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Progressives in Pakistan demand an immediate end to military operation in FATA

June 27, 2014 10 comments

It is good to know that at least few progressives have stood up against the military operations in FATA. We often see many fake liberals and progressives in Pakistan, who actually are sectarian and social class fascists, support this fake war on terror. It is one of the rare moments that a group educated people with some sense of justice left in them stood up against tyranny.

I would have loved to see them criticizing military’s policy of using sectarianism itself through the likes of Zaid Hamid, Faisal Raza Abidi, Sunni Ittehad Council etc to forward the war agenda or to see some blame wrongly going against capitalism but in fact it is ‘corporatism’ which should have been targeted. However, it is a great thing to know that not all progressives and liberals are fake in Pakistan.

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We, the undersigned, demand an immediate end to the ongoing military operation in the North Waziristan region of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). We expect this, the sixth military operation in FATA within the last decade, to follow the pattern set by the previous “decisive” operations which resulted in death and suffering for the people of FATA.

The current operation in North Waziristan is nothing but a sham that will only increase the suffering of the people of FATA. Those declaring “full support” for the military operation choose to ignore history (and the present) at their own peril.

While we condemn religious extremism and militancy in the strongest terms, we do not believe that the problem of religious militancy in Pakistan can be addressed through military means nor by an exclusive focus on FATA as a harbour of militancy. Our demands are as follows:

1. An immediate and unconditional halt to the ongoing military operation in NorthWaziristan and other parts of Tribal Areas.

2. We demand that the people of FATA have the right to decide what to do with the problem of militancy in their area. This process must include working-classes, peasants, women and minorities in FATA – with complete accountability, full access to independent media and without any coercion from the security establishment or militant groups.

3. Public disclosure of the names, details and any alleged militant linkages of those killed in the ongoing operation.

4. Immediate abolition of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) and steps to integrate FATA into mainstream Pakistan by providing guarantee of fundamental rights including rights of political association and the national penal code.

For complete demands and list of people who signed the documents, please visit:

http://progpak.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/stop-the-military-operation-in-fata/

I am especially glad to see the names of teachers in the list who are showing support for some good cause.

Imran Khan’s great speech on war, drones and NATO supplies in national assembly,Nov 04 2013

November 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Imran Khan’s great speech on war on terror, drones and tribal areas

One of the best speeches in the history of National Assembly of Pakistan. In this Imran Khan covered topics ranging from war, economic losses, humanitarian losses, talks and blocking NATO supplies on 20th November.

Swat and Extremism

October 14, 2012 2 comments

Swat is a good example to see how extremism develops. In 2006 I went to the area with my friends. We offered prayers in mosque (belonging to Jud or Fazlullah). We had people from different sects like Shia, Sunni or non-taqleedis but no one in the mosque bothered to question our different ways of praying and everyone was normal about it.

Similarly there were tourists with different social-class backgrounds and dressed up like the way they do in Karachi, Islamabad etc and no one bothered to question their dresses. There were girls school in the area and no one bothered to blow them up. Things started to go bad in the area when Army demolished the local structure which created vacuum for these groups to take over and especially when Lal-Masjid operation was conducted (The operation itself was sectarian and social-class fascism backed) , it gave a message to the people that there ways are in danger now and so they went on to the path of extremism. Its very easy for us to consider others as evil aliens and point fingers at them but to resolve a problem, an honest analysis is required to see where it all started and where the root cause lies.

Swat, Tribal areas etc were promised that their autonomy will remain in tact if they join Pakistan but Army on various occasions from 60s violated these agreements and started to meddle in there affairs especially in Musharraf’s time they deliberately targeted their religious schools and institutions. It seems that army used this war not only to bag dollars from Americans but also to pursue their old goal of invading these tribal areas because they seem to love only that Pakistan which is under their boots otherwise they will do another Bangladesh with that part of the country like they are also doing with Baluchistan.

People are again chanting slogans for more War in North Waziristan especially after Malala Yousafzai attack. They should ask their self about the goals they have achieved after decades of military operations in FATA, Baluchistan and Swat. These operations have resulted in more extremism and more terrorism, and they are not going to give different results in the future except things will go worse.

