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Posts tagged with: Karachi

Facebook Censorship Press Conference, My Position

I think a clarification is needed regarding my Press Conference on the Facebook issue on 20th May in Karachi.

My position at the Press Conference was to vehemently condemn the blasphemous cartoons. There is absolutely no compromise on this issue.

What was being argued by us and is open for debate was to question the effectiveness of a full ban. When PTA decides to throw 2 million Pakistanis all out by blocking the entire platform of facebook.com it has in turn left it open for non-Muslims to do as they please. We 2 million Pakistanis would have found ways to handle and protest from inside and cripple Facebook through our protests.

During the press conference I said that by banning the entire Facebook you have blown a small issue out of proportion and it has become a bigger public issue with Facebook gaining much more popularity. The word ‘small’ was immediately mistaken by one journalist and he responded “How could you suggest that these cartoons are small, they are a big issue concerning our Prophet”, that very moment I told him to not mistake the context of the word, my point was not to belittle the issue but the fact that small technical measures could have nipped it in the bud. Now Facebook is getting undeserved attention throughout the world which defeats our purpose. The person was still furious and felt offended. I continuously clarified the issue that the cartoons were a big issue but the problem if we could have handled it would have remained small. Banning has been counter productive.

Some mischievous people stated that I was supporting Facebook which was totally against what I had said. But emotions in Pakistan see no reason. The police was there to avoid any untoward incident in the area and after a little while I left the Press Club quietly to avoid any confrontation.

Lessons learnt: We could not communicate this scientific issue clearly, and emotions took better of the discussion

I assure you we are an equal part of the same battle, lets focus our efforts on how to stop this cartoon menace now and also in the future but as civilized, technically savvy people working in the world of technology, not by old world methods of court orders.


Protest Against Fake Degree Parliamentarians – Islamabad & Karachi at 5pm on 15th May

Citizens demand verification and ouster of all fraudulent degree holder parliamentarians. If you wish to see Pakistan change for better , do not repeatedly elect the same dishonest people.

Join Citizens’ protest and say NO to fake degree holders.

The scale of the problem is now enormous with over 200 fake degree holders in the knowledge of the Election Commission. Adding insult to injury, such dishonest persons, exposed largely by opponents, have been nominated by their own or opposing political parties to contest by-elections.

The protesters demand that those found guilty should be banned for life from all political and government positions. To highlight the issue, members of the civil society will address the media outside the Islamabad Press Club (near Mr Books, F-6 Super Market) and the Karachi Press Club on Sat 15 May at 5 pm.

Venue:
Islamabad Press Club … 5pm on Sat 15 May
Karachi Press Club …….. 5pm on Sat 15 May

Peoples Assembly – A Dialogue for Peace

Date: 22nd March 2010
Location: The Second Floor, Karachi
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
RSVP: Peoples Assembly – A Dialogue for Peace (Facebook Event)

Aman Ittehad is observing a Peace Week from 16-23 March 2010. During the week we propose to hold a series of public dialogues in each city across Pakistan called Peoples Assemblies where there will be a discussion on how to bring peace in Pakistan.

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Lahore Resolution, citizens are committed to reflect on the original spirit of the 1940 Resolution and to develop a People’s Resolution in March 2010.


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PC Workers Protest Rally – The Underlying Issues

A large group activist gathered together in front of the Pearl Continental Hotel to show solidarity with the protesting workers who have been holed up in the PC basement for the past 23 days. Having supported this cause on mere humanitarian issue I feel there are two sides to every argument, but interestingly this protest has far more deeper implications then what meets the eye.

The issue I feel is being complicated well beyond by a greater possibility of an underlying game of national politics. It is quite possible that the union activities are being irked by the PPP-led government trying to exert pressure on the Hashwani group to accede to their demands [I could go to the extent of speculating that this is probably a part of some serious Presidential level blackmailing tactic against the Hashwani group]. In the midst of this protest labor unions are having a field day leveraging their own positions and pushing the protesters to brace for a long fight.


