Thursday, 23 October 2014

Tribal Invasion observed as a Black Day in Srinagar

Tribal Invasion observed as a Black Day in Srinagar
JKYDF Observes 'Black Day' to Mark Tribal Invasion   22 Oct 2014
Srinagar : Jammu and Kashmir Youth Development Forum (JKYDF) a non-political forum represented by people from different walks of life observed  a 'black day' today to mark the 67th anniversary of tribal invasion  of the Kashmir Valley by Pakistan army backed tribals in 22 October  1947. the day Pakistan invaded Jammu and Kashmir along the tribesmen, was one of the blackest day in the history of Kashmir.
"During the past, separatists used to force Kashmiris to observe Black Day on October 27 which coincides with the arrival of Indian army in Kashmir Valley.

"People were led to believe that their problems started after October 22, 1947, and Pakistan provided funds and support to all anti-national groups who observe Black Day on October 27," Pakistan lost the war against Jammu and Kashmir because it did not want the Muslim majority state of Jammu and Kashmir to become part of India while the people of Jammu and Kashmir wanted accession with a secular India. Pakistan was also worried about the secular credentials of the people of Jammu and Kashmir as a whole and wanted to disrupt the secular harmony so that the two nation theory becomes successful.

Jammu and Kashmir state is the crown of India and a mosaic of plural identities living in a spirit of peace and brotherhood. 22 October is a call to all peace loving citizens to rise and defeat the communal game of Pakistan, said  Farooq Ganderbali chairman JKYDF.

Advocate Ghulam Nabi  said that 22 Oct 1947 is the day of invasion of Jammu and Kashmir. To call it tribal raid is a misnomer. Tribals were used by Pakistani Army as the frontal hordes to hide the nature of regular invasion of Jammu and Kashmir state. The day is the Blackest Day because this invasion broke up the state and rendered thousands and lakhs of Hindus and Sikhs as refugees in their own state. Thousands were killed and abducted during the invasion. We have to remember all those who perished during the invasion. We have also to remember that Pakistan broke up the state and captured almost half of it. The people in the Occupied Jammu and Kashmir are denied all rights of freedom and during these years we have only seen a sham democracy on that side and also the colonization by the Pakistani citizens.
This day reminds us of the challenges to the peace, harmony unity and integrity of the state.

22 Oct 1947 was also the beginning of asymmetric war against India. This asymmetric war is continuing till now and devising a befitting response to put an end to this war is a challenge before India and particularly the people of Jammu and Kashmir state.

Er Gh Hassan , Chairman HKMCC for taking an initiative which is the need of the hour in these trying circumstances in the state. He said that by observing BLACK DAY on Oct 22, we will pay homage to lakhs of people killed, maimed and looted in 1947 by the invaders. innocent women who were robed, raped, kidnapped, and killed by the raiders in Pakistan occupied Kashmir Er Gh Hassan Said "During the past, Pakistan agencies used to force and money for Kashmiris through separatists to observe Black Day on October 27 which coincides with the arrival of Indian army in Srinagar.

The speakers during the seminar highlighter how Tribal militia unleashed reign of terror and unprovoked aggression against people of Jammu and Kashmir violated state’s sovereigntyA number of prominent speakers including Advocate Rouf Riyaz , Advocate Bashir Ahmad , Dr Bilal Ahmad Dar, General Secretary JKYDF Omer Bhat , Er Gh Hassan Chairman HKMC, Advocate G.N.Wani former Secretary state Human Rights, Trade Leader Ghulam Hassan Rather , Journalist Ajaz Ahmad , Social activist , Mohd Yousf Sheikh, Jatinder Singh Sikh leader  and Social Activist Adv. Bilal Ahmad Bhat spoke on the occasion.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

A worthwhile state? By Dr Niaz Murtaza

HAS Pakistan been worth it? In other words, has it yielded the benefits that Pakistan movement leaders expected from their long struggle? This inquiry could be interpreted as questioning the validity of Pakistani ideology, which incidentally is discouraged in Pakistan.
I have no such intentions, especially since questioning it is a theoretical exercise today. Further, many Pakistanis still lack the confidence to deliberate that question dispassionately, even theoretically. So, I take the pursuit of independence as a given and analyse whether its success has satisfied initial expectations and if not, how future prospects are.
Globally, one sees two conflicting trends. Some countries pursue politico-economic union to enhance their development status while some sub-national regions pursue separation to enhance it. Where developmentally similar countries unite, they could benefit from the larger market and economies of scale created. Conversely, backward and neglected but potentially viable economically sub-regions could develop faster given the proximate government control over policy and resources that independence provides.

Poor governance has limited the potential we inherited.

