The media and Surjit Sarjit Sarjeet Surjeet Sarabjit Sarabjeet

Update to my earlier blogpost on Surjeet/Sarabjit – it seems that my initial tweet was correct:

According to the timeline compiled by CNN-IBN, the news of Sarabjit’s releases was ‘broken’ by the Pakistani TV channels at 6.50 pm (IST) on June 26, followed by the Indian channels picking up the news ten minutes later. Talking to the Indian media after crossing Wagah, Surjeet said that the media had created this confusion, as no summary of Sarabjit’s case had been forwarded and therefore the question of his release didn’t arise. Continue reading

Surjeet and Sarabjit: IndPak prisoners’ issue

I was on live via telephone with Rajyasabha TV (a TV channel run by parliament of India) yesterday. The sound was very bad so I don’t know if people heard what I said. Here are my main points: 
1. Yes, it’s disappointing for Sarabjit Singh and his family that he was not released, but there are people working for his freedom too. Meanwhile, let’s be happy for Surjeet, imprisoned since 1984, and his family. [Postscript: In his press conference in India after being released Surjeet Singh said that it was the media that had created the confusion about Sarabjit’s release; no summary for Sarabjit was sent or received.]
2. There are people on both sides who don’t want peace between the two countries. These setbacks happen and will keep happening but we are on the right track, dialogue will and should continue, it’s part of a process Continue reading

Forum for Secular Pakistan: lecture on “Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s Political Career and Vision” by Dr Ajeet Jawed

Invitation from Javed Ahmed Qazi Secretary General, Forum for Secular Pakistan:

Forum for Secular Pakistan has organised a lecture on “Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s Political Career and Vision”  by  renowned Indian research scholar, Dr Ajeet Jawed, on Saturday 30th June, 2012, at 4:30 PM, at Jinnah Medical and Dental College, Shaheed-e-Millat Road, Karachi. You are cordially invited to have your input in the interactive session with the author of the book “Secular and Nationalist Jinnah”, a book which had raised a lot of debate especially in India. Continue reading

Pakistan squash to get a boost from US partners

Jahangir Khan chatting with guests after dinner.

Here’s what I wrote after the fundraiser with the great Jahangir Khan at the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) in conjunction with Dover Squash in Natick, MA – my first sports report (slightly abridged version published in The News).

From Beena Sarwar

BOSTON: The Pakistan Squash Federation has launched an ambitious project to revive the game in Pakistan, partnering with squash associations and academies in the United States to uplift, educate and groom Pakistani talent. (See Khalid Hussain’s earlier report in The News on Sunday here) Continue reading

Sex trafficking snares hundreds of thousands of American children

My report in Global Post, June 20, 2012 (don’t miss the interactive map at the end) 

Over 80 percent of cases of American sex slavery involve US citizens, not immigrants. It’s a problem this country must find creative solutions to solve through conferences like Demand Abolition, which took place in Boston recently.

Image: Ira Gelb (Flickr)

Beena Sarwar
BOSTON — She was only 15 when she escaped, but she had already been sold for sex up to nine times a day since she was two years old. Her parents pimped her out and beat her severely, but Mary (not her real name) is a survivor – no longer a victim. Twelve years later, she helps other survivors in the US and abroad, volunteering with the Not For Sale Campaign.

I met Mary over lunch at a convention on sex trafficking in Boston recently and she told me her story. It has taken “a lot of healing and hard work” to get this far,” she said.

Besides survivors like Mary, activists, government officials and law enforcement officers gathered at the intense, two-day event in Boston in May, organized by Demand Abolition, a program of Hunt Alternatives Fund. The focus of the conference was on abolishing the demand for commercial sex. (Read more >  Sex trafficking snares hundreds of thousands of American children)

Justice Katju’s email discussion with a Lahore lawyer

The following email correspondence copied to me stems from a comment on my blog by Barrister Rizwan Ahmad, Advocate High Court, Lahore, Pakistan, addressed to Justice Katju, in response to Justice Katju’s views on the Pakistan Supreme Court judgement first published on this blog. I forwarded the comment to Justice Katju who replied to Mr Ahmad: “I was constrained to write such a hard hitting article because your Chief Justice and his colleagues have lost all sense of self restraint expected of a superior Court, and have been playing to the galleries for quite some time. Whether they have a hidden agenda or not I cannot say, but they will certainly wreck the Constitution if they go on like this.” Read their  subsequent exchange below, arranged chronologically, starting with Rizwan Ahmad’s reply to Justice Katju’s email: Continue reading

The Pakistan Supreme Court “has flouted all canons of Constitutional Jurisprudence”

Justice Katju: “The Prime Minister holds office as long he has the confidence of Parliament, not confidence of the Supreme Court.”

Justice Markandey Katju, former Justice, Supreme Court of India and presently Chairman, Press Council of India just sent me an article about the recent order of the Pakistan Supreme Court declaring that Mr. Gilani is not the Prime Minister. Justice Katju writes, “In my opinion the Pakistan Supreme Court has gone totally overboard, flouted all canons of Constitutional Jurisprudence, and is only playing to the galleries and not exercising judicial restraint. It is thereby upsetting the delicate balance of power in the Constitutional scheme.”

In his article, Justice Katju explains the concept of immunity and stresses the need for balance between the organs of the state. He writes that it may be published freely in any newspaper: Continue reading

MEDIA/Pakistan: Protect whistleblowers, act against corrupt anchors

To All TV Channels of Pakistan: Protect whistleblowers, act against corrupt anchors
 Sign the online petition:

The behind-the-scenes footage leaked from Dunya TV’s ‘interview’ of Malik Riaz conducted by Meher Bokhari and Mubashir Lucman on June 13, 2012 has exposed the corruption of these so-called journalists. Their clear connivance with the interviewee in order to make themselves look blameless is a disgrace to the profession. We commend the whistleblower who leaked this footage and exposed their reality, which is all the more shocking given their self-righteous public stands.We demand: Continue reading

The contempt conviction in context: Pakistan – a political timeline

File photo of Pakistan's PM Gilani speaking during a news conference at CHOGM in Perth

A 30-second ‘convict’ for ‘contempt of court’: Gilani. Reuters photo.

On Tuesday, June 19, the Supreme Court of Pakistan in an unprecedented judgement disqualified Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani from his membership of Parliament, also barring him from contesting elections for five years (scroll down for a Political Timeline putting the move in context).

The Court had on April 26, 2012, symbolically ‘convicted’ Gillani for contempt of court for less than a minute, due to his failure to ask Switzerland to reopen a corruption case against President Zardari, on the grounds that the president enjoyed immunity as head of state. According to some legal experts, as a ‘convict’ Gilani could no longer hold office. Continue reading

Quetta Youth Festival 2012: Winds of change?

Who says there’s no positive news coming out of Pakistan?

“Looking at the videos really changed my perception of the youth of Balochistan. Such brilliant young men and women, sitting together for a cause, enjoying, eating, singing, dancing and spreading the message of love” – Ali Rahman, on the First Quetta Youth Conference 2012

Continue reading

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