Osama Bin Javaid's Blog

Musharraf: a landmark indictment for Pakistan’s democracy and constitution

Posted in News, Pakistan Curent Affairs by osamabinjavaid on March 31, 2014

Pakistan’s once most powerful man – a dictator, former military chief and president – has been indicted of high treason under the constitution of Pakistan. A first indictment for a military dictator in a country which has been predominantly ruled by them. When Musharraf ended his exile many wondered why he would give up an easy life in Dubai and London – maybe it was fate.

The former commando was adamant – saying he came back to save his country.”I was thinking the government would call me back, and would say ‘Save Pakistan’ but that did not happen. Today my nation ordered me to come back. I came back, putting my life in danger, to save Pakistan.” said Musharraf after landing to a small crowd in Karachi.

He failed to see that it wasn’t the same Pakistan which he ruled ten years ago – the judges who forced him out, were now powerful. Many were amazed at the stunt because Musharraf was forced out of power by the judiciary he tried to rule. And court cases piled up against him. Political analyst Mosharraf Zaidi says Musharraf represents a huge baggage  for the military and it’s unlikely he’ll spend any time behind bars.

Musharraf faces criticism for shortcomings ranging from
Benazir Bhutto’s killing , killing a Baloch separatist leader Akbar Bugti, mishandling of Lal Masjid ,  allowing U.S. drone attacks on Pakistan, sending Pakistanis for torture abroad , selling detainees for dollars , depriving Pakistan of economic boom at the start of the millennium and systematically destroying Pakistan’s institutions and many many more.

He had taken refuge in his farmhouse (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fvrxd812huk) and avoided several court hearings to escape indictment. Bombs were found, a Taliban letter was produced and in the most dramatic of the moves he fell “sick” during a drive to the court. Now Musharraf’s ailing mother has been taken to hospital in Dubai – and his lawyers are preparing a case to get his name off the exit control list to allow him to leave Pakistan.

But controversy was nothing new for Musharraf. In 1999 Indian and Pakistani troops came close to war in the Kashmiri area north of Kargil. During that conflict General Musharraf was plotting how to rule Pakistan. And he took power in a bloodless coup and later named himself President.

Then, two years later, after the September 11 attacks, Musharraf decided to align Pakistan with the so-called U.S. war on terror. Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the Former Jamat i Islami chief  said the general buckled. “General Musharraf is under American pressure, this is not a war against terror this is a war against Islam”

Musharraf then supported the invasion of Afghanistan…though he later said the US had threatened to bomb Pakistan unless it joined the fight against al-Qaeda. Musharraf was in a fine balancing act. Managing a US-Pakistan relationship on one hand and trying not to completely sever ties with tribal fighters on the other.

Believed to have given approval for U.S. drones to operate from Pakistan, Musharraf also had to sign agreements with tribal fighters in the north. But his approach failed to stop the resurgence of the Taliban and Al Qaeda –whose attacks killed more than 50,000 Pakistanis in the last ten years. For the first time Pakistan had to deploy troops to the north to stop fighters from operating in Afghanistan. On the eastern border the relationship with India also saw some major lows.

And all his efforts to improve the economy were forgotten when Musharraf came under fire at home. The suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry in March 2007 triggered street demonstrations by lawyers and the civil society. And opposition parties also joined the protests. His political legitimacy was under attack – and the movement eventually led to Musharraf’s humiliating resignation.

And that’s where the spiral to the ground began. Musharraf returned to Pakistan despite these and many legal and political problems including from Taliban fighters – who tried to assassinate him three times during his time in office. He also found the hard way that he had very little support on the ground and all those who support him on social media aren’t voters in Pakistan.

Here are the formal charges he faces.

General (Retired) Pervez Musharraf may be formally charged as under:

a) Firstly, on 3rd November, 2007 at Rawalpindi as Chief of the Army Staff, he issued an unconstitutional and unlawful “Proclamation of Emergency Order, 2007” which, unconstitutionally and unlawfully, held the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 in abeyance and he thereby subverted the Constitution and thus committed the offence of high treason punishable under section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973 (Act LXVIII of 1973), which is within the jurisdiction of the Special Court established under section 4 of The Criminal Law Amendment (Special Courts) Act, 1976 (XVII of 1976).

b) Secondly, on 3rd November, 2007 at Rawalpindi as Chief of the Army Staff, he issued an unconstitutional and unlawful “Provisional Constitution Order No. 1 of 2007” which, unconstitutionally and unlawfully, empowered the President to amend the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 from time to time and he also suspended the Fundamental Rights enshrined in Articles 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 19 and 25 of the Constitution and he thereby subverted the Constitution and thus committed the offence of high treason punishable under section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973 (Act LXVIII of 1973), which is within the jurisdiction of the Special Court established under section 4 of The Criminal Law Amendment (Special Courts) Act, 1976 (XVII of 1976).

c) Thirdly, on 3rd November, 2007 at Rawalpindi as President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, he issued an unconstitutional and unlawful “Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2007” whereby an oath was, unconstitutionally and unlawfully, introduced in the Schedule which required a judge to abide by the provisions of the Proclamation of Emergency dated 03.11.2007 and the Provisional Constitutional Order dated 03.11.2007 to perform acts and functions in accordance thereof and this order also resulted in removal of numerous judges of the superior courts including the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan and he thereby subverted the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and thus committed the offence of high treason punishable under section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973 (Act LXVIII of 1973), which is within the jurisdiction of the Special Court established under section 4 of The Criminal Law Amendment (Special Courts) Act, 1976 (XVII of 1976).

d) Fourthly, on 20th November, 2007 at Rawalpindi as President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, he issued an unconstitutional and unlawful Order 5 of 2007 “Constitution (Amendment) Order, 2007” whereby Articles 175, 186-A, 198, 218, 270B and 270C were, unconstitutionally and unlawfully, amended and Article 270AAA was added to the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and he thereby subverted the Constitution and thus committed the offence of high treason punishable under section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973 (Act LXVIII of 1973), which is within the jurisdiction of the Special Court established under section 4 of The Criminal Law Amendment (Special Courts) Act, 1976 (XVII of 1976).

e) Fifthly, on 14th December, 2007 at Rawalpindi as President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, he issued an unconstitutional and unlawful Order 6 of 2007 “Constitution (Second Amendment) Order, 2007” whereby the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 was, unconstitutionally and unlawfully, amended and he thereby subverted the Constitution and thus committed the offence of high treason punishable under section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973 (Act LXVIII of 1973), which is within the jurisdiction of the Special Court established under section 4 of The Criminal Law Amendment (Special Courts) Act, 1976 (XVII of 1976).

