Monday, November 12, 2007

Protests continue worldwide..

There have been protests in Toronto over the last week, one of which took place in downtown Toronto on November 10, 2007. At this rally there were various speakers such as government representatives, human rights organizations, union leaders, professors, students and parents. The message was clear and the media heard it loud and strong. We were broadcast on local television networks and urged the Canadian government to hear our voices of reason and help. The rally was also attended by proud LUMS representatives such as Qasim Saddique as a speaker as well as Aisha Khan and various students that have been at LUMS during various periods of their academic lives from my batch and others.
Pakistani students from local universities and colleges held a very successful protest rally at the Boston Commons. The rally was attended by about 200 people. The students had the full support of Boston's Pakistani expatriate community. Boston area academicians, lawyers and physicians attended and spoke at the rally.
Students at Harvard, MIT and Bunker Hill Community College were among the key organizers of the rally to protest the attack against the judiciary, curbs against the media and the violence against lawyers, human right activists and students exercising their right of peaceful protest.
A Protest against the emergency was arranged by Pakistani students in Paris. There were about more than 100 Pakistani students and community members and it was a very successful event, as it captured the attention of more than 4000 international tourists in front of Eiffel Tower. GEO and ARY One were there to capture the event

Call of Defiance

Blind my eyes and gag my mouth,
my very breath shall exude defiance.
From mountains north and seashores south,
every stone and wind shall cry defiance.
My arms are strong and my blood is thick,
with the sweat and tears that begot this land.
Achieved not through deception or magicians trick,
but through vigorous souls and calloused hands.
My chest now burns as my heart now aches,
to see our lives in your shackles
Inside, the earth rumbles and dams start to break,
the wolf shall growl and stand his hackles.
I have arisen and you should be afraid,
stealer of all I love and cherish.
That for which my fathers fought for to the grave,
It shall not be surrendered until I myself perish

IBA Students disallowed from protesting

From ‘an IBA student who wants to join the movement’

The Administration of IBA has made it very clear that any student found even wearing black a ribbon as protest against emergency will be expelled without a hearing before the disciplinary committee. This "unofficial notice" came after students of IBA made a silent protest against emergency by wearing black bands on their arms and foreheads. Students in Karachi want to be part of the students' movement but the administrations are not letting this happen.

Suspension of Constitution is a major sin: Ghamdi

Reported in The News, Sunday 11th November

KARACHI: Renowned Islamic scholar Javed Ahmed Ghamdi has said basic human rights had been guaranteed by God Almighty to all human beings and no one could usurp or suspend these rights under any circumstances. In a statement, Prof Ghamdi said these basic rights could not be taken away even in a state of war. He said the Constitution of Pakistan was a national charter and to abrogate, suspend or violate it was a cardinal sin, which could not be forgiven easily. Prof Ghamdi said it was the basic right of every citizen to criticize wrong decisions of any government and protest against such actions. But these protests must be peaceful and should not endanger the life, property or dignity of any citizen. He said both the government and the protesters must respect the rights of others and this principle must not be forgotten at any time.

'People's Resistance' issues call to action

Peoples Resistance is a coalition of civil society organizations that includes Karachi WAF, HRCP, Women’s Peace Commission, lawyers, journalists, and other professionals. People’s Resistance calls upon all professional groups, NGOs, trade unions, student unions, and individuals to join the platform of resistance in its peaceful campaigns for the restoration of independence of judiciary, cleansing the judiciary of the unprincipled judges that have signed the PCO, restoration of the independence of the media, and the security of all the people of Pakistan by the restoration of the Constitution of Pakistan.

We, the citizens of Pakistan, salute the judges who have not signed the PCO, and have thereby asserted the inalienable right of the judiciary to remain independent.

We, the citizens of Pakistan, salute the media in its determination to protect the independent role of their profession.

Civil society makes the following demands:

1. Immediate restoration of the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts that have not signed thePCO.
2. The judges who have signed the PCO must resign without any delay.
3. The judges who have started visiting the Governor must desist this practice immediately, as it subverts the judiciary to the executive and thereby insults the judiciary, which is the most central pillar of a State.
4. Changes in PEMRA ordinance must be withdrawn and restrictions on the media must be removed without any conditions.
5. All lawyers that have been arrested must be released immediately, and all cases withdrawn.

Police arrest, release 48 students in Islamabad Protest: Eyewitness account

A silent student led demonstration was held at three thirty in the afternoon, near Shaheen Chowk in Islamabad. The protesters were mainly clothed in black, but some wore their school uniforms – the majority being young students belonging to local schools, joined by civil society members. The tape across our mouths was meant to symbolize the recent loss of the right to free speech.A few days earlier a student organization had been formed, which had discussed the demonstration that took place today in great detail. We had decided that it would be silent as well as peaceful. Thus, we walked in the general direction of the Parliament and attempted to cooperate with the police who intercepted us within forty five minutes. Instructed not to move any further till the Magistrate arrived – the entire demonstration sat down on a green belt in compliance. The Magistrate told us that we could not go any further and we must go back. We had only begun to make our way back to our cars when we realized that the road had been blocked, and a normally congested road was now deserted. Soon, trucks upon trucks of Punjab Police began to arrive. As we made our way to the other side of the road while thinking of a possible way out we soon found ourselves completely encircled. We decided to form a human chain as escape seemed impossible. The male students who were on the outer ring were immediately arrested, while I among other female students struggled to rationalize with the women police – who appeared to empathize. Forty eight of the boys (nearly all of those who were present) were loaded into vans and sent off to the nearest police station (Margalla Thaana). We made our way to the senior police officer who had just appeared on the scene and apparently ordered the entire arrest. We explained to him how we had been allowed to walk back, to which his response was a long and detailed explanation of the much hated section 144. After two chaotic hours, in and outside the police station, where now foreign media was present too, all those arrested were finally released. The students resolve has only been strengthened as a result of this incident – we will continue to voice our opinions, as is our right, in a peaceful and non-violent manner.