Peoples Resistance in Karachi condemns the violence against the Ahmedi community, yesterday in Lahore which leaves a blood trail of over 80 dead and dozens injured. In a land which was founded on the fact that there should be freedom to practice any religion, sadly since General Zia ul-Haq’s times there have been certain laws in acted into our constitution which curtails the free practice of the Ahmedi religion.
It is sad that their place of worship was brutally attacked leaving behind dozens dead and a large number of injured. We as a civil society group in Karachi condemns all forms of religious intolerance and feels the need to show support to the Ahmedi community at this critical juncture.
A solidarity rally is being organized in Karachi Press Club today to out-rightly condemn violence against any religious sect and to also show our support for the sad loss of innocent lives in Lahore yesterday
Its important that a large community of citizens show up, it will in effect help the suppressed Ahmedi community in Karachi to join us and maybe we can help share their grief. We as activists who support religious tolerance can be a buffer amongst our midst they can confidently express their sorrow in a very public way.
On Saturday April 10, 2010 Pakistan Army launched an air strike in tribal area of Khyber and as a result at least 73 innocent civilians have lost their lives. Pakistan Army’s first reaction was denial and only confirmed the civil casualties after 5 days. This is not the first time that the Army has been involved in killing innocent men, women and children in NWFP, There have been innumerable incidents in the past when the rescuers were also targeted by the second round of air strikes.
The activists of People’s Resistance in Karachi feels that this is a War by the Pakistan Army on the innocent people of the region in the garb of fighting against terrorism and condemns the killing in the strongest terms.
People’s Resistance would also like to call all the people of Karachi to come join their protest on April 16 at 4 pm at Karachi Press Club to show solidarity with the people affected with this war and call for an end to this war.
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.
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.
Considering the spiraling security situation in Pakistan a number of civil society organizations have joined forces across Pakistan to hold a peace rally on 1st January 2010 as a Solidarity Day at 3:00pm in 37 cities across Pakistan
The Solidarity Day is organized under Aman Ittehad — a citizens’ platform connecting trade unions, media, students, lawyers, youth organizations, minority groups, NGOs, academia, and business. The Solidarity Day will express a resolve to strive for stronger democracy and democratic institutions.
After a lapse of over two years, today a full bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan came through with a historic judgment declaring the 2007 National Reconciliatory Ordinance null and void. It must be recalled that the NRO was the mastermind of the then President of Pakistan General Pervaiz Musharraf who in October 2007 orchestrated this pact with the exiled PPP leader Benazir Bhutto in an attempt to negotiate his own extended stay on the Presidential seat of power and in this process pardoned most of the corrupt criminals whom he himself detested so vehemently in his autobiography a few months earlier all in the name of political compromise. Since then history stands witness to have watched the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the people of Pakistan stood embarrassingly dumbfounded as one of the most corrupt politician Mr. Asif Ali Zardari snuck through the back doors of diplomacy to land into the Presidency of Pakistan.
Today the year-old restored judiciary stood strong to declare the NRO null and void, a short order issued outlined some important aspect of this new judgment but the exact specification and its affect on the Presidency remains to be ironed out. But it might be in the interest of Pakistan to not embarrass and ridicule Asif Ali Zardari and the Presidency any further and it might serve us all well to settle for a negotiated compromise, possibly having him to hand over most of the illegally amassed wealth back into the national treasury in lieu of his respect and freedom
By: Amjad Malik, MA, LLM
I have been vehemently advocating the need to erect a system of accountability by invoking a new commission and an Act of Parliament to curb mal practice, plundering and looting whilst one is holding a public office. This new Commission can truly ensure compliance with the Clauses of Article 62 and 63 of the constitution too. We are witnessing many names in the list of beneficiaries of National Reconciliation Ordinance, and many names which are not in it, are either praying to be in it or cursing the said redemption order of the former military dictator who came to rid corruption on 12 October 99, and left giving this strange gift of ‘hypocrisy’ to the nation.
Mal practice, corruption and mal governance is a common phenomenon of the third world countries as wealth is confined to the elite and institutions are so weak that they do not get roots and are run on the dictat of personalities. Pakistan is amongst those few unfortunate countries where despite abundance of natural resources, talent, passion, capacity of self dependency in edible food products, the country is still rating higher in corruption, suffering from food, electricity, gas, sugar shortages. Who is to be blamed is a long short, and to me, all bear the collective responsibility to bring this country to a stage where each person of any possible public stature is not free from corruption charges, which I will call allegations.