Imran vows to take drone issue to ICJ –>The News

October 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Mumtaz Alvi

Source : http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=9925&Cat=13

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday said his party would take the issue of drone attacks to the International Court of Justice and appreciated the resolve of the founder of a UK-based legal action charity, Reprieve, to knock on the doors of international courts against such strikes.

He said war was too serious a matter to be left to the generals, while a grand Jirga from Waziristan, through a unanimous resolution, called upon Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take note of the drone attacks and hold an independent and transparent probe into the matter.

The Jirga was co-organised by Reprieve and the Foundation for Fundamental Rights to raise awareness about the drone assaults and firm up a line of action on how to halt them. The Jirga demanded of the Pakistani military to stop its operation in Waziristan and said the tribal people were capable of tackling the menace of militancy on their own.

The largely-attended forum urged the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Special Envoy on Extra Judicial Killings Christof Heyns to help halt the US hegemony, mass killings of tribal people and undermining of Pakistan’s sovereignty by drone attacks.

Various participants cautioned that after failing in Afghanistan, the US was looking for an excuse to attack Pakistan. Speakers heaped praise on Reprieve founder Clive Stafford Smith, as well as on Shahazad Akbar of the Foundation of Human Rights for their endeavours to legally fight the drones’ issue and highlight it at different forums. Jemima Khan, the ex-wife of PTI chief Imran Khan, also attended the Jirga session.

Imran Khan, during his speech here at a local hotel, quoted France’s ex-prime minister Georges Clemenceau and said war was too serious a matter to be left to the generals. He said generals were handling the tribal areas’ policy with the civilian puppet government having no say at all.

Imran said the situation was no different in the US where generals, such as Petraeus, handled the Afghan policy and had no plan-B. The PTI chief said the anti-terrorism war was adding to the number of militants and intensifying militancy, and those who lost their relatives looked for revenge, either becoming militants or supporting the militancy.

Later, Imran addressed a rally of his party here at the D-Chowk near parliament and said every minute of the National Assembly proceedings consumed Rs66,000 but its members could not get a unanimous resolution against the drone strikes implemented.

Imran said it was a matter of shame that sessions of the lower house of parliament were costing the national exchequer so much but in return legislators had failed to come up to the nation’s expectations.

Amid chants of ‘shame, shame’, the PTI chief said the APC resolution had clearly said that if the US did not stop drones, the Nato supply would be blocked. “Did the MNAs do so? Instead, drones continue to hit Fata,” he said.

He called President Asif Ali Zardari ‘Sadar Zardari, Bari Bemari’ and said: “We have no hopes in him, since he is a beneficiary of the NRO, which has bound him to silently support drones and remain loyal to the US”.

Similarly, Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, whom he called the Dengue Brothers, have also disappointed everyone, Imran said. He asked why they were holding a public meeting in Lahore whereas Zardari was sitting in Islamabad.

PTI workers warmly welcomed Clive Smith, when Imran invited him to express his views on the matter. “What we need is your support and a pat on the back to take forward the issue. We need evidence,” he remarked.

Clive Smith said: “We will be going to the US, France, Germany and other European countries to raise the issue”. He described drone attacks on Waziristan as a criminal offence.

Earlier, the rally participants endorsed the resolution, adopted by the Waziristan Grand Jirga, by raising their hands. The Jirga’s resolution confirmed that US spy agency CIA was responsible for the drone attacks in Pakistan and such strikes were being carried out by CIA agents sitting in Pakistan and abroad, which was a flagrant violation of the country’s laws as well as international laws.

The proceedings were bumpy, as at one point, Kamran Khan, an MNA from Fata, and a tribal elder, Khan Marjan, exchanged hot words (mostly in Pashto), accusing each other of being non-serious about drones.

The images of collateral damage caused so far by drone strikes were shown on a projector and saddened the audience. Mutilated bodies of children and elderly people were painful for the viewers who watched with disbelief.

The resolution noted that Fata, particularly the North and South Waziristan Agencies, were part of Pakistan and its inhabitants were Pakistani citizens under Article 1 of the Constitution. However, the state and its institutions had failed to safeguard the fundamental human rights there such as the right to live. It also noted that attacks were mostly inflicted during late night so that the tribal people could remain in grip of fear and insecurity.