Contemporary Pakistan was arguably among India’s most backward regions in terms of education and industry. But it possessed potential industrial viability given its sea access, large population, fertile agriculture and a small but well-educated class.
So, rather than basing my inquiry on the claim that Indian Hindus and Muslims constituted distinct civilisations, I base it on the ‘backward sub-region’ thesis to analyse whether separation has helped Pakistan develop faster economically and politically.
Economically, Pakistan’s higher (than India’s) economic growth rates and per capita income for around 50 years and its lower poverty rates even today suggest that it did derive an ‘independence dividend’ initially.
One can question however, whether economic progress was equitable. Clearly, elite landlords, generals, businesspersons, bureaucrats and mullahs have prospered from independence. What about the masses? While the lower poverty rates show the masses have also benefited to some extent income-wise, Pakistan’s poorer health and education indicators mean that such benefits have not been broad-based.
The second caveat has to do with the quality of economic progress, for Pakistan has been less successful in establishing high-tech industries than India. Pakistan’s higher growth has often been fuelled by undependable US aid and Gulf remittances. While independence enhanced such external flows, they were not utilised to foster sustainable development. Essentially, while independence provided some economic dividends, poor governance reduced their extent and spread.
Now to the question of whether Pakistan has done better politically. Unlike India’s consistent commitment to democracy, Pakistan has vacillated between democracy and dictatorship. Leaders, elected or non-elected, have been far less responsive to people. Ethnic tensions have been higher. In recent decades, the scourge of extremism has furthered political instability. This poorer political performance has undermined economic progress too, and Pakistan’s growth rates and per capita incomes have now fallen behind India’s.
Why has Pakistan’s political progress been poorer? It is often attributed to bad luck or the machinations of a tiny elite class, whose removal by hook or by crook or coup is expected to yield immediate, large improvements in governance. The reality is more complex. The quality of governance is as fundamentally linked to structural societal characteristics, as economic progress is to availability of natural, technological and human resources. Thus, improving governance is not about disqualifying certain individuals or families but about overcoming these structural barriers, which takes time.
Other breakaway countries (eg Bangla­desh, Eritrea, South Sudan) too have failed to obtain the immediate, large or consistent economic dividends expected from independence due to similar political constraints. These experiences suggest the need for modifying the “backward sub-region thesis”. Both economic and political viability must be analysed to better predict the post-independence prospects of breakaway sub-regions.
Such analysis may not deter determined secessionists. Their goals derive less from cold economic calculations and more from ideological or identity factors (Pakistan) or extended maltreatment which makes cohabitation unimaginable (Bangladesh).
However, such analysis may help in providing more realistic post-independence expectations. Thus, where economic viability but also political constraints are high, the expected economic dividends may only materialise once the political constraints are overcome. In Pakistan’s case, these political constraints are reducing gradually and there is some likelihood that more equitable and durable economic progress may result as governance improves.
The writer is a political and development economist.
Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2014


Appeal for the release of Baba Jan and others

Appeal for the release of Baba Jan and others
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Update: AHRC-UAU-026-2014

17 October 2014
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RE: AHRC-UAC-070-2012: PAKISTAN: Human rights defenders were tortured during jail custody in Gilgit-Baltistan; AHRC-UAC-149-2011: PAKISTAN: The law minister of Gilgit-Baltistan produces fake FIR to still the protests against the killing of a father and son by police
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PAKISTAN: Release with immediate effect, Baba Jan and other eleven human rights defenders, sentenced for life imprisonment by an anti-terrorism court

ISSUES: Human rights defenders; illegal trial; justice system; torture; illegal detention
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that 12 human rights defenders including Baba Jan, a prominent human rights defender, have been sentenced to imprisonment for life, by the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC). They have been so sentenced for raising their voice and holding a protest against not providing compensation rightly due to the people who were submerged and trapped under a massive landslide and against the killing of two persons - a father and his son by a high ranking police officer, during the demonstrations.  On a previous occasion six trade union members from the Power Loom factories were also sentenced with imprisonment in total of 493 years – 81 years for each person - by the ATC, who were merely demanding a hike in their wages as announced by the government. The National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) claims that 13 trade unionists of the Power Looms industry were sentenced for life by the ATC.

The Anti-terrorism laws are frequently used against protesting industrial workers. Their alleged crime is fighting for a better life for their members and demanding higher wages. This is a clear manifestation of the government going all out to crush any trade union movement in these factories that legitimately challenge their authority.

CASE NARRATIVE:

On 25th September 2014, Mr. Baba Jan and the eleven activists from Gilgit-Baltistan, a Northern Territory of Pakistan, were sentenced along with 11 other activists to life imprisoned by an Anti Terrorist Court (ATC). According to the verdict by the ATC, they will spend 40 additional years in prison, besides paying one million rupees in fines each. Moreover, the convicts' properties and earnings will be used to reconstruct buildings damaged and their assets we set on fire on the 11th August 2011 in Aliabad, Hunza. According to press reports, three accused were declared as absconding and they were sentenced to additional imprisonment for ten years each.

On 11th August 2011, the Judge, Shahbaz Khan presiding over the Anti-Terrorism Court in Gilgit announced the verdict of the case instituted against 17 people on charges of attacking, looting and torching government buildings in Aliabad. Enraged mobs had attacked and vandalized government buildings in Aliabad on 11th August after police killed two unarmed Internally Displaced People (IDPs) - a father and a son – who hail from the disaster hit Ayeenabad village of Gojal Valley, in Upper Hunza.

During the hearing it was proved through credible evidence led, that Baba Jan was not present when the incidents of killing of the father and the son by the police took place and the damage was being done to government property. He was popular among the youth in Gilgit-Baltistan for his activism. Baba Jan was well known for his campaign of "Attabad Lake" which came into existence earlier in year 2010 when in the massive landslide that resulted in a mountain hurling down into the Hunza River, which created an artificial lake.

