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Posts tagged with: MQM

Salman Ahmed speaks out against MQM


An open letter by Salman Ahmed, a famous Pakistani singer, to all Pakistanis

Altaf Hussain and his murdering accomplices deserve to be tried for their crimes against Pakistan. I’ve been threatened by them on many occasions in the past 15 years. One particular time was when I refused to perform at Altaf’s marriage function in Karachi and London where all the other artists, including Ali Azmat, were browbeaten to go and perform for his “Majesty’s” pleasure. The man who threatened me was called “Khalid bin Walid” who was a known terrorist and a murderer. He told me that Altaf Hussain, “his Quaid” had especially demanded me to appear with Junoon to perform at their ceremony function.

When I refused to comply he called up my staff and my sound company guy, Ishtiaq Ahmed,and threatened them with dire consequences if I didn’t go. Ishtiaq pleaded with me to go and perform or risk being killed,and all this OVER REFUSING TO PLAY AT A MARRIAGE FUNCTION!
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Eyewitness: Karachi, May 12, 2007

A narrative of the events of “Black Saturday and the “stop-the-blame-game argument

Guest Post by Beena Sarwar
article also published in The News on 27th May

“Here in Karachi, we avoid name calling and finger pointing due to fear of having our knees drilled

ON May 12, 2007, Karachi witnessed orchestrated mayhem. Such carnage is hardly unique to Karachi or to Pakistan — law enforcement agencies have stood by and even participated in worse massacres elsewhere, like Northern Ireland and Gujarat, India. In Karachi that day, “only about 46 lives were lost, and 150 or so injured.

But this was the first time in Pakistan that live television cameras captured the situation for viewers to see: government tankers used to block off routes to the airport, police and rangers conspicuous by their absence or standing idle as armed men ran amok on the streets of Karachi, corpses and wounded bodies lying by the wayside in pools of blood.

The security plans chalked out for May 12 were abandoned overnight. The Sindh home department withdrew the weapons of most law enforcement personnel in Karachi on May 12. Armed only with batons, the 15,000 or policemen deployed in the city avoided the violent areas. Rangers who were to hold key positions on the flyovers on the main airport road were nowhere in sight. Instead, armed men in civilian clothes held those posts, and fired into the crowds trying to reach the airport to receive the Chief Justice stranded inside.

At 5:00am on Saturday morning, Shahrah-e-Faisal (Drigh Road), the main airport route normally trafficked at all hours, was deserted as a journalist friend in Karachi found who was out and about early. He emailed me: “I saw something which gave me the chills — no police or Rangers on the roads, just kids with guns guiding trucks, tankers to block the intersections, entry and exit points on the main artery of city. I saw an NLC truck also being used to block the road (picture attached). We all know NLC is Pakistans largest trucking company, owned and managed by the army. Tie-rods were being removed from front tires so the vehicles could not be moved even by a tow truck. I thought, What if ambulances are required to move on Sharah-e-Faisal?My thought was immediately answered when I saw two KKF ambulances moving freely (Khidmat-Khalq Foundation, MQM’s social service wing) and MQM activists among those supervising the blockade.

Getting to office took him two hours, a journey that even during rush hour takes only 45 minutes. “I told my colleagues about my fear and almost all of them told me to relax as MQM is not that stupid they will not repeat the 1992 & 94 stupidity. By 12 noon Karachi was bleeding.

“There were bodies lying at every street intersection, Uzi, a reporter related later on her blog. “We picked up a whole bunch of them and put them inside police mobiles parked nearby.As for the police and the Rangers: “They did NOTHING! They stood around and LOITERED while my city was tainted with blood.

The areas she covered were the second bloodiest that day. It took her nearly an hour to get to Jinnahs mausoleum (Mazar-e-Quaid), normally a 15-20 minute drive from her house. At Kashmir Road the cab driver couldn’t go any further and she walked the remaining distance. At around 01:00 p.m., she was stopped by a political worker who put a TT pistol to her forehead (“NOT the temple, the FOREHEAD). She was allowed to proceed after showing her press card.

Over at the Sindh High Court, lawyer Ayesha Tammy Haq sent this text message around 5 pm Karachi time: “In the High court. Things getting worse. Judges will not leave as there will be a rampage. I was with the CJ. City courts being attacked as re Aaj and Geo. We are going to have army rule in Karachi. It looks like that was always the plan i.e. redemption of the army. (Later in an interview, General Musharraf denied such plans and reasserted his commitment to democratic politics. But then, he has also justified what happened in Karachi as “the political activity of a political party attempting to show its strength to its constituency interview with Talat Hussain, Aaj TV, May 18, 2007)

Another lawyer emailed: “Not only was the Sindh High Court under virtual siege by armed activists, but lawyers attempting enter the Court were repeatedly beaten and roughed up. The armed activists did not even spare the Judges of the High Court. One judge was held at gun point and his car damaged. “While holding me at gun point, the youth called someone and stated Yeh bolta hai kay High Court ka judge hai…kya karun is ka?…achaa theek hai, phir janay daita houn (He says hes a judge of the High Court. What should I do with him? Ok then, will let him go). Many judges, unable to drive to the Sindh High Court, had to leave their official ‘flag’ cars and make their way through menacing crowds and climb over the court’s back wall in order to reach their chambers.

Munir A. Malik, one of the 25 lawyers accompanying Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry from Islamabad to Karachi, narrates how they were forced to remain inside the airport. The Sindh government representatives offered to transport the Chief Justice by helicopter but this offer was for him alone. Since the lawyers with him had already foiled the attempts of “two uniformed people to “snatch the CJP and take him from the other side, he refused. (Story at the airport, The News on Sunday, Special Report, May 20, 2007)

Armed men attacked lawyers at Malir District Bar, Iftikhar Choudhry’s scheduled first stop in Karachi, killing a lawyer and injuring several others, including female lawyers. The Chief Justice and his team, of course, were externed to Islamabad after several hours. Late that night, residents in the low-income Ranchore Lines mohalla were awakened by loud banging on their doors. One resident relates that it was two young boys distributing freshly cooked biryani and suji in plastic bags: “Yeh chief justice ki wapsi ki khushi mein hai (This is to celebrate the Chief Justice’s return [to Islamabad]).

On the Karachi streets, Uzi’s press card had saved her again at around 05:00 p.m. as she and a colleague tried to reach the Rangers Headquarters in Dawood College. “A car chockfull of ammunition passed in front of us, stopped, backed up and stopped in front of us, Kalashnikovs pointing at the two of us from the windows. We showed our press cards and the car moved on. NEVER in my LIFE have I felt more grateful to my press card than I did yesterday.

At around 06:00 p.m., she and her colleague were trapped by gunshots all around. “Short of climbing the walls and entering one of the houses around, there really was no other place for us to go.They stopped a police mobile and asked which way would be safe to go. The answer, accompanied by laughter: “You can be killed wherever you go. Choose your place.

