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Posts tagged with: CrisisPk

15 Questions For Mr. Asif Ali Zardari

A list of questions poised by Mr. Akram Sheikh for Mr. Asif Zardari where he has raised some good and valid questions for everyone to ponder over

  1. With the NRO still around, striking down all corruption cases, and having become president of PPP and also having sole control over all of Benazir’s property and assets, is there anyone in the world who has benefited more from late Benazir’s death than Mr. Zardari? Does it not make him Suspect Number One for her murder, especially when he is also facing various murder charges, including that for murder of Mir Murtaza Bhutto? Mr. Zardari is already implicated in a murder case.
  2. Benazir knew about the workers’ and her party leaders’ reservations about Mr. Zardari. Why did she not consult or even share this decision with the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the party? And if not the CEC, is there any person in the whole world who can testify that she shared with him or her, the decision that, after her death, Mr. Asif Zardari will to lead the party?
  3. If Benazir was so careful to write a will, then what was so secret about it? She should have taken the CEC into confidence or announce it at a rally, to protect Mr. Zardari from any later claims that the will is fake.
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RSF: Government lifts cable ban on Geo TV but makes it remove some programmes

Reporters Without Borders issues a press statement

Reporters Without Borders hails the lifting of a government ban on cable TV distribution of the privately-owned TV channel Geo News but deplores the fact that President Pervez Musharraf made it conditional on the suppression of some its programmes.

“Geo News has made major contribution to improving Pakistanis’ access to independent news since 2002 and should never have been banned,” the press freedom organisation said. “The ban, which lasted more than 10 weeks, was aimed at silencing outspoken reporters and commentators and investigative reports that were often damning for the authorities.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “It is regrettable that the government insisted on the withdrawal of certain programmes. This constitutes yet further evidence that censorship is unfortunately still the rule just a few weeks before the parliamentary elections scheduled for 18 February.”
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Pakistan’s Nuclear Threat – A State of Denial by Pervaiz Hoodbhoy

By Pervez Hoodbhoy
Published in International Herald Tribune: January 16, 2008

A cacophony of protests in Pakistan greeted a recent statement by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammad ElBaradei. “I fear that chaos, or an extremist regime, could take root in that country, which has 30 to 40 warheads,” he said. He also expressed fear that “nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of extremist groups in Pakistan or Afghanistan.”

But in Pakistan, few worry. The Strategic Plans Division, which is the Pakistani agency responsible for handling nuclear weapons, exudes confidence that it can safely protect the country’s “crown jewels.”

The SPD is a key beneficiary of the recently disclosed secret $100 million grant by the Bush administration, the purpose of which is to make Pakistan’s nuclear weapons safer.

This money has been put to use. Indeed, ever since Sept. 11, 2001, there has been a regular traffic of Pakistani military officers to and from the United States for coaching in nuclear safety techniques.
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Bhagwandas no longer under House Arrest

It is good to hear of confirmed reports that Justice Rana Bhagwandas is no longer under a house arrest. We may all recall that only a week back the police had been instructed to place him under house arrest mostly aimed at softening the out spoken judge his crime being that he made a statement to the extent of saying that the deposed judges will be restored in “a few weeks. This statement irked the powers to be and decided to clamp down this voice of dissent.

The following day activists of People’s Resistance showed up to show support for the deposed judge and protest peacefully against the house arrest by holding a candle light vigil but this lead to the arrest of eight activists who were later released after a few hours charged for PPC (Pakistan Penal Code) 147 & 148 which deal with rioting and rioting with a deadly weapon (Candles?? as deadly weapons). It is undoubtedly great news to hear that good sense has prevailed and the house arrest order has been revoked as the bad publicity might have lead to unwarranted attention to the judge.

RSF Questions Cyber Crime Law in Pakistan

Reporters Sans FrontiersReporters Without Borders has written a strong letter to the Minister of Information and Technology questioning the Government of Pakistan on the Cyber Crime Ordinance which was promulgated into effect barely a two weeks ago. Reporters Without Borders fears that a new law on cyber crime, revealed on 7 January by the authorities, will pose serious obstacles to “citizen journalism and calls on the government to clarify the definition of some of its provisions.

