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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Are we really progressing?

By – Kashif Sarmad Khalid 

The news popped up in the Lehya; a small town of Punjab, Pakistan. A man drowned in the river and his dead body was badly stuck in the mud of the bottom of river. The local residents tried to rescue and taking dead body out of the river but due to lack of facilities and government assistance; they failed to dig out the body. This caused immense grief to the mother of deceased. The mother was continuously sitting on the bank of river holding the rope which was tied to her son’s body. She still waits there for seven days and kept saying “Help my son”.  

This news could be small for our media houses or for those who enjoys lavish lives sitting in their luxury and million worth bangalows. It could be small news for those who make policy for the country and its inhabitants or talking about the revolution. It’s also tiny news for those who are keen to bring Tsunami of change in the country. It’s a hard slap on the face of those who still thinks that we are progressing as a nation.

We talk about the success of military operation Zarb-e-Azab; the operation that has lost its significance for the reason that all the wanted militants reallocated their bases in Kunar and Noristan of Afghanistan, everyone knows about it except our beloved military. We are spending millions in the war against terrorism but we have ignored our own war against poverty which has given the advantage to the terrorist organizations by manipulating it to gain the sympathies of some ignorant people in the society.

On 1st July 2014, another heart shattering incident took place today when twenty five year old Rabia of Khushab, Punjab of Pakistan, jumped into Jehlum River along with her three daughters to commit suicide. Although the woman and one of her daughters were saved, bodies of the other two daughters could not be found. According to the details, Rabia had been married to Zeeshan eight years ago and had given birth to three daughters. Her husband always wanted a son, which was not to be, and this became a reason for constant rift between the two. Zeeshan often beat her for this reason and when he again beat her on 1st July, Rabia took her daughters to the river and all four jumped in.

The heart breaking and unpleasant episode indicates the wretched custom and rituals that have become overriding the education as well as our Islamic teachings. The satire of the fate is these incidents have happened due to the deficient of justice system in our country. Unfortunately, after sixty seven years of independence, the justice system in Pakistan still needs to be implemented.

Prime Minister, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif constantly talks about the evolution his government will convey on the gross root level but they haven’t conveyed the rescue operation facilities in the rural Pakistan yet. Mr. Prime Minister, regrettably, your government is unable to dig-out the dead body from the mud of the river; Are you really capable to bring-out our country from the quagmire of terrorism, poverty, corruption, bad governance and injustice?

On March 27, 2013 - Forty-year-old rickshaw driver Akbar took poisonous pills along with his wife and three daughters due to poverty. Nearly six thousands suicides have been recorded in Pakistan in the past three years; most of them were male, unemployed and under 40.

According to the HRCP report, the ratio of suicides in Pakistan remained the highest last year, as at least 2,528 people - 1,725 males and 803 females - committed suicide in 2008.  The ratio suggested that around seven people committed suicide in Pakistan every day due to poverty. In 2009 more than 1,600 people committed suicide due to extreme poverty.

Pakistan is among those nations which has the enormous ratio of young people in the population. If this fragment of residents will be suitably utilized; not only I but the rest of the world can assure the economic boost any country could ever observe. The distributing laptops to youths and/or chanting slogans of revolutions (Inquilab) or Tsunami won’t help but immediate steps to accommodate them on merit would be the sole way to save youths to get off track.

The government of Nawaz Sharif in Federal and Punjab, PTI government in KPK and PPP government in Sindh – should formulate a better planning to transport facilities to the people of Pakistan on gross-root level instead of opposing each-other. All political parties are in the government even then they claimed to be in the opposition which is quite hilarious but they all need to be serious this time since temperament of people is running short now.

The mother of deceased Hafiz Muhammad Yousuf is still holding the rope of hope and so we do. We are waiting for the day when we will discover the responsible, thoughtful and honest government who would never let any mother to wait for the possession of dead body of her son.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cried when he saw the mother of Indian Prime Minister, Narender Modi while blessing her son before taking oath for the Prime Minister. I wish Nawaz Sharif could have cried over these incidents and did something for the victims as it is his core responsibility as a P.M Pakistan.