In published reports, journalists prudently avoided naming the parties involved. “Young men toting flags and banners had set up camp outside the airport departure lounge. They hid, however, when policemen came by. Reporters in the vicinity were asked whether they had seen any political activists around. Munawar Pirzada (from Daily Times) said that he had seen some nearby. After the policemen had left, the activists came up to the reporter, dragged him by the hair and took him aside. They then proceeded to threaten him with dire consequences if he said anything the next time the policemen came around (Urooj Zia, Daily Times, May 14).

But the affiliation of these gangs was visible in the live coverage provided by several private television channels, which showed plainclothes men brandishing weapons on the deserted roads, using government tankers as cover, exchanging gunfire with unseen opponents, the tri-colour MQM flag visible on their motorcycles.

After Aaj TV’s continuous live coverage of such scenes, armed men attacked the television station, firing at it for several hours. Instead of stopping the coverage, Aaj showed live footage of reporters ducking behind a desk, shots being fired at their office, as anchor Talat Hussain provided an account of the situation on the phone. Reporters in the area asked the Rangers posted nearby to help the Aaj workers trapped inside their building. The answer: “We’re helpless. We can’t do anything unless we have orders from above.

Aaj TV’s refusal to suspend its live coverage emboldened the new breed of citizen journalists. “My faith in independent media was restored and I was confident that I am not alone, wrote one blogger. He had hesitated to post out the testimony of a doctor at a Karachi hospital who witnessed armed political workers turn up to finish off an injured political worker. Encouraged by the Aaj re-broadcasting of images that clearly showed the involvement of MQM workers in the violence, he published the testimony with a disclaimer that “it was an anonymously posted comment and could be entirely false, you be a judge for yourself.

The testimony was apparently sent by a doctor who had been at work for several hours attending to multiple gunshot wound victims in his hospital lobby, where a makeshift emergency room had been set up. Nothing, he writes, “struck down my soul more than what 9 fully armed workers of MQM along with 2 sector office bearers did. They tried to drag out the wounded and dying body of a Sunni Teri worker (whose identity they later learnt) for presumably finishing him off.The protesting doctors were slapped around and dragged by their legs to the back of the gurney alley. With “shotguns, pistols and ak-47’s in hand, the men ran back to the lobby presumably to find their target again.

The doctor ran out to the rangers and police near the hospital front gate. Their answer to his appeal: “Jaante ho inn logon ko phir bhi kyon larta ho¦hamain upar se order hai ke inn ko char baje tak karne do jo karna hai. Char baje ke baad kuch dekhainge” (When you know who these people are why do you still fight them ¦ we have orders from above to let them do whatever they want until 4pm. After 4pm we will see).

As a previous MQM supporter, the doctor had recognized some of the assailants and called a friend related to MQM deputy leader Farooq Sattar. Five minutes later the men received a phone call and left, threatening the doctors (and stealing one of their cell phones, “Chikna set hai — it’s a cool set). “The guy they had come looking for had been shot one more time in the head. The o.t dress we had dressed him in 10 mins earlier was freshly bloody. Full text at: Karachi Metroblogs
There is a story behind each of those who were killed, some belonging to one or other political party, and others just because they were there. Masked men stopped ambulances and sprayed them with bullets, killing an Edhi Ambulance driver, Faizur Rahman Khan, 65, when he refused to throw out a wounded person he was transporting to hospital from near the airport; the wounded man was also shot again. Armed gangs herded passers-by into an alley and shot dead a young overlock machine operator along with another man, in front of two colleagues who were also shot but survived to tell the tale (They shot us one by one… by Munawar Pirzada, Daily Times). There have been reports about an SHO who guided a procession into an ambush and a pregnant woman who had to deliver her baby in the car when armed men refused to let her proceed to the hospital with her husband. The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) reports that several journalists were manhandled and nine wounded. Some TV cameramen were beaten and their cameras snatched or damaged.

In all these stories of horror, there is at least one amusing aside: the stranded reporter Uzi had the thrill of getting to ride a motorbike when her editors sent a senior reporter to pick her up. “You couldn’t use a car etc, because on a bike your press card was visible, and that was a kind of immunity. In a car or a van, they’d shoot at you on sight. So yeah, I got to ride pillion on a bike, and I didn’t sit sideways either, like women usually do here. :D I sat like guys usually do handsfree mode. :D Initially I was scared shitless, but then I got used to it, and it was AWESOME — like flying! MQM-waalahs on the way kept turning and staring at the weird Chick who was riding pillion like guys do and didn’t have to hold on to anything to maintain her balance. :D AWESOME, it was! I want a bike now! :P”

All power to Uzi, I say. I hope she gets her bike and I hope she gets to ride it. Someone should do a study on why Pakistan is the only Southasian country where it’s a no-no for women to cycle or drive scooters, or sit pillion astride (rather than side-saddle as they do,
uncomfortably and dangerously, sometimes holding on to several children). It wasn’t always that way until the 1960s college girls in Lahore, Karachi, even Peshawar bicycled around pretty freely, some even in saris. A trivial matter perhaps, given what’s happening in the country but these issues are not entirely unlinked.

Karachi educationist, Anwar Abbas, later emailed: “My son-in-law and daughter who live in a building adjoining Baloch colony flyover had a good look at the thugs in action from their rooftop. Their only regret is that they did not have a camera to capture the ghastly scenes. They returned to their flat because their little daughter was alone with the maid and because the thugs had also climbed the roofs of adjoining buildings in order to obtain an aerial view of their targets and shoot at random.

He added: “It is not important which group they belonged to; it is important that they could behave the way they did in complete disregard to the rule of law; if indeed the law was awake or not in collusion with the thugs Many others, including Aaj TV’s Talat Hussain and MQM’s Dr. Farooq Sattar have also suggested that the “blame game be avoided.

But a lawyer friend, “angry and distressed in Karachi, argues that “If we avoid name callingand finger pointing, we will simply be brushing the events of last Saturday under the carpet of indifference. Here in Karachi, we avoid name calling and finger pointing due to fear of having our knees drilled. Even Urdu speaking lawyers, while talking of last Saturdays events at the Sindh High Court look over their shoulders and speak in hushed tones when mentioning the name of MQM

“As we try to understand the carnage of 12th May, we have to ask the following question: Which political group stands to lose the most in a Musharraf ouster? Not the PML (Q). The Chaudhrys and their ilk will merely disperse and filter back into the PML (N) or the PPP. The unprecedented power and privilege of the MQM however is firmly tied with Musharraf’s hold in Islamabad. It was the threat to their benefactor from the supporters of the Chief Justice, which unleashed the gunmen on 12th May. Zaffar Abbas is correct when he writes that Karachi was only at peace for the past many years because it suited its militants (‘Back to the future?’ Dawn, May 14, 2007)

“Finger pointing is necessary, because throughout our history, instead of a catharsis, we simply go through a jo ho gaya ab bhool jaao, aagay daikho (forget what has happened) attitude. Already, with the President’s pat on the back at the emergency meeting of the ruling party in Islamabad (on Monday) the MQM is back on the front foot

“Although it is unlikely that the perpetrators of Saturday’s violence will ever be brought to justice, at least they should continue to be exposed before the entire country. More importantly, they should face the consequence of such exposure. Public image is very important to the MQM and the national outrage at their conduct may be the best prospect of compelling them to change their ways.

