“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

Projecting Quaid-e-Azam as ‘secular’ is treason?

The #fakenationalists have been targeting progressive Pakistanis for some time, aided by the #DirtyTricksBrigade, but their desperation has intensified of late. Is it a coincidence that a treason case has been filed against those identified in this defamatory poster, along with others? The poster, uploaded on facebook on March 13, 2012 by an APML supporter, features (left to right) Nusrat Javeed, Najam Sethi, Beena Sarwar, Marvi Sirmed, Imtiaz Alam. The text identifies us as “sellouts for religion and country” set on an “anti-Pakistan agenda” along with the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) (that most of us are not part of). It ends: “Come join the patriotic forces to unveil these traitors of Pakistan who hide behind the veil of journalism”.

UPDATE: May 8, 2014 – The Supreme Court of Pakistan admitted Zaid Hamid’s petition filed two years ago, seeking a treason trial against Asma Jahangir and several journalists for allegedly undermining the Two Nation Theory and glory of Islam. Coming just days after the April 19 attack on Hamid Mir  (one of the ‘treason’ case respondents) and subsequently Geo TV, is this development a coincidence? 

On March 28, 2012, lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri  filed a petition for high treason (under Article 6, punishable by death) on behalf of the so-called ‘security and defence analyst’ Zaid Zaman Hamid in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Islamabad, against 17 respondents whom the petition terms ‘snakes’ (including your’s truly). Our alleged crimes include “Trying to project Quaid-e-Azam as secular leader, lowering the image of Allama Iqbal, aggressively attacking the image of armed forces and ISI”.

The respondents include the prominent human rights advocate and former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir and journalists Continue reading

“Is this justice?”

“Pakistan`s accession to a sane and tolerant society in which all its sons and daughters are equal before the law and by social standards is going to be a long haul. The process may be started with action against organised abduction-conversion marriage rackets, offering guarantees of prompt and effective police action on complaints of abduction, and firm assurances of evenhanded treatment by the courts of all parties regardless of belief, gender or social status” –– HRCP director and senior journalist I.A. Rehman, ‘Unwelcome conversions‘, March 22, 2012.

ISLAMABAD, March 25: The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered two adult women who had stated that they were abducted and forcibly converted to Islam, to be sent back to the Karachi shelter home where they had been lodged since being ‘recovered’, for three more weeks to give them time to “consider” their views.

The Hindu community in Pakistan is asking if he would have done that if these women — Rinkal Kumari and Dr Lata Kumari –had given statements in favour of their kidnappers? Continue reading

Karachi launches campaign against TTP

KARACHI – An awareness campaign against atrocities by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has begun in Karachi, denouncing its inhumane and un-Islamic acts and declaring the militant group “fitna” (a sower of chaos and sedition). Posters and handbills denouncing suicide attacks and the slaughter of civilians by TTP miscreants have been plastered onto walls throughout the city – by Zia Ur Rehman in Karachi launches campaign against TTP

A Karachi resident reads a poster March 20 denouncing the acts of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as inhumane and un-Islamic. An awareness campaign has been launched by the Karachi-based Anjuman-e-Muhibban Pakistan against TTP violence in Karachi. [Zia Ur Rehman]

Why should peace be excluded from St Patrick’s Day?

Using “Veterans” and “Peace” together makes sense: who better than a soldier knows the horrors of war. Veterans For Peace has over 120 chapters across the USA.

This is a slightly modified version of my article published in the Global Post commentary section on March 20, 2012. Link to my photos.

Excluding peace from St Pat’s – War veterans waging peace vow not to give up

Continue reading

Caviar to the General

“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.

Pakistan: Stop The Firewall! #StopCensoringPk

20 million internet users in Pakistan could be censored.

In a shocking display of arrogance, the Pakistan government has placed an ad (see picture) in the national papers asking for IT companies to help them build a national Chinese-style censorship firewall.

At least four western IT companies have already said they won’t participate (Websense, Cisco, Verizon, and Sandvine – thank you!). Help persuade other firms to urgently follow suit before the bidding deadline this Friday. Add your name here calling upon Bluecoat, Huawei, McAfee, Netsweeper, ZTE, and all local bidders to refuse to play a role in putting up the walls of censorship. 15,709 have signed the petition. Help us get to 20,000. 

And please also sign the petition calling on Pakistan’s National Assembly, Ministry of Finance, Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister to uphold and deliver their pledge for democracy and to instruct the Ministry of IT to respect our call not to spend millions of dollars on this technology – Pakistan: Stop The Firewall!

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