Monday, December 17, 2007

The government response to the student uprisings

Students under the emergency imposed by Musharraf have been harassed for protesting against the ill disguised MARTIAL LAW. Protesting or any right to opinion has been quenched by the government and anyone daring to practice natural freedom has been brutalized by the authorities.

Pre-emptive arrests have become a norm under the new MARTIAL LAW regime in the country as LUMS students and professors were notified of the charges by the government.

The students and professors in question had committed no crime than to practice their legal right to criticize the government. Students have also been warned against protesting on the LUMS campus, which is not on government land. There have been discontent in Government educational institutes as well. And several faculty members of Punjab University were charged with sedition. The reason given for the charges was stirring the masses against the government. Students also have been treated with immense brutality, often subjected to baton charge particularly evident during the recent protest held in Aapara, Islamabad on 4th December, 2007.

Students are also being intimidated not to protest against the government by phone calls. One female student MK talked about her ordeal, “a man called me up and asked if I was the one speaking on the phone, I asked who he was and he threatened me to steer clear otherwise he will have me picked up…he knew where I was and that I had changed the sim on my phone…he also knew there were two more people with me and warned us that shooting us was not beyond him….he threatened to attack me and made clear that he knew of my whereabouts and had all the information on me including my activity on facebook…he said that the emergency had been imposed because of what had happened in Sargodha and such attacks and offered to give me money (or contacts) to stop…he boasted of having plenty to give if only I’ll give into their submission… the place I have been staying at for the few days is constantly being visited by some people claiming to be from the MI/ISI. Last night the people asked the hostel warden to tell me to leave immediately as I would be a threat to the non-political students in the dorm. There has been a green car that has been following my movements. I received another phone call threatening serious consequences again. If the CJ was there today I could go to him for help, in fact he would have taken a suo moto notice once he read the papers but now I don't know who to go for help. There is no justice left in this country.”

Other similar if not more dire threats have been made. Another person SA got similar phone call: death threat, threats of abduction, torture and detention. They said it wasn't hard at all for them to forge a case against him that could destroy his life and cause him to be a shame for his family. KO got threats that his parents will be abducted and his mom raped before his eyes if he does not stop. In addition they said they'll leave a weapon at his place and keep him in jail for 8 year.

The human rights and Pakistanis including the very basic right to freedom of thought and expression have been infringed callously. Some international activists such as Tighe Barry and Medea Benjamin have taken note of the plight of the Pakistanis and have raised their voices with other pro democracy forces in the countries. But to turn the voices of the Pakistanis into a resounding force – in support of democracy the world over – the whole world community in particular human rights organizations to rise up and support the supporters of democracy in Pakistan.


General Kiyani said...

Utterly shameful and disgusting.

Anonymous said...

I am deeply concerned for your safety. Please reach out and let the student and teacher community (SAC and TAC, in particular) know about your ordeals so that together, if in different ways, we can protect you.