Human Rights, Missing Persons And The Elected Government

Justice Javed Iqbal in his statement few days ago rightly pointed out to the fact that cases like missing persons pose real threat to democracy not the verdicts of Independent judiciary.  In his statements he further criticized the performance of the government institutions. He said no government institution is working properly and the system is on the verge of disaster. He further said someone had to intervene to save the system and huge cry was raised every time when court does it.

The issue of missing persons is considered as the main reason behind the attempted removal of CJP Iftikhar Chaudhary twice by Musharraf’s government. According to HRCP estimates there are 198 reported missing persons since 2007 out of which 66 are from the deprived province of Baluchistan. The estimated figure of unreported cases is much higher. In a talk show recently Asma Jehangir, Chairperson of  HRCP told that in 2009 there were 30 new cases of missing persons came to their knowledge.

After the 18th February 2008 elections it was expected that the newly elected government would try to improve the human rights situation and give some relief to the victim families. But this proved to be another shattered dream of people blinded by their faith and hope which soon turned into disbelief on the system for many.

Not only that all the people missing are not recovered but this heinous crime of illegally abducting the people is going on and hurdles are being created to trace the already missing. In a recent television interview Dr. Fawzia Siddiqi , sister of Dr. Aafia Siddiqi said the real danger from the release of Dr. Aafia is felt by those who are part of this evil network which kidnaps people and sell them. It is amazing that in the time of elected government with new army chief and intelligence chiefs no actions were taken against those involved in these illegal and inhuman activities during the former dictators rule. Government is using delaying tactics in Dr. Aafia case and has showed it’s inability to take the case in International Court of Justice.

In war hit areas of NWFP the situation is probably worse than other areas as there is no free media access and also judicial authority is almost none in many areas due to military control. Not only young but old and aged are being picked up by the security institutions in the name of war against terror. In a case filed by Syed Iqbal Kazmi, representative in Pakistan of Human Right Commission South Asia (HRCSA), an eighty years old man Wazir was picked up by Mohmand Rifles on September 2, 2009.Mohmand Rifles personnel picked up Wazir alleging that his son was involved in terrorist activities. In another case police and intelligence agencies in a joint raid picked up Usman Ali on January 29, 2009 from his house on suspicion of having relations with Taliban. Baluchistan is also facing similar situation though 20 of missing persons were released on political pressure  But still there are many including people like Pasand Khan Mandai from Baluchistan Worker’s Party were picked up by agencies during 2009 and their cases are still pending.

The statement by Justice Javed Iqbal clearly reflects the growing sentiments in Pakistani Society about the current democracy. Justice Javed Iqball said,” What type of democracy do we have wherein fundamental rights of the people could not be ensured?” The remarks were given while he was heading a three-member bench of the apex court, hearing petitions of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and others.

It seems that current so called democratic government has completely failed to protect the rights of our people. The situation demands real seriousness and sincerity, it is already too late. People are already fed up with inflation, corruption, load shedding and same old deceptions and lies. Government needs to take some real measures to rectify it’s mistakes and the mistakes committed during the time of the former dictator Musharraf otherwise things will go to the point of no return.

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What creates this hate?–>Dr Masooda Banu in The News

A sensible article as far as the overall idea is concerned with some real good points raised.

The writer has explained what motivates people to get ready for suicide bombings.

Though in many cases like the killing of Benazir Bhutto or recent attacks on International Islamic University and many others in which the chances of the involvement by CIA,RAW or even Pakistani Security agencies are more and 9/11 is seen as an inside job but still the overall context of the article remains quite valid.
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What creates this hate?

Dissenting note

Friday, October 23, 2009
Dr Masooda Bano

The rise in suicide attacks in the past three weeks have left the nation shocked. The GHQ as well as ordinary institutions such as the International Islamic University (IIU) have been attacked. These attacks are making the government commit to starting even heavy military operations in Waziristan. But this increased number of suicide attacks needs to also raise the question why have some Pakistanis come to hate the rest so much that they are willing to take such extreme measures.

In the immediate aftermath of September 11, one dominant outcry in the US was that “Why have they come to hate us so much?” The question was never fully answered as the Bush administration soon moved into a militarist mode finding and attacking targets overseas. However, Pakistan cannot afford such a luxury because it is having to face the consequences of such a militarist approach on its own soil. There is thus the critical need to understand why some Pakistanis could be driven to a level of hatred that can result in making deadly attacks on other ordinary Pakistanis, such as the innocent students of IIU who so unfortunately died in the recent attack.

Those who try to attribute religious indoctrination as the prime basis of these suicide attacks have to provide better evidence to support such simplistic claims. Academic research on suicide missions conducted in either secular or religious contexts does not support the claim that suicide missions are ever driven purely by an ideological impulse. In fact, the basis of such a violent expression are often very political in nature, a religious or secular ideology only help sustain the momentum of the recruits after they have joined the struggle due to a feeling a sense of gross political injustice. To say that the militants in Pakistan are driven by some religious indoctrination where people are taught to hate others is too simplistic a solution. It helps ignore the more complex and demanding question that why are so many Pakistanis is a state of mind where they are willing to gather around the radical rhetoric and give up their own lives as well as taking life of other innocent people.

The answer to this is complex but one factor that could lead people to such extreme hate is the element of revenge. Those who suffer from the unjust excesses of the state end up retaliating in extreme ways because they find that there are no legal mechanisms left to secure justice. Palestinians pitted against Israel have faced that problem for long. I have not been to Swat during the period of military confrontation, nor I have been to Waziristan but I was closely engaged in studying the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafza when it was staging the resistance and when it was under siege by the military. The state in this case was definitely an unjust aggressor. There was simply no need for the military operation that resulted in death of at the least 100 students.

The resist was triggered by some legitimate concerns about Pakistani military operations in the tribal belts and other issues such as that of the ‘missing people.’ It started moving in other directions, such as securing public piety, and of course needed to be curtailed. However, it could have been curtailed through a dialogue and through giving some concessions rather than opting for a full military operation. If today some relatives of students who died in those military operations had become recruits for such suicide attacks that are taking place in Pakistan, one won’t be surprised. Such gross level of injustice committed by a state is often not absorbed easily by those harmed by it.

What we have to remember if we want to find a solution to this problem that no one wants to give up his or her life for nothing. The promises of rewards in the other world could be tempting. To give up life in this world for promises of the rewards in the other is too extreme a measure, which is never just a product of search for heavenly rewards. After all, less costly measures, such as Haj, Hifz, fasting, khairat promise generous heavenly rewards too. There have to be actual political factors that are making people go to such extremes. Those who all along asked for making this “US-led war” our war now need to answer that what have we benefited from making it our war. If these are ordinary Pakistanis who are involved in these attacks, then we need to find out why they are doing this so that we are better placed to dissuade this from such actions. Cheering making an ever bigger and deadlier enemy out of them serves no purpose.

The writer is a research fellow at the Oxford University. Email: mb294@hotmail.com

Source:http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=204559