The special court set up to try Musharraf has rejected his plea to visit his sick mother and seek cardiac treatment abroad. The court says removing his name on the exit control list is the prerogative of the government.

Stephen Cohen is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a South Asia Analyst. He says if Pakistan’s judiciary becomes vengeful, it will lose all the ground it’s recovered since ousting a dictator from power.” I’d hate to see the Pakistani system turn into a revenge system. The courts, judiciary and even the military should let justice take its course. But not treat him abusively. He’s been humiliated, he’s been disgraced but you don’t want to begin a process of hanging people of charges many others are guilty of.” said Cohen.

And that’s his defence so far. His supporters insist that it was necessary at that time to remove a democratically elected prime minister and Musharraf did not act alone. Legal experts agree that the constitution is clear that whoever “aided and abetted” in the acts of treason must face justice. Some argue that Musharraf’s case should be the beginning and all those politicians, judges, bureaucrats and generals who helped Musharraf subvert the constitution must now face the music. But the trail must not become a farce and individuals must be given a fair chance to defend themselves.

His critics call Musharraf a victim of his own vanity and arrogance. And now he faces the possibility of the death penalty. Although most commentators do not believe that he will face the death penalty BUT this indictment has set a precedent for future adventurers in the garb of patriotism and doctrine of necessity.

For Musharraf perhaps it’s the legacy he wanted to have – that of insisting on defiance with not much defence in the face of obvious repercussions.

 

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Ramblings …

Posted in Pakistan Curent Affairs by osamabinjavaid on July 15, 2011

Among the world’s most despised professions are politics and journalism. I guess that was just a sentence when I was a young aspiring reporter and the true manifestation hits you hard in the face. In the pursuit of truth (not-news-of-the-world-style) you are required to ruffle feathers, shake confidences and must be trustworthy at the same time. It is a difficult balancing act as everybody hates your guts. It doesn’t matter if the underlying theme of your story is for the betterment of the society, all involved parties treat you with a fishing pole.

So how do you dig out alternative narratives? How do you insist on the truth when everyone wants you to tow their line? And most importantly how long can you last, banging your head against brick walls? The sycophants who claim to be watchdogs make you nauseous .

Inspiration is the key but in case of Pakistan, it is a rare commodity becoming scarcer by the second. Going against the tide is too much even if you try and go around the tide; guess what, no one wants you to. Comfort zones of sources, institutions and hypocrites block you with full force. You want the good old days when people said what they meant and meant what they said but they just want to hint between the lines. So when faced with the figurative and literal bulldozers out to offset any non-conventional and creative thinking, how do you survive? The suffocation becomes so intense that you find yourself gagging to breathe. At times its being sensible and responsible and at times its about being politically correct to maintain peace. Whether it is the uncomfortable truth about so-called national interest, the realpolitik, corruption of sacred cows or any other thing “THEY” don’t want you to touch. As a journalist you fear for your team, your family and at times yourself.

Its not just me, here’s what a dear friend wrote after successive killing sprees in the financial hub of Pakistan The state has abdicated its power to the non-state actors. As a journalist, I am also part of the conspiracy of silence prevailing in Karachi. Like many of my colleagues, I know things which I cannot reveal. I am part of the Omerta. I have to live with imposed silence as I see Karachi burning, lives being lost. All of us have our hands tainted with the blood of innocents in the name of peace and hoping to live with the lies for another day. But, for how long? Somebody has to break that code of imposed silence“

I say to colleagues that optimism and hope are our only two weapons as darkness continues to engulf Pakistan but my words echo in my increasingly hollowing aspirations. The only solace – where’s the fun in giving up!

Of “STEALTH” swimsuits and defence through press releases…

Cassius said in Julius Caesar, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars — but in ourselves…”

A spokesperson of the ISPR has strongly refuted reports in the media quoting unnamed US sources that elements in Pakistan security forces tipped off terrorists helping them to escape the purported IED factories in Waziristan. This assertion is totally false and malicious and the facts on ground are contrary to it. Explaining further the spokesperson said that intelligence information was received regarding four compounds suspected of being used as IED making facilities. Operations were launched on all. Two were found to be used as IED making facilities and have been destroyed. Information on other to proved to be incorrect. Some persons have been arrested and they are under investigation.

Why is it that these claims are repeatedly being made? Why is the Pakistani military establishment under the microscope after the Abbottabad incident? How many of us were surprised when the actual story surfaced alleging Panetta showed the Pakistani military of the militant factories CIA tipped them about and then before they could attack, militants fled.

PNS Mehran was a classic example where the finger pointers forgot that it was their own inefficiencies that led to the attack and failure to protect their assets. Why was there a 50 yr old barbed wire protection for billions of rupees of taxpayers money? why werent there CCTV cameras? why weren’t the checkposts manned? why did no one pay heed to the previous attacks on navy? why was there no intelligence? why were the lights switched off rather than everything being lit up to identify attackers?

Stop pointing fingers and identify your failures first. Not saying that the US and India might not take advantage but unless you plug the loopholes, everyone else will take advantage too.

This the message forwarded by a friend from a US-fault-finder…

Where do we go from here?!

I met an officer of my unit at a wedding on Sunday 29 may ’11.  As my unit is in Malir, I asked him if he had any knowledge of the Mehran attack. He said, his company was the one called in for the operation as it was on rapid deployment force duty. He gave me a blow by blow account of what happened. I shall only give the gist of what he said.

The runway of Shahrah e faisal is shared by the Navy as well as the PAF. The runway is the dividing line.

At the perimeter of the naval base is a nullah about 15-20 meters wide. This is full of shrubs and trees and bushes.  The terrorists had parked their vehicles about two KMs down and walked along the far side of the nullah. At exactly 90 degrees from the Orions they built a proper infantry fashion Assault Bridge. They crossed the nullah over the assault bridge, and  made a bee line to the Orions. Four of the attackers went round from the PAF side and took up positions facing the Orions, across the runway.

