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Posts tagged with: Feudalism

Media ignoring a 10-day Pearl Continental Hotel workers strike

For the past 10 days about 150 employees of the Pearl Continental Hotel are holed up in the basement of PC Hotel in Karachi in protest of the sacking of over 100 employees across Pakistan. What started as a simple protest on Constitution avenue in response to the sacking of 4 union empolyees from Karachi PC, 27 from Pindi PC and 70 from Peshawar 24 days back was met with ignorance from the hotel management has led the workers union to step up their protests and are now roughing it out in the basement of the PC Hotel in Karachi.

The surprising thing is the fact that over 150 people are protesting in one posh hotel in the central business district of Karachi and not one media channel has had the courage to come and report on this issue. The protesters do claim that a crew from Dawn and Express did come by a few days back but the news report never found the airwaves while Ummat has to its credit published this issue a number of times. In any argument there are naturally two divergent points of views, one naturally is originating from the management which might could be in the process of downsizing while another point of view might come from the sacked employees who could be feeling disgruntled. What concerns me is that from the number of issues that the main stream media in Pakistan is quick to dissect at a moments notice its appalling that it chooses to ignore such a protest entirely either under direct or indirect pressure. Lets also not forget the how Mindshare and Unilever blackballed the media channels from reporting on Saad Khan’s death

International Socialists activists have to its credit been reporting on this daily activities of these protesters and it lead two Peoples’ Resistance activists, Abira and Madiha to venture out and check out this situation and Abira reported as follows

The doormen were sympathetic and even showed us a way to go to the backside where we could enter from the “time office.” However we were stopped by security guard and a horrible fellow in a black suit with a walkie-talkie who tried to tell us that these strikers were a security risk.

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Daniyal Mueenuddin, a Pakistani wins The Story Prize

A Pakistani-American author—cited for the empathy, depth, and complexity of his work—is the winner of the $20,000 The Story Prize for his book In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

At the end of an evening of readings and conversation, debut writer Daniyal Mueenuddin took the stage and accepted The Story Prize for his collection In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, a book of eight connected stories set in southern Pakistan and centering around the estate of a feudal landowner. The curators of The Story Prize, Dark and Lindsey selected the three finalists from among 78 books entered in 2009, representing 53 different publishers. The Story Prize is the highest prize money given in the literature award

Its interesting to read the experience that shaped his debut book from being a student at the Lahore American School to graduate from Yale and working for some time as a lawyer at a New York law firm only to quit a few years later and return to his homeland to compose this book, the story is definitely worth reading. It is mostly his own personal journey across the years that has shaped this 256 page collection of short stories. Daniyal Mueenuddin links a number of short stories to describe the interwoven lives of an aging feudal landowner, his servants and managers, and his extended family who have lost touch with the land. The stories in – In Other Rooms, Other Wonders make up a vivid portrait of feudal Pakistan, describing the advantages and constraints of social station, the dissolution of old ways, and the shock of change.
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Seeking Justice for Aradeen’s murder by Feudal Lords in Sanghar

For the past few months a family of about 10 individuals have camped outside of Karachi Press Club with the hope of seeking enough attention to help provide them justice, as their sole-bread earner Dur Mohd Aradeen was murdered by the local feudal lord in Khairpur, Khalifa Pir Bux Ghao and his hired accomplices.

A group of concerned Pakistanis, from the I Own Pakistan group have descended on Karachi Press Club and have resolved to help this family out, the effort has grown to providing them food and shelter while at the same time serious attempts are being made to provide them justice. At the same time Deneb Sumbul of Shirkath Gah, who was influential in the Kashkehli tribe case also helped gather the facts and her detailed summary of the case is as follows

The murder victim, Dur Muhammad, a driver was travelling from Sanghar to Dharki for his employer who was a small wadera, carrying over a lac in cash to make payment for a jeep purchased by his employer Ali Ghulam Nizamani. Dur Muhammad’s brother was travelling with him and they were both kidnapped and taken in another vehicle to the Otaq of Fakir Pir Bux Gaho. According to the investigative report of the Anti-Terrorist Court, the kidnappers demanded that the brothers arrange 10 lacs for their release. They then let one brother go with the warning that if the money was not paid, the other would be killed. The police were informed of the kidnapping.
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Kashkheli Victory – A step forward Against Feudalism in Pakistan

Kashkheli Protest against FeudalismI share with you Najam Sadeque’s email posted on the Peoples Resistance Network. It is with full pride that she share the sweet victory of the Kashkheli tribe in successfully wrestling out the feudalism in the region. I believe this is definitely an important incident to celebrate and also use as an example maybe even to empower oppressed rural villagers to rise up for their own rights. It may seem to be a very small in insignificant victory for a very small segment of the Pakistani population but I feel this small step is one giant leap in the battle against feudalism in Pakistan – read about the Kashkehli struggle here, here, here and here
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Khashkelis Feudalism Issue at a standstill

Have been silent about the many developments that have been taking place with regard to the regularization and restoration of the village to the Khaskelis as they were so confident of “winning” this final round — because one of their own representatives whom they trust implicitly (and who has since become a minister without portfolio) had promised it would happen, and we were not supposed to ‘rock the boat’. We have repeatedly warned them not to bank on promises too much because even if their rep was trustworthy, it didn’t automatically follow that others whose agreement and help he needed would be the same, and we would ultimately have to resort to legal means again. As it turned out, he failed; not for lack of trying.

