to yesterday’s assault against a PU teacher and an activist, both senior advisors for the Student Action Committee, by the Punjab College guards, today, the administration of the same university detained and brutally beat up four people, representative of the Student Action Committee (Lahore) including one female.

A Punjab University faculty member, a Fast faculty member, two students and a seasoned female activist returned outside Punjab College in the morning to distribute flyers amongst the students. While engaging with students, none were on college property but were maintaining a distance by remaining on the green belt next to the Canal Road.
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Arif Hasan talks on “Urbanization, Politics, Public & National Interest”

A two part series of lectures are scheduled to be delivered by Arif Hasan on “Urbanization, Politics, Public & National Interest”. The part one of this series is being held tomorrow at Shirkat Gah, Karachi. The invitation is as follows

To undo damage, one has to know what caused it to find solutions. We have arrived at this crucial point in our series of lectures by leading authorities on our country and economy — the socio-economic processes that have led to the present morass.

Date: Sunday, 3rd February at 4 p.m.
Time: 4:00 pm
Location: SHIRKAT GAH Meeting Room, 1st Floor, Bath Island Road, Karachi, (near Bridge Store)
Organizers: PEOPLE’S RESISTANCE, in collaboration with The Green Economics & Globalisation Initiative

SAC Lahore activists thrashed again at Punjab College

SAC Lahore is reporting that a few of its activists in Punjab College, Lahore were rounded up by about 10 college members and given a severe thrashing. The SAC volunteers were the same people who were served up a thrashing a day earlier as well, Defying the oppression he showed up once again at the college to distribute leaflets for today’s rally at Nasir Bagh Lahore.

The SAC volunteers were rounded up in the presence of the Principle of the college (Mr. Sohail) who immediately called in thugs and had them beaten, after 15-20 minutes of thrashing they lead them into a room and resumed the assault to finally let release them after two hours of beatings. Upon their release they immediately went to the local police station who refused to register an FIR but instead the police were far more threatening towards them.

I am told that after some strong pressures the SAC has finally registered an FIR at Model Town Police Station in presence of SSP who is now leading the bunch to Punjab College to arrest the offenders. A show down is likely and updates to follow as the story develops

It must be remembered that Punjab College is controlled by activists of PML-Q (referred to as Qatil League [killer league]) and the college is owned by the Nazim Mian Amir.

SAC Lahore activsts beaten up & manhandled

Reported via the Emergency Times blog

In two separate incidents of brutality, typical of the oppressive nature of the regime and its partisan brute components, a member and an advisers of the Students Action Committee were harassed and beaten up.

Outside the Punjab University New Campus mosque, students Rafi ullah Awan, Yasir Abdul Haleem, M Azhar Imran were peacefully distributing flyers and posters about the 3rd February protest. Members of the Jamiat, and Islami Jamiat Tulba, IJT, recognizable by their badges, descended upon the three students, by force snatched the flyers, posters and ripped them apart. When Rafi ullah Awan produced more flyers, the members of the Jamiat grabbed the three students, took them aside and started pushing them around, while threatening them if they didn’t stop distributing the harmless flyers and posters. Out of the Jamiat, only Mr. Wajid from Sheikh Zaid Islamic Centre, PU could be identified by the SAC (LAHORE) students.

In a separate incident outside Punjab College no 6, SAC’s (Lahore) seasoned advisers; two activists were distributing 3rd February protest flyers and posters when a Punjab College guard stopped them. The male activist objected: he stated they were on a public footpath not the college’s property. The guard adopted a brutal attitude and slapped him around. The female activist who tried intervening was pushed by the guard. Upon the crowd’s intervention, the guard backed off.
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