Thursday, December 6, 2007

People's Resistance- Press Release

Civil society organizations condemn government crackdown on peaceful dissent

KARACHI, Dec 5: The People's Resistance, a coalition of civil society organization and individuals, strongly condemns the government's hard-line and brutal actions against peaceful dissent. These recent actions only betray the government's own weakness:

The Law Ministry's notification about the retirement of the judges who did not take oath under the PCO, and the attempted eviction of such judges from their official residences, in particular Justice M.A. Shahid Siddiqui in Lahore.

The FIRs registered against LUMS faculty members for wall-chalking -- Rasul Bakhsh Rais, Aasim S. Akhtar (who is not even in Lahore), Osama Siddique and Farhat Haq (who has not been at the university for past two years) and a student.

The brutal lathi-charge on the huge student-led demonstration in Islamabad on Dec 4.

The arrest and deportation of two American peace activists who were in Pakistan to express their solidarity with the people. This action and the way it was carried out, by armed, plainclothesmen, further tarnished the image of Pakistan.

We demand:
- The Law Ministry should immediately withdraw its shameful notification about the judges' retirement. Caretaker Law Minister Afzal Haider needs to stand up for constitutionality and legality as he is duty bound to do.
- The immediate withdrawal of the FIRs against the LUMS faculty and student.

We call on the democracy-loving people of Pakistan to join in the struggle for justice. We invite people to form a physical barrier at the homes of those judges who are being evicted, as the courageous activists of Lahore have been doing. We reiterate our refusal to accept the current dispensation with its curbs on the media and the judiciary.

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