‘Any attempts to dislodge parliament will be resisted’

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. Continue reading

Pakistan: The ‘blasphemy’ issue | No shortcuts

Cartoon by Sabir Nazir | Viewpointonline.net

Originally published in Viewpoint Online, Nov 3, 2011

No shortcuts

Beena Sarwar

Watching Libyans celebrate the toppling of their dictator two things come to mind. First, Gaddafi’s apparent extra-judicial murder after being captured must be condemned. Secondly, a cautionary reminder: don’t expect the death or removal of a dictator to mark the end of the struggle. It is just the beginning of another struggle, an even messier one — the political process known as democracy. We in Pakistan know this all too well. Dictators die or get toppled but their legacies live on. Their creations like Zaid Hamid may lose, even as the creator Gen Zia wins (see Anas Abbas’ de-construction of this phenomenon at his blog) Continue reading

Aman ki Asha Press release: Dialogue on ‘A Common Destiny’

LAHORE, Apr 22: Prominent academics, writers and analysts from India and Pakistan met today at a closed-door seminar titled “A Common Destiny”, the first of Aman ki Asha’s series of discussions on issues of strategic importance.

Delegates at the first of Aman ki Asha’s series of discussions on issues of strategic importance to India and Pakistan, titled “A Common Destiny”, agreed on the need for peace between the two countries, and the importance of a sustained dialogue to resolve bilateral issues including Jammu & Kashmir, terrorism, water-sharing, trade and investment. Continue reading

Hope for young Ateeq, a real life ‘Ramchand Pakistani’

Below, a report I wrote on Feb 23, published in The News aman ki asha page of Feb 24 (see accompanying report ‘Prisoners of archaic laws‘ by Rabia Ali), shortly before 12-year old Ateeq’s hearing in Amritsar on Feb 26 – which Asma Jahangir and I.A. Rehman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan managed to attend.

12-year old Ateeq from Lahore, currently in the Juvenile Jail in Hoshiarpur, India

Here is an update from Asad Jamal in Lahore on Feb 26:
Release orders were passed for the 12 years old Pakistani boy in Indian Juvenile (Hoshiarpur) Prison after Asma Jahangir appeared in the Juvenile Court in Amritsar today. Now the Pakistan authorities have to complete procedural matters and bring the boy back home. Asma Jahangir met the boy in Amritsar and found him traumatised. She had taken video film of the boy’s father as well some clothes for him. Local lawyers/activists arranged and distributed sweets after the court order. Continue reading

‘Looking back to look forward’ – amazing response to an uplifting event

Slightly revised version of what was originally posted to the Dr Sarwar blog earlier – more photos at this web album:

Rahat Kazmi introducing speakers - photo by Aliya Nisar

What an amazing response to ‘Looking Back to Look Forward – Celebrating the 1953 Student Movement’. (‘…we look back not to revel in nostalgia, WE LOOK BACK TO LOOK FORWARD,’ said veteran journalist Eric Rahim in an email while we were conceptualising the event).

We didn’t think we’d be able to fill the 1000-seater hall. Everyone said “be happy if 500 people turn up”. The hall was FULL, thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the volunteers and participants – students and youngsters from Sindh Awami Sangat (huge team of volunteers and a crowded bus-load of participants), Szabist University, Ziauddin Medical College, PECHS Girls’ School (thanks to Seema Malik, 150 students who formed the heart of the audience and kept up the tempo with their youthful energy), and other groups.

Naushaba Zuberi slams the A.T.Naqvi Tower and demands one for the Jan 1953 martyrs. Photo by Sakhawat Ali

View of the audience with PECHS Girls School students - photo Aliya Nisar

“It’s not just the event, it’s the timing of the event that’s important,” said Hiba Ali Raza, one of the student volunteers. “At a time when things look so bleak, and people are so depressed, this was very significant”.

