June 2005

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The Rediff Interview/Benazir Bhutto
 

 

June 2005

Photo appeared in press speaks itself:
This is Karachi on June 1, 2005

PPP will observe black day on 5th July


Islamabad, 30 June 2005: Pakistan Peoples Party has planned to observe black day on 5th July. On this day in 1977, the democratically elected government of the first directly elected Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was overthrown by the military dictator General Zial-ul-Haq.

The Secretary General Pakistan People Party, Jahangir Bader on the instruction of Party Chairperson Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has directed the party provincial and district office bearers to hold seminars and functions to highlight the military dictatorship and its atrocities against the people.

Jahangir Bader has asked the party workers to participate in these event in order to mark the continuity of the historic struggle of the party and its leadership for civil rights, fundamental rights, rule of law, supremacy of constitution, sovereignty of parliament and emancipation of downtrodden and have-nots of the society under the leadership of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Jahangir Bader asked the workers to reiterate their resolve to fight against tyranny, to end poverty, unemployment and injustice in the country and to continue their struggle to make Pakistan a democratic, egalitarian and just society as envisioned by our great leader Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who sacrificed his life for a better future for generations to come.

Mohtarma Bhutto grieved over loss of lives due to floods


Islamabad, June 28, 2005: Former Prime Minister and chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has expressed her profound grief over the loss of lives and property due to floods in the Frontier province.

Several people have been killed due to floods in different parts of the province besides huge losses to livestock property and. The flood situation in the Frontier worsened on Sunday with a further rise in the level of Kabul and Swat rivers caused by more than usual melting of snows in the Hindukush range of mountains.

In a statement today the former Prime Minister said that she was grieved to learn about the loss of lives and damage to property due to floods in the Frontier province. She asked the rulers to take immediate steps to alleviate the sufferings of the flood affected people.

Mohtarma Bhutto also asked the regime in Islamabad to gear itself for the floods throughout the country during the forthcoming monsoon season. She was said it was most unfortunate that rulers were spent time and energy in chasing political opponents rather than planning to alleviate sufferings of the people.

The Party Chairperson also directed the party organisations to be vigilant and organise rescue and relief operations during floods.

PPP debunks of claims of Shaukat Aziz on opposition support to budget



Islamabad June 28, 2005: The PPP has debunked the claims that the economy under Shaukat Aziz has been flourishing and that the Prime Minister enjoyed the support of the opposition in the budget.

"His term first as Finance Minister and then as Prime Minister bootlicked the military through huge defence expenditures" said a letter sent by the Foreign Liaison Committee of the Party to all the ambassadors stationed in Islamabad.

The letter was sent after the PPP received reports that Mr. Shaukat Aziz has been falsely claiming in his meetings with diplomats that he enjoyed across the board support of the opposition in the passage of the budget.

Giving examples of ‘bootlicking the military’ the PPP cited the fudging of the books by taking military pensions out of the military budget and transferring it to civil expenditure to make the make the military spending look smaller and the ever rising military allocations in successive budgets.

This is a false impression that Mr. Aziz is giving in his bid to show a broader base of support than he has, it said.

The Pakistan Peoples Party opposes Mr. Aziz's budget that is for the wealthy and increases the gulf between the rich and the poor. All claims of growth and increasing social expenditure made by Shaukat Aziz in budget documents later turned out to be false, it said.

The economy has kept afloat simply on the rescheduling of loans and financial assistance given Islamabad in the wake of 9/11, the letter said and added, "Despite generous rescheduling, Mr. Aziz has ended up taking even more loans and lost the opportunity to rid the country of debt burden".

Mr. Aziz has presided over the biggest unemployment surge in the country's history and poverty during his tenure has increased to fifty seven percent of the population who know live on less than one or two dollars a day, the letter said.

The PPP letter also talked of mounting speculations on the growth of Mr. Aziz's own assets. "There are reports doing the rounds that the recent stock exchange crash in which trillions of rupees were lost and small investors wiped out had links directly or indirectly to Mr. Aziz". PPP has called for an inquiry to ascertain the veracity of such charges, it said.

There are other rumours including that in the five years serving military dictatorship Mr. Aziz's personal fortune has grown from forty million dollars to two hundred million dollars. These reports may or may not be true. However, Mr. Aziz has a duty to clarify them.

Mr. Aziz may have social contacts with members of the Opposition. However, despite his best attempts to have them meet him publicly, they have refused to do so the PPP letter said.

The opposition has declined to meet him publicly to signal that it does not have confidence in Mr. Aziz, who presides over a Nation where the worst political and social repression dictates the scene, the PPP letter said.

PPP denounces shifting of Peer Mukarram to Mianwali Jail


Islamabad June 28, 2005: The Pakistan Peoples Party has condemned the shifting of Peer Mukaram from Adyala Jail to jail in Mianwali in the Punjab and termed it as the worst victimization and brutalisation of PPP workers by the regime.

Peer Mukarram was shifted from Rawalpindi jail to Mianwali jail last night on the pretext that he was being taken to hospital for treatment of multiple ailments from which he is suffering. Earlier Peer Mukarram was forcibly taken out of the hospital in Islamabad and taken to Adiyal a jail despite doctors’ advice to keep him in hospital for treatment.

Peer Muakarram’s wife Farzana Raja has been vocal in criticising the Punjab provincial government in the budget session of the Assembly.

In a joint statement today Makhdoom Amin Fahim vice chair pf the Party and Raja Pervez Ashraf secretary general of the PPP Parliament said that the continued victimisation of PPP workers was to avenge the Party's refusal to accept the dictatorial agenda and anti people policy of the rulers.

Peer Mukarram, a diabetic and suffering from multiple diseases has been admitted to hospital on doctors' advice. He was shifted to jail last week after the Opposition criticism of Punjab chief minister during the budget debate.

The PPP leaders while condemning the shifting of Peer Mukarram to Mianwali jail said that it was the latest in the series which has seen the brutalisation recently of MPs Zahid Bhurguri, Asghar Nadeem Kaira, Nafeesa Raja, Humera Alwani and the arrest and detention of Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Bismillah Kakar and others on political grounds.

They said that the treatment meted out to opposition political workers was a violation of their fundamental human rights as well as of international and local laws. The present regime was brutalising its opponents while claiming to the world that it believed in moderation, they said.

The PPP leaders said that no matter what the rulers did it would not deter the Party to compromise on its democratic agenda nor let the regime convert Pakistan into a garrison state.

CIA'S EXASPERATION WITH PAKISTAN
by B.Raman


The exasperation of Porter Goss, the Director of the US' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), with Pakistan's role in the hunt for Osama bin Laden and other remnants of the Al Qaeda, is evident from his remarks on bin Laden during an interview with the "Time" magazine which has been carried by it this week

2. The interview has come in the wake of the arrest of one Hamid Hayat, a US citizen of Pakistani origin, his father and some others by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) earlier this month. They belonged to a 2500-strong Pakistani community living at a place called Lodi near Sacramento in California. Hamid and his father have been charged by the FBI with covering up from the law enforcement agency the fact regarding his having attended a six-months jihadi training at a camp near Rawalpindi during a visit to Pakistan in 2003-04.

3. Hamid was reported to have told the FBI that the camp was being run by the Al Qaeda, but the indications are that it was actually being run by the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM--which now calls itself the Jamiat-ul-Ansar), a virulently anti-US Pakistani jihadi terrorist organisation, which is a member of Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jewish People formed in 1998. Its then Amir, Maulana Fazlur Rahman Khalil, who was released by the Pakistani authorities after having been detained for some months last year without being prosecuted, was a co-signatory of bin Laden's first fatwa of 1998 against the US.

4.The Pakistani authorities have sought to ridicule the FBI's charge against Hamid by pointing out that it was inconceivable that a jihadi training camp attended by hundreds of trainees, as claimed by him, could be located in or near Rawalpindi, where the Pakistan Army's General Headquarters are located. Coincidentally, Yasin Malik, the head of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), one of the jihadi terrorist organisations of India's J&K, during a recent visit to Pakistan, revealed that hundreds of members of his organisation had been trained in the late 1980s in a camp at the very same place, which was being run by Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, a Kashmiri, who used to be a member of the Government of Nawaz Sharif and is now the Minister for Information in the Cabinet headed by Shaukat Aziz.

5. Amongst the members of the present Cabinet, he is considered as close to President Pervez Musharraf. He has had a long history of association with the HUM and Maulana Fazlur Rahman Khalil and had obtained for the HUM a large plot of land near Rawalpindi for starting a jihadi training camp.

6. Embarrassed by the disclosure of Yasin Malik, Sheikh Rashid strongly denied running any such training camp and maintained that he was only running a humanitarian camp for the refugees from J&K. Yasin Malik also subsequently retracted from his statement and accused the media of misreporting him. He asserted that what he had said was that Rashid was looking after the refugees. He denied having said anything about jihadi training organised by Sheikh Rashid.

7. The loud-mouthed Sheikh Rashid, who has many enemies in Pakistan because of his proximity to Musharraf and his habit of frequently dropping the name of Musharraf, found himself contradicted not only by Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP), during whose Government the jihadi training camp was started, but also by Gen. (retd) Mirza Aslam Beg, who was the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) at that time, Brig. (retd) Nasurullah Babar, who was the Interior Minister in Benazir Bhutto's Cabinet, a former officer of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Hashim Quereshi, a co-founder of the JKLF, who had hijacked an Indian Airlines aircraft to Lahore in Pakistan in 1971.

8. While all of them asserted that it was correct that Sheikh Rashid was running a jihadi terrorist training camp, the PPP revealed that the ISI, without the clearance of Benazir, had got transferred hundreds of acres of land in the suburban areas of Islamabad for starting his training camp. Hashim Quereshi, who corroborated the allegations against Sheikh Rashid during a media interview, was asked whether any other member of the present Cabinet had been associated with jihadi terrorism. He replied: "It would be easier to answer who are the members of the present Cabinet who were not associated with terrorism?"

9. From a study of the various statements emanating from these persons, it is clear that the camp at which Hamid attended a jihadi training course was probably the same as the one run by Sheikh Rashid on behalf of the HUM in a large plot of land got transferred to him by the ISI. However, the name of the camp as given by Hamid in his statement to the FBI slightly differs from the name as given by the critics of Sheikh Rashid. According to the FBI, Hamid had given the name as Tamal, whereas the critics of Sheikh Rashid have given the name as Tarnol.

10. While the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon have been very generous in their praise of the co-operation received from Gen.Pervez Musharraf and the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment in the so-called war against terrorism, their positive perception of the Pakistani Army's role is not shared by their officers at the field level--- either by the American Army officers deployed in the Afghan territory across the Pakistani border or by the US diplomats in Kabul or by the US intelligence officers posted in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan.

11. The American Army officers have been particularly outspoken in giving expression to their dissatisfaction over the effectiveness of the combing operations conducted by the Pakistani Security Forces in the Waziristan area of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The Pakistan Army's claim that the Security Forces had fought vigorously against the foreign terrorists, who had taken shelter in this area, losing during their operations nearly 230 officers and men has not been satisfactorily corroborated. There are grounds to suspect the casualty figures given by the Pakistan Army.

12. During the last few months, the Pakistan Army has practically suspended its combing operations in the area, claiming that most of the foreign terrorists operating from this area have been killed or captured or driven into Afghanistan. This claim is not accepted by the US Army officers who have been demanding that the combing operations be resumed.

13. The Pakistan Army has also not taken any action to arrest Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Taliban, and other Taliban leaders who have been operating from the Pashtun areas of Balochistan. Since the end of winter, these remnants, with the help of the survivors of the Al Qaeda operating from the Waziristan area, have stepped up their acts of violence in Afghanistan. There have also been one or two acts of suicide terrorism, involving Arabs, suspected to be of the Al Qaeda.

14. The differences between the US officials in Afghanistan and their Pakistani counterparts came to a head last week when Geo TV, a private TV channel of Pakistan, interviewed a leader of the Taliban, who assured the viewers that both Mulla Omar and bin Laden were alive and well. In an interview to an Afghan TV station, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Ambassador to Afghanistan who is under orders of transfer to Iraq, asserted that Mulla Omar and other Taliban leaders were operating from Pakistan. He asked: "If a TV station can get in touch with them, how can the intelligence service of a country which has nuclear bombs and a lot of security and military forces not find them?" The Pakistan Foreign Office strongly protested against Khalilzad's TV interview and described his remarks as irresponsible.

15. It is against this background that one has to see the comments of Porter Goss, which apparently reflect the exasperation of his own officers in the field. India has always been saying that Musharraf has not taken any action to dismantle the training infrastructure of the pro-Al Qaeda Pakistani jihadi terrorist organisations in Pakistani territory. While this was not disputed by the US, it was at the same time not exercising adequate pressure on Musharraf to dismantle these camps because the US apparently felt that these were being used only to train jihadi terrorists to operate in J&K. The reported revelation by Hamid that these camps were also being used to train jihadis from the Pakistani community in the US for operating in US territory has come as a shock to the US agencies.

16.In his interview to the "Time", Goss made the following points: It was unlikely bin Laden would be brought to justice until "we strengthen all the links" in the chain in the US-led hunt for terror suspects. "In the chain that you need to successfully wrap up the war on terror, we have some weak links . When you go to the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you're dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play. We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways that are acceptable to the international community." Asked if he had a good idea where bin Laden is, he said: "I have an excellent idea of where he is."

17. He did not mention Pakistan by name, but it was apparent that he was talking of Pakistan. On the Afghan side of the border, it is the 16,000-strong US troops, which have the responsibility for the hunt for bin Laden. If he was in Afghan territory, there was no reason why Goss should have talked of sanctuaries in sovereign states, weak links etc. If bin Laden was in Iranian territory, there was no reason why he should have refrained from naming Iran since the US relations with Iran are already at the rock-bottom.

18. His reference to the need for working in unconventional ways in a conventional world is intriguing. Is he talking of the need for the US Special Forces operating clandestinely on their own in Pakistani territory in order to kill or capture bin Laden, with or without the concurrence of Musharraf? Is the State Department refusing to agree to this? If he has such an excellent idea of where bin Laden is, why is the CIA not using the Predator aircraft to kill him?


(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Distinguished Fellow and Convenor, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Chennai Chapter. E-Mail: itschen36@gmail.com

US must support democracy’s return to Pakistan:

Sen Khawaja


Washington: US assurances to Pakistan of a long-term relationship are to be welcomed, but they must be accompanied by support for genuine political reform, return to democracy and social liberalisation, Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians Senator Dr Akbar Khawaja said in a keynote speech to the Pakistani-American Congress which concluded its annual three-day conference here on Saturday.

The PPPP leader said the US should recognise that the future of US-Pakistan relations lay in a people-to-people relationship. It was also evident that a system where the parliament was supreme offered more benefits to the people of Pakistan than military rule with only trappings of civilian participation. If Washington wanted what it called the war on terrorism to succeed, then it should accept that it could only be won by promoting democracy, rule of law, justice, equality and popular government, not only in Pakistan but everywhere, he said.

Khawaja said, “Pakistanis and Americans have been together in a friendly relationship grounded in old and new values and common interests. Many of us are also bound by strong personal ties.

Although our relationship has been a turbulent one, with repeated ups and downs, and marked sometimes by understanding, at others by misunderstanding, a feeling of friendship still remains the dominant feature. Khalid Hasan, 27 June 05

 

PPP Norway and USA celebrate Mohtarma Bhutto’s 52nd birthday


Islamabad, 27 June 2005: Pakistan Peoples Party Norway has demanded of Pakistani regime to withdraw all concocted and fictitious cases against the party Chairperson, former Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and allowing here honourable return to Pakistan.

These demands were made in the gathering organised by the party workers and supporters to celebrate Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s 52nd birthday. The celebration was attended by a large number of Party supporters and workers addressed by the former president PPP overseas, Yousaf Khan, Saeed Butt, Akhtar Niazi, M. Islam, Saeed Sibtain Shah, Annu Shah and Shahid Shah. Speakers paid rich tribute to Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for continuing her struggle for emancipation of Pakistani nation from the jaws of military dictatorship. They expressed their concern regarding deteriorating law and order situation in Pakistan and demanded immediate fair and free elections in which all parties and politicians are free to participate. They vowed to continue struggle for democracy under the dynamic leadership of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and prayed for her long life.

Pakistan Peoples Party California also celebrated the 52nd birthday of their Quaid Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, attended by hundreds of party workers and supporters from different parts of northern California. Speaking at the occasion president PPP Clifornia Khuda Bux Bhutto said that the regime in Pakistan is following anti-people agenda and the people are suffering from poverty, hunger and unemployment. He said that there is no justice in Pakistan and the only way to end the miseries of the people is the return to democratic government in Pakistan. A large cake was cut and distributed among the party workers and supporters.

Raza Rabbani challenges Prime Minister on land grabbing law


Islamabad June 28, 2005:
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Mian Raza Rabbani has issued the following statement today.

"The Prime Minister is wrong in claiming to make a comprehensive law to eliminate land mafia.

" ‘The Illegal Disposition Act 2005’ for which the Prime Minister has taken credit was bulldozed in the last session of the Senate using brute force of the ruling coalition’s majority and by rejecting all amendments proposed by the opposition.

"If the government of Shaukat Aziz was really sincere in controlling the activities of land mafia it would not have backed out at the last moment during budget making from taxing the real estate transactions.

"The fact that government backed out of the proposal to tax the realtors shows that it buckled under the pressure of the land mafia and it actually works in the interest of land mafia.

"The government law on the subject does not empower the judiciary at the investigation stage that was proposed by the opposition. Under the government scheme the investigation is entrusted to the police SHO and not to the judiciary.

"The government bill that was bulldozed in the Parliament at best addressed the issue of individual land grabbers using force to grab land.

"It fails to address the more fundamental issue of grabbing lands by state institutions.

"There are state institutions that not only deploy the force of guns but also manipulate law making to institutionalise land grabbing. It is this land grabbing that needs to be addressed rather than the individual land mafia".

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto addressed on 52nd Birthday Party
Organized by K. B. Bhutto
Report by Saleem Soomro


Pakistan People’s Party California celebrated Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s 52nd birthday in San Pablo, California near San Francisco. Hundreds of people from different parts of northern California participated in the event.


Saleem Soomro formally started the event by inviting office bearers to the stage. Talawat-e-Quran Pak was recited by Mr. Zahid Saif, and then every body prayed for long life of our great leader.

Mr. Hashim Jaffery President PPP City of Los Angeles thanked Mr. KB Bhutto to provide us such wonderful opportunity to get together and have political activities, so that our kids of new generation who are born and raised in USA who other wise would not know about the great leaders of Pakistan like Zulifqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.

Mr. Zahid Saif said we should do our best to make Pakistan People’s Party stronger.  Advocate Chaudhary Akram said current government of Pakistan is busy with all kinds of destructive activities, innocent people and prominent leaders are very unsafe in Pakistan. He said the father of Pakistan Nuclear Power Dr. Qadeer Khan is sick and admitted in Combined Military Hospital Rawalpindi. And also people of Pakistan and press should be allowed to get update on his health.

Mrs. Sabira Farooq said the next prime minister of Pakistan is Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. InshaAllah the day is not far away when she is going to return her home land and fortunate people of Pakistan will get true democrat leader.

In the end Mr. KB Bhutto President Pakistan People’s Party California started his speech with a slogan “ Long live Benazir Long Live Benazir” he said how fortunate we are that we have privilege to celebrate Mohtarma’s 52nd birthday . Mohtarma wish you happy birth day. He said on TV general Parvez Musharaf said his words about father’s day event, following that a poor girl and her father were interviewed. They had no idea what the father’s day is, poor girl said “ we do not have enough money to buy school bags” Mr. KB Bhutto further said current government does not represent poor, and is not pro development, pro education, and there is no justice. InshaAllah Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto will become prime minister of Pakistan. There will be a dawn of democracy very soon. “ “Noor-e- Haq Shama-e- Illahee Ko Bujha Sakta Hay Kon.

Jis Ka Haami Ho Khuda Use Mita Sakta Hay Kon”

Mrs. Najma Bhutto finally announced the most important part of this event she said Mohtarma Benazir is going to address the nation. Mohtarma’s speech was sent to Mr. KB Bhutto earlier. Mohtarma’s speech was played following by Pakistan’s national anthem. Every body stood up while the national anthem was played. Every listened to Mohtarma’s speech with high affinity.

Cutting the cake ceremony was performed finally in two segments, men and women did cut the cake separately.

A delicious dinner was served finally. Every body appreciated Mr. KB Bhutto’s services.

Mohtarma Bhutto felicitates new Iranian President


Islamabad June 27, 2005: Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has congratulated Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his election as the President of Iran. She expressed the hope that traditional ties of friendship between Pakistan and Iran will further grow under the new dispensation in Iran.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected President of Iran after run off polls on Friday last between former President Rafsanjani and the former mayor of Tehran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who had secured first and second place in the Presidential elections.

In a message of felicitation the former Prime Minister said that the smooth elections in Iran were a good omen for democracy in Iran and especially for the young people who make up the majority of the population.

She said that the change in Iran through a democratic electoral process held lessons for many countries and many people.

"For the people of Pakistan, the Iranian Presidential election has highlighted the contrast in Islamabad. In Iran the President was elected whereas in Pakistan this was not so" said the former Prime Minister recalling the fraudulent referendum and controversial vote of confidence for General Musharaf.

Mohtarma Bhutto said she welcomed the announcement of President-elect Iran asserting that his government would follow the policies of 'peace and moderation'. She said that the statement 'no extremism will be acceptable in popular government' would be particularly welcomed by all peace loving people and democrats throughout the world.

"On behalf of the Pakistan Peoples Party, the people of Pakistan and my self, I extend to you our warmest felicitations on your election as the President of Iran. We pray for the peace, progress and prosperity of our Iranian brothers and sisters under your leadership", she said.

She also expressed the hope that the traditional and historical ties between the governments and people of the two countries will grow from strength to strength during the Presidency of Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mohtarma Bhutto condemns victimisation of Nadeem Asghar Kaira and other political opponents


Islamabad June 27, 2005:
Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has strongly condemned the new wave of repression let loose by the rulers against political opponents the latest victim of which has been Nadeem Asghar Kaira Nazim Tehsil Council Kharian and brother of PPP MNA Qamar Zaman Kaira.

Nadeem Asghar Kaira was first sent to jail merely on the basis of disputed audit reports without any trial. When the audit reports were cleared by the Assembly Nadeem Kaira was re-arrested on false charges of possessing liquor.

The latest round of victimisation started when Nadeem Kaira and his family decided to provide transport facilities to the Party workers who wanted to welcome Senator Asif Zardari on return from Dubai on April 16. The fleet of transport belonging to his family has since been impounded and the transport offices and addas sealed by the police to punish the family and the people for according welcome to their leader.

In a statement today the former Prime Minister said that the wave of repression had been let loose because the Party had taken the principled position and refused to succumb to the dictatorial demands of the military dictatorship. These demands include that Mohtarma abdicate Party leadership, accept the 17th Constitutional Amendment and stay in exile even after the next general elections.

She said that victimisation of Nadeem Asghar Kaira in the wake of brutalisation recently of Sindh MPA Zahid Bhurguri, denial of hospital facility to Peer Mukarram against doctor's advice and the arrest and detention of Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi and Bismillah Kakar were all aimed at forcing the Party to agree to the rulers' agenda to turn Pakistan into a garrison state.

She said that the massive violation of human rights of political opponents by the regime had only demeaned the rulers and exposed the hollowness of their tall claims of moderation, and enlightenment. The junta trampled basic rights of its own people under the heavy boots while it licked the boots of others to keep itself in power.

The PPP cannot, indeed will not, agree to the undemocratic agenda of the military dictatorship, she said.

She asked the people to get united to face forces of tyranny. "Tyranny can not last before the might of the people", she said.

Mohtarma Bhutto condoles the deaths of Malik Younus Ali Turi and Zaffarullah Cheema


Islamabad, 26 June 2005: Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has condoled the death of Malik Youuns Ali Turi who passed away the other day.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in a condolence message addressed to Naqeeb Hussain son of Malik Younus Ali Turi wrote, "Senator Asif Ali Zardari and I are writing to condole the sad demise of your father Malik Younus Ali Turi. The loss of a parent is a great tragedy. Our sympathies are with you at this difficult time. Malik Younus Turi will be long remembered for his services for the cause of Pakistan Peoples Party by the leadership and workers of the Party."

She also prayed to Almighty Allah for eternal peace to the departed soul and courage to the family members to bear this irreparable loss with equanimity.

In a separate condolence letter Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto condoled with Shah Nawaz Cheema on his elder brother Zaffarullah Cheema’s death after a prolong illness recently. She also prayed to Allah to grant eternal peace to the departed soul and strength to the family and friends to bear this irreparable loss with equanimity.

Mohtarma Bhutto debunks widening gap between rich and poor
Asks people to unite against the tyranny of military dictatorshi
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Islamabad, 26 June 2005: Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has said that the country was facing a serious economic crisis but unfortunately the military regime was too busy taking free trips overseas to notice the poverty and unemployment which was destroying the lives of the majority of the people.

In a statement today say said that that the imported Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz besided being an imported and unrepresentative figure who could not win a union council seat without the support of the establishment, had created a false image of prosperity through public relations skills.

"This false image was an attempt to hide the ugly reality of abysmal poverty and continued rise in rate of economic suicides, people who were killing themselves because they could not eat". The PPP, as a party of the people, was alleviating poverty and providing jobs when power hungry people who did not care for the national interest toppled it, she said.

The former Prime Minister said that the Islamic values of humanism and equality were being ignored by a regime that had grown rich and was concerned only about the rich while the poor and the working classes were suffering.

The Musharraf-Aziz combine was more concerned about fabricating cases against opponents than governing. She said that the injustice meted out to Mai Mukhtaran was an example of how those who spoke the truth or tried to change society for the better were treated.

The PPP Chairperson noted that the situation was worse than in 1970 when the PPP first swept to power in a landslide win. She recalled that in 1970, top 20 % of Pakistanis accounted for 40 percent of national income while the lowest 20 percent held only 8 percent. Now the top 20 percent own 42% while the lowest 20% still have around 8% of the national income. Obviously, the increase in the income of the richest 20 percent has been at the expense of the middle 60%.

She said that on Saturday June 25, the press reported that several people committed suicide. She said she was pained to read this figure even as money was pouring into Pakistan from external sources due to the war against terror.

According to press reports, "Muhammad Shaaban, a 25-year old, committed suicide by drinking bleaching liquid. His mother, a widow, told reporters Muhammad had come home to find no food in the house. Frustrated by his inability to find a job and provide for his family, he drank bleaching liquid" and died. He was one of several who killed themselves only in one district, Multan, over the unemployment rates.

The former Prime Minister said that in a PPP government such criminal negligence could never take place. She said that she had refused to accept dictatorship because she wanted the people of the country to prosper. The suicides showed that dictatorship and suffering go together and democracy and development go together.

She called upon the people of Pakistan to unite because through unity came change. Mohtarma Bhutto said that irrespective whether one was a government employee or a private citizen, it was the duty of their conscience not to accept the harsh reality that millions of Pakistani citizens were facing under the six-year tyranny of a military dictatorship which was exploiting the international situation to keep itself in power.

Mohtarma Bhutto condemns brutalisation of political opponents
Ask rulers to fear God


Islamabad June 25, 2005: Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has condemned the continued victimization and brutalisation of PPP workers by the regime to avenge the party's refusal to accept the dictatorial agenda and anti people policy of the rulers.

The latest incident of torture on political opponents was witnessed on Thursday last when Peer Mukarram the jailed spouse of PPP MPA Farzana Raja was forcibly thrown out of hospital in Islamabad and taken to Rawalpindi jail.

Peer Mukarram, a diabetic and suffering from multiple diseases has been admitted to hospital on doctors' advice. Following the Opposition criticism of Punjab chief minister during the budget debate by the PPP MPs Peer Mukarram was made to pay the price. He was forcibly discharged from the hospital and taken to Adiyala Jail.

Peer Mukarram's wife and PPP MPA Farzana Raja has been one of the more vocal opponents of CM Punjab. She has alleged that the provincial chief minister was taking personal interest in the victimization of Peer Mukarram. Raja Basharat Law Minister threatened her on the floor of the house to make an example out of her for making allegation of corruption, she has said.

In a statement today the former Prime Minister while condemning the incident said that it was the latest in the series which has seen the brutalisation recently of MPs Zahid Bhurguri, Nafeesa Raja, Humera Alwani and the arrest and detention of Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Bismillah Kakar and others on political grounds.