On July 4th 2010 a massive landslide occurred near the Attabad village in Hunza Valley, causing a heavy loss of life and property. The landslide blocked the River Hunza, which resulted in the formation of a lake, besides inundating about a two-kilometer long stretch of the main road. This resulted in several villages being submerged by the mudslide and the formation of a newly created lake. In total, over 1,000 persons were displaced and over 25,000 were cut off from the rest of the country.

Baba Jan and his colleagues were arrested during the agitation against the killing of the two persons by police officials, despite the evidence that the shooting was done by a high ranking police officer an officer with no lesser a rank than that of the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), himself. This incident occurred when on 11th August 2011 the Chief Minister of Gilgit and Baltistan was visiting the area and during that time Mr Baba was protesting on the issue of the settlement of the victims of the Attabad lake disaster (For further details, please see: AHRC-UAC-149-2011). Following the arrest he was detained for two years during which he, along with two more activists of the Pakistan Labour Party, were brutally tortured by the police and military intelligence, the ISI.

On 11 August around 200 persons were protesting during the visit of the Chief Minister of the province to Aliabad against the delay in the payment of compensation to 25 affected families of landslides near the Attabad lake. In an effort to keep the protestors away from the place where the Chief Minister was staying the police baton charged and used tear gas on the assembled demonstrators. They also opened fire with live ammunition directly at the protestors. As a result one young man, Afzal Baig, 22 years old, was shot and injured. He later died in the hospital. His father, Sher Ullah Baig. 50 year old while attempting to stop the police aggression and shooting was himself shot dead – witness accounts stated that the police acting in complete arrogance deliberately opened fire and killed him on the spot.

The next day, when the news of the deaths reached Aliabad and other areas of Hunza people came out into the streets and enraged with the incident, the protestors attacked the Aliabad police station and set fire to it. They also torched the office of the Deputy Commissioner. The law enforcement agencies again used baton charges and opened fire; they also arrested many of the protestors.

At the time of incident Baba Jan was according to reports, nowhere near the place of the incident and in fact he was a long distance away. Since he is a well-known human rights defender and a political activist of Labour Party of Pakistan -  the party that is at present, with the  Awami Workers Party - had been summoned by the people of the area to help organise the protesters and to save them from the onslaught of the police brutality. According to reports, Mr Jan, could reach there only on the following day.

The nine human rights defenders sentenced for life are; Iftikhar Hussain, son of Muhammad Ishaq, Irfan Ali, son of Arman Shah, Baba Jan, son of Abdullah Baig, Aleemullah Khan, son of Taighoon Shah, Sher Khan, son of Hamadullah Baig, Rashied Minhas Anees, son of Abdul Mateen, Sarfaraz, son of Ghulam Musa, Musa Baig, son of Abdul Rehman and Shukrullah Baig, son of Amanullah (For further details, please see the previous Urgent Appeals on this case: AHRC-UAC-149-2011; and AHRC-UAC-070-2012).

Life sentences to power looms workers:

The Anti Terrorism Act (ATA) has become a strong tool in the hands of successive governments to curb the trade unionist activities. The Act has failed to curb terrorism from the country and ATCs have continuously failed to punish the terrorists. Moreover, the ATCs have made quick decisions to release terrorists for want of evidence. The ATCs have proved weak in the face of terrorism, they have freed terrorists despite there being ample evidence, however, they have  been brave in punishing innocent workers with no evidence, whatsoever (For further details, please see: AHRC-FST-057-2011; and AHRC-UAC-109-2010).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The incident began when the Provincial Government denied the payment of compensation to the 25 affected families of the landslide disaster. There were however 457 families whose names were mentioned in the official list. It is reported that the provincial government allegedly paid the compensation owed to the 25 families to its political workers. Each family was to receive Rs. 400, 000 as compensation for the destruction of their houses in the massive floods which followed the landslide.

Pro government people with the direct help of the military have deprived the victims of the "Attabad lake" incident from receiving the compensation and have stood in between their demands for compensation. In spite of these hard facts, police opened fire on the protesters when they were protesting against the government demanding justice. Following the shooting and killing in cold blood of the young father and his son, the grandfather had pleased with the police not to use live ammunition against the protestors, but his pleadings fell on deaf ears and the police shot him dead without even a slight hint of a warning.

Gilgit-Baltistan people are well known for their active participation against the improper involvement of the American corporate and State intervention in the economic sector in the region and it is believed that this is the shadow reason behind the sectarian violence in that area. In another incident Shiite pilgrims were shot dead by persons in military uniform. Therefore, any kind of social and political activities in the area are seen by the military as anti-state activism.

Rules 776 to 809 of the Pakistan Prison Rules, 1978, deal with the issue of medical treatment. Under Rule 787, "...in each prison a hospital for the treatment of sick prisoners is required to be established. In case of illness, the prisoners should be admitted in hospital for proper treatment. Rules also provide for proper medical care and special diet to the patients during their illness."