The resolution confirmed that drone assaults were mostly carried out on residential areas and homes, resulting into the deaths of innocent women and children.

APP adds: Addressing the rally, Imran Khan condemned what he called the ‘criminal silence’ of non-government organisations (NGOs) on drones that claimed to be champions of human rights. He asked the government to quit if it could not take action in this regard and said civilian casualties because of the drones were increasing with each passing day.

He said the judiciary was independent, but some people were a major hurdle in the way of the implementation of the Supreme Court’s decisions. He demanded the implementation of the resolution adopted in the recently-held All Parties Conference. “After coming into power, the PTI will introduce an economic system that will protect the rights of consumers and investors, and will convince foreigners to invest in Pakistan,” he added.

watch geo on geo.tv

November 19, 2007 1 comment

Due to the shut down of sattelite uplink of GEO TV from Dubai Geo TV Channel is now broadcasting its news on http://www.geo.tv web site.

Direct link is: mms://stream.wmlivesvc.vitalstreamcdn.com/live_stream_geo_tv_GeoVid

Geo closure: journalists up in arms

November 19, 2007 3 comments

ISLAMABAD: Journalists throughout the country continued their protest Sunday against shutting down of Geo TV and ARY Digital as well as curbs on the media.

Hundreds of journalists, members of civil society, students, political workers and human rights activists gathered in Islamabad and chanted slogans against the ban on the TV channels. Addressing the protest rally the speakers condemned the government for asking the managements of the two channels to sack prominent and respected journalists.

Pakistani networks Geo TV and ARY Digital were ordered by the authorities to halt transmission from the United Arab Emirates after they refused to sign a Pakistani government-mandated “code of conduct.”

Geo TV was ordered by the UAE Information Ministry in Dubai to cease satellite and Internet broadcasts by midnight local time on Friday, according to Geo TV officials. The other channel also received a similar order with no reason given for the shutdown. 

The demonstrators wore black bands and held banners and placards inscribed with slogans for free media and against the ban on TV channels. They also condemned the kidnapping of Shoaib Bhutta, a local journnalist and accused the agencies of kidnapping him. The demonstrators also raised slogans against General Musharraf.

A large number of riot police were deployed near the demonstrators but they did not intervene. Geo TV and ARY Digital were the only networks that had not returned to cable distribution in Pakistan since the shutdown of all private broadcasters on November 3 after President Pervez Musharraf suspended the constitution and imposed emergency. The news channels, however, had remained accessible in Pakistan via Internet or satellite before Friday’s blackout.

The networks had been told to sign the 14-page code of conduct by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority if they wanted to resume transmission. Geo TV and ARY Digital refused to sign. The agreement bypasses due process if stations violate government regulations.

Journalists condemned the murder of the widow of a slain tribal journalist who was killed in a bomb attack in the tribal region of North Waziristan on Saturday. Mehr-un-Nisa, the widow of Hayatullah Khan, was killed when a bomb planted at her house wall exploded.

The journalists set up protest camps outside press clubs in major cities and towns and also staged demonstrations. Lahore, meanwhile, witnessed people belonging to different walks of life coming to a protest camp set up in front of the Geo office to express their solidarity with the protesting journalists. They lit candles there, demanding immediate removal of ban on Geo transmission.

BAHAWALPUR: Journalists on Sunday staged a demonstration outside the Bahawalpur Press Club to protest closure of Geo and ARY channels’ transmissions. They chanted slogans against the curbs on media, imposition of emergency and arrest of lawyers and journalists. The Bahawalpur Union of Journalists (BUJ) and Media Action Committee held a protest meeting at the press club. Speaking on the occasion, BUJ President Ameen Abbasi announced that journalists would also stage a protest demonstration today (Monday). 

KASUR: Newsmen held a demonstration on Circular Road to protest the shutdown of Geo and ARY transmissions. 

The demonstration was led by senior journalist M Saleemur Rahman. Addressing the demonstrators, Nawaz Karimi, Dr Zakir Hussain, Jamil Hussain, Fazal Hussain Bhutta, Malik Arif, Ishfaq Ahmad Bhatti and Dr Usman Ghani demanded of the government to restore the channels. 