Many had come expecting the usual 200-300 crowd of old lefties with a sprinkling of the young ones. Instead, we had a hall full of young people, boys and girls, students and young professionals who listened attentively to the speakers – Continue reading

IAR on NRO ruling

I.A. Rehman, one of the clearest, sanest voices in Pakistan analyses the NRO ruling in his op-ed today in Dawn, ‘Pause, sirs, and ponder

Extract: “…the issue before the Supreme Court was not an amendment to the constitution that would have attracted the basic features theory. The issue before it was an ordinary presidential ordinance. And for laws and ordinances that conflict with the constitution clear remedies are available.
“By invoking Article 227 in the present case the Supreme Court seems to have put Islamic injunctions in command of the whole constitution. Quite a few lawyers argue that this amounts to overruling the court’s judgments in the Hakim Khan (1992) and Kaneez Fatima (1993) cases.
“…The people of Pakistan have every right to ask whether Ziaul Haq’s agenda has been revived.”

‘Bridging Partition: People’s Initiatives for Peace between India and Pakistan’

Cover art: K.B. Abro; design: Bindia Thapar

JUST PUBLISHED

BRIDGING PARTITION: People’s Intitiatives for Peace Between India and Pakistan

Edited by SMITU KOTHARI and ZIA MIAN

With Kamla Bhasin, A H Nayyar and Mohammad Tahseen
Essays by Shehryar Ahmad, Karamat Ali, Sumanta Banerjee, Kamla Bhasin, Nirupama Dutt, Madeeha Gauhar, Mubashir Hasan, Pervez Hoodboy, Asma Jehangir, Sheema Kirmani, Sanat Mohanty, Kuldip Nayar, Sandeep Pandey, Narendra Panjwani, Anand Patwardhan, Balraj Puri, Laxminarayan Ramdas, Lalita Ramdas, I A Rehman, Beena Sarwar, Jamila Verghese, Achin Vanaik

“Over the past three decades, in the shadow of hostile nationalisms fuelled by radical Islamic and Hindu politics, military crises, a runaway arms race, nuclear weapons and war, an amazing set of civil society initiatives has been taking root in India and Pakistan. A citizens diplomacy movement embracing thousands of activists, scholars, business people and retired government officials has emerged in an unprecedented effort to build national and cross-border networks for peace and cooperation between the two countries.

“In these essays, leading scholars, activists and writers from India and Pakistan reflect on the political and personal impact of crossing the border, and explore the possibilities and limits of this new movement in its quest to chart a path to peace between the two countries.”

Cover design Bindia Thapar
Cover art 60 Years of India Pakistan by K. B. Abro

Published by Orient BlackSwan India

Zaheda Hina on Jagannath Azad

Zaheda Hina with Indian journalist Jatin Desai, at a peace seminar in Karachi held to honour Nirmala Deshpande. Photo: Beena Sarwar

Zaheda Hina with Indian journalist Jatin Desai, at a peace seminar in Karachi held to honour Nirmala Deshpande. Photo: Beena Sarwar

Since my article Bring Back Jagannath Azad’s Pakistan Anthem published in The Hindu on Sept 22 (slightly shorter version first published by Dawn on Sept 19) I have learnt that my ignorance on the matter was all the more deplorable given the previously published material that I have since come across. Besides Zaheer Kidvai’s recollections in his blog, that I mentioned in my blog post later, there is Adil Najam’s June 2009 post Prof. Jagan Nath Azad: Creator of Pakistan’s First National Anthem. Najam refers to Zaheer’s post as well as an article by Ashfaque Naqvi in A word about Jagan Nath Azad (Dawn, June 27, 2004), which contains a passing mention of this little known fact about Azad’s authoring of the first national anthem.

Continue reading

Honouring Zaheer Kashmiri and the PWA

Dr Farrukh Gulzar, the progressive minded medical practitioner from Lahore who was the driving force behind the Reference for Dr M. Sarwar and the 1950s student movement on Aug 8, has now thrown his energies into helping organise a remembrance for the late poet Zaheer Kashmiri. Friends in Lahore, please do attend. Here is the invitation he sent:

Zaheer Kashmiri

Zaheer Kashmiri

AHL-E-DIL MILTAY NAHEENH, AHL-E-NAZAR MILTAY NAHEENH
ZULMAT-E-DAURANH MAI, KHURSHEED-E-SEHR MILTAY NAHEENH
–ZAHEER KASHMIRI

(Translation:
Gone are the sensitive hearts or insightful visionaries
In this oppressive darkness, no morning sun arises)

