20 years of The News: Witness to history

If you haven’t got the print edition – a 99-page collector’s item – check out this PDF copy of The News 20th Anniversary issue. Articles by Maleeha Lodhi, Ghazi Salahuddin, Azhar Abbas, Rahimullah Yusufzai, Sahar Ali, Amir Zia, Khaliq Zuberi, Farah Zia, Salman Rashid, Talath Naqvi, Zia Mohyeddin, Umber Khairi, Maheen Usmani, Sarwat Ali (my ‘encyclopaedia’), Anil Dutta, Shafqat Mahmood, Mayed Ali, Masood Hasan, Amir Mateen, Khalid Hussain (who took over as Sports Editor after Gul Hameed Bhatti’s illness), cartoonist Akhter Shah, and many others who have been part of this venture if not from the start then almost from the start. Many have been associated with The News on Sunday (TNS). Includes my piece on TNS, posted to this blog earlier. Well done, Sheher Bano, for putting this together. And thanks for including the section commemorating colleagues who are no longer with us, like Kaleeem Omar, Zulekha Ali, Najma Hazir, Hameed Zaman and others. May they rest in peace.

Changing the media landscape – article about ‘The News on Sunday’ for The News 20th anniversary issue)

Editor with Reporter: Probably discussing what to get for lunch. Photo: Rahat Ali Dar

For The News 20th anniversary supplement, published Feb 22, 2011.

The News on Sunday:  Changing the media landscape

By Beena Sarwar

The News on Sunday was launched in 1994, as The News on Friday, Pakistan’s first weekend newspaper – Friday was then a weekly holiday. In 1997, the name change itself reflected the ideological confusions that abound in Pakistan, where religion is freely used for political purposes, and as an excuse to retain the status quo.

Clearly, religion is conveniently dispensed with if it clashes with, say, financial interests, as when Nawaz Sharif, the country’s businessman-prime minister who was otherwise careful to keep the ‘religious’ lobby happy, reverted to Sunday as Pakistan’s weekly holiday. In doing so, he overturned a move made 20 years earlier by Z.A. Bhutto who had sought to consolidate power by playing the religious card. Nawaz Sharif’s decision was motivated by financial considerations, over-ruling the opposition of the conservatives. It indicated that anything is possible with political will, even reversing a decision taken in the name of religion. Continue reading

Revolution?

My two bits: Those calling for a ‘revolution’ in Pakistan to get rid of the current government and especially President Zardari might consider that THE reason Pakistan has been unable to move forward is that the political process is never allowed to continue. People tolerate military regimes for a decade or more, but get impatient with an elected government within months and don’t want to give it five years to complete its term and let the next be duly elected.

I endorse CFD’s one-point agenda – get religion out of politics.

Letter to chief justice: injustice done to Mozareen

Feb 21, 2011

To:
The honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan
The honorable Chief Justice of Lahore high Court Lahore
The Chief Minister Punjab Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister House, Lahore

Subject: Police & Administration has violated the law just to facilitate Jagirdars

Respected Sir,

I would like to submits that I filed a case regarding 2000 Acres of Land situated at chak No. 95/p & 98/p district Rahim Yar Khan. The land was grabbed by the Choudhry Monis Elahi and his agents (in) Rahim Yar Khan. One of them is Ch. Imtiayaz ex-MNA of PML-Q. They used police of the district and DPO Rahim Yar Khan acted as their puppet. The land was owned by the Government of Punjab and after getting forged and fictitious documents the culprits got the land transferred on their names. Continue reading

Gawaahi (Witness): testimonies of abuse, survival, resistance

Happy to get this email from fellow journalist and activist Naveen Naqvi:
“I am happy to report that our site, Gawaahi.com is now online. Gawaahi.com aims to archive digital stories of abuse, survival and resistance.
If you are interested in how we came about, please visit our site and read Gawaahi.com – our story.
You can find more information on our mission and team in our About page. If you see the page titled Our Partners, you will see the wonderful support we have received even before launch.”
Great going (and I love this visual by Zaina Anwar)!

Update: Salmaan Taseer case hearing

UPDATE from CFD, Feb 6, 2011: The state prosecutor appointed to prosecute Mumtaz Qadri has been provided adequate security by the government and has agreed to conduct the trial, which will not benefit from any reaction or controversy that our letters might cause. We look forward to the trial commencing, and justice being done.

Note: On Feb 14, the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) is likely to formally charge-sheet Malik Mumtaz Qadri, who murdered Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.

Withdrawal of public prosecutor in Salmaan Taseer murder hearing

Please endorse Citizens for Democracy letters to President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice and Bar Associations of Pakistan seeking justice for assassinated Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer – yesterday the public prosecutor refused to appear in court, reportedly because he was not given adequate protection. He must be provided security and those threatening him dealt with according to law.  “This is an utterly unacceptable situation. It is indeed a sad day when a victim cannot find legal representation but many lawyers offer to represent a murderer, gratis.We demand that the assassinated Punjab Governor be provided appropriate legal representation by the State. We demand that both the Punjab and Federal governments immediately provide the prosecutor the requisite protection to enable him to appear in court and discharge his legal duties…”

Expecting justice to be done and the rule of law to be followed…

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