They fired all the seventy rocket launchers they had brought onto and into the two parked Orions. The destruction was total. The officer said except for two pieces of tyres of  an aircraft which he saw, everything else was total ashes.

The attackers had come in totally undetected. When they fired the rockets simultaneously, the local naval security forces rushed to the point. They ran in along the runway. The firing went on for about 12-15 mns. Immediately after the fire the attackers on the Naval side withdrew across the assault bridge and disappeared. No one knows how many they were. Figures quoted are only conjectures.

When the local security forces rushed along the runway, they inadvertently cut off the route of withdrawal of the four attackers. And a cross fire started between the two sides.

In the meantime, this officers company had reached the mehran base by about 11 pm. However, they had orders ‘from above’, to not to enter the base. They could hear the firing but were not allowed to move in.

At 1:30 in the morning they were allowed to move in but were prohibited to open fire. At this stage I asked him if they had been sent in to sell pakoras! He was quite cut up and said the troops were very upset about it too. But their orders were very strict – no fire.

By this time all fire had stopped before they were allowed to move in.

They knew that four attackers were still there in the PAF area. An area search was carried out but no one was found because of the night. After first light along with the Zarrar company of SSG the grounds were scoured. An officer with a jawan were searching for a lost magazine, as they neared a large bush, they were fired upon. The sepoy was injured. The officer fired back and killed the attacker. Thereafter three more were killed in an exchange of fire. No more bodies were found

While this company was being held outside the Base, the officer said he saw Rahman malik on the TV giving a running commentary on the action as if he was standing in the witness stand!! He also stated that before they were allowed in, RM was announcing very happily “all the terrorists have escaped. No one has been killed or captured”. The troops and officers were all aghast at his attitude and his glee!!

All the weapons and equipment found on the site and attackers was of Russian origin.

The attackers were in the middle of two bases and all the aircraft of the PN and PAF were within their beat. They could have destroyed or incapacitated most of the PAF aircraft and helicopters including Lamas. But nothing else was touched.. They had concentrated their total fire power onto the total destruction of the two Orions only.

The Americans on the base were flown out the same night.

I have tried to reproduce what the officer said, verbatim.

My observations.

These Orions had been used for surveillance in Baluchistan where the Americans are actively involved in terrorist activities. All their activities were monitored and the wireless messages were recorded. This is the capacity of the Orion. And therefore that could have been a great embarrassment for the Americans if it leaked out. Hence the Orions had to be destroyed so much that the recorders and black boxes were destroyed too along with the nefarious evidence.

The attackers came direct onto the two parked Orions because they were guided through Satellite GPS. The Americans at the base were acting as FACs to direct them. They had finished their jobs and were no longer required. Their safety demanded they be not available for any interrogation etc.

RM was in charge of the operations, and thus the peculiar orders to the army unit,  ostensibly for the safety of his American friends

Another revealing news I got was that the Americans are paying USD 500millions each annually to Asif, Rahman and Nawaz  Sharif to keep their mouths shut and look after US interests. One of the bankers being quoted said he had been involved personally in the transaction of $500 M in the case of Nawaz!

The photo of one attacker killed shows a full tattoo on his left arm fro stout shoulder to hand. This excludes the person being a Taliban, a Muslim, Pakistani or even Indian. Its not part of our culture. Russian or Europeans would have a single tattoo. The full arm or body tattoos are only American culture. Draw your own conclusions.

I thought you should know.

( Name removed )

 

Can we just stop blaming other and fix our own problems first. How long before we are mature enough to  take responsibility for the ambit we’re responsible for. Maybe we all should read Cassius’ comments again…

 

SHUT UP OR DIE

A dear friend, a bold journalist a brave man was killed in pursuit of the truth. Saleem Shahzad leaves behind three children and a widow. The mourners under their wails and tears still have no clue why was their father killed. Since his abduction from Pakistan’s fortified federal capital to the discovery of his bruised mortal remains, the message is to hammer home the chilling threat to all those who strive to inform.

Rest in peace, we will not be silenced.

UPDATE:

After a successful 24 hr sit in by journalists demanding justice, the ineffective government made matters worse. The journalists from all over Pakistan demanded a judicial inquiry by appointing a judge who refused to head the investigation because the GOP didnt bother to ask the chief justice before appointing one of his subordinates.

On June 17, the ISPR released the following statement after Asma Jehangir said data of calls and texts from Saleem Shahzad’s mobile was wiped out by the ISI.

“Spokesperson of ISPR voiced concern on unfounded and baseless insinuation’s being voiced in a section of print and electronic media against ISI in regard to murder of Journalist Saleem Shahzad. Such negative aspersions and accusations were also voiced against ISI in some previous cases but investigations proved those wrong.
The spokesperson strongly supported   formation of a Commission to investigate the murder of   Journalist Saleem Shahzad. The case must be investigated thoroughly and facts made known to the people, the spokesperson concluded.”

 

Here’s what happened earlier …

 

Missing people in Pakistan have become a sad reality. Wikileaks has revealed that DEMAND TO ACCOUNT FOR MISSING
DRAWS LIMITED GOVERNMENT COOPERATION

“….The Supreme Court’s activism on the issue is a brave and encouraging start, but there are a number of obstacles that will make solving the problem a serious challenge. Interior Ministry and Attorney General’s office must rely on information from Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agencies to comply with the Supreme Court’s order. So far, this pressure has generated a few releases — often abrupt affairs, in which detainees have reportedly been pushed out of cars, confused and disoriented, and left to find their way home. It remains to be seen whether the Court’s scrutiny will have a lasting effect on the way the intelligence agencies do business.…”

Here is a compilation of a very well articulated response by the Newspaper Society and the rest of the world on the sad demise of Saleem Shahzad, a courageous journalist. Will there be action, I doubt it, but still all we have are words as our weapons

STATEMENT OF PRESIDENT OF APNS

A leading newspaper publisher in Pakistan and the president of the nationwide newspapers body has reacted sharply to charges by the Inter Services`Intelligence Agency (ISI) that allegations by Human Rights Watch of the intelligence agency’s involvement in the murder of Pakistani journalist Salim Shahzad were “baseless” .

