Sunday, November 11, 2007

Judicial Travesty...

Many people have been writing here about how the emergency (readmartial law) impacts your life as a citizen of Pakistan. If you lookedat the headlines today (Sunday 11th November), you'll see just onemore way in which it does - 'Civilians can be court-martialled'.
What this means is that any one can be charged with treason,terrorism, sedition, attacking the president and even 'giving statements conducive to public mischief'. Some of these are 'new crimes' that have been added to the Pakistan Penal Code. According tothe DAWN report, this has been done since it is felt that the terrorism courts can not hold 'proper or speedy trials' of captured'terrorists'.
How is a military court different from a civilian court? In most countries, such as the US, a military court does not require aunanimous decision to convict the person on trial. A two-thirds majority is sufficient. These trials are held in secret and the rules for admission of evidence are not as strict as those for civiliantrials. Since the trials are secret, it is obvious that the jurors are not civilians (or peers of the civilian who is charged), but militaryofficials.*
One has to admit that the timing of this change in the Army Act (1952)is significant. At the moment thousands of lawyers and human rights activists are being held in jails, government schools and anywhere else available, for raising their voice against the brutality and injustice perpetrated by our government. God only knows what their fate will be.
When President Bush tried to get military tribunals to try suspected terrorists, the US Supreme Court overruled him. Our Supreme Court "judges" are not going to do that. The onus is on you, on us to overrule Musharraf. Be careful, stay safe, BUT, do not let him think that we will stand for this!

The Power of the Pen resonates

The Emergency Times is making waves around the world! This is cut out of 2 articles from the Emergency Times first issue. Let this be an encouragement to all of you who want to make a difference. Do not underestimate the power of the pen. Write as much as you can; to lawyers, judges, newspapers, foreign media outlets, politicians, human rights activists and ofcourse to the emergency times. Let people know about what has been happening at this end. Remember some of the greatest revolutionaries were great writers too. So pick up the pen and write away!