She said that the brutal manner in which Peer Mukarram was thrown out of hospital was a violation of his fundamental human rights as well as of international and local laws. She said that by trampling on fundamental human rights the regime was demeaning itself and showing how intolerant, immoderate and unenlightened it is. Mohtarma said that the country needed a democratic government which treated the citizens of the country with respect. Instead the present regime was treating citizens with contempt while butter polishing outside powers by false claims of moderation.

The former Prime Minister said despite this pressure, the PPP was determined to stand by the people for the principles of Quaid e Azam for which Quaid e Awam gave his life. Mohtarma said that history is replete with examples of tyrants who fell from power. She called upon the people of the country to unite in ending military dictatorship and restoring democracy and peoples power.

June 25 National Newspapers Articles Summary


Ayaz Amir writes in daily Khabrein that we can be so dumb, at the highest levels of government too, that it is not even funny. Imagine someone going into crouching position and ramming his head into a brick wall and then, head all bandaged, saying life is unfair. Or someone diving superman-style to clutch an arrow flying through the air meters away, and sticking it into his own back.

He says in the Mukhtaran Mai case the generalissimo’s government of "enlightened moderation" has done precisely this, ramming into a brick wall, making a complete ass of itself, and in the process spreading the impression around the world that a woman who is raped in Pakistan stands the additional risk of having her passport confiscated. In terms of sheer silliness, it’s hard to beat this.

He says of course, rapes happen everywhere, certainly more in the United States than in Pakistan (all the statistics vouching for this statement). But is that the issue here? Rapes happen but they are usually not sanctioned by village councils which is what happened with Mukhtaran Mai and which is the single most important factor which has lent her case international publicity.

He says this and the added factor of police incompetence. Mukhtaran’s case having hit international headlines, shouldn’t the Multan police — shaking off the lethargy, corruption and sheer incompetence which are the staples of police work in Pakistan — have shown extra care in investigating it and making the prosecution case stick? Apparently, however, large enough holes were left for an elephant to walk through. Little wonder if the high court threw the case out and acquitted the prisoners.

He says this may have been strictly in accordance with the tenets of justice — a court handing out a verdict on the basis of the evidence before it. But what does it do for Pakistan’s image? Well, from here to Topeka, Kansas, the impression spreads that in Pakistan you can subject a woman to collective rape and then walk away free.

He says Pakistan’s blessed image gets another ducking in dirty water.

He says considering that all this is happening in Punjab, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi’s bailiwick, you wonder what Pakistan’s leading advertizing genius is up to. He’s a great one for ads — at public expense, naturally — singing his praises and extolling his largely fictional achievements, but has he thought fit to ask his chief secretary, the inspector-general of the Punjab police, the district police officer, Multan, why such a mess has been made of Mukhtaran Mai’s case?

He says Asif Zardari thinks of arriving in Lahore and all hell breaks loose.

Mai’s case does wonders for Pakistan’s international standing once, twice and then once again, but Punjab’s chief minister remains unfazed.

He says one would think this was enough. But, no, who should step into the breach but the generalissimo himself? Some do-good NGO invites Mukhtaran to the US and someone in government has an apoplectic fit. As Mukhtaran was sure to give Pakistan bad publicity, she shouldn’t be allowed to go to the US. The government goes into overdrive, virtually arresting Mukhtaran, confiscating her passport, putting her name on the Exit Control List.

He says as anyone but the government of Pakistan might have guessed, the dirt hits the ceiling. The New York Times pummels Pakistan editorially. The State Department says it will look into the matter. Columns are written, e-mails sent. As outrage spreads and He says Pakistan becomes a laughing stock, from overdrive the government jumps to damage-control mode. What is its idea of damage-control? Parading Mai on television in the company of prime ministerial adviser, Neelofar Bakhtiyar.

He says doing all the talking and fielding all the questions, Bakhtiyar says Mukhtaran is not going to the US of her own free will and because her mother is ill. Obviously, the government of Pakistan thinks that everyone else is as dumb as itself.

He says trying to be charitable, you think some over-zealous official must be responsible for this fiasco. But, no, the generalissimo on one of his frequent flyer programmes — at the rate he is going, he is sure to clock up more air travel time than anyone else in history — declares that it was he who ordered the ban on Mai’s going abroad. For good measure, he denounces NGOs for working against the country’s interests.

He says a hundred speeches on "enlightened moderation" — the phrase in danger of sticking in Pakistani gullets — and this one declaration takes care of all of them. And the general likes to think that he is an image expert. Mukhtaran going to the US: so bloody what? Taken around Capitol Hill, so what? A confident nation would never worry.

He says as for NGOs, it is true most are foreign-funded. As a result some of Pakistan’s best and brightest earn a good living from the NGO trade. (Perhaps I would too if given half the opportunity). Their agendas, more often than not, are foreign-driven. The old story: he who pays the piper calls the tune.

But why is it that Gen Musharraf is discovering the ills of the NGO sector only now? He has been in power for almost six years, the time it took to start and finish the Second World War. He should have done something about it long ago.

He says the luxury of whining is for those without power and influence. It sits ill on the powerful who can fix problems if they choose to. So let’s hear no more about NGOs unless someone is willing to do something about them.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto condoles the death of Nabi Bux Khoso


Islamabad, 24 June 2005: Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has condoled the death of former member National Assembly Nabi Bux Khoso.

In a condolence message addressed to the cousin of Nabi Bux Khoso, Munawar Khoso, she wrote, "Senator Asif Ali Zardari and I are writing to condole the sad demise of your Cousin Mr Nabi Bux Khoso. The loss of a near relative is a great tragedy. Our sympathies are with you at this difficult time."

Paying tribute to the services of Nabi Bux Khoso, she wrote, "Mr Nabi Bux Khoso was a successful leader of Pakistan Peoples Party in Dera Murad Jamali and had successes during elections for the National Assembly. He worked hard for the Party in the area and his services will be long remembered by the leadership of the Party."

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto prayed to Almighty Allah for eternal peace to the deported soul and courage to the family to bear this irreparable loss with equanimity.

PPPP Condemns the Government’s Treatment and Cover-up of Mukhtara Mai’s Plight as Shameful
 

Islamabad, 24 June 2005: Sherry Rehman, MNA and Chairman Central Policy Planning Pakistan Peoples Party in a statement today said that the Mukhtaran Mai episode has exposed General Musharraf and his coterie of advisors as an insecure and unprincipled military junta that perpetuates its absolute hold on state power at the cost of innocent, underpriviliged citizens . On the one hand, we have General Musharraf jet-setting from one global capital to another to ostensibly peddle Pakistan’s ‘soft image’ abroad. On the other hand, we have a woman who has the courage to speak out about the injustice done to her by feudal jirgas, yet she is being prevented from going abroad on the invitation of a Pakistani doctors’ forum.

She said that it is a sad indictment of the government’s double-dealing that foreign powers had to intervene to get Mukhtaran off the Exit Control List. But even today she is being coerced by government officials and ‘ moderate’ women ministers to say that she is free to go abroad while they keep her strictly under their surveillance and physical control.

Sherry Rehman said that instead of turning its attention to curbing injustices done to women in society, the government is focusing its energies in sloppy spin-doctoring about Pakistani NGOs and the utility of sweeping such episodes under the rug. General Musharraf himself admitted to the instructions he gave preventing Mukhtaran’s foreign travel or free movement. What he does not realize is that the quantum and quality of official lies has become more of an embarrassment than anything that Mukhtaran would have said at a private citizens’ forum anywhere in the world.

She said that it is even more unfortunate that when a large number of NGOs do get together to do their job of promoting the fundamental human rights of all citizens including women and minorities, they are condemned and tarred with one brush by the ruling establishment which does nothing for women except hold seminars for the international community about its so-called commitment to women and human rights. The governments’ recent treatment of Mukhtar Mai has revealed its true colours of a policy-less regime which spends billions of state money on propagandizing tall claims of promoting women’s rights, while on the ground, it colludes with right-wing forces who seek to push women out of the public mainstream. To equate a citizen’s right to talk about the injustice done to her to ‘washing dirty linen in public’ amounts to saying that it is better if all such crimes go unreported. This is not just shocking and unconscionable, but impossible in this age of global channels and communication.

The Pakistan Peoples Party condemns this shameful travesty of justice done by the government in the name of enlightened moderation. It urges all stakeholders to unite against such open violations of human rights entitlements. To pretend that Mukhtaran is not a symbol of courage and resistance for Pakistani women is tantamount to turning away from a history of commitments made by the state to its oppressed underclass.

She said that it is high time we reject all policies that depend on covering-up a festering wound and concentrate our energies on healing the injury. Pakistani women are not lesser mortals or citizens with half rights. They deserve a better deal than the one being given to them today by this anti-democratic and blatantly hypocritical military government.

"It is bad enough that this government has kept none of its promises to women and minorities. It should at least not add insult to injury by forcing a brave victim to keep quite about her search for justice or her fears. In silencing Mukhtaran the government is not just silencing one woman. It is degrading the status of all women in Pakistan", she concluded.

Sacking of Famous Poet Ahmed Faraz Slurs Pakistan's Image
By Shaheen Sehbai


WASHINGTON, June 25: Pakistan’s most widely known and internationally respected living Urdu poetry legend, the fearless and outspoken Ahmed Faraz, has been unceremoniously and summarily dismissed from Government service by General Pervez Musharraf, in what one of his friends described as “a gang rape a la Mukhtaran Mai.”


Faraz, the 73-year old rebel, who has been variously described as the most important Urdu poet of the subcontinent, a political activist and a romanticist, was working for many years as the Chairman of the Pakistan National Book Foundation with its headquarters in Islamabad.

Asked to confirm what had happened, Faraz told his story to me on the telephone on Friday and described the situation in one Urdu couplet: "Kon Takoun Main Raha, Kon Sar-e-Rah Guzaar"; "Shehr Kay Saaray Charaghon Ko Hawa Jaanti Hay." (Who was resting on shelves and who was out lighting the Streets; The Winds recognize every flame in the City.)

He agreed that the action had been taken at the behest of some ambitious people who wanted his job and these people had used the political clout of Karachi’s ethnic group to oust him. But he would fight it out and continue to write poetry and visit friends and admirers outside Pakistan. Faraz said he had plans to go to Iran and the United States in the near future.

He becomes the latest victim of the Enlightened Moderation of the General partly because he has been speaking out truthfully on the media against the army rule and partly because General Musharraf’s Urdu-speaking allies, the MQM of Altaf Hussain, wanted a Mohajir to head the Book Foundation.

Faraz by birth is a Pathan, born in Nowshera near Peshawar and having lived and grown up in NWFP. Immediately after his sacking, an Urdu-speaking official was given the charge of the Book Foundation and he was specially recognized at a political rally addressed by Altaf Hussain in Karachi.

But Faraz's services to Urdu language have no parallel, making him a living legend and an icon for being an upright fearless character who would stand up to even the most ruthless dictator.

In a recent interview on ARY TV Channel, Faraz was asked to describe how he saw the State of the Pakistani Union. His brief response was: “When Pakistan was born, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah headed the Pakistan Muslim League. Now the same party is headed by Choudhry Shujaat Hussain. That’s where we stand.”

Altaf Hussain’s MQM has been after Faraz for many years as the party believes that the job of Chairman of the Book Foundation must go to an Urdu-speaking person. The party does not consider Ahmed Faraz as someone who has promoted and served Urdu as a language.

Two years ago, the MQM which had joined the military government as a political ally, used its influence to throw Faraz out of the job and out of his house as well. MQM's Minister for Housing, Safwanullah tried to vacate the house where Faraz lives, three times in the last two years. His household stuff was once thrown out of his house. It was only after General Musharraf, who had by then not yet adopted his Enlightened Moderation, intervened and stopped Faraz from becoming jobless and homeless.

Two days ago the MQM again got its chance when a PPP member of Parliament raised an irrelevant point in the National Assembly complaining that Ahmed Faraz had refused to provide official transport of the Book Foundation to carry the dead body of the son of one of the Foundation’s employees, a Sindhi, allegedly murdered by activists of Karachi’s dominant ethnic group, from Islamabad to Larkana. Faraz declined saying none of the official vehicles was in a position to make the journey.

The complaint was instantly withdrawn by the PPP MP but the MQM members of the cabinet raised hell with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz demanding that Ahmed Faraz be sacked. “It was like ordering a gang rape for someone else’s fault, just like the case of Mukhtaran Mai,” a friend of Faraz said. "Shaukat Aziz and General Musharraf could not stand up to the blackmail of MQM this time and agreed to make Ahmed Faraz a political scapegoat."

The Secretary of Education of the Pakistan Government summoned Faraz to his office and asked him either to resign or get fired. He preferred to be sacked and is now waiting for the MQM activists to come and vacate his official residence in Islamabad.

Faraz has been an agitational poet par excellence whose poetry is marked by sweetness and lyricism with a quality of grace, a tremulous sensitivity, an ineffable beauty about human relationships that has timeless appeal.

The creator of some of the most popular verses, both political and literary, Faraz has always been an activist for democracy and rule of law and was even jailed by the authoritarian Pakistani rulers. He was in exile during the dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq in the 80s and has been a sharp critic of military rule of General Musharraf.

But his international stature and his recognition round the world as the greatest poet after Faiz Ahmed Faiz protected him from being persecuted.

He is widely traveled and late last year when he visited New Delhi, the popular web site Rediff.com interviewed him and compared him to Allama Mohammad Iqbal and Faiz Ahmed Faiz, the greatest Urdu poets of the last century. “Faraz is a writer who has fearlessly opposed tradition, tyranny and military rule in his country,” it said.

For Faraz adversity is nothing new and neither is romance. "Mera mijaz shuru se hi Aashiqana tha. (I was romantic from the very beginning)," he told Rediff.com last year, explaining how he started writing poetry. “At school, there was a girl in my class who was my friend. My parents asked me to learn mathematics from her during the summer vacation. I was weak in mathematics and geography. I still don't remember maps and roads."

"But maths took the back seat when the girl asked me to compete in bait-bazi with her." Bait-bazi is a game in which one person recites a couplet and the other one recites another couplet starting with the last letter of the previous couplet.

"She was very good at it. So I started memorizing hundreds of couplets for her," he recalled smiling at the memory. "But I always lost. So I started manufacturing my own couplets, and she couldn't catch me."

His poems, like those of Faiz and Sahir Ludhianvi, are equally popular with common readers and scholars. Full of remorse and anguish, most of them have social and political themes. He firmly believes in the philosophy of the progressive movement and is hopeful of history repeating itself.

Faraz also spoke about his political philosophy to Rediff.com. "The USSR has failed, but the philosophy is still the same. And it will emerge sooner or later. It is not a religion that it will die. It can be amended and with corrections and lessons from the past, it will come up again."

As for America, "It (the US) is promoting terrorism across the globe. I even said this in America. They are pushing humanity towards destruction."

What about the India-Pakistan relationship? "People are trying to promote peace. But after reading the newspapers and looking at violent incidents and statements made by the leadership of both countries I am not very optimistic," he says. "Ordinary people want to live together. I don't know what the politicians want."

He has led several peace delegations to India, but he expressed helplessness at the state of affairs. "We are poets. What can we do? It is difficult for us to manage our homes. How can we save a country?"

But today the famous poet Ahmed Faraz could not save his own job in his own country. Nations take pride in people like him and present them to the world as their sign of greatness and achievement. In Pakistan, self-interest and petty politics kills its own legends.

And those who are presiding over this day light murder claim to improve the image of Pakistan in the world. The New York Times calls them nuts and that is what they are.

PPP slams corruption in district governments
Raja Pervez Ashraf says sham of accountability exposed


Islamabad June 24, 2005: Pakistan Peoples Party has expressed grave concern over the reports that of massive frauds, embezzlements, bogus payments and other financial irregularities detected in several district governments of Punjab and Frontier.

The Auditor General of Pakistan has detected financial fraud to the extent of 5 billion rupees in 34 district governments of Punjab and eight of Frontier province during the course of audit for the year 2002-2003.

Dera Ghazi Khan the home district of r former President Farooq Leghari, Attock, Mianwali, Sheikhupura, Rawalpindi and Jhang are some of the districts in Punjab where corruptions level was found to be very high.

In the Frontier province Dera Ismail Khan, Sawabi, Karak Haripur and Batagram districts were found to be reeking with corruption and financial mismanagement, according to the audit report.

In a statement today Raja Pervez Ashraf Secretary General of the PPP Parliamentarian and deputy leader of the Parliamentary Party in the National Assembly said that corruption had increased during the military regime of General Musharraf.

"Corruption had not only increased but corruption charges are being pursued only against the regime’s political opponents, claims of across the board accountability notwithstanding", Raja Pervez said.

He said that barely a week ago former Chairman NAB disclosed in a press interview that judges and journalists were exempted from accountability on his personal decision. Gen Amjad also disclosed that before he left NAB in 2001 he was investigating six high ranking military officers on various charges. Those cases of corruption have since been shelved and no one knows what happened to them.

The former NAB chief has refused to divulge the names of corrupt senior officers of the military against whom he claims to have initiated cases of corruption.

The real corrupt ones were being protected by the state and blackmailed into joining the cabinet whereas those who were innocent were being maligned to break their spirit and their will to oppose dictatorship and fascism, Raja Pervez Ashraf said.

Raja Pervez Ashraf said that he would not be surprised if the mayors of district governments accused of corruption in the audit reports are spared the rod of accountability in return for agreeing to carry out regime’s agenda to turn Pakistan into a garrison state.

Al Qaeda camp in Pakistan?
By Arnaud de


No sooner did the FBI arrest two Pakistanis, father and son, in Lodi (Calif.), and allege the son, Hamid Hayat, 22, was trained at an al Qaeda terrorist training camp near Rawalpindi, Pakistan, than the military regime went into deep denial. How could Osama bin Laden's terrorists operate a training facility near the army's principal garrison town where President Pervez Musharraf has his principal residence at Army House? The very idea was too ridiculous to be taken seriously.

Think again. Hamid told the FBI his father had paid for his trip back to Pakistan and his training at a jihadi facility called Tamal in Rawalpindi run by Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

It so happens there is just such a jihadi training facility known as Dhamial within the sprawling army city, 20 minutes from Islamabad, the capital. But it isn't run by firebrand Fazlur Rehman, one of two chairmen of Mutahhida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), the coalition of six Islamist politico-religious parties that emerged from the last elections as the third-largest group in Pakistan's National Assembly (and governs two of Pakistan's four provinces). The top honcho at Dhamial (which the FBI phonetically juxtaposed to Tamal) is another jihadi extremist, Fazlur Rehman Khalil.

Dhamial has trained hundreds of youngsters to become good jihadis. But Mr. Musharraf has had to develop a Jekyll and Hyde personality that distinguishes between what the U.S. considers terrorists and what Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency considers patriotic jihadis, holy warriors that backed Taliban rule in Afghanistan before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the liberation of Indian-held Kashmir.

Mr. Musharraf is committed to eradicating al Qaeda and is convinced he speaks the truth when he assures his American allies there is no terrorist training camp in Pakistan. But if he were serious about eliminating militancy that is borderline terrorism, he would have ordered Dhamial closed. Instead, it has been allowed to train jihadis with impunity, both before and since September 11. Thus, deep denial became policy.

One knowledgeable Pakistani who is familiar with Mr. Musharraf's split personality that speaks one language to U.S. interlocutors and another to MMA chieftains is Husain Haqqani, associate professor of international relations at Boston University. Mr. Haqqani served in a wide variety of key posts in his native Pakistan that included ISI, ambassador to Sri Lanka, and advisor to Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, two former prime ministers and Pakistan's principal democratic leaders, in exile abroad and banned by Mr. Musharraf from returning.

In his latest book, "Pakistan Between Mosque and Military" (Carnegie 2005), Mr. Haqqani says, the military regime's priority appears to be to suppress or deny bad news rather than change the circumstances that give rise to it.

Rehman Khalil, Mr. Haqqani reminds us, was one of the signatories of Osama bin Laden's 1998 fatwa against the United States and all Americans, and was reported to be in the Afghan camp President Clinton ordered hit by U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles in 1998. Following the terrorist attacks on America of September 11, 2001, and Mr. Musharraf's decision to answer affirmatively President Bush's are-you-with-me-or-against-me phone call, Rehman Khalil's Harkat-ul-Mujahideen organization was banned. He quickly popped up again as the leader of the equally extremist Jamiat-ul-Ansar.

Bugged by U.S. questions about the wisdom of letting Khalil run free, Mr. Musharraf finally ordered him arrested in March 2004 -- only to have him surface again seven months later a free man. When news broke of the FBI arrests in Lodi (where 2,500 of the town's 62,000 residents are Pakistanis and Pakistani Americans), Khalil slipped underground and the authorities said they couldn't find him.

As Mr. Haqqani points out, the same government that kept Benazir Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari in prison for eight years without a conviction has never found sufficient grounds for detaining all manner of jihadi-preaching extremists.

Nor can Mr. Musharraf accede to repeated U.S. requests for direct access to Abdul Khader Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and the Don Corleone of a nuclear black market that sold America's enemies -- North Korea, Iran and Libya -- the wherewithal to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Suspicion is growing in U.S. intelligence circles that those protecting A.Q. Khan wish to keep open the option of a lucrative nuclear black market for future years. Pakistan's national hero acquiescing to CIA interrogation would most probably trigger widespread riots in the country's major cities.

Abu Ghraib prison pictures, the Newsweek story about Korans flushed down the toilet, Amnesty International's preposterous and insidious comparison of Guantanamo to the Soviet forced labor concentration camps, and the anti-U.S. insurgency in Iraq, all have been force multipliers for venting anti-U.S. feelings in Pakistan and in the rest of the Muslim world.

Pity poor Karen Hughes who as the Bush administration's image-improvement czarina has to swim against a rip tide -- without any salmonlike attributes.

This same powerful current keeps Mr. Musharraf from cracking down on Taliban's Pakistani support group. "Pakistani authorities cannot eliminate the international terrorist network or the sectarian militias without decapitating the domestic jihadis groups," writes Mr. Haqqani. What the FBI did in California, President Musharraf cannot do in his own country.

Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International.

Mai Demolishes Musharraf as US Policy Changes under Condi Rice


By Jim Hoagland


WASHINGTON, June 24: A straw breaking the camel's back, a pebble triggering the avalanche, a drop causing the cup to overflow: Choose your own image for Mukhtar Mai and the troubles she creates for her country's frightened and duplicitous leadership. If there is justice, any of those images will fit.


Mai is the courageous Pakistani woman who has refused to be silenced after being gang-raped as a tribal "punishment." She has also refused to knuckle under to the unconscionable shut-up-or-else treatment inflicted on her by President Pervez Musharraf's government.

By standing up and getting her story noticed at this particular moment, Mai may have dealt a crippling blow to the credibility of Musharraf, who has buffaloed the Bush administration into deluging him with fulsome praise, money and arms in return for Pakistan's incomplete help in fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The sordid details of the campaign to break Mai's will are emerging at a moment of strategic change in South Asia. The Bush administration is greatly expanding the bet it initially put down on India, while beginning to hedge its investment in Islamabad's military-dominated regime. The effect is to free US relations with India from decades of "tilt" toward Pakistan.

So the ears of Bush officials are more open to hearing about the limitations of Pakistan as an ally. It may also count that Musharraf no longer deals with a fellow career military officer, retired Gen. Colin Powell, as US secretary of state. Instead, Condoleezza Rice, a woman sensitive to the humiliations and personal destruction aimed at Mai, who is in her early thirties, now runs US diplomacy.

In this easily understood case, Musharraf's eagerness to cover up the reprehensible behavior of other officials cannot be escaped or glossed over, even in Washington.

President Bush has decided not to call Musharraf on his fairy tales about Pakistan's reckless nuclear proliferation being the work of one man -- scientist AQ Khan -- or to press the general publicly on Pakistan's support for terrorism in Kashmir or its manifest unwillingness to do everything it can to capture Osama bin Laden and his Taliban allies.

What Bush would not do in those cases, Mai has done in hers. She has spoken truth to power and let the consequences fall where they may. Aided by Pakistani reformers in her village and abroad, she has challenged the inhuman conventions of her country's misogynist rural society, forcing Musharraf to take sides. To his eternal shame, he backed the primitive conventions instead of her.

In June 2002 Mai -- whose name is rendered Mukhtaran Bibi in the outstanding, detailed opinion columns on this case by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times -- was raped by four men. They had been given license to assault her sexually by a tribal council charged with retaliating against an alleged social infraction by her brother. In the normal course of things, Mai would have been murdered by her family as a matter of "honor" or expected to commit suicide.

Instead she went to court and secured the conviction of her rapists. They were briefly imprisoned, then freed after Mai accepted an invitation to speak in the United States this month. When this intimidation did not work, the central government put Mai on a restricted travel list and confiscated her passport.

Musharraf acknowledged his involvement in blocking the trip to reporters on Friday, two days after the Pakistani Embassy in Washington implausibly denied that and much more. Rice authorized a tough scolding of Pakistan by the State Department's spokesman, and other officials finally began to speak critically of Pakistan's tolerating al Qaeda's presence in its border regions with Afghanistan.

These are signs that the State Department is breaking out of an old pattern. It no longer holds US policy in South Asia hostage to the Indo-Pakistani confrontation and a perceived need to cater to Islamabad. The Bush administration seeks a strategic partnership with India independent of what the United States does or does not do with Pakistan.

Pakistan is the ultimate hard case for US strategy: As a persistent critic of the Bush team's hype about Musharraf and of the general's own shortcomings, I have to acknowledge that the Pakistani leader is less corrupt and more courageous than the weak civilian governments that preceded him, including the one that forced him to take power in 1999 to save his own life.

And Musharraf does put limits on the extremists who control Pakistan's malignant intelligence services. A new and revealing-if-true account of Pakistan's active role in jihadist terrorism is contained in an interview with former intelligence officer Khalid Khawaja that is posted on the Asian Times Online site. But one Pakistani woman has shown that, like all autocrats, the general needs to be constantly monitored and challenged, not conspired with and consoled with rewards. Getting Pakistan to face and change its own grim reality should be an urgent American priority.

The writer is a well known columnist for the Washington Post. This column appeared on June 23, 2005 when a demonstration was held in front of the Pakistan Embassy to support Mukhtaran Mai. Email: jimhoagland@washpost.com

Rice Snubs Musharraf Over Mukhtar Mai Episode

By M T Butt


ISLAMABAD, June 23: In one of the most humiliating snubs to the hot-headed Pakistani General Pervez Musharraf, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has personally intervened to ensure that Musharraf makes his latest U-Turn, this time on the popular issue of allowing gang rape victim Mukhtaran Mai to visit the US.

Musharraf had just recently claimed during his Australian tour that he himself had stopped Mai from leaving Pakistan because he could not allow any one to damage Pakistan’s image abroad. Mai, he said, was going to bad mouth Pakistan, pushed by western NGOs, which he had equated with terrorist organizations.

“That was the most undiplomatic and most ill considered statement Musharraf had made as what he actually did was damage Pakistan’s image many times more than what Mai could have done,” a Foreign Office source told the South Asia Tribune. “But Musharraf speaks without thinking and now it has become a trend that he shoots from the hip whenever he gets trapped into a corner. That damages Pakistan.”

Secretary Rice’s intervention has come in such a forceful manner that Musharraf and his officials are now looking for excuses and cover under any fig leaf as they have been made to eat humble pie with the entire world shocked watching their stupidity.

“Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice secured a personal pledge from Pakistan that gang rape victim Mukhtaran Mai will be allowed to visit the United States,” US officials said on Tuesday. Rice's personal intervention came after The New York Times reported that the Pakistani Government still had Mukhtaran’s passport, despite lifting a ban on her traveling last week.

Unnerved Pakistani officials were embarrassingly claiming there had been no US pressure in the case of Mukhtaran, something which adds insult to injury and reflects the stark helplessness of the Pakistani junta when faced with pressure from Washington.

This Pakistani lie was nailed instantly by State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli, who said on Tuesday the issue was raised last Thursday by Rice, in a telephone call with Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri.

"Secretary Rice made it clear that the Mai was welcome to come to the United States at any time and that we were looking to the Government of Pakistan to ensure that she was free to travel whenever she wanted," he said.