The Blasphemy Law: An Objective Assessment from Religious, Legal & Social Perspectives seminar organized by the Peoples’ Resistance is being live streamed from the PMA House at 5:30pm catch it live here on the blog or head over to the page at Ustream.tv
APOLOGIES: Due to a technical glitch – live feed is *not available*
The Peoples Resistance invites you to. “The Blasphemy Law: An Objective Assessment from Religious, Legal & Social Perspectives”
Date: Saturday 24th October, 2009
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: PMA House, Karachi
Some Speakers include:
Dr. Khalid Zaheer,
Advocate Zain Sheikh
Other notable Human Rights Experts and Minority Group Representatives will speak and attend the Seminar.
Chaired and Moderated by Retd Justice Mr. Rana Bhagwandas.
The Peoples’ Resistance (PR) is a civil society group that advocates and supports the Rule of Law and Constitutionalism in our homeland. We, at the PR, are deeply perturbed by the recent blasphemy related incidents in Gojra and other places where many innocent people were subjected to shameless violence and destruction and would like to sponsor an open and objective dialogue aimed at understanding the Blasphemy Law and its implications for our society. In this context, we are organizing a seminar on Saturday, October 24, 2009, at the PMA House, Karachi at 5:30pm under the title of:
Location: Karachi Press Club
Date: Tuesday 7th October, 2009
Time: 5:00 PM
The People’s Resistance strongly condemns the Army brutality captured on video recently as illegal and despicable behaviour on the basis of violation of the understanding of our human rights and our laws.
In no sense can this strong condemnation be understood as support of the Taliban. Lets not fail to remind ourselves what else the fight was about besides army action. The fight was against violent intolerance and deluded religious bigotry. It was also long overdue. We are glad it happened. This behaviour, and that not shown in the video, is intolerable and will undoubtedly help in making a Taliban comeback.
After returning from a relief distribution to Mardan in May 2009, I regularly followed up with events concerning the IDPs in N.W.F.P. Regardless of the numerous analyses (and conspiracy theories) emerging in the public discourse about the war and its affects, the priority for me remained in providing assistance to displaced families.
I tried to replicate the great work done by Lahore’s Concerned Citizens of Pakistan (CCP), who have adopted 9 IDP schools in Mardan and Swabi and are looking after the needs of 300 families by collecting donations from Lahore and giving food, medicines and other items through local NGOs of the area. Their families will be assisted after their return to Swat as well.
Besides the obvious difficulty of managing such a program alone, the great distance between Karachi and Mardan, my inability to follow up due to a hectic work schedule with Indus Resource Centre (IRC) and the lack of interest shown by people in Karachi discouraged me to the degree of becoming indifferent to the crisis.
By mid June, the IDPs had taken a backseat in the media networks, whereas the plight of displaced families became a routine matter for people, easily ignored and shrugged aside like another hunger strike by haris in Hyderabad or a drone attack in Waziristan. Friends who were trying to collect donations faced what’s called in the NGO world: ‘donor fatigue’. Everyone had given something from their pocket or bought food items, clothes or beddings and deposited them at one of the stalls in their city. Multinational corporations, wealthy businessman and salaried middle classes at home and abroad had given their share to the ‘Prime Minister’s Special Fund for Relief of Victims of Terrorism’ or to an NGO operating in the affected area. Average Pakistanis thought that maybe our role in this crisis had finished or as I heard from many people, ‘The military operation is succeeding and the crisis shall end soon.’
I share with you Najam Sadeque’s email posted on the Peoples Resistance Network. It is with full pride that she share the sweet victory of the Kashkheli tribe in successfully wrestling out the feudalism in the region. I believe this is definitely an important incident to celebrate and also use as an example maybe even to empower oppressed rural villagers to rise up for their own rights. It may seem to be a very small in insignificant victory for a very small segment of the Pakistani population but I feel this small step is one giant leap in the battle against feudalism in Pakistan – read about the Kashkehli struggle here, here, here and here
This is an update on the Swat situation which was posted onto the Peoples Resistance Mailing List by Dr. Riaz Ahmed on 24th April [three days back]. I believe this analysis is worth reading and understanding the ground reality from the people in swat and their concerns surrounding Sufi Mohammad and the possible incursions by the Pakistan Army. Its good to keep into perspective the ground reality merely to balance the propaganda that keeps blasting away across the media