I have just one suggestion for all political entities of Pakistan (irrespective of their political affiliation); cry over these incidents now before people will make you cry someday. 

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Paying price for truth

TTP inclusion in the society of Pakistan Journalism has become herculean task. Independent reporting is leading journalists to face the lethal consequences.

The recent attacks on media and open threats by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have made journalists insecure and vulnerable. Recently, Express TV staff targeted by TTP [TTP claimed responsibility] in which three DSNG staff got killed, the second attack was on Aaj TV office and third attack was on ARY TV which luckily foiled by Bomb disposal squad.

This state of affairs has made journalists of Karachi, Pakistan startled about their safety but paradoxically government including Law enforcement agencies doe’s zilch apart from releasing condemnation statements.

Mr. Naveed Kamal; Karachi based journalist shared his nightmare experience when he shot twice by unknown terrorists.

“I was on my motorbike when two people came and shot me twice; one bullet hit my face and another hit my neck”. Mr. Kamaal Mentioned.

He further said, “I went to hospital by myself and unfortunately my office didn’t support me. I was on bed for six months and was by myself”.

Another Karachi based reporter, Mr. Ahsan Kohati was shot and had four bullets during reporting.

“I was shot by unknown people while reporting and had four bullets. When I was lying on road no one even attempted to rush me to hospital though I was accompanied by fellow reporters, one police officer took me to hospital and I was on bed for eight months” Mr. Kohati stated.

He detailed, “If you are journalist and hit by unknown bullet, do not expect anything good from others, you should keep in mind that you are alone and will have to bear all consequences. Your family will be there to tolerate every pressure”.

Mr. Samar Abbas is facing the identical tight-spot due to TTP threats but still fortuitously animate due to his own precautionary measurements.

“I am living in rented house and has changed more than ten houses in two years” He added, “I have two kids; my son is six year old and daughter is one year old,  I am incapable to send my son to school and I am teaching him at home because of security hazards”.

“No one is standing by to facilitate me; I am suffering because I attempted to speak truth but why my family is paying the equal cost” he said.

Mr. Abbas detailed, “I raised the voice of suppressed and victims but at the moment no one is geared up to hoist my voice; I do not have fright of death but I am concerned regarding my family. Who will be available to look after them?” He put the question and quickly replied, “No one”.

Senior journalist, Mr. Mubashir Farooq is in front of the diverse circumstances but in same stipulation.

“I was attacked twice by Karachi based political party and because of that political party I am jobless since four years which put me in rough economic conditions” Mr. Farooq added.

He further said, “Journalists are easy to target in Karachi. They do not have any security, training and resources to save themselves and their families. In that way, independent reporting will be easier said than done and eventually good governance will become a daydream of this society”.

Journalists ought to effort as a watchdog on government and alarm if any facet causes any damage to society or democratic system. If this dignified occupation will be beleaguered this way then democracy could be derailed. It’s time to be alarmed! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Did blast in Karachi wrecked Judiciary?