In absence of the criminalization of torture, the law enforcement agencies are able to use torture with impunity. The Pakistan government should instigate immediate reforms in Pakistan's prison system. Baba Jan's arrest and imprisonment highlights the corruption and dysfunctional nature of the prison system which is linked to the breakdown of the rule of law in Pakistan. For years, thumbing their noses at the criminal justice system, the military has detained hundreds of people on suspicion of terrorism which includes a large number of political dissidents and others opposed to the policies of the military, particularly in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). They have applied inhuman methods including torture, collective justice and extrajudicial killings. Now the military has crossed the line by entering the jails to torture political activists.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write the letters to the authorities calling them to immediately release Mr. Baba Jan and other activists of Gilgit Baltistan who were sentenced to life imprisonment for demanding a fair inquiry against the police officials for killing two persons in cold blood on the issue of the mere implementation of government announced compensation for the affected persons of the 'Attaab Abad Lake' disaster. Please also urge them to release the 13 workers of the powerloom industry from Faisalabad and Karachi who were also sentenced to life imprisonment by the Anti Terrorist Courts. The government must stop using the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) against the workers who are struggling for decent wages and a decent life. The government must prosecute those police officials of the Gilgit Baltistan and also the officials of intelligence agencies who were involved in torturing Baba Jan and other four prisoners during their custody.  

The AHRC will write separately to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders calling for his intervention into this matter.

To support this appeal, please click here: send-small.gif

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ………………..,

PAKISTAN: Release with immediate effect, Baba Jan and other eleven human rights defenders, sentenced for life imprisonment by an anti-terrorism court

Name of victims:
1.Baba Jan son of Abdullah Baig, resident of Gilgit Baltistan
2. Iftikhar Hussain son of Muhammad Ishaq, resident of Gilgit Baltistan
3. Irfan Ali son of Arman Shah, resident of Gilgit Baltistan
4.  Aleemullah Khan son of Taighoon Shah, resident of Gilgit Baltistan
5. Sher Khan son of Hamadullah Baig resident of Gilgit Baltistan
6. Rashied Minhas Anees son of Abdul Mateen, resident of Gilgit Baltistan
7. Sarfaraz son of Ghulam Musa, resident of Gilgit Baltistan
8. Musa Baig son of Abdul Rehman resident of Gilgit Baltistan
9. Shukrullah Baig son of Amanullah. resident of Gilgit Baltistan

The workers tried in Anti Terrorist Courts;

10. Mr. Saif Ur Rehman, son of Mr. Muhammad Zahid, working in power loom factories
11. Mr. Naik Muhammad, son of Mr. Muhammad Qayum, working in power loom factories
12. Mr. Irshad, son of Mr. Gohar Rehman, working in power loom factories
13. Mr. Muhammad Rome, son of Mr. Mohammad Zaman, working in power loom factories
14. Mr. Nizam Uddin, son of Mr. Awas Gul, working in power loom factories
15. Mr. Akhter Ali, son of Mr. Muhammad Shreef, working in power loom factories
16. Mr. Hazrat Yousaf, working in power loom factories
17. Akbar Ali Kamboh, working in power loom factories
18. Babar Shafiq Randhawa, working in power loom factories
19, Fazal Elahi, working in power loom factories
20 Rana Riaz Ahmed, working in power loom factories

Names of alleged perpetrators:
Anti Terrorist Courts in Karachi and Faisalabad
Government of Punjab, Sindh and Gilgit Baltistan
Date of incident: September 25, 2014 and 2011
Place of incident: Punjab, Sindh and Gilgit Baltistan

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the sentences to life imprisonment passed on the human rights defenders and the trade unionists in Gilgit and Baltistan, Faisalabad Punjab and Karachi Sindh in Pakistan, by Anti Terrorist Courts.

I am shocked to know that the human rights defenders and trade unionist are tried in the Anti Terrorist Courts (ATCs) and are sentenced to life imprisonment for demanding the implementation of an already announced compensation and increase in wages.

The acts of trying human rights defenders in ATCs are to harass and punish the people who are raising legal demands for a decent life.

I have received information that on 25th September 2014, Mr. Baba Jan and the eleven activists from Gilgit-Baltistan, a Northern Territory of Pakistan, were sentenced along with 11 other activists to life imprisoned by an Anti Terrorist Court (ATC). According to the verdict by the ATC, they will spend 40 additional years in prison, besides paying one million rupees in fines each. Moreover, the convicts' properties and earnings will be used to reconstruct buildings damaged and their assets we set on fire on the 11th August 2011 in Aliabad, Hunza. According to press reports, three accused were declared as absconding and they were sentenced to additional imprisonment for ten years each.

On 11th August 2011, the Judge, Shahbaz Khan presiding over the Anti-Terrorism Court in Gilgit announced the verdict of the case instituted against 17 people on charges of attacking, looting and torching government buildings in Aliabad. Enraged mobs had attacked and vandalized government buildings in Aliabad on 11th August after police killed two unarmed Internally Displaced People (IDPs) - a father and a son – who hail from the disaster hit Ayeenabad village of Gojal Valley, in Upper Hunza.

During the hearing it was proved through credible evidence led, that Baba Jan was not present when the incidents of killing of the father and the son by the police took place and the damage was being done to government property. He was popular among the youth in Gilgit-Baltistan for his activism. Baba Jan was well known for his campaign of "Attabad Lake" which came into existence earlier in year 2010 when in the massive landslide that resulted in a mountain hurling down into the Hunza River, which created an artificial lake.

