Women’s Action Forum letter to the Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Pakistan

recover-activistsReproducing below the letter sent by the Women’s Action Forum letter to the Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Pakistan about the “disappeared” activists and the deliberate and sustained campaign against them in the media and on social media. This campaign, with its accusations of blasphemy and treason being leveled against the missing activists and those campaigning for their safe recovery poses a danger to those missing, their families and the human rights campaigners.

WAF urges that the state, its institutions and agencies be held responsible for the recovery of the missing bloggers/activists and inform what the investigation has yielded, and that the federation be held answerable for non-compliance of SC orders on the issue of enforced disappearances.

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Hamid Ansari: Mumbai man missing in Pakistan (we treat each other’s citizens differently)

Hamid Ansari, 27, MBA, Rotarian from Mumbai... missing since Nov 2012

Hamid Ansari, 27, MBA, Rotarian from Mumbai… missing since Nov 2012

My article on the case of the Indian national Hamid Ansari who has ‘disappeared’ in Pakistan, published in The News, July 11, 2014; an abbreviated version in Hardnews, India. See Hamid’s mother’s online petition appealing to the governments of India and Pakistan to find her son and my friend Indian journalist Shivam Vij’s earlier articles on this case, in The Friday Times, and in the Christian Science Monitor

On July 1, the Peshawar High Court directed Pakistan’s defence and interior ministries to provide full information about an Indian national, Hamid Ansari, who disappeared from the mountainous Kohat district in late 2012. There is room here for cautious optimism on several fronts. 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

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

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…

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Sherry Rehman Appeals to Government to file Mukhtara Mai’s Review in Court

Mukhtiar Mai: Justice delayed, then denied. Still from my documentary "Mukhtiar Mai: The Struggle for Justice" (2006)

Sherry Rehman Appeals to Government to file Mukhtara Mai’s Review in Court.

Islamabad, 22nd April 2011: Speaking on a point of order in the National Assembly, former minister and MNA Sherry Rehman has asked the government to not just provide security to Mukhtara Mai, but to file a review appeal in the Supreme Court. Continue reading

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