On the shiny morning of  26th June 2013 in Karachi (Pakistan) around 08:10am, the sudden and severe explosion shook the Karachi and Judiciary. Will this attack take judiciary on back foot in convicting terrorists?
“At the blast side two vehicles were totally damaged, one was the police escort which was flipped on the road and the other vehicle was smashed with the footpath. The blood was spattered everywhere on the road and many policeman were critically injured laying on the road. The smoke and sirens dominated the area in few minutes but who was attacked and why?” Jameel Ahmed, the resident nearby said.
After some time, revelation had been made by news media that, Senior Judge of the Sindh High Court Mr. Maqbool Baqar has been attacked by the banned outfit. The responsibility of attack was acknowledged by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Suddenly, the provincial administration, Judges of the high court and law enforcement agencies were become active after the incident and started holding meetings regarding this attack. Meanwhile, Justice Maqbool Baqar's profile was given by High Court website.
The question arises here is why Justice Baqar was the victim of attack by the TTP and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ)? And would Judiciary be on back foot after this attack?
On condition of anonymity of name due to sensitivity of the case, high ranked officer in Police department said that, “ In 28th December 2009, Ashora rally has been attacked and in result of that attack people from Shia sect stormed and flamed the shopping market nearby the blast place which resulted loss of millions worth of property of small business individuals”. (Note: Ashora Shia sect in Islam convened religious rally on 09th and 10th in Muhram Ul Haram to mourn on the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hassan and Hazrat Imam Hussain , as per Islamic Calender)
Police Source added, “Police caught culprits with the help of close circuit cameras and presented before Justice Maqbool Baqar who was administrative Judge (Who deals with initial stages of the case till proceedings by trial court) at that time. Unfortunately, the result of close circuit cameras proved the benefit of doubt for culprits and Justice Maqbool Baqar acquitted almost all those suspicious people who were arrested by us (Police)”.
Police source further mentioned, “After some time, highly wanted target killer Muntazir Imam got arrested by Crime Investigation Department (CID). Law enforcement agency hold Muntazir Imam under its  custody for longer than prescribed in law. Justice Maqbool Baqar was the Administrative Judge and He took notice of prolonged arrest of Muntazir Imam and sent him to medical. This lenient act of Justice Baqar made his persona suspicion or pro Shia before banned outfit, Lashkar-e-Jhangwi (Anti-Shia militant group) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).”
The Sunni and Shia are two largely populated sects in Islam. Generally, both sects have different way of life to live. The Sunnis believe in the Ijmah of the companions (Khalifas after Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H). The Shias believe in the primacy of succession through Ahl e Bait (Family of the P.B.U.H). The former resulted in the institution of Khilafat, the latter in the evolution of Imamat and Wilayat. And the feud has continued long after either institution has ceased to have relevance to the contemporary world.
These differences were contained during the Khilafat of Abu Bakr (r) and Omar (r) but burst into the open with the assassination of Uthman (r). The ensuing civil wars were inconclusive and ended only after the assassination of Ali (r) and the abdication of Hassan (r) in favor of Amir Muawiya. The conversion of the Khilafat into a dynasty brought on the tragedy of Karbala, which is a benchmark in Islamic historiography.
On the anonymity of identification and name, CID official informed that, “ In December 2012, law enforcement agencies arrested two suspects who were planning to attack Justice Maqbool Bakar. Since then Justice Maqbool Baqar started using private vehicle and only law enforcement knew about his moments”.
“The security escort used same route seven days till this attack happened, this is against keeping standard VIP security. Most importantly, Justice Maqbool Baqar used to reach office after 9:00 am but on the day he came early and terrorists knew that he will be coming early. Terrorists also knew that, the security cameras in that red zone are out of order”. CID source mentioned.
CID source further mentioned. “Inspector General of Sindh police and Deputy Inspector General Police of South region has made teams separately to probe into this attack but both teams are doing nothing except holding formal meetings”.
“This attack planned and executed by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Banned outfit and working closely with TTP) on the instruction of TTP. The instructions of  this attack was given by Jehadis via phone who were in Central Jail of Karachi. We raided Central Jail Karachi  with Rangers and found the cell phones and laptop there which are under examination. We investigated some suspects and came to know that more Judges of High court and District courts are under threat and these kinds of attacks in future could be inevitable. Judges are threatened and this could possibility affect their professional work. Right now, there are twenty judges are working in a Sindh High court and only thirteen of them are having police escorts, rest of the seven judges are having just one guard each and are totally exposed to terrorist attacks”. CID source said.
CID Source concluded by saying that, “Though, we tried to catch  Hafiz Bashir Leghari who was the mastermind of the attack on Justice Baqar but he got killed in the encounter still we have three high valued suspects who are underground but possibility are still in Karachi. Their names are, Munna Bihari, Nasir and Qayoom are active members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and are residents of Orangi town.
Chairperson  Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Zohra Yousuf have told stated, “Judges are human and they can be afraid under any threat, it’s a responsibility of the government to provide them security. If these kinds of attack on judiciary will continue then we will have to forget fair trials in any court”
“Militancy and terrorism has increased so much that now Judges are becoming afraid to rule against culprits which is very dangerous sign for our society” Miss.Yousuf added.
Former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr. Justice (R ) Syed Uz Zaman Siddiqui said, “Judges always have many pressures during proceeding of any trail and they are enduring it well. The attack on Justice Baqar was event but it won't affect professionalism of the rest of the Judges”.
“Judges should be given standard security at all level. The judges of lower courts are more vulnerable to any such attack then high court Judges”. Mr. Siddiqui added.
Information minister Sindh, Mr. Sharjeel Memon already stated in his statement that, “Judiciary is too afraid to convict culprits”. If this is true then not only Pakistan but its allies of war in terror will be in trouble.
Special Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh, Mr. Jam Kaim mentioned, “The moral of judiciary is still high and we will do our best to protect the other judges” He further said, “The government of Sindh has made sure that security and law enforcement agencies should take all measurements to stop high value killings by militants. We are at war with those who try to challenge the writ of the government and we will surely take all measurements to protect not only Judges and Politicians but also common man as well”.

