SAC Lahore member Asif Mulick reports that supporters of Abdul Aleem offered him a Rs 2000 in cash to vote at Queen Mary polling station.
Members of the Student Action Committee had planned to hold mock elections in front of the Lahore High Court, reaching there early morning the police prevented them to setup camp but they instead continued the mock elections at another location. The turnout was massive with over 812 voters.
Votes Against Musharraf = 782
Votes For Musharraf = 24
TOTAL Vostes Casted = 812
Courtesy SAC Referendum Cell, Lahore
Not coming as much of a surprise, election starts off rather unpleasantly.
Two friends who registered to vote in Islamabad went early to the polling station to find out that their names were missing from the designated polling station.
Last night PML-N candidate Ch Asif Ashraf was assassinated in Lahore. In addition an MQM candidate was fired at in Quetta. Much violence has been reported across the country especially in Balochistan.
Details to follow…
In an audio recording obtained by Human Rights Watch, Pakistans Attorney General [Mr. upsnoot] Malik Qayyum stated that upcoming parliamentary elections will be “massively rigged,
Human Rights Watch said that the recording was made during a phone interview with a member of the media on November 21, 2007. Qayyum, while still on the phone interview, took a call on another telephone and his side of that conversation was recorded. The recording was made the day after Pakistans Election Commission announced the schedule for polls. The election was originally planned for January 8 but was postponed after the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto[audio:pakistan0208.mp3]
“Leave Nawaz Sharif (PAUSE)…. I think Nawaz Sharif will not take part in the election (PAUSE)…. If he does take part, he will be in trouble. If Benazir takes part she too will be in trouble (PAUSE)…. They will massively rig to get their own people to win. If you can get a ticket from these guys, take it (PAUSE)…. If Nawaz Sharif does not return himself, then Nawaz Sharif has some advantage. If he comes himself, even if after the elections rather than before (PAUSE). Yes.
Guest post by Umer Chaudhry
Cross Posted from Red Diary
February 9th, 2008, was an important day for the lawyers movement and for the people of Pakistan. It was that day when the lawyers showed their resilience in the face of State repression on the streets of Islamabad. It was that day when the lawyers showed to the rest of the world that their movement will not fade away. It will stand to accomplish its objectives. It will stand for the rights of the people, for restoration of judiciary, for free and fair elections. The Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP) finds it to their honor to stand by the lawyers in their struggle for democracy and justice.
It started with the usual chill of the winter morning when a car rally organized by the Concerned Citizens of Pakistan left from the gates of Aitzaz Ahsans residence in Lahore. The organizers were kind enough to give space to some student-members of the CMKP for free. The long journey was made easy by discussions that ranged from anti-war movement in USA to political theories and the upcoming elections in Pakistan. We made short stays at the Bar Associations on our way as more lawyers and cars joined in. Ahmed Mukhtar, who is contesting elections from Pakistan Peoples Party against Pakistan Muslim League-Qs stalwart Shujat Hussain, hosted our lunch and briefed us about his preparations to tackle rigging of elections in his constituency. As we were getting late, we had to avoid more stops and rushed towards Islamabad.
Still we were not on time to attend the Pakistan Bar Councils meeting at Islamabad. We drove to the Aitzaz Ahsans house where a group of lawyers was waiting for us, ready to march on to the residence of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. As the demonstration started, members of CMKP from Rawalpindi/Islamabad arrived armed with large red flags marked with the hammer and sickle and a megaphone. Without wasting any moment, we ran towards the rally waving our flags, caught our breath, and started raising our slogans against the military rule.
Sundas is a student of LUMS who is an active member of the Student Action Committee, Lahore and this write up is her narration of the events that took place in Islamabad last Saturday when over 1500 strong force of unarmed citizens braved the water cannons and tear gas to try and reach the house of the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
“It’s just a rock, I’m fine. Don’t worry.” I said to my friend standing next to me, blinking from the pain, as a broken piece of a brick hit me square in my shin. We were at the capital of our country, trying to reach the house of our Chief Justice held captive by a brutal dictator. The extent of his brutality, we were just beginning to get a taste of.
This was a procession of over 1500 lawyers, students, civil society members, gathered to protest against the blatant usurpation of our judicial institution, our media, as well as our fundamental rights. There were around 150 of us who had come from Lahore to join in today’s protest. Marching on to the judge’s enclave, we were chanting slogans, singing songs “na mera Pakistan hay, na tera Pakistan hay; yeh uska Pakistan hay jo sadr-e-pakistan hay” [This not my Pakistan, this is not your Pakistan; this is that person’s Pakistan, who calls himself the president of Pakistan] followed by proclamations of our struggle to get our country back. “Freedom is ours, if you don’t give it to us upon asking we will take it…” Wherever you looked, you saw people who had come together, united to fight for the collective good. Stating it was enough, we will no longer be silenced. We will no longer hold back, or bow our heads low.
