Posted on March 1, 2013 by beenasarwar
Swat, 2009: A reminder of the Taliban’s brand of ‘justice’ – public floggings were the least of their punishments. Photo: European Pressphoto Agency
Keen to ‘negotiate’ with the Taliban in Pakistan? Really? First read Nazish Brohi’s oped in Dawn, reproduced below.
Failure of the war
By Nazish Brohi
IT is ‘APC’ season again. Karachi residents associate the acronym with armoured personnel carriers that contain and occasionally protect besieged policemen.
The political APCs on the other hand contain besieged politicians who are hoping for occasional protection. Take it from the Lyari cops in Karachi — if you underplay what you are up against, APCs don’t work. (more…)
Filed under: 'War on terror' | Tagged: democracy, Education, Pakistan, talking with taliban, women | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 28, 2013 by beenasarwar
At a time when Pakistan is reeling under all kinds of attacks, the continuation of the democratic political process and the accountability this process entails is critical. On Jan 28, 2013 a copy of a letter to the President of Pakistan from Admiral (rtd.) Fasih Bokhari, the widely respected Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was released to the media. Admiral Bokhari is known to be under pressure from various elements in the judiciary, media, and cartels, and has been threatened repeatedly. At age 71, he is fearless, believing he has nothing to lose. His words to a friend in a private email: (more…)
Filed under: Progressive politics | Tagged: accountability, democracy, fasih bokhari, NAB, Pakistan | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 21, 2013 by beenasarwar
Below, my take on what’s going on in Pakistan, written on Friday for the Sunday edition of The Telegraph, Kolkatta – which published a slightly abridged version titled ‘Anna Hazare, anyone?‘
By Beena Sarwar
So this smooth-talking ‘moderate’ cleric called Tahir-ul Qadri (TUQ, as he has been dubbed on twitter), a dual Canadian-Pakistani national, announces a ‘million man’ long march to Islamabad, calling for changes to the electoral system just as the government’s five-year tenure is ending. He heads over to Pakistan’s capital on Jan 13 to lay siege to the elected government along with thousands of supporters. (more…)
Filed under: Pakistan-India | Tagged: democracy, Loc tensions, long march, musharraf, Pakistan, Tahir ul Qadri, TUQ | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 2, 2012 by beenasarwar
Constable cradles Apache, a dog she rescued while she was embedded with Marines in Fallujah, Iraq. Photo: Chris Borouncle
I wrote this book review for the Brown Alumni Magazine, Nov 2011 issue, and didn’t get around to posting it earlier. This is a slightly longer version than the one BAM published.
Playing with Fire: Pakistan at War with Itself by Pamela Constable (Random House, 2011).
When it comes to Pakistan, veteran journalist Pamela Constable certainly ‘gets it’. Her latest book, ‘Playing with Fire: Pakistan at war with itself‘ is readable, thoughtful and nuanced. A veritable ‘Pakistan 101’ with much to offer even insiders like myself.
As Kabul bureau chief and then deputy foreign editor at the Washington Post, Constable travelled extensively around the country. Her interactions with ordinary folk and newsmakers yield empathy and human faces often missing from discussions about Pakistan. (more…)
Filed under: Pakistan | Tagged: book review, democracy, Gender, justice, law and order, Pakistan, pamela constable | 5 Comments »
Posted on March 19, 2012 by beenasarwar
“Even if the agencies in other countries play this ‘august’ role of interrupting the democratic process in their countries, does it justify ISI’s doling out money to keep a certain political party of the people’s choice out of government? Now that’s dangerous, if the army thinks whatever happened in 1990 was justifiable and is an established way of agencies’ working around the world, it should worry every law-abiding citizen of Pakistan. If the army is insisting on being right when it dictates the democratic process, we need to worry about our future. In this case we really need to reflect what has really changed despite the army’s lip service that they don’t want to mingle in politics…” Marvi Sirmed, Caviar to the General.
