Friday, November 9, 2007

LUMS - Iqbal Day rally

The LUMS student body, in keeping with the spirit of Iqbal day, organized yet another protest rally, their 4th this week, to express their collective disapproval of Musharraf's declaration of emergency, and his outright subversion of the Judiciary. Even with the final exams beginning the next day, the student participation in the event was commendably substantial, around 300 people being present. The rally started with speeches by students, who all stressed the importance of continuing the dedicated protest, in whatever manner or form against the Executive's unjustified actions. Some students recited poetry written by the national poet – Allama Iqbal – to show how his poetry reflects youth awakening, and its crucial role in the country's future. It was also decided that a hunger strike would commence from Monday; students participating in the hunger strike will be on the LUMS campus, studying for their exams yet stressing their continued protest against the President's outrageous escapades.
Two LUMS Faculty members also spoke at the rally, once again stressing the need for continued action against the Executive, and giving the students a perspective on how to strategize for the future. Pamphlets were distributed and placards were raised against the state's actions. The rally then took to the streets of LUMS, with the students walking in a circle around the academic block. This was, once again, a silent protest – to signify the way in which the media is being treated, and
to signify the attempt to silence the entire society through the suspension of their fundamental right to peacefully assemble. At the end of the march, a student passionately recited original poetry about the Hobbesian state of affairs prevailing the country, to great applause..
The LUMS student body pledged to continue to express its vehement disapproval of the illegal and oppressive way in which the Executive has dismissed the judiciary, imposed martial law, and suppressed the fundamental rights of the citizens of Pakistan.

FAST Protest Continues

The Students of FAST-Lahore continued their protest today, with around 3-400 students gathering on their campus after Juma prayers, and staging a peaceful rally. A number of students and faculty members spoke at the meeting and spoke about the emergency and martial law enforcement. The Police presence outside their campus remains..
We salute our fellow students, who remain steadfast in their defiance..

Thoughts on the situation..


Lawyers being pushed, shoved, brutally beaten up; journalists being manhandled, dragged by their hair for doing the job they are meant to do; students protesting peacefully yet being threatened by police brigades via silent, deadly stares – what have we been reduced to? This is what the ‘Emergency’ was designed to do; under the veil of ‘fighting terrorism’ in the country, the President has managed to create a more unstable, violent situation – all so his access to self-created unlimited power remains untouched. A friend of mine very aptly described this situation – the Head of State is acting like a young child, throwing tantrums if someone comes anywhere near his precious toys.
It is marvelous how students of this nation have managed to unite and put across a brave front in this grave situation. Strangely enough, being a student, I always thought our generation lacked the initiative and drive to bring about any sort of change. Most of us have led sheltered existences and would find it impossible to imagine spending a night in a cell. Apart from that, the population largely seemed to be too involved in their own daily activities to worry about the big picture. But this event has changed my perspective; thankfully, for the better. Students of LUMS and other universities have done a tremendous job of, at the very least, creating a stir; making international news was just the cherry on the cake! We, as a nation, (or on a smaller scale) as LUMS family, strongly oppose the current state of affairs in Pakistan since it has been created for the benefit of one man, with the rights of millions of people as the opportunity cost. Unfortunately, it is too large a cost.
Having declared that students and lawyers are working towards a better future of the country, it is important to understand that more people need to join this movement. It is essential for us to realize that this is not one person’s agenda; it is the problem of every citizen of Pakistan. It is not only the students whose rights have been abrogated – it is each and every one of us. And that is what makes our current circumstances so distressing. Where are the other elements of society? Where are the opposition parties? Where are the professionals? Where are the masses? Is this too trivial a condition that we do not need to be bothered by it? This apathy is the direct consequence of our erratic political past. Whenever the army wants, it takes over, holds the constitution in abeyance and creates an environment of instability. And makes us mortals think, “Why should we bother? Not like it would make a difference.” It may even be true that whatever we do would not topple the present government over, or miraculously create a leader out of thin air who would be just, considerate and, for once, stick to the laws of the country. But it is definitely worth making the effort. It is definitely something to strive for, to hope for. What would be even worse is if we just sit like lame ducks, causing us to be a part of this entire fiasco. No problem has ever been solved without working towards a solution; and determining the failure or success before even trying is the worst mistake one can make. Agreed, it is difficult to raise your voice in a climate of such great insecurity; with people being arrested all over. But protesting against a tyrannical government does not only mean participating in rallies and shouting slogans. It may be a more active, effective way, but smaller steps are just as significant. With the international focus on us right now, it has become much easier to voice our opinions.
This is not what this country was meant to be like. There were bigger, better hopes attached to our generation and those before us. And great fervor is required of us as this moment. Needless to say, all of us feel sorrow as we look around. It may seem abysmal but a dictator can not bring this country down; or better yet, we will not let him bring the country down! We have so much more to offer and this is not how it is going to end. I hope it ends with people reaching their full potential, realizing what great things they are capable of achieving; I hope it ends with the destruction of this one-man show, a man who is a sad excuse of a leader, along with his troupe of blind-folded followers.