On July 4th 2010 a massive landslide occurred near the Attabad village in Hunza Valley, causing a heavy loss of life and property. The landslide blocked the River Hunza, which resulted in the formation of a lake, besides inundating about a two-kilometer long stretch of the main road. This resulted in several villages being submerged by the mudslide and the formation of a newly created lake. In total, over 1,000 persons were displaced and over 25,000 were cut off from the rest of the country.

Baba Jan and his colleagues were arrested during the agitation against the killing of the two persons by police officials, despite the evidence that the shooting was done by a high ranking police officer an officer with no lesser a rank than that of the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), himself. This incident occurred when on 11th August 2011 the Chief Minister of Gilgit and Baltistan was visiting the area and during that time Mr Baba was protesting on the issue of the settlement of the victims of the Attabad lake disaster (For further details, please see: AHRC-UAC-149-2011 ). Following the arrest he was detained for two years during which he, along with two more activists of the Pakistan Labour Party, were brutally tortured by the police and military intelligence, the ISI.

On 11 August around 200 persons were protesting during the visit of the Chief Minister of the province to Aliabad against the delay in the payment of compensation to 25 affected families of landslides near the Attabad lake. In an effort to keep the protestors away from the place where the Chief Minister was staying the police baton charged and used tear gas on the assembled demonstrators. They also opened fire with live ammunition directly at the protestors. As a result one young man, Afzal Baig, 22 years old, was shot and injured. He later died in the hospital. His father, Sher Ullah Baig. 50 year old while attempting to stop the police aggression and shooting was himself shot dead – witness accounts stated that the police acting in complete arrogance deliberately opened fire and killed him on the spot.

The next day, when the news of the deaths reached Aliabad and other areas of Hunza people came out into the streets and enraged with the incident, the protestors attacked the Aliabad police station and set fire to it. They also torched the office of the Deputy Commissioner. The law enforcement agencies again used baton charges and opened fire; they also arrested many of the protestors.

At the time of incident Baba Jan was according to reports, nowhere near the place of the incident and in fact he was a long distance away. Since he is a well-known human rights defender and a political activist of Labour Party of Pakistan -  the party that is at present, with the  Awami Workers Party - had been summoned by the people of the area to help organise the protesters and to save them from the onslaught of the police brutality. According to reports, Mr Jan, could reach there only on the following day.
As per the information I have received, the 09 human rights defenders sentenced for life are; Iftikhar Hussain, son of Muhammad Ishaq, Irfan Ali, son of Arman Shah, Baba Jan, son of Abdullah Baig, Aleemullah Khan, son of Taighoon Shah, Sher Khan, son of Hamadullah Baig, Rashied Minhas Anees, son of Abdul Mateen, Sarfaraz, son of Ghulam Musa, Musa Baig, son of Abdul Rehman and Shukrullah Baig, son of Amanullah.

I may note that the Anti Terrorism Act (ATA) has become a strong tool in the hands of successive governments to curb the trade unionist activities. The Act has failed to curb terrorism from the country and ATCs have continuously failed to punish the terrorists. Moreover, the ATCs have made quick decisions to release terrorists for want of evidence. The ATCs have proved weak in the face of terrorism, they have freed terrorists despite there being ample evidence, however, they have been brave in punishing innocent workers with no evidence, whatsoever.

Therefore am imploring on your good offices to immediately intervene to release Mr. Baba Jan and other activists of Gilgit Baltistan who were sentenced to life imprisonment for demanding a fair inquiry against the police officials for killing two persons in cold blood on the issue of the mere implementation of government announced compensation for the affected persons of the 'Attaab Abad Lake' disaster. Please also take appropriate action to release several other workers, 13 workers of the Power-Loom industry from Faisalabad and Karachi who were also sentenced to life imprisonment by the Anti Terrorist Courts. The government must immediately put a halt to using the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) against the workers who are struggling for decent wages and a decent life. The government must prosecute those police officials of the Gilgit Baltistan and also the officials of intelligence agencies who were involved in torturing Baba Jan and other four prisoners during their custody.  

Yours sincerely,

……………….
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Mian Nawaz Sharif
Prime Minister
Prime Minister House
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Tel: +92 51 920 6111+92 51 920 6111
E-mail: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk or pspm@pmsectt.gov.pk

2. Mr. Syed Mehdi Shah
Chief Minister of Gilgit Baltistan
Chief Minister's Secretariat, Gilgit
Tel: +92-5811-920573+92-5811-920573
Fax: +92 5811 50-201
Email: info@gilgitbaltistan.gov.pk

3. Mr. Tahir Shahbaz
Registrar
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Constitution Avenue, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 9213452
Email: mail@supremecourt.gov.pk

4. Chief Justice of Sindh High Court
High Court Building
Saddar, Karachi
Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9213220

5. Mr. Pervez Rashid
Federal Minister
Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights
Old US Aid building
Ata Turk Avenue
G-5, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 9204108
Email: contact@molaw.gov.pk

6. Mr. Shahbaz Sharif
Chief Minister
Government of Punjab Province
Chief Minister's Secretariat
5-Club Road, GOR-I, Lahore, Punjab
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 99205065
Email: cmcomplaintcell@cmpunjab.gov.pk

7. Mr. Syed Qaim Ali Shah
Chief Minister Sindh
Karachi, Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 920 2000
Email: pressecy@cmsindh.gov.pk


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

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 Read this Urgent Appeal Update online

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Million March- what is the game plan? Dr Shabir Choudhry

Million March- what is the game plan?
Dr Shabir Choudhry       18 October 2014
A campaign is in full swing to find people who can travel to London for the Million March, which, in view of many analysts, is against the national interest of people of Jammu and Kashmir State, and against their struggle to unite the divided homeland. Those who occupy us first started a proxy war and proxy politics, in which ordinary people of Jammu and Kashmir suffered; and now, in view of some people, proxy protests are being encouraged to score points against each other.