It has come to my notice that a spokesman of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) while speaking to the official national news agency in Islamabad yesterday has questioned the “baseless allegations” leveled by Human Rights Watch on the basis of an E mail from Salim Shahzad, the Bureau Chief of the Hong Kong based Asia Times Online, in their possession . Mr Shahzad was mudered three days ago near Islamabad after being abducted by unknown persons.

“I wish to state on record that the e mail in the possession of Mr Ali Dayan, the monitor for Human Rights Watch (HRW) stationed in ,Lahore Pakistan, is indeed one of the three identical E mails sent by Mr Shahzad to HRW , his employers (Asia Times Online) and to his former employer, myself . I also wish to verify that allegations levied by HRW at the Inter services Intelligence (ISI) are essentially in complete consonance with the contents of the slain journalists E mail ”

“In their denial issued Wednesday an anonymous spokesman from the ISI has questioned the “baseless allegation” leveled against ISI by Mr Dayan of HRW. I wish to state on the record for the information of the officers involved in investigating journalist Salim Shahzad’s gruesome murder, that the late journalist confided to me and several others that he had received death threats from various officers of the ISI on at least three occasions in the past five years. Whatever the substance of these allegations , they form an integral part of Mr Shahzad’s last testimony. Mr Shahzad’s purpose in transmitting this information to three concerned colleagues in the media ,was not to defame the ISI but to avert a possible fulfillment of what he clearly perceived to be a death threat. The last threat which I refer to was recorded by Mr Shahzad by e mail with me, tersely phrased as “for the record”, at precisely 4.11 am on October18,2010, wherein he recounted the details of his meetings at the ISI headquarters in Islamabad between the Director General- Media Wing (ISI) Rear- Admiral Adnan Nazir, with the Deputy Director General of the Media Wing, Commodore Khalid Pervaiz, also being present on the occasion.

The ostensible agenda for this meeting was the subject of Mr Shahzads’s story of Asia Times Online with respect to the Pakistan government freeing of senior Afghan Taliban commander, Mullah Baraadar. Mr Shahzad informed the senior officials that he story was leaked by a intelligence channel in Pakistan, and confirmed thereafter by the ” most credible Taliban s source” . The senior officials present suggested to Mr Shahzad that he officially deny the story, which he refused to do, terming the official’s demand as “impractical”

The senior intelligence official was “curious” to identify the source of Mr Shahzad’s story claiming it to be a “shame” that such a leak should occur from the offices of a high profile intelligence service. Mr Shahzad additionally stated that the Rear -Adimral offered him some information, ostensibly “as a favour ” in the following words : ” We have recently arrested a terrorist and have recovered a lot of data, diaries and other materials during the interrogation. The terrorist had a hit list with him . If I find your name on the list I will certainly let you know.”

Mr Shahzad subsequently confirmed to me in a conversation that he not only interpreted this conversation as a veiled threat to his person. He also informed me that he let an official from the ISI know soon thereafter that he intended share the content of this threat with his colleagues ..

As President of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and as head of Pakistan’s leading media group I consider the the security of journalists to be of paramount importance. At present the APNS has officially committed itself to the creation of a national body for the investigations of serious threats to the lives of journalists, a body which the Committee to Protect the Journalists in New York, and other leading organizations in the Pakistani press and human rights bodies have promised to lend vigorous support to. Pakistan has one of the high rates in the world for journalists killings and such an environment is inimical to the functioning of democracy . The government and the intelligence agencies should take the investigation into Mr Shahzad’s murder seriously and examine his last testimony closely.

Whether the Oct 18th incident itself or his last article in the Asia Times Online ,that alleged Al-Qaeda penetration of the security curtain for Pakistani Naval establishment in Karachi hastened his murder is for the official investigation to uncover. And nobody not even the ISI should be above the law”.

Hameed Haroon
PRESIDENT
ALL PAKISTAN NEWSPAPERS SOCIETY
KARACHI

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) fully backs a call by its affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), for the Government of Pakistan to establish by June 10 a judicial commission to investigate the disappearance and murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad.

PFUJ president Pervaiz Shaukat said journalists from throughout Pakistan would assemble in Islamabad and stage a sit-in at the Parliament if the commission was not set up by this date.

The deadline was set at a meeting of senior union leaders and journalists in Islamabad on June 2, where the PFUJ also sought unity with the All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS).

APNS president Hameed Haroon issued a statement on June 2 in which he confirmed Shahzad had reported receiving threatening messages on at least three occasions, allegedly from members of the intelligence arm of the Pakistan military, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

“Whatever the substance of these allegations, they form an integral part of Mr Shahzad’s last testimony,” Haroon said in his statement. “Mr Shahzad’s purpose in transmitting this information to three concerned colleagues in the media was not to defame the ISI but to avert a possible fulfilment of what he clearly perceived to be a death threat.”

The head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Zohra Yusuf, was reported as saying that although there was no conclusive evidence, “circumstances seem to point to state security agencies because there have been other cases where journalists have been picked up”, according to Reuters.

The ISI denies involvement in the murder of Shahzad, 40, who disappeared in Islamabad on May 29. Shahzad’s tortured body was found on May 31 at Mandi Bahauddin, about 150km southeast of Islamabad in Punjab province.

On May 27, Shahzad published on Asia Times Online an investigative report into alleged links between Al-Qaeda and Pakistani naval officials. It was to be the first of a two-part series. However, an editor’s note on the website says Shahzad had not completed the second part of his report and it will therefore not be published.

“The IFJ commends the courage of journalists in Pakistan at this distressing and dangerous time,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said. “We and journalists around the world will not rest until all murderers of journalists in Pakistan are brought to justice.”

Black flags have been hoisted at union offices and press clubs throughout the country, and PFUJ members will conduct a protest outside the Parliament today.

Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online, for whom Shahzad was the Pakistan bureau chief, is establishing a trust fund for his wife Anita and three teenage children.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

The United States strongly condemns the abduction and killing of reporter Syed Saleem Shehzad. His work reporting on terrorism and intelligence issues in Pakistan brought to light the troubles extremism poses to Pakistan’s stability. We support the Pakistani government’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.
We remain committed to helping the government and people of Pakistan as they work to bring peace and stability to the country.