MQM threatens 20 journalists

Reporters Without Borders has issued a press release suggesting that Muhajir Rabita Council an integral part of the MQM leadership has threatened some 20 odd journalists for their reporting activities related to the 5/12 Massacre. The list of Journalists include Zafar Abbass, Mazhar Abbas, Shaheen Sehbai, and Dr. Shahid Masood.

Ever since the fateful day of 12th May, MQM has continued to take a lashing from all quarters as it was most definitely the first time that the MQM organization was caught on live tv fully engaged in the terrorism. This was nothing new as all Karachiites have known the threat of MQM to the extent that the term ‘Supari Nikal Na’ was a keyword instilled in the Karachi vocabulary ever since this party reverted to using terrorism to stay in power. This open threat to journalist can continue to spell disaster for MQM as such threatening messages do little in terms of rebuilding the shattered image.

The Mujahir Rabita Council (MRC) issued a threatening statement on 22 May with a list of some 20 journalists it described as “chauvinist” and hostile to their movement. The MRC is affiliated to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which supports Gen. Pervez Musharraf and which was partly responsible for the 12 May riots in Karachi in which 40 civilians were killed and a TV station was attacked. “Now it has become necessary to inform the nation about these cruel elements and those who conspire against humanity,” the statement said.
Reporters Without Borders calls on the MQM to put a stop to these threats and urges the authorities to protect the journalists.

Among the prominent journalists on the list are Zaffar Abbas, editor of the daily Dawn, Mazhar Abbas, AFP bureau chief in Karachi, Shaheen Sehbai, the head of the TV station Aryone World, and Shahid Masood of Geo TV. One of the journalists named told Reporters Without Borders on condition of anonymity that he was scared because “having your name on the list means that the MCR wants to eliminate you.” – Reporters Without Borders

Update 26th May

IFEX has also issued a press release to highlight this threat to journalist which can be viewed here The list of journalists are as follows

  • Zafar Abbas
  • Azhar Abbas
  • Mazhar Abbas
  • Ayaz Amir
  • Sajjad Mir
  • Irfan Siddiqui
  • Shahid Masood
  • Aneeq Ahmed
  • Asfar Imam
  • Zahid Hussain
  • Shaheen Sehbai
  • Zarar Khan
  • Iqbal Haider

The 5/12 Massacre

For the past few days I have been writing quite openly on Karachi Metroblogs about the carnage served up by on the fateful day of 12th May 2007. The more I logically try to reason what happened I continue to fall deeper into the corner of laying the blame squarely on Musharraf who used MQM to serve him with a decent body count.

The minute the rallies started heading towards the airport a volley of gun fire was let loose from high well placed vantage points upon the people below. The participants of these rallies ran for cover but little can you do with sniper fire. It was literally a nightmare and it would be best if you were to read one of my posts which I wrote on Karachi Metroblogs immediately after I returned home ‘Karachi Witnesses an Organized Massacre‘ where I was simply fuming and blaming the ruling party for everything. If they honestly wanted to prevent the opposition from approaching the airport they could have easily deployed a large police and ranger contingent and told them to tear gas the hell out of the crowd, they could have enforced a Section 144 throughout the city (at least in the areas of Shahrai Faisal if the rest of the town was needed for MQM rallies) and could have used rubber bullets to pacify the aggressive activists or even an occasional lathi charge to give it a Karachi twist. But surprisingly nothing of this sort was used, no tear gas, no 144, no latthi charge, no rubber bullets, no calling in of the rangers to cordon off the city, it was quite simply gun fire all around. Can you imagine for a moment that throughout the day NOT A SINGLE TEAR GAS SHELL WAS USED !!!! Remarkable isn’t it.

When in the evening that day we were a witness to a long rambling by President General Pervaiz Musharraf, it suddenly dawned on me that this was all part of a greater plan and yet again I wrote another post on Karachi Metroblogs titled 5/12 in this post I think I have nailed it on the head when I stated

Karachi was used and the dead were simply pawns in the game of wits. Many have accused the CJP for allegedly politicizing the judicial crisis but I blame Musharraf for using Karachi as a chopping block for his grapple for power

Musharraf needed something substantial to tack onto the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry as the lame accusation of ‘Politicizing the Judicial Process’ was loosing its impact, what better accusation then a huge body count to shove in his face. Karachi was simply used as a chopping block, the administration was told to serve up a decent body count and MQM was more then happy to oblige

I thought I was finished with all off my share of Government bashing series of articles but I simply could not hold back when Cyril highlighted a particular comment which appeared on Karachi Metroblog. It makes me cry but at the same time shudder at what could happen if the ‘ruling gods’ go on a rampage. I shudder and also worry for my safety, but at the same time feel that it must be done for the sake of Karachi and Pakistan simply said the truth must be told

A comment was posted by a certain individual calling himself SJ responding to a discussion on Karachi Metroblog, honestly it had nothing to do with the discussion in progress and I assume it was the only place he could find in his eagerness to raise his voice.

Enough said, I leave you with this story of a doctor who chooses to remain anonymous for the sake of his dear life, but had the courage to speak up and luckily posted it on KMB. I honestly fear for his safety, but at the same time I feel that since he showed courage to post it on our blog it should not go unnoticed and it should be projected to the world as an example of what just happened in the short span of six hours that the administration decided to call off the police and leave it unattended in the hands of ruthless killers.

The brave doctor posted this from his mobile set so you would have to definitely forgive his typographical errors, read it fully and then think about what just happened to Karachi on the 12th of May. Massacre seems to be a very light term to describe the ruthless killing that took place in six brief hours

I am a doctor. I work at a tertiary care, govt run, large and very well known hospital in khi. Forgive the short hnd style of typing here. I am, and hav been here at work for more than 32 hrs, and am surfing/typing on my cellphone. I rode with my ambulance drivers, was in the hastily set up emergency room in our lobby, attended multiple gunshot wounds victims etc. but nothing struck down my soul more than what 9 fully armed workers of MQM alongwith 2 sector office bearers did.

They tried to drag out the wounded and dying body of a Sunni Tehrik worker (we later learnt he was sunni tehrik) for presumably finishing him off. Whn my junior residents said we could not allow that, they slapped my junior, dragged us both by our legs to the back of the gurney alley and with shotguns, pistols and ak-47’s in hand, ran in to our lobby presumably attempting to search whr the man in question was being treated. I ran out to the rangers and police a.s.i. some distance frm our front gate who when approached by myself said, and i quote ‘jaante ho inn logoun ko phir bhi kyon larta ho…hamain upar se order hai ke inn ko 4 baje tak karne do jo karna hai. 4 baje ke baad kuch dekhainge’.

