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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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Update @ 1113: Assault on Protesting Students in Islamabad

A report received via the People’s resistance mailing list from an activist in Islamabad


On 12th November, 9 days after an unconstitutional act of emergency was declared, the regime crossed a new threshold by shamelessly attacking, arresting and detaining schoolchildren in Islamabad. A group of students, most of them between 14 and 18 years of age, was silently walking outside a public park as a sign of protest when it was accosted by Islamabad Police. The Police told the students that they needed special approval from the magistrate’s office to walk any further and that they had to wait until such approval or the magistrate himself arrived. The students, unwilling to challenge the police, obliged and sat down where
they were. Twenty minutes later, the students were informed that they did not have permission to proceed any further, and were asked to return to their starting point and disperse. Once again, the students obliged, showing that they did not want to confront the Police who had clearly been given specific orders from above.
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Update @ 2103: Joint Indo-Pak Peace Network call for removal of martial law

The joint Indian-Pakistan Peace Network have issued a statement expressing deep concern about the imposition of emergency in Pakistan:

“The Diaspora of India and Pakistan, in particular the citizens of Pakistan living in Canada, are deeply saddened and gravely concerned on the imposition of a state of emergency in Pakistan by General Pervez Musharraf. We are also very concerned about the safety of journalists, political leaders, opposition leaders, lawyers & judges, peace and human rights activists, and common men & women who refused to accept this action taken by the government.

With the imposition of state of emergency and curbing the basic political and democratic rights of the people of Pakistan, we believe that not only Pakistan and people of Pakistan would suffer heavy losses and encourage further extremism but also the existing process of peace and confidence building between India and Pakistan would be badly affected. The imposition of state of emergency would in no way improve the situation in Pakistan or help improve its relations with the neighboring countries; rather, it would be detrimental in all respects.

IPPN demands that General Pervez Musharraf remove the “state of emergency (which is practically a Martial Law) with immediate effect, reinstate judges and restore judicial system, release all those arrested unlawfully, restore freedom of media and hold fair & transparent general elections as soon as possible, and allow the new duly elected government to run the country and its affairs including so-called fight against terrorism.”

“We also ask the international community, supporters and friends of Pakistan to sincerely, openly and clearly demand and pursue on General Musharraf to remove state of emergency and one-man rule, restore Constitution of Pakistan and democratic process in Pakistan without any delay.”

Update @ 1745: Imran Khan sends message on the battle for Pakistan

We received the following e-mail from Imran Khan who highlights the massive crackdown on genuine opposition, police brutality being used as a tool to induce fear for those attending peace rallies, and the need to restore an independent judiciary among other valuable insights:

The imposition of martial law under the garb of emergency should make it abundantly clear to everyone that dictators cannot afford even a semblance of either an independent judicial system or a free media. And neither can the assortment of criminals camouflaged as politicians who collaborate with dictators.
No one is fooled by Gen. Musharafs latest deception to hang on to power. The war on terror has served him well so far and so why change a successful strategy; spread fear in the western capitals by invoking images of bearded men with guns and in the meanwhile brutally crush all dissent within the country, as was recently done by the Burmese Military. Having inducted pliant and amoral judges through the PCO, the next step would be to massively rig the elections while keeping the media muzzled. What he hopes is that he will again have a rubber stamp Assembly, a controlled majority and a friendly opposition, while real power will rest with him for another 5 years.

So, what we are witnessing is the first phase of the plan. Massive crackdown on the genuine opposition, lawyers, human right activists and the civil society. He is hoping that the police brutality will induce enough fear in the people for him to crush all dissent within a couple of weeks, before he takes the next step of getting himself endorsed by his pocket judges.