Chairman Kerry Washington, DC

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) issued the following statement on the death of Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Asia Times Online’s Pakistan Bureau Chief:

“I was deeply shocked and saddened to hear about the recent abduction and murder of reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad. His reporting on critical national security and intelligence issues helped shed light on the difficult challenges confronting the region. His death is a blow to Pakistan’s fragile democracy and a chilling reminder of the dangers journalists continue to face in Pakistan. I hope that the Pakistani government’s investigation into his murder will be as a thorough as possible to hold those responsible accountable and deter another crime against members of the press.”

BRITISH Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

“I was shocked to hear of the abduction and killing of Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shazad. He courageously reported on the terrorism and extremism which has caused so much suffering to the people of Pakistan. His death highlights the dangers faced by those working for a stable Pakistan and our thoughts are with his family at this time of grief.

“I welcome the announcement of an investigation. It is vital that this is thorough and transparent and that those responsible are brought to justice.”

Joint Action: Pakistan – Thirty-five organizations call for murder investigations in Pakistan

Thirty-five organizations call for murder investigations in Pakistan

The International Federation of Journalists and 33 other members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), including co-author the Committee to Protect Journalists, endorsed the following letter at IFEX’s General Meeting held in Beirut, Lebanon on May 30 and 31. The letter was also supported by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.

Mr Asif Ali Zardari
President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan,

Mr Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani
Prime Minister, Islamic Republic of Pakistan

CC:

Mr Rehman Malik
Minister for Interior

Dr Firdaus Ashiq Awan
Minister for Information and Broadcasting

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani
Chief of Army Staff

1 June 2011

Dear Mr President, Honourable Ministers and General Kayani,

RE: Journalists and Press Freedom Groups Call for Murder Investigations

We the undersigned members and partners of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) are writing with respect to express our deep concerns for the safety and welfare of journalists and media workers in Pakistan.

Representing the international community of journalists’ organisations and press freedom defenders gathered in Lebanon for IFEX’s bi-annual conference, we urge the Government of Pakistan and its law-enforcement and security agencies to take immediate and firm action to implement all appropriate measures to protect media personnel and to prosecute murderers of journalists in Pakistan.

In 2011, the tragic toll of dead and injured journalists and media workers placed Pakistan ahead of Iraq and Mexico as the world’s most dangerous country for journalists and media workers.

The killings have continued into 2011, with at least three journalists murdered in targeted attacks, including the killing of Nasrullah Afridi in Peshawar on May 10 and Syed Saleem Shahzad, whose body was found just yesterday.

We are deeply disturbed by Shahzad’s brutal murder, following his abduction in Islamabad on May 29. We note reports by Human Rights Watch that the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) may have been involved in his disappearance. We also note the potential connection between Shahzad’s murder and an article he published on May 27 about alleged links between Al-Qaeda and Pakistan Navy officials. We appeal to the Government of Pakistan and its security agencies to move with utmost urgency to identify Shahzad’s killers and bring to them to justice.

We fully appreciate the great difficulties confronting all people in Pakistan at this time. However, we also know that Pakistan has the resources and expertise to conduct credible investigations into murders of journalists and to bring culprits to justice.

Yet this is not happening and a culture of impunity prevails. Of all the murders of journalists in Pakistan over many years, the identification and prosecution of culprits has occurred only once in recent memory – in the internationally high-profile case of American journalist Daniel Pearl.

Pakistan’s law-enforcement authorities and security agencies at the provincial and federal levels have consistently failed to show the will to conduct full and proper investigations into all other murders of journalists in Pakistan.

Just a few examples where reports of investigations into murders are long overdue include the following:

• Hayatullah Khan, murdered, June 2006 in North Waziristan, after being abducted in December 2005.
• Allah Noor, murdered, Wana, February, 2005.
• Chishti Mujahid, murdered, February 2008, Quetta.
• Abdul Razzak Johra, murdered, Mianwali district, Punjab, November, 2008.
• Musa Khan Khel, murdered, Swat, February 2009.

The highly publicised investigation carried out by Peshawar High Court Judge Mohammed Reza Khan shortly after the killing of Hayatullah Khan has never been made public, despite repeated calls from the PFUJ and international media support groups.

In April 2009, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and its district affiliates urged your Government to set up a judicial commission to investigate the murder of Khan Khel. This followed an independent investigation by the Khyber Union of Journalists and the PFUJ after local authorities failed to initiate their own inquiry. We await results in this case.

In early 2010, the then Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Sumsam Ali Bukhari, acknowledged that Pakistan’s authorities and Interior Ministry had a responsibility to identify and arrest suspects. He gave an assurance to PFUJ members that the Sindh Government had been instructed to conduct a thorough investigation into the killing of Ashiq Ali Mangi in Khairpur, Sindh province, in February 2010. We await results in this case.

With respect, we remind you that your Government has a responsibility to protect and defend the rights of journalists and the media, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1738.

As a signatory to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and to the 1997 Additional Protocol on the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), the Government of Pakistan and its security forces are obliged to ensure the protection of journalists as civilians.

Article 13 of Protocol II states: “The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.”

The 2006 Security Council Resolution, which stresses the civilian status of journalists reporting in war zones and crisis areas within national borders, stipulates: “… that all parties to an armed conflict comply fully with the obligations applicable to them under international law related to the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including journalists, media professionals and associated personnel.”

Under the laws of Pakistan, the federal and provincial governments have a duty to require that law enforcement and security authorities utilise appropriate and transparent policing and judicial means to fully investigate all murders and disappearances of journalists.

We fully support the PFUJ in its recent request to Minister Malik to initiate and oversee a comprehensive inquiry and report into the killings of journalists in all of Pakistan’s provinces. We look forward to full public disclosure of all evidence and official records.

We further call on you to work with the PFUJ and Pakistani and international media support groups to establish an independent taskforce to act promptly on the findings of the Malik inquiry, including through the pursuit of full and proper investigations and prosecutions of cases.

Again, we respectfully request that you use your authority to reverse the culture of impunity and act on the grave concerns held by the international community of journalists and press freedom defenders for the welfare of our colleagues in Pakistan.

In the absence of investigations and the prosecution of offenders, the State is failing to provide the necessary deterrent to those who would use violence to silence and intimidate journalists and restrict the right of all people in Pakistan to information.