Karachi besieged by Taliban


The Taliban has established a visible and prominent presence in Karachi, an economic hub with a population of more than 20 million, and residents are feeling the effects.
"I worked days and nights to establish my business in Karachi, and suddenly one day I had to pay 20 million Pakistani rupees" -- $204,081 -- "to Taliban extortionists," the owner of a marble furnishing and production factory told on condition of anonymity, fearing for his life. "If I did not cooperate with them, I would be executed, and no one would be able to do anything."
"People of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were spread in the whole of Karachi by leaps and bounds, and law enforcement agencies could not do anything to secure us," he added. "How and why did they come to this city?"
There are more than 2000 marble factories in the Mangopir section of Karachi, and it is the biggest marble industrial area of Pakistan. All factory owners have been paying extortion money to TTP in Karachi, marble factory owner mentioned.
Samar Abbas, a Karachi-based TV journalist, told : "As per my investigation, more than 80,000 TTP activists are working in Pakistan, and more than 1,000 TTP activists are in Karachi, including suicide bombers."
"There is no visible appearance of Taliban in our area, but they are here," said Fazal Khan, a resident of Landhi (Gulshan-e-Bonair. Suburb of Karachi), "TTP never bothered us or our daily life routine until we intend to harm them by informing police. Taliban could be dangerous if we try to spy on them and inform law enforcement agencies about them.We did our work, and they did theirs. We couldn't question them, and if we did, then we would get killed."
After 9/11,the United States of America and its allies bombed Afghanistan. Tehrik-e-Taliban Afghanistan (TTA) fled to safe places to regroup, then returned to Afghanistan and retaliate against USA and NATO forces. Later, with help from Al-Qaeda, TTP became one of the most wanted militias in the world.
While Gen. Pervaiz Musharaf was president, he ordered a large military operation in tribal areas of Pakistan, including North and South Waziristan, Miranshah, Sawat and adjoining areas. Because of military operations and aerial bombardment by drones in the tribal belt, TTP jihadists started to find strategic backyards in the rest of Pakistan. Karachi was an easy choice.
"The presence of TTP in the Karachi has been possible because of the Pakhtoon community that has resided in Karachi for decades," an official in the Crime Investigation Department (CID) told  on condition of anonymity for his security reasons. "They came here, and now they have their families in this city. . . . They are spreading rapidly in the city. Mostly, Pashtun community are involved in the TTP activities directly or indirectly, Even If some Pashtuns are not involved but they know about the TTP people and their activities"
"Most important, the Pakhtoon community, including Taliban, have their colonies at the entry and exit points of the city, which is alarming for us and the government," the CID source said.
He added: "Right now there are two TTP groups working in Karachi, Wali-Ur-Rehman and Hakim Ullah Mehsood group. Besides that, the local criminal factor are also involve."
He said the TTP's hold on Karachi started in 2010 when Rangers (paramilitary force who is given police powers in province of Sindh) started a large operation in Mangopir and Kowari colony - Suburb of Karachi, with more than 2,000 Rangers taking part. In that operation, commander Siddiq who was important Jihadi of TTP in Karachi and 20 other TTP activists were arrested. In the same phase, but on other side, the Ameer (Chief) of TTP Karachi, Hamidullah, was arrested with four others and later killed. Along with that, commander Badar Khan, who also fought NATO and the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, got accidentally killed by the police in Mangopir.
"The above-mentioned chain of incidents shocked TTP terribly, and in reaction, on suspect of people spying against their (TTP) activities, they (TTP) started killing people in their dominated areas," Abbas said. "Such people were largely related to the government, police, NGO's, politics or from any walk of life. This action put fear in the hearts of locals, especially the business community, and that fear turned into business for Taliban by collecting donations to meet their purposes.".