“This law prevents any blogger from posting photos or video showing persons who have not given their consent, the press freedom organisation said. “Pakistan has understood its right to give itself a law for fighting cyber-crime, but it is vital that this law should not obstruct freedom of information.

Reporters Without Borders added: “We urge the government to clarify the content of some of the provisions that we think are dangerous. With just one month to go to legislative elections, some of the articles of this law look like censorship.

The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act has been in force since 31 December and will be submitted to the new parliament in April, after it has been elected. Reporters Without Borders has written to minister of information technology and telecommunications Awais Laghari asking him to “provide guarantees as regards respect for freedom of information.

The law provides for the death penalty for anyone causing the death of another person by means of email messages. A Federal Investigation Agency representative in Islamabad tried to justify the law by referring to Daniel Pearls murder and describing the exchange of emails between the kidnappers as a “cyber-crime.
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Eviction Notice issued to Gen (R) Pervaiz Musharraf to Leave the Army House

Considering that the Government of Pakistan has been quite active in issuing eviction notices to all the freshly retired government employees more specifically targeting the judges who stood up and refused to take oat to the illegal PCO enforced on Nov 3rd of last year. Granted a retired personnel must soon vacate the official residence but some how the bureaucracy seems to turn a blind eye to our very own President who was also retired from active duty last year and now is officially a ranked as a Retired General in the Pakistan Army but ironically he still chooses to live in the luxurious Army House which he has enjoyed for the past many years.

Its about time we as the people of Pakistan would like to issue him an eviction notice to also vacate his official residence, and herewith attached is a notice by the Executive Engineer of the Army House – Enjoy 😉
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Authoritarian antics of the Establishment by Arusha Noorani

A truly heartfelt email sent by Arusha Noorani daughter of Kamran Noorani one of the People’s Resistance activists who was arrested outside Justice Bhagwandas’s House two days back. The last paragraph truly reflects the frustrations of practically everyone in Pakistan

My parents were part of a peaceful vigil yesterday outside deposed judge, Justice Bhagwandas’ house, to protest against his virtual house arrest. Police mobiles arrived and picked up some of the men in the group, including my father and Salahuddin Ahmed a close friend (who had previously been arrested in connection with the lawyers movement). They were released late at night after a request was put in, however an FIR was registered against them. They were allegedly disrupting the peace. Sections 147 and 148 of the Pakistan Penal Code deal with rioting and rioting with a deadly weapon (candles???).

Ironic that peace activists are accused of disrupting the peace. What peace? And at what price? Must people barricade themselves in their homes and public figures disappear from the public eye to achieve this peace. I wonder how long this cavalier attitude towards citizens rights will continue.

Plain clothes Police Officer responsible for the Arrests outside Bhagwandas’s House

plainsclothes Pakistani police officer arrestingCitizens had gathered peacefully outside Justice Rana Bhagwandas’ residence on January 13 to show love and solidarity for him.

Reportedly this person in plain clothes, who claimed to be a policeman, led the round of arrests of citizens without provocation. The episode of arrests included harassment and pushing around of women when they asked why the arrests were being made.

Plain clothes Police Officer outside Bhagwandas House

More pictures captured of the same police officer in action below
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HRCP condemns police violence on a peaceful demonstration at Justice Bhagwandas residence

In a joint statement issued to the press Mr. Iqbal Haider, Secretary General, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Ms. Zohra Yusuf, Vice Chairperson, HRCP strongly condemned the police violence against peaceful demonstrators, gathered outside the residence of Justice (R) Rana Bhagwandas, to launch their protest against his undeclared house-arrest.

It was shocking to note that, violating all norms of decency, male policemen misbehaved with women demonstrators, baton-charged male activists and arrested 08 of them.