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Update @ 0944: CEO of Geo TV sends message on extent of media clampdown

The following comes in, via a Facebook e-mail exchange, from Mir Ibrahim Rahman who is the CEO of Geo TV in Pakistan, a channel which has been blocked by the Pakistani government who has also begun talks with foreign governments to have the channel’s transmission blocked overseas. In his message, Mir, states that he is safe at the moment despite having received numerous death threats, his TV network along with the Jang newspaper group been victimized while senior hosts, journalists, producers and the chairman have all had their phones bugged and recorded:
I am kind of Okay. They have shut down all our channels. I can’t believe Musharraf has become what he has become. I still feel sorry for him though. I cant believe THAT more than anything else. Anyway, pray for Pakistan. It needs it. Things are a lot worse than you think, since you are probably not watching what is going on as all of Pakistan’s private news channels have been blocked for past 6 days.

Tomorrow they are going to revise the army act, which will give them powers similar to that of the infamous patriots act where they can ‘court martial’ civilians even and hold them without due process or cause for months at a time. Another nail in the coffin of our constitution. actually its only now that I have truly begun to have felt the power of and appreciated words and promises. I guess which is what our or any constitution is- when I realized what life can be without them. we normally don’t feel it. I guess, apart from some of our lawyer friends. and most of us definitely think the common man will definitely not feel it as he or she has many more important things to think about and worry about than a bunch of words written in a book 40 years ago.

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Update @ 0912: SAFMA call on Pakistan Government to release media personalities

The following statement from the SAFMA (South Asian Free Media Association) was forwarded in to us by the AHRC (Asian Human Rights Commission), calling on the Government of Pakistan to release all detained journalists and media personnel, including the SAFMA founding Secretary General — Imtiaz Alam:

The South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) is shocked to hear of the sudden and irregular arrest of SAFMA founding Secretary General Imtiaz Alam in Lahore, Pakistan, on the afternoon of November 5th, 2007, and, alarmed that Mr. Alam’s current location is not known and that the Pakistani authorities have, so far, not even acknowledged his detention.

We, the Presidents of all national SAFMA Chapters in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, call on the Government of Pakistan to urgently acknowledge the custody of Imtiaz Alam and provide information of the circumstances of his arrest, the reasons for his detention and, the location of his detention.
We also point out that Mr. Alam, one of Pakistan’s most senior and most respected media personalities, is currently in poor health – suffering from a heart condition as well as hypertension – and warn that the Pakistani authorities must assume responsibility for his continued physical safety and medica
Lakshman Gunasekara
President, SAFMA

Update @ 1600: Chairperson of Pak Human Rights Commission – under house arrest

A few minutes ago, Al Jazeera TV broadcasted a roundup of happenings in the blogosphere which have been picked up via Global Voices, including reactions by Pakistani bloggers while airing Dr. Awab’s warning to bloggers in Pakistan urging them to play it safe while blogging considering that martial law is in effect.

In a telephone call to ARYOne from Pakistan, the chairwoman of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission confirmed that she has been placed under house arrest while about 70 people including lawyers, journalists, media personnel, students and activists have been arrested in Lahore.

Among the many group that have gathered to plan on a course of action, via a SMS from Dr. Awab, over 50 people have turned up at a undisclosed location in Karachi to engage in a dialogue and discuss the events unfolding in the country.

The Secretary General of the South Asian Free Media, Imtiaz Alam, has been arested and the convener of India Pak Peace Forum, Dr. Mbashir Hassan has also been arrested in Lahore. Javed Hashmi, acting head of PML(N) and 10 other activists have been arrested while the Office of Human Rights Commission was sealed off by armed military personnel and the area has been cordonored off.

Statement by Article 19 on Burma

For the past few days I have been out of contact since I am on a traveling spree going to Siem Ream, Cambodia and now taking some time off in Kuala Lampur for a few days before heading back to Karachi. The Siem Ream meeting was the 8th Informal Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Seminar on Human Rights, with an emphasis on Freedom of Expression which was an exciting experience where I was able to interact with some brilliant leaders from the Asia and Europe regions representing a number of member countries of ASEF (Asia-Europe Foundation) the participants were official nominations from various Governments to Human Rights and Free Speech organizations to members of the civil society, quite literally a wide range of people gathered together to discuss Freedom of Expression.