He added: "Surprisingly, until now, in Karachi more people were killed because of political enmity among political parties and gang war,s and not by TTP attacks."
Hassan Abdulah, a Karachi-based journalist and expert on the militancy issue, said TTP is present not only in Karachi, but also in other cities. "Yes, a huge number of TTP activists is present in Karachi, but they use this city as strategic backyard or sleeper cell," he said. "Actually, they make blood brothers wherever they go. They believe that every Muslim is their blood brother because they all have same religion and purpose in life. In that way convince people to help from them according to their desire."
TTP "has a good grip on this city," Abdullan said. "We shouldn't forget attacks on the CID, the Mehran base attack (Pakistan's Air force base in Karachi), continuous attacks on the police and attacks on Rangers (paramilitary force)."
"It is important to mention here that, in 2007, when ex-President of Pakistan, Pervaiz Musharraf started the controversial operation against the Lal Masjid (In Islamabad) and as a result, it is said that, hundreds of female students of Jamia Hafza of Lal Masjid got killed. On that, Al-Qaeda's Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) declared war against the state of Pakistan, that war extended and executed by TTP against the state of Pakistan." Mr. Abdullah detailed.
Asked about the possibility of negotiations between the government Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Abdullah said: "The problem at the moment is that the Taliban do not trust the Pakistani state. They have repeatedly said that Pakistan has been playing a double game and cannot be trusted. Al-Qaeda is convinced that international pressures on Pakistan mean this state cannot revert to its pre-911 policies. Such talks may buy the militants some breathing and regrouping space but will not be sustainable."
Sharjeel Memon, Information Minister for Sindh province (Karachi is provincial capital of Sindh Province), was never available to talk about the Taliban issue and did not comment .
Jam Kaim, special adviser to chief minister Sindh, said, "Government and law enforcement agencies are monitoring all their activities. But it's hard to recognize the active new members of TTP, as they have no specific identity. Law enforcement agencies can't arrest and interrogate people having beard but still police and other departments are doing best to catch them".
"Karachi is a thickly populated city, and because of the lack of technology and with a tiny number of police officers, it's hard to monitor every person," Kaim added. "We need technology, manpower and training to deal with these people, but in the current situation, identifying them is almost impossible."
Ahsan Ullah Ahsan, a former TTP spokesman, told  by phone from an undisclosed location: "People shouldn't afraid of us. We are not there to harm them, but to spread our message, which based on the true spirit of Islam. If anyone has any problem with TTP, they can contact me directly, and we will resolve any problem caused by any of our TTP members."
He blamed the news media in part for the public's fears. "The media have maligned our image, and they connect us with various attacks that were never conducted by TT.," he said. "Because of the media, people are afraid of us."
"We are against any extortion but we take funds as per Islamic Sharia," Ahsan added. "Those who are blaming TTP for taking extortion money are lying. We do not perform injustices against people."

Judiciary is too afraid to rule against culprits – Sharjeel Memon

Judiciary is too afraid to rule against culprits – Sharjeel Memon

We will restore law and order in Karachi – PML-N

We will restore law and order in Karachi – PML-N

The US is responsible for deteriorating law and order in Karachi – Dr A Q Khan

The US is responsible for deteriorating law and order in Karachi – Dr A Q Khan

We will cleanse Karachi of weapons if voted to power – Manzoor Wassan

We will cleanse Karachi of weapons if voted to power – Manzoor Wassan