Those who have been at the forefront of either defending a pro India stance or a pro Pakistan stance, for example, Farooq Abdullah on the Indian side, and politicians with similar qualities on the Pakistani side, no matter which new slogan they promote, people will always question their motives.

I had a phone call from Halifax in west Yorkshire, England. One old friend said that after the Friday prayer it was announced that free coaches and free food will be provided for the volunteers who will join the Million March to help the Kashmir cause. He asked me who was paying for the coaches and the food. I said to him why you didn’t ask the man who was recruiting people for a free return trip to London.

He asked me if the Million March will help to promote the Kashmir cause. I said in my opinion it will send a wrong message because the Million March is designed to focus attention on the parts of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by India and remain quiet about the problems and occupation of Pakistan. Members of the world community are not fools. They know if a struggle or a protest is supported by one occupier to expose the other occupier, it is not considered as a genuine struggle. It is an attempt to divert attention from the problems of people living on the Pakistani side, and give it a religious touch, which will further divide the people of Jammu and Kashmir on religious and ethnic lines.

Rumour is that this March is sponsored by those who want the Kashmir pot boiling, as it suits their political and economic interests. Kashmiri struggle has become their business. Blood of Kashmiri people and their suffering is essential for their business enterprise. According to this rumour, one million pounds has been allocated to this project, and this is why it is called a ‘Million March; and not that the organisers will be able to muster one million people. With the team at work, and the resources at their disposal, it is possible that they can get around four thousand people in London. Even if they get three thousand people to protest in London, it will be a successful event.
  
No matter how many thousands people turn up for the protest, but we know there is something there for the sponsors and the managers; but million dollar question is, what is there for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Is this March designed to project the Kashmir cause, as claimed by the organisers; or is it going to harm it?

When we talk of Kashmir dispute, we mean areas under India, China and areas under Pakistan, namely Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir. But the sponsors of this protest and those who are managing it are more interested in areas of Jammu and Kashmir under India. Because they think Azad Kashmir is ‘Azad’, and they want to make Gilgit Baltistan part of Pakistan.

Like in the past, they want to fool the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan. The Million March website only quotes part 3 of the UNCIP Resolution of 13 August 1948, and makes no mention of the part 2, which held Pakistan ‘guilty’ of sending troops and tribesmen to capture Kashmir; and demanded Pakistan to withdraw. The UNCIP Resolution part 2, 1A says:
A. (1) As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State.

(2) The Government of Pakistan will use its best endeavour to secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistan nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting.

(3) Pending a final solution the territory evacuated by the Pakistan troops will be administered by the local authorities under the surveillance of the Commission.

B. (1) When the Commission shall have notified the Government of India that the tribesmen and Pakistan nationals referred to in Part II A2 hereof have withdrawn, thereby terminating the situation which was represented by the Government of India to the Security Council as having occasioned the presence of Indian forces in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and further, that the Pakistan forces are being withdrawn from the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Government of India agrees to begin to withdraw the bulk of their forces from the State in stages to be agreed upon with the Commission.

As a person who believes in right of expression and democratic values, I acknowledge that it is for the people to decide what they want to do; whether they should stay at home or take a free ride to London to support the March. However, it is responsibility of the thinking people to analyse issues and tell people what is happening, and who is doing what in name of helping the Kashmir cause.

I know instructions are being issued to all who generally act as a ‘B team’ of the Pakistani establishment on the issue of Kashmir that they must support the Million March. Some Kashmiri nationalists opposed the March initially, as they rightly thought it was counterproductive, and not meant to promote the cause of Jammu and Kashmir. However, after dictation from both sides of the LOC, they have reluctantly expressed their support for the Million March; but in order to satisfy their ego they requested a meeting with Barrister Sultan Mahmood, which was honoured to massage ego of these nationalists.

Some other nationalists also don’t want to annoy the people who call shots in this matter, and are looking for excuses to support the cause which is very close to heart of Islamabad. I am sure their presence will be welcomed and they will be given appropriate media coverage to convey the message that Pro Pakistan and nationalist Kashmiris are against Indian occupation only; and that they trust Pakistani efforts on Kashmir.

In view of many thinking people, to support the Million March is to support Pakistani policy on the Kashmir dispute. It means people of Jammu and Kashmir have no complaints against Pakistan; and they are only interested in liberation of Kashmir under India. It also means justifying everything Pakistan has done in name of Jammu and Kashmir since August 1947. It means justifying the violation of the Standstill Agreement, and supporting the Tribal Invasion which led to provisional accession to India; and forced division of Jammu and Kashmir. It means justifying everything they have done in Azad Kashmir and in Gilgit Baltistan. It means justifying actions of Punjab Constabulary in Poonch in 1950s. It also means justifying their sponsored militancy and extremism with disastrous consequences for Jammu and Kashmir and its people.