During the three day meeting, the events in Myanmar/Burma was a very hot issue remained in the watchful eye of all these activists ended up being heavily discussed in terms of Human Rights violations and most importantly the Freedom of Expression issue. During the meeting Article 19 issued a press release which was endorsed by a wide number of participants I attach the entire statement which was released a few days earlier but I could not post it sooner due to my disconnection from the world wide web. I have fully supported this statement.
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Assault on a Lawyer (Naeem Bukhari)

I share with you this letter written by Naeem Bukhari brought to my attention courtesy of an avid reader of this blog, Dr. Moeed Pirzada. I quote his message which I feel is self explanatory

I am posting here a recent article from Naeem Bokhari, after his thrashing by a group of lawyers inside the court room of Additional Sessions Judge. Since Mr. Bokhari’s action, of writing an open letter against the CJ was hotly debated, in your blog, it will be interesting to see what kind of reactions it ellicits now-given the fact that the events in Pakistan have moved full circle since then. If you will have any reservations in posting it, I will understand that, since most in media and legal community have conveniently ignored this development and I guess-sitting in London- that it is not kosher to discuss it. – Dr. Moeed Pirzada

I tend to agree with Dr. Pirzada it should be interesting to get the pulse of the nation in response to this letter written by Naeem Bukhari, since the dust has settled surrounding the CJP issues starting from his famous letter written in February 2007 and then as they say, the rest is history.
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Busharraf meets Bhutto

Benazir and Musharraf cartoonIts interesting to see how circumstances change one persons destiny, a few months back Musharraf could has easily sat on top of his throne snap his fingers and practically anyone in the country would rock to his attention, including the tranche of self exiled leaders Benazir and Nawaz. Its now a question of, who has a better set of cards to deal out, and at the present Benazir holds the trump card and has asked Musharraf too do a Bhangra dance at her door step in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

In the recent past Musharraf has taken numerous political setbacks, severely denting his public image and eroding his supreme reign of power. Despite the apparent downward trend in his public support he continues to feel indispensable to the nation and feels that he should be allowed to serve the country for another five years. His only salvation is to make a crooked deal with one of the tired and tested corrupt leaders of Pakistan.
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Plot to Bring Back Benazir

Benazir BhuttoAfter recovering from the celebrations across the country where majority of Pakistanis celebrated the reinstatement of Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry as the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Its time to look towards the future of Pakistan, one thing we all hope should transpire from this landmark decision is the courage for other legal departments to stand up and lead the way forward towards serving justice to the people of Pakistan, which has eluded Pakistan for over 60 years. We pray and hope to see a change in the fundamental workings of our court system moving away from bribery and actually creating room for a fair and just society.

Political future at the moment presents a very bleak picture when we see a circus surrounding the romance between Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto which has now become an open secret that they have full intentions of becoming bed fellows for five years. The secret was revealed in an investigative report conducted by The Guardian showing that talks have been underway between both the leaders for over three years since 2004. There is an imminent power sharing deal between the two but whatever the deal, both are cunning individuals capable of lying through their teeth even stabbing each other in the back just to protect their precious seat.
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The 15 Jail Days under Musharaf military dictatorship

By: Farooq Tariq
(I received this article written by Farooq Tariq, a leader of Labor Party Pakistan, its important to share this first-hand narration of the events which took place while he was detained by Musharrafs dictatorship in an attempt to control the rising voice of descent slowly developing against him in Pakistan)

It was one of worst jail experience I had during my 30 year of activism. I was released after 15 days when my detention orders were withdrawn by the home secretary of Punjab government on 19th June. It was not due to a mercy of the government but our local and international massive solidarity campaign. Hundreds of protest letters have been sent to General Musharaf with dozens of faxes and messages of protest to different provincial authorities during the solidarity campaign against my detention.