The Clock starts Ticking..

The unashamed fa├žade is crumbling… The delicate veneer of lies is being shattered… Even as the military declares war on civil society, it has set in motion its own demise. The response of the police-state to the various student protests around the country has laid bare its own cowardice; they are scared of the students. They will try to suppress us further, to intimidate us into timid obedience. But we will not be silenced. In Complete Unity, we will lay bare the sins of the oppressors; In Complete Unity, we will voice ourselves against them; In Complete Unity, we will bring them down.
March on, my friends…

Politicians charged with treason!

Three politicians among four charged with treason in Karachi

KARACHI ( 2007-11-08 14:20:01 ) :

Pakistan on Thursday charged three politicians and a trade union leader with treason for making speeches against President General Pervez Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule, court officials said.

The four were remanded in custody for two weeks by a court in Karachi, two days after they were arrested for criticising Gen Musharraf in addresses at the city's press club, they said.

Treason -- or sedition, as the activists have been formally charged with -- carries a maximum sentence of death.

The arrested men are Baloch nationalist leader Hasil Bizenjo, his party's provincial chief Ayub Qureshi, the vice-president of the National Workers Party, Yusuf Mustikhan, and trade union leader Liaquat Sahi.

The men were also accused of distributing pamphlets against the state of emergency declared by Gen Musharraf, police and Bizenjo's party spokesman Jan Buledi told AFP.

On Wednesday, Karachi police registered sedition cases against eight lawyers, including a woman, on charges of inciting people against the state of emergency. The lawyers have gone into hiding.

Protest at LUMS continues into 4th day

Jo Sub Say Bara Bay-emaan Hai

Woh Sadr-e-Pakistan Hai!

LUMS saw its fourth consecutive day of protest against the Martial Law on November 8th, 2007. Despite the avalanche of overdue assignments and impending examinations, approximately 150 students showed up, along with several members of the faculty at the Sports Complex to show their continuing dissent against the martial law, the blatant abuse of human rights and the tyrannical suppression of our judiciary and media.

Other than the students who came up to speak in front of a peacefully assembled crowd we had speeches by Aasim Sajjad, faculty member of the Social Sciences department, an Alumnus lawyer, and our Vice Chancellor.

Defying the poor acoustics of the hall, Aasim Sajjad’s voice rang out clear, congratulating the students for fulfilling their duty to their conscience and their country and for successfully making their voices heard all over the world. He related the incidents that transpired during the peaceful protest held in Islamabad, of which he and his wife were both a part; the group of 20-30 civilians were surrounded by a police force ten times their number and brutally manhandled. He clarified that this is not just a political war but a moral one which must be fought by all people at all fronts. Nothing, he said, can justify the heinous manner in which innocent people are being beaten, tear-gassed, tortured and arrested without regard to their gender, age or any other factor that characterizes a human being. It is not only our right to raise our voices against the State which has sanctioned such barbarism but our duty to do so. He urged the students to be organized and safe, and to make this movement strong by striking a balance between caution and courage; his final words expressed his firm belief in the success of this struggle.

A member of the LUMS alumni, who is at present one of the defiant lawyers upholding the struggle on the judicial front, came up to express his happiness over the students’ support. Being a former LUMS student he was especially proud that the faculty and students of his university were among the first to raise their voice against the tyranny of the government. He emphasized the need to ensure our own safety first, to exercise caution and to avoid getting arrested, which, he maintained, should be left to the lawyers. He urged the students to continue the struggle and not to stop till our goals are achieved.

Our Vice Chancellor also expressed the administration’s support regarding freedom of expression; he reminded us to fulfill our academic responsibilities, to speak our minds clearly and loudly but at the same time tolerate others’ opinions. He said the students’ right to speak their hearts and their minds would be protected by him and the administration however he also asserted the need to keep our protest within the normal parameters of university rules. The day we cannot express our opinions and our views freely, he said, LUMS will stop being the academic institution it prides itself to be.

Aasim Sajjad also sang a revolutionary song to the beat of the students’ rhythmic clapping, while the Students Action Committee showed two presentations covering the massive protest held in LUMS on 7th November, 2007, further raising the spirits of those present.
Among the things discussed and ideas passed around two of the most important suggestions were: to write letters of support and comfort to the lawyers who are under house arrest and are completely deprived of any outside information, and to flood the CNN ireports ( with messages expressing our dissent against the martial law and human rights’ abuse in the country.
In the meantime, Police remained stationed outside LUMS the entire day, monitoring students moving in and out. Reports abound of phone lines being tapped and emails being monitored. Attempts to intimidate and silence us contine.
But is essential that the fervour remain, that we persevere in whatever manner possible, against the injustice, against the oppression, until we bring them to their knees.

In Complete Unity.

Imran Khan calls people to the streets