As Karachi once again reels under uncertainty, fear and economic shut-down, it may be worthwhile to re-visit this 2011 article by Haris Gazdar in EPW, “Karachi Battles”… Excerpt:
“The big picture still favours an accord between the PPP (and ANP) and the MQM. The PPP cannot allow the military to use Karachi to undermine its rule not just in Sindh but nationally. The MQM should know that a “neutral” army operation means a crackdown on the MQM, sooner rather than later. The ANP might also be aware that its hard-won position in its home region would collapse if the jihadists regain initiative with the break-up of the secular coalition. All three should know that the most powerful militant wing belongs to the military itself, which must not be tempted into seeing an opportunity where none exists.” Read the full article here: Karachi battles – Haris Gazdar in EPW Sept 2011
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. The vigil is going ahead.
Friday, March 8
Copley Square, Boston
Students and community organizations of the Boston area are organizing a vigil on Friday March 8, 2013 to show solidarity, commemorate, and protest the target-killing of Shia Muslims in Pakistan. The attackers are armed militants from Al Qaeda- and Taliban- linked organizations acting with impunity in the name of religion with the aim of destablizing the state and capturing political power.
Just a few recent incidents this year alone illustrate this trend:
- March 3: a bomb explosion ripped through two apartment blocks in Abbas Town, a residential area populated largely by Shi’ite Muslims, in Pakistan’s business capital Karachi killed 45 people, including 20 children. Hundreds more were injured and made homeless.
Below, an article by Zohra Yusuf, my first editor, with whom I worked at The Star Weekend in 1981-82, outlining the birth of the women’s movement in Pakistan
“My years with WAF”
By Zohra Yusuf | Article written for a souvenir on WAF’s 25th anniversary, Oct 2006
Certain memories are etched on the mind. The birth of Women’s Action Forum is, for me, surely among them. It was on an afternoon in September 1981 that Aban Marker (Shirkatgah) called. She told me about the distressed call she had just received from Najma Sadeque (another SG founding member) regarding the case of Fehmida-Allah Bux. Pakistan’s first sentence of death by stoning and public whipping handed down to a couple under the Zina Ordinance of 1979. We had all read about the sentence and in our individual capacities felt deeply disturbed. After a bit of discussion, we decided to call a meeting of all women’s organizations at Aban’s place. The rest, as they say, is history. (more…)
Filed under: Gender, Human rights, Pakistan, Progressive politics | Tagged: dictatorship, Feb 12 pakistan women's day, Gen. Zia, hudood ordinance, Media, police brutality, WAF, women's action forum, zina, zohra yusuf | 2 Comments »
Just received this via email today – the text of a petition for Peace and De-weaponisation of Karachi that has been sent to the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Naeem Sadiq who sent the email says that anyone who agrees with its contents and wants to be a co-petitioner, is welcome to copy/amend the petition text (minus the petitioners) and add their own name and signature (there can be more than one signatory), designation or profession, postal address and phone number (NIC optional), and mail the petition directly to the SC at the address provided. Interestingly, the MQM last year introduced a bill seeking this aim as well. See Dilawar Asghar’s article critiquing the move at this link, pointing out that the long term solution lies in ensuring the “supremacy of the law. If the law is implemented, without any distinction and applicable to everyone, regardless of their status or affiliation that would be the first step.” Here’s the citizen’s petition: (more…)
In his article ‘A judge’s armour‘ (The Friday Times, July 20-26, 2012), advocate Chaudhry Faisal Hussain discusses the issue of contempt of court in the context of the current political system in Pakistan. “The best shield or armour of a judge, he writes, is his reputation of integrity, impartiality and learning. An upright judge will hardly ever need to use the contempt of court power in his judicial career,” he writes, quoting Justice Markandey Katju, the retired Indian Supreme Court judge who currently heads the Press Council of India. (more…)
An email from our mutual friend Gita Sahgal informs me that Cassandra Balchin passed away peacefully this morning in London, barely a few months being diagnosed with cancer, too late to attempt a cure. I am so grateful for our friendship and our time together. Saw her in London just before the diagnosis, but I had no idea she was so ill until just a week ago. She leaves behind her mother, her sons Dani and Raul, brother Charles and a host of friends around the world, especially in Pakistan where she lived and worked for 17 years, based in Lahore as a journalist and activist, focusing on gender, religion and human rights issues. The funeral will be held around July 22nd or 23rd. Those wanting to send messages may email Cass.Friends@gmail.com. (more…)
Below, Justice Markandey Katju’s unabridged article on the philosophy of judicial restraint – something the courts in Pakistan would do well to observe. (An abridged version of this article has been published by some newspapers).
Excerpt: “It is evident that the Pakistan Supreme Court, particularly its Chief Justice, have for some time embarked on a perilous path of confrontation with the political authorities, for reasons best known to themselves, which can only have disastrous consequences, not only for the judiciary but also for the entire country.”
Here’s what I wrote after the fundraiser with the great Jahangir Khan at the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) in conjunction with Dover Squash in Natick, MA – my first sports report (slightly abridged version published in The News).
From Beena Sarwar
BOSTON: The Pakistan Squash Federation has launched an ambitious project to revive the game in Pakistan, partnering with squash associations and academies in the United States to uplift, educate and groom Pakistani talent. (See Khalid Hussain’s earlier report in The News on Sunday here) (more…)
Filed under: Pakistan | Tagged: boston tennis and racquet club, cambridge cctv, dover squash, jahangir khan, maria toor, mass squash, Nasir Sheikh, pakistan squash, razi nawab, shahid zaman khan | Leave a Comment »
The following email correspondence copied to me stems from a comment on my blog by Barrister Rizwan Ahmad, Advocate High Court, Lahore, Pakistan, addressed to Justice Katju, in response to Justice Katju’s views on the Pakistan Supreme Court judgement first published on this blog. I forwarded the comment to Justice Katju who replied to Mr Ahmad: “I was constrained to write such a hard hitting article because your Chief Justice and his colleagues have lost all sense of self restraint expected of a superior Court, and have been playing to the galleries for quite some time. Whether they have a hidden agenda or not I cannot say, but they will certainly wreck the Constitution if they go on like this.” Read their subsequent exchange below, arranged chronologically, starting with Rizwan Ahmad’s reply to Justice Katju’s email: (more…)