Yours Respectfully,

The Undersigned

1. Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (Alliance of Independent Journalists)
2. Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
3. ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression
4. Association of Caribbean Media Workers
5. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
6. Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
7. Center for Media Studies & Peace Building
8. Centre for Independent Journalism
9. Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala
10. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
11. Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
12. Freedom Forum
13. Freedom House
14. Free Media Movement
15. Globe International
16. Hong Kong Journalists Association
17. Independent Journalism Center
18. Index on Censorship
19. International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
20. IPS Communication Foundation
21. Maharat Foundation (Skills Foundation)
22. Media Foundation for West Africa
23. Media Institute of Southern Africa
24. Media Rights Agenda
25. Media Watch
26. Mizzima News
27. National Union of Somali Journalists
28. Observatoire pour la liberté de presse, d’édition et de création
29. Pacific Islands News Association
30. Pakistan Press Foundation
31. Public Association “Journalists”
32. Southeast Asian Press Alliance
33. South East European Network for the Professionalization of the Media
34. Thai Journalists Association
NON-IFEX MEMBER SIGNATORY:
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ)

Military public relations department relies on free email servers

Posted in News, Pakistan Curent Affairs by osamabinjavaid on May 12, 2011

I just came across the military’s media contact page that proudly boasts of 1 Hotmail, 3 Gmail and 1 Yahoo account.

http://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-pr_contacts&director_id=dgispr

They are meant for queries and responses if you want to get answers from the Pakistani military. Just wondering why are all these addresses based on foreign servers. Usually all professional organizations have a secure network and as sophisticated & sensitive the operation the more secure the servers. I may not be an authority on IT matters but it feels odd that the military (of all organizations in Pakistan) has to rely on free, web-based email accounts. Yes all these email providers have strict checks and privacy rules but come on! really? I know that if I browse and get emails about sports, Google sends sports ads my way. I remember CNET reported that Web-based email accounts are as susceptible to be hacked into as other accounts

“The information is essentially being sent back and forth along a wire. Anyone along that wire, inside or outside of your company, has the ability to intercept, read and change the text,” said David Kennedy, director of research services for ICSA.net in Reston, Va. “Is it technically possible? Yes, and it’s fairly easy to do.”

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/2100-1017-246543.html#ixzz1M4Ga62WL

The privacy record of all the major providers has at some point or other been criticized for how they use user data. And it is understandable if they have millions of subscribers, they have to make money. (http://www.consumerwebwatch.org/dynamic/privacy-investigations-dear-big-brother.cfm)

Which begs the question that do our ‘wise’ military media managers have thought about this aspect? Just yesterday Apple and Google received a good lashing at a senate hearing in the US. The Senate committee was not pleased with how the companies are protecting user privacy on mobile phones. Senator Al Franken, said that application makers, companies like Apple and Google and wireless providers are free to disclose your location information and other sensitive information to almost anyone they please-without letting you know.

This is a small observation on the back of the Osama Bin Laden killing that has brought to life Pakistani military and intelligence community’s worst nightmare to life. The US, Britain, Spain and other countries hit with terrorism hit back with impenetrable shields of defence. They learnt lessons from intelligence failures and have proven to come out of the criticism – wiser and effective. One can only hope and wish that Pakistan has (this time) learnt its lesson!

Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead — ‘huh’ said Pakistani leadership

A massive failure on Pakistan’s part – I was nodding in agreement with CIA’s Panetta when he said either they (Pakistani govt, army, intelligence) are incompetent or involved; there is no third plausible explanation. For years we’ve been told that the military and the air force are well prepared to guard Pakistan’s borders; Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are not in Pakistan; We are fight someone else’s war; There are no good Taliban; The US trusts us etc etc. The stark contrast between each statement and Pakistan are making conspiracy theorists wildest dreams come true. Conspiracy theories after Osama Bin Laden’s death have been doing the rounds. Here are a few questions some real, some stretching imaginations and some plainly comical.

1. Are the stories about links between Osama, Omar Saeed Sheikh, ISI, and the CIA are a decade old?
2. Are the fuzzy facts of the recent Bin Laden killing accurate?
3. Who ordered to shoot Bin Laden in the head and dump his body in the sea?
4. Will AlQaeda” seek revenge?
5. Are the 5 videos released by Pentagon real or fake? When were they shot?
6. Is it Osama Bin Laden watching his own video or is it someone else?
7. Will face another humiliation if Nukes are taken away in a dark night?
8. How capable is the PAF as Air Defence command had no coverage on the Western sector?
9. Did the US use hi-tech stealth helicopters?
10. Will Pakistan hand back Osama’s wives and evidence capture from the abbottabad compound?
11. Did Osama resist arrest?
12. WERE THE SEALS PERMITTED TO LEAVE ?
13. Were the 2 airborne PAF F-16s not allowed to engage?
14. Are Pakistan’s nuclear assets well guarded?
15. Is Osama really dead? Was he dead in 2002? goo.gl/9LaHa
16. Why does the U.S. account of the attack keeps changing?
17. Why the fishy decision to bury him at sea – Muslim ritual, or deep-sea coverup?
18. Do those who don’t believe Obama was born in the U.S also don’t believe Osama was killed in Pakistan?
19. Did The U.S. just stage a fake attack to make us think they did?
20. Did Obama do it to trump Donald Trump who’s been questioning Obama’s birthplace?
21. Was Osama killed, but not when they say he was?
22. Why now?
23. Did the U.S use Osama’s terror to launch the Global War on Toothpaste, sunscreens, face creams and murderous moisturizers?
24. Was Osama killed but not HOW they say he was. Was the attack botched?
25. Was Osama just a secret agent? Were the 9/11 bombings really a U.S. government operation led by Osama?
26. Did the CIA killed him because Osama knew too much, so they went to Pakistan to silence him permanently?
27. Who gave the order of an assassination rather than a capture and trial?
28. Why isn’t there a photograph of bin Laden’s body?
29. Was he actually buried at sea?
30. Was Bin Laden transported from Pakistan to Afghanistan for DNA analysis, then was taken to be buried somewhere in the northern Arabian sea?
31. Was the U.S. govt afraid that the gravesite could be used as a shrine?
32. When will the exact location of Bin Laden’s final resting place be known?
33. Why is there a lack of photographic evidence?
34. Why did the killing happen at the eighth anniversary of President George W. Bush’s so-called “Mission Accomplished” speech?
35. Is this coincidence an opportunity to use “Mission Accomplished” as a rallying cry or a carefully planned public relations act?
36. Did Bin Laden originally deny having any involvement in the 9/11 attacks?
37. DID the 2001 video released by Pentagon show a man Pres Bush believed was bin Laden confessing to planning the attacks?
38. Was it really his sister as Osama was identified through facial recognition and DNA provided by the brain of his deceased sister?
39. Why did killing coincidentally happen as it was the beginning of Zombie Awareness Month?
40. Why was living near the capital city, beside a training academy; undetected by military forces?
41. Why aren’t there any videos or REAL interviews after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001?
42. Why did the Americans not take Osama‘s wives?
43. Who will lead Al Qaeda?
44. ………