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PC Hotel Workers Strike – Day 21

The protest by PC Workers continues in the basement of the Pearl Continental Hotel where over 150 union employees are holding fort asking three basic demands. Reinstatement of Four sacked employees (PC Four), The PC Management to recognize the union and third is to come to the negotiation table. It has been 21 days and the situation is not getting better. A protest is being planned at PIDC tomorrow at 4:00pm called by a large spectrum of left-wing parties to come forth in unison. Action for a Progressive Pakistan obtained fresh pictures of the protesting workers, i share here

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Read the detailed fact sheet on this dispute and then support these protestors by sIgning the PC Workers Petition to The Hashwani Group


PC Hotel Workers Strike update – 20 Days and counting

There are only about 140 people left in the basement in their 20th day of protest at the PC. On Sunday evening about 30 to 40 went home due to sickness or some other emergent reason and were not allowed to return to the basement and in their astute attitude the PC management is not budging from their position. The workers’s current demands are basically asking them to come to the negotiating table and do not fire the PC Four.

Since the last few days the PC management has restored to video taping these protesters while they are eating food. These protesters being holed up in the PC basement consume food from the hotel and the management prefers to video tape them eating to humiliate them that – you dare eat our food and then you talk about unions. The Human Resources Director fighting against these protesting workers is a retired Major Zia Jan who came to the PC after busting a union at the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC). Major Zia recently told the striking workers that they ought to be ashamed of themselves for fighting the PC.
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Update on PC Hotel Workers Strike – 12 Days

Read the detailed fact sheet on this dispute and then support these protestors by sIgning the PC Workers Petition to The Hashwani Group

It heartening to note that despite all the resistance by the Hashwani Group and the PPP Leader Najmi Alam who threatened the protestors setting up camp outside Pearl Continental to disappear for two days this last Friday since Mr. Zardari was in town. Abira Ashfaq talked to Mohd Nasir one of the protesting workers today to report that…
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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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Rendezvous with Farah Pandith, US Special Rep for Muslim Communities

Last week a few “new media” journalists were invited by the US Consulate to an exclusive meeting with Farah Pandith, who has been recently appointed as the U.S Special Representative for Muslim Communities. The usual bloggeratti excitement was held at bay since the invitation card had a blazing “No-Camera” policy, which had most of us worried concerned about this concerning hush-hush meeting but on the contrary, when we reached the destination we were told it was only a deterrent to avoid the TV &/or Press media fan-fare as the consulate preferred to have a close face-to-face uninterrupted one-on-one discussion, else the meeting was blogable, tweetable and pictures were definitely welcome, immediately putting the anxious team of bloggers at ease and right in their own comfort zone, out came the iPhones, up came the blackberries, twitter clients were fired up and we were ready raring to go.

The guest list had some 10-odd new media journalists, a few from Dawn, of which I had the honor to finally meet Huma Yousuf, the list of bloggers, (or blAAgers [sic]) was the usual fun bunch, ranging from Faisal Kapadia of Deadpanthoughts, Ammar Yasir of Ronin and Tea Break fame, Sana Saleem of Mystified Justice & Dawn Blog, Sabeen Mehmud from T2F, our very own Zaheer Sb from BiTs Online and Windmills of the Mind and last but not the least our celebrity blogger Naveen Naqvi was also in the house, who we now have laid claim to be more of a blogger then a TV personality. The star-studded bloggeratti guest list almost guaranteed an exciting rendezvous with the US Representative for Muslim Communities.
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CPLC in the midst of a Political Turf Battle

Two days back the Governor Ishrat ul-Ibad had issued a Press Release recommending the appointing of businessman Mr Ahmed Chinoy, as the new head of Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) replacing the outgoing Sharfuddin Memon whose appointment has come to an end. The Governors request was forwarded to the Home Ministry so that the request can be drafted into an official notification but it seems that the Home Ministry has shelved this request and consequentially no official notification got issued appointing Mr. Chinoy as the head of CPLC. It must be remembered that CPLC according to its charter is a non-political statutory institution, operationally independent and managed by dedicated and concerned citizens offering their honorary services.

The appointment of Mr. Ahmed Chinoy, a staunch MQM supporter, is definitely against the Charter of CPLC of having a non-political figure head running this organization, and hence it might as well be the reason why the Home Ministry refused to issue a notification of his appointment

The sad part is that a number of sources are now reporting that today Mr Ahmed Chinoy has bulldozed and barraged himself into the CPLC offices located within the Governor House and has effectively (without any appointment) thrown out Sharfuddin Memon, the still legal head of this organization.