"The Government of Pakistan has committed itself to that and therefore it is our expectation that should the Mai want to travel, to come to the United States, there will be no obstacles presented to her to do so," Ereli said.

Mukhtaran’s case arose again on Tuesday when New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote his second op-ed in a week on the subject, stating that initially he may have been wrong by calling Musharraf “nuts” but when the Pakistani General admitted that he personally stopped Mai from going abroad, the General had proved that he actually had gone nuts.

The childish manner in which the military rulers tried to fool the world by announcing that Mai had been put off the Exit Control List but at the same time they confiscated her passport was blasted by New York Times.

The same issue was raised by Condoleezza Rice with Kasuri. But a senior State Department official said on condition of anonymity that US officials believed that one of Mukhtaran’s minders or bodyguards had her passport.

"Whoever has her passport, there is not going to be any obstacle to her traveling to the United States," the official said. "Her freedoms, and her rights and well being are what we are concerned about and we are going to act to protect those."

The claim that Mai’s passport was with her bodyguard was another of the lowly tricks Musharraf’s men played. While they were claiming that the passport had been returned, Mai herself was on air with world famous human rights activist Amy Goodman on “Democracy Now” Radio and TV channel in US saying her passport was still with the Government. Read Full Text of Amy Goodman's Interview or Listen on Real Audio

The next trick in the bag of these out of control Pakistani men is to use the courts to keep Mai in Pakistan. The Supreme Court suddenly has decided to hear her case and Mai told Ami Goodman she will have to stay in Pakistan to fight her legal battles in the highest court of the country.

But the Supreme Court is also in a tight corner. If they let go the rapists of Mai, Pakistan’s image will be damaged beyond repair and it will then be interesting to see how Musharraf reacts to that damage.

If the Supreme Court convicts the rapists, Mai would have successfully challenged and won against the men and the system that violated her. She would then visit the US with an additional pride that her country’s judicial system did work for her.

But it is just beyond the vision and capacity of the Generals to think about such a scenario.

Whatever the court decides, Mai has now become an international celebrity and whenever she visits Washington, she will definitely be a guest of President George Bush at the White House.

She would then have to thank the hot-headed General Musharraf for making it possible by issuing stupid statements.

General Nasir has Exposed His Own Lies on Kargil Disaster
By Senator Farhatullah Babar


In writing about what he calls ‘the bitter hard facts’ about Kargil the former ISI chief Lt General (Retd) Javed Nasir has sought to absolve General Pervez Musharraf ‘my instructor in the War Wing of the National Defence College’ of the Kargil debacle and blames the executioners of the plan who ‘faulted in the correct application of the methodology’ of the plan.

But history is a ruthless judge of men and matters. Its verdict is not influenced by evidence like ‘whom I had always rated as the best’ coming from a bystander of events who also had ‘the best of relations’ with General Musharraf. Objective history must depend more on the analysis of hard facts.

Javed Nasir was not an actor in the Kargil misadventure. He was a bystander who by his own account asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “to make me in charge of logistics in the Kargil area”. With a fixation about the ability of his instructor “to carry out the most critical analysis” and himself wanting to take over the command of logistics of the operation, Lt General Javed Nasir sees the plan as brilliant but laments the way it was executed by dwarfs surrounding Musharraf.

Former ISI chief may like to believe that his becoming in charge of the logistics would have brought together the ‘brilliant analyst’ and master logistician on the same side at the same time and turned the tables on the Indians.

As there is no ban on the flight of fanciful imagination the former general may be permitted to indulge in this fancy. The supposition that the Chief’s responsibility lay only in making “a brilliant analysis” and thereafter it was not his but his team’s (identified as Chief of General Staff, Corps Commander, Director General Military Operations and Commander FCNA) job to carry it out successfully, is both naive and dangerously faulty.

What is ‘brilliant’ about a plan the implementation of which cannot be guaranteed? And where is the ability of carrying out “the most critical analysis” when such simple fact is lost sight of that neither India nor the international community would permit it?

It is unbelievable that a former Lt General should advance in such spurious logic. If all generals really think like him it is all the more reason why issues of war should not be left to them alone, being too serious.

Accordingly to the writer “General Musharraf correctly evaluated that in the event of Pakistan Army occupying Kargil, the Indian Army would neither be in a position to undertake hot pursuit operations nor in a position to fight even a defensive battle should the conflict be enlarged”. It is offensive even to the meanest intelligence to say that this evaluation was ‘correct’ and that after making this ‘brilliant’ evaluation the responsibility was no longer that of General Musharraf.

A case of a brilliant former general paying compliments to the brilliance of another general. Isn’t it?

Was it a correct evaluation? Certainly not. When Kargil was occupied the Indians launched a massive diplomatic, military and political offensive forcing Pakistan to withdraw its troops from Kargil. General Anthony Zinni in his book, Battle Ready, says about Kargil, “ I met with the Pakistani leaders in Islamabad on June 24 and 25 and put forth a simple rationale for withdrawing: If you do not pull back, you are going to bring war and nuclear annihilation down on your country. That’s going to be very bad news for every body”.

He then goes on to add, “Nobody actually quarreled with this rationale”. It is strange that the brilliant visionary who did not quarrel with this rationale in June was unable to anticipate it early that year.

As a result of Kargil the bluff of nuclear deterrence was called. Nuclear Pakistan could not deter India from deploying its troops on the borders and adopting coercive diplomacy. Nuclear Pakistan had to back down from Kargil.

As a result of Kargil also the genuine struggle of the Kashmiri people was reduced to cross border terrorism as no one talked of liberation movement but of jihadis sent into Kashmir by Islamabad.

It did not internationalize the Kashmir issue. On the other hand it internationalized the issue of cross border terrorism so much that even China had to caution Pakistan against exporting jihadi zeal.

As a result of Kargil, Pakistan was isolated as never before. It is therefore quite clear that the Kargil led to consequences, which the ‘brilliant analyst’ who had the ability to carry out the ‘most critical analysis’ failed to anticipate.

Nawaz Sharif claims that he was kept in the dark about the Kargil plan. Chaudhry Shujaat says that he is prepared to affirm on oath that Nawaz Sharif was briefed and knew about it. The central issue is when Kargil was occupied and when Nawaz Sharif was briefed about it.

This can be ascertained only through an independent commission of inquiry and not on the testimony of a personal friend ‘not only my most favorite chief instructor but also my colleague’.

Lt General Nasir has also taken a swipe at Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for allegedly agreeing to include in the Simla agreement the condition that ‘the areas captured across ceasefire line in Kashmir would neither be vacated nor given back’. He says Bhutto did this ‘to put the Army in such a humiliating and disgraceful position that no Chief in future would ever dare to remove the politically elected government”.

Simla agreement is not a secret document and is publicly available. One only has to read it to know the lie in the assertion that there is a clause in it about Kashmir, which requires that areas captured across the ceasefire line, would neither be vacated nor given back. The lie is also unwittingly exposed by General Nasir himself as he says in the same breath, “the Indian army chief therefore moved his troops to occupy the vacant snow line features in Kargil”.

The question is that if Kargil was already under Indian occupation why should the Indian army chief move his troops to the ‘vacant snow line features’ in Kargil. And if Kargil was not in Indian occupation then and Indian troops moved later to occupy it, who was to blame; Bhutto for ‘wanting to humiliate the Army’ or the military leadership whose responsibility it was to defend Pakistani territory?

If Bhutto wanted to heap humiliation on the Army he would have allowed Sheikh Mujib to proceed with the war crimes which have now come to public knowledge after the publication of Hamood Commission report.

If he wanted to humiliate the Army he would not have striven to bring back the tens of thousands of soldiers back from humiliating captivity in India. In fact in the view of some he went too far in saving the Army from humiliation by not allowing the court martial of those responsible for war crimes.

The writer also laments that a Kargil like plan was also submitted to Benazir Bhutto in 1989 but she ‘very curtly disapproved the plan’. History has proved that her curt disapproval saved Pakistan from humiliation, which was later to be heaped on it not by Bhuttos but by the Bonaparts.

The writer is a member of the Pakistan Upper House belonging to the PPP of Benazir Bhutto

PPP takes Fauji Foundation issue overseas

Reminds CW of principle of making rulers answerable to people


Islamabad June 22, 2005: The Pakistan Peoples Party today took across high mountains and deep seas the issue of corruption in the Fauji Foundation and the rulers’ refusal to submit to Parliamentary accountability and scrutiny.

In a letter to the Commonwealth Secretary General the PPP apprised the community of over four dozen nations of the facts of the case and how the Parliament was stopped from investigating it. The letter was despatched soon after the regime refused to let the Parliament quiz the Foundation.

The issue of corruption in the Fauji Foundation was first agitated in the lower house of the Parliament on April 21 when a member of the ruling Party raised questions about underbidding in the sale of a sugar mill by it.

The government then acknowledged that the highest bidder had offered to purchase the Sugar Mill for 387 million rupees but the Foundation sold it for 300 million rupees to a bidder who had not even participated in the bidding process. The defence ministry was forced to announce investigation into the matter.

The Fauji Foundation comprises the largest conglomerate of business and commercial enterprises in the country run by a Committee of Administration headed by the Secretary of Defence Ministry for the welfare of servicemen.

A month after the discomforting disclosure a meeting of the defence committee of the upper house was requisitioned on May 26 asking the defence minister and other officials to appraise it of what was going on in the Fauji Foundation and what was being done to nail the corrupt.

The defence ministry that had earlier stated in the lower house that it was investigating the matter, however, took a somersault and claiming that the Fauji Foundation was a private body refused to appear before the parliamentary probe body.

The Foundation’s head Muhammad Amjad, a former three star general who previously headed the country’s accountability outfit under General Musharraf, also refused to appear before the Parliamentary Committee.

The contradictory position taken by the government was designed only to protect the Foundation from Parliamentary scrutiny and to shield institutional corruption. It was against the democratic principle of making rulers answerable to the people, the PPP told the Commonwealth.

The Foundation was not a private body as its head General Amjad was appointed on 11 April 2002, on the orders of General Musharraf while he was still in uniform and his appointment order was issued by the military headquarter.

The Foundation is overseen by a Committee of Administration appointed by the government under an Act of the Parliament with the Defence Secretary of Pakistan as Chairman and five three-star officers of the defence services as members. Having been created by an Act of Parliament it could not be beyond parliamentary scrutiny.

Moreover, there was no other private entity whose management was in the hands of a Committee of senior state officials, it said.

The Foundation was also a beneficiary of the taxpayers’ money as according to budget documents the government accepted contingent liabilities to the tune of billions on behalf of a fertiliser company owned by the Foundation.

While the government claimed it had ordered a probe the Parliamentary Committee was not even allowed to share the findings of its probe, the PPP letter said.

The PPP informed the Commonwealth that General Amjad was previously the head of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) set up by General Musharraf in 2000 ostensibly to stem corruption but in actual practice to chase and hound regime’s opponents to turn Pakistan into a garrison state.

General Amjad’s so called anti-corruption drive was based on a skewed up principle that he enunciated thus, ‘I will bring up charges and the accused has to prove himself innocent’.

But now that the former czar of accountability is faced with embarrassing questions he refuses to face the Parliamentary committee to prove his innocence, the PPP letter said.

Recalling President Bush remarks on the Iranian elections that the Iranian people deserve a genuine democratic system "in which their leaders answer to them instead of the other way around", the PPP told the Commonwealth; "the advice given to Iran should be implemented in Pakistan".

It was not difficult to implement this advice as ‘the international community had enormous leverage through the aid and assistance it had given to General Musharaf's regime for joining the war against terror’.

The letter ends by saying, "Corruption under the Musharaf regime is spreading far and wide. Allegations reach all the way to the top to General Musharaf's relatives. General Musharaf and his men need to answer to the people of Pakistan".

"Until that happens", warns the PPP letter "dictatorship continues to breed discontent".

The PPP letter is signed by Senator Rukhsana Zuberi, a member of the Party’s Foreign Liaison Committee and one of the members of the defence committee to requisition the meeting of the Parliamentary committee to probe the Foundation’s affairs.

The PPP also urged Don McKinnon to circulate the letter among all members of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).

THINKING ALOUD: God bless our NGOs

Razi Azmi


The hostility towards the NGOs is largely on account of their efforts to alleviate the condition of women and empower them. If it were not for the NGOs, even Mukhtar Mai would have been just another statistic in the table of honour-crimes and gang-rapes that are far more common than President Musharraf recently suggested

What trouble a diminutive, softly-spoken, ‘low-caste’ woman from the hinterland of Pakistan, gang-raped on the orders of a tribal ‘court’, can cause to the mighty government in Islamabad. Oh my, Mukhtar Mai!

The government’s lousy attempt at image control by blocking her US visit has caused it more damage than would possibly have resulted from her trip. In the event, like the proverbial man who had to choose between eating 100 onions or undergoing 50 thrashings with a shoe as a punishment, the regime will almost certainly end up with both. The damage to its image from the extremely bad publicity generated by preventing her from travelling far surpasses anything that her US visit could have caused. In any case, she will almost certainly be visiting the US sooner or later.

President Pervez Musharraf has told journalists in New Zealand that he personally ordered that Mukhtar Mai be put on the Exit Control List (ECL) as she was being taken to the US by foreign non-government organisations (NGOs) “to bad-mouth Pakistan”.

The president went on to denounce the NGOs as “Westernised fringe elements” which “are as bad as the Islamic extremists”. He isn’t the only one in government denigrating the NGOs. Nilofer Bakhtiar, prime minister’s adviser on women’s affairs, is quoted as saying in the Senate that “we do not want to wash our dirty linen in public. The government will not be bullied by the opposition or the NGOs which have a foreign-driven agenda.”

The state minister for the interior, Dr Shahzad Waseem, went even further. He reportedly called the NGOs vultures, crows and eagles and accused them of exploiting the issue “for a dinner with John and Johnnie Walker” and to build their portfolios by getting more foreign funding.

It is hard to imagine that any progress would have been made in Pakistan in the areas of human rights and the protection of children and women without the NGOs. In many sectors, but particularly the above-mentioned, the government has virtually abdicated its responsibilities, leaving the people to fend for themselves with the help of NGOs which, in turn, survive with crucial support from Western countries and international organisations. The contribution of the NGOs extends to education, poverty alleviation, health and many other areas.

Without Sattar Edhi, for example, there would be no ambulance service anywhere in Pakistan. The Sattar Edhi Foundation provides services virtually from cradle to grave and is a household name in the country. Similarly, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the Ansar Burney Welfare Trust have busted many a private prison in the country and obtained the release of numerous wrongly detained individuals from our jails. How many battered, raped or burnt women would remain defenceless and voiceless without Asma Jahangir!

Known as one of the most successful NGO projects in the world, Karachi’s Orangi Pilot Project in Karachi, led by Dr Akhtar Hameed Khan, has since its inception in 1980 helped over one million people improve sanitation, when the primary means of sewage disposal were bucket latrines or soakpits, and open sewers. Then there are the Aurat Foundation and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), among dozens of others that provide crucial service to the people of this country.

In 2003, the UN’s office in Pakistan honoured two NGOs with recognition awards for their outstanding work in highlighting and promoting the rights of children. The recipients were the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) and AMAL Human Development Network. SPARC has been active for over 10 years, highlighting children’s rights in the country. AMAL’s significant achievements include interventions for vulnerable groups who are difficult to reach, such as commercial sex workers in a red-light area of Lahore.

The list is long. There are dozens of NGOs, big and small, dedicated to women, youth, children, health and prevention of drug abuse (www.net-ngo.com is a guide to NGOs in Pakistan).

Cassandra Balchin, who spent 17 years in Pakistan, first as a journalist (1983-91) and later (1991-2000) with the Lahore-based women’s group Shirkat Gah, an NGO, said in a paper presented in 1999: “For Pakistani NGOs it is always open season. For much of this year the Pakistan government led a vitriolic attack on local NGOs, stooping to personalised allegations that were proved baseless and ending with the drafting of legislation that would have given the government arbitrary powers to control the NGO sector. The military takeover in October has simply diverted the state’s attention elsewhere, but the hostility towards NGOs — popularised by the government and gutter press — remains”.

The hostility towards the NGOs is largely on account of the efforts of many of them to alleviate the condition of women and empower them. If it were not for the NGOs, even Mukhtar Mai would have been just another statistic in the table of honour-crimes and gang-rapes that are far more common than President Musharraf recently suggested when he said that rape was not “a rampant malaise Pakistan suffers from everyday”.

Complaining that atrocities are perpetrated against women around the world, President Musharraf is quoted as saying: “I don’t want to project a bad image of Pakistan”. “Pakistan is the victim of poor perception. The reality is very different”, he said. Indeed, the reality is much worse than we know or are prepared to admit. The almost daily reports of honour killings and rapes and gang-rapes are only the tip of the iceberg.

Democratic nations do not shy away from exposing and discussing their shortcomings and failures. The US is not ashamed to admit that, on average, a woman is subjected to rape every five minutes. Anyone who reads, listens to, or watches Western press, radio or television knows very well that they not merely publicise their own deficiencies but go into a kind of feeding frenzy when any disgraceful incident comes to light. One will recall that, some years ago, the CNN broadcast to the world – hundreds of times, no less – the images of a bunch of white Los Angeles police officers beating Rodney King, a black American.

Neither the American nor the Australian governments, for example, prevent their native Indian or aboriginal leaders from going abroad to “bad-mouth” their country, although they have put in place many programmes to improve the condition of these communities.

The Pakistan government should have promoted Mukhtar Mai’s overseas visit, for she symbolises the courage, honour and the social conscience of an under-privileged Pakistani woman. She has used the millions of rupees that have been donated to her not for self-aggrandisement but to educate and empower the women of her backward community.

The remarks of President Musharraf and the words and actions of his officials in the Mukhtar Mai case would appear to be the last nails in the coffin of his much-publicised policy of “enlightened moderation”. There is nothing enlightened or moderate in gagging rape victims and bad-mouthing those who dedicate themselves to exposing and preventing such crimes.


The author can be contacted at raziazmi@hotmail.com

PPP denies reports of contacts with regime
Says it is regime’s disinformation campaign



Islamabad June 23, 2005: There are no fresh contacts between the PPP and the regime after talks broke down when the regime made an aborted attempt to take over the leadership of Mohtarma Bhutto, said a spokesman of the Senator Farhatullah Babar in statement today.

A section of the press has reported that the government had made some fresh proposals to the PPP.

The spokesman said that after the rejection by Mohtarma and the Party of the regimes proposal that Mohtarma Bhutto abdicate Party leadership, not return to the country even after the next general elections and accept the 17th constitutional amendments there has been no contacts between the Party and the regime.

It is ridiculous to suggest that under conditions of siege imposed on the Party some fresh proposals have been made, he said and listed how the Party was continuously being victimised.

Regime’s lawyers in Geneva are insisting that Senator Zardari personally appear before the investigators next month knowing full well that doctors have advised him complete rest and travel and stress can endanger his life.

The manner in which Zahid Bhurgury MPA Sindh was arrested, hooded and handcuffed and other PPP parliamentarians harassed is public knowledge.

In such conditions of hostility it is ridiculous to suggest that there are any talks between the PPP and the regime, he said.

"Such reports are fed by the regime to confuse the people and cause a division in the ranks of ARD".

He said that neither Mohtarma Bhutto nor the PPP was mulling over any so-called offer to join the helpless government that had no powers to help the people of Pakistan.

The establishment thinks that it can blackmail Mohtarma Bhutto into accepting General Musharraf and abdicating party leadership by flaunting the fabricated cases against her based on false allegations levelled by the rulers in Islamabad before authorities in Geneva, he said and added, "There is no question of Mohtarma being blackmailed.

The Party denies that Mohtarma is holding is consultations either with Party leaders or ‘friends’ in the State Department to find out the status of a dialogue that never took off. It also denies that General Musharraf tried to obtain the support of the PPP and Mohtarma Bhutto for "some decisions pertaining to Pakistan's external security and avoid a future political scene dominated by conservative religious forces".

General Musharaf finds it convenient to make the PPP the excuse for him lacking the support to take certain decisions while on the other hand pressuring the Party to ensure that its workers remain hostile to him.

The recent examples include the arrest of Zahid Bhugari MPA, Nadeem Kaira, conviction of Peer Mukkaram, an intelligence sponsored theft in the house of Nafisa Raja MPA, pressures on Shamim Ara MPA and Farheen Mughal MPA, suspension of Punjab MPs, refusal to release political prisoners, allow return of exiles and withdrawal of politically motivated cases, he said.

The regime keeps feeding stories to the press that a deal is on the anvil with the PPP. It has done this since 2000 to give the impression of lowering political tensions at home and to satisfy the concern of those who are worried that a political vacuum is leading to the rise of the religious parties, the spokesman said.

This is also borne out from the report in one newspaper which reporting on Minister of Information links with training camps wrote, "Hashim Quereshi... was asked whether any other member of the present cabinet (aside from Shaikh Rashid) had been associated with jihadi terrorism. He replied, ‘It would be easier to answer who are the members of the present cabinet who were not associated with terrorism’?"

Thus with former friends of the Afghan Mujahideen who went on to become Taliban and Al Qaeda sitting in Musharaf's lap, it is absurd to suggest that Musharaf is sincere about any dialogue with the PPP or the ARD. And while they sit in the regime's lap, the FBI arrests one man who was trained for militant activity in 2004 near Rawalpindi while another three Pakistanis are arrested for attempting to assassinate American Ambassador to Afghanistan, he said.

Mohtarma Bhutto Cautions Regime against election rigging
Against political set up minus her and Nawaz
Calls for reversion to Constitution that declares its subversion as treason


Islamabad June 21, 2005: Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has warned the regime that it will be making a critical mistake if it is thinking that it can rig the elections again in 2007 as it did in 2002.

She said that the elections in 2002 were held just one year after the world changing events of 9/11 but now those imperatives had begum to fade. Allies can become redundant as in the case of Saddam Hussain, the Afghan Mujahideen, Pinochet of Chile and the Shah of Iran who was also once a close ally.

Therefore those people who think that they can continue forever because they are now allies are making the biggest mistake of their lives, she warned.

She said this in her message red out on the even of functions held throughout the country to mark her 52nd birthday.

She said that the days of dictatorship are numbered. Dictatorship is running out of steam. It has failed to live up to the promises made. It has failed to deliver to the people.

The former Prime Minister urged to build a modern state on the foundations of an Islamic, Federal, Democratic, Egalitarian and unanimous Constitution which the Party gave to the country.

She said that in times of great tensions between the federating units and the federation and of distrust between the state and citizen we need to revert to our Constitution that has guaranteed full autonomy to the provinces and protected the human rights of every citizen by introducing habeas corpus for the first time in the history of Pakistan.

Today, more than ever before, we need to re-build the foundations of education and industrialisation in the country. Our labour and working class cry out for the modernisation of labour laws to give them dignity and incentives to contribute to the welfare of the country. Small farmers, peasants and ordinary citizens need to be liberated from repression and cruelty and all citizens must feel that they are born equal and will live together only with equal rights, she said.

Mohtarma Bhutto also reviewed the developments that took place as another year of her life passed into history.

Personally my family and I have suffered the rigours of exile and the pains of having been separated from my people at the hands a vengeful junta bent upon victimisation to consolidate dictatorship and to exploit the people, she said. However, these personal difficulties are insignificant when I think about the pain, the sufferings and humiliation heaped on the teeming millions of my countrymen who have been deprived of their most basic right- the right to choose their own government.

This year we saw the brutal and barbaric break up of the peaceful citizens’ rally to receive their leader Asif Ali Zardari at Lahore airport, she said.

She said that the world saw how the war against terror was abused, as noted by Amnesty International, against political opponents of the regime for PPP workers were wrongfully charged with terrorism law for receiving Mr Zardari.

We saw gender harassment with its ugly face as women opponents were roughly beaten up by male police offending the Islamic values as well as the traditions of the Indus Valley civilisation. We saw that the clothes of a United Nations Rapporteur were torn in the ancient tribal customs to deprive women of the constitutional right to peaceful protest.

These actions exposed the ugly face of a regime that talks of moderation but follows the path of intolerance and barbarism, she said.

This year has seen that horse trading continued as did pressures on parliamentarians to defect. Those that resisted must be praised to face the tyrants with courage.

We also witnessed how a new Prime Minister was made who can not even win a union council seat if he is not supported by the regime, she said.

We saw the unravelling of the so called set up of 2002 as General Musharaf broke his promise to take off his uniform fearing the pathetic state of the political orphans that the intelligence agencies had put together. If there was a democracy, this regime would have been out. However, we live in a dictatorship where the will of the people has been subordinated, she said.

This January the American President put all dictators on notice when he spoke about the importance of democracy, she said adding "Pakistan is the test case for the new doctrine of democracy" where dictatorship will have to end.

This year also saw that the rulers have not learnt anything from the past and the horrible mistakes of the referendum and the rigged elections of 2002 she said.

"They still want a minus Mohtarma and minus Mian Nawaz scenario in 2007 failing to realise that the failed experiment is before their eyes which they tried out in 2002". The problems of the people are inextricably linked to democracy and we must all unite to struggle for the restoration of the peoples will, she said.

This year saw that the Senate finally got a Leader of Opposition from the Pakistan People Party. This year the regime claimed that it would seek political reconciliation. However, its tall claims of even playing field were badly exposed when the rights given to MMA and to the ruling Party were not allowed to the PPP.

She said that the forthcoming local bodies’ elections will be another test case to see if the regime is capable of having fair elections. We in the Opposition have serious doubts about the ability of the regime to hold fair elections. "The inability of the regime to do so will set into motion dynamics where they will not be able to rig elections in 2007".

She said that the people’s strength is the real political strength and not the use of state force which the regime relies on. Despite the state repression at its disposal the regime lives in fear. It is fear that drives it to exile the sons and daughters of the land. It is fear of the people that leads it to rig elections. It is the love of the people that has sustained her during exile, she said.

More than quarter of a century ago the petty pygmies and cowards of the time feared my Father Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto first in life that then feared him from his grave, she said.

"Today another generation of petty pygmies and cowards fear his daughter even when she is in exile. That is why they ask us that I should give up leading the people and not to return to the country. That is why they fear us because they know that we will not give in. I value this as a great gain for the Party and the country".

She said that it is only by reverting to the Constitution that we can move forward in the twenty first century as a successful Federation with a vibrant economy and a growing middle class. It is only by accepting the principle of equality before law and the majesty of justice that can liberate men and women, peasants and labourers, young and old without discrimination on race, religion or gender. Constitutionalism and rule of law are critical to reconstruct our lives to live in dignity and honour, with peace and with progress.

She said she was proud to lead the Pakistan Peoples Party and thanked the people of Pakistan for the confidence they have reposed in the PPP.

"PPP will always stand by the people of the country, by the downtrodden, the oppressed, the discriminated, the exploited and the voiceless. The suffering of the people is our suffering just as our suffering is the suffering of the people. Our bond is one and it is unshakeable", she said.

PPP takes Fauji Foundation issue overseas

Reminds CW of principle of making rulers answerable to people

Islamabad June 22, 2005: The Pakistan Peoples Party today took across high mountains and deep seas the issue of corruption in the Fauji Foundation and the rulers’ refusal to submit to Parliamentary accountability and scrutiny.

In a letter to the Commonwealth Secretary General the PPP apprised the community of over four dozen nations of the facts of the case and how the Parliament was stopped from investigating it. The letter was despatched soon after the regime refused to let the Parliament quiz the Foundation.

The issue of corruption in the Fauji Foundation was first agitated in the lower house of the Parliament on April 21 when a member of the ruling Party raised questions about underbidding in the sale of a sugar mill by it.

The government then acknowledged that the highest bidder had offered to purchase the Sugar Mill for 387 million rupees but the Foundation sold it for 300 million rupees to a bidder who had not even participated in the bidding process. The defence ministry was forced to announce investigation into the matter.

The Fauji Foundation comprises the largest conglomerate of business and commercial enterprises in the country run by a Committee of Administration headed by the Secretary of Defence Ministry for the welfare of servicemen.

A month after the discomforting disclosure a meeting of the defence committee of the upper house was requisitioned on May 26 asking the defence minister and other officials to appraise it of what was going on in the Fauji Foundation and what was being done to nail the corrupt.

The defence ministry that had earlier stated in the lower house that it was investigating the matter, however, took a somersault and claiming that the Fauji Foundation was a private body refused to appear before the parliamentary probe body.