Most importantly, a write petition at Lahore High Court was to be heard on 20th June. One of the most prominent advocate and former president of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan Abid Hassan Minto was to argue my case against the detention. Abid Hassan Minto is also head of National Workers Party and convener Awami Jamhoori tehreek (Peoples Democratic Movement) a left alliance of seven political parties. Labour Party Pakistan is part of the alliance.
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Kick the Killer out of UK Petition

Altaf Hussain and UK passportA group of Pakistanis have started this online petition to convince the British Prime Minister that enough people care that this Karachi Killer should be sent out of the UK. We all know that Imran Khan is there in the UK discussing with lawyers about preparing the case to file in the UK courts, rumors are that the lawyers need a little more time to digest the case and make it into a rock solid, close and shut case.

I doubt that there is any shortage of evidence as Imran Khan has claimed to have a European Commission report which allegedly finds Altaf Hussain intrinsically involved with local terrorism while he lives on British soil. Hence I feel there can only be one attempt to take this Karachi Killer to court and that should have a good attempt with no leaks.

Join the Online Petition by signing it here
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I Support, Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa

Military Inc by Ayesha SiddiqaThe Government of Pakistan (read Pakistan Army) has been trying its best to suppress the release of the book titled Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy which was written by Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa. Since Friday, the proposed release date the military has pulled all stops to prevent the release of this all-exposing book going to the extent of pulling the book off the shelves and then harassing the author considerably.

This recent attempt to bully Free Speech has resulted in a world wide outcry and many people overwhelmingly have objected to the attempt by the Pakistan Army to silence this author and offer her my full physical and moral support in this regard.

I fully condemn the actions of the Pakistan Army to silence Dr. Ayesha and her new book titled Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy and offer her full physical and moral support in this crisis

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Q & A with Salman Ahmad

Here is a Question and Answer response by Salman Ahmad in light of his recent email where he shared his ongoing problems with the MQM reign of terror

Q1: You recently stated in the press that MQM leader Altaf Hussain has threatened you on a number of occasions. Have you ever taken a legal action against him? If not, why? If yes, what happened?

Salman Ahmad: Altaf Hussain is not courageous enough to threaten me directly…he gets his goons to do the dirty work.The first time I was threatened by the MQM was in the early 1990’s when their armed activists told me to go on stage and welcome their then local leader Azeem Tariq at the KMC sports complex. When i refused they threatened to abduct my wife and children. Then they called my house repeatedly and told my father and wife that they will shoot me if I continue to perform in Karachi. I took the threat very seriously and called the Sindh police who sent officers to protect my family residence. I didn’t make it a public issue then because the media was also intimidated by the MQM unlike the Pakistani media now which is strong and independent.

I discussed the matter with legal counsel and everyone told me that no court would be strong enough to stand up to the MQM’s fascist tactics. My friends told me that since I’m a nationally known figure these thugs would be taking a huge chance at attacking me or my family for such a stupid reason.

They did however disrupt many Junoon concerts at (REX) Hashoo auditorium when armed members of their student wing APMSO gate crashed,fought with private security guards and terrorized women, children and families by firing shots in the air and shouting party slogans.

Unfortunately these threats have always been there and most artists have given into these terror tactics because of fear just like all the other citizens of Karachi all through the 1990’s right upto the present bloodbath of May 12.

Another time I got a call from nine zero was from a guy called “Khalid bin Walid” who said that his “quaid” Altaf Hussain had personally demanded me to appear with Junoon at his “ghyabana walima” in Karachi followed by the one in London.When I refused to comply he told me that “aap nay iss shehr mein rehna hai ya nahin, yeh merey quaid ka Order hai” I refused and had no choice but to contact the federal govt. which provided Junoon with security at our Karachi concert. My security officer Hasnain and even my sound engineer, Ishtiaq, were told to convince me to perform at the walima where other artists were also hustled into going because of MQM’s reputation of terror.

