‘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

Media note on Statement about Pakistan democracy, human rights defenders

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 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

Some facts about Husain Haqqani and ‘memogate’

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…

Continue reading

‘Memogate’ commission should examine existing evidence, not create new evidence

The equation as it should be: Army following policies set by the civilian elected government, not the other way round. (Reuters file photo)

What is ‘Memogate’? The ‘memo’ in question is a letter allegedly written at the behest of Pakistan’s President by the Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani, asking USA to prevent a possible military coup in Pakistan after US Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011. Haqqani denied the allegations, sent in a letter offering to resign in order to facilitate an impartial inquiry, and returned to Pakistan to clear his name. Instead, he found his resignation letter accepted. The Supreme Court barred his exit from Pakistan. He has been forced for his own safety to confine himself first to the Presidency and then to the Prime Minister House. On Dec 30, 2011, The Supreme Court in response to a petition against the ‘memo’ formed a three-member judicial commission to look into the matter that the media has dubbed as ‘memogate’.

Asma Jahangir, counsel for Husain Haqqani and former Supreme Court Bar Association President, has refused to appear before the commission saying that she does not trust the judiciary. She has said that instead of forming a commission to create or produce new evidence the Supreme Court should have looked into the evidence placed before it to decide whether there was a prima facie case and whether the court could proceed to enforce any fundamental rights by making a binding order. Continue reading

‘Memogate’: The basic issue is the civil-military relationship

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:

Continue reading

HRW response to ‘Memogate’: a litmus test for all actors – particularly judiciary and army

Dec 30, 2011, Human Rights Watch press statement received today: “As the “Memogate” case proceeds, all arms of the state must act within their constitutionally determined ambit and in aid of legitimate civilian rule. In this context, justice must both be done and be seen to be done. Pakistan desperately needs a full democratic cycle and a peaceful transfer of power from one civilian administration to another. Should this process be derailed, the constitutional safeguards and legal rights protections created since 2008 may suffer irreparable damage.  Continue reading

Curiouser and curiouser… First Mansoor Ijaz, now Shafqatullah Sohail…

Chief Justice of Pakistan: over-enthusiastic about some issues?

Today’s headline and report in Express Tribune ‎”Citizen’s letter prompts notices to president, ISI chief”  prompts advocate Asad Jamal in Lahore to ask, rightly, who is this “Canada-based Pakistani” Shafqatullah Sohail ‘who has written such a passionate letter that the CJP immediately converted it into a petition? Continue reading

Civil society terms “memogate” scandal an attempt to thwart democracy

Ad pubished in The Daily Times, Dec 23, 2011

Please note, the names on the signatories list will be updated as more endorsements are coming in.

PRESS RELEASE, December 17, 2011

Civil society terms “memogate” scandal an attempt to thwart democracy; Says threatening the representative system tantamount to attack on sovereignty of people. Read on for the text of the statement and the signatories’ list Continue reading

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