I recognized the sector office bearers of the MQM, bcoz I have made the mistake of voting for the MQM in the past. I called a friend in Bohrapir, who is related to Farooq Sattar. 5 mins later the sector charges recieved a call on their cell, and they left, one with a bandana threatening me with ‘naam dekh liya hai tera. Koi shor sharaba karne ki zururat nahi hai baad main warna samajh ja kya hoga’. He also took my junior residnts mobile fone saying ‘chikna set hai’. The guy they had come looking for had been shot one more time in the head. The o.t dress we had dressed him in 10 mins earlier was freshly bloody.

I curse myself for all times i hav defended these people in discussions with friends. Bcoz i like many othrs made up my mind based on hearsay and wht familial and traditional biases i grew up with, without being exposed to their reality. Dont misunderstand me. The JI, JUP, pml, ppp, Sunni this and Shia tht, all othr parties may b infinitely worse. I m just saying tht all of us need to understand tht an argument should take place for one reason alone. To compel or b compelled. Whn we hav the logic and conviction to do the former or the sense and courage for the latter, we will stop seeing wht we witnessed in our city today.unedited version

Please have Mercy on us all

A slightly altered and shorter version has been published on Karachi Metroblogs titled ‘Is this What Happened?


This article was published on Karachi Metroblogs here, I republish it on my own blog so as to preserve this article for my own blog

In the recent past, specially after 9/11, it has become a routine to disambiguate specific dates with numbers. I feel yesterday, 12th May 2007 was such a date on which Karachi underwent a life-changing incident, hence I choose to memorialize it as 5/12.

It was not only political rivalry or sectarian rivalry, let loose on our city, but was more like a state sponsored massacre in Karachi. We were all witness to the massive build-up of forces throughout the city even the late night barricading of key intersections which aimed at blocking all specific routes to the airport, ironically the rest of the city was left untouched. The forces maintained a strong deterring presence until precisely just before the start of the opposition rallies. It was then these jawans were ordered away from the strategic points leaving key vantage points at the merciless hands of ‘favorable’ snipers.
Continue reading “5/12” »

Karachi Witnesses an Organized Massacre

This article was published on Karachi Metroblogs here, I republish it on my own blog so as to preserve this article for my own blog

It is indeed sad to see the situation in Karachi get progressively worse. It can be easily said that all this was bound to happen since MQM was destined to create a stand-off for this day. Their ‘Pur Aman’ rally was probably the biggest hoax played onto the people of Karachi.

Being a staunch supporter of the CJP issue I was destined to join the hundreds to greet CJP today. From late last night I had reported on KMB the numerous blockades being created well up to three in the morning where it seemed the official machinery was being used to cater to the demands of MQM. MQM workers were freely allowed to roam the streets quite literally telling people to stay in doors or else….
Continue reading “Karachi Witnesses an Organized Massacre” »

Benazir On Sale for Rs 75 ONLY

While the city of Karachi is a witness to the standoff between MQM and the rest of the opposition which is gearing up for the arrival of the Chief Justice of Pakistan to Karachi. We take a short breather to enjoy looking at an interesting quarter page print advertisement which appeared in one of the inside pages of Karachi’s leading Dawn Newspaper just a few days back…..
Continue reading “Benazir On Sale for Rs 75 ONLY” »

Shahrai Faisal Blocked at Karsaz Tipu Sultan

This article was published on Karachi Metroblogs here, I republish it on my own blog so as to preserve this article for my own blog

In just a recent development I am told that Shahrai Faisal has been completely blocked going towards airport at the Karsaz Junction.

This can be a great ploy to defeat the thunderous reception planned for Chief Justice Iftikhar who was due to arrive in Karachi tomorrow afternoon. I can only say it may either diffuse the situation entirely or could aggravate the supporters resulting in heated exchanges throughout the city.

Karachi holds its breath while hundreds of MQM supporters prowl the streets (though in small groups) of Karachi reminding us yet again of the threat they pose to the people of Karachi.

I have no idea what will happen to any potential travelers who might be scheduled to take a flight tonight out of the city but can suggest them to try a few alternate points the most probable access to the airport would be the one passing through a heavily populated MQM area of Gulistan-e-Jauhar for those unaware there is one small road which passes behind Jauhar and exist onto Shahrai Faisal right next to the airport runway. Approach all areas with confirmed travel documents to pacify the activists and authorities that man these posts.

Credit – Mahrukh & Rakay who were kind enough to message me the current situation on Shahrai Faisal

Update: The road behind Jauhar is also blocked (credit Jamash)
Update 2: Reports coming in that the Shahrai Faisal has been blocked all the way to Tipu Sultan, seems like the curfew is increasing by the hour (credit K I)
Update 3: Govt Ishrat Ul Ibad declares a public holiday : Geo (Credit Kasif)
Update 4: Geo reports that PIA crew could not reach the airport for the NY flight so the flight is canceled

A wolf among donkeys will always be the KING

Analyzing the method
behind the madness in Karachi

Guest Blog by Munib

Part – 1

Whether or not the final score goes against Musharraf or CJP, The possible clash tomorrow & if continued in coming weeks will make sure the President stays in power forever fooling all players,including lawyers, MQM, opposition & definitely the civil society. The Sindh government & the MQM especially are, in their lust for power & show of loyalty,they are being trapped expertly by Musharraf. You will come to know how surely i say this.

This is part-1 which gives a broader perspective & the method behind the apparent madness by different parties. When the CJP issued started everyone said, in this game there is no winner but being the smartest & all praises to Arbab & MQM , Mr. Musharraf is smartly turning this into come-what-may,  I-shall-be-the-winner situation for him. Also praises to our enlightened educated who keep on approving his EVILS because they are too blind to see & sincere with country to find alternatives.

Part-2 is basically an advice to MQM on how they can benefit from this crisis if they use their heads properly. It will also elaborate why I believe Musharraf is one of the most intelligent & evilest of dictators Pakistan will ever see in centuries. But before we continue lets separate facts from analysis first.

A Fast Rewind:

– Well before 9 March, the CJP was invited by Karachi Bar to celebrate its 50 years celebrations. Later events, as known by all, result in delaying this to 12 May.
Opposition after failing to get any response from public, previously, due to their shaandar record (except Imran Khan, untested yet) decides to use the CJ issue for their evil designs.
– Sindh CM flies to Islamabad to provide proof against CJP. The man he mentions as proof saying the CJP forced him comes LIVE on TV (ARY ONE WORLD) and thrashes his statement all corners.

MQM, after initial neutral posture realizes that continuing to do so means Arbab being the blue eyed boy for Mush & that also no Mush means any gov for them in Karachi thus decides to flex their muscles.
– MQM announces that it will organize a rally too against this. Unfortunately it goes too far in showing their loyalty to GHQ & chooses the same date.