It seems that the new turf battle between PPP and MQM in Karachi is now going to be fought over the appointment of the CPLC head.



Terrorists are the American Agents: Shia Scholars

Guest Blog by Farhan Janjua

In the aftermath of today’s deadly twin bomb blasts at the Shia pilgrims, the scholars of Jafarria Alliance notably Allama Hasan Zafar Naqvi has blasted the United States of America in strong words stating that these terrorists pretend to be Anti-American and in fact are working on the very own agenda of the US and that very agenda is to destabilize and disintegrate Pakistan.

Allama Naqvi said that there was no chance of sectarian crises because the examplary religious harmony can be seen in the Shia-Sunni community of Pakistan. He said that these attacks are rather an attempt from America to provoke sectarian crises amongst the masses in Pakistan that would ultimately lead to the disaster and bloodshed in every street. Allama further appealed to the Shia community to stay calm and united for the sake of the country’s stability.
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Targeted killings and the Land Mafia in Karachi – Open Letter by SHEHRI

An Open Letter to Rehman Malik by Shehri

Mr Rehman Malik has been making rather interesting statements about stopping the “targeted killings” in Karachi.

The simple fact is that the land mafia of Karachi is behind a number of these murders and the motive for these assassinations is money.

Let us take the case of land mafia grabbing the Tran-Lyari Park (Gutter Baghicha) land in SITE Town. There is illegal construction going on in about 50 acres on this park land in spite of a stay order from the High Court of Sindh.

On 26 September 2009 the Nazir of the High Court along with Nisar Baloch who headed the Gutter Baghicha Bachao Tehreek (Movement to save Gutter Baghicha) went for a court ordered inspection. They were forced to turn back because a mob (organized by the land mafia) stood in their path.

On 7 November 2009 Nisar Baloch was leaving his house in the morning. He was assassinated in a target killing gunned down in cold blood. Nisar Baloch gave a press conference on 6 November 2009 in which he stated that his life was in danger and he named the people who would kill him. (no action have been taken against his alleged killers because of political considerations)
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Roads need Bicycles

Blog post by Naeem Sadiq, published in The News on 16th January 2010

Bicycle, the most energy-efficient form of transport ever devised. It doesn’t emit pollution, it runs on renewable energy, it makes its user healthier, it’s easy to repair, it requires little in the way of pavement or parking, and 80 percent of the world’s people can afford one. — Donella H Meadows, environmental scientist and author, founder of the Sustainability Institute (1941-2001)

Amsterdam, the bike capital of the world, has 40 per cent of all traffic movement by bicycle. In the next few years the city will spend 100 million euros to further improve its cycle network and reduce car use. The promotion of cycling includes a network of safe, fast and comfortable bicycle routes, improving road safety for cyclists and building a 10,000-bike parking garage.

Copenhagen plans to double its spending on biking infrastructure over the next three years. Thirty-two per cent of its workforce bicycles to work. The city’s bicycle paths are extensive, often separated from the main traffic lanes and sometimes having their own signal systems. The city provides public bicycles which can be found throughout the downtown area and used with a small returnable deposit.
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The Graffiti Activist: Asim Butt [1978-2010]

I write today with a very heavy heart to hear that a fellow activist and an amazing artist is no longer with us. Asim Butt (1978-2010) aged 32 took his own life yesterday morning in his house, whatever be the circumstances that pushed him to taking this tragic step, it has left many friends shattered and in tears.

I personally knew Asim only briefly, but long enough to have realized that he did leave a lasting impression upon me. We interacted during the November 2007 General Musharraf’s martial law days, where he was one of the core founding members of the Peoples’ Resistance group in Karachi. With a section 144 enforce across Pakistan and the army & police out to arrest any violators, we looked for creative ways to visually register our protest, one pet trick were the covert gorilla protest which lasted barely 20 minutes in random locations across Karachi, but Asim brought in a new twist he organized a team of activists to graffiti various art symbols across Karachi that visually displayed our rejection of the dictatorship.

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