Article written by members of the People’s Resistance
Originally written on Dec 26 2007, The PCO Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry, has since retired
A Bit of History
Pakistans history is chequered with instances of military taking over the state. When Ayub took over, he introduced a constitution (1962) that gave sweeping powers to the President and the military. On his downfall, General Yahya, the new military ruler issued Pakistans first Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) suspending the citizens human rights, civil liberties and right to approach a court of law.
After the promulgation of the 1973 Constitution – considered pristine and drafted by popular, unanimous choice – the military twice displaced civil power and took extra-constitutional judicial action through a PCO that required judges to take fresh oath: in 1981 (under General Zia) and 2000 (under General Musharraf).
After Musharraf seized power (Oct 1999) the courts were first purged of independent judges when several, including Justice Wajihuddin, refused to take oath under the 2000-PCO. An Army Colonel held Justice Saiduzzaman Siddiqui, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, hostage for several hours while the oath-taking ceremony took place elsewhere. The fear was that he would have refused to take oath and might have influenced other judges into doing the same.
Email received on the People’s Resistance network
I’m sure you are all aware of the cowardly and brutal measures taken by the police in Islamabad to stop the lawyers and activists for reaching the home of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.
If lathi charge and arrests weren’t enough, this time the state used water canons and tear gas against the brave souls, as if they were being attacked with molotov cocktails and batons.
In order to show solidarity with our injured and detained brothers and sisters of Lahore & Islamabad, we are holding a
SOLIDARITY VIGIL AT 5 p.m. KARACHI PRESS CLUB, FEBRUARY 11th, 2008
WE NEED AS MUCH PARTICIPANTS AS POSSIBLE TO SHOW OUR RESENTMENT TO SUCH BRUTAL ACTIONS!
The press people suggested 5 p.m. since they can better picture/record our protest in the day time.
Yes, in the face of such violence, a simple vigil sounds petty and ridiculous, but like our friends moderating the Emergency Times quote- “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Please forward to all concerned friends and family, especially lawyers and journalists.
See you all there.
In solidarity, – FARIS
Attached is the entire transcript of the lecture given by Dr. Kasier Bengali in Dec at the invitation of People’s Resistance & The Green Economics & Globalisation Initiative where he talked on Making sense of Pakistan and its Economy at Shirkat Gah Office, Karachi
Alternatively Download the [download#2]
Let me begin by thanking Shirkat Gah for arranging this opportunity and you all for being here to exchange views. I am happy to see so many young faces here. This represents a change. I sensed the first indication of change in October 2005 when the earthquake hit. Young educated people, many of whom had never washed a spoon in their own houses, lived in tents and helped the victims. I think that something happened to bring a generation alive and we are seeing it again. In the current movement today, we may agree with a lot of things, not agree with a lot of things, but the point is that you are concerned, and that has been missing for 20 years, and 20 years is a long time. It’s a whole generation of people; people especially those in their 30s today, who in their own student days and youth were completely unassociated with any social issues. So I find this a very refreshing change and I consider myself fortunate that I am being able to interact with you today.
Now to the subject of economics. I know most of you do not have any economics background, but I will try to be simple. My ability to speak economics in rather simple language developed because when I started my career I started working with trade unions and I had to explain economics to people who were at best matriculates or even less, and that’s where I developed this ability to talk economics in the lay person’s language. I guess there was some kind of a social consciousness. I had no need to work with trade unions; I could have done consulting for the World Bank, or joined the World Bank. In fact I had an offer from an international bank. But like you, I thought I have to work with people and it is working with people that gave me the ability to speak the language of the people.
Sketchy details coming in from Islamabad:
If anyone wishes to show solidarity with those injured and affected by the police attack can reach Aitzaz Ahsan’s residence in Islamabad.
The rally was stopped by a very large posse of police (over 1000). Barbed wire was laid out on way leading to Aitzaz’s residence. As the group neared the barbed wire, police took up positions with tear gas guns, batons and bricks in hands.
As soon as those in front crossed the barbed wire, they were hit with high pressure jets of cold water from water cannons. The citizens moved backwards to take cover and the police lunged forward with their batons, and started throwing stones and bricks at the citizens. Some students and citizens were hurt in the process. In the meantime, to stop the police onslaught, stones were thrown back at the police in self-defense.