The Action Starts here . . .

Within 24 hours following events occur in Karachi.

MQM announces the route may possibly clash with the one lawyers want to use.

Sindh gov advises lawyers ironically, & not the MQM to cancel the plan, the lawyers reject this.

Next step by Sindh gov.? Someone orders from KBCA to seal prominent lawyer Munir A Maliks house in Karachi.

SHC intervenes &summons KBCA officer, mission failed but its just beginning.

Some unidentified (who will remain so forever) fire at Munir A Malik house early morning, Thursday, he escapes, awakened, sitting watching AAJ TV (as per his statement). The lawyers get angry & decided to go on with the rally.

Sindh gov announces that a big terror activity may be possible. A gang is arrested that was supposed to organize a terror incident on Saturday

Altaf urges party men to show in big number & while his men grab every corner to organize their rally, Sindh gov orders the removal of arrangements setup by lawyers meant to be used to greet the Chief Justice.

So who is actually benefiting from this game basically?. Possibly Opposition, Musharraf & MQM are throwing many arrows at one time. Here is how:

The Main Opposition  (PPP, PML-N)

If anything goes wrong on Saturday the opposition will have never a better chance to cash something against gov & try to act more sympathetic to CJP. With media acting like a catalyst they may well be benefiting a great deal if not winning. But if all goes smoothly they will again be benefiting in organizing a successful CJP greeting in Karachi & vetting out their anger in front of already anxious-to-capture-moments channels.

MQM or Sindh Gov.
While Sindh gov & MQM may be fighting a common enemy, inside they are ready for a battle within.Arbab has been quite vocal against CJP recently. If anything goes wrong on Saturday, MQM may try to throw everything on Arbab. Also, because Arbab himself cannot arrange a big rally for Mush, if MQMs own rally goes well it will send a signal from MQMs side to Mr Musharraf , to retreat from his trust on Arbab & think about a more powerful MQM all over Sindh with ISI always ready to help out in elections.

Additionally their dunda may well keep the media away from bringing out truth during clashes. Its also easy for media to throw everything on Sindh gov & Arbab rather MQM.

President Musharraf

I sincerely admire his wolf-style thinking. Divide & rule may be thousand old methods but it still works no wonder. If Sindh gov + MQM rally goes well, his spoons aka Durrani,Wasi Zafar will shout on TV later on about civil society supporting them.

If it goes a bit bad, they will be the most beneficiary. Because in our gov style just informing someone absolves it of all sins therefore they will come up with statements like the CJP was already informed about terror threat.

If it goes too bad, welcome, let it come.
May be CJP & Mush are working hard behind the scene for this drama.This could well be a perfect script. The PM has already thrown a balloon tagged EMERGENCY coming   . . . . in air. What else could be the best pretext to declare an emergency than this? Later he can surely cancel the elections too on the wardi issue. Hurray, he wont believe his luck coming so good.

All the people who are infected with the Mush’s Fake enlightenment philosophy & are blind to see the real designs behind will be responsible in Pakistan for this, if this happens.

But what about the CJP issue if that happened?. Well, hell with it, the gov will attack media more severely & after fundamental rights disappearing no where we shall find ourselves back in 80s in ZIAs regime. Being a true ally, the WEST is happy with dictatorship that suits its designs.

What about the MQM?  Well, if they support newly renovated dictator fine. Else it may well be that the firing at Munir A Malik, clash on Saturday be thrown into their lap & all their previous evil doings shown to them & their party back onto its knees with a “Kia hokum meray aaqa murmuring obediently.

MMA- The B Team

Anyone remember the Islamic-Brotherhood  viruses spread by ISI & ARMY in 80’s. Anyone remember who created, funded & approved the Taliban?. Anyone know why the Jamia Hafsa drama started, the two terrorist being included in dialog & discussion while fist & humiliation awaited the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Yes ladies an gentlemen. We should be thankful to USA for being near us at our border, else on any given day we should see Pakistan bring turned into Next Taliban, Next Saudia or UAE or a mix of these. Rest assure our Army is only as much enlightened as any interior haari or kisaan, in its roots.

So what about the B team of ARMY? Well Musharraf may need them in case he ever finds the WESTERN love fading. Its handy to give them one province you know. Both the MMA & WEST will keep each other busy while president write his next “In the line of victory & among donkeys.

What about the rest?  the PTI, the PML(Q) etc. Well, does anyone even bothers about them? This is Karachi, only MUSH, MQM & MMA matter here.

MQM the Big Bad Wolf

Enough of our speculations on who could be at fault, for the sudden loss of transmission to over six channels in Karachi. ARY Digital, ARY One World, Geo TV, Geo News, Geo Super & AAJ YV. The mess started at around 5 pm and a few hours later Mustafa Azizabadi, MQM Information Secretary has been trying so hard to reinstate that MQM had no hand in this mess.

I have tried to reason all sides of the argument even going to the extent of trying to understand the motive behind the blanket block limited to Karachi only. I am on record to have even speculated that Geo was a ‘Drama Queen’ but it seems I might have to stand corrected on that statement and leave the Drama Queen title to be crowned some other day.

It seems MQM is pissed at the media outlets to have not given its press conference its due coverage and accuses the media to have ignored this historical event in Karachi. A number of statements have come from the London MQM headquarters and all have been denying any involvement in the censorship but surprisingly they go onto say

In a press release issued by MQM here Saturday, it is said that MQM’s Legal Aid rally is not covered properly while CJ Iftikhar’s rally, from Islamabad to Lahore, is being transmitted step-to-step, which it says is ‘journalistic dishonesty’. However, MQM believes in promoting the freedom of press. It also claimed that MQM’s rally was ten times larger than CJ Iftikhar’s rally on GT Road.

It also claimed that people themselves took the step to blackout the channels, as it was their reaction towards ‘such channels’ journalistic dishonesty’. Geo.tv

Please note the incriminating evidence which quite simply sums up the entire seven hour Karachi media black-out they use the term so casually, the enraged public seeing this ‘journalistic dishonesty’ closed down those channels.

Quite stunning at how simply they can deny any involvement in the confusion yet in the same statement drive home their grievance against the six media outlets to have ignored their ‘mammoth’ press conference and they in turn tried to teach these outlets a lesson for their bad behavior conspiring with the cable operators to shut down the offending channels. More so to bring them to their knees and beg for forgiveness. Honestly, Is this the Press Freedom they stand for? But wait, it has always been a strong Danda / Terror mentality with which they have maintained their full authoritarian control over their own voters

Geo the Drama Queen

Barely an hour ago I was up in arms trying to break the new about the nonavailability of Geo.Tv and Aaj.tv in a number of localities of Karachi. A number of reports have come through some claiming it to be blocked while others saying Aaj is on the air but Geo is blocked. Puzzling reports go onwards to state that the rest of the country the channels are fine without even so much as a hiccup.