The Foundation’s head Muhammad Amjad, a former three star general who previously headed the country’s accountability outfit under General Musharraf, also refused to appear before the Parliamentary Committee.

The contradictory position taken by the government was designed only to protect the Foundation from Parliamentary scrutiny and to shield institutional corruption. It was against the democratic principle of making rulers answerable to the people, the PPP told the Commonwealth.

The Foundation was not a private body as its head General Amjad was appointed on 11 April 2002, on the orders of General Musharraf while he was still in uniform and his appointment order was issued by the military headquarter.

The Foundation is overseen by a Committee of Administration appointed by the government under an Act of the Parliament with the Defence Secretary of Pakistan as Chairman and five three-star officers of the defence services as members. Having been created by an Act of Parliament it could not be beyond parliamentary scrutiny.

Moreover, there was no other private entity whose management was in the hands of a Committee of senior state officials, it said.

The Foundation was also a beneficiary of the taxpayers’ money as according to budget documents the government accepted contingent liabilities to the tune of billions on behalf of a fertiliser company owned by the Foundation.

While the government claimed it had ordered a probe the Parliamentary Committee was not even allowed to share the findings of its probe, the PPP letter said.

The PPP informed the Commonwealth that General Amjad was previously the head of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) set up by General Musharraf in 2000 ostensibly to stem corruption but in actual practice to chase and hound regime’s opponents to turn Pakistan into a garrison state.

General Amjad’s so called anti-corruption drive was based on a skewed up principle that he enunciated thus, ‘I will bring up charges and the accused has to prove himself innocent’.

But now that the former czar of accountability is faced with embarrassing questions he refuses to face the Parliamentary committee to prove his innocence, the PPP letter said.

Recalling President Bush remarks on the Iranian elections that the Iranian people deserve a genuine democratic system "in which their leaders answer to them instead of the other way around", the PPP told the Commonwealth; "the advice given to Iran should be implemented in Pakistan".

It was not difficult to implement this advice as ‘the international community had enormous leverage through the aid and assistance it had given to General Musharaf's regime for joining the war against terror’.

The letter ends by saying, "Corruption under the Musharaf regime is spreading far and wide. Allegations reach all the way to the top to General Musharaf's relatives. General Musharaf and his men need to answer to the people of Pakistan".

"Until that happens", warns the PPP letter "dictatorship continues to breed discontent".

The PPP letter is signed by Senator Rukhsana Zuberi, a member of the Party’s Foreign Liaison Committee and one of the members of the defence committee to requisition the meeting of the Parliamentary committee to probe the Foundation’s affairs.

The PPP also urged Don McKinnon to circulate the letter among all members of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).

PPP celebrates Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s 52nd Birthday all around the globe

Islamabad, 22 June 2005: Workers and supporters of Pakistan Peoples Party celebrated the 52nd birthday of their leader Chairperson Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto all over the world with traditional zeal and enthusiasm attended by large number of party workers, supporters and sympathisers.

In this regard PPP Saudi Arabia arranged a function attended by Media Co-ordinator of Chairperson in Saudi Arabia Dilshad Jani, Sofi Mohammad Yakub, Ali Reza Malik, Raja Shamroz, Kaleem Abbasi, Qurban Ali Joyo and dozens of other party workers. Speakers at the occasion demanded withdrawal of all concocted and false cases against the leadership and honourable return of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto back to Pakistan. They said that Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto is the most popular leader in the country and no democratic system can be established in Pakistan without here participation. The speakers demanded free, fair and impartial elections in Pakistan. They said that the workers of PPP and the people of Pakistan want to see Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto as their Prime Minister the third time. A large cake was cut and distributed among the participants in the end.

PPP Sharjah held a function to celebrate Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s 52nd birthday at Grand Asian Palace Hotel Sharjah yesterday. Former Federal Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar was the Chief Guest on the occasion who cut the birthday cake on behalf of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Workers and supporters from Dubai and Sharjah gathered for this celebration hosted by Rashid Chughtai, President PPP Dubai.

PPP Multan celebrated Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’ birthday yesterday and several events were organised all over Multan City in this regards. President Multan City Khursheed Khan held the main function at his residence attended by Ahmed Hussain Dahir, Khalid Hanif Lodhi, Syed Ahmed Mujtaba Gilani, Khawaja Rizwan Aalam, Malik Mukhtar Ahmed Awan and hundreds of party workers. Prayers were offered for health and happiness of Bhutto family.

Syed Fayaz Ali Shah, member Sindh Council PPP, arranged a huge celebration ceremony on the eve of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s 52nd birthday at Ritz Hotel Hyderabad yesterday. A large number of office bearers and party workers including, Mir Fateh Talpur, Maula Bux Chandio, Pasha Kazi, Aftab Khanzada, Abdul Rehman Ansari, Babu Kazi advocate, Ms. Saman Talpur, Ms. Seema Solangi, Shahid Ansari and others attended the ceremony. Special prayers were offered at the function for health and happiness of Bhutto family.

Raped, Kidnapped and Silenced
By Nicholas D. Kristof


June 14, 2005, No wonder the Pakistan government can't catch Osama bin Laden. It is too busy harassing, detaining - and now kidnapping - a gang-rape victim for daring to protest and for planning a visit to the United States.

Last fall I wrote about Mukhtaran Bibi, a woman who was sentenced by a tribal council in Pakistan to be gang-raped because of an infraction supposedly committed by her brother. Four men raped Ms. Mukhtaran, then village leaders forced her to walk home nearly naked in front of a jeering crowd of 300.

Ms. Mukhtaran was supposed to have committed suicide. Instead, with the backing of a local Islamic leader, she fought back and testified against her persecutors. Six were convicted.

Then Ms. Mukhtaran, who believed that the best way to overcome such abuses was through better education, used her compensation money to start two schools in her village, one for boys and the other for girls. She went out of her way to enroll the children of her attackers in the schools, showing that she bore no grudges.

Readers of my column sent in more than $133,000 for her. Mercy Corps, a U.S. aid organization, has helped her administer the money, and she has expanded the schools, started a shelter for abused women and bought a van that is used as an ambulance for the area. She has also emerged as a ferocious spokeswoman against honor killings, rapes and acid attacks on women. (If you want to help her, please don't send checks to me but to Mercy Corps, with "Mukhtaran Bibi" in the memo
line: 3015 S.W. First, Portland, Ore. 97201.)

A group of Pakistani-Americans invited Ms. Mukhtaran to visit the U.S. starting this Saturday (see www.4anaa.org). Then a few days ago, the Pakistani government went berserk.

On Thursday, the authorities put Ms. Mukhtaran under house arrest - to stop her from speaking out. In phone conversations in the last few days, she said that when she tried to step outside, police pointed their guns at her. To silence her, the police cut off her land line.

After she had been detained, a court ordered her attackers released, putting her life in jeopardy. That happened on a Friday afternoon, when the courts do not normally operate, and apparently was a warning to Ms. Mukhtaran to shut up. Instead, Ms. Mukhtaran continued her protests by cellphone. But at dawn yesterday the police bustled her off, and there's been no word from her since. Her cellphone doesn't answer.

Asma Jahangir, a Pakistani lawyer who is head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said she had learned that Ms. Mukhtaran was taken to Islamabad, furiously berated and told that President Pervez Musharraf was very angry with her. She was led sobbing to detention at a secret location. She is barred from contacting anyone, including her lawyer.

"She's in their custody, in illegal custody," Ms. Jahangir said. "They have gone completely crazy."

Even if Ms. Mukhtaran were released, airports have been alerted to bar her from leaving the country. According to Dawn, a Karachi newspaper, the government took this step, "fearing that she might malign Pakistan's image."

Excuse me, but Ms. Mukhtaran, a symbol of courage and altruism, is the best hope for Pakistan's image. The threat to Pakistan's image comes from President Musharraf for all this thuggish behavior.

I've been sympathetic to Mr. Musharraf till now, despite his nuclear negligence, partly because he's cooperated in the war on terrorism and partly because he has done a good job nurturing Pakistan's economic growth, which in the long run is probably the best way to fight fundamentalism. So even when Mr. Musharraf denied me visas all this year, to block me from visiting Ms. Mukhtaran again and writing a follow-up column, I bit my tongue.

But now President Musharraf has gone nuts.

"This is all because they think they have the support of the U.S. and can get away with murder," Ms. Jahangir said. Indeed, on Friday, just as all this was happening, President Bush received Pakistan's foreign minister in the White House and praised President Musharraf's "bold leadership."

So, Mr. Bush, how about asking Mr. Musharraf to focus on finding Osama, instead of kidnapping rape victims who speak out? And invite Ms. Mukhtaran to the Oval Office - to show that Americans stand not only with generals who seize power, but also with ordinary people of extraordinary courage.

Waiting for Benazir
Zia Khokhar


A large majority of Pakistan People’s Party workers will celebrate the birthday of their popular leader, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto today (21-06-2005). They will be joined in the functions by office-bearers of all pro-democracy political parties who are the custodians of the constitution and supremacy of law, and by those who wish to see a progressive Pakistan adhering to liberal values, champion of human rights and promoting a society based on equality.

But who will fill the front rows of these functions: the common folks crushed under poverty and high prices. They are the ones who will raise the “Jeeay Bhutto, Jeeay Benazir” slogans for they have been rendered vulnerable by the prevailing hardships and miseries of life, injustice and unemployment.

They have a dream that one day their leader, Benazir Bhutto, will free the country from the claws of a puppet regime, which took over power by violating the Constitution. A dream that their leader, will bring democracy, peace, justice, freedom, tolerance and progress within the reach of the common people.
Why are a large majority of Pakistanis waiting for Benazir Bhutto? They are waiting for her because she speaks for them. She is the vanguard of democracy, the only ray of hope for them, a symbol of freedom and the torchbearer of revolution.

A great visionary leader of the twentieth century, internationally acclaimed intellectual, and charismatic personality, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto held the reins of a demoralised country in December 1971. He turned around the situation in such a bold manner that the shattered people forgot their collective pain and vowed to move along the indestructible path chosen by Bhutto. He began picking up pieces and putting them together. This great revolutionary and philosopher wanted to change the fate of a debilitated Pakistan as well as reaching out to the downtrodden nations wherever they were in the world. But the Yazeed of that time had other plans. In order to fulfill his nefarious plans he martyred this leader of Muslim world and pride of the poor thus extinguishing a light of which there is indeed no parallel.

And thus began the darkest night of repression and dictatorship. The historical popular struggle was launched to end martial law of Gen Ziaul Haq and bring to power the daughter of Bhutto Shaheed, Benazir Bhutto who became the first elected woman prime minister in the Muslim world. The opponent was ruthless but the popular support made this miracle happen.

Despite the opposition by the gang of religious bigots and anti-people forces, the pro-Pakistan people of this country elected Benazir Bhutto twice. She was serving the nation and country and was working hard for the progress of Pakistan and prosperity of people. After only eighteen months of her first tenure of government the opponents of democracy and anti-people element slaughtered the hopes of the people. They launched a campaign to break the nerves of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto thus breaking her leadership. But the people resisted the nefarious plans of the sectarian, fundamentalist and anti-human rights forces and voted her to power for the second time. She worked hard for the future of the country and took steps, which had far-reaching implications.

For instance, students, political workers and leaders gaoled in false cases were immediately released and a programme was launched at the government level for their financial and social rehabilitation. Some 35,000 poor farmers received 12.5-acre land. More farmers would have benefited from this programme if the big landowners had not stopped this revolutionary step by challenging the government in the Supreme Court.

Hundreds of thousands of unemployed youth were provided jobs and those dismissed from services for raising voice against martial law were reinstated. Thousands of young people were given loans to set up business.

Trade union ban was immediately removed thus giving thousands of workers their due rights including finical benefits of retirement. Over 40,000 workers in the private sector were reinstated to their jobs. Minimum wages were increased as well as the workers were awarded bonus. Housing projects for the industrial workers were launched in major cities.

For the first time in history, the role of women in society was appreciated. The government set up a separate ministry looking into their development. Women banks and computer training centres were introduced. Women were appointed as judges of superior courts. Some 33,000 lady health workers were provided jobs to look after the health problems of women.

In the health sector, a programme was launched at the Union Council level to provide basic health facilities at the lower echelons of the society. Admission fee to hospital introduced by the martial law regime was abolished.

Budget allocation on education was markedly increased for the first time and every year it received more funds. Schooling up to class eight was made compulsory and more attention was paid to technical and scientific education. Some 50,000 teachers were recruited for the schools.

Load shedding of electricity was brought to an end by launching mega power projects like Ghazi Barotha and Hubco. Some 18,000 villages were provided electricity.

Media was freed from black laws such as the requirement of NOC for journalists wishing to travel abroad and all those journalists fired from Radio and Television for raising voice against Martial Law were reinstated.

In defence, sixty F-16 jet fighters were purchased for the air force and two frigates and Agosta submarine for the navy. Army was packed with a battalion of modern tanks. In addition, the country’s defence acquired missile technology and modern radar systems were set up at vulnerable points. Restriction to purchase defence equipment under the Pressler Law was removed through Brown Amendment.

FM radio and dish antenna were allowed to promote free media access and the first independent TV station, STN, was set up in the country. In the field of telecommunication, mobiles phones and pager services were introduced.

Today as we celebrate the birthday of Benazir Bhutto, the nation is once again crushed under the forces of terrorism, sectarianism, fundamentalism and people are busy in a struggle for restoration of democracy and rule of law.

The Ghastly Stories of Mohan Meghwals of Pakistan and India
Special SAT Report


KARACHI, June 17: These are two true stories and both stories are of Mohan Meghwals, one who belonged to Pali District of Rajasthan, in India, the other rotting in a Tharparkar jail in the Sindh Province of Pakistan.

Mohan Meghwal of Rajasthan was stabbed 19 times and then crushed under a tractor by Thakur Shivdan Singh and his upper caste men. He was murdered because he challenged the Manu Samriti, the law of human inequality, and dared to contest the Panchayat election without the permission of Thakur Shivdan Singh in the first quarter of 2005.

The Manu Samriti reads: (a) “A low-caste man who tries to place himself on the same seat with a man of high caste shall be branded on his hip and be banished, or [the king] shall cause his buttock to be gashed. (Any form of punishment for this 'crime').” (b) “An upper caste man may confidently seize the goods of [his] Shudra [slave], for, as that [slave] can have no property, his master may take his possessions…”

Mohan Meghwal of Tharparkar also did a similar crime. He contested election for Union Council Nazim and won in Diplo Tehsil of Tharparkar, bordering Rajasthan, that too without the permission of Pakistani ‘Thakur’ Arbab Ghulam Rahim, as introduced by former Minister Zafarullah Jamali to President Musharraf at a recent Islamabad meeting.

Tahrparker’s Mohan Meghwal’s younger brother Engineer Gianchand even committed a much more daring violation of Manu Samriti law by contesting general elections against Thakur Arbab Ghulam Rahim and then against Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in the bye-election in 2004.

Such daring violations of the law of Thakurs means serious trouble. The Pakistani Mohan Meghwal was dragged from a relative’s house in Thatta on May 11 and taken to Mirpurkhas only to be nominated in a corruption case, which he and his lawyers said is false to the extent of absurdity.

The anti-corruption court, Hyderabad ordered his release on bail. But the junior-most legal official, the Mukhtiarkar of Kotri, refused to verify the surety documents saying he has been instructed to from the Chief Minister’s House do so.

However, after a few days delay the verification was done and Mohan Meghwal was re-arrested from inside the Central Prison, Hyderabad on another concocted case of corruption. Since then, he has been lodged in Nara Jail, Hyderabad that too in solitary confinement as if he is a hardened criminal.

His brother Engineer Gianchand alleged he was being severely tortured there on the instructions of Chief Minister Ghulam Arbab Rahim.

The world and the people of two countries know that while Pakistan is an Islamic country and India the so-called secular country and in fact infested with the law of human inequality that is law of Manu or Manu Samriti as is it called.

The Holy Quran reads: “75. And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allah, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help." (Sura An-Nisa)”

Mohan Meghwal of Rajasthan was punished as per law of Manu Samriti while Mohan Meghwal of Pakistan is too being punished as per the instructions of the same law. Who in Pakistan has allowed Sindh government to flout nation’s founding law of equality.

Nothing is known of what the relatives of the deceased Mohan in Rajasthan did after the gruesome murder by the Thakur but in Pakistan the matter has been raised in the courts but chances of justice being delivered are close to non-existent.

This is being done in the face of tall claims by Government leaders, including the Prime Minister of Pakistan, that no official will be allowed to use his political office for his personal political gains.

Mohan’s brother in Tharparkar, former MPA Gianchand on June 8 took the case to the Sindh High Court, Circuit Bench Hyderabad, which issued notices to the Director of the Anti-Corruption Establishment, Karachi, Deputy Director of the ACE, Hyderabad, EDO, revenue, Superintendent of the Hyderabad Central Jail, Naib Nazim of the Jhirmirio Union Council, two ACE officials and SHOs of Baldia and Mithi police stations.

The petitioner alleged that the Tharparkar Administration and the Arbab family were victimizing him and his family because he had contested for a seat against the chief minister in the 2002 general election and he was also a covering candidate against sitting Prime Minister.

He alleged that his brother, Jhirmirio Union Council Nazim Mohan, and Union Council Secretary Mohammad Bachal Dars had been falsely implicated in a corruption case lodged by the circle officer of the ACE, Mithi, accusing them of drawing salaries between Aug 14, 2001, and Sept 25, 2004, from the government treasury by misusing their authority.

The petitioner said his brother had claimed salaries from Sept 25, 2003, to March 31, 2005, the record of which was available in cash books. He added that his brother had nothing to do with the alleged sale of debris of an old building, constructed by the education and works department. He said the ACE had called for submitting the union council record on April 28 but the record could not be produced since it was lying with the audit department.

However, he said, without checking any record or inquiry, the case was lodged with the permission of the chairman of the Anti-Corruption Committee-II on May 7.

He said his brother and the union council secretary were arrested on May 11 by ACE circle office Khalid Nizamani and were remanded in judicial custody.

He said they were granted bail by the special judge of anti-corruption (provincial) on May 27. However, he added, when he went to the jail to receive them, the jail staff and police did not release them. He alleged that ACE official Khalid Nizamani, ASI Ahmad Qaboolio and the jail staff dragged Mr Lal and Mr Dars away from the jail gate and aimed rifles at them, depriving him of Rs5,700 and his cousin of Rs2,500.

He said both were taken away in a car. Mohan and Dars were later booked in a false case and when they went to meet them, the ACE officials said they were acting under directives of the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister and would kill the accused in a false encounter.

He further alleged that the officials also threatened him with arrest under the Sindh Crime Control Act. The petitioner' s lawyer Ayaz Latif Palijo prayed the court to direct the respondents to produce petitioner's brother in the court along with the list of cases/inquiries against him.

He further pleaded that an honest officer should investigate the case against his brother.

The coincidence of two Mohan Meghwals is enough to show as to how the Brahmin-taught brains survive their mentality even after hundreds of years.

Editor's Note: On June 19, 2005, Leader of the Opposition in Sindh Assembly Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, raised the following points at a press conference held at Bilawal House. A copy reference filed by Engr. Wali Mohammad Rahmoon, a PPP worker against the Chief Minister Arbab Rahim addressed to NAB was also distributed on the occasion as no action was taken on the reference so far.

1. Runways have been built around the village of Thakur Ghulam Rahim with the state expenses of Crores of rupees just for the sons of Arbab Ghulam Rahim, Arbab Amir Hassan and their nephews around their village Khetlari in Tharparker. These runways are not connected to any other main road or link roads and no body else is allowed to drive on these runways.

2. Thakur Rahim said he wouldn’t flee from the country or take exile. Can he tell us as to whose front-man is Rehmatullah Jhanjhi and for whom he has purchased a palatial residence in Dubai. Jhanjhi has been given contracts of hundreds of millions in Tharparker, including the coal highway.

3. Tharparker contractors Arbab Ghaffar, Arbab Taj Mohammad, Arbab Pir Bux and Guman Singh Sodho (son of Ram Singh Sodho, who is maternal cousin of Arbab Ghulam Rahim) have amassed millions of rupees. Who is behind them and how the booty is distributed should be investigated by NAB.

4. The whole of the Arbab family’s assets should be probed as it is estimated that these assets have increased many hundred times.

5. Over 100 government vehicles, including Land Cruisers, Pajeros, Suzukis and ambulances are in the use of members of Arbab family in Tharparker, Mirpurkhas, Badin, Hyderabad and Karachi. Some of these people who used to ride on donkeys before the induction of Arbab Rahim as Chief Minister by the generals are riding in 4-wheel drive vehicles. The maintenance and fuel of these vehicles is borne by different government departments.

6. Whether Arbab Rahim will tell as to how he had purchased three new bungalows after being inducted as Minister and Chief Minister as record shows that he lived in rented three-room house in Manzoor Colony at House No.101, Defence View, Phase-I, Manzoor Colony, Karachi on a monthly rent of Rs6,000.

7. Arbab Rahim says he had remains in opposition. The record shows that he and his family had never remained in opposition and in fact always relied on local police to maintain their terror in Tharparker area.

8. Thousands of acres of state land and the land belonging to poor people in Tharparker have been illegally occupied by Arbab Ghulam Rahim and his other family members.

9. Arbab Ghulam Rahim is in fact a modern Chanakya as he spares no body from the lower caste Dalits, or those converted to Islam of these castes, if he acquires any high position. In fact Arbab Rahim, is applying the following specific provisions of Manu Samriti, a law based on Chanakya’s teachings. These are: “A low-caste man who tries to place himself on the same seat with a man of high caste shall be branded on his hip and be banished, or [the king] shall cause his buttock to be gashed. (Any form of punishment for this 'crime').” b. “An upper caste man may confidently seize the goods of [his] Shudra [slave], for, as that [slave] can have no property, his master may take his possessions [_]”. It is a point of great concern that such a man was chosen by none else than Generals, who claim to be guardians of nation’s ideology.

10. Thus Arbab Rahim is openly violating and crushing the promises of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, who said: “I can tell my friends of the Scheduled Castes that at no time have I overlooked their interests and position and I may claim that in the past I have done all I could to help them, and I shall always stand for their protection and safe--guard in any future scheme of constitution for I think that the wrongs and injustices inflicted on them for centuries should not be allowed to continue under any civilized form of government."

11. Can Arbab Rahim tell the people of Pakistan as to how and why he cut is maulana style beard after 9/11 and continued supporting Taliban through his statements.

12. One significant point to note is that when the government suspended the functioning of SGS-Cotecna, the firm claimed damages, as there was nothing wrong or dubious in the contract. The government not only paid the entire amount of damages, it re-employed SGS-Cotecna because of their good services. The firm still works for the government.

13. On whose orders, the handicapped Arbab Abdullah, MPA, collects commissions from different government department officials, some of whom have expressed their readiness to appear as star witnesses against him upon the ouster Arbab Ghulam Corrupt.

Why did Arbab Rahim show a knee-jerk reaction to the HRCP probe into the violations of human rights in his village Khetlari and got arrested Jam Saqi, Engr. Wali Mohammad Rahimoon, Mir Mohammad Khan Lund, 80-year-old Arbab Murad Ali, Mohan Lal and others. The reaction proves that something sensitive and serious is hidden in the dunes of Khetlari, which if exposed can make the Arbabs run with their face hooded.

May Arbab tell us as to why and how he distributed Rs4 million, he got as commission from a Services and Works Department contractor among a Taliban-supporting group of Maulanas.

Copy of Reference sent to NAB:

CHAIRMAN NAB
G-5/2 Attaturk Avenue, Islamabad.

SUB: CORRUPTION & CORRUPT ACTIVITIES BY ARBAB GHULAM RAHIM CHIEF MINISTER SINDH AND OTHERS

I am a Registered Consultant Engineer & Scientist of my beloved Homeland and recipient of above Three Gold Medals. After graduation I joined my University in Teaching and Research work through Syndicate Board in BPS-17 (1990 to 1993) then I appeared in the competitive examination of Sindh Pu8nlic Service Commission and joined I&P Deptt. Government of Sindh (1993 to 2004). Subsequently I resigned on 15th October 2004 (accepted on 29th January 2005) with the desire to practice my profession in private sector to face the challenges of 21st century, and announced to contest forthcoming General Election against Arbab Rahim from Tharparkar (Home District of me and Arbab Ghulam Rahim).

Arbab Ghulam Rahim became annoyed to me politically and started harassment & victimization. Finally he registered FOUR false cases (1) dacoity of Petrol pump (2) dire consequences of murder (3) appointment of 600 peoples (4) purchase of 2250 Acre Agricultural Land and send me to torture cell of bad named CIA Center Saddar Karachi on 10-02-05 for 16 days, whole story was also published in all the Newspapers. I was severally tortured and threatened not to contest election against Arbab Rahim.

Although Arbab Rahim is a well known notorious corrupt/Zalim Jagirdar of Tharparkar district but I will stress only on specific examples of corruption done by him and his old business partners since long. All are together since 1990 when Arbab was MNO. Mr. Karim was KDA and Mr. Muhammad Ali was Manager in Zarai Bank Mirpurkhas, but now they are as (1) Mr. Karim Bux Shaikh is an Engineer of Irrigation & Power Dept Govt. of Sindh (2) Mr. Muhammad Ali is a Special Secretary to Chief Minister Sindh.

- Bungalow No. FT-1/13/3 Datari Villas Bathisland Karachi.
- S. M. Service Station And Petroleum (Caltex) Block 2 Sher Shah Road Karachi
- Five Star Service Station Petroleum (PSO) Near Lal Kothi Shahra-e-Faisal Karachi
- Bungalow in Rawalpindi on Peshawar Road
- Bungalow Qazi Manzil at Taluka Chhachhro District Tharparkar (CM illegally sanctioned Rs. 20 lacs to purchase this house and 2D car)
- Bungalow Janghi manzil at Mithi Districk Tharparkar
- Bungalow No. 88/II 9th Commercial Street Phase – IV DHA Karachi
- Bungalow No. G-25/II 5th Gizri Street Phase – IV DHA Karachi
- Open plot No. D/11 Street No. 5 Bathisland Karachi
- Bungalow at Dodharo District Tharparkar
- Bank accounts, many luxury cars and jeeps.

Recently Mr. Karim and Muhammad Ali purchased a Diamond necklace of about Rs.20 lacs for Mrs. Arbab Rahim (second wife) by making contribution among the department and other contractors and consultants. Above properties are not shown in declaration of assets of any of the above said persons that can be verified from the record. Apart from above Arbab Rahim is also involved in favoritism, nepotism and guilty of registration of false cases against innocent persons which is a corruption within the meaning of the NAB Act for abuse of powers. Above two persons bear all expenses of his Election beyond means. During posting of Mr. Karim Bux Shaikh (academically unqualified) and Mr. Muhammad Ali, Arbab Rahim violated the Recruitment Rules, forcefully floated fraudulent/forged summaries three times, violated Supreme Court verdict No. C.A – 1297/1998 also violated the NEPRA SRO-743(I) 2003 Dated 26-07-03 and violated PEC and HEC order No. 8-0E/UGC/SECY/99*561 DT 26-06-1999 and No. 8-1E/UGC/SECY/99/740 DT 16-08-1999.

Dated: 01-05-2005
Engr. Wali Muhammad Rahimoon
CC: DG NAB Sindh with the request to conduct a detailed enquiry.

Mohtarma Bhutto condemns suspension of Punjab MPs
Demands end to wave of repression


Islamabad June 19, 2005: Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was shocked to hear reports that Opposition members of Punjab Provincial Assembly were barred from attending the session in a bid to silence them from playing their parliamentary role.

Opposition members raised questions concerning rampant corruption in the Punjab government. To silence them, they were banned from attending the session by the Punjab Assembly Speaker on Saturday and Friday for 15 days. Those barred included six members of the PPP namely Farzana Raja, Uzma Bokhari, Pervez Rafiq, Ishtiaq Ahmad Mirza, Muhammad Ashraf Khan and Samiullah Khan and a PML-N member Shaikh Ijaz Ahmad.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto said that Parliament is for the accountability of public administration. It is the duty of the elected representatives to raise issues of public concern and receive answers for the same. She pointed out that in England, the prime minister personally appears to answer questions put by the Opposition.

Mohtarma said that the banning of members of parliament for raising questions was evidence that Islamabad was a dictatorship which was unrepresentative and unanswerable to the people. She said that the Musharaf regime was exploiting the war on terror to seize the democratic and constitutional rights of the people of Pakistan.