Moments later, heavy tear gas shelling started. Marriott Hotel, which was nearby, refused to give water to those affected by tear gas. In contrast, staff from offices in Software Technology Park building sent containers and coolers of water for the injured protesters.
International media was present and was also horrified at the unprovoked and brutal attack by the police.
At the moment, there is confirmation of arrest of Tahira Abdullah and also Umayr Hassan a faculty member of FAST NU (FASTRising), Lahore. Arrest of Athar Minallah is still being confirmed.
The latest publication of GoodTimes has around 36-pages of pictures and interviews with various civil society activists from Karachi and Lahore predominantly from the Karachi based People’s Resistance network.
For the sake of posterity I have scanned the relevant pages (in low quality) and is now available for download, but to really enjoy the entire publication I would recommend buying yourself a copy off the shelves now
The individuals interviewed are as follows : Ali Asad, Asim Butt, Faris Kasim, Moneeza Ahmed, Ahmad Rafay Alam, Uzma Noorani, Ayed Saad Mustafa Rizvi, Urooj Zia, Samina Noman, Sabeen Mahmud, Dr Awab Alvi, Anis Haroon, Munizae Jahangir, Husna Ali, Sufya Naqvi, Abira Ashfaq & Ahmed Mustafa,
DOWNLOAD: Good Times Interview of Peoples’ Resistance Activists (7MB)
A day back around 11:30 at night on Feb 6th AAJ TV was suddenly taken off the air in the regions of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and according to AAJ it was blocked up to Chakwal 60 km away. Live with Talat was due to air a discussion with Nusrat Javeed while some sources say that the shut down could also have been due to Aaj live broadcast of Nawaz Sharif’s Lahore address in which he accused that the militants had shot down the army helicopter.
AP Reports that prior to the broadcast, Musharraf’s spokesman Rashid Quereshi had advised Aaj that it should not allow Javed to appear on any of its programs, Aslam Dogar, an assignment editor for the station.
The international media rights group Reporters Without Borders accused state-run Pakistan Television of bias against parties opposing Musharraf. The media group noted Musharraf had promised fair and free elections when Pakistanis choose a new parliament Feb. 18. “The absence of fairness in the coverage provided by the only national terrestrial broadcast channel shows that this is not yet the case,” the group said in a statement Wednesday
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.
Hit and run by Shakir Husain
Published in The News
Pakistan is lucky enough to have a visionary leader in the form of`Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain whose family has sacrificed so much for the people of Pakistan. So when this great leader’s younger brother Wajahat Hussain and three nephews were detained under the anti-terrorist law at Gatwick Airport in London for several hours upon their arrival from Barcelona I felt insulted. I was then taken on an emotional roller coaster when they were deported from London for Pakistan without even being given an opportunity to shop at duty free. Here are the blood relatives of one of the greatest politicians the world has ever seen, and they are treated in this terrible manner and deported without even being allowed to pick up their favourite Marks & Spencer sweaters. Oh the cruelty.
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain for those of you who need an introduction is the president of the PML-Q, and had a brief stint as prime minister as well. His cousin Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi served selflessly as the Chief Minister of Punjab and the family has given up so much to serve the people of Pakistan. But Chaudhry Shujaat will go down in the annals of history as one of the finest orators that this country has ever produced. Had Chaudhry Shujaat gone to Oxford, he would surely have been the president of the Oxford Union – I hear that Oxford is planning to give the veteran politician an honorary degree. What most people don’t know is that Chaudhry Shujaat is the honorary Consul General for South Korea, and as always he has underplayed his role in creating thousands of jobs created by the famed yellow cab scheme during the Nawaz years. The humble Chaudhry Shujaat and how he has served selflessly, yet the British Government treats his relatives like suspected terrorists? How low can Her Majesty’s security forces stoop?
On Friday the foreign office summoned Britain’s Acting High Commissioner Ray Kyles and conveyed their “concern” and “displeasure” over the way, Chaudhry Shujaat’s brother and little nephews were treated by British anti-terror police. What they should have communicated to the acting high commissioner was that Chaudhry Shujaat was actually our very own Winston Churchill and the high regard that the people of Pakistan have for him. The foreign office should also demand that the transcript of the interrogation should also be made public so that the people of Pakistan know that the Chaudhry brothers and their family are as clean as the driven snow. And that no attempt to tarnish their impeccable reputation will succeed, as the people of Pakistan know that all their dealings are above board.
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.