Do you have any unanswered questions???

PAKISTAN OFFICIALLY ADMITS ‘WE KNEW NOTHING’

Posted in Uncategorized by osamabinjavaid on May 3, 2011

Death of Osama bin Ladin-Respect for Pakistan’s Established Policy Parameters on Counter Terrorism

The Government of Pakistan recognizes that the death of Osama bin Ladin is an important milestone in fight against terrorism and that the Government of Pakistan and its state institutions have been making serious efforts to bring him to justice.

However, the Government of Pakistan categorically denies the media reports suggesting that its leadership, civil as well as military, had any prior knowledge of the US operation against Osama bin Ladin carried out in the early hours of 2nd May 2011.

Abbottabad and the surrounding areas have been under sharp focus of intelligence agencies since 2003 resulting in highly technical operation by ISI which led to the arrest of high value Al Qaeda target in 2004. As far as the target compound is concerned, ISI had been sharing information with CIA and other friendly intelligence agencies since 2009. The intelligence flow indicating some foreigners in the surroundings of Abbottabad, continued till mid April 2011. It is important to highlight that taking advantage of much superior technological assets, CIA exploited the intelligence leads given by us to identify and reach Osama bin Ladin, a fact also acknowledged by the US President and Secretary of State, in their statements. It is also important to mention that CIA and some other friendly intelligence agencies have benefitted a great deal from the intelligence provided by ISI. ISI’s own achievements against Al Qaeda and in War on Terror are more than any other intelligence agency in the World.

Reports about US helicopters taking off from Ghazi Airbase are absolutely false and incorrect. Neither any base or facility inside Pakistan was used by the US Forces, nor Pakistan Army provided any operational or logistic assistance to these operations conducted by the US Forces. US helicopters entered Pakistani airspace making use of blind spots in the radar coverage due to hilly terrain. US helicopters’ undetected flight into Pakistan was also facilitated by the mountainous terrain, efficacious use of latest technology and ‘nap of the earth’ flying techniques. It may not be realistic to draw an analogy between this undefended civilian area and some military / security installations which have elaborate local defence arrangements.

On receipt of information regarding the incident, PAF scrambled its jets within minutes. This has been corroborated by the White House Advisor Mr John Brennan who while replying to a question said, “We didn’t contact the Pakistanis until after all of our people, all of our aircraft were out of Pakistani airspace. At the time, the Pakistanis were reacting to an incident that they knew was taking place in Abbottabad. Therefore, they were scrambling some of their assets. Clearly, we were concerned that if the Pakistanis decided to scramble jets or whatever else, they didn’t know who were on those jets. They had no idea about who might have been on there, whether it be US or somebody else. So, we were watching and making sure that our people and our aircraft were able to get out of Pakistani airspace. And thankfully, there was no engagement with Pakistani forces. This operation was designed to minimize the prospects, the chances of engagement with Pakistani forces. It was done very well, and thankfully no Pakistani forces were engaged and there were no other individuals who were killed aside from those on the compound.”

There has been a lot of discussion about the nature of the targeted compound, particularly its high walls and its vicinity to the areas housing Pakistan Army elements. It needs to be appreciated that many houses occupied by the affectees of operations in FATA / KPK, have high boundary walls, in line with their culture of privacy and security. Houses with such layout and structural details are not a rarity.

Questions have also been asked about the whereabouts of the family members of Osama bin Ladin. They are all in safe hands and being looked after in accordance with law. Some of them needing medical care are under treatment in the best possible facilities. As per policy, they will be handed over to their countries of origin.

Notwithstanding the above, the Government of Pakistan expresses its deep concerns and reservations on the manner in which the Government of the United States carried out this operation without prior information or authorization from the Government of Pakistan.

This event of unauthorized unilateral action cannot be taken as a rule. The Government of Pakistan further affirms that such an event shall not serve as a future precedent for any state, including the US. Such actions undermine cooperation and may also sometime constitute threat to international peace and security.

Pakistan, being mindful of its international obligations, has been extending full and proper cooperation on all counter terrorism efforts including exchange of information and intelligence. Pursuant to such cooperation, Pakistan had arrested several high profile terrorists.

The Government of Pakistan and its Armed Forces consider support of the people of Pakistan to be its mainstay and actual strength. Any actions contrary to their aspirations, therefore, run against the very basis on which the edifice of national defence and security is based. Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies have played a pivotal role in breaking the back of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in Pakistan as well as around the World. Most of the successes achieved by the US and some other friendly countries have been the result of effective intelligence cooperation and extremely useful military support by Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan and its security forces have resolved to continue their fight against terrorism till people of Pakistan can live in peace and security.

HERE’S WHAT THEY IMMEDIATELY SAID AFTER THE KILLING

Mon, May 2, 2011 at 12:27 PM
Death of Osama bin Ladin

In an intelligence driven operation, Osama Bin Ladin was killed in the surroundings of Abbotabad in the early hours of this morning. This operation was conducted by the US forces in accordance with declared US policy that Osama bin Ladin will be eliminated in a direct action by the US forces, wherever found in the world.

Earlier today, President Obama telephoned President Zardari on the successful US operation which resulted in killing of Osama bin Ladin.

Osama bin Ladin’s death illustrates the resolve of the international community including Pakistan to fight and eliminate terrorism. It constitutes a major setback to terrorist organizations around the world.