This is indeed a puzzling incident and after some serious discussions with a number of friends (story credit Inspirex) I feel we have ourselves a drama queen trying to create some sort of chaos and put pressure on the Government of Pakistan. President Pervaiz Musharraf already has a plate full of problems in terms of the CJP fiasco, Justice Iftikhar and the lawyers supporting him have been rallying around the country to create additional pressure on the government to reinstate the Chief Justice of Pakistan, I fully support the cause, as I feel Musharraf has simply lost his sanity and is slowly going berserk like a crazed captain on a pirate ship. Its now been said, that if you are with him good otherwise Walk the Plank, Har Har.

The CJP issue seems to have Lahore and Islamabad up in a fix while Karachi seems to be simply asleep on this issue, we only read it on the front pages of news headlines and after that it appears to be a normal day at work. Karachi was never up in arms about the issue, more importantly because MQM had been carefully taken care off…. Altaf Hussain issued statements well after a week as if to wake up from a slumber party and say ‘whats this going on’ without the rallying power of MQM Karachi had a blissful sleep while the northern areas of Pakistan burned in the name of Justice.

Heading back to the topic at hand, GEO did have a tussle with the Government since the get-go which ultimately landed with a handful of warnings and even the suspension of a host during the CJP crisis. Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehamn is in no small terms a cunning fellow, he knows that he wields power of the media in his grasp and plays his own tune when he wants too. Since a few days the Jang Group it seems has not been in talking terms with the bureaucracy and I can assume that he must be itching to resume the fight.

What will Govt of Pakistan achieve to block Geo in Karachi ?

This is a good question that was also posed to me when I made the post on my blog about the blocking of Geo and Aaj in Karachi. Why would this censorship be limited to Karachi only and that too being limited to a number of select cable operators in the area (World Call Karachi). The first thing that people start to suspect is that it is a move by the Government of Pakistan to censor Geo in light of the Chief Justice of Pakistan crisis, I too reasoned likewise. This assumption will create a revolt in Karachi and people will start to rally against President Musharraf and give him additional pressure on the CJP fiasco, something which the government definitely does not want. Punjab is enough to worry about they don’t have to mess with the emotions of Sindh and stir a sleeping giant.

What will GEO achieve to have it blocked in Karachi ?

Well thats an interesting question, they simply achieve the attention of having been at the receiving end of a gag-order issued by the President of Pakistan, they achieve front page headline in tomorrows newspapers, the could also potentially wake Karachi from its slumber and be at the forefront of the assault on President Musharraf creating more pressure for him to succumb to any new demands Shakeel-ur-Rehamn might have up his sleeve, better yet they have a story which can go down in the history books as their struggle for free speech. Mind you people of Pakistan all know the cunning nature of Jang Group to be a force to reckon with.

An important point should also be noted is the fact that Geo.tv website has nothing about the incident, how strange, for a news organization to be taken off-air against its wishes will definitely start issuing strong statements in whatever way possible.

UPDATE: GEO.Tv website has just issued a statement “In some parts of country including Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkar, Mirpur Khas and Nawabshah, Geo News telecast has been blocked. Some circles claimed that MQM bade the cable operators to shut down the telecast. The cable operators were allegedly asked to keep the telecast closed down until the chief justice rally came to an end.” – seems like a lame excuse,

MQM Angle?

Could it be an MQM ploy to teach GEO a lesson as there is little doubt that MQM have a full authoritarian control over the cable network operators in Karachi and Hyderabad, it has previously threatened ARY with dire consequences when they refused to cover press statements of Altaf Hussain and it did not take long for ARY to do a 180 and succumb to their requests and start covering news items concerning Bhai, we are most definitely shown his statements on a regualr basis for the past few years. Seriously this can only be the logical explanation to have Geo go down in MQM controlled localities of Karachi and Hyderabad.

I suspect there is some thing more then the eye can see, naturally this is all speculation and can be turned around to be nothing at all, but if we find that rat scurrying around somewhere then Geo should most definitely be renamed as the Drama Queen of 2007

GEO and AAJ Pulled off Air

Breaking News: it has come to my attention through reliable sources that the GEO.TV & AAJ.TV have both been pulled off the air in a bid to issue them a stern warning and also curtail their press freedom. I suspect this has all to do with the CJP crisis and the tussle the Govt had just following the CJP crisis and GEO.TVÅ› show host Kamran Khan amongst a number of other channels that dared to stick their neck out

So long for any hint of press freedom.

Updates to follow as soon as I hear of more news in this regards. KMB

Update: Geo has resumed its normal coverage and it looks like all channels are back on the air. It seems something was afoot in regards to the off-air status of a number of news channels, MQM has denied having an hand in this fiasco [but I tend to disagree] they may deny all they want but one must critically observe that the cable distributors here in Karachi were blocking the channels while the rest of the country had unhindered access. I suspect MQM was attempting to prove its loyalty to Musharraf by threatening GEO to stop the coverage or else they threatened with censorship, it seems the media played a tough hand and called the bluff to which MQM ended up blocking the channels, little did they know it would blow up in their face. Chalk one up for the strong media lobby in Pakistan

CJP & the Politico-Constitutional Crisis

By Amicus

Part One

Presently President Musharraf is faced with the most serious political crisis since he assumed the power on 12 October 1999. Briefly the unfolding of the events may be recorded in a chronological order. Read the lines and read between the lines.

March 9:
1. President General Musharraf summoned the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftkhar Mohammad Chaudhry, to his Camp Office, located in the annex of the Chief of Army Staffs official residence in Rawalpindi, and in the presence of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz sought his resignation. The Chief Justice refused to tender the resignation.

2. Confronted with an unexpected situation, President Musharraf, through a notification sought to make the Chief Justice of Pakistan non-functional and decided to send a reference, purportedly, under article 209 of the Constitution, to the Supreme Judicial Council to investigate the charges of misconduct and misuse of authority against him.

3. Not even a draft of reference had been prepared, perhaps owing to misplaced confidence or out of arrogance or in the hope that the Chief Justice would resign under persuasion or pressure. President only had letter of lawyer Naeem Bokhari containing some unsubstantiated allegations against the Chief Justice.

4. Simultaneously, President Musharraf, un-necessarily, appointed available senior-most judge, Justice Javed Iqbal, as the Acting Chief Justice of Pakistan. He was administered oath while the Chief Justice was still under detention in the Chief of Army Staffs Camp Office.

5. The Supreme Judicial Council was hurriedly formed. Since the senior-most Judge, Justice Rana Bhagwandas was outside the country, the Supreme Judicial Council did not fulfill the constitutional requirements.

6. If the Supreme Judicial Council was to find the non-functional Chief Justice guilty of the charges contained in non-existent or yet to be prepared reference, he was to be removed.

7. The Chief Justice was not allowed to go to his office even after several hours of detention. Against his wish, police escorted him to his residence where he was virtually placed under house arrest.