Mohtarma said that the statement of military dictator General Musharaf calling NGO's "extremists", arresting political workers under anti terrorist laws and banning rape victim Mai Mukhtaran from travelling abroad was proof of intolerance, immoderation and unenlightenment.

A day earlier on Thursday also the Speaker banned PML-N parliamentary party leader Rana Sanaullah Kan and MPA Rana Mashhud from attending the session for 15 days.

The combined opposition in the National Assembly on Friday also staged a walk out form the House proceedings against suspension of the membership of Punjab Assembly lawmakers. During the opposition's walk out the Speaker national Assembly bulldozed the budget.

In a statement today the former Prime Minister said that the suspension of lawmakers was proof that the october 2002 elections had failed to produce a democratic system run according to democratic values. She said that the political system produced by October 2002 elections had failed to deliver which was why fresh elections open to all parties and personalities was the need of the hour.

She said that the unpopular and unrepresentative regime was resting on repression and suppression and good governance had been sacrificed at the alter of ambition and lust for power. She recalled that just a few days ago in a blatant case of political victimisation the Sindh MPA of the PPP Zahid Bhurguri was arrested on terrorism charges. She said that the regime, which claimed to be fighting a war against terrorism, was making a mockery of anti terrorist laws by using them against peaceful, political and elected representatives.

Such actions she said betrayed the frustration of the regime for its failure to take over the Pakistan Peoples Party and subordinate it to the will of the forces of dictatorship.

She said that this new wave of repression was the result the Party standing by the people in refusing the dictation of the regime for Mohtarma to abdicate leadership of the PPP, stay in exile until after the elections of 2007, and accept the seventeenth amendment. The sentencing of Pir Mukarram, the harassment of MPAs Shamim Ara and Farheen Mohgul, the breaking of her constituency and the PPP districts in Sindh and the dismissal of PPP mayors were all part of the campaign of terror.

She said that such tactics would not deter the opposition members who she said would continue their struggle for democracy.

The former Prime Minister said it was a sad day in the history of Pakistan that Quaid e Azam's Pakistan had been usurped in an attempt to turn the country into a garrison state where the people were exploited, oppressed, deprived, discriminated, unemployed and forced to commit suicides because they could not afford to feed their families.

Mohtarma praised the suspended parliamentarians for their strong spirit and willpower which enabled them to defy the dictators and raise issues of public concern. Mohtarma said that victory belonged to the people and the rulers should remember the fate of other dictators that came before them. She said that this was the age of democracy and dictatorship was bound to end with the support of the people.

PPP condemns violation of election laws in Frontier by-election


Islamabad June 20, 2005: The PPP has condemned the regime for violating election rules in the by elections to PF-66 provincial assembly seat in D.I.Khan on Saturday and expressed concern that the Election Commission was unable to stop the violation of electoral laws.

Lutfur Rehman candidate of the ruling MMA in the Frontier province and younger brother of the opposition leader in the National Assembly won the Saturday by-election for provincial assembly seat in his native Dera Ismail Khan.

In accordance with the election rules the Election Commission had banned use of state machinery and resources that could affect the outcome of by-elections. Despite the ban however the provincial government tendered projects worth 300 million rupees in the constituency. It also upgraded the area to the status of Tehsil and exempted residents from the payment of Abiana and Land taxes.

In a statement today a spokesman of the Party expressed shock over the gross violation of election rules to give an edge to the provincial government’s candidates. It was even more shocking that the Election Commission was not able to stop massive violations of rules banning government patronage on the eve of election despite its clear cut orders, he said.

The spokesman thanked those who supported the PPP candidate and said that because of their support the PPP candidate secured 5600 votes in the by elections as against the 2500 secured by the Party candidate in the October 2002 general elections.

This showed that the Party’s graph was going high and it was gaining popularity despite indiscriminate use of state resources by the provincial government to induce voters, he said.

Former Chairman NAB interview exposes discriminatory accountability


Islamabad June 20, 2005: The admission by former Chairman NAB that "Judges, journalists exempted from accountability" on his personal decision proved that accountability under General Musharraf is discriminatory and is for political purposes only, PPP senator Rukhsana Zuberi said in a statement today.

In a newspaper interview the former NAB chief justified excluding them to prevent them from countering that they were being intimidated and harassed.

"This is a Freudian slip that betrays that the real purpose of NAB was nothing but intimidation and harassment".

Gen Amjad, who is now facing corruption and abuse of power allegations, also disclosed in the interview that before he left NAB in 2001 he was investigating six high ranking military officers on various charges.

The Pakistan Peoples Party demands that General Amjad disclose the names and offences of the concerned officers, she said.

Senator Rukhsana Zuberi said that those who were really corrupt were being protected by the state and blackmailed into joining the cabinet whereas those who were innocent were being maligned to break their spirit and their will to oppose dictatorship and fascism.

Gen. Musharaf did not deny that he was investigating corruption cases against Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Pervez Elahi and other prominent pro-military politicians, who are now in the government. Parliamentarians Imran Khan has filed an election petition challenging Ch. Shujaat's election on the grounds that he was disqualified being a defaulter with written off bank loans. The loans were written off by General Musharaf as a favour to Ch. Shujaat, she said.

Pervez Elahi also falls in the same category. However, General Musharaf and his team never tire of maligning the PPP leadership which is innocent and for whom special courts were formed because the charges could not stand the test of independent scrutiny before ordinary Courts, she said.

The former accountability boss said in the interview that one of the things carried from the army days is that when you leave a post, you do not look back. He asserted that from the day he left NAB he has no idea of what is happening there. But, he said he would not name those six officers who were under investigation when he was the NAB chairman.

Gen. Amjad does confess that there may have been cases where honest people were put to discomfort and inconvenience' but does not name all of them. Amjad wrongly justifies this on the basis that courts also acquit people falsely charged. He forgets though that his victims could not go before ordinary courts or ordinary laws. In fact the power of courts to grant bail in accountability cases was taken away and laws were regularly changed retrospectively to tailor the allegations for a better fit, the PPP senator said.

Amjad claims that "no economy could flourish through corruption" but conveniently forgets to apologise to the PPP which had the best economic record since 1988 to date. He also fails to explain why he did not arrest individuals, including Musharaf's handpicked Commerce Minister and others against many allegations were made of corruption especially as under General Musharaf the economy sank and was only picked up after the twin towers attack.

Astoundingly, Gen Amjad states that after his shifting from staff college, he was posted in GHQ "where he had nothing specific to do except arrange a defence exhibition". This disclosure is stunning in that it indicates that the country is spending crores making officers Generals who have nothing to do but arrange exhibitions. In other words, the army simply does not need the number of Lieutenant Generals that it has.

She said that Amjad also fails to explain why, when recovering loans for the banks from the defaulters, the NAB kept a significant portion of the recovered money, which belonged to the public sector banks. He does not name the amounts given to those serving in the NAB that was widely seen as an extortion machinery and faced charges of blackmailing businessmen to line their own pockets.

General Amjad was rightly asked that "there was a general perception that judiciary was used by army to punish politicians by first sparing them from accountability and then taking separate courts under direct control of NAB". This is the very reason why discriminatory laws kill justice and spread corruption rather than root it out. The reporter also pointed out to General Amjad that his targets all belonged to the Opposition excluding those that supported the military regime. He could not give a satisfactory answer to this.

Senator Rukhsana Zuberi said that General Amjad was tongue tied when asked about "the discrimination shown by the regime in respect of Yusuf Raza Gilani and Wasim Sajjad as both are accused of similar charges but only one was put in jail by NAB". Of course the reason is that Wasim Sajjad joined the regime and Yousaf Reza Gillani did not.

General Amjad did not have the courage to admit that during his tenure NAB investigators used to harass the victims and their families by creating a 'reign of terror', she said.

General Amjad then had the cheek to imply that no one was stopping the army from being held accountable when the fact is that he himself had refused to answer before Parliament simply because being a military man he has protection of a gun and the Parliament, being a civil institution, does not.

It may be recalled that when Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto tried army officers in the Attock case, the military destabilised his government and freed the men who attempted treason and broke the law of the land. So too when Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto's government arrested men involved in a military coup, they were all subsequently released and it was her government which was destabilised.

It is because of the repeated intervention by the military, and the refusal of some of its leaders who respect the laws of the land that Pakistan is facing a crisis. Previously the military leaders led the country to disintegration in 1971, to the humiliation in Kargil in 1999 and now some scholars are saying that Pakistan's main problem is " its faltering political system, its dysfunctional social order, its dangerous sectarianism, and its grossly distorted political system." Pakistan can only be saved through political means and through democracy which is why the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy is calling for the holding of elections which are fair, open to all parties and personalities, with an accurate and decentralised vote count, she said.

PPP Holland observes first Shahadat Anniversary of Munawar Soharwardi


Islamabad, 18 June 2005: First Shahadat anniversary of Shaheed Munawar Hussain Soharwardi was observed in several Pakistani cities and in Amsterdam, Holland.

Shaheed Munawar Soharwardi was brutally murdered in daylight in Karachi a year ago. His killers are still roaming free and have not been apprehended yet.

The Shahadat anniversary in Holland was observed in the party office with Fatiha Khawani in the morning offered by the large number of PPP workers and supporters. In the evening message of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was read out at a large gathering attended by party workers. The gathering was addressed by President PPP Holland Raja Riaz, Saifullah Saifi, Karamat Ali, Nasir Nizami, Mazahir Bukhari, Malik Mohammad Afzal, and Munir Jamil who paid rich tributes to Shaheed Munawar Sohawardi for his struggle against tyranny and injustice in Pakistan.

Shahadat anniversary was also observed in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpur Khas, Nawabshah and Larkana and rich tributes were paid to a genuine political worker who continued struggled for a democratic and just society in Pakistan all his life. Sindh Peoples Youth organised Fatehakhawani in every district headquarter in Sindh for Shaheed Munawar Soharwardi.

PPP holds protest rally in Hyderabad against Zahid Bhurgari’s Arrest


Islamabad, 18 June 2005: Pakistan Peoples Party held a huge demonstration at the Press Club Hyderabad protesting against the Arrest of PPP member Sindh Assembly Zahid Bhurgari and continued victimization of PPP leaders and workers by the military regime.

Zahid Bhurgari MPA was arrested last week after he had criticised Sindh Budget in the assembly. The Chief Minister Sindh, Arbab Ghulam Rahim had threatened Zahid Bhurgari of dire consequence and after that he was arrested in a false and concocted case. He was produced in court hand cuffed and his face was covered portraying him as a terrorist.

The protest rally in Hyderabad raised slogans against the regime for illegally arresting Zahid Bhurgari and demanded his immediate release. Sindh Peoples Youth also participated in this protest demonstration. The Sindh Peoples Youth in an emergency meeting has decided to hold demonstrations in every district headquarter in Sindh against the political victimisation of leadership and workers of Pakistan Peoples Party.


PPP Australia holds demonstration against General Musharraf


Islamabad, 18 June 2005: Pakistan Peoples Party Australia organised a protest demonstration in front of parliament house in Canberra on the eve of arrival of Pakistani military dictator General Musharraf in Australia.

The protestors displayed placards demanding restoration of democracy in Pakistan, release of PPP leaders and workers and withdrawal of false and concocted cases against Party Quaid Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Senator Asif Ali Zardari and other PPP leaders and workers.

Another protest was held in Sydney in front of Hotel International where General Musharraf is staying during his Australian visit. The demonstrators were holding banners, placards and Party and Pakistani flags. The protestors demanded supremacy of parliament, end of army interference in politics, end of human rights violation, withdrawal of cases against PPP leadership, free and fair elections and honourable return of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to Pakistan. General Musharraf had to enter the hotel from the back gate. President PPP Australia M Asif Khan, Chairman PPP Australia Hanif Muqaddam, General Secretary Prof. Ahmad Nawaz Awan, Senior vice president Akram Cheema, vice president Mohabbat Khan, Public relations secretary Raja Hameed, joint secretary Rao Wasim Asghar and information secretary Hassan Ashraf Chattha participated in the demonstration.

Reports of Shaikh Rashid running militant camps are true


Islamabad June 15, 2005: Former Interior Minister Major General Naseerullh Babar has said that Information Minister Shaikh Rashid was not speaking the truth in denying the assertion by the visiting Indian Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik that Shaikh Rahid had been running training camps for militant Kashmiris in Pakistan.

Yasin Malik said in Islamabad on Monday that the federal Information Minister had been running training camps for militant Kashmiris.

The former Interior Minister said that Yasin Malik has not denied what he is reported to have said. The denial has come from the Foreign Office and Shaikh Rashid himself.

He said that even if the government now pressured Yasin Malik to resile from his earlier statement it would not absolve Shaikh Rashid of his past.

Major General (R) Naseerullah Babar said that in 1989 Shaikh Rashid had himself confessed to running a training cum refugee camp for the Kashmiris in Tarnol near Islamabad. His press statement was on record, which had not been denied till today, he said.

Shaikh’s denial of running militant training camps today is an after thought in the wake of 9/11 that fails to arouse any credibility, he said.

The former Interior Minister asked Shaikh Rashid to answer the following questions.

*Who paid for his land near Tarnol and for what purpose it was purchased by him?

*Is it not a fact that he had publicly claimed to run militant training camps on this land?

*Is it not a fact that the camp he set up near Tarnol was a little more than a camp for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri refugees as is claimed now?

The former Interior Minister said that neither twists and turns by the Shaikh nor spin by him can contradict his past.

PPP condemns method of PTCL privatisation
Demands disclosure regarding Bilal Musharaf's financial interests in sale


Islamabad, 15 June 2005: Pakistan Peoples Party spokesperson rebutted Federal Minister for Information Technology Awais Legahri, son of disgraced President Farooq Leghari, for misinformation on PPP policies relating to privatisation.

The Minister had wrongly claimed that the present policy of PTCL privatisation was the continuation of the policy carried out during the previous government of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

The PPP spokesman said that while the PPP introduced privatisation, deregulation and decentralisation in the country, none of its privatisation had led to adverse labour reaction.

The spokesperson said that the PPP is committed to the security of labour rights. Therefore all privatisation by it was done in consultation and with the concurrence of the labour. PPP believes that successful privatisation can only come along when there is a healthy relationship between government and labour. The PPP spokesperson said PPP could never compromise the rights of Labour as the present regime, and the son of the Mohsin Kush Farrooq Leghari was doing.

PPP spokesperson assured the labour that it is with them and will stand firmly with them as it has stood in the past.

The PPP demanded to know whether the PTCL was being given to General Zinni and Bilal Musharaf, a son of General Musharaf. The PPP wanted public disclosure of the beneficial interests of Bilal Musharaf in the privatisation of PTCL. The PPP said the manner in which the armed forces and para military troops had been called out to take over Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) indicated that there was more to the privatisation of PTCL than met the eye.

The PPP condemned the raids on the houses of the PTCL workers. PPP condemned the arrest of union leaders and workers and termed it the anti-labour agenda of the military dictatorship.

Shaikh Rashid given hundreds of acres in name of jehad, says PPP


Islamabad June 15, 2005: Commenting on the statement of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Mr. Yasin Malik that when the armed struggle in Kashmir was raging the present Information Minister Sheikh Rashid had set up a camp for training armed militants for guerilla operations, a spokesman of the PPP has issued the followed statement today.

"In 1989 the PPP government had learnt that the ISI, without clearance from the government, had given to the then opposition member Shaikh Rashid hundreds of acres of prime land in the suburban areas of federal capital. The PPP government had also learnt that this land was given to him for support to the Kashmiri groups.

The spokesman said that the PPP government was however skeptical about the claim and did not buy this argument. But as the military under the Constitution was under the President, there was little the government of the day could do about it constitutionally.

The PPP was skeptical that the training camp story was anything more than a decoy to divert state funds to favored political leaders to overthrow democracy, he said.

He said that the PPP demands that a full fledged inquiry should be held to know how much training of militants actually took place. If only a small part was spent on training and bulk on other activities it would make it clear that land was given for some collateral purposes, he said.

In this connection, the PPP learnt that ten crores was also given to an organisation called Pasban. Pasban denies that it received the funds from ISI although this is the report with PPP.

The spokesman said that there were other organizations that were also similarly funded to overthrow democracy in the country and to stop the progress of the people of Pakistan.

The PPP demands of Shaikh Rashid to return the land he had been given for training Kashmiris as General Musharraf himself has claimed that such training has since been stopped, the spokesman said.

Pakistan's moderates are beaten in public
Ali Dayan Hasan International Herald Tribune
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15, 2005



LAHORE, Pakistan 'Teach the bitch a lesson. Strip her in public." As one of the police officers told me, these were the orders issued by their bosses. The police beat the woman with batons in the full glare of the news media, tore her shirt off and, though they failed to take off her baggy trousers, certainly tried their best. The ritual public humiliation over, she and others - some bloodied - were dragged screaming and protesting to police vans and taken away to police stations.

This didn't happen to some unknown student or impoverished villager. This happened to Asma Jahangir, the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion and head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the country's largest such nongovernmental group. The setting: a glitzy thoroughfare in Lahore's upmarket Gulberg neighborhood. The crime: attempting to organize a symbolic mixed-gender mini-marathon on May 14.

The stated aim of the marathon was to highlight violence against women and to promote "enlightened moderation" - a reference to President Pervez Musharraf's constant refrain describing the Pakistani military's ostensible shift from state-sponsored Islamist militancy and religious orthodoxy to something else (just what is not entirely clear).

Others arrested included Hina Jilani, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and 40 others, this writer included (an observer, not a runner - too many cigarettes). The police, faced with embarrassing media coverage, released us a few hours later.

The marathon was organized by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and affiliated nongovernmental organizations in the light of recent "marathon politics" in Pakistan. Until early April, it was government policy to encourage sporting events for women, so Punjab Province organized a series of marathons in which men and women could compete. The brief experiment ended abruptly on April 3, when 900 activists of the Islamist alliance, the Muttaheda Majlis-e- Amal, or MMA - which was effectively created as a serious political force by Musharraf and is backed by the military - attacked the participants of a race in the town of Gujranwala.

According to a government statement at the time, the MMA activists were armed with firearms, batons and Molotov cocktails. Yet within days the activists were released without charge and Musharraf's government had reversed its policy of allowing mixed-gender sporting activities in public.

The public beating of Pakistan's most high-profile human rights defenders highlights what most Pakistanis have known all along: "Enlightened moderation" is a hoax perpetrated by Musharraf for international consumption. What is known in Pakistan as the "mullah-military alliance" remains deeply rooted, and the Pakistani military and Musharraf continue to view "moderate" and "liberal" forces in politics and society as their principal adversaries.

The reason is simple: Democracy, human rights and meaningful civil liberties are anathema to a hypermilitarized state. Pakistan's voters consistently vote overwhelmingly for moderate, secular-oriented parties and reject religious extremists, so the military must rely on the most retrogressive elements in society to preserve its hold on power. Jahangir and others were beaten because they tried - in a symbolic but crucial way - to challenge the mullah-military alliance on the streets of Lahore.

In Washington and London, Musharraf presents himself as the face of enlightenment; in Pakistan there is another face. The Bush administration, Musharraf's chief backer, should realize that its friend in the war on terror came to power in a coup, continues to hold office without facing Pakistani voters, refuses to schedule a vote, and bans women from running in mixed-gender races. Those who stand for the values of human rights and democracy that the Bush administration calls universal are seen as the enemy within and are beaten on the streets.

Instead of allying himself with espousers of hate and intolerance, Musharraf should pursue a genuine path of enlightened moderation by telling the MMA and others that the days of treating women as second-class citizens are over. If human rights defenders can be beaten for running for their rights, will they have to run for their lives before the rest of the world and Musharraf's patrons wake up?

(Ali Dayan Hasan covers Pakistan for the New York-based group Human Rights Watch.)

LAHORE, Pakistan 'Teach the bitch a lesson. Strip her in public." As one of the police officers told me, these were the orders issued by their bosses. The police beat the woman with batons in the full glare of the news media, tore her shirt off and, though they failed to take off her baggy trousers, certainly tried their best. The ritual public humiliation over, she and others - some bloodied - were dragged screaming and protesting to police vans and taken away to police stations.

This didn't happen to some unknown student or impoverished villager. This happened to Asma Jahangir, the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion and head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the country's largest such nongovernmental group. The setting: a glitzy thoroughfare in Lahore's upmarket Gulberg neighborhood. The crime: attempting to organize a symbolic mixed-gender mini-marathon on May 14.

The stated aim of the marathon was to highlight violence against women and to promote "enlightened moderation" - a reference to President Pervez Musharraf's constant refrain describing the Pakistani military's ostensible shift from state-sponsored Islamist militancy and religious orthodoxy to something else (just what is not entirely clear).

Others arrested included Hina Jilani, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and 40 others, this writer included (an observer, not a runner - too many cigarettes). The police, faced with embarrassing media coverage, released us a few hours later.

The marathon was organized by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and affiliated nongovernmental organizations in the light of recent "marathon politics" in Pakistan. Until early April, it was government policy to encourage sporting events for women, so Punjab Province organized a series of marathons in which men and women could compete. The brief experiment ended abruptly on April 3, when 900 activists of the Islamist alliance, the Muttaheda Majlis-e- Amal, or MMA - which was effectively created as a serious political force by Musharraf and is backed by the military - attacked the participants of a race in the town of Gujranwala.

According to a government statement at the time, the MMA activists were armed with firearms, batons and Molotov cocktails. Yet within days the activists were released without charge and Musharraf's government had reversed its policy of allowing mixed-gender sporting activities in public.

The public beating of Pakistan's most high-profile human rights defenders highlights what most Pakistanis have known all along: "Enlightened moderation" is a hoax perpetrated by Musharraf for international consumption. What is known in Pakistan as the "mullah-military alliance" remains deeply rooted, and the Pakistani military and Musharraf continue to view "moderate" and "liberal" forces in politics and society as their principal adversaries.

The reason is simple: Democracy, human rights and meaningful civil liberties are anathema to a hypermilitarized state. Pakistan's voters consistently vote overwhelmingly for moderate, secular-oriented parties and reject religious extremists, so the military must rely on the most retrogressive elements in society to preserve its hold on power. Jahangir and others were beaten because they tried - in a symbolic but crucial way - to challenge the mullah-military alliance on the streets of Lahore.

In Washington and London, Musharraf presents himself as the face of enlightenment; in Pakistan there is another face. The Bush administration, Musharraf's chief backer, should realize that its friend in the war on terror came to power in a coup, continues to hold office without facing Pakistani voters, refuses to schedule a vote, and bans women from running in mixed-gender races. Those who stand for the values of human rights and democracy that the Bush administration calls universal are seen as the enemy within and are beaten on the streets.

Instead of allying himself with espousers of hate and intolerance, Musharraf should pursue a genuine path of enlightened moderation by telling the MMA and others that the days of treating women as second-class citizens are over. If human rights defenders can be beaten for running for their rights, will they have to run for their lives before the rest of the world and Musharraf's patrons wake up?

(Ali Dayan Hasan covers Pakistan for the New York-based group Human Rights Watch.)

Mohtarma Bhutto condemns arrest MPA Zahid Bhurguri
Demands immediate release and end to political victimization


Islamabad June 15, 2005: Former Prime Minister and chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has condemned the arrest of PPP MPA from Hyderabad Zahid Bhurguri and demanded his immediate release.

PPP MPA from Hyderabad and president of the Hyderabad City PPP Zahid Bhurguari was whisked away by security personnel soon after addressing a public meeting in Hyderabad on Sunday. A day earlier Zahid had forcefully denounced the provincial budget in the Assembly upon which the provincial chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim had menacingly gestured inside the House that he will sort him out.

The whereabouts of Zahid were not known for two days and the police denied any knowledge of his whereabouts. On the third day the police said that the PPP MPA was involved in some bomb blast case, the details of which are yet to be made public. He has since been charged with terrorism and kept under detention in Jamshoro.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have already commented on how terrorism laws are being misused against political opponents of the regime.

The combined opposition in the Sindh Assembly on Monday staged a sit in on the stairs of the Assembly building to protest the arrest of Zahid Bhurgari. The opposition in the Senate in Islamabad also staged a walk out on Monday protesting the arrest of Zahid Bhurguri and implicating him in a false and trumped up case of terrorism.

In a statement today the former Prime Minister said that the arrest under on charges of terrorism of Bhurguri was a blatant case of political victimization. It was aimed at punishing the opposition for having refused to succumb to dictation by the regime to take over the Pakistan Peoples Party and subordinate it to the will of the forces of dictatorship.

It may be recalled that PPP negotiations with the regime broke when PPP refused terms for Mohtarma to abdicate leadership of the PPP, stay in exile until after the elections of 2007, and accept the seventeenth amendment. Since then the regime has unleashed a reign of terror in which Pir Mukarram was sentenced, MPAs Shamim Ara and Farheen Mohgul were harassed, Mohtarma’s constituency was once again delimited, the PPP districts in Sindh broken and PPP mayors dismissed.

She said that such tactics would not deter the opposition members who she said would continue their struggle for democracy. She said that the recent anti people budget was one more example why restoring the rights of the people was important to the dignity, respect and progress of Pakistan.

The former Prime Minister deplored that the rulers had turned Pakistan into a garrison state where the security agencies and state apparatus was used to re-engineer Pakistan's political landscape. She said that Musharraf dictatorship was exploiting the war on terror to usurp the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan.

Mohtarma Bhutto said that all democratic people saluted the courage of Zahid Bhurguri for refusing to bow down before dictatorship. It is this courage and strength of conviction of the workers and leaders that the Party is going strong and lives in the hearts of the people of Pakistan.

She demanded the immediate release of Zahid Bhurguri as well as other political prisoners and an end to the reign of terror and political victimisation.

Prayers offered for Begum Bhutto and Senator Asif Ali Zardari in UK, USA and Pakistan
 

Islamabad, 13 June 2005: Special prayers were offered for the health of Begum Nusrat Bhutto and early recovery of Senator Asif Ali Zardari in the United States, UK and Pakistan.

Prayers were offered for the well-being and health of Begum Nusrat Bhutto and Senator Asif Ali Zardari at Mosques around greater Manchester area including Victoria Park Mosque, Madina Mosque and Darul-Aloom.

Special prayer ceremonies were held in Sanfrancisco, Chicago and California where large number of party workers and sympathisers offered prayers for early recovery of Senator Asif Ali Zardari and long life of Begum Nusrat Bhutt. General Secretary PPP Women Wing Karachi, Ms. Shehla Raza arranged five prayers meetings where prayers were offered for good health of Begum Nusrat Bhutto, Senator Asif Ali Zardari and Bhutto family.

The Deceptive Cloak of Musharraf's Enlightened Moderation
By Husain Haqqani

 


WASHINGTON, June 15: The arrest in California of a Pakistani father and son allegedly linked to terrorism highlights, once again, the superficiality of the Pakistani regime’s rhetoric about changing the country’s direction.

So far no evidence has been presented by US officials of the California detainees being linked to Al-Qaeda, except an affidavit by one of the accused admitting to attending a militant training camp near Rawalpindi. It is possible that the Pakistanis arrested in California turn out to be innocent of Al-Qaeda links, joining the ranks of hundreds of Muslims caught in America’s currently over-zealous law enforcement. It is equally possible, however, that they were associated with a Pakistani Jihadi group, which in turn might be linked to the global network loosely described as Al-Qaeda.

The Pakistani Foreign Office was, as usual, quick in denying that any Al-Qaeda facility exists in Pakistan. Of course, it is the same Foreign Office that, through its permanent representative to the United Nations has been periodically debating the definition of terrorism at the UN even though Pakistan has ostensibly been a crucial ally in the US-led global war against terrorism. One could ask Pakistani officials how they can be America’s partners in fighting terrorism if they do not agree with the US definition of terrorism but that argument is not the subject of our immediate concern.

The same week that the California arrests served as a reminder of the Jihadi presence in Pakistan, the famed victim of a gang rape whose rapists had earlier been set free was detained and forbidden from traveling abroad. The “enlightened moderate” State in Pakistan chose to extend its protection to the perpetrators of the gang rape rather than Mukhtaran Mai, the victim.

With the passage of time, differences between the “Islamist” dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq and the “modernizing” regime of General Musharraf are clearly a lot less pronounced than Musharraf’s supporters make them out to be. The military regime’s priority appears to be to suppress or deny bad news rather than to change the circumstances that give rise to it.