In this regard, alliance of nationalist parties (Jammu Kashmir National Independence Alliance) has taken positive steps. They have arranged token hunger strikes outside the Indian and Pakistani High Commissions in London on 25 January, followed by a press conference in London to tell the world that the entire Jammu and Kashmir is occupied and disputed; and that we want unification and independence of the State of Jammu and Kashmir that existed on 16 August 1947.

In conclusion, the Million March can attract 4-5 thousand people, but it will not help to promote the Kashmir cause. If anything, the event will send a wrong message and will further divide people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. However, the event will surely make some people rich, and enhance political standing of aspirants of power politics.
Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.





Thursday, 16 October 2014

Pakistan is sliding toward extremism, by Farahnaz Ispahani and Nina Shea, Special to CNN

By Farahnaz Ispahani and Nina Shea, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Farahnaz Ispahani is a former member of the Pakistani parliament and Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center 2013-2014. Her forthcoming book is 'Waiting to Die: Pakistan's religious minorities'. Nina Shea is a senior fellow, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and co- author of 'Silenced; How apostasy and blasphemy codes are choking freedom worldwide'. The views expressed are their own.
The decision to award Malala Yousafzai the Nobel Peace Prize last week was a good oneAfter all, the 17 year-old, who was named a joint winner with along withKailash Satyarthi, personifies the struggle for modernity, women’s equality and individual rights to religious freedom against the threat of Islamic extremism. But while Malala’s award is a triumph for her determination, it is far from clear that the cause she champions will meet as much success.
The reality is that Pakistan is facing a serious problem, with the mushrooming of Islamist appeal within Pakistani society reminding us that we risk seeing the Talibanization not simply of a small minority of ordinary citizens, but large swathes of the populace of the world’s second largest – and only nuclear-armed – Muslim country.

Pakistan abounds with violent sectarian and Islamist groups headquartered in semiautonomous tribal areas. Foreign jihadists, including Westerners like American David Headley, flock to areas such as North Waziristan. Yet although Islamabad devotes a full third of its armed forces to the northwest of the country, it is also pursuing policies that encourage a mainstream slide toward extremism.
State laws and practices relating to Islamic blasphemy, in particular, are increasingly suppressing moderate voices, while allowing extremists to dominate cultural discourse and learning. As a result, extremism is making ideological inroads into wider and wider segments of the population.

A shocking example came last month with the drive-by shooting of Muhammad Shakeel Auj, dean of Islamic Studies at the venerable Karachi University. Auj had earned a PhD after writing a comparison of eight Urdu translations of the Quran. But some found offense in his “liberal” religious views as he passionately denounced terrorism and suggested that Muslim women could pray wearing lipstick and could marry non-Muslims.

Over the past two years, Auj has been subject to a barrage of blasphemy accusations, fatwas, and death threats, including that he will be beheaded. Particularly troubling is that four of his own faculty members were allegedly behind some of the threats. They were arrested, but soon released on bail. As one obituary writer commented, Auj’s murder shows that now “even the most mainstream Sunni voices will not be tolerated.”

Junaid Hafeez, another university professor, may soon be sentenced to death by the state. Charged with insulting the Prophet Mohammed on Facebook, he is now on trial for the capital crime of blasphemy. Yet the charge is based entirely on oral testimony of students linked to the hardline Jamaat-i-Islami party.

Hafeez has reportedly found it difficult to find a lawyer willing to defend him, not least because those who manage to secure an acquittal for accused blasphemers run the risk of being seen as blasphemers themselves. And while the state doesn’t penalize such defense lawyers, it also does little to protect them or punish their extrajudicial killers either. For example, while after his first two lawyers quit following death threats, Hafeez was able to hire Rashid Rehman, a senior lawyer with Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission. But on May 7, Rehman was shot dead in his office. His killers remain at large.
Liberal Muslim educators, lawyers, and human rights activists aren’t the only victims of the country’s anti-blasphemy codes. Often targeted are the Ahmadis, an as many as 5 million strong, well-educated community that professes faith in Islam, but which is not deemed Muslim under Pakistan’s constitution. The sect’s tenets renounce violent jihad and embrace the separation of mosque and state, as well as religious pluralism. They now account for 40 percent of blasphemy prosecutions, which also disproportionately target Christians, Shia, and Hindus.
Such extremism has touched us personally. Our friends Shahbaz Bhatti, the former Minority Affairs Minister, and Salman Taseer, Punjab’s former governor, were both outspoken critics of the blasphemy conviction of Christian mother Asia Bibi, and both were gunned down in 2011. The Lahore High Court on Thursday upheld the death sentence against Asia Bibi.
The blasphemy law was originally introduced to appease extremists, but has instead stimulated an appetite for more. As Bhatti noted: “This law is creating disharmony and intolerance in our society.” He is right – it legitimizes and enflames religious passions over speech, while providing extremists a platform within the very heart of Pakistani society.
American drones are now aiming at Pakistan’s northwest terrorist snake pit. But there is no military solution to the blasphemy law. And while it is only right that we celebrate Malala’s Nobel award, we also cannot forget the growing numbers of Pakistanis that take no pride in such an achievement.