It has been over a month and half since Vali Dad died after a heart attack in front of the press club, and the same day several Sindh ministers including the Chief Minister promised in writing they would get their village back. It hasn’t happened and it won’t because a series of delay tactics and dirty tricks were used all this time — which details I’ll give in my next e-mail as it’s a long story; also because I’m supposed to wait until a final report (explained below) come out. The new minister recently had a thundering row with the CM’s secretary who finally blurted out the same story Varyam Faqir claimed when the issue first came up — that the village never existed and was created unauthroisedly only recently.This after having submitted all the verified inquiries and reports starting from decades ago ! He also stated that the Khaskelis would have to legally prove that they and their descendants were the original inhabitants !
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AKU succumbs to Urban Militants

Guest post by Naeem Sadiq

Illegally Parked Car at Agha Khan HospitalAKU was once perceived as a disciplined, professional and caring hospital. It followed rules, provided excellent health care services and even operated a good patient welfare scheme. We were proud of the great hospital built by Prince Karim Aga Khan in the middle of the town.

The AKU has gradually chosen to bid farewell to its founding principles and make compromises, more so when it comes to dealing with the powerful and influential urban militants.

AKU rules clearly require that weapons shall not be brought inside the hospital and vehicles shall be parked only at the designated parking places. There are two guards who are full time on duty to make sure that the vehicles move off and do not park in front of the private ward pick and drop area. The rule is uniformly applied to all citizens. However it is conveniently waived off for ministers, unregistered vehicles and for those who come accompanied by weapon carrying goons.
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Court hearing of the Kashkheli Case – Varyaam Faqeer escapes

Posted by Adaner Usmani on the Peoples’ Resistance network

If 16th March 2009 marks the victory of Pakistan’s two-year movement to restore a free judiciary (and depose a dictatorship, of course), posterity might very well regard yesterday, the 7th of May, as a day that some of Pakistan’s poorest first reaped the direct rewards of that struggle.

Varyaam Faqeer, the by-now infamous ex-MPA from Sanghar, turned up in court for his bail hearing in connection with the murder case lodged against him and four others by the villagers from Muhammad Issa Khaskheli. With him came his entire retinue of retainers, hangers-on, gangsters, etc.–possibly as many as a hundred men, all carrying themselves with the palpable arrogance of unapologetic power.

Their very visible presence around the City Court premises was, no doubt, intended to intimidate the Khaskheli farmers, the judge, and the media into cowering in the face of Varyaam’s obvious clout. Nonetheless, by roughly 8:30 in the morning, about a dozen supporters (Labour Party activists, members of PR, a comrade from the National Workers’ Party, among others) had gathered in solidarity. Geo News and KTN set up cameras outside the courtroom.
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Protest Demo Against the Feudalism in Khaskheli

Today 28 April a protest demonstration was held against Sanghars influential feudal lord Waryam Faqeer by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) Karachi. JAC is a compilations of many civil society organizations, LPP, AP, PILER, HRCP. Shirkat Gah, Aurat Foundation, Takleeq Foundation, etc. The protesters demonstrated for arrest of feudal Waryam Faqeer and appealed to the government to return the land to the native villagers of Goth Mohammed Essa Khaskheli.

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Another update on the peasants Land-Grabbing case & Hunger Strike

From the Peoples Resistance Mailing List

Child Protester along with the Peasants on hunger strike against feudalismAbout the peasants from Sanghar outside the Karachi Press Club for whom I had requested food, we have a temporary respite. The politicians and police made their appearance only after the damage was done — when the elder died and the Labour Party came en masse on the peasants behalf and created an uproar. But it was thanks to Karamat Ali of PILER and Justice (retd) Rasheed Rizvi who took up their case and stayed their for hours and advised them, that they refused to allow the dead body to be lifted until the case was registered to their satisfaction and the government conceded to some clearcut demands in writing.

It took 5 hours of negotiations — including the politicians and government making wild, verbal promises, and trying to convince the peasants to leave quietly without any written assurance (Shazia Marri’s lackey was actually captured on Dunya Channel saying that since the government had made a promise, there was no necessity of putting anything in writing. Since when have government promises meant much?) But one of the peasant reps stood his ground (also on camera) and said although they appreciated the government’s good intentions, they would not budge until they got everything in writing. You should have seen the expression on Shazia Marri’s face. It’s a rare occasion when a peasant can answer back without backing down. They then took two of the reps to the Chief Minister’s house to get this done with their new-found adviser in tow.
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Victims of Feudalism on Hungerstrike – 18-days [and counting]

Posted via the Peoples Resistance Network

press-release-aDay and night for the past eighteen days, anywhere from a dozen to two dozen farmers from a village in Sanghar have been gathered outside the Karachi Press Club, protesting the violent excesses of a neighboring feudal who has been eyeing their land–his name is Varyaam Faqeer, an ex-MPA (PML-F) and khaleefa of the infamous Pir Pagara.

According to the protesters, they had been living, without incident, on the same plot of land for the past many decades. Though it was once the property of the Sindh Irrigation Department, it had lain unpopulated and unused. Roughly 60 years ago, these villagers moved in, occupied it, and built on the land (their goth, Mohammad Issa Khaskheli, now stands at about thirty to forty houses). They have a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the irrigation authorities, indicating that the department has no objection to their living there. Their ID cards name this village as their address; moreover, they have a school, electricity, a mosque, a graveyard, etc. (all of this was verified by the local DCO in a report I have seen with my own eyes). In other words, they argue that their residence has been effectively formalized.
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