Remembering the life and works of the legendary Marxist, progressive poet and activist, a literary critic, and a strong influence of and upon
Progressive Writers Movement (Anjuman-e-Taraqi Pasand Musanafeen)

ZAHEER KASHMIRI

Hailing from Amritsar, Zaheer Kashmiri spent his life in Lahore, and was a very popular and respected figure in the liberal, progressive youth and seniors alike. When Faiz Ahmed Faiz headed the editorial board of ‘Sawera’ PWA’s monthly magazine devoted to socialist and progressive thought, the other board members included Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi and Zaheer Kashmiri. Please join his friends, family and followers to pay tribute to him at this occasion. His poetry and articles compiled in his book “Ishq-o-Inqilab” will be available for sale at discounted rates.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2009
ALHAMRA HALL NO 3, THE MALL, LAHORE
4-8 PM

SPEAKERS: HAMEED AKHTAR, ABID HASSAN MINTO, I. A. REHMAN, HUSSAIN MAJRUH, ASLAM GURDASPURI, SHOUKAT PEERZADA (BROTHER), MERAJ MUHAMMAD KHAN, RASHEED MISBAH, NASREEN ANJUM BHATTI, ARSHAD BUTT
POETRY: DR TAHIR SHABBIR
MUSICAL RENDERINGS: NASIR KHAN, MUHAMMAD JAWAD
MODERATORS: ABID HUSSAIN ABID, RASHEED MISBAH

ORGANISED BY:
PROGRESSIVE WRITERS ASSOCIATION (ANJUMAN-E-TARAQI PASAND MUSANAFEEN) PUNJAB
YOUTH VISION

HAMAINH KHABER HAI KAY HAM HAINH
CHIRAGH-E-AAKHIR-E-SHAB
HAMARAY BAAD ANDHERA NAHEENH
UJAAALA HAI!

— ZAHEER KASHMIRI

(translation:
We are acutely aware that
We are like flickering candles in the dying night
There is no gloomy dark after us
Only bright light will prevail)

Dr Sarwar Reference, Aug 8, HRCP, Lahore

Press Release

Reference for pioneering student leader Dr Sarwar

For favour of publication

Lahore August 6: A Reference for the pioneering student leader Dr. Muhammad Sarwar will be held here at HRCP’s Dorab Patel Auditorium on Saturday August 8 at 5 p.m.

Dr. Muhammad Sarwar was amongst founding leaders of the Democratic Students Federation (DSF) and the All Pakistan Students Organisation (APSO). He was also instrumental in the formation of Inter-Collegiate Body of Karachi (ICB) which along with DSF spearheaded the students struggle for the acceptance of students charter of demands in 1953.

Twice elected to the office of General Secretary (national), Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) that continues to play a leading role in the affairs of medical profession, Dr. Muhammad Sarwar was amongst those who had formulated a people-friendly health policy. It was unfortunate that the policy, duly presented to the concerned quarters by the PMA, remains unimplemented.

Born at Allahabad, Dr. Sarwar came to Pakistan in 1948 and joined Dow Medical College,Karachi. After graduation he practiced for over forty (40) years at his clinic in the lower middle class locality, Golimar,

Coinciding with his Birthday, the Reference for Dr.Muhammmad Sarwar, will be addressed by Mr. Hameed Akhtar; Mr.I.A. Rehman;Mr. Abid Hasan Minto;Dr. Haroon Ahmad, Dr. M. Ilyas, Prof. Afzal Tauseef, Ms. Salima Hashmi; Dr.Izhar Chaudhry General Secretary PMA,Punjab, Mr.Farooq Tariq LPP leader,Mr.S.M. Naseem former editor “Students’ Herald”, Zaman Khan, Ammar Ali Jan, Dr. Farrukh Gulzar and Zakia Sarwar.

The Reference will be followed by tea. Later, participants may join discussion to be facilitated by Mr. S.M. Naseem, Beena Sarwar and Ali Cheema.

Issued on behalf of: Friends and Admirers of Dr. Muhammad Sarwar

By (Husain Naqi)

NOTE: MR MINHAJ BARNA AND DR ENVER SAJJAD ARE ALSO EXPECTED TO ARRIVE IN LAHORE FOR THE REFERENCE

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