Pakistan and US appear once again to be cooperating on drone strikes, by Tom Hussain

Pakistan and US appear once again to be cooperating on drone strikes, by Tom Hussain 
A series of CIA drone strikes launched last week against Taliban insurgents in Pakistan’s northwest tribal areas provide the clearest demonstration yet that the U.S. intelligence agency and Pakistani security forces are once again cooperating on defeating the insurgents.
The pattern of the attacks fits the description of American acquiescence to a behind-the-scenes request for help from the Pakistani military, but nobody in Islamabad or Washington is saying so. The U.S. government rarely comments on drone strikes as a matter of policy, and Pakistan’s only acknowledgment of the strikes has been to dust off an aging diplomatic draft feigning protest at unauthorized incursions into its airspace.
The Pakistani news media made no mention of the strikes until Monday, a day after the last of the recent attacks, when Dawn, the country’s top English daily newspaper, drew attention to what it said was minimally Pakistan’s “tacit acceptance” of the U.S. airstrikes.
“Relative silence can be interpreted as, at the very least, tacit acceptance and, possibly, active cooperation between the countries. From the general location of the strikes … it would appear active cooperation is taking place — for surely neither the U.S. nor Pakistan could want an errant U.S.-fired missile hitting a Pakistani military target,” Dawn said in an editorial.
That comment alluded to the November 2011 clash between U.S. and Pakistani forces positioned on either side of the border with Afghanistan in which 24 Pakistani troops died. Pakistan responded by suspending cooperation with U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, including the closure of two supply routes running through its territory.
Relations have slowly improved since, because U.S. officials have adopted a more politically sensitive approach in dealings with their Pakistani counterparts, who are deeply averse to public criticism.
The sticking point was the U.S. demand, since 2009, that Pakistan launch a military offensive in North Waziristan. After successful operations in other tribal areas, it had become the last safe haven in Pakistan for al-Qaida fugitives plotting attacks on Western soil, and a home away from home for the Haqqani network, an Afghan militant faction notorious for audacious attacks on government and NATO installations in Afghanistan.
Occasional drone strikes resumed in June, shortly before Pakistani forces launched the current offensive, but a pattern suggesting active cooperation did not emerge until last week.
Each of the nine drone strikes launched between Oct. 5 and Saturday targeted militants fighting the Pakistani military, rather than anybody the U.S. would consider a high-value terrorist target. And the drones operated in airspace in frequent use by Pakistani warplanes and helicopter gunships.
None of the four drone strikes launched against militants in the Dattakhel area of North Waziristan, for example, targeted the dominant local faction, which is led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a key Haqqani network ally and, presumably, someone the United States would want to eliminate.
The Pakistani military has said its operation in North Waziristan would not discriminate between cooperative and combative militant factions, including Bahadur’s, and it has since claimed to have secured Dattakhel, except for insurgent bases located in inaccessible terrain that have been softened with both American and Pakistani air power.
A blanket ban imposed by the military on any news coverage beyond official statements and leaked intelligence assessments of drone strike casualties has made independent verification of events very difficult.
However, Pakistani researchers still able to access their information sources in locked-down North Waziristan said ground fighting in Dattakhel has been minimal, and no reports have emerged of any clashes between the Pakistani military and Bahadur’s faction. They spoke to McClatchy on condition of anonymity, citing the ban.
A retired ranking Afghan Taliban commander based in Islamabad, who has maintained contacts with various militant factions, said the relative peace in Dattakhel had made it a magnet for fleeing militant insurgents, following the Pakistani military’s capture of their former strongholds in the Miramshah and Mir Ali areas of North Waziristan. That migration prompted Pakistan’s request for U.S. drone strikes, said the former militant, who identified himself by the militant nom de guerre “Okasha,” saying disclosure of his identity could prompt his arrest by Pakistani authorities or violent militant reprisals.
He said the precise nature of the airstrikes, including those launched from CIA drones, had allowed the Pakistani military to sidestep a confrontation with the Bahadur faction, which so far has stayed out of the fight.
That assessment is consistent with the behavior of Haqqani network allies during previous Pakistani military actions in the tribal areas straddling the border with Afghanistan. The network has brokered several peace agreements between its Pakistani allies and the military, both in North Waziristan and South Waziristan. Those agreements were advantageous to the Pakistani government because they divided militant forces that had successfully fought off military offensives as a united force until 2006.
The political division of the militants into two camps was a major factor in the military’s 2009 capture of South Waziristan, until then the biggest den of militancy in Pakistan. But it also created an unlikely post-conflict spectacle there of Haqqani network-allied militants providing security to Pakistani military contractors building the U.S.-financed Gomal Zam hydroelectric dam. The leader of the faction guarding the construction site, Maulvi Nazir, was killed in a January 2013 drone strike, shortly before the dam’s completion.
Hussain is a McClatchy special correspondent.


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Nazir Naji on UN role and Kashmir

Those people who really want to know what role is left for the UN in Kashmir dispute after the Simla Agreement; and also who want to know how Pak stabbed a solution on JK, should read this article written by a famous Pakistani writer Nazir Naji:

http://dunya.com.pk/index.php/author/nazeer-naji/2014-10- 16/8808/72004935#.VD78nPldWSo