Those demanding ‘Sharia’ in Pakistan, FYIP

Why I do not want Shariah in Pakistan

The Pakistan government is trying to hold talks with the Taliban, who should really be referred to as Fasadis*. There are no women in the government committee, and of course none on the Taliban side. One of the Taliban negotiators pulled out, refusing to participate until the agenda includes the imposition of Sharia law. Here’s a note posted by The Traitors of Pakistan and  Pakistan Votes  on Facebook, ’10 reasons why I do not want Shariah in Pakistan’. I have an additional question to the reasons they listed: 11. Whose Sharia? Each religious sect has its own version. Many of us reject the one propagated by the Fasadis and the Saudi-patronised Takfiris**. Here’s the note, for your information please, as desis say:

Continue reading

Online petition and GIA demo against invasive TV show

GIA demo in Karachi (file photo): Human beings must be treated equally, regardless of gender or sexual orientation

GIA demo in Karachi (file photo): Human beings must be treated equally, regardless of gender or sexual orientation

The Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA) has called for a demonstration against Abb Takk TV’s show Khufia for its gross invasion of privacy and human rights, to be held today, Monday Dec 30, at 4:00 pm at the Karachi Press Club. If you’re in Karachi, please show your solidarity by joining them. Also please read and sign this online petition “Act against AbbTakk TV for violating privacy and human rights

From India with love: Tribute to Hassam , Friend and Human Rights Activist from Pakistan

"You were the steady hand, now we must learn to fight the pain" - Haris Gazdar

“You were the steady hand, now we must learn to fight the pain” – Haris Gazdar

A moving and beautiful tribute to Hassam Qadir Shah, advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, a principled human rights lawyer and decent human being with a million dollar smile and gentle manner, married to the filmmaker Aisha Gazdar. Thank you Kamayani for writing this #RIP – Tribute to Hassam , Friend and Human Rights Activist from Pakistan. Here’s a link to Hassam’s seminal booklet on criminal procedures, in easy to read Q&A format about gender violence in Pakistan, “There is no ‘honour’ in Killing – Don’t Let them Get Away with Murder’ (Shirkat Gah, 2002)

Local Opposition Rises Against Fracking Infrastructure Proposal

Tom Salamone of Minisink, New York addresses a rally in front of the Federal Energy Regulation Commission on Nov 15, opposing a natural gas compressor station being built in Minisink. Credit: Asha Canalos

Tom Salamone of Minisink, New York addresses a rally in front of the Federal Energy Regulation Commission on Nov 15, opposing a natural gas compressor station being built in Minisink. Credit: Asha Canalos

My article for InterPress Service a couple of days ago:  Local Opposition Rises Against Fracking Proposal

By Beena Sarwar 

BOSTON, Massachusetts, Nov 27 2012 (IPS) - Efforts to promote the use of hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of obtaining oil and natural gas, face stiff opposition from researchers and citizens who say that in its present form, the technology’s risks far outweigh its worth. Continue reading

Iqbal Haider, we’ll miss your ‘groove’

Iqbal Haider: A firm believer in secular values.

 My article for The News on Sunday, Nov 18, 2012 – in which I forgot to mention the resolution Iqbal Haider tried to get the Senate to pass against the cold-blooded murder of young Saima Sarwar in the office of Hina Jillani at the behest of her own parents, simply because she wanted a divorce from her abusive husband. Some senators from FATA physically attacked him for it (See my article ‘There is no ‘honour’ in killing).

 Beena Sarwar

The protests outside Karachi Press Club will be all the poorer without Senator Syed Iqbal Haider’s energising presence. Activists promoting any good cause could count on him to be there — whether it was justice for Mukhtaran Mai, protest against Shia killings, or a call for peace between India and Pakistan. Continue reading

Bengali “Crossfire” reaches U.S.

This is a slightly longer version of my interview of Bangladeshi photographer-activist Shahidul Alam published in Latitude News, May 4, 2012, with reference to his exhibition at Queen’s Museum in New York. The exhibition is an attempt to internationalise the issue of extra-judicial killings. Thousands have been killed in such ‘crossfire’, allegedly at the hands of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) that the U.S. and UK governments have been training and providing arms to.

In “Crossfire,” an exhibition of photographs at the Queens Museum of Art in New York that closes on Sunday the 6th, acclaimed Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam chronicles the extra-judicial killings allegedly committed by Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion, or RAB.Over a thousand victims have been ‘cross-fired,’ or executed by police without trial, in the last four years in the South Asian country, human rights activists claim. Many more people, perhaps thousands in total, have suffered similar fates, they say. Continue reading

“Allow Woeser the freedom to express and to travel”

“Allow Woeser the freedom to express and to travel”: Prominent Asian intellectuals appeal for Tsering Woeser 

Chinese authorities have not only prevented the Tibetan writer and historian Tsering Woeser from receiving the prestigious Prince Claus Award for 2011 in Beijing (being awarded by the Dutch Ambassador to China) but her movements within Beijing have been restricted, says a statement issued from Kathmandu by Prince Claus laureates Arif Hasan (Karachi, Pakistan), Ganesh Devy (Vadodara, India), Jyotindra Jain (New Delhi, India), Kanak Mani Dixit (Kathmandu, Nepal) and Mehrdad Oskouei (Tehran, Iran). Continue reading

Concern for Pakistan democratic process, safety of human rights defenders

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. Continue reading

Baloch Hal Editorial: War Against Baloch Doctors

It is an outrage and a violation of freedom of expression that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) continues to block Baloch Hal in Pakistan at a time when this voice needs to be heard across the country now, more than ever.  Reproduced below, BH editorial pegged on the target killing of Dr Baqir Shah (emphasis added):

Editorial: War Against Baloch Doctors

Balochistan: Doctors sit in protest at the murder of their colleagues. Photo: Baloch Hal

The late police surgeon was somewhat an easy target for terrorists for a host of reasons. His situation could enable any murderer to immediately vanish in thin air because of the circumstances that shrouded the late doctor. He gained enormous national and international media attention after conducting the postmortem of five foreigners who were killed on May 17 in what is now remembered as the infamous and tragic Kharotabad incident. Continue reading

Zarteef Khan Afridi: The tribesman who showed the way

Zarteef Afridi's latest photo. Courtesy: HRCP

A tribute to the human rights activist Zarteef Khan Afridi who was shot dead recently – my article in The News on Sunday. Latitude News earlier published a shorter, different version titled In Pakistan, an unlikely hero dies for his cause. Also see my earlier article: Pakistan’s ‘enlightenment’ martyrs

The tribesman who showed the way

There was the letter from an anonymous writer saying he was going to hunt down and kill her. And then there was the letter from an Afridi tribesman offering to come down and protect her.

This was in the mid-1990s. The recipient of the letters was the fiery human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir, under threat for having taken on the case of Salamat Masih, the illiterate Christian boy sentenced to death for ‘blasphemy’ for having allegedly written sacrilegious words on the walls of a village mosque. Continue reading

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