Salmaan Taseer: The political context of a ‘religious’ assassination

Falsely accused of 'blasphemy' when he stood up for another accused, he paid for his stand with his life. AFP photo

Falsely accused of ‘blasphemy’ when he stood up for another accused, he paid for his stand with his life. AFP photo

My recent article for Viewpoint Online, published Jan 7, 2012: Salmaan Taseer: The political context of a ‘religious’ assassination

Enforce rule of law, expose hypocrisy of the Taliban mentality

Just over a year ago, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was assassinated in the most cowardly manner by a government-assigned security guard. Mumtaz Qadri, a member of the Punjab Elite Force assigned to protect the Governor, pumped 27 bullets into his victim’s back as he headed to his car on the afternoon of January 4, 2011.

The sensational murder was no spontaneous act by an enraged fanatic. It was a well-thought out, cold-blooded plan. Was the executor acting alone, motivated only by ‘religious fervour’ as projected, or is there more to the issue than meets the eye? And even if his act was purely altruistic, should the law of the land not be applied to punish him? 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

Pakistani journalists: standing tall – my article in EPW

Pakistani journalists: standing tall

Journalists in Pakistan walk a tightrope between the military and the militants, risking their lives as never before to get the truth into the public domain. They have always had to tiptoe around directly challenging the concepts upheld by the security establishment. But as a Pakistani writer and filmmaker writes, the media in Pakistan is still standing.

By: Beena Sarwar 

Economic and Political Weekly, India | Vol XLVI No.29 July 16, 2011 | PDF | Text below

Continue reading

Ilyas Kashmiri, Saleem Shehzad and the media in Pakistan

“It’s amazing how things change here. The moment it was reported that Ilyas Kashmiri was killed the entire media began explaining that he was a mastermind of the Mehran attack. The only person who had reported this at the time of the attach was Saleem Shehzad, and look what they did to him.

“Up to the point of Kashmiri’s killing the media were busy peddling conspiracy theories with no clear view on who was behind the Mehran attack – or deliberately obfuscating, as one would surmise now. And the only person who was taking a clear view had to be silenced. Then, with the killing of Kashmiri in a drone attack, with cooperation from the Pakistani side, everything changes.

“Now a fully worked out CV of Kashmiri becomes available within minutes with every news outlet. A CV that is exactly what Shehzad had compiled and includes feats such as Mehran, GHQ and Mumbai. This rapid clarity following such intense confusion without any visible process of getting from one to the other needs to be explained”

— comment from a friend in Karachi

‘Learn your lesson, identify the safe areas and play there…’

Saleem Shehzad - facebook page photo

Just posted to my beena-issues yahoogroup:

Uploaded to my blog: HRCP URGENT APPEAL for Muzaffar Bhutto, Gen. Secy Jeay Sindh Muttaheda Mahaz.

Another disappearance on Sunday didn’t end well. I felt sick hearing the news that Saleem Shehzad, the Asia Times correspondent who had gone ‘missing’ from Islamabad, was found dead, with torture marks on his body. As I write this, his body, exhumed from a hurriedly dug grave at the behest of a judge, was being sent for a second autopsy to establish the cause of death. Continue reading

HRCP *URGENT APPEAL*: Abduction of Mr. Muzaffar Bhutto, General Secretary of Jeay Sindh Muttaheda Mahaz (JSMM)

Sent: Monday, May 30, 2011
Subject: URGENT APPEAL HRCP: Abduction of Mr. Muzaffar Bhutto, General Secretary of Jeay Sindh Muttaheda Mahaz (JSMM)

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan requests your urgent intervention in the following situation

Description of the situation:

Mr. Muzaffar Bhutto, General Secretary of Jeay Sindh Muttaheda Mahaz (JSMM) has been abducted for the second time by the agencies. Jeay Sindh Mutttaheda Mahaz( JSMM) is a nationalist party of Sindh province, Pakistan.

He was traveling in his car with his wife and younger brother on 25 February 2011, when they reached Saeeabad Tool Plaza, Hyderabad his car was stopped by plainclothes people belonging to intelligence agencies of Pakistan and he was taken away. Continue reading

PERSONAL POLITICAL: Manufacturing a ‘hero’

Article published Jan 30, 2011 in The News on Sunday – and in Hardnews, India (‘Blood upon the altar‘)

Manufacturing a ‘hero’
By Beena Sarwar

The assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer has been termed a ‘watershed moment’ for Pakistan — not just because a sitting governor of the country’s wealthiest and most populous province was murdered in broad daylight by one of his own security guards. Perhaps the greater shock was how the murderer, Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, was allowed to commit this crime and how many hailed him as a hero for having killed someone perceived (falsely) as being guilty of ‘blasphemy’. Continue reading

Conversations 8: Clap with both hands

Dilip and my ongoing weekly email exchange (archives at the Aman ki Asha website, published in The News on Sunday Political Economy section, Aman ki Asha page on April 18, 2010:

April 15 2009

Dear Beena,

Rejuvenated by a few days tramping in the hills, I return to our fray, if that’s the word. Continue reading

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