On the evening of January 13, 2008, protesters belonging to civil society groups gathered outside the residence of Justice (R) Rana Bhagwandas situated in Block-A, in the Clifton Police’s jurisdiction and started lighting candles to symbolize their protest. In the meantime, a heavy contingent of police reached the spot. Suddenly, all the streetlights were switched off and police arrested 8 civil society activists, including Mr. Kamran Noorani, Mr. Salahuddin Ahmed, Mr. Naveed Noshad, Mr. Danish, Mr. Muhammad Faisal, Mr. Syed Mustafa Rizvi, Mr. Zafar Aslam and Mr. Asad Umar. They were thrown into the waiting police mobile vans after a brief scuffle with women protesters. They were taken to Darakhshan Police Station while an FIR
# 13 / 08 was registered in Clifton Police Station U/S 147 and 148. After five hours of detention, all were released on bail on personal bonds.

HRCP holds the provincial authorities fully responsible for the brutal plice action against peaceful demonstrators.

HRCP demands that all politically motivated cases be withdrawn, Against the activists of civil gociety who were exercising a democratic right through peaceful means.

Report from Asad, who was Arrested outside Justice Bhagwandas’s House

First of all let me thank all those who turned up at the thana and showed concern. Since we were inside not sure exactly who was outside. Did meet Abira, Moneeza, Urooj and Riaz inside.

just for your information we have been released after registration of FIR’s against us under section 147 & 148. The release took place after people posted bail for us. Not sure who “negotiated” and what the negotiations entailed but from whatever i have heard no favours got done. Cutting of an FIR for such a small demo is not the norm, apart from being totally bogus, and in fact is being considered as excessive. Where the heavy hitting lawyers helped was in intervening and helping us not sign the “confession of guilt and promise of good
behaviour” document that we were being asked to sign. The ex advocate general Anwar Mansoor and Rashid Rizvi , sind high court bar association president were particularly helpful. Ofcourse the mere presence Justice Fakhruddin Ebrahim was a privilidge.
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Pictures of the Peaceful Vigil outside J. Bhagwandas’s House

The People’s Resistance would like to share with the world images from the ‘peaceful’ candle light vigil held outside the house of Justice Rana Bhagwandas who has been placed under house arrest since yesterday. Civil Society members showed up today to show their support and solidarity with the honorable justice during this difficult time. It is during this vigil that police felt the need to arrest eight male members and harrassed the female members.

Report from Darakshan Police Station After the Arrests

I would like to share an email sent into the People’s Resistance network by Abira Ashfaq who managed to sneak inside the poilce station along with Moneeza to help keep an eye on the 8 civil society activsits arrested outside Rana Bhagwandas’s House

So everyone is out. The good news is that many people and the media showed up at the thana. It may not always be a happy ending.

I was inside the police station for at an hour and a half, and they had basically decided they were not going to give us any information or allow Moneeza and myself to see the detainees. We had managed to get in by fluke, and after us they would not let anyone in. In fact they tried to get us out, but we said we’d wait. But they did not allow us privacy when we were on the phone, and followed us around. At one point, the SHO threatened Moneeza that if wanted “vo us ko bahir karah kara de ga.” They maintained that the decision for FIR’s, bail and release would be made at the Clifton thana, and that we should go there. A nice crowd had gathered outside the thana. SHO Ehsan was planning to leave, but when he saw the crowd and our resolve to stay, he decided to stay at the thana.

When we pressed the SHO about why these arrests were made, he was cryptic and said that he knew and I knew why this was happening. And he knew and I knew that I would not be allowed a visit even though that maybe a legal right. He made constant references to invisible hands. We got to talking about the violence after BBs death and he suggested that police did not go out as there would have been bloodshed.
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Update @ 2330: Activists charged for 144 and Released on Bail

In good news the eight arrested activists of the civil society were just released now after having being charged for violating Section 144 (unlawful assembly) and were released after having posted bail.

All are well and sitting peacefully at home sharing their rendezvous with the police, pictures and updates to soon follow, including a mug shot of the plainclothes policeman who physically harassed the women in the crowd

Update @ 2120: Police NOT Letting any Reporters or Human Rights Activists to meet the arrested

In an apparent attempt to coverup something the Darakshan Police station are not allowing any press inside the premises and neither are they permitting any human right activists to witness the process being conducted inside the police station where over 10 people of the civil society were arrested outside Justice Bhagwandas residence

Spread the word and apply the pressure in anyway possible – it must be rememberd that in the past 2 weeks following Benazir Bhutto’s assassination there have been over 300,000 arrests through out Sindh to silence any voice of dissent