Junaid Jamshed and Sajid Hassan told me that these people are dangerous and not to be taken lightly. My response to them was that If I gave into these threats then all the songs that I have composed like “JAZBA-E-JUNOON, TALASH, EHTESAAB, MERI AWAZ SUNO, NO MORE, AZADI,MEIN KAUN HOON ETC would all be blatant lies…

Q2: Do you acknowledge the fact that MQM is a major party in Sindh?

Salman Ahmad: My mother’s family also came from Patiala, India in 1947. Some of my relatives lost their lives and all their possessions during partition. They shed blood for a Pakistan which they hoped would give them human rights, protection and a home for their children to grow up in Peace and prosperity. Its for this reason that initially I supported the MQM, but when I saw their politics of terror, violence and coercion, I was disillusioned by them. After seeing the blood bath of MAY 12, Muslims killing Muslims, I’m forced to ask these questions: For how long will these parties continue to threaten the new generation of Pakistanis who are Pakistanis first and Sindhi, Punjabi, Mohajirs, Pathan, Baloch second. For how long will they arm young students with T.T. pistols and other weapons and teach them to kill rather than educate them. Is this the Pakistan they want for their children to grow up in? My appeal to the MQM and all the other political parties who believe in terror and violence is to listen to the voice of change: LAY DOWN YOUR ARMS and let us all help build a new Pakistan, a Pakistan of Peace,Justice and prosperity… A Pakistan which openly celebrates its beautiful and diverse people.

Q3:You have also stated that, “I think the time has come for all Pakistanis to stand up and be counted.” Are you planning to take any action other than the statement you have sent out?

Salman Ahmad: I’m an artist first and my work speaks louder than my words: From DIL DIL PAKISTAN to GHOOM TANA I have always had strong political views which have been reflected through my music and films… Whomsoever helps Pakistan become a strong,just and Peaceful country will always get my support.As a U.N. goodwill ambassador I have an added responsibility to promote HIV. Aids awareness and a global vision of peace, tolerance and coexistence. Pakistan is an integral part of this vision.

Q4: You are friends with Imran Khan. Are you unbiased or are you working in support of Tehrik-e-Insaf?

Salman Ahmad: Like I said I’ll support anyone who serves Pakistan’s interests and not their own.

Q5: You have always been a strong supporter of President Pervez Musharraf. What is your view of his behavior regarding MQM and what happened on May 12 in Karachi?

Salman Ahmad: President Musharraf will be judged by the legacy he leaves behind, Its in his interest and Pakistan’s that he keeps the will of the people his highest priority. There should be a strong independent commission which should look into the causes of the tragedy of May 12th. Pakistani blood is not cheap…. each one of the killers should be brought to justice and May 12th, “Bloody Saturday” should be a reminder to all, that, Pakistanis will NEVER surrender to terror and violence.

Q6:All over the world, musicians often get involved in politics. You have made a political statement. Do you think Pakistani musicians should get involved in politics?

Salman Ahmad: Its not for me to say what other artists should do,but this is a time for all Pakistanis to stand up and be counted.You have to ask yourself: will I always live in fear and be a slave in someone’s fiefdom…OR will I express my true “Khudi” and fly like Iqbal’s “Shahine” to discover my highest potential.

Q7:Are you planning on making a song about this May 12 carnage?

Salman Ahmad: Music, poetry and a guitar are far more powerful than guns, bombs and bullets. Sabir Zafar and I wrote the song “Junoon sey aur Ishq sey miltee hai Azaadi, Qurbani ki bahon mein miltee hai Azadi” for the movie, Jinnah. In this, Pakistan’s 60th anniversary of independence,

I’d like to dedicate those words to the Martyrs of May 12 who shed their blood for the sake of Jinnah’s dream…