In case of the California arrests the Pakistani authorities should have obtained full information and checked the facts on ground before setting their spin machine in motion. One of the California accused reportedly told his interrogators that he attended a Jihadi facility run by Maulana Fazlur Rehman at “Tamal in Rawalpindi.” Given that the FBI officer writing the Pakistani detainee’s statement was unfamiliar with both Rawalpindi’s geography and the who’s who of Pakistani Jihadism, it is perfectly possible that he simply failed to figure out the information he was given.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, originally of Harkat-ul-Ansar has maintained a Jihadi facility at Dhamial in Rawalpindi for many years. Had the Pakistan Government been serious in its claims of uprooting militancy and terrorism, it would have paid some attention to this possible link between last week’s arrests in California and a shadowy group that participated in the officially sanctioned Afghan and Kashmir jihads.

Maulana Khalil was one of the signatories of Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa against the United States and was reportedly in the camp struck by US cruise missiles in Afghanistan in 1998. In January 2004, the Los Angeles Times reported that Maulana Khalil remained openly active despite government-imposed bans on him and his organizations. Khalil had survived the ban in 1995 on Harkat-ul-Ansar and renamed it Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. When Harkat-ul-Mujahideen was banned after September 11, 2001, he emerged as the leader of Jamiat-ul-Ansar.

Instead of doing anything about Maulana Khalil or his followers after the publication of the LA Times report, Pakistani security services threatened the newspaper’s Pakistani reporter. The reporter’s reporting, rather than Maulana Khalil’s activities appeared to irk Pakistani officials more. Maulana Khalil was finally arrested with considerable publicity in March 2004 only to be released quietly seven months later.

He has reportedly gone underground after the recent arrests of his followers in California. Unlike Mukhtaran Mai, the rape victim, Pakistani authorities are unable to find and detain him. Ironically, the same Pakistani officials who had no qualms about keeping Asif Ali Zardari (husband of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto) in prison without a conviction for almost eight years have never found sufficient reason to detain Maulana Khalil – or several other militant Jihadi leaders for that matter.

It should be obvious to all but the most naïve that General Pervez Musharraf’s U-Turn in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 has been selective and aimed more at pleasing the United States than at ridding Pakistan of domestic militant groups. General Musharraf made his views clear in an interview with the Washington Post in 2002, in which he made a distinction between various elements of Pakistan’s militant problem and stressed that the militants fighting in Kashmir were freedom fighters.

“There are three elements of terrorism that the world is concerned about,” Musharraf said in that interview and went on to list these three elements. “Number one, the Al-Qaeda factor. Number two is what [the Indians] are calling cross-border terrorism and we are calling the freedom struggle in Kashmir. Number three is the sectarian [Sunni vs. Shia] extremism and sectarian terrorism in Pakistan...The third one is more our concern, and unfortunately, the world is not bothered about that. We are very much bothered about that because that is destabilizing us internally.”

Thus, in the General’s world view sectarian terrorists were the real source of trouble while Al-Qaeda’s Arab members had to be apprehended to ensure the flow of US support. Homegrown militants trained for operating in the region were the least of Musharraf’s concern at the time of that interview. But Pakistani authorities cannot eliminate the international terrorist network or the sectarian militias without decapitating the domestic Jihadi networks. All Islamist militant groups sympathize with one another and in some cases, such as Kashmiri Jihadi groups and sectarian militias, have overlapping memberships.

From the point of view of Pakistan’s Islamist militants and their backers in the establishment, Jihad is only on hold but not yet over. The major Kashmiri Jihadi groups retain their infrastructure that could be pressed into service at a future date. Afghanistan’s Taliban also continue to find safe haven in parts of Pakistan as recently as the spring of 2005. Afghan and American officials complain periodically of the Taliban still training and organizing in Pakistan’s border areas but their protests are rejected summarily with rhetoric similar to the one about domestic militant groups.

The Musharraf regime has been careful to take all steps necessary to retain the goodwill of the United States and its rhetoric of “enlightened moderation” has won it America’s support. President Bush described Musharraf as “a courageous leader” who had risked his life to crack down on the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, declared during a March 2005 visit to Pakistan that Pakistan “has come an enormously long way...This is not the Pakistan of September 11. It is not even the Pakistan of 2002.”

American officials regularly express the belief that Pakistan had turned the corner and could now be trusted as an American ally. The United States sees Pakistan’s glass as half full rather than half empty. For Pakistanis faced with on-ground realities, such as militants living in their midst and the treatment of gang rape victims like Mukhtaran Mai, there is little in the glass that gives them satisfaction.

The writer is Associate Professor of International Relations at Boston University and author of the forthcoming book 'Pakistan Between Mosque and Military' (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005, Title Top Left)

Naheed Khan criticizes the Budget and terms it as anti-people


Islamabad, 14 June 2005: Political secretary of Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and member national assembly Naheed Khan has said that the claims of the regime that it has broken the begging bowl has been exposed because the Federal Government is borrowing Rs. 212 billion as External Receipts and Rs. 98 billion from the State Bank of Pakistan.

Taking part in the budget debate in the national assembly she said that rupees 800 billion generated by the federal government is being eaten up in debt retirement (300 billions), defense expenditure (257 billions including pension) and civil expenditure (250 Billions).

She asked that where is the economic revolution that Shaukat Aziz has been promising for the last five years? Only to sustain this budget the Government is borrowing Rs. 310 billion. Where are the claims of breaking the begging bowl, she asked? She said that Debt Servicing of Rs. 300 billion despite Rescheduling of Billions of Dollars belies the claims of the Federal Government that the debt of the country is decreasing.

Naheed Khan said it is unfortunate that there is no provision in the Budget which shows that the Government is taking any steps to promote employment, to make fair income distribution and reduce poverty and inflation.

Regarding NFC Award she said that this budge has been presented in circumstances where the NFC Award has not been announced. The Federal Government is ready for increasing the vertical distribution from 37.5 percent to 48.5 percent but has tied this to a proviso that the provincial governments should agree to horizontal distribution amongst themselves. This is a deliberate attempt on the part of the Federal Government to make the provinces fight amongst themselves in order to save Rs. 65 billion that otherwise the Federal Government was bound to transfer to the provinces.

She claimed that this budget is of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. This is a pro rich and pro big business budget. Government has reduced the duty on cars but has not reduced on the Stationary and Books which from the basis of Education. To form a civilized society the new generation has to be imparted education. The Cabinet Division has spent Rs.1 billion on procuring luxury cars and operating them. The National Assembly of Pakistan did not approve this proposal and it is shameful that it will be brought in the House as Supplementary Budget. Today 40% of the population is living on less then one Dollar a day and 43% below two Dollars a day. People need Roti, Kapra aur Makaan. People are forced to commit suicides 3.52 million are employed. Has the increased growth reduced poverty, overcome inflation? she asked.

Out of the Interior Ministry funds 28 crores are being spent on VVIP security of Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff. Despite that there have major attacks on both of them. Who is to protect the common citizen of Pakistan? Common man has been left at the merry of thieves, dacoits and terrorists.

She said that the NAB budget has been increased by 30 crores and it is doing nothing except political victimization particularly of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and her spouse Senator Asif Ali Zardari. A question mark hangs over the NAB’s expenditure and Recovery figures.

Regarding the Defense Budget she said that an amount of Rs. 193 billion was allocated for Defence Budget in the years 2004-05 but that has been over spent by Rs. 23 billion to Rs. 216 billion and a fresh grant of Rs. 223 billion is being asked for which in fact is Rs. 257 billion as Rs. 34 billion of pensions for the Defense personnel has been shifted to Civil expenditure. What is the need for this when we have friends in the shape of Iran and Afghanistan on the Western borders and we are in the midst of the much touted peace process with India? One line budget practiced for the Defence expenditure has to come to an end. Parliamentary oversight on all the expenditures has been the practice all over the world and Pakistan cannot be an exception. Parliament should be given the right to oversee and approve all the expenditures sought for Defence.

Naheed Khan said that the procurement of 70 F-16s amounting to $3 billion (i.e. $40 million a piece) is a luxury which Pakistan can ill afford and one wonders where they are going to be used. We want to see the defense of Pakistan to be strong and impeccable but this cannot happen until the army continues interfering in the civilian affairs. The Army has to go back to barracks and leave the political system to the politician, she concluded.

Mohtarma Bhutto concerned over taking over of PTCL buildings by troops


Islamabad June 13, 2005: Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has expressed concern over the taking over of the Pakistan Telecommunications Company (PTCL) by the personnel of the Army and the Rangers. She said there was a danger that such an action could increase the alienation of the people from the armed forces of the country.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto expressed concern that the armed forces were repeatedly being brought into action against the people which was not good for the country. In this connection, she recalled the Okara Military Farms Operation, the Dera Bugti operation, the Fisherman fishing rights issue, the Waziristan operation which had failed to flush out big fish and now the involvement with the country's labour force.

Just as the government on Saturday set June 18 for holding bids for the sale of 26 percent shares of PTCL, personnel of the Army Ranges and police stormed the Company buildings even before the talks between the workers unions and four member ministerial committee concluded.

In a statement today the former Prime Minister said that while the PPP supported the policy of privatisation, its modalities had to be worked out in consultation with the labour and with the protection of its rights. It should be carried only after taking into account the human and social consequences and the concerns of the workers, she said.

The former Prime Minister said that the PTCL was a profit making concern. She said its privatisation must be carried out in a manner where the benefits are not skimmed off at the expense and exploitation of the employees who could end up losing their jobs.

She said that the rigged elections of 2002 had produced an unrepresentative regime which had failed in governance and was using the Army and Rangers personnel as crutches to continue on its illicit hold on power at the expense of the rights of the working classes of Pakistan.

Since the dismissal of the PPP government, the defense forces were massively involved in running power utilities, water supply and sewerage plants and running industrial and commercial concerns. Mohtarma expressed grave concern over pictures of gun wielding soldiers atop PTCL buildings instead of at the territorial frontiers of Pakistan. She said that it hurts the image of the country and the troops that they were taking on their own people. She said PPP had withdrawn army from Karachi Operation to protect and promote the image and professionalism of the armed forces so that they could enjoy universal respect amongst the people of the country.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto called for pending the privatisation of PTCL to facilitate negotiations with the workers' unions that could produce satisfactory results for all involved in the deal.

The workers constitute the most important element of the national asset and must not be ignored in the privatisation process, she said.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto reaffirmed the PPP's commitment to Labour rights.

Mohtarma Condemns Persecution of Rape Victim


Islamabad, 13 Jun. 2005: Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has condemned the house arrest of Mai Mukhtaran a Rape victim who had the courage to speak out against her tormentors and became an internationally recognised figure.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto said that the treatment of the Mai Mukhtaran case demonstrated the intolerant, immoderate and unenlightened polices of the present military dictatorship which was practicing gender discrimination.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto said that those the regime disliked were put on exit control list as Mai Mukhtaran had been put. Mohtarma said that the regime was protecting the rapists by harassing Mai Mukhtaran with house arrest, which is actually arrest without warrants, and calling it protective custody.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto said that the barbaric manner in which Mai Mukhtaran case was being handled was exposing the traditional and primitive values espoused by the present undemocratic and unrepresentative regime.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto said that on April 16th during the return of Asif Zardari to Lahore, the regime had permitted the sexual harassment of women citizens of Pakistan who had had their hair pulled and limbs twisted by male police. Subsequently a United Nations Rapporteur had had her clothes torn by the authorities typical of the tribal punishment of one century ago when women were degraded to uphold patriarchal traditions.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto recalled that Islam expressly forbid violence against women. Islam banned the violence against the girl child who used to be buried alive according to tribal conditions. This was symbolic of the importance that Islam gives to the life and dignity of the girl child and of women. The Constitution of Pakistan also upholds the fundamental human rights of women. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto recalled that the greatest leaders of Pakistan from its Founder to its first directly elected Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto also promoted women’s rights.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto deplored that exploiting the war against terror, the present military dispensation had put into place an unaccountable and unrepresentative system under which immorality and lawlessness were prevailing.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto said PPP supported democracy because democracy and development go together. Mohtarma said that democracy empowers a people and makes governments accountable. She said that lack of accountability was eroding the moral fabric of Pakistani society.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto called upon the people of Pakistan to raise their voices for democracy so that gender rights, as well as fundamental rights of all citizens, could be protected.

Mukhtar Mai was raped allegedly on the orders of a tribal council in 2002. On Friday a court ordered that 12 men imprisoned in connection with the case be released.

Even as the court order the release of the alleged rapists, Ms Mai's name was put on the "exit control list" banning her from travelling abroad.

The human rights group Amnesty International had invited Mai Mukhtaran to visit the United States.

Senator Asif Zardari Leaves Hospital for Rest at Home


Islamabad, 13 June 2005: Senator Asif Ali Zardari left the Wellcare Hospital this afternoon following a final ECG and blood tests. He has been advised to take full rest for twelve weeks.

Senator Zardari and his family thanked all those who had had prayers held for his early recovery. They thanked those who had sent flowers, cards and telephoned.

As Asif Ali Zardari is a diabetic patient and suffers from hypertension, a cardiac nurse will be monitoring his recovery progress from home.

This man is the governor of a province in Pakistan. He lives in a huge mansion surrounded by servants. So why were we paying him £1,000 a month in benefits?
By Daniel Foggo and Massoud Ansari in Karachi
(Filed: 12/06/2005)

 

The two-storey stone mansion that Dr Ishrat-Ul-Ebad Khan lives in as the governor of the Pakistani province of Sindh is surrounded by magnificent lawns and protected by armed guards.

It has two grand entrances, more than a dozen bedrooms, oak floors in the main reception rooms and separate quarters for the staff who see to Dr Khan's every need.

As a senior Pakistani politican, Dr Khan has been photographed beside President Pervez Musharraf, is chauffeured in Mercedes limousines and was inaugurated as governor of his country's second largest province with much pomp almost three years ago.

Yet for almost 10 months while Dr Khan was enjoying the comforts and privileges that go with high office, his family was receiving money from the British benefits system, including income support of about £1,000 a month.

An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed that British taxpayers also funded the £244-a-week rent on a house in Edgware, north-west London, that Dr Khan keeps as a base for his family in Britain.

When confronted by this newspaper, Dr Khan admitted that since taking up his position in December 2002, he had received benefits to which he was not entitled. But he insisted that he had refunded the overpayment. Neither he nor his family is now claiming any benefits, and they have not done so since October 2003 when Mrs Khan went to join him in Pakistan, he said.

Dr Khan, who trained at Sindh Medical College in Karachi and has also been a housing minister in Pakistan, came to Britain in 1992 as an asylum seeker. He fled after being accused by the then government of involvement in murder and kidnap offences.

Following the acceptance of his asylum claim in 1999, Dr Khan, who is aligned with the pro-Musharraf Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM), was entitled to a range of welfare benefits.

From 1997 he and his family lived in a pebble-dashed semi-detached corner house in Edgware, and in May 1999 they began claiming income support, which entitled him to payments, such as housing benefit.

His wife, Shaheena, also received benefits because she had a stress disorder, and extra money was added on to allow Dr Khan, who did not have a job, to care for her full time.

By 2002, however, the political situation in Pakistan had changed markedly, with Gen Musharraf having replaced President Ishaq Khan. In December of that year the doctor was invited by the general to become governor of Sindh, and he was inaugurated on December 27.

Records show, however, that he and his wife continued to receive benefits for 10 months.

When contacted by this newspaper, Mrs Khan, who continues to divide her time between the palace in Pakistan and the house in Edgware, claimed that she had written to notify the authorities that her husband had left the country "a few weeks" after his departure.

She said: "His recall was very sudden and we were not sure how long it would last and whether he would stay or not. I didn't write straight away but within about a month to say he had left."

Without his presence their benefits should have been approximately halved. This did not happen, however because, she said, the authorities did not reply.

She said: "When I got no reply I assumed they were taking their time making a decision and so I continued to cash the cheques as normal. Some months later I finally went into the benefits office and told them he was no longer with me and then they sent us a request for repayment, which we paid."

Benefit office records show that she contacted the authorities in October 2003 and told them that her husband had left Britain on September 28 for a period of four months and that she herself would be leaving on October 22. Benefit officials calculated that small repayments, relating to benefits paid since September 28, were therefore due.

In fact, by September 28, 2003 Dr Khan had been the governor of Sindh for almost nine months, during which time he had performed official duties ranging from inaugurating a national immunisation campaign against polio to visiting Saudi Arabia, where he enjoyed the hospitality of the royal family.

He made trips to London to visit his family during that period, including the week prior to September 28.

Dr Khan said that he had repaid a matter of "a few hundred pounds" to the social security authorities but he was keen to make sure that any money that might still be outstanding was reimbursed.

"Since you have raised this, I will be writing to the social security officials to clarify the situation," he said.

"If anything has been done, even inadvertently, I would very much like to rectify it. But in our opinion we have not tried to misguide or mislead." Three of the Khans' four children still live at the Edgware house and attend full-time education in Britain. Dr Khan said that the house was owned by a friend.

In the meantime, Dr Khan, who earns 35,000 rupees (£350) a month - the average Pakistani earns 25,000 rupees a year - lives in a colonial-era house, located in the heart of the port city. The house sits in a dozen acres and is guarded by the gun-carrying men of the Pakistan frontier constabulary. Packed with art treasures, it has a billiards room and tennis courts.

After he was appointed governor, all former criminal accusations against him were dropped. Now he is responsible for appointing judges and can also pardon convicts.

COMPARING PPP AND PRESENT REGIME
 

KARACHI, June 12: The people of Pakistan have been plunged into a price-hike kiln since the illegal and unconstitutional overthrow of People’s government as prices of commodity items registered an increase of up to 300 per cent since 1995-96 fiscal years.

 

A chart comparing the current prices of different commodity and utility items with those of 1995-96 prepared by the Media Cell Bilawal House shows that rice prices shoot up from Rs11.27 per kg in 1995-96 to present Rs45 thus showing a rise of 299 per cent during the period less than a decade. (Price Chart Is Attached).

 

The survey conducted in this regard show that the people of Pakistan are undergoing worst inflation of double digit and unprecedented price-hike since the removal of Prime Minister Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto’s elected and democratic government. The cases of suicide have increased manifold since 1996, which also proves that Pakistanis were in better economic conditions under her government and their conditions started deteriorating since her removal from power.

 

The survey report pointed out that purchasing power of 10 per cent rich Pakistanis have risen by 33 per cent while the same has reduced for the 10 per cent poor of lower rung by 9 per cent.

 

The education fees in colleges have been increased by 100 per cent while those of seven large universities by 400 per cent. The public transport fares were jacked up by 100 per cent.

 

It further pointed out that the rulers were continuously raising the prices of petrol and diesel instead of lowering expenditures on their luxuries and perks.

 

It said that people of Pakistan know that their economic conditions have deteriorated since the snatching of the democratic rights done by the illegal and unconstitutional ouster of their elected government in November, 1996.

 

 CHART

 

 

 

Particulars

Prices 1995-96

Prices 2004-05

Increase %

 

 

 

 

Ginger

Rs. 27.25/kg

Rs. 100/kg

267 per cent

Wheat

Rs. 5.14/kg

Rs. 12/kg

133 per cent

Salt

Rs. 2.80/kg

Rs. 12/kg

328.5 per cent

Chicken

Rs. 40/kg

Rs. 127/kg

217 per cent

Beaf

Rs. 48/kg

Rs. 130/kg

170.8 per cent

Onion

Rs. 7.50/kg

Rs. 16/kg

113.9 per cent

Wheat Flour

Rs. 5.90/kg

Rs. 17/kg

188 per cent

Potato

Rs. 10.50/kg

Rs. 18/kg

71.3 per cent

Tea

Rs. 120/kg

Rs. 240/kg

100 per cent

Mutton

Rs. 91/kg

Rs. 240/kg

163.7 per cent

Sugar

Rs. 16.75/kg

Rs. 26/kg

55.2 per cent

Milk

Rs. 13.50/ltr

Rs. 28/ltr

107.4 per cent

Diesel

Rs. 10.66/ltr

Rs. 29.14/ltr

173.4 per cent

Bread

Rs. 1.5/pc

Rs. 3/pc

100 per cent

Gram Pulse

Rs. 21/kg

Rs. 32/kg

51 per cent

Karosine Oil

Rs. 10.55/ltr

Rs. 32/ltr

203.3 per cent

Egg

Rs. 22/dozen

Rs. 33/dozen

50 per cent

Tomato

Rs. 14/kg

Rs. 35/kg

150 per cent

Moong Pulse

Rs. 21.85/kg

Rs. 40/kg

54.6 per cent

Yougart

Rs. 17.50/kg

Rs. 40/kg

128.6 per cent

Petrol

Rs. 24.40/ltr

Rs. 45.61/ltr

87 per cent

Rice

Rs. 11.27/kg

Rs. 45/kg

299 per cent

Cooking Oil

Rs. 40.50/kg

Rs. 68/kg

67 per cent

Ghee

Rs. 39.50/kg

Rs. 65/kg

64.5 per cent

Haldi

Rs. 42.50/kg

Rs. 80/kg

88 per cent

FBI holds U.S. Pakistani dad, son on terror rap http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050608/ts_nm/security_suspects_dc

 By Jenny O'Mara
 

SACRAMENTO Wed Jun 8, (Reuters) - The FBI has arrested a Pakistani-American father and son living in California after the son admitted to attending an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

Hamid Hayat, 23, and his father, Umer, 45, of Lodi, 35 miles south of state capital Sacramento, were taken into custody over the weekend. Both men are being held in Sacramento on charges of lying to federal authorities.

"We believe through our investigation that various individuals connected to al Qaeda have been operating in the Lodi area in various capacities," Keith Slotter, special agent in charge of the FBI office in Sacramento, told reporters.

These involve "individuals who have received terrorist training abroad with the specific intent to initiate a terrorist attack in the United States and to harm Americans and our institutions."

The United States has launched numerous terrorism prosecutions with great fanfare since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, although many cases later fizzled out.

Two other men were arrested in Lodi for violating terms of their visas, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Dean Boyd. The men have been identified as Muhammad Adil Khan -- an imam at Farooqia Islamic Center -- and Shabbir Ahmed, also an imam in Lodi, an administration source said.

"We are a peace-loving people; we have never done anything to violate the laws of the United States," a fellow Islamic leader, Taj Khan, told reporters in Lodi. "We love this country as much as anyone else."

PAKISTAN TRAINING
According to an FBI affidavit, Hamid Hayat told agents he attended an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan for about six months in 2003 and 2004. "Hamid further stated that he and others at the camp were being trained on how to kill Americans," the affidavit said.

"Hamid advised that he specifically requested to come to the United States to carry out his jihad mission," the document said. "Potential targets for attack would include hospitals and large food stores."

During weapons training, photos of President Bush and other high-ranking U.S. political figures were pasted onto targets.

Neighbor Leslie Korb, who lives across the street, said Umer Hayat, who called himself Michael, drove an ice cream truck and had recently completed a course to become a welder. He said Umer had said the family went to Pakistan because the mother needed a liver transplant. "He was very cordial," he said. "I've never seen anything unusual."

The FBI affidavit said Hamid Hayat left the United States in April 2003 for Pakistan. When he was returning to the United States via Korea on May 29, authorities diverted his flight to Japan because his name appeared on a no-fly list.

After the plane was diverted, Hayat denied having any connection to terrorism or terrorist activities, it said. After being allowed to continue to California, Hayat again denied being involved in training camps. A day later, after taking a lie detector test, Hayat admitted that he had attended an al Qaeda training camp, the affidavit said.

After Umer Hayat was shown a videotape of his son admitting that he trained at the camp, he said he had visited the camps and had paid for his son's flight to Pakistan to attend the camp. (Additional reporting by Deborah Charles in Washington, Jim Christie in Lodi)

False allegation leveled by Pak government will be contested in Geneva, says PPP


Islamabad June 11, 2005: "Reports in a section of the press saying that a ‘Swiss Court’ will begin hearings in July give the misleading impression that a trial is to begin in Geneva".

This has been stated by a spokesman of the Pakistan Peoples Party in a statement today clarifying reports in a section of the press.

"A Swiss Magistrate is holding an inquiry into a matter triggered by false allegations made by the Islamabad regime. These allegations have never been proven in a Pakistani court", he said.

It is believed that the new hearings were scheduled following demands by the expensive lawyers hired by the Islamabad regime to schedule a new date, the spokesman said.

"The Islamabad regime scheduled these hearings in an attempt to pressure former Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who refused to Musharaf's terms to abdicate leadership of the PPP, stay in exile until after the elections of 2007, and accept the seventeenth amendment".

The spokesman said that the Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party has rejected the politically motivated charges and will contest them irrespective of the propaganda attempts by the establishment since the overthrow of the PPP government in 1996.

Contrary to the reports circulated by the regime, Jens Schlegelmilch has denied acting as an agent of the former Prime Minister in a statement before the Swiss Magistrate investigating the matter, he said.

It was unfortunate that the Swiss were allowing their institutions to be used for settling political scores in Pakistan, the spokesman said.

PPP condemns victimization of political opponents

Demands inquiry into torture of Yunus Memon and punishment to culprits



Islamabad June 11, 2005:
Pakistan Peoples Party has condemned the harassment and institution of false cases to victimize political opponents in Sindh.

The police in Larkana arrested in a false theft case the 16 year old Yunus Memon who is a nephew of the PPP leader and member of the Party’s District Working Committee in Larkana Mr. Khalid Memon. Yunus was illegally kept in police station where he was also tortured.

On instructions of the Chairperson Party leaders visited Yunus Memon and brought the matter to higher officials in the administration and instituted a criminal case in the court of Sessions Judge Larkana against the police officials involved.

The Session Judge Larkana has issued arrest warrants of the three police officials and also ordered the admission in hospital of the victim Yunus Memon.

Yunus was subsequently admitted in Chandka Medical College Hospital Larkana where according to the doctors he was tortured.

In a statement today the PPP central information secretary Taj Haider warned the government against victimization of its political opponents by employing third degree and underhand methods.

He demanded immediate end to victimization of political opponents and swift action under the law against his tormentors of Yunus Memon.

Taj Haider also urged the human rights bodies and members of civil society to raise their voice against such massive human rights violations.

Islamabad--Picture attached of Raja Zafar ul Haq, Chairman PML N and Ms Tehmina Daultana Vice Chairman as well as Mr. Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, a leader of MMA jointly called on former Federal Minister and Senator Asif Ali Zardari to inquire about his health. Mr. Zardari had an emergency angioplasty done following total blockage of the heart's major artery. Mr. Zardari is expected to be released from hospital some time this week.

Raja Pervez Ashraf expresses grave concern over looting of PPPP MNA


Islamabad June 11, 2005: Raja Pervez Ashraf MNA and deputy parliamentary leader of the Party in the National Assembly has expressed deep concern over the incident of dacoits breaking into the house in Karachi of PPP-P MNA Nafisa Raja and demanded arrest of the culprits and toning up of the police force.

Some dacoits broke into house of PPP-P MNA, Nafisa Raja in Karachi, on Friday forenoon and looted valuables.

Armed robbers entered Ms Nafisa’s home in Gulshan-i-Iqbal in Karachi and holding her and her daughter at gun point and decamped with looted jewelry, cash and other valuables.

In a statement today Raja Pervez Ashraf deplored that the law and order situation was deteriorating day by day as the rulers employed police force on protocol duties and for chasing and hounding political opponents. He said how an ordinary citizen could feel safe when the members of parliament were looted in broad day light by bandits and dacoits.

He said the regime had failed as military commanders from Peshawar to Karachi were attacked and the Members of Parliament looted.

Raja Pervez Ashraf demanded immediate arrest of the culprits and toning up of the police.

PPP questions NAB and Fauji Foundation in Budget debate


Islamabad June 9, 2005: -The PPP today questioned the performance of NAB, Fauji Foundation and defense spending during discussion on the budget.

Taking part in the debate Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the budget documents showed that the allocation for NAB was increased from 467 million last year to over 752 million this year.

He said that just when the Parliament was asked to approve enormous allocations for NAB he had received a letter from the Senate secretariat that the MPs could not ask for the accountability of Fauji Foundation because it was a private organization and beyond the purview of parliamentary scrutiny and accountability.

"Today I am asked to approve a grant of 752 million rupees for the NAB in the name of accountability but warned at the same time that I can not demand the accountability of Fauji foundation".

He questioned whether Fauji Foundation was a private organization and listed several reasons why it was not.