8. The Chief Justice was denied facilities of cable TV, newspapers and telephone. The flags of Supreme Court and Pakistan were removed from his hitherto official residence. Even his name was removed from the Official Web Site of Supreme Court. The Registrar of the Supreme court too was changed.

9. The legal fraternity took the Presidents action as unconstitutional and a blatant attack on the independence of the judiciary.

10.The Private TV channels exposed the hollowness and unconstitutionality of the Presidents action in their news, reports and discussion programs.

11.The nation was taken aback. The country was plunged into a deep crisis.

March 10
1. The newspapers were full of editorials and comments, and statements of lawyers and politicians condemning presidential reference. The private TV channels were seized of the matter. There was no respite. The intelligentsia and liberal sections of the society were shocked over the Presidents crude action.

2. It was vehemently contended that the government wanted to remove the Chief Justice because he had given bold decisions. His Suo- motu actions in the cases of privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills, the forced disappearance of the people, allotment of land to bureaucrats and army officers in Gwadar, etc were cited, as having presumably incurred displeasure of the government and prompted it to act against the Chief Justice. The whole exercise was rendered malafide and motivated by anything but the Constitutional diktat.

3. It was asserted with conviction that the Chief Justice had declined to promise a deputation of intelligence officials that he would uphold as lawful the actions which President Musharraf might take to get himself elected as president in uniform. And that this had left President Musharraf with no choice but to seek his removal before such actions were taken or emergency imposed.

4. The Chief justice remained incommunicado and a heavy police contingent was posted to guard his residence. His family was confined to the house and his son was denied access to his school.

5. All bar councils and bar associations decided to observe a black day on March 13 when the Supreme Judicial Council was to take up presidential reference. The lawyers began their agitation, which has continued to this date without let up.

March 11

1. Air Marshall Asghar Khan was allowed to meet with the Chief Justice. He disclosed that the Chief justice wanted the Supreme Judicial Council to have open proceedings.

2. Not sure of themselves, the ministers gave contradictory statements. The Sindh Chief Minister made wild allegations against the Chief Justice. The MQM was conspicuously silent. So did the Chief Minister of Punjab. Ironically both were, reported to have had complaints against the Chief Justice of Pakistan, which allegedly formed part of the reference.

March 12
1. Nationwide protests were reported. 40 lawyers were hurt in baton-charge in Lahore.

2. Two private TV channels were put off air for showing recordings of how lawyers were brutally beaten.

3. The government got visibly nervous and embarrassed.

March 13
1. The overwhelming support of the lawyers for the Chief Justice upset the government.

2. The Chief justice was roughed up on his way to the Supreme Judicial Council.

3. The Chief Justice demanded reconstitution of the Supreme Judicial Council.

4. The Opposition leaders stood by the Chief Justice.

March 14
1. The Acting Chief Justice took Suo motu notice of the manhandling of the Chief Justice.

2. The suspension of the Chief justice was challenged in the Lahore High Court.

3. Khalid Anwar and Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim declined to represent the government in the Supreme Judicial Council.

4. The US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher arrived. The US State Department announced that his visit was not linked to the current situation in Pakistan.

March 15
1. Shaken by lawyers agitation and spontaneous outpourings of public support for the Chief Justice, the government reportedly initiated talks with the Chief Justice to find a way out of the crisis.

2. Sharifuddin Pirzada expressed his inability to represent the government in the Supreme Judicial Council.

3. A petition was filed in the Supreme Court to declare the whereabouts of the senior-most judge, Justice Rana Bhagwandas.

4. President Musharraf said that he would accept the verdict of the Supreme Judicial Council.

5. Boucher described the crisis in Pakistan as sensitive and said that it needed to be handled carefully.

March 16
1. Daylong battles were fought between protestors and the police across the capital, Islamabad, on the occasion of the second hearing of the presidential reference.

2. The defense lawyers said that no copy of reference was provided to them.

3. The police stormed the office of Geo TV. President Musharraf apologized for the attack.

4. The attack on media was condemned. Journalists came out on the streets.

5. The opposition flexed its muscles. The MQM declared that it was not consulted about the reference.

6. The British lawyers assured support to the Chief justice.

March 17
1. The Chief Justice declared that he would not resign and fight the battle for the rule of law and supremacy of constitution.

2. The Federal Minister for Law, Wasi Zafar stated that the Chief Justice was on forced leave under section 2 of the Judges Compulsory Leave Order 1970, validated in 1975 under the Validation of Laws Act 1975. A belated change in governments position?

3. President Musharraf said that he had no personal differences with the Chief Justice. The president tried to save his position by claiming that the government had sent a reference against the Chief Justice to him and as president it was his constitutional duty to send it to the Supreme Judicial Council.

4. President Musharraf termed the police attack on Geo TVs office in Islamabad a conspiracy [yes conspiracy] aimed at tarnishing his image.

5. 50 were injured as lawyers and police clashed in Lahore. There is a call by lawyers for countrywide strike on 21 March.

6. Balochistan cities were hit by rockets and bomb blasts.

7. In New York, Benazir Bhutto said that the Taliban must be defeated in Pakistan this year or the country risked to fall under the sway of extremists.

Part Two

The above-mentioned developments from March 9 onwards suggest that the situation is very tricky and has all the potentials to drift out of control.

President Musharraf needs to weigh his options very carefully and take a decision that appears to be in national interest and in the interest of his own survival.

From a hind side, on three counts President Musharraf must be very clear:

1. He did not have the authority to make the Chief Justice non-functional. His act was unconstitutional.

2. He did not have the authority to appoint an Acting Chief Jusitce nor was it called for or ever occasioned.

3. In the absence of the senior-most judge after the Chief justice, who in the present case is Justice Bhagvandas, the composition of the Supreme Judicial Council is not as per mandatory requirements of the Constitution.

In the present circumstances when the legal fraternity has discussed the whole issue threadbare in bar associations and in public through electronic media, the Supreme Judicial Council is likely to declare its own composition unconstitutional or wait for the return of Justice Bhagvandas to fulfill the constitutional requirement.

Justice Bhagvandas has a reputation for being a man of principles. He is not likely to accept any pressure from executive in dealing with the matter.

The Supreme Judicial Council under Justice Bhagvandas would more likely to declare presidential notification, making the Chief justice non-functiona,l as null and void. Such a decision would be extremely embarrassing for President Musharraf.

There is no guarantee that any fresh reference against the Chief justice as per constitutional procedure would result in his conviction and removal. If the Supreme judicial Council absolves Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, President Musharraf would become laughing stock in public.

The best course for President Musharraf is to admit publicly that he had committed a procedural mistake and to withdraw his notification of declaring Chief Justice non-functional and so also his reference against the Chief Justice to the Supreme Judicial Council.

In the past we have seen that President Musharraf broke his promise of giving up uniform by 31 December 2004 and explained his reasons to the nation for that. If he is able to convince the people that some advisors misguided him regarding the procedure of filing the reference, the people are likely to excuse him for what happened.