Filed under: Pakistan, Politics | Tagged: army meddling in politics, democracy, isi, marvi sirmed, Pakistan | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 24, 2012 by beenasarwar
I. A. Rehman, Director HRCP:
National Dialogue on Challenges to Democracy and Role of Civil Society in Pakistan
Joint Declaration: Any attempts to dislodge parliament will be resisted
LAHORE, January 23, 2012: Civil society representative and concerned citizens (Intellectuals, legal activists, journalists, women, students trade union activists, religious minorities and academia) of Pakistan from all over the country shared their deep concerns over the current political situation and crises, while talking at a national consultation held in Human rights Commission of Pakistan’s office in Dorab Patel Auditorium, Lahore today. (more…)
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: Activism, democracy, Hina Jillani, HRCP, I.A. Rehman, Khawar Mumtaz, memogate, Pakistan, SAP-Pk | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 6, 2012 by beenasarwar
Journalists are welcome to use this note, based on a statement made public on Jan 5, 2012.
Media note: Citizens express concern about Pakistan, safety of human rights defenders
Updated Jan 7, 2012
Prominent writers, doctors, intellectuals, lawyers, artists and journalists from all over Pakistan and around the world have endorsed a statement expressing “grave concern” at the threats to “Pakistani human rights defenders for their stance in the ‘memogate’ case” and “at the danger this crisis poses to Pakistan’s democratic political process that had taken a step forward with the elections of 2008”.
Nearly 200 endorsements from Pakistan and around the world, including some very prominent names, came in within hours of the statement being posted online on Jan 4, 2012.
Well known Pakistani signatories include Pakistan Bar Council Vice President Latif Afridi (more…)
Filed under: Pakistan | Tagged: Abdullah Hussein, Ayesha Jalal, Ayesha Siddiqa, democracy, Latif Afridi, memogate, Pakistan, Pervez Hoodb | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 4, 2012 by beenasarwar
Citizens’ statement of concern about the democratic process in Pakistan democratic and safety of human rights defenders, to be released to the media on Jan 5, 2012 (to endorse, please enter your information in the form at this link)
We, the undersigned, express our grave concern that Pakistani human rights defenders are being threatened and intimidated for their stance in the ‘memogate’ case. We are also concerned at the danger this crisis poses to Pakistan’s democratic political process that had taken a step forward with the elections of 2008. (more…)
Filed under: Pakistan, Progressive politics | Tagged: Activism, agencies, Asma Jahangir, democracy, Human rights, Husain Haqqani, judiciary, memogate, Pakistan, security establishment, supreme court | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 4, 2012 by beenasarwar
Husain Haqqani: Pawn in a larger game?
There are numerous issues besides ‘Memogate’ that directly affect the people, like the shortage of gas, electricity, clean drinking water, housing, healthcare, employment and so on. But the issue gains significance because so far, no democratically elected civilian government in Pakistan has ever been allowed to complete its tenure and hand over power to the next one through democratic elections (as I outlined in this paper). There were hopes that this government would be the first to do so – a critical step towards the continuation of a democratic political that is necessary to move the country away from the military-dominated politics of the past – something, as it is now all too apparent, is not a thing of the past after all. In this context, it’s important to understand the current situation and its dangers. Myra MacDonald sums it up in an analysis for Reuters. Some insights were posted to this blog earlier (here and here). Additional facts are laid out in a document received today (reproduced below) that outlines some facts about Husain Haqqani and ‘memogate’. Also read this important article, ‘Treason? Under what Constitution? in the New Pakistan blog, which dissects the ‘memo’ contents and notes that each item in the document falls under the constitutional purview of the federal government…
Filed under: Pakistan | Tagged: Asma Jahangir, democracy, Husain Haqqani, memogate, Pakistan, supreme court | 6 Comments »
Posted on January 2, 2012 by beenasarwar
Asma Jahangir: Speak out for democracy
Husain Haqqani: scape-goated and threatened
Former Pakistan ambassador Husain Haqqani’s counsel Asma Jahangir sounds a sombre warning about the danger Haqqani is in from the military and intelligence agencies that are capable of picking him up and ‘twisting his limbs’ to make him say what they want to hear. Talking to Dawn TV’s Matiullah Jan in a detailed interview of Jan 1, 2012 she says that she took up the case because she found it a travesty that an individual was being condemned on the basis of a media trial without due process or representation. However, she will not represent him before the Judicial Commission that has been formed as she does not trust the process. The interview, posted in six parts (about 5-6 min each), is worth listening to in full as she makes some crucial points about the significance of this judgement to Pakistan’s politics. She sums some of these points up in this earlier brief interview with Al Jazeera English:
Filed under: Pakistan | Tagged: al jazeera, army, Asma Jahangir, dawn news tv, democracy, Husain Haqqani, isi, matiullah jan, memogate, Pakistan, torture | 3 Comments »