1. The MD of Fauji Foundation was appointed in April 2002 when he was still in uniform and a serving corps commander. He retired from the Army during his tenure in the FF. What business a serving General has in a private organization? Will a serving Brigadier be posted in say Edhi Foundation and his posting orders be issued by the GHQ? Has it happened before?

2. The Fauji Foundation has been set up under the Charitable Endowment Act 1890. It has a Committee of Administration set up under section 13 of the Charitable Act 1890. How a body is operating under a law of the parliament can be declared to operate beyond Parliamentary scrutiny and accountability, he asked.

3. The Committee of Administration of the Foundation comprises Secretary Defense as Chairman and five 3-star officers of the defense services and is responsible for what the Foundation does. Has any private entity in the country a committee which has members as a federal secretary and senior generals, he asked.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Defense said in the National Assembly on April 21, 2005 that a high level inquiry has been ordered into the sale of Khoski Sugar Mills of the Fauji Foundation. Thus the Defense Ministry can hold an inquiry but the Parliament is told that you can not question the Defense Ministry as to what the inquiry is about and what its findings are.

About the military budget of over 223 billion rupees it is over 5% of the GDP. Janes’ Journal of Defense warns us that when the military spending exceeds three percent of the GDP the red signals must bleep.

He said questions of transparency and how the military budget was spent because of questions raised about the priorities. He said that the priorities will be questioned when one sees that the Edhi Ambulance is required to pay toll tax but defense forces on private duty are exempt from it. The priorities and proprieties of spending will be questioned when it comes into the knowledge of the Parliament that contracts are awarded to FWO and NLC without bidding.

$50m luxury planes for President, PM
 

ISLAMABAD 6/12/2005: The government has arranged loans to import special luxury planes worth $50m for the president and prime minister, the upper house of the country’s bicameral parliament has been told.

Senator Enver Baig of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party disclosed this during the budget speeches in the Senate, official source4s said Saturday.

Senator Baig said the government was importing two planes worth $25 million each for the president and prime minister. He said the planes would be purchased through a loan secured from a bank. The bank has approved the loan, the senator said.

He challenged the veracity of the budget documents on the basis of government’s past record of furnishing wrong information to the house.

He said in the case of Umra pilgrimage expenses of the three former prime ministers and travel expenses of former foreign secretary Riaz Khokhar, the Foreign Office had admitted that wrong figures were provided to the house. “Hot do you expect me to believe the figures in the budget?” he asked.

Senator Baig placed a list of questions on the record of the house pertaining to concessions given to the plastic industry, National Accountability Bureau and other items, which had not been explained in the budget documents.

He questioned the economic policies of the government and said more than 500 people had committed economic suicides. He said the prices of essential items of daily use had increased exorbitantly.

Senator Rukhsand Zuheri said oil prices had been increasing in the country since 1999, benefiting the refineries and oil marketing companies.

She said no investments had taken place to improve the quality of fuel. She demanded reduction in fuel prices by 12-18 per cent.

Senator Zuberi said the sale of six A300B4s should be stopped as Pakistan would be paying $600 million extra by leasing the planes and selling its own aircraft.

A Cartoonist's View of the latest Corps Commanders meeting in Rawalpindi

 

An Ex-Diplomat Reveals What Happened at Last Corps Commanders Meeting

By Wajid Shamsul Hasan


LONDON, May 30: Since early this year, soon after he reneged from his national pledge to denude himself of his uniform, General Pervez Musharraf seems to be struggling hard to keep himself afloat through all means contrived by a commando when he finds himself in a soup.

Specially in the last quarter newspapers have been full of speculations, some of which has emanated from their assessment of the objective conditions within and outside the country. There have also been plants through wired pen pushers to delude masses of the grimness of the situation.

However, a strong perception is gaining ground that his house of cards is about to crumble and that many changes of far-reaching consequences will come about once a 'tax-free', but still a punishing, budget is inflicted on the people.

There is talk of a new prime minister. Prospective candidates have been seen doing the rounds to their tailors for a shirwani for the oath taking ceremony. The fate of PML-Q leadership has also become shaky. Political opportunists have started shifting; new alliances are in the offing.

Prophets of doom see lot of turmoil in the near future, packing up of the assemblies and the last pitched battle by the General to save himself. This observation finds weight in the rumors doing the round in Islamabad's diplomatic circles that the General has locked himself in a Catch-22 situation. He did manage to do extremely well for himself during the last five years by practicing Machiavellian art of statecraft but at the end of the day the situation seems to be inching towards a sad denouement for the Prince.

Reliable sources have revealed that for the first time in the last meeting of the top Khaki commanders, he could smell the Brutus in some of his colleagues and he could even hear the grinding of their daggers. And when he looked around, he could not find any Mark Anthony who could bury him with words that made Caesar immortal.

Like all other previous commanders in chief and as per the tradition of the army, the Knights of The Round Table, Musharraf's corps commanders, too enjoy the freedom of _expression and liberty of criticism but once their chief has given his verdict on an issue, his decision is executed with religious zeal and commitment.

However, this time around some of the generals managed to muster the courage to tell their boss that the image of their institution had been sullied and destroyed by his dirty dabbling in politics. Musharraf was told: "The situation has reached the point of implosion, much like that of Shah's when his generals had to seek refuge in the residences of our defence personnel in Tehran, borrow shilwar-kameez from them to flee to safety in the dark of the night. Let's get out of this situation before it is too late."

This outburst emanated when various proposals were floated from the chair to sort out the political future of the country. The case presented was that despite his best efforts, his contrived system had failed to deliver, "politicians" were too incompetent and they could not run it or deliver. Not only that his King's Party is ending up as an association of Kilkenny cats.

Obviously, the message was that he wanted the support of the Knights of the Round Table to pack the system, lock, stock and barrel. He put before his KRT colleagues various proposals that have been appearing in newspapers suggesting to him to run his system like Egypt's Hosni Mobarak, follow the footsteps of the Indonesian General, adopt the Turkish pattern or go for the American presidential system.

A seemingly beleaguered President-General could smell rebellion around him. It was not as vociferous or as threatening as General Yahya Khan's response to President-Field Marshal Ayub Khan was in 1969. Besieged by street agitation, Ayub sought to seek an exit route by calling a Round Table Conference of the politicians.

According to Brigadier AR Siddiqi's revelation in his book "East Pakistan: The End Game", Yahya was already plotting with politicians to help him overthrow Ayub to the extent Yahya asked Sheikh Mujib to "go ahead with his anti-Ayub campaign without any let or hindrance from the army". Yahya showed his true intentions to Ayub when he asked his army chief to come to the aid of the civil government facing countrywide agitation. Yahya told Ayub his troops would not come out to support Ayub and crush anti-government civil agitation but he could restore order if he was handed over complete power and he could impose martial law. And that is what happened.

Insiders in Islamabad who know how things happen there in the dark, say the response that the General got from his top commanders was that "we can not be a party to prolonging your game of musical chairs and trial and error".

They also mention that it was General Yahya who introduced holding of three offices. General Zia was quick to learn the lesson from Ayub's folly of vacating the Army Chief's position. So he stuck to it and so has General Musharraf. Bonapartist generals have ambitions and when they do not find any recourse to higher positions in normal course, C-130 is deployed to do the needful and blame it on divine intervention.

Political pundits I talked to in Pakistan believe that the recent development of the perception that Musharraf's house of cards is about to collapse needs to be seen in the context of the growing Praetorian discontent as disclosed by his blue-eyed junior minister that "rogue elements" in ISI and army want to kill him.

Subsequently, his desperation to save his King's Party, its associates by calling up the gang of 40 thieves and the Ali Babas of the co-op scam fame to the Presidency, to beg of them not to fight among themselves are sure signs that a process has been set in motion to pull the rug out from under his feet. Sources believe that that he is also rushing against time to pacify the Knights of his Round Table that his assertions about a deal with the biggest "moderate, liberal and secular" force, the PPP, were not merely a pep talk. He genuinely wants to co-opt them in power but insists that he would have them minus Benazir Bhutto.

Sources say that some of the seniors among his top brass have made it known to him that the financially prodigal efforts by the NAB to generate enough pressure on Ms Bhutto to quit politics has failed to break her iron will to continue to serve the people.

The one-sided and most crude victimization of Ms Bhutto without proving any charge against her, has endeared her to the masses more than ever before. Whenever free and fair elections will be held, she would sweep them. Not only that, the National Accountability Bureau headed by Lieutenant General Muneer Hafeez was accused of having brought Pakistan into international disrepute.

General Hafeez's boss has been conveyed: "While Hafeez moves in inches in the process of accountability, spending millions on five-star luxurious, frequent trips to London and Geneva to unearth the much illusionary stolen wealth of the nation, his real performance is nothing but forcing Musharraf's political opponents to become his supporters."

Sources believe that scathing criticism of Muneer Hafeez was quite annoying for Musharraf since it also belittled him in the eyes of his colleagues. Soon after Hafeez was exposed to the language unbecoming of a high office.

To save his skin and to run from the political heat of Islamabad and from a dressing down by his boss, Hafeez immediately rushed to Geneva via London. When there was time to spare from the shopping rounds to Harrods and Selfridges, expensive legal brains were summoned and they were told to perform a miracle: "Get something moving in Geneva against Ms Bhutto and her spouse Asif Ali Zardari."

Since PPP has refused to dance to Musharraf's favorite tunes, his bewigged Goebbels, fond of speaking with his foot in the mouth, has spoken the truth. He meant to say in so many words that that PPP was resisting the government's pressure and has refused to play ball with the government according to Musharraf's 'rules of the game'. This was followed by the media spin from Islamabad that the Swiss Magistrate has summoned Ms Bhutto and Asif Zardari to appear before it in the investigations in the SGS case before any notices were served or perhaps even issued.

To be Information Minister in Pakistan does not require you to be well informed. A case based on unfounded, malicious and false allegations sent to the Swiss authorities in September 1997 that triggered an investigation is much of the same in which Justice Muhammad Qayyum of the Lahore High Court, as head of the Ehtesab Bench, had to ignominiously resign after he had convicted Bhutto and Zardari on the instructions of the Lahore High Court Chief Justice and Chief of the Accountability Bureau Senator Saifur Rahman.

All the culprits involved in the rape of justice lie under heap of heir own generated filth in the dustbin of history. A full Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Jehangiri, had reversed Qayyum's judgment, passed strongest possible strictures against him for making mockery of judicial system in Pakistan. The telephone tape recordings of Justice Qayyum receiving instructions and assuring his boss of a sure conviction not on grounds of merit remain perhaps the biggest judicial scandal.

Following the findings of the Supreme Court and its strictures against Qayyum denuding him of judicial dignity and had there been any iota of respect for justice and fair play, General Musharraf should have ordered withdrawal of the concocted case filed in Geneva on the instructions of Saifur Rahman.

Instead Musharraf ordered withdrawal of the charges of corruption by the government against SGS-Cotecna, even paid the company a compensation and rewarded it with fresh contracts, but the case against Ms Bhutto and Zardari was not withdrawn and is being blatantly used as the most depraved method of political blackmail.

Islamabad must remember that the masses are not that naïve to believe in all the filth that is thrown. They will rejoice the day when everything will fall flat on the face of Bhutto predators. Like his predecessors, Musharraf too will fail and the day is not far when absolute vindication in the case would be in order.

While many amongst us are searching for answer as to why so much confusion, increasing rumors and speculations when Islamabad was shaken up by the suicide bomb explosion on Friday within the reach of the Presidency, the Prime Minister House and perhaps US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca still around.

At the time of writing this piece death toll was 20 with 70 seriously injured. Obviously timing of the bombing could have different interpretations. The most appropriate conclusion by a source in Islamabad on the timing of the blast was: Ms Rocca must go convinced that after Musharraf there would be deluge.

Others believe that it could be a warning to Musharraf as well by the Jihadis that they can strike at will and that God knows who could be next.

The writer is a former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK and is currently based in London

Pro-Army Budget, With a Lot of Meaningless Fudged Numbers
By Wajid Shamsul Hasan


LONDON, June 11: Adjectives are hard to describe General Pervez Musharraf's sixth budget in one word. I am rescued by President Bush who once said: "It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it."


We have another budget full of meaningless fudged numbers spelling more trouble for the great majority of the poor driven to commit suicides out of sheer desperation.


In democratic societies national budgets are considered isacrosanct documents detailing monetary policies that the government pursues during a financial year.


Besides it lays bare measures that converge into the fulfillment of national objectives of peace, progress and prosperity for its people. In the absence of democratic governments in Pakistan, the budget story is altogether different. Budget announcements have become more of a manifestation of the policy of occupation of a land and its resources while the occupation lasts.


One would agree with the observation that the budget for the year 2005-2006 was more for the Pakistan Real Estate Corporations run by the generals, for the generals, than the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.


In coming October, General Musharraf, if he is there, would complete his sixth year of so-called "enlightened moderation". This span of time would be more than that of the first elected government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and two governments each of both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif as prime ministers. Even Bhutto's hangman, General Ziaul Haq, had publicly acknowledged that Pakistan had achieved more in quantity and quality, in the field of industrialization, defence preparedness and welfare of the people, during Bhutto's time than the progress made by the country from 1947 to 1971.


When Benazir Bhutto took over in December 1988 as a democratic vindication of her father's revolutionary policies following General Zia's fatal fall from the skies, in the 20 months that were allowed to her she had picked up the pieces and set the country onto a road to unprecedented economic growth despite the fact that she had inherited a IMF straight-jacketed Pakistan.


In her second term that, too was cut short, she had revived the economy, controlled and cut inflation, generated employment, ushered in an industrial revolution through gigantic power projects and privatization besides, of course, contributing immensely like her father, to the defence needs of the country. Mr Bhutto gave Pakistan the nuclear teeth and his daughter provided the ungrateful generals the power to bite by getting the missile technology. Rest of the story is a chapter from Mir Jaffers and Sadiqs from among the generals who chose to bite the hand that fed them.


Following his coup against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, General Musharraf had enunciated a seven-point agenda that related to ushering in good governance, better economic management, transparent and above board accountability, restoration of law and order and the writ of the state, replacing sham democracy by Quaid's democracy, separating politics from religion, rule of law, justice and fair play.


Knowing too well that the Quaid wanted Pakistan to be a modern democracy, that he had made it clear that religion will have nothing to do with the business of the state and that all citizens will be equal, Musharraf tried to pose as a man to deliver that order. He posed with his dogs in his lap, praised Ata Turk as his ideal and promised to do away with Blasphemy Law in order to establish his secular credentials.


To strengthen his progressive claims, he has come up with a scheme of enlightened moderation which stands for a policy of running with the liberal western hare and hunting with the extremist religious hounds, keeping both happy.


Sixth year running, the period people of Pakistan have suffered under him, is long enough to have a prim and proper indictment of him. Just on the eve of his sixth budget, there were reports that at least 20 people had committed suicides. His young Finance Advisor Salman Shah rushed to defend when his attention was drawn at the post-budget press briefing that suicidal deaths on an epidemic proportion were ramifications of a disastrous handling of economy by Musharraf administration. His response to the question that has made nights of many with conscience sleepless, was brushing aside the growing number of suicides as having nothing to do with crippling poverty.


According to him, the suicides were more due to psychological reasons rather than economic. He completely ignored the hair-raising and spine chilling story that a mother of five children, having failed to feed them, managed to buy rat poison, administered unto them and took it herself-to end Musharraf inflicted starvation on her family.


I am sure that the increased millions of rupees that have been allocated in the budget to maintain gold and glitter of the Presidency and Prime Minister House to enable the two incumbents live it up, changing their Seville Row suits by the hour, their lust for newer bullet proof limousines becoming insatiable by the month, if used for the poor could avert many suicide deaths. By the way, rich will travel far and cheaply too. Musharraf budget has reduced duty on big limousines from 125 per cent to 75 per cent.


Musharraf's financial hierarchy is not getting tired of blaring that their budget is "growth-oriented and people-friendly." They, however, would not like to listen that more than 7,000 suicides related to poverty have been committed during the Musharraf regime for want of employment.


They have been trying to hide that the country is suffering unprecedented unemployment around 23 per cent, that is, over eight million job-capable people are jobless and to it 300,000 are being added every year.


While the government has tried to walk away in a generous mould by increasing basic salary from Rs2,500 to Rs3,000, the average household income is below Rs5,000, and that people are suffering from record price hike ever in the history of Pakistan. Petrol is now around Rs50 per liter, milk Rs30 per liter and a single roti Rs7, rate of inflation is going around 15 per cent while the government has claimed it to be at 11.6 per cent.


Despite the fact that more housing and land developments are taking place, only 22 per cent of Pakistani families own houses. This shows the exclusivity of the government's real estate policy and its privileged orientation. Failure to tax booming real estate business where most of the foreign remittances are being invested, shows protection to the thriving real estate business now monopolized by ex-and-serving army personnel.


There is a consensus that the best weapon to fight extremism, sectarianism, intolerance, bigotry and religious militancy is universal education. It is most unfortunate to note that our literacy rate has not shown any improvement, it remains between 22 per cent to 26 per cent and to top it all, Pakistan is behind Nepal and Bangladesh in Human development Index. Increase in the budget for education from Rs2 billion to Rs7 billion, on paper looks like a leap forward.


However, when one looks at the magnitude of the illiteracy problems and ills that emanate from it, this budgetary allocation is just peanuts. About health sector, less said the better. Again, on paper, the increase from Rs 6 billion in 2005 to Rs9 billion in 2006 looks reasonable. But when we compare these allocations with our Indian neighbor with a population of nearly 100 billion people, it seem we are pursuing an agenda for killing the patient rather than curing the disease.


As compared to this, look at the defence budget. The budgeted defence expenditure of Rs194 billion for 2004-05 has actually ended up at Rs216 billion. There was an extra expenditure of over Rs22 billion. Time has not only come to debate the defence budget but also to tailor it according to the new environment and requirements. When we went for nuclear deterrence the entire objective was to reduce defence expenditure, get rid of the fat and flabby generals, dead wood in the military and to turn it into a small standing army thoroughly professional.


However, it has come to be an institution that keeps conquering its own people, which believes that Pakistan was created for the military, that they have a right to convert it into a garrison state and that it has to be seen that while young they get a job to serve and when retired they have to end up with huge real estate and lot of money in their kitty.


Scrutiny of the defence budget and the conduct of the military establishment itself must be done by the Parliament to assert its sovereign authority but also to see where the money is going especially when corruption in the barracks has acquired the proportion of an epidemic.
The shabby, shoddy and deplorable manner in which Pakistani Generals are grabbing land and developing business interests have raised many eyebrows among their friends in the West as well. Only the other day Musharraf's Information Minister acknowledged that the country was in the grip of land grabbers mafia. As if this disclosure was not enough, there followed further embarrassment when the British High Commissioner Mark Lyall Grant criticized the military's involvement in businesses ventures, saying it was one of the biggest obstacles to development and poverty reduction in Pakistan.


The High Commissioner said: "We are committed to boosting democracy at all levels in Pakistan. In the UK, we have moved the government away from business, which is why we are opposed to Pakistan's military being involved in it."


The military's growing corporate interests are the biggest impediments in the development of democracy and rule of law. The exposure of alleged scandalous deal of a sugar mill by the Fauji Foundation is just one of the eye openers.


Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has rightly observed that 'Musharraf 2005 budget' has plunged Pakistan into its worst trade deficit in the country's The ever-increasing inflation rate under Musharraf proved the PPP point that democracy and development go together while dictatorship and hardship are synonymous.

 

The writer is a former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK and is currently based in London

PML-N, MMA leaders meet Asif Ali Zardari


DUBAI: Leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Raja Zafar-ul-Haq and leader of the Muthaida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Hafiz Hussain Ahmed have met ailing PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari.

Hafiz Hussain Ahmed while describing the meeting told Geo that he along with Raja Zafar-ul-Haq have come to Dubai in connection with a press conference in Maldives and we decided in Islamabad that we would make good use of our visit and would also meet Asif Ali Zardari during our stay.

He said that the leader of the PML-N Tehmina Daultana was also present here after returning from London so we met Asif Ali Zardari and his health has improved. Hussain Ahmed said that Benazir Bhutto was also present on the occasion.

He said that all issues were discussed in connection with the political situation with both Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari.

Mohtarma Bhutto concerned over the harassment of Farzana Raja MPA


Islamabad June 8, 2005: Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has expressed concern over the systematic intimidation of Party MPA Farzana Raja asking her to switch loyalty or face consequences in case she refused.

MPA Farzana Raja brought to the attention of Chairperson how she was being harassed through threatening telephone calls placed from some private telephone numbers. On Monday afternoon she received one such call placed from Lahore asking her to resign from the Party before the Punjab Assembly budget session. The unidentified called warned d her that if she did not comply she will be responsible for the consequences, Farzana Raja told Mohtarma Bhutto.

The caller also claimed that the message from a senior opposition leader and threatened that in case she refused her life could be in danger and that she could also be scandalised in the media and in the Assembly through internet images.

The threatening calls and intimidation of Farzana Raja seem to have coincided with the sentence of imprisonment handed down to her husband Peer Mukarram ul Haq by an accountability court in Rawalpindi.

Farzana Raja informed Mohtarma Bhutto that when she tried to trace the source of the telephone call she found that it was from a PCO in Gulberg, Lahore.

She said that two young men ages 30 to 35 riding in a white Toyota car spoke to her from the Gulberg PCO.

In a statement today Mohtarma Bhutto said that she was shocked that the opposition political leaders and parliamentarians were being subjected to intimidation is such a cruel and degrading manner. She asked to rulers to stop hounding the political opponents and concentrate energies on the welfare of the masses who were groaning under grinding poverty and unemployment.

She said that the PPP workers and leaders could not be cowed down by such tactics.

The former Prime Minister also praised the courage and steadfastness of Farzana Raja and assured her that truth and justice will finally prevail.

Asif Ali Zardari With his kids in Dubai Hospital

 

Senator Asif Ali Zardari Health Progress


Islamabad June 7, 2005: Former Federal Minister Asif Ali Zardari has been shifted from intensive care to a private room following a procedure for angioplasty to open up his major heart artery and to balloon minor ones. Mr. Zardari is making good progress although he has been advised total rest for twelve weeks.

Mr. Zardari was permitted visits by family members. However, visitors are still not allowed to see him nor is he allowed to take phone calls.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, accompanied by Mr. Zardari's sister MNA Dr. Azra and Fauzia, spent the day with him in the hospital. His children have exams and were able to visit for fifteen minutes.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has thanked all those who had telephoned and sent flowers. She regretted that since they were in the hospital, they could not take the phone calls but she wanted to convey that they were very much appreciated.

Hundreds of people have been telephoning and sending flowers and get well soon cards. Many people, particularly the workers of the PPP, have written of prayers that they are offering. Amongst those who have conveyed their good wishes are present Parliamentarians, including those of the ruling coalition, Diplomats, former Federal Ministers, Governors, Generals and civil servants.

Mr. Zardari is expected to go home after two days or so.

Senator Asif Ali Zardari hospitalised


Islamabad June 4, 2005: Former Federal Minister and Senator Asif Ali Zardari was admitted to a hospital in Dubai early Friday morning following severe attack of spondolytis which has led to cardiac problems. Mr Asif Zardari has been suffering from spondolytis pain, caused by nerve compression due to bone deterioration.

Asif Zardari was taken to the hospital in the early hours of Friday June 3. He will remain in hospital for a few days for angiography, pain management and monitoring. His doctor from Pakistan is expected to fly into Dubai today to give background of medical position.

It may be recalled that Mr. Zardari was to return to Pakistan in May. However, due to his continued indisposition he was forced to postpone his schedule.

Mr. Zardari is suffering from several ailments which developed during his long eight year incarceration. These include hypertension, spondolytis, muscle atrophy, diabetes and a growth. He has been unable to undergo sustained medical treatment due to the political demands of his schedule in Pakistan and subsequently preparations for the April arrival in Lahore.

Health Bulleting Saturday 1700 hours
Asif Ali Zardari admitted in Dubai hospital for heart ailment


Mohtarma Bhutto appeals to people and workers to pray for early recovery



Islamabad June 4, 2005: Senator Asif Ali Zardari who was admitted to a private hospital in Dubai Friday morning for treatment of spinal pain was diagnosed early Saturday morning to have undergone a heart attack.

He was examined by a Cardiac surgeon in the morning and angiography tests were carried out.

The tests revealed that main artery LAD was almost completely blocked, with 99.9% blockade.

Because of long blockage two stenps were inserted in the main artery. The stenps were inserted through an uneventful procedure without any complication.

Mr. Asif Zardari is in the intensive care unit of the hospital where according to the doctors he is recovering satisfactorily.

Asif Ali Zardari will remain in the intensive care unit of the hospital for another 48 hours according to the doctors.

Earlier Dr Imtiaz Hashmi neuro surgeon from Karachi who is well versed with the medical condition of Mr. Asif Zardari had flown in Dubai for treatment of suspected spinal problem which later turned out to be cardiac.

Meanwhile Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has appealed to the people and party workers to offer special prayers for the early and speedy recovery of Asif Ali Zardari. She also thanked all those who called her or sent her e mail messages enquiring about the health of Asif Ali Zardari.

Senator Zardari’ health improving

 

Islamabad June 5, 2005: Former Federal Minister Asif Ali Zardari was stable as he recovered from an angioplasty following a heart attack earlier. Doctors will keep him in Intensive Care Unit for one more day. All visitors are stopped from seeing him. Mr Zardari will be in the hospital for another few days. Doctors have advised him total rest for the coming weeks and to avoid stressful situations.

Earlier the family was planning to take Mr. Zardari to London for the angioplasty. However, since he was in a critical condition, doctors advised immediate operation. It is expected that as soon as Mr. Zardari is allowed to travel he will be going to London for further follow-up of the angioplasty and the progress of the stents that have been placed.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has thanked all those who have telephoned as well as sent flowers etc with their prayers for recovery of Zardari Sahib. She said that it was due to these prayers that the angioplasty was successful.

Meanwhile Father and sisters of Mr.Zardari are expected to leave for Dubai shortly to be with him. Children of Zardari Sahib will also be paying their Father a visit forty eight hours after the operation. Mr. Zardari's Pakistani physicians are already in Dubai for back up support to the local medical officials. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was with Mr.Zardari during the procedure and later in the intensive care unit.

It may be recalled that Mr. Zardari was taken to Iranian Hospital late in the night of June 2 suffering from acute pain, which was related to his spondolytis problem. The aggravation of this problem had prevented Mr. Zardari from returning to Pakistan as per his original schedule. However, on the morning of June 4 he suffered a heart attack and was shifted to Wellcare Hospital that deals with cardiac patients. Doctors at the Wellcare hospital performed the procedure within one hour of the ambulance bringing Mr. Zardari to the Hospital.

Former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif were amongst former Federal Ministers, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Nazims and Parliamentarians as well as Party supporters and members of the Pakistani community who sent their good wishes for Mr. Zardari's early recovery.

PPP says Fauji Foundation not beyond parliamentary purview
Chairman Committee not empowered to cancel a requisitioned meeting


Islamabad June 5, 2005: Pakistan Peoples Party has rejected the contention of the Defense Ministry that it has no jurisdiction to appear for the Fauji Foundation at any forum because it was a private sector organization.

The Party also dismissed the decision of the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Defense Mr Nisar Memon to cancel the requisitioned meeting on the basis of an opinion expressed by the Defense Ministry as "unilateral, arbitrary and against the rules".

A meeting of the Senate Defense Committee was requisitioned by three Senators namely Sardar Mehtab Khan, Rukhsana Zuberi and Farhatullah Babar to discuss the working of the Foundation and the sale of Khoski Sugrar Mills by it.

A press release issued by the Senate Secretariat on Saturday however said that the Defense Ministry had taken the position that it had no jurisdiction to appear for the Fauji Foundation at any forum and therefore "the meeting (of the defense committee of senate) on the subject will not be held". . Taking up the issues spokesman of the PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said in a statement today that the Foundation is administered by a Committee of Administration comprising of Secretary Defence as Chairman and six 3-star generals of the Army, Navy and Air Force as members and as such it is the bounden duty of the Defense Ministry to answer questions about it.

The Defense Secretary in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee of Administration is wholly responsible for the administrative, business and commercial decisions of the Foundation, he said. "There is therefore no question of having no jurisdiction to appear before the Senate Committee on issues relating to the Foundation".