Within a few weeks the whole issue may go into oblivion and become a thing of the past. The lawyers would go back to their business and the opposition would be left without a potentially dangerous issue.

President Musharraf would then be in a position to take a fresh stock of the situation. He may identify the people who made error of judgment or deliberately misguided him. Once the culprits are identified, he may get rid of them in a proper manner. Some heads would roll and the things would settle down.

For future, it is advisable that President Musharraf realizes the limitations in which he has to maneuver. The present political dispensation has lost its worth. If he tries to get himself elected from the existing assemblies without consent of the real stakeholders, he would face an extremely stiff opposition. The country may plunge into another major crisis, the first casualty of which would be Musharraf himself if extra-constitutional forces intervene.

Instead, a sensible option is to take all the stakeholders, including the Pakistan Peoples Party, on board and form a government of national consensus.

If needed due to genuine reasons, President Musharraf may impose emergency with the approval of stakeholders and as per constitutional provisions the term of the present assemblies may be extended by one year. The assemblies may elect President Musharraf without uniform for another five years and at the end of the assemblies extended period, free and fair elections may be held under the national government.

If the real stakeholders (foremost being the PPP) are not prepared for postponement of general elections, the present assemblies may be dissolved under relevant constitutional provisions, a national government or a government of consensus may be formed and general elections held without unnecessary delay. (This may not be to his liking owing to the fact that he, at the behest of his over zealous advisors, has squandered lot of capital for now).

The circumstances are such that if the dissolution of the assemblies is challenged, the Supreme Court is likely to uphold the legality of dissolution on the ground of state necessity or on the basis of the argument that for holding of presidential election, which is due between 16 September and 15 October 2007, it is imperative that the newly constituted assemblies should serve as electoral college.

Another sensible way is that after the budget session, President Musharraf may persuade the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers to tender advice as per constitutional provisions for dissolution of the National and Provincial Assemblies. By the second week of September 2007, the new assembles may come into existence to serve as electoral college for presidential election which is, as stated above, due between 16 September and 15 October 2007.

For all these options to succeed, President Musharraf would have to strike a deal with the Pakistan Peoples Party on future political set up. The PPP is likely to accept Musharraf as president without uniform provided it is offered a level playing field and allowed to form government in case it is able to forge a majority.

This would take the country back to erstwhile system of troika. The restoration of the troika system would be acceptable to the armed forces also. It will let the Supreme Court in its place, as the arbiters for convenience or exigency.

Other options are fraught with extreme dangers.

If the legal battle over the presidential reference takes a nasty turn due to any reason and anti-government agitation picks up, President Musharraf may be forced to have unceremonious exit by the armed forces.

If President Musharraf wins legal battle through unscrupulous means – he pressurizes the Supreme judicial Council or bribes or threatens Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to obtain resignation – neither the people would accept it nor the legal fraternity or opposition.

If President Musharraf imposes emergency without approval of the stakeholders or tries to get himself elected by the present assembly without first forging understanding with the stakeholders, he is almost certain to fail.

His emergency may then be followed by martial law.

President Musharrafs own constituency is already uneasy with him. Some of his policies are resented by strong quarters in the armed forces. It is advisable for him not to go for head-on collision with the opposition.

A recent, motivated, article in The New York Times, has indicated that the United States no more considers General Musharraf as indispensable. If Musharraf goes, the Vice Chief of Army Staff would simply become the Chief of Army Staff and the Chairman of Senate would assume presidency. It would be a re-enactment of what happened in 1988 after President and Chief of Army Staff General Mohammad Zia ul Haq was killed in a plane crash.

When some sensible options are available, why take risk?

Kidney Hill – Rumors of Progress

The grapevine of Karachi claims that a resolution has been reached as regards to the issue of Kidney Hill, which has been a burning issue for the past month which lead to a post a few days back titled Kidney Hill & the Ongoing Saga & later Kidney Hill, a Pictorial.

In the few days following the Cowasjee’s article a high level meeting took place at the Governor House and people walked out having said it was a successful meeting, though utterly complicated. We all know that a year back the Governor and The President of Pakistan had promised the residents of Overseas Cooperative Housing Society some 20 acres of land to be distributed to its residents in the peripheral locations of Kidney Hill, some 10 acres were allocated for roads while the rest were to be preserved for utility services and would be fully developed.

The dispute we have been following is NOT the entire 62 acres of land at Kidney Hill, but actually only the 20 acres which were being allocated to the members of OCHS. What actually happened, in typical Pakistani style, was that a few gentlemen belonging to the greedy developer mafia obtained membership of OCHS, in hope of getting a few pieces of land within the said territory, they were successfully able to push their own applications up to the top of the food chain, using any and all types of lubricating paraphernalia. Once satisfied with their homework at the local society level they turned up the pressure on the bureaucracy to cough out the allotments of these plots for development.

A number of OCHS residents spotting this apparent problem felt rightfully irritated and approached the court for a stay order. Fearing the worse, the gentlemen, recruited two hoodlums for a rumored sum of 2 crores from Lahore and were entrusted to take care of all hurdles that stood in their way to fame and fortune, the hoodlums wasted no time in harassing the 12 OCHS appellants which forced their quick withdrawal and then later the hoodlums worked on the Shehri group threatening dire consequences.

The bureaucracy was stuck in a dilemma as they did not want to reverse their decision to allot this area to OCHS but were also concerned about the irregularities taking place, I have been told for a fact that MQM was not involved in this fiasco as the Governor was genuinely working hard not solve this issue.

What has finally happened is that the two new OCHS members have been identified and their hoodlums have been arrested and placed behind bars, the Government is carefully reviewing the entire project but has not made a decision, it is quite possible that the order issued a year back may be reversed, but nothing is certain.

Please remember this is reported as per the grapevine of Karachi, though I report it after thoroughly clarifying the chain of events and occurrences but may be drastically wrong, it might be possible that some solid news might resurface within the week, if it has not done so already. If I am incorrect at any specific point, I am fully prepared to append the post to correct the anomaly. It must also be noted that I have not used any names to identify the people involved in this chain of events so as to avoid any embarrassments if any news report is deemed incorrect


Karachi – Dubai ‘A Cruise to Hell’

Shattered Dreams aboard Gulf Dream Cruise

To follow up on my initial report of the Karachi – Dubai Cruise liner which I posted a week back practically a day before it set sail for its first maiden voyage from Karachi to Dubai. The ship left the berth with the cruise management and Geo.TV (Jang) promoters literally patting themselves on the back for this remarkable feat.

During the five days on the sea, no news filtered through from any of the passengers but upon its return, I amongst many, were surprised of a strange hushed silence on Geo which should have been prancing with joy, it seemed to suggest that something was amiss. Little do these old-school media moguls realize the power of the Internet especially with the emerging concept of Citizen Journalism (blogging) where individuals can speak out and be heard, no more hidden agenda, no more governmental control, its the time of being brave to speak out, this is the true power of Citizen Journalism, commonly referred to as blogging.
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