Al-Qaeda had declared war on Pakistan. Scores of Al-Qaeda sponsored terrorist attacks resulted in deaths of thousands of innocent Pakistani men, women and children. Almost, 30,000 Pakistani civilians lost their lives in terrorist attacks in the last few years. More than 5,000 Pakistani security and armed forces officials have been martyred in Pakistan’s campaign against Al-Qaeda, other terrorist organizations and affiliates.

Pakistan has played a significant role in efforts to eliminate terrorism. We have had extremely effective intelligence sharing arrangements with several intelligence agencies including that of the US. We will continue to support international efforts against terrorism.

It is Pakistan’s stated policy that it will not allow its soil to be used in terrorist attacks against any country. Pakistan’s political leadership, parliament, state institutions and the whole nation are fully united in their resolve to eliminate terrorism.

Guilty until proven innocent: Fighting terror with discrimination

Posted in News, Pakistan Curent Affairs by osamabinjavaid on January 13, 2010

Visiting US envoy Richard Holbrooke says that he has to go through screening as well so the new US airport security measures are justified. The evidence on the ground and the outcry from Pakistan suggests otherwise.

Travelers from Pakistan are to undergo “extra security screening” according to new rules put in place by the Obama administration. With Pakistan bearing the unparalleled brunt of the war on terror and as no passenger with a Pakistani passport has directly caused panic at a US airport, the measure seems harsh. Owing to a strict and very stringent visa policy, a majority of people who visit the US from Pakistan are either businessmen or other professionals. As i called a few frequent travelers, they fear (nervous jokes) that they will be arrested when they land in the US if they spoke to someone named Osama. Adding to their ire is the fact of being screened and in long queues at home, they will be subject to humiliating behavior of US airport security staff. Students fear cavity searches and businessmen are afraid of a night in detention for even having a muslim name. A few female members of some families have changed itineraries for the US as their non-fluency in English may lead to an untoward incident, some of these women have been traveling to and from the US for decades. Human rights groups have long argued that such draconian practices are discriminatory and are against basic human rights. The latest measure brings into question the billions of tax payers money being spent on intelligence gathering and sharing. Foreign policy experts are calling it over the top. One expert says that the concerns are legitimate and understandable but more sensible ways can be devised.

Commuters fear that unless the screening is applicable across the board regardless of nationality or passport, the discriminatory measures will add to their woes. Bitter comments from Pakistani ruling circles as well as the public are already doing the rounds. With the drone saga already fueling anti US sentiments, such measures can only add to the outrage. Many in Pakistan have started asking for harsh conditions for travelers from the US. One analyst believes that Pakistan must reciprocate with making cavity searches and separate queues for flights originating from the US but later argues that due to the donor-recipient relationship, Pakistan cannot take any drastic steps. The local papers murmured of terror conspiracies being hatched in the West against Pakistan citing the Americans recently held in Sargodha, John Walker Lindh, US disregard for Pakistani sovereignty, Black Water in Pakistan etc. A senior executive said that all of this has been happening since 9/11, only it was never this explicit.

There is tenacious skepticism being faced by the US in Pakistan and Washington must refrain from aggravating the situation. The new security measures are forcing the Left wing parties such as the PPP to utter right wing words to calm the sentiments. The PM, President and the foreign office have had to join the chorus of public outrage and anger against what is being seen as anti-Pakistan policies despite the country’s best efforts to fight a US proxy war which turned into its own. After the mess of US foreign policy after the Bush era, the Obama administration faces a mammoth task of fixing the image. More thought needs to go into relationship with a key ally – and specially one with critical mass which can derail the fledgling democratic setup. A system desperately needed by Pakistan and the United States.

Perhaps policy makers ought to read Benjamin Franklin who said “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”


A serving of Media Review 2009

I was getting tired of watching year reviews when I stumbled across this list of everything in 2009. http://www.fimoculous.com/year-review-2009.cfm

I’ve taken out the most interesting bits from the media industry…happy reading!

The Year in Media Errors and Corrections
http://www.regrettheerror.com/2009/12/16/crunks-2009-the-year-in-media-errors-and-corrections/

Media Person(s) of the Year
http://www.iwantmedia.com/personoftheyear/09.html

Top 25 Censored Stories for 2010
http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/category/two-thousand-and-ten-book/

10 Worst Countries to be a Blogger
http://www.cpj.org/reports/2009/04/10-worst-countries-to-be-a-blogger.php

The Top 10 Everything of 2009
http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1945379_1944495,00.html

2009: Year of Terrorism
http://www.samaa.tv/NewsDetails.aspx?ID=15657

Is democracy a good thing? join the debate…

AGAINST: I don’t think that more democracy is a good thing – democracy in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan is a nonsensical idea, to my mind. What we, and they, need is good governance – I think the most important criteria for economic growth is to have a government that is not corrupt and that has stable institutions.
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FOR: The pursuit of idealism makes me a watchdog on the walls of society (ie a journalist).

Agreed that the concept of democracy being one-size-fits-all is flawed. Bangladesh for instance is doing pretty well with its military interventions on corrupt politicians and au contraire the US is doing just fine with the idealism being complimented with lobbying and corruption. So its a matter of perspective really whether you look at it from the Noam Chomsky school of thought or the Amy Goodman activism.
I’ve witnessed people give seats to elderly on crowded buses in Pakistan and I’ve seen the British behaving like cattle during a tube strike. So good governance is relevant, but in my opinion lower on the nation-building priority list.

Empowering people with justice and basic human rights is the only way to build soceity regardless of the regime it follows. Democracy by far is the imperfect system which has been tried, tested and implemented. Why reinvent the wheel?
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AGAINST: I disagree with you. China is not a democracy but it has alleviated more poverty and improved the condition of its people (education, health, all social indicators) than India which is a democracy. Noam Chomsky is very smart but completely irrelevant I feel – comparing advanced western democracies with third world developing countries is meaningless in terms of demoracy. The States is democratic, Pakistan is run by a feudal-military nexus that is not democratic in the least.
And Bangladesh is not doing pretty well – its populace is desperately poor and uneducated.
In my view justice and improving human rights comes second and third to good governance and stability. Economic growth is the most powerful impetus that leads to better rights for a countrys citizens.