TOBA TEK SINGH: On the call of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists media persons demonstrated outside the press club on Sunday. They chanted slogans against the closure of Geo and ARY channels by President Gen Pervez Musharraf. Later, they held a protest meeting at the press club. 

Speaking on the occasion, press club President Mian Manzoor Naz, General Secretary Tariq Saeed, Muttahidda Majlis-e-Amal district general secretary Mian Abdul Basit advocate, Pakistan People’s Party leader Chaudhry Masood Ahmad Kahloon, former DBA president Mian Shahid Iqbal, Dr Saleem Ghazi, Haji Abdul Majeed Anwar, Mian Ehsanul Haq Burki and Kamalia press club president Rana Amjad asked the government to lift curbs on the print and electronic media. They also demanded lifting of emergency. 

CHAKWAL: The Divisional Union of Journalists and Chakwal Press Club, in a joint meeting here on Sunday, condemned the shutdown of Geo and ARY transmissions. 

The meeting was presided over by Chakwal Press club chairman Fahim Akhtar Butt. The meeting passed a resolution, demanding immediate restoration of the news channels. 

Speaking on the occasion, Fakhir Mehmood Mirza, Tahir Farooqi, Nasir Qamar, Muhammad Khan Aqal and Zulfiqar Mir announced setting up of a hunger strike camp at the press club. They said the draconian law imposed during the emergency against the media was a clear negation of the constitution of the country. They said the blackout of TV channels had exposed the hollowness of the claims of ‘unprecedented freedom’ given to media. 

SHEIKHUPURA: The press club in its meeting here on Sunday condemned the government restrictions on private TV channels. 

The meeting was presided over by press club president Abdul Hammed Bhatti. It passed a resolution asking the international media to come forward to condemn curbs on media. The journalists agreed to set up a hunger strike camp in front of the local press club till the restoration of news channels.

Press club general secretary Safdar Shaheen, Sultan Hameed Rahi, Arshad Sheikh, Ghulam Ahmad, Imran Maqbool, Rana Ashraf, Rana Sarwar, Sheikh Jamil, Zhahid Mehmood, Malik Tariq Aziz, Sohail Ahad, Maqbool Ahmad, Azeem Yazdani, Amjad Nazir Butt and others attended the meeting. 

OKARA: Journalists of the city will set up a hunger strike camp outside the press club today (Monday).

Local politicians and representatives of civil organisations will join the camp to express solidarity with journalists. 

GOJRA: Journalists, lawyers and politicians have condemned the shutdown of Geo and ARY transmissions. 

In their separate statements here on Sunday, Abid Chaudhry, Arshad Nasir, Muhammad Tayyab, Mian Iftikhar Umair, Malik Nazir, Syed Mohsin Raza, Rana Imtiaz, Iqbal Khan, Khursheed Athar, Dr Ijaz, Shaheen Chaudhry advocate, Ghulam Muhammad Lala, former MNA M Hamza and Muhammad Ishaq demanded immediate restoration of TV channels.

PHOOLNAGAR: Journalists on Sunday staged a rally against the closure of Geo and ARY transmissions. 

Press club president Ch Zafar Iqbal led the rally. The protesting journalists wore black armbands and chanted slogans against President Gen Pervez Musharraf. 

MIRPUR (AJK): Journalists affiliated with national print and electric media here on Sunday staged protest demonstration against the imposition of restrictions on the electronic media in Pakistan including shutting down of Geo and ARY TV channels by the government.

Senior journalists including the press club President Amin Butt, Sayed Abid Hussain Shah, Asjad Shah, Sohrab Ahmed Khan and other office bearers of the press club led the rally arranged by the Kashmir Press Club, Mirpur. 

The journalists passed through the city streets raising slogans against sanctions imposed on the electronic media, imposition of emergency and provisional constitutional ordinance (PCO), confinement of the chief justice and other judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and arrest of hundreds of journalists and political and human rights activists.

Lahore: People belonging to different walks of life coming to a protest camp set up in front of the Geo office to express their solidarity with the protesting journalists. They lit candles there, demanding immediate removal of ban on Geo transmission. 

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