He said that Defense Ministry had already set up a high level inquiry into the sale of the Khoski Sugar Mills and admitted in National Assembly on April 21 that the Foundation had sold the Khoski Sugar Mills at Rs 300 million to an enterprise against the highest received bid of Rs 387 million and thus could not take the plea of no jurisdiction.

To maintain on the one hand that the Defense Ministry is competent to order a probe about the Foundation’s affairs and on the other hand claim that it has no jurisdiction to answer questions on its behalf is to mock at reason, logic, legality and morality, he said.

With regard to the contention that the Foundation is a private entity Senator Babar further raised the following questions.

*Is it correct that when the Fauji Jordan Fertilizer Company ran into serious financial troubles in 2003 its debt of several billion rupees was transferred to the federal government under the Paris Club?

*If it is correct then is there any other example of a private entity having been thus bailed out by the government using tax payer’s money?

He said that the Economic Survey 2004-05 published in the newspapers today shows on page 214 that government had explicit contingent liability of over one billion rupees on account of Fauji Fertilizer Company (FFC) Jordan and asked ‘is there any other private entity for which the federal government has thus assumed liability’?

* If the tax payer’s money is used to the benefit of an industrial concern will it not bring that concern, even if private, under the scope of Parliamentary review, he asked?

The PPP spokesman said that the position taken by the Defense Ministry is a volte face which can be taken with a straight face only by those who believe in the right of the might and not in the might of the right. It is designed to save the Foundation and itself from embarrassing questions.

He said that the Chairman of the Standing Committee Mr. Nisar Memon was wrong in taking a unilateral decision and declaring behind the back of the members of Committee in the dark of the night that the "meeting on the subject will not be held".

"A requisitioned meeting will have to be convened even if those asked to attend either refuse or are unable to attend. The Chairman has no powers under the Rules to unilaterally declare cancellation of a requisitioned meeting only because a certain ministry had expressed an opinion that it had no jurisdiction".

The Committee members therefore demand and expect that the requisitioned meeting will be convened in accordance with the Rule 163 (4) of the Rules of Business in the Senate. It is the prerogative of the Standing Committee on Defense of the Senate to take a decision and express an opinion on the new position taken by the Defense Ministry. The Rules have no provision for the Chairman of the Committee to give a personal verdict and cancel a requisitioned meeting, he said.

Senator Memon is a democratic. We do not expect him to take undemocratic decisions. We can not, indeed will not, permit any one to foist on the Committee unilateral decisions that are arbitrary, undemocratic and against the rules.

Mohtarma Bhutto urges people to save environment from degradation

 

Islamabad June 5, 2005: Former Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has called upon the people of Pakistan to play their part in saving the environment from degradation.

In a message on Environment Day falling on June 5 she said that Pakistan faces many challenges including the challenge of democratisation, development, social reform and meeting the needs of the people through education and employment. However, these pressing needs should not make us neglect the importance of the environment.

The former Prime Minister recalled that the PPP government laid great stress on forestation and proper urban planning as well as by banning plastic bags which are non biodegradable and taking other measures particularly with reference to managing effluents in cities like Kasur to prevent pollution and the diseases that emanate from them.

Mohtarma Bhutto called upon the regime to give attention to making cities environment friendly. She said that the struggle for sustainable development through building a healthier society could be particularly beneficial through cities where large numbers of people were concentrated in relatively smaller areas. Due to the large number of people living in one area, there are huge amounts of waste, which is affecting the water.

She noted that by taking measures to save our environment we could create a healthy atmosphere for our children who are our future generation.

Mohtarma Bhutto condemns harassment of political activist


Islamabad June 2, 2005: Former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has condemned the arrest and harassment of Jam Saqi and demanded of the rulers to stop hounding the Sindhi social and political worker and his family.

Jam Saqi a former advisor to Chief Minister Sindh was arrested in Hyderabad last week on allegation of possessing explosives and kept at an unknown place. He was later released as the explosive charge was false but is still being chased and hounded.

Jam Saqi has accused the administration of arresting him only because he was pursuing the kidnap case of minority member Uttam Mengwar.

Mengwar has reportedly been kidnapped by some influential persons of the area and is yet to be recovered. Jam Saqi says that he was seeking to expose the kidnappers and bring them to book when he was hauled by the police.

In a statement today the former Prime Minister condemned the kidnapping of Mengwar and the arrest of Jam Saqi and asked the rulers to hold an inquiry and punish the offenders. She also asked the local administration not to bend over backwards in pleasing their local political masters.

She said that times change and those who transgressed the bounds of law will soon be held accountable.

Today’s Children are Tomorrows World
—Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto



Islamabad, 6 June 2005: "Tonight the Rashid Centre pays tribute to Lebanon’s leader who was committed to Humanitarian Causes. He was a leader of courage and compassion who believed in the Islamic values of consensus."

This was said by the Former Prime Minister and Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto addressing the Award Ceremony in which Rashid Centre’s humanitarian award was given to late Prime Minsiter Rafiq Harriri fo Lebanon.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto said, "The Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre itself invites admiration for its selfless devotion to the most vulnerable segment of our society, young disabled children. None of us can be in peace with our own selves so long as innocent children continue to suffer, suffer poverty, cruelty, violence. We explore the darkest portions of space and the deepest depths of the ocean. Humanity has made incredible leaps forward. Even as we grow in technological knowledge and information passes through the information highway in the blink of an eye, the sad reality of suffering children is a reminder of challenges yet unmet."

Denouncing terrorism and violence, the former Prime Minister said, "It is important to note that some of yesterdays' children are today's recruits in suicide bombings. Although there can be no justification of terrorism, the question we need to ask is: What did the last generation do that made some of this generation perpetuate violence? History is continuous, and often cyclical. The mistakes of parents or past generations, reflect into children, thereby marking our present. Children signify our future. The experience of today will shape the decisions our children take tomorrow. No international covenants will change the world, unless there is active discouragement by parents of violence and violent means of change. However the eventual responsibility lies with nation states - to build peaceful conditions and more than that, to evolve strong legal instruments that prevent child abuse."

Stressing the need for a better world today for a peaceful tomorrow, she said, "If we could remember what happened to us during our individual childhoods that shaped our individual personalities, we could remember that today is yesterday's future, shaped by the experiences we went through as children. If we own other people's children, as if they were ours, we can build a tomorrow where the spectre of sectarian, ethnic and terrorist violence recedes. For all of us who care for children and for the common bond of humanity that links us, we dedicate ourselves to building a world where each little child that is born can hope to live without dying through infant mortality, can hope to gain an education, find a home and a career and build a family and community."

Emphasizing the need for education for girls and describing her government’s achievements, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto said, "As a Mother, I feel strongly about the rights of children. As Prime Minister I was asked to Co Chair the World Summit on children. I was astounded to find that one of nine children born with the crippling disease polio was from Pakistan. I worked hard with the people of my country to eliminate polio, to iodise salt, to prevent child labour and to build schools to give our children opportunity and a better future than the dark yesterdays they had known. Special attention was given to young girls for ensuring that our future Mothers were literate. I believe the first and best teacher is the Mother. For me, the little child, even when unborn, is our precious wealth and the strength of our coming generations."

Concluding here speech, the former Prime Minister recited the following from a poem:

"If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.

"If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.

"If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.

"If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.

"If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,

"He learns to find love in the world."

PPP blasts budget


Islamabad, June 06, 2005: A PPP Spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar has issued the following statement in response to the budget speech of the Minister of State for Finance today.

"The budget presented tonight by the Musharraf regime was a public relations stunt to cover up the dismal economic situation on the one hand and a brazen attempt to advance the interests of ruling generals on the other.

"The 2005-06 budget was yet another of the anti people, anti-civil society and anti- working classes budget seeking to advance only the exploitative vested interests of the ruling classes.

"For the third consecutive year the budget was made on the basis of an old National Finance Commission Award. The rulers failed to set up the NFC as required under Article 160 of the Constitution for division of resources among the provinces to settle resource allocation among federating units. This has compounded the difficulties of smaller provinces to formulate their budgets and bred resentment against the federation. The PPP condemns rulers’ indifference towards constitutional obligations and the concern of the provinces.

"The claims of economic turnaround and talk of mega projects are no more than bogus claims and mega lies.

"Inflation has been at more than ten percent, unemployment has actually increased during the previous year and thousands of civilian jobs given to serving and retired military officers during the previous year. Unearned money has been counted towards the reserve base.

"The PPP rejects the budgetary figures as manipulation. Five years ago similar manipulation was resorted to when 27 billion rupees of yearly military pensions were shown in budget documents as civil expenditure to conceal some bitter truths about the unaudited military spending.

"The PPP rejects as hollow the promises of revival of economy, increasing exports and attracting foreign investment.

"The gap between the richest quarter of the people and the poorest quarter of the people has increased and is condemned.

"When the law and order situation is so grim that the Army chief and Corps Commanders are the target of attacks in broad day light from Karachi to Khyber it is hard to believe that foreign investors are tripping over to invest in Pakistan.

"The increase in military allocations from 193 to over 223 billion rupees is unjustified and amounts to robbing the poor of Pakistan to enrich the generals rather than strengthening the defense of the country. There is need for parliamentary scrutiny of the defense budget and the audit of how it is spent.

"Increase in allocations for military spending is no guarantee of enhancing national security particularly when there is widespread perception of misuse of allocations because of the refusal of the ruling generals to submit themselves to accountability and audit according to the norms applied to others segments of society.

To enhance the defense capability the country must have a full time Chief of the Army Staff. Audit of the military expenditures needs to be carried out by the Parliament to examine whether and how much of the military budget has been pilfered and how it has adversely affected the nation’s defense capability.

"The PPP believes that the economy will continue to slide down with no hope of revival as long as the regime continues to insist on its policy of confrontation with the opposition political parties".

PPP apprises SG Commonwealth of continued harassment of PPP legislators and workers



Islamabad, 4 June 2005: Member Foreign Liaison Committee, Pakistan peoples Party Senator Rukhsana Zuberi has apprised the Secretary General Commonwealth, Donald McKinnon of the continued victimisation of PPP Parliamentarians and workers by the Pakistani regime and asked him to raise the issue with other democratic forums.

Senator Rukhsana Zuberi in a letter addressed to Donald McKinnon giving examples of Ms. Farheen Moghal and Ms. Sahmim Aara Panhwar, both member Provincial Assembly Sindh wrote, "Ms Farheen Mughal is a PPPP legislator in the provincial assembly of Sindh. An ardent campaigner for political rights and a fearless Party activist. Farheen never minced words against the non-democratic practices of the non-representative government of Sindh. She always remained in the frontline of raising her voice against the partisan role of the Speaker and the misrule of the sitting Chief Minister Mr Arbab Ghulam Rahim. She was one of the movers of a no-confidence motion against the Speaker on the 24th March 2005. In her speech, she criticized the Speaker's role as the custodian of the House. Her critical speech was not to the liking of the high-ups. They decided to punish her by using her husband and his career against her. This is a favourite tactic of the military regime which tries to emotionally blackmail female leaders through their spouses."

Senator Rukhsana Zuberi further wrote that since Ms Farheen Moghal became a member of Sindh Assembly, three suspension notices have been issued against her husband, Imtiaz Rajpar and as per service rules, serving of three suspension notices against an officer means end of his career. "Farheen Mughal is being punished for exercising her democratic right and for raising her voice against the Chief Minister. She is in the vanguard of exposing an incompetent and corrupt cabinet", PP Senator wrote.

Regarding another PPP woman member of Sindh Assembly Ms. Shamim Aara Panhwar, Senator Rukhsana Zuberi wrote, "Pakistan People's Party Parliamentarian MPA from Mirpurkhas, Ms Shamim Aara Panhwar, is also being pressurized to join the ruling Party. According to her, Mr Mohammad Ali, Secretary to the Sindh Chief Minister, was pressurizing her to quit the PPP and join the ruling PML along with members of her family. Her family members are being punished to force her to quit the PPP by applying family pressure. As part of these pressure tactics, her sister Naseem Aara Panhwar, a DSP had been relieved from her post in Karachi and posted in the Central Police Office (CPO) as she was asked to compel her to meet the Chief Minister and change her loyalties. FIRs were lodged against her, her husband and two brothers as a political victimization. However she has pledged to remain steadfast and with the PPP."

"The Pakistan Peoples Party condemns the political victimization of the legislators in the Opposition and expresses its concern over the growing fascist trends in the regime and the increasing witch hunting of the PPP. We request your authority to raise this matter on all platforms to let the world know how democratic the government is under General Pervez Musharraf" Senator Rukhsana Zuberi concluded.

PPP moves amendments to PEMRA Bill in the Senate



Islamabad June 02, 2005: The Pakistan Peoples Party has moved a number of amendments in The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority

(Amendment) Bill, 2005 to loosen the stranglehold of the government on electronic media.

The PEMRA Ordinance (XIII of 2002) in March 2002 was amended recently to tighten the grip of the government of the electronic media.

After the passage of the Amendment Bill by the National Assembly on May 16 this year the Bill will now be placed before the Senate in the current session.

Under the Rules the amended PEMRA Bill can not become a law until it is passed by the Senate as well.

The PPP today filed a dozen amendments on the Bill to cut down the discretionary powers of the PEMRA to hound broadcasters and journalists.

One of the amendment moved by Senator Farhatullah Babar has proposed that the Bill be circulated among the public for eliciting the opinion of various stake holders particularly the proprietors of TV channels, cable operators and radio stations.

Through another amendment the Party has proposed that Bill be referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting under Rule 111 of the Senate Rules. It said that although PEMRA came under the Cabinet division it was important that the amended Bill was also got examined by the Standing Committee on Information as it was the concerned ministry dealing with issues of media freedoms.

Another amendment seeks to reduce the number of Authority members to eight and removing the Chairman Central Board of Revenue and Interior Secretary as the two ex-officio members.

Under the law passed in the National Assembly last month the Authority will have twelve members seven of whom will be nominated by the government.

Through another amendment PEMRA’s powers to shut down a broadcasting house for airing programmes that contain pornography, obscenity "or other material offensive to commonly accepted standards of decency".

The mover has argued that the words "material offensive to commonly accepted standards of decency" was too vague, generalized and vested the Authority with vast powers to close down a broadcast station on whimsical grounds. Senator has proposed that while PEMRA may have powers to take action for pornography and obscenity it should have no blanket powers to close down a station for airing "material offensive to commonly accepted standards of decency", Through another amendment it has been proposed that the powers of PEMRA to exempt any one from the operation of the law if it ‘serves the public interest’ should be cut down so that exemption may be granted only "in conformity with the principles of equality and equity as enshrined in the Constitution".

Yet another amendment moved by Senator Babar forbids PEMRA to poke its nose in the internal administrative matters of a broadcaster.

The Bill as passed in the National Assembly makes it compulsory for a broadcaster to constitute an in house monitoring committee "with the approval of the Authority" to regulate all contents that go on air.

The mover has argued that the appointment of the monitoring committee is the internal mater of a broadcaster and PEMRA should have no business to poke its nose in internal affairs until the broadcaster violates the code of conduct.

The PPP amendment says that while the broadcasters should constitute in house monitoring committees the PEMRA should have no business as to who is on the internal committee and who should not be.

The Senate Secretariat today circulated the proposed amendments among the members for advance information before these are taken up in the senate session.

Swedish Ambassador calls on Raja Pervez Ashraf


Islamabad June 3, 2005: Ambassador of Sweden in Pakistan Ms Ann Wilkaens today called on Secretary General of the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian Raja Pervez Ashraf MNA and deputy leader of the Parliamentary Party in the National Assembly.

During the meeting Raja Pervez Ashraf apprised the Ambassador of the political situation in the country, the politically motivated cases against Mohtrama Bhutto and other opposition leaders and the rationale of the demand to hold fair and free elections as the only way out of the political crisis.

The meeting held in a cordial atmosphere lasted for one hour.

Public humiliation of political activists by security agencies
Opposition requisitions meeting of Senate Committee


Islamabad June 3, 2005: Opposition members of the Defense Committee of the Senate today requisitioned a meeting of the Committee to discuss the public humiliation of political prisoners by sleuths of a security agency in Karachi on Wednesday.

Newspapers carried pictures and private television channels ran harrowing pictures of armed and uniformed personnel with guns slinging and subjecting the prisoners to public humiliation and torture.

One picture showed some half a dozen activists of a political party made to lie on the ground with shirts taken out and faces down surrounded by over a dozen uniformed and armed security personnel. One frame has captured a uniformed security personnel standing on the back of a prisoner and gazing down at him as another dozen soldiers in ready to shoot position watch the scene.

The requisition was signed by Senators Rukhsana Zuberi and Farhatullah Babar of the PPP and Sardar Mehtab Khan of the PML (N).

In a statement today a member of the Committee Senator Farhatullah Babar said that in certain ways the incident was more shameful than what happened in Abu Ghuraib and Guantanamobay.

The fact that it happened publicly under the open sky makes it class apart from Abu Ghuraib, Pul-e- Charkhi and Guantanamobay where such shameful incidents took place behind the walls and under the roof, he said.

He demanded full fledged inquiry into the incident and punishment not only to those who committed this act but also to the commanders under whose command it happened. The Party would see to it that the interior minister for state informs the Senate on Monday about the setting up of inquiry commission and the date on which its findings will be placed before the House as promised by him on the floor of the Senate today, he said.

PPP registered with Election Commission

 

Islamabad, June 01, 2005: Commenting on reports in a section of the press that the Pakistan Peoples Party is not registered with the Election Commission as spokesman of the Party today said that the reports are distorted.

The facts are that the Pakistan Peoples Party was registered with the Election Commission with its symbol the Arrow for many years. In 2002, the PPP formed a Parliamentary wing called the PPP Parliamentarians and registered this with the Election Commission under the direction of Party leader Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, the spokesman said.

The so-called Patriots did not fight the election as Pakistan Peoples Party and have no right to be registered under that name. The PPP has written to the Election Commission stating that attempts to defraud the voter by posing as PPP of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto by using a name associated with her in four elections would be electoral malpractice.

The spokesman also contradicted the insinuation in the reports that Mohtarma Bhutto has been convicted of any crime.

He said that a politically motivated law was passed called the law to punish for absconding for alleged non-appearance before a court was used to disqualify Mohtarma. A conviction under this is a technical sentence and not a criminal conviction.

Although Mohtarma Bhutto was present in court through her defence lawyers, this law was wrongfully applied to her. She has already challenged this before an appropriate court. Further the law to punish someone in absentia has been declared null and void.

PPP welcomes women pilots in PAF


Islamabad June 2, 2005: Former Defense Minister Aftab Shabaab Mirani has welcomed the induction of women in the Pakistan Air Force and called it a positive step which would go a long way in addressing issues of gender discrimination.

According to press reports Air Chief Marshal Kaleem Saadat has said that the first female pilot of PAF will start flying in October this year.

In a statement today Aftab Mirani said that Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto during her second tenure in office had instructed all the service chiefs to take women in the armed forces.

Air Chief marshal Abbas Khattak was then the Air Chief and he said that he was ready to be the first chief to induct women in the PAF. The other service chiefs had also agreed to follow the PAF example, the former defense minister said.

AftabMirani said that the induction of women in the intelligence services, the judiciary and the police during her first tenure and in the armed forces during her second tenure would be remembered as land mark decisions.

He said it was unfortunate that the former Prime Minister was now being hounded and not allowed to return to the country.

Aftab Mirani said that the PPP welcomed the debut of women in the fighting arms of the defense forces and hoped that they will rise to the confidence the nation has reposed in them.

Musharraf is losing his grip
Ahmed Rashid


LAHORE June 1, Pakistan When Pakistan announced the arrest of a senior Al Qaeda operative last month, it was another feather in the cap of President Pervez Musharraf, with President George W. Bush describing the capture as "a critical victory in the war on terror." Musharraf's peace overtures toward India and criticism of Islamic extremism have also won high praise abroad, especially in Washington, which in March awarded him with a supply of F-16 fighter jets. But Musharraf's growing international standing is at odds with his faltering position at home.

His government is unraveling under the twin pressures of Islamic fundamentalists whom he refuses to resist and political opponents whom he harasses and jails. In April, thousands of members of the Pakistan People's Party were arrested to prevent big rallies for one of the party's leaders, Asif Ali Zardari. The Pakistan People's Party has been effectively sidelined since Musharraf took over in a military coup in 1999. Zardari - here for a visit from Dubai, where he lives in exile with his wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto - says he wants to test Musharraf's promises to restore genuine democracy.

The crackdown on the party is in sharp contrast to the extent to which the government has bowed to the demands of a coalition of six Islamic fundamentalist parties, even though many of these same fundamentalists consider Musharraf too secular and demand his resignation. The government has recently accepted the fundamentalists' demands that it stop men and women from running marathons together, and that it delay reform of the Islamic schools called madrassas, as well as efforts to amend laws on blasphemy and to curb honor killings.

Meanwhile, the civilian government brought to power by the military in 2002 after what many international monitors considered to be a rigged election has failed to deliver what Musharraf desired - a coherent and effective civilian facade for the military, which actually runs the country. Instead, the ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League, is riven by factionalism, and Parliament is often forced to suspend business because it lacks a quorum.

Shaukat Aziz, the third prime minister since 2002, is a former finance minister who has no political experience and is too beholden to the army to be an effective political leader. Challenged by its own ineptitude and by those parties demanding democracy, the Muslim League finds it convenient to pander to the fundamentalists, who are strong enough to keep the democrats at bay.

Musharraf's problems are compounded by insurgencies in the provinces. In Baluchistan, separatists are demanding greater autonomy and control over their natural resources. For the past three months the country's largest gas fields have been besieged by the separatists.

In North-West Frontier Province, a neo-Taliban resistance against the army continues with the return of Afghan and Pakistani Taliban who have been recently trained in Iraq. In the southern province of Sind there is growing alienation because of interethnic strife, increased criminality and corruption and tensions between the majority Sindhis and the central government.

The only answer to the domestic problems now tearing the country apart is more democracy - in particular a free and fair election in which the political elements that have been disenfranchised since 1999 get a political stake in determining the country's future. The next few months will be crunch time for the army, the Americans, the mullahs and the political parties. All the major players know that the present political situation under Musharraf is unsustainable.

It is time that the world sat up and took notice of events in Pakistan, because with 160 million people, nuclear weapons and a myriad of Islamic extremist groups still operating openly, Pakistan remains critical to regional and global stability.

(Ahmed Rashid is the author of ''Taliban'' and, most recently, ''Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia.'')

NAB’s Exit Control List Raises Eyebrows


ISLAMABAD Wednesday, 1 June, 2005: The Pakistan government has a list of people who can’t leave the country because they are wanted for crimes ranging from corruption to killings.

Among the luminaries are Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy Aiman al-Zawahiri, Taliban leader Mullah Omar - all of whom the government maintains are not in Pakistan!

Also on the list are former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, her mother Nusrat Bhutto and husband Asif Zardari as well as former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif - all of whom are not in Pakistan!

The Nation newspaper reported yesterday that the names are on the Exit Control List of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and also include names of serving Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao and Water and Power Minister Liaquat Jatoi!

Also populating the list of people who can’t leave Pakistan are the likes of former federal minister Abdul Sattar Lalika and militants Maulana Azam Tariq and Amjad Farooqi as well as Aimal Kasi, convicted for bombing the World Trade Center. Trouble is all three are already dead!

There is supposedly one “President Taylor” whose son, spouse and cabinet members are wanted to the government of Pakistan. There is no mention of the country “President” Taylor belongs to.

Also, there are ministers holding various portfolios with their names on the list but no mention is made of their nationalities. These include Eddington Varmah (justice minister), Daniel Chea (defence minister), Cora Peabody (commerce minister) and Edvin Vaye (international affairs minister).

Members of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party Amin Fahim, Naheed Khan, Khurshid Shah and Dr Fahmida Mirza - all legislators - are on the list, as are party colleagues Yousaf Gilani, Mustafa Khar, Jahangir Badar, Abdullah Shah, Khalid Kharal and Iqbal Tikka.

Ruling Pakistan Muslim League legislators Liaquat Jatoi, Nasrullah Dareshak, Rashid Nawani, Jaffar Leghari, Mehdi Bhatti and Mushtaq Victor are also on the list as are legislators of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s party: Mehtab Abbasi and Tehmina Durrani. - Internews

Govt comes under fire in Senate over law and order
By Raja Asghar


ISLAMABAD, June 1: The government came under fire on Tuesday over what opposition called its failure to maintain law and order in the country as the Senate debated the latest violence in Karachi and a suspected suicide bombing on a shrine outside Islamabad. But Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao called for patience and assured the house that the government was doing all possible to carry out its war against terror.

“I assure you there is no slackness (on the part of security agencies) and the writ of the government is in place,” the minister said while winding up a long debate that went on till late at night with a total of 27 other speakers, mostly from the opposition.

The house was adjourned until 10.30am on Wednesday when it will begin a debate on the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran by US interrogators at their Guantanamo Bay (Cuba) prison.

Mr Sherpao said last Friday’s suicide bomb attack at the Bari Imam shrine near Islamabad and the incidents in Karachi happened despite government precautions because foolproof security could not be provided anywhere in such situations.

He said the Bari Imam attack and the latest Karachi violence that continued on Tuesday showed that “whoever is doing it wants to engulf the country”.

Mr Rabbani said the present law and order situation showed that “there is no writ of either the federal government or a provincial government and the life and property of every citizen was at stake”.

“The state has completely failed in its duty to maintain law and order in the country,” he said and regretted that Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz had left for a visit to Turkey without taking the Senate into confidence about the internal situation.

He said the government was importing more bullet-proof vehicles for government functionaries but doing little for the security of common citizens. “So long as the government does not correct its priorities and there is no complete democracy you cannot effectively combat terrorism whether inside or outside the country,” he said.

Earlier at the start of the session, Mr Rabbani led a token opposition walkout to demonstrate solidarity with the workers of the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) protesting against the planned privatisation of their organisation.

Consensus not necessary for NFC award, says PPP leader
By Mohammed Riaz


PESHAWAR, June 1: The People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPP) has said that a consensus among provinces and the centre is not necessary for distribution of funds from the federal divisible pool under the National Finance Commission, the decision can be made on majority basis.

PPP parliamentary leader in NWFP assembly Abdul Akbar Khan told Dawn here that the consensus between the federating units and the federation would be a welcome sign, but it was not binding under the constitution.

The nine NFC members, one from the centre and eight from the four provinces, could decide about the distribution formula on majority basis, he added.

He said: “If three provinces agree and one province does not, it does not mean that the majority cannot reach an accord. The federal government has been exploiting the differences among the provinces for the past year for a particular purpose. The provinces take up this issue in May, but remain silent for 11 months which sounds like a drama and not a serious business”.

Mr Khan said this time the federal minister (Shaukat Aziz) was prime minister of the country too. The centre had only one member on the NFC forum and on its own it could not enhance the strength of the forum, while each province had two members on it, he said. It was the only forum which was not presided over by a particular member as it had no head, but they themselves could take a decision on majority basis, he said.

Mr Khan said they had always supported the NWFP government on this (NFC) issue and were even ahead of the treasury benches in and outside the house, but the government had always deprived the opposition lawmakers of their just share of schemes in the annual development programme (ADP). “We demand allocation of funds on the population basis in all the 24 districts. The districts of Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani (Bannu) and Finance Minister Sirajul Haq (Dir Lower) do not have any extra population, but all funds have been directed to these two districts, which is unjust”, he said.

He said that a government which could not do justice to its own MPAs, could not be expected to ask the centre to be just and fair.


Words of Shaheed

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

There was a great Prime Minister, the first Prime Minister, the father of the present Prime Minister of India, who said, "We were too old, we were too tired to oppose Pakistan, and Pakistan had to come into being. But we hope that one day we will get together gain." I too hope so, not that Pakistan will emerge as subservient to India but in the sense that we will get together again as equal friends, in a common fraternity, living in a common subcontinent and sharing the common effort of seeing that poverty, ignorance and misery are wiped out. If there are any two countries in world that are the poorest in the world, they are Pakistan and India. Our resources might be tremendous, but the fact is that we two are the poorest in the world. Yet in the last 24 years, we have gone to war three times. Three times there has been conflict in the subcontinent. I remember that Prime Minister of the Soviet Union once telling me that even rich nations try to avoide war; poorer nations should make a greater attempt to avoid war.

Speech at the Security Council, New York

December 12, 1971

 



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